Saturday, January 20, 2018

Vegan Hauls and Tahini Saves The Day!

I got some groceries yesterday and I couldn't resist these flowers that were on clearance for twenty nine cents!!! It's been five million years since I've gotten flowers for any reason so I coughed up the change and treated myself!
Here's my little Natural Grocers haul. I also got a bag of Epsom salts that didn't make it in the picture. The Cliff bar and the Hail Merry are treats for a coworker.
Lemons, seaweed snacks,potatoes, Tangelos,frozen blueberries, tofu, salsa
red and yellow onion, coconut milk, gold potatoes,avocado,spinach,green onions,bananas
Starting next week I'm going to be doing some more vegan on a budget posts. My haul from Trader Joe's was like thirty five dollars so I'm not too far off. And for me my whole life has been on a budget so I can't really call it a challenge because it's kind of just life for me. But more than the protein question I get questions about the cost and complications of a vegan diet. So I'm going to do a few weeks or maybe a whole month of eating on thirty dollars a week. I hope to show some tasty, simple and interesting meals. I love it when people who are coming through my lane at work tell me they could never be vegan because it's "so expensive" I wonder how much money they think a cashier makes?
Several people at work and tons of customers have been sick and breathing on me and yesterday I had some sniffles and felt a little weak and headache-y. So when I got home from getting groceries I made this tangelo and carrot juice. I also had a huge green smoothie and several doses of Airborne. I capped all that off with a ginger detox bath and I'm happy to report that I scared that cold out of my body. I feel much better today. I'll still be drinking lots of Airborne today because it's back to work.
I made more potato queso yesterday. I recently watched a video on YouTube and they were making this and they insisted that tahini was super important to this recipe so I added some tahini to this batch and man they were right!! The fattiness makes a huge difference, and I think it's better than adding cashews. Tahini is in a lot of vegan cheese recipes and I think it's not only the fattiness but the bitterness too. I've always thought my potato cheese sauce was good, but needed something and now I know what it needed!
For dinner I had a bowl with roasted potatoes, lentils, lots of the queso, extra salsa and Cholula sauce, avocado and green onions an a little diced jalapeno. This was so delicious I want another bowl of it right now!!
I saw a new vegan cheese sauce at Natural Grocers, and it was pretty dang expensive and when I read the ingredients, they were potato, carrot onion and some spices!! It was Miyokos expensive, and at least she uses nuts!! Anyway, this is super easy to make. Most of the time involved is downtime while the potato and carrot cook. Other than that it takes minutes to whiz together.
I can't let a Caturday go by without showing my little lady Roxy. She loves to lay like this and it gets me every time!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday

I forgot I had a few slices of gluten free bread in the freezer from Thanksliving and I also had half an avocado so it seemed like time for some avocado toast! It's been so long and this was sooooooooo tasty! The other two slices have a little coconut oil and nooch.
The other half of the avocado was in this smoothie which also had strawberries, mango, hemp seeds banana an a few walnuts. It also had a few frozen blueberries too. Really tasty and filling.Since I'm trying to lower my waste and we don't have recycling at work anyway(!!??) I haven't been buying cashewgurt so I've been experimenting with more fats early in the day to tide me over. I'm okay until around nine or ten P.M. and then I start feeling pretty dang hungry. But adding a little avocado to smoothies definitely makes more filling!
I marinated some extra firm tofu in Kung Pao sauce while I was at work and just popped it in the oven while I made some rice. The tofu was so delicious. Taking those few extra minutes before work to do a little meal prep makes such a difference. I see lots of people at work buying frozen meals and I assume they're single because they're buying lean cuisine meals for one and things like that. It always makes me feel a little sad for them. I've heard single people say they have no one to cook for so they just don't. They forget about themselves. You don't have to get super fancy but I think cooking for yourself is very important. It's an act of self love. But a lot of those people are also buying cigarettes, energy drinks and tons of soda so I assume self love/care isn't a priority. I know it wasn't for me when I was unhealthy. Anyway, this was delicious and just about as effortless as any packaged food!
I was also looking forward to coming home to this little sweet thing! She loves my bed in the afternoon because that's when the sun hits!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Veggin All Over

