Saturday, November 16, 2019

See You in 2020 Trader Joe's!!

I made it to Trader Joe's yesterday, and after leaving did not have the strength to go to Sprouts. I have been half joking about taking a break from Trader Joe's till after the holidays, but after yesterday I really won't be back till 2020. I lost my list on the bus or the walk to the bus, so I was already frazzled, and then the crowds put me over the edge!! And I went on a Friday morning, about an hour after they opened. I can only imagine what today will be like.
Tofu, celery, gala apple, lemons, potatoes, Miyoko's cream cheese, butter lettuce,ginger, carrots, shredded carrots,coconut milk,chocolate peppermint almond beverage,water kefir,ginger turmeric tea,peppermint coffee creamer, lime, onion
I didn't buy this, but it's the first time I've seen it at Trader Joe's, and the price is lower than I've seen at other stores. It drives me insane how expensive oat milk is considering how cheap oats are. Kind of like bean pasta.
I love the GT's water kefir!! I tried the pineapple peach awhile ago, and Trader Joe's now has the pink grapefruit which is AHMAZING!! I highly recommend! Joan shares my enthusiasm!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Some Vegan Food I've Eaten!

I've been eating a lot of the same foods I normally eat. I feel like red lentil curry and tofu, rice veggie bowls with peanut sauce will always be in my rotation. But I have tried a few new things so I figured I'd share.
I wanted to report back on this kombucha. I'm guessing this will be popping up this time of year. It tastes a lot like a cream soda, with that booch bite. I really enjoyed it! And the bottle is cute too!
Another thing I like about this season! These have always been one of my favorite treats, since I was a kid. My step grandma used to make homemade Turkish delights and they were even more amazing! These have always been vegan, and now it says it on the front of the box!
I've been trying to eat a salad a day. It's not always possible, but it's a good goal to have. This beauty had romaine, shredded carrots, green olives, sunflower seeds and a little Italian and FYH blue cheese. YUM!!!!
This picture turned out blurry and weird for some reason, but the fried rice was definitely not weird!! Veggie fried rice with carrot, peas, mushroom, onion and of course tofu!
Here's a Thai green curry I made with red lentils and tofu. I had this with mung bean noodles instead of rice. Although I love rice, sometimes I just want to slurp some noodles!!
I picked up these veggie burgers to try. I've only seen this brand at Winco. It's a Canadian company, owned by women!!! Yay! Unfortunately, the burgers remind me of Hilary's veggie burgers which are a pass for me. These taste good, but they're really dry and crumbly in that vegan, gluten free healthy way. Lots of sauce needed!!
Last night's dinner. One of those Asian salad kits with kale, cabbage, romaine and red cabbage and two of the burgers with sriracha and veganaise. I used more veganaise than what is shown for the burgers. All in all a tasty dinner. The burgers aren't terrible, just not my first choice.
I'm off to Sprouts and Trader Joe's this morning, so I'll have a haul tomorrow. I have a coupon for Sprouts, so I might get a treat or two!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

To Splurge or Not to Splurge

I am a coconut oil girl. I use unrefined coconut oil for moisturizing my face and body, and I use it for cooking. I've been cooking with it for so long I really don't notice the coconut flavor, but I've had people I cook for mention the taste. So, I've been wanting to try avocado oil, but it's so freaking expensive I just never can swing it. And when I can, I prefer to splurge on something a bit more exciting than oil! So, when I saw this at Winco for a really great price I decided to try it. It's a combination of safflower, avocado and coconut oil so it's of course cheaper. I've used it several times and it's a nice, neutral flavored oil. Highly recommend!
I've been gluten free for a little over two years, and I hate it!! Although there are a few gluten free pastas that are okay, they still aren't as good, and when I see people eating regular pasta I feel so incredibly jealous! And bread is the worst. At least with gluten free pastas there are a few brands like Barilla and Trader Joe's that are pretty okay, and reasonably priced. But gluten free bread is insanely expensive, the loaves are much smaller than regular bread, and most of them are terrible!! I get so pissed when I splurge on a seven or eight dollar loaf of bread and it's horrible. I think of the vegan cheese I could have splurged on!
I've looked at this Julia's table gluten free bread a hundred times at Smith's, and never wanted to pay seven dollars just to be disappointed. So, last week when I saw a loaf on a Woohoo sale, I couldn't resist. I bought this and a package of dinner rolls. The dinner rolls were seriously as heavy as a baseball. And they had a really dense but crumbly texture. The bread isn't much better. I definitely don't think soft should be used!!I can't be the only gluten free person on a budget, and even if you aren't on a budget, save your money!! Remember when vegan cheese used to be the worst, and then it seemed like overnight they figured it out and it's all pretty great now? I'm still waiting for that to happen with gluten free bread!
We're still making progress with the girls and boy. Etta used to hiss and then run away from Bubba, so napping face to face with him is quite a big step!!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Sriracha Tofu Success!

