Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fifth Street Deli And Other Dilemmas

Today's lunch was a falafel spinach wrap stuffed with roasted red pepper hummus, tomatoes, shredded carrots, lettuce, and avocado from Fifth Street Deli in the Oregon District. Plus a pickle and a handful of fresh fruit!
Trying my best to eat a full squared meal- fruits, veggies, proteins, and whole grains.
This illustrates the attempt!
Sadly, Fifth Street Deli got order wrong.
Top of sandwich had to be cut off due to an overwhelming excess of feta (gags) and cucumbers galore (detest these things!)- I specifically ordered a wrap with only hummus, tomatoes, avocado, shredded carrots and sans olives, peppers, onions, cucumbers, feta, and tzatziki sauce!
Guess it could have been much worse.
Definitely should have checked wrap before I left.
There are times when veganism can make for horrid situations and this is just one example.

Look at all that food waste. :(
Not like it's the first time it's happened here....
The pickle was very, very sour.
But the fruit (strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries) that was okay and quite refreshing to have alongside with the water.

I still love larabars to death, but this is my second well devoured Black Cherry Almond Clif Bar and it's just pretty damn good. Sweet delicious cherries blended with crispy rice and crunchy almonds tasting like a moist, decadent dessert.
Simply can't beat 10 grams of protein either!

A Perfect Little Meal....
On Memorial Day, I made a lovely pasta salad with the last of whole wheat penne.
In combination with broccoli, green peas, chickpeas, sliced red onions, garlic, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, and most of the pantry spice rack, it was lovely accompanied with a dollop of lemon-y red roasted pepper hummus as a dressing.
But alas, there is no more pasta.
Though it's on the grocery list along with brown rice, I am quite anxious to experiment cooking with other types of grains and have researched using vegetables like spaghetti squash and zucchini as "pasta," quinoa, soba noodles (a friend suggested this!), and other types of "bases" in meal planning, especially since I'm moving just in time for the sixth month vegan mark.
Very, very excited about the large cooking/counter space and have written out a long list of kitchen appliances to buy (food processor, blender, mixer, whistling teapot....)
The next six months will be amazing.
I guarantee it! :)
Good bye penne for now?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy National Vegetarian Week!

$1.99 Find at Village Discount Outlet!
Hope everyone remembered that it was National Vegetarian Week and that you've enjoyed lots of delicious meals that were healthy, animal free, and delicious. It's simply amazing that a lot of  people don't realize that fruits, vegetables, whole grains, soy proteins, nuts, and legumes can make for fulfilling, exciting meals at any time of day. All you need is to use inventive imagination or even utilize a cookbook (there are many, many vegetarian/vegan recipes out there) to get that inspiration cooking!
I'm tasting and creating yummy dishes whenever possible.
Being in the kitchen is one of the most compelling parts of everyday living- there's always bound to be adventure afoot!

$3 tee at Village Discount Outlet!
Officially I've been a vegetarian for fourteen years now and having recently started veganism, I wish I had given up dairy and eggs ages ago!
Learning about what truly transpired in slaughterhouses- the horrors and atrocities that animals go through (cramped cages, being fed tons of unnatural crap, family separation, rape, etc.) from a Combined Health District guest speaker, I found it barbaric, disgusting, and murderous, passionately deciding to become vegetarian at fourteen years old.

T-shirt $5 at and tote bag $9.99 at Twist & Shout Records in Denver, CO!
Could you stand roasting, baking, sauteing your domesticated friend and exclaiming "boy does Fido taste juicy and succulent?"
I think not.
Case closed. ( I would go on and on and on, but nope.)
Happy National Vegetarian Week and remember:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Mommy! How's About Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes?

Mommy turns the big 5-0 today.
That's certainly a wonderful excuse to bake, right?
Vegan, sweet, and delicious (perhaps even a little guilt free?), she will have a ball with these frosting-less, tasty treats!

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon distilled apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raspberry preserves (Bonne Maman is the best!)
Polaner's All Fruit Spreadable Raspberry Preserves for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.
Fill the liners almost to the top.
Place into the oven for about 30-33 minutes.
Cool for five minutes.
Spread a thin layer of Polaner's raspberry preserves over each cake.
Serves 12 hungry chocoholics. 

