Monthly Archives: March 2014

Lazy Sunday Funday, 3-30-2014

Well, it’s that time of week again. It’s time for the House of Snuggles Lazy Sunday Funday Weekly Roundup! Let’s get started!

vegan, cats

Hot Topic of The Week: Polar Vortex May Mean Miserable Allergy Season

Got Allergies? With the polar vortex hopefully behind us, allergy experts are predicting that if it warms up fast we will be in for a bad allergy season. Lucky for you, there are a lot of home remedies to beat allergies without taking a Beanfield's vegan chipsbunch of chemicals.

Vegan Product of the Week: Beanfield’s Bean and Rice Chip 

I know March has been a snacky type month for us here at the House of Snuggles, so here’s another snack! Beanfield’s Bean and Rice chips are super yummy and have an incredible crunch. They come in a few different fun flavors including Nacho and Sea Salt, with Pico de Gallo being my favorite. Oh and by the way, it’s really easy to eat the whole bag.

Snuggles Belly Rub Rating: 5 out of 5

What’s Cooking in The House of Snuggles This Week:

Breakfast– Homemade Vegan Waffles

  • I love making breakfast on the weekends. Why? It means super fun leftovers and more interesting breakfasts for during the week. Waffles freeze well and can be reheated by toasting, you know, kind of like an Eggo but better. You can do a variety of topping like traditional maple syrup or even try doing peanut butter and jelly!

Lunch- Field of Greens Salad with homemade dressing

  • Greens make a great lunch. Besides that boost on vitamins, the chlorophyll in greens are a great pick me up for a mid-day meal. Try pairing with a chik’n salad sandwich or vegan creamy tomato soup.

Dinner- Baked potato with baked beans and steamed veggies

  • This is an awesome budget friendly dinner. Easy, cheap, and delicious baked potatoes and beans will fill you up and keep you satisfied. Try steamed carrots, broccoli or even asparagus to top it all off.

Snack Time- Almonds

  • Almonds are packed full of protein, as well as, vitamin E, manganese, biotin and copper. A handful really does go a long way and will bring you up from your afternoon slump.

Peaceful Dumpling Contribution of the Week:

Ever wonder about seeing a Naturopath? Here I give  a few pointers on what to expect at your first visit.

What You Should Know About Seeing a Naturopath

And last but not least, I want to leave you with this video. It’s a video from Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary. It is a beautiful video showing 752 factory farm chickens being released from their cages and experiencing the outdoors for the first time. It’s a tear-jerker but a goody.

Missed Last Week’s Roundup? Well, here it is!

Lazy Sunday Funday Weekly Roundup 3-23-2014

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Start Your Day With a Smile

Hello Snuggle Friends,

Today I have a Snuggle Tip for you. Each day when you wake up, start your day with a smile.

Smile, health

Turn that frown upside down!smile. That’s right, it might feel a little bit silly but it will help you get into the right mindset for your day.

Even if you’re not feeling it and would rather be a grumpy bear all day (I have those days, trust me) put a big ol’ grin on your face and see if you can change your mood. If your still in a bad mood, well, there’s always vodka. Or chocolate. Mmmmm, chocolate.

You see, anger and stress have bad effects on your body. I’m not saying you should ignore those feelings but to stay in that state of mind doesn’t benefit anyone, especially you. Stress and anger can make you sick, exhausted, and just a plain mess. Nobody wants that.

Don’t believe me? Here’s what smiling can do for you:

  1. Lower your heart rate and relax your body
  2. Reduce stress
  3. Encourages endorphins to flow (you know, the feel good juices)
  4. It’s a natural face lift
  5. It’s contagious!!!

So try it out and see if it makes a difference in your day. And let me know too! I would love to hear from you!

 

 

Lazy Sunday Funday Weekly Roundup March 23rd, 2014

Welcome back, Snuggles Friends to another Lazy Sunday Funday Weekly Roundup. I have some exciting things for you this week so let’s get to it!

lazy sunday funday vegan

Snuggles Hot Topic of the Week: Moby: Why I’m Vegan.

Electronic music master, Moby wrote an article for Rolling Stone this week about why he’s vegan and how he feels people should spread the word about veganism. His piece is beautifully written and from the heart, and I happen to agree with him 100%:

“To be clear: Just because I’m a vegan I’m not saying you should be a vegan. It would be ironic if I refused to force my will on animals but was all too happy forcing my will on humans.” Moby

Vegan Product of the Week: Yours Truly by Tofutti

These are what they look like. A veganized version of those oh so delicious, Drumsticks. Actually, They are better. The chocolately coating has a hint of coconuttofutti vegan ice cream in it to make it interesting. The vanilla Tofutti ice-cream complements the chocolate lined cone and the crunchy chocolate shell making this an awesome frozen sweet treat. Get ready Summer, Tofutti is here.

