Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Convenience Store Challenge!

I love a good fun challenge and when I came across this post on Vegan Soapbox I knew I wanted to participate. It would be a fun challenge and with my cookbook addiction the chance to win my choice of cookbook to add to my library was just too much to resist.

The rules of the game are simple. Go to a convenience store with $10. Get vegan ingredients. Make them into a meal. It doesn't have to be a well balanced or healthy meal which is good considering the selection available in most convenience stores. There does seem to be a theme though. If you have a little quick stop type store that sells slightly more then chips, soda and candy then it will have pasta, sauce, and an array of nonvegan items. If you're lucky you will find a few more vegan goodies but no such luck for me. My choices for meal items were spaghetti, mac, veg oil, tomato soup and tomato sauce. Crap. I made my grabs and had a look at what was available for snack items. I left the store with this:
-1 lb elbow macaroni
-8oz can tomato sauce
-3oz bag of salted cashews
-5.25oz sleeve of Oreos
Spending a grand total of $8.06. Sweet, two rules complete - shop at a convenience store and spend only $10.
Now I have to make a recognizable meal. I made my way home and got cracking. We can only add herbs, spices and nutritional yeast. First I opened the nuts and covered them with water, sloshed them around a bit and drained. I repeated this a couple times because there is enough salt in that tomato sauce already, no more will be needed. After rinsing a couple times I left the cashews to soak while I got a pot of water on the stove to boil.

In a blender jug (or you could do this in a food processor), I dumped:
-the can of tomato sauce
-about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-1/2 tsp dried garlic powder
-the cashews, drained
Process this all together and get it as smooth as possible. The cashews just add to the creaminess, they could be omitted and you would still have a slightly cheezy sauce. Set this aside until your pasta is done.

I went ahead and cooked all the pasta. Why the hell not! Maybe you'll need to feed a crowd on your convenience store gourmet skills. I'm ready.

Once the pasta was ready I simply drained it, dumped it back into the pot, poured on the blender sauce (scrape out every last bit you can) and stir it all around. The ratio of sauce to pasta was perfect for me but if you like more sauciness just cook less than a pound of pasta or make more sauce. Easy.

Now, the moment of truth.
I sprinkled a little more nooch and oregano on top for added flair. This was actually pretty good. Because I usually make a whole grain pasta this was kinda junk foodie but it was quite tasty if I do say so myself. Although not balanced it does offer your carbs, fat, and protein. And because no meal is complete without dessert, enter the Oreos. I actually wanted to take this one step further and make chocolate covered Oreos but there wasn't even a smidgeon of vegan chocolate to be found in this forlorn little gas station. They did have a fair amount of premade sandwiches and hot coffee ready to go. Not a bad place to stop if you are on the road and need a fuel fill up for both your car and your tummy . . . but not for a vegan.

I have plenty to share. Stop on by and have a taste!


14 comments:

Carrie said...

What a fun challenge!! It's nice to know that you can survive even if your only option is a convenience store.

Elaine Vigneault said...

Nice! Well played :)

Mandee said...

Looks like a quick and easy meal, I'm sure I would have done the same :)

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

You did a great job with this....convenience stores are such a challenge!

Virginia said...

what a fun challenge!! i hate convenience stores because they are way overpriced and cater to junk food enthusiasts but this is still a great idea for fun!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Cool challenge!! I think my meal would have been a bag of chips... yours actually looks like a real dinner!

aTxVegn said...

What a fun challenge! I've never shopped at a gas station - I would be completely lost, but you actually made a nice meal.

River said...

What a super cool challenge! It's not easy to find vegan stuff at convenience stores, you kicked butt! I hope you win!!

shellyfish said...

This is quite a challenge! I'm with Amanda - I probably would have walked out with pretzels & nuts or something. Great job!

Kumudha said...

Interesting challenge!

It's nice to show people that vegan food is not costly...

baliwhat said...

Ha, this is a great challenge idea. And you did a great job! A convenience store meal, complete with dessert- I'm impressed!

DJ Karma said...

I love it- just like that top chef challenge a while back. Very creative!

kelly g. said...

That's impressive! It was harder to find non-junk food in convenience stores than I though it would be...

Judith said...

Excellent! I apologize for waiting so long to check on these meals! I love this one! Imaginative and tasty, it appears.