Monday, August 31, 2015

Lights Out

I never realized how much I take electricity for granted. Saturday afternoon around noon the power went out in my apartment complex, as well as most of north Seattle. It was a windy morning, and apparently lots of trees and branches fell over. My power was out for thirty six to forty hours. It was CREEPY! I live in a large complex, with long hallways, and to just see black outside of your peephole is everything every creepy movie has told me I don't want to see! I also realized that I don't have nearly enough candles to handle blackout situations. As a kid, I used to side eye all the adults who had that drawer, or shelf that had all the candles, batteries, and flashlights. It seemed so silly to be prepared for some kind of situation that hasn't happened. Well, I clearly need to give my unprepared ass a long side-eye. I did get a lot of reading done, so that's always a good thing. I finished a book by Jennifer Weiner called All Fall Down. I have read all of her books except for her very newest one, and All Fall Down was one of my favorites. The main character is dealing with addiction, and I feel like it was handled very well. I know it made me think, and relate many times over. As a teenager, I was put in rehabs a few times for various things, sometimes because they just didn't know where else to put someone with an eating disorder. Anyway, I could relate to quite a few of the rehab moments. Jennifer Weiner gets labled as a "chick-lit" author( I loathe that phrase soooooo much.) but I personally find her books to be much more than a quick beach read.
Sadly, on Friday I had gotten groceries at Grocery Outlet and Trader Joe's, and while not everything is ruined, a lot of it went bad. I could really just cry. I just tried to push the limit, and I made a cup of Earl Grey tea, and added a splash of almond milk, and it curdled. Blech. I might be off plant milk for awhile. There's something about curdling that really repulses me. Just the word curdle is a really offensive word to my ears.
Those orange morsels didn't make it!!!!
Here's some of my haul. I had gotten a few other frozen items that sadly didn't make it, nor did the tofutti sour cream, and various other things. It seems everyone's power is finally restored, but man what a pain. That is the longest I have ever gone without power.
On a more positive note, Chunk is now free from the cage that bound him. I removed his neck collar this morning, and man was he excited! He's back to being part of the family, he's not getting shunned anymore for being different! He was so cuddly with me when the brace was on, but now he's like down with the felines!
Life is good again!
I'm glad everything is back to whatever normal is because tomorrow is day one of Vegan Mofo! I'm so excited to be participating for my very first time! Are you ready?
Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Outlet Madness!

Outlet Goodies!
These are some normally pricey things I found at Grocery Outlet yesterday. I got Veganic sprouted O's cereal for $1.99(!), Lunbberg roasted red pepper pasta and sauce mix,Chocolate Salty Caramel vegan ice cream, seaweed crisps, and in what I consider to be the deal of the day, I got a 1.5 pound bag of hemp seeds for $2.99!!!!!! I could hardly believe my eyes. I don't buy hemp seeds very often because of the price. I don't buy a lot of the "superfoods" for that exact reason. I always feel like I'm missing out on super health. Grocery outlet is so great for finding random deals.
I had to try these!

They look like very dark kale chips.
I had to try the seaweed crisps as soon as I got home. These might be an acquired taste. These are not light and airy like the seaweed snacks you usually find. These have some heft, and they taste VERY strongly of the sea and seaweed. It is intense. I don't hate them, but I am not in love either. But for people that love that intense sea flavor, these are for you.
I didn't feel much like cooking, so I decided why not try this Lundberg pasta. It's pretty easy, you boil two cups of water,(using half plant milk if you want a creamier sauce) then you simply add the sauce mix and pasta and cook for eight to nine minutes. The ingredient list is totally not scary, which I guess is to be expected from a company like Lundberg. It's  gluten and soy free, so it's very allergy friendly.
I added some frozen corn and peas, and of course nutritional yeast!!
The sauce has pieces of red pepper in it, and  is kind of like a mushroom garlic sauce. It isn't macaroni and cheese, or anything "cheezy", so it doesn't have that strong nutritional yeast or daiya taste. It's it's own thang, and I really liked it. I added some frozen peas and corn to up the color and veg factor, and a heavy sprinkle of nutritional yeast and black pepper. The brown rice pasta was a good texture, the sauce was creamy and pleasantly savory. You could really bulk this up with various vegetables, and some tofu or even sauteed mushrooms, the possibilities are endless. I liked this, and would definitely buy it again. I like to have some convenience foods on hand for nights when cooking isn't in the cards.
The best part is when you get your receipt at Grocery Outlet, they show you how much you saved. I spent twenty three dollars, and I saved forty four dollars! Almost or I guess pretty much double what I spent. I love it. Like thrifting or garage sale hunting, you have to be patient, and you can't be looking for anything specific, but you can really walk away with some really awesome finds at even more awesome prices. The outlets I've been to almost always have a nice selection of vegan foods, they definitely don't leave us out. And for you smoothie lovers, they usually have a very nice selection of frozen fruit. I found a bag of organic frozen strawberries for $1.99! Woot woot!
Poor Chunk 
One of my kitties had to have a minor procedure yesterday, and he has to wear a cone until tomorrow or Monday. I had him secluded in my room last night, but he was going insane this morning, so I decided to test the waters and let him roam with the rest of the herd(pride?). The other kitties are more weirded out by his cone than he is! They just do not know what to think, or how to deal. So I am on mom mode today. Even though it was minor, Chunk is fine, he's handling the cone better than I would it still makes me so sad to see him wobbling around, banging into corners. It's a perfect rainy day to hang with my family, and catch up on a book I've been trying to finish. What are your plans for the weekend?

