Monday, July 16, 2018

Weekend Fun with Sheridan & Drew!

My BFF Sheridan and her partner Drew came to visit me in Memphis this past weekend. They live in Little Rock, about two hours away. And they hadn't been to Memphis since last fall so we had lots of eating to catch up on!

When they arrived on Saturday afternoon around 1 pm, it was time for lunch. So we drove out east to City Silo since they'd never been. City Silo is AWESOME! Most things on the menu are vegan by default, but they have the option of adding dairy cheese, eggs, or chicken. It's nice when vegan food is the default. Anyway, I had just run 16 miles and I was very hungry, so I ordered my favorite bowl in wrap-form. The Sesame Tempeh & Buffalo Cauliflower Bowl can be served on a wrap, but I usually get the bowl. The wrap is my fave. Love dipping it into the cashew ranch!

After lunch, we went out for beers at Crosstown Brewing Co., which is also new since they've been here last. Sheridan and I both ordered the seasonal Margarita Gose (a sour beer that has a lime-y margarita flavor without being sweet or too sour). I also sampled CBC's limited-edition Boris oak barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout.

We took a little walk around Crosstown Concourse and Crosstown Arts (where I work) so they could see the progress and then we attempted to ride Memphis' new Bird Scooters (local scooter share), but the scooters wouldn't accept mine or Sheridan's driver's licenses for some reason. Oh well! Then it was on to some shopping at Urban Outfitters and then dinner! 

We dined at Fuel Cafe so they could try the new vegan pizzas, created by the talented Don Gaines. But we started with an appetizer of Baba Ganoush with pita, olives, and roasted carrots.

The three of us split two pizzas — a Carrot Ham & Pineapple Pizza and a Cream & Greens Pizza with added mushrooms. The cream is a mushroom cream, and it's so good. Also, Don hand-makes the cashew cheese and the fabulous sourdough crust.

Paul met up with us at dinner, and then the three of us went to a blacklight DJ party downtown at The Lightclub for an hour or so. We finished the night out with beers and some snacks (fresh herbed bread with Treeline scallion cashew cheese and olive bruschetta).

On Sunday morning, we stopped into Imagine Vegan Cafe for brunch before they hit the road. They were dying to try Imagine's new mozzarella sticks, and they did not disappoint!

For my entree, I wanted to go with something fairly light and healthy since Paul and I had a planned 6-mile run later in the day. I chose a Veggie Platter with vegan mac and cheese, seasoned greens, green beans, and BBQ beans. 

We had a wonderful, delicious time! Can't wait to do it again (and I'll get to visit them in Little Rock in the next couple weeks for Sheridan's birthday!).

Thursday, July 12, 2018

More Stuff I Ate

I have been LOVING my CSA. It's so fun to plan my meals around fresh produce, which surprisingly, is something I wasn't doing before. Instead, I was picking recipes from cookbooks without any concern for what I already had on-hand (that's an expensive way to eat, y'all! Pretty sure this CSA is saving me $$$).

One day last week, I made a Potato Cabbage Curry using this recipe. I added chickpeas for protein though! And I added some asafoetida and black salt for a more authentic Indian cuisine flavor. Tasted like something from a restaurant! Served over basmati rice.

My parents came to town on the Tuesday night before the 4th of July so my dad could fix my bike. And we went out to eat at Farm Burger, where I got yet another Impossible Burger. I will never tire of these!

Here's a much healthier burger! I had some No Meat Athlete Burgers (a lentil-walnut burger) in the freezer from when I made them back in December. The recipe is in the No Meat Athlete marathon roadmap meal plan. I had one on a Burger Salad!

But I also had another No Meat Athlete Burger last night on a sprouted grain bun with homemade pickles (from my CSA!) and Air-Fried Fries & Chipotle Mayo (by Just for All).

Hey, here's last week's CSA haul! Summer squash, nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and nectarines.

I've already polished off the nectaries and cherry tomatoes. The cucumber became pickles and found their way into salads. And I used some of the squash in this Black Bean & Squash Burrito! Also has mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, vegan cheese, and salsa. I wish there was a way to take a pretty picture of a burrito.

I'll be back on Monday night with an update from my weekend fun. My BFF Sheridan and her partner are coming to visit, and we're planning to eat our way through vegan Memphis!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Stuff I Ate

I've back on my protein waffle game! I took a little break from FitQuick protein waffles when I was injured, but now that I'm ramping up my 50K training, I'm back to alternating between protein smoothies and protein waffles for breakfast. I had this Pizza Waffle after a morning run one day recently. Topped with marinara and some leftover cashew cheese!

Stopped by Imagine Vegan Cafe for a quick takeout dinner one night. Got the BLTA with a Side Salad and vegan ranch. They go heavy on the bacon on this sandwich, so it's one of my faves.

