Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mini Haul, Vegan Pizza, and Cats!!

I stumbled across a video on YouTube of someone making tamales for dinner. She was so calm and casual about making them, and it seemed sooooooo easy, I got inspired to try making vegan tamales myself! I've only eaten tamales once in my whole life, and it wasn't a fresh tamale, it was some kind of frozen vegan tamale. It was really tasty, but also really expensive. I don't see vegan tamales often in the grocery, and when I do they are just too expensive. I just always assumed making tamales was super hard, and that you needed a ton of special equipment. But you don't! Just a steamer basket, and your hands.
I bought the fixings, and today in my kitchen I will be making black bean and green chili tamales. With a little daiya of course. I'm super excited, my taste buds are tingling. I feel like figuring out how to roll sushi rolls has given me the confidence to take on the tamale! Hopefully I will have some delicious tamale pictures! I even splurged and got some tofutti sour cream so I can really dress up my plate.
I also got a few other condiments because I can't remember the last thing I've eaten without sriracha or hot sauce.
This hummus dressing was on sale, so I had to try it. I am starting to crave salads more, and agave mustard hummus dressing? Yes please.  I also think it might be a good dipping sauce for sweet potato fries.
And, I had to try a new to me pizza with my Amy's coupon.

I had this for dinner last night. I had a pizza and movie night with a friend. I really liked this. Amy's roasted vegetable pizza is my all time favorite pizza, but I've been disappointed in other frozen vegan pizzas. Amy's used the right amount of daiya, and the sauce is really tasty. I added red pepper flakes because I like it spicy. I would definitely buy this again. But, like the roasted vegetable pizza, it's on the pricier side. Over seven dollars for a not too big pizza is a bit much for a regular thing, but it sure is a delicious treat.
I also decided to try a new to me flavor of kombucha. And it's not Kevita! I have tried so many kombuchas since moving back to Seattle, and Kevita is my all time fave, but sometimes you have to try new thangs!
They make my second favorite kombucha, the Asian pear flavor, so with ginger, cardamom, and rose how can it be bad? I just opened it, and while it's not bad, it is very dry. I remember trying a few brands that are super dry, and coming to the conclusion that I prefer a sweeter booch!
And, before I sign off, because it's Caturday, I leave you with this adorable picture of a three cat pile-up happening on my couch!
Because Kanye is the smallest, she always forces her way in for all the cuddles!

Friday, April 29, 2016

No EVOO Required

Baked fries with sriracha Just Mayo

Herb roasted potatoes with corn and vegan herb gravy
Ever since doing the ten day potato cleanse, I've still been eating a potato heavy diet. I enjoy potatoes because they are very filling, very cheap(even for organic) and very versatile. Since potatoes are always considered a side dish, there is a misconception that they aren't filling. It's a shame, because actually they're very filling. And the good kind of full, the kind of full that gives you energy, not draining your energy.
Since I was never taught how to cook, I have taught myself through trial and error, cookbooks, cooking shows, and of course the webz. I used to think that to properly roast potatoes or I guess any vegetable, it took glugs and glugs of EVOO(extra virgin olive oil) Side note- I used to LOVE Rachael Ray, like LOVE and I dated a guy who would lose his mind when I would watch Rachael Ray, because she would say EVOO, and then explain that it was extra virgin olive oil, and it pissed him off so much. He would scream "why make up an abbreviation if you're just going to keep using the whole word anyway" It was pretty hilarious. He was a stand up comedian, and ended up adding some Rachael Ray jokes to his act.
But, back to roasting potatoes. I used to struggle with perfectly roasted potatoes or oven fries when I used a lot more oil. I used to feel like I over or under cooked them a lot, and I never was too much of a fan of super greasy, oily food. When I started the potato cleanse, I watched High Carb Hannah making oven fries, and she goes hardcore with no oil. I tried that, and I wasn't the biggest fan of the no oil flavor either. So, I feel like I have found the perfect compromise. I use coconut oil. First, I cut my potatoes in whatever shape I want, and then I take a small amount of coconut oil, like a half teaspoon or less, and I kind of rub it in my hands so it melts, and then I just massage my potatoes like it's kale! After that, rub the rest in your hands or face for some extra moisture! Then, season your potatoes however you prefer, and roast. It's a small amount of oil, and it makes a big difference in my opinion. I have no plans on going oil free, but I have learned that A LOT of recipes call for way too much oil. I haven't had a single issue since starting this method.I roast my potatoes at 400 degrees, and I get perfect potatoes every time.
I had been hearing rumors about this for awhile now, but it seems to be true. Wendy's fast food chain is starting to offer a vegan black bean burger! This is great news for many reasons. For many reasons I don't eat out very often, but I know from many road trips and trips on Greyhound buses that sometimes finding substantial vegan food is beyond impossible. I remember once stopping and the only place for food was an Arbys. Try veganizing something from the "Home of the roast beef sandwich" menu. But, fast food places like Taco Bell, Wendy's, Subway, on and on are everywhere, and a black bean burger will fill you up much more than a bowl of iceberg lettuce with some fat free Italian dressing. Also, in terms of non vegans trying something meatless, they might feel braver at Wendy's than walking into a Veggie Grill. It's safe and familiar. This is nothing but good news, and I hope it inspires a lot of fast food copycats!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Start Your Day Off Right!

