Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope 2010 was great for you and that 2011 will be even better!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Doesn't this just scream "Yule"? It sure does!! I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday!!!

Dear santa, all I want for Christmas is...

a little motivation.

Anyway... Almost packed ONE WHOLE BOX today. Did you see the word I slipped in there? Almost.

I did however throw together a quick lunch that was pretty tasty using left over chickpeas and rice. I saw this nifty video on youtube last night on how to make Jemzeela rice made in a traditional way which inspired me. So with that stuff in mind, I threw a bunch of curry spices, cloves & ginger into a pot with rice and chickpeas... added some chopped kale, nuked it (LAZY!) and then added some tofutti sour cream. Pretty tasty. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy (belated) solstice!!

How COOL is it to have a solstice WITH a lunar eclipse?! Too bad it was raining here... I ended up going to bed instead of expecting a miracle of a clear sky.

Anyway, I've been super busy working retail with the fast approaching holiday so I haven't had a lot of time to motivate myself to actually COOK a meal. I've been quite down the past few days (weeks?) as I really miss my family during this time of year so comfort food is definitely something I've been craving!

I used to LOVE tuna salad growing up and in this chilly weather it reminds me of summer days at home. Or even better, summer nights by the bonfire and the sound of frogs and crickets chirping chirping all around. I had a can of chickpeas readily available so I whipped up some vegan tuna salad. Now - I fully admit, I don't make this completely as the recipe states, as... well, I'm from the north, and where I come from you don't put pickles in tuna. I also left out the nutritional yeast this time... and since I've made it so often I tend to not measure out what I'm doing. I just add a little of this, add a little of that - until it looks good. This is always what gets me into trouble, but I had a little luck this time. :P

Anyway, I generally use green onion (any other type of onion tends to make me feel yucky), celery, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), veganaise (I prefer it over nayonaise), and some tamari (shoyu, soy sauce, liquid aminos), salt & pepper to taste. Spread it on some toasted bread, eat. Nom.

Now keep in mind - I don't add kelp powder... I don't have any. However it doesn't NEED it, in my opinion. I just eat it as I would any other mayo-like salad. :P It really helped with the comfort food craving. :P

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chicken and stars soup :D

Today I made something I've been wanting to make for YEARS. Chicken soup. When I found Edward & Son's not chick'n bouillon cubes I thought it would make awesome chicken soup and apparently I'm right. I tossed it into a pot with some carrots and celery (should have added onion, forgot - but it was good without it), baby bok choy, West Soy's cubed seitan (I diced it), and tiny pasta stars! Total love. I should also mention - I think this is the first time I've had seitan. I did just recently buy a box of vital wheat gluten but haven't gotten the courage to try it yet... After today though, I might very well do it - I saw a recipe for a seitan roast which sounded really good...

I would have taken a photo of the soup but I ate it all before I thought of it. :P

I have a new love affair with leafy greens... especially kale, however I went to a local chinese grocery and got a bag of baby bok... its incredible if you just steam it a little... *love*

OH! I was SO blessed earlier in the week when a (meat eater) friend of mine gave me a tupperware container of peanut butter balls. She told me she wouldn't try it so essentially I was her guinea pig :P She looked up the recipe online, I don't know where she found it but she wrote it down for me. Its basically peanut butter, carrot, raisins & oats. Fabulous.

Here's the recipe:


1/2 cup granola
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar (I know some of you might not consider this vegan - beggars can't be choosers - replace it with another sweetener!)
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c or 1/2 LG carrot
1 c 100% natural peanut butter (She used smucker's)

Dir: Mix all ingredients together except peanut butter (easiest to mix by hand). Mix in peanut butter 1/2 cup at a time. Roll into balls, refrigerate overnight to firm up. You can also dip them into a vegan chocolate to make a hard coating (uh, reeses pieces - but better - anyone??!).

I really loved these (I think there are only 3 left out of like 15) and so did Michael which just blew my mind.

At least - I thought that blew my mind. (Off topic moment) - Michael told me today he wants to have a kid in "the next few years". I feel like the typical man in this situation - the woman mentions kids and the man starts to consider camping in a remote location where no one can find him. Yikes. I think we need to discuss getting a surrogate mother or adoption.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Snow in Knoxville TN is a big deal. We got all of maybe TWO whole inches and the entire city seems to be shut down... schools, colleges, stores, the office at my apartment complex.

Anyway... been in a bit of a funk lately and the only food I've been able to pop out that was edible are bagel sandwiches.

Today's bagel sandwich - Tofutti sour cream, a sprinkle of flax and sesame seeds, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts & green onion. Was pretty tasty, even Michael liked it.

