Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Long Weekend Fun - Cooking, Baking & Reading

Long weekends are meant to sleep in, catch up on stuff and relax. I did that plus some tea sipping, reading, baking and cooking.

Since Chipotle introduced sofritas I go once a week! I love a nice salad with sofritas, black beans, fresh salsa and guac! Also our mall just opened a Teavana - so I had to get my blueberry tea fix! Matt got my free Izzy at Chipotle - I love text coupons!

We were supposed to BBQ on Sunday but after inspecting our grill and with the wind kicking in we decided not to. After buying ingredients for potato salad, I was craving it! I was sent a copy of Grills Gone Vegan by Tamasin Noyes to review and was looking forward to grilling but I did make the Tangy Dijon Sauce and served it warm over potatoes for a warm potato salad - soooo good! I served it with pan fried BBQ tofu, garlic cheeze bread and watermelon. Good!

Monday we slept in a little too much. After having breakfast at lunch time and trying to get my routine in order (yoga, tea, house work, lunch) I decided to make cookies with a jar of Speculoos spread Matt bought for me at Target. I am still adjusting the recipe - the cookies work well with tea though!

Dinner was a generic East-Feast. I made date-raisin chutney from the first Candle Cafe cookbook (I made some subs, like cinnamon for ginger because the two stores I went to had no ginger to be found). I served it over simple stove top yellow rice, so tasty - comfort food! I made the Mediterranean tofu marinade from Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero (subbing apple cider vinegar for white wine, and pan steaming the tofu instead of baking it). Also from the book I made Roasted Broccoli with Sage and loved it! I want more of it now!

Since Saturday I have been wrapped up in Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. If you like young adult books go get it now! It is really good, I have to force myself to put it down and do things like feed Mar, wash laundry and shower! I have more books in the YA genre that I picked up from the library to go through...First some tea though!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Korres Japanese Rose Body Butter Review

Last weekend I picked up a sample of Japanese Rose body by Korres and at first did not think I would dig it due to the floral name. After smelling it though I love it! The smell is floral but not really floral like potpourri. To me it has an almost medicinal smell, like kids cherry cough medicine - I know odd right? But it is interesting.
The texture is light and absorbs fast. Usually in the past body butters have left me feeling greasy and slick. This is a great light lotions and I like using it on my hands and then sniffing them over and over!

Free of parabens, sulfates and GMOs this is a good for you product! I want to go back and smell the fig scent. That sounds interesting right?  I like discovering new/new to me vegan beauty products and finding a winner!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Delezhen Jewelery Love

I have been on a real gold kick lately. It started with me buying a pair of Versace sunglasses that have gold accents. So now I mix silver and gold together and think nothing of it. I even try to grab gold more and mix it into my wardrobe-accessory-stash.

For our anniversary Matt did a little wishlist shopping for me after we agreed on not getting each other anything (besides cards and a 6 pack of beer I bought him)! Matt picked out a black onyx necklace from Delezhen that I had on my wish list. After handing it to me and me telling him that he broke the rules I opened it up all giddy like. I was so happy but then I noticed a pearl on the clasp and said that I did not know it contained non-vegan animal/sea life bits. I was sad, that I did not know it contained a pearl, so he contacted the shop owner and she said she can me a vegan version. We sent it back and in a week I had my new necklace! I have worn it a few times since I have gotten it - I really like the simplicity of it. Even though it is a simple design it is really eye catching and striking!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Let's Get Jammy With It

Lately I have been on a jam kick!  I make a batch every week and serve it up pretty much daily. It is easy, tasty and does not require a degree in canning.

Easy Chia Berry Jam
1 package of frozen berries of your choice (I like mixed berries or strawberries, make sure you buy organic when it comes to berries because berries are sprayed heavily)
about a tablespoon of water or a bit more
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice 
a hefty squeeze of maple syrup or agave
2 tablespoons of chia seeds

In a small saucepan place berries, maple syrup/agave, water and lemon juice and set the heat to a low medium heat. Stir and cover. Check back in about five minutes. Take the back of a fork and see if the berries are becoming unfrozen by squishing some against the pot. Mix in any juice you got out. Cover with the lid and cook for another five minutes. Squish more berries, by this time you can get most of them broken down into a nice mushy texture, keep breaking down any large clumps.Take the mix off of the heat and mix in chia seeds. Let cool for a few minutes, place in a clean jar (I use recycled food jars that have been cleaned). Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the jam set up and enjoy. You have about two cup of yummy jam at your call! Eat it up - it will keep for a week in the fridge!

No need for pectin in this recipe, chia seeds act like a powerhouse binder. You get a chunky seedy jam that is not full of sugary crap and is super fresh and tasty. I serve it up over oatmeal. The above photo was for Matt's birthday breakfast. Oatmeal, strawberry chia jam, a sliced banana, maple syrup and Hemp Hearts. Yummy! 

You can use fresh berries, it will be less cooking time. I find frozen berries are cheaper and fresher than what I find at the market sometimes.Trader Joe's has an excellent price on frozen organic berries!Shop around, try your farmer's market and the store, see what is fresh and on sale!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May - Pet Cancer Awareness PSA

Mar giving the middle claw to cancer! 

May is here again, time to talk about companion animal cancer. Please read up on the facts, check your companion animals for any sores that are not healing or bumps. I cannot stress enough that we just thought Mar had a boo boo on his tail, we thought it would heal and it was cancer.

Mar is a cancer survivor! Donate now and help other kitties and doggies stand up and win the fight! You can donate at Petco or online at Blue Buffalo.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pile Of Reading Material

I have been on a lifestyle book kick lately. I have bought a handful of them and like at a salad bar it is easy to pick and choose the advice you want to take away from the books. I can't get behind all of the advice and while the books are plant based they are not 100% vegan. Oh and quinoa is a major book trend! I hate you quinoa! Food is trying to kill me!

Here is a rundown of the books, what I liked mostly. The points I did not care for in the books are all very similar: restrictive, stuff that is necessarily good deemed bad and way to much emphasis on detoxing.

My favorite out of the bunch is Relish by Daphne Oz. I did not even know who she was till I saw her in  Cosmo (I think) and liked her plate collection and her popcorn with coconut oil snack idea. I started watching The Chew (I was not aware of the show - though I do know the other hosts from various shows!). Relish is more like healthy, happy and fun living rather than diet and green smoothies. Daphne comes off as a way less pretentious Martha Stewart who also is a lot hipper. There are a few noted vegan recipes, some that would be a cinch to make vegan and day to day advice that puts a smile on your face.

Undiet by Megan Telpner was a purchase after I seen it on a blog tour. I like that it includes some beauty info - though the DIY beauty recipes are not vegan, and would not work the same if made vegan. It is a good source to show you how to clean up your routine in the kitchen and outside it.

Kimberly Snyder's The Beauty Detox Foods is good at showing you food to consume to address skin, hair and nail needs. It looks like a mighty book but I feel there is so much more that could have be said. This is the most 'diet-y' of the books and a lot of the food advice is not something I would live on day to day. There are a lot of salad and dressing recipes - perfect for upcoming warm weather eating!

Also over the weekend I got the new issue of Marmalade Umlaut - I skimmed through it in the car and read it on Monday. If you want to get your own copy or check out some vegan food action head on over to Food Feud today!

I have more books to talk about later. Then I am going to try to say no to books for a bit to cool my credit card! Books are so tempting - like vegan brownies!