homemade tofu and boring food

October 5, 2008

I’m a bit behind, so I might be forgetting something.

Friday: tofu scramble, chili with red beans, frozen and crumbled tofu, the rest of my jalapeno, the rest of the last zucchini, 1/8 of the new bell pepper.  I also made my own tofu using vinegar as a coagulant since my nigari has not arrived yet.  It was good, but more sour than I would like, unsurprsingly.  I ate it fried with brown rice.

Saturday: toast with earth balance, plain lentils (with nutritional yeast), mashed potatoes, okara polenta, and some fresh soy milk with hazelnut syrup and a bit of vodka.  The okara polenta was disgusting, and mostly got thrown out.  I will have to try making okara tempeh in the future.

Yesterday, I made fresh soy milk, and I will make more today (a double batch) which will hopefully last until wednesday night.

I still have a lot of beans, enough to last me another week, except soybeans.

I went shopping today, and spent more than I’d hoped ($24), but mostly because I bought some expensive kitchen towels ($4.99 for two!) to try for straining soy milk and making tofu (my cheesecloth already has a hole, and besides, having to use 8 layers is ridiculous).  I got soybeans, millet, two jars of tomato sauce, and produce (winter squash, zucchini, red potatoes, a sweet potato, brussels sprouts).  I got tomato sauce instead of canned tomatoes because I need the jars to store soy milk in (and besides, I want to support Kroger labeling its store brand stuff as vegan!  Yay Kroger.).  I got millet because it was 99 cents a pound for organic, which is cheaper than any other organic grain options (rice is 1.79).  Unfortunately, since last week soybean prices went up a lot, to 1.79/lb instead of 99 cents/lb.  This means that I will probably order soybeans on the internet next month (or maybe even later this month) instead of buying at the co-op.

Also, I will retro-actively post some pictures from this week in the appropriate posts when I get around to it.  Unfortunately, cheap food is rarely pretty.

So far, this budget seems very realistic, and not even too restrictive.  This past week was a bit restrictive on produce, but that’s because I was expecting it to be harder than it was.  And I did definitely eat produce this past week, so it wasn’t even that restrictive.


okara patties and red beans

October 3, 2008

Breakfast: tofu scramble with  1/2 lb tofu, 1/8 zucchini, 1/2 small onion, 1/8 red pepper, small potato, thyme, black pepper, jalapeno, nutritional yeast

Lunch:  2 okara patties with ketchup, soy latte

Dinner: 3 okara patties

Snack: freshly cooked red beans (for tomorrow, but they looked so tasty)

My okara patties were super-delicious.  I didn’t measure anything, but just threw a bunch of delicious stuff together, and it turned out.  I’ll figure out a recipe next time.


Soy milk!

October 2, 2008

I mentioned I was going to make soy milk. I did, this morning. I am very impressed with the results. It does taste soybean-y (I didn’t do very much to mitigate that–I wanted to try a simple recipe first), but honestly I don’t mind the taste of soybeans, and it’s also really rich and creamy.

My method is a combination of many different recipes online, so I will share what I did here. My recipe would have made about half a gallon (see first tip for why it actually didn’t…). Note that a cup of soy beans is about .4 lbs, which means using my 99 cent per pound organic soybeans, half a gallon of soy milk costs about 40 cents to make (instead of, you know, 4 dollars to buy).

Equipment:

wire mesh strainer
cheese cloth
large pot
large mixing bowl
food processor (blender would also work)

Ingredients:

1 cup dry soybeans
7 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

What I did:

1. Soak soybeans in a ton of water for about 12 hours.
2. While soybeans are still covered in water (but not so much it splashes all over the place), rub soybeans between my hands to remove skins, and periodically remove skins that rise to the top. (There are recipes on the internet that say the skins float to the top of the water, but mine did not. They did rise to the top of the soy beans, though, so they were pretty easy to remove.) This step is supposed to get rid of some of the soybean-y flavor. I mostly did it because I was curious how well it worked, since I had read mixed reviews. It only took me about 3 minutes to get rid of all my skins.
3. Puree soy beans in 2 cups of the water, until smooth. (Do not over-fill food processor. A lot of air gets added during this step. Mine pretty much doubled in volume.)
4. Pour soy bean mixture into mixing bowl, and add remaining (5 cups) water. Stir.
5. Place strainer in pot, and 8 layers of cheesecloth over strainer. Pour a couple of cups of the soy bean mixture into the cheesecloth/strainer (enough to fill the strainer, but so that you can easily gather the cheesecloth to squeeze), then grab the four corners of the cheesecloth and twist to remove as much liquid as possible. My cheesecloth is not as fine as I’d like, so I got some fun squirting happening here, so I found that keeping my hand around the ball of soymilk mixture was prudent, in order to avoid cleaning soybean pulp off my walls. Once you are done squeezing out liquid, set aside the okara (soy bean pulp left in the cheesecloth), and repeat until you’re out of soybean mixture.
6. Rinse the mixing bowl, and repeat step 5, this time transferring from the pot to the mixing bowl.
7. Rinse the pot, pour the raw soy milk into the pot from the mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients (salt, sugar, and vanilla), and slowly bring the soy milk to a boil (I kept it at medium-high heat and stirred constantly). Boil for ~20 minutes.

