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Another weekend over, and this was a good one! One Friday night a month my very favorite thing occurs: Vegan pizza. In a buffet. 

My pal Cynthia and I met at the Bonnie Brae Tavern for drinks, gossip, and pizza (but not necessarily in that order):

pizza1

Oh and that pizza! From left to right… Pepperoni, artichoke, and peppers; Kale, mushroom and onion with cashew cheese; Refried beans with green chile; BBQ jackfruit with pineapples and a whole mess of veggies!

pizza3

Caprese; Pesto with chick’n, peppers and onions; Cheeseburger with pickles (!!); and Buffalo chick’n. ALL. SO. GOOD.

pizza2

Yes, I ate all that. Plus a little piece of dessert pizza, which was Cinnamon Roll. Yum. Those are pretty tiny slices though, so I feel like I probably only ate 4 real slices of pizza. Stop judging me! 

I also finally removed that ugly green backsplash tile in my kitchen, hooray! When the kitchen is done I’ll share everything, but here’s a sneak peak of what it was looking like… 

IMG_0690

Awful, right? It took me all day to make that mess – I had no idea how much work it was going to be! It’s done now though, and cleaned up. I’m spending time each night this week, after work, peeling off the nasty glue stuff, so I can patch it up next weekend. I really can’t wait for the kitchen to be done. 

I also went hiking, and on Sunday Lauren and her adorable little baby Hannah (the infamous photobombing baby!) came up for lunch. We ate sooo much. It was insane. And for some reason I didn’t take any pictures… probably because my phone was in Hannah’s mouth..?

I’m also about ready for summer to be over. It’s too hot! I’m craving the cool crisp days of fall, hiking among the changing leaves, and drinking bloody marys while watching football (#SundayFunday). But as long as summer is still here, I’m going to keep enjoying the summery food… like grilled veggie dogs! And in this case, Green Chile Baked Bean Veggie Dogs

Green Chile Baked Bean Veggie Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

I used the recipe for Maple Baked Beans from Oh She Glows,  and added in a couple roasted Hatch green chilies, all diced up. 

Green Chile Baked Bean Veggie Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

Just grill up your favorite veggie dog (I use Smart Dogs usually) and some whole wheat buns, and that’s it! And some sweet corn, because what is summer without sweet corn? 

Green Chile Baked Bean Veggie Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

 

Green Chile Baked Bean Veggie Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

 

Green Chile Baked Bean Veggie Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

{ 4 comments }

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies

Pasta with a spicy habanero and cashew cream sauce? With tons of fresh veggies? Hells yah! This is exactly the kind of pasta dish I love – more veggies than actual pasta, and with a really flavorful sauce. 

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies

I was inspired by a favorite recipe from Heather Crosby of Yum Universe. I made her recipe while reviewing The China Study Allstars cookbook and YumUniverse without realizing until afterward that I had chosen the same recipe twice. Pretty funny really. 

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies

Had a great weekend too, with not much time for cooking. Got to catch up with my ol’ roomie and some other peeps from San Diego- people I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years! 

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies

Tawnia is the redhead standing next to me. I rented a room in her condo for about a year (?) while I was in grad school. She lived next door to my uncle and nana and knew them to say hi to over the fence. I was looking for a place and she had mentioned to my uncle that her old roommate had moved out, and the rest is history. She and her friend Jen (in black) flew in from Austin. Vivianna and Neeko (in the front) she knew from Austin, although they live in Boulder now. And the other two awesome faces belong to Johnny and Karla who were friends of hers that I knew in SD, but they live in Denver now, like 15 minutes away from me. Small world!

We hiked to Diamond Lake, which is about an hour outside of Boulder. It was a fantastic hike! There was a ton of water along the way, waterfalls and creeks galore. 

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies

When we finally got to the lake (right around tree line) I couldn’t wait to dip my toes in, even though the water was coooold!

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies

This coming weekend promises to be less fun, but more productive. Guess who’s planning to bust out all that ugly green backsplash in her kitchen! ME!