I know I've mentioned this before, but I was thinking about things that have really helped me feel better the other day, and lemon water was the first thing to come to mind. I started starting my day with lemon water almost two years ago. I've used both ice cold water, and also warm water. When I was living in PA in the winter, I definitely used warm water. Depending on the size of the lemon, I either use the juice of half, or if it's small one whole lemon. Some people recommend making your lemon water and drinking the whole glass/bottle right away. I sip on mine throughout the morning, and I usually finish it while I'm working out.
When you read about the benefits of drinking lemon water, digestion, liver cleansing, and hydration are always mentioned. For me, what I noticed right away was that I got a little rush of energy. And, I just noticed that I felt better, more balanced. And my skin, I felt like it was a beauty tonic. On days where I skip having lemon water, I always notice a big difference in my skin. And, no matter how much water I drink, I never feel fully hydrated. I mentioned drinking lemon water in the morning one time to an old coworker, and she said that her ninety year old grandma says the same thing! She said her grandma has to start every day with lemon water! It's a small little step that takes no time, and I feel has made a big difference in my health. Trader Joe's has the best price I've found for lemons, this bag was $1.49!
Today is day seven of  my cardio frenzy. I've been doing all kinds of Cross Fit and Jillian Michaels shred workouts. Today should actually be day eight, but yesterday I was a wee bit sore, so I just did hip and shoulder opening yoga. I've also been walking more, and doing small things like getting off the bus a stop early to increase my walking, and also I've been playing string with Chunk a lot more. String involves me dragging his string all around my apartment, letting him get the string, wrestling it away, and so on and so forth. My body is humming with extra energy, and I am feeling strong. Suicide drills aren't getting any easier, but I have faith that someday I'll laugh in the face of a suicide drill.
Before I sign off, I have some cute kitty pictures, it's been a few days, and they were starting to feel underexposed.
Kanye and Scrappy
Chunk was feeling left out...

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

MidWeek Munchies from Trader Joe's!

I went to good old Trader Joe's yesterday. Something that I really enjoy about Trader Joe's is that they don't have sales, or cards that you have to keep track of to get certain prices. They're that friend you can always count on.
spinach, corn, red onion, and sweet potato

