Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Product Review: Nutpods Barista Oatmilk

Since I started limiting my daily sugar intake, I've been exclusively buying Nutpods creamers for my coffees. Their unsweetened almond-coconut creamers are the best on the market, and I especially love their stevia-sweetened flavored creamers (cookie butter, I'm looking at you). And now they've just released two Barista Oatmilks, and I AM HERE FOR IT.

They sent me two cartons — plus a cute Nutpods frother — to review, but I actually already had a carton of the Cinnamon Dolce blend in my fridge when they arrived. I spied it at Sprouts and couldn't wait for my review shipment, so I bought it. That said, I did not own a frother until the Nutpods review package arrived, so I had just been adding the oatmilk straight to my coffee. And that was good. But frothing makes it next level. 

I mean, look at that foam! I've never seen plant milk do that, outside of a fancy coffee shop.

The Cinnamon Dolce Barista Oatmilk is stevia-sweetened, and the Original is unsweetened (but it has some natural sweetness, thanks to the oatmilk). I've been frothing and adding a bit of monkfruit sweetener to create some very tasty lattes. 

I feel certain these blends would make some beautiful latte art, but having never worked in a coffee shop, that's a skill I just don't have. But latte art or no, these barista milks are my new favorite coffee addition! If only they'd make a cookie butter flavored one next ...

Spanish Tapas, Quinoa, & Bitchin' Snacks

Yesterday, I posted about last Saturday's Big Buffalo 50 relay race. I was on a 50K relay team and ran a 6.2-mile loop, along with four others (completing a total of 31-ish miles). My friends Peter and Laura provided the snacks for our booth, and they made salted, boiled potatoes. I snacked on plenty of those during the event, but we had leftovers, and they were going to toss them. But I said, "No! Give those to me!" You can do so much with a salted potato!

The next day, I used those salted potatoes to make Potatoes Bravas, the Spanish tapas dish with smoky tomato sauce. I wish I could share the recipe, but I can't remember where I found it. Somewhere on the Google. On the side, I made Espinacas con Garbanzos, another Spanish dish of smoky chickpeas and spinach. All that smokiness came from smoked paprika, by the way. This weekend was also National Make Up a Holiday Weekend (or something like that, according to my calendar), so I declared March 27 to be National Boiled Potato Day!

In non-potato news, I had this Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl from Raw Girls for lunch on Monday. I stopped by there, as usual, on my way to work Monday and selected this bowl because it looked good and filling. And it was! Lots of tomatoes, kalamata olives, and parsley.

On my last trip to Sprouts, I spied this cute little Bitchin' Sauce snack pack! It had a cup of the Bitchin' almond dip with tiny tortilla chips. I love that sauce, but it's a little spendy so I never buy it. But the snack packs were only $2. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Big Buffalo 50K Relay!

Last Saturday, I was on a 50K relay team for the Big Buffalo 50 in Shelby Farms. This is the same race that I ran for my second 50K last fall, and it was too soon to run another 50K. But I love this party race and wanted to be involved, so I convinced my friend Peter (who owns a running coach/race directing company) to put a relay team together. And so he did. Here we are — the Motivated Trail Misfits. 

But let's back up to the night before. I always have pasta the night before a long run or race, so I made Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Beyond Sausage, Spinach, Mushrooms & Marinara. Perfect!

Each of us had to run 6.2 miles of a looped course that was mostly trail (and a little pavement), and since there were five of us, that totals a 50K distance. They changed the route a bit from last year when I did the 50K on my own, and it was much better. I was fourth in line to run, so I spent a lot of the day hanging at the tent and waiting around to run. While I waited, I snacked on peanut butter pretzels, salted potatoes and dates. Carbs!!

Here I am ready for my loop!

My leg of the run went great, and I made pretty good time for a trail race. I'm typically a slower runner, and I was worried about holding up my team. But luckily, we had a good mix of all paces in our group, and we weren't worried about winning any awards.

