Monday, April 24, 2017

Another Day - Another Dip!

This past weekend was weird.  I was OFF.  I couldn't really tell you WHY I was OFF I was just...OFF!  One of the things that happened hasn't happened to me in 20 years.  Apparently I had an asthma attack.  Scared the crap out of me.  Just when I think I have won a personal battle something else seems to pop up!  My sleep is getting better.  I was able to FINALLY sleep in bed - haven't done that in YEARS so that is pretty awesome!  I was able to get many of my aches and pains under control - so I'm thrilled about that!  Next up I am going to try and lose a couple of pounds - I think!  Between getting a bit lazy and going with convenience items and winter weather and not moving around much I have gained more than I am comfortable with.  So that's my next mini goal.  I will be doing more salads, soups, RAW Foods, etc.  I think I gained weight because I wasn't preparing almost 100% of my own foods and dropped back into vegan convenience items - as well as NOT doing as many RAW FOODS like I was prior to last year. the only photo I have to share with you is the one you see above!  Not overly exciting but it's a Cashew Cilantro Dip that I made for the Broccoli Potato Fries I found a while back.  They were pretty YUMMY and they almost tasted CHEESY but they were clearly marked VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE!

Cashew Cilantro Dip & Salad Dressing

1 C Cashews
1/2 C Water
2 T Lemon Juice
1/4 C Cilantro
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 t Wildtree Garlic Galore (or Minced Garlic)
1 Powerful Squirt of Dijon Mustard
Pinch Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Optional Sprinkle on top Smoked Paprika 

Everything in the high speed blender.  It was a little thin but after refrigerating for a while it thickens naturally.  This is also a great Salad Dressing, too!

I had a few kitchen fails over the weekend, too, or else I would have posted more.  I am not giving up on the cracker appetizer!  I am going to experiment with them more and if I can get them to where I want them I will post about them at a later date!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Zesty Hummus Dressing

Sorry I didn't post a 2nd time like I said I would yesterday. I have been having some glitches with blogger the last couple of days. I'm actually typing this in HTML now because it's the only way the editor will let me create a new post. I apologize if the last couple of posts look funky.

Yesterday was really gloomy and rainy and by the end of the day I just didn't feel like doing anything. I didn't even know what I wanted to eat. I had this simple salad. I decided to take some hummus and make it into a dressing. It was a success! Check out what I threw in my blender and used on my salad...

1/4 C Hummus (I used Trader Joe's Red Pepper Hummus)
1 t Dijon Mustard
3 T Lemon Juice
2 T Minced Garlic
2 t Maple Syrup
Handful of Nutritional Yeast
Handful of Hemp Seeds
Squirt of Coconut Aminos
Splash of Pumpkin Oil
Water as needed

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Vegan Options Inside!

After reading Vegan Power's post about volunteering for Humane League without actually living near the Humane League offices I decided to look into doing something with them, too!  I signed up for their Fast ACTION Network.  Within a few days I was contacted via email by Rachel.  She was telling me about a few things I could do online and semi-locally and regionally to get involved.  It's wonderful because there are ways to participate regardless of HOW you do it.  One way was to hand out (what I consider to be) graphic info/facts/stats on farmed animals.  Another way was to participate in the Subway Boycott.  But the action I decided to be a part of was to contact area restaurants and see if they want to put one of these nifty stickers on their doors to let veggie-heads know that they have at least 1 (hopefully more than 1) vegan option inside!  I have at least 3 places I know of here in this small town that would most likely be interested in putting this on their door.  Because of what I do for my full-time job and the small town where I live I have to be careful how I stir the pot so to speak.  I try and take a pro-active approach.  I try and promote the positives.  I feel one of those positives to be area businesses that provide vegetarian and vegan OPTIONS.  I really liked this action of theirs so I wanted to be on board with this one for sure.  Altho I think ALL of their Fast Action Network campaigns are great in their own right...this one...was the one that fit my way of doing things and certainly something I could do on a local level.

I'm going to have more than one post today.  I wanted to do a quick write-up about the Humane League.  I have a few other posts coming up in the near future including one about Foto Jet - an online collage making and photo editing program that I am pretty excited about.  But I have that one popping up sometime in the next week or so.  I also have to share some items I found at TJ's this past weekend, too!

