Saturday, February 25, 2012

2nd Street Farmer's Market

Ah, the market!
Opened on Thursdays and Fridays from 11:00AM-3PM and Saturdays from 8AM-3PM, the 2nd Street Public Market is a wonderful place to see and taste items from local farmers, cooks, bakers, and artisans showcasing their wares to sample and sell.
I try to come here a few times a month.

See the lady in center? Well, she needs retouching.
In fact the whole entire mural does.
Due to the fluctuating weather, most of the paint is starting to peel and fade away. I'll have to ask if we could do something about it before everyone's hard earned work disappears forever.....

The Dayton Metro Library's Free Book Program- borrow any of these books, read them, and share with anyone who enjoys a good book.

I spoke briefly to the recently opened soapmaker of Tipp City's Living Simply Soap who has vegan ingredients like oatmeal, coconut, and olive oils in her soaps, shampoos, lotions, lip balms, and other products. She has been struggling with creating a shea butter and candellia wax blend that doesn't turn too hard and I'm wishing her the best of luck!
Her official grand opening is next week, so I'm planning to come back and see more products which may include some raw, unrefined shea butter. Yes!
She had whipped on hand, but there are certain ingredients I have been avoiding...
Here's her site:
Thankfully enough, she lists all the ingredients and I can have a better look at what to buy next week! :)

Lots of cutesy handmade jewelry, handbags, and totes made from recycled materials as well as products for home at one seller's shop.

The Chef Case ran low on the good stuff today!
Of course that's what I get for coming thirty minutes before close. Hahaha. (rule #1 of the Farmer's Market come at a decent hour, lol)
Usually filled with vegan, gluten-free salads and sandwiches, I did manage to take the last of the Southwest Black Eyed Pea salad, a blend of locally produced marinated mushrooms, potatoes, garlic, green, pablano, and red peppers, black eyed peas, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.
Their site is here:

Amish popcorn kernels and bags of dried corncobs!

Locally produced maple syrup......
Reminds me that I haven't had traditional winter pancakes in a great long while now.
*will explore vegan pancake recipes this week! yay!*

Fruity baskets!!!!!
Potato varieties and squash! Mmmmhmmm!
Crafty galore haven. Ugh. Wish I could afford everything! :(
Yes, there are indeed some toddler undies! So hilarious and adorable. If only I were that tiny again...
And look at those tote bags?
Overall, such a grand ole time at the market as usual!
The smells, the sights, and familiar faces...
Will definitely come early next time, especially for the yummy vegan treats.

As for where I had my lunch- Starbucks. Where else? Yes, my avocado was ripened perfectly! Heehee. :D

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thai Kitchen

Thai food is absolutely yummy cuisine!
If I could afford to it eat every single day, I would.
Past Saturday's restaurant visit has truly motivated my brain into believing that maybe I could actually attempt making such great dishes and perhaps succeed.
For one thing, avocado rolls look to be the simplest and least expensive...
The Thai Kitchen in Centerville offers a vast variety of delicious fare with a very large vegetarian/vegan menu that one can fully appreciate.
For my appetizer, I ordered the aforementioned avocado rolls- creamy ripened avocados in the center of cold, but perfectly cooked jasmine rice and nori seaweed wrappers with a side of wasabi and slices of fresh ginger.

Main course- Tofu Pad Thai, a deliciously compelling masterpiece of rice noodles, bean sprouts, carrot shreds, broccoli florets, and tantalizing doses of fried cubes of tofu served with a side of crushed peanuts, cabbage slaw, basil leaves, and lime.
Just amazing in taste and presentation- sweet crunch from the peanuts, a savory bite from the crisp texture of the tofu, and a lightened glaze on the noodles.
A highly recommendable item off the extensive menu and not something to regret or be disappointed by at all!

Why skimp out on dessert?
It's the best part of the meal after all and the overall end to a yummy Thai trilogy.
The grand finale, a treat worthy of raving about from the rooftops- the large, delectable scoop of coconut milk ice cream tasted like heaven. Its sweet, rich flavor and bits of wonderfully surprising coconut pieces melted onto a delightfully happy tongue and I greedily wished for more as I devoured spoonful upon spoonful. 
Now I actually have So Delicious's Vanilla Coconut Milk at home and wonder if there's a way to make it without an ice cream maker. It's something I'm willing to try.
Stay tuned for a future experiment....
Overall, the three course meal was excellent

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vegan Comfort Favorites

One of my childhood delights was always macaroni and cheese sans cut up hotdogs.
Something wonderfully fulfilling from a lovely bowl of creamy macaroni enveloped in the good cheese (not that questionable powdery madness) especially on cold wintry nights- which are severely lacking around here. 
In this vegan version, there are chunks of broccoli florets and soy ground adding another flavorful dimension of a mixture of Daiya cheddar shreds (this is some good stuff ya'll *Paula Deen voice*!), mustard, soy milk, garlic, Bac N' Bits, and a blend of seasonings. Delicious, albeit dangerous, it's a hot meal meant to be devoured and savored slowly for it's a sensuous dance on the tongue, as smooth and yummy as the darkest Lindt chocolate bar.
Yup, I could easily become addicted to this treat...

