Friday, August 31, 2018

The Bad and Good

I've been craving pizza for a few days now so I decided to experiment with yet another gluten free pizza dough. I had some brown and white rice flour in my pantry so I made a flax egg and got to kneading. The dough was very light and I realized that rice flour is used in a lot of tempura because it's light and airy. I kind of had a feeling I was going to have issues but I had already committed to this dough. I let it rest, rolled it out as best I could, baked it a little bit on it's own, then topped it with lentil sausage, red onions, chopped black olives, garlic, and vegan shreds.
The toppings were great! I even made a quick homemade pizza sauce. But the crust was such a fail. I ended up just eating the top of the pizza! The crust was getting too done in some parts but the center was gummy and underdone. It was a mess. Veganism has never really been a struggle for me once I got over the initial cheese detox, but gluten free has been a huge challenge. I think a gluten free all purpose flour blend is best for pizza dough. But that's how you learn things in the kitchen. You have to have some fails!
Luckily I had this in the freezer to soothe my nerves! I found this at Winco for under three dollars. And they have vegan Ben&Jerry's for under four dollars! This is amazing. It's a rich, dark chocolate with pieces of chocolate truffle  throughout. I NEEDED chocolate if you know what I mean and this satisfied that craving! And it's great because it's so rich it kind of stops you from eating too much!
Joan loves it when I open the kitchen window. She sits in judgment of the whole neighborhood! She likes to keep an eye on the neighborhood cats that I feed. She also hisses at my neighbors as they come and go!!
Mofo starts tomorrow!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Big Mountain Foods Veggie Patty

I saw these new to me veggie burgers at Winco last week and I just had to try them. They are vegan, and gluten and soy free. A veggie burger that's gluten and soy free is a rare find! The patties are made with yellow split peas and have lots of veggies like carrot, green peas and red bell pepper. The burgers also have chia and sunflower seeds. The ingredients are super clean, seeds, veggies,rice flour, pea and vegetable fiber and spices.
I was already going to try these, and when I saw that the company is woman owned I wanted to try them even more. I've only seen this brand at Winco. They were $4.28 for a box of four. That's pretty good considering the quality of ingredients.
Not the prettiest way to show off the burger, and I'm just now realizing I should have taken a picture of the burger whole but I didn't think about that at the time. Bad blogger! I just really have been craving salad the last couple of days so I had mine on a bed of mixed greens with Just Caesar and a few fries. A burger and fry salad!
The burgers are pretty big and you can see lots of veggies in the burger. I cooked my burger on a pan with a little coconut oil. The outside got nice and crisp and the inside was tender. I wouldn't say these are mushy, but they are on the softer, veggie side as opposed to the meatier, seitan-y side of burgers. It has great flavor. I can definitely taste the sunflower seeds and red pepper. These would be great on a toasted bun with some spicy mustard, avocado, sprouts and a perfectly ripe tomato. Yum.
I can't wait to try their other products. They have mushroom bites which look like falafel and they are calling my name!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

More Vegan Eats

This is a very sludge-y looking juice! It tasted much better than it looks. I got a watermelon that was a beautiful red color, and a delicious texture but it just wasn't sweet at all. It had to happen sometime, I've had really good luck with watermelon all summer. I made spinach and watermelon juice all week. For whatever reason the juice from a not sweet watermelon is still sweet.
Last week I treated myself to some Chao cheese. Chao is my all time favorite vegan cheese. The creamy original to be exact. I always buy what's on sale or the cheapest and that's rarely Chao so this was a real treat.

I made quesadillas with mayacoba beans and Chao the other night. I also made some quick guacamole and had some chips with Trader Joe's tomatillo salsa. It's so good, it's tart and tangy and I can't get enough!
One of my favorite I've had a long night and don't want to cook meals. Gluten free rotini tossed with Trader Joe's olive tapenade and some baked tofu. Topped with lots of nooch and crushed red pepper. The tofu bakes in the amount of time it takes to bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta. Couldn't be easier!
Last night I had a salad with the Just Caesar dressing and what else? Big thick oven fries! I found this seasoning called Pappy's in the bulk section and I really love it. I think it's the choice seasoning blend. But it gives the fries this delicious smoky flavor, almost like they were made on a grill. Just Inc. really nailed the Caesar dressing too. I tried the FYH vegan Caesar awhile ago and it was way too thin. Also if I remember they were too heavy handed with the lemon or vinegar. Not the case with the Just Caesar. It's thick and so creamy and just lemon-y enough!
I wanted to give a quick Sprouts update. The last I heard from them they had a position in the bakery and was I interested to which I said yes. And I haven't heard back. I have tried to call and the person is not in when I call. It is of course upsetting and also very curious but at the same time it doesn't surprise me. I have just been continuing to apply to anyplace that seems better than what I have. I still think I'll hear from them, it's just when and if I get a different job in the meantime well, that's just life.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Buffalo Chickpea Salad

