The Weekend in Food.

I had a HUGE post planned for today, the day before Vegan MoFo ends. Life happens, and that post will be saved for another time. That post is to be a very big undertaking, and I wasn’t really in the mood to deal with it. Instead, I ate the weekend away in a series of delicious meals and foods that I am currently craving as I sip my kombucha. Side note: is anyone else addicted to kombucha like I am? I am seriously contemplating getting my own scoby and making my own delicious kombucha, because I LOVE it like whoa. Will I officially slip off the edge and never come back if I make my own? Will I still have friends when I talk about sharing my mother scoby? Sigh.

Here’s the deal: I ate all weekend long. I didn’t eat anything terrible for me, like french fries (success!) or pizza (is pizza terrible for you?). Instead, I visited the Asian countries that I know and love in order to fulfill my savory tooth. If I could, I would eat Asian food all the time. Throw in a taco every once in a while (which I did this weekend), and I’m a happy girl.

On Friday, my friend and I headed to Samurai Blue, this Japanese joint near our work. I always get the same thing because it never disappoints: the lunch combo of grilled tofu, tempura veggies, and grilled veggies. HOLY YUM, homies.

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After work, I treated myself to some lovely yoga and then hopped over to Saigon Flavors. This place is the jam, and a lovely welcome to my weekend. I always get the tofu bun here (and at most Vietnamese places) because bun (pronounced “boon”)  is the shiz crackle pop to my life. I did all but lick my bowl clean. I was also asleep by 10:30 on this Friday, so all in all it was a glorious way to get the hell away from such a crap week.

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Saturday morning was filled with fall crispy weather and I was sporting my new skull sweatshirt and purple leggings and was feeling about as good as one could feel. Michael Jackson was also playing in my car, so I have a pretty good feeling that the two are related. You know when dogs and cats go coo coo after making a deposit? That is how I feel in cool weather. My tail wags. I also woke up like this:

The LunaBearLove

The LunaBearLove

You mean your animals don’t lay on top of you at all times? Odd. It’s a rare morning when I don’t wake up to discover that my cat has crawled on top of me during the night and her paws are on my face. This is love, people.

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So Miss J$ and I had planned on seeing “This is Where I Leave You” because it looked amazing and we both love Jonathan Tropper, the author. Turns out that seeing the movie was a little more difficult, mainly due to the fact that they had to evacuate the building because of a gas leak. Good times! Miss J$ and I hit the road to another theater and caught the movie. Of course, I had to eat some popcorn at 11:00 am. The movie was amazing and very true to the book, and we both cried at various parts.

Very true.

Very true.

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After the movie, we headed to Doc Chey’s in Emory Village which has now turned into a concept called Dragon Bowl.  We shared the veggie dumplings and the edamame, and we each got a ShockTop pumpkin beer, which barely has any pumpkin flavor whatsoever. For my meal, I went this route: Japanese base + vermicelli + roasted broccoli + roasted cauliflower + tofu. Mine ended up being pretty good, but if I’m being honest, I do miss the old Doc Chey’s flavors. Good thing there’s the Virginia Highlands store that still rocks it old school. Even this could not ruin the day, as the cool weather and sun shining brought my happiness out.

All hail the PUMKING.

All hail the PUMKING.

I next went to Lee’s Bakery after many suggestions and was oh so glad I did. I ordered the vegan pho and the banh mi sandwich to go, but something nagged at my insides. I desperately wanted to sit on a patio and drink beer, almost like my life depended on it. Miss J$ and I headed to Mellow Mushroom which had Pumking beer on tap. GLORIOUS DAY! After the beers and some great people watching and chit chat, Miss J$ and I headed to Whole Foods so I could purchase the following: Engine 2 cereal (my all-time favorite cereal), unsweetened almond milk, and vegan cookies.

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I headed homeward, hoping beyond hope that my pho and banh mi had survived in the car during my beer-patio time. I was not disappointed, and it turned into one of my favorite meals in recent memory. The banh mi sandwich (order it without mayo to keep it vegan) was AMAZING. I added some of my own mayo before chomping into it. I saved half of everything for my breakfast the next day. Wait, you don’t eat pho for breakfast? It turns out that I do:

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.

