Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Howl to Be Vegan XI: Pre-Thanksgiving

I made $50 in cold hard cash doing experiments at the business school, so I was finally able to buy groceries again! The original plan was to go home for a high school teacher's 50th birthday party, but my sister and I saw the guest list and was like "Nope, our anti-social asses can't handle an event with this many unknown people." While home, we were going to eat our mom's food for free and bring back more ingredients. Luckily with the timing of the studies, it all worked out: we could avoid an uncomfortable social situation and eat comfortably for the week.

For the last few days before the studies and before I was able to go grocery shopping and cook, I ate fermented bean curd, rice, and cucumbers to sustain myself during dinner (the cucumbers were 2/$1 at Kroger. I also bought bananas to eat with oatmeal and sustain myself during breakfast). The rice was still soft even though I had made it who knows how long ago #amazing.

On Saturday, I made vegan brownies for a Vegan Potluck hosted by various vegan-affiliated groups on grounds. The potluck was at such an odd-time: 2-4 p.m., so it was during the UVA-MIA game in which we were leading. As a result, after I brought the brownies and grabbed a plate of food, I snuck out. No one noticed. The food was okay, and we ended up losing. My favorite dish was a pecan pie. I had to eat bean curd again because the plate was not enough to serve as my lunch and dinner.

Sunday consisted of another potluck: my cousin and her roommate's. For this one, I made mashed cauliflower and potatoes. My sister had extra parsley from her vegan meatloaf dish, which she made for the potluck, so I added it to the mashed potatoes for extra flavor. Someone else also made mashed potatoes even though they didn't indicate so on the spreadsheet, so I still have leftovers :P I have made this recipe before so I knew it was good (same with the brownies). The only thing I could eat at the potluck was my mashed potatoes, my sister's meatloaf, some green beans, and cranberry sauce. I also ate two pieces of yeast bread before realizing yeast bread contains butter and eggs. It was really sad. I was hungry at the end the night. How to not overeat over Thanksgiving: go vegan. P.S. The meatloaf is a little on the sweet side.

Anyways, I also used Sunday to make food for the rest of the week, and this time I actually planned, which really helps with saving money. I turned to my trusty Good Housekeeping cookbook and made the following dishes: Bow Ties with Butternut Squash and Peas and Stovetop Chili (click on the hyperlinks to see the recipes).

Let's talk about the Bow Ties first. I actually used a 12 oz. box of bow ties because they don't sell 16 oz. boxes at my Kroger. That was $1. The butternut squash was $1/lb, and the frozen peas were also $1. I replaced the half-and-half/light cream with almond milk ($2.79 for a half gallon) and actually ended up pureeing the butternut squash because after tasting it, I remembered I don't like butternut squash. I used enough milk and vegetable broth (from my sister's meatloaf) so that it would blend. For the fresh sage leaves, I used ground sage, which my sister had just bought for her meatloaf, and last but not least, I excluded the parmesan.

For the Stovetop Chili, I followed the recipe verbatim, except my sister added her leftover tomato paste from the meatloaf to it yesterday. Before my sister added the paste, it was a lot liquid-y than I expected, but it tastes fine with rice. Although my sister thinks both dishes are bland. She made some cornbread to go along with it too, so add cornmeal to the list of pantry items now gone. Anyways, here are some prices for the chili recipe:

Onion: $~2 for a 5lb bag
Chili powder: $1 Kroger brand
Cumin: super cheap at Aldi (we bought it when we went home)
Coriander: $2
Jalapeno: I put it in the green bean bag and forgot to take it out to ring it up oops but it was pretty cheap regardless.
Whole tomatoes: <$1/can (I think it was $0.89, but I'm not sure because I threw away the receipt forgetting about this blog).
Green beans: $1.29/lb so less than $1 for 1/2 pound
Sweet potatoes: $0.38/lb!!!!!
Black beans: again <$1/can

In total, I spent ~$25 for everything I cooked this weekend. I only had to buy sugar for the brownies, and the potatoes were $2.50 for a 3lb bag. The cauliflower was the most expensive thing at $2.99 a head. This should feed me for at least a week maybe more considering how my mom is coming up for Thanksgiving later this week and cooking for us. My sister thought it was illogical that I made so much food given this fact, but hey, a girl's got to eat. I do have to say that the cold season (aka nothing can grow anymore) is making it very hard for me to eat fruit (I only bought three oranges from my grocery trip), but hopefully my mom can find some good fruit at Aldi and bring it up here.

Bonus: my sister made cranberry muffins from the cranberries my cousin used as a garnish for her party punch. She used walnuts, which she bought for her meatloaf, instead of pecans, applesauce instead of a flax egg, and orange juice instead of a freshly squeezed orange. This is what we had in our pantry (the applesauce is also from our mom).

I also broke the no-spending rule enforced in my last post by buying a hoodie at TJMaxx, but that's another story you can see on my Youtube channel. It was only $10, but I justified it as a birthday gift to myself, which means I'm not buying liquid eyeliner anymore aka my original gift to myself. 

Anyways, enjoy the pictures below (yes, this blog actually includes photos for once) and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm saving a turkey's life for this and all Thanksgivings.