My Broke Month.
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?
This 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.
Ah, 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.
Which 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.
These 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.
Those 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.
My 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.
A 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.
A 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.
More 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.
My 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.
Isa 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.
I’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.
Using 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:
(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.