Friday, August 28, 2015


Miso veggie soup

My take on a Buddha Bowl
These pictures are rather blah, but the food in the pictures was anything but. I finally got some miso, something I have been missing. I simmered an onion, some garlic, carrot, Tuscan kale, and edamame in some water with a little soy sauce, and then added in some miso, and served it over some very thin rice noodles. Miso soup is a great way to start the day. It's very energizing. I had a weird day yesterday, and nixed the walnut taco idea for another night. I was craving a bowl, with a great sauce over it. I feel like bowls are soup without the broth in the sense of being very comforting, like a big hug.I roasted some chunks of butternut squash with some potato chunks, white beans, S&P, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, made a little massaged kale salad, and cooked some brown rice. I used the cashews I had soaked, along with a little lemon juice, some S&P, and two tablespoons of garlic tahini sauce. Not just any tahini sauce, the BEST sauce. It's called Karam's Tahini Garlic Sauce, and it is totally local. I missed this sauce soooooo much while I was away. It's sod in almost all groceries in Seattle. It is thick, and garlicky and super savory. I love it as a dip for anything, and I love it on sandwiches, and it makes a mean sauce!
I'm going to peruse Grocery Outlet today, so hopefully I will have a fun haul, and some gorgeous food porn for everyone tomorrow! And we're sooooo close to Vegan Mofo! Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

BuzzFeed Must Love Us!!

                    Look what  I found on YouTube! This is the best one yet, very positive! BuzzFeed must have a lot of vegans on their staff, as they are pretty veg friendly, and I LOVE IT!! Her burrito is making me hungry!
Okay, back to my regularly scheduled yoga! Happy Thursday!

Hulked Out Grapes

Another fun little video I saw this morning. Not all of the burgers tested are vegan, but a few are. They tasted one of my favorites, the Masala burger from Trader Joe's. I used to dream of that burger when I lived in PA.  I always like hearing non-vegan/vegetarians discuss what they like in a veggie burger. Some really do want that beef like flavor and texture, and some want an actual patty made of veggies. I just like non vegans so much more when they aren't eating meat!
I discovered yet another new grape, from the same company that brought us cotton candy grapes. They're called Moon drops grapes, and they are a dark purple.
New to me!
Even though I was suspicious of the cotton candy grapes, I decided to try these because I was intrigued by their shape.
They look like tiny eggplant!
They aren't as intensely sweet as the cotton candy grapes, but they are like grapes on steroids. The grape flavor is strong, and they are super juicy and crunchy. I really love the texture.
So loooong!

Hopefully tomorrow I will have some beautiful pictures of some gorgeous raw walnut tacos that I'm making tonight. I'm going to attempt to make a cashew based nacho cheese to go along, so hopefully it will turn out worthy of a recipe! I made a soyrizo lentil soup the other night, and wrote down all the ingredients, but it just wasn't all that tasty. It was edible, but I wouldn't say that I will ever make it again. You can't win em all! I'm trying to get all of my creative juices flowing for Mofo, which I can hardly believe starts next week!
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Favorite Lentil Soup!!

Red lentil soup with cumin!
I will never forget the first time I had what is now my favorite soup ever. It was the day before I moved to Pennsylvania from Seattle. I don't really remember why.but I was at the Northgate mall for some reason, and I got a bowl of soup from a little Greek restaurant in the food court. I remember not having very high hopes, because food court. In a mall. Anyway, I was proven soooooo wrong for my snobbiness. It was love at first bite. Up until this point in my life I had little to no experience with red lentils. This soup was creamy, and so simple, but it had this flavor that I was unfamiliar with. I just wanted more and more. Once I had been living in Erie for awhile, I came to the realization that I was not going to find this soup anywhere in Erie. I wanted to Google it of course, but I didn't even know what it was called! Somehow, I remembered the name of the restaurant, and I called them and asked what was in it. I told the guy that I had dreamed of it, and I was now living in another state, and I NEEDED it in my life. I felt so silly when he said onion, cumin, water, red lentils, and salt and pepper of course. I guess up until that point I had cumin with other seasonings, never really as the star of the dish. I have made this soup at least a trillion times since that phone call. Sometimes I get fancy and add garlic and crushed red pepper to the mix, but in all honesty I usually stay true to the original ingredients. I made this for dinner last night, and I hadn't had it in awhile, and as soon as I had my first bite I knew I had to talk about this humble, satisfying soup.
Here is a kind of recipe.
                                                             The Best Red lentil Soup
  • One onion diced
  • One Tablespoon Ground cumin
  • One Cup Red Lentils 
  • S&P toTaste
 Sautee the onion in one to two teaspoons olive oil, (or water if you don't do oil) add salt and pepper to taste, along with cumin. Stir until the cumin is fragrant, about one to two minutes. Add lentils, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for twenty to thirty minutes. What I really love about red lentils is how creamy they become once they break down. Anyway, as you can see this recipe is barely even a recipe. It's so easily adaptable to what you have on hand. I've added kale and potatoes, carrots and celery, and sometimes I add a dash of turmeric. It just depends on my mood, and what I need to use up. It definitely reminds you that simple is really delicious, and definitely not bland or tasteless. I love to serve my soup wit a toasted pita, or some kind of bread to sop up every last bit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Vegan Beauty Review

