Burst Tomato Penne with Kale

Hi! Today’s post is a quick and easy vegetarian dinner option that is so, so delicious and super healthful. This recipe is pretty close to my spaghetti squash with tomatoes and zucchini, but it’s a bit more indulgent and not gluten free. The combination of tomatoes, tomato paste, kale, minced onions and garlic, italian herbs and fresh basil is simmered with parmesan rind and then topped with grated parmesan and fresh basil. If you follow me on Instagram then you know this photo is one of my most liked, and it’s of this recipe!

Burst Tomato Penne with Kale

$0.80 per serving, $4.81 for 6

1/4 onion- $0.06

~one pint of grape tomatoes -$2.47

1/2 a can of tomato paste- $0.33

previously frozen kale- $1.28

basil leaves- $0.67

Pantry items: parmesan rind (ask for it at the cheese counters, sometimes it’s free), salt, pepper, garlic, italian seasoning


Start by chopping your onions and garlic, put them in a pan with Italian seasoning and some olive oil and turn the heat on to get them softening. While they’re softening, wash your tomatoes and start cutting them into halves.


When your onions and garlic are softened, add half a can of tomato paste and stir it to coat your onion and garlic. Then, add in your tomatoes and get them heated up, and squish them to let their juice and seeds come out and contribute to your sauce. Once they are heated, pop in your parmesan rind and kale, as well as about a quarter cup of pasta water to help bind everything together.


Let everything simmer together while your pasta finishes cooking (I like to use penne, but use whatever you have on hand!). Your extra water you added to the sauce will cook out and everything will be delicious and melded together.


Turn off the heat and add a handful of basil leaves to the pan and stir them in. Drain your pasta well. Remove your parmesan rind, and scoop all of your sauce into your pasta pot and mix everything together!


To serve, put in a bowl or on a plate and top generously with parmesan and an extra basil leaf if available! Enjoy- this recipe also is great frozen and reheated.


June 2016 Favorites!

Hey Guys!

I wanted to try something new and record a video for a post, and I thought a monthly favorites post would be great to test it out on. I tried to record this about a week ago and it was a miserable failure, so I recorded and uploaded to Youtube a second attempt which didn’t upload well (choppy), so here I am a bit (lot) late with a third attempt!

Beauty and Skincare:



True Match



Household Items:

Egg Carton (different)

Egg Carton (exact)

French Press (Similar)



Black Dress (similar, also Le Chateau and Canadian made)

Joe Fresh two layer top (exact)


Lastly, my book for the month! Please remember that if you buy this book, a copy goes to someone who is economically disadvantaged so please, please check out http://www.leannebrown.com/. ALSO, if you are in a tight place financially, you can DOWNLOAD the book for free!

Let me know what you think of this format! What were your favorite things last month?

What’s In Season for Produce

20160710_134853One of the easiest ways to keep your food bill affordable is to shop what’s in season. While it’s pretty easy to crave a fresh, green salad in January, when you’re trying to keep your food costs under control, you have to think about when and how to indulge those cravings if you want to make serious cuts to your food bill.



Here in Canada, we are so lucky to live in such an agricultural country. At this time of year you can find all sorts of things that haven’t had to be shipped from another area of the world and don’t have that added cost. I love visiting different farmers markets because what is available is by default what is in season. I can’t always afford to buy anything at the farmer’s market (it was $5.50 for a pound of peas this weekend!), but it is a great fact finding trip and a fun, free way to spend an evening or morning. When I do have spare cash, I love the freshness you can get from a local farmer and appreciate the care and love they put into the food they bring to market.


I love that stores like Sobeys have put a lot of effort into marketing which items are locally grown. Personally, I feel that Sobeys has the best signage and the best visual force when it comes to showing what is local, they mark them with signs of the province they’re from, and they always seem to have locally grown produce on sale!

Additionally, there’s power in even just telling consumers that they’re committed to providing access to locally grown produce- it keeps it top of mind! I think it encourages people to take an interest in where their food is grown.







So what is currently in season? Here’s the short list!



Baby Beets

Cabbages (early)

Baby carrots

Cauliflower (early)

Corn (early)

Cucumbers (early for field, steady for greenhouse growers)


Spring Onions


Peppers (early)





Apples (early)










What are your favorite summer treats? Let me know in the comments area below!

Affordable Decor – Entertaining Dishes


Now that I no longer have a roommate, I feel a bit more comfortable investing in pieces I love for the kitchen and entertaining. When people come into my house, I think there’s always quite a bit of surprise when they realize this girl that loves bows and sweet dresses has a home styled in an industrial-rustic way, with loads of black pieces and natural wood anchoring a bright, open space.


I love this aesthetic because it allows me drop in mirrored pieces, touches of pink and pattern without my house screaming “single female”. Everything is functional, comfortable and durable for when I want to have a few friends over. When I bought my home I didn’t have much in the way of decor, and expensive projects like custom blinds sucked up all of my “fun” money I had laying around. When I realized things like dishes and glasses were being accidentally broken by my roommate, even when I had the money, I just didn’t buy things I saw and liked because I couldn’t stand the idea of them being broken and my money being wasted.

Now, I don’t have much money (even less being roommate-free) but I do feel more comfortable buying things I love. One of the first areas of decor I wanted to tackle was affordable serving ware, because I wanted to be able to use these pieces for this blog as well! I think you can tell so much about someone’s personality by what type of dishes and serving dishes they use. I took my mum’s advice and rather than investing in matched sets of things, I chose an anchor of blue and white to complement my all-white dishes and orangey-red Le Creuset that I display in an open shelving unit. By not having perfectly matched items, if one meets an untimely demise, it won’t ruin the entire set.


