Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blogger's Block

So, it's been a month since I last posted. I just honestly haven't felt the desire to write, have kind've lost my oomph. I think the blog has become a little stale, a bit boring, and am not sure how to spice things up. I don't have a lot of readers and while I mostly do this for myself, I admit that it's kinda nice to have folks reading/responding.  I've considered going back to my other blog which was more fun & frivolous, but I sort've feel too old to be posting about pin-ups. *sigh* Maybe I've just hit a middle-aged slump since turning 50.

If anyone's still out there reading...grin...I'd welcome some input before I hang up my bloggers hat.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday Menu Planning (a little late)

I'm a little bit late on my menu planning, had the recipes selected and was planning to post last night but I was whisked away for another beach visit instead!

09.01.14 Evening on the Beach photo 20140901_194605_zpsyf9xo0zh.jpg

Chip at Sunset photo 20140901_195345_zpskxapine4-1.jpg 

Surely you can't blame me for taking advantage of that beautiful sunset, not to mention the lovely company! We ended the evening and the long weekend with a bowl of 16 Bean, Leek & Kielbasa Soup, which we gobbled up while watching a movie.

16 Bean, Leek & Kielbasa Soup photo IMG_20140901_173224_zpsvtqqalcg.jpg

The Verdict: AMAZING! This was the best recipe from Betty Goes Vegan so far, and quite possibly the most delicious bean soup I've ever eaten! For once, Chip and I were in agreement. Now, this is not super-duper healthy due to the faux meat, olive oil and french fried onions, but I personally could just eat the base of the soup w/o those additions and be quite happy! Chip on the other hand wants the goodies, and I don't blame him. Since I left the "meat" separate, we'll both be able to enjoy the leftovers to our own liking.

Now, on to this week's menu. Once again I'll be focusing (mostly) on recipes from Betty Goes Vegan and The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. I checked both of these out from the library but am enjoying them so much, I've decided I need copies for myself!

Man Crush Meatless Monday ("meaty" meals a man will love): 
Taco Tuesday (Mexican-inspired): Tempeh Tacos
Worldly Wednesday (dishes from far away lands): Rasta Red Beans and Rice
Throwback Thursday (retro recipe redux): Cheeseburger Pie
Fun Friday: Leftovers, dinner out, whatever!
Soupy Saturday (no explanation needed): Cuban Black Bean Soup
Slow Cookin' Sunday (Crock-pot cookin'): Dinner TBD, dessert Easy Apple Cobbler

So, there you go. I have my grocery list made, heading to the store now.

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, September 1, 2014

The Week in Review

Due to the holiday weekend, I'm running a little behind on menu planning. Here's our week in review:

You already know about Monday's Beefless Stew (yum!), so I'll continue on to Tuesday's Mexican Corn, Tomatillo & Red Bean Stew.
Mexican Corn, Tomatillo, and Red Bean Stew
Mexican Corn, Tomatillo, and Red Bean Stew

Mexican Corn, Tomatillo, and Red Bean Stew photo 20140827_074147_zpsgm56vlt0.jpg
Mexican Corn, Tomatillo & Red Bean Stew

The Verdict: Very tasty & flavorful with just the right amount of spice! I served this with cornbread so I could sop up every bit!

On Wednesday Chip  surprised me with dinner out, went over to Caribbean Jack's so we could check out the adjoining marina. Chip's new sailboat will be delivered next weekend so we have to acquire dock space quickly! This restaurant is known for its seafood and other bar fare, but I was pleased to find a Caribbean Spinach Salad on the menu which hit the spot.

Caribbean Spinach Salad photo 20140828_165048_zpstoc8egm0.jpg
Caribbean Spinach Salad at Caribbean Jacks, Daytona Beach

Caribbean Jacks photo 20140828_163543_zpscaduveam.jpg
Docks at Caribbean Jack's
On Thursday we just had leftovers, then Friday we had a dinner & movie date night! After seeing Fort McCoy at Cinematique, we headed over to Zen Bistro. I've never been disappointed with their food, and the Pineapple Curry (with tofu) was no exception.

Pineapple Curry photo 20140829_192356_zpsjhovpeht.jpg

For lunch on Saturday I made the German Hot Potato Salad and served it alongside Field Roast frankfurters topped with sauerkraut & mustard.

Field Roast Frankfurter w/German Potato Salad photo 20140830_164445_zps64vhm3qn.jpg

The Verdict: I really liked the potato salad, but found the bacon flavor a bit too intense. Chip said it wasn't what he remembered from his visits to German restaurants & delis, had a few bites and then left the rest for me.

Saturday's dinner was the Chicken-free Pot Pie..

