Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

Sunday night I was feeling lazy so I made pasta with this Barillla sauce I picked up on sale. It's pretty tasty for jarred sauce. It wasn't bitter, and it also wasn't too sweet which are my two biggest complaints when it comes to jarred sauce. And loads of nutritional yeast makes everything better!
I may not be eating gluten for awhile, so I'm glad I had this. So, the week of the election I somehow hurt my neck. Like I've never had this kind of pain, I was literally sobbing out loud. I couldn't move, and trying to sleep was a joke. I felt like maybe I should go to the ER, but when I googled hospitals there were none that seemed easy to get to. They all required two bus trips, and one was three bus trips. So, I did what all of us without health insurance do and I googled my symptoms. It seemed like I had a pinched nerve, so I just tried to deal. About three days later I was feeling better. Well, Sunday my neck started hurting again and I got worried. When I lived in PA., a coworker's boyfriend was having headaches and neck pain for a few days, and one night when he came to pick her up from work, he keeled over dead in the parking lot!! I couldn't stop thinking ab
out that. So, yesterday I decided to go to the ER. The doctor said I have either a spasm, or pinched nerve. I mean, google had already told me that!! Anyway, I also mentioned that I have been struggling with deep depression and sleep issues. So they took blood and urine samples. Well, it turns out that I have blood in my urine and no idea why, and also I have Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. Apparently this can cause sluggishness, depression and either weight gain, or a hard time losing weight. It makes so much sense because I have not been losing my beer weight, despite eating healthy, exercising, and walking A LOT.  I have always struggled with sluggishness. In the past it led to some unhealthy habits like way too much caffeine, and energy drinks. So, he prescribed some kind of medicine that's supposed to give me more energy. This is where the day got a million times worse. A nurse/social worker gave me some clinics for low income and all that, and he told me of a place that once a year gives you a fifty dollar coupon for prescriptions. He told me the place was "close enough to walk to" Yesterday snowed all day. Like from the time I woke up till I went to sleep. It was blustery wet snow that stings your face. So, I started walking, what a surprise got SUPER LOST, and I also fell in the snow and hurt my knee and hip pretty badly. But I kept going. Eventually I couldn't do it anymore. I was limping, and crying and soaked to the bone. So, I took the long two bus rides home. I started looking it up last night, and I feel confident that I can manage this without medication. It's hard for me because I never knew my birth dad, he bounced when My mom was pregnant, and she got super pissed any time I asked questions. And I know very little about my mom's health issues. I remember that she had ovarian cancer at a very young age(28) but that's about it. So who knows what runs in my blood.
Yesterday was seriously one of the worst days I've had in awhile. Trudging around lost in the snow in falling and finding out I have some random health issue is a lot to take on alone. I just wanted a hug and a shoulder to cry on. I was starving when I got home but I was also so soaked and cold down to the bone that all I could do was feed the Floofs and take the hottest bath ever. I would have loved someone to love me and make me some soup. Sorry, I sound so pathetic right now.
Anyway, I still have to do a lot of research because every website I've visited says something a little different, but I do believe this can be treated with the correct diet. If anyone is dealing with this, or knows anything about it I'd any suggestions. I do know that gluten is mentioned everywhere as a NO NO. Sobs. I'm still in denial about that one. Tofurky!! Seitan!!!
I miss Seattle so much. I don't have a home base or hometown, and I came to consider Seattle home. The city was my family if that makes sense. I found myself in Seattle. I found acceptance. Even though I struggled and went through stuff, it all was worth it. And after about a month of living there I knew how to get around the whole city! And because I moved around so much I was familiar with all the neighborhoods and never really got lost. I'm homesick I guess. No matter where I live I will always consider Seattle home.
I'm sorry this was such a mopey post. But stress makes everything worse, and it just feels better to tell someone, you know? Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope everyone is warm and well!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Podcasts, Inspiration and Food!

