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 Post subject: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:02 pm 
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Has Isa on speed dial

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:50 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Columbus
I'm still struggling along my gluten-free vegan path, bitterly but successfully. I don't know how this board isn't filled with more negativity. It's a real struggle for me maintaining a positive attitude about my diet. Generally my solution to the "why-did-I-have-to-be-struck-with-this-intolerance" blues is to go to the store and buy a bunch of expensive stuff from the gluten-free aisle, like cookies and bread and snack bars. Problem is I can't really afford to eat too much of that stuff. Sorry for being whiney, I'm just venting a little here because I don't know anyone in real life who is vegan or gluten-free, and if I were to whine to someone in person they'd just tell me to shut up and stop being vegan. So it goes. ANYWAYS.

What are you folks' go-to meals and snacks for penny-pinching times? I've pretty much been living off beans and rice with broccoli and frozen spinach for the past month. Chickpeas all the time. In exchange for listening to my whining, here's my new favorite meal to make (weird but delicious!):

Saute a small onion and some pressed garlic in olive oil. I like to use a lot of oil and let the onion caramelize for a bit. Shake in a dash of nutmeg, 1 tsp ground coriander and 1 tsp or so of cinnamon. Splash in some sherry, white wine, broth, or whatever you have lying around to deglaze (I got some sketchy sherry from the clearance shelf). Add several handfuls chopped fresh spinach or half a bag of frozen spinach, and 2 cups or one can of chickpeas. Stir and let simmer until spinach is cooked and all is heated through. Serve atop a baked potato with a big dollop of applesauce on the side. I like to enjoy this with a glass of Trader Joe's 3 buck chuck.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:08 pm 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:03 pm
Posts: 2264
Location: I can't believe it's not England!
Quinoa, bell pepper, pineapple? There's a great quinoa stir-fry in V'Con that I've improvised off of before. Cooking quinoa in half pineapple juice, stir frying the cooked quinoa with some veggies, maybe some tamari & the pineapple. I'm not sure really.

My go to meal when I can't think of anything else is red lentils with curry powder and some sweet potato & squash thrown in.

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"tl;dr: I quit working to drink beer paid for with gift cards" erikasoyf*cker


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:45 pm 
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Should Write a Goddam Book Already
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:51 am
Posts: 1000
Location: RI
some of my favorite gfv meals:

lentil dahl over basmati rice
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=4917.0

veggie korma with coconut milk subbed for cream over basmati rice
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vegetarian-korma/

rice pasta with anything, but especially with esme's special sauce
http://theveganmouse.blogspot.com/2008/ ... ecial.html

foul mudammas
http://arabic-food.blogspot.com/2009/12 ... ecipe.html

homemade sushi
homemade Chipotle burrito bowls
stir fry with peanut sauce over rice or noodles
tacos made with refried beans
pizza made with bob's red mill gf pizza crust mix, sub flax for eggs
nime chow/spring rolls with peanut sauce
stuffed peppers - I veganized a simple Betty Crocker recipe by subbing lentils for ground beef

that recipe you posted sounds yummy :)

edit: ok maybe those aren't all cheap ideas but maybe they help somewhat anyhow ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Has Isa on speed dial

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:50 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Columbus
Thanks! I'm going to try out Esme's sauce as soon as I can get off my butt and walk over to the kitchen. Haven't nooched it up in a while.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:28 pm 
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Has Isa on speed dial

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:50 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Columbus
Follow-up: yummy! I used tamari as the soy sauce, which I think was too overpowering, so next time I'll use salt instead. The tamari made it bitter, so I drizzled on some balsamic vinegar. Another excellent vehicle for frozen spinach!

The tahini/balsamic combo reminded me of one of my favorite lunch recipes which I haven't made in a while - start with a bed of fresh raw spinach, scoop a handful of warm brown rice on top, then throw on some chopped peppers, chickpeas, plain steamed tempeh, walnut pieces, and shredded carrot and/or beets. Apply tahini dressing liberally (I combine tahini, crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and water in a jar, put the lid on and shake it up for a minute) and drizzle with balsamic if the salad needs a little sweetness. Garnish with some avocado slices if available. I once ate nothing but that for a week.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:30 pm 
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Has Isa on speed dial

Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:50 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Columbus
I've made that quinoa stir fry before and it was great! Gotta get some quinoa and pineapple here.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:36 pm 
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Naked Under Apron
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:09 am
Posts: 1793
Location: New Portleans
snacks:
hummus and rice cakes with olives
kale chips
homemade tortilla chips and guacacole
bean quesadillas on brown rice tortillas
homemade buckwheat granola
grain salads
popcorn

meals:
so much stuff!
try indian, ethiopian, mexican, middle eastern, latin!
trader joe's brown rice pasta
rice vermicelli with nooch and steamed broccoli
pho!
salad rolls
salads with breaded tofu on top

xo
kittee
papusas!

xo
kittee

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XGFX: Vegan Gluten-Free Stuff
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"Kittee is wise. Listen to Kittee."~Aruna--> the PPKr currently known as mumbaikar

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:46 pm 
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Banned from Vegan Freaks.
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:37 pm
Posts: 366
Location: red pill rehab
i made salad rolls for supper because of this thread, thanks kittee!


