Wednesday, April 26, 2017

More Stuff I Ate

And I'm back with all the random meal pictures that I couldn't fit into yesterday's post. Here we go!

Two weeks ago, one of my co-workers came into the office with VEGAN DOUGHNUTS, Y'ALL. She'd just returned from a trip to L.A., where she picked up a dozen doughnuts from Donut Friend. She's not vegan, but her son is. And she's just super-awesome! When she came in and announced she had vegan doughnuts, I was the first one in the breakroom. She had a flavor guide that let us know what each one was, and we cut them all into bite-size pieces so we could try them all!

My fave was the doughnut sandwich stuffed with peanut butter and topped with salted chocolate, but the strawberry came in a close second. Some were yeasted, and others were cake. But they were all AMAZING. I probably ate the equivalent of three doughnuts at least (and this was after having a bagel for breakfast). Mind y'all, this was one week before I was already scheduled to do my juice reboot, so I felt pretty okay about just shoving as much junk food into my face as possible.

Speaking of juice, you can read all about last week's juice reboot here. But in addition to the 3-day reboot (where I drank only juices and smoothies until mid-afternoon before switching to solid, whole foods-based snacks and high-raw dinners), I also signed up for Kris Carr's 10-day #greendrinkaday challenge. Today was the last day of that, and I've been keeping up the juices and smoothies — once a day — every day. Here's a Tangy Trip Juice from Monday. The recipe is in Crazy Sexy Juice, but it's fennel, pineapple, celery, cucumber, romaine, and lemon.

And here's a Mint Cacao Chip Smoothie from Crazy Sexy Juice — fresh mint (from my garden!), banana, almond cashew milk, dates, cacao nibs, and Vega One natural protein powder.

I've been trying to find some healthy balance post-reboot. Like, if I'm eating something really decadent for one meal, I'll try and eat some nutrient-packed, healthier thing for another meal. One of my favorite healthy options lately are salads from Mama Gaia. Here's the Asia Salad with sesame baked tofu, Asian slaw, bell pepper, lettuce, and Mama Gaia sauce.

But I still want my daily treats! The day after my reboot, I had half of an Alternative Baking Company Peanut Butter Persuasion Cookie. These cookies are so good! I used to eat them all the time when I first went vegan in 2004 because they were about the only packaged cookies sold in Memphis. I'd forgotten how awesome these are.

When I was at Nashville VegFest, I picked up some Smiling Hara Hempeh. It's a soy-free tempeh made from peanut and hemp and seasoned with the most amazing flavors. I'm totally pro-soy, but I do think it's nice to vary up your protein sources. And the flavors on the hempeh are INSANELY GOOD. I used the Sea Salt & Black Pepper Steak Hempeh in this bowl with brown rice, steamed veggies, and tahini sauce. The hempeh is tender and well-seasoned. Definitely the best ever!

Paul's birthday was last Wednesday, but since he lives in Nashville during the week for work, we didn't get to celebrate together until this weekend. We went out to brunch at Imagine Vegan Cafe with Stephanie and her partner Paul. Imagine was offering a Vegan Omelette special! Mine was stuffed with vegan sausage, peppers, and onions and topped with vegan cheese sauce. Side of kale for balance. OMG, so good! Owner Kristie used FYH Vegan Egg, which I use at home for omelettes, but hers was much better.

I also ordered a Lavender Love Replenish Kombucha because booch.

On Sunday night, Paul and I invited some friends out to Loflin Yard for beers and fun. I toted along some mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream so Paul could have a birthday wish.

On Monday night, I had a meeting after work, so Paul grabbed us some takeout from Crazy Noodle. I went with my standard order of Mandu Guk — vegetable dumplings, Korean rice cakes, and shiitakes in veggie broth.

I haven't had time to cook lately, so lunch yesterday was an Amy's Tofu Scramble Wrap with salsa and nooch and a side of air-fried potatoes.

