My Vegan Staples

Sometimes people assume that I eat extremely healthy because I’m vegan. That’s fair… if you don’t know me that well.

I mean, I do all right during the week, but there are also lots of sweet potato fries and Mr. Pibb on the weekend, and cookies pretty much all the time. I only choose sweet potato fries because I think they’re more delicious, not because I think they’re healthier than regular fries. Although, maybe they are? A little.

So, what are some things that I eat all the time and basically cannot imagine living without?

# 1 – Avocados

I didn’t like avocado between the ages of around 12-23, but I am trying to make up for all the lost time, now. Give me some toast, sliced avocado, and a sprinkle of salt.

# 2 – Chickpeas / Black Beans

I’m contributing my share to the canned bean business. I can eat these in anything. Today, I threw together a random salad of chickpeas, cranberries, strawberries, leftover tempeh bacon, and crunchy green stuff.

# 3 – Tacos

Tacos are one of my favorite things in the whole world. There’s my husband and my family, my cats, and then tacos. Tacos with pineapple salsa is a little bit of heaven.

# 4 – Earth Balance

I also get crazy looks when I say I can’t eat butter. Luckily, there’s this thing that is basically the same as any spreadable tub of butter called Earth Balance. Tastes just the same and it is incredible. So, I can still eat toast and make cookie recipes that call for butter.

# 5 – Peanut Butter / Almond Butter

Peanut butter is the ultimate food when you are extremely hungry. When I was traveling and taking some training for work, I would come back after class and my stomach would be growling. All I wanted was chunky peanut butter; it was the weirdest thing. I hadn’t had chunky peanut butter in years, but it satisfied my craving. I could eat it straight out of the jar.

I also love the Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter’s. They make a white chocolate macadamia one that is killer.

# 6 – Back to Nature Classic Creme Cookies

I used to eat Oreos when I found out they were vegan. Then, I changed over to the Trader Joe’s brand – Joe Joe’s, but my newest favorite are Back to Nature creme cookies. These are basically crack to me, so I have a hard time keeping them and not eating them all.

# 7 – Fried Tofu / Tofu in any form

I absolutely love fried tofu, and could basically pop them in my mouth like candy. You can dip them or cook them in any sauce. Yum. I also got some at Moe’s while I was traveling and it was freaking delicious in a burrito.

# 8 – Chips and Guacamole

This could be part of the avocado thing, but I seriously love chips and guacamole. When we go to Chipotle, I look for the saltiest chips. I love them lightly cooked with a ton of salt and dipped in fresh guacamole.

# 9 – Field Roast Sausages in Apple Sage

If you want some vegan sausage, Field Roast makes the best. They are savory and can be cooked up with some potatoes or rice and veggies.

# 10 – Trader Joe’s 3-Minute Rice

I’m super lazy when it comes to rice, and these also taste really good. They are frozen bags of rice that have about two servings each, and you put them in the microwave for 3 minutes, and it’s cooked. I’ve tried the unfrozen microwave bag of rice from another brand before, but that tasted plasticy. This one tastes freshly cooked with only regular rice taste.

# 11 – Luna Bars

I know these are basically candy bars, so I don’t eat them all the time, but if I need a snack to take with me, they are great. My favorite is the Chocolate Cupcake flavor..yumm.

# 12 – Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk

I always loved chocolate milk, so I was so excited when I found chocolate almond milk. I usually buy the dark chocolate flavor, and combine it with a little regular milk to make it a little lighter. I’ve tried the regular chocolate flavor, but for some reason I like the dark chocolate better. Also, it’s perfect to dip those chocolate cookies in. Have I mentioned I love chocolate?

Should you not write posts when you are hungry? Because I was thinking about all the foods as I wrote this.

food · vegan

Favorite Vegan Recipes Pt 2

I’ve been eating vegan for almost two years, now. I wish I had the magic answer every time someone asks me how I do it. I seriously love food and try to enjoy it every bit as much as possible. That’s why I like to tell people who are curious that I do tons of baking and probably eat more cookies than the average human. I have a huge sweet tooth.

I am sharing some mostly not-sweet-tooth recipes, though, because there’s a huge variety of things you can cook that are vegan. Here are some of my favorites, and here are some I have previously written about.

