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Date Weekend in Nashville


Date Weekend in Nashville

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
Paul and I had plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Saturday with a date night dinner at Kayne Prime. It’s a fancy steakhouse in Nashville with vegan options, and he had a huge gift card that he’d won in a work contest. Wouldn’t have been our first choice, but free food and drinks!

But I arrived in Nashville on Saturday afternoon, about four hours before our dinner plans. And I was hangry. So I made a pit stop at The Southern V. I was planning to order their Fried Chick’n Salad since I figured that’d be a lighter option before dinner. I mean, it’s still topped with fried seitan, but you know, greens make it light, right? This was perfect with their vegan ranch! And I added a little hot sauce to the chicken to make it Nashville hot chicken.

They do sell a Nashville hot version of this salad, but I prefer to add hot sauce to taste. The salad was all I was planning to order. But when I got to the counter, I saw Glazed Vegan Doughnuts. And, well, I just HAD to. Y’all, this was the best doughnut I’ve EVER had — better than Voodoo, better than Revolutions, better than Five Daughters. The Southern V only makes them on Saturdays, so if you’re ever planning a trip, go there on Saturday!
Our reservations at Kayne Prime were for 7:45 pm, but it was closer to 8:30 before they were able to seat us. Good thing I ate all that fried food! I started with my new cocktail of choice, an Old Fashioned.
Last time Paul and I ate here, we started with the Truffle Fries & Sambal Ketchup, and they were our favorite part of the meal! These are drowned in truffle oil. So good. Of course we had to get some again.
Last time I was there, the daily Green Plate (the veg option) was the most delicious cauliflower steak! But this time, they were offering a less exciting Pasta Primavera with roasted veggies and mushrooms. It was good, and I loved the rolled pasta. But this was a little oily for me. The cauliflower steak was definitely my fave of the two. 
Unfortunately, Paul wasn’t happy with his meal at all. So it was kind of a bust. But we went out for beers afterward and made the best of it.
The next morning, we’d planned to go on an 11-mile run together — the last long run in our training cycle before the Little Rock Half-Marathon. But Paul has been having calf issues and decided to sit it out. So I headed out on the Hendersonville (that’s the suburb where he works) Greenway on my own. Had a lovely run and saw lots of native birds and even some seagulls (yes, we have those in Tennessee in the winter!). After my run, I was famished, and we headed to Graze, our usual vegan brunch spot. There was an hour wait for a table, so we had a couple beers at the Mexican joint across the street while we waited.
I ordered the Tofu Rancheros — corn tortillas topped with tofu scramble, black beans, salsa, guac, and cashew cream. So good! And a nice healthy, whole foods-y change after a day of fried food and oily pasta. Worth the wait!
Paul’s family made plans for us to all go out to Bavarian Bierhaus, a German restaurant in the Opry Mills Mall, for dinner. When I heard about this, I was a little concerned. What on earth could I eat there? Besides pretzels and beer? But lo and behold, they had a VEGAN MENU! Of course, I still started with an appetizer of a Giant Pretzel.
And a beer.
From the vegan menu, I chose the Tempeh with Veggies. This was a sauteed tempeh with asparagus, red pepper, and spinach. Very good! Probably not really German, but that’s okay. I’m so glad they had options!
Here’s a family shot! Everyone else was eating schnitzel and currywurst. Paul’s family hails from the Netherlands (where his dad met his mom while he was serving in the US Air Force), so they all spent plenty of time in Germany eating this way. Notice the men in lederhosen on stage playing traditional German music. 🙂
It was such a fun experience! My mom’s side of the family came over from Germany several generations ago, so it was cool to get a little taste of my family’s culture. They even had a small shop selling German treats, and I got some curry ketchup to take home. Love that stuff!
One more thing — on the way to Nashville (and on the way back), I stopped at the Pilot gas station in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee (a tiny town that’s also home to Loretta Lynn’s mansion). And look what I found! VEGAN CREAMER!! I didn’t even know this was a thing!!!!

February 20, 2019 at 05:30AM

Bread Bowls, Bean Bowls, and So Many Bowls of Oats


Bread Bowls, Bean Bowls, and So Many Bowls of Oats

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
Today’s random meal round-up is brought to you by bowls — those amazing vessels that can instantly turn any meal into comfort food!

