Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NYC - some repeats and new finds!

About a month or so ago, Jason & I went to New York City for the weekend. We've been there together a ton of times since we've been together, and each time we always have a blast and see tons of stuff! :)

This time we tried a few new places, vegan-wise, so that was really exciting for me anyways!
We bustled through the traffic on friday night and had a reservation that evening at Blossom for dinner. We've been there a few times before, and it's Jason's favorite, so of course we had to go while we were there. I did not take any pictures, due to the poor dim lighting of the restaurant and the fact that I've been there a bunch of times before. We split the Cape Cod Cakes for appetizer, basically vegan crab cakes, and they were SO good! Jason got the Port Wine Seitan which he's had before, and is really awesome, and I ordered the Pistachio and Pepper Dusted Tofu, which was a new one for me! I really enjoyed it, the pistachio crust and sauce was really good, but of course, Jason's seitan was better ;)

The next day we wandered around the city, went to central park and did a bunch of sight seeing and such. I love just walking around new york :)

For lunch we went to The Candle Cafe. We've been to Candle 79 before for dinner, which is a lot like Blossom in terms of upscale vegan gourmet food, but the cafe sounded like a good lunch idea!

I was a bit thrown off when I saw the menu, and saw that it was almost identical to the menu of Candle 79, including the prices! For a crowded and cramped "cafe", you'd expect it to at least be cheaper! However, when I see the menu for dinner I am less opt to order a sandwich or salad for dinner, so this was nice to finally try the lunchy part of the menu.

I ordered the greek salad. Which included a tofu feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and a delicious greek vinagrette dressing! I was really glad to have tried this, I loved it! :)

Jason ordered the Tuscan Seitan Parmesan Sandwich. Sorry for the bad pictures! The lighting wasn't that bad, but for some reason they just wouldn't come out clear. Anyway, he really enjoyed his sandwich :) I had a bite of it and I really liked it as well. It came with delish fries and a side of mixed greens!

For dinner that night I wanted to try a new place. Someone I knew had recommended Pukk as "the best" vegan place in nyc. Taking this recommendation into consideration, I thought we should try the best!

The inside is really small and modern looking, I liked the feel for it a lot. You basically sit on top of the people next to you, but I didn't mind the small-ness!
The menu was super small..literally. The book was so tiny and hand-held!
They had a lot to choose from on the menu though. It's an all vegetarian thai place, and since I love thai food, I was hopeing it would be really good.

I loved our appetizer! We started out with Vegetable Roll, which was mixed greens, tofu, and pickle daikon with smoked soy sauce. I loved that it wasn't fried too, I'm fonder of spring rolls that are steamed instead of fried :)

Jason's dish (and of course, the better one!). He ordered the Duck Basil which was with onion, bell peppers, and "spicy sauce". I really like mock duck a lot, almost everywhere that I've tried it I always love the consistency of it. Pukks was really really good.

My first dish. The Green Chicken Curry, which had bamboo zucchini and basil. Looks kind of like matzo ball soup, in my mind. Anyway, I took a bite out of this and really did not enjoy it. I don't know why I order Currys when I'm out, I enjoy them much more when I made them myself (I really do not like coconut milk but sometimes they make them without, but this one they definitely used coconut milk). Anyway, to make a long story short, they took the dish away and I quickly chose something else as my main.

I chose the Green Delight. This was basically just a veggie stir fry, with broccoli, spinach, and napa in a garlic sauce. I enjoyed it though, much more than the curry, so I was happy they were easy going with changing my meal.
I will say, I do not agree with the statement of Pukk being the best vegan place in nyc. (and because of this, i lost a facebook friend..true story) since I have a lot of thai places near me in pennsylvania which although they serve meat, they have an extensive vegetarian menu and are much better than Pukk! Maybe another time I would have had a better experience though..

Anyway! I saved the best part of the trip for last :)
While at a bar one of the nights, I googled on my phone where Stogo was. I had been to Lula's Sweet Apocathery before, and LOVED the ice cream there, but I heard that Stogo was just as good, if not better from some opinions. I knew I had to try it!
Just so happend the bar we were at was only a few blocks from Stogo!

Jason and I's ice creams!!
I ordered the Apple Pie A La Mode. Jason ordered the Chocolate Peanut Butter.
Why did I order the apple ice cream? I do not know, because about 2 bites in I asked Jason if he would want to trade, and luckily he said yes :) His was much better haha.
Not to mention there was skipping down the streets of NY and screaming "i got stogo!" ....but we won't go there ;)

Anyway! New york was awesome, and the new places we tried, I'm glad we got to try them! Hopefully next time we can try some more as well :)

Us in central park :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lots of Apples!

A few weeks ago a group of people at my work went on an outing to an orchard not too far from us, and came back with tons of fresh apples and pumpkins! I was quite jealous I did not get to go on this outing..
So Jason & I went to the orchard the weekend after to get some apples for ourselves!
The orchard is Highland Orchards, and not only did it have TONS of different types of apple trees, but they had a really interesting market with tons of different local produce and local foods, and a huge pumpkin farm that you could pick your own as well!
I was just interested in the apples ;)
We took the bus they had to the trees and I was more than excited to pick my own apples from the tree. Especially Granny Smith! (my absolute favorite apple!)

Yes, I ate an apple freshly picked from the tree..not sure if that was the most sanitary thing to do or not haha but hey I didn't get sick :)

so we got a smaller bag of apples, but still had waay too many that the two of us could consume in a normal amount of time.
I knew I had to find some apple recipes!

Since the weather had been getting cooler, I figured that soup was in order.
After stumbling upon different apple recipes, I knew I had some pureed pumpkin left in the fridge too, so I wanted to combine the two. This soup came out TOO good!

Apple Pumpkin Ginger Soup:
15 oz canned pureed pumpkin (I had a little less than this since I had used a bit for something previously, maybe 2 Tablespoons taken out of it?)
3 granny smith apples, peeled cored and chopped (note to self - I need an apple peeler!)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
3 cups vegetable broth
some frozen veggies (I used a bag of cauliflower)
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt to taste

In a large non-stick frying pan, mix chopped apples, onions, garlic, and ginger. Add about 1/3 cup of water and cook on medium high heat until apples and onions are soft and all the water is gone (approximately 7 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Place apple mixture into blender (I used a magic bullet..another note - i need a blender!!) and puree until smooth. It will look like an applesauce-type consistency. In a large soup pot, mix pumpkin, apple mixture, and vegetable broth. Salt to taste and add cinnamon. Toss in veggies and let cook until heated throughout. Top with more ginger and pepper and serve warm.

This was such a simple recipe and was SO tasty, especially on a cool fall day. :)

Even so, that recipe used 3 apples..I still needed another recipe to use up some more apples!

My family was coming to stay with us for the weekend to do a trip to Syracuse, and since we were leaving early in the morning, I knew something quick for breakfast would be a good idea! The Joy of Vegan Baking has succeeded yet again. I can't find a recipe from this book that isn't perfect! Definitely one of my favorites :)
I decided on the Apple Pecan Muffins. My mother is still talking about how she wants me to make them again! They were quite good.

Apple Pecan Muffins:
2 c unbleached all-purpose flower
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
4 Tablespoons of water
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped raw apples (this came to about 2 medium sized)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease your muffin tins(or use pretty papers like i did :) ) In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Mix the egg replacer and water together in a small bowl to get a thick consistency.
In a seperate bowl, mix the applesauce, oil, sugar, vanilla, and egg replacer. Whisk until creamy smooth. Add to the flour mixture and stir until well blended but do not overmix. Still in the apples and nuts. It will be thick, but that's okay. Fill the muffin tins three quarters full and bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

I definitely see these being made again while I'm home for the holidays, maybe for a thanksgiving brunch? :)

I have lots more to blog about, and I know i've been SERIOUSLY slacking..I have been quite busy lately though, but I have tons to share! Including NYC reviews and more recipes!
Till then :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

one two

After months of craziness, I finally am finding time to BLOG.
and i hope i have lots of time after this as well.
Let's see, new apartment, new roommate (aka my fiance <3), new job, a whole new atmosphere! The change was something to get used to, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now and getting into routine.
My job has been going pretty well, I had CPR training today, so that was exciting and probably a good thing to know how to do! I work with mentally and some physically disabled adults, so it's a bit of a handful at times but for the most part I've really enjoyed it so far! Not what I want to do ultimately..of course..but a step in the right direction and a job to tide me over until I go back to school and get my masters! I'm looking to do something collaborating the psychology degree I have and a masters in nutrition..perhaps nutritional therapy or become a dietician? We'll see what I choose, I've got a while before going back!
My main focus right now until I go back (which I'm planning on next January) is my health and well being, and of course, Jason and I's wedding next September!
We officially set the date and signed the papers yada yada for September 10th, 2011! Theres a lot to do before then, but I know it'll be fun and I'm really excited to marry him :) :)

I've been cooking a bit here and there while living here, although it gets tough sometimes working long days. A few weeks ago though, we made a recipe from the Candle Cafe cookbook. I've only made one thing from there before, the seitan picatta with white wine and caper sauce, so I was excited to try something new from there!
We made the Tempeh Scallopini with Shallots and Mushrooms and to go along with it the Asparagus, Almond and Tomato Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette.

