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!

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. 


  1. May I just say that you are awesome? -Nicole
    P.S. No need for the extra work or the grocery list, your time is precious and you already do enough for us. As if you didn't know this.

  2. I like that you are posting external links to sites that have the recipes for specific dishes. I think this also helps people browse there to find new ideas!