Austin Extravaganza, Day 2: Juiceland, Nomad Dosa, & Counter Culture

You can find the first post of my Austin Extravaganza series here.

The first full day of my long-anticipated spring break jaunt to Austin, TX began with a green smoothie sprinkled with my new favorite granola, both of which I picked up at the flagship Whole Foods market the night before. After waiting for Ashley—my best friend of eleven years who provided the main reason for my visit to the southern U.S.—to awake from her slumber, I suggested that we kick off our action-packed day with a journey to Barton Springs. A man-made pool incorporated into a channel of Barton Creek, Barton Springs serves as a popular venue for nature enthusiasts who prefer to swim in fresh spring water, as opposed to chemically treated pools, surrounded by chirping birds and lush foliage. The area proved absolutely gorgeous and rife with wildlife, including lizards and a regal blue jay of whom I managed to snap a photo.

During our lengthy stroll to Barton Springs, I began to feel a bit peckish and enthusiastically welcomed the sight of Juiceland, a juice and smoothie bar with four locations around Austin that specializes in cleanses and liquid nutrition. Their extensive menu boasts three categories of juices (milder “fresh & easy” juices; fruity agua frescas; and “next-level” juices packed with veggies, greens, and spices), four categories of smoothies (basic fruit smoothies; sweet green smoothies; protein smoothies—many of which implement whey protein, unfortunately—; decadent dessert smoothies; and “next-level” smoothies, one of which even includes durian fruit, wowza!), superfood “cocktails,” herbal tonics, energizing shots, and a selection of premade to-go salads and raw desserts. The tiny liquiteria also sold a wide array of locally prepared kombucha, fresh young thai coconuts, raw chocolates, and vegan fruit-and-nut bars, including those crafted by Caleb and Chris of the Bearded Brothers—an organic snackfood company specializing in generously sized raw, gluten-free, and vegan energy bars. Ashley and I would later have the pleasure of sampling their tantalizing snack bars at the Wheatsville Co-op, but for the time being, we would simply stare longingly at mouthwatering flavors like Bodacious Blueberry Vanilla, Fabulous Ginger Peach, and Mighty Maca Chocolate. Yum. Wanting to satiate myself until lunch without ruining my appetite, I opted for a light snack of a wheatgrass shot and a couple sips of Ashley’s “Hydrator” smoothie of watermelon juice, peaches, and lemon.

Premade juices, oodles of kombucha, and fresh coconuts for sippin’.

Ahh, the sound of a wheatgrass juicer motor.

A journey back across town to Congress Ave landed Ashley and I smack-dab in the middle of a conglomeration of food trucks, including a health-conscious Indian one, referenced in many of my Google searches of “best food trucks Austin,” known as Nomad Dosa. The young hipsters inside Nomad Dosa’s sleek, silver caravan create all of the truck’s fare without the use of meat, wheat, gluten, soy, additives, gums, refined flours, and sugars (whew!), and implement nourishing food preparations including fermenting their soaked rice-and-lentil batter for several hours, carefully selecting spices to optimize digestion, and utilizing only olive and coconut oils in their cooking. Not only do Nomad Dosa’s gastronomic tenets jive perfectly with my own, they also mingle to produce some of the freshest, most flavorful, and most satisfying Indian cuisine I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting—completely unlike the overly greasy, muddled-tasting dishes I’ve sampled at many an Indian restaurant. Hungry and eager to dosa, Ashley and I put in our orders, paid an incredibly reasonable sum (only $9-$10 for ginormous dosa, a chutney, and a side of either rice or lentil soup), and awaited our food for a mere five minutes before hearing the sweet call of, “Ali and Ashley—your order is ready!” Ashley ordered the “Holy Cow” filling—creamy spiced potatoes, sauteed onions, roasted cashews, and green peas—on a soft dosa topped with shredded carrots served alongside a mild coconut chutney and a lentil dipping soup known as sambar, while I opted for the “Kerala Kokonut” filling—butternut squash, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, and cauliflower in a coconut curry—on a soft dosa topped with romaine lettuce and avocado, served alongside a spicy cilantro chutney and sambar. A spongy, sourdough-tasting dosa wrapped around impeccably spiced, veggie-laden stews and accompanied by a thick, bliss-inducing lentil soup? Be still my beating heart.

Ashley’s “Holy Cow” dosa.

An inside view of my “Kerala Kokonut” dosa.

After our immensely fulfilling lunch, Ashley and I meandered down Congress Ave, popping in just about every storefront along the road, including a nifty antique shop called Uncommon Objects, described by Austinites as “your eccentric uncle’s attic on steroids.” There, I fawned over the vintage mason jars, old-style cameras, and clickety-clacky typewriters while Ashley revealed a peculiar obsession with science-lab-style glass vials. We also passed an open-air adoption event hosted by Austin Pets Alive!, the city’s most prominent and almost completely volunteer-run organization devoted to achiving a 100% no-kill rate of sheltered companion animals in Austin.

Sufficiently tuckered out after our active morning and afternoon, Ashley and I rejuvenated from the balmy Austin weather in her air-conditioned apartment. However, another bout of hunger soon overcame us, and we trekked out once more to enjoy a casual yet scrumptious meal at Austin’s almost-one-year-old vegan restaurant, Counter Culture. Born from humble beginnings in July 2009 as a food truck, Counter Culture launched a wildly successful Kickstarter project in February 2012, the 195 donors of which enabled the business to relocate to a brick-and-mortar, diner-style restaurant bedecked in cheerful aquamarine-and-brown decor. On the Counter Culture menu, owner Sue Davis emphasizes nourishing, wholesome versions of comfort foods alongside playful raw dishes, while devoting her restaurant’s ethos to animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and long-term health. In utter support of Counter Culture’s mission and drooling over the tantalizing photos on their website, I quite looked forward to sampling their dinner fare. Though the Raw Bruschetta with flax crackers, cashew cheese, pesto, and tomatoes called my name, Ashley turned down my offer to split the appetizer, arguing that she’d like to save her money for dessert. Her miserliness couldn’t stop me, however, from ordering the Meltdown sandwich—a creamy garbanzo bean “tuna” salad with celery and dulse flakes, topped with melty cashew cheese and sliced tomatoes, layered between two slices of toasted gluten-free bread and accompanied by a side of the novel Pac Man salad of kale, Pac-Man-shaped carrot slices, and chia seeds in a creamy garlic dressing. If you recall my recent declaration of love for sandwiches, you can no doubt envision a starry-eyed, beaming Ali munching on the Meltdown’s hearty layers, each bursting with unique flavor (including the tomatoes! Perhaps the south enjoys quality tomatoes earlier in the year than does the midwest). After analyzing Counter Culture’s online menu, Ashley continually expressed her excitement toward ordering the Jackfruit BBQ sandwich—shredded jackfruit smothered in chipotle barbeque sauce, topped with red onions and pickles, and stuffed inside a multigrain hoagie bun, accompanied by a side of perfectly roasted sweet potatoes and beets. The meal certainly lived up to Ashley’s high expectations, causing her to exclaim how surprisingly accurately the shredded jackfruit resembled pulled pork (in texture and flavor, not oppression and exploitation, of course). For dessert, Ashley and I shared an ice cream sundae of vanilla coconut milk ice cream (supplied by local vegan ice creamery Sweet Ritual, which Ashley and I would visit in two days), silky raw cashew cream, and berries, as well as a tropical-flavored raw truffle of almonds, dried pineapple, shredded coconut, and dates. While delicious, the meal left my stomach not quite as full as I would have preferred; Counter Culture seems to keep its portions on the small side. I knew I should have partaken in that bruschetta appetizer!

