Creating Delicious Vegan Meals On a Budget

Hi All,

How everyone is doing well this fine Monday morning? Right now it is about 7 PM Sunday night and there is no snow in sight but it is freezing out!

On a cold day there is nothing I enjoy more than cooking.

I wanted to focus my discussion today on a couple of inexpensive, easy dishes that will feed at least two people for two meals. The main ingredient for these two dishes is a single eggplant. For the first dish  after I peeled the eggplant ( you don't really have to but I prefer it without the skin) I sliced it into 3/4 of inch rounds. I picked out 4 of the slices that were roughly the same size. At this point I realized that I did not have any BBQ sauce at home to marinade them. So I had to whip some up.

 As you all may have realized I am a firm believer in using what you have at home so I mixed some siracha, ketchup,molasses soy sauce, maple syrup and a bit of brown sugar and created my own. Again if you don't have these ingredients on hand you can always substitute. Remember the key is to keep tasting it until you get the exact flavor you want. I marinated the four eggplant slices while I got my next dish ready. I diced the remaining eggplant and sauteed it in a small amount of olive oil. While this was going on I put two sweet potatoes in the oven. Since I always like to explore new flavors, these were not your run of the mill sweet potatoes but oriental sweet potatoes, this variety is not the typical brown skin with orange inside but a purple color with a light inside. I really liked the consistency and the flavor.

 After baking the potato in a 350 degree oven until it was fork tender, I diced it up. skin and all added it to my sauteed eggplant. I used my favorite staples of tomato sauce and coconut milk as the base to my sauce and seasoned it with some curry, cumin, cinnamon and chili powder as well as salt and pepper. Once this was almost finished simmering I added a generous handful of chopped cilantro. This dish can be served over rice or by itself. A squeeze of lime juice brings it to the next level. Now I am not about exact cooking and feel each dish you create is your own individual work of art so I didn't include specific measurements. This week. I truly encourage you to let your taste buds be your guide. My blog is not to tell you what to do but to inspire you!

As a garnish, I also made a Mango Black Bean Salsa. Simple, easy and tasty. Use the leftover in a taco or serve with corn chips.

1 Mango
! can of black beans
I/2 Green Pepper
1/2 Oniion
1 Tomato

Check out the serving suggestions for each of these dishes.

Marinated eggplant on a bun topped with Mango Black Bean Salsa served with an Oriental Sweet Potato wedge and freshly sliced avocado.

 Eggplant and Oriental Sweet Potato in a Tomato, Coconut Curry sauce garnished with fresh cilantro and lime.

Last week I talked about reupholstering my loveseat, well folks that is still a work in progress. I promise I will share pictures pictures of the finished product. But in the same train of thought i wanted to share my new obsession which is combing the local and not so local thrift stores. There is so much waste in the country and so many useful things are discarded unnecessarily. This is especially true with children's clothes and shoes which they outgrow so fast that somethings don;t even get worn. Now some of the bigger thrift stores are not for the faint of heart since it takes time and perseverance to go through racks and racks of clothes but I will tell you the gems that you will find are more than worth the time and effort. Sometimes all the fun is in the hunt for the perfect item. Plus it is a great way to recycle, someone's trash can be another's treasure.

Finally, with all the freezing temperatures please bring your animals inside. Adopt don't shop and continue to share posts on facebook especially the ones for pets that are lost. It is really rewarding when you share a post and see that someone saw it and  either a pet was reunited with their family or it helped a pet to find a loving home with a new family.

Always looking to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions, so until next week, keep warm everyone!


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