Homemade [& versatile] Hummus!

I’ve been making a batch of this almost every week because it makes for a great snack, spread, or dip. AND you really can’t go wrong with hummus. Unless you are crazy and don’t like it. Then we can’t be friends.

Basic Hummus Recipe


  • 15 oz. canned garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained (or 3 cups cooked from dry)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • juice from half a lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Add everything to a food processor and process until smooth. Depending on the power of your food processor, you may need to add more olive oil or a bit of water to get things going.

If you want to spice up your hummus, try some of these flavor combinations:

  • cumin + chili powder
  • fresh cilantro + lime juice [instead of lemon]
  • italian seasoning + red pepper flakes + parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil + sun-dried tomatoes
  • curry powder + cilantro

Healthy Eating on a Budget: Week 4

After this post, I will be up to date on my HEB posts. I usually go grocery shopping on Thursdays or Fridays (just depends on when I run low on food). This week, I went on Thursday and only needed to stock up on a few things.

Dry Goods

IMG_1641  Bran Flakes cereal & 12 Grain bread 


IMG_1640 bananas, strawberries, frozen chopped spinach 


IMG_1639 1/2 gallon organic soy milk, part-skim ricotta cheese, coconut-vanilla greek yogurt, dozen eggs

The Total



IMG_1661 everything bagel w/ cream cheese & fried egg + cukes, red bell pepper & homemade red pepper hummus 

IMG_1658Saturday morning pancake breakfast w/ strawberries

IMG_1654 A frozen Asian noodle bowl my mom gave me that I doctored up with edamame for protein and avocado for healthy fats 

IMG_1653 snack of bran cereal, sunflower seeds, choc chips, banana & pb

IMG_1650 toast with basil aioli & fried egg + cucumbers, red bell pepper & hummus

IMG_1648  my early AM breakfast on M/W/F before work: breakfast cookie dough cereal topped with banana, strawberries, & chocolate chips  

IMG_1645 black beans, sweet potatoes, fried egg, avocado & salsa – such a quick, delicious, & cheap meal!

Healthy Eating on a Budget: Week 3

Welcome back to another week of HEB! Week 3, to be exact. I can’t believe how fun and [relatively] easy this has been . Sticking to a tight budget isn’t always the most fun for a person who is a self-acclaimed foodie, coffee-shop connoisseur, and Whole Foods bar addict. However, I have learned that keeping a tighter budget has made me appreciate the little things in life. Here’s what I got from Aldi last week:

Dry Goods

IMG_1599 100% whole wheat bread, everything bagels, over 2 lbs peanut butter (be still, my heart), Pinot Grigio wine, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


IMG_1602  3 lbs. oranges, 2 bell peppers, bananas, 2 lbs. pears, 2 avocados, 1 lb. cucumbers


IMG_1600 Reduced-fat cream cheese, dozen eggs, 1/2 gallon almond milk 

The Total:


Under budget again! I didn’t buy as many vegetables as I would have liked, but I have some frozen stuff still. Here are some meals I made with my haul this week:

The Meals

IMG_1614  2 egg scramble with leftover mushrooms & onions + 2 slices of bacon   

IMG_1633banana chia seed oatmeal topped with pb, chocolate chips, & coconut butter 

IMG_1637toasted everything bagel – 1/2 cream cheese, 1/2 basil aioli & fried egg + red bell pepper strips

IMG_1612snack time is often pb&j and/or pb&banana on whole wheat 

IMG_1608 everything bagel – 1/2 homemade hummus & cucumber, 1/2 smashed avocado & fried egg + leftover cucumber slices 

Healthy Eating on a Budget: Week 2

Hello! I am back again with another installment of my HEB [Healthy Eating on a Budget] series! Today’s post is going to show you my current budget of about $25-30. This feeds one person (me) for the week. Remember, I do have some pantry staples that help to supplement this haul. Also, since my budget is so low, I try not to go to multiple stores – too many temptations! So, all of this was purchased at Aldi, my grocery store of choice when I am on a tight budget.


IMG_1582 bananas, 3 lbs. onions, 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, head of cabbage, 2 avocados, 8 oz. mushrooms, 1 lb. baby carrots, frozen corn

Dry Goods

IMG_1584salsa, canned garbanzo beans, organic jarred pasta sauce, quick oats, coffee grounds, 2 lbs. dry black beans, whole grain spaghetti noodles  


IMG_1585 1/2 gallon soy milk, coconut greek yogurt, 8 oz. pepperjack cheese


Here are some meals that I was able to make with what I bought this week + what I had left over from weeks prior. I try to make 1-2 recipes to eat throughout the week to save time. I will also throw together a few different foods to make some quick and tasty meals and mix things up a bit.

