Sunday, December 31, 2017

Random Sunday

This may not look like much but it sure tasted great. I baked a couple of smallish russet potatoes while I did yoga, and then cut them open, stuffed them with leftover lentil soup and nooch and popped them back in the oven until the soup was warm. I topped the whole mess with a dollop of red pepper hummus and green dragon sauce. This kept me nice and full for most of my shift at work.
For dinner I kept it simple again with black beans and rice topped with guacamole and salsa. It's actually called guacasalsa an it's made by the produce department at my job. It's just guac on the bottom and salsa on top. This meal was simple and really hit the spot.
Speaking of the produce department, a coworker who works in produce told me that they are hiring in produce and I'm going to talk to the produce manager and see if I can apply or whatever hoops corporate makes you jump through to work in a different department of the same store. Wish me luck. I feel like who better to work in produce but a vegan?? I mean it seems like a perfect fit. I know I'll still have to deal with customers to a certain extent, but it won't be constant like cashiering. And I don't have to touch meat, or listen to them complain about everything in the store that has zero to do with me. Like I'm becoming a people hater an I don't want to become bitter. On my days off I don't want to even talk to another human, and I don't even enjoy grocery shopping anymore. And grocery shopping use to be one of my favorite things to do. Keep your fingers crossed for me an I'll keep you posted.
This woman comes in every night to buy a single large beer to take with her pain pill(?!!?) which she swears works better with the beer. There is of course no reason for me to have this intel but these are the personal things people tell you when you ring them up. Anyway she has this adorable dog that rides around in a backpack. She said he pulls the strings of the backpack like come on, I'm ready. I asked her if she takes him on actual walks and she swears that he gets three walks a day plus his backpack adventures. He's so cute he has these huge eyes and he just intently watches everything while she shops.
Yesterday I did laundry and put my clean jeans on my chair while I showered. Big mistake, BIG! Afro decided that the nice warm jeans were perfect for napping! And as a bonus maybe mom won't go to work? If only it were that easy, I would have loved to have stayed home with my girls!

Friday, December 29, 2017

One Vegan at a Time!

I was so impressed with the lemongrass tamarind sauce I decided to try this Szechuan style peanut sauce.  When I got home from work I just sliced up some extra firm tofu and baked it with some of this sauce. I used the Trader Joe's extra firm tofu that is vacuum sealed, not the tofu that's packed in water. I love it because it needs no pressing so you can make a spontaneous decision to have tofu. It's definitely worth the extra fifty cents!
 The sauce is garlic-y and it definitely has a kick. It also has that super silky texture that my homemade peanut sauce never has. It would be great as a dip for spring rolls too!

I just learned that one of my coworkers has now gone one whole month with no animal products! He's a bagger at work an I'm always telling him he should be a politician because he has that way with people. But he should be a good politician, not a swarmy one. Anyway, he's interested in Buddhism, and believes in practicing non violence. And thankfully he has made the connection to practice non violence with all sentient beings. When we first started talking veganism, he was leaning towards going pescatarian, which is a start. But I brought him some gardein fishless filets and also the crab-less cakes to try. He loved them both. I'm really happy and so proud of him for making that connection and commitment. An I'm so happy that there are so many delicious vegan foods out there. And this is a win of course for the animals! And it might even be a chain reaction, he could share food with friends and make them consider some kinder versions of their favorite foods. You know how most of the time when you see teenagers, especially in groups you want to do anything to avoid them? Well, this kid proves that not all teenagers are to be feared. I just am so happy and proud!
Do I need to even say anything? Kanye is one of the shyest of my girls, but funnily enough when she sees the camera she turns into a supermodel!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Getting Sauced