Chickenless Pot Pie (before topping) photo 20140830_182112_zps1cyqmc99.jpg
Chicken-free Pot Pie

The Verdict: I'm showing a pic of the pie "topless" because once I added the crust everything went terribly wrong! Unlike the blog, the cookbook version of the recipe called for a whole wheat crust. Honestly, I didn't think that sounded great and thought it even less likely that Chip would like it. I was right. The crust was dry and fell apart, ended up smushing it into the pie and topping with more gravy.  Next time, I'll use my tried & true pie crust and I'm sure it'll be much better.

Sunday I tweaked the Louisiana Vegetable Gumbo recipe a bit, adding a link of sauteed vegan sausage and about 2 cups of cooked red beans.

Vegetable Gumbo photo 20140831_190626_zpsbedqni4t.jpg
Louisiana Vegetable Gumbo

The Verdict: Delicious! I served this over long grain white rice as suggested, but next time will choose the healthier brown rice variety.

This morning Chip and I took a nice long beach walk..

Chip and the Sunrise photo 20140901_070546_zpsotztkufx.jpg

and I threw together a quickie tofu scramble with roasted potatoes for breakfast..

09.01.14 Breakfast photo 20140901_100558_zpsvs0awivy.jpg

We've been relaxing and vegging out ever since. I have the 16 Bean, Leek & Kielbasa Soup simmering in my Crock Pot right now as I work on this week's menu plan. I will pop back in again later to post that.

Have a great day, Happy Labor Day to my American friends!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On My Hearth: Two Bettys!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Yesterday I made not just one but two recipes from Betty Goes Vegan. First, the Tofurky Reuben (page 81). Before I go any further, let me just state for the record: I have never eaten a traditional Reuben. I don't like Thousand Island dressing nor even mayonnaise unless it's mixed in a salad or something where I can't taste it. So, I was going into this completely blind, not knowing what to expect from this sandwich.  I have seen Chip eat them and thought I'd experiment with the recipe first, see if it was worthy of making for him one day.

Tofurky Reuben photo 20140825_122841_zpsfdijsafd-1.jpg

All I can say is: This was a freakin' awesome sandwich! The textures and flavors were amazing, love the sauerkraut/"meat" combination and since I was able to control just how much dressing went onto the bread, I loved it! This was a huge portion, though, and I could definitely have shared it. I was stuffed and didn't need another morsel of food 'til dinnertime.

As planned, I made the Beefless Stew for dinner. The last time I prepared this dish, I cooked it on the stovetop as I didn't have a Dutch Oven. Well, since I had a little bit of birthday money left (thanks, Dad!), I decided to take myself shopping and buy one. Tuesday Morning had a nice Paula Deen version on clearance, less than half of the price on Amazon - sold! I got a workout lifting this thing, wowie! Finally got it home and started cooking.

Beefless Stew, in Progress photo 20140825_161748_zpsz5cpf8ij.jpg

Beefless Stew photo 20140826_140116_zpsrtdgfha2.jpg

The Verdict:
  • VeganGypsy says: Just as delicious as the first time around! However, the potatoes and carrots took a lot longer than 30 minutes to become tender! I'd say more like 60 - 90 minutes. Maybe it's my oven, or my chunks of veggies were too large, I don't know. Either way, allow extra time! 
  • OmniHunny says: This is very flavorful, babe! Very good! I'm avoiding the carrots, though, as I don't really like cooked carrots. 

So perhaps next time I'll cut the carrots smaller so they cook faster and are better disguised. *wink*

Tonight in addition to the Mexican Corn, Tomatillo, and Red Bean Stew, I'll also be cooking Cheezy Jalapeno Corn Bread from Betty Goes Vegan. I hope you'll pop back tomorrow for the results!

Have a nice evening,

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekly Menu Planning

Good morning! It's a new week and a new year for me! I get a bit contemplative around my birthday, thinking about how I'm going to spend the next year of life on this planet. What changes will occur? What improvements will I make to myself and (hopefully) to the world around me?

I will continue my quest for better health/fitness and this includes weight loss. I still have about 30-ish pounds to go, which means if I lose 1/2 a pound a week I'll meet my goal by my next birthday. That sounds do-able, right? So, how am I going to accomplish that?

I still plan to follow Weight Watchers Simply Filling because I believe it's the healthiest "diet" out there and I need the accountability it provides. I prefer online to the meetings simply because, being a vegan, I don't have anything in common with the members and leaders I've met and I don't want or need to sit there and listen to lectures about meat, dairy and processed snack foods. No offense to those who gain (no pun intended) from the meetings, they just aren't my cup of tea.

