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

Decorating Apartments You Don’t Have Yet and Other Musings

I’m moving into a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in a few weeks and I’M SO EXCITED. As in: I cannot stop buying stuff for the apartment that I do not live in yet. I’m trying to control myself…I’ve banned myself from going to Target because that place is like walking into a giant pit where all my money leaves my body. You guys, the other week I went into Target to buy ONE THING (the new Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream. Have you guys tried it??) and then I blacked out and $86 later I find myself in my car wondering what happened. But it was all stuff I NEEDED for the new apartment. There was a green garden gnome fortheloveofgodalmighty. Ahhhhhhhhh ugh. So I can’t go to Target anymore, or Walmart (they had a $5 mirror that I had to have), or apparently any store in Little 5 Points (there were these Atlanta-themed coasters that called to me from inside of a hippie store), or shop at Amazon, or Etsy, or a thrift store, or anywhere else that sells items for purchase. All of this is to say that I have a problem and this is my cry for help.

Let’s talk about some new foodz!

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Check out that VEGAN caption!

I found these bad boys at Walmart and had to try them. They taste like a buttery blueberry muffin, which is to say I inhaled two of them and broke the speed of sound.

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Go, Kroger!

Kroger has really stepped up its vegan game, in my opinion. These patties are HUGE and seriously delicious. I had one for dinner last night and will eat another for lunch today. I highly recommend these.

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Yum!

You may or may not already know that Earth Balance makes sticks of vegan butter. These are perfect for baking because the measurements are already on the side. Or, if you’re like me, they’re perfect to bring to work and keep in a baggie so that you can butter your blueberry waffles. DON’T JUDGE ME.

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I ate the entire box.

Please tell me that you already know this: Thin Mints are vegan! Welcome to swim suit season, thin mint eaters!

What new products have you guys tried?

Life

Hello. It’s me.

So, yeah. It’s been 8 months since I last wrote. I have pretty much been dreading this post since August of last year. But it’s time. This post may be a slight downer but I promise that afterward it’s back to food posts and longing to pet cows and epic rants that involve wondering why vegan chocolate costs more than regular chocolate (but seriously, WHY).

I started working as a teacher in August of 2015. I believed wholeheartedly that it was going to be my career for the rest of my life. I thought I would love it. But I soon realized that not only did I not love it, but that I hated it. Teaching was not at all what I thought it would be, and I do blame myself for being naive. I hated that most of my day was spent disciplining, or completing bureaucratic paperwork to prove how you’re teaching, or that I could hear teachers yelling at students across the hall. It was less about what and how you’re teaching, and more about kicking students out of my class and punishing. I think there was only 1 week total in my almost 4 months of teaching that I did not cry. Usually, I cried on the way to school and on the way home. I always always always cried while lying in bed, wondering how much longer I could hold on. I felt beaten down. It seemed like the dream I had longed for was dead and that I was a failure. Why didn’t I love it like so many others? Why couldn’t I be happy doing this?

One Wednesday in November, I came home and laid on the couch and sobbed. My mom told me that I should quit. But wasn’t this job what I was supposed to do with my life? Wasn’t this what I was meant to be? That Wednesday, though, I gave myself permission to change and to end the pain. I realized that I deserve better than this. I turned in my notice that Friday and never went back to the school.

My mom eventually suggested that I start taking antidepressants. They took a while to work, but I do think that the combination of antidepressants and quitting my job helped to heal me. I went to work for a dear friend who owns a restaurant while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. For the first time in my entire adult life, I didn’t have a plan. And it felt amazing! I started to feel like ME again. I was laughing, hanging with friends, smiling, enjoying the sunshine.

When 2016 started, I was ready for anything. Teaching felt (and still feels) like a dream, like it may not have even happened. It’s hard to even remember being in that classroom. I randomly got an email from the law firm I used to work for as a paralegal, and yada yada yada I’m back at the firm full time. Crazy how life works out, right?

I’m moving into an apartment in the city in a month and I’m excited for what’s to come. The following things will all be discussed: getting back to yoga, going to therapy, walking/jogging again, horrible and not-so-horrible dates, and figuring out how to keep climbing mountains. All while eating delicious foods. Stay tuned!

Food Coma

Raw Revolution Organic Bars: Get Ready to Crave.

