Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Deal is Out There

I forgot to show the WooHoo deals I got last week at Smith's. They have a little clearance shelf or maybe it's called an end cap I don't know, but it's an area. Anyway, it's where they put a lot of really random stuff for really cheap. All bakers should definitely check it out, there's always tons of sprinkles and different cake decorations. I found a jar of all natural, organic peanut butter for $.99 because the jar is a little smooshed in, and a bottle of Thai sweet chili sauce for $.75 because the label is a little beat up. I've been out of sweet chili sauce for awhile, so perfect timing!
There's a house up the street from my apartment that I remember had their whole yard full of sunflowers last year when I moved here. I moved here at the end of summer, and so now in the beginning of summer here is the first of the sunflowers making an appearance. Sunflowers must be mid to late summer flowers. I remember having so, so many mixed emotions, and getting lost all the time and just all kinds of issues and all those sunflowers always made me smile. I can't wait till they all grow. I'll definitely share a picture when they do.
Laundromat Life
So Sunday morning after putting my money and soap in the washing machine at my apartment I discovered it wasn't working. I had every item of clothing in the machine except the sweats I had on, and I had a dog to walk in a few hours. I had to make an unfortunate trek to a laundromat and to say I was not thrilled would be a huge understatement. I was so happy to have this kombucha in my fridge. It made the visit a little more tolerable. I had tried the blood orange flavor last week and LOVED  it, and this guava mango flavor is pretty great too. It's fizzy and not too vinegar-y but also not too sweet, and it actually tastes like real fruit. The blood orange is still my favorite but this is right up there.



Here's a tuckered out Daisy after our walk yesterday. I feel bad because it's just so hot they're happy to see me when I show up, but at the same time taking a walk is kind of a drag for all of us. Luckily I've found a little park with lots of shade, and I've learned what side streets have the most shade so we have a nice little somewhat covered route.
And here's Kanye doing what she does best, giving me good belly. She knows I can't resist, and has accepted all the kisses and tickles.
And here she is squirrel watching which is a favorite activity around these parts. The squirrels stop on the fence and stare in and make their cute little defensive noises at the cats, who just don't even know what to do with themselves!



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trying New Things

Brown rice pasta, red lentils, coconut milk, green dragon sauce, frozen strawberries,tofu,Romaine lettuce,frozen riced cauliflower,onion salt, fruit frenzy bars
I picked up a few staples at Trader Joe's lately, and a few new things. I've been wanting to try the onion salt for a few weeks. It's made with granulated and minced onion, kosher salt and dried chives. I also got riced cauliflower because I am going to attempt to make cauliflower Alfredo. It's a risky choice because seriously I hate cauliflower other than the General Tso cauliflower or some version of that recipe. But every time I see cauliflower Alfredo it looks sooooooo good that I'm going to brave it. After my recent victory in what has been a years long battle with quinoa, I'm feeling feisty. It's still going to have soaked cashews plus lots of other flavorings to help it not taste like cauliflower. I'm trying it tonight so yikes!

I also picked this up to try while waiting for the bus. It was in the refrigerated section with the kombucha. It is soooooo good. The back of the can says it tastes like a cross between lemonade and limeade, and I asked the cashier if she had tried it, and she said it reminded her of something she had as a kid. Both descriptions are accurate. I Googled Calamansi fruit and it is a cross between mandarin oranges and kumquats. It's definitely worth a try. It tasted so good on a smoking hot day. And it's only seventy five cents a can!
The sign at Trader Joe's suggested using the onion salt on a burger, but I tried it on potatoes of course. Guys, it's pretty magical. It's onion-y and not too salty and just yum. I was thinking it would probably be amazing on corn on the cob, mushrooms and veggie burgers, especially a beast burger. It's really, really good.
Look at these lazy floof balls! It's rare when I get them all in one picture! The heat calls for lounging! Paper shreds in the background as usual!