Sunday brought me to Goodwill to buy 8 new tops for work for $40, to which I was quite pleased. For dinner I was inspired to pan sear some tempeh and make tempeh tacos. On the side, I made fried quinoa with bok choy and jalapenos. YUM. The tacos went like this: tempeh, teese cheese, avocado, and romaine. That’s how you do a taco, homies. Like a rock star.

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After dinner, I headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s house to kiss on my nephews and do a yoga video. Yoga, it turns out, is slightly difficult on a full tummy. On the way there I hit up Kroger to take a peak at the frozen food section to see if they had this:

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Oh holy night, they did not disappoint. I first had these fishless filets at Dough’s Vegan Waffle Party (read about that here) and they were delicious. This is not health food, folks. These fishless filets did not grow on the vine. Picture your fondest childhood memories that surround the beloved and questionable fish stick, and these are the vegan versions of that. I almost crapped my pants when I got my hands on them. Tonight’s dinner will have fishless filets, tartar sauce, and  mac-n-cheese, because I’m feeling like an Americana comfort food type of meal.

Has anyone tried these before?

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Why Everyone I Know is Getting Soap for Christmas: LUSH Cosmetics

I had never heard of this company before 4 16-year-old adorable teenage girls forced me into the store in the Mall of Georgia. Though it’s a small store, the sales people were very helpful and told me that the packaging is recycled, the goods are not good forever (they have an expiration date), and there are several vegan items. The girls were giddy over the bath bombs and the soaps, each girl grabbing a few for friends back home. Though at one time I had several items in my hands, I ended up buying nothing because I was so thrown by this company. I needed to do more research before I could commit. Instead, I snagged one of their free catalogs and got the hell out of there, the girls mystified that I was able to leave such a place without buying anything.

Fast forward a couple of months and the catalog finally caught my attention. Lush, come to find out, is the shiz. They believe in using Fairtrade and fairly traded ingredients, giving back to charities and communities, free speech (they have a section called “Soap Box” which allows people to tell their view of the world: in my catalog, it was about the shark fin blackmarket),  no animal testing, naked packaging, and recycled/recyclable/biodegradable packaging. How am I just now hearing about this company? Why haven’t I traded in my car in order to buy EVERYTHING they offer?

First, I’m attempting to practice some rarely used self control these days. Second, I have all of the products I need right now, so buying more would not make any sense. Third, I’m now realizing that people I know would maybe love these products, so why not spread the love?

I’m not one for baths, because the idea of sitting in a warm tub of my own filthy water never really appealed to me. And then I get all sweaty, and I need to shower and wash my hair, but now I have to stand up and wait for all of this water to drain out of the tub before I can proceed to the shower portion and the whole thing freaks me the hell out. Exceptions to this include hot tubs in the winter and a warm sudsy bath with a person of interest, because both of those situations are amazing. But I do know that my friends can look past all of that and do enjoy a warm bath to relax in, so maybe they would like a “Granny Takes a Dip Bath Bomb” from Lush for Christmas! You see, I’m all about adding to my friend’s relaxation, especially those with kids. They need a warm, quiet, relaxing bath like nobody’s business. Bombs away!

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Lush also offers body lotions, shower gels, deodorants, face cleanser, face masks, hair treatments, makeup, and perfumes. They also have spas in New York and Philadelphia. Check out their website (www.lush.com) and see if there’s a location near you. Then report back on if you loved their products!

Eating Out as a Vegan: The Longhorn’s Edition

When life throws you lemons, you pour some warm water over it and drink it first thing in the morning. When your parents invite you to a (free) lunch, you go to Longhorn’s. Here is one thing I’ve learned since going vegan: I really can eat anywhere. A few of my friends have been awesome enough to want to eat at a veggie place with me (shout out to Ni and Beevy!). One may think that being a vegan would limit your choices, and to some extent it does. It’s almost turned into a game, where I look up the restaurant’s allergen menu and see what I can eat and what I can’t. Once I’m armed with how many awesome foods I can still enjoy, the pressure of the dining experience falls away. I have totally turned into “that person” who says to the server, “I’m going to order slightly crazy, and I apologize”. Once you can get over your initial fears of being judged or being thought of as “high maintenance”, then start eating your delicious food!

Yes, I brought my own butter.

Yes, I brought my own butter.

