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Bialy! Pancakes! Tea Cake!

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Bialy! Pancakes! Tea Cake!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
I rarely make pancakes, but I got a craving for some late last week. I finally got my pancake fix on Saturday morning when I made the Almond Butter Banana Pancakes from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook. 

These are made with whole wheat pastry flour and almond flour, and almond butter stands in for the fat (so they’re mostly oil-free except for a little spray oil on the griddle). They’re also refined sugar-free since banana provides sweetness in the batter and maple on top. I added blueberries to my batter because why not?

Later that morning, I stopped by the Lulu’s booth at the Cooper-Young Farmers Market and grabbed one of Don’s vegan Caramelized Onion & Poppyseed Bialys. This savory bun made the perfect side for a salad at lunch.

Don was also selling tubs of his cultured Cashew Coffee Cream Cheese — a vegan cream cheese made with finely ground coffee. I enjoyed some on a whole wheat Dave’s Bagel for breakfast on Monday morning (my workout rest day this week). The cream is very lightly sweetened with a strong coffee flavor. It tasted great and I felt like it gave me an extra boost!
Here’s a Savory Oat Bowl from last week! With nooch, spinach, broccoli, avocado, everything bagel seasoning, and sriracha. I’m such a fan of savory oats, especially when topped with ALL THE AVOCADO.
And finally, here’s a moist and delicious slice of Mixed Berry Tea Cake from the cafe at Crosstown Arts. I’d brought berries from home as my afternoon snack, and when I saw this tea cake on the counter, I knew it’d be the perfect accompaniment. Enjoyed with Earl Grey tea made in the office Kerig.
Happy Spring, y’all! I’ll be back tomorrow with a very vegan-eggy spring foods post!

March 21, 2019 at 05:00AM

Upton’s Naturals Cheesy Mac

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Upton’s Naturals Cheesy Mac

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
My top five fave foods:
1. Ramen
2. Pizza
3. Doughnuts
4. Tacos/Burritos (I’m counting this as one because I can’t decide)
5. Mac & Cheeze

So it goes without saying that I don’t let a new vegan mac & cheeze product pass me by. Sure, I love creating a creamy, cheesy whole foods-based pasta at home using nooch, cashews, or butternut squash. But I also love trying the easy packaged versions for those nights when you just don’t have time to cook.

Friday night was one of those nights, so I turned to a box of Upton’s Natural Cheesy Mac that I’d been holding onto for a few weeks.

I found it for sale at Natural Grocers in Jonesboro, Arkansas (an hour from Memphis, my hometown), and as a fan of all things Upton’s, I had to put it in my cart. Memphis readers, we may have this here, but I haven’t looked!

This shelf-stable mac comes in a box with a vacuum-sealed bag of pre-cooked, wide-noodle elbow mac and a pouch of liquid cheese (similar to the pouch in the boxed Daiya mac). The cheese is made from nutritional yeast, rice bran oil, sea salt, cornstarch, mustard, onion, garlic, paprika, turmeric, sugar. So while this may not be the most whole food (hey there, white pasta), it’s not bad! The sauce is made with minimal ingredients, and they’re all real foods.

To prepare, you simply dump the pasta and cheese in a pan and heat. Takes about two minutes. The result is a creamy, noochy pasta that made a perfect side for my Gardein crispy tenders and agave-mustard dipping sauce (told ya it was a busy night) and some steamed broccoli with tahini sauce.

Will I buy this again? You bet!

March 20, 2019 at 05:00AM

Bibimbap! BLT!

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Bibimbap! BLT!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
It seems like all my random meal round-up these days feature food from the cafe at Crosstown Arts (where I work as the communications coordinator), but when there’s amazing vegan food right outside your office door, what’s a girl to do? Today for lunch, I had the Bibimbap with added tofu (minus the egg).

This is typically served with a fried egg on top. The cafe is not entirely vegan (but I’d say 90% of the items are), but anything can be made vegan. For this, you could simply leave the egg off. Or you can pay a couple extra bucks and add tofu on top! I saw someone post this version on Instagram last week and had to try it.

The bowl is made from fried rice paper, and it’s stuffed with pink rice, brussels sprouts, kimchi, and zucchini, plus the most amazing baked tofu.

