Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ideas for Leftovers: Spring Rolls!

For any kind of leftover veggies - stir fry works best for me - “the spring roll” is like a secret agent’s trench coat - giving your veggies a new identity.
If there is a lot of sauce - I would drain it first - although it could make for an interesting variation. Let me remind you, any kind of veggie dish should work - almost anything can be made into stuffing!



*1 packet Naysoya Egg Roll Wraps - $2.69 (these can be found in your health food store in the refrigerator, or in the supermarket they usually place them with the tofu and the fake meats)
*about 4 cups leftover veggies - $2.00
*oil of your choice: $0.40

1. Chop your veggies finely - if you don’t have quite 4 cups I would suggest to stretch your veggies either by adding slightly sauteed cabbage - purple cabbage is one of my favorite “cheap” veggies - so much goodness in there, or, steamed broccoli or cauliflower would work too. Chop everything really finely.
2. Open your package of spring roll wrappers and fill each with about two tablespoons of veggie mix. Fold according to package direction. It’s really easy - don’t worry and the wrappers are very forgiving.
3. Gently heat two tablespoons of coconut oil - or whichever oil you use in stir fries.
4. Transfer you rolls into the pan - you will need to make several batches. Watch them like a hawk, since they brown very fast.
Enjoy - the are great in lunch boxes for kids or grownups. And make an excellent snack when you have to run. Also they are insanely popular at any party - they literally disappear in minutes.

Yield: 20 spring rolls - at about (depends on the veggies you used) 25 cents each.

WE HAVE A WINNER! CSA pick-up #12

We made it. We have broken even, and then some.
When I first set out to document my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) experience the goal was to prove to skeptics that joining a CSA is not only a great way to do something for your local economy, getting to spend time outdoors in a beautiful environment and eating a ton of veggies, but it also SAVES money. And the last point was a bit hard to prove since nobody I talked to could accurately tell me how much money they did save. Even I, who had been a member in different CSA’s over the last decade, never really knew how much produce I got for my share - all I knew was, that is was a truckload.
Starting to write every bit of veggie or herb or berry down, made me realize, what a huge economic impact the CSA really has. Ours has about 100 share holders and each of them has made a choice, with a tremendous effect. Voting with our dollars is the most power any of us have, and boy did we show them.
So, I give you now - the winning edition of this week’s CSA pickup. Don’t worry I will not stop counting - we have another 11 pick-ups to go!

2 pints cherry tomatoes $3.99
4 heads lettuce $8.16

4 bulbs fennel $7.47
2 heads radicchio $5.38
1 ½pounds Swiss chard $3.28
10 pounds heirloom tomatoes $29.99
2 eggplants $3.69
1 ⅓pound cucumbers $4.49
3 pounds summer squash $5.97
1 bunch parsley $1.99
1 bunch lemon thyme $1.99
1 bunch hot peppers $0.90
1 bunch Thai Basil $1.99
1 bunch sage $1.99
1 bunch cilantro $1.99
1 bunch tomatillos $1.99
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch okra $1.99
1 bunch oregano $1.99
unlimited flowers $5.00
unlimited green beans - 8 pounds - $15.92

Total this week: $112.15
Added to the season’s total of: $749.06 - our new total is: drumroll please: $861.21
So, in twelve weeks we have picked up $861.21 worth of great veggies, berries and herbs. My initial cost back in February was $855 so, now I made my money back and we still have 11 weeks worth of pick-ups to go. I think this is turning into a two for one special. I’ll keep you posted.

Cook your Clothes - Insane and Unheard of?

In Europe Bleach is unheard of. How do Europeans get their whites white? They cook their laundry. And you can too. Here is how.
First of all, I would like to point out that Bleach is one of the most toxic substances any of us come across in our whole lives. So, stop using it. If you would like to know more about the toxic effects of bleach read more here.

Alternatives to Bleach: of course bleach is not that expensive, just bad for you - but these are all better.