Bowls made from dinnerware material are great and all, but you know what’s better? Bowls you can eat. Like this Bread Bowl with Potato Corn Chowder from Imagine Vegan Cafe. 

Our friend Don (of Lulu’s Baked) created some bread bowls for Imagine to use for last week’s soup special. Imagine owner Kristie texted me that morning to let me know I should not miss the bread bowl special, so I made sure to dine there after yoga class. The bread was amazing. The soup was delicious on a cold, rainy night. Yes, I ate the whole thing.

Don’t let anyone tell you that carbs are bad for you. Carbs are fuel. Sure, white bread isn’t the most nutritious bread, but it’s okay sometimes.

As I’ve mentioned here before, my favorite go-to meal when I’m in a hurry and have nothing prepared is a Bean/Grain/Green Bowl like this one — white beans, brown rice, steamed kale and broccoli, kraut, garlic tahini sauce.

I’ve been switching a few of my weekday breakfast smoothies out for oatmeal bowls lately. Like this one with almond butter, blueberry, banana, and flax.

And this one with strawberry, banana, blueberry, walnuts, and flax.
I’ve learned that Overnight Oats work best on mornings when I have gym classes and get home later than I do when I run. It’s hard to eat a bowl of hot oats quickly, but you can scarf down cold oats. I’ve been making mine the night before with chia seed, maple, and almond milk. And then I top with fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds in the morning. Hey look, it’s a jar! Not a bowl!
Here’s something else not in a bowl — a pre-race (before the Crosstown 10K) slice of Sprouted Grain Toast with Peanut Butter, Blueberries, and Banana.

February 14, 2019 at 06:00AM

Ramen & Cauliflower & Weird Meals


Ramen & Cauliflower & Weird Meals

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
This random meal round-up is brought to you by weird cravings, terrible lighting, and rushed lunches. You’re welcome. 🙂

I’ll start with this delicious bowl of Vegetable Lemongrass Ramen at Atomic Tiki, a tiki bar in my neighborhood. They used to have more vegan options on the menu, but they’ve changed the menu again. There are only a couple of vegan items left, including this delicious bowl (which you have to order sans egg to be vegan). But I’ve been told by the owner, who is awesome, that they can pretty much make anything vegan by subbing out tofu for meat.

Sweet score at Target! Sweet Earth Cauliflower Mac! This frozen meal combines vegan cheese sauce with pasta and cauliflower. It’s really good. Made a great desk lunch with a side salad.
Terribly lit photo of a really tasty Black Bean & Sweet Potato Quesadilla on a sprouted grain wrap, topped with salsa, served with a side of roasted veggies (cabbage, onion, carrot, potato, squash).
Rushed photo (because I was hangry) of a Smoked Tofu Veggie Wrap with Air-fried Kale Chips. My dad got a smoker, and now he’s keeping me stocked in smoked tofu. YES! I had some of that smoked tofu here in a whole wheat wrap with cucumber, carrot, green olive, lettuce, and hummus. 
Another desk lunch! I made these Red Bean & Brown Rice Burgers (using the No Meat Athlete veggie burger formula) a couple weeks ago and froze the leftovers. Had one last week with leftover roasted veggies. 
And finally — here’s a plate that satisfied all my weird cravings for spicy, salty, and fried. I made my dad’s Air-fried Buffalo Cauliflower (the best!) with cashew ranch and served with Air-fried French Fries (the Alexia kind from a bag) with BBQ sauce and Steamed Kale. 

February 13, 2019 at 06:00AM

Lulu’s Baked School Lunch Brunch!


Lulu’s Baked School Lunch Brunch!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
Our friends Don and Kenzie hosted another Lulu’s brunch at Fuel Cafe this weekend! They’re hosting these amazing pop-up brunches several times a month now!

I had an 8K trail race on Sunday at 2 pm, so I almost skipped it for fear that I’d eat too much and feel gross on my run. But after Don posted the theme/menu, I knew I HAD to be there. They went with a school lunch theme! Square breakfast pizzas (like the shape of the school pizza that fit onto the square lunch tray) and a regional cinnamon roll & chili bowl.

