Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tasty Bite Giveaway!!! [CLOSED]

A few months ago, the folks over at TastyBite sent me a box of goodies to try.  I haven't even gotten through all of the stuff yet! It's good, quick, easy to make Asian foods (mostly Indian).  And they have a ton of vegan foods!! I did a post about some of the items here. The other day I tried the Thai Lime Rice. Heated it up in the microwave very quickly. I served it with one of my own Indian veggie dishes and it really brought out the coconut and lime flavors of the rice!

So......they sent me a second box of all this stuff, by mistake. I asked if I could give it away, and they agreed. Here's what you'll win in this giveaway:

A whole box of goodies! Here are the rules for the giveaway:

To enter this giveaway:
Leave a separate comment for EACH entry & leave your email if it's not public!

Mandatory entry:
Visit Tasty Bite's website and tell me which product you'd love to try!

Extra Entries:
1. "Like" my Facebook page AND leave a comment there.
2. Blog about this on your blog and leave a link here.
3. Tweet about this giveaway including @TanyaTheViolist
4. Follow me on Twitter
5. Follow me via Google Friend Connect.

Giveaway ends on January 5th, 2011 at noon CST.


Eat Smart,

Monday, December 27, 2010

More good eats, beets, & a new veggie dinner

So my SD card reader decided it didn't want to work today. I used to have this problem quite often.....but it hasn't happened in forever! Maybe later I'll go search for a cable, OR....use my laptop instead. So the TastyBite giveaway will have to wait a day or two. Sorry!

I hope you've all been having a nice holiday or winter break.  Mine's been pretty boring, but I've been able to keep up with my workout schedule and walking. The weather has been insane. One or two days in the 70's, then down to the 40's...then back up to the 70's...etc. I can't keep up!

We went to our CSA before Christmas and picked up a HUGE box:

Too much stuff to mention, but lots of greens, rice, coffee, tomatoes, and citrus!

I also recently tried a new frozen entree. Now I don't often eat these things....but once in a while when you're just not in the mood to cook and you want something with a specific amount of calories, etc.....found this:

Moo Moo's Poblano Chick(Pea) Patties. They're vegan and gluten free! And low in calories. Very tasty indeed! And they don't skimp....there was plenty of food in the box.  I'll let you know when I try another one.

And look at this cool cauliflower I found at the store. It was too colorful not to buy it. However, the color seemed to fade in you can see in one of my Indian meals:

Oh, and there were beets in the CSA box.....and they came with all the greens. I had to cut them off in order to fit them in the fridge and needed to figure out what to do with them. Lindsay over on Twitter suggested I saute them with garlic and olive oil.  Thanks! I sauteed them in a little water, with some minced garlic. Then when it was done, I added just a tiny bit of Earth Balance on top. Delicious! I love beet greens...this was the first time I'd ever eaten them:

Ok, that's all folks. I will try to post that giveaway before the New Year....!!!! It's a whole box of goodies :)

One last thing...any thoughts on how difficult it will be to change the name of my blog? If people follow in a reader, how will I be able to tell them my new name & url??

Eat smart,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dining at Emeril's (don't do it)

About a week ago, a friend had a birthday lunch at Emeril's of New Orleans.  I scanned the menu a week before, wondering what I was going to be able to eat there.  I ended up calling them a few days before the reservation and asking about vegan options.  The woman on the phone was very nice and asked me to look over the menu and see what they could "veganize". Well, everything was served around some sort of hunk of meat or fish, so I picked out some items they were served with, like grilled vegetables, succotash, etc...and said they could base something around that. I also told her I didn't want any pasta (that seems to be the go-to vegetarian dish everyone wants to make, but it's just not that healthy and too high calorie for me).  She agreed and said she was making notes in the reservation, just to mention it to the waiter when we arrived.  No problem!

