Monday, October 15, 2018

Birthday Weekend Fun!

My birthday is Tuesday! Yay! And since I'm a Libra, I like to spread out the celebrations as far as possible. Birth week started with a fun, food-filled birthday weekend with some of my favorite people!

On Friday, after work, my BFF Sheridan and her partner Drew came to Memphis (from Little Rock), and we went out for dinner at Today & Always (the new name of our restaurant at Crosstown Arts!). They hadn't had a chance to eat since we opened our plant-based cafe at work, and I was all too happy to share a meal there with them (even if that did mean going back to the office an hour after leaving on a Friday!).

I ordered the Steak & Cheese Wrap — a seitan steak philly-style wrap with cashew cheese sauce. Chef Raymond makes his own seitan and slices it very thinly for deli meats that are just phenomenal. On the side, I got the Creole Coleslaw.

We all three split an appetizer of Vegan Pimento Cheese. This spread is SO GOOD.

After dinner, we headed across the lobby to Art Bar, Crosstown Arts' bar concept. Bar manager Bart and crew are whipping up some artful, inventive cocktails, and they're served in a super-cool lounge with vintage furnishings and retro knick-knacks. I started with The Last of the Mississippi Speedballs (yaupon, Jameson, lemongrass, camomile). This tastes like tea and drinks like liquor.

Chef Raymond also creates the bar snacks for Art Bar, so we snacked on his delicious homemade Salt & Vinegar Chips. We were sitting at a table with green lighting, hence the color.

More Art Bar shots! After my cocktail, I switched to Hamm's because it's good, cheap beer.

The next morning, Sher, Drew, and I went back to Crosstown Arts' Today & Always for brunch! They serve chef specials only (no regular menu) at Saturday brunch, and one of Raymond's specials was vegan Grits and Grillades. This featured his homemade seitan, in cutlets, over grits with red wine gravy and coleslaw. OMG so good.

They had to leave shortly after brunch (but we did get in a quick trip to Trader Joe's first!). And then later that night, Paul got into town from Nashville. We joined some friends Saturday night at Dru's Place, our fave gay bar, for drag and pool.

And then on Sunday morning, we met up with Pam and Megan at Imagine Vegan Cafe for the most amazing brunch of my life — Vegan Doughnut Burgers!!!!!! SERIOUSLY!! Beyond burger patty stuffed between two glazed vegan doughnuts with special sauce and a side of sweet potato fries. This was a brunch special a few weeks ago when I was out of town, so I nicely asked Imagine owner Kristie if she'd make it again for my birthday. And she did! Love!!

I really should have eaten a salad for dinner, but Paul's mom sent him with some cash and told him to buy my birthday dinner on Sunday night as a gift from her. So we kinda HAD to eat out again. This time, we decided on takeout from Crazy Noodle, enjoyed while watching a scary movie, Hereditary. I went with my fave Vegetable Ramen (extra tofu).

Whew! That was a lot of delicious food (and drink!). It's a good thing the full No Meat Athlete Health Made Simple plan launched today because I need to get back on track. I'll update y'all on day one of the full meal plan in tomorrow's post.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Explore Cuisine: Pumpkin-Sage Pasta with Seitan Sausage

Quick note: This is a sponsored post, thanks to my friends at Explore Cuisine — makers of organic protein-packed pastas made from beans, lentils, rice and peas. I don’t do a lot of sponsored posts, generally opting instead for more objective review posts where I can say whatever I want. But when I do agree to work with a company on a sponsored post, you can trust that it’s a company I REALLY believe and support. #UseYourNoodle

I have a love/hate relationship with fall. I LOVE Halloween. My birthday is in October (Libra power!), and Thanksgiving is my fave holiday. But I can’t get over the fact that fall feels like a prelude to winter. I hate cold weather. I’ll take a 100-degree, humid summer day and mosquitos any time, thank you very much.

But at least we have pumpkin to make fall seem a little more bearable. I love, love, love pumpkin. Typically, we find pumpkin used in sweet applications, like PSLs, pumpkin pie, and Trader Joe’s famous vegan pumpkin rolls. But I also love pumpkin in savory dishes, and not a year goes by that I don’t make pasta with pumpkin sauce at least once. This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan! I’ve made my own adaptations over the years, but the idea for a savory pumpkin pasta sauce came from Sarah.

