No-new groceries check-in

I’m still three days away from pay day and I have bought zero new groceries, true to my goal.

Gotta say, I’m quite impressed with my own pantry-stocking skills. And the beginning of CSA season was admittedly a great help.

I cheated financially and went to dinner with a friend and got drinks with more friends last Friday night, but those were plans made before I knew I’d be strapped for cash. But because I’m using some creativity in the kitchen, I’ve still been spending very little.

Here are some highlights: More

CSA OMG

Gorgeous and incredibly daunting all at once.

Gorgeous and incredibly daunting all at once.

I have been busy in the kitchen, now more than ever.

And it’s because of my CSA.

I’ve never had a CSA subscription before. Too expensive for my miniscule salary, all that.

But now that I make a lil’ more money this year, I decided to subscribe to the cheapest farm subscription I could find in Seattle. A half-share. Because, you know, I’m a single person who can’t consume a whole share.

For the past month-and-a-half, I’ve been drowning in vegetables. More

Hacking Plum

I’ve never been to Capitol Hill’s Plum Bistro, one of Seattle’s bastions of vegan cuisine.

I hope to someday, but I need someone willing to drop more than a little cash at a nice vegan restaurant with me.

But I do go to Plum Pantry, one of the franchise’s outposts, at the Seattle Center. I go there during my lunch break sometimes as a treat. It’s freaking bomb. Just last week I had the baked tempeh chipotle sandwich. There’s also their reuben, banh mi, yam and jerk tofu sandwich … NOM.

Anyway, my parents gave me the Plum cookbook for Christmas last year, and even though I salivated over the lovely photos, I hadn’t made anything from the book yet. Most of the recipes seemed more involved, costly and contained several ingredients I don’t keep around in my pantry.

But upon taking a fresh look through the book recently, I found a few that seemed do-able.

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Being a broke vegan

People think being vegan is expensive. It can be, but depending on your choices, it really doesn’t have to be.

I mean, the roots of my vegan journey stem partly from a need to stretch what few dollars I had, and nixing meat, eggs and milk from the grocery list helped (took awhile for me to forgo cheese).

Last month, I moved, which was expensive, and then there was Christmas. Then my car insurance leveled a financial blow for moving. (Thanks, btw.)

So I had a few weeks during which I had to skimp a little. Sadly the credit card was used more frequently than I’d prefer.

But food was never a huge stress. I just had to know what to make with cheaper ingredients.

So lemme talk a little bit about what I do to squeak by when The Man is after my meager stack of journalist cash.

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Isa IRL

As if it wasn’t enough to get the Happy Herbivore on this humble little blog.

Last night I got to see Isa Chandra Moskowitz, modern vegan pioneer and creator of the Post Punk Kitchen, at Book Larder in Fremont.

I geeked out. Got there early, bought her new book, Isa Does It, pored over page after delicious page, and sat in the front row.

Swiftly demolished.

Swiftly demolished.

Well, I didn’t wanna be the only person hanging around an hour before the start of the event, so I made a quick stop at Uneeda Burger and got their homemade veggie burger topped with portobello mushrooms.

Then I went back to Book Larder and was still pretty early, so I made sure to snag a good seat before resuming my absorption in Isa Does It.

I love the other cookbook I have of hers, Vegan With a Vengeance. It has amazingly delicious recipes, including the chocolate cake I made for my mom.

But it’s not an attractive book inside. I want pictures with my recipes. There are hardly any pictures.

Isa Does It is different. LOOK. LOOK AT THE “LOOK INSIDE” FEATURE ON THIS PAGE AND SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL. More

On my plate

My first plant-based autumn is going awesome as I turn to more hearty, comforting dishes for hibernation season.

The typical trial and error ensues.

-My big revelation in recent weeks is the Sunday dinner for one I put together a couple weekends ago, all from the Happy Herbivore Abroad cookbook (use the “look inside” feature at the link for some recipes). I made lentil loaf for the first time, as well as champ (basically an Irish take on mashed potatoes, with green onions) and a previous success, lemony kale. Though the kale only yielded two servings, the lentil loaf and champ provided repeat leftovers and I still have one serving of each left in my work fridge. Though I drizzled ketchup on the lentil loaf pictured, I poured barbecue sauce over the loaf and potatoes in subsequent helpings. Barbecue sauce is among my favorite condiments. I learned recently, however, that you gotta check the ingredients on barbecue sauce bottles because some contain non-vegan Worcestershire sauce. Luckily Trader Joe’s sauce is safe. More

Soup, resurrected

OK so I made another soup last night.

I turned to a trusted site I frequent, especially when I’m dirt poor/need to save money in a hurry. (Saving for a new apartment right now. Operation: Live Like a Dirtbag is underway.)

I went for Budget Bytes’ Tomato Herb Soup and it was super cheap to get the ingredients I didn’t have. Then I’d make grilled cheese to accompany it with some Trader Joe’s soy cheese I already had.

SO GOOD. No cream, amazing, rich texture, big on flavor. And if you wanna go super healthy, you can cook your aromatics in a thin layer of veggie broth instead of oil, a Happy Herbivore health hack I use all the time. It works, yo!

Also, if you don’t have these dried herbs laying around, buy them in bulk. I no longer buy pre-packaged herbs because it is such a better value to get the amount I want in bulk.

o hai flash

o hai flash

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