Thursday, April 20, 2017

Memphis VegFest!

Memphis is having a VegFest!!!! It's Saturday, April 22nd at the Levitt Shell from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I'll be demo-ing my Tofu Eggless Olive Salad from Cookin' Crunk at 12:30 p.m., and there's a full line-up of other awesome local speakers. The line-up includes Philipp and Cru from the new vegetarian restaurant Mama Gaia, Lydia Muhammed with Lydia's Healthy Edibles, Brandon Thomas of Guilt Free Pastries, chocolatier Phillip Ashley Rix (who will be demo-ing a vegan paella), Tracy Knight of Skinnysouth, and animal rights activist Tiffany Lindfield (speaking on social work and agribusiness).

There's also a Vegan Challenge Cook-off! Anyone can sign up, so you'll likely see some local home chefs up against restaurant pros. Should be interesting.

Zaka Bowl, City Silo, Seasons 52, Imagine Vegan CafĂ©, Merge Memphis, Phillip Ashley Chocolates, Ms. Lillie’s Z-Muffins, Nikki’s Hot Products, Guilt-Free Pastries, Lydia’s Healthy Edibles, and others are supposed to be there with $3 samples. I hear baker Stephanie Crowdis (aka Poopie Bitch) will be joining Imagine Vegan Cafe at their table with some of her locally famous cakes, brownies, whoopie pies, and other desserts. There will be food trucks and other food vendors. Plus, you'll find giveaways of vegan products and lots of other goodies.

The fest is sponsored by Replenish Kombucha, City Silo Table and Pantry, Zaka Bowl, and Whole Foods Market. It's the first such fest to be organized by this group (led by Replenish Kombucha), though we have had vegan festivals (thanks to Bastet of Green Goddess Gourmet Vegan Foods) in the past. There's been a multi-year gap since the last fest though, so I'm super-stoked to see Memphis back in the VegFest game!

By the way, there's currently a chance of storms on Saturday morning, so a rain date plan for Sunday is in the works. I will keep y'all posted and update here if I hear anything.

I'll check back in on Monday night with a full report (taking Sunday off blogging for Paul's birthday!). Hope to see some local readers there!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crazy Sexy Juice Reboot, Day 3!

And I'm done! Today was the last day of my 3-day juice/smoothie/high-raw reboot using Kris Carr's plan from Crazy Sexy Juice. For the past few days, I've been drinking only veggie/fruit juices and smoothies until the afternoon, and then I get a little solid snack and a giant high-raw dinner. My goal was just to get a super-boost of nutrition and get some healthy habits back on track!

This whole plan has been pretty easy to follow, much easier than a straight juice "fast" (I hate that word!). I love chewing, and I'm a huge fan of smoothies because they allow me to take in a lot of fiber and fat. Am I glad it's over? I'd be lying if I didn't say yes. But only because I'm super-excited to bring bread back into my life! And chewing all day! I actually don't miss sweets or fried stuff yet. I'm really hoping to find that healthy balance of indulgent and super-healthy that makes me the most happy.

Anyway, here's what I drank today!

I don't run on Wednesdays, so I woke up and did a quick yoga video from Yoga with Adriene while I sipped on my first juice — Pucker Up (grapefruit, orange, lemon, turmeric, and ginger). After my shower, I had my breakfast of a Peachy Green Smoothie (banana, peaches, raw cashew-hemp milk, flax seed, and chard). Morning snack was a Garden in a Glass juice (a savory blend of carrots, beet, celery, cucumber, parsley, broccoli stem, romaine, lemon, and ginger). My garden juice looks like poop water, I know, but that's because I used yellow beets instead of red. Oh well. Whole Foods was out of red beets!

Lunch was my very favorite smoothie on this plan — the Body Builder! It had peanut butter, banana, raw almond milk, spinach, and hemp seeds. I love anything with peanut butter AND it kept me full for hours. Definitely the hardiest smoothie on this plan. And finally, my afternoon snack juice was the Fatigue Fighter (grapes, pear, spinach, romaine, celery, and lime). Pears are loaded with B2, which helps with energy production, so this was great for the afternoon slump.

