Monday, July 30, 2018

A Few Things I Love

I've been making iced tea all summer with green tea and this hibiscus tea from Trader Joe's. Hibiscus tea straight can be a little too floral-y for my taste, and this blend has lemongrass and mint which really helps balance it out. Hibiscus tea is really good for you and one of the many benefits is cooling the body quickly. I usually chug a big glass when I get home after doing a lot of walking in the sun. It's a pretty decent price at Trader Joe's too.
I love the root beer so much I got the cola too. I have to take advantage of the sale while I can! I'm sure it's going to be a lot more when it's off sale. I wanted to get the Dr.Pepper version but I am clearly not alone in my Dr, Pepper love as that's the only flavor that sold out. Isabetta this is for you since you said you're a huge cola fan!
I haven't had chocolate in a very long time because in the summer I like citrus-y sour popsicles. But it is that time of the month where my body is demanding chocolate. I really love this coconut dark chocolate bar from simple truth organic which is Kroger/Smiths/Fred Meyer organic store brand. It's organic, fair trade and gluten free, And the best news is it's either $2.50 or $2.99 a bar which is of course still not cheap but it's a lot less than other organic, vegan fair trade chocolates. Because this is made with coconut milk it's a bit smoother and creamier, more like a milk chocolate which was always my preference. I'm going to love having some of this tonight while watching Portlandia on Netflix!
I'm loving lemongrass! I made lemongrass tofu last night and it was excellent! I let the tofu marinate all day so by the time it was cooked it was just packed with flavor. Lemongrass is just so bright and fresh and fragrant.
Usually it's just Joan and Roxy who watch videos for cats on YouTube, but yesterday morning I caught Afro getting in on the action too! Sunday morning cartoons for cats!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

New Noodles

I've been wanting to try these sweet potato glass noodles for awhile, but I've never really known what to do with them. All of that changed when I binged a bunch of The Viet Vegan's videos on YouTube last week. In one video, she made a spicy lemongrass soup with mung bean noodles and  I knew how I would use them. I absolutely love lemongrass, and I haven't felt well the last couple of days so a spicy soup is just what I wanted!
The red curry and lemongrass broth is spicy and fragrant. It isn't blow your face off spicy, just a nice little kick. To me lemongrass tastes so fresh and clean. Here is the video and recipe I very loosely followed. I didn't use mushroom powder, and I was too lazy to marinate the tofu, I just baked it with a little salt and pepper. I also didn't add tomatoes or celery to the soup. That's what's great about soup is it's really about what you have or like in your kitchen. This was really, really tasty and I will definitely make it again. I really recommend her channel. She is super down to earth and relatable and makes seriously drool worthy food!
In my post yesterday I mentioned that Morningstar Farms has changed their formula for their Buffalo wings, chick'n nuggets and buffalo patties to vegan which is AMAZING! Here is the article if you'd like to read it. I just wanted to mention that you should still read the ingredients because I assume their going to finish selling the old formula first, and I;m sure the shelf life of frozen foods is pretty long so I'm not sure when the new formulas will actually be on shelves.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Another Budget Vegan Grocery Haul!

