Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mixing Leftovers & A New Mug!

Here's one of 3 new mugs I bought over the weekend!  It's from a local vendor that I couldn't find online anywhere but HAD to post this bit of pottery!  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  I will save the other 2 mugs for a later date.

As for my Food Challenge for this week - I didn't spend any additional money yesterday on food and used leftovers and added it to something I had a little bit left of in my pantry...pasta!  It turned out tasty!  It was a bunch of stuff thrown together that is for sure!  I ate it for dinner last night and the rest today for lunch!

I used the leftover black beans, and leftover cauliflower rice, carrots, and peas from the night before and added it to elbow mac.  I used - all to taste - Vegan Mayo, Dijon Mustard, and Garlic...YUM!

This is a different take on a Vegan Macaroni Salad.

Also a good way to get in more veggies for the day!

I was pleasantly surprised!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Budget Blabbing & Babies!

Before I get to my semi-daily updates on what I ate and how much it cost I thought I would share 2 more photos of Trinity.  My sister was gifted a Baby Photo Shoot from her Co-Workers and these are the first ones I have seen from that session.

OMG I can't get over her!

In other family-related news that I haven't mentioned YET while I share these cousin and her husband traveled up from Tennessee last week.  They stayed for a week over at my parents house.  It was WONDERFUL to see them.  I was able to spend a little time with them while they were in town.

While they were here we were able to take a tour of Southern Tier Brewery.  That was really neat!  We got to see all the machinery and ins and outs of everything!

This past weekend my parents and I were part of a committee that helped put on a craft show at the fairgrounds.  Also on the grounds this past weekend was a car show, BBQ, and Horse Show.  Of course I didn't grab anything at the BBQ but I did stock up on some convenience items last week to put in the camper freezer to have on hand...and good thing, too!

The event went really well!  I'm super excited that my parents were in the committee, too!  Next major event is Fair Week which is always in the beginning of August.  If you have been around my blog for a while you know that I always share photos after that week is complete.

Oh!  Another UPDATE...I was voted in as a board member with the Secretary position of our local League of Women Voters - so that's exciting!

And semi-daily food update!  So after blogging yesterday I noticed I had 2 gift cards in my purse that had about $5 each left on them.  I wanted to get my dinner stuff for the next few days and hubby needed bread and a few things for the house.  With everything I only spent $1.24 out of pocket.

What I ended up buying for food was Black Beans for $1, Chickpeas for $1, Corn with Onions and Spicy Peppers for $1 (all of these items were canned), then I found a frozen bag of Cauliflower Rice with Carrots, Green Onions, and Peas for $1.79, and a package of Tortilla Wrap/Burritos for $2.29.  So that was really only $7.08 for the day but I got it at no cost to me because of the gift cards I used.  But for sake of argument we will look at it as a 'charge' for the day and week.  So far I have spent $14.58 on food this week.  BUT...with what I bought yesterday that should take care of me for 2 to 3 days I'm thinking.

I have been doing a lot of research on other people and their vegan food challenges.  Yesterday I found a girl online who posted about her food journey for the week.  When she added everything up she spent $21.88 for 10 days of meals!  I thought - HOW WONDERFUL - so for the heck of it - I went thru her list and put what my local prices were and came up with the total of $52.77 and that included me already having 5 items in my pantry and deleting 3 other items!  So with NOT having to purchase 8 items from her list my total was between 2 and 3 times higher than hers!  Oye!

I have been out of cashews for a month, I'm totally out of Nutritional Yeast at the moment, I have NO fresh produce either.  I currently only have French Fries and Frozen Artichokes in my Freezer, and with what I got yesterday I have some leftovers but only have 1 unopened can of chickpeas and the Mexi-Corn for canned items.  This will certainly be interesting!  If I buy a 1 pound bag of Nutritional Yeast it's $19 here.  If I buy 14 to 16 ounces of Cashews the cheapest price in my town is $12.99.  If I buy only those two items the total would be $31.99.  I guess THIS is what happens when you eat out of your pantry and take it down to nothing, eh!?  

