Monday, April 30, 2018

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi

I was dreaming about this all day and just couldn't wait to try it! I even splurged and chose my favorite sauce to have with the gnocchi. I also cooked some green lentils and sliced some fancy green olives. The few cauliflower dishes I like I also make and I know how to mask the taste. Since I didn't make these I was scared of a strong cauliflower taste and I wanted to really hide it.
The bag has directions for boiling, and also their preferred method which is cooking them in a pan with a little water from frozen, then adding some oil or butter to give them a saute and brown them a little. Pretty much like cooking a gyoza or pierogi. I chose the saute method because that's how I always made my pierogis.
The gnocchi on the bag are a beautiful golden color which I was not able to achieve. Mine got a little tiny color from the oil, but it was more of a light beige even after cooking for a few minutes longer. They aren't super fragile, but I was worried about overcooking and turning to mush. So after they were done getting "golden" I added my cooked lentils, crushed red pepper and some sauce. I turned the heat off and stirred everything together. I also added lots of nooch and sliced olives at the very end.
It is really saucy as you can see. I was super nervous about the flavor so I added extra sauce. When I opened the bag it was super cauliflower-y smelling and it scare me a little. I did taste one before I added the sauce and it was okay. I feel like I could eat them with less sauce next time. And there will be a next time. I really enjoyed this dish! These gnocchi are made with cassava flour so they are vegan and gluten free! I've heard some people complain of gumminess and also the gnocchi sticking to the roof of their mouths. I definitely had no issues with the roof of my mouth, and yes there is a slight gummy factor, but it's very slight and didn't bother me at all. To be honest I always found any store bough gnocchi to be a little gummy. I actually felt like these were less gummy than store bought gnocchi made from potatoes. I give these two thumbs up and will definitely buy again. As in when I do my shopping for next week I'll be buying more!
They take about twelve to fifteen minutes total to cook if you do the water saute finished with an oil/butter saute so it's a really easy and quick thing to throw together. And unlike a lot of frozen meals these don't have weird ingredients. Just cauliflower, cassava flour, potato starch, olive oil and sea salt.
They kept their shape and didn't turn to mush even with extra cooking and all that sauce I added. These far exceeded my expectations! My one suggestion is to definitely add some beans or tofu, or have a big salad or something because they're kind of like jackfruit in that they don't keep you full for super long. Even with the lentils I felt a little snacky a while after dinner. Other than that I am so happy these exist and I can't wait to have them again!!
It was in the eighties on Friday and Saturday, and in the sixties yesterday and now this morning it was snowing for awhile! So who ever thought I would have to turn the heat on again but here we are. Joan is not complaining! Excuse the computer cord, I'm blogging from bed and was too lazy to move it!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Another Saturday Haul

So remember last week when I went to Trader Joe's on a Saturday and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowds? Well, silly me thought this Saturday might be the same. Boy was I wrong! The nice warm weather apparently made all of SLC decide to shop at Trader Joe's! I also keep seeing regulars from where I work at Trader Joe's and I have to bob and weave up and down the aisles because I don't want to chat and exchange pleasantries. I pretty much got all the regular stuff with a few new to me things.
fruit frenzy bars,frozen strawberries and raspberries,coconut milk,cauliflower gnocchi, carrots, cold brew coffee,garlic,protein cookie,bananas,potatoes,onions,tofu,seaweed snacks,spinach,chia seeds,lemons, avocado, mango black tea
I got this to have while waiting for the bus home. It's like a soda and fizzy water combined. Not as sweet as soda but sweeter than a La Croix. They also have a lemon elderberry flavor.
I've been reading mixed reviews of the cauliflower gnocchi on the Gram and when I saw it in the freezer section I just felt like I had to try it! I'm kind of terrified to try them because unless it's cauliflower wings or cauliflower Alfredo I don't want it. I'm going to have make some lentils and have them with lentils an marinara tonight. Fingers crossed!
I also decided to finally try this tea. I'm trying to not get too much in the habit of having coffee because I worked so hard to break that habit, but some days green tea is not enough.
My cashier actually gave me maybe the best compliment someone could give a gal like me! She couldn't believe how much stuff I got for fifty dollars. She said if she gets like five things she spends fifty dollars even with her discount! I'm super proud of my budgeting ways!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Foods Have Been Eaten

