Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Simple not Complicated

As I've mentioned I don't really get a meal break at work so I either go all eight hours without eating or I might have a snack of vegan yogurt or some hummus and veggies/crackers. So I like to have a hearty meal before work to tide me over. Yesterday I realized it's been far too long since I've had lentil soup.  This has red and green lentils, potatoes and a bunch of the cruciferous mix. I kept the seasoning simple, just salt, pepper, smoked paprika, turmeric and crushed red pepper. I topped my bowl with some sunflower hummus and of course green dragon sauce. This kept me full for a really long time.
One thing I love about this time of year is that potatoes are cheap! I got a ten pound bag of potatoes for  $1.99! I've been having lots of oven fries and I couldn't be happier. I had been relying on frozen fries too much when I got home from work. It feels better to take the extra five minutes to just prepare my own. So last night I had some fries with some more gardein meatless balls. I always want to laugh and make juvenile jokes when I type meatless balls. Am I alone? I seriously forgot how tasty these are. Delicious, so worth the cheat! I mixed sweet and spicy mustard with vegan mayo for the sauce.
So last week I took one of my coworkers some extra cauliflower cheese sauce and she and her cauliflower hating husband loved it and she asked for the recipe, and now I have a coworker who tried tofu at an Asian restaurant and didn't like the texture. She said she was fine with the taste. So I told her that I'm going to make her some tofu to change her mind! I'm going to use the super firm tofu from Trader Joe's that isn't packed in water and I'm going to make two versions, one just plain baked with coconut oil and salt and pepper which is my all time favorite, and the second version in some kind of sauce. I'm going to find out what flavors she likes today. I love sharing vegan food and also opening peoples minds to a meat free life! I'll definitely let you know what she thinks. I love a challenge!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Lantana Hummus and Stuff

I recently discovered this Lantana hummus at the grocery where I work. I've had five flavors now and they are all outstanding. My two favorite flavors are the carrot sriracha and the spicy yellow lentil hummus. Last night I tried the sunflower which is made with sunflower seed butter instead of tahini. It's nice for people with sesame allergies and it has a nice creamy texture with a nutty taste. I haven't seen this brand at any other stores, but I'm sure it's out there. They all have interesting toppers too. Like the spicy yellow lentil has a little apricot and pine nut topping, so it's just a little bit of sweetness with the spicy.
Awhile ago I bought these rice ramen noodles on sale at Natural Grocers. I finally remembered the miso paste last week so yesterday before work I made vegetable miso soup with baked tofu. I added a bunch of the cruciferous vegetable mix from Trader Joe's. It has kale, broccoli slaw, Brussels sprouts and red cabbage. Still getting those probiotics in as much as I can!
For dinner after work I had oven fries with a creamy pesto dipping sauce. I had the tiniest bit of pesto left so I mixed it with some vegan mayo. Soooooooo good!! I seasoned the fries with salt and pepper, garlic powder and nooch. Yum.
I actually had someone ask me where I get my protein as a vegan the other day! I haven't been asked that question in so long I forgot it was a question! I think it took me a few seconds to recover and respond because I guess I thought that question was laid to rest. I love it  when people are looking at you like you must be malnourished except that you are clearly healthy!! I sometimes find it so hard to bite my tongue when people ask dumb questions or make excuses for not being vegan.
Here is something that isn't annoying! Well, Miss Independent Joan is probably annoyed but Kanye doesn't care!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

One of Those Days!

Before I talk food I I wanted to let you all know that I have been trying to respond to comments for the last few days and I don't know what's happening with blogger but when I hit reply that little blue circle pops up like it's buffering or something. Yesterday I got to reply to one comment and then it happened again. So I am trying to respond to comments I promise!
I found another delicious way to use the vegan pesto from Trader Joe's. Yesterday before work I roasted some potatoes and then tossed them with the pesto and some nooch. Once the warm potatoes hit the pesto the smell was out of this world!
This was such an easy and delicious lunch! And pesto is a food that cheers me up. I think it's the fresh smell maybe it reminds me of spring? Anyway between this and the sunny walk to work I felt pretty chipper when I walked into work. If only that feeling could have lasted...
It's been about a year since I found out I have hypothyroidism. Because gluten is not good for people with hypothyroidism I have also avoided gluten for that long. It's been tough. Going vegan was seriously not tough for me, but living gluten free has been really frustrating and I do feel deprived if I'm being honest, where I don't feel deprived at all being vegan.Anyway, last night I decided that a few gardein meatless balls would go so well with some leftover spaghetti squash lasagna. I was so right. I have missed gardein so much you don't even understand! I always look at it longingly when I'm grocery shopping. And when it's on some kind of amazing sale it takes a lot of willpower to walk away. So this was a real treat and after the day I had I deserved it. I won't go into too much detail, but the short version is that yesterday we had a special BBQ day where the deli made smoked ribs so people could buy what they call racks. Which are ribs, like the ribs of a being that wanted to live. Anyway I had to ring up meat enthusiasts until I begged to be stationed at the self checkout where there is a lot less interaction with the customers. But the bad part of that was the self checkout is right by where they had the rib sale going on. I was pretty much trapped. So not the best day I've ever had.
I also made some gluten free brownies when I got home from work. I had a brownie mix that I had picked up on clearance forever ago so I just mixed it with one can of lite coconut milk. I didn't have any flax seeds so I didn't even use an egg replacer and it totally worked! You know I had a bad day when I bake at night!
And here is Afro in a ray of sunlight enjoying one of the toys Brenda sent along with the cookbooks. She likes to use it as a pillow! She was sleeping when I was taking the picture, but certain kitties woke her up. (Ahem Etta)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

