saditycents











Man, it feels like forever since I did a Sadity Cents post. You know a post about being fabulous and frugal. Anyways, my family has gone “plant-based.” I hesitate to say vegan because there is so much that comes along with that monicker, but food wise I avoid meat, dairy, and processed sugar. We’ve been at it for more than a month and I’m loving it. Part of the reason I think we’ve been successful is that I went in with a plan. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. In fact I do it almost every year as a fast and cleanse except; this time I’m continuing beyond my typical 21-day fast (I usually do the Daniel Fast with my family).

This time I ordered the Thrive Market vegan starter kit to help spark ideas and creativity. In past years boredom has been the major roadblock that has prevented me from extending my fast into a lifestyle.

The Thrive Market kit was such a pleasant surprise! I’ve tried other kits or vegan packages and they just have snacks. But this one had actual staples that were useful and versatile. Below I will list the products that were included in the kit and the recipes in which I used the items.

Also here is a 25% discount code for anyone who wants to give it (or any other Thrive product) a try.

Discount code: http://thrv.me/A12xyy

The vegan kit typically costs $47.95 for about $70 worth of product. With our first order discount code we paid $33. Not bad, it allowed me to try new products without a major investment.

Thrive Market Vegan Starter Kit

Sea Tangle Noodle Company Kelp Noodles — The only ingredients in these easy-to-eat raw noodles are kelp (a sea vegetable), sodium alginate (sodium salt extracted from a brown seaweed), and water. Kelp Noodles are fat-free, gluten-free, and very low in carbohydrates and calories—and no cooking is required to make them! Just rinse and add the noodles to any dish. Their traditional shape and neutral taste allow for a variety of uses in salads, stir-fries, hot broths, and casseroles.

Thrive Market Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Ethically sourced from a small farm in the Philippines, Thrive Market’s organic virgin coconut oil is made from only the highest-quality ingredients. Organic, cold-pressed, and never refined, our coconut oil is just the way nature intended it to be—and at a fraction of the usual price tag. With a medium smoke-point of around 350 degrees, coconut oil is wonderful for baking, frying, and sautéing. Plus, it’s high in lauric acid, which helps to raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Native Forest Vegan Coconut Milk Powder

Native Forest spray-dries fresh coconut milk for the perfect dairy-free alternative. This milk powder is great for traveling, camping, or an on-the-go lifestyle since it doesn’t require refrigeration and dissolves quickly when stirred in hot water. It tastes heavenly when used as a coffee creamer or mixed into soups, curries, sauces, desserts, and beverages.

Nuco Coconut Vegan Mayo

Whether you’re vegan, avoiding eggs, or just trying to get more coconut products in your life, this real-food vegan mayo—made from pure, non-GMO avocado and coconut oils—is sure to be a new staple in your kitchen. Cider vinegar and organic rosemary extract add that tangy, savory flavor that makes mayo so irresistible.

Thrive Market Pinto Beans, 2-pack

Thrive Market’s prepared pinto beans are grown, processed, and packed right here in the USA. They’re a great source of plant-based protein and are completely organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients—just wholesome pinto bean goodness. Try them in a number of recipes for added nutrition and rich flavor.

Pacific Foods Organic Seitan

Some vegans have a love-hate relationship with tofu, but there are other meat substitutes like seitan that can fit the bill. Made from a blend of wheat protein, red beans, and sprouted lentils, Pacific Foods’ version goes great in spicy dishes like tacos, fajitas, and stir-fry. Plus, it boasts 15 grams of plant-based protein per serving.

Thrive Market Plantain Chips, 2-Pack

When you open a bag of Thrive Market Non-GMO Plantain Chips, you’re getting nothing but a wholesome snack that pairs perfectly with dips. Try them in place of potato chips, too! These crisps are made with just three simple ingredients—plantains, non-hydrogenated vegetable oil, and sea salt—making them vegan-friendly and gluten-free.

Thrive Market Sprouted Brown Rice

Our sprouted brown rices’ rich, nutty flavor puts bland white rice to shame. Try it as a side on its own, or as a base for soups, salads, and stir-fries. It’s official: Thrive Market is taking over your pantry in the best possible way. We now offer a variety of wholesome baking ingredients and nutritious grains. It’s the perfect collection for all dietary needs and healthy cravings

Upton’s Naturals Chili Lime Jackfruit Carnitas

Jackfruit is a giant, fleshy fruit native to South and Southeast Asia. When cooked, it has a consistency similar to that of pulled pork, making it a great option for vegan-friendly tacos and burritos. Not only is this jackfruit carnitas flavorful and filling, it’s also a timesaver in the kitchen. Just fry with a small amount of oil and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until heated, stirring occasionally.

Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. Pete’s Bourbon Smoked Black Pepper Jerky

“Jerky” and “vegan” are two words that rarely go together—until now. Pete’s bourbon-smoked black pepper flavor tastes like the real deal, but is made from meatless soy protein that’s marinated in gluten-free tamari, sweetened with locally-sourced sorghum grains, and smoked in real Kentucky bourbon barrels. The result is a salty, robust, and chewy snack that boasts seven grams of protein per serving.

Follow Your Heart VeganEgg 100% Plant Based Egg Replacer

What’s breakfast without eggs and toast? Now vegans can get in on the American staple with Follow Your Heart’s 100% plant-based egg alternatives that offer the same texture and taste as the real deal. Simply whisk or blend with ice-cold water, and use in any and all eggs recipes, including scrambles, omelets, quiches, cookies, cakes, and more! This 4 oz. carton makes a dozen cholesterol- and dairy-free “eggs” that the whole family will enjoy.

Sophie’s Kitchen Black Pepper Vegan Toona

Savor the fresh taste of the sea without harming any fish in the process. Plant-based Toona by Sophie’s Kitchen is a delectable fish-free alternative to conventional canned options, made with non-GMO, all-natural ingredients like Konjac root (an ancient Asian superfood), pea protein, agave, and spices. Along with black pepper seasoning, this veganized tuna has a flavor and texture that works wonders in salads, casseroles, sandwiches, and more. Plus, it’s an excellent source of protein and fiber.

Source: https://thrivemarket.com/p/vegan-starter-kit

The recipes I made are:

  1. Jap-Chae: Made with the Kelp Noodles and Seitan
  2. Cubano Sandwich with Pinto Beans: Made with the Chili-Lime Jackfruit Carnitas, Coconut Oil Mayo, and Thrive Pinto Beans
  3. Polenta, Eggs, Chorizo and Stewed Tomatoes: Made with Follow Your Heart Vegan Eggs
  4. Vegan Meat-Lover Pizza: Made with Chili-Lime Jackfruit Carnitas
  5. Vegan Nachos: Made with Seitan
  6. Coconut Hot Chocolate: Made with Powdered Coconut Milk
  7. Tuna and Hummus Plate: Made with Vegan Toona and Thrive Plantain Chips
  8. French Toast: Made with Follow Your Heart Vegan Eggs and Powdered Coconut Milk
  9. Thai Coconut Curry Soup: Made with Coconut oil and Kelp Noodles
  10. Butter Chicken Chickpeas: Made with Coconut Oil and Sprouted Brown Rice
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{November 6, 2017}   The Struggle is Real

Its almost 1 am and this nursing mama should be asleep instead I am awake. I can’t even say I’m wide awake, I’m just barely awake, yet there is so much to do. How does one balance it all? How do you function as CFO of our home, chef, property manager, laundress, and full-time child care provider. All while trying to eak out a semblance of a career (which has take a major back seat, I mean right now its not even in the trunk, its hitched to a trailer and holding on for dear life), lose weight, stay presentable (which means doing my hair every day) , and trying to actually interact more than just feeding  the aforementioned child. Sure teaching her French right now is a little much, but I also don’t want her just staring at the ceilings between feedings and diaper changes. How do you accomplish it all? Right now it doesn’t feel like anything can be dropped. Don’t manage the finances and rental property? Don’t prepare whole food meals for the family? Don’t do laundry?

The go to answer is have your husband help more. But if he is already extremely helpful between classes and work and taking on a major portion of the cleaning all while dealing with Uncle Sam on a daily bases what more can you ask before you both are overwhelmed? Right now my solution is that I overload myself to keep from overloading him. It seems like men can’t handle stress at the level women can. I don’t know if there is an answer. There’s just the question at one in the morning. How do you balance it all? The struggle is so real.



Our latest adventure, hubby going back to school, has taken us to one of the most affluent cities in the state. This place is gorgeous and I feel blessed to live here, but it is abundantly clear that the community was designed to price people out. 

According to Area Vibes the cost of living on average is 50% higher than the state average. More than ever fabulous budgeting is necessary. Even basic amenities cost more here. My task as CFO for my family is to not only make our dollar stretch, in a place where it seems status quo to throw money away, but to also make it grow. This is no easy task considering we are here as  students and veterans, meaning we are already way behind the income curve. 

To put it in perspective:

 Cost Of Living Index

Each cost of living index is based on a national average of 100. If the amount is below 100, it is lower than the national average. If the amount is above 100, it is higher than the national average.

Cost of living index

City: 157

State: 115

Goods & Services index

City: 136

State: 106

Groceries index

City: 125

State: 107

Health care index

City: 128

State: 119

Housing index

City: 215

State: 135 

I choose to look at this as a challenge to put my Sadity Cents to the test and get back to my roots. Wish me luck and follow along as I figure out life outside the military and in wealthy suburbia. 



et cetera