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:39 am 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:03 am
Posts: 2
Location: Minneapolis, MN
I know how you feel. I've been gluten free for 5 years and the first year was really hard. Luckily I am not vegan as well, being gluten free is hard enough. But the trick is to learn how to eat without all the gluten stuff that we were raised on: bread, noodles, more bread, pastas, cookies. Those become a side dish, or a dessert every now and then, but are no longer the main course. That's what i had to figure out the hard way. Now I eat lots more beans, veggies, fruits and lean meats. And I have the gluten free stuff like pastas, pizzas and breads on the side, and not all the time either. It's a healthier way to eat. Don't get me wrong, I'd go back to eating krispy kreme donuts in a second if i could. But i really do feel so much better and am so much healthier without gluten (no more migraines or exhaustion). Hang in there!

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Reviewing gluten free products cuz who has time to bake.
http://glutenfree-products.com


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:33 pm 
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Huffs Nutritional Yeast

Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:14 am
Posts: 117
Freaks wrote:
I'm still struggling along my gluten-free vegan path, bitterly but successfully. I don't know how this board isn't filled with more negativity. It's a real struggle for me maintaining a positive attitude about my diet. Generally my solution to the "why-did-I-have-to-be-struck-with-this-intolerance" blues is to go to the store and buy a bunch of expensive stuff from the gluten-free aisle, like cookies and bread and snack bars. Problem is I can't really afford to eat too much of that stuff. Sorry for being whiney, I'm just venting a little here because I don't know anyone in real life who is vegan or gluten-free, and if I were to whine to someone in person they'd just tell me to shut up and stop being vegan. So it goes. ANYWAYS.

What are you folks' go-to meals and snacks for penny-pinching times? I've pretty much been living off beans and rice with broccoli and frozen spinach for the past month. Chickpeas all the time. In exchange for listening to my whining, here's my new favorite meal to make (weird but delicious!):

Saute a small onion and some pressed garlic in olive oil. I like to use a lot of oil and let the onion caramelize for a bit. Shake in a dash of nutmeg, 1 tsp ground coriander and 1 tsp or so of cinnamon. Splash in some sherry, white wine, broth, or whatever you have lying around to deglaze (I got some sketchy sherry from the clearance shelf). Add several handfuls chopped fresh spinach or half a bag of frozen spinach, and 2 cups or one can of chickpeas. Stir and let simmer until spinach is cooked and all is heated through. Serve atop a baked potato with a big dollop of applesauce on the side. I like to enjoy this with a glass of Trader Joe's 3 buck chuck.


That dinner sounds really tasty!

I can relate...I have those same "why me" blues...especially when passing a pizzeria every day on my way to buy a plain salad for lunch :( I am working in Thailand though, so I can't run to the store for gluten-free cookies...because there simply are not any here.

It is really about retooling expectations, and the retooling frankly really sucks at times.

Some options I have been exploring...and that have been "getting" me through:

- Buckwheat - Full buckwheat sobas will def. break the bank and I cannot afford them. But I bought a bag of buckwheat flour for about three bucks, and plan on trying to make sobas myself. I have also made pancakes with great success. I am not just saying this, but they were about the best pancakes I have ever had in my life. Much tastier than regular flour pancakes.

- Brown rice vermicelli - I am not sure about where you are, but I buy this here for around 30 center per package, which includes two rounds of noodles and makes 2-4 hefty meals at least. Have been using it like pasta, even though it is thin and soaks up much liquid. Yeah, it can get a bit soggy but is comparable to angel hair. I made something the other day that was cheap and good - tomato sauce here is very expensive so I bought tomato juice (which is cheap here and probably everywhere) and used it as a soup base, adding some garlic, salt, lime juice and Tabasco. Then I added the brown rice vermicelli and some frozen peas. After about two minutes, I had myself a pretty great Mexican soup.

- Polenta - Yeah, a big package may not be "cheap", but it's a huge value when you consider how many servings of very hearty meals it provides. I have been topping mine with whatever veg I have available. Lentils and mushrooms (I cook mine in tomato juice to make a sauce out of it) are particularly good. Ratatouille is good on top...if you have access or find some eggplant/peppers/zukes, etc. on sale. And in the morning, I sometimes "refry" polenta and eat it with maple syrup, also delicious.

- Dried lentils and/or beans - All in all, I need to have these cooked and around at all times because they figure into most of what I make. One of the cheapest and best things ever - a huge pot of pintos, pretty plainly cooked (onion, salt, garlic, chile), along with some homemade cornbread. This will produce tons of leftovers, too. Or dal. Dal is the gift that keeps on giving.

- Sweet potatoes - A meal in themselves. Or add some beans on top. I like black beans on them as well along with the ubiquitous lime/chile/salt routine.

- Corn tortillas - I know these can be cheap as chips in many US grocery stores, if you are in the US? I make leftover lentil tacos and leftover lentil + sweet potato tacos on the regular. Filling, fast and cheap. Again, my garlic, onions, Tabasco and lime are utilized here.

