Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cauliflower Crumble Bowls & Organic Meals!

Last Saturday, my friend Cassi and I stopped by Kroger for her to grab a couple things, and then we stumbled upon a killer sale on Green Giant Cauliflower Crumble bowls. They're ready to eat bowls — found in the produce section — that feature raw veggies, sauces, and toppings. They're normally $4 each, but they were on sale for $1 a piece. Score! We both got one of each flavor.

The Ramen Bowl was my fave! It had butternut squash noodles with cauliflower crumbles, dry-roasted edamame, sweet potato, and a vegan powdered broth. All you do is add a little water and heat in the microwave. I added some air-fried tofu for extra protein and calories!

The Burrito Bowl was just cauliflower crumbles and an ancho-black bean sauce. I topped it with a slice of melty vegan Chao cheese and some fresh cherry tomatoes and enjoyed with corn tortillas.

Yesterday's lunch at work was the Buddha Bowl — with the cauliflower, plus sweet potato and brussels, a tahini sauce, and roasted chickpeas — over some quinoa that I cooked separately. Very good!

The Rancheros Bowl suggested serving with eggs for breakfast. So I topped this cauliflower/sweet potato bowl with fried vegan tofu eggs and served with corn tortillas. Made a nutritious breakfast on Monday morning. All of the bowls were pretty high in sodium though (thanks to the sauce), and I could feel that sodium hangover later. But they were all tasty. If I made these again, I'd probably not use all the sauce packet.

I've been eating at Mama Gaia a lot lately. We had our Vegan Drinks at Mama Gaia's Ballet Memphis location on Tuesday night, and I got the Cena Burger (veggie patty topped with mushrooms) with vegan cheese, plus a side of Veggies and Hummus. I washed it down with a Square Smash cocktail (bourbon, lemon, mint, and agave).

And today's lunch came from the Crosstown Concourse location. I had the Copia Petittza (pita pizza with oven-roasted eggplant, leeks, red onion, bell pepper, and zucchini) with vegan cheese and a side of Potato Tokens. Plus, a raw vegan brownie for dessert!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Reubens & Ramen & Cupcakes!

On Sunday, my friend Megan, Paul, and I went to the grand opening of a new REI Co-op in Memphis. We've been without an REI, and now we have one and we are so stoked! They were doing gift card and Nalgene water bottle giveaways, plus extra free gifts for Subaru owners (that's me!), so we waited in line for an hour for the store's grand opening. Then there was an outdoor fest with more free goodies and merch. So all told, we were there from 8 am to 11:45-ish, and by the end, we were HUNGRY.

So we headed to brunch at Imagine Vegan Cafe, where our friend Pam was waiting. I ordered the Reuben Sandwich with Garlic Kale. Imagine has a fantastic reuben made with thinly sliced seitan, housemade vegan white cheese sauce, & kraut on rye toast. So good.

But the main reason we went to Imagine was VEGAN DOUGHNUTS! Owner Kristie makes doughnuts every few months, and we never miss a doughnut day. I had a Vanilla Sprinkle Doughnut. Yes, I have been eating a lot of doughnuts lately. And yes, this makes me very happy.

Saturday was my friend Susan's birthday, and she wanted ramen. So we had dinner at Lucky Cat, where we got the Yuzu Veggie Ramen. Lucky Cat makes the best, flavorful veggie broth! I added pressed garlic and chili oil toppings.

I baked Susan some Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream using my favorite recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. These are always a hit.

And now that you've seen all these mouth-watering photos, here's a not-as-pretty picture of a frozen Vegan Tomato-Basil Frittata. I got these on clearance at Kroger, and they're pretty good (despite the pic). The base is made with organic pumpkin seeds, and this one had potatoes. The package said tomato-basil, but I did not see any evidence of tomato in here. I also bought a potato-parsley one, and I feel like maybe they mixed up the flavors in the boxes. Would rather have potato anyway! I had this for lunch at work one day with a side salad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Doughnuts & Pastries & Bowls!

