Thursday, January 28, 2021

Cheezy Chickpeas, Taco Tuesday, & Purple Soup!

Although I don't really subscribe to the Engine 2 way of eating (I eat a little oil, and I couldn't live without smoothies), I do subscribe to their newsletter! I like working occasional oil-free meals into my life because that helps me consume the oil I do eat in moderation. And let's be honest — Rip's kinda hot. Anyway, Rip recently shared a video with some recipes he eats in a typical day, and one of those was these Cheezy Chickpeas

You basically add nooch and a bit of whole wheat flour to some chickpeas, mash them, and cook it into a gravy, and then you serve over greens or broccoli and whole wheat pasta. It's really simple and really good! Here's the recipe and here's the video.

Here's a recent Tofu Stir-fry. Marinated, air-fried tofu with broccoli and mushrooms over brown rice. About as simple as it gets!

This past Tuesday, I got Taco Tuesday takeout from Global Café at Crosstown Concourse! They have the BEST Black Bean Tacos, and you get free chips and homemade salsa, plus a margarita for $2.95. And the margs are strong! It's such a great deal, and I'd do it every Tuesday if I could control myself around the chips. What you see here is about one-third of the chips. They give you a lot, and I can't stop eating them.

And finally, here's some purple soup! I made the Anja (Crown Chakra) Soup from Eat Feel Fresh. I've been working my way through all the chakra soups in this book, and this one was fantastic. It's made with purple sweet potatoes, onion, ginger, and coconut milk and then drizzled with toasted sesame oil.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Breakfast Fun & Schnitzel!

I'm cooking my way through the e-books from the No Meat Athlete Health & Fitness Bundle that I purchased on Black Friday, and last week, I made a couple things from the Bruce's Roots Fall/Winter Anti-inflammatory Recipes book. These Sweet Potato Hash Browns are amazing and so simple to make with my food processor! I loved the avocado on top. 

I also made the Pressure Cooker Chocolate Steel Cut Oats from the book. I love any excuse to use my Instant Pot for anything besides rice (my primary use for it). These steel cut oats have cocoa, maple, and canned coconut milk. I've been a little burned out on rolled oats lately, but I'm not tired of steel cut yet!

Last Saturday, I picked up this Black Sesame Kimchi Bun from LuLu's at the Cooper-Young Farmers Market. The tangy sourdough and kimchi were a perfect complement to the toasted sesame seeds. I had this breakfast on the drive to TO Fuller State Park, where I walked a couple miles. My tailbone was still injured from my previous weekend's 25K, so I traded my planned 10-mile run for a two-mile walk. But it's finally better, and I'm running again.

I also got a LuLu's Chocolate Chunk Cookie, which I enjoyed in the car after my walk.

And here's recent lunch plate. I made the Vegan Schnitzel from Evolving Vegan awhile back, and I froze a few patties for quick lunches. Last week, I thawed one out and whipped up this quick vegan schnitzel sauce (with dill and nooch!). On the side, I had some Air-Fried Potatoes and the rest of my Pop-a-roos Collard Greens.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Incogmeato + Shiro Wat(ish) + Salads!

When I was grocery shopping last week, I had Beyond Burgers on my list, but Kroger was fresh out. The only super-meaty plant-based burgers they had were the Morningstar Farms Incogmeato Burgers, which I hadn't tried yet. So I got those! I finally made one on Sunday night, and it tasted very much like Beyond. I probably couldn't tell the difference in a blind taste test. Really good!

Last night, I made a recipe that's been on my list forever! The Chickpea "Polenta" Stew from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook is inspired by Ethiopian shiro wat, which is one of my favorite wats. It's made with chickpea flour (not actual polenta), tomatoes, and onion, and it's traditionally blended into a creamy stew. But this recipe makes a chunky version. I've been enjoying it over brown rice with sauteed garlic chard on the side. Would be better with injera bread though!

On Sunday morning, I made a Breakfast Sandwich with the last of my BE-Hive seitan bacon. This has bacon, tofu egg, and avocado on sprouted grain.

Here's a salad I had for lunch on Sunday! I haven't been eating many salads lately since we're in kapha season (according to Ayurveda), but there was lettuce in my CSA. This has white beans, nooch, carrots, celery, green olives, dried cranberries, red onion, and a homemade miso tahini dressing.

Speaking of salads, here's another one I had recently (guess that part about not eating salads isn't really true). This is the Fried Chicken Salad from Imagine Vegan Cafe. They bread their own vegan chicken, and they made the vegan honey mustard dressing in house. It's great for when you want something kinda healthy and kinda not healthy. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

BLT for Breakfast! Pinole Pancakes!