Yesterday while cleaning and tinkering n the kitchen, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack and I listened to the election results episode, which is right before their surviving Thanksgiving episode. These two ladies always cheer me up, make me feel less alone and inspire me. I really needed the inspiration. One of the topics they discussed really hit home for me. They talked about how when you really pay attention to what's going on, it's really easy to let sadness get in the way of action. I see that in myself. Sadness and also fear have been two things that have definitely gotten in my way. I feel that way in regards to veganism too. It's hard for me to see footage and graphic images, and keep up my fighting spirit. I want to actually kill myself when I see those images, because I don't want to live in a world that is as cruel as ours. I find that I either get so sad I want to hide, or sometimes I get so pissed I'm ready to go out in the streets and start fighting people. Neither one is productive, or helpful to animals. Racism is very similar, like I'm ready to fight. So, anyway this podcast has inspired me to keep my head up and keep fighting for what is right, but fighting in the right way.If you like podcasts, I can't recommend these ladies enough. They always make me feel better, and validated too. I plan on finding an animal rights group here in Salt Lake City to get involved with. I also want to find a way to get more involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. It doesn't appear that they have a Salt Lake City chapter, but I know I can do more than just tweet and retweet information.
In other self improvement news, I'm proud to say that my healthy eating is going great! One of the changes I'm making is my nightly sweet habit. I've always been more of a savory gal, but for the past few years I've gotten in the habit of having chocolate, or cookies or whatever sweet after dinner. I'm trying to break that habit like I did with coffee. Now, I enjoy coffee every once in awhile as opposed to every day and it feels great. So, I want to now just have sweets every so often as a treat, or at that time of the month when chocolate is very necessary to my well being. I'm on day five or six and it's going pretty well. The first couple of days were so tough, I was really emotional and grumpy, and felt so unsatisfied! But I've been having two or three dates in the evening, and they are helping so much! They're sweet and ooey gooey, I love them!
Greens and Grains!
I had this delicious breakfast yesterday too which made me feel great. It's brown rice cooked in turmeric topped with Romaine, roasted potatoes and some red onion. All topped with Goddess dressing from Trader Joe's! It was so tasty and really made me feel great. I love meals that are delicious, and also make you feel energized and great.
I also made this thick and creamy coconut milk yesterday. I got unsweetened, dried coconut flakes in bulk, which are so cheap by the way, and blended some with filtered water and Bam! It took like thirty seconds to make, and is a fraction of the the cost of store bought!
I made a delicious green curry tofu using Thai Kitchen's green curry paste and some homemade coconut milk. So tasty! Thai Kitchen's red and green curry pastes are both vegan, but I think their yellow curry paste gas fish sauce.
Lemon-y garlic-y potatoes!

I know a lot of you have the Veganomicon cookbook, and this is one of my favorite recipes from that book. It's actually one of my favorite recipes of all time. It's the Lemon-y Garlic-y potatoes. I think that's what they're called. The only change I make is cutting way back on the oil. I think the original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of EVOO.(That's extra virgin olive oil, ha ha ha ) I use about one teaspoon. I like the lemon flavor to really stand out and too much oil mellows that taste. Anyway, I cannot recommend this recipe enough!!
Sorry this was such a long one. The thing about loneliness and being alone is not having someone to not only vent and whine, but to share the good and positive things. I find myself so often wishing I had someone to call to share some funny good little thing that happened. Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a great Sunday!
Last night I couldn't find Etta or Afro anywhere! I was kind of freaking out, and then I find them sleeping in the corner of my bedroom closet, not a care in the world! Afro is all cuddled up with the cable wire that isn't being used!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Trigger Warning, This is a No Food Post!

I saw this video yesterday, or maybe the day before. I wanted to share it, but honestly fear stopped me. After I talked about my feelings on the depressing election, I got so many wonderful supportive comments, and two snarky comments. I know I'm not alone in being someone who one hundred people can tell me I'm great, and  one person tells me I suck and that's the person I listen to. It's a trait I'm working very hard on, it's very damaging. Anyway, one of the Anonymous commenters sent me an Email really going in on me. They went super personal, bringing up my family, ex boyfriend, even my therapy. This felt like an attack. I was really shaken. I was going to quit blogging, then I thought maybe I'll keep blogging, but only talk about food. I also wanted to respond to this person and defend myself, but if this person was so ready to go for the jugular, it will only get worse. I know people like this, people who go for the deep shots that really hurt a person. And defending myself will only result in more viciousness, and I am not mentally strong enough to handle it right now.
After doing a lot of thinking, I've decided to keep on keeping on. I have a right to my opinions, and I have a tiny little vegan blog that takes up very little space in the world of the interwebz. I have met some amazing people that I consider friends through this blog, and also I have learned a lot about myself and I've grown as a person. When I look back on my life, I see so many missed opportunities that were missed because of fear. I see times when I didn't speak up because of fear. And I want to make the world a better place and you can't do that if your life is run by fear.
It's taken me a long time to realize this, but standing up to injustice is a part of who I am. I have so many memories of my birth mom standing up to bullies, and assholes. I remember admiring her no fear attitude, and admiring her standing up when no one else would. So, it's just a part of me that can't be changed, and I don't want to change it. So, it's going to be a long four years, and I'm letting everyone know there's no way I'm not going to ever mention politics on this blog. I'm  going to do my best to be as respectful as possible while being true to myself.
It's kind of blurry because Cats! But I finally got a full face picture of Etta. She is the worst when it comes to photo ops.She's camera shy like me!

