Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tonights quick and easy dinner......

Bean Quesadillas!

Traffic was horrible today and I got home too late for a big formal dinner. I also wanted to finish up some things, so I used the last brown rice tortillas, some black beans and a little of my new favorite vegan cheese and fixed a vegan quesadilla which was out of this world! This has to be the fastest dinner I have ever made for myself! When I served it with a little salsa and some green beans it rounded out the meal and enabled me to finish preparing dinner quickly.

Since there is no recipe to share, I thought I share something else that has been on my mind lately. On my ride into work the news on NPR has been all about the G7 summit and the economy. It has caused me to consider economizing more and more myself. People tell me it must be expensive to be a vegan, to eat so many vegetables, to be so healthy etc... all the time. Here are some tips/reminders I have come up with for how to be a frugal vegan in the kitchen:

Tips for being an economical vegan in the kitchen

  1. Remember to use ethnic markets when possible. Often vegan recipes call for specialty spices and ingredients. You can get these things very inexpensively at ethnic markets. Asian markets are great places for tofu, tempeh, seaweed, edamame, sesame oil, soy sauce and all sorts of vegetables. Indian markets will carry tons of dried rices, beans and spices all at lower prices than your local supermarket. Italian markets often have good wines and canned tomatoes.

  2. Shop at farmer's markets. This may not always be the cheapest but it is good for the economy and the enviroment as your food is traveling less and you are putting your hard earned dollars back into the local economy. Additionally, there are often farmers who use organic practices but who are unable to afford organic certification... it pays to ask.

  3. Use a CSA. This is one I need to get on board with. Community Supported Agriculture provides you with a portion of the harvest in exchange for paying for a share. It can be a great deal and helps the local economy. Check out to look for one near you.

  4. Bake your own bread. Finding vegan bread can be a real pain... and often it is VERY expensive. So the frugal solution is BAKE YOUR OWN! This isn't that hard. I can't make a pie crust to save my life but even I can work out bread. Start with muffins and quick breads and then work your way up to yeast bread. Before you know it you will be turning out bagels, scones and english muffins too. This is a good beginners yeast bread.

  5. Beans and plain tofu are your friends. All of those preseasoned vegan products are very convenient. They are also very expensive. Dried beans are extremely cheap! A block of plain tofu can be marinated and cooked into a delicious meal with a little pre-planning. If you went to an Asian grocery store then dinner just became even cheaper! Also you can tailor your recipes to your own needs, cutting back sodium or fat and adjust the spices to suit your tastebuds.

  6. Learn to make your own seitan. Use the internet and cookbooks to find recipes for whatever you like to eat alot of. There are recipes for vegan ice creams, seitan sausages, almond milks even vegan yogurts. Invest in some decent cookware and you should be able to whip up plenty of delicious foods.

  7. Plan ahead. I mean to say, don't waste food! If you make a big casserole or stew freeze some for later. Freeze some of the peas you get in your CSA pick up. If you have a bumper crop of tomatoes, make sauce. You can even use your old vegetable peelings to make homemade vegetable broth. Try to creatively reuse your leftovers in order to avoid waste.

  8. Pack your own lunch. Brown bag it instead of spending $10 a day on lunch. The savings really add up. Fifty bucks a week becomes two hundred bucks a month becomes... well I think you get the point!

  9. Avoid the soy latte trap. This is a hard one for me! Every soy latte I buy averages three dollars. A coffee from home is maybe 10-50 cents depending on how much soy milk I use. Not to mention the savings in wasted paper cups (no matter how often I bring my own cup, they still put it in a paper one first...)

  10. Eat in season. Another no brainer... food that is in season is cheaper, tastier and often has a smaller carbon footprint because it is not being shipped from around the world. Wait until the summer for corn and the fall for pumpkin. You tastbuds and your wallet will thank you!

  11. Remember that you do not NEED vegan cupcakes to survive. You do however need a reasonable balance in the bank. You can always learn to bake them yourself... this is much cheaper than paying $6.50 a piece for one.

  12. When reasonable, buy in bulk. This can save you money if you can actually finish the amount of food you have purchased before it spoils. Just don't buy bulk without doing your math first. Bulk buying doesn't always save money.

Well there it is... some frugal vegan tips. If anyone else has some please share. I am by no means perfect. I certainly buy vegan cupcakes and soy lattes, but even if we manage to reduce our purchases of these things we can save alot of money over the year.

1 comment: