Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Highly Recommend

I've been craving a really good cream of broccoli soup for awhile. I've tried to make it myself in the past which was a fail, and I've tried a few recipes that have been just kind of ho hum. I came across a recipe for a vegan version of Panera Bread's cream of broccoli soup, and it looked really good. I've never eaten at Panera, but I know people love their soup so it seemed like a good recipe to try!
This is the cream of broccoli soup of my dreams. It is creamy and rich, but not too rich. I added two peeled and diced potatoes because potatoes!
This is the recipe I followed. I followed it by the book except for the potatoes. I was feeling a bit down and I needed this hug!!
I also made some gluten free sweet potato biscuits!! They turned out AMAZING!! I used this recipe. I didn't add fresh sage and thyme, I used a bit of dried because that's what I had. I also used coconut oil instead of vegan butter. I also made my own sweet potato puree!! I'm not a biscuit expert, but these were really tasty to me!! And they went really well with this soup.
Sprouts has their own line of kombucha, and it's on sale this week so I picked one up to try. I chose peach pineapple and it is delicious! Pineapple is the predominant flavor, but the peach is definitely lingering in the background. Highly recommend!

This is the exact look Kiki gets before she starts stalking Bubba. Her little ears go sideways, and she just cannot relax! He is getting a little bolder, which seems to annoy her even more! I'm hoping she goes into acceptance phase soon!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Some Dang Good Foods!

Sprouts had a seventy two hour sale Friday, Saturday and Sunday so I went on Saturday to get a few things. I can't pass up five pounds of cuties for $1.98!! They also have their store brand booch on sale so I picked up a pear pineapple. And I had to get hatch green chili and lime chips because they were on sale and that just sounds so good!!! I also picked up some tofu and sweet potatoes from Trader Joe's. Maybe I'll make some sweet potato queso for the chips!!
Smith's has been offering more and more plant meats! They have deli slices similar to tofurky, and now they have these sausages which look like tofurky or field roast. They're a few cents cheaper and look pretty dang tasty!
I made this Thai green curry the other night with tofu, green onion, cilantro and purple yam. The purple yam bled a bit into the curry and made it a kind of weird greenish lavender color, but it still tasted great! I'm still not a yam or sweet potato lover, but yams worked well in this dish.
Yesterday I made this delicious juice with carrot, sweet potato and orange. I think I'm going to juice a lot of the orange sweet potatoes I bought. I swear they have a very sweet flavor when juiced. And I swear I could almost taste some cinnamon. I know I was imagining it, but this juice kind of reminded me of the holidays!
Last night I made my dream come true. I made ranch mashed potatoes!!! I highly, highly recommend using the vegan ranch dip as the "milk" in mashed potatoes!! Since the ranch dip is super dill heavy, it works so well!!! Enjoyed with vegan gravy and lentils!
It's still pretty warm here in SLC, but the temps have been dropping a bit, so the cuddle piles are slowly returning.
Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday Stuff

I have a bit of a random post today. Anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile knows that when it comes to potatoes, I always choose white potatoes over sweet. I don't recall ever eating sweet potatoes as a kid. I don't have a huge problem with the flavor, I have a problem with the texture. I find them to be more squash like. I've learned over the years that if I make a blended sweet potato soup I can do it. But I don't think you'll ever see me sitting down to a big old baked sweet potato. I just got chills thinking about it. Yikes.
Since I've been reading The Blue Zones Solution, I've been trying to switch up my diet a little bit, and that includes trying to get myself to eat more sweet potatoes. I bought some purple yams at Sprouts and so far they seem to have a little better texture. So far I've eaten a sweet potato or yam a day for the last three or four out of five days. I'm pretty dang proud. So, I've got some pictures of how I've been eating them.
This is my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. Blended in a red lentil and sweet potato curry soup. With Jasmine rice and tofu croutons. Delicious!!!
This was my first time trying a purple yam. I kept it simple and just sliced it, added a little coconut oil, salt and pepper and roasted it. I dipped the slices in sweet chili sauce which is a delicious combination!!
This was breakfast one day. One slice yam and one sliced russet with a butter leaf and red pepper salad. I made a dressing with hummus and Dijon mustard thinned out with a little water. YUM!!
Regular potatoes will always be my first love no matter how many yams I try! These beauties are stuffed with refried beans, salsa, green onions and nooch. So good!
I saw these at Sprouts the other day. I love that Quorn seems to be offering more vegan options. These are unfortunately not gluten free so I can't try them, but they look tasty! And compare to a lot of other mock meats, Quorn is one of the least expensive.
Sprouts has a couple of vegan frozen meals which is pretty cool. And they're a bit cheaper than other meals. Someday I might try the Korean BBQ tofu!!
A new to me brand of coconut whip spotted at Trader Joe's!! I've never heard of this brand, but if I make an apple crisp this fall I might try this brand!!
And I spied Simple Truth organic oatmilk at Smith's! Simple Truth is Kroger/Smith's/ Fred Meyer organic store brand. So you can usually save a few pennies there.
Speaking of saving some pennies, how about two tubs of hummus for the price of one!! Private Selection is also a Kroger/Smith's/Fred Meyer store brand and their hummus is really, really good!!! I've got a fresh bag of rice cakes on stand-by!!
Here's some cute crossed Bubba feet. A rare moment of sleep on the couch. Or I should say a rare moment when he could have both eyes closed. I wish I could report that Kiki has calmed down, but unfortunately she has not. Le Sigh.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sprouts and Trader Joe's Haul!

