Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vegan Foodie Pen Pals: Vegan Princess in an Omni Kingdom

 The Vegan Food Swap that’s hosted by Cat @ The Verdant Life is back on, this month, as well!

I actually sent a package over to Lindsey Reedy, whom, I've previously sent to back in September. So I got to reconnect with her, which was cool. I sent her a package filled with some of my favorite vegan sweets, including.. raw chocoagave syrup. Oooh yeah.

This month I was fortunate enough to have Molly Caple, Vegan Princess in a Omni Kingdom, send me some awesome vegan treats from Seattle, WA! I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest so I could not wait to dig into the great package that Molly hand-picked just for me. I was even more excited when I read her note saying that she got most of the goodies from Vegan Haven, which is an all-vegan grocery store in Seattle. An added bonus is that all proceeds from the store go to Pig’s Peace Sanctuary, to help the pigs that live there. Which I love.

Molly included some info about the Sanctuary, along with a button with their mascot on it. I collect buttons! So this now has a new home on my tote bag where my collection subsides. Isn’t it adorable?!

I lucked out big time! Molly included Butler Soy Curls-which I’ve been dying to try out but my natural grocery stores unfortunately don’t carry them. Along with a few recipes that use the Butler Soy Curls in them. I like Molly’s friend’s suggestion in using them to make “chicken tacos”, but the “Sweet & Sour” recipe is calling my name. If your not familiar with Soy Curls, they are a product that’s made from whole soybean, and are 100% natural..with no additives or preservatives. Just the whole bean goodness.

I have plans for The Vita Crisp chips. They are Nacho Chez flavor, are made with organic ingredients, are sprouted(love), and gluten-free. I'm thinking these chips will be fantastic with some avocado, roasted vegetables, black beans, and salsa.

Caramel Sauce from a small bakery in Seattle called Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery. So yes, I now have homemade and bakery made vegan caramel sauce. I’m pretty much set for life! Question is.. what I’m going to do with it all? I love the fact that it’s local, though, since I’m a huge fan on receiving local items! So regardless of having received homemade caramel sauce in the other swap. I’m still pretty stoked about this sauce!

Lastly, we have a Go Max Go* Thumbs up vegan candy bar. In her note, Molly said that the Go Max Go candy bars are a favorite. Thumbs Up candy bars are just simply.. vegan Butterfinger. I used to tear up butterfingers when I wasn’t vegan. Easily an old favorite. Thanks to Molly, I got to indulge in a vegan version that old favorite! I'm definitely looking into getting more of these candy bars. I think Vegan Essentials has them. (;

Thank you so much Molly! I loved the candy bar! It was a real delicacy. I can't wait to dig in to the rest of the items! 

Does swapping vegan food goodies interest you? You should consider joining in on the swapping fun by clicking here.

Foodie Penpals: We're Back!

I’m excited to be able to finally get back into the swing of things, such as foodie pen pals, that’s hosted by Lindsey at The Lean Green Bean.

Though, that’s not all. Needless to say, this new year already, has hit me pretty hard and I’ve fallen back on a lot. A lot. Though, this post isn’t about that.

This is a happy post! Filled with the yummy food that Antoinette sent me from California!

Antoinette went beyond what I was expecting. She put so much thought and effort into my package.
From the exterior..

(Truth be told.. I adore hello kitty!)

..clear to the interior.

(Just look at that beautiful wrapping job and my favorite color ironically enough!)

Believe it or not.. it gets better.

Antoinette included both local and homemade goodies for me. All vegan approved!

The two local items she sent me were: Kinder’s* BBQ Mustard Sauce and Perfect Pom Juice. The BBQ sauce is found locally from neighboring cities around where Antoinette lives. I've been using it as a marinade for tofu and a couple soy products, such as Gardein, that I like to add into my salad. This sauce is made with all natural ingredients(which I love) and is gluten free! I'm not gluten-free myself, but nevertheless, pretty cool. The Perfect Pom Juice is from Wine Country in Napa so the juice is mixed with Merlot grapes. This juice was fantastic! I rarely drink juice at all, but when I do I like it to be 100% natural with nothing added. This is only made with pomegranate juice and California Merlot grapes. No added sugar, and it's pasteurized. They got the name right- it's perfect!

