Monday, February 27, 2017

Go Vegan!

I was walking home yesterday, and look what I stumbled across? It made my whole day! I love random connections like that. Who knows who wrote it in the wet concrete, and who knows how old it is, but high five whoever you are!
I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the little daffodil sprouts are still alive. Spring seemed like it had sprung, only to have winter come roaring back. But they're still fighting! It's snowing right now as if it's Christmas, so hopefully they're still hanging on!
When I got home, I was in the mood for some lemon-y garlic potatoes. I added some dried dill to this batch and wow, I may have to always use dill from now on. Dill, lemon and potatoes are a trio meant for each other. I used this recipe, but I used dill and I never use 1/3 cup of oil. That seems really excessive. I use 1 1/2 T. and it's totally delicious. This is one of the recipes I mentioned yesterday that is hammered into my memory because I've made these potatoes so often. With the dill it reminded me of spring!
I made this chunky lentil minestrone soup this morning. Snow equals soup in my mind. Hearty and comforting. I've been slowly getting use to eating soup without bread. It took me awhile, and when I first went gluten free I struggled. Dipping crusty bread in soup is one of life's pleasures. But I'm slowly coming around.
And lastly, here is Roxy. Usually she loves to have her picture taken, but today she knew I was going to shame her for going number two in the bathtub! I could understand if I were terrible at scooping their litter, but I a) had just scooped their litter and b) am very proactive when it comes to cleaning up after them. She is such a little diva! The shame!!





Sunday, February 26, 2017

One of My Favorite Soups

Vegetarian Times red pepper and carrot soup has been one of my favorite soups for years now. It's one of a few recipes that I've made so often I have it memorized, probably forever! I  whipped up a batch yesterday with a few changes. I added a few potatoes for extra thickness, and I added turmeric to help with my minor aches from my fall. I also added a small red jalapeno. I never roast my red pepper, I have before and I don't notice that much of a difference in taste, so it seems like an unnecessary step.
I served it with some rice noodles I needed to use up. I love the beautiful, vibrant color. It's like liquid sunshine.  So tasty. This is one of the first vegan recipes I fell in love with after going vegan.
I had leftovers this morning with some brown rice, nooch and a sunshine burger "crouton". It's even better the next day, as most soups are.
And last but not least, of course Afro and Kanye were cuddling this morning. They always like to sleep in the sweetest little positions and it melts my heart every time!



Saturday, February 25, 2017

I Keep on Falling.....

I love libraries so much. The library is my Disneyland. The only place I love more than the library is probably used bookstores, only because I get to keep the books! My fondest memories as a kid involve going to the library. My mom was an avid reader, so we would go and just get stack after stacks of books. Nowadays I always have to remind myself that I can't do that because I don't have a car, and I need to lug these things home! The library here in SLC has a great selection of vegan and vegetarian cookbooks. It's a great resource for new vegans, or if you want to know if a cookbook is worth the price because they can definitely be pricey.
I stopped by Smith's for cat food and some bulk spices, and I found this Treeline cashew cheese on sale for four bucks! That's half the normal price. This is a rare treat since I never buy it because of the cost. I also found these Kettle dill pickle chips on sale for $1.39. I've been trying to avoid junk food, but at that price I couldn't resist. I love dill pickles, and I love chips so it had to be done. I also got some bulk raw slivered almonds for some vegan feta I plan on making sometime in the near future.
I also found the Ronzoni gluten free pasta on sale. Since I've been avoiding gluten I have found it so frustrating that gluten free breads and pastas can be double sometimes more than the price of regular breads and pastas.This was a great price and not full of junky ingredients.
Tofu,potatoes,lemons,frozen pineapple,almond milk,spinach,bananas
I also popped in to Trader Joe's for smoothie staples and of course potatoes. For me instead of an apple a day, it's a potato a day!
I needed comfort food when I got home. First thing in the morning yesterday when I was getting off the bus I fell. I don't know what I tripped over, but I mean I FELL. Like the kind of fall where you bounce a few times and your legs go over your head. At first I thought I didn't hurt myself, but I woke up in the middle of the night with my left foot really hurting, especially around my big toe. I guess I'm lucky that's all I hurt. I destroyed my pride though, it was very embarrassing, and I had to go all day being extremely muddy. Le sigh.
I made this creamy mac and cheese with almond milk, nooch, turmeric, smoked paprika and tapioca starch for thickener. I also added a little sriracha and stirred in a little of the Treeline cheese. The ronzoni gluten free pasta has a great taste and texture. It tastes the most like regular pasta of any gluten free pasta I've tried. Nothing like a bowl of creamy cheese-y noodles to soothe your soul!
Here's Etta drinking from the faucet! No matter how fresh the water in their bowl is, she prefers the faucet. She always follows when I go into the bathroom so she can jump up and have a sip!
Happy Caturday!




