Recipes for the $80/Week at Whole Foods Market Challenge!


One of the great highlights of this past week included seeing a pin on Pinterest cheering us on: “She starts this week 1/6/14! Hope she does it! Living Off $80/Week at Whole Foods Market | The Whole Family On a Budget!”


Reader, if you’re still following along, thank you for that!


You inspired an avalanche: an official website (Welcome, everyone!), as well as TWFOaB Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts!  Such life giving encouragement!

To avoid a marathon post with photos that move at about this pace,


my media savvy husband made it so you just have to click on the title of each dish to see the full recipe, and possibly, hear a story or two!

Quesadillas (with Homemade Tortillas)


Lentil Burgers


Colorado Pie


Corn and Bean Chowder with Herb Bread


Lentil Soup with Rolls


Twenty One Meals for 3 people (read about breakfast and lunch in the last post… lunch also included leftovers) came and went without us seeing a need to make Navajo Tacos or Omelette with Oatmeal Bread as originally planned.  Friends, we could eat well for another 4 days without grocery shopping with all of the food that is left!  For example…


The Four DOZEN rolls that the recipe made.  Many of them went into the freezer dressed like this,


and will toast up nicely for breakfasts and lunches to come!

Something changed in me during this project.  In the past, I have had this huge inner conflict between eating for health and eating for wealth.  When WFM asked me to start this project, I knew (and Kristen probably did too) that I came as a student more than a teacher.  Though we have made radical decisions for our glamorous age (ie. drive a paid for old car, rent until we can afford a downpayment and college is paid for, have only purchased 2 of the pieces of furniture in our house- in cash, don’t buy clothes on credit cards), we have made some other rash choices (ie. “I don’t have enough on my debit card to pay for my organic everything?  Well, could you put the rest on this credit card?” and “It will take a long time to make something, and the dining room table is a mess, let’s just eat out.”)  In truth, oh painful truth, had we had an actual food budget these past 4 years, we probably would be closer to the aforementioned goal.  Everyone has their priorities.  Mine included calamari and raw oysters.

Back to what changed: since we did start an actual household budget this past December, I confess that the very idea of it provoked a rather profound consternation within me.  When we looked at our (ugh, I still feel sick thinking about it) October and November spending- we MORE than doubled the cost of our rent on restaurants and groceries.  Friends… Don’t judge!

In December, we stuck to an on paper budget.  In January, we birthed this project that scared the gajeebers out of me.  Maybe we all spend on the thing that we hide in, the thing that comforts us.  For some it’s a Mercedes or extravagant home, for us… it (was) imported cheese and pomegranates.

As I put together the story of this week, and acknowledge the full grocery bag of food not even used, I experienced courage.  Courage to live on less.  Courage to eat $80/week or less at ever inspiring, beautiful, healthFULL Whole Foods Market every week.  We found more with less.

Now, as with all new freedom and insight comes work.  So, let’s keep at this together!  2014 is off to a smashing start!  Let’s hit repeat!  (and, guess what?!  I already have the next week of photos & anecdotes underway, with quick- vegetable heavy meals, that were purchased for less than $80!)

Alongside You,

The Allen Family

P.S. Did you make any of these recipes?  We would like to get to know you!  Tell us about it in the comment section below.


Share this Post

LaurelLeafRecipes for the $80/Week at Whole Foods Market Challenge!

22 Comments on “Recipes for the $80/Week at Whole Foods Market Challenge!”

  1. Junior

    I hope you never stop! This is one of the best blogs Ive ever read. Youve got some mad skill here, man. I just hope that you dont lose your style because youre definitely one of the coolest bloggers out there. Please keep it up because the internet needs someone like you spreading the word.…I will be happy if you visit my blog and say something

  2. stop rygning

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I do not know who you are but definitely
    you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

    1. LaurelLeaf

      Don’t ever underestimate the power of encouragement. I don’t know who you are either, or how you ended up here! I DO know that your words have given me great strength, inspiration and purpose as I forge into the planning for the week ahead. With abundant thanks, Laura

  3. linux vps

    I do believe all the cߋncepts you’ve introduced on your post.
    They’re rеаlly convincing and will certainly worκ.
    Still, thhe posts are too brief for novіces.
    May yoou please extend them a little frоm subsequent time?
    Thanks fߋr the post.

    1. LaurelLeaf

      I’m so sorry if anything wasn’t clear. Please tell me your specific areas of confusion, and I’d be more than happy to elaborate. Happy cooking!

