And Many Mooooore

August 1, 2010

Birthdays are fun. Especially when they involve raw vegan restaurants, chocolate, and cupcakes.

This will be a post of few words but of many pictures..mostly because I’m exhausted as I type this…and I know y’all just want the food porn.

Did not disappoint!

Luna’s Living Kitchen was previously a pure vegetarian restaurant. I was devastated when they shut down a few months ago – so when I found out that they re-opened you KNOW I had to pay them a visit. Very much improved – everything on the menu was vegan and raw!

Raw zucchini spaghetti with mushrooms and pesto.

Sissy and Mum got the sprouted quinoa and kamut burger.

At one point, my carnivorous counterpart said “OHEMGEE this is SO good. It’s amazing!” Yep. Future vegan.

Go ahead and drool.

Or do what I did, and try to lick up all the drippy parts. So worth it.

El Luchador: banana, peanut, hemp milk, hemp protein, raw cacao, agave. Oh yeah, and bliss.

Next up: vegan cupcakes.

After reading about these babies on Caitlin’s blog, I knew I just had to find ’em.

This display was beautiful!

Vanilla cupcakes with raspberry and chocolate frosting.

Eh. I wasn’t crazy about this cupcake. For $2.75, it wasn’t super expensive but it wasn’t a fantastic deal either. The Boston cupcake (AKA best in da world) was $3.50 but double the size and less oily.

This vanilla cupcake sure was moist, but that was because I’m betting there was a ton’o vegetable oil in there. I know cuppycakes aren’t supposed to be healthy and all, but I don’t like when they’re just plain old greasy. The frosting was a bit of a disappointed, too. Upon first tasting it, I didn’t think it tasted like much at all. It was kind of bland. And then I noticed the texture. It was chewy, mushy, almost like eating jam? I can’t really describe it – it made me wonder if there was gelatin in it, though.

I’ll give it a C+ but an A for effort. After all, being able to get vegan cupcakes in the dirty dirty is pretty freakin awesome.

All in all, today was purdy darn good. Food, gifties, and family time.

Oh yeah… and chocolate.

What’s the best birthday you’ve ever had?

A Family Affair

July 3, 2010

It’s definitely safe to say that my family is insane.

For the past two days, I’ve been babysitting my 7 year old cousin. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve gotten a glimpse of our shenanigans. We’ve been swimming, laser tagging, Monopoly-ing, playing arcade games, and light saber fighting. Here’s a glimpse…

An epic battle ensued.

Samurai sword + bubbles = showdown.

Excitement!

Which was only heightened by one thing (well, for me anyways)…

Peanut Butter Banana Bread!

Super simple. Just take my regular banana bread recipe from here and add in as much peanut butter to the batter as you want. I used a little more than half a jar, and drizzled more on the top because I want it that way.

To end two days of crazy games and fun, we had the supa cool (AKA Asian) half of my immediate family over for dinner. Enter eats prepared by yours truly:

6 Layer Mexican Salad

I can’t lie, I didn’t really know what to make for a Mexican themed meal, but I promised y’all. I gotta go around the world in 80 days food.  I knew I didn’t want to go the route of crappy nachos and vegan cheese, or quesadillas. I mean, a warm gooey filled tortilla is a tasty sucker, but it’s kind of overdone, in my opinion. This salad is my take on rice and beans, sans lard. Did you know most beans in Mexican restaurants (and even canned ones!) have the stuff in ’em? Nasty. Anyway..

The spices in the rice are strong – which is why I didn’t flavor the rest of the salad. It’s entirely up to you as to how much or how little you want to add. I’m a wuss, so I only added a minor amount of heat.

You’re gonna need:

2/3 cup dry brown rice

1/4-1/2 teaspoon (or more!) of the following spices: chili powder, cayenne red pepper, chipotle poweder, oregano, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, lemon and lime zest/juice, and S&P to taste.

2 cups (or 1 15 oz can) of black beans

2 cups (or 1 15 oz can) of corn

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 cups baby spinach

1 avocado, peeled and cubed

If you’re using canned veggies, make sure that you buy them without any salt or sugar added! The corn is even better if you grill or saute it before tossing it into the bowl.

Ok, brace yourselves. This is a super simple recipe and I can’t believe I haven’t seen it anywhere before.

Cook your rice (2 parts water, 1 part rice) with the spices. If you can, instead of water, use vegetable stock. That’s the hardest part of this salad, for real.

Layering action!

Let your rice cool before you place it in the bowl. Then add your beans, spinach, tomatoes, and avocado. In between each layer, I added a sprinkling of S&P and lemon juice.

Olé!

But wait! There’s more!

Because what’s a salad without dressing?

All I did was take about 1/2 cup of roasted red pepper hummus and add in of chili powder, chipotle powder, ground cayenne, and lemon juice.  Remember, it’s all to taste, depending on how you like it! To thin it out, I stirred about 1/4 cup of water until it was creamy.

I could eat that all day.

