Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lots of Stuff

More beautiful signs of spring. This bush or tree, not sure are in front of a house on my street. So bright and gorgeous!
When I got home yesterday there was a very heavy box waiting for me, and it turned out to be the pamphlets I'm going to be passing out around town from the Humane League. I haven't looked through one yet because to be honest I'm scared it has graphic pictures and I just am very sensitive to those like most of us. I follow a few people on Twitter and Instagram who post graphic pictures and it's very hard. Sometimes I'm tempted to unfollow them, but at the same time it is the truth of what's happening, and in a way those images are what made me decide to volunteer with the Humane League.
I picked up some Maca powder yesterday. I was reading about it, and apparently it can be beneficial to people who have thyroid issues. I'm going to be putting a teaspoon into my smoothies everyday. I have noticed an improvement since I started taking ashwagandha, so I'm feeling hopeful that with a good diet and some helpful herbs I can heal my thyroid!
It's like the universe read my blog yesterday and decided to cut me a gluten free break! This isn't bread of course, but I used to love these Nature's Bakery fig newton style cookies and their chocolate brownies before I was gluten free. They make gluten free versions, but I refuse to buy them because they are DOUBLE the price of the gluten versions. Because this box is all banged up they were on a Woo Hoo sale so I got to try them! They're really good! The texture is nice and I like the tart pomegranate flavor.
For dinner last night, I made this chilaquiles casserole.It's just tortilla chips layered with homemade enchilada sauce, black beans, fire roasted corn, red onion, and a handful of vegan shreds. It's a great use for tortilla chips. I always end up with half a bag slowly dying a stale death in my pantry.
Here is a very rare moment when all five of the babies were in bed together. That seriously never happens. It's a dreary rainy day so I guess it makes everyone want to cuddle.
This is how Roxy was sleeping last night! She likes to sleep in some of the most adorable positions, it's hard not to wake her up to tell her how cute she is! But then again, she already knows it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Gluten Free Struggles

This was my breakfast yesterday. Roasted Brussels sprouts and some kitchari with green dragon sauce. I'm pretty convinced that anyone who doesn't like Brussels sprouts has never had them roasted. I once tried steamed Brussels and gag, roasting is the way to go!
When I went vegan, I had maybe one or two weeks where all I did was dream of cheese, and mourn the loss of cheese in my life. This was back when there really weren't tasty alternatives. But after that small window of time, I have never felt deprived at all. As a matter of fact, I feel like a whole new world of foods opened up to me, and I started getting really creative in the kitchen. But lately with being gluten free I am struggling, and I do feel very deprived and restricted. I miss bread so much. I haven't been able to find a good gluten free bread. I miss sandwiches, and veggie burgers, and field roast and tofurky and gardein. Gardein makes a delicious gluten free black bean burger, but I haven't been able to find it. And even if I could, I have no bread or bun to put it on! Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful to have discovered the gluten free pizza crusts from Trader Joe's, and Ronzoni makes a decent gluten free pasta, but I still feel restricted and sometimes it's frustrating. I also miss flour tortillas. I haven't had a burrito in forever! And truth be told I prefer flour tortillas for tacos. Sorry for the rant, I just feel frustrated!
Anyway, enough of the boo hoos. Last night I made this big bowl of deliciousness. It's a salad with Romaine, avocado and red onion tossed with Just Ranch and topped with some almond feta, and potatoes and tofu seasoned with chili lime seasoning from Trader Joe's. Seriously the best seasoning ever! I of coursed doused it all with cholula. I guess it was kind of like a burrito bowl without beans. The almond feta got creamy as I stirred it around and just made the whole bowl decadent.
And now just look at that belly! It's completely irresistible to me, and Kanye knows it! She and Afro are total cuddle buddies for life!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Almond Feta Extravaganza!

It's been awhile since I've made vegan cheese. Like real cheese, not just a sauce. I experimented a bit with different cheeses using Agar Agar, and I used to have a cashew goat cheese recipe that I loved. I think it was from vegetarian Times, but it's been so long I can't remember. But for some reason I kind of stopped experimenting. Well, on Sunday I got back into the vegan cheese making game and tried a recipe for almond feta from Hot for Food which is one of my favorite YouTube channels. Here is the recipe I used. It seriously is so freaking easy, it took like five minutes of hands on preparing. The rest of the time is just waiting for it to set.
Here it is just made, waiting to be refrigerated. At this point it could be just a tasty cheese dip if you so wanted.

