Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fat Tuesday!

It's Fat Tuesday, y'all! One of my favorite food holidays!!! (Okay, in the moment, I probably think every holiday is my favorite, but today, this is my fave, okay?)

For years (going back to at least 2010), I've been making Kittee's vegan king cakes to bring to the office. The dough recipe is largely the same across her many amazing, no-fail king cakes, but the fillings vary widely. And I pick a new one every year. This year, I opted for this Apple Praline King Cake.

You'll notice the baby is on top of the cake rather than inside. That's because I tucked it into the dough too close to the edge before baking, and it baked its way out of the cake. My cake birthed a baby! After I sliced it, I tucked it snugly back inside.

Most years, I have a regular breakfast at home and then bring the cake in to work for morning dessert. But this year, I thought, "Why not have a slice of cake for breakfast?" Here's an inside breakfast shot.

When my parents and I used to take regular summer vacations in New Orleans, we ALWAYS stopped at Cafe Du Monde for coffee, and my parents enjoyed their beignets. One year, my mom actually made VEGAN BEIGNETS and packed them for me to eat at Cafe Du Monde so I could have beignets too. She's the best! Anyway, they sell Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee at the Viet Hoa, my neighborhood Asian market (no idea why they sell this at the Asian market! Thanks to some commenters, I now know that this is also used in Vietnamese coffee, so that's why it's sold in the Asian market. You learn something new every day, y'all!). Anyway, I bought some and made a proper cafe au lait (half cashew-almond milk, half very strong chicory coffee).

I shared the rest of the cake with my co-workers. Somebody found the baby, but no one is fessing up. Hmmmm. When you find the baby, it means you're supposed to bring the cake next year. Of course, I'll bring a vegan one anyway.

For lunch, I had some leftover Gumbo Z'herbs from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa. I made this for the Tennessee Equality Project gumbo contest a few weeks back and stuck a bowl in the freezer to save just for today's Fat Tuesday lunch. This kale-collard-turnip green gumbo is perfect with white rice.

For dinner, I chose another recipe from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday CookbookBlackened Scrambled Tofu with Garlic Polenta Grits and Greens.

This was a fun, sort of non-traditional Fat Tuesday meal! The tofu scram is seasoned with Creole-inspired blackened spices (paprika, thyme, cayenne) and served atop slow-cooked garlicky grits. Isa calls these "polenta grits," but I think that's just cause she's from Brooklyn. Down South, we just call 'em grits. :-) For the greens, you can pick any green to saute and serve on the side. I chose kale cause it's quick and easy. It was sauteed with a little garlic and olive oil.

Fat Tuesday isn't a party without booze though! So of course, I knocked back a couple of NOLA-based Abita beers this evening. I had an Abita Wrought Iron IPA and a Sweet Orange Lager.

Well, that's it. Hope y'all had a good party night too! I'm still trying to decide if I want to give up anything for Lent this year. Not for religious reasons but just for the sake of playing along. If I haven't decided by the end of the night, I'll probably just skip it.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Leap Smoothies & Smoothie Bowls!

As any regular Vegan Crunk reader knows, I drink A LOT of smoothies — mostly after my morning runs as a way to get in a large dose of protein for muscle recovery. Smoothies are also gentle on my tummy and don't leave me feeling super-stuffed in the morning.

I'm always trying out new smoothie powders, and I was excited to try Leap Smoothie powders when they reached out to me about doing a review. They shipped me three smoothie powders and three instant smoothie bowl packets. Both the smoothies and smoothie bowls came in the same three flavors — Green Revive, Blue Zeal, and Red Power.

Each packet contains at least four servings of fruit and veggies! These powders are made with organic, whole foods, and ALL of the ingredients are real foods that you'd recognize. No weird additives or preservatives. For example, the Green Revive ingredient list has banana, coconut milk, pumpkin seed protein, mango, pea protein, pomegranate, maitake mushroom, chlorella, spinach, and kale.

The main difference between the smoothie powders and smoothie bowls seem to be the calories, protein, and quantity of powder. Because smoothie bowls have less liquid (to make room for toppings!), the instant smoothie bowl powders come in smaller packets and have less calories and less protein than the smoothie powders. Because I tend to forget about smoothie bowls, I was most excited about these powders because they encouraged me to get creative and dream up some awesome bowls!