Today, life took me to Longhorn’s to have lunch with my amazing parents. Because I had printed off Longhorn’s allergen menu (and I just may have also highlighted portions…NERD ALERT), I knew what I wanted. The bread at Longhorn’s is vegan (yay, cause it’s delicious!) so I brought my own butter along for the journey. Call me crazy (or maybe?) but what is warm bread without butter? Exactly. Not something I want in my life. My parents enjoyed the tonion which looked delicious but is not vegan. I steered clear.

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We all got a salad, and like a total newbie I forgot to say no cheese and no croutons for mine. So I basically had to take off the top layer of the salad and set it aside. A small price to pay for a yummy salad. For my lunch, I ordered steamed broccoli and a plain baked potato. Thanks to the server’s help, I avoided the grilled asparagus (cooked with butter) and the green beans (also cooked with butter). I added some of my butter to the potato and went at it. My parents each had a filet and a baked potato with sour cream and butter, and they both got the new pumpkin cheesecake to go.

As much as their lunches look fine and everything, I have been realizing lately that in no way, shape, or form do I miss meat or dairy or seafood. I’ve been a veggie for 11.5 years, so I haven’t had any meat since then. Most people say “I could never give up cheese”, and I can understand that. It’s hard to change something you’ve been doing for your entire life. But there is something so pure and lovely and wonderful about eating a delicious and healthy lunch that caused no harm to anyone or anything. I feel like I cannot “unknow” what I now know.

Momma and Poppa Veg-Head.

Momma and Poppa Veg-Head.

So Longhorn’s? Don’t be afraid of that steak-slinging place. Shimmy your hiney in there and boldly order to your heart’s content. And tip your servers.

On Wednesdays We Eat Chocolate

I mean, don’t we? If you don’t, then you should. But don’t worry, I’ve done the research for you. On one particularly awesome day, I found myself in Kroger’s “natural” section with a hankering for something delicious, sweet, chocolately. It’s all in the name of the blog, people. I do this for YOU. No need to thank me. Just get thee to your local grocery and get your hot mitts (but not too hot! Sugar melts, homies) on this heavenly chocolate.

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I narrowed my search to some I had tried before and some that were new to me. And believe me, there were more chocolate bars left behind. But how many chocolate bars does one need to eat? According to my pants, six was the limit. Let’s get started!

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This one is my go-to chocolate bar when you need a little crunch. The Dark Chocolate Dream one is smooth, creamy, and not too dark. You guys know what I mean. What’s a veg-head got to do to get vegan milk chocolate? Are we doomed to dark chocolate forever?

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I could not WAIT to dig into this one. I have been missing a damn peanut butter cup like the deserts miss the rain. I always thought Justin’s wasn’t vegan, but I guess I was looking at the milk chocolate ones. This was AMAZING. A great balance of chocolate to peanut butter, which is one of the greatest food combinations known to mankind. These will definitely be bought again.

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This is also a go-to bar for me. It’s not too dark and is perfectly delicious. It’s also smaller than many of the other ones, which, if you’re taste-testing bars, is a bonus.

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This brand had so many flavors to choose from! I was amazed. I chose the cherry one because cherry anything is yummy. I found this one to be slightly alcohol-flavored, and not in the best way. I eventually got used to it, but at first bite it definitely threw me for a loop.

 

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This brand also has many flavors to choose from, but if it’s a choice, I go coconut or go home. I feel bad for people that don’t like coconut because it is just so damn delicious. This was just alright, nothing too great to write about. The coconut flavor was very subtle, and maybe I was hoping for an Almond Joy sort of situation.

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I was surprised about how much I really liked this one. Crunchy, which reminded me of the old school Hershey’s Krackle bars. I felt like if I was going to eat chocolate, at least there was an awesome superfood like quinoa in it! Go me! That makes it healthy, right?

 

Has anyone tried these chocolate bars? What are you favorite vegan chocolates?

Sunday Food Prep, or Why I Feel Like a Complete Bad Ass.

I hit Sprouts up on my lunch break on Thursday, and I felt like a total ninja with my grocery store prowess. If you haven’t yet been to Sprouts, GO. Just get there already. That shiz is bananas. I’ve determined that Thursday at lunch is really the only acceptable time to go, otherwise it’s far too crowded and I get angry.

This Sunday, I decided to get real. I had to give myself a little pep talk. It went something like this: “Listen, Sar, I know you LOVE food, but you have to slow your roll. Pump those brakes, homie. You can’t keep eating like you’re jogging on the reg (cause I know you’re not) or going to yoga on the reg (cause I know you’re not). Get your shit together. Eat a salad, fortheloveofjebus. Eat anything that wasn’t made in a factory and is from the earth. Your pants are tight. Do or do not, there is no try.” That was the gist of the talk. It was time to take my power back. I’d gotten a little lazy recently and could feel my body changing in a way that I didn’t like. So what do you do when that happens? Operation Get Your Shit Together™ began.

This basically entails eating healthy, delicious, plant-based foods and revving my workouts back up again. I’m no slacker, and I’ll be damned if I’m going down the weight gain rabbit hole again. Time to get this party started, because in my opinion, feeling your best and looking your best really is a party.

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I spent a little over 2 hours in the kitchen on Sunday. I made my breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the entire week. I usually like to cook for dinner, so I left those to be made fresh each night. I made 5 salads-in-a-jars, which included: garlic and tahini dressing (from Dough Bakery), tofu, red pepper, quinoa, black beans, chickpeas, sprouts, romaine, and kale. There are a couple of really important things to note if you’re going to make your own salads-in-a-jar: 1) Put your dressing in first, and keep the lettuce farthest away from it. This means that you can really pound the lettuce in at the top and push it all down. 2) You want to wash all of your ingredients beforehand, but make sure everything is dry before you pack it. Some exceptions to this rule include your dressing (of course) and tofu. I washed my kale, sprouts, and romaine and then let it all dry for a while before I made my jars.  3) If you include a grain, make sure it has cooled completely. I usually make a large helping of quinoa then place the entire pot in the freezer for a quick cool down. After I stuff the quinoa into the jar, I Tupperware the remaining quinoa for dinners during the week. Grain love! Try brown rice in your salads, or couscous. Yum! 4) Lastly, once you get to the lettuce part, shove that shiz down with a Herculian force. Really get a ton in there. That way you have a ton of yummy greens in your salad and not just stuff.

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After the salads were made for my lunches for the week, I aimed for breakfast. I’ve made this recipe several times but I always come back to it because it is sooooooooo simple, fresh, easy, delicious, cheap, and raw. You just dump everything into a Tupperware, pop it into the fridge, then dole out your servings for your breakfast. What could be easier that is still as healthy? Peep it here.

For snacks, I grabbed some organic carrots (not those little weird baby ones), peeled them and chopped them. I did the same with some organic celery stalks. I sliced up a red pepper. Then I portioned out red pepper slices, carrots, and celery into 5 baggies. I brought some garlic hummus to work and now I have fresh veggies to dip into it! I also chopped up some fresh strawberries into 5 baggies, then did the same with bunches of grapes.

Next, I chopped up all of my greens and threw those bad boys into Tupperwares. For the week, I have at my fingertips, all chopped and ready to go: romaine, kale, and bok choy. Can we talk about bok choy for a minute? My love for bok choy began when I worked at Doc Chey’s way back in the day. It is such a delectable green, all pretty with those delicious white tips. Bok choy is also SUPER amazing for you. If you’ve never tried it, what are you waiting for? Go #YOLO on that bok choy!

BOK CHOY.

BOK CHOY.

Doing Sunday food prep has lead to unexpected amazing things happening to me this week. Lately, I’ve been running around in the morning, trying to think of what to eat for breakfast (or actually eating breakfast), making my lunch, and the like. For the past two mornings, I have had about 15 extra minutes to do what my heart desires! This morning, it was making my warm lemon water, loading the dishwasher, and cleaning out the litter box, to which the LunaBearLove immediately stepped into and took a steaming shiitake. Atta girl. I would like clean litter, too. Also, I got to work on time! Usually I’m arriving at around 8:15. Yesterday and this morning I made it into the office at 8:02. That’s CRAZY. Because all I’m doing is pulling stuff out of the fridge for the day, I was also able to make sure I didn’t look like a completely haggard human and put on some makeup. I got to work on time, with all of my food for the day prepared, and I already started off with so much more time and energy. Oh, and I feel like I can take over the world with all of this green vegetable energy flowing through me and feeling crazy prepared for the day. All from doing a 2 hour food prep on Sunday.

