Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Texas State Veggie Fair!

I went to the Texas State Veggie Fair !!! It was on the 20th and I just haven't gotten around to posting pictures yet. It was my second time going, the first was 3 years ago on their first year. It was so much bigger and better organized this time around. And so much fun! There was tons of food-- way better than last time, since last time everyone ran out of food early, samples, vendors, everything. I love trying new vegan food, especially stuff that's difficult or expensive to make at home-- that's why I went for the cheesecake and corn dog, both delicious. And there were tons of dogs there too! And a few kitties and bunnies.

waiting in line to be one of the first 500 in so I could get a goody bag!
first thing I bought after my mom got there-- cheesecake!
My mom and I shared the cheesecake, which was delicious but quite sweet, and I have a major sweet tooth so that's saying something. 

"chicken" quesadilla from the Whole Foods booth
The quesadillas were so good, I went back for another sample-- shh, don't tell anyone! But seriously, I felt like I needed some fuel in order to wait in line for 45 minutes for the corn dog, which was definitely the most popular item that day. My mom got us a kombucha to share while we waited too, which was awesome. I've never tried kombucha before but I'm hooked now. It's fizzy without being bad for you-- how awesome is that? It was strange because my stomach feel gurgle-y while I drank it, but not in a bad way and it went away after a few minutes. I'm not used to that. usually, if something makes my stomace feel weird at all, it's bad and I'll feel sick the rest of the day. I guess it was just the probiotic goodies doing their work! I forgot to take a picture of the kombucha but it was flavored with pear juice and was a lovely pink-y color.

veggie corn dog -- weird looking but so good!
The Fair is open to any doggie who wants to come, and we did bring Osgood last time. He had a lot of fun but he got overwhelmed by all of the people and Sam had to stand off to the side with him while I went to the booths. 

this is Osgood last time   
isn't he handsome?
So, since I was with my mom this time, and not Sam, I left Osgood at home, even though I missed him so much, seeing all of the other sweet doggies! 

Kristina from FullyRaw!

Listening to Kristina, this is an adorable doggie and someone with one of the goodie bags

dog kissing booth

Teese sample-- so yum!

Upton's Naturals "bacon" wrapped around a baby tomato and spinach
There were also dogs, kittens, and bunnies to adopt. My mom said she wouldn't have been allowed to come if they knew there were adoptable animals, lol. The bacon wrapped skewer thing I think would have been better with basil instead of spinach. It wasn't super awesome and my mom didn't like it at all as she doesn't do fake meats.

here's a pic of the booth where the cheesecake came from-- isn't it georgous? it's a bakery in Austin, don't remember the name but if you zoom, you might be able to see a flyer

me in my Texas State Veggie Fair tank! I was glad I bought this since my sweater was getting super hot.

sample haul -- the bean chips, macaroons, soap, coconut oil, and several coupons were in my goodie bag, the rest I picked up along the way

this stuff was really good and super ginger-y

Monday, October 21, 2013

Black Bean, Corn, and Yellow Rice Enchiladas and a New Cookbook!

Last week on Meatless Mondays, I made some pretty amazing enchiladas from Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone. This is a really cool cookbook that Sam picked out at Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago. All of it's recipes are dairy and gluten free, and while it is by no means a vegan, or even vegetarian cookbook, there are a few vegan recipes that look delicious and I plan on veganizing some of the other ones. Sam is gravitating to more and more gluten and dairy free things, which gives me another way to challenge myself in the kitchen-- challenges are what keep me cooking! I just got all of the flours and starches to make her gluten free flour blend, and I'm going to try my hand at gluten free baking. I'm hoping that I can find an egg replacer that works with the flour blend because all of the bread and cake recipes in the book include eggs, although I did see one recipe for bread sticks on her blog that is vegan. My usual go-to egg replacer is flax, but Sam is allergic to flax, so I'll find something new. Does anyone have suggestions for a good egg replacer for gluten free baking?

