Monday, November 30, 2015

Tapenade Dahling!

I thought this is a hilarious picture for a Monday. You see, Chunk decided to help me gather ingredients for my green juice! Chunk likes to be involved in ever single task that is done in the kitchen. I know some people would cringe at the sight of an animal in the fridge, or on kitchen counters, but that just doesn't bother me. I remember as a kid every adult ever yelling at me for letting the dogs have licks of my ice cream cone. I never ever understood why it was considered gross. Two seconds after I snapped this picture, the cauliflower, apples, and some lemons all came rolling out of the fridge. He is so cute, but he's no ballerina.
I've been really loving having a Trader Joe's pizza dough in my fridge at all times. Homemade pizza dough is super easy to make, but it does take some planning with all of the rest and rise time. The dough at Trader Joe's is inexpensive, easy to work with, tasty, vegan, and has normal ingredients. Last night I didn't want to do a lot of cooking, but I also didn't want to rely on a freezer meal either. So, pizza time it is! All you have to do is let the dough rest at room temperature for twenty minutes, roll it out, and top it however you like! Last night I put some coconut herb Chao slices down, and then covered that with some green olive tapenade also from Trader Joe's, garlic, white beans, and crushed red pepper. The Chao and tapenade kind of become one, and it was creamy, and sharp. The tapenade has almost a bitter taste, and I mean that in a good way. They use good olives, with a strong flavor. White beans were the perfect topper. They add a creamy texture, and a neutral flavor so the tapenade is the star!
The cold leftovers made a really tasty breakfast too! Tapenade is really good stirred into warm pasta with a little nutritional yeast. I guess like an olive pesto, except with no nuts. And since the olive flavor is so strong, it doesn't take a lot. Plus, it's a fun fancy word to say! I feel like I should have a satin lacey robe, and kitten heel slippers while serving Tapenade. By the way, no anchovies were harmed or used in this tapenade!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hallmark Got it Wrong

So this ad was promoted on a vegan website I visit, and they were elated about it. They saw it as a positive that we had 'made it" into a Hallmark commercial. I think anyone who has been reading this blog knows that I want nothing more than for vegan to become mainstream, and I loathe the exclusiveness of some vegans. I feel if you want to save animals, you can't want veganism to be an exclusive club, that makes zero sense. So, I don't know if I'm being one of "those" vegans who has a problem with everything, and has zero sense of humor, but I don't appreciate this commercial at all, and I see it as a setback to the movement, not a step forward. As a vegan, I would run for the hills with that old man if I went to someone's house, and they made a tofu brick with scallion wash(gag) and seaweed with lavender(help me) What in the actual hell were they thinking? Both of those sound gross, and I have looked at a TON of vegan cookbooks, recipes, blogs, what have you, and I have never in my life heard of seaweed and lavender served together. It infuriates me so much, because people who already know NOTHING about vegan food, but they do know it's "gross" are going to see this commercial and feel validated in their contempt of vegan food, and validated in their choice to continue to eat meat. "See I told you vegan food was gross" is what they're going to say to each other. I am sick of  all of the misrepresentations of what vegans eat, and how we act, and how we act towards food. I looked at Instagram ALOT on Thanksliving, and I did not see one seaweed salad, or tofu brick. I saw food that looked exactly like every other plate of food, minus the death, and cruelty. And I would like to remind everyone that yes, there are vegans who are obsessed with health, but guess what? There are non vegans who are obsessed with eating healthy too. And I would also say that seaweed is consumed by non vegans as well. As a matter of fact, the vegan police hand out tickets to vegans who eat seaweed, because some insist that fish get all in the mix when it's harvested, and so the fines are steep, and I heard the vegan judge is really one to fear. So, the whole seaweed thing is just wrong on so many levels. Sorry Hallmark, in my opinion this was a fail.
Now on to real vegan food and happenings, I made the white BBQ sauce from The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour At Home. It's a vegan mayo based sauce, with horseradish and ACV with agave! It's zippy and tangy, and tasted great with some oven fries baked with a little cumin and curry powder.
It gets it's pinkish hue from smoked paprika. I love sauces, and I love dipping things, so this is a nice addition to my arsenal!  A lot of the recipes in this book are for entertaining groups of people, so some of the recipes are too big, and I don't always love the math of scaling down a recipe. This is of course not the book's fault, I'm just not the right demographic I guess. But for anyone having or going to holiday parties, this could be your best friend!
I snapped this picture of Chunk getting the kitchen faucet. He likes to take things apart, if he were a human he would be interested in cooking, and also construction, or engineering or something like that. He loves to take the drain out of the bathtub, and he feels it belongs in their water dish. He also likes to take apart my water filter, and I can only assume he wants to take apart the faucet, and put it where it really belongs.
What did you think of the commercial? Am I being a humorless vegan? Am I wrong about seaweed and lavender?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Be Your Own Health Guru

