Support Fort Vegan Meetup!


20140630_164108_resizedI wanted to let all you local Fort Collins readers know that on July 12, Matador Mexican Grill will be helping out our local Fort Vegan Meetup by giving the group 20% of all sales—as long as you show a picture of the flyer. You can use your phone, or Print a Flyer. Matador Mexican Grill is actually a very vegan/vegetarian-friendly eatery offering vegan tacos, burritos and more. (And rumor has it, if you tell them the meal is vegan, you get guacamole for free!)

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or veg-curious, Fort Vegan Meetup is a great community to be a part of. We do potlucks, restaurant outings and other fun events. This is just an amazing group of people who love to come together to eat, mingle and laugh (and just so happen to love animals and the environment). There are monthly fees for Fort Vegan to stay a meetup, so these fundraisers are important to the group. Not only would you be helping out Fort Vegan, you’d be supporting a great eatery that focuses on sustainability and community. (And you don’t have to order vegan food, by the way). So check out the flyer—you can go any time on the 12th, just tell them who sent ya!

 

The Forty-Year-Old Vegan

Turning FortyNope not me. Thank goodness. I still have a few more years before I hit the little eff. The Husband, however, gets the honor of hitting this milestone first. He took it all in stride and even had a whiskey flight to lessen the blow.

Whiskey FlightSo for the big day, I asked him what he wanted to do: restaurant or eat at home. Petrified of singing waiters, he happily opted for dinner at home. He couldn’t decide what he wanted, so he chose two favorites that really don’t go together, but hey, it’s his day.

Tacos and Mac n' CheeseYep. Tacos and Mac n’ Cheese. Two of his favorites. He thought he had died and gone to some vegan buffet. For dessert, I wanted to try making carrot cake and I found this excellent recipe from Love and Lemons.

Vegan Carrot Cake Slice

The cake is delicious! I would certainly make this again, however, I’d probably go with a vegan cream cheese frosting rather than the macadamia nut frosting. It was still good, but I think we all preferred the traditional cream cheese kind.

So my present to myself (for his birthday) is I got a new site! (I sure hope you noticed). Isn’t it be-u-tee-ful?! I’m still playing around with some stuff, but I’m loving the new look. My friend Carolyn, who is starting her own design business created this much more user-friendly, easier-on-the-eye site. Email me via the fancy new contact page, if you’d like to get Carolyn’s info—she does great work!

I will be posting a new recipe in a day or two and thanks to the new layout, you’ll have the ability to print the recipe! (Yes, I know, I’m a so behind the times). See you soon!

 

And the winner is . . .

Congrats to Scout and Bodhi who won a copy of The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

Thank you to everyone who visited and entered!

DSC08248And by the way, I also made the Fiesta Taco Potato Crisps that are on page 85 and brought them to a get together. Everyone (including us) declared they were the Best. Appetizer. Ever. I made them again last night when my Mom came over for dinner. Again, Best. Appetizer. Ever.

20140406_163926_resizedThanks again, everyone!

I’ll be back soon…I promise!

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post! I’ve been swamped with training for a half marathon, helping coordinate a writer’s conference and traveling. We spent a wonderful week in the Big Apple, so for now, I’ll leave you with this drool-worthy pic of a a vegan cheeseburger from PeaceFood Cafe in NYC.

20140319_114039I’ll be back with new recipes very soon!

25 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

25 Vegan Thanksgiving DishesIn case you’re still wondering what to make for Thanksgiving, here’s a few ideas. Whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, and gratitude.

Brunch

Vegan Thanksgiving Brunch Recipes

Cinnamon Rolls
Hash brown Casserole
Stuffed French Toast
Breakfast Tarts

Soups

Vegan Thanksgiving Soup RecipesPesto Potato Soup
Eggplant Parmagiano Stew
Carrot-Ginger Soup
Creamy Wild Rice Soup

Sides
Vegan Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Israeli Couscous with Pine nuts & Parsley
Roasted Asparagus
Twice-Baked Potatoes
Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans

Main Dishes

Vegan Thanksgiving Entree RecipesField Roast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce
Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables
Flaky Harvest Vegetable Squares
Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew  Cheese
Vegetable Pot Pies
Field Roast with a Co Au Vin Sauce
Sweet Potato Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce
Beet Ravioli with Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce
Butternut Squash Lasagna

Desserts

Vegan Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Pumpkin Pie
Cranberry-Muffin Bundt
Fruit Tarts
Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake

My “New” Chairs

This post sort of has to do with food. We sit on these “new” chairs while eating delicious vegan food . . .

