Vegan Diaries 21 Meals $5 Day (Days 8-12)

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Week 1 is done. Some hits, some misses. But all in all I was pleased with what I got out of it.

Applying what I’ve learned is on the menu this week. This is not as easy as it seems (see past mistakes), but I will do my best.

liz-lemon-eye-roll

I have decided to lean on my pantry more this week (I’ll note the cost per serving).

A pantry building post is on the way.

But first let me do a rundown of the groceries I bought this week with my $35

  • snow peas (2 servings)
  • scallions
  • iceberg lettuce
  • onions
  • soba
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
  • split peas
  • black eyed peas
  • vegetable stock (this was on sale wee ha!!!! I bought 2 quarts for 3 smackers)
  • popcorn kernals (this was my splurge item at 1.79, but I miss a snack)
  • apples (Trader Joe’s on sale a bag for 2.29 10 in the bag)
  • tortillas
  • oatmeal
  • 2 lemons

I have 8 bucks left that I will use midweek. Leftover from last week: brown rice, white beans, chick peas, kale

Since I had chickpeas left I made a big batch of hummus. I think this is my biggest win so far. Hummus is full of protein, filling and frankly, freaking fantastic on everything. Throw in lettuce and have it on a wrap. A big bag of carrots on sale will cost you $1.59, paired with hummus perfect for snackin’ and relaxin’.

Day 8

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal (why didn’t I think of this last week?)

Lunch

  • Hummus wrap

Dinner

  • Veggie Stir Fry with Soba (Snow peas, scallions, onions garlic)

Day 9

Breakfast

  • Apple (leftover)
  • Oatmeal

Snack

  • Popcorn

Lunch

  • Leftover soba noodles (I had them cold and they were oh so, so good)

Dinner

  • White bean and kale soup (This was only meh. I would have added lots more veggies or some pasta or even some ‘shrooms to give it some umph but I didn’t want to spend the money to beef up this recipe).

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Day 10

Breakfast 

  • Oatmeal

Snack 

  • Popcorn

Lunch 

  • Leftover soup (didn’t finish it. But Dakota liked it over her kibble)

Snack 

  • Popcorn

Dinner

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

Another win. I have a tried and true recipe that I love. I was worried that it wouldn’t be so great. I was hoping that eating on a very tight budget could be tasty, but it’s been less that successful in my opinion.

Bah! This version was 6 ingredients and freaking awe-some. Do you hear me? Awe-some.

This recipe made dance inside (also on the outside, I couldn’t help but bust a move when I slurped my first sip. My apologies to the people across the street who may have seen me)

Ingredients 

  • One Eggplant cubed (keep the skin on)
  • Large can whole crushed tomatoes (Cento was on sale, score .79)
  • 5 (peeled) cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes (this is optional- but if you’re from Jerz…you should still have a few) cut in quarters
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Place all veggies and garlic on a cookie sheet. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper.

2. Roast for 25 minutes in a 425° oven.

3. Place veggies in a large pot or dutch oven with remaining olive oil.

4. Sauté for 5 minutes and then add stock

5. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Carefully transfer soup in small batches to a blender and blend.

That’s it. It had an elegant taste but hearty feel. And it freezes well (whoop!)

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Day 11

Breakfast 

  • Oatmeal 

Lunch

  • SOUP! Whoop!

Dinner

SNAP pea soup

Split Pea Soup

Another easy peasy (you see what I did there?) recipe.

So good. In fact, after I made it I forgot to take a photo for this post. No worries I thought, I’ll just get another bowl, take a photo and save it for tomorrow.

Cut to: Oneika slurping. Camera app open but off to the side. Yikes! I’m supposed to take a photo.

I managed to get it *wipes mouth*

Ingredients 

  • one bag split peas
  • small onion- chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • smoked paprika or smoked chipotle pepper* (this is a pantry usage)

Preparation

1. Saute onions and garlic

2. Add split peas

3. Add 4 cups of water

4. Bring to boil then immediately reduce to medium low

5. Add 1/2 cup water after 20 minutes

6. Stir frequently for another 35 minutes adding water if soup is too think

7. Transfer in batches to blender **

* I debated whether to use this or not. I opted to used it for a few reasons. First, smoked paprika adds richness and meaty flavor to vegan dishes and gives them depth. Second a little goes a long way, so it’s worth getting.

** You could skip this, but I was feeling silky smooth. I’ve also had made split pea without blending and it’s still just as bad ass.

Day 12

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal

Lunch

  • Leftover soup

Dinner

riceandpeas

This second week has been a lot easier on the palate.

I know, you’re saying can  this chick really eat soup every night for dinner?

The answer is yes, yes I could. I still had a few bucks left so I guess I could have grabbed a roll or some fresh bread. There’s a bakery across the street that sells fresh whole wheat loaves for 1.50.

But honestly the soup is plenty. I think a lot of American eating habits are too heavy, focusing on the size of a meal as an indication of success rather than the quality and flavor.

It takes a bit of work. But it can be done.

I felt short changed last week. I kicked rocks a few times. Yeah, yeah, non-attachment.

But I shopped this second week with a determination to make some meals that I could stand behind and say, these are things you can get everywhere.

With two days left, I feel that I’ve done that.

It’s still pretty sobering to know that this is the budget many families have every single day, year after year. This was no game to me. However, next week if I feel like grabbing a green juice after a hot yoga class, I can.