My breakfast this morning was Overnight Oats with Chia, Walnuts, Berries, & Banana, enjoyed after a core work class at the YMCA. I love having creamy overnight oats prepared to enjoy after my workouts!

And here’s my dinner last night — a BLT from Imagine Vegan Cafe. Such a classic. Stuffed with veggie bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and vegan mayo. It’s usually served on a white hoagie bun, but I like to sub wheat bread instead. Side of kale.

March 14, 2019 at 05:00AM

Banh Mi! Galette! Burrito!

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Banh Mi! Galette! Burrito!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
Lulu’s Food hosted another vegan pop-up brunch this past Sunday at Fuel Cafe. The theme this time was sandwiches! Don made homemade bagels and did a vegan carrot lox & bagel sandwich thing, and he also made Breakfast Banh Mis. As much as I love a bagel, I cannot resist a banh mi!

Don’s homemade baguettes were stuffed with tofu scramble, mushroom pecan pate, harissa, and pickled carrots — all made-in-house. Served with roasted potatoes. Sooooooo good.

But before I ate that around 11:30 am on Sunday, I had this tasty slice of Avocado Toast with a side of fresh berries. First breakfast to tide me over. I topped the toast with sriracha and Spice Hunter Bagel Crunch, a knock-off of TJ’s Everything But the Bagel. It’s good, but it’s salt-free so it’s not as good as the original.
I’ve been eating a lot of Black Bean & Brown Rice Burritos lately! I’m using the oil-free refried black beans from the No Meat Athlete Cookbook (which I made a few weeks ago and froze some) with brown rice and various fillings. This one, enjoyed in the dark yesterday because my power was out (thanks to a transformer blowing up!), has beans and rice, steamed potato, vegan cheddar, salsa, and lettuce. Luckily, when the power goes out, I can still cook on my gas stove. It came back on around 8 pm last night (after being off for 12 hours!).
And I’ve saved the best for last! Ali, our baker at the cafe at Crosstown Arts, made these amazing Black Sesame & Almond, Mixed Citrus, and Blueberry Galettes this morning. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the sesame seed in there, but I could not resist those flaky layers. And turns out the sesame was a perfect complement to the sweet fruit filling. Was planning to split with a co-worker, but I decided it was too good to share.

March 13, 2019 at 05:00AM

Cheeseburger Pizza, Tofu Chicken, & Kool-Aid Pickles!

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Cheeseburger Pizza, Tofu Chicken, & Kool-Aid Pickles!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
The cafe at Crosstown Arts (where I work) has two menus – an ALWAYS menu and a TODAY menu. The ALWAYS menu stays the same for several months at a time, only changing with the seasons. But the TODAY menu changes, well, everyday. And Fridays are flatbread days! Flatbread Fridays! A couple weeks back, the featured flatbread was this Cheeseburger Flatbread with Impossible burger crumbles, cheese (I opted for non-dairy cheese), fried onions, vegan aioli, and pickled shishitos. It was SO GOOD.

Here’s another amazing plate from Crosstown Arts. The TODAY menu also features a daily vegetable plate, which stays the same for a week at a time. Last week, it featured Grilled Eggplant, Roasted Brussels, Sizzled Kale, and Carrot Puree. I loved all the different textures from the various cooking methods, and that kale was OFF THE CHAIN Y’ALL. It was fried and very crispy, like a perfect kale chip. Best veggie plate I’ve ever had.
Down the stairs from my Crosstown Arts office inside Crosstown Concourse, there’s a new popcorn shop — Pop-a-Roo’s — that just opened. Not only do they have popcorn, but they also carry KOOL-AID PICKLES! This is a Southern thing, but I’d somehow never tried it. Probably because I’d never actually seen a real-life Kool-Aid pickle. I’ll try anything though, so I bought some as soon as I heard they had them. And you know what? They’re freaking good. They sell grape and red (guess it’s cherry?), and the grape is definitely the better flavor. I know this is a combo that shouldn’t work, but it does. It tastes like a sweet and sour grape pickle.
Here’s a less-weird meal that I made at home last night — No-Chicken Tofu Bites with Agave Mustard, Oven Roasted Fries with Curry Ketchup Aioli, and Roasted Asparagus. 
The no-chicken tofu bites are actually a recipe for the air fryer from my dad. They’re really good! You bread the tofu in a batter that’s seasoned with vegan chicken broth and then coat with panko. This entire meal was basically oil-free, aside from a few spritzes of cooking spray. I feel best when I’m eating oil-free!

