Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Brioche! Spaghetti! Scramble!

Last Saturday, I stopped by the Lulu's booth at the CY Farmers Market on a very rainy morning and picked up this Pumpkin Spice Muffin as a pre-bootcamp snack. They're actually using butternut squash instead of pumpkin since they have a good local supplier. You couldn't tell the different at all in this moist muffin. I cannot get enough of the soft texture that pumpkin and squash adds to breads and cakes.

Don was also selling mini loaves of plain Vegan Brioche, so of course, I had to get some. I had moved my Saturday long run to Sunday since it was so rainy on Saturday (and went to bootcamp Saturday morning instead). So on Sunday, I enjoyed some Toasted Brioche with Miyoko's Cream Cheese before an 11-miler. I can't say for certain if this toast made a difference, but my run went very well. Felt strong the whole time and managed a negative split (that's when you finish faster than you start; always the goal but hard to achieve).

I had some more brioche (with avocado this time) as a side to my Monday morning Chickpea Scramble. The scramble recipe was linked on the 80/20 Plants site, but you can find the recipe here on Well and Full. Mashed chickpeas are sauteed with onions and turmeric and served over baby spinach. It's a nice change from tofu scramble.

I've been eating Tofu Veggie Stir-Fry for my work lunches this week. For this, I air-fried tofu and then sauteed that with broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, and zucchini. The sauce is made with Bragg's, veggie broth, sriracha, and tahini and then thickened with cornstarch. Served over brown rice. I love these single-bowl lunches because they're super easy to pack and eat.

I had some leftover tofu ricotta from the stuffed mushrooms I made for Sunday's potluck, so I served it atop Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Marinara. Added some black olives for extra flavor. This has been the perfect dinner for the past couple nights since I've had early morning runs scheduled. Carbs!

And finally, here's the most delicious Smoked Pecan Mocha from Comeback Coffee. Made with vegan Ritual chocolate and oatmilk. I tend to order my coffee drinks unsweetened, but some days, you need dessert coffee. Especially on these chilly, rainy fall days we're having here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Thai Tofu Pizza! Tostada! Salad Rolls! New Hair!

Late last week, I used a recipe that I found linked on the 80/20 Plants site to make this amazing Thai Tofu Pizza! It's topped with peanut butter sauce (instead of marinara), tofu, pineapple, carrots, scallions, and cilantro. For the crust, I used a pre-made Simple Truth Organic vegan pizza crust. I love these because they're cracker thin and mega-convenient. Here's the recipe on Foxes Love Lemons.

I grabbed a quick lunch from Juice Bar in Crosstown Concourse last Thursday. You can get a meal and juice there for $10! So I got Salad Rolls (stuffed with avocado, lettuce, and some other veggies) with peanut sauce and a Ginger Greens Juice.

I know I showed y'all a tostada last week, but here's another one! I ate a lot of Bean Tostadas last week, stuffed with mashed pintos and topped with lettuce, tomato, salsa, and avocado. For this one, I also topped with Chipotle Bitchin' Sauce (an awesome find at the Truck Patch health food store in my hometown). It's an almond-based sauce that's totally addictive.

I got all my hair chopped off last week, and I got highlights! We have a new salon, Hero & Sage, at Crosstown Concourse, and since I'd not had a haircut in three years (not even a trim!), I figured it was way past time. When you arrive, they offer beer or wine (or non-alcoholic beverages if that's your thing). My appointment was at 3:30 on a Wednesday. And look what beer I found — Memphis Made's 3:30 on a Wednesday fruit ale!!

Here's the new look. I like it!! It involves more styling than I'm used to, but it's so nice to have all that weight off my head.

Monday, October 28, 2019

No Meat Meet-up Vegan Potluck #2

We had the second No Meat Meet-up Vegan Potluck at the cafe at Crosstown Arts yesterday! This new monthly vegan potluck is held at the cafe where I work. The cafe used to serve vegan/vegetarian lunch and dinner to the public, but now they only serve vegan pastries and coffee (the cafe staff still creates delicious vegan and vegetarian meals for our resident artists). To keep the space alive with vegan food, I'm organizing a monthly vegan potluck in the space.