1.Hydrogen peroxide
5.Lemon Juice

Two Choices:
1. Add one of the first five to your regular white wash. Wash in the highest temperature available. Hang in the sun to dry.
or for the slightly more daring:
2. Take out your biggest spaghetti pot, add your whites - go ahead no one is looking - and now add water. Chose ONE of these Either 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, OR ½ cup of salt, or ½ cup borax (do not inhale) or 1 cup vinegar or 1 cup lemon juice and boil! Just like the spaghetti. Turn off after about 3 minutes of a rolling boil and let it cool down. Rinse with fresh water. Done.
For even whiter whites hang your boiled clothes into the sun and let sunshine do the rest. I know this is another goofy idea - but it works!

Of course the types of fabric you can boil are limited - please don’t do this with wool or you will turn your wardrobe into elves couture. Try it, let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hey all, I have been Moonlighting!

I have been invited to guest blog - at the Green Parent!
It has been a lot of fun. My first article entitled: Your children and the Earth: Five Ways to Benefit Both. went up last Tuesday - and there are two more to come.
Also they did an interview with me, which made me reflect and was quite fun to answer. And here is the rest of it.

Still Life with CSA pick up!

If a picture speaks a thousand words - then, enough said.
I’ll just quietly shuffle away and let you enjoy the visual document of this week’s pick-up.
By the way - I could not fit everything on the table!
The list:
4 heads lettuce $8.16
1 pound rainbow chard $2.19
2 pounds carrots $2.58
⅔ pound basil $6.87
4 pounds tomatoes $11.96
2 heads radicchio $5.38
2 fruit eggplant $3.69
2 pounds cucumber $5.98
3 pounds summer squash or zucchini $5.97
2 pints cherry tomatoes $3.99
2 pounds green beans $3.98
2 pints blackberries $7.00
2 hot peppers $0.90
1 bunch chives $1.99
1 bunch winter savory $1.99
1 bunch thyme $1.99
1 bunch thai basil $1.99
1 bunch sage $1.99
1 bunch cilantro $1.99
1 bunch lavender $1.99
1 bunch parsley $1.99
1 bunch mint $1.99
1 bunch okra $1.99
1 bunch flowers $3.00

Total this week: $91.55
So, I if I had bought all this produce this week at the supermarket or health food store I would have spent $91.55.
If we add this week’s take to our total for the season ( $657.51), our new total is: $749.06
In other words, in eleven weeks of picking up our shares at the CSA we picked up $749.06 worth of produce. Quite something!
We are getting awfully close to break even - remember in February I spent $855 for a full share plus an optional berry share. You wanna bet - we’ll reach that in week 12?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vegetarian on the Cheap - A Beginner's Guide

If you are a first time visitor - welcome, and I hope these
10 steps will get you going. Don’t worry if you are only a part time vegetarian or not a vegetarian at all and simply curious - all are welcome!
If you are wondering whether this way of eating can save you money - it absolutely can!
Make changes to your diet - gradually - nobody expects you to change you entire diet over night. You will feel a difference in your overall well being and in your wallet!
Vegetarians are far from weak and anemic - only the ones that are actually junkatarians would fall prey to malnutrition.
I won’t pitch you on the health benefits - there are numerous doctors, who can do that with much more authority than me, check out Dr. Weill or Dr. Mercola or Dr. Ornish for that. I am also not going to assault you with animal rights fanfare - you know how to find sites that will do that. What I am concerned with, is the health of your pocket book. The fact that this change will also lead to better health and a greener life style, is just the absolute icing on the cake when it also saves you money!

So let’s get you started.

1. Analyze where your money is going right now - which meals are your biggest money drain? Fancy dinners? Expensive lunches? Too many recipes from magazine articles by food editors, who obviously do not worry about budget (Martha are you there?).

2. Find a store with a bulk food section. This cannot be overemphasized - read up on it in my entry The Bulk Food Section = your place of worship.

3. If you want to incorporate vegetarian eating into your lifestyle or just want to eat less expensively - you will need a plan! Plan out the whole week - make a chart with the days of the week, and columns for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Line out where your family is going to be for all these meals - be as accurate as possible. What are you going to eat for dinner four days from now? What about lunch tomorrow ? Plan in all events you're going to attend (from your daughter’s soccer match to your son’s ballet lesson). Count eating out as well - and then make a shopping list. Leave some spaces blank - there will be leftovers and you will have to use them. Check out this shopping tutorial.

4. Figure out how much of your diet you want to change - just a couple of meals or the whole shebang. It is up to you - but remember #3 - you have to have a plan!