I was putting something away last night at work and I randomly spied this delicious sounding sauce. I ha a few bucks left from my "holiday bonus" so I decided to try it. I had some tofu being pressed by a can of chickpeas at home so the timing was perfect.
When I got home I sliced my tofu and put it in a baking dish and covered it with this sauce. I stuck it in the oven while I cooked some Basmati rice. The sauce is probably best used as more of a stir fry sauce, but I didn't want to be making a racket at twelve thirty at night. The oven is quieter and easier. I tasted a little while pouring over the tofu an really liked it. It has that tartness from the tamarind and a nice citrus kick.
Here is the final dish. With a little green onion an a whole lot of sriracha sauce. I would definitely buy this again. It's tangy and thick and citrus-y and the heat from the sriracha made it so much better. Next time I use it I will add crushed red pepper to the tofu while cooking. It didn't taste like it came from a jar at all.
When Joan is sleeping she is super easy to photograph. She'll even pose a lot of the time! But when she is up and moving she's constantly on the go. So this is a somewhat fuzzy but super wide eyed picture of Joan on the move! There are squirrels and birds to watch!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Going Basic

I decided to brave Trader Joe's yesterday. I figured the day after has to be a quiet day, even at Trader Joe's. Thankfully I was right an Trader Joe's was lovely. I was there around ten thirty or eleven A.M. and I was one of maybe fifteen people in the store. Heaven!
I also ran into Smith's for Cat food and found Lilly's red pepper hummus on a woohoo sale for $1.59 a container!
Potatoesx2,tofu,oranges,coconut milk, spinach,carrots,lemons,coconut creamer,refried beans,frozen strawberries,chocolate covered oranges pieces
My haul is pretty boring, or basic as they say. Two reasons, the first being budget, always budget. The second is that I have been relying too much on convenience foods lately and for many reasons I want to stop that before it becomes a habit. I'm going to be eating a lot of potatoes, juices and smoothies over the next few days.
I spotted this at Natural Grocer's yesterday. I stopped in for cashewgurt and vegan gravy mix. They were sold out of the vegan gravy mix but still had the meat flavors. That made me happy. I really wish I could have gotten this, it sounds amazing right?! But it is definitely a vegan luxury food. Remember the dark days when all we had was soy cheese that left a lot to be desired? Now we can have fancy cheese boards! I hope to try this one day. Has anyone else had this flavor? I bet it's like the fancy cheeses with the brine and everything!
I always say how hard it is for me to get a good picture of Etta. She is very camera shy like me. But this was an easy picture because she is feeling very proud and happy with herself. She stole my chair when I got up and it's all nice and warm!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Some Stuff I Ate and Cats!

I had this delicious cherries and berries smoothie the other day. I had run out of spinach so this was just bananas, frozen cherries, strawberries and blueberries and peanut butter. This really tasted like a milkshake! I swear between Epsom salt baths, frozen cherries and turmeric I'm managing to handle my extreme back pain pretty well!
This is such a terrible picture of a really delicious pizza I made the other night on a day off. I mentioned that a neighbor gifted me with a bag of gluten free bread flour so I decided to try using it to make a pizza. I just added water and some yeast to the flour and let it rise for about an hour and then rolled it out. It turned out pretty well. I topped it with marinara, lentils, red onion, garlic, green olives, nooch, fennel seed, crushed red pepper, vegan shreds and homemade almond cheese. It was kind of a cross between ricotta and feta. This was really tasty and it felt nice to make my own crust again.
Last night at work I noticed a few of these Tasty Bite spinach dal packets on clearance at work. They were marked down to a dollar each!!! We sell Tasty Bite at work, but not the spinach dal. It was thrown in the truck on accident so it was just easier to mark it down and get it out of there. I've learned that's what groceries do when they get random things they don't carry. Just mark it way down and try to get rid of it. So if you happen in at the right time you can get very lucky! The dal was pretty good. It's very mild, not spicy at all and it's a really nice super quick meal that doesn't have a lot of scary ingredients. I have two more packets that will definitely come in handy for those too tired to cook nights.
The squirrels and birds are at it again, plus it's the weekend so there are lots of humans taking their dogs to the park. Lots of activity. I think it's so cute how Joan is standing and looking out of the window!
Happy Caturday!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Amy's and Jolly Llama

