Monday, December 16, 2013

Two Things I Have Learned Through Online Shopping

Full disclosure:
I like to hold on to my money for as long as I can.
I also hate HATE paying full price for ANYTHING.

Since all my kids are now in a public school I have been working part-time.
Getting to (or wanting to) go shopping has been really low in my want to-do list.

Online shopping is now back on to things I love to do but now because of it's popularity many online stores or dot com stores are offering free shipping.
Recently I discovered 2 things:
           1. When you create a "favorite list" and check it a week later at least one                of the items will be on sale.
           2.  If you add things in a "shopping cart" a few days later they will email                you reminding you of your items AND they will offer a discount offer                like 10% or free shipping.

How awesome is that!

I had some items recently in a yarn shop and offered they offered me in an email 20% off PLUS free shipping!!!

Online shopping is so much more fulfilling and a little bit dangerous.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

5 Minutes

This morning I watched the sun rise from behind the mountain. 
It was lovely shade of orange against blue and gray skies.  It was humbling to watch that this morning.  
Sometimes we really need to press that pause button and take it all in.  
Today I realized I can take 5 minutes to just breathe and count my blessings.  
5 minutes of no movement.
5 minutes of not thinking about my next hustle.
5 minutes of not thinking about my next move.
5 minutes of phone silence. 
Emails, texts, social medias can wait.
I am reclaiming my 5 minutes of quietness.
My 5 minutes of just looking out my bedroom window and take in what God has put in front of me. 
Orange, blue and gray skies.

This is an old pic but just an idea of my view.  It's autumn so most of the leaves are gone.  Maybe after my 5 minutes of meditation I'll take a pic.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My New Addiction and New (to me) Grocery Store

For about a year I have been loving Daiya shredded cheese.  During my recent trip to Whole Foods I discovered their sliced cheese and pizza!
I did buy the sliced cheese to have with my veggie burger.
Two minutes before taking burger off the pan I added a slice of the Daiya cheese.
It melted and it was awesome!
I need to remember to take my phone into the kitchen more often to take pictures.
The burger was delicious!

I am a big fan of the library and more so with trying new vegan recipes with the cookbooks that I have found.  Right now Betty Goes Vegan is my newest find.  Beautifully written with a guide to vegan products, tips and tricks.
One brand it mentioned I've never heard of.
After googling it I find that there is a (new to me) vegan and organic grocery store a little over 2 miles away.  I can't wait to check them out and add them as my go to store for vegan products.

They have a way too easy guacamole recipe that I tried and my teen loves.

Dan's Guacamole
(serves 4-6)

2 large ripe avocados
2 tbsps lime juice
1 minced garlic clove
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp onion powder
1 diced jalapeno (I omitted this ingredient and it was not missed)
1 tsp hot sauce (I omitted this ingredient and it was not missed)
crushed pink Himalayan salt and crushed black peppercorns (sea salt and pepper was just fine)

mash your avos into a paste and mix in the rest of the ingredients.

My teen loves to use this as a spread for her sandwiches!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vacation time is over...

and we're back to school!
It's official.
All of my kids are out of the homeschooling years and into the public school years.  It's been great thus far.  Homeschooling have truly prepared them in their studies.  They have learned to work independently and look for the resources to help them with various projects.

We've had a wonderful summer driving cross country and visiting my mom in Florida.
The kids reacquaint with a few cousins and hang out with Abuela. We visited all Disney parks and even brought home some mosquito bites!

All in all, it has been the best vacation we ever had.

My only complaint is that I had a hard time finding vegan products in the area.
We had to take an almost 30 minute drive to the nearest Whole Foods to find tofu, nutritional yeast, and other vegan eats.

*My writing is a bit more rough than usual.  I guess I'm still in vacation mode. ;-)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back from vacation...

and have some yummy recipes and tips to come!
I am a work in progress.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vegan Sugar Cookies

All ingredients are vegan and can be found....

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp dry egg replacer plus 2 tbsp water
4 1/2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix sugars, butter and oil until creamy.
Mix flour, baking soda and cream of tartar in another bowl.
Stir into the sugar mixture until completely blended.  
Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes or until it hardens a bit.
Drop into a greased cookie sheet and flatten and bake for 12 minutes



Last day of School/First Unofficial Day of Summer!

After the stress of finals my teen done with school and started her summer vacation! My tween has another week but we're just tightening up some loose ends.

Yesterday we had a nice pool party with my kids and 9 of their friends.  It was so nice to finally put a voice to all the kids I have seen through my daughter's  Facebook personal page throughout this school.

Looking forward to so much more!

I know this a super duper short post but I have been super busy.  Soon enough I will have much more time dedicated to my own adventures.

So far I created my Facebook blog page.  It's pretty much a blank canvas but so much I have planned in writing and slowly will add more!  Please like/follow me here and on Facebook.  Thanks!

Hot Chica Cooks Vegan is on Facebook!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Last Day of School!!!

