Sunday, October 30, 2016

Nutri Ninja and Lots More!

As I mentioned yesterday, I was gifted this Ninja blender food processor by Blake, who wrote a review for this on Amazon. I haven't owned a food processor, so this is super exciting. There were lots of little extras thrown in the box, so it was really fun opening everything up. The kitties love the Ninja box too.
Cat toys, an awesome bath bomb, smoked paprika, a beautiful vegan cookbook, chocolate, meditation book, almond soap, and Alice in Wonderland figurines
Amazing teas
The cutest tote!

This blender makes the best smoothies this side of a Vitamix. And in like thirty seconds too. In Seattle I had a Ninja which was loads better than any crappy blender I've ever had. But this makes my old Ninja look like a ninety nine cent blender! I can't wait to make a cashew Alfredo. I have so many plans!! Today I'm going to make a hummus with the food processor. I have some edamame, so I think I'll experiment with an edamame hummus.
Last night I made Tabouli and I also experimented with making chicken-less Shawarma. I used the Trader Joe's chicken-less strips which are mildly seasoned. I added some smoked paprika, garlic powder, turmeric and the tiniest dash of cinnamon to the strips and baked them in the oven till heated. I made a garlic tahini sauce for drizzling, and added some lettuce and a few jalapeno slices. This was delicious. I love lemon-y herb-y garlic-y foods! I love Tabouli so much, the more lemon the better!
As soon as I use the tahini I already have, I'm going to use my food processor and make my own tahini! It's ground sesame seeds. That's it. Sprouts sells sesame seeds in bulk, and they're pretty inexpensive so now that I have the equipment, I have no excuse. It's going to be such a money saver, and also less waste.
One more update, I actually have a therapy appointment tomorrow morning. I had kind of talked myself out of therapy, let my doubts motivate my thinking for a bit. But Thursday my name on the list came up at one of the places I called, so I took it as a sign that I should at least give it a try. I need help, and it always helps to have an open mind. It's not like I have to keep going if I don't like it, so why not try. It's been so long, it's going to be so weird. But I want to feel better, I want to work on myself and heal. So, wish me luck. I don't know if I will blog tomorrow morning because I have a long bus ride to get to my appointment, so tomorrow morning will be spent obsessively taking notes and writing directions so I don't get totally lost.
This picture cracks me up. The string is right in between the two groups. You never know when you need your string!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

All Patched Up

  I saw this video this morning, and it made my day. Apparently Joanne (the dog) loves her Gumby chew toy, so imagine her surprise when Gumby walked into her life! I love how she tries to keep the other dog away, like this toy is mine!
My laptop is somewhat fixed. I just had the shop fix it since they offered to do it for free. So now there is no virus, but other things are happening. They wiped it clean, so lots of things are different. I can't get Google for my homepage, even after installing Mozilla Firefox. It gives me Yahoo and I don't like Yahoo. Also, when I type, the cursor moves around. It will just start typing somewhere totally different. There are other little things that are different, and I don't know how to get it back to how it was. I've come to the conclusion that I need to learn more of the technical stuff. But regardless I am so happy to be reunited with my laptop, and despite what the pushy dude said, she still has life in her!
This house is right down the street from me, I walk by it everyday. I am in love with it, it's my favorite house ever. It looks like it should be nestled in the country. This is also the house that has concord grapes on their fence, and it smells soooo good when you walk by.
I love these trees. As their leaves change, they remind me of Mcintosh apples. It's funny how some trees are almost bare, and others are only just starting to change. I feel like I notice trees more here because I'm always looking up at the mountains. I know I keep saying it, but I feel like I will never get used to the beauty of these mountains! I really recommend Salt Lake City as a place to visit, it's so beautiful, and the people are so incredibly nice. And this city is incredibly vegan friendly. I have several vegan and vegetarian restaurants within walking distance of my apartment.
This week has been in the seventies, and in the sixties at night. I wore sandals and a tank top yesterday, in October! I know I'm going to have to deal with snow, so I am taking full advantage of this very mild fall. Also, Afro is transitioning to Brutus in this picture. You can see the attitude in her eyes!
Look at these two. They're sleeping nose to nose! I can't believe I was actually able to get this picture without waking them. This is one of my favorite Caturday pictures ever!
I have so many more pictures, and some are actually of food! I also was gifted a Ninja blender/ food processor from Blake, who I'm sure a lot of you have seen in the comment section. I've never owned a food processor, so I am pretty dang excited. The nutri bullet blender part of it is super powerful. Like I'm talking the best smoothies I've ever made. I'll definitely be back tomorrow with lots more pictures.
Happy Caturday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Laptop is Sick

