Friday, June 24, 2011

My first salad post!

I know most people think vegans and vegetarians live on salads...well not so much.  I honestly can't remember the last time I had a salad before last night.  I'm not a big salad eater, not that I don't enjoy them.  I just don't think they are as healthy as everyone thinks.  Really once you add the dressing you've kind of ruined all it had going for you.  I mean yes, I'm sure they are better than a huge burger but not the best.  Also depending on the lettuce you use it's mostly just water without much nutrition to it.

With that said I FINALLY went grocery shopping yesterday and once I got home and unloaded everything I wanted something quick so I made a salad!  Super easy, and this one was SUPER yummy!!!  I didn't take a picture but it entailed lettuce, chopped fresh onions from my dad's garden, capers, croutons, (I would have added pepperoncinis if I remembered to get them), champagne dressing and pepper.  Perfect!  Husband also likes a good salad but he douses his in ranch...even worst!  =) 

Since I didn't take any photos of my food I thought I'd share a photo of my new tattoo!  I got it done while in New Orleans and the same shop I got my other tattoo done 4 years ago.  Luckily the artist that did my tattoo had left the shop but JUST moved back!  What luck!  I don't know if I've shared the story about my other tattoo but my sister and cousin all got the same one on our wrist each with a different word.  Mine says love, my sister's faith and my cousin strength.  So we all three got new tattoos...just of different things this time around. 

I got a bird on a branch holding a dandelion, with the dandelion fluffs being blown off and floating.  I ♥ it!  Mad props to my tattoo artist for his mad skills!  He's amazing.  This thing hurt like no ones business but he was great through all of it.  Letting me curse and scream while I sat completely still for an hour an a half!  No tears though!!! =) 

It's a tattoo about myself, about my life, where I've gone, come from and where I'm going.  A reminder to keep my head in the clouds, and let life under my wings and take me where the wind blows.  I can be a pretty high strung person always worrying and I think I've started calming down (I'm sure my husband would beg to differ, but whose asking his opinion) and this is just a reminder to stay that way.  I also LOVE the dandelion.  When I was a kid I was constantly making wishes.  I'm so grateful to all of the wonderful things I have in my life.  So many of my dreams have come true.  This is a tribute to that, and hopefully more wishes and dreams to come true in the future. 

I think I've posted this before but here's my other tattoo.  This one is for my family and my city.  I love you all and miss you more than you know.  It really needs no description. 

What kind of tattoos do y'all have?  I'd love to hear about them!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spicy Sesame Bok Choy Stir Fry

I went to the farmers market in Sacramento on Sunday with my dad for Father's Day.  I got a bunch of yummy food!  Including some baby bok choy!  I bought some frozen veggies for stir fry from Sam's the mixture comes with this sesame sauce that you can add.  I typically make my own sauce but I was wanting something different and thought I'd use it for a bok choy stir fry.  It turned out great! 

My dad just pulled some sweet white onions from his garden so I chopped two of those (they are pretty small).  Melted some butter in my wok with some garlic powder (I was out of fresh) and crushed red peppers.  Add the onions and sauted in the wok.  I washed the bok choy, and seperated each stalk from the middle.  I didn't both chopping them up, they look prettier to keep them whole.  Once the onions cooked down I added the bok choy with a little bit of water.  I let that cook maybe a minute before adding the sauce packet.  Meanwhile I cooked some thin spaghetti noodles in my pasta boat. Once the bok choy cooked down, but still with a bite, try not to over cook and the sauce coated the veggies I added the cooked spaghetti.  I tossed everything and served!  You can add soy sauce if desired. 

I also got some good beets, cabbage and rosemary bread at the farmers market!  I figured I'd get the fixings to make a good salad with beets and my dad's onions.  I have a recipe to use the beet greens as well.  They supposedly taste a little bitter like arugula or kalamata olives.  I'm excited to try them.  I'm sure Rich will love it. 

I'm even more excited about the fresh herbs I got!!  My dad potted them for me, and hopefully soon they will grow plentiful and I will have my own cilantro and thai basil to use to my cooking hearts desire!  YAY!  Hopefully this sun and heat doesn't kill them! 

Stay cool everyone...

