Sunday, September 30, 2018

My Cosy Kitchen

I can't believe today is the last day of Vegan Mofo!! It's been so fun, and I have loved reading all the blogs! And it felt great to participate and feel part of something. Today's prompt is Kitchen Tour- show us where the magic happens! I was going to skip today's prompt because I was a little sick yesterday so my kitchen is messier than usual. But I decided to take a few pictures anyway because life is life and things aren't always gleaming and perfect.
I should have done this yesterday when it was light out!!
Sorry for the horrid lighting. As you can see I have a small kitchen, but also a lot of counter space which I love, and something that is of utmost importance to me, a window above the kitchen sink. I do not like kitchens with no windows. I like to gaze out of the window and daydream as I do dishes.
This is my out of control clean dish area. Fun fact about me, I hate putting dishes and laundry away. I will wash dishes until my hands are permanently wrinkled, but I will find every excuse not to put them away. So I just let them dry here, and begrudgingly put a few away when I need space for more.
What I love the most about my kitchen is the pantry. I've never had a pantry or extra space in any other kitchen that I've had. This probably seems super unorganized to most people, but I know where everything is. I know it would look so much prettier if I used Mason jars for my bulk items, but I just reuse glass jars from pickles, coconut oil, etc. I have a lot of glass jars!
And this is the cupboard above my refrigerator. It's way too high for me to use, but it's Kiki's favorite spot to hide from the evil vacuum and also snoopervise when I'm in the kitchen.
Mofo has been amazing and I already can't wait for next year!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Simple Saturday

I went to the library yesterday which I haven't done in far too long. I haven't been reading as much as I used to and I want to change that. I was super excited to see that their vegan cookbook section which was already pretty big has expanded! If you're on a tight budget chances are you can't afford to buy all the newest cookbooks. And although I've found some great books at the thrift store, I've never found a vegan cookbook. Most libraries I've been to have a decent vegan cookbook section. It's also nice to be able to check out a book to see if it's worth buying because books can be pricey and I see them as an investment. I'm happy I found a book by Gene Baur. I admire him so much, and there are some tasty looking recipes!
I'm so excited to have teeccino back in my life! I gave up my daily coffee habit years ago, but sometimes I miss the richness of coffee that tea just doesn't have. Teeccino is more robust like coffee, with no caffeine. And it has health benefits too! And we all know I am a sucker for anything caramel. I don't have this often because it is on the pricier side but Natural Grocers has it on sale for $2.49 a box!
I was watching a What I Ate video on YouTube and the person had this really simple bowl for dinner and it just looked so good I had to recreate one for myself. I love trying recipes and making different dishes, but sometimes I just crave the simplest of simple. This delicious bowl has quinoa, oven baked tofu, shredded Brussels sprouts sauteed with lots of garlic, sauerkraut, and a spicy tahini sauce. Ever since I've started boiling my quinoa like pasta I have had nothing but delicious fluffy quinoa!
I really thought Joan would be the first kitty to really get up high, but it was Afro. Here she is trying to get down to the next level. I helped her down because I was scared she would hurt herself!!

Friday, September 28, 2018

All Things Vegan

My second batch of homemade kombucha is on it's second ferment so I decided to try this new to me kombucha I spotted at Winco. I was not a fan. It's so cloyingly sweet. It takes a lot for me to say that because I like my kombucha more on the sweet side. Butt this tastes as sweet as a regular soda and it just did not taste good. I looked up the company and they said they're making kombucha for the ninety percent of people who have never had it. I take that to mean they're aiming this for soda drinkers. I wish them luck but this is not for me!
I still have never tried these! These are hard for me to find and usually the price stops me. But luckily Winco is vegan friendly and has the deals! These were under five dollars a box and I couldn't resist!
Yesterday's Mofo prompt was TV Trays What's your TV dinner? I always think of bowls of soup or pasta when I think of eating in front of the TV.  I just happened to have an urge to try and make vegan meatballs. I just can't say or type balls without giggling like a twelve year old! I used this recipe for the balls. Ha ha. They turned out PERFECT! I baked them first and then let them simmer in some homemade marinara. The texture is amazing, they remind me a lot of the gardein version, but these are cheaper and gluten free. I will definitely make these again!!
I keep my extra towels on the bottom shelf in my bathroom. Besides the pink sweater this is Kiki's new favorite place to sleep! This is why I come out of the shower covered in cat hair!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Birthday Meal Auditions

