Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cruciferous Day

This is one of the only vegan YouTube channels I watch after my recent unsubscribe purge. They make daily vlogs on this channel, and they each have individual channels as well. Hannah's channel is High Carb Hannah, and Derek's channel is Unconventional Living. I discovered both channels individually, and was pleasantly surprised to see them as a couple. Their daily vlogs are a lot of fun, and have become an important part of my morning.
When Hannah made this dish, it looked so amazingly delicious, but cauliflower is one of two vegetables I can't stand. The other is asparagus. Blech. I did make cauliflower buffalo wings over the summer that made cauliflower edible, so I decided to be brave and try this recipe. The sauce looked so flavorful, I figured it had to cancel out most of the cauliflower taste.
I whipped this up while listening to The Young Turks, and not only do I love  it, but I already want to make it again! The sauce is out of this world, and it's going to be my new go to sauce for my oven baked tofu! The cauliflower gets soft, while the breading stays pretty crispy. I feel like this is what you serve to people like me who shudder at the thought of cauliflower. It's super easy, and doesn't dirty every pot in the house. This is the second or third recipe of theirs I've made that has been a smashing success!
I served these delicious morsels over some brown Jasmine rice, and did what my mom could NEVER get me to do, ate a whole bowl of cauliflower! Little me was gagging with all the spoons! Just looking at this picture makes me want more! Lucky me I have a few leftover bites. I can't believe cauliflower is going to be added to my grocery list!
I had a very cruciferous day yesterday. I had some balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes for breakfast, and a mid-afternoon green juice with lots of Tuscan kale.
Yesterday was my third trek up the hill, and I'm still going strong, despite the rain. I had a moment yesterday morning where I wanted to make the excuse of "it's raining too hard". But I didn't, I forced myself to do it and seriously I had a case of the happy-s that I just couldn't shake yesterday. And I dealt with some real grumps too. Usually negative energy brings me down a notch, but somehow yesterday no one could steal my happiness! Today I am taking a rest day, which I usually do. I'll just do some yoga focusing on flexibility, and take a hot detox bath, and get back on that hill tomorrow.
If you do anything this weekend, do yourself the biggest favor and make this cauliflower. It's a life changer!
Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Kite Hill Vegan Brie!

I have been wanting to talk about Kite Hill's vegan brie cheese for awhile. So, today is the day!
First off, for anyone wondering, I believe Kite Hill products are sold exclusively through Whole Foods. So, you know what I'm going to say next. Super expensive.  I would also like to admit that I am a total sell-out. I don't like the price of Kite Hill products, and I don't like that they're only sold at Whole Foods. It feels like a food that peasants like me aren't really supposed to have. So, those are my gripes, let's get on to the good stuff!
Here is the outside of the wheel. It's packaged like super fancy cheese and everything! Sorry for the yogurt in the picture. This is from a haul.
It has a rind on it that is eerily similar to dairy brie. In case you do go to Whole Foods to try it, it is the only vegan cheese sold in the fancy cheese section with the people, and the cheeses that cost more than my life!
The guy who worked with the cheeses told me that the rind is exactly like brie. He said that overall, he liked it, although it wasn't exactly like brie. It was enough of an endorsement coming from a non vegan to try it. It is smooth and creamy like I remember brie to be. It is a little springier due to lower fat, but it will spread on a cracker or a piece of bread just fine.
It has that smooth, creamy, kind of fatty taste on your tongue that brie has. My first time trying brie was at some really popular restaurant in downtown Seattle that I used to go to after work. Me, and all of the punk rock bouncers would stroll in, and class the place up a bit. (HA) Anyway, they had this warm brie that came with a raspberry sauce on top, and it was served with crust bread and crackers. It was to die for. I never order the same thing twice, but this was an exception to the rule for sure. I really should have recreated that dish. But I ate all of this brie with crackers, or plain.
The ingredient list is probably the shortest of all vegan cheese. Almond milk, salt, enzymes, and culture.
This is the fancy cheese vegans who like fancy cheese have been waiting for. I can picture a beautiful day where the weather is perfect, and you have a friend or date night, and you set out a beautiful huge platter with fancy olives, some almonds, and other nuts, fancy crackers, maybe an assortment of breads, Cornichons(never pickles) and a wheel of this cheese.
I've now tasted two flavors of Kite Hill's yogurt, and this brie, and Kite Hill is definitely putting out a quality product. Unfortunately these can't be things I buy on the regular, and I wonder how many people actually can.
So, the good- creamy, spreadable, the rind is exactly like brie, making for a very realistic experience.
The bad- the price is unrealistic, and it's sold exclusively through Whole Foods.
Have you, or will you try any Kite Hill products?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Munch On!

