Foods from Last Week: In Photos

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“The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.” Leo Buscaglia.

Gardein is one of the better tasting vegan substitutes if you need to purchase from a store in the USA. There are other great options if you are overseas but here it’s Gardein. Thankfully these can be purchased at Meijer’s Grocery store in the frozen section next to the vegetables. Sometimes they even have a 20 cents off sale! Savings! ha-ha They are worth it though if you away from your own kitchen and pantry.

This is one of our favorite recipes for breakfast lately. We chop up a ton of fruit and put a little granola in with it. This has banana, peach, nectarine, raspberries, blueberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Delish!

Gardein Chickenless Patty with fresh from the farm vegetables. 1/2 tomato, farm potatoes mashed with a little vegan butter, mixed farm fresh zucchini, onion, garlic and mixed MSG-free/Salt-free herbs.

Gardein Chick’n Patty just pan fried in a little spray coconut oil. It was super juicy. These are supposed to be seasoned but to tell you the truth they don’t have much of a ‘seasoned’ flavor at all.

Just another imagine since it’s so gorgeous….  We had this a few times.

Just another snack/breakfast we have been having. There are a lot of sprinkles on this one since it poured out a bit faster than normal. Oops! It’s bananas blended until smooth with just a bit of water. 1 banana alone is not a good source of a meal but when you put a few together and eat every few hours, it is a great meal. Mmmm Raw Vegan (minus the vegan approved sprinkles).

A raw vegan recipe that we have been loving lately. This was a few bananas blended with water until smooth. Then we topped it with 1/2 peach, 1/2 nectarine, a few blueberries and a little organic ground cinnamon. It doesn’t sound like much but when you figure there are a few bananas in there, it’s a good amount of calories and also enough energy for the whole morning.

Another breakfast of choice (but we also have had it for lunch too). Bananas (a few – not one!) blended until smooth with peaches and nectarines with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.

Naked Juice that has no added sugar. There are two of these available but this one has no added sugar while the other one does. You need to look at the label and double check to assure you get the one without. We only get this while on the road and want something green. It has a healthy dosage of spirulina and other greens so why not? Just wish the first ingredient was not apple juice (yuck!) but it’s okay as long as we don’t have it all the time. It’s pretty good but considering there is a lot of fruit and vegetables in it, there is a high level of natural sugars. Remember though, natural sugars process different than sugar cane and fake sugars.

Pickles can be misunderstood if you don’t study how the body works. Many people will not eat pickles because of the sodium content but you aren’t actually digesting all the sodium into the body. Pickles have natural enzymes that actually help you digest the food in your stomach. Hence, they are helpful to the body and that’s why so many countries eat pickled items on a daily basis and are very healthy.  One does not need yogurt to get enzymes but rather needs pickles!  Yum!  This is pickled green tomatoes and sauerkraut.

Farm fresh dinner, kinda… Vegan homemade mac n chez by the wonderful Genki Husband, made while I got to take a peppermint oil bath. There is hummus with fresh cucumbers, sugar peas and radishes from the farmers’ market.

Boca Vegan Burger grilled with a side of steamed mixed vegetables and a few slices of farm fresh tomato.

Mexican inspired hippie dish by the lake. Japanese rice, refried beans, kale/lettuce mixture, tomatoes, homemade guacamole and some cherries. Not shown- hot sauce. Yum!

This has got to be one of the easiest on the road type of dishes for vegans. Take vegan boca burgers and crumble them (or buy crumble) and mixed with frozen mixed veggies with garlic and onion. Saute or place in the microwave – so simple and still holds a good amount of nutrients.  If you want to be fancy, add some soy sauce or herbs.

Gardein Chick’n patty (vegan) sauteed in a red wine reduction sauce with chopped garlic on top. Side dish of steamed kale and corn from the farm. Also a side of steamed rice.

These are just a few things we have been eating lately in abundance.  We tend to have a good amount of fresh from the farm vegetables along with an extra protein of some sort.  We get the proper amount of nutrients for our bodies (yes, that includes protein).  We love shopping at the farmers market and putting something together off the top of our heads.  There are so many options out there for vegans now that you don’t have to feel as though there is nothing if not in your own kitchen.  I love my own kitchen and can’t wait to get all of my utensils out of storage but for now we are enjoying traveling and eating from the land.

 

What is your favorite summer vegetable and how to you prepare it?

