Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Emmy's Organics Coconut Cookies

Emmy's Organics sent me a few packages of their Organic Coconut Cookies to review! I've had a couple flavors before in past Goddess Provisions boxes, so I was excited to try more flavors.

These are essentially raw coconut macaroons, and they're made with just a few ingredients — coconut, agave, almond flour, and natural flavors. And every ingredient is organic and gluten-free and, of course, vegan!

They sent me Peanut Butter, Lemon Ginger, Dark Cacao, and Vanilla Bean. 

Of course Peanut Butter is my fave. These taste like a healthier version of Chick-o-Sticks! My next fave would be the Lemon Ginger, which has a very pronounced lemon flavor with just a hint of ginger. The vanilla bean and dark cacao are great too!

Since these are around 100 calories each, they make perfect little snacks before my 5:30 am shorter morning runs. I take in more calories for a longer run of course, but for anything less than 3 miles, about a 100 calorie snack is all I need.

Of course, they also make perfect little afternoon dessert pick-me-ups! And it's a dessert you can feel totally great about!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Vegan Drinks Pool Party & Brunch Potluck

This past Saturday was the second annual Vegan Drinks Pool Party! Members Melissa & Anthony started this tradition last year by opening their lovely home for a pool party and taco potluck, and this year, they opted for a brunch theme.

So that means we started drinking at 11 am! Yay brunch!

We had plenty of mimosas and beer-mosas, so we're probably all well-fortified with Vitamin C now.  As for the food, we had so many delicious breakfast dishes. I made my mom's veganized Biscuits & Gravy Casserole. 

This has layers of canned biscuits (Pillsbury Grands are vegan), vegan sausage (I used Gimme Lean), vegan cheddar (I used Daiya), hash browns (frozen shreds from a bag), scrambled Vegan Egg, and white country gravy.

By contrast, Jennifer made a much healthier casserole that was like a Baked Tofu Scramble Casserole with vegan cheddar, kale, and more veggies. Very good! Probably the best tofu scram I've ever had (she used a recipe by JL Fields).

Hosts Melissa & Anthony made Breakfast Tacos! With vegan sausage/peppers/brussels sprout saute and tots! Tacos with tots are always a winner.

Steven made Sweet Potato Pancakes using grated sweet potato. They were slightly sweet but also savory and wonderful topped with vegan sour cream.

Here's my savory plate!

For dessert, Megan made a scrumptious Berry Cobbler with a biscuity topping. She brought vanilla soy ice cream for serving. Perfection!

Melissa & Anthony made Air-Fried Doughnuts!!!! These blew my mind, and I will most definitely be making these at home soon in my own air fryer. They used canned biscuit dough for the doughnuts and just brushed them with a simple icing. I'll have to get her recipe, try them, and share with y'all soon.

Another pool party come and gone! We had a blast and hung out in and around the pool until about 4 pm. Can't wait until next year!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day Burgers & Beers

My parents came down from Jonesboro today for a Father's Day outing at Crosstown Concourse — the awesome building where I work and spend most of my free time. My dad had seen me post about the Impossible Burger at Farm Burger in Crosstown Concourse, and he said he wanted to try it. So we had vegan burgers!

My dad and mom both loved the Impossible! My mom even said it was better than a meat burger.

Here's an inside shot of my Impossible Burger. I ordered it medium rare this time, and it had just the right amount of pink inside. I LOVE this burger so much. For my toppings, I went with housemade pickles, red onion, tomato, lettuce, grainy mustard, and pickled jalapenos.

After lunch, we walked down to the far west side of Concourse for beers at Crosstown Brewing Co. My parents had yet to check out our local brewery, so this was fun!

I got the Alt School altbier, and they got Siren Blonde Ale. Paul went with the high-grav Russian Imperial Stout.

I love my dad so much! He's the coolest guy I know — super generous, silly, and badass all at the same time. Definitely won the dad lottery in life and I'm super grateful.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Philly Beet Steak!

I ate many delicious vegan meals at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Fest last weekend (read all about them here!). But one meal stole my heart - the Philly Beet Steak from The Beet Box food stand. It was just what it sounds like! A Philly cheesesteak made with beets, topped with peppers and onions, a creamy cashew cheese, and slices of avocado. I couldn't wait to go home and re-create the meal with the beets from last week's CSA.

The recipe is super-simple, but it so satisfying. And it fits in with my current efforts to fit as many veggies into my diet as possible. My version is made with whole wheat bread for a healthier spin, but The Beet Box used a soft white roll. Do what you want!

Here's the recipe!

Philly Beet Steak
Yields 2 sandwiches

3 small (or 2 medium) beets, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 large Vidalia onion, sliced into half moons
1 green bell pepper, sliced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Mrs. Dash
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper
2 whole wheat hoagie rolls

For the cashew cheese:
1/2 cup cashews, soaked 8 hours
1/2 cup (or more) water
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Roast the beets in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until fork tender. 

