Happy Weekend!

There’s a new Whole Foods in south Austin, off of William Cannon. I went last night and picked up a shitload of some goodies. Here’s a little peek..

Local peaches.

Organic strawberries dipped in vegan chocolate.

Organic Lacinato kale.

Today my juice was the lovely kale above accompanied with red dandelion greens, Granny Smith apple, celery hearts, and lime. :) I also stumbled across this:

Hope you have a wonderful Saturday! I’m off to stretch and deep clean! :)

Perfect Balls

If you are like me and try to avoid processed “meats” (and by meat I mean non meat substitutes of course!), then have I got the ball for you! My eggplant meatballs are made from whole ingredients, are supremely delicious, and work perfectly piled on top of pasta or tucked not-so-neatly into a hoagie for a meatball sub! Let me show you just how easy it is to “process” these at home! ;)

First, gather your ingredients.  I always just use whatever I have on hand. These meatballs are made with eggplant, but really you could substitute any bean, lentil, or roasted veggie! For these balls I used:

  • 3 small eggplants
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper
  • several cloves of garlic
  • grapeseed oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • tamari
  • liquid smoke
  • mustard
  • poultry seasoning, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper
  • nutritional yeast
  • vital wheat gluten
  • oats
  • panko breadcrumbs

The first thing you want to do is chop the eggplant, onion, and pepper.  Add 5-6 cloves of garlic and toss with 2-3 tbs oil, 1 tbs balsamic, and a few shakes of tamari and liquid smoke. Season with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Roast the veggies for 45 min – 1 hour at 450 degrees F, until eggplant is tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Now put all the veggies into your food processor and add the rest of your ingredients. I apologize, but I do not measure so for the rest of this you will have to trust your inner chef and go by taste and feel. You want the texture to be similar to any other ground meat. You can adjust the flavor to your liking! Sometimes I’ll add a dash of BBQ sauce to the mixture as well and that always turns out nice! Next, you want to roll the balls in whatever size you prefer…

I like mine about 2 bites big! :) Here’s a closer shot:

To cook the balls, you can either lightly fry in some oil or bake in the oven! Both ways turn out great! Bake/fry until lightly brown. Then I like to toss my balls into some warm marinara, like so:

Finally, serve atop some pasta, add fresh baked bread (I’ll save that for another post!), and dinner is served!

I hope you have a ball making this recipe! Heehee!! ;)

 

Better Than Chicken Nuggets!

I’ve been searching for a replacement for a good nugget forever. Since we stopped eating processed, I no longer have the faux frozen nuggets to turn to from Morning Star Farms and the like. As bad as I know they are for me, those MSF nuggets were damn good with some buffalo wing sauce. Alas, they have been eliminated! And that’s that. Since then, I’ve been in constant search for the perfect nugget with similar texture and delicious flavor. And guess what…

I have finally found THE recipe to quell my nugget desires. Thank you to Happy Herbivore for this recipe. I of course tweaked it slightly. ^.^

         Chickpea & TVP Nuggets

             Things you need:

  • 15 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • 1½ tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 a dash garlic powder
  • 1 a dash of thyme
  • ½ cup vital wheat gluten
  • ½ tsp poultry seasoning
  • Panko breadcrumbs, flour, and milk of choice

The first thing you want to do is mash the chickpeas. This time I used a potato masher and fork. Next time, I will take the shortcut and just use my food processor. :) You want to be sure there are no whole chickpeas left. Next, add the TVP to the chickpeas along with the water, mustard, honey, soy sauce, garlic powder, thyme, and poultry seasoning. Then add the vital wheat gluten and knead the nugget dough. You’ll now want to setup a breading station by filling bowls with flour, milk (I used unsweetened coconut), and Panko. (You can season all three with salt and pepper if you like!) Next shape the dough into nugget form and then coat with flour, dip into the milk, and finally into the panko. Place on a pre-oiled cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway. I also lightly fried them in grapeseed oil for a couple of minutes on both sides to get them golden brown and delicious. Serve with BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, or buffalo wing sauce. :)

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do! xoxo

GREEN JUICE (without a juicer!!!!)

