My new blog venture

Friends of Veg to Veg. I wanted to let you all know that I have started up a new blog.
It is called Mes Joies de Vivre.
In other words my little joys of life.
The blog will mostly be a hodge podge of love.
Beauty, Fashion, Running, Cooking...
You name it and I'll be posting about it.

I like the idea of this small joys blog because it allows me to broaden out to other pleasures in my life aside from cooking. I don't like when my cooking blogs post a billion photos of their cats or talk about school. Well at my new blog I can post a beautiful picture I took that morning or let you all know I got a 104% on a paper. You get the drill.

Take a look and I hope to see you at http://mesjoiesdevivre.blogspot.com/.



Hi all! I have just started graduate school, and think it is best to put this blog on hold. Well as it has been all summer. It seems to get harder and harder to update. But I appreciate all the people that read and commented on my blog the past few years. It has definitely helped me push my way into the vegan world.

I am so excited about my new adventures in Washington, DC with all the veg friendly restaurants, so every so often I will just HAVE to tell somebody about the great food I am eating. Once I get a hang of things here, I may just update every so often. So I hope you all keep me on your readers so that you'll get the update.

For now, peace!


Primal Strips - Winner!

Quickly, I wanted to announce the winner of the Primal Strips Giveaway.
#5 is HeyItsBeth

Please email me your contact information at (shadowsarah at gmail) so I can mail out your delicious strips!


Primal Strips - GIVEAWAY!

Quite awhile ago I was approached by Primal Strips to give their product a go. Primal Strips are a vegan, meat-free jerky made from soy, seitan, and shitake mushroom. Primal Strips all have around 100 calories packed with protein (~10g each) and little fat (97% fat-free). They also do not contain any artificial coloring, no MSG, no preservatives, and are kosher! I have seen these in Whole Foods before, but I normally don't go for vegan jerky. I find that they are all so high in sodium and lack a chewy, pliable texture. But Primal Strips have only 300mg of sodium and have an amazing rich texture that is what you should expect from a jerky.

The 6 flavors:
-Thai Peanut: [Seitan] This was one of my favorites. A very peanut filled taste. Not fake peanut taste, but a true natural, peanut taste. The peanut is paired with basil and spices that make it a great treat in your mouth. Although, it was a tad messier to eat than the others.
-Mesquite Lime: [Seitan] A sweet, light flavor with a little added chili and dill for a nice umph. I flavor left in my mouth was such a nice tang and not over powering.
-Texas BBQ: [Soy - Gluten-free] Sweet and tangy bbq sauce taste, richly spiced. I really enjoyed this flavor and it really was true to a bbq style jerky.
-Teriyaki: [Seitan] A nice asian-infused flavor with soy sauce. It tasted like you were eating a piece of meat flavored with teriyaki sauce. It was delicious
-Hickory Smoked [Soy - Gluten-free] Tasting pretty similar to the texas bbq flavor it did have a nice added smoke that brought it to the next level.
-Hot & Spicy [Shitake Mushrooms] It was hot and spicy. It was mellowed out with seaweed extract and licorice root. I personally did not like this flavor, not because of the heat, but more so because of the seaweed and the texture was a bit different than the others as it was made with my "favorite" food ever, mushrooms. It was less saucy though, so it was easier to eat.

I tended to eat Primal Strips between back-to-back classes that  cut into lunch hours. I was completely satisfied after eating just one strip and felt refreshed to tackle more lecture and notes. My only issue with the Strips were that the packaging was a bit harder to open and sometimes eating them could be messy with the sauce getting all over my fingers. If the company started using the tear back one side of the packaging style that many meat jerky's have, I would be buying these babies left and right for my on-the-go needs.

Delicious flavors, cheap price, high protein, low fat. There is nothing better.

GIVEAWAY: Giving away a set of the 6 flavors to one lucky reader.
  • Post what on-the-go location you would eat your Primal Strips
    • by Friday May 7th 12pm (noon, CST time)
Enter more than once by posting a link to this post on your twitter, tumblr, facebook, etc. Just post a second entry with the link to the location. (no limit to extra entries, only one link per media)

I will pick a winner by a random number generator and post the winner that same weekend.
Good Luck!

