Good Morning! This morning started out wonderful with a mug of coffee and a toasted French Meadow sprouted 16 grain and seed bagel with Toffuti. I enjoyed it out on the balcony and read a little bit more of The Hunger Games; so far I am loving this book- have you read it?
Wednesday Morning Breakfast- YUM
Lets rewind to yesterday:
Lunch: Crackers & Hummus because we had no food
After work I went for a run and did my best pace yet, a 12 minute mile! So far I have cut over 2 minutes off my mile – WIN! It was a really great run.
Follow my workouts on Daily Mile
After my run Neil and I met up with friends from for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, A Single Pebble.
A Single Pebble is a tasty family style Chinese restaurant with some of the best food in town. We chose two small dishes, a large dish and a noodle dish to share between the four of us. We washed it all down with some local brews.
Vegetable Potstickers- These were pretty tasty
Double Garlic Broccoli- one of my favorite dishes on the menu. This is a must order at each visit.
Rice of Course
Sesame Buddha's Beef- this is also a suggested must order dish- it was absolutely amazing. We also had a vegan noodle dish with crispy tofu; it was meh not my favorite but it was okay.
We had a great night out with friends, one of whom is currently living in DC. Now we are looking forward to our August couples trip to Philly. What are you must see, do, eat, ect for Philly? We are looking for suggestions.
Neil and I are celebrating our Third Wedding Anniversary this weekend and today we are off to explore Providence, Rhode Island. While we are galavanting around Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire I hope you enjoy the Vegan Wedding Feature posts. In this first post Tess Challis discusses her all vegan menu and how if the food looks beautiful and taste delicious anyone will eat vegan. Enjoy!
Lentil Spinach Soup (photo by Michelle McCluggage)
Although my marriage didn’t have a fairy tale ending, I can happily say that my ex-husband and I are still great friends! We were married in the fall of 2002 in the Lizard Head wilderness. Here in Colorado, you can legally marry each other without anyone else present. However, we did want to have a gathering to celebrate a few weeks after the actual marriage took place. At the time, we were on a shoestring budget so we had to get really creative. Luckily, there were lots of incredibly kind and generous people who offered to participate. Local professional musicians offered to sing at our celebration for free and the space we rented for the celebration was also practically free!
So, all that was left was food! Being a vegan since 1991, I was determined to work delicious vegan cuisine into the event as well. And since I was in charge of the food (and my husband was a vegan-friendly vegetarian), we decided on a delicious, all-vegan menu. Having done quite a bit of catering and personal chef work at that point, I knew what dishes were crowd pleasers. For an event like this with mostly omnivores, I wanted a menu that would be exciting and satisfying for everyone. I didn’t want even one person to say, “That was good, but where’s the meat?” So, we decided on a menu that included the following: Creamy hummus (pictured) with sourdough bread, gourmet mini-pizzas (pictured), Italian bread salad, fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce, Lemon Asparagus Linguine (pictured), Lemon Lentil Soup (pictured), and Chocolate Decadence Cake (pictured). I’ve obviously found that Italian food is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser! And it was – even my meat-and-potatoes grandma said after dinner: “If you cooked for me every day, I would be a vegan!” Everyone loved the food and talked about it for many months afterward.
Creamy Hummus with Sourdough Bread (Photo by Olga Vasiljeva)
Mini PIzzas (Photo by Michelle McCluggage)
Lemon Asparagus Linguine (Photo by Michelle McCluggage)
Chocolate Decadence Cake (Photo by Michelle McCluggage)
So, this has been my path! Turning people on to a vegan lifestyle via delicious food. It’s such a sneaky approach, but one that works surprisingly well! I can’t tell you how many people have told me over the years that the vegan food I’ve served them has been just about the best thing they’ve ever eaten. It’s so exciting to turn people on to really delicious food that awakens their taste buds – and then to tell them, “By the way, that was all vegan – and healthy!”
Quintessence (“Tess”) Challis began her holistic health journey in her late teens. After a lifetime of numerous health ailments (including acne, obesity, strep throat, constant illnesses, anxiety, and depression), she found that a vegan diet along with an “inner wellness regime” of meditation and visualization literally made a world of difference.
