Delectable Dime

meal planning on a budget

Turning the Page

Delectable Dime

by Faith Escher

I have recently fallen in love with the library…how could I not fall in love with a place that has an endless supply of available books at absolutely no cost. In one of my recent library explorations, I happened upon a cookbook section that has enraptured me. This library has everything from old and obscure Scandinavian cookbooks to the classic must reads by Julia Child to vegetarian cuisine for families–the possibilities are endless, and it is so fun to explore.

What I love about cookbooks is that they are such an experience. A cookbook is a story, a journey, a history book and an arsenal of recipes that lead to delight! Sometimes I make myself a cup of tea and just read through cookbooks for quick tips, short little anecdotes, and interesting facts on a rainy day while I have something delicious cooking on the stove.

One of my favorite things about a cookbook is the evidence of a good recipe. Surely, if you find a page covered in flour fingerprints, smelling like a vanilla scratch and sniff, or dotted with tiny soy sauce stains you will know that you have found a favorite!

This week, all of the recipes have been sought for and scavenged at a local Southern California library to provide you with an exciting array of wonderful plant based delights!

Turning the Page

Total Budget: $100 or less

All recipes serve 4

NOTE: Garlic (2) = how many recipes the ingredient garlic is used in. For example, “Garlic (2)” means we will be using garlic in two of our recipes for this week.

The Shopping List For All 5 Dinners

  • 1 Large garlic bulb – $0.50 (5)
  • 1 Can of vegetable broth – $0.99 each (1)
  • 2 Lemons – $0.50 (2)
  • 1 Small stub of ginger root – $0.50 at $3.99/lb (1)
  • 1 Bag of quinoa – $3.99 (2)
  • Soy sauce or Tamari – $1.99 *GF version is usually more expensive (2)
  • 12 oz. Frozen shelled edamame – $1.69 (1)
  • 12 oz. Frozen peas – $1.00 (1)
  • 12 oz Can tomato paste – $1.20 (2)
  • 3 Yellow onions – $2.30 (3)
  • 1 Package of extra-firm tofu – $2.50 (1)
  • 1 Carrot – $0.50 (1)
  • 1 Package of all tri-color bell peppers – $3.29 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of scallions – $0.99 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of fresh mint – $1.99 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of fresh basil – $1.99 (1)
  • 2 20 oz Cans of pineapple with juice – $3.60 (2)
  • 1 lb Cashews – $5.99 (3 + Snacks)
  • 3 Red bell peppers – $3.29 (2)
  • 2 Red chillies – $0.99 (2)
  • 12 oz Peanut oil – $3.10 (3)
  • 10 oz Mirin – $2.98 (1) *
  • 1 0.9 oz Container of ground cumin seeds – $2.28 (2)
  • 1 0.9 oz Container of turmeric powder – $2.59 (1)
  • 1 0.9 oz Container of cayenne powder – $1.99 (2)
  • 2 Cartons of mushrooms – $6.99 (1)
  • 1 Large bag of broccoli florets – $5.00 (1)
  • 16 oz of seitan or tofu – $2.50 (1)
  • 1 Jar of peanut butter – $2.49 (1)
  • 1 Can of light coconut milk – $1.99 (1)
  • 1 Red onion – $0.79 (1)
  • 4 Portobello mushrooms or 8 smaller mushrooms – $4.99 (1)
  • 1 Medium sized eggplant – $2.00
  • 1 Container of white wine vinegar – $3.99 (1)
  • 2 oz Container of oregano – $3.00 (1)

* Mirin is a vinegar like seasoning liquid that can usually be found in the foreign foods aisle at your local market. It should be located near the ponzu, fish sauce, or soy sauce near the asian foods.

$80.00 – $100.00  *Prices may fluctuate depending on tax, store, sale and season. I paid $86.48 this week.

If you followed us last week you already have the following; however, if this is your first week you will need to make these additional purchases (appx $21.46) or substitute with ingredients you have in your cupboard.

  • 2 oz Container of garam masala – $5.99 (2)
  • Salt and Pepper shakers – $3.49 (5)
  • 1 Container of maple syrup – $7.99 (2)
  • Olive oil –  $3.99 (1)

Recipe No. 1

Pineapple-Cashew Quinoa | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Source: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero | Link to cookbook |
Link to recipe instructions

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup cold water
  • ¼ teaspoon soy sauce


  • 4 oz cashews
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red hot chili, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger peeled and minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup edamame
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin shreds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Note: This cookbook is an incredible resource and a must have for your library! One of the really unique and fun things about this cookbook is that its appendix is the way its recipes are sorted. The appendix is broken up into sections: soy free, gluten free, low fat/reduced fat, recipes in under 45 minutes, etc! It is aesthetically pleasing and as much of a treat to read from as it is to eat from!

