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Yummy Junky Food – Done Vegan

Back in May, when I was at Vida Vegan Bloggers Conference in Portland, I got to sample some of Tofuky’s newest products. There were plenty of people circulating around their table, waiting for the treats to come out. For good reason. It was like stepping back into time…to being a teen and digging through the freezer for a snack.

The really naughty snacks. Pizza Pockets and Pot Pies. All they need are Pizza Rolls and life would be just dandy (ya’ll listening?) Or Bagel Pizzas. It is a slippery slope though. Then I’d be seen hiding behind the couch drinking a 12 pack of Fresca while I was at it (one of my worst habits of my teens was that nasty diet grapefruit pop).

Anyhow, I had a love affair with Hot Pockets around the time we got a microwave, which in the mid 80’s was the calling card of having made it (or something). I haven’t had one in years (since they like to add a lot of really scary ingredients to them) and I also hated the “this part is cold, this part is molten lava and now it cooled off and the dough is rubbery” effect microwaves gave it.

Then look what came across my doorstep (thank you UPS Man) – right from the wonderful peeps at Tofurky –

TF1

Pepperoni Pizza Tofurky Pockets. Hey Hot Pockets, if you tasted this good (and looked this good), I might look at you. Oh yeah, you would also need to be vegan. And taste this good. Did I mention that? ūüėČ I baked them old-skool and used the oven. Something I somehow never had the patience for when I was a kid (I mean, how could I possibly have the time to wait for an oven to warm up and then bake!?!) Hence, I was gifted with a crispy outer crust and melty goodness inside for being patient. Bake them! They deserve the special love.

TF3

Walker ate an entire one by himself. It was almost scary watching that 3-year-old tear into it. Afterwards, he patted his tummy and announced he was good and full ūüėõ Want to bet these become a backup staple for those times when Mommy is too tired to make him lunch? Yeah, maybe I should feel guilty enjoying convience foods. But no, I am not going to feel guilty. It was just too good!

TF2

Pot Pies. Not much more can I think of that says “comfort food”. All it was missing was the foil pan – remember those really greasy and salty Banquet ones? I liked that crust is thin, it isn’t all dough – lots of gravy and filling. It and a salad? Perfect!

PS: I got to try the vegan Quiche and the new Artisan Sausages at Vida Vegan, they were amazing as well! The Chick’N and Apple ones? Those grilled, in a bun? Who needs meat with that…..

PS2: They are hosting TofurkyFest in September, to celebrate the opening of their new factory in Hood River, Oregon. Hood River is a gorgeous town – right on the Columbia River and Mt. Hood sits above it. Can I say Oregon road trip?

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.

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Flash Sale on Cute Aprons

I love, love, love Flirty Aprons! They are running a special Flash Sale today (December 5th), till Midnight MST on 5 new aprons – 3 are holiday inspired, the other 2 are classic prints. Supplies are limited – so if you would love a cute gift or one for you, act fast. (They ship fast as well)
Today 12/5 only 50% off these Holiday and Classic Aprons only with code holiday50
Classic-Black-Front

Or a cute Christmas one?

Womens-Apron-KayDee-Deck-the-Halls2

Today 12/5 only 50% off these Holiday and Classic Aprons only with code holiday50
~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of Flirty Aprons – we love their products!

Savory Almond Muffins & Bhakti Chai Review

In my quest to keep using up my leftover almond meal I have been busy. I was inspired to make muffins that quickly come together and pair well with many dinners. They also taste great for breakfast with jam on them.

Vegan, grain free, gluten-free, dairy free, no processed sugar. And so much flavor from the almond meal! I won’t deny it, I have a love affair with almonds. In a way the muffins reminded me of corn muffins, a hint of sweetness. I am sure they’d be great smothered in chili as well!

Savory Almond Meal Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1¬Ĺ cups almond meal or almond flour (I used unblanched)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ¬Ĺ tsp baking soda
  • ¬ľ cup extra virgin olive oil or organic virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 9 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or raw honey for non-vegan)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375¬į, line 8 cups of a 12 count muffin tin with foil liners.

