Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last Day In Chi-Town

Well I am finally home from Chicago! I will miss all of the great places to eat (and my family, of course), but I am glad to be home and back in real life! Today wasn't all that exciting for MoFo food...can't believe it's day 29!...but I did have some baked goods that were quick treats for traveling!
From Sweet Cakes Bakery, my mom and I got some scones for breakfast: Cherry Lemon Scone and Savory Mushroom Herb Scone. I think scones may be my favorite baked good at the moment...sweet or savory, I just love them so much!!

This mushroom-herb scone is one of the best scones I've ever had!! It was so flavorful and dense and it had a great texture! This is just screaming for Earth Balance! My mom went for the sweet scone: Cherry Lemon Scone. Dried cherries? Yes, please!! Also a fantastic scone, this was sweet but not too sweet, and the fruitiness was really lovely for a morning flavor! I think this scone was screaming for some Cherry or Blueberry Jam....aren't we all, though??
As a post-travel treat, I had a cupcake that I had brought with me from the Bleeding Heart Bakery: Almond Spice Cupcake with Brown Sugar Frosting and Cinnamon Apple Topping! This was so sweet and spice-y, and was perfect for a chilly autumn day. The cupcake itself was perfectly moist and amazing, but the addition of the awesome frosting and apple topping made it even a caked version of a caramel apple! mmmmm! I wish I could eat treats from here every day!
And since I forgot to post this picture last night after dinner, here is a pic of some of the folks who met up at Chicago Diner for dinner...friendly Chicago vegans and some people traveling through town with the Vega company (the guy in the middle is Robert Cheeke of it out!) And people say we don't get enough protein! ha!

I am really excited because I was in Barack Obama's hometown for the past week, and now he is coming to my town tomorrow night! We will be going to see him speak in Columbia, MO tomorrow to support him and the should support them by voting for them on November 4th! And volunteer if you can! kewl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chicago Trip: Day 5

Today was my last whole day here in Chicago...what a way to spend Day 28 of Vegan MoFo! I have to admit that I am getting a little homesick, especially for Steven...sappy, I know. :)
Since I had my conference again today, we had to make it another "fast food" lunch at Whole Foods (which has saved me as far as lunch goes!!):
I had some samplings from the salad bar: Sesame Tofu Sticks, Barley and Tomato Salad, Garlic Green Beans, and Sesame Cabbage Crunch Slaw...all very tasty and fresh!
For my mom, it was also a salad bar day: Sesame Tofu Sticks (these were seriously delish), Tabbouleh, and Autumn Couscous Salad...she was pleased!After some sight-seeing, we worked up an appetite for treats, so we headed to Sweet Cakes, located in the Ukrainian district here in Chicago. I had heard a lot about this bakery, so I was determined to go there sometime during my visit!! I was excited to learn that the baker there was vegan, and she ran the shop with her father...isn't that precious?! I thought it was pretty was the homey-retro decor of the cute bakery.
My mom, who apparently loves Halloween-themed things, got the Frosted Sugar Cookie, which was decorated to look like a bat! I guess this is still considered vegan :)I had the Pumpkin Empanada! I had never had a vegan empanada before, and this set the bar really high! It was so flaky and autumn-y, and really good! It went very well with a hot cup of chai tea!!Here is the beautiful and tasty pumpkin filling...this gives some pies a run for their money!

Dinner was, yet again, at Chicago Diner, where I met up with some local Chicago vegans, as well as some people from the Vega company who were in town for the Dietetics trade show...they were all very nice! I probably could have guessed that!
I am so in love with Chicago Diner, I cannot even tell you how much I could eat there all the time! Tonight, my mom went for the Dagwood Sandwich: seitan roast "beef," seitan bacon strips, melted cheeze, tomatoes, hot peppers, lettuce, onion, and creole mustard on baguette, all with a side of Sweet Potato Fries....this was an amazing sandwich! Especially for spicy lovers like us!
Because of the frigid weather, I opted for something warm and comforting: the Vegan Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Sage Gravy and Roasted Vegetables. This hit the spot!! Definitely the best faux meatloaf I've ever had, and the gravy was sooooo good!! mmmmm.....
We had dessert back at the house, where we had leftover treats from the Handlebar: Fried Apple Pies! These smelled and tasted like funnel cakes, with an apple pie filling, and they were so delicious! I warmed them up in the oven, which crisped up the crust and melted the powdered sugar glaze a bit, so they were perfect! Very carnival food meets fall comfort food... And I will leave you with this bit of Halloween/pre-election fun:

