Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hummus Pods

I'm a snacker. I wish I weren't, but I just am. I love to snack. And my favorite snack is hummus. So when I saw the Hummus Pods at a food trade show, I immediately fell in love! Hummus Pods are hand-held hummus treats wrapped in a crispy shell.
The whole concept is ingenious.Take creamy hummus, encase it in a doughy shell and package it frozen, so once heated, it is super crispy. Could they be healthier? Yes. They are made with enriched unbleached white flour, but they also have whole wheat flour, navy bean flour, vital wheat gluten, teff flour, and quinoa flour. That's a lot of flour!


They come in three flavors: Zesty Lemon, Smoky Chipotle, and Sriracha Lime and all three flavors are vegan. While I liked all of them, the Smoky Chipotle is my hands down favorite. I could easily get hooked on these!

They are available around the country in select areas listed here. In DC, they are available at Yes! Organic Market. Enjoy!

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Real Food, Really Fast - Cookbook Review

The busier we get, the less time we want to spend on cooking. I'm with you on that. I was excited to hear that one of my favorite authors, Hannah Kaminsky, wrote a new cookbook with recipes filled with real food that can be cooked really fast. Hence the name, "Real Food, Really Fast!"


The book opens with sections on cooking fundamentals, essential equipment, and an introduction to specialty ingredients. The pictures will have you hooked in no time. From appetizing recipes for tempeh fries, falafel fattoush, French onion soup, and walnut bolognese, you'll wonder how in the world she created so many meals that can be made in 10 minutes. But, amazingly enough she did.

The first recipe I tried was fantastic and amazingly simple. The Jamaican Jerk Chili has browned tempeh to give it a meaty texture, black-eyed peas filled with protein, and fire-roasted tomatoes and cooks in just 10-15 minutes. Amazing! She basically just throws all the ingredients in a pot and cooks it for 6 minutes and it turns out great.


I also tried the Instant Kimchi Noodle Soup, which If found pretty unique. It's fairly easy to make, but has so much flavor, it'll taste like something you'd get in a fancy restaurant. Layers of kimchi, soba noodles, cremini mushrooms, zucchini, scallions, and wakame all hit your mouth at the same time and the result is happiness. And all of this happiness in just a few minutes...give me more, please!


Lastly, I also tried the Hasselback Zucchini. Although this recipe took considerably longer than indicated in the recipe, the prep was quite simple and the end product quite good. I sliced zucchini, layered them with a spice mix and baked them for several minutes. Voila! Tasty zucchini!


I'm pretty hooked on this book because it is real food, really fast! Next, I'm trying the Spinach and Artichoke Bisque, Seitan Bulgogi, and Mofongo Bowl! If you are interested, you can order this book on Amazon here

Full Disclosure: Although the cookbook was provided to me at no cost to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hasselback Zucchini

A different take on hasselback potatoes, Hannah Kaminsky does it again with Hasselback Zuchini out of her new book, Real Food, Really Fast. After cooking these, I inhaled them like there was no tomorrow. The mixture of garlic, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and salt smeared over zucchini with olive oil makes a fantastic side or main dish after just a few minutes of cooking. I will, however, add that even though the recipe below states to cook for 2 minutes without foil, I felt I needed to cook them for 12 minutes more to really cook them through. Just keep checking them. Also, the recipe calls for dried thyme and rosemary, but fresh is even better. Enjoy!


Hasselback Zucchini
Serves 6

Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds of zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 500-degrees Fahrenheit.

Properly prepping the zucchini is essential for success here, so be careful when cutting. You don't want to go all the way through the vegetables, but just about 3/4 of the way, at regularly spaced intervals of just a few millimeters. Exact measurements aren't critical as long as you're consistent. For those less confident with their knife skills, try placing thin skewers or dowels on either side of the zucchini to prevent the blade from going all the way down to the cutting board.

Place the zucchini on a lightly greased baking sheet and drizzle liberally with oil. Combine garlic, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and salt together and smear this mixture all over, pushing it in between the cut layers and all over the sides. cover loosely with foil and slide the pan into the hot oven.

Lift the foil after about 6 minutes to check on their progress. The zucchini should be just about fork-tender. Bake for an additional 2 minutes or so, uncovered, until lightly browned. Serve warm.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

1 Fresh Stir Fry Grill, Tallahassee

I definitely didn't come to Tallahassee for the food, but I knew somewhere there was some good food to be had. As we were driving down the street, I saw this little hut that had "1 Fresh Stir Fry Grill" on it. I asked my local friend about it and he said it was a good place to go, so we did.

I was thinking it was a fast casual place, but it also had a drive through! And it was next to a real fast food restaurant. Perhaps they are just keeping up with their competition, we thought.


The plastic one-page menus are kept in a bin before you get to the register. You can figure out what you want, then go order. It's an interesting concept. Immediately the ladies behind the counter left their post and asked if we needed help. They explained the menu, told us what was vegan, and left us to decide.

You first choose if you want a stir fry, quesadilla, wrap, soup, or salad. Stir fry for us! Then, you choose your type: we chose tofu. Then, you choose your veggies and beans--we went with mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, black beans, spinach, cabbage, and onions. You have a choice of rices, but we wanted the more expensive ones: black rice and quinoa, which were an extra $1.99 each! Then, your sauce--we went with habanero spicy one sauce. And, lastly, your toppings like scallions, cilantro, and garlic.

We went to seat ourselves in the large dining room. It is simple with black tables and brown chairs. Strings of lights hang from the ceiling and fun signs that state things like "Drooling not permitted, but understandable."


We really weren't expecting much, but, we ended up impressed. They brought it out and it was huge (glad we decided to share it!). It looked and tasted amazing. The black rice and quinoa with the veggies and tofu topped with that habanero sauce was awesome.


They came over once to ask if everything was good. So good! I love this place! The service is great (even though there is no table service), the prices reasonable, the food fresh and delicious, and the atmosphere is nice. Recommended!

1820 Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 422-2111

1 Fresh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Instant Kimchi Noodle Soup

There are few recipes that I walk away from saying, "man, was that good?!" But, this was one of them. Straight out of Hannah Kaminsky's Real Food, Really Fast, this kimchi soup is pretty unique. It's fairly easy to make, but has so much flavor, it'll taste like something you'd get in a fancy restaurant. Layers of kimchi, soba noodles, cremini mushrooms, zucchini, scallions, and wakame all hit your mouth at the same time and the result is happiness. Share this with a friend or keep it all to yourself. This isn't your mother's noodle soup.



Instant Kimchi Noodle Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces dry soba noodles
  • 2 cups drained vegan kimchi plus 1/2 cup brine
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp wakame flakes
  • 1/2 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1 small zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound firm tofu, diced
  • 6 cups mushroom or vegetable broth

Instructions
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the soba noodles and cook until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to prevent them from getting mushy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, pile the kimchi, all the vegetables, soy sauce, wakame flakes, and tofu into a large pot along with the broth. Cover and set over high heat on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to keep the liquid at a lively simmer, and cook just until the vegetables are tender, and the tofu has been absorbed by the flavorful stock.

Divide the noodles evenly between 4 to 6 bowls. Ladle the soup on top and serve right away. The soup itself can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to three days as long as the noodles are kept separate. Buckwheat isn't as resilient as plain wheat and will become gummy as it sits in the broth.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Nature's Table, Orlando

As I was on my way home from a skydiving event in Florida, I had few hours to kill in the Orlando airport. After walking around for a while, I found Nature's Table. I think it was the word "nature" that drew me to it as I was expecting to see healthy food.


There were a variety of salads, but as it was late in the day, it all looked a little old and sad--like it made you wonder how long all of it had been sitting out. But, I was hungry and I needed something hearty. I asked if the Chili-cado protein bowl was vegan and they assured me it was.

Then, they informed me they were out of chili, which was the heart of the meal. They said they could give me black beans instead. Fine. It ended up being a pretty boring bowl of brown rice, black beans, corn, spinach, and quinoa and no flavor. I doused it with some cheap hot sauce they had and ate it. It felt like five pounds of food!


After I looked into it, I found that Nature's Table has been in business since 1977 and there are now more than 75 franchises across the U.S.

Based on this experience, I don't know if I'd ever go back. I have to assume the chili was tastier than the bowl I got, so maybe it is worth a try.

Orlando International Airport
(407) 851-1334

Nature's Table Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hilary's Millet Meals

Hilary's, best known for their burgers, is branching out to make other healthy, vegan foods. The key here is really "healthy" because their latest meals aren't mindblowingly good, but they are healthy and good and that's what I love.


The Millet Medleys are four flavors of meals made with millet--a grain not typically used in frozen foods. The Traditional Herb Millet Medley, for example, is made with all good stuff: millet, white beans, carrots, peas, quinoa, roasted onions, olive oil, roasted garlic, parsley, salt, thyme, black pepper, and rosemary. I found this one to be lightest on flavor so a little hot sauce with it goes a long way!


My favorite is the Fresh Greek Millet Medley made with whole grain millet, garbanzo beans, Kalamata olives, and a burst of lemon, parsley, and mint.


The Golden Curry Millet Medley has chunky peas and lentils with lots of wholesome, curry taste.


And the Savory Mushroom Millet Medley is a simple, hearty mushroom mix with white beans, collard greens, and sun-dried tomatoes.


I'll be honest, when I first tried them, I was thinking that they were pretty plain, but after eating all of them, I really began to appreciate their simplicity--whole meals made with real, unprocessed food in just minutes. All you do is throw it all in a saucepan and heat it for a few minutes and voila! you have a meal for two!

They also have some great recipes for what to do with these meals online. You can find Hilary's products in natural grocery stores nationwide. To find one near you, click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Vino Volo, Salt Lake City

I spend much of my life in airports--it's true. And when I can't find a lounge, I go straight to Vino Volo for their awesome wine pairings. On this particular day though, it was early in the morning at Salt Lake City airport and I was looking for breakfast. I laughed when I saw some people drinking beer at Vino Volo--I mean it's happy hour somewhere, right?


But, I also noticed people eating breakfast so I asked for a menu. I was so delighted to see an item called "Vegan Breakfast," which was scrambled tofu with tomatoes and avocados served with an English muffin.

I wasn't really in the mood for that though so I asked if the Hummus Wrap was vegan. After a lot of back and forth, I was assured it was. I ordered it to go so I could eat it on the plane. It was rather uninspiring to look at, but it was a good hummus wrap. Made with mixed greens, tomato, kalamata olives, and hummus, I enjoyed it. But, for $10, I guess I thought it would be fancier looking. That's airport prices for you.


The manager was telling me about how this location was different because it was owned by a brewery and had a more extensive food menu. Good to know! Check it out when you are in SLC!

Vino Volo
Salt Lake City International Airport

Vino Volo Ale House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jamaican Jerk Chili

I feel like I deserve chili on a cold winter night. After having suffered through a long, cold day, there's nothing like coming home to a warm, steaming bowl of chili. And this recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chili couldn't be any easier or more flavorful. Straight out of Hannah Kaminsky's Real Food, Really Fast, you will have this entire dinner prepared in less than 15 minutes. With browned tempeh to give it a meaty texture, black-eyed peas filled with protein, and fire-roasted tomatoes, indulge in as much of this good-for-you dinner as you'd like. Serve with bread and/or fresh avocados.


Jamaican Jerk Chili
Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • 2 14-ounce cans black-eyed peas
  • 1 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp salt
Instructions
Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the oil and crumbled tempeh. Saute for a minute or two, until lightly browned, before adding in the minced habanero. Cook for a minute longer to release the volatile oils of the pepper that contain all its fiery flavor.

Simply incorporate all the remaining ingredients, starting with 1/2 tsp of the salt, and stir thoroughly to combine. Cover and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 3-6 minutes, stirring periodically, until slightly thickened and hot all the way through. Add the remaining salt to taste, if needed.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

98 Center, Moab #2

After my first experience at 98 Center, I had to go back for more. I was in Moab for a big BASE jumping event and after a full day of jumping off cliffs, I was so hungry--to 98 Center we went!

This quaint little restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and lovely staff as well.  Even the water they brought us had character with it's candy cane straw!


The last time I was here, I made the mistake of ordering a small pho and a big salad. I mean, it wasn't really a mistake except that it was way too much food. This time, I wanted to try the large order of Vegan Pho and no salad. Loaded with shiitake mushrooms, lemongrass tofu, housemade roasted vegetable broth, and rice noodles and topped with green onions, bean sprouts, basil, serranos, and lime, this pho has so much good, rich, umami flavor. It was really good.


My friend ordered the Bahn Mi Tofu Salad with lemongrass braised tofu, cilantro, pickled daikon and carrot, and serranos in a housemade vinaigrette. He loved it.


We did not get dessert this time, but were so tempted to order the huge vegan cookie we saw up in the case in the front. Next time! I can't wait to keep coming back to try more!

Previous review
September 26, 2017

98 Center
98 E. Center Street
Moab, UT 84532 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Singha Thai, Moab #2

I love Thai food, but the problem is I love this one dish too much and I tend to order the same thing every time I go to a Thai restaurant. That may not normally be an issue, but it is if you have a blog because then you are always writing about the same damn thing! So, on this visit to Singha Thai in Moab, Utah, I decided to order from their Indian menu. Who knew they had Indian?


On this particular visit, there were loud children and it was very crowded. With only a few Thai restaurants in this small town, I've found it is best to go during off hours. Luckily, we arrived for an early dinner and got a table before the line started forming. Yay!


An order of Diamond sake was in order as we recounted the day's BASE jumping activities.


This was the first time I noticed that there are Indian dishes at this Thai restaurant. So, I ordered the Vindaloo made with broccoli, peas, fried tofu, potatoes, and lots of ginger. I ordered it spicy--4 out of 5. It was pretty good except that the potatoes weren't fully cooked through and hard potatoes are never a good thing. But, oh, was it spicy! Overall, I enjoyed it.