I hope everyone has a great Saturday, and an Amahzing Caturday!!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksliving Dinner

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful holiday. Mine was low key and filled with emotions that I won't get into here. But I did take care of myself throughout the day. I did a really tough upper body workout in the morning and played some string, and tinkered in the kitchen. I made stuffing and mashed potatoes with a roasted garlic and parsnip gravy. I used this recipe from Whole Foods. It's a thick and rich gravy. It's a tasty gravy but I feel like I like thinner gravies for mashed potatoes. This seems more suited for biscuits. I don't know, I am certainly no expert on gravy. I was going to make collard greens too, but I only have two pots and I had already had to wash to reuse several times and laziness took over. Le sigh. As I was eating I realized that American food is my least favorite cuisine. I'll choose anything over a diner any day. I like spicy, citrus-y strong flavors. If I make another holiday meal, I'm cooking outside of the boring box for sure. I made oil and vegan butter free stuffing, and I'm happy to say it was still tasty, and I barely noticed a difference to be honest. The one thing I did miss in my stuffing was sage! When I was at the store on Tuesday, I was standing at the bulk spices getting dried thyme, and I knew I needed something else, and I was just too flustered to think clearly. I feel sage is the most important herb for stuffing. All in all it was a tasty dinner, and my kitties were all the company I could ask for! There were no political arguments at my table, and no one had to bite their tongues!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's a Thanksliving Miracle!

YesterdayI had a day! It involved crazies on the bus, deciding I knew enough to take an alternate route to get from one place to another, receiving wrong information from a bus driver which resulted in me getting VERY lost and having to walk very far to get to my second destination. I couldn't help but think of that old song about walking five thousand miles. Getting lost is such a scary feeling, it's just such an out of control thing. I am grateful that it was a beautiful fall day, so if you have to get lost it's best to do it in good weather!
After all of my shenanigans, I just wanted to go home and cry, but I needed to stop for cat food. I am so glad that I needed to stop, because Smith's randomly had two packages of Follow Your Heart American style slices for $1.69 each! It is so incredibly random because Smith's doesn't even sell any Follow Your Heart cheese! They only have daiya and this other cheese that is vegetarian, not vegan. I can only assume they received it as a mistake, but how lucky am I to have noticed it? I had to make an exception to my new health plan for that deal, I mean come on. The cheese is good until March so it's not even like I have to eat it right away. Anyway, it felt like a little reward for making it through a very rough day.
Collard Greens, FYH slices, garlic, 1 parsnip, slivered almonds and potatoes
Sorry for the horrible mini haul picture. When I got home I was almost seeing double. I had been crying and walking for hours!
I'm going to make this gravy that I saw on a little Whole Foods commercial on YouTube. The gravy has a whole clove of roasted garlic, 1 roasted parsnip, slivered almonds and veggie stock all blended together. It looked amazing, and I always use the packets of vegan gravy mix because I don't have a talent for gravy. So this is more in line with my new health kick.  Even though I'm somewhat of a holiday grump, tomorrow I am making mashed potatoes and this new gravy, and also I'm going to attempt an oil and vegan butter free stuffing. I have fond memories of my mom tinkering in the kitchen all day during the holidays actually several days before hand too, but I just always want to tinker in the kitchen myself.
Etta decided to explore the pantry and hang out on the top shelf!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Moving Forward and Foods