I went to yoga last night and felt amazing afterwards. Tonight is jogging/walking. Now that it’s getting cooler (Hello, first day of Fall!) there really is no excuse for not getting outside and shaking that behind. Plus those endorphins are free drugs! It’s a win all around.

I invite you to also feel like a complete bad ass. Get your Sunday food prep on, and discover what you can do with your newly found extra time in the morning and a belly full of plant power!

Attack of the Frozen Vegan Pizza

As many of you have come to learn, I love some junk food, much like the rest of us. I am trying to eat better (which you will learn about in tomorrow’s post), so therefore let’s talk about all of the delicious and devious frozen vegan pizzas which are amazing because I won’t be eating them for a while. Cruel motivation, people! Let’s see if it works. I should note that almost every time I go to the grocery store, I get a frozen pizza. In my brain, it makes sense to do this because I’ve been thinking about food for an hour and what I’m going to cook and the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook. Logical, right?

 

My favorite: Tofurky Pepperoni Pizza

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This shiz is the real deal. As a friend recently pointed out to me, it’s very reminiscent of the Tostino pizzas of our haunted pasts. You know, those times when you’re slightly ashamed of how much you love how crappy the pizza was? This one is strikingly similar. The pepperoni is spot on and delicious, and the cheese is great too. I have yet to try the other Tofurky pizzas, but there are others:

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Next: Amy’s Margherita Pizza with Daiya cheese

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This one is my go-to frozen pizza fix. So delicious…not too much red sauce, the perfect amount of cheese, and a delicious crispy crust. Oh, Amy’s…what can’t you do? I have also tried this one:

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Next: American Flatbread’s Vegan Harvest

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My finished product.

I tried this one for the first time Friday night. It was really really really yummy, and I added a chopped up jalapeno from my garden for extra kick. The crust was honestly my favorite part, it had such a delicious flavor. I recommend this one highly.

Next: Bold Organics

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I have never tried this one (nor seen it, apparently) so I may be late to this pizza party. Has anyone tried this one?

Next: Daiya Pizza

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Wait, Daiya makes its own pizzas?? Where the hell have I been? I have so much pizza to eat…

Next: Whole Foods 365 Brand Pizza

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My love for Whole Foods has not lessened, but my love for Sprouts has grown which means I haven’t been to a Whole Foods for grocery shopping in a very long time. Plus, the closest one is about 45 minutes away from me. Hell to the no! So, all of this is to say that I haven’t tried their brand of vegan pizza yet. Has anyone tried this?

 

What frozen vegan pizzas do you guys like to eat?

 

 

 

Letting Go Of Your Pets.

Tomorrow morning, two 18 year old cats named Bob and Blue will be put to sleep, and I am sad.* They wandered up to our house when I was 14 years old and in the eighth grade. Because we have a sign in front of our house that reads “We feed all strays: inquire within”, they found a home with us. At first, they stayed outside. They had wet and dry food and water, and we even set up a fan for them in the summer. Eventually, my mom and I started sneaking Bob and Blue in almost immediately after my dad stated “Those damn cats will not spend one night in this house.” Famous last words.

Blue is a flame point Siamese with the bluest eyes you’ve ever seen in your life. Bob is a domestic short hair with black spots all over and a chopped bob tail; my mom calls him “ruggedly handsome.” We’re apparently not very original when it comes to pet names.  Blue talks all the time (Siamese are very loud cats) and Bob barely makes a noise. When Bob does talk, he does the oddest “Mow” meow you’ve ever heard, sort of like an angry impatient yell. Blue is quite possibly the best cat that has ever existed; he is gentle, sweet, and much like a dog in a cat’s body. Bob, at first, was very scared of everyone. He now likes to sleep on top of my dad’s belly at times, while Blue sleeps on my dad’s pillow. My mom has to maneuver her way into the bed at night because they tend to think that they belong in her spot. But don’t they?

