Monday, August 31, 2020

Tacos! Bowls! Avo Toast!

Last Taco Tuesday, I made the Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos from Eat Feel Fresh by Sahara Rose. These were SO GOOD. They're stuffed with lentil taco "meat" and roasted chili cauliflower, drizzled with tahini-lime sauce, and topped with cucumber, avocado, and cilantro. I'm just always amazed how versatile the humble taco is. You can put whatever you want in a corn tortilla, and it's delicious.

Speaking of tacos, last Takeout Thursday, I saw on Instagram that Chef Tam's Underground Cafe was doing a special Impossible burger day. This soul food restaurant doesn't always have vegan options, but on this day, she was offering Impossible burgers, Impossible tacos, and Impossible taco salad (all vegan!). I couldn't miss out on this chance to support vegan options and a Black-owned local business. The Impossible Taco Salad was MASSIVE. This made two meals for me.

The has a generous portion of taco-seasoned Impossible burger, vegan cheese, black beans, lettuce, and tortilla chips. Served with taco sauce and guacamole salsa (that Herdez kind that I really love!).

I had some leftover Plant-Based Pink Raita (cashew yogurt sauce with beets and mint) from when I made the Tempeh Tikka from Eat Feel Fresh last week, so I used some as a sauce for a lunch Grain/Green/Bean Bowl on Friday. This had leftover taco lentils (from my tacos), air-fried tofu, kale, some leftover stir-fry veggies, and avocado. A great way to use up my leftovers!!

And I used the rest of the pink sauce on Avocado Toast with tofu and sliced fresh tomato (from my garden!).

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Review: No Bull Dairy-Free Ice Cream!

You scream, I scream! We all scream for ice cream! Growing up, I remember my Me-maw had ice cream every day (maybe she still does?). It was her very favorite thing. I was a weird kid and didn't care for sweets at all, so back then, I didn't get her undying love for creamy frozen desserts. But something happened when I went vegan in 2004 – I developed a sweet tooth! And a love for ice cream!

Since going vegan, I've sampled as many vegan ice creams as I can get my hands on. I love the almond-based ones and the coconut ones. Even the soy-based ones (anyone remember Tofutti?). But nothing comes close to the oat-based ice creams. Those are jam these days. There's something about the creaminess of blended oatmilk and the natural nutty sweetness of oats that just makes me feel all tingly inside. And now there's a new oat-based frozen dessert that's just fantastic! Meet No Bull Dairy-Free!

They offered to send me some ice cream to sample, and I was pleasantly surprised to see EIGHT FLAVORS! There's Vanilla Bean, Blueberry Pie, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter Fudge, Mint Chocolate Fudge, Caramel Apple Pie, Sea Salt Caramel, and Strawberry Frappe. It's non-gmo and sustainably sourced!

I opened them all up and sat outside on my back porch with a spoon. That's the hard life of a food blogger! Somebody had to do it! I even took notes.

All of the ice creams have a very creamy texture. There's no iciness at all. And there's that yummy hint of oatmilk flavor that's present in all of them. Surprisingly, I found that I liked the fruity flavors the best — Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Frappe, and Caramel Apple Pie. I'm typically one who prefers vanilla or peanut butter flavors over fruity or chocolate. But that's because most fruity creams tend to remind me of sorbet. Not these! The creamy factor is high on the fruity flavors, and due to the nuttiness of oats, they really taste more like a fruit pie than a fruit sorbet. The Caramel Apple even has a gooey ribbon of caramel running through it.

Here's a very melty pic of the Blueberry Pie (my number-one pick!). It's hard to photograph ice cream outside in the Memphis heat. But I wanted to share this one anyway because the color is so beautiful!

After the fruity ones, I'd say Peanut Butter Fudge would be my next pick because, well, peanut butter. This one is thick and creamy and really reminded me of the fudge I used to love to get from candy shops in my pre-vegan days.