There’s a lot to think about and so much more that we can do to end hunger.

Stay tuned for the last few days (recipes) and my final thoughts about the whole process.

September is Hunger Action Month.

Namaste y’all.

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Vegan Diaries – 21 Meals, 35 Bucks (Days 6 and 7 and Recap)

Brussels sprouts with balsamic

This week didn’t turn out as I planned.

I wanted to repot that this was super easy and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be eating a yummy vegan life on the cheap.

It was hard. With my teaching schedule, practice, projects and the meager social life I try to have seamless transition aren’t the first words that jump out.

On Days 6 and 7 I grabbed a few apples for breakfast and lunch. I had soup on Day 6 and another hummus wrap on Day 7.

Dinners were easy and I think that was my biggest takeaway. Focus on one meal that will be the most satisfying. It doesn’t have to be the same meal, but one meal is the biggie nonetheless.

I’m an oatmeal girl when it gets cold so oatmeal that’s a no-brainer.

Other things that made me hmmm:

1. Beans. This is going to be another post. Dried beans are the way to go. Sure they take time to soak, but they are hella cheap. And frankly, my hummus is better with chick peas I’ve made myself. This is also due to Nadia Zerka’s recipe, but I can expand on that in the beans post. Back to my point, beans are a great way to get protein into a vegan diet. As I also read in a NYT food blog, they are back in fashion. Beans are the new black and all that.

2. Eating well on a budget is definitely possible, but it takes time. I’ve mentioned the pantry issue. My pantry is pretty well stocked. I’ve spices, grains and though I dumped a lot of condiments when I moved, I slowly building back my stash.

3. I’m also fortunate because I don’t live in a food desert. I have access to farmer’s markets and big grocery stores that have great prices on fresh food.

4. I enjoyed eating more and was more mindful because I knew it took time and thought to prepare something good in a budget.

Day 6

Breakfast

2 apples

Lunch

Dinner

Brussels sprouts roasted with balsamic over brown rice

This was very tasty. But I used balsamic, not on the list and from my pantry.

The recipe itself is super easy.

1. Toss Brussels sprouts in olive oil, chopped garlic, balsamic. Add salt and pepper.

2. Roast in a 425° oven for 25-30 minutes. Toss midway through cook time.

3. Serve over a bed of brown rice.

Day 7

Breakfast

Apples and hummus

Lunch

Leftovers from dinner.

Dinner

I skipped dinner which is a terrible idea, but by the end of the week I was low on groceries and wasn’t inspired to make anything. Next week I’m planning on making soup. This should take care of skipping dinner because nothing is handy.

So there you go. It was harder than I thought.

Stay tuned for week 2.

Namaste y’all.

Vegan Diaries – 21 meals 35 bucks

21 meals 35 bucks

Post by Oneika’s Yoga Life.

So, Eat Well on the Cheap was a great post what wasn’t well thought out.

I decided to go back to the drawing board.

7 days. 21 meals. 5 bucks a day.

Grand plans of menu planning danced in my head- but here in reality I ended up at Trader Joe’s. In actuality, this is a better plan because I want to see how reasonable it is to eat well with a few bucks.

My cash went further than I thought it would at Trader Joe’s.

I spent $25 there. I need some tortillas (1.89), beans (1.49 for two bags) and Thai basil (1.50 for 1 giant bunch)  from my favorite Asian grocery store.

That leaves me with $3. I’m going to save that to see if some veggies jump out at me at the farmer’s market this week.

Here’s what I scored:

  • bag of Gala apples
  • 4 bananas – biggest steal at .19 ea
  • bag of Brussels sprouts
  • frozen green beans
  • 2 large onions
  • bag of greens for salad
  • Carrot Ginger Soup (4 servings) This was $2.79 and I figure an easy lunch.
  • Groundless Beef
  • 2 large sweet potatoes

I did already have quinoa, brown rice and a bag of chick peas.

Here’s the menu for tomorrow.

Day 1

Breakfast

  • Banana
  • Apple

Lunch

  • Hummus sandwich

(Hummus, handful of greens, onions, oil, lemon juice and spices)

  • Apple

Dinner

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  • Stir Fry- brown rice, kale, onions and chick peas

This recipe is super easy.

  1. Sauté onions and minced garlic for 5 minutes
  2. Add the brown rice and kale and chick peas
  3. Sauté for five minutes add a few splashes of water. I probably would have added some lemon juice, but they weren’t in the purchased items list.
  4. I did add salt and pepper. Hot pepper flakes would be nice too if you have them in your pantry.
  5. The leftovers will be great in a wrap!

Almost 9 months ago, I watched Vegucated and decided to give a vegan lifestyle a go. Since then I’ve adopted completely vegetarian, and mostly vegan way of life. I do confess to eating artisan cheese once in awhile. I also indulge in honey.

Overall, it’s been a game changer- I feel great. My skin looks great and I’ve reduced my carbon footprint- which in turn is good for you.

Alas, I still have people saying, “But I can’t eat healthy without spending lots of money…” and “Eating healthy and cheap doesn’t taste good.”

Right. I’m calling bullshit. So for the next two weeks I’m going to eat for less than $5 a day. I’m doing two weeks because anyone can suck up a week. I’m not doing a month because that too will get boring (not for me, for you my friends).

I’ll include recipes that aren’t complicated, but they will all be tasty (at least I hope, when they aren’t, I’ll share that too).

And here we go.

Namaste y’all.