We started noticing things were going wrong a while ago, but both cats were still eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, and purring. We figured that they would tell us when it was time to let them go. Recently, both cats will stand in the middle of a room and meow, not really knowing where they are. Blue stopped being able to jump onto the counter for his daily cream (wait, your cat doesn’t jump on the counter to get cream?) and Bob’s right eye has gone white. They pee and poop outside of the litter boxes, they vomit, they have lost so much weight they you can feel their hip bones. They sleep for about 20-22 hours of the day. You start to think about their quality of life, and if they’re happy still.

We started talking about putting them down pretty recently, and then it became real. We realized that none of us could take them to the vet because we love them too much, so my sister-in-law was nominated. I called today to get prices from the vet. An appointment was made. What makes me the most sad is that they have no clue that tomorrow will be their last day here.

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These cats have almost died, a few times each. They have been brought back from the brink and cared for by us. Bob got into a fight with another cat and had to have a stint put into his arm to let his wound drain, which my mom had to clean twice a day. Blue got very sick several years back, and after an expensive vet visit about 3 days after Christmas one year when my parents had no money, it was determined that he had  haemobartonella virus.

Unlike a normal household, we spoil our animals. None are overweight, but they certainly get their share of lunch meat, cream, roast, and steak. This week, Bob and Blue have gotten as many treats as they can eat, as much cream as they can drink, and as many hugs and kisses as they can possibly stand.

They have been in my life since I was 14 years old, just a kid in this world. They have been in my life as I’ve gone to high school, then to college, a move to Mexico, my crazy 20s, my different relationships and friendships, changes of jobs and of homes. Now 32, I can be objective and say that they have lived really amazing lives with us, lives that would have been very different had we not opened our doors to them. I hope the exit is painless, and I hope they know how much they have meant to us. I hope to see them again one day.

 

*I realize that this is not the usual Vegan MoFo post, but life happens, right?

Saying Goodbye to Dough

Dough Bakery closed for good on Sunday after their announcement the Tuesday before. To say the community was shocked is a grave understatement. And while we may never know the full reasons why, and we respect the owner’s privacy, I am nonetheless saddened. My brunch life now has a hole in it that once was filled with savory country fried steak and biscuits.

Dough was the very first place I ate at in Atlanta as a vegan. I remember vividly being REALLY excited that Dough and Dulce had vegan baked goods made fresh daily for the vegan pie-hole.  These joints offer cupcakes, pies, cakes, custom creations, cookies, and the like. When a vegan says that we miss nothing, we mean it. Dough made my birthday cake (red velvet with cream cheese frosting. BOOM).

I  googled “Atlanta Vegan Bakery” and Dough popped up. I made the plan to go try it, and for some reason I was scared sh!tless. I think at that point, I was still nervous about my vegan decision, and I had no one to turn to help me along (except my beloved websites, bloggers, and books). I had to do this alone.

Dough became a refuge of sorts…feeding my mind, body, and soul. I started to feel nourished there…completely stuffed with delicious southern food, and also so very happy to be with “my people”. I didn’t stick out at Dough, I didn’t have to ask “Is there cheese in that? Butter? Can I just have a side of steamed broccoli? No butter. Sorry.” I felt welcomed there. I began to feel whole there, too. I started to feel like my decision was my own, and that I also had to become comfortable with it. I was on a journey, and I still am.

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Drool.

Drool.

Bow to the cheddar.

Bow to the cheddar.

Free Just Mayo!

Free Just Mayo!

On Monday, Dough hosted a Vegan Waffle Party to benefit the Atlanta Veg Fest. I was so happy to have gone and enjoyed Dough for one last time. The food was AMAZING. I chose the cheddar waffle topped with sausage gravy, fried chicken, scrambled tofu, and bacon, because I’m the smartest person alive. I cleaned my plate. There were sweet toppings, like chocolate chips, salted caramel drizzle, and whipped cream. I didn’t have time for all that mess. Plus they had Gardein fried fish, which was the SHIZ.

We ate, we laughed, there were tears. We talked about where we would meet up for brunch in the future, now that this hole was here. I am thankful that Dough played a part in my life, however big or small. There will be many others, but you always remember your first.

Vegan MoFo: Liebster Award Nomination

Many thanks to Becky and Sarah from Soy Division for the nomination!

liebster-award

The Rules!

Answer the questions given and then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
No Tag backs.
Nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform.
You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them.