Counter Culture interior.

Meltdown Sandwich with Pac-Man kale salad.

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with roasted sweet potatoes and beets.

Ice cream sundae.

Raw tropical truffle.

After catching a bus back to Ashley’s apartment and pajama-ing up, we planned our eating excursions for the following day, which would include lunch at Austin’s staple macrobiotic, community-based restaurant, Casa de Luz, and dinner at the gourmet raw eatery of Beets Cafe. Stay tuned for summaries of those meals in an upcoming post.

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #63

Breakfast: A green smoothie of 1/2 a cameo apple, 1/2 of a frozen banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, 1 tsp maca, 1/2 tsp spirulina, 1 tbsp goji berries, a large handful of kale, and 1/2 cup Gingerberry kombucha, topped with the last half-cupful of my most recent granola creation featuring GF rolled oats, raw buckwheat groats, unsweetened shredded coconut, flaxseed meal, pecans, and walnuts coated in a puree of apples, dried apricots, almond extract, cardamom, cinnamon, and coconut oil.

breakfast

Though I ran out of almond milk for this particular smoothie, later this morning I blended up an experimental milk comprised of the nutty odds-and-ends in my pantry to create a hybrid almond-cashew-pistachio-flax milk. Tinted slightly green from the pistachios, this milk serves as a deliciously creamy precursor to the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities, and boasts those heart-healthy omega-3’s about which we health-conscious folk rave thanks to the flax seeds. I may just start regularly incorporating different nuts into my homemade milk routine to compliment the standard almonds.

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseed meal, pecans, walnuts. Whole Grain—GF rolled oats, buckwheat. Fruit—apple, banana, goji berries, dried apricots. Leafy Green—kale. Superfood—hemp seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, goji berries, maca, flaxseed meal, kombucha.

Morning Tea: Pukka Herbs’ Three Fennel tea with sweet fennel seed, wild fennel seed, and fennel leaf.

I picked up three sample packets of this lovely tea at last weekend’s NYC Vegetarian Food Festival and have adored its powerful anise flavor and aroma for the past couple of days. A huge sucker for anything fennel, I fell in love with this tea upon first glance and deeply regret having already exhausted my meager supply of it. Perhaps a tea shipment is in order…

Lunch: A salad of mixed greens, shredded carrots, slivered almonds, diced dried apricots, sage-braised giant white beans, brown rice, and dulse seaweed flakes, all tossed in Liquid Gold Dressing and topped with Bao Fermented Food’s Green Raw Slaw of kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, radish greens, apples, pears, garlic, and ginger.

lunch

Unexpected leftovers discovered in the refrigerator comprise a wonderfully positive aspect of living in Ferry Haus along with 20 other talented veg*n cooks. The sage-braised white beans gracing this salad stem from one such occasion of wonderful lunchtime surprise.

As for the Green Raw Slaw, I picked up a jar from Bao’s booth at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival and cannot adequately express my happiness with my frugal ($4 off of the original price at the festival!) and mouthwatering purchase. Kale and fermented food all rolled into one immensely flavorful salad topper? Be still my beating heart.

Meal Checklist: Protein—white beans, almonds. Whole Grain—brown rice. Vegetables/Fruit—carrots, apricots, apples, pears, garlic, ginger, dulse flakes. Leafy Greens—mixed greens, kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, radish greens.

Afternoon Beverage: Choice Organic White Peony tea.

A bottle of GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha in Gingerade flavor.

Dinner: A simple saute of broccoli, brussels sprouts, and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos; an amaranth-millet pilaf seasoned with liquid smoke and paprika; and a pile of crunchy roasted chickpeas seasoned with liquid smoke, agave nectar, and paprika.

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Stay tuned for the recipe for this deeply satisfying dish, inspired by my mother (who recently adopted a vegan diet after watching Forks Over Knives), in an upcoming blog post.

Meal Checklist: Protein—chickpeas. Whole Grain—amaranth, millet. Vegetables—brussels sprouts, broccoli. Leafy Greens—brussels sprouts, broccoli.

After-Dinner Beverage: Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Eater’s Digest tea.

Comment Provoking Questions: Do you like to combine different nut/seed varieties when making plant-based milks? How do you feel about fennel/anise-flavored items? Does your local grocer carry Bao’s tasty raw, fermented products? Have you tried roasting chickpeas before?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

A Weekend in NYC, Part 1: The NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

This weekend, U.S. VegCorp hosted the third annual New York City Vegetarian Food Festival at the Metropolitan Pavilion in the Chelsea neighborhood. After enviously listening to Erin Red recount her delightful experiences at last year’s festival on a past episode of her podcast, I rushed online to discover the dates of the 2013 event and vowed to attend. Luckily, my parents decided to rent an apartment in NYC from mid-February until the end of April, providing me with a convenient home base in the city and practically begging me to take advantage of all the vegan goodies and happenings NYC has to offer; frankly, the universe would have admonished me had I not patronized the veg fest this year.

Numerous reliable vegan sources stressed the value of purchasing a VIP ticket for the festival in order to avoid the up-to-four-hour-long line for entry into the venue. Indeed, my decision to heed their advice and shell out the most well-spent $30 of my life on a Sunday VIP ticket proved quite prudent—I bounded through the building’s glass doors, displayed my ticket to a smiling woman who awarded me with a specially market wristband, and threw myself into the torrent of enthused veg*n/veg-curious attendees, eager vendors, tantalizing noms, and cruelty-free fashions, eliciting a couple resentful glares, I’m sure, from those still standing outside in line.