5. For starters find two recipes with beans or lentils and two with a grain product in them. That will get you out of a budget crisis rather fast.
Then plan the rest of your week around those 4 meals - and between the main dishes and the left overs you are on your way.

For example: Let’s say we picked lentils, black beans, quinoa and rice for our staples. Mind you, all these staples will cost us about 1.50 per pound - which is not a lot and goes a long way.
So if we bought two pounds of beans, lentils, rice and quinoa each, we would have enough staples to feed a family of four for a week, making vegetarian chili, black bean burgers, fried rice with tofu, quinoa pilaf, quinoa breakfast, lentil soup, black bean soup, rice pudding and much more (I will post recipes for all of these in the next couple of weeks, so check back!).
This would cover most of the meals that week and would get everybody well fed.
So after you spent about $12 on your staples you would just have to buy the veggies, fruit and milk and you would be on your way. You see why you will need a plan? You cannot let anything go to waste!

6. Rethink breakfast!
I always found it rather infuriating that I would buy a $5.00 box of cereal, expecting it to last for the whole week, only to find out that there is so little actual cereal in there - the bag is pumped full of air and the amount of real cereal would easily fit into a box half the size. So after three breakfasts you are out.
On top of that, these cereals, although they charm you with all their “whole grainy goodness”, are in fact very far from whole grains - remember, if only 1% of a product is actual “whole grain” the manufacturer is able to call the product “whole grain”. What you won’t find written on cereal boxes is “100% whole grain” - but that is where we are headed.

Make your breakfast cheaper and more nutritious at the same time!
Make a pot of steel cut oats cooked on a Sunday - maybe about $5 worth - and it will get you through the working week easily!
Every morning you can serve yourself or your loved ones a cup of cooked steel cut oats, with some dried or fresh fruit and half a cup of your favorite milk - and you are set to go for the whole week. Also, after a breakfast that is so nutritious, you will not want to eat for a couple of hours. No snacking.
The rule here is, the better your breakfast, the less you will be tempted to reach for empty and expensive calories for lunch.

7. Find good inexpensive sources for vegetables. Your supermarket and even some health food stores will be really hard on your budget. Alternatives include

+ a CSA farm share - CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture - you can find some in your zip code here.

+ a farmer’s market or farm stand, check here

+ a buying Co-Op - find one in your area here

+ if none of these are available to you - check out online grocery services - but keep in mind shipping is involved

+explore frozen veggies - they usually harvested when they are in season, since they are cheapest then - so they should be nutritionally at peak

8. Always buy in season!
Give up the notion that strawberries, cucumbers, even celery are year round options.
See what is on sale and flex your diet to embrace different veggies every month.
When something is in season buy as much as you can afford, and freeze the rest, for when it's out of season.

9. Learn your spices and herbs. They are cheap, bring a zing to your recipes and are also good for you! What more can you ask? Check out the spice mixes at the end! Tres sophisticated! Learn more here.

10. Go easy on yourself and your loved ones. Take it one step at a time. Realize you are in great company. Check out the list of famous vegetarians here.

Change happens a step at a time. Take the first step, and the others will follow. Have fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Bulk Food Section - Your Place of Worship!

Since I truly believe that understanding how to shop in the bulk section is a key to being able to save money and feed yourself and your family well at the same time, I thought it might be a good idea to take a closer look.
The reasons to shop in bulk are several:

- unparalleled bargains - you will find the cheapest and most nutrient dense foods there
- No - packaging means no waste and no dyes used to print unnecessary cartons - less polluted waters
- No advertising ever - when is the last time you saw a catchy commercial advertising black beans - never? - bingo! There is no advertising for bulk food items - that means less cost to you, because we, as the consumers on top of everything else pay for our own brainwashing!

So - this is bargain central - if you shop the right way. How could you possibly go wrong? Well, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Let’s look at the different items featured. You can easily tell the quality of your local health food store by the size of their bulk food section. Believe me, in this instance - size matters! Some stores try to work around having people help themselves, by prepackaging everything for them - for instance Whole Foods operates this way. I personally feel nothing beats the control you have measuring your own quantities and checking on the freshness. Also you can bring your own containers to fill -just pre-weigh your containers and then you don’t have to waste another plastic bag or tub.

