Friday Tips: One new thing

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Smoothies for Dad and LP and then toast for everyone (Mom slept in after a rough night with IP)
  • Mom snacked on apples and peanut butter after her run.  LP joined her with crackers and almond butter
  • Lunch: Leftover pumpkin peanut soup
  • Mom had a Sweet and Sara S’more snack while cleaning up her desk
  • Dinner: Mu-shu (from Vegan on the Cheap)

Money Matters:
Today we spent the following:

  • $13.02 on a quick Whole Foods run for soymilk, bananas, oats and Earth Balance butter.

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Try something new once in a while!

I’m usually all about comfortable favorites.  I always love having my favorite meals like breakfast-for-dinner or Spicy Eggplant Peanut Stew.  But I also love to try new things in the kitchen.  I’ve even found that trying new recipes leads to some new favorites (like tofu Mu-shu, sun-dried tomato polenta and setian pot roast).  In order to keep our meals fun and interesting, and to challenge myself at bit as a cook, I like to try one new meal every week.  Doing this helps me add new dishes, techniques and ingredinats to my repetorie, and keeps cooking fun!  Here are some of the ways I try to mix it up with these new ideas.

Explore Cookbooks: I have a ton of cookbooks, and I know lots of other people who do too.  But how many of us just keep coming back to the same few recipes from each book?  I have books that I rarely turn to unless I make it a point to try something new.  So, when I am looking for something new to try, I will go to a rarely opened cookbook, or a rarely looked-at section of a favorite to find something new to try.  Sometimes I will even try a new cookbook – from the library!  This is a fun and cheap way to try a cookbook and see if it is worth owning.  This strategy (with both my cookbooks and library loans) has helped me find our bok-choy stir fry, spicy peanut eggplant stew and Moroccan chickpeas!

Explore the Internet: This is an especially awesome strategy during (or just after) vegan mofo!  It was during my vegan journey when I realized that the internet was full of awesome vegan bloggers that were posting recipes galore!  This helped me find chocolate chip cookies from Post-Punk kitchen, curried rice and roasted butternut squash among other things.

Try New Ingredients: One of my favorite things about getting a CSA box is that we get lots of new ingredients to try, like dandelion greens, blue potatoes, and callaloo.  These new ingredients push me to look for fun ways to cook them, usually but searching cookbook indexes and the internet for ideas.  It’s fun to combine ideas from lots of recipes and then try something creative!

Veganize: When you are first transitioning to veganism you might be driven to make “vegan” food from “vegan” cookbook or blogs.  But, don’t forget some of your favorites.  There might be some of your favorite dishes that can be veganized by changing one ingredient.  Or maybe you want to try and veganize your favorite creamy soup.  Either way, challenge yourself by turning a pre-vegan meal into a new vegan favorite!

I hope this was a bit inspiring and that you try something new for dinner next week!  I know it was a good reminder for me – time to crack open the Vegan Soul Kitchen that has been hiding on the back of my bookshelf!

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