$100 grocery challenge ~ week 3

This is the week I completely fell off my budget.

In part this is due to the chaos of life right now! We've opted for some easy dinners with the house showings we had last week. I am well aware that we can have the best of intentions, but sometimes life has another plan for us. At first I really was bummed that I went over my budget, but that's just silly. You know? I did the best with what I had going on in that moment. 

Spent this week: $177

lunch meat, cheese, eggs, milk, chips, butter, bread, cereal, pasta, diced tomatoes, sliced almonds, oats, coconut flakes, almond milk, coffee, mayo, lettuce, kale, strawberries, mangoes, avocados, kale, apples, carrots & cucumbers

The deli sandwich fixins threw me over budget, but eating sandwiches for three meals (under $40) was certainly cheaper than eating out for three meals! And the ease was much appreciated in the crazy days last week. I briefly considered buying cheap lunch meat to stay within budget, but I felt eating as healthy as possible was worth going over. We avoided eating out too!

Menu for the week:

breakfast ~ smoothies, granola & kefir, oatmeal, cereal

lunch ~ leftover dinner 2 days, smoothies + chips + hummus, sandwiches, hummus + veggies + crackers, salads twice

dinner ~  sandwiches twice, hummus + veggies + popcorn, eggs + greens + fruit salad, black bean soup + salad, salmon + rice + salad, spaghetti + salad

We pulled off big meal sized salads or a green smoothie 5 days again. (still trying for seven!)

How about you? I'd love for you to share any helpful bits that got you through the week.

Today I want to talk about beans! For our family, beans play a huge role in healthy simple frugal eating. Bean dips + veggies for snacks. Bean soups. Beans + rice. Beans in burritos. Beans over tortillas and topped with eggs & greens. 

We soak our beans overnight & I cook double batches once or twice a week. I love heading into the weekend with a few jars of beans in the fridge. They can be easily frozen after you cook them too, we just usually eat them too fast to do this.

Please share a link to your favorite recipe or your favorite ways to eat beans in the comments! 


$100 grocery challenge  ~  week 3


$100 grocery challenge  ~  week 3


$100 grocery challenge  ~  week 3


Three new ways I served beans in the last week were roasted chickpeas, black bean brownies from the Whole Food Kitchen class (similar to this recipe here) and sprouted chickpeas in our hummus. All were very delicious, though the brownies are certainly on the earthy side…. 

Sticking with beans…. I wanted to share one of my favorite soup recipes with you. Served with a big green salad, this makes a hearty healthy meal. I usually make it meat free….. but if you have some good bacon, that takes it up a notch. Amazingly good.


$100 grocery challenge  ~  week 3


Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

makes enough to feed a hungry family of six


3 small onions, diced

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & diced into 1 inch cubes

1-2 TBSP cumin

1-2 TBSP paprika

4-5 cups black beans (about 3 cans, liquid drained)

4-6 cloves garlic

handful of parsley (optional)

water to thin, if necessary

sea salt and lime juice to taste


$100 grocery challenge  ~  week 3


Saute onions in oil of your choice over medium heat. When soft and translucent, add the potatoes and 8 cups of water. Stir in the spices and simmer until the potatoes are soft. Add the beans. Stir. Remove about one third of the soup and blend in a blender with a handful of parsley and the garlic cloves until it is nice and smooth. You may need to blend the soup in two batches. Add the blended beans back to the soup & stir to combine. At this point you can thin with water to make the soup the consistency you like. I make mine like a thick soup. Add more spices if you like, sea salt & lime juice to taste. 

Serve with a big green salad. This soup is really yummy with a bit of sharp cheddar grated over it. Or sour cream. Avocados, peppers, fresh cilantro. I don't make it spicy in the pot, my kids would be sad. But I do add a hearty dose of red pepper flakes to my own bowl. So very good.

Best of all you can add the leftovers to a bit of rice and make burritos/wraps for lunch.



$100 grocery challenge  ~  week 3


20 thoughts on “$100 grocery challenge ~ week 3

  1. I’m glad you got over being bummed. It is silly, although I completely understand how deflating it can be. And cheap lunch meat…boy do I toy with that weekly over lunch meat or a rotisserie chicken. It’s such a hard line to walk…budget and healthy and sometimes, easy and healthy. You are supermom for pulling off avoiding eating out over the chaos you lived! I would have caved, for sure.
    Thanks for the recipe…we are bean people too. I’m so happy for my pressure canner because we eat them like they are going out of style and I was getting tired of soak-crockpot-freeze. We’ll need to have a bean-canning party when you get settled up north! And I’ll need to pick your brain for your secret to happy chickpeas. I hate mine.


