Tuesday, August 11, 2015

25 Days of Salads and Smoothies

The countdown is on and I have implemented a "Salad & Smoothie" challenge... for myself. I have 11 days to go until my wedding and began this challenge at 25 days out. The rules are simple -- eat nothing except for salad and smoothies. I've also quit drinking alcohol and caffeine for the duration of the challenge as well, mostly because if I'm confining myself to super healthy whole foods (barring croutons, of course) why keep setting myself back by pouring on the calories and dehydrating myself by drinking beer after beer or chugging iced coffee? Listen, I love beer and iced coffee, but if there's ever a time to be proud of how you look, it's on your wedding day. I haven't been perfect.. I admit to eating a dunwell doughnut yesterday... But I worked out double and made up for it. Still -- I must not stray! Here is what my life has looked like so far this summer:

I wish fruits and vegetables weren't so expensive. It makes perfect sense that the USA holds such a strong drive-thru culture. It's cheaper! I bought a ton of fruits and veggies for smoothies and salads, that might last me three days at best and it set me back about $70.

There's got to be a more effective way to do this. I go to the store at least once every 2 days and my bill ranges from $30-$60 pretty much every time. Do any of you guys have tips on where to shop or how to save on fresh produce? It also kills me because my local place doesn't have the greatest produce. I know when I go to a Whole Foods-style place that even though I'm paying more, at least I'm getting really great produce and I can see the difference. But at my local place, a Key Foods, it's really hit or miss. But usually miss. And it's not cheap. I wish it could be easier. Help a girl out with a case of the Bodega Blues.

I've been making my smoothies almost exclusively from Somer McCowan's The Abundance Diet and had yet to try any of her other recipes! This is the "Rawkin Rainbow Kale Salad" which has kale as the main lettuce with a red pepper dressing, some cabbage, carrots and avocado. Oh! and jicama! I spiralized my jicama to make it fun. Then I covered up the pretty spirals with cabbage. The spirals are under there. Swear.
This is the BBQ Tempeh and Dilly Slaw Bowl from Salad Samurai. I've made this one before but came back to it last week when I was craving something more hearty than kale and tomatoes. It calls for BBQ chips to be sprinkled on the top, but I didn't have any, nor do I think it would be a good idea to pick up a bag to just have hanging out in my reach while I stay in strict salad-mode. I did have some pita, so I tossed some pita triangles in some cayenne and chili powder, toasted them and made like they were bbq chips. The bbq sauce is also from Salad Samurai, which I like, because sometimes I can't read the ingredients on bbq sauce bottles because they are all chemicals. What gives?

We went to Central Park last week and saw Father John Misty on a beautiful summer night. It was the most gorgeous night and seeing outdoor shows on nights like those is exactly what summer is for. We are getting a little old for the pit and are thinking we might become "lawn people" pretty soon, but we managed to hold our ground and threw some elbows at bros trying to come at us and push us out of our spots. Though my feelings on FJM are mixed, he put on a great show and the music was totally amazing. I love shows like these.

The very next night we had tickets to see Desaparecidos at Webster Hall. While I hate Webster Hall, the upstairs room is the nicest and most tolerable. I was completely fine with not drinking at this stupid venue. The week before we went to a show in one of the downstairs rooms and Alex was going to get a beer but it's $9 for a beer and they expect a tip, so I asked for tap water after waiting in a long line and the bartender said they "don't do tapwater." You have to buy a $5 10oz bottle of water instead. I asked if he was joking, but he was not. I hate Webster Hall. End of rant. The So So Glows opened, who are great, so we were happy to see them before Desaparecidos came on. It's always nice to see Brooklyn or other NYC bands play local. Sometimes it seems like there is no real "local scene" here, which is a shame. This band represents NYC the way I wish others would.