I had to get creative to let it properly set. The strainer needed to not be touching the bottom of the bowl, so I borrowed a string from the kitties. Afro was very disturbed and was trying to climb in the fridge to get the string back, even though there are five million strings floating around this apartment!
And here is the delicious finished product! To be honest it's now been so long since I've had dairy cheese all I can remember is that I loved feta, but I don't remember the exact taste, but this is delicious! It has a tang from the lemon juice that I remember feta having, and the texture is wonderful. I will definitely be making this again.
I made a pizza with the other gluten free crust and added white beans, shredded Brussels sprouts, garlic, nooch and sliced sweet onion along with some of the feta. This was a super delicious pizza. The cheese added a nice sharp kick.
I feel inspired to make vegan cheese again. The next time I'm at Trader Joe's I think I'm going to get some raw cashews and try to track down that cashew goat cheese recipe! I love being inspired in the kitchen!
Etta was in the mix, but in true Etta fashion jumped down as soon as I showed up to take a picture! I've just accepted that I might never properly make my bed again!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Another Vegan Haul!!

Blackberries, potatoes,Brussels sprouts, Ataulfo mangoes,English cucumber,avocados 
Sprouts is having a huge produce sale. I don't go to sprouts often because they can be Whole Foods pricey, and they don't have a clearance section like Natural Grocers, but I happened to look at their sale ad I got in the mail, and they are selling Ataulfo mangoes three for $.88! Ataulfo mangoes are hands down my favorite fruit, so I bought six. To be honest, I wish I would have bought more. I got all this produce for twelve dollars! I got ten pounds of organic potatoes for four dollars! Afro is very interested in the sprouts!
Lip balm, booch,incense,epsom salts

I popped in to Natural Grocers on my way to Trader Joe's and picked up some much needed lip balm and epsom salts. I've been doing some intense workouts in addition to yoga and my muscles have been aching!
This is the lip balm I found, and it was under two dollars which is pretty amazing for vegan and almost all organic ingredients. It's nice and thick and not chalky, and it has major staying power. Plus, it smells AHMAZING!
Bananas, frozen strawberries,tofu,red lentils,tomato paste, chili lime seasoning,spinach, Romaine,lemons,green dragon sauce,pizza crusts

This is my Trader Joe's haul. The three standouts are the gluten free pizza crusts which I gushed about yesterday, the green dragon sauce which is outstanding, it's vinegary and spicy and just the best, and the chili lime seasoning. Absolutely delicious!! I have no idea why I haven't tried either of these seasonings before!
I usually drizzle sriracha on my kitchari, but yesterday I tried the green dragon sauce and it was perfect! This stuff will be a regular in my kitchen. It's definitely spicy, but not blow your tongue off spicy.
I made oven fries for dinner and seasoned them with nooch and the chili lime seasoning. The best fries ever. This seasoning is amazing, and I can't wait to use it on everything! I saw Collen Patrick Goudreau use it on popcorn on Instagram and so of course I will be trying that. It's a little spicy, a little salty and a little limey, just perfect.
Here's Afro and Etta being cute on their very shredded paper fort. I don't have the heart to get rid of it because even though it's shredded, they love it so!
Happy First Day of Spring! To everyone still dealing with snow and cold temperatures, I hope it warms up very soon. I definitely don't miss those days!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nada Moo Vegan Ice Cream!