The service was a bit slow this time, but it was also very busy. Regardless of the loud children and slow service, Singha remains one of my favorite restaurants in Moab. :-)

Previous review

Singha Thai
92 E Center Street
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 259-0039

Singha Thai Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Odd Provisions, DC

Who knew Columbia Heights had such a cool grocery store?!  Well, I teach yoga in Columbia Heights now and I happened to come across Odd Provisions as I was walking down the street. It's a totally cool, vegan friendly grocery store, with tons of unique food products, so it was like hitting the jackpot for me! Inside, there is vegan mac and cheese, Hodo Soy tofu products (the best!), unique hot sauces and spaghetti sauces, and an awesome selection of drinks. Not to mention, there's a great prepared food section. After buying dinner there for several weeks, I thought that it would be nice to write about the food I was enjoying!


I'll start by saying that everything in their prepared food area is delicious. I really have not gone wrong yet. My favorite thing to grab and go is the VegItalian sandwich. It may not photograph well, but what it lacks in unphotogenicism is made up by its flavor.  Layers of eggplant "salami," roasted peppers, caramelized fennel and onion are topped with "feta" and olive tapenade. The olive flavor is probably the boldest of all, but they all mesh together in the fresh bread for near perfection.


Next up is the Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad. Shaved brussels sprouts are tossed with diced apples and walnuts. A dressing made with walnut oil, cider vinegar, salt, and whole grain mustard gives it its flavor and the fresh parsley is the icing on the cake. I love the flavor and crunchiness.


The Lentil Salad is another fantastic salad simply made with lentils, tomato, onions, fresh dill, and a dressing. I could eat this for dinner and be completely satisfied.


The Carrot and Radish Salad may not have the sexiest name, but it was one of my favorites to try. Why? Because of the spicy harissa, which I love. Half the carrots are pan-seared and the other half are raw making a nice balance of crunchiness along with chickpeas, radishes, and a delicious dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, coriander, and salt. Yum!


Lastly, the Ginger Sesame Noodles are just as solid as they seem. With crunchy broccoli, red peppers, carrots, and celery, this sesame noodle dish is simple, yet tasty.


Items in this store are not cheap with small salads like the Lentil Salad selling for $3.95 and the VegItalian sandwich for $8.50, but know you are getting quality food for that price. I have also confirmed with one of the owners, Jess, that although all ingredients are not currently listed on the packages, there is no honey in anything labeled vegan.


Other items they sell that are fantastic include their hummus, Hummus Bialy sandwich, and Garlicky Kale salad. This store is simply awesome. Go support your local vegan friendly grocery and leave the rest up to them.

Odd Provisions
3301 11th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 232-4050

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me at no cost to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

District Juicery

While perusing the fine crafts at the Crafty Bastard show, I came across a booth for District Juicery. District Juicery? I swear I can't keep up with all of the food people in DC no matter how I try. District Juicery makes raw, organic juices, granola, and granola bars. And all of their granola is vegan!

I grabbed the Carrot Cake and Chocolate Beet granola bars (or cookies as they appear) and gave them a try. They were both very good. The Carrot Cake is made with all natural ingredients like carrots, almonds, applesauce, and cinnamon and had so much flavor.



The Chocolate Beet was also good, but I held on to it for a few months because its expiration date wasn't until six months later and I wanted to see how it would hold up. It definitely got harder over time. The texture was still that of a granola cookie and the rich flavor of chocolate was still there, but the chewiness wasn't. I think better packaging would solve this issue.

Other flavors include the Original and Gingerbread. You can find them at various markets in DC including Glen's Garden Market Shaw, Union Market, and Streets Market 14th Street. For a full list of stores that sell their products, click here. I look forward to trying the juices next.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Soba and Veggie Miso Bowl

Yum!! This Soba and Veggie Miso Bowl out of Pure & Beautiful Vegan Cooking by Kathleen Henry is scrumptious. Warm broth envelopes soba noodles, broccolini, carrots, peas, and shiitake mushrooms while the red miso adds the flavor to this dish. It is a meal unto itself.


Soba and Veggie Miso Bowl
Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces soba noodles, dry
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced on a bias
  • 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (or 1/2 cup fresh), chopped
  • 5 cups raw broccolini (baby broccoli, ends trimmed)
  • 1 cup snap peas, halved diagonally
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
Instructions
Bring a small pot of water to boil for the noodles. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

While the water boils for the noodles, add the vegetable broth and water to a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to high and bring to a gentle boil. Add the carrots and chopped dried mushrooms.

Halve the broccolini so that the floret ends are bite size. The stems can either be left intact or sliced on the diagonal for easier consumption. Add the broccolini florets and stems to the saucepan with the broth and water. Allow them to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. When there are about 2 minutes left, add the peas.

Once the carrots, mushrooms, and broccolini are all tender, remove the soup from the heat. Dip out about 1/2 cup of the soup broth and whisk in the miso paste until smooth. Stir the miso broth back into the soup along with the soy sauce.

To serve, divide the cooked noodles evenly among three large bowls. Then, evenly distribute the broth and veggies on top of the noodles. Serve hot!