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Friday, June 17, 2011


I'm just full of quick and easy meals.  I like this one because not only is it easy, but it's great for protein with all of the beans.  I got the basic recipe from VegWeb, submitted by fypgitjies.  I adapted the recipe to come up with this:

1 can of beans, I used white but you can sub for black,kidney, black eyed peas, whatever.
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles.  I didn't use a whole can but rather the left over from the other night, but a full can would be ideal
A few cloves of garlic minced
1 shallot chopped
oil for sauteing
A tablespoon or so of cajun seasoning (I used zatarain's red bean seasoning which comes in a box)
Prepared rice (I usually use brown, but I had some left over arborio rice so I used that and cooked it in the rice cooker)

1. Heat oil, add garlic and shallot and saute until cooked down and fragrant
2.  Add the can of beans, tomatoes, and seasoning
3.  Let simmer until the beans are cooked and to your desired texture. 
4.  Serve over a bed of rice
5.  Add salt/pepper and/or hot sauce if desired

So last night I had a craving for dessert.  Husband prefers cookies over cupcakes so I thought I'd make a treat for him to come home too...too bad I totally botched the recipe. I followed the recipe to a T, except for subbing maple sytrup for vanilla because I was out, but they turned into this:

LOL!!! More of a cookie cake.  There was WAY too much oil, and I shouldn't have used olive oil because it was way to strong tasting.  They tasted okay but not what I was going for.  I ended up cutting them with a pizza cutter.  =)  At least they didn't burn, which I was afraid of.  I guess it's all just a learning experience.  If I don't post before then, Happy Fathers Day to all the dad's out there.  I truly (not just saying it because I have to) have the best day in the whole world.  He has/does so much for me and my sisters, is supportive, gives the best advice, and loves everyone unconditionally.  I'm the luckiest girl!  I love you PAPA ♥ from your #1 daughter ;)!

That's me in the hat, and my dad to my left with my sisters and mom

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Broccoli with noodles

Another quick lunch/dinner recipe.  I've posted similar recipes that I cook for green beans, but I made some variations this time and felt it was worth posting about.  Forgive the just wouldn't photograph well for me. 

I've compiled a few recipes that I've found and pulled my favorites from each and came up with this.  It's a super easy, quick meal when your in the mood for something sweet and spicy and a little asian flare. 

3 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 Tablespoon of agave nectar
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of crushed red peppers
2 teaspoons of garlic chili sauce
1 garlic clove minced very fine
Veggie of your choice (I used broccoli this time but I've used green beans or any other asian inspired veggie would work)  I tpyically use frozen, but fresh would work just as well, just adjust the cooking for fresh
Cooked pasta (anything will do)

Spicier variations of the sauce:
Add an additional tablespoon of agave (2 total)
Add 1 tespoon of dry mustard powder
Take out the garlic chili sauce and garlic clove
add a few shakes of seasame chili oil, and sesame seeds. 

1.  Add frozen broccoli to a pan and cover over medium heat.  Let steam until they are almost done cooking.  I don't like mushy broccoli so I pretty much cook until they are no longer cold and nice and crisp
2.  Meanwhile add remaining ingredients (except pasta) in a bowl and mix well.  Add the sauce to the broccoli once it's almost done
3.  Cook uncovered for about a minute or so, after the sauce slightly thickens and coats the veggie.
4.  Top the broccoli and sauce over pasta, and that's it.

Enjoy!  The sauce would go really well with a stir fry.  If you chop up any veggies of your choice (bell peppers, baby corn, water chestnuts, broccoli, carrots, green beans, sugar snap peas, etc. are some good choices) and saute in a little oil in a wok, once they are almost done cooking add the same sauce, wait for it to thicken then add some noodles of your choice.  Rice noodles, spaghetti noodles, or even udon noodles would be yummy.  Mix everything together and cook a little longer so the sauce coats the veggies and noodles and you have yourself a yummy stir fry/chow mein!  =)

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vegan Vegveeta Cheese Sauce

Believe it or not I haven't been to the grocery store since I've been back. Although my fridge is pretty sparse I have a ton of cuboard food that I'm trying to use up before going back to the store.  Pretty much because I'm lazy.  Although it's kind of nice to have a small selection of food because it gets me more creative.  I have a few recipes to post today from what I've whipped up around the house.  These are more meals that you need on the quick and easy with staples you should have in your cuboard (well at least things I have in my cuboard). 

First up is a recipe I found on a fellow vegan blog for vegveeta cheese sauce.  It sounded good so I figured I'd give it a shot.  My vegveeta didn't turn out as yellow as hers did but that's because I thought I had turmeric and turns out I didn't so it ended up being more greyish orange.  Works for me because it all tastes the same. =)  You can find the recipe here.  I've had that recipe bookmarked for awhile now and finally getting around to it. I'm so glad I did.  It was SUPER yummy.  It was creamy and thick just like vegveeta.  Some adjustments I made to the recipe:

I used probably 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (not fresh) because I ran out and that was all I had left
Cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder
Left out the turmeric
I used about 1 Tablespoon of vegan parma
I added 1/4-1/2 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (added once the cheese was on the stovetop)
A couple of jalapeno peppers (added on stovetop)

The tomatoes and jalapeno peppers made the cheese.  It was kind of like a queso salsa.   I was going to bake potatoes and top with the cheese but realized my potatoes had gone bad. =/   So instead I baked tator tots and steamed veggies and dipped it in the sauce!  It was perfect and husband loved it.  The next day I made a chikn sandwhich and topped it with the cheesel.  There are so many uses for it.  It would be good on top of a hot dog, or just as a chip dip.  Even to add to a sauce for pasta or casserole!  Great staple to have. 