So here’s the deal. I have been super lucky (in many a way) lately. I just had a week off to do whatever I wanted before starting my preplanning week at school. I just paid off my credit cards (HOLY SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS. What am I, a responsible adult? Who should I talk to about this?). And I have been able to snag free samples of goodies to review for you, dear reader. I have eaten, spit out, regretted, and dreamed of many a food so that I can tell you all about it; the good and the bad. And I just had to pause my busy “Devil’s Advocate” watching/dried cranberry eating/putting clothes away kind of rocking Thursday night to tell you all about these bars cause I am seriously jonesing for one right now. If they were sold on the street corner, I would steal change from my parents’ wallets to go get one.

I speak only of the Raw Revolution Organic Bars. These all vegan (praise the universe!) bars are high protein, high fiber, and low sugar. I was lucky enough to be given the Creamy Peanut Butter & Sea Salt, the Mixed Nuts, Caramel & Sea Salt, and the Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt bars. The texture of the bars was not what I was expecting…sort of thick like a nougat. You can bite into the actual ingredients, though, which was delightful.

I always get super excited about eating chocolate, because I thought that when I went vegan that chocolate would simply leave my life without saying goodbye and then we would see each other in the grocery store and give those awkward waves and nobody is happy about that and then chocolate would ask me out for coffee and I’d be all strong and self confident and say “Sorry, I’m dating someone” even though I’m not but it doesn’t matter because I’m a better person now. But for reals, I love the chocolate even though I’m not supposed to. So the Dark Chocolate bar was DELICIOUS and rich and filling and wonderful. Did you guys know there’s a Dark Chocolate Brownie one? UGH. I know what to ask for on my next birthday.

I have been craving these bars since I last ate them, which feels like years ago and my chocolate tank is super low. I want to try the Coconut Delight and the Cherry Chocolate Chunk and the Spirulina Dream.  These bars are delicious and wonderful and you all will love them, too. Have these bars hit your lips yet?

Not so fine print: I was given these bars to try for free but all metaphors and figurative language and love for chocolate are mine. 

Food Coma

GoPicnic or Go Home.

I distinctly remember when my brother and I went to the movies on New Years Day and saw GoPicnic meals at the food counter. It struck me as odd to have such a healthy choice of snack available at the movies as it sat next to spilled popcorn and malted chocolate balls. In fact, I’m pretty sure (I’m absolutely positive) that my brother and I laughed at the healthy option as I ordered a giant Coke Icee that I still do not regret to this day.

Hindsight, they say, is 20/20 and I have never been happier to admit that I am a fan of the GoPicnic meals and sing their praises loudly. It all started at the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo  and it’s been deep love ever since. I was lucky enough to snag a few to try and tell you guys about.

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The first one is the Edamame Kale Dip and Plantain Chips. It is also comes with chocolate chip cookies, a fruit and nut mix, and a fruity peel apart thing. Believe me when I say that I want 1200 of those fruity things…they’re like how I remember fruit roll-ups to be but 100 times better. Like a fruit explosion in your mouth! The chocolate chip cookies were outstanding; not soft and chewy, but crunchy and firm. I personally don’t like the fruit and nut mix so I pass it off on starving friends. I think it’s too gingery or something. The plantain chips are to die for; I would be happy eating those for the rest of my life. Sadly, I have found most of the dips in these boxes to be super duper acidic, like there’s too much vinegar or something. You know when it hits you in the back of the throat and in your cheeks? No? Oh. Me neither.

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The next one I tried was the Sunbutter and Crackers one. This kit had chocolate chip cookies and a fruity peely thing so you know I was happy. It also had applesauce which was a nice addition. If you’ve never tried Sunbutter, it’s delicious. It took some time for me to get used to it (it’s made from sunflower seeds instead of peanuts) because it has a distinct taste. There was plenty of Sunbutter to put on the multi-grain crackers. This kit is by far my favorite.

I have also tried the Three Bean Dip and Tortilla Chips kit (again, what’s going on with the dip? Way too vinegary for my taste) and the Black Bean Dip and Plantain Chips (I’m starting to wonder if this is just my own problem, because this dip was no bueno, too). GoPicnic has a whole line that is vegan that you can check out here and they also cater to vegetarians, gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO. They sell at Krogers, Target, and apparently movie theaters. Now that I’m avoiding popcorn like the plague, I may buy one of these the next time I see a movie (don’t forget about the giant Coke Icee). Try them and tell me what you think!

 

Super Duper Large Fine Print: These two GoPicnic Meals were provided to me but all awesome opinions and stellar writing are my own.