The first one was in September, and the turnout blew me away. So many new faces! This October potluck was much smaller (as second events typically are), but we still had plenty of yummy food and great conversation. I made the event Halloween-themed and encouraged people to bring fall/Halloween foods, if possible.

I made these Bloody Eyeballs (aka Stuffed Mushrooms) from Vegan Yack Attack! They're stuffed with tofu ricotta with sundried tomatoes (for bloody veins) and black olives (for pupils).

Clarita & James brought some amazing Three Sisters Stew with winter squash. It's meals like this that get me excited about fall (and y'all know I'm a summer girl!).

Steven brought a giant skillet filled with Vegan Chili-Topped Baked Potatoes. He brought some Vegan Valley cashew cheese sauce to use as a topping. Very yummy!

Leslie and Steven (a different Steven) brought a fantastic Mock Chicken Salad with Pita. I could have eaten this entire bowl. It was SO GOOD.

Shay made Baked Ziti with a homemade tofu ricotta. Shay is a master at pizza and pasta dishes, and this was so perfect on a chilly fall day.

Shay also brought some Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Shay often brings some sort of sweet bread to potlucks, so it's kind of her specialty. It's so soft and really hits the spot!

And I made a Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake! This was a Chloe Coscarelli recipe from the Holiday issue of VegNews, and it was AMAZING. Will definitely make this again! The batter had pumpkin puree in it, making it super-moist, and the creamy frosting is spiked with coffee. I'm so glad I have a couple slices left to enjoy this week.

Memphis folks, we're skipping the November No Meat Meet-up because some local vegans have organized a potluck at their house on the last Sunday of the month. But we'll be back in December! 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

New Vegan Items at The Liquor Store

Local vegan readers! We're having the next No Meat Meet-up Vegan Potluck this Sunday, Oct. 27 from 3-5 pm at the cafe at Crosstown Arts (inside Crosstown Concourse, suite 280). Come! And bring a vegan dish! And now onto today's post ...

The Liquor Store on Broad (yes, that's the name of the restaurant) has been vegan-friendly since they opened a couple years ago. But they're getting more and more vegan-friendly all the time! You can read my Bluff City Vegan Eats post on The Liquor Store here. We had our Memphis Vegan Drinks meet-up at there this past Tuesday, and we were so impressed with all the new options (not all are on the menu, so you have to ask)! Plus, our server and the cook were vegan, and they were very helpful.

They've added a vegan chorizo side, which you can add to any dish. I got my usual — the Cuban Platter — and added chorizo (that's it just to the right of the sauteed veggies). I love this dish so much because fried plantains are the BEST! And the chorizo really stepped this plate up.

The most popular way to order the chorizo is on the Street Tacos, which several people ordered. Not sure what the sauces are, but who doesn't love a dish that comes with sauces?! I'm definitely trying these next time.

The Liquor Store was the first place in town to offer the Impossible Burger, but back when the Great Impossible Shortage of 2019 happened (thanks, Burger King! Ha!), they switched to a different patty made by Before the Butcher. I haven't tried this yet, but everyone who ordered it loved it and said it was just as good (if not better) than Impossible. Btw, The Liquor Store offers vegan cheese too!

You can even get the Before the Butcher burger on a Patty Melt, subbing out vegan cheese. Clarita went with this option and highly recommended it.

Bonus: We all shared (as an appetizer) the Brussels Sprouts, which are roasted and then drizzled with citrus vinaigrette, toasted almonds, and dried fruit. These were amazing!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Burgers + Wraps + New Orleans Food!

I'm eating lots of whole foods these days, but some nights, you just need a burger. On Sunday night, I made these Guacamole Beyond Burgers with Spicy Sweet Potato Fries from Love & Lemons for Paul and I. Enjoyed while watching El Camino on Netflix.