Frozen mango, Yukon gold potatoes, and cilantro

Lentils, lemons, green tea, and iceberg lettuce

Coffee that you make in the bag!
I also got Jasmine rice that somehow missed it's moment. Something I just noticed yesterday is that the Jasmine and Basmati rice are the same price, but the Jasmine rice is three pounds and the Basmati is two pounds! I had Basmati in my cart for a little change of pace, but decided I'm not so bored with Jasmine after all!
I'm super excited about the coffee bag. The directions say to pour the hot water right in the bag, wait four minutes, and you have French press style coffee. For someone like me who has given up the daily habit of coffee, but still enjoys a cup every now and then this is perfect. And it was only $1.49! So much cheaper than buying a cup. I feel like these would be great for traveling, they're flat and light so they wouldn't take up much room, and again so much cheaper than even just a plain drip at a coffee shop. The bag says it makes two cups!
For dinner I made a simple lentil curry. Trader Joe's was out of coconut milk, so I just made my own with some coconut shreds hanging around in my freezer. Lentils and rice, it doesn't really get much cheaper does it?
The only downer about lentils is how hard it is to make them pretty! Whether it's lentil soup, or just plain lentils, they're definitely not the prettiest color! But I don't care, they are definitely my favorite legume. They have been my saving grace through some really broke times in my life when one carrot, one onion and a bag of lentils have fed me for a week!
By the way, this is my MidWeek Munchies post. I finally, after all this time posted a MidWeek post on an actual Wednesday! Woot!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Artichoke Pesto!

Udon noodles, dark chocolate covered coconut chips, and fizzy pomegranate limeade

Caramel creamer,, white beans, artichoke pesto, spicy booch and green onions
I got a few things at Grocery Outlet yesterday. I got the last package of Udon noodles. I guess I'm not alone in appreciating the great price!  Today is a gorgeous sunny day, so going farther to get some good produce is on my schedule. I'm working on being more aware as a consumer when I shop at grocery Outlet. It's very easy for me to get seduced by the awesome deals, and kind of forget about things like plastic and waste and buying things I don't need. Every time I open my fridge and see the hulking plastic tub of  that Nutchello, I feel guilty. I would normally never buy that for several reasons, but I was sucked in by the ninety eight cent price tag! It's fun to try new things, especially at bargain prices, but I need to remember that excess packaging is a problem, whether it's ten dollars or one penny.
I discovered an artichoke pesto that is vegan! How crazy is that. Finding any kind of vegan pesto is really a miracle.
Since I still have tons of pasta in my cupboard, I decided to make some pasta, and add some white beans and this pesto.
I topped it with some sliced green onion, hemp hearts, and of course nutritional yeast. For a jarred pesto, it was pretty tasty. It had chunks of artichoke hearts in it, which I love.
I watched a few episodes of a show streaming on Hulu called The Path over the weekend. It's about a fictional cult/religion called Meyerism. It has Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad. Anyway, like most religions or really any organized group, it has it's good and it's bad, and the people who are higher up and have more power are the weirdest/most screwed up. But, wouldn't you know Meyerists are vegans! At least they show them eating an abundance of colorful food, and they even have a scene where the men are out smoking a joint and grilling, while the little ladies are in the kitchen fretting about and preparing the rest of dinner. So, good for the show for not making vegan food look weird, but I just kind of cringe because there's already enough people who actually think veganism is a cult. Or at the very least like all vegans are super weird about food and other things. It's crazy to me that in 2016 it's still hard to get veganism shown in a positive light. I mean, even mainstream media is slowly starting to speak of veganism as a positive, healthy choice. Other than that small frustration, I'm loving the show, and Aaron Paul is a very good actor. I watched maybe two seasons of Breaking Bad, but then it got way to violent and gory and I couldn't do it. Thankfully this show is not so violent!
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Small Haul, Sweet Fries?

I didn't get the produce haul I had hoped yesterday. It was a super rainy day, and I just didn't want to get soaked, so I went to the grocery that's easiest to get to by bus, which is Safeway. I don't buy too much produce there because it's kind of expensive for not the best quality. Every now and then they have a good deal, but not anything on the regular. But, I am playing the Monopoly game they have going on. I am very close to winning several of the big prizes. I've never in my life participated in any kind of ongoing thing like this,but for some reason this year I had a strong sense that I should play. And, the palms of my hands have been itching like crazy! It all adds up to the obvious, I'm going to WIN!! Luckily for me, several kitty related items give you extra tickets, so I have about nine million tickets to play, and to be honest it's as tedious as the board game version, but here I am only one ticket away from a million dollars! Today is going to be a little nicer, so I will be getting some greens back in my life. Side note, Trader Joe's is the only grocery including Whole Foods where I can find organic baby spinach in a bag, not a plastic tub. I find it very disturbing how organic greens are sold almost exclusively in plastic tubs. It drives me insane to be honest.
booch, beet juice, orange juice, and frozen strawberries

Vegan chocolate!!!