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Frozen Treats

Look what I saw at Smith's! Kroger/Fred Meyer/Smith's is making their own vegan and organic ice cream! It's almond based and I saw three flavors, chocolate, butter pecan(?!!) and vanilla. It's only $3.29 a pint which is way less than any vegan ice cream I've seen. I've had a few of the simple truth products, they're also making their own kombucha and I've always been satisfied. I will probably be trying the chocolate this week. It seems like all I want at the end of the day is a frozen treat!
Speaking of frozen treats, I finally got the fruit frenzy frozen bars from Trader Joe's, and you guys WOW. I am obsessed with these. I remember seeing them on Sarah's blog last summer. and I never got around to trying them, but man I LOVE them. If you haven't tried them, you need to!!!
The first part is my favorite, it's raspberry, then lemon which is sooooooo good, and then strawberry. The raspberry is sweet and a little tart, the lemon is tart and then the strawberry is a sweet treat at the end. Man I love these, expect to see them on a lot of my hauls. They're so refreshing at the end of a long, desert hot day.
This beauty was my dinner last night. A tofu rice veggie bowl with peanut sauce. Lots of spinach and cucumber with Jasmine rice and baked tofu. I really love meals like this with different temperatures and textures in every bite. And what isn't better with peanut sauce!
So yesterday morning I'm sitting in my new chair as I blog and stuff, and every time I would get up Roxy would steal my spot. She is notorious for that. Well, Afro decided to join in on the thievery and look at that epic glare she's getting from Roxy!! They got into a slap fight seconds after the picture. Roxy gets in her moods where she is not to be messed with!
And here is another picture of sweet Louie. His dad wanted me to send a picture of him because he misses him during the day. How awesome is that!!! Louie is like my Etta in that he does not want to pose or cooperate at all! This is mid yawn. Look at my sweaty legs all imprisoned in long pants because of my stupid rash! Anyway today is the last day of the festival, so Louie will be headed back to Austin tonight or tomorrow. I will miss his little face and his total strut!




Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mini Vegan Haul and Meet Louie!

Spinach,bananas,frozen fruit bars,black beans,lemons,corn tortillas,tofu,taco mix,onion,frozen strawberries, and a protein cookie(?!)
Louie, the little dog from Austin who you'll meet later is staying at an Airbnb right in the area of all my grocery stores that I go to, so I picked up a few things for the weekend since I had a few bucks left on my budget week. I went a little over, but some of this stuff will last into next week, so I didn't sweat it. I'm too busy actually sweating!
I also splurged on their new kombucha. I've been so curious, and so I decided I earned it. I thought it was okay. I wouldn't not buy it again, but it's definitely not one of my favorites. When they say it's gently gingered they mean it. I taste the actual tea more than anything. It's also not as fizzy as other booches, and I guess I really like the fizz. But, it's a good price, and it's definitely not bad.
It's weird that I got a Complete Cookie since I have mentioned before that I tried one and could really taste the protein powder and it was a turn off. But I keep seeing so many people loving them, and so I decided to give it one more try. Trader Joe's sells them for only eighty nine cents which is so much cheaper than anywhere else! I got chocolate chocolate chip. I figured maybe all the chocolate will mask the protein powder taste.
My gun toting neighbors have moved out(YES!!!) and they left this chair behind. It's  a nice, comfortable little office chair that is perfect for blogging. Someone had asked about my cats and scratching the furniture. Well, here is an action shot of Roxie going to town on the chair. This chair in particular has become the cat scratching destination!
And here is sweet little Louie! It was so hard to get a picture of his face, he did not want to pose or sit still! He is seriously the cutest. He doesn't walk, he struts. Face up to the sun, tail wagging happy strutting. I'm sad I will only walk him through tomorrow. Look at that straw next to him that's supposed to be grass! He also likes to find interesting smells and roll in them! Sorry Dad!
The person who owns the Airbnb also has a chicken coop with quite a few chickens. I was able to get a shot of this beauty. I talk to them and hope they'll come close enough for a pet, but so far they eye me from a slight distance.
Happy Saturday!





Friday, June 23, 2017

Deals and Dogs!

Yesterday was a hot, tiring day. I was walking in the heat so much that I have an actual heat rash on my calves, no joke. It looks hideous. I looked it up online and apparently it's sometimes called Disney rash because people often get it on hot days walking around amusement parks. I've never in my life had anything like this. UUGGGHHH. I say all of that to say that I couldn't be bothered to think much about dinner. I stopped at Smith's, and luckily they had this quinoa pasta and also the sun dried tomato tapenade both on clearance for $1.50 each!! Along with the tofu I got a quick and easy meal and came in way under my budget for the week. The tapenade is really delicious, rich and tomato-y. They had a green olive tapenade on sale too if they still have it today I will pick it up for sure. It's such a nice easy thing to toss with pasta for a quick meal.

I topped the pasta with some crushed red pepper and nooch and had a side of baked tofu and it really hit the spot! I love finding great sales, especially on days were you really need them!
I thought I would introduce these two ladies who are new in my life. This is Daisy and Ivory. They are two new dogs that I walk. I just met them on Monday, and they are gorgeous and sweet.
Happy Daisy


Happy Ivory
It's been a tough week for walks. We've only been able to take two walks, the other days we've had to just play in the backyard because of the extreme heat. Their mom wants me to walk them midday when the heat is at it's worst, so I have to look out for these gals. Anyway, don't tell my ladies that I'm featuring dogs today instead of them. I will get a picture of another little guy in my life today. SLC is having an art festival, and an artist from Austin, Texas is having me walk his dog while he's in town. Louie is the dogs name and he is also the cutest.
Wish me luck coping with the heat today. I will be wearing long pants because I'm afraid my legs will scare small children. This reminds me of when I was a kid and would get eaten up by mosquitoes and then refuse to wear shorts because I was so embarrassed. Luckily the webz tells me the rash will heal itself in three to ten days. Let's hope I'm more on the three day end of the spectrum.
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Don't Stop Believing!

