Breakfast of Champions

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I went to a cafe that advertised breakfast anytime, so I ordered French Toast during the Rennaisance.” –Stephen Write

As we all know, breakfast is really good for you. It wakes you up, breaks the hunger from when you are sleeping (thus breaking the fast), and it boosts your metabolism. But what is a vegan suppose to do at breakfast? Most breakfast foods now a days are not vegan friendly. Sure, you could get the vegan bacon that tastes like cardboard or the sausage that resembles a hockey puck (I have had good versions but most are sub par, mind you) or even do a tofu scramble which is a poor substitute for eggs. But what about soup?

Tons of Asian countries have vegan friendly breakfast options that most people are not familiar with. A few of my top favorites are Congee, a rice porridge from china; Nabe; a Japanese breakfast soup; Miso, another Japanese soup; and Golden Milk; a thick Indian drink. There are plenty of others, but what I have been doing lately for breakfast is just making a quick vegan veggie soup in the morning. Sometimes even in the microwave if I don’t have much time in the morning. All you need is some hot water, a miso packet or vegan bullion cube, a few greens and mushrooms or veggies of choice and BAM! Breakfast is served. It’s warm, healthy, and easy.

If you want something crunchy or toothsome then make a piece or 2 of toast from some local bread. I really like Jewish Rye because it has a lower glycemic index and it also has lots of flavor. Plus it tastes really good when you dip it in the broth. Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel better when I have something warm for breakfast and it makes me feel alive again. So, next time you don’t know what to make in the mornings, try some soup along with your morning cup of coffee or tea. Namaste

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The Chip Experiement

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“The English contribution to world cuisine – the chip.”–John Cleese

Yes, I am on a cleanse, but I had a crunchy craving so I figured if I can’t have store bought chips, I will make my own. The results were AWESOME! So awesome, I didn’t get a chance to take photos before eating them. However, I figured I would tell you the recipe anyway in case you wanted to try it out!

Veggie Chips Of AWESOME

You will need: 1-2 lbs of root vegetables of choice, olive oil, salt and pepper and or other seasonings,a mandolin slicer/ vegetable peeler, a few cookie sheets, tongs and an oven.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Slice your veggies using a mandolin or veggie peeler. You want them to be thin enough that they crisp up while baking. I used sweet potatoes and carrots, but you can use any root vegetable or hardy vegetable of your choosing. Eggplant,  beets, acorn squash, ect. No need to peel either if you don’t want to.
  • In a bowl, toss slices with a drizzle of olive oil. You want enough to slightly coat them, not be smothered in it so use it lightly. A little goes a long way.
  • Lay out on cookie sheet evenly as possible. They will shrink up while baking so if they are touching it isn’t a big deal.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add any other seasoning at this point too. Nutritional yeast would be great for a cheesy flavor packed full of vitamins.
  • Put in oven and let cook for 8-10 mins, take them out and turn them over and cook for another 5-10 mins. My sweet potatoes took about 25 mins in my oven, but my carrots only took about 15 so just watch it. You don’t want them to get burnt.
  • Once done, remove from cookie sheet and let cool in a small bowl. Then dig in! They will last about a week, but I doubt they will last that long because they are so yummy!

The best thing about these chips is the fact they are healthy for you. Yes, I said it. The reason why is because you are not using nearly the amount of oil that goes into deep frying and you can control how much you use. Plus, olive oil is great for your heart. Also using root vegetables gives you more nutrients than just plain old potato chips. So you can rest at ease knowing that all that yumminess isn’t going to go straight to your butt.

Oh, and here is a little tiddly-bit. I used a quote about chips above. The British slang term for chips is actually crisps. They call French Fries chips. Might seem a bit confusing since I used that quote in here, but it is one of my favorites and it seems appropriate. And they both are tasty none the less. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

 

Where to Eat in Winston-Salem (Camino Bakery)

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“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy cupcakes and that is kinda the same thing.” -Unknown

If you are looking for a good cup of coffee and awesome baked goods in Winston-Salem, then you should check out Camino. It is located on Fourth Street right near the intersection of 4th and Cherry Street, right in the heart of Down Town. This is one of my absolute favorite spots to go and hang out. I come here quite often and the staff  have a habit of remembering locals, which is very nice. The staff is very friendly and upbeat and absolute geniuses when it comes to coffee creations. They always are changing up the menu with the seasons AND they can make just about any drink vegan.