I had never seen the OCHO candy bars before. They aren't all vegan, but the dark chocolate covered coconut bar is vegan, and it is really, really good. Like I wish I would have gotten more good!
I cooked some of the straight cut Alexia fries for dinner. I have to be honest, they aren't my favorite. Like, I wish I would have only gotten one bag. When they started cooking, I was wondering why it kind of smelled a little vinegar-y. I love malt vinegar on my fries, so I wasn't too worried, just thought it was a strange thing to smell. I noticed a somewhat sweet taste when I was eating them, but I though I was imagining it. Turns out since these are a lower oil fry, they use apple juice to help with browning.(?!) So, the taste is very faint, but it is there, a kind of sweet, kind of vinegar-y smell and taste. I make low oil oven fries almost daily, and I have no problem with browning minus the apple juice. I feel like I would rather have the oil. Anyway, just beware. Hats off to Alexia for using natural ingredients to achieve results, I just didn't care for these fries. If you ever try these, you want to have a dipping sauce for sure.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fancy Pizza

Back when I was doing the potato cleanse, I did a lot of searching for potato recipes. I remember coming across a recipe for a potato pizza. No, not a pizza crust made out of mashed potatoes. This was a regular pizza crust with very thinly sliced potatoes, and rosemary. I ran across several recipes, some vegan some not. But vegan or not, it was a pretty simple pizza that seemed really elegant for some reason. I guess I have low standards for elegance! I decided to attempt my own vegan potato pizza last night, and it was pretty tasty. Every recipe that I saw used olive oil (extra virgin) as a base, with garlic and herbs,followed by the potatoes, etc. So, since I'm battling the bulge I went light on the oil,  resulting in the pizza being a little on the dry side. It was still tasty. I used a little potato flour in the dough again, and it really made the dough so much more tender.
I had some fancy olive bar olives left over, and so I added those to the mix. I think thinly sliced red onion would be amazing too. I was scared the potato slices wouldn't cook, but surprisingly they did! Thy have to be sliced paper thin. I used the slicer part of a grater. It smelled really good while it was baking, and I felt like I was fancy eating it.
This was another pantry meal. I need to get some fresh fruit and veggies in my fridge. I think the two green onions I sliced on top at the end were the only green thing in my fridge. It's so grey out, and according the the weatherperson in my computer, it might storm today.  Ever since moving back to the west coast, I've become such a baby about the weather! But, I am on day four of working up a sweat, and I want to make sure I am making healthy choices all across the board. Who am I?
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Soup, Cats, and Cupboards

