After being asked for recipes by friends and family, and being obsessed with cooking, I decided to start up this blog. I’m a grad student, and I prefer to buy unprocessed, organic, local food. This means that I spend quite a bit of time looking through my cookbooks, figuring out weekly menus that are…
1) relatively inexpensive. My husband and I have an $80 budget for food each week, or $2/meal/person, excluding one dinner out each week.
2) vegetarian, leaning vegan (the vegan inclination sometimes gets completely thrown out the window); this is for ideological and health reasons, but it also saves money if you are careful – simply reducing our cheese usage has saved us a lot in groceries
3) made up of unprocessed ingredients when possible
4) occasionally involve a big production, but generally can be prepped, cooked, and eaten within an hour
This means that when I look through my cookbooks, I’m looking for ingredient lists with veggies that will most likely be at the farmers’ market at affordable prices and bulk foods, like dried beans and grains. Unless we’re splurging, we don’t buy fancy, crusty bread, we avoid recipes in which cheese plays a major role, and the recipe can’t be too complicated. Most weeknights, we rely on the same repertoire of easy, 30-minute-or-less meals: egg-rice-veggie bowls, tempeh tacos, homemade veggie burgers, and salads. We’ll try out new recipes, or more involved ones, on Friday-Monday nights – especially if they produce a lot of leftovers for lunches.
Because we eat a lot of beans, and I prefer the cost and taste of cooking my own from dry, I plan ahead by cooking my beans over the weekend. It takes a while, but you don’t spend much of that time cooking. Buying a pressure cooker has saved us so much time – we don’t even soak our beans – and they can cook in 10-20 minutes.
Clearly, this takes a lot of time. I’m hopeful that I can help friends and family out by providing some tried-and-true recipes that we enjoy.
This way of menu-planning, grocery-shopping, and cooking is what works for us. I choose to eat and shop this way to support better labor- and environmental-practices while also supporting my interest in cooking delicious, healthy food. However, my claim of the food being inexpensive is clearly from my perspective as someone that has the means to buy a pressure cooker and other expensive tools, and as someone with the luxury of time to plan, shop, and cook.