Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Here I come 206!

I watched this video this morning, and I loved it! I have been feeling frustrated with vegan YouTube, and it seems like the most popular vegan channels tend to go in directions that I don't like. That's fine,  I don't have to like everything, but I worry about how it affects the vegan message overall. I want to draw people in, not push them away. I also don't like people saying you're not a real vegan if you don't agree with them. Anyway, I've only watched a few of her videos, but I really enjoy her approach, and for the love it is so nice to hear opinions on something other than food, and being lean.
My plan changed a little, I was leaving today, but now I am leaving tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. I have to do the final walk through with my landlord. He suggested just leaving my keys in my mailbox, and he would just do the walk through and mail my deposit, but that raised a huge red flag. As anyone who has rented knows, landlords can be real shady when it comes time to return deposits. My landlord is a bit on the shady side, and can be a real wank to deal with, so I want to be here to make sure he doesn't try to ding me for anything that falls under normal wear and tear. So, I don't know if I will have time tomorrow or a quick post or not, but I will post sometime between now and Seattle! Look out hipsters!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Last Full Day in the 814!

Today is my last full day in Erie, Pa. and it is really hard to even figure out how I feel coming out of this chapter of my life. I got a little weepy yesterday, and to tell the truth, it really surprised me. I didn't think I was going to cry at all. I think I'm just sad because I truly did want to be happy here. I wanted to make friends, and be somewhat close with my family, and enjoy the lower rent prices. Everything just went differently. It would certainly be easier on my fur family if I liked it here!
I can't stay on here too long, lots to do! But I wanted to thank everyone who has read this blog. I feel strongly that having a place to vent my feelings, and nerd out and go on and on about new delicious vegan foods and recipes, I would have really been in bad shape. I learned that even if you are an introvert(I am) you still need human connection. You still need to be able to say how you feel and have someone look you in the eye and say they understand. And you need someone to laugh, and cry with. I can't wait to see how this blog changes once I feel like myself again. I know I will have lots of lentil recipes for sure!
I hope everyone has a great day, and I will be blogging at some point during my road trip, but not sure when. I'm sure I'll have some humorous vegan food hunting stories. I've made the road trip to and from Seattle several times, and there are some strange, middle of nowhere towns.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Refreshing New Voice

This video was introduced to me by someone who reads this blog, and I am so glad I got the chance to watch it. I have often wondered why racism isn't discussed more in the vegan community, and I also wonder why we don't address food deserts. It's so easy to get caught up in wanting everyone to go vegan, but access to fresh fruits and vegetables is a luxury that not every one has. And the food shaming is so tiring in the vegan community. We now have tons of vegans who are judging people who are vegan, but not eating the correct vegan foods. It's getting out of hand, and in my opinion taking away from the vegan message.
I have talked about racism many times on this blog, as Erie has a scarily large amount of people who are unbelievably racist. I've mentioned this before, but when I lived in Seattle I truly was in a liberal bubble, and I thought racism was a dying evil. But I have been slapped in the face over and over with the harsh reminder that it is alive and thriving in some parts. It's not going away, adults who are racist are having kids, and raising them to have the same hate in their heart. It's a vicious cycle that continues, and just pretending it doesn't exist isn't helping.
I hope more vegans like this start popping up on YouYube. In my opinion, vegan YouTube could benefit from some new, different voices, and it is so nice hearing someone talk about real issues, not just how much raw, organic fruits and veg we should be eating, and how lean we should all be.
I'm down to my last days in this place. The next two days will be donating things to thrift shops, and cleaning my apartment. Freedom is almost mine!

Friday, June 26, 2015

My Last Day at Work!!

Walnuts, pineapple, gummies, nectarines, dark chocolate, guacamole!

I got more walnuts for more walnut tacos! I made another batch for dinner last night. I am a person who needs variety, I don't do batch cooking, and then eat the same thing all week. But these tacos are so dang good that I've had them so far four times this week including leftovers. I actually like the mixture better the next day. I have a little suggestion to anyone who might make this recipe. Sub smoked paprika for regular paprika. It just makes the "meat" so much more savory and smoky. I love the combo of cumin and smoked paprika. When I was little, I thought paprika was just something my grandparents sprinkled on their cottage cheese to make it pretty! Ha! The surf sweet gummies are super tasty, vegan, and void of funky, weird chemicals and colors. And the texture is great, soft, but not too sot, and chewy, but not too chewy. I've brought them to work before, and believe it or not every one of my co-workers loved them! They thought they were the best gummies they've ever had! My co-workers are a tough crowd, so that says a lot about how great these bears are!
The truck is rented, I think I found a place(fingers crossed) it's happening! I think I found an apartment for under a thousand dollars a month, which in Seattle is very hard to do! Tonight is my last night at work. I really can't believe it's actually happening. When I left Seattle, I was tortured by all of the things that city has to offer that I didn't do, or didn't do enough. I stream my favorite radio station ever from Seattle, and I was constantly smacking my forehead over what I was missing! Yesterday I was trying to think of anything that this city has to offer that I might want to check out before I go, and there is not one thing. Not a sight, not a restaurant, not a thing. Kind of sad really, but whatever, I'm busting out of here! By the way, if you enjoy music not of the top 40 variety, you should give KEXP a listen.
It's looking like my only possessions coming with me on the move are going to be my clothes, some books, and my kitchen stuff, blender, plates, pots and pans. I was hoping to be able to take my bed, but with the size of truck, and my kitties it just doesn't work. It's fine, everything here is full of depressed energy anyway, but I thought the bed would have maybe been nice for the kitties. Since I will be starting fresh, I'm super glad Seattle has tons of awesome thrift stores! Being a minimalist also helps when starting over! When it comes to furniture I am on the less is more side for sure. The best news is that my potential apartment has on site laundry! Woot! No more creepy laundromats! I don't know if the laundromats are creepy in Seattle because I never had to use one, but I just don't want to find out. I think for the rest of my life I will think of laundromats as creepy. I'm scarred!
I also thought I would mention the name of the town I've been living in and griping about. I didn't mention it before in case anyone who reads this might live here, or know someone who does. I don't mean to offend anyone, I just speak/gripe of my personal experiences. Anyway, I have been living in Erie. Pa. I have to admit that Erie has put such a bad taste in my mouth that I strongly dislike the whole state. Not fair, or rational, but it is how I feel. I am not suited to the more aggressive east coast, I definitely connect to the mellower west coast energy. Speaking of creepy laundromats, I'm off to what I hope is my last trip ever to the laundromat! Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I'm So Close!