Explore Cuisine’s Chickpea Fusilli is perfect for this recipe because the spiral noodles soak up that thick, creamy pumpkin sauce. Plus, this gluten-free pasta has 11 grams of protein per serving, so it’s super-filling. I add vegan seitan sausage to really bump up the protein factor. 

For this recipe, I used my homemade seitan sausage (recipe is in my cookbook, Cookin’ Crunk). But here’s a very similar version on One Green Planet if you want to make your own. You can also use Tofurky or Field Roast sausages for this recipe.

Pumpkin-Sage Pasta with Seitan Sausage
Yields 4 servings

1 box Explore Cuisine Organic Chickpea Fusilli
1 onion, chopped
2 3.5-oz vegan sausage links, sliced
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1/4 black pepper

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse.

Saute the onion in about 1/4 cup water until soft, about 5-7 minutes. If water begins to dry up, add a few drops more to keep the pan slightly wet and prevent sticking. Add the sausage and saute another 5 minutes or so until sausage is browned and water in evaporated.

Stir in the pumpkin, the other 1/2 cup water (or more to reach desired sauce creaminess) salt, sage, and pepper and cook another 5-7 minutes or until heated through. Stir sauce into pasta and serve. I love to top my bowl with a little vegan cheese!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Explore Cuisine: Red Rice Pad Thai

Quick note: This is a sponsored post, thanks to my friends at Explore Cuisine — makers of organic protein-packed pastas made from beans, lentils, rice and peas. I don’t do a lot of sponsored posts, generally opting instead for more objective review posts where I can say whatever I want. But when I do agree to work with a company on a sponsored post, you can trust that it’s a company I REALLY believe and support. #UseYourNoodle

As many regular readers probably know by now, I am constantly striving to find a balance between healthy eating and treating myself. Part of that process has been trying to limit my oil consumption, saving myself for really special takeout when it’s most deserved (or desired). 

So most nights, Thai takeout is out of the question. It’s totally fine for an occasional splurge, but on your average week night, I’d rather stick to something a little lighter. That’s when it’s best to make Thai food at home, when I can control the salt, sugar, and fat in my dish.

When I received review samples of Explore Cuisine’s Organic Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles, I knew healthy Pad Thai was in my future. And lucky me, there was a delicious-sounding recipe for it on the box.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I opted to try their version, and it was fantastic! Unlike some other Explore Cuisine noodles, these red rice noodles are not quite as high in protein (4 grams per serving). That’s because they have a base of red and white rice, rather than the pulses that give other Explore Cuisine pastas their high protein content. But they’re still gluten-free and have a perfect, chewy texture that I enjoyed much more than traditional rice noodle pasta. 

The recipe from the box might not be quite as authentic as what you’d find in a Thai restaurant, but it’s light and cooling (thanks to cucumbers and radishes). Perfect for these warm early fall nights we’re experiencing in the South! It’s the #SmarterWaytoPasta.

The only change I made to their recipe was omitting part of the oil in favor of non-stick cooking spray and adding soy sauce to the tempeh.

Organic Red Rice Pad Thai with Savory Peanut Sauce
Courtesy of Explore Cuisine

8 oz. organic red rice pad thai noodles, cooked, rinsed, drained
1 cup block tempeh, cubed
2 tsp. soy sauce
Non-stick cooking spray
1 cucumber, seedless, sliced into strips
2 radishes, sliced
2 scallions, sliced
2 chilis, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped peanut
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Savory Peanut Sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced

Whisk all sauce ingredients together. Stir-fry tempeh in a pan coated with non-stick cooking spray and the soy sauce until browned, then drain on paper towel.

Toss noodles with sauce. Fold in tempeh, cucumber, radish, scallion, and chili. Divide among 4 plates. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Health Made Simple Day 9 + Weekend Eats

This morning on the Health Made Simple meal plan started with a Larabar Fruit & Greens bar as my pre-workout snack and a bowl of white rice with soy sauce and sesame seeds just after my workout. Today, that workout was 30 minutes on the elliptical and about 30 minutes on the weight machines (god, I can't wait to run again!).

