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?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Dal Bukhara, Old School Merry-Go-Rounds, & Deliciously Ella Everyday!

Yesterday I told you that I made 2 Vegan Richa Recipes from her Indian Kitchen Cookbook.  This was the other one I made.  It was the Dal Bukhara which is Black Gram Lentils in Tomato Sauce.  I opted for 2 things in this recipe.  The optional liquid smoke and the vegan cream (I used vegan sour cream).  This made a HUGE batch!  Enough for 2 dinners last night as sides and a giant stand alone meal for myself tonight.  I LOVED both the Rajma and the Dal Bukhara from Vegan Richa!


Here's a closer look at the dish!  YUM!  Of course this was taken before I added the vegan sour cream!  One other thing I should note is that I used about a cup less water than the recipe suggested because I wanted a thicker, creamier texture.  I was pleased with my choices!  Have you tried this recipe yet?  Which recipes are your favorite if you do have the book?  Mine was a little bit more orange in color because I used orange tomatoes instead of standard red ones.


And speaking of Christmas Gifts and Vegan Cookbooks here is another one that I was lucky enough to add to my collection...Deliciously ELLA Every Day!

First and foremost I wanted to grab one of Ella's books because I didn't have any of hers in my collection yet.  Secondly, I comment on her blog and wanted a book to match.  And finally, anything that says Quick and Easy Recipes for Gluten-Free Snacks, Packed Lunches, and Simple Meals that are Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, and low-to-no-hassle I'm game!

There are a LOT of recipes in this book and the photography is beautiful!  I can't wait to jump in and see what I want to make first.  So far - I'm thinking the Pesto Lima Bean dish is calling me the most!



Another topic I have been teasing at the last couple of days is something neat I experienced on Friday Night.

A group of us went to a local restaurant/bar in a nearby small town that was celebrating their annual Christmas Walk.  Friends of ours lived within walking distance so we took a brisk speed walk back to their place but their parents lived just a few houses down and we've been hearing about this Old School Merry-Go-Round that they had and just HAD to see it!



It was inside a large garage with LOTS of other historical Merry-Go-Round items, old posters from county and state fairs, old pieces of art, dolls, wooden horses, historical items from Washington DC and other places, local and regional history, old video games, music memorabilia, cars, and much more!

It was pretty amazing to see all of this right in front of you and all at once.

His parents told us about how they started collecting everything, where they found the items, and how and who restored them.

Everything they had on display WORKED.  It was REALLY neat!



We even got to ride the one Merry-Go-Round.  This was the bigger of the two.  There was another - smaller one that was decorated with Christmas Tree Ornaments that were issued to members of the government throughout history in or around Washington, DC.

Once everything was turned on and running we had the original music playing on the Merry-Go-Round, too!

It's certainly not something you get to see or do everyday - that's for sure!

It was very Old Timey Carnival Complete with freshly popped corn from an old machine - to boot.  I didn't have any popcorn because I'm pretty sure there was butter on it but the whole atmosphere was something that really took you back in time!



Here is a picture of the smaller, older one and if you look real close to cover near the lights you can see the ornaments I described above.  There was lots of art work and promotional posters throughout the garage.  I'm sure I missed some things.  It was that HUGE and I often found myself standing back and pausing in awe.  Of course, as a vegetarian/vegan, I'm not a fan of circuses (because of the use/abuse of animals) but many of these Merry-Go-Rounds were from a time where we didn't understand things we do now.  Many of the old state parks were just that - parks - with the possibility of mechanical rides such as these old school Merry-Go-Rounds.  It was interesting to see history come alive.



And because I'm a HUGE fan of music of all types and the history behind them - I appreciated the historical value of their collection.  It was a bit too cold that night or we would have had the opportunity to see this musical machine in action, too!

I've seen episodes of American Pickers and/or Pawn Stars and those guys would have went NUTS for this stuff!

Funny thing is - not many people realize something like this exists - tucked away - in a garage in our area.  It's a hidden, historical gem.

Have you ever ridden on a Merry-Go-Round?  What are your memories of them?  I'd love to hear about it in comments! 


Dill Pickle Cashews, Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen, & FotoJet

Lengthy Post Alert!  LOTS to cover today!  First...a new snack I have been enjoying...Dill Pickle Cashews!  This isn't the exact bag I am eating from but you'll get the visual idea!  Many of you know I LOVE cashews and I can't get enough of Dill these days so it was the perfect duo.

I found them on Jet.com at a good price while doing some Christmas Shopping last week and HAD to grab them.  I also bought a pound of raw cashews, too!  Again, the price was right!  Cheaper than I could find them locally, that is.  I also found a few other little things for snacks and lunches I will share with you down the road!

