Thursday, September 29, 2016

The More You Know

Well, I made it to the Asian market yesterday. I meant to go on Tuesday, but life happened, and I had to deal with some stuff that involved lots of being on the phone. I listened to enough muzak to last a lifetime. I have low blood pressure normally, but there's something about muzak that really makes my blood boil.
This is the entrance to the whole plaza. There's a Chinese buffet restaurant, a vitamin shop, a noodle restaurant, and then the grocery. Look at the mountains in the background, so beautiful. I feel like I will never be used to being surrounded by mountains, and seeing them so clearly. It sometimes almost takes my breath away. Sorry, I know that sounds corny but it's true.

They have a little store before you go to the grocery that sells all kinds of cool stuff. Decorations, toys, vitamins and herbs I've never heard of, as well as lotions, face masks and other potions.
I've never seen such a big can of coconut milk!
They had so many different brands of coconut milk! And such great prices too. I thought Trader Joe's had the best deal, but I was wrong!
So much tofu!!!

More tofu, and also cooked vital wheat gluten and vegan chicken!
They have so much tofu! It will take me forever to try it all! They also have these tofu sausage things that feel really firm, like no tofu I've ever felt before. They have baked tofu, marinated tofu, all the tofu!
Whole jackfruit!!

The first durian I've ever seen! Those spikes are SHARP!!
A wall of noodles and ramen!
They had a whole wall of various dried meats and fish, and I'm super glad plant jerky is included!!
Now, on to my haul. This store has amazing prices, and I got everything for fifteen dollars, which is awesome!
Jackfruit, green onions, spicy corn snacks, fried tofu, trumpet mushrooms, and vegan mochi 
I've been seeing some recipes floating around for pulled mushroom sandwiches, and apparently trumpet mushrooms can be shredded. I've only seen that type of mushroom one time at a regular grocery, and they were really pricey. These were two dollars for a pound!! I'm super excited to experiment with these.
I only ever knew of rice cakes as the crunchy circles that you put peanut butter on. Then I saw someone on YouTube (Cheap Lazy Vegan) eating this dish with these chunky noodle-y looking things, and she said they were rice cakes! They come in the tube shape that I got, and they had ovals, and other shapes. I love when I learn stuff as I'm food shopping. The dish you make with the shape I got is called Tteokbokki, and it also uses my new favorite condiment, Gochujang.
Rice cakes, watercress, cilantro, oranges, vegan ramen, coconut milk

Drink your greens!

I made this delicious green juice with celery, cucumber, watercress, apple and orange. Watercress and celery taste really good together, another thing I learned yesterday.
I'm so grateful that  this market is close enough for me to get to. One of the things that can get boring about being on a budget is not feeling like you can experiment as much as you would like. I'm grateful that I was able to find several new to me items that are in my budget! I needed that, so I am super grateful.
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cats, Pasta and New Adventures

She's such a lady!
Catching those rays!
I love the excitement when a rare sunbeam comes into my apartment. Time to get some vitamin D! Roxy just always has to have her little paws crossed. Yesterday morning Kanye was in my bedroom window, and some of the school kids saw her, and got excited. Then, I looked out of the window and they were like whoa, someone lives there. It caused shock waves throughout the playground! Kanye, who is usually a scaredy cat actually stayed on the window sill, staring at the kids like "why are you meowing at me?" The kids eventually got yelled at. There is a tree that is close to my apartment, right by the fence, and apparently they are not supposed to play there, it is not considered part of the playground. So, of course that tree is the hottest club on the strip. Kids!
I had some kale that needed to be used, so I sauteed a ton of garlic, added some crushed red pepper, and threw in a whole bunch of chopped kale. While that was doing it's thing, I cooked some vermicelli pasta, and when that was done, I threw a little of the pasta water in the kale, and added the drained noodles. This is seriously one of my favorite super easy dinners. If you include salt and pepper it has six ingredients, and the whole meal is done in under fifteen minutes, and that includes prep and cook. It doesn't get much simpler than that! And, you can feed an army for under five dollars. I like that kale is one of the few vegetables that isn't super expensive when buying organic.
So easy, yet could be passed off as fancy!
This is what you serve to someone who swears they hate greens. I've always felt like kale is a great starter green. Especially when it's cooked with tons of garlic! I'm going to have leftovers for breakfast, and I'm even going to eat them cold! I am such a bachelor!
Last week when I was taking the bus to my dog walking gig, I noticed a huge Asian market. It's kind of a plaza, with a grocery and also some restaurants. I'm going to go to the market today. Now that the weather is at a tolerable 80 degrees or so, I can do more exploring. I hope to find some more canned jackfruit. There are several brands of already prepared jackfruit, but it's so dang expensive for not a lot of product. I think it was Upton's brand that I tried, and while I enjoyed the flavor, I hated the price. Canned jackfruit is like one dollar a can! And I also hope to find some freshly made tofu. I will be taking my camera, and I'll take as many pictures as I'm comfortable taking! I'll at least get pictures of the outside! Ha ha!
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tea Time

