Friday, May 31, 2013

Tea Tuesday...on a Friday.

Some of you already know that I love tea! Hot or cold.  I have a cookie jar that's not full of cookies, but tea bags.  I thought I'd start sharing some of my favorite teas or new teas that I'm trying.

And since I thought of it today, here's Tea Tuesday on a Friday!

This is a new tea that I'm trying today. TAZO Apricot Vanilla Creme White Tea.  I give it 5 stars! It's so sweet and soooo good! I'd drink it hot or cold!


The box says, "Float on your back in a lake of vanilla for as long as you'd like." :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Haul!

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  We're celebrating by having our friends over for a cookout!  I thought I'd share the things I bought to prepare for the cookout, plus a few other groceries I bought this week.


Trader Joe's has several freeze dried fruits.  They're unsweetened, but I tried the strawberries and they're actually pretty sweet!  These are great for snacks or adding to your cereal.  
Trader Joe's, $3.29


These crackers are the equivalent of Triscuit crackers. 
Kroger, $2.79


I bought these to dip in hummus! I like buying crackers without hydrogenated oils.  
Kroger, $2.98


Bok Choy is my new love! My favorite Chinese restaurant closed down, and I've been working on perfecting their Szechuan Vegetables at home. I love spicy food!  
Trader Joe's, $2.29

 
Boy was I excited when I saw these! Cherries are probably my favorite fruit!  
I can't wait until they get a little less expensive.
Trader Joe's, $4.99


This brand of chocolates is one of my favorite special treats.  Not only is the chocolate good, but I love the packaging!  It has a pretty gold seal and a poem inside.  These would be great for Valentine's Day or wedding anniversaries.  This was on sale today, so I thought I'd try this flavor.  
Sea salt and chocolate is a great combination! This particular bar is vegan.
Kroger, $2.00


I don't buy cheese very often, but for the holidays, I like to make Ina Garten's Gruyere Mac and Cheese!  It's so good!  I love the flavor of Gruyere.  This bag of shredded cheese ended up being cheaper than buying a block.
Trader Joe's, $4.99


I recently had a student bring in seaweed and steamed rice to share with my class.  He wanted to tell about his Korean family heritage.  I thought, "These first graders are not going to try that," but surprisingly they loved it!  So, I continued rolling rice in these strips of seaweed, as they came back for seconds and thirds!  It really is delicious, so I bought some to have with my Szechuan stir-fry this week.
Trader Joes, 99 cents


These are my absolute favorite pickles!  They're made in Germany.  I can't really explain it, but they have a little bit different crunch than other pickles.  Perfect for a cookout!
Trader Joe's, $2.29



Even though these are already seasoned, I still like to add ketchup, mustard, 
and brown sugar to make them taste like my grandma's.
Kroger, $1.67


This is my first time buying these.
Trader Joe's $2.49


 
These are another special treat at our house.  We rarely buy them because they're expensive.  Sometimes Santa even leaves the little cans of them in our stockings. ;)  I like these "sodas" because they're made with real fruit juice and no high fructose corn syrup.  I thought I'd get them to share with our friends at our cookout tomorrow.  I got them on sale at Kroger for $3.99.  
They come in several different flavors.
 


Recently, I wrote a raving review of Cherrybrook Kitchen's Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.  So, Cherrybrook was so nice and sent me coupons for two free products to try and review.  These are the two I chose.  They were free, but they are normally $5.99 at Whole Foods.



Sabra brand is really my favorite hummus, but it's a little expensive.  So, I usually buy this hummus from Trader Joe's and it's *almost* as good and a little cheaper.  Actually, almost half the price. :)
Trader Joe's, $1.99


I hope you all enjoy your weekend!  I'll be eating bean burgers, mac & cheese, baked beans, corn on the cob, and watermelon.  And the best part of all, I'll be with my friends!

Jessica


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What's Soft, Fluffy, and Sweet? Vegan Blueberry Muffins!

They're vegan and you won't believe they don't contain eggs!  So what's the secret egg replacer? A mashed banana!  These muffins are so soft, fluffy, and sweet! I think I'm going to make another batch and keep them in my freezer!

And, yes, those blueberry muffins are in strawberry print wrappers... They're all I had.




Soft and Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar (I actually used a little less and they were perfect.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (You can use any non-dairy milk.) **
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine flours, sugars, salt and baking powder. Add in non-dairy milk, banana, and olive oil and stir until just moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

**This recipe is a variation of another recipe, and I wasn't happy with the consistency of the batter with just 1/3 c. of non-dairy milk.  It was awfully thick.  I would say I added another 1/4 c. or so to the batter.  It was still nice and thick, but a little more fluid.  I would suggest doing this.


They're good with lunch too!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Product Review: Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Last week in my haul, I told you that I found these Cherrybrook Kitchen mixes for $1.37 each at Kroger.  They're normally $5.99 at Whole Foods.  It's been rainy today...a perfect day for chocolate chip cookies.  So, I thought I'd do a quick review of this product for you!


The box on the left lists the ingredients for the chocolate chip cookies.
I would probably never spend $5.99 on a box of cookie mix, when I actually am capable of making them from scratch.  But, for $1.37, I snatched them up! So quick, easy, and really have the same basic ingredients I would use myself!




