Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 13: Removable Wallpaper on your Fridge- tips

This morning has been very productive. I think the planets aligned to get my butt moving. The weather outside is fabulous, 70-some degrees out, low humidity, and a nice breeze. So all the windows are wide open to get some much needed fresh air in the house. I think todays prompt, Alexa’s visit, and the nice weather kind-of kicked my butt into action and started to tidy up the house a little. Nothing huge, just small things that can make all the difference. Our house is slowly starting to feel like ours, but in small bits. 

BUT before going on reading, check out my tea giveaway! All you need to do is comment, and if you follow on me on facebook, instagram, or whatever you get bonus entries, so check that out and enter! What type of tea? Raspberry, Vanilla, and Peppermint flavored Green Tea. It is one of my favorites.

As I mentioned a few times, we recently moved, and it is taking awhile to make our house feel like our home. The biggest battle is that we need new furnature, as we tossed some junky stuff when we moved. So our kitchen is a little chaotic with pantry foods, and barware. We haven’t opened up half of our cocktail/beer/wine glasses because we need a hutch/jelly cabinet. We also need some sort of book shelf for the cookbook which are on the floor. Oh and our fridge is 19 years old…..

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Our fridge is pretty boring. nothing crazy going on. When my husband and I saw how average it was, I asked if I could try out wallpapering the fridge if it was really old. I was thinking old being 10 years, but once I took a closer look I found out that it was 19 years old! Never would of guessed that. We are saving up to buy a new fridge, in anticipation of it breaking down at random. But for now I am making it pretty.

So this isn’t a tutorial, because I think it is a little insulting to make a tutorial of how to put paper on your fridge a tutorial. But I will give little bits of tips for you. One if you haven’t seen the wallpaper on fridge thing, let me guide you to this article and this article on The Kitchn. They give some pictures of what other people had done. I was a little nervous because I had never used removable wallpaper before. So here is what I did:

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  • Remove handles on the fridge. You can find tutorials easily online- though every fridge is a little different. I couldn’t remove the bottom half of the handles so that made things a little tricky. But it helps A LOT, so if you can’t get the whole thing off, don’t just poo-poo the extra work. It is worth it.
  • Clean the fridge door. Super important so you don’t just cover weird funk, but it will help the paper stick for longer periods of time.
  • Pre-cut the first sheet, then try laying it down all at once, fixing bubbles afterwards. I tried laying one half down then smoothing it down, it didn’t work. This might vary from brand to brand. I used Target’s line of wallpapers, so I found that it stretched to much for the lay down a corner and smooth as you lay the rest down method. Smack it down where you want it, then smooth it out. If you lay it down in one go and get a bubble, you can probably peel a corner off to the bubble and re-smooth out.
  • Smooth with your hands. NOT WITH A RULER! I saw some tutorials do this, but it just messed up the finish for me. This could of been because I was using a shiny eggshell like finished wallpaper. If your using wallpaper that is glossy or a contact paper, this might not be a problem.

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Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 12: Project 365: Days 248-254

Day 248: I forgot to take a photo of anything today. T_T

Day 249: My husband really loves eating cookies for lunch, so Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar get used often. The most popular recipe are the banana everything cookies since they are really quick and easy to modify.

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Day 250: I really love But I Could Never Go Vegan, as I mentioned on my book review on the blog. I think it is my go to for omni gatherings. I made some potato, green beans, and caramelized shallots salad. It was a big hit, and my in-laws wanted to keep some for their lunches the next day.

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Day 251: I used Angela’s recipe for chia seed jam from her Oh She Glows cookbook. I subbed berries for some purple tomatillos, and I don’t think it works as well as berries. Oh well. Jon still liked his purple tomatillo and peanut butter sandwiches. I use her cookbook and website so often, and my husband whips it out when he makes his own smoothie. He really likes the gym rat smoothie! I mentioned in a book review that I loved the book, and I even bought it for my in-laws for Christmas!