Books Worth Reading?

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Lately I have been trying to steer clear of book stores since we have a ton of books.  Actually we took an entire trunk full of used books and textbooks to the charity shop before we put our things into storage.  We also gave a ton away that we weren’t using to friends and family members.  Sometimes we hold on to things in our life even if we don’t touch them for years.  Thankfully Genki Husband and I have moved a few times for his work in the last 10 years so we have cleared away a lot of ‘stuff’.  It’s hard to get rid of those $200 textbooks from university, I know!  But when you want to clear your mind (and space), it’s best to get rid of the things you aren’t using.  Or you can get rid of books so you can buy more!  Hooray!  So, it’s been a long time since we have been to a bookstore but this weekend we went since my bookworm niece is having a birthday in a few days time.  But then I found some for me….  oops…

This is a book I found just by accident. I had no idea it was available. After a few seconds of a glance, I knew it would be a great addiction for someone just starting out on a vegan lifestyle change. It helps with making wise choices by helping one keep a journal of activity and nourishment. I have not read this but it appeared to be a good resource for beginners.

River Cottage Veg was something Genki Husband and I watched devouring every episode. Wish he would do more of these without animal products! It is done by a guy that has his own commercial garden and farm and eats from it. Occasionally he did bring in a few items that we were locally sourced from friends but normally it was all from his garden. It was a great series showcasing how people can be vegetarian (or vegan) by eating off ones’ land. Seek it out if you can find it in your area. I totally want this book even though I would have to convert a lot of the recipes from vegetarian to vegan. Wish List pls!

This is a stock photo but I do own this book which is in our lovely climate controlled storage in Virginia. I love this book! It is one of the reasons why we went raw vegan many years ago now. Highly suggested for people with illnesses or just want to learn more about research that has been conducted on food.

Love and own this book also! I actually have this one in my bags to travel with us. It is a great guide for newbies and has great recipes for advanced vegans too. It can be used by vegetarians or vegans alike.

Really want to read this book. I’m going to purchase it I think electronically though – I don’t have it right now because I can’t decide if I will want it in paper form or digital form. Suggestions?

So these are my book finds and suggestions right now.  What are your favorite vegan books? (I promise if you tell me I won’t buy the paper book but rather buy the electronic version.)

Things Around Me: In Photos

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Still crazy around here so I am taking a much longer break from writing than I had previously wished.  Hopefully soon we will finally have things settle down and I can finally start up with the cooking video series and new recipes.  Even though I have not had the time to get to the computer to research and write up new blogs, I have been brainstorming on ideas for the future of this blog.  Hopefully all of you can stick with me and we can go on this journey together.  For now, I am sticking with editing photos and sharing my life with all of you.  “The miracle is this: the more we share, the more we have”, Leonard Nimoy.

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Driving Around the Countryside in Michigan: In Photos

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Our days are shortened here in Michigan and we are taking full advantage of our chance to see as much greenery as possible before our departure.  Lately we have been driving around different areas of the countryside looking at all the trees in full bloom, bodies of water glistening in the sunshine and wildlife scurrying around or sunbathing with leisure.  It’s a relaxing time to be in Michigan this time of year, something we haven’t experienced in many years.  Such a blessing to be here in this season once again, it brings back many memories of our childhood.  We would love to share a little bit of our childhood with you through the lush Michigan scenery with all of you in photos:

According to Wikipedia.com, “Michigan is the leading U.S. producer of tart cherries, blueberries, pickling cucumbers, navy beans and petunias.” I always thought it was corn to but apparently not anymore.

Michigan is derived from a French word that meant “Large Lake”. Hence, in Michigan a person is never more than 6 miles from a natural lake source.  It also contains the longest freshwater coastline in the world.

Michigan is many nicknames but it is also called the “Mitten state” for it’s shape, “Water-winter wonderland” because the summer water sports and winter snow sports and of course the “Great Lakes State”.

All USA states have their own state tree/bird and other symbols. Michigan is known for it’s White Pine which is the state tree.  Even though we do not tend to use this tree as a Christmas Tree, Michigan is noted as being the 3rd largest supplier of Christmas Trees.

Oddly enough with all the bodies of water in Michigan, it is known as the automotive industry capital of the world. Of course this is because of Ford, GM and Chrysler being all in one state.