LOVE Your Gut!

Some of you know that I have struggled with digestion issues my whole life.  Even when I was Lacto (and Lacto-ovo) Veg it was still terrible.  Since going Vegan my life has changed and I don't hate my digestion - it's now my friend!  When I see companies like Genuine Health that happen to offer vegan products I smile.  When they focus on digestion I do an extra little snoopy-dance.  Add in their product being fermented (and protein) I just might bust out the Running Man!

Last week I mentioned my first experience with their Peanut Butter Chocolate flavor of their Fermented Vegan Protein Bars and today I'm blogging about their Dark Chocolate Almond Flavor.  I enjoyed both.  I noticed they had two other flavors that I would love to try some day, too!  They are Double Chocolate Chip AND Lemon Coconut!!!!  YUMMO!  Yes, I did receive these bars FREE from Genuine Health.  But you know how I LOVE LOVE LOVE spreading the news about a new-to-me Vegan Product so I wanted to make sure I posted it and SOON since I just had it for breakfast this morning!  I was pretty hungry and you know what?  It was SO FILLING!!!  I noticed that they are available on many of the sites I visit for Vegan Products!  Check out their WHERE TO BUY Section!

Since there was some interest and feedback on my last post I have contacted the company about doing a giveaway here on my blog!  They said YES!  Keep your eyes PEELED because I hope to have this giveaway for one of their bars within the next week!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What Does THAT Have To Do With The Price Of Rice?

One of the things I say fairly often is "What does THAT have to do with the price of rice".  Lately I seemed to be taking that pretty literal as I am trying to figure out some more Budget Friendly Vegan Solutions for Meal Time.  I've done many of these mini blog posts throughout the years and I have seen a lot of veggie buddies doing VLOGS about $30 or $25 a week on a Budget when it comes to food shopping.  I would like to do more of that ASAP!

I was reading several articles about food prices lately.  The most recent was an article from May 2017 that said 2 person adult house hold with no kids spends anywhere between $400-$800 each month on food/groceries.  In a similar article on debt solutions it said to take the $400-$800 figure and try and only spend $125 on food each month per person.  So that's $250.  Which is only $150 less that the low end of each of those articles.  However, if you are able to save $150 per month right there that money could be used for something else, I suppose.  I guess it's the little steps, eh?

At this point in my post I should confess and say this entire post will just be one big BLAB.  I would like to see if I can challenge myself to do that but I'm horrible at planning because of everything else going on.  I think I will start with the weekly challenge. This blog will be a nice way to keep me accountable.  

Since it's already TUESDAY and our weekends are impossible to plan I can tell you that I already spent $7.50 on a HUGE salad yesterday.  That leaves me with $17.50.  Time will tell if I am able to start this week or next.  But I guess the first step is the thought - yeah - it's the thought that counts - right?  (insert frustrated laugh here)

(clears throat...nice segue, eh!?) I have been easily frustrated lately.  I need to jump back into meditation again.  Today I did some thinking - does that count?

Long story short - be on the lookout for more 'off the wall' vegan foods while eating on a budget and eating from your pantry.  I'll leave you with a photo of my darling niece TRINITY...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vegan? Fermented? Proteins? Yes...Yes...and YES!

I just recently learned about this company called Genuine Health and I have to say so far I'm darn impressed!  Genuine Health sent me this Fermented Vegan Proteins+ Peanut Butter Chocolate bar for free to try and I knew after 1 bite I had to share it with the rest of you!

Here - in short - is what really sparked by interest:

12 delicious bars per box
15g of fermented protein on-the-go
No Bloating!
Promotion of overall digestive health
Priming of gut for optimum absorption
Amplification of vitamin, mineral & amino acid nutritional value
Immune system support
Soy Free
15 grams of protein

Personally - I'm more interested in digestive health than how much protein is in something but I know there is a market for both.

This bar was darn tasty!  The first one I tried was the Peanut Butter Chocolate but I do have the Dark Chocolate Almond one to still try!  I'm looking forward to it but I'm saving it for another day!

Have you heard of this company or have you seen their products online or in stores?  Let me know where in comments!  Also let me know if this product is something you might like to try!

In the meantime if you would like to purchase these bars online click HERE!

Something else I found instantly interesting about this company was the CEO...

With the help of a naturopathic doctor, Stewart overcame chronic migraines and improved his overall health by changing his diet and adding all-natural supplements. Since then, he's been committed to helping others achieve optimum health.

Since daily migraines were the main reason I first went vegetarian when I was 15 I could total relate!  I can't wait to learn more about this company and try more of their vegan offerings!

Introducing My Niece...TRINITY...

I know I have been MISSING for a few weeks but that is with good reason!  I'm officially an AUNT!

I will have more photos but this was one of the first ones!  Here is Trinity with my sister Megan!  It was a scary day but long story short all is well now!

The last several months have been OVERLY trying and various things have been messing with my emotions.  When Trinity was born and well - I was OVERJOYED!  I'm so happy for my sister!  I know she will be a great MOM!  As for myself I will continuously work to be the BEST Aunt I can be!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

When In Doubt...DIP It OUT!

Sometime life gets in the way!  Lately - life has been getting in the way A LOT!  So sorry!  Just another quick post to say HELLO in the meantime!  Food has been uninspiring as of late.  I have been eating out a lot which has been a lot of salads, wraps, and such.  When I am home I have been so lazy.  I haven't wanted to do much around the house with the little time I have or am there.  Recently I busted out these Birds Nests and instead of having the soy based sauce that came along with it I wanted something creamy so I did a basic Cashew Sauce.

The Cashew Sauce was basically Cashews, Water, Onion, Garlic, Black Sea Salt, Nutritional Yeast.

When I have been home I tend to being throwing anything and everything into a wrap or burritos still.  Yes - I have been on a kick!  I ran into Aldi and grabbed 3 items.  My total was $3.99.  I grabbed an Avocado for 99 cents (which is high for Aldi but not as expensive as the $1.50 to $2.50 I have seen in other places) and I had to do something about my Avocado Craving (it was at an all time high)!  I also bought  Wheat Wraps and Mango Salsa!  In my freezer I still had TJ's Organic corn and spinach!  This combo was AMAZING!  It was both sweet and savory!  YUM!  Plus I was able to include greens!  And there were black beans in the salsa, too!  Greens, Beans, Fruit, Veggies, YUM!

Last week I finally busted into those Carrot and Potato fries!  They were pretty good but I like the Broccoli and Potato even more!  For the dipping sauce for these I did a Vegan Aioli!

3 T TJ's Vegan Mayo Spread
1 T TJ's Tahini
1 tea Minced Garlic
Liquid Smoke to taste
Lemon Juice to taste
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Playing Catch-Up Once Again!

Busy!  Busy!  Sorry for the silence!  I have a lot of back blogging to do!  With my photo heavy last post about my sisters baby shower I knew I was already behind on other happenings so I will start there!  Before I went to my sisters baby shower I volunteered at a local cafe that is operated by volunteers many of them from different churches and faiths.  I just like volunteering so I decided to start helping when they needed me!

They're operational/open for business many days during the week but one of their many outreach/ goals is to have a Community Breakfast that is FREE but some people drop in a donation from time to time.  My first volunteer attempt the weather was pretty bad and we had about 12 to 15 who came in for the breakfast which consisted of fruit, sausage, pancakes, juice, coffee, tea, etc.  The 2nd time I volunteered we had between 40 and 50 attendees. This upcoming weekend I'll be stopping by early to from about 8 to 10am before going to a vendor show for the rest of the day!

The 2nd photo I posted in this blog entry was the regular menu.  There are a few veg items present.  It's actually been a while since I have eaten there myself but I really like the eclectic atmosphere of the place.  As you can see from the first photo we had someone stop by and play his guitar for those who were there.  It was really nice.  All sorts of people in the community stop by - families - seniors looking for those to chat with - some people who are really in need of a meal - others who just want to see what is going on - and everyone in between!

In other news...since I live in a small, rural area I always like to point out when I see neat things happening!  A local store/Deli/Catering place recently added organic items to their shop!  I was thrilled!

Even more exciting was their price on Bragg's Drinks were cheaper than anywhere else I have seen around here!  YAY!

YEARS ago one of our local coffee shops was owned by a girl who had a near all veg menu.  I think she offered 1 tuna and 1 chicken option but everything else was vegetarian.  Unfortunately she sold the business and the coffee shop has since changed hands like 4 times.  BUT...this past year she and her family are back and owning and operating it again!  Here is the massive salad I got from them a while back!

In other shopping news - my parents are Piping Rock customers - and so am I!  Recently I purchased these items!  Hemp Seeds, Apple Cider Vinegar, Chlorella Tabs, and Pumpkin Seeds!  Their prices are SO LOW!!!  I couldn't help myself!     Since this post is one big blab I will be mentioning the local businesses by name at the close of this post!

Not too long ago I found this individual oatmeal bowl and thought I would try it.  It smelled wonderful and it tasted pretty darn good, too!  I bought this one and another one that happened to be vegan!  They are also Non-GMO, Gluten Free, etc.
I LOVE finding companies that are socially consensus and GIVING!  This company gives one when they sell one!  They even give you a sticker, too!

Below you can see a snapshot of what the finished product looked like!  Nom, nom, nom!

All I did was add hot water.  In 4 minutes of letting it sit I had a nice breakfast at work!

I have been finding a few new-to-me foods and brands and such and I have been SLACKING in the blogging department!  I will certainly try and be better about that.  I was able to find a new (to me) vegan pizza crust!  It was Trader Joe's!  I know I am late to the party - but still...

I have to say I was pretty impressed!  I added just the right amount of spaghetti sauce and Daiya Moz this time!  The secret to this one was the minced garlic and Wildtree seasonings I added!  YUM!

So note to self...every time I go to a Trader Joe's I need to remember their Pizza Dough/Crusts!  They are great!

I also saw another new one at our local Tops from the Brooklyn Brand I posted about not to long ago.  They were mush smaller than the long rectangle ones I blogged about but I haven't tried them - I hope them keep them in stock so I can purchase them soon!  I will let you know if I do! promised...these are the local businesses mentioned in this post....

* The Crossing in Warren, PA - check out their Facebook for more info!  It's a neat place!  LOTS happening!

* Kondak's Market & Catering in Clarendon, PA - check out the Facebook Page for the organics and other stuff!

* Arbor House Coffee Shop & Tea Room in Warren, PA - again Facebook is the way to go for info on them!

With Arbor House I would LOVE to get a VEGAN OPTIONS HERE Sticker over to them for their door!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

One Step Closer To Being An Aunt!

Saturday was the BIG DAY!  It was my sisters baby shower!  We had it at the local Hampton and the space was lovely!  I have to admit that I hate the color pink but the set-up was nice!  She opted for pink and grey!  Chevron, even!

Here is a photo of the party prior to the start time!  We decorated the night before and a few hours prior we brought everything in, too!

