Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Stay At Home Girlfriend #6

Issue number 6 of The Stay At Home Girlfriend is out now. I talk about my life with Mar, how the loss of him has effected me, a tribute to Mickey, vegan recipes and talk about day to day life having OCD. Please pick it up in my Etsy shop today! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Five Or Less Vegan Zine


I am looking for vegan recipes that require 5 ingredients or less. Cooking oil, water, salt & pepper do not count into the total. If you want a footer note you can add more ingredients to make it jazzy like a extra spice or sauce but these extra should not be needed for the recipe. You are free to use packaged food - as long as it is vegan!

If you have a recipe that would make a great entry to my zine please email me at missmuffcake(a) I need recipes by Jan 15, 2014. If your recipe makes it into the zine you will get a copy hot off the presses sent to your maill box! Sound fun? Submit today!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mickey - Tribute To A Great Cat

On Monday Mar's mom Mickey passed away. She was 20 or about 20 years old. Mickey had a wonderful life, pulled through things like getting hit by a car and attacked by a dog. My mom and step father treated her like a queen. 
I still remember when my sister brought her home - she fit into our house nicely, even though my dad said no to her. Soon enough she warmed him over. She was a sweet cat who gave me the best gift ever - Mar. I thanked her every time I saw her for him.  

With Mar passing last month and now Mickey our family is deeply sad. We have days of tears, especially as people start getting into the holiday spirit. Our family will never be the same.

We love and always will love you Mama Mickey....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dia De Los Muertos Altars


My altar for Mar (and I) at Peer Recovery Arts in Modesto.If you like the art in the background check out Chicano Art Frisco Style .

Closeup of Altar. I included his favorite cat food treat, toys, wooden letters I painted that spelled out his name, paw print fabric, pictures, incense in a glow in the dark (cat eyes) holder, a prayer candle I made.

Our home altar complete with Mar photo collage, photos of my sister, Matt's dad and some of the doggies and kitties of people we know or have met through the CRF groups. For those without pictures I placed their names on a candle.

These last few weeks have been hard. Creating these altars have helped me think of good memories and show love to those that we have lost.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Memories And Love For The Best Kitty Ever

 Marilyn "Mar" Manson
 3/7/97 - 10/20/13

On Sunday October 20th we had to say goodbye to Mar. It was the hardest thing I have had to do, the most painful. As many of you knew Mar had been suffering from kidney disease since June. He crashed one morning and I rushed him into the vet, he had to stay two nights, I had never been without him for so long. I was a mess, my neighbor helped get Mar into her vet when Mar's regular vet did not give us much hope.
Since June Matt and I tried various medicines, various food and various supplements. We also went to the vet every 2 -3 weeks for blood work and check ups. Mar had some good days and some not so good days but through it all Mar was a brave little fighter.

In early October Mar started urinating on the bed, something he never had done before. We were concerned. He was treated for a UTI and we stocked up on blankets, baby crib liners, towels and visited the laundromat to wash our comforter a lot. I did not mind Mar having accidents, yes I was tired, lacking sleep and groggy but there was no way my kitty was not going to sleep in bed with me if that is where he wanted to be, right between his mommy and daddy. We got into a routine, put out a baby crib liner (the best thing in the world - we tried a lot of leak proof things), put Mar on top, climbed into bed, checked on the pee situation a few times at night, adjust accordingly...In the morning I would wipe him down with a baby wipe, brush him and use a kitty scented grooming cloth on him to clean him up. He enjoyed it.

He was having a hard time getting around, his back legs did not want to work. I would carry him to the litter box, bring his food to him and also bring him outdoors to get some natural energy and warming sun. Every morning I hugged him and said "thank you for another day"...

On Saturday October 19th Mar would not eat much, he was really tired and I was worried. We went to his vet, he got a vitamin shot, his temp was on the cold side so we went home, I busted out a bunch of water bottles and warmed them up, made him a warming sauna and got him comfy. Matt and I did some errands and came home.
Later that night I noticed Mar was having a hard time breathing. His eyes were also dilated. I  was really worried, Matt and I took him to the vet ER. I did not like her, she was very cold. So we drove 30 minutes away to another emergency vet. Matt took the lid off his carrier and as he sat Mar in his carrier in my lap I just stroked him over and over and talked to him. The news was the same, his heart was giving out and his lungs were filled with liquid. We had to say goodbye. I am not ready to talk/type about this in detail, please forgive me. I just wanted to say how painful it was and how sad we have been.

My life was Mar: if you read my zines, visited this blog, met me in person you know Mar was my world. We have art work of Mar in the house, I have his face tattooed on my arm and 16 years of stories of my best friend. Mar saved me from my dark days, he was always there demanding attention, meowing for food wanting to be brushed - his way of saying 'think of other things mom'...Mar never once judged me when things 'did not feel right', like the door needing to be closed a certain way or I had to check on something...He just wanted to love us, get love and eat!
My paranoid thoughts revolved around Mar's safety. I did not like to be away from Mar long. I would pray to anyone out there listening to make Mar better. I lit candles for him, going to scary parts of town to buy the right ones. I would use energy and stone therapy on him, praying for a long healthy happy life (my mantra for him). My mom and Matt would say "give Mar a break, he does not need you hovering around him". Sixteen years is a long life for a kitty, but I wanted more, don't we all?

