Thursday, June 30, 2022

Review: The Fiber Fueled Cookbook

I'll start with this: I LOVE DR. WILL B!! I read the plant-based gastroenterologist's first book, Fiber Fueled, when Paul started having gut issues in 2021. I was hoping maybe I'd learn some things that could help him. And I did, but it was too late for Paul. He had perforated diverticulitis and ended up having two surgeries to correct it — all because he didn't eat enough fiber. And though I couldn't do much to help his situation, I learned so much about the gut microbiome in the process.

The original Fiber Fueled has a four-week meal plan that I still intend to do one day as a reset (and hopefully, I can get Paul on board, but the man still struggles to eat enough fiber ... but that's a different story for a different time). But I was so excited when Dr. Will B's new book — The Fiber Fueled Cookbook — came out. 

This book features full-color photos of beautiful, whole food-plant-based, fiber-filled meals. There are entire chapters and special recipes for people dealing with FODMAP issues and histamine issues (and Dr. B. teaches you how to heal your gut if those are your struggles). I don't have any major gut problems (except I do get gassy sometimes! TMI!), but there's a whole chapter of Fiber Fueled Unleashed recipes. There's also a chapter on fermentation that includes sourdough starter instructions, how to bake sourdough bread, recipes for using sourdough discard and recipes for ferments (like kraut, kvass, fermented soda and more). And there's a sprouting chapter that's ignited my love for growing my own broccoli and lentil sprouts.

So far, I've made a few recipes, and I intend to work my way through the whole book. My favorite so far has been this Tempeh Skillet with Saffron Rice. It has tasty marinated tempeh with bell peppers and zucchini served over saffron rice. I never know what to do with saffron, but it's so fun and tasty.

This Coco Nana Smoothie Bowl was awesome. The base was bananas, cocoa powder, peanut butter, hemp, date, and vanilla, and it's topped with coconut, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and more peanut butter.

Here's the Mango Blueberry Smoothie, which was made without banana because it was in the histamine chapter. Bananas are high histamine — for people who have issues with that. I don't, but I thought I'd try a banana-less smoothie anyway. It was good!

This was the Chickpea Glow Bowl, and it was fantastic. It had a quinoa base that's topped with sauteed tofu and chickpeas, plus parsley and fresh cucumbers. I loved the contrast of cool and hot.

The Summer Sunburst Salad had Dr. B's tofu feta mixed with quinoa, spinach, bell peppers, white beans, scallions, and parsley. Such a fresh and fun dish for summer!

After reading the sourdough chapter, I decided to start making my own sourdough (yea, I'm about two years late to the pandemic sourdough game). I started my starter this week and named her after my favorite actress, Chloe Sevigny. Meet Doughy Sevigny!

There are so many more dishes from this book that I want to try. Tomorrow, I'm planning to make the Simple Spaghetti with Garlicky Kale (pasta with olive oil, shallots, garlic, and kale), and on Sunday, I'll make the Sourdough Pancakes with my discard. Also on my list: the Nashville Not Chicken (made with tofu), Pozole (because I love hominy!), Vegetable Ceviche (another recipe with hominy), Sweet Potato Shawarma Bowl, the Creamy Cajun Bow, the Tuscan Flatbread and Cookie Milk (to name a few!). I'll also be making Dr. B's sourdough bread this weekend and his fermented Smokey Pineapple and Tomato Salsa. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

'Guilty' Eats, Eggy Toast, & an Old Chicken Sandwich

For months (maybe a year??), I've been trying to catch Da Guilty Vegan food truck when it comes to Midtown or Downtown. The truck is typically parked in Cordova, which is a good 20-minute drive from my house, so I never get out there (because I never leave Midtown or Downtown Memphis). But last Friday, they announced they'd be at Wiseacre Brewing in the Broad Avenue Arts District! So Susan and I met up for beers and comfort food (which was extra-needed following Friday's terrifying Roe v. Wade news).

I ordered the Memphis Veef Brisket Sandwich with Fried Okra. I wish you could see the inside of this sandwich because it was a thing of beauty. The brisket was made from juicy seitan, covered in tangy BBQ sauce, and served with coleslaw and pickles. I love that fried okra was offered as a side!

On Friday morning, I had planned to eat Ezekiel cereal for breakfast. I poured some in a bowl, added some monkfruit, raisins, hemp seeds, almonds, and sliced banana. And then I went to the fridge, only to realize I was out of soymilk. So scratch that (I did eat out the banana slices and saved the rest for later though). Instead, I made Eggy Toast with Just Egg and Follow Your Heart American cheese on LuLu's sourdough.

Here's a quick meal from last week. I had some Starlite coupons that I used to get $1 off their Chick'n Enchiladas. These were REALLY great for a frozen meal. Will buy again!

