Follow our family's weekly vegetarian menu, access recipes, and download weekly grocery lists, during my quest to get our weekly grocery bill down to $70 per week, while supporting local agriculture and eating healthy organic foods!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Grand Experiment

It has been a lifetime since I updated this blog. I got a job working a graveyard shift, and that alone has made me more exhausted and busy than any other aspect of my life. With that came an influx in our grocery budget, and it was no longer as important to stick to this budget and goal. Every week when I spend and spend on groceries, I feel a tinge of guilt. Even though I only hit my $75/ week goal a couple of times, I kick myself knowing that it is possible to be frugal with the grocery budget, but I am choosing not to be. So, the grand experiment starts again. 

Some issues that plagued the former attempt at feeding a vegetarian family on the cheap:

1. In order to keep within budget I had to compromise nutritional choices I would have rather not. One very large compromise was feeding my toddler non-organic fruits and vegetables. As I tend to subscribe to the non-GMO side of the GMO debate, there is developing research linking ADHD with increased levels of the most commonly used pesticides, and my daughters brain is in it's most rapidly developing stage... I feel I can no longer make these compromises. 

2. Previously while trying to stick to my budget, the idea of shopping for locally grown and produced items seemed laughable. It has always seemed that fruits and veggies at the farmers market are priced well above their grocery store counter parts. After joining a CSA for 10 weeks, it is no longer out of reach. While I have decided not to renew my membership with the CSA, I will continue to buy local food to not only support local farms, but receive fresher, tastier items. I am convinced there is a way to buy locally on a limited budget. 

The Plan:
Visit websites of local farms prior to the farmers market  to determine which veggies should be selling at the farm stand. I will plan the weekly menu three days at a time. Given that we live in Austin and a fresh farm stand is available everyday of the week, we have ample opportunity. I will frequent the farm stands/farmers markets on Saturdays and Wednesday. The remaining ingredients will be purchased at local grocery stores. The new experiment is to buy local, organic fruits and veggies while preparing healthy delicious meals for a family or 3 (and a dog) for roughly $100/week. I will post the recipes, cost of each meal, and a weekly grocery list each week. This will now be done a week behind, so all reviews and issues are listed up front. 

I apologize for the 6 month lapse! Here's to a fresh start!

The new and improved upcoming weekly menu will be posted Sunday October 17th. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feb 8-14th

This is a week of leftovers. I frequently freeze our left overs in hopes of using them for another meal later in the month. This week we are low or completely out of many staple items. I decided in order to keep our grocery bill from ballooning this week, we will eat our leftovers and free up the money we would usually spend on meals to buy our staple items. 

Our grocery bill ballooned despite my efforts! This week I spent $113. It was quite disappointing, but we had a lot of staple items needed. From now on I am going to post the cost of each meal.  

Monday: Leftover Slow Cooker Vitamin A Blast Black Bean Chili

Tuesday: Immune Enhancing Miso Soup with a side of Lightly Sauted Kale ($2.44)
- Recipe from the site Eating Consciously

Wednesday: Left over Cajun 15 bean soup w/ Millet Mash ($6.22)
-Recipe for Millet Mash from Amazing Grains pg. 108

Thursday: Sun-dried Tomato Veggie Burgers ($2.50) w/ Sweet Potato Fries ($1.62)

~ This dinner was so good! I diced the veggie burgers and mixed it with green onion and frozen peas. I then made hamburger buns using my bread maker and this recipe.  Instead of baking the buns right after they were done rising, I flattened then and piled on the veggie burger mix and put some shredded cheddar and then folded and closed the uncooked bun around the veggie burger mix. I then cooked at the suggested temperature for 20-25 mins. It was a delicious veggie pocket.  My husband loved it too and said he would like it again. 

Friday: Butternut Squash Enchiladas ($9.40) w/ Drunken Beans ($1.62)
-Recipe from Vegetarian Times 
-Recipe for Drunken Beans from Romancing the Bean pg. 76

~This recipe was a good deal more expensive than I like to spend for a meal. It also took a very long time to make. The first step of roasting the butternut squash took an hour and a half instead of 45 mins. I think if I make it again I will dice it before roasting it. The dinner was very good and spicy! My husband suggested replacing the butternut squash with sweet potato, which is a terrific idea. Not only are sweet potatoes a small fraction of the cost of a butter nut squash, but they cook faster. I may try this again with sweet potatoes instead and Verde sauce instead of enchilada sauce. The drunken beans were great, as always! 

