Monday, May 22, 2017

Spicy Cold Sesame Noodles

  Yesterday was a gloomy, rainy day and I got sucked into a wormhole of watching Chris Cornell videos and tributes on YouTube. I had never seen this cover and I didn't even know it existed. It's so beautiful I had to share. I also stumbled across a video of him covering Billie Jean, yes that Billie Jean! It was pretty amazing. I also watched several videos of him singing duets with various people, and what struck me is his respect for other singers. He has such a powerful, strong voice and he really holds back when he's singing with someone else to not overpower them. It shows a level of respect and a lack of ego that is just really refreshing.
Since I had a pretty melancholy day with quite a few tears shed, I wanted something easy but delicious for dinner. I've been craving cold sesame noodles for awhile, so I decided to make that happen. I used tahini for the sauce, and they turned out really tasty. Cold sesame noodles are a favorite takeout food of mine back when I used to actually eat takeout. I wrote down what I used so I could share!

                                                            Spicy Cold Sesame Noodles
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 T. Tahini
  • 2 1/2 T. Coconut Aminos, Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 3/4 T. Rice Vinegar
  • 1 T. Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 1/4 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C. Water
  • 1 Tsp. Roasted Sesame Oil
  • 12 Oz. Pasta of Choice, I used gluten free spaghetti
  • 3/4 C. Frozen Edamame
  • 4 Sliced Scallions
Cook Pasta according to package instructions. Add Edamame during the last two minutes of cooking. While the pasta is cooking, combine everything from the garlic down to the sesame oil together. You can either just mix in a bowl with a fork, or through the ingredients in a blender. I've done both ways and they're both fine. Last night I used a blender. When the pasta and edamame are done cooking, drain and rinse with cold water. Then stir in the sauce and sliced scallions. Refrigerate for at least one to two hours and then enjoy!!
This morning I was looking everywhere for Afro and couldn't find her. I was starting to panic even though obviously she had to be somewhere. But I have been watching Supernatural and things disappear on that show all the time. Anyway, I found her in the cat room laying under a shred of paper looking at me like I was crazy!
And here she is later on sleeping soundly with her favorite toy, her little newspaper that Caroline sent. She loves this toy so much she sometimes brings it to bed! Brutus is nowhere to be found at this moment!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Stuff

I went to the library yesterday and as you can see, I'm on a bit of a self help, self healing mission. I was looking for The Secret which I've never read, but this is the only book they had by that author. I've heard good things, so I thought I'd give it a chance. I mentioned the other day that I feel like I'm in a funk, and I desperately want to pull myself out of it. I want to make the life that I want, and only I can do it. So maybe these books can help. I've also always been interested in Ayurvedic medicine, so I was really excited to find this book in the vegan cookbook section.
I also got some groceries and decided to try this ginger beer while I waited for my bus. I don't know why I've always been scared to try ginger beer. I guess it's because I thought it would have that fake taste that so many ginger ales have. But this was absolutely AHMAZING! Very refreshing, with a very natural ginger taste. I can see this being a regular treat during the summer. And it was only one dollar for a bottle which is much cheaper than other ginger beers I've seen.
I forgot to take a picture of my haul because I was kind of upset when I got home. When I was at Smith's the cashier asked me how many cats I have, and after I told her she said something bad happened at her apartment building and "she just had to tell someone" and she proceeded to tell me this story that I won't repeat but it was very sad. Some people have no clues about boundaries. You tell things that are burdens to you to friends, family, close coworkers, whatever. Not a random stranger who has the misfortune of going through your line at the grocery. Anyway, I just kind of had a dark cloud over my head when I got home. I didn't get anything exciting anyway. The usual lemons, smoothie stuff, tofu and potatoes with some spices and condiments thrown in for good measure.

I did find something new at Trader Joe's. They now have seasoning salt! I used to love using seasoning salt on fries and also popcorn. But when I look at the ingredients of a lot of the seasoning salts there are a lot of weird, hard to pronounce ingredients that I try to avoid. But this version has onion, garlic, sea salt, paprika, celery seed, dry mustard and nutmeg. I used some on my oven wedges and they were so incredible! Now I just need to buy some popping corn! I was going to get the everything bagel seasoning that Sarah loves so much, but they were sold out.
And here's Joan and Roxy watching birds on YouTube. It's so funny, Roxy is content just watching, but Joan is always trying to get under the laptop, or behind it trying so hard to get those dang birds!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Some Stuff I Ate

This was the leftover sweet potato and red pepper soup with rice mixed in and tofu croutons. Doused liberally with sriracha and green dragon sauce. This was a very delicious breakfast the other day. Like anything with curry it was better the next day.
I made more of the samosa potato pancakes from Mrs. Plant in Texas. Here is the recipe again if anyone is interested. They're so, so delicious!