I enjoy the heck out of some garbanzo beans!
From salads to falafel patties, they are a versatile bean that I could just eat alone.
Filled with fiber and protein, I paired these organic garbanzo beans with brown rice, garlic, cumin, salt, and black pepper and a healthy dose of my friends- carrots and broccoli.
Lovely, light lunch or dinner fare that will fill the body up with an energizing kind of happiness.

Last week, I found a recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta and thought it sounded like an interesting conceptual meal.
I don't usually pair avocados in pasta dishes, especially as a sauce and primarily use the ingredient as a sandwich insert or as the sidekick of a dish, but I wanted to try it out at least once.
Sounded and looked divinely amazing.
Here, I used angel hair instead of spaghetti (haha! it's quicker!) and tossed in spinach after the pasta was fully cooked. The creamy sauce consisted of one ripe avocado, olive oil, a little coconut milk, diced tomatoes, a dash of lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Verdict: Worthy of making again!
It's compelling how delicious this is!
I wonder why I never embarked these flavor combinations.
A cozy, tasty dish, I savored every bite of angel hair and wished for more.
Everyday I learn new, refreshing delights about veganism and can't wait to explore more! :)
As for my girlish figure, I work out everyday- jump rope, yoga, belly dancing (get Shimmy!!!), Wii Fit, etc. Didn't go on this venture to lose weight and I'm happy to say that after almost two months, I've managed to retain the shape I used to hate and be ashamed of

Friday, February 17, 2012

First Vegan Pizza of 2012

Super excited about that previously mentioned vegan pizza dough from Dorothy Lane Market, I couldn't wait to make a pizza, one of which I hadn't had since ordering that Domino's fiasco from two months ago- such a mess! Glad I no longer order that kind of take out.
When I took out the pizza dough from the fridge, it unexpectedly rose and filled up the small container, but I flattened it out and laid it onto an olive oil greased cookie sheet.
Now the fun part.
Adding the toppings!!!
After spreading olive oil love to the dough, I placed spoonfuls of Red Gold's Basil, Oregano, and Garlic Diced Tomatoes, laid a few spinach leaves, sliced chunks of portabella mushrooms, a smidgen of soy ground, red onions, salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, and a marvelous topping of Daiya cheddar.
Into the oven it went for about 18 minutes on 425 degrees.

Meaty overload of the colossal vegetable pizza.
Tasted very yummy, but next time will roll the dough more and more. It rose to epic proportions, a bit thicker than I wanted it, but overall the flavors blended supremely well.
Plus I would love to attempt making dough from scratch and use pizza sauce for next experiment.
Oh mighty pizza, I missed you!
*bows gracefully*

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Single Awareness & Valentine's Day

I was uber excited for Single Awareness Day also known as Valentine's, knowing that I would be spending it watching a lot of romance flicks including my faves- "Chocolat," "Moulin Rouge," "Bridget Jones' Diary," and others in pajamas!
But a trip to Dorothy Lane Market- a ritzy upscale gourmet grocery store that at times have amazing deals and price mark downs was what I needed to fully prepare for the evening's dinner menu. (psyched about finding $2 hand tossed vegan dough! pizza for tomorrow's post maybe?)

I cooked the macaroni first until al deinte, worked in olive oil, a handful of Daiya cheddar shreds, a dash of mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and soy milk. After scooping into a mini ceramic baking pan, I added a mixture of flour, seasonings, olive oil, and extra cheese on top.
Gardein's Chick'n Scallopini filets are coated in Kikkoman's Panko Bread Crumbs, an Italian seasonings blend, salt, pepper, and olive oil before being placed on a greased cookie sheet next to macaroni and cheese.
Already precooked and grilled, the asparagus only took a few minutes in the microwave.
Dinner was amazing! Absolutely enjoyed the crunch of the chick'n. So crisp and flavorful.

Dessert, however, almost a complete disaster! Haha!
I honestly believe those ceramic baking pans are no good! No wonder they were fifty cents each.
Or perhaps I'm being way too hard on them.
I made an experimental mini cake comprised of flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, applesauce, dark chocolate peanut butter, vanilla coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, blueberries, and pieces of Lindt's 90% Supreme Dark Chocolate bar.
The best part of the catastrophe was the darn chocolate sauce- 6 Lindt squares, 20 blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk.