Mint Chocolate is super-minty with a very generous chocolate swirl, and the Vanilla Bean has so many flecks of vanilla that it almost looks like chocolate chip. No Bull does not skimp on flavor! Sea Salt Caramel's delectable gooey caramel ribbon makes it hard to put the pint down, and the Double Chocolate is creamy and rich, like a chocolate hot fudge cake. 

Y'all, I think I have a new favorite vegan ice cream! And with all this ice cream in my freezer, I'll be eating ice cream every day for awhile. Me-maw will be proud. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Review: Mighty Lil' Lentils

I'm all for snacks that taste like chips but are made with way healthier ingredients. I want a salty, savory, crunchy thing made with whole foods. And Seapoint Farms Mighty Lil' Lentils are just that! They offered to send me a few packs for review, and I cannot get enough of these things!

The main ingredient in Mighty Lil' Lentils is just what you'd expect — lentils! Plus, a little oil and spices, and that's it! They come in four flavors — Pink Himalayan Salt, Barbecue, Falafel, and Cinnamon Sugar.

They're teensy, so they're ideal for popping a handful into your mouth at a time or — let's be honest — just turning the bag up and dumping directly into your mouth. I've been doing just that when I need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up while working in my home office/living room (pandemic life!).

The Falafel flavor, which has notes of garlic, onion, paprika, and turmeric, is my fave, because it tastes very much like a crispy fried falafel ball. But Barbecue comes in a close second. They taste just like BBQ chips, but they're way better for you (and have 5 grams of protein per serving).

I've been enjoying the Pink Himalayan Salt lentils as a salad topper. I love a good crunchy salad topper.

And the Cinnamon Sugar are surprisingly not too sweet. I was hesitant to try that one because I'm not always a fan of sugary snacks that seem like they should be salty. But since they're lentil-based, you get a natural savory flavor just hint of sweetness. These might be weirdly good atop vanilla ice cream, but I'll you try that first. :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Kabobs! Butter Cups! Pasta!

I've decided I want to make everything from Eat Feel Fresh, the Ayurvedic cookbook by Sahara Rose. And I feel like I'm well on my way there! I've made so many things! Last Thursday, I made her Tempeh Tikka with Plant-Based Pink Raita and Mint Cilantro Chutney. For the tikka, you marinate tempeh and veggies in a vindaloo yogurt sauce before grilling. The pink raita (yogurt sauce) is made with beets and cashews, and the chutney is loaded with herbs. I love things with dipping sauces!

Last night, I made the Golden Milk Butter Cups from Eat Feel Fresh! These are stuffed with golden milk-spiced coconut butter, and they're so good! 

I wanted them to be on the healthier side, so I bought the Lilly's stevia-sweetened dark chocolate. It's pricy, but fair trade, so I felt okay about it. Then on my first try, I accidentally got water in the chocolate as I was melting it, so it seized up and became unusable. I wanted to cry!! When I have baking fails, I get so upset, and I can't sleep until the mistake is fixed. I knew I had to try again, which meant buying more expensive chocolate. I ran back to Kroger and bought another bag of Lilly's. And this time, I was VERY careful not to get water in the chocolate. Success! Still mad that I spent all that money, but at least I have lil' chocolates now.

After my weekend in Nashville, I needed to detox with some green juice, so I made the Alkalizing Green Juice from Eat Feel Fresh. This has celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, turmeric, and coconut water. Juicing isn't recommended for vata types (like me), but they say, if vatas are going to juice, they should add some spice, like ginger and turmeric. Okay by me!

And finally, here's a meal that isn't from Eat Feel Fresh. This is the Cowboy One-Pot Pasta from The Abundance Diet by Somer McCowan. I did her Abundance Diet as a January reset one year and made almost every recipe in the book, including this one. I remembered really liking this easy pasta dish with zucchini, tomatoes, and white beans, so I made it again for Macaroni Monday. 

I used Banza cavatappi pasta, which is gluten-free, loaded with protein, and really great! I learned about this on My Cat Loves Daiya and then found some on sale at Kroger. Score!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Nashville Adventures!

