Thursday, June 20, 2019

Camping Food from Bonnaroo 2019

Last night, I posted about all the amazing vegan festival foods that I purchased at Bonnaroo Music Fest last weekend. Bonnaroo has long been a super-vegan friendly music fest, but as with all festivals, the food can be a little pricy. So I can't afford to eat every meal for 4 days from the vendors.

Every year, I bring lots of easy-to-prepare meals for breakfast and lunch at the campsite, and then I usually have my dinner out on the festival grounds (Centeroo). I have a camp stove (thanks dad!) to boil water (from a bottle), but I have no way to wash dishes there. I can't cook real meals without water for washing, so thank goodness for oat and soup cups!

Before I get into the food though, here's a picture of Paul and I at our campsite this year. This was our home for four days and three nights.


For the past 3-4 years, we've lucked into getting the exact same campsite right next to the Port-a-Potties, which sounds smelly but it's not so bad. And it's really convenient when you have to pee in the middle of the night (some campers have a half-mile walk to the potties!).

Most days, breakfasts are oat cups! This year, I brought oats from Trader Joe's with Justin's nut butter packets to round them out as meals. Check out our Obama tapestry that we hang on our shade tent every year! Miss that guy!!


This year, I brought some Kitchens of India boil-in-the-bag meals for lunches, as well as some already cooked basmati rice (from a bag). The Indian meals come in a silver bag that goes directly into a pot of boiling water. As for the rice, it's supposed to be microwaved to heat, but I just didn't heat it. And that was fine with the hot curry on top!

Sadly, I spilled half of this Potato & Pea Curry on my pants!


Paul said this Kidney Bean Curry looked like poop, but it tasted really good.


We always bring lots of instant ramen cups for snacks and breakfasts. I had this Toasted Garlic Brown Rice Pho as a late-night snack before catching The Lonely Island's show Saturday night.


Paul found these Nissin Very Veggie Cup O Noodles at Walmart and brought a bunch for us both. They're vegan and so goooood! They're loaded with dried edamame, carrots, and greens that rehydrate with boiling water.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Vegan Food at Bonnaroo 2019

Paul and I attended our 9th annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Fest last weekend (it was the 18th annual Bonnaroo but our 9th year going). Since we started going to this massive music fest in Manchester, Tennessee, in 2010, vegan options have always been readily available. But the offerings just get better and better every year. I actually look more forward to the vegan food at 'Roo than the musical acts!

Tonight, I'm posting about all the food I ate in Centeroo, the main festival grounds. Since we camped at the fest, I had plenty of meals back at the campsite too. But I'll save those for a post tomorrow. We arrived on Thursday morning, but we didn't venture away from the campsite until mid-afternoon.

There was a new EDM stage called Where in the Woods, located in the general camping grounds (we stay in guest camping since I'm there to work as media), and we wanted to check it out. So we made the couple-mile trek to general camping. And that's where I saw The Beet Box (in Plaza 4), my favorite food vendor from last year! I tried their beet philly in 2018, so I wanted to try something new this time. I made a great choice with this Beet Burger!


The patty was made from beets and other veggies, served on a buckwheat blini with sunflower aioli and beetchup! SOOOOO good, and I felt like this was a pretty healthy start to my weekend.

Every year, there's a doughnut vendor by the Which Stage handing out free samples, but they're not vegan. Still, I had to pose with their doughnut!


The next day, I ate breakfast at the campsite, but we had to get out fairly early for Yoga-aroo! I've been doing yoga at Roo for years, and last year, I finally convinced Paul to do it with me. He had a great time!


After yoga, we had to pick up our bibs for the annual Roo Run 5K (set for Saturday morning). The bib pick-up was held in Plaza 2 in general camping, so it was another long walk from our campsite. I started to get a little hungry on the walk, so I stopped at Solar Cafe for a Tofu Scramble Wrap.



