Monday, September 15, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Healthy Eats - Amy's Black Bean & Rice Taquitos

This week I start off with more Mexican inspired food because you know how well  I love the stuff! It is also the week I kick of healthier picks from the shelves of Target. Now since the 'clean police' have raided social media and tried to shut down anything they feel is not 'clean', people are afraid of anything from a box or a can. It is silly because you can find healthy picks in the frozen section of the store or canned veggies with more nutritional value than what has been trucked in from over seas in the produce department (depending on season).

Last week Target rolled out a lot of new vegan products and Matt and I picked up a few to try out. One of them being Amy's Black Bean and Rice Taquitos. They are not even listed on the site yet - super new right? What makes them a healthier pick is they can be baked (like I made them) in the oven and for 2 rolls they clock in at 190 in the calorie department. Traditionally taquitos are deep fried - so good (Go to Flacos if you are ever in the East Bay or Fresno!) but having deep fried food daily is not a wise option - sorry  Matt I will not buy that deep fryer at Costco! 

These tasty lil taco rolls have a comfort food feel, taste yummy and can be topped or served in a variety of ways. I made them using vegan nacho cheeze sauce, garden fresh salsa, Golf Sauce (see Sept/Oct15 VegNews for recipe) and some pickled peppers I made last week. Since they are baked they do not have that super crunchy texture that you get from deep frying - but I am okay with that. They bake in about 15 minutes making them a fast lunch. If you are looking to make them into more of a meal, serve them with rice, beans and a side salad.

These will be making a appearance in my Target basket again real soon!

Friday, September 12, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Pantry Essentials - Milk & Cereal

As we launch into the weekend thoughts of relaxation take shape in our mind or at least my mind - sleeping in is a priority! Feeling so relaxed that you do not want to do more than get up off the couch, but the grumbling in your stomach will not go away? Grab a box of cereal and some almond milk...A bowl and a spoon would come in handy too.

My go to plant based milk is unsweetened Blue Diamond Almond Milk in Original or Vanilla. I buy one of each every week. I use the vanilla flavored one in cereal, tea or coffee and baked good while the original flavor gets put into savory sauces and dips.This week the original was sold out so I had to get a shelf stable smaller version - ya Target has all your size needs covered!

If you have cereal on hand you have a quick anytime snack. Not just for the AM crowed cereal powers my lunch and depending on variety, it is a good late night snack. Target has a variety of natural and organic cereals and granola flavors - from the kiddie at heart kind to the more adult fruit and fiber style. I like it all! 

Do you have a favorite plant based milk and cereal combo?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Pantry Essentials - PB2

It is Thursday  - a day that lacks any special mention in most people's weekly schedule. You have Monday - back to the old grind, Wednesday - that mid week hump day, Friday - get ready for the weekend...Somewhere among the shuffle, Thursday gets lost. 

I decided to hook Thursday up with one of my favorite things in the world - PEANUT BUTTER! Not just any peanut butter I am talking powdered PB2 peanut butter! When I first heard about this stuff I was not having it, powdered peanut butter? Gross. After trying it I am hooked and eat a few tablespoons to a mini bowl of it a day, serious good stuff.
Why powdered peanut butter and not the 'real' stuff? The first thing one might notice is the nutrition count: PB2 has 45 calories per 2 tablespoons and 1.5 grams of fat. The traditional stuff clocks in at 188 calories for 2 tablespoons and 8.0 grams of fat. Big difference right? Not that traditional peanut butter is bad - the oils and fat are of the good healthy kind. If you stick to a peanut butter that is more natural and not packed with sugar like some brands out there your good to go. No need to food shame anyone's peanut butter choices.
I like PB2 strait up, it is not oily and does not leave a grease trail on my lips. You can find me snacking on it and adding it to food. I like making a peanuty stir fry sauce with it or using it in powder form to coat fresh popped popcorn with a fine dusting for a sweet and salty taste. My fave way though - a small bowl of the stuff mixed super creamy style with a drizzle of chocolate syrup! If I have a banana on hand I slice it up and toss it into the mix.

Target has the best store prices of PB2 in town. I go for the original but the chocolate is not bad as well. Target carries both varieties so you can get your peanut butter love on. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Pantry Essentials - Rotel

Rotel is something I could buy by the case! I use it weekly for my nachos and in colder months it is a nice add in to any chili concoction I whip up. From corn salad to salsa scrambles Rotel is my Tex-Mex secret. Often found in recipes in my zine - you might think I have stock in the company. Target has the best price in town - even compared to discount grocery stores. This little can of tomatoes, peppers and spice is just right to make any dish a winner!