And finally, here's an old chicken sandwich. Ha! I found a Simple Truth Emerge vegan chicken patty in my deep freezer recently. It's been there over a year, and I'm pretty sure Kroger doesn't even sell the Emerge vegan meat line anymore. And honestly, the products were not great. But I decided to try and cook it anyway and see if it was still edible. I coated liberally in BBQ sauce and topped with FYH cheese, and it was fine! No freezer burn. Still kinda bland, but the BBQ sauce helped.

Monday, June 27, 2022

18 Years with Paul!

On Tuesday, Paul and I will celebrate our 18th anniversary! Hard to believe it's been that long, but time flies! Since Paul works late on Tuesday, and I have a very early bedtime due to my early work hours (I start my work days at 4:30 am!), we'll likely not have time for more than a champagne toast before bed that day.

So we celebrated on Sunday when we knew we'd have time. Most years, we go to a semi-fancy place for dinner. Never anything too fancy because those kinds of places around here do not have vegan options. But we often end up at Seasons 52 or a nice Thai place. But this year, Paul wanted Italian food because he's on a lasagna kick lately. We looked at every Italian menu we could find, and most did not have very exciting vegan options (just plain spaghetti marinara, no thanks). So we decided to throw out hopes of finding a "date night" place and opted instead of fast-casual. 

Rotolo's Craft and Crust just opened a location here, and I'd heard they had lots of vegan options. And they had lasagna. So off we went!

We split an appetizer of Tre Beyond Meatballs (minus the parm), which were tasty, seasoned vegan meatballs in marinara.

For my entree, I went with the Vin Monster Pizza with Daiya, Field Roast pepperoni, and Beyond Sausage. The pizza comes with non-vegan meats normally, but you can sub vegan meats on any pizza. This was supposed to also have mushrooms, but they forgot those. After I took the pic, the server took the pizza back and they added mushrooms! This was a very good (and very filling) pizza! 

We were stuffed from dinner, but we have an annual tradition of playing pool at Newby's for our anniversary. That's because we met at this college bar way back in 2004 (that was well after college for me, by the way, but we were still very young. I was 23 when we met!). Here we are holding the 1 and 8 balls for 18 years!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Korean Gimbap, Pickle Toast, and a Jameson Slushie

Global Café inside Crosstown Concourse has brought on a Korean chef so they've got a whole new section to their menu! I had meeting at Concourse last week, so I stopped in to Global for an order of Vegan Gimbap to go. This Korean-style sushi has spinach, carrots, and pickled daikon and is served with a soy-chili dipping sauce. Seriously SO GOOD. I've had vegan gimbap before, but this was the best by far.

On Monday, I stopped by the Raw Girls for my usual Monday to-go lunch and grabbed the Mung Bean Pasta with pesto, tomatoes, and asparagus. I love their bean pasta dishes because they're super-filling and so comforting.

Lunch yesterday was a Burrito Bowl using the last of my Upton's Naturals Fava Bean Crumbles, brown rice, Simple Truth cauliflower queso, and veggies. Tasty and simple.

I have a new favorite snack — Pickle Toast! I am SO IN LOVE with Lantana's Dill Pickle Hummus (it's better that Trader Joe's by far), and it's perfect on sourdough bread with fresh pickles. 

And I'll leave you with this: On Tuesday, I met up with some old Crosstown Arts coworkers at Slider Inn, and I ordered a Jameson Slushie. I love these! And it was the perfect treat on a hot day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Pasta, Pancakes, and Tacos!

Last Sunday, for Father's Day, I woke up early and made some pancakes — Paul's fave breakfast — for my favorite cat/dog dad. I made his with white flour because he's a super-picky eater who hates anything remotely healthy. And I made my own batch with whole wheat pastry flour, fresh peaches, and monkfruit maple syrup. I use real maple for recipes, but I like the monkfruit syrup for pancakes because I like to drown mine in syrup. And this stuff is sugar-free. We had Impossible sausage on the side.

Here's some recent pasta I made from The Plant-Based Athlete. This was the Quinoa Tofu Pasta, which had quinoa rotini, crumbled tofu, spinach, sprouts, and a tasty oil and vinegar dressing. A nice, simple, protein-packed pasta salad!

I've been eating a lot of tacos lately! I made these Chicken Tacos with Daring Foods vegan chicken pieces (the texture is so crazy real!). I had these on a Wednesday, but that didn't stop me from enjoying a Taco Tuesday Mexican Lager with them!

And I made these with Upton's Fava Bean Taco Crumbles. Those fava bean crumbles remind me of TVP or even plant meat crumbles, but they're made from beans! Upton's makes the coolest stuff!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Summer Solstice Eats!

