Thursday, October 31, 2013

Whole Food Dollar Store Week Long Challenge: $25

I will definitely be making a Vegan Broccoli Soup! 

So, as long time readers know, for several years, I ate a vegan diet for $3.33 a day, or $100 a month.  I have always been passionate about frugal, healthy food and it really gets to me when people think they can't eat a whole food, plant-based diet on a budget!

Now, I have to clarify this.  I am not talking about people in Food Deserts.   I am certainly not saying that EVERYONE has access to food like I do.

So, earlier today, I stopped in at the Dollar Store to pick up a notebook and reading glasses.  I decided to look at the food selection.  This store in in a neighborhood definitely caters to minorities, but it is not in an inner city or a food desert.  In fact, there is a supermarket in the same shopping plaza.  (Although, I rarely shop there due to their high prices.)

I also received an email asking me about how to eat a Plant - Based diet on a budget, so that was in my mind as I browsed the aisles.

I was amazed at the selection of foods, and it reminded me of how I shopped when I was doing Vegan for $3.33 a Day.   The main difference, was that I bought fresh produce.  This Dollar Store only had frozen produce, but I have been inspired to spend $25 for the week starting Monday  the 4th.  I will shop on Sunday evening.

I will allow myself SOME pantry items:

  • Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Spices
  • Hot Sauce 
  • Stevia
  • Flax Meal
I am going to keep this 100% whole foods.  The way *I* define whole foods, is no white flour, sugar, white rice, white pasta.  

Here is the shopping list I have come up with in my mind.  This is obviously subject to change given what they have on hand when I shop, but I KNOW that I can create a lot of awesome food with these ingredients:

  1. 1 pound dry beans
  2. 1 pound dry beans
  3. 1 pound dry beans
  4. Soy Milk
  5. Soy Milk
  6. Rice (only if I can find non-white rice)
  7. Sunflower Seeds
  8. Green Olives
  9.  Roasted Red Peppers
  10.  1 lb. Frozen Broccoli
  11.  1 lb. Frozen Broccoli
  12. Jarred Garlic
  13.  Frozen Pepper/Onions
  14.  Frozen Peppers/Onions
  15.  28 oz. Canned tomatoes
  16.  28 oz. Canned Tomatoes
  17. 28 oz. Canned Tomatoes
  18.  Canned Sauerkraut
  19.  Pickled Jalapenos
  20. Pasta (only if I can find non-white pasta)
  21.  MISC. Frozen Veggies
  22. MISC. Frozen Veggies
  23. MISC. Frozen Veggies
  24. Frozen Fruit
  25. Oatmeal 
Each item is $1.  

Stay tuned this coming week to see what I make with the items!  I know I will miss fresh produce the most. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Red Chile Sauce

My friend April and I were talking hot sauce yesterday.  She loves spicy food like I do and asked me if I had any new hot sauce recipes.  She is a big fan of my Habanero Sauce , so I know she likes it spicy! She asked if I had made a sauce similar to what they serve at corner taco stands.  In the Boston area, there aren't very many taco stands like there are where she lives, but I think I know the type of sauce she is talking about and decided to give it a whirl.  Now, I am using Onion Soup Mix in this recipe, I am doing it for a reason and I don't recommend substituting it.  If that is not you're thing, then this isn't the recipe for you.  I wanted a specific taste that the soup gives.

I used a mixture of Pasilla, Ancho, California and Chipotle Chilies.  

  • 2 oz. dried chilies, stems removed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/16 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 cups canned tomato
  • 5 big cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cilantro


  1. Toast the chilies over medium heat in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the water, soup mix,spices. and coconut oil.
  3. Cover and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes, then add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer mixture to a blender; add the vinegar and cilantro and blend until combined. 

Taste ..  you have to make sure it's yummy!

I can tell this sauce needs to chill overnight so the flavors can really get to know each other, but it's pretty darn good now!  The Boyfriend has requested Enchiladas...  so I will be making them for dinner.