No more pencils.
No more books.
No more teacher's dirty looks.

Remember that rhyme?

My teen is probably singing this song with her friends and soon my tween will do as she goes on to 8th grade at our local middle school next school year.

Me?  I'm looking forward to days in Disneyland,  pool, road trips, beach days, sleeping in, movie marathons, visiting my Mami, family visits, and fun with friends. Maybe teach myself the art of crocheting and jewelry making.  I would love to check out any easy hiking trails here in California and in Florida.

It sounds like I want to do a lot but I want this summer to be one of the best and memorable summers.  Life is short and I'm tired of holding back because the kids would rather be at a very close distance to our home Wi-Fi.

Noon today is the beginning of our summer vacation, what will you be up to?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Writer

My teen has been writing since she was in Kindergarten.  Writing about the seasons started it all. I feel extremely blessed for the years homeschooling and being able to see her grow to such a talented young lady AND I'm very happy to introduce her latest poem featured on Teen Ink...

Our Love

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Vegan Dal

For the past month or so I have had to live without my laptop because of a wire issue but now it is back and running and I'm thrilled!
I didn't realize how much I relied on the laptop.  I could have used my desktop but I prefer to sit very comfortably on my sofa and not on a computer chair.

We are getting ready for our summer vacation and I cannot wait to get out of the humdrum life of a housewife.
A change of scenery is what I think I need.  I'm so bored right now.
I know food will be my biggest issue.  Hitting the road will not be the same as going into my pantry or refrigerator and preparing non-dairy and mostly vegan meals.  It's going to be my biggest challenge yet.  I'm not a salad person and so far that is a lot of what I see when I check out the menus at different fast food venues.  I love soup but most, if not all, soups are made with chicken stock.  Vegetable stock is just as good if not better than the chicken stock used in restaurant soups.  Going to a vegan restaurant is not an option either.  It's a little bit intimidating for the other family members although all meals prepared at home are meatless.

I guess I'll cross that bridge next month....

Today what I have brewing in the slow cooker is one of my favorite meals.  I love Indian food so much.
This recipe is taken from the Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.

What a Dal

2 tbsps olive oil
1 large yellow onion cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves peeled
1 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 15 oz can kidney beans drained and rinsed
3 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

I know it's a lot but stick with me.  It's so worth it and brings out the yumminess of this dish.

Pour the oil into a 4 qt slow cooker and set it on high.
In a food processor, puree the onion, garlic, and ginger and add it to the cooker.
Cover and cook for about 2 minutes while you get the rest of the ingredients together.
Stir in the all the spices with the vegetables for about 30 seconds.
Turn down the slow cooker from high to low and add the lentils, kidney beans, and water.
Cover and cook for 8 hours.
Before serving season with salt and pepper.  For a smoother texture (like you would get in an Indian restaurant) puree up to 2 cups of the finished product in a blender or food processor and stir back into the pot.
I'll be serving this over jasmine brown rice.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Cleaning and Saving Money

Lately I've been cutting back and trying to use more natural products.  Just when something we regularly use is almost done I scour the internet to read the latest on do it yourself and homemade remedies.  
Last month I made deodorant for my tween by filling up the empty deodorant stick container.  After spending about 30 minutes looking through all the ways you can do it, I used this:

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
4 tablespoons cornstarch
essential oils 
Essential oils is optional but to please my teen I used her favorite scent, rose.

Mix baking soda, cornstarch, and arrowroot powder in a bowl.
Add coconut oil and use a fork or pastry cutter to blend into the dry ingredients.
Add 5-10 drops of your chosen essential oil (I used tea tree oil).

It was enough to fill up her deodorant container and lots left over.  The rest I let it rest on wax paper inside a glass container (like the kind you use to pour your pudding).  
My husband tried it and liked it very much.

Today I ran out of Ajax so I used this:

1 tbsp baking soda  
1 tbsp borax
1 tbsp kosher salt  

Mix it up and shake it onto the counter.  

If you want something with a scent a really great idea is to boil some water and throw in some citrus peels.  I great idea I like to do is when the kids peel their citrus fruits I put it in a ziplock bag and throw in the freezer until I am ready to use.  Also another idea is to put some grow some herbs and other plants on your windowsill.  I had a tomato plant in the kitchen and just watering it made my kitchen smell so fresh.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sitting and thinking...

What I'm going to do today.  
Mentally, I'm at the Grand California Hotel in the Disneyland Resort in front of the fireplace that almost covers an entire wall with a good book.
I think that is a surefire sign that I'm in need of a break.  A break from everyday life and must-dos.  
 Time for me to stop daydreaming and get it together.  So much to do.  Thank God Spring Break for my other half begins Monday.  

But for now let me get reminisce.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Not Really Challenging At All

Today is the 16th day of my March challenge where I've been eating vegetable for EVERY meal.  
I've been feeling pretty good. 
My weight has gone down a teeny tiny bit.
It wasn't as hard as I thought.  
Breakfast was either tofu scramble with mushrooms, spinach, green onions, whatever bell peppers I had on hand or oatmeal with vegetables and fruit thrown together into the juicer.
Lunch and dinner I've put together veggies stir fried with leftover tofu scramble.  
I feel great and I don't find it as a challenge anymore.  