Arriving at the festival around my lunchtime, I first paid a visit to the renowned vegan food truck The Cinnamon Snail, whose selection of baked goods rivals any of a traditional brick-and-mortar bakery (can you say lavender-pear turnovers, passionfruit-glazed donuts, and strawberry cheese danishes?). Unfortunately, none of these mouthwatering creations bore a gluten-free (or sugar-free, for that matter) label, but I certainly contented myself by ordering a Raw Goji Berry Bar to accompany my Fiery Southeast Asian Salad of kale, homemade kimchi, sliced fresh jalapenos, curried peanuts, and chili oil. Both vittles satisfied my tastebuds immensely—the goji bar harbored a mysterious coconutty-cashew flavor while the salad excited the palate with its fresh spiciness (though it did feature a tad too much chili oil for my liking).

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The Cinnamon's Snail baked goods case.

The Cinnamon’s Snail baked goods case.

Fiery Southeast Asian Salad.

Fiery Southeast Asian Salad.

After enjoying a lovely lunch, I began making my rounds about the festival. Immediately upon entering, I spotted the ice cream counter of DF Mavens—a coconut-based frozen treat free of gluten, soy, and (in the case of some flavors) sugar about which I had heard at the recent Ivy League Vegan Conference. The company has not yet launched their products into stores, but to give you a sneak peek, some of their tantalizing flavors include Sicilian Hazelnut Truffle, New Orleans Salted Praline, Alphonso Mango, and Peanut Butter Fudge Mash. Wowza.

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Free samples of DF Mavens.

Free samples of DF Mavens.

Oodles of jewelry-makers and clothing-crafters showcased their wares, including the well-known vegan t-shirt company Compassion Co., a woman who creates gorgeously unique bracelets out of dehydrated fruits and vegetables at Wired Up Creations, the rebellious Portland-based outfitter of Herbivore Clothing Company (positively thrilled to meet her, I basically fawned over owner Michelle Schwegmann, who has gained plenty of fame in my book thanks to Our Hen House), and an independent jeweler with no company name of which to speak but who provided lovely graphic pendants. An independent screen-printer stood next to the DF Mavens booth and enthusiastically demonstrated the screen-printing process at my confession that I’ve long yearned to learn how to screen-print.

One of Compassion Co.'s t-shirts emblazoned with, "Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan." Love it.

One of Compassion Co.’s t-shirts emblazoned with, “Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan.” Love it.

"Animal Liberation" pendant from an independent jeweler.

“Animal Liberation” pendant from an independent jeweler.

Stickers from Herbivore Clothing Company.

Stickers from Herbivore Clothing Company.

Original screen-print t-shirt design from the friendly independent screen-printing guy.

Original screen-print t-shirt design from the friendly independent screen-printing guy.

The festivals’ bounty of cosmetics included allegedly intensely healing face creams and serums derived from broccoli sprouts, as well as deliciously fragrant soaps from Fanciful Fox and Metropolis Soap Company

Broccoli sprout skin cremes.

Broccoli sprout skin cremes.

Soaps from Fancful Fox.

Soaps from Fancful Fox.

Of course, the festival couldn’t deem itself a food festival without an inordinate amount of yummies rampant throughout the convention hall. Though I didn’t snap a picture of every single food booth, I’ll provide you with a sampling:

"Raw Slaw" fermented veggies from Bao Fermented Food and Drink--they also sell home-brewed kombucha, sauces, and superfood shots.

“Raw Slaw” fermented veggies from Bao Fermented Food and Drink–they also sell home-brewed kombucha, sauces, and superfood shots.

I picked up a jar of Bao's Greens Raw Slaw, packed with kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, radish greens, apples, pears, ginger, and garlic.

I picked up a jar of Bao’s Greens Raw Slaw, packed with kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, radish greens, apples, pears, ginger, and garlic.

Vegan & gluten-free empanadas from Brooklyn's acclaimed V-Spot.

Vegan & gluten-free empanadas from Brooklyn’s acclaimed V-Spot.

The ever-popular Dandies marshmallows--gelatin-free!

The ever-popular Dandies marshmallows–gelatin-free!

Fryin' up some Field Roast sausages.

Fryin’ up some Field Roast sausages.

Pastel-hued cookies from Pipernilli Bakery.

Pastel-hued cookies from Pipernilli Bakery.

Cashew-and-coconut-based ice cream from the Raw Ice Cream Company (chocolate hazelnut, anyone?).

Cashew-and-coconut-based ice cream from the Raw Ice Cream Company (chocolate hazelnut, anyone?).

Monkey Boy peanut butter with banana extract and raisins from the Saratoga Peanut Butter Company

Monkey Boy peanut butter with banana extract and raisins from the Saratoga Peanut Butter Company.

Gorgeously frosted cupcakes from Pink Frosting Bakery.

Gorgeously frosted cupcakes from Pink Frosting Bakery.

Rehydrated dried fruit from Fruit Bliss--apparently, re-moistening dried fruit is all-the-rage in Europe!

Rehydrated dried fruit from Fruit Bliss–apparently, re-moistening dried fruit is all-the-rage in Europe!

Delectable and creamy Faux Gras, Basilcotta, and Superfood Pesto from the Regal Vegan

Delectable and creamy Faux Gras, Basilcotta, and Superfood Pesto from the Regal Vegan.

Spicy Mang roll from Beyond Sushi (for dinner later that night) with avocado, mango, cucumber, and black rice topped with spicy pickled veggies and toasted cayenne sauce.

Spicy Mang roll from Beyond Sushi (for dinner later that night) with avocado, mango, cucumber, and black rice topped with spicy pickled veggies and toasted cayenne sauce.

King-sized gluten-free cookies from Dauphin Bakery, included Ginger Spice Molasses. Mmm...

King-sized gluten-free cookies from Dauphin Bakery, included Ginger Spice Molasses. Mmm…

Three Fennel tea from Pukka Herbs. The woman behind the stand generously gave me three free tea bags of this blend, in which I have reveled for the past two days due to my ardent love of fennel.

Three Fennel tea from Pukka Herbs. The woman behind the stand generously gave me three free tea bags of this blend, in which I have reveled for the past two days due to my ardent love of fennel.

Vegan scallops (yes, you read right) from Sophie's Kitchen, made from Elephant Yam Root, aka Konjac. Fascinating!

Vegan scallops (yes, you read right) from Sophie’s Kitchen, made from Elephant Yam Root, aka Konjac. Fascinating!