Well, I'm finally starting to feel like a human again. I want to thank everyone for all of the kind and supportive comments from last week. They really meant the world to me. I don't think I'm alone in dealing with negativity. If one hundred people compliment me, but one insults me, I will fixate on the insult and ignore the positive. It's been a lifelong struggle and I hope to change that way of thinking sometime in my lifetime. Anyway, I am choosing to focus on the positive in order to be healthy.
Last week I wasn't taking care of myself. And I felt it. I'm starting to snap back. I wasn't doing myself any favors, and I was starting to let depression take over and it was scary scary. I've even gotten back in the kitchen. Sunday night I made some delicious baked mac and cheese. I had some tofutti sour cream that needed to be used, and some FYH shreds in the freezer. I remember seeing a video where someone made a very non vegan baked mac and cheese, and it had like a million different cheeses and sour cream and it looked very decadent. So, since I was pulling myself out of my funk, I decided to make a comfort food. I made my usual coconut/nutritional yeast sauce, and added a good amount of the FYH shreds. I then stirred in the sour cream and baked it for about twenty minutes. This was not low calorie or healthy by any means, but man was it AHMAZING! And I think we have to be decadent every once in awhile, right?
This was one of my better experiments if I do say so myself. I feel like this would really please a mixed crowd for the holidays or any time. It really proves that vegan food can be rich and savory and dreamy and cheesey!
When I lived in Erie there was a grocery called Wegmans. They had an olive bar that had a caramelized onion hummus that was seriously the best hummus I've ever had. It had that deep delicious flavor of caramelized onion running through it. It was better than any onion dip ever! Yesterday I decided to recreate it using the food processor that came with the Ninja bullet. Hummus is so much easier to make with a food processor. I roasted some garlic and half an onion till they were nice and brown and sweet and blended it with chickpeas and a little tahini. I made it oil free because honestly it's creamy and rich from the tahini. This is maybe my favorite batch of homemade hummus I've made. The roasted garlic and onion just make it so rich and savory. It was hard to not just eat it with a spoon!
This would be a great spread on a Portobello sandwich, or any veggie burger. I made some oven fries and wrapped them in Romaine leaves and dipped the wraps in the hummus and a little sweet chili sauce. It was such a simple dinner but so delicious. It really hit the spot.
Expect to see a lot more meals like this for the next while. I've decided to focus on my health to counter my depression. Last week when I wasn't eating regularly and whatever I did eat was processed, I felt it working against me physically and mentally. And I felt weak. It reminded me of my past, unhealthier self. I was even tempted to buy cigarettes and booze and just totally go backwards. That scared me because I am proud of the positive changes I've made, and proud of myself for trying to learn how to love myself. I know a lot of people really commit to getting healthy after the holidays so they can enjoy all the delicious holiday foods. Since celebrations and all that aren't part of my world, why not start focusing on health NOW. I'm going to be eating a very simple diet for the next few weeks, maybe longer. I want to feel better and stronger. I notice when I'm really taking care of myself physically, I feel stronger mentally. Plus, I certainly wouldn't cry if I lost a few pounds. I figure I'm just getting a jump start on New Year's Resolutions which I never do anyway.
Here's another of Kanye's favorite spots. Looking down on the world from the top of the fridge. The cupboard behind her is also a great spot to hide from the vacuum.
Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Looking for Joy and Hope

The holiday season is very hard for me, and always brings on the blues. And the election results have made my blues even worse this year. So, I have been looking for rays of light, bursts of laughter, and positivity wherever  I can find it. Yesterday I saw that there was a new challenge called U Name it. The challenge consists of people dancing to an older gospel song called Hold my mule by Shirley Caesar. Although I am agnostic, I have always loved gospel/soul music. It gives me all the feels, and it stirs something inside me. Anyway, as I was watching some of these videos and just loving the dancing, creativity and Joy, I stumbled across this vegan version and fell in love, and had to share. I also was very happy when I saw the comments on this video. No one was slamming veganism, quite the opposite. One woman commented and said her husband was considering veganism based on the video and his rap, and many other people agreed. It was very heartwarming. And how cute is this guy? I'm sorry I don't know his name, but he's so adorable and his enthusiasm is infectious. If you need some happiness in your life, look up the challenge, there are some great dance moves and it's just very organically joyous. So needed given the current state of things.

Here are some other things that are giving me some much needed Joy right now. Roxy and Joan are having a super lazy Sunday morning. Joan has recently started sleeping right next to me in bed. Like right next to my head. I love it so much, it's comforting.
I hope everyone has a happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Trying to Catch Up

