Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wrap up

This has been one awful week. I'm hoping things will get a bit easier moving forward. My coworkers continue to prove that they are awesome but it really would help if they would stab me or something because then I'd look forward to leaving. I am realizing that as much as I love my job, the environment has become toxic (for me). It's just not a good space to be anymore.

With all of that going on, this past week has been the longest one ever, which is probably why I have so many pictures to share.

(Some) Stuff I Ate:

Portabella Pizza with Naan garlic bread
Gluten-free dairy free cupcake!
Veggie Kabobs - made by someone
else. And the nice thing about someone
 else  making them is that they include
the things that  I'm too lazy to take
the extra step for (like carrots)

Coconut fudge bar. Yum.

Stuff I want to Eat

This week is going to be pretty hot again, so basically we will be BBQing as much as we can. And by 'we', I naturally mean my husband. Grocery shopping was a pain this week because our usual store continues to let us down. We had to make an extra stop and could only buy portabella mushrooms in a pack of four. My husband doesn't like mushrooms. Guess what I will be eating a lot of?
  • Veggie burger topped with portabella mushroom
  • Stuffed Portabella mushroom
  • Veggie dog?
  • Grilled veggies


In the Rest of My Life

  • I believe I mentioned earlier my coworkers are awesome. Please refer to exhibit 'awesome'.
  • Our garden is growing like mad. Weeds included. See exhibit 'we need a gardener'
  • I finished MORE books! I'm a reading machine. Kind of. I mostly enjoyed It's Kind of a Funny Story. It's written from a youth perspective and has a realness to it, which slightly wanes once he...well, I won't ruin it for you.
  • I also enjoyed Escape from Camp 14. It's about an individuals experience in North Korea and his eventual escape. There was a good balance of personal story and information.
  • And then I finished Little Bee. This was pretty good.
  • Now I'm reading The China Study and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
  • Coming up in my life I am expecting a visit from my gardener sister and her amazing little girl. The countdown is on!
  • There will be a cook-off proving that my vegan mashed potatoes are better (or equal to) my husband's mashed potatoes....*and* a challenge that will pit my dairy-free oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies against my husband's cookies. I shall win and take over the world.
  • What to expect in the blog? Uh, I have no clue. I'm hearing crickets.

Exhibit Awesome
Exhibit We Need a Gardener

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Comment Review

Until I have a crazy large readership (ha!), I figure it would be nice to reply to comments in a separate post to make it easy for the one person writing comments. And in doing so, hopefully guilting others into writing comments too.

  1. A request for the mushroom recipe related to the picture posted on Wrap-up. Well, it's one of my non-recipes. Basically, I chopped up some onion and fried it. Then I made a sauce using two types of BBQ sauce, ketchup, and maple syrup. Then I added that to the onions and heated it a bit. I had my husband grill the mushroom for three minutes gill side down. Then he flipped it over, added the sauce/onion combo, and grilled for another seven. It was pretty good. In the future I may add some cut up faux chicken or something to it to bulk it up as a meal. Hmm. Maybe this should have been a separate post even if it is a non-recipe.
  2. Was the tomato quesadilla soggy? Nope. I choose tomatoes that are slightly under ripe and just use the end pieces in things like sandwiches. It reduces the juice/soggy factor. Generally, because I don't like tomatoes, the rest of the tomato tends to rot in the fridge. This is something I'm working on. I always have the intention to use the remaining tomato in sauces or force guests to use them on their burgers.
  3. Yes, my bunnies are especially cute these days. Well, actually, they are always cute. I'm just taking more time to enjoy them in photos.
  4. Yes, Miessence foundation should be magical at the price I paid. Unfortunately, it is not. (comment from: Miessence Review)
  5. No, they do not look like ovaries. But they also don't look like muffins. (comment from Pancake Puffs)
Alright. There you go. Keep the comments coming....especially for the Peanut Butter Treat Thing. It really needs a much better name.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wrap up

So, here we go.

