Sunday, September 21, 2014

An Obsession with Isa Does It

Have you tried out Isa's newest book yet?

I bought Isa Does It on a whim when I probably should have been saving money and I am so glad I did. Not only is it full of reliably delicious recipes, they are all fast and easy and budget friendly.

My goal as of late has been to cook one new recipe out of IDI at least once a week and so far, so good. Yesterday I made the Coconut Channa Saag. I've actually had all the ingredients kicking around for a couple weeks now (even coconut milk, which I never have) and decided to whip it up for a couple of work meals after being gifted with a slew of garden-fresh tomatoes. The chickpeas are cooked perfectly, the broth is rich and flavorful, and it made a ton. My kind of food.

The first and last time I made seitan the somewhat old fashioned way (by simmering), I ended up with a pile of brain-like material. I've stuck to steamed and baked seitan since. Well, until today! After a marathon cleaning session, I decided to try out the Simmered Seitan in IDI. Despite my burner only wanting to work about 50% of the time, the recipe was a success! I pan-fried a couple pieces and threw 'em on a sandwich with veganaise, greens, and a fresh tomato.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Vegan MoFo, How I've Failed You.

Every year I have these grand expectations that this year will be different, this year I will write awesome words about awesome things, this year will be my year.

Not this time!

Lemme tell you, it is hard to write about food when you're eating the same thing over and over (Oriental flavor Top Ramen with greens and a carrot, btw). It's hard to write about the beer bread I snagged from a friend after I had to slather it with peanut butter in front of the PARAMEDICS who came to revive my husband after his blood sugar dropped to the teens. It's hard to talk about travelling when the last thing I want to do is hunt down those photos and try to remember what they were about.

Please be patient, dear readers. Tomorrow is another day and I hope to have something of value to give to you!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

MoFo Day 7 - Baking Spree...sorta.

This summer has been a hot one. I am mostly grumpy about this not only because I work outside, but also because I haven't really been able to bake a thing in my cramped, overheated apartment. Today's baking spree is not a delicious sweet baked good but rather it stemmed from a need for a hearty breakfast at noon on my day off.

Jeff LOVES hashbrowns and he especially loves the Vegan Brunch individual hashbrowns. I paired them with the muffin pan omelets from Vegan Brunch. I wish I had thought about throwing some veggies in there somewhere, but they still hit the spot! My photos have really gone downhill, though.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vegan in St. Louis!

My job is amazing. Seriously.

In case you didn't know, I work on the ramp for an airline. Not only am I forced to get some daily strength training in (people pack anvils in their luggage, I swear) but I walk between 6-8 miles a day! A DAY! I don't have to train for half marathons anymore!

A huge additional plus has been flight benefits, which has lead me to some amazing places. In March and May, I volunteered for a wonderful organization called Cafe Femenino that provides grant funding for women in coffee growing communities. The woman I volunteer for puts on silent auctions at coffee conventions around the country to raise funds for this organization and asked Libby and me to help her out in NYC and St. Louis in exchange for a hotel room. Um, of course! NYC will be discussed, I promise, but first I want to shine a light on St. Louis.

I have never been to the Midwest. I had no idea what to expect. Living in Portland has gotten me used to seeing people everywhere. Not only in the downtown area, but up and down my street, on the road, packing bars at all hours. Not so much in St. Louis. The downtown was pretty dead and quiet and eerie-except when a pre-World Cup game came to town.

I've changed phones since this trip and therefore seem to be missing most of my photos, but I do have a couple of shots saved from Instagram. The first night we were there, we hit up Schlafly Brewery (St. Louis has quite the craft beer scene) and were impressed at just how nice everyone was.

A lot of our time was spent inside the convention center, but we did get a couple meals outside. We hit up Pi Pizzeria twice, which carries Daiya and Match Meat and has a lovely hummus plate with preserved lemons. YUM. The pizza was delicious, too!

We also hit up Rooster twice for breakfast. The first morning we went it was pretty dead but Sunday morning? EVERYONE in St. Louis was there! Rooster also carries Match Meat (did I tell you that was a St. Louis-made product?) and offers VEGAN CREPES!

