Wednesday, May 9, 2012

the indie gourmet: ramen & vegi soup

One thing that has gotten me into trouble in the past was spending way too much on food, particularly “healthy” food. For a while I was a real health nut. I was working out almost every day and religiously eating a healthy, balanced diet. This would cost me something like around $400 per month between all the fresh organic this & that, protein supplements, etc –  which is fine if that kind of money is rolling in easily, and there's no one else to support but oneself.

As an indie game developer in the “developing” category of “earning adequate monthly income”, corners have to be cut. Of course, it is best if these corners are not cut at the expense of one's health, without which one could not live (or make games for that matter).

I think it is an important part of being independent to be self-sufficient in all walks of life, and food, being one of those mandatory base-level needs, is one such thing.

The problem with eating healthy, though, is that a lot of the “healthy” food being peddled these days is way too expensive and/or too complicated to prepare for most people to eat on a consistent basis, and so I've noticed the tendency is for this inverse correlation between “convenient/cheap” and “healthy”, as well as “tasty” and “healthy” to emerge, which I don't see as a good thing for society on the whole.

Anyway, one question I occasionally hear or read floating around the indiesphere is what to eat, so I thought I'd share a few of these culinary shortcuts on this blog. The first and probably the simplest and cheapest of these is ramen and vegi soup.

I'll fix a bowl of this in the afternoon or late at night sometimes. It's not the most filling thing in the world, but it's enough to tide me over until dinner or bedtime, respectively.

Here's the recipe, in case you haven't already guessed:

1 pack of ramen noodles, with flavor packet
1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups of water (preferably clean/filtered) [use whatever amount specified on ramen package]

Boil the water per directions, then add the frozen vegis with the water and continue cooking.

(Pro Tip: You can add other stuff to it too, like tofu, chicken, hot sauce, etc)

So, considering that ramen noodles go for something like $.50–$.75 per pack, and, last I checked, a 16C bag of frozen mixed vegetables is about $1, I'd say this is pretty cheap (<$1). The most expensive part might be the tofu, if added, which, depending on how tofu-friendly your area is, can be anywhere from $3–$4 a pound. I always get the high-protein tofu –  it is still much cheaper than meat and has almost as much protein. So, let's say we add 4oz of cubed tofu, that's $.75–$1.

So, $2 for a bowl with a serving of vegis, a serving of protein, and (debatably) a serving of carbs.

If you're watching your sodium, as I have to do sometimes, you may want to consider replacing the flavor pack with something with less sodium, maybe a low-sodium soy sauce or broth boullean cube.

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