Here are the questions that Becky and Sarah asked me:

What’s your favourite vegetable?

I’ve got to go with broccoli…that delicious little fella can be eaten raw all day every day and I love it!

Who’s your cooking idol?

I have two; one for savory dishes and one for the sweets. Isa Chandra Moskowitz can do no wrong in the kitchen, and Cara Reed rocks a mean baking tray.

What’s your secret guilty food pleasure?

It’s no secret: I’m addicted to popcorn. But maybe the secret you don’t know about is my love for vegan chocolate bars.

What’s your food hate?

Mushrooms. Those slimy bastards can go straight back to hell where they belong.

What kitchen item can’t you live without?

Blender! I’m hoping to upgrade my crappy one to a very nice one at some point in the relatively near future.

You can have any famous person, living or dead round to dinner. Who do you pick and what vegan meal do you make for them?

The Dalai Lama. He and I would giggle while eating a feast: hot artichoke dip and hummus with raw veggies, spaghetti and meatballs with a side kale salad for dinner, and mini peanut butter chocolate cheesecakes for dessert.

Life gives you lemons, what do you make?

Warm lemon water in the morning, a nice cheesy sauce for my quinoa, and then I sneak sips from the lemons even though I know it’s bad for my teeth.

What’s one non-vegan food item you’ve always wanted to make vegan?

If I could find a way to make vegan gumbo that tastes exactly the way my mom/grandmother make it, I could die a happy girl!

What made you become vegan in the first place?

Reading T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study” really sealed the deal for me, Victoria Moran’s “Main Street Vegan” showed me how easy life as a vegan is, and Farm Sanctuary taught me that it’s really not a sacrifice at all.

What’s your favourite animal?

For a domestic animal, it has to be a cat, because duh. For my spirit animal, it is an elephant.

 

My 10 questions for the nominated blogs:

Which fresh herb or spice do you love the most?

What’s your number 1 pantry staple?

What’s your fondest food memory?

What’s your number 1 comfort food craving?

Why are you vegan?

What is your favorite vegan restaurant and why?

What food(s) can you not live without?

What would be your last meal if you had a choice?

What food(s) did you used to hate that you now love?

What kitchen utensil would you be in your next life?

 

I nominate:
(some of these might not have 200~ followers but finding follower counts can be a nightmare!)

Kittens Gone Lentil

Little Vegan Bear

Abracapocus (Shout out to another Georgia blog!)

A Little Vegan Blog in Big Ol’ Texas

Chreese on Toast

Kale Crusaders

403 Kitchen

A Few Delectable Delights

 

 

 

 

 

No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn: A Vegan Weekend

I hopped a flight to JFK on Friday with a cup of black pumpkin spiced coffee in one hand and my “NYC.2014” playlist on my headphones. I was ready. I had Fritz’s bday present, I had money, I had a hankering for fabulous vegan food and amazing times ahead. I mean, but are you ever ready for a quick weekend in Brooklyn? Knowing that I was leaving on Sunday, I knew I had to pack in as much fun as humanly possible. But let’s be honest, shall we? I’m no longer the partier, the crazy drinker, the night owl I once was. Now I’m in bed at 10:30, up at 6:15, I run, I do yoga, I eat kale. But if a weekend in Brooklyn for Fritz’s bday is what life was tossing at me, then baby, this is going to be the biggest weekend since the Royal Wedding! (Please note that in no way was this weekend even comparable to the Royal Wedding, I mean, who can compete with those damn Brits and their hats??)

Brooklyn.

Brooklyn.

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Plantains!

Plantains!

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I got to Fritz’s at 1:30 on Friday, called the Momma Veg-Head to tell her I was alive (aren’t moms the best?), and the Fritz and I hit the streets. We found ourselves at Cubana Cafe, this awesome little joint that I’ve eaten at before. I had the Molete sandwich (without cheese) which came with a side of chick pea salad. That bread, y’all. THAT BREAD. Twas the shiz. Then three mojitos later, Fritz and I went shopping for her bday party. The thing I always forget about New York is that you walk everywhere. New York always reminds me of Mexico City, probably because there are far more similarities than differences in large metropolitan urban cities. We went to the liquor store, then back to her place to drop everything off. We went to the beer store, tasted beers, then back to her place to drop everything off. We went to Trader Joe’s and then Union Market, then back to her place to drop everything off. Oh, and Union Market has this amazing olive bar and I went bananas over the olives and marinated onions.

