Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Whirlwind Trip to Dallas

First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my husband, S!!!

Almost two weeks ago, we took a quick trip to Dallas. It was mostly business, but I wanted to fit in a couple of good eateries.  The first place we went was Bliss Raw Cafe. We were meeting up with my friend, Naoko, and she'd been there a few times already, but really liked it.

Me and S

The inside

The Menu

I HAD to start with the Cordial Sampler....and it was awesome! The minty one was like liquid mint chocolate chip ice cream:

My friend, Naoko, started with a cup of the Corn Chowder, which was very good:

(here's Naoko!)

S ordered the Pad Thai. I thought it was good, but it was a lot of food, and for me, would've done just as well in a much smaller portion as an appetizer:

Naoko ordered the Rawko Tacos:

I got the Coconut Kale Enchiladas, which were amazing!!!

(notice the kale goodness inside!)

Overall, a great place to eat! A little on the pricey side, which is what I expect these days when going to a raw vegan restaurant. Nice ambience, good service, and great food!

Next up: Spiral Diner.

If you want a break from all that healthy vegan food.....this is where it's at. It was VERY good...and highly recommended. But I can't say it was good for me......

Very cute and diner like. A MAJOR pain in the butt to get to from north of downtown, during rush hour. Grrrr, we made like 3 wrong turns.....things were pretty badly marked on the main highway! Booooo on that.
But we finally made it. 

S got the BBQ Salad. He liked it but would have preferred more vegetables, less seitan:
I got the Meatball Sub, because I used to love those and haven't had one in ages. It was delicious:
For dessert, we ordered an ice cream sundae. I believe they make their own ice cream (it's soy based), but the only flavor they had left was vanilla...was still amazing (although we could only eat about 2/3 of this between the two of us):

Awesome diner, all vegan! Delicious, but you's comfort food :)

There's also a great pub that was walking distance from our hotel: Trinity Hall Irish Pub

S got this curry bowl, which was vegetarian, but I don't think it was vegan:
(that's rice in the middle)

The first night, I ordered the veggie skewers:
(they used olive oil instead of butter for me)
(I left the kale!! Who knows if it's been washed when used as decor only)

The next time, I ordered the most amazing barley stew ever:
(you can see my attempt to duplicate the recipe here)

S got a veggie/tofu wrap:

They have awesome beer too!

At the hotel for lunch, we were able to order a grilled veggie wrap which was actually really good (with some guacamole on the side):

And of course, I carried a thermos of soymilk with me for coffee along the way. There was also a Starbucks within walking distance of the hotel for my morning coffee and oats.

To see more about the beer I enjoyed on this trip, click here.

Over the next month or so, I won't be posting much. I'll try to post little bits here and there. You can still follow me on Facebook to keep up! But I'll be back full force in July with some possible blog changes....

Don't forget, NOLA VeggieFest is this weekend!!! I'll be there :)

Eat smart,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2 Quick Book Reviews

I'd like to thank Book Publishing Company again for sending me some of these books.

The first book here is The 4 Ingredient Vegan by Maribeth Abrams and Anne Dinshah.

Actually, I wasn't planning on reviewing this book, but they sent it anyway. At first I skimmed through it, just browsing the recipes. And most have maybe 5 or 6 ingredients. The only downfall here, for me, is that a lot of the recipes use prepackaged foods, like packaged pierogies, frozen pizza, hummus, spaghetti sauce, and soups. I wish there had been some easy recipes for these instead. Even the hummus can be a 4 ingredient recipe!! I've been so busy, I really only got around to making one of the recipes, but I will definitely make some more of them when I have the time.

Harvest Mash:


This was really delicious and so easy to make! Lots of healthy vegetables, seasoned with broth....and I had lots of leftover broth left to use for something else. Of course I spiced it up a little with my Creole Seasoning :)

The author does list all sorts of foods you should stock your kitchen with, but alas, it includes premade soups, vegan meats, vegan sour cream/cream cheese, and canned foods. I suppose if you're in a real hurry, perhaps you should have some of these on hand, but I try to minimize them. I do have vegan cream cheese and sometimes sour cream in the fridge, but I use them very sparingly. Just because it's vegan, doesn't mean it's healthy!

So if you're the kind of person that's always in a hurry and keeps lots of canned tomatoes, beans, etc, stocked in your pantry, you'll get a lot of use out of this book.