Of course, I'm still vegan, focusing on low-fat, whole foods, minimally processed. However, you'll likely see a few more "faux" meats and a tiny bit of fat thrown in now & then. Honestly, as much as I believe in and trust Dr. McDougall, Barnard, etc., I was getting really bored eating only that way. I found myself "cheating" with veggie burgers, dogs, etc. and feeling badly about it. I missed the occasional almond milk ice "cream" treat or home made vegan dessert. Frankly, I (gladly) eschew so many unhealthy foods & habits, I think I can allow myself a bit of latitude here.

I plan to cook more and eat out less, easier to do now that we are living out of one house and not traveling as often. I think this should make a huge difference in my weight loss, we'll see. More exercise in the form of daily walks and maybe a bit of yoga thrown in. That's about it, for now at least.

Ok, so let's move on to the menu planning, shall we? This week I'll be focusing on two cookbooks I borrowed from the library:  Betty Goes Vegan and The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook. Both are filled with down-home comfort food, something Chip especially appreciates. Just for fun, I'm going to add some cute little "themes." I'm 50 years old, dammit, I can be as silly as I want to!

Man Crush Monday ("meaty" meals a man will love):  Beef-less Stew
Taco Tuesday (Mexican-inspired):  Mexican Corn, Tomatillo, and Red Bean Stew
Worldly Wednesday (dishes from far away lands): Vegan Frankfurters with German Hot Potato Salad
Throwback Thursday (retro recipe redux):  Chicken-Free Potpie
Fun Friday: Leftovers, dining out, whatever!
Soupy Saturday (no explanation needed):  Louisiana Vegetable Gumbo
Slow Cookin' Sunday (Crock-pot cookin'):  16 Bean, Leek & Kielbasa Soup 

So, there you go, my menu plan for the week. How about you? What's cookin' on our hearth this week? 

Have a great day,


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fabulous Fifty?

Since I last wrote, I've reached a new milestone. Last Wednesday I turned fifty years old. Yikes! That number sounds so strange to me, I can't believe I'm that old! I don't feel it, but am sure I probably look it most days. *wink* I only have a few pics to share from early in the day..

Birthday Sunrise Walk photo IMG_20140820_070904_zpsfubsmneu.jpg
Birthday Sunrise Walk

Brynna, Lindsey on the beach2 photo 20140820_140527_zpsuevk8eei.jpg
My girls on the beach

 photo 20140820_141309_zps78k7fcmg.jpg
Lindsey relaxin'

 photo 20140821_130559_zpspov54qny.jpg
Flowers from my step-daughter

The rest of the day was spent eating, opening gifts, more eating, a little wine get the idea. It was fab-u-lous! Of course, being a Leo, I stretched the celebration out a little bit longer. I used some of my birthday money (thanks, Dad!)to have some more of my art work framed..

 photo 20140822_165613_zpseqhhuemd.jpg
Frame of Mind working their magic

 photo 20140822_165627_zps4r2xcxie.jpg
portrait of Kristyn from art school

We finished out the week with cocktails on the water...

strawberry daquiri photo 20140824_164651_zpse4wpcoq2.jpg
Strawberry Daquiri, yum!

And now, sadly, it's back to the grind! I'll be back bright & early tomorrow with the weekly menu plan.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Week in Review

Here's what was dished up in my kitchen this week, working from my weekly menu:

  • Yam and Black Bean Soup Once again, no photo as I wasn't pleased with the end result. It started out really good, liked the yam/black bean combo, but once the orange juice was added, it was ruined for me. Much too sweet! This was one of the rare occasions when Chip likes a recipe and I don't; he ate one bowl but when it came time for leftovers the next day, he said it was too spicy. I guess the spices got stronger as it sat overnight. Oh, well, they can't all be winners!
Well, when I prepared to make the stew, I realized that instead of "beef" tips in my freezer, I had "beef" strips. Oops! Plan B came together with the help of Gardein's website: Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips Pilaf:

Sizzling Schecuan Beefless Strips Rice Pilaf photo 20140811_163859_zpsoor5sbdh.jpg

I really enjoyed this dish, but I did have to use oil to saute the "beef," something I don't typically do. It was tasty, though, and a nice change of pace.
  • Shepherd's Pie (from leftovers) No stew means no leftovers

  • Crockpot Eggplant Chickpea Curry:  Since I knew that Chip doesn't care for curry, eggplant, or chickpeas, I made this primarily for myself, planning on lots of leftovers. Well, I found out that I do not like these foods in this combination, either. I literally took one bite and tossed the whole thing out! I hate to waste food, but no reason to eat something one doesn't enjoy. No time for a pic, straight from crock-pot to garbage disposal.

