Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The No and The Yes!

Sunday I was running an errand and I happened to come across this vegan cashew queso. You don't see a lot of vegan queso in stores, and because it is made with potatoes, cashews and spices I decided to splurge and let myself try it. I was feeling really deprived that day and needed a treat. The queso wasn't cheap so it was a splurge in several ways.
I think this is a paleo company. They make tortilla chips that are grain free, made from cassava root. I've tried the chips, they have a vegan nacho cheese and also a vegan ranch. The chips are also super pricey.  I know this is a mild queso, but mild doesn't mean bland. This has almost no flavor, it's like they don't even use salt. And the texture is okay, but honestly I make smoother cheese sauces in my Ninja blender. This is expensive and in my opinion so not worth it. I definitely do not recommend this at all.  It's not so much horrible as it's just not good.
Now onto some tastier news. Bean pasta has been a thing for awhile. I always see the red lentil and black bean pasta at Trader Joe's, but they're more expensive than regular gluten free pasta, and I just never wanted to take that risk. Well, I came across this yellow lentil pasta at a decent price so I decided to try it and see what all the fuss was about. I cooked some frozen peas with the pasta and made a nooch-y cashew cheese sauce for some good old fashioned mac and yease and peas! I needed comfort food!

I'm not a huge fan of gluten free pasta to be honest. I've found a few brands that are tolerable, but I just don't eat a lot of pasta because I miss the tenderness of gluten filled pasta. Texture wise this is maybe more similar to a very hearty whole wheat pasta than a brown rice/quinoa pasta. It's definitely hearty. I didn't really detect a strong bean-y flavor. I've had gluten free pastas that have a very weird aftertaste and this thankfully didn't. It has only one ingredient which is yellow lentil flour. And it has 13 grams of protein per serving which is pretty amazing. I would definitely buy this again, and it's piqued my curiosity about other bean based pastas!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Chickpea Pancakes Save the Day!

The best date I've ever been on was at an Ethiopian restaurant. I don't even remember the guy or the conversation but I remember the food! I remember the amazing spices and the different flavors and textures, not to mention the injera bread! Like most toddlers I love a meal where I get to dip and scoop and not use silverware! I've always craved Ethiopian food since that date, but I haven't had it since because I really don't know why to be honest. Flash forward to yesterday as I'm kind of feeling mopey and restricted with my food, and I'm dreaming of hulking out to eat all the bread, tofu and goitrogens my heart could desire. All of a sudden I thought of that magical experience and decided I would try an make an Ethiopian meal! I chose a cabbage dish and also a yellow split pea dish. I looked up a recipe for injera and saw that it was easy to make. (LIE) Well, my split peas were still rock hard after three hours of cooking, and it turns out injera is much harder than the recipe I followed made it seem. After using all my batter and producing no injera, plus rock hard split peas it was time to throw in the towel.

Luckily I have garbanzo bean flour in my pantry so I whipped up some quick chickpea pancakes. I made a spicy cucumber salad that I was going to have with my Ethiopian feast, but it tasted great with my pudla too! Aren't kitchen disasters the worst?? I don't mind a million dishes when it's a success, but when you have nothing to show for it aagghhh!!
I've been drinking more turmeric tea lately as part of my overall health plan. I saw this and read the ingredients which say "honey flavor" I wasn't sure what that could be, but according to Yogi Tea's website all of their teas are vegan and kosher. So I picked it up and it's pretty tasty. I think I like Trader Joe's ginger turmeric tea a little better, but this is still tasty!
My favorite thing about yogi tea is the quotes! Sometimes it's almost spooky when a quote is just so perfect for what I'm feeling in that moment!
I don't really think anyone makes sleeping look better than Miss Floof herself! I just want to rest my face on her belly all the time!!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Week One Down!

This was a super simple and really tasty dinner I threw together the other night. I just simmered some white beans in Frank's red hot wing sauce which is accidentally vegan. I baked some potatoes and shoved the beans in the warm potatoes and then topped them with some homemade cashew ranch. I wrote down the recipe for the ranch to share, but I made the rookie mistake of blending the herbs with the cashews and it turned it kind of a greenish color. Whoops, next time I will add them after blending! I also want to add a little more garlic and onion powder. But this was a really delicious and satisfying meal.
I made veggie sushi for dinner last night. Carrot and avocado roll with one combo roll. This is my first time making veggie only sushi, usually I add baked tofu. I need to work on making the rolls the same size, It's like we have baby, mama and papa rolls!
English cucumber,carrot,cutie oranges,bulk Jasmine rice,green grapes,bananas,avocado,fresh and powdered ginger,frozen raspberries, liquid aminos
My little mini haul from yesterday. I'm eating a lot more fruit and vegetables so I'm kind of having to restock every few days. I definitely feel a difference in my energy levels now that I'm eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. Even though I miss my chocolate at night, my body loves all the extra vitamin C!
This made it really hard to stay out of bed yesterday. Just a big mess of cuddles and I wanted to be right in the middle!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Orange You Glad,,,,,,,

