Sandwiches, Scones, and Game of Thrones

The weather was extremely nice last week, so Peter and I had a picnic at the park. There we munched on these grilled pizza sandwiches (which had pizza hummus and Daiya inside) and cucumber slices dipped in Italian salad dressing.
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I made a batch of Mom’s Chili, which I ate with crackers. I skipped using canned beans though, and cooked up some dried black beans and red beans the day before in the slow cooker. Then I mixed them with the rest of the ingredients to make the chili.

???????????????????????????????The next day the leftover chili was turned into a “Frito pie”. With layered crushed Frito corn chips and chili then smothered in healthy cheese sauce.

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Tomato-rosemary scones from Vegan Brunch. I’ve actually never baked scones before, but these were extremely easy to make and very delicious. My favorite way to have these is warmed up with a pat of margarine in the middle.
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Soft tacos with Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan, Daiya pepper jack, lettuce, and tomatoes. It was my first time trying the Upton’s seitan. I really liked the taste and texture of it, but the small amount of seitan per package for a fairly high price (at least at my local Earth Fare) was not worth it.
???????????????????????????????“Chicken” parmesan, made with soy-tan dream cutlets from 1,000 Vegan Recipes (which I breaded and pan-fried), with melted Daiya mozzarella, all on top of spaghetti in a creamy marinara sauce, and sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
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Lentil and veggie soup, which I mostly made because I needed to clean out my refrigerator’s produce drawer. It has lentils, onions, corn, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, peas, potatoes, and lima beans which were all cooked in a garlic tomato broth.

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For our three-year anniversary, Peter got me (along with a few other things) The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. I’m a big fan of the television show and hope to begin reading the books soon, so I was super excited to have these recipes based on the series.

Our local gaming group is actually starting a GoT roleplaying campaign, so for our session I made Arya’s Apricot Tart to share. Except there are no fresh apricots available around here, so we settled for peaches. To veganize the recipe I subbed Earth Balance for butter, coconut milk for heavy cream, and I used this recipe for the crust. It turned out delicious with a flaky crust, juicy peaches, and buttery crumble topping. I can’t wait to try more recipes from the cookbook.

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Local Lime: Review

Over Spring Break, my sister and I went to Arkansas to visit our mom. While there, we ate at a fantastic Mexican restaurant in Little Rock called Local Lime. We had heard it was vegan-friendly, so we decided to give it a try, and it turned out to be great!

To start off, our waitress was very knowledgeable about what items were and weren’t vegan. That was a great relief, because nothing is more frustrating than having a waiter who has no idea about the ingredients. Things on the menu were also clearly marked “vegan”, “vegetarian”, and “gluten-free”.

To drink, I got their Fresh Fruit Punch. It’s house-made with fresh pineapple, papaya, mango, strawberries and organic agave syrup. (It was also photo-bombed by my mom)

As an appetizer we got the Salsa Trio, and our three salsa choices were house tomato, tres chilies, and mango papaya, served with corn chips. When our waitress brought it out, the tres chilies salsa had cheese on top of it. After seeing the cook’s mistake, she immediately went into the back and brought me my own vegan salsa bowl! All the salsas were good, but the house tomato was definitely my favorite.
For the main course I ordered the Black Bean and Green Tacos, which come with black beans, guacamole, raw green cabbage, house-pickled onions,  and hot sauce, all served in a corn tortilla. For the two sides, I got jicama jalapeno slaw (with no sauce, since it contained dairy), and spicy house-pickled vegetables.

The tacos were fantastic. The beans were spiced just right, and the cool guacamole and cabbage counteracted the spicy onions and hot sauce. The jicama slaw was also really good. It was crunchy and fresh tasting with a hint of lime. The only disappointing thing was the house-pickled vegetables. The combo of spicy and pickled taste just didn’t sit right with my taste buds.
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So all in all, I would give Local Lime a 5 star rating. Their vegan-friendly service, and delicious menu is truly stellar.
locallimehayley

Noms Catch Up

Okay, so I know my blogging has been inconsistent, but I am determined to change that. I’ve had a super busy semester at school, plus lots of other responsibilities to worry about. But I have decided that I need to make time for blogging because it’s something I really enjoy doing.

This post is to catch up and share all the pictures of food I’ve taken up to this point. It’s not a ton because I haven’t been eating a lot that’s “blog worthy”, but I’ll hopefully have more to post soon.

The falafel plate from the Purple Onion. It’s vegan as long as you ask for no cheese on the salad. It comes with a side salad, falafel, wild rice, pita bread, hummus, and fruit. Really good food, for a fairly reasonable price ($9).

Falafel Plate (2)

Here is some tomato veggie couscous I made for a potluck. It’s couscous cooked in canned tomatoes and seasonings, with garbanzo beans and broccoli mixed in to make it more filling. It’s a good thing this makes a whole meal (protein, carbs, and veggies) because, like I expected, there was nothing else vegan available at the potluck.

