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My first visit to Trader Joe’s

In my previous post, I mentioned that a Trader Joe’s store has finally come to Kentucky!

Well, there was no way I was going on opening day or even the weekend because I knew it would be crazy busy. I went today around 4:00 and while the parking lot was crowded and there were plenty of people in the store, it was easy to get around and I didn’t have to wait in line but for a few minutes to check out. I went up and down every aisle and was there less than an hour. Score!

So what did I get?

  • Diet root beer (6-pack)
  • Roasted veggie no cheese pizza
  • Strawberry and peach soy yogurt
  • Non dairy creamer (for Josh)
  • Edamame with red chile and garlic (so excited to try this!)
  • Frozen veg panang curry with rice
  • Chipotle pepper hummus
  • Tempeh
  • Veg soy chorizo
  • Masala veggie burgers (4-pack)
  • Twin pack of sprouted tofu

Now for the really shocking part. How much did all of this cost me? I would have expected much more than $26!!!

Granted, I only got stuff for me this time and didn’t happen to need any produce but I still can’t imagine ever spending more than $50 here in a single trip. I would bet that the same stuff above at Whole Foods or another grocery store would have run me more like $40. I was happy.

A couple of things worth noting: the roasted vegetable pizza was the most expensive thing on my receipt at $4.29. The Amy’s roasted veggie pizza I usually buy which is almost identical is $6.49 and that’s at Kroger where it seems to be the cheapest. On the down side, I didn’t realize it until I got home and drank one that the Hansen’s diet soda contains Splenda. Stevia is the only “artificial” sweetener I like to use but I guess even that has some drawbacks. Still, I won’t buy those diet root beers again.

I wasn’t going to but since I was already there, I decided I might as well stop into the wine shop and see what was up. It was really small but they had a great selection, many “Available only at Trader Joe’s” wines and while they did have an expensive section, most were well under $10. I decided it was time I met this Chuck guy everyone talks about.

I got the two above bottles plus a nifty little Trader Joe’s wine carrying bag for $7. Yep, I guess that’s why they call it Two Buck Chuck. I tried half a glass of Shiraz tonight and it was just as tasty as one I would have paid a lot more than $2.99 for. I foresee some Christmas presents coming ;)

A lot of my friend’s don’t get the hype over TJ’s and think the last thing Louisville needs is another grocery store and another store on Shelbyville Road at that — the place is already known for horrific traffic at certain times of the day. Also, a few friends were turned off by the packaging of produce — many items are already placed in plastic containers or bags. I can see their point, but at the same time, having exactly 1 lb of organic grapes in a container seems like a time and cost-saver to me.

I found a couple of articles about the store to be really interesting. First, The Best and Worst Products at Trader Joe’s  — I need to go back for the falafel and veggie burritos, definitely! Another, a local article entitled Seven Things That Make Trader Joe’s Different, pointed out some things about this store I can really appreciate. No sales, no coupons. You will always know how much everything costs and how much you would spend. I can dig that.

What do you think? Do you have a Trader Joe’s in your area? What do you like/dislike about it?

Pizza e Vino

Confession: I went through a period where I HATED pizza!

It’s one of my husband’s favorite foods but it always left me feeling bloated and miserable, thanks to what I later learned was my intolerance for dairy and my general dislike of the way my body chooses to digest meat.

Thankfully, when I decided to go vegan, I started to love pizza for probably the first time in my life since I felt good eating it!

I swapped out heavy meats for fresh veggies, greasy crusts for pitas, and when I’m in the mood for it, vegan cheese:

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Chicago Soy Dairy company sent me this sample to try out and I decided to use it to make homemade pizza! Sometimes I go completely cheese-less but every now and then “teese” sounds really good :)

I topped a pita with pizza sauce, diced red onion, mushrooms, and grated vegan mozzarella cheese. This is what it looked like before going in to the oven:

009While it was cooking in the oven (425* for 15 minutes) I enjoyed some Romaine salad with Goddess dressing and a glass of wine that I picked up at World Market this weekend.

010I haven’t been drinking much Chardonnay lately because I developed a preference for Pinot Grigio, but this one was fantastic. Plus, I love the name and the label, I’m totally lame like that ;-)

Random question: do you find that you prefer white wines in the summertime and reds in the winter? I think it’s a hot/cold weather thing for me.