I've had this idea for a Buffalo chickpea salad for awhile now. I finally had everything I needed yesterday and I thought what better time to make a sandwich type food then back to school? The salad has of course chickpeas along with all of the Buffalo wing accoutrements. I kept this salad really mild with a light amount of hot sauce but you can add as much or as little as you and yours like. I shared some with a coworker who has a very low spice tolerance and it passed with flying colors. I had some salad with gluten free crackers, but it would be so tasty in a sandwich or even stuffed in a big juicy summer tomato!
I feel a little silly posting the recipe because it's so simple but it it's really delicious and quick to throw together which I think is a plus!

                                                              Buffalo Chickpea Salad

  • 2 C. cooked or 1 can chickpeas
  • 1Medium carrot shredded
  • 1 Medium stalk of celery diced
  • 1 Green onion green part only sliced
  • 1 T. Just Mayo
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Hot Sauce
  • 2 T. Just Ranch
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/8 Tsp. Black Pepper
Drain and rinse the chickpeas if using a can. Add them to a large bowl and smash them with a fork or a potato masher. You want them to be smashed with some left whole. It should look a little flaky like tuna. Add all other ingredients and stir until it's combined and the consistency you want. I feel like some people prefer a drier salad, some prefer a wetter salad. Try not to eat it all with a spoon. It tastes great as soon as you make it but it tastes even better after sitting in the fridge for an hour or two. The flavors fall in love and do good things.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Another Vegan Budget Haul

I needed to get a few more groceries to get through the week so I decided to go to Winco! I might be a little obsessed. But I also figured out a way to walk there. It's only 1.3 miles away and I'd rather walk there and back then take the bus, that's how bad it is. Plus when I take the back streets it's a lovely walk! I can also go early in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds!
They have a huge bulk spice section. Buying spices in bulk has been one of my top ways to save money for years. Also I've been able to experiment with a lot of spices I wouldn't be able to afford. It's insane what they charge you for the glass or plastic jar.

I mean look at those prices per pound! You can make meals for several days on less than two dollars!
I also saw a lot of different grains like black rice, red rice and different colored quinoa. Bulk is a great way to try some of those without committing to a whole package because they can be really pricey!
Kombucha,potatoes,tater tots,spinach, Jasmine rice,pickles, A-1 (accidentally vegan) bulk mayacoba beans, bulk vegan jellies

Popsicles, gardein chickenless tenders, mung bean noodles, tomato paste, lemon, garlic, bulk lentils, peanut butter powder,spices, and gluten free flour, frozen peas, tofu, bulk garbanzo beans

Winco also has a huge bulk candy section and they have a surprisingly large selection of vegan gummy type candies. That's good and bad because I find vegan gummies very hard to resist!
Last night I made long board style fries and dipped them in a combo of A-1 and Just Mayo. I had picked up this spice blend called Pappy's smoke blend or something like that in bulk. It's basically a garlic-y, smoky season salt. My love for potatoes hasn't and won't ever die!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Random Friday

Well, I went to Trader Joe's for a few things yesterday and got way less than expected because it was a madhouse. So I just picked up some chips and salsa. It's all I could handle.
You guys these are seriously the best tortilla chips I've ever had. Every single thing about them is perfect. The crunch is perfect, they are perfectly salted and the little lime kick is also perfect. Like I don't think I can ever eat any other tortilla chips ever!
I also went to Smith's for some Epsom salts and powdered ginger and you know I can't go to Smith's without checking out their clearance shelves! I found some goodies! The jalapeno tomatillo hot sauce reminds me of green dragon sauce from Trader Joe's, only spicier!
I had some flour tortillas that needed to be used so I decided to make an enchilada casserole. I made a homemade tomatillo sauce and layered it with black beans and rice. I also used vegan shreds from Trader Joe's. Look at that melt. Trader Joe's vegan shreds are one of the cheapest if not cheapest vegan cheeses out there and although they are gross cold I love them for pizza and dishes like this.
I love making this casserole so much because it's so easy and it's always delicious. Plus you can do what I did and make it ahead of time and just pop it in the oven when you're ready to eat. And it's tasty hot, room temperature, even cold! I'm going to freeze the leftovers for quick meals when I'm too tired to cook!
Kiki really knows how to make the pink sweater as cozy as possible! A few minutes after I took this picture Etta found her way and kind of forced Kiki to share!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Food and Stuff