Yesterday I made this carrot, celery, orange and ginger juice for a little midday pick me up. I love this combo when my energy is a bit low. Since I've been drinking just straight celery juice this was a nice, sweet treat!
It was an orange kind of day yesterday because I made this creamy sweet potato soup for dinner! I made it with sweet potato, onion, garlic and red lentils. For seasoning I used cumin, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper and some liquid smoke. I had some cashews soaking for a meal I didn't want to make anymore so I added those while blending the soup for extra creaminess.  I also added a ton of nooch for cheesiness and the B vitamins. Doesn't it just look like fall?
I know this isn't food, but it is a cruelty free plant based cleaner that I found at Winco for under three dollars! So many eco friendly products are astronomically priced especially in comparison with the standard, toxic products. I feel a lot more people would make the kinder choice if it were at all affordable. This cleaner makes my counters sparkle and I love the fresh parsley scent. It's light and natural and doesn't reek of chemicals. Highly recommend!!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Day Five and Feeling Alive!

It's an Atumn miracle!
Yesterday I came home and checked my mail and found the holiday issue of VegNews in my mailbox!! I have no idea how this happened, I didn't subscribe, and the label has my name and address. It was the most amazing, fun and mysterious surprise ever and I'm going to enjoy reading it from front to cover today! I don't know how this happened, but thank you VegNews fairy!
Two days in a row I've been drinking straight celery juice, no fruit for sweetness! It really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I just drink it really quickly and go on about my day!
I've also been enjoying smoothies again. This had frozen blueberries and raspberries, banana, avocado and hemp seeds. Really creamy and filling.
I have a package of rice paper wraps in my pantry for summer rolls, but honestly I don't know why I bought them because I only have been successful maybe two times out of the many times I try to make them. And I just don't like to get flustered and ruin food so once again I had a summer roll bowl! This is my first time having a bowl like this with no tofu! It's just baby spring mix, carrots, cilantro and green onion with rice noodles and a spicy peanut sauce. Honestly it tasted great and I really didn't even miss the tofu, although I definitely miss tofu!
My little introvert Joan sleeping under the chair! Sometimes she sleeps like this, closer to all the action but still sheltered, and when she really wants to be alone she goes all the way back in the corner!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Another Vegan Grocery Haul!

I finally made it to Trader Joe's yesterday. I've taken a little break from Joe because everyone loves him so much that it just gets so overwhelming. It was pretty hectic because SLC schools had the day off so lots of parents with kids but I charged through an made it. You guys it was so hard to walk by the tofu! Like my body automatically lead me to the tofu!!
Bananas, butter lettuce, ginger and turmeric tea,jackfruit,sweet potato,canned butternut squash,coconut milk,shredded carrots,tiny potatoes,russet potatoes,lemon,seaweed snacks,spring mix,frozen blueberries,red and yellow onion, chickenless tenders (not for me)
I picked up the chickenless tenders for a coworker who is not vegan, but interested. She's in college and thinks she'll go vegan when she's older. She's always getting the disgusting chicken tenders from the deli which just look like an abomination. I think she'll love these!
I also stopped at Smith's for a few things not available at Trader Joe's. They had a whole cart of vitamins and supplements on clearance and I scored a great multivitamin that's actually vegan!
Green olives,yellow lentil hummus,Thai style BBQ/Marinade, garbanzo bean flour,green onions,sriracha carrot hummus,mushrooms and woman's multi-vitamin

I try really hard not to buy packaged hummus, but Lantana was on sale buy one get one free, and I haven't been able to recreate their flavors so I went for it. I also use the containers for food for the stray kitties so I do reuse. I'm going to be eating lots of salads and I love hummus with salad. I really scored with the Rainbow Light vitamins. Luckily they are vegan. So many aren't!
This was my dinner last night. Butter lettuce(my fave), black beans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, green olives and a dollop of hummus. I seriously think every salad should have sunflower seeds!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Day One What I Ate!