No recipes to blog today...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My 2nd March Challenge Day…

Was great! We went hiking on a trail in Altadena behind the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was a bit difficult going uphill and try to give bike riders room to go up and down a narrow trail but I'm so glad we did. My tween did not complain and I think she enjoyed it!
Again I did not do so well with my water intake but eating vegetables with every meal was a success. Spinach and roasted bell peppers in my sandwich for lunch and artichokes in my pasta for lunch. I didn't eat breakfast.

I know bad girl...

Friday, March 1, 2013

My March Challenge

This month I will be incorporating more veggies in all my meals and drinking more water.
So far I'm starting off to a great start. Simple breakfast of tofu scramble and assortment of vegetables from last night's dinner.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

I have been playing with the idea of making my own dishwashing detergent.  As prices get higher and money getting tighter I decided to do my research and figure out how to make my own using ingredients that are easy to find in my local supermarket.
Recently, I have become a huge fan of the Live Well Network but more specifically the show Deals.  The host just happened to be discussing with the Coupon Contessa how to make your own cleaners using 5 ingredients.
ONLY 5?!?!?!
Everything from laundry detergent to cleaning your counters.
This week I was specifically looking for DIY dishwasher detergent.  I was down to my last four tablets and decided to hit Smart and Final.  I found everything I needed except the washing soda.  Washing soda is apparently the most sought after product that is difficult to find.  I called Ralphs Supermarket and hoped I can just pick up a box on the way home from the gym.  The "manager" didn't know what I was talking about and after giving him the UPC number from the Arm and Hammer website, he said it was invalid and was a bit rude when he hung up.  I decided to go myself because how can they not have it, right?  After calling Arm and Hammer, turns out they did indeed have it.
Being a little pissed off for being treated with rudeness, I went to the store and found it as soon as I walked into the laundry aisle I found it right away next to the borax.  I did bring it to the attention of another manager and let her know the situation.
Last night I did stop in to Costco and although they had a larger container of baking soda but they did not have Borax, washing soda or bar a of laundry soap.
Last night I used the last tab of dishwasher detergent.  I am reusing the plastic container it came in and mixed 3 cups each of borax and baking soda.  Since I run the dishwasher about twice a day, it should last me a month.

Baked Potatoes Slow Cooker

Baked Potatoes

4 baking potatoes

wash your unpeeled potatoes
prick the potatoes with a fork and wrap individually in aluminum foil.
place the potatoes in a 4-6 quart slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Easy right?!?!?

Eat them how ever you want.  I just diced some onions, tomatoes, a little bit of lemon juice, as much cilantro as you want, salt and pepper.

Before serving, steam some veggies to tie it all together.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pending Next Chapter

My youngest has announced she will be joining the masses and going to the local middle school for 8th grade next August.  I am sad.  My youngest has never attended a brick and mortar school.  She has learned her ABCs and 123s at home since she was in diapers.  
Learned to read in the library with Dr. Seuss.  
Watched PBS with its endless educational programming.
Borrowed videos from the library and learned about Ancient Egypt and the science of roller coasters.
We have so many good memories and I'm sure we will make more good memories in the next chapter of her life.

This recipe will go great in a 4 quart size slow cooker.  Cooking time is 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.  It's very short and is great to prepare and have ready while watching a movie at home or out shopping. This recipe serves 4-6 and is great with steamed rice and cornbread.

Slow Cooker Ratatouille
(adapted from the Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson)

2 tbsps olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 diced yellow onion
1 seeded and cut into 1/2 inch diced red bell pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
2 zucchinis cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds (or go ahead and cut it and half and cut into half moon rounds)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with their juice 
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
3 tbsps pesto

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until softened for about 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant into the slow cooker.
Add the remaining oil to the same skillet over medium heat.
Add the onion, cover and cook until softened for about 5 minutes.
Add the onion to the slow cooker along with the bell pepper, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, and thyme.  
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook.
Just before serving, stir in the pesto......

Homemade vegan pesto
2 large peeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nutes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the garlic and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add the basil, salt, and pepper to taste and process until ground into a paste.
With the machine running, if you can, add the olive oil until well blended.

I added the whole batch in the slow cooker because I just love the stuff.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Own Grieving Process

My father passed away December 16, 2012. It was all very sudden. My father suffered a stroke over 15 years ago and with therapy and a host of medication, he was almost himself. The only way you knew something was wrong was in the way he walked His right side was paralyzed but with therapy he was able to walk with a cane and occasionally cooked and always cleaned.
I was on the next plane back to east to be by my mother's side. I stayed by mother's side until I flew back west.
That's when I began to grieve.
Last week I painted my nails.
Today I unlocked my hair.

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