Are those..Mushrooms on top?! I have a strong feeling of hatred towards mushrooms most of the time (which is a major dissapointment, and I really WANT to like them since their in so many vegetarian options but I really just don't at all) and Jason shares the mushroom hating with me, but I figured they were to add flavor to the sauce. We ended up picking them off..I did try one though! haha

I'm usually iffy about tempeh as well, and prefer seitan in mock-meat dishes, but the sauce went really well with the tempeh and I think was very good! Also, the mustard-dill dressing was awesome! I've been thinking about making a big batch of just that to keep in the fridge!

Tempeh Scallopini with Shallots and Mushrooms (from Candle Cafe) Serves 6, we halved it though.
1/4 c soy sauce
2 1/2 c water
1 garlic clove, minced
2 bay leaves
2 8 oz packages of tempeh
1/4 c evoo
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 pound white button mishrooms, thinly sliced (we just used the kind in a jar since we knew we would probably not be eating them)
1 c all purpose flour
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 c red cooking wine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix the marinade ingredients and stir well. Cut tempeh in half lengthwise, then cut into thirds to make 6 pieces per package. Place in a baking dish and pour marinage over it. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool, reserving the liquid.
In a large saute pan, heat the evoo and add garlic, shallots, and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove mushroom mix with a slotted spoon and set aside. Put the flour in a large shallow bowl and dredge the tempeh pieces. Add the marinade to the pan and heat through. Add the tempeh pieces to the pan and cook over medium heat until tempeh is nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add lemon juice and red wine to pan and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in mushroom mix and heat through. Spoon the sauce over the reserved tempeh and serve!

The salad doesn't really need a recipe, it's pretty easy, but I went by it anyway :)

Asparagus, Almond, and Tomato Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette also serves 6, we halved it too!
2-3 pounds of fresh asparagus
6 cups of fresh salad greens (we used a mesculun mix)
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c sliced almonds
Break off the tough ends of asparagus stalks and discard. In a large saucepan, bring enough lightly saletd water to cover the asparagus to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 3-5 minutes just until tender. Drain well. chill the asparagus for an hour. (we didnt wait an hour...)
Toss the greens and tomatoes together with 1/3 c of vinaigrette. toss the asparagus in a seperate bowl with 2 T of vinagrette, then place over salad greens. Sprinkle with almonds and add more dressing if you'd like.

For the dressing:
1 c safflower oil (i believe we used vegetable since that's what I had)
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 c fresh dill
2 T dijon mustard
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c water
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. :)

I'm really looking forward to trying more recipes from that cookbook, but I feel like I have so many books that have been left untouched that I need to make things from them!

In a couple of weeks we're going to NYC for the weekend and we'll be going to a few vegan places, of course :) Jason already said Blossom was a must, which I have no problem with :) We're looking to try a few new ones too though!

Hope the weather is better for everyone else! It's been so cold and rainy and dreary here, hopefully it'll get sunny again soon :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

three shooby doo

It's going to be a tough one for me to update this on a normal basis.. we cancelled our internet (even though it has not been working in over a month so thats not really a difference) and so currently i'm updating from my school library, even though i'm not technically a student anymore haha.


Things have been going pretty well. I have my ups and downs, but for the most part there have been many more ups :)

First off - Jason and I are engaged!!
We left for Disney World on the 12th of june and he proposed to me the night before.. :) :) I'm super excited to be his fiance, he means the world to me.

I really want to say what a fabulous time I had in Disney World though! Not only was it a ton of fun and great to spend all that time with Jason, but they were VERY vegan friendly! It made it super easy to get really delicious vegan meals there :)

For dinners, we had reservations each night at a difference place in one of the parks. Our first night we ate at the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Other than an awkward entrance from the host, the meal wasn't that bad. I don't have a shot of it, but it was not my favorite of the meals..basically a pasta and veggie dish. It was a cute set up though, set as a theme of a 50's kitchen.