Both Thursday and yesterday, I watched some old YouTube videos of various vegan "experts" telling us how we should eat. There are so many "correct" ways to eat it's very hard to wrap your head around. There's Raw, Raw till 4, high carb low fat, high carb some fat is okay, but no oil, vegan paleo diet, eating only whole, organic foods, yes to juices and smoothies, no to juices and smoothie, and every person promoting one of these diets or lifestyles is right in their mind, and if you read any of the comments, it's like a war zone. A lot of food and body shaming. Some of these gurus go as far as to shun vegans who don't eat the way they promote. It's very strange. When I first started my quest to become healthy and happy, I discovered Freelee, and her Raw till 4 plan, lifestyle whatever. It was summer, so smoothies and raw fruit during the day were fine. But I wasn't able to "smash in the calories" as was recommended. I wanted to eat a whole packet of pasta, but I couldn't. I also couldn't drink an eleven banana smoothie. And, smoothies don't really satiate me. I feel hungry very soon after a smoothie. Then, fall came and I was not satisfied with smoothies and raw fruit, and also living in the snow belt, fruit options in the cold months are very limited. For this and many other reasons I dropped out of that scene. I did notice that eating a higher carb diet was really making me feel awesome, so I decided to just do my own thing with somewhat of a focus on starches/carbs. I also went awhile with trying to eat super "clean". No processed anything could pass my lips. I wasn't feeling great, and I wasn't enjoying eating. I spent over fifteen years of my life having an extremely dysfunctional and disordered relationship with food. I don't want to live like that anymore, and there are so many fun vegan junk foods out there, I want to try them all! But, I've also learned balance. I now listen to my body. For example, last week I ate a lot of heavy comfort foods. I made horseradish mac and cheese, I ate stuffing, I had the roast contest, I'm sure there were other comforts in there, but this week my body has been craving lots of fresh lemony and herb-y flavors, and lots of greens. It's like I'm getting to know myself all over!
It's getting to that time of year when people start seeking out diets for the new year, and cleanses and detoxes are going to be all the rage. I just want to say as someone who has tried and done pretty much everything to try to control my body and my food intake, nothing ever has been as effective as just listening to my own body! No one can tell you what you need like your own body! I used to mindlessly eat salty snacks like chips, and before I knew it the bag was gone. Now, it's impossible for me to do that. At a certain point my body just tells me to quit. I'm saying all of this to say that I think it's great to get little tidbits of information from various sources, but again, no one can tell you what's best for your body like your actual body.
Vegan is a lifestyle, it's something that goes deep down to your soul, it's not a diet. Now, I don't get pissed when celebs drop into veganville to lose a few, because an animal saved is an animal saved. But, the reason they leave veganville is because they view it as a diet.
I'm saying all of this to say that I hope at some point we can take a step inward and listen to our own bodies, and hit pause on all of the diet "experts" out there. I may not be losing weight super fast, but I can feel and see my body getting stronger, and slowly but surely the beer poundage is going away. And I feel healthier than I ever have. And I am definitely a "real" vegan!
I had some of the General Tso's sauce left over, and what could make such an amazing sauce even better? Peanut butter! I added a spoonful and made a spicy peanut sauce which I served over a bowl of rice, tofu, and vegetables. I also chopped mint and cilantro for the top. Yum city!
I was craving fresh spring rolls, so I tried to put all the flavors in a bowl! It was pretty spot on. I was thinking of the Trader Joe's spring rolls for this dish.
This was a much longer winded post than I meant, but I have to leave you with this picture of Chunk's tail. It has a little bend in the tip, and he was laying in the tree, and it reminded me of curious Geaorge, as a matter of fact he is a little curious Chunk!
He was laying with it straight, so the curve was super pronounced, but like a cat he moved it as soon as I pulled out my phone!
Happy Caturday!
And just listen to your body, and don't eat anything that causes harm to anyone, and life will be as it should!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Foodz and Thingz

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksliving had an amazing time with open minded family and friends who were open to and considerate of the vegan lifestyle! Maybe some minds were opened in the slightest with some of the amazing food! Everyone has their methods for spreading the vegan message, and how to try to make the connection with non vegans, and I am a firm believer in hitting them in their taste buds! You know that antiquated saying the way to a man's heart is through his stomach? Well, instead of man, I think non vegan. I think non vegans have all kinds of crazy ideas of what vegans are like, and what vegan food is like. Anyway, I hope it was a great day for all!
I am a non traditionalist, and have never really given two hoots about the day myself, so I made another batch of Genera Tso's cauliflower! I talked about this amazing dish before, and I believe I posted the video, but here is the recipe. This is my second time making these amazing morsels. The sauce is out of this world. As I've mentioned before, cauliflower is on my DO NOT EAT list, so the fact that this is the second time I've made these, is crazy to me. Both times I've made them I've wished that I made a double batch! These could be a fun little appetizer for parties. You could put toothpicks in them, and serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.
No one would ever in a million trillion years guess this was cauliflower! I mean, I swear the most finicky eater would eat these in a second! I should have taken a close up of one of the morsels, next time I will do that. I just can't stress enough how delicious this dish is. I was definitely full of gratitude for this recipe and this meal!
If you dare venture out today, may the force be with you.I need kitty litter (!!!) and Target is the closest store to my apartment, and it's a nice walk, but I don't know if emotionally I can handle Target on black Friday! At first I figures I was safe, and I would just go at eight in the morning, right when they open, but duh, it's black Friday, and they never closed, or opened at midnight, or whatever. So, I might have to venture further out to try to avoid the crowds.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 26, 2015


To everyone who celebrates the holiday today, Happy Thanksliving, and to everyone who doesn't for whatever reason, Happy Thursday! I am of the non observing group, but I am going to use today to reflect on everything I have to be grateful for.
I made a delicious Tabbouleh salad and I used whole wheat cous cous in place of bulgur wheat (I had none, and didn't feel like going on a search mission) I also added fresh mint in addition to parsley, which I believe is traditional.  It was bursting with freshness from the lemon, and the herbs. I'm going to have the leftovers wrapped in a Lavash bread with some of my latest obsession, garlic tahini sauce.
I really should have written down how much of everything I used, because this was the best Tabouleh salad I've made! I also didn't add tomatoes because I don't care for out of season tomatoes. I've tried using cherry tomatoes in the past, but even if you cut them in half, they are bigger than everything else, and I just don't like it. So I used extra cucumber, and it was just what I was craving!
I served this for my dinner with Greek lemony potatoes, garlic tahini sauce, and pita bread. Yum.
My full plate of yum!
The potatoes are from the great book Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and Terry Hope Romero. I have made this recipe so often that I just know it by heart.
Before I sign off, I have to mention two snacks I tried yesterday that blew my mind!

