Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Skirt "Steak," Plant Balls, and More!

Sorry for the long break again! I think I'm going to just commit to blogging a couple times a week and see if that works. And hey, if you ever stop by here and see I haven't posted in awhile, just know I'll be back soon. I've just been super busy living life and doing fun stuff. And you can always follow me on IG at @biancaphillips, where I post food photos far more frequently. 

Here are a few things I've eaten lately. I made this Vegan Skirt Steak with thinly sliced portabella mushrooms from Tabitha Brown's Feeding the Soul. This was a simple dish with lots of flavor! On the side, I had the Tahini Green Beans from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook and some Smashed Potatoes from Scrappy Cooking.

Forever ago, I made Vegan Swedish Meatballs with a coconut milk-based white sauce and IKEA Plant Balls and lignonberry jam. But I froze one portion of the sauce and had just enough balls left to make a quick weeknight meal. I love freezing stuff like this for easy dinners.

Here's a tasty Pineapple Thai Curry Stir-fry from the original No Meat Athlete book (not the cookbook). That book has a few recipes, and this is one I'd been meaning to make forever. It had a tasty sauce cooked with fresh lemongrass and red curry paste.

And several weeks ago, some friends and I gathered for a girls' sauna night (one friend has a sauna in her backyard!). But first, we snacked this amazing Olive Focaccia Bread that she made. Yum! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Vegan Donuts + 5 miles = Bad Idea

I realized, since I've missed almost a month of posting in April, that I failed to update y'all on a crazy race I did. In mid-April, I signed up for the Donuts & Dogs 5-miler, which benefits the Streetdog Foundation. In this annual race, you run 2.5 miles, eat anywhere between 3 and 12 donuts, and then run another 2.5 miles. They don't typically offer vegan donuts, but I'm friends with the race organizer (it's mostly hashers who run it, and a hasher puts it together every year). So I asked if I could BYOD (bring your own donuts), and of course, that was fine. 

I ordered a dozen vegan donuts from Darling Donuts — glazed, lemon curd-filled, and apple fritters —to split between three vegans who were running: me, Kenzie, and Kate. 

We intended to each eat four donuts at the halfway point, but we quickly realized that was a bad idea. These donuts, lovingly baked by my friend Lily, are delicious, but they're also bigger than your average non-vegan donut. We figured each one equaled two Krispy Kremes, which is what everyone else was eating. So we decided on three each. 

Kate had no problem scarfing down those donuts and finishing her run. And Kenzie cheated and ate only two before taking off. Me, on the the hand, I struggled. A lot. It was a hot day, and I was having a hard time eating donuts after those first 2.5 miles. It took me FOREVER to get all three down, and I wanted to throw up a few times. But I did it! I think, from now on, I'll stick to the beer mile though.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Happy Mother's Day, Mama!

Sunday was Mother's Day, so I met up with my mom at Native Brew Works in Jonesboro for beer and taco bowls! Jonesboro is about halfway for both of us, and my mom planned to visit my me-maw there anyway. So, after her visit, we met up at Native. I got the Stone Cold IPA, and she had the Pitter Patter Altbier.

Native has two vegan tacos on the menu, but you can also create a cauli-rice Taco Bowl with any of the taco fillings. We decided to do that this time with the BBQ Cauliflower Tacos, which come with crispy BBQ cauli florets, red cabbage slaw and fresh jalapenos. That was served over creamy caul-rice, and we both ordered sides of black beans to add to our bowls for protein. So good!!

And we split an order of Guac and Chips. They have THE BEST CHIPS. No visit to Native is complete without the chips.

We had a nice visit, and then we both drove home. Only one beer each since we had to drive!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Cookbook Review: Scrappy Cooking

I have a new favorite cookbook! I've long been a fan of Carleigh Bodrug's Plant You book, but her brand-new book, Scrappy Cooking, has become an instant fave. The book dropped in April, and it's quite a bit thicker than her original book. The focus is on sustainable vegan recipes that help you use up produce and other foods before they go bad. She also includes a number of recipes to utilize the stuff you'd normally throw away, like onion peels and lemon peels.

I've already read the full book cover to cover, like a novel. I enjoy reading recipes, but I also loved all of the tips scattered throughout the book. And I'm always trying to be more environmentally friendly, so this book is just what I needed. I've made a number of recipes so far, starting with this Common Ground Granola. It uses spent coffee grounds, as well as leftover coffee, for an energizing and crunchy chocolate granola. Excellent served over homemade soy yogurt!

The One-Pot Orzo Casserole is fantastic, and it's loaded with chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, and onions in a tomato-y sauce. It's topped the best homemade Tofu Feta I've ever made. That recipe alone is worth the cost of the book.

When Carleigh includes a separate recipe within a recipe — like that feta for the orzo casserole — it's usually optional, so you can save money and time if you want. But it's also used in many recipes through the book, so you don't waste the leftovers. One batch made plenty, so I also made the Buffalo Chickpea Lettuce Cups so I could use the rest of the feta. These little butter lettuce cups are stuffed with baked buffalo chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, onions, tofu feta, and a homemade hummus dressing. You'll have leftover hummus after making the dressing, but it's perfect for snacking on with crackers.

