January Jams

Wuf life is tough without a computer, and incomplete without being able to document my life on the internet via photos of food I ate. I'...

Wuf life is tough without a computer, and incomplete without being able to document my life on the internet via photos of food I ate. I'm coming to you hot with food pics from a borrowed computer at this moment, all about the stuff I have been doing all January long. These photo dump photos are kind of the new norm for me, and I hope no one minds, because they seem like a nice way to tell a little story of my life to you all, just by telling you about each photo I took in the last month. I'm V grateful that you all still come to read about it :)

Every few weeks I decide that I must eat better and stop eating junk, and make a salad or something healthy for a day and a half before I fall off the wagon. I made this Lentil Quinoa Stew from Isa Does It, with some carrots, kale and some homemade rolls. This stew was okay, but really lacked an umami sort of flavor, and I pouted about having to eat the leftovers.

I celebrated my 6-year vegan-anniversary the way any respectable vegan would, with avocado toast, and coffee with coconut creamer.

This is my first winter in Philly, and I knew it would be a little milder than New York, so I was expecting a little less snow, maybe a few less days below zero... But not a disappearing winter. Winter in Philly is pretty much non-existent this year. We have only had a couple of really cold days, maybe even getting to the 20s, but most winter days here are 40 degrees and feel like a regular ass fall in New England. It's too bad, because I fell in love with the winter in NYC, and I see this year they have gotten a much better winter than down here, but alas, I will make curry anyway. I made the Down Home Curry from Isa Does It, which is so easy and customizable. I added whatever veggies I had on hand and cranked the spiciness up to 11. No one can take my winter food anyways from me!!

Alex is big pizza fan, and so on one of our cold nights here we heated the house up by making pizza. We used some gardein chicken strips, red sauce, made the mozzarella sauce from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen and topped it with shredded basil. It was so good and Alex was so happy with it-- but I still would have preferred to eat this as a bowl full of pasta instead!! #TeamSpaghetti4Life

Alex whines when he doesn't have cookies and the only way to make him stop is to make him some cookies. I suppose I win, too, since I get cookies when I'm done. These are the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook, but I left the chocolate chips out of the batter and just pushed them into the top of the baked cookies for a makeshift-hershey kiss kind of cookie. They were pretty much impossible to stop eating.

We know how to weekend:

My fave recipe from Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook that I've made so far is the Chipotle Mac & Cheese. This recipe has been on her blog for years, but I hadn't made it in a while on account of her coming out with the roasted red pepper mac in Isa Does It. But I will say that this one has reclaimed the #1 slot for best mac. I have made this again twice since taking this photo!

Every day is Taco Tuesday in my apartment. Alex loves to make tacos, and he gets really creative with his little condiments and spreads. Me, I just like the staples: black beans & rice, tofu or seitan, a crunchy slaw, guac & hot sauce. He likes to go all fancy and make a "special tomato compote" but by the time he is done making all his components, I am done eating my tacos. I have zero patience when it comes to waiting for tacos.

The Bean Bourguingon from Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook, was so amazing. It was the perfect winter stew, and served over creamy mashed potatoes, it takes on a new life as the most comforting thing you ever ate. Alex said the coconut oil made the potatoes "too coconutty" and wouldn't eat them. More for me :)

We have been spending a few hours a day on the weekends at coffee shops, me reading, Alex working. I love One Shot Cafe right nearby my place in Northern Liberties. So far this year I have finished three books! That's really good for me, since I'm kind of a slow reader and have pretty bad attention issues. Even if I can't focus, I still like going to the coffee shop and settling in for a few hours to just relax, sip your coffee and be present. A day to be grateful you don't have any kids yet.

More tacos! These are when I was going to make the Cinco De Mayo fajitas from Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook but then I realized that it is only seitan, onions and peppers wrapped in tortillas, and so I just made that plus slaw and guac and turned it into taco night, yet again. The Pinto Bean Seitan recipe from that book is really easy and came out perfectly, which is what I used for these.

Adelina's, my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn, has a dish on their menu called Penne Shue Shue, their family variation of Pasta Sciue Sciue. Theirs has an amazing fresh tomato sauce with chopped walnuts, olives and capers. I order it every time I go, and it is the BEST. I wanted to try and recreate it at home, and it came out a little closer to a puttanesca, which I still loved, but not quite the same as the restaurant's version. I still ate a plate the size of my head of this anyway.

We started a little "Pizza Fridays" tradition, where we go to Blackbird after work on Fridays. I pick up Alex on my way home and we go get slices. He always gets a sandwich and fries (which I eat a lot of) and I get two slices. This is the Balboa slice, but I like their Haymaker slice, and their Spicy Barbecue slice as well. Let's be real I will eat any slice available and like it.