We had Vegan Drinks last night at Blue Nile Ethiopian Kitchen, and they have a new menu item — Tofu Tibs! I was so stoked to try these! Fried tofu and greens served with two sides and injera. I went with stewed potatoes and carrots and the house salad. Washed down with a Southern Prohibition Devil's Harvest.

And finally, here's a FitQuick Pizza Protein Waffle that I had for breakfast today after my run. In my effort to sneak in more veggies, I topped it with Muir Glen Garden Vegetable pasta sauce, roasted broccoli (made in the air fryer) and some nooch.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Stuff I Ate

Lots of random meals to catch y'all up on!

Way back in the beginning of April, I met up with some former Memphis Flyer co-workers (Susan and Toby) for lunch buffet at Pho Binh. This Midtown hotspot is known for its amazing tofu buffet. The lemongrass tofu is legendary, but they were out on our first trip to the buffet. Don't worry — they brought fresh out later! Pictured here is the Green Bean Tofu and the Black Bean Tofu with the Clear Soup.

After Nashville VegFest, I had a bunch of my Tofu Eggless Olive Salad (the same thing I demo-ed at Memphis VegFest last weekend) left. Had some with crackers and Horseradish Hummus (from Trader Joe's) with crudites and wine. Also some Punk Rawk Labs Nacho Cheese and crackers.

A couple weeks ago, I Love Juice Bar held its second annual fun run — a 3-mile jaunt around Cooper-Young. I met up with Jennifer, Simon, and Shay.

And I got the chance to test out my new I Love Tofu shorts.

They handed out free Beet Juice Shots before the run.

And after, there was free Memphis Made beer and snacks. Tiny PB&J Sandwiches.

And Kale Salad.

And Juice Bar's best-ever Pad Thai Noodle Bowls. 

A random breakfast of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Blueberry Waffles with fresh blueberries and maple syrup.

Another random breakfast of Engine 2 Rip's Big Bowl Cereal with Vegan Sausage and Grapes.

Juice! This was a post-run treat a couple weeks back from the So Fresh juice/smoothie truck at the Memphis Farmers Market. This was an Apple-Carrot-Ginger Juice. Great for post-run carbs and hydration.

A FitQuick Lemon Poppyseed Protein Waffle with Fresh Nectarine, Maple, & Tahini! Another post-run treat!

A couple Fridays ago, I met my friends Pam and Shay for lunch at Al-Rayan, a little, mom-and-pop-style Middle Eastern restaurant for my very fave Ful Medames (fava bean stew). It's served with pita, tomato, onion, and jalapeno. I'm convinced Al-Rayan's ful is one of Memphis' best-kept secrets.

As usual, I have way more pics that I'm willing to cram into one post, so I'll be back tomorrow with more random meals!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Memphis VegFest Recap!

The first Memphis VegFest was Saturday at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park, and it was great success! We've had other vegan fests in the past, but this was the first one organized by Angel Jackson of Replenish Kombucha. And she says it won't be the last!

It rained ALL MORNING on Saturday, and it was unseasonably cold with temps in the 50s. The fest was outdoors, but the rain and cold didn't keep the vegans away! Most of the vendors showed up despite the fact that they had to set up their tents and tables in the rain. When the fest opened at 11 a.m., a crowd quickly gathered. And many of those people stuck around in the rain and cold all day. The rain eventually let up around 1 p.m., but it was still cold and wet. Yet most vendors sold out of food and gave away all their samples.

My demo was supposed to be at 12:30, but they couldn't set up the speakers and mic equipment until the rain let up. And since I knew I could stick around all day, I told Angel to just put my demo wherever she needed, and I ended up taking the 3:30 spot at the end of the day. That gave me more time to hang out with friends and eat ALL THE THINGS.

My first stop was the Lucky Cat Ramen booth. They're a vegan-friendly ramen pop-up that typically sells at The Cove on Sundays and Memphis Made Brewery on Thursdays, but I keep missing them when they're there. I couldn't wait to try their vegan Roasted Corn Miso Ramen!

