Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Tacos & Bean Bowls!

Last week, we made one of my favorite go-to quick weeknight dinners — BBQ Tempeh Tacos! You just saute tempeh, coat with BBQ sauce, and spoon into tortillas with chopped pineapple and red cabbage. Plus, I added some microgreens and sprouts for good measure. 

I'm still working my way through all the recipes in The Plant-Based Athlete book, so I recently made the Engine 2 Black Beans & Rice, a contribution from Rip Esselstyn. This has brown rice, seasoned black beans, corn, bell pepper, water chesnuts (a strange but yummy addition!), and salsa. Plus, I added microgreens and sprouts. I'm growing broccoli sprouts now, and I'm trying to eat them daily! And the microgreens were in my CSA.

I also got purple hull peas in my CSA, so I made Bryant Terry's Stewed Tomatoes & Blackeyed Peas with Cornbread Croutons from Afro Vegan. This was SO GOOD. The cornbread croutons are made with chopped, baked cornbread. I made mine in the air fryer. Definitely stepped up this already-awesome bowl of legumes.

I was supposed to be going to Bonnaroo this weekend, but it's been canceled due to Hurricane Ida. BUMMER! So we're probably going somewhere else instead! I won't be blogging for the rest of the week, so I'll be back with photos of something (who knows?!) next week!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Avocado Kraut Toast, Spaghetti, & Overnight Oats!

This morning, I had to get up early and finish writing a freelance story before work, so I made some Avocado Toast to enjoy as I wrote. I recently made my own kraut, letting it ferment for two weeks, and I added some of that to my toast. Next level!

Last Saturday, I ran my last long run before my September 19 50K. It was 22 miles, which I haven't done in a long time, so I made sure to carb-load the night before with my favorite pre-long run Spaghetti with Mushrooms & Sourdough Garlic Bread! I felt pretty strong through those 22 miles, despite the 104 degree heat index, so I think the carbs helped.

On Friday, I brought this little Brekki Vanilla Cinnamon Overnight Oats cup to work to enjoy as my second breakfast (first breakfast was a smoothie enjoyed at home). I wouldn't normally pay for something like this when I can make my own overnight oats from scratch much cheaper, but this was on sale at Sprouts for 99 cents. And it was really good! I loved the chewy oats.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Lucchesi's Beer Garden

I've been needing a new falafel joint for a while now, and I've finally found a place with excellent falafel and several delicious vegan options. Plus beer! Lots and lots of beer! Lucchesi's Beer Garden offers 540 crafts beers (WHAT?!) and some of the best falafel I've had!

Paul and I stopped in there on Sunday, and I ordered the Lettuce Turnip the Beet pita sandwich. This has crispy falafel, creamy hummus, lettuce, and a mixture of pickled turnips, beets, and cauliflower. I loved the tangy pickles paired with the falafel. And the pita bread was SO SOFT. Few things make me happier than soft, fluffy pita.

They offer sides of tabbouli, baba ganoush, hummus, or chips. I went with tabbouli, and it did not disappoint. Lots of parsley and a nice lemony tang. They served extra pita for scooping up the tabbouli.

Paul and I split an order of Devil'd Mash, a spicy avocado dip that I could not stop eating. I'm now convinced that avocado and pita bread beats guac and chips. 

I washed it all down with a locally brewed Beale Street Brewing Co. Rookie of the Year Hazy IPA, brewed right here in Memphis by my friend Kelvin.

If you're looking for one of the the biggest beer selections in Memphis and some awesome vegan options, this laidback neighborhood bar is the place to be!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Pizza, Mashed Potatoes, & Monkey Bread!

A couple weeks ago, a coworker gave me a bag of pizza dough mix that she'd made using Mark Bittman's pizza dough recipe from the New York Times. It had the yeast and salt already mixed in, so all I needed to do was add olive oil and water. Last Friday, I mixed it up on my lunch break and let it rise during the afternoon. And then, when I got home, Paul and I each made our own pizzas. I used vegan mozzerella for mine, and Paul used dairy cheese. But we both used vegan salami by Renegade Foods, bell pepper, spinach, basil, and spicy mushrooms that Paul sauteed. Oh, and mine had black olives. 

Paul had never made his own pizza, and he had so much fun. And he said his pizza was better than any pizza he'd ever gotten in a restaurant!

We had some leftover mashed potatoes last week that I repurposed for lunch. I topped these with steamed frozen veggies (peas, green beans, broccoli) and lots of gravy!

Curb Market at Crosstown Concourse now carries Vevan products, and they sent me home with some Vevan Antipasti to try. It has little bits of vegan mozz marinated in olive oil with kalamata olives, banana peppers, and these cute little red peppers. I've been eating it with fresh sourdough baguette from Lulu's.