I made the quesadillas from the Cinco De Mayo chapter of Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. These were great, and I will definitely make them again. However, this book is unfortunately riddled with errors or just bad directions. Honestly, I think this is the first cookbook of hers that is pretty unreliable. So this recipe said to chill the cheese in the fridge for three hours or overnight, and when I was done making the cheese... I had no idea why it would need to be chilled. It was a spreadable consistency, and the photo shows a very messy and kind of drippy cheese sauce. I said, screw this, I'm not waiting three hours to eat this, and proceeded to make the quesadillas with the cheese straight out of the blender, and they were no worse for the wear. Later the next day, after the cheese had chilled overnight, I made more using the leftovers and could tell absolutely no difference after the cheese had been chilled. This is just one example of a minor issue, among several other issues I have found with recipes in this book, the most egregious being the chocolate buche de noel cake, and an experienced cook would be fine (most of the time) but yeah, not for beginners. Kind of disappointed! Where were the editors and testers on this one?? For Superbowl, I made four recipes from the Superbowl chapter, one of them being the Philly Cheesesteak Casserole. The recipe says to line the casserole dish with slices of bread, and then make the filling, but never actually specifies to pour the filling over the bread slices, then top with breadcrumbs and bake. While the filling was great, the bread at the bottom simply soaked up grease and got super tough and over-chewy, making the casserole very difficult to cut through, even with a steak knife. Next time I would cube the bread after cutting off the crust, and make the bottom of the casserole a light layer of bread cubes, or leave the bread out all together.

My coworker took a vacation to Ecuador, and returned with vegan chocolates from Ecuador for me! It was soo delicious and I ate it all within a day and a half.

At the end of the month we went to NYC to see American Football, visit our friends, and hit up some spots to eat, old favorites and new.

We went to Champs upon arrival, and during the wait, got Dunwell Doughnuts. Damn, they are the finest doughnuts in all the land. Dottie's donuts really do not have shit on these. Sorry, Philly, but your vegan donut game ain't that strong.

I made a reservation at Modern Love Brooklyn, knowing I would be in town on this weekend, and Modern Love opened up just one month after I moved to Philly, so I was super bummed not to have gone yet, and needless to say, very excited to go.
We began with wine, and the arancini, risotto balls stuffed with almond cheese, and deep fried. I don't know why they were served in this super awkward cereal-bowl, but these were definitely the best thing we had that night. The sauce was great, and there was a nice bit of lemon zest coming through. These set the bar pretty high!

I knew I wanted to get the Mac and Cheese even before we arrived. I had been checking the menu a few days before, and following along on Instagram to see what kind of specials they were offering, and I knew it was going to be the mac and cheese, and that it was going to be great. Wrong. I am so sad to say that this was extremely disappointing. The noodles were so far overcooked that they were basically falling apart. The sauce was not cheesy at all, and nothing like the red pepper mac in her book. The tofu had a nice pecan crust, but the tofu itself was unseasoned. There was kale and cauliflower too, but they were cold. Sad face.

Alex got the Surf and Turf, Glam chowder with Seitan chops, popcorn fried cauliflower and roasted radishes. The seitan was pretty good if I remember correctly, but it was served right on top of the chowder and the flavors all got muddled and.. bad. He really wished those radishes were red potatoes, and honestly so did I. The cauliflower was good. It was crunchy and satisfying, and provided a crispy element to a murky, muddled, wet meal. It was also enough food for four people. Just way too much food. We would have taken it home if we lived there, but couldn't as we were headed off to the show. Boo.

The pies they post on Instagram are so beautiful and I am always so awed by them and I knew I definitely needed to get pie when I went. I knew it would be the best pie, by the author of the Pie book, which I learned to make amazing vegan pies from years ago. Wrong. This pie was bad. The crust was dense and hard, not flaky at all. I really would have loved this to be heated up, since everybody loves a warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Hell, I think I remember getting warm apple pie from Burger King as a kid. Even Burger King warms up their stupid apple pie. The ice cream was nice, and the coconut whip was good, though unsweetened (this is dessert). The apples were cold, not super soft. Just a big sad eleven dollar slice of pie with a side of tears.
I hadn't heard any bad reviews, and I'd been reading all of my friends' takes on the restaurant, every one of them loving it. But when I went, the service was so bland and not great at all either. Our waiter was so blah, did not say hi or what can I get for you, just kind of showed up with a notepad and stared. My wine had weird bits in the bottom of my glass. Isa was going table to table saying hi and how is everything but stopped before she got to mine! That's not an honest complaint, I know she can't get to every table, I'm just a big fan and would have loved to say hi. Boo. I am so sad to say that I will probably never go back to Modern Love. The food wasn't very good at all, and with such great options in NYC and Philly, there just isn't any point. You broke my heart, Modern Love!

ANYWAY, life went on, we saw one of our favorite bands that night, we hung out with our good friends and hit up some good spots that we used to frequent. We were only in town for a day and half, so we didn't have much time to meet up with others or go to more spots, but we will be back to NYC again soon, perhaps this summer.
Also, This week is Valentines Day, and I got a reservation at VEDGE, the most awesomest dopest best restaurant I've ever been to anywhere, and I'm going to eat a lot of amazing food. Also I got my taxes back and am briefly rich, so I have lots of new makeup finds to share with you, perhaps I will do a Valentines Makeup Post, if any of you would be remotely interested.
Super excited for the rest of February and all the other months coming, I'm in Philly, I'm doing my thing and life is good.
Love & Miss you all!!

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