Of course, I got the Breakfast Pizza. Because pizza. Don has access to an amazing pizza oven at Fuel, so I knew this would be a winner. Topped with cashew cheese, tofu scramble, and blackeyed pea sausage. Served with an arugula salad and apple slices. Get it? Like school! Pizza served with salad and fruit.

The pizza was A-MAZING, and it worked wonders as race fuel later in the day. I wasn’t too stuffed, and I had lots of energy. Yay carbs! As for arugula, I’m not a fan. But I ate it all because I’m a plate cleaner, and I know it’s good for me.

Jennifer ordered the Cinnamon Rolls with Chili, which is something Kenzie ate in school growing up in Missouri. It must be a Missouri thing because I’ve never heard of this dish! But I was very intrigued and totally would have ordered this if pizza wasn’t an option. I love savory and sweet together.

By the way, Jennifer — who hails from Michigan and also hadn’t heard of this — immediately pulled the rolls out of the chili and wiped them off, saving them for dessert. Ha! Our friend Anthony ordered this too, and he ate it the right way, taking a bite of cinnamon roll with a bite of chili each time. He said it was delicious.

Susan ordered The Big Brekky. Don typically offers something more standard like this. The dish changes each time, but it usually include tofu scramble and potatoes. This time he added vegan cheese and shiitake toast.

The next Lulu’s pop-up brunch is next Sunday at Fuel, beginning at 11 am. If you’re local, check it out!

February 12, 2019 at 06:00AM

New ALWAYS menu at Crosstown Arts!


New ALWAYS menu at Crosstown Arts!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
I work at Crosstown Arts, a contemporary arts center located inside a massive former Sears headquarters that’s been revitalized as Crosstown Concourse into a mixed-use space with arts, education, healthcare, restaurants, retail, and residential apartments. At Crosstown Arts, we host art exhibitions, musical performances, a full-scale artist residency program, youth art workshops, and more. We also have a cocktail bar and a plant-based cafe.

The cafe is based on the concept of TODAY and ALWAYS. We have a TODAY menu of daily specials that change out often, and we have an ALWAYS menu of standards that are always available (at least for several months). But that ALWAYS menu will change with the seasons, and we just released a new version of that menu.

I haven’t made it through the full menu yet, but I wanted to share a few of the new dishes. My fave so far is this Grilled Zucchini Squash Sandwich with green tomato chow chow and vegan herb aioli on house-made bread (all of our breads and pastries are baked fresh by our baker, Ali).

I know what you’re thinking — a vegetable sandwich can be such a cop-out. But not THIS vegetable sandwich. Chef Raymond must season this with gold because it is A-MAZING. The chow chow makes it tangy and slightly spicy. The veggies are grilled to perfection. I subbed vegan cheese for the Swiss that typically comes on the sandwich, and it was so good.

The new menu also features Chef Raymond’s Three-Bean Hummus, served with fresh veggies and warm pita. Best hummus ever.

The Tempeh Chili & Buffalo Cauliflower is to die for. The hearty chili is topped with crispy, spicy cauliflower and vegan cheese toast! The cafe does serve some dairy, but this one is vegan by default. That said, they’re happy to sub vegan cheese for any dish that has dairy cheese.

And finally, here’s the Tofu & Grits — another fave new dish! Chunks of marinated, baked tofu topped with wilted spinach and sauteed peppers and onions over creamy corn grits. And it’s all brought together with redeye gravy. Very Southern! Very good!

There’s also a new Fried Oyster Mushroom Faux Boy on the menu that I can’t wait to try and Raymond’s Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup with acorn squash and sweet potatoes. Check out the full ALWAYS menu here, and see daily specials on the Facebook page.

February 8, 2019 at 06:00AM

Lunar New Year Eats


Lunar New Year Eats

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
I LOVE a holiday. ANY HOLIDAY! Especially if it involves special foods. Yesterday, I celebrated the Year of the Pig with good luck foods.

For dinner, I whipped up a simple stir-fry with Korean rice cakes (for prosperity!), broccoli, squash, and mushrooms. I used gochujang, ginger, and soy sauce to season. I love, love, love these chewy little rice cakes, but I so often forget to cook with them. I keep a bag in my deep freezer at all times.