 

Life

Asheville Wishes and Ice Cream Dreams.

What can I tell you about Asheville that you don’t already know? Beautiful mountains: obviously. Amazing food: ridiculous. Possibly the best Days Inn breakfast buffet known to mankind: you actually may not have known this little tidbit of truth. But it’s legit…I even left a TripAdvisor review of it because I felt so strongly about the breakfast buffet. It had delicious kale on it, people! KALE. Say no more, amiright? Let’s get to it!

This year, at the ripe age of turning 33 on Sunday, I found out that the world does not in fact stop turning for my birthday and nor do is actually make sense to have an entire month’s worth of birthday activities. Call it maturity, call it getting my head out from inside my ass, whatever. For the first time ever, I had a joint birthday dinner on Thursday that was so much damn fun! We went to Elmyriachi where I indulged in a shot of tequila, a PBR tall boy, and a chimichanga. YOLO, homies. It was so lovely to be surrounded by the amazing new friends I’ve made this past year since going vegan and diving into the Atlanta vegan scene.

Road trip ready!
Road trip ready!

Friday morning Beevy and I headed out early-ish to greet Asheville with a smile and empty bellies. Our first destination: Laughing Seed. You may recall that this is the place where Beevy and I went last year and proceeded to drink for approximately 4 hours. This time, things were different. We each had a beer and yummy food and people watched and sat outside. We had already agreed that we didn’t really want to drink (read: we didn’t really want to be hungover losers) so we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We started off with the fried green tomatoes which were to die for.
We started off with the fried green tomatoes which were to die for.
My super delicious IPA.
My super delicious IPA.
The exact same thing I got last time: tempeh reuben.
The exact same thing I got last time: tempeh reuben.
Beevy got the giant portobello sandwich.
Beevy got the giant portobello sandwich.
Check out this ooey gooey sandwich ahhhhhhhhhh
Check out this ooey gooey sandwich ahhhhhhhhhh

We each packed up some leftovers because our room had a fridge and microwave in it. Score! After our meal, we laid down in our beds and watched trashy reality tv. For 6 hours. I’m not joking. I took a baby cat nap. We ate our leftovers. Then, not very hungry but needing to possibly get out of the hotel room for a little while, we went to Hop to check out the ice cream scene.

Rainbow spotted!
Rainbow spotted!
Hop!
Hop!
Vegan flavors!
Vegan flavors!
The Holy Grail: 2 scoop sundae with three toppings.
The Holy Grail: 2 scoop sundae with three toppings.

Yes, we had ice cream for dinner on Friday and laid around watching tv for 6 hours. Yes, we’re grown adults with jobs. Yes, you wish you were us. The Hop sundae basically made me want to run for President only to make Hop mandatory for children and their vegan aunts on Friday nights . What you see there is a scoop of chocolate hemp milk ice cream, a scoop of vanilla soy milk ice cream, oreos, coconut, chocolate syrup, and coconut whipped cream. I would drive 3 hours for this ice cream sundae, no questions asked. And no, I won’t bring you back any.

So what’s so great about the Days Inn breakfast buffet? Here’s what I got Saturday morning:

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhh kale! Hashbrowns! Fruits! Let me tell you, that kale was delightful. It was still slightly crunchy with a tad of a spicy kick to it. After that, we headed to Sunny Point Cafe where we had to wait about an hour and a half for a table (hence why we ate a little before hand). While we waited, we drank!

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A mimosa for Beevy and a bloody mary for me!
A mimosa for Beevy and a bloody mary for me!
So pretty!
So pretty!

Once seated we ordered some delicious grub. I got the same thing as last time (what’s with me ordering the same thing??) and Beevy got an omelette. Mine was yummy as hell but I think next time I will try something new.

Huevos Fucheros!
Huevos Fucheros!

After brunch, we decided to go swimming at the pool. We stayed outside for about 45 minutes, and then it got cold, and also Beevy and I are translucent in skin tone so we ran indoors to commence laying on the bed once again. We had reservations for Plant for Saturday night, and when we started talking about it, we both realized that we sort of didn’t want to go. It struck us that we didn’t want to pay $20 for an entree that no doubt would be delicious, but we wondered if it would be worth it. We found a new place called Bean Vegan Cuisine and we decided to give it a whirl.

