Saturday, December 8, 2018

Sweet Loren's Cookies!!

I saw this cookie dough at Smith's the other day and I read the ingredients and they seemed vegan friendly, but at the bottom of the package where it says like no gmos, no nuts, no gluten onand on it didn't say vegan. So I mean I read and re-read the ingredients a million times before buying. I'm a sucker for a chocolate chocolate chip cookie! As I was taking this picture, I noticed the little v on the upper left corner!! If only I would have looked up I could have saved myself so much time!!
These are AMAZING! They are soft and fudge-y and everything I want in a cookie! If  I didn't know these were gluten free I would never in a million years guess they were gluten free. Best gluten free baked good I've ever had. Here is their website if you're interested. These were around $4.89 or99. More than gluten full cookie dough, but these are quality ingredients and it would cost me A LOT more to buy all the ingredients. Gluten free flour alone would be more than these cookies cost. And considering the outrageous prices of most gluten free things these are on the low end.
So many gluten free items have eggs or honey in them. There is not a single gluten free bread at Trader Joe's that doesn't have egg or honey or both. And sweet baked goods are worse. These cookies are proof that you don't need either. I hope more companies follow suit. It seems to me if you're cutting out allergens why not just go the whole way and make them vegan? I know people use honey for allergies but eggs are an allergen. It just seems like why not serve all the markets you can? Anyway, thanks Sweet Loren for making delicious gluten free and vegan cookies!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Mini Haul, Meals and Cats!

I wanted to make a recipe for a vegan green bean casserole. Just like what I remember as a kid. All I really remember from holiday meals is green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. I was going to make a thick cashew cream of mushroom soup, and use canned French cut green beans which are the ONLY green beans that should be used in my opinion. So I got on the bus, and went to Smith's for some canned green beans. And of course mushrooms and those delicious but bad french fried onions. My plan fell apart when I realized that those onions are dredged in flour!!! AARRRGGGGHHH! I'm sure there are gluten free versions, probably only sold at Sprouts and Whole Foods for ten times the price. I thought about just buying the onions and having a cheat, but I've been doing so good with gluten I decided to stay strong and forget about the casserole.
I meandered around and found a few things anyway. I wanted to get some cucumbers for my hummus, and I decided to go nuts and get some gluten free pita bread!
Green onion,kombucha,tea,Epsom salts,bananas, gluten free vegan cookie dough,vaniila silk creamer,peanut butter,tofu,baby Persian cucumbers,avocado,lemon,tamari,BFree Pita
I somehow forgot tofu and bananas when I got groceries on Sunday. Bananas I can understand, but tofu?? How dare I!!!
Simple truth is Smith's/Kroger/Fred Meyer's organic store brand and they make some pretty good stuff. I like their beefless burgers and they used to have vegan breakfast sausage that was really good too. And now they have vegan pudding cups!! This is great for vegan kids so they can have the same kind of fun stuff everyone else has!
This tea is AMAZING!

The BFree pitas are long and thin, kind of like a longboard. So I cut a small piece of the top and had a long pita sandwich! I heated the bread in the oven for a few to soften it a bit. It of course isn't as pliable as the gluten full version, but it held up to lots of hummus, cucumbers and sauerkraut! Also pea shoots! I love the taste, no baking soda detected!
For dinner I made vegan Japchae noodles. I used mung bean noodles but it's supposed to be sweet potato glass noodles with veggies, tofu and a delicious sauce made with tamari, sugar, sesame oil and a little rice vinegar all stir fried together. I added crushed red pepper because I always need it spicy!
Even introverts need cuddles!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Caramelized Onion Hummus

I have only one good memory of my unfortunate time living in Erie, PA. This is going to sound really sad, and it really is but there is a grocery store called Wegmans. It's an east coast chain, and their on I would say the upscale end. Anything super expensive and fancy can be found at Wegmans. They have a hot and salad bar that rivals Whole Foods in choices and price. They also have an olive bar with all kinds of olives, marinated veggies, grape leaves and the best hummus I've ever had, caramelized onion hummus. I used to get some almost every time I went there! It was rich and creamy and the onions made it a little sweet. Great stuff. So yes, hummus is my one good memory of Erie, PA.
I decided to try and remake that hummus since I'll probably never see a Wegmans again. I also figured I'd share the recipe since it's super easy, although you do have to spend time caramelizing the onions. It would be great to bring to a holiday party! Who doesn't love hummus, and since most hummus is just naturally vegan it doesn't have to be a big deal!