I made my first loaf of gluten free bread yesterday. I veganized this recipe. I got the almond and coconut flour in the bulk section, and I ground my own flaxmeal so this loaf cost under two dollars to make. It looks weird because the recipe called for five eggs, so I made flax eggs, and also 1/4 cup of flaxmeal so that's a lot of flax! Also I don't have a loaf pan so I just put it on parchment paper and baked it in a casserole dish. But it tastes pretty dang good, and because of the flax it has a nutty, kind of whole wheat flavor. It's a lot more dense than regular bread, but I've learned that's to be expected with gluten free.

Here's my morning kitchari with tofu croutons and some of the bread. I toasted it a little in the oven, and I almost cried when I sopped up my soup. It's been so long, and even though it's not perfect, it tastes good and goes really well with soup!
Last night I was feeling sad about the very unexpected death of Chris Cornell so I wanted something easy and comforting. I made this kind of BiBimBap bowl with a spicy gochujung sauce. I can't say it made me feel better, but it was tasty.
Here's Afro, or should I say Brutus spidercatting along the couch after getting hopped up on catnip. She had just started a huge fight with Etta that I had to break up, so she was venting her frustration on the couch!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Orange You Glad I Made It!

I saw this beautiful orange flower yesterday. I think it's a poppy. Yesterday was a dreary day and so the orange really stood out and made me smile.
For dinner I made a soup from the Thrive Energy Cookbook written by Brendan Brazier. It's a sweet potato and roasted red pepper soup. I added a few of my own touches to it. As I was changing the recipe it made me think about when I first started cooking and how I followed recipes exactly, and I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have an ingredient. Like I'm sure a lot of us no one taught me how to cook. Although my mom cooked everything from scratch, she only allowed me to make the salads and set the table. To this day I hate setting a table. So it's been a long journey teaching myself to cook, and so many fails along the way. I honestly thank veganism for where I am now as a home cook, because that's when I really got into cooking and wanting to not only feed myself but prove to the world that vegan food is delicious food. And it doesn't have to be expensive.
The original recipe used only salt, pepper and basil for flavor. Since it has coconut milk in it, my mind went curry, so I added curry, smoked paprika and a little cumin. I also didn't add basil because I don't have any, and I also added some red lentils to thicken it up. I used to love to have bread with my soup, and now that that isn't an option I like my soups to be a little on the thicker side. Anyway, this is a beautiful color, orange was the theme for yesterday, and really tasty. It was also pretty easy to make. The leftovers are going to taste amazing for breakfast!
I got the girls a new toy yesterday. It's one of those stuffed mice that you can fill and refill with catnip. Here is Etta claiming it as her own. Afro used to HATE catnip and would run away from it, but I learned yesterday that it now brings out Brutus. Shortly after taking this picture Brutus caused quite the problems. I thought I was going to have to give her a timeout!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Etta Garbo Gave Good Face

Great message on my yogi tea bag this morning. I've been feeling funky lately and I really feel like I needed to see this. Thanks Yogi Tea!

I think my thyroid is out of whack based on the way I've been feeling lately. I also feel like I've gained weight even though I've been eating healthy, staying away from all the no nos, and working out harder and walking a lot more. It's extremely frustrating, so much so that I'm considering going to a low cost medical clinic. I had an extremely bad experience at one several years ago and swore I would die before doing that again, but I'm seriously losing my mind. It is so frustrating to be eating healthy and yet not feeling good and also seemingly gaining weight. Like it's put me in a serious funk. I'm saying all of that to say that for three days starting yesterday I'm back on the kitchari, green smoothie and potato diet. I feel like it helped a lot when I did that before. Even though it's kind of boring, I need to do something, because I am really struggling.
I made some longboard style fries seasoned with garlic powder and this chili lime seasoning. That stuff is so good. Just the right amount of chili and lime. I was scared to try it for awhile because I'm not always crazy about a ton of lime, but this stuff is just right. I made s dipping sauce with green dragon sauce and Just Mayo. Perfect!
I had a few squares of this for dessert. Not potatoes or kitchari I know but sometimes a gals gotta have chocolate. This is one of my favorites, and I had kind of  forgotten about them until my last trip to Trader Joe's. It's really rich so a few squares is all you need.
Etta snuggled up with me last night to protect me while I watched an episode of Supernatural. I was able to sneak a few pictures of her beauty once again!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Better Than Takeout!