Saturday: Mexican Pizza ($4.14)
- Recipe from The Vegetarian 5-ingredient Gourmet pg. 164

~This recipe calls for salsa, refried beans, pizza crust and cheese. Instead of using premade items I used left over pizza crust from our pizza last week, made the salsa by adapting the recipe for Spicy Vegan Quinoa Chili, and made refried beans from the left over drunken beans.   I made the salsa by following the Chili recipe until it called for the TVP and Quinoa. I also added some lime juice and cilantro. To make the refried beans I blended the drunken beans with a bit of the cooking liquid and added 1 tsp of chipotle powder. 

Sunday: Winter Stew ($6.23) w/ garlic bread
-Recipe from Vegetarian Pasta Cookebook pg. 112

Breakfast: Warm Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa ($5.67)
-Recipe from

~This was delicious!! I think it is now my all time favorite breakfast! It was easy and amazing!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Feb 1-7

This weeks menu is predominately recipes from websites. Since you have access to all the recipes, I decided to post the shopping list for you. Click here to get the grocery list for this week. Our groceries this week were $80. The lintels and cottage cheese are used to make our dog's food. If that is something you are interested in, it saves money, and you know your dog is eating humane quality food without deadly fungi in it. I use recipes from Dr. Pitcairn's book, Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. If you are not interested, you may want to remove those items from the list. I also decided not to get the agave nectar. It is quite expensive and you can use 3x the sugar in any recipe calling for agave nectar. Yes, agave nectar is the healthier alternative, and it has a lower glycemic index, but I decided I would rather spend $3.60 to get my daughter some goat milk. 

Monday:Spicy Peanut Noodles and Tofu

~This was amazing! This recipe did not call for tofu. I doubled the peanut sauce recipe, and poured it over drained tofu slices and baked it at 450 degrees for 20 mins. I don't think the meal would have been complete without it! 

Tuesday:Slow Cooker Vitamin A Blast Black Bean Chili

~ This Chili was delicious! My husband said he thinks it was his favorite soup I have made. Try it! 

Wednesday: Peruvian Baked Quinoa and Cheese with a side of Lightly Sauted Kale
-Recipe from

~Leek, green pepper, red pepper, garlic. This combination seems like a fail safe for a delicious and full flavored meal. Strangely, this dish was extremely bland. While we decided that we would not mind eating it again, I just can't see using two semi-expensive ingredients (quinoa and leek) if the dish is not amazing. So, we will not behaving this one again. 

Thursday: Slow Cooker Apple and Split Pea Soup
-Recipe from 

~I love the introduction to this recipe on the blog. It has been miserably rainy here for a week. It was a good rainy day soup. My husband said it was a little too French for his taste. So unfortunately we won't be having it again.

Friday: Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza
        Pizza Crust*
        1/2 cup pesto
        1 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
        1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
        1/2 cup pine nuts
        4 oz chevre goat cheese
        3/4 - 1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped (optional)

 Preheat over to 400 degrees. Pat out dough out on a greased pizza pan and spread pesto over dough leaving 1/4 inch crust. Sprinkle toppings evenly over pizza, putting cheeses on last. Bake for 20 mins. 

*I make my pizza crust with a bread maker using this recipe. I also divide the dough in half to make two thin crust pizzas. I vacuum seal one and freeze if for future use.

Saturday:  Ancho Coffee Red Bean Chili 
-Recipe from 

Sunday: Black Bean Enchiladas with Warm Salsa Verde
-Recipe from

~I was worried about this one while I was making it. The tomatillos have such an odd scent. But the finished product was wonderful! I did make a few changes though. My husband does not like the taste of cumin, so I used chipotle powder instead.

Breakfast: Chai Oatmeal
-Recipe from

~This recipe was decent, but not spectacular. I was a little disappointed just because I love a good chai. It seems like with chai you have to find some bad one's before you find the one! I think I will probably look for a good chai recipe and then adapt it to an oatmeal recipe. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jan 25-31

I found a vegan food blog tonight. There were several interesting looking recipes, and they included ingredients we have on hand. I thought I would give them a try!