I drove to Nashville on Friday because we were supposed to kayak the Harpeth River on Saturday. But it was super-rainy all day Friday, and I found out on my 3.5-hour drive that the kayak rental company was considering cancelling if the river was too high from the rain. But I was already halfway there, so I kept on going and arrived just in time to grab dinner and dessert on the way to our Air B&B.

KoKo's Plant-Based Ice Cream is on the western end of Nashville, not too far off the highway, and I was driving right past it so ... I had to stop for ice cream! I got a double scoop of Mint Chip and Cookies and Cream. I LOVE this little vegan ice cream shop!

Avo — Nashville's raw vegan eatery — is in the same parking lot as KoKo's, so I swung by for some Kimchi Spring Rolls to go. Avo is best-known for these veggie-filled rolls, stuffed with a tasty kimchi spread and served with Thai dipping sauce.

I enjoyed my rolls in the Air B&B while we watched a movie. We went to bed early because we wouldn't know if our kayaking trip was cancelled until 6 am on Saturday. And sure enough, when Paul called the rental place that morning, they told us the trip was off. We tried booking at another kayak rental place, and they cancelled on us as well. We had some other friends from Memphis who drove up the night before to kayak with us, and we all decided to go hiking at Radnor State Park instead.

We had a nice hike, but I kept wishing I'd packed my running shoes because this trail was perfect for an easy run. No roots or rocks, just smooth trail. While we hiked, we decided to try one more kayaking option, and it worked. Cumberland Kayak was doing rentals that day for one-hour trips in downtown Nashville. We were hoping for a longer day of kayaking, but we took what we could get. On the way to our kayak meetup spot, we stopped at Burger King so I could get an Impossible Whopper.

I LOVE Impossible Whoppers, but I try to only get them when traveling since I'd rather support local restaurants when I can (especially during COVID when restaurants need our help). But we needed a very quick meal since we only had 30 minutes to get to our kayak spot. 

The kayak trip was lovely. The hour went by too fast, but we got a great view of the Nashville skyline.

After kayaking, I was hungry again! Luckily, Tailgate Brewery was open and just a couple miles away on Music Row. We got a spot on the patio, and I ordered a Pickle Kolsh beer (it tasted like pickles!) and their Beyond Sausage Pizza with Vegan Cheese. We had stopped at another Tailgate location last summer, and I loved this pizza so much. I was glad to be able to eat it again. 

We parted with our friends after beers, and Paul and I headed back to our Air B&B for a bit. Then we closed out the night with putt putt! I love being outdoors, and I'm so glad we can still do outdoor activities during COVID. This winter is going to be tough.

On Sunday, I woke up hangry! That's what happens when I sleep for 9 hours, which never happens (but happened on Sunday). Luckily, I'd packed a Cold Brew and Caramel Macchiato Clif Bar to enjoy at the Air B&B for a pre-breakfast.

Then, we headed to our usual brunch spot, Graze. They're not open for dining, but there is a big patio space in the complex they share with several other businesses. We grabbed a table, and I enjoyed a Breakfast Burrito (seitan chorizo, cashew cheese, roasted potatoes, tofu scramble, avocado) while Paul had his usual biscuits and seitan chorizo gravy.

Then I headed home! I was bummed that our original kayaking plan was cancelled, but I'm glad we made a fun day of it anyway. When one adventure falls through, there's always another waiting.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Mac & Cheeze! Stir-Fry! Wet Burrito!

On Macaroni Monday this week, I picked the Roasted Red Pepper Mac & Cheese from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook. The cheese sauce is made with roasted red peppers (I roasted a local one from the farmers market myself!), butternut squash, and cashews. It's REALLY good and super-creamy. I served it with some PlantMade Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and Sauteed Kale.

I thought it'd be fun to show you the difference in my lunch and dinner sizes. The above meal was a dinner, and since I've been practicing Ayurveda, I've been trying to have smaller dinners and bigger lunches, since the digestive fire is stronger from 10 am-2 pm. Here was the same meal for lunch the next day. WAY MORE FOOD! I love eating this way because I sometimes have 5-6 hours between lunch and dinner, and I need to stay full. But I don't like to eat a whole lot before bed, and I go to bed very early.

