Friday, September 27, 2013

Lunch Time: BBQ tofu on toast

Hi everyone! I hope your year and time and vegan eating are going well.
Me? I'm on a journey I guess. I'm trying to understand my relationship with food and understand how my body is reacting to what I eat.

One way I'm doing this is hiking everyday. I've always loved walking, but now I take advantage of the park above me and the many hiking trails and bike paths that are there. I go with my dog every day and so far it's been 6 weeks, and I'm loving it.

I'm feeling so much more in tune with my body, and I feel much stronger. Also, I am listening to my body. I've regained my body clock and can sleep and wake up with no alarm, and I'm also understanding how my body reacts to food. I don't snack anymore, and I make sure I have three square meals a day.

Breakfast generally involves a bowl or oatmeal (a favorite) or I juice. I tend to juice 2-3 times a week.

Lunch can vary, but I tend to have a hearty salad with some tofu for protein and a glass of water.

Dinner, I tend to eat around 8pm, involves whatever I want. Mostly it's on a bed of lettuce, though, and it tends to not make the meal so heavy. But now that the weather is getting colder, I'll do soups, or roasted veggies or whatever else my CSA will provide.

Continuing my CSA is one of the best decisions I've ever made. I love it, and though it can at times be a strain on my fixed budget, it's well worth it because the better eating makes me feel better.

I'm going to share a lunch I have a couple times a week that's fast and kinda like junk food for me. 

BBQ Tofu on Toast

You need tofu (I love this Trader Joe's kind its actually delicious and the texture fries great), onion, BBQ sauce, avocado (half at most) and two pieces of bread. If I'm not making my bread and I buy it, lately I've only been going with Eureka! brand bread. It's delicious, organic, and vegan. Plus, you can buy it at some Targets, which is convenient.

I start by grilling the onion to the point where they are just about to caramelize. Then I add the bread and flip it over so it gets toasted on both sides.

I remove those and add the tofu. Here is where I add the avocado. 

The tofu I cook it until its browned on both sides.

Then I turn off the heat.

I then add a few dollops of BBQ sauce and allow the remaining heat to do it's thing (you may need to cover with a lid to avoid splattering. 

I slather the sauce over and flip the todo and presto, lunch is served!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Vegan Beer Fest

Hey everyone.

I'm sorry I've been lax on this site for a while. I'm just trying to get life going, you know. It's hard.

But I have some posts coming because I'm eating more at home (pretty much exclusively) and I'm trying to get creative with my foodstuffs.

But a few months ago I did manage to go to a great event, the Vegan Beer Fest. It. WAS. Amazing. So much beer, so many vegans, and so much really good, not overly processed food and great prices. I most likely spent about $30 (not including the ticket which was $35) for a day of nothing but beer and food. That's not too bad.

The whole thing was organized so well. Upon entering, you get a 4os glass which you take to the booths for your beer. Less waste and an instant souvenir, so incentive to keep it. You also get a car that highlights the breweries that are there. Some booths had more than one beer, and you have to bee quick because some of the more popular beers will run out about mid day. I was into the stouts and ports and found a fantastic one they poured over the 'ice cream' they had there. Delicious.

There is a funny story to that beer. I went to a booth (the name escapes me now but I have it on a coster) and I asked them what their darkest beer was. The guy said they didn't have it at the booth here, it was being used in a dessert booth around the corner. He said to tell them that I wasn't to try that beer and they would fill my glass. I did, and found it was used to be poured over ice cream. The lady filled my glass and as I turned away, I took a sip. I turned back and said, "This is poured over ice cream?" She nodded, then I bought some ice cream and beer. It was fantastic!

If you are in the LA area and you like vegan music (yes, there was vegan bands preforming rock, rap and reggae) then you'll love the vegan beer fest.

Here are some of my photos but I've also put up some links for you to see the real action. I was too busy drinking.

More links:

I'll be updating this site more, I mean it. I'm baking and cooking so much on the cheap, I have to share. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

How I'm eating now.

I gotta say, these 6 weeks of no job have made me revert back to a lot of old food saving habits. I'm baking a lot more, even experimenting which I will say, is not one of those reversions.

