Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My Favorite Kitchari

This is a bowl of kitchari decorated with sriracha and green dragon sauce. This has been my breakfast everyday for quite some time. It makes me feel really great, and if you're like me and don't get proper meal breaks and also do a lot of walking it's a good stick to your ribs but not in a heavy way meal. And it's delicious. I've made it so often at this point I can make it with my eyes closed. I figured I'd share my version with you all, although there are a million and one different versions online. It's a very soothing, healing meal. Excellent for digestion. This is kind of just the basic starter recipe. You can add lots of different veggies if you want, I've made it with spinach and kale, some people add cauliflower and broccoli, any veggies you like. It's also good with just the basics. Soup is so flexible!

                                                             My Favorite Kitchari
  • 1 tsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 Medium Yellow or Sweet Onion Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Lg. or 2 to 3 Small Russet Potatoes Peeled and Diced
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 Tsp. Cumin
  • 3/4 Tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 3/4 Tsp. Turmeric
  • 3/4 C. Split Red Lentils
  • 3/4 C. Jasmine or Basmati Rice
  • 6 C. Water
Saute onion and garlic in the coconut oil with the salt and pepper on medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the diced potato and the crushed red pepper, cumin, turmeric and coriander. Saute 3 or 4 minutes more. Add the lentils and rice and get everything all nice and coated with the spices. Add the water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to a simmer and cook for twenty to thirty minutes uncovered. Turn off heat and put a lid on your pot and let sit for five minutes. Top with your favorite hot sauce and enjoy. It's also really delicious topped with green onion and cilantro. Your body will love you!!

You can use split mung beans, although in my experience those are hard to find. I also tried regular mung beans which worked as well. But you can't use regular green lentils because they don't break down the way red lentils and mung beans do.I mostly use split red lentils because they're easy for me to get at Trader Joe's and also a great price. From what I've read about kitchari, part of the magic is the beans and rice kind of breaking down into a porridge like consistency. If you aren't a fan of spice, feel free to leave out the crushed red pepper. The most important spices are the turmeric, cumin and coriander. I hope you try it and love it as much as I do. It's definitely a favorite dish.
Roxy likes to help me make my kitchari in the morning. I don't have the heart to tell her she's actually in my way so there you have it. She usually leaves once I start dicing the onion. She always gives me the old stink eye and jumps down in a huff!

Monday, May 29, 2017

No Oil or Frying Needed!

I don't like to fry things at home. Not so much for health reasons, but more because it terrifies me. All that crackling and spattering. I also don't like how the smell of frying kind of lingers long after you've eaten your meal. I remember when I was with my ex, the only way he would eat tofu was fried, and it used to cause me so much anxiety I just gave up on meals with tofu. Because of my fear of frying, I've really missed onion rings. I don't really eat at restaurants, and anyway I don't trust that restaurant onion rings are vegan, so it's been quite awhile since I've had them.
I remember a few years ago I tried a recipe for baked onion rings. They did not turn out at all. I remember I followed the recipe to a T and it was a disaster. There are a few frozen onion rings that are vegan, I know Alexia makes one, but now that I'm off the gluten those are a no no too. Gluten free living really is for the birds. Anyway, I decided to try making onion bhaji last night, which are basically an onion fritter. I think at a lot of Indian restaurants they're fried, but I found a recipe for baked bhaji and they were delicious, and very easy to make. You just saute some onions with spices, add in some garbanzo bean flour and then bake.
I drizzled mine with some green dragon sauce, and made a little dipping sauce with Just Mayo and sriracha. I used this recipe with a few changes. I used two large sweet onions, and I used curry powder instead of chili powder. I also cooked all the spices with the onions, used one tablespoon of ketchup instead of tomato puree, and used no water or olive oil. I also used about nine tablespoons of chickpea flour. I had the tiniest bit left after measuring out the five tablespoons, it seemed silly to save that tiny amount. I just put the sauteed onions in a bowl, and mixed in the flour dry. There's enough liquid in the onions that no extra water or oil is needed. Don't worry about the appearance, the flour kind of gets soaked up by the onions, and it looks nothing like a batter, but trust me the flour binds while baking. These are absolutely delicious. I will be making these again and again. The onions are sweet with a little bit of a spicy flavor, and the chickpea flour forms a very light batter that lets the onion flavor shine. It was the perfect meal with a little Romaine salad. These would be great at parties because they're good hot or room temperature. I love when I try making something new, and it's a success!
These two. Look at Afro's paw resting on Kanye's little face. I mean, could they be any cuter?  I am so lucky!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Vegan Hauls and Stuff I Love!

Yesterday was grocery day and it wasn't as bad as I feared. I was scared that the Saturday of a three day holiday weekend would be too much to handle, but it was better than other Saturdays! It really is the small pleasures in life!
First I hit Sprouts because they had five pound bags of organic potatoes on sale for $1.98. And they had sweet onions three pounds for one dollar! I also got a few oranges for orange carrot juice. Buying fifteen pounds of cheap organic potatoes seemed like such a great idea until the reality of lugging them around hit me. Oh well, I'm really getting some upper body strength!
Romaine hearts, red lentils,tofu,lemons,green dragon sauce,carrots,Jasmine rice,single large lemon,green olives,coconut milk

