DDD #85 – Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and My 1st Anniversary on Youtube – A One Year Retrospective!!



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I did it! My channel is officially one year old! In this episode you will see how I make my grilled portobello mushrooms and, more importantly, get a look back at a year’s worth of rants (and there ARE some rants!), bloopers, blunders, boobs & f bombs.  I hope you laugh!  Thank you for your support this year. This channel would suck for me if nobody watched. And – PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!  Click the image below to watch.

Portobello mushrooms are a great meat substitute.  You can eat them hot or room temperature – in a salad or on a bun.  I sliced mine up & tossed them with the extra marinade & some heirloom cherry tomatoes, arugula & a few scallions.  It was like a vegan steak salad!  Mmmmmm!

Marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

serves 4


4 large portobello mushrooms

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup nice balsamic vinegar

1 TBS sambal oelek or sriracha

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

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Cut the stems from the mushrooms & scrape the fine ribs from the bottom – as they can get bitter.

Mix the marinade ingredients & toss the mushrooms in it & let them sit at least an hour.

Heat your grill or dry grill pan until it is very hot.  The mushrooms should sizzle upon contact.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve whole or sliced – any way you prefer.  You can drizzle the extra marinade on them – if you like.  Eat’m up!

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DDD #40 – 24-Hour Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

Click the image below to watch the video.

I have always wanted to try my hand at making pickles.  Sometimes I see pickling cucumbers, buy them & then watch them rot as I keep forgetting to buy mason jars.  Or – I Google recipes & get intimidated by the canning procedure.  Or both.  I recently saw these cutie little cocktail cucumbers at Costco & couldn’t resist the urge – again – to attempt making pickles.  I had no idea if they would lend themselves well to the process but the money investment was small so I went for it.  I then Googled a bunch of different recipes & by tweaking a few – I came up with this RIDICULOUSLY easy pickle recipe.  I had two old pickle jars in my cabinet & I used them – not mason jars.  These took 24 hours in the fridge – just sitting there – and they were pickles!  Really tasty, crunchy pickles!!!!!    I recommend this recipe VERY highly – both or its ease & for the novelty of making your own Goddamn pickles overnight.  I suspect any cucumbers would work.  These guys (cocktail cucumbers) were pretty small & quartered into very slim little spears.  If you use full-sized cucumbers – maybe slice them into discs rather than spears.  And any old seal-able jar will work.  And by seal-able – I really just mean with a screw top.  The fact – you could make these in ANY container – Tupperware – even a bowl.  So – go get some cucumbers and give this one a go!



Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles


1.5 lbs cucumbers (I used cocktail cucumbers – but you can try any variety you find available) – cut into spears or 1/4″ chips.

8 garlic cloves – 4 quartered, 4 left whole (less if you do not LOVE garlic)

8-16 sprigs fresh dill

2 TBS coriander SEEDS (not ground)

2 TBS sea (or Kosher) salt

2 TBS sugar

1 1/3 cups white vinegar


Jars for containing the pickles



NOTE – these are very garlicky!!!  If you don’t LOVE garlic – cut the garlic back a lot.

In a sauce pan – heat the vinegar & add the salt, sugar & coriander seeds.  Heat, stirring, just until both the sugar & salt dissolve.  Try to get this done before the vinegar gets hot.  If it gets very hot – let it cool before pouring over your cucumbers.

Put your cucumbers in the pickling container (a mason jar, old pickle jar – or other container with a water-tight lid) – with the garlic & the fresh dill.  Pour the vinegar mix over the cucumbers.  Add water to fill the container to the top.  Seal the container & chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Try one.  ENJOY!

These should last in your fridge (in a sealed container) for up to one month.



Video Vegan # 7 – Vegan Gyro (with Homemade Seitan) & Tzatziki Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.



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I am reposting this recipe from June 2013 because I have a new VideoVegan recipe to go with it.  Here it is.

