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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Please tell me that you already know this: Thin Mints are vegan! Welcome to swim suit season, thin mint eaters!
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!
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.
Friends, it has been so long since I posted that I had to wonder if I remembered my password for this site. I must admit where my brain is these days: constantly moving, slightly anxiety-ridden, and a thin layer of panic right below the surface. You see, I will be teaching my first class in a decade in 2 weeks. And while I GREATLY appreciate my friends and family believing in me and knowing I will rock this, it has been harder for my own brain and spirit to catch up.
But something super awesome happened today. I got my oil changed and emissions tested and crazy air filter changed (does anyone else wonder if they keep a crappy air filter on hand to show you and guilt you into buying a new one? This girl would have no idea if the man handed me a carburetor or fuel injector or cheese grater…let alone if it needs to be replaced) and then when it was time to pay, I realized that I had forgotten my card at home. Believe me when I say that this NEVER happens to me. I am so Type A it’s scary to all of those involved and I routinely yell things such as “I JUST organized this!!! Who messed it up?” and “WHY DON’T YOU DO THIS THE WAY I TOLD YOU TO?” and other such things that make one marvel that I am not friend-less. So I told the nice man that I’m a complete loser and I left my card and I live 10 minutes away and I’m so embarrassed and blah blah blah TYPE A FREAKOUT. He waved his hand away and said to me, “I like to believe in the good of humanity. I trust you. Go get your card.” I almost burst into tears at his kindness. I mean, let’s be real. He has my tag number and my address and my name, but whatever! Don’t ruin this moment for me.
It was kindness, plain and sweet. It was a small moment that meant so much more…it meant that all will be fine. It meant that even if I stumble and fall and make a fool of myself and don’t do everything perfectly as a teacher, that I will continue to learn and get better and believe in myself more. Maybe I’m looking more into this simple act than I should. It gave me hope, though, and that’s all that matters. And a clean air filter.
I have some cool posts coming soon…a few reviews and restaurant news. Hopefully a new PlantBasedATL meet up! Oh, and the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals is almost here…join us on October 4 as we walk to spread awareness and raise funds for this amazing cause. It’s going to be super fun!
And now I have this song in my head! Indeed there is a time to laugh and a time to weep. As I entered my last week of work here at the job place today, I couldn’t help but be happy and sad. I’ve laughed so much recently with friends and family, but I have also cried. Sometimes you just need a cathartic cry, amiright? One in which your whole body shakes and you make noises you had no clue could actually emanate from your soul. I always sleep like a baby after a good cry.
I’m about to start a career that has been 10 years in the making. And I am scared shitless. BUT I say that while I simultaneously know I am also smart and excited and capable and a quick learner and will be great at this job. I honestly think that if I wasn’t meditating every morning I would be a panic stricken mess. Like, panic attacks daily.
Lately I’ve been working on gratitude. I’ve discovered a few things about myself recently that have made my heart heavy, but at the same time, I am more hope full than ever before. I am grateful that I can wake up every morning and have a fresh 24 hours to start it all again. I am grateful for old and new friends that inspire me to try to be better and who allow me to fall down, but never for long. I am grateful to have had recent revelations even though they have brought pain with them because they are what make me so amazingly ME. I am grateful for family. I am grateful for delirious laughter. I am grateful for planning future trips.
I’m grateful for you, dear reader, whoever you are. Now. Let’s all have a good cry, then dry our tears, and be grateful together =)
I am just so excited and I can hardly hide it (Hot Sundae 4eva)! Marriage equality is here! I have cried in celebration today as Americans can finally choose who they want to marry.
Ahhhhh what a great day! If you know me at all, you know that I love love. I love when people are in love, I love weddings, I love talking about love, I love crying about love, I love when love finds you. And now my nearest and dearest can express their love and be married like all of us straights.
Who someone marries does not affect my religion, or my life, or how I wear pants (tight and sexy, if you must know). Let people live if they are not hurting anyone. We must continue to unite where love is involved!
Also, crazy news! I put in my two week notice at my job today. I can officially announce that I will be teaching in the fall. WHAT THE WHAT! I know. I’m still in disbelief. But I think when Beevy and I go shopping on Sunday for classroom supplies it will truly hit me that this is real. Also, how great are school/classroom supplies? I want to swim in an endless ocean of #2 pencils and be buried in a grave of pink erasers.
I made a delicious new recipe last night that I cannot wait to try again and nail. I think I put in too much lemon and I also want to add some vegan butter. If you haven’t seen this website, please peep it because she tends to use very minimalist ingredients to make things simple and yummy. The Alfredo was delicious! If you try it, let me know.
Sooooooo that’s all I have to offer the world today! I have cried a few times (such happy tears) and am so happy for the LGBT community. I am excited for this next step in my life and I am hopeful that I will be a great teacher. And I am really really really happy that tomorrow night will bring a Cards Against Humanity night with my dear peeps wherein my cheeks will soon hurt from smiling and laughing. Life truly is good!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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!
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.
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:
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:
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:
And this is also how I feel about turning 33:
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.
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!
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!
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.