I've been traveling and eating quite a bit over the past few months, and was really starting to feel it - during FUDCon week especially, after my 4th burger in as many days, I looked at my diet and realized that this might be the reason I've been getting sluggish lately. Also, it's expensive. Which is fine if you're on a business trip, but it's not something I wanted to get used to as a lifestyle. Thus I decided that when I got back, I'd be vegan for 10 days, and somewhat arbitrarily declared $25 to be my food budget. I picked up the skill of eating healthy and cheap when I was a poor student, and it was time to practice again. When I got back to Raleigh last night, I went shopping. In the cart:

  • 3 onions
  • 5 lbs of carrots
  • Giant bunch fresh spinach
  • 2 half-gallons almond milk
  • 1 bag brown rice
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 10 bananas
  • 1 large bunch fresh parsley

I spent $25.65 on everything, mostly because I really, really wanted the almond milk ($6 for two cartons). I also had spices, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, curry paste, brown rice, cereal, and bags of dried chickpeas and lentils in my pantry, and started the beans cooking last night. Today I desperately needed decompression, so I started cooking. So far I've made:

  • spinach daal - enough for 3 meals (I had one tonight and put the other two servings in plastic containers in the fridge)
  • chickpea and spinach salad (2 portions)
  • red curry with onion, bell pepper, and spinach (at least enough for 2 meals, maybe 3 - this is still cooling on the stove, so I haven't divided it into containers yet)
  • falafel (or rather, a big tupperware full of falafel-stuff that I'll fry just before I eat it)
  • lentil soup, large pot of

I eat the bananas at breakfast, sliced over a bowl of cereal with almond milk. And I've still got all the carrots, a bell pepper, and 2 onions left; I think I'm going to do roasted carrot soup, maybe char the bell pepper and puree it with some almond milk to make a red cream to pour over the carrot soup for contrast. That won't use all the carrots, so perhaps I'll slice them on the bias and pour some maple syrup over to glaze. And the onions I can caramelize into a very large bowl of incredible soup, if I'm patient enough. I'll probably have leftovers 10 days from now. And all of this is delicious.

The only thing missing, really, are people to share this dinner with; I always cook too much for one, because I learned to cook for (1) a big Asian family, (2) a dorm full of hungry teenagers, and (3) a student co-op. Making dinner for myself seems just bizarre. Well, more leftovers means less cooking and more time-saving on other days. It works for me!