Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Raw Chocolate Yogurt

I made this spicy peanut butter kale pasta again for dinner. It is so. Good. It might be one of my new favorite dishes.

I made raw chocolate yogurt for dessert. I did this purely for your benefit, because I didn't want to not share something new. So I made this yummy chocolate yogurt just for your viewing pleasure, and not at all for myself. Hah. Check out the recipe at Addicted to Veggies!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pasta with Garden Veggies

I had a couple zucchini and tomatoes on hand, and when my mom brought home some yellow squash from a co-worker, I decided to make a simple but yummy pasta dish. I sauteed a zucchini and a yellow squash in a tiny bit of olive oil. I served brown rice pasta with the veggies plus some grape tomatoes and fresh basil, sprinkled (heavily, I'm obsessed) with nutritional yeast. So simple and so yummy!

Menu Plan

Because I cook for one, planning meals can be tricky. Creating a balance between eating a variety of foods (in terms of flavors) and not wasting food is a challenge. When it's easy (because I can do only the most basic math), I halve recipes. Leftovers almost always make my lunches, and sometimes I eat leftovers for dinner a second night in a row. Learning how to freeze and later thaw things has helped tremendously, but still, my meal plans are a little abnormal. Instead of the typical "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc" meal plan, I just plan by meal types. Sometimes my plans don't cover an entire week, so I do a "menu plan" as opposed to a weekly plan.

Here's this week's agenda!


  • Oatmeal w/ fresh berries & ground flax meal
  • Banana chocolate chip muffins w/ fresh fruit


  • Black bean burgers w/ potatoes and kale
  • Pasta w/ garden veggies
  • Spicy PB pasta w/ kale

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Up until recently, the extent of my couponing efforts were Groupon and LivingSocial. I felt like clipping coupons was more effort than it was worth because so many coupons are for non-vegan food. I don't buy frozen meals, yogurt, pre-packaged foods like mac & cheese or hamburger helper, candy, potato chips. I also don't buy non-vegan body products like Garnier or Suave or their competitors.

And then summertime came, and although I saved some money prior to summer vacation and am babysitting part-time, my cash flow is quickly dwindling. This has caused me to re-evaluate my spending habits, which weren't out of control to begin with, but there's always room for improvement, right? So I decided to revisit the idea of couponing. I figure, $.50 here and $1 there will add up, especially if you can take advantage of coupon doubling and catch things on sale. And any money I manage to save is better in my pocket than anyone else's pocket.

So now, I hunt for coupons online while I watch TV. I know I'll never reach Extreme Couponing status, but it's a start. I check out coupon databases such as coupons.comredplum.com, mambosprouts.com, and smartsource.com. I also Google search stores I shop at and brands I buy. Sometimes, manufacturers like Silk offer coupons if you sign up for their newsletter. And if you're lucky and have a really cool mom, she'll sign up, too, and pass her coupons along to you.

Here are some coupons I've recently come across. Happy couponing!

Lightlife - $1 off
Earth Balance - $1 off
Nylabone - $2 off

I used the Nylabone coupon today at PetsMart, who is having a huge sale for PetPerks members! Between the sale and the coupon, I got over $4 off a bag of dental chews for Dakota. I also picked up an insanely cute new toy and bath sponge (yes, I've essentially bought a loofah for my dog), both of which were more than half off in the clearance bin.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Raw Watermelon Ice Cream

I've been considering dabbling in the world of raw vegan (beyond fruits and veggies) for a while now. On my last cookbook binge at the library, I picked up a raw cookbook. I saw several things that piqued my interest, but nothing motivated me enough to actually make it.

I also stalk Addicted to Veggies because she makes some cool and interesting-looking foods over there. She recently posted this recipe for watermelon ice cream, and when the thermometer hit 109 degrees yesterday (heat index was 117, no big deal), I decided to go for it.

This required a bit prep because I had to make the date sweetener and the sour cream. Aside from that, there was relatively little work involved. It spent a couple of hours in the freezer, which wasn't an issue since I needed to prep dinner and move some laundry around.

Soaking the dates and apricots for the sweetner.

Date-apricot sweetener!