Today's plan also called for a solid food snack from Kris Carr's list of recommended snacks in the book. I chose the almond and apricots snack since I had some of this Spiced, Sprouted Almond & Mulberry Trail Mix and a few Dried Apricots in my pantry. I snacked on this while I ran an after-work errand. Then I went to hoop yoga (we do yoga with hula hoops!) at 6 p.m. I wasn't sure if I'd be full enough to go to yoga before dinner, and I was super worried about getting hangry in the middle of class. But I made it through okay! I was dreaming about dinner all through savasana though.

But immediately after yoga, it was dinner time! Thankfully, I live just a block away from the studio. Man, I was so excited for this dinner. Raw Zucchini Noodles with Cashew Cheese, Raw Marinara, Herbed Lentils, and Steamed Veggies.

I've always been a zoodle fan, and top those with cashew cheese and cooked lentils, and I'm a happy lady. This hit the spot and felt like the perfect celebratory meal for the last day of my reboot. For the veggies, I steamed brussels, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Since my dinner was kind of late (7:30), I was still really full when it was time for my "dessert," but that didn't stop me from enjoying this warm cup of Cashew Chai Milk — made with soaked, raw cashews, maple syrup, cinnamon, and cardamom. Mmmmm.

And that's it! Believe it or not, I'm planning to start off tomorrow with yet another smoothie (even though I don't have to)! I'm doing Kris Carr's #greendrinkaday challenge, so I've pledged to have green juices or smoothies at least once a day for 10 days. But I'll definitely be adding back in some non-raw, non-juice foods too! Looking forward to some pasta and tempeh tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Crazy Sexy Juice Reboot, Day 2!

I've just wrapped up day two of a 3-day juice/smoothie/high-raw reboot thing, and I'm still going strong.

In case you missed yesterday's Day 1 post, here's a recap: I'm using Kris Carr's juice "cleanse" plan from her new book, Crazy Sexy Juice. I'm calling it a reboot though because that's how I'm viewing it. It's just a way for me to get some healthy eating habits back on track! I'm not trying to detox or lose weight or anything. Just going for a good infusion of nutrition. It includes juices, smoothies, and whole foods/high-raw snacks and dinners. For a juice thing, it's relatively easy. And I'm feeling pretty good, but I did have a pretty low point today between 4-ish and dinner.

But before I get into that, here's what I had between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. I woke up at 5, ate an almond butter-stuffed date (not pictured) with some lemon-ginger water, and set out for a 3-mile run. Then I had a small glass (top left) of Rise 'n' Shine juice (grapefruit-pineapple-carrot-ginger) to replenish glycogen. Breakfast (bottom right) was a Berry Protein Power smoothie (blueberry-cacao-hemp-banana-raw almond milk). Morning snack was a Green Me Up juice (pineapple-pear-chard-kale-parsley-cucumber-celery) on the top middle. Lunch was the Inflammation Heavyweight smoothie (cherry-blueberry-hemp-spinach-raw almond milk) on the bottom left, and my afternoon snack was the Savory Smoothie (cucumber-avocado-spinach-garlic-lemon) on the top left.

I loved the rainbow of colors today! Proof that green drinks don't always have to look green. This is also the second day of Kris Carr's #greendrinkaday challenge (which I'm doing for 10 days, even after this reboot is over), and her email newsletter today talked about how green drinks can be all colors. By the way, a commenter yesterday asked what kind of juicer I use. I have a Breville juice fountain for juicing, and I use my Vitamix for smoothies.

I kept count of the calories, protein, carbs, and fat — to make sure I was getting enough! And I actually got more calories and fat than I typically would in a day. I was slightly over my FitBit's daily allowance of 2,200ish calories. So anyone who thinks you can't get enough to fill and sustain you on a juice reboot is doing it wrong! It's not about depravation. It's about getting in lots of healthy fats with those juiced and blended fruits and veggies.

I did notice a slightly lower protein intake throughout the morning than what I'm used to, which may explain why I became ravenous between 4 p.m. and dinner. The afternoon savory smoothie (with garlic and avocado!) at 3 p.m. helped, but by 4, my tummy was rumbling. Had it been any earlier than 4, I'd have just added an extra snack. But I knew I had a giant, awesome dinner and dessert waiting for me as soon as I got off work at 5 p.m.

And that dinner was FABULOUS, and I was so stoked to be chewing again! And eating something savory! I had Kris' Lemon Quinoa with Steamed Veggies, Hemp Seeds, and Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette.

The quinoa (I used I Heart Keenwah's toasted quinoa!) is seasoned with flax oil, lemon zest, and parsley, and I served it with steamed brussels, asparagus, squash, carrots, and cauliflower. All of that was tied together with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, cilantro, and lime juice. Yum!

The second best part about today was tonight's "dessert" — Chocolate Almond Milk.

I made a big batch of raw almond milk for my smoothies and such throughout the reboot, and I used a full glass of it for this. It's mixed with cocoa powder and warmed for a yummy bedtime treat.

Okay y'all, one more day! I'm already SUPER excited about Wednesday night's dinner!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Crazy Sexy Juice Reboot, Day 1!

A few months ago, I purchased Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Juice book at the Booksellers at Laurelwood's going-out-of-business sale. I love Kris Carr and have done her Crazy Sexy Cleanse several times (always as a January reboot thing). And I'm always looking for new and exciting juice recipes because, without a recipe, I tend to make the same cucumber-apple-celery-ginger-lemon-kale juice over and over and over.

After I bought the book, I realized it included a 3-day juice cleanse. I figured I'd save that for a rainy day, when I felt my healthy eating had gone off the rails a bit. And then I went to potlucks and birthdays and Nashville and about a million restaurants in a short span of time, and well, that rainy day has come. It's time to get back on track! I'd already planned to start the 3-day program today when I got an email from Kris' newsletter about her 10-day #greendrinkaday challenge, also starting starting today, She's asking folks to have just one green juice or smoothie every day for 10 days. Perfect timing! I signed up for that (and so can you!), and I'm kicking it off with this 3-day thing. Then I'll continue to add green juices and smoothies for the following 7 days after my reboot.

Disclaimer: I'm calling this a "reboot" and not a "cleanse" even though her book calls this a cleanse. But I think the word cleanse is misleading since I don't believe I'm actually cleansing my body of toxins (that's what livers are for!). And just so you know, this isn't for weight loss or anything like that. I don't need/want to lose weight. This is strictly as a way for me to fit as many fruits and veggies and green things into my diet as possible to kickstart some healthier habits.

Okay, without further ado, here's what I drank (and ate!) today! The plan starts each morning with Warm Water with Lemon and Ginger. I added an Almond Butter-stuffed Medjool Date (not in the plan) as well since I use dates for running fuel. I downed this at around 5:30 a.m. and headed out for an three easy miles. I won't be doing any tough, long milage or speedwork until the reboot is over.

After my run, I rehydrated with a small Classic Green Lemonade (top left) made with cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger, celery, and chard. This was supposed to be breakfast, but I knew I'd need more than that. So I added one of the smoothies from the book for a second breakfast. On the top right is the Green Power Smoothie (homemade almond-hemp milk, banana, spinach, and dates) that I had around 7:30 a.m. Morning snack (around 10:30) was the Tummy Tamer juice (bottom left) made with fennel, cucumber, mint, ginger, and apple. And my lunch was the (bottom right) Easygoing Green Smoothie with banana, mango, coconut water, avocado, kale, and parsley. By the way, that lunch smoothie jar was completely full, but I drank a bit before I remembered to take a picture.

As you can see, the smoothies are loaded with healthy fats, like avocado, cashews, and hemp seeds. So those kept me satisfied when combined with morning and snack juices. At 2:30 p.m., I had my final juice of the day Blueberry Lemon-Aid (blueberry, apple, cucumber, lemon, mint) with my first solid food of the day — an Apple with Almond Butter!

Even though I wasn't famished by snack time, I was very excited to chew! This is definitely my kind of juice reboot. I've done juice "cleanses" in the past that were all juices/all day with a little nut milk at night. And real talk, that's just not enough fat or volume or protein for me. But this works!

Even more exciting than the apple snack was my dinner. Each night on Kris' plan, you get a solid food, high-raw dinner. Tonight was a Big Salad with Steamed/Raw Veggies, Herbed Lentils, Pumpkin Seeds, and Lemon-Tahini Dressing.