While the beets are roasting, add the onion, mushrooms, and bell pepper to a large skillet with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Add as much Mrs. Dash, garlic powder, and salt and pepper as desired. Saute on medium-high, adding more water as necessary to prevent the veggies from sticking. Once they're soft, allow the water to dry up and continue to saute for a couple minutes, stirring often, to allow the veggies to brown.

To make the cashew cheese, combine the cashews, 1/2 cup water, garlic, sea salt, and nutritional yeast in a blender. Blend until smooth. You may need to add more water one tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency. You want a thick but pourable cheese, like a sauce.

To assemble, spoon half the beets into the roll and top with half the pepper/onion mix. Top with as much cashew cheese as desired and finish with avocado slices.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Vegan Campsite Meals at Bonnaroo

Yesterday, I shared all of the delicious eats (and musical highlights) enjoyed inside Centeroo, the festival grounds at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Fest last weekend in Manchester, Tennessee. Tonight, I've got a round-up of stuff I ate at our campsite.

We stay in Guest Camping every year, which is quite a step up from Bonnaroo's General Camping area. It's reserved for artists and press, and the entire campground is shaded (there are no trees in general camping). Plus, we get free showers, and there are some cool perks (like air-conditioning and wifi) in the nearby media tent. Soooo grateful for guest camping!

Here we are after setting up camp. You can see my shiny orange Subaru Crosstrek in the background. Her first roadtrip!! Also, check out our Obama tapestry that we found on the ground at Bonnaroo last year. Ground score!!

I wish I was one of those campers who cooked amazing, rustic meals every night. But I'm not. I'm a convenience camper, and most of my meals consist of oat cups and soup cups. I bring a camp stove for boiling water for my cups. But I try to work in some fresh fruit and veggies too.

Breakfast most mornings was oat cups with nut butter packets and fresh blueberries, which I picked up at the Manchester, TN Walmart when we arrived in town.

I used to bring instant coffee and boil hot water on my campstove to make coffee, but who wants hot coffee when it's 90 degrees outside? These days, I pack cold brew and little boxes of soymilk to make iced coffee.

Lunches were typically soup or noodle cups, like these Dr. McDougall's Pad Thai Noodles.

And this Dr. McDougall's Tortilla Soup.

The soup cups are usually 200 calories or less, which does not make a meal. So I supplemented with big ole salads! I had lots of lettuce in my CSA, which I picked up on Tuesday before we left. I packed the mixed baby greens in our cooler, and I picked up a can of chickpeas, some chopped cauliflower & carrot "rice" blend, and some Just Ranch dressing at the Walmart when we got there. I made salads like these every day! Nothing is more refreshing on a hot day outside than a cold salad with vegan ranch.

I also kept some hummus and baby carrots in our cooler for snacking, but I didn't get pics. Ooh, and let's not forget my Sunday morning breakfast, which wasn't oats but Dr. McDougall's Vegan Chicken Ramen!!

As for snacks, I had trail mix, Earth Balance popcorn, I Heart Keenwah puffs, Kettle Bourbon BBQ chips, Bugles (!!!), and some homemade Cheesy Kale Chips that I made in the dehydrator at home before I left. I used my CSA kale for these! 

I love that I was able to use most the CSA veggies that I worried might go bad while I was gone! All in all, I feel like I ate pretty well at the campsite this year. Made up for all that fried goodness I bought out in Centeroo. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Vegan Food at Bonnaroo 2018

We just returned from our 9th annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Fest in Manchester, Tennessee (it was actually the 16th year for the festival, but we've been going since 2010).

This massive 4-day music/camping fest typically hosts about 50,000 to 80,000 guests, so as you might imagine, there are always plenty of vegan options!

Here's a rundown of the food I purchased inside Centeroo (the fest grounds). Plus, some highlight pics! Tomorrow, I'll post my campsite meals.

My very favorite meal of the weekend was this bowl of Vegan Cactus Hugger Tots from the Super Tot food truck! These were available with vegan cheese, plus salsa and guac. You can never, ever go wrong with tots. They had another vegan tot option (with nooch and vegan aioli) that I wanted to go back for but never made it over there again.

Paul and I don't usually venture into the general camping grounds since we stay in the guest camping area (for media and artists), but this year, we ran the Roo Run 5K, which took us on a tour of the massive general campgrounds. They have food vendors out there too, and I spotted this vegan food stand called The Beet Box.

Check out the menu!!

I went with the Philly Beet Steak, and it was SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. I'm definitely re-creating this at home very soon (and when I do, I'll share the recipe!). It had grilled beets, onion & mushrooms on a hoagie bun with beet ketchup, cashew cheese, & avocado.