I kind of goofed the apple cider vinegar, so I tried my best to rectify the situation, but I'm not sure if that's why the sour cream had a strong flavor, or if it's really supposed to be like that. It didn't thicken up quite like I was expecting, either, but after spending 90 minutes in the refrigerator, I was tired of waiting!

Sour Cream!

The end result was pretty good! The flavor was a little different than I was expecting but that might be due to the apple cider boo-boo. What I love about this recipe is that it's raw, it's sweet (but not loaded with sugar, which is awesome - I've got a wicked sweet tooth, but sometimes, sugar wreaks havoc on my system), it's cool and refreshing! If you're looking for a way to cool down during this heat wave that's terrorizing more than half the country, give this a go!

 Getting ready to go in the freezer.

Mid-freezing process.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beans & Cous-Cous

I'd like to introduce you to an old college favorite: beans and quinoa. Actually, this is beans and couscous, as I was out of quinoa. Either grain works well. It's yummy, nutritious, cheap. The frequency with which I ate this is alarming to consider, but I was the poster child for Broke College Kid.

You can adjust this to make as much or as little as you want. You can also use the leftovers to fill burrito shells. This particular recipe made about three servings.

1 can beans
1 small can corn
1/2 red onion
1/2 green pepper
1/2 jar of salsa (Trader Joe's has the BEST sweet but spicy salsa... Salsa Autentica!)
Couscous prepared according to package

Dice and saute onion and pepper 5 - 7 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and heat through.
Serve over grain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mostly Dakota, some food

This weekend, Dakota and I visited my dad, who has about an acre of land. His front porch is approximately the same size as our entire backyard in Baltimore, so Dakota nearly lost her mind when she realized she could run. And run. And run some more. My dad lives on a quiet road, too, so we went for a nice walk!

Passed out with her elephant!

When we came home to Baltimore, we discovered that her new Molly Mutt bed had arrived. Yay! Her bed in my room consisted of two pillows on the floor, but that drove me crazy. I looked into ways to turn old pillows into a dog bed. This was a neat tutorial, but I don't sew. And really didn't foresee my self making the time or developing the interest for this bed, even though I know learning to sew would probably be a really handy skill. So the pillows stayed.

My mom discovered Molly Mutt, a website that sells stuffable dog duvets in a bunch of shapes and patterns. They have sooo many cute prints, it was really hard to pick one. I finally decided on La Vie en Rose because it best matches my room. Yeah, that was the deciding factor... I stuffed it with four or five old pillows and it turned out perfectly! Dakota loves it!

I ordered the medium bed, and when it arrived, I noticed it said it was suitable for dogs up to 50lbs. I didn't notice any weight indications on the website, but Dakota weighs 75 pounds. I was worried it would be too small, but as you can see, it's a perfect size!

Her whole body fits on the bed, she just likes laying half-on, half-off. 
Don't ask, because I don't know.

And so this isn't only about Dakota, here's a recent dish I made. Vegan Dad always posts the most delicious looking foods. I tried his Indian Potatoes and Spinach, and it was SO yummy! I really wanted to add chick peas, and thought about also adding green peas, but didn't. I think I will next time, which would mean the seasoning would need some tweaking, but I think it'd make it even better.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Glow Kale Salad

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered Oh She Glows, an amazing blog, and fell in love immediately. Not only does Angela have the same name as my big sister (bonus points), she shares the most incredible recipes. The first recipe I tried from her repetoire was the Weekend Glow Kale Salad. You can check out her post to read all the wonderful benefits of this salad, or just make it and enjoy!

My only issue with this recipe was the dressing, but I think the tahini was to blame. My dressing seemed too heavy and too much for the amount of salad. Next time I'm going to try fresh tahini and see how that works.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale

Mary over at This is Vegan raves about this dish. She's posted/tweeted about it several times, and each time I see it, I think, "Hmm, I should try that."

And finally, I did.

And now I know why Mary loves it so much. It's spicy and sweet and peanutty and just so yummy! And the kale and brown rice pasta add loads of vitamins and minerals. I will forever be grateful to Mary for introducing this meal to me!

I found an online recipe here. I don't know if I didn't add enough water to the sauce or if I had too much kale, but I ended up making a double batch of the sauce.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Things I Love: Pancakes and Puppies

Yesterday was a fun day! I slept in, which felt glorious, and made a quick brunch of pancakes and Lightlife sausage. I had a serious pancake kick this weekend. Chock full of carbs, they were delicious. These are the basic pancakes from How it All Vegan.

