Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Stuff I Ate

Lots of random meals to catch y'all up on!

Way back in the beginning of April, I met up with some former Memphis Flyer co-workers (Susan and Toby) for lunch buffet at Pho Binh. This Midtown hotspot is known for its amazing tofu buffet. The lemongrass tofu is legendary, but they were out on our first trip to the buffet. Don't worry — they brought fresh out later! Pictured here is the Green Bean Tofu and the Black Bean Tofu with the Clear Soup.

After Nashville VegFest, I had a bunch of my Tofu Eggless Olive Salad (the same thing I demo-ed at Memphis VegFest last weekend) left. Had some with crackers and Horseradish Hummus (from Trader Joe's) with crudites and wine. Also some Punk Rawk Labs Nacho Cheese and crackers.

A couple weeks ago, I Love Juice Bar held its second annual fun run — a 3-mile jaunt around Cooper-Young. I met up with Jennifer, Simon, and Shay.

And I got the chance to test out my new I Love Tofu shorts.

They handed out free Beet Juice Shots before the run.

And after, there was free Memphis Made beer and snacks. Tiny PB&J Sandwiches.

And Kale Salad.

And Juice Bar's best-ever Pad Thai Noodle Bowls. 

A random breakfast of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Blueberry Waffles with fresh blueberries and maple syrup.

Another random breakfast of Engine 2 Rip's Big Bowl Cereal with Vegan Sausage and Grapes.

Juice! This was a post-run treat a couple weeks back from the So Fresh juice/smoothie truck at the Memphis Farmers Market. This was an Apple-Carrot-Ginger Juice. Great for post-run carbs and hydration.

A FitQuick Lemon Poppyseed Protein Waffle with Fresh Nectarine, Maple, & Tahini! Another post-run treat!

A couple Fridays ago, I met my friends Pam and Shay for lunch at Al-Rayan, a little, mom-and-pop-style Middle Eastern restaurant for my very fave Ful Medames (fava bean stew). It's served with pita, tomato, onion, and jalapeno. I'm convinced Al-Rayan's ful is one of Memphis' best-kept secrets.

As usual, I have way more pics that I'm willing to cram into one post, so I'll be back tomorrow with more random meals!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Memphis VegFest Recap!

The first Memphis VegFest was Saturday at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park, and it was great success! We've had other vegan fests in the past, but this was the first one organized by Angel Jackson of Replenish Kombucha. And she says it won't be the last!

It rained ALL MORNING on Saturday, and it was unseasonably cold with temps in the 50s. The fest was outdoors, but the rain and cold didn't keep the vegans away! Most of the vendors showed up despite the fact that they had to set up their tents and tables in the rain. When the fest opened at 11 a.m., a crowd quickly gathered. And many of those people stuck around in the rain and cold all day. The rain eventually let up around 1 p.m., but it was still cold and wet. Yet most vendors sold out of food and gave away all their samples.

My demo was supposed to be at 12:30, but they couldn't set up the speakers and mic equipment until the rain let up. And since I knew I could stick around all day, I told Angel to just put my demo wherever she needed, and I ended up taking the 3:30 spot at the end of the day. That gave me more time to hang out with friends and eat ALL THE THINGS.

My first stop was the Lucky Cat Ramen booth. They're a vegan-friendly ramen pop-up that typically sells at The Cove on Sundays and Memphis Made Brewery on Thursdays, but I keep missing them when they're there. I couldn't wait to try their vegan Roasted Corn Miso Ramen!

The broth was definitely the best ramen broth I've ever had. There are a few places in town serving vegan ramen, but Lucky Cat definitely wins!
After ramen, I grabbed a beer — Memphis Made Fireside — from the TapBox beer truck and a Vegan Banana Pudding from the folks at Southern Veggie Cuisine. They were selling banana pudding cups and vegan tamales! Sadly, I was so stoked to eat that pudding that I failed to take a picture. I did, however, get a pic of Simon and Jennifer eating their Black Bean Tamale.

Later in the day, I also got a tamale. By then, she was out of vegan cheese, but that was just fine. Looks messy but tasted awesome. It was stuffed with black beans and tofu.

Her tamales and pudding were VERY popular. She had the longest lines all day.

Zaka Bowl was there with free samples. They had Brown Rice & Chickpea Bowls. I added their Sweet Curry sauce.

Replenish Kombucha was the primary sponsor for the fest, so I had to have some while I was there! Here's their Hibiscus Kombucha. 