After my loop, it was finally time for beer and tacos! El Mero Taco truck was there, and when I went to order, I noticed they were out of veggie tacos. But before I had time to be sad, my vegan pal Ranise (who works on the truck) popped her head out and said, "hey, I know we're out of veggie tacos, but I can whip you up something." YAY! Vegans look out each other! Here's what she made me — Sweet Potato Tacos with Avocado Slaw. These hit the spot.

What a fun day! The Motivated Trail Misfits are already talking about what kind of team events we want to get into next. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Granola, Ramen, and a Mashed Potato Pile

I've been working my way through the snacks I was sent from Bite Society, and the Kiyami's Granola has been a favorite breakfast lately. I'll slice up a banana and throw in some berries, then top with granola and soymilk. Since I've been limiting sugar, the granola is a little sweeter than what I'm used to for breakfast. But on the days I eat this for breakfast, I'm just counting that as my dessert for the day too.

On Sunday, I brought back an old tradition — ramen in my PJs! I used to always have ramen for breakfast on Sundays, while watching Netflix in my PJs, but I fell out of the habit while I was 50K training (since I had to run every Sunday morning). But yesterday, I slept in and made this bowl of Vite Sichuan Ramen to enjoy while watching Maid

Here's some more ramen that I had last week. I had some BOGO coupons for Halo products, so I got some of these bowls. The Vegan Beef Ramen was really good! It has a big portion of noodles and a dried veggie packet. Surprisingly filling for an instant bowl. I had this for lunch at my desk one day with a small side salad. 

And finally, here's what I did with some St. Patrick's Day leftovers. I had leftover mashed potatoes, peas, cabbage, and onion gravy, so I piled it all up and added some chickpeas for protein. Not pretty at all but very tasty. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Burgers, Pasta, & Bubble Tea!

Imagine Vegan Cafe's dining room has FINALLY reopened. It closed during the early days of the pandemic, and they've been doing takeout only for two years now. But Covid case numbers in Memphis are super-low, so they finally reopened. I met my friends Melissa and Anthony there for dinner on Saturday and ordered their new Impossible Burger with Fries. Imagine now has three burger options; you can choose between Impossible, Beyond, or Gardein. 

I've been picking up baked tofu on every grocery trip lately. I typically cube it and use it as a bowl topper, but one day last week, I made a Tofu & Cheese Sandwich with Sriracha Baked Tofu, Follow Your Heart provolone, spinach, and some Bite Society Pepperish. 

Here's last Friday's pasta night dinner. Every Friday, I eat pasta, because every Saturday, I have a long run. This whole wheat pasta was topped with sauteed garlic chickpeas, kale, and homemade tomato sauce. I served it with toasted sourdough topped with Boursin Garlic-Herb non-dairy cheese. Y'all, this is THE BEST fancy vegan cheese I've had. 

And finally, here's some Strawberry Bubble Tea! I met a friend at Sugar Ghost for a bubble tea happy hour last Wednesday. I LOVE BUBBLE TEA SO MUCH. I need to make bubble tea happy hour a regular thing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Some Whole Foods I've Been Eating

I'm in a pretty good place right now with my balance of whole foods and indulgent meals. I go through times when I'm a little too heavy on the junk food, but here lately, I've been following a mostly 80% whole and 20% indulgent formula. Here are a few of the whole food meals I've enjoyed. 

I made this awesome Avocado Kale Salad for lunch one day this week. The kale was massaged with avocado and lemon juice, and I added some bacon-y air-fried chickpeas, bell pepper, carrots, raisins, hemp seeds, and nooch. On the side, I had some Raw Turmeric Flax Crackers that I picked up from the Raw Girls downtown location on Monday.

Speaking of Monday, here's my weekly Raw Girls lunch! I go into the office on Mondays, so I've made it a tradition to stop into Raw Girls on the way to work to grab something for lunch. This week, I had their Baked Falafel and Quinoa Bowl with romaine, marinated beets, homemade pickles, olives, and tahini. This may be my fave Raw Girls dish to date.