Yesterday was an emotional day for me. Not sure why, other than possible monthly hormones. It was one of those days that I would stat crying just completely out of the blue. Although I am a very emotional person, I'm usually able to have some kind of control over myself! I tried to fight it at first, but I finally just went with it. I decided to let myself have a cry day. I actually feel much better today. I feel well rested, like I took a nice long nap. I guess my body just needed to work through some feelings. I read years ago that tears are good for the skin, anti-aging and all that. I decided to double up on my skin beautifying and treat myself to a facial. I had recently picked up a Raw Cacao face mask(I'm so fancy) by a new to me company, Thesis. They use organic ingredients, and are a vegan company. WOOT WOOT! And, I randomly found this at the little old grocery near my apartment.
The mask I have is called Chocolatier's Gift. The ingredients are super simple- Cacao, Kaolin clay, orange peel, sugar, Moroccan Rhassoul clay, allspice and cloves. That's it. It comes in a glass jar, in powder form. You simply mix one teaspoon of the mask with one to two teaspoons water, (I used two) and you have your mask.
Ready to make some supple skin!
It smells sooooooooooo amazing. It smells like chocolate with cloves mixed in. I wanted to eat it. Did anyone else love the weird chocolate Necco Wafers? I used to looooooooove Necco Wafers, and only learned just now they have GELATIN in them. WHY NECCO, WHY???  Gelatin aside, this mask smells like the chocolate Necco wafers tasted, like a spiced chocolate. You put the mask on, and let it do it's magic for fifteen minutes. I think I went closer to twenty. It rinsed off very easily with a damp washcloth. My skin was glowing, and sooo soft after. My face is still vegan buttery soft today. I'm really impressed with this mask, and I look forward to trying other products from this company.
All mixed up!!
I have loved using different masks, and lotions and potions ever since I can remember. When I was a kid, and we would come home from the beach, my mom did not yell "shower everyone" as soon as we walked in the door, she yelled "lotion everyone!" I've scaled back recently, because there are a lot of funky things in a lot of face masks that I don't want on my skin. I have a few homemade masks that I rely on, but it's nice to have one on the ready that isn't full of chemicals. This bottle was a splurge, it was almost twenty dollars(gasp), but it will last forever! A teaspoon made enough to slather my face and neck. Like I said, it was a splurge, and I'm happy to say it was totally worth it!
What do you do to cheer yourself up?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tea Time

Tea haul, and a new to me dark chocolate. And an ankle/foot shot!

I went searching for no fluoride teas, and I'm pretty happy with my choices. I chose Yerba Mate, which is great because it means I don't have to give up caffeine completely! I also chose a tin of white tea, which has the lowest amount of fluoride. The real star of my tea haul is this Dandelion Tea made by The Republic of Tea. I tried dandelion tea awhile ago and found it to be a little much. It's such a strong bitter taste that I find very difficult to choke down. I don't know why I decided to give this tea a try,  I guess desperation? The promise of vanilla intrigued me I guess. I just had to try a cup as soon as I got home, and as soon as I opened the tin, this wonderful smell of vanilla reached my nose, and my hope shot up a million percent. I love to be proven wrong, and this tea proved to me that dandelion tea can be edible! It has a deep, rich vanilla flavor, and a slight smoky flavor. It mentions on the tin that this tea makes a great substitute for coffee, and I agree. It's much richer than tea, and I bet it would make an out of this world latte! There is a very faint hint of dandelion, but the rich vanilla really keeps it at bay. I just am completely in love with this tea. And yes, I would marry it.
The chocolate wanted a solo shot!
I also saw this chocolate bar, and decided to give it a try. It's very interesting. The texture is very smooth, much more like milk chocolate, but it's more on the bitter side of dark chocolate. The few bars I've had that remind me more of milk have been a little sweeter, so the whole experience is more like milk chocolate. It's very rich, I had two squares and felt totally satisfied. I prefer my chocolate a little mellower, but if you are a dark chocolate lover, look for this bar!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Cat Really Does Love Daiya!

I finally found it!!
I was at the grocery closest to my apartment looking for something, and I stumbled across this new daiya mac and cheese! I of course had to snatch a box, because I have never eaten mac and cheese with a cheese pouch before, vegan or not. This mac and cheese uses gluten free noodles so that's a bonus for all the gluten sensitive people. Daiya offers three varieties- Deluxe cheddar style, white cheddar with veggies, and deluxe Alfredo. The store I was in had the white cheddar with veggies, and the Deluxe Alfredo. I chose the Alfredo . It's very easy to make, you just boil water, cook the noodles for seven or eight minutes, and then stir in the contents of the pouch. I have to be honest, this was not my favorite. It tastes not so much like Alfredo, more like the mozzarella shreds melted into a sauce. The ingredient list says there are spices, and onion and garlic, but I couldn't really taste anything but daiya. Before Chao, and the new FYH cheese, I used daiya here and there. But I learned that a little goes a loooooong way. If you love the taste of daiya, you will absolutely love this mac and cheese. It was pretty pricey, this box was over five dollars.
When I first tried the Earth Balance boxed mac and cheese, I wasn't too crazy about the yellow cheddar, but when I tasted the white cheddar(blue box) I was really impressed. I would be willing to try the other flavors to see if they are any less daiya-y, but I would have to find a sale first.
Dylan however gives this mac and cheese all the paws up. He was being super finicky about food yesterday, so I gave him a noodle just to see, and he ate it right up! So, I gave him a litle more, and he was all over it. He doesn't understand how I could turn my back on daiya. He does not approve of my affairs with Chao, and the new FYH. And he feels like this is worth every penny. I din't give him too much, because of the garlic and onion in the ingredients, but I might have to pick up another box just for him. So, mixed reviews in this house.
Have you tried any of the vegan packaged mac and cheese?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I just watched this video and had to share! Look at the muscles on everyone! No skinny, pale vegans here. Robert Cheeke is in the video! I love that tons of people will see this, see that you can get enough protein and everything else on a vegan diet. Especially in the bodybuilding world, where it's protein is so heavily promoted. I especially love the eighty year old who still enjoys bodybuilding! It really shows how eating healthy, and keeping strong keep you young, no plastic surgery needed!
I want to apologize again for the BBQ debacle. I want people to feel like they can trust what I say, and I know for myself if another vegan recommends something, I don't feel a need to recheck labels. This was an unfortunate(very unfortunate for me, I ate some!) oversight, and all I can do is learn from this, and slow down and read, not skim ingredient lists.
Happy Saturday!

Foggy Skies Ahead!