Phillip Ashley Chocolates had a sample booth. Phillip Ashley Rix is a local chocolatier who creates these gorgeous, hand-crafted, hand-painted chocolates. Not all of his chocolate is vegan, but he has a vegan truffle collection that I've been lucky enough to receive as a gift from Paul before. So good! Anyway, Phillip was there selling his vegan praline truffles (I bought a box!), and he had samples of vegan chocolate bark. This Hot Ass Chocolate was created with locally made Nikki's Hot Ass Potato Chips. The combo of dark chocolate and spicy/salty chips was amazing.

I caught a couple of food demos throughout the day. Brandon Thomas of Guilt-Free Pastries showed us how he makes his Vegan Granola, which is by far my favorite locally made granola. It's got a base of mixed nuts rather than oats, and it's loaded with other good stuff like coconut oil, goji berries, and pumpkin seeds.

I also watched the folks at Mama Gaia demo their quinoa and veggie bowls. They didn't have samples to hand out, but they gave the full bowls they created out to a couple lucky audience members to polish off. Megan got the Copia Bowl (arugula, antipasti veggies), and I helped her eat it!

Hanging with Don and Kenzie and Megan!

And then, finally, at 3:30 p.m., I went onstage! I demo-ed my Tofu Eggless Olive Salad from Cookin' Crunk. 

After my demo, they announced the winners of the vegan challenge cook-off, in which local home chefs went up against restaurant chefs in a cook-off. Mama Gaia won first place in the entree category, but I can't remember who won the dessert competition. And then it was time to go home and dry off!

Memphis VegFest was a great success, and I'm so proud of Angel and the other organizers for pulling the whole thing off and persisting despite the awful weather! Can't wait 'til next year!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Memphis VegFest!

Memphis is having a VegFest!!!! It's Saturday, April 22nd at the Levitt Shell from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I'll be demo-ing my Tofu Eggless Olive Salad from Cookin' Crunk at 12:30 p.m., and there's a full line-up of other awesome local speakers. The line-up includes Philipp and Cru from the new vegetarian restaurant Mama Gaia, Lydia Muhammed with Lydia's Healthy Edibles, Brandon Thomas of Guilt Free Pastries, chocolatier Phillip Ashley Rix (who will be demo-ing a vegan paella), Tracy Knight of Skinnysouth, and animal rights activist Tiffany Lindfield (speaking on social work and agribusiness).

There's also a Vegan Challenge Cook-off! Anyone can sign up, so you'll likely see some local home chefs up against restaurant pros. Should be interesting.

Zaka Bowl, City Silo, Seasons 52, Imagine Vegan CafĂ©, Merge Memphis, Phillip Ashley Chocolates, Ms. Lillie’s Z-Muffins, Nikki’s Hot Products, Guilt-Free Pastries, Lydia’s Healthy Edibles, and others are supposed to be there with $3 samples. I hear baker Stephanie Crowdis (aka Poopie Bitch) will be joining Imagine Vegan Cafe at their table with some of her locally famous cakes, brownies, whoopie pies, and other desserts. There will be food trucks and other food vendors. Plus, you'll find giveaways of vegan products and lots of other goodies.

The fest is sponsored by Replenish Kombucha, City Silo Table and Pantry, Zaka Bowl, and Whole Foods Market. It's the first such fest to be organized by this group (led by Replenish Kombucha), though we have had vegan festivals (thanks to Bastet of Green Goddess Gourmet Vegan Foods) in the past. There's been a multi-year gap since the last fest though, so I'm super-stoked to see Memphis back in the VegFest game!

By the way, there's currently a chance of storms on Saturday morning, so a rain date plan for Sunday is in the works. I will keep y'all posted and update here if I hear anything.

I'll check back in on Monday night with a full report (taking Sunday off blogging for Paul's birthday!). Hope to see some local readers there!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crazy Sexy Juice Reboot, Day 3!

And I'm done! Today was the last day of my 3-day juice/smoothie/high-raw reboot using Kris Carr's plan from Crazy Sexy Juice. For the past few days, I've been drinking only veggie/fruit juices and smoothies until the afternoon, and then I get a little solid snack and a giant high-raw dinner. My goal was just to get a super-boost of nutrition and get some healthy habits back on track!

This whole plan has been pretty easy to follow, much easier than a straight juice "fast" (I hate that word!). I love chewing, and I'm a huge fan of smoothies because they allow me to take in a lot of fiber and fat. Am I glad it's over? I'd be lying if I didn't say yes. But only because I'm super-excited to bring bread back into my life! And chewing all day! I actually don't miss sweets or fried stuff yet. I'm really hoping to find that healthy balance of indulgent and super-healthy that makes me the most happy.

Anyway, here's what I drank today!

