Tag Archives: spinach

Hummus English Muffin

Breakfast routines can get boring if you let them. So don’t!

Sure Earth Balance, peanut butter, and jam are all great on bread, but don’t restrict yourself to sweet. If bagels can have savory toppings, why not English muffins?

An Ezekiel English muffin topped with creamy hummus, spinach, tomatoes, and red onions really hits the spot in the morning! I’m sure hummus is great on toast and bagels too, but I have yet to have that pleasure!

I made my first mosaic. The centering of the plate isn’t quite consistent, but I like it anyways.

Happy Monday!

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More Daiya

Sorry to be repetitive, but my food life hasn’t been very diverse lately. But hell, screw diversity if my life can just become one big Daiya fest.

Italian Daiya quesadilla. Or maybe I should call it tortilla panini because this meal wasn’t Mexican-inspired at all… ;)

Spinach, tomatoes, red onions, spices (rosemary, thyme, oregano, and garlic powder), and of course, Italian Daiya! Not quite as good as the cheddar/black bean one from a few days, ago, but still. Also, as my Daiya supply dwindles, I’ve made my way through most of my Food for Life gluten-free tortillas, and I have to say that their texture is really weird. They start out kind of hard and shiny (I miss soft, doughy, floury tortillas!), but after you microwave them, they literally turn to rock. I like crispy quesadillas, but these don’t get crispy in a good, grill-y kind of way; they get crispy in the stale, overcooked sense. Not super flavorful either. But hey–you could fill a (non-leather) boot with Daiya and I’d probably eat it.

And, a “cheese” quesadilla, straight up. Junior high after school snack style. Using both Cheddar and Italian Daiya is the way to go!

(You can see that I kinda overcookednuked the cheese on the edge–it got a bit tough. Oh well. Look at the middle!)

And, I’ll finish with two pieces of news, both of which the majority of you won’t care about. :)

One, I finished the rough draft of the introduction of my thesis (on veganism) and it’s 26.5 pages long. This is only one of four chapters, which presents a problem as 70ish is the goal, and not 100. But I’m proud of myself for getting something done anyways. Ignore the fact that it took me two months to write it, and that the entire rough draft is due in one month. I said IGNORE it.

Two, back to Daiya! My favorite restaurant–Green–in Tempe is now serving Daiya. I had it straight from the @daiyacheese Twitter feed! I thought I couldn’t love Green anymore than I already did, but I stand corrected. I think I know the first place I’m headed come Thanksgiving break…

Green with Envy

At least that’s how I think you’ll feel as you read this post. You’re welcome.

I don’t think Green has ever come up in my blog before (at least not more than in passing), which is bizarre, considering that it’s been – and continues to be – my favorite restaurant since I went vegan. It’s vegan fast food – okay, maybe not fast food, but quick, comfort food – at its finest.

Green is a completely vegan restaurant in North Tempe, almost in Scottsdale, but not quite. Tempe(h) for the win! Now that I think of it, it’s really the only vegan restaurant I know of in Tempe, and maybe Phoenix. There’s plenty of vegetarian places, many of which have a ton of vegan options or are mostly vegan, but I think Green’s the only one that’s legit enough to not only be 100% vegan, but 500% more delicious than everywhere else.

Green has a mix of Asian and American options, including appetizers and salads, customizable flatbread pizzas, po-boys, sammies, burgers, stir-fry bowls, and, most importantly, the infamous tsoynamis.

This guy used to be a special, but eventually was added to the regular menu. Um, I wonder why?…

The Mexicali burger: Green’s homemade burger patty with organic garbanzo hummus, zesty nacho cheese, vegan mayo and spicy chipotle sauce. With the only side I ever order: tahini coleslaw! On an Ezekiel bun, of course! If you could have your junk food on whole grain bread for only a dollar extra, wouldn’t you do it too? There’s not much to say about this burger except that, like all their sandwiches, the flavors come together just right, providing you with a melty, gooey mess that’s as satisfyingly wonderful as it is difficult to eat without your formerly clean face becoming a casualty of the meal. The coleslaw is cool and rich, with little flecks of peanuts balancing out the creamy tahini dressing. It’s always the perfect foil to the warm and hearty sammies.