My uncle (with whom we are staying) is an artist/art teacher, so he is really creative and talented...which apparently translated into his Halloween decorating! He carved really cool pumpkin designs, which he printed off the web, including Mario characters and the wonderful Barack Obama! Remember this beautiful, glowing face when you are voting on election day, November 4th! yeah!

This post is dedicated to my BB! goodnighty:)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicago Trip: Day 4

Vegan MoFo Day 27 was my second-to-last day here in Chicago...lucky me! I am still at my ADA conference, and it was a really interesting day: I went to a seminar on sustainable food systems, fair trade foods, and a meeting of the vegetarian dietitians' group, so I learned a lot! I also ate good stuff!

For lunch, we made another quick trip to Whole Foods...I love that I can choose from a lot of different things there for a fast meal, and it is so well labeled that I have little "is this vegan??" worry! I hate to say this about such a big corporation, but thanks to Whole Foods!
I had a Jerk Tofu Wrap that a Chicago veg restaurant, Soul Vegetarian, pre-makes and sells at Whole Foods. They also make a bunch of other items to sell there, but this looked really yummy! It had Jerk tofu, grilled onions and peppers, tomatoes, and greens in a spinach was really good, especially for something pre-made! I got a side of Rosemary-Roasted Sweet Potatoes off the hot bar for a side. Yum! My mom went for the hot bar again, where she got their spicy Tofu Creole and Vegetable Paella...she seemed to really like them both, even though the tofu was pretty spicy-hot.
When trying to decide where to eat dinner, we went for our old, reliable favorite: Chicago Diner!!!!! I think it is safe to say that this is my absolute favorite restaurant in the least from what I have tried so far!
I ordered the Radical Reuben: seitan corned "beef," onions, peppers, sauerkraut, vegan cheese, thousand island dressing on marble rye. Sweet jeeebus this was the best sammich ever!! I could have eaten, like three of these. My side was the vegan mac'n'cheeze, which was perfectly noochy and creamy and delicious!
My mom got their special sandwich of the day, the Chick'n Club Panini: thinly-sliced seitan chik-n, seitan bacun, melted vegan cheeze, and avocado on grilled sourdough bread...this was also really good! She was convinced that it was real chicken because it tasted so realistically like it...but the good folks at Chicago Diner are supremely trustworthy :) She had a side of their Homestyle Potatoes, which are perfectly spiced and fabulous.
We were pretty full after those big sandwiches, so we just split a dessert: Vegan Carrot Cake with Walnuts and Cream Cheeze Frosting. This was nicely spiced with cinnamon and such, which made it a perfect fall treat! Yum.
I am getting so spoiled with all this great food, I am never going to want to go home!! I guess I will have to, though, so I can VOTE next Tuesday, November 4th!! Just like you all should do!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chicago Trip: Day 3