Here's what I made with the powders. The Red Power base has raspberry, goji berry, macqui berry, strawberry, beet juice, pomegranate, kale, coconut, pea protein, pumpkin seeds, and hemp protein. For the Red Power Bowl, I combined 1/2 cup of cashew milk, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, and the powder in the Vitamix, and then I topped with an almond-mulberry trail mix, shredded coconut, a crumbled coconut Wunderbar (raw fruit & nut bar), fresh strawberries, and chia seeds.

For the Red Power Smoothie, I used a frozen banana, a cup of cashew milk, and a 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries. Very similar to my bowl but without all the toppings! The Red Power powders had a tangy berry flavor, and I really loved these.

Next up, Green Revive! I listed all of those ingredients above, but the base is heavy on banana, coconut, and fresh greens. For my Green Revive Bowl, I made a base of 1/2 cup cashew milk, Green Revive powder, and a frozen banana. The bowl was topped with Purely Elizabeth granola, fresh banana, fresh strawberries, fresh kiwi, and a trail mix of almonds, walnuts, pepitas, goji berries, and raisins. YUM! I had this one day a couple weeks ago when I had a cold, and I really felt like I was putting good-for-me stuff into my sad, sick body.

For the Green Revive Smoothie, I added one cup of cashew milk, 3/4th cup frozen mango, and a half a frozen banana. I love how this powder makes for a thick and creamy smoothie.

Finally, the Blue Zeal! This powder is made with pineapple, coconut, banana, pea protein, lucuma, apple, mango, goji berry, pumpkin seeds, kale, and pomegranate! I had the Blue Zeal Smoothie Bowl with a base of 1/2 cup cashew milk, 1/2 frozen banana, and 1/2 cup blueberries. That was topped with fresh berries (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry) and a trail mix of walnuts, almonds, goji berries, raisins, and pepitas. I rarely eat that much fruit in one sitting (1 1/2 cups of berries total!), but it felt so good to get so much fruit in to start my day.

For the Blue Zeal Smoothie, I had a similar base of powder, 1 cup cashew milk, 1 frozen banana, and 1/2 cup blueberries. For some reason, the Blue Zeal smoothie powder has less protein than the Green Revive or Red Power (10 grams rather than 15 grams). So I enjoyed that on a lighter workout day (after a gym class).

Leap powders are available on their website, and the packets cost $3.15 each for bowls or $4.49 for smoothies. You can also sign up for a subscription and save 10% on the cost.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oscar Night Snacks!

I only made three resolutions for 2017 — read more (that's always on my list), run a few more marathons (my second-ever marathon is next weekend!), and cook from every holiday chapter in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. 

The book isn't just for major holidays though. There are chapters for all kinds of special occasions, including the Oscar's Party. I've never been an Oscar's Party person mostly because I don't have cable. And since none of my friends are really Oscar's people (and most also don't have cable), I've never been invited to an Oscar's party. And that's okay because I probably haven't seen any of the films anyway.

But I had to cook from the Oscar's Party chapter, so tonight, I started a new tradition. Since I couldn't watch the award ceremony, I decided I'd chose one Best Picture film to rent on iTunes while I enjoyed Isa's delicious party finger foods. This year, that film was Moonlight — the coming-of-age story of Chiron, a young black man in Miami. Of course, my night started with an Extra Dry Dirty Martini (vodka, always).

I chose three party snacks from The Superfun Times. These Pistachio-Crusted Cashew Cheese & Strawberry Skewers were almost too fancy for my little party of one, but that was okay! These were so good. Soft balls of cashew cheese are rolled in chopped pistachios and served with fresh berries. The cashew cheese is made with coconut oil, so it has a very firm texture when it's cold, and it starts to soften as it comes to room temp.

I also made Isa's Swanky Mushroom Pate. This was soooooo good! I always love a mushroom pate, and this one had creminis, dried porcinis, and truffle oil for some triple shroom action. I served with crackers and a few (not pictured) baby carrots.