I found a huge watermelon on sale for three pounds for a dollar and just ha to get one. I know you're taking a risk buying watermelon out of season, but I had one about a month ago and it was decent. Plus if it's mealy or not that great I'll just turn it into juice  I also have avocado, mango and more of the feijoa fruit. The only time I like clutter is when it's fruit!
I also got some of these delicious golden berries! Someone who works in produce let me try one and man are they amazing! They have the crisp texture of a grape, and they are tart and sweet. They have a citrus, kiwi pear flavor. I love discovering new to me fruits!
Tuesday before work I made a quick marinade for tofu. I just mixed tamari, maple syrup and crushed red pepper with minced lemongrass. When I got home from work I just baked it in the same dish it was marinating in. Couldn't be easier. I was dreaming about this tofu all night at work and it did not disappoint. Right before baking I stirred in a little Sambal Olek to make it extra spicy. It was salty, a little sweet, spicy and a little citrus-y thanks to the lemongrass.
I had some leftover coconut milk from my coconut rice so I used it in a batch of kitchari. I added a little curry powder and cumin along with red lentils, rice and one potato. Delicious as always. I enjoy
sriracha and green dragon sauce on top!
This was my snack at work the other night. The Lantana hummus is seriously AMAZING! Every single flavor is my favorite until the next flavor. The snappea crisps are surprisingly delicious in hummus. Isn't it just so beige and bland and corporate in the background? Blech it's like they want us to be depressed!
Here is a simple lunch I had one day last week. This was close to grocery day so it was a use what you have and that day I had brown rice, half an avocado and some seaweed snacks. This was really tasty and easy.

I found these truffle fries at Sprouts and they were on sale, so how could I resist? I had some for dinner last night and it felt fitting to dip them in Just Mayo.The fries are thin and while they are delicious I didn't get a strong flavor of truffle. It was there, just very, very mild. I will say when they are dipped in the mayo it somehow intensifies the flavor.
The birds are still driving Kanye crazy! She spends hours every morning stalking and chirping to the birds!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Eating Rainbow

I'm having kind of a hard week emotionally so I want to try and get as many nutrients as I can in my body because honestly I think the vitamins are the only thing keeping me sane. I had yesterday off so I really focused on eating/drinking the rainbow. This smoothie had frozen cherries, strawberries, spinach, maca powder, flax meal and banana.

While I was cleaning I had this carrot and red bell pepper juice. That might sound kind of weir but it's actually really tasty and very sweet. Plus it's great for your skin!
Someone I watch on YouTube has been using these beans for over a year and she loves them. I have been trying to find them for as long an have ha no luck. I've checked all the usual suspects, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and have had absolutely no luck. I never would have thought to check at work, but the other night I was going to the back bathroom to hide on my break, and I happened to be walking down the bean aisle and look what I found! The elusive mayacoba bean! Apparently these are the gold standard bean to make the creamiest refried beans.
Since I had all those mangoes I decided I wanted to make a rice and bean bowl with some mango salsa. I've never had or made mango salsa but it just sounded delicious!
I soaked the beans overnight and then cooked them with garlic and onion powder. They cooked in about an hour so they don't take forever to cook. They are super creamy and delicious. Taste wise they have a mild flavor. Similar to a pinto I would say.
Here is the mango salsa I made. I just diced two mangoes and added diced jalapeno, red onion, lots of cilantro and lime juice. It turned out AMAZING!! I will be making this again for sure! Everything was really balanced and it wasn't too sweet.
This was my beautiful dinner. Mayacoba beans, avocado, mango salsa and coconut cilantro lime rice.
I got the recipe for the rice here. This was definitely a delicious meal with lots of flavors and textures. I loved the rice and will definitely be making that again!
Joan was cuddling in bed with me yesterday morning, so I let her watch some birds for cats videos. Everyone likes cartoons in bed every now and again!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Homemade is Best

