Sunday, March 29, 2009

$3.33 a day: Let's make a burger out of it! (and raw chili)


Raw Cincinnati Chili

Raw and delicious! This totally hit the spot. I made enough chili for 4 servings and have been eating it over noodles, in wraps and on top of salad. I wish I had made a raw cheddar sauce though.. that would have taken it over the top.

I have been asked by so many people how to make a burger out of leftovers, so I figured I would do a little tutorial. I used 1 cup of the leftover curried split pea/veggie stew. It is fairly thick as you can see:

1 cup of the soup, a very liberal half cup of rolled oats and 1 T golden flax meal. That's it.

Mix and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Shape into patties.. then dredge in cornmeal, breadcrumbs or flour if desired. Make sure to season all of the above! You don't have to do this, but it makes for a crispy outer layer. Most of the time I skip this because it makes the burgers healthier. (dredging them will help if they are not sticking together)

Heat your cast iron or non stick skillet to a little less than medium and spray with cooking spray. Cook for 5 minutes or so on each side.


Burgers! See how simple it is? I got 4 burgers out of the mixture, but I make them small.




Millet Lasagna

Here's the millet lasagna from last post. It fed the three of us AND I have the leftovers in the freezer. I am going to mix them with TVP and make burgers out of them next week. (If I had a microwave, I would have saved this and just eaten it for breakfast or whatever).. I debated on turning it into a soup, but decided to freeze it for burgers instead. IF I had turned it into a soup, I would have taken around 2 cups of the leftovers and covered that with water and marinara and probably a cup of cooked lentils, cooking over medium heat for 30 minutes or so. That would have given me 2 large size dinner soup portions.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

$3.33 a day: Cook once, eat many times


Whole Food Breakfast Muffins

I love making large batches of food so I don't have to THINK much about meals. As I've mentioned, my kids have to catch the bus at 6:45 am, so a sit down breakfast is out of the question. I've been experimenting more and more with muffins and these were delicious and totally kid approved! 100% whole grain, no added fat (but they did have whole coconut) and infused with LENTILS! My younger son is much harder to please and he loves these, so they will most likely please a picky eater.

Millet Lasagna (before baking)

I am planning on baking bread again tomorrow (I usually bake twice a week), so in order to fill my oven, I made this casserole. The base is a millet polenta. It is stuffed with a kale/'feta'/lentil filling and topped with more millet, marinara and my sharp cheddar. I made enough filling to freeze for another dish.. most likely calzones or pasta. The casserole will yield 4 servings and the leftover filling will provide the bulk of at least another 2-4 servings depending what I do with it.
Casserole Filling

Toasted Cheese Sandwich

My new cheese recipe on homemade sourdough whole wheat bread (jack jack, he's the man!) along with some flash sauteed collards. The last of the tomato from last week. I can't believe how long it lasted. Ganted, this pic was taken a few days ago and the tomato was less than stellar.

Indian Spiced Yellow Split Pea Stew

Simple, delicious and comforting. Not to mention super spicy. I have 2 leftover portions in my freezer (2 cups a piece) along with around 1 cup that I'm going to turn into burgers.

Lentil Potato Kale Stew

Just your basic Italian flavors thrown together. Super yum. (can you tell I cooked a pound of lentils the other day?) ..

I love cooking a pound of dried legumes and using them in a variety of ways throughout the week. As you can see from this post, I made use of lentils in many dishes here and I still have around 2 cups in the fridge.

I am drinking my coffee black now. Yesterday, I went 24 hour with no coffee and plunged into withdrawal. This morning, it was wonderful having a cup. I am no longer buying organic, free trade. For $2 I can get 10 oz of espresso (which I brew like french roast in my coffee press)..


Raw Breakfast Bars

I'll end this post just like I started.. with breakfast. I make these for the kids and keep them in the freezer. They eat them for breakfast, pack them in lunches and often for dessert.

