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New Product Reviews!

Well, it’s been awhile since I last posted, and I can’t blame it on anything except personal laziness.  Maybe someday I will keep up on this blog a little better.  Anyway, here are some of the new products J and I have been trying lately:

  • Silk PureAlmond Unsweeted – this milk-alternative is very good.  I think soy milk generally has a slight sweetness to it, but this milk does not.  I love soy milk as well, don’t get me wrong, but I think this PureAlmond is great for savory dishes like macaroni & cheese or “sausage” gravy!  It’s also great in cereal.  I think I need to try making chocolate milk with it; hopefully it’s good!
  • Tofurky Roast – Wow this stuff is AWESOME!  The only thing I would change on it is the price! (It is rather spendy).  J and I tried this the week before Thanksgiving and devoured it.  The roast is tender and the wild-rice and whole wheat bread crumb stuffing is delicious.  I would recommend this product to everyone.
  • Tofurky Italian Sausages – These vegetarian sausages are very good.  We tried them on buns (nom!), and as a topping for a Jack’s Cheese Pizza (also nom!).  Then we stocked up on six packages of them while at Trader Joe’s in the Twin Cities area since they are significantly cheaper there.  I have big plans for these sausages…first up, spaghetti with Italian sausage marinara.
  • Lightlife Gimme Lean Ground Sausage Style – I was craving Biscuits & Gravy with the delicious white sausage gravy that is nicely peppered…I used to make them quite a bit before going veg.  I hadn’t had them in a year, so I decided it was time to try them again.  I made a rustic biscuit recipe from Robin Robertson’s 1000 Vegan Recipes and then made the gravy using a roux made from two tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons, and then adding about 1.5 cups PureAlmond milk.  After the gravy had thickened, I added the sausage crumbles which I had sauteed in a frying pan with a little olive oil.  I seasoned with salt and pepper and served the gravy over the biscuits.  Even my step-daughter (she’s 9) liked them!

The Bounty of the Garden

Pretty veggies that I picked from the garden last week!

Product Reviews!

I know I’ve been a slacker…so I thought I’d better give some reviews on new foods I’ve tried.

  • Yves Meatless Hot Dogs: These veg hot dogs are delicious.  The taste was identical to a meat-based hot dog.  The texture is very similar, though these have a funny angled shape instead of being perfect cylinders.  Also, based on personal experience, I can tell you not to microwave these on a paper plate unless you enjoy eating bits of paper.
    • Heat and eat on a bun just like a normal hot dog.  I like to add ketchup, mustard, and maybe some finely diced onions or pickle relish.  Don’t forget about the sauerkraut!
    • Dice into small chunks and mix into a can of vegetarian baked beans for a yummy “franks and beans” dinner.  Serve with macaroni and cheese for the comfort meal that I ate as a kid!
    • Cut a slit into the side, put in half a slice of American cheese, and wrap in a crescent roll to make pigs-in-a-blanket.
  • Quake True Delights Quakes – Blackberry Pomegranate: These little multigrain crisps are awesome!  They are sweet and crunchy with a nice fruity flavor.  One serving (13 crisps) has 110 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber; those are pretty good stats for a snack food.  I could eat an entire bag and still only consume 330 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 9 grams of fiber!
  • Frieda’s Soyrizo: I bought this thinking “Hey, chorizo…I’ve heard that’s tasty!”  It did not live up to my expectations, though I’d like to try it again in a different recipe.  This first time,  I crumbled then sauteed it, and added it to whole wheat pasta mixed with Ragu double cheddar cheese sauce.  Next time, I think I will try slicing it and making a spicy sandwich or something.

More to come in the future!

Gardening

In an effort to be more healthful and save money, I have started both an outdoor vegetable garden and an indoor herb garden.  The outdoor garden is a project in conjunction with friends from work, but the indoor herb garden is all mine.

I will post pics of the gardens when I get around to taking them.  The outdoor garden has: beets, dill, spinach, kale, rainbow chard, lots of different tomato varieties, hot peppers, sweet peppers, onions, eggplant, several corn varieties, black soybeans, chickpeas, peas, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkin, and watermelon.  (I think I got all of the veggies listed, but I will check my garden map and confirm).  The onions are flourishing, and we are starting to see corn, bean, and zucchini shoots.  There are others too, but I can’t identify them just by looking at them.  The tomatoes and eggplant aren’t doing very well, but I think that is probably because we have really clay-y soil in our yard.  I plan on putting up a hanging tomato plant on my deck, so even if the garden tomatoes fail, I should hopefully still have some fresh ones in a few months.

The herb garden contains dill, chives, garlic chives, oregano, and basil.  They are planted in a pretty green window planter, and are kept in the only room that the cats aren’t allowed in (my exercise room).  Hopefully they get enough light as the window in there faces south.

Update

Hey hey anyone who reads this.  As you can see, I haven’t written in several months, but today Sarah asked me about it, so I thought I should update.  I’m still a vegetarian…mostly vegan now though I do have days that I eat cheese or dairy in baked goods/chocolate.  I have been reading a lot of books on veganism and have been trying out lots of new recipes.  I’ll try to get some of them written up in the next week or so and post the recipes.  I’ve also been trying new foods like Brown Rice Syrup and Smart Dogs (vegan hot dogs).  I’ll review some of those too.

Also, on a Kitty-related note: we are no longer fostering Aten, and we are now fostering Ahti and Happy.  I will try to get pics of them up soon.

Tonight’s dinner was nom.  I got the idea from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson.  I didn’t follow a recipe, however…just made up my own (as usual!).

Here’s the recipe:

Potato-‘Sausage’ Quesadillas

  • Cooking spray
  • 6 small to medium red potatoes, washed and baked (I microwaved mine to cook them), then coarsely mashed
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1/2 package (7 oz) Gimme Lean Ground Sausage by Lightlife (veggie sausage), crumbled
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • flour tortillas -wheat, 100 calorie, high fiber…whatever you like
  • salsa -optional
  • sour cream -optional (I used Tofutti Sour Cream)
  • avocado -optional

Spray a pan with cooking spray and begin sauteing the onions and bell peppers.  Then add the crumbled sausage and continue to cook until the onions and pepper are softened.  Continue to break up the sausage as it cooks; it can be a bit “sticky.”  When the onions and peppers have softened, add the mashed potatoes and diced green chiles.  Stir everything up and let it cook until warm (or until the mashed potatoes have gotten a bit brown and crispy if you like!).

Heat another frying pan, a griddle, or a fancy-schmancy quesadilla maker.  Place one tortilla on the bottom, put in about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the filling, and then place another tortilla on top.  Cook until the first side is brown and crispy, then flip and cook the other side (no need to flip if you are using a quesadilla maker).  Cut the quesadilla into quarters and serve with the optional garnishes, if desired.


Triple kitty threat.

They will kill you with cuteness.  From left to right: Coleus (Coco), Caesar (Fluffybutt), and May (Meme).