Also from LuLu's: I picked up this cute Monkey Bread Muffin this weekend from the Cooper Young Farmers Market. They made these with the leftover sourdough biscuit scraps and a brown sugar glaze. Sooooo good.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Stir-frys, Gumbo, & Chick'n Nuggets!

I've been on a bit of a stir-fry kick lately because they're easy and Paul will eat them. Here's a Thai-inspired Panang Curry Tofu stir-fry I made with panang paste, broccoli, and bell peppers. I used coconut milk in the sauce, and this was very tasty.

Here's a super-quick weeknight stir-fry with tofu, a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, some CSA okra that was about to go bad, and basic sauce made from soy sauce, veggie broth, and cornstarch. On the side, we had some air-fried pre-made spring rolls that I found in the freezer case at Sprouts. We were hoping they'd be as good as the Trader Joe's veggie spring rolls, but they weren't. They were good though. But those TJ's ones are fire!

One night last week, Paul and I went out for dinner at Mulan Asian Bistro. We decided to split the Drunken Noodles with tofu. But he didn't care for the sauce, so he only ate a few bites. And I took home the leftovers for lunch the next day. It was definitely saucier than the drunken noodle dishes I've had elsewhere, but I still thought it was super-tasty.

I made Vegan Sausage Gumbo last week using some okra from my CSA. I used my tempeh gumbo from Cookin' Crunk, but I subbed Simple Truth kielbasa for the tempeh. Really tasty! And it made enough for us to eat for lunches for a couple days.

Here's a recent toddler-inspired meal! I made some Morningstar Farms Vegan Chicken Nuggets in the air fryer, plus some Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Broccoli. Oh, and the gravy was Road's End Organics. I love those gravy packets!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Minestrone! Omelets! Vegan Wings!

I'm still slowly working my way through every No Meat Athlete recipe in existence! I'm trying to make every recipe in the two No Meat Athlete books (the cookbook and the fitness book) and in The Plant-Based Athlete (the newest book from Matt Frazier and Robert Cheeke). Last week, I made the Minestrone from The Plant-Based Athlete, and it was a winner! Paul loved it too! I enjoyed mine with a vegan grilled cheese.

After my recent visit with my parents in Jonesboro, my mom sent me home with half a bottle of Just Egg that was leftover from our breakfast. I used it to make a veggie-stuffed Vegan Omelet with fresh berries on the side. 

I've been making lots of stir-fry lately because Paul is easing into eating vegan meals with me (YAY!), and he always likes a good stir-fry. Plus, it's super-easy! For this one, I used Gardein Teriyaki Chicken and some local squash. I also had some local eggplant in my CSA, and I used it to make the Eggplant Dengaku from Appetite for Destruction. It's a traditional Japanese dish with a miso glaze. Paul doesn't like eggplant, so I made this as a side for just me!

Last Tuesday, my friend Misti was visiting from Fayetteville, Arkansas, so we met up for a five-mile run through Overton Park after work. And then Paul joined us for post-run food at Slider Inn. I got the Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower and Tofu Wings (my fave!). The food pic below is terrible since it was dark out! Sorry! It tasted great though. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Vegan Macarons! Donuts! Cheeze Snax!

A few weeks ago, I was picking up my usual Saturday morning sourdough and treats from the all-vegan LuLu's booth at the Cooper-Young Farmer's Market, when I noticed a sign for vegan macarons at another booth. WHAT?! I'd actually never had a macaron because I went vegan before I knew what they were. The booth was run by The Sift Bakery, and she sells both non-vegan and vegan macarons. I had to try one! I got a French Vanilla Macaron, and it was perfection. Light and crisp with a creamy vanilla center. I've not been able to get to the market for a few weeks due to being out of town or having to start my long runs super-early, but I hope to get back there this week and try another flavor (or three!).

Darling Donuts, my friend Lily's vegan donut company, sells donuts at French Truck Coffee in Crosstown Concourse, where my office is, every Monday! I just learned this, and I'm in trouble. Now I want donuts every Monday! Here is a recent Blueberry Fritter and coffee on a Monday morning.

Curb Market in Crosstown Concourse has started carrying Vevan vegan cheese products, and they sent me home with some samples to try. I loved this little cheese, nut, and fruit snack pack!

It had little bits of lemon poppyseed mozzarella, roasted cashews, and dried blueberries! I always see those meat and cheese protein snack packs and get a little jealous that we don't have vegan ones. And now we do!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Product Review: Vegan Wines!