I've seen Solar Cafe on Bonnaroo's food vendor list on their website for years, but I've never made it over there. It's so far from where we camp, so when I saw it, I knew I wanted to stop! But I didn't realize that everything there is made to order, so my wrap took about 30 minutes. We were standing in the hot sun the whole time, so that was kind of a bummer. But when I finally got my food, it was worth the wait. Noochy sauteed tofu with broccoli, beans, salsa, spinach, and other veggies!

I shoot photos of musical acts for the Memphis Flyer when I'm there. That's my old job, but I still cover Roo for them! I had a few acts on the list to shoot Friday night, including the Avett Brothers and Griz. But I wanted to get something for dinner first. Luckily, these Chana Masala Fries were hot and fast! What a great idea!


You can see the pics I took for the Flyer here, and here's a fun crowd shot at Griz!


Saturday morning was Roo Run time! Paul has been dealing with an achilles injury, but he managed to get 3.1 miles in and still beat me! It's a hot race around the Roo farm with very little shade. My fave thing about this race is that it's hosted by ultrarunning legend Charlie Engle! I got a high-fave from him after the race. 


Later Saturday afternoon, we were wandering around near the Food Truck Oasis (where trucks from all over the country park) when I spotted Vegan Nachos at the Nectar Urban Cantina truck. These were amazing! Topped with a homemade noochy cheese sauce, beans, sweet potatoes, salsa, and lettuce.


On Saturday evening, like 12:30 am (so technically Sunday morning), I saw my favorite act this year — The Lonely Island (Andy Samburg's comedy rap group). Hilarious!

We planned to leave mid-day Sunday so we could get home by the end of the night. Manchester is about six hours away from Memphis. But we took one last stroll through Centeroo to shop for souvenirs and get our last taste of festival food. For me, that was a Vegan Arepa with guac, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onion from the Alma food truck.


This Venezuelan corn cake sandwich was delicious, but it was more snack-sized than meal-sized. Luckily, I knew just the thing to make it a meal! YUCA FRIES! No Roo is complete without a basket of hot, starchy yuca fries. What a perfect way to end a lovely weekend.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Save the Oceans with Sparkling Water!

June is World Ocean Month, so the folks at FOUND Beverage reached out to ask if I would feature their new 100K Initiative to benefit Oceana, an advocacy group dedicated to protecting and restoring the world's oceans.

I'm a sparkling water addict, so I was more than happy to try out FOUND's new flavored sparkling water for the 100K Initiative! According to UNESCO, there are 100,000 marine mammals impacted by plastic in the oceans. To commemorate these animals, FOUND has developed 100,000 glass bottles of the brand's naturally sparkling, infused mineral water to sell and raise money which Oceana will use to protect the oceans and their wildlife.


Each of the 100,000 bottles is individually numbered, so you can get a better feel for the impact of plastic on wildlife. FOUND has bottled two flavors of their carbon-neutral sparkling water for the project — Cucumber Mint and Elderflower.


They sent me the Cucumber Mint, and it was fantastic! Just the right amount of bubbly carbonation with a refreshing cucumber flavor and hint of mint. Learn more about how you can support the 100K Initiative here. 100% of profits go to protecting all wildlife that call our oceans home.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hummus & Doughnuts & Pizza!

One a few weeks ago, I brought a salad to work for lunch, but it just didn't feel like enough food for a proper lunch. So I ordered the Three Bean Hummus platter from the cafe at Crosstown Arts (where I work). I don't know what three beans are in this house-made hummus, but it's delicious — especially with that warm grilled pita.


Friday was National Doughnut Day! There's currently nowhere in Memphis serving vegan doughnuts on the regular – only occasionally at Imagine Vegan Cafe and the cafe at Crosstown Arts. So I had to make do on my own! I went to bootcamp Friday morning, and then I followed that with some FitQuick Protein Doughnuts (made from the chocolate brownie and orange cream bar waffle mix and topped with chocolate peanut butter and plain almond butter). I used to eat FitQuick waffles and doughnuts all the time! But I got a little burned out. Luckily, I still had some mix in my freezer.


