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Halloween!

1 Nov

Hooray! Yesterday was Halloween! And today I am sad because I have to wait a whole year for it to happen again.

We started our celebrations early by heading to Rochester last weekend to visit friends and have fun. It was great! We got to hang out with friends, sleep in (!!!!!!), go to a museum, eat sorbet/frozen yogurt with ENDLESS TOPPINGS, and drink lots of cider with whiskey.

Before we left on our journey, I made a tasty dinner:

 

This is yet another meal from Appetite for Reduction, Unfried Fried Rice and Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Mustard Tofu.  I’ve made the tofu before, and it is one of my favorite things.  The rice was new.  It came out perfect!  I cooked the rice earlier in the day so it had some time to cool down before I unfried it, and it was wonderful.  To bulk it up a little, I added some steamed carrots and butternut squash cubes.  The butternut squash was a random thing and I wasn’t sure how it would taste.  It worked, though!  It gave a little bit of sweet, and the added sriracha added heat.  So good.

We were back in New Hampshire for real Halloween, and I celebrated during the day by doing a Zombies, Run! mission on my lunch break.  I had sore legs from weight training the day before, but I managed to evade the zombies anyway.

Paul and I both had crummy days at work, so I wasn’t sure we wanted to do anything for Halloween night.  But we managed to put our grumps away for a while, and headed out to Portsmouth.  It was our first time there, but I had heard that they know how to do Halloween right.  And they do!  There was a Halloween parade going on, but we missed most of it.  No worries, though, we had other plans.

We headed for a quick bite to eat at The Friendly Toast, a diner-style restaurant that my friend Colleen had raved about.  They have a decent selection of vegan-friendly foods, good beers available, and the most wonderful, kitschy decor.  It wasn’t very crowded, thanks to people being too busy cavorting in the streets, so our food came quickly.  We both had the Vegan Valhalla – a burrito filled with brown rice, portobello mushrooms, and tofu.  I had mine with home fries, which I was so glad to hear were not cooked using butter!  Yay!  Paul had sweet potato fries, and they were fantastic.

It was also nice that they had soy milk for the coffee.  Yeah, it’s such a small thing.  But Concord seems to not know that soy milk or any non-dairy milk drink is a thing.

Anyway, our main plan for the night was to go see Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the Portsmouth Music Hall Loft.  One of my favorite movies, and one Paul had never seen before.  The crowd was small and full of friendly people, and they had special cocktails available for the night (you can even bring them right into the theater – holy crap I love this place!)

We both had a drink called the Massacre:

 

It was made of vodka, tequila, and ginger ale.  Whaaaat?  Tequila and ginger ale?  I know ginger ale (or beer) goes well with a lot of liquors, but I’d never tried it with tequila.  And well, it worked.  Now, to make them at home.

We had a lot of fun at the movie, people were really into it and I left feeling happier than I have in a while.  Thanks, Portsmouth!

What I Ate Wednesday – Birthday Edition!

8 Aug

Hey I had a birthday not long ago! I’m 31! My birthday was actually at the end of July, so this is a bit late. But anyway. My birthday day was very relaxing. I went on a 3.1 mile run for my 31st, which is something I want to make a habit of for birthdays to come!

Paul came home with a bag full of goodies from Cafe Indigo, like really a bag full. We shared a piece of vegan fudge before going out to eat sushi. After sushi we headed to a bar that I had heard has many beers on tap, and then we went galactic bowling! I haven’t been bowling in years. I’m still terrible at it, it seems!

But this What I Ate Wednesday is about what I ate the day AFTER my birthday! Paul and I headed down to Boston, with plans to stay at a swanky hotel and go see a play in a park in Chelsea.

We woke up late-ish and had breakfast. Judge me if you want, but I eat egg white omelets sometimes. Paul makes really good omelets, what can I say.

This one had spinach, sauteed mushrooms, and vegan cheese in it. We had toasted pitas with homemade blueberry lime jam (more on that tomorrow!) and fruit salad.