I know I've mentioned this sauce before, but it is so worth repeating. If you haven't tried this, you really should. It is sweet and a little spicy and just absolutely amazing. It's great with tofu, veggies, with a spoon, or as I discovered last night with jackfruit and mushrooms!
I sauteed the mushrooms and jackfruit after I shredded it in a little coconut oil, and after a few minutes added a little coconut aminos and once that was absorbed I added a few glugs of this sauce, turned the heat to low and let everything simmer away while I made the rice. The whole meal came together in twenty minutes and was super duper delicious. I also added a little crushed red pepper to the veggies and sriracha at the end cause I'm a five star gal. This was better than most take out I've ever gotten in my life. It was also a low calorie meal. I learned that a whole can of jackfruit only has ninety calories! I find jackfruit to be not that filling so I like to bulk it up with mushrooms. The Trader Joe's jackfruit gets a huge thumbs up from me. It's inexpensive and very easy to work with. Some canned jackfruits I've tried I had to simmer in some water or broth to tenderize it before I could shred it. But this was very easily shreddable right out of the can. This is going to definitely become a regular meal for me.
Now that spring is here, the birds have been really active, and thee are lots of trees in front of my apartment. They also land on the railing of the deck and hang out. This makes Joan and Kanye very very happy!
And here's Joan sleeping with her favorite mouse yesterday. This is seriously how she was sleeping!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Vegan Hauls and Kitchen Fails

I did my usual grocery shopping yesterday, and I'm surprised to say that Trader Joe's was not the mob scene I expected. Especially for the day before Mother's Day. Don't get me wrong, it was still a bit overwhelming, just less than I expected.
Coconut milk, mushrooms,bananas,sweet potatoes,chocolate truffle bar, tofu, spinach,ginger tea,jackfruit,sour gummies,Jasmine rice,red lentils,Romaine, coconut aminos, red pepper,lemons
Pretty much the same, with a few new things thrown in the mix. Trader Joe's sour gummies are vegan, and they're pretty dang good. They have a grapefruit flavor which is my fave. They had the jackfruit this week so I had to get it. It's only twenty cents more than what they sell it for at the Asian market so it's fine.
While at Smith's I noticed a few new things there. One is they now sell a few of the Just dressings, I think I saw Just Ranch(!) and two others that I can't remember. Up until now they've only sold the mayo. They also are selling the Daiya salad dressings, and also Hillary's Eat Well.
It's always exciting when regular old groceries start carrying new vegan items. It tells me that there must be a demand because they are in the biz of making money. I doubt I'll ever try the Daiya dressings because as you can see they're six dollars a bottle which is like double the price of Just Ranch and I've heard very mixed reviews of the dressing. I'm also not a fan of their yogurt, it somehow still has that daiya taste. I might try the Hillary's if it ever goes on sale.  But yes to Smith's for branching out!!
Potatoes, garbanzo bean flour,frozen peas,strawberries,cilantro, green onion,garlic,spirulina, vitamin B-12,bulk lentils and green dragon sauce from Trader Joe's

Smith's had a clearance on spirulina supplements so I picked up a bottle. Years ago in Seattle I tried them and I remember they really made me feel great. They gave me extra energy and also seemed to help with the blues I was having from the constant rain. I've been battling some extra depression and lack of energy so I figured why not. And although I try to add nooch to something I eat at least once a day, sometimes I forget so the B-12 will come in handy.
For dinner I wanted to make baked vegetable pakoras. I kind of had a fail. I mean, they tasted great but the were flat, kind of like mini pudlas. I'm not sure what I did wrong, maybe I'll see if I can find a YouTube video. I doused the little pancakes with green dragon sauce, and also made a cilantro and parsley dipping sauce. Kitchen fails are always disappointing, but at least the taste was there. Kitchen fails are the worst when the taste is bad.
Everyday is yoga with cats at my place! Etta likes to tickle and rub on my toes, and then take little bites. She can be in a dead sleep, and somehow she knows when I'm doing yoga and has to come join!
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers of humans and fur babies alike. I hope you get to spend the day doing what you love! I get to spend the day with my girls so I feel pretty grateful for that.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Feels

