Cheezy Baked Spaghetti Nests

I'm Italian so it follows naturally that I am hopelessly addicted to pasta. Long pasta or short, solid shapes or tubes, noodles or dumplings or sheets, I love it all. But even my favorite pasta dishes can get a little old sometimes so I've been thinking of new ways to use pasta. I came up with something really different and totally to die for. Cheezy Baked Spaghetti Nests!



Cheezy Baked Spaghetti Nests 
Yield: 6 servings

12 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti
1/2 cup shredded non-dairy cheddar-style cheese (I used Galaxy Rice...)
1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt or sour cream
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and lightly spray a 6-cup muffin tip (jumbo/Texas-style).
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
  3. While pasta cooks, combine non-dairy cheddar, yogurt and nutritional yeast in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine remaining ingredients with 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir, and toss with pasta. Add more pasta water as needed to coat thoroughly. 
  5. Using a large fork, twist pasta into fist-sized nests and nestle into muffin cups. You might have to use your fingers a bit to tuck in the loose ends.
  6. Divide cheesy mixture evenly atop each noodle nest. 
  7. Bake 10 minutes, allow to cool 2-3 minutes before gently removing from muffin tin.
Note: Serve with steamed broccoli or a green salad for a simple meal. These nests can be also prepared in a 12-cup regular sized muffin tin for smaller portions to use as an appetizer or brunch dish. These nests freeze very well too, but let them defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating!


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Meatless Monday: Southern Green Cornbread Cakes

What to do with the green tops from your veggies? I had greens leftover from my Curried Golden Beet Soup recipe last week and pondered how to use them up. Beet greens are pretty mild and I didn't have a lot of them so I wanted to do something special. I used my new favorite trick of stuffing cornbread muffins with things to make a nice portable Southern treat.


This recipe makes greens that are tender and sweet with a subtle kick. A perfect compliment to the ol' reliable corn muffin.

Southern Green Cornbread Cakes
Yield: 6 jumbo cakes or 12 regular sized cakes

For the cakes:
1/2 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup plain nondairy milk
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Energ-G egg replacer
2 1/2 Tbsp canola oil

For the greens:
1 tsp olive oil

2 Tbsp chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch of beet greens
1/3 cup water 
2 tsp agave nectar
pinch crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine all cake ingredients and divide evenly among 6 large/Texas sized muffin cups or 12 regular sized cups.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, cook onion, garlic and chopped beet stems for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped beet leaves and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender. Remove lid, increase heat and cook until most of the liquid is gone.
  4. Divide greens evenly among the muffin cups, pressing down slightly into the cornbread batter. 
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  6. Cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin cups and serving.
Note: These freeze exceptionally well so they're great for easy weekday side dishes or office lunches!



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Curried Golden Beet Soup


This is a great recipe to try on people who profess to dislike beets. A far cry from mushy, pink pickled beets from a can, this recipe calls for slow roasting a whole bunch of golden beets which blend flawlessly with the sweet flavors of roasted parsnip and carrot and a subtle touch of curry.

Curried Golden Beet Soup
Yield: About 6 1-cup servings

1 bunch (3-4) golden beets, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2  to 1 tsp curry powder, depending on strength
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp cumin
pinch ground ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp smoked sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups water, divided 
2 cups vegetable broth
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In an 8x8 glass baking dish, toss beets, parsnip and carrot with oil and all spices.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup water over the mixture and cover in foil.
  4. Roast for 1 hour, then allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Blend using an immersion blender or puree in batches in a food processor, adding vegetable broth half a cup at a time followed by remaining water (up to 1 cup) until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Adjust curry and salt to taste. Serve with a dollop of plain nondairy yogurt or vegan sour cream. 
Note: Like most soups, this recipe freezes beautifully. I store my leftovers in canning jars to make portable lunches for work.