I bought and brought a 5 pound bowl of marinated veggies from a semi-local store and catering place!  It was WAY CHEAPER to do it this way than to buy everything individually and marinate it myself!  It was an Italian Dressing type marinade of sorts.  No dairy!  The veggies were all raw and included cauliflower, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, green peppers, etc.  It seemed to be a hit because it was the first thing we ran out of on the food table!  And to think - I thought 5 pounds would be too much!  There were about 50 to 55 people there.  The turn out was much better than I thought it would be - however - I didn't know a lot of people there.  My sisters MIL's friends made up the majority.  I was happy that my Aunt Kathy (my Dad's sister) and my cousin Ricky's wife Michelle drove over 3 hours to attend.  My Aunt Carol (my mom's sister in law) also drove about 2 hours, too!

For MONTHS my sister requested I make a Hummus Quinoa Casserole.  Of course I wanted to fulfill that request.  I ended up making 2 of them as you can see in these photos!  Since it's a recipe found in Dreena Burton's Vive Le Vegan Cookbook I won't post it here but I will tell you a few variations.

This one I used Tri-Colored Quinoa for the base.  I used Yam Hummus for the middle layer.  And for the roasted veggies I used Zucchini, Summer Squash, Eggplant, Red Bell Peppers, Brussels Sprouts, and Yellow Bell Peppers.

I have to say this is the first time I attempted to make Yam Hummus and it turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself!  I will certainly have to do it again!

For this one I did Red Quinoa on the bottom.  For the middle I used Plain Hummus but there wasn't quite enough and there was too much of the yam hummus so I combined the two hummus' here for this one.  For the roasted veggies on top of this one I used Sweet Onion, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Red, Orange, and Yellow Bell Peppers, and just a few leftover Brussels Sprouts from the other one.

BOTH  of these casseroles were gone by the end of the day!  SO I guess they were a hit, too!  Funniest part is...I bet no one noticed they were eating vegan!

These are pretty intense to make - especially if you are making more than one at the same time!  You should have SEEN the kitchen OMG! lol!!!!

So on to more food but not all of it was vegan so I just skipped over that stuff for my own plate.  My mother made the BIGGEST Fruit Salad I have ever seen in my life!  The first batch sat in a large corn pot.  There were two other LARGE containers full of the fruit salad used as back-up, too!  WOWZA!

There were raw veggies and tomato and basil with Balsamic, too!  One without dairy and one with dairy.

To show you more of the festivities here is a shot of the food tables.  There are non-veg things mixed in but still there were a lot of things that I was able to eat which you will see in a bit.

It was rainy on Saturday so I'm glad we were inside.

It was a nice space for a shower, too!  My favorite part of this hotel is the lobby and I totally forgot to take a photo of it.  I'm pretty sure at some point I will be there again for a meeting or something so I will try and remember to take a pic then!

My mother also made like 3 HUGE batches of candies (not vegan) but a hit with the masses!  Of course she always over does it so I had to bring some in to work to get rid of it!

And of course NONE of this is vegan but I had to share it with you!  There is a regional pie maker that is adored here and a lady brought 7 of their pies!  My husband said they are the best pies he's ever had in his life and was upset when I didn't bring any home for him!

Then there was the cake!  YES!!!  My niece's name is going to be Trinity!  Not sure if you noticed that!

Once the room filled up it was a bit snug but still nice!  Here is everyone socializing!  My sister's sister-in-law brought her new mini-Polaroid camera and took all of the guests pics and put them in a book for them to write bits of MOM ADVICE for my sister.  Neat idea!  And pretty cool mini-camera to boot!

Here's a quick pic of my sister Megan.  It's hard to tell from this angle but she's definitely showing!  I took one from the side but she had a really funny expression on her face and I'm sure she would kill me if I posted it here! haha!

She has about 6 weeks to go!  Her due date is June 14th.  It's finally starting to feel real that I will soon be an aunt!  I will be known as the CRAZY AUNT and I'm totally ok with that!

I have so much more to post and blog about but I realize how photo heavy this post already is so I will only blog about the shower today and save the rest of the weekend happenings for tomorrow thru Friday!

Just a few more pics in the meantime for the shower...

Here is the beginning of the present pile!  I'm pretty sure it doubled in size shortly after I took this photo!