Carleigh even includes instructions for growing your own veggies from scraps. You can apparently grow from lettuce from lettuce stems, so I've currently got the butter lettuce stem in a saucer with water to try that out. We'll see!

One of my favorite recipes so far has been this Second Chance Sheet Pan Fried Rice. You use leftover rice from takeout, which I had a ton of recently after a few orders at Sen Trang. That's baked on a sheet pan with veggies and almonds (but I didn't have many almonds, so I also used cashews) and a tasty sauce. The rice gets all crispy, like it's fried. Such a great use for leftover rice!

Another fave was this Firecracker Tofu with Coconut Rice. The tofu, bell peppers, onions, and bok choy is coated in a sweet-and-savory sauce and served over creamy, sticky coconut rice. I could eat that coconut rice all day!

I've got a few other recipes on the list to make this week and next, including Rock Your Broc Mac & Cheese, Pickled Tennessee Tofu Tenders with Cabbage Slaw, a Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry (made with tempeh), and Golden Immunity Stew with sweet potatoes, lentils, kale, and a very yellow turmeric-y broth. I'm also saving my onion peels to make her onion powder, my garlic peels to make garlic powder, my lemon peels for citrus powder, apple cores to make her apple scrap vinegar, carrot tops for chimichurri, and all my other veg scraps for broth. My freezer currently looks like I'm saving up scraps for a science experiment!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Cinco Eats, Birthday Burgers, and More

My mama turned 70 this past Saturday, so I made a quick trip to Arkansas on Thursday/Friday to celebrate. My mom wanted to keep dinner simple, so she grilled some Impossible Burgers while my dad made homemade French Fries in the deep fryer. Can't go wrong with birthday burgers!

I spent the night Thursday, so we had a nice brunch on Friday morning after I wrapped up my work (I'm off work at 9:30 a.m. on Fridays). Mama made a Vegan Breakfast Casserole with Just Egg, Impossible sausage, biscuits, and gravy. And she made the best homemade Hash Browns on the side! It's been years since I've those kind of hash browns.

On Saturday night, a few friends and I had an impromptu dinner at Good Fortune. I've had all of the vegan items on their menu now, but there was one veganizable thing that I hadn't had yet. The Mazeman Ramen normally comes with egg yolk, but I asked them to leave that off. This is a tasty, brothless ramen with vegan miso butter-coated mushrooms and vegan burger meat. Really good!

And of course Sunday was Cinco de Mayo. Global Cafe hosted a beer mile, and I really wanted to do it. But it was at 10 a.m., and I have to write my column on Sundays for work. So I knew I wouldn't be able to write after four beers. But I figured one margarita wouldn't hurt. Some friends went to watch the race and then we had margs.

And I ordered Global's Vegan Avocado Toast to eat. This is a full-on sandwich with what appeared to be a whole avocado, some roasted chiles, hummus, and sprouts. Really good and very filling.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Vegan eats at a crawfish boil! And more!

A couple weeks ago, some friends from the Memphis Hash House Harriers hosted their annual crawfish boil, and you'd think there wouldn't be much there for me to eat. But there was! The hosts did a separate veggie boil for the vegans with potatoes, brussels, green beans, mushrooms, and pineapple (yes, seems odd mixed with Cajun spices, but it worked!). Plus, the red beans and rice that everyone ate was vegan!

Here's a tasty curry from Isa Does It! I made the Bhindi Masala with blackeyed peas, okra, and a thick curry sauce, served over basmati rice and topped with unsweetened yogurt.

With every grocery trip lately, I've been picking up one bag of frozen stir-fry veggies for a super-quick weeknight meal. Some nights, I just don't have time to cook a recipe. But there's usually always time to air-fry some tofu and saute with frozen veggies.

And here's a mix and match vegan burger trio from Slider Inn. Got the No Beef, No Problem slider (Impossible burger), the Buffalo Chick'n slider, and the Vegan Triple B (beet, black beans, and brown rice). All with vegan cheese! Also just note: If you're local or visiting and go to Slider, that white stuff is mayo, and it's not vegan, but it comes with every order. Ask them to bring you some vegan ranch instead!

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Oh hey, I'm back with more food!

Oops! I guess I let a month go by without a post. Sorry about that. Things got busy, and then I got so behind with posting that the thought of going through my food photos seemed overwhelming. But here are a few things I've eaten lately. 

We'll start with this tasty Kung Pao Tofu Rice Bowl at Good Fortune. Had this on Friday night, and I've now eaten all of the things on Good Fortune's menu. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, and I put off ordering it because I'm always craving ramen when I'm there. But it was so good! Will definitely be getting this again.

I've been eating at Sen Trang a lot lately (we're calling it Faux Binh now since it replaced Pho Binh!), and this Tofu Vermicelli Bowl was exactly the same as it was when Pho Binh was serving it. I've been continually impressed with how well Sen Trang has recreated Pho Binh's recipes.

Here's a tasty Curried Tofu Peanut Bowl from Isa Does It. I pulled Isa Does It off the shelf recently and made a few things. Love this book, but it's been awhile since I've used it.

I also made these Muffin Tin Omelets from Isa Does It. These have been a fun grab-and-go breakfast. And yummy with a side of kale.