College Vegan on a Budget: Under $50

A series about shopping for vegan groceries on a college budget, without compromising my values or health standards.

Another budget post? Yep, I’m just having a lot of fun doing these things and most importantly, I’m definitely improving on my budgeting skills. At least when it comes to grocery shopping. I needed another pair of jeans, so I hit up my city’s (lame) mall and ended up spending over $60 on a pair of burgundy jeggings at Hollister and a set of headbands at American Eagle. I didn’t need the headbands but they were so calling my name 😉 So obviously I’m still not great at saying ‘no’ when clothes shopping but what can you do when you’re a fashionista? Plus I justified it by saying I haven’t shopped for clothes in almost 3 months, so I was in desperate need (and still am) of some new pieces to freshen up my closet.

Anyways, this post is about groceries, not clothes. I was able to spend under $50 this weekend, and I shopped at two stores! This just goes to show that you can buy healthy, vegan foods at specialty stores and not burn a hole in your wallet. Obviously this was more of a stock-up-on-a-few-extras type of trip but it’s inspired me to try to pare down my regular shopping trips as well. I’m making a plan not to buy more than 1 or 2 special items a week–these things add up and I can’t afford to be buying multiple things over $5 or $6 each trip. So if one week I need more maple syrup, I’ll forgo buying some fancy nut butter or coconut aminos or whatever (I still want to buy those, BTW, but it’s $7 per bottle). I know that most of these more expensive items last longer, which is great, but I still can’t be buying them right and left.

My Sprouts mini-haul of the week.

Sprouts

What I Got: Medjool dates (much cheaper than at WF), plantain, garlic*, Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo bean flour (socca, here I come!), Metromint chocolate mint water, raw cashews, pomegranate, dried apple rings

What It Cost Me: $22.80

Verdict: I just really love Sprouts for their produce deals. The plantain was 99 cents, the pomegranate was $2.50 (and huge!), and the dried fruit is pretty cheap for having no added sugars or oils. There were a few more things I was planning on buying but decided not to to save money. But next time, I am definitely trying Zico pineapple coconut water!

 

Yummy Whole Foods buys.

Whole Foods

What I Got: Kaia sprouted party mix pumpkin seeds*, Chocolove peppermint dark chocolate bar, bulk cacao nibs, bulk almond flour, bulk maple pecans, 365 full fat coconut milk*, Vegan tropical protein powder, bulk olives, vegan chocolate mousse, sweet stuffed squash

What It Cost Me: $25.50

Verdict: The bulk bins save me again! I only have to buy what I need, so I end up saving a ton. Buying almond flour prepackaged costs about $8, but getting a quarter of a pound only cost me $1.20. And cacao nibs are usually very expensive but I got a small amount for just 98 cents! I prefer buying this way because I only make single lady meals, so I want my foods to stay fresh and by buying only what I need, I know it’ll stay fresh when I need it. 

I am super proud of my budgeting skills this week and I know I can make future shopping trips this cheap by watching what I’m spending my money on.

Do you do better at budgeting your grocery shopping or clothes shopping? What’s your policy on ‘splurge’ items?

WIAW: Fall Flavors

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m excited for fall. I vowed to not wear long pants until fall officially arrived…yeah, that didn’t happen. I wore them twice in the past two weeks because it got randomly chilly for a couple days. I’ve embraced my moccasins again (and I’m looking for another pair to buy). And I’ve been enjoying the flavors of fall. Here they are, WIAW style!

Caramel apple coffee? Uh, heck to the yes!

You know me, I’m a sucker for anything seasonal or limited edition. I recently inherited my dad’s coffeemaker and I was planning on buying the coconut macaroon flavored coffee from Target, but when I saw this, there was no stopping me. I mean, you can’t go wrong with caramel and apple in coffee. Especially when it’s made with vanilla almond milk.

Looks weird, tastes amazing.

I’ve finally got a recipe for y’all! I made this last week when I got down to the end of my first can of pumpkin. I also had a bit of a leftover sweet potato so I decided to mix them up with a few other things and it turned out surprisingly really good.

Pumpkin Coconut Mash (vegan, gluten-free)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/4 sweet potato (or another 1/4 cup pumpkin)

1 tbsp coconut flour

drizzle agave or maple syrup

maple or vanilla extract

unsweetened vanilla almond milk, to thin

cinnamon, raisins, protein frosting, etc. for topping

In a bowl, mash together pumpkin, sweet potato (if using) and coconut flour. Add in liquid sweetener and extract to taste and pour in almond milk until mixture is thick and wet. Microwave on high for 1-3 minutes, or until combined and hot. Drizzle with more maple or agave, cinnamon, raisins, protein frosting or whatever you want. Makes 1 serving.

Coconut oil makes everything better!

This was my attempt at homemade plantain chips. I’ve always wanted to try them, but I’m not a fan of deep-fried things or weird oils. So I bought a plantain, put a little coconut oil in a pan and cooked up the slices. I also sprinkled cinnamon on them while they were cooking. They turned out really delicious, but not crispy at all. Next time I think I’ll cook them first and then dehydrate them.

Slice homemade white pizza, slice homemade sweet and salty pumpkin pizza, fresh blueberries.

Have any of you ever had “white” pizza? I think it’s usually an alfredo-based sauce topped with wilted spinach. I haven’t had it in years but I really wanted to recreate it, healthy vegan style, and I was totally successful. I topped some Whole Foods multigrain pizza dough with Follow Your Heart vegan creamy garlic dressing, shredded kale leaves and navy beans. Super simple, but it turned out great. The dressing kinda soaked into the crust and it tasted even better that way. The pumpkin pizza I made wasn’t quite as good, but I made an amazing pumpkin pizza last year, so I’ll just have to tweak this sauce next time.

This is basically the cleanest donut ever!

Have you ever seen a donut with these ingredients? I’ll admit, neither had I until the other day. I really think it’s awesome that Whole Foods made a healthier donut. Who could say no to garbanzo beans, coconut, almonds and pumpkin in their donut? Of course I had to buy it to try it out!

This gluten free and vegan donut was a winner!

And the verdict is….amazing! This donut was perfectly moist and fudgy, like the perfect chocolate cake. I’m not even a fan of cake and I liked this. I was only disappointed because it claimed to be a pumpkin donut, and it was basically all chocolate. But I don’t complain about chocolate, ever.

I’ll miss being able to wear strapless tops with no jacket…

I’ve been switching up my workouts lately with an app called Skimble Workouts. Most of the stuff on there is free, and they’ve got a ton of pre-made workout routines of different lengths and intensities. I’ve been getting great ab, leg and arm workouts lately and they’re lots of fun. Obviously I wanted to show off my hard work with a progress pic of sorts. Can you see that baby bicep?

So I was going to end this post with a video of my first weather forecast ever from last week but the video wouldn’t load. I should be able to get either this week or last week’s forecast up in the next few days though. I’d love any and all feedback you guys have for me!

What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve seen in a baked good? What’s your favorite “fall flavor”?