Kittens, final classes, vegfest, oh my!

Hi! I’ve been slacking a bit with my posts, but with good reason!

First, I adopted a kitten!

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He’s the best. He was already named when we got him. His name is Sam (his litter mates were all named after Lord of the Rings characters), but we like to call him Sammy. He’s so playful and cuddly but also a little skittish.

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(oh, and as you can see I am rocking a new colorful hair style!!) I’ve been spending a lot of time with him, bonding and such. He was really scared at first and was skeptical of sleeping in my bed, but now he likes to cuddle with me in it, especially in the mornings. He’s keeping me on a better sleep-wake routine which is awesome. He is 13 weeks old, and we got him when he was 12 weeks. He really loves people too, lots of people have met him so far, and he isn’t afraid or timid of any of us.

Next up on my big news, I finished all the work for my degree! As part of one of my classes, I made a new website too and got business cards! You can check it out at veg-edu-ables.com! I’m hoping to start mentoring people who want to be vegan near me, and doing other things like cooking classes, food demos, providing food for different organizations, helping with people’s writing (which can be for anything, vegan or otherwise, but most of my writing has something to do with veganism, so that’s why it’s there too!), and more! I finished all my work for my Bachelor of Science degree on October 18, 2015! I will have that paper in my hand some time after December 31st! (My college has 8 week terms, where you take 2 classes each term for a total of 4 classes per semester). I’m so happy to be done early and have some time to really start working on some of my awesome projects!

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This calls for some celebration!

Part of that celebration was going to the Boston Vegfest! I went there today with my mom…my mom was really excited because she’s lactose intolerant and could have cheese and chocolates and all kinds of stuff! She’s never actually been somewhere that she can have so much stuff at! I got a lot of cool stuff, some for my birthday coming up this Thursday the 29th…

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I couldn’t decide what stickers to get at Herbivore so I got a ton…also some pins from Compassion Co.

I also got this gluten free magic bar from FoMu:

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I also got a vegan bacon chocolate bar from Rescue Chocolate, a t-shirt with a cow on it that says “Create Kindness” from Herbivore, some (vegan of course) sour cream and chive cashews, some Pulsin protein bars (it’s really hard to find good gluten free AND vegan protein bars), and tons of free samples. My mom was especially excited that So Delicious was giving away free full size mocha ice cream pops, her fave! (I was surprisingly not very hungry and so I didn’t eat that much stuff until I had a vegan hot dog that came in a gluten free wrap and had a delicious kale salad, coconut bacon, and chipotle mayo on it!! yum!) It was a really great day and my mom actually loved it, which I was a little worried she wouldn’t like it as much as she did! 🙂

I came home and made some pizza with Schar’s gluten free crust which makes pizza so much easier for me. It was a buffalo chicken ranch pizza.

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I made it by spreading the buffalo sauce on the crust, putting a mix of Follow Your Heart (hand-shredded) mozzarella and cheddar on top, cooking up Beyond Meat vegan chicken strips and then cutting them into pieces and putting them on top…then I baked the pizza. When it was done I drizzled this amazing vegan ranch dressing I found at my local grocery store!

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It’s so good, it has a coconut milk base. I love it! And they have other varieties that are both gluten free and vegan that I want to try too! 🙂

So yeah, it’s a really easy pizza to make. I also made a similar one not too long ago with bbq sauce…

Anyways, that’s the update, hope you’re having as much fun as I am lately!!

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Vegan Mofo Day 27: Soup, Sandwich, and Salad Saturday: Salad tips

So far this Saturday theme has been all about soups and sandwiches, like my recipe for Jackfruit Chicken Noodle Soup, California Club Sandwich with Nori Bac’non, and Easy Creamy Tomato Soup with Basil Grilled Cheese. Today, I’m going to finally address some salads.

I have been trying to eat a salad almost daily for a meal for over a year now. At first, I figured I’d just put as many vegetables as I could possibly chop and cram into a large bowl with not much else, but there was so much chewing involved that I ended up eating it for over an hour. That wasn’t too fun.

Eventually I started getting the hang of it. To make a good meal salad, you typically need more than veggies. Although protein isn’t as big a deal as people make it out to be, we still need a minimum amount each day at least. That can be hard if you eat one meal a day without any substantial source of it.

For a long time I was obsessed with Boca Chick’n patties on my salads. I’d cook them in the oven, cut them up and toss them in. Nowadays, not so much. They’re a bit expensive and I’m not really a fan of them for other reasons as well. Sometimes I will get them as a treat, though or if they’re on sale.