Whisk the flaxseed meal and water together in a bowl, let hydrate for 10 minutes, then whisk again.

Whisk the almond meal, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.

Beat the flaxseed meal with the oil and sweetener, add to the dry and stir till mixed.

Divide between the cups, bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and golden brown.

Makes 8 muffins.

I have to tell you about some of the¬†tastiest¬†(And spicy!) chai I have had –

We¬†received¬†a chance to try the chai, made by Bhakti Chai, brewed in Boulder, Colorado. It was easily sourced at a local (And favorite) natural foods¬†store, Marlene’s. Their reach is growing and may well be showing up soon for everyone. They have four flavors:¬†Original, Semi-Sweet, Decaf and a Chai-Coffee blend. Ready to drink, 80% chai and 20% non-GMO soy. It is SPICY chai, not for the faint hearted but utterly¬†delicious. And the bets part? The bottle. It is so gorgeous you have to keep it and reuse it. It makes a lovely¬†ketchup¬†or sauce bottle. And as a bonus their label is designed to be easily peeled off with no residue. Ooh-la-la!

~Sarah

PS: I am hosting a giveaway on my sister site, TrailCooking’s blog, for men’s insoles.

Got a guy in your life who runs? Hikes? Head on over and enter!

FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.

Battling and Winning the Baby’s Skin Issues

Alistaire turned 6 months old yesterday:

I can’t believe that much time has gone by already. 6 months? He is a big boy, he was 28″ long and 19 pounds at his checkup and is starting an “army crawl”. He so badly wants to keep up with Walker.

And finally I am seeing a change in his skin. I have mentioned before just how bad his eczema was. It was REALLY bad. I used the prescription ointment his Doctor prescribed just enough to calm his skin down. His face looked sunburnt from the red skin, he always had chapped skin. On his face, neck, head, arms, chest…everywhere.Once I got his skin healed I changed his body wash/shampoo. We were already using Aveno unscented for eczema but even that was too harsh. I was¬†approached¬†My True Nature about their products. At this point I figured I had little to lose – everything else was drying him out.

He has used their Daisy Natural 2 in 1 Shampoo & Body Wash for the past month or so, and what an improvement.

The ingredient list:

“Purified water, aloe leaf juice*, decyl glucoside**, sodium coco sulfate**, lauryl lactyl lactate, plantago extract*, white peony tea extract*, natural scent, citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate *Certified organic and originating from organic farms in California or the Pacific Northwest or **Ecocert product originating from Germany.”

 

 
Features

  • All-in-one gentle cleanser & moisturizer for face, hair and body
  • Plant-based, non-irritating cleansers, get your baby squeaky clean without irritating eyes or skin
  • Full of nourishing and calming organic botanicals including olive oil, aloe, and pure essential oils
  • Not tested on animals
  • Completely free of genetically modified organisms, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, triclosan or preservatives
  • 100% recycled and reusable plastic bottle

Previously when he’d get out of his bath his skin was tight and prickly red all over, I would have to apply ointment or lotion over his entire body – and he still looked bad. This was a candid photo on May 28th:

You can see how bad it was Рand he was covered in Aquaphor. He would scratch at his head, arms, legs Рanywhere he could reach.

A month ago he looked better:

Still had the red patches around his mouth though.

Now after I bathe him on most days his skin looks great. I only to use the prescription ointment 2 or so times a week, instead of 2X a day!

And I love their Clio’s Beary Soft Lotion:

No scent outside of¬†the¬†natural scents of the ingredients. I’ve mentioned before how most lotions/sunblock and makeup cause me to itch all over/minor hives. This lotion spreads easily, isn’t greasy and my skin feels great. The trial size “travel bottle” fits in my purse and backpack nicely, letting me carry it. I have used it on both Alistaire and Walker as well. Smooth skin like a baby should have!

The ingredient list?