Tips:
–Do not mistake baking soda for corn starch, and think you’re going to thicken the soy milk a bit with it. (I saved most of my soy milk by pouring off and saving the top milk, and discarding the stuff on the bottom where the baking soda had sunk to.)
–Okara, the soybean pulp, is supposed to be good for lots of things, including baking (you have to cook/dry it first for most things), veggie burgers, etc. It has a ton of fiber and a good bit of protein. I am trying an okara-rice burger, we’ll see how that goes.
–If you have better cheesecloth than I have, you probably only need to strain the mixture once.

When I finally actually get to work, I am going to bring a soy latte made with my fresh soy milk. Mmm, delicious.


VeganMoFo and Cheap Food

October 1, 2008

So, there’s this thing called Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo) that’s happening this month, where, you know, lots of people blog about vegan food.  I kept thinking, man, I’m too poor for that, I’ll just end up spending a ton on food.  You know, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on vet bills a month or so ago, and our monthly income since then has been roughly halved (before then too, but it was less of an issue).

Then I realized… vegan food can be really cheap, and healthy, AT THE SAME TIME!!!  I could blog a ton about eating on my budget!  Been done before?  I’m sure it has (and not just the crazy guy who ate for a month on $30 either).  But I’m doing it again dammit.  And you can’t stop me.

So my plan is this… my budget for the month of October for food is $103, including any food, and any food preparation tools I might need to buy (which will not be much–I’m pretty stocked there).  That’s not super-low, I don’t think, so I will keep my usual goal of eating almost entirely organic, as well.  The other part of my plan…. is that I will keep a journal (here) of everything I eat.  Starting today.

But first!  In case you’re interested, here‘s a list of other participants in VeganMoFo, and here’s the cute logo.

Now, on to the first day of cheap food.

Breakfast: Pre-October purchased Amy’s burrito.

Lunch: toffuti cream cheese sandwich (all pre-October purchased; also not very healthy, but I was STARVING)

Dinner: Lentil soup with red pepper, onion, jalapeno, nutritional yeast (pre-october purchased ingredients, except nutritional yeast), with brown rice

Shopping: I spent $27 on food and cheese cloth (for making my own soy milk, since I certainly can’t afford to buy pre-packaged on this budget).  Food included pounds and pounds of several types of beans (including soy, for milk), brown rice, a zucchini, a green bell pepper, two little hot peppers, nutritional yeast, and tofu.  All organic, except not the nutritional yeast (I think?  I don’t know).  I plan to make my own tofu, but the genius that is Susan at fatfreevegan made me realize that I don’t need a fancy tofu making thingy, and I could just recycle a plastic tub of some sort.  I didn’t have any on-hand, so… buying tofu, it is.


new hair

August 25, 2008

Before:

After:

It kicks ass.


crazy statement from hospital

August 4, 2008

So, the hospital sent me a statement of the charges they billed to my insurance company. Here it is, keeping in mind of course that this doesn’t include my surgeon’s costs; I will get a separate bill from him.

     PHARMACY                $1262.50
     STERILE SUPPLY           $316.00
     SUPPLY/IMPLANTS        $3,627.00
     LAB/CHEMISTRY            $136.00
     LAB/HEMATOLOGY           $106.00
     OR SERVICES           $18,890.00
     ANESTHESIA             $2,417.00
     DRUG/DETAIL CODE         $379.00
     RECOVERY ROOM          $4,022.00
     OBSERVATION RM           $740.00
    ---------------------------------
     TOTAL                 $31,895.50

Are they serious?  Almost $19k for the OR for 5 hours?  I mean, yeah, I understand, lots of highly trained highly paid people were there, which is good, and lots of fancy equipment and all that.  But still.  That’s a lot of money.  And… $4k for the recovery room?  Dude.  I was there.  There was one nurse for four of us, and it was a TINY room, and I was only there for an hour.  That seems ridiculous to me.