The last time I bought carrots, I bought a bag of multi colored carrots. It was really three colors, orange, light yellow, almost like a parsnip, and a deep reddish purple. When I made my orange carrot juice, the purple carrots made it so pretty, almost like ruby red grapefruit juice or something.
Hello gorgeous!
I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating. With all of the deep, beautiful colors found naturally in certain foods, how did we ever start letting all of these strange artificial colors into our food? I really don't understand. What an insane bunch we humans are!
It's day three of drinking only fluoride free water. No soapy taste yet. Since I discovered the horrible news that green tea has fluoride, I have been trying to learn of  fluoride free teas. It's easier said than done. Black and green tea have the highest levels of fluoride, with the cheapest teas being the worst. Of course. White tea has the lowest of the three, due to white tea being picked while young. The older the leaf, the more fluoride. I am gearing up to GASP! give up caffeine on a daily basis. I will still have coffee as a very occasional treat, and green tea as a little treat every now and again, but not on the daily. I have to have a warm beverage in the morning, as I cannot remember a time in my life when I haven't started my day with a warm cup of something. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear, as I don't know a whole lot about herbal teas.
I have to take a moment to let everyone know you should run, not walk to your nearest Trader Joe's, and stock up on their Sriracha BBQ sauce. It is tangy, and spicy, and everything I've ever dreamed of. I used it to glaze the top of a lentil loaf I made using this recipe. I made some changes to the recipe, but my loaf was loosely based on this recipe. And I threw out the notion of balsamic glaze in favor of this delicious BBQ sauce.

I have to say this is only my second attempt at a lentil loaf, the first try was a DISASTER! It was the consistency of cat food. It was so horrible, I swore off ever attempting any type of loaf again. I don't know what made me decide to try again, but I'm so glad I did! But enough about this loaf, go buy that SAUCE!
I'm hunting for herbal, fluoride free teas today, so if I'm slightly fuzzy for a few days, please be patient!
Here is a little update. Do not run to Trader Joe's for this BBQ sauce. I just re-read the ingredients, and this has Worcestershire sauce in it! I am so upset, I don't know how I missed this ingredient. This was a spontaneous purchase, and I think I skimmed the ingredient list for honey, and obviously missed this ingredient. I am so embarrassed because I so strongly recommended it! Well, I guess I needed to be reminded to be more focused when I am checking ingredients. Have you ever been so busy checking for one ingredient that you missed another? If the vegan police are out, I would get a ticket and fine for sure. Again, I apologize with a very red face, and promise that from now on when I recommend something, the ingredient list has been checked and checked again.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Why don't I do this more often??
I forgot what a great breakfast avocado toast is! I don't know what it is,  but I always feel amazing after eating this. I like to mash my avocado with sea salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast, and sprinkle crushed red pepper on top. It's just so pretty!
I am someone who drinks tap water. I've never lived anywhere that has had horrible tasting tap water. I won't get into all of my thought and opinions on water in America(I have many) I'll just say I never bought into the bottled water craze. I've heard things about our water, but admittedly I've never really paid close attention. And I of course have heard many conspiracy theories on fluoride and why it's put into water. (It's not to keep our teeth healthy) While I have a deep love and fascination with conspiracy theories, I take most of them with a grain of salt. Well, the other day I woke up with a strong taste of soap in my mouth. Like I had gotten my mouth washed out. It wasn't the first time I woke up with this strange taste. It's happened too often to just call it a weird fluke. After a little webz search, I learned that fluoride toxicity can lead to a soapy tasting mouth. There are other reasons of course, but after looking at all of the possible causes, fluoride toxicity seems the most likely culprit. In my search I found out that some teas, including my beloved green tea contain fluoride as well! So, I am using water full of fluoride to brew tea that has fluoride! This all makes sense, because I do drink a TON of water, and I drink a healthy amount of green tea. I made the decision that day to buy a huge jug of filtered water, and my goal is to save money for a high quality water filter. Apparently Brita and Pur filters leave a bunch of stuff, including fluoride in the water. Bummer, as those are the most affordable, and easiest to find filters. If anyone reading this is interested, here is a list of bottled water without fluoride. Fluoride does some funky stuff to your body, I really think it should not be put in drinking water. I'm so grateful that my body shot me this little warning. Our bodies are so good to us, it's sad how often we take that for granted. Apparently if you drink fluoride filled water, you should include lycopene in your diet. So I feel like I should have something tomato based for dinner!
My next project is finding a substitute for green tea. I don't want to give it up forever, but I do want to cut back. Sometimes it feels impossible to be healthy, and to keep up on what weird things are going on with our food and water sources. All I know is I will be paying closer attention to the people on the bus who are spouting off conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory!
Vegan Pizza pizza!!
There is a very vegan friendly pizza place somewhat near me called Razzi's. This is the Razzi special. It has marinara, beyond meat crumbles, mushrooms, black olives, and daiya. It was okay. I stepped out of my pizza comfort zone, and I shouldn't have. I'm not really a fan of crumbles on pizza. I am happy to see such an extensive, almost overwhelming vegan selection, and they also have a very large vegan/gluten free menu which doesn't happen too often. Vegan respect is real!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's a Great Day!

I want to start this post by wishing KRS-One a very happy birthday. He is a very vocal vegan, and a legend in the hip hop world, and a hero to me. He never sold out, has always come from a place of conviction in his heart, and although he is very well respected, he obviously could have had a lot more fame and fortune if he would have just gone the bitches and riches route. Happy Cow  has him listed as vegetarian, which is incorrect.  Here is an article that includes KRS-One, and some other awesome hip hop artists who are vegetarian and vegan. If anyone watches, or has watched Vegan Gains on YouTube, this song will sound very familiar. You should definitely listen to the whole song! Wow, this has been a linky kind of paragraph! Here's to another amazing year for someone who speaks his heart, and always stands up to the man!!!
Sitting in the tuna aisle at Target, right above the cruel tuna.
Dylan has been very finicky about food lately, and tuna is something I can usually get him to eat. I was surprised and happy to see this fishless tuna in Target of all places! This is the second type of vegan tuna in a can I've seen. Vegan food really is expanding! I feel like I should try it for the blog, but I am so sorry this is one vegan product I cannot bring myself to try. Vegan fish in a can is too wrong for me to consider. There is one other vegan product I'm pretty sure I will never try, and that is the Vegan Magic Bacon Grease. The thought of bacon grease, vegan or not does not appeal to my taste buds in any way. I wasn't raised with that weird jar of "grease" on the windowsill. But how amazing is it that these things exist in vegan form? What a wild world.
I missed you so!
I made Pudla for dinner, which is a savory chickpea flour pancake. The very first recipe I ever used for this delicious dish is this recipe. I added corn, spinach, and green onion to mine. I usually make two cakes as opposed to one big one, because I have flipping issues. These are one of my favorite breakfasts, or I guess dinners too. I also had a salad with Romaine, shredded carrots, sunflower seeds, and of course, Goddess dressing. And to me, no pudla is complete without a healthy dose of hot sauce! I have yet to see chickpea flower in any bulk bins, although I haven't checked Whole Foods, but I always buy Bob's Red Mill, and it's a pretty good price, and the bag yields tons of pudlas!
Happy Thursday!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Won't Accompany Misery.