So many things to blog little time, eh!?  What have you been up to?  Have you looked into the Humane League yet?  Have you seen any of the Vegan Options Inside Stickers at any of the restaurants near you YET?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Raw Vegan Ranch Dip & Dressing

I was having a serious Ranch Dressing Craving not too long ago and threw a bunch of things in my blender and came up with this.  The first recipe is for the dip.  It's thicker and tangier.  Perfect for carrot sticks and dipping!  To make a dressing just add a few tablespoons of water and/or non dairy milk of your choice!
1/2 C Cashews
1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
1 C Water
3 T Lemon Juice
3 T Coconut Aminos (or Maple Syrup)
1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3 t Onion Powder
2 t Dill

You can add a splash of oil and/or sea salt or Braggs Liquid Aminos if you wish.  Optional, of course!

Cannellini Bean & Red Pepper Dip

I don't often buy Cannellini Beans but when I do it's usually by mistake.  It's not that I don't like them it's just that I don't LOVE them like some of the other beans I tend to use.  I have similar feelings when it comes to Black Eye Peas but that is another post for another day.

Perhaps it's a texture thing or maybe it's the aquafaba left behind from this white bean that I don't jump, jive, and wail over.  OR maybe it's just that I don't know what to do with them to make them SHINE.  Regardless - I think I found at least one solution.

Cannellini Bean & Red Pepper Dip.  So far - this is my favorite NOM NOM that contains Cannellini Beans.  Recipe below.  It's not quite a hummus but it could be a distant cousin.  It's not really a vegan cheese dip but it might be reminiscent of one.  Either way - it was a WINNER!

All in a high speed blender...

1 can Cannellini Beans
1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 C Basil
1/2 t Smoked Paprika
1 t Balsamic Vinegar
Handful Cashews
3 T Almond or Cashew Milk
2 to 3 T Nutritional Yeast

Optional but a splash or pinch of the following if you choose...

Pink or Black Himalayan Sea Salt (or Miso, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Coconut Aminos)
Crushed Red Pepper
Grapeseed Oil (or Pumpkin Oil or Hemp Oil)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar & Vegan Cookbooks

This past weekend we did a couple of day trips and I have been wanting to go back to Woodmere, OH, (just outside of Cleveland) since we stopped at the Trader Joe's out there and discovered Eton Chagrin Boulevard about a month or more ago.  How could I NOT be interested in this place with all of the EYE CANDY?  If you click on that Google Images will give you a sample of what I saw and why I was interested.  It's a flashy mall but it looks like village on the outside.  Very cool!

This trip we stopped at Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar.  There were several things on the menu that were clearly marked vegetarian and most of which could be made vegan.  They even had a footnote to ask about vegan options.  The staff was wonderful.  The decor was gorgeous!  As much as I wanted to have a salad on the menu that featured Spinach, Hearts of Palm, Mango, and more - I can get a salad almost anywhere so I wanted to try something I can't usually find.  I decided to go with the Coconut Curry Vegetable Stew.  This dish was vegan all by itself and the waiter said it was a vegan favorite for sure!  It had sweet potatoes (some with the skin on but done to perfection), sweet red bell peppers, sweeter red onions, zucchini, and what you can't see underneath all of the wonderful veggies...brown rice and pinto beans!  All in a Coconut Milk and Gentle Curry Sauce.  It was amazing!

Shortly after our very filling LINNER it was starting to rain and the parking lot was CRAZY.  I noticed there was a Vegan Sweet Tooth (Bakery) somewhere around there but I didn't see where it was so I'm sure we will have to go back in the near future to find it.

While we were there we did stop at a Barnes & Noble.  I had a little dejavu because the day before we were in Buffalo and I stopped in at a B&N there, too!  Regardless, I was stoked because between the 2 stores I picked up 3 books!

The Taco Cleanse was one of those books and I have to say I LOVE everything about this book and will be using it often! The snarky humor is a trip, the ideas and recipes are AWESOME, and the additional fun things at the end are cool, too!  Why haven't I known about this book before now!?  I seriously can't tell you how blown away I am by this book!  It's so fun!  It's so...ME!!!!  If you have read it let me know in comments and if you haven't make sure you get your hands on it!  FAST!

This was another book I picked up this weekend!  I did my initial thumb-thru of it and enjoyed it.  There were many recipes I in there that I have seen similar recipes for but Alicia put her own spin on them.  That's totally what I do sometimes so I appreciate that for sure.

I have to confess I was drawn to the cover.  Then again most of them I am.  I know, I aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover but sometimes I can't help it (in the literal sense).

I understand that photos are expensive to take, to print, and to include in cookbooks.  I wish this one had more but I understand why they usually fall short.  I do agree that for the most part the ones included in this Quick & Easy Vegan Comfort Food book by Alicia C. Simpson were fairly quick and easy!