On Taco Tuesday, I used the leftover cheese sauce on a Bean & Rice Burrito to make it a wet burrito. The burrito had pintos, brown rice, cherry tomato, and avocado slices. I baked it in the air fryer for about eight minutes to make the tortilla nice and crunchy, and then I topped it with warm cheese sauce, guac, and salsa.

For Wok Wednesday, I had a Tofu & Veggie Stir-fry (my Wok Wednesday usual), but this time, I served it over the Saffron Cauliflower Rice from the Eat Feel Fresh Cookbook. I love carbs, so I'm pro-rice. But this onion-y/garlicky/saffron cauli-rice sounded so good. And it was!

Flashback to last Saturday (SIZZLE SATURDAY!) when Paul and I grilled out! I grilled a Field Roast Veggie Burger and topped it with guac (served on a LuLu's bun) with Corn on the Cob and some farmers market squash. 

Here's my breakfast from this morning! Another Eat Feel Fresh recipe. I made the Lentil Squash Oats (for pitta). These have butternut squash (leftover from the mac), red lentils, and steel cut oats, topped with avocado, cucumber, and hemp seeds. I loved how hearty and filling this meal was.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Ethiopian Takeout! Mango Dranks! Burger Salads!

I'm so sad that buffets are a thing of the past. I hope they come back one day! My favorite Ethiopian restaurant Abysinnia had the BEST buffet. I hadn't been there in awhile, but then I saw a coworker post that she'd gotten takeout from there. And suddenly, I needed that too! On Takeout Thursday last week, I got Abysinnia's Veggie Platter to go, and y'all, it was SO MUCH FOOD. This was enough wats, salads, and veggies for three meals. I requested extra injera so I'd have enough for a couple day's leftovers. Injera is life.

Global Café in Crosstown Concourse has been posting images of their beautiful Mango-Rita for weeks now, and I've been having some serious FOMO. So last Friday, Paul and I headed over to Concourse after work (I'm still working from home) so I could finally try it! This is a margarita, crafted by their awesome bartender Juan, topped with an ENTIRE MANGO sprinkled with chile-lime salt and hot sauce. The Concourse loading dock patio is a perfect place for safer COVID-19-era dining.

After my drink, which was kind of a meal in itself, we walked over to Farm Burger in Concourse for dinner. I got the Superfood Salad and asked them to top it with their Vegan Burger. I'm trying to avoid salads at dinner since they're harder to digest (saving those for lunch when my digestive fire is stronger), but I'd been craving their kale salad for awhile. It's topped with the best crunchy black-eyed peas!

Here's a cute little Tomato Scone that I picked up from LuLu's at the CY Farmers Market last Saturday!

And finally, here's another breakfast from Eat Feel Fresh. I made the Sweet Potato Toasts with almond butter, yogurt (mine was homemade soy), raspberries, and hemp seeds. This was a pitta-recommended dish, and I'm vata-pitta, so that works for me! You should also eat more pitta (cooling) foods in the summer anyway.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Donuts! Pizza! Smoothie Bowls!

I'm a Libra, so I'm all about that balance! One minute, I'm eating donuts, and the next, I'm eating smoothie bowls. That's what life is all about.

Speaking of donuts, Darling Donuts just released four new fall flavors, and they're taking orders on their Instagram! I was lucky to be a tester for these!! They are so amazing. There's Butter Rum, Cinnamon Chai, Apple Fritter, and Caramel. I want summer to last forever, but if this is what fall tastes like, I'm in. 

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I'm obsessed with the Eat Feel Fresh Cookbook right now. It's an Ayurvedic, whole foods-based, gluten-free cookbook, and I want to make EVERYTHING. Last week, on Slice Sunday, I made the Sweet Potato Pesto Pizza. It has an oat flour-sweet potato crust and is topped with fresh basil pesto and herbed roasted chickpeas. YUM!