Creamy Habanero Pasta & Veggies
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups whole wheat pasta
  2. 2 cups broccoli florets
  3. 1 red bell pepper, roughly diced
  4. 1 small sweet onion, diced
  5. S&P to taste
Sauce
  1. 1 1/2 cups raw unsalted cashews, soaked
  2. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  3. 1 1/4 cup non dairy milk
  4. 1 large habanero, sliced, seeds and ribs removed
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta to package instructions.
  2. Blend sauce ingredients until completely smooth, adding more milk if necessary. Set aside.
  3. Water saute the veggies just until soft, 5-10 minutes. Make sure all the water is gone.
  4. Combine the pasta, sauce and veggies over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Taste and add S&P.
Notes
  1. It's best if you can soak your cashews for at least an hour. If you can't, you'll need to add a bit more milk to the sauce.
Adapted from Heather Crosby
Adapted from Heather Crosby
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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Thai Basil Chickpea Burgers (Sweet n' Spicy!) | www.thatwasvegan.com

Do you love chickpea burgers? I do.

I know some people aren’t as fond of them because they tend to be soft, even when properly cooked. But I don’t mind that. I rather enjoy their texture, and I love how versatile those little beans are when it comes to flavors. Sweet basil is always a favorite, and I love a little heat too, which is what makes these Thai Basil Sweet n’ Spicy Chickpea Burgers absolute heaven!

Not heaven? Putting together a really big piece of furniture from IKEA only to find out that the final (and most important) piece is broken. And they’re out of stock, so you can’t even hope to exchange it until next month. And in the meantime? Just live with that big, stupid, half-built island sitting on its side in the middle of your damn kitchen, thankyouverymuch! 

I’m trying not to think about it, because it makes me so sad/angry. My kitchen is stuck in this maddening half-finished phase and it’s getting more and more difficult to envision the end. I’m not going to share any pics because I want to wait until it’s all done, but picture brand new walnut floors, white cabinets, and beautiful gray & black granite counters…. with awful green tile backsplash. Now add in the half-built island laying on its side, and that’s my kitchen. It’s chaos, and it hurts my head. Okay, I’m done whining. Thank you for listening reading. 

I did managed to maneuver around the chaos for a couple hours this weekend, hence these delicious burgers!

Thai Basil Chickpea Burgers (Sweet n' Spicy!) | www.thatwasvegan.com

You know that bottle of Thai chili paste we all have sitting in our fridge? Sambal Oelek. It’s a key element in this recipe. That, and fresh sweet basil, which to me, is the taste embodiment of summer. Each bite gives you a little heat and a little sweet.

I enjoyed mine on toasted Dave’s Killer thin sliced super seed bread, with the usual accouterments – lettuce, tomato, avocado, and a bit of Vegenaise. Yum.

Thai Basil Chickpea Burgers (Sweet n' Spicy!) | www.thatwasvegan.com

These burgers will make you glad summer isn’t over just yet! 


 

Thai Basil Chickpea Burgers
Yields 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  2. 1 small onion, chopped
  3. 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  4. 12-14 sweet basil leaves, torn
  5. 1 tablespoon (at least!) Thai chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 teaspoon lime juice
  8. 1/2 to 1 cup panko crumbs
Instructions
  1. Microwave the potato until soft. Place onion and potato in the food processor and pulse 4-5 times.
  2. Add the beans, basil, chili paste, salt, and lime juice, and blend until mostly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the panko (starting with 1/2 a cup), stirring in by hand. Add more until you get a consistency you can shape into patties.
  3. Refrigerate mix (you can leave it in the food processor bowl) for at least 30 minutes (a couple hours is ideal, but you don't always have time).
  4. Preheat oven to 400 and lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Shape the mix into 6 patties and bake for 35-40 minutes, flipping once. If you want more color, finish under the broiler for 30-60 seconds.
Notes
  1. 1 tablespoon of the chili paste will give you just a taste of heat. If you enjoy spicy, add more!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
{ 3 comments }

Korean Cabbage | www.thatwasvegan.com

Nope, this isn’t a traditional Korean recipe – at least I don’t think it is. My Vegan Korean Cabbage was inspired by Happy Herbivore’s Mexican Cabbage, a dish I make when I want something flavorful yet healthy, and I love to pair it with my Sriracha Agave Tofu!

Basically, it’s a healthier way to get the delicious taste of Korean BBQ sauce, without a whole lotta extra calories. Cabbage is so good for us- lots of fiber, fights cancer, yadda yadda yadda… and I happen to really enjoy both the texture and flavor of it. Especially with a little spice… I realize it’s not the most visually exciting dish, but it’s really good. Really really good. Make it as a side to go with your favorite Asian-inspired tacos, and you’ll love it. Promise. The recipe is waaay down below my reading wrap-up for July/August.