Senate Bean Soup photo 20140816_111717_zpsos3qqd4g.jpg

This soup had lots of potential, but whoa is it spicy/smoky! Coming from spice-loving me, you know this is saying something! 2 tablespoons of hot sauce is waaay too much for such a small portion of soup, and same w/the liquid smoke. I'd cut back on both if I were to make this again.

So, basically this week had more misses than hits. It's ok, this happens sometimes.

Today I didn't have an opportunity to cook as Chip surprised me with a little day trip, an early birthday celebration, to St Augustine! What a lovely day we had, starting with lunch at a new-to-us taco shop, Burrito Works.

Chip had the Tempeh Burrito..

Chip and the Tempeh Burrito photo 20140817_123321_zps8dw8gi2z.jpg

While I enjoyed the Tempeh Tacos, Baja Style.

Baja Style Tempeh Tacos photo 20140817_123042_zpsxxtq1hf8.jpg

We were both absolutely bowled over by how delicious the food was! This was quite possibly the best taco I have ever eaten!

After an afternoon of sightseeing and shopping, we headed home, but not before a quick stop at The Floridian for dessert-to-go: a Toasted Coconut Cupcake. Vegan, of course. My plan was to save this little beauty til we got home, but I must confess: we were barely on the highway before I started gobbling it up. Scrumptious, the frosting was rich but not too sweet and the cake managed to be light and fluffy, not an easy feat in vegan baking!

Toasted Coconut Cupcake photo 20140817_150708_zpsezapy2jh.jpg

Now I think I'll brew myself a cup of herbal tea and cuddle up with a new book. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Happy Blogiversary..

to me! It's been two years since I launched the Vegan Gypsy!

My celebration will include a nice long cooking session, followed by an evening beach walk. Oh, and maybe a bit of bubbly as well. ;)

Have a great day,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Menu Planning

Before I jump into this week's menu, I'll take a moment to finish up last week's. Yesterday I made the Chickpea Rice Soup with Cabbage for lunch..

Chickpea Rice Soup with Cabbage photo 20140810_153510_zpsab07zaex.jpg

The Verdict: This Nothing special. When I tasted the finished product, I thought it was too watery and not rich enough, so I poured in a little Creamy Portobello Soup, then added a can of diced tomatoes. Better, but still missing something. Extra fresh dill made a big difference, taking this soup from boring to..pretty good. I think if I were to cook it again I'd use a different bean; the chickpea just didn't seem right in this dish. For dinner I made a simple meal of Gardein Turk'y Cutlets, mashed potatoes, and green beans, a perfect Sunday supper.

Turk'y Cutlets, Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans photo 20140810_195105_zpsw2oouawt.jpg

Now, on to this week. Chip is working crazy hours again, actually had to be up at 1 o'clock this morning! Since I never know when he'll be home for meals, I'll be focusing on recipes that are either slow-cooked or can be easily re-heated. In no particular order, here's my plan for the week:

Yes, there are a lot of soups/stews because, as I've mentioned before, Chip is a soup lovin' kinda guy and I know he'll gobble these up without complaint! Well, except for the curry..I'll probably be on my own for that one.

I'm also going to be making a couple of desserts, at my hunny's request, but haven't planned them out yet.

I'll be headed to the grocery store as soon as they open,  am fortunate that I have most of this week's ingredients on hand! My wallet and I love when that happens. *smile*

Have a great day,



Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Week in Review

Pasta e Fagioli with Spinach photo 20140807_081425_zpsps0mmtkr.jpg
Pasta e Fabioli with Spinach from Appetite for Reduction

 photo 20140806_084627_zpsvsuwmmv8.jpg
Ready for Action!
Oil-Free Vegan Banana Bread photo 20140806_134951_zpsfrfhlhut.jpg
Oil-Free Vegan Banana Bread from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

Relaxing in the RV photo 20140808_084804_zpshk4kwl5m.jpg
Just Relaxing in the RV

Balsamic Roasted Eggplant Sandwich photo 20140808_125512_zpsk3ikrmif.jpg
Balsamic Roasted Eggplant Sandwich (sans dairy) from Jungle Organic in Indialantic, FL

Brynna's New Car photo 20140809_145659_zpsiprqdr7d.jpg
Brynna's New Wheels!

Satchel's Salad photo 20140809_155929_zpsltolfd5q.jpg
Satchel's Salad (sans cheese, of course)

Veggie Pizza (sans cheese) photo 20140809_161428_zpsa5icczdn.jpg
Veggie Pizza, Satchel's Pizza, Gainesville, FL

So, that's about it for me, how was your week?