Since I do these random meal "Stuff I Ate" round-ups several times a week, I think I'm going to stop calling them all "stuff I ate" and maybe just think of some better names. Does anybody even care? Ha! Probably not!

Anyway, as this post indicates, I've been eating some delicious sweets. Our Crosstown Arts cafe — the arts organization where I work — is opening to the public next week. And our pastry chef/baker has been hard at work perfecting her vegan baked goods. Last week, we had a staff meeting and she made Vegan Chocolate Doughnuts!!!!!!

The cafe staff also made all kinds of savory stuff for staff meeting. Vegan Grandma Pizza Slices, Pasta with Eggplant Alfredo, Salad, Collard Greens, & Sauteed Green Beans. I was stuffed after this meeting! It's hard to get any work done after a lunch like that!

Later that night, I needed something light for dinner so I had a salad with tofu and 365 oil-free garlic tahini dressing (my new fave).

More Crosstown Arts cafe pastries! We had Vegan Blueberry Danishes and Croissants today! The cafe isn't open to the public yet, but it has been open for staff as a sort of test run. This morning, I had a danish and an oat milk cappuccino. The danish was perfectly flaky and buttery. Perfect mid-morning pick-me-up.

Here's a Fire-Roasted Veggie Bowl that I ate for lunch one day last week. I had some leftover tempeh-veggie kabobs from grilling out. So I served the kabobs over quinoa amd steamed kale, topped with Breakfast Hummus (a noochy, spicy hummus) from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook. One of the best bowls I've had in awhile! And I eat a lot of bowls.

I've also been enjoying that Breakfast Hummus on Toast for breakfast! Because it is breakfast hummus after all. With Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Even More Stuff I Ate

I had kale salad for breakfast a few days last week! KALE SALAD! FOR BREAKFAST! Sounds crazy, but it was really good. It's the Rise & Shine Salad from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook with roasted sweet potato, pickled onions, toasted pepitas, and maple-dijon dressing. It's topped with homemade tempeh sausage (also in the book!) and breakfast hummus (a noochy hummus that's in the book).

Paul and I ate dinner last Monday night at Red Fish. They have excellent fried tofu dishes, but I was feeling a need to eat a little lighter after a food-filled weekend. So I went with sushi instead. But I started with a House Salad (love the ginger dressing!) and some Spring Rolls (shared with Paul).

For my sushi rolls, I picked a Vegetable Roll (asparagus, avocado, cucumber, & lettuce) and an Avocado Roll. 

A weekday lunch at Mama Gaia — the all-veg organic restaurant in Crosstown Concourse. I got the Asia Salad (sesame tofu, vegan aioli sauce, mixed greens, bok choy slaw) for free with my loyalty points! Score!

I love that salad, but it's a little too small for me as a meal alone. So I got a side of Loaded Potato Tokens with vegan cheese, scallions, and sriracha. YUM!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

More Stuff I Ate

I've been all about some avocado toast lately! The No Meat Athlete Cookbook has a page dedicated to avo toast toppings, so I'm slowly working my way through that list. One idea was Avocado Toast with Cucumber and Dill – a great way to use my CSA cucumbers!

And another suggestion was Avocado Toast with Tomato & Pickled Onions. I'd made pickled onions for another recipe from the book and had some left, so they made a perfect toast topper.

When I was training for my 50K (which I am not now, thanks to another foot injury), I was running every Saturday and Sunday morning. So that meant I didn't have time for my favorite weekend morning ritual of eating ramen in my PJs while watching Netflix. Now that I'm injured, I'm back to Saturday morning Ramen Bowls with Tofu & Veggies, enjoyed while watching The Sopranos (I'm finally on the last season!) or House of Cards. Being injured sucks, but ramen makes it easier. By the way, I use the Koyo brand baked ramen so it's a little healthier!