I made some delicious oven fries for lunch before work. I seasoned them with seasoned salt, lemon pepper and garlic powder. I was out of sriracha just mayo so I did the wildest thing. I mixed some sriracha with a little plain just mayo and it totally worked!
 I was feeling lazy when I got home from work. I also have been craving peanut sauce and I'm out of peanut butter so I decided to try these almost instant noodles. I think these are meant to be nuked to be super easy, but I just cooked them on the stove top. I have to say I'm not a super fan, and I wish I would have just gotten peanut butter and made my own sauce. The sauce is oddly sweet which I found very offsetting. I ha to add some tamari and sriracha to balance it out. Having to add the tamari is unfortunate because the sodium is already pretty dang high. Super disappointing. Edible but not preferable is how I feel about these noodles. They also have a pad Thai version which I think I've tried and was underwhelmed.
A brand new yoga mat randomly showed up in the break room at work the other night. It was sitting on top of the soda machine so I asked one of the managers about it. He told me I could have it since I do yoga.  My carpet is a little slippy when I do yoga so I really appreciate this! As you can see Afro appreciates it as well! I compromised and was half on half off the mat!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Oh What A Haul

Yesterday was grocery day so I went to Sprouts an Trader Joe's. I haven't been to Sprouts in awhile, but they have my favorite Ataulfo mangoes on sale three for a dollar! No way I can resist that sale!
Red pepper, citrus kevits,truffle fries(??!!), tofu,red onion, cilantro,nine mangoes,strawberriesx2blackberries,avocado,rice,garbanzo beans,lemongrass stalk
I got all that food for twenty four dollars. If you stay away from the specialty items Sprouts is a pretty affordable place to shop.

 I saw this on the shelf(speaking of specialty items) and was pleasantly surprised. I've always been a fan of Lightlife's products and I didn't even know they were making jerky! There are so many brands of vegan jerky which obviously means people are buying it and it's making money.
coconut water, lime floes,fruit frenzy bars,soyaki sauce,garbanzo salad,carrots,frozen cherries,bananas,potatoes,spinach,coconut milk,olives,complete cookies,lemons

Last Saturday Trader Joe's was pleasantly calm but yesterday was more like a typical insane Saturday at Trader Joe's. Needless to say I called on my inner Flash to get me in and out. The cookies and chickpea salad were impulse buys. Usually I have more self control  but I was hungry bordering on hangry.
Look at this little kitty loaf! This is how Joan was napping for hours the other day! I don't know if someone made her mad and she was pouting or what. My little introvert!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Boring Food and Fun Treats!

I've been enjoying pasta with lentils and marinara. It's really nice having cooked lentils I can just throw in with the cooked pasta. Easy Peasy.
Last night I had shredded hash browns from Trader Joe's with ketchup and green dragon sauce. So delicious! I just spread the hash browns out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and seasoned them with some seasoned salt and sriracha pepper. After about fifteen minutes I kind of stir them around a bit and cook for a bit longer and they always come out perfect. Nice quick hands off meal.
While my food has been relatively boring, these are super exciting! I've tried two other treats from goodpop, the vegan dreamsicles and the vegan cookies and cream bars. We just got these in at work last week and I have been eyeballing them! I wasn't buying them because I am working hard to stick to a budget, and also we all know I don't like to spend too much money where I work. But last night they were on sale for a dollar off the regular price and I decided to treat myself. I've been really struggling with work. Like really struggling so I wanted a cherry lemonade treat! These are nice and tart just like I like my popsicles. They're also only 35 calories a pop, so having more than one is not a bad thing. They do kind of taste low calorie in that they taste a little watered down. When I was a kid and we were super poor my mom would make juice or lemonade from concentrate but add more water to make it stretch. These kind of reminded me of that. But still they are tasty and super fun to eat. After a night of getting my soul sucked from adults it was nice to feel like a kid.
This was on my teabag this morning. I always like these quotes, but some days I feel like they were meant for me. I'm going to try and be a flower today!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Prepping for the Week

