Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Zukay Live review, frugal cooking

Lentil Burger with Zukay Live Garlic Dill Relish

I made this delicious burger out of leftover lentils (more on lentils later), oats and spices. I topped it with tofutti mozzarella cheese, ketchup and Zukay Live Foods Garlic Dill Relish. Zukay Live produces raw fermented products that are crawling with beneficial bacteria. Now, about this product, I must preface my review by saying I am not a fan of yellow mustard seeds. I adore mustards, but for some reason I do not like the taste of yellow mustard seeds. Since this relish contains them, I did not really like it. Other than the mustard seed flavor, I could appreciate the other subtle flavors in the relish. I think that garlic could have been more pronounced if they are calling it garlic relish. My son liked the relish a lot as did my EX. I like the fizz aspect and I can tell that it is much healthier than processed sweet or dill relish. It just feels alive and I felt good after eating it.

Cabbage Stir Fry with Tofu, Pineapple and Brown Rice

After the picture was taken, I dumped it all into a big bowl and mixed it together. It was a healthy version of fried rice! I used my cast iron to dry fry the tofu, then turned the heat up high and stir fried the onion, cabbage, serrano chiles, garlic, ginger and carrots (hidden under the tofu and I added another big scoop of the veggies to my dish) with a spritz of cooking spray. Fresh pineapple, siracha, cilantro, scallions and 2 T of my own knock off version of Newman's Own Light Sesame Ginger finished it off. It was wicked hot, but very good. I saved leftovers for my sons dinner and he loved it as well.

I haven't written about frugal cooking much lately, but with these trying times, I am keeping my budget as low as possible. I still have not found a job since my layoff. I wish I lived in an area with a higher vegetarian/vegan population. It's tough out there. I am seriously thinking of making a big move in the next two years. My youngest son graduates in 2011. I know that Portland, Oregon has a great vegan scene as well as LA. I have family in LA, so I could stay with them while looking for a place. I might be open to New York as well. Hmmm.. I've been playing around with the idea of looking for work in Boston, but not sure that I could make enough money to justify my commute? (I live around 60 miles away)

Unfortunately, the vegan scene has not been profitable for me jobwise, but that is what I want to do. I am so passionate about vegan and raw vegan foods. I just love creating and it hurts my heart to think of finding a job outside of this field.

Ok... onto the lentils I talked about earlier. I am continually amazed by them! Actually, I'm amazed at all dried beans/whole grains when it comes to creating delicious staples in my diet. I bought a pound of organic lentils ($1.69) and sprouted 1/4 lb of them. I think I got at least 3 cups of sprouts from that small amount. I used those sprouts in salads and to snack on. I boiled the remaining 3/4lb of lentils with some onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, fresh basil, bouillon, balsamic vinegar, hot pepper flakes and black pepper. So far, I have made 2 large servings of lentil soup (see last post), 4 large burgers and still have enough for my dinner tonight of mexican tostadas and to add to a pot of Eggplant/Tomato/Quinoa/Lentil/Kale soup I'm making that will feed us for at least 2 meals. Talk about a super bang for your buck! Having a base like this also makes preparing a 30 minute meal easy. I cook up brown rice, millet, quinoa or other grains to have on hand so I can throw things together fast. Cooking for one (or two) was a challenge when I first moved out of my house. Since I only have one kid here at a time and they're usually only here for dinner I had to adjust the way I cooked. If any of you read me when I first started this blog, I used to cook huge batches of foods and freeze them. I learned how to cook in a restaurant, so I'm more comfortable making large portions of everything! It has been challenging to scale things down to fit my needs.


  1. I gotta find that Zukay stuff around here! I wonder if Whole Foods carries it?

    And good luck on the job front. It's so crazy out there. But even if you end up doing something in the non-foodie sphere, hopefully you can keep looking and eventually find something you're happy with.

  2. Anonymous3:19 PM

    That lentil burger looked really good!! The dill relish sounds yummy as well.

    Traci Lynn

  3. How funny about the relish - I love all the mustard seeds in it. It does taste really fresh though, doesn't it.

    A big move is so stressful. I hope you don't have to go through that, but like you said, times are tough these days.

    Cabbage stirfry is one of my most favorite meals. I still bulk cook for just me. Sometimes it gets a little boring, but then again, you can get pretty creative too.

  4. Portland, Oregon does have a great vegan scene, and I think you'd like it here if you decided to make the move.

    Again, I'm just so impressed by your blog and what you're doing here (even if it isn't a situation you would choose.)

    Knitty (from Babble.com)

  5. I have to admit I am not a vegan but this looks really good! It has to be quite a challenge to stay frugal :)

    i've started a new blog event called Thrifty Thursdays if you are interested in cooking along! http://amandascookin.blogspot.com/2009/02/gauging-interest-thrifty-thursday.html :)

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