Later that night, I picked out a recipe for Baked Frosted Lemon Doughnuts from Chocolate Covered Katie's cookbook. These were a little healthier than fried doughnuts, so I felt pretty good about eating two. 


Last time I was in Nashville, I ordered the OG Bowl from Wild Cow and added grilled tofu. Such a simple and healthy meal! But I LOVE it. I had to recreate it at home, and I think I nailed it — brown rice, garlic kale, pinto beans, and grilled tofu topped with garlic aioli. For the aioli, I thinned out a few tablespoons of Vegenaise with water and then added a few grated cloves of garlic. 


Here's another yummy — but not as pretty — bowl with roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, kale, quinoa, and tahini sauce.


On Mother's Day, we made naan pizzas at my parents' house, and my dad had the foresight to suggest I make an extra one to take home and freeze for a busy week night. This Vegan Sausage & Veggie Naan Pizza came in very handy one night! I just re-heated from frozen it in the air fryer, and it was perfect. My dad is so smart!


And here's a random Vegan Deli Sandwich with BE-Hive seitan slices, avocado, tomato, and lettuce. Served with my favorite Food Should Taste Good sweet potato corn chips.


We'll end this post with CAKE!! My friend Vaughan turned 65 a few weeks ago, and Stephanie baked him a Vegan Chocolate Cake. IT WAS SO GOOD. The party was kind of late on a week night, so I ate cake at 9 pm and then went to bed at 9:45 pm. Not the best idea. Definitely affected my sleep, but it was worth it.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Race Recap: Beer & Bagel Off-Road Series in Memphis

I know this is a food blog, but for me, running and food are SO interrelated. So much of what I eat is either for pre-run fuel or post-run recovery. But the best meals are post-race! I live for those celebratory meals of carbs and beer.

When I heard about the Beer & Bagel Off-Road Race Series moving to Tennessee, I knew I had to sign up. This trail series has been going on in other states for several years, but they expanded to include Memphis this year. The race was this past Saturday on the Wolf River Greenway and through some trails in Shelby Farms. The race's mascot is Bigfoot, and he was waiting for us about a mile into the 4(ish)-mile course.


He jumped out at runners as we passed, and then when we passed him again toward the end (the course was an out-and-back), he gave out high-fives. 

The course started through some single-track trail through Shelby Farms. It was muddy from the previous week's rain but not as bad as I expected. No big mud holes! The race organizers said they had to change the route a bit after the rain because part of the planned course was underwater. After we got through the single-track (about a half-mile), we switched to the paved Wolf River Greenway. We got to run on a new portion of the Greenway, which follows the Wolf River through a beautiful shaded forest area, that isn't yet open to the public. Very cool! There were butterflies everywhere!

As the race name implies, this event ends with beer and bagels, two of my very favorite foods (yes, beer is food). They had locally made beer by Wisecare and handcrafted bagels by Dave's Bagels.



We also got a sweet finishers' medal with Bigfoot on it. It doubles as a beer opener, naturally. Not pictured is the awesome race shirt we got — a long-sleeved tech shirt that says "I'm a runner with a drinking problem" on the back. Can't wait to wear that on some winter runs. I only wish they'd had short-sleeved shirts so I could wear it now!


There were two vegan bagels — Plain and Cinnamon Raisin — and they were cut in half. So I got a half of each. They also had BBQ at the post-race party, but of course that's not vegan. So I took some of the BBQ sauce and covered my plain bagel in it so I could have BBQ too. Turns out BBQ bagels are really good!


Super-fun race! I love the chill vibe of smaller trail races so much more than the high-energy, anxiety-inducing vibe of big city marathons.  Love running both, but I'll take a trail race over a road race any day!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Fried Tofu! Pizza! Aloo Gobi!

