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.

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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

photo-4

  • 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.

Vegan Diaries – Hummus!!!!

Hummus-details

 

I’m a huge fan of finding the perfect hummus. Bad hummus tastes like paste from the first grade (Ask me how I know).

But good hummus- yum. Good hummus can send your taste buds into a flavorful frenzy. But with so few ingredients needed how could you go wrong? I did some homework… I’ve seen recipes that leave out the tahini– I’ve tried it both ways…it matters.

To make the best hummus- the ingredients matter, as does the blending process. But the biggest secret to heavenly hummus is the shelling of the chickpeas. There is a translucent skin on a chickpea, removing it makes that sexy, silky hummus.

It’s worth it. It add on 15 minutes to the process but it’s not like you have to grow the chickpeas, dry them, cook them and then can them. I call that a win.

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained (save liquid) beans should be cooked
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon tahini, (optional, but if you do not use, increase yogurt by 1 TBSPt- but we’ve discussed this- please use it- you’ll thank me)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or soy yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  1. In a food processor (or blender) combine beans, tahini (if desired), yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice. Blend well. Add salt and cumin and blend to a smooth and creamy dip.
  2. If your hummus is too thick, add a little bit of the liquid from the chickpeas – about a teaspoon at a time. Other ways to thin out hummus is by using warm water or olive oil.
I love hummus and carrots. I love hummus and cucumbers. I love hummus and crusty bread. I love hummus on a spoon.
You get it.
Namaste y’all.

Vegan Diaries – Chickpea Burgers

chickpea burger
Official Meatless Monday Blogger

I search the world looking for the best veggie burger recipes. That’s hyperbole, but I think my point is clear. Veggie burgers matter to me. And I’ve made a few great ones. Guess what? This one may be my favorite one yet. There were lots of recipes out there for chickpea burgers but they all looked a little dry. I didn’t want to add a lot of fat by using olive oil…what’s a girl to do?

Enter roasted eggplant and mushrooms. Eggplant and mushrooms give veggie burgers moisture and a meaty texture. Roasting the veggies gives the burger added depth.

Oooh wee!!! Made all the difference in the world.

May I present the best veggie burger ever.

Ingredients (Makes 4 juicy burgers) 

  • chickpeas – one can
  • mushrooms – one pint
  • eggplant – 1/2 or one small eggplant cut in cubes
  • one small red onion
  • peas (optional) – one handful
  • cilantro – one small bunch chopped
  • garlic – 2-3 cloves minced
  • egg white substitute 3 tablespooms
  • panko breadcrumbs – 2 tablespoons
  • cumin – one teaspoon
  • generous pinch salt
  • black pepper
  • lemon juice from one lemon
Topping for burger
  • plain yogurt (soy yogurt for the vegans- word)
  • cucumber – 1/2 chopped
  • salt – one pinch
  • black pepper
  • garlic – minced (optional)
Preparation
  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Set aside until burgers are done

Preparation

  1. Lightly toss the eggplant and mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet
  2. Roast veggies at 425° for 20-25 minutes (Don’t take a shortcut and add the veggies to the mix without roasting. Roasting brings out the flavor.)
  3. In a food processor combine the roasted veggies, 3/4 of the chickpeas (reserve 1/4 to the side) only use 1/4 of the liquid from the chickpeas. Keep some of the liquid in case the mixture is slightly dry. Add the lemon juice, spices, onion, garlic and cilantro.
  4. Pulse mixture until is is combined but not a paste. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
  5. Fold in bread crumbs, remaining chick peas and peas. 1/4 cup shredded carrot would work as well. I think a veggie burger should be brightly colored.
  6. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.
  7. Cook burgers over medium heat. Cover pan to seal in moisture.
  8. Gently flip burgers after 6 minutes. Cook for another 6-7 minutes
  9. Top the burgers with your favorites (tomatoes, spinach, and yogurt sauce)

Serve with salad or sweet potatoes fries if you are really hungry!!!