Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cashew Dill Dip, Coin Update, Pain Update, Vegan Grocery Hauls, Veganized Great Depression Cooking, & Tomato Cakes

I'm really trying to make the most of this crappy weather that we have been experiencing but it's difficult.  Especially when my parents are soaking up the sun in St. Lucia for about a week.  Lucky Stinkers!

I've been testing new recipes, doing research on several topics, and making mini goals for myself.

Yesterday I made this Cashew Dill Dip.  It's made up of 2 C Cashews, 2 C Water, 4 T Lemon Juice, 1 Small Onion, 6 Cloves Garlic, Dill and Black Sea Salt to taste.

Today I had some HAPPY MAIL - about 30 coins from all over the world.  I was VERY excited to add these to my collection.  I'm up to 98 countries now!

I've been trying to tackle ongoing pain issues that seem to mirror Fibromyalgia.  I've upped my intake of Spirulina & Chlorella and hope to up my Vitamin C, B, D, & Magnesium mostly thru foods. 

Today I did 2 mini budget hauls.  This first one was at my local herbs store.  It was unplanned but these items caught my eye because they were on the discount shelf (except for the Hemp Hearts which I needed).  Those were over $8.  Other than that the rest of what you see here was roughly $10.  As an afterthought - I don't think I have ever tried the Kamut Spirals, Spinach Spaghetti, or those Simply Organic flavors before.  The last couple of times I bought Hemp Hearts online they were about $6 so I know they can be found cheaper but since I was already there and it is a small business and locally owned business I thought I would splurge a bit.

As for this other grocery haul - it was 'sort of' planned.  What I mean by that is - I watched The Vegan Zombie's video on Vegan Shopping at Dollar Tree and thought I would see what I could find at ours. I found 2 soups that were clearly marked vegan, Gnocchi, Soy Milk, Bread, Olive Oil, Chickpeas, Black Beans, Sweet Corn, Saltines, and Diced Tomatoes.  The Diced Tomatoes were 2 for $1 and the Corn was 79 cents...other than that the rest was $1 each.  That bought my total to $12.79.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I have been doing a lot of research.  I like to call it 'personal enrichment' or throw it in the 'more you know' category.  Regardless...check this out!  One of the many things I have been researching lately is Great Depression Cooking.  I have looked into that topic in the past before but the spark was re-lit the past couple of days.  This also falls into 'Eating on a Budget' that I like to do as much as possible.  What you see here are Tomato Cakes.

Tomato Cakes are made up of 2 ingredients.  Canned, Diced Tomatoes and Saltine Crackers.  All I did was crumble up about 30 Saltines and mixed them in with 1 can of diced tomatoes.  I then made patties out of them and pan-fried them with a little oil.  If you want you can kick it up a notch and use Basil infused oil for a twist.  These turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself.  I topped them with leftover Cashew Dill Dip.  I will be making these again and soon!  They cost $2 or less for an entire batch.  I easily made 10 patties out of these ingredients!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Masoor Seddho (Red Lentil Soup), Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup, Navratan Korma Inspired Soup, Crafts, Stress Relief, and Life Updates

It's been another roller coaster of a few weeks and that is my reason for not posting.  I really had hoped to post some more interesting and uplifting news but things didn't work out like I had hoped.  I need to be better at letting go and moving on, I suppose.

I guess now is as good as time as any to share with you some of the things I have been eating and creating.

As you can see in the first photo I recently gnawed on some Avocado and Tomato Toast.  It's topped with a Maple Mustard.  I also grabbed this smoothie you see in the 2nd photo which is Mango Squash & Veggies.  It was very tasty.  I got it from Total Evolution.  Maybe this week I will check out one of their soups or finally get their Oatmeal Bar.

I've been busy with work, League of Women Voters, and County Fair stuff.  I've also been a busybody at home.  Plus, I have been enjoying my new found joy of coin collecting more and more.  I have slowly gotten back into paper crafting which you will see more of in this post.  I'm really trying to stay busy so I don't start over-analyzing myself or move into a deeper depression. 