When the pizza was done it smelled delicious!

012The cheese didn’t melt all the way but I was hungry and it was good enough for me to go ahead and eat it. I love how pita gets nice and crunchy, just the way I like my crust to be!

011Honestly, the CSD vegan mozzarella cheese was okay. It mostly melted and it tasted pretty good.

But it wasn’t as cheesy as Daiya, which melts a lot better and has a much more cheese-like taste and texture. But I would definitely call this one a close second.

Thanks Chicago Soy Dairy for the sample, I look forward to using it on a few more pizzas in the next couple of weeks!

How do you feel about pizza? What is your favorite topping?

No coffee

I started off the morning with a green monster!

001 This one contained: 1 cup Silk almond milk (vanilla), 1/2 frozen banana, 1/4 cup frozen cherries, and a few handfuls of spinach.

002I also had a leftover pumpkin pancake with almond butter & syrup!

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Mid morning I had two cups of tea and some nuts, which I almost forgot to take a picture of!

004I mentioned on the blog earlier that I was hoping to cut back on coffee this week. Well, I have had NONE today so I guess that is progress?

I did have three cups of herbal tea and it was nice. I had no desire to drink coffee today and if I had done so, it would’ve just been out of habit, which is not how I want things to be.

I want to drink coffee when I really want it and not when I don’t.

For lunch, I tried a new frozen meal that I found at Meijer over the weekend.

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Moo Moo’s “specializes in unique, healthy, flavorful vegetarian and vegan cuisine, providing the health conscious consumer unprocessed, well-balanced, palate-pleasing creations.”

The roasted cashew stir fry was pretty tasty! I will have to try some of their other meals soon. They aren’t cheap so it will be a once in a while kind of thing!

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I also had an orange :)

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Later in the afternoon, I had some more tea and yogurt with granola.

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I loved this blueberry yogurt! Gosh, I wish it wasn’t so high in sugar. I could eat it every day otherwise.

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For dinner, I decided to get a little creative with my tofu. I was inspired by Mama Pea’s slow cooker BBQ tofu dish she made recently.

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I didn’t end up using the slow cooker, but I did go the BBQ route! I pressed my tofu and then put it in a baking dish and drizzled this hot stuff on top!

011 The tofu came out pretty good, but that sauce was not lying. It was HOT!

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With the fire in my mouth tofu, I had some pita, a sweet potato with Smart Balance and cinnamon and some steamed broccoli with Smart Balance too.

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I let my dinner settle for about an hour before I headed out for a 3 mile run! There were a few moments where the only thing that kept me going was repeating to myself: wine and strawberries, wine and strawberries…

014After some stretching and a nice hot shower, that is exactly what I had, plus some DCD ;-)

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Time to watch “24” with the hubby! I haven’t been too thrilled with it this season but it’s quality time with the man.

Good night!

Snacky Sunday

Yesterday morning, I had a special breakfast planned which is becoming a weekend tradition…pancakes!


This time I used my Hodgson Mill Buckwheat pancake mix and added almond milk, applesauce, pumpkin and a little agave nectar to the mix. I love knowing exactly what my pancakes are made of, don’t you?

Topped with Dark Chocolate Dreams & syrup, plus some blackberries on the side.

At church, I got a little hungry, so I snacked on some raisins.

But then during service, I got HANGRY so I broke into a Clif bar that was in my purse for emergencies (and to use it up since I’m sticking to less processed foods from now on). I ate half.

For lunch, we all went to Penn Station because my parents have only been there one time. Such a shame! Haha. Penn Station is another one of those great places for Josh and I to go together because we can both get something we want and not compromise our personal dietary preferences. I forgot to snap a pic so here is a recycled one from November (note: I didn’t eat fries this time).

The sandwich I had yesterday looked way better than that one, haha. I got the grilled artichoke sub (no cheese, no mayo) and added mushrooms, lettuce and brown mustard. Since I had snacked so much during church, I skipped the fries and chips. I didn’t need them anyway! 

After lunch, I ate the other half of my Clif bar for dessert ;-)

I took Suzie to run around the dog park for a bit (she loves it), then headed to Mom’s. I tried to eat this orange while I was there but it was old, so I threw it away!


Dinner was another smorgasbord of multiple leftovers but still quite delicious!

Organic pinto beans on top of leftover couscous, pita with hummus, mixed vegetables. I ended up having another half of pita with hummus because I didn’t feel full yet.

Then I had a spoonful of Dark Chocolate Dreams before I went grocery shopping. Can’t go to the grocery store hungry at all! Too dangerous.

When I got home from all that, I was so tired from everything I’d done over the course of the day. So I sat down with a glass of wine and my favorite dessert :)

‘Twas a lovely Sunday. I snacked a bit more than normal but I was hungry and I’m trying to listen to that more than the voices in my head, haha.

How was your weekend?

Sunny Saturday

I was up bright and early this morning to be a patient for my friend who was taking her dental board exams. She is awesome so I know she will do great ;)

I started my morning off with oats!

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This bowl contained 1/2 cup oats (cooked with 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/4 cup water), 1 tbsp flax, a banana and almond butter.

By the time I got done with my dental work, it was lunch time, so I stopped somewhere on the way home!

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By us, the Jimmy John’s and Starbucks are attached to each other, so I couldn’t resist.

I tried the iced dark cherry mocha with soy milk. It was like a dessert!

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My sandwich from Jimmy John’s was a #6 (vegetarian) with no cheese or mayo. I love the avocado spread on here :)

008   Then for something sweet, I had a juicy orange to finish out the meal :)

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Once my lunch had digested well, I went for a 4 mile run in the beautiful sunshine. Then I took Suzie to the dog park and snacked on this bar on the way there.

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I did not love this one, it was left over well before I gave up bars for Lent. But it held me over until I ate dinner!

I had quite the smorgasbord. Organic pinto beans, leftover mashed sweet potato with cinnamon and Smart Balance Light, leftover cornbread, leftover asparagus…

012And finally, leftover couscous (1/2 cup). Everything hit the spot!

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I also had the rest of my wine from the other night.

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What a great meal!

015I’m taking the rest of my chocolate from last night and some tea bags to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the UFC pay per view with Josh tonight.

It’s been such a great day. I feel truly blessed to have so many things in my life that I enjoy!

Hope today has treated you well too ;-)

See you tomorrow!

Such a relief

I went to the gym after work yesterday and by the time I got home, I was hungry, plus I knew dinner would be pretty light. So I snacked on some nuts.

001

I met some friends for dinner at Tumbleweed. I managed to avoid the chip bowl until right before dinner got there. I have a serious tortilla chip problem but I’m glad to say I only had a few, with some really great salsa!

For my dinner, I just got a house salad (minus the cheese) with fat free Italian and a plain baked sweet potato.

IMG00098-20100408-1928IMG00099-20100408-1928

Looks boring, but both were actually pretty tasty, especially the sweet potato. I was going to dip it in ketchup but it was just fine by itself :)

When I got home a few hours later, I was hungry again so I decided to have my favorite dessert that I hadn’t had in a while (plus some red vino).

003  I ended up having a second one!

002

It was a good night and it felt nice to know that I ate pretty healthy all day long and didn’t worry about NOT adding up the calories I ate.

This morning, I saw this article which talked about how calorie restriction can not only stress you out but can actually contribute to weight gain. Interesting!

Can I just say how much I am enjoying blogging my eats again? I know I go back and forth with it, like many other things, but I’m liking it right now.

It takes time, effort and sometimes “fitting it in” at the end of a long day but I really feel a sense of purpose in doing it and I get enjoyment from it. So that’s all that really matters ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

My first frittata

For girl’s night potluck this week, I had the main course. I wanted to try a new recipe and I was definitely feeling like a breakfast dish.

Only this time, instead of baked oatmeal, I was feeling more like something savory. I decided to bust out my copy of Vegan Planet and make a frittata!

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I was shocked at how easy this was to make. I decided to use vegetables I already had on hand and thanks to Lindsay, I learned I could substitute corn starch for arrowroot.

In the mix: asparagus, red onion, red and green peppers.

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I was a little unsure about using tofu in a dish like this. I wasn’t sure how it would look or taste.

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When I poured the mixture on top of the veggies, I was getting nervous.

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But when it came out of the oven, it sort of looked like eggs and the consistency was quite similar.

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The only problem was the veggies sort of “fell out” so it got a little messy ;-)

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But I have to say, it tasted pretty good. It didn’t taste like eggs, more like baked tofu, but I liked it!