Monday:  Pine Nut Hummus, Cauliflower Baked w/ Tomatoes and Feta Cheese & pita bread
- Recipe for Pine Nut Hummus from a courtesy post card from our Realtor, Sheila Rosart
- Recipe for Cauliflower Baked w.Tomatoes and Feta Cheese from Mediterranean Vegetarian Cooking pg. 58

Pine Nut Hummus

3/4 cup olive oil
3 TBL pine nuts
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup tahini, ell stirred
2/3 cups water
5 TBL fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pine nuts for garnish
Fresh basil sprigs for garnish

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor and refrigerate in a covered bowl. Recipe may be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Garnish with fresh basil and pine nuts.

~Word to the wise... When a recipe indicates the use of a food processor...Use a food processor.  I am pretty sure I broke our blender making the hummus.  It tasted great but it was a strange consistency (from trying to process it in my blender.) The cauliflower dish was amazing. It was a little time consuming. Mainly due to peeling tomatoes. It was definitely worth the time. After trying it my husband declared, "This one's a keeper!" 

Tuesday: Black-Eyed Peas and Chard w/Soba Noodles
-Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 140

~This recipe was a little more involved than I expect for a slow cooker recipe. It was very good though. It was very down home and a good mix of beans and greens. My 18 month old hates black-eyed peas, greens, and carrots.. Which is pretty much all this recipe consisted of. I was surprised when she ate it like candy! We will be having this one again, but per my husband's request not too frequently. He missed spices.

Wednesday: Mediterranean Chick'n Cutlets w/ Pitas
- Recipe from Lightlife

Thursday: Avocado Mac and "Cheese"
- Recipe from the site Eating Consciously

~I firmly believe all non-cheese mac and "cheese" recipes should not reference cheese in the title. It sets them up for failure. For instance this dish should be called pasta in an avocado sauce. This dish was different. It was not bad, but had a very unique flavor... a flavor that did not go over well in my home. We won't have this one again, but it is one of the best non-dairy mac and "cheese" attempts I have tried. 

Friday: Immune Enhancing Miso Soup with a side of Lightly Sauted Kale.
- Recipe from the site Eating Consciously

~The soup was delicious! The ginger in it is fantastic. While we were not sick...I can only imagine this soup would be an ideal under the weather soup. It would be so soothing on a sore throat, or if you were stuffy. I added our leftover soba noodles from the Black-eyed peas with Chard and Soba noodles. It was the perfect combination and ensured we have a grain. I have never sauted kale. This worked really well. Definitely a good side dish for the soup!

Saturday: Spicy Vegan Quinoa Chili
- Recipe from the site Eating Consciously

~Quinoa Chili! What a great idea! This was the best chili I have had. It was spicy and a complete meal! My daughter even loved it, and I did not think she liked spicy food. I think her pallet might be changing.

Sunday: Pesto-Infused White Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Stew
   - Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 71

Breakfast: Good Morning Millet Melange
- Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 241

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jan 18-24th

     This weeks groceries only cost $70. We shopped at Fiesta Mart this week, which I believe is the main reason for the savings. For those of you unfamiliar with Fiesta Mart, it is a grocery store which focuses on Latino shoppers. It is a great store. Everything is in Spanish and English, and  there is an array of items I have never seen anywhere else! (Although they do not offer much in the way of organic produce.) They also have the largest ethnic food section I have ever seen!  It consists of five isles and each isle represents a different area of the world. It is only in Austin, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth. We are very fortunate to have it nearby. The prices are so much lower. I am not really sure how they keep everything so cheap... I suppose their markup must be significantly lower than the competition. It looks like we will be shopping there from here on out!
     I  believe I am doing away with the grocery list. Not my personal one, but the posted one. It was suggested that perhaps it is not used frequently. I also realized without access to all the recipes the grocery list is useless. If you would like the grocery list posted, just leave a comment and I will start posting the grocery list again. 
    As previously mentioned I absolutely love Romancing the Bean, by Joanne Saltzman. It is hands down the BEST vegetarian cookbook I have come across. The recipes are easy to follow, she explains how to make variations, most recipes are quick, and she offers suggestions on what to serve with each recipe. All the recipes I have tried in this book are fantastic. If you can not infer, I think Romancing the Bean is the one cookbook every household should have, Vegetarian or not! Because I have had so much luck with this cook book, I am going to try a few recipes from her cookbook Amazing Grains