  4. MommyVincent

    Okay, it’s official… You’re my hero! I made the list last night, substituted a couple of pasta dishes for the lentil, kids won’t eat them. For some reason (pantry) I had enough to purchase 3 boxes of organic cereal, the fresh fruit for the week, OJ, hubby’s tortilla chips, 2.5 gallons of milk, and my favorite GMO free eggs. All of this for $80.56. Everyone loved the corn chowder and wheat bread too btw. I’m telling my friends about this!

  5. billig mobilabonnement

    I feel that is one of the most important information for me.
    And i’m glad studying your article. However wanna observation on some
    basic issues, The site taste is perfect, the articles is in point of fact great : D.
    Good activity, cheers

  6. MommyVincent

    Thank you!

    we have been organic and GMO free for about a year. Last week the budget ran dry and the belt was severely tightened. I had to shop somewhere else for the family groceries, I cried while driving home. I’ve taken the time to research the dangers of GMO’s and knowing I had bags of chemical laden food for my young children broke my heart. We are moving to the country so I can have my gigantic garden and preserve in mason jars, freeze, and dry as much as I can to get us through to the next harvest.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to guide us through and keep us healthy and chemical free.

  7. Heather

    Hi Laurel…..well we are not eating a lot of meat. And when I do get meat I do my best to make it stretch. This week we are having chili served over sweet potatoes (bonus is that I can freeze half if the batch I made) and homemade blueberry cornbread (picked a lot of blueberries over the summer …which I froze) with some fresh grated cheese ( way cheaper to grate it). Pasta bake tomorrow…whole wheat pasta mixed with some of my sauce (made in big batch and frozen in smaller portions) some fresh grated cheese and about 6 meatballs ( made with grass fed beef I picked up at our farmers market in bulk to freeze) quartered ….mixed together and baked.

  8. laurie

    Hi! I have a large family(8 of us here and several meals with church and extended family during the month). Do you think it is practical to expect to spend 140 or less at WF? The up side is that we have greens in the garden, eggs in the coop, and deer in the freezer, so…..but due to health concerns we are wanting to go all organic. I am guessing that here, the reg. grocer is going to actually cost more for this….

    1. LaurelLeaf

      Laurie, wow. Let me take a second to tell you how amazing you are! I read this post 8 hours ago, and have thought about it all day. Friend, I don’t know! I’m not going to mislead you and say yes. I don’t know the quantity that your family eats at any given meal. I told my Scottish Grandma about your question, and she was raised in Scotland during the war with 13 children… She said, “Of course they can! Tell her to just make loads of mashed potatoes and soups and stews!” Have you read More With Less? I think you’d find a trusty compass within those pages! Do please keep in touch! I really hope you hit that $140 challenge!

  9. Heather C

    THANK YOU for taking on this challenge. I am now living on $100 a week to feed our family of five which includes three teenage boys while my husband is on unemployment and seeking a new job. It’s a challenge to feed everyone real food, non GMO, organic when we can and so forth so your blog will be most helpful.

    1. LaurelLeaf

      Heather, hoping your husband finds a wonderful job soon! Just curious- what does your meal plan generally look like if you’re feeding 5 for under $100? What does a dinner look like? Be encouraged. You are doing a wonderful job! Way to stick to a budget to help out in hard times. Good times will surely come again! xoxo

  10. Heather

    Yes – ingredient’s list. Living on $100 a week while husband is unemployed. Feeding a family of five – (3 teenage boys who are always hungry too!) sticking with whole foods, non GMO and organic when possible. THANK YOU for taking on this challenge and sharing!

  11. Patricia Hileman

    I have been living on a budget for a long time- but still struggle with the food part of it. We love to entertain and we spend way more on food that I think should be reasonable (even without a ton of eating out). Thank you for sharing and as I think more about shopping at Whole foods vs. Aldis due to food safety issues I will really appreciate your ideas/guidance. Thanks for sharing for those of us that don’t have time to write it down!

    1. LaurelLeaf


      Thanks for the kind words. We are just a pebble in the sand, when it comes to all of this. I think with the current economy, and everyone becoming more conscious of where there dollars and cents are going, its a big concern to a great number of families large and small. It’s a catch 22, how do we eat healthy foods, maintain active social lives, and watch our wallets at the same time? There is no one way to do it, but we are thinking it can be done if we all are educated a bit more, and take the time to do a little research. Keep keeping on Patricia.


      Conscious American in a tight economy

  12. Morgan

    Yes, please do attach list so we busy mommas don’t have to tally up the cost ourselves. I am so thrilled you are doing this! I will be trying this next week!

  13. Patty

    I would love to see a grocery list attached to these weeks so I can follow this. Is this possible.

    1. LaurelLeaf


      The people have spoken! Your probably the fourth person to ask for the ingredients list. It’s on the way. Thanks for the encouragement and your readership.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *