Sunday, December 2, 2012


This is a food blog, but also an activist blog.  So today I’m posting about something that has been on my mind which is not about veganism, but about respect and tolerance in the teaching profession.  It’s fundamental to my values and approach as a special education teacher in general, but lately, I have been in a number of situations which have really tested my patience and made me think even more about how it can be addressed in a broader sense.
Teachers shouldn’t be calling people, specifically students, “retarded.”  For five years I worked with junior high special education students who had come to believe that they were “retarded” because this is what they had been called for so long by bullies in a variety of forms.  It took years to undo the damage this did to their self-esteem and a long time for teachers to come together and institute the “R-Word Campaign” on campus.  There were two situations in which adults at school actually called students the “r-word” to their faces specifically because they were in my class.  When adults use this word, then students really begin to believe it about themselves.  When teachers use this word with regard to their students, even if it is not directly to their faces, it further legitimates bullying.   
            The term “mental retardation” was originally used as a medical term, but has since been replaced by the term “intellectual disability,” since the “r-word” largely became used as an insult and a synonym for the word “dumb.”  I like how the “R-Word Campaign” puts it by saying “when ‘retard’ and ‘retarded’ are used as synonyms for ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’ by people without disabilities, it only reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity.”  It’s bad enough when the general population uses this word, but when teachers say it, they discriminate against students with intellectual disabilities and students who are considered “dumb” by many because they receive special education services for one reason or another.  For example, students with Learning Disabilities are often considered “dumb” although they possess average or above average intelligence.  Many of these students actually believe they are “retarded.”  Teachers need to be helping students challenge these assumptions, rather than playing into them.
            On a similar note, I often hear teachers complaining about being having “SpEd” kids and “gangsters” in their classes, talking about these students with a tone of derision.  Anyone who has set foot in my classroom over the past six years knows that I have historically worked with the most difficult students in the school.  These students were in my classes for the entire day every day, and while there were many challenges, many of them turned around their behavior and made huge academic strides.  All of these students acted the way they did because they suffered from poor self esteem, low academic skills, and problems at home.  Students know when a teacher does not expect anything from them.  Students who are labeled “bad” know it, and they start to live up to that reputation.  What is ironic to me is how the students who need the most support often get the least attention.  The students who need teachers to advocate for them are instead viewed with scorn. 
            There are lots of teachers who treat all students with respect and create a culture of tolerance within their classrooms.  There is my friend, a junior high teacher who decided to start the “R-Word Campaign” at our school.  There are schools where bullying truly is not tolerated in any form.  Much like going vegan can encompass the phrase “be the change,” the language we use and the attitude we take towards all of our students can be a vehicle for change.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vegan Thanksgiving Part 2

I've cooked a vegan Thanksgiving feast for the past few years, and it was simply fantastic.  Since I'm closer to New York this year, I'll be able to share Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in a long time, and I plan on blowing their minds with the magnificence of vegan holiday cooking.  They've agreed to go vegan for the day, so I'm going all out.  Last year I posted pictures here of the dishes that comprised our Thanksgiving spread. Since this time I've had the foresight to post about this in advance of the holiday, I'm including the recipes I'll be using, in case anyone else out there is looking for great ideas. I'm not down with the idea of tofurkey or a seitan roast, as frankly, each grosses me out.  Instead, I use my favorite vegetable and dessert recipes that put a new spin on traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

This Year's Menu:

A friend's recipe for amazing green beans (top secret!)

Apple-Almond Caramel Bake from Supermarket Vegan 

I have served these dishes to non-vegan company for the past few Thanksgivings, and this menu does not disappoint.  Now that you have the menu and recipes, it will be that much easier to celebrate a healthy and cruelty-free, yet delicious Thanksgiving.  

Blogger's Soundtrack
Rufus Wainwright - Cover of "Hallelujah"

Recent Vegan Finds

Adjusting to Boston and the new job have taken up all of my time over the past few months, and I have been quite neglectful of this blog.  My musings on this site are typically positive and upbeat, but I also have to admit that being vegan in a new city and with new groups of people can sometimes be frustrating.  Yes, there are times when the restaurant menu does not include anything vegan, and this seems to happen much more here than in Boston.  At work events, there might not be anything cruelty-free food choices, and one feels odd eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread while every one else is devouring a fancy catered meal.  However, standing up for what you believe in is not always easy, and so the determined vegan carries on.

That being said, I have enjoyed some interesting vegan finds lately.  First I must mention Peace o' Pie Gourmet Vegan Pizza shop, located on Cambridge Street in Allston.  My brother and I tried the Neapolitan pizza, which includes fresh basil,tomato slices, and organic tofu ricotta.  I usually stay away from fake cheese, but we both enjoyed this pizza quite a bit.  This place also sells all kinds of calzones, sandwiches, and vegan desserts.  It's very hipster and within walking distance of my apartment.  Yummy.

Next up, I attended the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, which my friend described as Disney World for vegetarians/vegans.  There were so many vendors!  I walked away with a list of thirty-five vegetarian and vegan restaurants in and around Boston.  I ate a vegan cannoli and signed lots of petitions for groups campaigning against various forms of animal cruelty.  The event was quite crowded, albeit enjoyable - and just when I thought I was one of the only vegans in Boston!

Finally, today I stumbled across a hilarious tumbler page - "You Know You Are A Vegan When..."  Here you will find sarcastic reflections on what it's like to be a vegan on a daily basis.  I was laughing pretty hard because a lot of it resonated with me.  Check it out.

Blogger's Soundtrack
The Lumineers - "Ho Hey"

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I was pretty sad about leaving Nami behind in Phoenix, and was certain I wouldn't find a vegan ice cream shop quite as amazing in Boston.  Now I'm here to say (or write) that I'm obsessed with a little place called FoMu, which is within walking distance of my apartment.  FoMu (faux moo - get it?) serves coconut-based, agave-sweetened hard ice cream and smoothies, and has lots of unique flavors.  There's avocado, blueberry bread, and cake batter, to name a few of the flavors.  I went twice just this week, and there were different flavors on the board each time.  There's a variety of vegan toppings- gummy bears, sprinkles... the usual, and homemade hot fudge and whipped cream.  So good.  The mint carob chip with hot fudge is my favorite, and it's ohmygosh heavenly.  You can try out any of the flavors before you decide what you want, which is also a plus.  The employees are friendly and knowledgeable about what they're scooping.  Oh, and apparently Tobey Maguire visited last week.  I'm psyched to have this place in my neighborhood. 

Blogger's Soundtrack: 
Van Morrison - "Brown Eyed Girl"

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vegan in Boston

After lots of planning, packing, shipping, heavy lifting, and a five hour red-eye flight involving two cats, I'm here in Boston, moved into the new apartment, and ready to resume blogging.  I'm excited about the move for lots of reasons, but at the moment what I'm enjoying is working at my old desk from high school right beneath a window with a street view and lots of trees.  Oh, and the windows are open and there's a nice breeze.  I now appreciate the little things after spending the majority of several summers out in the desert. 

I've been doing a great deal of exploring around my new neighborhood over the past couple of weeks, and the vegan scene is definitely decent.  I've been doing my grocery shopping at a combination of Whole Foods and Stop & Shop.  Moving is annoying for many reasons, but one of my issues is that I now have to re-stock my entire pantry.  Food doesn't generally travel 2,718 miles well.  I mean, sometimes I get home from the store and items have somehow opened up on the five minute trip home.  Anyway, I've been using recipes that require few ingredients to start off with. 

The first vegan restaurant I tried was My Thai Vegan Cafe in Chinatown.  I'm not kidding when I say that the menu included a bazillion choices.  Ok, so it was actually 143, but close enough.  The menu was about eighteen pages long, and it took us a while to decide what we wanted.  The owners knew every item by number, which I thought was pretty impressive.  There are all sorts of fake meats at this place, including mock chicken, beef, and even duck.  I tried a yellow curry dish, which included rice, tofu, and lots of vegetables.  There were even sweet potatoes.  We wanted to try the Temple Soup, described as "a heavenly soup featuring add-ins of sweet potato, butter squash, coconut milk and ground peanuts," but it must be pretty popular, since they were all out.  Everyone agreed that the food was delicious-- even the non-vegan parties.  I somehow saved room for a piece of chocolate cake, was was also fantastic.  I wish the place had been air conditioned, so I would probably go again once the weather cools down. 

I have also visited Treats on Washington, located in Brighton, on Washington Street (clearly).  I needed access to Wi-Fi, and I was tired of going to Starbucks, so I decided to check this place out after driving by it a few times.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they serve lots of vegan baked goods in addition to the traditional stuff.  There were vegan cookies, muffins, cakes, and homemade granola bars.  They also served a few vegan sandwiches and soups.  I sampled a gigantic coconut chocolate chip cookie, and it was marvelous.  I plan to visit frequently. 

I already have a list of other places to check out.  I should also plan on doubling my workouts if I'm going to be eating out this much.

Blogger's Soundtrack:  
John Mayer- cover of "Free Falling"


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Green and Broadening Horizons

Last night I had dinner at Green New American Vegetarian Restaurant.  It was the start of my Farewell to Phoenix Tour, whereupon I will hit up some of my favorite spots before I move to Boston.  However, as embarrassing as this is to admit for a vegan living in Phoenix, I had never actually eaten at Green before.  It's especially strange since I frequently go to Nami, which is right next door, and operated by the same people!  Therefore, this was an "I have to go there before I leave" type thing.   

Green is a a vegan restaurant with locations in Tempe and Central Phoenix.  The Central Phoenix locale is a pretty recent development.  While I had never eaten at Green before, I had been to one in Tempe five years ago, when I first moved to Phoenix.  At that time, I was an extremely picky eater, to put things mildly, and I could not find anything on the menu that I would eat.  I guess this shows how much I have changed, because this time it took me a while to decide what to pick from the extensive list of options on the menu.  I'm not a fan of mock meats, and frankly, vegan cheese frightens me, so there were some dishes I immediately crossed off the list.  My friend and I shared the samosas appetizer to start, and I went with the Coconut Curry Bowl with brown rice and crispy tofu as my entree.  Both were really delicious. I don't usually eat tofu, and the Coconut Curry dish would have been fine without tofu or any of the mock meat choices.  I would also add that the dishes were very well priced- $4.50 for the appetizer and $7.50 for the bowl.     

I don't have much time left in Phoenix, but I would definitely like to hit Green (and Nami) again before I leave.  I've been vegan for two years now, and it is one of the best life choices I have made.  I've tried so many new things and I feel healthier and happier in general.  Taking on this lifestyle has allowed me to broaden my horizons.  It has made me think more about where my food comes from and the impact of what I put into my body.  It has turned me on to the "Green" scene, both with regard to this lovely restaurant and also my outlook on how I impact the planet as an individual.  

Blogger's Soundtrack: Jason Mraz - "You and I Both"
I have recently become obsessed with Jason Mraz, who, by the way, happens to be vegan.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Banana Berry Waffles

I haven't blogged in awhile.  It's been over a month, in fact.  School ended, which is a crazy time in general, but I accepted a new job in Boston, so it has been a very busy/stressful/emotional few weeks.  While I should trying to use up what's in my cabinets before I make the big move, I haven't been in the mood to cook or write.  This morning, however, I decided whip up one of my weekend favorites-- banana waffles.  These can also be turned into pancakes if you don't have a waffle iron available.  Whichever you make, I must warn you, this recipe is very filling.

1 3/4 cups vanilla nondairy milk (I use soymilk or almond milk)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour (regular flour will also work)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2  bananas


1.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2.  Combine the milk and olive oil in a small bowl, then mix that into the dry ingredients.
3.  Mash the bananas thoroughly with a fork, or throw them into a food processor.  Then add the bananas to the other ingredients.
4.  Use the batter to make your waffles or pancakes!

Today I had a bunch of fruit in the fridge, so I tried chopping up some strawberries and adding them to the batter.  I wasn't a fan of the results.  I prefer berries over the top of the waffles instead... delicious!

Chef's Soundtrack: Nelly Furtado: "Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)"
<3 VH1 on Saturday mornings

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vegan Beauty

Last week I was at the salon getting my hair cut, and I noticed that my stylist was really into "green" hair products.  I certainly was not going to complain about this, but it made me wonder if the products were also vegan.  My main thing has been the vegan diet.  I also strive not to buy any non-vegan clothing or accessories.  However, I have to say that I have been remiss in the beauty product department.  I use vegan products some of the time.  Sometimes the products just don't work that well, which has left me frustrated.  However, when I think about animal testing and animal ingredients in beauty products, I realize that it's no better to use non-vegan shampoo than to eat meat.  I am going to try and improve in this area.  Here are my suggestions if you would like to do the same:

Handmade and kind of expensive cosmetics, hair, and bath products.  I have tried their Rehab shampoo, and I loved it.  After perusing the website, I found out that Lush has many vegan options, including "bath bombs" and soap.  I am interested in trying the Cynthia Sylvia Stout shampoo, which is made from "organic vegan stout beer from a local brewery" and also Double Choc lip balm (yummy!).  This company really does have a serious commitment to ending animal testing, which you can read more about here (and take five seconds to sign a petition).

Alba Botanica
I noticed Alba Botanica shampoo at the grocery store awhile ago, and I was really pleased with it.  I wash my hair a lot because I frequently work out, and I am always looking for products that will keep my hair from looking greasy.  I purchased the Body Builder Mango shampoo for $7, which I thought was reasonable.  The products are 100% natural and vegetarian, and are never tested on animals.  I'm a fan.

Not to be confused with Alba, I noticed this line at Ulta the other day.  It was a bit out of my price range, at $15 per bottle of shampoo, but there's a wide range of products, all of which are "100% Vegan, Free of Synthetic Dyes, Sulfate Free and DEA Free." 

Strawberry Hedgehog
If you live in Phoenix, here's a local plug,  If not, you can still order online.  100% vegan soap, facial, and body products. 

There are many companies, like Aveda and Bath and Body Works, which do not test on animals, but which contain animal ingredients in some or all products.  Aveda Volumizing Tonic is vegan, but other products are not.  If you go to the PETA website, you can access a complete list of which companies do and do not participate in animal testing.  You can also check out Vegan Beauty Review for the real deal on all of these products.  I plan on checking out a company called Beauty Without Cruelty to find vegan concealer.  Going vegan is obviously a process.   

Blogger's Soundtrack: Christina Perri - "Arms"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vegan Easter

Yesterday I cooked a feast for Easter.  I'm not sure what a traditional Easter meal entails besides perhaps a gigantic roast of some sort.  I just looked through my cookbooks and selected some dishes that looked delicious and were fancier and more time-consuming that something I would normally make.  The menu included garlic basamati rice and chickpeas romesco from Veganomicon, along with roasted broccoli and asparagus.  For dessert there was carrot cake with vanilla frosting from Babycakes.

Everything turned out fantastic.  The sauce on the chickpea romesco dish was amazing, and was everybody's favorite.  It involved roasting red bell peppers, pureeing these along with diced tomatoes, and then simmering with garlic, shallots, and a number of other different ingredients.  I was in the kitchen for a long time, but it was definitely worth it.  There were no Easter baskets or colored eggs, but there was good food and good conversation, which I prefer any day.

Chef's Soundtrack: Brandi Carlile - "The Story"

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Best Vegan Apps

I'm not the best with technology. Here are some examples: when cat-sitting for friends of mine, I could not figure out how to turn on the television.  They have a fancy big screen TV and all sorts of gadgets, and no matter which button I tried, I couldn't watch regular TV.  I guess I'm just used to my old-school set which only has one Power button.  Another time, our school was implementing a new technology program, and each teacher had to take a pre-test to measure his or her technology proficiency.  I was the only person who could not figure out how to take the survey.  My technology proficiency was apparently zero.  When computer problems arise in the classroom, a student usually fixes things, or I refer them to a colleague (the same person who has the fancy TV).  I obviously have some degree of proficiency with the computer, but I am no guru.  Other people seem to catch on far more quickly when it comes to these things, leaving me in the dust.

What does this have to do with my vegan blog, you ask?  I'm getting to that.  About a year ago, my phone went haywire, by which I mean that it was randomly texting and calling people without my permission.  How rude.  I went out and splurged on an iPhone, and was super excited to be so fancy.  The sole fact that I could get online with my phone was a huge upgrade.  Soon enough, though, friends began teasing me because I had never installed any apps.  Apparently I was way behind again.  Most recently I have embarked on a quest to install more apps on my phone and actually use them, improving my hypothetical technology proficiency score.  I had never even considered the fact that there might be vegan apps until I searched for them and was pleasantly surprised.  While I think that some of these apps are useful for any vegan, what I have found is that many of them are best suited for people just starting out.  They make it especially easy to do your vegan grocery shopping.  Here are my recommendations:

1.  Animal-Free
Have you ever read a food label and noticed a bunch of foreign ingredients?  For vegans, that's definitely an issue.  This app includes an alphabetical list of animal ingredients and what they are made from.  There is also a scanner for use at the grocery store to help you identify vegan products.  Of course, I couldn't figure out how to use the scanner, so it had to be demonstrated to me.  After that, I found out that it works pretty well. 

2.  Vegan Cakes
This is the app version of the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  The free version offers a lot of simple advice on how to bake cupcakes, including "Seven Rules for Righteous Cupcakes," which is hilarious.  If you pay for the full app, you can get access to the recipes, as well.

3.  VeganSteven
VeganSteven is a great app because it lets you know where you can buy vegan products in your area.  It's pretty reliable, as it listed all of my favorite places in Phoenix.  I noticed that it did list some questionable establishments, such as Red Robin Burgers and FastMed Urgent Care, but for the most part, it gets the job done. 

4.  Veg Kickstart
This is a good one if you're just starting out, because it offers recipes and meal plans for 21 days and gives you interesting facts about the foods you're eating.  I liked the recipes, but for me, I would need more than the amount of food the app recommends for a daily plan. 

5.  YumYum
Yummy vegan recipes.  I like it.

Those are my favorites - so far.  Check them out... if you're not already two steps ahead of me. 

Blogger's Soundtrack: Jason Mraz - "Sleeping to Dream"

love love love this song.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Why Going Vegan is the Best Diet

My whole life I've been around people who were jumping on the bandwagon for various dieting fads... Atkins, South Beach, protein-packing, low-carb, low-fat... and so on.  To me, these are all just different forms of deprivation that don't work in the long run.  How is anyone supposed to maintain this kind of lifestyle?  Is it really healthy to eat lots of one kind of food and none of another?  If I could never eat carbs, I would be very sad indeed, besides the fact that I wouldn't have energy to run every day.  I have come to believe that going vegan is the best diet anyone can adopt in order to live a healthy lifestyle, whether or not that involves losing weight.

When I first went vegan, I was doing it because meat disturbed me, dairy made me feel sick, and I didn't want to be a participant in harming animals.  The health benefits were not at the forefront of this decision.  I have always been thin, and I didn't need to lose weight.  However, after about two months, I found that I had lost ten pounds.  Cutting all trans fats out of your diet will do that.  People were commenting on how great I looked, and I really did feel great.  I was running and working out more than ever before.  "Maybe there is something to this vegan thing," I began to think.

Was going vegan hard at first?  I had already been a vegetarian, but of course.  I had to change my eating habits quite a bit, since dairy was a huge part of my diet.  I was basically addicted to ice cream.  I had major cravings for the first month.  After that, the cravings went away and I started to enjoy the adventure of trying new recipes and visiting vegan-friendly restaurants.  Oprah only took on the vegan challenge for one week; that's not enough time to let your body adjust.  I realized that for a long time my diet had been quite boring, and that I had really been missing out.  My diet became so much more varied, which I think is the first part of a healthy lifestyle; incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein into your diet in lots of different ways.  Contrary to popular belief, vegans don't eat just salad.  If that were true, believe me, I wouldn't be a vegan.

Unless you spend all of your time eating processed vegan junk food, you will lose weight if you go vegan.  More importantly, this lifestyle is sustainable.  I eat lots of food, and I never feel like I have a "food baby" at the end of a meal.  I have been doing this for almost two years, and there is nothing that makes me want to revert back to my old ways.  Sure, sometimes I would like to eat a regular slice of pizza, but then I think about how gross it would make me feel.  Nah.  Unlike all of those fad diets, you're not depriving yourself or constantly hungry.  You're eating a variety of delicious foods and always feeling satisfied.  You're making informed decisions about what you eat.  That sounds a lot better to me than eating lots and lots of meat or banishing carbs from your life.  Oh yeah, and there's no calorie counting involved.

Speaking of calories, let's talk about meat and dairy for a second.  Put aside all of the hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and pesticides in the bodies of these animals, and the way they are mistreated.  Did you know that consumption of meat and dairy accelerates the growth of cancerous cells in the body?  Just putting that out there.

If you are truly committed to changing your lifestyle in order to improve your health, I would recommend picking up a book and reading more about the wonders of becoming vegan.  There are so many to choose from: The Kind Diet, Skinny Bitch, and Becoming Vegan are a few.  There are also some super documentaries out there, including Food Matters and Forks Over Knives.  Maybe you don't want to become a hippie, join PETA, or be ridiculed by your family and friends because you know what seitan and quinoa are.  If you put aside all of those preconceived notions, you just might be surprised.

Happy.  Healthy.  Vegan. 

Blogger's Soundtrack:  John Mayer: "Why Georgia"

One of my favorites.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

Today I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Elizabeth from Eating Local in the Lou!  I really appreciate this award because it means someone out there is actually reading what I write, and maybe learning more about being vegan in the process.  Elizabeth's blog is all about gaining a deeper appreciation of where food comes from, so you should definitely check it out. 

The Liebster Blog Award has a few rules:
  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to them.
  • Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  • Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 other blogs of 200 followers or fewer that you feel deserve recognition.
  • Let your selected bloggers know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.
Here are my Liebster Blog Award selections (in alphabetical order):
This blog has lots of great vegan recipes and beautiful photography.

I've tried out a few of the recipes from this blog and they turned out really well. 

This blog is written by a friend of mine who recently trained for and ran a half marathon.  Girl is on fire! 
I frequent this blog quite a bit.  Shannon writes about lots of great vegan dessert recipes.

Written by one of the first vegetarians I met when I moved out to Phoenix.


Vegan in Phoenix

I recently decided to do some reading about the most "veg-friendly" cities in the United States.  Every article cited D.C., Portland, and NYC as some of the top picks.  I was surprised to find that my current city, Phoenix, did not make any of the lists.  I have to say that in my opinion, if you are vegetarian or vegan, or thinking about making the switch, Phoenix is a great place to be.  I have been doing the vegan thing out here for two years and there's a variety of options for grocery shopping and for veg-friendly dining.  Here's why I think Phoenix makes the cut:


Sprouts Farmers Market
This place carries everything a vegan heart could desire.  There is a huge selection of fresh produce, and it's reasonably priced.  My favorite section is the scoop-your-own nuts, fruits, trail mixes, and more.  They also have all of the good frozen vegan goodies.

Trader Joe's
Love this place.  They carry their own vegan cookies and ice creams, which are my favorites out of any brand.  There's also a fantastic assortment of nuts and trail mixes.

Phoenix Public Market
If you haven't figured it out by now, I love the Open Air Market.  There is also the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.


Pita Jungle
You can find me at the downtown location on plenty a Friday night.  The menu is quite extensive and includes a variety of vegan options.  The website even includes a Vegan Chart, which lists each menu item and whether or not it is vegan.  Love love love the grilled vegetable salad.

"Where no one has to feel like the 'freak at the table.'"  I've been here a few times and everything I tried was delicious.  The menu has a key to distinguish which items are vegan, vegetarian, lactose free, and so on, which I certainly appreciate.  This is a place where everyone can find a healthy and satisfying meal, regardless of their dietary choices or restrictions.  They have a bunch of really good desserts, too.  I probably shouldn't have read through the whole menu right before dinner. 

Persian Garden Cafe
This place is a bit fancier than the previous two.  There are also options for everyone on the menu and the desserts are amazing. 

Green New American Vegetarian
Green just opened at a second location in Phoenix, and Nami is housed right next door!  The menu involves a lot more tofu and fake meats and cheeses. 

True Food Kitchen
I am kind of obsessed with True Food, because everything is just so good.  Everyone that I have brought here has felt the same.  There are not many places where I can say almost all of the vegan options sound delightful to me, but this is one of them.  I enjoy the hummus appetizer and the Teriyaki Brown Rice Bowl, which includes lots of avocado.  So yummy.

Scramble: A Breakfast Joint
Vegan French Toast.  Enough said. 

There are plenty more options, but these are my favorites.  I really feel the difference when I'm back on Long Island and I have to drive 25 minutes to find the nearest Wild By Nature market and there's only one vegetarian friendly restaurant in relatively close proximity.  I recently spoke to a friend in Massachusetts who lamented that there were no health food stores available at all-- evil of evils!  Phoenix might not be known for being liberal, but the west coast vibe can definitely be felt in some ways.

Blogger's Soundtrack: Taylor Swift - "Eyes Wide Open"

If you haven't read The Hunger Games trilogy or seen the movie, I highly recommend it.  My class is currently on a Hunger Games kick.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Broccoli Pesto Pasta for St. Patty's Day

Happy St. Patty's Day!  Every year I wish I were back in New York because it's just not the same in Phoenix.  It's a much bigger deal back home. I was never a fan of corn beef and cabbage, so although I saw many veganized recipes for the traditional holiday fare, I just wanted to make something green.  It is my favorite color, after all, and obviously not a very tall order for a vegan diet.  I found a recipe for "Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas" that looked simple and delicious.  They had me at broccoli.

The dish turned out to be quite tasty.  I did not include the lemon zest or the nutritional yeast.  I would also recommend mincing the garlic in the food processor first, so that you don't have to use additional tools.  Obviously I had to pair it up with a beer. We'll just pretend it wasn't a Blue Moon.

Chef's Soundtrack: U2 - "Sunday Bloody Sunday"