I have been dying to juice for well over a year now. I thought in order to “juice” though, one must first acquire a fancy-schmancy, highly expensive juicer to do it. I coveted the equipment, but could never afford to actually buy one! Then my friend/coworker showed me a Youtube video that has changed my life AS I KNOW IT!!! The genius invention? Green juice by blending your veggie(s) of choice with water and then STRAINING the pulp! OMG! So easy right? Why didn’t YOU think of that?! (I coincidentally had the same lightbulb moment you are no doubt having right now!!!) ;)

Here is the DELICIOUS result! (The gorgeous green is a mix of kale, cucumber, carrot, celery, apple, and ginger. The orange is straight up yummy-in-my-tummy carrot juice!!!)

Looks pretty damn good right? Kinda looks EXACTLY like the juice you’d get from a $300 machine.. And the cleanup is SUPER EASY! I’ve heard the worst part of juicing is actually cleaning the equipment. NO MORE! Just rinse the strainer, blender, and whatever bowl you poured it into. (NOTE: You’ll want to pour the juice into a bowl when you strain it and then pour it into a glass. Trust me on this. ;)) ENJOY YOUR JUICE!!!! <3

Did I mention I’m addicted now.. ?

Seriously. Good. Stuff. :D

Sobriety Update!

It’s been  3 1/2 weeks since I last sipped the silly sauce. I thought I would be KILLING for a drink by now, but the break has thus far been quite pleasant. My productivity has skyrocketed! I have more creative thoughts and ideas than I’ve ever had in my adult life! And the best part is that I have the energy to actually follow through! (I am a great project starter. Finishing ANYTHING is usually not my style.. <- Those days are gone!) I’ve been crafting during work, after work, on the weekends. I’ve made a skirt out of a couple tee shirts (I apologize in advance for the crappy phone pics):

Sewed a pillow:

Taught myself to tie dye:

A little endorsement never hurt anyone… ;)

This is my newest creation:

Back:

Ooooh yeah! Overalls dress!!! And that’s just a little slice.. ;)

Speaking of slices.. I better get back to this pizza dough that’s proofing in my kitchen. Brief synopsis – so far sobriety has been fun! (Though I have had my share of red wine cravings. >.<) I am still planning on sticking it out until Mayo, but hey, I might have made myself a whole new wardrobe by then! :) :) :)

Your Filthy Kitchen’s Worst Nightmare

The Suspects:

The Offender:

(I wish I could say I planned this. In my defense, I was really sick that week. :))

The majority of the stove I cleaned with just the Apple Cider Vinegar and a sponge. For a few of the really tough spots, a little sprinkle of Baking Soda and a dab of elbow grease does the trick!

Seriously, it’s amazing!

The Result:

Look ma, no chemicals!!!! ;) The best part is that you can use this method on any surface! I clean my entire house with this powerful duo!!!

Oh yeah, and Happy Chocolate/Teddy Bear/Roses Day!

Heh <3

 

Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Okay, okay. Hold the jelly. I didn’t make any of that… Yet! I did, however, discover THE BEST thing just now: Fresh nut butter made in seconds by my trusty Magic Bullet!!! (Got one of these bad boys for Xmas and it’s seriously amazing! It can do ANYTHING!) I hadn’t attempted a fresh nut butter before, now I’m just wondering WHY?! I will never go back to buying prepackaged nut butters with their expensive price tags! The process is so simple and rewarding! Here’s what I did:

Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter

(These directions are intended for the use of a Magic Bullet. Any blender will do – the more powerful, the butter better. ;))

1/2 oz Peanuts (I used half of a 1 oz can of salted party peanuts. If not using pre-salted, add salt to taste.)

1-2 tbsp Grapeseed Oil

1 tbsp Honey

A few dashes of Cinnamon (I used around 2 tsp)

Using the flat blade of the Magic Bullet and the smallest container, roughly chop peanuts. Add the additional ingredients and then mix w/ the cross blade until creamy and well combined. :) THAT’S IT!