These are dangerous!!
I used to treat myself to a handful of curry cashews every now and then at the Co-op back in Erie. They were so expensive, but so worth it. I saw these at Trader Joe's, and I just knew I had to try them. They have a strong lime flavor, and a real blast of spice. I had a handful yesterday afternoon, and they really satisfied me. The flavor is so rich that I didn't feel that compulsive urge to reach for more that sometimes can happen when snacking. The dried Jackfruit and these cashews are my favorite new snacks.
I attempted to make fresh spring/summer rolls last night, and it was an epic FAIL. The rice paper wraps I got were a smaller size than I've used in the past. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but it really was. I just could not get the right amount of filling, and I could not get them rolled tight enough. I tried five times, and I just had to stop. I had been looking forward to these rolls all day! I ate two of the rolls I made, messy style, and just opened the others up. I was still hungry, and I had tofu, rice noodles and vegetables all ready to go. I made the obvious choice, noodle bowl!!
It was pretty delicious, and I really like having fresh basil at my fingertips. No food was wasted, and I still had a tasty meal, so all's well that end's well.
I had a very draining day yesterday. I find it challenging to deal with people who are not only unhappy, but aggressively make the choice to be unhappy. I was there for a long time, and it's really miserable, and you tend to spread that misery like cooties. I was miserable for so long while living in Erie, and for so long before that due to personal issues, life, whatever made me make unhealthy choices. I don't want to be miserable anymore. I want to enjoy life, and really appreciate everything. I know I'll have bad days of course, and things/people will annoy, but I guess I'm saying my intention is to have many more happy days than unhappy days, and to work on letting some small things just roll off my shoulders. I find it difficult to spend time with someone who hates everyone, never wants to be around people, and finds no Joy in anything. I got into a disagreement yesterday when I tried to point out that this persons misery affected me, and was starting to make me feel miserable. This person was offended, and felt that I attacked him. This is the non-vegan I've mentioned. He also still smokes cigarettes, and eats a very SAD diet. As in he probably goes weeks with no fruit or vegetable in his life. I'm saying all of this to say that we are very different in our choices. If he were happy while living this way, I probably wouldn't be typing this. I really want to help him, I want him to know that if you start treating yourself better, you just naturally feel better, and want to be better and do better. Sorry for this rant, but not only am I kind if a newb when it comes to making healthy choices myself, but I'm also a newb when it comes to demanding respect in relationships. It's really great, but also different and kind of scary. Think of how boring life would be if we didn't always have to learn stuff!Ha. How do you handle people who choose to be unhappy, or do you do your best to avoid them?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rolling in the Greens

Broccoli leaves.
I saw this big, beautiful bunch of organic broccoli leaves at the store, so I decided to switch up my greens game. I usually alternate between kale and collards. I was a little under the weather yesterday, so I made a big green juice with these leaves, spinach, Romaine, and a handful of cotton candy grapes. It was a beautiful green color, and the grapes made the juice super sweet, even though I put tons of greens in it. I tasted a leaf on it's own, and it reminded me most of collards. Here's an interesting article on ways to prepare these leaves. I'm glad to see greens trending, and new greens coming in to trend. That's a very good thing in my humble opinion.
As I mentioned, I was feeling a little off, so i wanted to get lots of vitamins into my body. I mustered up the energy o roll some veggie sushi, and for my first attempt, it wasn't too horrible. It was my first time cooking sushi rice, so I think next time I will do better, it was a little stickier than it should have been, but still totally edible. My rolls could have been tighter, and they definitely weren't all the same size, but again pretty good for my first attempt.
Sweet potato, and avocado rolls
I made avocado and sweet potato rolls. I really liked the sweet potato rolls more than I thought I would. I think that practice will make perfect, and soon I will be a sushi master, as I plan on making these rolls often. It's very relaxing to prepare everything and roll the sushi. And they are so pretty, you just know they're going to taste great!
I felt like I was maybe coming down with a summer cold yesterday, and with my sleep being so off, I feel really vulnerable to cooties. So, I drank tons of both green, and orange carrot juice, and I took a great ginger detox bath. I've talked about this before, but it really helped me yesterday, so I feel like it's worth repeating. This is the second or third time I've felt something not right going on, and flushed it out with a ginger bath. You can use fresh grated ginger, or the easier way use organic powdered ginger. I've read that powdered ginger is a bit more effective, but I have also read that real ginger is more effective. Ahh, the webz! Anyway, sometimes I include Epsom salts, sometimes I don't. Yesterday I did, I added about a cup and a half of the salts, and about two or three tablespoons of powdered ginger. I soaked for about thirty or forty minutes, and felt headache-y and blah for about an hour or so afterwards, which I always assume is part of the detox process. After that, I felt great, and had enough energy to roll some sushi! I've been taking ginger detox baths for about a year now, and I feel like my health has improved greatly. You can add essential oils and such to make a really nice fragrant bath. Make sure you have the water as warm as you can handle, because the key here is sweat. Also, make sure you are drinking lots of water. I made the mistake once of not drinking enough water, and I got a little woozy. As an added bonus, your skin will feel the softest it's ever felt when you get out.
Have you ever taken a ginger bath?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sleepy Fixin's

