Monday, March 20, 2017

Random Leftovers & Sauces & Wraps

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!  The weather here certainly was more pleasant than the earlier part of the week was.  I'm hoping the snow is done and over with for this winter and we can continue on with your adventure of SPRING!

My post today will be a little all over the place.  I've been eating some strange food combos but everything has turned out pretty YUMMY!  I want to be sure I am not wasting food and using what I have before buying much more.  So far this has been going well.  I'm on a bit of a wrap kick but more on that shortly.

First I need to share with you one of the new dips I created last night.  It's a vegan version of a pink sauce that I saw on Giada.  It was on at DH's Grandmothers yesterday and I knew I could do a vegan version of it fairly easily!

Here is what I did for the vegan version I made...

1 C Vegan Mayo
4 or 5 Mini Sweet Red Peppers (or 2 Medium)
1 T Minced Garlic
2 T Lemon Juice
Sprinkle of Smoked Paprika

It was pretty YUMMY but next time I will be adding more sweet red bell peppers and more garlic!  Because that's the way I roll!

The veggies pictured in the first photo were left over from DH's Grandmothers House...we had a belated birthday for both him and I as our birthdays are only 6 days apart.  I treated myself to a Daiya Pizza and So Delicious Mint Chocolate Ice Cream (both vegan, of course)

The other night I had Vegan Mac & Cheese.  You have probably seen a LOT of Vegan Cheese Sauces I have done here on my blog so I figured I would share yet another one with you!

This one is a Nut-Free Version

2 Mini Red Bell Peppers
1/4 C Lemon Juice
3/4 C Nutritional Yeast
3/4 C Tahini
2 T Minced Garlic
1/2 C Water
1 Squirt of Yellow Mustard
Black Himalayan Sea Salt to taste

Now on to the leftovers, eh!?

I had a very little bit of my Tater Tot Casserole that I froze.  I threw that on top of the stove along with some corn and some leftover tofu cubes.  I took a wrap and warmed it up with a slice of Daiya on it - enough to melt it.  Then I threw the rest of the warm ingredients on top of that and made a wrap!  But not before adding about a tablespoon of salsa on top!

This was super YUMMY and certainly a comfort food for the WIN!

 Like I said I have been on a wrap kick lately so here is another I did.  This is a Vegan Breakfast Wrap.  My main goal here was to use multi-colored baby potatoes I bought at Aldi's not too long ago but needed to start using SOON as well as finish up the Daiya Shreds I had on hand.  Mission Accomplished!  Let me tell you what is in this one, shall I?

Leftover Cubed Tofu
Leftover Corn
White & Purple Mini Potatoes
Daiya Shreds

I also threw in some Egg Trick Seasoning that I had leftover from when I did my Egg Trick Bagel last week!  This worked out VERY WELL!  It was tasty!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Sources!

I figured SUNDAYS are a good time to share some of the research I have been doing lately!  One of the many sources I have come a crossed lately is the site.  I don't know why I haven't visited the site sooner!

It's an online narrative review of peer-reviewed, scientific research papers, and educational resources that are relevant to plant-based nutrition. Links to the abstract are included with every article, and links to the free full articles are included when possible! A narrative review is a collection of research papers supporting a particular theory - this website is by no means an exhaustive directory of all research on nutrition and disease but presents the growing body of evidence supporting the theory that whole food, plant-based diets offer the best chance for avoiding chronic disease, and in some cases, reversing it.

I'm always interested in learning more and more each day and I think this site is a great way of doing it so I declare PlantBasedResearch this Sunday's Source of the Day!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Alkaline Vegan Foods?

Last weekend I mentioned that I was researching Alkaline Vegan Foods!

Here are the 8 MOST Alkaline Foods...and guess what...THEY ARE VEGAN!

I then HOPPED OVER to One Green Planet and found some really awesome vegan foods and recipes that I will have try soon!  Some of them were: 

Za’Atar Grilled Eggplant Salad

Green Pea and Avocado Spread

Onion and Bell Pepper Masala

Cauliflower Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Coconut Dal


Summer Zoodle Glow Bowl With Creamy Avocado Lime Sauce

Curry Roasted Cauliflower and Red Onions

They seem fairly simple to attempt for the most part.  I have been thinking lately I am over thinking some of the foods I have been looking into eating!    I can't wait to jump into a few of these recipes and soon!  I'm sure I will put my own twist on them and shy or stray from their recipe(s) but it's a great place to start, right?

