Mar 31, 2011

How to eat healthy for the cheap

Ok, so our food budget ran a little low this past week. I had to get creative. Here's how $60 got the two of us through 5 days of eating (and no, there were no Mr. Noodles involved). I'm just going to list dinners, as 90% of the time we eat leftovers from the night before for lunch:

Mar 29, 2011

Reclaimed light fixture

Look out - I'm getting artsy. This usually doesn't work out well. But fingers crossed.

I got this idea from the latest issue of Sunset magazine, which had a feature on using recycled materials in the garden, including an old glass light fixture-turned-planter:

Mar 27, 2011

Low-impact landscaping

Now that we've (mostly) cleared out the garden, it's time to figure out what the hell we're gonna do with it. Luckily, my aunt just happens to be a landscaper (and a rad person to boot). She came by to help us come up with a plan that fits in with our goal of creating an awesome outdoor space - without buying a bunch of new stuff and creating a ton of waste in the process. Basically, we're aiming to:

- use second-hand material as much as we can (tools, plants, compost, containers, etc.)
- recycle all garden waste
- collect rainwater to use for watering
- plant and grow some veggies, reducing the amount we buy at the store

Mar 26, 2011

Spicy red lentils and rice

I've had a bit of a mixed relationship with lentils. On the one hand, they're cheap, easy to prepare and a good source of protein. On the other hand, if you don't do 'em right, they're pretty damn bland. And nobody likes bland.

Fortunately, this recipe is definitely not. Just spicy enough for my under-developed spice tolerance, this lentil dish is pretty fulla flavour.

Tip: buy lentils in bulk and keep a supply in your cupboard. If you don't have anything to make for dinner, or the food budget is short one week, you can whip up a double batch with rice to get you through dinner and lunch the next day.

Mar 23, 2011

The battle begins, or, attack of the shears!

One of the main reasons I fell in love with our apartment the first time I saw it (in spite of its need for major renovations and horrendous paint colours) was the outdoor space. At close to 1200 square feet, it's like having another entire living space, outside. But like the apartment itself, the yard needed a lot of work - as in, it hadn't been touched in probably 20 years. Now that we've finished with the inside, we finally have time to concentrate on the outside. And just in time for spring!

So then came the shears. There's something amazingly cathartic about pruning. Especially aggressive pruning. Take that 1970s rhodo!


Mar 1, 2011

Vegan pesto sauce

I love pesto. Whoever first thought of grinding up basil, nuts and olive oil into a delicious paste - I salute you. And enjoy the fruits of your genius on a regular basis.

Or, or least I did, until I realized I was lactose intolerant. And almost every store-bought variety of pesto has parmesan cheese in it. Woe was me, until one day I was standing at the deli, forlornly scanning the list of ingredients on a tasty little pesto package, and I realized my mistake. Which was - pesto sauce only has about 5 ingredients in it. Why the hell was I buying it for $8 a package at Safeway anyway? There had to be some way I could make it at home, cheese-free. Later, deli.