I'm still trying to get back into Yoga again but just when I think I will I have been battling with pain more.  Just when I think I have kicked my pain in a couple of days it comes back.

I've been tinkering with Mandalas again and it's been a nice short form of meditation of sorts.  As you can tell I'm not done with this.  Sometimes I do a bit at a time and will come back to it days later and add more.  DH and I just re-watched all of the Harry Potters which was a nice way to relax, too.  And of course there is my ongoing love of tea but I'm trying to adjust my intake on the highly caffeinated ones due to the aches and pains I have been struggling with.

I was averaging a card a day for a while there.  The cards I do only take a few minutes so it's a nice brain break.  It's a shame I let a group of people ruin my love of paper crafting for as long as I did.  I'm really trying to get back into it again.  So far - so good - in small increments.

I haven't bought any new supplies.  Everything I have been using to make the cards have been from scraps.  I intend to continue with this method.  I want to see how long I can go using old stashes and supplies.

Last weekend we gathered at a friends house for an annual party-after-new-years.  I usually bring baked beans but this time I thought I would bring something different.  DH suggested Buffalo Cauliflower Wings so I did just that.  I have two photos to share with you here.  I know I have posted my own recipe before but this time around I stuck pretty close to Jason Wrobel's recipe that he had in his Eaternity book I bought MONTHS ago!

They went pretty well.  I did 2 versions.  One was quite spicy and the other was not-so-spicy.

I ended up bringing Rootie's Blue Cheese for DH (for those of you who don't know he's not veg) and for who ever else wanted it.  I brought Daiya's Blue Cheese for me and who ever else wanted it.  It was funny but when we were cleaning up the dairy version of the blue cheese was barely touched and my vegan blue cheese bottle was nearly gone.

I'm not complaining at all - that is what it was there for - but I'm thinking that no one really looked at the bottles and just ate it regardless.  I find this interesting and am pretty thrilled!

It's been nasty weather-wise still.  This morning it was -7 degrees at 9am.  Friday Night we got a few inches of ice and then about a foot or more of snow.

So as you can imagine I have been eating a LOT of soups!  About a week ago I made a Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup.  Ingredients include...

1 C Cashews
1 Small Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Knob Ginger
6 Carrots
Water & Sea Salt as needed
Garnish: Nutmeg, Smoked Paprika, Parsley

For lunch today I had this amazing Red Lentil Soup!

It's my new favorite!  I would have made more right away but I only had enough Red Lentils for 1 batch!

It was inspired by Vegan Richa's Begali Red Lentil Soup (Masoor Seddho) but instead of the Tomato I used Tomato Sauce.  It was all I had on hand.  I also used Earth Balance instead of the Mustard Oil.

This was WONDERFUL and I will be making it again as soon as I get more red lentils!  YUM!  I'm not going to lie - I ended up garnishing it with more Earth Balance!  It was so savory!

This next one might not look like much but it was pretty tasty, too!  It was inspired by Vegan Richa's Navratan Korma Recipe but I turned it into a blended soup instead.  It called for 5 cups of veggies I used a bunch of stuff that was hanging out in my freezer and frig to use it up.  Many veggies like Eggplant, Sweet Peppers, Green Beans, Carrots, Water Chestnuts, Potatoes, Peas, Zucchini, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc.  Instead of the 4 tomatoes it called for I used some leftover Spaghetti Sauce.  There are various spices along with Cashews and Pistachios, too!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Dips, Diddies, Coins, & Vision Boards

Silly me!  I didn't write these recipes down!  Oops!  But you will get to see some of what I have been eating as of late. 

First up is this little diddy.  It's Brown Rice, Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Seasonings that I made last week.  It was tasty.  I literally just threw it together!

It's been a week or a few weeks of craziness and I just jotting down my recipes totally slipped my mind!

Yup!  There were various dips, too!  Like this one!  I can't recall everything I put in it but I'm sure it was Cashews, Red Bell Pepper, Smoked Paprika, and probably Lemon Juice at the very least.

