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Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet

Each of our six of our finalists for the Food Blogger Budget Recipe Challenge will be featured in a blog post here. Read about them and check out their featured recipe. By posting a comment on their recipe page, you help determine the winner in our Challenge AND you'll be entered in a drawing to win a $500 gift card! Often referred to as the "sweet vegan," Hannah Kaminsky’s love of desserts compelled her to start experimenting in the kitchen at a young age to create incredible, cruelty-free treats.  A crafter at heart, her blog features creative crafts, funny stories, and delicious treats with the occasional free recipe or pattern thrown in.  Having already released one delicious cookbook, My Sweet Vegan, she is now hard at work on a second, equally sweet publication. Don’t lie: what did you have for dinner last night?
I had some baked falafel and grain-less tabbouleh that I made at work- Easy and very satisfying after a full day in the kitchen.
Remember: Don't comment here if you want to support Hannah in our contest. You have to comment on her recipe page. We turned comments off to help you remember! Can you give us 3 to 5 of your favorite money-saving tips when it comes to cooking and eating?
First of all, I only eat out once a week at most, and that saves a good deal of money right there.  Anything you order in a restaurant costs many times more than it would if you had just made it yourself, and you might even have more fun preparing it instead of making small talk while waiting for your server to notice you. As far as shopping goes, there is one thing in particular that I think of that probably helps with my bill- I always buy full-fat coconut milk.  I use tons of coconut milk in my cooking and baking, and even though I like the idea of low-fat coconut milk, I find that it’s cheaper to just add a bit of water to the regular stuff.  That way, you get much more for your money. I also try to purchase dried beans in bulk, since not only do the cans take up so much more space, but they end up being pricier.  The only reason I would buy the cans is for convenience, but as long as you keep a cup or two of beans soaking in the fridge, there will be a good supply ready to go whenever the need for beans arises. Finally, I never buy fresh herbs.  Instead, I keep a small herb garden outside, and I barely need to even take care of it.  Herbs are very hearty in general, so they’re easy enough for most people to grow, even in rocky soil or areas of poor sunlight, like my backyard.  I just dig them up, toss them in pots, and take them inside for the winter, and I have fresh herbs all year round.
What inspired you to start your blog?
It actually started as a craft blog, since I was constantly making things and wanted to share them with like-minded people.  Eventually, I began to create things in the kitchen as well, and while my focus has shifted a bit, I like to keep a sort of DIY element to it, and share patterns for crocheted, knitted, and sewn projects as well.  It’s really incredible to look back and see how far this tiny little web space has come.
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Vegetable barley soup.  The warmth is so soothing, and all of those veggies and grains are wonderfully filling, it’s as if this soup leaves no room for unhappy feelings.  A steaming bowlful of this stuff always provides an extra serving of comfort, if you ask me.
What is your “go-to” weekday meal recipe - the one you pull out in a pinch for yourself that you never get tired of?
Honestly?  My go-to meal involves little more than whipping out a tub of hummus, some fresh veggies, and perhaps some toasted pita.  It’s a cinch to make a big batch of delicious hummus so that I always have some on hand for days when I don’t have time to really cook much.  There are also so many different flavors that you could add in or sides to serve it with or dip in it, it’s almost impossible to get bored of hummus!
How do you spend your time when you’re not cooking, eating or blogging?
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m an avid crafter, so I tend to pick up knitting needles or a crochet hook when I want to relax a bit.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t been very often lately, since I’m working on a second cookbook, taking photographs for other books, writing articles for VegNews, and working part-time at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant.  It’s all fun stuff though, so I can hardly complain about being so busy!
Comments on Hannah’s recipe from her Budget Recipe Challenge page:
gl_gatto wrote: I tried making all of the above recipes out of curiousity, and this one won by far. I found it felt like a full meal, while the others just felt like a piece of a meal, aside from the Chicken Masala. However, this being the more cost-efficient recipe, I felt it won the award. Great mix of subtle flavours and spices. And the way the tofu is prepared made it feel like eating a tuna steak or porkchop. Great job!
That's my dog, Isis, and she's been a huge inspiration for me to go and stay vegan. Remember: Don't comment here if you want to support Hannah in our contest. You have to comment on her recipe page. We turned comments off to help you remember!