Today is the Summer Solstice, which is probably my favorite Sabbat (it's a close tie with Ostara/Spring Equinox). I just REALLY love hot weather and sunshine. It's been in the high 90s in Memphis all week, and we're looking at 100 tomorrow. And I couldn't be happier about it. Bring on the heat. 

I celebrated Litha/Solstice last night because I had happy hour plans with some ladies tonight. I used the Llewelyn's Sabbats Almanac to create a very summer-y feast. I made Heirloom Tomato Salad from the book using fresh basil from my garden, balsamic, olive oil, and lots of dried herbs. I served that with Sourdough Avocado Toast made with LuLu's locally baked bread. And I found a new-to-me cashew cheese from Nuts for Cheese last weekend at a health food store in Arkansas, so I had Black Garlic Cashew Cheese and Rice Crackers, too.

You can't have cheese without wine, so I cracked open a special bottle of my dad's homemade Strawberry Wine (made with my Granny's strawberries that she'd put up in the freezer before she passed). My dad gave away his wine-making supplies when my parents moved, so I only have a few bottles of his wine left. I try and save them for special occasions.

After dinner, I got to work on dessert. I made some Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries using Tofutti, lemon zest and juice, and monkfruit sweetener. The little leaves are mint leaves from my garden.

And I made some Rosewater Lemonade with fresh lemons, strawberries, monkfruit, and rosewater. I even made little rose petal ice cubes for the drink. So pretty! This would be great with vodka, but I try not to drink too close to bedtime. So I went zero-proof with this glass. I enjoyed my berries and lemonade next to a solstice fire that Paul built in our firepit. 

Happy Solstice! 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Father's Day Fun & Food!

I went to Arkansas to visit my parents this weekend for Father's Day! I left on Friday afternoon and arrived just in time for dinner. My mom made Tofu & Vegan Chicken Fried Rice with Just Egg, plus some Stir-fried Veggies and Vegan Egg Rolls. This was so good. I rarely get fried "egg" or spring rolls, opting instead for the fresh Vietnamese-style ones, but I love them.

For dessert, we had some tasty and moist Coconut Cake with vegan cream cheese frosting.

I always make my parents pose for family selfies when I visit.

Later in the evening, when the sun was setting, my mom and I took the canoe out for a spin around the lake. After both of my parents retired, they moved to a lake house, so we can just go out the back door and get in the water. Love it!

The next day, I got up early and drove to the nearby Tohi Trail, a half-mile paved loop, to run my planned six-miler. My parents have only lived in their new town since last fall, so I'm still exploring new places to run. Since it was only a half-mile, I didn't run the whole thing on that trail, but I did a number of loops and ran the rest in the nearby neighborhood.

When I got back to my parents' house, my mom was finishing up our Father's Day brunch. She made the BEST Vegan Breakfast Pizza! It had a crescent roll crust with gravy, Impossible sausage, Just Egg, and Chao cheese. Definitely a new favorite brunch treat. They usually have champagne for mimosas, but they were out so we spiked our OJ with a citrus-y White Claw. Classy! 

After breakfast, I always like to do yoga on their dock. My mom snuck out and started taking pictures of me during my practice, so I did a few poses just for her.

Here's a picture of me and my dad. He's really the best! My dad has always been the cool dad. He's a biker and an outlaw who does what he wants. And he has a heart of gold. He's about as punk rock as they come, and he taught me to always follow my own path and not give a damn what anyone else thinks. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Product Review: Festive Chickpea Snacks

I snack at least once a day, usually twice. My first snack — the morning snack — is typically enjoyed between 10:15 and 11 a.m., after my smoothie has worn off, and before lunch. It's also a time that I'm deep in my work, and I love to have something by my computer to keep me engaged. Salty snacks are the best for that! I was recently sent some samples of Festive Chickpeas in several flavors, and these have been perfect for that mid-morning salt craving.

They come in several flavors, but the Sour Cream & Onion and Ranch are my fave — mostly because those are flavors that aren't typically vegan. But these are! And they remind me of the sour cream & onion chips and ranch Doritos I once loved. 

They don't say "vegan" on the front, but the back has a list of everything these are free from, and that includes dairy. They're also gmo-free, soy-free, and peanut-free (which makes these a nice snack for people who can't eat peanuts but miss the crunch).

There are two spicy flavors — Spicy Mild and Spicy Fiery. As a spice lover, neither seemed too hot for me, but it's nice that they have an option for people like spice (but not too much). 

There's also a Plain flavor, which truth be told, seems a little, well, plain for me on their own. But they've made a perfect addition to salads. I love adding crunchy elements to salads!

