I went shopping yesterday for the first time and walked right past the meat aisles. I was excited for a chance to shop (without children!) and see just what I could find at my local store (Wal-Mart) that would fit my new dietary needs.
There wasn’t much, honestly. I’m still on the hunt for a vegan chocolate substitite. (they are in production, but no where local that I’ve found and very expensive.) There is also a vegan ice cream Soy Delicious, that I’m currently hunting down.
I will admit that I had broken down and had some milk chocolate the past few days. Not a lot, just a few squares of a Cadbury bar that I had already bought. And honestly, shortly afterwards, each time, I got a dull headache. Nothing horrible, but I wonder if there is a correlation that I never noticed before.
Anyways, here are some things I put in my buggy that are new residents in my pantry. Also, please note, not pictured are other things I bought: fresh veggies, leafy greens, fruits, potatoes, etc.
Ok the Earth Balance vegan butter, I’m ecstatic for! I made lima beans the other day and they were in need of a little flavor! This is made from healthy oils, all plant-based. It’s definitely not super healthy, at 100 calories/tbsp, but it will help when I need something. It’s also non-GMO, gluten-free, and was only $3.68/a 15 oz container. Yay!
I am loving the Almond Milk. It makes a great coffee creamer and sweet milk to put on my cereal. I don’t even have to add sugar to my Rice Krispies! It’s 60 calories/8 oz cup, so I don’t feel guilty about it either. At $3/carton, it is pricier than a gallon of milk, but with only me drinking it, it will be cost-effective. (Adam doesn’t like it).
I found the smaller Soy Milk in the cereal aisle. It is not refrigerated until you open it. Being that it’s not flavored like the Almond Milk, I’m going to use that in recipes that would call for milk, like my Roasted Red Pepper Soup (a modified version coming up soon!) It says that it cooks just like milk. So we’ll see! At $2/carton, it is worth a try!
I always buy beans, but more have made their way to my cart. I’m working on a recipe I found of Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Chick Peas! Maybe I’ll try it this weekend with the snow we are gonna have, sounds like a great ‘cuddle on the couch and watch a good movie’ snack!! I prefer canned beans because they are quicker to prep. However, I did learn that even with canned beans, you should drain and rinse them to get the salt off.
Again, rice is a common staple in my house. The Zatarain’s cook quicker and are already flavored. Ideally, to go more ‘whole food’ I would need to eat more of the brown rice, which I plan to, but the Zatarain’s are for when I’m in a pinch. Which I usually am, remember, I hate to cook! Rice is cheap. The brown rice was $1.38. The Zatty’s was about the same price, but for much less rice. Also, not pictured, is whole wheat tortillas. I cannot eat these because of the sulfates, but they are great to wrap beans, rice, or anything else in.
So, I’ve been hearing for years the buzz about quinoa and couscous, but have never found them! They are in the rice aisle at Wal-Mart! You should have saw me! I actually said out loud excitedly, “Quinoa!!!!” The people in the aisle with me must have thought I was a loon! Anyways, I haven’t tried these yet, but I’ve found several recipes that call for them. I’d like to find these in bulk, cheaper. The quinoa was $4.78, and I figure 2-2 1/2 meals out of that bag. The couscous was $6.88, but they had cheaper (and smaller) boxes at $2.50. I should have gone that route, but, this one came in a nifty container. (yes, I’m a sucker for packaging!) Still, with the price of a lb of lean ground beef ($5.28) or a 3 lb bag of chicken breasts ($7), it actually is slightly cheaper.
I was looking for vegetable bouillon, but could not find. I did find stock tho, and this will work til I find what I am really looking for. This will replace my chicken and beef stock that I use in soups, and also, I may cook rice in it to flavor it. I think it was like $2.
Ha ha, junk. Well, kinda. The mints are my ‘thing’, every night I watch TV and eat three mints. I don’t know why, it’s what I do. And yes, only 3. Unless I’m feeling dangerous and eat 4. LOL. They are definitely not healthy, peppermint oil and sugar, but they ARE vegan! The peanut butter Smart Balance is new to my buggy. It’s natural, and is healthier than what I used to buy (whatever was cheapest on the shelf). I’ll probably use this for cracker or apples or something. It was $3 for this jar. Still, what I would have bought was $2, so I only spent a dollar more.
I talked to my sister (a vegetarian for all of her adult life), and she gave me some tips. Lots of beans, and green, leafy vegetables will ensure I get lots of iron and protein. I worried that I wouldn’t find a lot of menu ideas, and she encouraged me that I would if I looked online, and I have been finding a lot! She also suggested tofu, which I had tried a few times and didn’t like it. She said the key is to season it well, and that there are different kinds of tofu (firm, mushy, etc.) That may be another thing I experiment with on this journey. She also suggested kale chips, seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt.
For the past few months, Adam has been eating mainly potatoes and rice. While I feel the freedom now to eat more of those things, I’m excited to add some variety to our meals. I’ve actually been taking this challenge on as a hobby, finding what will work for our family.