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Day 252: This isn’t a vegan cookbook, but a vegetarian one. My mother had this book for years and gave it to me when I said I was going full vegan again. The book is full of great ideas, and has some staples in our diet like a spinach and red lentil penne and beet and carrot soup. I like recommending Vegetarian Planet because it is written by a non-vegan/vegetarian, so I think she doesn’t try to mimic things as much as vegan cooks do.

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Day 253: I think Veganmonicon isn’t my favorite cookbook, but an embodiment for loving Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero‘s cookbooks. I love how they don’t fuss over calories, nutrition, whatever and focus on just making delicious foods. I first checked out Veganomicon from the libary, and made a few dishes, and knew I had to eventually buy they book for myself. The recipe that I made? The BBQ collard greens! I don’t like to wrap them in the greens, but instead serve them like sloppy joes. I had a can of chickpeas opened so I used chickpeas instead of black eyed peas, which wasn’t a great call. XD

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Day 254: This isn’t so much a favorite cookbook exactly, but I learned from my family that a great way to save recipes is to use a binder. It is great because if you have a recipe from a magazine, just rip it out, find something online, print it out! Much easier than rewriting everything on a recipe card. Plus the sleeves make an easy clean up. I recently shuffled the old recipes, and cleaned it out. It is also great because I check out cookbooks from the library and photo copy or handwrite my favorite recipes from them.

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Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 11: Alexa Asks #21: Food Nutrient- Iron

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Alexa is working toward a vegetarian diet, and is loaded with questions. Jennifer’s got answers. We talk about anything as long as it is vegan. Are tattoos vegan? How do I politely not eat Thanksgiving dinner? How do I order without pissing off the waitress? We know you are dying to ask!

asksalexaNow that I started pumping iron, should I start worrying about where I get iron?

Somehow in our mental psyche we imagine iron intake with strength and manliness. I mean weak women are prone to being iron anemic right? Well, lets start with why we need iron in our body. Our bodies take the iron we eat to create hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen to our body. Not enough iron means that our body isn’t making enough hemoglobin, which means we can make enough red blood cells, which means our muscles are deprived of oxygen. 

So how much iron do you need? It varies with age, but the average adult male needs 8mg of iron, while a woman needs 18mg of iron. Why the extra load? Well, remember we need iron for our blood, and what happens each month? Menstruation. Yup, once a month we loose blood. But does that mean we still need to get 18mg each day that we don’t have our periods? Iron takes awhile to build up again in our system, so lets say your donate blood, it might take awhile to rebuild the iron again and would show in blood work a week later.

I like to use CRON-O-Meter a few random weeks during the year to try and check my dietary intake. I usually find that reaching that 18mg of iron is actually easy. Sometimes you need to try and focus on it, but it is more like what you eat are drops in the bucket. For example I got most of my iron from white beans from my lunch, but I also got iron from kale, spirulina, oats, and soymilk. Heck, I even got 6% of my iron from peaches (I ate three, so uh.. not sure if that is normal)

So what about this iron rich beef I keep hearing about? It is known in pop-science that beef is great for anemics. Right? Not really. This myth probably comes from two ideas. One is that liver is very high in iron. Each animal has varying amounts of iron in their liver, and apparently duck liver has the most iron. When comparing meats to each other, beef has more iron compared to chicken and pork. But compared to high iron vegan sources, beef isn’t that impressive. Three ounces of cooked beef has about 200 calories and 12% of your iron requirements, while half a cup of tofu has about 100 calories 35% of your iron requirements!

But there is something beef has over tofu- heme iron. Basically when animals consume iron, they start to process it for themselves to help with oxidizing their blood. When we eat animals were are eating half-processed iron, making it easy for our body to absorb. There is some evidence that heme iron may be bad for us, but like most nutritional science, it is hard to figure out if those bad things are from meats, or the heme iron. If you are concerned if the iron is being absorbed, you can try and increase absorption by eating a lot of vitamin C with your iron. Calcium and caffeine can hinder iron absorption, though I figure these can be hard to avoid pairing with foods. And my favorite suggestion is try cooking your food in iron pots, because the iron can leech into your food!

