Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Random Tuesday

Vegan for an even longer life!
This is a restaurant in a plaza where my bank is near my apartment. Interestingly enough, in this smallish plaza there are three vegetarian/vegan restaurants. There are actually quite a few vegan/vegetarian restaurants close to my apartment. Even though I don't eat out, it's nice to know there is such a high demand for vegetarian/vegan food!
I mentioned making juice the other day, and I wanted to show what I use to make it as I don't have a juicer. You really don't need one. I just use my blender, and then this mesh strainer over a bowl. Just let it drain for a few minutes, and then gently press down on the pulp to get every last bit of juice. You have to use a smidge of water to get the blender going. I usually use an inch or two, depending on what fruits and veggies I'm using. Your blender will let you know if you need more water. I used to think I couldn't make my own juice because I didn't have a juicer, until I saw a YouTube video using a blender and it's been heaven ever since. You can also use cheesecloth to strain your juice. Years ago I had a juicer and I remember it was such a pain in the arse to clean I barely used it. I'm assuming they've come a long way in that department since then, but this works just fine for me.
I made this super creamy mac and cheese and peas last night. I made the sauce with potatoes, carrot, oats, nooch and miso for that tang. I was out of onion because I actually forgot onion when I went for groceries on Saturday. I haven't forgotten onion in years! Onions are just something I automatically grab, no need to even add it to my list. I just used some onion powder and it was fine. I topped it with green dragon sauce which is a wonderful compliment to mac and cheese! I am seriously going through about a bottle a week at this point, I can't get enough!
Here's a big old pile of floof to make this Tuesday a little cheerier. It's pretty hard to resist if you ask me!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Stuff

Please excuse the horrible picture, it's still dark out so the lighting is horrible! But look what I found! Natural Grocers had it. I forgot to show it with my haul because the first thing I did was get it in the freezer when I got home Saturday. I haven't had a bowl yet, but I did taste it before I put it away and it was amazing! Just like I remember pistachio ice cream tasting! They also have a rockiest road which is definitely on my radar! I've been on a live kombucha and NadaMoo! kick lately, and I noticed their both made in Austin, Texas. A YouTuber I like recently went to VegFest in Austin, and she said it reminded her a lot of Portland.
Here's my orange, carrot ginger juice I enjoyed yesterday. The mandarins I got at Trader Joe's are really sweet and juicy. This really hit the spot. I've been drinking smoothies lately, and it was nice to switch it up and have fresh juice.
I had a simple sushi bowl for dinner. I had been craving veggie rolls for the longest time, and Smith's was out of nori wraps, so I just got seaweed snacks and had a bowl. I also forgot to get cucumber, but this avocado was so perfect and creamy it made it all okay. I had tons of wasabi in my soy sauce. I love the burn!
Someone on Instagram posted yesterday that Trader Joe's now sells canned Jackfruit, like the kind you cook with! I am so excited! I didn't see it on Saturday, but I also didn't check for it because I saw it on the gram yesterday morning. I'll definitely be checking next time I go. It's apparently $1.99 a can, which is cheaper than regular groceries, but not cheaper than the Asian market. But, it's a safer, more pleasant travel experience to go to Trader Joe's, so it kind of balances out. Anyway, I really love that Trader Joe's is on top of food trends, even in the vegan world!
I put a fish for cats video on for Roxy. She was interested at first, but then got bored. I guess she prefers bird videos! I often think about getting another Betta fish, but Joan is just too much of a huntress. And also Brutus can be unpredictable. Maybe one day.
Here's a close up of that gorgeous mug. She has the prettiest green eyes, and she definitely knows it!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