Desaparecidos were great. I am old and tired and after 2 nights in a row of standing at work and standing at shows, I was wiped out and it was hard to fully enjoy the show. I was also thinking about all the other stuff I have to do, what with a wedding to-do list a mile long and getting paperwork straightened out to register for classes in the fall, my mind was kind of elsewhere. The show was still great, and I realized I hadn't seen Connor Oberst at all since 2007 when Alex took me to see Bright Eyes in Boston for our three-year anniversary. Such nice memories. Anyway, he doesn't seem to have changed, still smarter than most people I know despite not going to college, and leading the way in the indie rock field of what would inspire a most gigantic wave of bands for at least a decade. I always equated him and Isa, maybe because they're both Omaha-based, chose their passions over school, and came out pioneers in their fields. Both very inspiring people that have shaped different sections of my life and personality.

Back to food. These are two salads from Salad Samurai, the Fiery Fruit and Quinoa Salad, and Pesto, Pea and Potato Salad. I used the pasta variation using veggies elbows made with squash and carrot. The quinoa salad has grilled peaches, my fave, grilled onions, and grilled corn with herbs and a chipotle-chia-citrus dressing. I brought these to a party the next day and both were all gone by the end. Someone asked me for the recipe of the quinoa one, and I started by saying "it's really easy, it only has..." and then I realized it has far too many components to be considered "easy" to your average person, and so I stopped listing ingredients and shoved some more quinoa in my mouth. The pesto one has toasted pine nuts too, which I managed not to burn for once.

Glamour shot of my Apple Pie Green Smoothie, my favorite from The Abundance Diet.

On Sunday I made this Pepperoni Tempeh Salad from Salad Samurai, with a tomato-y dressing that was kind of like tangy pizza sauce with balsamic vinegar, and the tempeh had a tomato/soy sauce/paprika glaze to make it taste like pepperoni. Then it's topped with croutons and kalamata olives. Overall it was wayyy too salty for me. The olives are probably responsible for the overkill but I really couldn't eat too much of it without drinking a full glass of water alongside each bite. I think I made this one before and don't remember any salty issues, so don't judge this just based on me. Maybe I should have sprung for the low sodium soy sauce and low sodium tomatoes? I am not sure.

Now here's a salad that can do no wrong. This is the Backyard Buffalo Tofu Salad with Cashew Ranch. It has croutons, romaine, slaw mix, and Buffalo Tofu. Alex doesn't like his tofu Buffaloed so I concede every time and make it BBQ for him. I'm nice. I have nothing bad to say about this salad and feel like I could go for some right now even though it's 8am.

My Italian customer brought me some beautiful heirloom tomatoes from his garden yesterday, and I knew immediately that I should make this recipe from Salad Samurai. It's just a cashew and pea puree with garlic over fresh ripe summer tomatoes dressed with some balsamic vinegar and fresh ground black pepper. I don't get tomatoes like this almost ever, so when they are gifted to me I truly appreciate it. Last year he brought me a giant haul and I made some fresh sauce, which was the best sauce I ever had. The tomatoes at my local place are always a let down, so it was such a great treat to have these huge beautiful tomatoes for a change.

For some reason I made all this food for a Monday night dinner...

More from Salad Samurai, This is the Plums Love Arugula Salad. This was great the night I made it, but the next day the plums were no good. Also the five-spice must have amplified overnight and all I could taste was star anise the next time around. I say if you don't love star anise, don't put five spice in this salad, and put something different on your almonds and in your dressing instead. Or you could make the sriracha & smoke pecans instead! I love stone fruit, you guys. Cheers to stone fruit season.