Hello Gorgeous!
Simple, but rich slurpy noodles!!
I made good use of my half package of rice noodles. This dish would have been better with vegetables and tofu, or at the very least a little green onion and cilantro, but it was still  tasty with just red curry paste, a container on lite culinary coconut milk, and lots of Sriracha!I now have no more half packages of pasta!
I read this amazing article. I actually heard about this over a month ago, and have been meaning to talk about it, but I guess other things got in the way! I have always loved Jon Stewart, even before The Daily Show. He used to be a stand up comic, and no shock here he was hilarious! I just want to watch Fox news with Jon Stewart, kind of  Mystery Science 3000 style once in my life! Anyway, this was really no surprise to me, as both he and John Oliver quite often devote portions of their show to exposing factory farm atrocities. Should we ignore this amazing, compassionate thing Jon Stewart and his family are doing because Jon Stewart is not a vegan? I'm sure there are a million different opinions, mine is I couldn't be more excited, and it just makes me love him even more. Imagine how many Daily Show fans will come visit the sanctuary, hear the horror stories, and start demanding change. We need things to change, and being judgmental about whose diet is the healthiest is not saving animals lives. There are people who genuinely don't know the true evils of factory farming. Some people don't want to know, because they don't want to give up meat, and they don't want to feel guilty when they eat. We need people in all areas of life joining the fight. Maybe there are some people who will trust Jon Stewart more because he isn't a vegan! They might listen to him more, because he's not some tofu eating, wheat grass sipping weirdo. And as Jon and his family learn more about what goes on, and get closer to these animals, I can only imagine more and more vegan dishes will be popping up at the Stewart house.
I'm off to what just might be my last trip to Wegman's! I guess I might make one more trip for road trip food, but this will probably be the last time I walk the mugger's alley, and take the treacherous bus ride! Woot woot! I feel so happy to say goodbye to mugger's row, and the horrible, diabolical public transportation this town has to offer. This might even be the last bus I take in this town. Not enough WOOTS!
Do you love Jon Stewart?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Can See Clearly Now

Another pantry raid dinner!
I made the strangest, but yet still tasty pasta dish last night. While cleaning out my cupboards, I discovered less than half of a box of lasagne noodles. I also had half of a bag of whole wheat fusilli pasta, so I made a lentil and tofu ricotta lasagne, with fusilli pasta as the top layer. I used tomato paste and made a super quick sauce, and also made a cashew cream sauce. It was tasty, and interesting. My cupboards are so bare now! I've used almost all of my rice, I've now gone through all of my half packages of pasta, except for a half package of pad Thai noodles, which I will use this week. Cooking from my cupboards has been a fun, creative, and tasty experience, not to mention good practice for when I have an almost non-existent food budget!
I only have five, six at the most days left in this city! I can hardly believe it. Although I should be much more nervous about my move, I feel calm. My gut is letting me know this is the right decision. It isn't going to be easy, and it's going to be scary at first, but I feel like I'm going home. I can smell the Seattle air! What I can really smell is happiness, or at least happy adjacent. I will be able to shop at Trader Joe's! Not to mention so many thrift shops! I could go on and on. Every song and quote about not knowing what you have till it's gone, and taking things for granted, etc. has been taking up space in my brain for three+ years! I feel like when all of that is gone, and the sad, lonely cobwebs have been cleared, I will have all of this space for new thought and feelings. I love when I have space and am open to new thoughts! I feel alive in a way I haven't felt for a really long time. I've realized how scarily easy it is to sink super deep into a dark hole of depression, and not even really realize it. If I wouldn't have had this blog to vent to/on, I would probably be in much worse mental shape. I plan on getting at least one update in while traveling. And of course as soon as I get set up in Seattle I will pick it right back up. That is if I can afford internet. Ha. It's okay if I can't afford internet, it's not like there's a shortage of coffee shops with free Wi-Fi! Although it might be embarrassing to do my hip hop abs workout at the coffee shop. Ha.
This post, and the next couple of posts might be more scattered and all over the place than usual, but I just am feeling so many different things, I just feel super spacey, so please bear with me!
I want to reiterate how amazingly rich, creamy, and truly decadent the So Delicious cashew milk ice cream is. It is hands down the creamiest ice cream, vegan or not that I've ever had. I can't imagine a single non vegan who wouldn't be BLOWN AWAY by this stuff. I also came across this blog post, and I though it was a great, well written post on clean eating, and all of the ridiculousness that goes along with food judgment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Three Things I Love!

Raw walnut taco spread!
Taco "meat"
stocked up on Coco whip, bonus kitty feet and ears!

Probiotic power, artichoke&olive ravioli, avocado, blackberries!  
Last night I had one of my new favorite foods! Raw walnut tacos from The 22 Day Revolution by Marco Borges. I have been hearing good things about walnut taco "meat" for awhile, but I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. It didn't seem like walnuts pulsed with some spices could actually resemble a savory, satisfying taco. I couldn't have been more wrong. The spices mix with the coconut aminos (I didn't have Balsamic vinegar, so I added extra aminos) and make the walnuts taste so savory and rich. This is seriously one of my favorite new dishes. It's also one of the easiest dishes too. Everything was ready in under ten minutes, (except for the rice I served on the side) I would and plan on making this for non vegans. I would maybe offer corn or flour tortillas as a wrapping option, just to have a more authentic taco experience. I've tried to make lettuce wraps for non vegans with mixed results. I loved wrapping this in butter lettuce leaves. Butter lettuce is the best for wraps/lettuce cups. It's more pliable, and has nice big leaves. I can see why this is one of Beyonce's favorite dishes in the book! I served my tacos with some rice, red onion, avocado, and of course hot sauce! One of my favorite dinners I've had in awhile. All the thumbs up!
I also caved and decided to try the new cashew milk ice cream. I always see The Shenandoah Vegan enjoying the salted caramel flavor, so that's what I chose. I took a couple bites when I got home from my walk, and all I can say is WOW! It's so creamy because it's made out of cashews, and it has dark covered cashews in the ice cream! The fact that I didn't eat more than a few bites is a miracle in and of itself! It's so exciting to see all of these vegan ice creams! The Co-op had more vegan ice cream options than non-vegan options! Woot woot! And they are all so tasty! It is about a dollar or so more  than other vegan options, but in my opinion it is well worth it!
I somewhat recently discovered a new to me YouTube channel, Vegan Geezer, and I've been wanting to share. I'm glad I remembered before my move. I sometimes grow very tired of all of the vegan police and judgment on YouTube. I also have grown weary of the body shaming, food shaming, and shaming in general. I find  myself drawn to people whose agenda is showing how easy and accessible it is to be vegan,  and whose only other agenda is saving animals. Vegan Geezer has a lovely wife, and an absolutely adorable small son, and they take various vegan adventures, popping around to find vegan food and what-not. Anyway, I find is videos to be just what the doctor ordered for me, and I'm always happy when I see a new video. I like his cheerful take on life, and veganism.
Have a wonderful day, and make some walnut tacos!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Another Almost What I Ate!

Blackberry, strawberry, mango, frozen banana smoothie
Green Juice
rice, baked tofu, veggies with Wasabi Teriyaki sauce yum!!
I had a big green salad for breakfast, and some crackers with hummus, but other than that this is a complete what I ate yesterday! Speaking of smoothies, I have to have a mini rant. I have no one to share this with who will understand my frustration. I saw a huge billboard for Sheetz, which is a gas station, store type thing. Anyway, they had a huge billboard advertising their new "smoothies". The flavors are bubblegum, and cotton candy! And the colors are scary. One is blue, like the fake blue used for blue raspberry stuff, and the other color is a pink that is never found in nature. I am certainly not trying to be the food police, Sheetz has every right to sell junk, and people have every right to buy/consume junk. But at least other places selling "smoothies" full of gourd knows what, have some type of fruit in there with all the other weird ingredients. These smoothies aren't even pretending. Just call them shakes, that's all I ask. This is the kind of thing that companies do that drives me bonkers! There are people who will buy one of these thinking they are making a healthier choice, when they should have just gone or it and gotten a chocolate shake. Chocolate shakes are probably better for you, as they have less artificial colors. Smoothies have been a trend for awhile now, and the word smoothie is equated with health. So, there are people that will believe a baby blue frozen beverage with whipped cream and sprinkles on top is healthy, because it's called a smoothie. They must have snuck some kale or something in there somewhere , right?  So frustrating! I wish I could let everyone taste the smoothie I made above. It was so sweet and delicious, no one would want whipped cream on top! Imagine if places like Sheetz sold ripe mangoes, instead of bubblegum smoothies.
This is my last full week in this city. I can hardly believe I made it. I keep trying to think of anything positive, anything I will deeply miss, and all I can come up with is I guess I'll kind of miss Wegman's, and the Co-op, but it's okay, I'll live. Not to mention I will be trading those for Trader Joe's, Farmers Markets, and so on and so forth. I guess what I will miss most is Wegman's caramelized onion hummus! Ha! That doesn't say a lot for this town does it? Look for a recipe in the next couple of months, once I get settled in, because I can't live without this stuff!
Today I am apartment hunting on Craigslist. It should be pretty stressful because the rent there is diabolical. In order to keep myself sane, I will be making Raw Walnut Tacos, on page 111 of  The 22-Day Revolution.  This is one of Beyonce's favorite recipes, and I've read ravings of walnut tacos before, and have never had them myself. I bought a beautiful head of butter lettuce for the taco "shells". I read somewhere that walnuts are good for stress, so it seems like a perfect recipe to try!
Happy Monday!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What's up Doc?