- All in all, in case it wasn't obvious (haha), make sure you are stocked up on the following - garlic, onion and hot chile or Tabasco. I found that adding these things in the right way makes almost anything tasty. Seriously.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:37 pm 
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Huffs Nutritional Yeast

Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:14 am
Posts: 117
kittee wrote:
snacks:

trader joe's brown rice pasta


Yes! Trader Joe's is the best for private label Tinkyada brown rice pasta for cheap. Also brown rice cakes...and brown rice tortillas.

Only wish they had TJs in Thailand.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:43 pm 
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Huffs Nutritional Yeast

Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:14 am
Posts: 117
I have discovered though, that a good Lebanese restaurant can be heaven for a weary gluten-free vegan. Went to one the other night for a celebratory dinner and gorged on baha ghanoush and hummus with cucumber sticks and tomato slices as dippers (instead of pita), (confirmed gf) falafel, french fries, salad and non-meat grape leaves. Along with some lovely juice and tea. Made a decision right then and there to continue eating very cheaply and basically, and use whatever I save to occasionally splurge at a good Lebanese restaurant.

Thai food is actually quite difficult and so I pretty much have to avoid it, even though I live here...very, very hard to tell what's in the sauces, whether it be MSG, fish sauce, glutenous produce or meat stock. And I don't speak enough Thai to truly inquire. Never realized how big meat is here...hardly anyone is a vegetarian spare one special week of the year.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:10 am 
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Not NOT A Furry

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:38 am
Posts: 501
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
If there is an Asian market near you, definitely check it out. You will find rice noodles, pure buckwheat soba, huge bags of rice and often various lentils, and tofu (sometimes fresh) for much cheaper than at the supermarket or health food store. At those places these products are "exotic specialties" but at the Asian market they're just normal food.

When I was eliminating gluten we basically just ate "ethnic" foods all the time. Mexican, Thai (well, sort of faux-Thai), Indian, Chinese etc. For treats I made my own cookies--which are much easier to deglutenize than cake-- or sometimes we'd buy a nice dark chocolate or fruit sorbet. But basically lots of beans, lentils, and tofu in all guises, plus corn tortillas, rice, quinoa, and polenta. That sounds kind of boring when I write it, but there are so many different recipes out there that it really isn't.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 5:28 am 
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Huffs Nutritional Yeast

Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:14 am
Posts: 117
Freaks wrote:
I'm still struggling along my gluten-free vegan path, bitterly but successfully.



You and I both, sister. You said it...it's not fair!

I am at the point where I feel like I can no longer stare down piles of brown rice with beans or lentils on top...or piles of quinoa with beans or lentils on top. No matter the sauce! I am going on three months now of beans/rice (w or w/o sauce) and lentils/rice (w or w/o a sauce). Or quinoa and the same digs. But this stuff is hearty, cheap, healthy and sometimes a salad is just not enough...

I have solved this recently in a way that is probably not the best idea health-wise, but I can't muster up the care - corn! Corn tortillas (cheap as chips) are my new favorite vehicle for tacos stuffed with beans or lentils. Also, I will make a big "taco salad" about once a week with a salad on the bottom with lots of nice things in it, scoop of black or pinto beans on top of that, salsa and some crisped up corn tortillas. Also, polenta - polenta with a shot of coconut milk thrown in at the end of cooking is creamy and magically delicious. I top it with everything from white beans/garlic/greens, to lentils in red sauce, to maple syrup (for breakfast). For a snack? Popcorn! Extremely cheap and, as I just read, surprisingly healthy and full of anti-oxidants. You can spice it up with rosemary and garlic, curry powder, lime+chili, brown sugar and cinnamon, etc.

Also, seconding brown rice noodles...brown rice noodles in a creamy (coconut milk) sauce with peas...brown rice noodles cooked in tomato juice with lime, chili flakes or Tabasco and garlic (a quick Mexican-style soup)...stir fry...

I am living in a country right now where it is very difficult for me to find unusual (and sometimes even USUAL) ingredients, but if I were somewhere with access to lots of Indian ingredients, that is probably the direction I would go...I would invest in some good, fresh spices and do things like make my own curry powder out with a mortar/pestle or in a coffee grinder. Stuff like channa, aloo gobi, dal, potato curry is interesting and exciting to the palate...not to mention gluten-free and healthy. This would not necessarily be expensive either.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 10:30 am 
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Huffs Nooch
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Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:50 pm
Posts: 133
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Here`s a list I compiled a while ago on eating cheap but healthy. Hope it helps!

-Make your own food. While some convenience foods might seem cheaper, they’re less nutritious and much worse for your health than real wholesome foods, and a lot of it is actually quite expensive. There are many meals you can cook that are healthy, easy, quick and simple, delicious, and cheap. If you’re not accustomed to the kitchen, just do some research, read some books and learn the basics. Cooking your own food is the best thing you can do.-Take the time to observe your options. Most people live in big cities, and even those who live in towns can usually find more than one grocery store or place to purchase their food. Take a notepad and pen with you to these different locations and write down the prices of foods you usually purchase. If you notice quite the price margin (sometimes you can find huge differences) choose to shop at the cheaper place. If he grocery stores each have something to offer and if they’re easy and affordable to get to, go to both (or all) and get the specific items you want by planning ahead what you need to get where.