My days feel alone. I go outside to feed the feral cats that were his friends. I cry a lot. I have been psychically and mentally drained.We got his ashes and paw print back last week. I hide them under a blanket on the couch. I have pulled the box out a few times and hold them delicately and cry. I want him near me but it just hurts. I hid his brush because I cannot look at it right now, I pulled it out, trying to smell his scent the other day and put it back. We celebrated his life last weekend during Dia De Los Muertos. I have been trying to be strong and we have been trying to learn a new routine...It is not easy...

I miss Mar. Mar was more than a cat, more than a companion he was a huge part of my life, my friend-soul-mate. I love you Mar. I always will. I will have more to come, I wanted to try and get something up and this is all I can do for now.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oakland's Eat Real Fest & Bean Book Winner

Last Saturday Matt and I went to Oakland to get our vegan food fix at the Eat Real Fest, after struggling to find parking (the theme for the day!) we headed over and scoped out food vendors looking for vegan eats!

We first split a plate of tofu fries from Hodo Soy  yummy after a squirt of Sriracha! 

We were on a mission to find Hella Vegan Eats - since we could only find a map of the festival at certain points, Matt got on his phone, looked up pics and all Inspector Gadget like figured out their location.

I got the Lusty Lover Taco: mac n cheeze, bbq bits and crunchy spicy corn flake topping. It was so good and this dish has me experimenting in the kitchen!

Matt got the doughnut burger - mini in size but big in flavor. It is a beet burger patty with a doughnut bun. I found it to sweet. It was good but I think it needed something to cut down the sweetness.

After hitting up a few more spots to sample and eat we had to get going. If we brought more cash I think I would have spent more money but would have ruined dinner. So much good food, even if the crowed and noise did not agree with my anxiety, it was not horrible.

Winner of last weeks Great Vegan Bean Book contest contest is lucky comment #2: ChoirQueer - congrats!

Monday, September 30, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] So Long Vegan MOFO 2013 - Bean Book Giveaway

Thank you for joining me for another year of Vegan MOFO. I look forward to the challenge, making new blog friends and finding creativity from posts and my own kitchen. 
As a thank you one lucky US winner will win a copy of Kathy Hester's new The Great Vegan Bean Book. From savory bean dishes like Pumpkin White Bean Chowder (which screams fall!) to the sweet Black Bean Fudgesicles - this book has your bean needs covered! The book is great - most recipes can be used with canned beans if you do not feel like an extra hour of prep. The ingredients are all pretty familiar and easy to find in a regular grocery store.   

To enter for your chance to win please tell me what your favorite bean dish is in the comments below. One winner will be picked on October 4. Please leave a way to contact you with the comment.

[Vegan MOFO] Mama Mia Monday - Comfort Classic & Pasta Memories

Lately Matt and I have needed some good ol' comforting. When I think of comfort food - pasta does come to mind along with chocolate and baked goods. After a crappy weekend I made Matt a simple lunch consisting of a dish we had a lot growing up.

Pasta with butter and cheese. My mom would make it with angel hair, but I like more noodle-y shaped pasta, so that is what I used. I swapped out butter for Earth Balance and nooch for cheese .I liked it growing up with something coated in bread crumbs - so I thought Matt would dig it with some Gardein strips. Don't mind the bite missing from the strip - Mar was my taste tester!

I have talked about this side dish before. My sister loved it growing up, it was her favorite. I have been thinking of my sister a lot lately so I had this dish in my mind as well.

What comfort food memories do you have when you think of family members? Do you make recipes in honor and memory of those no longer with you?

Friday, September 27, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Friday Finds - Jelly Beans

A few weeks back Raley's started doing a makeover on their store isles. Mostly rearranging and bringing new products in. Besides an Indian section (with some vegan jarred curries) the natural foods department got some new treats. 
I was looking at the candy section which is right next to the energy bar section now and came across Yum Earth Naturals' Sour Beans. I was skeptical at first - finding vegan jelly beans is no easy task, however they wre vegan so in the cart they went! 
They come in individual snack size portions - which I like! They are sour put not horribly so, they are sweet and the flavors play off each other nicely. Since my first pack I have bought more. I was always sad when Easter came around and I could not find vegan jelly beans but now I have these and I am happy! 

Are you a fan of sour candy? 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

[Vegan Mofo] Throwback Thursday - A Packed Lunch

Growing up I almost exclusively ate packed lunches through out elementary school. My mom would make me the best-ever peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a juice box, chips and a cupcake. In the lunch room I went from being a 0 to super cool as kid's fought over my cupcake with their greedy lil hands.
My mom would make my lunch with care, she would make sure the sandwich had the perfect peanut butter to jelly ratio, if I was using a paper sack my name would be perfectly written in my mom's loopy writting on the center and everything felt perfect. If my dad made my sandwich, I would get a glob of peanut butter and jelly on the bottom of a plastic bag with bread jammed in the bag.