I saw this video the other day and had to share it. Although I've been reading about this burger and how realistic it is not only taste-wise, but also appearance, I haven't seen it anywhere, and I have not seen anyone cook it. It is so weird how realistic it looks! I mean it borders on making me kind of cringe. But like they say in the video, the target audience is meat eaters, not vegans. Not that they don't want vegans eating these, but they're trying to change minds and the world, which I support all the way. I've been reading that these are blowing off the shelves, so lets hope a lot of the sales are from non vegans. This might help people who really want to cut back on meat, but struggle and miss the taste. This could also cut back on rude teasing you might get from friends or family at BBQs and picnics. No beans or oats sticking out of those patties!
I've been in a funk, hence my absence from this blog. My meals have been sporadic, and pretty boring. I haven't had much of an appetite, and I haven't been inspired to make delicious recipes.
I feel like I can't really call this a Buddha bowl because of the lack of greens, but it was what I could do with what I had. I made some brown rice, and roasted some potatoes and chickpeas with lots of garlic and smoked paprika. I drizzled it with a garlic tahini sauce. It actually was really tasty, and my body appreciated the simplicity.
I found this rice pilaf on sale awhile ago, and decided to make it and add the leftover roasted chickpeas into the mix. Super simple again, but really tasty. I haven't had rice pilaf since going vegan, and honestly a long time before that. I don't go to weddings very often.
I knew I loved fries dipped in a combo of vegan ranch and Carolina gold BBQ sauce, and I'm happy to report that tater tots are tasty in that mix too. There's something about tater tots that just make me feel like a kid in the best way!
Here's Kanye in her favorite box! I have it in the corner of the kitty room. Kanye is a bit more introverted than the others, so she likes to go and have her quiet time. As you can see by the look on her face she is none too thrilled with me bugging. But it's Caturday after all!
I wanted to sign off with a quote I saw either on Twitter or Instagram, not sure which but I love it and had to write it down. " I don't get upset if people think I'm crazy for my views on wanting to change the world. If you go to a mental hospital and someone calls you a name, would you get upset? Of course not. Well, that's the way I think about the world. They don't know any better." And those beautiful words of wisdom come from Jaque Fresco.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Taking Time to Reflect

This picture of Kanye is how I feel right now. I need to reflect a little, and sit with my feelings, so I'm going to continue taking a little break from this blog.
My last post about the election results garnered two interesting comments from two different anonymous people, or it might have been the same person, who knows. One mentioned that they were here for food posts, not politics and the other agreed, and also mentioned being offended by the word dick.
When I started this blog, I just wanted to be part of the vegan movement, and I wanted to share  recipes and food and all of that vegan goodness. I also was very lonely at the time, and living in a city where the amount of racism everywhere, including my adoptive family was so shocking, and overwhelming to me I felt like I was suffocating. Just like living in Seattle became a liberal bubble for me, living in Erie became a hate bubble, and I was starting to forget that kind, reasonable people existed.
I understand people wanting only food pictures and all of that. And I also understand not liking certain words, or not liking any swearing. But, those aren't my issues. When I read blogs, books, watch movies, YouTube etc. I read and watch what I prefer, what appeals to me and makes me feel good. Not everyone is for everyone, that's just a fact of life.
So, for anyone who only wants food pictures, and for anyone who doesn't like the word dick, this isn't the blog for you. I don't mean that in a mean, angry way either. I'm simply saying that there is more to me and this blog than food. And I will never be silent on the state of our world. It's taken me a long time to accept this part of myself. I have had at least a million people in my life reprimand me for not being able to keep my mouth shut. And I've said it to myself. I feel sometimes life is easier for people who just fall back and don't say anything. But that isn't and will never be me.
I feel like in general people are exhausted from this election, and are just trying to accept Trump and hope for the best. But I'm just not there. I'm terrified of how hateful our country is. I'm having nightmares from Erie. So, Like I said earlier I'm taking a break until I feel better, because right now I'm barely eating, let alone thinking about food and pictures and all of that. I guess it's a good thing I chose to sit out of Vegan Mofo this year, because I would really be REALLY struggling to keep up with the prompts!
So, I don't know how long I'll be gone. I might wake up tomorrow feeling amazing and hopeful and full of recipes, I just don't know. But I'm loving all the Mofo posts this year!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dark Days