I have been very excited lately with a bunch of vegan recipes using store-bought vegan meat products.  Despite success with them, I have been intimidated by anything requiring homemade seitan or “nutritional yeast flakes.”  Well, mommy grew a pair this weekend & went to the fucking health food store & bought the Goddamned nutritional yeast & some of this stuff:


Here is what Bob’s Red Mill has to say about nutritional yeast (which isn’t YEAST):

“Nutritional yeast is grown on enriched purified cane and beet molasses under carefully controlled conditions. T6635, with the addition of vitamin B12, is an ideal vegetarian support formula and has an appealing cheese flavor. It can be sprinkled over popcorn or salads, added to juice, cereal, smoothies, gravies, soups or casseroles, or used to make sandwich spreads.”

Here is what Wellness Today has to say about nutritional yeast:

Why is it so good for you?

Nutritional yeast is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, it’s one of the best non-animal sources of folic acid and vitamin B-12.  The yellow color of the flakes is a result of their large amount of vitamin B – ½ tbsp. fulfills your entire daily vitamin B needs. In addition to B-12, nutritional yeast is high in 15 different minerals and 18 amino acids. Talk about a super food!

The yeast itself is grown on beets and dehydrated, so don’t let the word “yeast” scare you away. Since it is plant derived and dried out, it’s free of the harmful candida that can wreck havoc on your digestive system. Think of it as the kind of yeast your body will love!

Who can benefit from it?

The easy answer is vegans since nutritional yeast is such a good source of the vitamins and minerals usually found in animal meat and dairy products like cheese and milk. If you are as carnivorous as they come, I encourage you to still give nutritional yeast a try. It’s a great way to reap the benefits of meat without having to eat it everyday. Chances are your body and your wallet will thank you!

What can I use it for?

My good friend Shannon, who happens to be my healthy living guru, is notorious for her love of nutritional yeast. So her answer to this question would be – anything and everything! Nutritional yeast actually doesn’t have a really strong flavor, but it is slightly salty and reminiscent of Parmesan cheese. It packs a great punch of umami, meaning it brings all other flavors in the dish together in delicious harmony. My favorite way to use nutritional yeast is sprinkling it on popcorn for a guilt-free snack:



See those ribs above?  NOT MEAT!  They were made from vital wheat gluten (sans nutritional yeast)!   The recipe is HERE.

Wowed by my own success with those (and with how easy they were), I decided to try a Greek gyro sandwich – typically made with lamb.  The gyro was just as easy if not a total show-stopper.  I mean, those ribs set the bar pretty high – so do not think the gyro was a failure – because it wasn’t.  It was awesome!  And I have lots of leftover “spiced lamb” to experiment with over the next few days.



So – once you have the vital wheat gluten & nutritional yeast (and the tahini) in hand – the rest of the ingredients are pretty run of the mill.  This will make a little loaf in a loaf pan (4×8?) – that is about an inch thick.  Enough for 5-6 gyros – or for several recipes.  Stay tuned!



My tzatziki recipe I used can be found HERE and I used some of the toum (garlic paste), too.



Vegan Gyro


Pita or naan

Tzatziki sauce (optional)

Garlic paste (optional)

Garnish options: lemon or lime wedge, sliced onion, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce and maybe a quinoa tabbouleh salad – as seen above!

for the seitan

1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

4 TBS nutritional yeast

1/4 onion – minced

1 clove garlic – minced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dry basil

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp black pepper

2 DROPS (like tears drops – because this shit gets overpowering FAST) liquid smoke (optional)

1 TBS tahini

2 TBS ketchup

3/4 cup water (or more if necessary)



for the seitan

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, I pulsed the onion, garlic, tahini, ketchup, nutritional yeast flakes, liquid smoke, water & dry spices together but you could do this in a large bowl.

Or – mix all the wet ingredients (onion, garlic, liquid smoke, water, ketchup, tahini) in one bowl & the dry (wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, basil, oregano & pepper) in another & combine them.  It comes together fast & looks like raw hamburger – if hamburger was doughy.



Grease a loaf pan & press this shit in there, COVER IT WITH FOIL & bake it for about an hour.  Or just kinda shape it on some foil, wrap it up & bake it.



for the gyro

When you are ready to make the sandwich, slice off some seitan & fry it up until warmed through.