I finally made it to the grocery store! It was nice because I was able to go early in the morning before the sun was ready to completely cook you. Sprouts opens at seven and Trader Joe's at eight so it worked out perfectly!  Sometimes on the weekends stores can be busy early because lots of other people have the same idea of avoiding crowds, but on a weekday even Trader Joe's is blissfully calm!! It was heaven after the very stressful week I've had. It was also nice knowing where I was going and not getting lost! I went to Sprouts, Trader Joe's and Smith's. I just took a picture of everything together because I really only got a few things at each place.
Tofu,bulk Jasmine rice and red lentils,sweet potato glass noodles,vegan mayo,coconut milk,live probiotic soda,red potatoes,yellow onions,plum,avocado,kale,rice noodles,banana,strawberries,lemongrass,peanut butter,green onion,cilantro,lemons, hibiscus tea
This is one of my favorite kombucha brands, and I had no idea they were making soda! I was leafing through the Sprouts ad to plan my trip and I saw this! If you live live near a Sprouts they have them on sale two six packs for six dollars. They're sweetened with monk fruit and have no sugar, no calories and probiotics! I chose the root beer, I saw cola, their version of Dr. Pepper, root beer, and one other flavor which I forget. I think lemon lime. Or maybe orange cream. I tried one yesterday afternoon and it's amazing! It's a nice creamy root beer, just a lot less sweet. I can't wait to try all the flavors. Also, if you're like me and don't like stevia, monk fruit sweetener doesn't have that weird aftertaste. It just tastes to me like they used a lot less sugar.
clutching my grocery list!
I saw these at Smith's and I think they're new too! I've never known Boca to make Turk'y burgers. But it's definitely nice to see another vegan option. I've always loved their spicy chick'n burgers and also their original vegan burger, or griller or whatever it's called. And I know a lot of omnis that love Boca. I also read that Morningstar Farms Buffalo wings, Chick'n nuggets and Buffalo Chick'n patties are now vegan!! I used to love all three of those things so it's awesome that they're now vegan! And I bet they taste exactly the same! I also read that Quorn is investing millions of dollars in developing their own "bleeding burger"! This has to show that more people than just us vegans are interested and buying vegan meats right? I'm super happy lower priced companies like Morningstar, Boca and Quorn are getting in on the vegan action. A lot of meat eaters look for sales and discounts on meat, and there is no way they will ever pay the high prices of some of these meats I see and that does not help animals. I mean I guess for wealthy omnis it does but I want mass appeal. It's all exciting though! It's getting easier and easier to be vegan!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Food and Cats Make it all Better!

It's been a really busy week between interviews, work and the whole Pioneer Day debacle so I haven't even been able to get groceries. Luckily I'm going this morning because my fridge is empty besides water, condiments and the bowl of baking soda. Last night I thought I was going to have plain gluten free pasta and tofu, but I found some sun dried tomato pesto from last week that I  had frozen last week! It really saved the day. I needed a good meal after the day I had. I got super lost going to my interview, and I asked a couple of people for directions and they got me more lost. I had a small panic attack and I was crying as I was walking. It was a mess. But eventually I found it and made the interview. I was only a couple of minutes late too. Although after the interview when I looked in a mirror I did have flecks of mascara all over my cheeks from sweating and crying. Of course. So now I wait.
After the last few days I've had I'm so dang happy that I had that pesto! I baked the tofu with salt, pepper, garlic powder and nooch.I added some green dragon sauce and pretty much inhaled this! By the time I had dinner I was past hangry.
My interview on Wednesday was near a different Natural Grocers than the one I normally go to. I had some time to kill before the bus, and so I went in to have a look see. I found these chips on sale and decided to try them. They're great! They aren't so vinegar-y that your eyes water, but they still have a kick. I sometimes find salt and vinegar chips to be too much flavor or not enough. These are just right.
I finally found the cayennade kombucha! GT's is on sale for $1.99 a bottle for the month of July! I really love the lemonade booch an this is that with a kick. I was surprise by the spice actually. I would say if you're spice sensitive avoid this, but if you like spice it's so good! And it's actually refreshing on a hot day.
Thanks for all the good vibes. I feel like one interview went really well, and one interview went just so so. All I can do is keep trying so I'm just trying to stay positive because nothing good comes if I get too depressed or anxious.
They have the right idea. This is all I feel like doing! If my fridge weren't empty I swear I would join them!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

One of Those Days!!

