I've probably mentioned before that my whole life I've been guilty of drowning things in cheese. American on my sandwiches (and also as a snack while I made the sandwich); cheddar on anything Mexican; fresh-grated parmesan on pasta; chunks of colby-jack on crackers, or without crackers; extra mozzarella in the fridge for anything that may require it. Cheese was my #1 comfort food. Cheese is a lot of the reason that I decided to make this a vegan thing and not just a vegetarian thing.
When I started this I already knew what my substitute for cheese would be--avocados. They come really close to giving me that satisfied, pleasurable feeling that I get from my favorite dairy substance. They're rich and creamy and delightful. The only problem I run into with avocado is that they can be hit-or-miss. You can buy an unripe one and plan to eat it 4 days from now, and it will be perfect. But sometimes in that amount of time, it will go overripe and start to rot, or be just as unripe as the day you brought it home. And if you forgot to buy one in advance and you need one that's ripe for tonight, good luck. As expensive as they are ($1.25-1.50 ea. here in PA), it sucks to get a bad one. So my avocado eating has been sparse.
And then, and then, I found this:
I had been looking for a guacamole that was as close to all-natural ingredients as possible, and I hadn't been having much success. But this little gem right here was not in the snacks section, it was in the refrigerated produce bin (you know, where all those expensive Bolthouse Chai Whatever drinks are). It lists ingredients literally as Avocados, Jalapenos, White Vinegar, Salt, Onion, Garlic; and I can get on board with that.
So I bought it, even though $5.49 seemed like a steep price for such a small box, and it blew away my every expectation. Creamy and delicious with just a bit of zing, it made the perfect addition to last night's vegan tacos. Erica loved it, too. Even the value was better than I originally thought. I misread the label--it contained two 7oz. packages, not one, so we are all set on guac for a while! And to think. Less than half the saturated fat of cheese, less sodium, none of the cholesterol, more potassium. This stuff is amazing.
Spice Cabinet Nightmare
So, more cooking from scratch apparently means owning all the spices. Which I'm fine with, because I like food that has flavor, but suddenly my spice cabinet went from manageable to, well, this:
It needs a makeover. I don't have a thing that spins the bottom shelf (is it called a lazy susan?), so sometimes when I'm looking for a particular spice I can't find it, one of us ends up re-purchasing something we already have. Or, alternatively, when I know I recently bought something and can't find it, I end up emptying the whole thing onto the counter. Currently we have 3 cans of dried diced onions, 3 bottles of vanilla, 2 pumpkin pie spices, 2 large oreganos, and 2 or 3 garlic powders. And that's what I can see without moving stuff around.
I'm just not sure how to tackle this yet. Should I alphabetize them? That would appeal to my OCD. But so would putting them with like spices--you know, all the sweet stuff together, all the hot stuff together, all the Italian stuff. It's driving me so crazy right now I want to run to Target and get a spinny-thing. But alas, I am house-bound because my car is getting inspected. Which is also why I couldn't go to Central Market today. And also why today's cooking challenge is: make something awesome out of the random stuff I have here!
I will get on this cabinet situation. There's always tomorrow!