The homemade goodies wow'ed me. Antoinette send me a inventory sheet along with my goodies, that told me what all was used in the making of the homemade treats. I appreciate that a lot because I'm very strict with knowing what a certain food item contains. Being vegan, that's just normal. I've read all about vegans falling off the wagon and their body rejecting the food due to it having meat, dairy, etc. Trust me, it sounds unpleasant. At first I was hesitant toward the Lemon Poppy Seed Granola. I'm not a real big lemon fan. I like lemon in water, but other than that I've found lemon flavored items are a bit too overwhelming for me. First thing I do when I pull this out? Smell it. (Yes, I smell food I'm unsure of. I can't be the only one, right?) After that I bite the bullet, so to speak, and tasted it. Surprisingly enough, I liked it. Which I'm thrilled about because Antoinette sent me a ton of it! This granola plus some soy vanilla yogurt equals pure awesomeness.

For the Grenadine and Lemongrass-Ginger Syrup I added them both, individually, to La Croix* Pure Sparkling Water. I poured a generous amount of the syrup over ice. Then poured the sparkling water over it. Refreshing and a nice way to treat myself since I don’t really drink anything other than water, tea, and coffee.

The Caramel Sauce got me really excited. I've never seen vegan caramel sauce in the stores. (Though, caramel sauce has never been on my grocery list, so that may be why?) Nevertheless, I can't wait to use this sauce! I have a few ideas-over coconut ice cream with some nuts, in a vegan caramel milkshake, caramel apples.. mmm. I can't wait to go grocery shopping so I can start experimenting! I also love that this sauce is made with only simple ingredients-sugar, hemp milk, water, vanilla, and salt. That's it, people.

The Lean Green Bean

Antoinette deserves a big THANK YOU! I absolutely adored my package this month! Making homemade, vegan goodies can be intimidating to some, but Antoinette did a fantastic job! Thanks a million, Antoinette!


 Interested in becoming a Foodie Penpal yourself? Here’s the details:

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in participating for February, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cheezy Semi-Mexican Quinoa Cassorole

I got this recipe idea from a lady that you all have head about if you read my blog. Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.

I rarely follow a recipe full force, 100%. I usually just take in a recipe and do 3/4 of what the person who originally made it did, then the other 1/4 I play with. You can find Lindsay's original recipe for this casserole here. 

My recipe is basically hers just I didn't add in the corn, extra green bell pepper, some of the spices, or well, the dairy! Reason being.. I didn't have all the spices on hand like I thought I did, I didn't want to use a whole other pepper since I'm on a budget and I need that pepper for other things, and I don't like corn. Why? Because of all the crap you hear about corn being genetically modified. You can read about that here if you were not aware of that. That's a newer study that just came out a few weeks ago. I've known for years about it, though. Ever since finding that out I've extremely limited my consumption of any corn products. I do eat corn tortilla chips on occasion, but other than that.. nothing with the word "corn" goes into this body.

  • 1/2c onion, diced.
  • 1 red bell pepper.
  • 2c black beans, cooked.
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced.
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of parsley.
  • 2c quinoa, cooked.
  • 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast seasoning. (I used Bragg)
  • 1c unsweetened original almond milk. (I used Silk)
  • 1 tablespoon of earth balance* soy free vegan margarine.
  • 1 tablespoon of flour.
  • Toppings: diced tomato, avocado.
  1.  Cook quinoa, as package instructs. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, saute onion, red bell pepper, garlic and spices in a pan, until softened.
  3. After quinoa is done cooking, remove from heat, then add in the black beans and quinoa, mix well.
  4. Transfer mixture into a bowl, set aside.
  5. In the same pan, melt the vegan margarine then add in the flour.
  6. Slowly add the almond milk and stir to remove lumps.
  7. Add in the nutritional yeast, stir well.
  8. Add in the quinoa mixture and stir until evenly mixed.
  9. Transfer mixture to a sprayed or greased casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Top with tomato and avocado!