More New Stuff!

Yesterday was a rainy day and I had the day off so I decided to make spaghetti squash lasagna. I saw a Whole Foods ad on YouTube and they made this lasagna using spaghetti squash as the noodles and I thought, duh why haven't I thought of that?? Gluten free lasagna noodles are expensive and you get like three in a box so you need at least two boxes. Anyway unfortunately I didn't write down what I did because I just kind of wanted to zone out and cook. But it was super simple. I roasted the squash and then layered it with marinara, an herbed tofu ricotta I whipped up, a little of the vegan pesto from Trader Joe's and some vegan shreds.
Look at that melt! I used the vegan shreds from Trader Joe's and they worked perfectly here! I flavored my tofu ricotta with garlic, salt, pepper, fresh parsley and green onion. You know how sometimes you make a dish that exceeds your expectations and it just feels so good? Well this is that dish for me. I figured it would taste good because how could it not, but it was just so much better than good! And the spaghetti squash worked perfectly. It even held it's shape when I cut it!
The horrible lighting is not doing this dish any justice! I would definitely make this for a nice dinner party. With the red of the marinara and the green from the pesto and parsley it looks very festive! It would even be good with no vegan cheese and just an extra sprinkling of nooch on top. But the vegan cheese kind of brings home the whole lasagna feel! So thanks Whole Foods ad for the great idea!
Last night was a dessert night. I needed some sweet relief from life. I have had the talenti mango sorbet and it is soooooo good, especially on a hot summer night. I always assumed all of their ice creams are not vegan, but somehow this peanut butter fudge sorbetto is vegan! You guys if you like peanut butter, do yourself the biggest favor and look for this at your grocery store. It is fluffier than ice cream, but yet still creamy. I don't know how to perfectly describe this but I know that it's a game changer! And the fudge swirls are a soft fudge swirl, like fudge sauce not hard chunks of fudge. It reminded me of a peanut butter cream pie.
Here's my little heat lover Kanye taking up all the heat in my bedroom! But she's kind enough to leave the rest of us a few inches!
Happy Caturday!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Vegan Trader Joe's!

I went to Natural Grocers and Trader Joe's yesterday afternoon before work to get a few things to tide me over for the week. I thought early Thursday afternoon would be a safe time to shop but it was like Saturday afternoon at Trader Joe's! I almost turned around as soon as I walked it to be honest! But I stuck it out and I even got a few pictures of new items I saw but didn't buy. I'll start with the new items and then show my haul!
Three new vegan salad dressings! I want to try them all! They are either $3.69 or $3.49 each.
What the Bitchin sauce is this? It looks similar in texture to the bitchin sauce I recently tried. I think this was around $3.49 or so as well. I bet it's amazing!
I almost got these because not only are they vegan but they're also gluten free! But I still have some Dr. Praegers burgers to finish up before I go buying more veggie burgers. They're made with pea protein so I'm guessing somewhat similar to a Beast Burger?
The chicken-less tenders are back! I don't think they're gardein but someone I follow on the Gram tried them and said they liked them even better than the previous tenders!
These were at Natural Grocers. I have seen the pulled pork and one other flavor pocket but I've never seen the eggless scramble pockets. They look so good but alas gluten.
Here is my little mini haul from Natural grocers. They have GT's booch on sale for $1.99 a bottle! They also have the Califia cold brew on sale so I had to get the peppermint mocha!! It's sooooo good! I also picked up more miso paste because it's been too long since I've had miso soup!
almond nog, coconut milk, tofu,marinara sauce, cruciferous salad mix,spaghetti squash,more tofu,carrots,lemons,kale cashew vegan pesto(!!), garlic,frozen blueberries,bananas

Today I am making a spaghetti squash lasagna with a tofu/almond ricotta, marinara sauce and this vegan cashew basil and kale pesto I found at Trader Joe's. I have my squash roasting right now with some garlic and my apartment smells AHMAZING!!
Here is a close up of the pesto. I'm not sure how long this has been around but it's new to me. Trader Joe's is really showing a lot of vegan love lately!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It Had to Happen Sometime!