BLTs aren't just for lunch. Serve bacon, lettuce, and tomato on a bagel, and you've got yourself a breakfast sandwich. That's what I did with this whole wheat Dave's Bagel stuffed with BE-Hive seitan bacon, tomato, and lettuce, plus some Violife cream cheese, which makes a great stand-in for mayo on a breakfast sammy.

Last Sunday, Paul and I ran the Memphis Runners Track Club Winter Off Road Series 3K at Shelby Farms. I ran a 25K trail race the day before, and my legs were trashed. So I figured some magic pancakes might help. These Buckwheat Pinole & Chia Pancakes are from the No Meat Athlete book (not the cookbook but the nutrition book), and they're inspired by the Tarahumara runners from Mexico who eat pinole and chia before their long runs. 

My run that afternoon went okay, but I also had some tailbone pain from falling on my butt in the 25K so that hurt. 

Here's a very quick weekday lunch of Bird's Eye Steamed Edamame Black Rice with some added tofu (that I seasoned with turmeric). The rice blend is a simple steam-in-the-bag meal. It has a mango sauce mixed in, and it's really yummy!

Pop-a-roos, the popcorn shop at Crosstown Concourse, has started offering lunch specials, and they've added vegetarian greens! I stopped by one day last and got some for lunch. They're served with cornbread, but I assumed that was made with eggs and butter, so I asked to leave that off. If you try them, be sure to ask for the veg ones because they also have greens with meat.

I enjoyed some of those greens along with some sauteed chard, chickpeas, quinoa, and avocado on a Grain/Green/Bean Bowl. Topped with lots of hot sauce!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Cauliflower Forever! And Some Other Meals!

Y'all, I really love cauliflower. It's so versatile. You can roast it, steam it, saute it, mash it, steak it, or even rice it. When I first saw Julia Murray of Hooked on Plants post this Roasted Cauliflower with Curry Tahini Sauce, I knew I had to make it. The recipe is in her e-book, which is my current obsession. You just roast a whole-ass cauliflower topped with the tastiest curry tahini sauce. 

I served mine with quinoa and some sauteed chard (another veg fave of the moment). Here's a shot fresh out of the oven. The sauce bakes into the cauliflower, and it's so freakin' good. Then, you drizzle even more sauce over it to serve. I could bathe in that sauce.

I had some leftover cauliflower, so I had that in a bowl with quinoa, chickpeas, and the rest of that sauce. Yum yum.

I've been eating protein oats after my runs all fall and winter because it's too cold out for smoothies. I used to enjoy smoothies all year, but now that I try to follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle, I'm trying to eat more seasonally for my dosha (vata-pitta). But oats get so boring sometimes, so one day last week when I couldn't stomach another bowl of oats, I made some easy Tofu Scramble with spinach and toast. No need to add post-run protein powder since tofu is already high-protein.

And here's a quick meal from Saturday night. I was so tired after my 25K trail race on Saturday, so we kept dinner simple with Boca Chicken Sandwiches and Air-fried Fries. Paul like his sandwiches plain (ketchup only), but I had vegan gouda, vegan mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pickles on mine!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Vegan Pho + Quesadillas + Raw Girls Treats

HAPPY INAUGURATION DAY!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited and relieved! Okay, I know you're here for the food ...

A couple Saturday nights ago, Paul and I were planning to pick up some vegan pho from Pho Binh. I'd been thinking about it all week, and on my 17 mile run that morning, the thought of vegan pho kept me going. But when we tried to call and place an order that evening, we realized they were still closed for COVID. Apparently, the restaurant's matriarch was hospitalized with COVID, so they're closed until she recovers. Our thoughts are with them! We love the Pho Binh family!

Since Pho Binh is the only place in Midtown I know of that has vegan pho, we had two options: 1) eat something else or 2) make our own pho. We opted for #2! I went to the Viet Hoa grocery store and purchased some vegan pho broth base, fried tofu, rice noodles, bean sprouts, cilantro, and jalapenos and got to work. This Vegan Tofu Pho was fantastic! It wasn't quite as amazing as Pho Binh's pho but damn close. 

When we order Pho Binh, we always get their Tofu Spring Rolls from the app menu. So we had to make some of those too. I had rice paper wrappers in the pantry, but I picked up some vermacelli and satay sauce at the Viet Hoa. It's so nice living down the street from a Vietnamese grocery. My roll wrapping skills aren't great, but they tasted good. We stuffed these with rice noodles, fried tofu, and lettuce. We don't like Thai basil, so we left that out.

One of my favorite easy meals is a Black Bean & Sweet Potato Quesadilla! I made this one with mashed black beans, mashed sweet potato, a slice of vegan gouda, lettuce, tomato, and lots of guacamole salsa.