This sandwich is a special, and only a special, for now: the Tempeh Reuben!

I’ve never had a real reuben before – if you can even call a sandwich made of ground toxin- and antibiotic-laden flesh “real,” that is – but this one was amazing. Spicy, toothsome tempeh, tangy sauerkraut, and creamy vegan thousand-island dressing. Mmm.

This here is another favorite, not least because it’s oh-so-adorable name.
The Texas “moo-shroom” po-boy: “pulled” and shredded portabella with caramelized onions and peppers slow cooked in Green’s espresso BBQ sauce.

As you can see, they don’t skimp on the filling. It usually takes me a few minutes to eat the stuff outside my sandwich with a fork before I even take a real bite. Not complaining though…

The moo-shroom po-boy is even messier than the Mexicali burger. Just look at how saucy it is. (pun INTENDED!)

Although I usually order sandwiches or stir-fry bowls (their mock chicken is one of my favorite faux meats of all time!), occasionally I’m up for a pizza. My only problem being overcoming my revulsion – fear? haha – of white flour, as I’m pretty sure these aren’t whole wheat flatbreads.

Butttttt, that sentiment is pretty easily overcome when this awaits me:

Green’s namesake, the Greenza! Homemade pesto sauce (basil and pine nut) with vegan mozzarella cheese (they use Teese). This one was topped with artichoke hearts, spinach, and caramelized onions.

Here’s one that my friend ordered! The Western: Green’s vegan BBQ sauce with vegan mozzarella cheese. Jo topped hers with roasted jalapeños and mock chicken because she’s bad-ass like that!

No visit to Green would be complete without the obligatory Tsoynami (Think a Dairy Queen Blizzard, but vegan and 3265561487x more amazing).

Green makes their own vegan “tsoft tserve,” and it’s the best fro-yo style vegan ice cream I’ve ever had. And the mix-ins. Oh, the mix-ins. Imagine every vegan thing you’d ever want on a sundae at your disposal, and that’s how Green rolls. Fruit (berries, bananas, and tropical fruit), multiple forms of chocolate, various flavors of Newman’s O’s, graham crackers, vegan mocha puffs, “captain crunch,” and “berry crunch,” pretzels, nuts, ricemellow fluff, flavored syrups, and of course, PEANUT BUTTER. And not just any peanut butter, organic Maranatha peanut butter. Sometimes they even have special mix-ins, like orange pound cake. There’s about 15 pre-made combos, but I usually design my own.

Here’s the PB&J (Strawberries, PB, and graham crackers) with bananas added:

And a special: the Monsoon, which, if I remember correctly, was chocolate syrup, chocolate cake, and chocolate chips. Of course I had to add PB to it.

I wish I had pics of all the Green meals I’ve had before I got my camera, but that post would be unbearably lengthy, so maybe it’s for the best. But I can guarantee you that this won’t be the last you hear of my favorite restaurant.

How We Love Zee Pizza!

First of all, I just wanted to thank all of my caring readers for being so supportive of me in my half marathon! Your words meant a lot to me, and for those readers who said that my race had inspired them to consider training for one, I’m so glad that I was able to inspire you to inspire yourself! In other running news, I’ll most likely be doing the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon at home in January! I guess once you start, you can’t stop! I wanna get under 2 hours!

Now to the main point of business. So, um, Zpizza is the bomb.

Recently having discovered that there’s a Zpizza in Upland, just 20 minutes away from Pomona, my vegan friend Stephanie and my gluten- and dairy-free friend James decided to have a study party with pizza pizza party (to be fair, we maybe did homework for 15 minutes…)

The only pizza I’ve had since being vegan, not counting ones I’ve made myself at home, was at Viva Herbal in NYC and at Green in Tempe (will be posting about that soon!), but NEVER before have I had delivery pizza. Classic, greasy, delivery pizza with a real crust and melty “cheese.”

