Monday, October 30, 2023

Burgers for Brunch, Tamales for Lunch

A few weeks ago, my friend Misti and her boyfriend Josh were in town for a music fest, so we met up for brunch at The Liquor Store before they drove back to Fayetteville. 

The Liquor Store had their fall cocktail menu out, so I got a Hard Cider Mimosa with sparkling cider, champagne, and a cinnamon sugar rim. Tasted like falling leaves!

For my entree, I went with the Impossible Burger and Fries. Nothing on their brunch menu is vegan, so I order from the lunch menu when I go there. I don't mind morning burgers! And Liquor Store has the best Impossible burger I've ever had — something in the way they season it.

One of my favorite recent lunches were these Mole Tofu Tamales from Lulu's Cafe & Bakery. Made with blue cornmeal, stuffed with mole tofu, and topped with pickled veggies, cashew cheese, and cherry tomatoes. It doesn't get much better than that.

I also grabbed a Co-op Cookie to go. This was a chocolate chip cookie with potato chips and pretzels mixed in. I love sweet and savory!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

My 43rd Birthday!

I'm back with another birthday post! This one is a recap of my actual birthday, which was last Monday. I took the day off work, which is something I always do on my birthday. I don't believe in working on birthdays. So, I started my day with a mid-morning 4.3 mile run for my 43 years. Afterward, I tucked into this big breakfast of Just Egg, Beyond Sausage, Hash Browns, and Pancakes with spicy maple syrup. The pancake mix and syrup — from Ghetto Gastro — were birthday gifts from my BFF Sheridan.

Later in the afternoon, I made a birthday wish with a Rubicon Vegan Black Forest Cake that my friend Mike gave me for my birthday. 

Then, Paul and I headed to Knifebird for wine and birthday snacks. 

I love Knifebird for little small bites, and they have a few vegan items. I ordered a nice glass of something red. I can't remember what because they were out of the pinot I'd asked for, so they subbed a different wine. It was great though!

And I ordered the Marinated Olives. All for me because Paul hates olives.

And some Tomato Bruschetta and White Bean Bruschetta. It may not look like much, but the whole meal was pretty satisfying after eating a whole bowl of olives. Plus, I don't like to eat big meals in the evening because I sleep better when I eat lighter at night. My breakfasts and lunches are giant though!

So that was it for birthday night. And then this past weekend, I did my family birthday. I drove to visit my parents in Arkansas.

And my mama made a Nacho Bar! I piled mine high with toppings, including Gardein burger, Violife cheese, black beans, and lots of guac.

After dinner, we went to the Spring River Draft House, our favorite bar there, and I enjoyed a flight of craft beers.

The next morning, I got in a six-mile run around the river before my mom's very tasty Vegan Breakfast Pizza and Hash Browns. What a perfect start to 43!

Monday, October 23, 2023

Early Birthday Party!

Sorry it's been over a week without a post. My birthday was last week, and it was also just a busy one. So, I got a little behind. But here's a recap of my birthday celebration. My actual birthday was last Monday, but I celebrated with friends the weekend before.

My BFF Sheridan came over around 2 pm that Saturday, and we went straight to Crosstoberfest at Crosstown Brewing Co. 

I entered the stein-holding contest! I've always wanted to enter but chickened out. I finally did it this year. And, well, I was the first one out. But turns out I was the only one holding my stein by the handle, which is the way you're supposed to do per the official rules. But the rules weren't being enforced here; oh well. Quite a few people came up to me after and commended me on doing it right!

Next, we met up with Kenzie and Susan for the grand opening of SriMu, Julie Piatt's vegan wine and cheese cafe at Crosstown Concourse. I am so excited about this place! How amazing that I can just go sip wine and eat artisan vegan cheese whenever I want! Vegan ultra-endurance athlete and podcast star Rich Roll is Julie's husband, and he was there for the opening. Meeting Rich was an amazing birthday gift!

After the cheese course, we headed to Arnold's Smokehouse, a vegan-friendly BBQ spot. A few more friends met us there!

I had been snacking all day, so I went with the Vegan Slider Combo. You can pick any three of their five sandwiches to try as sliders. I got the BBQ Jackfruit, the Fried Oyster Mushroom, and the Smoked Mushroom Philly.

And finally, we ended the night with even more friends (and Paul, who finally got off work) at Flip Side, a pinball bar in Crosstown.

A perfectly busy and friend-filled, pre-birthday celebration! More birthday posts coming this week!

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

More Vegan Treasures of India Eats!

I've been steadily working my way through Anusha Moorthy Santosh's new Vegan Treasures of India cookbook. I'm loving how each recipe is from a different region of India, and the recipes are more varied than what you'd find on a typical Indian restaurant menu in the U.S.

One of my favorite dishes so far has been the Light Lemon Sevai with Coconut Chutney. This is made with broken rice vermicelli noodles, which are seasoned with a mustard seed tadka with curry leaves and hing. I'm sort of addicted to that hing flavor (aka asafoetida). I served the sevai with my homemade, unsweetened soy yogurt. Anusha includes serving suggestions for every recipe, which is really helpful! I like knowing what would be traditionally eaten with each dish.

Here's the Coconut Chutney that's on that dish. It's made with frozen coconut, chiles, curry leaves, and spices. I could eat this with a spoon on its own.