After packing up our things for the night, we made a pit stop at the local running store. I picked up a new pair of Mizuno Inspires, since the Brooks Adrenaline were just not working out for me (not enough room in the toe box for my freakishly long second toes). Across the street is this cafe called Planet Marshmallow that sells homemade marshmallows. We picked up a bag. Again, feel free to judge! I ate eggs and gelatin on the day after my birthday. It happens sometimes. I ate some with a banana on the way to Boston

We checked into this totally swanky hotel that had bath robes and slippers waiting for us (I think rich people have freakishly small feet?) and it started looking like it was going to rain. We were pretty sure the play in the park was off, so we decided to walk around. We had a small snack and some coffee before heading out

The plan was to walk in the direction of Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge. I am obsessed with this place, they have the most amazing food and I have to eat there every time we’re in Boston. We made it about a mile before it started raining. I saw this shortly before getting on the T.

Don’t forget!

So it started POURING! Stupid us, we brought umbrellas with us, but didn’t take them on our walk. Of course, a little corner store had some for us to purchase. We made it to Veggie Galaxy mostly dry.

And then we ate so much.

We skipped the vegan frappe this time, sadly. It is so delicious but so filling.
I ordered the Vegetable Pot Pie with smoked tofu, covered in pesto, with mashed sweet potatoes and arugula. We ordered a kids portion of the vegan mac and cheese because it is too good to not order. It had to be done. And Paul had the Beer Battered House Smoked Tofu, which came with red cabbage slaw and the most delicious black pepper french fries. I mean, how awesome does this food look? It tastes even better! They even make their own ketchup. Seriously. Love you, Veggie Galaxy.

After eating, it was still raining. We made it over the Charles river, but not without getting drenched. So, we decided to pick up some booze, get a cab back to the hotel, and just relax for the night.

Mission accomplished! We shared a bottle of cider, and some black IPA. The IPA went so well with a Cafe Indigo brownie:

We spent the rest of the night curled in our bath robes, watching the olympics. That was a fine birthday for me!

Vegan Quiche, Blueberry Picking, and Parents!

23 Jul

So, last Wednesday, for What I Ate Wednesday, I posted a picture of the vegan quiche lorraine that I made for dinner.  I used to love the quiche that my Nannie (that would be my mom’s mom) used to make.  She made the most delicious and buttery pie crusts, and her quiche was always perfect.  It was filled with eggs, cream, swiss cheese, bacon, and with tomato slices on top.  I always really liked the slightly dehydrated tomato slices.  I could eat pretty much none of that anymore, but this crustless vegan quiche is a nice substitution.  I didn’t put tomato slices on top, but I will try that next time around!

 

Crustless Vegan Quiche Lorraine

adapted from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food

Ingredients

24 oz. light silken tofu (I used the refrigerated, water packed kind from Nasoya)

1 Tbsp. tahini

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. Spike seasoning

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/4 large white onion, diced very small

1 vegan sausage, diced (I used the Sweet Seitan Sausage from this same cookbook, delicious!)

2 minced garlic cloves

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 375F, and spray a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray.  Set the pan aside for later.

2) Place the first eleven ingredients in a blender and blend until combined and smooth.  Using a spatula to scrape down the sides, empty the mixture into a medium sized bowl and set aside while you assemble the remaining ingredients.

3) In a medium sized frying pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and the sausage and cook them for 3 or four minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, don’t let it burn.

4) Add the onion-sausage mixture to the blended tofu mixture and stir well to combine.

5) Transfer that mixture to your prepared springform pan, and cook in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  If you toothpick test the middle, it should come out clean.  Let it rest in the pan for about ten minutes, then remove from the springform until ready to serve.

I served it at room temperature and warmed up, and they were both delicious!

This weekend was another really nice weekend!  Paul and I took a journey back into New York on Friday to spend the weekend with my parents.  Vermont was right these standing between us and New York, and when we drove through the Quechee Gorge area, we decided to stop and look around.

 

It’s a very nice area, with a wide trail going down to the bottom of the gorge, and what looked like well-blazed trails off of it.  I think I’d like to go back there for more exploring.

Once we got to my parents, we had even more of a fun time!  We got in late on Friday due to various pit stops, so Saturday was our day of fun.  (As an aside, Paul and I entered Moe’s Southwest Grill as a very hungry couple right before closing on Friday night.  They took my dairy allergy very seriously and I really appreciated all the extra steps they took to make sure I wasn’t going to get any cross-contaminated food.  Thank you guys again!)