Snuggles Belly Rub Rating: 4 out of 5 Belly Rubs

What’s Cooking in the House of Snuggles This Week:

This week’s menu is about being cost-effective and delicious. We are having simple, easy to make meals that are inexpensive. Check out our sample menu:

Breakfast: Fruit Smoothies

Lunch: PB and J on homemade bread

Dinner: Pizza with homemade sauce and crust

Snack: Carrots and hummus

Peaceful Dumpling Contribution for the Week: Can Gut Health Affect Your Mood?

Your gut flora not only affects your health but also your mental health as well.

Can Gut Health Affect Your Mood?

That concludes another Lazy Sunday Funday Weekly Roundup. I hope you had as much fun as I did! I want to leave this week with a video of a baby marmoset. It’s super cute and makes me want to go into wild animal rescue.

Missed previous editions of Lazy Sunday Funday Weekly Roundup? 

Lazy Sunday Funday Weekly Roundup 3-16-2014

Lazy Sunday Funday Weekly Roundup 3/9/2014

Baking in the House of Snuggles: Vegan Peanut Butter Blondies

Hey there Snuggles Friends, Welcome to Baking in the House of Snuggles. Today we are going to bake Peanut Butter Blondies. Easy, quick, and simple these tasty treats are ready in no time. This recipe is adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. If you haven’t picked up this cookbook yet, I suggest you do. It will make a valuable asset to your baking arsenal and there are many awesome recipes to choose from.

I choose Peanut Butter Blondies because I was baking from staples and I happen to have all of the ingredients. I know, it’s a boring reason but it’s the reason all the same. The salty and sweet of these treats are enough to satisfy both cravings, so ladies, these are excellent for PMS (In fact, I think adding a drizzling of dark chocolate on top would really fix everything that’s wrong in the world.) Dudes, you’ll enjoy these too! (My husband did, in fact he ate most of them.) So they are a win-win for everyone.

So let’s get to it.

You’ll need:

3/4 C of peanut butter

1/3C of canola oil

1C brown sugar

1/4C of non-dairy milk of your choice (as always I use almond)

2t vanilla extract

1C flour

1/2t salt

1/2t baking powder

1/3C peanuts

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 8 x 8 baking pan.
  • Mix peanut butter, oil, and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until well mixed.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder)
  • While mixing, slowly add dry ingredients to wet until well combined. The dough will be pretty thick so don’t be afraid to get your hands in there to get the mixing done.
  • Pour the dough into the baking pan and spread evenly. Pour the peanuts on top and gently press down to make sure they stick.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes
  • Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack and let cool completely before you cut them.

Enjoy with milk, coffee or tea! Makes about 9 blondes depending on how you cut them. Also you can try variations with different nuts, like maybe almond, cashews, or (gasp) hazelnut. Mmmmmmmmm now I’m lost in visions of my fantasy bakery…

VEGAN PEANUT BUTTER BLONDIES

Really want to get your baking game on? Check out these:

Vegan Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Blondies: The Opposite of Brownies

Easy Peasy Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Now that St. Patrick’s day has passed and spring is here, my thoughts are turning to lighter fare but before we switch modes here at the House of Snuggles, I want to do one last post about comfort food.

I really enjoy the chilly months here in the great state of Arizona. The weather is just about perfect and I don’t have to shovel snow, dig my car out of ditches, or freeze my ass off walking from my car to my door (I had 27 years of this and then I finally said enough.) Even though the desert is more temperate during the winter, the season still makes me crave comfort food and one of my favorite comfort dishes is Shepherd’s Pie (must be the Irish in me and my love of potatoes.)

Shepherd’s Pie is a marathon of sorts but the end result is totally worth it. There are three main components that are combined together and baked into one delicious casserole type thingy. You have a meat and veggie layer, a gravy layer and a mashed potato layer. This recipe is adapted from the Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. This is a really awesome vegetarian cookbook that has hundreds of recipes from countries around the world. All the recipes are super easy to veganize and all the ones that I have tried taste amazing.

The original recipe calls for defrosted tofu to get that ground beef texture. I have made it this way before and it is pretty good. This time I decided to experiment and substituted TVP (textured vegetable protein.) It has a protein content equivalent to meat and works really well as a ground beef in anything that might call for that type of texture (it’s really awesome in chili.)

VEGAN SHEPHERDS PIE

“Meat” Layer

1lb package of Extra Firm Tofu, frozen, de-thawed, and shredded. (Best to do this a day or so in advance) or 1C of reconstituted TVP

1 medium onion

2T vegetable oil

1/2 tsp of ground coriander

pinch of ground black pepper

1/2C of walnuts, toasted and chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon (approx 1T)

1-2tsp of tamari

In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat. When oil is heated, sauté onions with the coriander and pepper, until translucent. Add chopped walnuts and shredded tofu, stir to mix. Add lemon juice and soy sauce and remove from heat and set aside.

*I like to add extra veggies, like carrots, peas and corn, to give this some added nutrition. There are no rules here, add whatever you think might be tasty.*

Mashed Potato Layer

1lb potatoes, cubed

3T of  vegan butter, such as Earth Balance

1/2 of non-dairy milk, I prefer almond milk

pinch of salt

Place cubed potatoes into a large pot and add enough water to cover. You should have about a couple of inches of water above the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Let boil until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Strain but make sure you reserve your potato water for your gravy. Return to a large bowl, add butter, milk and salt and mash everything together. Set aside.