Our whole perspective on meatless Mondays for him is that we want more things we can eat together, without making two separate meals. It's fun to eat the same thing, it's easier, and it's something we want our future family to be able to do, for the most part. That's where these blackbean and corn enchiladas come in. They are delicious! They feature a homemade red enchilada sauce made with red wine that is so flavorful, the carnivores may not miss their meat, at least for one night!

I don't think the recipe is out there on the interwebs and I didn't really adapt it so no recipe today, but if you are into non-vegan cookbooks or veganizing amazing recipes, I recommend this one! It has some beautiful photography, amazing reviews, and if this first recipe is any indication, some pretty darn good recipes!

so yummy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Raw Caramel Apples

apples awaiting their caramelly fate
Whew, mini camera emergency. I was taking a million pictures of these beautiful little apples, I stuck the sticks into them, and was taking a bunch more pictures, and poof! "Battery exhausted." Why does it get exhausted? I feel like that's a weird way to put it and I have that thought every time it happens. After a moment of panic and more than a couple of moments rummaging through boxes, I found the cord to charge the camera. Whew, crisis averted. Onto making some caramel apples. Raw caramel apples free of refined sugar! That may not sound great to you, but for those in the know, they know that dates make an amaaazing caramel sauce. And also, you don't have to cook date caramel! Now, caramel is one of my all-time favorite things, don't get me wrong, but usually it's sticky, makes a mess, and takes quite a long while. Not this time. Super quick and only uses one kitchen tool-- a food processor. You can also do this with a blender, just take a little more time, add a little more water, and scrape down the sides a lot. This is where I got to put into play my birthday present! It was my birthday on Saturday.

vegan oreo cake from Whole Foods!
I had a fun day hanging out with family, going swimming-- an all time dream of mine, to go swimming on my birthday!-- and eating some delicious beans my honey cooked, along with some homemade tortillas-- recipe for those coming later.

Homemade tortillas and Sam's amazing beans
pretty peppers, while Sam was chopping veggies to make the beans
Anyway, my father-in-law got me the most thoughtful gift! A Ninja Kitchen System. It's awesome. So far, it whips out a mean pumpkin spice tea coconut oil latte,

yummy coconut oil pumpkin spice latte-- just blend a tablespoon of coconut oil with a strong cup of pumpkin  spice tea until creamy... so yum

.... and makes the best banana ice cream ice ever had. 
so good

yum! check out how creamy that is!

It can also make this delicious caramel sauce. As I am typing this, I'm attempting to get the last bit of caramel out of the mug I dipped the apples in. I've already had to wash my face and hands once. It's delicious.

Date Caramel

1 cup dates
1 tablespoon peanut butter (raw if you want to keep things raw)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water/non-dairy milk
apples on sticks (I used kabob sticks because that's all I could find--you'd think the stores would have sticks right by the apples this time of year, but not that I saw)
other yummy toppings, if desired-- chocolate chips, nuts, etc.

Whir together in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed-- a couple of minutes. Scoop out into a bowl (or large mug) and dunk your apples in. Coat in extra yummies if you want. I'm kind of a caramel apple purist, but other toppings are good too, sometimes.

swirly caramel goodness


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meatless Mondays!

Okay, every day is meatless for me, but my husband has decided to join me for Monday night dinners! I am so excited about this! It is a bit of a challenge because he is allergic to nuts, coconut, and fruit unless it's been cooked. And he wants to stay low on soy. So far I've come up with a couple of options, and the one we had last week he said he'd eat again-- yay! So last Monday we had Black Bean Sliders with Sweet Potato Fries. I already knew he liked the sweet potato fries. Those are one of those things that I've never blogged about because it seems too simple or plain, but when I'm able to cook, we have them a couple of times a month, they're that good. So now I'm sharing!