March 12, 2019 at 05:00AM

The No Meat Athlete Sauce System!

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The No Meat Athlete Sauce System!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
No Meat Athlete recently put out a podcast (and accompanying blog post) about hosts Matt and Doug’s favorite healthy dinner — the grain/green/bean meal. As their post mentions, this can be as simple as a bean and veggie bowl with brown rice. Or it can be something more creative, like tempeh (counts as a bean) tacos with red cabbage (counts as a green) on corn tortillas (counts as a grain).

I know that I feel healthiest when I’m eating bean/grain/green-inspired meals, and I loved all the fresh ideas they threw out. I’ll be trying a number of them over the next few weeks. They also included a link to a past blog post on their No Meat Athlete Sauce System, a fancy name for NMA co-host Doug Hay’s favorite five whole foods-based sauce recipes and various ways to use them. You can see all the recipes and serving suggestions here.

When I was making my grocery list last week, I picked out two sauces to try. Starting meal planning with a sauce rather than the main ingredient is a new way of thinking for me, and it’s fun! After all, the sauce makes the meal. One of the sauces I selected was the Coconut Curry, which I used for this tofu stir-fry.

This fits into the grain/green/bean category since I have tofu (beans), brown rice (grains), and cauliflower and green beans (both count as greens!). Plus, there’s red pepper thrown in there for fun.

A stir-fry was one of the main uses mentioned for this easy coconut milk-based sauce, but they also suggest using it as the base of a curry soup or to add peanut butter and make peanut noodle bowls. Yum!

Other sauces in the system include a tomato sauce, lemon tahini, teriyaki, and cashew cream, with plenty of suggestions for using them all. Next week, I’ll make their recipe for tomato sauce and blend in some chickpeas (Matt’s suggestion for sneaking beans into pasta) and then serve it over whole wheat pasta with kale and mushrooms.

March 8, 2019 at 06:00AM

Pizza & Injera & Noodles!

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Pizza & Injera & Noodles!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
This week has been filled with some of my favorite foods! On Monday night, Paul and I went to a guided meditation class at Crosstown Arts (where I work), and then we went home and had PIZZA NIGHT! First of all, I should say that it’s a miracle that I convinced Paul to go to a meditation class, but he did. And though he struggled to sit still and be quiet for an hour, he did it. And I’m very proud! So a pizza celebration was called for.

I cooked a Daiya Meatless Meat Lovers Pizza (my new fave frozen pizza), and Paul grabbed a non-vegan pie from Domino’s. We watched You on Netflix and ate pizza (plus salad for me).

On Tuesday night, we had our monthly Vegan Drinks meet-up at Blue Nile, and I got the Veggie Platter with bonus tofu tibs (the tibs are a $3 up-charge but so worth it). Ethiopian is my FAVORITE cuisine. I’m practicing stopping eating when I’m full (it’s hard), but I managed to save half of this for leftovers tonight. And tonight, I was so glad I did! This had red lentils, yellow split peas, fried tofu tibs, sauteed broccoli & green beans, collards & cabbage, stewed potatoes & carrots, green salad, beet salad, and all-you-can eat injera bread. 
This weekend, Paul ordered the Tofu Veggie Noodle Soup from Crazy Noodle and ended up only eating a small portion. So he left me the leftovers. I boosted them up with extra tofu and mushrooms and had that for dinner last night after our Crosstown Run Crew meet-up. Enjoyed while watching TV (and watching Maynard enjoy a treat).
And finally, cause I know you’re probably sick of seeing oats (but oh well), here’s another Berry Oatmeal Bowl with cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries (cooked into the oats), topped with banana and chia-flax peanut butter.

March 1, 2019 at 06:00AM

Home Cookin’ + Burgers + Buns

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Home Cookin’ + Burgers + Buns

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a random food round-up, so I’m reaching way back for a few of these meals — like back in early February when I visited my parents so my dad could help me do my taxes. My mom and dad cooked a big ole Southern supper that night! Vegan Chicken & Dumplins, Air-fried Okra, Fried Potatoes with Chow Chow, Slow-Cooked Collards, and Homemade Dinner Rolls. YUM!