I went shopping and spent $7.20 on:

Carrots 1.20
Soy Sauce 1.00
Coffee 2.00
Zucchini 1.10
Garlic .90
Corn Tortillas 1.00

Total spent this month: $63.00

Total left to spend: $40.23

Bulk Food Fund: $24.83

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

$3.33 a day: Reuben Pizza, wraps, soup and rice

Jack Bauer Reuben Pizza

I almost killed Jack the other day. When you store sourdough in a mason jar as I do, you can't cover it tightly. I accidentally knocked the whole thing onto the floor, but caught it before he spilled out. I don't think even Jack Bauer could come back from a germy floor. (and who would want him to?)

This is a 100% whole wheat crust that I allowed to slow rise overnight. I also make a loaf of bread with the same dough. It was topped with a swiss cheese sauce, lentils, sauerkraut, onions, 1000 island dressing and raw kale and carrots. Super delicious! I always pre-bake my crust for around 5 minutes or so before adding any toppings. I sprayed the crust with olive oil cooking spray and added garlic powder and caraway seeds to it for a more authentic flavor.


More collard wraps. For those of you wondering, I eat mine raw. You can easily blanch or steam your wraps if the raw taste is too much. This was a combo raw wrap with a little bit of cooked filling. I used a teeny bit of refried beans and some cooked cheese sauce, a raw burger which I cut up into slices, pickled jalapenos, tomato, onion, cilantro and 1/4 an avocado.

The raw burger was made from sunflower seeds, carrots, raw bbq sauce and chipotle powder.

I am going to ignore the fact that collards and kale rate high on the pesticide list. It seems that no matter what we do, we are screwed. Seriously. If I had a ton of money to spend, I would buy organic. I don't and I am doing the best I can to get the most nutrition for my buck! I find it so easy to fall into this trap of worrying so much about this or that and it is not productive for my sanity!

For those of you who ask me over and over why I don't grow my own food. (This has to be the number one question people email me about!) I live in a basement apartment in New Hampshire surrounded by pine trees. I do not have a patio. I do not have enough light inside to do so. I wish I could.

I wonder if I could find someone with land who would be willing to work something out landwise? Hmmm.. I'm going to check into that! I could cook food for the person or give them part of my crop in exchange for their land? It's worth a try.

I've noticed several things that have changed shopping wise. I am no longer buying organic baby spinach and arugula. For around $2.99 for 5 oz, it is still a decent deal, but I can get some large bunches of kale and collards for $1.29. The kale and collards have more versatility and a much longer shelf life. I can use them in green smoothies, as salads, as sturdy greens, in soups and wraps. Also, they are very filling and have pretty high amounts of protein. 4 cups of raw kale has 8.8 grams of protein as opposed to 3.4 grams in spinach. Add 1/2 cup of beans, a healthy dressing and a T of nutritional yeast and I have a huge, satisfying salad that has around 22 grams of protein!

I have not bought any bread. Not even when it's on sale.

I haven't bought tofu either.

I keep putting off making tofu! You have to have 3 pitchers full of soymilk, which is a total PITA... but I can't wait to give it a try! I miss tofu. In fact, that's what I miss the most... oh and processed vegan cheese! I really want to try some of the new FYH out there. I hear they've really improved the flavor and meltability. I've been making a lot of cheese sauces and while they're good, sometimes I just want the store bought stuff.

Yo Vegan Cheese companies! Send me samples! PRETTY PLEASE!!!

All right.. back to food!


Fried Spanish Rice, Kale and Cabbage

Leftover brown rice, veggies, spices, salsa, queso cheese sauce, sour cream... and siracha. I used tons of jalapenos too and garlic. This was actually what I had for breakfast the other day.