I will definitely be making my own nut butters from here on out. Macadamia with a hint of vanilla.. Chocolate almond butter… Oh man! It’s gonna get nutty around here!

That’s all for now.. Time to get bakin.’ ;)

60 Second Vegan Ranch Dressing

Do you love ranch dressing but dislike consuming MSG? Are your carrots lonely because you’re vegan and can no longer eat traditional ranch? Worry no more! Regardless of the reason, if you find yourself with a craving – I have your simple solution! 60 second vegan ranch! This couldn’t be easier!

Now you’re going to learn as I post my recipes, I don’t always measure. In fact, I rarely measure. Nonetheless, here’s the recipe:

60 Second Vegan Ranch Dressing

(all measurements are “guesstimates” :))

1/4 c Vegenaise (or any mayo substitute you prefer)

1-2 tbsp Coconut Milk (I use So Delicious unsweetened)

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Season w/ Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, Chives, Oregano, & Dill (The herbs can be fresh or dried, whatever you have. Also, feel free to use fresh garlic if you’ve got it! ).

Mix with a whisk until well combined. Season to taste and add more mayo/milk to get desired consistency. Then dip your favorite veggies or drizzle over a salad! YUM! :)

No Drinko til Cinco de Mayo

Two days ago I started something profound. I am pledging to quit drinking for the next 3 months. Now, I know that may not be that big of a deal to some people. Hell, pregnant ladies have to go 9 months or longer without the booze. I however, am not pregnant. I am a normal 24 year old female. By normal I am implying that I get drunk a few times per week. Seems natural for most people my age. I wouldn’t specifically call it a problem.. Though the hangovers and blackouts might beg to differ. I also only weigh around 108 lbs, so a couple of drinks should be plenty. Stopping at that “couple” proves to be the hard part. I usually drink a six pack of quality beer (that is to say it has a higher alc. content than most run of the mill beers such as Miller or Budweiser, double gag) to myself or a bottle of red wine alone. Yeah, I guess that’s a little excessive for someone of my stature. :/

I also feel like alcohol has had some role to play in the emotional cycles of my life. I go through deeply depressive stages sometimes. I’ll isolate myself and my self esteem just plummets. It’s like, I know the world is great and full of wonder – I can see it through this plexi-glass shield – but for the life of me I cannot break through to the lighter side. This happens more frequently than I’m willing to admit. Almost like the negativity is so ingrained, deep in my soul that I cannot escape myself when it rears it’s ugly head. I have all the tools needed for a healthy, happy life – yet I still get sucked into these patterns that I know I am ultimately in total control of. My boyfriend sees this internal struggle, no doubt, and bless his heart for sticking by me. I owe him a lot. :)

I am very aware that alcohol is a depressant. I am not aware, however, how greatly it has effected MY depression. Since I turned 21 I have been drinking quite heavily a few times per week. Not once have I attempted to quit completely for an extended amount of time. This is something I feel like I need to do though. I think that getting rid of alcohol, or at least for the time being, will allow me to delve deep within myself and find that ball of light that I know is shining luminously. I can really dig and hopefully find the root cause of these issues that have plagued me for so long. I can also learn to better control my impulses and addictive qualities. After all, alcoholism, albeit socially acceptable in our culture, is not something to be taken lightly. It is a powerful, mental and mood altering substance. A drug. Not the kind that was grown organically either. Never once have I blacked out or gotten into a car accident from smoking too much. Why alcohol is legal and marijuana is not is still beyond me. Like the late, great Bill Hicks once stated, “Not only do I think pot should be legalized, I think it should be mandatory.” I think he was on to something… :)

Genius.

I’ll keep you posted on this sobriety endeavor. I know certain times will be very trying, but I have complete faith in myself. Like my 2 years sober co-worker said yesterday, “It’s all in your head.” That and so much more….

Time to get baked! :)