Even if cabbage isn’t your jam, you still need to try Korean BBQ sauce if you haven’t already. Check out my 25 Delicious, Healthy, and Vegan Korean Recipes for some more ideas!


Reading With Intention August 2015 | www.thatwasvegan.com

I read some really good books in July. Wish You Were Here I knew I’d love (because I’ve read it so many times), but there were some newbies in there too… And one I couldn’t finish because it was horrible. Horrible! 

Wanna be friends on Goodreads? And as always, I’m looking for new recommendations! 

  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel … This story is set in post-flu epidemic America, where a group of traveling musicians and actors have joined together in the only troupe of its kind, spreading what joy they can. There are multiple stories and POV’s mixed throughout the novel, that of course all tie together. Great book, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a light-ish read that isn’t mindless fiction. 
  • Redeployment by Phil Klay …  Ugh. Zero stars. And not even because it’s a collection of essay/stories by different writers – in fact, I enjoyed the first couple. But then I got to the one where the not-at-all charming Marine author told us the story of a woman he called “38”. As in her age, because of course a woman is only as valuable as her age and he couldn’t be bothered to actually remember her name. Anyway, this woman was (in his own words) not into him, didn’t want to be in that room with him, and was afraid of him. But he went ahead and had sex with her anyway. That is called, at the very least, date rape. He then went on to elaborate about how when Marines are out of a Friday night looking to get lucky, they don’t really care how consensual it is. I couldn’t read anymore, it made me sick to my stomach. It was awful. Don’t read it.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald … This is one of the only times I’ve seen the movie before reading the book, which was an interesting order in which to do things. This was a really quick read, so much shorter than I was expecting (~200 pages on my ipad). I think I was able to imagine the scenes in lusher, more vibrant tones because of seeing the movie, but of course that also means that I was picturing Jay as Leo DiCaprio the whole time. At any rate, I now understand why this book was a classic, and also by Fitzgerald suffered so much in his later years trying to write up to this standard. 
  • What I was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman … This book! THIS BOOK! I’m in love with this book. Newman spent her 20’s and 30’s building a successful writing career and traveling the world. During these travels, she met sooo many hot men, and really enjoyed her life. If you love to travel (and love to read about it while you’re not traveling), this is a great book. She’s a comedy writer in LA, so this book was very funny from beginning to end. I’ve already recommended it to all my GF’s IRL who love to travel. 
  • How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran … Ooooh such a good book! If you’re a budding feminist, or are just interested in gaining a better understanding of the lives and pressures of women, you should read this. If you’re a STRIDENT FEMINIST, you’re probably already read this – but would enjoy reading it again, I’m sure! Moran is hilarious and filthy-mouthed and unapologetic and just generally awesome. I totally heart her. 
  • Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan …  The story of the Maxwell clan spending one final week at the upstate NY lakehouse that has been in the family for generations, but has just been sold following the death of the family’s patriarch. Each day is covered in detail, with each chapter told from a different POV. Nothing really *happens* in this book, and there’s certainly no conventional story arc, but I love it anyway. Having grown up on a lake there are so many little details I recognize and that remind me of my own youth (especially the hot, humid months shared with my “summer friends” who were only around a few weeks a year). I also adore the way he really understands women. I know it sounds odd, but I feel like he knows me somehow. The character will be going through a series of mundane tasks and I’m sitting there thinking “I do that exact thing!! Just like that!”. 

 Books for August, 2015

  • Emily, Alone by Stewart O’Nan … Just like I always read Wish You Were Here each summer, I follow it up with Emily, Alone. 
  • Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler … I’ll be listening to this as an audiobook on the bus, which is always a slightly different experience than actually reading the book. I think Poehler is fantastic, so I’m sure I’ll love it.
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee … the obvious choice for ‘must read’ this summer, no?
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather … I only know that this story is set in the pioneer days, which means I expect to enjoy it. I learned of it while reading Glitter and Glue (another GREAT read!), the woman in the story reads it as a way to get closer to her mom, who always said it was her favorite book. 
  • Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman … Another travel book, yay! This one is about a woman in her 40’s who walks away from her divorce and her life in LA and becomes a modern nomad. Very excited to read this.
  • The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle … This is my third book by Boyle this year. This one is based on a true story and explores one family’s legacy of violence. Boyle writes incredible character studies. When you’ve finished reading one of his books, you feel like you actually know these people! 