I really thought I was going to make at least a couple of soups because it has been so cold this week but I didn't have time.  As I type this it's -2F actual and wind chills in the area made it feel like -25 to -30F.  YIKES!

Here's another dip I make last weekend.  I used the last little bit of vegan mayo I had in the frig, garlic, smoked paprika, lemon juice, a handful of cashews - were probably involved - and most likely some black sea salt - but just a pinch.

What dips have you been trying lately?

I told you I was going to start doing monthly Vision Boards.  Here is my first one and it's a mish mash of things but then again I think that what Vision Boards are mostly.  Things you want to do - things to inspire you - things you want to remember - and things you want to work towards!

This month...Start Each Day With A Grateful Heart was the re-used calendar visual I grabbed from my old 2017 calendar in my office.  Instead of throwing old calendars away I re-use them as other art in some way, shape, or form.  I added a lot of peace, love, laughter type things, too!  Also time to play, do yoga, smile, socialize, etc.

While cleaning last weekend this was one of the many  past projects I found so I thought I would rehang it on the wall. 

As you may have noticed I reuse clothes hangers to hang artwork.

I have also been experimenting with my old alcohol inks again.  I hope to post some of those projects down the road, too!

I was able to reach a mini goal of setting aside a space for my yoga again but I have yet to actually do it.  Perhaps this coming week I will be able to check that off my list, finally.

Things seem to be coming along with my mini-goals.

Another mini-goal for next week is to get to the post office and mail more coin swaps!

I'm having fun with the site I found and have already doubled my collection in 2 weeks.  There is a local shop I have found a lot of them for cheap and I got my firs swap in today, actually! 

I currently have coins from 61 countries!  YAY!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Big Bowl of YUM!

Yesterday I was thumbing thru Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Cookbook and came across her recipe for Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils and Quinoa.  This YUM Dish - as I like to call it - is inspired by that recipe - yet still pretty altered so I think it's okay if I share with you what I did for my version.  This is packed with LOTS of stuff and has more ingredients than I usually use in one recipe but I think it turned out wonderful and I can't want to make another version VERY SOON!  This is a complete meal in itself that is for sure.  I made a HUGE batch and have gotten 3 meals out of it and even tried some of it in tacos - just for the heck of it - and am LOVING it!

1 t Coconut Oil
1 t Garam Masala
1/4 t each of Cinnamon, Cumin, Smoked Paprika
Knob of Ginger
2 t Minced Garlic
1 t Onion Powder
2 Large Tomatoes
1 Can of Diced Tomatoes in Green Chilies 
1 Package Frozen Spinach (Roughly a Pound)
2 t Apple Cider Vinegar
2 C Water
1 t Black Sea Salt (or to taste)
1 T Raw Cane Sugar
1 T Maple Syrup
2 T Lemon Juice
1/4 C Almond Milk
1 Handful Cashews
1 Can Chickpeas
1/3 C Red Lentils
1/3 C Couscous
1/3 C Super Grains*

The Super Grains I used were equal parts White Quinoa, Red Quinoa, Millet, and Buckwheat.

In other news...I spent all day at home today.  The weather is still crappy.  It's still snowing.  It's still very cold.  The roads are ICY.  While at home all day I spent much of it cleaning.  Years ago I totally re-did a room in our house and converted into a craft room.  Long story short but I got out of crafting because of a few nasty people ruining my love for it online.  It's become a CATCH ALL type of room and it was beyond BAD.  Today I finally started hoeing it out.  It's still going to take a while to complete.  My goal is to still have it as a Craft Room and I hope to get back into crafting BUT different kind of crafts.  I would also like it to double as a Yoga Room.  

As for what I can see myself doing in terms of crafting is VISION BOARDS and for yoga I want to work on YOGA for PAIN.  More on the progress of these two mini goals down the road.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Laos Style (Cheater) Pumpkin Coconut Soup, Veggie Based Vegan Cheese Sauce, Cashew Sun Dried Tomato Topped Veggie Ravioli, & Tribute to Buffalo Broadcasting Legend!