I don't run on Wednesdays, so I woke up and did a quick yoga video from Yoga with Adriene while I sipped on my first juice — Pucker Up (grapefruit, orange, lemon, turmeric, and ginger). After my shower, I had my breakfast of a Peachy Green Smoothie (banana, peaches, raw cashew-hemp milk, flax seed, and chard). Morning snack was a Garden in a Glass juice (a savory blend of carrots, beet, celery, cucumber, parsley, broccoli stem, romaine, lemon, and ginger). My garden juice looks like poop water, I know, but that's because I used yellow beets instead of red. Oh well. Whole Foods was out of red beets!

Lunch was my very favorite smoothie on this plan — the Body Builder! It had peanut butter, banana, raw almond milk, spinach, and hemp seeds. I love anything with peanut butter AND it kept me full for hours. Definitely the hardiest smoothie on this plan. And finally, my afternoon snack juice was the Fatigue Fighter (grapes, pear, spinach, romaine, celery, and lime). Pears are loaded with B2, which helps with energy production, so this was great for the afternoon slump.

Today's plan also called for a solid food snack from Kris Carr's list of recommended snacks in the book. I chose the almond and apricots snack since I had some of this Spiced, Sprouted Almond & Mulberry Trail Mix and a few Dried Apricots in my pantry. I snacked on this while I ran an after-work errand. Then I went to hoop yoga (we do yoga with hula hoops!) at 6 p.m. I wasn't sure if I'd be full enough to go to yoga before dinner, and I was super worried about getting hangry in the middle of class. But I made it through okay! I was dreaming about dinner all through savasana though.

But immediately after yoga, it was dinner time! Thankfully, I live just a block away from the studio. Man, I was so excited for this dinner. Raw Zucchini Noodles with Cashew Cheese, Raw Marinara, Herbed Lentils, and Steamed Veggies.

I've always been a zoodle fan, and top those with cashew cheese and cooked lentils, and I'm a happy lady. This hit the spot and felt like the perfect celebratory meal for the last day of my reboot. For the veggies, I steamed brussels, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Since my dinner was kind of late (7:30), I was still really full when it was time for my "dessert," but that didn't stop me from enjoying this warm cup of Cashew Chai Milk — made with soaked, raw cashews, maple syrup, cinnamon, and cardamom. Mmmmm.

And that's it! Believe it or not, I'm planning to start off tomorrow with yet another smoothie (even though I don't have to)! I'm doing Kris Carr's #greendrinkaday challenge, so I've pledged to have green juices or smoothies at least once a day for 10 days. But I'll definitely be adding back in some non-raw, non-juice foods too! Looking forward to some pasta and tempeh tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Crazy Sexy Juice Reboot, Day 2!

I've just wrapped up day two of a 3-day juice/smoothie/high-raw reboot thing, and I'm still going strong.

In case you missed yesterday's Day 1 post, here's a recap: I'm using Kris Carr's juice "cleanse" plan from her new book, Crazy Sexy Juice. I'm calling it a reboot though because that's how I'm viewing it. It's just a way for me to get some healthy eating habits back on track! I'm not trying to detox or lose weight or anything. Just going for a good infusion of nutrition. It includes juices, smoothies, and whole foods/high-raw snacks and dinners. For a juice thing, it's relatively easy. And I'm feeling pretty good, but I did have a pretty low point today between 4-ish and dinner.

But before I get into that, here's what I had between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. I woke up at 5, ate an almond butter-stuffed date (not pictured) with some lemon-ginger water, and set out for a 3-mile run. Then I had a small glass (top left) of Rise 'n' Shine juice (grapefruit-pineapple-carrot-ginger) to replenish glycogen. Breakfast (bottom right) was a Berry Protein Power smoothie (blueberry-cacao-hemp-banana-raw almond milk). Morning snack was a Green Me Up juice (pineapple-pear-chard-kale-parsley-cucumber-celery) on the top middle. Lunch was the Inflammation Heavyweight smoothie (cherry-blueberry-hemp-spinach-raw almond milk) on the bottom left, and my afternoon snack was the Savory Smoothie (cucumber-avocado-spinach-garlic-lemon) on the top left.

I loved the rainbow of colors today! Proof that green drinks don't always have to look green. This is also the second day of Kris Carr's #greendrinkaday challenge (which I'm doing for 10 days, even after this reboot is over), and her email newsletter today talked about how green drinks can be all colors. By the way, a commenter yesterday asked what kind of juicer I use. I have a Breville juice fountain for juicing, and I use my Vitamix for smoothies.