Yesterday's Mofo prompt was Birthday Bash. Would you rather make something or have someone else make something for your birthday? I haven't ever known anyone who really knows how to cook, so I've always just cooked myself. I think I'm one of those people. You know, the one always in the kitchen, slapping away hands trying to help or sneak a taste. I don't really have a signature, favorite dish that I always want on my birthday. To be honest I don't even think I have a favorite dish. I have many favorites, and I'm the worst at choosing favorites.
Last night I was craving a spicy red curry, so that's what I made. I would definitely love a bowl of spicy noodles with tofu on my birthday! And actually I probably would be really touched if someone made it for me!
I used Taste of Thai red curry paste, and added a little peanut butter for extra pizazz!

If it were my birthday I would probably want a vegan chocolate cake, but I would also be just as happy with this ice cream. I have a bit of an obsession with this frozen mousse from So Delicious. Although I love the chocolate chip and the peanut butter swirl, the fruit flavors are my favorite. The mousse is very similar in texture to cocowhip, so it just tastes amazing with fruit. I hope I can find the strawberry swirl for my actual birthday!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Potluck Worthy?

 I was feeling a little run down yesterday so I decided to make myself a ginger shot.  I just added a little water, the juice of half a lemon and a knob of ginger to my blender and blended for a few seconds and strained the juice. It took seconds to make. It's really intense, but I did feel a lot better afterwards. I think I'll be doing this a couple times a week for the fall and winter months.
Yesterday's Mofo prompt was to make something you would bring to a potluck. I've never been to a potluck as an adult, I have hazy memories of potlucks as a kid. They all involved crock-pots and those silver disposable pans. Although I didn't use either of those things for this dish, I would definitely bring it to a potluck, or make it for a crowd! I marinated soy curls in garlic and a homemade teriyaki sauce all day so they really absorbed the flavors. All I had to do was give them a quick cook while I made some rice!
These are not really budget friendly but I needed a treat yesterday, and it needed to be chocolate. I highly recommend these!
Everyone but Joan managed to squeeze onto the pink sweater! It's been getting very cool at night and in the morning so cuddle season is back!! It's just so hilarious how much they love that pink sweater!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Budget Sunday

I can't believe it's the last week of Vegan Mofo!! It has really flown by! Week four is occasions week. In my mind I am an occasions person. In my mind I bake all the things and make all kinds of holiday food. But in reality I am not an occasions person, and I rarely do holidays if I'm being honest. So I probably won't be following many of these prompts. I did get a picture of everything I ate yesterday, and I kind of accidentally followed the prompt for dinner.
I had this very filling smoothie for breakfast. It had frozen mixed berries, half an avocado, hemp hearts, goji berries and a banana. Hemp hearts are a great way to get a lot of protein in your smoothie if you don't care for protein powders. And hemp hearts are lots cheaper!!
I snacked on a few of these chips with salsa while I was cleaning. These chips are seriously the BEST tortilla chips ever, and this salsa has been a fave of mine for years! And it's still the same price as the first time I tried it! This is why I keep going back to Trader Joe's even though the small aisles plus crowds can be really uncomfortable!
Yesterday's prompt for Mofo was Sunday Dinner. I don't recall any kind of Sunday dinner tradition growing up, and I've definitely never started one of my own. I think of Sunday dinner as any day where maybe it's a grey day and you're spending it indoors and you make something that has to cook for awhile and makes the house smell AMAZING! I love those kind of days and meals. Yesterday was a day off, and it was grey and cool-ish so I made eggplant lasagna with no noodles. I layered thinly sliced eggplant with tofu and almond ricotta, marinara sauce and some shredded Chao cheese.
My apartment smelled so delicious and this meal was warm and comforting. I ate this on the couch under a blanket and watched Wonder Woman. Yum!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Frugal and Fancy Free

Yesterday's Mofo prompt was Fancy but Frugal. I'm definitely frugal, but not fancy. I had some humble ingredients that I decided to turn into a maybe not fancy but very pretty soup!
When I was at Trader Joe's I saw a new to me soup in their cold pre-made soups, sandwiches and wraps section. It was a Thai red curry carrot and sweet potato soup. I looked at the ingredients and knew I had to make it myself! I used butternut squash instead of carrot and ended up not using the peanut butter.
I tried to get artsy with the sriracha but in the end had nowhere to go.