Between my depressed hiatus and last week being really busy, I forgot to mention that I have started reviewing teas as a guest reviewer at Sororitea Sisters!Jennifer from My Blissful Journey invited me to do a guest review, and I really enjoy it. For most of my life I was a serious coffee addict. I'm surprised I didn't OD on caffeine at certain points in my life. When I kicked the habit about five or maybe more years ago, I started really enjoying tea. I went off coffee cold turkey, and just switched to green tea, and then learned about yerba mate, Chai, etc. Now, I still have a nice comforting warm beverage in the morning, and I still get a little caffeine, but I'm not wired and severely addicted. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised on Saturday when I came home to find a little box of tea waiting for me by my door.
Coconut flan? Caramel walnut shortbread? I'm so excited to try all of these exotic, fancy teas. I wish I could afford to buy all of the really nice, higher end teas but that's just never been my life. Like Yogi tea is a splurge, ha ha.
You can see the whole cardamom pods in the Chai on the right. I am so excited. I bet it will blow all other Chai tea far away!
These teas came in this pretty little box! Like I could not feel any fancier if I tried! I tried a Chai mix this morning that was a powder, and it was actually vegan! Most Chai powder mixes I've seen have milk. It was seriously amazing, as was the  Matcha with coconut! I'll be writing reviews for those later today. It's so awesome getting to do this!
The job search continues, I had an interview last week, and I have one this week so I am soldiering on. I've passed out almost all of my cards for dog walking, so I have hopes on that end as well.
There are some crows that have been flying around and hanging out on the side of my apartment. Needless to say it is a huge hit around here. Roxy was hanging in the window in my bedroom. She's Ms. Independent.
That's a school in the background of the picture. Yes, I live that close to an Elementary School!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vegan Food and Silly Cats

  I stumbled across this video yesterday on YouTube, and I loved it. I love seeing non vegans trying vegan food and being truly pleasantly surprised. Especially non vegans who maybe are on the meatier, more junk food type of diet. No matter how many vegan junk foods are made, there is still a misconception that we live on kale, brown rice and plain tofu, all washed down with some wheatgrass juice. When I see the genuine look of yum, I see minds being opened, and people who will be more willing to try vegan food in the future, and also make videos like these that will reach a much larger non vegan audience. They really loved the Field Roast sausages! Woot Woot!
This is the delicious pizza I made last night. It has marinara, daiya, broccoli, lots of garlic(benefit of being single) and Kalamata olives. I also sprinkled on crushed red pepper, because if it isn't spicy I don't want it!  This was one of the best pizzas I've made. I didn't realize that broccoli and Kalamata olives seriously love each other. Like a love that is so deep and pure nothing can break it. Another thing I like about Kalamata olives is that they have a very strong flavor, so it doesn't take a lot to make a difference. I really recommend this combination for pizza. I've also been adding a little fennel seed to my pizza sauce when I make it, and I really like that added flavor too.
Afro still has her favorite toy. She likes to sleep with me at night, and a lot of times I'll find her toy in bed, like she brings it to sleep with! It is the cutest thing, and always makes me get all the feels. I wrote about how she liked to charge out of the door at my old place in Seattle, and kind of check out the hallway. Well, recently she's been bum rushing my door here when I come home. I don't have a hallway here, my door leads right outside. And the neighbor across the walkway has a dog. So, the other day Afro charged the door when I came home, and I was letting her sniff around, and up the stairs comes my neighbor and his big dog! Afro jumped five hundred feet in the air, and couldn't get inside soon enough! She still rushes the door, just way more cautiously!
I left a window open last night, and it was pretty chilly when I woke up, so I turned the heat on for a few minutes to warm the place up, and Joan got all nice and cozy! I bet she would love a fireplace!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Simple Split Pea Soup and Cats!

