Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Molly's La Casita

Molly's La Casita has been around for ages, and it's long been a favorite spot of mine for a margarita. But I recently discovered their new-ish, massive vegan menu. I say "new-ish," because they added vegan options a couple years ago, but the options have grown. And now there's a full page of vegan items, including these Impossible Enchiladas!

I went there a couple weeks ago with some friends and finally explored that big menu. They also have Impossible chalupas, a vegan taco salad with Impossible meat and vegan cheese, a plant-based pork taco dinner, Impossible burritos, veggie-stuffed enchiladas, Impossible burgers, and vegan stuffed spuds. There's even a cashew chili con queso. 

These enchiladas are stuffed with a spicy Impossible ground burger and topped with a savory ranchero sauce. You can pick your sides, so I opted for the refried beans and steamed broccoli. You can also choose from black beans and a house salad on the side.

This is great news since most Mexican places aren't very vegan-friendly. I will definitely be back to try the whole menu!

Monday, March 25, 2024

Avo Sweet Tater Toasts & a Vegan Omelet

I made another winner from Tabitha Brown's Cooking from the Spirit book last week. These Sweet Potato Avocado Toasts use baked sweet potato slices in place of bread, and they're topped with avocado, pico de gallo, pumpkin seeds, and Kelly's lemon pepper parm. Tab uses Kelly's in a lot of her recipes, and it's always a staple in my pantry.

Here's an easy and not-very-pretty Just Egg Omelet. I was out of spray oil, so I used some olive oil instead and it didn't cover the pan quite as well as spray oil. So the veggie and Chao cheese-stuffed omelet came out looking a little like scrambled eggs. Still tasted great! Avocado toast with Trader Joe's black garlic on the side.

And here's a super-quick week night dinner before kickball last week. I opened a can Trader Joe's Giant Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce and served them cold with some Air-Fried Asparagus (topped with that Kelly's seasoning). The beans had Mediterranean-style seasonings and were very flavorful. Will definitely buy again!

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Ostara Eats!

The Spring Equinox, also called Ostara, was Tuesday, and it's a holiday traditionally celebrated with eggs. But that's a no-go for me. Thankfully, Just Egg is back on shelves after a brief shortage. So, I made the Blue Cheese & Mushroom Quiche from the Llewelyn's Witches' Datebook Calendar, but I subbed Just Egg for the eggs and Violife Feta for the blue cheese.

I have purchased a vegan blue cheese at Sprouts before, but they were out. Still, I think this Violife feta is closer to the crumbly texture of dairy blue cheese, so it was probably better here anyway. I made a homemade pie crust (not the prettiest but very flaky and buttery), and that was filled with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and garlic and sprinkled with the feta. Then I just poured a whole carton of Just Egg over the fillings and baked until it set.

So good! This was one of those meals I'm glad I have multiple servings of. On the side, I made the Oven Fries with Scotch Dipping Sauce (vegan mayo, dijon, and vegan honey) from the Llewelyn's Sabbats Almanac (a different book with seasonal witchy recipes).

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Bean & 'Bacon' Soup, Jerk Kidney Beans, & More

I got a Llewelyn's Witches' Datebook Calendar for Christmas, and it has fun and seasonal recipes every month. For February, there was a White Bean & Bacon Soup that wasn't vegan. But it was super-simple to veganize using Lightlife Smart Bacon. I made this soup in the Crock Pot, and it hit the spot on a chilly February night. I also baked a fresh sourdough loaf that day. Nothing beats beans and bread.

Speaking of beans, I made these Jerk Kidney Beans from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook last week and served them with brown rice and steamed kale. These were just canned beans cooked with tomato sauce and jerk spices, and they were really good. I'm still on a mission to make everything from the NMA cookbook, though I've taken quite a break from it. This was one of only a couple main dishes that I hadn't made yet.

And here's a flatbread with cashew cheese, shrooms, and kale from Lulu's Cafe & Bakery. I haven't been going to Lulu's every Friday like I used to just because I've been spreading my eating-out budget around a bit more. But a monthly trip there is perfect!

Monday, March 18, 2024

Bluff City Vegan Eats: SriMu

Memphis is now home to a fully vegan cheese and wine shop! Vegan cheese-maker Julie Piatt (who is married to ultra-athlete/podcaster Rich Roll) moved her SriMu cheese shop into Crosstown Concourse several months ago, but it took a long time for the space to get its license to serve alcohol. They've been in production for months, and anyone could go in and buy wheels of cashew cheese to take home. But now they're serving vegan charcuterie boards, paired with wines.