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    Rustic Fig Tartlets


    Rustic fruit tarts, also known as galettes, are a wickedly easy way to impress people who visit you for brunch. They're also a great way to impress yourself when you're snacking alone and need a little cheering up (or even if you don't). Whether it's breakfast or dessert, this is the kind of recipe that every chef needs to have in their back pocket.


    Rustic Fig Tartlets
    Yield: 4

    For the dough:
    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 Tbsp cane sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1/3 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
    1/4 cup cold water
    2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    Up to 2 Tbsp additional water

    For the filling:
    1/4 cup apricot jam (I used Trader Joe's reduced sugar apricot preserves)
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground ginger
    Approx 2 cups dried black mission figs

    Prepare the dough:
    1. Mix dry ingredients. 
    2. Cut in Earth Balance until mixture resembles small crumbs or pebbles. 
    3. Add 1/4 cup cold water and vinegar and combine with fork until dough forms. If it's dry, add water 1 tsp at a time until the consistency is correct. 
    4. Knead a few times until the dough is cohesive. 
    5. Wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
    Make the tartlets:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. In a bowl, cover dried figs with hot water to rehydrate. If using fresh figs, this is not necessary.
    3. In a small bowl, combine preserves and spices and set aside.
    4. Remove stems and slice figs thinly. 
    5. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and roll out on floured surface to 7-8 inch circles. 
    6. Spread 1-1/2 tsp preserves on each dough circle, spreading with a spatula or the back of a spoon over the entire surface. 
    7. Arrange figs on your dough circles, leaving 1/2 inch of dough on all edges.
    8. Fold edges of dough inward, pressing down slightly as you work around the circle.
    9. Brush dough edges with reserved fig soaking water. 
    10. Bake 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. 
    Incidentally, this post was inspired by a photo I saw on Apartment Therapy last week. The post was about afternoon tea but it included a divine photo of a rustic fig tart that had me -- and many of the commenters -- drooling on our desks. After baking my tartlets, I got a little silly and decided to take a few shots mimicking the ones on AT just for fun. I kill me.

    Top: Photo by Megan Gordon, Bottom: Photo by Cat DiStasio


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    Vida Vegan Conference: I'm going!

    This August, Vida Vegan Con - the first-ever vegan food blogger conference - will be held in Portland, OR. That's "vegan mecca," to you. And I'm going!


    The guest speaker list and workshop topics are impressive and I'm looking forward to getting to talk face-to-face with some folks I've only, to date, known in internetland. I'm also looking forward to learning a lot, taking a metric ton of photos and coming back to share with you all.

    If you're a blogger or vegan food fanatic and you'll be attending, let me know! I'd love to meet as many fellow bloggers as possible.

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    Meatless Monday: Vegan Shepherd's Pie

    I realize that shepherd's pie is a traditional dish for St. Patrick's Day and that St. Patrick's Day was last week. I hereby confess to the ultimate food blogger sin. Instead of writing about a dish on the appropriate day, I was too busy eating it! I also realize that shepherd's pie is a classic omnivore favorite and I can promise that the omni folks in your life won't miss the meat in this hearty dish. Shitaake mushrooms and artichoke hearts stand in for meat, offering deep earthy flavors that hold their own against subtle, nutty white gravy and fluffy mashed potatoes.

    This shepherd's pie recipe is quite timeless and I assure you that nobody will mind if you make it the week after St. Patrick's Day. Although spring has officially sprung -- and quite literally so in many areas of the world -- this is a perfect dish to ward off any last remnants of winter that might be lingering around your homestead.