I was just going to make those two things, but just a couple hours before showtime, I started to feel like something was missing. Duh. Popcorn!! Dessert!! I cut two carrots with one knife and whipped up Isa's Salted Caramel Corn with Peanuts. I air-popped the popcorn and coated it with a salty-sweet caramel topping and roasted peanuts.

Moonlight was really great! I'm glad I chose that film to watch. And while I was watching, my mom, who was watching the actual Oscar's, texted me to say that Mahershala Ali won the award for Best Supporting Actor. Totally deserved!

I don't see myself getting cable anytime soon. Don't have time to watch it enough to justify paying. So I hope to keep this new Oscar night tradition going year after year!

UPDATE: I wrote this post last night and went to bed before the Oscar's were over. I woke up this morning to the news that Moonlight won Best Picture (after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced La La Land had won! Oops!). Anyway, go Moonlight! It's a great film and totally deserves that award!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stuff I Ate

Random meal round-up time! Here's what I've been eating this week that didn't warrant a blog post all its own.

The Lemon Poppyseed FitQuick Protein Waffles are quickly becoming my new fave FitQuick flavor. I had this one Tuesday morning after a run — with maple syrup, tahini, and chopped nectarine. 22 grams of protein!

I feel like every "Stuff I Ate" post ever contains at least one ramen pic, so here ya go. Rice Noodle Ramen with Baked Tofu, Corn, and Carrots. Since I couldn't run last Saturday (due to my stupid cold), I slept in and ate ramen in my PJs while watching Empire.

My office has catered staff meetings on the last Wednesday of each month, and the options are always vegan-friendly (yay! love this job!). This week, we had Veggie Sushi and Spring Rolls. I loved the thinly sliced avocado in those rice paper rolls. So good. I also scooped out some wasabi peas on the side.

I'm back on my "eating at Imagine Vegan Cafe once a week" plan. Last Friday, I ordered the BBQ Wrap as takeout (because I was still too sick to sit around people). It's a new menu item, and it was super-yummy! Here's an outside shot, served with salad and vegan ranch.

And an inside shot — chopped seitan BBQ, coleslaw, tomato, and mixed greens.

I was back at Imagine last night with my friend Nathan. He was in town from Jonesboro for his birthday, and I suggested we grab dinner. He is not vegan (not even close), but when I asked where he wanted to eat, he said, "I think I'd like to try this Imagine place you're always talking about!" Yay!! He got the vegan buffalo chicken sandwich and loved it.

I was craving something a little healthier, so I went with the Veggie Plate and chose some Southern faves — Blackeyed Peas, Collard Greens, Potato Salad, and Cornbread. I got some garlic aioli on the side for drizzling over the peas and greens. Hit the spot!

I wasn't planning to get dessert, but my friend Pam was working and she informed me that Stephanie had just dropped off a fresh batch of desserts. Stephanie bakes all of the cakes, pies, cinnamon rolls, and other treats for Imagine. I spied her Banana PB Caramel Pie and knew I'd probably need to grab a slice for a snack today. It got a little melty in my car while Nathan and our friends Kevin and Wes dropped by a nearby bar for margaritas (yesterday was National Margarita Day!), but it survived. Not the prettiest slice anymore but made for an awesome afternoon snack today at tea time! Graham cracker crust, banana layer, peanut butter cream layer, caramel layer. Amazing!

Finally, Tuesday was Vegan Drinks, and we had it at Deja Vu Creole Soul Food & Vegetarian Restaurant, a super vegan-friendly Creole joint, in honor of Fat Tuesday, which actually happens NEXT Tuesday. But we figured the restaurant would be slammed on the actual holiday. I got a not-so-Creole order of Curry Tofu (they make the best fried tofu and serve it in a variety of sauces, like BBQ, teriyaki, and curry).

But I chose a spicy and appropriately themed bowl of Smothered Okra as my side dish! And of course, I washed it all down with NOLA-based Abita beer (Big Easy IPA).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Grilled Veggie Melt with Kam's Chili Sauce

I have a confession. I wasn't sure what chili sauce was before Kam's Kettle Cooked sent me a few jars of their kettle-cooked chili sauce to review. Is it salsa? Is it ketchup? Is it something you add to chili? Is it like sriracha? Isn't that what you simmer cocktail wieners in?

