Growing ever more frugal on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

The title of this post totally refers to last week, not this coming week. Last week I spent a grand total of $15 on food, and $13 of that was a single take-out meal I treated myself to after a rather unpleasant medical procedure. This coming week is my birthday/party, and the food budget is going out the window. As it should, I think. I am totally birthday-phobic and a dear friend has basically had to hold my hand (and prod me gently) through every step of planning and executing a party. So the last thing I want to pile on top of that is worrying about money. I’ll just eat lots and lots of dry beans in February. Who doesn’t love beans?

Pinto bean corn cake fritter things with harissa

Speaking of beans… I really enjoyed the pinto bean corn cake fritter things from last week’s menu. I made them with home-cooked cranberry beans I cooked and froze last week (and actually remembered to defrost ahead of time – we’ll make a budget mealmaker of me yet!) and they were very tasty, with a light, airy quality I hadn’t expected. The amount of batter in the recipe was insufficient to hold the fritters together in the pan, so I mixed another maybe 1/4 cup of chickpea flour with some water and added that to the mix. I didn’t have any salsa so I had to eat them with harissa, which was fine, but salsa (and vegan sour cream) really would be the best way to go. The recipe was so fast, easy, and tasty that I’m adding it to my “Steady Pulse” collection of bean and legume recipes.

The stars of the show last week were hands down the Chesapeake tempeh cakes from Post Punk Kitchen. I’m planning to give those babies their own post. Creamy (vegan) millet and kale salad ended up being super yummy, too. I deviated from the recipe by lightly steaming the kale, though. My bunch of kale was pretty tough, not tender, and I didn’t think it would get edible from the heat of the millet and sauce alone, which is how the original recipe does it. Sweet potato fries with vegan aioli are a household favorite and continued to live up to their excellent reputation.

In fermenting news (didn’t you know there’s a whole separate category for fermenting news?) the giant batch of sauerkraut Farmer B and I made in my new crock continues to merrily do its fermenty thing. It’s taking a while, though, I think because my (frugal!) house is so cold right now. Farmer B and I finally have another Culture Club meeting scheduled (I have to catch her when she’s in town between farm gigs) with an exciting crew of new club members and a plan to make cabbage kimchi, oji (a fermented millet porridge), and mandarin orange cordial.

The most important thing that happened this past week was that the dear brother of a close friend died after a long, courageous time spent living with cancer. He was in his mid 20s and will be deeply missed by so many people whose lives were touched by his love, his passion, his intellect, and all the unique and amazing gifts he brought into the world. Yesterday friends and family gathered at his home to remember him and a tiny, remarkable rainbow appeared and stayed with us for hours. Rainbows are an important symbol for my friend and her family and I think this rainbow was one more amazing gift from a loving brother, son, and friend.

It seems quite strange to transition from that to my menu for the week, but onward I go, as planning menus is one of the ways I take care of myself, and taking care of ourselves and the people we love is the one of the best ways to honor those who are gone. This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Angela of Angela’s Kitchen with the theme of Slow Cooking. I dug up some vegan crock-pot recipes from the internet and they seem to fit with my general easy/frugal menu planning so we’ll see how they do. As always there are a bazillion menu plans over at OrgJunkie, the great goddess of Menu Plan Monday!

Snobby Joes (VCon) on GF toast
Roasted carrots with rosemary

Tuesday (defrost brussels sprouts)
GF version of VCon’s Chickpea Cutlets, made into nuggets, with vegan ranch dressing
Roasted brussels sprouts (defrosted from last week’s mega sprouts cooking)

Birthday dinner with my mom before seeing Next to Normal!

Crock pot curry with coconut milk
Brown basmati rice

Kale, tofu, and quinoa

Sushi party! I’m having everyone bring a vegan ingredient to put into sushi rolls.
Cucumber sunomono
Vegan mochi ice cream!!

Crock pot curried red lentil, chickpea, and quinoa stew

Make turnip pickles

Shopping list: 1 cabbage, 3 carrots, 1 gold or sweet potato, celery, kale