The popcorn is not greasy at all, and it has a rich savory flavor that I love. It isn't as herb-y as I thought, but instead it's just this subtle, what is it flavor. And it's got a non funky ingredient list. I'm sure the bag will be gone by today!
And I can't say enough about these icecream sandwiches! First of all, each mimi only has 90 calories! I'm not really a calorie counter, but that is pretty amazing for a treat that is so rich. Even though they're mini, it really satisfies your sweet tooth. I've had soy ice cream sandwiches, and coconut ice cream sandwiches, but the almond milk ice cream sandwiches are the clear winner. The ice cream is so creamy, and it seemed like the vanilla flavor really stood out. So delicious has more than earned their name!
I hope today is filled with love and happiness for everyone, holiday or not!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MidWeek Munchies on a Wednesday!

So, I was in desperate need of some fresh fruit and vegetables, and I was out doing a few thangs, and ran into a Trader Joe's that isn't my usual Joe's. No big deal, right? It's sometimes fun to go to a different store, and see if they have different stuff. Well, not so fun two days before one of the cruelest holidays. The first Trader Joe's that I ever shopped at was in the university district. The store is very claustrophobic, with extremely narrow aisles. When they opened a store in Ballard, I was beyond stoked to see that this store was much more shopper friendly,more open and with much wider aisles. The Joe's I was at yesterday is like the U-district's store, narrow and confined and it was a MADHOUSE! I was almost in tears when I left. I couldn't find anything, it's set up different, and I just had a very hard time. I have shopped at the store in Ballard so often, I know it by heart, so it's very easy to maneuver through even when it's busy. As a matter of fact, it was very comforting to me when I first moved back to Seattle and first went back to that store. Nothing had changed, and I even recognized a lot of the employees. So, yes I got some goodies for MidWeek Munchies, but I definitely lost a few marbles while shopping.
First of all it was late when I got home, and I just could not be bothered to cook, so these tofu spring rolls were a very handy impulse buy. These are super tasty. They have Romaine lettuce, red cabbage, carrot, tofu, and rice noodles. And they come with a tasty peanut dipping sauce. They're under five bucks, actually they're under four dollars, so they are a great deal too.
I'm going to make a curry pumpkin soup with this pumpkin. I have never made anything savory with pumpkin, so check me out trying new things!
Although I prefer to buy spices in bulk when possible to save money and packaging, Trader Joe's sells spices at $1.99 a jar, so much cheaper than regular groceries, and I will reuse the jars for future bulk spice adventures! To be honest, I still haven't found a great place to buy bulk spices, grains and beans yet. I need to get on it!

I gotta have my greens!

I was recently watching a video where someone was eating popcorn, and it just made me get an intense craving for popcorn, which is something I rarely eat, and even when I do eat it, I'm never blown away. But this sounds pretty good, it has dill, celery seed, onion powder, and dried yeast(?!) which I kind of assume is nutritional yeast. It sound good, so we'll see.
I can't get enough of this tahini sauce! It is so thick and garlic-y, it makes anything taste amazing!

I was in a bit of a funk the last week or so, maybe a little longer, and I ate a lot of rich comfort foods which is totally fine, but I find this week I'm craving crunch, and bright fresh flavors. According to the weatherman, it's supposed to be sunny for the next few days, like until Monday! So, I'm going to take advantage of it!
Don't worry, I'm never gonna eat ONLY greens!  I believe in balance, baby! I've had soy ice cream sandwiches, and coconut ice cream sandwiches, but never almond milk ice cream sandwiches, so woot woot!
Do you like to shop at the same stores where you know where everything is, or do you love going t new stores? Do crowds bother you, or do you believe "the more the merrier"?
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

VeganEgg! One Can!