Okay this picture is from BEFORE the salad and smoothie challenge began, so everybody just CALM DOWN and look at my knishes. I was at a bookstore while visiting my hometown this summer, and of course made my way to the vegan section of the cookbook rack, and saw the 10th anniversary edition of Vegan With A Vengeance which I didn't plan to buy, since you know, I have way too many cookbooks, and I shouldn't buy another that I already own, but as I flipped the pages and saw all the new beautiful photos and re-vamped recipes, I sunk into a nostalgic state and knew this book was coming home with me. I remember making her Fettuccine Alfreda and loving it as a newbie vegan, and as I flipped through, each recipe triggered a memory of being 22 and moving to New Jersey, and beginning to cook with vigor and backbone for the first time in my life. I shed a tear, and paid the twenty-something dollars. The book had bought me.
The biggest stand-out picture for me was the knishes. I am not Jewish and have no history of sampling Jewish foods, nor do I understand what they are based on their descriptions, so was really important to have a visual for this one. I had never had a knish before so I wasn't sure I had nailed this one, but I brought a bunch of these in to my boss, a "native New Yorker", who had had knishes many times over, and he proclaimed them to be as authentic as any! Knish Success!! I'm sure Jewish food is the best food now. After all, isn't Rugelach Jewish?? Enough said.

This is Modest Mouse! We saw them at the Bandshell at Prospect Park. We've been going to summer shows there for the past few years, and each year they have someone amazing. It was also my first time seeing them live! I can't believe I hadn't before, since they've been one of my favorite bands, especially in college. It's a shame that the people who attend shows are so awful, and have no respect for any other human beings around them, but I was able to enjoy most of the show nonetheless, despite their best efforts. It's hard for me to believe that those people have anything they can identify with Modest Mouse. Enough complaining. The show was great. They have so many good songs that it would be impossible for them to play all the songs I wanted to hear. The show definitely reignited my love for them.

I went through a kale phase. I had kale in smoothies, kale in salad for lunch, and kale for dinner. For weeks. I realized it was the best salad green, what with all its texture and ability to soak up good dressings. This is the Deviled Kale Salad from Salad Samurai with added tofu. Alex loves his breaded tofu and couldn't live without it. They could have served as the crouton, but I added croutons anyway, and had the best kale salad ever.

Last, but not least, a kale-less salad from Salad Samurai, this is the Creamy Corn Salad with cashew-lime dressing. It's supposed to be like mexican street-corn in salad form. I loved it, especially since I put "half" an avocado on top of my bowl. Let's just say Alex's "half" didn't seem to measure up to mine. This had spiciness from jalapeños and creaminess from cashews. It was the best kind of salad, pretty much. It's only salad since it's cold food in a bowl, mostly made of vegetables. Still counts right??

Alright everybody, I've got 11 days left in Salad and Smoothie world and as a single woman on paper. Pretty soon I'll be eating Ethiopian food and lots of vegan cake. Hang tight, enjoy the rest of the summer and I'll see you all on the other side.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Diaries of Someone Who Ain't Got No Kids

It's been green smoothies every morning here in my apartment for the last 3 or 4 weeks. I bought Somer McCowan's The Abundance Diet and have just been rotating through the green smoothie recipes based on the produce I have on hand. I never used to like kale in my smoothies and was afraid of the ugly color they produce when you put things like strawberries and cherries in them to make it taste better. I think I just need to stick to a recipe, because most of my self-made combinations in the past have been no good, and I need to leave the kale smoothies to the professionals if I am ever going to get any down. I haven't made anything from the rest of the book yet but I want to make the neopolitan overnight oats! This smoothie is the Choco-Nana. It's just kale, bananas, cacao, ice, chia... that's it I think. I have been feeling so much better since drinking these. I've been realizing that perhaps a large amount of vegans found veganism in a search for better health, rather than for animal ethics. I am intrigued by how powerful our daily decisions of what to eat are. 

I'm certainly no saint, and am only beginning to shift away from junkier, more convenient foods, and foods I'm used to eating. I'm about to share a bunch of photos of not kale so stay with me.

Alex and I went to Little Choc Apothecary a couple weekends ago. I had been wanting to go for so long! I loved the place, the menu, the art and the juice! This one is Red Nosed Reindeer, with beet, carrot, apple, mint, grapefruit, and ginger. It was perfect. 

Someday when I have a place where "counterspace" exists, I'll buy a juicer and juice everything that comes in my path.

I got the Pizza Crepe, with marinara, cashew cheese, basil and pepper flakes and it was so amazing.
I ate the whole thing and then eagerly eyed Alex's for bites.