Monday: Beans with Tomato and Corn with a side of Roasted Carrots and Parsnip & Herbed Bread
     - Recipe for Beans with Tomato and Corn from Romancing the Bean pg. 73
     - Recipe for Roasted Carrots and Parsnip from The Everyday Vegan pg. 153

~This meal was quite simple and delicious. The actual bean recipe called for Lima beans, but Saltzman suggested kidney beans or garbanzo beans would be a good alternative. We have the exact amount of each leftover from yesterday's meal. It was really great with both beans in it. It was so simple and only took 5 mins of prep and 20 mins to cook! The roasted carrots and parsnips were wonderful. I have never even thought about roasting carrots. The recipe simply consisted of chopping and mixing with olive oil. The cook time was approx 40 mins. It was a great side item and went very well with the beans! We will definitely be having this one again sometime!

Tuesday: Boston Baked Beans with a side of Baked Quinoa with Squash 
     - Recipe for Boston Baked Beans from Romancing the Bean pg. 60
     - Recipe for Baked Quinoa with Squash from Amazing Grains pg. 76

~The baked beans were really good. The author of the cookbook always includes notes before each recipe. She commented that this recipe was probably the easiest in the cookbook. I can attest to that. The baked quinoa and squash smelled so delicious while I was preparing it. I was really excited to try a new quinoa dish... I was disappointed. I don't think I cooked it long enough. The squash was still crunchy. It smelled like it would be so flavorful, but it did not deliver. It was quite bland and did not live up to expectations at all. This one is off the list! I also realized while we were eating that baked beans are not really an entree. The equation I use to plan our meals is 1 major protein source + whole grain + vegetable= dinner. Sometimes that equation needs adjusting... otherwise using an item that is commonly used as a side item for the entree, leaves you feeling unsatisfied. I will be using the baked bean recipe in the future as a side for veggie burgers or meatloaf. It does not stand well alone. 

 The quinoa squash bake was better the next day after I cooked it another 30 minutes. It did not make it fantastic, but it was much better than last night. 

Wednesday: Cajun 15 Bean Soup with millet mash 
      - Recipe for Millet Mash from Amazing Grains pg. 108  

~ I bought the Cajun 15 bean soup in the dried bean section of the store. It was Hurst's Hambeens Brand. I just followed the recipe on the back of the bag. The Cajun spices were included with the beans. I added a teaspoon of liquid smoke, as I omitted the meat from the recipe. It probably could have used a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon. I paired the millet mash with the soup, not only to have a whole grain, but because the Cajun bean soup called for sausage and the millet mash called for fennel and fennel seed. Many sausages have fennel seed in them. I recall the first time I tried fennel. I wondered why it tasted like sausage. Of course, it is the other way around. I felt that since I omitted the sausage from the soup, the millet mash would be an ideal tie in. It was great! Both the soup and the millet mash were hearty. They definitely complimented each other well.

Thursday: Fajitas
       1 red pepper, sliced
                 1 package Lightlife Chkn' style strips (any chicken alternative works, but this brand tastes best!)
                 1 green pepper, sliced
                 1 lg. red onion, sliced
                 1 lime juiced
                 1 TBLS chili powder
                 1 TBLS cheyenne pepper
                 1 avocado, sliced
                 1 roma tomato, diced
                 6-10 tortillas*
                 2/3 cups cheese (optional)

Combine peppers, onions, and chik'n style strips in a frying pan or wok. Squeeze lime over mixture and saute over medium to low heat. Add cheyenne pepper and chili powder to taste. I honestly don't ever measure it, and I really prefer the spicier end. If you do not like the spices start with 1/2 tsp and work up. Taste as you go. Once mixture is soft and well cooked, add all other ingredients to tortillas.

~We always love this one! It had quite a bit more spice than usual, but that has to do with my stubborn nature... and insisting on using the Indian chili pepper I bought by accident. 

Friday: Kale and Sweet Potato Quesadillas with Black Beans and Rice
    - Recipe for Quesadillas is from Jodi Balis' comment on NPR's "How Low Can You Go? Meals under $10." 
     - Recipe for Black Beans and Rice from

     Sweet Potato Kale Quesadillas

1 large sweet potato, cooked
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves cut in chiffonade
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (my whole foods block of cheddar in my fridge is $3.19)
2 TBS adobe sauce (from small jar chipotle chiles)
4 Tortillas
3 TBS canola oil

1. Place kale in large bowl with small amount of water. Cover with plastic wrap and cook 7 minutes. Drain off water.
2.Heat oil in large pan over medium high heat.
3.Scoop out sweet potato and add to bowl of kale. Add remaining ingredients.Mix well.

