It’s taken me a while to perfect my grocery shopping techniques.  I guess it started over the past 5ish months with knowing how much we could spend and what we needed.  It took some careful planning and creativity and without realizing it …I’ve developed some really helpful habits!

When I knew how much we could afford to devote to groceries I had to come up with a list of the things I could get the most use out of and that would last the longest.  I’d put them all on paper and once in the store…we didn’t stray from the list at all.  Along the way, I’d write down an over-estimated price for each item so I could make sure we wouldn’t go over.  Now that I’ve been doing this for a while I’ve realized my mind just naturally makes near perfect guesstimates and it doesn’t feel like such a chore… more like a game.

Another game I end up playing, “Try to bring the exact amount of re-usable grocery bags!”  -I usually lose this one haha I always could use one or two more OR I bring waaaay too many.

Okay, here’s my running list of essentials that get us through longish periods of time and are a little more satisfying than ramen noodles 😉

The List

  • $7 Whole grain flour (the possibilities are endless)
  • $2 Bananas
  • $3 Peppers, Onion
  • $6 Spinach, Lettuce
  • $6 Tortillas, Sliced Bread
  • $10 Cereal, Oats, Cream of Wheat
  • $5 Soups
  • $5 Rice, Instant Mashed Potatoes (make sure you read the ingredient list and make sure it only says “potatoes” lol)
  • $8 Whole Grain Pastas and Sauces
  • $3 Apple Sauce
  • $3 Non-dairy Milk
  • $3 Orange Juice
  • $5 Eggs
  • $3 Yogurt
  • $8 Frozen fruit and veggies
  • $10 Some kind of meat for my carnivore

*All for under $100, most of this lasts us about 2 weeks or more and some even longer!  It makes me think we were CRAZY back when we first moved in together and money wasn’t as much of an issue.  We used to drop almost $300 every time (and most of what we got was not exactly “nutritious”either lol).

Anyway, I just thought I’d take a minute to share this with you…..If you get something different and you think it’s shopper savy please let me know! 🙂

Happy shopping!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about something I like to do to save money without feeling like I’m making a huge effort or that I’m going without.  This particular example:  The Breakfast for Dinner concept.  Most of us barely have time for a bowl of cereal in the morning let alone all of those fabulous hot meals associated with that time of the day so why not switch it up and make one of them at the end of the day when you get home?

With the right ingredients you’ll be making a healthy choice while having fun and saving some mula.  Some of my personal favorites are:

  • Whole grain pancakes (from scratch) with mixed berries (frozen).
  • French toast (with egg whites)
  • Spinach omelette (with egg whites and mozzarella cheese)
  • Oatmeal (with fruit…apples mostly)

Tonight was a french toast kind of night and it’s SUPER easy to make.

Here’s how I do it…you can try it my way or be adventurous and make up your own!  (Serves 3-4…unless your are either really hungry or have a 6 ft 4 boy in your household like I do!)

  • In a small mixing bowl, mix 4 eggs (I just use the egg whites to minimize my cholesterol intake – I’m sure there’s some fancy way to do this, but I just use a big spoon to scoop out the yolks lol).
  • Add one cup of milk (I use whatever was on sale that week including but not limited to coconut, almond, soy, or rice).
  • Dash of vanilla + and cinnamon for fun but not entirely necessary.
  • Drench some (whole grain) bread in the egg/milk mixture and cook in a skillet over medium heat – about 2 minutes on each side.
  • You’re done, now go make your mouth + belly happy!

The best part about this dish and so many others is that the ingredients are inexpensive and you usually have them in your fridge already! These meals have healthy potential, leave your tummy feeling happy and full, and can be concocted out of minimal things.  Even when we find ourselves with less than a full fridge…we can usually come up with eggs, bread, and milk right?

I have realized that by taking the time to cook simple meals at home rather than eating out or buying pre-made stuff has saved us literally HUNDREDS.  Sometimes I’m thankful for our limited funds since the move because it has taught us how to develop a better and healthier way of cooking and eating.