Holy shiitake mushrooms, people. Bean was EVERYTHING I wanted and was so delicious and wonderful and amazing. Beevy and I were treated like queens by our server, Jasmine, who was super informative and awesome. I kid you not when I say that I have already Google Map-ped how long it will take me to get back to Bean from my house (3 hours, give or take). Here’s what the Bean giveth:

Menu!
Menu!
Mas menu!
Mas menu!
Lenny's Boy Ginger Kombucha: I could not, in good conscious, have come to Asheville and not had Kombucha.
Lenny Boy Ginger Kombucha: I could not, in good conscious, have come to Asheville and not had Kombucha.
FRIED PICKLES
FRIED PICKLES WITH VEGAN RANCH
TATOR TOT CASSEROLE
TATOR TOT CASSEROLE
TOFU FINGER SANDWICH
TOFU FINGER SANDWICH
MAC N CHEESE
MAC N CHEESE
CRABBIE PATTY SANDWICH
CRABBIE PATTY SANDWICH
My smiling tomato
My smiling tomato
Go vegans!
Go vegans!
Chocolate cake!
Chocolate cake!
Check out that icing!
Check out that icing!
Yay!
Yay!

You guys! Not only was the food OUTSTANDING but they put a candle in my cake! And they wrote Happy Birthday on the take-out menu for me! And they gave us Bean stickers! Uggggghhhhhhh. To be honest, I’m kind of obsessed with this restaurant. There are not many places that make you feel like home, that are warm and inviting and wonderful. Please please please go there!

On Sunday morning, in honor of the anniversary of my birth, Beevy and I had two rounds of the Days Inn buffet. Here are my two rounds:

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Beevy and I also drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway and found our way to a portion of the French Broad River where people with kayaks were hopping in. This is how I feel about turning 33:

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 33.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 33.

And this is also how I feel about turning 33:

Life is not complete without a
Life is not complete without a “Yo Mama” joke.

Then, because we were not in a hurry to get back to Atlanta and also because neither one of us was hungry in any way, we headed back to Bean to peep their brunch.

The Brunch Bowl.
The Brunch Bowl. Tofu scramble, cheese grits, carrot bacon, biscuit, sausage, home fries.
Beevy's Tofu Scramble.
Beevy’s Tofu Scramble.
Sausage Gravy like whoa.
Sausage Gravy like whoa.

Basically, Bean brought the brunch heat. Can we talk about what a revelation carrot bacon is for a moment? I am now OBSESSED with that junk. Beevy and I had whole conversations about carrot bacon. I’m thinking that this recipe is a good place for me to start.

Sadly, Beevy and I had to leave glorious Asheville. When I made it home, my whole family celebrated me and showered me with presents and vegetables and vegan cupcakes. I’m truly a lucky girl!

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All in all, this was the best birthday I’ve had in a very long time. No drama, no hangovers, no crying, no bad decisions, and surrounded by love. I am ready to take on the year!

ASHEVILLE
ASHEVILLE
Life

To Asheville I Go!

Many many great things are on the horizon for this veg-head gal and I can’t wait to share them all with you! One, I get to eat a vegan chimichanga tonight and I’m also wearing a pretty dress and I’m having a joint birthday dinner with two amazing people and life is great. Two, I’m leaving for Asheville tomorrow morning with my ride-or-die Beevy for a girls weekend get away to my all-time favorite mountainous place where we will eat, nap, lay by the pool, watch Bravo, and eat again. Did I mention that it will be our very first time to eat at Plant on Saturday night? I don’t know what to get there! Has anyone been that can advise me? I really want the caramelized Jerusalem artichokes, because, what the hell are we even talking about? Where else can you eat that? When I tell you that I’ve been staring at Plant’s menu for a week and still am no closer to a desision, please believe me. When it’s an all vegan place, my vegan heart yearns to scream out loud “I WANT IT ALL BECAUSE I DESERVE IT AND ALSO JUST BECAUSE I CAN’T EAT THIS ANY OTHER TIME AND SERIOUSLY THOUGH, WHAT’S DUKKA?”

Sigh. If there’s one thing I won’t be this weekend, it is hungry. My homie Beevy is always down for an excellent meal, too. We’ve decided that we have to go back to Sunny Point Cafe because it was the jam and we completely cleared our plates and drank mimosas and no one cared that we were there for approximately 3 hours. We’ve also decided that we don’t really want to be hungover like our last Asheville trip (and by “we” I mean “me”) so we’re just gonna chill.