After that BLT, I kept craving more BLTs. So I made a few at home using toasted sesame seeds in place of bacon. Have y'all tried this???? It's amazing. A now-defunct health food store in Memphis — Square Foods — made their BLTs with toasted sesame seeds (they really taste like bacon!!) and I used to love them. Just toast seeds in a dry skillet and spread them over the mayo. I added heirloom tomatoes from my CSA, lettuce, and sprouts. Side of tortilla chips (the Sprouts brand cause they're my FAVE!) with hummus and salsa.

Here's a random breakfast of Oatmeal with Nectarines (from my CSA!), plus almond butter and hemp hearts.

My friend Andy had a birthday a couple weeks ago, and every year for his birthday, he requests that we eat at the West Memphis Shoney's. Weird, I know. Shoney's doesn't offer much for vegans, so I usually bring some food from home to add to my meal. This time, I ordered the salad bar and brought a Beyond Burger patty that we had leftover from the kitchen at work. Believe it not, burger salads are really good!

And finally, a sweet treat! Our Crosstown Arts cook/pastry wizard Maria is always trying out new vegan cookie recipes on us at the office. The other day, she had some leftover corn that needed using, so she made these Lemon Cornbread Cookies! Mmmmmm. They were like cornbread but sweet and with a hint of lemon. Definitely one of my faves from her.

More random meals tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Global Café Pop-Up at Crosstown Concourse

Global Café is a new international food hall opening soon in Crosstown Concourse, the building where I work. They'll host three immigrant/refugee food entrepreneurs at a time, and they'll cook and sell food in a common space. When they open later this summer, they're starting with cuisine from Nepal, Syria, and Sudan. 

The hope is that the individual entrepreneurs will eventually become successful enough to branch out and open their own restaurants. So the country concepts may change over time. They're still wrapping up construction on their space, which will be located near The Curb Market on the ground floor (if you're local and familiar with Crosstown Concourse).

But for the month of July (through the 27th), you can get a taste of Global Café at their lunch pop-up in West Atrium. Here is General Manager Juan of Mexico and Chef Ibti of Sudan serving up lunch. They start at 11 am daily on the weekdays.

Yes, they have a vegan option! 

The pop-up menu is only a sampling of what they'll serve in the restaurant, so there are four items. But one is vegan! My co-worker Madelyn and I had lunch there last week so we could try Juan's Mexican Frijoles de la Hoya Bean Stew.

Look at that beautiful avocado! Juan says he prides himself on his ability to pick out the best avocados. He topped each of our plates with a half avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. The stew tasted so fresh and healthy. I felt great after this lunch. I washed it down with their Hibiscus Flower Tea. This was lightly sweetened and very floral. A perfect complement to the beans.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Falafel & Waffles!

Crosstown Brewing Co. — my neighborhood craft brewery at Crosstown Concourse — started hosting a weekly Bluegrass Brunch a couple weeks ago, and when I found out there were vegan options (thanks to pop-up vendor, Falafel & Waffles), my friends and I made plans to go!

On Sunday around noon, we met up there for brunch. I'd just run 12 miles (and 12 miles on Saturday as well), so my appetite was heartier than usual (and it's always pretty hearty). When we approached the Falafel & Waffles tent, I was stoked to see it's run by my co-worker Daniel and his wife Lily!

Vegan options at Falafel & Waffles include vegan biscuits and sausage gravy and falafel. They were out of the biscuits and gravy, so falafel it was! I got the falafel order, plus a side of avocado and hummus and pita. The falafel was perfectly fried (without being greasy!) and so delicious stacked onto pita wedges with that hummus and perfect avocado. 

Not only was brunch delicious, but CBC was selling $3 beermosas (made with CBC's Siren Blonde Ale)! Win, win!

Here's the brunch bunch — Trés, Shiloh, Nicole (who also works with me at Crosstown Arts), and her partner, Sheila.

And of course, me and Cassi!

Awesome brunch! They also have a bluegrass band playing during brunch hours, which runs from 11 am-3 pm (or until Falafel & Waffles runs out of food, which it seems they did on Sunday!).

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Fourth of July Eats!

Just a quick post tonight to share pics of my Fourth of July food and fun. I was off work yesterday, so I slept in, watched Evil Genius on Netflix, fit in a 4-mile trail run, and visited with a friend who's been sick and stuck at home for a week. And then I headed to my friend Andy's house for a Fourth of July cookout.

There were five of us there and only two vegan/vegetarian folks, so the meat eaters cooked their meat while my friend Mike and I cooked vegan brats and burgers. I brought the Tofurky brats, and Mike brought Morningstar Farms' new quarter-pound vegan burgers. I also wrapped some CSA summer squash in foil packets and threw that on the grill.

The salads you see here are from a cookbook I plan to review pretty soon, so I'll save the details for that. But there's a cucumber salad and Tennessee caviar (blackeyes peas, corn, tomato, onion, cilantro, and oil/vinegar dressing). Both were light and summer-y and perfectly balanced that heavy plant meat!

