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Posted on Apr 7, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 7 comments

Dog or Fish?

Last night, I met a group of my friends at Dogfish Head Alehouse for dins!

A group of angry, angry friends, apparently. Ahahahaha.

I got the Wood Grilled Veggie Sandwich without cheese (it comes with mozzerella) and a side of fries. It had spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions on it. I ended up eating most of the sandwich filling with a fork after getting through like a third of the bun — that bun was HUGE! Definitely demolished my fries though… oops. πŸ˜›

As evidenced by the first picture in this post, I also got an Aprihop beer. I really like this beer — it’s about as beer-y as I can handle (read: not very.) It’s flavored with apricots and is Dogfish Head’s seasonal Spring beer, which is fun. At the Alehouse in Falls Church, they’re giving away a free pint glass to everyone who orders a beer on Wednesdays in April. So I got a prize to take home, too! But I’m not gonna lie, this was my first beer in like… a really, really long time. And I could tell, haha. My face was hot after drinking less than a quarter of it!

My good-to-go-to-work breakfast this morning:

A cup (I measured!) of Kashi Strawberry Fields cereal, bulked up with fresh strawbs, milled flaxeed and chia seeds, doused in unsweetened almond milk (40 calories a cupppppp!)

Anyway, nothing too exciting to report other than my fun dinner out with friends. I’ve really been eating out a lot though. And it’s really hard trying to stick to a vegan diet when you dine out so much! I’m going to rapidly exhaust Dogfish Head’s vegetarian options (hint: there are FEW) if we keep going on Wednesdays to stock up on free pint glasses, hahaha.

Question: Do you find that after not partaking in something for a while (examples: alcohol, sugar, dairy, etc.) that it affects you much more when you return to it? My single beer (which I didn’t even finish) last night really made me start thinking about this, and about how my body is going to react after Lent is over and I start reintroducing certain foods into my system… urrrrk!

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Posted on Apr 1, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 14 comments

Fondue or Fondon’t?

As many of you know, I’ve gone vegan for the Lenten season this year. No meat, no cheese, no milk, no eggs, and just no consuming animal products in general. Well, it’s become a sort of friendly tradition in my circle to have fondue nights! Fondue, for those of you who may not know, is the act of dipping things into stuff before eating. Sounds classy, I know. πŸ˜‰

Cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, or “entrΓ©e” fondue (which consists of dipping raw meat and vegetables into oil or broth) — whatever variety you go for, it’s just generally a really fun, social experience. And now that it’s actually become kind of a “thing” for my friend group, I definitely didn’t want to miss out on the fun!

Fondue was hosted at Amanda’s place, and a classic Swiss fondue was made – using Gruyere and Emmenthaler cheeses, white wine, and garlic.

I, of course, had to at least try to make a vegan version of my own:

This was the recipe I used:

2 bags vegan cheese (I used Daiya cheddar style shreds)
2 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce (regular worcestershire sauce is traditionally made with anchovies, just FYI)
3/4 cup beer (used Heineken)
1.5 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp flour
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of garlic powder

Put the beer and seasonings into a fondue pot and heat until steaming first, then add cheese in portions. Continuously stir until cheese has melted into a smooth consistancy. Adjust by adding more beer/flour/cheese until desired consistency is achieved! Then just dip your heart away! We used red & green apples, brocolli, celery, baby carrots, and (of course) some nice crusty French bread.

It was a success! Obviously it didn’t taste EXACTLY like cheddar cheese, but as my friend Gaz (who took a lot of the pictures up here) said it actually tasted like a grilled cheese sandwich so I figure that’s pretty close, hehe. It was melty, stretchy, and held onto the bread, apples, and veggies we dipped into it. All of the non-vegan fondue-ers went back for multiple dips, so I feel that was a winner.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Fondue of any kind is not health food. It’s not like you’re being extra healthy by eating vegan fondue instead of regular fondue, and thus should eat it all the time. It’s always a treat, a luxury, a fun, social dining experience. That being said, this is just further proof that there’s always some kind of work-around, some kind of alternative way to still join in on the fun even if you have dietary restrictions. Hooray!

Are you a fondue-er or a fondon’t-er? How do you feel about vegan alternatives like this? Obviously it’s not super great for you because all vegan “replacement foods” like fake cheese, fake meats, etc. are very heavily processed. But sometimes you need some replication/imitation to stick to your convictions, amiright?