(Some) Stuff I Ate:

Gluten-free dairy-free
Espresso Cheesecake
 from Sweets from the Earth
Garden strawberries
I got kind of lazy with the camera this week so I only have two pictures to share. We also had stir-fry and stuffed peppers. And obviously a few other things, like Oreos.

I continue to have mock-tuna salad and bean salad for work lunches.

Stuff I want to Eat

This week is calling for gross sticky hot weather so we don't have much of a food plan. Basically, if we can BBQ it, we may eat it. And if I'm feeling ambitious we may have Naan pizza. I won't be doing any baking, which kind of sucks.

In the rest of my life:

  • I'm still reading (but progressing very quickly through) It's Kind of a Funny Story, Little Bee, and Escape from Camp 14
  • My to-read list is out of control. It has 96 titles on it. And that doesn't include the stuff that never made it to the list but is already waiting on my Kindle.
  • And that's it.
  • What to expect in the blog this week: Comment Review (a new feature to promote comment writing!) and hopefully a review of something

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Things kind of suck for me right now. I have learned that my contract at work will not be extended and I'm about to have a lot of free time on my hands. This sucks because I love my job and life is much easier when you are bringing in a paycheck.

I'm not 'over' the shock of it yet, but I am trying to tell myself that things will figure themselves out. At least I finally know. I had five days left of the contract and hadn't yet received an answer! And I had been walking on eggshells trying to be the best employee for the past few months, when really, I think the decision had already been made.

So, ya, at least I know. And I can prepare for the good things, like:
  • spending more time with my niece and sister when they visit
  • having more time to read
  • having more time to get all of the Christmas knitting projects done
  • finding time to work on the niece's scrapbook
  • having more time to blog
  • having the opportunity to pursue other options
  • no longer feeling 'too busy' to exercise
  • uh, time off in the summer when I've had no official vacation for three years? That's kind of awesome
  • finding time to volunteer
  • feeling less overwhelmed. I won't have to rush home, make supper, wash dishes, clean the rabbits, and look for a job (since I was doing that daily anyway)

I realize that some things are still going to suck, but maybe by making this list I can refer back to it in the dark moments and see how this could be a good thing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Peanut Butter Treat Thing

First, I need a name for this dessert. It's a really yummy frozen treat with a peanut butter flavour. For now, I will go with the lame title of Peanut Butter Treat Thing. I will wait for the masses to give it a proper name.

This dessert is a mash-up of a couple of desserts with some tweaks. It's primarily based off of this recipe. The original recipe is really good, but it's not dairy free. My modifications came with some rave reviews.


  • 2/3 cup of Oreo crumbs
  • 2 tbs of Earth balance, melted
  • 1 tub of Tofutti cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup of peanut  butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2/3 cup of almond milk
  • 2/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips


  1. Mix together the Oreo crumbs and Earth balance to form the base. Press into a bread loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until well blended. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, mix the almond milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and flour. This should thicken up a bit but not to the point of cool whip.
  4. Add the blended mixture to the cream cheese mixture and mix well. Pour this into your loaf pan, leaving at least half of a cup of mixture in your bowl.
  5. Melt chocolate chips and add to the remaining mixture. Pour this on top of the stuff in the loaf pan and do fancy swirly stirring to make it look pretty.
  6. Add garnish of your choosing. This can consist of Oreo crumbs, cut up peanut butter cups, etc.
  7. Freeze to set for at least four hours.
  8. Serve directly from the freezer...or if you have guests with specific tastes (*cough* picky spouses *cough*) you can allow it to melt a bit before serving.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wrap up

I had planned to get so much more done this weekend than what actually happened. I have a feeling this week will fly by (fingers crossed!) and before I know it, I will have another weekend to stuff full with all of the stuff I still want to do plus all of the stuff that I didn't do last weekend.

(Some) Stuff I Ate

Grilled Portabella Mushroom,
stuffed with BBQ sauce
 and fried onion
Oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies
 (from a mix but oh so good!)

Tomato Quesadilla with hummus
and Vegenaise

Cauliflower Steak. Next time I would
 marinate the cauliflower and
 use a different sauce.