I stumbled across this video yesterday. It's worth a watch, it's under one minute, and it is scary how much this looks like scrambled eggs! I remember reading about a company a couple of years ago that were working on a vegan egg, and they showed someone scrambling it up, and it looked identical. I wonder if this is that product, or if sometime soon vegan egg alternatives will be like vegan cheese alternatives. I don't know how it tastes, but based on looks they NAILED IT! And I'm sure a little sprinkle of black salt would really bump up the egginess factor. It's getting exciting. More and more taste is not an excuse to make cruel choices. If you can have some scrambled eggs that cause no one pain, why would you make the cruel choice? I don't even mean that in a snarky vegan way. It just seems like logic to me. Not to mention high cholesterol is an issue for many people, so this choice is kind to humans and chickens.
Yesterday I had one can of chickpeas involved in all of my meals! First, yesterday morning I was craving tahini like mad! I had to have tahini with my breakfast, so I made some brown rice, and while that was cooking, I let some chickpeas marinate in some sriracha. When the rice was done,  I made a wrap with lots of garlic tahini sauce and it hit the spot!
Sometimes beige just tastes good!
I also roasted a handful for snacking throughout the day, but I did shove those in my face without taking a picture! Whoops! To tell you the truth, I'm still getting used to the whole blog and social media thing. Taking pictures of my food is still new to me, and sometimes I want to just eat! I mean, bless these people who take the most gorgeous pictures of the most vibrant looking food on Instagram! Sometimes vloggers on YouTube will vlog while they are arranging their meal for Instagram, and I just want to scream JUST EAT YOUR MEAL! Anyway, different strokes. I'll get it down though.
For dinner I made maybe the most delicious no tuna salad I've ever made. I mashed up the remaining chickpeas with celery, and instead of regular Just Mayo, I used the rest of my sriracha Just Mayo! Man, it just took it to the next level. And if you mash the chickpeas just right, it's amazing how much it looks like tuna! This is such a simple but tasty meal, and it's been way too long since I've had it.
I made an open face melt,and I used tomato cayenne slices from Chao as my cheese. Yum.
I added some shredded Romaine to the top, drizzled it with hot sauce, and called it dinner. I can't say enough about Just Mayo. It is hands down the best mayo I have ever had, vegan or not. And I seriously can't imagine any non vegan noticing the difference.
So, one can of chickpeas was the base for two meals and a snack yesterday. I paid either $.99 or $1.09 for the can of chickpeas, so pretty dang cheap. And both meals were deeply satisfying, I certainly didn't feel like I was living on a boring rice and bean diet.
Have you tried the sriracha Just Mayo? Or the chipotle Just Mayo?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sunny Day, Sweepin' the Clouds Away..

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all gorgeous sunny days here in Seattle. I missed the sun so much. I lived in Seattle before, so I knew what I was dealing with when I moved here, but still I needed the sun to shine for awhile!
I took a very long walk yesterday, to clear my head and just absorb some vitamin D! Winter is coming, and I won't see a whole lot of the sun. I stopped at the library to pick up a book that was being held for me, and as usual I had to check out the cookbook section, and I got my hands on a copy of  The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour At Home. I'm not super familiar with his work, but I did see him on a podcast at some point, and I think he had just written this book. I figured maybe it would be helpful to someone if I test a few of the recipes, since it's getting to be party time and everything. It always helps to know if a cookbook is worth buying. At first glance I'm a little disappointed to see that there aren't many pictures, and the pictures that do exist are in black and white. I love to eat with my eyes, and look through a cookbook for that one picture that makes my mouth water, and make that dish first. While leafing through the book, my curiosity was piqued by a white BBQ sauce recipe! I love BBQ sauce, and I have never heard of white BBQ sauce! It is made with vegan mayo, horseradish(!) and some seasonings. In this book he serves it with okra fries, so when I make it i think I will serve it with potato fries. One of the chapters is called "GodYammit, These Sliders Are Heavenly"! Ha ha. It's all appetizer foods, so I think it could help with the upcoming festivities! I plan on making a list today, and making a few recipes to report on!
When I got home, I made a pot of  lentil soup with potatoes, cabbage, and of course lentils. So perfect for the end of the day!
I hope everyone has a very happy Monday!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Battle of the Vegan Roasts!

Oh happy days! I was able to get my hands on the vegan holiday roast from Trader Joe's! I called first this time to save myself the headache! They only had three left, and they had just gotten their shipment in Friday! My cashier told me a women came in and bought seven at one time! I feel like that is really awesome news! So, I made a delicious green bean casserole, using this recipe. I didn't fry my own onions, I got a can at Trader Joe's. Cooking this much in my itty kitchen was enough, I didn't want to add deep frying to the mix. I was raised on the canned onions on green bean casserole so they were fine. Cashew cream is just the best. This is the first time I've had green bean casserole since going vegan!
So, on to the roasts. The tofurky takes the longest to roast, at over an hour, ant the Trader Joe's was around 30 to 45 minutes. (Sorry, I've already recycled the package) So, I basted the tofurky with extra virgin olive oil, some poultry seasoning, liquid smoke, and pepper. I baked it on top of baby potatoes.
Here is the tofurky after resting, and being not so perfectly sliced. I will say something I always experience with tofurky is the stuffing kind of pops out when sliced. It's easy enough to fix, but it is a hassle.
The Trader Joe's roast required no basting, and no veggies to be roasted with. This roast has a crispy breading, similar to gardeins, I mean Trader Joe's chickenless tenders.
As you can see, there is a huge difference in color. The tofurky is much darker, I feel like the gardein maybe looks less weird to non vegans. And unless you come from the world's coolest family, I assume most people will be surrounded by non vegans.
What a feast!
So, the tofurky is in the back, the TJ's roast in the front. I never knew those little pull apart dinner rolls were vegan! They seem like they would be full of butter or dairy! At least I can say the Trader Joe's pull aparts are vegan!
Okay, so here is what I thought of the roasts. I love tofurky, always have always will. I still remember the first time I ate one, I couldn't figure out why it had such a terrible reputation. It's definitely the springier of the two, with a chewier texture. It's super savory, and in my opinion the wild rice stuffing is what makes it. I wish they sold just the stuffing!
The Trader Joe's roast is a lighter, less springy texture. It's also much easier to slice. If you were someone that wanted to carve your roast with all eyes on you, go for the Trader Joe's. The stuffing is my least favorite part of the Joe's roast. It has cranberries in it, and I'm not the biggest fan of the sweet with the super savory. But that is just me, I know tons of people like to have cranberry sauce mixed in with their meal. I liked the crispy outside too. The breading tastes really well seasoned, the roast is well seasoned, as is the stuffing. To be honest, I love and recommend both. I will say that the tofurky roast only which is what I got does not come with gravy, but the Trader Joe's (gardein) does come with two packages of gravy. I paid $9.99 for the Trader Joe's roast, and I believe the same for the tofurky, maybe a little bit more. They are both about the same size, with the tofurky being a little on the short and stout side, the TJ's roast a little longer and leaner.
I would say the Trader Joe's roast would probably go over best in mixed company. It looks a little less fake meaty which a lot of non vegans like to tease over. I should note that I taste tested these roasts with a non vegan who did prefer the tofurky over the Trader Joe's, so what do I know?  The gravy that comes with the Trader Joe's roast is okay, it's a little bland, I added a little sage, and a few drops of soy sauce and it really bumped up the flavor.
In the end, both roasts are totally delicious, and worth the money. I feel like kids wold enjoy the Trader Joe's roast because of the breading. It gives it that nugget type of feel, but in the best possible way.
Are you going to buy a vegan roast, or make your own?
And, because you can never have too many cute cat pictures, here are two!
Chunk and scrappy all cuddled up and super cozy! I want to curl up against Chunk's belly too!
And Joan. who loves the camera was giving me the side eye, so I had to take her picture too!
She's my reality kitty! She wants to have her own show, and show all those girls how it's done!
Happy Sunday, and I hope my taste test helped. And, if you don't live near a Trader Joe's, I am like almost all the way positive this is the gardein holiday roast, which gardein also sells mini versions of this roast, I believe it's called stuffed turkey cutlets, and it's just individual little loafs, four in a bag. So, lot's of options!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kitties, Lattes, Quesadillas, and Good Vibes!