On the side, I steamed some Nasoya Thai-Basil Vegetable Dumplings (for success!). These pre-made dumplings are vegan and super-convenient. I also keep these stashed in the deep freezer.

I read that you’re also supposed to eat oranges (for good health!) on the Lunar New Year. So my dessert was a naval orange and some orange dark chocolate from Wei Joyful (this amazing chocolate was in my February Goddess Provisions box). Btw, Maynard totally thought this orange was a ball! Silly dog. He was pretty disappointed when I ate it.

February 7, 2019 at 06:00AM

Whole Foods & Bread Foods


Whole Foods & Bread Foods

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
This post of random meals is a pretty accurate representation of how I’m eating these days — plenty of healthy, whole foods with some decadent breads and treats mixed in. We’ll start with this image of a very healthy meal that I made last week — Sauteed Swiss Chard & Chickpeas Over Creamy Grits.

Technically, I used plain ole cornmeal instead of grits because that’s what I had. But the only difference is how finely the grain is milled. Cornmeal makes for lovely grits replacement. The Swiss . chard and chickpeas were sauteed with onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and a little bit lemon juice. Simple and delicious.

On Friday night, my friend Megan came over to celebrate the pagan holiday of Imbolc — the midway point between winter and spring. Traditionally, seeded foods were eaten as a symbol of the Earth’s fertility. So we made seeded bread! It was a fun activity to do together. We took turns mixing (but she pretty much handled the kneading. I hate kneading!). Very good bread!

The next morning, I stopped by the Lulu’s Baked booth at the Cooper-Young Farmers Market for a Morning Bun (and not pictured because I ate it, Snickerdoorle!). Don’s vegan morning buns are like a cross between a cinnamon roll and a croissant.

Here’s a bowl of Oats with Nectarines & Blueberries that I had for breakfast yesterday. I’ve had smoothies for breakfast pretty much daily since October, and I’m getting a little bored with it. So I’ll be doing oats for awhile (with smoothies mixed in when I’m pressed for time).

And finally, here’s a Baked Potato with Chili (made with Beyond beef and beans) & Nooch. Paul and I had this for dinner last night. I put the potatoes in the Crock Pot and let them bake all day. Crock Pot potatoes are the best! Just wrap with foil and put them in the Crock Pot on low for 8 hours.

February 6, 2019 at 06:00AM

Vegan Superbowl at RP Tracks


Vegan Superbowl at RP Tracks

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
I love Superbowl snacks, and most years, we stay home and eat homemade vegan buffalo wings, chips and dip, and other festive finger foods. But we don’t have cable at home, and finding a way to stream the game online is always a hassle. So this year, we opted to watch the Superbowl at RP Tracks — a college sports bar by the University of Memphis. And our friend Misti joined us!

We grabbed a table right by the biggest TV and ordered a couple 22-ounce beers to get started. Paul and I got there early to save the table, but we wanted to wait until game time to order food. So we got an appetizer of Buffalo Tofu to hold us over. These crispy strips are coated in buffalo sauce. They’re really good!

That satisfied us over until the game started, but I was pretty hungry by then. Paul and I always split an order of BBQ Tofu Nachos when we go to Tracks. So that’s what we did! Here’s a terrible photo taken after I’d dug in. As you can see, we brought our own homemade guac because Tracks doesn’t serve guac anymore (they used to!).

We get our chips on the side and the toppings — crispy BBQ tofu, black beans, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeno are served in a separate pan. It doesn’t make for a very pretty meal that way, but it’s much easier to eat. Here’s what the nachos look like served as is (this is from an old picture I’d taken before I discovered the "chips on the side" pro tip).

The game itself (and the halftime show) was probably the most boring Superbowl of all time. But at least the food was delicious!

February 5, 2019 at 04:00AM

A Running Update!


A Running Update!

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
As some of you may remember, I fractured my foot two times last year! First, while training for the Nashville Rock & Roll Marathon back in April 2018 and again (the same foot) while training for the Stanky Creek 50K back in August 2018. I don’t why the original injury happened (possibly related me trying to tape my foot so I could still run with plantar fasciitis), but I’m certain the re-fracture was due to me jumping straight into 50K training after healing from the first fracture.

