Insta-Foods Take Four

yes I only do these when I am running out of time for anything else




  1. Blended PB & Banana Oatmeal - a very typical breakfast of mine, especially on chilly mornings.
  2. Endangered Species Chocolate Bars: Turtle (dark w/ blueberries) and Lemur (dark w/ raw cacao nibs) - been craving them for awhiiiile. Noms.
  3. Vegan strawberry cupcake, made & consumed for V-Day.
  4. Vegan strawberry pancakes! Had to use up those strawberries somehow ;)
  5. A salad of mixed greens, olives, tomatoes, snap peas and hummus/apple cider vinegar dressing, topped with black beans.
  6. My rainy day treat to myself: a grilled banana-almond butter-apricot jam sandwich.
  7. Cucumbers, carrots, green beans, & homemade brown rice chips - all for an excuse to eat a ton of hummus, of course!
  8. Seasoned black beans on a bed of spinach and quinoa. With a side glass of carrot juice that I'd already consumed most of...along with a slice of Ezekial bread toast (I am loving Ezekial bread right now) coated in apricot jam.


The Alien Spawn

Seriously. If I handed one of these to you with no explanation, you would totally think I'd discovered an extraterrestrial life form, wouldn't you? Or perhaps an alien's noms.

But no, this is a real vegetable. My mom brought it to me straight from the organic farm she subscribes to back home. It's called romanesco broccoli, and is also known as Roman cauliflower. Which is a very apt name, since that's pretty much what it tastes like. A broccoli-cauliflower fusion. My roommate ended up dubbing it "cauliccoli" 'cuz the name's been a bit hard to remember, and I like it.

Since it was my first time trying "cauliccoli", I didn't go too crazy and simply roasted it at 400 for about 10 minutes. All that adorned these crazy cauliflower kids was a drizzle of olive oil and some of my prized himalayan pink salt.

Honestly, I'm not OCD about my food touching, this was just for photographic purposes.

I had the maybe-alien veggie alongside a vegan mushroom-rice veggie burger (topped with another product new to me, nutritional yeast, which I approve of - and some ketchup and pickles for the burger). I ended up utilizing the ketchup for the cauliccoli as well, which hey...everything's good with ketchup.

Pretty much, anyway.

So have you made any new food/product discoveries lately?


A Weekend With Mommabear

A review ... in noms. ;)

Homemade banana bread :)

My lovely mother was in town for a visit this weekend, which of course meant a weekend full of great company, and great food!

She rolled into town Friday around 3, which gave us plenty of time to grab dinner before my night rehearsal. We decided to go to Soul Veg - a completely vegan cafe downtown. I'd only had the pleasure of going once, and my mom had never been. Now, while she's not a vegan/vegetarian like I am, she loves her veggies and rarely eats meat anyway. So she was totally open for it!

We both chose their "live salad platter" option - I chose the toppings of seaweed, cous cous, and spinach. She's not such a spinach fan and chose bean curd instead. It all was served atop of salad of greens, tomatoes, and onions. (She also had a ginger-citrus punch that was.so.good.likeomg.)

As you can see, we loved them so much we plowed through them before I remembered to take a picture! Oops.

But I did take a picture of the amazing vegan apple pie we snacked on for dessert...

To quote my mom, "This is not missing a thing!" More proof that a vegan diet is not a boring diet!

On Saturday we tried out a new coffee place in town, where I decided to spoil myself by ordering a (definitely not vegan) nutella sandwich on cinnamon-raisin bread along with my traditional morning tea. Hey, you only live once, and there wasn't any Justin's Chocolate-Hazelnut butter around!

One of these days I'll remember: picture first, eat later.

My mom loved her Peru Coffee. Not so jazzed about her sandwich. Perhaps it was the extreme excess of onions...?

Seriously, the onions owned this sandwich. They probably planted a flag somewhere in there.

For lunch...it was Earthfare salad bar all the way (cuz I just had to get tons of healthy, yummy groceries while my momma was in town!). I won't even go into my three (!) bags of groceries, but om nom salad bar + juice bar.

Honestly there was a lot piled on here that I don't remember exactly. The highlight was the cranberry quinoa and kale. Sounds weird, was delicious. And I loved my juice (a carrot-beet-cucumber-ginger combo) as well. Oh oh, and the brussel sprouts. No, I'm not kidding.

For dinner Mom and I elected to cook a recipe from Peas and Thank You, Mama Pea's falafel with tzatki sauce.

Honestly...I wasn't super impressed. The sauce was too garlicky and the falafel not very flavorful, although I did enjoy it leftover dunked into ketchup. The biggest letdown was Food For Life's Brown Rice Tortillas...very chewy and stiff. But I saved the day by cutting the rest up and making them into delicious chips!

And for Sunday breakfast we had some good old oatmeal from the coffee place. I can always count on oatmeal. It is my bestest breakfast friend ;)

...and then she had to go back home. Boo! I love it when my parents are in town, and it's always sad to see them go. But hey, I'm an adult and that's how it is, right? Right. Totally an adult over here.

What are your favorite types of places to eat out or take your parents/friends/significant others for a treat?