4. Place filling on half of one tortilla shell. fold other half of shell over to form a half moon.
5. Repeat until all filling is used up.

6. Cook until golden and crispy. Flip and cook second side.

~This is on of our favorites as well. My husband LOVES chipotle anything.  With a pressure cooker, this recipe is quick and easy. It is so delicious and filling as well. I skipped the black beans and rice, because I forgot to soak the black beans. Luckily, we still had some Cajun beans left over. I made Cajun beans and rice as our side dish. 

Saturday: Black-eyed Peas in Rosemary & Lemon , "Messa" Collards and Amaranth Steeped in Beer and Rosemary 
     - Recipe for Black-eyed peas in Rosemary & Lemon from Romancing the Bean pg. 71
     - Recipe for "Messa" Collards from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 173
     - Recipe for Amaranth Steeped in Beer and Rosemary from Amazing Grains pg. 102

~Even though I've lived most of my life in the South, I just had collard greens for the first time on New Year's Eve.  I decided to give them a go, and pair them with another traditionally Southern dish, black-eyed peas. The Amaranth was a little too bitter, but that is b/c we chose and extra stout beer to steep it in. In retrospect, cornbread would have been a much suitable and traditional pairing with this dish.   The "Messa" Collards were amazing easy to make, and were delicious. My husband reported they were the best greens he had ever eaten! That was a tremendous compliment, as he grew up in a Southern country family, where greens were a fairly common item.  I am not usually a big fan of black-eye peas, but these were good. The only adjustment I would recommend is using lemon juice instead of lemon zest. The zest was much too bitter. I tried it the next day for lunch with lemon juice and it made a world of difference. 

Sunday: Maple-Chipotle Glazed Tofu with Oat Groats in Sweet Carrot Marinade 
    - Recipe for Maple-Chipotle Glazed Tofu from the web site Veggie Meal Plans
    - Recipe for Oat Groats in Sweet Carrot Marinade from Amazing Grains pg. 73

~The Maple-Chipotle Glazed Tofu was superb!! The recipe choices this week gave me the knew knowledge that my husband does not like oranges or anything orange flavored. Sadly a few of the dishes this week did not go over so well. At least now I know. :) I hoped the chipotle  in the tofu recipe would override the orange juice, and it did. Even with a dislike for orange my husband loved this! The recipe was very straight forward an consisted only of mixing ingredients, rowing the tofu. and pouring the glaze over the tofu. I love that I found this recipe! I needed different ways to cook tofu, and this one delivered on easy and flavor. The oat groat recipe was a great choice for this. It tasted even better with a bit of the glaze mixed with it. I will definitely make the tofu again, but the oats had double the orange juice, so for the sake of my husbands pallet, I will pair it with a different dish next time. 

Breakfast: Barley and Kamut Breakfast Pilaf
    - Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 239

~This breakfast really let me down. It was quite mushy and lacked flavor. The only saving grace was the maple syrup. I don't think syrup should carry a dish. I may adapt the recipe in the future to be include fresh apples and flavor it like cinnamon apple oatmeal. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jan 11-17

Monday: Pineapple Corn Salsa Soft Tacos
~ This is a recipe I got from Which is a site you pay $5/month and they provide you with weekly recipes and your grocery list. The plus side to the recipes are they use very common ingredients. Things are pretty easy to find. It is also very convenient to have your grocery list pre-made for you. The downside is the recipes begin to be slight variations of one another, some of them are really gross, and our grocery bill fluctuated vastly from week to week. There were several times ingredients were left off the grocery list. This particular recipe is really tasty and easy to make. It is a warm pineapple and corn salsa, with a chicken alternative. I added the Tortillas to make soft tacos. 

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Steamed Broccoli 

~There are few things cheaper than spaghetti!  I used to make my sauce from scratch, but HEB has some really delicious jarred sauce. It is very inexpensive and saves me a ton of time and energy. I use whole wheat spaghetti noodles and always add a couple cloves of garlic to the sauce. 

