Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fourteen Shades of Grey

It's been cool, grey and rainy here in SLC for almost two weeks. I've been having my heat on at night because it's dipped into the forties!! Heat on in Mid May!! My mood has definitely been affected by the grey. I feel pretty grey to be honest. I've been wanting to eat lots of soups and curries and things that are warm and comforting. Foods that cheer me up.
I made this sweet potato, red lentil curry soup the other night. It's spiced with garam masala, curry, and crushed red pepper. I added a little coconut milk after blending to make it extra creamy and delicious. I also made some tofu croutons and had a little leftover rice. This was soooooo good! I love a good, creamy soup!
Last night I just baked a couple of medium potatoes, added some Cuban black beans and cashew queso from Trader Joe's. I am not a fan of the queso. It tastes vegetable-y to me. Which is totally fine, but potato queso is super easy and cheap to make so I definitely wouldn't spend money on it again. Lots of cholula sauce helped out a lot!!
I also had a little salad topped with pepperoncini and smoked tofu!! Smoked tofu is one of my favorite things ever!
Winco is the only place near me that sells smoked tofu. I picked up two packages because I'm thinking about experimenting with a smoked tofu salad type thing. Growing up in the Midwest, I definitely remember ham salad on all the tables at all the picnics. And how can I resist a family sized tub of hummus for under four dollars??

Friday, May 24, 2019

Follow Your Heart Vegan Yogurt!

Did you know that Follow Your Heart made yogurt? I had no idea until I saw someone reviewing all the flavors on YouTube. I assumed these were brand new, but I found an article from August 2018 and I gues it's been out since last fall. I didn't really expect to see it in my parts anytime soon, but I was wrong! I spotted it at Sprouts this week. FYH has nine flavors, but Sprouts only had plain and vanilla. I only use plain yogurt when I'm making tzatziki so I chose vanilla. I see people eat plain yogurt with fruit and I just cannot.
There's good and bad news about this yogurt. The good news is FYH did yogurt justice! The flavor was amazing, and more important the texture was what I always want vegan yogurt to be. Fluffy but not too fluffy, and thick but not too thick. And not thick in that weird cornstarch/ whatever thickener kind of way. This is thick, but fluffy. Like you could eat it with a fork if need be. It was almost like pudding. So, so good!! And you can see the flecks from the vanilla bean which I love. It was sweet, but not too sweet and tastes very natural.Vegan yogurts in my opinion are either too runny, or too thick in a really weird and unnatural way. My favorite vegan yogurt is The Forager Project's Cashewgurt, but the texture is a bit runny it's just that the flavor is so great I can deal. Plus it's not like we have a perfect option.
Price brings me to the bad news. It's expensive. It was on sale for two dollars a container, so that means it's more than two dollars normally. Now, in the article I read it said the yogurts will be $1.99 each, which is still insane, but obviously Sprouts has a big mark-up. I can't remember what the regular price said, maybe like $2.50? I'll look the next time I'm there.
I think of all of the vegan yogurts I've tried over the years this is probably the closest to the yogurt I remember from my pregan days. It is too spendy for me to have on the regular, but I will definitely have it as a treat every now and again.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Trader Joe's and Sprouts Haul!

I usually do my grocery shopping on Friday, but this week Friday doesn't work so I decided to really shake things up and go yesterday. I went early in the morning which meant I was able to handle Trader Joe's!!
I made my usual round of Sprouts, Natural Grocers and Trader Joe's. Wednesday is a great day to shop at Sprouts if you have one near you because it's the last day of last weeks sale, and the first day of this weeks sales so you can find some GREAT deals!
Ataulfo mangoes,apples,cherries,pears,crisp pea snacks,protein powder,probiotic cola,bulk rice and quinoa,oranges,FYH vanilla yogurt,Epsom salts,avocado,coconut cream, key lime La Croix, bulk spices
Sweet potato, Cuban black beans,cashew queso,Romaine,coconut milk,potatoes,fries,coconut oil,celery,carrots,mango kombucha,tofu,lemons,vegan mayo,red and yellow onion
I swore I was never going to buy the cashew queso because it's made with potatoes and cashews and I like to make my own potato queso for less money, but I have seen people losing their minds over it so I decided to splurge. Plus I was hungry and it sounded so good! I figure I'll try it, and if it's as amazing as everyone says maybe I'll try to recreate it. It just sounded so good in a burrito or quesadilla.
I spotted this at Trader Joe's. They have mango and I think the other flavor was either plain or vanilla, I can't remember. Trader Joe's is really stepping up their vegan game!! I've also been reading about their coconut milk lattes, but they were all sold out.
I also picked this up at Natural Grocers. Justin's nut butter cups are on sale for $.99! I had to try the cashew butter cups. They are AMAZING!! I like them a lot better than the peanut butter to be honest!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Not So Guilty Pleasure