On Saturday, Paul, my mom and I went to Schuylerville.  We drove up to the cemetery where my Nannie and grandpa are, since I haven’t visited in a while, and walked around the town a bit.  There are a few really neat stores in this super small town, especially thrift store and a used book store.  I got a nice polyester flower print shirt with ruffles on it, and copies of Viktor Frankl’s The Unconscious God and Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard.  I love me some Frankl.  And some Russian authors.

On top of all of the awesome books, this store has great decor.  I especially liked this skeleton in the horror section:

 

He’s reading The History of Orthopedics, of course.

We also went blueberry picking!  We each ended up with six or so pounds of blueberries.  My mom is a picking machine:

 

She filled up her bucket at least ten minutes before Paul and I filled the one that we were working on together!  Geesh!

Here’s our stash.  Paul’s “letting” me make a small batch of blueberry jam with them, but he mostly wants to cram them into his face unaltered.

 

Four quarts!

The last thing we did on Saturday was run.  We were scheduled for a nine mile run based on our half marathon training.  My farthest and longest run ever!  It was not pretty, let me tell you.  But I did it!  My parents have a mile loop around their neighborhood, so we ran that nine times.  It was funny, and we got encouragement from other people in the neighborhood as we kept going around and around.  But man, old and compact asphalt is hard.  And afterwards, I felt so weird.  It took an hour and a half or so for my stomach to be able to handle more than little sips of water or chocolate soy milk (this will definitely never be my after-run food of choice).  Paul is much more used to the long runs than I am.  Well, he’s done them before because he ran a marathon a few years ago.  So he hit his groove during this run.  Afterwards, while I’m rocking back and forth wondering whether or not I’m going to be spending the next little while with my head in the toilet, he’s pouring himself a big glass of wine!  Ugh!

Anyway, I recovered and became so ravenously hungry.  Good thing we had picked up food from Antipasto’s, which has some of the tastiest vegan and vegetarian Italian food in the capital district.  Granted, there’s not a lot of choices, but this is still a solid one.  I would have taken a picture of my tofu parmesan (the Paul McCartney, as Antipasto’s calls is), but I was busy rocking back and forth post-run.  Whoops!

Hanging out with my parents was super fun.  Even sitting on the couch and watching the Comicon movie and Saturday Night Live was pretty awesome.  Thanks, parents!  (I told them I was blogging again and my dad got annoyed at the name.  Again.)

Pre-GWAR Dinner at Taj Restaurant: Binghamton, NY

30 Dec

Me and Ellen went to see GWAR awhile ago and we wanted to get food before we went, so we found this Indian place on the internet. Indian is pretty much always a safe bet for vegetarian if not vegan food. We pulled up and it was this tiny little place that sold some Indian food and some Mediterranean food and there was this guy in the dining area watching Indian talent shows on the TV and clapping and laughing loudly. I liked that guy a lot.

We ordered two veggie curries which were pretty much our only option, but then the waiter was like, “Want us to make two different curries and then you can share?” Thanks, guy. That’s awesome.

So, let me put this out there. The food was really inexpensive and it was good. It wasn’t the greatest ever but I’m used to paying twice as much as I did for a curry. The food was a little buttery and so it made Ellen sick because she doesn’t really eat stuff with butter. Umm maybe she can write about what she thought because I don’t want to speak for her.

But I really liked the place. The one curry kind of tasted like Campbell’s vegetable soup but the spinach curry they made was really good and you could get samosas for super inexpensive. It was basically cheap but pretty tasty Indian food.

-Bret

Ellen’s Birthday Pizza at Antipasto’s

12 Aug

So I heard some good things about this Antipasto’s place from Ellen and now I see why. It’s pretty rare to find an honest to goodness vegetarian restaurant outside of NYC. Ithaca has two so seeing what Albany had to offer was sweet, and man – Italian. They have vegan raviolis and a totally sweet wine list and pizza. I wanted pizza. So we got pizza.

After a whole lot of agonizing over toppings we went with veggie sausage, whole garlic cloves, oil-cured olives, and… I can’t remember. Mushrooms?

Not the best picture but it was dark. My only complaint, and this is not even a big deal, is that their soy cheese contains casein. Oh well. They have plenty of other things I can eat on their pizza, and man was it good pizza.

-Bret

It was super nice of Bret to take me out for a birthday dinner after he had already made me a birthday pie. But I mean, we had to do something while the pie cooled down.