All the Stuff

I am not someone who is into motorcycles or cars, but I saw this motorcycle parked at Smith's yesterday, and I had to take a picture. Have you ever seen anything like it? It's like a part car, part motorcycle. I wonder if the person built it, or if it came like that?
Potatoes,Jasmine rice,Mandarin oranges, Seaweed snacks,avocado,lemons,carrots,red lentils and tofu
Here's my mini haul. I couldn't get much because I usually order huge bags of litter online, and I didn't do that in time, so I had to pick some up to last until I get my delivery. I've made the mistake a million times of getting too much when I get littler, and the walk home from the bus stop is BRUTAL. I'll just make another trip later in the week. Cats before human in this house! I also plan on making another trip to the Asian grocery store. I love that place, but what stops me from going on the regular is the area and the bus I have to take. I think I've mentioned a few times that people in SLC are some of the nicest people of anywhere I've ever lived. But there is a street right up from my apartment called State Street, and once it hits downtown it's okay, but the part near where I live and also going the opposite direction which is where the Asian grocery is is really, really gross. I don't like taking that bus because it's full of  shady people, and it just doesn't feel safe at all. So, I always talk myself out of going there. But there are some things I want, so I'm going to woman up and go one day soon.
I got Mandarin oranges and carrots because after seeing Bianca's juice and smoothie reset, I was craving juices. I also got some ginger root that I didn't show. Orange, carrot ginger juice always makes me feel really energized and happy.
I had the sparkling ginger kombucha yesterday. Enjoyed on the deck while supervising Afro, Etta and Roxy sniffing around outside. This is of course modeled after ginger ale. I never was a huge fan of ginger ale, but I like this.
Potato wedges for dinner. Seasoned with spike seasoning, garlic powder, lemon pepper and smoked paprika. Spicy thousand island for dipping. I'm really enjoying using the sriracha ketchup for thousand island dip.
Here's Joan laying on my lap and keeping me safe while I watch Supernatural. I don't know what I'd do without her!!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

I Scream for NadaMoo! Vegan Ice Cream

Quite awhile ago I had gotten these Tres Pupusas on sale and have been saving them for a rainy day. Well, yesterday was that day, and funnily enough it actually was a rainy day! I had a hankering for crinkle cut fries, so I decided to have a bit of a cheat meal, but the green salad balanced it all out, right? To be honest, the pupusas are probably one of the healthiest, cleanest processed foods I've come across. The ingredients are masa flour, olive oil, black beans and corn. I plan on hunting down masa flour in the near future and making my own. I made them once when I lived in Seattle, and they're very easy to make. Anyway, this was a very tasty meal. I dipped the fries in sriracha ketchup which is seriously so delicious! I think I've seen sriracha mustard which I definitely want to try too.
The star of my day yesterday was this Nada Moo chocolate ice cream. When I was a kid, chocolate and also Neapolitan ice cream were always my favorite. Even as an adult while I do love other flavors, and ice creams with stuff in them, I still prefer plain chocolate with no frills. It's hard to find plain vegan chocolate ice creams, everyone feels like they have to add a bunch of stuff. Since I had coupons, I had picked this up and guys, if you love chocolate ice cream you will DIE when you taste this! Actually, you will feel like the hills are alive with the taste of chocolate! This is hands down the best chocolate ice cream I have ever had, vegan or not. The chocolate flavor is rich, and it's sweet but not too sweet and it's soooooo creamy! If I ever make it to Austin, Texas, I will visit their headquarters and hug them all! I think I might be as obsessed with this ice cream as I am with Green Dragon sauce!
Here's Etta pressed against my legs as I was doing yoga. Everyday is yoga with cats at my place! Most of the time I have Etta on one side and Afro on the other side! But ever since Etta was the tiniest kitten she has loved helping/bugging me when I do yoga!
Happy Earth Day! 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cola, Cherries, Weird Coconut Milk and Of Course Cats!

As promised I tried the culture cola flavor of Live kombucha yesterday. Now I haven't had soda in a very long time, especially cola. Cola was never my preferred choice. But I have fuzzy memories of liking RC cola better than Coke or Pepsi, and this kombucha reminded me of RC cola. It's really delicious. Like a wonderful fizzy cola minus all the weird ingredients. And these Live kombuchas are low in calories and sugar, but you would never guess from the taste. Totally recommend!
This was a cherry, banana and hemp seed smoothie. I forgot that I had found frozen cherries on sale the other day. Pretty tasty with bananas. Cherries are very good for you, and I don't eat them nearly enough!
For dinner I whipped up a quick and easy potato and pea curry. Don't make the mistake I made. When I was at Big Lots, I saw that they had canned coconut milk for really cheap. I was actually out of coconut milk, and I knew I wanted to make this curry so I picked up a can. I didn't read the ingredients because it's coconut milk. So, when I opened the can, I noticed it was a weird texture, and smelled super sweet. So, I looked at the ingredients, and it had tapioca starch and a few other things that I had never heard of. So it had a starch thickened consistency, and one of the ingredients had to be a sweetener. I won't make that mistake again. Coconut milk should have one ingredient and that's coconut milk. So, while this was edible, it wasn't the best curry I've ever made. Womp Womp.
And here's Kanye in her favorite place to be, right in the middle of a cuddle. No matter how small the space, she always finds a way to squeeze in!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Liquid Dreamsicle