There will be lumpy bits, but that's just the raspberries talking!
Filled all the way to the top, off these go into hot, ready oven.
33 minutes later, voila! They are ready to be cooled.
 Wait! Isn't there one missing?
Why yes! I do believe it's appropriate to sample one. :)

Birthday Mommy enjoyed hers!
And my brothers did as well!
A fun, but very exuberant afternoon for all!
Making, baking, and carrying fresh smelling cupcakes on the bus and straight through downtown, wasn't sure if I would make it out with one little treat.
Every stranger wanted a sweet treasure for their own.
But it was Mommy's day once again.
She gets two holidays in a single month.
FYI: Cupcakes super duper moist. May either do 1/3 cup of applesauce or minimize amount of coconut oil.
Either way, not a bad experiment! My first time creating a new recipe and certainly there will be more to come.
Happy birthday Mommy! Half a century now!!!!  :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Breakfast Of Champions: Panko Breaded Tofu, Baked Sweet Potatoes, And Green Peas!

Breakfast time!
Tofu, sweet potatoes, and green peas.
Doesn't that combination sound like a most unconventional breakfast?
More like a hearty supper, I suppose, but a craving is a craving.
Had to satisfy my hungry stomach and though the whole process took an ample amount of time, the end results were deliciously fulfilling!

First peeled. Saved the scraps for later!
After dicing, sweet potatoes were hand tossed about in olive oil, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
1 large and peeled sweet potato
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves

The sweet potatoes are layered on an oiled cookie sheet, placed in the oven at 350 degrees, and baked for 30-40 minutes until softened. Tasted amazing, but may add a touch of brown sugar and toasted walnuts for next time.

Leftover moist block of tofu was sliced in three parts (did not drain access water).
Swirled around in panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and parsley until evenly coated.
Pan fried in olive oil on medium heat.
Timing is everything when it comes to trying to eat a square meal!

While the yams were baking and fragrantly smelling up the kitchen, I turned on the stove and shifted tofu in gear.

1/2 block of slightly dampened tofu
1/3 cup Japanese Panko Bread Crumbs
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 each sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion and garlic powder (optional)

Yes, the tofu is indeed the other half from two days ago. So that's like 65 cents per meal.
Pan frying them in the skillet, each side browning for about 10-13 minutes on medium low heat setting and covered. Not trying to bother with standing them up on the four thinner sides, they are left alone, making the tofu look like seared fish filets.

I used frozen peas, cooking them according to package directions (boiled) and tossed them with red onions, garlic, and pepper.

Nothing fancy here.

Closeup of sinking into succulent breakfast!
Delicately crisp on the outside and tender juiciness on the inside, just like chicken. Only better because it's tasty, flavorful, and no one had to die!
To be honest, thought I would starve without rice or pasta addition (sadly enough have one or the other with almost every meal!), but I'm surprisingly quite satisfied.
This could've easily translated to a wonderful dinner.
Portions are about right.
An awesome start of the day, I have the desire to think further out of the box!
Now let's get on with Mommy's birthday....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Whole Wheat Pasta And Broccoli Lunch

Lunch With My 1st Izze- 70% fruit juice!
As you all may well know broccoli is indeed my favorite vegetable to eat!
Whether fresh, frozen, organic, or steamed, this dark green floret is definitely the highlight of any meal. I love it especially soft, hot, with a slight crunch, but oddly enough cannot stomach it raw.
Believe me, I've tried...
In the whole wheat pasta avenue, texture, taste, and cook period are slightly different from the cheaper cousin. It took me a while to get used to the flavor.
By enhancing it with herbs, spices, and various sauce blends,it's quite delicious.
I cooked it with the broccoli and they tenderize simultaneously.
Not a fan of al deinte, I enjoy firmness and a slightly chewy consistency when it comes to pasta.
And yummy- tastes just like Wheaties doused in pasta sauce.
Just kidding!