Some Slice Sundays aren't that healthy though! Last Sunday, I used some Lulu's ciabatta bread to make this cute little French bread-style pizza with vegan mozz, fresh tomatoes, spinach, and black olives. 

Here's another dish using those roasted chickpeas from Eat Feel Fresh. I had leftover Mediterranean Herb Chickpeas atop some pasta with marinara and kale on Macaroni Monday last week. Y'all, I'm just nerding the heck out over here with my meal themes.

And finally, here's a very healthy meal! I've been really into smoothie bowls lately (probably because I have goji berries that need using, and what else do you do with those?). This has a base of banana, plums, blueberries, and Complement protein powder, and it's topped with lots of seeds, roasted pumpkin seed butter, banana, and gojis.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Buffalo Chick'n! Stir-fries! Sweet Potato Cereal!

For years, Imagine Vegan Cafe has used Gardein breaded chicken strips on their chicken sandwiches. They were delicious because they deep-fry them, which I would never do at home. But Imagine stepped up their game recently and started hand-breading the same vegan chicken they used for their famous drumsticks. It's a meatier chicken that has very realistic texture. And this means the nuggets on the sandwiches are much bigger than they were before! I tried the new and improved Buffalo Chicken Sandwich a few weeks ago, and HOLY SEITAN, y'all. Amazing! They serve this with their homemade ranch for dipping.

Here's a recent Taco Tuesday meal. I had some leftover chickpeas so I made a couple Chickpea and Mushroom Tacos with some Daiya and squeezy guac. 

And here's a Wok Wednesday Veggie & Tofu Stir-fry. This was right after grocery day, so I had LOTS of veggies!

Here's another Wok Wednesday meal I made on a night when I was low on fresh veggies and relied on a frozen bag of stir-fry veggies to make this Tofu Fried Rice. For my tofu, I always marinate for a few hours in a soy-vinegar-garlic broth, and then I air-fry the cubes for about 10 minutes.

And finally, here's a weird but yummy breakfast from the Eat Feel Fresh Cookbook — Sweet Potato Cereal! It's just what it looks like! Baked, cubed sweet potatoes are topped with almond milk, almond butter, and chia seeds. It sounds weird, but it was tasty and super-healthy. The almond butter and chia were the recommended toppings to balance my vata dosha.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Enchiladas! Tofu Scramble! And the BEST BAGEL SAMMICH EVER!

Let's dig right in! Last Friday morning, I made my usual end-of-week breakfast stop at LuLu's and had one of the best meals of my life. No lie. They've started making bagels, and you can now get their fantastic Brekky Sandwich on an Everything Bagel. AND IT IS EVERYTHING. These bagels are phenomenal, and unlike other everything bagels, they're lightly salted. So good! Even better with the tofu egg, cashew cheese, and carrot bacon sandwiched in-between. I took this home to enjoy and savored every bite. Then I cried a little when it was gone.

On Taco Tuesday last week, I made Smoky Black Bean & Tofu Enchiladas from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. I'm trying to make at least one recipe in every cookbook I own, which will take a million years. But all I've got is time! This was super-simple to put together, and it fed me for four days (one dinner, three lunches). The recipe called for a noochy sauce on top, but I subbed Daiya.

Here's a dinner plate of enchiladas with cashew sour cream and a pile of sauteed kale. I'm trying to eat less salads and more cooked greens in keeping with Ayurveda guidelines for my vata-pitta dosha. So I'm now doing cooked greens with dinner instead of salad. I will still have some salads during the summer, but Ayurveda recommends I eat those at lunch time when my digestion is strongest.

I had some of the black bean and tofu filling leftover from making the enchiladas, so I turned that into a Tofu Scramble for the next day's breakfast!

And finally, here's a quick lunch! A friend had a bunch of frozen Steamables Edamame & Black Rice packs that she needed to give away, and I gladly accepted them. It's just a quick one-serving frozen meal of edamame, rice, bell pepper, and a mango sauce. Really yummy! Even better with avocado. I served this at lunch with leftover tabbouleh from Global Café. I figured it was best that I eat that salad at lunch!