The "fries" were made from fresh sweet potatoes and baked in the oven. And the burgers were topped with fresh guac!

Last Friday, I had a work lunch meeting at the Young Avenue Deli. They have a number of vegan options, but my go-to is always the Hummus Veggie Wrap with added fried tofu. Soft pita is spread with creamy hummus, plus, tomato, cucumber, and lettuce. The fried tofu makes it substantial. You can add fried tofu to any dish there.

Here are some Savory Oats from a few breakfasts ago! These have spinach, nooch, toasted pumpkin seeds, and lots of hot sauce.

My friend Susan has been on a New Orleans-style food kick, and she's gifted me some with leftovers. She said her Jambalaya with Vegan Andouille Sausage was too spicy, but she was wrong. It was perfect!

And earlier this week, she gave me some Vegan Gumbo (also with vegan sausage), which she said needed salt. Also wrong. It was expertly seasoned. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Birthday Yogurt!

I got lots of food gifts (and some liquor) for my birthday this year cause my friends know me well. I like to consume things! My friend Jennifer makes the BEST homemade unsweetened soy yogurt, so I was excited to get two jars from her. It's so hard to find totally unsweetened vegan yogurt around here, and Jennifer's is perfect. No, there's not a blue yogurt. That's just a blue jar!

I've been using Jenn's yogurt in a lot of ways lately. Of course, I've been having yogurt bowls with granola (my friend Mike gave me a bag of chocolate Love Granola, along with other snacks, for my birthday), plus berries, walnuts, and flax. By the way, my dad got me new lightbox lights for my birthday, so you'll stop seeing these poorly lit photos very soon! Thanks daddy!

Since it's unsweetened, the yogurt is also yummy in savory recipes. I mixed together some yogurt, fresh garlic, and lemon juice for this tasty Grain Green Bean Bowl with brown rice, pintos, and spinach.

And just today, I topped a Black Bean Tostada with Chao cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and yogurt — a perfect stand-in for sour cream!

Monday, October 21, 2019

39th Birthday with the Family!

My 39th birthday was last Wednesday, Oct. 16. But I wasn't able to celebrate with my parents until this past Saturday. In an awesome coincidence, my best friend Sheridan was also in our hometown on Saturday, visiting her family. So I was able to get in best friend birthday and family birthday!

I met Sheridan and Drew for lunch at The Truck Patch, an indie health food store in Jonesboro with a kick-ass salad bar!

They also serve vegan sandwiches (which Drew ordered), but Sheridan and I got big ole salads topped with everything: quinoa, beans, tofu, marinated mushrooms, olives, hearts of palm, cranberries, almonds, vegan bacon bits, and so much more.

After lunch and gifts, we roamed the store and each stocked up on the things we can't get in Memphis and Little Rock (where she lives). Then I headed to my parents' house. My cousins Christy and Tiffaney (with her partner and new baby) were visiting, so we caught up a bit before heading to dinner at Qdoba!

Did y'all know Qdoba has the Impossible burger? They do! And you can get it in a burrito, bowl, salad, or whatever. We don't have a Qdoba in Memphis, so I'll be eating here often when I'm visiting my parents in Arkansas. I got the Impossible Fajita Burrito with beans, rice, veggies, pico, and guac.  So good but very filling!

After dinner, we went to visit my Granny — who wrote a lot of the recipes in Cookin' Crunk. Her health is failing, and she's in a nursing home now. My cousins Christy (on the left) and Tiffaney (on top) live further away than I do, so this was a real treat for Granny to have all of her grand-daughters in one room. 

We finished out the evening back at my parents' house for coffee and slices of my mom's amazing Vegan Peanut Butter Pie. This creamy, peanut buttery pie is my very favorite dessert! My cousin Tiffaney, her partner, and her baby are all vegan as well, so we were all very excited to have vegan pie. My mom (who isn't vegan) says she always makes this pie vegan, whether I'm there or not, because the vegan version is better!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

My 39th Birthday!