I ran into Harmon's on Friday for cat food, and of course strolled the aisles for any last chance sales, and I was so amazed to see a sampling station for a vegan ice cream! They were sampling Nada Moo coconut ice cream! This is the first time I've ever seen vegan samples at a regular grocery! I tried the maple pecan and it BLEW MY MIND!! It's so rich and creamy and the taste is just as I remember non vegan maple pecan. It's also sweetened with agave instead of sugar, which I found interesting. It has very simple ingredients, and seriously the creaminess and flavor are outstanding.
They have tons of flavors, including pistachio which I want to try next, I used to love pistachio ice cream. There is no reason to eat dairy ice cream when this exists as far as I'm concerned. It's rich, smooth and creamy and I truly believe a non vegan would never guess this is vegan. The lady who was handing out the samples is not a vegan, and she was raving about it. She said she could eat a whole pint by herself!! I saw several people in line buying this, so that made me smile. If you see this at your grocery, you should try it, it's out of this world!
The trees are starting to bud, which to me is a sure sign that spring is here for good! Everywhere I look there are new signs of life!
I decided to try these frozen gluten free pizza crusts from Trader Joe's. I realized that since going gluten free I haven't had pizza! I have been tempted to pick up a daiya frozen pizza, but to be honest I'm not a fan of the crust, and I'm also not a fan of the price. In my opinion they are severely overpriced. These crusts are $3.69 and they come with two crusts! And they're vegan! I've struggled with gluten free items because they're usually ridiculously expensive, and have egg, dairy or honey.
This pizza was so delicious, I almost cried. Like I said, I haven't had pizza in months, and I've been trying to stick to mostly potatoes and kitchari in trying to heal myself and all of that. I made a quick pizza sauce with tomato paste and seasonings, and added white beans, pepperoncini, spinach, garlic, nooch and the last bit of vegan shreds I had in my freezer. The crust is actually quite tasty. It has a nice flavor and cooks up nicely in the oven. It has the texture of a regular thin crust pizza. I will definitely be buying this again and again. If you are gluten free, you need this in your life!
Here's Etta helping me do my Saturday Morning yoga. She reminds me to breathe, and also to pet and love her!
I have a haul to share for tomorrow. I've already chatted and shared so many pictures, so I'll save those pictures. I'm going to be making Hot For Food's almond feta cheese today, so wish me luck!

Here's Roxy watching a birds for cats video on YouTube. She watched almost the whole thing, and it was so adorable! She reminded me of 101 Dalmatians!

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Good, The Bad and The Great!

Yesterday I had miso veggie soup for breakfast. This had cabbage and edamame along with some tofu and rice noodles. Sriracha and hoisin drizzled on top. I always feel amazing when I start the day with miso soup.
I had kind of a fail for dinner. I wanted to make homemade bake taquitos, and my plan was for then to turn out so beautiful for that perfect Instagram shot (ha ha) but unfortunately the tortillas split and cracked in the oven. I think the key is really fresh, probably even homemade tortillas. It was suggested to heat them in a microwave to make them more pliable, but I don't own a microwave. The good news is they were still tasty, I mashed some black beans with nooch, salt and pepper and garlic powder, and added some green chilis and a tiny bit of vegan shreds. I also made some spicy coleslaw with chipotle Just Mayo, cholula and a little rice vinegar. So it was a tasty albeit not so pretty meal.
I have some really great news. I am super excited to announce that I am a new volunteer for The Humane League! I saw something on either Twitter or Instagram about volunteering no matter where you live, and so I emailed the person and I spoke with them yesterday and had a wonderful conversation. Rachel is mailing me leaflets, and some stickers and more info. I am super excited to be a part of this organization, and I can't wait to get started.  I want to dedicate myself to doing whatever I can to make the world a better place for animals. I've been reading The Alchemist and I am trying to pay attention to signs from the universe and I'm trying to find my own personal treasure. I feel very passionate about helping animals, so this seems like a logical first step in my journey. I'll definitely talk a lot more about it as I learn more!!
I love this picture of Joan. She crawled in my lap and to demand dinner. This is her I'm serious face!!
And here's Etta and Afro being super cute! They're holding paws! Squee! Sometimes it's just too much cuteness around here!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

All The Best

It seems like everyday there are new flowers popping up all over the place. I love the new life of spring, it's so beautiful to see. I really feel so alive and refreshed during spring.
I love the color of this smoothie. It's just blackberries and banana. It tasted as beautiful as it looks, very refreshing. Although I love my green smoothies, sometimes it's nice to just have a fruity smoothie.
I returned those awful extra dry kombuchas I got on sale and tried this flavor. It's really, really tasty. I worried it might be too floral-y, but it wasn't at all. It tasted like berries with a bit of lavender. I felt really nice after drinking it too.
For dinner I made some oven fries, of course with sriracha ketchup which is EVERYTHING! I also made the best kale salad I have ever had in my life. Maybe the best salad ever. Here is the recipe. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to make this salad. The dressing is nothing short of perfection. Make this for someone who swears they hate kale and watch them lick their bowl. This is apparently a riff on Whole Food's kale salad which I've never had, but one thing I know for sure is that this version is cheaper, ha ha. I will be having this on a very regular basis. Last night I used curly kale, next time I want to try it with Lacinato kale. Seriously, make this salad!!
Here's Joan being forced into cuddle mode by Kanye! When Kanye wants to cuddle, you're going to cuddle!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Fever