I also made banana bread! I had three perfectly disgustingly over ripe bananas that needed using so I mashed them up and added a bunch of stuff (sunflowers and flax seed) - unfortunately had to use white sugar (yuck) as i'm out of agave... and then sprinkled pepitas on top (Michael's request). It tastes ok, but I've grown to dislike the flavor of white sugar... I've been smothering it with the apple butter I made a week or so ago. Still absolutely awesome. :D I'd give you the recipe but I sort of mashed two together and added stuff neither called for... SO its kind of hard to help you with that... maybe i'll add them later.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fail! Oh well. :)

Well, a failed attempt at a macaroni & cheese dish with a sweet potato base failed a couple days ago. My attempt at resurrecting it by making it into a "hamburger helper" type meal made it just barely edible - but given two options, this and something you've eaten every day for the past 2 weeks - you'll probably choose whatever it was that you'd eaten every day for the past two weeks. Seriously. The recipe was just not as good as it claimed to be.

I froze a big portion of it for "I have no time to make food" type meals. It may end up staying in the freezer until we move, at which time it will end up in the trash bin.

Since then... I've been feeling little to no motivation to cook. However the "big day" is coming up: Ie: grocery shopping day. I got a coupon in the mail, $6 off a $60 purchase at my local grocery. He and I have been trying to be frugal about our groceries - so we're trying to spend a max of $35/wk. SO this means I need to shop for TWO weeks worth of food. Its a trying task! I can't plan meals ONE week ahead more or less TWO. Also - I eat a ton of fresh veggies... which I can't purchase ahead that far. So i'll have to plan around that too, perhaps buying frozen or freezing fresh. With the money I save I will be able to buy a couple things next week, but less than $10 worth.

I had hoped to make a big meal today, Cabbage rolls, stuffed acorn squash, stuffing and banana bread... but was unmotivated. Plus Michael came home and needed the computer so I didn't have access to the recipes I pulled up. I hope to go ahead with the meal tomorrow, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

Tonight, I followed a recipe from a book that I borrowed from the library The Starving Students' Vegetarian Cookbook - Fried Spaghetti. It basically called for spaghetti, onion, garlic, some herbs, and tomato paste. I was relatively disappointed by it, but also intrigued at the concept - added a little Newman's Own spaghetti Sauce and it was great :) Sockarooni is currently my absolute favorite spaghetti sauce evar. I will probably try tweaking this recipe in the future, as it seems like there could be flexibility with it.

Edit to add: I FORGOT! I tried to make food again last night using this Spicy Eggplant recipe... and it was not popular with the boy who has texture issues. Apparently "mushy" is not palatable. I could have done without the eggplant. I thought the spicy sauce was AWESOME and will make it again - I did have to adjust with the addition of cornstarch to thicken it as it was really really watery. I poured it all over collards, brown rice and green beans for a tasty side dish *heart*

Monday, December 6, 2010


So, this past weekend was long and grueling for both Michael and I. He had a 15 page paper to write due today, as well as a presentation on said paper today. Which meant I didn't get the computer very much at all over the weekend. What does one do when they have little to no computer access?

Oh, they cook. He said "I want brownies, or cake." so - I found a super easy peasy recipe for vegan chocolate cake, complete with vegan frosting!!!!

Talk about the shiznit. I read somewhere on one of the many reviews that someone had used instant coffee in place of cocoa, so I decided to use coffee (already brewed) in place of some water. It wasn't very strong as I had watered it down pretty good, but I used it in both cake and frosting. Also, I added cinnamon and nutmeg in the frosting for a little holiday pizazz. Wish I had had walnuts! Only complaint - the cake was a little dry on the outside... but absolutely fine on the inside! I think next time I will either half the recipe and use a smaller cake pan or make two pans instead of one - it just took much longer to cook on the inside then it did the out.

The frosting has STAYED CREAMY all night long! Its freaking awesome! WOO HOO. I only frosted half the cake out of fear that it would just be TOO MUCH chocolate. I was wrong :P

Friday, December 3, 2010

Apples, apples and MORE APPLES!

Ok, so like - a couple weeks ago Michael & I stopped at a local farm and bought a pretty big bag of mixed apples. From what I remember it had: Granny Smith, Arkansas Black, Blushing Gold (it was blushing SOMETHING), Mutsu, and maybe Fuji... possibly other varieties I can't remember. Anyway I happened to have the luck of finding my absolute FAVORITE apple evAr... (Blushing Gold-?-) and a ton of other delicious apples - the only one I DIDN'T like was the black one... I think I probably should have learned not to eat dark apples from Snow White, but I always hated Disney.