He got the Khail Seitan, which had kale, setian, caramelized onion, roasted red peppers, and bbq sauce. His was bigger, but mine was better. I would have ordered a sweet one to follow up, but it was going kind of slow that day, and we didn't have time to wait. Next time I've got my eye on a banana one with either the newtella or caramel.

After crepes, we went for coffee, and then watched the Women's World Cup at Banter. Then we moseyed around Manhattan in the rain poking in some record stores while we waited for our reservation at Blossom on Carmine. When we go for fancydinners, we do it right. We each get a special cocktail, we share an appetizer, we each get an entree and we always get dessert. Alex's cocktail choice was the Jaguar Ride, with jalapeño tequila, sriracha bitters, lemon and lime juice, orange liquer and salt rim. It was super spicy and savory. I somehow failed to photograph mine, but I got the Dale Hollow, with angel's envy whiskey, and ginger syrup with mint over ice.

Our appetizer was gnocchi with leeks, fennel, pea shoots with a cashew cream sauce. It was amazing. Alex usually doesn't get into cashew cream stuff, more of a vinaigrette guy, but he was a big fan of this! 

I ordered the pasta, which was orecchiette with ground seitan chorizo, cashew alfredo, sautéed broccolini, artichoke hearts and soy parmesan. Alex was a big fan of this dish too! I think he ate at least half of it! I was super full, otherwise I would have been on defense and eating it all myself.

He got the seitan scallopini, with lemon wine caper sauce and truffled mashed potatoes. Some sautéed kale made an appearance on this plate as well. I am not a giant seitan-lover so I took a bite or two but the truffled mash was the main event on this plate for me.

For dessert, we shared a brownie, with vanilla ice cream. Definitely cakey, not fudgy, a bit dry, the ice cream was pretty icy not creamy. This was the big loser of the night. I make better brownies at home.

Overall, we would definitely go back to Blossom on Carmine. We liked it much better than Candle 79, where both of us were pretty disappointed with not only the food, but the service as well. Candle does make a better brownie, however. Still, I don't think we'll go back there. Blossom was better for food for sure.

More from Thug Kitchen, I made Posole Rojo, a spicy soup thickened with chilies and tempeh. I topped it with lots of cabbage and avocado, and unfortunately all you can see are the toppings from this picture that I took, but just use your imagination or something.

I had an amazing 4th! We went back to Old Lyme to visit my parents and cousins, and my best friend Jessica came down and brought her daughter who is one. She is adorable. She learned that she likes the ocean, likes sand, and likes to eat the sand, despite three grown adults watching her carefully the entire day. All of my cousins came and it was a great family gathering. My family is food-challenged, in that it is a great challenge to produce a food item that everyone in my family can eat due to conflicting allergies. You would probably have better luck finding the hidden object in Legends of the Hidden Temple.  Said item must be free of gluten, soy, corn, dairy, and egg. These cupcakes were made with air. Air and love. I am a magician.

It helps if you make them look super cute too.

Every since that loser sommelier told me that time that I could never understand the finer things in life because I'm vegan, I've been wanting to host a vegan wine and cheese party. Even though all I know about wine is that is comes in red and in white, I'm like really good at drinking it. However, I did not know too much about vegan cheese. From the consensus of the internet, the best vegan cheese to buy is Mikoyo's Kitchen. Despite the company taking 5 days to ship an order I placed, and Fedex not following instructions and doing what they do, I managed to climb to the ends of the Earth to claim what was truly mine -- the best vegan fancycheese on the market. That evening I hosted a vegan wine and cheese party, and by that I mean I brought my fancy vegan cheese over to my aunt's cottage and shared it with everyone. I was the only vegan at this party but the vegan cheese went over super well, especially amongst certified vegan-haters, and cheese-haters alike. Even alex, who only likes the cheese that comes on pizza, seemed to enjoy the cheese!