The second night we ate at Marrakesh Restaurant in Morocco in the Epcot park.

They definitely had a great option for vegans! For our appetizer, we split the Moroccan Salad combo for two, which had hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, and tabouli with crisp pita chips!

My meal was the Vegetable Couscous. The couscous was really flavourful and fluffy and the vegetables were grilled perrrfectly :)

The live entertainment of music and a belly dancer definitely added points to the meal :)

This could have been one of my favorite meals while in Disney..

Another night we ate at the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater in Hollywood Studios.

The inside was so cool and creatively decorated! You got to eat in the back of a car :) With a huge "outdoor" movie screen in front playing old sci-fi clips. It was definitely a really cool experience for dinner.

My entree there was Seared Marinated Tofu. It was grilled tofu with a mango relish sauce with veggies and rice. The sauce was a-mazing!

What great presentation they had there as well! This probably ties with the moroccan meal as my favorite. The tofu was grilled so well, not too mushy but not overly-crisp. :)

We also ate at China in Epcot one of the nights too. I had the vegetarian stir fry, which was tofus and veggies stirfried with rice and an asian sauce. Not the most exciting meal in Disney, but it was just great to have the option at every restaurant we went to.
Also exciting - at a lot of the ice cream stands (including the one in our hotel) you can specially ask for Rice Dream or Tofutti ice cream! I had the vanilla rice dream one night, wasn't the best, but nice that they even had it!..but next time I'd ask for tofutti instead. :)

Lunches were pretty easy to do around the parks too - most of them had a veggie burger and salad option and a few of them had a grilled veggie sandwich option as well. For breakfasts, our hotel had soy milk in the fridge with cereal as well as other quick options. I think it's pretty great that Disney was able to accomodate a vegan diet so well, and made the trip even better :)

(Us in animal kingdom..which was one of my favorites, the giraffes were so cute!!)
It was a fantastic trip and the vegan options were great,...hopefully I'll be able to update sometime again soon! Hope everyone is enjoying their summers :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

guess whos back? back again..

It's been a LONG 4 1/2 months..but I'm back, and I really really REALLY want to get back to posting regularly and checking up on everyone else's a-mazing blogs! :)

So what have I done since January?
Well, to add to the "food obsessed blogging cliche'"...i ended up going in-treatment for an eating disorder at the beginning of April. Yeah, not my proudest or most glorious moment, but I did it and I'm out and yeah.
I did learn a lot being there, and I hope it carries with me..
One thing that sure doesn't fly at an eating disorder treatment place is being vegan..vegetarian was allowed though which helped a bit..
And yes, for the first time in 2 years I ate eggs (well..egg beaters) and dairy. Did I die? Did I get sick from the lack of it in my diet? No..
I ate it, and carried on.
But since I've been out, I, of course, went back to an all vegan diet and will continue to do so for the rest of my life :) :)

Since I've been out I still go to an outpatient place 3 evenings a week, so no worries, I'm still receiving some sort of care for it.

I don't usually get that personal on my blog..mostly just keep it to the food stuff, but I feel as though it's an important thing to address. Especially since SOO many blogs out there, vegan or not, are from people who are either struggling with an eating disorder or are recovered and showing inspiration for others. So I know I can relate to a lot of readers and other bloggers and not feel too off.

But hold on..that's not allll I've been dealing with since January..
Even though I had to go away in April, I still was able to finish all my tests and papers for my LAST semester of college...thus being able to walk and graduate last weekend!!

^My brother, me and my sis outside of my graduation! :)

After the graduation ceremony, we had a get together with my family and my roommate's family at our favorite Mexican place, Adobe Cafe. They catered the food, and Vegan Treats was the dessert!

The peanut butter bomb cupcakes..definitely a fave :)

My graduation was exciting and I'm SOO glad to be done with least this part of it anyway. I know grad school will be in the somewhat soon future, but for now, I'm just going to enjoy living, the summer, and trying to be care free.

This past weekend I got to try a newww vegan place in Philly that I've been wanting to go to for a while!
I've been to Govinda's before, the sandwich shop with the amazing vegan cheesesteaks and tuna wraps, but I've never eaten at the fine dining part of it.

We made a reservation there, just in case, but when we got there and for the majority of our meal, we were the only people eating there. However, they have many tables downstairs, and even more upstairs! You'd think they'd be busier..