-Have a look out for special sales on fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean meats at the grocery stores. Try to purchase when the fruits and veggies are in season, that’s when they’ll usually be cheaper but also taste best and be at their peak nutrition wise. A lot of grocery stores have a “half-price” cart, with some stuff being less than half the price. This is a great place to buy cheap fruits that are *ready* to eat, and vegetables are often fine if cooked soon after too. Certain grocery stores have half-price bread all the time, bread that was baked the day before, such as baguettes and big loaves.

-Keep in mind how much weight from the fruits and veggies you can’t eat (inedible peels etc). Lets say oranges are cheaper than pears by a bit, pears end up being cheaper overall because you end up with more edible fruit. Some oranges have Very thick peels, and pears have a super thin edible peels.

-Find uses for what you normally throw out. If you make your own tomato sauce from scratch, you know that a lot of the tomato gets thrown out – the seeds, the liquid and the peel. Throw all your scraps in a blender with some spices, sea salt and olive oil, blend until smooth and you end up with a tasty treat! Or just use the whole tomatoes for a chunkier sauce. How about the seeds from a winter squash that you scoop out before baking? They are tasty and nutritious – Why not bake them with your favorite seasoning? If you’re finely grating carrots, you’ll end up with delicious fresh carrot juice when you squeeze them. Drink chilled as is, or add some fruit like an apple, with a pinch of cinnamon. What to do with lots of apple peels and cores? You can use them to make apple jelly! Potato skins from mashed potatoes can be seasoned and baked to create chips!

-Buy in bulk. Generally, the bigger the amount you purchase, the better deal you’re getting on it. But be careful not to buy *too* much and find yourself with stale ingredients that you couldn’t use up fast enough.

-Support the locals; try farmers markets and u-picks. Sometimes buying local can be more expensive than grocery stores, and sometimes not. Besides, the local produce will be much fresher and more nutritious. You can find good deals at farmers markets, and u-picks are a cheaper alternative for fruits and vegetables as you pick them yourself. It also makes a pleasant outing!

-Don’t eat out.Normal restaurants are labeled as more expensive than the “fast food” type, but even a 6$ combo of fries, a burger and a drink is much more expensive (and tough on your body) than lets say, a bag of quick oats, which would make you a healthy breakfast in a matter of 2 minutes, and it’d last a looong time, or a bean tortilla with a side salad that can be thrown together in a few minutes.-Frozen vegetables are usually very cheap, but frozen fruits on the other hand, usually aren’t that cheap. Keep your eyes open though; Frozen fruits go on sale every now and then, sometimes almost half price.

-Grains and beans are very nutritious and filling and they’re always cheap, just make sure to get whole grains and stay away from refined flours and white rice as they’ve been stripped of most of their nutrients. Whole grain flours and especially gluten-free flours are more expensive than the usual stuff, but again, keep your eyes open as they sometimes go on sale. Some local farms sell whole-grain flour for very cheap! Dry beans do definitely take a while to cook, but they are super cheap and nutritious!

-Don’t prejudge organic foods as being expensive, sometimes it can actually be cheaper! It depends where and when you shop, so always keep an eye out for them. Use your own judgement though on weather something is actually organic or not, since some companies bend the rules to appeal to the people who want to eat healthy, and make them pay more for it.

-Meats are usually rather expensive compared to other foods (and organic, humanely treated meat, although the best choice, is often very expensive) so beans are a great alternative to get your protein. Use them in soups and slow cookers, salads, and for dips (hummus). You can even make delicious brownies with some of them!

-Growing your own garden is another idea, and it doesn’t need to be big. You can start out with just a couple of pots of herbs and vegetables in your home. Find out what grows best in your region so that it won’t be too much of a hassle to do. If you have some relatives or friends that have big gardens, offer to help them pick during the peak months in exchange for some free fresh stuff.

-Don’t put it out of sight. It’s easy to stack your cupboards and fridge full of food and eat away at what’s in sight, forgetting (conciously or not!) about the foods hiding behind. Stale crackers, moldy vegetables, winey fruit dessert… It all goes to waste when it could have been saved. Try not to cram your cupboards and fridge full, and remember to prioritize what you should eat first. For example, eating that soup before it turns to fungus instead of going for the crackers that will last a long time. Making big batches of food saves you time, just remember to eat it in a certain amount of time or freeze what freezes well.

-Look up your local Food Not Bombs. They’ll feed you delicious healthy vegan meals in parks once or twice a week, and their food is usually loaded with greens. You can even volunteer for them by cooking food together and washing dishes to help them out for all the good things they do without asking anything in return. Some colleges in big cities serve healthy, vegan/vegetarian food for cheap or free for lunch too.

-Stay Connected. I know it may seem really strange to ask, but consider asking certain family members and friends if they can let you know when they have a bunch of food that`s about to go to waste that they won`t use. Some people waste a LOT of food. I`m sure a lot of you will see this as a very unappealing to do, in a sense embarrassing or unwelcomed, but why, really? You should know these people well enough and have an idea of who wastes a lot and who would be open to the idea and who`d want to help you. A suggestion to keep in mind.

