Posts Tagged pantry

VeganMoFo: Vegan Costco Finds

We joined Costco last year after considering the cost vs benefits; we host guests at our house and tailgate a lot, so buying toilet paper and plastic utensils in bulk probably would have been worth it alone!  I also did some research on whether or not I would be able to find food items.  Google “vegan Costco” and see for yourself!

Dave offered to cover a shared membership if I would do the shopping, which worked out perfectly since I’m cheap and he hates shopping.

I don’t go very often, maybe once a month, but I feel like I find something new and fun almost every time.  Recently they’ve added a separate organic section full of amazing things like Dave’s Killer Bread, coconut water, and flax and chia seeds in large quantities for very reasonable prices.  I was in a hurry last time I went, but you can bet next time I will be stocking my freezer with some delicious Dave’s Killer Bread!

Here are the food items I bought the first two times I went.

Clockwise-ish from bottom left:

  • many pounds of organic short grain brown rice – $12.69
  • two pounds organic raspberries – $3.99
  • big box of Mary’s Gone Crackers (two bags inside) – $7.49 on sale
  • box of like 16 double packs of Eclipse gum – $8.99 on sale
  • 1.5L bottle of Yellowtail Shiraz – $8.69
  • four pack of firm tofu – $3.79
  • eight cans of chickpeas – $5.79 (they had sugar in them [blech] but on subsequent trips the beans have been  without sugar)
  • giant bag of organic baby kale – $3.99
  • delicious sweet mini peppers – $3.99
  • big tub of Sabra hummus, like double the regular size – $5.99

  • six pack of unsweetened Almond Breeze – $8.89
  • ten seaweed snacks – $6.99 (Kirkland brand is a little oilier than Trader Joe’s, but also cheaper)
  • sack of red potatoes – $4.79
  • big bag of organic baby kale – $4.49 (it’s practically impossible for me to pass baby kale and not buy it)
  • eight cans organic diced tomatoes – $5.99
  • eight cans of organic kidney beans – $6.79
  • massive bag of roasted pistachios – $14.99 (might seem like a lot, but if you look at the price of a small bag in a regular store, it’s a good deal.  We love these for baseball games.)
  • more Persian cucumbers than I could eat before they started going bad – $4.99
  • many, many snap peas – $5.79
  • big tub of Pita Pals hummus – $5.99
  • frozen pineapple chunks – $6.59
  • frozen organic “supreme” berry blend – $9.99

Lastly, I impulse-bought this set of four melamine bowls with lids, on sale for $15.99.  I love the colors!

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VeganMoFo: Sweet & Sour Chickpeas

I was ready to get back to cooking right away after moving into our new house.  What felt like weeks of eating takeaway while packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, and more cleaning left me craving healthy, homemade food.

At the same time, there were still boxes everywhere and I only had access to about half of our kitchen equipment and some of our pantry ingredients.  A nice looking package of pineapple led me to these sweet & sour chickpeas, which could be accomplished with what was available to me.

To start, I water sauteed onion, garlic and fresh ginger, then added sliced mushroom and red and yellow bell peppers and let them cook down.  (You could certainly use oil for more caramelization.)  I added a can of chickpeas, fresh pineapple, and baby spinach and cooked just long enough for the spinach to wilt.  Lastly, I poured in this sweet & sour sauce, plus a tablespoon of soy sauce and a dash of sriracha.  It was served with pre-cooked brown rice (from Trader Joe’s) and garnished with green onions.

I enjoyed this dish even more than expected.  The mushrooms gave it enough earthiness to keep it from being too sweet, and it was hearty and filling.

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Pantry Cleanup 2K10

So, I’m a little late on the Happy New Year post, but regardless – here is how I spent my New Year’s Day!

The obligatory black eyed peas, in soup form.

I read an article saying that round foods are also lucky, so I made a round loaf of spelt cornbread…then I cut it into wedges, which may have negated its round power.

Also, a salad to be extra healthy.

I’m not much for resolutions, but I do believe in goals and action.  One of my goals for my time off during the winter break was to clean out and organize my pantries.  I didn’t take any before pictures because it looked like your basic hodge podge of pantry items.  I pretty much knew what I had and generally where it was, but I would have to spend a few minutes searching for things sometimes and I had a lot of bulk items still in the plastic bags, and it just wasn’t cutting it.

Top of the pantry, after, from top to bottom and left to right:  cookie cutters, hand mixer, rice cooker, extra plastic bags; excess bulk items, cans and jars, pasta:  flours, sugars and other baking items in jars in alphabetical order; snacks and sweets, dried fruit, breakfast items.

Bottom of the pantry:  first shelf is Dave’s stuff (don’t look!).  Dave complains because he doesn’t have more space, but really, this is the volume extent of what he keeps in the house.  Grains then beans, all in alpha order, and a few random items; dried mushrooms and chiles, tea, and space to grow; food processor, seaweeds, bread machine, and extra flours and other things I couldn’t categorize with anything else.  Hooray for an organized pantry, I know exactly where everything is and how much I have!

Lastly, on my last day visiting my family in Florida I made a birthday cake for my future sister-in-law, Kiersten.  I asked what her favorite flavor cake is and she said coconut, but both my brother and I don’t like coconut, so we went with her second favorite – chocolate and cherries.

Blowing out the candles.

Inside shot.

Here’s a thrown together recipe.

Erin’s Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Cake

Chocolate Cake (Tara’s Chocolate Cake from La Dolce Vegan)
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup oil
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract)
2 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350F. Oil and flour two 8-inch cake pans and set aside. (This cake tends to stick if you don’t oil and flour the pans well.) In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl stir together the oil, vinegar, vanilla (and almond extract if using) and cold water. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just mixed. Pour evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before frosting. Makes 2 cakes.

Cherry Filling
1 bag frozen cherries, defrosted
pinch of sugar
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
splash of balsamic vinegar

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened to a jam consistency, stirring occasionally.

Glossy Chocolate Frosting (adapted from and old version of the Betty Crocker Cookbook)
3 Tbs vegetable shortening or Earth Balance
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup nondairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 3/4 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp almond extract)

Heat shortening or Earth Balance in a saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir in remaining ingredients; beat until smooth. Place pan of frosting in a bowl of ice water; continue beating until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. Don’t make the frosting until the cake is cool enough to be frosted, as the frosting will thicken while it sits.

To assemble cake:
Place one cake layer on a cake plate upside down, so the flat side is up. Spread the cherry filling on top. Place the other cake on top, right side up. Frost the top and sides. Press toasted slivered almonds around the side of the cake and use to decorate the top. Enjoy!

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