The weather turned cooler and grey-er yesterday, so that combined with my sadness over the sudden death of Prince, meant I needed soup for dinner. I decided to try my hand at a potato corn chowder, since I'm kind of flirting with the idea of another potato cleanse. I googled a few recipes, and kind of took a little from each one. I didn't write down what I did, I just cooked and listened to Prince. It was pretty soothing. I never realized that Prince's music was so good to cook to. And, since he was a vegan, it makes it even more appropriate.
I used Yukon gold potatoes, Alexia frozen corn which had some herbs and sun dried tomato, and coconut milk. I used my immersion blender and blended it to a creamy/chunky texture. I used lots of smoked paprika and a little red curry powder. It's a little sweet, and rich and sooooo creamy. This would satisfy any hardcore chowder lover. I feel like this is a soup that will always change when I make it. Maybe next time I'll swipe out the curry powder for chili powder and cumin. The possibilities are endless as long as you have onion, potato, corn, and coconut milk. I feel like Prince would have liked this soup too.
I was reaching for a pan in the back of my cupboard, and look what I found!
Look at that satisfied look on his face! He was the first kitty to jump in the top shelf of my lower cupboard. What a trailblazer!
Today is day three of challenging myself when it comes to working out. I am feeling sore, and ache-y, but in the best way. It's that ache that comes from working hard. My body seems to be responding well, I feel a buzz of happy energy, and I'm not just talking about the rush of endorphins, this is a buzz that's with me all the time. So much better than an alcohol buzz!
Before I sign off for the day, I still have some dollar off Qrunch burger coupons to give away. Let me know if Qrunch burgers are available in your area, and I'll send you a coupon. I have four left!
I forgot that I have a picture of the frozen corn I used. It was new to me, from Alexia, I thought they only made fries? This corn is AHMAZING, it would be great in a pasta salad. It has a really great flavor!
Oh, and also the ginger limeade from Califia farms is too good! The Oakley water I got for the pouch, which I will be reusing. It's way easier to cram in a bag than the glass bottles I reuse for water. It is weird drinking out of a bag, or a pouch but I'll get the hang of it. Anyway, if you see that corn, it's really good!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Goodbye Friend


Prince was an amazing artist. He shared himself with the world, making life a little bit easier for the rest of us. He was an individual, a free thinker. And he stood for something, and he marched to the beat of his own drum. In a world that loves to label people, and put them in a box never to be free again, he lived label and box free.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


A few weeks ago, I won a giveaway on Lena B. 's   YouTube channel. It was a fitness giveaway. She had some DVD's and such that were too hard on her back. I won the second prize, which was two EXTREME type of workouts.
Chunk's nose, because cats.
The Cross Fire workout is a step workout, so I chose the To The Max workout this morning. I'm tired of feeling frustrated and whine-y about the beer flab not budging, so I'm stepping up my workout game. I am a Yogi, and I shy away from anything extreme. I find extreme anything -flavor, workout, adventures, all of it a little aggressive for my nature. But, at the same time this beer flab is aggressively holding on , so it's time to get EXTREME! My legs feel like jelly, and I'm in pretty good shape, or so I thought. Nothing like a new workout to humble you. I did suicide drills! Have I ever done suicide drills, I don't know but the name kind of says a lot. My cats are usually all under me and over me when I'm working out, but this morning they stayed a safe distance while looking at me like I was insane. It's the same look I get when I do Hip Hop Abs. I didn't do the whole 55 minutes, some of the workout used this resistance type band that I don't have, but I did a good twenty five minutes, and I feel pretty proud because it was tough. I followed it up with ten minutes of abs. I feel proud because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and also I feel proud because it feels a lot better being proactive than feeling helpless. I will be doing much harder cardio until I start seeing results. I don't even want to be skinny, it's just the flab is a reminder of a different me, and I need to fully shed that layer.
I wanted to thank Unknown for suggesting these Cuban Black beans from Trader Joe's. These beans are what I always want my black beans to taste like! They have green peppers, which I usually despise cooked, but here they were fine. The ingredient list is short and sweet, beans, green peppers and spices. And the can is only ninety nine cents! I love Trader Joe's so much!
I served some up over rice, with some pickled jalapeno and avocado. I also added a dollop of garlic tahini sauce, and of course a drizzle of hot sauce. I'm enjoying the garlic tahini sauce kind of as a sub for vegan sour cream. I also used a couple of small tortillas for wrapping. This was a really satisfying meal. If you haven't tried the Cuban black beans, you should. They aren't spicy so if you're sensitive, don't worry!
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Teen Angst