She got a bunch of cool stuff.  One thing I laughed about was the wipe warmer.  Yeah!  It's a warmer that WARMS...WIPES!  I am probably the only person on Earth that finds that funny!

And you see that Diaper Bear in the right hand corner?  I had to take a closer look...

I'm not really an "Awwwwww....CUTE...." person but if you don't get a kick out of this there may just be something wrong with you (juse kidding)!

I never thought I would be that person who would want to 'see if the baby was kicking' but I am.  Not that I would do that to anyone other than my sister but still!  I guess I am NOW that person!  I'm a bit obsessed with her stomach and Trinity flip-flopping around in there!

I can't wait to meet her!  I know my sister will be a great mom, too!

And Trinity will be SO Spoiled!  TOO Spoiled!  But too bad, so sad, right!?

Another thing that was clever was this gift!  It was a dozen eggs container but when you opened it - it was a dozen baby socks instead!  This is my mom holding it up!

Jody - who was a co-worker of my father's before he retired in October was the one behind the idea of this one!  Really nifty - if you ask me - but then again - you didn't ask me...I just told you!  (Like you had a choice, eh?)

And personal plate of food at the shower!  I like to call this one...

What a Vegan Eats at a Baby Shower

And I think I will stop right there for now!  More tomorrow!

What did you spy with your lil eye that looked interesting at this party?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Where Did The Week Go?

Thursday, already?  Not sure where the rest of the week went but I knew I needed to get a blog post on before the craziness of the next few days takes place!  You see - my sisters baby shower is Saturday!  Both near-future grandma's are running around like maniacs and then there is the near-future 'Crazy Aunt' (that's ME) that has been overly busy at work and down and out not feeling well for a few days last week!  I haven't been as much help as I wanted the last couple of weeks! I will share with you some things I have been taking snapshots of over the past week and then I will blab about the shower next week!

First up is what I had for dinner last night.  It's the first photo you see in this post and it is LITERALLY something I threw together because I didn't want to fuss with anything special.  I found tortilla boats that happen to be vegan and I filled them with this chickpea mixture!

Smoked Russian Chickpeas:

1 Can of Chickpeas
4 T Vegan Mayo (I used Trader Joe's - see below)
2 to 3 T Ketchup
1/2 t Smoked Paprika
1/2 t Wildtree Memphis Dry Rub
3 Drops Organic Liquid Smoke

I cannot express how AWESOME this turned out!  I'm not going to lie - I kinda wanted to drink the 'dressing' which was a more smoked up version of my Vegan Russian Dressing I have done in the past.

This was the Vegan Spread and Dressing I used that I found at Trader Joe's the last time I went.  I'm partial to Just Mayo but this is pretty awesome on it's own.  It's not what I would call a straight-up vegan mayo but more like a dressing like it states - it seemed thicker and did have a different taste but the taste was pretty wonderful!

Another wrap I did within the last week was this one.  It doesn't look like much but it was a great comfort food!  I used a couple of potato patties, tomato slices, and vegan cheese sauce.  The vegan cheese sauce was the leftover vegan cheese powder I made not too long ago!  It worked well!

I had a huge salad this week, too, and I made this dressing.  It was supposed to resemble a vegan Ranch Dressing using Sunflower Seeds as the base but it totally missed the mark as a Vegan Ranch Dressing taste-alike.  The taste wasn't bad it just wasn't what I was going for.  

I'm grateful on a daily basis that Paco has been doing well the last several months!  A few months ago he wasn't able to do this!  He would barely move let alone look engaged in things!  

I still have to help him up on the sofa and recliner but the WANT and INTEREST is there!  I put him up on the recliner but he managed to get on the armrest all by himself and pose like this!  I couldn't tell you the last time he did that!  For about a year I freaked out when he did try to because his legs were so unstable!  How can these photos NOT put a smile on your face?