I made these cookies today, and I'm giving them 5 stars, and here's why:

1. They really are as easy as adding water and "butter", mixing, and baking! No messing up your kitchen! Easy enough for kids to make.

2. They are perfect for families with food allergies.  Peanut, nut, dairy, and egg-free.

3. When I first looked at them after taking them out of the oven, I thought they looked a little lumpy, and figured maybe they were on sale so cheap because they were old.  But, I bit into one and was pleasantly surprised.  They are soft, chewy, and oh so GOOD! Maybe even better than my homemade ones. Gasp!

I'm giving them five stars based on taste and quality.  Are they worth the regular price of $5.99 a box? I think that depends on each individual family's needs/time/finances.




IMPORTANT: facebook "pages" changed awhile ago, so all of my posts may not show up in your news feed. If you want to be sure to get all of the Little Miss Vegetarian updates, go to the top right of my facebook page and you'll see the [liked] button. Hold your cursor over the word [liked]. You have the option to click on [add to interest list] where you can check weekly for updates. OR (best option!) you can click on [get notifications] and every time my page is updated, you'll get a little red notification at the top of your page. Thanks for following me!

Getting Ready for Summer! Container Gardening.

My husband and I have spent the weekend getting our porch cleaned up and ready for summer!  We live in a nice wooded area, but that means lots of pollen! Pollen and I don't get along!  Yesterday he got the shop-vac and vacuumed the outdoor carpet and took me shopping for new furniture cushions.  Ours were old, faded, covered in pollen, and smelly!

Today, we scrubbed the furniture and put the new cushions on, and did a little container gardening. So, I thought I'd share a few photos!

(Old cushions pictured in the background)
Last week in my grocery store haul, I showed you these plants that I bought at Whole Foods. Basil, Mint, Jalapeno, and Serrano peppers. Well, today they got new homes in the colorful pots below.


These pots were purchased at Wal-Mart for $1.97 each.  They also had teal, light gray, and dark gray in a variety of sizes.


I bought this Fuchsia plant at a local nursery.  The blooms are so pretty.  And for those of you who don't know, I love owl decor! Mostly for my classroom.  But, when I saw this little owl planter stake at Target, I couldn't resist!


I am crazy about the pattern/colors on our new furniture cushions.  They were purchased at Garden Ridge for 25% off.  They had SO MANY different colors and patterns to choose from!


And finally, here's our clean and *almost* pollen-free porch!  I can't wait to sit out there to read and drink tea.  Or, to have cookouts! Who's coming over???

What have YOU been doing to get ready for summer?  I would love to hear what you're planting or have planted in your gardens/flowerbeds.  

Thank you all for helping me reach 500 likes on my facebook page! You guys are the best!

*hugs*
Jessica 

IMPORTANT: facebook "pages" changed awhile ago, so all of my posts may not show up in your news feed. If you want to be sure to get all of the Little Miss Vegetarian updates, go to the top right of my facebook page and you'll see the [liked] button. Hold your cursor over the word [liked]. You have the option to click on [add to interest list] where you can check weekly for updates. OR (best option!) you can click on [get notifications] and every time my page is updated, you'll get a little red notification at the top of your page. Thanks for following me!




Friday, May 17, 2013

My Second Grocery Store Haul! And Some Great Deals!

A couple weeks ago, I posted my first grocery store haul on facebook.  I wanted to start sharing some of the unique or sale items I pick up each week. I won't bore you with the milk and bread.

First of all, is there anything more annoying than getting to the grocery store and realizing you left your list at home? Well, that happened today, and it has happened several times!

While I was wandering aimlessly around the store without my list, I happened to stumble upon a couple of really good deals. I'll list those two things first!


1. Cherrybrook Kitchen Sugar Cookie Mix, Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, and Chocolate Cake Mix. I'm so excited about these, I don't know what to do! They're normally $5.99 each at Whole Foods (which I do not pay). I found them on sale at Kroger for $1.37 each.  They're gluten, wheat, peanut, nut, dairy, and egg-free. I usually make homemade treats, but it's nice to have something I can make quickly without messing up my whole kitchen.  I got some for me and some for a friend!


2. I am a tea lover...hot or iced!  And now that it's getting warmer, I love flavored iced tea.  I found these Good Earth teas on sale at Kroger for $1.25 each.  They're normally $3.74 each. I can't wait to try them! Which flavor sounds the best to you? If there are any friends or family who want to try them, I'll happily share some tea bags!


3. Vanilla Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt from Trader Joes.  I'm planning on making a mango smoothie, and I like to keep things as vegan as possible. ($1.49)


4. I bought these organic plants for my porch. Basil, Mint, Jalapeno, and Serrano pepper.  $2.99 each at Whole Foods.  I like to make fresh bruschetta and pico de gallo in the summer, so these will be perfect!


5. I have really been liking the Alba Botanica brand lately!  I saw their sunscreen on sale at Whole Foods for $6.99 (regularly $9.99), so I picked one up.  Later I found them on clearance for $4.49 at Kroger.  I've realized that I need to put sunscreen on my face everyday to prevent aging. I have very fair skin.  That's why I got the facial one.  But, there are several to choose from.

Well, that's my haul! I wish all of you could come over to try my bargain tea and cookies. :)

What exciting things did you pick up at the grocery store this week?  If there's something I need to try, let me know!

Jessica