Grab your wrapping device (Pita or naan, silly!  I didn’t say RAPPING device you crazy-eyed MC’s out there!) – and layer the things on it you choose – like garlic paste, seitan, onion, lettuce, tomato & tzatziki.  Squeeze a lemon on there if you are feeling all summer fresh!   Then get your grub on – all vegan-style & shit!




Super Easy Spicy Vegan Orange Chicken

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.



In case you haven’t heard – I wrote a HILARIOUS novel!!!  Read all about it HERE.


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I am reposting this recipe from November 2013 because I have a VideoVegan recipe to go with it now.  Here it is.

I am not vegan but these Trader Joe’s faux meats are so inspiring to me!  (UPDATE – Beyond Meat vegan chicken is even better!) I mean, if you CAN eat vegan easily & deliciously, why wouldn’t you?  It isn’t like you can’t just go eat a burger or sushi tomorrow.  In fact, a carnivorous friend of mine is on that VB6 (Vegan Before Six) diet and dropped thirty pounds effortlessly.  Who among us wouldn’t like to a lose a few pounds while still feeling like the meals have been decadent?

Anyway – as I  said before, I am not typically a fan of seitan or tempeh or the other faux meats out there unless they are used sparingly & in busy dishes like vegetarian chili or pasta with a meat sauce.  One exception is soyrizo – which tastes pretty great but is very specific & can be overpowering.

However, my recent efforts with this brand of fake beef resulted in two of my new favorite meals – the Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon and  the Mongolian Beef – seen below respectively.

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This Spicy Vegan Orange Chicken takes about twenty minutes & is better than take-out.  You might serve it with steamed broccoli or garlicky green beans and maybe use another variety of rice or quinoa.  But try it because it is an easy, guiltless, guilty pleasure.  Or – use real chicken – if you are a sissy.

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Super Easy Spicy Vegan Orange Chicken

serves 4


Rice (optional) – I bought mine already cooked at the local Thai restaurant

2 (8 oz) packages vegan chicken strips (or similar quantity of real chicken strips)

2 TBS cornstarch

2-3 TBS olive oil

Zest & juice of two oranges

2 TBS minced ginger

8 garlic cloves – minced

1 cup soy sauce

1-2 TBS crushed red pepper (or to taste)

3/4 cup brown sugar (or more, to taste, if you like it on the sweet side)

Scallions as garnish

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If you are not cheating like I did (by buying cooked rice at a take-out joynt) – get your rice cooking.  The rest should be done even before the rice is.

Zest & juice the oranges & set those aside.

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Coat the chicken in cornstarch.  Add the olive oil to a large saute pan & fry the chicken (vegan or otherwise) until it is browned on the outside.  If using real chicken, be sure it is cooked through.

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Remove the meat & set aside.  If the pan requires it, add a bit more olive oil.  Add the crushed red pepper, ginger, garlic & orange zest & stir for 30 seconds or so.  Add the soy sauce.  Measure the orange juice.  If you have less than one cup – top it off to bring it up to a cup with water.  Add that to the pan.  Add the sugar & bring to a boil over high heat.  If it doesn’t thicken very quickly (less than 5 minutes), simply take 1 tsp cornstarch & 1/4 cup water & blend them together & add to the sauce.  It should thicken (at a boil) almost immediately.  Lower to medium heat & add the chicken.  If the sauce is too thick, add water.  If it is still too thin, cook until it thickens.  Serve with rice & sliced scallions as garnish – and with whatever veggie you prepared.  I went purist & just ate this like you see with no veggie.  It made for a pretty dense meal so I really suggest adding steamed broccoli, at least.  Enjoy!

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Clean Cooking & a 21-day Arbonne Healthy Eating Detox – Vegan or Vegetarian Style

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.