Let’s break it down - the different sections will contain:

Nuts - plain and sugar, chocolate or yogurt-covered
Trail Mixes - conglomerates of nuts dried fruits and sometimes candy
Dried Fruits- all kinds sulfured and unsulfured, sweetened and unsweetened
Tea & Coffee
Seeds - sunflower, pumpkin roasted or not
Grains - form the familiar - oats to the exotic - amaranth and quinoa
Beans and Lentils

I don’t know about you, but I have no problem separating the food from the junk, but of course it is tricky.

Let’s go one item at a time:


BUY: Nuts - especially the unroasted ones - see if you can afford organic - but do buy the nonorganic ones if you can’t
DON'T BUY: Yogurt covered, tamari or cinnamon roasted ones - a waste of money and so highly processed that their nutritional benefits become insignificant - because of excessive sugar or salt
also note: broken nuts seem to be a bargain, but are actually more likely to be rancid - to check, see what color the broken edges of the nuts are: yellow=rancid, white=fresh, but eat them soon


DON’T BUY: They are a "no buy" - because they are usually full of cheap fillers - and if you look around - you can create your own mix with fresh ingredients of your choosing - also did you really think I would let you get away with sneaking M&M’s into your diet?


BUY: Unsulphured raisins, apricots, mangos. Everything dried and unsweetened is fine. Especially nutritious dried apricots, figs and prunes.


BUY: All Whole grain Flours, there will be some interesting choices such as soy flour or rice flour - but all are good buys.


BUY: They should all be good buys, some may be a bit sugary, but they are still light years ahead of the crap they sell as cereals. Make it fun for the kids and organize a granola tasting - they may discover favorites


DON'T BUY: Chocolate covered raisins, blueberries,cranberries, ginger etc
Yogurt covered raisins, sundrops (fake M&M’s), Chinese ginger candies - you get the idea. Unfortunately there are many candy choices in the bulk food section. Are they a bargain? Well, since I believe you generally should try not to waste your money on sugary stuff - I would have to say - NO. However, if you can’t live without the occasional indulgence and you are the master of self control - I guess you could say that some of these candies are better than others. Be careful that your kids don't overindulge and, who are we kidding here, don’t overindulge yourself! Enough said!


BUY: Pretzels and Sesame Sticks are salty little treats and as long as you don’t overdo it they should be fine to add a little crunch in lunch boxes or as a snack. I think they are definitely better than goldfish or cheetos. at least they are whole grain and do not have artificial colors or flavors.


BUY: You can find some bargains here. TEA: When buying tea keep in mind that whole leaf tea is the premium kind and what goes in tea bags is the dust that falls off the table, when the premium tea gets processed. What makes it premium - is the flavor, and the fact that premium tea gives you several infusions - meaning you flush the same leaves again and again and you get pot after pot, just without caffeine. With premium green teas you may be able to get anywhere between three and five infusions from the same leaves. So in that sense lose leaf tea can be a bargain.
COFFEE: You will find fair trade, swiss water decaf and other premium varities here. My experience has been, that coffees in the health food store are usually of the highest quality and quite competitive in price.


BUY: One of the greatest health bargains period. They are cheap, easily carried around and full of vitamins, minerals, monounsaturated fats. essential fatty acids and phytonutrients.
They are best eaten raw and should ideally be refrigerated. If you find a health food store that keeps their nuts and seeds in the refrigerator, you know you are in good hands. Otherwise, make sure there is a high turnover - so the nuts and seeds are not exposed to light and room temperatures for long.
Roasted and salted seeds and nuts often go rancid a lot faster than whole, raw ones. The healthy oils can quickly get damaged in the roasting process, becoming more harmful than helpful.

Super seeds: Sunflower seeds (raw and unroasted), flaxseeds ( a big inexpensive way to keep colon cancer at bay),sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds

DONT BUY: roasted, sugar coated seeds


BUY: oats, rye, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat(wheat berries), buckwheat, amaranth. bulgur wheat, cous-cous, barley, millet.
There are virtually no bad buys when it comes to grains. Store them airtight and away from light and have fun experimenting.
As long as we stick to “Whole Grains” we should be fine - remember a whole grain is just that - there have to be individual intact whole grains in there. Unfortunately food can be sold as “whole grain” even if 99% of it is actually not whole at all - always go for 100% whole grain or whole wheat. Also be careful “Unbleached flour” on a bread label means absolutely nothing - it just means the refined flour just wasn’t bleached on top of it!