Welcome to Michigan where the summers are gorgeous and the winters are full of snow.

Food Experimenting: In Photos {Part 3}

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Finally the last installment of the foods we have been testing and enjoying while in Michigan as of the last weeks.  Sorry for the “in photos” blogs but I have so many photos stored up to share with you all.  We have been very busy and the internet has been here and there for the last few weeks.  Actually we have lost complete electricity quite a few times already this summer thanks to the thrilling storms that have been rolling over Lake Michigan into our backyard.  But do not fear, once we have moved and are settled in with our new internet, I will be back and rolling with health articles and food journaling for all of you to share and drool over once again.

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Food Experimenting: In Photos {Part 2}

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Experimenting with different Pinterest recipes and testing out store vegan products available in Michigan, USA.  This is part 2 of the series of bringing all of you up to date on the new foods going on in the kitchen as we spend our last moments of staying in Michigan.  If you can think of anything that you want to see or have us try out, feel free to comment below or send me off an email message.  My contact information is available in the “about me” section of this blog.  I can also be found on Instagram and Pinterest under Genki Kitty.  I’d love to hear from you all!

Yves Veggie Ground is used instead of hamburger crumble. It has a slight bit of a strange taste but that could be just because I’ve never really liked red animal meat. The texture is right on though so you won’t miss out. We have used this a few times now and the recipes turned out great each time. This is available in the fresh produce section of Walmart.

My mother made this delicious ‘meatless” loaf for dinner. This was her first attempt at ever making vegan for us. It was so kind of her.  She used her normal meatloaf recipe and just subtracted the egg and animal meat.  It was a bit more crumbly but it was wonderful of her to try.  I highly suggest if you are going to make this to use a little flaxseed ground with water or maybe even 2 tsp of chiaseeds.  There are also egg replacers available at just about every store now that is vegan.

Vegan taco meat mixture. This was so easy and fast to put together. All ingredients are available at Walmart! We used the above Yves Meatless crumble and sauteed it with bell peppers, onion, garlic and some cajun seasoning (we didn’t have taco seasoning on hand). Then we made the below tacos. So delicious! Tip: Use extra taco seasoning since the crumble absorbs a lot of the flavor.

This is the vegan taco we made from the above crumble. We used organic mixed field greens, salsa, a little hummus, hot sauce (me) and the taco crumble. So easy!!!

This may look a little sad but it was a lunch of things we found in the fridge. We made Yves Bologna sandwiches, Michigan produced Lay’s Chips, and a Cucumber/onion salad. The chips were actually given at the 4th of July parade we attended. They are made in Michigan and the company was handing them out to everyone. It was so strange to see a large shipment of chips going down the parade route – only in Michigan. ha-ha

Pinterest Recipe for cucumber/onion salad. Just okay but not as strong of a ‘pickle’ taste as we had hoped. But then again we love pickles. mmmm  Genki Husband made this so I’m not sure which recipe he used.  He’s not the best at pinning his tested recipes and then forgets.  But to give him credit he has a lot on his mind so I will forgive him this time. ha-ha

Yves Bologna. This is found in the fresh produce aisle of Walmart in Michigan, USA. It is next to the tofu and is vegan.

Coconut Lime Scones for breakfast while sitting on the dock at the lake.  The original recipe was not vegan but I made it so and it was delicious!  Substitute the cow milk for nondairy milk and/or subtract the egg all together or just use 2 tsp chiaseeds or ground flaxseeds.  We will definitely make this again and will probably add a bit more lime zest just for our tastes.  Tip:  This did bake a bit faster in our current oven so just keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn like ours – oops!

 

 

Food Experimenting: In Photos {Part 1}

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Above Photo:  chopped Boca vegan burger, frozen veggies, onion, garlic, zucchini, kale and some homemade cajun seasoning.  Saute all together with a little olive oil spray and serve hot or even in a burrito.