Ok, so in reality I’m also paying for other people, who couldn’t pay.  But if I’m going to be paying for other people’s medical care who can’t pay for it themselves, why the fuck can’t they get some reliable service!?


jaw surgery food

August 2, 2008

So, what does a vegan eat after jaw surgery? As it turns out, lots of grits with follow your heart soy cheese, oatmeal, orzo (pasta I can swallow whole!? Yay!), purely decadent vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream (because I have a really good excuse to spend the money on it now!), and weird stuff like this:

Mashed potatoes with kale-lentil “gravy”

kale-lentil gravy and mashed potatoes

The mashed potatoes have yukon gold potatoes, earth balance, and soy milk, and the “gravy” has lentils, kale, nutritional yeast, veggie broth, soy milk, and sage. And this was all cooked/prepped/eaten with the use of only one pot, one bowl, one spoon, one fork, and the blender. When bending down to load/unload the dishwasher gives you a nosebleed, you tend to try to avoid that task.

blueberry smoothie (with soy yogurt; still recovering from antibiotics)

just frozen blueberries, soy yogurt, protein powder, and soy milk.g


eating, and jaw surgery ramblings

July 23, 2008

I managed to chew avocado today. Yes, this is an accomplishment. (And I only managed to chew about 1/4 of my half an avocado before I gave up and mashed it, and then chewed coarsely mashed avocado.)

But, I am still very happy. My appearance hasn’t actually changed much at all–I think I still have a “weak chin”. Well, my appearance now when my jaw is in the right position hasn’t changed all that much from my appearance previously when I was pushing my jaw way forward to eat and talk. Which is not all that surprising really. Plus, I keep going “wow! My jaw! It feels like it’s in the right position! WTF?” I think it’s hard for people to imagine constantly feeling physically like your jaw is in the wrong position (because it is, not because you have some crazy body dysmorphic disorder or whatever). People think “but don’t you just get used to it? After 26 years??” The answer is no. No, you do not. Every time you try to talk or eat, your brain wants your jaw to behave in a way it is physically incapable of behaving. It’s not even that things seem difficult… they don’t really. I mean, my teeth didn’t touch, so things like biting through thin lettuce–those were difficult. But this is a different thing here. My muscles just KNOW how they’re supposed to work, and know that THIS IS WRONG. (Fortunately, as previously stated, they now feel like it’s right. MY GOD would I have been pissed if I went through all this crap and didn’t get that feeling.)

In other news, my pronunciation of r’s has changed. If you took phonetics, you might know that the american english r is actually pronounced in two indistinguishable (to the hearer) fashions (different ways by different people). The one that most people do involves the tip of their tongue curling back and touching the roof of their mouth (this is called “retroflex” because of the curling back bit). A very few people also do this thing where the tip of their tongue goes to the front of their mouth (by their teeth), and the back of their tongue comes up to make the r sound happen. I used to do the minority (non-retroflex) r. Now I naturally do the retroflex r. In the past, I had no trouble making the retroflex r when I tried, but when I just talked, non-retroflex happened. Now, retroflex happens when I just talk. Isn’t this bizarre? Over a less than 2 day period, what is “natural” has just completely changed.


I can talk!!!

July 21, 2008

Well, sort of. And I can open my mouth like half a centimeter!!! :) This means I can eat very soft foods.

Also, it feels really good. I mean, it still hurts some, and I’m not 100% used to where my jaw goes, but it feels like it’s in the right place (which is something I’ve never felt before). It’s pretty awesome, even less than a week after surgery. Now I just have to worry about regression.


jaw surgery

July 20, 2008

So as pretty much everyone who reads this blog knows, on Tuesday I had orthognathic (jaw) surgery. They moved both my jaws in fun and interesting ways, and I am recovering well, but having serious trouble “eating” enough. My jaw is still “wired” shut (not actually wired–rubber-banded very tightly) so I am eating liquid foods with a syringe. Unfortunately, they have to be very liquidy in order to get through or behind my teeth, so in order to get enough calories, I have to resort to juice. And juice is too sweet for me–I feel nauseous from my breakfast of 300 calories worth of pear juice.

I also had a LOT of trouble breathing for the first few days–that’s pretty much better now though. Swelling is still pretty bad, but has gone down some. There was no bruising at first, but a little bit has started to show up as the swelling goes down–barely noticeable though. (Which is bizarre. I’m a person who bruises very, very easily usually.)

Tomorrow they are going to remove some of the rubber bands, so theoretically I will be able to eat “soft” foods! Yay! I hope this means at least I can eat mushy food like mashed potatoes and lentils, if not pasta (like they think I can).

Because I am extra-awesome, I did not take any pain meds at all. I kinda wanted to, but then I tasted them, and decided the pain wasn’t so bad after all. Also because I am extra-awesome, I have very little numbness (so hopefully that means I’ll recover full feeling in my face, which is not guaranteed).

And of course… I can’t talk. I have a whiteboard. Also David and I will probably be masters of charades after this experience. :)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.