Friday, October 31, 2008

Raw Food

For a quick (and lazy) dinner, we picked up some of the already prepared raw food meals from Mother's. Pictured below are raw quesadillas with nut meat, and a raw soft taco with salad.

It was interesting, but I really didn't like it. I'm not sure if maybe the food wasn't as fresh as it could've been or what. I will definitely not be browsing the raw foods section at that particular store ever again. I hate giving a negative review; very disappointing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I miss waking up to a bike ride

I haven't really been able to ride my bike to work like I used to. It's pretty much due to the fact that it's getting really dark and cold in the mornings when I need to leave, and I don't have the proper gear for this. I'm still able to grab a lift to work from time to time, and then I can ride home. However, this is completely dependent upon scheduling that is not always in my favor.

So it is with a heavy heart that I drive to work each day, passing by hardcore cyclists with their fancy lights and cold-weather riding clothes. My longing was replaced with amusement this morning when I saw something quite interesting. I looked to the shoulder of the road and saw a man riding his bike. He was definitely not a hardcore cyclist because his helmet looked like the kind I had in grade school and he wore street clothes. The thing that really gave it away was his lighting system. I didn't see a pretty, blinking taillight attached to his bike. What I saw was a big, bulky light (the kind that go on the top of road blocks) tucked into a bag at the edge of his seatpost rack.

Now I'm not trying to judge here, but I really don't think he acquired that piece of equipment legally.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


We have a natural food market here called "Mother's." They have already prepared food behind the counter with many vegan choices. They make a really good BBQ tofu dish, and I thought I'd try to recreate something like that at home. I also made a simple slaw on the side from purple cabbage and carrots. This is the result:

The tofu turned out pretty good, but I didn't like it as much as Mother's. It made good sandwiches the next day. The slaw was refreshing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Farmer's Market and a Garage Sale

I didn't cook much last week, so I still had much of my produce leftover from my previous Farmer's Market excursion. I was out of pluots and oranges, and I needed more apples for a dessert I'd like to make, so I made a trip to get some fruit.

On the way home, I noticed that one of my neighbors was having a garage sale. It was slim pickings, but they had books so I stopped to check it out. I found this little gem in between copies of "How to Flirt" and other such uninteresting titles.

Now I don't really feel like I need a drinking handbook (because I'm a professional?), but after flipping through the pages for a minute or so, I decided that it amused me enough to pay the asking price of $1. I will give you a few of my favorites from the "86 Rules of Boozing" section in the book:

12. Never ever tell a bartender he made your drink too strong.
14. If you offer to buy a woman a drink and she refuses, she does not like you.
15. If you offer to buy a woman a drink and she accepts, she still might not like you.
25. It is only permissible to shout "woo-hoo!" if you are doing a shot with four or more people.
35. Learn to appreciate hangovers. If it was all good times every jackass would be doing it.
58. Fighting an extremely drunk person when you are sober is hilarious.
67. Never ask a bartender, "What's good tonight?" They do not fly the scotch fresh from the coast every morning.
71. It's acceptable--traditional, in fact--to disappear during a night of hard drinking. You will appear mysterious and your friends will understand. If they even notice.
72. Never argue your tab at the end of the night. Remember, you're hammered and they're sober. 99.9 percent of the time you're wrong, and either way you're going to come off as a jackass.
82. There's nothing wrong with drinking before noon. Especially if you're supposed to be at work.

A dollar well spent.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yoga and quick dinner

Had another good yoga class at work today. It was the substitute instructor again, but it did the job.

For dinner, I just threw something together really quickly. I baked a potato, and put some Amy's chili on top. I also sprinkled it with nutritional yeast flakes for good measure. The picture doesn't make it look very appetizing, but it was pretty good. I think it would have been better with some green onions.

Breakfast of Champions

This morning I brought some goodies to work with me for breakfast: Amaranth graham crackers (leftover from camping) with natural peanut butter and ground flax seeds, a farmer's market granny smith apple, and some Tazo chai tea. Please excuse the horrible cell phone picture quality:

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Cristina and I went camping this weekend in San Bernardino National Forrest at Boulder Basin. This is our first camping trip in quite awhile, so we decided to keep it simple and just do an overnight. Plus, the site was only about 2 hours away from where we live. It was absolutely beautiful; the pictures do not do it justice!