One thing vegans should know: While all the other flavors are vegan, the Honey BBQ contains actual honey and is not vegan. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Ethiopian Deliciousness, a Tasty Tart, and Grilling Out

On Saturday, I got a craving for Ethiopian food, so that could only mean one thing — a trip to Abyssinia for takeout. It's been far too long since I've eaten at Abyssinia! They give you a ton of food, enough for me to eat over three meals, so I always get two extra orders of injera for scooping. It comes with one order, and the additional orders are just $1 each. Such a bargain. 

The meal comes with red lentils, green lentils, yellow split peas, green beans, potatoes and carrots, cabbage, collards, lentil salad, beet salad, potato salad, and green salad. And yes, it's all vegan. The best! I ordered this on Saturday, and I had enough left for dinner tonight.

Also on Saturday, I stopped by the Cooper-Young Farmer's Market to get some whole wheat sourdough from Lulu's, and I also picked up this Asparagus-Cauliflower Tart with cashew cheese. I had to go straight to the gym after and then out to the new Wolf River Greenway section for a 6-mile run. So I left this in my car for a few hot hours, and it was all melty and delicious when I devoured it after my run.

On Sunday, it was hot AF in Memphis (heat indexes in the 100s!), but I love the hot weather. I'll take a 100-degree day over a 60-degree day any time. Paul, however, melts in the heat so we grilled out but ate inside while watching the Stranger Things finale. SO GOOD! I made a Beyond Burger for me, and Paul made us asparagus, mushrooms, and corn. I let him take charge with the veggies, and he overcooked the asparagus but it was still tasty. The corn and mushrooms were perfect though!

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Sometimes I Eat Beans, Sometimes I Eat Donuts

Life is all about balance, right? I've been really focusing on healthy foods this week after a weekend of gluttony. But this post has a little bit of both. Today for lunch, I had this tasty, healthy grain/green/bean bowl with White Beans, Brown Rice, Steamed Kale, and Sourdough Bread (and a bit of chow chow!). The beans were cooked from dried a few weeks ago, and I froze them in portions for quick meals. The sourdough was from LuLu's.

Last night, I had this GGB bowl with Black Beans, Brown Rice, Steamed Kale, and Garlic Aioli. Same basic ingredients except for the beans and sauce. GGB bowls are my standard healthy go-to. For the aioli, I just thinned some Wicked Foods garlic aioli with a bit of unsweetened soymilk.

On Monday, I had this Yukon Gold & Marinated Beet Salad from Raw Girls. It had a creamy tahini dressing, and it really hit the spot after my weekend of fried tofu, chips, and beer.

But here's some balance! Friday was National Donut Day, and we don't have a vegan donut shop here. But my friend Lily runs Darling Donuts — a vegan donut delivery service. She no longer does house deliveries because she has a day job, but twice a week — Mondays and Saturdays — she delivers to Imagine Vegan Cafe, City & State, and French Truck Coffee. On Monday of last week, I planned ahead! I stopped by French Truck for two donuts — one to eat right away and another to freeze for Friday.

I ate the Apple Fritter right away on my porch with a cup of mushroom coffee.

And I froze the Glazed Donut for Friday. Donuts freeze beautifully, but they get freezer burn quickly, so it's best to eat them within a couple weeks. I thawed this on Friday morning (and added some sprinkles for fun!). 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Savory Oats, Homemade Yogurt, and a Snack Package!

I made the best bowl of Savory Oats one day last week! I usually have a breakfast plan, but on this particular morning, I just didn't. But I had steel cut oats, so I cooked some up and added nooch, vegan bacon salt, and spinach while they were cooking. Then I found some leftover air-fried turmeric tofu in the fridge and thew that on top. And then I figured it needed garlic hummus too! So good! I should make this again.

I love to make homemade soy yogurt in my Instant Pot! My friend Jennifer gave me some yogurt starter a couple years ago, and I made a batch. And now I just scoop out a couple tablespoons from each batch and freeze it to keep the starter going. All you need is starter and unsweetened soymilk, and then you just press the yogurt button on the Instant Pot and leave it for 16 to 18 hours. So good! And it's sugar-free!

Here's a recent healthy dinner of Maple Ginger Baked Beans from The Blue Zones Solution served over a baked potato with spinach. The beans were cooked with ginger and maple syrup.

A few weeks ago, vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke sent out a newsletter offering a care package with $100 worth of vegan product samples and free product coupons for anyone who could show a receipt for purchasing the new Fiber Fueled Cookbook by Dr. Will B. I had already planned to buy it (because I love Dr. Will B!), and I know from experience that Robert offers the best care packages. So I did it, and look at all the awesome stuff he sent! And he did it all out of the goodness of his heart (he's was trying to help Dr. B get on the New York Times bestseller list, which he did!).