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My Broke Month.

October 3, 2013

Ha, I totally lied to you guys about posting during MoFo.  September was even more stressful than I anticipated.  Work was nonstop and I was dealing with some anxiety on top of being completely broke.  I did cave twice and buy some stuff, but I only spent about $20 total on food last month.  I usually spend about $50 a week on stuffing my face, so that’s a huge cut.  And I’m pretty damned proud of myself.  Granted, my boyfriend took me out to dinner a few times, so it wasn’t all lentils and freezer burned leftovers.  But still.

Oh, on top of that, I didn’t take a single photo with my DSLR, only Instagram, so we’re going to do this up right, shitty photo essay style.  Ready?

c11abeb6081711e3b75f22000ae803db_6This is the last time I ate tofu that I cooked for myself (and thus, the only good tofu because the fried, unseasoned crap you get at some Asian restaurants does not count).  It was over a month ago.  Gah, I miss tofu.  This is a scramble I made with some pesto I had frozen, swiss chard from my parents’ garden, and some bread that my dad made.

9ce78a220b5711e39e3522000a9f18ab_6Ah, the last of the lettuce for salads.  Most important is the socca, though.  The recipe is in Vegan Eats World, and I used the herbs de provence option.  All ingredients were already in my pantry.  Socca is darned tasty and high in protein thanks to the chickpea flour.  For a minute, I thought I could trick myself into thinking it was like bread, but I was wrong.  It’s good, but it’s not bread.

c9be5ba8100b11e393f522000aeb4102_6Which is why it was really weird as the base of this little pizza I made.  This batch of socca had sundried tomatoes and basil in it.  The pesto is from my freezer, and I grew that tomato on my balcony.

a77720e80b7411e3be5222000a1fafb5_6These sesame peanut noodles with ginger marinated cucumbers were a treat.  The cucumber came from my parents’ garden, and I had the rest of the ingredients on hand, so no substitutions had to be made.  Bonus: it made a huge amount of food, so I had leftovers for a week.  Recipe also from Vegan Eats World.

4b75cd5e10be11e3b09522000a1fb25d_6Those cucumbers came in handy as a snack, as well.  I really love the maple mustard vinaigrette from Veganomicon as an alternative to honey mustard for salads and dipping veggies, but I was out of maple syrup, so I used agave.

c8ed5fe0198811e39c3622000ae904f9_6My dude got me a Kitchenaid stand mixer for my birthday (I know, right?!), and it was killing me that I couldn’t afford to buy ingredients to make something in it, so I looked around at what I had and ended up making the green monster bread from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.  I had to alter the recipe a little to fit what I had on hand, so I used the last of my parents’ swiss chard as the green, subbed chickpea flour for the wheat gluten (thinking maybe it had more to do with the protein than the stretchiness factor?), and used a mixture of whole wheat flour and bread flour, since I didn’t have enough all purpose.

16f25488199911e38d7822000a1fa48d_6And then I made them into sandwich rolls!

7e22adb4199a11e3ba2422000a1f9376_6I used my last frozen veggie burger to make the first sandwich.

db2e88361d3511e384ca22000a1f8d78_6And then I made a whole bunch of these silly veggie sandwiches with the rest.  This one was special because I unearthed some tempeh sausage patties I had frozen.

86879802045f11e3bf3522000a1f8ac6_6A couple of those tempeh sausage patties also went into this totally desperate, weird ramen I made.  I don’t even.  There are peas in there?  And some canned baby corn, which was the best part of the whole thing.

4c98ccc41d3211e39f5522000a9f14ae_6I went to the farmers market with $10 and came home with this, which was exciting.  Although I killed that mum almost immediately.

6c93af7c1e3a11e3877022000a9f1278_6Some of the red peppers went into this freezer pesto pasta that I made with the last bit of a box of macaroni I had kicking around.

8273242209e911e3ac9b22000a1fb864_6Oh, forgot about this.  I wanted some Indian food, so I made some up with some roasted sweet potatoes from the first part of the month.  Yay, lentils!