You know it's going to be a bad day when halfway through you're sitting at a bus stop sweating to death and crying. You see yesterday, July 24 was Pioneer Day here in SLC.The whole state actually, it's an official holiday. Something to do with the Mormons settling here. Banks are closed, the library and all state offices closed for the day. It's so weird. And tons of buses are detoured for hours because of the parade, and all buses run on a Saturday schedule which means certain buses don't run because they don't operate on weekends. And no one cares that this is a weekday, and people still have work or errands and what not. And customer service for the metro system also was closed so you couldn't even try and navigate what was happening, hence me sitting at a bus stop crying halfway through the day. And it was a one hundred degree day so it was a lot of fun having to do all that extra walking. I also had to reschedule one of my interviews because there was no way I could get there by bus and it isn't super far away, but far enough I wouldn't have made it walking in this heat. Luckily the person was understanding. So yesterday was a super frustrating day. I don't love SLC the way I love Seattle, but I also don't loathe it the way I did Erie. But yesterday was one of those days where if I had the money I would be booking a U Haul.
Needless to say when it came time for dinner my nerves were completely frazzled. If I would have had any kind of pre-made easy food that's what I would have gone for. But what I did make was still pretty easy and also exceeded my expectations in the tasty department! I made little eggplant pizzas! I got the idea from watching an Edyn Jacks vlog. I also did something I've never done, I salted and sweated the slices before cooking, I struggle with cooking eggplant correctly so I wanted to make sure these turned out delicious!
Look at those sweat beads! I could give those slices a run for their money in the sweat department yesterday afternoon! I guess it's supposed to help draw out some of the bitterness. After I let them sweat for twenty minutes I baked them alone for twenty minutes because no one wants crunchy eggplant! After that I topped them with sauce, lentils, pepperoncini and daiya pepper jack shreds that have been in my freezer for who knows how long!
Look at those cuties! This is such a great idea! Obviously you have to eat these with a fork, but it really tastes like pizza. And if you're gluten free these are much better than half the gluten free options out there, and eggplant are much cheaper than anything labeled gluten free! The eggplant slices were nice and tender and not bitter at all. These would be fun if you had friends over, you could pre bake the slices and then set out toppings and let people top them however they want. I'm sure you could also do these on a grill. Give them that fire roasted taste! These will be on regular rotation at my place!
Wish me luck, I have an interview this morning and it's in a part of the city I've never been, requiring me to take two buses I've never taken. I don't know if anyone remembers but in the beginning I got super lost here pretty much anytime I left my apartment. So this is terrifying to me. People from SLC swear it's so easy to get around because we're "on a grid" (??!!) but when I meet people who aren't from here they agree with me that it's confusing AF to get around. So I'm leaving super early to give myself lost time. But I'm super scared and feeling pretty anxious. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Cheap and Cheerful

This is not the prettiest dish, but it is one of the tastiest and most budget friendly meals around. I saw it on Sarah's post the other day and knew I had to make it. I remember making it a few times when I lived in Erie and I just haven't made it since which is a mistake on my part! It's Mujadara which is a Middle Eastern lentil and rice dish. If you are on a budget this is the meal for you! It's so inexpensive to make, and you get a lot. It's delicious hot, room temperature and cold. I followed this recipe and made a few changes. I used one tablespoon of oil to caramelize the onions not one half cup. To me that amount of oil is insane. About halfway through I added a little water to help things along. I also didn't add cayenne because I don't have any. Fun fact about me, as much as I love and adore all kinds of spicy foods, cayenne is my least favorite spice and I never use it. Also the onions take closer to forty five minutes to caramelize. This is a great meal to make on a day off and then you have leftovers for work or for a quick meal before or after. Or you can be like me and try to refurbish the leftovers! I have a small chunk of leftover tofu, and a very small amount of coconut and almond flour, so I'm going to blend the tofu and use it as a binder and try to make burgers or fritters out what's left!
I have two interviews this week, and I'm still hoping to hear from the place where I ha a phone interview. Waiting is so hard. Like at what point do you give up hope? Maybe this will be my week?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Another Day of Delicious Vegan Eats!