A bunch of my friends are doing the 28-day Arbonne detox.   Click that link to go to their site & get a pretty thorough overview of the program.  My friends all bought the whole program & committed to a 28 day cleanse.  I was out of town for the first week, working, so – I started a week late.  They all bought the products that assist in the detox – I did not (though I caved & bought the 7-day Cleanse).  Other products they include are a protein shake & detox tea & some other things.  Frankly, the price tag was a little out of my reach plus – I do not buy into the level of protein people in fitness & nutrition seem to be fixated on.  Plus – the diet plan was not going to be especially restrictive for me as I eat pretty clean already.  Here are the things you CANNOT eat on this cleanse (and it is a cleanse – NOT a diet):

  •  Dairy
  •  Gluten
  •  Soy
  •  Peanuts & Peanut Butter
  •  Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup
  •  Artificial Sweeteners
  •  Coffee
  •  Alcohol
  •  All Fruit EXCEPT limes, lemons green apples & berries
  •  Pork
  •  Farm-raised fish
  •  Non Cage-Free Eggs
  •  Non Free-Range Chicken
  •  All Beef, other than grass fed
  •  White Potatoes
  •  Corn
  •  Nitrates
  •  MSG
  •  Vinegar

And here is the list of things you CAN eat:

  •  Almond, Coconut & Flax Milk
  •  Brown Rice
  •  Raw Almonds
  •  Almond Butter
  •  Coconut Sugar
  •  Stevia, Xylitol
  •  Green & Herb Teas
  •  Non Starchy Vegetables
  •  Organic green apples & berries
  •  Cage-Free Eggs
  •  Wild-caught Cold Water Fish (limit to 1x per week)
  •  Free-Range Chicken and Turkey
  •  Grass fed Beef (limit to 1x per week)
  •  Sweet Potatoes, Yams,
  • Turnips
  •  Legumes
  •  Avocado
  •  Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Flaxseed Oil

So – I do not eat beef, chicken or fish & I really try to avoid eggs and I almost never eat sweets.  But, a quick look at the menus & shopping lists found HERE left me confident that I could tweak things easily enough to stay satisfied.  For me – the big challenge is not drinking a bottle of wine every night.  Yes, every night.  Also – my faux chicken of choice, Beyond Meat, has soy in it – so – I was going to try to minimize using it – but for the purposes of this cleanse ONLY!  I will definitely return to it – likely before the end of my first week.  Beyond Meat is just too good & the Quorn (I just realized) has both eggs & sugar in it.  I bought this Quorn stuff to try, instead, though.  It is NOWHERE NEAR as convincing as Beyond Meat but I will be using what I bought – and return to Beyond Meat.  And it worked well in the chicken soup I am posting here.


Initially, I had no intention to blog about this experience but I did not want to go a month without posting things so – I am dragging you along on my journey.   Because I did not intend to blog about it – I did not take very nice photos of the first dishes I tried – so please forgive the photography.

Oh – because I have a bunch of random vitamins & supplments around – I decided to add them (until they each run out) to my daily regimen.  There is fish oil here because I bought some ages ago to aid my thin hair.  Then I gave up fish – but – fuck it.  I bought them, I have them, my hair needs help – so – I am taking them.  Here is the random collection I amassed:




The plan suggests having one of their protein shakes for breakfast & maybe lunch, too.  I never eat breakfast & do not believe I need a daily protein infusion so I am blowing off the shakes.     So – I took the week 1 shopping list and spent $200 on everything on it that I did not already have.  Five big bags, stuffed to the brim.  For just me.  For one week?  But – know that the recipes I have made – made an ENORMOUS amount – enough for two – easily.  In addition – they are easy & really very good, so far!  So – if you and your partner want to do this plan – I would not double the recipes.  So – $200 to feed two adults every meal & snack of the day for 7 days seems pretty economical, to me!


So far – I made their snack suggestion:

Beet Hummus

Serve chilled with carrots, sliced cucumber, snap peas or other favorite veggies or brown rice chips.


2 large beets, peeled and steamed

1 can garbanzo beans, mostly drained

2 lemons, juiced

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. white pepper

2 garlic cloves

2 heaping Tbsp. tahini

¼ cup avocado oil (olive oil works well too)


  1. Place all ingredients in the blender and whirl till they have a smooth consistency!
  2. Chill and enjoy all week with veggies of your choice or brown rice chips



I could not find brown rice chips so – I used those above.