Growing up in Arkansas, I was exposed to a lot of home-cooked, country condiments — chow chow, homemade salsa, all manner of jams and jellies, pickled okra, etc. But somehow chili sauce escaped me. After trying Kam's though, I'm not sure how I ever lived without it. They sent me samples of their HOT chili sauce and their Sweet & Spicy.

Chili sauce is simply a chunky blend of vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh chiles. It's got a touch of sweetness and a touch of heat, and it's used in everything from sloppy joes to baked beans (and yes, even cocktail wieners — vegan ones, of course!). Plus, it's great as a condiment on burgers and hot dogs, and I've discovered that it's even excellent with tortilla chips and crackers.

Side note: After receiving my jars of Kam's back in the fall, one of my co-workers gifted every one in the office jars of his home-canned, homemade chili sauce. And this is apparently a thing people do when they end up with too many tomatoes. Not sure how my Granny never got on the chili sauce bandwagon, but I have lots of her jars of home-canned salsa and stewed tomatoes.

Anyway, back to Kam's. Both flavors have the same base of fresh tomato and chiles, so they taste very similar, something like a cross between salsa and ketchup. The Sweet & Spicy is slightly milder and sweeter than the HOT sauce. The hot one contains ghost peppers, but it's not burn-your-face-off hot. It's got just the right amount of heat that slowly builds in the back of your throat.

Kam's is 100% natural, low in sugar (only 2 grams per serving), and non-gmo. I've been eating these (and my co-worker Tom's homemade sauce!) now for a couple months on just about everything you can imagine — veggie burgers, with chips, on vegan pudla pancakes, stirred into in soup beans, with vegan cheese and crackers, you name it.

One of my favorite uses so far is as a side condiment for roasted potatoes. My mama often eats chow chow with her fried potatoes, so that use popped to mind immediately when I tasted the sweet-spicy condiment. It's very similar to chow chow. Last weekend, I roasted some potatoes and carrots in the air fryer (20 minutes on 350 degrees) and served with Kam's Sweet & Spicy.

But so far, I think my very FAVORITE use has been on vegan grilled cheeses! I created this delicous Grilled Veggie Chili Melt (with vegan cheese, chili sauce, sauteed veggies, and hummus) last week, and I'll be eating it several more times this week since I have plenty of ingredients left. And since I recently discovered my neighborhood Kroger store carries Kam's (found it in the natural foods section), I'll be restocking when I run out!

Here's the recipe!

Grilled Veggie Chili Melt

Yields 1 sandwich

1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
1/3 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/3 summer squash, thinly sliced
Soy sauce, to taste
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 slice vegan cheese (I used Daiya cheddar slices)
1 Tbsp. hummus, any flavor
1 Tbsp. chili sauce (I used Kam's Sweet & Spicy)
2 tsp. olive oil or vegan margarine

Pour a little water in the bottom of a small skillet, just enough to cover the bottom. Heat to medium and add onions, peppers, zucchini, and squash. Water-saute until tender, adding splashes of extra water as needed to prevent veggies from sticking or burning. (You can also just use oil to saute the veggies! Up to you!). While you're cooking, add a couple splashes of soy sauce to taste.

Once the veggies are done, remove them from the skillet and wipe it out. Spray olive oil or spread vegan margarine on one side of each piece of bread. Heat the skillet to medium-low. 

Place one slice of bread, oil-side-down, on a plate. Spread the hummus on the other side. Top that with veggies and top them with chili sauce. Then put the cheese slice on top of the veggies and top with the remaining bread, oil-side-up.

Place the sandwich in the warm skillet and press down with a spatula. Grill on one side for about 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Flip and toast on the other side. Eat!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Yves Vegan Bites & Balls

I've long been a fan of Yves Veggie Cuisine vegan products. They make all kinds of stuff — ground veggie burger, veggie dogs, burger patties, breakfast patties, vegan bacon, deli slices — and they've been around forever. Back in my pre-vegan days (pre-2004), I remember Yves vegetarian products being the only game in town around here. They've been in the plant-based meat business for more than 20 years!