Since I have decided to be child free (except trying to be an awesome mom to Mar) my lunch bag duties have fallen onto Matt's lunch. I want to make his 30 minutes in his car special M-F. Packing a lunch for a child and a grown man is not that different when he likes the basics and nothing fancy. Try to get fancy or change things up - then you have a problem.
So Matt's M-F lunch routine is a Tofurky, FYH cheeze and tomato sandwich, a baggie of chips, raisins + sea salted almonds, a Primal Strips jerky a bottle of water. Sometimes I will throw a treat in there or leave a card in his car for him to find. Lately we are on a reusable napkin kick. I am using up my fabric stash to create washable napkins for his lunch and around the house.

Did you get a packed lunch for school or did you eat a hot lunch from the cafeteria? What are you eating for lunch these days?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] WWGFD Wednesday - Basic Breakfast Diner Style

Diners, Drive - Ins and Dives is one of my favorite shows. I really like when they show an interesting take on a classic. I like the idea of diner food for breakfast. Growing up on special occasions my family would go have breakfast at the restaurant inside the bowling alley! I remember my mom would order us cups of hot chocolate and we would drink them up right away instead of waiting.

Weekend breakfast time was a a weekly thing in our house. My mom would make pancakes or pop open a can of biscuits and serve them with gravy (or pb&j) or my dad would make waffles with the waffle iron. When I would go to my aunt's house she would make fried potatoes, lots of margarine and salt. When I fist moved out making fried potatoes was my go to meal, cheap, comforting and easy to make. These fried potatoes are what diner dreams are made of.

After taking Mar to the vet I came home and needed a plate of comfort food for dinner. I cooked us up fried potatoes with red bell peppers, scrambled tofu and sour dough toast. I served it curried ketchup bought at the store and the meal made my belly happy.
While the picture looks bland - fear not it is good. I used a nice amount of Earth Balance coconut oil spread and Himalayan pink sea salt on the potatoes in my non-stick pan with red bell pepper slices. I like my potatoes crunchy, I actually pick off any burnt pieces stuck on the pan and eat them!  The scramble is just the basic tofu scramble...Comforting - what diner food is supposed to be!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Target Tuesday - Get Up And Go

Are you a morning person? Both Matt and I are really not the early morning type people that come alive at 6AM. Monday through Friday, we get up at 7:30, have a routine of bathroom, breakfast, sending Matt off to work and me getting a workout in after a few minutes of the news.

I go for tea and either a bowl of cereal with almond milk or a Luna Fiber bar. Matt has adopted this routine as well.Matt usually get chocolate Zico to replace the tea though. We both like the Simply Balanced Fiery Chai tea.

Not a tea person? How about a cup of fair trade coffee? Target has you covered!They have a varirty of non-dairy milks and organi sugar if you do not take your black.

Need more than an fiber or energy bar? Target has lots of vegan and organic cereals to choose from, from kiddie picks to granola! They also have the best prices after price checking a few stores!

Even if you are like me - not a morning person, hopefully this picks help your mornings a little bit easier!

Monday, September 23, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Mama Mia Monday - Simple Pasta Sauce

I recently bought the book The Glorious Vegetables of Italy - hoping it would inspire me and add more flair to my Italian dishes. First recipe I tried was the Simple Tomato Sauce - since it was cheap: I had garlic from the farmer's market, canned tomatoes, olive oil (always on hand!) and dried basil (I subbed the fresh for dried since Trader Joe's was my shopping store for the day and they do not have fresh basil ever...)

The sauce is good - a bit plain perhaps. I added a big pinch of nooch on top of the sauce with garlic bread (of course). The sauce calls for two cloves of garlic - I am thinking it needs 4 cloves or more, I did not really notice the garlic flavor. Also besides salt the only other spice/seasoning is basil. Next time it will get a kick of pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano.

I am still not done with the bags of organic pasta I got from Costco - good thing we like pasta! Also we scored more loaves of bread for garlic bread there this weekend! I never really had garlic bread growing up, bread from the oven at my grandmas would be olive oil and cheese...Mom would serve pasta with fresh bread from the store. Matt had garlic bread at home.Now we are all about the garlic bread! Garlic bread is now my comforting favorite!

Friday, September 20, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Friday Finds - 99 Cent Only

My mom who is the former Queen of Yard Sales renounced her title a few years back and now has become Queen of the $1 Stores. Growing up Saturday mornings meant sleeping in a bit, watching cartoons and either going to yard sales with my mom or having her bring home loot we could go through. I think for the most part we stayed home - she would often be gone before the first sugar crusted cereal bit hit the bowl or a toy commercial came on...

Now she is consistently searching for gems at the 99 Cent Only store(s) and sometimes she alerts me to products I need to pick up. Last weekend she told me that they had big things of Zico Chocolate Coconut Water, so I grabbed a few, great deal but one expired before I even opened it...Matt has been having a glass each morning with his breakfast and I have added it to some tea that was pretty bland and needed a pick me up.

I scored a bunch of Halloween decorations and hot sauce! I searched the hot sauce section on a mission - to walk away with a new find. 

Do you ever go to the $1 stores? If so score anything good? Last month I picked up bags of mini Chick-O-Sticks at the Dollar General and vegan nail polish! I guess you never know what you may find!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Throwback Thursday - A Plate Of Chocolate Chip Cookies After School

I know the old adage is apple pie is the American treat. I beg to differ though! I believe it is chocolate chip cookies.While apple pie has it's place in the world, were you ever greeted after school with apple pie? Handed some apple pie to cheer you up? How about a PMS apple pie craving? I doubt it - but I could be wrong, if I am beg my pardon!