My challenge to you (besides having a Breakfast for Dinner night):  Pick something that you LOVE from the frozen pre-made section in the grocery store and invent or google research a way to make it on your own.  Example- sometimes we use soft tortillas to make individual pizzas with sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings we have in the fridge.

Have fun!  🙂

I may have thought I was finished with snow for a while, but clearly I was mistaken lol.  Schools were let out, appointments were canceled, and EVERYTHING closed here in the south at the first sign of winter.  I had to stop and think….”did I not move to Texas?”  But sure enough the rain turned to sleet which soon turned to huge snow flakes that actually began to accumulate!

The kids next door made a pretty decent snow man, but by the time I went outside (I guess I had different feelings toward the snow fall from my fellow Texans), it had already melted… looked like they had a blast making it though….I know my fur babies enjoyed themselves watching the process!  I think Linus may have prefered watching from the comfort of our apartment because he was less enthusiastic once we went out later on:

Me no likey snow...

While Texas played dress up with New England weather, Jason and I got ready for our first “New Englander” house guest!  One of my college besties is moving to Cali and was easily convinced to make a pit stop in Austin for some home cooking, tlc, and American Idol obviously…  I felt like it was Sophomore year all over again as we commenced 3 hours of music theatre youtube videos.

We had Joe’s favorite dinner last night, but today’s brunch was my excuse to start baking again! Jay had planned to make his famous omelets for the three of us, but last night I made home-made & whole grain banana bread and chocolate chip muffins.  The apartment smelled GLORIOUS 🙂

Jay’s such a good sport and watched avidly as Joe and I basically recreated our first show together, Urinetown, and relived some fine college theatre moments.  Joseph, I’m so proud of you for making this HUGE move and change in your life and I promise you every step will be upward (the good the bad and even the seemingly ugly will all be worth it) …you’re destined for greatness and there’s no one on the planet quite like you! All you had to do was make the first “move” …life will do the rest.  I can’t wait to visit you this summer!  -so happy our adventures crossed paths already 🙂

Partners in crime on my 21st!

In other news, this week was CRAZY and choc full of cold and flu symptoms.  Despite my large efforts, my body joined the sicko trend at work and in the words of my Traceface, “..hopefully now you will officially have built up your immune system …I mean, it’s like the equivalent of getting injected with a flu shot right?”  I’m sure she’s right.  Now that I’ve gone through it and took super care of myself during the process I’ve probably rebuilt the I work with children AND in a residential setting immunities.  The biggest downside to being ill though was my inability to go to the gym which bummed me out at first.  One of my buddies turned trainer pointed out though that my running won’t suffer from one week off and that I’ll surprise myself once I’ve recuperated.  So… I’m looking forward to that!

Needless to say most of last week’s to do list was put on hold but my updated agenda includes:

  • Get back on my gym routines starting tonight with some yoga, arms, and walk/running
  • Plan out my meals for the week (including work eats) so I can kick this massive cold FOR GOOOOD!
  • Get at least our TX licenses 🙂
  • File my taxes
  • Still on the look out for a bed frame project…
  • Fabric shopping for the sleeper sofa

Have a lovely week kiddos …if you’re still in college skip a class today and do something random with one of your friends.  If your not, take a long lunch from work or make a change in your schedule for something unconventional big or small.  Live freely.

The Week One Weigh-In!

February 18, 2010

Hey lovelies!  Sorry I’ve been MIA this week, but it’s been pretty crazy (however awesome) balancing everything that’s been going on lately.  Started the new job officially on Friday and loved every minute of it!  My work there will no doubt be challenging but I feel like I’m finally doing the right thing.  My supervisor pointed out to me that my work with some of the children has already made a noticable difference and I can’t describe to you how that made me feel.  I spent the whole drive home contemplating the fact that I’ve never felt like this before…I’ve never felt like I belonged where I was or to what I was doing. On top of that…I just can’t believe that I was able to pin point this line of work, research a position from a memoir I had read, and then apply for that exact job in this area!  I made this happen by knowing what I wanted and committing myself to it.

Thanks, Conor, for the amazing house-warming gift!