Stuff I want to Eat

  • Veggie dog and bean salad
  • More mock tuna salad
  • Peanut Butter Treat Thing (recipe to follow)
  • Stuffed peppers (we didn't get to them last week)
  • Stir fry

In the Rest of My Life

  • I FINISHED SOME BOOKS! I enjoyed Eating Animals. It was a hard read sometimes, but I found it more impactful than the Earthlings documentary. I mostly enjoyed The Dovekeepers but I would have gotten more out of it if I had focussed on this one book instead of reading three at a time. And I also finished A Fraction of the Whole. It was ok.
  • I'm now reading It's Kind of a Funny Story (coworker recommendation), Escape from Camp 14, and another one that I can't remember right now.
  • Tested but not blogged: Vegan Caesar Salad. It was ok. But I would probably skip it next time. I found the dressing tasted too much like tahini and my husband found that it was bland. Way to have conflicting reviews! 
  • Coming up: Peanut Butter Treat Thing recipe
And the bunnies:

Grumpy Zayne using her stuffed
cow as a pillow
Naveen, Behr, & Zayne.
That's almost a snuggle pile,
and yet they tell me they
don't like each other

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Miessence Foundation (Review)

Previously, I used Almay Smart Shade foundation. I liked the price point (18.99 on and Almay's cruelty-free status. Things changed in the cruelty-free claim so I began my hunt for a better foundation.

I started by ordering a sample of Miessence foundation. The sample cost $8 (with tax and shipping) and I was mostly satisfied, so I ordered the actual product.

The good:
  • It works better than the Almay foundation. I don't get shiny nearly as quickly.
  • And that's pretty much it.

The bad:
  • If I worked with little kids there would be a problem. At first, they would love me. But then that would wear off because while I smell like Play-Doh they would be let down when they realized I am not made of Play-Doh. Yes, that's right. Miessence has a Play-Doh odour.
  • The sample I ordered was an ok texture....but the real deal is watery. It may get better in time, but I've been using it for a week and it's still watery.
  • So, at $80 (including shipping and tax), this will not be a repeat purchase.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pancake Puffs

So, these look nothing like the original recipe. They are supposed to be cute little pancakes in muffin shape. Mine look more like balls because they put up a fight to stay in the muffin tin.

In the moment, I vowed I wouldn't make them again. But really, they are pretty good. And they were much easier to get out of the pan once they had cooled a bit.

Naturally, I made some changes to the recipe. I added half of an apple, 1 tbs brown sugar, reduced the maple syrup to 1 tbs, and added a tbs of chia seeds. My husband said they are pretty good, except the chia seeds make them crunchy.

Uh, really dear? I'm eating the same recipe and I haven't had any crunch at all. I attribute his complaint to him being a reluctant food-tester with distrust of all things vegan.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The good things

It can be really easy to get bogged down with the not-great things in life....but it can be just as easy to take stock of the good things. Today I choose the good things.

1. A thing that makes me happy: My husband *finally* got an electrician to fix his handy work that he started six months ago. I can use kitchen outlets again!!!

2. A thing that gives me hope in humanity:

(I love that something like this is part of popular media)

 3. A thing that inspires me:

How awesome is this kid?

ETA: the kid video had been deleted previously, so I'm not sure how long it will stay up. Sorry if you get another random video instead!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vegan Lasagna & Cheeze Sauce Experiments

I have put off making lasagna in *forever* because of the whole dairy thing. It seemed like kind of a bummer to omit the most key ingredient of a lasagna. I finally felt ready to try something. And I'm happy with the results. Mostly.

The sauce consisted of store-bought sauce with veggies (peppers, mushrooms, garlic, onion, etc) and beans added in. I used regular noodles. The 'creative' part was the cottage cheese replacement. I used a recipe for Lemon Basil Cashew Cheese as my guideline. But, of course I made alterations. I don't like nutritional yeast, so I used a mixture of that with soy paremesan. I also skipped the basil and used spinach instead. And I added in some silken tofu. I will tweak this a bit more and may eventually share a recipe.

Next time around I need to make more sauce or do something to bulk up the middle layers.