Chocolate chip cookies....ahhhh...memories in a circular shape, gooey and delicious! My mom would often bake chocolate chip cookies as a treat. I remember her once making a bunch for my elementary school classroom and the connecting class rooms for my birthday or something (I say something because my birthday falls during the traditional summer break month).
Matt has memories of plates of chocolate chip cookies. As a kid her was allowed a few cookies and as he got older he got to grab more on his way to play practice in high school. Plates of cookies make a crappy school day better!

I have played around with vegan chocolate chip cookie recipes for like seven years now. I had a really awesome recipe that someone gave me that consisted of using olive oil, I accedintly left it behind when I moved - bummer. I have tried many since then. Currently I have been baking with coconut sugar and other alternatives to the white stuff (sugar). I have also been testing out new flours and techniques.

I have been baking a lot of cookies and selling them locally under the name Pastry Paws. All the money goes to help Mar's medical costs. Baking also helps me reduce my stress/anxiety. Matt is my taste tester and Mar is my mascot. It is a great way for me to bring in a bit of extra money to pay the vet, buy Mar his med's and connect with people over vegan treats.

Cookies are love. Do you have cookie memories - chocolate chip or otherwise? Make cookie memories if not! Bake some cookies and share them with your family, your neighbors or even your coworkers. Share the cookie love!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] WWGFE Wednesday - Firey Fieri Chili With Polenta Croutons

Guy cooked up a chorizo and polenta lasagna with a cranberry citrus side salad on Guy's Big Bite. I took some of the same ingredients and ideas and took it for a spin.

I made a soyrizo chili topped with polenta croutons and a cranberry, almond with spinach side salad. I added extra heat to the chili using up my farmer's market pepper stash and hot sauce. I kept the polenta croutons plain - so they could be mushjed up and absorb some of the heat and act like corn bread.
The salad is simple: dried cranberries, slivered almonds, spinach with a balsamic vinaigrette I whipped up super fast. The sweetness and tang go well to balance the fire of the chili.

Fiery Fieri Chili With Polenta Croutons 

Olive oil for pan
3 (more or less) chili peppers – play around with heat varieties
½ package of soyrizo
2 cans of black beans drained
1 can of Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted tomatoes (do not drain)
a few dashes of hot pepper sauce

1 block of polenta cubed, drizzled with a touch of olive oil and baked at 350 for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a soup pot, add peppers chopped up (remove seeds if you are afraid of heat), cook for a few minutes, add soyrizo, cook for 3 minutes add the rest of the ingredients, stir and cook covered over medium low heat for 30 minutes.

Place a big scoop of chili in a bowl. Top with a few polenta croutons and eat!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

[Vegan Mofo] Target Tuesday - Fast Foods & Quick Snack Ideas

Have you ever had a day or string of days that should have been relaxing turn into a day (or days) of endless running around? That was us over the weekend! With Matt in pre-production for his newest film and me trying to get my own stuff done the time slips by.

What do you do when time slips by and your stomach is making hungry noises? Grab fast meals and snacks from Target. You should really have some of these things on hand in case you find yourself hungry and not in the mood to go out...

Matt's go to fast lunch I usually throw in the oven (I do not use a microwave - even faster if you do) is Gardein Seven Crispy Tenders. I happen to be allergic to two of the grains so I just serve them to Matt and usually grab myself a Luna bar, pineapple spears or a veggie burger on a Oroweat thin round with some Wholly Guacamole smeared on top.
Serve it with your fave chips, french fries (Target has Ore Ida and Alexia brands - with vegan tot and fry options) or a simple salad with an organic bag mix and some olive oil + vinegar on the side. Get fancy and make different dipping sauces - I usually go for 2 parts ketchup to one pat Sriracha - mix and serve!
Feeling like a taco or burrito option? Target has Mission tortillas, Amy's refried beans, salsa and organic chip options and again Wholly Guacamole in the mix! You can grab a veggie burger (many vegan options), thaw it out, crumble it up and fry it in a pan with a bit of olive oil and add it to your Mexican creation. Taco night can be easy, cheap and fast sticking to the basics of beans, salsa and crumbles. You can add greens if you wanted to - organic lettuce with Sicilia lime juice mixed in. Fry up corn tortillas or bake them into bowl shapes and make edible plates. How about a basic tofu scramble - tofu + spices, add salsa and black beans, wrap it up into a wheat tortillia and eat it up! The possibilities are endless!

Wanting something sweet? Justin's Dark Peanut Butter cups, no sugar added So Delicious vanilla ice cream and Hersey's syrup have you covered for a sweet sundae. If you do not dig on chocolate try mixing 1/4 cup peanut butter to a 1/2 cup of agave or maple syrup, heat it up on low heat in a small saucepan and pour it on top of your sundae. Maybe heat up some frozen berries with a bit of sweetener of your choice and make a pb&j sundae! Want to get more nutty? Smash some Nutter Butters and sprinkle it on top! Or crumbled up organic kids cereal is also a yummy option.

Target has you covered for the basic fast meals that require basic cooking skills. Sure you can get more fancy with these things but when you are tired and worn out why bother? Thanks Target for having my tired back!

When you are tired what is your go to meals? Hey - cereal counts! Share! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Mama Mia Monday - Pesto Salad

A few weeks back on a day trip to Sacramento I had an awesome pesto salad for lunch at The Plum. It was creamy, herby, tasty....really good! I thought to recreate it at home.

I wanted to make pesto - get this with a mortar and pestle, real old school. I could not find organic basil in a decent quantity around town, so instead of getting frustrated I moved on to plan B. Plan B consisted of buying Simply Organic's Sweet Basil Pesto, making the sauce following the packages instructions (adding nooch) and then letting it sit in the fridge till dinner time.

I spiral cut a bunch of zucchini, tossed it with some Tuscan kale + olive oil, added cherry tomatoes and the pesto sauce. For a nutty boost I added a nice sprinkle of pine nuts on top.  First off the Tuscan kale I bought from Trader Joe's was really rough and bitter. It just made the salad hard to eat. The pesto sauce was not pesto-y enough...At least we had garlic bread to save the meal! Again - I tried...

Friday, September 13, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Friday Finds - Costco Is Where It's At!

I have had a Costco membership for a few years now. We get gas there every week and once in awhile go in to see if anything is new. Well, last month that changed and we are going weekly to see the new loot they get in since launching an organic section.
It started with loaves of par baked rosemary bread,  really good baked up cheezey garlic bread style and grabbing a case of Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It blossomed into buying more almond milk, vegan cookbooks, price checking Mar's meds, baking supplies: like ridiculously cheap organic agave nectar and last weekends holy grail - a case of Justin's dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

These are Matt's favorite candy bar! So when I saw them I directed Matt's attention to them and in the cart they went! I like them a lot to! I like that the big box contains individually wrapped cups for lunchbox packing and conscious snacking.

So check out Costco! I know Costco carries different products at different locations. However, you never know what you will find. I know I want to go shopping there tomorrow!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

[Vegan Mofo] Throwback Thursday - Mexican Food With A Twist: Migas

I grew up and live in taco truck city! Though taco trucks were not a common grab and go meal for our family food from one of the many taquerias on our side of town was. When I went veg in high school grabbing a veggie burrito with rice, whole beans and salsa was my go to. We even had DIY taco and burrito nights at home. My mom or dad would get a bunch of fillings in bowls and have a stack of tortillas ready to go for us to build our own.

In junior high I took home economics. Our teacher taught us to make one meal a week. One of the foods I remember cooking for the first time was a dish with chorizo. We had Italian sausage at home but never we never had chorizo. I cook with soyrizo now - I know plenty of vegans and nonvegans who dig on the stuff, not only is it not full of gross animal bits but it it heart healthy.

I wanted to create a meal for dinner that was comforting, had a throwback element and also something new so I turned to migas!

Migas is a toss together meal consisting of scrambled eggs, tortilla bits and what you have on hand. Since obtaining some black sea salt and finished The Fault in our Stars (Hazel made me want to cook a scramble outside of breakfast!) I wanted to create something with a tofu scramble as an element. 
I baked some corn tortillas cut into wedges with a bit of olive oil in the oven at 400 for about 15 minutes, turning them in the middle. I seasoned with pink sea salt when I took them out, pretty basic. My tofu scramble was a block of super firm, crumbled and cooked with olive oil, black sea salt, turmeric, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper and pink sea salt.Ten minutes into the game I threw in a 1/2 pack of soyrizo, cooked it for five minutes then a 1/2 bag of cheddar Daiya. I cooked everything till it became all gooey and melty. I thew in a handful of broken tortilla chips, plated it with more chips on the side, salsa and fresh organic avocados. We have a winner here! Comfort food that is simple, rather cheap (Daiya was buy one get one free last week at Sprouts) and you can use up leftovers! You can even swap out the soyrizo for black or pinto beans - making it even more affordable!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

[Veagan MOFO] WWGFE Wednesday - Pittsburgh Portobello Salad

On DDD Guy stops by a place and they create a steak salad. The salad comes complete with fries, croutons, steak, ranch dressing and cheese crumbles. I thought that sounded intriguing so I set out to create my own vegan version.

I used an organic lettuce blend as the base, topped it off with oven baked fries (with a Johnny Garlic's twist: nooch, garlic and pink sea salt sprinkled on top), homemade basil croutons, portobello strips marinated in: vegan worstisheir sauce, spices, liquid smoke and Braggs, habanero ranch dressing and some spicy cultured cashew cheeze I bought from Whole Foods.
I had more veggies to use that day but I forgot them! I hate when that happens. It was a great salad, even for a mushroom dislike-r like myself it was tasty and good. I could have used vegan steak strips but wanted to try something new!Salads do not have to be all wimpy - if only every restaurant had a vegan salad option like this!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Target Tuesday - Coco-Peanut Sauce With Tofu

Target carries vegan basics like tofu, rice, beans, frozen veggies, non-dairy milks, seasonings/spices and meat alternatives. Throwing a meal together can be a snap if you just step outside the box and look around.