Black Bean Sliders
makes 8-10ish patties

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 red bell pepper
Tony's Creole Seasoning, to taste
3 tablespoons wheat germ
Oil, olive or vegetable, to cook
Slider buns
Earth balance MindfulMayo or other vegan mayonnaise
  • Broil the red pepper while it's whole, until the skin begins to bubble
  • Chop the pepper finely-- Sam said a little more chopped would be good next time, so chop to your desired fineness.
  • Add the pepper and beans to a mixing bowl and smoosh the beans somewhat with a glass or other smooshing device.
  • Mix in the seasoning and wheat germ-- I used about 1.5 tablespoons seasoning I think.
  • Add about 1 tablespoon oil to a skillet and allow to heat to medium high for a minute or two.
  • Using a spoon to scoop and your hands, form the bean mixture into slider-sized patties.
  • Fry four or five at a time, adding more oil if needed, a couple of minutes on each side, until browned.
  • Serve on slider buns with mayo and sweet potato fries (below).
  • Notes: 
    • Sam didn't like the buns toasted, how I tried them at first, but you can do toasted if you want. Just brush with some vegan margarine (I used Smart Balance Light) and put the buns straight onto the baking rack in the oven for a couple of minutes while your fries are cooking.
    • MindfulMayo is my favorite vegan mayo. It's super tasty, uses brown rice syrup as the sweetener, and is soy-free! Sam even gave it his approval, and he doesn't generally like new products, so that was a bonus for us!

Sweet Potato Fries
makes one big baking sheet of fries

1 big sweet potato-- I only used half of mine this time
Light drizzle of olive oil

  • Cut the potato into fry shapes.
  • Pile onto a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, and use your hands to work the oil onto all sides of the fries.
  • Arrange the fries in one layer on the baking sheet and stick in the oven set to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes, turning each fry halfway through. Once turned, sprinkle with paprika-- you don't want to add this too soon or it will burn.
  • Finish cooking -- they're done when you can poke your tongs or a fork into them easily.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Just a quick post to share my lunch! Qdoba is one of my favorite restaurants because vegans can eat everything there except the meat, cheese, and sour cream. Everything else, all the rice and beans and everything is vegan- woo hoo! And since I had a coupon, it's like my birthday came a week early. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Home Sweet Home

This is our house! We finally did it! We found a house, bought it, moved in, and have been living here for almost two weeks. I didn't want to spill the beans while in the process because it was so stressful and I didn't want to have to post about it falling through-- and our first house did fall through, so I was kinda right. But I'm so happy we got this one instead! I've missed the blog so much and I have so much to share now that things are more settled! When we moved to the Dallas area, we stayed with my parents in Azle for two months while we looked for houses-- thank you, mom for driving me to a million of them while Sam was at work! We are so appreciative of them for everything they did for us during that time, and are continuing to do-- Ikea trip tomorrow! But Sam had a crazy commute and with four adults, five dogs, two cats, two little brothers under the age of eight, and a high-school senior my parents took in so she could finish school, it was a bit crazy there. We are so happy to be in our own place! Sam sometimes feels that the new house is too big, but we haven't fully moved in yet and that's just fine with me after our tiny rental-- and we have a pool!

There's me learning about all of the chemicals and skimming the leaves out last weekend. Yes, that means we're swimming in October. I always don't want to get in and it's so cold, but then 10 minutes after I'm in, it's so worth it. The animals love it too-- the two bigger dogs (Amy and Osgood) love love their yard and just walk around smiling and jumping on each other. The little dog, Yosemite loves his perfect-Yosemite-size dog door-- the other two can't get through so he can just come in whenever he wants and play fetch with his stuffed animals inside-- his favorite thing to do.

And the cats are living mostly in what will be our office/sewing space and they're pretty excited about that too-- as excited as cats get, anyway. 

They have a brand-new scratchy-tower thing and three windows with perfect kitty-sized sills to sit on and tons of room to chase their spring toys-- although it's really just Pascal that likes that, Little Cat gets super annoyed when Pascal runs into him en route to the spring. We've got tons of projects to do (I'm looking at you, popcorn ceilings and taupe walls), which I'll be posting about here. I'll also be posting some phone pics of the last couple of months of food and hopefully get some new recipes out too! I'm so excited to be back!