Sunday, November 30, 2014

Snuffy was my Friend

I'm sure everyone has watched Sesame Street at some point in their life, and if you're like me, it brings up the warm and fuzzies. One of the biggest let downs about adulthood is that life really isn't like that. If Mr. Snuffleupagus  really came ambling down the street, obviously it would not bode well for Snuffy. I want to always wish for that world. All that harmony and equality really made for some happy life on Sesame Street. It seemed like no one really needed any toxic behavior as a shield from the harshness of the world. No bars on this street! And in my head, everyone on Sesame Street was a vegan, because duh, how could they love and be friends with Big Bird, but eat little birds. It just makes no sense to me.
That's the world we desperately need. I've realized that last week was a dark week for this country, in my opinion, and I fell prey to very sadness, and anger, which is of course normal, because I never in a million years want to be desensitized to injustice, and hate ever. Anyway, between the Ferguson decision, black Friday mayhem and gluttony, and my own feelings of isolation, man I sunk down quick. As I woke up this morning, I realizes that by being in that dark, negative place I am adding to the problem, because my energy is as toxic as anyone else's. And one thing I've learned is that it is super easy to get stuck in that headspace, and just wallow, and wallow. It's a horrible, helpless, and hopeless black hole.
Today, I detox, and come up with a plan. I don't know what the answer is, but I truly know that hate is not the answer. There is a disconnect somewhere, and I want to fix it, or at least help fix it. I can't stand all of the suffering that is going on every second of the day, and I just want to do what I can to encourage kindness, because at the end of the day, we could all stand to watch some Sesame Street.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Isolation Bad, Animals Good.

Well, I woke up this morning to the super cheerful pictures of all different kinds of people rolling around on the floor, kicking each others asses over discounted whatever at Wal-Mart. (It's always Wal-Mart) This went down on Thanksliving, I repeat Thanksliving!!! I wonder why when all of these religious groups go on and on about "family, Christian values, they never address this stuff. It sure doesn't really sing of family values to me to quickly scarf down some food, and then go throw down at our local Wal-Mart.
When I lived in Seattle, I found it easier to chuckle at the Black Friday insanity. It wasn't that no one in Seattle was insane, it was just that at least in my experience, they were more the minority, so it was like this weird sub species of humans that actually get physical over stuff at a store. Sadly, I don't get that same humor from it now because of two main things, the first being I kind of live in a Wal-Mart kind of town, so it's the norm, and the second is I am all isolated in my feelings. I don't know anyone that I can have a good laugh with. I will probably hear at least two Thanksgiving shopping stories today, if I'm lucky, only two.
Tuesday, the day I woke up to the news about Ferguson, I thank the universe had the day off from work, however I had some errands to run, and I did not run them, because I take public transportation, and I couldn't handle the comments I knew I would hear. That makes me so sad, because a non-racist should not be the minority like, EVER.
I'm saying all of this to say that I am beyond lonely. I am completely isolated in a way that I've never experienced. I love being alone, and loneliness is something that I have almost grown fond of, plus in most ways I prefer the company of animals over people. But isolation is really hardcore, and is a feeling I would never wish on anyone. Even back in the day when I was being bullied, I had a few friends that I could commiserate with. I have always made friends easily, and sometimes having too many friends can be taxing on my introverted nature, but damn having only long distance friends and no local people who are somewhat on the same page as me is sometimes I fear really messing with me. Sometimes I ask myself if I suck as a person now that I don't drink, maybe I'm super boring, I don't know. I feel like while maybe not as feisty, I am a much better person not drinking a million beers a day. I don't know, and truthfully I don't even care anymore, because after living in this city for long enough, I think it is a compliment that I am on the outside. And it's propbably a compliment that no one thinks I'm cool enough to hang with. See, being isolated makes you revert back to being a teenager I swear it's made me question myself in ways that I haven't since I was a teenager!
Anyway, it is kind of embarrassing to admit to how isolated I really feel. It's like this dark secret that only I know, and it really is hard some days to shake the empty feelings, and it's hard trying to keep your feelings to yourself, I am an expresser. I have many feelings, and I like to set them free. Sometimes I fear that I will  go "postal" on someone, and end up in jail, or psych.
It's so sad that now, to feel some comfort with like minded people, I have to go online! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but how else can I say it, I only have imaginary friends!! Cat friends, and imaginary friends, that is what my life has come to. Thanks for the memories, Pa.
In all seriousness, I just can't deny the cold hard truth, that isolation is no joke, and it isn't a surprise that isolation is a form of punishment. And the fact that I still feel sane for the most part, is a true testament to the power of animal love. These crazy cats literally keep me warm at night
Wow, I am so sorry this was way babblier, and longer than I intended! I hope everyone has a bright and cheerful day, full of like minded people and no ass kicking at Wal-Mart!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


To everyone who observes Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful, warm day filled with love. The world needs all the love it can get right now. I myself don't really observe Thanksgiving for various reasons, but I plan on having a productive day, and definitely taking time out to be thankful for what I have, including, all of my sleeping kitties. I'm also thankful for everyone, who for whatever reason is abstaining from turkey this year. I can't even stand hearing people talk about Thanksgiving to be honest. While people eat meat at Christmas as well, at least for the most part people are talking about what gifts they give/receive, where as Thanksgiving, I hear very little talk of thanks, and instead it focuses on food, and then food. 'Merica.
I'm in a very dark place, as I truly feel what happened in Ferguson to be a very dark mark on this country. I feel like all hope for any good has been zapped. I find it hard to even understand that in 2014 almost 15 that this happened, and I can hardly stand that I live in a world where parents fear for their sons simply because of skin color. As I even type this it feels ridiculous, and what happened with the lack of indictment feels like a movie. I'm waiting for George Clooney, Or Matthew Mcconaughey, (as lawyers) to come and make the indictment happen, but also stick around to make sure Darren Wilson goes to prison for a LONG time. But, alas that is not going to happen, and quite frankly in a month this will barely be spoken about. Until the next time. It just feels like we are barbarians, and I have no other way to think of hateful people.
I'm sorry to anyone who reads this that I've been such a downer, but I don't see any other way to feel about this news, and living in such a racist community, I unfortunately can't tell myself Ferguson is an isolated thing, that happens only in very small out of the way towns. I also do not know one single person who I can talk to about how I feel, and what can be done etc. I think the professionals call this processing, anyway unfortunately I only know people who are more on the Darren Wilson side of things, so I guess I'm processing by blogging.
Have a wonderful, loving day, and spread the love, it is so needed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We Need a Think Tank

I'm still feeling very saddened by yesterday's news of the lack of justice that was served in Ferguson. I watched some footage from Democracy Now, who are stationed in Ferguson, and are really telling the true story of what's going on, as opposed to the sensationalized, one sided, and in some cases(Fox News) very racist versions. It's a lot of hurt, and broken spirits and people. Obviously there is anger too, but I mostly noticed the pain and hurt. Living in such a racist town, I truly mean this, evil is winning. I first noticed it with the George Zimmerman trial, I almost died when all of my co-workers were talking about the trial, and defending George Zimmerman. I seriously almost shit, and then I realized how deep and evil racism was. I don't like hunters, however if someone shot an unarmed hunter for no logical reason, I would not defend that person, nor would I celebrate if his/her murderer was not held accountable. So now, we have George Zimmerman take two, only this time disguised as a cop, and once again, no justice. These smug, racist people are fucking WINNING.
I saw a very moving speech Killer Mike gave at the end of one of his shows last night, and he was crying and speaking of his twenty and twelve year old sons, and how he is terrified for them and their safety, all because of the color of their skin. What kind of fucking world is this where skin color has ever mattered, let alone in 2014, almost 15. We can all think we have come so far, with all of our rules, and laws, and progress, not to mention, how smart are we because smartphones, interwebz, and SELFIES, but how smart are we? Because these racist people are hving children, and raising them in the same manner. And another scary thing about racism that I've learned is that there is the obvious, overt in your face racism, and then there is the sweet, little church lady racism. These are the people who the thought of using the n word makes them clutch their pearls, but at the same time they like their world to be a very light world, and anything darker or "different" can just stay over there. They agree with racism, they just prefer a kinder, fuzzier version. And another thing I have noticed is how many people who gleefully spew hatred towards really anyone who isn't white, consider themselves to be Christian, and have the audacity to judge others, and truly believe that they hold the moral high ground. This city I live in has more churches, bars, and racists than I have ever seen anywhere, and I was raised in Ohio, and lived in several smaller cities in my day!
The answer is obviously a shift in thinking, because we can make racism as politically incorrect as we want, and we can publically shame celebrities who get busted, but in the end it doesn't matter, because people still think white skin is better, and until that type of thinking stops, this is our world we have not only created, but we allow to keep flourishing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I woke up to very disappointing news. I'm very saddened to hear that they decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the man who shot Michael Brown Jr. I guess I must be more naïve than I thought, as I truly thought he would be indicted. Nothing would make what happened okay, but at least justice being served would have brought his family some closure, and could also have sent a positive message that this will not be tolerated. Now his family is left with nothing but broken hearts and the black cloud of injustice hovering around.
I can't believe I live in a country where people are anything but sad. As we are having the holiday season aggressively shoved down our throats, maybe we should take a cold hard look at the real truth- it is about to be 2015..... and this shit is not only happening, we are giving it the green light. Every racist fuck in this country is high fiving, and feeling so comfortable in their hateful, ugly skin. And all of us who are not racist are letting this shit go on, because we don't know how to fight it. And I feel very strongly that it is to the point where it is not good enough to just not be racist. People are getting killed, fat, ugly, scourge of the earth people are allowed to walk around, and possibly appear on Fox News and proudly spread their hate, and it has to stop. I don't know what the answer to everything is, but it has been proven over and fucking over that hate and violence is not the answer.
Michael Brown Jr., your life mattered.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Vegans can Braise Too!!

I always thought of braising as a meaty cooking technique. Anytime that I've heard someone braising on a cooking show, it always seems to be some kind of meat stew type concoction. So yesterday I was making some pesto, and I decided to cook up some dry white beans thinking I would just toss these in with the pesto and pasta. About halfway through cooking, I started thinking I wanted to turn the beans into their own dish, that would compliment the pesto. For whatever weird reason, braising popped into my head. I feel like braising might just be a different or fancier way of saying stewing something. With braising, you sear first, then stew I guess. I didn't sear my white beans, but I did follow traditional braising instructions. I took about two cups of cooked white beans, added it to a pan with one sautéed onion, and two minced cloves of garlic, added a generous pinch of dried basil, a pinch of red pepper, salt and pepper, and two cups of veg broth, and let it simmer away for a little over 45 minutes. You want to stir periodically and when the beans are somewhat broken down, and most of the liquid is absorbed, the beans are ready! They turn so buttery and savory. You can add whatever herbs you like, and mix and match. I stuck with dried basil to match my pesto, but I think next time I will try rosemary and thyme. I think a batch of this, served with some bread to smear these on would be what I would consider a simple but beyond satisfying dinner. A little drizzle of olive oil over top when they're done would probably really gild the lily. To me, this dish reminded me that cheap little old beans can be turned into something really simple and delicious, but also dare I say elegant.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gardein is Winning

A while ago, I emailed Gardein to tell them I think they are doing great things for vegan food, and they were so nice and mailed me a couple of dollar off coupons. I put one to good use, and decided to try a new to my grocery store flavor, the meatless meatloaf! It comes with four slices of loaf, and two packets of gravy. I decided to have some before work, and although the directions on the package say to either pan fry it, or microwave it, I cooked mine in the oven at 350  for about ten minutes on one side, and about five on the other, and I loved how it turned out. The loaf is like a pumped up version of Gardein's beefless burger. It has that same juicy, meaty, greasy in a good way flavor and texture, but with additional seasonings to I guess make it more "loafy". I'm not going to say it's "brimming" with veg, but onions and celery were spotted. I had mine without the gravy, I don't know if it's just me but I like gravy in theory, but usually it doesn't thrill me. Too brown maybe. So, anyway I don't feel the loaf slices needed the gravy for flavor, or moisture, but for gravy lover's I'm sure it elevates the slices. The first thought I had when I tasted it was, man you could fool some non-vegans for sure with this. I bet these slices make delicious sandwiches too, that might be what I do with the remaining slices. I have not had a Gardein product that hasn't nailed it. I know they may not be as healthy as say Hilary's veggie burgers, but I gotta say I enjoy Gardein more, and since it's a rare treat, I don't worry about it. Once again, I have to say that companies like Gardein, and Just Mayo and Earth Balance are just nailing it with all of these delicious options that keep coming out. It just keeps getting harder and harder for non vegans to make fun of vegan food, and I love it. I cannot recommend this delicious loaf enough, and I feel very strongly that it would pass the dubious non-vegans test also!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fancy Vegan Cheese For Skinny Wallets

There seems to be a big move in the vegan cheese world. To me, it seems like the vegan cheese world was on stand still for a looooong time, and then bam Daiya hit the shelves, was a huge hit, and it seems like it's been taking off. It is really such amazing news, because again, I hate to be so crude, but everything always seems to boil down to money, so if there weren't a demand, none of these cheeses would exist. So, like I said, I could not be happier for the animals, but as a consumer, my happiness is from afar. Some of these cheeses I've been reading about sound so amazing, but amazing comes at a price. Daiya is a splurge item for me, and I keep my bag in the freezer and use it sparingly to make it laaaaast. I rely on nutritional yeast for a lot of my cheesy needs. And I dabble in making my own vegan cheeses. I made the cashew goat cheese that was in a Vegetarian Times eons ago, and although time consuming, most of the time was inactive, and it was pretty easy to make and MamaMia was it delicious! It was a log, and it was rolled in peppercorns, I drool thinking about it.
Like I said, it was somewhat easy, but still it was a two or three day process, so it isn't really a spontaneous recipe. I recently was flipping through my renewed copy of Veganomicon, and I spied a recipe for cashew ricotta, and I decided I would experiment with half cashews, half raw sunflower seeds, and I am happy to say it worked like a dream! I had to stop myself from eating it out of my blender. The recipe uses both tofu, and cashews which I think is wonderful not only for flavor, but for cost also, which is another thing I love about subbing sunflower seeds, because cashews are definitely costly. This ricotta is garlicky, and lemony, and the texture is creamy, more creamy than tofu ricotta, I'm guessing from the fat in the cashews. I used mine in a cooked dish, but as I was tasting, and re-tasting, for quality purposes, I kept thinking how great it would be as a spread for crackers, or toated baguette, or even as a spread for sandwiches, or again as a meal. With the holiday season just around the corner, I recommend this as an appetizer for vegans and non-vegans alike. I personally do not like the taste of raw tofu at all, when I make tofu ricotta, I taste a tiny amount for seasoning and that's it, but this stuff is creamy and rich, and the nuts, and seeds and of course garlic really mask the tofu flavor. And if you use sunflowers and cashews, you can double the recipe if needed, at very little extra cost, because all the moolah you're saving on cashews! I just had another thought, I bet you could put it in a little dish and bake it for a little, and serve it as a warm dip for veg, and bread. The possibilities are endless, and I think we can show non vegans that eating with compassion is so easy and delicious, and not weird, or expensive, or lacking in anything. And, we can all have fancy vegan cheeses without having to sell an organ.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Winter Blues Came Early

I want to apologize because I feel like all week I've been blah, blah, blahing and having a hard time connecting to my point. The truth of the matter is starting at the end of last week, and going strong into this week winter has come very early where I live. I'm talking February style weather, snow, ice temperatures in the teens, single digits, and maybe low twenties if a heat wave is passing through. I am devastated. Last year was truly the worst winter I have ever lived through, but it didn't start getting into apocalypse territory until Jan. or Feb. My heart is breaking for Al, and all of the other homeless animals. I haven't seen Al since last week, and I haven't seen anyone for days. I can only put out crunchy food, unless I see one of the kitties, because wet food freezes in like five minutes. This is such bullshit for them. I wish so much I could snatch them as easily as I did Robin. I would put the feral ones in my attic, which although not heated, there is no wind, and then I would release them in the spring. Between worrying about them, and dealing with my own misery, I am kind of a mess. I am truly depressed, so much so that I actually contemplated (for a minute) that maybe I should take some kind of seasonal anti-depressant. I of course came to my senses quickly. Anyway, I'm sorry if I sometimes don't make sense, and I guess we're in for a long winter, so I will also apologize for all of my future ramblings. In addition to the early winter invasion, I sometimes think going for days upon days upon days without really connecting with anyone is starting to make me lose it. I talk to co-workers, people on/waiting for the bus, etc. but all of it is mindless small talk, and truth be told the majority of the time I'm listening to stuff that I don't agree with, and in most cases is actually offensive to me, and hurts my feelings. I have never felt so unsafe to be myself. I'm so glad I don't partake in alcohol at the moment cause a) I would be getting trashed ALL the time and b) I would for sure get beat up at a bar, because I get a little sassy when I drink, and it would just be a bloody mess. Literally bloody.
Anyway, I'm grateful that as bad as I feel, I am not drowning myself in alcohol and nicotine, or Pills and Potions, as Niki Minaj sings. It makes it easier to combat depression, winter blues, or a funk, to be kind and loving to yourself.
Please send good thoughts, strength, or prayers, whatever you believe to all of the homeless animals really dealing with the harsh elements. I don't know how they do it, but I wish I could provide comfort in some way.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sweaty is Good

The body is really an amazing thing. It adapts to it's surroundings, and in most cases finds a way to function. When I was smoking, drinking, not eating or sleeping correctly, and bingeing and purging multiple times a day, my body adapted, and somehow I was able to function, and work, have a social life, squeeze in yoga here and there, and I guess function. It's pretty amazing, and what's more amazing is how you get used to feeling like crap, and that is just how you live. If anyone has ever been abusive to themselves for any period of time, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. When you start sleeping, and giving it nutrients, and stop flooding it with a bunch of chemicals and toxins, you just can't believe you ever didn't live this way. I could never imagine drinking and smoking night after night, and I can't ever imagine being in the bingeing and purging cycle again. I now have a new appreciation for my body, not to mention the utmost respect, because it has held up pretty well, and has definitely treated me better than I have it. And part of my "loving myself" regime has been increasing the intensity of my workouts, which has made me feel stronger, and prouder of myself than I can ever remember. Even though I am not as thin as I would like to be, I can feel my muscles working, and I can feel each muscle doing what it's supposed to do. It's like so much of my life was spent not giving an eff about myself, and hating my body, feeling my body work and feeling good are such strangely wonderful feelings, and I want to encourage anyone I can to feel the same thing, because it's great. Being able to appreciate my strength and my body even though I don't have "the bod" is what helps me deal with toxic people and negative remarks without bingeing and purging, or drinking to cope.
I feel very strongly that keeping our minds along with our bodies is really important. For me, when I see people who just seem to radiate health and happiness, they are always people who are mindful of both. And I'm not talking about working out for vanity, I'm talking about working out and feeling that hum your muscles get when they're moving and grooving, not to mention the endorphin rush! As someone who has a well rounded knowledge of various highs, I can say endorphins are one of the grooviest! And if you can't afford yoga classes, or a gym, I've mentioned it before but seriously, YouTube has an endless supply of probably any kind of workout you can imagine. I love working out, but the thought of doing so in a public gym does not appeal to me. I have done tours of various gyms, and it always comes back to no. I have taken yoga classes at yoga studios, and definitely enjoyed it, but it's not in my budget. I guess what I'm saying is that there is a workout option for everyone. I promise if you are in a rut, if you truly want to feel better you can, and it doesn't have to be hard, or a big deal. If you start giving your body what it needs, it will flourish, and you will look back on those toxic days wondering how you were ever so mean to yourself. And I never thought I would be able to accept myself not being thin. It is amazing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Odds and Ends

Well, it seems that Unilever might have actually helped Just Mayo. It seems that many, many people feel the same way as I do about this completely ridiculous lawsuit. It has become quite the hot topic, and the petition is doing very well. It seems that many non-vegans not only love Just Mayo as well, but also people just don't like seeing this kind of bullying from these big ass corporations. I'm so happy that people are letting their opinion be known, and I hope people try to avoid all products made by Unilever. It seems that's the only way to get these people to listen. They make a lot of stuff that I'm happy to say I have never purchased at all. (axe for men anyone?) I don't know if the negative attention will make them drop the suit, but at least it is bringing attention to Just Mayo, and also reminding us all that we are letting corporations have way too much power. Bullies are easy to defeat if people stand up to them.
Something I wanted to talk about yesterday, before I got sidetracked was a delicious little omelette /pancake/crepe type meal you can make out of chickpea flour. I read about this quite a few months ago on an awesome blog called Bonzai Aphrodite. (she calls them Pudla, and they have several other names) I have always struggled with tofu omelettes, I cannot get them to look like anything other than a mistake on a plate, and chickpea flour intrigued me, so I found some Bob's Red Mill garbanzo flour in the natural section of Wegmen's, (it was under three dollars. Bonus!) I have become obsessed, they are my new favorite breakfast! For one person, I use  1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of flour, a pinch of baking soda, (I have forgotten this before, and it was fine.) salt, pepper, whatever spices and herbs you prefer, and then whatever veg you want. What I have come to love so much, is this is a great way to use up odds and ends of veg, like when you have that half of a green pepper, two mushrooms, one green onion, etc. If you are like me, sometimes those odds and ends stress me out, and although I am a soup lover through and through, it's nice to have options. If you are using softer veg like green onion, shredded cabbage, sprouts, you can add them raw into the batter, other veg such as peppers, mushrooms, white onion, I like to give a quick sauté before adding to the batter. To make the batter, just add enough water to make a batter. I usually end up adding around a half cup. I have been making one big pancake, but I though yesterday duh, why don't I make two smaller cakes, which will be much easier to flip. Anyway, they only have to cook for 4 or 5 minutes on one side, flip and maybe 2 or 3 on the other side, so these are very quick and easy. If you don't like garbanzo beans, then these would not be for you, but if you are a fan, you should try these, they have a taste that is both beany and eggy, in the best way possible. I serve mine with a healthy dose of hot sauce, and the past couple of days have been adding a variety of hot peppers like jalapeno, and Serrano( hi almost a vegan!), cilantro, and green onion and yesterday I also added some chopped spinach. It was green, and spicy! If you prefer a sweet breakfast, then try this for lunch or dinner. There are a million recipes online, for like a hundred variations, and also I saw a recipe for a chickpea flour frittata that is calling my name. I have never had a non vegan frittata so it will be a whole new adventure!
So today was a mish mash, but the moral of my story is support Just Mayo, protest Unilever, and try a chickpea omelette/pancake!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Get Up, Stand Up

I don't think I'm alone when I say that bullies really piss me off. I have been the victim of bullying, and I definitely know what a toll bullying takes on your psyche. And I was bullied thank the universe before the internet and social media. Now kids can be bullied 24 hours a day. No wonder so many take their own lives, I can't even imagine. I can't stand even talking to anyone who has a bullying mentality. It's a good thing I'm not a republican, because I would never be able to watch Fox News, because for reasons unknown to me, all of the people on fox have to yell, and be so aggressive, and condescending, and at times ignorant and mean, which is a dangerous combo, they all just seriously remind me of bullies. In my opinion, Bullying kind of defines America. We are almost proud, and have holidays celebrating bullies. Most corporations are big ass bullies, and for some reason we as Americans are A-Okay with it. I think sometimes we think of people who are bullies as "strong", or "a real man" (if it's a man of course!) or "aggressive, and strong in his/her convictions".  Bullies are actually weak, and there is really nothing impressive about a bully.
As you can see, I feel very strongly about this topic, and could actually write a book about my experiences, and thoughts on bullies, but I have a reason I'm bringing this up. I just read yesterday that the corporation Unilever, which makes Hellman's mayo, among many, many other things, is suing the makers of Just Mayo!!!!!! They are suing because by definition mayonnaise has egg in it, and so they are misleading the public, and harming the product category. They also are saying that on Just Mayo's facebook page they claim that consumers prefer Just Mayo over Hellman's. Unilever is claiming that this does not actually reflect consumer preferences. Excuse me but what the hell, and how the hell do they know. This has me so riled up I can hardly think straight. The bottom line is that Just Mayo is doing very well, and has become Whole Foods number one selling mayo. I talked about it awhile ago, and I love it, in my opinion not only is it the best vegan mayo(sorry veganaise, I still really do love you), but it is by far the best mayo period, and apparently I am not alone. I mentioned when I talked about Just Mayo that Andrew Zimmerman, who is a very meaty, I would say very vegan unfriendly chef loves Just Mayo, and has a quote on their website exclaiming his love of Just Mayo. He has started a petition to get unilever to drop this ridiculous lawsuit. I just signed it, and it took ten seconds. Please, try Just Mayo if you haven't, go to unilever's website and take a gander at their products, and please don't buy them. And please sign this petition, this has got to stop. I was reading an article earlier, and as that author put it, this is like the biggest bully on the playground going after the little nerdy kid. But we can all get behind Just Mayo, and show Unilever what dicks they really are.
What hurts my heart the most is that animals lives are really for me the bottom line. Just Mayo is truly delicious, and so it is the best of both worlds, people could still have their faaty mayo, and chickens don't have to be murdered, tortured, and in some cases ground up alive just so Susie, Kelly, Tom, and Chad can have a BLT, with a side of macaroni salad. And that is what has Unilever so scared, is that people are starting to realize they can have flavor without cruelty.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mental Immunity

Depression has been something I have dealt with for as long as I can remember. I have been to therapists, psychiatrists,  and on various anti-depressants. Over ten years ago, I was prescribed a combo of pills to take, and they made me trip out harder than any acid, or magic mushroom ever could. I had a very scary night, and the next day needless to say I skipped my "dose", and I have never looked back, or taken another anti-depressant, as a matter of fact I do my best to avoid any pill or medication. Anyway, it's been a learning curve dealing with depression alone, but I feel like I have a grip now. For quite a few of the past ten years I have to admit that I often dealt with it through drinking, which we all know is the worst idea, as alcohol is a depressant. So I was just like a hamster on a wheel. After my last relationship ended, a little over a year ago, I have really been working on this whole inner happiness plan I have, and I thought I would share a few things that have become very necessary and helpful to keeping my mental self functioning. I think of it as my mental immune system.
I think exercise is important, and two things I've recently discovered is that doing a combo of cardio, along with yoga is very effective, and really makes you feel strong and healthy, in and out, and yoga focusing on hip and shoulder flexibility are very beneficial to your mental state. In yoga, they say that the hips are where we keep negative, unwanted emotions, and boy do I believe that. And the other day I did a yoga practice to loosen the shoulders, and man I felt so fantastic afterwards I really couldn't believe it. I guess I didn't realize I had so much tension in those puppies!
Another important thing is nutritious foods, which of course also goes along with keeping your immune system strong. It's so much harder for depression to win in your body when you're brimming with nutrients. I by no means eat 100% raw, especially this time of year, but I notice on days when I try to eat at least 50% raw, I do feel better and happier, so try to eat raw fruit and veg at some point in your day. And I've mentioned it before, but when I'm feeling a bit funky, or emotionally drained, I make a chia drink, with water, about one or two tablespoons of chia seeds, and a half, or a whole lemon, and it really perks me up. The first time I thought maybe it was a fluke, but I have made this drink on multiple funky days, and it always works! Peppermint tea is another great drink. The next time you are feeling sluggish, try a cup instead of that afternoon cup of coffee. Somehow the soothing peppermint smell manages to relax, and energize me.
I feel like taking care of mental immunity goes hand in hand with taking care of yourself physically. It's kind of the same, eating right, exercise, sleep. But sometimes taking that minute to have a cup of tea and really savor the scent, and the moment can really help your mind and your spirit, and sometimes all it takes is one little moment to change your day for the better. And we are exposed to people's toxic mental cooties, as well as the common cold, flu, etc. So, even someone not experiencing depression can easily be pulled down by negative nellies.
I still get pulled down, and I still battle depression, and I have days where I cry more than usual, want to give up, but I am able to pull myself back up, without the false protection of alcohol, and it is really amazing to me that it's possible. It's possible to shake off toxic co-workers, and rude people without having to get wasted!
Have you ever talked to an older person who is just really negative about everything, and has nothing pleasant to say? I feel like life is very hard, and people can be very toxic, not to mention watching five minutes of the news is enough to make you want to cry, and I think it can infect you, and just simmer away, and the end result is a nasty old person that brings everyone down. I think taking care of your mental immunity is a way to prevent that. Exercise, have a cup of tea, take a bath, read a book, love yourself and be loving towards yourself, it will make a difference, a big one!
Have a positive, groovy day!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Vitamin C, and Ginger, and Miso, Oh My!!

I feel like I'm serving a life sentence of working in restaurants. I have of course done other things here and there, but the majority of my "career" has been as a server. Please try to not be too jealous, because it is as glamorous as it sounds, and not to mention all the perks and respect you get. And throughout my glamorous, soul satisfying, well paid, career, I have worked at all kinds of restaurants, from super swanky fine dining, to you're greasiest, biggest hole in the wall dump. And I have had all kinds of bosses, and co-workers, and dealt with tons of different types of customers. I say all of this to say, I've seen a lot of stuff behind the scenes of the restaurant world, and believe it or not, there is grossness all across the board, and sometimes the less fancy restaurants are far cleaner, and serve better quality food. I remember years ago, I  worked at a rather nose in the air place, and the "chef" thought very highly of his "artistry" Well. guess what, part of his creative process was serving Stouffers frozen lasagna, with a blob of "fresh" marinara, and a sprinkling of cheese to really make it shine! Anyway, I'm getting far away from my point, which again is I know stuff, and I don't know about anyone else, but where I live it snowed like it was February yesterday, which is beyond depressing, but it made me think about cold and flu season, and all of the sick people who are preparing, and serving your food. Many restaurants are real dicks about employees calling in sick. Some say you have to get your own shift covered, and if you can't, then you need to cover it or you get fired. When you are very ill, and it took all of your strength to even call your boss, it's very daunting to have to call a million co-workers to beg them to cover. Not to mention having to go and stand on your feet, smile and be friendly, and serve food when you have a fever and snot will not stop dripping, all because you can't afford to be fired for getting the flu, or cold. I've worked at restaurants that say if you call in sick, you need to have a doctor's excuse. But what they don't think about is they are paying below minimum wage,(well below) and I personally have never had medical insurance through an employer, so where the hell do you have the money to pay a doctor to tell you that you have the cold/flu, and you should rest and get fluids? I have never been able to afford to pay for someone to tell me what I already know. And often, people who work at restaurants, or I  would imagine any minimum wage job, simply can't afford to stay home when sick, and miss a day or two of pay. It has happened to me for sure, there have been a few days where i felt so guilty being at work, and serving people food, but I don't have paid sick days, and especially when you are a server, you need to be serving that food to earn those tips, because  2.83 an hour.
Sorry, I didn't really mean to rant so much, because I really just wanted people to use caution when dining out, and honestly as someone who has worked in so many restaurants, I am VERY leery of restaurants, and in general prefer to make my own food. I can't even trust places like Chipotle, because although they make your goodies in front of you, what goes on behind that wall? Who cooked this rice? What is going on with them, any sniffles, puking I should know about? So, just make sure your super pumping yourself with vitamin c and ginger. It's what I've been doing because I have to work around these sickos, and serve the sickos. It amazes me how many people come out to eat when they are sick. People are very strange, so it's best to have as strong of an immune system as possible. Last winter once or twice a week I had miso soup with a few thinly sliced shitake mushrooms, always followed by lots of vitamin c, and a ginger detox bath, and I  feel like I  fared pretty well, I only got a slight cold once, and I was able to fight it off pretty quickly. And I have a co-worker who came to work with a pneumonia/bronchitis combo and hacked in my face all night while mixing drinks! If I were at a bar or restaurant, and the bartender is hacking up a lung, I'm outta there! So, if hand sanitizer is your jam, or detox baths, juicing, mass vitamin c, or a combo, just take care of your loyal immune system, and give it lots of love this season, cause humans are funky and it has a lot of fighting to do!! And pay attention to the staff of any restaurant that you are eating at, and watch out for any suspicious sniffling and or hacking going on.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I'll Take the Straight-Edge Bagel Please

I haven't had a bagel in a really loooong time. The last time I was going to buy a bag, I was checking the ingredients for any egg or dairy related ingredients, and I was shocked at some of the god knows what kind of weird chemicals I saw. I can't even say ingredients, because I seriously think that these things are chemicals. I am by no means super militant about eating "clean", although that is how I lean, but I am an ethical vegan, not a health "plant based vegan", so I enjoy a bit of vegan junk now and then, but seriously, I feel very strongly about the difference between junk, or something that isn't bursting with anti-oxidants, and eating food created with chemicals in a lab. Anyway, I just can't with the bagels, and I haven't seen many organic, or even just more natural brands of bagels. (I deeply mourn the loss of a Trader Joe's in my life.) So I have lived a bagel-less life for over two years now.
One of my fave blogs, The Shenandoah Vegan, often has a delicious looking bagel, with a big old schmear of vegan cream cheese, and often scallions, and it always looks so delicious! One of my favorite breakfasts ever before going vegan was a bagel with cream cheese, alfalfa sprouts, and pepper. So, so good, if you've never tried it, you so should, because hello vegan cream cheese!
Anyway, back to bagels, and present day. On my last trip to the Co-op, I noticed they had Galaxy vegan cream cheese on a super sale, but what was the point I thought? Then, I just happened to notice in their freezer section, next to vegan shrimp(!?) were some sort of bagel. I checked ingredients, vegan, check, non-toxic, check. The one important thing I can't check is the high price, I can't remember the exact cost, but they were over five dollars a bag. Anyway, I hadn't yet picked out my treat, or splurge item, so bagels it was. The brand is Alvarado St. bakery, and I bought the sprouted wheat bagels. I was scared these were going to be super dense and wheaty like Ezekiel bread can be. Not that I don't love Ezekiel, but I was hoping after such a long wait, to have more of the traditional bagel experience. Well, not to worry, somehow Alvarado bakery managed to make these bagels hearty, but they still are light enough to definitely be a bagel, and when toasted with a schmear, and some sliced scallions, and cucumber, a very satisfying breakfast. I like that when toasted, they have that same crunchy exterior, and soft and bready inside. I feel that texture is an issue with some sprouted wheat breads that I've had in the past. I wish I could buy these delicious bagels all the time, but at the price they will have to be a once in awhile splurge. But I recommend trying them if you too are weary of toxic franken bagels. Although pricey for my budget, I will 100% say that these are worth the money, and as I said, they will be in my splurge rotation. And the ingredients make sense, sprouted whole wheat berries, whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. No chemicals needed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

For Whom The Balls Toll

Yesterday was an EPIC failure. Robin was in the kitty carrier, I went to close the latch and he was outa there. I then chased him around my apartment, scared the living crap out of him, not to mention my other kitties. He didn't get neutered. He was so scared that he was seriously going to attack me, and so I made an executive decision to let everyone calm down. He was mad at me and hid whenever I came near for the rest of the day yesterday. I felt terrible and cried on and off all day, resulting in a pair of the most gorgeous cry eyes I have ever seen. And I have to work tonight. Zoinks, I hope green tea bags will help. Thank goodness all seems to be forgiven today, as Robin has let me pet him several times so far. I'm making another appointment for next week. I think I see the error of my ways yesterday. Next week I need to swipe him up closer to when I wake up, when he's not really paying attention. Once he saw me trying to close the latch yesterday, he was scared and there was no way I was going to get him, and he's simply nothing like my other kitties, he is not domesticated yet, and he still is not 100% sold on me yet. I didn't want to make him sit in the pet carrier for a really long time yesterday, so I waited till kind of the last minute, big mistake with a cat. You would think someone like me who is dangerously close to crazy cat lady territory would be a little smarter. I guess every thing in life is a chance to learn. Sometimes corralling cats can also be a two person job, so that was definitely an issue for me yesterday. That set me in a downward mood spiral yesterday as well. In Seattle I would have had numerous people who would have been able to help, or at the very least someone to whine to about how upsetting the whole thing was for everyone. Here I have no one and for the most part, as a loner by nature I can deal with having no fiends, having no in depth conversations, and pretty much trying to avoid society at large. But there are those times in life where you really want/need someone for what I don't know but you need something emotionally. Sometimes what makes me the most sad is not even having anyone to celebrate anything good that happens, or any achievements you might have made, because you don't know anyone who gives a shit about what you give a shit about. As I said, I am a loner by nature, so I can handle loneliness, I guess what I've learned is isolation is a real kick in the ass, and I feel suffocated by it sometimes. Thankfully the kind of moments where I feel truly isolated don't happen every day, or I would probably really lose it.
To end on a high note, because I've been dying to let someone know this, I completed Jillian Michael's 30 day shred level 2 the other day without a single grunt, or stopping to get a grip! I have been really doing a lot more intense workouts in addition to yoga, as I feel working out is so helpful to your mind and spirit, as well as your body, and I am noticing a big difference in my strength and endurance, and it feels so much better than drinking and smoking cigs!!
And if anyone has any experience peacefully corralling a kitty who has trust issues, I would love to hear any helpful hints!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Flexible Stew

I had a couple of bits and pieces of this and that floating around my fridge, and I was getting stressed about what to do with them, and I remembered a recipe I discovered last winter that I became obsessed with, and it fell off my radar this summer. The recipe is in Mama Peas cookbook, titled Peas and Thank You. It can also be found online, all over the place. The recipe is Spicy African Peanut Stew. It is a curry stew, with a little bit of cinnamon, and a little garam masala, an it has chickpeas, red lentils, sweet potato, in a delicious mixture of coconut milk(lite so low fat!), tomatoes, and peanut butter!! I always add a little crushed red pepper flakes, in addition to hot sauce at the end. The first time I made this I almost cried it was so delicious! I struggle sometimes with curry, by adding too much, or too little, and this recipe is so perfect. It reminds me of Seattle, as a lot of more exotic flavors were introduced to me in Seattle. It is so warming and hearty on a cold evening, and as with most stews and curries, it is way better the next day. And it's super flexible, for instance, the recipe calls for diced tomatoes, which I almost never have. But what I do always have is tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes, so I have always used one or the other, and have always had success. And I have used sweet potato, which is what the recipe calls for, and I have used butternut squash, carrot, and last night, plain old white potato, again, all with success. The recipe also suggests quinoa as a substitute for the red lentils, which I subbed both for millet, which also turns slightly "creamy" when overcooked a little. Although garbanzo beans are such a staple in my pantry that I've never subbed any type of bean, I feel like kidney beans would be very good in this stew. And I'm sure you could sub any nut butter for the peanut butter. I love recipes like this, because just like in life, flexibility is important in recipes. Not only do I not want to have to run to the store for one little ingredient all the time, I also want to be able to use up my little odds and ends, I mean, who ever uses a whole can of tomato paste at one time? Anyway, this stew is delicious and very inexpensive, and you can easily play around with the spices if you have itty bitties you're cooking for.
Well, Robin, the newest addition to my feline family is almost totally okay with me. Just in the last week or so we have really made some great progress. He was supposed to be neutered last week, but he was granted a reprieve, and it is happening today! I'm looking at him so peacefully napping, almost full of trust for me. I know I will be starting from ground zero. Wish him luck!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fluffy is GOOD!

For at least the past five years, I have struggled with making edible brown rice, and I was extremely close to giving up on it, and accepting that I could only eat brown rice when someone else cooked it. I have tried every trick I have ever heard or read about, and I think I had success maybe once or twice out of what feels like hundreds of attempts. It seems to always turn out too mushy, or too al dente, or scorched to the bottom of the pan. I also really struggle with quinoa, and have stopped trying, because quinoa is a little too pricey for me to keep failing. Anyway, yesterday I decided I was in the mood to try one more time to achieve perfect, fluffy brown rice. And I told myself if I failed again, that was it. The rest of the brown rice in my pantry would be used for soups and casseroles only. So, when I googled perfect, fluffy brown rice, the first page was different variations on a new to me way of cooking the rice. They all were suggesting boiling the rice in a larger than usual amount of water, and then draining the rice like pasta, then putting the rice back in the hot pan, off the heat, with a lid on and letting it steam for ten minutes. I was so doubtful, it just didn't make sense to boil rice like water! I almost didn't try this method, but then I realized, why not try it, cooking brown rice the traditional way is not working for me. So, I brought 6 cups of water to a boil, added one cup of brown rice, a little salt, and I boiled it for thirty minutes, drained the rice, returned it to the pot, covered, and let it steam for ten minutes. And then, I had the elusive to me perfectly cooked, fluffy brown rice. Every grain was separate and perfectly cooked. Even as I'm typing this I am seriously shocked, and I definitely will be trying this method with quinoa. I feel like a whole new food window has opened up in my life, as I have had so many epic failures with brown rice and other grains. If you have any of these struggles, I promise try this method you will be amazed and so happy to be able to enjoy brown rice!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

So, A Seed and A Nut Walked into My Blender....

I first heard rumblings of using raw sunflower seeds in place of raw cashews for sauces and dressings maybe a year or two ago. I never gave it to much thought, because I don't have nut allergies, and I am so in love with cashew cheese and cream, it seemed unnecessary to complicate things. Then, for some reason the last time I was at the Co-op, in the bulk aisle for some reason sunflower cream popped into my head, and I almost gagged at the difference in price! Like a six dollar a pound price difference! So, I got some raw sunflower seeds, and decided to give it a go. For some reason, I felt like I wasn't ready to go all sunflower seed, so I did what I do best, I found the grey area! I wanted to make a cashew cram sauce for a brown rice, kale, and lentil bowl. So, I used a half and half combo of cashews and sunflower seeds and it was delicious! I ended up going full 70's hippie and turned the whole shebang into a casserole, and boy was it delicious! And as most casseroles do, it was way better as leftovers! But back to the sauce. I used about 1/4 of a cup of raw cashews, and about the same of raw sunflower seeds, soaked for around two or three hours, nutritional yeast, salt pepper and a garlic clove, and about a tablespoon or so of lemon juice. I used almost a cup of water, as I wanted a thinner than usual sauce since I was casseroling. I have now used the sunflower/cashew combo twice, and I love it. It is an amazing way to stretch your cashews without missing any flavor, or creaminess. And sunflower seeds are lower in fat and calories than cashews, if you're into that kind of thing. And sunflower seeds are full of vitamin E, and magnesium, which from what I've read, a lot of people are lacking. Magnesium counterbalances calcium, and we need it for healthy bones, and energy production. Now I feel like a dork for waiting so long! I've decided the next batch of vegan mac and cheese I make, I'm going to try going full sunflower, just to compare cashew v. sunflower. If you love cashew cheese and cream, and sauces, I really recommend trying some sunflower seeds mixed in, it's a great money saver, and a great way to get some extra minerals in too, it's a win win situation!

Friday, November 7, 2014

I Need a Squad!

I don't have much good to say today as I am completely drained from a couple of situations where I had to hear people talk openly, loudly, and aggressively about their racist opinions, and last night at work I could hardly escape negativity no matter where I went. I try so hard to not let this stuff get to me, but sometimes I just don't have the strength. So instead of whining about racist, toxic, hunting, hicks even if we're not hicks, I'm going to appreciate all of the people in the world who are tolerant and trying to improve the world, and continue to work on strengthening myself, so that one day I can ward off the man made blues.
A little ending side note, in addition to TMZ, watching the Hot Topics segment of The Wendy Williams Show online while eating my breakfast is a guilty pleasure, and has been a tradition of mine for quite awhile. It's light, and snarky, and I find I agree with a lot of Wendy's judgments, err I mean opinions. Anyway, I want a job like that, she has a whole glam squad, and not only do they primp and pamper her to look great and perfect for the show, they are constantly telling her how gorgeous, perfect, beautiful, on and on and on. And not to mention always reassuring her of her wit. What a different world I live in, I get told to shut the eff up, and threatened to be punched in the face by our esteemed "chef", and I certainly can't remember the last time I've gotten a compliment from anyone other than a cat! Anyway, life is weird, and I hope everyone has a lovely, non-toxic day with nothing but lovely, tolerant people!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let them Drink Juice

Juicing, detoxing, juice cleansing, juice fasting, all these trends around simple juice. Juice detoxes have become so trendy that we have a new trend called soup cleansing/detoxing!? Those same fancy, expensive companies that shipped bottled, organic fresh pressed juices to you if you were willing to sell an organ, are now offering to send fresh organic soups for all of your detoxing needs, and I would imagine the soups are no cheaper than the juices. In my opinion soups are easier to make than juices, and can be made ahead of time in most cases so not sure why this newest trend/scheme is working, but what do I know? I'm digressing, back to juicing. Years and years ago, way before juicing was a "thing", and certainly before souping, I saw Mr. Jack Lalanne talking about the importance of juice, and he was of course selling a juicer, but regardless this amazing energy ball of a man caught my attention, and I got a Jack Lalanne juicer within that week. It came with a recipe booklet, and I remember carrot apple ginger was and still is a favorite. Thanks Mr, Lalanne, I had a lot of fun with that juicer. I remember that what I really dreaded about making the juice was the cleanup. This thing was the biggest pain in the arse to clean. I ended up not using it as much as I would have liked because it was such a time consuming pain to clean! Through the years I have often thought of that juicer, and wished I would have used it more, especially when I wanted to journey towards health. And then, juicing became a trend, and according to everyone, I was going to age, get fat, and carry around toxins and be depressed if I didn't juice. But, juicers are not cheap, and my old juicer was sold at a garage sale years ago. Well, I learned you can make juices in your blender, and use either a fine mesh strainer, or a nut milk bag!! And, here's another way they like to get you, you can go to a hardware store, and buy paint straining bags, which are almost identical to nut milk bags, and you will gag at the cost difference. I bought my mesh strainer at a grocery store over a year ago for under ten bucks, and it is still going strong, and it gets used daily, sometimes more than once! I don't even have a super high speed blender, and I am able to blend even sweet potatoes and beets! You have to add some water, so I'm sure juice purists would say something about that, and I know juicers are made with special "technology" to lose as little nutrients as possible while processing, but I still feel pretty great, so I'm satisfied. And it takes practice like anything else. When you use certain fruits and veg, such as cucumbers or pineapples, the it takes less water, and I blend for maybe thirty seconds at the longest, remember your not making a smoothie! So in my non expert opinion I don't think I'm losing to much. And I guarantee that my blender juice has more nutrients than pre made, over priced juice that is delivered, as that is taxing to the environment, and juice starts losing enzymes and nutrients as soon as it's made.
If you want to try it, just stare with about half a cup of water, and then start layering, I start with cucumber as it has a high water content, then harder veg, like carrots, beets, sweet potato, then I do fruit such as apples or pears, or pineapple which goes really well with beets, then my green layer, such as kale, romaine, etc,  The pulp should be pretty chunky, your just abstracting the juice, not all the way blending. It's very hard to strain when you blend it too much, trust me, I've made that mistake quite a few times. When I pour my juice through my strainer, I press down to make sure I get every single drop of juice that I can. Clean up is so simple, and I like feeling like I can have green juice in my life, even if I'm not able to afford a juicer

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Team Ginger

I can't say enough good things about ginger. I use ginger in my green and beet juice, and let me tell you, if you struggle with the "earthy" flavor of beets like I do, ginger helps so much. Beet juice is almost enjoyable if I have ginger in it! I also always add ginger to my miso soup, and I try to add it to any type of stir fry, or fried rice kind of dish. Now that it's getting cooler, I will start adding miso, ginger, shitake soup to my diet at least once a week for breakfast. Last winter I got into the habit of having this soup on Saturday morning, followed by a bath with powdered ginger, and sometimes Epsom or miracle bath salts, sometimes just ginger.
Ginger is one of the best things you can put into your body in my opinion. In addition to it being anti-inflammatory, and immunity boosting, it helps with nausea, it can help with the side effects of chemotherapy, it helps maintain normal blood circulation, and the main reason I use it often, it can help prevent colds and flus. There are some very interesting studies I've read about ginger helping relieve pain due to arthritis, and a study that showed ginger helped slow the growth of  colon cancer cells! I also have read that it can help heal damage done to the liver by taking Tylenol. I added ginger, and turmeric to my diet a few years ago when I laid off the drinking, and realized my liver probably felt a little bad. Turmeric and ginger almost always head the list of natural liver detoxifiers.
Since it's hard not to be exposed to other people's cooties, I think ginger is a wonderful addition to your diet. And powdered ginger is just as beneficial, so if dealing with ginger is too time consuming sometimes, just keep powdered in your cupboard. Shake a few shakes in your tea, and soups and other appropriate meals. I bet it would even be good in oatmeal, esp. with some pears, or granny smith apples. I think I have something new to try!
I think that there are some really wonderful natural remedies, and we don't always have to go to the drugstore or see a pharmacist.
Have a healthy day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fall is not Cheerful

I'm sorry I have been sitting here for almost an hour, typing, then deleting, wash, rinse, repeat. I am just very sad today because it is now November. We are getting closer and closer to winter, Christmas is now being shoved down our throats, and before I know it I will be in the middle of another winter apocalypse. Right now there are five feral kitties that come to my apartment for food that I know of. I'm sure that there are probably more, I just may not see them. I am so sad and worried for them, and I feel so helpless because I swear I don't give an eff how crazy it would make me, if I could I would bring them all inside. I have an attic that is nothing but storage, and I have little if nothing to store. None of them will let me near them. I think they trust me as much as any feral cat can, they don't run away, but they also keep a fair distance, and they are always keeping an eye on me. I cried so many days last winter, imagining Al starving and freezing to death last winter, and the worst part was not having anyone to talk to, because no one else cares. I mentioned something once to my dad, and his response was "oh, so who cares about the homeless people?" So anyway, when it was finally spring, and I saw Al I was so happy that he made it! I just don't know how they will make it. When it gets really cold, I can't even put soft food out as it will freeze immediately. I try to always shovel the back steps leading up to my deck, but I remember last winter days and days where I'm sure no cat would dare venture anywhere. Anyone that says to me, oh I love fall, it's so cozy, well to tell the truth, I want to flip them off and tell them to have a seat. The worst part is that there are homeless animals all over this city, you're city, everyone's city.  It's sad that we humans think this kind of suffering is okay, and even think of homeless people and animals as pests and we wish they would just "go away".
I'm sorry this is such a downer, but I feel such sadness in my heart, I have to try to let a little out, so I can keep going forward and trying to help, not be part of the problem by ignoring it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Suggestion v. Recipe

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the best food comes from having "nothing to eat"? Those times when you really want something exciting and delicious, but you have a bare bones kitchen, and no budget? That was me last night. But somehow, I pulled together a really delicious little meal. I had just  a very small amount of dry pinto beans, so I added some black beans, and boiled those up. I soaked about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of  raw cashews, and cooked some rice. When the beans were done, about an hour and a half later, I blended the cashews with the last little bit of salsa I had in the fridge, I would say it was about 1/4 cup, a little water, some salt, a generous shake of nutritional yeast, and a dash of smoked paprika for a quick little queso type sauce. I spread some of the sauce on the bottom of a glass casserole dish, and then layered tortilla, rice and beans, some sauce, a few dashes of hot sauce, and repeated this twice, topped it with another tortilla, and the rest of the sauce. I covered it with foil, and baked it for about 25 minutes, at 350 Fahrenheit. It is warm, creamy and comforting, not to mention so delicious, and the leftovers are delicious because it gets better the next day! Last night's version was a very basic, using up scraps of this, a little of that, but this can also be fancied up. It's great with added veggies like corn, red pepper, really any veg you like. And it's great with or without the addition of daiya, or any vegan cheese. I've also made it with refried beans, and white beans, and corn tortillas and flour tortillas. If you have those leftover crumbs in the bottom of a tortilla chip bag, they're really good sprinkled on top, just take the foil off for the last five or ten minutes of baking. Oh, and it is good with white or brown rice, I have also made it with no rice, just veg and beans. What I'm trying to say is that this is another very flexible, very forgiving recipe. I guess it's more of a suggestion, than a recipe. That would be a great name for a cookbook! I really suggest always having raw cashews in you're freezer, as they really do make a wonderful base for a sauce, dip or dressing, and sometimes a sauce or dressing can really up the flavor and appeal of a dish, especially if you're having a beans and rice kind of week. They are pricy, so I try to grab like a handful or so whenever I am at a store that has them in bulk. So I just constantly have them in my freezer, and it really doesn't take a huge amount to make a really nice sauce. This salsa/ cashew sauce also makes a good Mexican style vegan mac and cheese, which I sometimes make with some pinto or black beans mixed in, and green onions on top yum.
I hope everyone has another Manic Monday!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's so Convenient to be a Vegan!!

On my last trip to the Co-op, I saw that they had Dr. Preager's  veggie burgers on sale. And although I did need more veggie burgers, I couldn't  remember if I liked these burgers or not, but the only other vegan veggie burger they have is Hilary's eat well, and while Hilary's are okay, they are a little grainy for my taste, and I  very much balk at the price of Hilary's, especially when you only get two burgers. So I chose Dr. Praeger's California burger. I needed a quick lunch the other day before work, and it seemed like a good day to give these a try. These truly are VEGGIE burgers meaning they are full of veggies that you can clearly see, and they have a slight green veg hue to them. There are no weird ingredients, only various veggies, arrowroot, and a few seasonings. One thing I  have to truly commend this company for is that they wrap each burger individually. When veggie burgers are packaged all as one in the box, when I open the box, and only use one, I feel pressure to use up the rest because they are kind of exposed to the freezer air, and I  don't like that flavor at all. So, right away I was a fan. I baked mine in the oven, which according to the box is the preferred method. I served mine on whole wheat bread with a schmear  of just mayo, and some sliced banana peppers and pickles. (bare bones fridge=bare bones burger.) The burger is definitely a soft veggie burger. It didn't really get any kind of crispy outside, although I might try cooking one on top off the stove in a little oil, maybe that would help? Tate wise it tastes kind of like hoe it looks, meaning very veg heavy. I don't mind that. I liked having something quick and convenient, that I didn't feel kind of guilty afterwards for eating. According to their website, they have tons of different flavors, including a Bombay curry veggie burger that sounds delicious. My Co-op only had the California style, the only other flavor that I've seen in any other store is the Tex-Mex flavor, so I don't know where you can find all of these other flavors. I don't know if these burgers would hold up on a grill, they are so soft, but other than that, I recommend these burgers if you like healthy tasting, veg heavy burgers with no weird lab made ingredients.
On a different vegan convenience food note, I just read somewhere that Target now has it's own line of Gardein style faux meats! The line is called simply balanced, and as of now they have four different flavors, Teriyaki meatless chicken, mushroom miso meatless turkey, Korean bbq meatless chicken, and smoky chipotle meatless chicken! That's great news because it will be cheaper than Gardein, and it shows once again that vegan products are clearly in demand! Check and mate!!