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Plant Based on a Budget – Menu Planning Basics

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Vegan $1 Menu | 0 comments

KaleIf trying to streamline the amount of time spent in the kitchen as well as the amount of money spent on groceries, a menu plan is a must.  Easiest and fastest way to feed yourself well when your focus is high nutrient and plant based, is to make 3 large soups and 3 large salads during the week and to use fresh fruit for snacks.  Soups can be prepared in advance and frozen; but, at least 15 minutes on three different days will need to be set aside for salad preparation.  Make a week’s supply of grains on your soup prep day as well.  This grain can be added to salads or soups as you wish to promote satiety.  Brown rice is an especially budget friendly option. Try this absolutely wonderful breakdown of how to get brown rice to cook perfectly. Spices can be used to give leftover soup new life, if you start out with a mild flavor profile on day one.  Carrot soup is a perfect example of a soup recipe that’s very versatile on day two.  A cup of brown rice, ground ginger, and a bit of  curry are enough breathe new life into your dish.

Shopping List

1lb brown rice 1.50

4lb apples  3.97

1 lb carrots 1.99

veggie bouillon 3.00

garlic .97

onion 1.60

celery .99

can diced tomatoes .67

romaine hearts 2.00

baby kale 3.00

zucchini 2.40

chickpeas 1.25

Soups of the Week

Carrot Soup

1/2 bag of carrots

5c vegetable broth

4 tsp ginger powder

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp curry powder

Salt to taste

In a large pot combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes or until carrots are tender. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender in batches a few cups at a time. Purée until smooth. Return the puree to saucepan and reheat.

Lentil Soup

Sweet Potato Soup

Salads of the Week

Marinated Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

Kale Salad

Romaine Avocado and Chickpea Salad

Plant Based on a Budget Challenge

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Vegan $1 Menu | 0 comments

Carrot Beet SaladIn an effort to debunk the myth that eating well is unaffordable Plant Based On A Budget has decided to launch a challenge in which contributors put together free meals plans.  Participants are approaching the challenge from a variety of angles,  from single person to family of four meal plans, but each plan conforms to the $25.00 per person/per week guideline.   My meal plans are for one person and focus heavily on fruit and vegetable consumption.  As most people find themselves low on time these days, the meal plans are designed to keep the kitchen time commitment to a minimum.  Ideally vegetable prep (shredding romaine, dicing onions etc.) is completed on the same day you shop so that when you come home after a long day your meals are almost complete.  I reserve two days weekly for making meals for the next few days. Food waste is very expensive.  I find that making sure to wash and cut vegetables the same day I bring them home increases the likelihood that I will use them before they turn. I completed my shopping at Kroger, Aldi, and the local farmers market this week.   I didn’t factor in the cost of spices as many people keep these in the pantry year round.  Be aware that you don’t ever have to follow a recipe to the letter if you know what purpose the ingredient in question is serving and can find a viable substitution.  There are tons of substitution charts available online.  I’ve found pintables, like this one of spice substitutions,handy.

Shopping List

1lb brown rice – 1.25

3 pack zucchini – .98

celery – .79

carrots – .79

1 large sweet potatoes – 1.25

romaine lettuce – 1.25

onion – .79

1 avocados – 1.00

3 lb bag apples – 2.97

multi-colored peppers – 1.79

tomatoes – .79

oatmeal – 2.00

raisins – 1.25

kale – .99

1 lb dry white beans – .98

1lb dry kidney beans – .98

1lb dry lentils – .98

cabbage – .59

whole wheat pasta – .99

vegetable bouillon cubes – 1.00

tomato sauce – .89

Day 1

Breakfast: Oatmeal sprinkled with raisins

Lunch: Green Salad (shredded romaine, olive oil, pepper, dried herbs), Vegetable Soup

Dinner: Left Over Vegetable Soup, Zucchini Pasta (omit sun-dried tomatoes and 2 zucchini – use 1/2 box of pasta)

Day 2

Breakfast: Oatmeal sprinkled with raisins

Lunch: Kale and Sweet Potato Soup, Apple

Dinner: Left Over Vegetable Soup and Zucchini Pasta

Day 3

Breakfast: Oatmeal sprinkled with raisins

Lunch: Two Bean Salad, Apple

Dinner: Leftover Kale and Sweet Potato Soup, Green Salad

Day 4

Breakfast: Green Smoothie (kale, apple,water)

Lunch: Two Bean Salad tossed with leftover romaine salad

Dinner: Curried Cabbage with Brown Rice and Sweet Potato (substitute chickpeas with white beans, use 1/2 sweet potato)

Day 5

Breakfast: Lentil Soup with Sautéed Kale

Lunch: Romaine Salad with tomato, chickpeas, 1/2 avocado and extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette drizzle

Dinner: Avocado Pasta (using remaining 1/2 of avocado and pasta) with Carrot Salad

Day 6

Breakfast: Orange Carrot Ginger Smoothie

Lunch: Orange, Apple, and White Bean Salad (using white onion and dried herbs)

Dinner: White Bean, Kale, and Sweet Potato Soup (omit heavy cream, use 1/2 sweet potato)

Day 7

Breakfast: Oatmeal sprinkled with nuts and raisins

Lunch: Leftover Lentil Soup, Apple

Dinner: Leftover White Bean, Kale, and Sweet Potato Soup along with brown rice


My step by step  budget friendly modifications of recipes to follow throughout week.


Everyone Needs a Kitchen Assistant

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Cat Lover | 5 comments

Everyone Needs a Kitchen Assistant
Even if said assistant occasionally bogarts a chip or two
or abandons you to play outside.   An extra heartbeat in the kitchen only doubles the love and life one person could infuse into meals.

Is how you do food, how you do life?

