Food Coma

The Lunch Diaries: Part 1

I was tasked with grabbing some new lunch ideas for my homie, Mow. Mow is a new momma and wants to eat less meat overall. Starting slowly by decreasing your meat/dairy intake can sometimes be easier than going balls to the wall I’M A SUPER VEGAN I HATE EVERYONE NOW WHERE’S MY CAPE? Believe me, I was an angry vegan when I first started, and no one wants to be that stereotype (or be friendless). I salute those that want to enjoy Meatless Monday or have lunches without meat. Let your meat-free flag fly and try these lunches on for size!

Mow wanted something easy to prepare (see: new momma), super hearty, and something that could stick to her ribs. The first thing that popped into my head is one of my go-to lunches: the tuna salad.

I don’t exactly have a recipe for this, but here’s the deal: grab a can of chickpeas and drain and rinse those little boogers. Mash those bastards up as fine or as chunky as you prefer. Add some Just Mayo (or your favorite vegan mayo of choice), chop up some sweet pickles, add a splash of yellow mustard (the condiment of the Gods), maybe some garlic powder, and salt and pepper. This is totally customizable according to your tastes and needs. Make this stuff on a Sunday night and keep it in your fridge at work. This will last for about 3 lunches for me, especially if I don’t make a sandwich but instead dip it up with these chips:

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Holy shiza, these are good. They are hearty and delicious and tasty as hell! Dip dip dip til your heart’s content.

Mow also eats a ton of lunch meat. I actually never got into the vegan lunch meat world because I never ate a ton of lunch meat when I ate meat. But here are some suggestions for you and Mow to try:

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We are SUPER lucky to be living in a world of vegan lunch meat. Get thee to your grocer’s “healthy and cold” section, near the tofu and tempeh, and get some delicious vegan meats. If you hit up the Whole Foods, be sure to peep their selection of dairy free cheeses to go along with your meats:

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Field Roast is the Cadillac of the vegan meat/cheese world. Get a hold of some Chao and get to cooking some grilled cheese sandwiches and wipe away your happy tears with the bread. It’s that simple. ALSO! We are lucky to live in a place where a friend of mine makes her own vegan cheese and sells it to the masses. It’s delicious and sold all over Atlanta.

I have never made a vegan chicken salad but I’m dying to try these new recipes from Peta, Beyond Meat, and The Sensible Vegan. In fact, I’ll make one (or two or all) of these and report back.

Sometimes though, not all the time, but sometimes, you need something really meaty. Sometimes you need to bite your teeth into a burger and wince from the beauty of it all. If this is the lunch you desire, and you have a microwave at work, buy this shit immediately and keep a stash in your freezer:

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Yes, these are from Kroger. Yes, these are the best frozen veggie burgers I’ve EVER HAD. Bring some bread to work and have everyone at work ask, “What are you eating? Damn, that smells delicious. THAT’S VEGAN?” as you cackle and slap them all in the face and sashay your way out of there.

 

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Food Coma, Life

It’s Monday So Chew On This: My Mac-n-cheese Disaster.

I’ve never made a vegan mac-n-cheese before, and I’m slightly ashamed. Not like, “Uh oh, I think I just sharted” sort of shame. More like the “are they just going to come in the middle of the night to take my vegan card away, or will it just disappear?” If there was ever a time to try some new recipes, it is clearly during Vegan MoFo. What better way to spread your shame like herpes than to publicly broadcast it on the interwebs? Good thing for us all, my shame knows no bounds. My shame will slap your shame in the face every day and then pee in your kool-aid. I fear I’ve gotten off track here…should we talk about this mac-n-cheese now?

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I was armed with about 10 different mac-n-cheese recipes to choose from so I enlisted my mom’s help to narrow it down. One wanted me to add butternut squash, but that clearly scared the shit out of me, so I decided to file that one away for “use when no longer scared like a little girl.” One recipe wanted me to add carrots and potatoes, and that just seemed bizarre. My mom and I settled on one that gets baked with yummy breadcrumbs on top. Winner winner! This one came from Lindsay S. Nixon’s “The Happy Herbivore” cookbook. I was super stoked to make this. I ran to Kroger and got the ingredients I needed, but left without the miso. My Kroger didn’t have miso, except for the instant miso soup with tofu packets. I was undeterred…maybe the missing miso wouldn’t make a different in the mac-n-cheese.

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I started with the pasta. Can we talk about this package? First off, what the shit do bronze plates have to do with my pasta? I was intrigued, bemused, clearly I had to have it. I almost got roped into buying risotto, polenta, and orzo from the same makers. The packaging department deserves a raise! Somewhere, some dude is smoking a cigarette and drinking black coffee and yelling, “Hey Ira! Some jackass in Georgia just bought our whole wheat pasta and actually believes we use bronze plates! Drinks on me tonight!”

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I added all of the yummy ingredients to the skillet (sans miso), I blended some shelf-stable tofu into a delightful consistency, I was a cooking fool. It smelled lovely, I must tell you. I threw it all into a baking dish, added the breadcrumbs, and crossed my fingers as I popped it into the oven.

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I COULD NOT WAIT to try this shiz. I just knew that I would be making this for all pot luck parties in my near future. Invitations would have hand written notes that read “And don’t forget that mac-n-cheese! We’re STILL talking about it! XOXO.” This was it. My time as a vegan mac-n-cheese virgin was over, and now a new era would welcome me with open arms.