  2. We have been trying to stick to $100/week on all food purchases, including any extras like coffee shop, etc, and it’s been tough. For a while, if we spent under $100 at the grocery store, we got cash back for the difference and then that was our “mad” money. But then we’d use that cash plus the debit card for extras, so we stopped doing that. Of course, it’s just the two of us, plus a 10-month-old who doesn’t require much additional food yet (she eats what we eat but not enough that I need to up the recipe size), so theoretically we could do it for $50 a week, and have talked about doing so. But somehow we haven’t gotten there yet. Probably because we, too, are foodies, and we scrimp in practically every other area of our budget, so groceries are our one splurge.
    And one of our current favorite bean recipes are these spicy black bean burgers. I double or triple the recipe so we have a bunch in the freezer. And I also freeze several mini burgers for the baby, since she loves them, too.


  3. This is a link to one of my favorite “stretching it” recipes. I usually add very thinly sliced leftover meat when I toss the squash with the pasta. The butternut squash is so filling on its own that it doesn’t take much. Usually just the “perception” of meat is enough to satisfy some of the heartier eaters (think: the handsome love of my life) in our family. It makes a very pretty meal using 1/2 a pork chop, of a piece of chicken, a little bit of steak, or a little grated cheesse; and it’s great on its own. Plus, butternut squash grows easily too. I one time had a volunteer plant sprout up in the compost from seeds leftover from this recipe! It felt like Christmas.
    I love Williams Sonoma, but I never make this with “kerchief pasta”. I just use bowtie, or whatever else I have handy. And I always cut down the 9 TBLEs of butter to just enough to coat the bottome of the pan for the squash and then for the shallots. Shallots cooked in olive oil lose a little of their magic, so use butter; and who would have thought nutmeg? But this is truly a delicious recipe.


  4. Twelve dollars over this week too! Dang. Oh well…. A pressure cooker is so on my list once we get settled. After that is "the blender". Also, my oldest hates chickpeas too. So sad…. maybe I can convert you!


  5. Wow. That is tough. I haven't counted microbrew or coffee stops. Luckily we don't have a local coffee shop, so that only happens twice a month anyway. Groceries are our splurge too. I wanted to see if we could tighten the belt to save some money…. we'll be supporting two households for a few months! yikes. But I wouldn't want to live this way forever. I love food! Plus it's the best health insurance you can buy, you know? I've got to try those bean burgers! Totally my kind of dinner πŸ˜‰


  6. Yum! We eat a lot of beans too and cook them every week. Now my kids think they’re being picky by only eating a quesadilla if it has beans and is light on the cheese. Fine by me! πŸ™‚
    A favorite dish is a blended soup that I first had made for me by a Honduran friend: There’s no real recipe, just an outline.
    Cook your favorite winter squash
    Saute some onions and garlic.
    Combine squash and onions with cooked black beans and puree them in a food processor or with immersion blender (ratio is up to you. I like more beans than squash)
    While blending, add homemade vegetable or chicken stock to thin it into a thick soup.
    Add any seasonings you like- chili powder, paprika, cumin, etc.
    Serve topped with pepitas, diced avocado, chopped cilantro and a drizzle of crema (or sour cream or plain yogurt) and hot sauce for the grown ups.
    It’s hearty and healthy and easily customizable since you can throw in other veggies that you may have on hand.


  7. I’m taking Heather’s class too. I’ve not been posting comments, as I have been so stinken sick I haven’t had a chance to really go over the material. Which sucks! But hey!!! We are classmates! LOL


  8. Yay for roasted chickpeas! πŸ™‚
    I love love love black beans. I’m making some with rice tonight, but now I wish I had extra to make soup tomorrow. I don’t think I’ve made it with sw pot before. I’ll definitely have to try that recipe.


  9. Oh no, I love chickpeas, I just can’t ‘make them’ as delicious as canned. Are you sure you have the order right for those two items? I would swap them…;)


  10. That looks so very delicious! I make something similar with italian sausage…. and then serve it with salad. I do so agree that the *perception* of meat is key for some family members πŸ™‚ And I once came home from a trip to my moms (three weeks in Alaska) to find buttercup squash growing from our compost! It was such a lovely surprise. Thank you for sharing such a yummy recipe!


  11. That sounds delicious! Thank you so much. I'm on a soup kick here with beans and veggies and lots of indian spices. I can't get enough…. though my people might rebel soon if I don't find a new flavor to serve up πŸ™‚


  12. I see, I see. I do have to watch them closely or they're too mushy and can only be used as hummus. And yes. I think the blender will come first πŸ˜‰ Joe gave me the green light to sell my old one at the yard sale and buy a new one once we're settled. Just gotta keep squirreling money away for it!


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