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Chou Chou to the rescue!

Chou Chou to the rescue!

For dinner, Fritz and I found ourselves at Bar Tabac, a chill place we always go when I visit. We sat outside and I feasted (read: stuffed my face) with their Chou Chou salad and their fries. The Chou Chou salad was one of the best dishes I may have ever had at a restaurant, and seriously, it was SO SIMPLE and fresh and delightful. It was spiralized cucumber mixed together with orange, cucumber, avocado, hearts of palm, and a lime mint dressing. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. Ugh. I think I may try my hand at replicating this dish, but of course, I’m scared of spiralizing because I’m a crazy person.

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Saturday morning, after 6 hours of sleep, Fritz and I headed out to run more errands. First it was a birthday coffee for us both, then Fritz had to get a pig butt at a butcher. Color me so freaking awkward and uncomfortable. It’s crazy how my brain has changed in the last six months. On the outside, Fritz probably had no idea how I was actually feeling. Inside, I was torn apart. I couldn’t help but look at the meat and feel so very sad. I wonder if everyone knew what I knew about the factory farming industry, would they still walk into a butcher shop? Maybe so. Who knows? I kept my opinions to myself, because it’s never cool to be “that guy”. Besides, someone once told me to lead by example and not by words.

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The Biz.

The Biz.

Bathroom wall art.

Bathroom wall art.

I treated myself to an everything bagel for breakfast with tofu scallion cream cheese and tomato. It was EPIC, homies. Everything pales in comparison to a New York bagel. By then, it was Saturday afternoon and Fritz and I had tickets to Beers for Breasts, an event to benefit New York’s Humane Society. Included in your ticket price was all you can drink beer, all you can eat from food trucks, and the dazzling vocalist stylings of Biz Markie. BOOM. That shit was bananas, y’all. He basically played a huge playlist of 80s and 90s music and sang along to them. My brain exploded when he sang “Joker” by the Steve Miller Band.

After that, Fritz and I had to put our game faces on to get the apartment, dinner, and drinks ready. We were completely insane: vegan tomato queso dip (made by yours truly), spinach and cheese dip (made by yours truly, not vegan), pulled pork sliders (made by Fritz), tomato/mozzarella/basil bites (made by yours truly), tomato/cucumber/mint bites (made by yours truly), artichoke dip (store bought), and enough high quality liquor and beer to make silly decisions. We had prosecco as far as the eye can see! It was a complete success of a party. We were awake until 3:30 in the morning, following various rounds of Cards Against Humanity (the best card game in the history of the world).

The best chocolate ice cream I've ever had.

The best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had.

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My saving grace.

My saving grace.

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I awoke out of a drunken slumber bright and early at 7:00 am on Sunday after about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Poor choices were made, many alcoholic beverages were had. I immediately ate my vegan chocolate hazelnut ice-cream and brownie that I got from Wild Ginger. This helped, but I needed more. I headed to Maybelle’s Cafe and ate tofu scramble with tempeh bacon and toast, and a Mexican Coca-Cola in the glass bottle. BOOM. That’s exactly what I needed. I wasn’t finished though. Fritz and I went out for what was to be my third breakfast at Rucola: the best avocado toast I’ve ever had in my entire life. Amazing. No words.

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I headed to the airport, sad to say goodbye to Brooklyn and Fritz once again. My heart will always have a piece that belongs to Brooklyn. At JFK, I grabbed some Cibo goodies: vegan noodles and vegan chicken sandwich. These would become my fourth and fifth meals of the day. I basically ate all day long in between traveling (and during traveling, I ate and napped). I got home around 8:45 with my sixth meal: spring rolls and Pad Thai.

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The creepiest hallway a girl can find herself in.

The creepiest hallway a girl can find herself in.

I went back to work today after having yesterday as a “buffer day”. Let me tell you all: I still do not feel completely normal and rested and back to zero. Slowly, I’m getting there. Please, for the love of everything holy, the next time I climb onto a roof with a bottle of prosecco, just remind me that alcohol is the DEVIL and it needs to be slapped in the face posthaste.