One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 3: Feeding The Family for $50 A Week!

Week 3 - the week that almost broke me! As I looked my shopping list up and down this week I could tell this was going to be a tough one. Before I even started shopping for the stuff we needed to make this week's meals I had to replenish my stock of some big ticket items like Vegan Worcestershire sauce, soy flour, earth balance margarine and extra virgin olive oil . Even though I hadn't planned my menu out yet I knew these were things that I needed to keep in the pantry just in case as they go in quite a few things I cook. Sure, I could go weeks without using them but the food hoarder in me just can't stand the thought of going to make a recipe I love and being one important item short. So the food hoarder won and these items stayed on the list. My daughter also fell in love with farro last week (it wasn't one the menu but I had some in the house so I used it as a side instead of brown rice for our stir-fry and it was a huge hit!) So farro was added to the list as well. And on top of that my daughter was also out of snacks at school so I had to buy extra snacks for her. Needless to say the list was looking rather expensive and most of the things I needed on it were from Whole Foods.

On Sunday, our grocery shopping day, I marched off to Whole Foods with my little one in tow ready to tackle this grocery list and brace myself for the financial impact. After 2 weeks of doing this I've realized one thing for sure. I mostly follow the menu's I've set out but the days I do things and when I cook things tends to be all over the place based on how much time I have that day and how much prep time I get without a toddler crawling on my head. So this week, instead of listing what we're going to eat day by day I'm going to list in general what the menu plan is for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week. I should also add that we do snack a lot as well, with a toddler snacks are a way of life. So I always buy at least 2 types of fresh fruit every week and usually make some type of muffins based on what is in the fridge or the garden. 

Breakfast Sausage from Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food
Fresh Fruit
Breakfast Sandwich (I never ended up making these last week so hopefully I'll get around to them this week)
Tofu Scramble

Usually left overs and a hodge podge of things that are in the freezer
I'll likely also be making some wraps and having leftover black bean soup a lot

Square Pan Pizza with Yellow Heirloom tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper and basil - everything 100% homemade from scratch, basil comes from the garden
Pigeon Peas and Rice with Steamed spinach
Pinto Bean Burgers with chickpea fries and veggies
Indian Spiced Chickpeas with farro and veggies

The vegetables for the week are variable and depend on what the garden yields this week I bought frozen spinach and kale this week as well as fresh broccoli to put on the pizza which we had tonight so there is plenty of broccoli left over to munch on for another day or so. Green beans are still the main crop high yielding crop in the backyard garden with carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and corn soon coming up on the horizon. I also bought some red potatoes this week. They were on my list but for the life of me I can't remember why. Maybe I'll make some cheese sauce out of them of just roast them up and have them as a side with dinner one night. I do have an abundance of fresh rosemary that is just begging to be roasted with potaotes.

Somehow, even with only shopping at Whole Foods and my list of big ticket items by grand total for the $56.77. A little over budget for the week but still under budget for the past 3 weeks. I'm so happy I started off this experiment way under budget it has given me lots of wiggle room to play around with as the weeks go on. Three weeks down, two more to go! Geesh, why did I have to pick the month with 5 weeks in it to experiment!

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