You guys, this flavor is seriously out of this world! It tastes like a dreamsicle, everyone's favorite concession stand treat at the community pool! That was always the one time I could have treats that didn't involve carob as a kid. My mom would give me a little money before we went to the pool, and I was allowed to get what I wanted.The concession stand was also my first experience with soft pretzels not made out of whole wheat. Anyway, this was a very refreshing treat yesterday. I seriously can't recommend this kombucha enough. I had coupons, so I got the cola flavor that I will be trying today. I never was a huge cola fan, but it's a flavor I haven't tried and I love all the other flavors so much. I will definitely report back!
I found this non vegan channel on YouTube that makes a lot of potato videos. They made a video for cottage fries which I had never heard of. They're called cottage fries because they look like the roof of a cottage. You just slice the potatoes in circles about 1/8 of an inch thick. I cooked them exactly how I cook regular fries. I seasoned these with garlic powder, lemon pepper and smoked paprika. They get nice and crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. Circles may be the new wedge for me! The real star of this bowl is the dipping sauce. I combined Just Mayo with green dragon sauce. Um, can we say amazing? It's creamy and a little spicy, perfect!! This dip will definitely be a regular on this blog.
Speaking of Just Mayo, I was waiting for my bus yesterday and the stop was in front of a Big Lots. I've only been in a Big Lots once in my life, and I had some time to kill so I went in to see what they were all about. They had the big vat of Just mayo for $2.50!!!!! I didn't get one because I had just bought one at Smith's, and I thought I got a deal paying $4.50! To be honest I'm kind of regretting not getting it and just stashing it away. I think when I get groceries on Saturday I might pop in and see if they still have some jars left.
Don't mind the gross baconnaise next to it. If you have a Big Lots near you, check it out sometime. They have lots of condiments at really great prices. I am a condiment queen so I'm always looking for deals. I also saw La Croix sparkling water for super cheap, and they had a whole gluten free section with pastas and crackers. Also they had quinoa for a steal, even sprouted quinoa, which is usually a lot more. I was so tempted to get some, but I have no luck cooking quinoa. I fail every single time. I have watched tutorial after tutorial and I always end up with a mushy pile of mess.
Last night as I was winding down, Joan won the coveted spot on my lap, and Roxy tried her best to dethrone her. It didn't work, and so Roxy kind of laid halfway on my lap, and they kind of held paws. I love it when Joan is in a cuddly mood!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Traumatic Bus Experience, and Dillicious Potatoes

