Pacifica – Red Red Wine, vegan nail polish review

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A while back, I was lucky enough to get gifted a bottle of this gorgeous vampy red from one of the nurses at work. Apparently she is quite the nail laquer collector, and noticed this was vegan, so she thought I might like to try it. It’s Red Red Wine from the Pacifica company, which I had never heard of. Turns out that they’re 100% vegan and cruelty free, and like the other polish that I’d had success with (Zoya) it’s free of those nasty chemicals that my nails seem to hate. Pacifica 7 FREE Nail Polish is formulated without parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animals.  

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I had originally just intended to do my toes, but it turned out to be such a nice shade that I ended up doing my fingernails too, and just hoping for the best. Here are several pictures from how it wore through the week…

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Result:

It wore exceedingly well!! I applied it on Saturday, and that last picture was on the following Saturday, right before I took it off. I was really impressed. I’ll admit, as stupid as it sounds,  I was initially put off by the product design (ew, white!), and that’s probably why it took me so long to try it out. I don’t know if it was the formaldehyde or what in regular nail polish that I reacted to so badly to before, but ever since I’ve tried these vegan polishes, my nails not only don’t chip after one day like they always used to, but they’re left in immaculate condition instead of peeling and breaking after just one wearing. REALLY GREAT STUFF.

Futhermore, it wasn’t until I went to write this post that I discovered that they have a full line of vegan beauty products including makeup, skincare, fragrance (cough, sneeze, if you’re not allergic like I am!), etc., AND that it’s conveniently available at places like Target, Whole Foods, and drug stores! Definitely will be checking out more of their products!

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What’s your favorite vegan beauty find?

How to Cook Black Quinoa!

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This was one of my most popular posts ever on cameraphonevegan.com/veganderbycatparty.com, so I decided to archive it on here as well! Please forgive the picture quality, as these came from the cameraphonevegan era when the cameraphones weren’t quite as sophisticated as they are now! 😉

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One day at Whole Foods, I was looking around the bin section and found this black quinoa. It looked a whole heck of a lot like red quinoa, but I thought I’d give it a try and see if the taste was much different. It was a little toastier tasting, where I think the red quinoa has a slightly savory flavor compared with the plain. It cooked in the same time as red quinoa, which was 20 minutes (I find that regular quinoa cooks in 15).

I used 1 cup of wet, rinsed quinoa and 1 3/4 cups of filtered water. For more flavor, feel free to use veggie broth instead of water or throw a vegan bouillon cube in with everything!

You will need:

1 cup of black quinoa, well rinsed
1 3/4 cups filtered water (or 2 cups if not rinsed)
pinch of sea salt

Directions:

1.First you’ll need to rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to remove the saponin (that causes bitterness).

2. Bring quinoa, water and salt up to a boil, and boil for about 2 minutes. Drop heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.

3. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

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First you’ll need to rinse it off. I mean, commercially they rinse it for you, but it’ll still be a little more bitter if you don’t. I often don’t rinse regular quinoa, but you probably want to with the black.

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Bring quinoa, water and a pinch of sea salt up to a boil. I let it boil for a minute or two before dropping down to a simmer.

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Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and fluff with a fork. Ta-da!

 

Vegan Blueberry Pancakes and Ceramic Non-stick pans!

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My phone photo, all other photos by Thomas!

My phone photo, all other photos by Thomas!

Last weekend I woke up with the grand idea of making blueberry pancakes and some savory tofu. So I turned to my trusty friend the internet once again for recipe advice. Pinterest turned up a bunch of gluten free versions, which I had no interest in. I was just looking for a good old fashioned simple recipe. The web provided me with this simple enough recipe Light and Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Pancakes, and I was off to the kitchen…

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As it turned out, my tofu block wasn’t thawed yet, so that put an end to the idea of a savory side protein, but I was most excited to try the pancakes. I was using frozen blueberries, so I gave them a quick rinse to get the frost off.

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Then I mixed up the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. It sounded like an awful lot of baking powder to me, but I use aluminum free kind, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

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The only thing I subbed was flax milk for the soy milk. I used canola for the oil.

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The batter came out really fluffy and bubbly from all the baking powder, and looked really promising!

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So, the recipe had mentioned using a non-stick pan. In Florida, I had always kept a small non-stick around, just for pancakes. When we moved, it didn’t make the cut, as I saw that it had some wear to it despite being well cared for. I have one of these Le Creuset enameled, seasonable skillets though, which I love, and had always been curious if it could handle pancake duty. I gave it a whole bunch of butter in the hopes that it would work…

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Sadly, it did not work. The one side came out okay, but after flipping, the second side stuck to the pan like crazy! We scraped up the pancake, split it, (tasted good!) and put on some shoes for an emergency trip to Target. I put the bowl of batter in the fridge to keep it away from the cats while we were gone.