The other big plus is not only do they use local ingredients for all of their drinks and baked goods, they have both soy and almond milk. I am a big fan of almond milk and you can’t get almond milk in most places in Winston. Not exactly sure why, since it is about the same price as soy milk… Most of the baked goods (sadly) are not vegan. They do have Vegan Cupcake Mondays and make enough for the next day or so (depending on how fast they are bought) which is really nice. They also sell sandwiches for lunch, which are made in house, and they do occasionally have vegan ones depending on the day. They are looking to expand their menu so I am very hopeful and can’t wait to see what they come up with.

The other awesome thing is they stay open the latest out of all the coffee places in Winston. Monday through Thursday they are open from 7AM to 11PM, Friday and Saturday from 7AM to Midnight and then Sunday from 8AM to 8PM. They have an excellent beer and wine menu with different specials throughout the week. Plus they do occasionally have wine tasting and block parties during the summer. So, if you are looking for a chill spot with awesome service, this is your place. It is very popular among the college students and townies alike, so stop on by the next time you are in town. Hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

Where to Eat in Chapel Hill (411 West)

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“Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco. (translation) Not all donuts come with a hole.” –Italian Saying

Looking for some yummy Italian food while on Franklin Street? 411 West is probably your best bet if you are looking for atmosphere and great service. We ended up stumbling upon this lovely gem because Butternut Squash (vegetarian) and Lime and Basil (Vietnamese) were both closed. The odds of both of those places not being open made me a bit upset, however I am not complaining in the least bit. I normally don’t eat Italian food because I have been a bit spoiled with having friends that are from Napoli, Italy and them knowing how to make authentic food from scratch. I am sorry, but Olive Garden just doesn’t cut it.

I will say, this place did make quite an impression on me. First off, the decor and the indoor patio/garden room are amazing, not to mention romantic. I really enjoyed the lighting because it was quite a warm day so it ALMOST felt like we were eating outside, but without all the bugs and pollen. They brought us out bread and butter (in which I did not partake in the butter) and I had awesome sparkling water with lime while Bryce had the in house made citriusaid, which was quite tasty! They had a fantastic wine list as well and we both had a glass of the Malbec which had been recently added. I really liked the fact that they gave details about each of the wines on the list so you could get a feel for what you’re getting before you order it.

I started off with a wood-grilled pear salad. Can you say amazing? Local mixed greens with grilled pears, walnuts and in house made balsamic dressing. It was suppose to come with gorgonzola but I opted out of having cheese (of course). It was probably the best damn salad I have had in a good while. For my entree I had the roasted wild mushrooms over a polenta cake with hazelnut-butter and rosemary. Yes, it was vegan and yes, it was fricken tasty! The meatiness of the mushrooms was so rich and it melded to well with the creaminess of the polenta. I need to learn how to make that…it was that good. I didn’t get to taste Bryce’s dish because it wasn’t vegan, but from what I could tell it was a small version of a handmade personal pizza with a flaky crust. It looked quite yummy.

I did cheat a bit and had dessert which wasn’t vegan, but we ordered the dessert sampler so I only had a bite or 2 of each thing. I didn’t get sick either afterwards probably for that very reason. I think they didn’t have that much dairy in them to begin with…but no dairy for awhile. It included the key lime pie, millionaire’s pie, chocolate gelato, and creme brulee. They were all decent, but I am still fond of vegan desserts more so. They did have sherbet though so I will be having that next time to satisfy my sweet tooth. In short though, if you want a restaurantthat appeases both carnivores and herbivores alike, this is a safe bet.

We went during lunch, but from what I have gathered the place is popping at night and is a great place to go for Sunday brunch. So next time you get a pasta craving, go here. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste! (more pics of the food below)

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Thoughts on food (monthly update)

“Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.”–Socrates

So it’s been a good minute since I have done an update on how my vegan diet is going. For the most part, I have been pretty good about staying vegan, but I have had times where I had no other option but to eat vegetarian. I have avoided dairy at all cost though which has been the most challenging, especially when you live in a family that really doesn’t understand why you are vegan.  Being taunted about your diet choices plus having a limited amount of food that you can eat at home tends to make things difficult when trying to prepare food. hopefully that will be changing soon once I am back in the routine of making enough money to buy my own groceries.