I wanted to give a little update on my DIY sriracha baked tofu. Long story short, it was really easy and it turned out great!
I used the firm tofu that comes wrapped in plastic, not in the container with water. I sliced the brick in half, and then in four squares. I marinated the squares overnight in sriracha. I saw a few recipes online that used sriracha and soy sauce so the next day I added a little tamari and let that soak in for a few more hours. Right before I baked it, I added a little olive oil.
I baked it in a foil covered dish for about thirty minutes, then took the foil off and baked it for about fifteen or twenty minutes more. It had a great texture, and was nice and spicy from the sriracha!!
I used some in what else, a rice and veggie bowl with peanut sauce!!! The texture is that nice, dense texture that firm, baked tofu gets. And because it marinated for so long, every piece is flavorful!
I can't wait to experiment with more flavor combinations. I love finding ways to make my own versions of things I can't afford an a regular basis!! And next time, I'll write down exact measurements and share!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Little Money, So Much Flavor!

I was at Winco the other day looking for veg stock cubes, couldn't find any and saw this. It has the little certified vegan sticker on it so I went for it. WOW, when you open the jar it smells like a head of sweet roasted garlic!!!!
I've made a couple of soups using this and it adds a great flavor!! It's very concentrated so a tiny dab will do!!
Last night I made a smoky split pea and potato soup, and the roasted garlic flavor complimented the smokiness.
I believe I paid around $2.69 give or take for the jar, and like I said a tiny dollop packs a huge punch, so this jar will last FOREVER!!!
I love the baked tofu that's already cooked, and you can eat it right out of the package. Last week I finally tried the sriracha baked tofu from Trader Joe's and of course loved it! I would buy baked tofu all the time if it weren't for the price! So, I have this lovely block of tofu marinating in some sriracha, and today I'm going to bake it and see what I can do! If I succeed I will definitely report back!!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Trader Joe's Haul!

After last week's mistake of getting groceries on Sunday, I made it to Trader Joe's early this morning to avoid any extra anxiety. As we get closer to the holidays, I will be completely avoiding Trader Joe's because there are really no safe times to go.
Lemons, red and yellow onion, oranges, carrots, evoo, romaine hearts, sesame crunch salad, potatoes, shredded carrots, tofu, chocolate peppermint almond beverage,coconut milk, peppermint tea, gluten free brownie mix,tomato paste, celery
Pretty much my usualhaul, with a few treats. I really like their gluten free brownie mix. It's pretty easy to veganize with a flax egg. And I had to try the sesame crunch salad, after reading about how much Sarah loves it!! Those Asian salad kits by Dole, or whoever makes them is one of my favorite salads. Add some baked tofu and I'm set!
This is one of my favorite things about this time of year! It's only $1.99 for this decent sized carton, and it makes a great coffee creamer for much less than any vegan creamer!!
I went to Smith's after Trader Joe's to see if I could find some gluten free rolls or bread that are vegan and don't cost an arm and a leg, and WOOHOO look what I found!!! I got to get both rolls and bread for less than the cost of one gluten free item!!
I also thought this was pretty cool! Almond Reddi whip displayed by the berries in the produce section of Smith's!! I love that vegan food is becoming so much more mainstream. You see less and less vegan sections, and more vegan choices just mixed in. I love it!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Good Sauce Can Save a Meal!