Of course I served it with classy stone fruits! We also served them with triscuit crackers because we are fancy. The flavors I ordered were Double Cream Chive, which was a creamy (obviously) spreadable cheese that reminded me of boursin cheese. It was overwhelmingly the most popular. The second kind was Sundried Tomato Garlic, also a double cream variation, also spreadable, but more sundried tomato and garlicky, as one might expect. I loved this one as well. The third kind was Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash, which was a much harder cheese, with a smoky and sharp taste. It was nice that all three weren't the same texture and sharpness. I am more a fan of the creamy variety but I would still choose to order a cheese like this next time for variety of the fancycheeses.

Beautiful and fancy stone fruits

This is my plate with some of each kind. Oh don't worry I had much much more than this.

My aunt and uncle got a new puppy while we were visiting. His name is Redford, and he is adorable. When I came to visit he was fast asleep. My uncle tried really hard to wake him up but his machinery was switched off. Nothing could wake him up! We let him sleep because he looked super cute. When he woke up he played tug of war with my mom for an hour and nipped everyone and everything in sight.

I've been going nuts on Salad Samurai still. I've been trying to make more of the Summer Chapter salads because I spent a lot of time this winter making the winter ones, but it's nice to make salads filled with summery produce. This is the BKT bowl, the B being Tempeh bacon, the K standing for Kale, rather than your ordinary L(lettuce), and tomatoes were traditional and unadulterated here. There was avocado and red onion as well all tossed in a mustardy-citrus vinaigrette. It was so good I am going to make it again tonight!

Another salad I've been making over and over is the Orange Poppyseed Tofu Salad with Strawberries, which also has blueberries, orange segments, and Sriracha and Smoke Pecans. The pecans are like crack. I learned from times prior to make a double batch. The pecans take only 15 minutes and the tofu about 30. In the 15 minutes while the tofu finishes and the pecans are out of the oven, I eat them all. Fast. There are like 5 pecans left to put in the salad. I learned, and made a double batch this time! This salad is unbelievable dope and it makes me enjoy summer just a little more.

I feel like I have my head submerged in a vat of wedding planning and am a big ball of stress lately. I can't wait for the day to come even though I know it will go by in a flash. I'm trying to keep my head and not become bridezilla and know that everything will come together. Any advice is more than welcome. 
<3 all you vegans <3,

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Oh Hai, Summer!

I am still alive and breathing I swear. For the past month I have been sweating a little more each day, drinking a little more iced coffee, and muttering under my breath, "It's still spring, It's still spring, It's still spring..." It is officially Summer now, so I wallow in sweaty sadness and miss my winter hat collection. To keep my spirit alive, I've been making lots of good food with summerful produce, cooking from some new and old favorite books, listening to some sweet tunes, and seeing some sick shows. I've been doing other stuff, too. Observe:

One evening I made some "summer" rolls from Thug Kitchen, which is fast becoming my go-to cookbook for flipping through and landing on something for dinner. I don't make summer rolls often because it usually involves sticky rice paper and a lot of cursing, but then I see a picture of someone's beautiful summer rolls and I forget the headache they were to make in the past and the cycle continues. I picked up some summer roll tips from Kittee, dear sweetheart to all in the vegan world, and my rolling game was upped several notches. 

No, really. Check out that tight roll.

Alex made the dipping sauce and he was really proud that he helped. He's cute.

This is what happened one night when Alex requested a "pilaf" for dinner. I don't think he really knows what he meant, but when I think of rice pilaf, I think of a box of rice-a-roni that has little pieces of what I now know as orzo in it with a package of salt to stir in. I wasn't totally into the box, so I made some brown rice and cooked it in veggie broth, added peas and garlic and Voila. Pilaf. Tofu and veggies also made an appearance on the "pilaf" plate.

