Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Fried Shroom Wings & Full Moon Snax

Last Saturday was a Memphis Hash House Harriers hashing day, which meant I spent several hours running through the city in the cold drizzle with about 20 of my friends. Afterward, I was very hungry, and the group was going to El Toro Loco to eat. But the vegan options there are few, and I JUST had their veggie burrito a couple weeks back. So I went home and ordered takeout from Shroomlicious instead. The Vegan "Honey" Garlic Pepper Wings were so fire!!! 

I love everything on Shroomlicious' menu, but if you can only try one thing, get the wings. They're so crispy and perfect. My leftovers were good as new in the air fryer the next day, too, and I added them to a Caesar salad. 

Here's a tasty meal from Tabitha Brown's Cooking by the SpiritPizza Bagels! For these, I used onion bagels topped with Field Roast sausage, olives, red onion, mushrooms, spinach, bell pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, and lots of Daiya cheese. Good stuff!

Some of us hashers have started getting together for full and new moons, and we're taking turns hosting. On Friday, it was my turn to host, so I made this spread of SriMu's vegan smoked cheeseball, SriMu's Imagine cheese wheel, vegan Boursin cheese spread, Field Roast sausage, crackers, grapes, and lots of little snackies. Only three of our group are vegan, but everything got devoured, so the vegan cheese was a hit!

Monday, January 29, 2024

Curry Burger, Tab's Quesadilla, and Harissa Cauli Pitas!

One day last week, I was feeling creative in the kitchen, so I decided to turn a planned Impossible-burger-and-fries dinner into an Indian fusion feast. I created a Curry Burger by mixing curry powder, garlic powder, and hing into Impossible meat, and I made a curry yogurt sauce for topping. For the fries, I tossed potatoes in olive oil and dry garlic chutney and baked them in the air fryer, and then I served them with Indian ketchup (a spicy ketchup I buy at the Indian market). So good! And so fun to make!

I didn't measure anything, so no recipe. Sorry! I'm really into "cooking by the spirit" as Tabitha Brown says, so I just use a little of this and a little of that. In fact, I used that same approach for this Spinach-Mushroom Quesadilla from her book, Cooking by the Spirit, which gives ingredient suggestions and instructions (but no measurements). This was stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and lots Daiya cheese, and it was served with Tab's guacamole and her pico de gallo.

I finished up the Plant You Revitalize program the week before last, but there was one extra recipe that I never got to: the Harissa Cauliflower Pitas. So, I made these last week. Cauliflower is tossed with harissa paste, but I didn't have any of that. I did, however, have a harissa seasoning blend, so I used that instead. And I added some chopped tofu with my cauliflower mix for protein (wasn't in the recipe). That's all baked and then stuffed into a pita with cucumbers, pickled onions, and tahini. I loved this flavor combo, and it was so different than anything I would have thought to make on my own. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Oodles of Noodles and Movie Night Snacks!

Last week, Memphis got a rare snow, which was cool for, like, one day. And then that snow lingered for a week! Oh, and on top of that, there was sleet mid-week that added a solid sheet of ice to the streets. So, I stayed home for five days. I have a Subaru, and I know it's built for driving in snowy conditions, but I'm not comfortable driving on ice, especially because Memphis drivers are wild. 

By Saturday, I was going stir-crazy. So, even though there was still a bit of ice on the streets, I made plans with some friends to get dinner at Good Fortune Co. It was brutally cold outside, and I knew hot noodles would hit the spot. I got the Tan Tan Ramen with TVP, bok choy, lime. A favorite for sure!

We also each ordered our own appetizers, so I went with the Potato Dumplings (stuffed with creamy potatoes) and drizzled with a vegan cheesy sauce. This was my first time trying these, and they were excellent, though a little messy. At one point, I bit into one and squirted potatoes into my friend's sake cup. Oops.