Certainly my favorite aspect of the entire festival comprised of schmoozing with prominent vegan activists, bloggers, and authors whom I’ve long admired. Though I didn’t snap any photos with them, I also met the bloggers (Sharon and Dianne, respectively) behind Big City Vegan and VeggieGirl, two quite successful blogs in whose footsteps I hope to follow.

I've become quite a fan of Erin Red's podcast, Red Radio, and her special brand of no-nonsense activism. Honored to extend our relationship from Twitter to the real world!

I’ve become quite a fan of Erin Red’s podcast, Red Radio, and her special brand of no-nonsense activism. Honored to extend our relationship from Twitter to the real world!

Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur delivered an inspiring speech that touched upon effective animal advocacy among many other topics. His assertion that "being right is not the same as being effective" struck me as particularly important.

Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur delivered an inspiring speech that touched upon effective animal advocacy among many other topics. His assertion that “being right is not the same as being effective” struck me as particularly important.

Ximena and Derek from my all-time favorite yoga studio, Jivamukti, described the intrinsic connections between yogic philosophy and veganism.

Ximena and Derek from my all-time favorite yoga studio, Jivamukti, described the intrinsic connections between yogic philosophy and veganism.

Matt Frazier of the acclaimed No Meat Athlete blog showcased his merchandise and gave a talk on Saturday of the festival.

Matt Frazier of the acclaimed No Meat Athlete blog showcased his merchandise and gave a talk on Saturday of the festival.

I still cannot fathom how I managed to meet the legendary vegan author and lifestyle coach Victoria Moran.

I still cannot fathom how I managed to meet the legendary vegan author and lifestyle coach Victoria Moran.

Though I didn't manage to snag a photo of Miyoko Schinner, author of Artisan Vegan Cheese, I did sample some of her very own gourmet nut cheeses after her talk.

Though I didn’t manage to snag a photo of Miyoko Schinner, author of Artisan Vegan Cheese, I did sample some of her very own gourmet nut cheeses after her talk.

Of course, standby animal rights organizations like PETA, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, and Sea Shepherd also made appearances at the festival, along with eastern farm animal sanctuaries like Woodstock and Catskill. I had the pleasure of meeting two immensely friendly COK volunteers who welcomed me with open arms when I informed them of my summer internship with the organization—further proof that the animal rights movement attracts the most generous, all-around wonderful human beings.

To round out my festival experience, I indulged myself in adding yet another vegan cookbook to my collection: the Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen by Talya Lutzker. I haven’t yet had a chance to thoroughly examine the book’s recipes, but cannot wait to learn of the doshas and how to eat in order to best balance inner energy—like yoga and eating all rolled into one! From my quick flip through the book (which has sat on my Amazon Wishlist for quite some time now), all of the recipes feature only wholesome, unprocessed ingredients and include a host of raw, sugar-free desserts. My Ferry housemates will surely taste at least a couple of goodies inspired by this book!

After spending over three hours chatting, sampling, and handing out homemade Farmers Market Vegan business cards, I had thoroughly exhausted myself and decided to trek back uptown to my parents’ apartment before catching my train home to Vassar. Witnessing such a successful outpouring of vegans and omnivores alike (2,000 people attended the festival on Saturday alone) fostered within me such hope for a shifting mainstream consciousness toward a more compassionate, deliberate, conscious, and healthful lifestyle. The innovative products featured at the festival also aided in proving that leading a vegan lifestyle by no means entails sacrificing the joy of delicious food, chic fashion, and effective skin care. I fully intend to attend many more events similar to this one, with the third annual Veggie Pride Parade on Sunday, March 24th as the most upcoming one.

Stay tuned for a post detailing my meals at Candle Cafe West and Blossom on the Saturday before the festival (yes, I’m posting out of chronological order, but I wanted to recap the festival before recounting my fabulous meals).

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #62

Breakfast: A green smoothie of 1/2 a jonagold apple, 1/2 of a frozen banana, a handful of frozen blueberries, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, 1 tsp maca, 1/2 tsp spirulina, 1 tbsp goji berries, 3 leaves of kale, and 1/2 cup homemade almond milk, topped with a half-cupful of my latest granola creation featuring GF rolled oats, raw buckwheat groats, unsweetened shredded coconut, flaxseed meal, pecans, and walnuts coated in a puree of apples, dried apricots, almond extract, cardamom, cinnamon, and coconut oil.

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Breakfast Checklist: Protein—chia seeds, hemp seeds, almond milk, flaxseed meal, pecans, walnuts. Whole Grain—GF rolled oats, buckwheat. Fruit—apple, banana, blueberries, goji berries, dried apricots. Leafy Green—kale. Superfood—hemp seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, goji berries, maca, flaxseed meal.

Morning Tea: Eden Organic Genmaicha Tea.

Lunch: A deconstructed salad of sorts (perhaps “lettuce wraps” would serve as the correct term?) of four large leaves of lettuce schmeared with hummus and topped with quinoa, celery, mushrooms, sauerkraut, and dulse flakes, all drizzled with Liquid Gold Dressing.

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Meal Checklist: Protein—chickpeas and tahini in hummus. Whole Grain—quinoa. Vegetables—mushrooms, celery. Leafy Greens—lettuce, cabbage in sauerkraut, dulse flakes.

Afternoon Beverage: Choice Organic White Peony tea.

A bottle of GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha in Hibiscus (Botanic No. 7) flavor.

Dinner: A comforting and astoundingly flavorful soup of lentils and split peas cooked down into a creamy puree with mushrooms, celery, leeks, and cubes of tofu, served over a bed of wilted kale and topped with a brown rice-black bean pilaf as well as a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

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Thanks to Franny and Robyn for anoter scrumptious Ferry dinner!

Meal Checklist: Protein—lentils, split peas, tofu, black bean. Whole Grain—brown rice. Vegetables—mushrooms, celery, leeks. Leafy Greens—kale.

After-Dinner Beverage: Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Eater’s Digest tea.

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

The Great Quinoa Debate

In light of the influx of recent Guardian articles concerning the ethical implications involved in modern-day quinoa consumption, I and my fellow housemates have engaged in a continuous discussion regarding whether or not Ferry should continue to purchase the Andean pseudo-grain in our bulk food orders. Yearning for a more in-depth understanding of the potential issues surrounding quinoa, I dove into a fit of research on the topic and penned an op-ed for Vassar’s campus newspaper, the Miscellany News (at which I now serve as the Online Editor). In it, I present the compelling arguments both for and against world quinoa consumption, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about their personal views of purchasing quinoa—indeed, I have not yet completely ironed out my own.