Yesterday before work I made a quick little sushi bowl. I'm out of seaweed snacks, but this bowl was still so satisfying. Tofu, avocado and rice are just a really great trio. Add some soy sauce and wasabi and we have a party!
Someone bought gluten free lasagna noodles the other day and it kind of made me catch a craving for lasagna. I don't think I've had lasagna since going gluten free. I found this Amy's gluten free vegan lasagna on sale for much cheaper than it would be to buy all the ingredients so I decided to go the lazy route. As far as frozen foods goes Amy's is usually pretty tasty. I would buy the roasted vegetable pizza all the time if it weren't so expensive. This lasagna has tofu and veggies layered with rice noodles and a pretty tasty marinara plus daiya mozzarella! I really enjoyed this, and it definitely cured my lasagna craving. I would buy this again to have around for a quick and easy meal.
Have you guys tried these? I had never heard of them until once again I was given a coupon because I like "crap like this" These are beyond amazing. They're so incredibly creamy I'm guessing because they're made with coconut cream. I think we all know by now that I am a huge sucker for anything vegan and caramel so I knew this was the flavor I had to try.It has a really great caramel flavor with just the right touch of salt. These are perfect in every way! I think I also saw mango and a dark chocolate flavor. These are like a gogurt or push pop and so they are not only delicious but fun to eat too! If you see these, you should try them they are AHMAZING!
There is a tree right outside of my bedroom window and it provides a home to lots of birds and squirrels who provide tons of entertainment for the girls! That's Etta's tail you see in the picture. She's patiently waiting for a spot to open on the sill!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Laughter and Revolutions

This is one of my all time favorite videos. I've watched it a million times and it still makes me laugh loudly out loud. It's under two minutes and is more than worth your time. The narration is so perfect!

I saw this bumper sticker on a car as I was walking to work and I had to stop and take a picture. I really like that and I feel like I needed that reminder. Even though veganism is growing, we are still very much the minority and I am strongly reminded of that everyday at work. And sometimes customers will ask me if I like something, or if I've tried some kind of meat or food with animal products, and when I say I don't eat meat I have heard a lot of rude and dumb things and it makes me realize some people not only will never go vegan, they have no interest and believe animals are for us to eat. And they teach their kids and so on and so forth. It's one thing to know this, and another to just have it in your face day after day. But this bumper sticker reminded me that veganism is growing, and things are changing. So thank you random stranger for having a very cool bumper sticker!
Last night I had a craving for spaghetti so I decided to try this spicy marinara sauce. It's made by Mezzetta. I've had their pepperoncinis and olives but never their pasta sauce. I honestly usually make my own because it's super easy and I sometimes find jarred sauces have a weird taste I don't like. But this is pretty good. Actually it's really good. Maybe it's the plum tomatoes? I don't know but it has a great tomato flavor, not bitter or too sweet and it actually is a little spicy! I added nooch and crushed red pepper to my bowl because I love all the spice! I would definitely buy this again.
Although not as hilarious as patty cake cats, this was a very rare moment with Joan and Roxie cuddling. Joan is even smiling a little bit!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Plants Not Pills

Yesterday my back hurt so much that I was nauseated for most of the day. I only had this smoothie and a juice until my night time meal. This smoothie had lots of cherries, spinach,banana,maca powder, peanut butter and a handful of walnuts for those Omegas. It was really delicious.
I also found a yoga video for lower back pain, although I had to modify some of it for fear I wouldn't be able to get out of some of the postures. I've never experienced that before. There were times I didn't know if I would be able to get up yesterday. I feel better today, but I see that I need to try and make sure I'm eating anti inflammatory foods daily if I want to avoid taking a million Tylenol a day.
After soaking in a super hot ginger and Epsom salt bath I finally had an appetite so I made a super basic peanut sauce and stirred it with some gluten free spaghetti and scallions. I had some baked tofu on the side. Why is peanut sauce so good!?

Even though Afro likes to pick on Etta, especially when Afro turns into Brutus, they still really love each other and they fell asleep holding paws after they were done slapping each other! Sisters!

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Grinch-y Bonus

Green onions, bananas, rice noodles, gluten free spaghetti,grapefruit,lemon, dish sponge,avocado,peanut butter,tofu, frozen cherries
The above picture is my holiday bonus from my job. We all received a twenty five dollar gift card to the store we work at!! I don't mean to sound like an ingrate because my budget is actually super tight this week so this definitely helped, but COME ON!! We basically didn't get a bonus because this cost them nothing. This is one of the many reasons I try my best to not spend money at work. After this bonus I've decided to be even firmer with myself. It's easy to talk myself out of trudging to the store in the cold when I know I can just get something at work. But that needs to stop because WOW. I just realized I also got a box of Dr. Praegers Bombay burgers that didn't make it in the picture. So the picture plus some veggie burgers is my holiday bonus. Sad but at the same time kind of hilarious.