Recipe No. 2

Mushroom and Pea Sabji | Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Source: Vegan Indian Cooking by Anupy Singla | Link to cookbook

  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or minced
  • 1 small yellow or red onion peeled and minced
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 6 cups mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and halved
  • ½ teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt


  1. “In a deep, heavy pan, heat the oil over medium high-heat.
  2. Add the cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. Cook until the seeds sizzle, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is slightly browned.
  4. Add the onion. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until browned.
  5. Add peas, Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking.
  6. Add the mushrooms, [cayenne] powder, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, until the juices released from the mushrooms evaporates slightly.” (p. 187)

Note: The recipe suggests serving this dish with brown or white basmati rice, but since quinoa was already on the shopping list I simple used the quinoa instead.

Recipe No. 3

Sweet and Sour Vegetables | Cook Time: 20 minutes

Source: Global Vegetarian Cooking by Troth Wells | Link to cookbook

  • 1 lb of vegetables finely chopped * (Tri color bell peppers, 1 cup of bean sprouts, 1 carrot)
  • 1 cup tofu
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chili, de-seeded and sliced
  • Oil


  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar **
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • ½ teaspoon cornflour***


  1. “Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and set aside.
  2. Put some oil into a wok and when it is hot, stir-fry the onion until it begins to soften. Then add the garlic and stirfry for a further minute.
  3. Next, add the vegetables which take longer to cook such as carrots and bell peppers. Stir fry these for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Now put in the chili and rest of the vegetables, stirring until they are cooked.
  5. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine well before serving.” (p.83)

Note: *The recipe suggests that you use whatever vegetables that you already have on hand, so in addition to the ones that I have added to the list and put in the brackets, you can add anything else that you have left over i.e. pineapple, mushrooms or cashews would be amazing as well! **Use real maple syrup instead of brown sugar. ***Use any thickener that you have on hand instead of the cornflour.

Recipe No. 4

Seitan Saute with Pineapple | Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Source: Students Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond | Link to cookbook

  • 4  teaspoons olive oil *I used peanut oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 5 cups of broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 16 ounces of seitan
  • 2 10 oz cans of pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • ½ cup of light coconut milk
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Unsalted dry roasted peanuts**


  1. “Warm oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and garam masala and saute another minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in bell pepper, broccoli and seitan, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pineapple, peanut butter and coconut milk. Simmer over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender crisp and the sauce begins to thicken slightly. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with the crushed peanuts…” (p. 179).

Note: *I used peanut oil **For this recipe, instead of using peanuts I used the cashews that we purchased for the first recipe. Also note that I doubled the recipe from the original. This recipe serves four as it is noted. I love to eat this recipe over grains. Since there should be plenty of quinoa left from your shopping, you can use that or any other rice or grain you have and enjoy.

Recipe No. 5

Giant Mushrooms Stuffed with Eggplant | Cook Time: Under 1 hour

Source: The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas | Link to cookbook

  • 8 very large, firm mushrooms (or 4 portobello mushrooms)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter *I used olive oil
  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 ½ tbs red onion
  • ½ cup walnuts ** I used cashews
  • Pinch of oregano
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegan monterey jack cheese **Omit


  1. After cleaning mushrooms and removing stems, “hollow out the centers a little, leaving the thick shell. Saute the mushrooms […] remove them from the heat then set them aside.
  2. Peel the eggplant and slice lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Cut strips into 1-inch lengths. Toss the strips with 1 teaspoon salt and leave in a colander for ½ hour.”
  3. After de-seeding the bell pepper cut them into “julienned” strips. “Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the cumin, [cayenne pepper] and minced garlic.
  4. Rinse the eggplant and press out all excess moisture. Saute the eggplant and red bell pepper strips in the olive oil until they are just tender.
  5. Stir in vinegar, tomato paste, minced onions, and [cashews]. Season to taste with oregano, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper. Saute for a couple more minutes.
  6. Spoon filling into the hollowed-out mushrooms, shaping it into nice, even mounds.
  7. Bake mushrooms in a slightly [oiled] covered baking dish in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes” (p.183).

Note: *Substitute butter for olive oil **I used cashews instead of the walnuts. Also I added an extra ½ cup of cashews and left out the cheese.

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I hope this blog inspires you to look through some of your old cookbooks, and hopefully it inspired you to take a trip down to the library as well!


Moskowitz, I. C., & Romero, T. H. (2007). Pineapple Cashew Quinoa. In I. C. Moskowitz &

T. H. Romero (Authors), Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook (p. 175).

Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

Raymond, C. (2006). Seitan Saute with Pineapple. In C. Raymond (Author), Student’s Go

Vegan Cookbook (p. 179). New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Singla, A. (2012). Mushroom and Pea Sabji (Mushroom aur Mattar ki Sabji). In A. Singla

(Author), Vegan Indian Cooking: 140 Simple and Healthy Vegan Recipes (p. 187). Agate


Thomas, A. (1972). Giant Mushrooms Stuffed with Eggplant. In A. Thomas (Author), The

Vegetarian Epicure Book Two (p. 183). New York, NY: Borzoi Book by Alfred Knopf.

Wells, T. (2006). Sweet and Sour Vegetables. In T. Wells (Author), Global Vegetarian Cooking:

Quick and Easy Recipes From Around the World (p. 83). Northampton, NY: Interlink




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