However, while I completely acknowledge the legitimate and rather urgent concern of the effect of increasing quinoa prices on Andean farmers and locals, part of me wonders if those with minds focused on social justice (aren’t we all?) will become so entrenched in “The Great Quinoa Debate”—our decisions toward which may or may not actually impact the Andean people—that it will begin to distract them from making other food choices almost guaranteed to ameliorate the world’s hunger crisis. The concluding paragraphs of my op-ed follows:

So should we, the socially conscious students of Vassar, continue to consume the (rather unsatisfactorily prepared) quinoa offered at the Deece? At whatever conclusion you personally arrive from the information I’ve offered, I hope that the intricacies of and issues surrounding the current global quinoa market prompt you to begin analyzing your food choices at a deeper, more ethically minded level than that simply of taste, pleasure, and convenience. Why not use the quinoa debate as a jumping-off point from which to discover more about precisely how the food on your plate ended up there? Indeed, while opting to abstain from eating quinoa may or may not improve the livelihoods of Andean farmers, there exist a handful of dietary choices that will concretely and profoundly decrease levels of world hunger and environmental degradation.

Consider that 760 million tons of the world’s grain provides feed for livestock, while 20 times less than that amount has been projected to eliminate the most extreme cases of world hunger today. Additionally, the world’s cattle alone consume enough food to sustain 9 billion people—the human population expected by 2050.

Regarding the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, a study published last October by the European Commission found that switching to a vegetarian diet results in twice the carbon emissions savings of switching to an electric car. By opting not to support animal agribusiness, you can rest assured that the decisions you make thrice daily as to what to eat will contribute to a growing movement toward a more equitable, just, and environmentally friendly society. Or you could gaze upon the supermarket shelves in perplexed contemplation of which brand claims to ethically source their quinoa.

I hope you’ll all hop on over to the Misc’s website to read the rest of my article in full. In the meantime, I’d like to tantalize you with a couple of the most recent culinary creations I’ve enjoyed.

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A loose rendition of Marly’s Vegan Pibil Torta Sandwich piled upon two slices of hearty Scottish straun bread studded with wild rice and walnuts (recipe from my favorite cookbook, “Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread”).

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A salad of kale massaged with avocado and dijon mustard, mixed with carrots and dulse flakes, and topped with kimchi.

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A Ferry dinner crafted by my housemate, passionate vegan activist, and fellow dear VARC member Alan of a roasted veggie and tofu shepherd’s pie accompanied by a dollop of the creamiest hummus I’ve ever had the pleasure of spooning into my mouth and a salad of mixed greens dressed with olive oil and nutritional yeast.

Comment Provoking Questions: Where do you stand on the current quinoa debate?

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #60

Breakfast: A rather unorthodox green smoothie of a large carrot, about 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 tbsp flaxseed meal, about 1/2 tsp each of spirulina and maca, 1 tbsp goji berries, 1 tsp peanut butter, five medium collard leaves, and 3/4 cup water, topped with the last of a batch of Matcha Green Tea Pistachio Biscotti—that I’ve kept from Christmas in my mini-fridge’s freezer—from Dreena Burton’s latest cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan!.

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This unusual, carrot-based breakfast concoction topped with the dregs of my holiday cookies stems from a lack of my staple smoothie ingredients: no frozen bananas or apples to form the smoothie’s base, no almond milk to facilitate blending, no chia or hemp seeds for added omega-3’s or protein, and no granola to sprinkle on top. Oy vey! Though it certainly satisfied my hunger, the “smoothie” left my tastebuds feeling rather underappreciated—so much so that I immediately ran out to Vassar’s nearest health food store to purchase bananas and my two favorite seeds, baked up a loaf of walnut-and-wild-rice-laden Straun Bread from “Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread” to slather with almond butter and serve alongside a tall glass of juice the next morning, and set out a bowl of almonds to soak. Ahh, everything has become right with Ali’s breakfast world once more.

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—flaxseed meal, peanut butter, chickpea flour, pistachios (last two in biscotti). Whole Grain—brown rice flour in biscotti. Fruit—strawberries, goji berries. Leafy Green—collard greens. Superfood—flaxseed meal, spirulina, maca, goji berries. Added Veggie Bonus!—carrots.

Morning Tea: Numi’s Chocolate Pu-Erh tea.

I’ve reveled in the decadence of Numi’s Coconut Pu-Erh in the past, but opted to sample their Chocolate version at the recommendation of Gabby from the lovely blog, VeggieNook. Certainly living up to my expectations, this tea—deeply flavored and nicely balanced between sweet and bitter—has become my new staple morning beverage.

Lunch: A massaged kale salad consisting of 3 large leaves of curly green kale, four shredded brussels sprouts, and three large button mushrooms massaged with the Curried Almond Dressing from Dreena Burton’s Kale Slaw recipe and stirred together with alfalfa sprouts, mixed bean sprouts, dulse seaweed flakes, and wild rice, dusted with nutritional yeast and topped with a dollop of kimchi from Hawthorne Valley.

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Yet another astronomic benefit of living in Vassar’s veg*n co-op known as Ferry House, a generous pile of kale constantly waits in the communal refrigerator, practically begging we Fairies to massage it with homemade dressing and a mess of mixed veggies. Since moving in to Ferry, I’ve happily obliged the demands of this crucifer during most of my lunches, and thus enjoy massaged kale salads even more often than I used to (which could never be a bad thing).

Meal Checklist: Protein—almonds in dressing. Whole Grain—wild rice. Vegetables—mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, mixed bean sprouts, kimchi veggies. Leafy Greens—kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage in sauerkraut, dulse seaweed.

Afternoon Beverage: Eden Organic Genmaicha green tea.

Dinner: A black bean-brown rice burger, loosely based off of Candle 79’s Chipotle Burgers, topped with caramelized onions and bell peppers as well as a slice of fresh tomato, accompanied by a pile of mixed salad greens tossed with the Curried Almond Dressing from Dreena Burton’s Kale Slaw recipe.

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My darling housemate Noah prepared the burgers and caramelized onions, while I supplemented the otherwise green-less dinner with some salad and dressing. Incidentaly, the burgers tasted especially divine when dipped in the dressing—though I suppose that anything would when slathered in one of Dreena Burton’s culinary creations.

Meal Checklist: Protein—black beans, almonds. Whole Grain—brown rice. Vegetables—onions, bell peppers, garlic, tomato. Leafy Greens—mixed salad greens.

After-Dinner Beverage: Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Eater’s Digest tea.