I've made a few variations on the chikn sandwhich.  The picture above I put together a BBQ sauce (there are a million recipes online if your interested in making it home made) and grilled it with the patty over the stove.  Put mayo on a ciabatta roll with onion, relish and jalapenos.  You really can't go wrong with those toppings.  =)  I've done a few other easy meals, but I've been bad about taking photos.  One night I made dogs in a blanket dipped with ketchup and hot sauce.  For some reason they turned out really good.  Much better than past experiences. I used the croissant rounds and smart dogs.  I made sure to check them every few minutes to make sure they didn't burn and they turned out perfect.  I made a side of blackbeans sauted with onion, garlic and cajun seasonings.  Another night I used the left over black beans for a burrito.

Last night I made a YUMMY spaghetti.  I used jarred sauce again but added a few spoonfuls of vegan cream cheese.  Then I made a garlic butter to top on a ciabatta roll (mince a few cloves of garlic add to the butter with some italian seasoning and mix well, spread over bread of choice..voila!).  It was a yummy meal. 

Next time I hope to have more interesting meals to share...if I ever get to the store that is.  =)

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'mmmm baaaccckkkk!!

Hey y'all!!!!!  I'm back from my trip to New Orleans.  I had such a great time!  I've actually been back a week now but it always takes me a few days to recooperate and get back in the swing of things.  It's so hard leaving family.

While I was there I had an easier time eating than I thought I would.  So don't worry, I never went hungry.  =)  Unfortunately I didn't eat a ton of true "southern" food but I was able to score a french fry po'boy!  yumm!  When we got there I went to Whole Foods and got some staples for the times that we ate at home.  It worked out great.  One memorable meal was in Houston at a restaurant that I can't remember the name of(nevermind remembered..The Yard House!  There is suppose to be one coming soon in Roseville, CA!).  They had a whole section of the menu filled with gardein meals!!!  A lot of them weren't vegan, but could easily have been made as such!  I got the "beef" sliders and they were delish!!

I have two new recipes to share with everyone!  The first is from my cousin who has an abundance of squash and zucchini in her garden.  You take a julienne slicer and julienne the entire squash and zucchini (one of each is about 1 large serving, two if your making it for a side) all the way down to the seeds.  When you're done you'll get a bowl that looks like the above photo. Chop some onions and garlic and saute them in some butter (a few tablespoons is good).  Once they have cooked down add in the julienne veggies and add some seasoning to taste.  I used Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning.  Saute that until it's heated through and that's all you need!  It's so tasty!  I also added some thawed green beans and threw them in with the julienned veggies.  So yummy that I forgot to take a photo of the final product! Thanks Becca for the awesome recipe!

Tonight I wanted something I could make with things I already had in the kitchen and I came up with this risotto soup.  My inspiration was from the asparagus soup I made and posted awhile back. This turned out with a completely different taste, and man was it good!!!  I will definitely make this again.  I didn't measure hardly anything so take the below instructions lightly and adjust to your taste:

A drizzle of olive oil
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 small onion
4 large garlic cloves
a few squirts of lemon juice
a very small drop of mustard
a few squirts of agave nectar
enough rosemary to sprinkle the top of the pot
2/3 cup of arborio rice
4 cups of veggie broth (I used two bouillon cubes dissolved in 4 cups of water)
about a pound of green beans (I used frozen, then thawed in the microwave, and cut in half)

1.  Heat the oil and butter together in a large pot until the butter is almost melted.
2.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft and translucent. 
3.  Add the lemon juice, mustard, agave, and rosemary and saute about a minute to incorporate. 
4.  Add the rice and constantly stir for a few minutes to allow the rice to absorb the flavors
5.  Add the broth and bring to a boil
6.  Cover and lower the heat and let simmer 10 minutes
7.  Add the green beans and heat a few more minutes until they are heated through. 
8.  SERVE!!  No salt needed.  Would go great with a good bread, or even topped with some Parma!

I hope everyone missed me!  I'll post later with some photos from the trip for everyone to enjoy. Untill next time!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!