Sadly, Mike kinda burned the veggie burgers. So I scrapped that awesome Daiya cheese and onions off and added them to my brat.

Mike also brought his locally famous Vegan Rotel Dip! This has a base of melted vegan cheddar, almond milk, canned Rotel tomatoes & green chiles, and crumbled vegan sausage. He serves it in a Crock Pot, just like you're supposed to serve rotel dip in the South! It's so good, and I wish he would have sent me home with some leftovers! I'll have to steal his recipe and share with y'all soon.

(Fun fact: Mike's Chex Mix recipe gets more hits than any other post on this blog.)

After dinner, we headed downtown for the free fireworks show over the Mississippi River!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Current Obsession: The No Meat Athlete Cookbook

I'd like to start a new occasional blog post series dedicated to my current obsessions. When I'm into something, I'm, like, ALL IN. And right now, I'm pretty much obsessed with all things No Meat Athlete. I've been working my way through the podcast for a couple years now (the episodes date back to 2011), and I'm only 3-4 episodes away from having listened to them all.

And I just can't get enough. The show — and blog — is run by Matt Frazier and Doug Hay, two vegan ultrarunners who live in the Asheville, NC area and love beer, running, and eating whole foods (ME TOO!!!). They're goofy and inspiring at the same time, and listening to their show inspired me to sign up for my first ultra — the Stanky Creek 50K (which I'm training for now).

About a year ago, Matt and his friend Stepfanie Romine released The No Meat Athlete Cookbook, and I was so excited that I pre-ordered it on Amazon (I rarely pre-order books!). I cooked from it quite a bit last summer (here's my review!), but as cookbooks tend to do after a while, it started gathering dust on my shelf. But since I've started training for my 50K (and since I've signed up for my CSA), I've been inspired to cook from the book again. Here are a few meals I've made over the past week.

Last week, I made the Beet Bourguignon (Beet-Lentil Stew) using fresh beets from my CSA, plus carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and lentils. It has a red wine stock that is just heavenly paired with those beets.

This week, my breakfasts have been the Daily Grinder — a savory breakfast sandwich with hummus, avocado, pickled onions, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, sprouts, and hot sauce.

It sounds like a weird breakfast, I know. But I'm a savory breakfast girl most of the time (unless I'm having smoothies or oats!), and this book is loaded with savory breakfast ideas. This sandwich is made with the No Meat Athlete breakfast hummus, which has a lot of the same spices as a tofu scramble. So it tastes a little breakfast-y. The pickled onions are also from the book, and they're so easy (just onions, citrus, salt, and a pinch of sugar).

I'm sure you'll be seeing more from this book in my weekly Stuff I Ate posts! If you don't own it, it's definitely a must-buy. The focus is on whole foods with lots of ideas for meals to fuel and recover after workouts.

Monday, July 2, 2018

14th Anniversary Celebration!

Paul and I have been partnered for 14 years as of June 28th! It's hard to believe that much time has passed. It seems like just yesterday that I met Paul over a game of pool at Newby's Monday night beer bust. We were 23 and 24; now we're 37 and 38. Still don't feel any older. But then again, I can't imagine going out to a beer bust on a Monday night now, so I guess I am older. Ha!

Since Paul works out of town, we couldn't celebrate until he was home this weekend. We picked our favorite special occasion restaurant, Seasons 52. It's a chain, sure. But it's a high-end chain, and they have a vegan tasting menu. And we had some gift cards, so that made the choice easy.

We started with a complimentary champagne toast (thanks Seasons 52!), and I ordered a glass of Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz. We split an appetizer of Avocado Toast. This was Paul's first time trying avo toast (crazy, I know!), and he loved it. The bread was grilled and topped with a generous mash of avocado, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions, and a 15-year aged balsamic. 

For my entree, I went with the Vegetable Tasting Menu. This changes every season, and I've had it once before. Last time, it featured cedar plank tofu, but this time, there was Wood-Fired Kohlrabi Steak, Vegan Paella, and Pan-Seared Broccoli and Asparagus. 

WOW!!!! The kohlrabi steak was freakin' amazing. I've cooked with kohlrabi at home a few times, and I never really know what to do with it. But this is definitely the best preparation I've had. If you're not familiar with kohlrabi, it tastes a bit like a turnip. Those flavors pair perfectly with smoky char from the grill. I was also super-impressed with the paella. It had sundried tomatoes and vegan beef crumbles. Very good!

After all that food, I was stuffed. But since it was our anniversary, they came out with complimentary dessert. Paul chose a non-vegan smores pudding, but they offered me the only vegan dessert — Summer Berries. After such a heavy meal, I was actually really pleased to just eat fruit for dessert.

Every year on our anniversary, we have to end the night at Newby's — the bar where we met in 2004. It's not the kind of bar we'd hang out at these days since it caters to a mostly college-aged crowd. But we're there at least once a year for this! We toasted with tequila shots.

And then enjoyed local craft beer while we played a game of pool.

Happy anniversary, Paul!!