But instead, I think I’ll go fish toy soldiers out of the couch.

What was your favorite game as a child?

Road trippin’

June 5, 2010

Hey lovelies! So now I’m in the sunshine state, roasting away. For real, I’m probably the palest person you’ll ever meet and me and the beach don’t really get along too well. Same with the whole “getting up at 5:30 to get ready to drive 9 hours and only stop ONCE to pee.” Yeah.

It was around here that I realized I’d forgotten to pack my swimsuit.

And that it was time for breakfast!

Green Monster, representin’ them Tar Heels. Yeeeeah!

Into the blender went:

2 bananas

1 cup almond milk

~3 cups of spinach

ice!

Om nom nom nom.

Other unpictured eats included leftover pasta (note to self: spaghetti CAN be a good traveling food… just not when you’re on a bumpy road), a banana, and an apple.

7 hours later and I had to pee super bad. And the rain didn’t help at all. Or the fact that the next rest area was “in the next 20ish miles, or so…hopefully… I think.”

Thank goodness we finally stopped. I posted some Operation Beautiful notes in the gas station and in the bathroom.. so fun!

I always get so bored when I’m stuck in the car for extended periods of time. Luckily, my father and I were prepared with my iPod, which was loaded with Coldplay, Michael Buble, Eddie Izzard, CarTalk, Michael Buble, and Michael Buble. What do you guys do to manage your boredom? I can tell you what my adorable puppy does… sleep. : )

What a face! 🙂

“Will you STOP taking mad amounts of pictures of me, woman?!”

ANYWAY, we eventually made it to Florida and collapsed onto bed. It’s 4:42 and I’ve been here for a whole day but I still haven’t been to the beach yet. I told you I don’t like it. I did, however, make it to the gym. I was relieved when I found out that my home gym (where I go when I’m not in school) lets me work out at any other location, and the branch was just a hop, skip and jump down the road. Not worth it. It was a meat market and they didn’t even have any ellipticals. Fail. Any suggestions for workouts and strength-training-ish moves? I know I’ll be going on some runs but I don’t wanna just do cardio for a week.

Post work-out eats was a smorgesporge of fruits. Basically half a bag of grapes and a handful of AMAZING strawbezzies. While eating I made some new friends!

Anyway, sorry for the lackluster post. I’ll be sure to have a lot to talk about later on this week – I’m cooking every night as well as going out to Thai/Japanese/sushi joints. Pictures will ensue.

For now, I’m going to hightail it out of here. I don’t know how much longer I can take listening to the elderly group that is eating near me. One lady talked about how she feels so guilty for eating white bread, and I want to go over there and tell her that one slice of the white stuff isn’t going to kill her.

Toodles!

PS, I have joined the masses at Twitter. As a test run, I suppose? My username is veganomnomnom!

You can guess what song I’ve had stuck in my head all morning.

I had planned to make my dad super yummy pancakes, seeing as it’s Day 1 of his better half being thousands of miles away in England (she’s such a lucky beg).

So we came downstairs to find THIS joy..

She hasn’t peed on the carpet since she was a young’n.

Ultimate guiltface.

We figure it was because she’s mad about her beloved mum leaving for vacation. She’s staging a protest now, refusing to eat and camping out on the couch, eyes fixed straight outside the window for her mum. Poor thing. Hopefully she won’t keep that up for 2 and a half weeks.

Anyway, today was a perfect pancake morning. It was sort of dreary and cloudy outside, but not quite cool enough for oatmeal. Enter banana pancakes (and look, I actually remembered the measurements!)!

Banana Pancakes

Serves 2-3 people, depending on how hungry they are. This fed my father and I, but I made them fairly small sized.

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup vanilla non-dairy milk (I used almond)

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 T pure vanilla extract

2 T maple syrup or agave nectar

1 t baking powder

cinnamon to taste

1 banana, sliced

Heat up a non-stick pan and spray with cooking spray, or you can use oil. While it warms, slice your banana.

Mix all ingredients sans bananas in a big bowl. You may need to add more liquid to the batter if it’s too thick.

Once your skillet is feeling hot hot hot, start putting pancake batter in, then press in your banoonoos. You want to make sure they get all the way through the batter and touch the surface of the skillet so that they will get nice and grilled and warm when the pancakes cook.

You know the rest of the drill…. flip when you can see lots of lovely bubbles throughout, plate, top with real maple syrup (none of that icky maple flavored liquidy stuff) or the fruit of your choice and then proceed to NOM.

Me: “Dad, can you pour a little bit on my pancakes, please?”

The maple syrup then proceeds to LEAP out of the jug and drown my pancake in syrupy deliciousness.

Dad: “Oh, that came out faster than I wanted it to….”

Me: “That’s what SHE said!”

I would go there.

Have a safe Memorial Day! If you’ve got the day off, what are your plans? Dad and I were going to head to the park with the pup but it’s storming now, so we’ll probably stay in and watch junk TV 🙂