Tag Archives: vegan mofo

CSA Week 7 and Meal Planning (plus a video!)

15 Oct

(Video is working now! Sorry for the false promise last night.)

Hello all! Here is a rare late-night post from me. It’s basically my bed time right now, but I wanted to get this posted while I have access to the photos on my home computer, so without further ado, here’s my CSA haul for the week:

Behold a very green bounty:

  • mint x2
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • Swiss chard
  • red leaf lettuce
  • butternut squash
  • carrots
  • zucchini x5
  • green bell peppers x2
  • fuyu persimmons x2
  • eggplants x3

My mister was curious about the persimmons, so we consulted Google to ensure these were the sweet fuyu and not the tart hachiyas. Once satisfied, he took a bite, and I caught it on video. I think he’s pretty cute:

My husband eats his first persimmon from Brigid on Vimeo.

We are going to let the other one ripen longer before sinking any teeth in.

So where’s it all going? Here is the plan:

Sunday brunch: zucchini pancakes with tomato sauce

Breakfasts: Baked banana oatmeal


  • Weekdays — Butternut squash/lentil tacos (me), black bean tacos (him)
  • Saturday — Leftovers in some configuration


  • Sunday — Quinoa Confetti Casserole from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan
  • Monday/Tuesday — Coconut curry in the slow cooker
  • Wednesday — Pasta with veggies and tomato sauce and salad
  • Thursday/Friday — Black bean soup and sautéed Swiss chard
  • Saturday — Veggie and noodle stir fry

And as for workouts, I am a slave to my 10K training plan.


So that slices up to be:

Monday – strength
Tuesday – three-mile run plus strides
Wednesday – stretching and hip-opening yoga
Thursday – four-mile run
Friday – strength
Saturday – two-mile run plus strides
Sunday – five-mile run

That’s the look of my week from a food and fitness perspective. Tomorrow I will have a fun recap of some delicious breakfast recipes. See you then!

Every week, I participate in In Her Chucks‘ “What’s in the Box?” link-up. Click here to see boxes from all over!

Vegan Mac & Cheese Showdown

15 Oct

I owe you a meal planning and CSA post, but my computer was held hostage all day yesterday for football. I used the good camera (i.e. not the iPhone) to take photos, and now I’m at work, so I will have to see if Mr. X can send them to me when he eventually rises and shines. Anyway, it feels wonderful not to be sick any more. I took Friday off to recuperate, which was a good choice. I was still feeling crappy on Saturday, so clearly I just needed the rest (and extra neti potting).

I did venture out briefly on Saturday, though, for LA’s Best Vegan Mac & Cheese Showdown hosted by Chica Vegan! I have been looking forward to this event for a month, and there was no way I was going to miss it. We’re talking $5 for five samples of vegan macaroni and cheese hosted at a space I love that is walking distance from my apartment. I sucked up my sniffles and the fact that I was flying solo while X had an audition and headed down.

So, like I said, you fork over $5 to receive a ticket book for your samples:

Each restaurant had one for you to tear off and exchange for your cup of faux cheesy goodness. The system was very organized. I tried to get a shot of the action, but I’m a pretty terrible photographer, as you know, so this is what I got:

Anyway, I had my first sample from Hugo’s, which I have visited twice though strangely never written about:

Theirs was so brightly colored and is a regular menu item. It featured: “Fusilli pasta with garlic, sliced mushrooms and sweet peas in a creamy cashew and sunflower cheese sauce. Topped with crispy onions.” It was really, really good (and HUGE! My eyes were much bigger than my stomach. I honestly believed I could power through every bite of five of those things without getting sick, but I was wrong.). I really like Hugo’s — especially their brunch — but had never sampled their well-known mac ‘n cheese. I’m so glad I did!

Next was M Cafe de Chaya, which I have also visited and enjoyed and not mentioned on the blog:

Theirs was the most non-traditional spin with rotini, asparagus, and sun-dried tomatoes tossed in a light white sauce and topped with arugula. I enjoyed this take and would definitely eat it again, but it would have been more to my taste with some crushed red pepper or even just black pepper. I think that’s a macrobiotic thing, though.