In 1994, she began sharing this knowledge through cooking classes, catering, meditation classes, and workshops. She has also been a personal chef to many clients across the United States.
In 2009, Tess published the 2nd edition of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, a vegan cookbook and complete holistic health resource. Tess’s latest book, The Two-Week Wellness Solution: The Fast Track to Permanent Weight Loss and Vitality, was released in June 2010 and includes a foreward by Dr. Neal Barnard. Her next book, Radiance 4 Life: The 4 Cornerstones of Ultimate Vitality, is due out in June 2011. She currently works as a wellness coach, cooking class instructor, author/speaker, and personal trainer.
Gosh I’m pooped! This weekend has been crazy busy for the us between the massive load of laundry we had to do, blog updates/upgrades and visiting my parents where I had an awful nights sleep. I am about ready to pass out on the couch right now but instead I’m going to finish this post and get my workout in because I know I will regret not doing it even though i’d rather go sleep. Enjoy our weekend in photos (yes it’s all food- what can I say it was that kind of weekend).
Delicious tea at Patra
Hummus, pita chips and veggies (that tasted like onions) at Patra
Late lunch with the Hubz at The Farm House Tap & Grill
Oh and of course and afternoon brew
or two! (we both had 2 halves - so one full beer)
Sunday Breakfast Broiled Grape Fruit aka "Royal Grapefruit" (the Hubz thought I said royal when I really said BROILED so now it's Royal Grapefruit)
Yields 4 servings- mix 2T agave, 1t vanilla, 1/2t cinnamon & 1/4t ginger powder together and brush on 2 halved grapefruits- broil on high for 5-10 minutes
Breakfast Frittata with Tomato-Mushroom Gravy
Thanks to the Hubz my blog has received a facelift! In addition to a new look I also updated my ‘About Me‘ page so check it out! Stay tuned for more upgrades in the future!
I have been super busy lately working on finishing up my last month of IIN, focusing on my health coaching practice, working on getting our home fixed up and working on new projects for the blog. I am really excited about everything that has been going on and can’t wait to share more with you.
As for IIN I am now certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners which is all of a sudden making this feel so real. I am also working on some special rates for my husbands company which is a young, health conscious group and already have a number of healthy living initiatives so I am hoping my services will appeal to the group. I also am going to be coming out in the next week with a special readers rate so keep your eyes peeled.
For the blog I am working on a local product project to give you a feature of different vegan Vermont products. This month I will be featuring Nutty Steph’s and Vermont Soy– with that being said if you have specific questions you would like to know about these two places please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. I also am working on another personal project that I am going to feature on the blog as well- keep reading and I’ll discuss this more at the bottom of the post.
With all these projects the Hubz and I haven’t spent much quality time alone together so last night we took the night off and went to The Farmhouse Tap and Grill to enjoy good beer and food. We also did a little shopping because well we both need an update. The Hubz got some new kicks and I got new jeans and a skirt from Ann Taylor Loft (only $12 for both SCORE!).
This morning I started things off right with a bowl of oatmeal with a little sample of Barney Butter (giveaway and review to come son), a banana and Bee-Free Honee (review and giveaway for this too!). I also had a cup of awful instant coffee- Tasters Choice- a free sample I applied for online somewhere- it was awful, then again I’m a coffee snob.
After breakfast I made the Hubz and I lunch; since we went out last night we had no leftovers from dinner (except yummy olives) so I was happy that Cedar’s sent me a few coupons for free products which allowed us to have a yummy Mediterranean feast see below:
After breakfast and lunches came my next challenge for this month- clean out the cupboards before summer. This is the month of the pantry challenge. My goal is to reduce packed items from out cupboards; there really isn’t a much but I am ready to make some changes and increase the dried beans and grains and fresh veggies. In addition to cleaning out the cupboards the real challenge will be to not purchase items that we are already trying to get reduce/crowd out. This is also a pantry challenge to hopefully save a little money on groceries this month because I am a natural food store-aholic- they are my favorite places to shop. So here is what we have to use:
Rice Vermicelli Noodles
Rice Paper Wrappers
Rajmah Spice Mix
Punjab Chole Spice Mix
Frontier Soups Wheat Berry Chili Mix
Jovial Brown Rice Pasta (also need to review)
Nature Burger Mix
Whole Wheat Orzo
Canned Diced Tomatoes
3 cans of chickpeas
2 cans of black eyed peas
1 can of cannelini beans
3 cans black bean soup
Frozen Mana Bread
Vegan Nacho Queso
Kaia Foods- pumpkin seeds, buckwheat granola, fruit leathers
Barbara’s Animal Crackers
I know it is a nice long list of items and I hope that between Saturday March 5th (shopping day) and April 5th I will be able to work my way through these items and start to build the pantry that I really want. I am excited for this challenge as well because it is going to help me get back into creating recipes. Have you done a pantry challenge? Who else wants to participate?