Yves offered to send me two of their products that I'd never tried. I'd seen these Falafel Balls and Kale & Quinoa Bites in stores, but for some reason, I'd never picked them up.

The Kale & Quinoa Bites are made with potatoes, chickpea flour, kale, carrots, quinoa, onions, oil, vinegar, and spices. They're like little meatballs, and they have a very savory almost burger-like flavor. The texture is toothsome, and they hold together well. In fact, these would be fantastic atop some spaghetti with marinara.

But I opted to eat them by solo, dipped in Trader Joe's Roasted Garlic Sriracha BBQ Sauce (seriously the best BBQ sauce I've ever had, y'all). These made for a great meaty main with some boxed Annie's Naturals Vegan Shells & Cheese (this has a pumpkin/sweet potato cheese base) and steamed kale. Perfect for those rushed nights when you don't have time to make something from scratch. The bites baked in the oven for about 13 minutes, the same amount of time needed to make the macaroni and prep and steam the kale.

I was tempted to stuff the Falafel Balls into pita and call it a day, but then I got inspired to whip up a Falafel Salad!

This was soooooo good. The falafel balls have an amazing flavor that's totally restaurant-worthy. But since they're baked (not fried), they're not greasy like falafel usually is. I placed these atop a bed of romaine and fresh veggies tossed with a homemade lemon-tahini sauce and served with air-fried sourdough croutons, Roots Oil-Free Hummus, and chili-garlic sauce.

Here's the recipe!

Falafel Salad

Yields 3 salads

1 package Yves Falafel Balls, baked according to package instructions
12 romaine leaves, roughly chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
18 cherry tomatoes, halved
6 Tbsp. hummus
1 1/2 cups croutons (or skip the croutons and serve salad with warm pita)
Chili sauce for serving (optional)

3 Tbsp. tahini
3 Tbsp. water
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. dried chives
1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. salt

Bake the falafel according to package instructions.

To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.

To assemble, divide the lettuce, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, and tomatoes between three bowls. Toss each bowl with a couple tablespoons of dressing. Top each bowl with four falafel balls, 2 Tbsp. hummus, and a 1/2 cup croutons. Top with a little chili sauce if desired.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Goddess Provisions Tucson Gem Show Box!

We interrupt this food blog for a post about rocks. Yes, sorry. If you came for food, this post isn't for you. But hey, the rocks are shiny!

Each month, I do an unpacking post of my Goddess Provisions subscription box, which features crystals, teas, chocolates, vegan beauty products, candles, and more. But occasionally, the folks at Goddess Provisions offer special limited edition boxes, and I love them so much that, so far, I've purchased every one of those. In fact, I've never missed any Goddess Provisions box; I've been a subscriber since day one. Basically, I'm a number-one fan.

Of course, I signed up for the limited edition Tucson Gem Show Collection box this month. Last year was the first time Goddess Provisions founders Jill and John (also of Vegan Cuts) offered a grab bag of crystals from their annual pilgrimage to the legendary Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, and I was super stoked with the crystals they selected (you can see those in this post). When they offered the box again this year, I signed up immediately.

The box was $44, and what crystals you ended up with were a mystery! I took my chances, and I'm very pleased with what I got.

Look at all those pretty crystals! My very fave is this Flourite/Amethyst combo. I love the craggy surfaces of rough crystals like this, and the layering of green flourite and purple amethyst is gorgeous. This stone is supposed to help connect with spirit and creates protective and tranquil space.

I'm also a sucker for anything rainbow, so this Chalcopyrite (peacock ore) is also a fave. This is said to help clear energy blockages and realign the chakras. Since I was sick all week last week, I could really use some realignment. My energy and routines were all off, and though I'm feeling much better now, I'll probably spend lots of time with this stone this week.

I don't know why I didn't yet have a Desert Rose in my collection, but this is my first. It's a variety of selenite, which helps to enhance big-picture awareness, boost confidence, and turn dreams into reality.

Isn't this Pink Opal pretty? It's the perfect size stone for holding in the palm, which is great since it's used for soothing the heart. Also used for letting go of negative patterns.