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Spirit | 2 comments

Is how you do food, how you do life?

This idea kept presenting itself while I was participating in a group fitness program not long ago. My first thought at hearing “how you do food, is how you do life” was, how unbearably cheesy. The more I heard it however, the more it started to strike a cord with me.  How could something that you do so frequently not reveal something about your beliefs and where you are in your life at the moment? The closer I looked the more I saw the truth in the statement.  For example, I found that my failure to find time to cook for myself was reflective of an overall pattern of self-neglect. 

The message that I see in this truth is that one’s relationship with food can simultaneously be seen as a jump start for personal growth and as an indicator of one’s growth.  Louise Hay defines an affirmation as anything you say or think.  I’d expand that to include anything you do.  I don’t think it’s much of a leap to conclude that your actions also set the tone for your life and impact what sort of experiences you draw to yourself.  Since meal time is repeated 3 to 6 times a day for many people, it is wise to consider what you would like to affirm with your food choices.  It would be unfortunate to let the potential power of meal time elude us and reduce food to another outlet for fear based behavior. It would be far  preferable to use meal time to affirm your love of self and of all life to which you are inextricably connected. 

10 Quick and Easy Vegan Snacks

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Skinny Recipes | 2 comments

10 Quick and Easy Vegan Snacks
Chickpea Popcorn

The key to successfully cutting calories is to avoid feelings of deprivation by eating filling meals with nutrient/calorie ratios.  No matter how well planned your meals are, there will be plenty of times that you crave a snack in between meals.  Avoid high sugar snacks, since a poor choice like that can make you feel depleted instead of sustained within an hour. Here is a list of 10 healthy vegan snacks that will satisfy your munchies and leave you feeling nourished.

1. Sweet slices of persimmon paired with raw almonds
2. Frozen grapes
3. Chickpea Popcorn  
4. Soy yogurt w/granola
5. Green Smoothie
6. Apple slices with peanut butter
7. Hummus with carrot sticks
8. Figs wrapped in grape leaves
9. Strawberry Chia Pudding
10. Salsa and tortilla chips

Simple Jackfruit Smoothie

Posted by on Sep 2, 2013 in Raw | 0 comments

Simple Jackfruit Smoothie

1C jackfruit (ripe)
1C almond milk
1/2 C water (add water as needed if not using high powered blender)
1/2 frozen banana
2 C spinach

Combine ingredients in blender.

Once I read that jackfruit reminds some of bubble yum, I had a hunch that it wouldn’t disappoint.  While I have to say that jackfruit is the most labor intensive fruit I have encountered, it is totally worth it.  The best tip that I can share with you is to use coconut oil or any kind of vegetable oil to remove the sticky resin that you will get all over your hands and kitchen counter as you cut the fruit. 

Here is some background info on the fruit and some great vegan recipe ideas for the unripened fruit. 

What is Jackfruit?
13 Stellar Vegan Jackfruit Recipes

Setting Positive Intentions in the Workplace

Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Spirit | 0 comments

Setting Positive Intentions in the Workplace

Yesterday was my last day on the job with the team I’ve worked with for the last seven years.  This morning was my first official day of working as a professional 9 to 5 nutritionist.  I can see my professional focus narrowing and my goals clarifying.  As I enter my new work environment I’ve decided to start a daily gratitude journal in an effort to remain in a positive space as I encounter new learning opportunities in the workplace. I’ve set the intention to only speak of things which I desire to amplify or experience more off. Unless the purpose of discussion is to resolve the issue, I think discussing negative experiences in excess will only draw your attention away from all of the things that are working in your life.  I’ve also started posting positive work affirmations on mirrors around the house so that I’m reminded to focus on what I want to experience as I go into my day.  I’ve been approaching personal and spiritual development from a relaxed perspective but now that I will be reducing my work hours I have more time to dedicate to that part of my life.  I want to focus more intently on spiritual practice, particularly on shifting my perspective to allow more myself to become more of a welcoming conduit for love and light. While there may be not connection, I’ve noticed that it is easier for me to feel connected and at peace when I am eating a high raw diet.  That is why you will notice occasional nods to raw food accompanying my daily gratitude lists.  One of the most joyful parts of shifting my focus has been creating song lists with a positive focus. Today I found another goodie.

Portions of my day that were lovely

  • had time to connect with a sibling thx to my easy access to wifi
  • enjoyed espresso on the stove
  • got two extra hours of sleep 
  • low traffic commute 
  • watched the sun set with the kitties  

How much does it really cost to eat well

Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 in Vegan $1 Menu | 0 comments

I recently decided to leave a comfortable job and take a lesser paying one in order to pursue my goals. As a result I’ve had to reevaluate a few of my spending habits.  I’ve averaged about 25 a day on food and drinks for the last year or so.  I typically start the day with a latte and go out for lunch Monday thru Friday.  The new position has less hours and a shorter lunch break so eating out with such  frequency will not be feasible.  I am currently participating in raw food bootcamp so the goal will be to keep my food budget around 70 a week on a vegan (majority raw)diet. The goal is meet my calorie needs (1200) at around 10 a day.  The actual pay cut will not hit me until next month.  Right now I’m just becoming more aware of my spending habits and making adjustments as I go.  The first step in modifying my budget is mindfulness via documentation.

Getting Back on Track/Building Positive Habits

Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 in Spirit | 0 comments

Its been said that building a positive habit only takes about a month.  Its also been said that the average dieter will fail over twenty times before finding something that sticks, assuming that said dieter doesn’t fall into the 90% of people that fail to maintain the loss over the long term, all indications are that long term weight loss requires a highly personal approach and several attempts.

Time to be Fearless

Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Spirit | 0 comments

Fear and belief in limitation may very well be the only things standing in between you and your best life.