One of these days I will do a MidWeek Munchies on a Wednesday! But for now Thursday is the new Wednesday! I walked up and down the big hill for the first time yesterday morning, and aside from some anxiety over the dorkiness of my "look", it felt great, and I think this will be an easy habit to start. The apartment building I live in has a little gym, and I could use the treadmill and put it on a steep incline, but there is just something about an actual hill, and the fresh air that appeals so much more to me. I feel like the fresh air helps create more endorphins.
After my walk, I felt motivated to get my Trader Joe's trip out of the way, since it's going to rain all week, and at least yesterday it was only an almost non-existent mist. I love going to Trader Joe's early in the morning when it's not so busy. I feel like I can read stuff and look at things.
My first Brussels tree! 
I need to take a moment here to try to articulate the deliciousness that is the South African style potato chip. This wins the Munchies award for the week in my opinion. They are perfection, there is nothing I would change. First of all, if I'm dipping my chips, of course I want a thicker, heartier chip. But if the chips are going down straight with no dip, I like a nice, light crispy chip. Sometimes I don't want the thicker crunch of a kettle chip. These are light, and crisp but also not suuuuuper oily like Lays. But they aren't not oily like baked or fat free chips. Now, the flavor. It's like the best BBQ potato chip you've ever had, perfected a million times more. The first thing you taste is the delicious smoky flavor, followed by garlic. Like a real garlic flavor, not man made garlic flavor. I can also taste the herbiness, thanks to parsley and basil. They are delicious, and I can't believe it took me this long to try these. These are so good, I can't imagine eating any other chip after tasting these. Don't worry if you don't love spice, they aren't spicy, just smoky and flavorful.
I decided to go super retro and try these hash brown "patties". Jennifer from My Blissful Journey was talking about hash brown patties, and it made me get a weird craving. These are a real novelty for me! They were under two dollars, so it was hard to say no to myself.
I used to dream of Trader Joe's frozen Gyoza when I lived in Erie.I tried a brand they sold at The Co-Op, and they just weren't as good, and the price wasn't as good either!
There were a few odds and ends I didn't take pictures of because the kitties were starting to want their counter back. It was boring stuff like bananas, and celery, and also some Holistic care crunchy food for the felines. As you see above I got some chocolate chips, I'm going to try to recreate the Trader Joe's frozen chocolate covered banana bites! They were such a delicious treat, and after doing some webz surfing, it seems easy enough to do. Trader Joe's has the best prices for vegan chocolate chips! I know people might get bored of me going on and on about them, but I after having Joe in my life, and then no Joe for a few years, I  will never take them for granted!
I also found this card there. Have you ever looked at their card selection? I love them. I bought this for myself. I am tending to myself, hoping for something wonderful to take root.It's hanging on my eggplant wall as a reminder!
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