Friday, March 17, 2017

40 Days of Smoothies BOOK - I WON!

I found out today that I was the winner of Zsu's Book Contest!  The winner was drawn YESTERDAY which was also my BIRTHDAY!  YAY!  Happy Birthday to me!  I was lucky enough to win this book!  40 Days of Green Smoothies by Becky Stiepe!  I can't wait to get it in the mail!

It says KICKSTART YOUR MORNINGS!  That is sooooo what I need!  Check it out...

Kickstart your mornings with this 40 day program designed to develop your green smoothie habit! The ingredients aren't always what you'd expect - discover how avocado can help make a smoothie creamy and how chocolate can turn it into a decadent yet healthy treat. Becky Striepe of Glue & Glitter breaks the 40 days down, week-by-week, with each week offering its own set of tips and shopping lists. Jump in and find out what your mornings have been missing!

Sunshine Week & Snow Storms

Sorry I didn't post twice yesterday like I originally planned!  TODAY I will be posting at least twice so please check back soon!  

This week is Sunshine Week and as a new member of my local League of Women Voters I asked the local board members if they wanted to hold a Sunshine Week event for the first time this year.  I volunteered to head it up and they said YES!  I'm so VERY grateful for this wonderful group of ladies!  The LWV has truly changed my life for the better!  Women aren't the only members of the league - we have men that are members, too!

Anyways...back to Sunshine Week...

Sunshine Week is a national initiative spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy. It was established in March 2005 with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  Sunshine Week occurs each year in mid-March, coinciding with James Madison's birthday and National Freedom of Information Day on the 16th.

During Sunshine Week, hundreds of media organizations, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and other participants engage public discussion on the importance of open government through news and feature articles and opinion columns; special Web pages and blogs; infographics; editorial cartoons; public service advertising; public seminars and forums. The purpose of the week is to highlight the fact that "government functions best when it operates in the open." Unfortunately, in many states legislatures exempt themselves from public-records laws, claiming "legislative immunity." Source: Wiki

What we did for our Sunshine Week Event was visit our court house.  Our Judge spoke with us - as did 2 of our Commissioners.  We then went on a tour of our historic Court House.

Even with the horrible snow storms we had going on this week - we had a completely engaged group of 14.  For it being the first time we've held anything like this AND with the weather I was pleased with the attendance.

February in our snow belt was AWESOME it was like SPRING!  I remember it being 70 degrees towards the end of the month.  March is another story!  It was about 6 degrees this morning when I looked.  And we got about a foot to a foot and a half in some areas.  The wind has been wicked.  There is a lot of ice and black ice on the side of the roads still.

So eventho it was Sunshine Week - we had Snow Storms!  OYE!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tabouli Mediterranean Snack Bar & Cafe

I will have multiple posts today so be sure to check back!  First up I'm VERY EXCITED to tell you that there is a NEW restaurant in town!  Yup!  In the small town where I live there is a new eating establishment that opened on Monday called Tabouli.  It's a Mediterranean Snack Bar and Cafe.  They have MANY vegetarian and vegan options available and they are clearly marked on their menu as such!  None of my co-workers have ever had Mediterranean Food (other than Greek Mediterranean Food, that is) so I brought a few things back for them to try!

In the first photo above is their Falafel made with Chickpeas, Onions, Parsley, and seasoning.  Some of you know I'm a HUGE fan of Falafel so of course I adored this!  I will note...their Tahini Sauce is made with Yogurt so I offered that to a co-worker as it isn't vegan.  Their Hummus is the vegan option for this.  Both are shown.

The other photo is of their Lentil Soup.  It's a thinner soup and the Lentils appeared to be ground and not whole.  The caramelized onions kicked the flavor up a notch!  YUM!

I know I will be ordering a LOT from Tabouli so be on the look out for more posts!  It's a block from where I work so I'm sure they will get to know me real well - and I - them!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Drink & YouTuber of the Moment

My first attempt at Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Drink - Apple Cinnamon Flavor:

16 Ounces Water
4 T Apple Cider Vinegar
8 Ounces Apple Juice
3 tea Agave
2 tea Lemon Juice
1/2 tea Cinnamon

I feel this was a success!  And the timing was PERFECT because I just ran out of a 32 Ounce Guava and Black Tea Juice I bought from Trader Joe's!