    Vegan Shepherd's Pie
    Yield: 2 individual pies

    For the mashed potato topping:
    2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    2 Tbsp plain almond milk

    For the veggie filling:
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup chopped carrots
    1/2 cup chopped parsnips
    1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
    3/4 cup quartered artichoke hearts (I used frozen, thawed)
    3/4 cup shitaake mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
    2 Tbsp dark beer or low sodium veg broth
    1 Tbsp soy sauce 

    For the gravy: 
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 Tbsp chickpea flour
    3/4 cup plain almond milk
    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set out two 10-ounce ramekins. 
    2. Dice and boil potatoes, with skins, until tender. Drain, and mash with salt and almond milk. Set aside.
    3. Cook onions and garlic in oil until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add remaining veggies and cook over medium heat until carrots and parsnips are tender. Add beer or broth and soy sauce and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
    4. While your veggies are cooking, whisk olive oil and chickpea flour in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining gravy ingredients, whisking frequently, until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside. 
    5. Once all components are ready, divide the veg mixture evenly between the two ramekins and pack down gently. Divide gravy evenly between the ramekins and use a fork to wiggle the veggies a bit and allow the gravy to penetrate the mixture. Pile mashed potatoes on top, making sure to leave one or two small "windows" to the veg mixture. This will ensure the potato top doesn't get splattered all over your oven.
    6. Cover with a foil tent and bake 15 minutes on a baking sheet to catch any drippings. Remove tent and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until potatoes are slightly golden. Allow to cook 5 minutes before serving.

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      For Japan with Love

      For Japan with Love

      Give directly to ShelterBox with the link above or donate $5 to the Red Cross and have your donation matched by LivingSocial.

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      Pi Day!

      via flickr

      You don't have to be a total math nerd to get a kick out of the fact that today is Pi Day. It's 3.14 and therefore, food bloggers everywhere are posting photos and recipes of pie. I'm not typically much of a bandwagon-jumper but I do like pie. And apparently, pies are the new cupcakes.

      There are lots of pie-in-jar tutorials out there and the last thing the internet needs is one more. Instead, I've done the dirty work for you and read as many mini pie tutorials as one person should. I've narrowed it down to the

      Ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu, my Pi Day gift to you is the soy-cream of the crop.

      Best Pie-in-jar Tutorials
      I was going to make this a "Top 3" list but there are really only two resources you need. 

      via notmartha.org
      Not Martha has perhaps the most famous pie-in-jar post with step-by-step photos to help you along the way.

      via ourbestbites.com
      Our Best Bites: Sara offers another great how-to with photos for each step.

      Making it vegan
      Most of the recipes in the tutorials above call for butter and milk. But making mini vegan pies is totally easy, too.

      The crust. Use your favorite pastry dough recipe (or, cheater cheater, use frozen-and-thawed storebought dough if you can find a vegan version). I've recently become enthralled with the single pastry crust recipe from Veganomicon. You could even use HH's fat-free whole wheat crust.

      The filling. Steer clear of the canned stuff. Use fresh or frozen fruit, brown sugar, a bit of flour or arrowroot powder and the spices of your choice.

      In the oven
      Fresh pies will bake in 45 minutes at 375F. For frozen pies, place the pie in a cold oven (after removing the lid!), set temp to 375F and bake 55-60 minutes.

      Several tutorials mention removing the pie from the jar for serving but I don't get it. Why dirty up an extra plate when your pie already rests in a perfectly suited serving dish? Nosh that baby right out of the jar. Go ahead, do it.


      Not into desserts?
      I see no reason that savory pies can't also be prepared in this method and stored in the freezer for rainy days. Try this vegan tofu pot pie recipe or my own broccoli-cheezy pies.


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      I don't want a pickle...

      I'm in Ohio tonight to see Arlo Guthrie for the eleventeenth time. If you know anything about Arlo, you'll understand the pickle reference that I've made time and time again here on the blog. If you don't know anything about Arlo, just hold on to your pickle until we get to the end of today's post and you'll get a right proper introduction.

      For now, let's do it this way. This is Arlo Guthrie:

      Arlo

      This is a pickle:

      Pickle
      Got that? Ok, let's move on.

      I love pickles. I mentioned them last week in my post about food in jars and since I've got Arlo on the brain, I thought I'd write about pickles again this week and share even more ideas for easy pickling. One of the greatest things about pickles, aside from being ridiculously easy to make, is that you can make 1 jar of pickles or 10 jars just as easily, depending on how much pickle fodder you have (and how much you and your friends like pickles). I usually make just 1-2 jars at a time but feel free to go plumb pickle crazy if you so desire.