Silky yellow split pea soup. I used some of the split pea flour for this soup. Cool beans. hehe

One last VERY exciting thing.. my electric bill was only $24.17 last month! That's for heat and electricity! (I don't pay for hot water).. Granted, I did spend 5 days at my old house, but I think unplugging everything and obviously hardly ever using my heat has really payed off! My house is a balmy 62 degrees right now! My son is home sick, so I turned the heat on.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

$3.33 a day: Raw and Cooked

I just love love love collard greens. They make the BEST wraps ever! The above was filled with spiralized daikon and carrtos, siracha, sesame seeds, wasabi, pickled ginger, avocado, scallions and my low fat flax sesame ginger vinaigrette. The $.50 cent avocados I bought two weeks ago are still very fresh. Buying avocadoes unripe and allowing them to just soften slightly, then putting them in the fridge helps to extend their life. Just take the avocado out the day before you want to use it and let it ripen up.
A different kind of salad


Bean burger on homemade bread. I love using kale or collards as the top piece of bread in a burger or sandwich. Not only does it save calories, it ups your nutrition big time!

First attempt at Raw Baked Beans


Yesterday on RaFu (my favorite online raw forum) someone asked if it would be possible to create raw baked beans? I of course, had to try to figure it out. These are my first attempt with what I had on hand. (and the pic looks gross.. it's hard to make raw baked beans look good). I actually liked them more than I thought I would.

Since I had my dehydrator going, I made some raw bread and crackers... and have 4 raw burgers. I also created a delicious raw BBQ sauce. I will definitely have some raw food recipes in my ebook.

Friday, March 20, 2009

$3.33 a day: Sushi Wrap, Soup and Stew

Sushi Roll Up

The lazy way to eat sushi! Actually, I like eating it as a wrap better than in pieces. This wrap had daikon, brown rice, sesame seeds, carrots, avocado, shan tofu and kale. The sauce was my low fat sesame ginger dressing. Super delicious! Sometimes, only sushi roll ups hit the spot. My oldest son LOVES them too.

Cajun Stew

I had to put the frozen okra to good use.. well, actually, I bought the okra in order to test this recipe. I love the way it turned out. You can find the recipe here.

Buffalo Shan Tofu

This was the baked buffalo tofu.. and it worked out well. You can see the marinade doesn't penetrate it like regular tofu, but it was still good.

Two Cheese Potato Soup

The soup itself was a potato/swiss cheese soup topped with sharp cheddar sauce. I am tweaking my cheese sauce recipes and am really coming up with some tasty stuff! Very low fat too.

My Ebook is becoming a labor of love.. I am trying really hard to write recipe with ingredients that most people have on hand or easy access to AND make the recipes as low fat, whole food and healthy as possible. I hope to have it ready by the end of April.

That brings me to another point. I was going to try to keep my budget to $60 for the month, but it's not possible if I am going to be developing recipes for the book. I am going to use the full $100 this month I think. I still have over 2o bucks in my bulk fund, so maybe I can just dip into that?

I am VERY low on EVOO and quinoa and spices and condiments. Also, I really like being able to use fresh basil (I WILL TRY growing my own herbs once I can get the starter plants.. I live in a basement apartment in NH surrounded by pine trees.. so I get very little light)..

I went for another walk to Hell Mart today and purchased the following:

Brown Rice 1.57
2 lbs yellow split peas 1.44
Blue Bonnet Light .93
Cilantro 1.14
sauerkraut .62

Total: $5.71

Blue Bonnet Light is vegan. I usually use Smart Balance Light, but it was $2.99. Not the healthiest thing, but whatever. I'm doing the best I can right now.