I'm typing this post at the library, and I  really do not like blogging in public. I've never been one to read or anything like that in public. I'm sensitive to the sounds, and why are we so close to each other? This girl likes her elbow room. The reason I'm writing this from the library is that something is seriously wrong with my laptop. Starting on Saturday it just started acting out of control. When I go to shut it down, it says that there is a task host window open. And it freezes once I go to any website. And it won't shut down on it's own, I have to shut it off with the button, which I know isn't the greatest. Yesterday I took it to a computer shop, and the guy immediately told me that the problem would be more to fix than what I paid for it, and started trying to sell me a whole new laptop. He was saying all of this before even looking at my computer! He was like a car salesman on steroids. I told him that I couldn't afford a new laptop, and so he tried selling me used laptops that were still close to a thousand dollars!! He tried selling me on financing a new one, and all of this stuff. It was like three or four guys that were like milling around and offering their two cents, and to be honest it was testosterone overload, and they were talking in ways that I didn't understand, and it was just not good. So, finally they agreed to fix it in three or four days, for almost what I paid for it. So, as I was walking home I was getting more and more upset. I called them when I got home and told them I couldn't afford to have it fixed at their prices which felt ridiculous, and that I would pick up my laptop this morning. So, today when I went to pick it up, I told them that I felt like I went to a used car lot, and I said that no one even really looked at my computer to see what was wrong before starting to try to sell me something. When I was complaining this morning, all three men were hovering around, and so I asked if there were any other employees who would like to join in so I could really feel outnumbered.
The funniest/saddest thing is that the guy who was trying to sell me stuff started saying how he thought I was so full of positive energy, and how he really wanted to help. I felt like he was insinuating that he made a mistake in thinking I was a nice person. I love how men can complain and be assertive, and they get respect but when a woman stands up for herself, well we are just the nastiest. I told him that I am a nice, positive person but that I also know when I am not being treated fairly.
Anyway, now they are offering to fix my computer for free because they "want everyone to be happy" I told them I need to think about it, so here I am blogging at the library and thinking about it.
It's hard when stuff like this happens and you're all alone. Anyway, I'm not going to get all dark and depressed on you. I am in public, so I'm trying to not get emotional.
I hope everyone's week is going better than mine!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hauls and Life

I went to Trader Joe's and Natural Grocers the other day and got my weekly haul. Natural Grocers still had the Live Kombucha sodas on sale, and I decided to try the concord grape drinking vinegar, and I loved it! I love grape anything. If I had to drink soda it would be grape, and when I was a kid it was always grape bubble gum or bust. This drinking vinegar tasted to me like an upscale grape soda. It had that vinegar tang, but if you didn't know it was vinegar, you would just think it's an interesting grape soda. I loved it!!
spinach, mango, cilantro,green onion, English breakfast tea, green onion and chocolate raspberry baton
Rice, lite and heavy coconut milk, black beans, tomato paste, sunflower seeds and chocolate
sliced bread, olive baguette, and vegan mayo
Pineapple, tofu,bananas,celery,beets,pasta, lemons,sweet potato
Remember how I was grousing awhile ago about how expensive vegan sliced breads can be? Well, leave it to Trader Joe's. The whole grain and flax bread is vegan, not full of funky ingredients, and it's $1.99 a loaf.  And it's pretty tasty too.
Since today is the last day you can sign up for Vegan Mofo, I wanted to mention that I am sadly not signing up this year. I am wrecked about it. Last year was my first Vegan Mofo, and seriously I was so so proud to be part of something that I had enjoyed so much in the past. I love Mofo time, I have discovered so many new blogs, and it's just such a positive thing. And even though at first I wasn't thrilled with the prompt thing, in the end I enjoyed them, and I think I only skipped one or two prompts. When I first heard mofo was going to be in November, I kind of had a sinking feeling. After looking at the prompts this year, I just can't do it. We are heading into what is the hardest part of the year for me. It's family and loved ones shoved down my throat, no matter where I go. And deep down I am a mushy, sentimental softie, but this time of year makes me put on a hard shell. I have spent every Thanksgiving and Christmas alone for as long as I can remember. Even when I lived in PA., and my adoptive family lived ten minutes away, I spent the holidays alone. It was just easier, and less lonely and stressful. I've already seen a few Holiday themed ads, so I'm trying to brace myself for the onslaught. A lot of the prompts for this years Mofo are friend and family related, and I just can't do it, or try to pretend. I don't have the energy to pretend this year.
I was watching some competition type show, and the contestants had their family up in the wings cheering them on, and I thought of how my part of the wings would be empty, unless they allowed cats.
Sorry that today's post is such a downer, I just figured I'd address Mofo before it starts. And to be honest, it feels good to admit that this time of year is tough. I always go out of my way to act like it's no big deal, and it just feels good to be honest.
To cheer everything up, here is Kanye in what has become THE SPOT. They love their little kitty tent.They feel safe and covered, but they can still keep an eye on what's happening.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Things I'm Loving and Appreciating