I want to shrink into a tiny fairy and flit around this Fairy Quartz. Doesn't it look like a tiny fairy mountain? Or like some magical land that belongs in the Neverending Story? This is said to bring calming energy and carefree, happy feelings. No wonder I love it! Also great for meditation and opening the crown chakra.

This Brandberg Quartz is the highest valued stone in the box, and it was a new one to me. This crystal is supposed to help transform challenges into spiritual growth and encourages empathy for all creation. Some Brandberg Quartz contains a little amethyst, and some has smoky quartz. As you can see, mine has a touch of amethyst.

I also got this teensy bit of Blue Calcite, known as "the stone of the mind." This is great for reducing anxiety and calming the mind. I'm a fan of all calcite, and blue is new to my collection. I do wish it was a tad bigger though!

Finally, the box's "crystal menu" card said I was also supposed to have a piece of citrine. But the last stone looks more like a solid Quartz Crystal to me. Is citrine ever clear? I have no idea! But I do believe that the right stones come to you when you need them most, so if I didn't get a citrine, I didn't really need another right now. I have a good amount of citrine in my collection anyway. I also have a ton of clear quartz, but one can never have too much clear quartz. All-purpose stone!

Overall, I'm pleased with this box! Would have liked a larger chunk of calcite, but other than that, I think they did a great job selecting some fun (and new to me!) stones.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Gumbo Contest for Equality!

This afternoon, I competed in the Tennessee Equality Project's annual gumbo competition at the Hilton. It's my fourth year competing. But I skipped last year since Fat Tuesday fell so early that the contest was held during my yearly January reset eating plan! Plus, I just kind of needed a break last year. Making three gallons of gumbo is HARD WORK.

The event is a fundraiser for TEP, a non-profit dedicated to advancing and protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ Tennesseans. They do great work fighting against homophobic bills (like the dreaded bathroom bill), and they push for pro-equality legislation (like Memphis' non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT city employees).

My team name for years has been Who Dat Crunk Vegan. I just keep reusing the same sign!

Each year, I try something different. And this year, I went the simple route with a classic Gumbo Z'herbes. Also known as greens gumbo, z'herbes was traditionally consumed on Good Friday, which was a day of abstinence from meat for some Catholics. I used Isa's recipe from the The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook, but I spiced it up with my own touches — basil, marjoram, thyme, cayenne, Liquid Smoke, and some Slap Yo Mama Cajun seasoning that I picked up in New Orleans last time I was down. For the greens, I went with collards, kale, and turnip greens.

I really loved this gumbo! It had a complex roux with a heat that builds. And even though I've typically added some sort of protein — tempeh, tofu, vegan seitan sausage, even beans — in past years, I think this was best as a stand-alone veggie-based stew.

For the first time in TEP gumbo contest history, there was a vegetarian/vegan category! It was judged in a blind taste test by my bud Justin Fox Burks from The Chubby Vegetarian. And there was some stiff competition with four vegan gumbos! My friends Stephanie, Don, and Kenzie also had a team, and they took home the vegetarian award! Bitches. Haha. For real though, their gumbo was amazing.

They made a gumbo with tofu and mushroom scallops, and their roux was on point. Just the right level of heat with lots of flavor going on.

I wandered around a bit during the contest and tried this yummy vegetable gumbo with crispy tofu. LOVED that tofu on top. I also loved that they used scallions as a garnish. I may try and step up my garnish game for the judges next year.

There was also this very veggie-heavy gumbo that had lots of okra. You can never go wrong with okra.

It was exciting to have so many vegan options! So many people stopped by the table and told me they were vegetarian and were so happy to be able to try more than one gumbo this year. In years past, it was always just me or Cassi (who competed last year when I sat out).

Anyway, here were my helpful teammates, Andy and Wes. I wouldn't let them help me in the kitchen since I like to cook alone, but they helped carry stuff and dish out gumbo.

And Andy handed out beads!

There was a brass band.

Random crowd shot!

Overall, great event from TEP. I'm glad it's over for another year though. I spent about five hours working on my gumbo yesterday, a couple hours reheating it this morning, and several more at the event. It's definitely an all-weekend affair. But such fun!