                                      Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Red Curry Soup
  • 1 Medium Onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1Meduim to Large Sweet Potato Peeled and Cubed
  • 2 1/4 Cup of cubed butternut squash fresh or frozen
  • 1 T. Coconut oil for sauteing 
  • 2 T. Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • 1 T. Tamari or Soy sauce
  • 1 T. Agave Nectar
  • 1 3/4 C. Water
  • 1 Can Light Coconut Milk
Saute onion and garlic in the coconut oil over medium heat for about three or four minutes. Add salt, crushed red pepper if using,sweet potato and the butternut squash and saute for a few more minutes. Add the curry paste, water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Add the soy sauce and the agave nectar and simmer for about thirty minutes. Turn off the heat and blend until smooth and creamy.
The weather is slowly cooling down here and so that means more soup and lots more cuddles. I've been catching them in some super cute piles. It's very distracting!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Dented Not Scratched

Yesterday's Mofo prompt was scratch and dent. Make a meal with some clearance items! I love finding WooHoo sales, and I love the dented can section of the grocery store. Something that I've learned from working at a grocery store is that sometimes things get mixed up and a store will receive aproduct it doesn't carry. Instead of sending it back they will just sell it for a seriously reduced price to get rid of it. So clearance isn't always dented or almost expired!
I lucked out and found a bag of Yukon gold potatoes for $.99 in the clearance produce. These were in perfect shape, no bad parts to cut off or anything like that. I have some soy curls I've been dying to use so I decided to make a potato taco bowl. I cubed and roasted the potatoes with garlic powder, s&p, and smoked paprika. I sauteed some soy curls and black beans in taco seasoning and made some guacamole.
I so need to work on my plating skills because the star of the dish, the potato is not even visible!! This delicious bowl has potatoes, topped with black beans and soy curls, topped with lettuce and cilantro and of course a dollop of guacamole! For honorable mention I also used some green hot sauce that I found for $.99 on a WooHoo sale.
I didn't get these on clearance, but these are great if you're on a budget. This 8 oz. bag is under five bucks at Natural Grocers and you get A LOT of meals from one bag. I know they're probably impossible to find if you don't have a Natural Grocers, but I think you can order them online.
It's finally cooling down, even in SLC. The mornings have been really cool so that means a lot more cuddle piles!! I don't blame them for using Afro's belly as a pillow, it's a good one!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Oodles of Noodles for Two Bucks!

Yesterday's prompt for Vegan Mofo was Four for $4. Since it's just me I didn't want to make that much food so I decide to make a meal for two for two dollars. I used pantry ingredients and bought two fresh items for the dish.
I made a tofu and veggie stir fry with rice noodles. I had tofu and rice noodles plus green onion, so I bought some cabbage and a few mushrooms.
The noodles were $1.19 for the whole package and I used half, the tofu was $1.49 and I used half, I used $. 60 worth of mushrooms and $.50 worth of cabbage. I used three green onions and paid $.25 for the bunch, so pennies. I used soy sauce and sesame oil with some sriracha for the sauce which are pantry staples. I did spend a little over two dollars, but also this made enough food for three people. It also came together in under twenty minutes so it's an easy, tasty meal after a long day! And who doesn't love noodles!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