Would you look at these two? They just love the cuddles! This is Chunk and Kanye being as cute as possible.  Chunk likes to sit on the cabinet thing-y that I painted while I'm in the kitchen. I feel like he wants to cook so badly! He is very intrigued by kitchen shenanigans. Sometimes he'll even jump on the counters just to offer his help. It's very cute, and I just can't get mad at him. He feels like I need his help in the bathroom also. He like to stand in front of me and the bathroom mirror. And he also like to show whatever is on the counter who's boss.
I know I've talked about sometimes struggling with the desire to just say eff it, and have a beer and a cigarette. Well, yesterday was one of those days that reminded me why I don't want to go back to that unhealthy way of living. It was a rare sunny day in Seattle, like I'm talking barely a cloud in the sky. I was starting to forget what the sun looked like, and I was definitely feeling as grey as the sky. I had get some kitty supplies, and the store isn't really that far from my house, so I decided instead of standing around waiting for the bus, why not celebrate the beautiful day and walk home. I just felt so great as I was walking. The air was fresh, the sun was out, it's November and I wasn't wearing boots or gloves, it was AMAZING. You know the moments in Disney movies or happy musicals where someone bursts out in song, and all the little critters are safe and happy, and they join in? Well, I felt that way. I just felt so happy, and my body felt so good and strong walking, and I just felt super alive.
I realized how glad i am that I have chosen this healthier life, and I want many more days of feeling like this.
I needed that feeling so much! I know I'm on the right path, but I guess I needed reassurance. I stopped at Starbucks on my way home(don't judge!) because it was the kind of crisp day that screamed coffee! Now that I don't drink coffee on the reg., sometimes a craving hits and I let myself give in. I tried one of their newer flavors, chestnut latte. I asked the barista if the syrup was vegan, and she looked at me for like at least ten seconds with a blank expression, and asked me to repeat the question. It was not a good start to the visit. She informed me that the syrup is vegan, but it comes with whipped cream which of course could be left off. When did lattes start coming with whipped cream? I was a barista at several coffee shops and whipped cream always was reserved for mochas and hot chocolate. Anyway, I was slightly nervous to go through with my order because I didn't feel like I had clear communication. But I ordered it anyway, with coconut milk. It's not as sweet as some of the other "creations"they come up with. It had a deep, kind of nutty flavor that was very enjoyable.
I probably won't have another this season, because I got the smallest size, and it was still over five dollars! Hurt me. I did look it up when I got home, and as long as you get no whipped cream this drink is vegan with plant milk.
I made a delicious quesadilla for dinner and served it with guacamole, salsa, and some hot sauce!
I filled the tortillas with a mixture of refried beans, fire roasted corn, and tomato cayenne Chao cheese. So satisfying! It's another inexpensive meal that feels much fancier!
I'm going to call Trader Joe's this morning to see if they have the holiday roast in. Fingers crossed they do, because I'm super excited to do a battle of the vegan roasts!
Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Plan Splan