                                                         Caramelized Onion Hummus

  • 1 Can or Two cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 T. Tahini
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt 
  • 1/4 Tsp. Pepper
  • Juice of Half of a Lemon
  • 1Tsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 Large White Onion Sliced
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt
Add the coconut oil to a medium sized saute pan and add the onions plus 1/4 tsp. salt. Start on a medium high heat for about three minutes, then turn the heat to low and let the onions cook, stirring about every ten or fifteen minutes. It took me about forty five minutes. Your kitchen will smell incredible!
After the onions are done caramelizing, let them cool for a few minutes and then add them along with the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and remaining salt and pepper to a food processor and blitz until smooth. I added about three tablespoons of water to help things move and groove.
It has a rich, deep savory flavor with a hint of sweetness. It has been a few years since I've had the original but from what I can remember this is pretty spot on!
Now I wanted to talk about the crackers. I like Mary's Gone Crackers, but I don't have them often because of the price. I saw these new to me Mary's crackers which seem like they're trying to go for a wheat thin vibe. I decided to get them to go with this hummus. They're even pricier than the original crackers, so this was a real splurge.
In terms of texture they're okay. They're definitely thicker than a wheat thin, and also a little crumblier which I've learned is the norm for gluten free.
These are okay with hummus, but any dip that is thicker, like a cashew cheese ball or something like that would be too much for these guys to handle.
The taste is what bothers me. I can strongly taste the baking soda which is an issue I've had with other gluten free baked goods, especially sweets. I know they use it for leavening, an I guess gluten free needs more or something. It's really, really off putting and I'm super disappointed. If you're gluten free I would avoid these at all costs. Stick with her original crackers or if you're like me and on a budget look for the thin rice crackers. They hold up to dips well and they are usually the cheapest of all the options.
Fluffy throne cuddles!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What I Ate

I started the day with another carrot, orange and ginger juice. I Between public transportation and the public at work I am on the defense this cold and flu season. The other ay I was on the bus and I swear to you every.single.person was coughing, wheezing or sneezing. And I'm sitting ther breathing recycled air. It was so hard to not scream!!!
I was really enjoying having salads everyday and I've been missing them. So I made this little salad with red pepper, cucumber and avocado. With the best dressing ever. This really hit the spot!
For dinner I made another red lentil and potato curry. I just can't get enough of this meal! It's very comforting to me, and as a bonus it's super comforting on the wallet! And I know I say it every time, but I love making this meal in the morning and then heating it when I get home because we all know curry is better after it's mingled a bit! I swear by adding tamari and peanut butter. It gives it ooomph!
For the most part Joan is Miss Independent. A true introvert. She does have rare moments when she really wants attention or to snuggle. I always tease her that she has the worst timing because she'll want to be in my lap the moment I'm getting up, or she'll snuggle up with me in bed the minute I'm getting up. She decided yesterday that right when I wanted to do yoga was right when we needed to have some time. Joan won. I did do yoga, but only after I gave her some quality cuddle time!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Boring Monday!

I love the hopped grapefruit kombucha from humm. I always look at the mango passionfruit and then go for what I know I love. Well, I decided to be brave and try it, an I'm so glad I did! I mostly taste mango, and it's light and not too sweet. I feel like this would be great on a warm summer day!
I made some more gochujang peanut sauce and served it over brown Jasmine rice, baked tofu, cilantro, green onion, cucumber and iceberg lettuce. I love all the textures and temperatures in this dish. And I swear sometimes I plan meals just to have an excuse to have peanut sauce!
Afro has two thrones in this apartment. The green chair that I used to sit on to blog, and the corner of the couch on the plaid blanket. What do you do when your sister takes over? Just plop right down on her but of course!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Two Cats One Haul

Avocados, pasta sauce,red pepper, kombuchax3,almond yogurt,English cucumber,Valencia oranges,lemon,guacamole,iceberg lettuce,salsa,bean thread noodles,gluten free pasta, green onions,cilantro
I made it to the grocery to pick up a few more things to get me through the week. It's so weird seeing the lettuce and bagged salad sections everywhere looking so bare. Last week I had butter lettuce which I opened and use half the bag, and the very next day it had gone slimy which never happens so I decided until this is all sorted out I'll avoid bagged salads. I swear I need to have a garden! Oh, and Blake, if you're reading this picture is for you! My sandal and Afro make a cameo! The sandal is one of her favorite pillows for some reason.
Rice, mayacoba beans, iceberg lettuce, cilantro, green onion, salsa, guacamole, an a few chips for balance!
I cooked some mayacoba beans in the morning so they'd be ready for a burrito bowl later. I swear I tried to make it pretty but she's actually pretty messy. It was really, really tasty though. It's funny I always miss burritos, and I'm always hoping and wishing for a pliable, delicious gluten free tortilla and somehow I forget about burrito bowls!
There's a small part of me that likes that Romaine isn't an option because honestly I love iceberg lettuce for certain things. But I sometimes guilt myself into buying the romaine because I know it's better. But for things like tacos and burritos or bowls iceberg is really my favorite.
Monday Feelings!
I really, really get Joan. Here she is all in her little blanket fort. The blue blanket was completely covering her but I moved it to invade her privacy. She likes to be warm and cozy and always finds a private spot for some alone time. We are so alike!!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Return of Beige Food plus a Mini Haul!

Friday was a dreary day here in SLC. Grey, cold and half rain half snow. These kinds of days always remind me of Seattle. All I wanted was soup, so I made a tomato-y lentil soup and a grilled daiya on gluten free bread. Delicious, cozy and comforting.
Booch, brown and white bulk Jasmine rice, baby carrots, oranges, frozen berries, orange spice and lemon ginger tea, tofu, white onion and chocolate soy milk.

Here's my little mini Winco haul. Remember my groovy 70's or 80's jug I found at a thrift shop to make my kombucha? Well, I keep it on the top shelf of my pantry while it ferments and the other day I noticed something was leaking. It was my kombucha, somewhere along the way the jug developed a small crack in the bottom. So it made a big vinegar-y mess and ruined that batch of kombucha. Now I just have to back to the thrift shop for another jug, or just buy one of those huge jars of pickles, whichever comes first!
Last night I had an old favorite. Oven fries seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder and tofu nuggets. All dipped in curry Just Mayo. In my pregan days I thought people who dipped their fries in mayo had serious issues with taste. But now Just Mayo is one of my favorite condiments and I almost always have a jar in my fridge!

Friday, November 30, 2018

What I Ate on a Thursday

I've been a little off for about a week or so. Just not feeling my best, feeling a little sluggish and I've definitely been going to war with depression. I'm trying to eat really simple nourishing foods to kind of help with my energy. Gotta have energy to fight depression! I had the day off yesterday, and it was cold, grey and rainy so I stayed in and cleaned and snuggled with some kitties. I also took a picture of my simple meals!
Carrot, orange, fresh turmeric, celery and ginger

I toasted up two slices of BFree sandwich slices, and topped them with mashed avocado and green chile sauerkraut. Oh, and there's also nooch of course. This was so tasty!! I might have it again today!
For dinner I made a tofu bowl with rice, baked tofu, carrot, green onion and a delicious gochujang peanut butter sauce. This bowl was supposed to have lettuce but my lettuce had gone slimy. It was still really, really delicious once everything was mixed together.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Trying Some New Stuff