Not something I made, but look!!! There's a new Larabar flavor!!! I go through about fifty 'leven Larabars a month. Ha! So this was a big deal.

And finally, here's some Sloppy Vegan Chili I made last night from The Plant-Based Athlete. The recipe came from vegan bikini athlete Natalie Matthews, and it's basically a mash-up of chili and sloppy Joe mix with black beans and TVP. Man, I always forget about how awesome plain ole TVP is, but it's just perfect in chili. I had some frozen corn muffins that I thawed out and plopped on top, plus a green salad because I'm trying to eat salad every day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Vegan Lamb for Spring Equinox!

Ostara (the Spring Equinox) was Sunday, and it's one of my favorite pagan Sabbat holidays! Nothing makes me happier than warm weather, sunshine, and blooming flowers. I love this time of year! Eggs are a traditional Ostara food, and most years, I make some eggy vegan dish, like a tofu scramble or vegan deviled tofu eggs. But this year, I went a different route — I made vegan lamb.

I got the idea from the 2022 Sabbats Almanac, which has non-vegan recipes for all the Sabbats. For Ostara, they included a Greek lamb recipe, and I wanted to veganize it. So I googled "vegan lamb recipes" and found this one from Mouthwatering Vegan. I didn't follow it precisely, but I stuck pretty closely to the recipe. 

The lamb was basically a seitan roast, and I have no idea how authentic it tasted because I've never eaten lamb. Why would anyone even eat such an adorable creature? Speaking of, I actually have a tote bag that says "What kind of asshole eats a lamb?" And here's a similar shirt on Amazon. But I digress. The seitan lamb was delicious — very herby with lots of rosemary and lemon. 

I served it with two other veganized recipes from the Sabbats Almanac — Herbed Mushrooms (with vegan provolone) and Roasted Asparagus (with herbs and lemon).

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 21, 2022

Eating Green for St. Patrick's Day!

As I think you all know by now, I love, love, love holidays. I'm such a nerd that I even slept in green jammies on Wednesday night so I'd wake up wearing green for St. Patrick's Day. After knocking out some morning work, I put on some green running clothes and headed out for some speedwork (Yasso 800s) to my Irish punk playlist. I love running through the park when the morning fog is lifting.

After my run, I had — you guessed it — a Green Smoothie! This one was made with Dole Energize smoothie blend with matcha cubes, banana, mango, and pineapple, and then I added some matcha powder to up the energy boost. Also, it has hemp seeds, Silk 2% Next Milk (my fave thing of the moment), monkfruit, and Complement protein powder.

Before I started back to work (my hours are weird: 4:30 am-6:30 am and then 9:30 am-3:30 pm), I made a second cup of coffee, but this time, it was spiked with Bailey's Almonde in my Irish coffee mugs that I get to use once a year.

Lunch wasn't very green (a tofu and vegan cheese sandwich, but it did have spinach). But dinner was this awesome plate of Vegan Bangers & Mash with Green Peas and Fried Cabbage. Washed down with a Guinness of course.

The banger was just a Beyond Sausage, and I made some onion gravy with sweet onions, veggie broth, and cornstarch. 

My favorite annual pub run — the Breakaway St. Patrick's Day Pub Run — was back this year after a two-year pandemic hiatus. And my friend Megan and I had plans to go, but we were late getting to the running shop for the start. So we ran from her house to one of the stops — Slider Inn. The run stops at three places, but I go to bed super-early to accommodate my early work hours, so I knew one stop would be it for us. We both ordered Jameson Slushies!

Hope your St. Patrick's Day was awesome too! 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Product Review: Bite Society Baskets!

I love a good gift basket. Seriously — is there anything more enjoyable than digging through a basket filled with edible goodies? I also love good packaging; anything well-designed and reusable gets a big thumbs-up from me. Bite Society recently sent me a basket of their vegan products to review. They're all Seattle-made products, and they're packaged in reusable tins and jars with cute Americana flash tattoo art. Bonus: The company is LGBTQ and woman-owned. The day this gift basket arrived was a very good day.