Total Spent this month: $55.30

Total left to spend: $47.93

Bulk Food Fund: $24.83




Tuesday, March 17, 2009

$3.33 a day: Shan Tofu and Jack Bauer

Homemade Shan Tofu and Raw Collard Salad

In my last post, I linked to the recipe I used for the tofu made from yellow split peas. I am in love with this stuff! It isn't like traditional tofu, more like a cross between silken tofu and polenta, but that's OK because the nutritional profile and frugality of this stuff knocks my socks off! I used my vita mix to grind yellow split peas, but I'm sure you could use a coffee grinder as well. I ground one cup of the dry peas ($.50) and used about 3/4 of them in the tofu. I got around 3 servings for around 140 calories, 11 grams protein, 11 grams fiber and no fat. So for $.17/serving it will definitely fit in my budget. BOTH of my kids liked it too, which honestly surprised me because they hate polenta.

The recipe above was a raw collard salad with onions, carrots, sesame ginger dressing and the dry fried tofu. Siracha and sesame seeds finished it off. I used 2 large collard greens (one HUGE bunch was $1.29) for the salad.

I've also used the tofu to make baked buffalo steaks which both the kids and I love. Expect to be seeing TONS of this soon. In fact, I will probably include an entire chapter of recipes in my ebook. I have been experimenting so much with GREAT results.

The Bauer Stromboli

Jack Jack.. he's the man! I used him for this dough.. the stromboli was filled with the leftover lasagna filling and homemade cheese. Super delicious. I also made 2 veggie burgers from the filling as well. Again, totally kid approved.

Bauer Buns

Just some whole wheat buns. I like to make them super thin for calorie reasons..

100% homemade burger

The burger, buns and cheese sauce all homemade, low fat and super delicious. I mixed around 2/3 cup of the leftover lasagna filling with oats and flax and made 2 burgers. The cheese sauce recipe I making is constantly evolving.. each time it gets better and better it will be awesome when it's finally in the ebook! I also made a wicked good swiss cheese sauce (that I will be using in several recipes this week so stay tuned!)

The Cutest Dog in the World!

I've been spending SOOOO much quality time with my dog this week.. I WUFF her so much. She's just the best.

Finally, thank you all for your support... it means the world to me. I know better than to let people get to me, but sometimes I need to be reminded!

Oh.. almost forgot! I shopped again and spent a total of $4.50 on:

Kale 1.29
Frozen Okra 1.29
Daikon 1.20
Scallions .33
Parsley .89
Tomato .50

Total spent this month: $49.59

Total Left to meet my goal of only spending $60.00: $10.41

Can I do it?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

$3.33 a day: A little vent and food

Lasagna

I am staying at my old house (and have been for several days as my X is out of town).. I've brought tons of my own food over to use, but made use of some lasagna noodles he had. Everything else is from my own house. I made a filling of collard greens, tvp, tomato powder, onion, garlic, spices and a bunch of white beans To top it off, I made some sunflower/white bean cheese which worked well. I wasn't sure my kids would like it, but they did.. I didn't tell them it was vegan. That makes all the difference I think.

I have around 2 cups of the filling leftover and I am going to turn it into burgers for the week.

This was just a simple veggie soup. I used frozen mixed veggies, potatoes, tomato powder, onion, garlic, noodles, tvp, kidney beans and kale.

Crockpot Baked Beans

I still have my big crockpot at the house, so I made use of it. First, I cooked the beans on the stove then placed them in the slow cooker with a homemade bbq sauce.. YUM!

I am committed to sticking to my plan of only spending $60.00 this month on food. I want to add the leftover $40 to my bulk fund. (not to mention, the less I spend, the better.. I am trying not to FREAK OUT right now.. it is hard to not let stress take over. I can't believe that BOTH my X and I are out of work)

I digress.... back to my budget.. obviously I am doing this because I HAVE TO. This is not just a fun little project I've decided to dream up and I can go back to my normal life when it's over..

... Do I sound bitter? I'm trying not to be..

I wish people would actually READ what I write and why I'm doing this before sending me insensitive emails!

Sorry...

BACK TO MY BUDGET.. I spent $2.28 today on another huge bunch of collards and 7 LBS potatoes! I got 7 lbs of potatoes for $.99 in the reduced produce bin!!