Well, I had to go to several stores to find all of the supplies, but I have all that I need to make some delicious sushi and spring rolls. It's going to be a delicious week!
Sushi and spring rolls!
I just realized this picture is upside down, and I don't know why(or how to fix it!) I managed to find nori, rice noodles, sushi rice, wasabi(!), rice wrappers, sweet chili sauce, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, lime, sweet potato, and avocado. The video I watched that inspired my sushi dreams included some sweet potato sushi rolls that looked good.
She's got legs!
Along with sushi stuff, I decided to try these Portobello mushroom fries, which are just slices of portobellos breaded and ready to go. Sounds like a classed up version of a deep fried mushroom. I also got dried jackfruit, vegan shreds, a huge papaya, a new to me variety of mango(I can't remember the name) some organic peaches and nectarines, some more plum hybrids, garbanzo bean flour, and a new to me tofurkey product, Tofurky slow roasted chicken. I chose the bbq flavor. I just love the constant stream of new vegan products!  If you've never tried dried jackfruit, it's a real treat. I will never eat another banana chip in my life! The taste like if all the fruits made the sweetest baby, and then someone dried it to concentrate the sweetness. I just can't get enough jackfruit in my life!
Is this good or bad?
I finally found these cotton candy grapes! I have been looking for these things for almost a year now. I kind of thought that they would always be a mystery to me, but there they were yesterday, staring at me, begging me to try them. Although these are non GMO, it seems strange to me how they did this. They really do taste like cotton candy. I really don't know if it's good or bad. Are we that unhealthy that we need to fruit to be sweeter, to taste like candy? What did they do to make these grapes so sweet? Will grapes be the next jelly belly, tasting like everything? Am I over thinking a simple grape? I don't know, but I probably won't but these again. They are really delicious, but $3.99 a pound is not worth it to me, especially for something I feel iffy about. I think I sound like a curmudgeon again!
For some reason the one thing that I've struggled with in Seattle is sleep. I have been finding it impossible to sleep straight through the night. I fall asleep no problem, but I wake up a million times, to the point where sometimes I just get out of bed at like two or three in the morning. At first I chalked it up to hotel/motel living, the stress of Dylan, and the move and such. But the problem has persisted, and I'm going nuts. I even got some sleepy herb stuff, with melatonin and valerian root. It knocks me out, but it doesn't help me stay down. I just don't feel connected with my bedroom yet. I do miss my old apartment, and my old bed. I think tonight I'm going to skip the supplement, since it isn't helping with my problem. I hope I figure it out soon, I'm starting to feel like a zombie! I know some people who can function with little to no sleep, and I am not one of them. Hopefully it's just one of those little hiccups we all go through. One thing I know is my first full night of sleep is going to be the BEST night ever!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Yesterday was cool and overcast all day.  I was craving warm lentil soup for breakfast as opposed to a freezing cold smoothie. I had a few odds and end that needed to be used, so soup it was. I threw some onion, garlic, and ginger in a pan with a little coconut oil, and and added the last two or three tablespoons of tomato paste hanging around my fridge. I added some S&P, crushed red pepper, and some red curry powder. Then, I added some red lentils and water, and allowed the magic to happen while I did yoga.
It was warm, and spicy, and of course creamy because of the red lentils. That's one of my favorite things about soup, you can throw bits and pieces of odds and ends, a few seasonings, and you usually get some tasty results. Although I want summer to last forever, I am starting to dream of butternut squash soup, and other creamy dreamy soups. It's like a big hug from someone you love when you eat a bowl of soup.
I was doing the Craigslist job hunt thing yesterday, which can really bring a girl down. Between the search, and the grey day, I just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to cook last night. I remembered that I had picked up a package of Trader Joe's vegan Tikka Masala in the frozen section last week. I put that, along with an ear of corn from the Farmer's market in the oven.
I love that it has a V in the corner, and Vegan in the name!
I loved this so much! I struggle with cooking Indian food myself, I just always feel like I add too much, or too little of everything. The gluten/soy chunks are a really great texture, and the sauce is sooooo delicious! I worried about how rice would turn out in the oven, but it was light and fluffy! My only complaint is that I wish there were a little more rice, or chunks to help soak up all of the delicious sauce. I had some leftover roasted potatoes that I used as utensils to sop up every last drop.
Easy, delicious dinner!
I will definitely be keeping a few of these in my freezer for quick dinners, or lunches. I can't remember exactly what I paid for this, but it was Trader Joe's, so I know it was a deal. Once again, thumbs all the way up for my boyfriend Joe!
I watched a YouTube video the other day and the person made sushi rolls(vegan of course!) and they looked so delicious, and really easy to roll. She didn't even use a sushi mat, which I always thought was necessary. I love the webz! Anyway, it really made me crave veggie rolls, so today I will be picking up some sushi fixin's. Hopefully I will be able to share some pictures of some pretty rolls! I must find wasabi, or wasabi powder. I feel that wasabi is an extremely important part of the sushi experience. I love the thought of sitting down to a sushi dinner that I rolled myself. That's some good energy food.
Do you, or have you ever rolled your own sushi?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Vegan Mofo is Coming, and I Signed Up!!

Mouthwatering vegan for sure!