Here's a pre-snow Veggie Burrito from El Toro Loco. My Memphis hash group voted to eat at El Toro after a hash run earlier this month. And their menu isn't vegan-friendly. But they have a vegetarian section, so I picked the Veggie Burritos and had them made without cheese. The burritos were stuffed with broccoli, peppers, and mushrooms and were covered in a tasty red sauce. Actually really good!

And finally, on Sunday, Paul and I watched Saltburn on Amazon Prime. WOW!!! After Barbie, I'd say this was definitely the second-best film of 2023. So creepy, so good! I can't believe it didn't get one Oscar nom. I went all out with the movie night snacks: noochy popcorn, Cosmic Chews carrot fruit snacks, a vegan Kit Kat (!!!), homemade elderberry seltzer, and wine. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Last of the Plant You meals!

As I mentioned yesterday, I wrapped up two weeks of the Plant You Revitalize plan — a whole food-based meal plan from a free e-book that came with my preorder of Plant You's Scrappy Cooking. It was a nice reset to get myself back on track after months of holiday indulgence. Here are the final few meals I ate on the plan last week.

This Tofu-Lentil Scramble was a nice twist on a traditional tofu scram. The seasonings were your typical scramble flavors, but I liked the addition of lentils for extra protein.

This Tofu Curry was probably my favorite meal on the plan, and Paul loved it, too. He didn't do this plan with me, but he tried a bite of my curry and asked why I didn't make enough to share. Sorry! This had tofu and zucchini, sauteed with coconut milk and curry paste. The recipe called for green curry, but I had red curry paste at home, so I used that.

And finally, here's the Tofu Noodle Soup that I'm still working my way through early this week for lunches. It's a twist on chicken noodle with cubed tofu, kale, carrots, mushrooms, peas, and Banza pasta. So good! I've been enjoying it with toasted sourdough bread. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Still Revitalizing!

Technically, I'm done with the two-week Plant You Revitalize plan, but I'm behind on posting pics. So I'll be sharing those in posts early this week. Now that it's over, I'm hoping to find better balance with whole foods and processed ones. Definitely planning to have an Impossible burger this week, and I'm working Daiya cheese back in to several meals. But my ideal day would be about 80% whole foods and 20% processed. And if I'm having a fake meat for dinner, I'd like to have a whole food breakfast and lunch, rather than a full day of fake meat. 

I do pretty good with that strategy for most of the year, but I tend to fall off in October (my birthday month) and just let things go through the holidays. January is a great time to get back on the 80/20 wagon!

Anyway, here's a Chocolate Almond Smoothie Bowl from Plant You Revitalize. I prefer smoothies to smoothie bowls because there's something weird about eating a cold smoothie with a spoon. But this was okay, and it had frozen cauliflower in it, so that was a sneaky way to get in some veggies.

I ate that bowl last Monday when a rare snowfall was in progress. So it definitely wasn't the most seasonally appropriate meal. And lunch that day was this Vegan Cobb Salad — also not very warming. But it was so good! It has tofu egg, which is made with nooch and black salt and baked in the oven. And the coolest part: rice paper bacon bits! You brush rice paper with a smoky marinade and then bake until crispy, and then you just crumble it up. Really good idea for bacon bits!

I did get a much more warming dinner that night: Minestrone with Banza alphabet pasta. This was loaded with veggies and perfect with a slice of sourdough bread.

Here's a not-so-pretty but very-tasty dinner from Tuesday: Spinach-Artichoke Pasta. Banza pasta was mixed with a creamy cashew-based spinach-artichoke sauce. Think spinach-artichoke dip, but mixed into pasta. I would definitely make this again!

Thursday, January 18, 2024

More Meals from Plant You!

Since last Monday, I've been making recipes from Carleigh Bodrug's Plant You Revitalize e-book. It's a freebie when you order her new Scrappy Cooking book! I'm feeling good and working on trying to eat less ultra-processed foods (though I'm not giving them entirely!). Here are a few meals I made from the e-book last week.