Have you guys heard the great news that Ben&Jerry's has not one but two new flavors of vegan ice cream? They are peanut butter half baked and cinnamon buns! I read about it here. I actually see quite a few people at work buying the vegan B&J. Ben&Jerry's really started a trend because a lot of non vegan companies are now offering vegan options!
My smoothie got a big smile from Stephen Colbert. This had acai, strawberries,banana, mango and hemp seeds.
Lunch was another beige meal! Tofu nuggets and oven fries with some garlic and sriracha Just Mayo and a little sweet hot mustard. The dips kind of look like a weird poached egg or something which was not the look I was going for. I was just in a rush!
I was going to make sesame noodles for dinner which are super simple to make, but I was too wiped to even do that so I just mixed some gluten free spaghetti with this Kung Pao sauce and some green onion. Like the laziest Lo Mein ever!
Last night another one of my coworkers bought Morningstar Farms Chicken patties! She said she was craving a chicken patty  and decided to try the vegetarian version!! I told her Morningstar Farms were one of my favorites when I was a vegetarian! She asked her meat loving husband awhile ago if he would be willing to have a meatless night every week or so and he begrudgingly agreed. One step leads to another step!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Half Empty Half Full Kind of Day

I had this delicious smoothie for breakfast yesterday on my hooky day. It had half an avocado, frozen strawberries, frozen mango banana and hemp seeds. It was really creamy and tasty.
I made more gluten free brownies using this mix from a company called Gluten Free Heaven which just happens to be a local company. I feel so cool and hip buying local! (Ha Ha) I just used some lite coconut milk an also some raspberry pie filling. I used too much pie filling because the texture was a little too moist, but the taste is there.
I had another half fail in the kitchen. I wanted to make a white lasagna with mushrooms, so I made a tofu ricotta, cashew Alfredo sauce and some garlic-y herb-y sauteed mushrooms. I had some gluten free lasagna noodles that were no boil. I think where I went wrong is that I assembled it hours before I wanted to bake it. I  tinkered in the kitchen in the early afternoon, and I wanted to clean, work out, cuddle with the kitties and then let it bake while I took a detox bath. Well, the noodles started getting crumbly, almost like chips it was really weird. So by the time I baked it the noodles were already weirdly soft but not cooked. So it definitely lost all lasagna shape and the noodles were definitely overcooked but it was still a tasty mess. The mushrooms were so garlic-y and the tofu ricotta was super nooch-y so how bad could it be? I'll have to try the noodles again when I assemble it right before cooking to  give them a fair chance.
Since I mentioned that I had to take a mental health day yesterday I thought it would be an appropriate time to give an update on the produce department. So someone who works in produce mentioned the opening, I then introduced myself to the produce manager and asked about it and he knew nothing about it and said they didn't need anyone. So I asked him to keep me in mind if something did open up and that was that.
I got this glamour shot of Roxy the other day. She likes to bask in the sun and also feels it's the best lighting for her green eyes.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Some Stuff I've Been Eating and Drinking