Here’s a few salads I have made in the past:

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This is I believe the Thanksgiving salad I had blogged about awhile back.

IMG_1348Here is the Burrito Explosion salad, also made awhile back.

Anyways, I think I’ve developed a bit of a formula for the perfect meal salad. It requires a delicate balance of textures and ingredients.

I’ve composed a little menu of different types of ingredients and things you can choose from to create the perfect salad. Each heading has the explanation of how many you should include…

The Base (2-3 cups)-Greens of some type:

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Mixed spring greens
  • Kale
  • Cabbage

(You get the idea, you can mix say, 1 cup of spinach with 2 cups of romaine, or any other combination you desire here)

The Protein- Usually soft (1-2 servings):

  • Some type of your favorite veggie burger, chopped up
  • Beans of any type
  • Edamame
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Seitan
  • Marinated and grilled tofu (or even plain tofu)
  • Tempeh
  • Tofurky slices
  • Gardein Products
  • Any other meat substitutes, like Beyond Meat

The crunchy element (1-3 things):

  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Carrot rounds
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Croutons
  • Crunchy Tortillas
  • Potato chips (yes, I’ve done this!)
  • Crispy fried vegetables like onions (or I like these crispy fried red pepper strips that I get in the salad supplies in the grocery store)
  • Wontons or crispy lo mein noodles
  • Water chestnuts
  • Pickles

Other optional additions:

  • Baby corn
  • Regular corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Dried Cranberries, raisins, or other dried fruit, like goji berries or whatever
  • Red onion
  • Olives
  • Beets
  • Fresh Salsa
  • Vegan Cottage Cheese (my recipe can be found here)
  • Basically anything you desire and think up!

The Smooth (dressing):

I try to base the dressing I select on the rest of the ingredients I have used. If it has a certain area of the world associated with the flavors, I will try to honor that. For example, maybe a salad with spinach and napa cabbage, tofu, sesame seeds, water chestnuts, wontons, and baby corn with have an Asian Ginger Sesame dressing. Or a salad with romaine, black beans, tortillas, carrots, red onion, and salsa will have a spicy South American style dressing, maybe by combining salsa with vegan sour cream and some hot sauce, even.

Avocados are also a great thing to add if you don’t want to add dressing, or if you want to make a dressing with them!

Here’s a good big list of no oil dressings you can make yourself that are easy and I’ve tried many of them. I really liked E2 Basics recipe for a long time…

I also wanted to share two of my favorite salads I have made through other vegan blogs that seem to fit my expectations:

Donut Salad from Bake And Destroy

Aloha Salad from Healthy Happy Life

There ya go! What are some of your favorite salad ingredients? Tell me in the comments.

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Salad of the week: Thanksgiving Salad!

Okay, so I have to admit I have been making so many pumpkin things lately I’m starting to get a bit pumpkin’d out.

Today for my Salad of the week I made a salad that reminds me of those thanksgiving sandwiches. The ones with like, leftover Tofurky, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, and whatever. It doesn’t have stuffing in it unfortunately. But it still tastes super good with breaded vegan chickun patties (I used a cut up Boca patty).

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I made my own creamy poultry seasoning dressing as well. It sounds weird but it tastes pretty good all together!

Here’s what I did:

To make the dressing: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lite silken tofu (the kind that is refrigerated in a pack like regular tofu, not the small vacuumed pack Nori Nu kind
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of one small lemon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp vegan poultry spice/seasoning blend (or make your own…there should be tons of them if you google it)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt

Directions:

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse until fully combined. You can adjust seasoning to your liking as you go or afterwards as needed.

To make the salad:

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp jelly cranberry sauce (the kind I found at my local grocery store IS vegan…but here is a recipe from a vegan blog if you cannot find that near you, or prefer to make it from scratch)
  • Vegan chicken or turkey cut into pieces (You can use whatever! Would be good with leftover Tofurky roast, or Tofurky slices, but I used Boca fake chicken breaded patties to give it a breaded kind of flavor reminiscent of stuffing)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup pecans
  • As much dressing (above) as desired.
  • Roasted butternut squash chunks (Optional)

Directions:

It’s kind of obvious! Make a salad with these ingredients! I found that this was one of those salads that taste extra good when you really mix up the ingredients well instead of leaving them separate. Sometimes I want to put my salad dressing on before I finish putting all the ingredients together, but I always refrain because then everything gets too soggy.

I haven’t tried it with the butternut squash yet but I think it will be amazing and am going to roast it now and put it in tomorrow! Yum!