It was dumb, but like so many other runners, I do lots of dumb things in the name of running. I took a full four months off running after the second fracture, and I finally got back into my sport in time for the St Jude 5K last December. Now that my foot is feeling good, I’ve decided to make 2019 a do-over year. I’ve signed up for (or are signing up for) all of the same races as last year, many of which I didn’t get to run.

I’m currently training for the Little Rock Half-Marathon (check out this inspirational sidewalk chalk I spotted on last Saturday’s 9-miler!).

I declared 2018 the "Year of Trail Running" when I launched the year with the Memphis Runners Track Club Winter Off-Road Series. This set of four trail races — a 3K, 5K, 8K, and 10K — acted as my intro to trail running. I’d long been a road runner, but after spending some time in the woods, I’d found my true love. So I re-registered again this year. We did the Overton Park 3K in early January! My friend Megan and partner Paul also signed up for the WORS series this time, so it’s been great to have friends to run with! Last year, I did most of the series by myself.

Btw, I was super-sick during that 3K (two days into a bad cold), but I did it anyway. Not my best race, but it felt good to get outside.

Two weekends ago, we all ran the second race in the series — WC Johnson 5K. It was COLD day (in the 30s!), but we survived.

The next two WORS races — Stanky Creek 8K and the Shelby Farms 10K — are coming up in February, and I can’t wait! And this weekend, I’ll run the Crosstown 10K in my neighborhood (starting and ending at Crosstown Concourse, where I work). I ran that last year (the first year for that race) as well.

Next up is the Little Rock Half (I ran that last year) in March. And then Paul and I have signed up to run the Nashville Rock & Roll together in April. That’s the one I didn’t get to run last year because I broke my foot on my last long run before the race. This will be Paul’s first marathon, so maybe it’s best that I was forced to wait and run it with him.

I also plan to run the Great American River Run Half in downtown Memphis this May (signed up last year but had to downgrade to the 5K as my first injury had just barely healed). And finally, my end goal is the Stanky Creek 50K — a trail race on the Stanky Creek bike trails!! I volunteered at the race last year since I couldn’t run it, and I was inspired by all the people out there pushing themselves beyond their limits. Can’t wait to make it happen this year!

February 1, 2019 at 06:15AM

Supplements for Vegans


Supplements for Vegans

This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
Typically when I review products, they’re items that were sent to me expressly for the purpose of featuring on my blog (of course I let companies know that I’ll offer an honest review, and if I don’t like something about a product, I’ll include that in my review). But other times, I just love a product I’ve purchased so much that I want to tell everyone about it. And that’s the case with Complement Plus.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you might know that I’m a No Meat Athlete fangirl. I’ve listened to all the back episodes of the podcast, cooked plenty of dishes from both NMA cookbooks, and I’m a member of the No Meat Athlete Tribe/Pulse Community (meaning I donate a small amount each month to support the work of the NMA team).

Matt Frazier, the founder of No Meat Athlete, also serves as the Chief Outreach Officer for Alpine Organics, a new-ish supplement company that makes products designed for vegans. I learned about Complement on his podcast and subscribed right away last year! At the time, the original Complement was a D3, B12, and EPA/DPA supplement available in spray form (and it still is!). 

But just this month, they’ve released another product called Complement Plus – a capsule that contains B12, D3, EPA/DHA, Iodine, K2, Magnesium, Selenium, and Zinc. According to Alpine Organics, which relies on medical advice of Dr. Joel Kahn, B12, D3, and EPA/DHA are the three essential nutrients missing from a plant-based diet.

So those are covered here. Plus, you get Iodine and Zinc (two important minerals not abundantly found in plant-based foods), K2 (which can only be found in natto, and who eats that everyday?), Selenium, and Magnesium. Before I started taking Complement Plus this month, I was taking the Complement spray for my essentials, taking a magnesium capsule to help me sleep and prevent headaches, and eating a daily brazil nut for selenium. 

And now I can get everything in three handy pills every morning! Complement Plus is offered by subscription. A two-month supply is $70, which is about what I was spending on vitamins from the store anyway. If you’re interested, check it out!

January 31, 2019 at 06:00AM

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