I started my day yesterday with this delicious smoothie. It wasn't too chilly yesterday so I didn't even have to force myself! This had banana, frozen mango and strawberry, hemp hearts, maca powder and goji berries. Since I haven't had a smoothie in a couple of weeks, this tasted really, really good!
Later on I made this celery pear and ginger juice. I've been reading about the benefits of celery juice so I picked up a package to add to my juices. I've seen people drink straight celery juice which is super hardcore. I definitely need fruit in my celery juice!
I don't drink La Croix often, but I came across a machine that dispenses La Croix right next to a soda machine(!!) and since I'm cutting out a lot of things I love, I decided to treat myself! I had this while watching the finale of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. You guys I don't do horror, gory, violent or slasher movies. I've never seen any of the classic horror/slasher movies and I never, ever will. I don't know what made me give this series a try, but you guys it's sooooo good! It isn't a slasher flick or gore porn, although it definitely has moments that make you jump or scream or both if you're me. It's more about trauma and pain that we carry with us unresolved and how it haunts us. I related to a lot of it. It's creepy and suspenseful and definitely great for this time of year!
For dinner I made this delicious smoky and cheese-y split pea and potato soup. I used smoked paprika, cumin and liquid smoke for the smokiness and nooch for the cheese factor. I haven't had split pea soup in awhile, I forgot how delicious and filling it is!
I also had a pear for dessert. And I also ate two Brazil nuts for the selenium. I feel really good so far. I actually always notice how great I feel when I eat really simple foods. I feel a little less lost today because I've done so much research. Which is not to say I think I'm an expert, but I do feel like I have a somewhat solid plan for healing. And I know this might sound corny, but I was watching a video where someone was talking about how they healed themselves, and she said that she loves herself enough to give her body what it really needs, and that love helps her to not have bad things like gluten and whatever else. Self love is something I've always struggled with. I've never needed someone to be abusive to me, I do that quite nicely all on my own. So I see this as a chance to really heal myself in many ways, and show myself the love that's it's always craved from me.

Do I blend in??

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Last Tango with Tofu

I had to have tofu for dinner last night! I decided to make sweet and sour tofu, which is something I've actually never eaten. I've had friends get sweet and sour dishes and the extreme color of the sauce always terrified me! And, I've seen versions with pineapple and that is and always will be a no. I don't know why I decided to try this last night but I'm glad I did. I used this recipe. I did leave out the bell peppers because I firmly believe that bell peppers should NEVER be cooked. Unless it's roasted red pepper and they're blended into something. Anyway, the sauce is super simple and I was surprised by how tasty. I will miss you tofu.
Today starts my elimination diet of sorts. I feel silly calling it that because I don't really know what I'm doing, I'm kind of winging it. I know I will be continuing to avoid gluten, and I will also be cutting out soy and raw kale, spinach and broccoli. I will be adding Brazil nuts for selenium, pumpkin seeds for zinc, sea vegetables for iodine and cutting back on caffeine. I'll also be adding a daily meditation practice along with more yoga and longer cardio workouts. It takes people with hypothyroidism longer to burn calories. Of course! I have been doing so much research and it's very overwhelming if I'm being honest. But I'm excited to keep learning and I am definitely dedicated to healing myself.
This chair belongs to Afro. If I ever sit in it, she circles the chair meowing frantically, scratches the back and will even jump on the back of the chair and hover over me to let me know I am not allowed!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

More Vegan Options from Quorn and Boca!

I stopped at Smith's yesterday to pick up some yerba mate to replace my green tea in the morning. As I was doing my hypothyroidism research, I came across an article telling me I should avoid green tea. Apparently the plant that tea is made from accumulates fluoride over time and fluoride can displace iodine which is very important for thyroid function. Green and black tea are made from older leaves which have the most fluoride. So from now on it's yerba mate, white and herbal tea for me. Caffeine is not something I should have at all, but until my schedule changes I need a little help in the morning. Anyway, I saw two new to me vegan products!!!
I knew Quorn was getting more vegan friendly, and I've seen these on Instagram and Twitter but never in real life!  These look just like the classic kid's lunch staple. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing, but it's definitely exciting!
I also noticed these little cuties! I didn't even know Boca was in the falafel game! They have original and chipotle. I checked both flavors and they are vegan. They also aren't too expensive at $3.49 a bag. I love that Quorn, Boca and Morningstar Farms are making more vegan options.
I decided to treat myself to these seaweed crisps. Sea vegetables are the best source for iodine. These were really, really tasty. Salty, spicy and sweet.
I'm trying to enjoy all the tofu for now since I don't think I'll have it for awhile starting Monday. This is Singapore noodles with some baked tofu. I used this recipe. The sauce is all sweet and salty and a little spicy from the curry. Yum can't wait to eat the leftovers!!
My little sunbathing beauties! Actually Joan is trying to figure out a way to annoy Roxy enough to make her move! It didn't work, Roxy is stubborn and loves the sun, just like me!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Change is Coming