And because the ingredients were so simple and fresh, the calories were pretty low in this dish.

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For dessert, I had some strawberries that were pretty good. I’m so looking forward to Spring and Summer fruits.

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We also enjoyed a bottle of Beringer Pinot Grigio.

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I had a glass with some bread that arrived later (this Meijer fresh baked bread is vegan and totally delicious).

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I also had a cup of Plantation Mint and another piece of bread (and another that went unpictured)!

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Everything was so good and I was really pleased with how my first “frittata” turned out.

I do think I will try it again and I’m also ready to tackle a tofu scramble that sounds really good :)

What dish have you made that you were unsure about, but it turned out good?

New phone!

Hey guys, it’s official…I finally got a new phone :)

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On the left is my old slide phone with absolutely nothing to it except making phone calls and text messaging (which didn’t know half the words of the English language) and liked to turn itself off randomly.

On the right is my new Blackberry, woo hoo!

It was so worth waiting for. I can do so much more with this new phone, plus it’s my favorite color ;-)

Anyway, let’s talk about food, shall we?

I had another Breakfast and Dinner day as far as pictures go.

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Pumpkin oats :)

Somehow snacks and lunch escaped. But that’s okay. For those of you interested in my fitness program, I had an awesome run yesterday too.

If it’s Wednesday, there must be wine!

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I could not find Cycles Gladiator on my nifty vegan alcohol website, but honestly, I did not care for it too much so I likely wouldn’t buy it myself.

It just didn’t have much flavor. Plus I’m more of a red girl.

For dinner, Margie made this DELICIOUS veggie soup which I am very proud to say she got the recipe from one of my favorite vegan blogs Cooking for a Vegan Lover!

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Croissants on the side, a la Aleta!

For dessert, we had the awesome vegan brownies.

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Another awesome girls night.

I have the main dish next week, so I’m going to have to start looking at recipes!

Do you have a regular girl’s night?

I highly recommend them ;-)

Ladies and the ’80s

Last night, our regular Wednesday girl’s night took a road trip :)

Our mission : to find some awesome ’80s attire and accessories to wear for my friend Courtney’s 30th birthday party on Saturday! I’d say we were pretty successful in our quest. I can’t wait for the party and to post pictures of it afterwards!

When we finally got back it was late for dinner, so I had to break my 9:00 rule. Hey, rules are meant to be broken once in a while, right?

While dinner was heating up, I enjoyed a class of Ravens Wood Zinfandel, my very first one!

I really liked it. Usually I prefer red wines that aren’t quite this dry but it still had a really good taste. Unfortunately, here again I found another brand that is not vegan friendly. I had no idea that so many animal products were used in making wine, did you all? I’m going to print out a list of the ones that ARE, I’m sure it’s rather short in comparison, but maybe not.

Dinner was taco soup (yum), bread and some tortilla chips too (not pictured).


Confession : I am still struggling with getting some of these last remaining non-vegan products out of my life (such as the wine and bread above). I guess since I started this whole thing for health reasons, I didn’t see the need to be so strict. But as I am learning more and really experiencing began vegan, my health is improving and my heart is changing so I am feeling more inclined to get rid of everything containing animal products. But it’s been a process as you’ve seen. I’m not perfect by any means, nor do I think I ever will be. But I’m trying my best!

Why is there egg in my wine?

On Wednesday night, I got to try two more new wines. The first was Armento, an Italian white wine made of organically grown grapes.

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This was much drier than white wines I am used to and that is a good thing, I don’t like the ones that are too sweet.

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I checked the handy Barnivore site, but it wasn’t listed. In fact, I couldn’t even find a real website for it!

The second one I tried was this lovely shiraz from Jacob’s Creek.

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This was so good, I am totally a red wine girl to the core.

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Unfortunately, according to the site, this might contain skim milk powder or egg white! Apparently they use it to “remove excess aggressive tannins and astringency.”

I just don’t get why there might be egg in my wine :( It really makes me worry about people who have allergies too, but I’m sure they realize all the places dairy and egg can sneak in, I hope.

This is why I keep trying new wines…eventually I’m going to find a really great, vegan-friendly choice (like Yellow Tail shiraz, which I loved before going vegan).

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