Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No Money in the Food Budget for Experimentation

So instead of trying out new recipes (which I love to do), I've been focusing on re-vamping old ones I have and looking for new twists to my staple dishes.

One example is my recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies. I had a basic recipe I was using that I found ages ago. I've now tweaked it so much that I can call it mine! :) And it's so good.

Chi-Chi's Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1/2 cup vegan buttery spread
1/2 cup turbinado (raw sugar)
2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp. water (mix till frothy)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raisins, soaked till plump then drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream vegan butter spread and sugar together till well incorporated. Add maple syrup, egg replacer and vanilla extract and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet. Mix well. Add oats and raisins. Mix well again.

Drop about 2 tablespoonfuls of batter for each cookie onto an oiled or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool on cooling racks. Enjoy!

Makes about one dozen cookies.
I'm really pleased about how well the cookies came out and everyone really seems to love them! They're soft and chewy but still wholesome tasting.

So for the past few weeks, it's been beans, beans, and more beans and I've just be looking for recipes and ways to make them more creative/less boring. So a week ago, we had black bean burritos (which were a *hit*) and which only required that I buy one pack of tortillas (okay, I should have made them--it's not hard but for some reason corn meal seems to be harder to come by these days). Last night I wanted to make chili but I was getting tired of my regular stand-by recipe. I was scouring all my cookbooks and found a good number of chili recipes in Vegan Planet ( previously neglected cookbook) that required ingredients that I already had on hand. I made a really delicious chili. It called for fresh peppers which I didn't have so I used dried red pepper flakes. What made it different was that it called for apple juice and cinnamon which gave it a little twist and therefore made it much more interesting. I felt like it needed some more depth so I added a bit of molasses. It came out well. :)

And then, a few days ago, I made Dreena's chocolate chip cookies (after a brief hiatus from anything but bread baking). They were DIVINE, as usual, and a real treat since I had been shying away from using the (relatively) large amount of (expensive azz) maple syrup.

I ran out of wheat gluten flour. I purchased some on Ebay from an Amish company (it seems) but it's been slow in getting here. Makes me wish I'd purchased from Amazon. So, after putting off baking bread for a few days in hopes it would arrive, I went on ahead and baked the bread sans gluten. I came out with some funny shaped loaves but bread nonetheless. I hope the gluten comes soon though because I have to make some vegan sausages (even though I can't eat them anymore--but the hubby does). :)

Well, the month is almost through and I haven't busted my grocery budget just yet. I will clear $500 this month but my pantry is well-stocked and I think I can expect to really stick to the $120/week budget in November. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Oh, and hoping somebody gives me $50,000 tomorrow. LoL.


mamak said...

I'm bored with my chili recipe too,and have Vegan Planet so I'll try it! We eat alot of beans also and black bean burritos are one of our favorites. We seem to put just about everything/anything onto a tortilla shell. Inexpensive and yummy. We eat alot of brown rice too.

To-Fu said...

This looks delicious! I'll have to try it. Say, are you and your family vegan? How did I not know this about you during our MDC DDC days?!

Chi-Chi said...

Well, my hubby is vegan. The kids and I eat fish, eggs and a little cheese but aside from that our diet is mostly vegetarian. I started eating animal products again to see if some health issues would resolve. So far, no luck and I want to go back to being vegan. But I know I should give it some time. I was vegan for years so I guess it would take years to correct. I guess.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I remember you from our DDC. :)

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