Yet another delicious day was spent in beautiful Chicago, while I am here attending the American Dietetics Association annual conference! Day 26 of Vegan MoFo was filled with awesome food and people...I am so lucky!
Lunch was another quick one at Whole Foods during my break from the conference...I had a sampling of Vegan Curried "Chicken" Salad, Apple-Almond Quinoa, and Shiitake Sauteed Kale, all from the cold deli case. So yummy!!My mom went for the hot food bar, where she got the Dragon Tofu and Vegetable Paella. Very comforting and warm for sure!Dinner was absolutely of the best meals I have had in a long time, for sure!!! My mom, my friends Fatima and Sarah, and I all went to eat at The Handlebar! It is an awesome, vegan-friendly, and bike-themed restaurant on North Avenue...I loved it!!!
I had the Buffalo "Chicken" Wrap: A tortilla stuffed with buffalo seitan, lettuce, onion, tomato, and vegan ranch dressing (!), served with Fried Plantains!!! I can't even tell you how good this was! I must admit, all the fried-ness did not agree with my tummy as much as it did with my mouth! My mom had the Seitan-Stuffed Tortellini with Sauteed Spinach and Toasted Hazelnuts in a Rich Cream Sauce. Really rich and creamy, totally comfort vegan food! I mean there were hazelnuts on the tortellini for crying out loud! yum! Oh, and the pasta was locally-made. This place is so cool.
Fatima had the Ground Nut Stew, which was loaded with sweet potatoes, veggies, peanut sauce, and brown rice...the flavors were amazing! I think it is pretty difficult to go wrong when peanuts are involved!!(side note: Sarah had the fish tacos, since this was a pescitarian restaurant, so I couldn't show them...but I must admit they looked good, and she said they were case you have any non-veg friends who want to go there.)
This afternoon, my mom and I hit up Bleeding Heart Bakery for a little snackie poo. I had heard so much about this place, especially from Bake and Destroy and The Urban Housewife, most recently...I was so excited to see so many good vegan treats!!
First of all, you know it's gotta be a good place, cuz they had all sorts of Obama signs there...and cupcake-shaped tables! yeah!
They even had OBAMA CUPCAKES! Come on!
For my treat, I had their Hit The Trail Scone...filled with pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, raisins, dates, and a bunch of other yummy trail mixy stuff! This was perfectly-spiced and moist and dense, like scone must be! Perfect with a big mug of black coffee :)
My mom had the Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting...and it was Halloween-themed! That is not an edible broom, btdubs. bummer.
The girl working there was really nice and helpful, and when she found out I was vegan, she gave me a sample of their vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Bars....amazingly tasty and good! Really rich and creamy, with the perfect amount of sweetness and strawberryness. mmmmm
I am looking forward to tomorrow for more yums!
And listen to your friendly vegan bakery: remember Obama on Novemeber 4th for real! Make Obama cupcakes or cakes or cookies...just show some love :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chicago Trip Day 2

Day #25 of Vegan MoFo was again spent in the Windy City of Chicago!! I am really loving it here, especially all the great food! The only thing I don't like is getting lost all the time trying to get to the restaurants....but I am getting there eventually! :)

Lunch had to be pretty quick because I was on a break from my American Dietetics Association conference, so I headed to Whole Foods on the South Loop...probably the best Whole Foods I have ever seen! I got one of their pre-made meals, the Tofu Noodle Bowl: udon noodles, cabbage, carrots, red peppers, cilantro, sesame seeds, baked tofu, and a Thai peanut sauce. It was really good for such a quick meal! Really flavorful and filling and healthy and tasty! I didn't take a picture of dessert, but I will just tell you: I had a Sweet and Sara's Peanut Butter S'more!!! If you haven't had one of these, you should get one, now! They are the best packaged dessert I have ever eaten (and the PB variety is waaaay better than the original! duh.) After a long day at the conference, learning about food, it was time to put it into practice and eat some food! We had dinner at the highly-acclaimed Lake Side Cafe, which has won the award for Chicago's "best vegetarian restaurant" three times! Needless to say, I had high expectations...and I am happy to say that they were met!
Our appetizer: Black-Eyed Pea Croquettes with Red Pepper Sauce. Surprisingly light and tender and really tasty!
My mom's dinner: The Vegan Chicago Dog, with all the fixings! And a Side Salad with Papaya Poppyseed Dressing...although I'm not sure that was a fitting side for a Chicago Dog!! My dinner: Jalapeno-Corn Scone with Smoky Black Beans, Tomato Relish and Toasted Pepitas. This has a wonderful flavor, and the scone was so "buttery" and dense and moist...I have never had a meal centered around a savory scone, but I think I will try to re-create this at home!! Anything with pepitas is a.o.k. in my book!!