BINGO - you just hit the jackpot - there is no single food a frugal vegetarian should embrace more than beans and lentils. Just look at the cuisine of some of the poorest countries in the world - India - has wonderful dals - lentil stews - Central American countries embrace their bean dishes. Every single bean you will come across in the bulk food section is a jewel. They are a bit fickle to prepare - I know some of us get gassy - we will get to that in the weeks to come - there are inexpensive and easy ways to avert the gas - but once you crack the code - you will be able to feed yourself well and inexpensively.

BUY: Lentils, brown red or green, kidney, pinto, black, garbanzo, adzuki beans.


BUY: You may be able to get whole wheat pasta in bulk which is almost always a good deal - stay clear of the non-whole wheat variety and also avoid the pasta with vegetable dye - just because the past is green and contains a negligible amount of spinach juice does not make it healthy


BUY: Whole brown rice -short grain, medium grain or long grain, that is up to you - do not buy any white rice - it is a waste of money (you were robbed of 90% of the nutritional value of that rice), try to buy organic, it is not that much more expensive.

So to wrap things up:

When in the bulk food section of your health food store


+ Unprocessed, unroasted nuts

+ Unsulpured dried fruits

+ Whole grain flours

+ Granolas

+ Pretzels and Sesame sticks

+ Tea & Coffee

+ Unroasted Seeds

+ all grains

+ all beans or lentils

+ whole wheat pasta

+ brown rice

Monday, August 11, 2008

The 10th pick up at the CSA! Reasons to celebrate!

Another amazing pick up at the CSA - of course I was right about the tomatoes - the amounts are ever increasing and there is no end in sight. The heirloom tomatoes are especially pretty. Something happened to the green pepper crop - they have big brown spots but are otherwise really tasty. So they are mostly on the exchange table and only a few really make it into the shares. Bummer - but it is part of the CSA experience. The red currants although I remember eating them as a kid - make your mouth pucker, so I decided to make a red currant chutney. Which is so simple and delicious.
Also to celebrate our 10th pickup - we are crossing into the $600 territory now - I just cannot believe it. Deep in my heart I knew that a CSA was a good deal, mainly because of all the benefits you can’t really peg a price on - but this is simply awesome - better veggies, doing something for the local economy, going green and saving a ton of money! We can already answer the question - Is a CSA worth it? - Look at the numbers - I’d say that’s a big YES!

2 heads lettuce $4.78
1 ½ pounds chard $3.28

2 pounds carrots $2.40
2 pounds tomatoes $3.00
2 fruits eggplant or pepper $6.00 (stop&shop price for organic peppers!)
2 pounds cucumbers $6.98
3 zucchini or summer squash $5.97
2 pints cherry tomatoes $7.98
4 quarts green beans $3.98
flowers big bunch, $5.00
2 pints red currants $5.00
1 bunch sage $1.99
1 bunch parsley $1.99
1 bunch basil $1.99
1 bunch winter savory $1.99
1 bunch thyme $1.99
1 bunch edible flowers $1.99
1 bunch lavender $1.99
1 bunch garlic chives $1.99
1 bunch mint $1.99
1 bunch catnip $1.99

Total this week: $74.27 plus the season’s total of $583.24
New total for this season: $657.51!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

CSA pickup - #9: You say tomayto, I say tomahto!

Awesome pick up this week - eggplants, peppers, tomatoes - oh my! Duck and cover the tomatoes are coming, and once tomatomania starts it's unstoppable! No wonder tomatoes are the only vegetable featured in a horror movie. I know from past years, that even in a so-so year the amount of tomatoes in your share would make any macrobiotic faint on site seeing the harvest rooms. They are like the tribbles in the Star Trek series - they seem to be multiplying by the second! So let’s buckle up for the tomato craze!
Weather was a bit gloomy on pick up day - but the plants can really use the rain.