Light life loving.
I've tried other brands, but nothing tastes as good as Light Life. Seriously....
But that's just personal preference. 
This meaty blend of herbs is saucier than the sloppy joe skillet- with a chunky tomato sauce featuring olive oil, diced carrots, zucchini pieces, chopped red onions, minced garlic, and celery!
On medium heat, only takes three minutes tops to cook.

Leftover central!
It was hard to watch it all go into the fridge, but I have big plans for it along with baked sweet potato hash....
Tomorrow perhaps? ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thrift Shop Chic And Thistle Sweets

Recently, I had an art gallery opening for Soapy Hair Stories: Appropriations Of Roy Lichtenstein at Cachet G! International Boutique and Gallery for the first Friday of May in downtown Dayton and was overly delighted by the response to the artwork as well as the catered treats on hand for the modest crowd.

 A tower of vegan bliss from local bakery Thistle, a popular 2nd Street Market booth that features delicious vegan goodies such as orange dream cupcakes, oatmeal cream pies, and hot chocolate spice cookies! Hilary's tasty desserts are so delicious one cannot ever miss eggs and dairy because these sweets are so unbelievably decadent. 
The orange cupcakes are divine- the cake delicately moist and melting tongue, creamy whipped frosting having a hint of orange zest (or was I imagining that?) and yummy dried orange souvenir topping each little cake a sweet happy ending. 
Oatmeal cream pies brought me back to childhood days of unwrapping Little Debbie sans the cow. Two large chewy cookies with a bit of crunch and white fluffy madness in between, these had First Friday guests both intimidated and on cloud nine after one bite.
Yet my absolute favorite, the original drug that has kept me coming back to Hilary's pink painted booth is her hot chocolate spice cookies. Not too soft, not too crunchy- the round, hand held dark chocolaty heaven kicks and sweetens the taste bud, inflaming the tongue with fiery prowess. Perfect companion to milk and not something to ever give Santa (unless you're very nice and can be that generous), it's so easy to greedily indulge on cayenne pepper sprinkled delight with no assistance. 
I would love to thank Thistle Confections and Hilary. Couldn't have asked for a better person to cater this amazing event. Absolutely everyone found it hard to believe that these wonderful goodies were vegan! So fun to see everyone's expressions. :)

Now let's talk fashion.
Being an avid thrift store hunter for as long as I can remember, always out to find incredible pieces at good deals- my primary places are the Village Discount Outlet (in the Easttown Shopping Center), Goodwill (in the Oregon District!), Clash Consignments downtown, and other randoms. Also mall shopping on occasion, especially when stores are in the middle of clearance blowouts during season changes. 
Three quarter blue polka dot lace sweater was $1.99, ruched tank top $2.00, satin green slip dress $1.79, (all three from Goodwill),  knitted brown Vera Wang tights $2.00 (at Kohl's!), black American Eagle flats $7.99 (Clash Consignments!), and satin scarf $3.99  (Hair Plaza downtown).
Two special accessories- yellow duck pin and Frida Kahlo locket necklace were bought from two different shops on etsy, a place where I adore shopping from artisans selling their unique, one of a kind wares.
 I don't mind spending a bit more, especially considering that I have a shop of my own! :)

Wouldn't Susan's Boyfriend Loves Her Afro make for an interesting tote bag?
Just throwing one image of Soapy Hair Stories out there...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fried Tofu Strips With Basmati And Wild Rice And Broccoli

Almost into well into six months of veganism and cannot be happier, especially since I've been experimenting a lot with baking and frying tofu. So much you can do with this versatile ingredient that costs $1.29 a package, serves up to five, and contains ample amounts of good protein!
Had a most incredible inspiration for lunch today.

The tofu was prepared.
Drained and cut half a block into chunky strips and dipped them into this mixture:

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon spice blend of sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of diced onion

Pan fried and covered in an oil less skillet, set on medium heat, flipping them over every five minutes or until browned perfectly on each long side.
Takes about 25-30 minutes until perfectly done- slightly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Along with my meal, I steamed broccoli and tried one of these 2 minute rices by Veetee- the Basmati & Wild Rice blend ($1.99 ea!)- very delicious, especially that tangy hint of lemon!
Overall lunch was a very tasty, inexpensive delight! Yummy. Next time I'll add walnuts on top for extra crunch too. :)