Yesterday for lunch before work I made some lentil soup. I had to walk to work so I definitely needed soup to get me ready. I used red and green lentils. I love using red lentils because they cook way down and just kind of make the soup creamy without any kind of plant cream or milk. I used lots of turmeric in this batch because my back still hasn't healed from pumpkin season. That's also why I got the frozen cherries to add to my smoothies. I've read that cherries are also anti-inflammatory and I need all the help I can get.
This was my lazy dinner last night. Seasoned curly fries and a Dr. Praegers's veggie burger. I forget the brand of fries these are but I won't be buying them again. Frozen fries of course are deep fried and have more oil than my homemade fries, but these were the oiliest fries I've ever seen. The parchment paper had pools of oil on it after I made them. I'm not afraid of oil, but I don't like excessive oil either.
These silly girls! Always making me laugh and feel loved even when I have the very worst of days. I'm so lucky to be their human!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Throwing Things Together

Like a lot of grocery stores we have weekly ads where I work. I don't really pay attention to them unless I have to look for a customer. I somehow noticed that on our ad that ended Tuesday night we had cauliflower on a super good sale. As I've mentioned I really try to not spend money where I work, but I do pick things up now and again if it's a great price, or if Trader Joe's is too insane to handle. I'm only human! I decided to make cauliflower wings since I haven't had them in awhile, and I was gifted some gluten free bread flour. Since I am very new to using gluten free flours, and have never used gluten free bread flour I wasn't sure if it would work. I'm super happy to report that mixed with some water the gf bread flour made an awesome batter!
I combined all of these sauces to make my wing sauce. I went heaviest on the hoisin garlic sauce because it's soooo good! And since it's thick it really likes to stick to the cauliflower.
This was the best batch of cauliflower wings I've made so far. I made the batter thicker than I usually do, and I think that made a huge difference. Usually I make the batter like a thick pancake batter, but this time I made it more like biscuit batter. The batter stayed on the cauliflower much better and kept a better texture even after the second bake with the sauce. This was a really delicious meal.
I'm a little blue this morning because my two days off are already over! Although for the most part the people I work with are nice and I very much appreciate that, I still don't like my job. It's so monotonous and people can really be the worst. All the songs about cheerful holiday shoppers are a lie!!
At least I have my girls around to always cheer me up and make me smile. Kanye doesn't even care that her little bum is almost falling off the bed, as long as she gets to cuddle with Afro!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Curry and Cats!

I found this curry powder somewhere for a really great price.  I decided to try it out by making a red lentil and soy curl curry. It's pretty good. I was kind of surprised to see that it wasn't as yellow as other curry powders, and it also wasn't as hot as I expected. As you can see I still added sriracha to the finished dish! But it's still a tasty curry powder.
Although I did write down the recipe, I feel kind of silly posting it because it's so simple! I will say that I really enjoyed working with the soy curls, and I will be buying them again once I've run out. I soaked them first, then drained them and sauteed them with the onion and garlic. I was able to get some nice brown spots and crisp up the outside a little. And they smelled amazing! I can't wait to try these a million different ways! I hope Butler Foods starts distributing these to more grocery stores. I feel like they don't get as much love as other meat alternatives and they deserve love too. Hopefully Natural Grocers starts a trend!
I puttered around yesterday doing laundry, cleaning and cooking. I laid out some clean comfy clothes to put on after my detox bath, and this is what happened! My little princesses!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Just Another Vegan Haul