Top Banana produce stand in Ballard. I used to go here all the time in the summer when I lived in Ballard. I decided to go there yesterday and check it out, see if it's still the same(it is)Before I left, I read a little article about the owner, and he used to be a butcher, got burned out, and opened a produce stand. To be honest with you, there is another produce stand closer to me, but after reading that article, I had to go support the owners decision. Fruits and vegetables are the way to go. I was going to take pictures of all the pretty produce, but it's right across the street from Ballard high school, and when I walked in, there was a throng of loud high schoolers. It was overwhelming, and I forgot all about pictures. The good news is yay for teenagers going to a produce stand for lunch.
I only grabbed a pineapple and two Ataulfo mangoes. I guess no matter how old some of us get, walking into a place full of teenagers is very intimidating, especially if you were teased or bullied.
I took a picture of the street as I was walking to Top Banana yesterday. It was sunny, and I was walking down this gorgeous tree lined street, and the air smelled like lilacs, and I just felt so happy to be in such a beautiful neighborhood. I felt so safe.

I came across this tropical looking tree. Does anyone know what it is? Is it a palm tree, or a pineapple tree? I don't know, I am the worst at guessing. I'm sure I wold die if stranded in nature, I would for sure eat the wrong berry or leaf. Anyway, the trunk reminded me of Mr. Snuffleupagus.
Something else I LOVE about Ballard is I lost track of how many Bernie Sanders signs I saw in widows and on yards! Seriously, it was amazing! They are my people! I'm always "Feeling the Bern"!!!
I made an Udon noodle bowl for dinner last night. I made some Asian slaw with cabbage and kale, and sliced some Thai tofu and green onions, and topped it with some sweet chili sauce and sriracha.
This was so tasty! I see why Udon noodles are your favorite, Sarah! I used the brown rice variety, and they were delicious. I love the chewy texture!
I accidentally left my cupboard open for two seconds, and look what I found!
That's Roxie. Usually it's Joan that is all over any opened door or drawer, but Roxie felt like she needed some alone time I guess! First world cat problems!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ballard Love

Have you ever gone back to a city where you either lived, or visited and hoped that certain things haven't changed? I felt that way coming back to Seattle. I expected to see a lot of change, but I hoped to see certain things remain the same. When I lived here before, it seemed like every neighborhood was going through some sort of gentrification. I was pleasantly surprised that my favorite neighborhood, Ballard has stayed almost the same. There are a few new condos and unbelievably huge apartment towers, but other than that it is Ballard through and through. Believe it or not, this tea house is a place I thought of often while dying in Erie. I always wondered if it was still around, and if he still set out ice cold bowls of water for the dogs being walked. I almost cried the first time I rode the bus down 85th street and there it was. And they do tea dating now??!!

It's just so lush and green, and inviting. Even though I've never gone in. Ha ha. And the yard stays green all year round. The guy who owns/lives there drives a jeep and has a long grey beard. I always felt like I wanted to go in, but I always talked myself out of it. Maybe I will go in someday. Anyway, I walked by yesterday and it was so pretty I had to take some pictures.
I ran into Grocery Outlet to get another jar of the chicory beverage since who knows when I will see it again, and I had to get this Nutchello. It's a "nut based beverage". It's made with almonds and cashews, and I've been seeing it around, but it's pretty pricey for something I've never had, and it's a pretty big jug, so you know. But Grocery Outlet had it for ninety eight cent! I figure even if I don't want to drink it straight, it can be a tea creamer, since I love the caramel almond milk creamer so much. And it's more than ninety eight cents! And this Steve's non dairy ice cream was some kind of deal too. I tried their coffee non dairy back in PA. I remember the Co-Op carried it. And it was dang good. And how good does chocolate salty caramel sound? Here are some other non dairy flavors they offer. Although two flavors have honey, so that's kind of a bummer. I need to get my hands on speculoos cookie butter.
I have had a mad craving for veggie sushi since Saturday, so my avocado was finally ripe enough to roll up. For dinner last night I made avocado, carrot, and tofu rolls. I am finally feeling comfortable rolling sushi. The calmer I am, the better I roll. No, I did not steal that line from Matthew McConaughey. I'm glad I figured it out, rolling your own is so much cheaper than store bought, or a restaurant!
The middle roll is bigger than the others, but hey, it's rustic! I think I might need to attempt a sushi burrito next.  This was a really perfect spring meal. Filling, but light. 
I almost forgot to show my thrift store finds! I got three shirts and a plate for ten dollars. Woot woot!
Saving the environment and my wallet!
I mean, what would any kind of haul be without a kitty? It would seem unnatural!
Every day a different color is the fifty percent off color, and yesterday it was orange, so all items with an orange ticket were fifty percent off. The shirt with the pink and purple was only $4.99 to begin with, and it was half of that. I love it!
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Vegans Are Springing Up Everywhere!

