Monday, July 30, 2007

Bahama Breeze for Veg*ns

My boyfriend and I dined out at Bahama Breeze yesterday. We've eaten there before, so I knew there was something I could order from the menu. And, that dish was the Sun-Drenched Portobello & Vegetable Sandwich. Per the restaurant's Web site, the sandwich features char-grilled seasonal vegetables, tomato, asparagus, pepper-jack cheese and fresh basil, hot-pressed on Cuban bread. I enjoy this sandwich. I think it's pretty darn good! I never finish it though, cuz I feel it's pretty big, especially when we start off with an appetizer like the Roasted Cuban Bread (fire-toasted with vine-ripened tomatoes, parmesan cheese, fresh cilantro and basil) which can easily feed four people as an appetizer if you don't want to spoil your dinner. So it's always a to-go box for the second half of my sandwich. :)

Other veggie options on the menu include the "new" Vine-Ripened Tomato and Basil Flatbread, soups [though I don't know if they contain animal stock...the recipe they have posted for their Cuban Black Bean soup calls for bacon :( If it's soup you're after, stay home and make the recipe yourself, minus the bacon! hehehehe] and salads.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bunless Veggie Chili Dog

Not one of my best meals, but I get a craving for this one every now and then. Cook up your favorite veggie dog/s and top with your fav veggie chili, onion and mustard. Mmmmmmmmmm.

I did away with a bun a long time ago. As a single woman, there's no way I can go through an entire package of hot dogs buns before they go bad. And, I hate wasting food. So, I just make it without the bread. Less carbs that way. :)

I'm spending some time with my BF today, which means we'll probably go out to eat for dinner. I plan to take my camera along so tune in tomorrow for an update on my dining-out experience!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I've been sick.... REALLY sick

Apologies for the lack of posts... I've been sick for over a week now. I had flu-like symptoms last week, then they seemed to get better, and wham, I got hit with 'em again this Thursday and it's been harder to shake this time. But I've been to the doc this time and he gave me some antibiotics so I hope they do the trick this time. My diet has consisted of bland things like toast and cheese pizza. Not very exciting. As soon as I'm feeling better, I'll post new stuff...promise.

Friday, July 6, 2007

I got sick this week. :( Really sick. Flu sick. And, that didn't really make me want to cook meals. All I had a taste for was toast with jelly. But, I'm feeling better now. The only thing worse than getting sick in the hot, humid summer is getting sick after you've purchased a ton of veggies from the market and they sit in the fridge, slowly going bad, until you feel well enough again to devour them.

So, even though I still feel a little under the weather, I decided to cook veggies today, because I just hated the thought of all the veggies in my fridge going bad. Along with the veggies, I decided to cook the Yves brand Meatless Ground Lettuce Wraps Stuffers I bought during my last grocery trip. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the Yves concoction. It had a bit of an Asian seasoning to it, but other than that, it was nothing special. I think you'd be better off buying your favorite 'ground beef' substitute and using your own spices to make a filling for lettuce, burritos, whatever. Maybe in a different recipe this meat substitute might be better, but I didn't care for it in a lettuce wrap.

My veggies were yummy though. I had some leftover seasoning from a 'meat rub' I made for my Daddy-O for his birthday recently. I found the blend here. The spices made a good seasoning for the veggies!

ETA: For whatever reason, Blogger isn't allowing me to add a title to my post. *grumpy* If they get this working, I'll fix it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July lunch

My BF and I decided to have an impromptu burger lunch today. An omni, he grilled a meat burger for himself, while I enjoyed the Black Bean Chipotle vegan burger by Gardenburger. I topped my burger with an onion/mushroom/garlic mixture that we sauteed in a pan on the grill, and added cold tomato, more onion, red leaf lettuce and mustard on a sesame seed bun. We chose to have cucumber slices as a side (I sprinkled mine with a little bit of salt, yum!). Simple and quick!

On a side note, I was at my BF's house, which is near a Whole Foods. I get excited when I visit him because I do not have a Whole Foods near me... so every chance I get when I visit, I stock up on veggie items my local grocer doesn't carry, like nutritional yeast. Today I bought a few new-to-me items to try... Vegan Gourmet's Mozzarella and Lightlife's wild rice organic tempeh. I'll most likely blog about them once I give them a try!! :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Jamaican Veggies with Spicy Chik'n

Tried to keep it simple last night. My local market had fresh veggies cheap this week, so I bought a lot. I decided to chop up peppers, eggplant, onion, yellow squash, zucchini and sunflower seeds and sautee them. I used a Jamaican seasoning blend I found here. Funny story behind that. I made some homemade seasoning blends for my Daddy-O for his birthday. I had tiny amounts left over from each batch, so I put them in sandwich baggies, figuring I could use them down the road. Well, the next night, when I had finished cutting up a yellow pepper for a salad I was taking to work the next day, I realized that in my haste, I tossed the half cut pepper into the baggy with the Jamaican spice blend, instead of the empty baggy just a few inches away. D'oh! Therefore, last night's dinner became Jamaican so I could use that half pepper with the spice all over it. :) I served the veggies over a Boca Spicy Chik'n patty (have I mentioned how much I love the spicy patties?) for a quick, delicious veggie meal!