Apples to Apples

Other than Apples to Apples being the best game ever to play with friends, apples in general are pretty sweet. Apples have always been one of my favorite fruits, but I am highly picky with them. A little mushy, a little grainy, not gonna do it for me. Buying apples becomes an absolute pain that I end up not enjoying them. My favorite apples are Gala and Jazz apples both from New Zealand, they are crisp and dense with a sweet juicy flavor.

Whenever the apples dont live up to my standards of eating fresh I tend to want to make some sort of desert with them instead of just throwing them out. So I decided to make apple pancakes. Using Isa's pancake recipe from VwaV I just added cinnamon and slices of apples. A perfect treat for a lazy weekend day. I normally only ever think of putting berries or sweet bits in my pancakes. These were a refreshing change.

The second apple dish I made was Apple Pie Coffee Cake by VeganYumYum. Although, the apples used were not fresh, and instead were from a can of apple pie mix. This was the first time I've ever bought apple pie mix, but it seemed worth it if it meant no messy attempt to core, peel, cut, and making a syrupy mixture. The cake was made of just flour, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. It was a very sweet and easy dough to mold. The bottom of the cake was covered in the apple pie mix and then pieces of dough were placed on top of the mixture with a cinnamon sugar mixture topping the delicious cake. It baked for 90 minutes and made my entire house smell of sinister goodness. I really enjoyed this cake. Little clean up, a nice sweet flavor, and a thick cakey dough. I could see making this for my family if I needed to make a coffee cake. Simple is the way to go in the morning


Curried Potato Salad & African Peanut Soup

I am alive! Sorry for being missing for a few months, over break I rarely used my laptop as my ups fan (i think it is called) was dying again... So every time I had my computer on it sounded like something was dying or a giant vibrator, whichever you'd prefer. But! I ended up deciding to get an iMac. I was tired of the troubles I had on Windows and Windows 7 did not live up to my expectations. So far I am happy with my mac and just have to twerk with all the cool applications to find ways to do things I prefer (ex. renamer, sizeup) and learning the new keyboard shortcuts. There is a few things I dont like about my computer, such as how the usb and jacks are in the back (I can never find them and then i feel like im scratching the metal while trying to blindly get them correctly), the magic mouse's batter life is terrible, and i wish they computer came with the full-size keyboard. Just little things.

I am proud to say that I am in my last semester of undergraduate and being a part-time student (over-load of credits from summer school/study abroad) I am enjoying myself and able to relax a bit. Just today I mailed my last application for graduate school. It is such a relief that it is over and I am now only able to wait. I have heard back from one school, the department has congratulated me, but I guess the UC schools do it backwards and I still have to get accepted into the UC system. But I don't see why I wouldn't. If I dont get it, I will be really disappointed and upset that the department chose to email me before it was final. But my next move is to visit the schools I get into, meet with professors, students, and get a feel for the place. Though, in the end, money will be the deciding factor. The cheapest school w/cheapest living will most likely get my bid. But I sort of think I would love living in California in the Sacramento area and being so close to vegan heaven, San Francisco.
Enough of me. I just figured I owed you all a little update, I feel like Im so disconnected with the blogsphere.

Hot dogs were one of two 'meats' that I ate when I was an omni and I requested them often. Hot dog day at school was my favorite of all the 'day' lunches and mom's Pillsbury wrapped dogs with cheese are still a favorite meal of mine. I decided to pair hot dogs (topped with french fried onions and ketchup) with a potato salad, seemed like they always pair nicely. I decided to go non-traditional and try Vegan Dad's Curried Potato Salad. The recipe called for onions, garlic, frozen peas, and of course potatoes (i added celery). Using a little oil, curry powder, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon is what made them pop. I really enjoyed the recipe. I had a bit of an issue with getting the spices to spread evenly in the dish, so every so often a bite would be a bit too much. The flavors came together to really make this a special potato salad. I think it would be perfect for a summer bbq or vegan potluck. And it paired perfectly with my delicious hot dogs. Also, just for anybody curious, I have found two brands of buns that are vegan (so far). The first is Ener-G Tapioca Buns , I am not a fan at all. They are gluten-free and extremely plain, tacky mouth feeling, which is one reason why I dislike most breads. The other brand is Natural Ovens Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns (which were used in this meal). I am not 100% happy with them, but my favorite type of bun is sesame, soft and chewy and rip apart fresh. I will live with them, but I can't even find them at the company's website, so who knows if they still make them...