“Purified water, aloe leaf juice*, shae butter*, sunflower oil* infused with calendula*, comfrey*, plantain*, chickweed*, St. John‚Äôs wort*, chamomile* & yarrow root*, behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetearyl alcohol, bees wax*, hydrolyzed oat flour*, guar gum, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate

*Certified organic ingredient from organic farm in California or the Pacific Northwest.

Most of our ingredients are locally sourced from organic farms in California and the Pacific Northwest.  Those ingredients that are not produced locally come from Germany.

Our bottles are made from¬†100% FDA-APPROVED RECYCLED PET¬†plastic.¬† Our pumps, caps and bottles are all¬†BPA free¬†and manufactured in the USA”

And considering the products work….I can say I like them! Truth be told I am considering trying the¬†shampoo/body wash on myself, I have a feeling I will love it. Small business and cruelty free? An even sweeter deal.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.

Farmers Market Finds & Vegan Sausage Making

Saturday was hot. One of¬†the¬†few truly hot days in¬†the¬†Pacific Northwest. We went to the farmers market as soon as it opened and that paid off with lots of produce from my favorite farmers. I couldn’t pass up Anette’s tomatoes she had:

I used the tomatoes in a simple sauce to go with handmade sausage I made on Friday evening, that also used a new Worcestershire sauce recipe.

Until a month or two ago I used bottled Worcestershire sauce and had moved to a vegan version about 2 years ago. This was my second homemade version to make of it, I like this one the best but be sure to make it on a day when you can open the windows. The vinegar scent really carries. Once you try homemade, you will keep making it. It is so easy and no preservatives – or ingredients you don’t want.

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

Ingredients:

  • ¬Ĺ cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp filtered water
  • 1 tsp organic granulated sugar
  • ¬ľ tsp ground ginger
  • ¬ľ tsp mustard powder
  • ¬ľ tsp onion powder
  • ¬ľ tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan, whisk until the spices blend in. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 1 minute. Set aside to cool down, pour into a small jar to store. Keep refrigerated, shake before using.

Makes about¬†¬ĺ cup.

I won’t lie, this recipe takes awhile to make but it is easy. The photo above is after they were steamed.

Fair warning…it is pretty gross looking before you steam the sausages. You’ll understand once you make it. Kirk gave me a good ribbing over it. Still, once they are¬†steamed it is worth it! Then you can slice it up and use it however you would like! I have found that simmering it in a sauce gives it a great texture.

Vegan Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten
  • ¬Ĺ cup¬†Nutritional Yeast
  • ¬Ĺ cup¬†Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp paprika powder
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1¬ľ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¬ľ tsp ground allspice
  • ¬ľ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2¬ľ cups filtered water
  • 3 Tbsp vegan¬†Worcestershire¬†sauce
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce

Directions:

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl whisk the wet together, add to the dry and stir until mixed, the dough will be spongy.

Divide the dough into 10 1/3 cup portions. Roll each out into a sausage form, about 6″ to 7″ long. Tear off a sheet of foil, place a “log” on each one, roll up, then twist the ends and fold over. Make sure you have rolled them tightly or the mixture will burst out.

Bring a pot of water to boil, add the wrapped sausage to a steamer basket in the pot. cover and steam gently for 30 minutes.

Take out and let cool a bit, then unwrap and chill. Store wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for later use.

To serve, slice up and heat through Рeither in a sauce or sauté in oil. I find the sauce method keeps the sausage moist.

Makes about 10 sausages.

Pasta with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1¬Ĺ lbs small tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • ¬ľ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 vegan sausages, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced thinly
  • 13.25 ounce package multi-grain or whole wheat pasta, used fusili shape
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (1 small bunch)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450¬į. Add the tomatoes, capers, oil and oregano ¬†to a large rimmed baking sheet, stir to coat (hands work best). Roast for 25 minutes. If it starts smoking, lower the heat to 400¬į. Take out and let cool a bit, then pulse in a blender or food processor until lightly chunky. Transfer to a medium saucepan, set over medium-low heat and add the pepper and¬†sausage, heat till simmering.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for time on package, adding the broccoli in the last 3 to 4 minutes. Reserve a cup of the cooking water, drain pasta. Add to a large bowl and toss with the sauce and as much of the reserved water as needed to make a creamy sauce.