And there was dessert, of course! The waiter recommended the Chocolate Cake VERY highly, so I had no choice :) It had a light and fluffy chocolate creme frosting and chocolate "oreo" crumbles on top. YUUUUM! I am glad I listened to the waiter!
I will be back tomorrow with more goodies from Chi-Town....but remember Barack Obama and Joe Biden until I return!! seriously.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chicago Trip Day 1

For Day 24 of Vegan MoFo, I will be broadcasting from Chicago! I flew in today to attend the annual American Dietetics Association national conference, and I will be here through next I will hopefully be able to go to lots of new and interesting restaurants! My mom came with me to visit some family up here, and of course go to lots of good eateries with me!! After all, we are all well aware that the only good reason to travel is to go new places to eat! :)

After flying in and getting all settled, we made our very first stop to one of my favorite restaurants on the planet: Chicago Diner!! I cannot say enough good things about this freaking place!! The atmosphere is amazing, the staff is super friendly, and the food will end your life with its deliciousness. Seriously.

Since it was noon and they were still serving brunch, my mom and I opted for some breakfast-ier items, as we had only been there for dinner. I had the Vegan Monte Cristo sandwich: two giant pieces of french toast, sandwiched with veggie ham and vegan cheese, with creole mustard and jam. This came with a side of delicious Homestyle Potatoes. Oh, and everything got a generous drizzle of maple syrup!!! Good God Almighty!! I thought I would never have this awesome sweet-salty combo sandwich again after going vegan, but I was oh so wrong! And now I am oh so happy :)

My mom had the Big Bang Breakfast: scrambled tofu, tempeh-potato hash, seitan sausage, tempeh bacon strips, and toast with delicious jam. This was big and beautiful, and had to be enjoyed by the best mother in the world!
Dessert, since we were so full, was a Snickerdoodle-Nut Cookie (even though I wish I had not been too full for cake!)...mild flavors, but absolutely amazing texture: nice and chewy, just how I like it!!Dinner was at the Earwax Cafe. I can't believe I was still hungry after that lunch, but I guess it had been a while. anyway...I had never been here before, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved it! The decor was kind of vintage carnival-themed (think bearded lady posters and old sideshow signs) and the food was really good! Also wonderful people working here...I even had a vegan waitress! hooray!

My mom had the Tuscan Seitan Sandwich: marinated seitan with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, escarole, shaved onion, and pesto on a baguette, with a side of their Sesame Slaw. She loved it, and the bite I stole was really good! Seitan rules. I had the Chorizo Burrito (!): Seitan Chorizo, Roasted Potatoes, Refried Beans, Tomato, Onion, and Teese Cheese, with Salsa and Avocado all in a grilled tortilla. This was really hearty, but not too much so, and flavorful! I only wish it had been a little spicier, but I loved it!This time, we saved a little more room for dessert: Vegan Milkshakes! Earwax uses Chicago Soydairy products, so they had the incredible Temptation Ice Cream for their shakes! woohoo! I had Chocolate-Peanut Butter, and my mom had straight-up Chocolate. This was so rich and creamy and thick and good. I had to lie down afterward. I almost couldn't finish it, but I was a trooper! I am a good little vegan, after all!!Sorry the lighting was so dark in's all about the mood I guess. They should have a special table for food bloggers... :)
Oh, and I want to leave you with this:
This was on the back of the dessert menu at Chicago Diner! I love it! Listen to this menu!

oh, and OBAMA (I am in his town, you know!!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's In My Freezer? What's for Dinner? Why So Many Questions?!