      Here are some more interesting ideas on homemade pickled-things-in-jars: 
      • Tipnut links to 14 different recipes for cucumber pickles, including all the old favorites as well as sour and half-sour, Asian-inspired and lots of recipes using garlic.
      • Pickle your own ginger for homemade sushi night!
      • Kittencal shows us how to make pickled beets in just a few easy steps.
      • Pickled peaches from Paula Deen. I kid you not. (Yes, THAT Paula Deen!) 
      • Pick a peck of pickled peppers.
      Since you can't be at the show with me, check out this video circa 1975 of Arlo and his famous pickle song, which is actually "The Motorcycle Song."





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      Adventures in Catering: Vegan and Vegetarian Appetizers

      Last Monday, I let the cat out of the bag (haha) and told you about my gig as a caterer for a party over the weekend. I knew this would lead to a great Meatless Monday feature for today! I'm not a caterer by trade but I do like to make great food and I certainly get a ton of satisfaction watching people scarf it down.

      My Facebook fans heard about the menu on Saturday and I shared a sneak peek photo on Sunday but everyone's been hounding me for more. I don't blame them! I'm super proud of my tasty treats and judging from all the yummy noises I overheard at the buffet, the party goers were pretty thrilled with the results as well.

      If you missed it on Facebook, here's what the dimly lit spread looked like before the party-goers attacked it:

      Crappy cell phone pic alert!
      So, what are you even looking at? For this party, I prepared 3 vegan appetizers and 2 vegetarian dishes to please the client's palette.

      Samosa Pancakes with Curried Potatoes, Spring Peas and Chickpeas:

      Vegan Appetizer #1

      Spicy JalapeƱo Corn Muffins with Guacamole:

      Vegan Appetizer #2

      Caramelized Onions with Thyme and Fig-infused Balsamic Glaze in Phyllo Pouches:
      (aka my favorite!)
      Vegan Appetizer #3
      Grilled Sandwiches of Smoked Cheddar, Granny Smith apples and Arugula:

      Vegetarian Appetizer #1
      Almond-crusted Baked Goat Cheese with Mixed Berry Marmalade and Crostini:

      Vegetarian Appetizer #2
      I knew there would be omnivores, vegetarians AND vegans at the party, so how did I let people know what was what and how to decide what to put on their plates? I made cute signs, that's how. For each dish, I made a sign that listed common allergens (like wheat and nuts) and indicated whether the dish was vegan or vegetarian. With so many different dietary restrictions out there - whether based on ethics or allergies - I always like to help my guests out with a little extra info and I highly recommend doing this any time you throw your own party or bring food to someone else's party.



      So, there you have it folks. But wait, you say, where are the recipes? Well, as much as I hate to put a hitch in your giddy-up, I'm keeping these recipes under my hat for now. As probably every food blogger does, I dream of someday authoring my very own cookbook and some recipes, like the ones for the three vegan appetizers I just showed you, are just begging to be included in the book. Though it pains me not to share all my recipes with my readers, I hope the photos were enough to sate your desires for the time being and to inspire you to, when the time comes, snag a copy of my cookbook. :)


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      Just your cup of tea...

      via flickr
      If you're already a tea drinker, you might have tried mixing up your own tea blends before. I have my favorites but I think it's fun to experiment with new combinations and it certainly helps keep the taste bud boredom at bay. These are my tips on what teas to use, methods for blending and my top favorite tea blends.

      Choosing your Tea
      You may think you can only make tea blends from loose leaf teas but it's not true! Bagged teas are perfect for blending and it's stupid easy. Really. I'll show you.

      You can use any bagged tea you like but I'm partial to Celestial Seasonings because (a) there's no string or tag and (b) they have so many delicious varieties. Also, their fruity herbal varieties typically don't need any sweeteners so this is a zero calorie treat that tastes good while keeping you warm and hydrated throughout the day.