When buying a new vegan cookbook or looking at blogs online I am often disappointed if the recipes call for special hard to find ingredients that have me order them online or try to locate them in a specialty market that I may not have in town. So when I come across a recipe that I can make from simple to find ingredients I bookmark it and get to work on dreaming up a meal around it.

The Garlic Broccoli with Coco-Peanut Sauce from Plant Based on a Budget is a meal that is easy to put together from the aisles of Target, affordable and easy to make. Bonus it is super yummy!

The only things I changed from the recipe was using organic maple syrup instead of brown sugar, garlic powder for garlic (no fresh garlic at Target), I added a squeeze of Sriracha and I added some extra firm tofu triangles to the mix. Bagged broccoli again came into play and I used basmati rice. This meal is something I will make again. Creamy peanuty taste with a hint of kick (I might add more Sriracha next time), afordable and a thumbs up from Matt. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Mama Mia Monday - Dreaming Of A Creamy Pasta Sauce

When I am trying to come up with a meal and nothing is coming to me I reach for one of the "Cooking With Trader Joe's" cookbooks. Cookbooks based around shopping/buying from Trader Joe's. That way - everything is in one store and it helps me get focused at creating a fuss free shopping meal by limiting me to one store. 
I picked orecchiette with creamy tapenade from I Love Trader Joe's Vegetarian Cookbook.
I am one to go for red sauces so I thought a creamy sauce would be a change. I swapped out the orecchiette for penne (I have it on hand) and had most of the other ingredients around (seasoning, almond milk and vegan cream cheese). I picked up the tapenade from Trader Joe's and went to work.
The sauce was not as thick as I would have liked, actually it was watery. I thought it would be a creamy white sauce, even with turning up the heat and letting it simmer longer I still had a watery sauce, I should have added some cornstarch or something thinking back on it. Also the sauce, since it was so watery lacked flavor. The salad with tangy sweet dressing and garlic bread saved it though. Mar did like the pasta - he meowed for more.
Not all dishes are winners. I wanted to try something new, I did and I learned (stick to red sauce!). Plus using up stuff in the pantry is a goal of mine: pasta and vegan cream cheese were on hand. Waste not want not right? Also good garlic bread and a simple salad makes every meal complete or can actually be a meal itself!

Friday, September 6, 2013

[Veagn MOFO] Friday Finds - Vedge Sauce

A few months back while shopping in the bay area Matt and I went to Williams Sonoma - because we are fancy like that. Well, actually I was on the lookout for the sauces that VegNews posted about by Vedge Restaurant. After asking a few people and looking around we found them, I decided on the tamari sesame flavor and Matt plopped down $16 and we were good to go.

A sauce that costs as much as a meal was going to be saved for something special I told myself. Well, 2 weeks ago I forgot BBQ sauce for our weekly night of BBQ soy curls and as I scrambled around to find something to use I came across the sauce. I said why not and gave it a go.

Matt and I both like this sauce - I super really like it. It has a sweetness to it that is not to sweet, just a sweet kick. I taste garlic and giner along with other spices. It goes well with a bit of Sriracha or Middle Easter hot sauce thrown it to kick up the heat.I know $16 (with tax) is a lot for a sauce but I will buy it again. I am using a bit at a time so I can hold off on making it another pricy habit.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

[Vegan MOFO] Throwback Thursday - Mama's Banana Nut Bread

Banana Bread Is Love

Growing  up my mom would often bake during the holiday season. She even baked things like cookies for the class for special occasions (back when parents were allowed to send in homemade treats). Everyone who tries her banana-nut bread falls in love with it, even those on the fence about banana-nut bread. So now she makes it vegan - she even says it tastes better vegan. I request it for the holiday season and for my birthday. I do not know her recipe - I just want to have her make it, it is a comfort food treat that screams 'love from mom'...

I have been playing around with sugar free baking lately, mainly so I can share treats with my diabetic neighbors. After buying the Forks Over Knives cookbook at Costco I tried the Better Than Mom's Banana Bread, well it is not better than my mom's but it is good. I have been playing around with the recipe, different spices and flours...

Sugar free takes on classics is not as scary as it may sound, people often equate sugar free, oil free and vegan as bland. Not so! Sweet treats are a cinch if you keep things like maple syrup and agave around. I am really into spelt flour lately, maybe it is a gateway to other flours! Do you bake sugar free? How about oil free? What is your favorite flour? I want to know!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

[Veagan MOFO] WWGFE Wednesday - Bacon Salad

If there was a way to log TV time, my charts would say that I watch 90% Food Network and Cooking Channel shows. I am kind of addicted to watching shows that are mostly stuff I will not eat. However the shows I watch give me inspiration to cook my own versions of what I see.

One cook/TV host that comes through each time with ideas for our meals is Guy Fieri.Whether he is at a 'funky joint' or cooking at home I am drawn to his food. Often when I need a meal idea I ask myself What Would Guy Fieri Eat?

In Guy's latest book he has a chapter dedicated to pork and in previous books he has had a lot of pork recipes and even a disturbing photo of dead pigs...Bacon seems to be the hold-strong trend lately so I thought my first WWFE would be something bacon related. 

