Now, on to the practical side of things

I’ve been really enjoying the food that I’ve been eating this week.  Honestly, it’s not nearly as hard as I expected.  I have learned a few things about being on a budget.  I think that with my next trip to the farmers’ market I will go with a menu for the week in mind and a shopping list.  Last time, I just bought food aimlessly.  That did not go as well.  I will also allow myself to shop at our locally owned and run grocery store.  They don’t only buy locally, but they do buy a lot of regional foods and they are not a mega corporation, so the revenue from their store stays here in town.  That’s a good thing, right?  I can’t be a fundamentalist about this local thing.  I am just doing my best at this point. 

Anyway, here are some of the things I’ve eaten this week that I’ve liked:

So Delicious cultured coconut milk.  It’s pricey, but it’s SO good if you like yogurt. 

 I got some natural cereal on sale.  I’ve been trying to do sales and coupons when I can.

 I made some ratatouille out of my locally grown produce, and I will post the recipe at the bottom.

 I’ve eaten a lot of Ezekiel bread ‘mater sandwiches with locally grown tomatoes and vegan mayo.  It is good, really, you can’t tell the difference. 

 I also made this kale with potatoes and marinated tofu.  Sounds weird, tastes like good home cooking.  Recipe will follow as well. 

 Apart from having to purchase staples, I have spent around $75 this week on groceries.  I could do better, and I plan to.  I definitely think that having a menu ahead of time will help. 

 There are some staples for the kitchen that I recommend as well.  These are an investment up front, but you won’t have to replace them very often:

 Brown rice

Whole wheat pastas (yes, it has eggs, but I already had it, so I’m eating it.  I will change to eggless when I run out)

Quinoa, which is a seed, but you can cook it up like rice.  It is like a heartier version of couscous.  If you find it to be bland, you can cook it in vegetable stock.

Soy sauce or liquid aminos.  The liquid aminos are a great substitute if you have a hard time finding soy sauce with all natural ingredients, and it also provides some B vitamins for your diet.

Vegan Worcestershire sauce.  I found some in the regular grocery section for about two bucks.  You just have to read the label and make sure it doesn’t have animal products in it.

Nutritional yeast.  This is a pricey part, but it will last a long time.  It is not a “whole food” exactly, but it is nutritional and can be bought in “natural” form, i.e. with  no preservatives or weird stuff.  I like to use it to bread pan fried tofu or to put on top of foods that you might want to sprinkle cheese on. 

I also purchased a good food processor.  You can probably get by without one, but it saves a LOT of time to have one.  I got a multipurpose one that can be used as a blender or a processor.  I figured that if I had a sweet tooth, I might want to have a smoothie or something. 

Tonight I am using The Grit’s cookbook to make collards.  I am also making blackeyed peas and cornbread.  I will post the recipes for the peas and cornbread later if they turn out to be good.  So as not to infringe on copyright, I will just say that you should buy the cookbook for the collard recipe and others.  It’s a great investment.   

Recipes:

 Ratatouille

 1 eggplant

1 zucchini

3 small squash

1 onion (I used Vidalias because of the sweetness and their close proximity to my town)

1 bell pepper

1 large tomato

As much garlic as you like.  I don’t love garlic, so I just used one clove, smashed

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

I browned the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium/high heat. Then I dumped the rest of the ingredients in, chopped coarsely, and cooked it until it was the texture that I liked.  I served it over the inside of a spaghetti squash (cut it in half, scoop out the guts, nuke it for 6-8 minutes, and dig it out with a fork).  I sprinkled mine with nutritional yeast, but you can do whatever.  We ate HUGE helpings. 

It’s a little labor intensive if you do it all at once.  My recommendation for time-saving is to plan ahead.  When you shop on your day off, go home, cut up all your veggies how you will need them for your recipes, and freeze them in baggies or reusable containers.  You can store them in your freezer by category and just pull them out during the week.  Sure it’s more work than hamburger helper, but this won’t make you feel guilty afterward and you can eat as much as you want! 

Kale with Potatoes and Marinated Tofu

Two bunches of Kale

½ onion

As many potatoes as you want to eat

½ block organic tofu

Liquid smoke

Worcestershire sauce

Soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

Cider vinegar

Honey

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Garlic

Vegetable stock

 I don’t measure things, so that will probably irritate you. 

I cleaned and sliced the potatoes into rounds, put olive oil on a pan and baked them at 400 degrees for about 22 minutes with salt and pepper on them.

 While they cooked, I prepped the tofu by cutting it into thin slices about one inch wide, two inches long, and a quarter of an inch thick.  You can marinate this in a sauce of soy sauce, Worcestershire, and a tiny dash of liquid smoke while you work on the next step. 

 I cleaned and chopped the Kale, coarsely chopped the onion.  I sautéed the onion in some olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once they started to cook, I added the Kale, poured in some premade all natural stock, cider vinegar, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and Worcestershire sauce to taste.  I covered the pan and let it cook until the kale got as tender as I wanted it. 