The temperatures are crazy here in SLC. It was over one hundred degrees yesterday and they say today too. Although I love warm and can handle the heat this is a bit much. I am definitely no acclimated to it at all. I'm also not used to the dryness. I know people say it's easier to handle than heat plus humidity, but being from the Midwest, and living in Seattle so long I guess I'm used to humidity. I'm struggling, and walking and waiting for buses with no shade is doing me in to be honest. I had plans to make a new recipe last night, but I just couldn't be bothered. I wanted a big salad. I don't have all the veggies and add ins that I really craved, so I had to get creative. I ended up making roasted potato "croutons" and decided to cook up some quinoa that's been taunting me from my pantry. I do not have the talent for cooking quinoa, and had decided that I was done trying. But, because I was desperate I decided to try one more time, and I made PERFECT FLUFFY quinoa! All I did was boil the quinoa like pasta in a lot of water for about twelve minutes, then I strained it and let it sit in the pot and steam for twenty minutes. When I lifted the lid I seriously almost cried. It was fluffy and just so beautiful! I can't believe I didn't take a picture! I was just so busy stirring and staring in amazement!
I always see perfect looking quinoa, so I don't know if anyone who reads this will find this helpful, but I figured I would share in case anyone else struggles with quinoa. I'm going to try this method one more time to make sure it really is a quinoa miracle and not a fluke.
This was just iceberg lettuce, fluffy quinoa tossed with an Italian vinaigrette (Thanks for the tip Blake!) and topped with nooch-y garlic-y roasted potatoes. It was super easy, filling and refreshing on such a hot day.
Here's to light and fluffy quinoa for everyone!
Here's Etta in her new favorite spot. I know she feels safe because she stayed under the chair when I vacuumed! Normally she runs for cover in another room.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More Vegan Budget Meals!

I showed my haul yesterday, so today I figured I'd show a few more meals I've eaten while on this budget challenge. Like I mentioned yesterday, my food might be simple but I feel satisfied and happy with my meals, and I definitely am not hungry or feeling deprived.
I made this Sunday night. First I made lentil taco filling, and when that was done I had decided I wanted a snack-y, dip-y type of meal.So, I just took my corn tortillas and baked them into chips. Then I just pot the lentils in the bottom of the bowl, And then topped it with the lettuce, green onion, sliced serrano pepper and avocado that were the toppers for my tacos that never were. It was really tasty and also fun. Dip-y meals are the best!
This was my Sunday morning breakfast. I made some roasted breakfast potatoes that were roasted with onion and garlic, seasonings, nooch and also kale. Topped with sliced green onion, sriracha and a tiny amount of ketchup. Something I've learned to really make you  feel like you're not eating on a budget is making sure you have green onion, or fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley on hand to throw on your meal after cooking adds great flavor and a beautiful green appearance to your meal. It makes a really big difference in my opinion. Cilantro and green onions are super cheap this time of year and it's really worth it.

This is my daily smoothie. Strawberries, banana, maca powder and hemp seeds. I also added a small amount of shredded coconut and man was that delicious! Like a strawberry colada!

 These were delicious oven fries with curry and onion powder, salt and pepper dipped in a spicy sauce I made by mixing ketchup and sambal olek. The sauce was so good the potatoes were just the vessel to eat the spicy ketchup. Condiments are one of your best friends when on a budget. It really helps when you can switch things up and get some different flavors going on.
This was my dinner last night. I got iceberg lettuce this week instead of Romaine because it is much cheaper. But I know it's not okay to say, but I have always loved iceberg. I like the crisp texture and the crunch. Also the mellow flavor. My grandparents had a garden, and although I remember other vegetables like tomatoes, and carrots I vividly remember iceberg lettuce and radishes. Those were my grandpas favorite and I loved eating these things with him. We would have iceberg salads and have the radishes whole, dipped in little mounds of salt. And we would always have blue cheese dressing on our salads. So, I walked down memory lane and had an iceberg salad with daiya blue cheeze and wedges seasoned with salt, pepper and Rosemary. Dipped in horseradish mustard. Super delicious and also soul satisfying. So, while these meals might not be super fancy or exciting, they are filling, delicious and healthy. And I'm still getting fresh fruits and veg every day too.
Check out these two loving nap time on the red chair. Joan loves that she can lounge while keeping track of any squirrel or bird shenanigans going on in the tree. And Kanye is just happy to cuddle!






