Friday, July 31, 2015

Connecting the Dots

Worth every penny

So creamy and dreamy and fuzzy!
One of my splurges at Vegan Haven was this tub of Treeline cashew cheese. I have read many vegans lovingly talk about this cheese, and to be honest I never really thought I would be able to try it. Even though it hurt my feelings to pay almost nine dollars for such a small container, (six ounces) it was well worth it. I won't be able to afford to buy this all the time, but it's something I look forward to splurging on every so often. The container says it is a creamy, soft French-style cheese. . The texture reminds me of goat cheese. It's creamy, but not as creamy as cream cheese. As you can see, it's easily spreadable.  The ingredient list is super simple. cashews, filtered water,L.Acidophilus,dried scallions,sea salt, onion powder, and lemon juice. It's got a great scallion flavor, it tastes fresh, not dried. And it gets a nice tang from the lemon juice. I don't have any bagels, but I definitely feel like it would be AMAZING on a bagel.  To be fair, it probably wouldn't be that much cheaper to make it yourself. Cashews certainly aren't cheap. This cheese makes me want to have a picnic, with some red wine(even thought I never really cared for red wine) a baguette, and a sophisticated, worldly person. I don't know who, but someone. I love it when food sparks my imagination. This would be a great cheese to serve at a party, and blow some minds when you let everyone know it's made from cashews!
Although blackberries were abundant at the farmer's Market last week, and are all over the produce sections, the wild blackberries at Magnuson Park were not ready yet.  Since Magnuson is my favorite place in Seattle, it was not a wasted trip. The sun was shining, the water was crisp, and I got to pet lots of happy water dogs! It's great energy to be around nature, and happy people and dogs.
I feel like I can't sign off without mentioning Cecil. My heart has been so heavy this week, and I've tried to stuff my feelings, but I can't. This dentist will never realize what he's done. He is a trophy hunter. These majestic animals he kills are nothing but kills. He doesn't see anything wrong with his "sport". People like that will never understand. No amount of shaming, hatred, death threats, public mocking, even jail time will ever change that mentality. I know a lot of vegans are up in arms about the hypocrisy of meat eaters being outraged over Cecil. I too see the hypocrisy, and wonder why the connection can't be made, but at the same time we need help to stop this shit. Vegan numbers are growing, but we are still a minority. There is strength in numbers, and we need numbers. I want to save animals, not judge people. Compassion can bring more compassion, and if we work with people who want to help stop these maniacal trophy hunters, we can stop it. I truly believe a big shift is happening, and it's getting to the point where it's hard for meat eaters to ignore the facts. We live in a world full of apathy, so let's be happy when people choose to be outraged. Vegan isn't supposed to be an exclusive club. Cecil,I'm so sorry you fell victim to such a small, little man.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I Got My Satisfaction!

Super fuzzy, but super yum.
I started my day with this delicious, thick smoothie with blueberries, blackberries, and frozen bananas. It was almost soft serve. I don't know what it is, but I find thicker smoothies  more satisfying.
I've never seen such big jars of Just Mayo!
I stopped at Target on my way home for a few things, and look what I saw! I didn't know Just Mayo made the big tubs! It's so cool to see Just Mayo sitting right there with all the other guys. I've noticed some places separate the vegan mayo, and put it some place weird, which just furthers the myth that vegan food is weird.
Orange, turmeric, carrot juice
I came home, had some Kale Chips (kool ranch) and made this tasty juice. It was super refreshing after walking around on a semi-hot day. I always feel an extra pep when I drink this combination. I usually add ginger, but alas, I'm out.
I decided to continue on with my healthy food day by making a greens heavy Bibimbap bowl. It's been awhile since I've had this, and it really is one of my favorite meals.
I missed you so!
For this bowl, I started with a layer of jasmine rice, then added green onion, green pepper, some shredded lettuce, and some Trader Joe's Cruciferous Crunch. I then added some tofu I baked in the oven with a little coconut oil, and salt and pepper. I made a simple sauce of soy sauce, Sriracha, crushed red pepper, a little agave, and a touch of apple cider vinegar. Usually the sauce would have sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar instead of apple cider, but you make do with what you have, right? The sauce was still very delicious. I find meals like this, with different temperatures, and different textures to be very satisfying. And I always feel very balanced after eating this way.
I am going foraging for blackberries today, because I can't stand paying for blackberries when they are everywhere here! I love you Seattle!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Daiya You Nailed It!

Dylan shared his Coco Whip!
I tried the Daiya cheezecake last night, and it was a huuuuuuge hit! I have too say this is only the third vegan cheesecake I've ever tried in my life, but it is number one. It's frozen when you buy it, so the directions say to that in the fridge for 5-6 hours, and at room temperature for twenty minutes. When it was ready to slice, I noticed how creamy it was, it was almost too realistic. It has a gluten free graham cracker style crust which was very easy to slice through. I topped the cake with the berry sauce, and a little Coco Whip that Dylan so generously shared. It was love at first bite. It is creamy, and tangy and everything I remember about cheesecake! It got massive thumbs up from a non vegan who was uber skeptical. It was an eyes roll back in the head kind of reaction. Daiya nailed it with this delicious cake. According to the back of the box, they make chocolate, strawberry, and key lime pie cheezecakes.  Vegan Haven was completely out of chocolate, which I take as a sign of deliciousness.  I tasted a bite with no toppings, so I could be really fair. It tasted like the cheesecake of my youth. The one made with Philadelphia cream cheese. It was better than I expected. To be honest, because daiya is not my favorite vegan cheese, I was a tad skeptical myself. I would proudly serve this to every non vegan in the world, and I bet very few would know that this was a vegan cheesecake. For anyone who avoids soy, this is also soy free. Daiya seems to be a very allergen friendly company! Although the main ingredient is coconut, there is virtually no coconut taste. I just don't know how they did it! Although this is definitely on the decadent side, it's nice to know that we vegans have such a rich dessert option! I can't wait to try the other flavors.
I'm off to do a brutal workout to make up for the rich dessert last  night! It was soooo worth it. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vegan Haven!

