November 18, 2022

Friday Night Photos

Wow, it is really starting to feel like winter here. The last couple of days it's been freezing cold and super windy. It's the kind of weather that makes me just want to curl up under an electric blanket and read a good book.

Oh! That reminds me--I don't know if I ever even mentioned this on my blog. But you all know how much I love my heating pad and electric blanket--being cold 100% of the time is miserable, and there is nothing that feels better than the heating pad on my back.

Well, a while ago (I think it was in the spring) I noticed that my back looked kind of discolored--patchy, with light and dark areas. Nothing super drastic, but it was weird. I thought maybe it was my vitiligo; I'd never had vitiligo patches on my back, but I didn't know what else it could be.

After some google research, I learned of something called "toasted skin syndrome"--and it's from heating pads (among other forms of prolonged exposure to heat sources, such as laptop computers resting on thighs, etc.). If you catch it early and stop exposure to the source, the skin color can return to normal over time. If you continue to use it, the discoloration can become permanent, and even lead to skin cancer!

As soon as I read that, I stopped using the heating pad and electric blanket, and I haven't touched them since. It's been so hard--I miss them! It took a while, but my skin has returned to normal.

Anyway, that was a tangent I never intended, This weather just makes me wish I could use my heating pad. 

Not a ton of photos (again) this week, but here goes...

My dad had some complications from his recent surgery and my mom took him to the emergency room a few days ago. He ended up having to stay at the hospital for two nights. Brian took Riley to visit him and she brought him a cupcake. How stinkin' cute is she?! 

After making a few recipes with TVP pieces, I wanted to try soy curls (which are similar, but a lot of people like them better). The only company that makes them is called Butler's, and they happened to be the same price as they were on Amazon, so I ordered direct from the company. I'm glad I did, because they gave me a couple of free samples of other products! This jerky was one of them. It's vegan, but I would NEVER have guessed that. The texture is very chewy and the flavor is amazing.

As soon as Jerry and I tasted it, I drove right over to my parents' house to see if my dad would try it. He tasted it and said it's good, that it reminds him of the jerky he used to make. I told him it was entirely plant-based, and he looked surprised and said, "Oh, there's no meat in it?!" This stuff is amazing. And actually not as expensive as I would expect--cheaper than beef jerky for sure. (And that's exactly why they give free samples--now we're going to buy some, haha)

Whenever we get a box in the house, naturally, the cats go in there practically before we even open it. Duck looked so funny--super wild-eyed while he was playing with all the paper--so I had to get a picture of him.

I wasn't sure what to do about Thanksgiving dinner for Jerry and I, so I thought it would be fun to experiment with some really "weird" vegan food. This was my first time making seitan--and I had no idea what seitan was until I made this "turkey". I'm going to review the recipe this weekend, so I'll explain more then, but it was pretty fun making something entire new.

And this was a "practice" dinner when I made the seitan turkey. Vegan mashed potatoes with onion gravy, vegan green bean casserole, and plain old cranberry sauce from a can (why do I love that stuff so much?). Next week, I also want to make a vegan version of sweet potato casserole (my very favorite Thanksgiving dish) and stuffing (Jerry's favorite). Cooking vegan food has made cooking enjoyable again! Using all these new ingredients (or old ingredients in new ways) is fascinating to me.

This morning, I noticed Estelle was sleeping on the pillows next to me and I thought she looked cute. She actually looked really proud, perched up there like that.

Phoebe is still hanging in there! It's amazing how close I came to having her euthanized early this year because she was doing so poorly. Since then, she's actually gained a pound (she was down to four pounds back then and now she's five). She wants nothing to do with the kidney diet food, so I'm not forcing her. She's 15 years old, so if she wants to eat the regular canned cat food, I'm going to let her. We tried a million different brands and flavors and textures to find something she'll eat regularly. That's when she put on a little bit of weight.

Anyway, she likes to sleep in front of the heating vent. If I was her size, that's what I'd be doing, too!

I tried a different recipe for vegan mozzarella today (remember what a mess it was before?). This one uses coconut milk instead of cashews, and it was SUPER easy to make. I had zero problems with it and it tastes really good. It's sliceable and shreddable, too. I'm making tofu parmesan for dinner tonight and I need sliced mozzarella for it, which is why I tried this. I'll have to see how well it melts!

I gave Jerry a surprise gift a few days ago--a stick vacuum, hahaha. I bought one (in the summer, I think) and I posted pictures of a competition between that vacuum and our regular vacuum. It didn't perform as well as I'd hoped, so I returned it. Jerry mentions at least once a week about how he wishes we had a stick vacuum (he loves vacuuming--it's funny, when he sees me get out the vacuum, he insists on doing it because he thinks it's "satisfying"). I finally took the time to research some, and I bought this one by Eureka. I think I'll do another competition between the two vacuums and see how it goes!

Finally, this is just a screenshot of a video that Jerry took of me. I had no idea he was watching me, but I was doing the step aerobics on the Wii Fit U. I love the step aerobics! It's only five minutes long, but I play it back-to-back several times because I like it so much. I'm very good at following along with the feet--but as soon as they ask me to clap along, I stumble all over the place. I'm extremely uncoordinated!

And that's all for now. Have a great weekend! xo


  1. Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Oh She Glows both have incredible Thanksgiving recipes I used to make when I was vegan. Isa has an incredible pecan pie recipe (tastes just like the Karo syrup version), as well as a pumpkin pie (with silken tofu—perfect texture) and an excellent mushroom gravy and green bean casserole (tastes like the classic with canned cream of mushroom soup). Oh She Glows has a really yummy recipe for lentil walnut mushroom balls (I never liked seitan or tofurkey) and roasted butternut squash with kale and almond pecan Parmesan (delicious side dish). They both have fantastic recipes all around. Isa is an OG vegan cookbook author (Veganomicon has some great recipes, as do all her other cookbooks) and Angela from OSG is an OG vegan cooking blogger who went on to write several cookbooks. I still make both of their recipes to this day even though I’m no longer vegan!

    Oh and there are vegan marshmallows if you want to make sweet potato casserole with them! Taste and melt the same as non-vegan.

  2. Katie, you've inspired me to go a little more plant-based. (The problem is that I don't like 99% of vegetables and I don't have much time for cooking.) I tried tempeh as a protein to put on my lunch salads...the only tempeh that Giant has available for delivery in our area is bacon-flavored. But it's pretty good! Eating just the tempeh is a little weird because the texture is odd since it's just soybeans pressed together, but having it mixed into something is fine. I'm interested to see your mozzarella substitute and what you think of the TVP pieces. I can't imagine taking the time to press tofu, so I am interested in some of the other things you're trying. Thanks for posting about them!

  3. I'm so glad you mentioned the "toasted skin syndrome!" I've had place on my left calf that has been discolored and I just thought it was from "getting older." When you mentioned this I looked up images and that's exactly what it is! I keep a space heater under my desk and it's always very close to my left calf...I have it sitting up on a little stool under my desk. Once I saw this I moved my space heater as far away from my legs as I could get it!

  4. Thank you for mentioning the toasted skin syndrome! I had a very similar thing happen by using a heating pad in my lap while I worked. It had me perplexed as well! I mean living in colder climates you don't see your exposed skin all that often between November-April. LOL! It is a hard habit to break!


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