So yeah...I did a little retail therapy this weekend!  It's not something I have done much of the last few years outside of foods.

I was always a fan of Isa's Vegan with a Vengeance.  I never bought/owned the book but borrowed it from more than one library several times.  When I saw the 10 year Anniversary Edition with NEW PHOTOS I knew I had to have it.  It was NOW or NEVER!  Ok...I probably would have been able to find it and buy it again at some point but still...the best time to BUY is when you see it, right?  That's exactly what I did!

While I have already spent some time with the first two books - I'm leaving Isa's for THIS WEEK!  Can't wait to jump in and see the new look and feel of this vegan classic!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thrown Together Vegan Pizzas!

Another busy week is to blame for my lack of posts but I do have some things to share with you - I'm just a bit behind - that's all!

Last week I found this pizza crust at my local Tops Market that just happened to be VEGAN.  It's also Non-GMO and Organic, too!  They are long and rectangular and they come in two packs!

I was super stoked about these!  I'm NOT a baker - it doesn't matter if it's sweets or bakey type things like crusts - I screw it up EVERY TIME...guaranteed!  So finding these was like the sky parting and the heavens singing!  Even better I was able to use what I had on hand to make the pizzas!  Take a look at the additional photos below!

Starting with the first one...plan and simple...Vegan Cheese Pizza!  Yup!  That's shredded Daiya you are seeing!  I used a simple pizza sauce that was also vegan.  I liked that it only had just a couple ingredients in there, too!  I probably put these in the oven about 2 minutes too long.  They were really crunchy but that's ok because I like them that way.
Oddly - the leftover the 2nd day were even better and actually not as crunchy!

This was the 2nd pizza I did!  I threw leftover spinach, corn, and 2 Daiya Cheeses on there.  You can't really see the last bit of Jack Shreds I used but they are in there.  I was going for more of a Mexican Pizza here and you will see in the next photo how I topped it off!  I also sprinkled some minced garlic over top of this one, too!  It was totally YUMMY!  I enjoyed both but have to say I think this 2nd one was my favorite of the two!

All cut up and ready to eat!  Yup!  That is vegan sour cream you see there!  It was SUPER YUMMY with the Vegan Mexican Pizza!  And the corn really gave it that extra sweetness, too!  I think next time I am going to add some Chipotle Ranch from Wildtree to the Vegan Sour Cream.  I bet that would kick it up a notch, too!

So...what do you think about my thrown together - while using mostly leftovers - Vegan Pizzas - with new-to-me vegan crusts?

I was pretty giddy over all of this to me honest!  It was a nice treat and I was able to eat it for a few meals!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hurry Up & Use It!

Last week was CRAZY!  Sorry for the lack of posting!  But I did take some photos and I thought I would do a bit of a backlog today!  And maybe tomorrow, too!  Starting off with a VERY EASY Smoothie I made!  Cantaloupe & Raspberries!  That's IT!!!  The only two ingredients!  It was because of a "Hurry up and USE IT" scenario but I really wanted to point out what kind of cantaloupe I used because it was a first for me!  It was a Juan Canary Melon.

It was a cross between a Honeydew and and Cantaloupe but was extremely juicy and even a bit more tangy, too!  It was tasty!  It was AWESOME for smoothies, too!  It was OVERLY RIPE so I had to use it and FAST.  I used almost the whole thing minus a few pieces I ate while cutting it and a few handfuls of raspberries!  It was delightful!

This isn't going to be an overly exciting blog post, today, but I still thought I would share a few things!  I have been drinking more teas and tisanes and you can follow the tea adventures over at Sororitea Sisters where we have at least 4 posts everyday!  We have added a few new guest sisters, too!  If you are interested in reviewing teas and tisanes on the Sororitea Sisters site please let me know in comments!

This was one of the chunkier teas I had been sipping on - I think it was from David's Tea and was one of their Nutty Teas!  As you can see I used my Grosche Infuser which I LOVE!

I had more than a few simple salads last week.  I threw what ever I could find in a bowl and made my own dressings out of Just Mayo, Ketchup, and a splash of Sriracha.  It's my own version of Russian Dressing.  If you add pickle it could pass for a Creamy Thousand Island Dressing!