I made it to Vegan Haven! It's a small, unassuming building kind of at the tail end of the "ave". It's about the size of a small bodega. But it's sooo much better.
All kinds of vegan goodies!
This was the first refrigerated case I saw. It contained Eat Pastry cookie dough, various vegan yogurts, vegan cinnamon rolls, jello, and some Sweet and Sara cookies and huge marshmallows.
Look at all this vegan cheese!!!
I finally found the new FYH Mozzarella slices, and also the American cheese block. I also totally splurged on a container of scallion Treeline soft cheese. That stuff is PRICEY! They also have Punk Rawk Labs cheeses!
This case had me dreaming of sandwiches!
They have an amazing selection of vegan meats, and all kind of sausages I never knew existed!
Pizza, roasts, and veggie burgers
So many vegan ice creams!!
Did you know Gardein makes an actual veggie burger? Like it's called veggie burger. I got a package, and cooked one for a non-vegan with a slice of FYH mozzarella, and it got all the thumbs up! It will appeal to the vegans and non vegans who don't appreciate the more "meaty" veggie burgers. If you notice on the top shelf, they also have daiya cheesecakes! Woot woot! They were out of the chocolate, they had strawberry and one original, so I chose the original. I'm going to make a berry sauce with some Farmer's markets berries for a topping!
Cream cheese, sour cream, tofu, and more sausages!
It was so exciting to know that I could throw anything into my basket, and it was all safe! I realize in all of my excitement, I didn't get any pictures of the shelves. They had so many different types of boxed mac and cheese, and they had all kinds of cool sauces and such. I will be going back to this amazing store, so next time I'll get all the nooks and crannies!
Tofurky Quiche?  Tofurky pot pies and pockets!
I just wanted to get one of everything!
I need to try this soon!
Part one of haul.
Treeline scallion soft cheese, FYH Mozzarella slices, and American block just for fun. Vegan white chocolate chips are something I never thought I would have in my life! I also splurged on this fancy box of vegan milk chocolate truffles. I am in love. Across the street from Vegan Haven is a vegan cafe called The Wayward Cafe, and  they provide some ready made sandwiches, wraps, and this amazing potato salad. This potato salad is hands down the best potato salad vegan or not that I have ever had in my life. Amazing. It had broccoli in it, which seemed strange at first, but it fit right in!
Part two
Daiya cheesecake(!), a vegan potato knish, because I've never had a knish, vegan or not. A vegan red zinger, which was amazing! And I finally found the Earth Balance white cheddar puffs. I love these babies. I have been looking for them for soooooo long!
I had to get some pins, one is for the Vegan Haven, one says make tofu not war. You might wonder why I would choose a Synergy Kombucha when I've been going on and on about all the varieties. Two answers, one is the flavor is grape, which I have never had, and I am a sucker for anything grape, including apes! Also, it's the kind of Synergy that is in a dark bottle and has to label that it has alcohol. The Coco Whip of course needs no explanation.
It was so wonderful to shop and not have to walk by and smell the meat and fish department. Coming from the land of meat and potatoes, and maniacal people who love to hunt, this was a much needed experience. The guy that was working was sooooo nice, and we had a great conversation about vegan foods, and it was again so nice to be relating to someone, and they're relating to me. And of course I love that I got some delicious treats, and my money is going to something I believe in.
For the most part the prices are very reasonable. Their Chao, FYH, And Field Roast meats are the cheapest I've seen in Seattle so far. Some of the prices are heart attack inducing, but that's to be expected at a vegan specialty store. I will be back again and again. I also picked up an application for volunteering at the store!
If you are ever in or near Seattle, please do yourself the biggest favor and check out the amazing Vegan Haven!
Have you ever shopped at an all vegan store?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hummus and Pasta Heart Each Other!

Basil hummus pasta!
I saw this idea for hummus as a pasta sauce awhile ago on a random YouTube video, and I finally got around to trying it! I blended a can of chickpeas with two garlic cloves, a handful of basil, some salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Usually I use tahini in my hummus, but that is a staple I haven't replenished yet. After making my hummus, I cooked a little less than half a package of Cappellini, than combined the hummus with the pasta. I also added a little bit of the cooking water to help thin it out and combine with the pasta. It was really tasty. It was creamy, almost like an Alfredo, minus the fat! It's also the kind of meal I love, super cheap and easy, but really healthy and rich! I served it with a salad of butter lettuce and spinach with sunflower seeds and sliced green olives. This will be on regular rotation in m kitchen. I like it too because you can switch up the seasonings in the hummus to make it different every time you make it. I always like a reminder of how simple food can be so delicious.
Sleepy, rainy Sunday
Simple meals are something I need right now as I adjust to my new kitchen. It's not an easy adjustment. My old kitchen was so big, with tons of cupboards, room for a kitchen table and chairs, and it also had a window. My new kitchen is the size of a tiny closet, with less cupboards, and it's just really cramped. I'm constantly forgetting to close a cupboard, and then almost knocking myself out. I also have almost zero counter space. If I'm in the kitchen and one of my kitties wants to hang out, it's maddening because there just isn't enough room for even me, let alone anyone else.  Between the lack of space, and not having built up my pantry yet, cooking has definitely taken a turn in the simple direction. I find myself wishing I could have moved my apartment in PA. to Seattle. I know that I will adjust to the smaller kitchen, and one day I will be cooking up a storm in there, but for now its kind of rough.
I'm really excited, because Seattle actually has a small, vegan grocery store called Vegan Haven in the university district, (or the U-district if your hip) and the store is owned by a pig sanctuary! So everyone who shops there is helping to support the greatest cause! From some of the reviews I've read, they have a great selection, and reasonable prices. I'll be the judge of reasonable prices, ha. I'm super excited to go, and I will of course take pictures, and show my haul! The store is mostly run by volunteers, which is also really cool. It would have to be something really special to draw me to the U-district, as it's not my favorite part of Seattle, and I would say a vegan store that benefits Pigs Peace Sanctuary is something really special! It's going to be amazing to be able to just buy anything without having to read any labels!! I read somewhere that they have a decent selection of vegan milk chocolate. While I have come to appreciate dark chocolate, I do miss milk chocolate.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Changing the World One Condiment at a Time!