I’m pretty sure Stephanie and James were in a similar boat, because we were all really freaking excited when these boxes finally arrived (we were also excited that delivery was free…)

Zpizza is unique in that, not only do they have vegan cheese (they used to have a non-vegan soy one with casein, but now they use Daiya, which is soy-free – and free of most allergens, at that – and made of cassava root! They haven’t updated the site yet, so just call your local Zpizza to make sure they now use Daiya), but they also offer whole-wheat and gluten-free crusts, and organic tomato sauce. And that’s not to mention their more than extensive range of fresh and healthful toppings! Some of which toppings you’re about to get a nice little preview…

Steph and I split a large pizza (we ordered whole-wheat, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what we got…oh well). My half was roasted garlic sauce, Daiya cheese (duh), spinach, caramelized onions, roasted yams, pineapple, and fresh basil:

Steph’s was the same, but with eggplant instead of the pineapple, and with tomato sauce as well:

And Jamesie got a nice little gluten-free personal pizza. He wanted his to be a traditional cheese pizza, so he stuck with tomato sauce, Daiya, and basil. Can’t blame him, though. Look at it!

Yeah, I know you’re waiting for the delightfully greasy, mid-bite money shot…

Daiya tastes best hot, so be sure to reheat your slices if they cool down – it really makes a difference in your Zpizza experience, I promise.

Next time, I think I’m getting tomato sauce, Daiya, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and cilantro. Oh, and actually on whole wheat this time.

Back to the pizza party. You didn’t think we could end it without dessert, didya?

What flavor? Why, only the best ice cream known to vegankind – and mankind! Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Cookie Dough!

It’s gluten-free, which I had forgotten until I saw the labeling at the store, and then I just knew I had to get it to round out our night. See picture below for humongous chunk of said gluten-free cookie dough.

Happy kids, finally feeling like typical, unhealthy college students.

Moussaka and Miraval

Sorry for the long absence, dear bloggies! It was a busy weekend, starting on Thursday, when I became a level 7 vegan. You know those famous recipes that stand out among the many within the vegan (blogging) community? I know you know what I’m talking about – Chickpea Cutlets, Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, Tofu Ricotta, Smlove Pie. I could go on, but they’re those recipes that almost every vegan has either tried, been meaning to try for as long as their (algae-derived supplement provided) omega-3-powered mind can remember, or have given up on trying because they seem too complicated. Anyways, one of those recipes is the Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream from Veganomicon. I’ve had the page dog-eared ever since I bought the book, but was always too lazy or didn’t have the time to make this decadently rich Mediterranean feast of a meal. But I’m proud to announce that I finally overcame that lameness and kicked some serious moussaka a**!

I made the sauce and pine nut cream and roasted the vegetables the night before, so the day of I only had to assemble it, which was super easy. I thought this would be a fun recipe to do a step-by-step preparation series for:

Tomato sauce and (whole wheat) bread crumb layer over the initial layering of eggplant and potatoes:

And zucchini over that:

After the second and final layer of tomato sauce and bread crumbs, the celebrated pine nut cream:

Spreadage:

Topped with pine nuts!

All golden-browned and luscious right out of the oven:

Sorry I don’t have any gooey inside shots! It was for a dinner party, and I didn’t have the time or light to snap a picture!

Anyways, the moussaka totally lived up to the hype, and my dad even said it might be the best thing I’ve ever made! The subtly cinnamon-spiked tomato sauce was to die for, and the pine nut cream was thick, tangy, rich, and downright cheesy. Who needs noodles when you can make a lasagne-like dish as good as this with only layers of vegetables? This is definitely a “make again.” Hooray for vegan milestones!

Early the next morning, and still in slight food comas from the night before (okay, maybe that was just me?), my mom, sister, and I drove up to Miraval Resort in Tucson, my mom’s favorite spa getaway!