This was my after work dinner. A simple plate of baked tofu with some soy sauce and wasabi. It's also the meal that earned me my first food shaming comment on Instagram! I've been really blessed with only positive experiences and comments on the Gram, and this one negative comment is kind of more comical than anything else. Someone mentioned this is too much soy . I personally don't fear soy, and I eat tofu weekly, a lot of times more than once. My life would be so empty without tofu!

I'm back on the potato train. Not that I ever left of course. But I have been eating more frozen fries than homemade oven fries. One day I had one big russet with a few Yukon Gold's with some leftover corn pudding. I made a dipping sauce with vegan mayo and green dragon sauce. Yesterday I did the same but the dipping sauce was sweet and hot mustard mixed with vegan mayo. I'm loving this Creole seasoning I picked up for fifty cents on the potatoes. Like tofu potatoes get a bad rap but I love them and will never stop eating them!
I made extra cauliflower cheese sauce the other day  and took it to one of my coworkers who has expressed interest in veganism and told her to toss it with some pasta.  Her hubby hates cauliflower so she didn't tell him till after he ate it. Well, she loved it and her hubby did too!! She even asked for the recipe!! Woot Woot!
Speaking of recipes, a super sweet person named Brenda sent me these vegan cookbooks along with handmade kitty toys and adult coloring books etc. Cookin Crunk woot woot!!! I can't wait to make all the stuff! That is of course when nap time is over!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happy Monday!

Yesterday I got a new used couch! I think I had mentioned that when I first moved here I was given a couch that was already very used. My cats had a blast finishing the job. The couch was in the worst possible condition and it was rather depressing not to mention a huge eyesore! I got this couch at a thrift store called Savers which is the same as Value Village in Seattle, just like how Smith's here is Fred Meyer in Seattle. It made me so homesick for Seattle when I walked in because it was exactly like a Value Village inside. I got this lovely almost new chocolate brown couch for only twenty two dollars!! Thrifting is seriously the BEST! Don't worry, my girls are already working on giving it the cat scratch fever makeover!
I also got in some cooking. I did make vegan corn pudding and scalloped potatoes using a cauliflower cheese sauce for the base. They turned out AMAZING! And they didn't taste like cauliflower. I think that's a great way to make a guilt free holiday dish that tastes heavy but isn't!
I did write down what I did, the corn pudding tasted great but I think it needs to be a little thicker. I seriously took the world's worst photo so I doubt anyone will be dying to try this! I wanted to cook earlier so I could get some natural light shots, but time got away from me. A neighbor helped me with the couch so I was kind of on their schedule.

See what I mean? Casserole dishes are already hard to make look pretty, and then you add horrible lighting and it's a recipe for YIKES! But the meal was so tasty. I blended some tofu with a little canned coconut milk and a can of corn to make the creamed corn/egg part of the pudding. I think I just need to tinker and get it a little thicker. But lucky for me it tastes really good. And I do mean lucky because I will be having lots of leftover corn pudding!!
So if anyone remembers yesterday's photo Kanye was working to keep Afro off the heat vent. This is the aftermath. Kanye might be the smallest of the crew, but don't mess with her heat! Could she look any happier with herself?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What I Ate on a Day Off