Pizza with pesto before baking.
I decided to make a pizza with pizza sauce, Cannellini beans, kale, red onion, some of my homemade pesto, and Trader Joe's vegan shreds. The shreds from Trader Joe's have become my favorite vegan cheese to cook with. It has such great melt, and is a great price.
It came out great. The pesto added a nice garlicky, herby kick. I had to top it off with crushed red pepper of course! I had already eaten some of the finished product before I remembered to take a picture! It was suggested to me that pesto can be used in tofu scrambles, and as a condiment for a sandwich, so I think a pesto tofu scramble will use up the rest of the pesto nicely!
I read this piece of out of this world news today! I have heard murmerings of 7-11 making this switch for awhile, but now it seems to really be happening. This could really open some people's eyes about how far vegan food has come. People might be more willing to try a veggie burger instead of a traditional burger, maybe they would try a piece of Chao instead of dairy cheese. It also means that other places are going to copycat, because that seems to be the way. In this case copying is a good thing! I say this all the time, but there is so much cruelty in this world to fight, it can easily become so overwhelming. At least I feel that way sometimes. And that can be a dangerous way to feel. It can lead to a why bother mentality. It's important to take note of all the good things that are happening, and making things better for animals. As tasty as Just Mayo is, I don't see why anyone who likes mayo wouldn't switch to a kinder mayo. I think people are so scared of giving up the tastes and textures they grew up with, and it's really getting to the point that no one has to!
Have you tried Just Mayo yet?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Yoga and Pesto

Although it's not my birthday, I liked the thought of a kind of rebirth, since that's what I've been doing. It's a grey, rainy day and i was feeling a little low energy, and after doing this practice I feel much happier. I swear it's the pigeon pose. Gotta free those bad emotions from your hips! I feel like some of the things she talks about in this video fit in with loving yourself, appreciating your body, and feeling grateful for all it does for you. Anyway, it's a really great practice and I thought I would share in case anyone else could use a little pick me up!
Vegan pesto!!
I made some pesto with some of the beautiful basil I bought at the Farmer's Market. I loosely followed this recipe. I used less oil, and also used sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. I have never used pine nuts in a pesto because they are too dang expensive, even in bulk. The pesto is so rich and delicious. I have to think of ways to use it today. I've had worse days!
Happy Saturday!

Getting There

Stevie says Hi!!
This was another little home improvement project I did the same day I painted. I was given a small table that I'm using as a coffee table, and it had a lot of glass marks on it. So I sanded it down, and painted the top with chalkboard paint. I've always wanted a chalkboard in my home. It's fun to be able to doodle on my table. It's like every kids dream, to be able to color ON the table! That's Stevie being cute for the camera! The kitties are for the most part adjusted to the move. They still get startled by the neighbors coming and going, and in the mornings when  maintenance vacuums the hallways they still hide under the couch. I think they think this is a big house, where lots of people live and for whatever reason only I'm allowed in the rest of the house. Stevie sometimes sits in front of the door like a dog waiting for someone to come home. Not sure who she's waiting for when I'm already home, but whatever. There are huge windows in the living room, and lots of crow and other bird activity going on in those huge evergreen trees, so they are really loving that. Dylan is doing better, his appetite has increased, as has his desire for people food. I bought him some tofurky slices because I remembered that he always enjoyed them. He won't eat the roast, just the slices. He's the same way with daiya. He only likes the shreds, he wants nothing to do with the blocks!
Speaking of moving, and home improvements, I learned a lesson about appreciating your body this week. I was kind of down on myself, wondering why I'm not as lean as I feel like I should be, wondering why after all of these workouts I've been doing and just in general being healthier than I've ever been I'm still holding on to some beer pounds. Anyway, I thought for sure I would be sore after painting, since it's not something I do, like ever. But I wasn't sore at all the next day. I also wasn't sore from moving heavy things. I am going to work really hard from now on to stop those negative thoughts from coming into my head. I want to appreciate my body for all that it can do, and for still being strong after everything I've put it through. The extra pounds will or won't come off, and I'm working on being okay with that. I'm happy with the way I'm eating, and happy with my workout regimen, so that's all that matters. I realized that I can't speak out against body shaming if that's what I'm doing to myself. It was a real light bulb moment, and I realize that I had the moment because I was open to that positive feeling. A few years ago I  would have been too full of self hatred to feel anything good about myself. Progress is pretty cool! I hope the recent trend of body shaming and food shaming comes to a close in the vegan community. It certainly isn't helping the animals, and it's very disappointing to see vegans take such a nasty, ugly approach to this lifestyle. We should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. I've babbled enough for one day.
Happy Caturday!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Keeping Me on my Toes!