On Takeout Thursday last week, I treated myself to some Raw Girls. Earlier that day, I learned that my March 50K goal race has been postponed for the third time (THANKS COVID), so I was pretty bummed. I considered getting some greasy takeout and wine, but I'm trying to not eat my feelings. So I'll save that decadent stuff for a celebratory meal. Instead, I got this healthy Vegan Curry Dahl and a Merry Fabulous Juice (beet-orange-pineapple).

The Raw Girls soups come in quart-sized bags and contain enough for two meals, so I had a serving as a soup with a vegan grilled cheese one night, and the next night, I had the curry over some jasmine rice.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Vegan Options at Mellow Mushroom

Full disclosure: Mellow Mushroom provided a $25 gift card so I could sample and blog about a few of their vegan items.

I remember, years ago, every time I'd visit Nashville, I wanted to eat at Mellow Mushroom in the West End. They had vegan tempeh hoagies, and I was obsessed with them. This was before Nashville had any totally vegan restaurants and before Memphis (where I live) had a Mellow Mushroom location. Mellow Mushroom was a vegan pioneer back in the day.

And when Memphis got its first location in Germantown, I was STOKED. That original location is about 40 minutes from my house, but the drive was so worth it. By then, Mellow Mushroom had vegan cheese pizzas, and that was life-changing. Fast forward a few years, we got a second location on Park Avenue that cut the drive time in half for me. It's since become a favorite spot when I'm craving vegan pizza!

While Mellow Mushroom has long had vegan options, they've recently added a vegan section to their menu to make ordering a breeze. And like most restaurants in these pandemic times, they've added online ordering as well. Paul and I stopped by the Park Ave location after a 3K trail race on Sunday for some much-need post-run pizza. I ordered the Vegan Veg Out Pizza.

When you order this as the Vegan Veg Out, it comes with Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella, and they leave the butter and parm off crust. It's loaded with all of the veggies every pizza needs — bell peppers, black olives, onions, and tomatoes.

For salads, you can choose from the Vegan Enlightened Spinach Salad or the Vegan Greek Salad. Both are veganized versions of salads from the regular menu. I ordered the Vegan Greek Salad, which is packed with lettuce, tomato, kalamatas, mushrooms, bell peppers, banana peppers, pepperoncinis, onions, and cucumbers. I opted for the balsamic dressing. This was such a nice side dish, and they gave me enough for two meals worth. 

Other vegan options include that beloved Tempeh Hoagie (with vegan mozz, onions, and peppers), hummus with pita and veggies, and soft pretzels with mustard. And of course, you can veganize just about any pizza! I love getting the Thai Dye pizza with vegan cheese and curry tofu. Just be sure to order with no butter/parm on the crust if you're venturing off the vegan menu!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Cookbook Review: The Batch Cook E-Book

I love to cook, and if I was retired and had all the time in the world, I'd cook fresh meals every day. But I have a day job, a lot of time-consuming hobbies (like running and yoga), and a very early bedtime (9 pm). So I prefer to only spend one or two nights a week cooking a big meal, and the rest are takeout nights, leftover nights, or — my favorite — quick batch-cooked meals. If I make a big pot of beans or chili or something on the weekend, I can use it in all kinds of ways throughout the week. 

For this reason, I've been loving the Plant-Based Juniors' Batch Cook E-Book. It provides eight recipes that you can make in bulk (like chili, eggplant meatballs, or green lentil falafels, to name a few), and then they include two to three additional recipes that you can use with those ingredients. So you make a batch of, say, their basic black beans, and you've got three ways to mix it up throughout the week (fajita bowls, black bean soup, and black bean sliders).

Last week, I made a big pot of the PBJ Chili (PBJ just stands for Plant-Based Juniors, not peanut butter and jelly!). On the first night, I enjoyed it by itself, topped with some Miyoko cheddar and served with homemade cornbread. The chili is bean-based with lots of diced sweet potatoes. 

The next night, I had Chili Cheese Sweet Potato Fries. For this, you also make their cashew-based Basic Cheese Sauce. This was a mega-sweet potato meal since the chili also has sweet potatoes, but you can't eat too many sweet taters if you ask me.

The following night, I made Chili Mac & Cheese with red lentil pasta, their basic cheese sauce, and the PBJ chili. All you had to do was stir everything together!

I love eating like this, and I can't wait to try more batch ideas from this book! If you're looking for ways to save time in the kitchen (and who isn't?), check it out!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Glorious Bowls, Breads, & Burgers

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm trying to cook only from the e-cookbooks I got in the No Meat Athlete Health & Fitness Bundle. My favorite of those is the Hooked on Plants e-book by Julia Murray. I've made a number of dishes from it, and my new obsession is this Glory Bowl. It's basically a grain/green/bean bowl with a fantastic miso tahini nooch sauce. Tonight, I followed the recipe and used lentils, brown rice, roasted sweet potato, zucchini noodles, beet noodles, spinach, and avocado.