-And for those willing to even ponder it and take the “risk”, consider dumpster diving. There is SO MUCH food that is being thrown out of grocery stores, so much of it still edible that is being wasted, it’s disgusting. I plan on dedicating a page to dumpster diving, but for now, a summary: The important thing to keep in mind when dumpster diving is being discrete – Try not to reveal your presence and put things back the way you found them. Try not to make a bunch of noise. Don’t openly speak about it to just anyone; Only talk about it if you must or know the other person is like-minded. It’s best to go when the stores in the area have closed for the night. If there’s a lock on the dumpster, move on. If it’s open, take a peek with a flashlight. Wear clothes you don’t care might get stained or damaged, and wear gloves for extra protection. Be careful when you go in, but look around freely. Dumpster diving is hit-and-miss. Sometimes you find nothing, sometimes you find more stuff than 4 people can carry in bags. Once in a while you’ll find a store that cares about their waste and the hungry and they’ll leave out their (ex: fresh baked pizza) on the ledge of the dumpster for people to take.

You can find all kinds of things, like ripe bananas, potatoes, onions, apples, squash, fruit juices, pop cans, yogurt, frozen goods, chocolate bars, bread and baked goods, and from health food stores, things like nutritional yeast, raisins, honey, nuts, whole wheat bread and baked goods, rice and soy milks, healthy snacks and drinks, and organic produce. I`ve even found things like sanitary pads, food color and cat food. Have fun digging! Just watch out for the fish heads… Any dumpsters with lots of open bags of meat products and bloody bags should be avoided completely.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 12:45 pm 
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Not NOT A Furry

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:38 am
Posts: 501
Location: Aarhus, Denmark
I can really sympathize with the foreign country = no unusual ingredients since I grew up in the US but now live in Denmark. We go all the time to our tiny Asian market to stock up on things like cilantro, tofu, rice noodles, and soba. You can't get those at the normal supermarket here.

But for inspiration, this week we ate for some dinners:

cornbread, crockpot baked beans, VB avocado potato salad, and VV orange tofu
Thai coconut noodles with green beans, carrots, cilantro and peanuts, plus mango on the side (a real treat here!)
VV chimichurri tofu made into tacos with storebought taco shells, crockpot pinto beans, avocado, cabbage, and onions
homemade corn tortillas with leftover pintos, guacamole, plus leftover mango

Lots of beans, but no straight-up beans and rice, and lots of exciting flavors too. And as a bonus there were lots of leftovers to take for lunches as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 6:32 am 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 6:29 am
Posts: 2
Ravenhood wrote:
Here`s a list I compiled a while ago on eating cheap but healthy. Hope it helps!

-Make your own food. While some convenience foods might seem cheaper, they’re less nutritious and much worse for your health than real wholesome foods, and a lot of it is actually quite expensive. There are many meals you can cook that are healthy, easy, quick and simple, delicious, and cheap. If you’re not accustomed to the kitchen, just do some research, read some books and learn the basics. Cooking your own food is the best thing you can do.-Take the time to observe your options. Most people live in big cities, and even those who live in towns can usually find more than one grocery store or place to purchase their food. Take a notepad and pen with you to these different locations and write down the prices of foods you usually purchase. If you notice quite the price margin (sometimes you can find huge differences) choose to shop at the cheaper place. If he grocery stores each have something to offer and if they’re easy and affordable to get to, go to both (or all) and get the specific items you want by planning ahead what you need to get where.

-Have a look out for special sales on fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean meats at the grocery stores. Try to purchase when the fruits and veggies are in season, that’s when they’ll usually be cheaper but also taste best and be at their peak nutrition wise. A lot of grocery stores have a “half-price” cart, with some stuff being less than half the price. This is a great place to buy cheap fruits that are *ready* to eat, and vegetables are often fine if cooked soon after too. Certain grocery stores have half-price bread all the time, bread that was baked the day before, such as baguettes and big loaves.

-Keep in mind how much weight from the fruits and veggies you can’t eat (inedible peels etc). Lets say oranges are cheaper than pears by a bit, pears end up being cheaper overall because you end up with more edible fruit. Some oranges have Very thick peels, and pears have a super thin edible peels.

-Find uses for what you normally throw out. If you make your own tomato sauce from scratch, you know that a lot of the tomato gets thrown out – the seeds, the liquid and the peel. Throw all your scraps in a blender with some spices, sea salt and olive oil, blend until smooth and you end up with a tasty treat! Or just use the whole tomatoes for a chunkier sauce. How about the seeds from a winter squash that you scoop out before baking? They are tasty and nutritious – Why not bake them with your favorite seasoning? If you’re finely grating carrots, you’ll end up with delicious fresh carrot juice when you squeeze them. Drink chilled as is, or add some fruit like an apple, with a pinch of cinnamon. What to do with lots of apple peels and cores? You can use them to make apple jelly! Potato skins from mashed potatoes can be seasoned and baked to create chips!

-Buy in bulk. Generally, the bigger the amount you purchase, the better deal you’re getting on it. But be careful not to buy *too* much and find yourself with stale ingredients that you couldn’t use up fast enough.

-Support the locals; try farmers markets and u-picks. Sometimes buying local can be more expensive than grocery stores, and sometimes not. Besides, the local produce will be much fresher and more nutritious. You can find good deals at farmers markets, and u-picks are a cheaper alternative for fruits and vegetables as you pick them yourself. It also makes a pleasant outing!

