Food, Lists, Veganiness

Save Money and More: My Top 5 Vegan Food Hacks

Everywhere I turn, I hear people say, “How can I be more like Go Jules Go? What’s up with this vegan thing? What do you eat? Do you save money?”

I’ve only been vegan for two years, but I’ve been a foodie for 35 and counting, which means you can be dang sure I’ve found a way to eat fabulous fare even after parting ways with my old standbys, cheese and bacon.

Whether you’re interested in improving your health, spending less money, or putting your dollars towards preserving the planet and protecting animals, just a few vegan food choices here and there can truly rock (y)our world (and your wallet).

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase the linked product, at no additional cost to you. I only ever link to products that I truly love. Like this.

Go Jules Go’s Top 5 Money-Saving Vegan Food Hacks

1. Frozen potato and onion pierogies

pierogies

Poppy’s brand pierogies are currently EIGHTY CENTS a package at my local New Jersey ShopRite. Caramelize an onion, maybe toss in some bell pepper or spinach, and put your carb-o-phobia on hold while you enjoy this filling meal for two. (I dip mine in ketchup…shhh.)

2. MUNG BEANS (yes, they demand all caps)

mung-beans

I buy these little green gems in bulk from Whole Foods and, when combined with onion, garlic, ginger and coconut milk, you have yourself a fine ass curry. They taste like a delicious split pea-bean hybrid, and they’re a nice change of pace from your standard lentils and legumes. (In fact, Just brand is coming out with a vegan scrambled egg liquid made out of mung beans!)

3. Peanut (satay) sauce 

peanut-sauce-bowl-2

Need I say more?  Use some of that leftover fresh garlic and ginger from your mung bean curry, and – bam! Put over pasta, stir fry, rice/grain bowls, even raw cabbage/veggies for a salad… you can’t go wrong. You can prepare ahead of time if you’re entertaining (it’s a major crowd-pleaser) and it even freezes pretty well. My go-to recipe is a lot like this, with some lime juice and cilantro thrown in.

IMG_4742
When it comes to peanut sauce, the sky’s the limit! (With Sriracha hearts because I’m a show-off.)

4. Banana ice cream

banana-ice-cream
What? You think it looks like… YOU’RE SO IMMATURE.

Do you like watching freezer-burned bananas turn into creamy dog doo deliciousness? This “recipe” is that magical! Peel a couple of ripe bananas, cut them into chunks, and pop them in the freezer for a few hours. (I don’t recommend leaving them in there for more than 24 hours.) Then, put them in a food processor and let it go. Wait at least a minute or two, and you’ll have yourself some silky smooth banana fro-yo. You can add chocolate chips, peanut butter, cocoa, strawberries, your lost dreams of ever working on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, whatever. It’s miraculous! (AND cheap. AND healthy. You’re welcome.)

5. V-Dog kibble

Uncle-jesse-v-dog

Hear me out. After gobs of research and learning that vets prescribe plant-based kibble to dogs with skin conditions, I switched my 8-year-old pooch, Uncle Jesse, to V-Dog. (Whereupon he immediately rejected the old stuff.) That was over a year ago and he’s crushing it, with a flawless bill of health from his normal vet. While this decision wasn’t financially driven, it turns out V-Dog costs about half of what I was spending on high-end animal-based kibble. (It smells so decent I might actually try it. If I do I promise to blog about it.)

vegan-Uncle-jesse

And because I love you – a bonus hack!

6. InstaPot Hummus

InstaPot
KNEEL BEFORE ME AND BEHOLD MY AWESOME POWER TO ROAST, RICE COOK, STEAM, PRESSURE COOK, STERILIZE, SEAR, SAUTEE, AND SLOW COOK!

If you’re one of the proud new owners of an InstaPot, the countertop multi-cooker on crack and Amazon’s #1 Christmas gift for “The Person You Care About But Also Resent Because They’re Implicitly Forcing You to Feed Into the Consumerist Machine to Prove Your Affection,” this recipe is for you! My manager who totally reads this blog and did I mention she is the cat’s meow? sent me this amazing InstaPot hummus recipe using dried chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans). The trick is using the warm, cooked beans and cooking liquid to whip ’em into a pillowy bean dream after they’re done in the iPot (I’m trademarking that). Grab a bag of dried chickpeas for about $1.00 and don’t do what I did yesterday, which is cave to convenience.

hummus-rip-off
Guess how much. No, no. Just guess. FOUR DOLLARS. FOUR. DOLLARS!!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Have you tried (or would you try) any of these? Have any other plant-based hacks?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Blogging, Lists, Uncle Jesse

Dogs Are Better Than Babies. So Trade Yours, Don.