Currently our position is in the middle of a very small farming town so as one can imagine there are not many options available for vegans.  One would think farmers would eat more produce than not, seeing as a carrot is cheaper than a cow, but this really is not the case in small towns in Michigan, USA.  As a child, my parents worried about my sister and me since we both would not eat meat from a very young age.  It was really strange to them seeing as they were brought up in the country on meat and potatoes.  Still today our parents do not understand our choices and try to force us to eat non-vegan options.  We are still working on both sides of our families but with very little change in opinions.  There was a slight change in my mother though as after about 7 years, she made us one vegan meal.  After this many years we really do not expect anyone to make us anything but this peace-offering was super sweet and we took advantage of her white flag.  Additionally we have also been finding new vegan options available in local stores that we have never tested out before since we do try to steer clear of pre-packaged, highly processed ingredients.  But, it’s a vacation so we can do what we want, right?  So on to the new foods we have tried lately:

Banana Milk is something that I have been really loving. I have been watching 80/10/10 “What I Ate” videos on YouTube lately can you tell? This is made from one banana and some water blended together to make a frothy smoothie.  Genki Husband prefers his with dates too.

We love dates in our family. Normally we purchase a different brand of Medjool Dates which taste like caramel and melt in your mouth. These we found at the local Meijer’s Grocery Store in the dried fruit section of the fresh produce section. (Not in the pre-packaged aisles of dried fruit.) I’ve been wanting these so bad and we finally found them- hooray! We bought a large container since we eat a lot of them on a normal occasion.

These are the dates without the lid on – aren’t they gorgeous?! If you have never had them before I highly suggest you going out and buying a large container. You won’t be disappointed. They do have a higher level of sugar but do not worry since the sugar is natural and does not digest the same as processed cane sugars such as those in milk chocolate bars.

My parents love Applebee’s Restaurant. It is a family-style restaurant in the USA that has bar food and also full entrees. It is more of a sit down/fast-food restaurant with the option to sit at the bar on game days. This is the Spinach & Strawberry salad that is available on the normal menu. We had to order it to be vegan though. I’m not sure if we are just getting bad experiences or if places just aren’t worried about appearances anymore. This is how the waitress brought this salad out, parts falling out of the bowl. It also has a few little pieces of avocado but they were closer to the bottom of the bowl swimming with a ton of vinaigrette dressing. We only ate about 1/2 the plate.

This is the only other option we could find on the entire menu that didn’t have meat or cheese (or veganize’able). These were “homemade” chips with a queso dip (not vegan). I love homemade chips and french fries so I’m not afraid of a little oil. These were not just swimming but drowning in oil even after we tried to soak up some of the oil with napkins. Yep, we didn’t finish these either but left them with a burial not at sea but in oil. It was really sad because I was starving… I’m still sore about not getting homemade chips… ha-ha As you can tell, Applebee’s is now completely off our list after changing to their new “healthier” menu.

On a positive side we made homemade pizza!!!! So thrilled! We made our own crust and then freeze one for later at the same time. This pizza was inspired by the pizza Genki Husband brought home from his last trip to California. It has tomato sauce, sliced local tomatoes, cilantro, mushrooms, vegan cheese, avocado and some seasoning. It was soooooo delicious!

We tested out another Pinterest recipe called Thai Kale Salad. Radishes and Kale are both in season in our area so we wanted to make this recipe with inspiration from Mother Nature. It was so very delicious! It states the recipe makes enough for one person but we found it served about 4! We loved it so much we made it twice in one week.

As many of you have probably seen this on my instagram page (Look under user GenkiKitty), this is the Marbled Banana Bread we tested out the other day. It looks super hard but if we can do it before we have had any coffee in the morning so can you. It’s worth the extra few minutes to marble the bread. Mmmm We will be making this again and again. The original recipe.

It was still morning so we were using fake lighting but this is what it looked like inside. It was gorgeous! I would highly recommend making this recipe when you have guests over so you can impress them.

 

 

Corey Lake Orchard Bakery: Not So Vegan Review

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As most vegans would agree, ones’ relationship with ones’ local farmer is closer than ones’ local grocer.  Growing up I was raised upon going to the farmers’ market called Corey Lake Orchard.  If you are ever in the Southwestern section of Michigan, I would highly suggest it if you are looking for something truly Michigan.  It is a family tradition to go to this market amongst all the surrounding lakes and buy local produce from a family run farm.  My mother and her parents used to go to this market once a year also to get extra produce to do canning for the family and the 4-H fair.  Many people around the tri-state area have also done the same as it is very popular.  You can read more about the orchard/farm at the above link.  Throughout the years, the business has been passed down throughout the generations and hence it has changed a bit.  For one thing, we have noticed prices are much higher than even last year (popularity increase?) and less produce availability.  Additionally on the plus side, there is now a bakery that has filled in part of the original building.  See my vegan opinion/review below:

The bakery itself is just a small section of the normal building that has been decorated and adjusted to service customers with a sweet tooth. When you walk in, there are two sections of glass cases with pastries such as donuts on one side and pies on the other side. Additionally there are frozen pies in a freezer along with some frozen locally raised meat products.

