Project Food Budget: Weeks 14, 15, 16

At Starbucks and McDonald's, they have oatmeal. I don't think that you can get the McDonald's one vegan, but I think it's possible to get the Starbucks one made that way. Either way, they seem so expensive for what it is. It's a bowl of oatmeal. It takes 10 minutes. I mean, if you buy the quick-cooking version, it's like 1-3 minutes. This is just not something I would pay for outside my house. Plus there's all that crap in there. Mark Bittman wrote about the McDonald's version and said:

"Yet in typical McDonald’s fashion, the company is doing everything it can to turn oatmeal into yet another bad choice. (Not only that, they’ve made it more expensive than a double-cheeseburger: $2.38 per serving in New York.) 'Cream' (which contains seven ingredients, two of them actual dairy) is automatically added; brown sugar is ostensibly optional, but it’s also added routinely unless a customer specifically requests otherwise. There are also diced apples, dried cranberries and raisins, the least processed of the ingredients (even the oatmeal contains seven ingredients, including 'natural flavor').

A more accurate description than '100 percent natural whole-grain oats,' 'plump raisins,' 'sweet cranberries' and 'crisp fresh apples' would be 'oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen."

And also...

"Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)"

What the damn hell? Anyway, I saw this version at Costco in the refrigerated section. You can see the ingredients are pretty simple and about what you'd put in your oatmeal at home (water, steel-cut oats, dried fruit, maple syrup, brown sugar, sea salt). I mean, if you're in a hurry, this is 8 servings, microwaveable and less than $1 per serving. Vegan. Add your own soy milk, if desired.

My two favorite hot cereals, however, are the 7 grains from Bob's Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills. I've tried other-numbered grains, but 7 is, indeed, my lucky number. 10 minutes plus some fruit or maple syrup and almond milk. Yum.

But enough about breakfast...

Wow! Am I behind on the food budget, or what? Went out of town, got sick. Still sick. Homeschooling, work and spring cleaning have all been keeping me busy, too. A stray mother has given birth to 5 kittens in my laundry room, so that's also a distraction from the blog...

But alas, here is the run down of the last 3 weeks. I reduced my food budget to $50 per week so that I could spend the extra $25 a week to get my yard and garden in shape. So I should have spent around $150 for food and $75 for garden stuff. Let's see how I did. I haven't even added it all up so it's going to be a surprise. (So much for careful consideration when shopping, eh?!)

Garden stuff
Catnip 1.00
Italian Parsley 1.00
Thyme 1.00
Oregano 1.00
Sage 1.00
Onion Chives 1.00
Garlic Chives 1.00
Scarlett Runner Bean 1.00
Verbena 1.00
Gypsophila .20
Nasturtium 1.00
Nasturtium 1.00
Texas Bluebonnet 1.00
Flax 1.00
Morning Glory 1.00
Lavender 1.00
Poblano Pepper 2.84
Habanero Pepper 2.84
JalapeƱo Pepper 2.84
Red Chile Pepper 2.84
Red Bell Pepper 1.15
Green Bell Pepper 1.15
Zucchini 2.84
Basil 3.33
Basil 3.33
Basil 3.33
Basil 3.33
Tomato (I) .50
Tomato (I) .50
Tomato (I) .50
Tomato (I) .50
Tomato (D) 3.48
Tomato (D) 3.48
Pollen Masks 2.46
Labels 3.38
Gloves 3.97
16 Stepping Stones 15.48
5 Bags Top Soil 6.25
2 Bags Mulch 4.50
Compost 1.34
Compost 2.67
Total 94.03