Comment Provoking Questions: What do you have for breakfast when supplies are running low? What is your go-to morning tea? How often do you enjoy a kale salad? What is your favorite recipe of Dreena Burton’s?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #59

Breakfast: A juice of apple, kale, carrots, and beets, accompanied by a bowl of Cocoa-Pomegranate Granola garnished with goji berries, spirulina, and hemp seeds and moistened with a dash of homemade almond milk.

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Breakfast Checklist: Protein—flaxseed meal, walnuts, pistachios, hemp seeds, almond milk. Whole Grain—GF rolled oats, millet, raw buckwheat groats. Fruit—apple, goji berries, pomegranate, prunes, coconut. Leafy Green—kale. Superfood—pomegranate, flaxseed meal, cacao nibs, goji berries, spirulina, hemp seeds. Added Veggie Bonus!—carrots, beets.

Local Ingredients: Apples from Wicklow Orchards.

Morning Tea: Numi’s Chocolate Pu-Erh tea.

Lunch: A massaged kale salad of curly green kale massaged with roasted sweet potato, Liquid Gold Dressing, and button mushrooms, mixed with julienned carrots, navy beans, dulse seaweed flakes, and a mix of amaranth and quinoa, all topped with sauerkraut and accompanied by a spoonful of peanut butter (unpictured).

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Meal Checklist: Protein—navy beans, peanut butter. Whole Grain—amaranth, quinoa. Vegetables—sweet potato, mushrooms, carrots. Leafy Greens—kale, cabbage in sauerkraut, dulse seaweed.

Local Ingredients: Sauerkraut from Perry’s Pickles (no website).

Afternoon Beverage: Rishi’s Cinnamon-Plum tea.

Dinner: A large bowl of vegan three-bean (pinto, black, and kidney) chili chock full of veggies—including onions, carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers—dusted with nutritional yeast and accompanied by a simple, gluten-and-sugar-free apple crisp topped with walnuts and almonds sitting atop a pile of mixed salad greens.

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Meal Checklist: Protein—pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, walnuts, almonds. Whole Grain—none. Vegetables—onions, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, apples (fruit, but whatever)Leafy Greens—mixed salad greens.

Local Ingredients: None.

After-Dinner Beverage: Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Eater’s Digest tea.

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #58

Breakfast: A smoothie of 1/2 a honeycrisp apple, 1/2 a frozen banana, about 1/2 cup frozen blackberries, 1 tbsp goji berries, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, 1 tbsp carob powder, 1/2 scoop Amazing Grass Green Superfoods powder, 4 large leaves of lacinato kale, and 1/2 cup homemade almond milk, accompanied by a Raisin-Almond Butter Cinnamon Roll adapted from “Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread.”

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Cinnamon roll close-up.

Forever enamored by the plethora of yeasty, hearty, whole-grain, scrumptiousness of the recipes featured in Jennifer Katzinger’s “Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread,” I once again opened my already copiously stained copy of the cookbook I received just this Christmas to try my hand at another one of Jennifer’s sweeter offerings—Raisin Cinnamon Rolls. One of two cinnamon roll recipes featured in the cookbook (the other is for Pecan Cinnamon Rolls), these subtlely sweet, intensely-cinnamony rolls boast an extra helping of decadence due to their filling of maple butter and plumped raisins. However, because maple butter costs quite the pretty penny, I opted to employ roasted almond butter in its place, imparting an extra level of unctuousness to the rolls. Though these rolls prove superbly moist and light when enjoyed straight out of the oven, I’ve found that they do not keep well and turn rather dry and crumbly after a mere two days of sitting on the countertop. Thank goodness I only made half a batch! I’ve also slathered these cinnamon rolls in an Orange-Scented Fig Jam spiced with fresh rosemary to yield astoundingly tasty results.

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—hemp seeds, almond milk, almond butter, garbanzo bean flour, chia seeds, almond meal (last three in cinnamon roll). Whole Grain—brown rice flour, teff flour. Fruit—apple, banana, blackberries, goji berries, raisins. Leafy Green—lacinato kale. Superfood—hemp seeds, goji berries, Amazing Grass powder, chia seeds, carob powder.

Local Ingredients: Kale from Don’s Produce (no website).

Morning Tea: Organic & Pure Peppermint White Tea.

Though I usually harbor an aversion to peppermint tea, the delicately sweet note of the digestion-friendly herb featured in this surprisingly complex tea blend nicely complements the almost perfume-like taste of white tea—perfect for quiet afternoon contemplation and aiding your gut after lunch.

Lunch: A Mushroom-Spinach Melt Sandwich of cashew cheese melted over the filling of Green Kitchen Stories’ Spiced Spinach and Mushrooms in Almond Tartlets in between two slices of the Focaccia recipe in “Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread,” accompanied by a salad of mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, mixed bean sprouts, “farmhouse mix” sprouts, purple carrots, two spoonfuls of adzuki beans, and dulse seaweed flakes all tossed in Liquid Gold Dressing and topped with Fizzeology’s “Ferment of the Month” sauerkraut.

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I recently experienced a bit of an epiphany in realizing that I could craft hot, melty, ooey gooey sandwiches in addition to their (still delicious) cold counterparts with all of the gluten-free bread-baking in which I’ve engaged lately. This Spinach-Mushroom Melt comprises the second hot sandwich I’ve created, right after my quite well-received Roasted Brussels Sprout Grilled Cheese. After warming two slices of herbed focaccia on my built-in stove-top griddle, I piled on the spinach-mushroom saute offered by Green Kitchen Stories, topped it with three thin slices of cashew cheese, placed the now open-faced sandwich back on the griddle, and covered it with a large pot lid until the cheese melted, then slapped the second slice of focaccia on top. Yum.

Meal Checklist: Protein—cashews, adzuki beans, chia seeds, garbanzo bean flour, flaxseed meal (last three in bread). Whole Grain—teff, brown rice, and buckwheat flours in bread. Vegetables—onion, shiitake and crimini mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, mixed bean sprouts, “farmhouse mix” sprouts, purple carrots, sauerkraut veggies. Leafy Greens—spinach, mixed greens, dulse seaweed, greens in sauerkraut.

Local Ingredients: Purple carrots from JenEhr Family Farm, alfalfa sprouts and mixed bean sprouts from Troy Community Farm“Ferment of the Month” sauerkraut from Fizzeology, mixed greens from Don’s Produce (no website), “farmhouse mix” sprouts from Garden to Be, spinach from Snug Haven.

Afternoon Beverage: Half a bottle of Reed’s Culture Club Goji Ginger Kombucha.