IMG_1593  Black bean, cheese, & corn enchiladas 

IMG_1595 2 egg scramble w/ spinach, onions, mushrooms, salsa & 2 slices of bacon 

IMG_1588Whole wheat chocolate chip banana pancakes w/ peanut butter [click link for pancake mix recipe]

IMG_1578Random bowl of buckwheat noodles, ground turkey, pesto, broccoli, & sweet potatoes  

IMG_1574Lunch one day: open face hummus, leftover salmon, avocado & pb&j on whole wheat + baby carrots 

IMG_1573Banana oatmeal served in an almost-empty “nutella” jar & topped with coconut butter  

IMG_1568Breakfast for lunch – I was very hungry this day! 2 egg & veggie scramble w/ avocado and 2 slices of bacon + 2 slices of butter & jam whole wheat toast 

IMG_1565 A quick dinner: baked lemon pepper salmon, leftover sauteed veggies & avocado + baked sweet potato [prepped earlier in the week] w/ cinnamon & coconut butter

IMG_1560Open face egg sandwich with homemade hummus, cherry tomatoes & cucumber  

IMG_1552Saturday morning breakfast of chocolate chip & peanut butter pancakes + oranges  

IMG_1549Another buckwheat noodle bowl with ground turkey, broccoli, & pesto 

IMG_1547 Open face toast with fried egg, bacon & stone ground mustard + butter & jam toast + sauteed veggies

The Total:

IMG_1632 Woo hoo! I stayed within my $25-30 range. Barely. I originally said I was going to stick to $25 a week, but I am finding it very hard to do. That extra $5 really does make a big difference.

Healthy Eating on a Budget: Week 1

Today I am showing what my grocery haul looked like when I had a bit larger budget of $50/week. Nowadays, it is down to $25-30, which is very very low, but you do what you have to do. I am challenging myself to eat healthy on a very low budget so that I can build up my savings and get all my bills paid on time. Just for reference, $31.50 is what SNAP provides for one person for a week’s worth of groceries. So, I am setting my budget right around/below that amount. It’s hard, but it’s doable! Here’s what I got a few weeks ago with $50.


IMG_20150227_135323978 bananas, spinach, 3 lbs oranges, 3 lbs sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, 1 lemon, 2 avocados, grape tomatoes 
IMG_20150227_135904459_HDR baking soda, baking powder, garbanzo beans, crunchy peanut butter, rice chex cereal, all fruit strawberry jam

IMG_20150227_135708205 Organic soymilk, half & half, 3.37 lbs pork butt, 4.27 lbs chicken breast, Gorgonzola crumbled cheese, uncured bacon (so good!)

IMG_20150227_135956884  Aldi total: $48.33

Fresh Thyme Market 

IMG_20150227_140052365grass-fed yogurts, 2 red bell peppers, 1 red onion, red grapes  IMG_20150227_140105564_HDRFresh Thyme Total: $9.41

Grand Total: $57.74

I wasn’t planning on going to another store, but Aldi doesn’t sell onions or peppers separately. Also, the yogurt was on a great sale (2/$5) and was grass-fed. Something I don’t typically buy because it’s pricey. It was a nice treat for the week. The grapes were only 99 cents a pound and were delicious so I couldn’t pass them up.

I am pleasantly surprised by how much food I was able to buy for only $50. Aldi is where it is at when needing to stay on a budget and still wanting to eat healthy. I used to think of it as the “Goodwill” of grocery stores when I was a kid and didn’t like it when my mom shopped there. Now I shop at both Goodwill and Aldi and love how much I save, haha. Thrifty is the way to do it these days.

Food Prep   IMG_20150301_140151364 I had some leftover cucumbers, and whole wheat pasta, so I threw together a Greek pasta salad with the grape tomatoes, Gorgonzola, red onion, and a homemade dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and Italian seasoning 

IMG_20150301_155025376 baked chicken breasts, Hummusapian banana nut protein cookies, peanut butter oatmeal protein bars, brown rice, hummus, roasted sweet potatoes 

Some notes: The pork butt was frozen to be eaten at a later date. I also already had some of the stuff I prepped on hand (brown rice, ingredients for protein cookies/bars). This grocery haul was also for two people for one week. Next time, you will see what around $30 will buy for one person. Stay tuned!