Wednesday: Indian Cauliflower and Kidney Bean Stew w/ Coconut Milk
       - Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

~I forgot to get the coconut milk, and this recipe and the curry recipe ended up falling on the same day. So I scraped this and used the veggies and beans to make my own creation. I used a lavender spice blend from a local lavender company call Hill Country Lavender. The soup was good, but nothing spectacular. My husband hates sage, and unfortunately the blend had it... which means this was a one time experiment. 

Thursday: Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
                1/2 lb of cooked black beans
                1/2 bag of frozen mixed veggies
                1/2 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
                1 14 oz can of chipotle diced tomatoes
                2-4 oz chipotle peppers (reserve and freeze adobo sauce for future recipes)
                5 tortillas*
                2/3 cup of cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine beans, mixed veggies and cilantro leaves. Mix well. Fill tortillas with cheese and bean mix. Fold and place in baking dish. Combine tomatoes and chipotle pepper in a separate bowl and spoon over enchiladas. Bake for 20 mins.

Friday: Gwen's Meatloaf Gone Vegetarian with Butternut Squash Fries

            Gwen's Meatloaf Gone Vegetarian:
            1/2 pack McCormick meatloaf seasoning
            1 can (15.25 oz) Hunts Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf
            1 cup of  dry texturized vegetable protein cooked in 2 cups of hot water
            1 package  (12 oz) Light life Smart Ground Original
            2 large eggs, beaten
            1 cup dried bread crumbs (you can use oats or crackers)
            1/2 green pepper diced
            1/2 onion diced

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix 1/2 can sauce, texturized vegetable protein, Smart Ground, beaten eggs, green pepper, onion and 1/2 envelope McCormick meatloaf seasoning. Shape into a loaf in a casserole pan. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Drain the grease off. Add remaining Hunt's Seasoned Tomato Sauce for meatloaf (spread over the top) and return to oven for 10 minutes. 

        Butternut Squash Fries:
        1/2 large butternut squash, cut in thin strips
        2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
        1 TBL olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place butternut squash strips in 9 x 13 baking dish. Crush garlic over squash and pour olive oil on top. Mix well to ensure garlic and oil is well distributed in the squash. Cook until squash is soft with golden or dark spots. (depending on taste) Average cook time of 30-40 mins. 

~This "meat"loaf recipe is a variation of my mother-in-laws actual meatloaf recipe. Her meatloaf is a family favorite. There is a story of one of my husband's childhood friends frequently stopping by and asking for her meatloaf. This vegetarian recipe is delicious. My husband says, it should not be called meatloaf. I suppose that is because the consistency is quite different. It definitely lacks the grease meatloaf usually has... and it does not stick together like a standard meatloaf, but the flavor is dead on. I really love to make this! I started making the butternut squash fries after seeing my friend, Suki, make something very similar. Her recipe used chunks of squash, and onion. I omit the onion and make squash strips, so they are more like French fries. If you like sweet potato fries, you will love this. The butternut squash has such a light flavor, and works so well as a fry! 

Saturday: Refried Black Bean Burritos

Sunday: Curried Garbanzo Beans with Spinach over a Bed of Kasha
      - Recipe from Romancing the Bean pg. 74

~This is one of my all time favorite recipes. It is so delicious! It is also surprisingly easy to make. I was worried this time around, because the recipe calls for coconut milk... which I had forgotten to get at the store. Joanne Saltzman explains how to make variations and use different cooking liquids... which saved the day. I used soy milk instead. I was afraid it would not be as rich of a sauce, but I was not disappointed! It was still amazing! We had plenty of left over butternut squash from a previous recipe, so I added this to the recipe. It was such a good move. It was soft and absorbed the curry well. It was a good complement to the garbanzo beans, and tied in well with the spinach. YUM! This is the first time I have tried Kasha. I finally found it at Whole Foods.  Kasha is  toasted buckwheat groats. It sounds quite odd, but it is soft, easy to make and has a wonderful flavor. Not to mention it is whole grain!  I would recommend trying it. We are definitely going to be eating more of it! Here is a good website on how to prepare different types of whole grains. I use a rice cooker.. I think it is the easies method. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Money Saving Tip #3

Cut Down on Cheese!

There are so many reasons to cut down on cheese. Reduce your carbon foot print, cholesterol, fat intake or animal welfare issues.. I could go on...but we all know it is very tasty and a lot of people don't want to live without it! However,  It adds a big chunk to the grocery bill. I try to limit using cheese to once a week. Although you would not know that from last weeks menu. :) Reducing your cheese intake can save you $10-20 per week!