I made this smoothie yesterday with strawberries, bananas, hemp hearts and a few blackberries. I thought it was funny how much the blackberries colored the smoothie. There are less than five blackberries and loads of strawberries! They should look into using blackberries for dyeing purposes.
I've been taking public transportation for well over ten years now, and for the most part I'm perfectly happy with my choice. But yesterday I had one of the most disgusting, traumatic experiences I've ever had on a bus, and that's saying a lot because public and bus. So, there was a girl sitting in the front seat who had an open sore on her face. She was scratching this thing incessantly. I mean, it was hard not to stare. So, someone with a wheelchair was boarding the bus and she had to move to a different seat. Even though there were tons of empty seats, she of course sat next to me. Okay, so I'm trying super hard to be okay with the face scratching, and trying to figure out how to get away. At this point I'm wondering if I should just walk. So, her traveling companion turns around and tells her to stop digging at her face. She then decides to say OUT LOUD that she knows she should stop, but that she's been itching ever since they left the shelter. I immediately started feeling like I itched everywhere, and got off at the next stop and just walked. I felt seriously ill. Luckily for me as soon as I got off the bus I stopped itching, so it was obviously in my head but come on!! Sit in an empty seat!
So, needless to say when I got home I couldn't scrub enough, and I wanted a nice, comforting meal. Sometimes I wonder if being kind to Mother Earth is worth it. I'm kind of kidding. Anyway, I made a nice green salad with Greek Vinaigrette, oven baked tofu and Lemon-y dill potatoes. I used lots of dried dill, and my apartment smelled AMAZING!!! It was a nice way to soothe my frazzled nerves.
Thanks for listening to my gross bus story. You know how sometimes things happen and you can't wait to come home and tell someone? Well, I had no one to tell. I mean, my cats cared, but you know.
I had some of this deliciousness for dessert. I think this is my favorite flavor so far. If you can find Nada Moo near you, I really think you should try it. It is definitely my favorite vegan ice cream. And the salted caramel is absolutely dreamy!
These little girls always make things better too. Joan was sleeping in the coveted spot in my bedroom closet, and Kanye made herself at home right next to her. Notice the look of exasperation on Joan's face!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Practice Makes Perfect Potato Wedges

Yesterday when I was making my dinner of potato wedges, I got the bright idea to take some pictures of the process and share. On one hand I feel silly because it's just potato wedges, not an actual recipe, but on the other hand I have practiced so much with potatoes, and you know the saying! I actually used to struggle with making oven fries. I used to use a lot more oil, and they just never turned out the way I wanted them to. Last year when I was doing the potato cleanse, I tried using parchment paper and making them oil free, and I didn't like that method either. So, many many many batches of spuds later I have come up with what I think is a fail proof way to make delicious potato wedges that are relatively low in oil.
I start off with a little under a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil. Right before I'm ready to put the potatoes in the oven. I put the pan in to melt the oil and also preheat the pan. Getting the pan hot is essential to getting that crust that you want on your potatoes. I cut my potatoes in thick wedges, I usually get four wedges per potato unless the potatoes are humongous. I season the potatoes with whatever I'm in the mood for, usually it's garlic and curry powder and salt and pepper. I like to toss the wedges with the seasoning in a big bowl so they are all coated.
Once the oil is melted and the baking sheet is heated, I add the potatoes. You want to hear a sizzle.
Make sure you don't overcrowd the sheet. I have done this several times, and all they do is steam and stick to the pan and you don't get the crust that makes the dish.
Now, most recipes I've come across on the interwebz say to cook oven fries at 450 or even 475 fahrenheit. I haven't had success with the temperature that high. I find 400 degrees to give me the results I want. I let them cook on one side for twenty minutes, then flip them over for another fifteen or twenty minutes and it works every time. You know they're ready to be flipped because they will lift from the sheet with no problems. You'll lose none of the seasoned crust.
Once they're done you should have wedges that have a nice crunchy crust with a soft and pillow-y interior. You guys know how often I make oven fries, and this method never fails me.
I hope this helps. It's taken me a few years to get it down, and sharing is caring!
Joan had a case of the Mondays yesterday. She just couldn't be bothered to care about anything!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Broccoli, Rice and Corn Casserole!

I took a break from my morning kitchari last week and had lentil tomato type soups instead. Towards the end of the week my body actually started craving kitchari, but I had run out of green dragon sauce so I decided to wait until I restocked my sauce. This tasted so good yesterday morning. This batch has red split lentils, brown rice and potatoes. The green dragon sauce just makes it shine. If you're having issues with digestion at all, I can't recommend this enough. There's just something miraculous about it.
For some very random reason, I had been craving broccoli rice casserole for over a week. I've only had that dish one time in my whole life, so it was a very strange craving. I finally got around to making it yesterday, and it turned out pretty dang tasty. I had some raw slivered almonds that had been soaking for a couple of days, so I decided to use those as the creamy base. Raw slivered almonds are cheaper than whole almonds, and cheaper than raw cashews so they're great to use for creamy sauces and a great way to save money. I wrote down what I did and used so I could share the recipe if it was a success, and it was!

