You guys, I’m really cranky today, despite it being world vegetarian day. Because on world vegetarian day, all vegetarians and vegans should be running around throwing kale confetti and smiling because it’s our damn DAY. Sorry…I guess I am still sore over my big break-up with coffee.

Earlier today, my boss mused about that bazillionaire who bought most of Lanai, and I managed to segue the conversation to zombie apocalypse survival (“I mean, who wouldn’t want a Hawaiian island, what with the zombie apocalypse coming…”) and my colleague and I ended it with a debate: Can zombies swim and if so, if a shark ate a zombie would the zombie then eat the shark from the inside out? Feel free to weigh in, any zombie enthusiasts.

For the rest of you, here is a recipe I make when my bank account is particularly desolate, because it feeds me for an entire week and all of the ingredients cost under 10 dollars, total. The downside is you have to eat the same meal for a week straight but I think it’s rather delicious so I don’t mind. You know me, little miss monogamy. If you’re not trying to eat it for a week or feed a family or seven, then stick some of the left-overs in the freezer.

The reason it is so cheap is because I use frozen veggies, which I always have on hand for that week leading up to my next paycheck when I’m seriously hurting but can’t imagine a life without vegetables. I like frozen peas and carrots, but you can find some pretty jazzy frozen veggies nowadays… I can even find frozen shitake mushrooms.

“Cheap Date” Curried Lentils

2 cups dry brown lentils
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
1 large can organic diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
2 cups frozen organic veggies. I like to use a blend of cubed butternut squash, peas, carrots, and spinach.
2 1/2 tbs curry powder
1 tbs cumin
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

Optional: 1 cup coconut milk. (I prefer full fat.)

Step one: In a large pot, using your favorite cooking oil (or water, for those of you who like to stay unprocessed!) brown your onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic, ginger and all your spices, and stir for 1-2 more minutes. Prepare for your kitchen to smell like you’ve died and gone to heaven, if heaven was located inside a particularly delicious indian restaurant, like my heaven would be.

Step two: Add tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil.

Step three: Once boiling, lower to a simmer. Add vegetables and 1 cup of liquid, either coconut milk if using or more water. Let cook covered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I like to enjoy over quinoa. Probably while discussing more zombies. Happy world vegetarian day, folks!

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As a college student, I’m pretty much always pressed for cash. Working two part time jobs, keeping on top of my academics and editing our school’s small, student run newspaper, I am also usually pressed for time. The mix of the two, lack of time and funding, often makes it harder for me to eat as healthy as I would like. It is much easier (quicker, cheaper) for me to stick a spoon in a peanut butter jar than cook myself breakfast in the morning on the way out the door to class, the mac lab to edit, Pilates, whatever. I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that help me save time and money, and I don’t mean ringing up all my organic produce as regular on the self check out line at Kroger…

Oatmeal- Seriously, I wanna make love to the stuff. It is the perfect breakfast, period. If you buy the old-fashioned style, or even better, steel-cut, it is a whole grain that is creamy, satisfying and warm.  It sticks to my ribs and keeps me full, and on cold winter days it is the ultimate comfort food. Also, its pretty freaking cheap.Stay away from the quick-cook kind, as they have been stripped of most nutrients. oatmeal is definitely my go-to breakfast,however, eaten plain it is definitely boring. I make mine more appealing with peanut butter (for healthy fat and protein), flax (for extra omega 3′s and fibery goodness), cinnamon, raisins, and a banana. Honey,  diced apples (add them while the oats are cooking!) or shredded coconut are also pretty tasty in there. Steel cut oats take longer to cook, but it is easy to cook up a big batch of them in one day and refrigerate the extras to be re-heated all week.

Soups and chili- These are also great winter dishes that can be cooked once and enjoyed a several times. Put the leftovers in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for a quick dinner later on. Soups are also a great way to clean out your fridge at the end of the week, throwing in all the odds and ends of your veggies that probably won’t last much longer. I use tons of canned beans in my soups, which are cheap, full of protein and very filling. Make sure to drain and rinse them, however, to get rid of the extra salt and preservatives. I also throw in frozen veggies, which are often better quality than the fresh stuff I find in the grocery store. If I’m using canned veggies, I try to go organic or find brands with no salt added..read labels.

Bread- My roommates and I like to make our own bread. This takes more time than going out and buying a loaf,  but it is incredibly rewarding, as well as inexpensive. Since there are six of us, and one more lovely lady who lives on our couch, it never lasts very long…This bread recipe is vegan, and therefor pretty dense, but still enjoyable (obviously, because its gone before it even finishes cooling..)

Lentils- One semester, my room-mate Hannah ran out of cash and lived on lentils. Seriously, she ate them twice  a day. They are so cheap, and tasty. I love to cook them with curry and sweet potatoes. mmm…

Rice and Beans- I know this isn’t a new concept, but I need to reiterate it here because the combination is so cheap, so filling, so tasty and so so so good for you! There are tons of different kinds of beans to go with black, kidney, garbanzo (chick peas), adzuki, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Beans beans, the magical fruit…

That’s it for now..more vegan on a budget tips as they come to me…anyone else have any suggestions or tips?

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