Long ago, back at Vida Vegan Con III (a vegan blogger convention in Austin, Texas), I led a discussion on vegan dining and booze. It wasn't a talk per se, just an open discussion on how vegans feel about vegan purity with restaurant meals and booze. The consensus in the room that day was this: Most people there felt comfortable asking a few basic questions about what was in their restaurant meal to ensure it was probably vegan, but they didn't stress too hard about shared grills or shared grease. Most felt that being too much of a vegan purist in a public space (like a restaurant) hurt the movement because it made vegans look hard to please. 

But when it came to drinking, most people in the room said they didn't focus too much on ensuring their wines or beers were vegan. If the wine or beer was listed on Barnivore, that was helpful. But so many wines and locally brewed craft beers are not listed there, and when they couldn't be sure something wasn't vegan, they would drink it anyway. I have to admit that I'm in that camp myself! But that's because it's so hard to know if your wine is vegan. There are thousands of wines not listed on Barnivore!

But what if a company made the whole process much easier? That's what Vegan Wines is doing! Vegan Wines runs an online shop and subscription service where they only sell vegan wines. So all of the guesswork is taken out of the equation! They source 100% plant-based wines from Chile, France, and Italy and ship directly to your door!

They sent me a couple bottles to try. First, I broke open the Luca Di Tomaso Scigula, an Umbrian rosato. I wasn't familiar with rosato, but turns out it's just what Italians call rosé! This wine was pleasantly tart and sour (reminded me of that twang I love from sour beers) with an oaky finish. It was perfect served chilled on a very hot summer night! 

Next, I tried the Pandolfi Price Larkun, a Chilean riesling. Now let me start by saying that I ruled out rieslings a long time ago. I had one bad, very sweet riesling and decided the style just wasn't for me. But this Pandolfi Price riesling restored my faith in this flowery white wine. This riesling wasn't too sweet at all. It was perfectly dry and had a lemony brightness that was very refreshing. I'd say it was actually my fave of the two wines!

In the Vegan Wines online shop, you can hand-select the bottles you want. But their subscription club sounds more fun. You choose between Signature (a mix of styles), Light Lovers (all whites), or Red Lovers (all reds), and they'll ship you six bottles every four months. They also have a vegan wine and cheese club where they include three wheels of vegan cheese with your wine shipment! Mom and dad, if you're reading this, here's a Christmas gift idea!

So vegans, fear no more! You don't have to accidentally drink egg albumin or other animal by-products that end up in our wines!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Vegan Fish! Avocado Toast! Breakfast Sammy!

I've mentioned on the blog a few times that I've been tracking healthy habits all year with a point system. Every time I run or do yoga or eat all the colors of the rainbow in a day (I use the Rainbow app to track that! It's fun!) or engage in a few other healthy habits, I get a point. I use an app called Counter to track and tally my points. For every 100 points, I get a reward! Some of those rewards are experiences, like an at-home spa night or a yoga class at a fancy studio. Other are items of clothing, like a Find What Feels Good Yoga with Adriene shirt or a Pepper bra. But many of the rewards are food! And my 700-point reward came this weekend with the Fish Dinner from Imagine Vegan Cafe.

I rarely order this because it's literally a plate of fried. There's deep-fried Gardein fish with tartar sauce, hush puppies, fries, and coleslaw. But it's soooo good. And I earned it! I enjoyed this Saturday night after a 20-mile trail run. 

On Fridays, I'm starting a second breakfast thing. I clean my whole house on Fridays before work, so I don't really have time for a sit-down breakfast. So I'm having smoothies on Friday mornings, but since I don't work out on Fridays, it didn't make sense to add protein powder. But then, the smoothies wear off after a couple hours. So now I'm having second breakfast at my desk at work. Last Friday, that was Avocado Toast from French Truck Coffee. They have the best avo toast!

Monday mornings are the only days I actually get to sit down for breakfast (since I'm either running or cleaning on the other days), so I like to have something fun and special on Mondays. Today, that was a Breakfast Sandwich with Just Egg, Smart Bacon, spinach, and broccoli sprouts on an Ezekiel sprouted grain bun! 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Sheridan's birthday with Veggie Fajitas!!

My best friend Sheridan had a birthday on Sunday, and she just happened to be in Jonesboro, where I was visiting my parents, the Saturday before. Sheridan and I have been BFFs since 8th grade, and her parents still live in Jonesboro too. My parents are moving away from my hometown very soon (see yesterday's post!), so I was there saying goodbye to my childhood home. Sheridan was there visiting her family. But she and her husband Drew made time to meet up with me for a quick birthday dinner! 

They also wanted to say goodbye to my parents' house because Sheridan spent much of her teen years hanging out there. We took SO MANY important photos over the years in front of my parents' fireplace (prom pics, Halloween pics, videos of impromptu fashion shows ...). So we staged a photo shoot in front of the fireplace and around the house. This was one of my favorite outtakes. 