I have a confession to make. I love Rachael Ray. I've loved her for YEARS, back when she first started on Food Network. I loved her cheerful attitude. I was vegetarian when I discovered her, and although she does cook with a lot of meat, she's always been veg friendly so it was easy to make some swaps.
I remember when I mentioned an old boyfriend who hated her, I was surprised that a lot of people commented that they agreed with him! I guess she isn't for everybody, and some of her food puns can be a bit much, but overall I still love her cheerful attitude.
I haven't owned a TV in years so I don't watch her on the regular, but when I'm feeling blue I do find clips on YouTube! She has nine million shows on the food network so there's an endless supply of choices!
Recently I watched her make a sloppy Joe pasta bake, and I knew that I had to veganize it! She just mixed sloppy Joe's with some cooked pasta and cheddar cheese and baked it for a little bit. Super easy to veganize!!
One of my favorite recipes ever is the Snobby Joe's from Veganomicon. I have the recipe memorized I've made it so much! I don't add green or yellow pepper because bell peppers should NEVER be cooked in my opinion. Unless they're blended. Anyway, I just made a batch of Snobby Joe's, but made them a little more soupy than I normally would.
I tossed this mixture with some cooked brown rice rotini, added a little Violife cheddar cheese and baked for about twenty minutes. It's everything I dreamed it would be!
I topped my bowl with nooch and Cholula. It's not a very pretty meal, but it tastes so amazing! It's also very budget friendly, I have a lot of leftovers, and the whole dish was under two dollars to make. I love lentils!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Deals and Cheap Meals

You guys know I love Lantana hummus. It's definitely my favorite store bought hummus. They have some really interesting flavors, and every one I try is my favorite! Winco sells Lantana hummus for the best price I've seen anywhere, so I like to pick some up whenever I'm there. This is another winner! It's smooth and creamy and definitely mild. The green chile flavor is very mild, it's not spicy at all. Delicious!!
I also found Cholula at Winco for only $1.98 a bottle! Cholula is my favorite hot sauce but I rarely buy it because it's usually a lot more than that at other stores.  I also had to treat myself to another mocha vegan frappucino. These are under three dollars, and I get two or three servings out of a bottle so it's a pretty decent deal!
Yesterday I made a chickpea pancake for breakfast and doused it with nooch, green pepper cholula and half of a gorgeous avocado. The green pepper Cholula is like a spicier version of my beloved Green Dragon sauce from Trader Joe's. I will definitely buy again!!
I made Laksa curry the other night. It was pretty good, but honestly it was a bit more complicated than a regular curry and didn't really taste that much different. But since I love curry so much it's fun to play around with different versions.
Last night I had another rice bowl with peanut sauce, but this time I used soy curls instead of tofu! See, my food isn't boring, Ha!
I've definitely been stuck in a kitchen rut. I feel satisfied with my food, I'm pretty much eating what I've been craving, and I guess I've been craving lots of the same thing. Hopefully I get out of this funk soon, I do miss creating new things in the kitchen. One day the light bulb will go off again!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Good and the OM No Starring Kiki!

I like the chocolate dipped banana pops so much I had to get the chocolate dipped chocolate pops. Double chocolate is never a bad thing in my book. These are great just as I expected. They taste like a chocolate covered fudge pop! What I like about these pops is that they're made with banana, cocoa and cane sugar so they aren't super rich and sweet. I love the vegan Magnum and Haagen Dazs bars, but sometimes my stomach doesn't feel that great after eating them. These are a sweet treat, just a little lighter.
Cutest Creeper Ever!
I saw this in the checkout aisle of Sprouts. It was on sale, I've been feeling run down lately so I impulsively bought it. It's got reishi mushrooms and all that super trendy four sigmatic stuff. I added it to some water yesterday and almost died of grossness. I don't know what flavor it's supposed to be, but it tastes like it's trying to taste like ice tea. I don't know. The stevia taste is so overwhelming I'm gagging just thinking about it. This is a very, very strong NO!!!!! I could only drink like two sips. Gag.
These peeled snacks pea crisps were on sale at Sprouts so I had to try them. These I highly recommend. They taste like the Inner Peas snacks at Trader Joe's, or like the Harvest Snaps crisps. Not too salty or greasy but salty enough to definitely satisfy!!
This was my dinner on Friday night. Quesadillas!! I love quesadillas and so rarely have them since going gluten free. The tortillas are made by Mission and they're pretty close to regular flour tortillas. They are way more flexible than any other gluten free wrap I've tried. As with all gluten free breads, wraps etc. they are pricey so unfortunately these won't be a staple in my life, but every now and again when the quesadilla craving hits I will treat myself.
Kiki loves to sit like a little person. I catch her sitting like this several times a day! I call it her little old man pose!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sprouts and Natural Grocers Haul!

