December will mark four years for me as a vegetarian, but honestly, it has felt so much longer than that. I really don’t remember a life before tofurkey and beans, and although it can be challenging to eat at restaurants sometimes, becoming vegetarian is a personal decision I am very happy with. It has enabled me to try different foods, spices, and ingredients that I wouldn’t normally reach for, being a picky eater.
I receive SNAP benefits every month to help me pay for groceries. It’s only about $50/month, but that little bit does help out tremendously. As you can probably imagine, I try to eat very frugally. My pantry is stocked with rice, beans, nuts, packets of falafel, snack bars, and macaroni cheese. Fresh produce is something I tend to purchase very carefully, since it can be a bit more expensive and goes to waste much quicker than something canned or boxed. I also usually steer clear of things that I would like to purchase but don’t necessarily need, like orange juice, or…muffins. You know?
With all of that said, I usually don’t eat breakfast in the morning. This is partially due to the fact that I tend to work late afternoon/evening shifts, and on those days, I sleep late. When you’re poor, sleep is usually for breakfast. That being said, I do like to have a coffee every day. I would say that about half of the time, I make coffee at home, and the other fifty percent of the times, I make a run to Dunks for an iced latte. If I do feel peckish in the morning, I will usually have some sort of a granola bar with fresh fruit (strawberries or watermelon have been my fruit of choice lately.) If I’m up at a decent hour and I have time/energy to cook breakfast, I will usually try to make something with eggs for a good dose of protein. I am a huge fan of avocado toast; it’s fast, easy, and fairly healthy and filling. I especially love it with a little bit of everything bagel seasoning, to add some *jazz.*
Lunch tends to be the main/most attentive meal of my day, since it usually falls into the post wake-up, pre work slot of my day. For that reason, I usually try to eat something super filling and full of fiber and protein so I don’t get too peckish during the evening (I don’t get home until 10:30pm most nights.) Lately, I have been obsessed with falafel and my inner suburban mom was so excited to learn that you can buy boxes of falafel packets at the grocery store! Falafel is a little finicky to work with, so here are my tips for making a successful falafel burger:
-When you add water into the mix, use hot water instead of room temp. Doing so will eliminate more moisture and make the falafel easier to mold and work with.
-Use half an inch of olive oil in your pan and let the oil get HOT before you add the falafel.
-Tahini sauce > tzatziki sauce.
I usually find that I have some extra falafel left after I make my burger, so I will typically mold the leftover “batter” into spheres, fry them, and stick them in the fridge for the following day. They taste lovely in a salad with tomatoes and a generous amount of tahini.
Like I said, I usually tend to work pretty late and I’m often not in the mood to cook something fancy when I get home. My favorite “lazy” dinner has just been to make a simple burrito with Spanish rice, refried beans, shredded cheese, and avocado. Rice and beans are obviously incredibly easy to prepare, and they usually create large portions, so I always have some leftovers for the following day. It’s not the most elegant or thoughtful meal, but it’s fast, somewhat good for me, and absolutely delicious.
I’m always checking out new recipes, so maybe down the line I can drop my favorite Pinterest dinners. Let me know if that’s something you’d like to see down the line!