Jan 4-10th

And.... We're back!  You have my sincerest apologies for such a delay in posting this weeks menu! We came home this week from Christmas vacation, with a toddler with RSV. Then headed straight to our friends home to pet sit for the week. Needless to say, life has been busy, sick and blogging took the back burner! This weeks menu is focused on quick and last minute. I am not posting a shopping list for this week, but I will post one for next week.

Monday: Leftover Chipotle-kissed Sweet Potato Stew

~After driving 15 hours, I was extremely glad to have frozen these leftovers! I just Stuck it in the crock pot, caught up on some sleep and then we ate once we woke up! 

Tuesday: Veggie Burgers w/ Pepper Jack Cheese and Canned Vegetarian Baked Beans

Wednesday: Spinach Quesadillas with leftover Baked beans

1 small bag of fresh baby spinach, chopped
6 tortillas
1/4 red onion chopped
2 cups shredded mexi-blend cheese

Place tortilla in dry frying pan on Med-low heat. Sprinkle enough cheese to cover tortilla and sprinkle some chopped red onion over cheese. Then, layer spinach about 1 inch thick, cover with cheese and place 2nd tortilla on top. Cook until bottom layer cheese is melted and spinach wilts. Then flip and repeat until you have cooked your quesadilla to the desired darkness.

Thursday: Mexican Chili Corn Pie
            - Recipe from Favorite Vegetarian Recipes pg. 228

~ This is one of our favorites. It is a corn chili baked with a cheesy corn bread crust. It is wonderful, and pretty easy. The corn bread is a terrific topper for the chili.

Friday: Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry

8 oz frozen mixed vegetables
2 tbls sesame oil
2 cloves  of garlic, crushed
1 small red onion
1 lb extra firm tofu
2/3 cup Bragg's (or soy sauce/ tamari)
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water

Cook rice in a rice cooker. Cut tofu into thin strips and heat 1 Tbl of oil in a skillet and lay strips over the oil. Douse tofu strips with approx 1/3 cup of Braggs or enough to cover the tofu completely. Once the tofu is fully cooked, heat remaining oil in a wok or frying pan and cook garlic and onion until soft. Approx 2 mins. Add Mixed frozen veggies, add tofu and cook until hot. Once rice is done, add to veggies and tofu. Mix remaining 1/3 cup Braggs and cook until thoroughly mixed.

~This is a pretty standard veggie stir fry. It is also quick and easy.

Saturday: Edamame and Peas Topped with Blue Cheese on a Bed of Quino

8 oz frozen edamame (soy beans)
8 oz frozen peas
1 small red onion
2 gloves garlic
1/4 cup Braggs (or soy sauce/tamari)
3/4 cup water
Blue cheese crumbled to top (amount varies for preference)
1 cup quino
2 cups water

     Wash quino well. It is known to be quite sandy otherwise. Place quino and two cups of water in a small pan and cook on med to low heat until all the water is absorbed and quino has expanded and looks like a spiral. Meanwhile, combine other ingredients (leaving the blue cheese  aside and refrigerated) in a pressure cooker. Stir well and cook per pressure cooker's directions. The quino and edamame mixture shoudl be done roughly the same time (usually within 15 mins.)  Make a bed of quino on the plate, top with edamame mixture and crumble the blue cheese over both to complete.

~ I came up with this after my watching my friend Suki make something similar using noodles, and without  edamame. I never even thought I liked blue cheese until I tried Suki's dish. I absolutely love this dish. It is has so much flavor and gives you plenty of protein, and nutritious whole grain! This dish has really made quino one of my favorite grains. It is fast cooking, loaded with protein and easy to eat! Quino is available in all the bulk sections here in Austin. If you have a whole food, it will be there. If you don't have access to bulk sections, or items like this are hard to find, try the area of the store that has organic or nutritional items. 

Sunday: Hummus, Tabbouleh, Grape Leaf Wraps with Pita Bread

~ I just bought all the items pre-made, from a local store called Tom's Tabbouleh. It is one of the most expensive meals of the day week. Total it cost $12 for the meal, which is quite a bit more expensive then I normally spend for our meals. But this meal is the easiest (since it is already made) and one expensive meal a week doesn't usually break the budget.