Strange thing- half of the cake was a great, yummy addiction.
I couldn't put it down, scaring the cat with my excessive moaning joy as I savored the indulgence. That burst of hot blueberries, melted dark chocolate pieces, along with that amazing warm sauce tasted absolutely incredible, like a major chocolaty orgasmic taste bud explosion.
I was dying from an aphrodisiac's pleasure as I consumed, happily eating and eating and eating...
Until then.....
The other part was a soggy, very custardly mess that even the largest spoonful of chocolate sauce couldn't save.
Oh well...
Sadly, I threw out the cake, a bit confused as to why it fell flat at the last few bites, but sauce, however, is worth saving.
Perhaps it would go well on breakfast/brunch waffles, fresh strawberries, and other treats!
Quite frankly, I could just eat it warmed up and alone.
It's that good!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Yummy Brown Rice Couscous

The other night, I sampled something that was new to me, Lundberg's Mediterranean Curry Flavored Brown Rice Couscous.
Originally I thought it be regular couscous, a Moroccan grain pasta that usually takes about five minutes to prepare.
However, that wasn't the case.
Derived from brown rice, it's broken into smaller pieces, mimicking the texture of traditional couscous.
Takes about thirteen minutes to make.
After bringing water to a boil, the grains and a package of seasonings go in, plus I tossed in my friends broccoli and carrots. Once fully cooked, I sprinkled olive oil and sliced an avocado on the side, which wasn't quite ripened, but I ate it anyways- soooo enjoyable. Love me some avocado, I just don't care! ;)
Very flavorful and well seasoned, this dish makes four servings- plenty left over for pita wraps with falafel and a cold salad.
Definitely a keeper to experiment with more! It's just that delicious!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Favorite Dessert....

Is there anything better than this?
I think not.
An enticing spin on a classic childhood snack, slice an apple (these are an organic classic red), sprinkle that sweet ground cinnamon, and eagerly scoop out the Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter. In combination with fresh, crisp slices, it makes for a perfect union with the decadent creamy, smooth velvety, chocolaty richness of Peanut Butter and Company's sinful, yet very healthy, natural treasure treat. 
And if you don't feel like having apples, use bananas, fresh baked bread, or just a spoon (but you can easily get carried away!). So many ways to enjoy! <3
Also the company's Cinnamon Raisin Swirl is yum yummy yum yum!
Ladies and gentlemen, try it!
It's just that damn good.

Potless Rice Pie

This yummy, single serving brown rice dish may be used as a stuffing for a future vegan pot pie recipe. Cooked in low sodium vegetable broth and featuring baby carrots, broccoli, soy ground, olive oil, and spices, it's hearty, fulfilling, and flavorful.

Potless Rice Pie

1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup baby cut carrots
1/2 cup 10 minute brown rice
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup of Lightlite soy ground
3 tablespoons of tomato sauce (used Prego's Chunky Vegetable)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon cilantro

Bring broth and carrots to a boil on medium heat.
Add rice and broccoli, stir until rice is well cooked.
Lower heat and gradually add olive oil, soy ground and tomato sauce.
After two to three minutes of stirring, turn off heat and add seasonings.
Bon appetit!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Blueberry Breakfasts

Van's Blueberry Waffles Topped With Peanut Butter and Fresh Blueberries
Cinnamon Oatmeal With Brown Sugar, Almonds, and Blueberries
I love blueberries! Just love them!
Tangy, sweet, and plump little blue rays of taste bud sunshine that make any dish a dessert, especially at breakfast time. Adding them in anything from smoothies, a bowl of cereal, or eating them by the handful, blueberries can really jump start my mornings and late afternoons.
Isn't it a plus that these fat free superheroes are filled with good antioxidants that'll naturally keep a person happy, energized, and healthy in more ways than one? Yay!
Quickie meals like Van's Blueberry Waffles popped in a toaster spread with peanut butter and blueberries or a bowl of oatmeal prepared with vanilla soymilk, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and blueberries can have me stuffed before I'm thinking about lunch time fare!
With just half a batch of fresh blueberries left in the fridge, I wanted to make this blueberry cake recipe, thinking it a lovely treat for either breakfast, brunch, or a snack to pack along to have with my soy hot chocolate at Starbucks.
I would like to credit this site for the inspiration:

Vegan Blueberry Banana Breakfast Cake

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 over ripe bananas
1/3 cup vanilla soymilk (optional)
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Flour and grease either a 9 inch cake pan or 8x8 baking pan.
Combine all dry ingredients together.
Mix wet ingredients separately save for the bananas and blueberries.
Combine the wet and dry mixture and then add a banana one by one.
I added the milk only because my coconut oil had unexpectedly turned solid and the batter was not as cohesive as I wanted hence the optional.
Fold in blueberries.
Bake for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, perhaps even longer, making sure to always conduct the toothpick (I used a fork, lol) test. Should come out clean when ready.

Overall delicately moist, flavorful, and very yummy. Definitely will add walnuts for a crunchy effect next time! :)