Then I made their



Beet and Avocado Salad


2 beets pre-cooked (or steamed)

1 avocado

1 cup spinach

handful pistachios

Sweet and Spicy Dressing:

1/8 cup agave (I cut this in half)

1/2 Tbsp. siracha (I doubled this)

1/2 Tbsp. EVOO

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper


  1. Cube beets and avocado.
  2. Layer spinach, beets, avocado, and pistachios.
  3. In a blender combine agave, siracha, EVOO and S+P.
  4. Drizzle dressing over salad, Enjoy!




This salad is a revelation!!!!  I adore everything in it & the dressing was AMAZING!   Plus, it made enough for two – so I ate some more with my dinner.  AND I had it for lunch the next day!

Dinner was their:


Twice Baked Potatoes

*Veg: sub mushrooms instead of ground turkey

2 large sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp. ghee

1 package ground turkey (I used Quorn meatless grounds – which I just discovered are merely vegetarian!)

taco seasoning (see recipe at freshandcleanrecipes.com)

1 cup spinach

S+P to taste

fresh salsa (see recipe at freshandcleanrecipes.com) – I used store bought

½ avocado


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook potatoes in oven 30-45 min. (or until easily pierced in the center with fork)
  3. Brown ground turkey with taco seasoning and a few tsp. of water.
  4. Cut potatoes in half and scrape inside into a med size bowl saving the skins.
  5. Mix in ghee, turkey, spinach and S+P to taste.
  6. Fill skins with the mixed potato.
  7. Place in shallow baking dish (covered in foil for easy cleanup) and broil for 5 min until top is browned.
  8. Add a scoop of your favorite fresh salsa and avocado.


TWO large sweet potatoes PLUS a 12 oz of protein?  In my world, that is enough for two.  I did not bother to stuff & cook the potato a second time.  I ate it as above.  I had another entire potato & more than half of the faux meat/spinach mix left over.  I saved the second potato & fed it to my dogs over the course of two days, with their dinner.

The extra meat/spinach I added to the next recipe I made:


Chicken Tortilla Soup

*Veg: substitute veg broth and omit chicken


2 cups shredded vegan chicken

4 Tbsp. olive oil

½ onion diced

1 large carrot; diced

1 zucchini; diced

1-quart vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 lime + 1 more lime for topping

S+P to taste

4 Tbsp. cilantro + more for topping

1 can black beans

2 cups your favorite red salsa (fresh recipe at freshandcleanrecipes.com)

I added about 1-2 cups of leftover faux meat crumbles & spinach from the previous day – which was GOOD!


tortilla strips (brown rice tortillas cut in half and then cut into 1/4-inch strips and fried in coconut oil/ or EVOO)

diced tomatoes

chopped green onions


½ avocado

lime wedge


  1. Add EVOO to large pot over med heat.
  2. Once oil is warmed, add chopped onions stirring often so as not to burn. Cook approx. 3-5 min until onions are tender.
  3. Add shredded chicken, chicken broth, water, juice of 1 lime, carrots, diced zucchini, carrots, cilantro, black beans, salsa and S+P to taste.
  4. Simmer for 1 hour or longer.
  5. Pour into individual bowls and add preferred toppings toppings







The only toppings I used were avocado & cilantro.  Frying tortilla strips (and I could not eve FIND brown rice tortillas, anyway) seemed like unnecessary calories.

This soup is delicious!  Especially with the addition of the vegetarian meat crumbles from the previous night’s leftovers.  I had it for dinner, lunch today and I still have more than enough for lunch tomorrow.

So – so far – this plan is great!  I am not a snacker so – I have not indulged in any food outside of the two meals a day except – late night when I get hungry (because I have been way too energized to fall asleep before midnight – UNHEARD OF for me) – a handful of berries & maybe 8 raw almonds.  I have not missed the wine, either, which is nothing short of a miracle!  I will admit, I have become OBSESSED with My 600 Lb. Life!  Mostly, I am amazed by the different shapes various people’s bodies take in an effort to store 600+ pounds.  I would include some images but it feels like body-shaming – despite the fact that the show exists precisely to shock them into their own reality & then try to help them but MY LORD!  The human body is an amazing thing.