Spent this month: $45.09

I have $14.91 left for the month and I KNOW I can do it!

Julie of Everydaydish.com sent me a tofu mold and some coagulant! How AWESOME is she?? Thank you so much Julie! I am going to make my own tofu this week!

I've also got another tofu sub in the works right now! I love the blogosphere so much.. every day I learn new things and this method of making split pea tofu sounds awesome! As of now, it reminds me of polenta, so I'd imagine the 'tofu' will be like polenta croutons.. and that's fine! I just want another cheap protein source that I can make at home that is not SEITAN! I have tons of ideas for this.

All in all, as much as I really really want a job cooking vegan (or vegetarian) food, I may have to suck it up and find some shit job that I hate for a while. We'll see what happens..

I am soooooooo passionate about what I do... and love it so much. I just think I'm in a very bad area for opportunities. I haven't hit up Boston yet... it's a bit far to commute for any length of time, but I would definitely consider working there now and moving in June when my lease is up. I want to be in the same town as my kids, but they are much older (15 and 17 and my 17 year old is graduating this fall)... and if I have to move a little over an hour away, then so be it.

I'm still working hard on my E-book and hope to have it up for sale by April 30 at the latest.. (I am shooting for April 15)...

If you're still reading, thanks for listening to me vent!

Friday, March 13, 2009

$3.33 a day: Spicy!

Tostadas

I have not been feeling well, so spicy foods are a must! Above is a HUGE plate of tostadas. These were made in my cast iron with cooking spray. Baking them in the oven is better in my opinion.. but the cast iron is almost as good. I used my sunflower queso cheese, shredded lettuce and green cabbage, onions, cilantro, salsa and guacamole. Would you believe this HUGE plate of food only had 550 calories? Not too shabby for dinner, especially since I only could eat half of it due to not feeling well.

Raw Philly Cheesesteak Wrap

I used more of my rawco meat to make this wrap. Raw queso, peppers, onions and some not so raw super hot chili garlic sauce made this wrap really shine. It especially got points because I could breathe when I was done eating it!

I LOVE that most vegan foods and especially RAW foods do not clog the sinuses like dairy. I love using food as medicine! No sudafed for me thank you very much!

I've been drinking a lot of ginger tea and my own version of the Master Cleanse lemonade.. actually it's not MY version, it's something I grew up on, only my mom used honey. I use lemon juice, cayenne, stevia and apple cider vinegar.

Chipotle Split Pea Soup with Kale

My go to comfort food. If I only had a dollar for every time I've eaten this soup. This time, I made a brothy version and threw in some finely chopped raw kale and let it wilt with the soup.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

$3.33 a day: Raw for the day!

Raw Burrito

I have decided to be raw today. Not feeling well and really need to pump up the immune system.

I had a green smoothie this morning and half of this raw burrito. The burrito was filled with walnut/veggie taco meat, veggies, salsa, spinach and sunflower queso. Totally delicious and filling. I used two HUGE collard greens to wrap this and only had half for breakfast, saving the rest for lunch. I just LOVE collards. Who needs tortillas or bread? I never thought I'd be satisfied without bread, but give it a try if you're skeptical!
Italian Stuffed Peppers

I planned on having a huge salad for dinner, but decided on these instead. I made a quick raw marinara out of sun dried tomatoes. The filling was a mixture of massaged kale, sunflower seeds, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, spices and carrots. I topped them with a cashew ceasar dressing and placed them in the dehydrator for an hour to warm them up.

Lots of hot herbal tea with fresh ginger is helping warm me up and soothe my throat.

Monday, March 09, 2009

$3.33: Big Spender!

Rice Pasta with Simple Marinara and Lentil Balls

I am working my way through my brown rice pasta stash! I need to make a Trader Joes trip soon as their brown rice pasta is PERFECT and cheap at only 1.99/lb.