Despite it being pretty empty, the food was definitely worth it :) Plus, they're BYOB, so bring a bottle of wine and it's even more enjoyable ;)

We started off with the black bean and roasted red pepper dip to share. It came with spinach chips as well to dip in it, and had melted vegan cheese throughout it. Definitely would get this again, the seasoning on the beans were soo good and I was glad they were whole and not pureed. The roasted red peppers were my favorite part though :)

For my meal, I got the vegan chicken caesar salad. Caesar salad used to be one of my favorites before going vegan ( i was unaware that the dressing had anchovies in it until my freshman year of college..thanks emily! haha) so I was really excited to try Govinda's vegan version. At first, I couldn't tell the difference between if I was eating a crouton or a piece of "chicken"...but I was able to differentiate between the two after having pieces of both haha. It was good though, the dressing was an orange-ish color though, as opposed to the traditional creamy looking caesar dressing, but it was really good anyway.

Jason got the Grilled Pepper Steak...which was pieces of seitan and grilled vegetables with an a-mazing sauce and then a bunch of rice in the middle haha :)
It was really good though, and the seitan was cooked perfectly. His meals are usually the better of the two haha ;)

Dessert was awesome, of course. From Vegan Treats, was the peanut butter bomb cake! Anything with their peanut butter bombs on top is a favorite :)

For brunch the next day, we went to Honey's Sit 'n Eat on north 4th street. I've heard about this place before for brunch and that they had a few vegan options..

However, as far as brunch went, the only option was really the tofu scramble, which was okay because I really wanted it anyway. They also had veggie sausage, which Jason got with his non-vegan brunch, but he said was pretty good. The tofu was good, but most scrambles usually taste the same..can't really mess them up!
I'm not sure if I'd go back here for brunch again, as I would have to get the same thing.. Mi-Lah definitely has a great vegan brunch though on the weekends, with TONS of options! :)

Hopefully I'll be posting again soon and keep up with this again,I've really missed it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

so much for resolutions

Let's pretend that I have updated once a week like I said I would.. ;)

Anyway! Unfortunately, I don't know where my cord for my camera is, which has a TON of pictures and good food that I've made and gotten in the past few weeks that I really want to share..but I can't seem to do that without uploading them :( boo.

Hopefully I'll find a cord I can use or find a place to buy one soon though...
I do have a few foods from before then though that i've made..(from thanksgiving, wow that was a while ago) BUT they were good regardless so I'll share :)

For the meal

This was a cabbage salad that my mom made, and it was abbbbbsolutely delish! Not quite traditional thanksgiving-ish food..but it would be really good to whip up anytime. It had ramen noodles in it, which added a nice different crunch to it with vinegar and cabbage. She has the recipe, but I'd definitely make it again soon..

For dessert I made two things. This was the apple cobbler that I made, which was a lot like the one I made last year. I used granny smith apples, peeled and corred, with a crumble on top consisting of oats, brown sugar, and vegan margarine. It was really good and not toooo sweet which was nice with the apples.

I've never had pumpkin pie since this one. Last year I attempted to try pumpkin pie by making a chocolate pumpkin pie... I think I ate one bite and couldn't eat any more. I really did not like it, maybe it was the chocolate mixed with pumpkin that threw me off. Anyway, I did think this pie was eat-able. edible? hmm...
haha it's quite strange, I really like pumpkin flavored things, like coffee and tea and such..but not quite a fan of pumpkin pie. I'm a strange one, I know.
Other people enjoyed it though, so I blame my tastebuds :)

Vegan Pumpkin Pie (that other people will like if you don't like pumpkin pie) ;)

1 16 oz can pureed pumpkin
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2-3 T cornstarch
1 package of silken tofu
9" vegan pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Blend pumpkin and sugar. Add salt, spices, cornstarch, and tofu and mix well. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 and bake for an hour. Chill and serve.

Not going to lie, when I first blended it all and put it in the shelll, I thought woo its done! and was about to put it in the fridge without baking it! haha such a pumpkin pie newwwwbie. :)

So sorry for old shtuff, however they're quite good anyway and needed to be touched on ;)

I have lots of good stuff to share (think AWESOME reviews of products from Christmas, as well as a recipe from Candle 79!! )

So I'm hoping that I'll be able to find something to upload my pictures for soon!
Off to class in a bit, only the 2nd week and I'm already feeling the bore of classes...hurry up may!! :)