So should you supplement iron in your diet? I would say no unless you have an iron deficiency. Also keep in mind how often you donate blood, because that will effect your iron levels. But once you get your iron levels up, you can easily get the daily recommendations! I find adding a teaspoon of spirulina in my morning smoothie gives a nice boost to my iron intake. But for the most part, most foods have iron in it, and all those foods add up. It is also easier since many grain products have supplemented iron in them. For example oats have iron added to it, and does most wheat products. Try eating various greens, spirulina, tofu, beans, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, lentils, peas, blackstrap molasses, and tomato paste. And shit- there is even a fair about iron in CHOCOLATE! Even more in cacao!

Want some recipes for iron rich foods? Well here are few savory and sweet.

Lentil, Tempeh, and Sweet Potato Chili – If you ate a quarter of this dish (which is a lot) you will have consumed about 40% of the iron your need in your day. Not bad.

Spinach and Coconut Dal – This recipe mixed spinach and lentils to make a protein rich dish. You will be getting a quarter of your iron intake from a quarter of this dish.

Pinto Bean Mole Chili – This dish mixes beans and chocolate together with vitamin C rich foods. Making it great for iron absorption!

Beet and Carrot Juice – Freshly made juices are a great way to add iron to the diet, making it easy to eat lots of veggies and fruit in one sip.

Spinach Dal – Okay I’ve been listing a lot of lentil dishes, but this one features lots and lots of spinach, leaving a bright green goop!

Green Iron Smoothie – Alyssa talks about her method of adding the small amount of iron to equal a lot of iron. So her Green Iron Smoothie has 61% of the iron in a day! Holy cow!

Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 10: Salsa Morado

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Ever wondered why there aren’t any blue foods? Aside from the sky and water, there aren’t many blue things in nature. Heck even the sky and blue aren’t really blue in the sense that you need a lot of it to appear blue. If you took a jar, and bottled the air or water, it would just look clear. So why is that?

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Well there aren’t too many different plants and animals that have a blue color. A lot of it has to do with the fact that blue is hard to make a pigment of. It hasn’t been until recently that blue pigments have been made synthetically. This is probably because to get blues from light, you need a higher wavelength frequency, needing more energy. For a pigment to “work” you need chemically stable compositions that stays the same color under various temperatures (think about how metals change colors when hot or how food kind-of changes color when cooked.)

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So why not blue animals or plants? Well blue pigments are probably the least stable color. If you look at old photos you probably see it morph into browns and red, as the colors get effected by UV lights. Animals have a hard time absorbing any blue pigments from plants compared to reds (think of flamingos who get their color from their diet). But animals have managed to get blue by “structural color,” including human’s blue irises. So pretty much pigments are absorbing light to create a specific color, but structural color is formed by diffusing light. Sometimes this light diffusion is obvious by it’s iridescent qualities like in bird feathers. Still confused? Well I still kind-of am, but D News has a fun video about why we don’t have blue hair.

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So what are the available blue foods? Well the plant based foods are blueberries, blue corn, blue potatoes, star flowers and indigo milk caps. The latter two aren’t that common to eat since one is a flower and the other is a mushroom. There are lots of other blue mushrooms out there, they just aren’t edible. Which can be problematic when cooking up a blue dish. There are also some non-vegan “foods” like blue cheese, lobsters and crayfish, and lingcod which has turquoise blue muscle tissue.

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And you might be thinking most of these foods are kind-of purple… and they are. And that drives me nuts! Pretty much for us to get blue we need dyes, and I threw in my cooking towel here. I feel like using synthetic dyes is cheating, and it is. So I tried to work with the most blue item I got from my CSA- purple tomatillos. I was a little greedy about these yummy fruit and picked way too many. Now I am trying everything that I can to preserve them including salsa, jams, and shrubs.