The herbed lentils is a simple recipe from her book. They're just cooked lentils with added garlic, thyme, basil, and parsley (all the herbs were from my garden). The dressing, a simple tahini-lemon-garlic sauce, was from her book as well. For my veggies, I chose steamed broccoli and cauliflower and raw bell peppers and carrots.

Finally, each night, you get a warm nut milk "dessert." Tonight's was this Turmeric Milk, a homemade, raw almond milk (made with soaked almonds) with maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric. Very good and perfect for getting me ready for bed.

So far, this reboot is far better than any juice thing I've done before. Chewing is fun. And I don't feel at all deprived. In fact, I'm eating just as much fat as I always do. It's just in a healthier form!. I'll check back in tomorrow on Day 2!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter/Passover Brunch Potluck!

A couple days ago, my brunch gang and I were mulling over what to do about Easter brunch since our usual spot, Imagine Vegan Cafe, would be closed for the holiday. Last year, we had a little Easter potluck at Pam's, and Stephanie suggested we do the same this year. Only now Pam lives in a smaller place and has a roommate, and Stephanie doesn't have much furniture. Megan couldn't join us since she has Easter family obligations. So that left me to host!

We invited Shay, Jennifer and Simon, and Stephanie's bf Paul and made it a party!

Since I'm working my way through Isa's The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook this year, I knew I had to make something from the Easter chapter. And the Glazed Tofu Ham had been calling my name since I bought the book. I made a double batch, and I'm so glad I did because I have just enough left to add to salads later this week! The tofu is marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, and then it's baked and glazed. Definitely the best vegan ham I've had.

I also needed to make something from the Passover chapter in The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook before Passover ends this week, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I'm not Jewish, nor do I have any experience at all with Passover foods. But the Charoset sounded really good and wholesome! It's made with dates, grated apples, toasted walnuts, grape Manischewitz wine, and maple syrup. You're supposed to serve it with matzoh, but I had the HARDEST time finding matzoh! We have a kosher Kroger out east near the temple, but apparently, you have to get your matzoh before Passover begins in this city. That Kroger (as well as several other Krogers and Whole Foods) were totally wiped out! I finally found some at the SuperLo, and there were only two boxes left! 

Stephanie brought a Vegan Sausage Quiche, which is one of mine and Pam's favorite things! Stephanie is the QUICHE MASTER.

Jennifer and Simon brought Mashed Potatoes & Mushroom Gravy. Because it's not Easter without mashed potatoes! 

Shay brought a really yummy, creamy Potato Casserole that had both white and sweet potatoes.

And Pam whipped up some Vegan Tofu "Eggs" Benedict at my house! She brought all of her ingredients and cooked them when she got here. The sauce was really rich and buttery. 

Here's my savory plate!

But wait! There's more! Of course, we also had plenty of sweets! Stephanie made a French Toast Casserole that was basically bread pudding. But as she pointed out, when you call it "French Toast Casserole," then it's okay to eat it for breakfast.

Jennifer and Simon brought Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal! And Jennifer brought along her homemade vegan yogurt as a topping. This was a totally healthy dessert that I feel like would make a fine weekday breakfast!

Shay made some Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins that were just stellar. I feel like muffins are a must at any spring potluck!

My dessert plate!

It's not brunch without booze, so we polished off the Manischewitz that I used for the Charoset. This was my first time trying Manischewitz, and it was really good! I'm not usually into sweet wines, but this tasted like grape juice with a kick. And I liked it!

We also made Bloody Marys using locally made Nikki's Hot Ass Bloody Mary Mix (it's vegan!), but I failed to take a picture of mine. I had that with my savories, and I was too busy eating to take pictures. And then, I poured a Mimosa to drink with dessert. Notice Stephanie's photo bomb here. We're such good, holy girls, am I right?

