Monday, February 14, 2011

Week Three cont...Trader Joe's, Asian Mushrooms, and Evil Mangoes

Wednesday 3.0 continues...

Remember my buddy Motivation? Yah, he decided to still stick around in spite of the whole Bake Sale episode, or my BS moment, as he affectionately called it. It probably helped that after school that day we were going across the border to Trader Joe's. Yeayah!

Rob the husband had researched some vegan restaurants in Bellingham, Washington, and settled on Bloom, which had really great reviews and served a lot of raw stuff too. We were definitely looking forward to trying this place and its organic vegan cuisine...

...until we made an unfortunate discovery...

 I mean, come on. I was friggen starving. All I'd eaten this day was a banana (and 2 cupcakes and a brownie, but let's not dwell on insignificant details). Next time we're calling ahead before traveling to an international destination for vegan food. Seriously.

We ended up eating at Panda Express. Bad idea. I found myself actually missing meat, because the whole place smelled like amazing Asian inspired meat dishes, and they did away with the one veggie main on the menu, the tofu with eggplant, or eggplant tofu, or whatever it was. It was GOOD, and vegetarian, and they got rid of it. So I was stuck with chow mein (egg noodles probably...meh), steamed veggies, and veggie spring rolls. Pretty boring, really. Definitely not what I was expecting that afternoon.

The trips to Trader Joe's, Target, and Fred Meyer were successful, but I gotta say that when it comes to selection, Whole Foods reigns supreme. Trader Joe's did have some awesome selection when it came to chips, an excellent price on Earth Balance butter, and good variety in veggie sausage and faux meat items that we hadn't seen at home, so we stocked up on those as well as some other things I would need for the following week's meal plan. Every single thing in our cart was vegan except for one tiny thing I resisted right up until I was at the checkout. I had to run back for it...

Just couldn't leave them behind. I mean, how can one not buy mac & cheese in ball form? I know, I know...processed dairy...more like Nasty foods #'s 4 & 2 in ball form. I hang my head in shame.

Target had the best price on maple syrup, so we stocked up on that.

How wrong is it that we go across the border for maple syrup?

And I couldn't go to Fred Meyer without stocking up on some potential Haggen Dazs substitutes...

Please God let these taste decent. I know they will never be able to live up to Haggen Dazs, and I would never ask for something so grandiose, but please, just let at least ONE of these non-dairy frozen desserts taste decent. Amen.

On Thursday 3.0 work was providing lunch and dinner for the staff. During lunch I had salad and butterless bread and watched those around me feast on cabbage rolls and perogies. I'm Polish. Polish!! And I had to forego the cabbage rolls and perogies! That's just wrong on so many levels. The vegan life is seriously so much easier at home. I swear, I hardly struggle at all in my own environment because the Kind Diet food is so awesome. But when there's all this other stuff right in front of my face, this is when my relationship with Motivation is tested. But he stuck it out with me through this slightly rough lunch, and even suggested that it might actually be pretty easy to make vegan cabbage rolls one day. That is definitely going on the to-do list.

Parent-teacher interviews were that evening, which meant we were at school until 9pm with a dinner break at 5:00. Every year the PT interview staff dinner is from an Asian restaurant, and the food is always amazing. I was worried about what kind of options I would have to choose from, shuddering at my Panda Express experience from the day before, but as it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. One of the newest features was Asian Mushroom with Bok Choi (score!), and there were a couple more veggie options that I assumed were vegan friendly (and even if they weren't, they were close enough). I felt a tiny knife through the heart when I passed over my absolute favourite green beans with ground beef, but the feeling gradually subsided as I filled up on my kinder choices. The Asian mushrooms, by the way, were just insanely is a very good thing this restaurant is about three minutes away from my house.

Friday 3.0 started off as good as it gets. We had a personal professional day, so I didn't have to go into work. I had a relatively productive yet relaxing morning, fuzzy socks on my feet, and a three legged cat lounging in the sink...just ridiculously cute. Unfortunately, I had consumed some dried mangoes on an empty stomach that morning, and by noon they were not sitting well. They continued to not sit well for the entire day, until they finally decided to make their exit shortly into the evening, making me very very thankful for our rather large laundry room sink. Despite feeling instantly better, the idea of food was completely unappealing to me for the rest of the day, so the Lentil Stew I had planned to make would have to wait.

On Saturday 3.0 I was still feeling a little sensitive, so I once again avoided making anything particular for dinner, although later into the evening I got it together enough to make Oatmeal, Walnut, and Dried Plum Cookies (p. 186).

Like the last time I made them, I subbed almonds for the walnuts and dates & raisins for the plums, and they were seriously delicious. So delicious, that Rob had three while they were still cooling. Now that's delicious.

Unlike the last time I made them, I didn't drop them on the bottom of the oven. Yessss.

And that brings us to Sunday 3.0: I FINALLY got to make the Lentil Stew (p. 171) I had been planning all weekend.

Hearty, healthy, and simple, just like Alicia says. I really loved the pan fried bread croutons in the stew. I grew up eating bread in my soup, but I never considered baking or frying it up like a crouton. Loved it this way. I used organic veggie bouillon cubes to make the required 5 cups of veggie broth, but I rounded up (using 3 cubes to = 6 cups broth) instead of rounding down (2 cubes to = 4 cups broth), so the stew was a little salty, but still very delicious. This is another meal I look forward to repeating, especially during a chilly rainy day. This stew goes especially well with fuzzy socks.

I also made another attempt at the Thai Red Curry Squash I had at Whole Foods by playing around with some online recipes, but once again it didn't turn out nearly as good as the Whole Foods version. So once again, fail. But not as bad a fail as the first attempt. This one at least wasn't bland.


Oh wow...

I'm caught up to my vegan experiment in real time. FINALLY! It's about freaking time, because this coming week the marking picks up again...always a joy.

Let's hope this is the end of insanely long blog posts.

Holy noodle I need to sleep.

Soooo, let's end what will hopefully be my final insanely long blog post and commemorate my finally catching up to myself in real time, I offer for your viewing pleasure (or more likely my viewing pleasure, because once again I doubt that anyone will make it to the end of this post) Velvet Wesley Crusher With a Moustache, because he is awesome like that, and because he recently tweeted about making Baja street tacos with gardein, which makes him even more awesome like that.



    Keep in mind for next Seattle trip...

    And if you're in a pinch and have to eat at drive through (although starving might be more appealing) :

  2. Sweet. I am definitely trying out a restaurant whose menu changes with the seasons. Mariners game, trip to Anthro, and Carmelita for dinner. Sounds like a plan.