Here is a gluten free carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting I made last week. The cake was a mix given to me by a neighbor along with the angel food cake mix I made last week. I added shredded carrot and also some crushed pineapple which was suggested in the instructions. It was so moist and you definitely could not tell this was gluten free. I was super proud of the frosting because I have never made cream cheese frosting vegan or not. Most recipes I found online included vegan butter, and I do my best to avoid palm oil so earth balance is out and Miyokos butter was not in the budget this week. So I just mixed tofutti cream cheese with some powdered sugar in my food processor an hoped for the best! I think it turned out pretty well, especially for my first time.
I've also been enjoying this Newman's Own organics dark chocolate. It's more on the milk chocolate side of dark chocolate and I love it so much!
This is an ugly but delicious dish I made up with odds and ends I had laying around. I made a stew with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onion and celery and made some gluten free dumplings. I had a little bit of butternut squash puree that I added to the dumpling dough. Like a hug in a bowl!
As always I've been eating lots of potatoes. These are Creole seasoned fries with awesomesauce for dipping. I can't recommend awesomesauce enough.
I am not a fan of beets but they are so so good for you, an are also supposed to be naturally energizing so I made myself some beet, pineapple and lime juice. I find pineapple and lime are the best combo for cutting that earthy flavor of beets. Since my body is really resisting my late night hours, I've gotten into a bad habit of having a cup of coffee at work. I used to be a serious coffee addict and I don't want to go down that path again.
Still doing lots of smoothies. This one had banana, hemp seeds, acai, frozen cherries and spinach. We've been having a super mild winter so far here in SLC so smoothies have been on the menu!
Last night I had a sushi bowl minus the usual seaweed snacks. I'm going to have the other half of the avocado in today's smoothie.
I had a rough night at work last night. I fought off a major cloud of depression all day before going to work, an it was one rude customer after another. It took all of my human strength to not walk out. I found a coworker to work for me today. I need a personal day so I don't do something I regret. So today I'm going to tinker in the kitchen an try to get myself in better spirits.
I'm sure these goofballs will help cheer me up. The squirrel who teases/taunts them came by this morning. Poor Etta was getting climbed over by Joan who so badly wants to get it!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

All Kinds of Vegan Stuff!

Yesterday I went to Natural Grocers and Trader Joe's. I saw a few new to me items at Natural Grocers that I didn't buy but I got pictures!
I didn't even know this existed! It looks just like packages of ground beef that every store sells except no blood, cruelty and death involved. I should have checked the price so I could report back but I forgot. I'll check the next time I'm there.
I've seen a few people review these on YouTube and I thought you had to order them on Amazon to be honest! They have  sriracha, BBQ and vegan white cheddar flavors. The reviews I've seen have been mixed and at almost four dollars a bag I couldn't afford the risk. But sometime I will try the white cheddar.
And another vegan jerky! While jerky is not my thang, I'm so excited to see more and more vegan options because obviously that means more and more people are buying it!!
Now we can move on to my little haul from Trader Joe's. It's nowhere near as exciting as these new products though!
Cabbage,bananas,frozen strawberries,reusable cleaning cloths,lentils,tofux2,shredded carrots,frozen acai packets,brown Jasmine rice,lemons, limes,beets

This was my one splurge. I have been craving Chao cheese for quite some time and so I decided to treat myself. I got this along with a big gingerberry kombucha at Natural Grocers.

Here is a close up of the kitchen cloths I got. I am ashamed to admit this but up until now I have used paper towels to clean my apartment. I guess I've given myself a pass in the past because I am careful of how many I use, but I realized I can be better. These were $2.99 for two, and will last forever so they're good for the old wallet too!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Butternut Squash and Cashew Alfredo

I noticed some cans of pumpkin puree on clearance at work the other day and that got me thinking about a creamy pumpkin Alfredo type sauce. I resisted the clearance price though because I remembered that I had a can of butternut squash puree at home. This whole less waste thing is actually pretty easy, but it becomes a struggle when I see things on clearance! I'm glad I resisted because the butternut squash puree worked perfectly!

                                                    Butternut Squash and Cashew Alfredo

  • 1/2 Onion plus 5 cloves of garlic roasted
  • 3/4 C. Raw Cashews Soaked for at least 2 Hours
  • 3/4 C. Butternut Squash Puree
  • 3/4 Tsp. Salt and Pepper
  • 5 T. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 Sprig Rosemary and Thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper 
  • 1 C. Water
Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You might need more or less water depending on your blender. Toss with pasta of your choice and enjoy!!
The roasted garlic and onion give it a really deep savory flavor. An the slight sweetness of the onion goes well with the sweetness of the squash.
Afro, Etta and Joan are kind of taking up the whole window, so poor little Kanye has to sneak a peak however she can!!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Some Stuff I've Been Eating