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I don’t know how to break this to you all, so I’m just going to spill it. This was so bland, with no flavor, that it was a HUGE disappointment. And can I be honest with you all? I was the most sad that my damn bronze plated pasta was ruined. This dish was no bueno. Could it have been the lack of miso? Was it a miso disaster? What went wrong? My friends tried it as well, and it was a total bust. It ended up being donated to the neighborhood raccoons, as they greatly enjoy bronze plated pasta.

I’m still on the lookout for a vegan mac-n-cheese recipe that will rock all socks I own. Does anyone have any recipes to share? On to the next!

Food Coma, Life

10 Things I Love: Tuesday Edition

1. Sprouts. I had been waiting for this damn store to open near me, as my jealousy for those west-coast people grew by the day. Do those Californians really get to have sunshine and Sprouts, too? No longer, friends! Sprouts has been popping up everywhere in Georgia, allowing me ample time to finally realize the dreaded truth: Whole Foods is too damn far from me, and it is waaaay too expensive. So long, vegan cookies that I don’t need but always buy…goodbye, awesome fresh juice stand. There’s a new sheriff in town. If you’re lucky enough to live or work by a Sprouts, take your happy arse over there and take a big whiff of savings on healthy goodies.

2. Almond butter. This sleeper food has slowly risen to the top of my “Just one more bite…” list. Go for the organic raw variety, where the only ingredient is “almonds.” Damn. Isn’t simplicity awesome? There is an important warning to go along with this: Kroger called me (how in the hell did they get my number?) to tell me that there has been a mass recall of MaraNatha almond butter (my favorite kind!) due to a possible salmonella contamination. Get thee to Kroger (https://www.kroger.com/recall_alerts) to see if you have purchased any of these products. I had, and two jars had to be returned last night. It took the clerk five minutes to pry them from my hands. Now I must dip my apples in the subpar Sunbutter. Sigh.

Total recall.
Total recall.

3. The library. This should go without saying. It’s free and it’s not just for your grandma. Rent movies, music (cough cough…burn it to your computer…cough cough), and books. You know, those things with paper pages and words typed on them that smell like old people. Did I mention it’s free?

4. Sesame fries at Takorea. Though Takora is not exactly in my neighborhood, I will travel a great many miles to satiate my sesame fry needs. Read about Takora here and learn why it’s one of my new favorite Atlanta spots. Give me fries or give me death!

5. Revolution Doughnuts. It took me long enough to try this place, mainly due to Atlanta having so many awesome vegan places that I want to try immediately. I got a dozen doughnuts one Saturday and brought (almost) all of them home for the fam. My personal favorite is the coconut, which I long for day in and day out. Their catchphrase is “Put Something Good in Your Mouth.” Clearly, I am meant to live in the back and make doughnuts like an elf in the night. Peep them here: http://revolutiondoughnuts.com/#welcome.

6. Farm Sanctuary / Walk for Farm Animals. We all know about Farm Sanctuary (don’t we?) and how awesome they are. With two locations in California and one in New York, they are the first sanctuary of its kind to rescue farm animals from the factory farming industry. Farm animals have rapidly become a cause that is very dear to my heart (which you can read about here) and I secretly long to run away from the daily grind to join forces with those that care for these amazing animals. One day. Atlanta is hosting Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals on October 5 this year, and Gene Baur (Farm Santuary’s President and Co-Founder) will be speaking at the event. Seriously, I can hardly contain my excitement. I have read Gene Baur’s book and have cried over all that he has done to save lives. It will be amazing to walk with him for this cause. If you’re thinking about going, walk with me! Check the walk out here and also cruise around Farm Sanctuary’s website: http://events.walkforfarmanimals.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=646.

7. Asheville. Ahhhhhhh Asheville. Sweet, beloved, hippie paradise, mountain mama land, Asheville. I have been craving and yearning for the colored fall leaves, the crisp windy air, bright pumpkins, and scary Halloween. This year, I will celebrate nature and all that is awesome in Asheville this November. Hopefully Momma Veg-Head can come with me, as she desperately needs a vacation. If not, dare I take this vacation alone?

8. Loving Hut’s Monthly Buffet. Friends, the brilliant minds at the Loving Hut have stumped me once again. I thought I would never find better than their Pad Thai (read about that here), but I have. Once a month, the Loving Hut in Norcross offers an all-you-can-eat vegan buffet for $11.99. I had the chance to swing by on Saturday and I was not disappointed. Well, I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t unhinge my jaw to continue eating much like the anaconda. The monthly buffet changes each month, so if you missed it this past Saturday, fear not. The buffet will rise again!

The Loving Hut: a vegan haven.
The Loving Hut: a vegan haven.

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9. Vegan MoFo. Eeeeeeeek I am SO very excited for this! Not only am I still planning my Vegan MoFo posts for September, but I have actually created a calendar for which posts should go on which day. But seriously, is anyone surprised by the nerdiness/organization? Sometimes I scare myself.

10. Card from Fritz. I’m going to visit my homie Fritz in NYC in September for her birthday. Though there’s never enough time in New York, the trip is going to be amazing. Want proof? This chica sent me this card, in the mail:

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She actually found a card with a “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” pun. This woman is unstoppable. One of my other friends (holler, Adrienne!) has taught me how awesome snail mail is. Now, I believe. How great is it to get an actual card in the mail? It made my Monday so sassy.