Sproutman's Kitchen Garden by Steve Meyerowitz

I'd been looking at this book for a while, so I was excited to get it. Yes, it's a bit old, in that it was published in 1999. But....I really wanted a sprouting book. This one has a lot of various recipes for things, from breads, to pies and snacks. I wish it had a little more info on the actual sprouting process. It does dedicate a small section in the back to sprouting beans, seeds, and grains, but I wish it had explained it a little more in detail.

I tried (and failed) to make the Sprout Bread. I'd always wanted to make sprouted grain bread. Well, this one didn't seem to work for me. It was more like a thick cracker. Although it had a nice sourish flavor. I think perhaps it was my food processor.....I need a bigger, more robust one. This recipe also only called for sprouted wheat. No yeast, no nothing else. So my next try will be the kind with yeast. If you really want pictures of my it is:

The nice sprouted wheat (did I sprout them too long perhaps??):

On the pans, before baking:

After baking:
The bottom fell out:


Next recipe, with success: Party Sprouts

The sprouted lentils:

The baked:
These were really delicious! Although they didn't totally dry out in the oven....they did keep well in a container for quite a while. I'll make these again. Great snack!

And lastly, the Hotcha Zucchini

I baked these instead of using the dehydrator, as I don't have one. But they were pretty good too, albeit a bit salty for my taste. S liked them! And he hates zucchini!

The book has recipes using all sorts of sprouts and soon, I will learn to sprout more than lentils and alfalfa. If you're a sprout fan, you should check out this book!

Have you ever made 100% sprouted grain bread? With or without yeast? In the oven, or bread machine?

If you still want to help me out with trip suggestions, you can here.

If you're in the New Orleans area, don't forget to check out the NOLA VeggieFest 2011!!! I'll be there!

Eat smart,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Vegetable Barley Stew

We were recently on a trip, which I'll be blogging about in a few days, and I had the most amazing barley stew ever! Ok, it was in an Irish pub and it was called a mulligatawny, but was awesome! And I knew I had to try and reproduce it. So I did, with a few more vegetables :) So for those of you who are still in winter temperatures, this will really warm you up!

Vegetable Barley Stew:

1 1/2 cups hulled barley (aka hulless barley, NOT pearl)
4 cups vegetable broth

1 TB minced garlic
1 yellow onion, chopped
4-5 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 TB dried jalapenos
1/2 head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized pieces
1/2 zucchini, cubed
1/3 cabbage head, sliced into small pieces (not shredded, that's too small)
8 cups vegetable broth

To cook the barley, put the barley and broth into a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 1/4 hours or so, until cooked, but still chewy. 

While the barley is cooking, add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery to a large stockpot, along with 1/4 cup water. Heat on medium until onions are soft.  Add the broth, jalapenos, and cauliflower. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, covered. Then turn it down to medium-low and add the zucchini. Let slowly boil (covered) for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are mostly cooked, but not mushy. Add the cabbage and cook for another 3 minutes. Salt to taste. Spoon into a bowl and top with a large spoonful of barley.

*Note-you can use pearled barley, but it will take less time to cook (follow directions on the package).

Enjoy! I still have leftovers and will be eating them for dinner tonight, even though it's 80 degrees outside.

Eat smart,

Who wants pizza?

Over the past few months, there have been a few nights when I was just too tired to cook. So, S bought a couple of Amy's pizzas to keep in the freezer. I'd never had them before, as we don't often buy this type of thing. Here are my thoughts:

The first one we tried was the Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza-

I've gotta say, this was really delicious! I loved the flavor of the caramelized onions. Who needs vegan cheese? This was great without it. It was good and filling....we each ate half.

The second one we tried was Amy's Rice Crust Spinach Pizza:

Hmmmm, this one didn't quite do it for me. The crust was really "buttery" and flaky, not what I like in a pizza. This one was more like a rich quiche. So if you're in the mood for that, go for it! But if you really want pizza, I don't recommend it. The cheese didn't really melt. I put it under the broiler for a few minutes after it baked, just to try and melt the cheese. It helped some, but mostly just browned it. It didn't look like the picture on the  box! But it was pretty good....just not very pizza-like.

If you really want great pizza, you should try my own recipe :)

Have any of you tried Amy's vegan pizzas? Or any other frozen vegan pizza?

Eat smart,


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