One of things I'm learning on Health Made Simple is that I don't need nearly as much protein as I was getting before in post-workout. They actually recommend an easy digesting carb-heavy snack, like white rice or a banana, immediately after a workout and something with a bit of protein about an hour later. So I'm following that plan. That hour-later meal was my meal plan breakfast (enjoyed around 8 am) of a Banana Walnut Smoothie. And coffee of course!

Loved this smoothie! It just has 2.5 bananas, 1/8th cup walnuts, and water. That's it! And it tastes just like bananas and walnuts. Simple and delish. Love all the fruit on this plan!

As I mentioned yesterday, it's snack week on HMS, so we're adding in healthy snacks (and still eating whatever we want for lunch or dinner). Today's morning snack was Veggies and Tahini Dressing (a homemade dip made from tahini, herbs, lemon, and soy sauce).

Lunch was leftovers, and my afternoon snack was another fruit bowl (that looked very much like yesterday's bowl).

Dinner was a Seitan Steak & Cheese (using The BE-Hive's Vegan Seitan Deli Slices) on whole wheat with Violife Smoked Provolone, sauteed mushrooms, and sprouts. Side of air-fried sweet potato fries.

And while I'm trying to limit dessert on the plan, I'm certainly not giving it up. My friend Susan left me a lovely Muddy's Bake Shop Peanut Butter Bar on my porch on Sunday. I saved half for tonight. Enjoyed while watching the live Health Made Simple Q&A "healthcast" with Sid Garza-Hillman.

Here are some other things I ate over the weekend that I haven't had a chance to share yet. There's this Seitan Deli Sandwich with smoked Violife provolone, sprouts, tomato, and chipotle mayo on a locally baked Lucy J's Bakery demi-baguette. Trying to get in some white bread before the full meal plan starts next week!

Over the weekend, Crosstown Brewing Co. hosted Crosstoberfest, and I had a few Oktoberfest-style beers, plus this Veggie Dog (only $2 y'all!).

But that veggie dog didn't fill me up. Thought about getting another, but my friend/co-worker Rich was selling $2 BBQ Veggie Tacos at the event too. So I got one of those instead. This had smoked kale, smoked BBQ mushrooms, and vegan slaw. Very messy, but very good. Rich runs Hi-B-Que at the HiTone (a smoked BBQ trailer), and he makes the best smoked veggies!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Health Made Simple - Week 2

As I mentioned in a couple posts last week, I'm doing the Health Made Simple challenge from No Meat Athlete. It's an 8-week meal plan focused on whole foods, plant-based meals. The first two weeks are a ramp-up to the full meal plan. Last week, the only diet change was to have green smoothies for breakfast every week day and healthy, heartier breakfasts on the weekend (more on that in a few).

This week, it's all about snacks! I'm still having the green smoothies for breakfast, but I'm now adding two healthy snacks a day from the meal plan. Next week, I'll be on the full meal plan with breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner recipes all planned out for me.

But let's back up to the weekend. I want to show y'all the healthy foods I ate Saturday and Sunday morning. My Saturday breakfast on the plan was Tofu Scramble with baby spinach, onions, garlic, and nooch. I added a slice of sprouted grain toast spread with coconut oil.

My Sunday breakfast on the plan was Avocado Toast — one of my faves! With tomato slices, pink salt, and pepper.

Snack week/Week 2 started out strong with a healthy green smoothie. The Greens Fruit Flax Smoothie had green apple, spinach, banana, and flax seed. I thought I'd be tired of smoothies by now, but I'm not!

Morning snack was more fruit! We were supposed to have a bowl of any Mixed Fruit we wanted. I made mine with banana, grapes, kiwi, and strawberries today. One of the snacks every day is a fruit bowl, so I bought other fruit to mix these up throughout the week. Later in the week, I'll add apples and mangos to my bowl. It felt pretty good to only eat fruit until lunch time!

The fruit kept me satisfied until noon, but I had a meeting that ran through lunch time until 1 pm, and I was famished by then. I should have taken my afternoon snack into the meeting, but I didn't think of that. Oh well. I was very happy to have this Seitan Deli Sandwich with avocado, Violife provolone, tomato and sprouts on sprouted grain. Plus, Baby Carrots and Hummus on the side. I'm trying to use up my vegan meats and cheeses before the lunches and dinners on the plan begin next week! Excuse the terrible lighting. I had to eat my lunch in the art gallery today.