Today things get ugly. As ugly as your babies. I kid, I kid.

Grab your boxing gloves, Chipmunks, because Don, of don of all trades, and I are going head-to-head over:

Dogs vs. Babies

Dogs-vs-Babies-Don-Jules

We each get up to ten points to make our case. Don may be a father, lawyer and cop, but totally lets me boss him around little does this man-of-allegedly-every-occupation know, I have experience in blog debates. Many moons ago, Third Husband proposed we discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of Glee, and I think we can all agree that after taking a slushie to the face, I emerged the clear victor.

Sweet, sweet, cherry-flavored victory.
Sweet, sweet, cherry-flavored victory.

I’m a little scared to read Don’s opposing argument, though. Not because I’m worried about valid points, god no, but because he’s a shamelessly verbose, terrible person with zero filter; there’s no telling where he’ll take this. He’s already cursed and posted fake sonogram pictures on my Facebook wall, sending both my mother and mother-in-law into a frenzy:

Don's caption? "Awesome...SOOOOOO excited for you guys!!"
Don’s caption? “Awesome…SOOOOOO excited for you guys!!”

So, Don. As much as I like to play dirty, get your mind out of the gutter and grab the leash (that one’s just killing you, isn’t it?). By the time you’re through reading this, you’ll be ready to trade your ten thousand sticky offspring for a downy-soft ‘doodle.

Why Dogs Doodles Are Better Than Babies

1. They sleep a lot.

Like, a lot a lot. Soooo much.
Like, a lot a lot. Soooo much.

2. They’re not smart enough for college (can you spell S-A-V-I-N-G-S?).

Dogs-vs-Babies-Uncle-Jesse-scholar

3. They don’t bug you when you’re hungover sick.

I'll be here. If you need me. Remote's by your pillow.
I’ll be here. If you need me. Remote’s by your pillow.

4. They understand Full House quotes at 10 weeks old.

5. You get to pick the cartoons / car music.

None of this creepy sh*t.
None of this creepy sh*t.

6. No back talk.

Though they may judge you with their incredibly soulful eyes.
Just incredibly telling soulful gazes.

7. Chick / Hunk magnet.

We are a HUGE hit with the neighborhood AARF AARP, crowd.
HUGE hit with the neighborhood AARF, I mean, AARP crowd.

8. As long as you feed them regularly, they don’t judge your alcohol dependency.

Okay maybe a little.
I think he’s just hungry.

9. You get to pick their halloween costumes. Indefinitely.

Hakuna matata, dog owners. DYFS is just for humans.
Hakuna matata, dog owners. DYFS is just for humans.

10. You don’t have to deal with other dogs’ parents if you don’t want to.

Although everyone knows 'dog people' are a superior breed.
Although everyone knows ‘dog people’ are a superior breed.

Note how I kept this nice and short, for your reading pleasure. Because I care about you, and respect your time, Debate Decision-makers. Unlike some people.

I look forward to hearing how right I am. (In case you missed it, here’s the link to Don’s inferior opposing argument.)

Did I miss any reasons why dogs are better than rug rats?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Just For Fun, Lists, Vlogalicious

200 Posts Later and You’re Still Creeping Me Out

This is it.

My 200th Blog Post!

I started this blog in February 2011, but wanted to wait for a special occasion to share some of my favorite Google search engine terms. I’m talking about those unusual things you people type into Google late at night and think you’re stealth.

If that search led you to GoJulesGo.com, I know alllll about it.

I believe you were looking for this.

Consider yourselves busted, you sweet, sick, twisted li’l Chipmunks.

Keep up the good work. I live for this shiz.

Do you have any search engine/internet stories? (PG-13, mmmkay? My neighbors read this blog.)

P.S. – I promise to stop putting up posts now. Until next week.

Just For Fun, Lists, PSAs

Go Jules Go Gets Down to Business…Cards

Chipmunks! I need your help!

I’m attending my first blogging conference on August 4th (BlogHer ’12), and naturally need to wow my fellow bloggers future fans with my business cards.

Or at least impress Thoughtsy and Misty, who I’ll be meeting for the first time.

I’ve designed several options on VistaPrint, and I’m leaving the rest in your capable paws.

Thanks in advance for your vote (poll below), and if you don’t like any, just…lie to me.

VOTING OPEN UNTIL 5PM EST, THURSDAY, JULY 12, 2012.

WINNER announced 6AM EST on Friday the 13th (oooh), July 2012.