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This dish uses a little bit of fermentation so it can stay fresh and edible over several months in the fridge. But if you are going to eat it fresh, it is really tasty! It definitely tastes different than salsa verde! It is like if you baked two apple pies, one using granny smith apples, and the other with golden delicious. One would be much more tarte than the other. The purple tomatillos give just enough sweetness. Serve with chips, tacos, or bake tofu in the salsa. Continue reading

Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 9: Pink Lady Cocktail

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When I think of retro foods, casseroles are the first thing that comes to mind. I mean there are quite a few other oddball ones out there, but do I WANT to make them? I mean there was a huge fascination with jello-mold savory foods. Heck even my Grandma made a shrimp “mousse” recently for a family get together. I remember eating it when I was pescetarian, and neither hating or liking it.

I do have to say, I regret not doing more research because some of the retro snacks are really funny and would of been fun to remake. Like this “meat-za” where there is a ground beef crust and tomato soup topping. I could of made an all seitan pizza crust! Agh! Stinks. But some of the search results really make me think about some of the quirky fun foods we see on Pinterest and Mom blogs. Will fruitshi be viewed as being as silly as a pineapple treasure chest? Then again, I think that treasure chest is pretty awesome… why the hell didn’t I make a vegan version of that?!

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But I TRIED to make a vegan tuna noodle casserole. I had a cute name picked out- Tu-NAH! Noodle Casserole. I flipped out my Vegan Casseroles book for guidance because it pretty much taught me everything I learned about casseroles, vegan or otherwise. The end result was a HUGE flop! The chickepeas were weird, there was too much sauce, not enough nasty mayo, and I can’t find eggless egg noodles for the life of me. Oh and I forgot to put salt into the dish. I wanted throw in my towel, I needed a drink.

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I don’t know where I found out about it, but I read about The Pink Lady, it sounded pretty dated and tacky. When inspecting it, I found it listed on a chart of Mad Men cocktails, but it dates back to the 20s. I am taking a stab in the dark and assuming it is an American cocktail. Many people suspect that it was invented or popularized during prohibition since there were so many sub-standard gin available. The idea was that the egg white and grenadine would make the drink easier to swallow.

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The drink eventually built a reputation for being dainty as fuck. It was pink, girly, and “safe.” So I was surprised when I took a sip, this drink packs a punch. This is no appletini or strawberry daiquiri. Sure, there is some grenadine, which I am sure you remember sucking down at weddings when you were kid in your Shirley Temples. But this has only a small amount to give it a pink hue. 

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So what was “veganized” about this drink? Well, ever since aquafaba came out I was dying to know, can I make drinks out it? I use to love foamy cocktails, yes, as I vegan I miss raw eggs more than bacon! Gasp! So I thought, okay, why not try this out? The idea of egg white cocktails had fallen out of fashion in the United States in the 50s and most drinks started to feature sodas, juices, flavored vodkas, and neon colors. Know what though? The aquafaba worked beautifully! The drink foamed up, and STAYED that way. 

I’ve been really into retro cocktails lately. I think this time of the year I always crave cocktails probably because of the over abundance of fruit. That is why I made my watermelon basil cocktail, and pretty much all my other drinks on the blog uses some sort of fruit or vegetable. Heck I recently made a tomatillo shrub which I debated posting on this retro post… but I think it needs to age more.

Anyways, make this drink and if you haven’t yet, check out my tea giveaway. Just comment, and if you want extra entries follow me on different social media platforms. Continue reading

Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 8: Tea Time Tuesday Giveaway!

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The Tea Store

222 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield NJ, 08033
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Does anyone remember Alexa’s spotlight Tea Time Tuesday? She started it because she wanted to try out lots of different teas. She kind of stopped in part because of time, and maybe because she has been drinking less tea. In fact the last time she posted has been almost exactly a year ago! She has a few other teas that she wanted to review, so maybe she will be making another comeback?