I whipped up another batch of kitchari. This time with potatoes and some baby spinach. This is such a great start to my day. I feel full but light, and it gives me lots of energy. And it's a great way to get my daily turmeric in!
Yesterday was flip flop weather! It was about seventy degrees here in Salt Lake City and it was amazing! People were happy, everyone was eating lunch outside and enjoying the sun, it was the best. I love spring so much!

For dinner I whipped up a quick and lazy meal that was pretty tasty. I stirred some hoisin and Korean BBQ sauce into some rice noodles and served it with edamame and some oven baked tofu. Quick, easy, and super delicious!
I've created monsters. I have been letting Afro out on the deck supervised of course. She is obsessed with trying to go down the stairs. I let Roxy go out the other day, and of course now she's following her sister's lead.
This is where Afro spends a large chunk of the day. Staring longingly at the door, willing it open! I guess we all have spring fever!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

All the Potatoes

I've been wanting to try my hand at Hasselback potatoes for some time now. When I was a kid my mom would make some version of them where she would slice the potatoes, and put butter, salt and pepper and thinly sliced onions and peppers, and then wrap them in foil and put them on the grill. They were always one of my favorites.
I think next time I need to make the slices thinner, but for a first attempt these were pretty good. I put a little coconut oil, salt and pepper and garlic powder and baked the on a baking sheet in the oven. After baking I topped them with some green onion and nutritional yeast. Practice makes perfect so I'll be trying again!
I made this oil free parsley, cilantro and olive pesto that I was going to toss with some gluten free pasta for dinner, but I noticed that my potatoes needed to be used so I made a pesto potato gratin. I feel like as a kid potatoes were one of those foods that lasted forever, but it seems like now when I buy potatoes they start sprouting eyes within days after buying them. Good thing I eat so many of them!
I took so many freaking pictures of this dish trying to get a pretty one and it was mission impossible. But it was super tasty. It felt like a nice spring dish. This would be a great side for Easter dinner. It would please vegans and non alike.
Joan and Kanye were cuddling together in their little box, and as soon as I wanted to get a picture Joan moved like the little stinker she is. So here is Kanye and Joan's tail!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Just Another Random Monday

I made some more kitchari for breakfast yesterday and had it with some homemade hummus and Mary's Gone Crackers. I added some potatoes to this batch of kitchari and it was divine.
I ran across this kombucha deeply discounted the other day, so I bought four bottles. I was so incredibly excited because of course the price, and also I've never had this brand as it's on the expensive side, like more so than other brands. After tasting it, I will be returning three of the bottles. It is so incredibly dry I can't handle it. It reminded me of some kind of booze I've had in the past, maybe a hard cider or a really dry Champagne. And I think the alcohol content might be higher too because I felt weird after drinking it and I didn't like it. If you like really dry kombuchas you would probably enjoy this, but it is not for me.
For dinner I made some black bean tacos that were really tasty. I cooked the dried black beans with lots of garlic powder and some salt, and then drained them and added some pickled jalapenos and green onions. I piled them in corn tortillas with cilantro and avocado and my new obsession, cholula sauce. These were so tasty, I love black beans.
I saw some exciting news on Instagram, apparently Field Roast is now making Chao mayo, Chao mac and cheese, and little corn dogs and fruffalo wings. Not sure when they will be hitting the market, but Chao mayo might be the one to tear me away from Just Mayo, who stole me from Veganaise! I'm so fickle! I also saw new things coming from Uptons, Naturals like mac and cheese with their seitan bacon, and some other pasta dishes. And Daiya apparently is making American cheese slices which taste good cold. I'll have to taste that to believe it as I strongly feel daiya needs to be used sparingly and definitely cooked. But it's all exciting news!
In honor of National Napping Day, here's three of my little nappers. As you can see, they're celebrating hard!!