#1 – Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese w/Broccoli and Maple Bacon Tempeh

I may be slightly biased, because we made this last night, but it is going down as one of my favorite recipes ever. We combined a couple easy recipes to make this, including vegan mac and cheese and maple bacon tempeh.

We’ve also made the mac and cheese by itself and it is incredibly delicious. It’s my favorite vegan mac and cheese recipe, so far.

#2 – Veggie Chili and Baked Sweet Potato Fries

The weather’s been cooling down quickly. Today, we’ve got a high of only 28 and I’ve definitely been craving warm, hearty foods. The bonus is that the recipe made a big batch and I still have some stashed in the freezer to eat later. I also added some veggie sausage crumbled up to make it a little meatier.

#3 – Easy Pizza with Vegan Parmesan Cheese

I have mentioned this pizza before, but I will point it out again, because it is my go-to pizza recipe and easy to make. We use it all the time! The Italian pizza dough at Trader Joe’s is delicious, and you can add any toppings you like. I usually go for green and red peppers and black olives, with vegan parmesan cheese.

#4 – Maple Baked Beans and Cornbread Casserole

In the vein of warm and hearty foods, this one will definitely fill you up. It’s sweet and savory and wonderful for a cold night. I’m a huge fan of cornbread and bbq, so it fills all my warm and toasty needs.

#5 – Avocado Pasta and Garlic Bread

A combination that you would not expect but goes fantastic together is avocado and pasta. It combines olive oil, basil, avocado, and garlic, and is delicious. We also grab half-baked bread from Trader Joe’s to make garlic bread.

#6 – Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

This is easy to make and uses chickpeas instead of flour! You would never believe that chickpeas could make great cookie bars. I took these to Thanksgiving, and no one could tell that they had chickpeas. They’re super dangerous, because I could eat the whole dish.

Have you tried any new recipes you’ve enjoyed, lately?

food · travel

How to Eat Vegan While on a Camping Trip

Last month, my husband and I went on a 9-day camper van road trip around Iceland, and one of the biggest hurdles to deal with was finding food for ourselves that was vegan. We didn’t want to eat out every night, and most places didn’t have vegan options, anyway. Iceland is a pretty cool place, but fermented shark meat is not on my list of food to try.

If you ever thought about going vegan, you may be worried about what you would eat in unusual circumstances, like camping. Not to worry, though, you do not have to go hungry while all your friends are eating hot dogs.

#1 Research
If you are going to be camping for a while, check out what stores are nearby to find out if you will have access to fresh food along your way.

Before we went on our camping trip, I was a little worried and did some research about the shopping there. I found out that they would have plenty of grocery stores on our route.

#2 Be Inventive
Eating veggie burgers every day can get repetitive, so mix it up and combine ingredients you already have.

For example, for lunch on our camping trip, we sometimes sliced avocado with a sprinkle of salt along with some Paprika flavored chips on top of a bagel. Combined with fresh fruit and a can of foreign Coke, it does not make for a bad lunch.

#3 Prepare

Bring along the appropriate equipment, like a camping stove, pots, pans, and kitchen utensils. Also bring whatever food along that you know you won’t have access to once you get there.

I recommend bringing along your favorite energy bars for those emergency moments when you need to eat something right away.

#4 Beans!!
Beans are your best friend. Beans are full of protein and fiber and go with a lot of foods. I admit to eating chickpeas directly out of a can in a particularly hungry moment on our trip.

#5 Plan some recipes ahead of time
Here are some ideas:
Breakfast foods – Oatmeal, fresh fruits, and bagels + peanut butter + sliced bananas
Tacos – Tacos are super easy and you can add whatever filling you want. Usually, rice, beans, salsa and taco seasoning are easy to find.
Wraps – Chickpeas, rice, salsa, and avocado, or other ingredients you may like are easy to put in a wrap.
Pasta – Noodles & pasta sauce (to keep yourself healthy, sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top, vegans!)
Burgers – If you have a cooler, veggie burgers/sausages are awesome so you don’t have to feel like you are missing out on traditional campfire food.

