Tag Archives: tater tots

The Succulent Days of Summer

I don’t know when it started but I love succulents.  They are the one thing in the world I see for sale and I just can’t resist. I wish I was better at keeping them alive though! I have such a hard time researching them because I never know the names of the plants. So if you know the names of any of them help me out! The pink almond ones are dying and it makes me so sad so if you have any tips…

This first little cactus is one I got from a really neat store called “Happiness” but it closed down. Isn’t that depressing? Happiness is no longer… The lady at the store told me that she once saw a whole hillside covered in these plants and they were all 3 feet tall. It is called Cephalocereus senilis (Old Man Cactus).

My mom bought this one for me from the Natural Gardner. I think it was called a chocolate soldier and I know it is from Madagascar but I haven’t been able to find it online. Luckily, it seems to be thriving!

This grouping was a house-warming gift from my consigliere and bff Amanda. The big fan one didn’t look like it was going to make it for a while but it is going strong now. The little green ones are from either home depot or lowes and they are just sprouting flowers like crazy. But the cutest ones, the little pink almonds are not doing well at all. I got them on 1st Thursday a couple of months ago and then completely forgot everything they told me about them. Do they need less sun? Less water? They have only had rain to drink but maybe that is too much….

I got this one at 1st Thursday too, it is living inside though and doing a lot better. Maybe I should move the pink ones inside.

This little guy was just so cute that I couldn’t say no when I passed him at home depot the other day. I think lithops were the first succulent I was aware of that wasn’t a cactus or an agave. I wish I had 20 of them all lined up in a row.

I thought I would blog every day this week about something fabulous I have made from Viva Vegan, but yesterday I was just too exhausted to cook anything and forced Mr. Smurf to heat up frozen tots and nuggets. He also made guacamole because the avocados were in a state of immaculate perfection. It seems silly to blog about it BUT that guacamole recipe was really good; different than I usually make it and so flavorful. I loved it.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying the long days of summer!

Mango’s Cafe, a vegan haven in Houston

People talk a lot of smack about Houston. Maybe it is because I live in Austin, but, I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say anything positive about Houston ever. But look at this sandwich.

It is beautiful and bursting with vegan goodness. With some notable exceptions it is rare that you find a sandwich in Austin that is good much less one that has the perfect filing to bread ratio and a ton of vegetables. And I can’t think of one single sandwich that is fresh tasting AND you can have with a side of tots. Austin we have a problem.

This sandwich is “The Hulk” from Mango’s Cafe. It is fried tofu with a creamy cilantro sauce, avocado, cucumber and a whole mess of greens. They have a ton of different sandwiches there and it was hard to choose one! Mango’s is a tiny little place that also serves as a live music venue. Everyone there was ridiculously friendly and nearly everything could be made vegan. I couldn’t decide between the Hulk and the Tofu “Viet Now” sandwich. I asked the guy at the counter and he told me that the Viet Now used to be his favorite sandwich but then he tried the Hulk that day and loved it! It was such a tough decision. They also had a BBQ po’ boy, wingz, veggie wraps, and something called the Big Baby Jesus! And good beer! It was all too much. I forced my friend to take me back the next day and I got this Cuban Pizza. It should have come topped with vegan queso but I wanted it on the side in case I didn’t like it. I needn’t have worried because it was good! Just like the queso you get at Wheastville or Bouldin. The pizza was topped with a black bean sauce, plantains, chopped pecans, and fresh cilantro. I am totally going to borrow this idea and make my how Cuban Pizza because those are all of my favorite things! It was good at the restaurant but too skimpy with the topping. Luckily, that way I wasn’t too full to order dessert. They had a whole array of vegan confections but I chose the chocolate cream filled cupcake.

It was a good choice.

After Mango’s we went to the park for a sing-a-long.And I got to hang out with the Maska (Dinger’s feline brother)

So my opinion of Houston is that it is kind of awesome. But, that is just me….

Cinco de Mayo is coming, its practically here!

Last year on Cinco de Mayo, I listened to a local radio station lament the fact that people ignorant of Mexican culture don’t know what Cinco de Mayo is all about and yet they still celebrate by knocking back a couple of Cuervos and maybe having some nachos. What was absurd, to me, was that they went on and on about how this was such a travesty and yet they never once mentioned what Cinco de Mayo is all about. For one thing, I don’t even think it is a national holiday in Mexico. According to Wikipedia it is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla but they fail to mention that it is probably more intensely celebrated in Mexico’s former territory: Texas. The date commemorates the defeat of the French by Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín and was also the last time the Americas were invaded by another country. In Texas, and the rest of the US, however, we primarily use the holiday to celebrate Mexican culture which in my mind means eating Mexican inspired food and yes, drinking beer and eating nachos. I thought I would do a round-up of some tacos that I have posted about to inspire some taco ideas other than the standard American version.

The Southern Taco

Tropical Tempeh Tacos

Sesame Tacos with Blood Orange Tacos

Vegan Al Pastor Tacos

Tequila Sausage & Cornmeal Crusted Plantain Tacos

Escondido Tacos

Peanut Crusted Seitan with Blood Orange Salsa

I would love for any other bloggers to link below to any of their favorite taco creations!
And have a happy International Worker’s Day

Southern Taco


This taco was a winner!

First I sauteed an onion and then added chopped garlic and chipotle powder. After everything was glistening I added some sliced mushrooms and cooked until they gave off their water and then added a can of black-eyed peas. In the meantime I baked some tater tots, toasted some pumpkin seeds, warmed up some tortillas, and chopped a tomato, cilantro, and some green onions. A nice quick taco that had everything I needed to be a happy smurf.

Product Review Monday

Over the weekend I was feeling really ill which led to us eating some food from the freezer, it was really good food though, so I thought I would review what I had. This is the first time I tried the Sunshine burger, it was on sale so I thought I  would check them out, I also liked that it came in very small packaging, had whole food ingredients, and were vegan (which isn’t as common as you would think in a veggie burger). The burger was pretty good, you could taste vegetables and it didn’t taste at all like meat or smoke. I think there might have been some mustard because there was a pungent aspect that I didn’t care for but I don’t like mustard so that is me and it wasn’t gross or anything. We both liked it although I did have it covered in roasted shallots, guacamole, and spinach so anything probably would have been good. With a side of tots and some grapes it was a great meal, especially since everything went into the oven together so it was minimal effort. I will buy these again.

For Valentine’s Day we had Cafferata Frozen Artichoke Raviolis. I was thrilled to find vegan raviloli at central market so I knew I had to try these. They were really good, filled with bread crumbs, garbanzo beans, and artichokes.  The really had a lot of flavor and felt like they had cheese, in fact I double checked the packaging. I would by these again for sure.