I added a nice sprinkling of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese and served.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

Review: Neuva Cocina Latin Cuisine with Recipes

I recently received a smattering of products to try from Nueva Cocina Latin Cuisine and had fun making different recipes with them. Considering how little processed food we are using it was almost too easy to make them (Ack! Darn you easy to use food!) I padded out each product with lots of fresh vegetables and protein to make them full meals.

Rice Mix for Seafood:

I made a version of the recipe on the back:

  • 1 box Paella de Mariscos
  • 2¬Ĺ cups water
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 can tuna, packed in oil
  • 1 cup frozen green peas

Directions:

Add the rice mix and seasoning, water and first oil. Bring to a boil, turn to low and cover, let simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large skillet heat the second oil, add the bell peppers and onion, saute over medium-high until crisp-tender. Add in the garlic and cook for a minute, then the tuna, with oil. Turn to low, add in the rice and toss with the peas.

Serves 3.

Corn Soup with Green Chiles:

  • 1 package Sopa de Maiz
  • 1¬Ĺ cups milk
  • 1¬Ĺ cups water
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can minced clams, undrained
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Chopped chives

Directions:

Scrub the potatoes, chop up and place in a alrge saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, drain and set aside.

Prepare the soup according to package directions with the water and milk. Add teh corn, heat through and then the clams with clam juice and potatoes.

Garnish with chives and serve.

Serves 3.

Of all the mixes we received, this was my favorite. It gave so much flavor to a block of tofu and was quick to make. If I was going to have “cheater meals” on hand for lazy days, this would be it:

Picadillo Seasoning Mix:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 16 ounce block extra firm tofu, drained and chopped into cubes
  • 1 package Picadillo Seasoning Mix
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ¬ľ cup water
  • non-fat plain yogurt or sour cream for topping

Rice –

  • 2¬Ĺ cups boiling water
  • 1¬Ĺ cups basmati brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped, fresh or freeze-dried
  • ¬ľ tsp each salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375¬į. Add the rice ingredients into an 8×8″ glass baking dish, stir and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour, fluff up.

Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium-high, add the oil, onion and pepper. Saute until crisp tender, add in the tofu and cook, stirring gently, until browning on all side.

Sprinkle the seasoning mix on, cook for a minute. Add the tomato sauce and water, stir gently. Cover and let simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes.

Serve with the rice, drizzling yogurt over if desired.

Serves 3 to 4.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer – we received product for potential review.

Ecoditty Bags

I reviewed Ecoditty’s Snack Bags recently on my other website, TrailCooking. They had worked well for their sold use, which is to carry food in a reusable and washable organic fabric bag:

Later though I was going through my purse, organizing things when it occurred to me I had a use for the bag that hadn’t been talked about. The Snack Ditty Bag was the right size for tampons and pads.

One can slip in 4 to 5 thin pads (such as Always Infinity Pads – the best on the market!) and a couple full length tampons, fold over the top and shut it. A pretty and very functional bag. No more using sandwich bags to carry them in my purse. And no one sees what it is if you happen to pull the bag out. And that I would consider a winning product!

~Sarah

April Foodie Pen Pals Reveal

I had so much fun in March, I had to do it again – that is I was in Foodie Pen Pals for April! This month I was paired to send a package of goodies to Lisa. I received a package from Crystal, who blogs at Crystal’s Cozy Kitchen. Crystal sent me a lovely package full of tasty treats. The vanilla bean shortbread cookies were the best part – they are made for Walmart but are just what shortbread should be – a short list of ingredients, indulgent and fattening ūüėČ

There was a jar of unsalted cashew butter from Kettle, a box of Kashi TLC cookies and a package of  Blue Diamond Pecan Nut-Thins crackers. The crackers are gluten-free, I have had their almond ones before, the pecan ones are even better. A well enjoyed box of goodies!

Want to join or check it out?

The Lean Green Bean

~Sarah

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