Afternoon snack was Trail Mix with almonds, cashews, dates, coconut, dried pineapple, and pumpkin seeds. Rather than make the mix from scratch like the plan suggests, I used some trail mix I already had in the pantry (it was a cashew, almond, cranberry, blueberry blend), and I added some of the ingredients called for in their recipe (the ones I already had, like dried pineapple, dates, and coconut). I wasn't terribly hungry for a snack since I'd eaten a late lunch. But still fun to eat!

Dinner was another attempt to use up plant meats. I've had a Tofurky in the deep-freezer for months, one I'd found on clearance for $5!! I roasted that and served with a recipe from Rich Roll's book, Finding Ultra. His mashed potatoes are made with olive oil and Vegenaise rather than margarine. And he tops them with steamed broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, spinach. So good!

The Crosstown CDC, which I'm on the board for, had its monthly meeting tonight at Midtown Crossing Grill, where pints are $2 on Mondays! Everyone always drinks at our CDC meetings, so of course I had to get a beer. I've decided I will not be giving up alcohol on this plan, so beer will still be a regular thing. Carbs, am I right?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Bluff City Vegan Eats: DWJ #2

A few weeks back, my vegan co-worker buddy Madelyn insisted that we get lunch at DWJ #2, the Cooper-Young location of an awesome Korean BBQ spot (they have another location out on Hacks Cross). It's located right next door to my home away from home, Imagine Vegan Cafe, but I'd never been. Mostly because if I'm in the Cooper-Young neighborhood, I'm usually eating at Imagine.

But Madelyn had recently tried DWJ when her vegan son was in town, and she really wanted me to try it. DWJ has several vegan menu items, so we found plenty to eat! Madelyn suggested we start with an appetizer of Goonmandu — fried Korean dumplings stuffed with clear rice noodles, tofu, and veggies. These were amazing! I loved having rice noodles inside a dumpling!

For my entree, I went with Bibimbap, one of my all-time fave Korean dishes. The vegetarian version had tofu, zucchini, carrot, mushroom, lettuce, sesame oil, and sweet chili paste over white rice.

You can get it in a regular bowl, but I recommend ordering dolsot-style. That means it's served in a hot stone bowl that continues to cook the the white rice so it gets all crispy and crunchy on the bottom. 

Love this place! Madelyn ordered the Jobchae, a stir fry of clear noodles with tofu, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and carrots. It looked really great too, and I'll have to get that next time.

DWJ #2 is located at 2156 Young Ave (in the original Imagine Vegan Cafe location!). Call 901-207-6204.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Stuff I Ate from the Crosstown Arts Cafe

As I mentioned a few weeks ago in this post, Crosstown Arts, the nonprofit arts org where I work, now has a plant-based cafe. And that means gourmet vegan food is available right outside my office door.

I've tried to limit myself to eating in the cafe just once a week because a) I have a budget for eating out and 2) I like to cook at home too! Since I also manage the cafe's Facebook page and photograph the daily specials as they're plated, this is a challenge. But so far, I'm making that self-inflicted limit work.

Here are a few meals I've eaten in our Crosstown Arts Cafe lately. We had our monthly Vegan Drinks meet-up there a few weeks ago, and I got the daily special of Vegan Chili Cheese Fries with seitan beef and cashew cheese. YUM!! Washed down with a Crosstown Brewing Co. Traffic IPA (brewed just a few doors down at our on-site brewery).

Here's the Curry Tofu Salad. This has grapes, chickpeas, and chunks of firm tofu in a curry mayo. I ordered a slice of baked-in-house rosemary bread to scoop this up with.

Last night, I met some friends for dinner and ordered the Seitan Bourgignon, which is sadly going off-menu. It's being replaced with something else, but man, it was so good! Mashed potatoes, seitan beef stew, and asparagus. Chef Raymond said he may make it again one day as a special though!

Here's a savory Cashew Ricotta & Chive Scone baked by our baker, Ali. She makes fresh vegan pastries, scones, croissants, and other sweet treats daily. I have an especially hard time resisting those.

The next pic isn't something from the cafe, per se. But this plate of deliciousness was prepared by our cafe staff for our last staff meeting. We served ourselves buffet-style from a spread of baked tofu, hoisin eggplant, sauteed green beans, spicy cauliflower, sauteed peppers and mushrooms, brown rice, sesame noodles, and sauteed bok choy. 