So – I will keep you posted on my progress with this thing.  So far – I am giving it an enthusiastic thumbs up.  It might even be better if I could have sprung for all the fun products they offer but I will have to live with this budget version.  If you CAN afford it – and I THINK it is about $300 – and you do it – let me know your results.


Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles & Bok Choy

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.






So – last week on Tuesday – I began a test to see how long I could go without spending ANY money on groceries.  The only cheats allowed would be the delivery of vegetables I get every two weeks from Farm Fresh To You & any restaurant meals.  I eat out VERY seldom so – that second one is not much of a cheat.  Still, I started the challenge out eating that Gardenburger from Carney’s.  That cost me $10 with fries & a drink.  Then, I spent the next week eating things like these:


Vegans, beware!  The Morning Star veggie sausage is merely vegetarian – not vegan.  If I ever eat breakfast (and I seldom do) – it typically looks like that above.



I eat tortilla pizzas a SHOCKINGLY frequent amount of dinners per month.  I adore them.  And that cheese there is vegan!    It is Parmela Creamery cheese.  I like it A LOT more than Daiya which – I think – tastes funny & doesn’t melt easily.


More often than not – I eat a giant, zero-carb, 100-calorie bowl of vegan pho for lunch.  Made with shirataki noddles – it is a wonderfully filly & guiltless soup.


That is a salad of red lettuce, tomatoes & (I admit) a bit of goat cheese.

I also ate my Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Casserole with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce and my Vegan Potato, Leek, Fennel & Turnip Soup with Carrots & Pepitas – seen below, respectively, so I had a pretty well-fed week.  In the past when I attempt the pantry challenge – I do not allow the acquisition of ANYTHING if it can be avoided.  Almond milk for coffee & wine being notable exceptions.  In the past, once the fresh produce ran out, I became reduced to frozen leftovers & lots & lots of dry, white food – like pasta & rice.  Panicked friends began delivering fresh produce so – to avoid a full-scale panic – I am allowing (as I stated) a 2x monthly delivery of veggies.



Well – everything was going great – until yesterday.  I had not spent one cent on food since that burger at Carney’s – 8 days before.  But, yesterday, I got bored.  I wanted to cook.  I wanted to post something on this blog.  So – I cheated & allowed myself a stop in the CRAZY inexpensive Thai market – Bangluck.   Shit is practically free in there but I still managed to spend $52.  Here is the bulk of what I got there:








Those two jars of gluten look like lab specimens but I could not resist.  Each of those cans of varied mock meats are gluten & all cost under $2.  I bought that tofu above for under $2 each – far better than the price at Gelson’s – about a mile away – below.


Drunk from my misbehavior & shopping orgy – I drove by Sacred Farts.  Yes.  Sacred Farts.


I Googled it & I guess it is a dance & yoga studio.  Who knew?

Well, my will weakened, I decided to stop by Silom Market – also in Thai Town.  This place is super sketchy and always has a security guard at the front door.  Armed guard to protect bulk spices?  Sorta seems like Silom might be a front for something else – but I digress.   If you go there & decide to buy some of the fresh items they make & sell there – be sure to check ingredients.  By check – I mean GOOGLE.  Let me recount an experience I had there once.


In the cooler section – they had what seemed to be a large selection of locally produced pre-made sauces & curries & pastes….sold in the lidded plastic containers delis use to sell you potato salad. I looked at a bunch of them, mouth watering as I thought of how authentic my dishes would taste if I used these expertly prepared flavorings.  I saw one that looked dark & spicy & read the ingredients


Ingredients: Chili, onion, garlic, mangda, sugar, salt, fish, tamarind paste.  It was called Nam Prik Mang-da.  I love prik pao squid at my beloved Torung & this stuff looked like culinary gold.  I didn’t know what mangda was but wrote it off as an obscure name for a common thing – like my recent anise pepper experience.  $5.  Sold!

Upon closer inspection – I see these curries/pastes are made in-house at Silom!