Alright so that is the update around here now it’s time get ready for work!
This weekend has been filled with great new recipes, great conversation and the most amazing chocolate I have ever had. On Saturday after a crazy morning filled with bagels, markets and lots of coffee the Hubz and I came home to prepare for our dinner guest. We took a break from cleaning and organizing to enjoy a Dominex Eggplant Burger over greens with tomatoes and avocado served with rutabaga flax fries.
Serves 2- pre heat oven to 425F. Peel and cut 2 small rutabaga into fries and place in a bowl. Toss the rutabaga with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of flax meal, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon chili powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender and browned.
More cleaning and a little napping happened and then it was time to make dinner for Allie from Healthy Balance, Healthy Life. Allie wanted to make hummus using her new food processor so that set the tone for the entire meal. I decided to go with a Mediterranean themed meal which included lemon-garlic-oregano marinated tofu, tomato, onion and pepper skewers, olives, pita, tahini-parsley dressing and carrot sticks and radishes with Allie’s roasted red pepper hummus.
tofu and tomato skewers
onion and pepper skewers
The marinade/baste for the veggies and tofu included:
1 cup vegetarian chicken broth (could sub vegetable broth)
2 Tablespoon chopped parlsey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Whisk these all together and pour over skewered veggies and tofu and allow to marinate for 2-4 hours. Remove from the marinade and place on parchment lined baking sheets; pre-heat oven to 425F. Place the remaining marinade in a small sauce pan and place over high heat; bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer until the sauce has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and brush the veggies and tofu. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and baste with more of the reduced marinade; return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven once again and baste the veggies and tofu with the remaining marinade. Turn the oven on to broil and broil on high until the veggies and tofu are lightly browned.
carrot sticks and radishes
yummy mixed olives
tahini-parsley sauce and whole wheat pita
Allie's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Serves 4- in a small sauce pan heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, add 1/2 a minced sweet onion and saute over medium-high for 5-6 minutes until the onions soften. Stir in the garlic and 1 (15oz) can of rinsed and drained chickpeas; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 (12oz) package of defrosted frozen spinach, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste; cook until heated through.
For dessert we enjoyed Lulu’s raw chocolate which is easily by far the most amazing raw chocolate I have ever had. I find a a lot of raw chocolates do not have enough of a chocolate flavor and are sometimes chalky tasting but this chocolate was amazing and not only is the best raw chocolate I have ever had but one of the best chocolates. I will blog about these more once I try the other flavors I have.
After our late night chatting and enjoying Proseco with Allie we dragged ourselves out of bed this morning and headed to my parents house for the day. We enjoyed the day with my parents, grandma and Aunt Carol; we ate, played cards and laughed. When we got home we were hungry and ready to enjoy a nice high-raw dinner. This week we are going to eat high raw in hopes of detoxing our body a bit after enjoying lots of pasta, bread and drinks this weekend.
Dinner tonight consisted of a spicy carrot-avocado soup and raw tuna salad sandwiches which was served on multigrain Manna sprouted bread.
Spicy Carrot-Avocado Soup (raw)
1 & 2/3 cup carrot juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small garlic clove
pinch of cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
The Raw Tuna Salad recipe came from Ani Phyo's Raw Food Essentials
You can get the Aioli Mayonaise recipe for the mock tuna sandwich here.
In a high power blender or food processor add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Add the reserved chickpea liquid to create a consistency you like- I like mine really smooth so I added about 1/3 cup of reserved liquid.
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