Late-Night Relaxation

November 16, 2008

I finally got in a little relaxation this weekend! But the first 3/4 of my day was quite busy. I finished my Micro study sheets and set out on a run – about 4.5 miles. It was glorious! After a shower, it was nearing 2pm before I made it back out to EarthFare for groceries and Thanksgiving dinner. And all these coupons in tow! I lost my Boca coupons somewhere in EarthFare though :( But the Stonyfield coupons couldn’t have come at a better time!


EarthFare was doing a “Taste of Thanksgiving” to get people in the spirit (and help sell their all-natural turkeys – we ordered one!) so I decided it make it lunch.

I had a tiny taste of lots of things:

Mashed potatoes, turkey, green beans, orange scented sweet potatoes and apple-sage stuffing.


Plus the breads!


And Pecan + Apple pie samples –



And some “wine” (grape juice!)


I also had: 3 cheese cubes, 2 pineapple bites, a taste of a fresh cornbread stuffing, and one more cornbread taste.

I wasn’t full at the end, but I could tell I’d had my share of calories and was perfectly satisfied.

After EarthFare, I stopped into Ann Taylor LOFT to swap out a shirt and came home with a cute ruffled sweater in my favorite color green.

The groceries sat in the trunk in a cooler bag (I planned ahead knowing the mall would be my second stop).

Then I had to go by Harris Teeter for kale and bananas (HT’s kale is local and cheap while EF’s comes from California).

Thanksgiving Challenge: Week 3


I planned meals through Sunday and came home with the above selection for Week 3 of The Great Thanksgiving Challenge.

  • Butternut squash soup
  • Oikos, Stonyfield smoothies, 2 more plain yogurts
  • Milk
  • Tofu
  • Kale
  • Pineapple
  • Lettuce
  • Orange
  • Apples
  • Pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Navy beans
  • Bananas

Week 3 Total: $19.95

Month-to-date: $61.72 <—- Halfway to goal and over halfway done!

NOT INCLUDED: some ground meat for Thursday’s dinner (the husband is bringing it home fresh) plus a huge butternut squash and some sweet potatoes, which I am getting at Trader Joe’s on Wed. because they were too expensive at the stores I visited today. I’ll add the mid-week.

This week is going to be quite busy – I have a quiz, a major Micro test, 2 evening classes (the test is an extra one b/c I’m taking it early) and the Charlotte Dietetic Association meeting on Tuesday. And then my cousin Anna is coming on Wednesday to spend a long weekend with us!!!! I guess I should give us a larger amount for having a house guest for 5 days, but I decided to just stick with the $126 and see where that takes us. I planned pretty economical meals.

Nutrition Talk

So after the grocery store, I went back uptown to go to the new Coffeehouse Journal Club for the Charlotte Dietetics Association. We met to discuss a journal article on this month’s topic: complementary and alternative medicine. It was wonderful to meet some of the local dietitians (there were 6 of  us) and feel intellectual discussing what we read. We’ve got plans to discuss sugar + artificial sweeteners next time!

I ordered a mocha cappuccino to go with the discussion –


Catered Dinner

Karen came over for dinner and brought her French Beef Casserole and some kale. We all started with some drinks – mine was mostly diet tonic with a splash of Triple Sec and Chambord plus a cherry!


The French beef was yummy (see recipe below!)


And the kale was simply sauteed in a little garlic and olive oil with red pepper flakes –


My warm-up beverage –



And some seconds –


Here’s Karen’s recipe – it’s not low-fat at all, but I think it could easily be lightened up with light cream cheese and sour cream plus maybe a bit less cheese.

Karen’s French Beef

Serves: A lot. (10?)

Nutrition info: High in everything. Eat in moderation! 

  • 2 lbs ground beef (93% fat)
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped dried oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
  • 8 oz cream cheese (regular or light, Karen uses regular)
  • 8 oz container regular sour cream (regular or light, Karen uses regular)
  • 2 cup package shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350*. 
  2. Brown beef and drain grease. 
  3. Sweat onion and pepper in beef pan. 
  4. When they are cooked, return beef to pan. 
  5. Add tomato sauce, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes and simmer on low for 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta and drain.
  7. Put cream cheese into hot pasta pot and allow to soften. 
  8. Quickly add pasta noodles (which are still hot) and stir into cream cheese. 
  9. Stir in sour cream and mix well. 
  10. Pour pasta mixture into 13×9 glass casserole dish. 
  11. Top with beef mixture. 
  12. Top with 2 cups of cheddar cheese. 
  13. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes at 350*.

OK, it’s past my bedtime and we’ve got an early morning and long day tomorrow. I am not looking forward to you-know-what 👿

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VeggieGirl November 16, 2008 at 9:25 pm

What a fun, delicious event at Earthfare – especially with those pecan pie and apple pie samples!! 😀

You’re doing fabulously with the Challenge!!

Hang in there with your day tomorrow!!


2 VeggieGirl November 16, 2008 at 9:26 pm

What a fun, delicious event at Earthfare – especially with those pecan pie and apple pie samples!! 😀

You’re doing fabulously with the Challenge!!

Hang in there with your day tomorrow!!


3 VeggieGirl November 16, 2008 at 9:26 pm

What a fun, delicious event at Earthfare – especially with those pecan pie and apple pie samples!! 😀

You’re doing fabulously with the Challenge!!

Hang in there with your day tomorrow!!


4 VeggieGirl November 16, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Whoa, why did my comment show up 3 times?? Sorry about that!!


5 Grounded Fitness November 16, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I cant wait until Thanksgiving. great job on the challenge- takes a little extra time, but its doable!