Another book DH bought me this past weekend was Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen.  This is the first of Chloe's books I have added to my collection so far.  I have a feeling I will be adding others to my wishlist for down the road!  Sure there are your stereotypical vegan pasta recipes in there but she puts her own twist on them but she doesn't stop there!  Recipes that I wouldn't have considered to be Vegan Italian were throughout the book as well.  I was going to list a few of the recipes I was interested in but the list ended up being too long so once I jump in I will let you know which ones I do end up doing! 



Next up and LONG OVERDUE is my chattering about a free online graphic design site called FotoJet.com.  There are elements of it that are similar to other sites but it seems to offer much more in the terms of fonts and templates!  When I saw this first one I knew I had to make something with it because I've always adored the LOVE BUS!


In most browsers, you can click on these photos to enlarge them from my site.  This one says MyBlissfulJourney - Family - Food - Fiats - Friends - More!  I haven't quite figured out a way to resize EASILY for the header but I knew I loved the look especially because of the teacup on the upper left.  Plus it looked like a neat workstation and place to think.


I could see me using this a lot for blogging graphics!  I see it as a place for inspiration but also for organizing things on my blog at some point.  I have a lot of Projects in the Works so I thought a simple graphic like this would come in handy.


And speaking of inspiration...check this Daily Yoga Graphic out!  Something I surely need to get my rear in gear and do more daily yoga!  I've always thought of this blog as not only an archive but a way to be accountable and I really need to get back into Yoga!  This might help!  With FotoJet you can edit photos, make collages, and much more!


Just to mess around with the site I used some of the photos I have taken in the past and went with the Comic Book feature and made this!  Some of the other things you can do with FotoJet is make Magazine Covers, Posters, Invitations, Cards, Facebook Covers, YouTube Channel Art, Facebook & Instagram Posts, Google+ Covers, Twitter, Tumbler, & Email Headers, Thumbnails, Pinterest Graphics, and more! 

It's a great Marketing Tool, too!  You can create Logos, Flyers, Business Cards, Leaderboards, and Facebook Ads...just to name a few!

Gosh!  I still have so much to share from the weekend!  I will really try and post another blog entry later tonight!  In the meantime...which features do you like from FotoJet.com?  Let me know!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry) & Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen

Today I spent most of the day running errands before the snow storm hit, cleaning, and cooking. 

As many of you know I have been trying to do more foods that are inspired from different parts of the world.  Today one of the dishes I made was Rajma which is a Kidney Bean Curry.

After doing a little research of the origins of Rajma I found that not only is it popular in South Asia, Northern India, but also, Nepal.

This photo doesn't do the dish much justice but I think it came out pretty tasty!  To my knowledge this is the first time I have tried this dish.  It was perfect timing, too, because I had some tomatoes I needed to hurry up and use.


The recipe I used was from Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen.  This is another new book to my collection.  it's been on my wishlist for a long time!  I'm so happy I finally have it in my hands!  I know I will be referring to this book a lot!

Not only did I make the Rajma Recipe in this book today - I also did the Dal Bukhara - which is a Black Gram Lentils in Tomato Sauce type dish.  I will share that one with you another day!

I also have to recap Friday's nights festivities so I will probably do that in tomorrow's post!

What did you do this weekend!?  Which of Richa's Recipes are your favorites?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Gut Punch, Unicorns, & Vegan Cheese

DH and I got a fairly early start this morning and drove to Buffalo Wholefoods - among other places.  While I stopped in at WF I picked up a few things that were things I have been looking for, haven't been able to find in other places, found at a low price, or really needed.  One of the first items I want to share with you is this Farmhouse Culture Cola Gut Punch Sparkling Probiotic Veggie Drink.  Farmhouse Culture the brand known for its probiotic-rich Kraut, fermented veggies and Gut Shots, has introduced a ready-to-drink sparkling probiotic beverage line called Gut Punch. It comes in five flavors, including Mango Guava, Ginger Lemon, Cola, Strawberry Hibiscus and Cherry Cacao. Made with a fermented beet base and infused with real fruit essences, the line contains no added sugar added, with each variety retailing for a suggested $3.79 per bottle, however, it was $3.99 at Buffalo Wholefoods.  Normally, I wouldn't spend that much for a Booch or other Probiotic beverage but it looked really interesting and I probably won't be able to visit another WF for 4 to 6 months.  Personally, I wanted to grab the Mango Guava but I thought DH might like to try the Cola and we could split it.  He tried it and hated it.  I tried it and it was ok.  VERY different.  Glad I tried it - probably wouldn't spend the money on it again unless it was drastically reduced and on sale.  


Over the next several days I will share more of my WF Finds with you but I also wanted to tell you about our trip to Barnes & Noble!  Since we don't normally get each other or much for Christmas we decided to pick up a few things while we were out today.  DH went to a couple of music stores and found some interesting things and I found 4 books at B&N.  

