Four Weeks in One Post

I spent the last month cooking and eating solo since Tim was out of town for work. I can handle a few weeks in his absence, but any longer than that and I tend to become mildly reclusive and lazy with my cooking. Luckily, my dear friend Kittee saved several days and we spent time (in the rare moments of sunshine) gardening, taking long walks, and baking up fancy cookies and donuts. I also lived off of smoothies, burritos, tacos, and Veronica Mars. Seriously, it was quite the month! Here are some photos documenting the food and fun:

Greeny Beany Burritos – Brown rice tortilla + avocado mashed with lime juice + refried pinto beans + sauteed kale = Delicious!!

BBQ Tacos – Floppy corn tortillas + lentils and mushrooms simmered in homemade BBQ sauce + cashew cheese sauce + spinach = dinner and lunch for several days!

Gluten-free, vegan pizza! I posted about this delightful challenge here.

Sweet Beet Sammie – This consisted of homemade whole grain pita, crumbled sesame beet burgers, chard, and mashed sweet potatoes. I think I will be making this sammie again very soon! It was nutritious, filling, and pretty.

Early stages of gardening at Kittee’s house

Progress!

Poppies in Kittee’s yard

Gluten-free, vegan vanilla cake donuts with chocolate glaze – Kittee and I made these for a vegan bake sale and we sampled one (two?) just to make sure they were yummy (they most certainly were!).

Lunch on a sunny afternoon, at Native Bowl. This is the Mississippi Bowl: housemade peppercorn ranch, BBQ Soy Curls, two kinds of BBQ sauce, house coleslaw, scallions, and jasmine rice. This was so, so, so good!!!

Whoa! Wait a minute. What are those dandy grand treats? Well, Kittee and I also made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and filled them with fresh strawberry (local berries!) cream cheese frosting!! Yep. I ate two (and part of one that I froze and saved for Tim).

And finally,

Bakela Dinich W’et = Super rad Ethiopian food. Kittee is in the final stages of her Ethiopian cookzine (all vegan and gluten-free!) and the above meal is one of her recipes. It is essentially soy curls and potatoes in a spicy gravy. I took any authenticity away when I served the meal with brown rice, greens, and avocado. But hey, it was incredible!!

Now that the sunshine has arrived in Portland and Tim is back in town, I look forward to plenty of outdoor adventures in the upcoming months!! We have been plotting backpacking trips… Tacos make good wilderness food, right? HA!

Start Spreading the New Cream Cheeses!

Last month Galaxy Nutritional Foods sent me samples of their new vegan cream cheese spreads. I received two flavors: Classic Plain and Chive & Garlic (both are non-GMO, gluten-free, and non-hydrogenated).

My testing procedure was hardly unique. I simply walked a few blocks to the local bagel shop, purchased some fresh bagels, and headed home to make sandwiches. Clever, right? I figured a sandwich was more exciting than simply toasting a bagel and slathering it with cream cheese (although I eventually tried that method too!).

This particular sandwich consisted of the Chive & Garlic cream cheese spread, roasted red peppers, carrots, cucumber, and spinach. It was amazing! The savory cream cheese was a lovely addition. I think I would have preferred a stronger garlic flavor, but overall, this cream cheese was tip-top notch.

Next, I sampled the Classic Plain cream cheese spread on toasted bagels for breakfast. I rarely buy vegan specialty items like cream cheese since they taste pretty terrible (hello, Tofutti). However, Galaxy’s cream cheese is a whole different story. I definitely prefer it over Tofutti. The taste reminded me of dairy cream cheese, smooth with a slight tang and no weird aftertaste (or smell). I wanted to make a sweet cream cheese filling for some whoopie pies, but I never got around to experimenting. I think that is the true test for a vegan cream cheese.

My only complaint about Galaxy’s cream cheese spreads is that they spoil quickly. In less than two weeks both tubs were starting to mold. To be fair, the product recommends using within 10 days so I was warned in advance. I don’t think this would be much of an issue if you go through an 8-ounce tub of cream cheese with ease (making cream cheese frosting for a carrot cake would be a good example!). When the need for vegan cream cheese strikes, I will absolutely reach for Galaxy’s spreads. Thank you, Galaxy, for sending me samples!