 

Korean Cabbage
Serves 2
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Prep Time
13 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
13 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 small red cabbage
  2. 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  3. 1-2 tablespoons gochujang (or other Asian hot pepper sauce)
  4. 1 tablespoon sesame oil (or chili oil for an extra layer of heat)
  5. 1 cup sugar snap peas
  6. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Slice the cabbage and rinse. Place in a big frying pan over medium/high heat w/ 1-2 tablespoons water while you mix the sauce. Add the sauce and peas to the pan, stirring well, and continue to let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Notes
  1. Serves 2 as a main, 3-4 as a side
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
{ 3 comments }

 Garlicky Chipotle Chickpeas | www.thatwasvegan.com

These Vegan Garlicky Chipotle Chickpeas are two things: Absolutely delicious, and yet another way to use my McCormick’s seasoning. And no, this isn’t a sponsored post. I just happen to heart this flavor! If you dig it too, check out my Garlicky Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries… 

I had a great weekend. Well, a great and also deeply disturbing weekend. Went out with my friend Bethany on Saturday night which was just what I needed!

fun

We went to the Viewhouse, a restaurant/bar on the south side of Denver, and we were planning to have a couple drinks and talk about how great our mancations are going (very popular thing these days, apparently!). We sat at the bar, with a beautiful view of the mountains, and proceeded to have a great night. We met this really nice guy who shared his bottle of wine with us and we three spent the evening talking and laughing and dancing and it was pretty great. It for sure got a little wilder than I had planned (I have this weakness for tequila shots, even though they’re nearly always a bad idea) but I needed it. I deserved it! (See how nice I’m being to myself?)

My weekend also took a disturbing turn the morning I was outside cleaning up dog poop. One of the pieces laying on the grass turned out not to be poop, but an enormous brown worm. I believe it was a tomato worm, and it was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. I literally screamed. I was convinced it had fallen out of my tree and at any moment hundreds more would rain down on me. I was pretty freaked out. I don’t even have any tomato plants so I don’t know what he was doing in my yard, but he was definitely not welcome there, so I checked him over the fence. I’m still grossed out by him, days later. I don’t how you gardener types deal with all these creepy crawlies! I took a short video of him, but I’m not going to post it. I like you guys too much to give you nightmares ;) 

I made these chickpeas ages ago, and just never got around to sharing them. I’ve been rather lazy about cooking lately though, so it was time to post them. They’re really delicious and they make a wonderful, healthy snack! 

Garlicky Chipotle Chickpeas | www.thatwasvegan.com

 


Garlicky Chipotle Roasted Chickpeas
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cans chickpeas, well rinsed and dried
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 heaping tablespoon McCormicks Grill Mates Chipotle and Roasted Garlic seasoning
  4. Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Stir to make sure the oil is evenly distributed. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. You want them crisp and golden! Toss with the seasoning and salt to taste, and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Please make sure your chickpeas are fully dried before starting!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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Balls Vodka (yes, really) recently sent me a bottle of their vegan-safe (and gluten-free!) vodka to try. I hadn’t heard of their brand before, but fell in love as soon as I saw their packaging. Isn’t it great?

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 11.12.18 AM

The bottle is a total conversation starter – everyone who has seen it in my kitchen has loved it – and the taste is smooth. And it only has 100 calories per serving, which is pretty cool. It took me a while to come up with the perfect cocktail to enjoy it in, but this past weekend I finally did. I had a grabbed a bag of cherries at Whole Foods earlier in the day, and they were really calling my name. The Shirley Temple was my favorite drink to order as a girl, and that’s how this drink came to be. I’m calling it The Sassy Shirley Temple. There’s already a Dirty Shirley and I like alliterations, so there you go.  

Sassy Shirley Temple | www.thatwasvegan.com

What makes my cocktail so fantastic isn’t just that it has Balls vodka in it, although that helps. It’s the CHERRIES! No wimpy little maraschino cherries for us, no sir.  We’re ADULTS (hence the vodka) so we like real cherries. 

So head to store and pick up a bag of beautiful red sweet cherries, stop at the liquor store, then go home and enjoy a Sassy Shirley Temple!


