Friday, September 26, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] 5 Ingredient Meals - Tofu Buffalo Bites With Garlic Aioli

 I have the desire to eat party food for meals. If I could get away with having a plate of appetizers as a meal I would! Actually some of my fave meals have come from reworking an appetizer to super size standards, adding soup or a salad and calling it a day. Buffalo wings are one of those things I look forward to in all of their vegan reincarnations!
This is a super simple take on the dish, anyone can do it. It can be served as a snack, add the tofu bites to a salad and a bit more lemon to the aioli and use it as a dressing. Recipes are often a jumping off point to something more grand and as I wrap up Mofo I have been inspired by all that I have seen and will be taking that with me into the kitchen.

5 ingredient stars: Extra firm/firm tofu - drained and pressed, Frank's Hot Sauce, Hampton Creek Just Mayo, Sicilia lemon juice, garlic powder.

Cube the tofu into bite sized pieces. Fry on medium high heat till browned on each side. Turn heat down and add about a 1/2 cup of Frank's. You may need more or less - you just want each bite coated. Cook a few minutes longer till the sauce browns. Serve with 1/2 cup Just Mayo mixed with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and a big pinch of garlic powder mixed together. Yummy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] 5 Ingredient Meals - Tropical Parfait

As it rains outside my window I am thinking of tropical climates and sun! So here is a breakfast parfait or a glorious snack to get you feeling sunny even when the weather is blah.

5 ingredient stars: Canned coconut cream/milk chilled in the fridge for a few hours, agave nectar, granola (Target has a variety of vegan ones to choose from I went with the Renola by the makers of Lara Bar), container of fresh pineapple, shredded coconut and macadamia nut pieces.

Scoop out the cream solid from the canned coconut cream, mix in a tad of agave nectar to sweeten. Cute the pineapple into bit sized xchunks. Toast the coconut shreds and nuts in a non-oiled pan till golden (it takes a few minutes). Get a mason jar (if you are hip), tall glass or bowl ready. Layer the sliced pineapples, granola and whip till you end up with a whip cream layer.Sprinkle on nuts and coconut flakes. Eat it up and feel your body think it is on vacation!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] 5 Ingredient Meals - Italian Style Sloppy Joes

Growing up I remember having sloppy Joe's as a kid. I did not care for the sauce much. So as I got older and tried things on my own I discovered I like sloppy Joe's if they involve an Italian twist.

5 ingredient stars: Beyond Beef crumbles, bag of mixed peppers, Newman's Own Sauce, Oroweat buns and chips on the side (I like salty with this dish).

Saute crumbles and peppers in a bit of oil (freebie) till browned. Add sauce, turn heat low and simmer for about 7 minutes, give it a stir at the half way point. Spoon on buns (you can toast them if you feel fancy) and serve with chips! Dinner is served!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] 5 Ingrediets Meals - Super Fast Stir Fry

It has become a tradition to eat a big plate of stir fry after the gym on Tuesday. I suppose it helps me clear out any vegetables that are lurking to make way for new produce after midweek shopping. Also the carbs from the rice, the vitamins/good junk from the vegetables, the protein from the faux meats + nuts and the kick from the Sriracha balances my body out!

5 ingredients stars: 1 bag of the new vegan-chicken strips (go for one of the Asian flavors like teriyaki), 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (Asian Blend - Target brand has one with edamame that is good!), a handful of unsalted cashews, 2 cups of cooked basmati rice (or your fave rice variety) and Sriracha for serving.

Heat a bit of oil (ingredient freebie) in a non-stick pan on medium. Dump the strips in and cook for a few minutes till the strips are lightly browned. Add veggies, sauce and nuts and cook for 5 - 6 minutes till veggies are cooked through. Spoon over a bed of rice and squirt on a healthy dose of Sriracha and eat away!

Monday, September 22, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] 5 Ingredient Meals - Tacos!!!!

This week I bring you 5 recipes using 5 ingredients from the food section of Target!  My initial plan was to group food items together by recipe and get pictures but after people started looking at me funny in the store I just gave up and snapped photos in the wild. I may just try to do the grouping later on this week instead of a Friday night!
Processed food police you may just want to lock me up now. These meals for the most part are healthy, fast and super tasty. That being said most items are bagged and boxed. Don't shoot me, don't judge me, just eat and be happy!

We have been on a Taco kick lately, Tacos like 3 times a week or more! So here is a simple taco recipe that takes about 15 minutes to get done and plate!

5 ingredient stars: 1/2 bag of Beyond Beef Crumbles, 4-5 (depending on size) Mission tortillas, 1 can of Amy's refried beans, big pinch of chili powder, 1/2 cup of salsa (Herdez or Mi Casa are both good).

Use a bit of oil (oil is a 'not counted' ingredient) heated on medium in a frying pan. Add crumbles and chili powder, Cook for a few minutes. Warm up your black beans. Add salsa to crumbles, stir and place tortillas on top of the mixture to warm up/soften. Remove tortillias, spread a layer of beans on each tortliia and then spoon in crumble-salsa mixture and eat! Simple and fast.

Friday, September 19, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Healthy Eats - Nuts

Protein packed and a variety to choose from nuts are a healthy go to snack to keep around. Full of good for you fats, stay strong protein and fiber that helps curb the hunger monster, nuts are a winner.

I like to keep a small pouch in my purse, so finding nuts with a zip top bag is pretty nice. Matt is allowed to snack at his work desk and he likes keeping some almonds in his drawer and having pecans packed in his lunch. Nuts are also great in a stir fry, cashews being a fave of ours and a Thai dish in my book is not complete without peanuts!

Grab some nuts today! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Healthy Eats - Kombucha

Your either a fan of it  - sipping it and promoting all the glories of it. Or you think it is another health fad...I am talking about:

Kobucha! Usually for me I reach for a bottle when I have extra cash to blow and want a fizzy pick me up. Target has kombucha, fancy pressed juices and natural energy drinks a plenty that will not break the bank. I like a good fizzy drink but am not a fan of soda so a swig of kombucha stands in!

Are you a fan of kombucha? Is it a fad that is on its way out?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Healthy Eats - Vegan Chicken Strips

Target has packed it's shelves recently with vegan finds that have the vegan community buzzing. Most buzz worthy is that they released their own brand (under Simply Balanced) of mock-meats. As soon as I saw them I had to pick up a bag!
I know some people (processed food police) will nag on you about frozen foods, anything trying to come off a traditional meaty product. I really do not care. I think seeing more vegan options that replace meaty counterparts opens the world to change and acceptance. I know without these products a lot of vegans might not be vegans today! So bring on all the vegan equivalents that can remind us of our youth and get people to open up about vegan food choices!

We tried the Korean BBQ Chicken on tacos. The strips look weird when they first come out of the bag, kinda like rubbery ice cubes. Once browned with a bit of oil and the sauce added they come out golden and tasty! Speaking of sauce you get two packets of it, so you can divide your package into more than one use!

The tacos I created

Besides Korean BBQ the other varieties include mushroom and chipotle. Bonus: if you shop at Target this week all Simply Balanced stuff is on sale! Fill your freezers!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Healthy Eats - So Delicious No Sugar Added Ice Cream

Target gets a handful of So Delicious Dairy Free ice creams in the freezer section. My favorite is the coconut based no sugar added vanilla and chocolate. That way I can come home and not feel so bad dumping stuff like chocolate sauce, potato chips and chocolate pieces on a scoop!

Do not like the no added sugar label foo you, this ice cream is perfectly sweet. Creamy, rich sweetness and the right ice cream texture you can eat it as is or like I said add your favorite mix ins and toppings. So Delicious usually runs at $6 a pop at the store, Target clocks in at $4.99 and makes me feel less budget guilty when I want to indulge.

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!

Friday, September 5, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Snack On This - I Like The Popcorn That Goes Boom

I read in Seventeen magazine that September 5th kicks of Popcorn Weekend. Seeing as Seventeen is not a trusted source for breaking news and I could not find info on this holiday online I still am going ahead and saying let's celebrate and eat popcorn!

I usually pop a big batch with kernels, coconut oil and then pick a topping. However sometimes getting another pot or popcorn machine dirty is not in the game plan. Still craving salty puffs of  corn it is not hard to reach for a bag Boom Chicka Pop. Sea salt perfection plays out nicely for your salty cravings with a healthy whole grain boost clocking in at 35 calories per cup. A no guilt snack - not that one should have guilt associated with food, let's not go there! The company also has sweet varieties that you can find at Target - just look for the vegan icon on the back.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Snack On This - Chips & Salsa

Nothing beats some fresh salsa and salty chips - bring in a cocktail (something minty or fruity for me!) or a beer (if you are like Matt) and party time has started! Every Friday is nacho night here and our go to brand is the Simply Balanced chips. We like the white corn chips and go for those every time! The new rolled flax are really good with a nutty hint from the chia seeds but the shape does not work for nachos, they need a hummus or guac option.

In school kids got picked on for the generic brands/in store brands that parents packed in their lunch boxes. That should be a thing of the past with Target rolling out organic options at a great price. The prices and quality are hard to beat! Chips this week are on sale 2 for $5 - yup I bought a few bags for lunches and nacho night!

We are pretty lucky that our neighbor cans her own garden fresh salsa and hooks us up. If we happen to run out and want a fresh option Casa Sanchez is really good. The ingredients are fresh and simple, no weird things that require an app to translate. Based in Northern CA the salsa tastes fresh and is great in nachos and I love it for chili!  

Grab a tub of salsa and a bag of chips and have a party tonight even if you are just lounging on the couch!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

[Vegan Mofo] Snack On This - Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Bars

It is a known fact I have a love-thing for peanut butter. Add chocolate to the mix and you have me hooked. So when I spotted the Health Warrior Chia Bars in Peanut Butter Chocolate I scooped up a pack. Last week I spotted them on sale, my fave flavor combo was sold out but having to go back a few days later they restocked them and I got a box!

On sale at under $5 a box, each bar comes to under a $1 each. Full of chia seeds, a kick of peanut butter and chocolate flavor and perfect snack size these are a winner. The bars are small making them a quick munch on a break or with a cup of coffee when you need a pick me up. They are only 100 calorires if you happen to be watching your calorie intake making them a safe snack bet. They fit perfectly in a lunch bag or your gym bag. Target has a few flavors and this is not something I have found at all the Target stores I have visited yet. They are in the granola bar section and not the workout/protein bar section if you are looking to pick up a box.