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but yesterday was a cool, rainy day and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE!! It's so funny to feel that way, especially when I think of how many days of my life were spent cursing the rain, and wishing for the sun while living in Seattle. I used to cry because the rain was so hard for me to deal with. But here in SLC, the sun is no joke.  I have never dealt with such brutal heat before. There were days when I was getting lost and I would finally find my bus stop, or whatever I was looking for, and wonder if it was real or a mirage. I am a sun lover, have been all my life. My moods are deeply affected by the weather, and even I feel like the sun needed to go have a little nap somewhere! So, it was rainy and cool yesterday, and they say rainy and cool today, and the sun will reappear tomorrow, so we're all a little rested!
As promised, I made split pea soup. I was worried it wouldn't be that great, because I always use either smoked paprika, or liquid smoke when I make split pea. I have neither of those seasonings, but it still turned out delicious, and I wrote it all down! I used red lentils and split peas because I really like the way red lentils become soooooo creamy when they break all the way down.
                                                               Simple Split Pea Soup
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric 
  • 1 1/2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 C. split peas
  • 1/2 C. red lentils
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 to 6 C. water or veggie stock
Saute onion, garlic, and celery in oil or water over medium heat for five minutes, add spices and saute for two or three more minutes. Add the soy sauce, peas and lentils along with the nutritional yeast and the water/stock. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to med. low and simmer for about forty five minutes. Serve with rolls or crusty bread for dipping!
Roxy always finds a way to primly cross her paws!
She knows I can't resist that belly!
Those things on the floor that Roxy is laying on came in the box when Derek had shipped my laptop to me. They love them, and so they just stay on my floor. Some of them have been so shredded that I've thankfully been able to toss them, but as you can see, the rest are here to stay awhile! *Cats*
Happy Caturday!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Two Hauls for the Price of One

I was looking through my pictures, and I have a Trader Joe's haul from last week when I was on my hiatus, and I picked up a few things at Smith's yesterday too. I can definitely say this, since being on a stricter budget, I'm definitely eating healthier. I better start dropping a few beer pounds soon, between all this healthy eating and extra walking I've been doing! I have noticed a difference in how I feel. I feel fueled, I feel like I'm giving my body what it needs. And I'm continuing to learn ways to save money. I feel like my hauls and also food is a lot more boring, which is a downer, but one day soon I'll be back to trying exciting vegan treats!
Green tea, Pita Bread, Kalamata olives, frozen raspberries, frozen pineapple,pizza dough, coconut milk,frozen edamame
Cucumbers, red lentils, green lentils, tomato paste, lettuce,lemons,bananas, spinach, russet potatoes

The Kalamata olives were a splurge, because I wanted to make a recipe from Isa Does It.  I thought about subbing black olives, but thankfully Trader Joe's is awesome and they weren't too expensive. I made the Olive Lentil Burgers that Caroline from Tea and Sympatico recommended. Caroline, you were so right! They are delicious! Of course lentils are one of my best food friends, and Hello Kalamata olives go GREAT with lentils!
Burgers, not cookies! I made my own breadcrumbs, and they didn't work as well, but these are still an eleven out of ten!

I was going to make a pretty burger on a pita and all that, but the truth is that my first client has required a lot more of my time than I bargained for, and it has been exhausting, lots of walking, like LOTS so these burgers have been eaten plain, with a fork and some mustard. But doesn't that show how delicious they really are? They don't need bread and all the fixins to be delicious!
Smith's haul- green onion, yellow onion,garlic, broccoli, kale, bulk flour, green split peas, raw cashews
Green apples, spaghetti,potato rolls for .49! yogi tea , cauliflower, celery, chocolate chunks
Today is a grey, chilly day. I can hardly believe it's only going to be fifty one degrees! Two days ago it was over ninety! So I'm going to make a big pot of split pea soup. I saw the split peas in the bulk section of Smith's, and I got an intense craving for soup. In Erie, I ate split pea soup for breakfast almost every morning in the winter. I haven't had it since getting out of there. I'm in the mood for warm, comforting soup. A hug in a bowl.
Joan in a box
Afro in a box!