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I’ve always wanted to do a Tea Time Tuesday, but have been pretty lazy about it as well. But for Vegan MOFO they suggested to reach out and make a new vegan friend, so I thought maybe now would be a good time to giveaway some tea! That way I could make a bunch of “vegan friends”! I am not usually the type to get needy for followers and such, but hey, it kind-of makes this fun… right?

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So what is going to be featured? Well, Alexa has almost always featured smaller companies, including Booskerdoo, Smiling Earth Elixirs, Maple Tree Tea, and Rook. Today I feature a local shop in Haddonfield called The Tea Store. The owner originally ran a store that specialized in making gift baskets, and slowly found herself wanting to focus on tea. Her focus is keeping prices low and providing great customer service. What I love about her store is that she will make any blend you ask, so you can create your very own one of a kind tea!

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She sells some of her tea on her online shop though she doesn’t post every single blend on the site. Which brings me to the tea we are giving away- Raspberry Vanilla Mint flavored Green Tea. Okay it is a long title, but I think it is my favorite blend of hers. I love the mix of mint and green tea and the raspberry adds a nice touch. I bought it probably a year ago and I am almost done with the bag! When I thought of the contest I knew exactly which one to offer you guys

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How do you enter? Simple, you have six chances to enter.

You can simply leave a comment about your favorite type of tea, and you can follow/friend us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Bloglovin. Each follow earns you an extra entry. In your comment just write how many different social media platforms you follow us on and make sure you have some way to contact you (email or social media usernames are great!). On Monday September 14th I will contact the winner!

Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 7: Messy Joes

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Any I.T. Crowd fans out there? I hope so because they are the theme of todays dish. My husband and I have been rewatching the series and I forgot how hilarious it is. I recently watched Fifty-Fifty where Jen and Roy take their dates to Messy Joe’s. The next day all I could think of was Moss’ gentle voice saying “Messijo” as I was eating my leftover sloppy joe sandwich. Then it clicked, sloppy joes are very messy, in fact you could call them messy joes. I should make my own Messijos by switching up a sloppy jo recipe!

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So I had to think what would take a very American dish and make it British. What about basing it around a british style curry? I tried looking for some of the premade British curry mixes, but none of the local stores had them. So I had to make it from scratch. The end result are four huge “messijos” or 6 smaller ones. The brilliance of sloppy joes is that it is pretty flexible so you can add more traditional peppers to the mix, or swap out TVP for lentils.

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And if you want to embody more of the IT spirit, you can start the dish by rubbing some chocolate on your forehead. It won’t really effect the taste of your messijos but it will give you a couple of laughs with your friends about how you have chocolate on your face, not shit. And then you can lick it off afterwards. Which is semi yummy.

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Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 6: Masala Bloody Mary

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I might be one of the few people who got stumped by todays prompt to recreate a dish from a restaurant. I don’t eat out often, and I think part of the fun of eating out is that it is something you can’t make. So the desire to recreate is a little low. At first I thought about recreating the heirloom beans with a hazelnut-tomato vinegrette that I had from Charlie was a Sinner. But truthfully they were pretty simple, and I felt weird adapting an already vegan recipe. And then I started thinking of NON-vegan restaurants I’ve been too lately, which is pretty much only Indeblue. And then I thought about the bloody mary.

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Then it occurred to me that their bloody mary might not of been vegan, because I always forget about Worcestershire sauce. Even though the bloody mary tasted awesome, the texture was a little off. It was really thick, and some of the spices, particularly the black pepper, were just in chunks. So I thought I could surely make something better, especially since I had a bunch of delicious tomatoes picked from my CSA farm.