I showed you guys this AMAZING condiment I picked up at Trader Joe's. It has dried onions, garlic, and bell pepper along with crushed red chili pepper, toasted onions, salt and paprika all marinating in olive oil. Since buying it on Sunday, I've used it with all three dinners I've had since. It has this great onion-y flavor with a kick of spice. I wouldn't say it's extremely spicy, but it does have a mild kick.
It's $3.99 a jar, which is a pretty decent price. It's full of flavor so you don't have to use a whole lot. For me, being on a budget means I eat a lot of bland foods like potatoes and rice, along with lots of tofu and beans so I do like to have a nice selection of condiments around to spice and flavor things up. A nice drizzle of a flavorful sauce makes a plain budget meal flavorful and exciting.
The first time I used the chili onion crunch was in this spicy peanut sauce. I had some red rice pad Thai noodles that aren't my favorite, so I decided to hide them in some tasty peanut sauce, and served them with lots of shredded romaine and sriracha tofu.This meal hit the spot, and the chili onion crunch added a great deep flavor to the peanut sauce!
Monday night I made some tomato soup!!! This is exciting because I've tried to make tomato soup in the past, and it never turns out how I'd like. I used this recipe and made a few changes. I didn't use light coconut milk, instead I made a cashew cream and blended it in the soup instead of drizzling, and I also added some red lentils for some extra protein and fiber. The soup was exactly what I wanted!! As you can see I drizzled some of the chili oil crunch on top for a little extra oomph! Served with gluten free grilled daiya and avocado!!
Last night I was craving big, thick oven fries so that's what I made!! I seasoned them with garlic, salt and pepper and had a green salad on the side. The star of this meal was the dipping sauce! I just mixed some veganaise with the chili crunch and it was AHMAZING!!! Like a spicy French onion sauce!!! I almost licked the bowl clean to be honest!
I look forward to finding more ways to use this delicious condiment to perk up my basic meals!!
Cuddle season is in full bloom at my place!!! I caught these two spooning and it's especially sweet because Afro/Brutus doesn't do a lot of cuddling!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Take Out Saturday and Weekly Haul, VEGAN!!

I had a few extra bucks to spare Saturday, hadn't gone grocery shopping yet so I decided to do something I never do. I got take out!! I chose lemongrass tofu, extra spicy no bell peppers. It was so good, but so bad with the delicious deep fried tofu!!!
I think they maybe threw in extra onions since I got no bell peppers, because this was very onion forward. But the tofu was so, so, so good. It was a really nice little treat!!
I desperately needed groceries, so I went on Sunday and what a horrible day to go! Sprouts and Trader Joe's were both way too busy!!! I only have about a week and a half to shop at Trader Joe's. I've learned to avoid it at all times mid November through December.
Live probiotic root beer, oranges, avocado, lemon, gluten free bread, popcorn,green grapes, lemon ginger tea, vanilla protein, bulk spices, rice, discontinued chocolate on sale that I should have skipped

Coconut milk, grape leaves, soy creamer, potatoes, banana, celery,lemons, romaine hearts, green tea, sriracha tofu, crunchy chili oil, tofu, coconut oil, frozen blueberries, guacamole
This is the real standout from my haul. I got this at Trader Joe's, I think it's kind of new? Anyway, it's got crunchy garlic and onions, along with crushed red chili flakes all in olive oil.
I used it in some spicy peanut sauce last night, and tonight I'm going to try and make homemade tomato soup which I have tried and failed in the past. But I plan on drizzling this on the soup. I think this might be my new favorite condiment. Right under green dragon sauce.
I've had some ideas for posts, and some recipe ideas floating around so I'm hoping to get back in the swing of blogging again. I've just been in a weird place for awhile, but it's time I try and force myself out of the funk. Maybe if my tomato soup is a success, I'll be back super soon!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sprouts Haul and The Stew!!!

Hello!!! I've been thinking about making a new post, and have typed and deleted several posts. I picked up some groceries from Sprouts yesterday and made a really delicious internet famous recipe, so I figured I'd share. First, I'll share my haul. You'll see it's pretty much my usual items.
Oranges, turmeric, bananas, power vitamin c packs, vegan gravy, Mary's Gone Crackers, hummus, potatoes, celery, kombucha,onion, avocado,tofu, pineapple, sweet potato
Bulk rice, opal apples,kale, oatmilk creamer, strawberries,ginger,lemons,live kombucha,coconut cream and milk, clearance Korean BBQ spice rub
I'm still keeping it cheap and simple. This haul was forty five dollars, but I had a coupon so it was forty dollars. Sprouts has a reputation for being super pricey, which it can be, but they have the best sales on produce, and have fair prices on staples like tofu. Like anyplace, it's when you get into the specialty vegan items that prices skyrocket.
I'll do a little cat palate cleanser and update before I move on to the famous recipe I tried. There has been a little progress in the Bubba/ Kiki saga. Sometimes, if Kiki is in the right mood they can be in the same room, and even on the same couch with no problems. Or, as you can see by Kiki's glare only small problems! But she still randomly attacks him, and he is still totally scared of her. He won't even walk by her unless I'm in the middle as a buffer!!
A few weeks ago a video popped up on YouTube titled spiced chickpea stew. I didn't pay attention to it at first for who knows what reason. But the video wouldn't leave me alone, it just kept being suggested to me. I finally caved and watched it, and decided I needed to try it. It's made by a non vegan, and it's so popular that if you Google "The Stew" it's the first result!!!
The stew is very simple, I had to stop myself from doctoring it because I thought it might be bland. Silly me, it is bursting with flavor and is one of the tastiest things I've put in my mouth recently!! Here is the recipe. The only two things I did differently was use cilantro as a garnish instead of mint, and I only had one can of chickpeas so I used that plus two smallish potatoes.
I served mine with rice and a dollop of coconut cream. This recipe deserves all the love and attention plus so much more. I ten out of ten recommend this, and I will be making this ALOT! It's rich and creamy with a very warming flavor. It's not spicy at all, in fact in the end I did add more crushed red pepper and of course some sambal but I'm a spicy kind of gal, so you could use less crushed red pepper if you're sensitive. I would definitely serve this to non vegans because it's just so good and satisfying that it just stands on it's own. Nothing is missing from this dish. And the ingredients are easy to find and very inexpensive. You could easily feed three of four hungry people for very little money!! Seriously cannot recommend enough!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

An Update on the Update

I wanted to hop on here and give a little update on my update. It's more of an update on me, not the blog since I still don't know what I want to do on that front. But, back to me! I've been job searching on and off for quite some time. Sometimes I go really hard, and then after some rejection and hating all my options I'll give up for awhile. Well, last week I ran into Natural Grocers for something, and they had a sign hiring for a produce assistant so I applied. Unfortunately someone else got that position, but I got hired as a cashier! I will be getting paid one dollar more an hour, and they give other perks which will help out. First of all, a discount on everything, including vitamins and supplements, and they give employees a dollar credit for every hour worked which you can use anytime you want on groceries or whatever. So, even though I'm still stuck cashiering, it's got more perks and it's for a better company. It all happened so fast, and I start on Monday morning!!! It's funny how life can change in an instant. I'm grateful my change was a good one!
I'm still not sure what this means for this blog. I know even though it's not going to be a huge change in income, the environment is going to be so much nicer and I know I'll feel better mentally. But my budget is still going to be shoestring, and I'm probably going to continue to eat simple, basic foods. But I already feel like blue skies are coming, so I'm hopeful I'll feel a little lighter.

This is what I was picking up at Natural Grocers when I saw the job posting. It was on sale and I had been wanting to try it for awhile. I actually like this better than GT's kombucha!! It has a light pineapple flavor with a touch of peach. It's like a lightly flavored, very lightly fizzy water with a bit of that fermented tartness. Highly recommend!!!
Bubba is still loving life and avoiding Kiki. Kiki is still stalking and pouncing. I've started calling her thug life. I never would have guessed she had such a side to her!
Ha, Afro yawned just as I was taking this picture. I love it because it looks like she's cracking up at the most hilarious joke!!!
I start my new job tomorrow and I'm just so excited. Hopefully this is the start of a whole new chapter.