Berries, basil, and cucumbers!
So I finally made it to a Farmer's Market yesterday. I did get these delicious berries, and look at that basil. I also found an organic English cucumber for one dollar, and a regular organic cucumber for only seventy nine cents! I wanted to get an eggplant, but it's sill a touch too early. I saw a booth with sunflower sprouts, which I have never had. I wanted to get more, but I couldn't handle the crowd. I even got there four minutes before opening time! I got my toes run over by several strollers, shoved out of line several times, and there were several booths serving grilled food, (not vegan) and the smell and the crowd pushed me away. It reminded me of those videos you see of people acting crazy for black Friday sales. I felt invisible. I'm not a crowds kind of person, and I am not a fan of aggressive shopping. I don't want to have to shove my way into line just to buy some basil. I don't know if this is the way it is at all Farmer's Markets, but at this one it seemed like there were more non fruit and veg things for sale. There was Artisan bread, cheese, wine, jams, pastries, cheese, cured and smoked fish and meats, and even artisan baskets, purses. I do believe in supporting local, small farmers but I also believe in keeping my toes, and sanity. Maybe I'm more of a CSA box kind of girl. It's strange how uncivilized people can be.
Yet another store brand vegan crumble!

After the Market, I stopped at Fred Meyer for some nutritional yeast. (I was almost out, eeeek!) I saw this Simple Truth brand vegan crumble, and decided to give it a try. They are cheaper than Gardein, etc and made from mostly soy and vital wheat gluten.  Simple Truth is a Kroger store brand, and Fred Meyer is owned by Kroger, or the other way around. Anyway, I like to see all these different stores coming out with vegan goodies. In my experience so far, they are just as tasty, and less money so it's a win-win.
Cooking up with some black beans and onions for tacos!
I cooked about half of the crumbles with a can of black beans and an onion with the usual cumin, paprika, chili powder and a touch of dried oregano and made tacos!
The finished product!
I served them on some Trader Joe's flat bread, with guacamole, shredded Romaine, and hot sauce. It was really delicious, and the crumbles had a great texture. They stayed firm, didn't get soggy or weird. I served some tacos to a non-vegan, and they got thumbs way up. I find vegan tacos are always a safe bet when feeding non-vegans. It makes me excited to see store brands venturing into the vegan food world, not only because it saves money, but also because it means more people are buying meatless meats and such. It;s great news for animals, and everyone concerned for animals. So far the store brand stuff I've tried has been really tasty, so that means a high chance of non vegans to come back for more! If you have a Kroger or Fred Meyer in your area, look out for Simple Truth. I saw breakfast sausages, "chicken" patties, and one other thing, so they're offering a variety.
Do you like the hustle and bustle of Farmer's Markets?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Always Loved a Good Knock-off

When I moved, I took very few things with me. My cats are most important to me, and I wanted there to be as much room as possible in the van, so a lot of my stuff got donated/tossed. That includes my blender. I had an Oster blender that was about thirty dollars, and I used that thing multiple times a day. I made juices, sauces, soups, and of course smoothies. I was also able to make banana soft serve, and the occasional hummus. What I'm saying is that cheap old blender did me right for over three years. Although I have dreamed of a Vitamix, and made many attempts to save up for one, other things such as food and rent always come up, and obviously those are necessities, not an expensive blender. I know you should never say never, but I have accepted that I may never run off into the sunset with a Vitamix. Once I got moved into my new apartment, (with the eggplant accent walls!!) I knew I needed a new blender, so I could start mainlining green juice. I was at Target/Bed Bath and Beyond, who knows, all these huge stores are all blending together in my brain. Anyway, I saw a Ninja blender on sale for $99.00.  I decided to go for it. At my old job they had one of these, and it was pretty awesome. So far I have made cashew Alfredo, many smoothies and of course many green juices. My smoothies are so thick now, like milkshakes. I used to have to add a lot more water.
Kale, Romaine, Pear, Cucumber, Pineapple
It's nice because the blade comes right out of the base so it's easy to get every last drop of whatever you've blended. The blender has high, medium, and low speeds, along with a pulse button. So far I start out on high, and depending on what I blend, I switch down to medium or low. I only have to blend my veg and fruit for mere seconds to make juice. Even when I use harder vegetables like carrots.  The base is also much bigger than my old Oster, so I can fit lots more greens in for my juice.
I can't wait to make some hummus, and in the fall/winter lots of soups will be made. This is by far the nicest blender I've ever owned. I have used a Vitamix before, and I would never say the Ninja can do what a Vitamix can do. But I will say for those of us who don't have four or five hundred dollars for a blender, this is a pretty good alternative. It says that it can tackle even the smallest of seeds, such as flax so we shall see. The Ninja comes with a five year warranty, so that makes me feel pretty good. It's definitely worth the cost, and again while it's no Vitamix, it does the job for me.
The only thing that kind of drives me insane is that you have to put the base on a certain way, and then twist to "lock it in". You also have to have the lid on a certain way or it won't run. I'm finally figuring it out, but I did cuss this thing out a time or two in the beginning. That's my only complaint really. All in all, I'm happy with my new blender, and I'm confident we will have a long and happy relationship!
Do you have a Vitamix?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Purple Rain