 

Sassy Shirley Temple
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup Balls Vodka
  2. Hefty splash of grenadine
  3. Sprite or any other lemon/lime soda
  4. Sweet cherries
Instructions
  1. Fill 2 tall glasses with ice. Add the vodka, soda and grenadine, and stir. Top with cherries and enjoy!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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Vegan cover

Yep, it’s another vegan cookbook giveaway! Why? Cuz I love you guys!  ❤ ❤ ❤

Truly, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for the comments and emails and event texts I got about Friday’s post, and how I’m learning to be kind to myself. Whether I know you in real life, or just through this little blog, I appreciate you and all of your support. Mwah! 

Okay, enough of the mush. Let’s talk about Vegan Everyday by Douglas McNish, a great new collection of delicious and healthy vegan recipes. Lots of variety in here, everything from desserts to noodle dishes to slow cooker recipes. And there are 500 of these recipes! So, basically, something for everyone. 

Speaking of noodles, the publishers were kind enough to allow me to post the recipe for the Buddhist Noodle Bowl… 

BuddhistNoodleBowlVeganEveryday

 Looks delicious, right? You can scroll down and print that off, right after you enter the giveaway!


The Giveaway

One lucky reader will win a copy of Vegan Everyday by Doug McNish! To enter, leave a comment below answering the question of the day:  What do you do when you get a new cookbook? Do you read through the entire thing, marking the dishes you want to try? Do you start with the appetizers and work your way through? Be sure and log your comment into Rafflecopter to make sure it counts! Contest ends August 2nd at midnight, mountain time. One winner will be chosen at random and announced the following day. Open to residents of the US and Canada only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


Buddhist Noodle Bowl
Serves 2
Silky soba noodles combine perfectly with rich, salty broth, aromatic ginger and crunchy fresh vegetables in this very satisfying main-course dish.
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BROTH
  1. 1⁄2 cup wheat-free tamari (see Tips) 125 mL
  2. 1⁄2 cup water 125 mL
  3. 2 tbsp raw agave nectar 30 mL
  4. 1 tbsp dulse flakes (see Tips) 15 mL
  5. 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar 15 mL
  6. 1 tbsp chopped peeled gingerroot 15 mL (see Tips)
  7. 1 tbsp mirin 15 mL
NOODLES
  1. 1 package (8 oz/250 g) gluten-free 1 soba noodles (see Tips)
VEGETABLES
  1. 2 tbsp grapeseed oil 30 mL
  2. 1 tbsp minced peeled gingerroot 15 mL
  3. 1 cup thinly sliced baby bok choy 250 mL
  4. 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms 125 mL
  5. 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage 125 mL
  6. 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper 125 mL
  7. 1⁄2 cup cooked adzuki beans 125 mL
  8. 2 tbsp thinly sliced green onion 30 mL
  9. 2 tsp raw white sesame seeds 10 mL
  10. Dash toasted sesame oil Dash
Broth
  1. In blender, combine tamari, water, agave nectar, dulse, vinegar, ginger and mirin. Blend at high speed until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until ready to use.
Noodles
  1. In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Using a colander, drain and immediately rinse under cold running water to remove excess starch. Set drained noodles aside.
Vegetables
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat grapeseed oil. Add ginger and cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add bok choy, mushrooms, cabbage and red pepper. Cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes (be careful not to overcook, as you want the vegetables to retain their color).
  2. Pour noodles and broth into individual serving bowls. Top with sautéed vegetables, beans, green onion, sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil, divided equally. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Wheat-free tamari is a gluten-free seasoning made from fermented soybeans. It can be found in most well-stocked supermarkets and natural food stores.
  2. Dulse is a red seaweed. Look for it in well-stocked supermarkets, where it can be found in dried form in a shaker-type bottle. It has a salty flavor and makes a great substitute for salt in soups and sauces.
  3. To remove the skin from fresh gingerroot with the least amount of waste, use the edge of a teaspoon. With a brushing motion, scrape off the skin to reveal the yellow root.
  4. Most soba noodles contain added wheat, which means they are not gluten-free. Look for brands made from pure buckwheat flour. They are available in most well-stocked natural food stores and Japanese markets.
  5. Use either adzuki beans you have cooked yourself or canned beans, preferably with no salt added. When using canned beans that contain salt, be sure to rinse thoroughly under cold running water before adding.
  6. MAKES 2 TO 3 SERVINGS
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
{ 20 comments }

Cheesy Buffalo Ranch Fries | www.thatwasvegan.com

Not every recipe has to be healthy. Even when it’s vegan. This is a truth.