One of the reasons I started my second blog is to have a place to vent, and also kind of figure out some feelings, and try to keep this blog more vegan food/vegan issues related. It's nice that I have a lot less to vent about in Seattle than I did in Erie! Anyway, as anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile knows, I have been working on becoming a happier, healthier person for awhile now. I have been feeling kind of stuck for awhile now, and there have been days I have been tempted to go back to the self destructive future. I don't know what I was thinking would happen once I started caring about myself, and making healthy choices, but it hasn't happened yet, and it sometimes makes my old ways look pretty tempting.
So, I've decided to start walking up and down this hill that is across the street from my apartment building. I noticed it last week, and it hasn't left my mind. I do well when I make goals for myself and stick to it. It makes me feel super proud, and like I can accomplish saving the world, all because I completed a goal! I don't have any cheerleaders in my real life(human of course) so I need to be my own cheerleader, and for some crazy reason I believe walking up and down this hill every morning is going to help me stick on the right path. I am not a tennis shoe type of gal. That sentence just made me gag. Are they even called tennis shoes anymore? What do the kids say? Anyway, I bought a pair so that I can really commit to this. It is the first pair of sports shoes I've owned as an adult!
They were on clearance at Old Navy, so they certainly aren't for serious runners, but I'm not trying to win any marathons, I'm just trying to walk up and down a hill!
Last night I had some oven baked potatoes and tofu wrapped in tender butter lettuce and dipped in sweet chili sauce. So simple and so tasty! I love the contrasting temperatures and textures. And sweet chili sauce is the best.
I also made this carrot, orange, ginger juice. Like I said yesterday, I'm really trying to get a lot of vitamin c in my diet. The little oranges I've been buying at Trader Joe's have been really good, but these navel oranges I bought at the grocery near my apartment leave a lot to be desired. I actually wonder if  I got any vitamin c from them! Ha.
I had a few squares of this bar made in Oregon before bed. It's no Ritter with marzipan, but it's still pretty tasty.
I'm going to put my hill walking gear on, and see how this hill is. I feel like it's good to challenge yourself, and maybe it's part of the key to happiness?
What do you do when you feel like you're in a slump?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What I Ate on A Monday!

I've been enjoying starting my day with green salads lately. I make them big, with sunflower seeds and whatever other goodies I may have laying around to make it really substantial. I feel like it sets me up to take care of myself for the whole day. I guess it's like one good choice follows another, or something like that. And with my new obsession with this FYH vegan ranch, I feel like I want to live in a salad. I haven't really been this crazy over something since taking my first bite of Chao cheese!
My salad yesterday was a little more boring than usual. It's just Romaine, and iceberg lettuce with sunflower seeds. I need to pick up some fresh produce. I've also been into blending frozen strawberries (or dragonfruit) with orange juice. It's more than a juice, but not a smoothie either.
I've been trying to get more vitamin c in my diet as we are quickly approaching cootie season. I know that everyone tells us to stay home and take care of ourselves when we're sick, but very few people actually take that advice. Strawberries are very high in vitamin c, and are one of the top anti aging foods. They ward off all kinds of bad things we don't want.
For lunch I had the only canned soup I will ever buy, Amy's no chicken noodle! I don't buy this very often, because it's over priced, canned, blah blah blah. But every now and again it's just what I want. It reminds me of grandparents. Not just mine, all grandparents.
Feeding my inner child!
Later in the day I made a green juice with kale, Romaine, red grapes, apple, and celery. Very zippy. I really like celery in m green juice, it makes it taste really fresh.
I made some Hash Browns for dinner. I have been really craving potatoes for the last few days, and I have no fresh ones, so in a pinch look in your freezer! They are just the Trader Joe's frozen hash browns. Pretty boring stuff. I topped my browns with some Cajun garlic hot sauce, and a side of HP Sauce. If you're like me and LOVE condiments, this is a tasty one. It's brown like A1, but much tangier and tastier.
I had to end the day with something sweet, and so I had a few squares of this Lindt bar. Pretty tasty chocolate.
I think this is the first time I've remembered to take a picture of every single thing I ate! I've done almost what I ate in a day, but this is the first full one! I feel so grown up! I'm like a real blogger or something.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Vegan Taco Bell?

My first home brewed booch in Seattle! I had kombucha making down to a science while living in Erie, so it's about time I start brewing again. It's really easy, and it saves you sooooooo much money if you love kombucha! I'm still deciding what flavor juice I will use to flavor it. I love ginger kombucha, so I was thinking of maybe making some ginger juice and adding that. I will of course have to research and see what the interwebz tells me!
I had some things to do yesterday, and got home later than usual. I was beyond hungry, and needed something quick and easy. I decided to get creative with a black bean burger, and made a kind of vegan Taco bell CrunchWrap. I think a real CrunchWrap has a crispy tostada like layer, which I didn't have, so I didn't add. I also didn't add lettuce because warm lettuce is not okay with my mouth. So I guess I made something inspired by a CrunchWrap.