The third one I tried was from SunCafe Organic, a new-to-me restaurant that Lynn from The Actor’s Diet recommended before:

Theirs was a tweak of a regular menu item, and here’s how they describe it: “ANDEAN DREAM quinoa pasta, tomato, cashew cheese sauce, garlic pecan crumble” (minus the “lemon basil tossed baby greens”). This was hands down my favorite. It was so flavorful and creamy, and the pecan crumble was insane. I was already feeling a little full by this point, but I couldn’t stop myself from eating every delicious morsel. I am so, so glad to discover SunCafe!

As I said, I was feeling more than a little full at this point, but I still had to try the last two contenders so that I could vote with accuracy. I grabbed them both at the same time, had three nibbles of each, and then saved the rest for Mr. X. Here is Doomie’s Home Cookin’, one of my favorite vegan restaurants that I’ve blogged about once before:

This was your basic Kraft mac ‘n cheese except veganized. To be totally honest, it was my least favorite, which isn’t to say it was bad, but I have just never been a fan of the basic recipe. Even as a kid I didn’t eat boxed macaroni and cheese. (I was weird and incredibly picky.) I know I’m the odd one out, though, since Doomie’s won second place in the people’s choice vote.

And finally we had Southern Fried Vegan, which was totally new to me:

Like Doomie’s, theirs was pretty traditional, though it did have a nice little sharpness to it that set it apart. They apparently participate in a lot of events — they don’t have a brick and mortar shop — including this week’s Vegan Taco Thursday at Eagle Rock Brewing that I will have to check out soon.

After we sampled (or gorged ourselves on) the choices, we voted for our favorite. There were two prizes: the people’s choice and the judges’ favorite. The judges were:

  • Judge of Top Chef Masters and Food Editor at LAist.com: Krista Simmons
  • Mohawk Bend’s Executive Chef: Mike Garber
  • Hot Knives Cookbook Writers and Chefs: Evan and Alex

The winners of the people’s choice were SunCafe Organic in first place and Doomie’s Home Cookin’ in second place. The judges’ favorites were Hugo’s in first and SunCafe in second.

Here are my picks in order:

  1. SunCafe
  2. Hugo’s
  3. M Cafe de Chaya
  4. Southern Fried Vegan
  5. Doomie’s

So that was the event. Since I was feeling poorly and was by myself, I left pretty quickly, but I had an amazing time. I want to give a huge shout out to Chica Vegan for organizing such a great event, to the five restaurants who participated, and to all the volunteers to ran such a perfect event. I hope to see more showdowns in the near future!

Sick :P

11 Oct

Allergies, whatever: I’m sick. My nose is all stuffly, and my eyes are all burny. I have upped my neti pot usage to twice a day, and I’m chugging hot tea (and, as a result, making frequent trips to the ladies room). I am still getting my training runs in, though. I conquered my three-miler on Tuesday, and today I finished my four, though with walking breaks again. I did improve my pace: 13:26 on Sunday’s four-miler to 12:45 today. Woo hoo!

All that said, I’m tired and sniffly and a little grumpy, but I will be back tomorrow with some food for you. Thanks for understanding!

Weeknight recipes

10 Oct

Frequent readers of this blog know I’ve been pretty hardcore about meal planning the last couple of months due to my CSA, my need to save money, and my desire to eat better. Naturally, these efforts necessitate cooking during the week, even when I’m tired and cranky (or, in the case of last night, fighting off some nasty allergies). I’m turning to meals that sound delicious but are not complicated, and so far I’ve had great success this week, so I wanted to share a couple. First off is a variation on my Basic Lentil Soup:

I adapted it for the slow cooker, though, since I still only have one working burner at home.

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 3 small-medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 container of mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced (white and green parts) — you could use a small onion instead
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tofurkey Italian Sausage, chopped coarsley
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The soup epitomizes what I love about the slow cooker: combine everything in your cooker, add eight cups of water, and set to cook. You can put it on low and let it cook all day while you’re at work, or you can set it to high, and it will be done in three or so hours. I did the latter since I was preparing it for lunches on Sunday evening. It makes a very thick soup that is filling but not too heavy.

Serves 6ish.

I love lentil soup because, really, you can add any vegetables you want and season it however you prefer. I went Italian this time, but it could just as easily been curried or made Mexican-style.

For dinner Monday and Tuesday night, we enjoyed a variation on Oh She Glows’ Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze.

I made the following modifications:

  • Used olive oil instead of Earth Balance.
  • Added two garlic cloves (instead of the powder), two scallions (though I would actually saute regular white onion next time for even more flavor), and a lot of crushed red pepper.
  • Mashed the roasted butternut squash with a fork and didn’t bother with a blender.