MMM Dinner

I had the best intentions of following a lot of the prompts for this third week of Vegan Mofo. I even have lists and notes but this week has just gotten away from me. Yesterday I didn't post because Monday I was having some issues with anxiety and didn't even eat much all day.  Yesterday I did feel better, but I was really kind of out of it from the day before.
I wasn't even thinking about Mofo yesterday to be honest. Out of the blue I thought about this blog I used to read called Peas and Thank You. The blog is gone but I still remember this amazing sauce she made called Yum or MMM sauce. It's made with garbanzo beans and almonds plus nooch and seasonings. My very picky and non vegan ex boyfriend used to LOVE it.
Even though I've fallen off the prompt rails this week, this is definitely still a very budget friendly meal, it only uses 1/4 cup of almonds. I used slivered raw almonds which you can find cheaply in bulk, or even the little bags in the baking aisle are usually pretty cheap.
I tossed some of the sauce with gluten free elbows and added peas and small pieces of smoked tofu. This was a very satisfying and comforting meal. Here is the recipe if anyone is interested. I did cut the olive oil down to two tablespoons. It didn't make a difference in the taste or texture in my opinion. I'm dreaming of pouring some over a mound of potatoes. This would be a great sauce to drizzle over steamed veggies. It's also delicious with a spoon!
How much is that kitty in the window!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I've Gone Rogue and Cats!

I am not a meal planner which is one of the number one reasons I am doing my own theme for Vegan Mofo. This week the theme is budget so I thought I would follow some of the prompts but sadly NO. Today's prompt is Leftovers day one. Make a meal with the intention of doing something different with the leftovers. I had several ideas because I love to refurbish leftovers. But last night I wanted a potato and red lentil curry. Which is actually a dish I was going to make for a different prompt!! But it's what I wanted and I had all the ingredients so once again I'm going my own way! Is anyone else a spontaneous eater? Being that I'm on such a tight budget I know meal planning and prepping is a huge help. But I turn into a petulant child when I meal plan. I resent myself and I throw tantrums. It's bad.
I added some peanut butter which I've been loving in curries. I am kind of on theme in that curries make THE BEST leftovers! In fact I prefer making this in the morning, and then reheating it after work while I make the rice. It just tastes better the longer it hangs out.
Although Kiki and Etta both still love the pink sweater, they've decided that the blue blanket on the couch is also pretty cozy. Here they are holding paws. It's sometimes too much!!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Pantry Meal and Budget Dessert

Although I haven't been following the prompts for Mofo, I decided to follow a few of the prompts for this week because it's budget week! Yesterday's prompt was to make a pantry meal. I always have potatoes in my pantry. I feel like potatoes don't get enough credit. In fact a lot of people view them as a forbidden food. Anything is terrible when it's deep fried, or smothered in cheese, butter, sour cream and bacon. But potatoes are delicious without all that grease and fat. They have vitamin C, potassium, and iron. If you are on a super tight budget potatoes are a great staple. You can find some great deals on five and ten pound bags and it will get you through a lean week.
The prompt for today is Super Cheap Sweets. What could be cheaper than black bean brownies? If you are gluten free you need to try these! Gluten free flour is expensive, and gluten free brownie mixes are double the cost of regular mixes. Look at how fudge-y they are! They even get a little crinkle-y on top! I used this recipe. I just used a regular pan instead of muffin tins. This is the second time I've made them and I just can't say enough good things about them. Simple, inexpensive ingredients and decadent, fudge-y brownies? Yes please!!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Vegan Ice Cream for Dinner

This weeks Mofo theme is budget. I will actually be following most of the prompts for this week. The prompt for today is pantry meal. I am all about pantry meals and I was stoked! Well, I had one idea in mind, and then I saw a video for something else and decided to try a different recipe. It was for a potato lasagna using thinly sliced potatoes in place of noodles. I had all the ingredients and I was ready! Well, the recipe was an epic fail. The recipe said to cook the lasagna for thirty minutes, after almost two hours the potatoes were still a little on the crunchy side! I finally gave up. I do not like to waste food so I will try and finish baking it today. I'm okay when something turns out just kind of okay. And I'm okay when I throw a recipe together and it's an epic fail but I get super frustrated when I follow a recipe and it's a fail. There's no closure. Is it something I did, or a mistake in the recipe?? You just never know!! Anyway, I was tired and pissed so I had ice cream for dinner!
I was at the Smith's downtown the other day and saw this flavor. You know I had to try it. This flavor is the same light and fluffy vanilla mousse with swirls of fudge and chocolate shreds more than chips. Yum. If you love CocoWhip by the spoonful and I do, this is the ice cream for you. It's soft and fluffy right out of the freezer. It's my new favorite ice cream.
Sometimes things just don't work out, and you have ice cream for dinner. It's one of the pleasures of being an adult.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Zero Waste Roundup and Budget Beauty plus Booch and Cats!