I could not be more thankful for the changes that have occurred in my life and I know that I instigated them.  It makes me feel like I’m in control of what happens to me, my outlook, my nature, my everything!  Of course, things didn’t start off this perfect.  In fact, I went through a whole mess of not-perfect to get to this point.  Though, it’s possible that it was all necessary…maybe everything I’ve ever been through has brought me here.  I’ve been waiting for this kind of clarity most of my life – something to make it all worth it.

I am a firm believer in the whole everything happens for a reason thing.

In conclusion, I am a HUGE fan of first shift (6am -2pm) and I love working with this population of children.  I have so much to learn from them and my new co-workers!  (My newest goal is to be fluent in at least Spanglish by this Fall).  I think I succeeded in keeping the apartment clean, the lunches packed, and the pets taken care of while still finding time for errands and the gym!  I’ve nestled into a great routine and life is good.

In other news, the future hubby and I had a great Valentine’s Day despite our work schedules and for the first time agreed to celebrate without expectations, standards, or norms.  Without all of that pressure, we were able to spend the afternoon + evening celebrating in our own way doing the casual things we love to do! We worked out together, picked up some chinese, exchanged home-made cards, and cuddled up for a Netflix movie.  It was perfection and a tradition I’m sure we won’t find difficult to keep up despite our circumstances!

THE FRONT (Yes, it's 3D....I'm betrothed to an artist)


This week’s agenda:

  • Find a bed we can paint (probably via craigslist).
  • Possibly re-upholster the sleeper sofa (in anticipation for Joseph’s arrival!)
  • Work out at least 4-5 days out of the week.
  • Become official Texas citizens! 🙂

Until next time…have a great day and take a chance on something!

❤ Lauren

Hey everyone!

I had a fun filled week of training for work and for whatever reason my actual schedule doesn’t start until Friday the 12th so I have almost a full week before my body + mind need to be prepared for a 4:30am wake-up call 🙂

It occurred to me that I should probably use this week as a transition period and train myself to go to bed + wake up earlier slowly but surely!  I have never woken up that early on a regular basis (not even in high school) so the gradual approach is probably a better choice rather than completely shocking my system come Friday morning.  So here I am…awake…in the dark…while everyone else in my apartment is sleeping…

Hopefully this will get easier when I know I have to be somewhere! lol

In other news, Jay and I joined 24 Hour Fitness recently and we absolutely LOVE it! It’s really helped me progress with my running program.  It’s gigantic, easy to understand, and totally affordable. They even set us up with a free training session which was a great help with getting started on the weight training machines.  They also have a great pool (filtered with salt water…won’t turn your hair green!) – I can’t wait to get started in there when Jay starts my swimming lessons!


In general though, I’m just so relieved to be on what feels like the right track…I’ve wanted for so long to get things in order – take care of what needs to be taken care of – pay back those who have helped me – and start taking more adventures!  Now that Jay and I both have jobs I feel like all of those things are immediate possibilities starting with my very first Texas pay period!

Hope you had a great weekend! GO SAINTS?…..sorry per tradition I will never be a fan of the super bowl, but I am a pretty big fan of New Orleans and can’t wait to go back there…

Ps. My someday brother in law is a teacher in New Orleans and he and all of his students have today off in celebration of the Saint’s victory! Reminds me of 2004 when NO one showed up for school after the sox won the world series for the first time since the early 1900’s haha). Gotta love those special areas in the US where teams declare a holiday and everyone gets a piece of the glory!  I love the fact that Jeff’s principal respects the importance of the game.

Happy Birthday Jeff!  You have NO idea what your support has meant to me – I hope you have a fabulous day off – what timing!

So between me starting my new job and Jay finishing up his first semester, I’m tricking err I mean treating him to a treat tonight!  Tracy recently told me that if you freeze chopped bananas and blend them with some vanilla extract that it tastes just like ice cream! I’ve been dying to try it and tonight just seems like a perfect opportunity!

  • Chopped frozen bananas
  • Purred until creamy!
  • I think next time we’ll expand our new homemade vegan ice cream horizons and add some little extras 😉

Good night all – I’m off to bed to rest up for another day of training at work, the start to week 5 of  “couch potato – 5k,” then my first ever ZUMBA class!