This tasted like a PB&J! It's just frozen mixed berries and cherries, banana, maca powder, flax seed and peanut butter. Frozen cherries are usually much more expensive than frozen berries, but not at Winco! I feel like a walking ad for that store but seriously the prices keep blowing me away!
I tried the mixed berry booch from Suja. So far I've tried pineapple passion fruit, peach ginger and triple berry. They also have a ginger lemon and a super greens. I will definitely try the ginger lemon but not the greens. I am against greens in my booch. So far the pineapple passion fruit is my favorite, but I've enjoyed them all.
Yesterday I made a roasted tomato and garlic pesto with basil and pumpkin seeds. I actually made this oil free because I was out of olive oil and I just can't picture coconut oil in a pesto! I just added a little water to get it all going. I don't usually use a lot of oil in my pesto anyway so I didn't feel like the taste suffered at all. I also added some white beans for a little extra fiber and protein. Since you're roasting the tomatoes they don't have to be artisinal heirloom tomatoes or anything fancy, you can buy whatever is on sale and let the roasting bring out the good.
I signed up for Vegan Mofo this year! I missed last year but the year before that was my first year and I was so excited to be part of it so I decided to do it again. When I did it before you were supposed to follow prompts which I found difficult. This year you have the option of following prompts but also doing your own thing. Much more relaxing! I also remember feeling like some of the prompts weren't relatable to people of all income levels. So I am very excited, I want to focus on budget. I feel like the misconception that vegan food has to be expensive or complicated stops a lot of people from even thinking about it. So I hope to spread budget awareness!
Although I can't wait for the temps to come down a bit, one thing I will miss is all the kitties lounging HARD and showing their bellies all the time!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Booch, Haul and Dinner

I liked the pineapple passion fruit flavor so much I decided to try the peach ginger. The peach ginger is good, but it's no pineapple passion fruit! I like that each bottle of Suja has a different adaptogen. The pineapple passion fruit has turmeric, and the peach ginger has reishi. I always feel like I'm part of the hip crowd when I can afford things with words like adaptogen.
Gluten free spaghetti, lemons, frozen mixed berries,tomatoes,green onions, hummus,triple berry suju booch, gluten free crackers,gardein chicken tenders,sweet chili mini rice cakes,tofu veggie dumplings,bananas, tofu rice noodles

I hitched a ride and got a few more things at Winco.I definitely got a few splurges because I could actually afford them at Winco. I mean Gardein for $2.77? And they have decent prices for gluten free crackers and pasta!
I treated myself to these dumplings. I regretted not getting them last week so I didn't make that mistake twice.
I baked some tofu and made a quick spicy peanut sauce and had a tofu and dumplings bowl! The dumplings are great. The filling has a nice flavor and they have a great texture. I also saw a Thai basil flavor and you know I'll be trying those!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Suja Kombucha, Brewing Problems and Dinner

I'm sure by now we've all seen the Suja organic juices everywhere. I've tried one or two flavors when they're on sale. Well they've decided to get into the booch game and I saw it first at Winco! Much to my surprise it was only $2.48 a bottle! Suja juice is pretty pricey so I'm assuming the super low cost is a Winco thing? I'm not sure but because of the low cost I decided to try a bottle! I chose the pineapple passion fruit. I was scared it was going to be super dry and I don't like that. I also don't like super sweet. I'm a moderate when it comes to kombucha Ha! Lucky for me this is my kind of booch. It has a really nice fruity pineapple-y flavor, it's fizzy but not too much and it's just the right amount of sweet. I will definitely buy this flavor again and I'll have to try the other flavor they have which has slipped my mind for now. 
Speaking of kombucha, remember the jug I found to make my own? Well a week ago I made a batch using some plain booch which you can use to grow your own scoby. As of now I do not have even the babiest of baby scobies in the jug. I read it can take up to ten days so I still have some hope but each day that hope kind of fizzles, I might have to start from scratch again. Kind of a pain but so worth it.

I was feeling fancy so I made a basil cashew cream sauce over some gluten free angel hair. Topped it with some cashew parm! This was actually super easy. I just blended a few leaves of basil and a little parsley with raw cashews and a little soy milk. I've been using soy milk in my cashew cream sauces lately and it makes a huge difference in the creaminess factor!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

A Great Day!