We have a few Bonnaroo food traditions that we eat every year, and one of those is Yuca Fries. I've had plenty of yuca fries in my day, and let me tell ya — the yuca at Bonnaroo is the very best. This time, I had them sub out guac for the aioli that comes with them. They were a little stingy with the guac though!

Right next to the yuca fries booth, there's a noodle stand, and most years, either Paul or I order the Veggie Noodle Bowl. This year, Paul ordered it, but they've switched from a teriyaki sauce to a peanut sauce, and Paul didn't like them. So I finished off most of this bowl. Still good, but the teriyaki sauce was better. Sorry for the crappy pic, but it was late and dark!

Another tradition that I've maintained for the entire nine years of our Roo visits are late-night Samosas! Nothing beats a hot, fried potato-pea fritter with chutney when you get the beer munchies at midnight.

Bonnaroo is located in the very tiny town of Manchester, Tennessee, where outside-the-fest food choices are limited to chain restaurants, like Taco Bell and Waffle House. Some years, we venture outside the festival to sit in an air-conditioned restaurant. This time, our friends Shara and Mary arrived mid-way through the fest (they only wanted to hear bands that were playing on Saturday), and they were craving Waffle House. So we hit them up for breakfast on Sunday. Did you know Waffle House's hash browns are vegan? Yep, so long as you're okay with the shared griddle (I'm fine with that). They use a vegetable shortening to fry with. I got mine scattered, diced, and peppered. With black coffee of course!

That's all for the food I purchased. I tried to go easy on the spending this year since I just bought a new car. But I'll share my money-saving campsite meals tomorrow!

Until then, here are a few highlights from the fest! Paul snapped this great picture of Paramore on Saturday! We get media access since we freelance for The Memphis Flyer, so these pics were taken from the photo pit.

And I caught this image of Sheryl Crow. She was great! She played almost exclusively older songs that we knew all the words to.

The musical highlight for both us though was The Glitch Mob. They played a killer set!

On Friday morning, we got up early and went to yoga. There are free yoga classes every morning at Roo! Paul tried yoga for the first time!

And on Saturday morning, we ran the Roo Run 5K. This is the sixth year for the 5K, and I've wanted to sign up every year. But it often sells out, or I just forget until it's too late. This year we were on our game! This 3.1-mile route took us on a tour through the general campgrounds, and there was pretty much no shade in sight. And it was about 90 degrees! Good thing we're acclimated to hot outdoor runs in the South!

Other highlights included Eminem (but the crowd was insane, and we couldn't get close enough to see anything), The War & Treaty, Mavis Staples, a booth of cheap crystals ($5 for giant chunks of amethyst & rose quartz!). See y'all tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My First CSA Subscription!

I signed up for my first CSA! I'm only doing one month — June — of the Bring It Food Hub CSA and kind of testing it out. I'd like to see if I can manage to cut my grocery budget this way by focusing all of my meals around fresh produce and only buying pantry items and perishables, like tofu and almond milk.

If my budget gets bigger with the CSA, I'll probably end it in July. But we'll see. Until then, here's a look at my first haul. Mostly greens — mixed baby lettuce, kale, chard, garlic, cauliflower, and garlic scapes.

I sort of forget that things like tomatoes and squash aren't in season here yet, so I wasn't expecting so many greens. But that's okay! I need to be eating more greens anyway. I've been eating plenty of salads using the mixed lettuce, plus other veggies that were already in my fridge, like carrots, radishes, and bell pepper and add-ons like tofu, raisins, almonds, and cashew ranch.

Last night, I had some bean and rice leftovers from Imagine Vegan Cafe with a saute of cauliflower and scapes (from the CSA bag), plus squash and broccoli. On the side, I sauteed the kale and topped with a little tahini. I wasn't crazy about this kale. I think it's Russian kale? Really bitter! 

I had the Swiss chard tonight as a side to yummy vegan eggplant lasagna dish from Memphis-based food prep company, Your Personal Chef. I sauteed the chard with the garlic and some scapes. No oil!

I got my second CSA bag today, but I'm leaving for Bonnaroo early Thursday morning. It has kale, lettuce (2 kinds — mixed baby greens and a head of red leaf lettuce), beets, collards, broccoli, and garlic. I'm making it my goal to take as much of the fresh produce with me as possible, so I can eat very healthily at the campsite. I'm turning the kale into kale chips for snacking on while I'm there, and I'm bringing the baby lettuce to make salads at the campsite! I gave the red leaf lettuce to a friend since I doubt it'll last, but I figure the other veggies are hearty enough to stay fresh in my fridge until I return.

Speaking of Bonnaroo, this will be my last post until I return early next week. But I'll report back with lots of delicious campsite meal pics and pictures of the vegan goodies I find at festival vendors. I've heard tale of vegan cheese tots this year, so I'll be on the hunt for those.