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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gluten Free Vegetarian Meals On A Budget

For eating gluten-free on a budget, there are nothing like potatoes! A bag of potatoes can go a long way and there are a million ways to make them! The easiest is to scrub one, poke two holes in the skin and microwave for 4 minutes. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on it, add a tablespoon of water and some sea salt. Any cooked vegetable is a good topping.

Beans are very inexpensive. Black beans are easy to digest. Beans go very well with rice. To save money, buy a pressure cooker and make beans from a bag according to the directions on the bag. This is a great source of protein, and very inexpensive. If you cook them right, they will digest easily.

Mash up a cup or two of the cooked beans up with a 1/8 cup lemon/lime, several cloves of crushed garlic, 1/4 cup of sesame paste and sea salt for a great pate. Drizzle with olive oil and paprika before serving. (This is usually called hummus if you make it with chick peas.)

Now that its summer, try going to a Farmer's Market in your area and get just about anything there. The cost is often lower because you are cutting out the grocer. The seller's often have great suggestions and recipes for cooking their produce. Buying locally is also good for the environment, and you get to meet the people who grew your food!

Get an air popcorn popper. Popcorn is very cheap and you can buy it in bulk, organic, and have it for snacks. Some celiacs can't eat fibery stuff, so be careful that this is something your system can handle.

Sprout mixes are very inexpensive. Making sprouts is easy and cheap!

One of the most inexpensive and versatile vegetables is red or green cabbage. Cabbage keeps a long time in the refrigerator, and is a great flavor enhancer. Sliced thin and mixed with shredded carrots and your favorite salad dressing it makes a nice summer cole slaw. Add a few leaves of cabbage chopped up into any soup or stew for a much fuller flavor. It seems to make everything more savory and more satisfying. Just don't overcook it or it can turn to mush.

Try getting any fruit, or berries in season and making smoothies with them, just put them in a blender with some ice and some rice milk, and add some honey or real maple syrup for sweetness.

Don't forget that nuts, seeds and nut butters are good sources of protein! Make sure they are very fresh. Nuts can go rancid easily.

We have a bowl of cherries on the table right now, next to a bowl of cashews. I slice a sweet red pepper crosswise (the slices look like a flower) and put on a plate with some black olives. It is the best junk food!

Sauteed mushrooms have a savory taste that makes anything have a meaty flavor.

Inexpensive Vegetable Stew

Take all your current vegetables (include an onion or a leek, and a stalk of celery with tops, and a leaf or two of cabbage for flavor) and some potatoes and saute them a little in some olive oil, or roast them in the oven.
Cut everything up into chunks before beginning, sautee the harder vegetables first or roast them longer.
Start a 1/2 large pot of boiling water.
Add a can of black beans.
Add the vegetablesand some fresh garlic.
Throw in a handful of carrot tops, a few beet tops, some kale or other greens at the last minute.
Add some Sea Salt, pepper.
Cook until everything is done about 15 minutes.
Serve in a bowl with a little gluten-free mayonnaise on top for a garnish.

Don't forget that most Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Indian foods are mainly gluten-free. Mexican is gluten-free if you get the corn tortillas instead of the flour. You have to call ahead, or call the manufacturer to be certain that there are no additives that contain gluten, however.

Really cheap shopping list:
A bag of black beans.
A bag of popcorn.
A sack of potatoes.
A head of red cabbage.
A clump of carrots with tops on.
A bunch of celery.
A head of garlic.
A container of lemon juice.
Iodized Sea Salt.
A can of mixed nuts.
Some honey or real maple syrup.
Extra Virgin olive oil.
The freshest fruit in season.
Any favorite vegetable.

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