Mushroom Gravy

2T vegetable oil

1/2lb of white mushrooms, sliced

3T tamari

Pinch of ground pepper

1 1/2C potato water

2T cornstarch dissolved in 1/2C of water

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, tamari, and black pepper and sauté until mushrooms are tender. Add the potato water and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. While simmering, slowly stir in cornstarch mixture, and simmer and stir until the gravy is clear and thick.

Assembly

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a 9×9 casserole dish, lay down your first layer of “meat” and veggies. Next layer your mushroom gravy on top of the meat layer. Lastly, smooth your mashed potatoes evenly across the top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top become golden and crisp.

That’s it. Not a difficult recipe but it is kind of tedious so this would be a good recipe for a day when you have some time.

Related Post:

A Very Vegan St.Patrick’s Day

Super Yummy Vegan Chai Concentrate

DIY VEGAN CHAI CONCENTRATE

Creating my own chai concentrate makes me feel a little bit like a witch making a potion. The whole spices that are used look amazing and exotic, and the aroma is unbeatable. In my mind, whenever I make chai concentrate, I have an image of a witch bent over a caldron, stirring and whispering magical words to create a powerful potion. Hmmmm, makes me kind of want a caldron…

Anyways, chai latte is my favorite coffee shop drink. Since I am slightly sensitive to caffeine, I find chai is my best choice for any coffee shop, especially if said coffee shop has almond milk (super yum). I think, for me, I find comfort in the unique blend of spices. Chai originated in India, as a spiced milk tea, it was used as a delicacy and for medicinal purposes. It is traditionally black tea brewed with a variety of warming spices such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and peppercorns.

So, since coffee shops like to charge extra for alternative milks (What’s up with that? Alternative milk tends to be cheaper than dairy milk, so way do I need to pay an extra 0.30 cents for the alternative. It makes no sense to me and if someone knows that answer, please explain it to me.) I find that I’d rather make chai at home, since it’s cheaper for me to enjoy and I can control what it is made with.

Initially, if you don’t have all of the ingredients to make chai concentrate, it may be a little bit on the expensive side, but then you don’t need to use very much of the spices and they should last you through a few batches (plus, they are awfully photogenic.)

To make Chai concentrate you will need:

  • 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split down the middle
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole, black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg (freshly ground is best, but pre-ground works too)
  • 1 tsp of orange zest
  • 10 black tea bags
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 Tbsp of honey (totally optional, adds sweetness to the concentrate but totally doable with out it)

Procedure:

  • Prepare spices. If you prefer to make a sachet out of cheesecloth, it makes for easier straining. I don’t usually go to the trouble and just let my spices party and move around in the pot. If you choose the freedom method, you’ll just need a fine mesh strainer to catch all of your spice goodies when you are finished.
  • Add the brown sugar and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, throw in your teabags and spices (basically, everything else) and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from heat and strain into a glass bowl to cool. If you feel your concentrate is lacking in sweetness, throw in some added sweetener of your choosing (date sugar, coconut sugar, or honey) to get it to the level of sweetness that you will enjoy.
  • Pour yourself a giant mug. Here’s how I drink mine: I find my giant mug, fill it a quarter of the way with concentrate, fill the rest of the mug with almond milk. Then I pull up a comfy blank and a good book and have an awesome evening. Makes about 4 cups, store in airtight jar in the fridge for up to a week.

DIY CHAI CONCENTRATE

 

A Very Vegan St. Patrick’s Day

Good Morning, Snuggle Friends and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

I think this is one of my top 3 favorite holidays of the year! I do have a fair amount of Irish pride (my great-grandmother instilled it in me at a young age) so my love for this holiday may be a bit biased.

Here are a few interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day:

  • St. Patrick’s Day is an American holiday. It began being celebrated in the 18th century by Irish immigrants to show solidarity and reconfirmed their ethnic bond.
  • St. Patrick died on March 17th
  • You have a chance of about 1 in 10,000 of finding a four-leaf clover
  • St. Patrick didn’t drive snakes out of Ireland. It’s a metaphor for driving out pagan traditions and converting pagans to Christianity.
  • St. Patrick’s Day was a dry holiday until 1970.

(Want more fun facts check this out here.)

Now my favorite part of St. Patrick’s day is spending time with my people and enjoying delicious Irish fare. Since I became vegan, it’s been on the difficult side to find vegan irish food out and about (at least in my corner of the world), so this has now become a holiday spent at home with Husband and fur-babies. Since I love to cook, I whip up my favorite dish, Shepherd’s Pie, pour myself some good irish whiskey and dance a jig with the kitties (Calypso is a dancing queen!)

VEGAN SHEPHERDS PIE

My Top Five Favorite Things About St. Patrick’s Day:

  1. Green Beer
  2. Irish Food
  3. The Color Green
  4. Shenanigans
  5. Good Times with Good People

What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions?