Tips and Shortcuts

Normally, I’m just cooking for two, and I found myself wasting so much food, it became aggravating. So, here are a few things I’ve discovered to help save money and time! I’ll keep adding to this list as I learn more tricks. Please send me your favorite shortcut ideas!

SPICES: Instead of buying pieces of fresh, whole ginger, I buy the plastic tube that gives you the freedom to squeeze out just the amount you need for any recipe or dish.  The same for basil and garlic that come in tubes you can store in the refrigerator. You can also dry your fresh herbs and store them in an airtight container.

VEGGIES: While I always prefer fresh veggies, there are so many good, healthy, brands of frozen vegetables that don’t come with added salt or other stuff. It’s really handy to keep several packages in my freezer. Lately, I’ve been buying bags of Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn. It’s delicious!  I’ll also buy seasonal veggies, par-cook them and freeze for future use.

BEANS: Canned and tetra pack beans are so convenient, but they’re pretty expensive. I keep several cans in my pantry, but also I pick up different varieties from the bulk section and cook them myself. Small sandwich size bags are great for storing the beans in the freezer. Don’t forget to mark them with the type of bean they are and the date!

SOUP: Make your own vegetable stock, please. Once you get into the habit of doing this, you’ll never spend money on boxed soup stock again.  Here’s what you do: begin saving all vegetable cuttings, ends, peels, etc. (what you might normally compost or throw away). Don’t forget garlic, fresh herbs, etc…you get the picture. Store it all in a large plastic freezer bag, and keep adding to it until the bag is full.  Then, dump it all in a large pot or crockpot, and add 6-8 cups water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down heat and let simmer for at least one hour; longer is better.  When soup cools, strain stock, and pour into ice cube trays to freeze.  Pop out soup stock ice cubes and store in freezer bag for individual uses. You’ll thank me at some point.

Kitchen Tools I Use and Love

My Ninja 72 oz., 1100 watt blender with 2-16 oz. single serve cups

Really good and sharp knives

Tofu Press by Tofu Xpress

Salad spinner

Onion chopper

Steamer basket

Green bags  These truly keep your fruits and veggies fresh for so much longer!

Nesco Dehydrator

Ice cube trays

Things to Make you go Hmmm

Interesting story of a cattle rancher turned vegan, Howard Lyman who calls himself “The Mad Cowboy

Perspective on Vegan Restaurants is a fun article by Jason Kessler, self-proclaimed professional complainer, and regular contributor to the Bon Appetit site.