Cruise Adventures and Being Vegan

IMG_20150327_085715So I went on a cruise… And the Vegan part, lets just say it was way easier than I expected.

I used to flip through magazines and say “oh hey look there is a vegan cruise! But it’s 9x the cost of a regular cruise” and then not go on a cruise.  This time, I said, “The heck with it” and took my chances with the run of the mill budget cruise.

So it was a Carnival cruise… and first of all, the fruit selection was AMAZING.  The fact that there are options at any hour of the day/night for the duration of the cruise is also AMAZING.  Additionally, on Carnival, the room service was free, so even when the only thing that was open was the pizza place and the ice cream parlor at 1 am, I could order free fresh fruit and oatmeal delivered right to my room!  I mean, I didn’t even have to walk to get my vegan fix, how great is that?

Also on cruises, the BF and I try and jump start our healthy lifestyle choices.  I would say this is my favorite part.  So healthy fruits, fresh raw options, and some jogging with a side of salsa dancing?  I’ll take it.  We went jogging on the track, swimming in the pools, dancing in the clubs, and even visited the gym to check it out.  Overall, cruises make me happy 😀

Oh, and if you go to the service desk when you first get on the boat, and tell them you have special dietary requirements – they tell the kitchen! And at your dinner time, since you have the same wait staff every night, they come up to you and alert you that they were told about your food preferences.  I was offered to select an entirely vegan cooked meal not on the menu for every single night.  The only caveat was that I had to let them know the night before, but they usually gave me two or three choices to pick from.

Needless to say, I will be cruisin’ more often for vacations!  Less work for food prep, and fresh fruit around the clock! Sign me up!

 

Vegan Nacho Cheese

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I have been wanting to make this vegan nacho cheese recipe for awhile… It was posted on my Facebook page from a friend literally a year ago.  I know, I’m slow.  Anyway, Alissa’s recipes over at Connoiseurus Veg’s website are always pretty awesome looking, so it’s about time I made this one.

I tried it out on Christmas eve.  Then tried it out again the other night.  I must say, it was pretty consistently good, even with my variations.

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The recipe calls for 1 sweet potato.  The first time that was what I used, and it was tasty.  The second time, I diced up one sweet potato and two other potatoes that I picked out at the super market, and it still came out tasty.

So I diced up the potatoes and boiled for about 15 minutes until they got soft.  Then I drained and mashed.  After that, all you have to do is add some flavor!

For the flavor, I put in various amounts of sriracha sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast flakes.  Alissa has measurements on her original recipe, but I find it’s just better for me to do it by taste.  For example, I held back on the sriracha sauce a bit because I don’t like things too spicy.  I also used less olive oil to reduce the amount of fat going into it. And I didn’t peal my potatoes.

Basically, this recipe is awesome – all you have to do is mix a few things together and in about 25 minutes you’re done and dipping nachos in this cheese!

I see a lot of potential here!

Attempt #1 At Making Vegan Cheese

So… I am no chef.  I am not a recipe builder and I (probably) won’t invent anything new and share it on this blog.  There are a MILLION other blogs out there that already do this.  As a new vegan, I am hoping to try new foods that I find online, document my findings, and do what works for me – all while sharing with the online vegan community.  I also don’t follow recipes exactly.  I don’t always have all the ingredients, and in general, such strict rules drive me nuts 🙂

I love cheese.  I can no longer eat cheese.  What will I do instead? Experiment with vegan cheeses.

I found one over at Jennifer’s Kitchen.  For the record – It looks FANTASTIC in her picture, please, check it out.  I’m sure mine would have came out like that if I actually followed directions…

I thought I was so smart. IMG_20150119_122215 I went to Whole Foods, bought the agar and the cashews (not salted) and I was good to go.  I came home, started putting everything in the blender, and realized I forgot the tahini.  I Googled a few things, and found one site that said you could mix equal parts of sesame seeds with olive oil to get a “tahini like” mixture – so I figured, what the heck.  I poured some sesame seeds in my mix, and a little oil, and figured It would work.

The cool part was that it came out solid, as you can see above, IMG_20150119_122247despite my feelings before putting it in the fridge.  It definitely needed to be a creamier mixture.  I should not have used that extra oil, and just tried a nut butter or gotten off my butt and gone back to the store!

I did rescue it.  Since I knew all the ingredients were delicious and vegan I wasn’t afraid to give this strange mushy stuff a try, and spread it on some mini toasts!  You know what?  It still tastes good.  Like a cold refreshing cashew spread.  Horray!

I have hope for this recipe and plan to try it again.  Next time I’ll use the actual ingredients on the recipe! 😀

 

Dear One Ingredient Chef…

IMG_20150114_134420_294Your Baked McTofu Nuggets are delicious.

I switched it up a little bit.  I used Almond milk instead of soy milk, and bread crumbs instead of cornmeal.  I also left out the onion powder.  I cut some of my squares thicker, and some thinner.  The thinner ones had a more satisfying crispier taste.IMG_20150114_134551_397  The actual process took about 20 minutes, since I had to dip all the squares and bread them, but I am sure I will be able to find a faster way if I need to.  Then of course the cook time was about 20 minutes.  So in 40 minutes I had some tofu squares.

Thanks for posting your recipes online.  This one is a winner for me! I will be visiting the One Ingredient Chef’s site more often for more ideas.