Coucous bulked upI’ve been trying to slowly, but surely, work through my Pinterest food/recipes board. On there, was a lovely recipe for avocado hummus. I was excited to try it, and when I went grocery shopping I got all the ingredients, except garbanzo beans. Apparently the local grocery store doesn’t carry garbanzo beans, canned or dry. So I had to make do with cannellini beans. The dip was really great tasting, but with a much creamier texture than traditional hummus. It was almost sour cream-like because of the smoothness. I can’t wait to try it out again with the garbanzo beans.

White Bean Dip

Only recently have I discovered the joys of spaghetti squash. I’d heard about it before, but never gave it a try. Peter and I went out to lunch with some friends to Ruby Tuesday and the only vegan menu item was the spaghetti squash with zucchini (without the parmesan cheese). I tried it and loved it! Since then I’ve tried it several different ways and they’ve all been tasty. Below is some spaghetti squash with sauteed kale, tomatoes, and marinara sauce.

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Spanish brown rice and black beans mixed with canned tomatoes and chipotle chili. Super simple, but super yummy.

Brown Rice and Black BeansWhile visiting home for the weekend, my sister took me out to eat at a great Asian restaurant in Hunstville called Panda. The server knew which tofu was vegan or not (a definite plus) and so we got the veggie and avocado sushi for appetizers, and then the house bean curd which is served with rice, snap peas, broccoli, and water chestnuts. The food was great and the portions were huge, so both of us got an extra meal from the leftovers.

Panda Sushi

Panda Tofu

Dorm Noms

I finally got a camera cord, yay! Well actually I got a camera cord a few weeks ago, but I’ve been too busy to blog until now. School work is taking up more time this semester, so my posts will be more sporadic but will probably have a lot more stuff covered in them.

Here’s what I’ve eaten so far this semester:

Carrot cake muffins from a recipe on The Flaming Vegan.

Seasoned black beans mixed with Daiya on top of chipotle tomato rice.

The local eatery, Eclipse Coffee and Books, has added several new vegan items to their menu and I decided to try them out.

First was the couscous and quinoa salad. Gotta be honest, I don’t really like the texture of pearl couscous or quinoa, so this wasn’t a huge hit for me. It had a great taste, kinda spicy with a citrus-y undertone, but the texture was a deal breaker for me. The coconut macaroon cookie from Alternative Baking kind of made up for it though.
Although the first vegan dish was a bit disappointing, the second definitely wasn’t! They added a veggie burger to their menu and it is fantastic. It’s made with quinoa and beans and is served on rye bread with your choice of toppings. I got mine with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and ketchup.

I guess Eclipse’s burger got me in the mood for sandwiches, because a few days after that I tried my hand at making my own veggie burgers. I very loosely based it around this recipe, but made lots of changes.

I mashed up a drained can of black beans, added about 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup diced onions, 2 tbsp taco sauce, and some Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy. Then I formed them into four patties and cooked them in an oiled  skillet for a few minutes on each side. They were sooo good. After making these, I may just stop buying pre-made veggie burgers altogether. I need to make another batch and test whether they can withstand freezing very well. I ate my sandwich on a onion bun with pickles, tomato, and some Vegenaise mixed with Sriracha.

I broke out the slow cooker this weekend too and made some Mom’s Chili, seen here topped with some Tofutti sour cream.

On Saturday I spent time with my friend Skye and her lovely mother Sally. We went to Whole Foods and ate lunch at their cafe. I got fried tofu (with ketchup), a seasoned mixture of black eyed peas and butter beans, and a grain salad with millet, barley, and brown rice. It was all really yummy and I will definitely be going back their to eat soon.

And also for dessert at Whole Foods I got a double chocolate vegan cookie, woot!

Week of Noms

This week has been filled with some great food, which I shall share with you through a photo montage:

The Tennessee Valley Vegan Wrap from Coffee & Play House. This grilled wrap has tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach, purple onions, red pepper hummus, and balsamic glaze. With a side of pickle slices and veggie straws. Very yummy.

This adorable tiny squash was grown by my boyfriend’s parents in their organic garden. Too cute to not share.

I made these two-ingredients red velvet cupcakes, made by mixing just a can of pure pumpkin and a box cake mix, then slathered with cream cheez frosting. These were pretty good, but I think a carrot cake or spice cake mix would mesh better with the pumpkin.

And lastly, rice and bean soft tacos topped with red onions and a mix of Vegenaise, lime juice, and chili powder. This sauce was fantastic and really made the tacos great.