This dish tested my lentil balls big time. They sat in sauce for 4 days before I used them and I'm not sure I liked them. I think they would have been fine if used the next day, but after 4 days they got mushy. The flavor was delicious, but the texture not so pleasing. I will probably revise the recipe so they will stand up to 4 days in the fridge.

Lentil Millet Soup and Pumpkin Corn Muffin

Making the BEST use of leftovers.. I had some millet, lentils and creamy tomato basil soup. I mixed them together with more spices, garlic, red pepper flakes and water to make this soup. Super delicious! It produced 2 good sized servings, PLUS one cup which I turned into pizza burgers!
Pizza Burgers

I took the cup of soup, added more spices, tvp, flax meal and some oats. They were served on my sourdough english muffins with cheese sauce, baby spinach and marinara. I topped them with fried onions. Totally satisfying and I still have enough burger mix for 2 burgers!

That cup of dry lentils sure went further than expected! One main dish protein serving, 8 burgers, 2 large servings soup and 16 meat balls! Obviously, I used other ingredients along with the lentils to create everything, but they were a main component in everything!

Baby Spinach and Sprout Salad with Cranberry Dijon Vinaigrette

Yes to salads again! Greens, sprouts and homemade, lowfat/calorie dressings are served at least once a day!

I went shopping this morning and spent more than I planned on again. I wanted to keep this month's budget to $60.00. ($15/week)

I have an internal battle to some degree. I don't want to deprive myself so much that this seems HARD... but I want to save as much in my Bulk Buying Fund for future purchases.

Who knows, I may still be able to meet my goal? Obviously, my $3.33 a day equals around $100/month, so anything less is gravy on the cake! (ewwww gravy on cake!)

This is what I bought today for a total of $23.64

8 oz dried apricots

8 oz raisins

1 lb chickpeas

Toilet Paper

40 freezer bags

12 oz pickled jalapenos

5 green peppers

1 bunch celery

Huge bunch kale

Huge bunch collards

Bulk peeled garlic

2 lbs carrots

2.65 lbs bananas

1 qt soy milk

12 oz orange juice concentrate

Tofutti sour cream


3 lbs cabbage

I put back a 5 oz container of organic baby arugula, tofutti cheese, grapefruits and zucchini after adding up the total in my head. I really wanted an arugula, grapefruit and avocado salad. Oh well, it made much more sense to get the cabbage for $.39/lb.

I still MAY meet my very lofty goal!

Total spent this month: $42.81

Bulk Food Fund: $24.83




Friday, March 06, 2009

$3.33 a day: Not thrilled with my shopping choices

Millet Polenta Lasagna

This was super delicious and used leftovers.. I stacked millet polenta, green goddess sunflower pate and simple marinara in my cast iron... and covered to heat up. 1o minute meal as I had all of the individual ingredients made. I have some millet leftover from the cup I made.. and 1 cup of lentils along with some marinara.. which means I will turn them into a soup I'm sure! lol..

Baked Tortilla Chips with Queso (100 calorie snack)

Who says you can't have chips and dips while watching your pocketbook and waistline?

My local Market Basket sells a big stack of corn tortillas for $.99 which serve as a base for several meals. They can also be used to make homemade baked corn chips. All you do is cut them into chip shapes, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle your favorite seasonings on them. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or so and there you go!

The queso was made from my sunflower seed cheese base. Super delicious and this serving of chips and dips came in at 95 calories 7 g protein and 3 g fiber. You could add a cup of baby spinach or kale and make a taco salad for a more substantial snack.

This passed the younger kid test. (my older son has a much more forgiving palate)

Sourdough Wheat English Muffins

I have named my Sourdough Starter Jack Bauer! Jack Jack.. he's the man.. if he can't do it, no one can!

I admit, I LOVE 24 and other super cheesy shows. I also like war movies!

