This week we ended up spending more money than we’d like at the grocery store, even with a trip to ALDI. I realize that we got food for more meals than our normal 6 meal limit, so I’m taking that into account. Also, the pantry was low on a quite a few items, so those grocery trips do tend to cost a bit more. I think I need to take account of my pantry a bit more and space out our staples so we don’t have to purchase them all in one week.
We scored on a few items on our list….ALDI is now carrying 100% Grade A Maple syrup for only $3.99!!!! Its from Canada too…I tasted a little bit and absolutely nothing is wrong with the quality. I hate that people stick their nose up about shopping at ALDI…that store is the reason we are able to eat such a wide variety of interesting meals and still be able to afford a few luxury items from time to time. I also found pine nuts there last week for super cheap, score!
ALDI doesn’t always carry almond milk, but when they do I enjoy getting some as it is my favorite non-dairy milk. Their almond milk tastes wonderful, I highly recommend it. Their soy milk is quite reasonable as well and is organic which is important to me regarding soybeans as many soybeans are gmo.
Also, while jams and jellies aren’t super healthy, we enjoy eating a PB & J sometimes. ALDI’s Strawberry preserves and Corcord Grape jelly do not have processed cane sugar in them. Yes they have corn syrup instead, but at least we know that is a vegan sweetener whether its healthy or not.
Onto the meal plan, to give you guys some ideas of what the heck we eat. Once you have a meal plan down, it makes life much easier and you also know that your food won’t go to waste in your fridge because you have a specific plan for each item.
This week, I decided to crack open a new cookbook (well, at least open up my Nook lol) called Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I have her book, The Vegan Table, but I enjoy the organization and theme of this book a bit more. I adore how the recipes are split up into different colors with information about why foods of a certain color are good for you and what they can provide for your body. There are many gluten-free and oil free options in the book for those looking to eat a bit healthier.
I ended up picking 3 recipes from this book this week:
Stuff Shells with Marinara: features a beautiful and healthy tofu ricotta recipe…a genius mix of soft and extra firm tofu with pine-nuts..mmmmm.
Beet Burgers: This sound very colorful and interesting…I was quite intrigued by the inclusion of sesame seeds and sunflower seeds as well. The picture was what really inspired me to make this and it sounds healthy and tasty. We splurged and got the new block version of Daiya, the Jack style one? I’ve heard that it tastes better than the shredded version!
Nori Wraps with Orange Cashew Cream: These look so colorful and tasty..a nice alternative to a tortilla wrap. Love the addition of avocado, makes them more like a California roll. We ended up using rice wraps instead of nori though, as the only Nori sheets we saw seemed too small to make a wrap. I think I’ll just add some dulse flakes to the Cashew Cream to give it the seafood flavor. Should work nicely. The rice wraps were gluten free, made of just rice and tapoica flour.
The rest of the recipes are just family favorites that we’ve made a million times before…but there is nothing wrong with that. I notice we do tend to eat more Mexican dishes when were are budgeting because it easy to pack in flavor with spicey ingredients like jalapenos and chili sauce. Also, while the dishes may seem humble, we are always satisfied by their comforting taste and delicious flavor. Simple can be wonderful if you use the right spices and flavor profiles.
Chili: We just take a large can of tomato juice, add in some onion, garlic, green pepper, frozen corn, 2 cans kidney beans, 1 can black beans, and a small can of tomato paste to help the food stretch a bit further and to thicken the soup. I also love adding in a lot of lime juice and chili powder…we also have some fresh jalapeños to use up from last week. May throw in some TVP if I think about it.
Garbanzo Tacos: This is the meal my husband is making this week. Its a very quick and simple meal to make and he feels comfortable with it, so that makes it easier to get him in the kitchen:) We are going to save part of the Daiya block of cheese and shred it up for the tacos to give them a bit more interest. He uses a can of diced tomato, onion, garlic, and basic taco seasonings (onion powder, chili powder, oregano, salt-pepper). The key to making garbanzos sit in taco shells is to smash them up a bit with a fork.
3-Pepper Fajitas: ALDI has super cheap tri-color peppers right now that look beautiful. We got a whole 3 pack for a $1.69! We are going to saute those with some mushrooms, spinach, onions, gralic and add some black beans, spices, and lots of ground pepper. And of course we will douse it with Tapatio hot sauce, but that’s a given:)
Spaghetti w/ Maranara: Cheap, cheap, cheap and easy…this a a recipe we make constantly. We are using organic pasta sauce and using up left-over green peppers, mushrooms, maybe a bit of textured vegetable protein to make it a bit heartier. I may even make some parmesan with walnuts and nutritional yeast that I have on hand, but we shall see.
Tofu with Stir-Fry Veggies w/ Jasmine Rice: Jasmine rice is a pantry staple of ours, its so fragrant and flavorful. We love this recipe as a way to use up veggies in our fridge and as a budget stretcher. I always make my own homemade sauces with cornstarch, soy sauce, turbinado sugar, and whatever spice blend I want that week or fruit (like pineapple) if I’m making a sweet and sour sauce.