After.... much better!
Before... yuk!
I don't know why the pictures switched around like that. I had them in the proper before/after order. Anyway, weird computer tricks aside, paint day was a success! I feel so much calmer, and happier. This was only my second time ever painting. As anyone who rents knows, you usually aren't allowed to paint, or change anything in the home. Painting is easier than I expected. I learned that I enjoy doing the trimming, or edge work. The color is deeper than the picture. I didn't realize how hard it is to photograph purple! First it looked too blue, then too red. I had to just do a close up.  Deep, rich colors are my favorite. I even managed to stave off any fur/paw prints!
I recently discovered a few new to me YouTube channels(vegan) and I wanted to share the love. One is SweetPotatoSoul, and she has some delicious looking recipes, including one for sweet potato falafel!! Another is The Vegan Geeks, which is a pretty new channel, and they have fun haul, recipe, and vegan traveling videos. The third is a channel I loved in the winter, it went away for a bit, and now they're back Sim's Kitchenette. They have delicious looking recipes that really make you want to hop in the kitchen. Now that I am taking all of these drastic steps to improve my life, and be a productive vegan, I just can't handle many of the YouTube channels I used to watch. I can't handle the negativity, and the constant response, response to this response, response to that response, and on and on. I also can't handle the food, and body shaming. I know that the vegan movement needs all kind of voices, including the more aggressive voices. But I don't think the vegan movement needs gossip, meanness, body shaming, and endless YouTube responses. Some of the vegan YouTube videos remind me of everything I loathed about high school, and also most workplaces. Anyway, these three channels are refreshingly positive, and represent the vegan image I believe in. Healthy, happy, and warm and nice. I believe we should be ripping apart the farming industry, not each other.
Happy hump day!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Getting Jacked!!

What a view!

This is the view from my living room, and bedroom window. Also from my deck. If you look down, it's a parking lot, but I choose to look straight ahead. It makes me feel like I'm living in a forest, and the sounds from I-5 are just the sounds of a symphony. My view will be green year round too, no brown dead branches for me in the winter! My living room window is huge, so lots of natural light!
My first Jackfruit!

Delicious jewels!
I needed kitty food yesterday, so I walked to my nearest grocery. Since I'm working on getting familiar with my surroundings, I decided to peruse the store. They have a great selecion of Kombucha, decent vegan pizza/frozen meals, "meats", etc. and a pretty decent produce section. I was heading to the checkout aisle, and in the little area where they have their already cut fruit, I noticed they had cut up sections of Jackfruit!!! I've been reading about Jackfruit for awhile, I know many vegans love using it to make mock pulled pork, and tacos and such. I think I even read that Upton's is coming out with a line of Jackfruit based fun stuff. I've also watched a lot of YouTube videos of people eating the sweet fruit, and just loving it. I never in a million years thought I would ever come face to face with the actual fruit! I love Seattle! They also sell the whole fruit which are huge and spikey. I decided to try a smaller piece first, since I didn't know what to expect. You eat the yellow parts of the fruit, and of course take out the pit first. It's pretty easy to pull the fruit from the stringy shred like inside. The pit also comes out very easily. I don't know how to describe this magical fruit and do it justice. It's like a taste I can't even believe exists. It's like the world's best mango, nectarine, and kiwi mixed with all other delicious fruits and had a baby. The taste is so sweet and unusual it almost feels like it had to have been created in a lab, by Willy Wonka or something. I am in love, I feel like I can't live without this in my life ever again. The produce guy says it tastes different at different  stages of ripeness, so I assume maybe it gets loads sweeter as it ripens more. This fruit truly is nature's candy, I'm not joking. I feel like people who struggle with sugar addiction could really be helped with this fruit in their life. It has a mango-esque texture, mine was somewhat firm, I imagine it gets softer the riper it gets. I thought of different ideas to use this as I was eating, and before you know it I had eaten it all just as it was. This is my new favorite fruit, and I have to buy a whole Jackfruit now, and I bet it's going to be way too expensive, but I will live on lentils for a month to have this in my life. If you are like me, and have deprived yourself of this wondrous fruit, please do yourself a favor and find a way to get this  in your life!
Here's an interesting article on Jackfruit if you're interested. Don't let the end scare you, fresh Jackfruit is not texturally weird!
Today is paintind day, so wish me luck on a paw mark free paint job! I will have before and after pictures tomorrow! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Great Deals and Home Improvement

So many deals!

Saving more than I spent is awesome!
So This is part of my Grocery Outlet haul from last week. I loaded up on some basic spices until I find a store that sells bulk. They have very inexpensive spices, (some organic, some not) and they have a pretty decent selection. I was able to score Italian seasoning, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried sage, red curry powder, and lemon pepper. And a huge jar of crushed red pepper. Gotta have my spice! The box of organic green tea has one hundred bags, and it was $2.49! I found a box of Cascade Farms organic berry vanilla puff cereal for $.99!!! I was not allowed to eat sugary cereals as a child, so this will be a new, special treat! I also found a bag of Bear Naked coconut almond curry granola for I can't remember, but it was under two dollars. Yes, the granola has curry powder! I think it sounds interesting, and I know that I would never try it at regular prices. I later realized that the Boom Chicka Puffs have honey, so although they were a great price,  they are not vegan. These will go on to a loving, non-vegan family. The biggest score I found is coconut oil. They have several different brands, all or most organic, and it is such a steal!! I got a huuuuge, 56 ounce tub for ten dollars! This thing will meet all of my beauty and cooking needs for I don't know how long, but maybe forever! The receipt picture isn't showing the info as much as I had hoped, but the end result is I saved more than I spent! I love Grocery Outlet because as a person on a tight budget that has now gotten tighter, I can't afford to splurge on foods that I know I like, let alone things I've never tried. If you have a Grocery Outlet anywhere near you, I promise it's worth the trip. I like seeing discounted food stores selling healthy choices in addition to the crap. I'm all for people having the right to choose what they put in their bodies, but that means having healthy foods as an option too. So many discounted grocery stores sell the worst of the worst, and nothing slightly good. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore eating healthy can be expensive. Whole Foods is not an option for many people, for many reasons, including myself. Healthy food should not be only for people with money. I could talk for days on this topic. So, to reign it in I'm very grateful to have access to a Grocery Outlet again!
Today is a week that I've been in my new place, and I gotta say the world is much brighter. I was seriously questioning my decision to move here, why did I do it, what was I thinking, and so on and so forth. I still don't know if Seattle is the final place for me, but I know I'm getting closer, and I know Erie PA. was most definitely not for me. Anyway, life is great, the felines are finally getting used to the city noises. My apartment in Erie was on a residential, relatively quiet street. The loudest sound was the street sweeper. I think they are all understanding that this is home now. They're starting to claim they're favorite areas to sleep/lounge. I plan on taking some pictures, but first I have to fix a very pressing issue. For some reason, the powers that be for this complex thought it would be amazing to make statement walls in the living room and bedroom. I'm all for that idea, but they chose a burnt sienna for the statement! My statement is I'm gagging. No offense if you like that color, but it is not a color that I like, and it actually pisses me off. Luckily, you're allowed to paint over it, as long as you return it to burnt sienna when you move. So, today I'm getting paint, and I'm going to paint over the ugly! I'm planning on going with an eggplant purple, or the closest I can ge in that family. It's going to be beautiful. My plan is get supplies today, and deal with the internet guy, and then paint tomorrow! The sienna wall in my bedroom is the wall that my bed is against, and I swear it's giving me bad dreams when I sleep. So, I will take before and after pics of my home improvement mission. I hope I don't end up with too many paw prints in the paint.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I'm Finding All the Vegan Deals!

