Cardiff

My time in Cardiff Wales was very short, only one full day, but it was a lovely city with less hustle and bustle after coming straight from Liverpool.

The first place I visited was Cardiff Market, which was great because I got there early enough to avoid a big crowd. There was a great variety of interesting stalls including things like Indian spices, vintage records, palm reading, fresh produce, and my personal favorite, the yarn shop. It was called the Wool Pack, but she had a massive collection of acrylic yarn (all of the shelves on the left side), which I got a beautiful teal skein from.

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After getting lost (thanks, Google Maps) and having to ask for directions at a craft beer shop, my first food stop was at Crumbs Kitchen. It was worth the hassle though, because I had a very good lunch there. The first floor of the restaurant is a bit chaotic, due to that being where the orders take place, but there is a second story with extra seating away from the main crowd. I got the chili over brown rice, with rose lemonade and chocolate cake. The whole grain goodness of the brown rice was a nice welcome, due to my Workaway host at that time only feeding us less filling white rice. The serving was huge though, and I ended up taking half away for my dinner later.

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I gotta admit, part of the appeal of Cardiff was being a Torchwood fan. I never managed to get into Doctor Who (though I still find Weeping Angels terrifying), but I was addicted to Torchwood when I found it in Netflix. Because of this, I decided to brave the rain and wind and march two miles from my hotel to the area where they shot the show. It was odd to look at all these buildings in real life when before I’ve only seen them in panoramic filmed shots. Definitely worth a trip if you’re a fan.

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A place you must visit in Cardiff is Cinnamon Sticks, an almost painfully adorable tea room shop. Everything ranging from the wallpaper to the servers’ outfits is either floral, pink, or dainty. Though I’m not a huge tea fan (unless it’s cold, sweet, and Southern), but I did partake in their cake, which is beyond amazing. I got a piece of their chocolate peanut butter masterpiece and can say that it was probably the best piece of cake I’ve ever had. The peanut butter frosting was the perfect amount of rich and fluffy, and the chocolate cake was the perfect spongey texture. I was sad I didn’t have time or the stomach space to try their savory vegan options, but I’ll just have to get them next time I go to Cardiff, since I will definitely be visiting Cinnamon Sticks again.

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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

End of Summer Meals

This summer has been very busy, but full of fun. Since school is starting up soon and I’m enjoying my last two weeks of summer break, this will probably be my last post until September when I’ll be participating for the first time in Vegan MoFo!

A few weeks ago I got to take a local canning class and made spaghetti sauce. It was my first time actually canning myself and it was really fun. I’m hoping to invest in some canning equipment soon and then I’ll be able to make my own jams, relishes, and such.

canned sauce

The sauce was a bit chunky, so I ran it through a food processor and used it in eggplant parmesan. I wasn’t too crazy about the cheese sauce, but the eggplant cutlets were delicious.

Eggplant parm

Fresh salad with fuji apple dressing and olive sundried tomato hummus from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.

Salad and dip

Brown rice and veggies with red curry paste, soy sauce, and a slight drizzle of agave.

stir fry rice

I’ll be back and posting again in September, so I hope everyone else has a great rest of the summer!

Summer Food Lovin’

Summer is upon us! So now is the time to be free and spend my days cooking, baking, crafting, blogging, and playing with my new kitten (who shall get his own post later).

I moved out from the dorms and into a lovely apartment with my friend, Ryan. We have a nice kitchen with plenty of space, and I plan on trying at least one new recipe a week over the summer break. This should give me plenty to blog about and, hopefully, add a few good recipes to my repertoire.

Below are the meals I’ve made from the last two weeks of school up until I moved into the apartment (except the last one).

Chilled rice salad made with brown rice, corn, carrots, tomatoes, and water chestnuts, all tossed in an olive oil and vinegar dressing and placed on top of mixed greens.
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Spaghetti with “meaty” marinara sauce, and a side salad.
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Slow cooker refried beans. Not particularly pretty, but delicious and much cheaper and healthier than the store-bought canned kind.
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Homemade salsa verde made by blending tomatillos, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic in the food processor. ???????????????????????????????Soft tacos with black beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, spinach, and salsa.

???????????????????????????????Homemade chick’n seitan patty with ketchup, a side salad, and Spanish rice.

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And now I bestow upon you, my faithful readers, the most delicious vegan mac and cheese in existence. I tried the recipe on a whim, but this butternut squash mac and cheese is totally amazing. A lot of vegan cheese sauces are close, yet not exactly what I remember mac and cheese to taste like. But this recipe is so creamy and cheesy tasting, I bet you could even trick an omnivore. It reminds me of the Cracker Barrel mac and cheese I loved during my pre-vegan youth.
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Veggie salad with saffron couscous.???????????????????????????????One of the first meals I made in my new kitchen was seitan tetrazzini, mashed potatoes and squash, and fresh corn on the cob (take note of the awesome pig corn holders). I changed the tetrazzini recipe by adding an onion, Mrs. Dash garlic and herb, and using Morningstar chick’n meal starter strips instead of seitan. It was good, but a bit dry after baking it. Next time I’ll probably skip baking it and just broil the Daiya on top.

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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.