Before I share the first of the 4 books I grabbed I thought I would show you these cute i-Clips.  They are magnetic bookmakers with Unicorns on them!  Many of you know that I collect Unicorns and I knew I just HAD to have them!  They are small but fun.  There are 4 sets of 2 for a total of 8 i-Clips!

There was snow on the ground in and around Buffalo.  A couple of inches in yards but the roads were clear.  Near our house we didn't get any of the snow they were calling for but my sister about a half hour away got about 4 inches.  I was lucky enough to spend time with her and my niece Trinity yesterday for a couple of hours and then DH and I met up with some friends and stopped by a small town for a Christmas Walk.  It was VERY COLD.

Sorry...back to...TODAY!  Here is the first of 4 books I wanted to share with you from our B&N Buffalo Trip.  Vegan Cheese by Jules Aron.  I've only thumbed thru a few of the recipes so far and I can't wait to try to make some of the cheeses!

I will try and spread the other books throughout future posts.  The more I have been thinking about the Virtual Bookshelf the more I feel like I need to do it myself and not use a widget or app.  It's going to take a LONG time but little by little I hope to add more and more books to my bookshelf.

I've also decided to start including more music to my posts.  At first I was thinking about adding a song to each post but maybe I will do a Monday Music Mention or something to kick things off.  What do you think!?

Friday, December 8, 2017

2 Friday Finds!

I didn't plan on grocery shopping when I went out today but there were two things I couldn't pass up!  The first one was this Veggemo Milk.  I had not seen it around 'these parts' yet so when I saw it was vegan and made from Peas, Potato, and Tapioca I was intrigued!  From what I read online the texture is supposed to be similar to 2% Milk.  Not that I was really looking for that, but still.


The other item I couldn't pass up were Alyssa's Healthy Vegan Bites.  These are another new-to-me-product.  They were REALLY expensive but I figured I wasn't buying all that much and it would be my treat for the week.  You only get 6 small cookies in the package and I believe they were priced at $4.99.  As for the Veggemo the price was right in line with Almond Breeze Brand.  Oh!  I opted for the unsweetened one, by the way!  Have you had either of these items?  What are your thoughts?


I also thought I would take this time to welcome my newest visitors from Comoros, Iceland, Belarus, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands!  Thanks for stopping by!  I'm researching recipes from your regions and hope to veganize some of them soon!

I have 3 more books to share with you in the near future, too, but I wanted to give you more than 'just books' to see here on my blog this week.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Vegan Soul Kitchen & Mini Blab


I have another mini-blab and mini post today but first another new book!  Vegan Soul Kitchen!  Yet another one that has been on my wishlist for quite some time!  Once I realized that Bryant Terry paired each recipe with a song I knew this would have an extra special place on my bookshelf!  As many of you know I LOVE all sorts of music and it's always been a HUGE part of my life!  I can't wait to check out some of these recipes!  And the songs he paired with them!

Yesterday I mentioned a Virtual Bookshelf addition to my site.  I've had a lot of great feedback on that idea.  Last night I added a widget coding but no matter what I do to tweak it - it's still not quite what I am looking for.  I'm thinking I might have to do one big huge long post to get it the way I want it.  Time will tell, I guess.

I'm having a real hard time getting into the Holiday Spirit this year.  I finally submitted an order to kick off our holiday shopping for our family members.  I decided to look into Jet for online shopping.  So far I'm liking it.  One of these days I will do a more detailed post on it.

Time permitting, I hope to check in later tonight with another post.  It just seems like there isn't enough time in the day to get everything done lately.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Virtual Vegan Bookshelf & Shout Outs!


Just a mini post of sorts at the moment.  I might post another one later in the day, too!  Here is another book that has been on my wishlist for a long time.  The Vegan Stoner Cookbook.  No...I'm not a stoner.  But, I do find this book funny, cute, and interesting on several levels!  There are some real thrown-together dishes in this book and they are really speaking to me since I tend to throw oddball dishes together when I don't know what to make or really try and Eat From The Pantry!

I've been pondering another tab up top to create a Virtual Vegan Bookshelf.  I'm still trying to think how to tackle this project.  I would like to archive the books I have and display them here on the site, too!  I'm a visual person so I want to have photos of the book covers which is easy enough but with the books I want to include (all of the ones I have on my actual bookshelf at home), it will be a lengthy page for sure.

Another thing I will be posting about soon is FotoJet.  I have been playing around with the site and really LOVE some of the graphics I have been able to create while using the site.

Finally, I'm totally addicted to my new(er) Flag Counter and checking in often to see which new flags I am virtually collecting.  Over the last 2 or 3 days, I have had new visitors from Belize, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Svalbard, Portugal, Poland, South Korea, Ukraine, Eritrea, and Brunei.  Thanks so much for visiting!  I have been looking into World Foods from those areas and would like to do veganized versions soon!  If you have any suggestions please let me know!