Vegan Korean BBQ chicken! Rice Noodle Ramen with Miso!
I have made more trips to Target this past week than ever in my life! When you move cross country, with only a few essentials, there are so many random things you need. I feel like I will never be caught up. I had to peruse their frozen aisle, to see what vegan goodies I could find! They had the Sweet Earth Burritos, tons of Gardein products (including meatballs I didn't even know existed!) They also had a fairly large amount of Amy's vegetarian and vegan foods. Target also makes it;s own line of vegan frozen faux meats, or substitutes, or whatever you want to call them. I saw the Korean BBQ chicken back in PA. and was curious, but yesterday I decided to buy a package. I was going to try some for dinner, so I could give a review, but it was too hot to turn on the oven. They have several flavors, including a mushroom miso meatless turkey, and Teriyaki Meatless chicken. I am pleased to report that there were three empty spots where I assume the other flavors live. I got one of three packages left of the BBQ. It makes me happy when vegan items are sold out because I think of how many people aren't eating animals. And I know a lot of non-vegans flirt with vegan foods, and we have come soooooo far when it comes to vegan meats and cheeses. The meatless chicken is made out of  soy protein, and other normal, not too funky of ingredients. I'm not saying it's health food, I'm simply saying it isn't toxic either. The Rice Ramen I got for any emergency noodle cravings that could come up.
I haven't spotted my favorite bread yet, so I decided to try Eureka! bread. I had never heard of it, and it was two dollars cheaper than other similar breads. I got Seeds the Day, and it is amazing! This is the Hulk of breads. It has flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, black and white sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. I made a big cold veggie sandwich for dinner with red and fresh banana peppers, lettuce, cucumber, hummus, relish, and mustard, and the sandwich stayed intact! It has a good hearty taste that reminds me of my hippie mom (in the best way possible.) I'm eager to try the other varieties, not sure if they are all vegan or not, so read labels! Give it a try if you can find it, and enjoy heartier breads.
Speaking of great vegan deals, I have to talk about Trader Joe's vegan shreds. I mentioned that they pass the Dylan taste test(paws up) and also the taste and meltability impressed a picky non vegan when used on a pizza, and also a pasta dish. It's also cheaper than any vegan cheese I've ever seen, even the grody ones. I only saw Mozzarella, not sure if they have cheddar or other flavors. I know it isn't daiya, so I'm not sure which cheese it is, but this stuff really does melt like a dream. It looks the most authentic when your pizza comes out of the oven. It also has a mild taste, so it's really more of a texture thing. I smelled it cold, and there is no way I will be tasting it cold. I have Chao, and the new FYH slices for that purpose. I think I paid $2.99 for the bag, which is almost half of the cost of daiya. Well worth it, especially if you want to impress some non-vegans.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Working It

It's my first Saturday morning in my new place, and I'm getting back into the swing of my routine. That includes working out. I have space now that I'm not in a hotel/motel sharing a very small space with kitties. I wanted to share this workout awhile ago, and I guess it slipped my mind. This is a super hard ab workout. The first time I did it, I almost gagged, no joke! But you feel so good afterwards. My goal is to do the whole workout, and do all the reps, and keep up with everyone in the video. Very lofty goal. It's a fun, and challenging ten minutes. I did this today after doing a boxing type workout on the same channel. My abdomen definitely feels worked!
This is how Roxie feels when I suggest she workout with me. The paper tent protects her from all threats of movement!
Happy Saturday, or should I say Caturday!

Snickerdoodle Vegan Ice Cream Exists!