There were a few products on top of the wooden basket filler shaving (which, by the way, we saved to use as kindling for our fire pit), and the rest were tucked safely underneath. I just kept pulling out surprise after surprise!

I was VERY excited to find these Kennebec Potato Truffled Chips. I'm obsessed with truffle everything! Plus, how cute is this tin?

Inside were these beauties. They are so truffle-y, possibly the tastiest chips I've ever had. Bonus: Because they were stored in a tin and not a bag, there were very few broken chips. They were so big and intact. Amazing. All chips should come in tins.

Another cute tin held Bob's Nuts, a curried sweet-and-spicy nut mix with pecans, cashews, filberts, pepitas, and sesame seeds.

This stuff is like crack. Once I dig my grubby little hands in, I cannot stop. 

There were jars of Pepperish and Salsa Macha. The Pepperish is a pickled mix of bell peppers and onions, and it has been taking my sandwiches to the next level. I added some to a tofu and vegan cheese sammy for lunch today!

The Salsa Macha is magic. Pure and true. It's a mix of chilis, garlic, fried onions, and pepitas, and it belongs on everything. 

Like on hummus crackers! Pepperish is great with hummus too.

And in peanut sauce! I mixed some Salsa Macha with peanut butter and Bragg's to make a tasty peanut sauce for a tofu/kale/farro bowl. It would also be perfect for adding to sauteed kale (or any greens). They also recommend putting it on ice cream, but that's a nope from me. Ha!

The basket also included FOUR JARS of pickles — Fennel, Chile Carrots, Dilly Beans, and Red O's (onions). I am not the biggest fennel fan, but I really liked the pickled fennel. The sweet pickle brine takes away some of that strong anise flavor I don't love. The Red O's have been an awesome addition to salads.

And I've been enjoying the Dilly Beans on their own as a little snack. They're crisp and tangy!

I added the Chile Carrots to some tacos one day, and that was awesome. But I really love them on salads.

There was also Kiyami's Granola, a crunchy handmade granola of oats, pumpkin seeds, millet seeds, and rice krispies. I've been enjoying this with plant milk and as a topping for chopped banana and berries.

I love the Up & At 'Em Tulsi Spice Tea! It's a loose, herbal blend with tulsi, lemon myrtle, peppermint, and ginger, so it's great for an afternoon pick-me-up without caffeine. Love caffeine, but I try to avoid it after noon. They even included a tea ball in the basket!

And look at these fun coasters and sticker!

Bite Society offers gift baskets and subscriptions, including several vegan gift basket options! You can also purchase products a la carte in their food hall. Not all of the products in the food hall are vegan, so I'd recommend reading the ingredients, but they do clearly mark when items contain allergens, like milk. I will certainly be re-upping on those truffle chips and nuts when I run out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Healthy Ramen, Breakfast Tacos, & Thai Curry Salad

I love ramen, as you all know. So I don't know why it took me so long to try the Almost Instant Ramen Noodles from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook. This healthy ramen bowl is loaded with veggies (broccoli, carrots, cabbage, scallions, mushrooms, kimchi), and it has a hearty sesame-miso broth. For the noodles, I used Koyo but left out the spice pack. So good! 

I was inspired recently to make Pinto Breakfast Tacos after watching a vlog on the Yoga with Adriene Find What Feels Good member site where Adriene talked about eating breakfast tacos most every day. She said she usually went with a healthy pinto bean and avocado taco, so I did that too (plus added kale and pickled jalapenos). I'll be doing this more often.

Every Monday, I grab lunch from Raw Girls to take into the office since my new workplace is just down the road from the Raw Girls' downtown location. This Monday, I picked the Thai Curry Salad with cashews, cabbage, bell peppers, and a cashew-coconut curry dressing. Very good!

Monday was National Potato Chip Day, so my dinner was a Gardein Ultimate Chicken Sandwich (those Gardein patties are the BEST) and truffle kettle chips (more on those in tomorrow's post). Not the healthiest meal but definitely the tastiest.