I also found a Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup that Heinz had out and I have to say I'm in LOVE with it!  Of course I'm a HUGE fan of Balsamic anyway!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Blissful Journey ~ Sleep & Meditation

I've been blogging here and there about my experiments with music and sleep.  It seems to be working.  In a round about way I had been pairing that with my own form of meditation.  I, for one, believe there is not a right or a wrong way to meditate.  I think it can be any form of prayer, it can be deep breathing, it can be yoga, it can be reading something positive and bright, it can be a walk in the woods or on the beach, it can be listening to music, or just that zone you get in before you fall asleep.

It took me a while to accept that.  I thought for years that I wasn't meditating correctly.  But that is like saying that someone isn't 'christian enough' or 'female enough' or 'pretty enough'.  Who are the meditation police?  We can't let anyone tell us we are doing something wrong if its improving our lives, right?

As for me - and what I have been doing LATELY - based on the first chart in this post is - for my ENVIRONMENT is my living room.  I actually sleep on my sofa.  I have for years.  I know it's not the best for my Sciatica, sleep, or back, but the dogs will not have it any other way.  That AND - DH goes to work at 4am. I rather get what sleep I can that be up and down and up and down every hour.  BUT environment is my living room with low light and meditative beats on my iPad from YouTube.  I usually have Riley sleeping by my feet, Cricket sleeping on my lap or in the boat of my legs, and Paco sleeping above my head.  I doesn't sound real comfortable but I finally have a system and so do they! LOL - Then for the 'set the intention' part - my intention is to get to sleep, stay asleep, and feel refreshed when I sleep.  I try and focus on healing any aches and pains I have, too.  For posture - I lay flat on my back - most of the time with my arms to the side and slightly above my head.  Sometimes under the blanket because I like to be warm at all times - or tucked under my pillow.  And as for Posture - I think a photo will explain it better but I've been sleeping in the Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana).

So before when I was saying that Cricket usually sleeps on my lap or in the 'boat' by 'boat' I mean inside my leg area.  These sleeping choices could not be further from what I have been doing my ENTIRE LIFE.  Prior to this experiment I was sleeping in a ball - was a side sleeper - and had to have blankets over my ears - no matter how warm the weather was - and my arms hugging something - usually a pillow.

I have noticed that this has been helping my Sciatica on many days.  I have gotten used to sleeping this way - the thing that seemed to seal the deal was pairing all of this with Binaural Beats and Meditative Music!

Monday, April 3, 2017

No Nut - No Oil - No Salt Vegan Mac & Cheese & a Few Sunday Buys!

I've had a few people contact me about the many cheesy dips, sauces, etc I have been posting lately and ask for ones without nuts or oils or salt.  HERE is one of those recipes!  I introduce you to the No Nut - No Oil - No Salt Vegan Mac & Cheese Sauce I put on my last rough of elbow mac!


1 C Sunflower Seeds, Soaked
2.5 C Water
1 Large Carrot
1/2 T Minced Garlic
2 T Tomato Paste
1/4 C Nutritional Yeast
1 T Lemon Juice
1 T Flour (I used Bob Red Mill's Gluten Free All-Purpose)
Squirt Yellow Mustard
2 T Bragg's Liquid Amino's
1/2 tea Turmeric

I really liked the way this one turned out!  I think the difference being I soaked the sunflower seeds and the addition of the squirt of mustard and the amount of Animo's!  The 'saltiness' comes from the amino's so there isn't any added salt but there is still sodium.  Of course I sprinkled Smoked Paprika on top.  I have been getting a few questions about that lately, too!  YES...I'm a bit addicted to Smoked Paprika lately but there are some other reasons I am adding it to a lot of my stuff.  One of these days I will share that info with you!

I was in Wegmans TWICE in TWO days!  That is rare.  What is even more rare is that I bought very little for myself when I did go there.  Here is one of the things that I did pick up.  This is my first time trying this vegan Tofurky pizza.  It was ok.  I'm not much of a fake meat person but I wanted to try it.  It wasn't bad but I have had others I enjoy more.  I think that if it just had the pesto sauce and veggies with a little more vegan cheese it would have been more my speed.  I eat very little fake meats...I'm just not usually interested in them.  I never liked real meat so why would I like fake meat?

I have yet to try these but I have to say I'm HELLA EXCITED!!!!  In the freezer section side-by-side were these 'bad boys'.  One was Carrot & Potato 'French Fries' and the other is Broccoli & Potato 'French Fries'.  I'm looking forward to the flavor of them stand alone and then I will probably come up with dipping sauces for them, too!  I will surely keep you posted!  They are Gluten Free, Vegan, and Non-GMO!