Yesterday was a gorgeous, summer like day so on my way home I got off the bus early at a park called Liberty Park and sat in the grass and sun for awhile. I read through my Brenden Brazier book I had checked out from the library. I think Liberty Park is Salt lake City's second largest park. It's really beautiful, and I'm very lucky that it's only about a mile away from my apartment. We've gotten quite a bit of rain lately, so the grass was nice and soft between my toes. My toes don't touch the ground very often as I live in an apartment without much of a yard. And what little grass we have usually has a lot of dog poop so this felt wonderful. Back when I had yards and such you would rarely see me with shoes on.
On my walk home I saw this sign in someone's yard. It just made my day. Take that Dump and Dump supporters! Lately it's been really easy for me to feel very cynical and hopeless, but this restored some hope.
For dinner I whipped up this super simple but so, so delicious black bean and corn soup. I used black beans that I cooked from dry, leftover salsa and various spices. Black beans are one of the easiest beans to cook from dry besides lentils. They cook pretty quickly even if you haven't soaked them. I like to add garlic and cumin to the cooking water to make them extra flavorful! I also made baked tortilla chips for dipping, and of course doused the whole dish with green dragon sauce. Back when I was a nanny, I always joked that food was just a vessel for the kid to get ketchup in his mouth, and I believe I am now the same way with green dragon sauce!
Here's another picture of Etta giving me great face! Three in one week, that's a record. But this picture did take like ten minutes to take. As you can see by her ears she's kind of over it!
And here's Roxy just totally letting it all hang out! She was having the best nap ever, and could care less who sees her!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

This and That Thursday

I stopped at Harmon's yesterday for cat food, and did my usual bargain hunt for any big close out sales. I haven't found any lately at Harmon's, but I did see this gluten free bread in the freezer section, and I seriously almost DIED when I saw the price. And this was the sale price. Be warned, serious sticker shock ahead.
Yes, $10.39 and $13.99 for a loaf of gluten free bread. And as you can see, the boxes are very small. I get that it's made with almond flour, but that price is completely out of control in my opinion. Even if I were a millionaire, I would never buy this on principle. It's probably not vegan so I guess it doesn't matter for me anyway, but man gluten free has really become a money grab.
I made sushi burritos last night. Perfect for when you have that sushi craving, but don't feel like making actual rolls. I saw someone make sushi sandwiches on YouTube the other day, and I really want to make one, but you need saran wrap to wrap it and let it set up, and I don't think I've ever in my life owned saran wrap. Sushi burritos are just so easy to make, and so much less fussy than regular rolls. I filled my burrito with rice, oven baked tofu and a perfectly ripe avocado. So delicious and satisfying!
This morning I did a tough workout, and one of the moves involved some fast punches and my shoulders could hardly deal. They are still a little sore from lugging groceries and those water jugs the other day! This green salad and potato wedges were just what the doctor ordered to refuel. The goddess dressing I made the other day just keeps getting better! I've been really loving starting the day with salad. Like I said the other day, it just kind of sets the tone for healthy choices for the rest of the day.
Here's Kanye sitting on my dish drying towel! I've learned to keep the spot where she's sitting empty because that's the preferred window watching spot. I've never minded washing dishes, it's the putting away that I can't stand. But my girls really challenge me to not be lazy because they need their room to view, especially now that the birds are much more active!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Salad, Miso and Cats

