Labor of Love: Meals of Labor Day Wknd

Happy Labor Day! For the past three days, I’ve had people over for meals: two brunches and a dinner. The last time people came over for a full meal was probably months ago, so three in three days is a little out of the ordinary for me, but it has been delightful! And since I’ve spent a bit extra on food, it’s also brought into focus how much more food is at a restaurant compared to homemade.

What I bought:

  • Flour: $2.19
  • Baking Powder: $3.29
  • Kale: $1.98
  • Oranges: $0.98
  • Avocados: $2.00
  • Can of Corn: $0.59
  • Can of Beans: $0.99 (Normally I would have made ahead, but I didn’t)
  • Red pepper: $1.49
  • Sweet potatoes: $7.15
  • Red onion: $.0.76
  • Jalapeno: $0.04
  • Lime: $0.10
  • Green onions: $0.50
  • Blackberries: $2.50
  • Raspberries: $2.50
  • Cranberries: $1.40
  • Pumpkin Seeds: $1.32
  • Granola: $5.11
  • Coconut Yogurt $5.29

What I made for 1st Brunch:

This is my absolutely favorite biscuit recipe, and it’s going to become my favorite breakfast potato recipe too. The biscuits were topped with jam a volunteer made, and the guests brought grapes and orange juice to round out the meal. In fact, they brought so many grapes that we debated about how many grapes one would have to eat if one were to eat only grapes for an entire day. The answer we settled on: six pounds.

For Dinner:

I really like these recipes, but I’d make a few adjustments going forward. For one, I’d use yams instead of sweet potatoes for the prettier color (which to be fair, in The Happy Pear video after the link, it looks like they do, but maybe they call yams sweet potatoes in Ireland?). I’d also add a sauce to the sweet potatoes, like salsa drizzled on top. I think they’d be good with some vegan sour cream as well, or cheese and the real thing if you aren’t vegan.

The kale salad was pretty good as is; I’d probably just use a second avocado since mine were small and the salad felt a little dry in places.

For 2nd Brunch:

  • Parfaits with Cashew Cream, coconut yogurt, fresh fruit and granola

Clearly a great brunch, since it’s the only one I got even a partial picture of. There were also roasted potatoes and banana rice, and mimosas, obviously, since it wouldn’t be brunch without mimosas.

So, I spent forty dollars and change on meals with friends this weekend, not including the regular grocery shopping that I still need to do… hello heads of lettuce! How good to see you again! But, a quick glance at a popular brunch spot here in Hillcrest and my favorite dinner spot show that I would have spent $55 on just my meals had we eaten out. And while I don’t have a lot of leftovers, I do have probably two or three meals left over, and I obviously did not use all the flour and baking powder so there will be future biscuits to look forward to. And as one of today’s brunch guests exclaimed, “this is so much better!”

Sometimes I wonder why I immediately gravitate towards writing about food when I’m thinking about money. I don’t think this is just me–many of the blogs and Facebook comments I read mention cutting down your food costs, either by reducing restaurant meals or trimming the fat from your grocery budget (not necessarily literally). Eating gives us the opportunity to make choices aligned with our values three times a day; there are very few other decisions that I make with such frequency and that I have so much control over. As a vegan, I’ve thought about this a lot in ethical terms, but I haven’t thought about it as much in terms of my budget (as though my budget and my ethics are somehow separate, which of course they’re not).

It’s just food, you might say! And it is. It’s also just money! It’s also just time! Time well-spent with friends for less than we would have spent in a restaurant, and sharing delicious things that feel good to me. It’s not always that I can spend relaxing time with my friends (and also have time by myself later) so I enjoyed this weekend a great deal. The rest of today will involve a lot of knitting, a little more grocery shopping, and hopefully, maybe, an early bedtime.

Enjoy the recipes and your weeks!

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