There is also a Keurig for coffee and tea ($1 each). Unfortunately there were no pastries that were vegan but there was at least some selection in the coffee section. It is a help yourself style Keurig.

As for the food: Well… there is absolutely nothing for vegans! Nope, not even one thing… We went in full hopes because some of our friends love the place and said we had to go for breakfast. Many of the local places have vegan donuts so we were very excited about the prospects (it’s really hit or miss in lower southwest Michigan). When we got there we went through our vegan routine and looked at the ingredient list of everything on the menu for the donuts, pies and cookies. Sorry, everything is very traditionally made with eggs and milk. There were a few things without eggs but just about everything had milk. Lactose-Intolerance sufferers please be warned to look at the list before choosing something. The food looked good but the coffee was our highlight. :) I’m sure many vegetarians and carnivores will love this area though since we have heard a lot of good reviews. Some things of interest are probably the above photo of sticky buns and cinnamon rolls. Apparently there is also apple cider donuts in the fall when apples are in season on the farm. Additionally there are apple cider slushies for the summer months (vegan).

This is the dining section that I love since it reminds me of my grandmothers house. I’m not sure exactly why but the painted tables and fresh produce just really brings back the memories for some reason. I felt at home. When you eat here, you can sit looking out at the orchards and just listen to nature. It would be nice to have a bit more of a view but I guess that’s what I get for being so short. ha-ha It really is relaxing though even if you go to just have coffee.

This is part of the view from the dining area. It was super sunny and around 90F the morning we went so it is hard to see everything. This photo shows the orchards that you can see while dining right there on the porch. There is no indoor seating available at this time.

So all in all our trip to Corey Lake Orchard was rather nice and relaxing.  We really did not purchase all that much since the produce in season right now is basically tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, hot peppers, corn and blueberries.  It will be another few weeks before we really get into the swing of summer produce.  Vegans looking to have a nice vegan breakfast, I would not recommend this bakery since there are no options besides coffee.  Vegetarians and Carnivores, go for it.  Your purchase will not only support a local business, but also support a historically run family farm and support the home grown/slow cook movement in America.  We wish we could have supported them more but unfortunately since there were no options besides coffee, it was hard to help out.

Fourth of July Recap: In Photos

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“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”  M. F. K. Fisher

Happy 4th of July in America!  (Um, rather belated birthday celebrations…)  Fourth of July (USA’s Independence Day) was a special event for us seeing as we are celebrated on the lake in Michigan.  Michigan is party central when it comes to holidays in the summer months (forget about it in the winter)- so we lived it up.  Every year the lake association holds a special breakfast for residents and their families.  It’s basically a place to go eat breakfast and chat with all the neighbors around the lake.  We engaged in the chatting but considering there are usually no options for vegans, we ate before we left.  This is fine though since we had more time to chat with others.  It’s always nice to have this spare time to chat with people we haven’t seen in years since we have lived miles away.  Then we BBQ’d for lunch and dinner out on the lake – such a blessing!  Then after the sun went down the skies lite up with fireworks galore all over the lake!  So without much more babbling on my part, here’s our holiday in photos:

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Anniversary Recap: In Photos

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“The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.”

Julia Child

Happy Tuesday Genki Friends!  June 25th was Genki Husband and my 9th anniversary of marriage.  It was a special year for us since it was a year we could celebrate our marriage together with family members and friends.  It’s been a bit since the special date but it is still fresh in mind and I wanted to be sure to express my love for the special day.  Genki Husband and I did get married rather young but we are living proof young people can still get married in today’s society and stick strong together through anything.  Since this year we were in Michigan, it was planned we would go with family and spend a special evening at a winery called Tabor Hill.  It is a popular winery around the world but oddly enough not in Michigan.  Their Classic Demi-Sec has been shipped to the White House of the United States by many presidents, according to the wineries’ personnel.  If it’s good enough for the leader of the Free Country, it is good enough for us.  We celebrated our first anniversary at Tabor Hill and we again celebrated this 9th year into our marriage.  Enjoy the photos of this event.

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