Sweet mini peppers, baby cucumbers, spinach, mangoes, and cherries!!
Wasabi Triyaki! Greek vinaigrette, my fave yogi tes
Blackberries, candy, CHAO, jalapeno pita chips!
More mangoes, so many mangoes!
I survived Wegman's on a Saturday morning! It's always touch and go, and the extra long bus ride  makes it a bit more treacherous, but me and my haul survived! Not shown is a tub of the best hummus I have ever had,  the caramelised onion hummus found on Wegman's olive bar. I just can't get enough. I also got  chopped olive salad to go with  pasta, and I treated myself to some stuffed grape leaves, or Dolmas. I still remember my first Dolma, it was love at first bite! I'm trying to mostly buy only produce and perishables to be eaten soon, as I'm trying to cook through my pantry but I had to buy the Soy Vay Wasabi Teriyaki. It's being discontinued, and it was on sale for $1.50!! I have so much rice to eat up, I figured this would help.
I try to not judge or have snarky thoughts when it comes to other people's food choices, while at Wegman's, a lady was asking the produce guy about CARROTS! What to do with them, what they taste like etc. She was saying that her daughter wanted to start eating healthier, and she was struggling to figure out what fruit and veg to buy. Carrots? You have to ask what carrots taste like. Is it just me, or is that pretty weird? Carrots are a pretty standard vegetable, or so I thought. I was talking about avocados once to a bus driver, and he said he had never had an avocado, or guacamole!
There are people whose only source of vegetable might be the wan piece of iceberg lettuce, and the unripe, and unjuicy tomato slice. It's sad to me to deny yourself all of the delicious fruits and vegetables just because you eat meat. I serve so much brown and beige food at my job, it's really sad. A lot of people look at vegetables as a chore. People will pass on their dinner salad that comes with their entree, telling me they" had a salad with lunch", or" I had an apple for breakfast", or something of that nature. It's looked at as an obligation. It's very sad, and what sadder is how many people will never experience the pure joy of the perfect guacamole! So tragic.
I hope everyone has a day filled with color!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

There's No Hiding My Excitement!

It's really happening! I am leaving this town so soon, I can feel it. Next Friday will be my last day at work. Woot woot! I just can't believe the end is so close. I have spent some really hopeless, dark days here so seeing the light is so amazing! I know that once I am safely in Seattle, and I reflect on my time here, I will realize some lessons I learned. That seems to be the way these things work. I know that there has to be some reason why I made this wrong turn in my life. I was so optimistic when I first moved here. I wanted things that were suggested to me to be true. I was told that I would very much be able to be myself, and that has never proven to be true. I have never felt more repressed in my life. It's a horrible feeling. I also learned something about the cost of living. I am not a person who works in the professional sect. I am more in the minimum wage sect. When I was living in Seattle, and having various financial struggles, my parents would go on about the lower rents here. Well, here's what they neglected to factor in. As a restaurant server, it is legal in Pa. to be paid $2.73 an hour!!!!! If you have the misfortune of working at a place where the tips aren't the greatest, well you can do the math I'm sure. Anyway, it just kind of hit me last night as I was mentioning to some customers and co-workers that after next week I was gone. I can smell the Seattle air, and I can envision all the hipsters that I have a new appreciation for. I feel that things that used to drive me nuts about Seattle will just roll of my shoulders! Maybe not the rain, because although I adjusted to it, it always drove me insane! I am a sunny sunny person. Who knows, maybe San Diego will be in my future!
What are you excited about, or looking forward to in your near future??

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pantry Raid!!

Saucy Burrito!
Great hot sauce!!
As I continue my quest to cook my beans, noodles and grains I have bulked up on, I'm realizing how much I enjoy coming up with delicious recipes out of odds and ends. It's bringing me back to my Seattle roots, where I originally started my lentil quest. It's great practice, since that's where I'm going soon! I should have written this recipe down, but I got into the zone, and forgot all about pen and paper! This is just a burrito filled with pinto beans, and Jasmine rice, and some nutritional yeast. I then made a super delicious sauce with some soaked cashews, and the last of a jar of salsa. Add some nutritional yeast, and blend. I then just smother the burrito, and bake in the oven for a few to get nice and warmed through. It's such a cheap, comforting meal, yet it tastes like something much fancier. It's a great use for that last bit of salsa that usually just sits in the jar wishing someone would put it to good use.
Have you ever tried Peri-Peri hot sauce? I bought this awhile ago, and decided to use some to spice up my burrito. This stuff is amazing! It's hot sauce, but so much more sophisticated! It has a tangy heat, that is more subtle than other hot sauces I've tried. If you like interesting hot sauces, I recommend this one. This would be a great sauce to splash on a tofu scramble!
Cooking through my pantry has made me realize how much food I have, when I can think of many times I've whined to myself that I have nothing to eat. As we bicker back and forth about high carb, paleo, raw, raw till 4, all organic, so on and so forth, I think it's important to stop and realize how fortunate we are to be able to argue, and fight, and post YouTube videos about whose way of eating is superior. There are so many people, and animals in this world who would give anything just to have something to eat, let alone vast choices. Anyway, I suspect lots of cooking with beans and rice in my future. Seattle has only gotten more expensive, so my love affair with Chao might have to end for awhile. Or maybe we'll have that twice a year romance, or something like that! So this is all good practice for me. Expect some interesting uses for condiments in the next week. And rice, why do I have so much rice!?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chef Brad, a Prince among Men

Thanks Chef Brad for this great recipe!
I was reading a blog recap of the recent Vida Vegan Con, and they showed many pictures of the food, and one thing seemed to stand out. Chef Brad's mac & cheese. I read several different blogs where this mac and cheese got a mention. I'm always eager to try a new to me vegan mac & cheese recipe. The sauce is made with plant milk and nutritional yeast, and i tend to prefer cashew based cheese sauces, but I kept an open mind, and boy am I glad I did. I did use a box of lite culinary coconut milk instead of hemp milk, and I used rice flour instead of regular flour. I also did not use the coconut oil to make a roux, I just whisked a little of the coconut milk and flour to make a slurry, (flurry?), and added it to the milk and nutritional yeast simmering on the stove top. It still turned out nice and thick and creamy. I was leery of the Dijon, Sriracha combo. I love both of those ingredients, but combining them in a mac & cheese sauce just seemed curious to say the least. I'm so glad I didn't cave into that fear! The Dijon and Sriracha combine perfectly to add a tang and depth of flavor (check me out!) that I am still shocked by. When I make a nutritional yeast based cheese sauce, I almost always add a pinch of vegan cheese to make it richer and cheesier. I always feel like it needs that extra help. I honestly did not feel this sauce needed anything. It was perfect, and hands down my favorite mac & cheese I've had as a vegan. I can't speak for the original recipe with hemp milk, but coconut milk adds a thickness, and a fattiness that I think is lacking in some vegan food. I was concerned that the mac would taste too coconut-y, but it really didn't. The nutritional yeast, and other seasonings were the star of the show. The original recipe doesn't mention how much pasta to cook, so I guessed. I used roughly 10 oz. of spinach rotini (all I had) and it worked out great. It was the perfect sauce to past ratio, and I just checked the leftovers, and they have ample sauce. I like to have saucy leftovers. The culinary coconut milk box is just shy of two cups, so I added maybe an extra 1/4 cup water. I love it when I try new recipes and fall in love! I would definitely serve this delicious mac & cheese to non vegans. It's so rich and satisfying I can't imagine anyone having a problem with it. To me, this dish is proof that vegan food can be rich and satisfying without all the bells and whistles. (Expensive superfoods, faux meats and cheeses, and even nuts.) Vegan food for the win!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Not to Toot my Own Horn, but Toot Toot!

Lentil burger success!
Maybe pineapple whip?
So I tried to recreate a pineapple whip, which I've never even had! I have never, nor do I desire to ever go to Disneyland, or world so I guess I will never know the joy of an authentic pineapple whip, but this tasted pretty darn good, and was super refreshing on a miserable humid day. I also had great success with my lentil quinoa burger. It's really amazing, because homemade vegan burgers are something that I have struggled with. This is my first attempt in quite awhile. I feel very happy that yesterday was a day that I remembered to write measurements down!
                                                 Maybe Pineapple Whip
  • 3/4 C. Coconut milk
  • 1/4 C.water
  • 2 T. agave
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 C. frozen pineapple
Add all ingredients to your blender, and blend away, till smooth, and almost a soft-serve consistency. Enjoy! If your pineapple is really sweet, you probably don't even need the agave. I just had a somewhat tart pineapple. Depending on your blender, you might need more/less water. You can also use any plant milk, there are lots of recipes online using almond milk and such. This was maybe more like a Pina Colada soft serve, but it was still delicious!
                                                   Lentil Quinoa Burger
  • 1 C. cooked quinoa
  • 1 3/4 C. cooked brown lentils
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3/4 C. shredded carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 2 T. flax meal mixed with 8 T. water
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2 T. Barbeque sauce 
  • 1/2 C. rice flour
Sautee the celery, carrot, garlic and onion in oil of your choice, or water sautee, for about ten minutes. Add basil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper while cooking. When softened add to a mixing bowl with the quinoa, and lentils. I smashed my lentils a bit with the back of a fork, but for the most part I left them whole. Add your flax "egg", the liquid smoke (optional, but does add good flavor), barbeque sauce, and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine, and then start adding flour. You want the mixture to hold together, but we're not making dough. I started with 1/4 cup, and ended up adding just shy of half a cup. Once you have everything mixed, put your mixing bowl in the fridge, and let that stuff cool down! This step I feel is super important for great textured vegan burgers. It helps the flour absorb, and everything firms up which makes for firmer, easier to cook burgers. These are super easy to make, you could make the mixture before work, and have burgers waiting to be cooked when you get home! Once the mixture is chilled, form into patties. I got six nice size burgers out of this mixture. I first cooked the burgers in a pan on the stove top to get that crispy exterior. I cooked them in coconut oil for about ten minutes on one side, five on the other. (medium flame) I then transferred the burgers to a baking sheet, and finished them in a 375 Fahrenheit oven for about twenty minutes, flipping once. I think this was key to making these the best damn vegan burgers I have ever made! I always get the taste right, but the texture is off, or vice versa. Starting them in a pan gets that nice browned, crunch on the outside, but as I've learned, stopping there can leave for mushy insides. Finishing them in the oven just helps the inside to really firm up. Because of the hickory smoke, and the barbeque sauce, these had a nice smoky taste that was delicious, and somehow summery! I checked the leftover burgers this morning, and they have really firmed up. If you are someone who likes to grill, I would say let the mixture sit in the fridge overnight, and then grill them. I can't believe I made a burger worthy of sharing the recipe! If I ever do write a lentil cookbook, this will be in it for sure! I feel like this burger would satisfy non-vegans. It's certainly not a Beast burger, but it's substantial, and the lentils, mixed with liquid smoke and barbeque give it that ooomph. I had my burger with a big schmear of Dijon mustard, some Romaine, and alfalfa sprouts. It was tasty, and I could hardly believe I made it!
That is Joan by my pineapple whip, by the way. She decided to have a lay down right where I needed to take the picture. What a little vegan ham!
 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kitchen Therapy

Fruit&Veg
Potatoes&Snacks
I made the trek once again to the Co-op, only to walk into an almost empty store. They had to throw away tons of food because of the power outage. They had very minimal produce, and the coolers and freezer sections were BARE! So Dylan is not enjoying his life without Coco whip! In the top picture I got some apples and pears for juicing, a lemon, cucumber, strawberries, and red kale. This is my first time using red kale. I made a green juice yesterday, and it juices kind of pink. The bottom of the juice was pink, and it had a top layer of green. Red kale is stronger, and a little more bitter than curly, or Lacinato kale. The bottom picture features red potatoes, Tyrrell's sea salt&vinegar chips, which I expect to be delicious. I tried their chili&red pepper flavor a few visits ago, and they were some of the best chips I've had. Really excellent flavor with no weird ingredients, and also they weren't too greasy. I also picked up another Equal Exchange red raspberry dark chocolate bar. Really creamy, with the perfect amount of dried raspberries. I also got two more Taza mini bars in my favorite, coconut crunch. Rounding out the haul are more concord grape stix, from the Growers Co-op. I seriously can't express how amazing these stix are.
This haul is very different than what it was supposed to be. I needed a lot more produce, and tofu, Just Mayo, and of course Coco Whip!
I felt so bad for Dylan, that when I got home from the Co-op, I took a bus to a different store that sells vegan ice cream, and picked up this pint of Coconut bliss naked coconut flavor ice cream. Dylan loves coconut milk, coconut oil, Coco Whip, and flavored coconut ice cream, but HE TURNED UP HIS NOSE AT THIS! Aaaaahhhhh! Luckily some of my other kitties who normally show no interest in sweets like this ice cream. Cats! It's been a challenge to keep up with Dylan's ever changing desires.
Today I have no errands to run, and it is yet another grey,rainy day.(I'm not even in Seattle yet!) I plan on cleaning, and spending some time in the kitchen. I'm going to play around with a lentil quinoa burger, my attempts at homemade burgers is hit or miss, so I hope today is a hit. I'm also going to experiment with a pineapple whip type of creation. I plan on writing down what and how much I use, so hopefully I will have recipes! Sometimes spending time in the kitchen really helps sooth my soul, and helps me to feel calm.
How do you calm down when things take a left turn?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Treachery, Chocolate, and Peanut Noodles