I fell into a tot-ditch at some point during the month of June. I am not proud to admit it. I eschew as much processed food as I can. I make faces at in in the grocery store. I try not to go anywhere but the produce aisle. One day at work I was hit by a tot craving. Like any craving, it came inexplicably and without reason. I sent Alex to the store to buy them (I could never be seen buying them after making all those faces at them) and he brought home a big bag that goes in the freezer, so it doubles as an endless supply and reminder of how you gave into a craving. A modest 1 cup serving turns into 2 fast, and they require dipping, ketchup usually but sometimes I even dip in chipotle vegenaise (gasp). Needless to say I didn't buy a second bag. But the first bag is long since gone...

I served said tots with the chickpea salad sandwich from Thug Kitchen. I loved this recipe because the creamy-mayonnaise-y base is just avocado. I can get behind that. Also, so can Alex, who is a certified mayo-hater. The recipe made enough for like ten sandwiches so we ate them for days. Half the recipe would have been more than sufficient for the two of us.

One night with our leftover sandwiches, I made the Summer Squash Soup, also from Thug Kitchen. It was pretty good, but I liked the corn chowder better, which has a remarkably similar method. Chop, sauté, blend. Eat. 

I recently read Unorthodox, by Deborah Feldman. I was so into this book that I couldn't put it down. I think I read it faster than I've ever read a book. I knew virtually nothing about the Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, so I had a lot to learn from the book. If you're into feminism at all, I highly recommend this book. I already gave it to my sister, an avid feminist and literature fan, because I knew she would be into it. It is so completely interesting and horrifying at the same time. I literally could not put it down.

I don't make pies with quite the fierce frequency I used to, but I still crank out a few pies from time to time. Those times are almost exclusively Thanksgiving, Christmas, early summer when strawberry and rhubarb seasons overlap, and late summer in August, when peach season arrives. Everyone, no matter what their dietary restrictions may be, ought to allow themselves pie during these seasons. Since we are, or I guess were, at the time of this pie-making, knee deep in strawberry season, I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie to bring home and share with my mom, who bestowed upon me her love of pie. I like to serve any fruit pie with vanilla ice cream. I picked up So Delicious Cashew for this occasion. Very smooth and creamy, not icy like some vegan vanillas I have tried.

While unexpectedly home, I caught up with this fella, my late aunt's dog. His name is Tucker. He's a rescued Yorkshire Terrier and very sweet. He misses my aunt :( We are doing our best to keep him company, and so many people have offered to take him in. He is the best. 

We made use of some of our free daytime hours to stroll through the Ashley Reservoir in Hoyoke, MA. I kind of can't believe such a beautiful place exists in our world. It is the most calm, serene and breathtaking place I have been in a long time. Whenever I go, there seems to be barely anyone there, but when I ask around if anyone else knows about it or has been there, almost everyone says yes and how they love to go and stroll or run. I guess the beauty of it is in part due to it's sparseness, much like Western Mass in general. 

We were back the next day for real-life duties and activites before heading back in a few days for other pre-planned festivities. But first, what has been the highlight of my year, we saw Neko Case in Brooklyn. Outdoor shows in beautiful weather should be what summer is for. 

Neko case is my favorite and I have become increasingly obsessed with her catalogue, especially in the past two years. She is so smart and cool, and my spirit animal, if I ever had one. Best show by the most talented musicians. 

In other news, when you leave New York and find yourself at a Starbucks, put coconut milk in your iced coffee. It is the milk of choice for all iced coffee. I have tried every kind of plant-based milk in my iced coffee so you should trust me, probably.

They spelled KZ wrong

My mom and I went strawberry picking one Saturday in mid-June, the best time for strawberry picking. We picked a lot... I made strawberry smoothies every day for 2 weeks and still had a ton left over. I froze them for a rainy day. 

My best friend and maid of honor, Jessica, planned me a cute little bachelorette party while I was home. She made me wear all sorts of bride-to-be paraphernalia, the cutest being this sash she made for me. Here's a great pic of the two of us, after over eight long years of best-friendship. 

I love this picture of my friend Julia, and I. Julia is amazing, smart, cool and newly vegan (!) and she is moving to California in a few months. She will be missed dearly, by me and many East-coasters alike.
Dear California, 
Stop stealing all of my friends and family.