I made another recipe from Mouthwatering Vegan. It's a dish I had never heard of, called Tava. According to the description, Tava is a traditional Greek lamb(no) recipe. Well, in this vegan version no one has to be killed for a delicious, hearty dinner. It's basically potatoes, thick slices of tomato, and onion baked with some herbs, veggie stock, and lemon juice. The recipe called for cutting strips of a vegan burger to substitute for the lamb, but I had half a block of tofu that I needed to use, so I cut that into strips. The tofu really soaked up all the juices and became toothsome and delicious. I served mine over some Orzo pasta, and it tasted like summer. I am really loving this book. I need to pry myself away from it so I can make some recipes from my other library books!
I also attempted to make a gluten free, vegan chocolate cake using this recipe. It's okay. I feel like baking is where gluten free is a struggle, at least for me. I've tried a few gluten free cookie and cake recipes, and they just are always a little off. There;s something about the texture of this cake that just doesn't please my tongue, and also I can very faintly taste beans. I don't want to taste beans in my desserts.
The frosting is the best part.
I think from now on I'll leave the gluten free baking up to the professionals, and stick with vegan baking the traditional way. The frosting is really a ganache I made with some vegan white chocolate chips, and a little coconut oil. It really is the best part!
In scarier news, I signed up for Vegan Mofo this year! It's my firs one. Last year I had really just started blogging, and I didn't feel ready. I don't know if I'm ready this year, but I;m going for it. I've learned sometimes you have to jump off that ledge of fear. As I've been reflecting on my life, I can see how many times I've let fear stand in my way. I look so forward to Mofo each year, and I really can't believe I'm going to be partaking! They are doing it a little bit different this year. You can Mofo with twitter, instagram, YouTube, and whatever other platforms exist. They also are having Prompts for each day, such as "veganize a restaurant dish", "recreate a favorite childhood dish", and so on and so forth for thirty days. You get an E-mail reminder of the prompts. I was really looking forward to having a theme that I thought of, but this could be fun too. The rebel in me wants to do it my way of course, but I will try to be well behaved, and follow the prompts. This way is just forcing me to plan ahead a little, not be so spontaneous. Some of the prompts definitely require a little thought. I feel like there has been so much positive attention in the media regarding the vegan or plant based lifestyle, so we have some momentum. It's a really great time to get some more attention, and focus on how amazing vegan food can be! Are you participating in Vegan Mofo this year? If not, are you excited for all the blog reading?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tomatoes and Struggles

I braved the Farmer's Market yesterday, and am I ever glad I did. I got some delicious, juicy, perfect organic beefsteak tomatoes that were everything summer is supposed to be. I always forget how delicious tomatoes are until I taste a perfect one! These are the kind of tomatoes you want to eat like an apple. I also scored some corn on the cob, Anaheim peppers, and some tomatillos.
look at those tomatoes!
I made a delicious vegan tomato tart and I loosely followed this recipe. I didn't use tofu for the cream filling. I made a cashew cheese, kind of like a cashew ricotta. It was my first time ever working with Phyllo dough. It felt good to try something new, and challange myself. Phyllo dough is extremely delicate, and I definitely broke a few layers, but it was easy to kind of make it all work. It seems like one of those things that practice will make perfect.
Before baking.
After baking!

I also didn't use any vegan butter between the layers, I just used some extra virgin olive oil very sparingly between the layers. I'm sure the more fat you use, the richer the dish, but I feel like it was plenty rich with the cashew cheese. I also got to use fresh picked by me basil from my newly acquired plant! This was really tasty, I really loved it. It was a great summertime dinner, and it's one of those dishes that's good warm, room temperature, and even cold.
I don't know what clicked in me, but I am all of a sudden so inspired in the kitchen. I guess I just had to push myself off the ledge.
I am still dealing with the dilemma of dealing with a non vegan at meal time. It's not just that he's a non vegan, it's also that he has the palate of a picky toddler who only will eat two things. I strongly feel that even if we were both vegan, or non vegan meal time would still be a struggle. He would rather eat top ramen than this tomato tart. Other than peas and carrots in his fried rice, and maybe some lettuce and tomato on a burger/sandwich, vegetables are not an option. Soup is out of the question. As in all soup. I've never met someone who flat out doesn't like soup. I could go on and on, but I think I've said enough  to make my point. I also struggle with the thoughtless way meat is eaten, with no appreciation for the fact that this was a life. It's  really hard to  bring it up, because it can easily escalate into an argument. I'm kind of coming to the conclusion that eating out or delivery/take-out is okay, and there are certain vegan meals I can cook that are okay, and other than that we eat separately. I imagine if you have kids you might be more used to this, but have you ever cooked something, and served it to someone, only to be able to sense how much they don't like it? As they sit there trying to take bites, and smile, not wince? It's painful, and I can't help it, I get offended. It's one of those lessons in not taking things personal, and I'm failing miserably. I've read blog posts, articles, and watched YouTube videos on vegan and non-vegan relationships. Some are for, some are against, and some seem to co exist beautifully, and others seem to struggle. I'm hoping to reach that point of beautiful compromise, and harmonious living. Actually, I'm hoping to create that one dish that makes all the light bulbs go off, and makes him go, why do I need meat, when I can eat like this! Until then, table for one please!
How do you deal with picky eaters, and meat eaters in your life?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mz. Greenjeans

So pretty!
I started my day with a green juice made with collard greens, cucumber, ginger, pineapple, Romaine, and apple. The pineapple makes it so sweet, you'd never in a million years guess it's loaded with greens. I guess except for the color. Why do weird dyes even exist? When I look at the colors of beets, and turmeric, and greens and the color is so intense and beautiful, I just shake my head. Trader Joe's has been selling the most AMAZING pineapples lately, so this juice was extra sweet!
Yesterday was supposed to be a scorcher(it was not) so we headed out to find a spot by the river past Steven's Pass. The weather people were sooo wrong! It stayed cloudy, and cool, and the best part is it started raining by the time we found access to any water! It was just one of those things where you have to laugh. We did mill around and look at the pristine water, and dream of warmer days.

It was a pretty drive, and it was really beautiful being in nature. And I love water, so anytime I can be near it, I feel instantly calmed.
There was a very small town called Granite Falls which was the last sign of civilization before we got to the river. We stopped to get lunch at a very small grocery store called IGA. This store was tiny, and very meaty and seafood-y. I felt fortunate that I was able to score a baguette with some Sabra hummus. But I have to give this store credit, because in what was a very small bulk section, I spied nutritional yeast! I'm in Washington now! I still am having those moments where I snap out of it and am reminded that I am not in Erie anymore. It's always such a great feeling!
There is an area near the recycling bins at my apartment complex where people put stuff they don't want anymore. Well, yesterday was my lucky day, when I came home there was a huge pot with organic basil, and oregano just sitting there, waiting for a new home!
Fresh herbs!!
Both herbs are really healthy, which is good because I truly have a black thumb. My mom's green thumb was not passed down to me. But I am going to do my best to keep these plants alive and thriving. Pesto for life! I think I'm going to brave the Farmer's market again today for some summer tomatoes. Basil and oregano are begging to be paired with some summer fresh tomatoes! I bought some tomatoes at the grocery last week, and they weren't very good. I guess tatse is worth duking it out at the Farmer's Market!
I have some recipes floating around in my head, so hopefully I will have some fun food to share over the next couple of days!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I Baked!