I just cooked a gardein black bean burger, and then put some refried beans on a flour tortilla, added the veggie burger, and finally a little nutritional yeast, and some vegan cheese. I folded the tortilla over the burger, and cooked it in a pan with a smidgen of coconut oil. I could see where having that crispy tostada layer would make this so much better, but it was still pretty tasty as is. Definitely a fun and different way to eat  a burger. I will be making this more often. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing to be inspired by Taco Bell!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's Just Another Random Sunday

To start your Sunday off right, here's a picture of some kitties living the high life. They are rolling around in glorious catnip! The long black thing is not a cord, it is one of their favorite toys, which is three shoestrings tied together, and a twist tie type thing on the end. They love it, and anything that is string like.
My first red dragon fruit!
I remember watching a few YouTube videos of people eating red dragon fruit, and it just looked so beautiful and vibrant. I tried it a few times when I lived in PA, and I only was able to find the white variety. When I saw this bag of the red fruit in the frozen section at grocery Outlet, it was a no brainer. I've read that they both taste the same, and I've also read that the red is sweeter and also I read that white is sweeter. Ahh interwebz! I feel like the red is tastier and healthier because of the vibrant color, but that's just me forming an opinion based on looks. I'm so shallow! In all seriousness, both colors are some would say bland, others would say mild. I blended some of these chunks with  orange juice, and it made a most beautiful drink!
That color!!!!!
Gotta have my greens!

I started my day with this juice, and another delicious salad. I think the FYH ranch is in competition for my favorite vegan product of 2015. I don't know if it's been around longer, but I discovered it in 2015! The funny thing is before becoming vegan I loathed ranch dressing. I gagged at the look, smell, and most definitely taste. But I cannot get enough of this dressing. I'm practically licking my plate when I'm done!
I also made this whole big bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts. I roasted them with a little finely minced onion, salt, pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper, and drizzled a little Balsamic vinegar at the end. Delicious. I could have eaten roasted Brussels all day long! I am convinced that when people say they don't like Brussels sprouts it's because they haven't had them roasted yet.
I didn't take a picture of my dinner, because it couldn't have been more boring. I was craving rice and tofu. Like just rice and tofu. It might sound weird, but sometimes I crave just plain rice, and plain baked tofu. Sometimes I eat it as is, last night I drizzled on some Trader Joe's soyaki sauce, and lots of sriracha. It tasted amazing! Very soothing.
I watched a video this morning on YouTube where the topic of buying organic came up, and they kind of shrugged at the fact that someone doesn't want to pay the higher prices for organics. I wish that instead of shaming people who can't, or won't buy organic, we could shame some of the stores and companies into lowering the prices. In some cases organic foods can be double or triple the cost of  non organic. And I'm not even talking just Whole Foods, I'm talking about organic produce at a regular old grocery. It is an issue that seems to get swept under the rug.
I know that because I now have Trader Joe's and Grocery Outlet very near me, I'm able to buy mush more organic than I was previously. Not everyone has access to those stores. Many people don't even have access to a store with any produce, let alone organic! 
I read an article like a hundred years ago that said if we all keep supporting organic this and that, it would bring the cost down. I also read an article a hundred years ago that said reality television would fizzle out. Both of these articles lied right to my face! I hope that maybe someday this problem will be solved. Okay rant over. Sorry, I guess that video bothered me more than I thought. Shaming is an alarming trend on YouTube. I just did a massive unsubscribe not too long ago, and recently channels that I thought were safe are maybe not so safe.
Happy Sunday. May we all be as content as my stoned kitties!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

So Delicious to Be a Vegan!