We also have vegan cupcakes (from Muddy's Bake Shop) for every staff meeting (they're monthly) to celebrate staff birthdays. I grabbed a Mint Chocolate Grasshopper Cake to eat later in the afternoon with a cup of Maple Walnut Green Tea that I purchased from our cafe.

By the way, Crosstown Arts Cafe has a Facebook page now! Follow us!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Bagels & Oats & Soup!

Since I'm about to start eating lots of No Meat Athlete Health Made Simple meals on a 4-week meal plan (starting week after next), I'm posting all my random meal pics from the past few weeks. Here's a yummy Dave's Whole Wheat Bagel with Miyoko's Creamery Cream Cheese & Hot Pepper Peach Jam. I usually eat my bagels toasted in two halves, but I was inspired by Sarah at Long Island Vegan to try this sandwich-style. It was fun to eat this way!

Another locally made Dave's Whole Wheat Bagel but this one is a Breakfast Sandwich with Tofu Egg and Earth Balance European Style Spread. For my tofu eggs, I fry tofu slabs and coat them in Vegg yolk (made with Vegg powder). Also, I've been loving the new Earth Balance European-style margarine!

One night recently, after having some dental work done, the only thing I could manage to eat was mushy food, like soup and guac. My parents were in town and we wanted takeout, so I got the Carrot-Coconut Soup with Baguette and an order of Chips & Guacamole from Next Door in Crosstown Concourse. The chips and bread were a little hard to eat with a numb mouth, but I did okay.

Another fun breakfast — Tofu Egg & Avocado Toast with lots of sriracha!

When I went to Nashville a couple weekends ago, I brought my breakfasts with me. Oatmeal cups! Here's one (poured into a bowl) with nut butter and berries. This was the Trader Joe's Strawberry Raspberry Oatmeal.

And finally, here's a big ole salad with cashew ranch (from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook) enjoyed on the balcony of Crosstown Concourse for lunch one day. I'm currently reading Let Your Mind Run by elite runner Deena Kastor.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Some Things I Ate Today, Some Things I Didn't

It's Day 2 of the Health Made Simple challenge from No Meat Athlete. It's an 8-week reset with a focus on small steps. And this first week, the only change in what we're eating is to our breakfasts. It's smoothies every week day and a heartier (but whole foods-based) breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.

This morning, I started with my pre-workout snack — an ABC (almond butter cocoa) Bar from Trader Joe's. I'm trying to eat all my sugary, not-as-whole foods-based snack bars before the real meal plan launches in two weeks. Then I went to Les Mills Body Pump at the YMCA in Crosstown Concourse.

After my workout, I had this Blueberry Peach Smoothie with blueberries, peaches, banana, spinach, and walnuts. For now, I'm following the recipes, so this doesn't have protein powder, but the program offers an "ask a nutritionist" feature, and I emailed them about how to handle these smoothies when they're enjoyed post-workout. I might be adding protein powder in the future! We'll see what they say!

My morning snack was Vegan Dream Cowgirl Jerky — a wheat gluten/soy-based jerky. Again, trying to eat up my processed stuff before the meal plan starts! And I knew I needed something high-protein to satisfy me through mid-morning yoga class at the Y (it's in my office building so I like to take my lunch break and do yoga!).

Lunch was Veggie Gumbo with Brown Rice. My friend Susan made a batch of gumbo this weekend and left me a serving on my porch! So I cooked up some brown rice and brought that for lunch today. Wholesome and delicious!

Since the meal plan hasn't started yet, I'm really hoping to get my fill of stuff I don't want to eat on the plan. Like this Vegan Caramel Sticky Bun baked by our Crosstown Arts Cafe baker Ali. She made these this morning, and I COULD NOT RESIST. But I was a good girl and split it with a few co-workers.

Dinner was Pumpkin Pasta with homemade seitan sausage. But I'm saving that picture and recipe for another Explore Cuisine post next week! So I'll share that soon!

Okay, now for some stuff that I didn't eat today. Here's a Veggie Sausage & Roasted Veggie Bowl I LOVED last week. It has sauteed Beyond Sausage with air-fried broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower over quinoa with a hummus-nooch sauce (I just mixed hummus and nooch together and drizzled!).