The broth was definitely the best ramen broth I've ever had. There are a few places in town serving vegan ramen, but Lucky Cat definitely wins!
After ramen, I grabbed a beer — Memphis Made Fireside — from the TapBox beer truck and a Vegan Banana Pudding from the folks at Southern Veggie Cuisine. They were selling banana pudding cups and vegan tamales! Sadly, I was so stoked to eat that pudding that I failed to take a picture. I did, however, get a pic of Simon and Jennifer eating their Black Bean Tamale.

Later in the day, I also got a tamale. By then, she was out of vegan cheese, but that was just fine. Looks messy but tasted awesome. It was stuffed with black beans and tofu.

Her tamales and pudding were VERY popular. She had the longest lines all day.

Zaka Bowl was there with free samples. They had Brown Rice & Chickpea Bowls. I added their Sweet Curry sauce.

Replenish Kombucha was the primary sponsor for the fest, so I had to have some while I was there! Here's their Hibiscus Kombucha. 

Phillip Ashley Chocolates had a sample booth. Phillip Ashley Rix is a local chocolatier who creates these gorgeous, hand-crafted, hand-painted chocolates. Not all of his chocolate is vegan, but he has a vegan truffle collection that I've been lucky enough to receive as a gift from Paul before. So good! Anyway, Phillip was there selling his vegan praline truffles (I bought a box!), and he had samples of vegan chocolate bark. This Hot Ass Chocolate was created with locally made Nikki's Hot Ass Potato Chips. The combo of dark chocolate and spicy/salty chips was amazing.

I caught a couple of food demos throughout the day. Brandon Thomas of Guilt-Free Pastries showed us how he makes his Vegan Granola, which is by far my favorite locally made granola. It's got a base of mixed nuts rather than oats, and it's loaded with other good stuff like coconut oil, goji berries, and pumpkin seeds.

I also watched the folks at Mama Gaia demo their quinoa and veggie bowls. They didn't have samples to hand out, but they gave the full bowls they created out to a couple lucky audience members to polish off. Megan got the Copia Bowl (arugula, antipasti veggies), and I helped her eat it!

Hanging with Don and Kenzie and Megan!

And then, finally, at 3:30 p.m., I went onstage! I demo-ed my Tofu Eggless Olive Salad from Cookin' Crunk. 

After my demo, they announced the winners of the vegan challenge cook-off, in which local home chefs went up against restaurant chefs in a cook-off. Mama Gaia won first place in the entree category, but I can't remember who won the dessert competition. And then it was time to go home and dry off!

Memphis VegFest was a great success, and I'm so proud of Angel and the other organizers for pulling the whole thing off and persisting despite the awful weather! Can't wait 'til next year!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Memphis VegFest!

Memphis is having a VegFest!!!! It's Saturday, April 22nd at the Levitt Shell from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I'll be demo-ing my Tofu Eggless Olive Salad from Cookin' Crunk at 12:30 p.m., and there's a full line-up of other awesome local speakers. The line-up includes Philipp and Cru from the new vegetarian restaurant Mama Gaia, Lydia Muhammed with Lydia's Healthy Edibles, Brandon Thomas of Guilt Free Pastries, chocolatier Phillip Ashley Rix (who will be demo-ing a vegan paella), Tracy Knight of Skinnysouth, and animal rights activist Tiffany Lindfield (speaking on social work and agribusiness).

There's also a Vegan Challenge Cook-off! Anyone can sign up, so you'll likely see some local home chefs up against restaurant pros. Should be interesting.

Zaka Bowl, City Silo, Seasons 52, Imagine Vegan CafĂ©, Merge Memphis, Phillip Ashley Chocolates, Ms. Lillie’s Z-Muffins, Nikki’s Hot Products, Guilt-Free Pastries, Lydia’s Healthy Edibles, and others are supposed to be there with $3 samples. I hear baker Stephanie Crowdis (aka Poopie Bitch) will be joining Imagine Vegan Cafe at their table with some of her locally famous cakes, brownies, whoopie pies, and other desserts. There will be food trucks and other food vendors. Plus, you'll find giveaways of vegan products and lots of other goodies.