                                                    Broccoli, Rice and Corn Casserole

  •  1 Cup Slivered raw Almonds soaked overnight
  • 7 Cloves Roasted garlic
  • 1/2 Medium Onion Roasted
  • 1 T. No Chicken Broth powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cumin 
  • 1 T. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 Tsp. Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt  
  • 1 1/2 C. Water
  • Blend all these ingredients until smooth and creamy. This is your sauce.
  • 3 Cups Chopped Broccoli
  • 1 C. Frozen Corn
  • 3 1/2 C. Cooked Brown Rice (1 cup uncooked brown rice yields the 31/2 cups)
  • 1/4 C. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Cup Vegan Shreds(very optional)
Combine the broccoli, rice, corn, nutritional yeast and half of the vegan shreds if using in a large casserole dish. Stir in 3/4 of your almond cream sauce and combine well. Cover your dish with a lid or foil and bake at four hundred degrees for thirty minutes. After thirty minutes remove lid or foil, add the rest of the sauce and stir well to combine, and top with the rest of the shreds if using. Bake for another fifteen minutes, let rest for five or ten minutes and dig in!

This was super easy to make, and very rich and creamy. If I ever went to a potluck, I would bring this dish. It's great hot or room temperature, and it would really impress non vegans with the creaminess of it all. And the broccoli keeps some of it's crunch, so with that and the corn it has some texture. It really doesn't need the vegan shreds, I just had some floating around in my freezer and decided to use them up. But the almonds and nooch make it nice and creamy and cheese-y on their own.
Here's Joan in deep sleep mode. You can't tell in the picture, but her little paw was moving away, she must have been dreaming about getting that squirrel!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Laughs, Hauls, Foodz and Cats

To everyone who celebrates, I hope you're having an amazing day filled with love and compassionate, delicious food. I had to share this clip, I know I needed the laugh desperately. Ever since I've been a little kid I have had a very intense fear and serious anxiety when it comes to nuclear weapons, and given the current state of affairs I've been having serious anxiety. So comedy is always a nice little distraction. Melissa McCarthy nailed it as always.
Yesterday I picked up a few groceries so I figured I'd show my little haul. It's not very big or exciting, but hey. I also made a really tasty dinner out of some of the haul items so I'll show that as well.
Lemons, Romaine hearts, butter lettuce,tofu, red lentils, green dragon sauce,frozen strawberries,mushrooms, and bananas
I really wish I could buy a huge Costco size vat of the green dragon sauce. I have come to love it on just about everything.
Brown rice, broccoli, 10 pounds of potatoes, bulk spices, nooch and hemp hearts, onions, blackberries, green onion, chocolate bar
Yesterday was my lucky day because Smith's had ten pound bags of potatoes on sale for $1.99!!! I have been trying to buy organic potatoes whenever possible because I eat so many of them, but who on earth could pass up that deal? Well, people not on a budget I guess, but not me. I'll just scrub and peel this batch. I usually shop at Trader Joe's for most things, except when Natural Grocers or Sprouts have exceptional sales. Then, when I hit Smith's for cat food an litter I get odds and ends like bulk spices and green onions. Since I don't have a car to stash my groceries in, I hit Smith's last because cat food and litter can be heavy to lug around another store. So, what I've started doing is perusing Smith's first to get an idea of any sales and also WooHoo sales. They don't always have all their sales in their weekly sales adds. Like the potatoes were not in their weekly which I think is a huge oversight on their part, especially for a holiday weekend. Just another little money saving tip. Trader Joe's stuff is always the same price, and nine times out of ten they're cheaper than anywhere else, but every once in awhile they aren't.
For dinner I made some hoisin glazed mushrooms and cabbage, oven baked tofu and Jasmine rice lettuce wraps. I also made a spicy hoisin dipping sauce. This was so delicious and fresh tasting. I think butter lettuce is the best lettuce for wraps because it's very flexible, and has a nice mild flavor. I just love wrapping things and dipping them. Eating with your hands is always fun, and I don't do it nearly enough.
Here's Etta and Afro sleeping cheek to cheek, just not the cheeks on their faces! Notice Afro's beloved newspaper is right there. It's so funny how much she loves that toy!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Random Friday