Coconut Oil Cookies

Thank you, Michele, for introducing me to coconut oil. Michele is an old roommate of mine and my best friend up here at college. Plus she's a talented and lovely blogger than everyone should check out! Michi and I spent last Saturday together working on a project of hers and exploring pet stores and World Market. At the end of our day, we decided to make one of Chocolate Covered Katie's recipes (of course).

We didn't have all the ingredients for the one we chose, so we ended up modifying just a bit. From chocolate cookies stuffed with pumpkin, came coconut oil cookies stuffed with pumpkin-chocolate-peanut butter. Yeah.

I'm falling in love all over again just looking at these pictures.

Here's Katie's original recipe.

The substitutions made were leaving out the cocoa powder we didn't have and using chocolate peanut butter in place of regular peanut butter. But the most important addition was the use of coconut oil (new obsession alert). Katie doesn't specify in her recipe what oil she used, but I wouldn't recommend any other. Especially without the cocoa powder. Because it gave these cookies such flavor and also a really nice softness. Ugh. Delicious. Seriously. Myself, Michele, and her boyfriend Stephen all enjoyed them. I even shared some with my roommate and her parents, and they loved them too! 

Make these cookies. Either Katie's way or ours, I'm sure it will be amazing.


Insta-Foods Take Three


I've been way too neglectful of this blog lately because I've just started rehearsals for my next show, but maybe a quick instagram post will sort of make up for it ;)

1. Kettle corn, purchased at the Renaissance Faire I attended with a few friends two weekends ago. Honestly, not sure it was vegan, and it definitely wasn't healthy in the amount consumed (Laurie and I ate nearly the whole bag just on the two hour ride home) but - it was a faire! At least I brought my own lunch and avoided fried noms. No foodie regrets.

2. Brunch at a nearby all-vegan cafe. That's tofu scramble, broccoli, "sausage" patties (from the taste/texture, I think quinoa and black bean possibly), biscuits, and "cheesy" grits. Yum. And one plate made me three meals - so much food!

3. Chocolate Covered Katie's vegan cornbread, topped with PB & Co's white chocolate peanut butter and apricot jam. It was delish, but I think I got the texture wrong. Too much applesauce.

4. Morning oatmeal, my usual fare. This time with cinnamon, banana, & berries as a topping.

5. Chocolate Covered Katie's apple pie pancakes with sugar-free maple syrup. Yeah, I make a lot of Katie's recipes. Because they're amazing.

6. Outback Steakhouse's Hearts of Mahi dish. My roommate's lovely parents took us both out to dinner, and well, I figured a bit of fish couldn't hurt me. It was my first animal product in about a month; it was topped with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and served with veggies. Yum.


Berry Banana Bonanza Oatmeal

I have a confession to make: I love breakfast. 

Breakfast is what encourages me most to get out of bed in the morning and get my day going. I would be such a grumpypants without it. Even so, my breakfasts are not extremely varied due to time constraints (i.e. college and my lazy butt not wanting to get up at 7 am to make pancakes and whatnot) and I usually revert to either cereal or oatmeal.

My favorite cereals are Whole-O's or Barbara's Honey Rice Puffins with sliced banana, almond milk, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey. This rarely varies. But my oatmeal...I can do anything with my oatmeal.

Including mixing in applesauce, nut butters, banana, honey, maple syrup, raisins...and berries. Sometimes I just throw them in, but lately I've been using my new food processor (the Ninja) to blend it up a bit and really get the flavors mixed it. 

Monday morning I created the "berry banana bonanza"*
It involves...
  • 2 handfuls frozen mixed berries (blueberry, blackberry, strawberry)
  • One sliced banana
  • Cooked stovetop oats
  • Cinnamon (to taste, I like a lot)
  • Tablespoon of honey

It was very simple. I cooked the oats, threw them in my Ninja with half the banana, the berries, cinnamon, and the honey. Blended it until I liked the creamy texture, put it in a bowl, and threw the rest of the banana on top. Easy peasy and very delicious. Should definitely give your morning a vitamin C kick should you try it ;)

What are some of your favorite breakfast foods/oatmeal mix-ins?

*many thanks to my lovely roommate Nicole for the title


New Nuts

Hazelnuts, that is.

The Product: Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. It's basically an all-natural vegan answer to Nutella - a product that most people with a pulse adore. I've tried Justin's Maple Almond Nut Butter in the past and adored it, so I was pretty excited to try another variety, especially one with chocolate in the title.

Even so, I am a cheapsie college student (and jars run 8-9 dollars, eep!) so I only bought the sample packet. As you can see from the rather attractive picture of me above nomming on it. Do you like my robe? I wear it all the time. Really.

The Verdict: I tried it on toast, but do you see what I ended up doing? Just slurping it straight out of the package. It was delicious. I would say a lot like Nutella except a tad less sweet (a plus in my book, since Nutella always felt like more of a dessert than a spread for sandwiches and such) and the texture was a little less smooth. That's fairly normal with naturally processed nut butters, so nothing I wasn't expecting. It still spread wonderfully on the toast. All in all, a great buy! I'll probably splurge for a jar very soon...