Monday, June 19, 2017

Budget Week Take Two!

Week two of the Budget Week challenge is off without a hitch. Well, I had one small issue that was easily fixed. Sprouts had a seventy two hour sale on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One of the amazing deals was four red mangoes for one dollar. Insane right? Well, I went there on Saturday morning, and apparently all of Salt Lake City thought so too because there wasn't a mango in sight! Totally sold out. Those mangoes were a big part of my budget, I had big smoothie dreams. Luckily they were handing out rain checks so I will get my mango deal later in the week. I spent fifteen and some change so I have a little over fourteen to spend later in the week!
Potatoes, bulk nooch, sunflower seeds and spices,lentils,frozen strawberries, Sambal Olek, and chocolate
Kale, Iceberg lettuce, lemons,avocado, onion,lemons, bananas, corn tortillas, Jasmine and Brown bulk rice
Sprouts store brand kombucha
This was my haul from Sprouts and Trader Joe's with a few random Smith's items thrown in. I was a sweaty mess and couldn't be bothered to separate.Sprouts had their own brand of kombucha on sale for two for three, so I tried one. This raspberry lemon ginger was really tasty. So refreshing on a hot day.
So, my food might not be uber exciting, but I feel like I'm still eating well with a few treats thrown in for fun. I definitely don't feel deprived. And I feel like it's getting easier and easier to eat like this. I'm getting better at hunting deals, and my taste buds are getting used to simpler meals and craving simple foods. I definitely have my eye on a few treats and splurges though.
This was one of my favorite meals I've made in awhile. Last week I made the BBQ chickpea bowl, and it was so good I wanted it again. Only this time I used Tapatio and made Buffalo style chickpeas. Delicious. With the daiya blue cheeze on top it was just so good. Spicy and creamy and delicious! Definitely not bad for a budget meal!


My neighbor gave me this red chair and also a Chaise lounge yesterday, and the girls are seriously loving life so much right now! Joan has kind of taken the chair as her own. Etta likes to sleep under it!
I put it by the window and as you can see the shreds are right there so it's like a kitty playground!
And here's Roxy being the Queen that she is on the Chaise. It's like this was meant for her! This is in their room so they can lounge. Life has been pretty great lately!



Friday, June 16, 2017

Simple Pleasures

So I went yesterday and spent my remaining fifteen dollars for the week. I was near Harmon's and although they are much pricier than Trader Joe's and Smith's, I just didn't feel like taking an extra bus so I dealt with it. I still did pretty okay, and since the challenge ends tomorrow, (Saturday) it wasn't too hard.
Potatoes, bulk spices, bananas,tomato paste, garlic,tapatio,strawberries,bulk lentils,bulk brown rice,red potatoes,lime
Ice cream treat on sale for one dollar!!
I was actually a little under budget and Harmon's had live kombucha on sale so I treated myself. I had been having a stressful day so I needed a treat.
I will be doing this challenge again this week. To be honest it really isn't a challenge for me since this is pretty much my budget most of the time. Sprouts is having an amazing seventy two hour sale starting today so I'm going to definitely take advantage. I think it's important to acknowledge and appreciate privilege whenever you have it, and I know that it's so much easier to eat on thirty dollars a week when it's just me. A lot of people have to feed whole families on that. I also have the luxury of being able to shop at Trader Joe's and Sprouts. It is much harder to shop for healthy vegan food at regular groceries. I wouldn't have been able to have the amount of produce I had from other stores.
Here are some meals I had Wednesday and Thursday, and also my breakfast this morning. I had something other than kitchari!
Avocado and tofu sushi burrito

Cajun spiced oven fries with Chipotle Just Mayo and ketchup. Amazing combo!
This morning I made a huge batch of my favorite tomato-y nooch-y lentil and brown rice soup. With potatoes of course. Now I have soup for the next few days of breakfast. Dried fennel seed is the secret ingredient to this soup. Yum.
My girls are living their best possible lives right now. My landlord is a bit of a hands off lady, she doesn't like to fix things, but she finally had someone come and replace all the screens that have been missing from the tenants windows. I had three screens missing, and one was ripped. When I moved in I noticed that they were super duper old and very flimsy flamsy, and all ended up falling out. So now with brand new screens my little ladies can get fresh air and they couldn't be more excited!! The birds and squirrels have been very active so the timing is perfect!
Here's Afro with her little floof hanging over the sill! She has a perfect curvy, girlish figure!!
I hope we all have a day filled with Joy from simple pleasures just like these girls!
I'll be back with my Sprouts budget haul this weekend. It's going to be another delicious budget week!