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I am a big bloody mary fan, but I am aware of it’s very un-vegan potential. It is one of the few savory cocktails that are popular, and therefore it is easy to add animal based umami flavors. A lot of cocktails end up using beef consomm√© or bouillon and worcestershire sauce, and that is if they didn’t fancy up the cocktail. Some places will add a slap of bacon or shrimp instead of a celery or pickle garnish. And then there is the Mary’s Canadian cousin Caesar that uses clamato juice. Ugh! And I am not going to get into the whole bloody mary mix. So many disappointments!

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So what’s a vegan suppose to do? Well, make their own, duh! It is easy to make in large batches and serve in a pitcher for Sunday Brunch. And it tastes pretty good without the vodka too! So if you aren’t a drinker or underaged, you are still in luck. I tried to make this drink pretty simple, no fancy appliances. So hopefully most of you guys will have these two things: a blender and a nut milk bag. And your set!

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Of coarse it is in order to point out that this isn’t a normal bloody mary. I got this at an Indian restaurant that was serving brunch, so it uses a curry blend in the drink.

I’ve heard from my sister who has traveled to various parts of Europe, and even lived in France for a year that Bloody Mary’s are a very American cocktail. Since Vegan Mofo has a lot of readers across the globe, I would love to hear if you had any Bloody Mary. When do you drink it? In a bar or brunch like Americans do? You wouldn’t think Bloody Marys would be such a brunch drink because of the vodka. I recently told my father in law how you make it, and he seemed pretty surprised!

Side note- if this is your first bloody mary, there are some standard garnishes. Celery is the classic, but I prefer the pickle (I just didn’t have any for the photo.) But there is still more variation including carrots, olives, and heck, do some facon-bacon!

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Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 5: Project 365: Days 241-247

Day 241: I couldn’t pick just one photo from the farm. A bright sunflower and a dew on some silk.

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Day 242: Close up of the ricotta filling from my calzones!

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Day 243: Because of Vegan MOFO, I decided I didn’t want to have to post a month’s worth of photos in October, and I figured I would try and take photos within the prompt of the day which is “Best sandwich ever.” So tried to photograph as many sandwiches as I could for the week. Monday I got a salad pita sandwich from Health Haven. I was surprised how busy they were, plus they have vegan cheese!

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Day 244: Brought in some leftover sloppy joe filling for lunch at work.

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Day 245: Some PB&J for my husband’s lunch… sort of. He likes a peanut butter sandwich and a jelly sandwich, apparently together is bad….

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Day 246: Grilled Daiya cheese and bean sandwich. Sadly I got impatient and ate it before the cheese melted. Oh well.

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Day 247: I was distracted and didn’t photograph my sandwich, which was Field Roast Wild Mushroom Deli Slices with green leaf lettuce, and fresh tomatoes from my CSA. It is amazing! But featured in the photo is the post for tomorrow!

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Vegan Mofo 2015 Day 4: Tomatillo Berry Crisp

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Anyone know where to get purple tomatillos? My CSA has them, and they are probably my favorite thing. But truthfully, outside of my CSA, I’ve never seen them for sale. I guess maybe at some diverse farmer markets? This recipe can be made with normal green tomatillos, but it won’t be as sweet, and a little more tart. You also won’t get such a lush purple color. But don’t worry, you can even see with my crisp that some mostly green tomatillos snuck in.

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Is this really a weird flavor combination? I am not sure. I actually got the idea from my CSA, as they have a big book of recipes according to the vegetable at hand. It happened to be opened to tomatillos one day and I saw the suggestion- strawberry-tomatillo crisp. I thought adding other berries to the mix would be perfect! A quick google search shows a few other recipes for tomatillo crisp, but it really isn’t as common as strawberry rhubarb pie.

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I think my husband was blown away by the flavor. The berries don’t over power the tomatillos but most people aren’t use to the flavor of cooked tomatillos. So the end result is something really unique. Guests will be scratching their heads about what flavor combination is going on.

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Sadly the purple tomatillos are reaching their end at my CSA so I won’t be making another batch of this. I can say that I will definitely be making this again next year!

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