Rick and I were talking about the costs of our “almost” Vegan diet, I was wondering about the affordability, and me being me; could I do it cheaper? Rick said, “Show me the money.”

Show Me the Money: How Many $$ is that Smoothie?

Rick and I were talking about the costs of our “almost” Vegan diet, I was wondering about the affordability, and me being me; could I do it cheaper? Rick said, “Show me the money.”

Rick Calculating the Cost of Our Smoothies

For years we lived on a tight food budget.

I became adept at making a menu for the week; plotting where the best buys could be had, even becoming a mathematician at rounding up numbers, as I pushed the cart up and down the supermarket aisle. Not a lot has changed, except for the fact I’m cooking for two now. Though, we both think I need to work on getting quantities down.

So this week;

Let’s take a look at our smoothies bottom line which I wrote about in my second blog; “Me and My NutriBullet.” And break down the numbers of ‘Clio’s Warm Grains’ from the blog; “Warm Grains are the Shit Literally and Figuratively.”

If you get that far in the reading, for free, I’ll even throw in the recipe for Clio’s Cheap Spaghetti Sauce. So worth it!

First of all, I have omitted from the original smoothie recipe, I posted in Me and My Bullet; ⅓ cup garbanzo beans, 1 TSP Cacao Nibs and 2 Cups Cashew Milk. I have replaced it with a simple 2 TBS Almond Butter and 2 Cups of water.

Smoothie Recipe Costs

($0.87) – 1 Cup Blueberries- 32oz. Frozen Blueberries 6.98÷8 = oz. 1.75÷2

($0.02) – 2 Mandarines

($0.10) ½ Inch Fresh Ginger

($0.02) ¼ TSP Turmeric

($1.25) 2 TBSP Orgain Organic Protein Powder

($0.66) 2 TBSP PB Fit Peanut Butter Powder

($0.60) 2 TBSP Anthony’s Nutritional Yeast

($0.02) ¼ TSP Cinnamon

($0.16) 2 TBSP Anthony’s Organic FlaxSeed Meal

($0.30) 1 Lg. Leaf Organic Kale

($0.70) 2 TBS Barney Almond Butter 

= $4.70

Well, that was interesting.

We are spending $4.70 each for our smoothie, five times a week. $23.50 x 2 = $47.00 x 4= $188.00 month. Man alive! I’m on a mission; find Organic Protein Powder replacement. Which is a big deal, because the Protein powder delivers 21 grams of much needed protein. Rick suggested we put in 6 Tablespoons of the Peanut Butter Powder, giving us 24 grams instead. We spent $11.99 on the PBfit on April 2nd. Verses $25.00 for the Orgain Organic Protein Powder.

My other thought is;

Add 1/3 Cup garbanzo beans, good for 5 grams protein, and only do one scoop of the expensive protein powder.  I’ll report back on that new development.

Clio’s Warm Grains and again, life is fluid; I omitted from the original recipe; red quinoa, wild rice, polenta and added the Nature’s Earthly Choice Farro Italian Pearled Farro.

Get this; ¼ cup Farro is a great source of Vitamin B3 (niacin): 20% of the RDI, Magnesium:15% RDI, Zinc: 15% RDI, Iron: 4% RDI. Be sure to google how beneficial this extremely nutritious grain is. Remember, I make this on Sunday’s, cover and keep it in the fridge for an easy get to every morning. Just reheat in the microwave.

Warm Grains Costs for one week, serving two people:

($2.16) 1 Cup Quaker Steel Cut Oats

($0.64) ½ Cup Grain Place Foods Organic Hulled Barley

($0.32) ¼ Anthony’s Organic FlaxSeed Meal

($1.36) ½ Cup Nature’s Earthly Choice Italian Pearl Farro

= $4.48

So, the good news.

Clio’s Warm Grains cost to make once a week is: $4.48 ÷ 2=$2.24 ÷ 5 days = .44 cents a day.

