Liverpool Pt. I

Although my first two months of working abroad were spent mainly in Ireland, I took the time to visit parts of the UK also. The first place I saw was Liverpool, England. I was a bit intimidated before arriving because several people said “You’re going to Liverpool? Alone?!” when they found out I wasn’t going for a visit with friends or family.

It all turned out well though, because I had a blast in Liverpool. There were plenty of things to do, places to see, and vegan food to eat. Plus any time I got lost (which I’m embarrassed to admit happened a few times), passersby were always happy to help and point to a spot on the map or tell me that Google Maps had sent me the wrong way.

I stayed in the cutest hostel ever, called Podzzz. It was the perfect size and had everything I needed in the single room. Plus the staff there were probably the friendliest I’ve met on my travels.

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Liverpool left a great impression on me, and I loved all the interesting things you’d find walking around the city. Ranging from an urban wildflower field to street art.

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My first meal in the city was at The Egg, a vegetarian cafe in the city center. Although the atmosphere was nice, I’m sad to say my meal was a flop.

20140727-184910-67750791.jpgI ordered the spicy burger, and when they brought out the plate I honestly thought they’d chosen the wrong dish. The sides were utterly flavorless and the “burger” was just like a large falafel with bland marinara sauce on top. It was the first time I have had a bad meal while eating at an all vegetarian/vegan restaurant before, so I was pretty disappointed.

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Unperturbed by my less than satisfying lunch, I wandered around the shopping district and found the holy grail of punk clothes and oddities: Grand Central Hall. This place was packed full of unique little shops with a variety of clothes, jewelry, comic books, and records. Everything was relatively well priced too, unlike a lot of these specialty themed markets I’ve seen.

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I also visited the Walker Art Gallery, which featured some amazing quilts by Grayson Perry. The place was huge too, and took about two hours to go through the whole thing.

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For dinner, I had planned to hit up a nearby vegan restaurant just down the block. Upon seeing their closed sign, I decided to meander down the street until I found a restaurant that looked like it had vegan options. Luckily for me, The Brink was right down the road. The staff was knowledgeable about what options were available, and I ended up settling with a bowl of creamy (due to blended potatoes/carrots) tomato soup. And also, I drank a bottle of the best root beer I’ve ever had! I’ll have a tough time finding something that compares to this in the States.

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Will Travel for Vegan Food

First off, I’m writing this post from my iPad, so if the formatting looks strange, that’s why.

I’ve decided to start blogging again because I miss it and it honestly motivates me to cook different food (aka not fall into a “food rut”). This summer I’ve been busy traveling by using the website Workaway and through it I’ve had many wonderful opportunities to meet new people, and collect lots of lovely recipes on the way.

I’ve worked in both Ireland and Scotland, and also visited the rest of the UK during my time here. From all of this I have a neat little notebook filled with recipes from almost all of my hosts (I’ve had four in total), and I can’t wait to go back home to recreate or veganize them, then share my tasty findings on LimaBeanLover.

But until I return home mid-August and have a chance to tinker with the recipes, I’ll just be sharing some of the delicious food from my trip. My next post shall be all about Liverpool, so be excited! For a bonus, here’s a picture from of me in all my nervousness before Peter left me at the airport for the flight to Ireland. I have since then conquered my fear of flight.

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Revamp

As mentioned in my previous update, life has gotten crazy busy! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m actually having a pretty good time. Between school, work, running campus clubs, and coordinating the social media for Cosmic Forge Studios (check it soon for the new website), I’ve barely had time for homework, let alone the blog. This post was mostly written because I have time off from school due to some snow days (see picture below).

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I do not see things letting up any time soon, so Lima Bean Lover will now be a blog for recipes only. I’m still constantly cooking and baking, but have little time to write “Oh look how nice this meal looks!” posts. So whenever I come up with a new recipe (or steal one from my roommate), then I’ll share it here. I already have a few in drafts including sloppy joe pasta, wholesome banana muffins, and slow cooker navy bean soup. So know I’m still thinking of my readers and the blog!

Update

Hey everyone! Sorry if you saw any odd pictures on my blog lately, I had a mix-up trying to moderate a friend’s WordPress blog and some of his stuff got posted to mine.