Peanut noodles and veggies!
So yesterday I walked to the Co-op, which is an almost two mile walk one way. I don't mind the length of the walk, but the walk itself is pretty treacherous. There's this street I have to cross where the light going one way lasts forever, and the light going the other way is very short. Well, to cross this street, I have to cross on the side where the light is super short, so as I'm crossing, I can feel the anger and hate from the cars and trucks that are trying to catch that green light. Next after the light are some train tracks that have these huge rocks. Also, if there is a train and I have to stand and wait for it, I always get some dude in a car asking me if I want to sit in his car and wait. I wish I were making this up, but I am dead serious, it happens almost every time a train passes. The walk continues down a creepy, somewhat deserted road that feels like a scene from every stalker/mugger/murder/kidnapped movie ever. Yesterday it was particularly depressing, because there were so many broken beer and liquor bottles. Like I said, it's a relatively deserted road, so I imagine when you are partying, and drinking and driving, (and hopefully texting and facebooking too) this would be where you would drive to avoid cops, etc. Plus there are tons of creepy abandoned parking lots, or maybe lots that used to be buildings, but big empty spaces where you could do whatever. The last part of the walk is a little less creepy, and if I choose certain streets I almost feel safe. So, yesterday, I get to the Co-op and they are closed!! Apparently there was a power outage. It must have happened very early, because I got there at ten after nine, and they open at nine. UUUGGGHHHH!!!!!  If the walk weren't so ugly, I totally wouldn't have minded. Plus, I had to come home empty handed, and Dylan really wanted more Coco Whip!
I XO XO TCHO chocolate!!
It was very frustrating, but luckily I was able to turn around and make the treacherous walk back home, empty handed. Oh well, I'll try again today, but this time I will call first!
On a much more positive note, this is a chocolate bar that I had gotten awhile ago at Wegman's, and it is in close competition as my favorite chocolate bar, or discs. It is super smooth, if you're like me and preferred milk chocolate in your non vegan years, you will love this chocolate. It has the smooth, creamy mouth feel that is lacking in a lot of dark chocolate. Here's a much more sophisticated description.  It looks like they offer a variety of vegan dark chocolates, and also a fair share of milk chocolates. I feel like it's more sophisticated to like super dark chocolate. Since becoming vegan I have gained more appreciation for dark chocolates, and have even come to enjoy many, but I can't deny that I do sometimes miss milk chocolate. This  TCHO  bar filled that void and I will definitely buy it again.
The top picture is the lovely, healthy dinner I made for myself last night. I made cold sesame noodles, with some baked tofu, Romaine lettuce, and sliced baby cucumber on the side. Drizzled with extra Sriracha sauce, of course. I discovered that cucumbers and Sriracha are good friends! I can't remember the recipe I used, I just googled cold sesame noodles, and picked a recipe. I still haven't found the perfect peanut sauce for my taste buds, so I just keep experimenting. This one was good, but it didn't blow my mind.
Happy Monday!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Diabolical Smells, and Coco Whip Monsters!

  I stumbled across this video and thought it gave some good non-vegan insight into the mystery that is vegan cheese. This video is about six months old, so Chao slices, and also the new FYH blends are not included in their tastings. I absolutely love that someone used the word diabolical to describe the smell of one of the cheeses. I feel like we don't use that word enough! Overall, I feel like some minds were slightly opened. I feel like most of the people who tested these cheeses would try vegan cheese again, and might even buy them once in awhile. I'm sure if any of the testers tried Chao, they would be very impressed. And while I haven't been able to try the new FYH cheese myself, from everything I've heard, it's up there with my beloved Chao. I'm so glad Chao and FYH exist, because if you notice in the video, the super expensive nut cheeses are the ones that impressed, and I agree with their opinions. Truth be told, I never even really liked Daiya all that much, but I guess it was the novelty of a vegan cheese that melts or something. The smell and the texture always kind of bothered me. I don't want shreds that feel wet. Dylan of course disagrees with all of us, which is why I haven't changed the name of this blog. He snubs his nose at Chao, and yearns for Daiya.
If you're interested, and haven't already seen them, here's another, and another. I think they're entertaining, and it helps to see where we need to make improvements if we want to really make vegan food mainstream. I want to live in a McVegan world, where all of the fast food places have to switch to beast burgers, and Gardein due to high customer demand!
I'm off to the Co-op, Dylan is demanding more Coco Whip! He sometimes sits, staring at the fridge, as if he can will the door open, and will the Coco Whip to land right in front of him! I've created a monster.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Vegan This, and Vegan That


      The top picture is my favorite pizza crust, topped with tomato sauce, Chao creamy original, onion, cherry tomatoes, and green olives. Sprinkled with oregano, crushed red pepper, and nutritional yeast. I no longer need to look at the recipe for this crust, I've made it so many times I have it memorized! I can't say enough good things about this recipe!
The YouTube video I'm sharing is a channel I accidentally stumbled across, and I'm happy I did. I liked the message of the video to be kind to yourself. I too can sometimes say some super nasty things to myself, things I would never say to another human. I've only watched a couple of her videos, but I like her style, and sometimes it's refreshing to watch "works in progress", who are learning along with the rest of us. YouTube is full of vegan "experts", and sometimes it get's to be a little much for me to handle, so the universe allowed me to stumble across this channel! I'm going to keep watching for sure.
While people were clutching their vegan pearls over whether Beyonce is or is not a true vegan, this happened. Sometimes you just have to throw your head back and laugh! It's really great news, Miley Cyrus has been a celebrity for soooooo long, and has a huge fan base! Big score for animals. I like that she quietly lived as a vegan for a year before announcing it. I've often been frustrated when high profile people make such a huge fuss, then after a month denounce vegan food. I believe that Miley is committed.
Sometimes when your looking at the negative, you miss the positive things that are happening right under your nose. To me, the face of veganism is not ever going to be any celebrity, it is the people who are strong enough to go undercover and truly witness the horror of factory farms, and the people who devote their lives to animal sanctuaries and shelters. And the most important face of veganism is animals.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Almost What I Ate in a Day!!

Apple, carrot, ginger juice
exotic smoothie
Lettuce wraps!
That smoothie was really yummy. Smoothies are like soup in that it's a good use for some fruit that might be a little past it's prime for eating whole. I had another banged up nectarine, a mango that was almost too ripe, plus some dragon fruit. Add some frozen banana and a perfect smoothie is born. For the lettuce wraps, I just baked some tofu, cooked some jasmine rice, and made a coleslaw with some rice wine vinegar, crushed red pepper, and a little coconut sugar. I made a dipping sauce with soy sauce, sesame oil, agave, and crushed red pepper. I love wrapping and dipping my food for some reason. I also like meals where I don't really use forks, just my hands. I just realized I almost showed everything I ate yesterday! The only thing missing is a veggie sandwich I had for breakfast, and a little chocolate that I had at night.
It seems that Beyonce has gone and made people mad again. Good Morning America had a tease with Beyonce, and they said she had a big announcement, which made her fans get giddy thinking she was pregnant, releasing a new album, etc. Instead, the announcement was her talking up her plant based diet, and also The 22 Day Revolutin, by her trainer Marco Borges. They of course also went into business together and launched the plant-based meal delivery service. It's unfortunate that the media is using the word vegan. Although the food is vegan, Beyonce is not a vegan. She has stated this many times over. She has never asked to be a face for veganism, and I think the critiques and judgment she's getting is unfair. As far as Marco Borges, I am currently reading his book, and he certainly doesn't talk of animal rights at all. So far he has briefly mentioned environmental issues. He is mostly coming from a pure health perspective. I've noticed vegans and non-vegans trying to pounce on Beyonce for pictures and videos of her eating meat/cheese dishes. My guess is that she relies on plant based eating for her figure. I'm sure she flits in and out of plant based eating, as she has never said she is a vegan. I have never seen or heard of Beyonce having any companion animals, and judgung by her leather and fur usage, animals aren't a super high priority of hers. Unfortunately, not everyone cares about the life of animals the way others do. While I will never be able to understand that, I have to accept it and work around it. Beyonce is a super duper star. She is talented, and gorgeous, and people want to be her/look like her. If she is telling America. I get this bod by cutting out all animal products, and hey bonus my skin is awesome too, well that is saving animals lives whether she cares or not. Beyonce also isn't like other celebrities that trash the vegan diet/lifestyle. She always gives this way of eating the highest praise. We need all kinds of faces and voices and perspectives to show how truly accessible, healthy, and most importantly delicious foods can be without animal products. Even if more people start going one, two days a week without animal products in their diet, it's a start. The truth of the matter is I have now seen Marco Borges a few times on different mainstream media outlets, and like it or not he is treated better than others I have seen who speak of vegan/plant based eating. I don't care why you don't eat animals, I just care that you don't eat animals.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Two for the Price of One!!

