"There is no sincerer love than the love of good food." - George Bernard Shaw
Food is so glorious. Taking a few simple ingredients and turning them into delicious dishes is one of my greatest pleasures. Fortunately for me, I can cook and eat pretty much to my heart's content on a whole foods plant based diet because I use no oil and minimal salt and sugar. Once a month, I do a big shopping trip and buy most of the items I need for the month. Yesterday was that day. Armed with lists and coupons, I went out into the rainy day and ended up making 8 stops before returning home to unpack my bounty.
One of my stops was WalMart. It was my first time shopping there. My reason for going there was to check out their frozen vegetables and fruit sections. I've grown to appreciate frozen vegetables over the years since fresh are relatively expensive in the off season, which is much of the year in this northern climate. I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 lb, 12 oz bags of Birds Eye vegetable blends for $5.98. I only bought a bag of Normandy Blend - broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash - because my freezers are almost full. Once I empty them, I'll stock up on more of these large bags of frozen vegetables! I didn't even look at the frozen fruit. I'll check that next time I go there.
One of my last stops was Whole Foods. I looked at the price of canned beans in each store I shopped in before stopping there; the cheapest price was 99 cents. None of the other stores stocked unsalted beans. Since Whole Foods discounts case purchases, I bought 12 cans of no added salt black beans for $10.69. I always buy my canned beans at Whole Foods. I can mix and match any variety of beans that are the same price and get the case discount. You can get very good buys at Whole Foods; you just have to learn what they are. I also got some Mori Nu Lite Firm silken tofu because it was on sale. It's nice to have on hand for making sour cream and mayo.
So what am I making with all of the goodies that were in my bags?
Robin Robertson's Comfort Loaf from her book "Vegan on the Cheap" (pg 154) - I couldn't find a version online, so I can't share the recipe. It's a delicious tofu and pinto bean loaf spiced with dried basil, thyme, and savory. Leftovers are good in sandwiches, too. Since I don't use oil, it's important to line the pan with parchment paper to get the baked loaf out in one piece. Instructions are at the end of this post by Cathy Fisher www.straightupfoo
Millet and Cauliflower Mash kripalu.org/article/472/
I keep frozen cauliflower on hand so I can make this any time I want.
Kripalu Vegan Gravy kripalu.org/article/410/
This is a nice alternative to the mushroom gravy I often make.
Roasted broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, cremini mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, onions and carrots will round out the meal. I'll cook some brown rice to have with leftover veggies for breakfast.
Fully Loaded Chili www.ediblefeast.com/reci
This vegetable filled chili from "The Pollan Family Cookbook" has bulgur for extra texture.
Jalapeno and Salsa Corn Muffins from "The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook" by Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstryn, page 135. These will be perfect with the chili, and leftovers will be nice to have for a quick snack. I'll freeze them so they stay fresh. There's a a bottle of Herdez green salsa in the pantry that I need to use before it outdates. I'm curious to see if the green color of the salsa changes the appearance of the muffins. I usually use Pace. Sorry I can't share a link; I couldn't find this recipe online.
A simple salad of romaine, cucumbers, and tomatoes with a squeeze of lemon will round out the meal.
Mushroom Stroganoff www.peacefuldumpling.com
I didn't want two mains that featured tofu, so I was happy to find Kim Campbell's recipe in "The PlantPure Nation Cookbook." I'll use almond milk. I have a lot of cremini mushrooms; I'll use most of them in this dish. I'll probably serve this over wild rice.
Brussels Sprouts with Lemon will be the side dish. This is the recipe; I don't use the bacon. www.nutritionmd.o
Some of my breakfasts will be outstanding! I'll make this recipe for Savory Grits with Slow-Cooked Collard Greens from "Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed" by Bryant Terry flavorwire.com/453658/br
This recipe is fabulous even without the oil. Swiss chard was on my shopping list, but I couldn't resist buying the beautiful collard greens at Whole Foods that were on sale - 2 bunches for $3. I love Bryant Terry's recipe, so I did a mental menu switch. Originally I planned to make sweet potatoes topped with pinto beans and Swiss chard since I have a lot of sweet potatoes on hand. They keep well, so I'll pick up some Swiss chard later in the month. Here's the recipe for the creamed cashews used in the grits www.seriouseats.com/reci
And here's my recipe for sweet potatoes topped with pinto beans and Swiss chard recipes.sparkpeople.com/
Since this can also be made with frozen spinach, I might not need to go to the store when I'm ready to make it. I'll use black beans instead of pintos with spinach as the green.
Other breakfasts will be oatmeal (my standard), rice and roasted veggies, toasted Ezekiel or Alvarado Street Bakery Sprouted Multi-Grain bread topped with avocado and tomato. I've also become quite fond of a simple fruit salad made with banana, orange, and apple for breakfast. I have frozen and dried fruit to add to oatmeal. I picked up a new-to-me cereal from the clearance bin at Lund's - Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal. It was only $2.50, so I bought 2 bags. Ingredients are whole grain brown rice, corn, sorghum, and buckwheat. They're ground to a polenta-like consistency. I think it will be delicious topped with some greens and/or mushrooms.
Lunches will mainly be leftover dinners.The exception is a Nicoise-inspired salad I plan to make with green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives. If I am ambitious, I'll bake some tofu and add it to this composed salad. www.ucdintegrativ
For the dressing, I'm either going to make Miyoko Schinner's Very Benevolent Caesar Salad Dressing - recipe in this McDougall Newsletter www.drmcdougall.com/misc
or Fo Reals Life's Ranch Dressing forealslife.com/b
For a not extravagant amount of money, I bought enough food to last almost an entire month. My pantry and freezer are full, too. I'm going to see if I can make it until this time next month without buying any more food. The weather is starting to turn cold, so a lot of those pantry/freezer items will be turned into soups. There will also be a lentil loaf or two accompanied by potatoes, gravy, and vegetables. I have a fresh bag of whole wheat flour and newly purchased yeast to start baking bread again. There will also be muffins on the horizon - pumpkin, cranberry orange, blueberry. So many ingredients to play with! It's going to be a fun and delicious month.