One thing I can still do with my foot injury is cycling. So I'm doing a lot of that! Last Saturday, I packed a picnic for one and biked down to Tom Lee Park on the Mississippi River.

I spread out a blanket and read the latest issue of VegNews while snacking on Miyoko's Creamery Vegan Mozz & Bread, Field Roast Italian Sausage, Cucumber & Carrots with Hummus, and Peach Slices. I packed a glass of wine in a mason jar because one simply cannot picnic without wine. Lovely day!

Have a great weekend! I'll have some more random meals to post next week!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Stuff I Ate

Some random things I ate!

I've had okra in my CSA for weeks, and I was running out of ideas (I'd air-fried it, sauteed it, pickled it, gumbo-ed it, and added it to veggie soup). But my friend Melissa suggested using some in the Baked Potato & Okra Hash from Thug Kitchen. The potatoes and cornmeal-breaded okra were roasted in the oven with garlic and spices. This made a great breakfast alongside some toast with superfruit jam.

Paul and I had a spaghetti night last Monday. Usually, when we make spaghetti, he sautes the mushrooms, and I make a homemade sauce. But I had a Crosstown Memphis CDC meeting after work, so we had to rush. So jarred sauce to the rescue! Paul still made his famous mushrooms though (not sure what he uses to season but I know it involves LOTS of Earth Balance). I topped my pasta with some chunks of Miyoko's Creamery vegan mozz. Oh, and I had Explore Cuisine chickpea protein spaghetti (Paul opted for whole wheat instead).

Last Wednesday, I took off work to finish up a freelance project. And since I wrapped up early, I decided to drive downtown and visit my old Memphis Flyer co-workers in their new office space. After I chatted in the office, a few of us went to Las Margaritas (just a few blocks from their office) for happy hour margs with chips and salsa. And that was my dinner! (okay, I did make a salad when I got home to make sure I got my veggies in).

I got a bunch of vegan frozen meals on clearance at Kroger a couple weeks back, and one was an Amy's spaghetti & vegan meatballs dish. I took it to work for lunch one day, but it was far too small to be my meal by itself. And, while delicious, it was far too ugly to be photographed for this blog. But I picked up this lovely Kale & Quinoa Salad from Juice Bar in Crosstown Concourse as a side!

Speaking of those frozen meals, I also grabbed some Nature's Path gluten-free Dark Chocolate Chip Waffles. I really love frozen waffles (they remind me of childhood! Eggos!), but I rarely buy them because they're tiny and not enough for a meal. But I made some homemade Tempeh Sausage from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook to eat on the side, along with some local peach slices.

More randomness tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Global Café

There's a new restaurant open at Crosstown Concourse — the vertical urban village where I work. And it's vegan-friendly! Global Café is an international food hall that hosts three immigrant/refugee food entrepreneurs cooking and selling an eclectic mix of affordably priced cuisines.

Currently, the chefs hail from Syria, Sudan, and Nepal. Global Café is set up to allow immigrant/refugee chefs to build a following and possibly branch out on their own, if they so desire. Should that happen, Global Café will support that effort, and a chef from another home country may take the spot of the one who has opened their own place.

The chefs who cook at Global Café now are Fayha from Syria, Ibti from Sudan, and Indra from Nepal. It's managed by Juan Viramontes of Mexico. When you walk inside Global Café, you select the food stall you want and order there. The chef prepares your dish and hands it to you, and then everyone pays at the same register. A few co-workers and I checked it out today. 

There are so many vegan options that I had a hard time deciding, but I've been craving baba ganoush, so I opted for the Syrian stall with an order of Baba Ganoush with Pita and Yalangi (rice-stuffed grape leaves).

Plus, an order of Turkish Coffee! Few things make me happier than a strong cup of cardamom-spiced coffee.

The baba ganoush was some of the best I've had. It was a hearty portion loaded with smoky, roasty eggplant and tahini. The grape leaves were also very large. And they were lightly warm and packed with tomato-laced, seasoned rice. I was very happy with my selection.