I don't have the clearest of memories to describe my bachelorette, but I did manage to photograph this margarita at one point during the evening. Needless to say, it was tequila-themed. I woke up foggy-headed feeling like a junior in college again wearing a veil and couldn't have been happier.

More from Thug Kitchen, I have been wanting to make these BBQ Bean Burritos with Grilled Peach Salsa for sooo long. Now that it is burrito season, I found an occasion to do so. I decided to lose the tortilla and pile all my food in a bowl á la Patton Oswalt, figuring that I can fit way more food in a bowl than inside a wrapped tortilla. I was right.

This bowl was the biggest win. It did require a lot of steps, like making the Baked Spanish Rice, first. It was totally worth it, because I loved the baked spanish rice and have made it twice since then. It goes like this: Make sauce by throwing stuff into your blender. Blend sauce, pour over rice. Bake. So obviously, I was into it. The beans came together in a similar fashion, except replace "bake" with "simmer." While the rice was baking and beans simmering, I made the grilled peach salsa. Turns out there was so shortcut to peeling and cutting unripe peaches while they aren't in season yet. I had to slice off the skin and carefully cut the peach away from the pit. In August, when the peaches are perfect, the skin easily slips off by hand, and the peach slides right off the pit. We're not quite there yet... But anyway I loved the salsa, and loved the bowl. I will make it again many times throughout this summer. Especially in August.

Another summery dish I'd love to share with you is this little pizza I made! I would share the recipe but it is not totally my own. I took the concept from this age-old favorite of mine but used the White Bean Rosemary Hummus from Thug Kitchen as my spread. Then I sprinkled chopped tomatoes, chopped olives, and fresh basil. While I was putting this all together I was thinking it was maybe missing something, and I had worked too hard to have my pizza be missing something. So I sautéed some tempeh crumbles with some thyme, oregano, basil and soy sauce. This made my pizza complete.
 An Instagram Classic

Oh hey, guess where this recipe is from! Thug Kitchen? YUP. I wanted a creamy pasta and was close to reaching for my secret stash (which is embarrassingly large) of Earth Balance Mac and Cheese, when this recipe saved me. This is the Creamy Cauliflower Pasta with Fresh Herbs. I had just fallen into a windfall of fresh herbs from my mom's garden and had some cauliflower in the fridge. The cauliflower Goddesses were smiling on me that day. This sauce is just cauliflower in a blender with some almond milk and spices. It's really nothing to feel bad about. I topped it with my almond parm, a special blend I pride myself on, which is a humble blend of lemon zest, almonds and nooch...

 Like most things, it looked better on Instagram...

As if we didn't waste our hard earned rent-dollars being out of the city enough this month, we re-escaped again last weekend to CT where our family rents cottages for a couple weeks every summer. Teachers, right? WTF why did I not become a teacher? Highlights of that included a long walk with my Dad on Father's Day weekend, many margaritas, outlet shopping, and petting dogs. This dog is a husky, super friendly and cute and at the height of shedding season. He covered the floor in a rug of his fur. His name is Atlas. His brother, Apollo, is bigger and fluffier and I wanted to pet him so bad, but he is scared of Alex :(.. Since I was sitting next to him, I was guilty by association and couldn't pet him. Next time...

I love to go visit them at the beach. I have been every summer of my life and would be so sad if I didn't get to go one year. It has a special scent that reminds me of childhood. Whenever I smell anyone grilling, I always think of 4th of July cookouts in the backyards of our cottages here. Maybe someday my kids will smell grilling and think of veggie burgers and grilled mushrooms.

I think I made this on Monday. We were going for our typical chickpea salad and baked potato night combo, but I had extra veggies in the fridge so I cooked all of them! I can eat straight veggies all day every day as long as I can eat them with a giant scoop of guac.

 Even though I just shared 1,000,000,000 pictures with you all, I still have more (gasp)! I will post soon and talk about May. Swear.