Started my day with a green salad....
I really feel great when I start my day with a big salad. It sets me up to want to continue to make good choices. This one had 1 heart of Romaine, 1 Persian cucumber, 4 sliced baby peppers, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, and of course Goddess dressing.
I decided I wanted to bake something using some of my vegan white chocolate chips, (before I eat them all straight out of the bag.) and I decided to make some vegan blondies, using white and dark chocolate chips. I decided to go with this recipe. I followed it exactly, except I added some white chips to the mix. They turned out amazing. They were given enthusiastic thumbs up from a non vegan as well.
Pretty little blondies!
I really challenged myself, and made the blondies, got them in the oven, and made some black bean tacos. I say challenged because to cook two things at once is no easy feat in a small ass kitchen. I've come to the conclusion that I need to be more organized and tidy in the kitchen while cooking. I tend to be like the absent minded professor in the kitchen. Organized chaos I like to say. So, I guess getting it together won't kill me. When I watch YouTube videos, and they have all their vegetables chopped, and all the spices measured out in little bowls, I always think man, that makes it so much easier, I need to start doing that. But I never start doing it. So, I pulled off baking a dessert while cooking a meal, while stepping over kitties, and I didn't burn anyone or anything, I didn't step on any tails, or cuss any one/thing out! Success!
I watched a movie called Your Sister's Sister on Netflix last night, and one of the sisters is a vegan.  When we first meet the vegan, she is  eating dehydrated banana, which is not an attractive food. It of course turns into a joke, with her trying to defend it's deliciousness, which is a hard sell even to me because it looks really grody. Why do movies do this? Couldn't she have just been eating a banana, and her veganism be introduced in a more positive manner? There's another scene where she makes gluten free vegan pancakes, and tells everyone how these are her famous cruelty free pancakes. Well, it turns out she didn't have some of her ingredients, and she made some swaps, and the pancakes are awful, even she admits it. Everyone makes mistakes in the kitchen, and making swaps can mean failure, or success in non-vegan and vegan dishes. It was the kind of humor I've come to expect in more mainstream movies, and sitcoms. I expected more from a movie of this quality. And of course a good steak is what the doctor ordered for the vegan sister, that would solve everything, and show her what she's missing. If they would show realistic vegan food, people could see that we're not missing a thing. I know the jokes are happening less and less, and veganism is definitely less of a joke, but it still makes me cringe when I see scenes like that. We don;t only eat brown and green food!! Rant over, other than the played out vegan jokes, it's really a good movie with some great actors.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Curried Kind of Day

Curried tempeh wrap
My curried tempeh turned out to be very tasty for a first attempt! I definitely think celery and maybe a few raisins would take it over the top. Hot sauce of course makes everything tastier! I know there are a gazillion tempeh salad recipes out there, but here's one more!
                                              Curried Tempeh Salad
  • 1 pkg. Tempeh
  • 3 T. vegan mayo( I used Just Mayo)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. red or yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 T. sweet relish
Steam the tempeh for 15-20 minutes. After the tempeh is steamed and cooled so it can be handled. Crumble with your hands, or a knife into very small pieces. Combine with all other ingredients, and adjust salt and pepper. It tastes best when refrigerated for at least thirty minutes so the flavors can really get to know each other!
Like I said, celery would be perfect, and also some raisins, or even dried cranberries. This is the starter recipe. I don't eat tempeh too often, because honestly I much prefer tofu, but this salad could convince me to have more tempeh in my life!
I decided to venture to my nearest library yesterday. It was the perfect day for a walk, sunny and warm, but not too warm. I had a moment that made me laugh on my way. I walked by a 24 hour fitness, or some kind of huge gym, and there were so many people walking on a treadmill, and riding stationary bikes. It's funny that we live in a world where people pay to walk indoors, and ride bikes that don't go anywhere. I know I sound like a curmudgeon, but aaaaahhhhh! Anyway, on to the books.
What a library haul!
I am super happy with my first selection. I didn't even know that More Peas and Thank You   existed, and I had also never heard of Mouthwatering Vegan written by Miriam Sorrell. I also scored Afro Vegan, written by Bryant Terry. Also a fiction by Nick Hornby who I love sooo much, and somehow I missed this book. I was leafing through Afro Vegan, and there are several pages that have been taped back together. I love that history so much, and those will be the recipes I try first, I bet they're the best! I love that connection with strangers that books give you. Ever since I can remember, library day is always my favorite day of the week! And even as an adult, the sight of a bookmobile makes me want to skip right into it!
I was leafing through my stash, and this recipe from Mouthwatering Vegan jumped out at me. I actually had all of the ingredients, and it gave me another chance to use my favorite Red curry powder.
Yummy is right!
They turned out amazing! I used fresh potatoes that I steamed and mashed. These were really easy to make, and they held together well. I let them cool for about ten minutes after cooking, they really firmed up. I served mine with some Persian cucumbers and baby peppers, and some sriracha. It was a really tasty meal, and I look forward to the leftovers. Curry is always better after a little rest! There are many recipes in this book I plan on trying. Maybe after I've tried a few more recipes, I'll attempt a cookbook review? Maybe. Anyway, I know my slump isn't permanent because I got excited when I saw new to me vegan cookbooks. And everything that I prepared yesterday was fun, and I got tasty results, so I'm pretty happy.
What do you do to pull out of a funk/slump?