13be33361b3d11e3a1bd22000a9f1361_6A bunch more peppers went into this fajita bowl.  I spent ten more precious dollars on brown rice (I used what I already had trying to save my phone, which I dropped into a glass of water on my birthday…don’t ask, but it was a waste of brown rice), some pasta, a loaf of cheap bread for toast in the mornings, and some limes and lemons.  The rice was a nice base for this.  The only thing is that I used soy curls that I’d had in my pantry from about 2 years (or more?) ago, and they tasted super stale and gross.  The cheesy sauce was great though, as were the peppers and onions.

7963fda820b811e3b4ef22000a1fbd4d_6More of that produce went into making this bowl of Mexican-style goodness.  I had a can of black beans that I bulked up with zucchini, carrots, peppers, and onions.  More cheesy sauce.  I must have deficient in something, because I made four different nooch-based meals in the past couple of weeks.  Also ate this over brown rice.

89aeff8e23a911e3ad2b22000ae80c6b_6My guy got me a Moe’s burrito one day (bless him) and they always stuff your bag full of chips and salsa, so I used those under the leftover, mixed together beans, veggies, rice, and cheesy sauce for some nachos.

07b07270217811e3b9fd22000a9f4dd4_6Isa posted a recipe for BLT mac n cheese, and I wanted it so bad, but couldn’t splurge on arugula for the green bit.  I had an eggplant and tomatoes from the farmers market trip, and I pilfered some broccoli that was set out for dipping into things from a Monday Night Football night at my guy’s house for the green part.  Instead of the cheese sauce from her recipe, I used the butternut squash one from Oh, She Glows, because I had a butternut squash and I like that sauce a lot.  This was so good!  I’m excited to make it again, following the recipe more closely.

fb446ed01e1e11e3912322000a1f933e_6A friend took pity on me and made me some falafel.  I threw together some cucumbers (parents!), tomatoes, dill, tahini, and lemon juice to with it.

e51063fc24a011e3ac8a22000a9e2947_6I’m particularly proud of this one.  I roasted one of the butternut squashes, smashed the potatoes with roasted garlic, nooch, and rosemary, and then finagled a version of the Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes from Vegan Brunch using a block of tempeh I had frozen.  I didn’t have mayo, so I used tahini and lemon juice, and then used a poblano instead of red pepper.  They were fantastic, and this was the first meal I’d had in weeks that resembled a complete dinner.

3cfa1f10264d11e38a1922000a1fb0ef_6Using the last of the farmers market produce and some button mushrooms a friend gave me, I made this Indian inspired soup with some Bob’s Red Mill veggie soup mix from my pantry.  This was my last money-saving meal!

I got paid this past week and promptly went to the grocery store and bought ingredients for taco lasagna:

6da55d182b5d11e3b5f422000a9e5ad5_6and samoa cupcakes:

a32aca2c2a2711e3903222000aeb3edf_6(Both from Bake and Destroy, which my brother sent for my birthday, I had to wait ALL MONTH to dig into it.)  You know, to treat myself.  It was actually pretty eye opening to see how much I could make using just what I had on hand and $20 worth of veggies, pasta, and rice.  Not that my pantry would stay well stocked forever, but it’s good to know I can make do in a pinch.  I’m totally buying some tofu next week though.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Emme permalink
    October 3, 2013 3:58 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I am always interested to see what people make with cleaning out the pantry challenges. It reminds me that if my budget is low, I can make do with more frugal meals and ingredients.

  2. October 4, 2013 4:28 am

    This is an awesome blog post, very nice food for such a low budget! Thank you for making the effort to share all of this!

  3. Kate permalink
    October 14, 2013 8:19 pm

    This post was really inspiring, it’s nice to see someone blog about making the financial food choices I often find myself making. Cooking is easy when you can afford anything any recipe calls for, the real creativity is working with what you have, but still eating well. And it all looks delicious!

  4. October 18, 2013 4:11 pm

    Love it! you did such a great job “making do.” This is pretty much what the last week/week-and-a-half of every month is like for me. It’s tough sometimes, but I have found that it’s easier to get by in some ways since I’ve gone vegan – so many things can come out of the pantry or freezer. Brava!

  5. October 24, 2013 8:51 am

    I’m a student, so perpetually broke! Great tips!

  6. April 15, 2014 5:26 am

    This is an awesome blog post, very nice food for such a low budget! Thank you for making the effort to share all of this!

  7. April 15, 2014 8:14 am

    Thank you, how nice!

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