I made my weekly trek to Trader Joe's and Natural Grocers the other day and forgot to show my haul.Natural Grocers had a few new items which is always exciting!
They have the tofurky ham! I haven't seen this anywhere near me, even Whole Foods! Way to go Natural Grocers! I didn't buy it because I was watching my budget, and also gluten. But I am seriously considering a cheat day because I really want to try it. I love the original tofurky roast. Whether I try it or not I'm super happy to see it becoming more available.
The other exciting new thing I saw at Natural Grocers was Butler Soy Curls! These I did buy. I've only seen these at the vegan grocery store in Seattle and online. I'm super excited to use these again. I tried them once and I remember that I really liked them. I finally have today and tomorrow off so I will be experimenting with soy curls for sure!
potatoes,lemons,bananas,red lentils,sweet onion,tofu,coconut creamer,veggie gyoza,frozen strawberries,slivered raw almonds,sriracha sauce,peanut butter,tofu, coconut milk
I couldn't resist the gyoza even though they have gluten. I haven't had a potsticker since going gluten free and I just had to get them. Honestly this is one of my more basic hauls. I didn't even bother to make a list because it's so hectic at Trader Joe's I just go in and hope for the best. I have my staples like lemon and spinach that I just automatically grab, and wing the rest.
I also found this gochujang sauce on a woohoo sale at Smiths! Such a score. Lately when I have miso soup I add a little gochujang to the broth before mixing in the miso. It makes it a little spicy and really tasty.
And here is Joan and her newest obsession. She loves to stare at her reflection, and then go to town scratching at herself. It's pretty hilarious. She does the same thing in the bathroom mirror. No mater how often I clean the mirror, there are always little paw prints all over it!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Puppy Update and Hummus Pasta

Puppy update! All is well with the lost puppy. She is eating and adjusting. She has touched noses and been sniffed by Etta, Afro, and Kanye. Joan and Roxy are still pissed and not wanting to be friends. I've been checking lost and found pet websites and also walking to work and taking different streets looking for flyers. So far nothing. She has certain very submissive traits which makes me wonder about her humans and if I should even try to find them. I just want the best for her.
Those ears!
She is very, very sweet and loving. She just wants all the love. And she gives really great kisses and hugs.
A lot of this has been going on. As you can see Etta is totally relaxed with the whole situation. Roxy and Joan are under the table having a stare off with her!
This is the situation with Joan. Lots of stare offs and Joan swatted at her this morning. Unfortunately for me Joan was on my lap and got me instead. Joan and Roxy are definitely not interested in making new friends!
My food has been pretty boring and sadly not very colorful. I'm in the middle of a six day stretch before a day off so I expect to have boring food for a few more days. Last night I noticed the roasted garlic lantana hummus had a two dollar off ticker, so even though I am trying to buy less packaged stuff I bought it. Bad me. It's a flavor I haven't tried and hummus pasta sounded so good!
Although it's very beige, it's also very, very tasty. Although I definitely wouldn't eat this on a date, it might be one of my favorite flavors of their hummus. This is the fifth flavor of lantana hummus I've tried, and they are all AHMAZING! But I mean this roasted garlic is out of this world. They are extremely generous with the garlic. Like I said, definitely not date food, but oh so good!
Happy Monday!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Goodies

I've been experimenting with different gluten free brownie mixes for awhile now. Back in October I read about using coconut milk as an egg and oil replacer in boxed cake and brownie mixes. It works really, really well. Gluten Free Heaven is actually a somewhat local company. They are located in Pleasant Grove Utah, which is about thirty miles away from SLC. They have several cupcake and cake mixes plus this brownie mix. I like that they use minimal packaging. Always a big plus!
Unlike other mixes I've used these got the crinkly top like a good brownie should have. I would never guess these are gluten free. I think the coconut milk is super helpful with gluten free baked goods. I think the extra fattiness battles the dryness and totally wins! So far when it comes to baking I've tried both bananas and apple sauce as oil replacers, and now coconut milk and coconut milk wins hands down. And I don't know how available this mix is outside of Utah, but here is their website if you'd like to check them out. I will definitely be trying out more mixes!
This looks like a mess but it was a delicious mess. I really should have written down the recipe because it was amazing! I made a super easy tomatillo sauce by just blending some tomatillo with half a jalapeno, a clove of garlic and a little water. And salt and pepper of course. Then I made an almond cream sauce and layered corn tortillas with cilantro lime rice, white beans, both sauces and a little vegan cheese. I topped it with green onions and green dragon sauce. So, so good. Enchilada casserole is definitely one of my favorites. And I always forget how much I love tomatillo sauce!
Here is a live action shot of Kanye and Afro lazily play fighting with each other. Right after this picture was taken Brutus kind of came out and Kanye fled the scene!