I think I just got off track - so, we had a ton of apples. Not to mention I think they were like, procreating in the crisper drawer in the fridge. I have to say I've eaten at least 10 apples since getting the bag and when I counted the remainder today I had over 20... however, Michael had brought some home from school - Red Delicious. So I would say there were probably 25 or so apples in that bag when we bought it... at least. For 2 people, that is a helluva lot of apples.

Today - I did an apple cook-off. I made applesauce, zucchini apple bread, baked potato latkes (which required some of the previously mentioned applesauce) & I have apple butter cooking in the crock pot.

The latkes were ok, but totally missing something - quite possibly the fried in oil flavor, I'm not sure. I think next time I'll use some kind of seasoning salt or something to add a little more flavor. I got the recipe for the Latkes here. The Meet The Shannons websites is one of my absolute favorites for vegan meal ideas. I also got the zucchini apple bread recipe there (here). :) I've made this recipe once before using fresh zucchini, today I used up the frozen that I had in the fridge... If it hadn't been a little freezer burned, I would not have been able to notice any difference at all in flavor. Today's bread was SUPER moist. I also was lazy and didn't cut the apples up very fine... so it was a bit chunkier. Also, I didn't have walnuts *sob* so I used sunflower seeds instead as I wanted SOME kind of protein as this is a bread I'll eat for breakfast.

The applesauce was a simple recipe I found online here, I just wish I hadn't added the full amount of Cinnamon, I generally like mine without it... but am trying to teach myself that it is best to follow the original recipe the first time and make adjustments later & since I suck at cooking - I'll leave it to the people that know how to do it. :P

A picture of the Zucchini Apple loaf I made - unfortunately I didn't think to take a photo until after I started munching on the larger, prettier loaf of the two... so this is a photo of the smaller loaf, after it had been put on a cooling rack (upside down! Oops :) )

Above is a photo of the latkes I made. Nom. :D

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I feel better today. Finally. I've been making some interesting meals the past couple days.

Soup: Rice noodles + tofu + not chicken boullion cubes + veggies = awesome soup.

Zatarans gumbo + Morningstar Farms chicken strips = A good way to eat gross chicken strips... the spice in the gumbo beat out the gross flavor of the chicken... It just needs beans.

... and thats all!

Thanksgiving is coming up. Michael & I are going with his mom to some... church pot luck type gathering. Trying to think up something vegan to take. Maybe lasagna!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blech, home sick!

Woke up bright and early (4:30am) and felt realllllly yucky this morning. Threw up half an hour later and have not felt good since. I finally braved it and ate a plain rice cake since my brain was telling me I was hungry even though my stomach has been telling me "I wouldn't eat that if I were you." Really sucks. I feel like I've been "off" all month which is really unusual for me.

Anyway, the beginning of last week I found out one of my feline companions had a urinary tract infection, I've been treating her with antibiotics but my vet mentioned she might get more UTIs because she's overweight. All of my cats are a bit chunky. So I asked what I could do to help with weight loss as I've already tried feeding less food. She suggested canned pumpkin! I guess its high in fiber and makes them feel full without adding fat/calories. I mixed it in with everyone's wet catfood and it was a hit... they actually ate all of the bits of pumpkin and left the food behind.

I was pretty impressed, who would have thought?

Well... I had left over pumpkin - I had planned on saving it to feed again tomorrow but... Michael said "leave some for me." I was like "Huh? What are you going to do with it." He replied "Eat it." Now... i've eaten raw pumpkin, it tastes like squash - not a surprise since it really is one... however the concept of eating pureed pumpkin was not something I'd considered before.

I googled "easy, vegan canned pumpkin" and came up with lots of pies and stuff - but I didn't want to bake... so I looked up "easy vegan pumpkin soup" and came across a really simple recipe and thought "Why not?" By then I'd kept the rice cake down for a couple hours... fully knowing there is no guarantee it will stay there. My stomach was still turning.

I didn't read the reviews first (which were mostly negative)... I knew I was going to change the recipe since my ingredients varied a little - first it required more pumpkin than I had. Then it suggested soy milk which I don't drink - i have almond. I did purchase soy creamer on a whim because it was on clearance so I used that too. I used a lot more veggie broth and a lot less "milk" and creamer. I also used a lot less onion because onion and my stomach don't get along very well. It was surprisingly tasty however as a snack... I think it would need a protein source, maybe tofu... or it could go sweeter with some more pie-like seasonings. Still, rather excited to have found a new food I can work with.

Now I'm going back to bed to relax and pack a little.

Friday, November 19, 2010

SCORE! Daiya cheese and vegan hot cocoa from scratch!

I'm SO stoked. At a recent shopping trip to Earth Fare on the other end of town, I picked up a bag of Daiya's mozz cheese... which i've been meaning to get for awhile now after all the good reviews I've heard (short of my newly vegan friend who thinks its texture is funky). Well it sat in the fridge a day or two - hard to get motivated to make food sometimes...