One thing I find myself making time and money for is my CSA. I still juice a lot of my greens so I'm not giving that up, and at $40 bi-weekly, I don't think I'll have to. $20 a week for organic fresh veggies is a great deal, so it will stay.

The odd thing about this is that right before I lost my job, I was in a mindset of conservation. I was thinking, 'Okay, now it's time for me to save. I'm not in the mood to buy anything, so all my excess monies will go to saving.' Then boom, fired/laid off, whatever you want to call it.

I'm in a much better place than I was last time I had no job. That's not to say it's not a struggle, but I'm trying to be careful, and ponder what it is I did to get into this situation when when I work as hard as I work. It's exhausting trying and trying and getting nowhere while others who have not had to work nearly as hard as you are flowering. Even playing field my ass.

But I digress...

Behold, the best loaves of bread I've ever made. The trick for these was to leave the dough a bit more tack than I'm comfortable and not to let them rise so much. The bread was light but rich and moist. And perfect for toasting.

I'm using it for a lot of meal leftovers. 

From my CSA I took cherry tomatoes and cooked them with olive oil, 
some onion and chopped up garlic.

I had this as a main dish over rice.

Then with the leftover I toasted some bread and over some 'cheese spread', heated the tomatoes and presto, a lovely lunch.

Cheesy spread you say?

Here it is.
I took 1 1/2 cup of raw cashews and soaked them in warm water for at least an hour.

In a food processor, I took 4 cloves of raw garlic, olive oil, salt/pepper to taste, and one half cup of nutritional yeast flakes. Processed the shit out of it and presto, cheesy spread. 

Add some soy milk if you want to cut the thickness. You might want to add some tofu to knock back the garlic or to make the spread a little less rich. I planned on doing that but my tofu went bad.

It's really good and should last for a good week, if not more refrigerated.

I made this originally to eat over roasted broccoli. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Squash: Now I know what the fuss is about.

It's funny, a year ago I was in this boat. No real money, thinking about every penny, measuring my money more so than my time as an asset that was more valuable to me. I hated it. I really did, still do, but it was amazing how quickly those mind triggers came back to me when I lost my job.

Right now I'm okay as I look for other work, but I watch every penny. Recently had a no spend episode for 48 hours, then bought some soy milk and a couple other things. That brings me to this:

Super low sugar.
Don't buy Silk soy milk. Yeah, they got bought by Kellogg some time ago, and made the slimy move of taking all their brands off organic soy and making it one 'premium' line (douche move, Silk), which I bought because it had no added sugar and none of their non organic lines came unsweetened. I paid the extra money because I didn't want the extra sugar in my coffee (the main reason I get soy milk besides baking).

Well, they 'changed their formula' and it sucks. Obscenely grainy, leaves sediment at the bottom of my coffee cup, and it's 'thicker' if that makes since, meaning it's trying to mimic real milk more so in texture so real milk drinkers will like it? Fail.

Look, I know that we vegans are not going the be the main market of this type of stuff, especially now that so many meat eaters are looking for ways to cut their cholesterol and high blood pressures, but making something that isn't something taste like something else when it tasted alight to begin with? Such a bad move, and my last time purchasing their overpriced soy milk.

Okay, rant over. Let's get to squash.

To tell you all the truth, I never gave squash much thought. I just saw them as this decorative gourd that sat on tables at Thanksgiving. Then a co-worker at my last job came in with a container of pasta sauce and spaghetti squash for lunch. It looked good enough, though I didn't have any. That image never left my mind. It wasn't yuckie or anything, just unfamiliar.

So I decided to collect all the squash that my CSA had given me over the past few weeks and do something with it.

First off, I didn't know squash was so...dense. Geeze It took me nearly 45 minutes to cut up al the squash. I know some people (from looking online because I didn't know a thing about squash) prefer to roast it in it's skin, but I was mixing a lot of squash together, and wanted them cut in cubes.

After I did that, I decided to use up some of those beets that I get in abundance in my CSA as well. I do like beets, a lot, but other than juicing I rarely take the time to cook them. I chopped them up, along with an onion, tossed it all in olive oil salt and pepper and cooked them on 360 for over an hour.