OPTION #1

OPTION #2

OPTION #3

OPTION #4

Have you ever been to a blogging or writing conference? How was it? Any funny/scary/interesting conference stories (blog-related or otherwise)?

Lists, TV Junkie, Wipe the Drool

Monday Mash-Up feat. Hot Things

First of all, if I seem a little behind on blog reading, remember that I recently succumbed to the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

I consider it my inner goddess-given duty to embrace these endeavors with both Zest and Zeal, so that you may one day be willing to accept your own guilty pleasure spirit.

Me, embracing “Fifty Shades” with life coaches, Zest and Zeal. …What did you think I meant?

Second of all – Jimmy! Yes! It happened! Peppermeister and I saw a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Friday. While I’d hoped to provide you with a picture of Jimmy “Hotter than Christian Grey” Fallon in ‘stache glasses, the NBC knuckleheads had other ideas. Please forgive the mundane photos:

Things that may interest you about the experience:

1.) I’m not special. Click here if you want tickets to a taping. It’s free!

2.) Questlove and his ‘fro Jimmy might be the only celebrity I’ve ever seen who looks bigger in person than on TV. (In a good way. Oh yes.) Seth MacFarlane, of Ted Family Guy fame, looked much thinner. …Am I the only one who thinks Seth MacFarlane is full of secrets?

I’m just saying I think “Stewie” comes from a dark place.

3.) They taped out of order because Blake Lively got “stuck in traffic.” I suspect it was really because she was artfully cutting holes in both her shirt and pants before taking the stage.

It must have taken forever.

4.) Jimmy only talked to the audience once between breaks (to explain #3), but ran through the crowd to shake hands, an end-of-show custom. He was friendly, but takes his job seriously, mouthing cue cards and talking to suits between breaks. Except for that one break where I caught him staring at me. This may be a slight exaggeration.

This is what comes up when I Google Image search “Jimmy Fallon serious.”

And lastly but certainly not leastly, speaking of things that are hot, The Byronic Man [and his weekly contest]! Yeah! That’s right! I said HAWT. Let’s all pause and stare at him!

What a tease.

Oh, and, please vote for me in his current Question of the Week contest, where I’m a finalist for suggesting Forrest Gump would be much improved with the addition of dragons. I know Titanic should win, but as the Fifty Shades series sold 15 million copies, I think we can all agree life is unfair.

(If you’re really not sure I deserve it,  that’s okay. I forgive you. I’ve got next week’s contest in the bag.)

Have I told you how hot YOU’RE looking lately? My. This weather really agrees with you. If I had a Red Room of Pain, you’d so be invited.

Have I missed any guilty pleasures you’ve got going on? Any summer reading recommendations? ‘Fess up, Chipmunks.

P.S. – NOT hot: My blog disappearing from your WordPress Readers and inboxes. I have written a strongly-worded letter to the WordPress overlords, but am still trying to hunt down their address. In the meantime, click here repeatedly to ensure you don’t miss anything. (Or, you know, just assume I try to post 2-3 weekdays/week at 6am EST.)

Photo Credits

Just For Fun, Lists, TV Junkie

Choose Your Own Adventure Friday

To protect the innocent devilishly awesome, let’s just say a friend of a friend of a monkey’s uncle knows someone who’s been posting really interesting things on Facebook lately.

Now I know I just talked about the social media ‘over share’ disease in my last post. Normally I have an allergic reaction to my Facebook wall, and simply just try to remember to wish people a happy birthday, but hearing this tale unfold like an episode of 90210, well… I’m riveted.

This FOAFOAFOAMU (Friend Of A Friend Of A Friend Of A Monkey’s Uncle, geesh, try to keep up) has been posting about their newly lavish lifestyle. There are expensive houses (okay, just one. THAT I KNOW OF), vacations, big parties, pricey day trips, you name it. Something new on the daily.

You see, it just doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t add up. I mean, literally. The money. It doesn’t add up. Where is it coming from? My first thought was: Well, they probably just inherited dough from a relative.

Zeal thinks they stole it. Of course he does.

But where’s the fun in that? Here are other options I’ve come up with:

They…

  • founded a covert but obviously successful Mail Order Second Husband business. …Dang. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh wait, I did. Score
  • developed a frozen margarita that doesn’t cause brain freeze or bad decisions
  • figured out a way to make cars punch people when they don’t use their blinkers
  • discovered bacon that doesn’t splatter molten hot grease when you fry it
  • invaded Gayle’s mind via her dreams (a la Inception) and got the number to Oprah’s Swiss bank account. The one they were using to pay for their secret wedding and deserted island
  • are murder-for-hire assassins, but that’s not how they made their fortune. While they were hunting down terrorists in really awesome disguises and black leather pants, they stumbled across a fountain of youth in a remote part of the Australian outback, and now sell each drop for anywhere from 100k-1 million, depending on how old rich you are. By the by, did anyone else love the book Tuck Everlasting when they were kids? Why didn’t they make all these awesome books into movies when I was the appropriate age to enjoy them?