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Well, apparently there is this new thing called ceramic non-stick! I ended up getting a Green Pan brand, and they had an aluminum version with a plastic handle, and an anodized steel version with a metal handle, so I got the latter. Thomas ended up getting a waffle maker with the ceramic non-stick coating too. (I’ve always wanted a waffle iron!) Apparently this ceramic non-stick is the future! We haven’t tried the waffle iron yet, but I can tell you about the skillet.

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This thing worked great! It’s so much lighter than my cast iron, and the metal handle stayed nice and cool. I forgot what it was like to be able to lift a skillet with one hand; it made it easy to flip! (Pancake pictured post flip!) Clean up was also a breeze!

The first pancake came out a bit crepe like. I was still getting the temperature right, and the batter seemed to have settled down while we were gone, and lost some of its fluffiness.

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But then the subsequent ones came out much fluffier. Maybe the batter needed to be reactivated a bit? Hard to say, but after this the pancake going got much better!

Verdict:

After all was said and done, we had ourselves an excellent stack of blueberry pancakes by 5 pm, that we washed down with a couple of beers! 😉 This was definitely worth that surprise trip to Target, and I’m glad I’ll now have the means to make these babies whenever we like.

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Do you have a favorite pancake or waffle recipe to share? Leave it in the comments below!

Tofu Parmigiana!

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We were running pretty low on food recently, but fortunately I had defrosted two packages of tofu and we had some pasta sauce in the cupboard. (I made Thomas make a run to the PCC on the next block over for some pasta and vegan mozzarella!) So I decided that tofu parm was probably a thing, and got to the internet for inspiration. I found this recipe (Tofu Parmigiana on allrecipes.com) in no time.

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I cut each of the frozen,thawed, quickly squeezed, tofu bricks into 4, giving me 8 generous portions. Then I pressed them into the breadcrumb mixture that I made using whole wheat crumbs and all the Italian spices I had in my cabinet. I then pan fried them, miraculously losing a lot less of the crust than I thought I would.

Follow Your Heart brand vegan cheese

Follow Your Heart brand vegan cheese

For the cheese, I took a brick of Follow Your Heart cheese and cut it into 8 very uneven slices to top my tofu with.

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Which was fine. Except I had all these leftover breadcrumbs…

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So I thought, why not make the cheese breaded too?

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Then I went back and breaded the ones I initially had put on plain.

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The sauce that was already on them made the breadcrumbs stick even better, so I would probably just use that method in the future.

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After 20 minutes baking, I wasn’t convinced that the cheese had melted – my concern immediately after I had sliced up such big slices of cheese. So I broiled on High for another 5 minutes…

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Which was PERFECT! Melty, toasty, bubbly, and golden!

Verdict:

This was a great idea! I usually just marinate and bake tofu at home. The crunchy, pan fried texture was a huge hit. The tofu was firm and juicy inside, and the cheese was awesome. The only thing I might experiment with when there’s more time is making a bit of a marinade for the tofu, just to add one extra layer of flavor in there. This was even better the next day! Thomas kept the praises coming. I’m definitely going to have to put this one into the regular rotation!

Anyone else have a tofu parm recipe they love? Leave it in the comments!

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Vegan Vampire Bites coming soon!

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Hello!

I decided it was time for a fresh change. It was the 5th anniversary of cameraphonevegan.com/veganderbycatparty.com, and it was time for something new. Vegan Vampire Bites will be a joint effort between my soon-to-be husband, and favorite fellow vampire, Thomas & I.

I hadn’t really been blogging much back at the old site for a long time, as I had been pretty busy with roller derby for the last year and a half, where I adopted my latest moniker: Vampira Bitely. Since we moved to our new place with ALL the counter space, I’ve started cooking again. I’ve also gone on derby hiatus, so I actually have time to do it now! Thomas has also started hanging out in the kitchen with me and the DSLR, so he’ll be handling the photography for the most part in our new venture, which is wonderful and makes the posting a little less overwhelming for me!

I decided to just leave the old blog closed for now, but no worries, you will see new postings of old favorite recipes here!

Thanks for stopping by! It should be spooky and delicious!

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Ty &Thomas

Our Sphynxs

Ganon & Midna