It was my sister and I’s first time there, and I was very excited after hearing my mom rave about it the last time she went. You basically get to live in the lap of luxury for the duration of your stay, and because it’s a pre-paid package deal, eat however much, and do whatever classes and activities you like! I did Morning Yoga, Body Conditioning, Yogilates, the Evening Photography Walk, Swing and a Prayer (a ropes course challenge!), and Dream Yoga, and attended a Cooking Demo, an Introduction to Ayurveda, Tea Here Now (a two-hour class on tea that included an authentic Chinese tea ceremony!), and a class called Changing Your Metabolism. It was such a great experience, and as you can guess, I was absolutely exhausted afterwards (wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a relaxation resort?)

The food was delicious and healthy of course, with calorie counts on everything – you might think that would make eating stressful, but it was more just an affirmation of the lifestyle that Miraval represented. Over the course of two days I enjoyed a huge variety of fresh produce and salads, delicious vegetable juice blends, plenty of baked sweet potato (which I smothered with cinnamon and Miraval’s reduced fat peanut butter that’s made by blending PB with carrots), delicious mango-mint soup, and this (the one thing I got a picture of…), tofu-vegetable stir-fry with sweet plum sauce over brown rice:

I can only hope I’m lucky enough to go again someday! In the meantime, here are some cool pictures I took during my photography walk there:

This was actually a sign for the Agave Center, where yoga was held, but being the food blogger/health nut nerd that I am, I had to get this shot:

I never got a chance to go swimming, but this guy and his happy feet make me wish I had…

Mesquite pods! We have a tree in my front yard actually, and I really want to try grinding my own mesquite flour soon! They smell heavenly, especially when it rains. All sweet ‘n smoky.

The night we got back from Miraval, I wanted a quick and easy yet delicious meal–and a warm, cooked one that would address the vata imbalance I found out I had in my ayurveda class (I’m a vata-pitta by the way, but, given that like increases like in ayurveda, my vata is totally out of control and needs some kapha to tone it down…). Just ignore me if you think I’m crazy! To get to the point, it seemed like something like pumpkin soup would fit the kapha bill, so I decided to try the Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Soup from The Vegan Table:

I could say I followed the recipe except for a couple of changes, but that’s not really true. I changed a lot. I added a Tbs of peanut butter because I’m me. I also added extra cinnamon and cumin, and even put in some curry powder because the strong cardamom flavor was tripping me out. I generally love unique and unexpected sweet/savory combos, but for some reason, the cardamom in this soup was too much for me. And, because I hate to let a meal go by without anything green in it, I added a few cups of baby spinach. I think it’s better with the spinach actually. Without it, the soup’s a little one dimensional. Still, though, this is a good recipe! And it does benefit from a day in the fridge – as most things do, right?

Finally, my breakfast after the longest run of my life on Sunday (9.5ish miles): a young coconut!

And not just any young coconut…a frozen young coconut! I had it in the freezer because I wasn’t sure if it could go bad since I’d never had one before. I took it out to thaw before my run and assumed it would have melted, but I cracked it open to find a coconut ice ball! It sucked because I had to wait awhile to eat it, but once it softened a little, I just broke it up and it turned into a delicious and refreshing coconut slushie. It’s like nature’s icee! The true vitamin water if you will. Full of electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients, I think I’ve finally found my perfect post-run recharge meal! Screw Vitamin Water. This is vitamin water.

It’s Summer! Smoothie, Salads, No-Bake Cookies, and Watermelon

First, I’m glad so many of you have entered the giveaway from my last post, and you have a few more days to enter if you haven’t yet! I know you want some fruit & nut bars…

I’m not fully back to normal yet, but my mom suggested I go back to eating more or less the way I normally do, so that’s what I’ve been doing!

For breakfast yesterday following a short 3-mile run, I had a Triple Blueberry Smoothie! A cup of frozen blueberries blended with a bottle of Wildwood Probiotic Blueberry Soymilk and some psyllium husk, topped with cinnamon and some dried blueberries. Obviously hoping to rev my digestion with the probiotics and psyllium!

Getting sick of this bowl yet? The probiotic soymilk was good–a slightly strong and funky soy taste, but most of Wildwood’s products are like that, and blended with the blueberries, it was perfect.