Last night I discovered the YouTube Channel of No Egg Craig!  Apparently I'm a little bit behind with my discovery but I thought it was still worth a mention!  As I binged watched several videos I noticed something his family and I had in common (other than eating vegan, that is) it was the Buffalo to Syracuse Accent!  I had a hunch he was closer to the Syracuse area and sure enough I was right!  Come to find out he's not too far from The Vegan Zombie guys!  Gotta LOVE those 'Hard A's" in the Syracuse and Buffalo Accent!  I still can't shake it myself!

I'm totally LOVING this channel because he does a lot of shopping at Aldi and Budget Friendly Videos!  After watching a few of his quick meals I realized I'm not the only one who does creative quick meals that non-vegans may find a little CRAZY.  One of them I haven't tried and MUST is the Pumpkin Oats he does often and is featured in this video!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Egg Trick Bagel & Tater Tot Casserole

Yesterday I was able to take a little time in the kitchen with food prep and such.  I've done Strong Hearts Cafe & The Vegan Zombie's Egg Trick Muffin before and have done my own variations.  This time around I used a bagel flat (basically a flat bagel round) instead of an English Muffin.  You may remember that I LOVE using a few tablespoons of salsa on my Egg Trick Muffins so I did that here as you can see it oozing out of the bagel hole.  Inside I just did the seasoned tofu round patty and Daiya Cheese.  It was tasty!  I have 2 more disks of tofu ready to go in my freezer so I'm sure I will be doing this again soon!  I will most likely be doing a side of Tofu Scramble with the edges of the tofu I didn't use.

For a closer look at the tofu egg part - I thought I would take another snap.  Since hubby has been really suffering with his ongoing sinus infections and pneumonia yesterday we had a quiet day at home.  We were able to watch Fantastic Beasts.  It was good!  On Saturday there was a vendor show at our local YMCA.  It ended up being a pretty good turn out.  We were there with our Wildtree stuff!

Now...on to my newest attempt a Tater Tot Casserole!  I told you I was going to do it!!!  And here is what I did!  This first photo is the casserole BEFORE it went into the oven!  Recipe...

Bottom Layer:
Chopped Broccoli & Cauliflower
In the Middle:
Then I poured 1/2 box of Cashew Ginger Soup over it
Then I added a layer of Daiya Cheese
Top Layer:
Tater Tots - touching - edge to edge
Then the rest of the Cashew Ginger Soup
Then more Daiya Cheese

Sprinkled on top:
Hemp Seeds, Dried Onion, Fresh Minced Garlic, Turmeric, Smoked Paprika, Nutmeg

This next photo is the first piece I took out after baking it at about 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  I think it turned out great!  As you can see the top vegan cheese layer didn't melt well and I'm sure it was because there wasn't any liquid on top to assist with the melting.

In this photo you can see that the middle layer vegan cheese melted nicely.  I think next time I will put more of the cheese in the middle and less on top OR make a vegan cheese sauce for the top instead of using the shreds and sprinkling them.  I have to say I was pretty tickled with myself on this one.  The only creamy vegan soup I could find at Tops yesterday was the Cashew Ginger one.  It worked pretty well.  I'm sure with a different creamy vegan soup it would change up the overall flavor and I'm looking forward to getting creative with it.  I know I will be able to get multiple meals out of this!  I'm considering making at least one sandwich out of it, too!  I will keep you posted on that if I attempt it!

Tater Tot Casseroles are so versatile and the possibilities are endless!  If I had more time to bake 1 each week I'm sure I could come up with many more ingredient and flavor combinations!

As for the rest of my weekend I had a bit of a hard time with my aches and pains - especially after standing for 7 hours at the vendor show.  My Sciatica kicked in - or what I was thinking was my Sciatica - now I'm wondering if it was Fibromyalgia all along.  Perhaps it's both!  Heck, I don't know!  But another thing I did find out in my research was Apple Cider Vinegar for the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia.  I'm pasting that info below.  It's pretty interesting stuff!  Makes a lot of sense, too!  One of my mini goals for the first part of this week is to create some of those ACV Drinks at home.  Not only will DH drink them - so will I!

While apple cider vinegar does not treat fibromyalgia per se, it has been reported to alleviate many of the symptoms experienced by those living with fibromyalgia.
These include:

Fatigue – Stress (both emotional and physical) causes lactic acid to build up in the body resulting in fatigue. The potassium in apple cider vinegar combats this.