This was my dogs' first camping trip (Riley and Buddy), and they weren't really sure what to think.

Cristina hanging out:

Now for the best part of camping...the food! Here I'm roasting veggie dogs, cooking Amy's baked beans (hobo style), and there's the amazing corn on the cob from the farmer's market. I brought my cast iron pan, but for the sake of simplicity and less cleanup, I decided to just cook the beans right in the can at the last minute.

I added the veggie dogs to some of the beans and it was yummy.

Here I am tending to the corn. To get this ready, I soaked it in water for about an hour before we left. I wrapped the cobs in foil for transport. To prepare them, I peeled back the husks and cleaned off the silk. Then I drizzled some olive oil on the corn, and seasoned it with a spicy creole blend. I put the husks back onto the corn so it wouldn't dry out, and wrapped them back up in the foil. Onto the fire it goes where it sizzles for a good half hour or so.

Look at this beauty! The corn really turned out amazingly wonderful.

Gimme the corn!

After dinner it was time for s'mores. When preparing for this camping trip, I found out that traditional marshmallows aren't vegan. It's amazing how animal products find their way into so much of the food on the market. Here we're roasting some vegan marshmallows (by Sweet and Sara).

A s'more made of vegan graham crackers, vegan chocolate, and a marshmallow from above. Yum!

Waking up with pugs.

I thought this was too hilarious not to include.

Here I am at the end of the trip, making sure that there are no coals left burning in the fire pit. I help prevent forest fires! (Especially with all of the California fires we've had recently.)

So that's it! I will definitely be doing this again, but probably at a more primitive and less developed camping area. I like to be social as much as the next person, but I've learned that I do not want to risk having to camp next to a site full of screaming 10-year-old boys (not exactly conducive to relaxing and enjoying nature). As it's coming into the winter months, I may take a stab at desert camping...I hear that's also enjoyable. I will keep you posted!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Farmer's Market

Here are my farmer's market goodies for the week: kale, peaches, granny smith apples, pluots, corn on the cob, yukon gold potatoes, romaine lettuce, carrots, and some onions.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Biking against the wind

I took another ride home from work today, and it felt pretty good. There's an incline that takes a good 10 minutes to climb, and it's basically in the desert with no shade. The past couple of trips have killed me when I reach that spot, but the weather was a bit cooler today, so it wasn't nearly as bad. It was significantly windy though. That's pretty typical, but it definitely makes it more difficult. Strong headwinds really cut at your speed, but on the plus side, it's good for training!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Quinoa and s'mores!

Tonight I made some simple quinoa with chickpeas from Veganomicon. It was quick and easy to make.

Today, one of my favorite coworker friends brought me a vegan s'more treat. I toasted some of the bites over a flame from my gas stove, and that made it extra good.

Yum! I had trouble getting a good close-up picture of it, but this is what it looks like:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Another corporate yoga class today, but this time we had our normal teacher back. We had a typical class, but it still seemed pretty easy to me. Maybe I'm just getting better at it? I guess it's time to increase the difficulty!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cast Iron Dahl and Cookies

Cristina and I are going camping next weekend, so we ordered some cast iron cookware for the open flame. I've read that many vegans cook with cast iron, because it allows for some of the iron to leach into the food (plus it doesn't have that worrisome Teflon coating). So I put my newly purchased dutch oven to use to make dahl tonight. It's a simple recipe:

1. Saute 3 garlic cloves and 1 yellow onion in some oil
2. Add about 2.5 cups of veggie stock (low sodium) and 1 cup of red lentils (rinsed well with cold water)
3. Put in various Indian spices to taste: 2 tbsp garam masala, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp corriander, 1/2 tsp turmeric (this is just a guide!)
4. Cover and let simmer (stirring occasionally) until the lentils are fully cooked
5. I added a fresh tomato to mine towards the end, but that's totally optional

If you want to get fancy, you can use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth. That's on my Xmas list, and I didn't feel like adding the "pour the soup into the blender" step, so I didn't do that here:

I served it with some fresh naan bread and it was still fabulous.