I have never been a member of the pumpkin spice fan club. I don't dislike pumpkin spice, but it's just not really my jam. I'm more of a tropical fruit type of gal. The last time I was at Trader Joe's, I was kind of shocked by the amount of pumpkin and pumpkin spice everything! They had pumpkin tortilla chips!?? So, when I was at Whole Foods getting my kombucha kit, I almost didn't get these pumpkin spice Dandies marshmallows, but I am trying to be less of an Autumn scrooge, so I grabbed a bag.
They have a great texture, not as light as a traditional marshmallow, but close enough! The pumpkin taste isn't really that strong to be honest. They have more of a cinnamon taste, which is fine with me.  I love cinnamon. I wasn't sure what to do with these, and then I realized duh! You need to make rice krispies treats!
It was so easy! I just melted the marshmallows with a little Earth Balance and mixed in some rice crispies. Snap, crackle pop they were done. I have to be honest, I like the marshmallows, and I like the taste of the treats, but rice krispie treats just aren't my favorite. I don't like the stickiness, and the crispy but soft and chewy texture doesn't make my mouth happy. I won't let these go to waste of course, but I probably won't make again.
Onto much better news, I decided to try the brand spanking new( I think) So Delicious boxed vegan macaroni and cheese. I am a huge fan of So Delicious, and I had really high hopes!
Woot woot!
The sauce packet mixes very well with the pasta and plant milk, and Earth Balance. This mac and cheese is soy and gluten free, so yay for sensitivities! The sauce is thick and cheesey. I liked it very much, but you aren't going to fool any non-vegans with this one. But it is rich and creamy, and cheese like in the way that I expect.Vegan boxed mac and cheese is way too expensive for me to buy on the reg, especially because there are so many easy peasy homemade recipes. If I had kids, I would probably buy this more often, because boxed mac and cheese just makes me think of kids for some reason. Thumbs up to So Delicious! Dylan also approves. He licked my bowl almost clean! That's a huge endorsement for So Delicious, because Dylan is extremely loyal to daiya!
I had three lingering vegan chicken nuggets in my freezer, so I served those with my mac and cheese. And some Follow your Heart ranch for dipping. I felt like a kid!
Did you eat boxed mac and cheese as a kid?

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Yogurt I've Always Wanted!

Yesterday was such a gorgeous fall day here in Seattle! Last week was grey and dreary, but the past few days have been sunny and in the sixties! The leaves are changing and it's just beautiful. When I lived in the snow belt, I found it impossible to see any beauty in fall, because I knew what was coming next, and my dread took over. It has been very nice to be able to breathe in the fall air, and enjoy the moment.
I decided to try the Kite Hill yogurt yesterday when I got home. Vegan yogurts for me are hit or miss, mostly miss. I do like the So Delicious coconut milk yogurt, but I guess I don't like them enough to always pay the price. When I saw the Kite Hill yogurt at Whole Foods, I figured I needed to try it now, because who knows the next time I will be in a Whole Foods. It was also pretty pricey, I can't remember the exact price. I think I purposely blocked it out! What I noticed when I first opened the container is that it had that tangy yogurt smell. Like the vegan ranch I bought, this smelled like the yogurt of my past.
I gave it a quick stir to ensure optimum creaminess, and this yogurt did not disappoint. It has actual pieces of strawberries, and it is so creamy and dreamy. It also does have that yogurt tang that some vegan yogurts I've tried in the past don't have. I was raised in a whole wheat, at some points off the grid type of house. We always had the super healthy yogurt that in no way was any kind of treat. You knew you were eating yogurt. When I would go to friend's houses, I would marvel at the deliciousness of Dannon fruit on the bottom, or even some of the sweeter, junkier yogurts. This Kite Hill yogurt reminds me of a perfect hybrid of my two childhood yogurt memories. It's sweet, with a strong strawberry taste, but it isn't too sweet, and it doesn't taste artificial. It has the slightest almond taste, you might not even notice if you didn't know it was made with almond milk. I love it, I can't say I would buy it on the reg, because it just is too pricey, but it was delicious to try it.
So creamy!
I hope this shows the creaminess. I had a different brand of almond milk yogurt awhile ago, I can't remember the brand, maybe Almond Breeze? Anyway, the taste was okay, but it was so runny, almost like soup. This is nice and thick.
I made the smoky split pea soup from Appetite for Reduction for dinner. Well, I used the recipe as a guideline and made one serving. I love split peas soup so much. As a kid and a younger adult I used to think split pea soup was the WORST! But now a big bowl of green mush makes me so happy! Actually the smoked paprika makes it a little prettier!
I have very strong feelings about bread and soup. My feeling is there is no soup without some form of bread. Crackers will do in a pinch, but bread is strongly preferred. Where do you stand on this very important issue?
I forgot to show these in my post yesterday. These are some dark chocolate truffles from Seattle Chocolates that are AMAZING! And I've been missing having liquid smoke on hand. It's one of those things that I don't use too often, but sometimes you really NEED it! I added a dash to my soup to really amp up the smoky flavor!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lots of MidWeek Munchies!