Our dining room chairs were beginning to show their age and I had already reupholstered them once before. We had inherited a new table, but the chairs didn’t match. *GASP*! Can you imagine?! ;-) The set had been a housewarming gift when we bought our first house back in 2002, so when we went shopping, we had no idea how dang expensive good quality chairs were. We would have paid anywhere between $800-$2000 for 6 chairs. In the end, I decided to go all DIY on them . . .

Upcycling Dining Room Chairs -- Epicurean Vegan

Between fabric (worth waiting for a sale–saved 50%), paint, and supplies, I spent $102—for all six chairs. Don’t you love recycling?!

I chose to accent two of the six chairs with this fabulous patterned yellow fabric; the others in the gray chevron.

Upcycling Dining Room Chairs -- Epicurean Vegan

Upcycling Dining Room Chairs -- Epicurean Vegan

Sure, there’s work involved, but I had these babies done in less than 3 days. My search is now on for a rug, which unfortunately, I don’t think I can whip up from anything I have already. Any recommendations for a durable, earth-friendly rug?

Garden Watch

It’s pretty amazing what can grow in a few short months. This was what our garden and yard looked like in May:

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and here we are now:

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Earlier in the summer, we had quite a crop of snap peas, but now that they’ve run their course, we’ve had to make way for the tomatoes, which so far, have been amazing! Here’s a look at what’s cooking in the garden . . .

PEPPERS (ANAHEIM, BELL & JALAPENO)

Peppers

DAIKON RADISHES, CARROTS (COLORED AND REGULAR), AND KALE

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TOMATOES

Tomatoes

I also thought I’d share the incredible transformation that our little corner of the earth has gone through since 2009 . . .

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Happy gardening and I’ll bring you pictures (with more than just green veggies) when harvest time comes!

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO FROM YOUR GARDEN?

Vegan Vacation: Seattle

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I have been such a slacker! I finally got a chance to throw together this post about our vegan adventures in Seattle. I had made quite a list of restaurants to try to hit up while we were there, but it didn’t work out completely. Because we stayed downtown, we opted to hoof it everywhere, except for taking the city bus one day, which meant we couldn’t hit up a few vegan eateries that I was hoping to get to. All in all, it worked out just fine and we certainly didn’t starve!

Hook and Plow

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Located right along the piers on Alaskan Way, Hook and Plow wasn’t the most obvious vegan choice, but a menu we had found online listed some vegan options. Once we got there, however, these items were awol. When we asked the waitress about this, she happily offered to speak with the chef about what he could make. He ended up coming to our table and was very willing to fix us something vegan and delicious. We each went with this incredible mushroom (oyster, shiitake and button) risotto.

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It was probably one of best meals we had in Seattle. So flavorful and delicious! Diners at the other tables were intrigued and asked the waitress about it. We felt vegan-special. :-)

Chutney’s Queen Anne

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Located at 519 1st Ave., and is in walking distance to the Seattle Center (Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, Pacific Center, etc.) The outside is very unassuming, but the inside is more upscale. If you like Indian food, you will love Chutney’s. They have a great selection of vegan items to choose from and are very reasonably priced. We started with the Onion Bhajiya, onion fritters fried in a seasoned chickpea batter.

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We could have eaten ten more a piece; they were outstanding.

We went with the Vegetable Biryani with rice, nuts, spices, and raisins. The flavors were amazing.

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And the Aaloo Gobi Punjabi (potatoes, cauliflower tossed with onions and tomato and seasoned with coriander and ginger garlic). Pure awesomeness.

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Everything was delicious (including the rosemary and garlic naan!) and the service was outstanding. I highly recommend Chutney’s for a fine vegan Indian cuisine.