Food Stuff
Apple Juice 7.99
Sugar 8.89
Ro*Tel 6.39
Cranberry Juice 5.99
Bread 5.99
Tortillas 2.99
Tortilla Chips 3.39
Coffee 10.99
Sweet Teas 10.99
Cheese for Omnis 5.39
Veggie Patties 11.79
Carrot Juice 6.99
Tomatoes 5.49
Tofu 2.50
Tofu 2.50
Tofu 2.50
Spinach 2.78
Avocados x2 1.66
Avocados x2 1.56
Carrots 1.48
Sriracha 2.54
Grape Jelly 2.29
Chickpeas 2.64
Cocoa 2.98
Tea Bags 1.74
Bananas 1.06
Cilantro .48
Green Onions 1.12
Milk for Omnis 2.19
Yellow Onions 2.48
Cabbage 1.04
Celery 1.34
Half and Half for Omnis 2.08
Turnip Greens .62
Fire Roasted Tomatoes .92
Earth Balance 3.44
Bestlife Spread 1.98
Bolillos 1.58
Total 140.77

Well, I went over on the garden budget by $19. That's OK because I don't plan on spending anything this coming week. Plus, I went under my food budget for the 3 weeks by $10. I guess I did all right.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have gone to big box stores to get my plants and seeds. When I was anxious to get things in the ground, the family-run feed store that is a block from my house didn't have much outside when I drove by. So, I decided to go to Home Depot, Lowes and Wal*mart. They had plenty of stuff, but then as soon as I planted, a giant hail storm came.

Luckily, my plants were spared. The next week, I went to the feed store to pick up some pet supplies and they were overflowing with plants. Much better (less common, heirloom) varieties than I got including some interesting mints, thymes and such. They had amazing pepper plants that were less than a dollar. Everything that I bought was way more expensive than they had at the feed store. I consider the hail a warning from above that next time I'd better spend money in my neighborhood first.

I just need to stop shopping at Wal*mart period, but you know, I kind of justify it thinking if I am not one more person who buys organics and tofu and Earth Balance and almond milk and all those types of things there (and if others are thinking that way and stop shopping there) then they'll eventually think there's not much demand for it and not carry that stuff. It's a conundrum. I want to see them carry those items, especially here in Cowville, Texas. I want it to be easier for a vegetarian or vegan diet to be accessible and affordable to more people. I don't want it to only be for people who can get to a Farmer's Market or have a Whole Foods in their area.

I mean, wouldn't you just crap yourself with glee if everyone who normally shops at Wal*mart started eating less meat? Picked up some almond milk instead of cow's milk because it's there and it's not that much more expensive or maybe it's even cheaper? If someone grabbed some Earth Balance instead of Land o' Lakes because the option is there? A while back I saw this total rugged, badass cowboy buying Morningstar Sausages. It may not be the healthiest stuff in the world, but that's a step away from meat, at least. I talked to him because I was looking at that stuff, too, and he was like, "I'm not vegetarian, but I love these sausages and some of their other stuff, too." Okay. I'll take that. You go.

I don't know. I don't know. It's a sick feeling inside that I haven't worked out, yet. It's not like I don't shop at other stores, too, and it's not like places like Whole Foods are just sooooooo incredibly ethical or much less big box and corporate.

Anyway... Back to the garden. As for how much my garden is going to give me back, I'm going to try to keep a tally of what I harvest and how much that would have cost me at the store so I can see how large a scale I want to have in the future. I have almost half an acre to work with, a lot of sun and a very long gardening season. (Of course, I'll never be able to measure in dollars the pleasure it is...)

And now... Garden and kittens!!!


Nasturtiums sprouting.

Welcome back, lantana.

Scarlet runner beans taking off.

Kitten's eyes are open!

Nursing mayhem!

This entry is part of Project: Food Budget. (Join here!) Check out how the entire crew is doing:


  1. Wow, so much going on in your world! And, those kittens are just so precious!

    I am excited to see how your garden produces. We are still in "winter" sort of here, so I haven't been able to plant yet. I can't believe have tomato blooms!

  2. OMG. those kittens are the cutest. thing. ever. seriously.

    and well done on sticking close to budget. i'm thoroughly impressed.

  3. As usual fabulous job on the budget.Your kittens are so sweet.
    I LOVE spring season.It's so exciting and fresh.I laughed reading your rant about Mcds.I don't think they will ever think healthy!!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

I Came for the Health Benefits but I'm Staying for the Animals

Vegan Lentil and Red Quinoa Tacos

Meatless Monday