It’s also my birthday on Sunday and I will be 33. How did this happen? How am I in my early-mid thirties? Other than not being able to drink anymore because the hangovers are like knives to the eyes, and having to go to bed at 10:30 on a school night, I don’t necessarily feel super old. It helps that my 17-year-old cousin likes to tell me that all of her friends thought I was 26 (I make her tell me that all the time, almost like a greeting). But it seems like life is finally coming together, piece by piece. It’s progress and not perfection, people. And I am SO GLAD that granny panties are back because I ain’t got time for that. I’m too busy napping.

Food Coma

Ardenne Farm’s Blueberry Muffins: Or, Why I Can No Longer Bake At My House.

I found out about Ardenne Farm’s products at the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo. I listened to the representative long enough for my brain to explode: I could make vegan blueberry muffins at home. See, friends…I was raised on the blueberry muffin. You know that box mix with the crazy blueberries in a can and you add some oil and eggs and put them in muffin wrappers and then you slice each one when they’re still hot and add a pat of butter because you’re from the south and you do such things and then you eat 4 of them? Ahhhhhhh those were the days! And I thought those days were long gone.

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Enter Ardenne Farm’s Blueberry Muffin Muffin Mix. With completely natural ingredients (I’m giving you the big thumbs up, Gluten Free Flour Blend!) this package is 100% gluten free and vegan from jump. The recipe for the muffins calls for milk, oil, and eggs to be added to the mix and blueberries. Unsweetened Almond Milk? Check. Oil? Check. Vegan Eggs? Ehhhhhh well, I’ve never actually baked anything vegan that needed “eggs” before. So I ran to my trusty favorite site and searched  for a flax egg recipe. Lo and Behold: the perfect substitute to the egg! Minimalist Baker provides the key to my heart, in many ways. Search their site for all things yummy, quick, and low ingredient count.

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I was all set to go on a Friday night and soon the muffins were baking away and rising like the good universe intended. I did have to bake them longer than the recipe calls for, perhaps due to a 20 year old oven. Within mere minutes the house smelled like my childhood: doughy, hot, steaming balls of crisp-on-the-outside-but-soft-in-the-middle blueberry muffins. Basically, this was the best Friday night ever. I could barely wait to let them cool enough so that I could slice each one open and add a pat of Earth Balance butter, just like my mom does.

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Finally, I was ready to taste. The soft, gooey inside, yellowed with butter and oozing blueberries made my taste buds dance. The crisp outside filled my heart with delight. I stood there, over the sink, and jammed two muffins into my mouth before my brain could catch up. I ate three more for breakfast the next morning. I brought some to friends and then ate the rest on Sunday.  I don’t know if I’m making it quite clear, but these muffins were to me what the muffins of my childhood were: perfect, warm globes of sweet blueberry joy. Delicious, quick, simple. Now it’s a battle to not buy them every week. Check the website to see where you can buy them or snag some online!

NOT SO FINE PRINT: I was given a free box of these muffins to try, but all opinions and delicious descriptions are my own.

Food Coma

A Long Weekend and a Short Trip.

First of all, is anyone watching “Broad City”? I’ve only seen a handful of episodes, but it took all the strength I had not to title this post “YASSSSS QUEEN” and do a moonwalking shimy out of here. It’s been a while since my last post and I attribute it to frequent baby freak-outs about possible future employment and basic life predicaments. But you guys don’t want to hear about that, do you? I take that silence as a giant HELL NO and so I will now talk about the most important thing of all time: FOODZ.

The crew and I were total slackers when it came to a new restaurant on the scene probably because it’s in Alpharetta: Vito’s Pizza and Ristorante. We finally set a date and made it happen. When I say that this tiny place brought THE HEAT with vegan Italian food, please trust me. When it comes to restaurants with so many vegan options, we all tend to want all the things and order too much and are too full and regret nothing. Here’s what we got:

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The menu! Check out all of the vegan items!
A delightful side salad that came with my lunch.
A delightful side salad that came with my lunch.
We HAD to share the crab cakes!
We HAD to share the crab cakes!
GARLIC ROLLS
GARLIC ROLLS
Baked Ziti
Baked Ziti
Homemade Cheesecake
Homemade Cheesecake

Here’s the deal, people. I’m gonna be super honest with you all. Have you guys been to Provino’s? The place where they serve the endless amounts of garlic rolls swimming in vats of melted butter with chunks of garlic floating? I have been so tempted by those damn rolls before that I’ve come thisclose to saying “Eh, I’ll go back to being vegan tomorrow….shhhhhhhh no one will ever know….” And now, they’re here: vegan garlic rolls that melt in your mouth and leave you weeping for more. I’m surprised a riot didn’t break out between us friends as we grabbed for the last one. The crab cakes were breathtaking and will be added to the menu soon. My baked ziti was phenomenal. Do I even need to talk about the homemade cheesecake? I didn’t think so. I wish it was sitting next to me right now.