I created a tofu bacon slab salad. I know that tempeh is the go to protein source for vegan bacon fun but I wanted to create a thicker cut and I am a tofu gal! I took strips of super firm high protein tofu and marinated them in liquid smoke (which he explained in a show he used to not use because he thought it was cheating or something), maple/agave syrup, cayenne powder, garlic, Himalayan pink salt and pepper. After about 30 minutes, I heated up some oil in a frying pan, fried each slab till it was brown.
The salad was organic greens, organic cherry tomatoes, rustic seasoned croutons, tofu-bacon slabs with my habanero ranch dressing on top (Guy is a fan of hot sauce). I added a side of cheezey garlic bread and it was all good! Maybe it is still to healthy to appear on a dive menu but the pigs will thank ya - not to mention your heart!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[Vegan Mofo Day 2] Target Tuesday - Spicy Mandarin Orange Stir Fry

I love shopping at Target, I probably could go everyday - ask Matt. We have two in town and both are super similar but have a few different things that the other does not. Like one location has a phat supply of vegan cereal, the other carries more vegan beauty products...See why I have to go more than once a week?

My goal with Target Tuesday is to create a meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert) with ingredients one can find at this mega chain store. Most of us have a Target in town but not everyone has a Whole Foods (raises hand!). Target has gotten super good over the last year stocking things like almond milk, sauces, meatless-meat products and supplies. Also a lot of the time Target has really awesome prices on things. Next time you are picking up kitty litter and cotton rounds check out the food! You will be happy!

Now on to the meal!

                                                         Spicy Mandarin Orange Stir Fry

! package of Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick'n
1 package of broccoli florets defrosted
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon (or more) of Sriracha
a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
basmati rice (cooked according to package - I usually make a bunch of rice for Matt and I)
oil for for cooking

Heat a bit of oil in a pan (enough to lightly coat it) on medium heat. Toss in chick'n and toss every few minutes. In a small bowl with hot water defrost sauce packet that comes with the chick'n. At this point add the broccoli to the frying pan. Dump the defrosted sauce into the pan with the soy sauce, rice vinegar and Sriracha - toss to coat everything. Let it cook for a few minutes and serve it over rice topped with toasted sesame seeds!

This is often a go to meal for us after we get home from the gym on Tuesday. The carbs in the rice fills me up, the protein in the Gardein makes my body happy! This is one of the only Gardein product I am not allergic to and I enjoy it. Target always has the best price on Gardein - even at full price it is cheaper than the store. Buying frozen broccoli is another money save. When buying a head of fresh broccoli in the store, you are paying buy weight. Unless you are going to use the stock part of the celery for a soup stock or a herbivore companion pet it goes to waste. Buying a bag of frozen broccoli you are buying the florets - no prep and no waste! basmati rice is not the best price at Target - only because I buy it in bulk at the store but they carry it and it is my fave rice variety! You can use your fave rice or even some rice noodles!

Monday, September 2, 2013

[Vegan MOFO Day 1] Mama Mia Monday - Zucchini Pasta

Family fact: My Grandma Cookies (that is what we called her due to her cookie jar) made my grandpa pasta everyday. Everyday it was some sort of pasta dish - I assume she switched it up. When we were over there I remember my grandma bringing a plate or bowl of pasta to my grandpa at the table.

Pasta holds a special place in my heart. First thing - I am a Sicilian girl - I love pasta, I have organs made of noodles, marinara blood and olive oil for life fluid in my brain! My mom - busy working mom would make pasta for us, not the way grandma did but using jar sauce, ground meat and a loaf of bakery bread...In high school when I went vegetarian she started making me my own little pot of sauce so I could eat it meat free. Sometimes there would be a salad on the side - with ranch dressing. I find the idea of ranch + tomato based Italian sauces so tasty when others think it is gross. Whatever! I made pasta for Matt and I about 2 years into our relationship, I bought quinoa pasta and made olive oil chocolate chip cookies for dessert. That night I discovered I am deathly allergic to quinoa and what a good guy Matt is, when he spent the night cleaning up my barf from the bedroom to the bathroom.

I do buy jars of sauces, doctor up loaves of bread from the store with a garlic-nooch-olive oil spread and do not eat pasta every day....BUT I make my own noodles - kind of...

Enter the spiralizer. After finding out Matt can tolerate zucchini this summer (it is green after all) I went zucchini crazy! My mom gave me an Amazon gift card for my birthday and I read reviews and watched videos and decided on getting the GEFU Spirelli Spiral Cutter. I liked the size, the design and the ease of it.

I wanted to get my zucchini pasta on in full force but knowing Matt I knew he would not dig that. So I have been doing 1/2 whole wheat pasta noodles and 1/2 spiralized zucchini. After draining the cooked pasta, I toss in the spiral zucchini and toss in the marinara sauce, so everything is at the same temperature.This is a good way to get greens into your pasta, cut down on wheat and/or try something new. People often think pasta dishes have to be heavy - you can lighten things up this way and still have all the great classic taste!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

VEGAN MOFO 2013 Baby!!!!

Starting tomorrow I will be MOFOin' it up! Monday through Friday I will be bloggin' it up!