I have hit a bit of a plateau as far as loosing weight. I have been hovering around 125 lbs for the past 2 weeks or so and I am thinking it has to do with not being able to eat all the things I normally would on a regular basis. Having to rely on carbs is not a good thing so I am thinking of giving up bread all together for a good bit to see if that helps. Yay not having gluten! On a brighter note, I have seen major improvements in my skin. No breakouts for a few weeks, my PMS is not nearly as bad and my hair even seems healthier.

I am also going to be amping up my meditation and yoga routines to combat the lack of healthy vegan options right now. I think an hour a day of yoga and 30 minutes of meditation will help me out greatly. That will be starting this weekend, plus a mini juice fast to boost my metabolism starting on Monday.

In other news, I am quite pleased to say that my new man (Bryce) is very interested in my vegan lifestyle and is wanting me to cook some things for him this weekend while I am in Chapel Hill with him. Can you say awesome?!?!?! I am so happy that I can share that with someone that I really care about. Most men I have dated previously have been outright carnivores; tolerant ones, but still carnivores none the less. His interests aren’t just for physical health, but more on the spiritual side of things. Eating a vegetarian/vegan tends to open people up spiritually, which in my opinion is a fantastic thing. Ill be posting a few of the recipes that I will be making with him this weekend (plus pictures) so stay tuned! Hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

Where to eat in Chapel Hill? Red Lotus Asian Kitchen

“Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”–Ancient Chinese proverb
So yesterday I took a lovely little excursion to Chapel Hill. While visiting, the plan was to go to a lovely little vegetarian restaurant called Sage Cafe. Sadly, it was closed, but we did end up discovering a hidden gem while on the search for food. We though sushi would be a good idea, but ended up at The Red Lotus Asian Kitchen. Can you say Best Chinese Food Ever?
First off, I cook a ton of authentic Chinese food at home. I have never had authentic Chinese out and about; it has always been Americanized which makes me rather sad. I thought for a long time if you wanted REAL Chinese, you have to go to a huge city like NYC or San Fran to get it. WRONG!!! Only an hour or so away from my house. *does happy dance* From the outside, it just looks like another strip mall food place, but once I stepped in and saw 3 Chinese newspapers from today just sitting there on the table I knew I was going to be impressed.
It was quite busy for a Sunday night, the staff was friendly and answered all the questions I had, and it just felt homey. The tea was excellent, not the bagged kind you get at most Asian restaurants, but the real stuff that had the powder from the leaves  that came out in the last cup. We ordered some veggie pot stickers that were pan fried and the sauce was even made from scratch. I really enjoyed the fact they could make ANYTHING on the menu with tofu or “soy chicken” and they could even veganize some of the soups too. 🙂
So I had the Honey Glazed Walnut Soy Chicken with brown rice and Bryce had the San Shan Jan Pong Noodles. Can you say AMAZING? Both of them were quite tasty and I am sad I didn’t have any leftovers to bring home. I will defiantly be going back. I think anyone who enjoys Chinese food should check this place out, herbivores and canivors alike. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

Where to Eat Vegan in Winston? Washington Perk

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”–Albert Einstein
Being Vegan in The South is interesting because most people have the Paula Dean philosophy when it comes to cooking. If its not made with butter, deep fried or has some sort of animal product, then it isn’t tasty. There is hope though, especially in Winston-Salem. I present to you, The Washington Perk!
This place is a local grocery store and also owns a pub next door called Swaims. It is located on 228 W Acadia Avenue, which is conveniently located near The School of The Arts and Downtown Winston. Most of the products here are locally produced, organic, vegan friendly and health conscious. Plus, they have an excellent beer and wine selection! They also have a place to order sandwiches and coffee. One of my favorite things to get is a Sesame veggie pita with liquid aminos and nutritional yeast. Can you say delicious? Also the fact that you have the choice of almond or soy milk is fantastic.
The staff is very friendly and easy to talk to. They really strive to build the community around here and make things easily assessable for regulars. Plus, the book section is always a good place to sit and read. If you are looking for a great place to hang out that isn’t just another coffee shop, this is your best bet. Pick up some groceries, grab a good bite to eat, and talk to some local artists who go to the local art school? Yes please! Stop by if you are ever in town. Namaste!