#6 Have fun, eat cookies
Did you know Oreos are vegan? You can still enjoy lots of things that happen to be vegan, like everything on PETA’s accidentally vegan food list.

I’m crossing my fingers they bring back S’mores Oreos.

Do you have any favorite camping foods?
What’s the longest camping trip you’ve been on?

favorites · food · hair · tv

Things That Make Me Happy, Lately

I don’t know if I am in an appropriate emotional state to blog right now, but I’m going to give it a go. You see… I’ve just watched the final episode of Game of Thrones season 6.

If you watch it, you will understand I am having emotions right now. And possibly weeping openly while wrapped in a blanket on my couch. These things happen. I immediately consulted entertainment blogs afterward to console myself and pretend that a certain character is fine and to read any news on the next season.

In the meantime, I am going to share some things that are making me happy, lately.

Veggie Burgers:

We went to Drop Squad Kitchen, an all vegan restaurant near us, for Fourth of July and the burger there was great. I won’t say no to a good veggie burger. They had a nice chargrilled taste, like they were fresh off a grill. Also came with kale salad, potato salad, and sweet potato chips.

Lush Henna:

I tried Lush henna for my hair, and I didn’t come out looking like the Little Mermaid! Although, secretly, I would like to. I have been looking for a vegan-friendly hair dye, and decided to try Lush’s. I used the Caca Rouge, which is supposed to be red, but over my brown hair, it gave it a reddish tint, and showed up brighter on highlighted bits.

They are not kidding when they say this stuff is messy, though. We had to sweep and mop afterward, and next time I will be enlisting Greg’s help, because it is hard to put on by yourself. He ended up helping me halfway through.

Here’s what it looks like before you melt it:

I just watched the instructional video on their website, and I would like to try again to try to get mine to look the same as hers when she mixed it. I think I made mine a little thick.

Shopping Find:

Speaking of vegan stuff, I found this faux leather jacket during Urban Outfitters’ extra 30% sale. I feel kinda like I should use it to hunt vampires or something. I couldn’t find the exact, but there is a similar one here.

TV Show:
Obviously, Game of Thrones. I’m going to need to recover from that last episode. I’ll be in my bunk.

Is it weird that I want to see more of Iwan Rheon, because he is fascinating to watch act, but I want someone to push his character off a cliff?

What have you been watching, lately?

cats · fitness · food · yoga

Cat Yoga

Christmas is the season which turns all cats into furry ornament assassins. My cats have been especially devious, lately.

Yesterday, I accidentally left the medicine cabinet open, and Boba climbed in. I realized it when I saw him crouching in my bedroom, hovering protectively over a furry object. Upon closer inspection, I saw he had my makeup brush clutched in his mouth, and was hissing when I got anywhere near it.

I had to pick him up, while trying to not get jabbed by his flailing, armed claws, until he dropped it out of his mouth, and we both made a mad scramble for it. I won, or so I thought, until I saw the carnage he had already created by walking his fluffy butt inside the cabinet.

The kitties have been amused by my indoor workouts, lately. They especially love when I do yoga and they can sniff my face while I’m in some kind of crouching panda warrior pose.

I started the 30 day yoga challenge with Erin Motz, which I am about halfway through. They are awesome and each one has been interesting so far. None of them are incredibly hard – some are easier than others.

The hardest one for me was crow pose – has anyone mastered it? Any tips? I have small arms and have only been able to stay up for a second or two.

My other favorite is the Blogilates channel. The videos are short, and there’s a calendar on her site that you can use as a workout plan.
I’ve been mixing and matching them, and the yoga is a relaxing end.
I’d also like to expand my food palate and learn a little more about lentils, grains, & veggies. I usually stick with broccoli and sweet potatoes for veggies, since they are easy to cook. I’d like to eat more green things, but I just don’t know what to do with them. I haven’t hopped on board with kale, because I don’t know how you make it taste good. I’ve eaten the Trader Joe’s vegan nacho kale chips a couple times, and those aren’t bad.

What kind of veggies do you make?
Any favorite Youtube fitness channels?

cats · christmas · food

The Weekend I Ate All the Foods

Is it really halfway through December? And Christmas is already a week closer?