This Orange Sesame Chickpea Stir-fry was simple and yummy. It had green beans, bell peppers, chickpeas, and a sesame-orange sauce. I don't think I've ever made a stir-fry with beans, but what a good idea! I typically use tofu or tempeh, but why not chickpeas?

These Crispy Black Bean Tacos weren't that pretty, but they were tasty! The beans were heavily seasoned, and then spread into tortillas with cashew cheese. And then they're baked in the oven until crisp. There's a vegan yogurt-based garlic dipping sauce on the side. 

The Baked General Tso's Cauliflower was SO GOOD. You dip cauli florets in a seasoned breadcrumb mixture and bake, then toss with a sweet and savory sauce, and then bake again. Also, I've noticed all of Carleigh's recipes call for white rice over brown rice (probably because of the arsenic issue), and I'm here for that. Love me some white rice.

And finally, here's the Meaty Jackfruit Pot Roast I made last weekend. I put the jackfruit, potatoes, carrots, onions, and broth in a slow cooker on Friday morning, and then cleaned my house and got groceries, and the pot roast was ready when I got home. I don't always love jackfruit, but it works well as a pot roast sub. This was really good with sourdough bread!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Revitalizing with Plant You!

I'm all caught up on sharing December meals, so here's an update on how I'm eating in January. I typically do some sort of reset plan, where I focus on whole foods. And this year is no different. Well, maybe a little different. Typically, I'd choose a month-long plan and go hard. But here lately, I've felt a desire to get away from rules and eat and live more intuitively. But I still wanted to do something, so I opted for Plant You's two-week Revitalize plan.

It's a free e-book that comes with preorders of Carleigh Bodrug's new Scrappy Cooking book. So if you want, go preorder her new book that comes out in April! The two-week plan focuses on mostly whole foods, but there is some oil (yay!), wraps, vegan mayo, and that kind of stuff. 

I started the plan in the second week of January, but I did make some Plant You recipes that weren't on the plan during the first week. Like these 10-Minute Tacos from Plant You. These are stuffed with the tastiest mushrooom-walnut meat and topped with cashew queso, unsweetened yogurt, and avocado. I will be making these again!

I also made this Cowboy Hash for breakfast in that first week — also from the Plant You cookbook. It has potatoes, peppers, onions, and pinto beans, and I topped it liberally with Indian ketchup (far superior to American ketchup!).

The first meal I made on the plan was this Mixed Greens and Quinoa Salad with hummus and veggies. The Plant You recipe in her first book are oil-free, but she uses some oil in this Revitalize e-book. And I'm here for it. There was oil in this salad dressing.

My first Revitalize dinner was Marry Me Pasta, which may be my favorite recipe so far. It's a hearty pasta with a coconut-tomato sauce that really sticks to your ribs! I'd marry it!

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Meals I Didn't Make

Starting next week, I'll share how I've been eating on the Plant You Revitalize plan, but first, here are the last of my recent meals before I jumped on the whole foods wagon for a bit. Last week, I met up with my friend Pam at my very favorite restaurant, Good Fortune, for a ramen night. I got the Coco Curry Ramen (my fave!), which has crispy tofu, bok choy, and fried onions in a coconut-curry broth.

And we split an order of the Tofu Bites, which are fried and then coated in a vegan honey-buffalo-style sauce. No visit to Good Fortune is complete without this app.

I ran my first race of the year — the Hill & Dale 8-miler — at Meeman-Shelby State Park last Saturday. And after the race, I stopped by Da Guilty Vegan food truck at Crosstown Brewing Co. to treat myself to a tasty burger. This is the Maple Bacon Onion Jam Smashburger with Onion Rings. It's a double-decker burger with a very tasty sweet-and-savory jam. So good! And it really hit the spot after that race.

