Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Vegan Thanksgiving

This pretty much sums it up:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dr. Fuhrman's Super Immunity Food Rules

I picked up Dr. Fuhrman's new book, Super Immunity, at the National Conference to End Factory Farming. I had him dedicate to my Uncle Mel, who has colon cancer, and before sending it to him, I skimmed the book. From it, I gleaned a few rules that I hope to follow in my day-to-day life. Here's one set- Dr. Fuhrman's Food Rules.
  1. Eat a large salad every day.
  2. Eat at least one-half cup serving of beans/legumes in soup, salad, or another dish once daily.
  3. Eat at least three fresh fruits a day, especially berries, pomegranate seeds, cherries, plums, oranges.
  4. Eat at least one large (double-size) serving of green veggies daily, either raw, steamed, or in soups and stews.
He also advocates that you avoid these Five Deadliest Foods:
  1. Barbecued meat, processed meat, and commercial red meat
  2. Fried foods (sigh... french fries)
  3. Full-fat dairy and trans fats
  4. Soft drinks, sugar, and artificial sweeteners
  5. White-flour products

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Restaurant Review: V-Note

Bonjour, friends! It's been awhile since I've posted here, but after a petite internal debate, I decided that I've missed the vegan tomato and think this would be a great place to talk my journey back to veganism. And to talk about FOOD! So let's get started, shall we?

I'm lucky to now live in one of the most, if not the most, vegan-friendly city in the world.  The sheer number of stellar vegan restaurants, bakeries, ice cream parlors, etc. in this city astonish and delight me, particularly when you consider how relatively vegan-friendly most general eateries are (aside from crazy upscale restaurants that pretty much worship the slaughtering of animals for meat - believe me, I've been there as well).  Tonight I went to V-note on the Upper East Side with a darling new friend I met at Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's lecture/book-signing.  Neither the conversation nor the food disappointed.  Aren't those the best nights?

Laura had been to V-note a number of times, so I went with her recommendations.  To start, we began with the mushroom phyllo cigars - ahmazing phyllo "cigars" stuffed with porcino mushrooms and tempeh swimming in an insane sauce of cashew cream, slivered almonds and pomegranate seeds.  I could've eaten about 20 of the cigars and drunk a liter of that sauce.

We also got the cape cod cakes, which could've been excellent or terrible.  A blend of hiziki seaweed and tofu?  Hmm...  But lemme tell you something, these were SO freaking good.  While they certainly didn't taste like crab, they were tasty in their own right with a crispy outside, savory inside and a CRAZY good tartar sauce that had the perfect kick.  I want the recipe!!

For my entree, I went with a comforting fan favorite that came highly recommended by Laura - seitan scaloppini - seitan cutlets in white wine lemon-caper sauce, mashed potatoes and sauteed kale.  While this was definitely delicious, I wasn't as in love with it as I was with the appetizers.  It was just a little too sauce-y and salty for my taste, but I think that's just how scaloppini is (I've never really ordered it to be honest).  That being said, the combination of the chewy seitan (which was done quite well), potatoes and kale (which was sauteed to perfection) was incredibly well done.

Finally - time for dessert!  I had a mediocre dessert experience at Peacefood Cafe (which I need to do a review of because their food was SO FREAKING GOOD - best dumplings EVER) a couple months ago, so I was ready for some excellentay vegan dessert.  As soon as I saw the first item on the menu, I knew it was meant to be - chocolate ganache cake with a peanut butter center.  It came with a scoop of some kind of vegan ice cream (SO GOOD) in a pool of crushed nuts (I think they were macadamia, but I couldn't tell - either way, they were delicious and crunchy and perfect).  The combination was blow-your-mind-good.  Decadent, a perfect combination of sweet and salty, with a cool and creamy ice cream complement.  Drool...

Laura got the blossom cheesecake, which was very surprisingly delicious.  The consistency was spot on, and it kind of really tasted like cheesecake if you can believe it!  I didn't snap a pic, but I sure did take a few bites.  :)

All in all, an excellent experience at V-note.  I give it an A-minus for food and a B for ambiance (I don't know what it is about vegan restaurants, but the interior design always needs some serious work)!  I will most definitely be going back (am eager to try their brunch).  V-note is under the same restaurant umbrella as Blossom, Blossom du Jour and Cocoa V (all of which are mere minutes away from my apartment!).

Stay tuned for more restaurant reviews - this weekend I'm going to Candle 79 and in a couple of weeks I'm going to Pure Food & Wine.  Have I mentioned how much I love this city?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Falling Off the Wagon/An Experiment

Today was a bit stressful work-wise and after an unsatisfying lunch, I found myself craving a cupcake. In my very professional opinion, the best cupcakery here in Austin is Sugar Mama's Bakeshop, and lucky me, Sugar Mama's makes vegan cupcakes as well. I checked the menu, and today's vegan pick was one I've been wanting to try for ever: Birthday Cake - "A scrumptious vegan strawberry vanilla cake with an almond whipped cream topping."