I’ve been relishing the weekends lately because I get to spend them with Tony in our new home. For the past 3.5 years, I’ve been in temporary homes – a dorm, a house with 2 other roommates, apartments (alone and with roommates), and even my boyfriend’s parents’ house. It finally feels so great to call something MY home. It’s cozy and comforting to be here. To rearrange things just the way I want them. To decorate the way I want. And to even clean my own home! Yes, cleaning gets way more fun when it’s just your messes (and your significant other’s) you are cleaning up.

But ultimately, it’s not the possession of the home that makes it so special. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling I get when I am here. I think it boils down to being able to spend your days with your favorite person in a place that you both take care of and support. It’s our place of comfort, security, and shelter. The feeling of home really can’t be beat.

I am very, very excited to be able to spend all of my days here in just 3 weeks. Coming home to this doesn’t hurt either…. :)


Thursday Thoughts [on work, money, & happiness]

Hmmm, I have a love/hate relationship with Thursdays. They are great because it means Friday is just around the corner, but they kinda suck sometimes because I am worn out (mentally and physically) by the end of the week. It takes a lot of effort to get out of bed on Thursday mornings, especially since it’s been extra cold these past two weeks.

Speaking of the cold. I really, truly think SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a real thing. Some might think it’s a load of crap (ahem, Tony), but I believe it! I am a grumpy grouch in the winter and would love to just hibernate all day in the warmth of my home, sipping on coffee, reading books, watching Netflix, and baking cookies. Why can’t we be like bears and hibernate during the winter? Perhaps the bear is my spirit animal.

Oh, now I remember why we can’t burrow away all winter long. Jobs. We have jobs and responsibilities. Hmmph. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to work minimally and instead, spend your life doing things that you can’t do because you are busy 8+ hours of each day working, 7-8 hrs sleeping, and 2-3 hours eating, pooping, and checking Instagram on your phone. (Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration, but you get what I am saying) If you think about that, you only have 4-5 hours (or less, if you are a workaholic) to devote to everything else of importance in your life. Don’t get me wrong, I love to work, especially in the fitness field. But, I don’t want my work to be my life. I wish our world ran in a way where we could work about 4 hours a day and then use the rest of the day to spend with our families, go on adventures, have time to cook a wonderful and healthy sit-down meal.

Why am I talking about all of this? Well, lately life has been rush, rush, rush for me. I know this will slow down in about 3 weeks once I graduate, but I don’t want it to pick back up to this speed once I start my “big girl” job. I don’t want to be away from home from 8 am – 8 or 9 pm. I want to come home feeling refreshed and not just face plant on my pillow. I came home last night after a 12 hour day on campus and did not want to be social, my appetite was gone, and I just wanted to sleep. I woke up this morning after 9 hours of sleep and STILL didn’t want to get up. Guys, that’s not good! I’ve always said my own health comes first, but I still struggle with this. I don’t know what I need to help with this feeling of exhaustion besides get through the next 3 weeks and then hopefully not spread myself too thin once I start my job in January.

But it’s hard. Because it all comes back to money. Making enough to support yourself and not having to worry about paying the rent. Making enough so that you can go out to dinner every once in a while or buy a new pair of yoga pants or treat yourself to the Whole Foods hot bar. (Yes, workout clothes and food are the way to my heart) It’s all so frustrating and scary because you want to put yourself first (health – both physical and mental), but you gotta save the dough. This is why I wish we could all go back to the days of bartering and trading. But then there wouldn’t be such a thing as Whole Foods or yoga pants. Sigh…

Ha, I know I am sounding so dramatic here, but really. Why does money control our lives? I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Well, it shouldn’t buy happiness. But, unfortunately, since everything has a price tag on it these days, we equate money with happiness. Even I do it. I get all giddy inside when I know I am going to make X amount of dollars this week because I worked X amount of hours. Then it makes me want to work more so I can make more money. It’s this constant cycle that just leads me to stressing about work and money and money and work. That isn’t what life should be about.

Unfortunately, my concerns with money won’t change much, unless I become a millionaire by some miracle. However, I want to try not to worry about it so much and let everything fall into place. Sure, I still need to budget, but I think if I worry so much about money and my work, then I miss out on everything else good in my life. When I get worried about making enough, I always remind myself this: you’ve always made it. Someway, somehow, you have been okay. Never without a penny to your name and never without the support of my loved ones. Times might get tough and I will have to push through, be frugal in some aspects of life (like groceries – more budgeting posts coming soon!), but it will pass. Time will go on, savings will be built, and life will be enjoyed without dollar signs constantly floating around in a little thought bubble above my head.

Sure, I can’t change the fact that money rules most of our world, but I can change how it rules my mind!