Wow! What an eye opener for the Muirs. I’m not going to do a thing with the grains, they’re perfect. Though, I’m a bit concerned about the cost of the smoothies. Maybe we’ll do them three times a week. Hmmmmmmm…

Clio’s Cheap Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients

Prep time 15 minutes, cook 45 min, Serves 4

2 TBSP olive oil
1 16 oz. can Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes
Garlic clove minced
1 TBSP Vegan Butter
½  TBS Fresh oregano, thyme, basil
1 Small yellow onion minced
10 White button mushrooms, sliced
½ Red wine
2 TBS Muir Glen Tomato paste
Pereg Gourmet Quinoa Pasta

Clio’s Cheap Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

  • Heat olive oil in large skillet at medium
  • Saute garlic clove and mushrooms for 6-7 minutes
  • Add tomatoes, onion, butter and herbs
  • Stir in Red wine and tomato paste
  • Simmer 45 minutes with lid askew
  • Follow instructions of pasta box

The other night I served this over Quinoa pasta. We sprinkled with our Vegan Parmesan and a smattering fresh basil. Killer! I had some sauce left over for dinner the next night.

I have new goals

One of which is eating all of the food we buy; by that I mean, no wastage. For instance, I had just enough of my red sauce for one more dinner. We had gone through all the pasta. And if I had some polenta I definitely would’ve whipped up a batch. But I didn’t. What I did have hanging in the pantry in a string bag; two potatoes. I thought what the hell, I’ll bake those and fill with the sauce, sprinkle what’s left of my vegan parmesan and serve with some fresh minced parsley from the garden.

Baked potatoes stuffed with red sauce

You have absolutely no idea how fabulous our dinner was last night. So good!

This morning I woke up thinking about the benefits of tomato sauce in regards to prostate health. According to Healthline’s article, 6 Foods to Boost Prostate Health

“1. Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. It may help prevent prostate cancer as well as reduce tumor growth among men with prostate cancer.” Onward and Onward!!

Cooking for you my love is saying goodby to a wonderful collaborator, Pete Kremer, Web Designer/Business Developer. Pete and I go way, way back. The first time I saw him, he was dead asleep in the corner of a pew at Mass on a Sunday a gazillion weeks ago. He was 2 years old.

Last November we met again, when he returned to Northern California from Sweden to help his siblings move his parents, because of illness, from their family home. We were invited to a gathering that night. It was teary and sad, but the night was also filled with lots of laughter.

What has become a typical conversation between Pete and I over the years he asks, what books have I read lately? And how is the writing doing? I told him I had just sent a short story to an agent, hoping she would take me on. He said, “have you thought about blogging?”

And so it goes. As we left late that night, I had two assignments; Get focused and buy a domain name. “Actually, he said the domain name will help you get focused on what you want to blog about.”

So Pete, thank you my dear friend. I know you know how much working together on Cooking for you my love has meant to me. Its been a blast!

8 Comments
  1. This article was great. What it made me realize (and I am not sure this was your intent) was how much privilege I have. We never think about the cost of food. We just get what we want, primarily guided by how good/bad is it for our bodies. So thank you for that. It made me feel really grateful for the abundance of what we have – especially as we see so many struggling for just the basics right now.

    1. Joe, You nailed it…My brother Greg had the same reaction to the “money conversation” We ARE so fortunate for a million different reasons, one being living in California where we have access to fresh everything. Dying to see your garden…
      🙂

  2. Great article, Clio! Even food is becoming a hot topic and what truly is healthy and what is not. With grocery stores offering more organic selections, it’s coming with a higher price tag. Wild versus farmed. Organic or not organic….which fruit/vegetable to buy organic when cost is a factor and it usually is. Asparagus here in our local mom and pop grocery store is $5.99! What! I refer back to Anthony Bourdain on what he suggests to buy organic. The farmers here laugh when the “organic” subject is raised in conversation. One field may be organic but the next field not and when they spray their pesticides, guess what residue is floating off onto the organic fields!!!!!! I buy only what’s in season and growing what I love the most….tomatoes, cucumbers, Armenian peppers, lemon thyme. I know one thing. I don’t want to compromise my or my family’s health because of food or cost. You end up paying for it in medical bills when that happens. I’d rather give it to the farmers and grocers than big health care insurance companies. I find that Trader Joe’s is the best place to shop now.

    1. I’m dying to know what did Bourdain say about buying organic? You are so right Laura, sticking with seasonal etc..and again, aren’t we lucky we live in good Ol’ California 🙂

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