So, dining day came.....we arrived. Really nice looking place. They had a big table set up for 12 or so. It was all so fancy! They had some good beer and wine on the menu, so S ordered some of that to start. When the waiter came around to take our orders...we were last.  I mentioned that I'd called ahead and ordered two vegan dishes (I assumed he'd know or just check the reservation on the computer). He said "Ok, two vegetarian  dishes."  Again, I assumed he'd check, so I didn't have to re-explain they were to be vegan and what that is, etc...S said right away after he left that we weren't going to be getting vegan food. He thought that since the waiter said "vegetarian" it would be only vegetarian, and not vegan. I didn't think that at all.  I just didn't want to have to go through the whole explanation about what vegan is, so I didn't correct him. Like I said before, I thought he'd go check the "notes". We didn't order any appetizers or salads, because we knew we'd have to ask for no this and no that, etc.  We watched everyone else eat their soups and gumbos.....they enjoyed them.

The main courses arrived.  The waiter brought out two of the exact same dishes.....S was right.  They were NOT vegan. I saw right away there was cream sauce all over it and breaded this and that.  I asked the waiter, and he took mine away to be replaced. S ate his, because he hates being a pain in the butt at restaurants. As everyone was finishing up their meals, the waiter came back with my newly veganized dish of the same thing that S got. (and no apology) No breaded stuff, no cream sauce...yay! It looked pretty good, although not a ton of food.  I picked off the soggy sweet potato chips from the top of the cooked vegetables. They were tasty, but soggy.  I really did like the vegetables...they were a bit sweet, but had a nice flavor.  Then I put the spoon into the succotash and then in my mouth...oh.......the salt!  It was so salty I could barely eat it.  Is that their solution? If they can't put cream or butter on it.....they have to just add a ton of salt?  Very disappointing.  Anyway, S ate the rest of it, since he likes salt.  And those toasted bread slices......I think they had butter on them, so I didn't eat them.  When they came around to take dessert orders, the waiter immediately said they could make up a fruit bowl for me. So I obliged.  It was actually very good. Fresh apples, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. No added anything. Great just the way it was!

You know.....I expected more. But maybe I shouldn't have.  It's a fancy restaurant and people enjoy the food there.  They don't even have vegetarian options on the menu.  I guess it's not their fault for what ended up on my plate.  They weren't trained to cook vegan/vegetarian food, so why should they make any?  I guess it's my fault for asking them too. They were only trying to accommodate me.  Well.....not really.  Something must have gone wrong between the conversation I had on the phone and the notes that I guess never got to the waiter or the kitchen.  So there was really no point in my calling in advance. It did no good whatsoever.

I won't make the mistake again of trying to get a fancy place to make me vegan food here in New Orleans. It's just not worth. It's not a vegan or vegetarian friendly town and I just have to get used to it.  I know where I can eat around town and how to order at those places.

(and S said his version wasn't good at all....cream sauce and all)

Sorry Dave!!! But thanks anyway, and we had a good time:)

Eat smart,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tomato Hummus, Sweet Rice patties, and upcoming giveaways

Sitting here with some coffee and freshly baked whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, I'm ready to write a post.  And on top of that, it's 78 degrees outside!

Just got back from a friend's birthday lunch (Happy Birthday, Dave!!) at Emeril's.  Will be posting about that in the next day or two.  Back to work tomorrow, for a few days before we are officially off for the holidays.  My goal for this break is to get back to sprouting.  I know, it's a small steps......

I had a coupon for an Eden product, and so I bought a can of garbanzo beans in the store the other day (I tend not to buy cans anymore, but these are BPA free).  So I thought I'd make some hummus, and as I was making it, I realized I wanted to make it more interesting than plain ol' hummus.  Here's a recipe I came up with (for some reason, it DOES taste like there are olives in it, but I still like it-I hate olives-S also thought there were olives in it!) Weird.

Tomato Hummus:

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/2 tomato
2 tbsp tahini
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp Creole Seasoning (or cayenne pepper, black pepper, plus salt)
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes (soaked for about 10 minutes)
1 tsp olive oil (optional)
1/2 cup chopped/sliced zucchini (optional, but I like it!)
1/4+ cup water for creamier texture

Put everything but the water in a food processor and blend well. You still may have little bits of sundried tomato in there, but that's ok.  Add the water as necessary for creaminess and blend.

I'd like to talk a little more about coffee on my blog, because I love the stuff (as I do beer).  While in Atlanta earlier in the year, I went to Trader Joe's and found this:
It's REALLY good!  I love it...not too strong (I'm not so into French Roast). It's a nice breakfast coffee. And I'm almost out. Booooo. Hey TJ, wanna send me some more?