Another truth, one that I’ve recently learned, is that I don’t have to do everything, right now. Some of you, bless your hearts, may already know this. I’ve heard there are people out there who innately understand that there are only so many hours in the day and that, maybe, cramming too much onto their to-do lists just isn’t healthy. I am in awe of these people. 

I have lists. Lists of things I need to do. Lists of things I need to think about doing. Lists of all these lists! Sometimes I think I’m the only person doing this, but then I bump into someone else with my level of crazy organization and it makes me stop and think. This time it was Clem, AKA The Vegan Cookie Fairy, who shared in a recent post about her lists and how she really needed some down time. 

This time though, rather than thinking “Oh man, I really need to give myself a break!” I realized… I have been giving myself a break! I’ve been going easier on myself than I can ever remember, which is wonderful progress. 

In the past, my to-do lists would grow to stupid lengths. I’d be all “Okay, I have a three day weekend, I need to get these 417 things done or else!“, and when Monday morning would inevitably roll around and there were still un-crossed-off items on that list, I’d berate myself. I’d feel like I’d wasted time and, even worse, like I’d let myself down. Someone would ask how my weekend was, and I’d be left to reflect on my epic failure as a human being for not getting hundreds of things done. Ridiculous, right? Yes, but I couldn’t see it.

The last few years of my life have seen massive change and upheaval. I got divorced and had to sell the beautiful home I thought I’d live in forever. My dog died. My dad died. I moved three times in two years. I had two car accidents. I started a new relationship that I thought was great but turned very, very toxic. That’s a lot of shit to deal with, especially for someone who finds comfort in structure like I do!

Now though, everything in my life is stabilizing nicely. The pups and I bought a great little condo that we’re remodeling to make it our own. The drama in my life has been reduced to whatever is happening that week on Real Housewives of Wherever, and the occasional trip to the veterinarian’s office. I have time to myself. I have time to connect with old friends, and to make new ones. Time to read, and cook, and nap.  Time to do whatever the hell I feel like, and I’ve been reveling in it! I still have to-do lists for my weekends, but they’re quite different now. Instead of running on and on, they’re short. And they include things like “Sit outside and read” when I know the weather is going to be nice, or – my current fave – “Burrito and a movie” when I have a quiet Saturday night at home and the only preparation required is a quick trip to Chipotle. This is my happy. And it feels fucking fantastic!

Cheesy Buffalo Ranch Fries | www.thatwasvegan.com

The other thing I can do without someone nagging me? I can make Cheesy Buffalo Ranch Fries for dinner, and nothing else.  Haha, maybe these should just be called Freedom Fries!

They really need no explanation. Oven baked fries (for less fat and calories and frying them), topped with a mix of Daiya shredded cheddar and mozzarella, Franks buffalo sauce, and Follow Your Heart’s vegan ranch. And scallions, because vegetables. 

Cheesy Buffalo Ranch Fries | www.thatwasvegan.com

Cheesy Buffalo Ranch Fries | www.thatwasvegan.com

 


Cheesy Buffalo Ranch Oven Fries
Serves 2
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. Non-stick spray oil
  2. 1 large russet potato
  3. Salt & pepper
  4. ~1/2 cup vegan cheese shreds (I used a mix of Daiya mozzarella and cheddar)
  5. Franks buffalo sauce
  6. Follow Your Heart vegan ranch dressing
  7. 2-3 sliced scallions for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and oil up your baking sheet.
  2. Wash and slice your potato into fries. Lay out on the baking sheet, single layer, and spritz with a little more of the oil spray, then give them a nice dusting of salt & pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping once, until crispy.
  3. Take out of the oven and cover with the cheese. Put back in under the broiler on low for 1-2 minutes just until it's melted. Plate the fries and top with the buffalo and ranch. I used about 1/3 cup each, but there's no need to measure. Just make sure you have good coverage and remember you can always add more!
Notes
  1. The measurements aren't exact because it really depends on how cheesy, buffalo-y, and ranch-y you want these fries to be!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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Warning: Some of these pics are about to make you seriously jealous… Like this Salted Caramel Butterscotch Cupcake from the Watercourse Bakery/ City O’ City! Jason bought it for me while we were out on a walking break one afternoon at work, and believe it or not, it was even better than you’d think! How is that possible? Well you see… the inside of the cupcake? It’s all caramel sauce! 

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I’m very lucky to work across the street from an all-vegan bakery… but I’m probably even luckier that I don’t have a big sweet tooth, otherwise I’d be there like every day!