Hello gorgeous!
I made this delicious carrot, orange, ginger, and fresh turmeric juice yesterday. I don't know what it is, but this combo always makes me feel really good and cheerful when I drink it. The oranges I bought at Trader Joe's are not the greatest of course, given the season but they are good enough for juicing. I also got that glass for like $.69 at a thrift store. I heart thrifting!
This stuff is dangerous!
So Delicious has really elevated vegan ice cream to a whole new level. This cashew milk ice cream is so rich and creamy I triple dog dare any non-vegan to taste this and not fall in love. I first tried the salted caramel flavor, based on Vegan in the VI (formerly The Shenandoah Vegan). I have also tried the deep chocolate which is really, intensely chocolaty. I decided to try te Snickerdoodle flavor next, because snickerdoodles! It has chunks of cookies in it, which is my favorite part. It is very cinnamony, and sooooooo creamy. I just read on the container that the cookies they use are gluten free, and I read the ingredients, and it seems the ice cream is gluten free as well. I'm happy that everyone can enjoy this treat. This is the perfect thing to bust out for any dubious non-vegans you may know. This stuff is a game changer. The snickerdoodle flavor will be a tasty treat in the fall. It made me think of apples, and cozy sweaters, and all that stuff. It also made me think of Hallmark moments, but I think that was the snickerdoodles talking. I saw a Cappuccino flavor that will probably be my next try. If you love snickedoodles, you need to try this ice cream.  I'm glad So Delicious is living up to it's name!
Today I'm on the hunt for a Farmer's Market, so hopefully I will have some bountiful pictures coming up!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Some Things never Change, Thank Gourd.

How I've missed you!

Fresh lychees, Thai basil, fresh turmeric, banana peppers, sweet onions, delicious tofu puffs!     

It's another beautiful summer day in Seattle, and I just got back from one of my favorite places, Lenny's fruits & vegetables. It's a stand in Greenwood, very near one of my old apartments. They have a wide variety of produce, especially unusual stuff that you can't always find at groceries. I got a huge bag of Thai basil for under two dollars. I got that whole bag of lychees for $2.79! I just ate some, and wow are they good. The texture is like a grape, but it's sweeter, with an almost perfumey taste, but in a good way if that makes sense. These won't last long.  The great thing about Lenny's is they are open year round. It's the same family running it as before I left. It's very comforting. It's also a great resource for people on tight budgets, who still want to be able to have some fruit and vegetables in their life. The tofu puffs are these delicious squares of fried tofu, like really fried, probably deep. The name is correct, as puff is the only way to describe the texture. I dreamt of these while I was away! They aren't the healthiest, but after three plus years of being deprived, I  just had to. Okay off to eat more lychees.

I'm in Love with Joe!!

Dylan wanted to say hi!

Strawberries, Romaine lettuce, Persian cucumbers, red pepper, and pineapple!

Potatoes, Coconut milk strawberry ice cream, savory tofu, coconut milk, siracha BBQ sauce(!), chicken-less strips, and Marsala burgers!
These are some highlights from my first Trader Joe's haul in Seattle!! Man, when I walked in, nothing had changed, and I felt like I was home! I love how almost all of their vegan products have a v clearly labeled on the packaging. It not only makes shopping easier, it also makes me feel like we matter. I remember when I first switched to veganism, it took me sooooo long to grocery shop, because I had to read every flipping label. Anyway, I just can't say enough good things about Joe. The prices are great, the employees are always super nice, and helpful, and I always find super fun vegan stuff. The strawberry coconut milk ice cream is new to me, and they NAILED IT! It tastes just like the strawberry ice cream of my youth. It's super creamy, and the strawberry taste is strong, and it's a natural strawberry taste, not super fake some some berry flavored things. As I mentioned, Dylan also gives the coconut milk ice cream a big paws up. I think I have to go to Whole Foods for Coco Whip, as I haven't seen it anywhere else, so until I make it there, he's happy with this substitution. I think between Grocery Outlet, and Trader Joe's, I might be able to live on more than just lentils. Woot Woot!
Dylan is doing sooo much better. I don't know if it's the medication, or what but his appetite and attitude are back! He is eating more than he has in quite awhile, and just seems happier. Last week at this time, I thought I was losing everything. Dylan got sick, I was still in the crappy hotel/motel, and really questioning what the hell I was doing. It seems like one week is such a short amount of time, but yet so much happened. I don't mean to sound Hallmarky, but maybe all of that stressful stuff happened for a reason. Maybe this medication will extend and improve Dylan's life, and maybe this apartment is truly where I need to be living right now. All I know is right in this moment I am so grateful for all that I have.
I've fallen behind on some of my YouTube videos with all of the chaos of the past week. I'm not sure I want to catch up with some/all of them. It's been kind of nice just doing my own thang, and not feeling like I'm not eating the right way, or working out the right way, lean enough, etc.  It's been so freeing, just being a vegan, and feeling great about that.  There are also so many vegans, and even non vegans who are really fighting the good fight for the animals, and I feel much more inspired by those stories. Anyway, I'm getting gabby, and this post is already soo long! I hope everyone has a great Friday, T.G.I.F and all that jazz.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Get into the Groove!

After baking

Before baking
I went to my favorite Trader Joe's in Ballard yesterday, and this delicious pizza was a result of my haul. I have haul pictures too, I just decided to do things a little backwards, show the afters first. I'm still in a state of  what I consider to be chaos, and working with limited kitchen supplies, so I'm keeping it simple this week. I had some leftover pesto in my fridge, so I decided to make a pesto "chicken" pizza. I used Trader Joe's dough ball, chiken-less strips, which in my opinion are better than Beyond Meat, garlic, and I finally got to try Trader Joe's vegan shreds. Trader Joe's rocks, these shreds melted soooo much better than daiya shreds, and made for a really authentic pizza. This was a pizza that non-vegans would not question. It was definitely a rich pizza, and I wouldn't eat it everyday, but it was a  really tasty treat. The chicken-less strips seem like they would be a great candidate for any dishes where shredding is involved. I liked the texture, and I also liked the seasoning they used. It went well with the pesto, and also the dried basil I sprinkled on top. They are made with soy protein, and vital wheat gluten, so if you don't do soy and wheat, I guess these aren't for you, but otherwise I say try these if you haven't already. I shared this pizza with a non vegan who is dubious of vegan meats and cheeses, and it was enthusiastically devoured. As I remembered, Trader Joe's rocks when it comes to prices. Certain things are the same price I remembered from four years ago!! They're organic tofu is the same price it always was! Amazing. In other great news, Dylan finds Trader Joe's vegan shreds to be a suitable substitute for Daiya. For some reason, he just finds Chao unacceptable. He loves pretty much anything coconut based, so not sure what the problem is but I just chalk it up to cats!
Now that things are settled, and Dylan is feeling better, and we have an official home, the fact that I'm living in Seattle again is really sinking in. I feel so calm right now, in a way I haven't for a really long time. I enjoy going places here, I want to go places. I am fully realizing how very depressed I was in Erie. I knew I was struggling, but wow. I don't know if I fit in Seattle, I don't really know if I fit in anywhere, but I just know I did not fit in, or belong in Erie. I was never able to find my groove, or any kind of a groove. all I know is I feel like I can breathe, and be myself in Seattle, and it feels amazing. Just to be able to buy and drink Kombucha out in the open, and eat vegan food without people going insane with judgment and teasing is so freaking fantastic. I will never take it for granted. Being able to be yourself is a pretty important part of life. Feeling free is just about the best!!
I have my first Trader Joe's haul to show, and also an amazing haul from Grocery Outlet where I saved more money than I spent!! I went from no pictures to too many pictures to share sooo quickly!
Have a great day, and let your freak flag fly!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Random Vegan Finds!