I’d keep going, but I’ve got to go catch a train…

…because…

Peppermeister (Husband Numero Uno) and I are going to see a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!

Now there’s something I didn’t make up today.

Me too, Zest. Me too.

I hope you Chipmunks have a wonderful weekend, full of Facebook fantasies and fascinating friendships. (And alliteration. But I’ve got you covered there. No, no. It’s my pleasure.)

Are you captivated by any particular person’s social media over shares? Tell me everything.

Food, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Lists, Mind Your Manners

On Blogging & Bacon

It must be Monday.

I love blogging, and I love bacon. For some reason, I rarely talk about either.

Until today!

One thing I love about both is their ability to bring people together. Run a contest on your blog, or put out a plate of bacon-wrapped appetizers, and the result is the same. Better yet, run a contest with a bacon-chocolate bar prize.

Not that I’d know anything about that.

I love when other bloggers talk about blogging and/or bacon. Like Peg and JM. Yet I feel self-conscious doing so, like eating bacon and not having a napkin. You guys don’t mind if I make a mess though, right?

When I started this blog in February 2011, I had no idea what lurked behind the blogging curtain. I thought it might be scary. And not in the hey-girl-you’re-almost-out-of-bacon way, but more in the I-like-to-make-pictures-out-of-toenail-clippings way. I didn’t fully appreciate the prevalence of blogs; I never thought about the fact that some websites I frequented, like Perez Hilton, were really blogs.

My favorite bloggers inspire me to step up my game and invite me to participate in their dialogue. As a writer, this is such a gift. And it’s free! So, you know, you can still bring home the bacon.

To pay tribute to all of those who inspire me (and if you’re wondering who that is, my Blogroll page is a good start!), and to those who are new to this wacky and wonderful world of bloggy deliciousness, I thought I’d offer a few wise words.

Dang, Chipmunks. This is exciting.

Here are the 3 most important things I’ve learned from almost a year and a half of blogging. You may or may not be surprised to find the same principles apply in every day life.

1.) Sincerity – “enough about my bacon, let’s talk about yours”

There is no faster way to shoot yourself in the foot drop your bacon on the host’s white carpeting than to leave a comment that proves you didn’t read the post, or to leave comments plugging your own blog. Typically, if commenting on another blog, you should try to keep the focus on that blogger and their content.

I had no idea when I started a blog that it was a community, and a community that wants to TALK! I didn’t ask questions of my readers (not that I had many!), and I didn’t even realize I should respond to comments. Now I crave that dialogue, and try to answer every single comment I get. Often that’s far more rewarding than the writing itself.

2.) Generosity – Share those Tips Strips (of bacon)

One surefire way to increase readership is to read other blogs. Be generous with your time and support, and you’ll reap the rewards.

When I started blogging, I only read 2 or 3 other blogs. Now I follow almost 100. It’s not realistic to keep up with everyone, of course, but I genuinely enjoy all of the blogs I follow, and typically devote over an hour a day just to reading them. I also almost always comment. Leaving thoughtful comments is one of the only ways to get noticed in a world jam-packed with people vying for the same bacon.

 If you’re intimidated by big name bloggers, like Kristen Lamb or The Bloggess, don’t be. Remember they feel the same as you do about getting comments. And probably bacon.

3.) Perserverance – Makin’ Bacon

We all experience writer’s block, have personal obligations that take our focus away from writing, or simply just don’t ‘feel like it.’ Even if you miss a week, or a month, don’t give up. Blogging can truly open doors.

When I started this blog, I had very few followers. My mom. My husband. I tried to post 2-4 times a week, but even after 6 months, I had posts that didn’t get a single comment. I kept at it, increased my engagement, and as of this year, I’ve had almost 100,000 hits on this blog. I’ve also gotten several paid writing jobs and opportunities to write for highly trafficked websites. I say this not to be a Braggy McBaconBoaster, but just to encourage you and let you know: You don’t have to be serious to take your blog seriously.

…Is anyone else hungry?

What are some lessons you’ve learned about blogging? Or a question to fellow bloggers? To non-bloggers: What keeps you coming back to your favorite blogs?