This enormous plate was my reward for doing 4 hours of landscaping work last month … The veggie sandwich is made with Dave’s Killer thin-sliced, and it has FYH cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles,  along with fries and a salad with FYH vegan ranch!

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Then there was the day when I hadn’t been grocery shopping in forever, but was reallyreallyreally hungry, so I scrounged around and came up with this: Fettuccine with melted Earth Balance, lots of salt, and fresh basil!

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This Steamed Broccoli and BBQ Baked Tofu mix became one of my favorite work lunches of the month!

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And I’m so so lucky that my new condo is in delivery distance from Sunny Gardens, the SE Denver Chinese restaurant with TONS of vegan meat options! That night I ordered some Chicken Fried Rice, and it was soooo good!

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Hmmm… what else? I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of Kroger’s Simple Truth line of vegan products, especially their breakfast sausage patties and burgers- Here’s a Burger with the works (tomato, lettuce, Vegenaise), along with fries and some homemade “honey mustard”. 

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And last but certainly not least… My Incredibly Delicious Mexican Layered Dip: Single Serving Sized! I had a nice quiet date night with myself a few weeks ago (you can sort of see the bottle of white wine in the background!), and this dip was perfect.

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 And that’s it for this episode of What I Eat When I’m Not Blogging :) 

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BBQ Tempeh & White Bean Tacos

BBQ Tempeh Tacos | www.thatwasvegan.com

Did you guys have a good weekend? I did! Friday night was the monthly All-U-Can-Eat vegan pizza buffet put on by Bonnie Brae Tavern and the Denver vegan meetup group, and it was SPECTACULAR. As always! Buffalo chick’n pizza, cheeseburger pizza with pickles, french dip pizza, even a s’mores pizza for dessert. I wish I had pics to share, but I was too busy eating. I had our server snap a quick picture of me and my 3 galpals (Reia, Cynthia, and Denise!), but I somehow deleted it. Oh well. Just close your eyes and picture 4 women stuffing their faces with pizza and Stella cider, and that was us! 

On Saturday morning I was up early to drag/carry all those old cabinets and countertops and sinks out to the dumpster my HOA rented. I was worried it would already be full, but there was still some room. I was nice and waited until 9am before making all that noise because I’m such a good neighbor! It was quite the workout though, my arms are still really sore and I have a couple of bruises. But now my garage is emptier (still a crap-ton of boxes and Christmas decorations in there), and I can finally organize it…. next weekend. OH! And this will (maybe) impress some of you. After finishing that, I went inside and upgraded my computer- I installed a new graphics card and power box! All by myself! I’ve never done anything like that before, and I had to watch a couple YouTube videos as I went, but even still it only took about an hour. And I saved the $150 I would’ve had to pay someone else to do it. Sweet, right?

Living alone has really opened my eyes to all the amazing things I’m actually capable of doing on my own! But more about that later… let’s talk tacos. 

BBQ Tempeh & White Bean Tacos. With cabbage. And diced jalapenos. I love BBQ sauce. Sometimes I make my own and sometimes I go the easy route and just use store bought, which is totally okay! 

BBQ Tempeh Tacos | www.thatwasvegan.com

That’s part of what makes recipes like this a fave- if you have the time, you can make the sauce from scratch, you can cook the beans, etc. Or you can pop open a bottle of sauce and a can of beans, and then all you have to do is chop the tempeh and the veggies. I’m all about flexibility :)

One thing I will say though- do not skip the jalapenos. That little bit of crunchy heat makes these tacos perfect! And don’t try to make them too neat or perfect. These are meant to be a little sloppy!

BBQ Tempeh Tacos | www.thatwasvegan.com

 

BBQ Tempeh Tacos | www.thatwasvegan.com

 


BBQ Tempeh & White Bean Tacos
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package tempeh
  2. 1/2 cup (plus more!) of your favorite BBQ sauce
  3. 1 cup great white northern beans
  4. 1.5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  5. 1-2 jalapenos, diced, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Cube the tempeh. Mix in a frying pan over medium heat with the sauce and beans, until heated through. Add the cabbage and more sauce as needed, cook for 1-2 more minutes. You just want the cabbage to soften a little. Scoop into the tortillas and top with jalapenos.
Notes
  1. Makes 6-8 tacos if you're using smaller corn, tortillas, 4-6 with larger flour ones
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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