I accidentally came across this video yesterday and really loved it. We need more dudes representing. Veganism is still thought of as a girl thing, or something only weaklings do. And since there are a lot of vegans, or plant based eaters who seem hell bent on making veganism seem as complicated, expensive, and unwelcoming as possible, I like people showing that it's just as easy as any other way of eating. And I like when he says that when his friends eat they go to sleep, but when he eats he feels full of energy. It's so true. When I went to a brunch thing a few years ago with some non vegans, I filled up on my only option which was salad and fruit. Everyone else filled up on various disgusting meat heavy breakfast foods. After the meal, I felt like going for a walk or something, where the rest of my group were sluggish and bogged down. They do swear in this video, so if you're sensitive, don't watch. I'm someone who prides myself on being an individual. I don't like many trends, and I certainly don't consider myself mainstream. But, the one thing I do want to go mainstream is veganism. I will proudly be one of the crowd when that happens. So, I know a lot of vegans get irritated when celebs get on the vegan bandwagon, but to me it's always a good thing. Even if they do it for a  month to lose weight or "cleanse" or whatever. They have millions of fans who now are curious about veganism. It all helps, and it's all getting the word out.
Yesterday was a warm sunny day here in Seattle. I feel so happy because usually April is a very rainy month. I usually loathe Seattle during the month of April, and vow to move someplace sunny. But this April has been unusually clear and gorgeous. It's been really amazing. It felt like a taco kind of night, so I crumbled a Lightlife Black bean burger in a pan along with some black beans and taco type seasoning. Super tasty, and super easy. If you ever see these burgers, try them! I only ever see them at one store, so I don't know how easy they are to find, but anyway they are really one of my favorite packaged burgers.
Topped with lettuce, guac, and hot sauce!

These really hit the spot. Why are tacos always so good?  I don't know but there is just something about warm, spicy beans with crisp cool lettuce and hot sauce that makes my mouth happy. And I don't even feel like I need vegan cheese. I feel like cheese is totally unnecessary to the experience.
I hope spring has sprung where you live!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Grocery Outlet + Vegans = Love!

