Friday, September 6, 2013

Vegan On A Budget aka Broke Vegan

Lets face it, we're not made of money so at times, more often than not, our diet takes a hit. Reaching for that pack of top ramen, 8 for $1 seems to make for a money saving dish. Problem is, you can save money and eat healthy, delicious meals at the same time. You just have to plan out for and make a bunch of whatever you're making. Oh, before I forget, you're going to have to like or get used to eating left overs, sorry.

With being a single dad, working 40 hours a week, seeing my kids that are an hour and a half away, I have to plan my meals accordingly. I don't have the luxury of going out to eat for every meal and can't buy all the faux meats and fun vegan goodies supermarkets have to offer. Besides, my dietary goal is to eliminate all that processed garbage anyways and eat a more plant based diet.

Planning my meals couldn't be easier and saving money while doing it is even less of a chore. I'll make chili, Vega's cashew mac n cheese, salads, rice, beans, and so much more. Seriously though, make friends with a crock pot! All you do is throw a bunch of stuff in a pot, turn it on and walk away. A few hours later, it's done.

I'm going to get you started with a simple, delicious chili recipe I came up with. I've shared it through my instagram page and send emails out all the time for people wanting this recipe. It's really really good and easy to make. So here we go!

Lentil and Quinoa Chipotle Chili

1/2 cup letils

1/2 cup quinoa

4 cups veggie broth

2 tbs coconut oil

1 yellow onion(small to medium diced)

2 celery stalks(chopped)

3 cloves of garlic(chopped)

1 carrot(diced)

1 can of fire roasted tomato

1 7oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce(or you can use fresh chipotle peppers)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp chipotle chili powder

1 tsp cumin

2 bay leaves

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Instead of the celery, carrot and onion, I used Trader Joe's Mirepoix mix which is those ingredients all diced and ready to go.

In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add your celery, carrot, and onion and saute for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the celery and onion become translucent. Add the garlic saute for another 3 minutes then add the cinnamon, chipotle powder and cumin. Stir together. Add your veggie broth, bay leafs and canned fire roasted tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add your lentils and quinoa. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes(until the quinoa and lentils are finished cooking). In a blender, add your canned chipotle peppers and about a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the brother from your pot. Blend and then add back to your pot of chili. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and you're done!

I find that chili tastes better the following day and reheating. This allows the flavors to blend together. You can always make this with more heat, I just wanted something mellow and not overly spicy today. Let me know what you think of it. This is a great protein packed post-workout meal. I don't use beans because I try and stay traditional with my chili and the original chili was made without beans, all meat.

I plan on sharing more vegan on a budget meal ideas so if you have any questions or requests, let me know. I find that taking a day out of the week and possibly meal planning helps save money. With my IM70.3 race coming up in March, I am forced to eat very clean and be aware of what I'm putting in my body. That and not having much money requires me to make smart choices when it comes to diet. I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm going to reach my goals and hopefully inspire others to make smart healthy choices along the way. This is my journey, this is my life. I love you all.

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