My zero waste challenge ends today. Although I will continue to try and live as gently as possible, I am happy to loosen up a little. It's really tough. Companies make it really hard to live zero waste. Everything is in plastic. Even organic companies who claim to care use excessive packaging. And every grocery store is now selling pre chopped and all kinds of zoodles and squadoodles all in plastic. And when those items don't sell. they get tossed. And it is a privilege to live a zero waste lifestyle. Not everyone has access to stores with bulk sections. Also to be truly zero waste takes extra time. Making your own plant milk and cleaners plus shampoo and conditioner, etc. It's a lot.To be honest I felt overwhelmed because the budget part of my challenge wasn't really a challenge, it's really my life. And being on a tight budget requires time. I can't throw things in my basket willy nilly, I have to compare prices, and really, really think about what I'm buying. And I cook most things from scratch. So having two time consuming and somewhat restrictive things going on was a lot. So hats off to the hardcore zero wasters. It's a lot. But this past week opened my eyes, and I am committed to paying attention and wasting less.
Here is what I collected all week. To be honest there should be like ten million more tea bags. It only occurred to me yesterday morning that I should have been including my tea bags. I know I usually produce a lot more waste so like I said, this really opened my eyes.
I know that it isn't food, but being vegan isn't just about food. We exploit animals in all kinds of ways. I don't wear much make up. Mascara and lipstick is it for me, and most of the time I skip mascara but I always like a bright lip. Always. I mix these two colors by wet and wild and it makes the nicest plummy pink. I get ten million compliments a week on this color. When I tell people it's wet and wild most people are shocked. If you're on a budget check them out. All of their make up is affordable, vegan and cruelty free.

I use coconut oil to moisturize my face and body. It's cheaper than any vegan eco friendly lotion you'll find, and it works better than any lotion I've ever used! And I live in Salt Lake City, UT. where there is like zero humidity. Dry, dry, dry!!! Always get virgin or unrefined.
Not quite food, but closer! My first batch of home brewed booch is ready! I flavored it with cherry juice and let it do a little second ferment. It's in the fridge getting cold now. I can't wait to try it! I'm going to get my second batch going today so I always have homemade kombucha!! Notice my shredded couch in the background!! Cats!
Happy Caturday!!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Winning and Budgeting

I got an Email a couple of weeks ago letting me know that I won the Mofo Pulsin brownies giveaway! I haven't won anything since I won a Scooby Doo stuffed animal when I was an itty bitty!! It's very exciting and I can't wait to try them. I will definitely report back!
I can't talk about budget meals without including lentil soup! Lentil soup has nourished me through many a dark time. There were times when I lived in Seattle where I had five or six bucks for food for the week. Instead of stocking up on Top Ramen, I would buy a pound of lentils, an onion and carrot and make a huge pot of lentil soup to eat throughout the week. Lentils are easy to find, cheap, quick cooking and full of nutrients. It changes every time I make it, but I always like to add turmeric, fennel seed(for a sausage-y flavor) and crushed red pepper. This batch also had some tomato paste, Italian seasoning and lots of nutritional yeast! I had a DELICIOUS grilled cheese on the side. I used B Free gluten free bread and daiya shredded mozzarella. It's been so long since I've had a grilled cheese and I loved and savored every bite!
I think my dinner last night is one of the best examples of a budget meal! About a month or so ago I found this vegan gravy packet on WooHoo for twenty five cents! And this bag of big baker potatoes was only ninety nine cents on clearance! So this is enough for two main servings or four side servings for $1.24!! I guess a little more if you include the splash of soy milk. Maybe $1.30!! Mashed and gravy is probably my all time favorite comfort food. A hug in a bowl!
I don't ever buy cut flowers, they belong in the earth but when you see roses with little daisies for $.89, you pick some up for yourself!!
They made it through the night with no curious kitties knocking them over! Also, I'm very classy and am using a Mason jar for a vase.