Weekend activities for me include the Braves v. Nationals baseball game tomorrow afternoon with the sis, her hubs, and the boyf! Then my sister and her hubbypoo are running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC on Sunday morning, so if Steve and I can rouse at a reasonable hour, maybe we’ll go congratulate them at the finish line (and see some pretty cherry blossoms) As the race is starting at 7 AM we will NOT be cheering them on from the starting line, hahahaha. We also have plans to see my cousin who’s coming into town! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Posted on Mar 22, 2011 in Food | 11 comments

Sunflower

Good morning, friends!

I’m proud to report a shiny 2 miles on the treadmill from yesterday afternoon! I ran the whole thing at a 12 minute pace (5.0 speed on the tready) which I was pretty proud of. I’m the turtle, mmkay? Slow and steady blahblahblah. πŸ˜‰

I realized after I left the gym that it was actually like perfect weather outside despite the whole raining-cats-and-dogs thing from yesterday morning. Poo. Oh well, Amanda and I have plans to run tomorrow, and hopefully the weather will cooperate for us again. Gotta get myself in gear for the 5K on Saturday!

Sunflower Restaurant

After a little gym time, I met up with my friend Reema to have dinner at Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant in Falls Church. I always love meeting up with friends for dins, and getting to go to Sunflower was extra fun! Their food is really good, and every single thing on the menu is vegetarian, almost everything is vegan, and when it isn’t vegan there’s a little (!) icon next to it letting you know that it isn’t. Makes my Lenten life easier, that’s all I have to say.

I started with a hiyashi seaweed salad and cold basil rolls (basically like a summer roll.) Both were good, but the seaweed salad took the cake! I think I liked the rolls for the peanut dipping sauce more than the rolls themselves, hehe.

For my main course, I got the Sweet & Sour Sensation. It’s soy protein with pineapple, carrots, and zucchini in a sweet & sour sauce. Served with brown rice, natch:

I only got through about a quarter of the main dish – the portion was HUGE! Of course, as Sunflower is an Asian restaurant, it’s really intended for family style eating. So if any of you locals decide to venture out, my recommendation would definitely be to order one less dish than there are people, and just share everything! Makes it more fun, too. πŸ™‚

It’s always fun for me to find friends to go eat at these kinds of places with me, since despite my cajoling in the past, Steve has yet to agree to take me on a Sunflower date, hahaha.

Any other recommendations for vegetarian/vegan restaurants in the DC Area? I’m really trying to use Lent and my pledge of veganism to expand my culinary horizons a smidge. I Yelped “vegan” near “Falls Church, VA” yesterday and it returned a whole list of places I want to try out now! Has anyone ever been to The Loving Hut in Falls Church? Or Sticky Fingers Bakery in Columbia Heights? Augh! So many places to go, so little time (and so little experience venturing inside the DC limits!) Halp!

Okay, so I have a question por vous. I’m thinking about starting to get all instructional up in this hizzy, because I receive a lot of questions asking me about how I’ve lost the weight so far (48 pounds as of yesterday WHAT UP!) and about nutrition in general. Obviously I am in no way qualified to give out specific nutrition advice or anything, but I thought that people might like to hear my tips for how I’ve lost weight and “done it right” this time. Thoughts? I would obviously also include all the resources (websites, blogs, books, movies) that have contributed to where I am food- and health-wise now. Anyway, just an idea I’m tossing around. It would probably end up being kind of like a Weight Loss 101 series, with the aforementioned disclaimer about how I’m sooooo not a nutrition or medical professional.

I’m currently trying to gulp down this morning’s juice creation, which is like half juice/half smoothie that I created with a coworker. (Can I just say how much I love that people in my office are juicing and eating super healthily now, btw? I totally, vainly, conceitedly give myself credit for this. ;)) Anyway, the juice is carrots and mandarin oranges, and then mixed that with spinach that was just blended with water (trying to up my fiber content.) Errrr yeah. I don’t think I’m going to try doing it halfsies like this again. It is SUPER spinach-y, and the texture is kind grossing me out. Oh well, still good for me though! Just gotta remember my cucumber next time — cuke is juice GOLD! πŸ™‚

Hope everyone has an awesome day!

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