Beat the Heat: Iced Ginger Tea with Lemon Ice Cubes.

Yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds and on a hot day it really helps to cool you down.

Lemon Ice Cubs:

1 lemon
1/2 cup of water

Juice your lemon and then add water, stir and then empty into an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid (overnight)

Iced Ginger Tea: 

3 tbsp chopped ginger
3 tbsp sugar/honey/agave syrup
2 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of cold water

In a sauce pan or small pot add 2 1/2 cups of water and chopped ginger. Bring to a boil, wait about a minute and then reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sugar (or your favourite sweetener) while it’s still hot and stir until dissolved. Strain the chopped ginger into a jug and then add the cold water to speed up cooling process. Refrigerate.

I like to serve the iced tea with 2 lemon ice cubes. The lemon accents the ginger while cooling your drink. It’s super tempting to cool down with sugary juices and drinks. I think this drink is pretty great replacement and it’s super cheap to make.

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Souper Soups – Roasted Butternut Squash

I’ve never been a picky eater, heck; I’ll eat pretty much anything. Even growing up as a kid there was almost nothing I wouldn’t try and put in my belly. However, there is one vegetable that I’m not a big fan of and that vegetable is squash. It’s not about the flavour I find offensive, but there’s something about the grainy, slimy texture that I can’t handle. But of course, I’ve found a way to like squash. Scratch that. LOVE squash.

Ladies and Gentleman I bring you:

  • I forgot to take pictures of the soup itself so this is all you get. I’m a little rusty, ok?

Ingredients
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 medium sized onion (white or yellow)
4 cloves of garlic
2 vegetable stock cubes (I use Knorr’s Vegetable Stock Cubes)
3/4 tbsp of cumin
3/4 tbsp of corriander
1 tsp of paprika
olive oil
salt
*This is a blended soup recipe so you’ll need a blender. I have an immersion blender and it works great for recipes like this and I’ve seen them as low as $20.  A standard blender would also work great.

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and then slice your squash in half lengthwise (hotdog, not hamburger). Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and then toss that thing into your oven. Chop up your onions and garlic and set them aside.

You want the squash to be soft-ish, so when you can push a fork into it then it can come out of the oven. This takes about 40 minutes. While the squash is cooling, heat your pot to medium heat; add a tablespoon of olive oil and toss in your onions.

Once they become translucent toss in the garlic. Let this mixture mingle in the heat while removing the skin from your squash (This should be easy after it’s cooked). Add the squash, cumin, coriander, paprika and crumble in 2 vegetarian stock cubes. Mash everything together with a wood spoon and stir for about 5 minutes so you get all the juices flowing. Add 1 and ½ cups of water and then blend until smooth. After this step you can basically add water until you’re happy with the consistency.

I love a thick soup and I was also trying to prove to my meat eating boyfriend that a vegan soup can be filling, so I left it just about the consistency of baby food (appetizing, I know…) but you could certainly add more water if you like thinner soup.

To serve, I sprinkled some paprika on top and added a drizzle of olive oil. On the side I had a slice of toasted rye bread. YUMMO.

This dish easily serves 4 and it clocks in at about $5. It also tastes even better the next day for lunch.

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So hey there…

It’s been a long time.. a long long time and I have to be honest, I’m a little embarrassed. I started this blog the summer I moved out of my parents house as a way to use up some spare time and force myself to experiment in the kitchen. Eventually I started art school and this blog was put on the back burner.

I’ve been cooking a bit more recently in an effort to eat healthier and to convert my boyfriend to a quasi vegetarian. I started thinking about how much fun this blog was and after signing into my account I’m realizing that it’s actually STILL getting a fair amount of traffic.  SO I’ve decided to give this another go for summer 2012.  I have a recipe lined up and everything!

Thanks for your support and stay tuned,

Cheap Vegan.

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I Scream for Vegan Ice Cream

When you tell omnivorous/carnivorous people that you’re vegan they usually respond by saying ‘wait,  no dairy?  what do you eat?’  and then when they realize that ice cream is a dairy product they tell you you’re crazy.  Well in my quest for vegan sweet treats I’ve found a few that I consider to be holy grail vegan ice creams.  Now these are definitely treats for a reason, they don’t come cheap.  In fact,  they will cost you a few bucks more than their dairy equivalent. But they are totally worth the splurge when you need to satisfy your cravings or just curl up on the couch with a movie and a pint of vegan Turtle Trails.

Purely Decadent
Lets be honest now.  Most supermarket soy ice creams taste like soy.  You can grin all you want about how great it is to have ice cream because you never eat it but it really just tastes funky.  Purely Decadent is by far the best brand of soy ice cream I have come across.  It does not taste like soy.  It’s rich and creamy and comes in a huge variety of flavors you never would have thought possible.  Sure you can get vanilla and chocolate but why would you when you can have Cookie Dough, Key Lime Pie, Peanut Butter Zig Zag, Mint Chocolate Chip, or anything!  The list goes on and on and just talking about it now my mouth is watering.  It’s so refreshing to find selection because as a vegan it’s pretty much the last thing you are given that to me its worth the price. (6-7 dollars a pint at any save-on, whole foods and sometime Safeway)

Something else I discovered last year was coconut milk ice cream.  It’s really the most amazing treat I think I’ve ever had.  Its creamier and smoother than dairy ice cream and if you love the taste of coconut its definitely going to be something to try.  Purely Decadent makes a few different varieties of coconut milk ice cream including mint chocolate chip and cookie dough.   It’s expensive (same price as the purely decadent soy ice cream) but definitely worth trying

Tofutti Cuties

I never would have though I would be able to find a vegan ice cream sandwich but low and behold Tofutti makes some pretty tasty ones that are very similar to a traditional ice cream sandwich.  The best part?  They’re CHEAP at just under 5 dollars for a box of 8.