My friend Susan and I went to Pho Binh for lunch today. Best tofu buffet in town (and under $10!). The lemongrass tofu (on the left of my plate) is INCREDIBLE. Also pictured: Tofu & Mushrooms, Tofu & Green Beans, and Curry Tofu Soup.


We had our monthly Crosstown Running Crew meet-up at Elemento Neapolitan Pizza in Crosstown Concourse last week. They don't have vegan options (yet!), but their pizza is still amazing without cheese. I got this one (with mushrooms, kalamatas, and roasted red peppers) to go, so I added some Daiya at home.


The cafe at Crosstown Arts, where I work, had a yummy Aloo Gobi on the menu last week. Served with rice and toasted warm pita. So good!!! WOULD. EAT. AGAIN.


Here are some oats I had last week — with berries, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Just bein' all healthy!


And finally, here's an awesome post-run meal from this week. Loaded Sweet Potato with avocado, black beans, spinach, corn, tomato, and Trader Joe's pepita salsa. This combo was delicious and super-filling. Also oil-free! I feel best when I'm eating like this.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Giveaway: The Complete Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook

My long-time blogger friend Barb Musick — of That Was Vegan blog fame — has a new cookbook out! And I am so proud of her! The Complete Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook is just what it sounds like — a comprehensive guide to vegan cooking in the Instant Pot. We'll be giving away a copy at the end of this post!

When Barb reached out to me about reviewing her book, I had to admit — I didn't actually OWN an Instant Pot. It's one of the few kitchen gadgets that I just haven't gotten yet. But my parents have one, so I was happy for an excuse to borrow theirs.

Barb includes lots of great tips for Instant Pot newbies like myself. And since my parents' pot isn't an Instant Pot brand pot (it's a generic version called GreenPan), I found that section of the book very helpful for translating some of the Instant Pot settings to other instant pressure cookers.

I've made a few recipes over the past couple weeks, and I am so thrilled with everything I've made! From the breakfast chapter this week, I made Barb's Strawberry Oats with Maple Toasted Walnuts. 



These creamy steel cut oats are sweetened with a little brown sugar and topped with fresh berries and candied walnuts (made on the stovetop while the oats are cooking). Steel cut oats always take forever on the stove, and they still took awhile in the Instant Pot. But I was able to set the timer, walk away and take a shower, and come back to finished oats. No need to watch a pot on the stove. Love that!

I picked two recipes from the Vegetable Mains chapter to try. First, I tried the Butternut Mac & Cheese because I LOVE a vegan cheese made from butternut squash and cashews.


This is SO creamy, and the whole wheat pasta cooked in the Instant Pot in just 2 minutes!! The squash was roasted first (I did that the night before to save time), so that made for a very flavorful sauce. But the recipe doesn't call for that; you can use B-nut squash cooked in any way. I just prefer roasted squash. I served this with broccoli for a balance meal.

I tried the Tempeh Sloppy Janes last week. Best vegan sloppy janes (or joes) I've ever had!


The sloppy jane mixture is made with a base of tempeh and refried beans, which is unlike any I've had before. I love the texture of the beans, and the recipe made so many servings. I had it on buns with diced red onion, bell pepper, and pickles for several days. And when I got tired of eating it on buns, I served it atop whole wheat pasta for a very yummy and filling meal.


All of Barb's recipes are based on whole foods, which is how I try to eat at home most of the time. There are so many things I want to try from this book, so it looks like I'll be asking for an Instant Pot for Christmas! Other recipes on my list: Chickpea Kale Korma, Savory Tofu & Potato Casserole, Taco Chili, Red Thai Curry Cauliflower, and the Layered Mexican Casserole.

Want your own copy of The Complete Vegan Instant Pot? Just leave a comment on this post that includes your email address (so I can contact you if you win!). I'll randomly choose a winner on Monday, June 10.