Usually Tuesday is my Friday but because my schedule is changing today is my Monday. I also woke up to a light dusting of snow. It's safe to say I have the Monday blues. Luckily for me I spent some quality time in the kitchen yesterday. Kitchen time always makes me happy, and I now have some lentils and red lentil patties for work and after work meals.
I made red lentil patties and dipping sauce for work, baked some tofu, made rice to cool and prepped veggies for a curry fried rice recipe (see my notebook!) and also cooked some green lentils to add to pasta after work. All while watching/listening to The Young Turks. Absolute heaven!
Here is the fried rice. I wrote down the recipe and while it was really tasty I feel like it needs a little something extra. I'm thinking lemongrass or maybe just a squeeze of lime? I'll tinker with it. Fried rice is another easy meal I could prep for. Once everything is chopped and diced it comes together in minutes. This was full of  edamame, cilantro and green onion with crushed red pepper and curry powder to spice it up.
The girls are bummed just like me that it's cold again. Even though Joan loves laying on the heat vent, she really loves sniffing the air an talking to the birds and squirrels!

Monday, April 16, 2018

What I Drink to Feel Good

For about two weeks I've been experimenting with vegan bulletproof coffee. I stopped drinking coffee on the regular years ago, but when you work until midnight there are days where green tea just isn't enough.When bulletproof coffee became the rage awhile back I kind of gave the whole thing the side eye as I often do with trends. Honestly I didn't even know a vegan version existed until I kind of accidentally came across a recipe on the interwebz. A lot of the recipes I've come across call for a teaspoon to a tablespoon of coconut oil. I use about one fourth of a teaspoon, a little coconut milk and a little maple syrup. You just blend the coffee and oil and those two things alone make the coffee creamy and frothy like a latte. It's the coolest thing! And if you add a little plant milk it's extra decadent! I don't know about all of the health claims, but I do know that it gives you a much longer lasting energy boost. It just kind of gently wakes you up, and helps you throughout the day. It's less of a sudden jolt and crash and more of a slow gentle lift that kind of just lingers with you and then gently fades away.  When I would have a regular coffee before work, I would get an extreme crash several hours later. Sometimes I would have another caffeinated beverage just to get through the shift. When I have a bulletproof coffee in the morning it lasts throughout the day.
Drinking green juice makes me feel like a kinder person. I guess because feeling healthy naturally makes you happier. Or something like that. I got that little picture on clearance at Big Lots for like ninety nine cents.
This was my green smoothie yesterday and most days really. Spinach, maca powder, banana, avocado, and whatever frozen fruit I have for the week. This week it's strawberries and pineapple.
I'm working on doing more meal prepping to help me make healthier choices when I come home from work, but the truth is sometimes I have frozen fries or tots for dinner. So I feel better when I've had lots of greens earlier in the day. Life is a balancing act right?
There is a spot to the left of my bedroom window where I believe a bird has made a nest. Joan is extremely interested in the goings on. Last night I left my window cracked and I woke up this morning to her being in between the screen and the window all stretched out and smushed. See the little baby leaves on the little tree? They seemed to sprout overnight. I love spring so much!!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