For lunch I had my first large mostly raw salad in a couple weeks! (I’d been eating a lot of steamed veggies and whole grains). It included mixed greens, romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and some Hickory Baked Tofu (from Whole Foods). I topped it with Creamy Miso Salad Dressing from The Vegan Table and some sesame seeds!

The dressing recipe is super simple with four ingredients–just miso, rice vinegar, olive/sesame oil, and water if I remember correctly. I thought it was a bit salty, so I added 1/3 block of silken tofu, some extra water for blendability, and a squirt of agave because I thought it needed something special. I liked it a lot better after that (I’ve done the silken tofu dressing trick before–it decreases the calories per serving and makes dressings decadently, lusciously creamy).

I also made Swallow-It-All Banana Balls from The Everyday Vegan. Okay, I love Dreena, but I can’t believe she named them that! There are so many sexual innuendos in the name of this recipe, it’s ridiculous! I bet my blog will come up for naughty Google searches now.

Anyways, regardless of their unfortunate title, these no-bake cookies are as tasty as they are wholesome, and the perfect treat for summer. With no added sugar or salt, these balls simply contain bananas, minced apple, dates, peanut butter, coconut, oats, cereal (I used Flax Plus), and flax meal. They’re then rolled in carob powder and more coconut. I love poppin’ a couple of these before I run. They’re just sweet enough from the dates and definitely nutritionally dense enough to be a pre (or post) -workout snack. Nice and chewy too! You’ll swallow them all! Haha.

This morning I ran 7 miles! I know it’s not that much, but it’s the longest run I‘ve ever done. Plus, it was 90 degrees! My friend told me that you can generally run double the distance you’re currently running, so I can stop training now, right? 7 x 2 = 14 > 13.1. Amen.

Anyways, when I got back (and jumped in the pool, obviously!), all I wanted was a huge a** chunk of ice cold, refreshing watermelon:

I had my last couple pieces with cracked black pepper because, if people can put salt on watermelon, then I can put pepper! It was a nice contrast with the intense sweetness of the watermelon.

Lunch today was simple, yet wonderful. I had roasted sweet potato wedges and hickory baked tofu over a fluffy bed of kamut grain and baby spinach. I topped it with some dried cranberries and a couple tablespoons of some leftover Balsamic Maple Sauce from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan I had sitting in the fridge (this is maybe the best sauce in the world, by the way. Tangy, sweet, and salty all at once without being overpowering–GREAT with roasted veggies and autumn flavors).

The sweet taters are just lightly sprayed with olive oil, drizzled with maple syrup, and coated in chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, sea salt, and black pepper, and roasted for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping halfway through. I could eat this all day, everyday! Next time I’m adding some onions and maybe some toasted pecans!

Europe Part I: Italian Eats

Freaking finally, right? It only took me a month.

First night in Rome. Pizza Marinara with extra vegetables. Nice and simple, so the tomato and oregano can really shine.

The Beehive. Organic Vegetarian B&B and restaurant in Rome.

No fixed portion sizes or prices. The restaurant looked like a normal house. You just sit down in the kitchen, tell the chef exactly what you want, and he makes it fresh right in front of you.

A delicious mixed salad. Simple, but a welcome relief to the not so vegan-friendly Roman carb fest.

The meze platter my mom and I split, including vegan burger patties and special hummus.

A nice cafe in Montepulciano, a medieval hill town in Tuscany, This was the raw zucchini salad.

The best spinach ever. Just dressed with REAL olive oil and the biggest-ass pine nuts ever.

Lampone-Rosmarino (Raspberry-Rosemary) Gelato from the Pluripremiata Gelatería–Gelato World Champions, 2006-07 and 2008-09–in San Gimgiano.

Potato-Rosemary Focaccia in Cinque Terre.

I know this is an absolutely horrible photo, but it’s RICE MILK GELATO in Lago Orta, Italy! I almost had a seizure when the guy told me it was vegan. So much better than fruit/sorbet gelato.

Stay tuned for Part II: Greece soon!