Brian was our waiter again and that guy is just so happy. He was patient while we mulled over topping choices (the fourth one was hot peppers!). It was a bit of a bummer that their soy cheese isn’t vegan, but I really like pizza without any sort of cheese substance so it was a-okay. Antipasto’s makes me want to learn how to make a really good pizza dough because theirs is so good.

Antipasto’s and Bret make for total awesomeness. Yay!

– Ellen

Dexcon Journey Foods!

3 Aug

Me and Ellen went to Dexcon together and hung out with all sorts of fun geeks and played games. Also, we ate food. We ate food while we were driving and we ate food while we were there, and Ellen was smart and brought some food to eat with her but I am not smart and I am also really good at making excuses for why I should eat out or order delivery.

Just to start things off, we stopped at Waffle House in Scranton. Ellen ate a waffle. I think it had pecans in it!

So I got to taste some of it and I’m pretty sure that the Waffle House makes their waffles out of ground-up ice cream cones. It was really good and really sweet, especially compared to the waffles I make myself which are basically flour and soymilk.

Ellen’s Notes: Yeah! This was a good waffle, but really different from the ones I’m used to. It was thin and sweet and even the pecans tasted like they had sugar on them. The sweetness confused me because it seems like you’re meant to order a waffle and eggs and a side of the various kinds of meats that they offer all together, but it just tasted like dessert. But I like sugar a whole bunch and they had good coffee and cute mugs! See above!

I wasn’t in the mood for waffles, though, so my options were meat… meat… meat… and HOLY FUCK LOOK AT THOSE HASBHROWNS!!!

So much like a pizza, Waffle House hashbrowns come with a variety of toppings. I basically picked every veggie on the menu and ended up with onions and tomatoes and jalapeñoes and I need to make all my hashbrowns this way forever. Is hashbrowns one word or two? Anyway, I ordered a double order of hashbrowns because I was hungry and I figured a single would be a side order. I doubted Waffle House, and it sealed my fate. There was so much hashbrown. So much.

Oh and the food was wicked cheap! And waitresses were nice and there one was an old lady with a nose piercing.

So when we got to Dexcon, I went out to eat with some of my favorite friends and they took me and Ellen to Bien Hoa which was this nice little Vietnamese place. I’ve never had Vietnamese before. It was good!

That was the steamed tofu rolls after i’d given them a good working over with sriracha. I thought it was interesting that even though they were steamed rolls, it was all divided into pieces. Maybe were supposed to wrap it up using the big noodly things. I don’t know.

Ellen’s Notes: Oh jeepers, maybe that’s what we were supposed to do. That never crossed my mind. It was a strange dish, but all the pieces make sense if you were to wrap them up instead of just tearing everything apart with chopsticks.

This was the noodly tofu thing we got that I don’t remember the name of. Maybe Ellen will. They both were really good and on top of that I got to hang out with a bunch of people that I like the most. It was nice.

Ellen says: I don’t remember the name of this either, but it was tasty. I like sharing food with Bret and it was pretty super getting to sit around with the people that he likes the most because he has good taste in people.

Then me and Ellen ordered in for ourselves one night. We had baaad luck with takeout orders getting delivered on time but they were always delicious. I’m sure you’ve seen Chinese take-out before, but veggie dumplings? They were the yummiest of yum.

Okay, I think Ellen’s going to write now because I’m done writing!

-Bret

Ellen: Veggie dumplings are super good, and I probably could have made a meal just out of those, but there was an order minimum to get it delivered. It’s made me think that I need to make my own dumplings.

Even if we hadn’t eaten a bunch of really good food, Dexcon would have been a super fun time. The foods just made it even nicer.

Birthday Dinner at Antipasto’s – Clifton Park, NY

31 Jul

There are a handful of decent vegetarian restaurants in the Albany/Saratoga area, and a lot of places where you can get food that’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans without having to eat a plate of lettuce. But there is one restaurant that makes me happier than anything because they have a huge menu of mostly Italian type foods that are vegetarian or vegan or vegetarian and can be made vegan just by asking. I believe they also offer some meaty things if you’re averse to eating things other than meat but I’ve never been there with a person that’s ordered meat.

Oh yeah, this restaurant is called Antipasto’s, and it’s in Clifton Park, NY. It’s a teeny tiny place that’s hidden by a Price Chopper and a Pizza Hut.