This has been a really, really rainy winter and spring here in SLC. Yesterday rained almost all morning and unfortunately for me it was grocery day. I needed stuff so I couldn't put it off. I was drenched by the time I got home!! Sometimes I seriously question my choice to not drive!
I went to Sprouts for most of my produce and bulk needs. They are having a pretty decent sale, and they had a five dollar coupon off of thirty dollars so it was a good week to shop Sprouts!
I also got a few things at Natural Grocers. I didn't have the strength for Trader Joe's. Just thinking about the store gave me anxiety!
Lantana hummus,gluten free tortillas,avocado,grapes,Romaine,Live soda,heirloom grape tomatoes,carrots,cilantro,Ataulfo mangoes,oranges, onion

 You guys know my gripe about gluten free anything. The Mission wraps were on sale for $4.99 nwith a dollar off so I decided to splurge and try them.
Ice tea/lemonade, Epsom salts,soy curls, pea crisps, violife cheddar,celery
I also got some bulk rice, and garbanzo bean flour. And a few random things from Winco. I did get a picture, but it's so awful I'm not going to bother. I was so wet and upset when I got home I just wanted to put everything away and cry.

I saw these at Sprouts. They are vegan chips that are supposed to taste just like bacon. I didn't get them because they weren't on sale, and also they don't sound very good to me. I like smoky flavors, but these seem too intense for me. But Sprouts is really coming through with the vegan snacks!!!
I cannot keep my bookshelf dust free because Joan likes to hang out on all the different shelves! She just doesn't know that my ultimate goal is to fill all the shelves with books!!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Celery Juice and Cheap Eats

It seems like all I've been seeing is tulips, but I saw these on my way to work the other day. I think they're called pom pom flowers? They remind me of dandelion fluff, just purple.
I've still been drinking the celery juice. Today is day six. This is celery and pineapple. Pineapple is your best friend if you're trying to juice a veggie you don't really like. The sweetness and acidity really break through whatever funky taste you're trying to avoid.
I cooked some lentils yesterday morning, and then let them marinate in BBQ sauce all day. Then I just stuffed them in some baked potatoes and had that with a salad. Delicious, one of my favorite super easy dinners. I had also attempted some almond ranch, but my blender was being a pain and it was a little chunky. Tasty but chunky, a little weird.
This would be a great summer party meal. You can make the lentils ahead of time, and potatoes are delicious on the grill. You also could feed an army for very little money with this meal!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Chocolate, Bananas and Coffee Oh My!

I found some new to me vegan goodies at Winco the other day! Winco is a great place to spot random vegan goodies especially stuff you haven't tried. The prices are usually a lot cheaper so it doesn't hurt your wallet so much!
I am a huge fan of Chloe's pops. They're made with actual fruit and cane sugar and no weird stuff. I've tried the strawberry, mango and chocolate bars. All excellent. Then one day Sarah let me know on Instagram that Chloe's had bars dipped in chocolate!!
Winco only had the chocolate dipped banana bars, but that's okay. Chocolate and banana, best friends for life!!
Excellent dessert!!

I've tried the new almond milk frappucino from Starbucks in the vanilla flavor. I like it, but it's really, really sweet and I have to just have a few sips here and there.
I noticed Winco has the mocha flavor so I had to try it! Winco has the vegan Starbucks drinks right in the little coolers by self checkout! Remember when anything vegan was relegated to some dark corner of the store?
The mocha is still very sweet, but the slight bitterness of the chocolate cuts it a bit. I think I prefer the mocha over the vanilla, but honestly they're both pretty dang tasty!

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Hearty Lentil and Potatoes Meal!

I know I've shown this gravy packet before, but it deserves to be shown all the time because it's so delicious!! If you're like me and don't have the gravy making gene, this could be your best friend!!
It does say vegetarian on the package, but it's vegan. It has a really nice flavor and doesn't taste like it comes from a packet!!
I like to add some cooked lentils to the gravy when it's done for some extra fiber and protein. I also had some tofu laying around that needed to be used so I had that as well. In addition to this meal being delicious and comforting, it's also very good for you! Lentils are a very good source of iron, and potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin c. Iron is more easily absorbed when combined with vitamin c, so this is a power meal!
Sorry this picture is a little blurry, I tried to take it really quickly because Etta is the queen of moving when I try to take her picture. Etta is the OG force a cuddler, and Joan became her victim yesterday!!