September 25, 2007

Since some people are visiting this site looking for exactly how to eat cheap as a vegan, I’d like to post some general tips.

– Buy in bulk.
In the bulk section, get spices, dried fruit, beans (dried beans are WAY cheaper), and lentils, and get big bags of rice.. which leads me to my next tip..

– Rice and beans!
This should be your mantra. Do I even need to mention the protein?

– Make your own.
Bread(!), baked goods, salad, etc. Make oatmeal (with water), varying what you put in it (sugar, fruit, etc.), instead of buying cereal. And don’t buy processed food, fake meats, any of that. (Although right now I have a coupon for $1 off Gardenburger products PLUS they’re on sale for 2 for $5…)

– Use frozen veggies.
They’re not as good, but often insanely inexpensive. I usually just buy corn, because I like to add it to–guess what–rice and beans and other Mexican food. You can also try going to farmer’s markets near the end and barter with them, since they often prefer to get rid of the produce rather than not sell it at all.

– Potatoes.
So filling, and so many ways to make ’em.

– Know where to shop.
Asian markets are often best, and of course choose Trader Joe’s (they have cheap tofu!) over a place like Whole Foods. Find a place with a good bulk section. Store-brand things (pasta–even whole wheat, frozen items, chocolate chips) are usually the most inexpensive.

Just have your basics (including spices), and mix and match.

My favorite super-cheap meals are:

– Mexican food. Obviously, beans and rice–eat ’em in a bowl with some salsa when you’ve got nothing else. Add corn, a nutritional yeast nacho sauce (the one from the Uncheese cookbook is great), peppers.. whatever. Buy corn tortillas or make your own if you dare. I make TVP tacos on special occasions–just add ketchup or tomato paste and spices to the cooked TVP.

– Soups, etc. Buy bouillon cubes instead of vegetable broth, or use water when you can. Make creamy with potatoes. I love lentil soup, split pea (pictured), chili with whatever veggies I have…

– Indian food. I love the chickpea [use frozen] spinach curry from Vegan with a Vengeance. Kittee has some great recipes at paku paku, too. Check out her Latina section and her Ethiopian section for some recipes with lentils, too. Lentils are so inexpensive, did I mention that?

– Stir fry. Combine a grain with any protein and whatever vegetables you have (along with some soy sauce or spices), and how could you go wrong?

I hope that helps!


a couple of links

June 1, 2007

If I had gone vegan when Vez did, I would have been a lot like her… only not as cool. She’s punk rock, colorful, and full of attitude. And she just created a blog called Cheap, Lazy & Hungry.

Pamela at Pamela Cooks has recently posted about being budget-minded and creative in another way: using dollar store ashtrays to hold your dipping sauce and chop sticks! (She also mentioned she used an immersion blender she bought for $3 at a thrift store.) Check out those spring rolls.

i’m back!

June 1, 2007

Well, I made it to Europe and back, and now I’m more broke than ever. Seriously. But I had an amazing time seeing tons of art, ruins, monuments, etc. etc. My favorite place was probably Rome, which was the first city I stayed in (and now also the first city to find cocaine and pot in the air, which may have swayed my opinion–just kidding). In terms of veganism, it was also the easiest. I ate pizza for almost every meal, my favorite being the Roman style square pizza with sauce and peppers (‘pepperoni’ in Italian), often folded like a sandwich. There were other vegan slices too, such as potato with olive oil, and plain marinara with garlic and basil. I ended up eating the former quite often in Florence and Venice, where there were fewer options. If you’re ever in Rome, go to Blue Ice, which has excellent soya gelato. I got vanilla and cappuccino and it made my night.

In Paris, we had a kitchen.. something I would recommend if you’re staying there for more than a few days. Everyone told me I would “fall off the vegan bandwagon” in France, but I was not tempted by the cheese and had plenty of other options. There’s a natural food store with vegan cookies and all the staples and more, called Naturalia, although even the regular grocery store had soy and rice yogurt. And there’s lots of Asian food and falafel stands. As for London, no problem at all.

I should have a picture of one of the meals I made in Paris at some point, after I get my film developed and somehow scanned. For now, here’s what I ate BEFORE I left.

Lachesis, famous for her Seitan O’Greatness, has mastered a meal that was my favorite for years: fettucinne alfredo. It really does taste the same.

The recipe in progress is here (scroll halfway down). Clearly I only made the sauce, because I could just pick up some noodles and silken tofu and be satisfied. It makes a ton, by the way… for the amount of sauce I like, half of a recipe was 4 servings.


And here’s what I took with me on my trip:

Simply granola with dried cranberries, apricots, raisins, raw pumpkin seeds, and coconut flakes.