As always I love my soups. I saw Show Me Vegan's recipe for African Peanut Soup w/Red Beans and became very intrigued. I have never heard of putting nuts in soup, so i had to make it. It called for onions, diced tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, ginger, red beans, kale, and a little peanut butter. The peanuts surprisingly went in right after you sauted the garlic and onions. For some reason I figured they'd be last minute softening in the broth. They really had great flavor having been sauted with cayenne pepper and the onion/garlic mixture. The soup was a fresh flavor in my mouth and really wowed me, especially since the broth was heightened with creamy peanut butter. I enjoyed the little bit of crunch that was still present from the peanuts and the soft, sweet flavor from the tomatoes. This soup has been added to my gigantic collection of favorite soups.


Tofu Done Two Ways

With every pack of tofu, there is about 4 dinner meals, so I will normally make two different recipes. With this container of tofu I made two Vegan Dad recipes.

The first was Malaysian Sweet and Sour Tofu. This recipe wasn't even what was on my list, I originally had a different Vegan Dad recipe, but for some reason did not feel like making it and instead felt like a saucy tofu-y meal. So I decided on the Malaysian style. The photo is really crappy, as this is a recipe I made when I still thought my camera charger was lost. I battered my tofu with corn starch and a little flour and the sauce was mainly made up of soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, and sugar. I was a bit hesitant to the amount of vinegar that he used, so I instead used more soy sauce and added a bit of hoison. My sauce wasn't as deep and rich colored as his picture implied, but damn it was delicious. Really nice tofu dish that prepped and cooked fast.

The second tofu dish was his Thai Tamarind Chili Tofu with Cashews. With such a stellar picture, I was well excited to make the dish. The grocery store that I went to has absolutely no good produce, ever (as why I never go there). But this grocery trip, I was offered a ride, so I took my chance. So where the recipe called for both shallots and green onion, they had neither. I made due and used sweet onion instead. Vegan Dad instead of the normal battered tofu called for golden baked tofu and have to say, as with the sesame-crusted tofu, I am so impressed with the texture of tofu that is baked. The tofu has time to evaporate water while baking, so it is a lot chewier than if it was fried. It is my new method of tofu prep and Im sticking to it. So good.
As always, I never have all the ingredients of the sauces, so I used brown sugar, sriracha, vegetable stock, and soy sauce for my sauce. Added to the already mentioned tofu and onions was red pepper and cashews. So simple and yet it packed a punch in the taste department. The sweetness from my onions and the brown sugar played delectably off the nutty cashew taste and the little bite of heat from the sriracha sauce. mhmm.

Whoever says tofu is a one trick pony or gave up after their first experience with it really needs to get back on the train. Tofu is so delicious!


best salad ever...

So a few years ago I took a picture of seriously the best salad I had ever made at the time. The salad, pictured here was laden in cheese, egg, cream and milk based dressing, and processed croutons. And actually had no vegetables, hrm.

However delicious it does look, it is so no good. Instead, I have updated my view of the best salad ever (well that I have made) to this...

delicious in all of its enormity. Chikn strips, radishes, black beans, pieces of apple, carrot, and more.

I dont know if this shows how becoming vegan has made my view on eating much healthier and much more varied. The amount of color on the salad, the addition of spinach and beans adding such nutrition. It just reminded me that even though I still drink my diet pepsi like a mad woman, becoming vegan has made me be so much better to my body.

that's all. have a great day :)


White Bean Pasta & Quinoa Veggie Soup

Well it is November, and I umm did not make the Vegan Mofo goal of 20 posts. I knew I wouldnt, October is midterms and such, but it is still fun participating and getting to know new bloggers and see new faces on the blog.