Yesterday — October 16 — was my birthday! I'm officially one year away from my 40s!! Here's my obligatory birthday selfie, wearing the adorable unicorn horn my co-worker Terri gave me on Tuesday (the day before my birthday).

I always take my birthday off work, so on Tuesday, my co-workers surprised me with a Vegan Birthday Cake from Muddy's Bake Shop! I love my co-workers soooo much, and this made me very, very happy.

It was a yummy yellow cake with chocolate frosting! By the afternoon, everyone in the office had devoured most of the cake so I snuck one last slice and put it in some tupperware to take home and enjoy on my actual birthday.

On Wednesday (my birthday), I stayed home from work, slept in, and then headed out for a 5-mile run in my new Hoka Challengers — my birthday gift from Paul. I've always run in Brooks (aside from a year spent in Nikes), so Hokas are totally new to me, and I love them. So much support for my fragile little feet.

After my run, I made a big ole brunch for myself and enjoyed it while watching The Wire (I'm working my way through the show on Netflix disc, old school-style). I made a Tofu Omelet from Hooked on Plants, stuffed with roasted broccoli, Chao cheese, sauteed garlic, spinach, and carrots, topped with cashew holladaise sauce (also from Hooked on Plants). Side of air-fried taters.

No birthday brunch is complete without a mimosa. Cassi had given me a case of these single-serve champagne bottles about a year ago, and I thought they were all gone. But then I found one last bottle!

I had to run out east for an errand later in the day, so I figured that was the perfect time to stop by my favorite place in Memphis — Crystal Shrine Grotto. It's a man-made cave inside Memorial Park Cemetery that's filled with five tons (!!!) of quartz crystals. It also has lots of Jesus-y Bible sculptures, but I just ignore that part and soak up the powerful quartz energy. The cave and sculptures were built in part by Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez in 1935, but the project was finished in 1955, after his death. The whole place feels like it belongs in The Dark Crystal!

This giant rose quartz outside the cave is my fave though. I always spend a few minutes with this stone when I visit the Grotto.

For dinner, I had plans to meet up with friends at Midtown Crossing Grill — the vegan-friendly pizza point in my neighborhood. I was so excited that so many of my friends were able to come!!

Started with a dirty vodka martini.

I'd been craving pizza, so I ordered the Herbivore Pizza with roasted garlic oil, tomato sauce, peppers, and pickled eggplant, subbing the vegan cheese for dairy cheese. It also usually has arugula, but I'm not really a fan so I left that off.

Overall, a lovely way to spend the first day of the last year of my 30s!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What I Ate Yesterday

Sometimes, it's fun to show what I eat in a typical day. Some days, I have more junk and treats than others. But some days, like yesterday, are pretty ideal days.

The day started off with a bowl of Strawberry Soy Yogurt with Raw-nola and Blueberries. The yogurt does have quite a bit of sugar, but I balanced that with a homemade raw granola (recipe here) made with rolled oats, dates, walnuts, and flax.

My morning snack (not pictured) was Baby Carrots & Hummus. I often eat hummus with veggies or whole wheat/brown rice crackers at my desk.

Lunch was an awesome recipe that was linked on the 80/20 Plants website for a Smoked Tofu Sandwich (recipe here) on One Green Planet. My dad made some smoked tofu over the weekend, and it was perfect on toasted whole wheat bread with hummus, pickled onions, avocado, spinach, sunflower shoots, tomato, and cucumber. No need for a side because this was a super-filling sandwich.

For dinner, I used the last of my red lentil cheese sauce (made for these Nacho Fries) to make Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese with Steamed Broccoli. The sauce was made from pureed red lentils, nooch, and spices, and it was excellent! I seasoned the broccoli with Bragg's and garlic powder.

Later in the evening, I had a Memphis Made Fireside Ale at Midtown Crossing Grill. I had a board meeting there and it was $3 pint night, so a beer was a must!