I’ve been going there for my birthday for a few years now, and this year my mommy took me there because she likes their food a whole bunch too. It’s not somewhere I go a lot because the food is a little on the pricey side. But for special things it’s just fine, and they have a great wine list too.

We drove through a crazy thunderstorm to get to the restaurant, but it stopped when we got there. Brian was our server and he’s waited on me there before. He’s a really happy guy, so I was glad to see him. He informed us that the soup of the day was a chilled cantaloupe and peach soup with mango and mint. My jaw dropped. I asked him if there was cream in it and he said no but went in the back to make sure it was vegan. It was, so I ordered a cup of it.

It was really sweet and really fruity and I imagined eating it with waffles.  It’s now my goal to make a chilled canteloupe soup and eat lots of it.

Antipasto’s has a menu of appetizers, salads, vegetarian dishes, pasta dishes with a load of different sauces, and a pizza menu.  I don’t eat pizza very often, unless I’m making it myself.  However, I need some pizza dough practice before my own pizza gets unleashed on the public.  This restaurant knows how to make a cheeseless pizza.  I ordered a four cut Ultimate Cheeseless pizza, which consists of their pizza base, a tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, artichoke hearts, broccoli, white beans, and whole cloves of roasted garlic.

It was dark in there, another storm was coming while we ate.  Of course it held off until we got back into the car, though.

But the pizza.  Gorgeous.  One slice was more than enough for me, and I shared some with my mom and took the rest home with me.  They have a huge list of possible toppings for their pizza, and I would like to try something with eggplant and pine nuts sometime.  Mm!

Revisiting my birthday dinner makes me want to go back there now.  Right now!

– Ellen

Black Bean Noodles at Aja Noodles: Fairport, NY

24 Jul

So, pretty regularly I wish I lived in a city or country were there were noodle carts everywhere. I blame all the Chinese and Japanese cinema I watch. Oh, and Blade Runner. So when I drove past this place looking for a restaurant to eat at, I had to go. Had to. Had to. Had to.

The menu was limited but that wasn’t bad. It was what I think they call “Asian fusion” so there were Thai basil noodles and Japanese miso noodles and Chinese black bean noodles (which is what I got) and there were soups and some rice dishes but who goes to a noodle place and doesn’t eat noodles? Sick people. Crazy people!

For eight bucks I got this huge bowl! And they had sriracha at the table so I could spicy it up. It was totally the best.

So the vegetarian and vegan options were kind of limited here. Some dishes just straight-up had fish oil in them and there was no getting it out, and more than a few had egg, but since it was a small menu in the first place and there were still 2-3 noodle dishes to pick from and they all sounded fantastic I wasn’t disappointed.

I’d like to go there when me and Ellen and Molby go to Rochester to see the Melvins which is sooon. I’m order tickets today! Yeah!

-Bret

Fried Eggplant Wrap at Otto Tomotto’s: Victor, NY

23 Jul

For lunch one day me and all the other people I was training with went to Otto Tomotto’s which was this really nice little Italian place. So I wanted to eat vegan so I ordered it without cheese, but I forgot that since the eggplant was fried and breaded there was probably egg in there.

It was really tasty. Fresh green stuff and tomatos and eggplant is always awesome. The dressing was a really simple, tasty balsamic vinaigrette. It hit the spot. Oh and they served it with pasta instead of potato chips! What a great idea!

-Bret

Vegetable Vindaloo at India House: Victor, NY

22 Jul

I’m back from a week of traveling, and boy is my stomach tired. I ate a lot. So much, in fact, that I should maybe lose some weight. I’ve started exercising and paying attention to how much I eat and maybe someday I’ll be skinny again. But anyways, this isn’t a weight loss blog!

When I was in Rochester for a business trip, I found this place called India House near my hotel in Victor. I went there and it was really nice. The dining area was wide open, and get this – the menu had vegetable vindaloo on it. I have only ever seen vindaloo with meat chunks, so I got really excited and ordered it with some guava juice and chapati.

It was mostly cauliflower with some other stuff. Potatoes I think. Anyway, I need to find a recipe for vegetable vindaloo since it had never even occurred to me and I like it so much.

The guava juice was also really, really good. It tasted kind of metallic like it came out of a can, but since I’ve never had guava juice I couldn’t tell you if it’s supposed to taste like that. That wasn’t bad at all, though. It was still tasty.

So yeah, if you know of any good vegetable vindaloo recipes let me know!

-Bret