Garlic Green Beans (with a side of chicken)

My current favourite recipe:

Take one to two bowlfuls of green string beans, clean and wash them, and put them in a pan with 1-2mm of water on the bottom. Add two to four cloves of garlic and 1-2 tsp of salt. Cover with lid and heat on high until you see steam escaping, at which point you can turn it to med-low heat. Shake the pan back and forth a little to move the beans around, and let cook about 3min, or until tender.

Cheap&Convenient: about $1 for a very satisfying amount of yummy beans. And it’s super easy and super quick too!

Healthy: dark green veggies! (15)

Oh, and the chicken. I just threw some spices on that and put it in the oven at 375 degrees until cooked. But it’s a funny thing - I actually enjoyed the green beans a lot more (and they were helluvalot cheaper/easier to make!)

2 years ago / 5 notes
Fresh Salsa + Tortilla Nachos

Fresh Salsa:

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced ($1-2)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (~50c)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced to smaller pieces (~10c)
  • 1/4 jalapeno - I buy a few on sale and freeze them, still tastes fine (~10c)
  • 1 handful of cilantro (~20c, but not necessary, just tastes a hell lot better)
  • 1-2tbsp lime juice - lemon works too (50c if fresh, 10c if not)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (<5c)
  • TOTAL: $2-3.50

Combine & enjoy with chips. No cooking needed!


Tortilla Nachos

  • 1-2 whole wheat tortillas (<50c)
  • Low-fat cheese if desired, enough to cover thinly ($1)
  • ***Secret ingredient: italiano seasoning!! ~1tsp/tortilla (<10c)
  • TOTAL: 50c-$1.50
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Slice nacho-sized lines on a tortilla (i.e. don’t actually break the tortilla into pieces yet). 
  3. Cover tortilla with italiano and/or other preferred herbs, top with grated cheese of choice (I use light mozzarella) - if using cheese, cover to the very edges, or it will burn! 
  4. Put in oven directly on rack or on pan with holes in it for 5-7 minutes, until tortilla is golden brown at edges and cheese is fully melted.
Tomatoes have lycopene and are associated with lower risks of certain diseases (16). Also, the green pepper counts as a serving of dark green veggies as per recommended by CFG (15)! Note also that I didn’t use any oil for the salsa - I actually prefer the taste without, and it lowers the calories (but a touch of olive oil wouldn’t be a problem if you like a little oil in your salsa).
The tortillas can be replaced with corn chips, but tortillas are lower GI (24) and also they often contain less calories+fat per gram, despite being more filling IMO (
2 years ago / 2 notes
Coming back to life

Ahhh SO I’m finally posting another recipe, and what’s more I’ve adjusted the page so that it’s more practical and the nutritional information I spew is more accessible (see citations page).

Even better, I’ve made a “My Cupboard” page, which displays the ingredients I like to keep on hand. These are generally cheap, since I am poor/a student, except maybe a few “indulgences” of mine (e.g. I spend a fair portion of my grocery bill on almonds). Sometimes I’ll use one or two ingredients off of the list, but more often than not ingredients used will be within that relatively cheap/short list. And EVEN better, I’ve added numerical citations even in the cupboard page that refer to the health claims (all good!) on the citations page. Yay.

Of course I’ll adjust things as time progresses, but for now this should be fairly straightforward - if something doesn’t make sense, please let me know! Enjoy :D

2 years ago / 1 notes
Posting Again

Hey guys, just a shout out to people following this blog that TMC (previously known as Student Sustenance) is posting, and revamping! 

As part of the revamp, I’ll also be making some background/informative text posts these days, so please bear with me while I (briefly) go through this. In return I promise a more useful and accessible healthy&easy food blog!

2 years ago / 0 notes
Tumblr Face Lift

So anyone who’s been following posts may be extremely confused and disoriented by how the blog has seemingly changed in every aspect (including name and url). My apologies for the confusion… but isn’t it so much prettier?

Anyway, I guess I came to realize that I didn’t like the way the blog looked/was organized, and the concept seemed a bit off to me. So I’ve revamped the whole thing so that it’s simpler (as it should be), and more accessible, with extra pages on background information/tips to make eating well easier.

And in case anyone is wondering why in the name of Jupiter’s moons would you call it “The Monkey’s Cupboard”?? It’s because a) the ingredients used are all natural and attainable, i.e. things a monkey would eat; b) the recipes are easy enough that a monkey could follow them; and c) I’m a sucker for monkeys, since that’s my zodiac sign.

Anyway, more posts/revamping to follow!

2 years ago / 0 notes
Miso Soup with Tofu and Nori

This is now one of my favourites, since it’s so quick and yummy and filling.


  • 1-2tbsp of a $4 package of 500mL miso paste - ~20c
  • 1-2c water
  • 1 c tofu (1/2 of $1 pkg) - 50c
  • Nori/seaweed, 1 strip of 10 in $3 pkg - 30c
  • Enoki mushrooms (optional), 1/5 of $2 pkg - 40c
  • 1tbsp black sesame seeds (optional), ~1/40 of $4 pkg - 10c
  • TOTAL: $1.50


  1. Stir miso paste into boiling water until dissolved. 
  2. Add tofu and mushrooms, let boil until mushrooms are cooked.
  3. Add seaweed and sesame, stir and enjoy!

*Healthy: it’s very fulling, especially considering that there are no saturated fats in here. There is, however, plenty of soy, which as I’ve mentioned is a healthier source of protein than animal sources (3).