Monday, July 2, 2007

When families attack - aka yummy vegan cheesecake

Ok, so "attack" is a strong word. But ... it still felt that way to me when I accidentally revealed that dessert was animal-free before my family had a chance to even taste it.

"Aw, I was looking forward to REAL cheesecake," my sister said, obviously disappointed.

"What's in it? There isn't tofu in it, is there? Tell me there's no tofu," said my mom, who has this fear of tofu even though she's never tried it in its original form.

Such is what happens when a vegetarian is put in charge of dessert for a birthday celebration. My mom and stepdad celebrate birthdays within days of each other at the beginning of July. So, my sis and I invited them over for dinner in their honor. My sister and her hubby cooked a lovely dinner (see blog post below) and I was charged with dessert and drinks.

I wasn't purposely trying to 'trick' anyone into eating something that they wouldn't like. But after a successful batch of 'normal-tasting' vegan chocolate chip cookies a few weeks ago, I wanted to try my hand at a more fancy, yet hopefully just as sinful, dessert. I chose this recipe from

In my family, I'm kind of famous for my cheesecakes. As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, thus far, I've never tried to substitute the eggs, whipping cream, cream cheese, etc. that is usually found in the pies. But, lately I've been trying to eat less dairy, and therefore I was gung ho about trying what looked to be a yummy delight. And, I wanted to know if it was possible, like the cookies, to make a sinful dessert where I wouldn't miss the dairy.

My faux pas was letting the cat out of the bag about the vegan dessert before dinner was even served. Not sure how it happened, but as soon as it did, the complaining started. I asked everyone to please just wait until they tasted it... even though at that point I hadn't even sampled it, so I was hopeful I wouldn't be eating those words as the night wore on.

"Do you eat all this veggie stuff she makes?" my stepdad asked my omni-boyfriend, in a tone that would make a 'yes' answer from my BF seem unmanly.

It's one thing to 'attack' me about my food choices. It's another to give someone like my BF--who has been one of my biggest supporters where my food choices are concerned-- a hard time about veggie food. I know the issue of whether or not omni/veggies can truly succeed as couples will forever be debated, but I consider myself very lucky to be with my BF. I know he will never become a vegetarian, but we've been together for nearly two years now, and he has never complained about any veggie dish I've made. In fact, he usually showers me with compliments and says things like, "This is a keeper." So I felt bad that he was put on trial along with me, just because he gets where I'm coming from with the vegetarian lifestyle, and supports me by being adventurous enough to try new dishes and various types of food.

"Hey, it's cholesterol-free, right?" said my omni-boyfriend, pointing out one of the many benefits of leaving dairy off the dessert menu. :)

My sister's hubby is the only person who didn't throw much of a fuss; he seemed geniunely interested in learning more about the ingredients. But, he's also a fairly health-conscious person, so I assume he was hoping to discover a new healthful ingredient along the way.

In the end, it was all much ado about nothing. When dessert was served, there was not one complaint or refusal to devour the vegan treat.

"This is good Jenn," my Mom raved. "But don't tell me what's in it until I'm done eating it, because it's very good, so don't tell me what's in it until I'm done."

LOL Love you, Mom. :)

This dessert was a hit with the omni crowd. Highly recommended. Just don't tell your guests it's vegan until after they've woofed it down. ;)

"Chicken" Marvalasala and Papardelle with Rosemary Gravy

I didn't actually cook this meal. This yummy dish is compliments of my sis and her hubby. We had my parents over for dinner last night, in celebration of their birthdays this month. We cooked dinner for them. My sis and hubby took the main course, and I was charged with drinks and dessert. (See above blog for dessert.)

They modified this recipe from Rachel Ray's cooking show. My sister pointed out that they used veggie stock instead of chicken stock. I believe they still used the non-veggie Worcestershire sauce, tho, but I didn't make a stink about it since they went through the trouble to replace the stock and stuff. My family is still learning what is vegetarian and what isn't. Underneath all those yummy mushrooms in the photo is an organic Boca spicy chik'n patty.

This recipe was deeeeeeeelish! I definitely will try making it again, subbing the Worcestershire sauce, of course. ;)