Our bowls contained the sauce, whole wheat spaghetti, shiitake mushrooms, the rest (FINALLY!) of the white beans, and kale. I would guess the ratios were:

  • 1 recipe of the sauce
  • 1 bag of spaghetti minus one serving (though I did boil the spaghetti fresh each night since I really hate the texture of leftover whole wheat pasta)
  • Half a container of shiitake mushrooms (button or cremini would work great, too)
  • 1.5 cups cooked cannelini beans
  • 1 bunch of kale, torn into pieces

Made 4 hearty servings.

Since I had roasted the squash on Friday night, the meal came together really fast, especially last night, since all we — Mr. X, rather, since I was feeling sick and, therefore, had regressed to a whiny baby — had to do was boil some pasta and reheat the sauce. I won’t say it truly tasted like a cheese sauce, but the flavor was delicious and very interesting. It also had a great consistency even without blending it.

Tonight we’re having variation #10 billion on X’s Spicy Portobello Chili, and he has demanded I update the recipe with our current favorite combination, so expect that post soon.

Weekend eats

9 Oct

Here’s a round-up of what I ate this weekend.

I was flying solo on Friday night due to Mr. X being on set into the wee hours. The fridge situation was weird, so I went for a random combination. The result was this:

Roasted butternut squash, white beans (yes, we are STILL eating these), Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno. It was surprisingly tasty. I would 100% make the combination again.

On Saturday, X requested my Asian Noodle Salad, so I made a quickie version for lunch:

Romaine for all the leafiness, red pepper (and no green), whole wheat spaghetti noodles, Armenian cucumber, and toasted cashews. The dressing was more or less the same, though I used way less oil. It was quick and tasty.

Dinner was also at my sexy Latin man’s request:

Yep, pizza using my sourdough crust, though I used whole wheat flour for half the recipe since I ran out of white whole wheat. The result was extra nutty and really good. We topped it with Roasted Tomato Sauce (made from canned tomatoes this time), red pepper, onion, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and Tofurkey Italian sausage. Yep, no cheese! X is doing the vegan thang with me this month in solidarity, and to lower his cholesterol. This pizza actually tasted better as leftovers the next day when we reheated it in the oven. Who knew? The peppers and mushrooms just got a little extra soft, so next time I will lightly saute both before layering them on the pizza.

And on Sunday, I ran my four miles and then devoured a fatty slice of leftover pizza. At 1:30, I met some coworkers and other ladies for brunch (fo’ free — holla!) and enjoyed this delicious meal from Mohawk Bend:

So good. It was the House Smoked Mushroom Hash (“tofu scramble romesco, choice of toast” — I had sourdough). There was also a Bloody Mary (totally vegan!) and a nibble of their signature Buffalo Style Cauliflower, both of which escaped my iPhone. And then there was sauv blanc. And then a Moscow Mule (or two). I passed out early. Shocking.

Funky food and fitness

4 Oct

Dinner last night was very uninspired. I didn’t want to make it, I didn’t want to eat it, but dagnabbit, I did. It wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t delicious, but it was vegan and free, so there’s that.

What you see is roasted zucchini and Japanese eggplant (good!) with white bean patties and ketchup (meh). No recipe because, as I said, it wasn’t delicious. I will be breaking down and doing a small grocery trip before dinner tonight.

On the other hand, my three-mile run this morning was a success.

The first two miles felt great, the next .5 was ok, but that last .5 mile was brutal — seriously brutal. I had to force my legs to keep moving, which actually resulted in a negative split. I was just so desperate to finish! Like Tuesday’s shorter run, I didn’t take a single walking break until my three miles were done. I know that’s not a huge accomplishment for most people, but it is for me, so yay!

Important question time: What should I make for dinner? :)

Workout schedule

3 Oct

I have no food to share today unfortunately. I had a rough day yesterday, and by the time I got home, there was no way I could get my exhausted, weepy self into the kitchen to cook. So we did what we always do: picked up Mendocino. It was delicious — in fact, it was the best vegan banh mi I’ve ever had — but I didn’t photograph it.

Instead, I wanted to talk exercise today.

