Monthly Archives: April 2009

Cheap Eats

pig1If you’re like most people in this country, things have gotten pretty tight as far as money is concerned. If you’re like me and have a family of five and you live modestly (in other words, the hubs I put together don’t bring home six figures) then you start to rethink your budget without compromising your principles. There are days when it becomes difficult. “Mac and cheese on sale for fifty cents a box? What?” Yes, I know it was my decision to have three children but I still don’t feel that I should be held to the same standard as other vegans/vegetarians. The ones who are doing all the yelling are the ones who don’t even have one child, let alone three. I do what I can, when I can and I’m not going to beat myself up about it. If there is a vegan option, I will always choose it. If my only option is to starve, then guess what? I’m eating that mac and cheese.

I visit other blogs written by other moms and I see that most of them make frequent visits to farmer’s markets or they have a vegetable garden in the back yard. I don’t have room in my yard for a garden and try dragging a screaming toddler to the local farmer’s market that’s only available once a week. Good luck! So, I turn to frozen or canned vegetables. I’m in the process of compiling about 100 recipes for a book I’m putting together for those of us who want to live animal free but don’t have the cash for things like saffron threads or $65 worth of fresh vegetables every three days. I enjoy chik’n patties but at over $4 for four patties, they aren’t exactly cost effective. These recipes are also going to be fairly carnivore friendly. My husband won’t go near anything with tofu or tempeh in it so I have to get a little more creative.

Here are three recipes that will work great at a family party or just for your family on any old Thursday night. The first one is taken from John Robbins’ May All Be Fed: Diet For A New World, but of course with my tweaking. The second one is just a cornbread recipe veganized. The third one is my aunt Betty’s recipe,  minus the gross stuff she put in there last time I had it at our family reunion last year. I would not recommend making and eating all three of these on the same day unless you want to hang out in your bathroom for the duration of your evening.

003Tamale Pie

canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 16 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 16 ounce can of light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 8 ounce can of diced green chiles, drained as well as possible

1 can of corn, drained

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

pinch o cayenne

3 cups water

1 cup cornmeal

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

Oven at 350. In a large pan, saute onion in oil until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, beans, corn, green chilis, chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne. Mix well, until heated through, about five minutes. Pour into square baking dish.

In a saucepan, using a whisk, stir together water, cornmeal, mustard, lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to simmer and stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Spread cornmeal mixture over bean mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool for 10.


1 cup cornmeal

1 cup ap flour

4 tbsp sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup soymilk curdled with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar for five minutes

1/4 cup canola oil

Oven at 425. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, combine soymilk with oil, then using a wooden spoon, stir into the dry ingredients. Pour into a square pan that has been sprayed with no-stick or that you’ve poured 1 tsp of canola oil into. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool.

0011Black Bean Salad

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 can corn, drained

1 package of taco seasoning (be careful here vegans! some mixes have lactose in them)

1 cup of prepared bulgur wheat (I bought a box of Arrowhead Mills bulgur for less than five bucks and I’m pretty sure it’ll last me until the apocolypse in 2012.)

1 large tomato, chopped

Mix together the beans, corn and bulgur, then mix in the taco seasoning. Make sure it’s nicely chilled before adding in the tomatoes.  How easy was that? If you like, you can add in chopped raw onion and/or green pepper. I hate onions so I’ll pass, thanks.

002This picture was taken before I added the tomatoes. Sometimes I get ahead of myself. Oops.

More to come!


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Toasted Coconut Cupcakes

001Today, you’re going to get a two-fer, as in two recipes on one blog. Yay you! I went on a crazy baking spree last week and in addition to the vanilla cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies I made, I also made these babies. These are the toasted coconut cupcakes with coffee buttercream from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. You will benefit from my desire to put on extra weight just in time for swimsuit season.

In all honesty, these aren’t the cheapest treats to make, after all, they do call for real, pure coconut oil and I paid over $15 for my little tub of the stuff. They also call for coconut milk. Again, not particularly cheap. You can make these for that special person in your life who dreams of coconuts, their delicious milk*, and their wonderful flesh, because only that person will truly appreciate these. Everyone else would be like (with mouth full) “Mm.  Do I ta coco ut in eezz?”

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes

1 cup ap flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 cup coconut milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp coconut extract

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used the sweetened stuff and the sugar police did not come to my home and haul me away)

Oven at 350. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan, then let cool, but obviously not enough to solidify again. Set aside. In a small bowl, sift together dry ingredients. In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add in the coconut oil. Add the flour mixture in batches and beat well. Fold in the shredded coconut. Fill cupcake cups 2/3 full. Bake for about 25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting with this….

Coffee Buttercream Frosting

1/4 shortening (non-hydrogenated is preferred)

1/4 margarine (see above)

2 cups confectioners sugar

2 tbsp coconut milk

1 1/2 tsp strong brewed coffee, cooled obviously

1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream together margarine, shortening, vanilla, coconut milk and coffee. Add powdered sugar and beat well.

When you have frosted your delightfully delicious cupcakes, you will need to roll the edges in heavenly toasted coconut. I simply took about 2/3 cup shredded coconut, placed it in a fry pan, and tossed it around until it was nicely browned. Once nicely edged in coconut, each cuppie got a coffee bean dipped in chocolate. Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more shaky and buzzed up from the caffeine and sugar in these, I give you that little something to put you right over the rainbow, as Lula might say. Now, go watch Wild At Heart.

*For the record, I like coconut milk in the can, but I think it’s nasty straight from the nut. I tried it last summer at VeggieFest here in Schaumburg, IL. It was fairly gross.

007Banana Cake with Frosting

3 overly ripened bananas

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups ap flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Heat oven to 375. Spray a 9 by 9 pan with no stick. Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl, then mix dry ingredients in a smaller bowl. Mix dry into wet. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Frost with….

You can either use vegan cream cheese frosting, vanilla frosting with banana extract, or if you’re on a budget, just plain vanilla frosting. Any of these works and is fabulous! I used vegan cream cheese frosting here because I had some of the vegan cream cheese left over that no one was touching. I mean, it’s not real cream cheese, and doesn’t even come close in my opinion. It’s really only good for frostings.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 vegan cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Cream together. Frost. Yum.

I have to read Swann’s Way for my literature class. Coming soon…Fight Club cupcakes!


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