I was off yesterday and was able to wake up early in the morning. I love the hours between five and seven am. Even if you live in the heart of a city, it's peaceful and there is just a certain energy that I really love. I had a self care day yesterday and between the early morning energy and a really, really great watermelon my day started out perfectly!
This was maybe the best watermelon I've ever had. Usually I eat half and juice the other half, but I just had to eat the whole thing! It's been a really great watermelon season!
Strawberry,banana,maca powder,half an avocado
I've really been loving adding avocado to my smoothies. It makes them creamier and also I find that the smoothie fills me up and keeps me full longer. And as an added bonus avocados are very good for the skin. Skin care for high elevation and a super dry climate has been a journey. I swear by avocado, water and coconut oil!
When I made totchos for the first time last week my mind went crazy with possibilities. All of a sudden tots aren't just for dipping! So I made these buffachos? Not sure what to call them, but this is one of the best things I've eaten in a very long time! I made some buffalo chickpeas and threw them on top of some tater tots and drizzled it all with some Just Ranch. I liked this even better than totchos to be honest. This was also super quick to throw together if you cooked your chickpeas ahead of time, or use canned. I already want more!!!
I had my iced tea sitting on the bathroom sink and set it on the floor for a second to let Afro drink from the sink, and when I looked down Etta was sipping some of my tea!! I tried and failed to get her mid sip!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

No Chick Spicy Sweet Sriracha Sauce

Last week I got a request to try and make Chick Fil A spicy sweet sriracha dipping sauce. I have never in my life been to a Chick Fil A and and to be honest I think SLC is the first city I've lived in that even has one of these restaurants. There is a Chick Fil A downtown that I actually walked by, but it's in a super sketch part of downtown, and I felt severe anxiety about going in and requesting a packet of sauce. Plus the front of the store smells strongly of human piss. So, anonymous I did my best at recreating a sauce I have never heard of or tasted. I looked up the ingredients, read a few reviews and also watched a few taste tests on YouTube. So I did my research. The main flavors people mentioned were spicy, soy sauce and a strong corn syrup flavor.
Here are all the ingredients I used, plus soy sauce which I forgot to put in the photo. I used agave in place of corn syrup because why use corn syrup?

                                                     Spicy Sweet Sriracha Dipping Sauce
  • 4 T. Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 Tsp. Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 1 to 1/2 Tsp. Sriracha
  • 1/4 Tsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/4 T. Agave Nectar
Stir all ingredients together. Start with one teaspoon of sriracha and add more to your liking. I added one and a half teaspoons but I love spicy.
Sometime maybe if I'm downtown earlier in the day I might get brave enough to stop in and ask for a sauce packet. I'm sure the employees there hear stranger requests all the time. But this sauce was sweet with a kick and just a little salty. It seems to match descriptions minus the "heavy corn syrup flavor" I'm guessing maybe the real version is a lot sweeter than mine? Anyway, anonymous, I hope this is somewhat close and please let me know if I'm way off base! I hope this helps you on your vegan journey. I am a big believer in sauces and condiments, especially if you're on a budget!
I made some oven fries and tofu nuggets to dip in this sauce. The reviews I watched dipped tots and nuggets in the sauce so I decided to make a healthier fast food type of meal. I seasoned the tofu and potatoes with salt and pepper, garlic powder and lots of nooch. Delicious! Kids have the right idea, foods you eat with your hands and dip are the best!
I washed my sheets, duvet cover and the pink sweater yesterday. Joan got to the sweater first, fresh out of the dryer!
Happy Caturday!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Some Cheap Vegan Food I've Eaten plus Cats!

This was a meal I threw together the night before I went grocery shopping. It was really delicious, especially considering that I had "nothing" to eat! It's funny what you can throw together when you think that! I just made a coconut curry broth with red lentils and added rice noodles and tofu. This definitely didn't taste thrown together!
This was a really, really delicious dish I made the other night. I got the idea from an Instagram post! It's just a shredded sweet potato that you bake with BBQ sauce for forty five minutes until it's all soft and super flavorful!! We all know white potatoes are one of my favorite foods, but I'm not a huge fan of sweet potatoes. I'm always trying to find ways to eat them that I enjoy, and these top the very small list! I used a smoky, spicy BBQ sauce that balanced the sweetness of the potatoes. Delicious!
I got this idea from a post from Sarah last week. It's my take on swimming rama which is basically rice topped with spinach, tofu and a spicy peanut sauce. I looked at a million different recipes and kind of just took from different versions to come up with this red curry peanut sauce made with coconut milk. It was drinkable!!
Yesterday I made a sun dried tomato pesto with spinach and green onions. I used sunflower seeds instead of nuts because sunflower seeds are friendlier on the wallet! I made some nooch-y tofu and tossed the pesto with Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi. In my mind this dish was going to be so beautiful and photogenic it was going to blow minds! Reality did not live up to fantasy, but it's okay because it was so DELICIOUS! If you haven't tried the cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe's, you really should. Especially if you're gluten free!
Kiki is known to kind of force cuddles, and I think she learned it from Etta. In my sweet Dylan's last years he had turned into a bit of a grump and Etta would lay down with him, and at first he would groan, and bite and swipe and she would just lay there until he calmed down and resigned himself to the cuddle. And also these two are both obsessed with the pink sweater that is now a part of my bedroom decor! Neither of them will even lay on the bed if they can't be on the sweater!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hauls and Hope