-Don’t eat out.Normal restaurants are labeled as more expensive than the “fast food” type, but even a 6$ combo of fries, a burger and a drink is much more expensive (and tough on your body) than lets say, a bag of quick oats, which would make you a healthy breakfast in a matter of 2 minutes, and it’d last a looong time, or a bean tortilla with a side salad that can be thrown together in a few minutes.-Frozen vegetables are usually very cheap, but frozen fruits on the other hand, usually aren’t that cheap. Keep your eyes open though; Frozen fruits go on sale every now and then, sometimes almost half price.

-Grains and beans are very nutritious and filling and they’re always cheap, just make sure to get whole grains and stay away from refined flours and white rice as they’ve been stripped of most of their nutrients. Whole grain flours and especially gluten-free flours are more expensive than the usual stuff, but again, keep your eyes open as they sometimes go on sale. Some local farms sell whole-grain flour for very cheap! Dry beans do definitely take a while to cook, but they are super cheap and nutritious!

-Don’t prejudge organic foods as being expensive, sometimes it can actually be cheaper! It depends where and when you shop, so always keep an eye out for them. Use your own judgement though on weather something is actually organic or not, since some companies bend the rules to appeal to the people who want to eat healthy, and make them pay more for it.

-Meats are usually rather expensive compared to other foods (and organic, humanely treated meat, although the best choice, is often very expensive) so beans are a great alternative to get your protein. Use them in soups and slow cookers, salads, and for dips (hummus). You can even make delicious brownies with some of them!

-Growing your own garden is another idea, and it doesn’t need to be big. You can start out with just a couple of pots of herbs and vegetables in your home. Find out what grows best in your region so that it won’t be too much of a hassle to do. If you have some relatives or friends that have big gardens, offer to help them pick during the peak months in exchange for some free fresh stuff.

-Don’t put it out of sight. It’s easy to stack your cupboards and fridge full of food and eat away at what’s in sight, forgetting (conciously or not!) about the foods hiding behind. Stale crackers, moldy vegetables, winey fruit dessert… It all goes to waste when it could have been saved. Try not to cram your cupboards and fridge full, and remember to prioritize what you should eat first. For example, eating that soup before it turns to fungus instead of going for the crackers that will last a long time. Making big batches of food saves you time, just remember to eat it in a certain amount of time or freeze what freezes well.

-Look up your local Food Not Bombs. They’ll feed you delicious healthy vegan meals in parks once or twice a week, and their food is usually loaded with greens. You can even volunteer for them by cooking food together and washing dishes to help them out for all the good things they do without asking anything in return. Some colleges in big cities serve healthy, vegan/vegetarian food for cheap or free for lunch too.

-Stay Connected. I know it may seem really strange to ask, but consider asking certain family members and friends if they can let you know when they have a bunch of food that`s about to go to waste that they won`t use. Some people waste a LOT of food. I`m sure a lot of you will see this as a very unappealing to do, in a sense embarrassing or unwelcomed, but why, really? You should know these people well enough and have an idea of who wastes a lot and who would be open to the idea and who`d want to help you. A suggestion to keep in mind.

-And for those willing to even ponder it and take the “risk”, consider dumpster diving. There is SO MUCH food that is being thrown out of grocery stores, so much of it still edible that is being wasted, it’s disgusting. I plan on dedicating a page to dumpster diving, but for now, a summary: The important thing to keep in mind when dumpster diving is being discrete – Try not to reveal your presence and put things back the way you found them. Try not to make a bunch of noise. Don’t openly speak about it to just anyone; Only talk about it if you must or know the other person is like-minded. It’s best to go when the stores in the area have closed for the night. If there’s a lock on the dumpster, move on. If it’s open, take a peek with a flashlight. Wear clothes you don’t care might get stained or damaged, and wear gloves for extra protection. Be careful when you go in, but look around freely. Dumpster diving is hit-and-miss. Sometimes you find nothing, sometimes you find more stuff than 4 people can carry in bags. Once in a while you’ll find a store that cares about their waste and the hungry and they’ll leave out their (ex: fresh baked pizza) on the ledge of the dumpster for people to take.

You can find all kinds of things, like ripe bananas, potatoes, onions, apples, squash, fruit juices, pop cans, yogurt, frozen goods, chocolate bars, bread and baked goods, and from health food stores, things like nutritional yeast, raisins, honey, nuts, whole wheat bread and baked goods, rice and soy milks, healthy snacks and drinks, and organic produce. I`ve even found things like sanitary pads, food color and cat food. Have fun digging! Just watch out for the fish heads… Any dumpsters with lots of open bags of meat products and bloody bags should be avoided completely.

If there’s a lock on the dumpster, move on. If it’s open, take a peek with a flashlight.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 9:20 pm 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 6:29 am
Posts: 2
Max Riman wrote:
Ravenhood wrote:
Here`s a list I compiled a while ago on eating cheap but healthy. Hope it helps!