On any given Friday night you might here me yell across the aisles to Matt "I forgot the Rotel!!!" and see a vision of black clad cat lady sprint across the store!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Pantry Essentials - Hot Sauce

It is not a secret - I love, I mean really love hot sauce. My sauce arsenal ranges from 3 - 6 different varieties at any given time. My go to are always the same though: Sriracha, Frank's and Cholula. Target stocks all of them in various sizes perfect for my needs. I like them for all different reasons and usually will mix a few together depending on dish. Hot sauce is a staple part in my diet and a pantry staple for sure!

Sriracha - Ohhhhh how I love theeeeee flavor booster with a rooster perched on your label! I love Sriracha so much that I have a bottle of it tattooed on my leg and the staff at my fave Thai restaurant look on in amazement as I add more and more to my dish. Sriracha makes a boring dish explode! Have you ever bought a crappy container of hummus on a whim? Don't toss it out - Sriracha it up! I love mixing a squirt in with my veggie crumbles when we have Nacho Night Friday to add heat and an extra wow factor. Sriracha on fries or tots - hell ya! So many Sriracha-bilities for every taste bud out there!

Frank's - my nachos would not be complete without Frank's Original. When The Laziest Vegan posted about using Frank's on a Mexican dish way back when, I thought that it was crazy and sacrilegious. After trying it I wanted to add him to the food saint-hood order! It is magical! I also love it on my mac & cheeze to bring some sweet heat to the mix. Soy curls would not be complete without Frank's - a saucy amount of Frank's, a splash of Sriracha and a smidgen of Earth Balance - off the yum factor chart!

Cholula - makes an appearance on tacos. It is not in my daily arsenal but since I discovered it 6 or so years ago at a resturant I always keep a bottle around. I stick to the original and it sticks to any Mexican inspired dish nicely.

Do you love hot sauce as much I do? What are your favorites when it comes to turning up the heat?

Monday, September 8, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Pantry Essentials - Rice & Beans

This week I am going to be sharing some pantry essentials one should keep handy for quick no brainer meals. Having these things in the house keeps food funk at a low and possible fast meals at your fingertips.

You cannot get any more basic than rice and beans. A world staple, rice and beans show up in cultures from all around the world in some form. Often seen as peasant food rice and beans can save a broke person's meal budget and make things more complete. 

Keeping a few varieties of canned (or in this case boxed) beans around allows for things like nachos, tacos, crunchy snacks, veggie burgers and more to happen in a snap. I am a fan of black beans and pinto beans because I dig on Mexican food. I do love garbanzo beans though I do not use them as much. Put them in soup to add a hearty protein punch, make hummus or bake them and make garbanzo crunchies! Target has many organic and low sodium bean options. If you cannot find low sodium rinse your beans before use to get rid of salt if you are not a fan of the stuff or need to watch your intake.

My go to rice is always basmati - I use it in it's plain form to cuddle a stir fry dish or with tomato sauce and olive oil to create Matt's mama's red rice. Basmati has a warm nutty smell and taste that I totally dig. You may prefer brown rice or wild rice - Target has a lot of rice options. Keeping rice around is a sure fire way to add starch to a dish in an affordable way.

Tonight my meal is actually going to consist of both rice and beans. It is taco night and the pair will star in leading roles in my dinner production. If you have a fave way to incorporate these staples into your meals let me know!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Bonus Weekend Content: 5 Beauty Picks Under $5

Finding vegan cosmetics can be hard, expensive and can lead to a headache. Here are my top 5 picks found at Target. Each of these products are something I have bought multiple times and will continue to do so! Bonus all of them are under $5!

Wet N Wild - Walking On Eggshells Palette. I find these way to shimmery for the eyelid but I love to use the white and light pink to highlight my cheekbones!

I owe my brows to ELF's Coffee eyeliner! Perfect consistency and long wear!

Another ELF makeup bag staple -  black liquid liner. My fave to make flawless feline like eyes! 

This Wet N wild Fergie primer makes my eye makeup budge proof! A little bit goes a long way and will keep your liner and shadow looking fresh to death!

 The Mega Last lip color line from Wet N Wild has great shades that work on many skin tones and stay put even after a coffee run!

All 5 products are in my everyday makeup rotation!