I’m also trying to update everyone as to what’s happening with Lima Bean Lover. I’m super busy with school, a new part-time job, and being president of three different organizations. Needless to say, the blog is not top on my priority list. But I am not abandoning it, just letting it cool down a little. I’ll be posting the second half of my Vinegar Variety posts soon, and definitely one about Thanksgiving dinner.

So I hope everyone has a great holiday break, and I should be updating y’all soon.

Weekly Wednesday Round-Up – Muffins and Tattoos

Corn muffins with a vegan take on honey butter, agave margarine!

agave butter muffins

Pizza hummus with pita chips
pizza hummus and chips

Pumpkin spice muffins made by my lovely roommate. I’ll be posting the recipe soon!

pumpkin muffinsAnd lastly my new tattoo! Which is in honor of the University of Montevallo’s Purple Side. Our symbol is the cow and also an old tradition used to be to throw Moon Pies at the opposing side. Now I need to veganize some Moon Pies!

cow tattoo

Weekly Wednesday Round-Up – Raw Pasta, Pita Pizza, and Whole Foods

I want to start doing a weekly Wednesday roundup of yummy meals I’ve made. Basically anything I’d put in the PPK’s Food Porn section, but doesn’t deserve an entire blog post.

One of my first raw food meals ever (not counting salad)! Spiralized zucchini and rich marinara sauce.
raw pasta

The mini restaurant inside our local Whole Foods has a vegan sandwich! It’s toasted sour dough bread with balsamic tomatoes, arugula, onions, and basil hummus. Served with a side of roasted red skin potatoes.

Whole Foods sandwich

Fried tofu (from Whole Food’s hot bar) and mashed cheezy bacon potatoes.
fried tofu and potatoes

Pita pizza with mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and nutritional yeast.

pita pizza

Veggie stir fry with kale, tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms all piled on top of brown rice. rice stir fry

Vinegar Variety (part I)

The other day, as I was observing my pantry shelf, I realized I had a semi-dusty almost full bottle of red wine vinegar. I hate buying something for one recipe then never using it again, so I searched online for “recipes with red wine vinegar” and almost every recipe was for salad dressing. Now I don’t mind a good red wine vinaigrette, but I was surprised with the lack of variety.

From that incident, I decided that vinegar seems to be a bit of an under appreciated pantry staple. Due to that, I’ve decided to dedicate two posts to writing about different types of vinegar and how to use them in your dishes (with no salad dressing recipes in sight).

Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is a very common vinegar. It’s made by crushing and releasing the liquid from apples, then putting the juice through the vinegar fermenting process. It’s a pretty mild type and has a light fruit undertone with a sharp tartness. The latest health craze seems to be drinking ACV plain (yuck) or washing your hair with it (I’ll just stick with my Jason’s shampoo, thanks), but this vinegar is still great for eating too, as is shown with the coleslaw below. The recipe was creamy with a hint of sour from the vinegar and relish in it. I served it with a barbecue Boca burger.

coleslaw

Balsamic Vinegar

Equally sweet and sour, this vinegar has the richest flavor of them all. It is commonly drizzled over salads with sweet accents, like fruit. Although the traditionally made BV from Italy is amazing (I’ve only bought a bottle once, but it was worth the money), the commercial made will make due for those who don’t want to splurge on it. But if you’re doing a dish with the vinegar as a main focal point, it might be worthwhile to get the traditional. I didn’t want to do a shameless plug and encourage you to cook my balsamic pasta and beans (recipe here), so I chose some salty and crunchy goodness with kale chips. These chips were super simple and delicious. You only need kale, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt. I ended up eating these while watching Supernatural in lieu of an unhealthy snack.

balsamic kale chips

Malt Vinegar

MV is made by malting barley, then brewing it into ale, which is finally converted into vinegar. It is commonly used in the UK for fish and chips, but it’s also known for being a good pickling vinegar. I’ve never actually pickled anything before, so I thought I’d give it a go! I chose to make pickled mushrooms since shrooms are one of my favorite foods. In the finished product the Malt vinegar has a distinct taste and the slice of onion and garlic in the jar add an extra depth of flavor. I’m going to serve these sprinkled on a salad with a sweet raspberry dressing to balance the vinegar taste.

pickled shrooms