So much prettier in real life!!
It was cool and rainy yesterday, so I decided to use up more of the half boxes of pasta lingering in my cupboard and make a roasted cherry tomato cashew Alfredo!! It turned out so much better than the picture. I even made sure to write down what I used, so I could share it! As a bonus, I also made an amazing homemade mask for my face that I slathered on while I vacuumed, and my face felt and looked so soft and moisturized. I was on the ball yesterday!
                                                           Avocado Turmeric Beauty Mask
  1. 1/2 small, ripe avocado
  2. 1 tsp. agave syrup
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  4. mix all ingredients until a smooth, mask like texture, slather on your beautiful face for about fifteen, twenty minutes, rinse with cool water and enjoy the glow!      
                                                       Roasted Cherry Tomato Cashew Alfredo
  • 3/4 C raw cashews, soaked for at least two hours
  • 2 C. cherry tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 C. nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup water- give or take depending on your blender
Put the cherry tomatoes,and garlic in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle with the olive oil, crushed red pepper, oregano and basil, and salt and pepper and bake at around 375 Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes.
When your tomatoes and garlic are roasted to perfection, add the water, soaked cashews and the tomato garlic mixture to your blender, make sure you get every last drop of the tomato oil/liquid at the bottom of the dish, it's flavor! Start with 1/2 to 3/4 cup water, and add more as needed, depending on how thick you like your sauce. The cherry tomatoes turn so sweet and rich when they're roasted, not to mention roasted garlic! This sauce was really the best cashew Alfredo I have ever made. I'm so glad I wrote down the recipe, as I usually don't. So far, clearing out the pantry has been pretty fun and tasty! This is a sauce that I would proudly serve to any non vegan, provided they don't have a nut allergy! It's creamy, and rich with a deep flavor, and it has no faux anything, which can scare some non vegans. It's just really delicious.
The mask is a good use for when you have that half of an avocado sitting in the fridge, and it suddenly isn't green anymore, and you know it's still fine, but ooh it's brown, and you don't want to waste it, but you also don't really want to eat it. That is exactly what happened to me, and my skin was soooo happy it did! I've read many good things about turmeric for the skin, and I've read that brides in India use a turmeric mask so they look beautiful at the ceremony. I figure avocado and turmeric are both good for your inside, so why not the outside!
Duh, I kind of left off the tail end of the recipe. Blend for as long as it takes to get a thick, non-grainy luscious sauce. In my okay blender it took about three to four minutes. Then, it's ready to be used on pasta, or on a pizza or eaten with a spoon!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Champagne Wishes, Hummus Dreams

I have been wanting to talk about the caramelized onion hummus at Wegman's  since I discovered it like two weeks ago. I don't know how I keep forgetting, but I just thought about it, so now is the time! If you live near a Wegman's, and like hummus, do yourself the biggest favor and check out their olive bulk bar area. It's usually around the fancy cheese. It has such a rich caramelized onion flavor, it makes you go French onion dip who? It's on my list of things I need to recreate, so when I do, and I have perfected it, I will most definitely share!
Have a great day, hopefully filled with hummus!

Don't Fear the Prickles!

Fruit!
Vegetable! 
I bought my first nectarines of the year! Woot woot! When I bite into a perfectly ripe nectarine, I feel so happy. I also scored the last two Ataulfo mangoes, some apples for juicing, dragon fruit, and because they were on sale I decided to try some prickly pear, or cactus fruit. They were two for five which is super cheap for "exotic fruit". I also got some cherry tomatoes in a color medley. Side gripe- not liking the amount of plastic clam shells in the produce section. There was not a cherry tomato to be had without a clam shell. A lot of organic companies use a lot of plastic which is curious to me. Anyway, kitty in upper left corner of course. I also got some celery, alfalfa sprouts, sweet mini peppers, mini cucumbers, and shredded carrots. I also got Romaine hearts, and carrots in their natural state. I love it when my fridge is full of fruits and vegetables!
I had a persimmon that finally was ripe, and I had a nectarine that was ripe, and got super banged and bruised on my bus/walk home. So, I decided to make a nectarine, persimmon, frozen banana, prickly pear smoothie. I have never eaten prickly pear, I cut it in half, and scooped out the beautiful red flesh. It has a similar texture to watermelon, with little seeds that are edible. (I researched!) They're a little bigger than a kiwi, and I like them a lot. I like it better than persimmon! The color is gorgeous, and would make a vibrant juice. I got the red variety, which is a coastal prickly pear. There are prickly pear fruits with white flesh also. The fruit has vitamin C, and magnesium. As soon as I saw the vibrant color, I just knew it was healthy, and I knew it would be delicious! It has a mild taste, not quite as sweet as watermelon. Anyway, I'm glad I tried it, and now I know it's safe to buy! I've only been able to find white fleshed dragon fruit, but I have seen the red fleshed dragon fruit in pictures, and it's so much prettier! With fruits and vegetables, the brighter the better.
Seattle is so close I can smell the air, and I will have so many different Farmers markets to go to! I am sooooo excited. No more clam shells! People that know how to answer your questions, because they are growing and using the food themselves! Have you ever asked a produce employee at a grocery store about an unusual produce item? As Seattle is getting closer, I keep thinking of all the little things I took for granted, and have been missing sooooooo much! Like Farmers markets, people who recycle, used bookstores, coffee shops instead of bars on every corner, the lack of racism and intolerance, I could go on for days of things that I have deeply missed. There is only one used bookstore in this gourd-forsaken town, and it's a Christian used bookstore. I am open minded/desperate enough that I did go in and check it out and Christian literature and oddly enough Danielle Steele novels aren't really my thang. Anyway The more I get excited for Seattle, the more I realize how much my quality of life has suffered here. I've also realized that I want to see and appreciate everything. I don't want to take things or granted, and not notice awesome moments, or sights. Sorry, I'm getting sentimental and stuff. Back to Seattle, I will have so much more to talk about, and things to take pictures of. I will also start using a real camera, and my picture quality will improve. Right now, I'm using a webcam, which I have to hold in one hand, and use the other to click the mouse, all while trying to fend off nosy kitties. It's mostly hilarious, but I'm ready for a better set-up. Anyway, I've babbled for long enough for now. Have an amazing day!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