Good times! None of us celebrate Easter or Passover in a religious sense, but we'll take any excuse to get together for food and cocktails. It's also a bit of a last supper for me because, starting Monday, I'm embarking on a three-day juice and smoothie reboot! I'm doing Kris Carr's #greendrinkaday Challenge (Y'all join me! Sign up here and get a free juice e-book!), and you're supposed to have one green drink each day for 10 days. But I'm kicking that off with three full days of juices, smoothies, and raw foods — just as a way to get myself back on a healthy eating track. I've been going a little hard lately with travel and holidays and such. It's time to reign it in a little!

So I'll be back tomorrow with a full report from day one of my Green Drinks Reboot!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stuff I Ate in Nashville

Last night, I posted pictures from my time demo-ing and signing copies of Cookin' Crunk at Nashville VegFest. And the night before, I shared pics of the pre-VegFest fundraising dinner for The Gentle Barn.

And here's the rest — all of the things I ate in Nashville, outside of the Gentle Barn dinner and VegFest. As I mentioned in last night's post, my awesome publisher — Book Pub Co — put me and fellow author Ellen Jaffe Jones up in an Air B&B. It had a full kitchen, but I didn't have time to whip up a proper breakfast before my Saturday morning VegFest demo. Thankfully, I packed a few Straw Propeller oat cups with nut butter packets. On Saturday, I had the Peach-Berry Oats with Artisana Raw Walnut Butter and a Banana. I enjoyed this while chatting with Ellen at the breakfast table, as she also ate some oats.

I ate my lunch (and plenty of snacks at the VegFest). And then afterward, the Nashville VegFest organizers treated the speakers and volunteers to a fancy dinner at AVO — a high-raw vegan restaurant located in a shipping container.

I'd been to AVO before, and I just love this place. So I was super-stoked to eat there again AND to have a chance to chat with the other speakers. I arrived early and talked with Ellen (and some of her family members, who had driven over to see her in Nashville). And then who should walk in and sit next to me but Main Street Vegan's Victoria Moran?! She was perfectly lovely and so very sweet. And then, a short bit later, in walked Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary! And guess where he sat? Right in front of me!

Paul and I got about two hours of dinner conversation with Gene, Victoria, and the Nashville VegFest staff and volunteers. We talked veganism, running, and even neuroscience! So amazing. Definitely one of my top five most awesome vegan life moments.

As for food, I ordered the Mushroom Tartare Toast — marinated mushrooms on sourdough bread with pickled mustard seed and lemon aioli. Perfectly magical! The aioli was likely made from cashews, and it was a great match with tart, pickled mustard.

My main was the Raw Lasagna, which had cashew hempseed ricotta, raw marinara, zucchini, and spinach. This is apparently not on the regular menu anymore, but the Nashville VegFest folks asked them to make a batch for their guests. So glad they did! This was creamy and fresh and amazing.

I also had a beer, a local(ish ... Johnson City, TN) Yee Haw Dunkel Lager. Dark, thick, creamy. Mmmmm.

After all that, I was stuffed. Paul had the Glazed Cauliflower Steak with black rice risotto (this was awesome, and Paul loved it!), and he was pretty full too. So we got dessert to go — a Raw Chocolate-Berry Cheesecake.

This cashew-based cheesecake was insane, y'all! But Paul, being the picky eater that he is, isn't into raw dessert apparently. He took one bite and decided he didn't like it, so guess what? I ATE THE WHOLE THING. No regrets. More for me.

On Sunday, I had another quick breakfast of oats in the Air B&B. I ran 3 miles first. Then, I had a Maple Oats Straw Propeller cup with sunflower seed butter. But I failed to photograph it. I also had Paul's leftover cauliflower from AVO.

I ate snacks and VegFest food again all day on Sunday, and then at 4 p.m., we were done! I was sad to leave the fest but also glad to get away and get some grub alone with Paul. I'm not shy, but I am totally an introvert and too much time around people wears me out. Paul and I escaped to Graze, my favorite Nashville vegan cafe!

I rarely get to eat there because they're often closed when I'm in town. But my fave thing I've had there so far was the Nashville Hot Tempeh (a vegan spin on Nashville Hot Chicken). And when in Nashville, right? So again I ordered the Nashville Hot Tempeh Sandwich — spicy tempeh with slaw, avocado, vegan ranch, and spinach on po'boy bread with a side of Broccoli and Cashew Cheese. Perfection! I also had a beer, but I forgot to take a pic.

Well, that's it! I spent Sunday night with Paul's family in nearby Hendersonville, and Monday morning, I snuck in a 3-mile run (and a quick protein bar and banana) before hitting the road back to Memphis.

Nashville VegFest was amazing, and the staff and volunteers were so generous and kind and helpful!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Nashville VegFest!

I spent the weekend at the second annual Nashville VegFest, where I did a cooking demo and signed copies of my cookbook, Cookin' Crunk. It was loads of fun, and the turnout for the two-day fest was massive. Here's my recap.

When I arrived on Friday night, Paul and I joined Ellen Jaffe Jones (a fellow Book Publishing Company cookbook author) for a Gentle Barn fundraising dinner in nearby Arrington, Tennessee. You can read all about that dinner (and meet Adeline the rescue turkey) in last night's post. Ellen and I were sharing one half of an Air B&B duplex, and our publisher was on the other side. Our publisher — Book Publishing Company — is super-awesome, and they always find us lodging with a full kitchen so we can do any demo prep needed. This year, Ellen was speaking (not demo-ing), so I had the run of the kitchen myself.

I did a little prep on Friday night, since my demo was bright and early on Saturday morning! Here's the line-up of Saturday speakers (my name is misspelled but whatevs!).

I made my BBQ Tempeh & Carrot Sandwich mix with Creamy Poppyseed Coleslaw (served with spoons rather than bread because that's easier for samples), and I made some Tofu Eggless Olive Salad. I didn't get any demo pics since Paul couldn't come to the fest on Saturday (I usually make him play photographer). My cousin Tiffaney lives in Nashville, and she's vegan too. She came out to my demo, which is awesome because it's been a few years since I've seen her!

Here's me and Ellen, pimping our books at the Book Publishing Company table. Ellen's latest book is Vegan Fitness for Mortals. In her talk on Sunday, she held a plank contest, challenging the audience to hold a plank position longer than her. I'm pretty sure she won that contest with a record of more than six minutes!

Speaking of fitness, vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke's booth was right next to ours. This guy is so awesome! He was a speaker as well! Sadly, I missed his talk because I needed to stay at the Book Pub Co table for awhile.

After my demo on Saturday, I was starving. There were samples all over the fest, but I needed a solid meal. So I opted for an Ethiopian Platter from Amy's Ethiopian. They were selling these at the fest. SO GOOD. Pretty sure injera and wats are my fave foods.

After lunch, I grabbed some dessert from the Revolution Gelato booth. All-vegan gelato!

I got Cardamom Kiss with Salted Bourbon Caramel. Mmmmmmm.

Adeline was at the fest too! She wandered around greeting people all day Saturday and Sunday.

Since I wasn't speaking on Sunday, my day was much more relaxed. Paul wasn't able to make it to the fest on Saturday because he had to work. But he was there Sunday!

We caught Gene Baur's talk first thing Sunday morning! The Farm Sanctuary founder is such an inspiration. I actually got to chat with Gene for a good couple hours at dinner on Saturday night (but more on that in tomorrow's post!).

Paul and I spent most of Sunday at the Book Pub Co table, where Ellen and I continued to sign books!

I met Victoria Moran of Main Street Vegan at the fest. She was a speaker as well, and she was so very sweet!

Mid-morning snack on Sunday was more gelato! This time, I went with Vanilla Bean Gelato and Hot Fudge.

For lunch on Sunday, I waited in a very long line for tacos from Succulent Vegan Tacos. Sadly, while I was in line, they sold out of seitan tacos and potato tacos.

But they still had Tofu Scramble Tacos and Chipotle Carrot Black Bean Tacos. Both very good! Paul got BBQ Sliders from the Sunflower Cafe booth, and I ate half of one of those too.

We had a great time, and I brought home way too many souvenirs — new tees and stickers from Herbivore and Compassion Co., I Love Tofu running shorts from Action for Animals, plant meats from No Evil Foods, Hempeh from Smiling Hara. Yay for Nashville VegFest! Here are my new running shorts, put to the test last night at an I Love Juice Bar fun run.

Tomorrow, I'll share pics of what I ate outside the festival!