Challenge accepted, part 2

As promised, part two of this weekend’s veg challenge, with the actual details of the challenge. Prepare for bad food photos.

The rules: I had to buy everything I was going to eat, with the exception of cooking oil and spices. No meat, no dairy because I’m still stuck with that, eggs are ok because going vegan for a full weekend is a little bit of a stretch. I needed enough food for meals from Thursday night to Sunday breakfast, with the exception of one meal Saturday because I had to go home for a few hours to help with housework. And I had a budget of $20, since my $50/week limit is roughly $20 for the time frame I was working with.

Now that the challenge is complete, I can definitively say I did…. mehhh. I spent $15 at Stop & Shop Thursday getting ingredients, which was aided by my thorough examination of the flyer, trust of store brand stuff and recent discovery of the yellow “reduced” sticker.

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Brown rice, frozen mixed veggies, cinnamon raisin English muffins from the discount rack, a dozen eggs, 4 bananas, a can of tomato sauce, a box of Jiffy blueberry muffin mix, two bags of Gardein fake fish and a dark chocolate cherry NibMor bar I saw at checkout.

Thursday night: dinner was eggs in tomato sauce (a lame version of shakshuka but something I like when I want eggs but need to give myself the illusion of making something healthy), dessert was the NibMor bar. Then I left for the meeting I had to go to for work and had some time to kill so I went to the ice cream place in town and got raspberry sorbet. But it was less than 5 bucks so that sorta doesn’t count, right?

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I wanted a sugar cone, but the scooper lady was like “This is a little soft, do you want a cup too?” I was pretty excited because I prefer having both cup and cone but don’t ask for it because I don’t want to be charged extra.

Meeting, blah blah, came home and was still hungry so I had a cinnamon raisin English muffin with peanut butter, which was also a cheat because I took that from the cupboard.

Friday breakfast: blueberry pancakes with homemade maple syrup and eggs. The Jiffy mix has a recipe on the side for making pancakes instead of muffins, which is just making it a little runnier, and I subbed in water for the 1/3 cup of milk. I also had a little jar of syrup that my coworker made from the tree in the backyard, including about 2 gallons I harvested myself during a dogsitting session in February. I forgot how hot gas stoves are, so my first pancake was a little, uh, Cajun, and the second one wasn’t as burnt but it was raw in the middle. I had 2 more days of batter left, so I thinned it out a tiny bit and put it in the fridge for the next day.

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Notice the strategic placement of the egg.

Friday lunch: this was my lamest meal, just veggies and rice. I *ahem* had an issue making the rice the night before because I followed the directions and somehow the water was absorbed 15 minutes early, but it was cooked ok, so I threw some spices in with the frozen veggies to heat up at work.

Friday dinner: time to test out the fake fish. A few dogsitting sessions ago, I bought some Quorn for dinner because it was on sale and I was intrigued, so this wasn’t a stretch. My plan probably would’ve worked better if the Gardein BOGOF sale was better labeled, but the only products that were definitely included were the fish sticks and crabcakes, which had peppers and onions in them, so I got two bags of the fish sticks. They cooked up fine in the oven, and even though the internal texture was more like chicken nuggets than fish, the flavor was fine, like standard crappy fish sticks. It worked out because I was jonesing for fish and chips. Plate it up with more rice and veggies, this time prepared with a bit of soy sauce and some cayenne and we have liftoff. Dessert was another English muffin with PB.

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I’ll admit, not too shabby.

Saturday breakfast was blueberry pancakes and eggs again, this time the runnier batter so they turned out fine color-wise but I sucked at flipping them so they were yummy but ugly pancakes. Lunch was at home, and I totally broke the challenge by eating spaghetti with pulled pork and tomato sauce and then buying a Nantucket Nectars half-and-half, a fancy chocolate bar and other snacks when I went to Job Lot to get stuff for repotting our seedlings. I need to be supervised in that store. And dinner was a repeat of Friday, but I reheated the veggies and rice in some water on the stove so I served it in a bowl instead of a plate. I changed it up for dessert and put blueberry preserves from Job Lot on the English muffin and noshed on some of the chocolate bar.

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It’s not a Reese’s peanut butter egg, but it doesn’t have dairy and it’s pretty good anyway.

And finally, this morning. You guessed it, blueberry pancakes and eggs, but this time I made a blueberry maple sauce with the maple syrup and a bit of the blueberry preserves I got at Job Lot. Bonus: my last pancake actually turned out looking and flipping like a regular pancake.

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I decided that overeasy eggs + blueberry maple sauce = bad idea, so I made flat eggs instead.

I still have some of the tomato sauce, 4 eggs, 3 English muffins and a banana, but in the end, I’m pretty sure I totally failed this challenge. I spent more than 20 bucks, made the same breakfast and lunch/dinner for multiple days and ate meat anyway. (The Jiffy mix also uses lard instead of butter, but I ignored that.) But I’d be willing to try it again another time. Not full-time, but maybe for a week so I have money to buy a better variety or perhaps as a day or two a week incorporated into my regular diet.

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