June 29, 2010
Have you ever heard of Larabars? If not, you should get out of whatever cave you live in, trot down to your local grocer’s, and grab as many different flavors of these suckers in as many flavors as you possibly can.
I say this in complete confidence that just one taste of one will send you over to the dark Larabar loving side. These things are immense. Fabulous. Wonderful. They are, without a doubt, the best bar out there on the market.
A blurry peanut butter cookie explosion!
“LÄRABAR firmly believes that the foundation of a sound mind, body and spirit is derived from what you eat. And what you eat is healthiest and most satisfying when it’s in a whole, natural state.” (from larabar.com)
Well, you know what I believe? I believe in a thing called love that I could eat these things for every meal and not get sick of them. From Banana Bread (my favorite!) to Key Lime Pie to Cocoa Mole to their fabulous new Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavors… I’m in love.
The best thing about these bars is that the company really sticks to their word. There’s no added sugar, refined grains, artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, or unpronounceable ingredients. In fact, the ingredients list for Peanut Butter Cookie? Peanuts, dates, and a smidgen of salt.
Simplicity at its finest.
Of course, the main factor for me is the taste. Something that’s gluten, dairy, soy, and GMO free as well as being vegan and kosher? Usually bars like that are bland. Well the Peanut Butter Cookie hits you like BAM, baby! (In the words of Emeril Lagasse, apparently?)
I should have picked a more appropriate background.
The only word I can use to describe the taste of these bars…. EPICyumtasticamazingfabuloustastydeliciousness. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, good-for-you fats, some protein, and carbs, this was fabulous post-workout fuel.
What happened when I told my mum I would need a few snackypoos for my upcoming trip to NYC and Boston.
If my fabulous mother hasn’t bought the entire country’s stock of Larabars, go out and buy some! But then again, if she has, they are so good that I can’t really apologize.
If buying thirty bars at a time is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
June 27, 2010
What event takes place when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie?
Freakin’ AMORE, that’s what.
Summer flavors are fabulous. Plain and simple. Tomatoes and basil are best pals, and they just so happen to be in season at the same time. That’s no coincidence, my friends. That’s a sign that these two are meant to ride off into the sunset, hand in hand, and be together forever… in the form of spaghetti.
Droolworthy? I think so.
I’ve decided to do a few posts over the next month or so of dishes from around the world. I’ve got Mexican, Indian, Greek, Japanese, Thai, and British meals planned so far. So what better way to kick start the grand world tour than with a big bowl of fabulous, good-for-you carbs?
This spaghetti is so good, your Italian grandmother would approve of it. Well, she would if she was a vegan and didn’t like to take a lot of time to do things. This sauce is super quick (it took me no longer than it took to cook the pasta) and it’s one of those things that can just sit and sit for hours and only get better. The leftovers are gonna be bangin’.
Not Your Grandma’s (unless she’s a vegan) Spaghetti
Serves 3-4, depending on hunger levels. Yes, I just compared dinner guests to Sims.
You’re gonna need:
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
~1 lb grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Meatless meatballs (however many you like)
4 servings of whole wheat spaghetti
3 cups fresh basil, packed
S&P to taste
First, get your onion and garlic working in a pan to soften up. I just realized that all of my recipes seem to start with onion and garlic. I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Set your pasta water on to boil. Go ahead and drop your pasta when the water is at a rolling boil. I don’t get it when Rachael Ray says “drop your pasta.” Because if you dropped it on the floor, that’d suck. But if you literally dropped it into the boiling water, that’d suck too, and probably burn you.
Post pasta-dropping, turn up the burner and add your grape tomatoes and tomato paste. You’ll probably need some water to help thin out your tomato paste (add some starchy pasta water at the end, just make sure you reserve it and don’t throw the water away!).
A quick note about the tomato paste: don’t worry about what to do with the rest of the can. Seriously – who uses the entire can of tomato paste in one single recipe (besides me) anyway? On the rare occasion that I don’t use a whole can, I take what I need and chuck the rest of the paste in a ziplock baggie in the freezer and take it out when I need it. I can just cut a hunk of tomato paste off and throw it into a hot pan. Easy as pie. Pizza pie.
The grape tomatoes should start to soften and burst pretty soon due to the heat of the pan. That’s good. You want that. Once they start to burst, they will help the sauce become tomato-y and delicious and sauce-like. Once they do their thing, add in about three quarters of your basil and some meatless meatballs. Or whatever you have. I could have easily made tofu meatballs but I’m a lazy bum, so TJ’s meatless meatballs came to my rescue.