I have some really fun treats for MidWeek Munchies! I had to go to the evil, dreaded Whole Foods to get a kombucha starter, because I have been missing brewing my own booch. I love and hate Whole Foods because they have such awesome stuff, and are so freaking vegan friendly, but I loathe them because of the cost. Anyway, I kind of did the yin and the yang yesterday, and got some goodies at Whole Foods and Grocery Outlet. Balance. I don't know if it's just me, but I feel very out of place at Whole Foods. I'm a klutz, and anytime I'm at a crowded thrift store with lots of knick knacks, or in any kind of dainty place I get the worst anxiety, because I just know I'm going to knock something over. I feel that way at Whole Foods. Like I'm much to poor and unpolished to be there.
I'm excited to start brewing again. It's so much cheaper to brew booch, and it's super easy.
Can you even stand it??? 
I have been dying to try this kite hill cheese since I first heard of it. Do you know what's really cool? They keep the kite hill vegan cheese right there with all of their super expensive, super fancy dairy cheeses! It's the only vegan cheese in that area! The cheese person, specialist, expert whatever they call themselves said he tried it and really enjoyed it. he said the rind on this vegan brie is exactly like dairy brie! Amazing! I also spotted their yogurt and had to try it. I find vegan yogurt to be a difficult thing for me to like. It seems like vegan yogurts either get the taste right, and the texture is off or vice versa. Kind of like me with homemade veggie burgers. Ha.

So, remember the super dark days of Road's End being the only boxed vegan mac and cheese option?
Well my friends, the sun does in fact come out tomorrow. How can we not be encouraged by this? There is clearly a demand for this, and it's not just coming from us vegans!
Krabby patties vegan style!!
I remember last year seeing a review of these ice cream treats, and feeling all boo hoo because I was living in Erie PA. not exactly a vegan mecca. Well, look at me now! I scored these at Grocery Outlet, so I even got them at a great price!
This Ritter bar with Marzipan is hands down my favorite new chocolate. The sweet marzipan goes swimmingly with dark chocolate.

The top picture is last night's dinner, which was a gardein chipotle black bean burger with some chipotle Just Mayo, and a salad with this AMAZING vegan ranch dressing. I often feel guilty because Follow your Heart's veganaise is the original vegan mayo, and I used to love it so. But Just Mayo stole my heart and my loyalty forever. Well, I may still grab Just Mayo for my sandwich needs, but Follow you Heart has stolen my heart with this ranch. Have you tried it? The first thing I noticed when I opened the bottle is how much it actually smelled like regular ranch. It smelled herby, and tangy. And guess what? It tastes herby and tangy, and zesty. It has that tang like buttermilk ranch used to. It's just the right consistency too. All of the thumbs up Follow your Heart. I just realized I should have made the burger look prettier in the picture, but I was so dang excited about the salad! Oh vegans!
I was hoping to make it to the vegan food truck today, but I checked their schedule, and I might have to wait until next week. I thought they were only based in Ballard, but after another they seem to kind of make their rounds.Anyway, I will track them down one of these days!
Happy Thursday!