I also made this last week and used quinoa, blackeyed peas, roasted sweet potato, zucchini noodles, carrots, spinach, and sprouts. 

LuLu's had to move out of their space in Puck Food Hall because the building closed, but they're still at the Cooper Young Farmers Market, so we stopped by on Saturday morning. And I got this awesome Cashew Cheese & Caramelized Onion Focaccia to enjoy after my 17-mile run. 

And I grabbed a Caramelized Onion Chocolate Bun to eat before Sunday's 5-miler. It sounds weird, but it was so good. They use a very high-end, super-dark, fair-trade chocolate that isn't sweet, and there was no sugar in the bun, so the chocolate just brought out the flavors of the sweet onion. Trust me!

Last week, for Takeout Thursday, I ordered Farm Burger delivery. They deliver for FREE, and they have two vegan options for burgers — either a homemade quinoa veggie patty or Beyond Burger. I usually go with the handmade patty because it's whole food-based, but I wanted a treat on Thursday, so I went Beyond. And it was the best Beyond Burger I've had in a long while. They don't have vegan cheese, but I added some vegan gouda once it was delivered.

On the side, I opted for the new Vegan Collard Greens rather than my usual sweet potato fries, and I did not regret it. Best collards I've had outside of my Granny's greens. They're slow-cooked with onions with some smoky flavor and sweetness. Still dreaming of them. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Bagel Sandwich, Drunken Noodz, & Salads

Back around Black Friday, I purchased the No Meat Athlete Health & Fitness Bundle, which had lots of e-cookbooks, fitness programs, and even life coaching programs. I've been exploring all of the content over the past few weeks, including the cookbooks. I've decided that, for January, I'm only cooking from the e-books in that bundle. One that I've been loving is My Best Vegan Comfort Food Recipes by Food by Maria. Here's a Breakfast Bagel Sandwich I've enjoyed from that book several days last week and today. 

It has vegan cream cheese (Violife), vegan smoked gouda (365 Brand), seitan bacon (from BE-Hive), avocado, spinach, tomato, and onion chutney all on a locally made Dave's Whole Wheat Bagel. It's super-packed sando that's kept me full straight through lunch.

Another recipe I've made from the book are Thai Drunken Noodles. I made this with brown rice noodles and a yummy sauce that combines soy sauce with vegan fish sauce and sriracha, plus bell pepper, shallot, and carrots. It didn't call for tofu, but I added lots.

I'm still doing protein oats for breakfast on weekdays when I run (Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays). I try to mix it up with fun toppings. On a bowl last week, I added some Coconut Collaborative coconut and passionfruit/mango yogurt, and it was soooo good. It was my first time trying this brand, and I love it. It's very much like solid canned coconut milk.

And it is January, after all! I'm not doing a cleanse or reset this year, but I am attempting to really nail my 80/20 Plants goals (that's 80% whole foods and 20% indulgent). A great way to do that is with salads topped with plant meat. Here's a recent Gardein Burger Salad with chopped burger, nooch, walnuts, tomato, pickled beets, and pickles. Tasted like a burger!

And here's a Vegan Chicken Kale Salad with Gardein chicken strips, dried cranberries, sprouts, onions, tomatoes, carrots, and kale. This was really yummy!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Some Stuff I Ate in Nashville

On the day after Christmas, I drove to Nashville to meet up with Paul and his family and exchange gifts. As you probably saw on the news, there was a suicide bombing in downtown Nashville on Christmas Day, which damaged the AT&T building and left much of the city without internet or phone service. Paul and I both have AT&T, as does his family and the hotel we stayed in. And so does almost every vegan restaurant in Nashville. On the drive there, I tried calling them all to place an order for pick-up and was only able to get through to The BE-Hive. They have Comcast! I love The BE-Hive, so I was happy about that!

I got the Hot Italian Sandwich, which has their house-made seitan bacon and deli slices, plus house-made coconut mozz, tomato, and greens. Super good!

I got some Broccoli Tahini Salad on the side. I figured I needed something green. I also got a package of the BE-Hive's seitan bacon to take home.

The next day, internet was still out for most of the day, so we assumed our usual brunch takeout from Graze was not an option. Instead, we stayed close to the hotel in Gallatin for lunch and dinner. There was a Burger King right next to the hotel, so I had an Impossible Burger for lunch, after our 6-mile run on the Hendersonville Greenway.

There was also a Thai place called Thai Phooket next to the hotel, and we'd eaten there once before. Paul and I both adore Thai food, so we each got orders of Pad See Ew with tofu to go. And we split some tofu spring rolls. This pad see ew was perfect because they added lots of spice (look at all those red pepper flakes!). I ordered mine without egg, and they told me they don't use fish sauce in this dish. YAY!

When I got home from my trip, I made a yummy BLT with BE-Hive seitan bacon and some local lettuce and tomato from my CSA.