Some vegan ladies and I met up there on Friday night to check it out! Look at these beautiful boards! 

We selected two small boards to feed the five of us, and it was plenty of food. Each had three cheeses. One had Bertie Camembert (with truffle oil!), Fire (the spicy one), and Spire (SriMu's take on blue cheese), plus fig jam, olives, pistachios, stoneground mustard, and fresh and dried fruit. The other board had Bonfire (the smoky cheese ball), Gold Alchemy (a smoked gouda), and Cloud 9 (like fresh mozz balls!).

These were so good, and we gobbled every bite and pretty much licked the boards clean. Not really, but we were definitely scraping crackers along the boards to pick up all the bits.

SriMu is open Thursday-Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m. And you can find it on ground floor of Crosstown Concourse, across from Farm Burger and the red spiral staircase. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Tacos, Burgers, and Tortilla Soup

A couple Fridays ago, I met up with my mom at our Native Brew Works, out favorite meeting spot in Jonesboro, my hometown. Neither of us live there anymore, but my me-maw still does, so we meet up for grandma visits sometimes. But we always start with lunch at Native. It's Jonesboro's only brewery, and they have several vegan menu items. This time, I went with the BBQ Cauliflower Tacos, a side of Black Beans, and we split an order of Guac and Chips.

I'm still steadily working my way through Tabitha Brown's Cooking by the Spirit cookbook. And this week, I made her Cheeseburgers. These are veggie-based patties with black beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, sundried tomatoes, red onion, and spinach, topped with Violife cheddar and all the fixins. It's really nice to have a classic homemade veggie patty sometimes. On the side, I had some air-fried potatoes with sriracha aioli.

I also recently made her Tortilla Soup. This also has black beans and mushrooms, but the mushrooms are oyster, which gave the soup a really nice, meaty texture. The soup is topped with vegan cheddar shreds, avocado, and tortilla chips (of course!).

And here's a quick week night meal I've been enjoying. I used a can of Trader Joe's Greek Chickpeas with Parsley and Cumin to stuff pitas, along with hummus, butter lettuce, avocado, and kalamata olives. I had some airfried potatoes with Cavender's Greek seasoning on the side and a garlicky vegan mayo for dipping.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Race Recap: Little Rock Half Marathon

I do the Little Rock Marathon — either the half or the full — every year. It's my favorite road race, and the medals are amazing. This year, I just did the half because I'm not getting back into long-distance stuff until this fall. And my friend Kate from Memphis Hash House Harriers signed up to run it, too. So, we made a plan to run together.

But first, I stopped by the race expo on Saturday afternoon. This year's race was dino-themed, so I grabbed a selfie with a dinosaur.

Then, I headed to my BFF Sheridan's house. I always stay with Sheridan and Drew when I come down for this race. I dropped off my things, and then we met up with Kate for pre-race pizza at Raduno Brick Oven

Raduno has some really yummy Vegan Spinach-Artichoke Dip, so Kate and I split that for an appetizer.

And then we each ordered the Vegan Pepperoni Pizza.

And the Funghi Mushroom Pie with no cheese. Yay for carbs!

The next morning, the race started bright and early at 6 am! It usually starts at 8 am, but the weather was predicted to be unseasonably warm on Sunday, so they moved the race up by two hours at the last minute. I was not too happy about this, but there wasn't much I could do. And turns out, it never really got that hot. Temps were in the 60s (not 70s), and there was cloud cover and a drizzle. Oh well. 

Kate and I stayed together for the full 13.1 miles. I had originally planned to go for a PR when I signed up, but once Kate signed up, I decided to treat this as a fun run so we could run at conversational pace. But Kate is faster than me, so she kind of pushed me more than I realized she would. And I ended up finishing with my second-fastest time! Not a PR, but I was only one minute off. 

Check out these cool medals!

I had such a good time running and talking with Kate. I'm so used to running races alone with headphones, so this was a nice change. One of the best things about hashing is having a giant group of new running partners. 

After the race, I met back up with Sheridan and Drew, and we grabbed brunch at Little Rock's new City Silo

This place is Memphis-based, but they just expanded to Little Rock. And even though I can eat at City Silo at home, I'd never been there for breakfast/brunch. I had an oatmilk latte and this Sunshine Burrito with City Silo's veggie burger, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and vegan cheese. That hit the spot and powered me for my right home!