I love Christmas – it’s just happening so fast. It makes me want to drink some frozen hot chocolate (maybe this recipe?). Greg and I will be hanging out here this Christmas, since we went down to see my family at Thanksgiving. We usually spend Christmas here, and relaxing and staying in is sounding awesome.

We have a tree up, but I have a few more things to do. What are we gonna eat? I still need to get stocking stuffers! And send presents. I’m just gonna be singing to myself, eating cookies, in the corner.

The cats have been loving the tree They haven’t learned how to climb it, yet, but all the ornaments from the lower 1/4 of the tree have been murdered. So, the top half of our tree looks glorious with its extra stock of ornaments.

Greg and I went for a run this weekend. There’s a state park by our house that’s free during the winter, so when it’s not too cold, it’s fantastic.

The best part was that we saw wildlife. So much wildlife! There were equestrians out riding in the horse field, and we saw deer in the field that didn’t even move when we stopped to watch them.

And then there was the food this weekend. SO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD.

First of all, we had to navigate through a sea of Santas, because apparently it was the weekend of the Running of the Santas in Philadelphia.

I was hungry, dehydrated, and I am already navigationally challenged, so I was not completely opposed to running over some Santas.

It turned out to be totally worth it, though, because we went to Dos Segundos and I had a vegan philly cheesesteak burrito. All of those words are the best combination.

Inhaled that shit. It had seitan and fried plantains, yummm. Highly recommend this place if you go to Philly!

The next day, we made simple vegan pizza for dinner with some broccoli. It’s my favorite vegan pizza recipe, and it actually is really easy to make.

Finished the night off with some sugar cookies.

The recipe uses pumpkin instead of egg, but doesn’t taste like pumpkin. Magic! And really good with a cup of milk.

Linking up with Biana. What are your favorite Christmas recipes?

fashion · favorites · food · makeup · winter

Not A Creature Was Stirring – Friday Favorites

Despite yesterday starting out totally poopy at work, I’m happy it’s Friday! Some people at work drive me crazy by making everything a big deal, when it’s just a small thing. I try not to let them bother me. Too bad I have to work this weekend (at my once a month job), but I’m still hoping to get in some good food and relaxing.

Favorite Makeup:

I heard about Too Faced Melted on MakeupAddiction on Reddit, and tried them. I can say, wow.. if you want bright, these are definitely them.
They have great staying power, even when some comes off when I drink/eat. The color is usually still bright afterward. Not saying it won’t come off on food and everything else when you eat – that shit will get on all your napkins! But it will still be on your lips when you’re done.
I’ve also never had anything with such amazing color, before, with no weird texture.

I bought the set of four minis at Sephora, which seems to be sold out, now. You can still buy individual lipsticks in the full size, with lots of color options. I like all the ones that came in the set, especially the nude and fuschia.

Most days, I just use my favorite lip balm I tried out, because I am too lazy to put on lipstick before leaving the house. This one feels awesome on my lips and has lots of color, too.

Favorite Food:

I made vegan zucchini brownies all for myself this week, because Greg doesn’t eat any baked good with a vegetable in it. I thought about tricking him, but that would just be cruel… Not saying I wouldn’t do it. But at least I get to have more later. I stuck a ton in the freezer to eat next week.

I took out a good chunk of the sugar and replaced it with a banana, because the recipe is pretty sugar-heavy. They turned out nice and soft, though, and you can always taste the batter to see if it needs more sugar.

Favorite Purchase:

I just ordered these boots today. Last year’s winter made me realize I need a pair of snow boots. We had temperatures of -10 F, and my feet were always freezing, especially when we went to an outdoor concert. This year, I want to keep my feet warm and dry.

I really hope these work – they are the Kamik Seattle boot. I liked that they can fold down into the shorter boot, or you can wear them as a tall boot for more coverage. It is hard to find vegan snow boots!

Favorite Outfit:

I’d like one of everything from Spool 72. Everything is cute and cozy and I could wear their oversize knit sweaters everyday.

That’s it! Enjoy your December weekend, and may the merrymaking begin. This cracks me up so much, I can’t even explain why.

Linking up with Amanda at Meet @ the Barre today for Friday Favorites.