      Some of my favorites are: Tangerine-Orange Zinger, Sleepytime Vanilla, True Blueberry, Morning Thunder (black-mate), and Gen Mai Cha Green. There are over 60 varieties so, no doubt, there's something for everyone - and the vast majority are vegan (some contain honey; read the ingredients list).

      via flickr
      Blending Methods
      The in-your-cup method is great but if you're going to blend 3 different flavors, you'll need a Venti-sized mug to do it in. If you drink a lot of tea already, this method isn't difficult to adjust to but if you're just starting out with tea, I might suggest saving this approach until later on.

      Making your own tea concentrate is a great option. By steeping 3 tea bags in just 1 cup of hot water, you can make enough tea concentrate for 3 regular cups of tea. Just use 1/3 cup concentrate and 2/3 cup fresh hot water, stir and enjoy!

      With a quart-sized mason jar, you can make large batch tea blends for drinking throughout the day (or as iced tea). A quart-sized jar is best for 4-6 bags, depending on how strong you like your flavors. I suggest always brewing tea a little strong when using this method, because you can always add fresh hot water to dilute it.
      via flickr

      Flavor Combinations
      So, what kind of blends can you make? Here are some of my favorite flavor pairings and trios, as well as the "recipe" which is simply the ratio of each flavor in parentheses.

      Blueberry-lemon-mint (1-1-1)
      At my favorite vegan brunch spot in Seattle, Georgetown Liquor Company, I fell in love with a blueberry lemonade mojito. On first read, I thought there might be a bit too much going on, but it wasn't so. It's delicious, refreshing and unexpected.
      Teas to use: Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry, Lemon Zinger and Peppermint.

      Raspberry-Cinnamon Apple (2-1)
      Fruity, spicy, yummy and good for you! This combination is a lot like dessert but without all those pesky calories and fat grams. Raspberry leaves are also known for their benefits to women's health. 
      Teas to use: Raspberry Zinger and Cinnamon Apple Spice

      Spiced Mandarin-Tangerine (1-1)
      If you're a fan of orangey things, like I am, you'll love this one. I love the subtle chai-like spices of Mandarin Orange Spice but if I'm feeling a bit more orangey, I just add another Tangerine tea bag and all is well.
      Teas to use: Mandarin Orange Spice and Tangerine-Orange Zinger

      I hope these ideas have inspired you to try some new flavor combinations in your next cup of tea. With enough experimentation, you're certain to find THE perfect mix for your tastebuds and that's the blend you can name after yourself, even if it really should be called Strawberry/Cinnamon/Vanilla/Mango.

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      Food in Jars: An Inspirational Round-up!

      And now, dear friends, I present to you a humble round-up of unique ideas for food in jars. Whether you're preserving and canning or just repurposing old spaghetti sauce jars, I've a surefire way to put those jars to good use.

      1. Food In Jars. I'd be remiss to begin a round-up like this without sharing with you one of my favorite jarred food websites, Food In Jars. Although not entirely vegan, there are great ideas for vegan jams (like tomato jam)and spreads, sauces, pickles, granola and anything else you can cram into a jar. Awesome. 

      via flickr
      2. Soup to go a la Ashley at (never home)maker is always putting soups and broths in jars for her work lunches and I've done the same for many years. Canning jars are perfect because they come in all sizes, have airtight (spillproof!) lids, can be microwaved and are infinitely reusable.

      3. Parfait is the perfect (harhar) jarred treat. It's a portable breakfast, a mid-day snack, an after work pick-me-up. Most of all, you can assemble then quickly and easily using any type of fruit you have on hand and some non-dairy yogurt. For some lovely parfait porn, check out this post on Back to Her Roots.