Though the locally produced NessAlla still wins the place in my heart dedicated to my favorite kombucha brand, the Goji Ginger flavor of Reed’s Culture Club kombucha could give NessAlla a run for its money. Tangy, sweet, and deeply flavored, this superfood-boosted kombucha tastes like a true work of fermented art. Funnily enough, Reed’s also produces my father’s favorite variety of ginger beer—perhaps I can fool him into trying this more nourishing beverage instead…

Dinner: A scrumptious vegan bowl of sprouted quinoa, roasted brussels sprouts leftover from my grilled cheese adventures, Black Pepper & Thyme Tofu adapted from Olives for Dinner, and Parsnip Bacon adapted from Food & Wine, all slathered in a dilly version of Christy Morgan’s Cashew Basil Aioli.

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I feel that this meal needs no explanation. How can one ever go wrong with a vegan bowl? I would like to offer one suggestion, however: run to the kitchen and make the Black Pepper & Thyme Tofu immediately. You won’t be sorry.

Also, on a quick recipe-related note, I subbed liquid smoke for the smoked sea salt in the Parsnip Bacon—my mother’s obsession with the concentrated smokiness of this genius product has now transferred over to me.

Meal Checklist: Protein—tofu, cashews. Whole Grain—sprouted quinoa. Vegetables—brussels sprouts, thyme, parsnips, dill. Leafy Greens—brussels sprouts.

Local Ingredients: Parsnips from Driftless Organics.

After-Dinner Beverage: Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Eater’s Digest tea.

Comment Provoking Questions: What is your favorite cinnamon roll filling? How about your favorite vegan hot sandwich? Have you tried/seen Reed’s kombucha before?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.

A Return to Raw Night at the Green Owl: An Eastern European-Inspired Raw Dinner

Upon returning to my hometown of Madison, WI for a month-long winter break from my hectic life at Vassar College, I’ve engaged in a number of activities that have contributed to a true sense of homecoming. Even though I now happily consider the Vassar campus as my veritable stomping ground, Madison’s liberal, progressive, vibrant, eclectic, environmentally-minded community earns an eternal place in my heart, and during my extended visit back I’ve truly enjoyed partaking in the activities that, for me, define the Madisonian lifestyle. Those translate to frequently patronizing my two favorite heated yoga studios, Inner Fire Yoga and The Studio; shopping for high-quality, organic, and local produce as well as specialty health food items at the Willy Street Coop; supporting the Dane County Farmers Market every Saturday; whiling away the hours in my well-equipped kitchen; and sampling the generous amount of veg-friendly restaurant cuisine this fine city has to offer.

Concerning Madison’s restaurant scene, once again experiencing a certain special, monthly dining event excited me more than returning to any other eatery while back in my hometown: Raw Night at the Green Owl. I’ve returned to the Green Owl for their Raw Nights on six occasions now, determined to pay that sixth visit during my winter break after an excruciating four-month hiatus from the gourmet raw cuisine offered by Cara and Jennie. Last Thursday night, I, accompanied by two of my dear friends, satisfied this fierce determination at the Owl’s “Eastern European Winter Themed” Raw Night, which featured light, colorful, uncooked variations on the heavy traditional dishes of the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and the like.

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Foreshadowing the party of pink and parade of pickles that would characterize our meal, a creamy apple slaw mixed with locally fermented red cabbage sauerkraut and garnished with chives began my long-awaited reunion with the Owl’s ever-improving raw fare. An intriguing meld of tart, tangy, sour, and sweet flavors united by a lovely undertone of caraway, the slaw served as a fresh opening to the five tantalizing courses to come.

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Yet another brilliantly pink dish followed the slaw—a chilled borscht served with a dollop of cashew sour cream and topped with fresh dill and chive oil. I’ve long hesitated to sample borscht or to make it myself out of a fear that the soup will taste simply like, well, a pile of soggy shredded beets. Don’t get me wrong—I adore the earthy sweetness of beets, but always felt that an entire soup devoted to them would taste rather overpowering. Indeed, my skepticism proved accurate, as a beety boxer knocked out my tastebuds with the first spoonful of borscht, and I could only stomach another couple experimental tastes before handing off the cup to my dining companions (we opted to share two prix fixe menus between the three of us due to the generous portion sizes). However, I don’t want to blame the fabulous folks at the Owl for a less-than-appetizing soup, for I feel strongly that any rendition of borscht would inspire in me the very same negative reaction. Offering a redeeming quality to the second course, the creamy cashew sour cream inspired me to save it from drowning in its beety ocean as I stole the dollop from both bowls of soup.

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The final small plate of the meal included crisp endive leaves filled with a savory pumpkin seed pate and accompanied by cumin-spiced pickled turnips. Though the pate tasted like just about every other nut pate I’ve sampled in the past (not bad, just nothing special), I positively fawned over the brightly hued, impeccably tangy, surprisingly spiced pickled turnips. Blame my powerful adoration of all things pickled, but I would call these pickled turnips a work of culinary art, especially due to their employment of cumin—a spice I never would have considered adding to pickles. Green Owl: I’d like a barrel of the pickled turnips, okay? Thanks.

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Temporarily straying from our dinner’s otherwise pink theme, our main plate of Kofta Biryani drove our party of three into a symphony of “Mmm’s” and “Oh my god’s” with its quartet of dazzling components. Crusty on the outside with a delicately textured center, three deeply flavored walnut balls bathed in a creamy gravy boasting an undertone of cinnamon. Beside the walnut balls glowed a sunnily hued saffron-cauliflower “rice” pilaf studded with dates, bell peppers, and coconut flakes. Providing a refreshing flavor contrast to the three other unctuous aspects of the dish, a side of crunchy house-fermented brussels sprouts rounded out our main course.

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As per usual, dessert proved the most decadent, astounding, and utterly mind-blowing course of the entire meal…or of all of the meals I’ve eaten over the past couple of months. This cardamom-poppy seed cheesecake with orange blossom-blood orange glaze and citrus-apricot sauce left all three of us literally speechless, as we devoured both slices in complete silence, communicating with each other only with strained expressions of, “I finally understand what it truly means to experience a food orgasm.” And now I cannot force myself to think about anything else other than this cheesecake…so thank you, Green Owl, for ruining all my intellectual hopes and dreams. I’m okay with that, though, as long as I can curl up with a slice of your cheesecake every night.

Needless to say, my “welcome back” Raw Night dinner fulfilled and exceeded all of my expectations, and I’m currently attempting not to allow my absence from Madison, and thus from the Green Owl, during my spring semester of freshman year to cause me too much gastronomic suffering. Sigh. If any of you, dear readers, experience the pleasure of dining at the Green Owl for their Raw Nights, please let me know so my palate can live vicariously through yours.