The fest is sponsored by Replenish Kombucha, City Silo Table and Pantry, Zaka Bowl, and Whole Foods Market. It's the first such fest to be organized by this group (led by Replenish Kombucha), though we have had vegan festivals (thanks to Bastet of Green Goddess Gourmet Vegan Foods) in the past. There's been a multi-year gap since the last fest though, so I'm super-stoked to see Memphis back in the VegFest game!

By the way, there's currently a chance of storms on Saturday morning, so a rain date plan for Sunday is in the works. I will keep y'all posted and update here if I hear anything.

I'll check back in on Monday night with a full report (taking Sunday off blogging for Paul's birthday!). Hope to see some local readers there!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crazy Sexy Juice Reboot, Day 3!

And I'm done! Today was the last day of my 3-day juice/smoothie/high-raw reboot using Kris Carr's plan from Crazy Sexy Juice. For the past few days, I've been drinking only veggie/fruit juices and smoothies until the afternoon, and then I get a little solid snack and a giant high-raw dinner. My goal was just to get a super-boost of nutrition and get some healthy habits back on track!

This whole plan has been pretty easy to follow, much easier than a straight juice "fast" (I hate that word!). I love chewing, and I'm a huge fan of smoothies because they allow me to take in a lot of fiber and fat. Am I glad it's over? I'd be lying if I didn't say yes. But only because I'm super-excited to bring bread back into my life! And chewing all day! I actually don't miss sweets or fried stuff yet. I'm really hoping to find that healthy balance of indulgent and super-healthy that makes me the most happy.

Anyway, here's what I drank today!

I don't run on Wednesdays, so I woke up and did a quick yoga video from Yoga with Adriene while I sipped on my first juice — Pucker Up (grapefruit, orange, lemon, turmeric, and ginger). After my shower, I had my breakfast of a Peachy Green Smoothie (banana, peaches, raw cashew-hemp milk, flax seed, and chard). Morning snack was a Garden in a Glass juice (a savory blend of carrots, beet, celery, cucumber, parsley, broccoli stem, romaine, lemon, and ginger). My garden juice looks like poop water, I know, but that's because I used yellow beets instead of red. Oh well. Whole Foods was out of red beets!

Lunch was my very favorite smoothie on this plan — the Body Builder! It had peanut butter, banana, raw almond milk, spinach, and hemp seeds. I love anything with peanut butter AND it kept me full for hours. Definitely the hardiest smoothie on this plan. And finally, my afternoon snack juice was the Fatigue Fighter (grapes, pear, spinach, romaine, celery, and lime). Pears are loaded with B2, which helps with energy production, so this was great for the afternoon slump.

Today's plan also called for a solid food snack from Kris Carr's list of recommended snacks in the book. I chose the almond and apricots snack since I had some of this Spiced, Sprouted Almond & Mulberry Trail Mix and a few Dried Apricots in my pantry. I snacked on this while I ran an after-work errand. Then I went to hoop yoga (we do yoga with hula hoops!) at 6 p.m. I wasn't sure if I'd be full enough to go to yoga before dinner, and I was super worried about getting hangry in the middle of class. But I made it through okay! I was dreaming about dinner all through savasana though.

But immediately after yoga, it was dinner time! Thankfully, I live just a block away from the studio. Man, I was so excited for this dinner. Raw Zucchini Noodles with Cashew Cheese, Raw Marinara, Herbed Lentils, and Steamed Veggies.

I've always been a zoodle fan, and top those with cashew cheese and cooked lentils, and I'm a happy lady. This hit the spot and felt like the perfect celebratory meal for the last day of my reboot. For the veggies, I steamed brussels, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Since my dinner was kind of late (7:30), I was still really full when it was time for my "dessert," but that didn't stop me from enjoying this warm cup of Cashew Chai Milk — made with soaked, raw cashews, maple syrup, cinnamon, and cardamom. Mmmmm.

And that's it! Believe it or not, I'm planning to start off tomorrow with yet another smoothie (even though I don't have to)! I'm doing Kris Carr's #greendrinkaday challenge, so I've pledged to have green juices or smoothies at least once a day for 10 days. But I'll definitely be adding back in some non-raw, non-juice foods too! Looking forward to some pasta and tempeh tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Crazy Sexy Juice Reboot, Day 2!

I've just wrapped up day two of a 3-day juice/smoothie/high-raw reboot thing, and I'm still going strong.

In case you missed yesterday's Day 1 post, here's a recap: I'm using Kris Carr's juice "cleanse" plan from her new book, Crazy Sexy Juice. I'm calling it a reboot though because that's how I'm viewing it. It's just a way for me to get some healthy eating habits back on track! I'm not trying to detox or lose weight or anything. Just going for a good infusion of nutrition. It includes juices, smoothies, and whole foods/high-raw snacks and dinners. For a juice thing, it's relatively easy. And I'm feeling pretty good, but I did have a pretty low point today between 4-ish and dinner.

But before I get into that, here's what I had between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. I woke up at 5, ate an almond butter-stuffed date (not pictured) with some lemon-ginger water, and set out for a 3-mile run. Then I had a small glass (top left) of Rise 'n' Shine juice (grapefruit-pineapple-carrot-ginger) to replenish glycogen. Breakfast (bottom right) was a Berry Protein Power smoothie (blueberry-cacao-hemp-banana-raw almond milk). Morning snack was a Green Me Up juice (pineapple-pear-chard-kale-parsley-cucumber-celery) on the top middle. Lunch was the Inflammation Heavyweight smoothie (cherry-blueberry-hemp-spinach-raw almond milk) on the bottom left, and my afternoon snack was the Savory Smoothie (cucumber-avocado-spinach-garlic-lemon) on the top left.

I loved the rainbow of colors today! Proof that green drinks don't always have to look green. This is also the second day of Kris Carr's #greendrinkaday challenge (which I'm doing for 10 days, even after this reboot is over), and her email newsletter today talked about how green drinks can be all colors. By the way, a commenter yesterday asked what kind of juicer I use. I have a Breville juice fountain for juicing, and I use my Vitamix for smoothies.

I kept count of the calories, protein, carbs, and fat — to make sure I was getting enough! And I actually got more calories and fat than I typically would in a day. I was slightly over my FitBit's daily allowance of 2,200ish calories. So anyone who thinks you can't get enough to fill and sustain you on a juice reboot is doing it wrong! It's not about depravation. It's about getting in lots of healthy fats with those juiced and blended fruits and veggies.

I did notice a slightly lower protein intake throughout the morning than what I'm used to, which may explain why I became ravenous between 4 p.m. and dinner. The afternoon savory smoothie (with garlic and avocado!) at 3 p.m. helped, but by 4, my tummy was rumbling. Had it been any earlier than 4, I'd have just added an extra snack. But I knew I had a giant, awesome dinner and dessert waiting for me as soon as I got off work at 5 p.m.

And that dinner was FABULOUS, and I was so stoked to be chewing again! And eating something savory! I had Kris' Lemon Quinoa with Steamed Veggies, Hemp Seeds, and Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette.

The quinoa (I used I Heart Keenwah's toasted quinoa!) is seasoned with flax oil, lemon zest, and parsley, and I served it with steamed brussels, asparagus, squash, carrots, and cauliflower. All of that was tied together with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, cilantro, and lime juice. Yum!

The second best part about today was tonight's "dessert" — Chocolate Almond Milk.

I made a big batch of raw almond milk for my smoothies and such throughout the reboot, and I used a full glass of it for this. It's mixed with cocoa powder and warmed for a yummy bedtime treat.

Okay y'all, one more day! I'm already SUPER excited about Wednesday night's dinner!