Friday, February 24, 2017

Saucy Cauliflower

I had a little bit of cauliflower left over from my BBQ cauliflower wing experiment, and a tiny bit of hoisin sauce, and a little bit of this gyoza dipping sauce from Trader Joe's, so I decided to make a kind of sesame garlic cauliflower type dish. It turned out better than I expected, especially considering that it was made out of a little of this, and a dash of that. When I was a kid I pretty much barfed at the idea of cauliflower. My mom and I had many blow out fights over me not wanting to eat it, so it's kind of funny that I choose to eat it now. I still can't stand the thought of it steamed, or plain but as long as it's baked in a delicious sauce I'm all about it!
This is the gyoza sauce. If you haven't tried it, I really recommend it. It's a little sweet, a little sour, and a little spicy. It is so much more than just a dipping sauce. It has garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar. It's liquid gold really. I actually forgot it was in my fridge, I'm glad I got the craving and went foraging through my condiments!
I practically licked my plate clean it was that good! I sprinkled some crushed red pepper on the cauliflower for the last five minutes of baking and it was perfection! I always have to have that extra spice!
One thing I've learned about making cauliflower wings, or General Tso's cauliflower is once you have dipped the cauliflower in whatever sauce you're using, turn the heat down a little. When I'm baking it with the batter, I usually bake it at 400 degrees, and once it's sauced 350. I find the sauce almost burns when the heat is too high. Also, if you have a Trader Joe's near you, they have the best price for cauliflower. Most groceries price it per pound, and cauliflower is heavy so you can end up paying four or five dollars for a head, where as Trader Joe's just charges a flat price for the head. At my Trader Joe's it's like $1.79 for non organic and two something for organic.
Here's Kanye caught red pawed working on opening my bathroom cabinet. She loves to steal my toothbrush and chap stick. I find them all over my apartment! I also like to put post it notes on the mirror, and those never last very long!!
Happy Friday!



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bargains, Soup and Kitty Pile Ups!

I found these quinoa chips on clearance for $.91 and the burgers on clearance for $1.61!! I haven't tried the burgers yet, but the chips are really delicious. They pretty much taste like regular potato chips, just less greasy. Kind of like a cross between a Sun Chip and a potato chip. I wish I would have bought more than one bag. I've never tried Sunshine burgers, but they're vegan, gluten free and soy free and at that price why not try them. They're usually five or six dollars for three burgers so this was a steal. They're made out of brown rice, pinto beans and sunflower seeds plus spices so they sound pretty good.
I picked up a few non clearance items too. Black and garbanzo beans, tomato paste, a red and green jalapeno, avocado, red onion red pepper and most important, chocolate!
I feel like I got to excited about Spring coming, because yesterday the temps went back into winter territory. And this morning I woke up to a light snowfall. NOOOOOOOOOOO! I was craving soup yesterday when I got home, so I whipped up a smoky and spicy black bean soup. I had it with some Basmati rice and a side of guacamole. The soup turned out really tasty, and I actually wrote down what I did!
                                                            Smoky Spicy Black Bean Soup
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno minced
  • 1 T. pickled jalapeno
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3/4 T. Smoked Paprika
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 C. water
  • salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a large sauce pan/soup pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about fifteen minutes. Take about half of the soup and put it in a blender(be careful) and blend. Add blended soup back to the pan, and let simmer for about twenty minutes. Serve on it's own, or over some rice. I added a bit more nutritional yeast and some crushed red pepper at the end. This is a very filling and tasty soup! Feel free to use the whole red onion, I just saved a bit for the guacamole!
This cute pile up was happening yesterday as I was getting ready to leave. It's like they predicted the snow before it happened and had the right idea as to how to deal with it! I've just accepted that I may never get to properly make my bed again, and I've become okay with it!





Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Practice Makes Perfect

I made some veggie rolls last night for dinner. I filled them with rice, avocado and shredded carrot. My rolling skills are improving, but I still need work. I had my rolls with a side of oven baked tofu. I think what I really need to work on is my plating skills! I see some of the most beautiful plating on Instagram, and it makes me really want to step up my game! At the same time, I think there needs to be a balance of perfection and just regular folk who don't have a degree in food styling. I have learned that when slicing the sushi rolls, it helps to dip your knife in cold water every couple of slices. I have been having some sinus issues so I went heavy on the wasabi. It actually helped a lot. I love the burn!
This isn't the prettiest smoothie I've ever made, but it sure is tasty. It has frozen strawberries, lots of spinach, banana and Chia seeds. I've been adding either flax meal, or chia seeds in my smoothies for a few months now, and I do think it helps a little with my depression. I notice a difference when I don't add them. I get my chia seeds in bulk at Smith's and it's a great money saver. Trader Joe's has flax meal for the best price I've seen anywhere. I keep them in my freezer and add about two tablespoons to each smoothie.
I've also been drinking lots of carrot orange and ginger juice. I swear it lifts my mood as well. I've read that vitamin c is the happy vitamin, and I think it's true. I also drink it to help with not getting sick. Sometimes on the bus I feel like I'm surrounded by germs. The people in front and behind me are hacking up a lung and sniffling, and I just want to climb into a hazmat suit! Look at Afro's handiwork on the couch in the background. I actually think it was more her alter ego Brutus.
I got this pretty close up of Roxy the other day. She is a tortie, and let me tell you she is full of tortitude! But she is such a sweet loving girl, and she really makes me feel loved. I'm lucky to have her in my life!
Happy Hump Day!




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anything They Can Eat We Can Eat Vegan!

I was watching Hot for Food last week, and they had a fast food challenge that featured vegan style animal fries, and a vegan chicken chalupa thingy sold at Taco Bell. I've never had animal style fries vegan or non vegan, but as soon as I saw Lauren make them I knew I needed to try. She used a cheese sauce made out of daiya and almond milk which I imagine is AHMAZING, but I decided to use my potato carrot cheese sauce because that's what I had! I just used Trader Joe's handsome cut fries, and I made a spicy tarter sauce with chipotle Just Mayo, a little pickle juice and some pickled jalapeno. I also caramelized about 3/4 of a sweet onion. In my opinion the caramelized onion is what really made this dish outstanding. This was definitely delicious, and really fun to make and eat. And since the cheese sauce was made out of veggies, I didn't feel too guilty having this as dinner.
I made a cheese-y potato chowder for breakfast today with the leftover cheese sauce. This was thick and cheese-y and very filling. Today is super windy and blustery so it was the perfect breakfast!
Here we have Joan, who was minding her own business and being Miss Independent, and Kanye crams herself in there for the cuddle! Luckily for Kanye Joan didn't seem to mind too much!


I thought the sky looked so pretty the other day. Dreamy and springlike. That building is where the Utah Jazz plays, and also various concerts are held there.
Happy Tuesday!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Love Your Fur Babies!

I had these delicious, spicy potato tacos for breakfast yesterday. I seasoned the potatoes with a little cayenne, garlic powder, smoked paprika and turmeric. I topped the tacos with scallion, shredded spinach, and of course hot sauce. With some potatoes on the side, ha ha. Really tasty and filling breakfast.
For dinner I made some oven roasted tofu and tried this pad Thai sauce I found on clearance for either eighty or ninety cents! I've tried a few pad Thai recipes over the years and they are never quite what I want. This obviously wasn't as good as what you would get at a restaurant made fresh, but to be honest it was pretty tasty and better than any of the recipes I've tried. And it didn't have a million funky ingredients either. Certainly not a health food, but not the worst either. I of course had to add sriracha because I am a spicy girl! I served it with baby spinach topped with peanut vinaigrette from Trader Joe's. If you haven't tried that dressing, you're missing out. It tastes so amazing on baby spinach!
I'm not a huge fan of the word pet, but today is National Love Your Pet day, so here I can't not show my fur babies. Of course I do that most days anyway!
Here's Etta and Afro/Brutus waiting for me to do yoga this morning. Unfortunately for them I did a new to me dance workout on PopSugar Fitness, and it was not a safe space to be anywhere around my feet!
Here's Joan and Roxy cuddling. I always love when I see Joan snuggling with someone because usually she's Miss Independent!