4 heads lettuce $2.39 each
2 pounds carrots $2.58
1 ½ pounds eggplants,peppers or tomatoes mix and match $3.00
2 heads escarole $3.38

4 pounds cucumbers $10.36
4 pounds summer squash $7.96
2 pints green beans $5.98
2 pints raspberries $15.95
pick your own flowers - 10 stems - $5.00
1 bunch thai basil $1.99
1 bunch sage $1.99
1 bunch thyme $1.99
1 bunch winter savory $1.99
1 handful hot peppers $1.99
1 bunch mint $1.99
1 bunch parsley $1.99
Total: $ 77.7 for this week
Added to our season’s total: $ 505.54 New total for the season: $583.24!

Root canal recipes:

Gory title - but oh so true. Don’t worry we are not going to the dentist.
Here is the situation: You have just come home and you have - and now insert whichever applies to you -

* been working all day and you can barely stand up
* been sick all day and all you want to do is sleep
* had oral surgery and A - you cannot eat -therefore nobody eats or
B - you are seeing stars because the Novocain is wearing off.

Anyway you get the idea. This is a potential problem for your budget. You could hope that your significant other will follow your mumbled directions and discover his inner chef, but let’s face it - the word on your husband's and your children’s lips will be: “TAKE OUT!”
So, how can we avoid this: by having two or three emergency recipes, that you can make even if you are half dead or very out of time. So, they have to be easy, always on hand - therefore based on ingredients that do not spoil, and let’s not forget CHEAP!

Everyone will have their own favorites - tastes are so different anyway and one person’s nightmare recipe is another ones zinch! Think about yours, here are my root canal recipes.

Pasta with Sauce a la Maison
Ingredients: for about 4 servings

1 package pasta - anywhere from 20 cents to 3$
1 can crushed tomatoes - around 50 cents if you go with organic store brand
1 onion 30 cents
1 bunch green leafy vegetable - anything will do spinach, kale, chard etc could be frozen or fresh and does not have to be in prime condition - so this works as a recipe for using up wilted produce cost anywhere from 50 cents to 3$
2 tablespoons oil of your choice, 75 cents
additionally anything else that lurks in your fridge and would go well in a pasta sauce: for example - olives, artichoke hearts, leftover phony meats, cheeses, herbs, salsa, leftover veggie burger…...

1. Bring water to a boil in a big pot. Add pasta.

2. In a sauté pan, heat up oil, add your onions to brown, add green leafy vegetable, which you may chop coarsely or leave whole. Reduce heat and saute until the leafy vegetable wilts. Note: at the beginning your greens may look like they would be too much, but they will reduce to a quarter of their volume once they wilt.

3. Last, add the can of crushed tomatoes and whatever else you found in your fridge. Cook for another five minutes - in the meantime check on your pasta - it should be done. Drain and serve with your simple pasta sauce, either mixed in or on the side. Mixed in is always more economical - but on the side means, you are serving more veggies, so it is your call. Enjoy - or let your family eat and faint into bed.

Cost: 4 servings from $2.25 to $4.55 - depending on type of pasta and type of green, leafy vegetable

Red Lentil Dal -
Another staple for me - although a lot of people believe that a whole lot of work went into this, when they taste it.

Ingredients: for about 4 servings
1 ½ cups brown rice, around $1.10
1 ½ cups red lentils, about $1.20
1 onion, 30 cents
1 head of garlic, $1.00
1 tablespoon curry powder - 10 cents
1 tablespoon garam masala - 10 cents
1 teaspoon cloves - 10 cents
1 small can crushed tomatoes 50 cents
⅓ cup oil of your choice - I prefer coconut 75 cents
a pinch of cinnamon or cardamon

1.In a pot wash the rice thoroughly - then use about 4 cups of water with your 1 ½ cups rice - and bring to a gentle boil. Once it has boiled for a minute - reduce heat to a simmer and add half of the cloves.

2.In a pan - heat your oil - reserve some - add the roughly chopped onion - brown gently and add the garlic. Make sure it does not stick. When the onion is translucent and the garlic lightly toasted add the rest of the cloves and both spice mixes.

3.Wash your lentils and add the drained but wet lentils to the pan. Move things around a bit and add about 1 cup of water. When you see the cup of water disappearing (about five minutes over medium heat) add the crushed tomatoes.

4.Check on the rice - add more water if necessary.
Both the rice and the lentils will be done at the same time - roughly another 10 minutes. Drain the rice - add the rest of the oil and some cinnamon or cardamon and serve with the dal.

Cost: 4 large servings about $5.00