This Petco box is their favorite new thing. They had a sale on litter online, and on Labor Day they offered free shipping, and it ended up saving me money, and strain on my body. I have a walk no matter which bus I catch, and litter can get heavy real easy, especially because I like to buy the big bag and try to avoid the plastic tubs because of the lack of recycling options here. And as you can see, this box is definitely being recycled!
Happy Friday! And second day of fall. (YIKES)
Oh, a little update. In case anyone remembers, I had decided to go back on the potato cleanse. I did stay on it for six days, but decided to not go any longer. I already eat a lot of potatoes, I would say they're my favorite starch for sure. I already feel somewhat restricted by my budget, so it just felt like extra restriction, and I don't like that. I think the potato cleanse was a moment in my life, but the moment has passed, and it can't be recreated. So, that explains the more well rounded haul.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I'm Back!

Here are some more pictures from Liberty Park. I went there early Sunday morning to pass out more cards. I had some anxiety about passing out the cards, all that self doubt came creeping into my head, and that combined with my normal shyness/social anxiety made it hard. But, I made myself do it, and people were nice, and no one laughed at me, or even refused my card, so all in all it was a success. I would be a horrible politician, or door to door sales because I'm not the greatest at approaching strangers, and also I am the WORST at selling myself, or anything really. I remember years ago when I worked at The Gap (shudder) I always got griped at for not "upselling", and I've also gotten in trouble at restaurants for not upselling.
I also got my first dog walking client yesterday! Believe it or not, it's someone who saw my ad on Craigslist, so yay for people, not trolls! I went and met both human and dog yesterday, and it was a success, I start walking today. The dog is a Xoloitzcuintli, which is a breed I had never heard of.  Her name is Lulu, and she is five months old! The breed is apparently somewhat cat like in being a little more skittish and shy, and it's so funny because she kind of reminds me of Joan. I'm sure we'll be great friends. It's also awesome because Lulu lives in a huge apartment complex. like seriously HUGE and so I stopped by the office and gave them some cards, and they said they'll put them in new renters packets! How perfect would it be if I had dogs all in the same building!
So charming!! 
I always pass this house when I'm coming home from the park, and I just love it so much. There are so many adorable houses in my neighborhood! And people in SLC love sunflowers, which is a beautiful thing. Sunflowers are my second favorite flower, after daisies. Is it weird/creepy/bad to take pictures of houses? I always hesitate, and feel like a real creeper.
Even though I haven't been blogging for a few days, I have been eating, and taking pictures! Here are some meals I've eaten lately.
Sweet potato and red lentil curry
Black bean tacos
Lentil Joe sandwich

Smiths/Fred Meyer/QFC now have their own line of booch. Pretty tasty, and it's on sale!
Pizza with kale, broccoli, green olives, garlic, green onions and a little daiya under all that veg!
Lentil Joe cheese fries!
Curried Peanut Sauce bowl from Isa Does It
I've been enjoying some really tasty food while still being on a budget. The above peanut sauce is a peanut sauce that in my opinion everyone needs in their life. Who knew that some ginger and curry powder could make peanut sauce so special? I am so happy that I have some of the sauce leftover. I might drink it like a smoothie. (Just Kidding)
Thanks for all the support and kind words from my last post. I am mourning the loss of many things, and I feel like nothing I've gone through prepared me for this loss. I also lost other things, like Dylan's food dish, and little things that had sentimental value. Anyway, I guess I'm grieving, or in mourning or whatever, and it's hard. Coupled with stress and rejection and just physical exhaustion, it's a lot. This is the first really tough thing I've gone through without relying on alcohol to help ease the pain, and it's a struggle.I don't always know how to handle myself, or the pain. So, thanks for not judging, and for being supportive. As you all know I really have no one, so it is very much appreciated.
This is where Kanye hides when I vacuum!
Oh, and in other exciting news, I went to a new part of town yesterday to meet Lulu and her human, and I DID NOT GET LOST! It is a miracle!
Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This and That