I am still in shock. For the longest time I thought Trump was going to win, and then for the last two weeks or so leading up to the election I really thought Hillary was going to win, I'm not a real supporter of Hillary, but obviously I prefer her over Trump. I though Donald had sealed his fate when P gate happened. Sorry, I have always hated the p word. But even staunch republicans were denouncing Trump after that. To be honest, I'm not even mad at Trump. I mean, he's a dick, always has and always will be. But he has always shown us who he is. He has been tweeting misogynistic thoughts on women for years. Way before the election. I am however disgusted and deeply saddened that I live in a country that voted him in. What got him voted in was the wall, and banning Muslims.
For anyone who has been reading my blog since the beginning might remember the dark days of me living in Erie PA. I was shocked by the racism. I had been living in the liberal bubble of Seattle, and I didn't even know there were still so many people with so much hate and ignorance in their hearts. I was so appalled. I came to the scary conclusion that obviously the ignorant citizens of Erie were not alone, obviously there were other cities with like minded people. Shudder.
But I still thought that this type of hideous thinking was the minority. I am heartbroken that I was wrong. Donald Trump didn't win on Tuesday. Hate and ignorance won. Trump would not have had the impact he had if he wouldn't have talked of the wall, and banning Muslims. And the p grabbing and kissing without permission is just icing on the cake. Because men that think along the lines of Trump have no respect for women either. We're just here to be pretty. Trust me, I've served food and drinks to those kind of men my whole adult life.
I am sad today for the earth and the animals. Donald Trumps sons go trophy hunting. Trophy hunting. Killing innocent animals for no reason other than to feel like a man. And I was watching someone from Scotland talk of Trump, and he was telling a story of Trump fighting against their government because they wanted to be more efficient and earth friendly and install wind turbines, and he fought them in court because he was worried it would hurt the view from on of his golf courses or resorts or something. Like this guy doesn't give a shit about the environment. He doesn't even believe in climate change.
I feel physically ill and emotionally drained. The bullies won. Ignorance won. And again, I'm not talking about Trump. I'm talking about the people who voted him in.
I'm sorry this post is such a downer. I'm not in the positive let's fight hate with love head space yet. I'm more of the let's protest in the street.
I feel sad, scared, and very angry.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

E Day

I feel like it's appropriate to show another Loser Trump video on ELECTION DAY!! Does anyone else remember a scarier or weirder election? Like one of the nominees had to have his Twitter taken away like a child. The crazy thing is all the horrible things he has tweeted and said have only made him more popular. That's what makes me the saddest is even in Trump loses, all hiss supporters are still out there spewing hate and ignorance, and Trump has given them a voice. When I see the  reporter from The Young Turks interviewing people at Trump rallies, they're so freaking scary. They're filled with so much hate and fear, it reminds me of everyone I ever met in Erie. It makes me feel physically ill. This election has been the weirdest election in my lifetime for sure. It's gotta hurt Hillary a little, I'm sure she wishes she were beating a better opponent right? Like it can't feel that great to beat Donald Trump really. Anyway, I can't believe the day is here. I still remember so long ago watching TYT and thinking Trump would NEVER make it this far!
This is what Kanye thinks about Trump

I've been wanting to make cashew Alfredo with the Ninja bullet, and I still have some artichoke antipasto from Trader Joe's, so I decided to make artichoke Alfredo! I think the brand is Victoria Vegan, but they have an artichoke Alfredo. I remember Wegman's carried it. It was like eight dollars a jar, and I tried one flavor and it was okay, but certainly not worth the price in my opinion. I was inspired to copy their idea for much less.
I soaked about half a cup of cashews, and blended them with a little water, two cloves of garlic, nutritional yeast, S&P, and a spoonful of the artichokes. This was by far the best Alfredo I've ever made because of the Ninja! I almost cried it was so perfect. After it was blended I added another spoonful to give the sauce a little extra.

The artichoke antipasto from Trader Joe's is really delicious. It's just artichokes, oil and some salt and pepper. and vinegar.  But it's definitely not too vinegar-y at all. It's a lot tastier than some of the jarred marinated artichokes I've tried. This was a nice, decadent meal that felt super fancy. I would make this to impress someone for sure. And it's actually so easy. And much less than seven or eight dollars I might add!
I hope we all feel as calm, safe and secure as these two at the end of this nail biting day!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Stuff I Ate, and Stuff My Cats Did

I was feeling like tinkering in the kitchen yesterday. I love getting in the kitchen with an idea, and seeing where that idea takes me. Sometimes I stick to my original idea, other times it evolves into something very different than my original thought. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but no one taught me to cook. When I was a kid, my mom cooked EVERYTHING. Like, we only went out to eat when it was a family thing. And my mom was strongly against processed food, anything processed actually. Like even as a small child, if I had a cold, she would make me this homemade medicine, which was chamomile tea with honey and whiskey. I would beg her not to make me drink it. To this day the smell of chamomile tea makes me shiver. Also the smell of whiskey. Gag. One of the many reasons bartending is a terrible job for me. So, although I was raised in a "homemade" household, I had to learn how to cook as an adult. It's taken quite awhile, but I'm at a point now where I feel pretty confident in my skills. That's a great thing about living alone, I only have to please myself! Since I've been a little blue, I decided to tinker yesterday. I wanted to make a green chili tomatillo sauce, and at first I was going to make green chili, but that morphed into white bean and gardein Chick'n enchiladas, with green sauce!
I kind of cheated a little with the sauce. I made a semi- homemade sauce! Ha, does anyone remember that show on Food Network? Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee! Anyway, I blended 2 small cans of salsa Verde with 5 tomatillos, a handful of cilantro, half a jalapeno, three green onions, and a little S&P. I then simmered the sauce for about five minutes. While that was simmering I sauteed the chick'n strips with the other half of the jalapeno, some Mexican oregano, and  white beans. I then made enchiladas and poured the delicious green chili sauce all over.
Before Baking
I also added a little FYH shreds on top. And of course some nutritional yeast. The sauce was so tasty! I really love the tang of tomatillos. And the jalapeno added the perfect kick.
Tinkering success!