I've tried a few new to me items in the past few days and I thought why not share my thoughts and opinions.
I'm a big fan of Brew Dr. kombucha. I've tied several of their flavors and loved them all and I expected to love this one but I just didn't. It's made with white tea and flavored with rose so I expected it to maybe be too floral-y but actually I thought it was just dry and bland. It had a mild floral taste but it was too dry for my taste. It did not make me happy.
I love hodo soy tofu. They make these tofu curry nuggets which are one of my favorite things ever. The texture of their tofu is hands down the best of any tofu I've ever had. I would eat their tofu all the time if my budget allowed. Luckily for me Natural grocers has a sale on hodo soy so I finally got to try these burgers, and I'm so glad I did!
These are basically their amazing tofu shape into a burger. It has that chewy delicious texture. It has that meaty texture without being too meaty. In addition to tofu the burgers have cabbage, carrot and shitake mushrooms. You can eat these right out of the package, or if you heat them up it takes minutes because it's just already cooked tofu. These are probably the best vegan burger I've ever had. I love everything about these. The flavor is mild so you could take it a lot of places with sauces and the texture!! These get a nine out of ten and the only reason a point is deducted is because of the price. But flavor wise these are beyond a ten!
I've been trying to add more probiotics into my diet. So, everyday in addition to my kombucha, I try to have miso or sauerkraut. If I can ever find a sale on vegan kimchi that will be in the rotation too. I found this Farmhand Organics green chile kraut on sale and had to try it. It definitely has a kick. This would be great on a tofu pup with some mustard.
Last but not least I found these at Winco for a decent price. I've seen them at other stores an they're pretty pricey for only three popsicles. They're made with strawberry puree, water and cane sugar. That's it. They taste like the ingredients. Like frozen strawberry pie filling. Yum!
These get an honorable mention because I saw these at Trader Joe's on Monday but haven't tried them. They must be brand new because they didn't even have a price or description yet. I never had a crab cake in my pregan days, and honestly the crabless cakes by gardein are my least favorite of their products so I don't know about trying these. But I know a lot of people might be really excited for these!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Vegan Gluten and Soy Free Stuffed Mushrooms

I had an idea to try and make a stuffed mushroom. I found some beautiful stuffing mushrooms on sale the other day and so it seemed meant to be. These would be great little finger food for all the holiday parties this month. Or even football/sports parties! Or you can just have them with some pasta like I did! I stuffed them with a garlic-y cashew cheese plus the stems and garlic sauteed. They are savory and cheese-y and taste great hot or room temperature. Oh wait, I just tried a leftover shroom straight out of the fridge. Also tasty!
Before Baking!
Fresh Out of the Oven!
These are pretty easy to make. You can also stuff them ahead of time and bake them when you're ready!

                                                          Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms
 Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • 12 Lg. White Mushrooms
  • 3/4 C. Raw Cashews Soaked for at least two hours
  • 1/2 to 3/4 C. Water
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, 1 whole 3 minced
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp. Pepper
  • 3/4 Tsp. Miso paste 
  • 1 T. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Tamari, Soy Sauce of Liquid Amino
To make the filling, remove the stems from the mushrooms. Dice them up along with three cloves of garlic. Saute in fat of choice or water saute. I used about a teaspoon of coconut oil. Saute over medium heat until slightly browned and soft, about five minutes. Add tamari, soy sauce or aminos and remove from heat and make your cashew cheese.
Add the soaked and drained cashews to a food processor. Add 1/2 cup water, your whole clove of garlic, salt and pepper, miso paste and nutritional yeast. Process until smooth. If you have to add more water start slowly. You don't want your cheese to be too runny. In the end I added 1/2 cup plus about three tablespoons.
Once the cheese is done, fold in your sauteed stems and garlic.
Gently wipe off the mushroom caps and place in a very lightly greased baking dish. Fill each cap with the cheese and place in the dish. Once all the little caps are filled, place a sheet of foil over the mushrooms and bake for twenty five to thirty minutes.
Since I have the Miyoko's smoked mozzarella that needs to be used very soon, I grated some and added it on top. But they really don't need extra cheese. Or if you wanted it I'm sure daiya mozzarella or Trader Joe's vegan shreds would be really, really tasty.