Biscuits & Beans

Since gas prices suck nowadays, I am trying to drive less places or at least not as far for things I can find nearby. So that means I am using our local Lucky’s grocery store for most of my ingredients, which forces me to rely on less processed foods (Boca patties, Vegenaise, etc.) and more on regular stuff.

The cookbook Table for Two is helping with this, because most of the recipes use common ingredients, plus the small quantities from the recipes make it where I am not forced to eat leftovers by myself for a week.

One of the recipes I used from the book was for whole wheat biscuits, but I subbed all-purpose flour for the wheat. These lovely little drop biscuits took less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and were delicious. I ate some with Earth Balance and strawberry jam for breakfast this morning.

Although it’s getting really hot outside, I am still eating a lot of hot food. I started swimming twice a week, and after getting out of the pool I am cold and wanting something filling. Chili is the answer! This particular chili had Navy and pinto beans and TVP. I actually ate this with some of the leftover biscuits and it was fantastic. This shall be my lunch for the next few days.

For dinner today I had a marinated bean and corn salad. I took a can of black beans, a can of corn, freshly chopped tomatoes, and let it marinate for a while in the fridge with Kraft mango chipotle dressing. I then put it on a bed of baby spring lettuce with crushed Fritos. The mango chipotle dressing was just okay, the mango taste seemed a bit artificial to me. But to not waste so much food, I just loaded on some salsa and the salad was saved.

New Kitchen = New Food

I mentioned before about the mini kitchen in my new dorm room, so I thought I should share a picture of it:

Small, but nice. Sooo nice in comparison to a gross public kitchen, which I must return to in the fall. 😦 But for now I am making the most of it by trying to cook as much as possible.

The first recipe I tried in my new room was romesco sauce. I  did change it a bit to suit my tastes, but I really liked it. I only used 1 tsp of paprika instead of a tbsp, plus I skipped the last step of baking it in the oven. Even messing around with it, the recipe turned out well and I will definitely be using it again.

I don’t always have time to make a super nice meal, but since my room has no microwave that stops me from relying upon super processed convenience food. For a quick dinner last week I made a mini Daiya cheez quesadilla and paired it with half a can of Muir Glen Organic Southwest Black Bean soup.

Make sure to check back by the end of the week, I can promise an exciting new product review coming soon.

Spring Break Noms

I have been on a blogging break for spring break, but it’s time to start back now that school begins tomorrow morning. I ate a lot of good food over the break and now it’s time to share pictures of all my noms.

Right before leaving for the break, the cafeteria actually made a nice vegan lunch. They had grilled eggplant “steak”, steamed broccoli, and spicy hummus paired with some tomatoes, olives, and cucumber slices from the salad bar.

My boyfriend, Peter, and I went to Arkansas last weekend to visit my mom, so we got the pleasure of not having to cook and let her be the one to feed us. She made some great blueberry muffins with streusel topping for breakfast.

Not everything was homemade though, we did get us some pizza from the US Pizza Co.

We got the veggie-lovers pizza. Though I had to eat mine cheese-less because I had no Daiya on hand, it was still really good. The thin crust gets super crispy and they use canned mushrooms which gives it a meatier texture. Yum.

Once back home in Alabama, I thoroughly enjoyed having my own kitchen to cook in. I am still not used to the icky public kitchens in the dorms. For lunch I cooked up some frozen hash-browns with spicy seasoning, a bit of salsa, and a ton of Daiya cheddar. I topped the hash-browns with Tofutti sour cream and added a Garden Burger black bean patty on the side.

The four ingredients in the following picture are magical… No, not really, but it seems like they are. (scroll down to see why)

Those ingredients turned into one of the best dishes I have ever made, chick’n and dumplings. I brought about half of the container of Imagine No-Chicken Broth to a boil, stirred in a vigorous dose of Mrs. Dash, added the chopped up Gardein chick’n, and lastly threw in the pre-made dumplings to cook. All in all, this meal took at most 15 minutes to make, and it was delicious.

Another experimental dish that turned into a keeper was this creamy pasta with sausage. I threw some spiral pasta in to cook and then began making a sauce. I added a can of diced Italian tomatoes, two big handfuls of chopped kale, a dollop of Tofutti sour cream, a healthy dose of Parma vegan parmesan, and some chopped of Yves Italian sausages. The sauce simmered for about ten minutes while the pasta cooked, then I threw it all together in a pot. I served it with a whole-wheat Alexandria’s roll on the side. This was delicious and my sister and her boyfriend (who are sometimes known to be picky around vegetable filled foods) sucked down all the leftovers with their compliments to the chef.

I know Easter is still two weeks from now, but I couldn’t resist making these cute cookies. They were pink lemonade flavored, and they were *gasp* from a box mix. The cookies tasted great though, but the bunnies were an issue. I found the adorable Easter decorations at  Walmart and since the box said “edible” on it, I assumed it was true. These sugar bunnies could literally chip your tooth if you tried to chew on one, they were like rocks. Everyone enjoyed the cookies though and just pulled off the decoration.