The chutney also made a great topping for these Crispy Adai — lentil flour pancakes. For these, you soak white rice and several types of dal and then blend it all with spices in a high-speed blender. Then you cook it like pancakes. I love a good dal-based batter; it reminded me of dosa but without all the fermentation.

And last night, I made the Earthy Beet Poriyal with the Soothing Thayir Sadam. The poriyal was a beet and chickpea stir-fry seasoned with curry leaves, mustard seed, and coconut. And the thayir sadam is Indian yogurt rice. The cozy, savory rice pudding is made with white rice, unsweetened yogurt (I used my homemade version), plant milk, vegan butter, and a spicy tadka oil. I could eat this stuff ALL DAY.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The Best Nachos and Swedish Plant Balls!

Alright, Memphis (or anyone who may be visiting Memphis at some point), you've got to try these BBQ Fajitas Nachos at Arnold's Smokehouse. This new-ish BBQ spot has a full vegan menu and a full meat menu, so they've got something for everyone. And these nachos blew me away. 

They're topped with a tangy, charred BBQ jackfruit that far surpasses any jackfruit I've ever had. I'm not the biggest jackfruit fan, but they do it exceptionally well. I also prefer my nachos with melted shreds over a cheesy sauce because the chips stay crispier. And they have that. But the real highlight are the chips themselves. They're deep-fried, so they're extra, extra crispy, and they've got the best seasoning on them. I would highly recommend these to anyone! The leftovers heated up beautifully in the air fryer, by the way. It's enough food for two to three people, so unless you're sharing or famished, you'll be bringing some home.

Another dish I've been loving lately are IKEA's new Plant Malls made into Swedish Meatballs with Lignonberry Jam, Mashed Potatoes, and Kale. I bought the balls and jam on my last trip to IKEA, and I've finally had a chance to cook them. For the Swedish meatball sauce, I used the sauce portion of this recipe. It had a coconut milk base, seasoned and thickened with cornstarch.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Breakfast Burger, Taco Tuesday, and Ratatouille

On Saturday, I ran the Stanky Creek 25K, my fifth time doing that race and my third with the 25K distance there (I did the 50K one year and a 13.1 in the early days of the race when it had more distance options). I PR'd my Stanky 25K course record, despite the heat. And then after a shower and a protein smoothie, I went to a Memphis hash run and did another 4.5 miles (with beer!). So, at the end of the day, I put in a little over 20 miles. And I was hungry!

Lucky me, Imagine Vegan Cafe posted this Breakfast Burger special on their Instagram that morning, so I knew exactly what to grab for dinner. This was a Beyond patty, vegan cheese, veggie bacon, sriracha mayo, and a Yo Egg vegan fried egg! It was my first time trying Yo Eggs, and they were so amazing. I love the running yolk that oozed out everywhere when I bit into the burger.

On the Tuesday before the race, the Stanky race director, Peter, and his wife Laura invited me out for Taco Tuesday at Global Cafe. We discussed some Stanky plans for next year, some ways the race is changing. And I had the Black Bean Tacos with free chips and salsa and the best-ever margarita for just $4. I mean, the marg was just $4. It's super-cheap when you order tacos.

And here's another recipe from the Complement website. The Autumn Ratatouille has butternut squash, brussels, carrots, green apple, and tomato, and there's a little unflavored, unsweetened Complement Protein mixed in. It was great with chickpea pasta for a super-protein boost!

Monday, October 2, 2023

Tofu Masala, Tofu Burgers, and More Tofu

Remember that scene in Forrest Gump when he names the many ways you can eat shrimp? Well, the same can be said for tofu. There are three ways in this post! One was this delicious Fiery Tofu Masala dish from the Complement website.

Complement is supplement company associated with No Meat Athlete, and I subscribe to their daily vegan B12/omega-3/DHA pills, daily greens powder, prebiotic powder, and protein powder. I get all their marketing emails and actually read them because it's a company I know and love. Sometimes they include links to recipes on their website, as was the case with this one. You can find the recipe here, but it's a super simple Indian-spiced tofu dish with a coconut-tomato sauce. One thing though: The sauce seemed to see thin to me, so I added a bit of cornstarch to the recipe, and it was perfect.

Speaking of recipes on websites, I subscribed to the Washington Post's Voraciously: Plant-Powered newsletter a while back, and there were so many great recipes! I bookmarked this one for Stir-fried Curry Rice Cakes and finally made it last week. The rice cakes are the chewy Korean-style cakes (not crunchy snack kind!). I love, love, love Korean rice cakes! The recipe didn't call for tofu, but I added some for protein. This also has bok choy, green beans, and red curry paste. You can find that recipe here, but I'd recommend subscribing to the free newsletter. No subscription to WaPo required.

Lulu's Bakery & Cafe offered these Tofu-Mushroom Burgers on special last week. They really nailed the texture! Often, homemade veggie burgers are too soft and squishy, but this was just right. Served on a made-in-house sourdough bun with Lulu's fermented pickles, cashew cheese, and a special sauce.

Here's something that's not tofu. I ordered a Back to the Roots oyster mushroom kit. Look at my harvest! I stir-fried these on their own with a little Maggi seasoning, garlic salt, and avocado oil. That's it. I wanted them to shine on their own. And they did!