      4. Cobbler in jars a la Not Martha. Her recipe's not vegan but it can be converted, using Earth Balance and non-dairy milk in place of the butter and buttermilk. (Hint: 1 cup non-dairy milk milked with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar = vegan buttermilk.) This is a spectacular idea for a dinner party or bake sale. Use half pint jars to make individual servings of cobbler. It's wicked easy AND you can make eleventeen different types of cobbler at the same time. Ha!

      via flickr

      5. Pickles are easy jarred snacks. So easy. I adore pickled things and I've written several pickle recipes before for classic cucumber pickles, pickled shallots and - of all things - pickled prunes! Sounds strange, but they taste fantastic and so sneakily healthy, too.

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      6 Tips to Cut your Grocery Bill

      This is not a gimmick. There are no secrets here. No subscriptions or coupons required. I'm going to help you learn how to save a BUNCH of money on your monthly grocery expenses.


      When people first learn about my diet, they hear that it's chock full of exotic grains, organic produce and specialty foods. The next question they ask me, invariably, is some version of "Isn't it really expensive to eat like that?"

      Yes. The answer is yes. Eating healthy, quality foods costs money. But I'm a frugal, thrifty gal and over the years, I've developed a few techniques that help save me a bundle at the grocery store. To put that into perspective, I don't mind confessing that my monthly food budget is under $300 (for one person). That's for ALL my food, too. That's breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages and typically 1 dinner out each month.

      Without using these techniques, I could easily spend twice that amount each month. I'm not promising these tips will slash your food bill by 50%, but I can promise they'll make a dent.

      Here are my 6 Tips to Cut your Grocery Bill:
      1. Set a monthly food budget. Seems like a no-brainer, but knowing how much you have in your budget to spend each month will help you allocate those funds. It just will, simple as that.
      2. Don't attempt to buy all your groceries from one store. Not only will you end up spending more money, but you're likely to end up with more food waste as well. I hit 2-3 stores each week after work to get fresh veggies, and this gives me a chance to pick up other items along the way.
      3. Get to know your local grocery stores. All of them. The big chains, specialty stores (like Trader Joe's), local independent markets and ethnic groceries. If you're familiar with all of them, you'll know where to go for certain items and cut down your "running around" time.
      4. Get to know your farmers' market. If you have a farmers' market in your area, use it! I like to shop the market towards the end of the day (in the last 1 to 1 1/2 hours they are open) because many farmers will start to discount their produce so they don't have to take it back to the farm. You can also haggle a bit at a farmers' market -- something you can't do in a regular grocery store.
      5. Shop restaurant supply stores. Most areas have at least one restaurant supply store that is open to the public. These are fantastic places for frozen fruits and veggies as well as pantry staples like spices, oils and even non-dairy milks. The prices are typically much lower than in grocery stores and you don't have to buy in bulk.
      6. Don't eat out (or do it rarely). Dining out is wicked expensive and we all know it. I enjoy a nice restaurant meal as much as the next gal but limit yourself to 1 dinner a month and you'll save a fortune.
      I could go on for days but these tips are the ones that save me the most dough when I'm out shopping for ingredients for, well, dough. I hope some of these tips are helpful for you and your family's budget.

      Question: What are your money-saving tips for grocery shopping?

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      This week, on The Verdant Life.......


      I'm living a slightly different kind of life this week, friends.

      Instead of coming home from work and creating fresh recipes just for me, I've got bigger fish to fry more mouths to feed. You see, I've agreed to cater appetizers for a pretty large party this Saturday. And no, you didn't miss my announcement about a career change. I'm not a caterer by day. So all the party prep work will be taking place in my "spare time" this week, leaving little energy for other creative endeavors.

      What's that mean for The Verdant Life this week? Well, it means no new recipes this week, my friends. But don't worry. I won't be leaving you high and dry. Instead, I'll be sharing posts on the following topics this week:
      • Save money on grocery shopping without using coupons
      • Ideas on foods you can make in jars
      • Making your own tea blends
      I hope you'll enjoy these slightly different posts while I'm working in the kitchen this week. Next week, I'll reveal the party menu and share some photos which I'm pretty sure will blow your minds. Really. There might even be a recipe in it for you. We'll see. 

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