Thursday, December 6, 2018

Stuff I Ate: Tacos, Banh Mis, & So Much Soup!

I mentioned here last week that one of my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants, Fuel Cafe, is closing on December 22. Super bummed about it. I'm trying to eat there as often as possible before it's too late. Since they've re-did the menu earlier this year, I still hadn't gotten a chance to try the famed vegan Oyster Mushroom Banh Mi, so I fixed that today at lunch with my friend Susan.

This hearty sourdough loaf (baked by my friend Don of Lulu's Baked) is stuffed with pan-fried oyster mushrooms, walnut pate, cilantro, and carrot pickles. AMAZING. Sad that I'll probably never get to eat this again (unless Don serves a version of it at a future pop-up!). Don will continue doing vegan pop-ups in the Fuel space after they close, so that's good news.

Last night, I made the BBQ Tempeh Tacos from Health Made Simple. This super-easy recipe was one of my faves on the plan, and I'll definitely be making it often. You just sautee tempeh in a skillet with BBQ sauce (I used Trader Joe's Carolina Gold) and top with pineapple, cilantro, jalapeno, scallion, and red cabbage. I added some Tofutti sour cream since I had some on-hand.

As part of my job at Crosstown Arts, I manage the social media for our plant-based cafe, Today & Always. That means I sometimes get to try the things I photograph! Today, cafe manager Nicole made this lovely cup of the drink special — Salted Caramel Apple Cider — for a social media photo. And then she let me drink it afterward. This has a vegan salted caramel syrup and coconut whip. SO GOOD.

Yesterday, I had a work meeting at French Truck Coffee, the coffee shop downstairs from my office. I ordered their drink of the month, Masala Cappuccino (made with toasted coconut-almond milk). It had hints of cardamom, vanilla, and black pepper. Very good!

And now for all the soup! On Monday, I didn't have an easy lunch prepared, so I grabbed a box of Pacific Black Bean & Kale Soup to take to the office. This soup is super whole foods-y with only ingredients I recognize!

I had one last serving of Lisa's Tempeh & Rice Gumbo in the freezer from Health Made Simple. Had that for lunch yesterday.

And finally, here's a bowl of RAMEN!!! I finally had my Sunday morning ramen after weeks of not eating ramen on Health Made Simple. But I made this as healthy as possible with Lotus Foods Brown Rice Ramen, tofu, peas, carrots, corn, and spinach. The flavor was miso, so it also had bits of seaweed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Stuff I Ate: Smoothies & Chili 2 Ways

Even though Health Made Simple is over, I'm still eating very healthily at home. I've kept up my morning smoothies. Each day starts with a Larabar and a workout followed by immediate post-workout carbs in the form of white rice or fruit juice. Then, about an hour later, I have my proper breakfast of a green smoothie. Here's a Spinach Colada Smoothie with pineapple, coconut water, banana, spinach, flaked coconut, and walnuts.

And here's a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with pureed pumpkin, banana, and walnuts. No greens this time. And I added a little Reddi Whip coconut whip because pumpkin NEEDS whipped cream.

I made a great chili for dinner this week. The recipe was from More Fabulous Beans, an older cookbook from Book Publishing Co. (my publisher) by Barb Bloomfield. The recipe was called Kidney Bean Pepper Chili, and it has kidney beans, corn, tomatoes, celery, peppers, and onions, plus dried ancho chiles. The recipe was already low-oil, but I made it oil-free because I rarely cook with oil anymore. Topped with Tofutti sour cream!

Barb is a really cool lady who lives on The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee (where my publisher is located). I've stayed at her house a few times on visits to The Farm (if you're not familiar, it's a former commune-turned-intentional community in Middle Tennessee, and most people there are vegan or vegetarian).

The next day, Paul and I had leftover chili over baked potatoes. Very good!

And here's a bowl I ate last week at my desk at work. It has quinoa, sauteed kale and squash, chickpeas, and tahini dressing.

Monday, December 3, 2018

St. Jude 5K Race Recap

Y'all! I ran a 5K! A few months ago, I crushed 5Ks (or more often 10Ks) for breakfast. But then I fractured my foot AGAIN while training for a 50K, and I've been out of commission since mid-August. I originally signed up to run the St. Jude Memphis Marathon (our largest running event in Memphis) on the day they opened registration back in June. It would have been my third year running the full marathon at St. Jude (and my fourth marathon in total). But after my fracture, I knew 26.2 miles was out of the question.

I bumped my registration down to the 5K on the advice of my doctor. It's incredibly humbling to go from training for a 50K to struggling through a 5K, but I made it! Granted, I walked a good chunk of the race for fear of hurting my foot again.

My foot is still sore at times, and I don't think I'm fully back in business yet. Thinking I should get one more X-Ray before I get back into the game. I'm so grateful that I was able to be part of St. Jude weekend through! This race raises an insane amount of funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which provides free medical treatment for kids with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The race and expo are HUGE, and it's such an exciting time for this city.

When I signed up to race the full, Paul signed up for the same. It would have been his first full marathon, but when he learned I couldn't run it, he chickened out and bumped his registration down to the half (his second!). I was so proud of him for going through with it! And then my friend Megan ran her first 10K at St. Jude, so we actually got to run together for a short bit since the 5K and 10K courses started out together before splitting off.

Megan and I enjoyed our post-race beers together while we waited for Paul. I couldn't believe they had my favorite Wiseacre beer — Tarahumara Dry-hopped Pale Ale (fans of Born to Run will recognize that name!).

When Paul was finally done, we took many selfies.

Here's what I ate on race day. I started the morning (at 4:45 am!) with a bowl of Rolled Oats with Strawberries & Walnuts. I typically add maple, but I was out so I added a teensy bit of sugar. Hey look, it's a picture of me running the St. Jude full marathon last year!

I had a banana right before the run, and then after, I picked up some Veggie Soup from the post-race party. They rarely have any vegan hot food options, so this was nice. Most years at St. Jude, it's freezing and this would have been perfect. But this time, it was about 65 degrees!

I packed a Picky Bar All-in-One Almond Bar in my gear check back, so I had that after my soup (also had another banana and a little free OJ for carbs!). LOVE these bars. They're made with real, whole foods and are designed for athletes.

I also packed some Vegan Rob's Moringa Puffs in my bag because I knew I'd want something salty to snack on. Have y'all tried these? They're so good.

After the run, Paul and I were pooped since we'd gotten to sleep a little too late for an early day. I had a slice of toast with hummus and then napped for about two hours. After I woke up, we tried to go to Fuel Cafe for pizza, but they were so busy that they ran out of dough (now that they're closing, everyone is trying to eat there one last time!). Sadness. Paul actually had been craving grilled cheese anyway, so we went to the Hitone instead.

The Hitone is a rock club best known for cheap PBR and punk rock, not sandwiches. But they recently brought on Josh McLane, a local comedian with some chef skills, and he's added a menu of snacks and sandwiches. Paul got his grilled cheese, and I ordered The Cara (a veggie sandwich with olive tapenade, marinated mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes). 

It comes with pesto and cheese too, but I left off the pesto (most contains parm) and I brought my own vegan cheese from home, which Josh cooked onto my panini. Very good! The white bread and chips were a nice post-run treat and felt very indulgent since I've been eating so well lately! Yay for treats!