I digress.... back to the Sourdough! I made a big batch of dough that has been in the fridge for several days. These English Muffins turned out perfectly! I am thrilled! I also have enough dough to make a pizza which I will probably do tomorrow. I am spending the night at the house, so it will be super easy to transport pizza making materials.

I shopped today and am NOT HAPPY with my purchases. I had the bright idea to walk to the stores instead of drive. At first, I was only going to walk to Big Lots and purchase spices, but on the way home, I stopped at HELLMart. (walmart) because it was on the way. I figured I would pick up some cilantro because I remembered it was cheap there.

Well, I ended up spending $16.17 at Hellmart along with $3.00 at Big Lots for a total of $19.17.

I didn't even get any kale! The vibe in Hellmart is so depressing and their food is gross and I wish I had just walked right by. I only wanted to spend a total of $15 this week and I could have gotten better food at Market Basket and gone to the health food store for the spices, beans and oatmeal.

Oh well.. Live and learn I guess.

Here's what I bought:

2 lbs oats 2.28
9 oz baby spinach 2.28
4 avocados 2.00 (can you believe they were only .50 each?)
2 small bunches cilantro 1.14
1 lb great northern beans .98
ginger root 1.26
ketchup 1.50
lettuce .98
3 lbs onions 1.88
flour 1.88

Big Lots:

Dried Basil 1.00
Cumin 1.00
Italian Seasoning 1.00




Thursday, March 05, 2009

$3.33 a day: Rediscovering the library and hot dogs

Millet Polenta, Lentils, Raw Green Goddess Pate and Kale Salad

I'm playing catch up here! (as I am with most of my posts)..

This dish was composed of my raw kale and sprout salad, lentils, millet polenta and topped with a raw sunflower herb cream/pate.

I cooked up a cup of millet (which you will be seeing in future posts) and a cup of lentils. The pate was and is delicious. It is a mixture of several spices, including tarragon. I will probably use the leftovers for a pesto rice pasta dish in the next day or so as it will not keep much longer. I also made a millet polenta lasagna type dish (which I have not uploaded yet).

Raw Crackers and Green Goddess Pate

Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs!

I am not quite ready to share this recipe here. I am still tweaking it. I am very sensitive to vital wheat gluten, so I will probably play around with this around once a month or so.. or whenever my kids want hot dogs! We had a snow day on Monday and my younger son wanted hot dogs.. due to my budget I was not about to go out and spend 3 bucks on a package of vegan dogs.. so I created this recipe. If any of you want to test the recipe, please email me and I'll give it to you as is. I'm not 100% happy with it, but it is pretty good and my son loved it and said it hit the spot.

Simple Marinara and "Meat" Balls

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I cooked up a cup of dry lentils. That cup produced around 3 cups of cooked lentils! I used 1/2 cup for the first dish and 1 cup for these delicious meatballs! I am still in the testing process to make sure they hold together in the sauce (and 24 hours later they do!) I usually make my meatballs with a TVP mixture, but the lentils are proving themselves worthwhile competitors!

I also used 1 cup of the lentils to make 4 burgers. No pics of those yet. I still have enough burger mix for 2 burgers though, so you can expect some in the next day or so.

1 cup of dry lentils retails for around $.60. I have been able to use that as a base for 16 meat balls (4 balls per serving), 4 burgers and 1 lunch protein portion!

Very frugal and delicous!

In non-food related news... I have recently rediscovered the library! It's like a dream come true!

As a child, I LOVED the library and spent hours and hours reading... and as an adult not only do they have tons of books, but DVD's, books on CD and music to check out! I am fortunate that my library also offers a lovely and comfortable place to use my computer (wireless)...

I am thinking I should go there daily and designate a "work" time for my website.

In budget news.. I haven't been shopping yet this week.
The cabbage and some frozen veggies are good for now.. and I am finishing the cauliflower. I really want to keep my budget down to $60 this month... not sure if I can pull that off? I know I could if I was only feeding myself.. my kids are very supportive, but they are teen boys who eat a lot!