I kept count of the calories, protein, carbs, and fat — to make sure I was getting enough! And I actually got more calories and fat than I typically would in a day. I was slightly over my FitBit's daily allowance of 2,200ish calories. So anyone who thinks you can't get enough to fill and sustain you on a juice reboot is doing it wrong! It's not about depravation. It's about getting in lots of healthy fats with those juiced and blended fruits and veggies.

I did notice a slightly lower protein intake throughout the morning than what I'm used to, which may explain why I became ravenous between 4 p.m. and dinner. The afternoon savory smoothie (with garlic and avocado!) at 3 p.m. helped, but by 4, my tummy was rumbling. Had it been any earlier than 4, I'd have just added an extra snack. But I knew I had a giant, awesome dinner and dessert waiting for me as soon as I got off work at 5 p.m.

And that dinner was FABULOUS, and I was so stoked to be chewing again! And eating something savory! I had Kris' Lemon Quinoa with Steamed Veggies, Hemp Seeds, and Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette.

The quinoa (I used I Heart Keenwah's toasted quinoa!) is seasoned with flax oil, lemon zest, and parsley, and I served it with steamed brussels, asparagus, squash, carrots, and cauliflower. All of that was tied together with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, cilantro, and lime juice. Yum!

The second best part about today was tonight's "dessert" — Chocolate Almond Milk.

I made a big batch of raw almond milk for my smoothies and such throughout the reboot, and I used a full glass of it for this. It's mixed with cocoa powder and warmed for a yummy bedtime treat.

Okay y'all, one more day! I'm already SUPER excited about Wednesday night's dinner!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Crazy Sexy Juice Reboot, Day 1!

A few months ago, I purchased Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Juice book at the Booksellers at Laurelwood's going-out-of-business sale. I love Kris Carr and have done her Crazy Sexy Cleanse several times (always as a January reboot thing). And I'm always looking for new and exciting juice recipes because, without a recipe, I tend to make the same cucumber-apple-celery-ginger-lemon-kale juice over and over and over.

After I bought the book, I realized it included a 3-day juice cleanse. I figured I'd save that for a rainy day, when I felt my healthy eating had gone off the rails a bit. And then I went to potlucks and birthdays and Nashville and about a million restaurants in a short span of time, and well, that rainy day has come. It's time to get back on track! I'd already planned to start the 3-day program today when I got an email from Kris' newsletter about her 10-day #greendrinkaday challenge, also starting starting today, She's asking folks to have just one green juice or smoothie every day for 10 days. Perfect timing! I signed up for that (and so can you!), and I'm kicking it off with this 3-day thing. Then I'll continue to add green juices and smoothies for the following 7 days after my reboot.

Disclaimer: I'm calling this a "reboot" and not a "cleanse" even though her book calls this a cleanse. But I think the word cleanse is misleading since I don't believe I'm actually cleansing my body of toxins (that's what livers are for!). And just so you know, this isn't for weight loss or anything like that. I don't need/want to lose weight. This is strictly as a way for me to fit as many fruits and veggies and green things into my diet as possible to kickstart some healthier habits.

Okay, without further ado, here's what I drank (and ate!) today! The plan starts each morning with Warm Water with Lemon and Ginger. I added an Almond Butter-stuffed Medjool Date (not in the plan) as well since I use dates for running fuel. I downed this at around 5:30 a.m. and headed out for an three easy miles. I won't be doing any tough, long milage or speedwork until the reboot is over.

After my run, I rehydrated with a small Classic Green Lemonade (top left) made with cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger, celery, and chard. This was supposed to be breakfast, but I knew I'd need more than that. So I added one of the smoothies from the book for a second breakfast. On the top right is the Green Power Smoothie (homemade almond-hemp milk, banana, spinach, and dates) that I had around 7:30 a.m. Morning snack (around 10:30) was the Tummy Tamer juice (bottom left) made with fennel, cucumber, mint, ginger, and apple. And my lunch was the (bottom right) Easygoing Green Smoothie with banana, mango, coconut water, avocado, kale, and parsley. By the way, that lunch smoothie jar was completely full, but I drank a bit before I remembered to take a picture.

As you can see, the smoothies are loaded with healthy fats, like avocado, cashews, and hemp seeds. So those kept me satisfied when combined with morning and snack juices. At 2:30 p.m., I had my final juice of the day Blueberry Lemon-Aid (blueberry, apple, cucumber, lemon, mint) with my first solid food of the day — an Apple with Almond Butter!

Even though I wasn't famished by snack time, I was very excited to chew! This is definitely my kind of juice reboot. I've done juice "cleanses" in the past that were all juices/all day with a little nut milk at night. And real talk, that's just not enough fat or volume or protein for me. But this works!