My co-worker Gonzo is also vegan, so I snapped pics of his order too. He headed for the Nepalese stall, where he ordered a few apps for us to share, including these Vegetarian Samosas and Vegetarian Mo Mo Dumplings. I didn't try the samosas (next time!), but I had a dumpling and it was so perfect, especially with that garlicky red dipping sauce.

Chef Indra also hooked him up with some free Vegetable Pakoras. I didn't see these on the menu, so maybe they were just a special today. But man, they were great! 

For his entree, Gonzo got the Nepalese Vegetarian Chow Main. I didn't steal a bite (I wanted to!) but I want to order this next time. Isn't it gorgeous?

There were also some vegan options on the Sudanese menu (like hummus falafel and vegetarian sambusa). I can't wait to go back and try more!

Global Café is open 11 am-9 pm, Sunday through Thursday and 11 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday. Check out their menu here.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Backyard Campfire Party with Lightlife

Hey everyone! This is a sponsored post, which I don't do often. But Lightlife is an awesome vegan-friendly company, and I like showing love to vegan brands. Their catchy motto is "Meat Without the Middleman: Made directly from plants, not the animals that eat them." How great is that?!

Lightlife offered to send me some free product coupons, a gift card to buy hot dog fixins, some telescopic campfire forks, and a FIRE PIT! WHAT?! Of course I said yes to that offer! The goods arrived on my doorstep Friday evening, so I immediately started planning a backyard campfire party. I love roasting veggie dogs and vegan marshmallows, but I typically only camp at music festivals (where camp fires are generally not allowed). But who needs camping when you can have a fire in your backyard?

Lightlife sent two coupons for free products, so I used one for Jumbo Smart Dogs and the other for Organic Tempeh. I've long been a fan of Lightlife's dogs. To me, they're more like meaty dogs than other vegan brands (and don't get me wrong — I've never met a vegan dog I didn't like. But Lightlife's taste more like the real thing). Lightlife makes smaller dogs as well, and I prefer those for pigs in blankets, but the jumbo-sized ones are optimal for grilling out. I opted for the tempeh so we could also make veggie kabobs.

I used the gift card to buy buns and stuff to make potato salad (a must-have side for hot dogs) and vegan s'mores! And then Paul and I invited our friends Tyler and Donna over to "camp" with us. We started by roasting dogs over the open fire using telescopic forks. Here's an image taken before I realized what "telescopic" meant (You can actually extend the "fork" out longer so you can stand further from the fire).

We topped our blackened dogs (that's my preferred way to eat campfire-grilled dogs!) with locally made chow chow and dijon. 

Tyler and Donna are not vegans, but Donna said they've been cutting back significantly on their meat consumption. She was excited to try veggie dogs! And she loved every bite. They both did, and all plates were cleaned. 

For the kabobs, I marinated the cubed tempeh for several hours in a mix of soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and liquid smoke. Then I staked it onto kabob sticks with yellow squash, cherry tomato, and mushrooms. I brushed the kebobs with a little olive oil and seasoned with garlic salt. And then we tossed them on the charcoal grill while we roasted the hot dogs. Tyler and Donna were also very impressed with the tempeh! Lightlife's tempeh is awesome. I like the size and thickness of the block because it's easy to cut into large cubes for kebobs.

Sadly, they had to leave just after dinner because they had to get home to their kids. But Paul and I enjoyed roasting Dandies marshmallows for s'mores after they left! I got Sprouts brand dark chocolate (my fave!) and I found these vegan, gluten-free graham crackers that turned out to be very good. It's so hard to find grahams without honey, but these were bee-free!

Maynard really wanted a s'more, but we told him dogs can't have chocolate. Sorry bub!

Thanks to Lightlife for making this party possible! And hey, if you've not had a chance to go camping this summer, take a tip from me and just "camp" in your backyard!