So yesterday was grocery day. I was going to go to Sprouts for some produce, but I got a late start and it was way too hot to do a lot of walking, especially when lugging groceries. I went to Natural Grocers and Trader Joe's. I didn't get too much because I plan on going to Sprout's either Friday or Saturday to get some more produce. They're having one of their famous 72 hour sales over the weekend with some AMAZING deals!
Once again at Natural Grocers I came across a new to me vegan product! It really seems like in the last year or so vegan meats are exploding!!
I saw The Stallion which is an Italian Sausage, Pit Boss which is a pulled pork type of thing, Comrade Cluck which is a chicken, and one other that I can't remember. They're made with vital wheat gluten plus other things like chickpea flour and of course seasonings. I'm of course always super excited to see new vegan stuff because that shows that the demand is growing and that's what really matters. But I have to say lately it also disappoints me in a way because the prices are just out of control. These are over seven dollars a package, close to eight. For me that's almost one third of my weekly food budget. And veganism already has a reputation with a lot of people as an expensive, complicated diet and this doesn't help. It's so frustrating. UUUGGGHH. 
Watermelon,potatoes,peanut butter,Epsom salts,booch,Thai red curry paste,avocado,green onion

Yes that is packing paper next to the stuff. They love packing paper so whenever I get my Chewy order I let them play with it until they've shredded it!
Sweet chili sauce,lime, sweet potato, agave syrup,onion,complete cookie,sun dried tomatoes,spinach,frozen strawberries,cauliflower gnocchi,tofu, green tea,avocado, lentil and potato curls
I finally remembered to get the lentil and potato snacks Sarah! They are so tasty! I had some hummus laying around and they are really great with hummus! I was also excited to get the cauliflower gnocchi again. They have been out for weeks everywhere and I missed them so! I'm going to make a sun dried tomato pesto to go with them. It's going to be sooooo good!
I don't want to say too much and jinx myself, but one of the many jobs I've applied for that I really want called me yesterday and I had a phone interview and the person said the owner should be calling me in a day or two. The phone interview seemed to go well, I feel like I came off as a bit desperate, but that's how I feel right now, DESPERATE to do anything else. Anyway, please send all the good vibes you can spare my way, I need them!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WooHoo Vegan Food!