Now just play the waiting game while you wait for your pasta to cook. Once it has, don’t you dare drain it, or you’ll lose all of your Little Italian Grandmother Brownie Points. Use your tongs to take the pasta out of the pot and put those suckers straight into the sauce. Do it like they do it on Discovery Channel in Italy.
Serve it with the rest of your basil for garnish.
Then you are free to move about the aircraft NOM.
Just remember to save some for your grandma.
June 25, 2010
…trips to Trader Joe’s…
Follow me @ southernbritish !
Creamy Tomato Soup
2 lbs of tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced (use the leafy green bit!)
1 can of no-salt added White Tuscan beans (or any other soft bean)
1 can of coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
S&P to taste
1 cup basil, packed
Saute your onion and add in the garlic. You know how to make soup. In goes the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Let them cook down and then add in your tomatoes, about three quarters of your basil, and the beans. After those have cooked for just a few minutes, toss in your coconut milk and vegetable broth. Let your soup simmer for about an hour, until the beans are very soft and easily fall apart.
Once your soup has cooled, you can put it in a blender and cream it up. You could also use an immersion blender right in your pot, if you have one.
Garnish with the rest of your basil and a little bit more coconut milk if your little heart desires.
T is also for…
Sweet potato cheetahs, inspired by the fabulous Kailey!
Sweet potato cheetahs are for reals the best thing eva.
Just take a sweet potato, slice it into half moons. Sprinkle it with S&P and whatever seasonings you like. I use basil for savory and maple syrup and cinnamon for sweet. Spray with non-stick (or use oil) and roast in your oven for about 45 minutes, or until cheetah-ish. I put mine under the broiler for the last few minutes to get them extra crispy.
and, most importantly, T is TGIF!
How did you spend your Friday?
June 25, 2010
Okay, not a real monster… a GREEN monster!
Lookin’ classy in a wine glass.
These have been floating around the blogosphere for a supa long time, and I finally decided to try a Green Monster last December because I saw a picture of it on Caitlin’s blog and she swore you would only taste the banana and not the spinach.
I’ve never looked back.
2 cups baby spinach, packed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 scoop peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
Whizzed up with ice ice, baby in the blender until smoothie like.
How do you make your Green Monsters?
Also – I’m in search of some protein powder, does anyone have any suggestions? I’m partial to vanilla. : )
June 24, 2010
If I had to pick a last meal other than breakfast (which is, hands down, banana and peanut butter pancakes), I’d pick sushi. End of story. There’s just something about it that makes it a perfect meal. Maybe it’s the cool, crisp veggies, the smooth, creamy avocado, the B vitamins and texture of the nori holding it together, or even the carbohydrates from the rice. Whatever is in that combination, it makes sushi a stellar meal for me.
So while we were at the beach, my dad and I sampled two different sushi joints. Both claimed to be Japanese and Thai. Both claimed to have the best sushi in town. Both had legit, almost novel-like menus. Of course, you can’t really have two favorite sushi places, according to one of my friends. So I present to you…. *drumroll please*
The Great Sushi-off Competition 2010
In the first corner, we have Siam Orchid. An old favorite, a seasoned contender, and a fabulous meal every time. Siam Orchid boasts a full Thai and Japanese menu as well as a sushi bar. It also has ballin’ decor.
In our second corner is Sake, a definite underdog. Unknown until a few weeks ago (though they’ve been open since 2000), Sake claims to serve the best sushi in all of town.
Round one: Menus
At Siam Orchid, the menu, as mentioned above, is extensive. But it’s Barbie pink. That’s a possible weakness. Plus, the pictures can give the diner the impression that the food is more or less the same quality as those takeaway Chinese places with similar pictures. As if I didn’t know what sweet and sour chicken looked like..
At Sake, the menu is NOT hot pink. Plus. But the menu is a novel to get through and has a ton of good options.
See that strength? It’s in a binder, enough said. The food is also clearly divided into sections by geographical location, and is well organized. Plus it has less typos. Round one goes to Sake.
Round 2: Appetizers
At Siam Orchid, there’s only one appetizer that will satisfy a hungry vegan until sushi arrives. And that is… tofu rolls!
Served on a gorgeous plate with scrumptious peanut sauce. The outside tapioca roll is the perfect compliment to its innards. Inside the rolls are the usual suspects – vermacelli noodles, carrots, cucumber, and tofu. BUT WAIT, what’s this?! Arugula? Some kind of spicy green leafy! Unexpected and definitely a good twist. Sake’s going to have to try hard to recover from that blow.