I finally  made it to get groceries! I've needed to go for a few days, but I kept putting it off for some reason. Sprouts had a lot of BOGO sales, so I scored some deals, along with their usual amazing produce prices!
Seaweed snacks, yogi tea, rice noodles, kombucha, taquitos, brown gravy
These were my BOGO purchases, except for the gravy and seaweed. I love those taquitos so much, but I very, very rarely have them because they are expensive. I won't be eating them anytime soon, but future me will have a lazy night and be very happy with present day me.
Oranges, purple yams, celery, red pepper,avocados, nectarines, red pears, green grapes, garam masala
Salsa, black beans, coconut oil, coconut milk, peanut butter, lemons, russet potatoes, frozen roasted corn, tofu, butter lettuce, green onion, vegan ranch dip, soy creamer

I don't think people who live in the blue zones eat vegan ranch dip from Trader Joe's, but I love it so much and the ingredients aren't horrible so I went for it!! Life is all about balance!
So my diet isn't really changing all that much. I am cutting out my nightly popsicles and swapping them for grapes or other fruit if I need dessert. I know, so boring. But the truth is when I was experimenting with vegan keto and cut out sugar, I did notice a difference. When I eat too much sugar it actually makes me feel kind of hungover the next day.
The stompy handyman came over yesterday to fix a light and put new grout in my bathtub. He was here for like four hours and guys, he just leaves such a mess it causes me major anxiety. He leaves tools and cleaning stuff and tons of DIRT!! Anyway, of course everyone hid, except for Afro. She is the bravest and most curious. I had to eventually put her in my room because she was snoopervising a bit too much!!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Blue's Clues

I was reading an article last week about the blue zones where people live the longest and healthiest lives. It was so interesting and the article left e wanting to learn more, so I went to the old library and found a new book to read!
I'm interested in not only the diets but also habits that make these people so healthy and happy. Because the two definitely go together. I've been wanting to kind of clean up my diet and life a bit so this seems like a pretty good guide.
I've been reading this book over the weekend and pretty much eating out of my pantry.I figured I'd get groceries this week when I have a better sense of what to buy.
This is a terrible picture of a delicious meal! I had some tomatoes that I needed to use, and they weren't the best for eating raw, so I roasted them with some garlic and made roasted garlic and tomato cashew Alfredo. With some Miyomo's mozzarella on top. Also with some white beans.
Last night I made a green lentil and tofu curry. Always one of my favorite meals!! Luckily a lot of my favorite foods and meals are definitely blue zone foods. People in the blue zones eat at least half a cup of legumes a day, and tofu is a mainstay!!  I also see a lot of sweet potatoes in my future so I need to acquire a taste for them!! Yikes!
This is the face of a guilty stalker. This picture was taken after the ten millionth time chasing her away from pouncing on Bubba. Like she is out for blood!!

Friday, September 6, 2019

What I Ate Thursday!

I had a little bit of leftover fried rice before I worked out. As kind of a pre=breakfast I guess. Cold fried rice is almost as good as cold leftover curry!!
Earlier in the week I sauteed mushrooms, garlic and onions so I could throw them in chickpea pancake batter. Every time I make mushrooms I wonder why I don't make them more often? They're so good!
I am still on the celery juice!! I'm not as hardcore as a lot of celery juice drinkers who drink it straight. I have to have some fruit in it to cut the bitter saltiness of the celery. This is celery and gala apple.
For dinner I made a spicy slaw with veganaise and sriracha, and had that with some rice and baked tofu. I also made a little sauce with tamari, a little coconut sugar, chili paste and a little sesame oil. This definitely hit the spot!!
Bubba likes to sit in the very corner of the couch looking into his room. I think he likes to keep an eye on his safe space. He hangs out in the living room when he's awake, and will only nap on the couch if I'm on the couch. Otherwise when he wants to nap he goes to his room. I've accepted that we might not all be friends, but hopefully we can all tolerate each other. Kiki thinks tolerance is highly overrated!!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Wednesday Things

Although it's still int he nineties and some days over one hundred degrees here in SLC, the mornings are finally a little cooler. I used to feel sad when summer came to an end, but since living in SLC summer is a whole different beast and I'm relieved.
I walked to Winco for a few bulk items and saw this beautiful rose. It smelled so gorgeous I just wanted to be like a dog and roll around on it!
I've seen these at Winco a few times and never would have thought they're vegan. But they are, look it says it right on front! Interestingly they have a sweet Maui onion flavor that I would assume is vegan and it has milk in it!!??
They're pretty good. They aren't super greasy. I wouldn't say they're bursting with sour cream and onion flavor, but they still have a nice mild onion-y flavor, and honestly its nice to see something vegan that isn't a million dollars.
I made some gluten free brownies!! Honestly they're super, duper rich and my stomach hurts a little. I tried a different recipe earlier in the week and the brownies were a total fail, so it was nice to redeem myself!
I decided to make some "eggy" fried rice for dinner. I scrambled some just egg, then fried my rice, tofu and veggies and added the "eggs" back into the rice. Delicious!! With the addition of the scrambled just egg it looked like fried rice from a restaurant!
Here's Bubba taking over Roxy's favorite arm of the couch. She likes it because every time I walk by she gets pets, and he likes it because he can keep an eye on everything. Including where his stalker Kiki is. It's so funny that he's been a tough alley cat his whole life, and now he's getting pushed around by Kiki!! It's also very adorable how much he loves treats!! Like he really, really loves them and I have to admit I probably give him too many but it's just so cute!!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Just Some Stuff

I decided to put my new oven to the test by making some gluten free chocolate chip cookies. That bag of gluten free flour has been burning a hole through my cupboard and I needed to use some! I used this recipe.
They are okay. I don't know if it's me or the recipe, but she said bake for eleven minutes, and that the cookies should look underdone when you take them out. I had to bake these for fifteen or sixteen minutes, and they still aren't really done, but I was afraid of making hockey pucks. I don't know if it's the gluten free flour, high altitude or what. This is why I don't bake often! At least they still taste good.
I scrambled up a little of the Just Egg and I have to say I'm pretty shocked buy the egginess! It doesn't really smell or taste like egg which is a great thing in my book. I'm sure some black salt will fix that for egg fans. But the texture is terrifyingly eggy. I wish I were good at making omelettes because I feel like this was meant for that. I will say though that the price is insane, and for people who like eggs I don't think you should have to pay ten dollars and still have to add an ingredient to get the results.
For dinner I had more stuffed potatoes! I stuffed these with myacoba beans, corn, nooch and some green hot sauce. I topped the potatoes with salsa Verde and of course more of the vegan ranch dip. So simple but SO GOOD!!
This is Kiki the Bubba hunter in her natural habitat! Remember when I thought she was stalking him to be friends? I was so wrong. She's stalking him because she wants to kick his ass. She's already pounced on him once!! I raised my girls to be kind and non violent so I am shocked. Send help and Jackson Galaxy!!!!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Small Trader Joe's Haul!

I have a little haul from Trader Joe's to show. Nothing too crazy, but I did get a couple of fun things. I got there shortly after they opened and it wasn't too traumatic!!
Frozen blueberries,tofu, lemons,bananas, soy creamer, rice crackers, potatoes, coffee, sweet chili sauce, coconut milk, sunflower butter cups, celery, chickpea flower, mushrooms, orange, vegan ranch dip(!!!), Miyokos vegan cream cheese(!!!!)
Trader Joe's sells the Miyoko's cream cheese at a somewhat reasonable price, but the only flavor they have is the unlox your dreams and I've never had lox, but I'm not a fan of super fishy things. And also while I like Miyoko's cheese, I don't always feel like it's worth the high price. Anyway, I saw someone try this flavor on YouTube and she loved it and said it tasted almost more onion-y. I decided to go for it yesterday. It just sounded really good. Too bad I can't find a decent gluten free bagel or bread!!
I tried it with some rice crackers when I got home, and I LOVE IT!! It is definitely the best Miyoko's product I've tried. It has a really savory flavor. It doesn't taste too fishy to me, so I don't know how close to lox it is, but it's close to perfection in my book. And the texture is pretty spot on from what I remember. Finally a splurge that was more than worth it!!!
I have heard mixed reviews of the vegan ranch dip, but the same person also tried this and loved it. I had this feeling that vegan ranch would be really tasty ns a baked potato instead of sour cream so I decided to try it. It's a pretty big tub for $3.49 so it's not bad price wise, but still a splurge and I'm happy to report also worth it!! It's very dill forward which I LOVE!! But if you don't like dill you should avoid this!! It has a very slight coconut flavor, but very light. It's not super thick, but it's definitely thicker than ranch dressings. I love it, I want to have it in my fridge all the time!!!
The grapes are coming in fast!! I tasted one yesterday and they're so close!! I can't wait for them to be ready. They grow on a pretty big fence and I think I'm the only one that picks them in the neighborhood!!!
The ugly thing just can't go away!! Much to the girl's chagrin I had it outside for Bubba. I have to be sneaky about feeding the stray cats because my landlord doesn't like it. So I brought in the ugly thing and the girls have reclaimed it as their own!! Here is a rare sleepy Joan moment!!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

WooHoo of a Lifetime!!!!

I had to run to Smith's for a few cat related items yesterday, and I had a few minutes so I perused the shelves looking for WooHoo deals, and boy did I find one that shook me to the core!!
Yes, you see that right. Just Egg for fifty cents!! Smith's doesn't carry Just Egg and they got it by accident so they marked it way down to get rid of it. They must have no idea what the actual price is because good lord!!! I've seen Just Egg at a few stores around town and the cheapest I've seen it is on sale at Sprouts for $7.99!! Usually it's around nine or ten dollars which is completely insane, and there is no way I could or would pay that. I had to buy all four bottles, but now I feel overwhelmed because I honestly don't even miss or desire eggs. To be honest I still remember the first time I tried black salt, it ruined a perfectly delicious tofu scramble!!
But regardless I'm excited to try something I probably never would try otherwise! I also scored some wholly guacamole for $1.79!!  Avocados have been expensive lately so I had to snatch those up!!
I know I've said it before, but it's worth it sometimes to take a few minutes and look at all the aisles because most stores have some kind of clearance section, usually in some weird dark corner, but they also mark stuff down on the aisles, and find strange spots for refrigerated and frozen stuff. The Just Egg was just kind of tossed in the very bottom of the juice cooler, right by the kombucha and nowhere near regular eggs or the kind of vegan refrigerated section.
Sorry for the bright flash-y picture, but I just thought Bubba looked so cute and relaxed with his legs all stretched out!! We're facing some roadblocks on becoming one big, happy family. Kiki has decided that she wants to kick his ass which is so surprising to me because she's so sweet and rather timid. And Joan and Etta still hiss at him. Afro and Roxy are the only girls who are accepting. At least he has his own room he can escape to!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Kitchen Upgrade

I've lived with a small oven with only three working burners the entire time I've lived in this apartment. Since my oven was so small, it only had one shelf and I could only fit one thing at a time in there. No double baking for me!! I told my landlord when I first moved in about the burner that basically blew up and didn't work, and she just never seemed to care. In a black and white world there are landlords and then there are slumlords, but we live in a grey world and my landlord teeters that line between the two.
She mentioned the possibility of having a new oven installed months ago, but time passed and I forgot all about it. Until this week when I got a text about a new oven coming!! Even though my new oven is like the cheapest, most basic oven you could ever imagine, it's still brand new and more important full sized with four working burners, including two large burners, and a full size oven with two racks!! I can now bake everything!!!
Old tiny oven

New oven with a clock!!
I'm very, very excited and happy to have a fully functioning stove!!! I lost all the drawers between the stove and refrigerator but that's okay. Most of them had kind of turned into junk drawers anyway.
I'm so happy this happened, but it was a bit stressful because the handy man is very loud, and VERY messy. He left like half an inch of dust or sand or something on the kitchen floor, and he left dirty rags and some kind of really heavy ruler looking thing here. I always dread when he has to come clomping around.
This was my first meal cooked in my new oven! Quinoa, baked tofu, romaine, cucumber, avocado and spicy peanut sauce. I was a little stressed and wanted comfort food!
I think I've tried every vegan flavor of the Outshine bars except peach. I've been scared to try them because while I like peaches, I hate peach flavored things. It always tastes so freaking fake. I decided to be brave and give these a try because every other flavor is so stellar. I'm happy to say these are delicious too!! They taste like real peach, and they're kind of creamy, almost like sorbet. Highly recommend!!!