It's been awhile since I've posted anything from Cenk, and I thought this was perfect. As it's getting closer to the election, I'm feeling more and more scared. I still remember when this whole travesty started, I never believed Trump would have made it this far. I would ask what's wrong with us, but I lived in Erie PA. so that question has already been answered.
This was a smoothie I had yesterday with raspberries, strawberries, banana and believe it or not a big handful of spinach. It's funny how the raspberries seem to cancel out the green.
I had my old friend oven fries for dinner. I find that if I don't have oven fries at least once a week, something feels off. Lately I've been loving spicing them with curry, garlic and turmeric, and dipping them in sweet chili sauce. Such a good combination!
I'm going to take a few days off from blogging. I'm having a hard time, and I'm having a hard time keeping things positive. I wish I could be rich for just one day so I could hire a private investigator to find Chunk, Animal and Scrappy. I just want to know how they are. Not knowing is killing me. I worry that they're lonely. Lots of people adopt cats who are hardly ever home, just because they want companionship for the few hours they're home.  Those three were never alone, and it just makes me so sad. I suppose it's always the not knowing. Between my sadness and this job thing, I am having a tough time keeping it positive. If I didn't have my remaining cats, I would be packing a bag and going for a life of being a vagabond. I don't know how many more fake smiles I can muster when applying for jobs that make me want to shrivel up and die. I don't know how many more times I can smile and answer "tell me why we should hire you". When it's a shit job. I feel sad, scared, and small. Sometimes life just doesn't let positive affirmations and meditation do their thing. So, I don't want to be inauthentic on this blog, but I also don't want to have this be a downer of a blog. So, I'm going to just try to get a grip, and hope that maybe something amazing happens. At this point, I'll settle for a ho hum event happening. Also, since I'm doing the potato cleanse, my food for the next few days will be pretty boring anyway. I do also want to say thank you for all the support and kind word, it is so appreciated.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Parks and Rec

So, yesterday I had to get some human and cat food, and I also wanted to hand out some of my cards. So, I decided to walk to Liberty Park which is a pretty big park here in SLC. It's perfect because there is also a bus stop right there that takes me where I needed to go. I kind of realized that I probably need to go to that park on a Saturday or Sunday, because during the week it's a lot of moms jogging with a baby in a stroller, and retired people walking their dogs. The weekend is probably when all the Mon. thru Fri. 9 to 5 crowd take their dogs to the park, and they are probably more of my target. But, it was good practice, because I was nervous and felt a little dorky, but I did it, and people were nice, and also receptive. I also asked them to pass along my number if they had any friends. And I discovered that Liberty Park is much bigger than I thought, and quite beautiful. They even have rides, like fair rides!
I used to love this ride at the county fairs! Just swinging high above the crowds! They also had a little Ferris  wheel, which was never my favorite. But it's cute that they have rides for the little ones.
This is the biggest grasshopper I've ever seen! He was really cute, and giving me a little bit of the side eye when I was taking his/her picture. There are a lot of grasshoppers here, like I don't recall seeing this many grasshoppers anyplace else I've lived.
Frozen strawberries and raspberries, handsome cut fries, Goddess  dressing,lemons, and broccoli
Spinach, Romaine,crusty bread,cucumbers,pizza dough,avocados and bananas

Potatoes, fig bites, garlic, dark chocolate, and two dried fruit bars
Starting today I'm doing a seven day kind of informal potato cleanse. A YouTube channel that I love, Team Broccoli is doing a potato cleanse with her husband, because she feels like she is too addicted to vegan junk food. She made her own list of rules, and it's a little more lenient than the original cleanse, and also calls for more greens, and allows smoothies. So, I figured since I am on a budget and trying to keep my waste to a minimum, this is a perfect, and also it's fun to be part of something, and to support. If I feel great next Monday, who knows, maybe I'll extend the cleanse, but right now I'm only committing to seven days. Jenny's rules include one cheat meal, so that explains the pizza dough. The fig bites and chocolate are just because.
I made the Cheddar-y broccoli soup from Isa Does It for dinner, and had it with some rice and also this crusty Kalamata baguette from Trader Joe's. This was the best broccoli cheddar soup I've EVER had, and the bread. There aren't enough ways to say love. Who knew shoving some Kalamata olives in bread would make the flavor soooooooooo much better? The soup somehow almost has a buttery flavor, and yet there is no vegan butter, or even vegan cheese. I'm writing this recipe down before I return this book to the library for sure. This is going to be an amazing soup for in the winter when I come home from walking a bunch of snow puppies! I only used one half cup of raw cashews because that's all I had, and I still feel like this soup was very rich an velvety. Really tasty. The Goddess noodles and this soup alone make this book number one in my opinion.
I also wanted to mention the other day when I talked about the Goddess noodles from the same book, I forgot to mention that I did not add tempeh to the recipe. I thought about subbing tofu, but I didn't feel like it was necessary. I feel like it was very filling and satisfying with just the noodles and kale.
I came home to this cuteness yesterday. Sometimes it's almost unbearable how adorable my babes are!
Etta's legs are even crossed!
Whole body view!
I'm off to canvas my neighborhood, and find some clients. I am super lucky because they said it was going to rain, but it's blue skies and sunny so that's a good sign I believe!
Happy Tuesday!