Also on today's menu? Banana Puddin' - "Moist banana cake filled with banana pastry cream, topped with fresh whipped cream and a miniature vanilla wafer." Ohhhh Banana Puddin'... I've had it once, and it is hands down the BEST cupcake I've ever tasted. So... I bought one. Also bought a Southern Belle (red velvet) for my bestie Jenny and a new cinnamon-ginger vegan cupcake.

(Top: Birthday Cake and Banana Puddin', Bottom: Cinnamon-Ginger and Southern Belle)

During the drive back to the office, I contemplated what to do about the Banana Puddin'. To eat it or not to it... that is the question. I'm pretty sure you know how this story ended. I ate it. For 2 reasons: (1) because I wanted it; and (2) because I wanted to see how my body would respond to the first dairy products it's had in almost 2 months. It was good. Fresh whipped cream? Augh... my absolute favorite. And the banana pastry cream in the middle of the moist delicious banana cake? INSANE. It's been 3 hours, and I feel fine, if not a bit guilty. But before you roast me, let me say this...

As good as the cupcake was, it wasn't worth it. It's not enough, you know? The taste and my instant pleasure is not enough to justify the suffering I know is happening behind the scenes. Plus, I'm optimistic about the vegan ones! Going to try them tonight after dinner. Will report back.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sometimes THIS SUCKS!

This post is going to be the antithesis of the last post. I am not focusing on how good I feel or how glow-y my skin is. I'm not thinking about how it's been relatively easy to switch to a vegan diet and how I've been introduced to an entirely new world of flavors. No, this post is going to be a petit rant of why it (sometimes) sucks to be vegan.

As some of you know, I'm going to NYC at the end of the month. One of the best things about NYC is the food and luckily, there are plenty of vegan eats around. And I plan to indulge in many of them. However, none of my friends there are vegan, and I don't want to force them to eat at vegan restaurants every night. So a couple of other options were thrown on the table, and one of them is quite possibly the most unvegan restaurant ever. Enter: DBGB.

In the past, this restaurant would've appealed to me. I used to LOVE sausage. I mean, LOVE it (and yes, I know, it's like the most digusting foul meat bits possible, but I still loved it). DBGB apparently specializes in sausage (and some tres UNappealing options like pig's head and tongue). But I figured, there must be something else I can eat. I called the restaurant. Nope. I could eat a salad, and that's about it. And maybe they could put together a simple pasta dish.

Well, guess what? I don't want to eat a pathetic salad or lame pasta dish on one of my NYC nights! I want to be able to order anything off that menu, AND, more importantly, I want to be able to order those fantastic-looking sundaes. Oh man... I die. I die for those desserts. So, I'm angry. Right now, at this very moment, I wish I weren't eating vegan. I wish I could live in the blissful naivete of not knowing how my meat is raised and slaughtered, and I wish I had never read Eating Animals, the book that truly changed it all for moi. I wish I could go to NYC and eat at any restaurant I so desired. I wish I could indulge in brioche french toast and heavenly goat cheese omelettes at brunch. I wish I didn't have to worry about whether the restaurant has nondairy milk for my coffee. Right now, being vegan is a pain in the ass.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rave Reviews

I drove up to Dallas this past weekend to see my parents for Easter. Saturday night we all had dinner with my extended family, and my aunt and Dad could not stop talking about my glowing, radiant skin. My Dad said I look "REALLY healthy." And even though I can't see it, my Mom insists that I look slimmer.

It's good to be vegan.

D is for DAIYA!

After weeks and weeks of stalking Whole Foods Market and local Austin natural foods grocer Wheatsville Coop via twitter, blog, AND phone, asking and asking when Daiya cheese would be available. They all said the supplier was out of stock, but that they "should be getting it soon." After reading this, I immediately headed to the ginormous flapship Whole Foods at 5th/Lamar looking for it. I heard the "dairy guy" on the walkie talkie saying that, "Wheatsville is supposed to get it tomorrow, but I still can't place my order." That's all I needed to know! I called Wheatsville immediately - they were, in fact, scheduled to receive a shipment tomorrow. I asked if they could hold "2 packs of each" for me and to call me as soon as it was in. They did.

At $4.99 a pop, these babies are not cheap, but I stocked up just in case. Problem is, now that I have it, I don't know what to make with it! Grilled cheese and pizza have been popular choices, but I'm also considering lasagna and an insanely delicious (albeit a little disgusting if you really think about it) taco casserole that involves layers of ground beef, tortillas, lots of cheese, and crushed fritos. YUM. I'm going to veganize it with lightlife smart grounds, daiya cheese, and fritos b/c guess what? Fritos are vegan! It's comfort food at its finest (and grossest).

Any other ideas?