While that cooked, I pan fried the tofu in just a little olive oil and the liquid from the marinade.  I cooked it until it was brown on both sides, all the liquid had evaporated, and the tofu was partially dried out.

 Not sure how long to cook the components, I just know the entire process from prep to eating was only about a half hour to 45 minutes. 

 To serve, put the potatoes on the bottom, the kale in the middle and the tofu on the top.  It is delicious.  My mom even liked it.  The potatoes I used were purple, though, and that freaked her out a little.  What can I say, they were on sale at the farmers’ market!

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About wholefoodsoulfood

Wife, mother, teller-of stories, cooker of food, liver of life, teller of truth. Welcome to my corner of the internet. Make yourself at home.
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11 Responses to Now, on to the practical side of things

  1. Amanda Kauf says:

    I am loving your blog so far! By the way, nutritional yeast on grits = cheesy flavored grits. Score in my house. 🙂 And So delicious coconut ice cream is to.die.for. Hunter had that treat when her tooth was pulled. I sneaked a little for myself.

    Those Skinny Bitch books are great. I just started SB in the Kitch myself. Have you seen Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet? Another fave of mine. She’s on FB too.

    And green smoothies aren’t too bad, if you haven’t experimented yet.

  2. i know the ethics of reposting recipes can be shady at times, but if you make changes to the recipe of any kind, you can post it as “adapted from” with proper credit given. especially if you’re not planning on including it in a cookbook of your own. i ended up looking into copyright law for recipes, and that was the most concise answer i got from multiple sources. and why am i posting this? because i would love to get a recipe for the grit cornbread without borrowing a copy from the library. 🙂

  3. Megan Alba says:

    Love the recipes… thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try the ratatouille.

    I just read Skinny Bitch – that’s what started my personal food revolution. Now I’m reading The Raw Detox Diet by Natalia Rose.

    Keep the blog posts coming! I love reading about your experience!

  4. Iri says:

    I really admire what you’re doing! A couple resources, in case you get bored! I subscribe to Clean Eating magazine, and it has tons of great ideas, although not all of them are vegan. Many are, though. Also, if you haven’t read it, Kath Eats Real Food http://www.katheats.com is a fun food blog where she captures everything she eats in a day, which can be pretty inspiring. Also, not vegan.

    If you can eat some processed food, I love Purely Decadent coconut ice cream. Vegan, sweetened with agave and delish. Last time we were eating GF, Dairy Free etc etc I thought I’d loose my mind without something sweet. When I found it, I nearly cried 🙂 http://www.turtlemountain.com/products/purely_decadent_Coconut_Milk.html

  5. Thomas says:

    Glad to see you are making the change. We did about three years ago. It’s quite a journey, we’ll be re-learning all these things our culture has lost concerning food for the rest of our lives.

    We have found that one of the best ways to shop organic on a dime is to buy dried goods in bulk: beans, rice, quinoa, couscous, popcorn, wheatberries, oatmeal, flour etc. Whole Foods has a bulk aisle that has all of these to purchase from containers. The prices are well worth it.

    Since you like quinoa let me also suggest a recipe: we have been making quinoa cakes lately with tomatoes and mozzarella. We cook the quinoa first, then mix in an egg, form cakes, and bake until it’s well formed and a bit crispy. Let them rest for a bit and then drizzle olive oil over the cakes and toss some tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves on top. It’s great!

  6. Amy Conner says:

    I have loved reading your blog! Can’t wait for more to come.

  7. Summer Sneed says:

    I’m totally trying the ratatouille. It looks delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipes and your new journey. One of the benefits of living in Kenya has been that most of the food staples are organic and thankfully, they are cheaper than organic food in the States. Kevin and I really enjoy and prefer this “forced” lifestyle change. But if the local grocery store happens to get a rare shipment of Oreo’s we are too weak to resist. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the support, guys! Also, thanks for the input about posting recipes! I’d love to hear how you enjoy this stuff when you make it yourselves!

    Iris, I tried the So Delicious coconut milk yogurt. It is delicious, so I’m sure that the ice cream rocks, too! Thanks for the links.

    Thomas, I totally buy bulk dry goods and store them in glass jars. Such a good way to save money. I am going to have to try the quinoa cakes, but I’ll need to find some vegan substitutes, since I’m avoiding eggs.

    I’m really grateful for all the good tips and stories of other people who are doing the same things!

  9. Dani says:

    We are on a similar journey! Check out my blog if you get a chance 🙂 http://theglamorousvegan.blogspot.com/

    • Dani, I went over to your blog. I think we have similar taste in books. 🙂 I need to read The Kind Diet. I’m pretty sure that with the way I’m going, I might end up falling into her “superhero” category eventually! LOL!

  10. Tim says:

    Great job thus far….

    The quinoa really is good and versatile… i made the following recipe without the squash but added roasted cauliflower , zucinni , yellow squash and broccoli.:

    http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-delicata-squash-with-quinoa-salad

    served it as a main dish for lunch and the kids loved it.

    sister in law said she uses quinoa as taco meat….

    keep it up

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