The end of the month turned out to be great. I made sure not to participate in Halloween this year. Until I am away from the college environment, I do not want to take part in the holiday. I hate the overly sexy, drunk mindset that most college students see as Halloween. I was telling friends on twitter that my idea of Halloween is the trick-or-treaters running up to my door, the crisp air, the warmth of my house from my mom making chili all day, and the voices of the black and white horror shows and movies that my dad would be watching. It was such a great experience. Memories that obviously will carry with me my entire life. So instead of dressing up and getting drunk I went apple picking with a friend. It had rained pretty hard the days before, so the farm was really muddy and of course a greedy goat somehow skidded mud all over my pants The farm was going to charge us 40 dollars for the apples and wouldnt let us get smaller sized bags, so we just walked around the farm. But being with a good friend and laughing a storm was enough of an adventure. We ended up going to the outlet stores and even going to the neighboring state for dinner. So much fun.

I am kind of in shock of where the year went. We have two more months left until 2010. The year that I have been waiting for since my high school graduation in 06. I will be graduating from university. It is pretty insane, but it looks like I will most likely still be in school and my applications for grad school are still a work in progress.

For the past 3 weeks I have pretty much had 5 fresh things on my shelves. Was out of bread, bagels, juice, all fruit, and almost every frozen meal I could possibly make. In other words, my meals came from Subway, Qdoba, and mixture of horrible junk food. I am so excited to have gone shopping this past weekend and finally have some fresh produce and more of my beloved Amy's frozen goods.

The first thing I made after I got my stash was actually a meal that I already had all the ingredients for. I figured I still had a little bunch of kale left, so I would make the recipe that had called for kale. And it was Joshua Katcher's White Bean Pasta with Garlicky White Wine Sauce. Simple pasta dish that consisted of red onions, garlic, white beans, kale, white wine (i used veg broth), a little nooch, and a little spice. Just had to brown the onions and garlic, add the beans, nooch, and spices, pour in the broth and kale and allow to simmer. Not much work at all, and the sauce was ready by the time the pasta was perfectly al dente. It was so effing delicious, I even licked my work spoon off before putting it in the sink. It was a perfect meal after a great relaxing day and again today when I had such a long day, plus still extras for lunch tomorrow (and I swear I made a half recipe). I will definitely be making this again, and think I might even make it for my family next time I go home.

Another meal that I ate for days and days without thinking of it as leftovers was Jenn Blumberg's Quinoa Veggie Soup. I made the full recipe of this soup, since I can easily have soup for lunch and dinner for days and days on end. How many times do I even have to tell you guys that I am madly in love with soup? All of Jenn's recipes are brilliantly organized and with amazing instructions for new cooks or cooks experimenting with new vegetables. This recipe had detailed instructions how to prepare a leek (which was really helpful to me) and showed how to cut kale correctly. The soup consisted of the leek, kale, carrots, celery, onion, okra, corn, and quinoa all in a delicious 'chikn' broth. I actually had the fake chikn broth from my whole foods adventure, and it really made it taste like a soup my mom would make for me when I was sick. So many flavors and textures, with just the right amount of starch from the quinoa. I fell in love with this soup every single time I ate it. And I of course added mounds of sriarcha sauce to my broth to make it nice and spicy. Was highly satisfied and this recipe as well has been added to my soup rounds.


Photo Wrap Up

Because I still have photos and recipes from last year on my computer that have yet to be blogged, I decided today would be little words and a whole lot of pictures. Not all of the photos are very good, so bear with me. I just had to get this off my chest/to do list.

Baby Corn with Peppers in Sweet Teriyake sauce from Happy Herbivore

Hot Sauce-glazed tempeh and Messy Rice both from Veganomicon

Tofu and Broccoli in Spicy Peanut Sauce from happyveganface

Peanut Ginger Noodles (i think) from The Picky Vegan

Potato Latkes from The Vegan Table

I think I can sleep easy tonight. Have a good weekend everyone!