So, speaking of the Seattle Center, we were highly impressed with the amount of vegan options (thank, Bill Gates)! At the Armoey/Center House, you’ll have your choice of several restaurant options in a food court setting. 21 eateries to be exact! Once day, we grabbed a quick sub from Subway, but then we discovered more . . .

Plum Market

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You can only imagine our excitement when we found this 100% vegan and organic eatery. It’s actually tucked back in a corner and we didn’t even see it at first (hence, the Subway).

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I don’t know what it was called, but I got the last one. Thank goodness. It was a puff pastry with vegan mac and cheese and caramel onions on top. Yes, please.

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I also went with the kale salad with tofu “feta.” Delicious!

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The Husband went with this incredible tofu sandwich. I can’t remember what was all in it, but he really enjoyed it.

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The Ninth Grader went with the vegetarian pot pie from Sweet and Savory Pie.

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He thought it was great . . . just not big enough!

Gordon Biersch

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Located at the Pacific Place Shopping Center downtown. For the typical American brewhouse, they actually have quite a few vegetarian items that can be made vegan. We were all drawn to the veggie tacos with lettuce, pico de gallo, and avocado. (Just ask for no cheese). Served with black beans and rice. They tasted fresh and the flavor was great.

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Dragonfish Asian Cafe

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Located at 722 Pine St. This was located just across the street from the hotel, so for Asian takeout, it was great. We weren’t necessarily starving, so we each ordered the vegetable spring rolls, the avocado rolls, and the tofu rolls.

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I’m usually not big on veggie sushi rolls, but these were fantastic. They were also larger than the rolls we’ve had in other places. We enjoyed the food so much, we ended up ordering another night from them as well.

Rock Bottom Brewery

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Located on 5th Ave., across from the 5th Ave Theater this was a great stop for a veggie burger. And a beer flight . . .

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The house-made veggie burger was pretty darn good and it was nice to hear (from our waiter) that around 90% of the menu is made in house and from scratch. The patio is a great place to sit and relax (as long as it’s not raining).

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Guaymas Cantina

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Located near Pioneer Square at the Harbor Steps at 1303 1st Ave. Typically, it’s pretty easy to find plenty of vegan options at a Mexican restaurant and that was certainly the case here.

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We all had the “Guaymas” Wet Burrito (minus the cheese).

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Another winner. Really delicious.

The atmosphere is nice and they also offer a complimentary salsa bar. The service was also great.

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Yard House

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Located at 1501 4th Ave. We were thrilled to come across Yard House since they have lots of vegetarian and vegan options, including a large menu of Gardein products.

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Plus, any of their burgers can be made with a Gardein patty. I ordered the Gardein Orange Peel Chicken with baby corns, bok choy with an orange glaze. Yum!

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The Husband went with one of their Gardein burgers, as did the Ninth Grader. Obviously, I was too hungry and didn’t get pictures! They enjoyed them, however.

Museum of Flight’s Wings Cafe

Located inside the Museum of Flight 9404 Marginal Way S.

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We were delighted to see the Vegan Asian Rice Noodle Salad, so we each ordered that.

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Although we highly appreciated the effort to accommodate vegans, it left a lot to be desired. Even with the sesame dressing, we found the salad (tofu, bell peppers, edamame, noodles, and cabbage) incredibly bland; there was just no flavor. At least it was healthy!

P.F. Chang’s

Located downtown at the Westlake Center (400 Pine St). This is always a great options for vegans and instead of trying to find another dinner place for our last night, we decided to wait the 30 minutes for a table. Having eaten at P.F.Chang’s several times before, we knew it’d be a good option.

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Veggie chow mein

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Buddha’s Feast

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Coconut Vegetable Curry

This post isn’t complete without showing you the original Starbucks located at Pikes Market!

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Yes, the coffee tasted the same, but it’s all about the experience, right?

