Saturday, January 30, 2016

Vegan cosmetics review: Jen Joi Cosmetics

Jen Joi Cometics is a wonderful company I found on Etsy. Jennifer is the owner and she makes beautiful makeup that is all natural and mostly vegan. I think a few colors may not be vegan. I made sure that my choices were vegan. When I received my package, I was so surprised how big these samples are. Blushes and foundation samples are $4 and eyeshadow samples are $3. What a steal!

So this is what I got to try out. Morning Rose blush, Apricot and Peach blush, Olive 3 foundation shade, Queen Elizabeth eyeshadow and a free sample she included, Honey eyeshadow.

Beautiful pigments! And look how generous these samples are. The eyeshadows are packed into a 3 gram jar. I have no idea how many grams of blush/foundation are here but it's a lot.

Morning Rose blush is a beautiful red-pink blush, the color of pretty rose petals. It has some shimmer in it but if you use a light hand, it looks very natural.

Apricot and Peach blush is a kind of cinnamon neutral color. On my skin it's only slightly darker so it shows up on my face as very natural and slightly shimmery, kind of like a highlight or illumination powder.

Olive 3 foundation is offered as a neutral foundation for olive skin tones or deep beige skin tones. There are a lot of shades offered and I tried to pick the closest to what I wear now which is a medium tan neutral. Works great with my skintone. I used it this morning mixed a little into my moisturizer.

Queen Elizabeth gold eyeshadow is lovely, an antiqued gold with some grey and silver in it.

Honey shadow is wonderful. This works as a highlight powder for me too.

Morning Rose blush and Apricot and Peach blush swatched on my inner arm. Gorgeous colors.

And the eyeshadows swatched with bare skin on left, primer on the right. You'll notice the gold is darker on primed skin and the honey goes more ivory. Completely happy with my purchase. The quality is wonderful and the colors are very pigmented. If you are interested in trying mineral makeup but don't want to make too big of an investment, I suggest you take a look at this great little shop! JEN JOI COSMETICS

"Joe's Red Neck Chili", veganized.

Hey all! Was in the mood for a comforting chili this weekend after a horrendous Friday. I've had this funny little book called COWBOY CUISINE (Recipes From Around The World by Friends and Performers of Buffalo Bill's Wild West) for a while and I've been meaning to cook something from it even though it is VERY meat centric. I chose a chili recipe (there are several in the book) that is called "Joe's Red Neck Chili". "Joe" would ask you to use venison and beef but here I am using Gardein ground veggie crumbles which I think works great for a meaty texture.

Came out great! I made my own addition of pureeing red new mexico chilies that were dried and soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes. It really gave it a good flavor.

Served with hot flour tortillas and a dollop of Tofutti sour cream and a sprinkle of Trader Joe's mozzarella vegan cheese.

2 TB oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 (6 oz can) of tomato paste
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp sugar
1 TB lime juice
1 1/2 cups or so of gardein ground veggie crumbles (I eyeballed it.)
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1/2 bottle of mexican beer
1 cup water or more as needed

For chili mixture:
3-4 dried new mexico chilis
1 TB masa harina
Soak chilis in hot water for 15 minutes. Pluck chilis out and blend with a little bit of the soaking water until pureed. Pour out into a bowl and mix in 1 TB masa harina.

Heat oil in a pot and sautee onion, green pepper and celery until translucent. Add the rest of ingredients plus the chili mixture. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer, covered for an hour or so. Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, January 29, 2016

All The Foods!

Some food pics to get you hungry for the weekend!

Dinner a movie. A brand of fake chicken I found at Target. I think it was called Simply Balanced or something. The frozen chicken strips looked weird but once you cook it up and add the teriyaki sauce, it looked nice and tasted nice too!

Another dinner and a movie. BBQ Chicken sandwich made with Boca Chicken burger with bbq sauce and homemade coleslaw.

Good vegan snack or otherwise known as meal in a bag. I can eat this all in one go.

Delicious veggie burrito from Tacomiendo!

More vegan snacks that are too good to only have one.

Carla's Vegetarian sandwich at Bossa Nova without the goat cheese spread. Was delish.

Comforting mac n cheese made with leftover sausage gravy and Daiya.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Vegan cosmetics review: Shiro Cosmetics

Another vegan cosmetics review. I've been on a vegan makeup shopping spree kick these past few months so you'll have to bear with my posts about it! I am loving all the colors and fun packaging and themes. Check it out. This is another indie company, Shiro Cosmetics based out of Oregon run by a lovely lovely gal named Caitlin. More fandom, movie, tv show, pop culture themes makes these products so much fun to collect and use.