And here we are outside my parents' house.

After they visited with my parents a bit, we headed to Kandela Grill, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Jonesboro. I started with a margarita (it was happy hour!) and chips and salsa.

We love Kandela because they have the best Veggie Fajitas! They have so many veggies! I love that they include carrots and cauliflower. So often, Mexican places offer boring veggie fajitas with just peppers and onions.

I cannot vouch for whether or not the beans and rice that come with the fajitas are vegan. You just never know! But we three split one order of the fajita veggies, and that was more than enough food! We couldn't even finish all the veggies!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Last Meals at My Parents' House!

My parents are moving away from Jonesboro, Arkansas! That's my hometown, where I lived the first 21 years of my life. It's only an hour from where I live in Memphis, which has been really awesome. But they're retired now and want to live on a lake, so they found a new house in Cherokee Village, Arkansas, about 2.5 hours from Memphis. It's on a lake, and they're just down the road from Spring River (a prime place to kayak!). So that's exciting!

But I was sad to say goodbye to my childhood home. My parents bought the land their house is on before I was born. They bought a trailer, and we spent the first few years of my life in that trailer. But by 1986, they'd built a house on that land. It was an underground house, which was always such a cool thing to live in as a kid! I went to Jonesboro over the weekend to spend the night in my old bedroom one last time. My dad never let me get on the roof when I was a kid, but I convinced him to let me last Saturday!

I got there on Friday night, just in time for dinner! My mom picked up some pizzas from Uncle Maddio's. I'm gonna miss Uncle Maddio's! They have vegan cheese, so it's always a great option for takeout when I'm visiting Jonesboro.

After dinner, my mom served these little Peach Tarts she'd made with vegan cream cheese, vegan whipping cream, graham crust, fresh peaches, and vegan Reddi Whip. Soooooo good! 

The next day, I went for a 15-mile run at Craighead Forest Park. I always loved that park as a kid, and it was a nice shady place to get some miles in on a hot day.

After my run, my mom had brunch ready! She made Just Egg, Vegan Sausage, Homemade Biscuits, and Hash Browns. And my dad made us some Bloody Marys because brunch!

I spent the rest of the afternoon there, going through old stuff of mine in the attic. And then Sheridan and Drew came over to celebrate Sheridan's birthday. But more on that in tomorrow's post!

I'm happy for my parents, but I sure will miss this house!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Venezuelan Food, Stir-fry, & Loaded Baked Sweet Potato

One day for lunch last week, I stopped by Global Café at Crosstown Concourse (the building where I work) for one of my favorite dishes — the Venezuelan Vegan Platter. This typically comes with white rice, black beans, and plantains, but they added avocado and pico. Yum! I loved it before, but I'm pretty sure I'll have to request avo and pico forever now.

On my last grocery trip to Kroger, I found a bag of pre-chopped, fresh stir-fry veggies (brussels, snow peas, carrots, etc.) with teriyaki sauce and noodles marked down because it was about to expire. But the veggies still looked fresh, so I bought that and prepared with air-fried tofu. Love an easy weeknight dinner like this! 

Here's a quick week day lunch! Baked sweet potato with lentils, spinach, broccoli sprouts, salsa, Trader Joe's zhoug sauce, Kite Hill sour cream, and banana pepper. I literally just threw what I could find in my fridge on top of a baked potato. Yum!

Monday, August 9, 2021

Minestrone, Omelets, and Donuts!

Last night, I made figure skater Meagan Duhamel's Minestrone from The Plant-Based Athlete. Minestrone is Paul's favorite soup, and he's been doing pretty good on his vegan eating. So I'm trying to keep that up by making things I know he likes. This has lots of veggies and whole wheat pasta (my version), and I made a batch for Paul with white pasta because baby steps. I did make him try the whole wheat pasta, and he admitted it was just as good. So next time, I'm making him eat the whole wheat. I made a Vegan Grilled Cheese with tomato from my garden on the side (Paul just had a slice of bread because he doesn't like vegan cheese. Again, baby steps).

I went to parents' house this weekend (more on that in a post later this week), and my mom had some leftover Just Egg that she sent me home with. I made a quick Veggie Omelet with it this morning! Stuffed with Daiya, tomato (from my garden), spinach, and bell pepper (from my CSA). Fresh, organic berries on the side!

This morning at work, I went downstairs to French Truck Coffee to buy a bag of whole beans for the house, and they had vegan donuts from Darling Donuts! Lily of Darling Donuts has been delivering there most Mondays. I got a Blueberry Fritter, which went perfectly with the free cup of coffee that came with my bagged coffee beans.