Archives for category: Food

Just twenty minutes north of where we live, you can step into an entirely new landscape–the sweet town of Cave Creek.  I grew up in Tucson and Cave Creek has a similar aesthetic in its hillsides, greenery and beautiful homes.  The temperatures are also about five to ten degrees cooler than where we live.  Its main street is lined with funky antique and furniture stores, biker bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

The past two weekends we visited Cave Creek Coffee Company (C4), once with Roxy and once with my Dad for an early Father’s Day treat.  We regret that we never visited in the pleasant winter months.  At least it was still tolerable to sit outside.  I had an amazing veggie wrap and soy latte.  Yum!  We’ll likely be back soon.

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I promised I wouldn’t make excuses for skipping the ritual of blogging more frequently.  And I’m not… But I’ll merely explain my absence… The past few weeks have been terribly busy and I suffered a sneak attack of allergies that knocked me out so bad, they even sidelined me on my birthday.  Being an April Fools’ Day baby, I’m sure it didn’t look good that I didn’t go to work, but I was genuinely ill. No joke there!

Sickness aside, I had a lovely birthday weekend filled with friends, family and thoughtful gifts.

Here’s a vegan chocolate birthday cake with espresso frosting from Treehouse Bakery.  Words can’t express how yummy this was; it reminded me of the mouthwatering cakes from an exceptional bakery back home that did my wedding cake.

treehouse-bakery-birthday-cake

treehouse-bakery-phoenix-cake

Another birthday treat, The Berkeley veggie pizza from Z Pizza.  We get this every so often as a weekend indulgence, so my birthday was no exception.  Flavorful, chewy crust, fresh cut veggies and melty Daiya cheese make it a winner to me.

z-pizza-berkeley

My husband surprised me with a Kindle and I’m completely enamored!  I secretly wanted one but didn’t say anything.  He knows me so well.  I thought I’d remain a book  purist but it’s so convenient to instant access instead of waiting days for a shipment, weeks on a library waitlist or worse, being robbed by publishers in paying $20 to $30 per title for a hardcover.  At least I have my classics  and pretty coffeetable books to satisfy my lingering purist ways.  I just can’t say enough good stuff about the Kindle.

My folks always know just what I need before I do and they surprised me with a Kindle protective cover.

I got fancy fun charm bracelets (I’m on the right:)) and cool Z Gallerie tea light chandeliers from my bestie.  I still have to figure out where to hang the chandeliers!

charms

Another celebration picture from my party in our backyard.

Namaste,

J 🙂

When people find out that I’m vegan, one of the first questions they ask is, “But what do you eat?”

As silly as that question sounds, I can totally understand why they’re often confused or flabbergasted.  After all, in the average American diet, it’s meat, dairy and eggs that take center stage.  Plant based foods are relegated as bit players or garnish, if at all.

Truth be told, I’ve had more culinary prowess as a vegan than I ever had before.  I’m more open to different spices, flavors and food combinations.

To give an idea of “what I eat”, here’s what you’ll likely find in my house on any given day:

Pantry:

-Pasta.  Not the most superhero vegan food but great in moderation.  DeBole’s is my absolute favorite for flavor and texture.  The use of jerusalem artichoke flour helps to lower inflammation levels too.

-Quinoa.  Such a great staple.  This tiny little grain is packed with so many nutrients and is a complete protein.  It makes a great substitute for rice if you care to switch it up.  It can be served hot or cold and combined with just about anything.  True Food Kitchen in Phoenix serves an amazing red quinoa salad with olive oil, lemon juice, almonds, pomegranate and chives.  The red variety has the best flavor.

-Brown rice and sushi rice.  Add the veggies you’d find in a Cali roll sans the crab meat and voila!

-Beans.  Mainly pinto, black and lentil.  I also keep on hand a bean soup or two that can easily be thrown in a crockpot.

-Nuts.  Mainly cashews and almonds.  Almonds are so tasty and filling.  Cashews are surprisingly versatile and when raw ones are soaked, drained and pureed, it makes a great base for a vegan “alfredo”.  R also gets me cashew clusters from Fresh and Easy for a sweet treat.

-Sesame seeds.  They go on all my salads and lots of stir frys.  These little wonders are packed with minerals.

-Tomato sauce and canned tomatoes.

-Loose tea.  Since I hardly ever drink soda, a nice collection of flavored loose leaf teas mixes things up while boosting antioxidants.

-Extra dark chocolate.  Keep the decadence while losing the dairy.

Fridge:

My non-vegan husband often jokes with me about how I pack our nice, new French door fridge to the gills.  It’s not my fault veggies take up so much room:)

I try to buy organic as often as possible.  I also try to pre-wash and cut a lot of “higher maintenance” veggies beforehand or stick to ones that don’t require a ton of prep.

-Romaine

-Spinach

-Carrot

-Mushroom

-Squash

-Kale

-Onion

-Yams

-Lemon

-Garlic

-Avocado.  I can’t rave enough about avocado.  For me, it fills the meat/dairy desire with its substance and creaminess.  With avocado, I never crave those things.

