The week is over and we still have nearly 2 of the 3 loaves of bread I originally purchased (we usually go through about a loaf per day), no one is starving, and our new food budget is $500 per month ($125 per week).
This challenge was an eye opening experience and I now see that we were spending way too much on food and wasting leftovers because they would get lost in the sea of vegetables taking over our fridge.
A lot of days our fridge looks like this-an unorganized mess
During the challenge, it felt so good opening the fridge knowing where everything is and quickly being able to evaluate leftovers.
I've also decided to do my grocery shopping weekly opposed to be biweekly because we tend to eat more just because we see it.
Tofu Scramble & Potatoes
1 block tofu, pressed & crumbled with your hands
1/3 cup shiitake mushrooms, marinated in soy sauce for 15 minutes
1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon turmeric (optional; if you want the yellow color)
Cook green pepper, garlic, onion, and marinated mushrooms on medium heat for 4 minutes. Add crumbled tofu and all remaining ingredients and cook an additional 6 minutes.
For the potatoes:
I chopped them and used basil, garlic salt, olive oil, and scallions.
Lunch: Veggie wraps (spinach, shredded carrots, hummus) and grapes
Tempeh Helper-A twist on Hamburger Helper
Recipe from Post Punk Kitchen
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz tempeh
3 cups water (I used homemade vegetable broth)
6 oz small shell pasta (I used 2 1/2 cups)
A handful frozen peas, about 1/4 cup
For the seasoning mix:
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon broth powder (I used Frontier chicken-style broth)
2 teaspoons arrowroot or corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Have a lid at the ready because you’ll need to cover it at some point.
Drizzle the oil in the pan and tear the tempeh into bite sized pieces, adding them to the pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until tempeh is lightly browned. In the meantime, mix the seasoning together in a mixing bowl.
Add a few tablespoons of water to the tempeh to deglaze the pan. Add the 3 cups of water and seasoning mix, giving a good stir to get it all mixed in. Add the pasta and cover. Bring the heat up to a boil. Once boiling, you can reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once. Remove the lid, and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened to your liking, usually about 3 minutes. Taste for salt.
Optional Cheezy Sauce (no one in my house liked the sauce but we all liked the Helper)
Eazy Breezy Cheezy Sauce
Makes 2 cups
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/8 ground turmeric
2 tablespoons broth powder (I used Frontier chicken-style broth)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
Add nutritional yeast, flour, garlic, onion flakes, salt, turmeric and broth powder to a bowl and mix together. Add 2 cups water and use a fork to mix and beat out any big lumps. Once relatively smooth, pour into a 2 quart sauce pot. Turn heat up to medium high and stir often for about 5 minutes. Once boiling, bring it down to a slow boil. It should start bubbling and thickening. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until it has a thick, smooth melted cheese consistency.
Mix in mustard and taste for salt. Serve hot or warm.
Vegan challenge was a success, indeed! I hope this challenge encouraged you to not only evaluate your food budget, but also include more plant-based options. :-)