Monday: Mama Mia Monday - Sicilian food that is a twist off my grandma's cooking! I am making things easier and on a small scale - I do not have 8 kids to feed!

Tuesday: Target Tuesday - cooking a complete meal (or dessert) from the aisles of everyone's favorite chain store!

Wednesday: WWGFEW - What Would Guy Ferrari Eat Wednesday food inspired by my fave cooking show personality.

Thursday: Throw Back Thursday - Food memories with a twist. Healthier and my own personal take on stuff.

Friday: Friday Finds: Vegan products and places to eat that you need to check out!

Come back tomorrow. I cannot wait to see what everyone is doing!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce - Perfect Heat - Perfect Treat

I recently bought a bottle of Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce and have been using it a lot since I got my order in. It has a nice hot taste that kicks in after you take a bite, but the first second or two you are met with a sweetness that adds to the kick at the end. I love hot sauce, some just do not cut it, this does though, nice heat with a nice flavor.

I have been going salad crzy lately. If  you follow me on Instagram (missmuffcake) you will see my love for salads! On Thurday it was corn/wheat tortillas baked into bowl shapes piled with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, chili-lime marinated tofu, garbanzo beans (because I had them on hand), a bit of left over Daiya, and habanero ranch dressing. Everything was great but the spicy ranch stood out and it is a cinch to make! Check out my recipe below!

Easy Habanero Ranch

1/2 up of vegan mayo
a squeeze of fresh lime juice
a big plop of  Secret Aardvark sauce
a pinch of dill
a crack of black pepper and pink sea salt
a tiny pinch of onion powder
a tiny pinch of garlic powder

In a small mason jar mix everything together until blended. You can use it right away or let it chill in the fridge to set up and have the flavors come together more.It is yummy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Top 5 Vegan - Cruelty Free Beauty Products (Of The Moment)

These are the top 5 products that are getting much love in my beauty arsenal right now. These are all products I plan on buying again once I run out! They are that good!

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara   - When I saw this pop up in the Sephora webpage I ran out and bought it. I have been searching for a great mascara since the whole China thing came onto the scene. This mascara delivers a nice black inky color and impact. The only problem is it is a bit messy - or at least the excess always ends up on the tube...but it really is not a huge problem. I just need to wipe the tube and pull the wand out carefully.

Cosmic Bath and Beauty Blush in Sweet Cheeks: Perfect color that gives me the perfect pink cheek look. It blends well, not to shimmery (as in obnoxious teen cosmetic glittery) but  enough to get me glowing. The color gives my cheeks a nice healthy summer glow that will come in handy in the winter months - which I am already dreading!

Fergie for Wet N Wild Eye Shadow Primer:  This stuff is freaking amazing! I was skeptical at first - because most primers just do the minimal for my oily lids and I still have smudges and color transfer. This stuff makes me a eyeshadow primer lover! Once applied - the texture is nice, I can feel a velvety smoothness compared to other more watery primers of the past. The primer really gets everything to stick in place, no more creasing and my black liner stays crisp and clean all day long! Get this product now!

Gnarly Whale Beach Waves Spray in Thai Coconut:Simple ingredients that make dirty no wash hair days into big wavy delight hair days!

Out of Africa Lip Balm in Strawberry: I just got this lip balm in. I was picking Mar up some kitty shampoo and came across this product and had to try it - after all everyone needs a handful of lip balms in their bag right?It is a large tube - perfect for slathering on your lips. The flavor is not sickly sweet or artificial - which is not always a bad thing but I know some people dig on a more natural flavor. So if you like your balms more natural - this is for you. It is very moisturizing and goes on super smooth. 

Do you have any favorite products right now? Let me know - I am always looking to try new things!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Night Nachos Revised

We have some food traditions around the house. I think the most anticipated one is Friday Vegan Nacho Night! Matt says it is the right way to kick off the weekend, I just like this quick, easy and delicious meal!

Updated Vegan Nacho Recipe

1 package of trader Joe's Meatless Crumbles
1 can of original Rotel 
1 can of black beans
1 big plop of Sriracha 
a bit of oil for cooking
a bag of organic white corn  tortilla chips
Food For Lovers Queso (a must here!), hot sauce, your fave toppings (optional)

In a large frying pan heat a bit of olive oil - enough to lightly coat the pan on medium heat. Add meatless grounds, cook for a few minutes. Open & drain the Rotel and black beans. Add those and Sriracha to the pan, mix and cook on a medium low heat for about 5-6 minutes. 
Place a bed of nachos on a plate, spoon on pan mixture and top with toppings of choice!

As you can tell I have made a few changes from my original recipe found here. As with most dishes it only gets better after experimenting. This meal was one of my original meals I started cooking. It is now a kitchen staple and something that I can't wait to make for tonight dinner! Happy Friday! Rock the weekend!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Issue # 5 Of TSAHG

I released a new 36 page issue of The Stay At Home Girlfriend last week. In it you will find Sicilian food memories, vegan (and many gluten free) recipes, cat stuff and a piece on why I say no to drugs. Pick it up in my Etsy Shop right here: TSAHG#5

All money from the zine is helping with Mar's vet bill and ongoing care! He went for a check up and blood work yesterday, the vet said he looks good! We are waiting on his numbers now!