Sushi Burritos!

I whipped these sushi burritos up the other day. Sushi burritos are so much more forgiving than traditional rolls, One burrito had avocado and green onion, and one had baked tofu, carrots and green onion. Really easy to make, and really delicious!

I took a little break from potatoes. I was eating them A LOT and I was starting to lose my love. So I took a break because I love potatoes too much to burn out on them. These were delicious. I dipped them in a vegan ranch/ BBQ sauce combo. Delicious!
Here is sweet Afro still loving her newspaper! This continues to be her favorite toy! She likes to keep it near, and she gets nervous when any other kitties have the nerve to play with it.

I walked by and saw Etta and Afro cuddling, and for whatever reason, the pink ball was right there!
It looks like they're both having a stare off with the ball! I am so grateful  that I get to live with these lovely ladies. Best roommates ever!
Here's Joan really getting her belly warm in front of the big vent. I've only had to turn the heat on in the early mornings for a short while, so she likes to get warm while she can!
I have therapy again tomorrow, so I probably won't blog because I have to leave even earlier since I have two very long bus rides ahead of me. And I still am dealing with this dang floating cursor so blogging now takes double the time. I tried one suggestion and that improved the floating, but it still happens and it's so annoying! The other suggestions are a little more in depth, and I'm scared to try. I always have this fear that I'm going to do something permanent and now my problem is even bigger.
Technology is so nerve wracking!
Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Haul Time

I needed to get groceries yesterday and I usually get a few things at Natural Grocers, and the bulk at Trader Joe's. That seems to be the cheapest route. However yesterday was a hard day for me. I was having a hard time pulling myself together. Like I couldn't go five minutes without crying. I usually do my shopping early in the morning, but yesterday I was getting a late start. There's only one Trader Joe's in Salt Lake City, so it can get crowded easily. I am not one for crowds on my very best day, so yesterday it just wasn't possible. So, I went to basic old Smith's. Since it's a big superstore, it feels safer to walk down the aisles sobbing if need be. That store sees worse, trust me!
Bananas, flour tortillas, tortilla chips, kale
Tofu, frozen mango,spaghetti,potatoes,crushed tomato,salsa verde, green curry paste,bulk spices (crushed red pepper. oregano, chili powder
green onion, tomatillos,coconut milk,gardein chicken strips, frozen blueberries,cilantro, and Yves veggie burgers
Jasmine rice, onion,lemons, chocolate, lentils and one crab apple
I also got a grapefruit kombucha and frozen crinkle cut fries. Not sure how they missed the camera. I've never had a crab apple, and I was asking the produce person about them, and she let me have one to try. Has anyone had them? I don't think you're supposed to chomp on it like a regular apple.
I had a coupon for both Gardein, and a coupon for a free Yves product, so I really lucked out!
These Endangered Species chocolate bars have been on sale at Smiths for $1.50. Last time I tried the blackberry sage which was really really good. So good that I almost got it again, but I decided to try this flavor. I love citrus and chocolate so why not. Oh my gourd, I want these all the time. It is DELICIOUS. They added the perfect amount of lemon. It balances with the smooth dark chocolate perfectly. And the poppy seeds add a fun little texture. I am totally obsessed and in love with this bar. And if I were the marrying type, I would marry it!
Deep in thought
Doesn't Roxy look so very pretty and thoughtful in this picture? I love the way the sun is hitting just her little crossed paws!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Good Things