These are the items I got. 10 eyeshadows and a lip gloss. They also included 3 free samples in little baggies.

These are full size shadows in 5 gram jars which range from $5 to $6 each and include artwork on the lids. From L to R: Diggy Diggy Hole (brown with green duochrome shimmer), What's This Lever Do? (red-orange shimmer), Ziggy (marsala red/pink shimmer with blue sparkles), Krampus Schnapps (goldy yellow), Midnight (navy).

These are the "mini jars" which are $3.50 each. From L to R: A Free Elf (mustardy brown), If You've Got Enough Nerve (metallic copper), It's Mine, I Licked It (dark green shimmer with blue sparkles), Women's Weapons (dark red), Grow Home Douglas, You're Trunk (mustard/green).

And the funniest lip gloss theme ever: Nic Cage Nibbling Petit Fours in A Posh Victorian Tearoom. So funny! This one is a beautiful dusty rose color. There are other Nic Cage glosses! And I'm not even a fan of Nic Cage!

Swatches on my arm on top of bare skin on left and primer on the right. From top to bottom: Violence Solves Everything (sample), Women's Weapons, If You've Got Enough Nerve, What's This Lever Do?, Ziggy, Ha Ha Ha Ha (sample).

Top to bottom: Ziggy, Ha Ha Ha Ha, Krampus Schnapps, A Free Elf, Grow Home Douglas, You're Trunk, It's Mine, I Licked It, Diggy Diggy Hole.

Grow Home Douglas, It's Mine, I Licked It, Diggy Diggy Hole, Demaciaaah, Midnight.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vegan cruelty free cosmetics review: Brija Cosmetics

I know this is a food blog but being a vegan, there are other areas of my life that I have to watch out for animal products. It's impossible to avoid absolutely everything because animal by-products are used a lot in so many things. It's easier to go with what you can control. Cosmetics and beauty products are some of those things. I recently threw out a lot of my drugstore and name brand cosmetics because of the amount of really bad ingredients and animal products that were used to make them. I have been checking out indie cosmetic companies that use minerals to make their products. Brija Cosmetics is one of them. It is run by a lovely gal named Brianna who is a whiz at creating absolutely gorgeous eyeshadow, blush and lip colors that are inspired by fandoms and tv shows/films. I have purchased from Brija twice so far and I am very happy with my animal free and cruelty free options.

Counter-clockwise: Inheritance blush (Downton Abbey), Good Vibes only eyeshadow (free gift with purchase), Adhesive eye wax (used on your lids to make eyeshadow colors pop and stay on longer), Shouldn't Have Said That eyeshadow (Harry Potter/Hagrid), Are They Made from Real Girl Scouts eyeshadow (Wednesday Addams), Transfiguration eyeshadow (Harry Potter/Professor McGonnagall). The two baggies in the middle are samples of ESPN Highlight (highlight powder) and Page 394 eyeshadow (Harry Potter/Professor Snape).

 Beautiful colors and fun to play with. Inheritance blush is a magenta purple blush with orange and red undertones. Transfiguration eyeshadow is a taupey grey with shimmer. Shouldn't Have Said That is a brown mossy green shimmer. Are They Made From Real Girls Scouts?  is a beautiful purpley brown with lots of shimmer.

Swatched on my arm: L to R: Good Vibes Only (pale pink shimmer with a light violet duochrome), Transfiguration (shimmery taupe), Shouldn't Have Said That (greenish brown) Are They Made From Real Girl Scouts? (Purply brown shimmer).

Love the packaging and artwork.

Swatches L to R: Zelena, Mulled Wine, Tired of the Same Old Thing, The Boy Who Lived. Brija Cosmetics

Monday, January 25, 2016

A few foods I ate recently...

Gardein mandarin chicken with asian coleslaw, rice and broccoli.

Another junk food cake made with Duncan Hines white cake mix, coconut cream flavored jello pudding mix and cashew milk. Served with Coco Whip.

Pizza made with Trader Joe's dough and vegan mozzarella cheese plus some cheddar Follow Your Heart sprinkled in there. Was delicious!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bowie Pie & Crack Cookies (with recipes).