It was 3 below zero when I left the house this morning on my last 'day off' of the year.  It's beyond cold - it's damn frigid!   I've said it before and I will say it again and again - I hate winter!  The only thing it's good for is SOUP!

This was inspired by Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney that I obtained a while back.  It's loosely based on her Laos-Style Roasted Pumpkin, Coconut, and Chili Soup.  But I changed it so much that I thought it would be ok to share my recipe and take on it with you!  I have 2 photos here - one in a bowl and one in a mug!  The one you see here has an added nutmeg sprinkle on top!

My take on the ingredients:

1 Can Pumpkin Puree
1 Can Lite Coconut Milk
1 T Vegan Broth/Powder
1/2 t Minced Garlic
1/2 t Minced Onion
1 T Grapeseed Oil
Sea Salt to taste*
Pinch Cayenne

As many of you know I don't add much sea salt to my foods and when I do it's not even a pinch.  But here I used about 1/2 t or so and it was tasty!

Yet another Vegan Cheese Sauce on this spiral!  Here's what I threw in my blender for this...
2 C Potatoes
1/2 C Water
1/4 C Grapeseed Oil
1 T Lemon Juice
2 Carrots
1 C Corn
1/4 C Nutritional Yeast
Handful of Cashews
1/4 t each of: Onion, Garlic, Turmeric, Paprika, Vegan Stock/Powder, Yellow Mustard, Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt (or to taste)

Check out this super creamy Cashew & Sun Dried Tomato Sauce I made to top the Engine 2 Diet Roasted Veggie Ravioli I found at the Buffalo Whole Foods the last time I went!  I did a basic Cashew Sauce with Cashews, Water, and Lemon Juice.  I added in about 5 Sun Dried Tomatoes and blended.  On top of that you will see that I sprinkled Smoked Paprika and Parsley on it, too!  YUM!  A closer look - see below!

I know I'm jamming a lot in to one post here but I have a lot of catching up to do!  Sorry about that!

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Engine 2's Roasted Veggie Ravioli.  There was a slight kick to the veggie mixture inside the Rav's which was neat!  This creamy, smoky, tangy sauce accompanied it well, too!

I wasn't able to find a good pic of the packaging but here's a visual for you...

This is the first product I have been able to find other than a package of the wraps which I wasn't thrilled with.  This Roasted Vegetable Whole Wheat Ravioli - on the other hand - was pretty tasty!  Yes...it did have the stereotypical whole wheat ravioli pasta texture but the veggie mixture inside greatly made up for it.  And the sauce was a nice finishing touch - if I do say so myself!

Before I end this post I wanted to insert a video from the other day.  It's about 9 minutes but worth it especially if you are in radio, TV, or from the Buffalo area.  It's a tribute to Irv Weinstein - a Buffalo Broadcasting LEGEND would passed away the day after Christmas from complications of ALS (AKA Lou Gehrig's Disease).  I grew up with this guy!  He was a staple in the Western New York Community and a life-long radio and TV guy!  He had a heart of gold and touched the lives of many.  When he retired back in '98 he was hardly able to make it thru his final broadcast before retiring.  Have 9 minutes?  I would love you to check it out!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Cashewgurt & Numista

The last several days or weeks have totally gotten away from me!  I knew for the last 5 or 6 days I wanted to post something but other things kept popping up!

Finally, as I get back into the swing of things and posting again I thought I would share a couple of things with you starting with this Cashewgurt!  Hillary has mentioned it on her blog a couple times or more and I was so excited I finally found it in my region!  Problem is - because I didn't blog about it right away - I can't remember if I found it at Wegman's in Lakewood or Buffalo Whole Foods!

Regardless, here are the two flavors I found and tried.  I enjoyed both of them.  I think the Strawberry was sweeter but I think the Blueberry was more intriguing.