Yesterday was a day, let me tell you. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions! It had happiness, sadness, fear, anger, stress, sadness, relief, and calm. First, I was very happy to be going to get a vegan roast from Trader Joe's. I was very happy to do some cooking, and some reviewing. So, as I'm walking out my door, there is a note on my door informing me that there is some sort of inspection happening tomorrow(today)! I have a few more cats than my lease dictates, so I was gagging to say the least. I decided to still go to trader Joe's, even though my mind was going in a million and one different directions. So, I go to Trader Joe's, only to find out they don't have the roast in yet. They did last week, but only a few. They will have some this weekend. That made me even more bummed! So, I got some Brussels sprouts, and found a box of vegan chocolate covered cherries that I didn't have the strength to say no to myself.
So, I leave Trader Joe's, very distraught and feeling a little low, and the crosswalk tells me to walk, and as I'm crossing the street, the traffic in the other direction obviously has the green light, and wants to turn left. I happened to be looking down, and I look up and there is a car literally in my face. Two more inches and I wouldn't be typing this right now. The guy kind of did that sheepish wave and I'm so sorry. I take full responsibility for my wrong in the matter, I learned a long time ago that you have to be a defensive pedestrian, especially in cities where the traffic is bad, and everyone is in a mad rush to get everywhere. I learned this years ago, before everyone was attached to their devices. It's a million times scarier now that people seem to not be able to go more than thirty seconds without checking their phone.
So, at this point I have experienced happiness, stress, fear, sadness, and anger. So, I get home, and I'm having a hard time keeping calm. I called the office to see what type of inspection we were having, and it's a fire safety inspection! No biggie at all. The fire person is just making sure all units have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors! No biggie, I will just put the felines and myself in my bedroom with the door closed. My smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in the little area by the front door. What a relief!
So, I decided that I wanted to still make stuffing and roasted Brussels sprouts. I just didn't want the day to ruin all of my plans! I plan on calling Trader Joe's in the morning to make sure they do in fact have the roast, so I don't waste another bus trip. So, if everything goes according to plan, I will be doing the vegan roast battle on Saturday, and post about it on Sunday. Seriously, this is why I am not a planner.
Stuffing is hard to make look pretty!
I got the amazing stuffing recipe here. It is absolutely genius to put lentils in stuffing! I thought I had thought of everything when it came to lentils. This made the stuffing heartier, more substantial and filling. Perfect for those holiday meals where sides are kind of all you can eat. I will be using this recipe forever! The only thing I changed was that I didn't use a flax egg. I've never used an egg substitute in my stuffing, and I don't recall eggs being used in any family members non vegan stuffing. It was fine without the flax. I made a balsamic Dijon glaze for the Brussels sprouts that was just okay. The glaze was good, but for me with roasted Brussels I prefer the first way I ever made them. Extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Simple, basic, delicious every time. It let's the delicious flavor of the roasted Brussels really stand out.
After my meal the relief and calmness set in. Nothing is as bad as it seemed, and I feel very happy about that.
If your looking to jazz up your old stuffing routine, I really recommend that recipe! Have a happy Friday, and watch out for those pedestrians!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


I just bottled up my kombucha and put it in refrigerator to chill and then it's ready to drink! I'm so excited to be back into brewing! There are so many different brands and flavors in Seattle, I'm sure I'll still buy a bottle every now and again, but I will save so much money by brewing my own!
I had some leftover lentil, tomato, potato soup so I heated that up and made a delicious grilled cheese with some Chao. It makes the best grilled cheese ever. I really think it's the coconut oil that gives it a similar fattiness of dairy cheese. You know how daiya melts, but gets a little runny? Trader Joe's vegan shreds get really liquid-y if it gets too hot. Chao really melts, but stays thick and robust. I'm sorry, I don't have the perfect food critic wording, but it stays intact, but melted is what I'm trying to say! It's been too long since I've had soup and grilled cheese. That combo really reminds me of my grandma. Anyway, it was a comforting meal on yet another grey rainy day!
What I love about soup is for the most part you can throw odds and ends of things together, and if you use the right spices come out with pretty good results. For this soup I had the tail end of a tube of tomato paste in the back of my fridge that needed using, two potatoes that needed attention ASAP, half an onion, and some lentils. I got four servings of this soup, and it was under two dollars to make. There is a reason why lentil soup has been my go to for years!
It's fuzzy wuzzy as most of my pictures,(sigh) but still, look at that melt! It looks so much like dairy cheese, and tastes so good I just can't imagine why people still feel the need for dairy cheese! Maybe it's my inner child, but I am a fan of meals where dunking is involved!
I had a few of these for dessert. I found these at The Grocery Outlet and was pleasantly surprised to see they were vegan! They're those little crunchy oatmeal cookies with icing! They're super cinnamon-y which I think is a must for oatmeal cookies.
I have a tofurky in my fridge that I got a few weeks ago, and I'm going to get a Trader Joe's vegan holiday roast which is the gardein holiday roast repackaged, and today I am going to do a battle of the vegan holiday roasts. I don't have an arsenal of holiday recipes to share, but I want to help anyone who is dealing with the very non vegan friendly holidays coming up. Family dynamics can be enough of a nightmare, and add in being a vegan and it can be overwhelming. Tofurky gets a bad rap, but I've always enjoyed the roast. Fun fact, Dylan loves the tofurky slices, like loves them hard, but he won't go near a little piece of the roast. Cats.
For some reason last winter living in the snow belt made me really crave stuffing. I made stuffing usually one day a week for dinner. Please don't judge! I don't know what it is, but it made me feel better while dealing with the worst winter ever. So, I will be making stuffing, and roasted Brussels sprouts to go with my roast battle. I'm excited for my own taste buds of course, but I'm also excited to maybe help someone out. I feel like we can introduce delicious vegan food to some non vegans, and it could change some people's perceptions. We can talk about animal rights till the sun comes up, and we can judge, and show graphic footage, on and on, but I'm convinced that for a huge majority of people if we hit them in the taste buds, we just might be able to save some animals.
I also plan on coming up with some fun stuff to do with the leftovers. I have a puff pastry in my freezer, so I'm already thinking vegan turkey pot pie! But I'm getting so ahead of myself here. Right now I'm going to go visit my boyfriend for a vegan holiday roast, and some Brussels sprouts! Check me out tomorrow for the results of the cook-off!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I am so close to drinking my own home brew kombucha! I added some juice yesterday and now just waiting for the second ferment! So, tomorrow or Friday it should be ready to drank! I mixed it with some concord grape juice. I totally forgot that I wanted to take a stab at flavoring it with ginger. Next batch I will make a ginger brew! Grape and ginger are probably my two favorite flavors of kombucha.
Look at that! Brewing your own is so easy, I promise. I wanted to try for several years, and I was just too scared and intimidated. This is where sometimes the interwebz is bad. Too much information is not always good. I was so scared I would somehow let my booch get unsanitized, and then it would go from good to bad bacteria, and I would die, or at least get real sick. But seriously, it couldn't be easier.
I gotta have those bubbles!
When you see that fizz, you know you have a good, sparkle-y batch! The standard recipe I learned is one cup of sugar per batch, I prefer a really carbonated booch, so I add about one and a half cups of sugar. Turns out perfect every time! Sometimes I do a combo of green tea and yerba mate, sometimes i just stick to green. I do always use green tea. I much prefer it over black tea. If anyone has been wanting to try brewing kombucha, you should go for it! I promise it is so easy. The kit comes with tea, scoby, sugar, and directions! All you need is a jar, and some water. I can make an entire batch(1 gallon) for less than one 16oz. bottle of kombucha! The truth is I do feel better when I drink some every day, but I can't always afford that habit. So, now I can!
I kind of wanted something on the fresher side for dinner, so I made a burrito bowl. I was missing avocado and cilantro, but it was still pretty dang tasty!
I thought I arranged everything prettily for a picture, but I see I have ALOT to learn! It was pretty in my mind, and it tasted amazing!  This bowl had brown rice, refried beans, jalapeno, lettuce, roasted corn, and red onion. Topped with salsa and of course hot sauce, and served with some chips. I haven't had a burrito bowl in so long, and I forgot how delicious they are! I love all the different temperatures and textures. I usually just buy regular old frozen corn, and after having this roasted corn, I don't know if I can ever go back. The roasting makes it so much tastier, and it reminds me of summer.
I felt like I wanted some vegan sour cream, and not only was there none in my fridge, I also had no cashews soaked for homemade. So, I added a dollop of the tahini garlic sauce from Trader joe's, and it might sound weird but it totally worked! It is creamy, and it added a little tang which is what you want from sour cream! The more you know!
I can't believe it's Wednesday! When will I ever do a MidWeek Munchie post on Wednesday? Oh well, I do always have to be a little different.
Happy hump day, whatever that means to you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Vegan Horseradish Macaroni and Cheese!