Yesterday afternoon, Dakota and I had a doggy play date with my friend Jen and her puppy Dexter. Dakota was happy as a clam, and slept like a baby when we came home.

Her face whenever she sees the leash.
Her tail was wagging at approximately 100 mph.

She loves car rides. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One World Cafe

One of my oldest friends is relocating to North Carolina soon, so we got together for brunch this weekend just to catch up on life before she moves. We went to One World Cafe, right across from JHU in Charles Village. I like One World because it's entirely vegetarian, and they always have loads of vegan options, too. I ordered the vegan pancakes with fresh fruit, and it was so yummy!

The drive to and from One World takes me past the Waverly Farmers' Market. I've driven past the sign a bunch of times before, but I'd never gone. In terms of distance, it's not far from my house, but there are no fewer than a million traffic lights, which means the drive can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes and that's annoying to me. Since I was in the area, though, I decided to stop by. And when I did, I realized the 15 minute time variation would probably be worth it in the future. Plus, Lake Montebello is on the way, which would make for a nice morning walk!

There were loads of fresh fruits and veggies, flowers and fresh herbs, homemade jams and spreads, juice vendors, and natural/eco-friendly clothing stands, too. The coolest thing for me was seeing the variety of foods: I saw at least three different types of kale, things which I had only read about before. That was pretty exciting. :) Because I didn't have a list with me or even an inkling of what I'm going to cook this week, I just decided to pick up a few things I know I'll use up.

Located at the corner of 33rd and Barclay, the Waverly Farmers' Market is open on Saturdays from 7AM to noon year round.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Corn Chowder

Over the weekend, my dad gave me a dozen ears of corn to bring back home with me. While I love corn and the sweet gesture (and hello, free food), I thought to myself, "What in the world am I going to do with 12 ears of corn?!" I recently checked out a few cookbooks from the library - testing out new cookbooks for free is one of the myriad of reasons I love the library. Armed with a couple of new books and more corn than I knew what to do with, I searched for a recipe that would use the most corn.

In The Conscious Cook, I found a recipe for corn chowder. I was on the fence about making it, because eating hot soup when the weather feels like a hot, wet rag on my face is debatable. I decided to go for it because summer is corn season, and hello, I had a ton of corn.

This recipe came together so wonderfully, and I'm convinced red peppers and corn were made for each other. And the secret ingredient - Tal's cashew cream - gives the soup such a delightful creaminess (without an overwhelming nutty flavor). My only bit of advice is to prep as much as you can before you start cooking. You have to chop up a few veggies, and shucking corn takes forever, so if you do these two steps before you start cooking, the process will be so easy! You can blend cashew cream while the veggies and broth simmer, but be sure to thoroughly blend everything.

Sauteing the vegetables.

Six ears of raw corn! I found it's easiest (and less messy) to hold the ear of corn
over the pot and cut the kernels directly into the pot.

Preparing the cashew cream.

Cashew cream!

The recipe called for two ears of roasted or grilled corn, so I threw in the remaining four ears along with what was needed for the recipe. Roasted (and grilled!) corn really brings out the sweetness of corn, and I may or may not have been snacking on ears of corn this week...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. The food is always so yummy and the fireworks never cease to delight me. I had a great weekend's worth of celebrating. I spent Saturday cooking out with some of my favorite people, but was too busy grazing all day to take any pictures of the food, save for that cupcake up there (a vanilla cupcake with butter cream frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World; the "true red" food dye? NOT SO TRUE RED).

On Sunday, my mom and I went to see the BSO and a fireworks show at Oregon Ridge. Combining the BSO and fireworks is a brilliant idea, the weather wasn't awful, and the company was great!

Ironically, I didn't do a whole lot of celebrating today, because I spent the day making up for a weekend of generally slacking off. Like a good doobie, I went to the gym, did my grocery shopping (note to self: go shopping mid-afternoon on a holiday whenever possible to minimize dealing with other people), and did homework ad nauseam.

C'est la vie.

Luckily, the weather was tolerable, so my puppy and I took a nice walk this evening!