For fun, we hit up the St. Louis Arch (I mean, duh) and the City Museum. Both were way cooler than I thought they would be and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to visit this lovely city!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Vegan MoFo Look at What I Ate Today

So, what does a vegan eat day-to-day when they're not trying to be flashy for a blog challenge like Vegan MoFo? Well, let me show you.

Breakfast almost always ends up being toast. Lately, this toast has been covered in avocado, but the good ol' combo of smart balance and nutritional yeast is an old favorite. As you can tell, this avocado was not quite ripe yet.

I promised Jeff if he bought cat food, I would make him pretzels. These are Alton Brown's soft pretzels (thank you, get sconed, for sending me to that recipe!) and I had a pretzel with a peach for my pre-work lunch. Usually I'm better about having an actual meal, but this was good enough.

For my at-work lunch (or dinner? I can't keep track anymore) I sauteed some mixed mushrooms (on clearance at Fred Meyer, whooop whooop) and tossed in some power greens mix and tomatoes and mixed it up with some thin spaghetti. It might be boring, but when you are a super procrastinator like me and wait until the last minute to prepare work-lunch, it's pretty quick and easy! I would like my readers to know that there is at least 2.5 servings of pasta there (that is a very large tupperware) and there *might* have been another pretzel involved.

As  you can tell, today was pretty carb heavy. I've managed to get myself into a rut with cooking and I can tell I'm not eating enough of the good stuff by how tired and sluggish I am once I'm home. Making hearty, veggie packed breakfasts are on my to-do list and I'm spending tomorrow morning preparing seitan and lentils for the rest of my week. 

Tomorrow I revisit St. Louis and I promise you will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tidbit Tuesday: Namu

A short time ago, a new food cart pod opened up right around the corner from my house. My husband explored it a bit and was very excited to tell me there is a waffle cart with vegan options. You see, while we were in Belgium, we explored the area around the Brussels train station while we waited for our train to Munich. Just outside the station was a rundown cart serving waffles to a mass of people. The waffles came in one style only: plain. Jeff tried one and was instantly in love and it remains one of his favorite memories.

I visited Tidbit for the first time last week before work and while I didn't get a waffle, I did see a ton of other options. I decided to try out Namu, a Hawaiian-Korean fusion cart that advertised two different vegan bowls.

What caught my eye at this cart was the fact the bowl had kimchi in it! Vegans know us-friendly kimchi is hard to come by, so of course I had to try it out. The bowl also had rice, avocado, sauteed greens, cucumber, and peanut sauce. The flavors really went well together and I loved pitting the kimchi up against the peanut sauce. Their other vegan bowl contained pineapple so I will most likely never order that (pineapple is the worst) but I love seeing so many options at one cart!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vegan MoFo, Day 1: Cobbler

Hello readers! Vegan MoFo is upon us and I am going to do my darnedest to post every day. A very rough sketch of my posting plan:

Monday: Random!

Tuesday: Tidbit Tuesday. A new food cart pod called Tidbit has opened practically on my doorstep and there is so much vegan stuff! I see this as my opportunity to become a Tidbit Expert.

Wednesday: What I ate Wednesday! Because, duh, it's easy and you can see the vast amount of food I consume on a daily basis.

Thursday: Travelogue USA. I've been to St. Louis, NYC, Ogden, Austin, and San Diego since we last spoke! Let's talk good ol' Americana food.

Friday: A Vegan in Spain.

Saturday: Cookbooks! I kinda just want to explore my silly amount of cookbooks more.

Sunday: Baking Spree!

So, let's start this random posting off right, yeah? My coworkers put together a Labor Day potluck and I was too lazy to prepare anything the day before, which was my day off. Isa Does It to the rescue! I made the peach raspberry cobbler just 90 minutes before I had to leave for work, subbing cherries for peaches and shortening for coconut oil. The plate was gone in half an hour. I have exactly one vegan coworker and she got the very first bite. Deeeeelicious.