Good morning from a very cuddle-y , sleepy Dylan! This is a rare moment when he doesn't have someone else curling up with him! As he's gotten older, he has to be in the mood for cuddles. And he only tolerates cuddles from certain cats. Others he just has no patience for! He's given me a few scares, but he's been really hanging in there.The hardest thing is that he's gotten really picky about food. As soon as he decides he likes one kind, he doesn't like it anymore. So I'm constantly worried about that. Even with daiya, one day he likes it, the next he doesn't. But, for awhile he was not really into eating, and now if I find the right thing that he wants, he will chow down. My best friend!
I had success with my horseradish macaroni and cheese too! It was super easy, and turned out rich and creamy with that nice horseradish zip. I decided to make a baked mac and cheese, and I wanted it to be on the creamier side, like Amy's. Side note, I wish Amy's vegan mac and cheese weren't so hard to find, and also so dang expensive! I think this would make a great side for all of the upcoming festivities! I am so proud of myself, because I wrote everything down! It's so hard for me to be good about measuring and writing down, because I am much more of a pinch of this, a bit of that type of cook!
                                          Vegan Horseradish Macaroni and Cheese
  • 2 T Earth  Balance
  • 2 T Flour 
  • 2 1/2 C. Unsweetened plant milk( I used cashew)
  • S&P to taste
  • 1/2 C. Nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 T. Horseradish
  • 3-4 slices Chao creamy original 
  • 8 oz. pasta of choice( I used whole wheat Fusilli)         
Start the water boiling for your pasta. While that's happening, melt your earth balance in a saucepan, and add your flour. Whisk around for about a minute, and slowly start whisking in your milk. Add the milk in shifts or it will get lumpy. Keep whisking and adding until all of the milk is added, and you have no lumps. Whisk until the mixture comes to a boil, and turn heat down to low. Add salt and pepper to your liking, and start adding your Chao. I just break it up into small pieces and add it piece by piece. Allow the Chao to mostly melt, and turn off heat. Add the Dijon and horseradish and mix it all up. I also added the smallest pinch of turmeric to bump up the color. When your pasta is done cooking, drain and add to a casserole dish, and then add your delicious cheese sauce. Mix it all up, top with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, cover with lid or foil, and bake at 350 for twenty to twenty five minutes.
Next time I make this I will probably go three full tablespoons of horseradish. Other than that it was perfect. The Chao is richer and thicker when it melts, and it makes a very nice mac and cheese. I feel like a horseradish cheese sauce needs that richness to balance to zip of the horseradish. I really loved this and will be making it often this dreary winter.