I was in the neighborhood of a Grocery Outlet yesterday, and I just couldn't not go in. It's always like an adventure, a vegan treasure hunt if you will.
Chicory root beverage, Udon noodles, Heinz vegetarian baked beans,Ritter bar,Chia pods, pineapple,baked tofu
If you look closely, you can see Scrappy's paws. She was dying to get to that pineapple, even though I bought two, and left one on the floor to be chewed on. Cats! They had Udon noodles for ninety-nine cents! And they are vegan, and organic! On of the reasons I don't buy Udon noodles that often is the price. They're usually double the price of rice noodles. And the chia pods were also only ninety nine cents! I got blueberry and mango. The Caf-Lib stuff is a coffee substitute, made out of roasted chicory, and barley. I found this jar for only ninety nine cents! I'm sensing a theme here! Anyway, I made a cup when I got home, and consider my mind blown! I've heard of people drinking Dandy Blend, but I've never been able to find it. I used to have a serious coffee addiction. Like well over two pots a day. In between coffee I would sip on Red Bull. I gag thinking about it. I really miss coffee, and though I still treat myself every now and again, I don't keep it in my home, and I haven't owned a coffee pot in years. But, sometimes I miss the rich bold taste of coffee, and yerba mate will never fill that void! This Caf-Lib sure will! It was love at first sip. It's like coffee without the harsh caffeine, and also without that bitter aftertaste of coffee. I am obsessed, and I plan on going back to Grocery Outlet to buy many more jars of this stuff. It's a game changer. If you love coffee and want to cut down, I seriously recommend looking into roasted chicory beverages. And you know how instant coffee has that GRODY instant taste? This does not. It's everything.
Califia Farms is making lemonade now!  They have this Meyer lemonade, and also a lime ginger which sounds great too. They are also making their vegan coffee beverages in single serve bottles, which means competition for Starbucks! Woot woot! This lemonade is really tasty. It has that sweet and pucker taste that I find essential in a good lemonade.
I decided to try my hand yet again at making Eggplant Parmesan. I have struggled with making this dish for my whole life. I haven't had it since going vegan, and every time I attempt it it is a disaster. Like completely inedible. This time, I salted the slices first to pull out the bitterness, and I have to admit it helped. It is totally worth the extra step and time. I also used the batter technique for my favorite recipe maybe ever, General Tso's Cauliflower. I baked the slices alone for twenty minutes or so, and then assembled the casserole and finished baking. I can't believe it, I liked it, I really liked it! The eggplant was cooked, and it was not a greasy mess! It was delicious! I made a cashew cheese sauce, and drizzled it with a little leftover pesto when it came out of the oven.
It was actually really easy to make, and it was so delicious! I really felt like I did something nice for myself. In  the past, I've always tried to kind of fry the eggplant slices in some olive oil, and I always feel like the eggplant sucks up all the oil, and it just becomes a greasy mess. Other times when I've tried to bake the slices, I've dipped the slices in plant milk, and then Panko, and the breading doesn't stick, the eggplant don't cook, and it's just an ungreasy mess. But using a flour/water mixture then Panko seems to be the key to making oil free eggplant slices.
Finally, I'll leave you with an Angelic shot of Kanye. Like her namesake, she can be difficult, so this picture is a rare moment. She also wanted me to remind everyone that she is named after Kanye West, not Kanye Kardashian!
Very alert!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Things to Do With Potatoes

Look at that color!!
I found some purple sweet potatoes at the store the other day, and I made this beautiful sweet potato curry soup, and it was so pretty! I was afraid the potatoes would lose some of their vibrancy when cooked, but that was not the case. It looks like a smoothie bowl made with acai or something! Ha!  This was a really great breakfast.
I made a pesto the other day with some parsley and the rest of the sweet onion chives, and I decided to use it in a different way than pasta or pizza. I roasted some Yukon gold potatoes, and when they were done I tossed them with some of the pesto, and some sliced scallion, basil, and also some sliced spicy and garlic-y fancy olives. This was AHMAZING!! Who knew pesto and potatoes loved each other so much! The pesto I made was light on oil and heavier on lemon juice, so the oily olives went really well with this dish!
This was actually better after about an hour. The pesto really soaked in the potatoes, and just wow.
I have some pesto left, I'm thinking of mixing some with some Just Mayo, and making a pesto potato salad, maybe with some peas and scallion?  The pestobilities are endless! (Sorry) I actually wrote down the pesto recipe!
                                                            Springtime Pesto
  • 3/4 C. Parsley
  • 1 C. Chives, any variety I used sweet onion
  • 1/4 C. Walnuts
  • S&P to taste
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 C. Nutritional Yeast
  • 4T. Lemon Juice
  • 1 T. Extra Virgin olive Oil
  • 1/4 C. Water (more or less depending on your blender/ food processor)
Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth, but a little chunky. Add more or less water as needed. Feel free to add more oil too for a more traditional pesto. 
This pesto is really lemony and herb-y. It really tastes like spring. It would be great drizzled over a big grilled vegetable platter.
I have to leave you with a picture for Caturday of course. This picture of Chunk is sweet to me because in the last three or four months of Dylan's life, he would just sleep right by the water dish. That was it was just right there. After Dylan's passing, Chunk started sleeping in the exact spot every so often. It's like that's what he thinks the man of the house is supposed to do or something. It's very sweet, and always makes me think of my best friend.
That face!