Sunday, February 1, 2009

More on eating for about a dollar a day, "lazy vegan" style

Yesterday, I posted that I ate comfortably and well on a little more than a dollar a day without having to cook much. I can do that because I buy only whole ingredients (except for an occasional treat), cook from scratch, and only eat nutritious foods, for the most part (no junk food). I also use crock-pots and a bread machine to make most of my meals so that I don't spend a lot of time cooking. And, I bulk cook and freeze a lot so that I can cook two or three days a month if that and then spend the rest of the month eating the results without having to do any other cooking.

It's really easy to cook this way, but you don't necessarily have to do it exactly the way I do it to be successful at it. I bulk cook and freeze most things, but you don't have to; a small crock-pot and a bread machine are still going to get you some really decent meals very cheaply even if you have to do it more often than two or three days a month, for very little work. I can bulk cook and freeze far ahead because I have a 13 cubic foot freezer (bought specifically for this purpose), but I realize a lot of folks aren't going to have that.


I've been asked to post some recipes and shopping tips, and instead of reposting everything here, I'll just direct you to my website. Again, that's at:

It's not very well organized right now because I originally started writing the content there as a newsletter; I just posted back issues of the newsletter in chronological order on the website so that people who didn't have them could go get them. Every issue has a recipe, cooking tips, shopping tips, etc., but if you're looking for something specific, it's a little hard to find it the way things are organized right now. I will reorganize the site so that cooking tips, shopping tips, the grocery lists, and all of those things are easy to access from the blog itself.

Some tips on "lazy cooking and shopping"

For brevity, though, I'll just outline a couple of things I do here so that I can eat for what amounts to a little bit more than a dollar a day now.

· I shop once a month, which forces me to really think about what I'm going to be buying and stay within a budget. (You can buy fresh, hardy fruits and vegetables that keep and frozen fruits and vegetables for variety, which means you don't have to be running out to the store every minute; that can cause you to spend more.)

· I basically buy the same ingredients as staples month-to-month, but have learned to make different recipes from them.

· I bulk shop at a local stock up store (here, it's Aldi) for nonperishable things like canned goods, coffee, generic koolaid, etc., every three or four months. They're about half the price of the local grocery store even for its sale prices. Then I just hit the local grocery store for items that won't keep long term.

· I have perhaps a dozen entrĂ©e recipes that I can just throw together and then freeze, plus a favorite bread recipe and several healthy dessert recipes that I work with most of the time. I don't get bored easily when it comes to food, so having a relatively limited menu works for me; you could spice it up for yourself if you need more variety than I do.

Finally, my "master shopping list" is on the Lazy Vegan website here:

It has all the ingredients I purchase and just keep in the pantry, fridge and freezer all the time to make the meals I always have on hand. When I made the list, I also included blanks for folks to put in things they need that I don't (like meat if they don't happen to be vegan or vegetarian).

That should get you started if you're interested in giving this a try, and again, I'll try to get the website organized this week so that you can find recipes and other tips more easily than you can now.


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