-Make your own food. While some convenience foods might seem cheaper, they’re less nutritious and much worse for your health than real wholesome foods, and a lot of it is actually quite expensive. There are many meals you can cook that are healthy, easy, quick and simple, delicious, and cheap. If you’re not accustomed to the kitchen, just do some research, read some books and learn the basics. Cooking your own food is the best thing you can do.-Take the time to observe your options. Most people live in big cities, and even those who live in towns can usually find more than one grocery store or place to purchase their food. Take a notepad and pen with you to these different locations and write down the prices of foods you usually purchase. If you notice quite the price margin (sometimes you can find huge differences) choose to shop at the cheaper place. If he grocery stores each have something to offer and if they’re easy and affordable to get to, go to both (or all) and get the specific items you want by planning ahead what you need to get where.

-Have a look out for special sales on fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean meats at the grocery stores. Try to purchase when the fruits and veggies are in season, that’s when they’ll usually be cheaper but also taste best and be at their peak nutrition wise. A lot of grocery stores have a “half-price” cart, with some stuff being less than half the price. This is a great place to buy cheap fruits that are *ready* to eat, and vegetables are often fine if cooked soon after too. Certain grocery stores have half-price bread all the time, bread that was baked the day before, such as baguettes and big loaves.

-Keep in mind how much weight from the fruits and veggies you can’t eat (inedible peels etc). Lets say oranges are cheaper than pears by a bit, pears end up being cheaper overall because you end up with more edible fruit. Some oranges have Very thick peels, and pears have a super thin edible peels.

-Find uses for what you normally throw out. If you make your own tomato sauce from scratch, you know that a lot of the tomato gets thrown out – the seeds, the liquid and the peel. Throw all your scraps in a blender with some spices, sea salt and olive oil, blend until smooth and you end up with a tasty treat! Or just use the whole tomatoes for a chunkier sauce. How about the seeds from a winter squash that you scoop out before baking? They are tasty and nutritious – Why not bake them with your favorite seasoning? If you’re finely grating carrots, you’ll end up with delicious fresh carrot juice when you squeeze them. Drink chilled as is, or add some fruit like an apple, with a pinch of cinnamon. What to do with lots of apple peels and cores? You can use them to make apple jelly! Potato skins from mashed potatoes can be seasoned and baked to create chips!

-Buy in bulk. Generally, the bigger the amount you purchase, the better deal you’re getting on it. But be careful not to buy *too* much and find yourself with stale ingredients that you couldn’t use up fast enough.

-Support the locals; try farmers markets and u-picks. Sometimes buying local can be more expensive than grocery stores, and sometimes not. Besides, the local produce will be much fresher and more nutritious. You can find good deals at farmers markets, and u-picks are a cheaper alternative for fruits and vegetables as you pick them yourself. It also makes a pleasant outing!

-Don’t eat out.Normal restaurants are labeled as more expensive than the “fast food” type, but even a 6$ combo of fries, a burger and a drink is much more expensive (and tough on your body) than lets say, a bag of quick oats, which would make you a healthy breakfast in a matter of 2 minutes, and it’d last a looong time, or a bean tortilla with a side salad that can be thrown together in a few minutes.-Frozen vegetables are usually very cheap, but frozen fruits on the other hand, usually aren’t that cheap. Keep your eyes open though; Frozen fruits go on sale every now and then, sometimes almost half price.

-Grains and beans are very nutritious and filling and they’re always cheap, just make sure to get whole grains and stay away from refined flours and white rice as they’ve been stripped of most of their nutrients. Whole grain flours and especially gluten-free flours are more expensive than the usual stuff, but again, keep your eyes open as they sometimes go on sale. Some local farms sell whole-grain flour for very cheap! Dry beans do definitely take a while to cook, but they are super cheap and nutritious!

-Don’t prejudge organic foods as being expensive, sometimes it can actually be cheaper! It depends where and when you shop, so always keep an eye out for them. Use your own judgement though on weather something is actually organic or not, since some companies bend the rules to appeal to the people who want to eat healthy, and make them pay more for it.

-Meats are usually rather expensive compared to other foods (and organic, humanely treated meat, although the best choice, is often very expensive) so beans are a great alternative to get your protein. Use them in soups and slow cookers, salads, and for dips (hummus). You can even make delicious brownies with some of them!

-Growing your own garden is another idea, and it doesn’t need to be big. You can start out with just a couple of pots of herbs and vegetables in your home. Find out what grows best in your region so that it won’t be too much of a hassle to do. If you have some relatives or friends that have big gardens, offer to help them pick during the peak months in exchange for some free fresh stuff.

-Don’t put it out of sight. It’s easy to stack your cupboards and fridge full of food and eat away at what’s in sight, forgetting (conciously or not!) about the foods hiding behind. Stale crackers, moldy vegetables, winey fruit dessert… It all goes to waste when it could have been saved. Try not to cram your cupboards and fridge full, and remember to prioritize what you should eat first. For example, eating that soup before it turns to fungus instead of going for the crackers that will last a long time. Making big batches of food saves you time, just remember to eat it in a certain amount of time or freeze what freezes well.

-Look up your local Food Not Bombs. They’ll feed you delicious healthy vegan meals in parks once or twice a week, and their food is usually loaded with greens. You can even volunteer for them by cooking food together and washing dishes to help them out for all the good things they do without asking anything in return. Some colleges in big cities serve healthy, vegan/vegetarian food for cheap or free for lunch too.