Sake’s appetizer is a pretty legit bowl of vegetable soup. It might appear to be a plain looking broth with mushy vegetables, but looks can be deceiving! First off, the spoon that’s hiding behind is adorable. Secondly, the broth was tasty without being overly salty like a lot of soups are. And the veggies? Crisp and delicious. But what’s this? Mushrooms?!*puke*
Round 2 definitely goes to Siam Orchid!
The Final Round…
The long awaited moment has arrived. We’re all tied up in the last round, whoever wins this is going to take it all.
And just LOOK at that presentation from Siam Orchid! The sauteed vegetables were served in a martini glass, which was “glued” to the plate with hot wasabi paste. Genius. All of the basics are covered – makizushi, wasabi and other assorted hot pastes, tofu, and Nigiri-zushi. Looking good.
What this plate of deliciousness lacks in martini-glass-ness, it certainly makes up for it with flavor. It packs a giant tastebud punch (what a pun, ha ha). The tofu (inzrizushi) is moist yet crunchy without being chewy; the makizushi itself is absolutely divine. Having the rice on the outside and the nori on the inside is just plain awesome, because I don’t like the look of nori that much. This plate of sushi was colossal. Amazing. Delicious. I was actually unable to finish it. Om nom nom.
The winner of round 3 goes to Siam Orchid because I just can’t get over that darn martini glass.
So the winner of the first ever Sushi-Off… is actually both Siam Orchid and Sake!
Because wrestling is silly. And sushi is always a winner.
What’s your favorite restaurant and why?
June 22, 2010
My lunch today was just so pretty that I had to share it!
Snack plate to the rescue!
Tomatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, blueberry juice, and grapes!
With a side of Modern European history
I looooove snack plates for lunch.
What’s your favorite type of lunch? Are you a soup & sammie person, or are you a snack plate-r?
June 21, 2010
Technically speaking, I should be doing my summer coursework. It starts on Thursday but I’ve already been assigned an essay, two chapters of reading, and two quizzes. Hey, I did the essay…. it was an “about me” paper.
Instead of working hard, I hardly worked. I elliptical-ed my heart out and then did this in the gym’s bathroom:
And left this at the gas station:
Technically speaking, it’s probably vandalism. Encouraging, fabulous, wonderful vandalism.
(If you’re wondering what these post-its are, they’re a part of Operation Beautiful and I highly encourage you to visit the site and help spread the love. You know you want to.)
And then, because it’s Father’s Day and all, I did something nice for mi padre and made him epic banana bread. It’s one thing I can make that both he and I will eat. Because technically, he doesn’t know it’s vegan.
The Best Banana Bread You’ll Ever Have
You’ve probably heard that claim before on other recipe sites, but I’ve got the goods to back it up. Trust. This recipe is not only delicious, it’s fat free (the only fats that occur are natural), whole wheat, dairy free, and contains no refined sugars.
Whatcha gonna need!
The wet ingredients:
5 ripe bananas
1/2 cup maple syrup/agave nectar blend
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
The dry ingredients:
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a sprinkle of cinnamon
Sift all of the dry ingredients together until they’re combined. Or if you don’t wanna dirty up a sifter, because it’s a pain to wash, combine the dry ingredients with a whisk or fork.
In another bowl, take out your anger. Mash up all the wet ingredients. I like it to be a kind of chunky consistency so that you can tell it’s banana bread and not unidentifiable loaf.
Next, combine the wet and dry ingredients together and mix until they are just combined. At this point, you could add in anything else you might want. Chocolate chips, walnuts, blueberries, or even peanut butter would be particularly delicious.
If it’s too thick, add a bit more water to the batter – but not too much. You want it thick like pancake batter. You may also want to add more agave or maple syrup if you like it sweet. I felt a little fruity today so I toped my loaf with another banana that was almost on its way out.
Grease a loaf pan and put yo bread into your oven, which you most definitely didn’t forget to preheat to 375 degrees. Let it bake for an hour, checking occasionally. Use the oven light instead of opening the door.
Once it’s done, you’re gonna wanna bust that bad boy outta the pan immediately, but don’t. Let it cool before you transfer it to a plate. It’s hard to resist chowing down on this sucker straight from the oven…. go for a walk while you wait! Come back and your casa will smell like pure deliciousness.
Worth the wait.
Technically speaking, it’s so good it should be illegal.
Becuase 10 out of 10 non-vegans approve of this message dish, It wins this:
Technically speaking, that was the worst pun ever.
PS – bloggers in CLT, wanna have a meetup sometime soon?
June 19, 2010
I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with Shmew Shork Shmity.
And it looks a little something like this:
Yep. NYC, baby.