It’s treats like these that make me confident that despite the piss poor weather Vancouver has been experiencing, it really is going to be a good summer.

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Product Review: Gardein Chick’n Good Stuffs

When I lived at home, my mom was a huge support for me when it came to my vegan diet.  Not only did she continue to cook meals for me, she always made sure I had a balanced diet with enough veg, carbs and protein.  Mom was always coming home with a new meat replacement for me to try and even after I moved she was giving me new stuff to try including a immitation chicken breast called “Chick’n Good Stuffs”.

Chick’n Good Stuffs is a soy chicken breast stuffed with corn and black beans and it also comes with a tomato sauce to be eaten with the thing.  The box makes it look amazing and I wish I had taken a photo of this thing when you take it out because it’s literally a beige hockey puck with a vacuum sealed sauce compartment.  It was a little humorous poking holes through the plastic, preparing it for the microwave.

Now the taste somewhat surprised me.  I’m not sure if I’m the only vegan around who’s picky about meat replacements.  I usually find that they are not so great.  Either the texture is off or there’s a weird after taste.  But this didn’t had a strange texture or taste, despite being microwaved (I usually find that fake meat tastes best bbq’d or in an oven).   It was pretty mild tasting and with the corn/bean stuffing and sauce it provided it with enough flavor to be tasty.   It’s nothing compared to my holy grail fake chicken nuggets (which I will discuss at a later date) but still decent!

I honestly don’t know the price of these thangs but I’ll check it out at safeway.  I can’t imagine them being a hell of a lot more than every other fake chicken out there,  somewhere between 4-6 dollars,  and they come two to a pack so divide that for a serving price.

The company, Gardein has a pretty comprehensive/user friendly website that vegans should investigate.  It shows you where you can buy their stuff (almost every large supermarket chain) and all the nutritional info.

http://www.gardein.com

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Arriba Arriba! La Taqueria!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have found a rarity in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.  1.  It’s not exactly easy to find a restaurant that caters to vegans in downtown Vancouver.  2. It’s not exactly easy to find a spot that’s cheap AND caters to vegans in downtown Vancouver. 3.  It’s nearly impossible to find Mexican food in downtown Vancouver.  But I have done it.  I have found the apex.  A magical place where cheap meets ethical meets Mexico and it is called La Taqueria.

How it all began:

After spending an intense 45 minutes or so scouring Dressew (Vancouver’s cheap fabric/crafts/Halloween/everything store) my friend Amber and I noticed we had worked up an appetite.  Immediately after exiting I noticed La Taqueria almost directly across the street and suggested we go take a peek at the menu.  The restaurant itself is really cute and after some friendly direction from the staff we decided to try it out.

There were 4 vegetarian taco options (3 being vegan) and Amber, who eats mostly vegetarian went for a veggie combo (4 tacos of your chosen flavours)  so she could try each one.  I went for a 4 taco combo as well and as I explained to the cashier that I would just have two of one of the vegan options to round up my combo he was kind enough suggest that the chef could make me a 4th vegan option not listed on the menu.

We took our seats and waiting a few minutes and our soft shell corn tortillas arrived.  Our server/cashier dude also pointed out a taco decoration station that was full of salsas, guacamole and other various toppings.  After loading up on guac we made our way back to our seats and chowed down.

My taco’s were fantastic!  I had one made with beans and veggie ground round, one with mushrooms and veggie ground round,  one with mushrooms beans and veggie ground round and one with just some sort of mashed up bean mixture. Each very satisfying and flavorful.  I also found it really great that they double layered the corn tortillas so the filling wouldn’t soften and break the tortilla.

Price BREAKdown:

Veggie/Vegan Taco: $2.00 each

Veggie/Vegan Combo:  $7.00 each

It’s definitely affordable for downtown eats and it’s somewhere I plan on going again.  And again.  And again.  Thank you La Taqueria!

http://www.lataqueria.ca/

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Product Review: Honey’s Gheimeh Stew

We all know that eating out can be expensive so I’m always on the hunt for something cheap and portable for dinner at work.  I usually only have a microwave at my disposal which means I either need to bring leftovers or buy something to take.  I’m rarely in the mood to actually make something specifically for work so I usually end up picking up a few cans of soup while I’m shopping for groceries.  However,  while I was waiting in line at Donald’s Market,  I noticed these packaged stews made by Honey.   I think what caught my attention immediately was that I knew exactly what each ingredient was on the label.  No weird chemicals, preservatives or colorants.  After seeing the $1.69 price tag I was set on trying it out.

The stew comes in a metal container somewhat reminisint of a large can of anchovies.  The instructions on the package say to put it in boiling water to heat it up but I just dumped it over some rice I had made the night before and popped it in the microwave.  After about a minute and 30 seconds it was ready and it smelled sooo good.

It was made primarily of split peas and an oily, slightly tangy tomato sauce with some soft slices of potato.  It was definitely filling and very tasty and I plan on picking up a bunch more to keep stocked in my pantry shelf.

They have a website but it’s pretty lame, just an image with an email address,  but I’m sure if you can’t find it at your grocery store then you could shoot them an email and find out how to get your hands on it.  www.hanifoods.com

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