Oh. My. Goodness! Now I get it! Now I understand! I added a bit of 'butter' and it was the most rich extravagant food I'd had in quite some time! Delicious! That settles it. I'm going to get squad from now on. I do like the texture of spaghetti squash a bit more than the green skinned squad (not a squash expert), so I might just indulge in that for a while. Still, it's made me realize I need to branch out more, be adventurous (budget allowing) and see what I can get on the cheap. You should try it too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

PBnJ, so Gourmet

To all my vegers out there (ha, vegers, I made up a word) how you you all like the classic peanut butter and jelly combos? I myself love a good peanut butter, but I like to with it up sometimes.

Being adventurous in your PBnJ is so much fun. Whether it's fresh made bread, or some artisan loaf, with a cashew butter and an apricot preserve, the yummy rich protein with the sweet sugars fruit is such a treat. That's why I call it the poor vegan's steak and eggs :)

Right now I'm enjoying some peanut butter and ginger preserves on multi grain organic bread. It's a great combination. The chewy bread that's tough and mildly sweet with the rich peanut butter and the spicy ginger. Yummers.

Once the ginger preserves (which I had in my fridge for ever) were gone, I went back to my old tried and true, low sugar blueberry preserves. This peanut butter is unblanched, so the skin was ground in with the peanuts giving a much richer, darker butter and taste. Get unblanched nut butters whenever you can.

This bread is really good. It's vegan, organic and is about $5 a loaf.
That's average to most over whole grain breads.
Sometimes after you have something mild, you want something spicy. I get frustrated in restraints for paying $5 for french fries. They are just sliced cooked pieces of potatoes, and frankly I can make those at home.

I got some yellow potatoes, and sliced them about 1/2" thick. I tossed them in some salt, pepper, olive oil, and this buffalo tobacco cause that I thought was going to be spicier than it was. 

I heated the oven at 400 and let these cook for 15-20 min. 

Right out of the oven.
With some seasoned vegan sour cream (buffalo cause, salt onion powder, pepper) and some ketchup, 
I devoured these in no time. A great snack.

I think now that I don't have a job to go to (I'm focusing on freelancing), I'm going to be cooking a lot more.

I'm also going to be updating this blog a lot more with yummy cheap snacks and vegan food reviews. So for all of us who are looking for vegan in the cheap, FSV is gonna be the place to go and know.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My first crack at apple cake.

Happy new year lovely vegan eaters! 
I know that I have been lax on this blog, but it's because I find it easier and lazier to eat in ruts. As long as I have avocado, rice, and salt and pepper, I'm good. I know, it's sad.

This week's CSA. Yes I'm still juicing.
Tonight I decided to warm up this cold LA night by baking. I love baking in the winter, it makes the house smell good and it warms the place too.

Apple cake. Why did I decide apple cake? How did I think I would know how to make apple cake? I didn't. I didn't have an apple cake recipe, just this one that I severely modified. I try to find a base recipe just so I can get some of the mixtures right and not have it be too watery or too dry.

Here is my recipe.

Apple Cake
1 small apple chopped
1 small apple sliced
1/4 lemon for juice
2 tbls vanilla extract
2 tbls sugar

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsl baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup soy milk
1 tbl apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup cocoanut oil 

First oil and flour a 9x9" pan
Heat oven to 350.

Next chop up your apples and use the lemon to retard the browning.

Take the sliced apples and line the bottom of the floured pan.

Add vanilla and sugar to the chopped apples and mix. Set aside.

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in the cup of sugar.
Add vinegar to the soy milk and stir. 
Melt the two oils together and blend. 

Fold oils into the dry ingredients. 
Add water and soy milk and stir. 
Mix in chopped apples. 

Pour into pan and level evenly. Bake for 45 min to one hour, checking on cake after the first 30 in 15 min intervals until done. 

Release cake from pan immediately onto a cooling rack. Allow to completely cool.

I finished the cake off with a maple syrup drizzle. I'm not a big icing fan, so this cake was sweet enough and flavorful. If you are adventurous, you might want to add some almond extract or even cranberries.

The texture of the cake is moist and dense. This is a great coffee cake, or even a nice birthday cake for the healthier among us.

Total of dirty dishes.
If anyone tries out this recipe, I'd love to know how it works for you. This was my first time making this up and I might tweak the ratios a bit next time. Okay, have a great week!