On Saturday, before heading to Mid-South Pride on Beale Street, I scarfed down some Field Roast Mini Corn Dogs. Not a proper lunch, but I pretty much grazed all day Saturday. Made a maple-Dijon for dipping.

And finally, I'll leave you with this thing of beauty. This past Sunday was Don & Kenzie's third Lulu's Baked pop-up brunch at Fuel. And this time, Don was serving Breakfast Torta with scrambled tofu, fermented tomatillo, oyster mushrooms, rancho gordo beans, and avo aioli. All on his handcrafted sourdough. AMAZING.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Health Made Simple Challenge!

I've been feeling the need for a reset for awhile. After fracturing my foot (for the second time this year) in August, I had to take a break from running, which makes me sad. So to make me feel better, I just kept eating like I was training. I've been taking in the same amount of calories as I was in 50K training without nearly the same level of athletic output.

And that's left me feeling a little blah. Too much processed foods and sugar will do that after awhile. When No Meat Athlete (NMA) posted a new Health Made Simple 2.0 meal plan challenge last week, I was immediately interested! But it was a little cost-prohibitive for me, so I just decided that I'd have to skip it. And then, yesterday afternoon, I got the "last call" for Health Made Simple sign-up email from NMA, and I had FOMO so bad that I just bit the bullet and signed up! It's currently closed to new members, but I'd imagine they'll open it up again at some point.

The sign-on fee paid for FIVE meal plans and a customizable online meal planner that I can use forever. So in that sense, it was a pretty good deal. It also comes with access to a nutritionist during the challenge dates — Oct. 1-Thanksgiving — plus videos and tips and a private Facebook community.

Anyway, this is an 8-week challenge so expect lots of Health Made Simple posts between now and Thanksgiving! The first two weeks are ramp-ups to the full 4-week meal plan, and then there's a 2-week ramp-down to normal life. In the first week, we're only focusing on breakfasts, which are smoothies during the week and hearty, healthy breakfasts like tofu scramble and avo toast on the weekend.

But before my breakfast today, I had my pre-workout snack of two Fig Newman's before going on a walk outside (my walking boot is off but I can't run just yet, so walks have to do) and some ab work. No, Fig Newman's probably aren't on the Health Made Simple plan, but we're only switching up breakfasts this week, so I'll work on improving my pre-workout nutrition later in the month!

Today's breakfast on the Health Made Simple plan was a Strawberry Raspberry Smoothie with frozen strawberries, raspberries, banana, spinach, and walnuts. Very good! And I didn't even miss the protein powder.

Since we're only changing breakfasts this week, I get to eat whatever I want the rest of the day. So I'm deliberately not worrying about processed foods and sweets just yet. And good thing! Because when I got to work today, my co-worker Madelyn had made Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Orange Apricot Biscotti!

I had that with some coffee (very good!), but I was still hungry for my morning snack of Violife Smoked Provolone on Stoned Wheat Thins. This Violife cheese is SO GOOD. Definitely the best one on the market.

I'm trying to use up my processed stuff before the meal plan starts in two weeks, so my lunch was the rest of my Nasoya Tofu-Vegetable Dumplings stir-fried (without oil) with broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. Drizzled with Thai peanut coconut sauce and sriracha.

For dinner, I had plans to meet up with a couple of awesome ladies from Atlanta who are traveling the country and making a documentary on vegan restaurants. Sally and Sunshyne (fellow Libras!!) met me at Imagine Vegan Cafe, and we had such a blast talking about veganism and Imagine's awesome food.

We had such a blast, in fact, that I FORGOT to photograph my plate! That almost never happens, but every once in awhile, if I'm in some great conversation, I'll forget. But luckily, I've got photos of pretty much every dish from Imagine since I've sampled the whole menu many times. Here's an archive photo of the Grilled Chicken Salad with Ranch. It looked about the same tonight!

I wanted something a tad on the healthy side but still decadent, so Imagine's creamy ranch and grilled Gardein chicken hit the spot. And hey, at least I got some greens in. Since I'll be eating so well in a couple weeks, I'm really trying to sow my wild oats while I can.

My posts over the next two weeks may mention Health Made Simple a bit, but since I'm mostly eating normally aside from breakfasts (and next week, we work on snacks), I'll be posting my usual reviews and random meal round-ups. When the full meal plan starts, I'll probably be featuring what I ate each day.