We're Coming for you Cruelty

I ran out of Coco Whip, and Dylan found that to be unacceptable. When I went to re-up, I could not resist the awesome sale price of $6.99 for a two pound Field Roast celebration roast! I paid close to twenty for this same thing at the holidays! I love to slice this and make sandwiches. As you can see at the top of the picture, and off to the left are some nosy kitties. They just have to see what I'm doing. I think anyone who knows and loves cats understands the meaning of curiosity killed the cat! Nosy Nellies, the whole lot of them! The bottom picture is my favorite guy in the world, enjoying his spoonful of Coco whip. We tried the light this time, which I'm happy to say is just as delicious as the original! It's a little thinner, but still very fluffy and cool! Taste wise I really can't tell a difference, and I don't think Dylan can either. If I were using the whip for a dessert, or to really wow some dubious non-vegans, I would probably go for the full fat version, but other than that these two seem pretty interchangeable. If you come across this, the red tub is the light, and the blue tub is the original. The Co-op was actually out of the original! This is amazing because they've only had it in stock for a week! Woot woot! I feel excitement when vegan products are out of stock, because I imagine the chain effect. Someone else bought some Coco whip, maybe they serve it at a party/picnic to some non vegans who are looking to improve their health/cut out some animal products, whatever. They try this Coco whip, are totally blown away, and decide to start using this kinder whip. Then, it opens their mind to maybe trying a veggie burger or dog, at their next cookout, whatever. It's just so exciting to me that vegan food is getting sooo delicious! I know vegan food is delicious of course, I'm talking about things like vegan cheeses, and ice creams, and vegan mayo, now Coco whip. Vegan treats, and packaged stuff is I guess what I mean. Why not eat Just Mayo, instead of regular mayo if you aren't sacrificing taste? Every little bit adds up to animals being saved, and every little bit chips away at peoples deep rooted belief that vegan food is tasteless, too brown, too green, too full of weird things, everything is made out of seaweed and spirulina, etc. It's nice for people to see that they can give up the cruelty without giving up certain comforts and memories they have tied into food.
I've been accused of being a dreamer once or twice in my day, but when I taste things like this Coco whip, I actually believe some of my dreams might actually start happening!



Sunday, June 7, 2015

Memories of School Pizza

So yesterday was a day where I couldn't be bothered to cook. I was tired and emotionally drained from work. I wonder if toxic people know how draining they are to be around. Sometimes it takes me two days to recover from that energy. Anyway, lucky me I had the Daiya pizza in my freezer. As soon as I opened the package, when it was still frozen, I could smell the roasted garlic. This pizza had roasted garlic and mushrooms, and interestingly both cheddar and mozzarella shreds. As you may or may not be able to tell from my amazing picture they aren't shy with the shreds.
I don't like to be anything other than supportive of vegan products, but I have to say that I was not impressed with this pie. I found that the sauce was bland, and the mushrooms and garlic were completely over-powered by the copious amount of shreds. Also, the crust was not how I like pizza crust to be. It was thin, and crisp, but not in a pleasing way. I was very let down, I think this is my least favorite pizza, vegan or not, frozen or not. The price I paid for this was $7.99, and as I mentioned the other day, that was the sale price.
I will say this, if you like daiya, and lots of it, and are gluten free, you might like this pizza. It is nice that there is a vegan gluten free option, because a lot of gluten free items rely heavily on eggs and dairy. Also, this would be good for kids, as it's not spicy at all. It actually reminds me of the cheese pizzas they serve in school.
Sorry Daiya, at least Dylan still loves you!!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Mission Impossible

I was watching something on Hulu yesterday and ended up dozing off, and Hulu just kind of keeps loading videos, apparently. I woke up to an episode of The View on my laptop. I was just about to get out of there as The View is not for me, until I noticed who their next guest was. None other than Marco Borges, author of The 22-Day Revolution! This is the man and the book that inspired J-Lo, Beyonce, Jay Z and other celebs, and non celebs to follow a 22 day plant based diet. All three celebs are not full time vegans, however all have spoken very highly of plant-based foods. Beyonce even started a vegan meal delivery service with Marco that caused some uproar with some vegans. Anyway, back to The View. My first impulse was to turn it off because I don't always like the way vegans or plant -based eaters are treated, but I'm glad I gave the clip a chance. He brought on tons of prepared recipes from his book which he had the co-hosts taste, and they seemed to LOVE everything, except maybe the Chia pudding, which I can understand. It seemed to be a texture thing. One of the hosts really raved about his chickpea salad sandwich, which she exclaimed " it totally reminds me of tuna salad"! As a result they are all doing the 22 day challenge! I don't know when this episode actually aired, but I'm now interested in how they are feeling. Marco does not speak of animals at all in his explanation. He speaks lightly of the environment, but mostly speaks of health. He has been eating plant based for quite some time, and he is fit, and glowing with health, and just seems like an authentic, nice person. A few years ago I would have rolled my eyes because he didn't speak of animals. But the sad truth is that some people truly believe that animals were put on earth for us to eat. We animal loving vegans have to accept that there are people who could watch the most horrific animal  abuse video, shed some tears and still eat meat. I know a lot of this type of people. The harsh PETA approach won't work, the gentle, non-judgmental approach won't work, they just for whatever reason feel that it's just the way the world is. These same people are often climate deniers, at least in my experience. So coming from a pure health stance, and having two of the most gorgeous woman on the planet giving this way of eating huge thumbs up is amazing, and could reach a few of the super hard to reach people! Whether Marco means to or not, he is saving animals lives.
You know that saying, "If you want to see different results, do things differently"? I want to see more and more people willing to give vegan or plant based eating a chance. It's going to stick with some people, and at least make others who go back to the unkind side more aware of their food choices, and hopefully cut back. Anyway, I just keep thinking "progress, not perfection"!

Friday, June 5, 2015

So Retro, so Cheap!

I went retro and made French bread pizza!!
I feel like French bread pizza was the it thing sometime in the nineties. It's funny how different foods go in and out of style, like clothing and hairstyles. I don't really follow trends myself, truth be told I kind of loathe trends, so I never really got into the french bread pizza, or the English muffin pizza etc. I impulsively bought a loaf of Ciabatta bread over the weekend, planning to use it for dunking of soup that I ended up not making. I was getting stressed because I didn't want to waste it, so French bread pizza saved the day! I also had about one fourth of a block of tofu that needed to be used, so I soaked some cashews, and made a very loose interpretation of  Cashew Ricotta from the amazing Veganomicon. By loose interpretation I mean it had cashews and tofu in it. Ha! I had some olive spread in my fridge, (chopped olives and olive oil) so I slathered some of that on the bread, spread some Cashew cheese on top, then topped it with some cooked white beans, onion, and some chopped dino kale. It crisped up deliciously after about ten or fifteen minutes in a 350 degree oven. I love adding raw kale to pizzas. It turns into delicious little kale chips on top of the pie, or in this case bread! I'm having fun kind of clearing my pantry and fridge, and making dishes out of random items!
It's also good practice or living in Seattle, where my food budget will be a lot tighter. Seattle is where I learned a million and one things to do with the humble lentil! I swear I could write a whole cookbook devoted to lentils. It is possible to make great dishes out of odds and ends, and inexpensive ingredients. You can do so many things with a bag of beans, a carrot, some celery, onion and garlic.
I've also learned that having one pricier thing in your fridge or pantry can help cheer up a plain meal. I made simple lentil Quesadillas last night, but a small amount o Chao tomato cayenne slices really made these otherwise run of the mill Quesadillas seem much fancier, like I treated myself. Having a handful of raw cashews in your freezer to add some creamy richness to a sauce or soup is also something I rely on. It takes a very small amount of cashews to add a lot of richness.
What is your favorite clear out the fridge/pantry dish?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Coco Whip is So Much Cooler!!!