I had some dried chickpeas soaking that I needed to cook yesterday. I had planned on making hummus, but I decided to make chickpea salad instead. I haven't made much chickpea salad since going gluten free because I don't have a suitable gluten free bread that I love. Man I miss sandwiches! Anyway, I whipped up a curried chickpea salad and man was it tasty. I served it with a green salad and cucumbers topped with more of my homemade goddess dressing. I'm happy to say that originally my goddess dressing was a little thin, but it thickened up overnight in the fridge. This was a really tasty breakfast. I feel like having salad for breakfast sets the tone for a nice healthy day.
When I got home my stomach was a little upset, so I made a garlic-y ginger-y miso broth with some rice noodles and baked tofu. I felt instantly better. This is the second time I've felt a little queasy and miso has saved the day. It instantly calms my stomach.
Everyone needs someone to hold their hand every now and again. I just can't stand the cuteness with these two sometimes! With all that's going on in the world, I am so, so grateful for these beings who make me smile everyday.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

My Achy Breaky Arms

You know how sometimes you get a great idea, and then halfway through you realize there were some flaws in your plan? Well that happened to me yesterday. About a mile away from my apartment there is a well with Artisan spring water. It's free, and I always see tons of people filling up their jugs.Well, as I mentioned the other day for whatever terrible reason my apartment does not have a recycling bin which is so terrible. So I have an embarrassing amount of plastic litter tubs in the closet of the cat room. I now order big bags of litter online to cut down on the waste, but I just can't bring myself to throw these tubs in the dumpster. So, yesterday I scrubbed two of them out and decided to walk to the water well and get some nice spring water. Well, each tub holds fourteen pounds, and like a dork I thought it would be easy peasy to carry them home. Yes, for a mile I carried twenty eight pounds of water. It took me forever to get home! I had to stop a million times to rest. My forearms were so achy when I got home! So, next time I will bring one jug, that way I can switch arms and not almost die. But, now I have lots of nice fresh spring water and I feel good that I found a use for at least two of the jugs. I might have to ask a neighbor if I can throw a few jugs in their recycling bin. Maybe they'll be nice and say yes.
I saw these pretty flowers on my way to the well. I'm not sure what they are, but they sure are pretty. They remind me of when dandelions turn into the white fluff, but purple. They're really tall too.
I experimented with making a homemade version of goddess dressing, It turned out pretty tasty, although it does need a little tweaking, it was a little thinner than I wanted. I tossed it with some Romaine, iceberg and a little red onion and had some herb-y garlic-y potatoes. This bowl tasted like spring. The potatoes don't look the prettiest, but they tasted amazing.
Etta has been blessing me with good face lately. Here she is outside, trying not to be ushered inside. What she and Afro and Roxy have been doing is driving me nuts trying to sneak down the stairs or jump on the neighbors windowsill while they're outside, then the minute it's time to go inside they plop down and act as if they just want to lounge. Naughty girls!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Vegan Hauls and Bowls

As I mentioned yesterday, I got some groceries on Saturday. Trader Joe's was worse than usual, and I have to admit I missed my days of smoking cigarettes when I left, because I really felt like I needed one. I swear I could write a book on how not to act in a crowded grocery. Anyway, I survived and lived to see another day.
Romaine,red onion, tofu,green olives,fire roasted tomatoes,coconut oil, black olives,tomato paste,artichoke hearts,onion, oranges,lemons,frozen corn,frozen mango and strawberries,iceberg lettuce,carrots,tahini, Persian cucumbers,Korean style BBQ sauce, red lentils and black beans
Potatoes,grapefruit,dried garbanzo beans,bulk hemp seeds,spicy pickles,celery,jalapenos,cilantro and green onion,parsley,avocado,red onion

I also braved Smith's for a few random things. Smith's was much more tolerable even on a Saturday afternoon. It was a nice relief. I'm planning on having lots of salad type bowls and juices and smoothies over the next week. And of course potatoes as always! I swear I can't go more than a few days without potatoes in my life!
Speaking of salad type bowls, last night I had this delicious burrito bowl. I've really missed burritos since going gluten free. I just refuse to pay the high price for gluten free wraps that are not pliable, and leave a lot to be desired taste-wise. So I whipped up some salsa fresca from Mrs. Plant and made a bowl with black beans, lettuce, rice, fire roasted corn,red onion, salsa and of course avocado. This hit the spot. Oh, there's a little jalapeno in there for spice too. I cooked the black beans from scratch, and I added lots of garlic, cumin and smoked paprika to the cooking water and they tasted fantastic! This was one of those meals that was hearty and filling but not heavy. Yum.
And here's Joan trying desperately to get at that pesky squirrel who likes to stop and stare in the window. It seriously drives her insane!