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:
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.
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
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
As many potatoes as you want to eat
½ block organic tofu
Soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
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!