Sunday, February 19, 2017

Devilish Little Potatoes

Tofu, spinach,2 bags of potatoes,cauliflower,frozen fries,frozen strawberries,bananas,lemon,garlic and onions
Here's my little Trader Joe's haul from the other day. I got it all for twenty two dollars! And people think vegan food is expensive, ha ha! It really kills me when people say that. Yes there are very  expensive vegan specialty foods, but there are very expensive non vegan specialty foods as well. And stores like Whole Foods are pretty pricey vegan or non vegan. Beans, rice and potatoes are some of the cheapest foods you can find!
Yesterday when I got home I got creative in the kitchen again. I decided to take a stab at making deviled potatoes. I remember a few years ago they were kind of the rage. I always like to do things in my own time. Ha Ha! I looked at some recipes, and kind of got a general idea of how to, and then did my own thing. I didn't write anything down other than I started with ten baby red potatoes!
I cut them in half, roasted them until tender. After they cooled enough to handle, I scooped out the centers, and mashed them with tahini, yellow mustard, pickle juice, and salt and pepper. Then I put the mixture back in the potato halves and topped with sliced green olives and sliced scallion. Wow, these were delicious!  I noticed a lot of recipes used black salt, and that would definitely help replicate deviled eggs. I used to have black salt, but to be honest I didn't care that much for it. I guess I've lost the taste for eggs. Anyway, these were so tasty. If I had a party, or went to a potluck I would make these for sure!
It was fun having finger foods for dinner. I had the leftovers for a midnight snack, and they're really tasty room temperature or cold!
It feels good to be getting creative in the kitchen again. I lost my cooking MoJo for awhile, and it feels good to have it back.
Here's Etta with her tongue out waiting patiently to "help" me do yoga. Ever since she was a tiny kitten she has loved to be my best friend when I do yoga. It gets stressful when I'm doing a different workout like kickboxing because I don't want to step on her or kick her!
Happy Sunday!



Saturday, February 18, 2017

Spicy BBQ Cauliflower Wings!!

I've been wanting to make cauliflower wings for awhile, and last night I finally got around to it! I made spicy BBQ wings, and I made kind of a "buttermilk" batter. They turned out delicious! I actually wrote down everything I did. As a non planner, I do see the benefits of being organized and thinking ahead, it's just not in my DNA! I served these with some vegan slaw I made with a little ACV and Hampton Creek's Just Caesar. Really delicious, I highly recommend!

                                                           Spicy BBQ Cauliflower Wings
  • 1 C. Flour of choice
  • 1 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 C. Plant Milk of choice
  • pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 small to medium head of cauliflower, or half of a large head cut into smallish pieces
  • Spicy BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 C. BBQ sauce 
  • 1/2 C. Favorite Hot Sauce
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the ACV and plant milk while you cut the cauliflower into "wings". Whisk together the flour, cayenne and salt and pepper. Once the cauliflower is cut, combine the milk and flour until you have a pretty thick batter. You want it to be thicker than pancake batter so it really sticks to the cauliflower. Once all the pieces are coated, place them on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for thirty to thirty five minutes, flipping around about halfway through. After thirty minutes, reduce heat to 350, and coat the cauliflower in your spicy BBQ sauce. You should have a little leftover sauce, save that for drizzling after they're done. Put the cauliflower back in the oven for another fifteen to twenty minutes. Take out of the oven and drizzle with the remaining sauce. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, I used Hampton Creek's Just Ranch because it is just the best!
It's so funny how much I loved these. When I was a kid, the fights my mom and I had over cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus are forever burned in my brain. As an adult I have never been able to eat cauliflower. But if you batter it and coat it with sauce, no problem!
It's rare for Joan to be caught in the middle of a cat cuddle. She's Miss Independent, and usually is off to the side of any serious cuddle action. She must have known I needed a cute snap for CATURDAY!!!
I wanted to mention one last thing before I sign off, Susan from Kittens Gone Lentil is having a terrible time. Her beautiful cat Sahara lost her battle with cancer. So, she could use all the love and support we can send her way. I think we all understand the pain and devastation. I  shed some tears because I feel like I knew Sahara through Susan's blog. I know she could use love and support, especially to balance out all the dumb ass things people say when you lose a fur baby.