So yesterday was a gorgeous late spring day, sunny and about seventy degrees. It was one of those rare days when you won't hear a lot of complaints about the weather. I needed some paper towels, and a walk so I decided to walk the trek for some eco friendly paper towels at the Co-op. I of course had to mill around, and grab some more of  those amazing concord grape fruit stix. If you run across these, I strongly urge you to try them, they are like the best twizzlers ever, minus all the nasties! They are made out of one little thing, and that's concord grapes! I decided to check out the frozen section just for kicks, and I found not one, but two vegan treats I have been wanting to try for soooo long, I almost forgot about them! First, Daiya pizza!! Woot. Although I have completely abandoned Daiya cheese for Chao, (much to Dylan's chagrin) I have been really wanting to try their frozen pizza for as long as they've been available. I very rarely buy frozen pizza's because they are too expensive  in my opinion but I made an exception. The Co-op got a few of these pizzas by accident, and so they just marked them at a discount to sell them quickly. This pizza was $7.99, which is scary, because that is the discounted price. Anyway, the crust is also gluten-free, and still vegan which is kind of a rarity. This will be a nice treat on a night when I just can't be bothered to cook. As you can see, Dylan is desperate for anything Daiya related! Onto what maybe my favorite new vegan treat ever in the history of vegan treats. So Delicious Coco Whip! I couldn't believe my eyes, because I had requested this way back before the holidays, and asked a few times, and then I guess I gave up. Well let me tell you it was more than worth the wait! It was love/obsession at first spoonful! It is so light and airy just like not so Cool-Whip, and the taste is sweet, and creamy, and not as coco-nutty as I thought it would be. As you can see by the strawberry picture, a) it really is light and airy, and b) I had to defend the berry against some super interested predators of the feline variety. Dylan gives it four paws up. He loves coconut oil, and I give him tastes of non chocolate coconut ice cream, so of course he would love this! As soon as I bit into the strawberry, I had an emotional reaction to it. It took me back to a really happy memory with my grandpa, eating some kind of cake, maybe pound, or sponge, some kind of sweet, dense cake. We would put fresh sliced strawberries, and whipped cream on top. Pretty sure my family considered Cool- Whip to be whipped cream. I had a similar emotional reaction with Chao. It reminded me of certain people and times. I would, and plan on proudly serving this to any non-vegans I know, especially skeptical ones. I bought the original this time around, next Co-op trip I will try the light, just to see what the difference is. Price wise, this was less expensive than I had imagined,  I paid around $3.69 or a nine ounce tub. I would pay triple for this stuff, it's that good!! This stuff was made for summer berries, and pies!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Lots of Baby Vegetables!

Sometimes simple tastes best!
I bought a bag of baby gold potatoes, and I think this is maybe only the second or third time in my life I've cooked with these. They are usually more expensive and also harder to find than regular potatoes. A little side rant about organic potatoes. Does anyone else notice that nine times out of ten grocery stores only sell organic potatoes in bags, as opposed to loose? I try to look through the mesh to check the quality of the potatoes, but it's hard to make sure they are okay. I don't like to buy potatoes that have a green tint, because they have a toxic chemical called solanine, and it's not the greatest to eat this. I have gotten burned many times as it's not always easy to see the green tint in the fluorescent lighting of the grocery. I like to pick out my own fruits and vegetables. Anyway, this plate of food was so simple and delicious. I just roasted some of the baby potatoes with a little olive oil(extra virgin) some sea salt and pepper, dried oregano, and a few cloves of garlic thinly sliced. I love how the little potatoes cook so quickly(20 minutes) and the skin is nice and crisp, while the center is soft and fluffy. I also made a salad with Romaine, sliced scallion, sliced baby sweet peppers, and some sliced baby cucumber. Man, I ate a lot of baby vegetables! I'm a monster! Ha. It was a simple, and light dinner that really satisfied me. If you are a grilling type of person, I bet these would be delicious wrapped in some foil and cooked on a grill! They would also be adorable on a tofu/vegetable kebab as they cook so quickly!
I also wanted to share some great news for animals! One of my go to YouTube fitness channels is Sean Vigue Fitness, and I just really love his yoga and Pilates workouts. Well, the other day, I came across this video and I clicked it, expecting to watch about half of the video before getting repulsed by all the meat. As I was watching, it was all stuff that I eat, and he eats BEANS every day, and credits BEANS for having protein! He also doesn't seem to be too obsessed with protein or carbs, which I like because I've noticed people can get really obsessed with one or the other. Anyway, I was so happy because he recently was a meat eater, and although he very occasionally still eats fish, I feel there is a possibility that he might faze that out as he continues. He talks of how amazing he feels, and he looks great too, so you know he is spreading that message, and he is living by example. He mentioned in the video how people notice that he is looking leaner, and more defined. Although he seems to be coming from a place of health, does it matter? I say no. He is still choosing to not eat animal products, and that is saving lives which is what matters. And along with his YouTube channel, he also teaches classes where he lives, so his success with plant based eating is getting out there, and I love it. And it's wonderful to see people who are in the fitness industry thriving and glowing with vitality, because that is one of the huge myths of the vegan diet, that we are all wan, and weak and worn down from our lack of "real food". Ha in your face meat eaters!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chao-fecta

I braved the wind, the rain, and the forty two degree(?!) temperatures yesterday to go to Wegman's. It's quite a trip, I have to either take two buses which match up horribly time-wise, or walk a mile to a bus stop for a one bus ride trip. Nine times out of ten I opt for the one mile walk, it's just easier. The street downtown where you catch the bus is beyond terrifying. I have to admit I was a little disappointed in Wegman's, and kind of felt like it was a wasted trip. I mainly went to Wegman's because I wanted to really load up on produce. I did get organic Romaine, mini-organic cucumbers, and onions and potatoes, but that was it. They had one too ripe (almost fermented) Ataulfo mango left with nine in the back, two dead looking dragon fruit, and and shockingly green pineapple. I guess Monday morning is not the day to go to Wegman's. I did score a two pound container os organic strawberries for $6.99, which is less expensive than a pint of organic blackberries, or blueberries! I also decided to try a couple persimmons. I tried them once before, and while I didn't hate them, I wasn't blown away enough to buy them on the regular. I've watched a few vegan YouTube videos where people make/drink persimmon and banana smoothies, and they just seem to love them sooooo much, and the color is soooo pretty, I thought I would give it another go.
The BBQ and Grey Poupon are for a new recipe that I will be trying today! I never thought to use BBQ and chickpeas together, and now I have no idea why, because it sounds delicious! I'm excited to try this recipe too, because I'm starting to make a mental list of  road trip foods. I know from experience traveling from Pa. to Seattle via Greyhound that it can be a real challenge to find vegan grub in some of these small towns, and you just can tell sometimes that it's best to not even ask. So sandwiches and wraps are obviously made for road trippen!
I wanted to leave with a little warning to any Wegman's shoppers. I buy the Wegman's brand tortilla shells often, both small and large burrito size and they are vegan safe. Yesterday I wanted to try the whole wheat tortillas, and I almost just threw them in my cart assuming like the white shells, these would be vegan. Something told me to check, and both the whole wheat and the multi-grain are vegan. except they decided to add fish oil to both, to give them an omega boost! Do tortilla shells need an omega boost? It was actually somewhat hard to find whole wheat tortillas that are vegan. I've noticed whole wheat/whole grain/multi-grain breads and such have honey sooooo often! I learned a lesson yesterday, unless you are super lucky and shop at an all vegan store, you can never really assume something is vegan. They really like to sneak animal products in everything don't they?