The usual Trader Joe's stuff. Have you guys tried the handful of olives they have in the little packets? They're so, so good. I'm going to be making a lemon-y olive pasta salad this week where they will be featured if I can stop myself from eating them right out of the package!!
At Smith's I just got bananas, strawberries on sale, and I got these salted dark chocolate bars on a woohoo sale for ninety nine cents! It's fancy chocolate too!
This is organic, fair trade all the stuff chocolate that's usually four or five dollars a bar so I really scored! I had a few squares last night and it is GOOD. It's definitely dark chocolate, but somehow the salt balances the dark/bitter.
I know I mentioned this book the other day, but I'm now more than halfway done with it, and I can't say enough good things about it. It's written by Cat Marnell who was a beauty editor for Lucky magazine, interned at Glamour and Teen Vogue, was one of the founders of XO Jane with Jane Pratt who I love, and also wrote for Vice magazine. All while being severely addicted to various pills, and also while suffering from bulimia. She is brutally honest and it is just so refreshing. Even though it's about addiction and dysfunction, it's somehow light and airy, and laugh out loud funny in some parts to balance out the heartbreak in other parts. A lot of it is really hitting home for me. She also talks a lot about the inner workings of the beauty world and New York City nightlife which I find fascinating. In today's world of people wanting to only show the perfect side of life, reading about someone so imperfect and owning it and admitting to it all is just really refreshing. I'm sure I'll be done with this book today or tomorrow. It's so good I've been reading it on the bus which normally I can't read in public because there are too many distractions. If you have ever dealt with addiction, or self destructive behavior, or know someone who has, or are just curious about addiction you should seek out this book. It's definitely a book I would like to own and read again and again. She has a breezy way of writing that I really appreciate. I can't recommend it enough!
I got this cute picture the other day and I caught Etta with her little tongue out! So cute!
And here is a close up of Afro's super furry toes. Her little tootsies get me every time. I'm so in love with my girls!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Some Vegan Dinners

I thought I would do a what I've been eating post since I skipped a few days of blogging. I still ate and took pictures. I've pretty much been sticking to kitchari for breakfast, and I know I've shown that a lot. It really has become one of my favorite ways to start the day. If anyone is interested in a recipe let me know. I feel like I've perfected my own version at this point and could make it with my eyes closed! I've also had lots of smoothies that I always forget to take pictures of. But lately I've been drinking green smoothies, and also berry and banana smoothies. Pretty basic.
This was a really delicious bowl of food. Green salad, BBQ tofu cubes, and a homemade potato salad heavy on the mustard. I like my potato salads tangy! This Kansas style BBQ sauce from Trader Joe's is really smoky and delicious!
This is veggie fried rice I threw together on a night when I was particularly down and just needed a quick meal. Easy ten minute meal that was delicious and full of veggies. I made the sauce with coconut aminos, Korean BBQ sauce, and a little chili garlic sauce. Definitely better than takeout!
And here is my clearance tempeh steamed first and then baked with Korean BBQ sauce. Served with Jasmine rice and a perfect avocado. I have to admit that I prefer tofu over tempeh, but this was pretty tasty. I think tempeh might be growing on me a bit.

Last night I made pudlas, which are basically pancakes made with chickpea flour. I added cilantro and jalapeno to the batter, and topped them with more cilantro and jalapeno along with avocado and green dragon sauce. And a healthy dollop of chili garlic sauce. This was a delicious meal. Chickpea flour is pretty cheap, and these pancakes are easy to make and so satisfying!
I can't believe that other than the potato salad these meals are potato free! I must be slipping. Sprouts is having a great sale on organic potatoes, so I'll be eating a lot more this coming week!

Look at these two. Could they be any loungier? As you can see the paper forts are slowly becoming paper shreds again. They still love it though so no hope of getting rid of it till I get more! They're ready for a holiday weekend wouldn't you say?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reasons To Smile

I've been a bit blue the last few days which is why I took those days off. I was planning on getting back on the blog train today anyway, but a few things happened yesterday to help that plan. When I was at the library last week I requested a book that they had to get from a different library, and I got an Email yesterday morning that it was in. So, on my way home I stopped to pick it up. It came all the way from Las Vegas!
I read about this book on a blog awhile ago. It's a blog that I don't read on the regular, I can't even recall the blog to be honest, but she was showing and reviewing some books she had recently read and this book called my name. It's a true story of how a woman did everything in her power to be as self destructive as she could. Although that isn't me anymore, it used to be me and I'm still dealing with a lot of repercussions from living that way. I can't wait to dive in.
I came home to a package sitting in front of my door. I wasn't expecting anything, so it was quite the surprise. Blake, who I'm sure some of you have seen in the comment section of this and other blogs surprised me with this book! Gluten free and vegan!!! I am so excited, I can't thank you enough Blake, and what a perfect day to get such a nice surprise! It definitely lifted my spirits! This is also the first cookbook that I own in this apartment. I had a little collection in Seattle but sadly I lost them. I already have my eye on a few recipes. There is a recipe for onion and olive Focaccia that is screaming my name. There are so many great recipes, even a recipe for gluten free puff pastry!! I definitely need to get a loaf pan because there is a recipe for sandwich bread that I need. I miss sandwiches so, so much! There's even a recipe for vegan butter which I can't wait to try. I don't buy Earth Balance anymore because I'm doing my best to avoid palm oil, and Miyoko's vegan butter is pretty pricey so I can't wait to churn my own palm oil free vegan butter!

On my way home from the library, I stopped at Smith's for cat food and found a few WooHoo sales! Tempeh for $1.49, Treeline cheese for $4.00, and these Annie's strawberry gummies were on sale for $2.00 a box, and the boxes each had a dollar off coupon! Pretty sweet. They're really good too. Nice strawberry taste, not artificial tasting and great texture.
Sorry about the shadowy horrible kitchen lighting, but this was on my ginger tea bag yesterday and it just seemed so perfect and timely.
Here's Joan having the best nap ever. She has the couch cushions just the way she wants. Out of everyone she really loves her pillows and cushions!
Thanks again Blake, I really can't wait to make some amazing gluten free breads!!

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.