Paul and I ran the Stanky Creek 8K+ (about 5.5 miles) a few weeks ago, and afterward, we celebrated with burgers and beers from Huey’s. I got the Beyond Burger again (love this new vegan option from Memphis’ favorite burger joint!), but I ordered it West Coast-style this time with vegan smoked gouda, avocado, and vegan mayo. Side of steamed veggies (but Paul shared his tots with me).
A few weeks back, I picked up a Vegan Blackeyed Pea Sausage Biscuit from the Lulu’s Memphis stall at the Cooper-Young Farmers Market. So good! I added jelly to it when I got home because sausage biscuits need jelly. Savory-sweet for the win.
And I also picked up a Lulu’s Vegan Goat Cheese & Chive Bun. Amazing. Made with Don’s homemade cashew goat cheese.
Here’s a yummy week night bowl with Mashed Potatoes, Air-fried Smoke Tofu & Mushrooms, & Gravy, plus a side of Steamed Kale.

And finally, here’s a plate of random food from a cocktail night at my co-worker Caitlin’s house. Her husband Steven made BBQ Jackfruit Sliders (so good!) and Roasted Asparagus. I brought Chips, Salsa, and Cashew Queso.

February 26, 2019 at 06:00AM

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Inspire Community Cafe

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Bluff City Vegan Eats: Inspire Community Cafe

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
There’s a new cafe in the Binghampton neighborhood that prioritizes paying their employees a living wage and offering profit sharing for their core team members. Inspire Community Cafe serves simple, healthy breakfasts and lunches — think smoothies, quinoa bowls, salads, and (non-vegan) quesadillas.

They have a few vegan options. I went there for lunch yesterday with my friend Susan and ordered the Southwest Black Bean Veggie Bowl.


You can pick between quinoa and rice as a base. The grain is tossed with well-seasoned black beans, roasted sweet corn, and fresh baby spinach. Of course I opted for the quinoa option! The quinoa was REALLY well-flavored. I’m not sure what they used, but it was probably the best quinoa I’ve been served in a restaurant.

As much as I love having decadent vegan options in restaurants, I do really like how I feel after I eat something super-healthy and whole foods-based like Inspire’s quinoa bowl.

There’s also a black bean & sweet potato bowl, and any salad can be made vegan. Plus, there’s a veggie chili that can be served over quinoa or rice. Inspire also sells locally made vegan cookies by Araba’s Sweet Spot. I probably should have bought one, but I was really trying to avoid sugar yesterday!

The space is super-cute with hand-crafted tables and artwork created by Binghampton neighborhood kids from the Carpenter Art Garden.

Inspire Community Cafe is located at 510 Tillman Street.

February 22, 2019 at 06:00AM

Ben & Jerry’s New Vegan Flavor!

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Ben & Jerry’s New Vegan Flavor!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
I’m not sure how I got on the Ben & Jerry’s marketing list, but I’m sure glad I did! For the past couple years, around this time, they ship me the new vegan flavors to try and review. Last week, the latest vegan flavor — Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (!!!!!) arrived at my office in a cooler of dry ice. Yes, my co-workers were envious.

For the record, I did try to share. But the dry ice makes the ice cream too hard to scoop, so I wasn’t able to dig in until I got home and transferred it to my freezer. Oh well. More for me!

I’ve long said that Ben & Jerry’s makes the best vegan ice creams. And that’s still the case. Especially with this one! You know how most cookie dough ice creams are mostly vanilla with a few little cookie dough gobs here and there? Not the case here at all. This creamy almond milk-based ice cream is LOADED with chewy cookie dough bits.

As I was spooning a serving out, it was impossible to get a spoonful that didn’t have 4-5 dough bits. That means that every bite provides that creamy, chewy satisfaction.

PB & Cookies is still my number-one, but I think this may be a close number two! Plus, there’s another new B&J’s vegan flavor, Chocolate Caramel Cluster (chocolate with peanuts, fudge chunks, and salted caramel swirl). So I’ll have to find that one soon!

Thanks Ben & Jerry’s for making the world a better place.

February 21, 2019 at 06:00AM

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