Something that I really love and appreciate about Salt Lake City is that no matter where you are you can just look anywhere and see beauty in the mountains. Yesterday was a particularly beautiful day with fluffy autumn clouds.
I've had these veggie gyoza in my freezer for some time now. I got them on my last trip to the Asian market. I decided to have some with this Asian salad kit I picked up.
I wanted to have these this week because starting next week my meals might look a little different. I'm going to be on somewhat of an elimination diet for a little bit. Ever since being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I've been doing my best to avoid certain foods like gluten and caffeine and processed foods. But if I'm being honest with myself I do cheat more often than I should. I've been feeling more sluggish than usual so I was researching diets for hypothyroidism and natural remedies and all of that and I was surprised at the foods that I shouldn't be eating. Like raw spinach, kale and broccoli. I eat at least one of those raw daily. Apparently when raw they contain goitrogens when raw. A goitrogen is a substance that disrupts the production of thyroid hormones. There are so many things to learn, and different information so it's all a bit overwhelming, but I really want to feel better. I've got a list going of foods to eat and not eat, and things I want to eat more of like sea vegetables for iodine, Brazil nuts for selenium and pumpkin seeds for zinc. I'll be doing other lifestyle upgrades as well. Mainly meditating more. Apparently meditation, breathing exercises and yoga are very good for hypothyroidism. I go in and out of having a meditation practice so I'm going to really make myself include it in my daily routine. Here's to thyroid health!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Parks and Recreation

I decided to take a walk around Liberty park yesterday. It was a nice fall day and the crisp air felt great on my cheeks. Unfortunately the leaves aren't all that pretty this year, they're mostly just turning brown an falling off the trees.
I guess you can't see it that well, but the mountains have snow already!. I'm sure skiers are very happy and hopeful about this winter.
All these beautiful geese provided me with all the beauty I needed! There are so many geese at this park.
Excuse my finger being in the way,(dork) but aren't ducks the sweetest? I hope all the humans that visit Liberty park are nice and respectful.
In food related news, I made some tofu bacon yesterday. I used this recipe. I only had firm, not extra firm so I didn't get it sliced as thin as I would have liked, but it still was excellent and I will definitely make again! I've used it two ways, one in a sandwich and also in a salad!
My downstairs neighbor cooks what smells like ten thousand pounds of bacon at least once a week and this smelled SO much better!!! It's sweet and smoky and satisfying!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hump Day

My favorite afternoon pick me up! Orange, carrot and ginger juice. I always feel a burst of energy after I drink this combo. And it's getting to be that time of year when everyone starts getting the sniffles and breathing and sniffling allover the place. Especially if you ride public transportation!
I made this outstanding, creamy and thick Alfredo sauce that is oil and nut free, and also super low in fat! You'll never guess what the base is??? Oatmeal!!!!! I know, crazy right! Actually a few expensive vegan cheeses and vegan cheese sauces are based on oatmeal which makes it more annoying that they're so expensive! But back to this sauce, I got the idea from my favorite YouTube channel, Team Broccoli! Here is the video with the idea/recipe! It's basically just oats, plant milk, miso paste, garlic and nooch. And salt and pepper of course. This is obviously lower in fat and calories than cashews, not to mention a million times cheaper!
Awhile ago I found these Dr. Praeger's hash browns on a serious WooHoo sale. I used to always eyeball these, but never got them because budget. I finally got around to trying them and I'm super glad I didn't pay full price. Flavor wise they easily get a 10/10, but when it comes to texture a six or seven if I'm feeling generous. A lot of the potato chunks are under cooked. I'm not really a fan of al dente potatoes! I have two more boxes so maybe those will be better?!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Booch, A Meal and A Cat!

My third batch of homemade kombucha won't be ready for another two or three days so I've been having to buy it. It really hurts to pay store prices now! I remember I tried humm kombucha once in Seattle and it was a little dry for my taste. I forget the flavor. But I am a sucker for grapefruit and this was under two dollars so I decided to give them another chance, and boy am I glad I did! This is light and grapefruit-y and not too sweet and not too dry which is exactly how I prefer my booch. Apparently this is a seasonal flavor so unfortunately it won't be around for long. If you see this flavor I highly recommend trying it!
Last night I was craving potatoes, tofu and salad so that's what I had! I picked up this garlic and herb seasoning from the bilk spice section and I swear it is the best thing ever on potatoes. In my serving days I remember people ordering salads with ranch and Italian dressing. I always thought it was weird because in my pregan days I hated ranch. But now as a vegan Just ranch has come into my life and I love it. So I tried that combo on my salad and it's super delicious!! Those people weren't so weird after all!
This bottom shelf in the bathroom has become the hot spot for napping around here, especially with Joan and Kiki. Joan loves it because she's kind of hidden and nestled away so it's perfect when she needs alone time!