Immediately after eating and being so full that I thought I might die a slow, yet satisfying death, I ran to the H Mart to get my dumpling fix on.

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The great thing about the H Mart is, aside from it pretty much rocking my face off, that you can buy a 50 pack of dumplings for the low price of around $5. Vegan dumplings. DUMPLINGS. I don’t know about you, but I would be tickled pink if I could only eat dumplings every single day of my life. And now I do! Oh, joyous day!

Last week, my mom and I had to make a quick run to Mobile and be surrounded by a slew of German-Alabamian family members as we celebrated the life of my mom’s uncle. It was an overnight trip; only enough time to rest a bit, eat a ton, and hug plenty.

Southern food at its finest.
Southern food at its finest.

We were both pooped when we got home. I was just alive enough to hit up the glorious Loving Hut and eat until my heart’s content:

Energy juice!
Energy juice!
Wonton soup!
Wonton soup!
Golden tofu!
Golden tofu!

Ugggghhhhhhhhh. The ways I love Loving Hut are many, but I wish I had that wonton soup in my hands at all times. Oh, and I got some cake to go because YOLO.

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I woke up early the next day to hit up some meditation at my Tibetan Buddhist Monestary. I haven’t been in FAR TOO LONG but that is changing.

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Afterwards I met a friend for lunch which equaled tacos, guac, and margaritas because that’s how Holy Taco rolls.

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Those vegan tacos were money. They had pickled radish on them! A revelation.

For dinner, I went to my friend’s house and helped them cook some vegan goodies:

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We had sauteed Brussels sprouts with onions and tofu, kidney beans with tofurkey kielbasa, and a medley of kale/edamame/tofu/sunflower seeds/hoison sauce. When I tell you all that I love people that love to eat, it’s the honest truth. We chowed down on this grub like it was our last meal and we didn’t want to share.

Fun news! I will have some product reviews coming up soon, so get those mouths ready to water. Happy Wednesday to us all, and a special shout out to all of the teachers who are finishing their school years! You guys deserve to sit on your couches for a minimum of 7-12 days and watch marathons of old school Real World.

 

Life

Alive! Expo Review

Is it possible that I’m “expo-ed out”? Am I tired of all the goodies, the coupons, and making small talk with complete strangers? Am I just  #OVERIT when it comes to the sensation that my left arm will soon detach itself from my body because it simply cannot hold that many items at once?

No. Have we met? You all should be well aware that I will go to great lengths to be the owner of free items. For a free t-shirt, I’ve stumbled across miles of sweaty and humid terrain with blistered feet. FOR A T-SHIRT. And this expo brought the heat.

How cute is she?
How cute is she?

I went with my 17-year-old cuz because she’s a bad ass and also because, secretly, I think she’s veg-curious. Though Chik-Fil-A is her favorite food, so I have my work cut out for me. Nevertheless, she was game to see where the day lead us. We met up with my pals Holly and Aaron and let the games begin.

Saffron Road!
Saffron Road!
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I have seen Saffron Road’s frozen meals before and have never tried them because I can’t find a vegan one. BUT. They showed me that not only do they offer vegan seasoned chickpea snacks (YUM) but they also offer tasty sauce packets. Yay! They’re coming to the vegan side of the world where it’s nice and cozy and the patchouli runs like water. I’m excited to try more of their products!

CHOCOLATE ALERT
CHOCOLATE ALERT

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I was immediately sold on Pacari chocolates for many reasons: family-owned, Ecuadorian, organic, sustainable farming methods, small scale farmers. Sigh. We all were smitten with Pacari and I bought some to take home. You had no idea that lemongrass belonged in chocolate until you taste it Pacari-style.

Bearded Brothers!
Bearded Brothers!

Oh, Bearded Brothers. So chill. So awesome. I was super happy to see them there and meet them. I will be reviewing their products soon so more on them later.

All in all, it was a great Expo. There was an overwhelming amount of products versus food, but that’s cool. Bloggers were treated especially well there which made me (and my unsuspecting cuz) super happy. On to the next expo!