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Vegan Challenge: Day #3


I bought oat groats (AKA steel-cut oats) to experiment with making raw vanilla and cranberry bars for the chipmunks' lunch box. The batter came out too sticky (because I didn't drain the oat groats thoroughly) so I baked them instead.


After soaking oat groats for 8 hours

Soaking oat groats will make them earlier to digest and enhances nutrition

Vanilla & Cranberry Patties 


2 cups oat groats, soaked in water for 8 hours and drained 

3/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat the oven at 400º

Add dates and vanilla extract to food processor and mix until smooth. Mix in drained oat groats. Remove dough and fold in walnuts and cranberries in a medium bowl (expect dough to be very sticky). Make small patties out of the dough and bake for 12 minutes.

The patties will be soft and taste similar to a bowl of oatmeal. Perfect served warm and great to eat on the go.


These ended up being a lunch box FAIL but a great breakfast.


PB&J sandwich, sunflower seed & oat bar, pear, salad

Dinner: Tofurky Stir-Fry

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Vegan Challenge: Feed a Family of 5 for $100 Day#2

Feeding my family of 5 with $100 for one week


Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon & raisins



Chipmunks' Lunch box: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich, mini salad (romaine lettuce cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes) with light vinaigrette, grapes, and pretzels

The Hubs and I ate leftover kidney beans and rice



Udon noodles with cabbage & tofu


2 (8 oz) package udon noodles (found in the international aisle)

1 block of tofu, pressed & cut into small cubes

2 cups green cabbage, sliced

1 cup red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tbsp cooking oil

I used a wok to make this recipe but you can also use a large skillet.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add udon noodles and cook until al dente; drain and put to the side. Dry fry the tofu on medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove tofu from heat. Add oil and cabbage to the wok, cooking for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add all remaining ingredients in with the cabbage and cook for an additional 6 minutes.

Top your noodles with the cabbage & tofu mixture and enjoy.

The noodles should still be warm but you can always heat them up with a little water in your skillet.


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Vegan Challenge: Feed a Family of 5 for $100

Some people think a lifestyle of plant-based food is too complicated and expensive; so I decided to challenge myself to feed our family on $100 for the week, and debunk the myth that vegans are rich.

I wrote out a detailed menu for the week and headed to the grocery store.

I was pretty optimistic when I got to the store, but soon found my confidence deflating as I calculated each item added to the cart.  Even though I consider myself frugal, I rarely put myself on a strict food budget and typically spend $600-$700 per month. I felt overwhelmed when I was halfway through my list and already at $70, so I put a few things back and worked out alternatives for others items as I walked the aisles. The mission was turning out to be more stressful than I anticipated. 

I did feel a little better when I considered how nuts, grains, seeds and textured soy products are less expensive (or comparable) to the cost of beef and chicken.  I spent $23 on steel oats, raw walnuts, raw cashews, Tofurky sausage and tempeh. I went over to the meat section and saw a 1 pound pack of ground beef at $4.69 and 2 pounds of chicken breast at $9.00. It would cost a lot more than $23 if you eat beef or chicken each night.

I still went $10 over budget (I was able to get an exact $110 because I rounded up to the next dollar to donate to a local food bank). Not bad at all!

Here's what our refrigerator and cabinets looked like before I headed to the store.  I want to show that we didn't start off with a fully stocked kitchen, so most of our food for the week will come from the $100 budget. Don't judge me too harshly, I only grocery shop when I have to. lol

You probably see a little dairy and fish in these pictures-The Hubs is a pescatarian

Here's what the $110 got me...


Sunday Meals

Breakfast: Blueberry Pancakes (with frozen blueberries)

Lunch: Tuna Wraps

Dinner: Kidney beans with rice, corn muffins

Corn Muffin Recipe


1 cup cornmeal

1 cup pastry or whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

4 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp agave nectar

1 tbsp ground flax seed & 3 tbsp warm water 

1 cup non-dairy milk (soy milk or unsweetened almond milk)

1/4 cup Earth Balance or other vegan spread, softened

Flax seeds are not only an excellent source of fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids, but also a great egg substitute in baked goods.


Whisk flaxseed and warm water in a small bowl and put to the side to thicken (for about 10 minutes).

Preheat oven at 370º

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add milk, flaxseed mixture, agave, and butter mixing until smooth.


Bake for 18 minutes.

As soon as the muffins came out of the oven, my chipmunks ate 2 each.

I soaked the kidney beans overnight and seasoned with basil, garlic, all-season salt, pepper and onion.

I used jasmine rice with about a half cup of leftover basmati rice


What I learned today

I've been spending way too much at the grocery store!

I could have stretched my $100 further at the farmer's market

I've never been a big cabbage eater but at 70¢ a pound I will find recipes :-)

I don't like the taste of store brand green tea lol

Bagged fruit is cheaper - I usually purchase fruit individually


Be sure to check back all this week for updates on the challenge.

I will post pictures, recipes, and we will eat homemade veggie pizza, vegan crab cakes, apple biscuits and much more.

$100 for the week? Sure we can!

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