The most important thing I want to mention here is the texture!  This has the best texture I have tasted to date when it comes to vegan yogurt alternatives!  It's not gritty or mealy or grainy.  It's completely smooth.  I do think it was a bit on the thin side but I would gladly have that over the goofy texture if you know what I mean!

In other news...

I know I have been blabbing about the virtual flags I have been collecting on my flag counter widget but over the last week I went 'dumpster diving' thru my old boxes of memories and found my Foreign Coins from over 20+ years ago!  They are from when I had over 120+ pen pals from around the world.  A few of them swapped low value coins with me.

I decided to finally catalog what I had which ended up being about 90 coins from 26 countries!  I used a site called Numista and it's a wealth of info - that is for sure!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Potato Barley Soup & Things

Because of the cold and snowy weather I can't stop thinking about soup!  So yesterday I made some Potato Barley.  I had both potatoes and barley on hand and wanted to use only the items I had on hand.  Oddly, I have had this barley in my pantry for quite some time and have been trying to think of what to use it in.  This soup seemed to be the perfect fit.  As you can see I topped with Nutritional Yeast and Smoked Paprika but it was only a sprinkle of each.  With the leftovers I didn't add anything to the top.  Below is the recipe.

About 4 or 5 Potatoes
1/4 C Barley
4-6 C Water *
4 T Vegan "No Chicken" Powder **
1/4 Onion, Minced
1/4 C Parsley
2 T Vegan Butter

* I started with 4 C but ended up with 6 C Water because it was so thick.

** I used a vegan "no chicken' powder.  All it contained was onion, garlic, corn starch, turmeric, sunflower oil, salt, yeast, celery seed.

For this specific vegan powder I used enough to work with 4 C water because that is what I started with.  The brand was Frontier Co-Op and a friend of mine a while back gave me a pound of it and I never opened it until this weekend.  The date was still good on it so I figured why not.  It was alright.  A little salty for my usual tastes.  The soup was still tasty but next time I will probably go lighter on the ingredient - that is - if I use it again at all.  I usually just use water - which you could totally do here instead of using the vegan stock, broth, powder, etc.  In that case I would probably just add some Bragg's Liquid Aminos, onion, garlic, etc.

 Either way - this was a very hearty soup - almost like a chowder.  I boiled everything for about 15-20 minutes, let cool, and then put everything in a blender.

Another thing I wanted to share with you today was these crunchy cookies from Simple Mills.  I found them at the Buffalo Whole Foods the last time I went.  They were pretty good while they lasted but I don't think I would buy them again unless they were on sale.  I think they were $4.99.  They did last me a while, however.  They looked different from what the package looks like here.  They were pretty small but a nice crunchy snack regardless.

I'm already sick of winter and it's only really bee a week.  This past week we have had 3 back-to-back-to-back snow storms.  BLAH!  I'm sure I will be doing more cooking today so I will have more vegan foods to share with you tomorrow.  In the meantime, I will be catching up on blogging buddies posts and such.  What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thai Tom Yum, Snowstorms, & Veganize It!

I had to order this Thai Tom Yum online because I haven't been able to find it in ANY of the stores I have been thru the last several months.  It's a vegan version of Thai Tom Yum and the brand is Dr. McDougall's.  I have to say - I am a fan!

It sure helped with the extreme cold we have experienced the last couple of days.  We had a back-to-back snow storm hit us with COLD temps.  Yesterday I don't think it passed the 15-degree mark.  When I was driving home it was 12.  Over the last 2 days, we have had between a foot and a foot and a half of snow so far.  Eventho I live in the snow belt I still don't like it. 

I've been doing a lot of thumbing thru my new vegan cookbooks as well as a lot of online research of recipes from different countries that I can try and veganize.  ANd speaking of Veganizing...look at my other new book!!  It has some really great ideas in there but there is a large fake meat chunk I will probably never do anything with.  I've also been able to collect a lot more flags on my flag counter which is really exciting!  HELLO to my newest visitors from the countries of Georgia, Albania, Cambodia, Armenia, Costa Rica, Libya, Mali, and United Arab Emirates.  I smiled when I saw newbies from Columbia, Djibouti, Timor-Leste, Serbia, Burundi, Greenland, Somalia, Algeria, Seychelles, and Palestinian Territory.  Plus my new friends from Malawi, Botswana, Ethiopia, and various islands including Pitcairn Islands, Virgin Islands, and Christmas Island.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Vegan Street Food & Popcorn

I've had a rough day.  I needed a brain break.  Just a few moments to travel far, far away somewhere...if only in my mind.