My fabulous roommate offered to take me to Boston and New York with her in July. Of course I obliged. NYC is on my bucket list, dudes. We’ll fly into the city, then take the train to Boston a few days later. Her momma has a convention in Massachusetts, and so while she’s gettin’ her conference on, the roomie and I will be taking Boston by storm!
So here’s my question to you… what’s a vegan to do in Boston and NYC (but especially Boston, seeing as I’ll be spending more time there)? I’ve googled stuff to do, but I’m definitely interested in what you guys have to say! I’m interested in anything vegan or anything funky. Seriously, try me. Shops, parks, restaurants, anything! I’m hoping we will be in the area near One Lucky Duck at some point in NYC, but that’s all I have on my list so far. I know I’m not going to be able to do absolutely everything I want (because it’s their trip, I’m just lucky enough to be tagging along), but I need more things to do so that I can avoid doing work for my online summer course.
Thanks in advance, lovelies!
June 19, 2010
Post workout protein for me usually comes in the form of Peanut Butter, hummus, beans, or nuts. I don’t need a million grams of the stuff, and around 10 grams or so does it for me. Instead of going for my usual handful of cashews or a dinner featuring beans, I decided to switch it up and go with soy yogurt. Because I’m a Trader Joe’s addict, I usually buy their own brand of organic raspberry or strawberry yogurt. But today, TJs was the first pit stop on a whirlwind shopping adventure including a search for shoes to wear to a wedding this afternoon (hello, procrastination!), and I couldn’t buy anything that would spoil in a hot car.
So once my shoe-related errands were done, I ran into Harris Cheater Teeter and got some (expensive) Stonyfield organic o’Soy yogurt.
Mistake #1: it was overpriced, just because HT likes to jack up the prices on everything.
Fast forward eight hours later, and I’m hankering for some post-weight training protein. Time for soyness!
Mistake #2: the top of the yogurt had a thin layer of water on top of it. Separation is nasty.
Being the scavenger that I am, I immediately went searching for the fruit that Stonyfield claimed was on the bottom of the pot. I scavenged like I scavenge my daddy for food monies.
Mistake #3: no actual fruit. It looked like it had been whizzed up in a blender or something, because there was absolutely no sign of luscious, sweet raspberries on the bottom of the pot. Syrupy raspberry liquid is no bueno.
I had taken about two bites when I decided to see just what six probiotic goodies were in there.
Mistake #4: I read the ingredients again. And the thing has milk in it.
Who puts milk in soy yogurt? The label of this yogurt is very misleading, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s made the mistake of buying this yogurt and getting the sore tummy that comes afterwards. I think I’m going to have to eat some very stabilizing foods later…and write a very upset e-mail (pun intended).
Today’s lesson: read the ingredients list 5 times instead of just twice. Oh, and wear your contacts.
Wedding ‘fit! What do you guys think?
Have you ever made a mistake when reading ingredients, or accidentally eaten something you wished you hadn’t?
June 17, 2010
Check out those bangin’ 90′s graphics!
Yep. That’s stuck in my head now because I made blue food for lunch yesterday.
Blueberry Quinoa with Chickpeas
1/2 cup quinoa, dry
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup blueberry juice (I used Naked brand)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/3 cup raisins
a dash of vanilla extract
a quirt of agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey to sweeten (to taste)
1/2 t cinnamon (or more , depending on your taste)
a pinch of salt (to taste)
First, toast your quinoa in a pan. It’s like toasting nuts. Don’t add any oil, and just let the quinoa heat up and become golden brown. Just move them around every so often to make sure they’re not burning. When you can smell it getting all toasty, add in your almonds and let them toast for just a moment, too. They may begin to pop like popcorn – if that happens, turn your heat down. After about three more minutes of toasting, add in your water, vanilla, and blueberry juice.
Once your liquid is in, you want to actually cook the quinoa. Cover the pan, bring it up to a boil and then put it down to a steady simmer. You want the quinoa to absorb all of the liquids and become fluffy. Add more liquid if you need to.
When the quinoa is cooked, add in your cinnamon, chickpeas, raisins, and blueberries.
Cover and let it heat through.
Serve, garnished with almond joy.
It sounds like it’s an odd dish, but the flavors really work well together. The chickpeas absorb the blueberry flavor and combined with the quinoa you’ve got a wonderful source of healthy, complete protein. This could be enjoyed warm or cold, as brekkie or not.
Da ba de da ba daaaai.
I remember this song all too well. I used to play it in the car on my supa-awesome handheld CD player over and over again. I was so cool. But now I’ll never look at blueberries the same way again.
What’s your favorite 90′s song?