Look what I spied at work last night! Dr. Greger's soup recipe on the cover of a non vegan mainstream magazine. I glanced through the article and it had several tips from him plus a meal plan which was of course vegan, but they didn't really focus on that. Pretty cool to think that some ladies and possibly lads will be going "accidentally" vegan to lose some weight! It's funny though, according to the cover we need to fatten our hair while slimming our bodies!
Here is a delicious chickpea pancake I made the other day for lunch. I added green onion and spinach to the batter and topped it with avocado, cholula, green dragon sauce and a few little dots of sriracha Just Mayo. This kept me full for a very long time!
I've been eating a lot of potatoes as usual. The Alexia oven crinkles with salt and pepper are some really excellent frozen fries. They have the perfect amount of pepper!
I used up the last of my bottled pasta sauce. I'll be reusing the jar of course and making my own from now on. My goal of moving towards zero waste is going strong! If you ever are looking for a good jarred sauce this Mezzetta sauce is excellent. The best jarred sauce I have ever had.
So my coworker who has made the awesome choice to go vegan  has anemia and has been having issues lately. I am going to look up some iron rich foods today and I figured I would see if anyone else has any suggestions I can pass along. He is committed to not eating animals and wants to solve this with plants which can definitely be done!
Here are Etta and Roxy being totally sweet and tempting me to crawl back into bed! They are nap goals for sure!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Angry Chocolate

I've had several people come through my line at work and rave about this chocolate. One lady lectured me for a pretty long time about fair trade chocolate, and she said this is a great company and her preferred chocolate. This stuff is spendy, but I had a few bucks left on a work gift card a co-worker had gotten me so I decided to give it a try. Anyone who has been reading this blog knows that I was a milk chocolate girl in my pregan days. I've always been somewhat ashamed of that fact, it seems so sophisticated and worldly to like dark chocolate. This is a very sophisticated chocolate bar. I believe Susan would love this bar. I think she once said she likes her chocolate "dark, bitter and angry at the world" I had a few squares and was very satisfied. The bar is also much thicker than other chocolate bars so the squares have some heft.
Here's my very simple dinner. Gluten free spirals tossed with some marinara and topped with nooch of course.
We're having some kin of gross BBQ/ Smoker "event" coming up at work. You can get ribs with various side dishes etc. They're smoking the ribs at the store and there are signs everywhere for it. So last night some guy asked me if the ribs were good and I said I don't eat meat. It was funny because he said he was sorry for me that I didn't eat it and I said don't be because I am perfectly happy and content with what I  eat. After he left my co-worker was so irritated that he was so rude about it. And she's not even a vegan! The funniest thing is that I am so desensitized to rude or dumb comments I didn't even feel the slightest bit offended. But it was sweet of my coworker to clutch her pearls for me!!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

More Gluten Free Baking Adventures with Coconut Milk!

I was gifted this gluten free angel food cake mix. I've never made angel food cake vegan or gluten full or not. The directions called for twelve egg whites(?!) an even though I do have a can of garbanzo beans in my pantry I have no mixer or even a whisk so experimenting with aquafaba was not an option. I decided to just do my usual and add a can of coconut milk and see what happens! It smelled like a vanilla coconut cake while it was baking!! It turned out nothing like an angel food cake, more like a pound cake. It was dense but moist and tasted great! Along with the angel food cake mix came a gluten free carrot cake mix. I'm waiting until I have some vegan cream cheese to make the frosting. I haven't had carrot cake in forever so I'm super excited for that one!

Last night I made a delicious Thai green curry. First I cooked some onion and red lentils with some green curry paste an a little water, then added one can of lite coconut milk and some baked tofu. The red lentils disappear in the broth, just making it thick and creamy and of course adding more protein and fiber! I added some edamame at the end and sprinkled it all with green onion and cilantro. I also added about a tablespoon of the lemongrass tamarind sauce I have to the cooking water for the rice for a little extra flavor. Another great protein packed meal for those who wonder about our protein intake!
This is my current situation. Joan is comfy and cozy cuddling on my lap. She's all tuckered out from spending a good hour this morning trying to wake me up for breakfast!