I figured since I was already messing around with a cheeze sauce, I tried another one as well. I had planned to drizzle this on top of the lasagna but I opted not to because I didn't really like it. I think it's because it has a stronger nutritional yeast flavour, and I really don't like nutritional yeast. Luckily, it's all used up and I will never buy it again.

I tried the sauce on nachos and it was almost ok. The flavour of the chips made up for the not-so-great sauce. I will probably make the sauce again but use the soy parmesan instead.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekly wrap up

Things have been kind of crazy around here. I haven't done much in terms of new recipes. I've just been trying to get through each day with some sanity left over.

I have big plans for the day. I've already made pancakes and cookies (from a mix). I'm prepping my cheeze sauce for my macaroni casserole tomorrow. Later I will whip up more mock tuna salad and then do dinner prep.

In non-cooking stuff, I hope to have a chance to prep my blog for the week, prepare for some work stuff, finally finish a book so I can give it back to my coworker, maybe go for a walk....I guess I will just see how the day plays out.

(Some) Stuff I Ate

Eggplant parm
Mock tuna
The mock tuna is super easy and is good enough for me. Essentially, it's smooshed up chickpeas with some mayo (next time it will be Vegenaise now that I have some), some Tofutti sour cream, and some relish. Oh, and celery to give it a bit of a crunch flavour. I use this mixture as a sandwich spread or a dip.

Of course I had a few other things, but they are going to get a separate post.


Stuff I want to Eat

  • A mash up of my usual casserole and a mac & cheeze
  • Stuff portabella mushroom burger
  • Green smoothies
  • Overnight vegan oatmeal
  • And I can't remember what else is on the meal plan


In the Rest of My Life

  • I helped a family member move closer to me. Yay. :)
  • I'm still reading the same books but have a plan to finish at least one soon. It's gorgeous out today, which means it is a hammock day.
  • On my radar: Easy Vegan Nutella, and Vegan Mocha Frappuccino;  and of course, a bunch of books to add to my "I will never actually read because life doesn't stand still" list.
I almost forgot the bunnies!

Naveen, sunning
Zayne, sunning

Behr, chilling

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to screw up brownies

Another one of those days....tijya in the kitchen. I had decided to make black bean brownies. My first attempt (a while ago) was a failure. My blender couldn't hack it. I decided to try again. I used this recipe as my base, but I wanted to substitute the eggs. I opted for applesauce. I mixed up the ingredients and threw it into a pan.

And you would think that considering these are black bean brownies I would make sure to add two key ingredients. One being beans. I did so (yay for one victory!). The other being some kind of chocolate to make them *brownies*. Well, I sort of skipped this.

I only realized my error once they had been in the oven for twenty minutes. I had hopes that I would call them black bean bars and that they would be delicious. But when I took them out, they were bubbling in a non-dessert kind of way. So I figured that this was not a yummy mistake, but a tijya-in-the-kitchen story.

I have decided that it's not a three-strikes-you're-out with these brownies. I'm done. I quit. Since when are brownies supposed to be healthy anyway?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Cups

I've had this recipe forever. It's super easy and appreciated by pretty much everyone. It's sort of a non-recipe in that I would make quantity tweaks depending on your preference for chocolate to peanut butter ratio. The original calls for:


  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of icing sugar
  • 1 bag of dairy-free chocolate chips
  • Muffin wrappers
However, I find that there is way too much peanut butter filling left over, so I typically slightly reduce the filling and bump up the chocolate.


  1. Melt half of the chocolate chips. I use 30 second intervals in the microwave.
  2. Spoon melted chocolate into muffin wrappers. It should do at least 12 cups.
  3. Place in freezer to chill.
  4. Mix up the peanut butter and icing sugar. Drop the filling into the chilled chocolate cups. Place back in freezer.
  5. Find something else to do for twenty-ish minutes.
  6. Melt the remaining chocolate and spoon on top of the firmed up peanut butter/chocolate base. Chill some more and then enjoy.

The one on the left is the pretty version.
The one on the right is the version for members of your own household
(once you've gotten lazy).