I also decided to make chocolate-chocolate chip cookies with walnuts from Veganomicon. This is my first time using vegan chocolate chips, and they taste just the same as the "regular." I think these cookies are really good...very rich and chocolaty. I took some to work, and my coworkers all gave them a thumbs up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another trip to La Sirena

I sometimes get lazy on the weekends...and we resort to picking up food from a restaurant. Tonight we decided on La Sirena again. This time, I tried the veggie tacos with fresh guacamole. Rice and beans on the side.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yoga Wednesday

It was our normal corporate yoga session today. We didn't have our typical teacher, so the class was a bit different. It was a little be more fast paced, but I didn't get as deep of a stretch so it didn't seem as challenging. I look forward to the return of our regular instructor next week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Riding and Snacking

I rode my bike home from work today. It was another hot day, but overall a good ride. I was definitely in the mood to veg for dinner, so I made this tofu cheesy dip from the Vegan Lunch Box blog:

It uses nutritional yeast to make the cheesy flavor, but I only had the powder (not the flakes). I'm not sure if that made a difference. It turned out ok, but wasn't quite what I was looking for.

I have a basil plant that is being eaten by cabbage loopers, so I wanted to use most of it up (it's almost out of season anyways). I found about 7 of those caterpillars on my plant...and now I have a jar full of them. I didn't know what to do with them, and I certainly didn't want to kill them, so now I'm just feeding them lettuce and watching them get fat. But back to the food...I made a pesto with walnuts, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, 2 garlic cloves (raw garlic is a bit strong for me, I'll only use 1 clove next time) and all of that fresh basil. It turned out really good. Nothing beats fresh pesto! I also made some hummus to eat with the cherry tomatoes and carrots from the farmer's market.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Udon Soup and Spicy Cake

I wanted to use up some leftover miso paste, and I had all of that beautiful kale, so I decided to make a miso udon soup with kale and shitake mushrooms from Veganomicon. I added silken tofu for extra protein, and I think I went a little overboard on the ginger. It was a pretty good soup...and very easy to make.

For dessert, I made this spicy chocolate cake with chocolate sauce that I saw on the speedvegan blog awhile back. I love chocolate anything, and the cayenne pepper gave it an interesting kick. I ate it with some vanilla soy ice cream.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Farmer's market part II

We made our second trip to the Laguna Beach Farmer's Market today...and I believe it was a success! Our booty includes: strawberries, "dinosaur egg" pluots (apricot/plum hybrids), grapes, pears, lettuce, carrots, kale, and cherry tomatoes. All of this for only $18! (hmm...I sound like an infomercial)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thai food!

For a nice, Friday night dinner, we opted to try a new Thai place here in Laguna Beach. I ended up going overboard and ordered spring rolls, salad with peanut dressing, and vegetable/tofu satay. Everything was amazing and really hit the spot. It was so tasty, but still vegan and very healthful.

For dessert, we tried some sweet, sticky rice with coconut milk and mango. It was interesting and refreshing.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Quinoa and biking

I rode home from work again today, and it was significantly easier than last week. I attribute this to the fact that the weather was much more pleasant, and I didn't feel like I was going to melt into the pavement. I also did an official timing of my ride (with my cyclocomputer), and it only took me about 49 minutes to get home. I thought it was closer to an hour. Not too shabby for 11 miles.

For dinner, I wanted to use up the avocados we bought from a neighbor. They apparently have an avocado tree, and will periodically put a little cart out in front of their house with some fresh avocados and a sign that instructs you to put $1.50 in the cup for each fruit you take. The avocados were very good. I'm not sure what kind they were, but even though they were not Hass, they tasted pretty similar.

So the meal I prepared came from "Vegan Fire and Spice," and it was very easy to make. You basically cook the quinoa, and then saute some red onion. Add the onion to the quinoa with some chopped tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, S&P, and of course the avocado. It was pretty interesting, and I ended up making this into a wrap. I put some hummus that I also made, the quinoa, lettuce, and sprouts all in a sprouted grain wrap. I'd say it turned out pretty good.

Old school

Today I’m taking a trip back to grade school with the classic standby lunch: PB&J. I’ve got my natural peanut butter on some sprouted grain bread with strawberry jam. I’ve also brought raisins, orange and apple slices, tortilla chips, and some soymilk (who can eat peanut butter without milk?). A coworker brought me some coconut-milk yogurt today. I’m not a fan of soy yogurt, and I’ve had trouble finding the coconut kind in stores. I’m excited to try it!