Just a short little post today. Have any of you guys ever heard of this guy? I hadn't until I watched one of his stand up specials on Netflix at the end of a day where I was sad and struggling for most of it. It made me clutch my stomach and I didn't think anything would have made me laugh that day. I've now watched two of his specials, and he is pretty hilarious. I thought I would share because who doesn't love laughing?
My therapists office is on this weird road that on one side is all condos and apartments, and the other side is all shops like TJ Max, a craft store, Kohls etc. Right at the end of the street is a grocery called Harmons which I think is only in Utah. I needed cat treats anyway, so I decided to stop in and check it out. Am I alone in loving to check out new grocery stores? Anyway, I would say Harmons is like a Safeway or Giant Eagle, so not vegan hostile, but not overly vegan friendly either. So I was very impressed when I saw that they even have Heidi Ho cheese! To be honest even in Seattle Heidi Ho is only at Whole Foods, PCC and whatever other pricier, more specialty stores. They also have a decent Gardein selection in the freezer section. I would have done more perusing, but I was self conscience of my emotionally fragile state. But I see this as amazing progress. Stores don't carry products that don't sell. And I didn't even know that Follow Your Heart had a low fat southwestern ranch! It has green chilis in it, so it must have a kick!
I was able to make a mixed berry dateorade with the Ninja bullet, something blenders in the past have struggled with, even if I soak the dates. This was just water, a handful of frozen berries, and about four or five dates. So sweet!
Speaking of sweet, I walked into the kitchen this morning to make breakfast, and found Joan sleeping on the hard kitchen floor! But you see the heat vent is right behind her. She loves the heat. I hope sometime I can find an apartment with a fireplace, she would be in heaven!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Feelings, Food, Cats and Mofo!

I never get sick of the mountain views
I made it to my therapy appointment! I was forty five minutes late, because I had to take two buses, and it took over an hour to get there, but I made it. It was very scary because I was soooo far away from any part of the city that I have somewhat figured out. I was having the worst anxiety on my way there. While I was waiting for my second bus, I almost cancelled and caught a bus back home. But, I put on my big girl pants and went through with it. My therapist is very nice, and has a very kind manner about him. I feel like I almost said too much on the first session. It's like years of stuff just came spilling out. I have years of repressed feelings, hopefully I'm not too much of a mess for him! Anyway, I'm proud of myself for taking this step. It feels pretty good to make healthy choices. The only downside is opening up all my emotions, and then having to ride two buses after crying. But, I'm very lucky in that it's almost always sunny in SLC, and I have a pair of big sunglasses.
Since I'm a little behind due to last weeks computer virus, I thought today I would do a stuff I've been eating kind of post, starting with what I made last night. I got home and felt drained from the anxiety of getting there, and drained from the emotional stuff. I also walked a TON, so I was pretty hungry and tired. I needed a hug, so mac and cheese to the rescue! I made my usual lite coconut milk sauce, but this time I added smoked paprika and used FYH smoked Gouda. Oh my gourd, this was maybe my favorite mac and cheese I've ever made. If you can find the smoked Gouda, I seriously recommend trying it.
Creamy and so dreamy
One night I made curry Ramen. I used the regular old cheap-y noodles, threw away the gross seasoning packet and made a Thai red curry broth. I also threw in some oven baked tofu. This is the way to eat Ramen. Of course what doesn't taste good swimming in coconut red curry?
Best Ramen Ever!
More Noodles
I made this simple pasta one night. I was craving a simple angel hair with parsley dish and I threw in some corn for good measure. It was really tasty, and would be great in the spring and summer.
Of course I'm still drinking beet juice. I really do think it helps with mood. And it's just so dang pretty!
And I'm still drinking smoothies. My fave simple combo is spinach, frozen mango and banana. I seriously can't believe how great my smoothies turn out with this Ninja bullet. I'm able to make smoothies I've only dreamed about.
I made this delicious edamame hummus the other night using the food processor cup for the Ninja. Wow, so much easier than a blender, no water required! This is just edamame, half a jalapeno, cilantro, garlic and tahini. Really tasty. I had it for dinner with pita bread, stuffed grape leaves and garlic-y lemon-y potatoes from Veganomicon, which is a recipe I have memorized because I've made it sooo many times.
I love dip-y, snack-y types of dinners like this. With different textures and flavors that all compliment each other.
4 cat pile-up!

I'm slowly getting my laptop back to normal. I figured out how to get rid of Yahoo and welcome Google, and I have almost fixed my floating cursor problem. I say almost because it is about eighty percent better. I have to work on it a little bit at a time because I get frustrated fast when it comes to techie stuff. And, I'm always scared I'm going to hit the wrong button and really make things worse. Anyway, here's to pushing yourself kicking and screaming out of your comfort zone!
It's Vegan Mofo time, and although I'm bummed that I'm not participating, I'm also beyond excited for everyone's posts. It's just such a great time of year, and I always love reading the posts, and every year I discover new to me blogs which is always wonderful. So, happy reading and to everyone participating, happy posting!