I love how this tree has so many different colors
I used to love fall when I was a kid. Playing in leaves, ironing leaves in wax paper, apple cider, apple picking, hot chocolate, the whole deal. Somewhere along the way fall has lost it's shine. I assume it's because fall leads us into winter which I loathe and detest. But meditation is kind of showing me that I need to live in the moment more. And appreciate the moment more. After losing everything, I can think of so many moments I should have valued and appreciated. There is a blustery energy and beauty that comes with fall, and I'm really working on accepting it, and being grateful for the beauty.
And when you are seeing the leaves finally starting to turn, and then you stumble across roses that are still blooming, it's hard not to give Mother Nature a high five.This little patch of street is my favorite because there are some of the cutest houses EVER, and one of the houses has concord grapes growing on their fence, and it smells so amazing when you walk by. And then you see roses!

I always look at these onion chips when I'm at Natural Grocers. They're made by dang, who makes coconut bacon and other flavored coconut chips. These onion chips look good, but are a little pricey, and I always would rather have vegan cheese if I'm splurging. Well, my spidey senses told me to check the clearance bin, and look what I found! Patience is a virtue after all!
These are intense. Like you do not want to eat these before a date, or really any kind of social situation. They are slices of onion with some seasoning, and that's it. They are fried at a very low temperature to retain nutrients. So it's an intense onion flavor. They are really tasty. One of my first thoughts when I tasted them was that they would be AHMAZING  on a Beast or Gardein burger.
Kanye is my assistant
I've also been enjoying this Teeccino chicory tea. When the mornings are cooler, I tend to drink more tea, and I want to keep my caffeine intake at a lower level, so this helps. It tastes so rich like coffee, and it really fills that void. And it has a really wonderful flavor. I love it soooooo much. If you love coffee but want to cut back, I really think this would help. I wish I knew about it when I quit coffee, it would have made the transition so much easier!
I saw a picture of this last week, maybe on instagram and knew I had to try it. I'm down to my last spoonful of Just Mayo, and I still haven't braved finding a Target. After reading the ingredients, I think it is Just Mayo with the new label. I am making chickpea salad, and also a no tuna salad with raw sunflower seeds, so I'll definitely report on the flavor. I was actually hoarding the last spoonful of my Just Mayo because I didn't know how to get more, so thanks again Joe!
This is how I found Joan and Roxie yesterday. Roxy just flings her leg anywhere! They like to get super comfy and cozy on my side of the bed. But I guess that's what I get for thinking that any side of the bed is mine!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Stuff Was Eaten

I've been missing some days blogging, so I figured I'd show some stuff I've been eating and cooking. I've now made two recipes from Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero and both have been smashing successes. Some of the recipes in the book are a bit too much for me, meaning they have lots of ingredients I don't have, and need cookware that I don't have, but that's okay, there are still a few simpler recipes.
Lentils and rice may not look pretty, but they're so tasty!
This is the Colombian lentils and rice and apparently it's often a side dish, but obviously it deserves to be the main attraction! It's so simple, but sooooo tasty. You just saute onion and garlic with some spices, mostly cumin, and then the rice and lentils are cooked in coconut milk and some water. I halved the recipe, as she called for two cups of dry rice and a cup of dry lentils. With one cup of rice and a half cup of lentils I made a TON, I can only imagine how much the full recipe would make. It's creamy and savory and really filling.
I had some roasted Japanese sweet potatoes drizzled with this Carolina Gold BBQ sauce from Trader Joe's. I roasted the potatoes with a little garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper.
Beet,  pineapple, ginger,spinach and lime juice