Here is a close up of the smoked tofu I found at Winco on Thursday. As I mentioned there are several YouYubers from Canada who love, love, love this smoked tofu. I saw one shred it with a box grater and use the shreds to make a vegan crab salad roll. I've never had a crab roll, but when she was making the recipe I was almost drooling! I always love the packets of baked flavored tofu. Wildwood is one of the brands and there are a few others. But they're like triple the cost of plain tofu. So I'm happy that Winco sells this at a fair price. I think it's $.75 more than plain tofu.
I've been craving a Chipotle style burrito for quite some time. I made some garlic-y black beans and a lemon-y guacamole and made myself a big old burrito! I decided to cheat with a flour tortilla and it was worth the cheat!
Like my sushi rolling my burrito rolling is a work in progress. This was one of my best jobs so far. I didn't over stuff or add too much of one thing. Friday nights are for vegan burritos!
So in addition to having an amazing burrito for dinner I also got a call from Sprouts and they hired me! I'll be working in the bakery which is pretty awesome because honestly I'm not the best baker and would love to learn more. She's calling me on Monday to tell me when I start and all of that. Woot woot! I was getting a little worried, like maybe the interview didn't go as well as I thought. I'm mostly excited because I've never worked in a bakery so it's exciting to have an opportunity to learn and do something new!!
Cat on a shelf! There are five little shelves on each layer of this bookshelf and I've been trying to get all five cats in a compartment at the same time but of course they won't cooperate! I had to sneak up and surprise Etta to get this picture!
Happy Caturday!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Winco Loves Vegans!

About three or four months ago a Winco grocery store opened in SLC. Winco is based in Idaho and seems to be a west coast chain? Anyway it's an employee owned store that has super low prices. They're like Aldi in that they don't have baggers and the cashier on't bag anything. They also don't take credit cards, only cash and debit. That way they aren't paying the card fees. These little things save them money an allow the low prices. I've never gone because I knew when they opened they'd be a complete madhouse. Plus the bus I have to take is my least favorite bus in the city so I just always stick to my little safe routine. Well, yesterday a coworker with a car was going to check it out and invited me! I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Are they really that cheap? Are they vegan friendly? Is it too much like Walmart for me to handle? The answer is yes yes and no. I didn't peruse every inch of the store because it's HUGE but the prices are crazy, and they have a lot of vegan goodies, and a pretty big produce section with great prices! I took lots of pictures because It's pretty amazing!
Pretty big booch selection
This case is full of tofu, jackfruit, tofurky and field roast products, and vegan cheese.
They sell Field Roast sausages for under five dollars, and this shook me to my core, daiya cheese is under four dollars. And these are the all the time prices. It doesn't seem like they have weekly sales, and thank gourd you don't have to have a freaking card to get the prices!
I just saw these on Instagram the other day and haven't seen them anywhere else, even Natural Grocers or Sprouts!!
Ten pounds of potatoes!! Seriously my dream!
Yes these prices are correct! I don't know of any ice cream that's this cheap, let alone vegan ice cream!
I've never seen daiya pizza under nine dollars unless it's on sale!
All of their gardein products are under three and four dollars!!
They also have a HUGE and I mean HUGE bulk section. I mean I almost cried if I'm being honest.
Best price in town!
I thought $.69 a pound was a great price!!
The bulk section was surprisingly busy so I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked. They have all kinds of things in bulk, peanut butter powder, spices, any kind of bean, grain, or pasta you could ever in your life imagine. They have shapes of pasta I never knew existed! And they have a huge dried fruit section, and so much candy! They have a ton of gummy/jelly types of candy with no gelatin! Lots of red, yellow and blue dye but no animal products!
I didn't go down every aisle because I can't tolerate grocery stores the way I used to and there is a bit of the people of Walmart vibe to it. But I will be back because of the bulk section and potatoes alone!
Tortilla chips, salsa, corn, Haagen Dazs, extra firm and smoked tofu, Fritos, red potatoes, burrito shells, plums, garlic, bulk black beans and chocolate chips

I didn't need much but some of the stuff I had to get. I watch a few vegan Yutubers who live in Canada and they rave about the smoked tofu. I've never seen it anywhere and when I saw it I was almost star struck! I'm really glad I gave Winco a chance. I'll have to figure out a way to fit them into my shopping routine every now and again because I'll lose my budget card if I don't!!