Yesterday I had the day off and I stayed at home and got caught up on stuff around the home and also took a much needed Epsom salt bath. I figured it was a perfect day for a What I Eat in a Day post! Not that my food was super exciting or anything. I was still kind of tired so I didn't go crazy in the kitchen or anything.
I started my day with some Chai tea from Trader Joe's. I am still trying to go easy on caffeine, but I have found that most days I at least need some black tea. After my Chai I had this turmeric gold tea. It's one of the best turmeric teas I've tried. It has lemon in it which mellows the turmeric.
For breakfast/lunch I had a giant russet potato cut into wedges and seasoned with Creole seasoning. I made a dipping sauce of green dragon sauce mixed with some vegan mayo. Oven fries forever one of my favorite simple meals.
I had some ginger kombucha a little bit after breakfast while cleaning. Behind the kombucha is another picture I got at the thrift shop. It looks really crooked but it isn't. Just a weird angle.
I swear blueberries+spinach= ugliest smoothie ever! But it tasted great. Before my bath I had a blueberry, banana, spinach and maca powder smoothie. Trader Joe's now sells maca powder and it's $4.99 a bag which is the cheapest I've seen anywhere.
For dinner I sauteed some mushrooms in a little bit of coconut oil and then added a can of jackfruit and some soyaki and schezwan sauce and let that simmer while my rice cooked. After I turned off the heat I added some frozen edamame and let those heat through. And also green onion. This was so yum. I really like mushrooms and jackfruit together. The lighting is so terrible! The combination of it getting dark earlier and my schedule being later it's making for some pathetic pictures!
For dessert I had some Ben&Jerry's coconut seven layer bar ice cream. It's so freaking good you guys. I love the caramel and also the graham cracker bits. I wanted to binge watch something last night, but I couldn't stay awake for long enough. Anyway it was a pretty good food day. Today I plan on doing some cooking. I'm behind on podcasts so a cooking podcast day sounds like the best kind of day!
Uh Oh Kanye it looks like someone else might be wanting to get in on some of that heating action! Notice Kanye's back paws are keeping Afro at bay!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Caturday Stuff

I went shopping for a new shower curtain yesterday. Afro loves to chew on shower curtains, and Joan and Kanye like to climb shower curtains, so they have a short shelf life around here! While I was out I stopped at Trader Joe's for some groceries. It was insanely busy for a Friday afternoon. I forgot several things because I just had to get out of there! First of all I'll show you my new shower curtain. I thought it was different animals at first, but after closer inspection I see that it is different types of dogs. Sorry girls!
No joke, when I was hanging it Afro was wanting to chew on it! I mean at least let me get it hung before you destroy it!

I was going to show a picture of my full haul, but the picture is terrible! I was in a mood when I got home and didn't do a good job of displaying what I  got. It was the usual suspects, tofu, lemons, potatoes. But look what I saw in the ice cream section! Actually I saw a post on Instagram and knew I had to try them. My Trader Joe's had green tea and strawberry. I tried these last night and loved them! The ice cream is coconut milk based and it's creamy with a great natural strawberry taste. I will for sure buy these again!!
Last night I had a sushi bowl for dinner. Cucumbers are one of the forgotten items on my shopping trip but it was still really good. Just rice, baked tofu, seaweed snacks and a perfect buttery avocado. This was so good! Isn't it funny how good things taste when you haven't had them in awhile?
They were handing out samples of corn pudding at Trader Joe's yesterday. It wasn't vegan so I couldn't try it, and to be honest I don't think I've ever had corn pudding, but it looked good and so I decided I want to try and make a vegan version. I will be working on that tomorrow. I'm also going to try a version of scalloped potatoes with a cauliflower cheese sauce. I never really make holiday recipes and I guess I want to try a few this year. Look at me like being a real blogger and stuff!

Kanye is lounging right at my feet like this as I type. I know she wanted me to take her picture. She was doing lots of rolling around to make sure I noticed her! She's such a little tofurky ham!
Happy Caturday!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Trying More New Things Plus Cats!

Last night at work I was definitely riding the struggle bus. I was so tired my eyes hurt. My body is not adjusting to late night hours. I feel pretty drained all the time. I spotted this coconut water energy drink that isn't full of weird ingredients. It gives you energy from green coffee beans and green tea extract. I'm not a fan of coconut water, but I drank it down and I actually did feel a little better. I used to drink too many red bulls in my days as a bartender and I remember the crazy rush of energy that felt drug fueled. This was not like that, and I also didn't have a major crash. All in all I would recommend this for those days when you need help. This picture was taken at my check stand. It's a circle which I have never seen before. There's a button by my hip that you press to make it move. I think it's a relic from the seventies or eighties?

 I also tried this sauerkraut and all I can say is WOW!! It is amazing. It tastes like the best sauerkraut you've ever had combined with the best dill pickle you've ever tasted. It's crunchy and dill-y and garlic-y and just the best sauerkraut I've ever had. I'm trying to get more probiotics in because my whole system is thrown off with late night dinners and definitely eating more processed foods than usual. But sometimes when people have sucked the life right out of me all I can muster is crinkle cut fries and a veggie burger!
Yikes the lighting! This was my dinner last night. Crinkle cut fries, a Dr. Praeger black bean and quinoa burger with half an avocado, some sauerkraut and sweet hot mustard for dipping. Delicious!
This is one of the pictures I got at the thrift shop. A cat on a unicycle, how in the world could I resist? And the fact that it was seventy five cents makes it even better!
There was some serious squirrel activity going on outside today! I love it when all five of them get in the window! My girls!!!