I can't stand beets. I love the color, but the taste is way too "earthy" for me. I don't taste the sweetness that beet fans talk about. But a couple of years ago, I read about how healthy they are for the liver, and I knew my liver needed healing, so I started juicing them. I haven't had beet juice since way before the incident, and the other day I was reading that beets can also help with mood elevation. Apparently a healthy liver helps with a healthy mood! If you're like me and don't like beets, I have found that pineapple and any kind of citrus, especially lime really makes it palatable!
This was a delicious meal. This is Singapore noodles with oven baked tofu. I had these noodles at some point while I was staying with Derek in Seattle, and I was surprised at how easy they are to make yourself, and with far less grease I might add. I like this dish because the noodles are dry, in a good way as opposed to dressed with a lot of sauce, or oil. I used this recipe, minus the chewy tofu bites. I just used my plain old oven baked tofu. This was another really easy dish and it's one of those meals where you can kind of use whatever veg you have on hand.
And here is Afro, or ahem I mean Brutus. She was spider catting up and down the couch the other day, and just being a total spazz. I had to play referee several times.
I thought she looked so funny here. She's thinking about the havoc she wreaked as Brutus. And also wondering when I'm going to stop putting that thing in her face.
Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Stouffer's Made Vegan!

Keeping an eye on things
None of the cupboards in my kitchen close all the way. Well, they close all the way, but they open very easily. Most mornings I wake up and every cupboard is open, and it looks like someone was desperately trying to find something. So, I caught little miss thing on top of the cupboards trying to open them from the top. Cats!!
When I was a kid, I never ate the mac and cheese in the blue box. My mom was a "clean eater" and avoided "processed" foods long before it was a thing. It's so funny, as a kid I HATED it, I wished so hard that I could have a "normal" mom who served food out of boxes and cans like everyone else. So, as a vegan I never crave the blue box mac and cheese, but as an adult in my pregan days I did fall in love with first Stouffer's, then Amy's frozen mac and cheese. Although Amy's does have a vegan variety, I don't buy it often because it's harder to find, and also it's expensive. But, when I crave the mac and cheese of my pregan days, this is what I want. I wanted to recreate that thick, rich, cheese-y sauce and plump, soft noodles.
I've made a lot of vegan mac and cheese, and I swear that coconut milk in the can is the secret. You can even use the light coconut milk, which I did here and it is still amazing. I think it's even better than a cashew based cheese sauce. Coconut milk has that rich fattiness that makes this so satisfying. I would serve this to any non vegan and watch their face light up with pleasure and surprise. I wrote down what I did, and even though it is very basic, it is sooooooooo good!

                                                      Stouffer's Like Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 T. tapioca starch
  • 3 T. nutritional yeast
  • S & P to taste 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 3 slices FYH American style slices (optional)
  • dash smoked paprika
  • 1/2 package pasta of your choice, I used classic macaroni 
While your cooking your pasta, mix together all ingredients except for the cheese. Make sure you whisk really well so there are no clumps of tapioca starch. Once the pasta is cooked, put it back in the pan on low heat. Mix in the sauce, and stir and simmer for two or three minutes. Tear the sliced cheese into small pieces and add them to the pot. Stir around, continuing to simmer. Turn off heat, and put a lid on your pot. Allow to sit for about five minutes. After the five minutes are up, take off the lid and enjoy the creaminess and richness.

Don't be scared when it seems like too much sauce at first. You want that extra sauce, because after it all blends, melts, and cools down it will be the perfect creaminess. This is the closest I've come to that traditional, creamy mac that every now and then I just crave. The American style slices helped give it that authentic, kid friendly taste I was going for. 

This is one of those meals I make myself when I need a hug. This is something I would make for someone who needs a hug. And it took under twenty minutes to make, and a lot of that time is downtime anyway. This is one of those meals you can whip up when you've had a long day and don't have the energy to cook an elaborate meal, but you still want delicious and comfort. This is delicious without the FYH slices, they just added a little extra love.
Etta interlude
I didn't show my grocery haul for this week, and even though it isn't super exciting, I thought I'd show it anyway.
Farro,red pepper, lemons, white beans, black beans, coconut milk, pears and 2 limes
green onion, ginger, parsley, cilantro, pineapple, spinach, bananas

coconut milk, garlic, dried cranberries, beets, and one jalapeno
Ginger, tofu, red onion and avocado
I've managed to find some great sales, so even though I'm on a budget, I'm not going crazy with boredom, and as we can all see I'm eating way less lentils than I usually do on a budget! One thing I've learned about shopping on a budget is to look everywhere for deals. I discovered three different areas at Natural Grocers where they put their clearance items. And you can find some out of this world deals there. And at Smith's, a lot of times they have things on close out sales, that aren't really advertised, you just kind of accidentally discover them as your milling around. So, always keep your eyes open, and put on your Sherlock Holmes hat when you're shopping, because sometimes these stores almost hide their sale items, so you have to really LOOK!
Today is going to be a rainy day in Salt Lake City. What I enjoy about this city is that when it rains, it storms. It's only rained a handful of times since I've lived here, like under five. But, before it rains it gets super windy and blustery. It reminds me of the thunderstorms we had in Ohio when I was a kid, especially the summer thunderstorms. Power almost always went out, and we would get out the candles and bunker down for a stormy, rainy day/night. Although we don't lose power(knock on wood) it reminds me of those times. It's still warm enough that my windows are open, and my cats go INSANE  with the bluster! Anyway, it makes me have a lot of different feelings. I'm going to hunker down and spend some time adult coloring today, my fridge is kind of bare!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Can you handle the cuteness?
Happy Caturday! I feel so lucky to have gotten this picture, because you know how cats like to move as soon as they've been noticed. Luckily for me Joan loves the camera, and Kanye loves the cuddles, so it all worked out. It reminds me of the picture of them from my GoFundMe page! They love to watch the kids play, and I swear they love it when the kids see them in the window.
Tandoori tofu marinating
After baking served with Jasmine rice
Leftovers became breakfast quesadillas!
I made the Tandoori tofu from Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero. The recipe calls for plain, unsweetened soy yogurt, or I'm sure any plain, unsweetened plant yogurt would do. I always dread it when recipes call for that, because is it just me or is plain, unsweetened plant yogurt hard to find? I had some coconut cream, so I used that and just used extra lime in the marinade for that yogurt-y tartness. It seemed to work out fine. My apartment smelled SO GOOD while this was baking, I actually couldn't believe the smell was coming from something I made, it smelled like the best restaurant ever. I think this might be the stand-out dish from this book.
Natural Grocers had these kombuchas on sale for $1.50 each! That's insane, so I had to get some. That's like two for the price of one!
I saw they had drinking vinegar, and I was scared, and also intrigued enough to try one. Don't sales make everything feel safer? This is made with coconut vinegar, which I have never had, but I can only assume it's a little less harsh than regular vinegar. When I opened the bottle, I was scared. Very strong vinegar smell, with cherry as an afterthought. It took awhile for me to actually taste it. I kept sniffing it and telling Roxy I couldn't do it. She finally convinced me I could, and it's not as bad as it smells. I mean, you're drinking vinegar, make no mistake, but the cherry flavor is strong enough to make it tolerable. For my gut health, I'll probably just stick to kombucha, but I'm glad I tried this. They also had a concord grape flavor, and one other flavor I can't remember.
When I was at Natural Grocers, they had a television all set up right in the produce section and the television was playing this infuriating video of some "humane" turkey farm, and it showed the turkeys in their "open space", moving around and then the people were telling us all about how the turkeys are treated kindly, and not fed any crap, and whatever the key words are for people to feel less bad about their choices. I of course see that this is progress, and obviously humane is preferred over inhumane, but still that stuff pisses me off. And to have it right in the produce section of all places! Play that video in the meat aisle. I was so upset. I ended up calling the store, and Emailing the company and expressed my disgust at the insensitive placement of the TV. They sure don't mind taking money from vegans who go there to shop, so they should have a little consideration. I actually got an Email back saying they didn't think about the placement of the TV, and have since moved it to their lobby area. So now that stupid video is the first thing you see when you walk in. Progress not perfection I guess.
Every time I hear any kind of crash coming from the kitchen, it's usually this little thing knocking things over in the pantry. My pantry has a lot of empty space, like a lot, but she just has to tip toe through the spaces that have stuff. My soy sauce has been knocked around so much I can't believe the bottle hasn't broken. But I love it, and wouldn't have her any other way.
Happy Caturday!