I found these chips on a serious woohoo sale and since I was planning on  making hummus and I've never tried this flavor I just couldn't resist. I also scored a personal watermelon for $1.50! It's been so hot and watermelon sounded so good! I like to eat half of the melon and juice the other half. Watermelon juice is sooooooo refreshing!
I made some jalapeno hummus with these diced tamed jalapenos. They're pretty mild, so they kind of just give the hummus a pickle-y little kick. I had some with the chips and it was a great snack. I like the chips, they're kind of like a super intense spicy BBQ chip.
On Saturday I knew I was going to be having a daiya ice cream bar for dessert so I wanted to keep it kind of light for dinner. Even though it's five million degrees out there, I've been having a serious craving for tomato soup. I whipped this up with an onion, garlic, a can of crushed tomatoes and some red lentils. With seasoning and some spices of course. I blended it to make it smooth and creamy. I had it with a pita and some chips. I didn't write down what I did which is a shame because this turned out amazing! I make a ton of soups and pride myself on being able to turn the most random ingredients into a soup, but I've always struggled with tomato soup. The texture is always off, or it tastes like tomato sauce not soup. But this reminded me of Cambell's tomato soup which was just what I wanted! It was like my Nana was there making me dinner and asking about my day!
My meals get super beige when it's close to grocery day! Even though it's beige, this was really very, very tasty especially for a total thrown together meal. I was thinking last week about some kind of lemon-y pasta, and when I saw Julie's post I just knew I had to make it. I didn't have any greens but it was still bright and tasty! I just tossed some cooked gluten free pasta with the juice of one lemon. olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. I also added nooch because why not. The lemon made it so bright and summer-y. On the side I had some baked tofu drizzled with green dragon sauce.
Here is an inside shot of the daiya ice cream bar. I forgot to add this picture in my review. Silly me! The carton said that the ice cream has a caramel swirl which as you can see there is no swirl. When I got to the very bottom there was a tiny swirl but definitely not throughout the whole bar. It's okay though because it really has a great caramel flavor!
Joan loves to watch birds for cats videos on YouTube, but I discovered the other night that she also enjoys The Viet Vegan videos She watched almost the whole thing with me!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Daiya Ice Cream Bars!

After seeing the new Daiya ice cream bars and the price, I emailed Daiya and told them I would love to try the bars but the price is way out of my budget. I asked them if they had any coupons and they sent me a coupon for one free daiya item!
I caught the first bus available at 7:30 am to go to Sprouts and pick a box! It's four or five blocks from Sprouts to the bus stop, and three blocks from the bus stop to my apartment so beating the heat is crucial!
I chose salted caramel swirl because I just cannot say no to vegan caramel. They have four flavors, Classic Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Fudge Crunch,Espresso Coffee, and Salted Caramel Swirl. The ice cream is coconut based, and the chocolate they use is fair trade. The Espresso and Fudge crunch are coated with dark chocolate with a vegan milk chocolate drizzle and the Vanilla Bean and Salted caramel are coated with the milk chocolate with a dark chocolate drizzle.
I have to say these are AHMAZING! First of all something that has always gotten on my nerves about ice cream bars is how the chocolate breaks and falls all over the place when you take your first bite. These do not do that. The chocolate sticks to the bar. The ice cream is smooth and very rich. It has a great caramel flavor. The box says the ice cream has a caramel swirl which I didn't really see, but that's okay because it still tasted so caramel-y! The bar was everything I wanted, sweet, creamy and caramel-y.
Flavor wise I give this bar a solid ten out of ten. But are they worth almost seven dollars? In my opinion no. For me that's a big chunk of my weekly food budget and so it's a hard no. But even if I made more money and had a looser budget I would still wait for a sale because that's just too much. My other  issue is that it's three bars. Why the odd number? What if you're a family of four? Or what if you have a partner? Or what if you have a few friends over? Having to buy two boxes is quite a bit of money.
But they are seriously out of this world, and if you see a sale or really feel like treating yourself I highly recommend these bars. My favorite daiya product so far!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Vegan Agenda

I had some cash that I had to deposit the other day so I went to my bank. My bank is in this little shopping plaza. The plaza has a restaurant called Shanghai Cafe that has a huge vegetarian/vegan menu. There's also another restaurant that has a veggie buffet. And now there is a little vegan shop in the plaza as well! The shop is small, it used to be a cafe and the owner is using the space mostly to make his vegan jerky which he sells at the shop and online!
The last picture is the vegan jerky he makes and sells. He was a graphic or some kind of designer in his previous life so he does his own artwork!. They also make and sell vegan burritos and they had some vegan candy bars and other sweets.  Hopefully over time the store will be able to grow a little bit. I'll definitely keep checking back!

Last night I made a use what you have curry and it turned out great! I had half a block of tofu, two potatoes and some red curry paste that needed to be used so I made a red Thai curry with potatoes, tofu and red lentils. Better than take out!!