Welcome to Day #23 of Vegan MoFo! First of all, I have to bare a little bit of my self: my freezer! Sassy over at Vegan Coach has tagged me to reveal the inside of my icebox! The Door: Smart Deli Vegan "Pepperoni," Health is Wealth Chicken-less Patties, Vegetable Potstickers, Rising Moon Artichoke-Olive Ravioli, Dairy Free Pesto, A Loaf of Uprise Bread, Earth Balance Shortening, Rolls from Uprise, A Bag of Local Chestnuts, and Baking Soda. Exciting, I know.
The Innards: Leftovers, Sprouted Grain Bagels, A Frozen Banana, Frozen Pumpkin Puree (I made it myself!), Organic Beans, Sunshine Burgers, A Loaf of Uprise Rye Bread, Flaxseeds, Red Raspberries, More Uprise Rolls, A Giant Bag of Seitan, Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins, Artichoke Hearts, Rice Dream Neapolitan Ice Cream...not pictured: frozen corn, hominy, and a carton of my homemade ginger-apple spice-cream. It is packed!
For dinner, I had to make something really delicious for Steven and I because I am leaving tomorrow to go to Chicago for a whole week....I am going to the American Dietetics Association annual national conference, since I am a dietetics student and will be graduating in May...anyway, I figured I had to leave him with a tasty memory of me for the week!
I made BBQ seitan with a homemade barbecue sauce, garlic-mashed organic potatoes, and sauteed greens:
We also had Uprise Bakery rolls with....drumroll....APPLE BUTTER that I made yesterday (yeah crock pot!) from the apples I picked with Steve! I made it with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves...and it was wonderful! I wish fall could last FOREVER.

November 4th: Election. Be there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day #22: My Meme Survey!

Heeeeey MoFo!
This is the first survey I've ever done, so I am pretty excited! I got this from Jes at Get Sconed!, so you know it's a quality meme! After you read it, you should complete it and blog about it yourself! Then, I guess it would be a youyou :)
1. What was the most recent tea you drank? Yogi Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut. with agave nectar and a splash silk creamer. zomg.
2. What vegan forms do you post/lurk on? If so, what is your username? Spill! the ppk….my username is peace by pastries
3. You have to have tofu for dinner, and it has to be an Italian dish. What comes to mind first? spaghetti with tofu “meat”balls, and some vegan parm!
4. How many vegan blogs do you read on an average day? too many, 15 to 20, but there are about 10 that I read religiously, sometimes I will even read up to 30. yikes.
5. Besides your own, what is the most recent one you’ve read? yeah, that vegan “shit”
6. If you could hang out with a vegan blogger that you haven’t met, who would it be, and what would you do? I would want to hang out with isa and jess, because they are awesome and both live in Portland, so I could get both at once, and I would go on a bike ride with them then bake lots of goodies
7. If you had to base your dinners for a week around one of the holy trilogy – tofu, seitan or tempeh, which would it be? seitan!
8. If you had to use one in a fight, which would it be? tempeh, especially since it is rock-solid when frozen
9. Name 3 meals you’d realistically make with that tough protein of choice! 1. cornmeal-crusted tempeh from Candle CafĂ© Cookbook 2. tempeh reubens 3. tempeh bacon with blueberry pancakes (brinner! yay!)
10. What’s a recipe in vegan blogland that you’ve been eyeing? peanut butter cinnamon rolls from bjorkedoff. I dream about them.
11. Do you own any clothing with vegan messages/brands on them? I have some vegan Macbeth shoes I got at mooshoes in nyc, but they don’t say “vegan” or anything
12. Have you made your pilgrimage to the 'vegan mecca' yet? (Portland, duh) no! but I would give my left nut to go there right now! if I had one.
13. What age did you first go vegan? Did it stick? 19. heck yes!
14.What is the worst vegan meal you’ve had? Who cooked it? I honestly don’t know if I’ve had a “bad” meal, but I did make a curry one time that came out really bitter. but it was still edible.
15. What made you decide to blog? reading other people’s blogs incessantly and wanting to show people that it is possible to be vegan in the Midwest!
16.What are three of your favorite meals to make? 1. bbq seitan with cornbread and greens 2. vegan crab cakes 3. breakfast for dinner, particularly pancakes and “sausage”
17. What dish would you bring to a vegan Thanksgiving-themed potluck? pumpkin pie and rosemary-roasted sweet potatoes
18. Where is your favorite vegan meal at a restaurant? How many times have you ordered it? seitan piccatta from candle 79, but I have only ordered it once.
19. What do you think the best chain to dine as a vegan is? probably p.f. Chang's. I don’t go to chains really, so I am the wrong girl to ask
20. My kitchen needs a……… kitchenaid stand mixer. or just more space!!!!
21. This vegetable is not allowed in my kitchen…..! all vegetables are allowed! my least favorite is cucumbers though. weird.
22. What's for dinner tonight? quinoa with baked tofu, sweet potatoes, kale, and miso- tahini sauce. my perfect meal.