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Vegan Vacation: Victoria, British Columbia

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Hey there! We had a fun-filled two-week vacation, but it’s good to be back. I’ve got a lot going on, so I’m going to try to make this brief! First, we had the most amazing weather in Victoria and Seattle—totally lucked out. We definitely want to move to Victoria, but I know that the cloudless weather we had is certainly not the norm. Either way, Victoria is high on our list of vacation spots. This is the view from our room. Instead of putting you through our vacation photos, I’ll skip to the food! I was pleasantly surprised at how vegan-friendly Victoria is; we had no trouble finding places to eat and stuff ourselves silly. For us, most everything was in walking distance, too. Our hotel had a small kitchen so we were able to at least prepare some meals ourselves. We started each morning with a short walk to a great coffee shop:

Moka House Coffee

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Excellent coffee and service and even had veggie burritos and veggie rolls—The Husband’s favorite.

Rebar

50 Bastion Square, Victoria

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Definitely a favorite!

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Kale Salad: $9 (vegan)

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Potsticker Bowl $13 (vegetarian)

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Rebar Poutine $12 (vegetarian)

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Vegan brownie (can’t remember the price. Don’t care. It was awesome)

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Rebar is very popular and fills up, so you may have to wait for a table, but it’s worth it. If you can’t make it, don’t worry—they have a cookbook!

Green Cuisine Vegetarian Restaurant

#5 560 Johnson Street, Victoria

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Vegan Mac n’ Cheese. That’s all you need to know. Okay, they have more than that, but be sure to try it, because it is fantastic. Green Cuisine is buffet style and prices are based on plate weight. There were so many items to choose from, that this was such an ideal way to try a bit of everything! Plus, it was all delicious. The menu changes often, so check their website for the menu.

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On a side note, I was really bummed that Sarah’s Place, a vegan shop above the restaurant, closed just one day before we arrived. Luckily, you can still order online! I want to wish Sarah a speedy recovery, as she is having to undergo chemo for breast cancer. Keep her in your thoughts and send her a friendly note if you can!

Lotus Pond Vegetarian Restaurant

617 Johnson Street, Victoria

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We went with the lunch buffet (also priced by plate weight), or you can order from the menu. The place is pretty small, but seemed to be a local favorite. We really enjoyed it.

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I will probably never forget this meal or this restaurant, because we ate here shortly after I about lost my shit out in the ocean in a kayak. We kayak a lot, but of course, being in Colorado, we’re confined to lakes and rivers. I’ve never been a big fan of being in the ocean, but I thought, hell, I could do this. After getting out a little too far, where the bay opened up and the waters got a bit choppy, I freaked. I was in the back of a 2-man kayak with The Husband and suddenly I panicked, thinking we were going to get eaten by a whale, a shark, or an orca . . . or all three. This was moments before I started hyperventilating:

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Anyway, I digress . . . If go, see Joanna at Victoria Kayak ~ Tours & Rental. She’s the best! (Us, after being safely back on deck)!

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The Joint Pizzeria  

1219 Wharf Street, Victoria, BC

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Another great local favorite. Pretty small inside, but we were able to score a table. The Joint offers vegan and gluten-free pizzas, which you can have made on the spot, or take a slice or two to-go. They make their vegan pizzas with Daiya cheese (even though the menu says, “our own vegan cheese”). Whatever, I was happy with the Daiya.

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The Ninth Grader went with the nachos with veggie meat.

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Blue Poppy Restaurant—Butchart Gardens

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We hopped the bus one day and went up to The Butchart Gardens (a must-see if you visit). They have two restaurants and we opted for the cafeteria-style, Blue Poppy. We all went with the $8 salad that was ok—it sufficed. There weren’t many vegetarian options otherwise, although I believe they had a vegetarian Indian dish. It looks like the menu changes often, so you may want to call ahead to find out what veg-friendly options they’ll have that day.

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Is that it? I guess so. I will end it by featuring a British Columbia wine that was outstanding (especially while being enjoyed on the balcony, overlooking the bay):

Red Rooster Winery

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I’ll be bringing you our vegan Seattle finds soon!

Victoria, BC & Seattle . . . Here We Come!

victoria09Space Needle and Mount Rainier

 

We leave this weekend for a week in Victoria, BC and a week in Seattle! We’re very exited to get away and looking forward to spending time in two places we’ve never been. I’ve done a lot of research on places to see, places to eat, but it’d be great to get some recommendations!

So, how about it? Any recommendations?