It made me think of one of the books on my bookshelf...Vegan Street Food from Jackie Kearney.  In this book, she takes you on a culinary journey from the Himalayas to the South China Sea.  There are recipes for vegan street food from India to Indonesia.

As much as I would like to ACTUALLY travel - I know it's not possible.  So I need to use the resources I do have to daydream to far away places.  Between that and world food dishes - they somehow make me feel a bit better.

I did find a lot of the recipes complicated or the ingredients hard to find for someone who isn't near a large city with access to a lot of world food spices and ingredients.  But I still adore this book for other reasons.  The stories, photos, maps, and escape of it all.

Another thing I have gnawing on lately is Lesser Evil's Buddha Bowl Avocado-Licious Organic Popcorn.  It's made with Avocado Oil.  It's vegan and gluten-free - among other things.

Brain Break Complete...for now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Vegan Mac & Cheese & Peas with Buffalo Bread Crumbs, Thug Kitchen 101, and Booking It!

The last couple of days we had our first snow storm of the year.  It's still in the process of hitting us.  Today I used up one of my vacation days that I had left and didn't even leave the house.  Driving was tricky and I didn't want to chance it.  I was able to get some stuff done around the house and online.  Because I had some extra time I decided to try the dish you see here.  It's inspired by Thug Kitchen 101's Creamy Squash Mac & Cheese with Hot Sauce Bread Crumbs.

I tweaked the recipe quite a bit so I guess I could say that it was inspired by that recipe?  For the bread crumbs you see here I used pita bread that I needed to hurry up and use.  I coated it with Frank's Hot Sauce, Almond Milk, and Garlic Grapeseed Oil - mixed and baked at 425 for 20 minutes.

As for the pasta - I have a few different partial boxes of various noodles that I wanted to get rid of, too.

For the cheese sauce -  all in a blender:
1/2 Small Onion, diced, pan fried
2 Potatoes, cubed, pan fried
1 C Water
2 T Lemon Juice
1 t Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 C Almond Milk
1 T Wildtree Garlic Garlore
1/2 C Nutritional Yeast
1 t Smoked Paprika
1 t Turmeric
Canned Diced Red Sweet Peppers*
Sea Salt & More Nutritional Yeast to taste

* The canned, diced sweet red bell peppers I threw in for color and because I didn't have any carrots.  The original recipe called for them.  I also added and changed a few things from their recipe based on what I had on hand and to taste.

I added about 1 C frozen peas to the pasta, drained, added the 'cheese' sauce, stirred, and added the Buffalo Bread Crumbs.

I had a lot of the sauce left over.  I had quite a few of the bread crumbs left over.  I didn't add the squash that the original recipe called for because I didn't have it.  This dish was all about a variety of textures.  It was just the right amount of creamy and the right about of spicy.  I'm totally hooked on adding homemade bread crumbs or croutons to Mac & Cheese now!

As for Thug Kitchen 101 - I totally LOVE it!  I can't wait to purchase the other ones they offer.  YES...it's very colorful with the language.  It doesn't bother me but if you aren't thrilled with swearing and cussing you might want to skip this one.  I don't think there is a page that goes by where they don't drop the F Bomb in some way, shape, or form.

But the recipes are very creative, the factoids are fun and make you think, the artwork and pop culture references are neat, and the inspiration to cook for yourself is spot on!

Another thing I did today was re-arrange by Book Shelf...my actual book shelf...and work towards adding to my virtual book shelf, too!

Do you have any of the Thug Kitchen Books?  If so - which one(s)?  What are some of your favorite recipes in them?