Here's my evidence of #22:

I am convinced that this is THE perfect meal: quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed kale, tofu (cooked with bragg's and nooch), drizzled with miso-tahini sauce. I can't imagine anything better!!

Oh, and for lunch, I came up with an awesome way to use the leftover brats I made yesterday: Bratwiches!! I sliced up the brats and put them on toasted rye bread with spicy mustard, dill relish, and all the fixings...genius! I was out of kraut, but I would definitely slap some of that on there next time! yay fermented foods :)

yeah, the picture sucks, but it tasted awesome!!

and, yes, you MUST vote on November 4th! Obama or bust :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day #21: I Love Apples!

I ate a lot of apples today, I must confess! After all, it is fall and apples are in season, and I still have dozens and dozens left from when we went apple-picking weeks ago! I am trying to use them up before they go bad, so I have been trying to feature them in many of my meals, desserts, and snacks.
For dinner, they were a sweet addition to my Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Onions. I paired those with Rosemary-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Homemade Bratwursts (which I based on Julie Hasson's Spicy Italian Sausage recipe)...loaded with organic sauerkraut, obviously!! This meal was perfect!!! It featured lots of wonderful, local fall produce, economical homemade sausages, and an homage to my love for all things German. I will definitely make this meal again soon! It's so colorful and pretty!!
Dessert also featured apples! I made Apple-Cherry cobbler bars, a modification of the Apple-Date Bars that I bake at work for Main Squeeze. These have lots of cinnamon, cardamom, maple syrup, and apples, so eating them makes you all warm and happy...especially when paired with a nice chai tea! And they are wheat-free, so those who are sensitive can enjoy them, too!!

Apple-Cherry Cobbler Bars

These make a great treat to eat while reading vegan mofo blogs!!

Breakfast was also amazing, but it did not involve apples. darn. But, I did make something new and wonderful: Vegan Bagels and Lox! A while ago, I was thinking about how to make this awesome breakfast item vegan-style. Then, lo and behold, I was flipping through cookbooks at the bookstore, and saw a recipe for vegan lox in Vegan Vittles. I didn't use that recipe, but I got the idea from that recipe to use roasted red peppers as the smoked "salmon." This was awesome to wake up mofos should fo sho try this!

Vegan Bagels and Lox (serves 2)

2 sprouted grain bagels

4 Tbs Tofutti vegan cream "cheese"

2 roasted red peppers, sliced into strips

2 Tbs capers

1 tsp olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

pinch of salt

1 tsp kelp powder

1/4 cup hijiki

1 cup water

1 tsp dill weed or 2 Tbs fresh dill

To make the lox (do this the night before): Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, water, kelp, hijiki, and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Place the sliced red peppers in this marinade and refrigerate overnight. In the morning: split and toast the bagels. Spread each bagel half with 1 Tbs cream "cheese." Lay strips of marinated peppers on the bagels. Place capers over the peppers, and sprinkle each bagel half with dill. Serve immediately.

This is breakfast at its best!! (But it makes me miss New York so badly!)