On another note, I won some great stuff from Lindsay over at CookVeganLover blog during her 12 days of giveaways.  Thanks!! Can't wait to try all this stuff from Lucini:

Speaking of giveaways...I will be doing a Tasty Bite giveaway very soon! That will be a whole box of goodies (yes, they sent me two by mistake, so I'm giving one to you!).  AND....I've contacted Bob's Red Mill and asked if they'd like to do a giveaway (this is my first inquiry to a company about this kind of thing) and they agreed! They're a great company and I just made an order there for my oat groats, whole wheat flour, check them out, because there will be THREE winners for that one :)

Stuff I've been eating:

(Roasted potato wedges with rosemary and Creole Seasoning)

(one of my Indian dishes, you can find them here)

(Sweet Brown Rice patties with edamame)
Leftover sweet brown rice (seasoned with Seasoned Rice Vinegar) and Vegan Furikake
Mix together and form into patties. Brush on soy sauce.  Fry up in a skillet.
Will be crispy on the outside, but still soft and sticky on the inside.

I think that's it.  I need to go enjoy the warm weather and do more walking, although I'm pretty sore from yesterday's lower body workout! Oh, and of course I need to finish my cup of coffee and cookies first :)

Eat smart,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winner of my $65 CSN giveaway!!

First, a little recipe.  I made this a while ago....and then I made it again recently, replacing some items.  Did not come out quite as good the second time, so I'm going to stick with my original!  The second time around, I didn't have enough queso, and so I used 1 cup of almond milk and some nutritional yeast. NOPE.  The casserole didn't hold together.  So make sure you use ALL queso and make sure it's thick enough, otherwise it won't hold together very well :)

Cheeezy Broccoli Rice Casserole:

3 stalks celery, chopped or sliced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cups chopped broccoli (small florets plus chopped stems)
1 green pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
5 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups of my vegan queso (or any thick queso)
salt to taste
water for saute pan

In large saute pan (make sure it's deep enough...all of the ingredients are going in there), add 1/4 cup water, celery, and onion.  Cook until soft.  Add the broccoli, pepper and tomatoes. Cook an additional 5 minutes. (If you're going to bake this, there's no need to cook until soft. If you're not baking this, but eating  right out of the pan, cook them until desired softness) Add more water as needed, so it doesn't stick to the pan. Add the brown rice and mix it up.  Add in the queso and mix until well-combined.  Add salt as desired. Spread in a greased/oiled 9x11 baking pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until the top is browned and a bit crisp.  OR eat once combined, without baking!

Remember that awesome soup I made the other day?? Here's a picture. It doesn't do it justice, but I made it twice and it's sooooo good :)

I guess that's it........HAHAHAHA just kidding!

The winner of my CSN Stores giveaway is......

Lindsay: "I follow you on twitter" 

Ok, NOW that's all....

Eat smart,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!! Kale and Carrot Salad Recipe


 I can't believe it's so early this year...and right after Thanksgiving.  Phew.  Well, I won't be making too much in the way of "Hanukkah" food.

But I did want to give you that recipe for the salad I made at Thanksgiving, so here it is:

Kale and Carrot Salad
(makes 4 small sides or 2 large servings)

1 large bunch of curly kale
2 carrots, sliced
1/4 cup chopped, dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
*1 TB olive oil (optional)

Wash kale and remove the thick stems. Chiffonade the kale, so it's in thin strips.  Steam in a steam-bag in the microwave for one minute only (you're welcome to steam on the stove, I just prefer the microwave for smaller amounts).  Remove and put in a medium sized salad bowl.  Steam the carrots the same way, for only one minute.  Remove from bag and slice into thin strips.  Add to the kale.  Mix in the cranberries, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar (and oil, if using). Put in fridge to cool for at least two hours.  Mix and serve!

And on another note, today I made the most amazing butternut squash soup ever! It's from Lindsay's new e-cookbook.  You should definitely check it out. (I'd post a picture, but my computer is busy trying to sync/update my ipod, which is taking forever).

Coming up: A recipe for Cheeezy Broccoli Rice Casserole!

Don't forget to enter my $65 CSN Store giveaway....time's running out!

Eat smart,


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