Bagels, Hummus, Cucumber Salad, and Boozy Strawberry Lemonade ~$2 a person

I don’t know if it’s my imagination (since a quick Yelp search seems to be disproving me), but I’m pretty sure there is a huge scarcity of good bagel shops in San Diego. Maybe it’s because I come from the Northeast, where the bread option at pretty much every breakfast place is: white, wheat, or bagel. But, in any event, last week I didn’t bring a lunch to work, so I walked to Trader Joe’s and bought baby carrots, hummus, and (you guessed it) bagels. And, lo and behold, I was reminded that bagels are DELICIOUS.

Those bagels cost $1.70 for 6 (that’s 28 cents each), which is triple what it costs to make them yourself. And, the internet makes making your own bagels look SO EASY. Anyway, long story short, my first attempt to make my own bagels was a bit of a failure (evidence below). So lemme start with the parts of the meal I did well, and then end with what I suspect I did wrong making the bagels (so that you don’t repeat the mistakes I made!)


One bagel, $0.09
2 tbsp hummus, $0.09
Toppings (¼ tomato, ⅕ pepper, ⅓ avocado, spinach), $0.23
Serving of Salad, $0.24
Total: $0.65
Calories: 308
(Saving some calories for the booze, this time! And seconds.)


I remember when I first came to San Diego from Boston, I saw a pound of strawberries at the store for $1.49. I thought they must be on super sale and bought a couple pounds to freeze. The next week, we went to that same store to see them for $0.99 a pound. It was then I knew I wanted to stay in San Diego (and that I loved that grocery store!).

This drink, however, was made with $1.49 strawberries (darn!). Somehow, the combination tastes a bit like watermelon. And it doesn’t need sugar! So it’s a healthy dessert…except for the booze.

1 lemon, $0.50
⅓ pound strawberries, $0.50
¾ cup gin (or rum, since we were out of gin 😦 still tasted good with rum, though), $1.65
1 tray of ice, $0.00
Total: $2.64
Per drink: $1.32
Calories per drink: 168


  1. Put everything in a blender
  2. Blend til smooth
  3. Strain out seeds if desired (I’m too lazy)


The hummus I bought for lunch was about $2. The same sized container when made fresh is only about 70 cents, and is much more dense. Below is just plain, standard hummus. It’s also great if you add some roasted garlic, or olives, or hot peppers, or roasted eggplant, and the list goes on.

2 cups cooked chickpeas, $0.43
2 tbsp tahini, $0.57*
1 lemon, $0.50*
4 cloves garlic, $0.04
2 tbsp olive oil, $0.18
1 tsp salt, $0.02
~¼ cup water, $0.00
Total: $1.74
Serving (2 tbsp): $0.09
Calories per serving: 50

*This hummus is very lemony and tahini-y, which I like. But to cut down on those flavors (and a tiny bit on cost and calories), only use one tbsp of tahini and ¼-½ a lemon (just add the rest of your lemon to your lemonade!)


  1. Put all your ingredients except for water into the food processor, and let it start to run.


  2. While it’s running, slowly add water. Add until it’s at your desired consistency.


2 cucumbers, $0.66
½ red onion, $0.25
½ cup vinegar, $0.21
2 tsp sugar, $0.02
2 tsp salt, $0.02
Total: $1.18
Serving Total (1/5th): $0.24
Calories per serving: 31


  1. Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl to dissolve.
  2. Slice up the onion and cucumbers thin and throw them in. (Dad, look! I’m using the safety holder like you told me to!)
  3. Mix everything up and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour, but the salad is still good for a couple of days.


1 tomato, $0.15
1 orange bell pepper, $0.33
1 small avocado, $0.33
couple leaves of spinach, $0.03
Total: $0.81
Total per Serving (¼ tomato, ⅕ pepper, ⅓ avocado, spinach): $0.23
Calories per Serving: 125


4 cups flour, $0.32
1 ½ tsp salt, $0.02
1 packet of yeast, $0.50
1.25 cup warm water, $0.00
Total: $0.86
Total per bagel (if making 10): $0.09
Calories per bagel: 103

So the method seems pretty straight forward:
Mix water, yeast and sugar. Put in salt and half the flour, mix. Slowly put in the rest of the flour so the dough hardens. Knead for about 8 minutes. Let ball rise for 45 minutes. Shape into bagel shapes. Let rise again for another 45 minutes. Bring pot of water to boil. Broil bagels on each side for 30-60 seconds. Boil bagels on each side for 1 minute. Let bagels drain. Bake bagels at 375 for 30 minutes.

Here’s what I think I did wrong:


  1. I used too much water! Or maybe too little flour. Maybe both?
  2. I didn’t spread the bagels out enough. We only have one pan, so I tried to put all ten bagels on one baking sheet. This was a mistake. It meant I couldn’t make the holes big enough and the bagels rose into each other. This meant…
  3. When I broiled the first side, the bagels had to be cut apart before they could be flipped. Which meant they didn’t actually get broiled on their sides. They were just a whole big gooey mess.

That said! They still tasted good. There’s nothing quite like fresh bread from the oven, even if it’s a flat bagel. Bagels, I will try to make you again! I haven’t quite been defeated yet!


2 thoughts on “Bagels, Hummus, Cucumber Salad, and Boozy Strawberry Lemonade ~$2 a person

    • Oops, I forgot to list the sugar! 😉 But I definitely will try that one! Hopefully the extra yeast will make them rise more than mine did! (Though apparently flagels are a thing…I should have pretended I was making flat bagels on purpose!)

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