Monday, January 14, 2008

A New Year, a New Food Attitude

We began 2008 with a bet. Our family of four challenged our friends, the Martins, also a family of four, to live on $75/week food budget and $50/week "everything else" budget. This does not include regular bills we already have in place, including things like music lessons, drama lessons, etc. But it does include eating out, drinking, sundry items, and entertainment. We determined that we would live the anti-consumerism mentality in January, and see how well we could manage it. Both families must stay under budget, but at the end of the month, the family that spends the most has to treat the other family to a "nice but reasonable" dinner out.

It's been difficult, sort of, especially the part about not eating out. But also interesting, to really make a commitment to use up (and re-design) leftovers and not let food go to waste, and to shop more carefully. But we all love to eat well, and Nick Martin and I love to cook well, and sacrificing higher quality ingredients has been a challenge. Nick has been blogging about his experience at, check that out if you are interested. And I decided, half way through the month, that I need to be blogging about ours, especially the vegetarian aspects of it that I've engineered at our house (to the chagrin of the rest of my family--my partner, Ben, and my sons, Angus and Emmett).

Yesterday, the four of us (the adults--Amy, Nick, Ben, and I) went to see Michael Pollan speak about his new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. Afterwards, we all slipped up a bit and went out for a few drinks, figuring that if we were all spending the same amount of money, we would be even. But...there goes half the week's grocery bill! Oops. Well, it was a lot of fun, and worth it, and we vowed to spend next Christmas in Oaxaca, out of the American consumerist holiday madness. The kids will thank us later. Meanwhile, we'll have to get *really* creative with our food stores this week!

In the meantime, I'm posting a picture of the scrambled tofu I enjoyed this past Saturday morning, along with toast made from homemade bread that Nick left at our house after the Martins joined us for dinner on Friday, for black bean butternut squash stew.

This recipe is quick, easy, and doesn't contain very many ingredients, so it's good to make in the morning when you are a really hungry yogi. I often throw leftovers into this mix--black bean stew, white beans, different veggies, homemade salsa, or in this case below, roasted potatoes.

Scrambled Tofu

Serves 2 or 3

1 tablespoon evo (extra virgin olive oil)
12 ounces firm tofu, drained and squeezed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup leftover roasted potatoes, cubed (optional if you don't have them, or add any other leftovers you happen to have)
1 small carrot, grated
1 scallion, chopped, whites and greens

In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Crumble the tofu into the pan. Add the turmeric, salt, cumin, and pepper. Saute until tofu is coated with the spices. Add the potatoes (or not) and continue to saute' until the tofu starts to get nice and brown and a little bit crispy, about five minutes or a little longer. Add the carrots and stir to combine. Divide the tofu between two or three plates and garnish with the scallions. Serve with toast topped with a little evo and sea salt.

Note: Since I was the only one eating this, I warmed three whole-wheat tortillas and divided the remaining tofu between them, rolled them up, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and put them in the freezer. These can be unwrapped and microwaved on high for 2 minutes (cover with a paper towel) for a quick lunch. Good dipped in salsa!

The kids ate the same homemade fast food from the freezer, but I made theirs with eggs and cheese instead of tofu. I'm still trying to win them over to the tofu side but I'm not going to force the issue. Ahimsa comes in many forms.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, Ms. Attitude!
    I love your resolution & wish you luck in this challenging & yet rewarding endeavor.
    I look forward to reading about future meals & philosophies. This is a lesson for the whole family on many different levels. Can't wait to find out who wins the bet!
    Good Luck & Good Eating, Eve.