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“Everything hurts and I’m dying.”


*I received this item for free or at a discounted rate in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are 100% my own and completely honest.*

I’ve been telling my friends and family for ages that this should be the title of my future memoir.  It’s pretty much me every few days, at best.

Joint pain isn’t fun.  Fatigue isn’t fun.  Headaches aren’t fun.  Struggling to concentrate isn’t fun.  Life as of late really isn’t fun.

The primary theory is fibromyalgia, but there’s no formal diagnosis as of yet.  I’m just issue-ridden.

But these are tough issues.  I can’t sleep at night when my hips and shoulders start throbbing and wake me up to reposition.  I can’t stay awake through the day when I haven’t slept.  I can’t be productive when I’m struggling with pain of whatever type and couldn’t concentrate if I tried.

Fibro? Maybe.  Suckish?  Most definitely.

One concept I’ve found so far that’s helped? Adjusting my diet.  Being vegan helps profusely.  I could quite literally spend hours touting the benefits to both me and the environment.

I also had the opportunity to review this cookbook.  Fact:  I like food that is fast and I like food that is fresh.  Fact:  I like recipes that are vegan or can be easily made so.  Fact:  I really like this cookbook.

Vegan Cooking with Jules: Spicy Green Beans

I’m becoming a regular foodie while staying with the parents!  The thrill of having a kitchen for stress-relieving cooking sprees has hit me hard.  That’s why I insisted Mom had to grab a basket of green beans at the neighborhood produce market so I could try this recipe I’d found.

I don’t have a problem.  I can stop whenever I want.

Anyway, so I found Domestic Superhero‘s recipe for Copycat PF Chang’s Spicy Green Beans on Pinterest.  Confession:  I’ve never been to PF Chang’s.  BUT, I practically grew up on Chinese food.  A close family friend owns a local buffet and some of my best memories take place at her tables.  The distinctly Chines take-out green beans were always one of my favourites.  This recipe looked reminiscent and I was biting at the bit to try it!

So, with a few adjustments, I did.

DS’s recipe called for 2 chopped green onions, 1 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbsp sesame oil, and 1 tbsp rice vinegar.  Instead, I substituted a generous sprinkle of table seasoning (first ingredient:  onion), about double the red pepper flakes, a whopping tablespoon of minced garlic, olive oil, and white vinegar.  In the first three cases, this was primarily a matter of preference and experimentation (I really like spice, can you tell?), and the latter two were more so convenience.  It’s a bit more Americanized this way, and probably a LOT more salty with the seasoning rather than the freshly chopped onions, but it was delicious nevertheless!

 

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Plus, this gave me an excuse to try out the mini tongs that came with my whisk!

 

I cooked the whole things a bit longer than the recipe called for just to ensure the beans sucked up maximum saucy goodness.  While I intended for the batch to last me a few days, I can’t say there’s much of a serving left!

 

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In short, these were delicious.  I may have to try, as one commenter inquired, making this with frozen green beans next time, to make the process even faster and more convenient!

Visit Domestic Superhero for more deliciousness, and check out #vegancookingwithjules on Instagram for more delicious images!

Vegan Cooking with Jules: Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

When I was little, I remember making summer sausage (Lebanon bologna) and cream cheese roll-ups and pretending I was on a kid-friendly snack show on the Food Network.  I was a strange child.

No, I’m not starting a cooking show, but I do make enough random meals that I figured it was worth a TO&E special!

Today’s special:  Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings” in a homemade wing sauce, served with homemade ranch dressing.

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I may be on the home stretch of an entire head of cauliflower.  #SorryNotSorry

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
1/2 sleeve Ritz crackers (I used the Ultimate Butter kind— no real butter!  Who knew?)
About 1 1/2 cup EVOO
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard
3/4 tsp garlic powder
No-salt seasoning (a mix of herbs as I couldn’t find onion powder for the life of me!)
Ground black pepper (preferably fresh, but you know)
Cornstarch
2/3 cup hot sauce (I used Texas Pete)
1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan margarine
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp Worschestire sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

*note:  I “eye-balled” most of these measurements, so adjust as you’d like— it still turns out well!

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash cauliflower.  Chop into pieces (mine were slightly larger than bite-size) and rinse once more for good measure.
  3. Pour cauliflower into a large bowl.  Add about 1/4 cup EVOO and toss to coat.
  4. Crush crackers to form crumbs (be careful not to burst the package!  I lived in fear the entire time.) .  Add crackers to bowl and toss to lightly coat.
  5. Make a single layer of cauliflower mixture on a lined baking sheet.  Roast for approximately 20 minutes (cauliflower will be tender and brown on the edges).

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    Something like this.

  6. Meanwhile, start the dressing (Note:  mine wasn’t as thick as I’d like and I may reject the mustard next time).  Whisk “milk” and remaining EVOO and enjoy this photo of my tiny whisk.

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    Thanks, TJ Maxx!

  7. Add lemon juice to the mixture, followed by mustard and seasonings (all of those above the hot sauce in the list above).  Add cornstarch for its thickening abilities.  Refrigerate while continuing.
  8. If cauliflower is finished, begin buffalo sauce.  If not, take the pan out of the oven first!
  9. In a saucepan, combine remaining ingredients.  Whisk and allow to come to a slight boil.
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  10. Remove the pan from the oven if you haven’t already.  Add the cauliflower back into the bowl from earlier (or another, if you like doing dishes).  Pour in buffalo sauce and stir to coat.
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  11. Replace cauliflower into its single layer on baking sheet.  Put in the oven for approximately another 13 minutes (between 10–15, generally).
  12. Remove and enjoy with chilled ranch!
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Credit where credit is due:  

I adapted the meal from the following recipes:

Cauliflower & Basic dressing
Sauce
“Mayo” for said ranch (the first concoction on the page!)

Let me know if you try this and how it turns out, plus if you make any further adjustments!

WordPress Meet and Greet – All Bloggers Welcome

Check out some wonderful bloggers at Opinionated Man’s Meet & Greet!

HarsH ReaLiTy

Well this is the third post I have done like this so far and I have seen some great connections. I’ll keep doing these off and on and I think they provide a great way for “active bloggers” to network. This post now has over 2,000 active bloggers waiting to connect in it. I encourage anyone looking for new blogs to view or people to converse with to browse through the comment section and network.

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“Back in my own very small pond….”

“Back to the sun, back to the shore, back to what I was before…Back where I’m known, back in my own very small pond…. Laugh with my friends when I arrive, we’ll drop the top and just drive. That’s fine with me, just let me be Legally Blonde….”  –Legally Blonde; Legally Blonde the Musical

Finals are FINISHED.  I’m done with insanity sophomore year.  I’m with the family for a few weeks before my internship begins.

What does that mean?  I have something resembling free time!

Shocking, I know.

More importantly, I also have furry critters.  Cooper and Olaf and Keith and the fish missed me profusely, I can tell.

With that in mind, I should hopefully be back to blogging!  Anything you specifically want to see from TO&E?  Let me know!

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Image via fanpop.com