Until tonight... I made another pita pizza (if you're wondering why so many pizzas - Mike & I bought two packages of pitas on clearance at Kroger... for cheap. They were hard then, they're crust and chipping now, weeks later... but they make great pizzas still!!).

First, let me say - I opened the bag and took a sniff. Didn't smell offensive. I was tempted to just toss it on the pita and toast it without trying it because ALL of the other vegan cheese I've ever had has made me want to gag. Instead I braved it and put some in my mouth... and it was ACTUALLY YUMMY! SHOCKING!

So I cut up a portobello (why is it my spell checker hates this word?) mushroom, a bit of sweet onion, and some mashed eggplant (baba ghanoush type stuff) I made yesterday... sprinkled with daiya... toasted in the toaster oven. Fabulous. So excited. I think this stuff can be used on tacos, in wraps, anywhere you would use cheese. I can FINALLY make a lasagna or eggplant "parm" and actually LIKE it. I could squeal... but instead I'll sit back and enjoy my hot chocolate... thanks to this recipe.

This is INCREDIBLY simple to make and doesn't take very much time at all. Instead of sugar I used agave syrup... and I only used 2 cups almond milk instead of the 2 1/3 to see what it would taste like... I may have used just a TINY bit more vanilla... because it poured out too quickly :P Only problem with it is that its a TINY bit too sweet, which might be due to the fact that I didn't use enough milk, next time I'll try a little less sweetener.

I have plans to use it as a coffee creamer/sweetener. We'll see how that goes!

Until next time... be healthy and don't forget to smile.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ahh, Monday.

Its gray out with a possibility of rain. Makes me want to curl up in my blanket and snooze all day... with a bowl of warm veggie soup near by. Which is precisely what I've been doing and plan to do until I have to go to work this evening!!

I made a great huge pot of vegetable soup with zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, corn, tomatoes, and whatever else I could find to toss in. Even Michael liked it! I've been adding tofu to some bowls, rice to others and TINY little pasta stars to yet others. Tastes wonderful no matter what!

Also I made this wonderful kale recipe yesterday... it was so good... I ate it all. The only thing I changed was instead of using pico de gallo or cayenne pepper I used Franks Red Hot sauce and applied liberally. Delicious. It screamed out "Where is my corn bread?!" Maybe next time :D

Also one good thing about today is TheVeganBackpacker is doing a free giveaway of Pure Bars! W00t! Sign up here:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vegan, month 8, day 6ish.

A lot of people ask me, "Why did you go vegan?" - easy peeasy answer... and its not really the right one. I wanted to loose weight. I had a friend in college say that when she went vegan she lost a ton of weight - and I looked at her and thought "You must have looked anorexic." What I really should be saying is "I did it for the animals". Its not though.

I have been a vegetarian since April 1st 2005. I went vegan on April 3rd, 2010. Choosing to be a vegetarian was easy, I was never really a big meat eater. Also I did it for the animals. Honestly, have you SEEN what we do to meat animals? Ew. That and I was inspired by Michael's decision to go veggie because he was eating too much garbage... mainly meat lover pizza or Italian subs.

Oh light but I miss Italian subs from subway. I WILL make a vegan version one of these days and I WILL love it.

Anyway, being vegan really is very different from being vegetarian. I am still shocked every day by the things Michael can eat (being a vegetarian) that I can't. I've made him grilled cheese sandwiches and looked longingly on the melting American cheese... and once almost put a piece in my mouth before realizing "Hey, I can't eat this. Crap." I probably miss cheese the most out of everything. Even over chocolate and white sugar. The few times I've broken down and eaten cheese have been extremely disappointing. Somehow its not as tasty as I remember. Which is ok with me. Sort of.

My biggest weaknesses have mostly been burritos with cheese and sour cream as well as pizza... and I know there are vegan version... but again - finances. I should really just make my own with the tofu I have.

Got up late this morning, so I had brunch today instead of breakfast and lunch. I decided on pita pizzas. It was my first time making them and I have some tweeking to do, but I definitely will make more in the future!

The biggest problem I've had with veganism (aside from lack of funding) is that I don't eat (can't eat) a lot of garlic/onion/bell peppers - and can't eat leeks at all. Garlic just tends to be a staple of all vegans... and I know when I'm eating something that is missing something - its often garlic... because I don't know what to fill the void with.

For dinner tonight I had mini pitas stuffed with hummus, seed sprouts (alfalfa and other), kale, tomatoes, zucchini & cucumber. Heaven.

I made a Quorn Turkey roast for Michael, along with stuffing and roasted veggies we can both eat for lunch tomorrow.

Work tomorrow. Can't wait for the holidays and upcoming move to be OVER!