I’ve been really, supremely bad about sticking to my schedule I post each week, so I decided to give myself a kick by trying out a 10K training plan from RunKeeper. Yesterday was the first workout — an easy two-miler. I took it really slow and only averaged a 12:31 pace, but I am proud to say I ran the whole two miles without stopping to walk. I am rarely able to do that without the pressure of a group, so I was happy with myself. My thighs are certainly feeling the workout out today, too! I need to do a better job of stretching after my runs. Here’s what the rest of October looks like:

I’m excited to see how it goes! So, with that in mind, here’s my workout schedule for this week:

Monday — Strength (done!)
Tuesday — 2 mile run (done!)
Wednesday — Yoga (done!)
Thursday — 3-mile run and strength
Friday — Rest
Saturday — 2-mile run
Sunday — The training plan calls for a 4-mile run, but I have a 5k that day for work, so we shall see how I’ll work that out.

What’s on your schedule for the week?

The mother of invention

2 Oct

I mentioned on Sunday that we’re fridge shopping for as much of this week as we can, though I know I’ll have to buy some things by the end of the week. I threw together a couple of easy meals from my pantry and fridge for yesterday, and they came out really tasty, so I thought I’d share.

For lunch on Monday (and probably every other day this week — it’s huge!) was a basic black bean soup:

(Modeled atop my messy desk for authenticity.)

All I did was saute the rest of the red onion in olive oil, then add three cloves of garlic and three of the hot peppers. After a few seconds, I used the one measly potato that was left (chopped, of course) and heated everything for a minute. Then I added the can of diced tomatoes, the rest of the jar of salsa (which was only about 1/4 cup max), one chipotle pepper, a can’s worth of water, the rest of the black beans (SO MANY — probably three cups), cumin, salt, and pepper. It simmered for about 30 minutes, and when it was nice and thick, I stuck it in the fridge. To serve, I topped with about 1/4 of an avocado and a handful of multi-grain chips that were left at the office. Easy and delicious!

Dinner was similarly low-maintenance:

Barley (cooked in the rice cooker and then topped with pepper and nutritional yeast), sauteed Swiss chard (cooked in olive oil and garlic and topped with salt and pepper), and some of the white beans (reheated with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and then topped with crumbled fried sage). If you started with precooked, leftover beans and grains, it would have been on the table in 15 minutes, including chopping. The most exciting part is that I cooked up my chard stems as well as the leaves for the first time, and the result was really tasty. They got tender really fast.

Fingers crossed I end up with something great for dinner tonight! As of right now, I have no idea what to make, but it’ll involve more of the white beans for sure.

Foodie Penpals

1 Oct
The Lean Green Bean

In September, I took part in two fun swaps, and today is the reveal for the first one. I was very excited to be paired with Courtney for The Lean Green Bean’s Foodie Penpals exchange. Here is the wonderful package she sent me:

Clockwise from top left:

  • Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame
  • Alter Eco Organic Royal Red Quinoa
  • Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips in Bombay Curry
  • Two NuGo Organic bars: Mocha Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Almond
  • Stash Chocolate Mint Oolong Tea

What a thoughtful, tasty, and totally vegan package! My favorite was hands down the roasted soy beans. They were insanely delicious! I inhaled them pretty quickly, in fact. A close second is the Chocolate Mint tea. I have it stashed (bad pun) at work for an afternoon treat, and it’s such a nice pick-me-up that isn’t loaded with caffeine (or fat or calories). I love how potent each bag is, too, so I can re-steep. You saw the red quinoa at work in this post, and I’m pretty sad that the bag is empty. The other snacks were a fun change of pace for me. I rarely buy bars of any kind, and I’ve actually never had kale chips that I didn’t make myself. Mr. X pretty much inhaled the kale.

Thank you again, Courtney! It was such fun to receive your package, and it’s even more exciting to meet another health-conscious Angelena!

Welcome, MoFo!

1 Oct

Hey all! Today is the first day of Vegan Month of Food, or VeganMoFo, as it is lovingly called. I’m excited to participate again this year. I really got into the spirit of the month back in 2010, tried but failed in 2011, so fingers crossed that 2012 is a success.

I have three specific goals:

  1. Posting at least four days each week (with all vegan food, of course).
  2. Promoting other participants with link round-ups or recreating their recipes.
  3. Some kind of foodie field trips, preferably weekly.

So there you have it. I hope you’ll follow along with me and share recipes! I’m excited to get cooking.


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