2 years ago / 2 notes
Cranberry-raisin-almond quinoa

Quinoa is currently one of the most over-hyped “superfoods” around, and usually I avoid buying into such fads but I have to admit that it can be ridiculously yummy. This is my standard/favourite recipe that I’ve made so far.


  • Quinoa (pre-hulled!!!) is ~$5/lb in most bulk food stores, but if you go to Costco you can get it for $10/2kg 8D — anyway, for 1 svg it’s ~1/2c quinoa which is ~$1 
  • Dried cranberries: 2tbsp ~ 50c
  • Raisins: 1/4c ~50c
  • Brown sugar/maple syrup + spices to taste (I prefer nutmeg and a dash of rosemary): <50c
  • 1 dried orange peel: I make a habit of drying orange peels (i.e. leaving out the peels to dry after I’ve eaten the orange) for use in broths and such… If you don’t have any, orange zest (or even a splash of orange juice if need be) works too.
  • Roasted almonds: 2tbsp (I usually roast my own) ~50c
  • TOTAL: <$3


  1. Wash quinoa if needed. Add 2 parts water for every part quinoa (i.e. 1/2c quinoa, 1c water) and set to boil with everything except the almonds. Once it boils, cover and keep simmering for 15min.
  2. While waiting, chop almonds into thick slivers. 
  3. After quinoa is cooked, let sit 2-5min and then stir in the almonds. Enjoy!

*Healthy: This recipe contains almonds (4) and of course quinoa, which is a great vegan source of protein, having high protein content and being a complete protein source (i.e. it naturally contains all essential amino acids) (29).


2 years ago / 0 notes
DIY Probiotic Yogurt

So it seems that lately I’ve been on a bit of a DIY-streak. I guess this one will be another addition to the list!

*Cheap: clearly, a bag of milk (<$2 out of a 4L bag) is going to cost you less than the same amount of yogurt - especially if it’s one with probiotics (~$4).

*Convenient: Okay this is a lie. It is not remotely convenient. But it is fun! And if you do it on the side while cooking dinner, it doesn’t even take up that much extra time.

  1. Take 1 full bag of milk (~1.33L?) and pour it into a metal bowl/container. Set yourself up a double boiler with said metal container sitting in a (bigger) pot of boiling water.
  2. Heat milk up until it reaches ~185F, or 85C. You will need a meat/candy thermometer for this (I actually bought mine just for the purpose).
  3. Sustain 185F for about 30min - this is to insure other bacteria in the milk has been killed, without scalding the milk.
  4. Lower temperature to 110F or ~43C. You can use a cold water bath or just let it cool at room temperature. This is the step at which you can add more milk powder/protein if you wish.
  5. Pitch 1-2 tbsp of yogurt with pre-existing active bacterial cultures (read ingredients to check - I would go for one with probiotics, so that you can get the benefits every time you make it) into the milk, stir.
  6. Pour milk mixture into a clean container (I just reuse my original yogurt container) and incubate for ~8hours at about 110F or 43C (I just wrap it in a blanket and put it near the heater overnight, since I don’t have a heating pad). This allows the probiotics of the yogurt to process the milk and make you yogurt!
  7. Once finished incubating, take your yogurt and put it into a cold fridge. After a few hours, your yogurt is ready to consume!!

*Healthy: I mostly like the method because I am obsessed with knowing what goes into my food, and this way I know exactly what’s been used (and can eliminate many of the mystery ingredients!). Plus I get cheap probiotic yogurt! Research has associated probiotics with  effects such as improving intestinal tract, and immune health, aiding in the absorption of nutrients, reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance, and so forth (26).


2 years ago / 0 notes
DIY Microwave Popcorn?!

Yes, that’s right, ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed possible to make microwave popcorn without using the super unhealthy, saturated/modified fats loaded packages commonly bought in stores. How? Simple.


  • Paper lunch bag: <5c (you can buy them in packs at dollarama and the like)
  • 1/4-1/2c popping corn: 25-50c
  • 1tsp canola/olive oil mixed with a little salt, or heart-healthy margarine


  1. Coat popping corn in oil and salt by mixing.
  2. Throw it all in a paper bag, and microwave with the open end of the bag folded over for about 2min.
  3. Open away from face (season to taste) and enjoy!!

*Healthy: Admittedly, this is relative; it is definitely not as healthy as a fresh veggie platter, but it’s very cheap and instant. The main thing is that we can avoid the trans+modified oils and miscellaneous ingredients commonly found in packaged microwave popcorn - not to mention that you can control the seasoning/sodium/oil that goes into it!

2 years ago / 10 notes
Homemade, Healthy Nutella

You know that orgasm we commonly refer to as Nutella? Well, turns out it’s not as healthy as advertised. And we all know that, deep down, despite our willing denial of the fact. But you know what? Turns out there is a way to make your own, homemade Nutella!!!

Honestly, this isn’t especially cheap or convenient compared to buying a jar of Nutella. But it is much, much healthier; very little saturated fat is in this recipe, and certainly no modified oils (e.g. palm) or unknowns.


  • ~1/4c cocoa powder
  • ~1/4c hazelnut butter (pure hazelnut butter, without other ingredients mixed in)
  • 1-3tsp honey
  • ~1tbsp skim milk

Add hazelnut butter to cocoa powder, blend; if needed, add more of either ingredient. Add honey to taste. Finally, slowly add a little bit of milk at a time into the mixture until it reaches your desired consistency.


2 years ago / 2 notes
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The Monkey's Cupboard
Bringing you back to when eating was both simple AND healthy.
[All health claims in this blog are cited numerically]
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