This two-tier baking stand started the process. I love that it’s two patterns in the same color, I think it’s so whimsical. Like mostly everything I picked up, it’s from Homesense and was incredibly affordable. Below are a few of the other items I picked up- keep watching my food posts to see the rest!


This paisley print mug (my sister actually bought me a second one when I only bought one, which was incredibly sweet of her) was on sale at Urban Barn (along with a couple of tapas bowls). I love that the red dots add a bit of extra color, and its extra large size is perfect for sipping coffee on cold days!


This cake stand was a great buy in my books as well, because its white base is livened up by cute scalloped patterns and the raised edge makes it perfect for serving everything from pies to frittata. It was also a Homesense find.


This jug is from Pier One, and my mum felt I needed to have it! I agree, although at the point I saw it I was already past what I wanted to spend in the day. So, my mum being the awesome lady she is, picked it up for me. I love that the main colors are my scheme of blue and white, but it adds pops of other bright colors to complement. I like that it’s the perfect size and shape to serve water at a dinner, or showcase flowers.


Lastly, I bought two of these organically shaped bowls at Homesense. I love their imperfect shape and mismatched patterns. I eat a lot of salads and hearty bowls, so these will be a great complement to my style of cooking.


What kind of serving ware do you love? Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @TheBrokeBloggr.



It really shouldn’t be such a surprise that I’m so into paella that it’s my new favorite thing… it’s like Spanish risotto (only easier, hallelujah, because you just deglaze the pan and then add all of the liquid) and you just can’t go wrong with risotto. I’m calling this paella-ish because I’m sure I didn’t make this traditionally and that some true experts will find flaws in my execution, but at the end of the day this was as good as the paella I had out at a restaurant recently. I love the smokey, rich flavor that is present without the use of heavy oils, butters or cheeses.

This paella base is one I kind of made up myself based on what I had in the fridge- carrots, red pepper, onion and garlic, then finished with a load of frozen spinach. I deglazed the pan with dry white wine, but that was only because I had some on hand. In typical me fashion, I have added additional vegetables to the recipe as compared to what I saw in the restaurant to add some bulk to the meal without added meat or expense. A nice chorizo sausage would be an amazing addition to this if you can get your hands on one.


Serves four (no costing, you know it’s expensive)

4 carrots, chopped

One onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red pepper, chopped

One large tomato, chopped

One box of vegetable stock

3 saffron threads

One cup of arborio rice

One frozen spinach nugget

~7 shrimp per person

Pantry: smoked paprika, paprika, oregano, a pinch of cumin, crushed chili flakes or cayenne, salt and pepper


Start by chopping up your onion, garlic, carrots and red bell pepper and depositing them into a pot with about a tablespoon of olive oil. While you have your cutting board out, you might as well chop your tomato for later, just put it in a bowl and set it aside. Turn the heat on under your veggies at about 3/4 strength and get them softening, you want them maybe 60-75% cooked.


While you get your veggies softening, take approximately 1.75 cups of your stock in a microwaveable dish and your saffron and infuse the broth in the microwave for about 45 seconds to a minute.


Once your veggies are cooked about 75%, add in about 1/2 a teaspoon of oregano, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, crushed chili flakes to your preference on spice, a pinch of cumin and plenty of salt and pepper. Once your spice mix is thoroughly bonded to your veggies and no longer powdery, add your rice and toast it for 2-3 minutes. Once it is toasted, deglaze the pan either with 1/2 cup of stock or 1/2 cup of dry white wine. Once that’s cooked out, pour in all of your infused stock and let the paella cook- stir it occasionally.

In the last five minutes I added my frozen spinach and chopped tomato. You want your paella to finish as a drier risotto texture. In those five minutes I also sauteed my shrimp with a dash of lemon pepper.



35 Day No-Buy Recap!



So my 35 day no-buy for groceries was officially over on Friday, but I didn’t go grab groceries until Sunday so here I am now, giving a bit of a recap on how 35 days of not buying groceries went.
It went surprisingly well. In retrospect, I don’t know that I could have chosen an easier month to have a no-buy on, because there was both of my parent’s birthdays, Father’s Day, a family dinner in Red Deer, and a family dinner with friends that took care of five dinners, plus loads of opportunities to visit my parents, and my mum is the best and always feeds me. So there’s a bit of cheating there but it doesn’t entirely wipe out the significance of not buying any groceries from May 25th to July 3rd.
So did I buy any groceries?
Yes and no. I bought shrimp on sale with one week to go in the no-buy period, but haven’t eaten any. It was just a really good sale on frozen shrimp, which I actually love! My mum also bought me a clamshell of strawberries after seeing me practically drool over them in the store.
But other than that? No grocery shopping. So what did I eat?


Overnight Oatmeal (post coming soon!)
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins (post coming soon!)
Hard Boiled Eggs
Everything Bagel with Laughing Cow Cheese


Carrots, Cucumbers and Hummus
Banana “Ice Cream”
Tortilla Chips and Salsa


Paella (post coming soon!)
Crab and Asparagus Risotto (post coming soon!)
Crab and Asparagus Alfredo (post coming soon!)
Burst Tomato and Basil Penne (post coming soon!)
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pesto-Bolognese sauce
So as you can see, there was quite a bit of variety and fun even though I wasn’t buying “new” groceries, just reworking pantry staples. About three weeks in I started craving green things like lettuce and sauteed spinach, but all in all it was an easy challenge to keep. By the end of the 35 days, all I had run out of were fresh staple vegetables.
All in all, this was a good experience. I had thought about going through July as a no-buy as well, but I think  it will be “Less-Buy July” because all of the great produce is starting to come out. I would definitely do this again, any time I’m looking to save a bit of money, really, because each option mentioned for a snack or meal is incredibly affordable and easy to put together.