Here are links to some of my other Hot Sauces:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gluten Free, Vegan Sandwich Bread

Bread has to be the hardest thing to "give up" when you are avoiding gluten.  Now, I am not officially avoiding gluten, but I should be!  I know that eating too much is not good for me.  I think I developed an intolerance from making so much seitan.  When I touch Vital Wheat Gluten, I break out in hives.

My lovely, amazing friend, Krys is transitioning her family to a Gluten Free diet because her son was recently diagnosed with Autism.  (There is some speculation that a Gluten, Free, Caesin Free diet can aid in the treatment of Autism.)

I was thinking of her and her boys this morning and was inspired to create this bread recipe.

This is not a finished recipe.  It was my first go around, and I know what I will do differently next time.

Keep in mind, that I didn't really expect this to turn out as well as it did, so I wasn't as precise as I could be.  I ground my whole grains into flour in the Vita Mix.  I'm sorry I didn't measure the actual amount of flour, only the grains. Like I said, I wasn't expecting this to be a finished recipe, so I was more taking notes for myself.  The next time I made this, I will measure the actual flour itself.

I also used Quinoa, which intuitively I KNEW would not be a great choice.  I originally was going to use all mostly millet, but the rest of my millet is downstairs, and my foot is really hurting today, so I didn't feel like going downstairs..  my bad... because quinoa is too strong of a flavor for the bread.. (although, it is totally still edible and I'm sure once it sits overnight and I toast it and add a burger and veggies and mayo to it, it will be pretty good.. but I KNOW I can do better!

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • ½ cup flax meal
  • ½ cup oat fiber
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup dry millet
  • ½ cup dry sorghum
  • ½ cup dry brown rice
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. xanthan gum

  1. In a large bowl add the water, oil, flax, oat fiber, sugar and yeast.
  2. Allow mixture to bloom for 5 minutes, then stir in the oatmeal.
  3. In a high powder blender, add the quinoa, millet, sorghum and rice, along with the salt. Blend into flour
  4. Add xanthan gum to the yeast mixture and stir, then add the flour. Mix until very well combined, then cover and let rise for an hour.
  5. Spray an 8 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and spoon batter into the pan.
  6. Bake at 375 for around 1 hour 10 minutes, let cool completely before slicing.
Here's the bread in the oven, halfway through the baking process.  I start it in the pan, then take it out and put it on the baking stones (unglazed tiles from Home Depot, $2) to finish baking, rotating the loaf every 6 mins or so. 

What I am planning on changing the next time I made the bread:
  • Replacing the quinoa with oat flour ground from steel cut oats. 
  • Measuring the flour after I grind it, since I know many people don't have a Vita Mix or blender that is able to grind grains into flour.
I think that will make a big difference in the flavor, but I'm sure happy with the texture.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spicy Cilantro - Mint - Coconut Chutney

This is a simple, yet delicious chutney to have on hand.  I love it stirred into Dahls and Curries.  It is a GREAT on sandwiches mixed with my Low Fat Vegan Mayo.

Cilantro-Mint-Coconut Chutney

  • 1 bunch cilantro (stems and leaves) *washed and dried*
  • 1 bunch mint (leaves only) *washed and dried*
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1-3 jalapenos, seeds and all. 
  • 2 tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander 
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes 
  • Juice of 2 large limes
  1. In a food processor, add the garlic and black salt. 
  2. Puree into a paste.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until combined. **please wash and dry your cilantro and mint well before using**
I made some Baked and Fried Falafel the other day and this would have been so good stirred into tahini for the dipping sauce. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Coconut BBQ Tofu

I love tofu so much and my favorite way to prepare it is dry frying.  Once it's nice and crispy, you can drench it in whatever sauce or marinade you like and it soaks up the flavor beautifully. For lunch today, I am going to enjoy a BBQ Collard Wrap with 5 Spice Slaw.

So, to make this awesome smoky coconut bbq tofu, I turned some of my Salsa into BBQ Sauce, then simmered the Dry Fried Tofu in a pan with the sauce and about 2 tsp of my Chipotle Lime Coconut Butter.  The taste is fantastic!