Until next time, Ali.

What I Ate Wednesday #57

Breakfast: A green juice of applecarrotkale, parsley, and lemon, blended with 1/2 an avocado, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, and 1 tbsp goji berries, accompanied by a hefty slice of Raspberry Rooibos-Tea Bread from Jennifer Katzinger’s “Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread.”

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raspberry rooibos bread (1)

As with so many other healthy eating techniques and recipes (banana soft serve and perfect tofu burgers, anyone?), my virtual buddy Gena of Choosing Raw first introduced me to the notion of blending juiced veggies with avocado to yield a creamy beverage more substantial than yet just as nourishing as a standard green juice. Figuring that if I could blend avocado into my morning juice, I could amp up its nutritional content even further by also pureeing in hemp seeds and goji berries. New breakfast triumph!

I alluded to Jennifer Katzinger’s Raspberry-Rooibos Tea Bread in my last post on the gluten-free sandwiches in which I’ve recently reveled, promising more details in this post. The recipe that called to me the most earnestly out of Jennifer’s entire book, this bread did not disappoint my high expectations for it. The bread’s base of teff flour imparted a deep hue, hearty texture, and a unique flavor wavering between earthy and nutty, while the rooibos tea lent a slightly red tone and sophisticated taste. Each layer of the bread took on a distinct characteristic—the bottom proved oh-so-moist and chewy while the top held an almost coffee-cake-like crumbly texture. Studded with tart raspberries and only mildly sweet from a minimal amount of agave nectar, the bread appealed immensely to my sugar-sensitive tastebuds and provided a complex way to wake the palate after a night’s rest. The next time I make this recipe, I intend to incorporate a bit of cocoa powder as I think it will nicely complement the bread’s flavor; besides, aren’t raspberries and chocolate a match made in heaven?

Breakfast Checklist: Protein—hemp seeds. Whole Grain—teff flour. Fruit—apple, avocado, goji berries, raspberries, lemon. Leafy Green—kale, parsley. Superfood—hemp seeds, goji berries. Added Veggie Bonus!—carrot.

Local Ingredients: Carrots from Tipi Produce.

Morning Tea: Triple Leaf Tea’s White Tea.

Lunch: A TLT (Tempeh, Lettuce, & Tomato) Sandwich with Avocado on Jennifer Katzinger’s Light Teff Sandwich Bread, accompanied by a salad of mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, mixed bean sprouts, “farmhouse mix” sprouts, carrots, and dulse flakes, all tossed in Liquid Gold Dressing and topped with the “Ferment of the Month” sauerkraut from Fizzeology.

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If you haven’t yet witnessed me waxing poetic about my recent sandwich ventures, I encourage you to do so by checking out my latest post. There, you can find the details of the TLT with Avocado featured above.

As for the “Ferment of the Month” sauerkraut, this month’s mix of lactofermented yumminess contains a surprising plethora of unorthodox vegetables, which I will now list to fulfill your veggie-loving needs: green and napa cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprout tops, black radish, red pepper, carrot, red beauty heart radish, onion, cilantro, turnip, burdock root, dandelion greens, lotus root, yellow dot, evening primrose seed, wild parsnip, garlic, delicata squash, bok choy root, wild carrot, lambs quarter seed, apple, eggplant. Um, wow.

Meal Checklist: Protein—tempeh, chia seeds, almond meal, flaxseed meal (last three in bread). Whole Grain—buckwheat and teff flours in bread. Vegetables—cherry tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, mixed bean sprouts, “farmhouse mix” sprouts, carrots, sauerkraut veggies. Leafy Greens—mixed greens, dulse seaweed, greens in sauerkraut.

Local Ingredients: Carrots from Tipi Produce, alfalfa sprouts and mixed bean sprouts from Troy Community Farm“Ferment of the Month” sauerkraut from Fizzeology, tempeh from the Simple Soyman, mixed greens from Don’s Produce (no website), “farmhouse mix” sprouts from Garden to Be.

Afternoon Beverage: A glass of NessAlla Kombucha in their seasonal Cardamom Hibiscus Ginger flavor.

Dinner: Two of Dreena Burton’s Mushroom-Pecan Burgers topped with Julie Morris’ Superfood Goddess Dressing from her book “Superfood Kitchen“; a Mixed Veggie Slaw with Peanut Lime Dressing (recipe below); and the leftover wrappers and marinated veggies from the Raw Falafel and Hummus Wraps with Marinated Mediterranean Veggies that I brought to the raw potluck last weekend.

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Super hearty, densely textured, and wonderfully savory from a thoughtful combination of seasonings including miso, sage, oregano, balsamic vinegar, and tamari, Dreena’s Mushroom-Pecan Burgers filled in every box on the “Great Veggie Burgers” checklist. Slathered in Julie’s tangy Superfood Goddess Dressing—deemed as such due to the inclusion of hemp seeds, flaxseed oil, and Amazing Grass Green Superfoods powder—the burgers provided a delectable focal point to my dinner.

I drew inspiration for the Mixed Veggie Slaw with Peanut Lime Dressing from Fresh Restaurant’s recipe for Tangled Thai Salad. My simplified version of the recipe I’ve provided below—I used most of the veggies listed in the recipe simply to clean out my refrigerator, so feel free to substitute any other veggies you like.

Mixed Veggie Slaw with Peanut Lime Dressing

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

1 small head savoy cabbage, shredded
2 small beets, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup butternut squash cubes, shredded
1 medium bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground
2 tsp coconut milk (can sub any other plant-based milk)
3/4 tsp agave nectar
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup toasted sesame oil

Place all of the veggies in a large bowl and toss to combine.

To make the dressing, place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Pour the dressing over the veggies and mix well to coat.

Meal Checklist: Protein—pecans, tahini, flaxseed meal, peanut butter, hemp seeds. Whole Grain—GF rolled oats. Vegetables—butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, zucchini, bell peppers, beets, cucumbers. Leafy Greens—spinach, savoy cabbage, Amazing Grass Green Superfoods powder.

Local Ingredients: Spinach from Snug Haven, beets from Harmony Valley Farm.

After-Dinner Beverage: Traditional Medicinals’ Organic Eater’s Digest tea.

Comment Provoking Questions: Have you ever tried blending juice with avocado? What is your favorite sandwich? What veggies do you like to incorporate into slaws?

Happy WIAW!

Until next time, Ali.