Slow Cooker Love

My Valentine this year is my slow cooker!… Okay, not really, it’s my boyfriend. But if I didn’t have Peter, I’d be writing a card for my slow cooker. For Christmas my mom got me the The Vegan Slow Cooker cookbook and she also gave me her slow cooker, which she didn’t use any more. I brought those two things to my dorm after the winter break ended, but didn’t actually use them until just last week. And wow, I never knew a delicious meal could be so easy. I just throw in a lot of ingredients, turn on the slow cooker, and return after class to a hot yummy meal waiting on me.

The first recipe I tried from Vegan Slow Cooker was the Philadelphia-Style Cheesy Portobello Sandwich. The mushrooms, along with some thinly sliced onions and bell pepper, cooked down in some seasonings into a chewy steak-like sandwich filler with its own gravy. Soooo good. I was out of cheez, so I just put it on a bun along with some Vegenaise, lettuce, and tomatoes.

The next recipe I tried was the Smoky Mac and Cheese. But I am picky about how I like my mac and cheez, so I left out the chili powder and liquid smoke, so it was basically just plain mac and cheez. That didn’t mean it was just regular though, that was possibly the best mac and cheez I’ve ever eaten. Whole wheat macaroni cooked down with plain soymilk, cheddar and mozzarella Daiya, and some special seasonings. You can tell it’s amazing because Peter and I ate this whole recipe (all 6 servings) in just two days.

The only recipe I’ve used in the slow cooker that wasn’t from the cookbook was when I made a doubled up recipe of Mom’s Chili. I also mixed it up a bit and replaced the recipe’s kidney beans with black beans, and added corn. It wasn’t too pretty after it finished cooking, but it sure tasted good.

Double the slow cooker power with chili mac! Using leftover mac and cheez and Mom’s Chili. Peter and I enjoyed this as our Valentine’s Day dinner together. Not very romantic, but very tasty.

And now on to some older food pictures:

Here is a lovely cinnamon bun I had for breakfast a few weekends ago. One of my sister’s friends is vegan also, and he brought over vegan doughnuts that evening. I managed to snag one and enjoy it for breakfast the next day.

I promise I’m not obsessed with chili, but Sigma Tau Delta (the English Honors Society that’s on campus) was having a chili fundraiser last week! Of course, they had the gross omnivore chili, but they also had some wonderful vegan chili. It had two types of beans, and some tasty tvp in there too.I love this stuff and I wish they did the fundraiser more often than once per semester.

And lastly, some semi-healthy convenience food. I was starving after getting out of sewing class, and quickly cooked up some Gardein Orange Chick’n, but left off the orange sauce and covered it with barbecue sauce instead. I piled some on top of pre-cooked Spanish rice, and voila! A not-too-bad-for-you and fast dinner.

And in honor of this being my Valentine’s Day post, I’ve decided to share my nerdy gift I gave to Peter. Here is a picture of the Pokemon themed card and a love Pokeball magnet made out of perler beads. In return, he gave me an adorable poem he’d written himself. I hope everyone had a good Valentine’s Day!

Disney Trip and Ethos Kitchen

*gasp* Do my eyes deceive me?! Is that my sister actually eating and enjoying broccoli? Only one thing could cause this: Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Orlando, FL.

My entire family went on vacation to Orlando this week to visit Disney World and just take a break from the daily grind. We left last Friday and came back on Wednesday.

On Saturday we ate at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. It was sooo good. I was super excited because it was the first time I’d ever been to a 100% vegan restaurant.

So here’s what everyone ordered:

My mom and I got the mac ‘n cheez (which is only available on Saturdays) and it was delicious.

I could taste that they used Follow Your Heart chedder soy cheese, but it’s way better than when I attempt to make my own home-made mac ‘n cheez with it. It was creamy and rich, but not too heavy.

My dad (the hardcore carnivore) got the Samson Burger. Here’s the description from the menu:  A grilled black bean burger served with lettuce, tomato, red onion, sprouts, spicy mustard, and ketchup. It comes along with a side of blue corn chips and salsa.

It was a huge sandwich but my dad managed to gobble down the whole thing and said it was really good.

My sister got the Sheep’s Pie. Here’s the description from the menu: A meat-free version of Shepherd’s Pie for our sheepy friends. Sautéed broccoli, carrots, peas, and onions in a veggie brown sauce topped with mashed potatoes and oven-baked to perfection. Served with bread.

This dish was so good that my vegetable-hating sister actually ate the broccoli and carrots in it. She shared a bite with me and it was super yummy.

If you’re anywhere near Orlando, go and eat at Ethos! The food was great, the servers were nice, the restaurant had a nice relaxed vibe and some insane art work too.