After the last Memphis Hash House Harriers run of the year on Dec. 30, I went out with the group for dinner (we call that on-after) at Los Comales. I'd eaten there once before and didn't find much on the menu that was vegan, so I think last time, I just had a margarita and chips. But this time, I asked the server if they could make veggie fajitas. And he said, "Are you vegan?" I told him yes, and he said "No problem." And then he came out with this lovely plate and a side of corn tortillas. Love that! 

And finally, here's the Linguine Positano that I ordered at Carrabba's Italian Grill on New Year's Eve. Paul had a gift card to this chain Italian place, and that meant free food! The vegan options there are clearly marked, and this pasta was so good. The sauce was loaded with garlic cloves. Like whole cloves! 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Soups Forever!

Just a couple days ago, I did a soup post. And here's another one! I'm telling y'all, soup is what gets me through the winter. It's like the only bright light in a sad, dark, cold hole. On New Year's Day, I made my traditional Blackeyed Peas & Cabbage with Cornbread. I wouldn't dare let a New Year's Day go by without this meal for fear I'd be stricken with misfortune.

Here's a recent meal from Lulu's Bakery & Cafe. I got the Breakfast Sando on the everything focaccia bread. It typically comes on a sourdough bun, but I wanted to mix it up. The sandwich has tofu egg, cashew cheese, and smoked beet bacon. They change the "bacon" veggie up based on what's in season. Sometimes, it's carrots. Other times, it's mushrooms. On the side, I had a delicious cup of Turnip Soup. I love turnips!

I had a cold the week of Christmas, and I made a comforting bowl of Gardein Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup with a Grilled Cheese.

And here's the 20-Minute Ramen from Oodles and Oodles of Vegan Noodles cookbook, which I really intend to review soon. But this is the only thing I've made so far. The recipe is just a super-simple broth with noodles, scallions, and chili-crisp. But I added tofu and some frozen veggies.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Christmas Taco Bowl & Beer!

I'm still catching up from Christmas on these posts! Right now, in the second week of January, I'm doing the two-week Plant You Revitalize plan. And I'll do some posts about that soon. But for now, here's a look back at a few weeks ago when I met up with my BFF Sheridan and her partner Drew at Native Brew Works in Jonesboro. 

Sheridan lives in Little Rock, and I'm in Memphis. But Jonesboro is our hometown, and it's kind of like meeting in the middle. Plus, the town's only brewery, Native, is awesome and they have vegan food!

I usually go with their sweet potato or barbecue cauliflower tacos, but you can also get any taco as a cauliflower rice bowl. Now, I'd rather have real rice, but cauli rice is nice when it's done right. And Native gets it right! This is the Sweet Potato Taco Bowl. It doesn't come with black beans, but I got those on the side and added them on top for more protein and carbs.

And of course, no meal at Native is complete without Chips & Guac for the table!

Monday, January 8, 2024

Soups, Stews, and Grits

It's soup season! I'm not a fan of winter, but I do love cozy soups and stews. So, I'm trying to make the best of the cold months by eating plenty of those. One of the coziest meals I've eaten lately was this Skipper Stew from The Little Book of Hygge. 

I've been trying to create more hygge (coziness) in my life, and this book includes all kinds of cozy tips and a few recipes. They are Danish recipes and 100% not vegan. So I've been trying to veganize them. This skipper stew (the American nickname for skipperlabskovs) is made with beef brisket, so I used seitan that I'd made awhile back and froze. Other than seitan, it's just potatoes, vegan butter, spices, and scallions. Really hearty! It's traditionally served with rye bread and pickled beets, so that's what I had.

Here's the Tahini Chickpea Soup from Nava Atlas' Soup for All Seasons. The broth is made with a bunch of tahini, and it's loaded with chickpeas, cabbage, and mushrooms. That old Atlas book is a classic that I pulled down off the shelf for fun!

Another recent soup was Tabitha Brown's Broccoli Cheese Soup from Cooking from the Spirit. The cheese is actually melted vegan shreds, so this was a super cheesy soup. She recommended topping with Kelly's Croutons, which are a staple in my house, so I had to try this!