Last weekend was glorious. It was David Bowie's birthday weekend. We celebrated by listening to his albums, watched Ziggy Stardust the film and on Sunday January 10th, the new album BLACKSTAR was delivered to my doorstep. Little did I know the same night I was listening to this beautifully dark and complex album, David Bowie would die. I woke up the next morning with no knowledge as I was offline all night and had gone straight to bed. My husband came to me while I was getting ready for work: "Did you hear about Bowie?" I was confused: "No, what about him?" "He died. Last night." I was in disbelief. I stopped putting on my makeup and ran to my room to grab my phone to confirm it for myself. Sure enough, it was true. I looked at my husband with tears streaming down my face. "Oh my god."

"In our madness we burnt one hundred days. Time takes time to pass. And I still hold some ashes to me. An Occasional Dream..."

It was a very emotional week for me. One of our brightest stars is gone. It feels like an end of an era. I'm a big music fan and I am an artist/musician myself so it was a lot to accept. These artists give us so much to hope for, to believe in. Their deaths are more profound somehow. My husband said: "That's life." I know this but how very sad and tragic. Here we were celebrating his life, excited about his new music, his new direction. In the next second, we were mourning his death. He's gone forever. I think of all my other idols. They too will be gone one day. It's just that we are never ready for them to go.

So this weekend, I'm thinking of David and playing his music and spending time with myself. David's favorite dish is Shepherd's Pie so I thought it would be a good dish to make today. And I needed to have some sugar too so I baked some cookies which are called "Crack Cookies". I got the idea from my friend Hope who gave me the recipe that I adapted to make it vegan. They are basically chocolate chip cookies with added oats, coconut and shaved chocolate. What's not to love?

On to the food.

"Bowie Pie". A lentil, vegetable pie with tomato base and a fluffy and crisp mashed potato topping.

Bowie Lentil Pie

1 cup brown lentils
3 TB olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced (or you can sub celery)
1 container of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 to 3/4 cup veggie broth
splash of white wine
3 TB tomato paste
1 TB HP Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tsp dried herbs (I used a poultry herb blend)
2 TB tamari or Braggs
For Mashed potato:
7-8 peeled potatoes boiled until tender
1/2 cup soymilk
2 TB margarine

Preheat oven at 350F.

Cook lentils in a pot of water until tender. Drain and set aside. Boil potatoes for the mash. Heat olive oil in a different pot and saute onions, garlic, carrot, pepper, celery until semi-tender. Add mushrooms and saute for a while to sweat them out. Add the cooked lentils, stewed tomatoes, 1/2 cup broth, wine, tomato paste, HP sauce, salt, pepper, herbs and tamari. Cook on medium to allow all vegetables to cook through and reduce liquid a bit. If it dries out, add a little more broth. Total simmer time should be around 10-15 minutes or so. Longer is fine. Keep it on simmer. Mash the potatoes with soymilk and margarine. Season with salt.
Prepare a baking dish sprayed with oil. Pour the lentil filling into the dish and top with the mashed potatoes. Use a fork to drag lines across the top of the potatoes. This will make the topping crisp up in the oven. Bake for 1 hour at 350F.

Turntable is in full force today.

I adapted my friend Hope's "Crack" cookie recipe by using the "Toll House" recipe from last week as a guide and making little tweaks. They came out really good! They are slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with yummy things inside!

"Crack" Cookies, Vegan Style

In a small bowl stir together:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups quick oatmeal

In a larger bowl cream together:
1/2 cup margarine (Earth Balance), softened
1/2 cup shortening, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla

Then add 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce and stir.

Add in the flour mixture little by little and stir as you go to incorporate all ingredients.
Add 12 oz. chocolate chips
Add 1 cup shredded coconut
Add 1/4 of a bar of grated chocolate (I used 70% dark). Grate the chocolate right into the bowl. (EDIT: USE A FULL BAR OF CHOCOLATE! IT WILL TASTE BETTER!)
Stir together all ingredients and drop by the Tablespoon onto parchment papered cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 F or until golden brown. Remove cookie sheet from oven and slap it down on the counter. This will flatten cookie a bit. Let stand for a few minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Vegan Toll House!

Made an old classic last night. I am always looking for a good vegan chocolate chip cookie and there are many good ones out there but I couldn't resist to try this one. The recipe is here. My husband absolutely loved the original Toll House so I asked him his opinion. He said they were the best vegan cookies I've made so far. Not bad! I think they taste great, especially out of the oven. Next time though, I may cut down the salt to half the amount. You must try these.