Here's a delicious thrown together soup with all kinds of odds and ends. This has red and green lentils, a handful of pinto beans leftover from last night's dinner, potatoes, and some broken rice noodles. Seasoned with nooch, Italian seasoning, and fennel seeds. And also a bit of tomato paste lingering in my fridge that needed to be used. Hearty, filling and super cheap. Fennel seeds give lentil soup a sausage-y flavor. There's just something about throwing a bunch of random stuff in a pot that always works!
Yesterday for breakfast I made these chunky potato wedges seasoned with garlic and curry powder. I also made a spicy thousand island. I used sriracha ketchup, Just Mayo and sweet relish. It was sweet and spicy and really tasty.
I had a few corn tortillas hanging in my fridge that I needed to use, but I wasn't in the mood for soft tacos. So, I decided to make tostadas! I just baked the tortillas until they were nice and crunchy, and added some potatoes and pinto beans cooked with Trader Joe's chili lime seasoning. That stuff is really great by the way. I also made a little spicy slaw to go on top. This hit the spot! It was my first time making tostadas, and it was a success! I know they sell tostada shells at the grocery, but these were cheaper and oil free to boot. They only take like ten minutes to get crispy. I used the last of my cholula to top these lovelies. I've now run out of green dragon sauce and cholula. It's safe to say I'm in panic mode!
Can you even handle the fluff? I know I can't, it's just almost too much! My two little grey beauties!
And here's one of Kanye's favorite places to sleep. On an old sheet and sweatshirt that I never wear in the corner of my closet. She and Etta duke it on the regular for this spot!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese!

I stopped at Harmon's for cat food on my way home and treated myself to this Dr. Pepper inspired kombucha. It's crazy how much it tastes like Dr. Pepper! I was never much of a soda drinker, but when I did drink it Dr. Pepper was my preferred poison. I love this stuff so much. As an added bonus it's one of the least expensive bottled kombuchas!
This house near my apartment has some of the tallest tulips I've ever seen! I should have gotten a better angle to really show how big they are, but I was rushing to catch my bus. But they're really tall and so cheerful! They gave me a much needed smile to prepare for the horror that is public transportation!
While I was getting cat food, I happened to walk down the bean aisle, and I noticed these white chili beans.  It gave me an idea for green chili mac and cheese with white chili beans!
I used diced green chilis in the cheese sauce, and added the white beans at the end. This was one of my favorite mac and cheese creations I've made! It was creamy, with a hint of spice. Not too spicy for anyone sensitive to spice. Next time I make it I'll probably add more green chilis cause I like it hot! This would have been amazing topped with green dragon sauce, but sadly I had used the last of mine yesterday morning. Cholula stepped in for that added zing. I actually wrote down what I used so I could share the recipe. It's super duper simple.
                                                   Green Chili Mac and Cheese
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chili
  • 1/4 C. nooch
  • 1 1/4 T. tapioca starch
  • S & P to taste 
  • 8 to 10 ounces pasta of choice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegan shredded cheese (optional)
  • 1 can white chili beans 
While your pasta is cooking, whisk the coconut milk, salt and pepper, nooch and tapioca starch. Once it's all combined, add the green chilis. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add it back to the pot. Turn the heat to medium and add the sauce, stirring until it starts to thicken. This should only take two to three minutes. Once the sauce is thick and creamy, turn off the heat, add the shreds if using along with the beans. Put a lid on the pot and allow everything to combine and the cheese to melt for a few minutes. After that, enjoy!! This would be really delicious without the beans if you can't find the white chili beans. Or you could just spice up some white beans with garlic and cumin and add a little extra green chili. The beans were only eighty cents a can, and I found gluten free pasta on sale, so this was still very inexpensive to make, but tasted decadent and rich. VEGAN FOOD IS NOT EXPENSIVE! AND INEXPENSIVE FOOD DOESN'T HAVE TO BE BORING!!
Here's Afro in her favorite place, outside on the deck admiring the beautiful color of my green smoothie!