Joint Pain and Headache – Apple cider vinegar keeps the body’s pH level slightly alkaline which helps eliminate joint pain as well as headaches.

Swelling and Inflammation – Apple cider vinegar may be rubbed onto visibly swollen areas. Consuming apple cider vinegar helps relieve inflammation in the body.

Gastrointestinal Issues – Apple cider vinegar contains pectin which helps sooth the colon lining. It assists with loose bowels by forming more “bulk” in the G.I. tract.

While rigorous scientific research cannot support any claims that apple cider vinegar fights or cures fibromyalgia, many anecdotal reports suggest relief and reduction from debilitating fibromyalgia symptoms. Source:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Get Out There & Make It Happen!

This past week I have been pretty off.  Just not myself.  I sort of felt like I was a zombie.  Sure a lot of people around me are sick and I seem to be fighting it off so far but I wanted to step it up a notch.  I also wanted to educate myself more on the topic of Adrenal Health.  Within that spectrum I was also researching BUILDING JING.

So I will be blogging more and more about these topics as I find things of interest and start implementing them in daily life.  I've always been fond of herbs and often have in depth chats with my local Herbologist.  I want to take that to the next level and start really concentrating on it more.

A great place to start is in the kitchen.

Ironically, the more I researched JING the more I noticed a certain KEYWORD.  The word that popped up was Fibromyalgia.  Over the past year I have been trying to listen to what my surroundings have been trying to tell me.  When I listen - wonderful things happen.  This topic seems to be TALKING TO ME so I want to listen.

Adrenals, Herbalism, Kidneys, Inflammation, Fibromyalgia.  

Some of the suggestions I have read about include drinking LOTS of water, tea, and tisanes!  CHECK!  This is a HUGE part of my life already!  Mineral Rich Pink Sea Salt.  I'm not much of a salt person but when I do use salt I use Black or Pink Mineral Rich Sea Salt.  Valerian Root.  This is something I have toyed with in the past and after reading more about it I now know that I must up my intake of it!  Licorice.  This is something else I have upped already in the tea and tisanes I have been drinking but I will continue to keep this in mind.  Leafy Greens.  LOVE THEM.  But you can never get TOO MANY of them!  Caffeine Free Teas and Tisanes.  I must say I start each and every day with at least 1 black tea.  I will say that I have cut back on how many of the caffeine based ones I have each day and have upped my herbal tisanes!  

Things to stay away from?  Sugar.  I don't really eat a lot of sugar.  Unless it's in natural foods like fruit.  But they are talking about store-bought and processed foods that contain sugars.

When it comes to Adrenal Vegan Foods here are some great ones that have been suggested...

Lower Sugar Fruits, Beans, Vegetables, Sprouted Grains, Nuts, Seeds, Avocados.  

Seems easy enough and I eat all of those things already!  But something I really need to be better about is BREAKFAST.  I've blogged about this before and how I struggle.  And I keep going back to that Morning Smoothie Solution.  I just need to BUCK UP and DO IT!

So stay tuned for more of this in daily life and here on my blog.  It's my way of being accountable, I guess!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Improvements with Aches & Pains

Earlier this year (I can't believe I'm already saying that - it's March!) I was telling you about some aches and pains I was having that seemed to be increasing.  I also told you that I was looking into ways to improve them.  I feel like I have done that (somewhat) successfully.  Of course some days are better than others.  I have to tell you that I haven't been diagnosed with anything and I'm not really self-diagnosing either.  But what I can tell you is that almost everything I was dealing with lined up to fibromyalgia systems.  Steps I have taken to help with my systems have helped a great deal.  After doing research on the subject I found out that many doctors will say that it's true if you have 13 (or 15 - depending on who you talk to) out of 18 pain points.  I can say that I have different levels of pain and/or aches in 16 out of 18 of them.  

So what have I done to make these improvements?  

First and foremost I have upped my B Vitamin intake.  I have also added Spirulina and Chlorella tablets.  I've always LOVED Turmeric so I have increased my intake in that as well!  I have been wearing different bras for the past couple of months.  They are high impact sports bras.  I have changed the way I sleep.  I used to be a side sleeper and have changed to laying on my back.

I have picked up many things from Forks Over Knives, Dr. McDougall, and the Hallelujah Diet.  All of which are plant based.  Each day I have been trying to learn more and more and implement something new.  So far I have seen a HUGE difference.  I will continue to report on things I find to be helpful.