Just Mayo chipotle and garlic mayo, Kool Ranch kale chips!
Grocery outlet is a great place to shop. In Erie there was a store called Valu-Time which had super cheap food, but it was all junk. They did sell some produce, none of it was organic, and it was usually in  very bad shape. They sold SAD type processed foods, and it was very unlikely to find much vegan or somewhat healthy foods. Grocery outlet is very different. They have some organic produce, which is much cheaper, however the quality can be spotty. But you can find all kinds of goodies, and it's so random! They have a kind of equal mix of crap to good, at least the Grocery Outlets I've been to. It is like thrifting, you can't be expecting to find anything, and you have to be patient, and search closely.
I found these bottles of garlic Just Mayo, and chipotle Just Mayo for $1.49 each!! And Kool Ranch kale chips for $2.99!! I'm loving all the kale chips deals I've found at the ole outlet!! One other thing I've noticed about every store I've been into is they have a great selection of kombucha, Kevita probiotic drinks, and Mama Chia beverages for soooo cheap!  It's great to have a store like this, because yo can sometimes find things that maybe aren't in your normal budget. It's fun to splurge without having to splurge! They often have a pretty big selection of vegetarian and vegan frozen burgers, pizzas, Amy's burritos and meals and also every now and then they have really fun, unusual vegan ice cream flavors. I once found key lime pie vegan ice cream! It was so amazing. I forget the brand, but I've never seen it anywhere else. The same brand also made a blueberry cheesecake vegan ice cream that pretty much made my life. So, whether you're on a budget or not, Grocery Outlet is a pretty great place to find some fun vegan goodies.
I'm off to do more setting up my home stuff, and I have to find a Coco Whip source. I believe I will have to probably stock up at Whole Foods. I haven't seen t anywhere else. Dylan is getting pissed at this point. He aggressively leads me to the kitchen, and stands in front of the refrigerator looking at me like "well?" Things are somewhat getting back to normal around here.
Have you ever shopped at Grocery Outlet??

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

Finally, something I cooked!!
So I spent my first night in my new place with the whole family! It felt amazing, like I never wanted the night to end. Dylan is doing much better, he is on three different medications, one for hyperthyroidism, one is an anti-oxidant, and the other is for blood pressure. He needs an ultra-sound, the vet thinks he could have cancer. I almost had a heart attack when the vet showed me the estimate, however she suggested ASPCA's website, sometimes you can find charities and what not willing to help. She also suggested a Go Fund Me page. I will be doing both this week, in addition to finding the best job I can. He will get the ultra sound, one way or the other. He is almost back to his old self, his appetite is back, as is his sass. I take these as good signs, and I am choosing to think positively. I also feel like being back in Seattle is good for Dylan. He was born here after all. I feel like we both just couldn't handle the harsh weather in Erie. It's funny watching everyone adjust to living in an apartment complex. I lived in a duplex on the top floor in Erie, and so they really never heard other humans outside. This morning as people are leaving their apartments and walking down the hall, they just don't know what to think. One of the kitties thinks she's a dog,so she keeps running around growling. Silly girls. Dylan has lived in complexes before, so he has no fear. Everyone is adjusting pretty well now. I feel like all is forgiven, and we are all just so grateful and lucky to have a home!
My first meal cooked in my new kitchen was...... roasted garlic cashew Alfredo. Not too fancy, but I made this around midnight, after moving kitties, moving stuff, and doing general move-in things. What I love about cashew Alfredo is how fancy it feels, when it really takes so little time or energy. I tried to get pretty and artistic with the spinach, but honestly i could have done better. What can I say, being physically and emotionally drained makes me sloppy!
Lots of fruits and veg, and tons of green juice are in my future for the next few days. My body is in revolt. There are farmer's markets everywhere here, so it should be super easy to find some amazing stuff to make me feel like my old self.
I talked about Humm Kombucha last week sometime, and I had tried the strawberry lemonade which was amazing, however I just took a sip of their coconut lime flavor, and wow, wow, wow! It has such an amazing coconut flavor! I have really been blown away by some of these new to me kombuchas. I'm going to miss them when I go back to home brewing. I have learned that I need to step up my game! I have the brewing part down, gotta work on those flavors!
My apartment is in no way deluxe, but it is in a really high building, and I'm on the third floor and it is certainly the highest I've ever lived, and it is certainly the most I've ever paid, so it's pretty deluxe to me, and I have moved on up!