-Stay Connected. I know it may seem really strange to ask, but consider asking certain family members and friends if they can let you know when they have a bunch of food that`s about to go to waste that they won`t use. Some people waste a LOT of food. I`m sure a lot of you will see this as a very unappealing to do, in a sense embarrassing or unwelcomed, but why, really? You should know these people well enough and have an idea of who wastes a lot and who would be open to the idea and who`d want to help you. A suggestion to keep in mind.

-And for those willing to even ponder it and take the “risk”, consider dumpster diving. There is SO MUCH food that is being thrown out of grocery stores, so much of it still edible that is being wasted, it’s disgusting. I plan on dedicating a page to dumpster diving, but for now, a summary: The important thing to keep in mind when dumpster diving is being discrete – Try not to reveal your presence and put things back the way you found them. Try not to make a bunch of noise. Don’t openly speak about it to just anyone; Only talk about it if you must or know the other person is like-minded. It’s best to go when the stores in the area have closed for the night. If there’s a lock on the dumpster, move on. If it’s open, take a peek with a
flashlight. Wear clothes you don’t care might get stained or damaged, and wear gloves for extra protection. Be careful when you go in, but look around freely. Dumpster diving is hit-and-miss. Sometimes you find nothing, sometimes you find more stuff than 4 people can carry in bags. Once in a while you’ll find a store that cares about their waste and the hungry and they’ll leave out their (ex: fresh baked pizza) on the ledge of the dumpster for people to take.

You can find all kinds of things, like ripe bananas, potatoes, onions, apples, squash, fruit juices, pop cans, yogurt, frozen goods, chocolate bars, bread and baked goods, and from health food stores, things like nutritional yeast, raisins, honey, nuts, whole wheat bread and baked goods, rice and soy milks, healthy snacks and drinks, and organic produce. I`ve even found things like sanitary pads, food color and cat food. Have fun digging! Just watch out for the fish heads… Any dumpsters with lots of open bags of meat products and bloody bags should be avoided completely
.

If there’s a lock on the dumpster, move on. If it’s open, take a peek with a flashlight.


I also believe it is a lot better to cook ourselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 10:55 am 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:16 am
Posts: 789
Location: New Yawk
We are going through the same thing around here after realizing our takeout consumption is boosting our salt, fat and overall calorie intake and draining our wallets. So far we've had:

Sweet potato and black bean quesadillas with a Nooch sauce
Butternut Squash risotto, no wine, dried herbs (for dinner tonight)
Besan Chilla, or indian chickpea pancakes (savory, we add spinach and tomato to up the veggies)
Coconut Chickpea Tempeh rice (saute some basmati rice in a bit of oil with onion, curry powder, add coconut flakes, pan-seared tempeh)
Veggie burgers! I'm still playing around with them but we saute greens in a bit of bbq sauce (measured to watch the sodium) and add those to the burger.

Don't forget to measure things. When we were doing a project for class with a dietary restriction diet (Diabetic diet, for example), I measured everything and things lasted heaps longer, and I was still satisfied and full with the actual servings. You can still get second helpings but it helps stretch food a bit if it's something you'd be interested in.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:52 pm 
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Writes Vegan Haiku

Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:21 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Tucson, AZ
This is a great thread!! You guys inspired me to finally buy a popcorn popper. Popcorn is $1/lb on sale at Sprouts all the time- that's a ton of snacks! I love a lot of the ideas here!

For meals, the easiest thing for me in terms of availability and cost is Mexican food, which may not be true outside of Arizona/the southwest... Tacos, enchiladas, casseroles- any time someone is going to cook for me and asks what I can eat, that is always the easiest go-to.

I also eat a lot of tofu with rice and various veggies (I'm lucky that tofu is my daughter's favorite food...). I also make a lot of soups/stews in the crockpot, and I find a lot of those end up being pretty cheap per serving, too. Chili is my standard "I'm broke" meal, and a big pot will last a few days.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:15 am 
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Tofu Pup Forever
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Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:14 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Liverpool, UK
I get so fed up with living gluten free. For me though it's lunches I struggle with more often. It's hard to take a variety of different lunches to work with me.

My quick and cheap meal is stir fry. It's my go to food when I can't think. Rice noodles/rice are cheap and you can chuck anything in.

_________________
Blogs- Vegan Beckles, Writing Beckles


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 Post subject: Re: Cheap Meal Ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:38 pm 
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Tofu Pup Forever
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:24 am
Posts: 17
Chiming in here late, but I also want to complain about being vegan and gluten free :/ Lunches are a pain for me as well. I seem to always grab gluten free cereal and almond milk every day! I am sick of it! But I need to get smarter about eating well. Because I want to whine about it all the time, I grab stuff to eat that isn't good for me, or more often, don't eat at all. I found a neat blog recently by a gluten free, vegan, healthy young lady, and I am trying some of those recipes. Tonight it will be The Perfect Vegan Lentil Stew for supper. I might even try to make some gluten free cornbread to go along with it. This could be inexpensive, right? http://www.gluten-free-vegan-girl.com/2 ... -stew.html


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