Kelly Turner


6 zestycook November 16, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Kath, food as usual looks great! Good job on the challenge. Hope you have a good day tomorrow.



7 Ellen November 16, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Just have to give a shout out to the CARIBOU COFFEE! I worked there throughout high school, as did most of my best friends and I still get homesick for it. I barely ever see it on blogs, so I just thought it deserved some recognition :]

Your food today looks like it was fantastic!


8 Jenny November 16, 2008 at 9:40 pm

That “taste of thanksgiving” looks lovely! And congrats on doing so well with your challenge, that’s awesome :)

Have a great night Kath!


9 Megan November 16, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Sounds and looks like the challenge is going well! What a full day you had with lots of yummy eats!


10 Mara November 16, 2008 at 9:42 pm

That recipe looks like something we’d really enjoy… I think fat free cream cheese, fat free sour cream, and fat free cheese could make it so much healthier!


11 claire November 16, 2008 at 9:46 pm

This recipe reminds me of one of my favorites as a child. We called it fake lasagna. Difference is using egg noodles and mozzarella, and it’s a smaller recipe…but you’re right…SO yummy! I keep meaning to bring out that recipe and lighten it up. I’ll have to do that soon.


12 ashley (sweet & natural) November 16, 2008 at 9:49 pm

As if I wasn’t excited enough for T-giving! This post got me even more so!


13 daphna November 16, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Oh man, thanks SO, SO much!! Yay! It looks like a fun winter entree.


14 Kinder November 16, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Dinner looks so rich!
I can’t believe how well you are doing on your challenge! Yahoo you!


15 Runeatrepeat November 16, 2008 at 10:48 pm

I love that you posted the recipe “as is” and just added – eat in moderation :)


16 Madison November 16, 2008 at 10:50 pm

hehe love the “nutrition info”!
you’re doing AWESOME with the challenge – impresssssssive =)


17 caitlin November 16, 2008 at 10:56 pm

yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy alternative medicine!!


18 seelee live (for the love of peanut butter) November 16, 2008 at 11:49 pm

I really like how Karen used all full, regular ingredients in her recipe. I’m sure it kept you fuller, longer and was more satisfying. This is a plus of using reg. ingredients, because every once in a while it’s important to eat these hearty home made meals. Which type of milk do you use?


19 Brandy November 16, 2008 at 11:52 pm

I love your site! I saw a reference from Roni and I’m loving the pics of all your great healthy food!! Where do you find all your coupons? There are soo many sites and its a little overwhelming..!


20 jenner November 16, 2008 at 11:57 pm

lol Kath, one white ONION, chopped?!


21 emmy November 17, 2008 at 12:00 am

sounds like a fun day! you are doing great on your challenge, we are up to $90! To be fair, you get a LOT of free food, but to be fair-er almost 100% of our budget has gone towards coffee and soda, we’ve hardly bought any food!


22 jess November 17, 2008 at 1:14 am

You’re whole Weekend was 3/4 super busy!!! I’m glad you at least got a bit of relaxation time- it looks divine.

Any of the earthfare bread used in the taste of thanksgiving made by the husband? That would be beyond cool (actually, it’s beyond cool that he bakes for people anyway, but it seems So sophisticated to actually have his bread products sold and featured at a store- i’m just dorky and can’t imagine being that accomplished at anything, let alone baking!)

Sorry about the tangent- have a great week!


23 coco November 17, 2008 at 6:03 am

all those groceries less than 20$????? how is that possible?
Kath, where do you get those coupons? are they from internet?

FAbulous breads!!!!!!!!! And dinner…and everything~~~~~~


24 Kath November 17, 2008 at 7:32 am

seelee live (for the love of peanut butter),
We rotate between 2% milk (because EarthFare doesn’t have 1% which is my preference and I’ve moved away from skim because I think the small amount of fat makes such a difference) and Costco vanilla soy milk which is delicious and unbelievably cheap but not as good in coffee and oats, IMO.

Brandy ,
Hi! Welcome! I got all the yogurt coupons from Stonyfield (and that’s why I was able to get the bill so low this week!) but the others I’ve just collected from magazines and stuff. I’m trying harder to find more coupons, but the problem is that most of our groceries are fresh produce, meat and dairy and they don’t have coupons! Often coupons are used on the more processed boxed things. I also have been shopping the sales for each store, which is a huge savings too.

jenner ,
YES!!! You caught me! I picked it out :mrgreen: And if I made this recipe I would omit it, but to be nice to Karen, I left it in. And it was very well cooked too. Had it been raw, I wouldn’t have eaten it.

emmy ,
Great job on the Challenge!!! We’re low on coffee too….

jess ,
No, he doesn’t make EarthFare’s breads, just Great Harvest’s. But our Thanksgiving stuffing will be made with his breads.

coco ,
As mentioned above, most of the coupons were blog related, but hey, that’s a strategy!



25 Katie November 17, 2008 at 8:14 am

Please tell me why I clip coupons EVERY week and totally forget to use most of them. Ugh. I need to get on that. Thanks for the motivation!


26 Nicole November 17, 2008 at 8:49 am

That seems like such a fun cooking demo!

I think I may take on your challenge for the rest of the month, I realized that I spend far too much money on food :-X


27 AlliJag November 17, 2008 at 9:27 am

All of your food looks so good – especially Karen’s casserole!

Great job on the Thanksgiving challenge – we are at $86 right now! You are kicking our butt! 😛


28 Jennifer November 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Does anyone else find it nearly impossible to get up in these cold mornings to exercise when wrapped in the warm arms of your SO?


29 musicfan November 17, 2008 at 6:07 pm

does the beef (boeuf) have an accent? :o)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: