Sunday, May 31, 2015

Forever Young

This is such an inspiring video! It proves that if you take care of yourself, and let yourself have some joy in your life, you can remain young, and vital! I'm so glad I stumbled across this, as I was just feeling so frustrated at work the other day. It gets so tiresome listening to the myriad of preventable ailments, and aches and pains that my coworkers, and customers complain of. They act like it's completely out of their control. Whatever their issue is, it's usually followed up with "oh well, I'm not twenty-one anymore", or some other type of excuse. Everyone is certainly allowed to take care of their body however you want, but it is annoying being surrounded by people who believe that their body is a dump truck, and an ashtray. I don't think anyone can argue that when you don't feel well, you aren't always the most pleasant person to be around. Anyway, this video is awesome in so many ways. I can feel the love and support for her, and it just feels like I wish I could have been there in person. I hope when I'm sixty years old, I can spin on my head!

Saturday, May 30, 2015


This is a palate cleanser for anyone who is having a bad day, or for someone who might be questioning humanity, or even if your having a great day, this will make your day even better! Apparently this little boy got a haircut, so the chickens had to make sure it was really their friend. When I watch this video, it really proves what people with a heart have always known- Animals have feelings and feel love too. I can't stand the fact that humans are so arrogant that we think we are the only beings who feel emotions. It's time for meat eaters to find a different excuse to make cruel choices, because saying animals don't have feelings, or any intelligence is just plain stupid. I want to claw my own eyes out when people make that argument. I have even heard people who have pets, and seemingly love their pets say that their pet has no intelligence, or feelings. In Seattle, I once had a neighbor who was allegedly a Christian, and was judgier than Judge Judy, (although she did some very non-Christian things, but I guess she prayed away her sin) anyway, she had a cute little dog, and a nine year old son. One day I agreed to watch her son(disaster, he was kind of a handful) and for whatever reason we were talking about their dog, and he informed me that his mom said Hodgie(the dog) wouldn't go to heaven when he passed because animals don't have souls. I couldn't believe it. Not wanting to step on his mom of the years toes and say she is an idiot, I simple explained to this kid that animals do have souls in my opinion. Needless to say it fell on deaf ears. Very sad. Humans can really be the worst. But chickens are the best!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Solitary Confinement

So I have about a month left here in Pa. I can hardly believe it myself. As a matter of fact it's something that I have to remind myself often. I've been reflecting on my time here, and it's sad to say that I cannot think of one single thing I will miss, one good experience that I've had here, or even one positive thing to say about this town. This isn't sour grapes, it is just what my experience has been here. I honestly feel that I tried to find my niche, my part of this city where I could be happy. It just never happened. People here are closed off to new experiences, and people. I haven't met anyone else like myself who moved here from somewhere else. This is a town where people are proud to be born here, and to die here. The only time people have experienced any other places is possibly college, and if they go anywhere on vacation. I feel that it causes a kind of permanent high school situation. The jocks stay the jocks, the mean girls stay mean, the prom queens desperately try to hold on to their youth, big hair, and looks, and so on and so forth. I have nothing against this mentality, but it is very uninviting to newcomers. I have never really not felt like a newcomer here. It's very strange. It has led me to feel almost like I've been in solitary confinement the whole time I've lived here. I haven't felt free to really be myself in over three years, and I am exhausted. It's really been hard this past year, because I have really been focusing on my health so much, but it has been a challenge because in my heart I am so sad, and frustrated, and full of pent up opinions, and feelings. And once I leave here, if I see one more person wearing hunting clothes, I will probably lose my mind.
I guess if I am really digging for something positive to say about my experience here, I can say that I will move forward with my life knowing that racism exists in a way that I never imagined living in a warm, fuzzy liberal bubble like Seattle. Maybe I can at some point help someone else realize it's more of a problem than a lot of people understand. There is unfortunately no way that this is the only city in America where the N word flows like wine, and if you have a problem with it, well you just aren't a real 'Merican. It can be hard to breathe in such a hateful place. It's as if all the racist people here just assume that any person with white skin feels the same way, and I have been accosted with this hate speak in the weirdest places, like the laundromat, grocery store, public bus, waiting for the bus, etc. And trying to be polite, and giving a "No Thank You" when such conversations seems to have the opposite effect, it seems to fire them up, as if now they have to make you see the error of your ways.
I also have never been so timid about being a vegan. I have made so many mistakes in my life, and I have so many regrets, but being vegan is what I am most proud of . I feel like the day I decided to become a vegan was the day that I became me. My love of animals is part of my soul, the most important part. I feel like I have to keep it to myself so that I don't have to hear the I love to hunt argument, or the animals were made for us to eat, or any of the other million and one things super charming people say. Not to mention anytime I have brought food to work, I get teased, people stick their faces all in my food to get a closer peek, and it's just always a disaster. I know these situation exist everywhere for vegans, I've certainly encountered it before, but in this narrow minded, there has to be two kinds of meat on my plate always, racist city it just happens sooooooo often I could gag.
I hope that the funk of repressed emotions, and thoughts wears off after being back in Seattle. Right now, I feel like Pigpen with a cloud of funk over my head.
I truly hope that whatever the rest of my journey is, it never involves another place like this. I feel like I've done my time in solitary confinement.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Three is The Loneliest Number

Some treats!
Some greens!
This was part of my Co-op haul from Sunday. Not in the picture were boring things like bulk oatmeal, some spices, and bulk catnip. The Co-op had organic Ataulfo mangoes on sale for $.99cents each! Amazing, so I bought four or five. So far this year organic berry prices are out of control, and even if I could afford it I wouldn't buy them. There is going to have to come a time where organic prices have got to become more reasonable, I hope. People shouldn't have to sell blood because they don't want pesticides in their food. Anyway, I also love these super long scallions! They are from a local farmer, and I love the more natural look. They are thinner, and longer than the usual grocery store variety. The hummus that I tried this week was spicy Thai coconut hummus. I almost was scared to try it, as I had a hard time picturing Thai flavors in hummus. I almost went with the more traditional, and at this point kind of yawn inducing roasted red pepper, and quickly realized that I would forever wonder about the mysterious Thai hummus. This hummus blew me away. It was spicy, and super creamy as it had coconut milk in it. I am definitely going to try to recreate this at home. I could definitely taste heat, and lemongrass, and of course coconut. I'm so glad I took a chance! You can see a little bit of Roxie's head in the top left of the second picture. Sniffing around the greens as usual.
The star of the top picture is probably the Coconut Bliss salted caramel ice cream bars. Before I spill the beans on those treats, I want to talk about the tiny little sticks you can barely see under the ice cream box. They are little concord grape stix, made by Grower's Co-op. I impulse bought these, they were next to the chocolate, and only fifty cents a piece, so I bought two. The only ingredient is concord grapes! It's like the most intense, sweet twizzler ever! The funny thing is as a kid, my mom loved concord grape season, she would buy bushels, baskets, whatever it was called and that was her book reading snack. I could not understand how she could enjoy those weird, slimy sour little things. It was another weird food that grown ups liked. As an adult, I don't often see concord grapes at groceries, and so I kind of forgot they exist. If I had a kid or kids in school, these would be lunchbox staples for sure. I'm already thinking of buying all the stix available next time I'm at the Co-op. So bad, but they are so good!
Now, about these bars! I didn't even know Coconut Bliss made ice cream bars! All of a sudden, the Co-op had two different brands of cashew milk ice cream(!), almond milk ice cream, and these bars. It was super hard to choose, but I've been on a bar kick lately, so I chose the salted caramel in chocolate. The bars are not mini, they are maxi. After enjoying the minis for so long, this thing seemed so huge! What can I say, it is as delicious as you would imagine. This is only the second time I've tried salted caramel, as it wasn't a trend in my pregan days. The ice cream is creamy, and rich and sweet, with a salty little kick. The chocolate coating is on the thinner side, thumbs up, and the bar stayed together well. I remember the cheaper ice cream bars were notorious for falling apart halfway through. Now that I've talked pluses, let's talk minuses. There are two main reasons I will choose the So Delicious minis over the Coconut Bliss bars. One is the size of the bars. For such a rich treat, I like the minis. This bar was too much. By the end I was kind of over it. The second issue I had  is although the bars are full size, the box comes with three bars, as opposed to the 4 mini bars, or 8 mini sandwiches you get with So Delicious and the Coconut Bliss bars are a little over a dollar more per box. I have to wonder who thought three bars in a box was a stellar idea. I prefer even numbers for things like that. Anyway, thumbs up, If you like salted caramel, you will love these. It's so exciting to see all these different ice cream options that are vegan! It's hard to remember the dark days of Tofutti pints being one of the only hard to find options. Both the So Delicious minis, and the Coconut Bliss bars would definitely impress any non-vegan. Coconut ice cream is way creamier than a lot of dairy ice creams.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dream a Little Dream

I watched this video this morning, and I just had to share. I've been feeling really a little down lately because there seems to be a lot of judging and shaming coming from the vegan community, towards other vegans, toward non-vegans, and towards plant-based eaters who maybe aren't "perfectly vegan". It's not so much that I have such a problem with different view points, it's that I get very fearful of the negative cloud it puts over veganism. It wasn't too long ago that vegans, vegan food, and even people who cared about the environment were the butt of every joke, and it was very hard to get anyone to listen or take seriously the plight of animals. Plus, there is strength in numbers, and vegetarians and vegans are in the minority, so we need to work together, not fight amongst ourselves over who is the leanest, the most vegan, and eats the cleanest, most organic, local, blah blah blah diet.
I think it's really important for us to remember that we are all different, and every person out there who chooses not to eat meat has their own story, and reason. People who choose to eat vegan, or plant based, but maybe don't live a full vegan lifestyle are just as important as the most vegan person alive. We are all not eating animals, which obviously saves them, but also as those numbers rise, we are sending a message.
As I'm reading The 22Day Revolution, I'm understanding more and more different ways of getting the same message across. While five years ago I would not have been interested in reading this book since it's focus isn't animals. Now I see the error in that mindset. As I read this book, I see health related logical points that he is making, that would be hard for even the most hard headed meat eater to argue. I think it's good to look at all kinds of perspectives, especially for such a tall order as to get people to give up the meat!
People who choose to not eat animal products are going to all be different, and we all have foods we swear by, and eating/exercising habits that work for us. Some of us may not even care about exercising, or getting in a pound of greens a day. We obviously aren't going to all be alike, or like each other. But things are changing, and people are cutting meat out of their diet for various reasons, and we have to accept it, and embrace it.  I don't think the animals whose lives are saved care if someone didn't eat them because they love animals, or they don't want to die of heart failure, cancer, whatever. It doesn't matter. The outcome is the same.
I hope everyone enjoys the video. They really are rational! As someone who strives to be more Bruce Banner, and less Hulk when it comes to what is important to me, I once again appreciate their cool, calm vibe!
I want to end with a quote that I feel is relevant to this post. "We've got to have a dream if we are going to make a dream come true." - Dennis Waitley

Monday, May 25, 2015

We've Come a Long Way

I wanted to share this yoga video I discovered last week. I've been meaning to share, and it just seems to slip my mind, or I get blabbing about other things. Anyway, I really enjoy this YouTube yoga channel, there are yoga flows for beginners, intermediate, and advanced. He has the same soothing, calming way as Lesley Fightmaster, another of my favorites. I know yoga is not everyone's cup of tea, but for me it has helped me get over many of my issues, and every time I am able to achieve a posture that ha s been very hard, it just gives me such a great feeling. Yoga is also helping me work on my patience. I've noticed as I become more patient with myself, I become more patient with other beings, and life in general. I've been doing more yoga lately to combat some anxiety and loneliness I've been experiencing. I have some anxiety about moving back to Seattle, don't get me wrong, I am overjoyed to be getting the hell out of Pennsylvania, and for that matter the east coast, however Seattle is beyond expensive, and I have lots of memories of really struggling, and losing everything. Not having an outlet to express how I feel is becoming a bit much, so I have been increasing yoga. It isn't taking any of my bad feelings away, but it is keeping me afloat, and I haven't totally lost it, so I say it's doing something.
I also just had to snap this picture super quick. Dylan is using one of my books as a pillow! There was a time when I would have handled my bad feelings with beer, and Dylan would have used a bottle as a pillow. So yoga to cope, and The 22 Day Revolution as a pillow show progress!
I hope if you are having a three day weekend it is full of sun, fun, and cheer!

Vegan or Plant Based?

Salads are not boring!
I made this delicious and simple salad last night. It was a head of Romaine lettuce, three leaves of Lacinato kale, shredded carrots, and celery with some homemade cashew ranch dressing. It was so satisfying! I really love salads with more than one type of green, or lettuce, and different textures, and even something warm on top. It makes it interesting, and definitely not boring. I usually do lighter, vinaigrette dressing, but sometimes it's nice to switch it up. Before going vegan, I never ever was a ranch person. I always thought Ranch was so gross, and definitely very boring. I do however enjoy a cashew ranch every now and then as a vegan. After I took this picture, and was enjoying this beauty, I realized I should have written down what I put in my ranch. I didn't follow a recipe, because the last few recipes I've followed I haven't cared for. I can tell you that I used garlic powder, dried dill, dried Italian seasoning, and a few leaves of fresh parsley. And of course salt and pepper. I also used apple cider vinegar as my acid instead of lemon juice, which is what most recipes call for. I feel like ACV gives it more of an authentic ranch flavor. I feel like salad dressings are such a personal thing, you just have to play around with the flavors that you like. Every time I make vegan ranch, it's a little different, but the spices that I mentioned are staples in the ranch. Anyway, it was a very delicious salad that I feel would please non-vegans. I have made a version of this with breaded vegan nuggets for non-vegans, and it passed the picky non-vegan taste test!
I've been I guess confused for awhile as to the difference between eating a plant-based diet, and a vegan diet. I assumed people who considered themselves plant based were eating this way more for health or environmental reasons than animal rights. Well, as usual there are lessons to be learned in books. As Marco Borges, author of The 22 Day Revolution explains it, a vegan doesn't eat meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs or honey. Eats grains, vegetables, fruit, and over processed vegan foods. Plant Based eaters eat 100% plants: grains, vegetables, fruits. Does not eat meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, or processed vegan foods. I had assumed I was a double threat, both vegan and plant based. I try to eat whole foods for the most part, however I do enjoy the occasional processed treat, such as maybe some Beyond Meat in my salad, and I definitely do not see a life without Chao! I'm glad I learned the difference. I think that's where the lines can get blurry, because as I mentioned Beyonce is the first to point out that she is not a vegan. I think people who choose to eat plant based for health only reasons may not feel really anything towards animals. But eating plant based is opening the door big time for compassionate choices down the road. So, while there are differences between plant-based and vegan, the end game is no animal products are eaten, and that is awesome. This book is very inspirational, and Marco really sells the plant-based lifestyle. He has been plant-based for almost ten years, so he is definitely practicing what he preaches.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Reading Rocks!!

Books are my friend!
I have always loved books. Almost all of my childhood memories involve books. I remember before I could read, I loved being read to by my grandparents before bed every night. As I got older and learned to read, trips to the library were one of my favorite things in the world. I would always choose a ton of books, and my mom would swear that I wouldn't be able to read them all, and of course proving her wrong became a personal mission for the next three weeks. During the summer, reading was my main pastime. I've always loved all kinds of different books, save for romance novels and grisly homicide fiction. To this day libraries and used book stores are two of my favorite places ever. I feel like sometimes people forget about the library as a resource for information. If you are new to or interested in becoming vegetarian/vegan, the library is a great place to find some cookbooks and try some new foods. For me, there is something about a book. I was given a Nook two years ago for Christmas, and I just couldn't get into using it. I love holding a book, I love the smell, and I love the history of books. I love when I buy a book at a used book store, and sentences are underlined, or there are little notes. That is what I do to my books, and it makes me feel close to someone I don't even know.
I am really loving The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is a short book, yet I am taking my time with it. I"m also having a rather intense time with the book because certain parts of the book seem like the author is talking to me specifically. I'm sure I'm not alone with this feeling from the book. I bought this book from Amazon, as this is one book I don't want to return! If you are feeling stuck in life in any way, this book could really be your friend too. I actually am still on the first agreement, which is be impeccable with your word. I just keep reading this chapter over and over. There is one paragraph in particular that I circled, and it is exactly me. When I first read it, it almost gave me the chills. Like I said, intense!
I discovered Jennifer Weiner years ago, I picked up one of her books at a used bookstore, and I loved it and started seeking out her other work. I am proud to say I have read every single one of her books, All Fall Down, which I am currently reading is her newest, and she has another book coming out in August. I love her sense of humor, and although I suppose her books are put in the "chick lit" category, (hate that description. It kind of makes me gag.) I find them to be both easy breezy to read, but also very relatable. I always want to be friends with her characters, I always want to work out life's issues with these people. I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't find them fluffy, or flimsy or any other negative thing that might come to mind when you think "chick lit". If you're ever in the mood for a really great movie about dysfunctional sisters, one of her books In Her Shoes was made into a movie. As always, the book is better, but I still really love the movie. It has Shirley MacLaine in it, so there you go.
I've been reprimanded by many for my love of books. I understand that beautiful trees are cut down to make books, and I understand that Nooks, and I pads and smart this and smart that can help so much, but I can't help that I love books. I don't love devices. They feel cold and clinical, books feel warm and comforting.
Do you like books or Nooks?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Reading Rainbow

Eat, Drink, Read!
I made a very tasty fruit salad with Ataulfo mango, papaya, and dragon fruit. Very sweet and refreshing. I hadn't had a Synergy kombucha in at least two years. It is the first kombucha I tried. It is definitely not one of my favorite brands out there, but it was a nice trip down memory lane. The Gingerberry was my favorite flavor.
I also have started reading The 22Day Revolution by Marco Borges. This is the man and the plan that led to the Beyonce vegan meal delivery that set many vegans ablaze. The book does have recipes, but it is more a book of information than a cookbook. It has a forward by Beyonce, and an introduction from Dean Ornish M.D. Marco has a friendly, but straightforward writing approach, that I think will appeal to vegan curious people. I haven't read the whole book yet, so I can't speak for it all, but so far I like it. He is definitely coming from a place of health. This is not a book where people will learn about the atrocities of factory farming. He outlines a plan to get yourself ready to feel better than ever, by eating plants! So far, I haven't learned anything new, but this book is for people who have maybe never even imagined a life without meat. He has a non-judgmental way of writing, and he comes across as a nice person, as opposed to a tyrant that is terrifying to deal with. I also like that he is constantly reminding us that making healthy choices is just that a choice that we make. He says it takes 22 days to make or break a habit, and as an ex smoker, he's onto something. The forward by Beyonce is also really great. She speaks so highly of eating plant based foods. She also does point out that she is not a vegan, but rather follows a vegan diet. She makes you want to eat this way. She speaks of the amazing health benefits she and her husband Jay-Z experienced, and she also speaks of getting that plant glow to her skin. It's quite motivating to be honest. So far this book has really impressed me, and I will recommend it anytime I come across a veg curious person. I could see it being not only motivating to someone, but also very helpful. Something else I really appreciate about the book is the recipes are reasonable, with accessible to the masses ingredients. It's not full of expensive super foods and super hard to find ingredients. I feel like that is important. Too many expensive and hard to find ingredients can be a turn off, and further spread the misconception that vegan food is too expensive, ridiculous, weird, difficult and so on and so forth.
I will be trying a few recipes, so I will definitely report back, along with some more horrible photos! Ha.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Everyone's Welcome in this Club!

This picture doesn't do this meal justice!!
This was a super simple, super healthy, super tasty dish that was made in about twelve minutes, with only five ingredients, plus a generous sprinkle of nutritional  yeast at the end. It is also super cheap, as the best meals often are. I just sauteed those beautiful steamed fava beans with garlic, green onion, and crushed red pepper while the pasta was boiling. I then tossed the cooked pasta with the bean mixture, added crushed red pepper, nutritional yeast, and chopped fresh parsley. It tasted so fresh and springlike. I really love the buttery texture of the fava beans. I've made this dish tons of times with garbanzo or white beans, depending on what I have on hand. This is one of those dishes I like to make for skeptical non-vegans. It's a dish that is just "accidentally" vegan, and it's just tasty, so it's hard for someone to have a problem with this dish. I like to cook food for non-vegans, and see that little light go off when they realize that not everything has to be slathered in animal products to taste good.
Speaking of bridging the vegan/non vegan divide, I discovered a video via twitter, and as both an ethical vegan, and a server who has worked only in non-vegan restaurants, I found this video to be so spot on. I had never heard of The Vegan Bros before. I usually stay away from anything "brotastic" but I have watched a few of their other videos, and I like their message. In my opinion, the vegan message is starting to sway away from the animals. I am all for the healthy plant based eating movement, even though many of those types of eaters aren't vegan in their other lifestyle choices. They are still not eating meat, and that is a huge start, and help to the overall problem of animal cruelty. On a daily basis I want to scream at the top of my lungs for people to give an eff about something and stop eating meat. I want to stand guard at the meat departments and ream and judge everyone who dares to come try and buy some meat. But me, and my ego and my desires are not what matters, animals lives matter to me. I do not want to turn people off from veganism. We live in a world where people make lifelong decisions based on one small piece of information. So, as a vegan, when I watch some of these vegan YouTubers, it turns me off from the movement, I can only imagine a non-vegan. So, the Vegan Bros are sending a great message, and they definitely have mainstream appeal, which is what we need! We're getting there, but we need to get there much much faster. We can't be an exclusive, secret group clutching our pearls and judging. Anyone can judge anyone. We need to be appealing to, and welcoming the masses. When I became vegan, I feel like I naturally became kinder, and more compassionate. So, even if someone like Beyonce is eating a vegan diet, if we just leave her alone, and let her continue to eat in a gentle way, she might naturally come to the conclusion that fur is not okay. Imagine the influence on the world if Beyonce denounced fur! But if we judge and ridicule, it could turn someone off from eating the kind way. I've actually taken the last few days off from any YouTube videos from any vegans who I'm familiar with. I find myself getting very frustrated, and sometimes feeling judged from someone I don't even know. So I feel great. I needed that YouTube detox I guess! I want the world to be a kind place for everyone, and I believe it will be achieved through kindness, and leading by example.
Do you believe in the gentle approach, or more aggressive tactics??

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Wegman's had the deal on Ataulfo Mangoes!
I saw these peeled and steamed fava beans in the produce section of Wegman's, and I had to get them! I bought some dried fava beans in bulk last spring, and they are a lot of work to prepare. You have to blanch them, peel off the tough outer skin, then cook them. They are on the pricier side, even for bulk, so these already peeled and cooked beans were really quite the deal. The box was around $2.50, which is more than what I would have paid for that amount in bulk. I'm going to sautee these with some garlic and green onion, stir in some pasta, and add parsley at the end. Yum. If you like fava beans, keep an eye out in your produce section. I found these near the bagged salads, right next to hummus, and steamed beets and lentils. I also have been loving all the Ataulfo mangoes I've been able to find this spring. They are so much sweeter, richer, and creamier than the standard mango. In the middle of the mango madness is a little papaya. I forget what variety it is, they might have just called it small papaya. I also got a dragon fruit. I just really love the way they look so much! I also like the texture. I like them in a fruit salad, they add a little crunch with all the seeds.
The chocolate bar is by Vosges chocolate, and it looked interesting, so I decided to try it. It boasts of super foods, and all the benefits that come with super foods. I will be honest, I tried a square last night after dinner, and umm, not my favorite chocolate ever. I've decided I don't want super foods near my chocolate unless maybe it's goji berries or something. The chocolate is like really dark, and at first you taste the very intense chocolate, then it seems okay because you taste banana, but then the coconut ash kicks in, and it goes downhill fast. I don't know how to describe the taste. It's not coconut, and although I've never eaten ash, I don't think it's ash, but it sure isn't super. They had another variety that was dark chocolate and matcha, which sounded great, until I saw with spirulina! What in the world. I have to be honest I cannot handle spirulina. I had some powder, and I would try to add the teeniest bit to smoothies, and I could taste it right away. I certainly don't want it in or near my chocolate! I think that I will be sticking to my beloved stone ground chocolate. This is not chocolate that I would give to a non-vegan. I feel it would make them leery of vegan food. True story, at some point my parents went to a party and someone was vegan. They brought chocolate truffles or something of the sort, and didn't mention the chocolates had spirulina in them. Well, my parents were utterly grossed out, and it has given them a very negative view on vegan food, especially treats. I have tried to tell them time after time that not all vegans eat spirulina with everything, but I definitely can see the distrust in their eyes. The few times I've gotten them to try vegan foods, I can see the shock in their eyes that they aren't gagging. Anyway, I say thumbs down on this chocolate, but it has some glowing reviews on their website, so I say if super foodie, super healthy, super dark chocolate is your thang, you might love this!

It's Cheap, Spicy, and Easy to be Vegan!!

I got artistic with the hot sauce!
This is a dinner that is a regular dish in the wintertime. It is cheap, tasty, very easy to add whatever is on hand, and the leftovers taste even better! It's just rice, and beans layered with tortillas and a green chili cashew cream. I also added some thinly sliced tomato cayenne Chao slices. I have made this dish at least a million times, and it is good with or without vegan cheese. You can use white or brown rice. I've made it using millet, I'm sure quinoa or even farro or bulger would work. I've also used just about every bean in my pantry. You can add whatever vegetable you might like. What I'm trying to say is this is a flexible meal. Last night I blended a 4.5 oz. can of green chillies with 1/2 cup soaked cashews, plus 1/4 C. soaked sunflower seeds and about 1/2 half C. of water. After blending I stirred in 1/4 C. nutritional yeast and a pinch of turmeric. I usually make this dish when I have that little bit of salsa at the end of the jar. It's also delicious with a tomato based enchilada type of sauce.
I of course didn't write down an exact recipe, but it's pretty much done like a lasagne. First, a little sauce, then some tortillas. You can use corn, or flour, I've made it with both. Last night I used flour. Then, grain, bean, whatever veg, vegan cheese if using, and more sauce. Build as many layers as you want, and then bake at 350 Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes. Let rest for at least ten or fifteen minutes before slicing. Like I said, this is tasty with or without vegan cheese. It's a tasty, comforting meal that is super cheap, but you don't feel like you are eating "poor".  It drives me nutso when people accuse a vegan diet of being expensive. Any diet can be expensive. There are some vegan specialty foods that I will probably never try in my life because of the price. Some things I would never buy even if I were rich just on principle. But there are so many foods that are cheap, and with a little creativity you can eat well. I truly feel that I learned a lot about cooking through extreme financial droughts.
The next time you have that little bit of salsa at the end of your jar, try blending it with some soaked cashews, or sunflower seeds, and a little nutritional yeast. Instant vegan Queso! Great for this recipe, nachos, spicy mac&cheese, baked potato topper, burrito topper, and whatever else you can think of.
Vegan food doesn't have to be bland, or expensive!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Setting Yourself Up

Breakfast of champs!!
Pantry finds!!
Have you tried these Sing Buri cashews by Sahale Snacks? They are everything I want in my mouth. They are salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy, and chewy from the small pieces of dried pineapple. I could eat these all day long. I was doing cupboard inventory to see what I need to start using, and somehow I forgot about these nuts I found on sale awhile ago. I couldn't stop eating them yesterday. They really do remind me of delicious Thai food, which I have not had since leaving Seattle. My mind is blown, and I look forward to trying some of this companies other nut blends. I also forgot all about this loose leaf tea I bought awhile ago. It is Tea Forte Cucumber Mint. I brewed a cup yesterday and enjoyed the light flavor. The mint is very light, it's more of a fruity(berry?) cucumber taste. I plan on making a batch of iced tea with some of it today. For some reason I prefer fruity and cucumber teas to be cold. Anyway, it is very refreshing if you are looking for a new iced tea option. The canister promises that this tea is good for skin clearing and youthful skin benefits. If I notice one day that my skin looks unusually amazing, I will certainly report back!
I started my day with a head of Romaine topped with sliced sweet baby peppers, cucumber, Bao Raw Slaw, and a hearty shake of nutritional yeast. I feel so amazing when I have a green salad in the morning. It also sets up the rest of the day to make good, healthy choices. I want to continue that good, healthy vibe I have going. I also feel really satisfied when I start my day with a lot of crunching and chewing. I feel satisfied like I really ate a MEAL! I'm really loving the Bao Raw slaw as a salad topper. It adds that delicious, salty pickle-y flavor. This whole salad combo is also delicious stuffed in a pita, or shoved into a baguette. One of the many things I've learned on this wild ride to healthy is when you start the day with stuff that makes you feel really great, you want to keep that great feeling going. When I look back to starting my day with coffee and cigarettes, I see how I wasn't really setting myself up to have a good day. I've been aggressively pursuing health and happiness for around a year, and although I still have a long way to go, it's really nice to see where progress has been made.
How do you like to start your day?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Beet-le Juice and Pizza

Pizza, Dylan, and beet juice!!
I had to find a use for the rest of the Victoria Vegan original Alfredo sauce that really wasn't my fave, and I didn't want to use it on pasta again. I thought of doctoring it up for a mac&cheese type of sauce, but then I thought pizza! I often see white pizza's on menus, so I thought, why not veganize it! Normally I would use my beloved oatmeal crust recipe, but I am out of oats! Also, with my big move coming up, I need to start using up some pantry stuff, so I made a traditional pizza dough using this recipe. I followed it exactly, except I did add some dried Italian herbs and black pepper to the dough. It rose beautifully, and was a pretty decent crust. I will use this recipe again when I make traditional pizza. The only criticism I have of the recipe is they didn't give oven temps, or cooking time. I just looked on another recipe, and cooked my pizza at 425 Farenheit  for around twenty minutes, give or take a minute. I topped it with the Alfredo sauce, a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast, three slices of original Chao slices julienned , white beans, kale, garlic, onion, and spicy green and Kalamata olives. I then sprinkled the top generously with Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. The toppings I chose really helped to mask the overpowering citrus flavor of the Alfredo. The creamy cashew based sauce, and the Chao really made for a creamy texture to this pizza. The spicy, briny taste of the olives cut through the richness and made me feel like I was very elegant! I've always used red sauce, or even just a garlic, olive oil base for my pizza so this was a new to me pizza experience. I would make this pizza again in a heartbeat and serve it proudly to non-vegans and watch them delight in the rich, deliciousness! I've noticed a lot of pizza shops have some type of white pizza with chicken, and sometimes broccoli. It would be super easy to recreate that with some Beyond Meat strips, and of course broccoli. Where there is a will, there is a vegan way!
Beets are another one of those things like dandelion tea that are really good for the liver, but not so good for my taste buds. I've been forcing myself to drink beet juice for over a year now, and I've learned through a lot of trial and error that beets, pineapple, orange, and lemon make the beets as palatable as possible. If you are like me and find beets super lets say earthy(dirty), this is the answer if you still want the health benefits. The pineapple and citrus almost completely mask the beet taste.
Do you have any foods you trick yourself into eating?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Vegan Banana Split Ice Cream Sandwiches Exist!!!

I went to Wegman's looking for So Delicious Neapolitan mini ice cream sandwiches, grabbed a box, threw it in my cart and was surprised to notice that these minis were banana split! In the banana split, the vanilla ice cram is swapped out for banana! I didn't even know vegan banana ice cream existed. This stuff should be sold in pints, it would be in my freezer always. It reminds me of some kind of non-vegan frozen treat that I've had in my life, but for the life of me I can't remember what it is. I have seven more bars to go, so hopefully I can put my finger on the memory. As with the mini bars, the sandwiches are rich, so the mini is really a perfect size. You can really taste the chocolate, strawberry and banana flavors, and they work really well together. I can't imagine anyone choosing plain old dairy ice cream sandwiches when you can have banana split ice cream sandwiches made out of coconut ice cream!
I also decided to try the Victoria Vegan original Alfredo sauce. It was okay, I definitely prefer the Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo. I have made cashew Alfredo, and cashew cream sauces so often at his point that I guess I just prefer my own. It had a sharp taste that at first I thought was too much lemon, but after looking at the ingredients, lemon isn't even an ingredient! I read quite a few very glowing reviews of this sauce, so maybe I am just a little wacky. I have half a jar left to use, so maybe the second time around will be better. I'm not giving this a thumbs down, but I do recommend the Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo over the original.
The last new to me thing in my Wegman's haul is the Traditional Medicinals Green Tea Dandelion. I try to add dandelion tea to my diet for the healing qualities, but dandelion is a very strong, slightly bitter very earthy taste that doesn't always please me, so it is easy for me to blow it off. I try to pay attention to herbs, and foods that are good for the liver. For all the beer I've poured in my body, I have a lot to make up for with my liver. I'm pleased to report that the green tea really helps balance out the dandelion. They go really well together and I am sipping a cup of this now, and I am actually enjoying it!
To sum up my haul, run don't walk to your fave grocery and buy a box of Banana split minis, or any So Delicious mini bar, you won't regret it!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pssst. You didn't Hear it from Me....

I went to the Co-op yesterday in search of a delicious vegan ice cream sandwich, and due to the warmer weather they sold all out of their So Delicious mini everything! I decided to get another hibiscus berry Kevita Probiotic beverage, along with some green chili hummus, which is a new to me hummus, and some chocolate to soothe my blues. I got another tiny but powerful coconut crunch bar, and I decided to try one of Taza's disc chocolates. I got the vanilla, because chocolate and vanilla. I'm super excited to try this round disc. I ate a piece of regular dark chocolate the other day, and after eating stone ground chocolate it just wasn't as pleasing. The regular chocolate just felt flat and boring. I'm hooked on the texture of stone ground chocolate!
I also talked to two different employees about Chao slices. One employee is vegetarian, the other not vegetarian, but leans that way, and they both raved to me about Chao! I think it's so amazing because these are guys that eat dairy cheese! They both raved about the taste, and texture. One tried the tomato cayenne, and one tried the creamy original. These guys might buy Chao now to put on their veggie burgers this summer, instead of dairy cheese. And they might have cook-outs and impress other people with the Chao slices. I know there are so many people who don't care, and that is sooooo discouraging. But I also think there are people who at least kind of care, they care enough that if they can find a suitable replacement for some animal product they use, they just might do it. But it's up to us vegans to keep tasting, and passing along the information. Both employees also mentioned that Field Roast as a company is pretty much nailing it. I of course agree, and it warmed my heart to see such enthusiasm from non -vegans. They will continue to spread the word to all of the Co-op shoppers. The power of word of mouth is real. I was feeling kind of funky yesterday, and I came home feeling a little better. Sometimes you get a little cheering from the most unexpected places!
Before I go, I finally opened the bag of  Tyrrell's   sweet chili and red pepper crisps and all I can say is I am ruined for all other chips, or crisps. These crisps have potatoes, canola oil, and spices in them. Every single spice makes sense, and they taste so fresh! They taste like someone made them for me that same day. I had never heard of this brand before noticing the sale at the Co-op, but I will be on the lookout always for Tyrrell's crisps. They taste like real chips with real flavor. And while you still feel like you are eating a chip, they aren't total grease and salt bombs. All the thumbs up!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Animal Kindness

I was so proud last night, I made another oatmeal crust pizza, and I found a different spot to take a picture where it was a little less bright, and I took the picture holding the web cam upside down! This morning when I added the picture, it took me awhile to figure out what was wrong with it! I am a dork for sure. Anyway this is way cuter than pizza . This is Animal, yes she is named after the Muppets character! She has a very similar wild but lovable personality. Although she occasionally cuddles with the rest, she does tend to march to the beat of her own drum most of the time. She and I are similar in that way. I've said it before, it certainly was never a goal to become a crazy cat lady, but I'm not upset that it happened. I've learned so much about myself through this experience, and I feel happy that this little family got to stick together.
My Yogi teabag today says "Love is where compassion prevails and kindness rules" I have had a very funky week, and I feel the weight of sadness on my shoulders. No amount of Yoga is easing the tension. I'm going to carry this little tea bag label with me today. I hope to walk off my funk, and come home with my spirits a little lifted. Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Groovy Stuff

A little Groovy
I was super excited to see yet another new to me Kombucha at the Co-op. For the longest time, they only sold Synergy, and Reed's. Now they have Kevita, and also High Country. From the look of High Country's website, they have a new bottle design, so be on the lookout for that. This bottle was bought about two weeks ago, so the change must be very recent. Anyway, I was excited to see a Groovy Grape flavor, as I love groovy things, and grape is one of my favorite flavors. When I was a kid, and could sneak in some old fashioned junk, grape bubblegum was my jam! Oh, and I shudder to think of how much I loved grape soda. Blech. This kombucha is not as fizzy as other brands, including my own home brew. It also is way less sweet, which I'm sure a lot of people would like. The grape flavor was there, but very subtle. I was a little disappointed, to be honest. It tasted much more like how my home brewed kpmbucha tasted like when I was still learning and experimenting. One of the reasons I splurge on some of the bottled kombuchas is they taste way more amazing than what I have made so far. I would say that this kombucha is for those that like a sharper, less sweet kombucha. And I know there are a lot of Kombucha drinkers that prefer a stronger booch. It is amazing that there is a booch out there for everyone! Just to see more than one brand of kombucha on the shelves is pretty amazing, if you ask me! Even the meatier, junkier Giant Eagle sells Synergy kombucha, and also Kevita kombucha along with a few flavors of their probiotic drinks. I really love kombucha. As someone who was severely addicted to coffee, and for a stint energy drinks, neither ever gave me the wonderful feeling kombucha does. Anyway, I would say if you like a sweeter, fizzier booch, this brand may not be for you. But if you prefer a stronger, less sweet booch, I would say try High Country. From the looks of their website, they have a few new flavors.
I also can't sign off without suggesting that everyone run, don't walk to your local grocery and buy a box of  So Delicious Just Java Minis. I expected these bars to be like a fudge pop, or was it sicle? Anyway, I thought they would be that kind of creamy, icy texture. I couldn't have been more wrong. Luxurious is a word that comes to mind. They are creamy, and thick, and rich. Again, the size is perfect. To make it even better, they are only eighty calories a bar? With as rich and creamy as these are, it's really hard to believe.  So Delicious is also now using sticks that are plant based and compostable! So Delicious is really nailing it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I had heard of Amy Schumer, the comedian, but as I don't own a TV, I have somehow missed the brilliance that is Inside Amy Schumer. Has anyone watched this show? I haven't been able to find full episodes online, Comedy Central has them locked, you have to enter your cable provider, and I have none so blah. But after a really bad Friday night at work, I did binge watch a million and one clips of this brilliant show on YouTube. I also found one of her stand-up shows and I almost died from laughter, which would be a great way to go. She is not for people who are easily offended, she really gets in there, and can be quite raunchy. I used to date a stand-up, I believe she would be considered a blue comedian. She is one of the funniest comedians I have seen in a loooooong time. I have always appreciated those who can make us laugh. No matter who you are, this world is hard, and sad, and every day there are horrible things happening. We have to be able to laugh once in awhile, to balance out all the sadness. Comedy/Tragedy.  This video came on the heels of my frustration with Cover Girl's new ad campaign telling us ladies to "Embrace our face", while telling us to buy foundation to cover our face. It makes me gag. Anyway, this video is hilarious, and if you do own a TV, and have cable, I would for sure be adding Inside Amy Schumer to my watch list!
Also, yesterday I talked about the Kanwa mint mineral tea that I bought, and I wanted to say that it is by far the best mint tea I have ever had. The mint flavor is perfect, not too much. Too much mint can equal bitter. And I truly feel energized after drinking a cup, and it's caffeine free.  I am so grateful to the feline's for putting in those extra hours at the nip factory!
Sorry about the super gross anti-smoking ad before the video. The downside to watching these clips on YouTube is EVERY clip has one of three very grody anti-smoking ads. All I can assume is Amy Schumer fans are chain smokers?

Monday, May 11, 2015

I'll Have Some Chips with my Tea

More Co-op goodies!
I love when the Co-op has the smaller, chubbier collard leaves! They are so much more tender, and make great collard wraps! I like to make my wraps with hummus, shredded carrots, and sprouts. Yum. I of course bought a ton of organic oatmeal, not for breakfast, but for my favorite pizza crust ever! I can't stress enough how easy it is to make, and the crust is really delicious. It's a denser crust, so it's so great if you're like me, and like lots of sauce and veggies! My feline friends put in some extra hours at their jobs and told me to get myself something special for Mother's Day, so I splurged on this tea that I have been eyeballing for some time. It's called Kanwa, and it is a mineral tea. The Co-op had mint, chamomile, and one other flavor that I can't remember. I chose mint, because I find mint tea naturally perks me up, so it seems a good choice for morning time, and my quest to lower my caffeine intake. I also tried another flavor of the Taza stone ground chocolate. Last time I tried hazelnut crunch, this time I tried coconut crunch. I am now as obsessed with this chocolate as I am with Chao slices! The coconut crunch is even better than the hazelnut! The chocolate just has this amazing crisp texture that I can't get enough of, and then add little pieces of coconut and I'm in chocolate heaven. The chocolate is so rich, you truly only need a small amount to be satisfied. That is the tiny bar on top of the Equal Exchange green tea. That tiny bar packs a punch, trust me. The little fruit under the green tea is in my opinion the Queen of all mangoes, the Ataulfo mango. I impulse bought the Tyrrell's chips. They were on a super sale, and how can I resist sweet chili and red pepper??  Tyrrell's website is really cute, and they had several flavors at the Co-op. I haven't tried them yet, but my suspicion is they will be great. I will report back of course.
Not pictured are the So Delicious Just Java Minis. I had to stick them in the freezer immediately because I walked to and from the Co-op, so poor things had been melting away on my almost two mile walk home. I can't wait to try these delicious looking treats!
I can't stop saying how happy I am about the continuous stream of new vegan goodies! In a world where it is so easy to get discouraged, you have to look for signs of hope where ever you can find it. I keep saying it because I truly believe this. It is getting harder and harder to use taste and cravings as an excuse for cruelty. There are vegan options for almost any kind of non-vegan food. And good, tasty substitutions.
What new vegan treats have you discovered lately??

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Moderation is the Key

So last Thursday was the fifth and last day of the Kevita clean eating plan for me. The plan was for one to seven days, and so I chose five days. Eating wise it was super easy, it's very similar to how I try to eat, but I did have to forgo tofu and potatoes. I also gave up salt, for the most part which was super hard! I did use things like olives, and I did break down and use some coconut aminos, but overall, I feel I did pretty well. The other challenging thing was no caffeine. I was actually really surprised how hard that was for me. I gave up drinking coffee on the regular years ago, and replaced it with green tea, white tea, or Yerba Mate. I didn't get caffeine headaches, and I wasn't irritable, but man was I fuzzy. I was so foggy, and just felt like I was borderline comatose! I truly felt like I could not function as a human being! I have decided to really reduce my caffeine consumption. Coffe, then tea has been a part of my morning routine for so long, I'm not about to give that up, so from now on I will alternate green or Yerba Mate with an herbal tea so I still have both the experience, and a little caffeine boost, but I'm not over doing it.
Overall I learned that I want to cut down on both salt and caffeine intake, but not live a life completely without either one of these things. I like doing little cleanses, or clean eating spells, detoxes, reboots whatever you want to call it, I like to do these every once in awhile to kind of see what I can improve on. I like to take tips and suggestions from other vegans, and then see what works for me and my body. I have both deprived myself of, and overindulged in many things in my life, and so finding balance without restriction is very important to me. The clean eating challenge also reminded me that I love to start my day with a huge green salad! I had forgotten that over the brutal winter. It also reminded me how much better I feel when I amp up my fruit and vegetable intake.
 Moderation and balance are tricky things, but worth striving for.
I also am realizing that I may never have the perfect bod, because I am going to have a vegan treat every now and again, and that's okay. What is the perfect bod anyway. To me the perfect bod is a healthy, happy vibrant body. I feel pretty healthy this morning. So, I will continue eating a fruit and vegetable heavy diet, with room of course for Chao slices, and other vegan treats.
Do you believe in extremes, or moderation?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

We all Scream for Vegan Ice Cream!

The weather is warming up, so that means we are getting into vegan ice cream season!! I had picked up a box of So Delicious Mini Coconut Almond Bars on sale awhile ago, and even though Thursday was the last day of my clean eating challenge, after the hemp tofu disaster, I needed something tasty. I decided to throw caution to the wind, and I tried one of these treats. Wow is really all I can say. These taste like a vegan ice cream version of almond joy! I loved almond joys, so these are right up my sweet alley. The chocolate coating is perfect, neither too thin, or too thick. The ice cream has a definite coconut flavor, and it is like all So Delicious ice creams, very creamy and rich. I am in love, and these will be a regular treat in the warmer months. The bars are the perfect size, as they are very rich so a mini bar totally satisfies. I have yet to be disappointed with a So Delicious product. I'm never nervous to spend my money and try a new product from them. These are something I would for sure serve to any dubious non-vegan and watch their mind totally change about vegan food!
Speaking of delicious vegan ice cream, have you heard that the makers of Ben&Jerry's ice cream are working on developing a vegan flavor? I for one signed the petition awhile back, and I am keeping my fingers crossed it really happens. In my pregan days, I love, love, loved Phish Food.
I just love that it seems like everyday more vegan choices are hitting the market. If there is a time when I have delicious vegan cheese that can be eaten cold in my fridge, and vegan Ben&Jerry's in my freezer, I might actually cry tears of joy! And of course eat my greens to atone!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I'm Not Tempted by this Tofu!

Co-op goodies!!
I found the olive Food should Taste Good chips on sale for $1.99 a bag! They will go great with the roasted garlic hummus in the tub above the Chao slices. Since I was still on my clean eating challenge yesterday, and I was craving tofu which is on the no no list, I decided to finally try the Tempt hemp tofu. I have been curious about this product, but I always wimp out on trying it, because the color of the plain flavor is kind of a turn off for me. In this particular instance, I truly wish I would not have been brave. I don't want to rip on vegan products too much, but I also have to be honest, and this stuff needs some work. The color is way off, it is way more dense than soy tofu, and the texture, oh my the texture. Wait, before I get to the texture, I need to say also that the smell is a bit "off". Between the color, and the smell, this stuff had me worried. As I was slicing it, I noticed that it was full of whole hemp seeds. I read one review that seemed to applaud the seeds, as it was clear this tofu wasn't "over-processed". I disagree with that opinion. I don't like to hear a crunch when I slice tofu. I cooked the tofu in the oven, on a baking sheet with a little coconut oil for about fifteen minutes a side. This is my favorite way of cooking soy tofu. While the tofu was cooking, I started some Basmati rice cooking, and chopped some vegetables for a Bibimbap bowl. The hemp tofu did not get a nice exterior from the oven like regular tofu. It just kind of deepened the grey color, and it just stayed a big grey dense slab. I could only force myself to eat two slices. I find nothing to be pleasurable about this product. I wanted to like it, but I can't. I'm very happy that I don't have a soy intolerance. If I did, I would just live without tofu. Maybe they should have compared it to tempeh, since tempeh is a totally different texture than tofu. I don't know what the answer is, but my suggestion is to skip over this particular product. I have seen some reviews of tofu scrambles made with this, which might work better with the texture. I won't be finding out, because this stuff is almost double the cost of organic soy tofu, so I will just keep using the traditional tofu. This hemp tofu is not something to feed a dubious non-vegan.
I just realized I didn't mention the taste too much. Much like soy tofu, this tofu doesn't have much taste. But the texture is so off-putting to me, that it almost gives it a flavor.
Have you tried hemp tofu?

Victor/Victoria Vegan!!

Have you heard of  Victoria Vegan pasta sauces? I assumed that would be a brand I would have to special order, or wait until I'm back in Seattle. I was shocked when I saw a few varieties of this sauce at Wegman's! They had the original Alfredo, along with roasted red pepper Alfredo. Maybe I'm alone, but I got so excited to see not only one, but TWO vegan Alfredo sauces on a regular grocery store shelf! And a grocery store in a meat loving town like this! Even though it's a little pricey(almost seven dollars a jar) and I make a pretty mean cashew Alfredo myself, I had to show support, so I chose the roasted red pepper Alfredo. I bought a pack of organic Polenta in a tube, two beautiful heirloom tomatoes, and made some stacks. I just layered some sauce in the bottom of a shallow glass baking dish and layered slices of polenta with slices of tomato, and small pieces of original creamy Chao. I spooned a little more sauce over the stacks, baked for about twenty five minutes at 350 and what a gourmet little meal I had. I should have taken a too bright picture for sure! It was the perfect meal to have before starting a cleanse! But back to the sauce. It is a thick, creamy Alfredo, and it's the beautiful blush type of color from the red peppers. You can definitely taste the red peppers, and garlic. What I love is that they did not skimp on the thick and creamy factor. The sauce has no funky ingredients which I also love. On Monday night, I made my favorite Pizza crust, and used the rest of the sauce, Brussels sprouts, kale, garlic, and onion and had a rich, and delicious pizza. Although the sauce doesn't have any weird chemicals in it, I don't think it would be considered a "cleanse" food, but I am not entitled enough to waste food because of a cleanse. I added extra kale to atone for my sin. Ha. Anyway, it was a great sauce for such a hearty crust. If you haven't tried this crust, I highly recommend it. Oat flour is soooooo easy to make, it changed my life. I can't say I would buy this sauce all the time, because of the cost, but I would like to have a jar in my pantry for Alfredo emergencies. Although Isa tells us to ABS (always be soaking), I don't always listen. I have tried to make Alfredo with under-soaked cashews, and it's never as good. I want to try the original Alfredo next, and see how that measures up. Today is the last day of my cleanse, so maybe this weekend!
I don't know how much anyone cares about the ongoing saga of an elite group of vegans VS. Cassey of Blogilates, but I've been rally liking Swayze's take on the matter, so here is part two of her response to the attacks.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Beans and Rice with a Dash of Nice

Cheap&Cheerful Vegan Meal
This clean eating challenge I've been doing is really helping me remember how delicious simple food can be. It seems like it can be so easy to forget sometimes! This was last night's dinner. A plate with rice, beans with nutritional yeast, Romaine lettuce, and an avocado mashed with some garlic, crushed red pepper, and lemon juice. And of course a liberal dousing of hot sauce. I cooked the rice with some sauteed onion and garlic, a little turmeric, cumin, and smoked paprika. Yum. The meal was probably under two dollars, and because of my beloved bulk section, everything was also organic! In addition to this meal being cheap and healthy, it was also super tasty, and colorful. I promise as soon as I am back in Seattle, I will figure out how to adjust, well everything so my pictures aren't so bright. I plan on participating in Vegan Mofo, and I definitely want to post some beautiful pictures to help show how amazing vegan food is!!
I'm always shocked when people ask me what on earth I eat as a vegan. It cracks me up because there are sooo many fruits and vegetables out there! Fruits and veg that I've never even tasted! I feel like a food world opened up for me when I became vegan. I relied on cheese A LOT, and I definitely ate a lot more convenience/processed foods. My love of cooking has really blossomed since making the switch, and that is always a good thing.
I was very happy to find this video on YouTube. Once again, Swayze nails it. I'm glad she also agrees that of course fat shaming is wrong, it's more ridiculous in this instance because Cassey is not fat, or even anywhere near fat. As someone who had a long battle with an eating disorder and hating everything about my body, and the way I looked, I really hope we can shift this mean body judging mentality. It certainly does not help veganism, does absolutely not one thing to help animals, and it just sends toxic energy out in the universe.
I found this quote on one of my many Post-it notes, and it seems fitting. "Listen carefully to how a person speaks about other people to you, this is how they will speak about you to other people."
Hopefully one day in my lifetime we will all be kind. Just kind.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I Put a Spell on You

I really liked this video, and I feel like Swayze was very brave to put herself out there like this on YouTube. I like that she marches to the beat of her own drum, makes her decisions based on science, logic, and of course what works for her, and her body. The timing of this video was funny, because late last week I watched quite a few vegan YouTube videos talking about Cassey Ho, of Blogilates and why she has gained weight. Quite a few of the videos justified their mean spirited words by saying that she makes her money off promoting "hot bods" and such. They feel since that is how she earns a living, she deserves to be criticized for what they consider to be a not so perfect bod. She is not as thin as she was at some point. Here's the thing, I have mentioned several times that I do various workouts via YouTube, and Blogilates is one of the first channels I subscribed to! Her workouts are no joke, and her bod is no joke either. If she is not as thin now as she was at some point, who cares? She is still very thin, in great shape, and beautiful. I've seen a few vegans attack her in the past for not being vegan, which is bad enough, but this is too much. I cringe at the thought of being in a room with any of these vegans who are so obsessed with being lean, to the point where they spend time and energy producing a video to attack. One of the days that I watched an attack Cassey video, I was feeling a little frustrated with my own bod, wondering why I wasn't thinner, so to see someone mocking Cassey's figure, well I felt like if they're calling her chunky, I'm bringing up the obese rear. It's mean. and I don't like it. I also fear that it turns people off from veganism. Cassey has flirted with veganism, and I have watched a few of her recipe videos, and she is very vegan and vegetarian friendly, and always offers up options. I wonder how much she would consider veganism at this point? Doesn't seem like a very friendly community, does it? I read comments a lot of times, and I have read quite a few comments from people saying they are vegan, but they don't say it openly, either out of fear of body shaming, and/or they just don't want to be associated with such a mean group of people. We don't need people cowering in the corner, we need people standing loud and proud. Veganism is about animals, not who can be the leanest.Cassey is beautiful, and she puts amazing workouts on YouTube for free! I can't afford to take Pilates, yet I can do Pilates every day if I want! Cassey's workouts have been a part of my life for over four years, and I really appreciate all that she does, and I hope she knows that there are plenty of vegans who think she looks amazing, and think she is great.
I've been reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and the first agreement is Be Impeccable with your word. I have read and re-read this chapter so many times! He talks of how our words can cast spells on people, and people can be under that spell for the rest of their life. I know this is a long post, but I want to close out with two paragraphs from this amazing book.
    Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself.If I see you on the street and I call you stupid, it appears that I'm using the word against you. But really I'm using my word against myself, because your going to hate me for this, and your hating me is not good for me. Therefore, if I get angry and with my word send all that emotional poison to you, I'm using the word against myself.
     If I love myself I will express that love in my interactions with you, and then I am being impeccable with the word, because that action will produce a like reaction. If I love you, then you will love me.If I insult you, you will insult me. If I have gratitude for you, you will have gratitude for me. If I'm selfish with you, you will be selfish with me. If I use the word to put a spell on you, you are going to put a spell on me.
I say kindness should a word we all get more familiar with.