My full plate yum!
      I was going to make a vegan thousand island dressing for a salad, but I decided to have some cabbage with a vinegar-y dressing would go well with the creaminess. I had to have some pickles with the meal because PICKLES! The perfect bite was a little of all three on the fork.  
Happy Tuesday!         

Monday, November 16, 2015

Why Car Carts, Why??

Well, the good news is I got my hot little hands on the original Chao slices that I need for my horseradish mac and cheese, the bad news is by the time I got it yesterday, I just wasn't up for all the cooking. I usually go to any stores very early on the weekends to avoid the crowds, but that didn't happen yesterday, so I was a little overwhelmed when I got home. I'm going to have a tiny rant here, and I truly mean no offense to any parents out there, but for the love of all the car carts at groceries drive me INSANE! And some people who push their kids in the car carts actually act like they are on the road in a tank, and have all of the rights. I sound like a curmudgeon here, but remember when as a kid just sitting in the front of the cart was awesome enough, and your parent didn't have to be the king of the aisle?
I plan on working on that recipe today. I'm excited, it's been awhile since I've actually made a recipe, lately I either follow someone else's recipe, or I just kind of throw this and that together. I'm just going to try to be really organized and kind of have everything out and ready. I really think organization is the key to cooking in a tiny kitchen. I am not a very organized person, so you see the struggle! Anyway, I am super excited to put my creative juices to work! I think I'm going to make a vegan thousand island dressing to go on a little side salad. Doesn't that sound like a good match?
I stopped at Grocery Outlet to get another package of the tomato cayenne Chao at the super deal, and I happened to look in their health and beauty aisle, which is something I rarely do. I was pleasantly surprised!
This is their price for Andalou shower gel! They also had various serums, eye cream, and night creams from this company. Look at that price! I smelled their mandarin vanilla shower gel, and had to get it. I do like some bubbles in my detox bath, and non toxic bubbles are hard to find. This smells like an orange dream or cream cicle, I forget what they are called!
I don't know why, but a bath feels so much more luxurious and spa like with bubbles. Most of the organic gels don't really provide a ton of bubbles.and they go away fast, but even for that first couple of minutes, it makes a difference.
So, I had the bachelor of bachelor meals last night. A cold ham and cheese sandwich, vegan style OF COURSE!
Lightlife smart deli slices (yum), Chao tomato cayene slices (YUM) yellow mustard, and dave's killer bread! This was white done right, which I have never had.  This was good, and it is sturdy, not flimsy like the white done wrong breads. Under five dollars a loaf at ye ole outlet! Kind of a bland picture of kind of a bland but tasty meal. This is real life, sometimes all you can muster is a clod sandwich.
This awesome look on Etta's face totally describes how I feel when surrounded by car carts on a bust Sunday!
Happy Monday, and tune in tomorrow for some creamy, horsey mac and cheese!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gardein Does it Again!

After living in the snow belt for several winters, I know more than anyone that rain is better than snow, but it has been raining non-stop for over two days! Like never ending. You think it stopped, only to discover that it's still misting. I am so much happier in Seattle than I was in Erie obviously, but my perfect climate is definitely a more sunny year round scene. Rain rain go away!
I was going to run to the store to get some Chao original slices for my horseradish mac and cheese, but I just couldn't get myself to the bus stop! I didn't even walk up my hill yesterday. I'm back on it today, even though it's raining harder than it was yesterday! Grrr. Anyway, I think Chao original is the best vegan cheese for my recipe, because it really kind of reminds me of baby Swiss, and I think baby Swiss and horseradish are a tasty combo! So hopefully today my desire to create this recipe can win over my desire to stay out of the rain.
I decided to make a nice big salad for dinner, because I needed an excuse to eat some more FYH vegan blue cheese dressing. I also had some BBQ gardein wings in my freezer, so it all worked out deliciously!
I loved these! I loved the texture, and let's just talk about the sauce. Gardein has the sauce thang down! Their crispy mandarin chicken is to die for, and they have several other varieties that come with sauce, and they are all TO LIVE FOR in  my humble opinion! These were super easy to prepare, you just thaw the sauce in some warm water, and then get it all mixed in with the pieces, and bake for like ten minutes. These are really satisfying, and I would serve these to non vegans in a heartbeat. The texture is firm and meaty, without being too meaty, and the sauce takes it over the top. I mixed a few dashes of Cajun garlic hot sauce in with the BBQ because I always need spice!

I piled my bowl with a head of Romaine, some iceberg for extra crunch, red pepper, avocado and sunflower seeds! Yum and yum. It was really satisfying, and everything went together perfectly.
I haven't had a single gardein product that I haven't loved. These would be great on a game day for sports fans. Serve these with the FYH blue cheese, and/or ranch, and I can't imagine any non vegan having a problem.
So, Friday i was tinkering around trying to learn stuff, and i downloaded and started an Instagram account, but so far I have ALOT  to learn! My phone also doesn't really take Instagram worthy pictures, and I don't know what I'm doing yet, but i jumped in headfirst with this blog, and learned later, so I guess it's round two with Instagram. It's another lesson in patience for me. If I just breathe, and don't get all pissed, I can actually figure stuff out! The main problem I'm having right now is I can't log in from my computer, only my phone. And I downloaded from my computer. I need to do stuff with my profile, and I want to do it on my computer because to be honest I can't stand typing on my phone. I am in the minority I know, but I prefer buttons over touchscreen. I'm such a relic! But it feels good to challenge myself.
I hope everyone has a cozy Sunday!