All Good Things

I've been feeling really good with all the smoothies and juices I've been drinking so yesterday I went to Smith's and Trader Joe's to get a few extras to tide me over. My days off are switching so I probably won't do my shopping on Tuesday anymore. I was prepared for battle going to Trader Joe's on a Saturday but oddly it was less busy than it's been on Tuesday afternoons!
Although I didn't purchase these because gluten and budget, I was happy to finally see these back on the shelf. I know they've been back for awhile but they were slow to come back to SLC.
I remember seeing the original flavored powdered coconut creamer awhile ago and I took a picture and never posted it. I thought it was a great sign that a mainstream grocery store like Smith's would have this. And now just a few months later there are two flavors! Obviously the original is popular enough to warrant a second flavor!
This is my little mini haul from both Trader Joe's and Smith's. Mostly produce for juices and smoothies. Smith's had pineapple's on sale for seventy seven cents each! Pineapple kale juice here I come!
I remember seeing this Simple Truth vegan ice cream last summer at Smith's and I never tried it. Simple Truth is Kroger's/Fred Meyer and Smith's organic line. I remember I used to love Simple Truth's vegan burgers and breakfast patties. And their chickenless nuggets are great too. They got me at caramel. I am a sucker for vegan caramel anything. Luckily for me this line of vegan ice cream is one of the cheapest at $3.49 or $3.69 a pint! I tried a bite when I got home and it was amazing. It looks like they were generous with the caramel so I look forward to having more than a bite tonight!
Every time I catch Joan and Roxy cuddling it melts my heart. These two are more independent and don't often cuddle. I always wonder who initiated it!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Getting Stuff Done and Trying New Things

Yesterday was a very cool rainy day where the rain would turn to snow for a few seconds, and then back to rain. It was a strange day that actually perfectly matched my strange mood. It made me think of Seattle as grey drizzle-y days tend to do. I've been wanting to reorganize my pantry for awhile now so I decided to get to it yesterday. I always feel better when I do little organizational tasks because I am not an organized person, but I want to be so it's a battle. I don't have a super awesomely stocked pantry so it wasn't like a huge task but I still feel much better. And now I can't stop admiring my pantry!
It looks like I have so much more stuff than I do because it's just kind of thrown in there. I'm a mad scientist when I cook so I just put it back wherever. Also as I've mentioned my apartment doesn't have recycling, so a ton of those jars are empty jars that I save to be reused.
I moved my empty glass jars off to one side, and also just one shelf instead of being everywhere. I also just kind of condensed everything else an put it in some kind of order, beans with beans, rice with rice and so on. It's not perfect, and for people who are super organized this is probably still a mess but for me and my needs this is perfect. I want to slowly start adding more pantry staples and now I can clearly see what I need or want to add. Kanye, Joan and Roxy also like to run on the shelves and sometimes nap so I have to make sure there's plenty of room for that.
I have always hated asparagus with a fiery passion. Like I kind of feel like gagging just looking at this picture. But my coworker made this asparagus for me to try and not only did I not gag but I ate it all! She sauteed it in olive oil, garlic and margarine and it tasted nice and garlic-y! She made me try a piece in front of her and I was so scared! I don't see myself buying pounds of asparagus, but this showed me that asparagus won't absolutely make you die in a puddle of your own puke!
I found these odd little fruits at work and at first I thought they were big limes. When I saw they were something else I just had to get one. I had never heard of these little fruits before! I googled it when I got home and they say to just cut in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon, like kiwi.
I was scared that the middle would be slimy but it wasn't at all. The flavor is AMAZING! I could taste a little pineapple, berries, and a little citrus and even mint. The texture is melon like, but it might get softer when it's more ripe? I want more!! These are delicious. It reminded me of taking a handful of jelly beans and throwing them in your mouth. A delicious swirl of flavors!
I don't know why but yesterday reminded me of kind of a Netflix and Chinese delivery kind of day. So I made my own delivery meal! I made some col sesame noodles, rice and spicy tofu and cauliflower bites. So much tastier than any delivery and much cheaper. I had this and watched an episode of Travelers on Netflix. Followed by Arrested Development which always makes me laugh. I love Jason Bateman!!
Joan and Roxy remind me each morning that it's time for breakfast. Whether I'm sleeping or not. Kanye reminds me when it's treat time. I hand out treats after my first cup of tea, and if I linger too long I get the stare. Treats mean a lot to her!