Monday, May 4, 2015


This post is my 300th post! Time sure flies when you're having fun. I'm proud of myself for sticking with it, especially all the times I have felt so dorky, and lacking any technical knowledge. For someone like me who can be flaky, and definitely can be a commitment-phobe, this has been great. I enjoy the outlet, and will definitely continue on! Here's to another 300!
I made the most delicious "tuna" salad yesterday, using sunflower seeds. I got the recipe from Eco-Vegan Gal's YouTube channel. She's been doing a whole should you buy or DIY, series that pulls at my DIY heartstrings. Anyway, the most exciting part of this recipe is the cashew mayo. I have never made my own mayo, and this stuff really satisfies. It's creamy, and garlicky, and lemony. Yum. Anyway, it's wild how much this salad looks like tuna salad! It's so creamy, and also crunchy. It was great in some lettuce cups, and also amazing on top of a huge green salad. I have been making a tuna-less salad with garbanzo beans for years, and I think I prefer sunflower seeds! It's not so dense. I would feed the sunflower seed salad to any tuna salad lover I know proudly. This will be a staple in my fridge this summer for sure. For some reason when I was making this yesterday, I imagined this salad stuffed into a big, juicy summertime tomato for a very ladies who lunch type of meal. If you can find sunflower seeds, and cashews in bulk this is soooooo cheap to make, and it is just so flavorful!
Today is day to of my cleanse, and I really feel clean to be honest. It sounds so Chao-y to say, but it's true. I had noticed for the last few weeks my stomach kind of bothered me every few days or so, and today my stomach feels great. I feel abuzz with vitamins and minerals. This is the first cleanse I've done that only allows herbal tea, not even green tea, so I am a little water logged in the brain, but what can you do. I have no caffeine headache or anything like that, so being a little fuzzy is okay.
Thank you to anyone who reads this little blog that is constantly under construction! I look forward to 300 more, and then another 300, and so on and so forth. It's spring, I'm moving back to the west coast soon, life is only going to get better, and more interesing, and so will my pictures, I promise! Ha!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ms. Clean

This is a huge salad I ate this morning for breakfast. It had Romain lettuce, Lacinato kale, red, orange and yellow mini sweet peppers, celery, spicy sprouts, and some sliced green olives. If you look closely to the right that is the top of Dylan's head. He was wanting my kale. He loves kale, and also carrot tops! Anyway, for the next five days I pan on following Kevita's  1 to 7 day clean eating plan. It's not too far off from how I already eat, I just won't be eating pasta, bread, or really anything processed. Five days without my true love Chao is going to be so tough, but I'm a trooper. I also won't be adding salt to my meals, which is going to be a challenge, as I do love salty flavors. I guess I cheated already with the olives, but I am easing myself into no salt. The other big thing for me is no caffeine. Although I gave up coffee years ago, I do still drink green tea which still has caffeine. I feel a little fuzzy this morning from no stimulation, but no headache so woot! It's spring, I feel like I need to get rid of the old, and welcome in the new. After all the heavy winter food, it feels refreshing to lighten up.
I recently discovered a new YouTube channel, Banana TV, and they conducted a salt experiment which really made me see salt in a different light. The effect salt had on Caley's face and body was pretty scary. Here is the finale of the experiment, where she kind of sums everything up. If you have the time, it's worth it to watch the whole series. I found it very motivating, and educational. My plan is to go salt free for the next five days, and then see how I feel after that. I want to at least get to the point where I am using salt very, very sparingly.
I'm excited to see how I feel after these five days. I feel like I have been unhappy for so long, I'm eager to get back to myself, and feel and look my best so I am ready to say Hello Seattle!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

V is for Venting!

I just had to give a quick little rant. The other day at work, I was discussing the pro and cons of a salt free diet, and such with the "chef" at my job, and he made the comment that vegan food must be so bland, how could you not use salt. Sigh. It is so frustrating to me, food can be bland. Not just vegan food. How many people who are dieting and living on boiled chicken breast talk of missing flavor. It is so maddening, as I see him tossing all kinds of salt, and seasoning salt on whatever flesh he's cooking up for people. I get burned every time I attempt to have a conversation about anything other than the typical toxic workplace conversations. It's also funny how people know so much about vegan food, when they have never even attempted to live on a vegan diet. People! I feel much better now. Sometimes I want to cry and have a tantrum, but instead I will vent every now and then, and just keep eating flavorful, vibrant vegan food!

Friday, May 1, 2015

When Za'atar and Burgers Meet, We All Win!!

Yesterday I was running late for work, and I needed to eat something quick, and I remembered my Sweet Earth Za'atar Burgers in my freezer. I had found these babies on clearance for $1.98 a package at Target! Woot woot! I  baked my burger on a baking sheet in the oven at about 375 Fahrenheit for about ten minutes on side one, five minutes for side two. The directions say to cook in a pan on the stove top, or use a grill pan or grill. I felt they were fine in the oven, but certainly cook in the oven at your own risk. My kitchen smelled so wonderful, like the best pizza I've ever smelled! Za'atar is one of my favorite spice blends. I believe it's the sumac that really makes it pop for me. Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that has sesame seeds, sumac, dried oregano, sea salt, and sometimes cumin. I first had Za'atar on a toasted pita, and I was in love right away. It's herby, and earthy and the sumac gives it a slight tang, and it just really works. Okay, I got sidetracked on the Za'atar, let's get back to the burgers!
The ingredient list is full of interesting flavors. Along with seitan, they have Garbanzo beans, farro, flax seed meal, Quinoa, lentils, Tahini, spinich, carrots, plus more! But not one funky weird thing.
The burgers have less of a meaty texture than other seitan based burgers. The texture reminded me of an old school Gardenburger. I don't know about anyone else, but that was one of my faves back in my vegetarian days. I had my burger on my favorite bread ever, Veganic (sesame sunflower all the thumbs up) with a smear of Just Mayo, and some Romaine lettuce. The Za'atar flavor was there, but not overpowering, and the burger was nice and big. I think it would be great with a slice of Chao creamy original, but alas mine had all been eaten cold. When I make the second burger, it's going in a pita with lettuce, tomato, and some Tahini garlic sauce! I don't know about their other flavors, but the Za'atar burger is not trying to emulate meat in any way. It stands tall in it's grainy, beany, veggie self.
I am really liking Sweet Earth. They have been around for a long time, are a vegetarian company with a strong vegan product line, and these burgers are the third Sweet Earth product I've tried. I have also had their amazing hickory and sage smoked seitan bacon, and their Curry Tiger burrito. I would feel confident at this point trying any of their vegan offerings. That bacon is going to be amazing for some vegan B.L.T's this summer when the tomatoes are at their best!
Have you tried any of Sweet Earth's amazing treats?