When I got home – I Googled the name of the chili paste I just bought looking for culinary inspiration.  I was ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED when the search engine spat out its results.  Here – take a peek and see what MANGDA means – HERE.  Don’t look at the horseshoe crabs.  In fact – here is a stock photo of your garden variety MANGDA:


Yes, folks.  Mangda means giant water bug!!!!!!  OMG!  I’m gagging just looking at that thing!  And I should have known better.  This isn’t my first time crossing paths with these fuckers.  No!  I pointed them out to you guys in my Bangluck Market post.  You can buy 4 of these guys whole, in the refrigerated section, for $4.49 – and they have 35 calories in the 4 together – 15 of which come from fat.  Yeah – they are nearly 50% fat.  Gag.  Needless to say – I threw the $5 container in the trash and pronto.


So – I have learned to be a careful label reader in Thai markets.

Anyway – here are some new things I found at Silom:


It is vegan & it is $5.  It didn’t seem very appetizing so I passed on it.



 Vegan crispy balls?!  I have no idea what they are but I fucking BOUGHT some!

Then I found fresh, frozen jackfruit but I already had 4 cans from Bangluck – so I passed.


That is how the stuff is displayed in the freezers at Silom.  I dug into one & pulled out a package almost totally obscured by frost.  I scraped it off & discovered this!




Vegan strip steak!   And then I found this!



I was VERY excited by these two discoveries but stopped my impulse to buy the entire stock before I had put them to the taste test.

I also bought keffir lime leaves & some other stuff  (some of the stuff below came from Bangluck):


So – I dropped another $35.  And – when I got home – I realized I wanted red bell peppers for this beef dish so – I went to Gelson’s.  I had a $5 off a $25 purchase so – of course – I had to spend $25.  I filled my basket with what I guessed would just be $25 but I miscalculated.  It never crossed my mind that two red bell peppers would cost over $6!   I also bought the chorizo below.  Gelson’s has a sorta fun (if very expensive) selection of vegan things.  I bought the chorizo – but here are a few of the other vegan delights they offer.  Anyway – I dropped another $40.  So – there’s that.






OK!  On to this Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles!!!  I added fresh noodles that I bought at Bangluck but this would go just as nicely over rice – or in lettuce wraps.  The revelation is this AMAZING S.P.A. vegan beef!  Read that nutrition label above.  Non-GMO soy protein.  This shit is guiltless and looks EXACTLY like slices of steak!  It is pretty innocuous in the flavor department so – like chicken – it kinda just takes on the flavors you add to it. HERE they are on Facebook.  I will DEFINITELY be buying more & more & more of this stuff.   Once my pantry challenge is over.

This dish is very easy & doesn’t use anything especially exotic.  I recommend it very highly!



Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles & Bok Choy

SERVES 2 well


A few TBS sesame oil (or olive oil)

7 (or more) ounces vegan beef

12 ounces fresh rice noodles (or cooked pasta or cooked rice)

1/2 red bell pepper – sliced into strips

1/2 small onion – diced

2 jalapenos – diced

2 heads bok choy – cleaned (optional) & chopped a bit

5 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari) – plus extra

1 tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp vegan oyster or mushroom sauce

1 TBS sambal oelek

1/2 tsp agave nectar (or brown sugar)

1 cup basil leaves (I used a mixture of Thai sweet basil & Thai holy basil but any basil will do – Thai ones being preferred)

GARNISH – lime wedges, cilantro












If using noodles – separate them under cold running water.  If using pasta or rice – cook it & set aside.


I did not bother to defrost the beef.  It might be easier if you do.  Either way – heat the sesame oil (2 or 3 TBS) in a wok or large saute pan.  Cook the beef until it is seared on both sides.  Set aside.  (I only used 1/2 of the cooked beef in the noodle dish & reserved the rest for another recipe.)  I covered the beef while it cooked to hasted the defrosting.






In the same pan – add a bit of olive (or sesame) oil & heat it.  Add the red bell pepper, onion & jalapenos.  Saute until soft.  Add all the other ingredients except the garlic & basil (and the garnish).  Heat the noodles & meat through & let the bok choy wilt.  I added a bit of extra liquid aminos here because I thought the dish needed a tad more salt & moisture.  This is your call.  Once the bok choy is wilted & the ingredients are well-combined – stir in the garlic & basil.







Serve with cilantro & lime wedges!