-Bananas

-Oranges/Orange juice (fortified and not from concentrate)

-Strawberries or blueberries

-A Gardein or two or veggie patties or brats for those quick fix nights.  Fake meats are more of an indulgence and I try to steer clear of them as a regular staple.  Sometimes their taste is also too close to the real thing too!  THere are some veggie patties that are totally okay for a regular basis since they’re less processed and all veggie–like Sunshine burgers.

-Tamari

-Sriracha

-Rice Milk

-Ezekiel bread and tortillas.  A go-to breakfast option.

-Earth Balance.  The closest to real butter taste.

-Nut butter for baking or breakfast.

Spices are an entirely different beast.  Suffice it to say I have a ton of them and they’re fun to use! 🙂  The most frequently used are: garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder, kosher sea salt, basil, oregano, nutmeg, red pepper.

Happy eating!

Namaste,

J 🙂

Last night I went to my yoga lesson as I normally do twice a week.  (Over the past several months, it has been a wonderful outlet for stress, and my mind or body learns something new every time).

Every practice has a specific focus and the instructor’s most recent message really resonated with me.

As we all breathed and stretched in unison in a cool, dark room, she quietly spoke about what it means to be “present” in your yoga practice.

I am definitely guilty of lacking entire mind and body presence in yoga.  Like the multitasker that I am, my brain is always going a million miles a second, juggling thoughts of the past and future (what I’ve done, what’s next).  It doesn’t always shut off for yoga.

I thought about how that negatively affects my relaxation and performance.  After all, my intention for coming to practice is to block out all the noise and concentrate on well-being for one solid hour

Letting go is never easy; that kind of mental release actually requires quite a bit of focus.  However, by harnessing that focus into the present through breaths, poses and stretches, I found myself more relaxed and my mind free from the clutter of the outside world.  It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it felt like a wonderful start.

What’s so great about that lesson is that it transcends yoga itself.  It makes me want to strive for that balance in my daily life by slowing down to savor the present moments.  The future can pause and take a few breaths, right?

On a sweet side note, I’ve treated myself to these delicious vegan cookie treats by Eat Pastry the past few nights.  They can be eaten raw (since there’s no eggs of course) or baked up into a yummy, pillowy soft cookie.  They actually taste even better than the cookies I ate before I was vegan.  I’ve tried a couple of flavors, and this is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip version.

Eat Pastry Vegan Cookie Dough Peanut Butter

Happy Eating and Namaste,

J

Things I learned today:

–  There’s such a thing as fish that can give you a pedicure.  They’re called doctorfish and they only feed off your dead skin cells.  It’s become some kind of international spa treatment phenomenon.  Creepy yet fascinating.

–  Phoenix is actually capable of getting sinkholes.  It happened twice today.  I thought that they usually occur in climates that were inclined to be more wet and humid.

–  My favorite mom and pop deli closed:(  It had the best veggies on amazing puffy pita bread and R loved the meat combo sandwiches.

–  I never knew how to access my work voicemail until today.  I was trying to get to my messages with a special 4 digit code and all I needed to do was press one button.  Email  and face-to-face are my communications of choice at work!  Who uses voicemail anymore anyway?

On a sidenote, it’s a dinner pic:)  Toasted Ezekiel tortillas with kale, veggie burger and guacamole with a side of chipotle yams. Lol, it tastes way better than the pic turned out… Delish!

Namaste,

J 🙂

Today was the first Sunday in a long time that I could not only catch up on satisfyingly mundane things but also relax.  So, yes, I’ll likely be one of those bloggers, that shows you pictures of what I eat and other self indulgent things.

As far as the “showing pictures of what I eat” theme goes, it’s more helpful to me in staying on track, staying inspired and remembering good recipes.  Now that I’ve been vegan for over a year, I know I like to get insight from other bloggers.  So if you’re curious, I’m happy to share:)

So back to my day!  I decided that while i eat countless veggies a week, I still felt like too many were going to waste, mainly because I’d be in a hurry and lack the time to prep them.  So I’m going to try and take part of my Sundays and prep for the week.  The result, tons of clean chopped veggies that are ready to go: kale, romaine, cucumber, carrot and onion just to start.  I felt very productive:)

From that veggie booty I made a delicious salad with kale mix, romaine, sesame seeds, cucumber, miso “mayo” and a lil curry seasoining. Yum!

It was sunny yet very chilly from the storm the night before but we took advantage of the free time to give Roxy (our sweet rat terrier/poodle mix) a walk.  About a ten minute stroll away, there’s an old desert property that has a goat pen near the road.  We love to take Roxy there and she looks at them with a strange curiosity and she oddly doesn’t bark. I think it’s because Roxy may think they’re her “kind.”  After all, they have a strange resemblance.

Example… Roxy Roo:

Example… neighboring goats:

Lol… Kinda a blurry shot.  At least I see the resemblance with the wiry hair and black and white coloring.

Another picture from the stroll, me and Roxy Roo:

The rest of the day was just reading and watching the Oscars.  I had a vegan pizza from Z Pizza while R had his $5 cheesesteak footlong from Subway.  Oh how opposites attract!

I hope I have a lazy Sunday again soon! 🙂

Namaste,

J