Even more exciting than the apple snack was my dinner. Each night on Kris' plan, you get a solid food, high-raw dinner. Tonight was a Big Salad with Steamed/Raw Veggies, Herbed Lentils, Pumpkin Seeds, and Lemon-Tahini Dressing.

The herbed lentils is a simple recipe from her book. They're just cooked lentils with added garlic, thyme, basil, and parsley (all the herbs were from my garden). The dressing, a simple tahini-lemon-garlic sauce, was from her book as well. For my veggies, I chose steamed broccoli and cauliflower and raw bell peppers and carrots.

Finally, each night, you get a warm nut milk "dessert." Tonight's was this Turmeric Milk, a homemade, raw almond milk (made with soaked almonds) with maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric. Very good and perfect for getting me ready for bed.

So far, this reboot is far better than any juice thing I've done before. Chewing is fun. And I don't feel at all deprived. In fact, I'm eating just as much fat as I always do. It's just in a healthier form!. I'll check back in tomorrow on Day 2!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter/Passover Brunch Potluck!

A couple days ago, my brunch gang and I were mulling over what to do about Easter brunch since our usual spot, Imagine Vegan Cafe, would be closed for the holiday. Last year, we had a little Easter potluck at Pam's, and Stephanie suggested we do the same this year. Only now Pam lives in a smaller place and has a roommate, and Stephanie doesn't have much furniture. Megan couldn't join us since she has Easter family obligations. So that left me to host!

We invited Shay, Jennifer and Simon, and Stephanie's bf Paul and made it a party!

Since I'm working my way through Isa's The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook this year, I knew I had to make something from the Easter chapter. And the Glazed Tofu Ham had been calling my name since I bought the book. I made a double batch, and I'm so glad I did because I have just enough left to add to salads later this week! The tofu is marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, and then it's baked and glazed. Definitely the best vegan ham I've had.

I also needed to make something from the Passover chapter in The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook before Passover ends this week, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I'm not Jewish, nor do I have any experience at all with Passover foods. But the Charoset sounded really good and wholesome! It's made with dates, grated apples, toasted walnuts, grape Manischewitz wine, and maple syrup. You're supposed to serve it with matzoh, but I had the HARDEST time finding matzoh! We have a kosher Kroger out east near the temple, but apparently, you have to get your matzoh before Passover begins in this city. That Kroger (as well as several other Krogers and Whole Foods) were totally wiped out! I finally found some at the SuperLo, and there were only two boxes left! 

Stephanie brought a Vegan Sausage Quiche, which is one of mine and Pam's favorite things! Stephanie is the QUICHE MASTER.

Jennifer and Simon brought Mashed Potatoes & Mushroom Gravy. Because it's not Easter without mashed potatoes! 

Shay brought a really yummy, creamy Potato Casserole that had both white and sweet potatoes.

And Pam whipped up some Vegan Tofu "Eggs" Benedict at my house! She brought all of her ingredients and cooked them when she got here. The sauce was really rich and buttery. 

Here's my savory plate!

But wait! There's more! Of course, we also had plenty of sweets! Stephanie made a French Toast Casserole that was basically bread pudding. But as she pointed out, when you call it "French Toast Casserole," then it's okay to eat it for breakfast.

Jennifer and Simon brought Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal! And Jennifer brought along her homemade vegan yogurt as a topping. This was a totally healthy dessert that I feel like would make a fine weekday breakfast!

Shay made some Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins that were just stellar. I feel like muffins are a must at any spring potluck!

My dessert plate!

It's not brunch without booze, so we polished off the Manischewitz that I used for the Charoset. This was my first time trying Manischewitz, and it was really good! I'm not usually into sweet wines, but this tasted like grape juice with a kick. And I liked it!

We also made Bloody Marys using locally made Nikki's Hot Ass Bloody Mary Mix (it's vegan!), but I failed to take a picture of mine. I had that with my savories, and I was too busy eating to take pictures. And then, I poured a Mimosa to drink with dessert. Notice Stephanie's photo bomb here. We're such good, holy girls, am I right?

Good times! None of us celebrate Easter or Passover in a religious sense, but we'll take any excuse to get together for food and cocktails. It's also a bit of a last supper for me because, starting Monday, I'm embarking on a three-day juice and smoothie reboot! I'm doing Kris Carr's #greendrinkaday Challenge (Y'all join me! Sign up here and get a free juice e-book!), and you're supposed to have one green drink each day for 10 days. But I'm kicking that off with three full days of juices, smoothies, and raw foods — just as a way to get myself back on a healthy eating track. I've been going a little hard lately with travel and holidays and such. It's time to reign it in a little!

So I'll be back tomorrow with a full report from day one of my Green Drinks Reboot!