And another Tab recipe: Cheesy Grits with Sausage. This was a simple and warming breakfast made with grits, vegan shreds, and Field Roast breakfast sausages. I love grits, and I always forget about them as a savory breakfast option. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Stuffed Squash, Stuffing Casserole, & Game Day Snax

I’ve been steadily working my way through Tabitha Brown’s Cooking from the Spirit book, which is filled with recipes that don’t have measurements. She lists out ingredients and loose instructions, but the rest is up to you. And I love that! I’m a bit of a free spirit, but I’m also very Type A. So when measurements are given, I tend to follow them. But really, I just want to be free!

I made this Stuffed Spaghetti Squash recently from the book, and it was as good as it looked! The squash was baked and then topped with a mix of sauteed Field Roast sausage, bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and marinara, and that was topped with shredded vegan cheese and Kelly’s vegan parm (she uses that a lot, and it’s my fave).

For Yule, back on Dec. 21, I made the Chicken & Stuffing Casserole from the Sabbat’s Almanac. The recipe wasn’t vegan, but it included vegan suggestions, including using vegan chicken (I used the Dare chicken pieces), dairy-free cheese (I used Chao), and vegan stuffing mix (I found that at Sprouts). The combo of chicken, cheese, and stuffing sounds a little weird, but it was actually super good. On the side, I made the Garlic Roasted Veggies from that book.

And finally, here’s a pre-Memphis Grizzlies game day meal enjoyed with friends at Slider Inn. Last month, our friend Melissa flew over from Florida for a girl’s night out at the game. We gathered at Slider first, and I got my usual Tofu & Cauli Wings with vegan ranch. We ended up losing that game, but we lucked into courtside seats, so the experience was one I’ll probably never have again. I’ve never been so close to NBA players!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Cookbook Review: Living Vegan for Dummies

It's Veganuary! And that means thousands of people are pledging to give up meat for the month. Or maybe forever. And it's never been easier go vegan, thanks to all the plant meats and dairy-free cheeses and restaurant options. But newbies still have lots of questions: How much protein do you need, and where do you get it? What supplements do you need to take? How do you handle social situations? And most importantly, what do you eat?

My OG blogger friend Cadry Nelson of Cadry's Kitchen has you covered with her book, Living Vegan for Dummies. It's one of the Dummies series books that really breaks down every little thing you need to know to give up meat, cheese, eggs, and other animal by-products. I've known Cadry for years, and we've met in person back in the Vida Vegan Con days. I couldn't think of a more qualified vegan to write this book. Her recipes are so approachable and delicious. 

This book has plenty of recipes, but it's also packed with information. Each chapter covers a different aspect of veganism, and it's really the only guide you'll need to walk through the transition. She's got a section on how to enjoy the holidays as as vegan with alternatives to Easter eggs, planning a vegan wedding, accidentally vegan candy for Halloween, and how to survive your first vegan Thanksgiving. She's also got a chapter on substitutions for things like eggs, milks, cheeses, and meats in cooking. And there's a chapter on staying vegan while traveling — whether that's a flight, a road trip, a cruise, or a camping trip.

As for the recipes, Cadry keeps it easy with both whole food, plant-based dishes and a few that call for some plant meat staples. I tried one of each to give you an idea of what you'll find in here. I started with Black Bean Tacos. These simple, healthy tacos are made with seasoned black beans and all the fixins. I used crunchy shells, but soft corn or flour tortillas would work, too.

I also made Cadry's Classic Vegan Cheeseburger. This uses Impossible burger, but it's blended with seasonings before cooking for extra flavor. I'd actually never blended seasonings into my burger meat, and it made a big difference. 

The recipes are broken down into breakfasts, main courses, kid- and dorm-friendly dishes, sides and dressings, and desserts. A few other things I plan to try include the Eggy Tofu, the Dressed-Up Ramen Noodles, and the Eggless Egg Salad Wrap. 

So, if you're trying out veganism for the first time, this book is a must-buy!