Mother’s Day Brunch!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!  I know it’s a few days late, but I don’t have a computer at home. I’m on Petunia’s email list, and I got an email that said they were celebrating Mother’s Day with Belgian waffles.  Petunia’s Pies and Pastries located on SW 12th street in Portland is all vegan and gluten-free.  Not only do they have baked goodies, but they have savory treats and cocktails as well.  Ideally, I would love to be gluten-free in addition to being vegan.  Anyways, upon reading the email, I asked a friend if he would like to join me for Belgian waffles.  He is gluten-free and I am vegan, so perfect spot for both of us.  Turns out, he was playing tour guide to some out of town visitors.  Both of my kids had plans with their own families, so that left me to my own devices.  I decided to catch the bus and max to Portland for a well-deserved Mother’s day brunch by myself.  It was a gorgeous day to be out and about.  I got off at the nearest max station and walked over to Petunia’s.  I got there about 1 p.m. and must have missed the rush.  I called earlier to see what time they were serving brunch and they said till around 2, or when they run out of waffles.  Well, there were no more Belgian waffles, but they had banana waffles, so that’s what I ordered.

As I waited for my waffles, I looked over the menu, and saw that they serve biscuits and gravy and macaroni and cheese.  This gave me an idea to do a “Best of” vegan biscuits and gravy at local vegan eateries around town.  My waffles arrived and they looked heavenly.

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I really savored my brunch, I don’t eat waffles very often, and they were so delicious.  I can hardly wait to go and try some other menu items.  I might have to go some evening to have a cocktail.

Stuffed from brunch, I decide to do a little walking.  Directly across the street is the First Presbyterian Church, and I think it’s a beautiful building. I love the architectural detail of the building, it was built in the late 1800′s in the High Victorian Gothic style.  I see that they do art exhibits, and I’m going to make it a point to make it to one soon.

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I walked down to Pioneer Square to take the max back to Hillsboro.

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Unfortunately, there’s no rest for mom’s.  I am usually scheduled to work on Sunday evenings.  Even though this outing was by myself, I love being out and about eating great vegan food, seeing the sights and sounds of a great city like Portland!

Pink Shoes

I love the randomness that I find as I go about my day.  I try to conserve gas and wear and tear and putting more miles on my car by taking public transportation as often as I can.  On my commute to work, I spied these sparkly pink shoes atop a garbage can at a max station.  They looked like they were at least a size 10!

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Book Signing: Christopher Moore

I went to a book signing by the author Christopher Moore at the Beaverton Powell’s book store.  There were way more people at this book signing than the Alicia Silverstone book signing, which surprised me.  I ended up meeting a friend for lunch at Chipotle’s before the book signing.  They have awesome fixings to make vegan burritos, tacos or bowls.  It was the first time I had sofritas, and it was really delicious!

We got to the bookstore, and purchased Christopher Moore’s “Serpent of Venice”. We had to take a ticket, and then found a seat.  I’ve read many of his books, but not all 13.  My very favorite of his books, is “A Dirty Job”. I’m currently reading his newest release.

As we were waiting for Moore to make his appearance, a few members of the Oregon Symphony did a blitz appearance that was mildly entertaining.

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Anyways, it was the 3rd Christopher Moore book signing that I’ve been to, and he never fails to entertain.  He is quick witted, tells amusing anecdotes, and fields questions from the audience.  As he signs his books, he converses with the people coming through the line.  He told the staff that he wouldn’t pose for pictures, but as I snapped my friend’s picture, he did a cheesy pose.

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Booksigning: Alicia Silverstone

I was so excited to find out that Alicia Silverstone was coming to my town to do a booksigning!  A few years ago, I was doing some shopping at Whole Foods, and I saw Alicia’s book, “The Kind Diet”, and the title intrigued me.  I had no idea it was a book about veganism, a way of life I had never thought I would be interested in.  At that time, I was pescatarian wanting to become vegetarian.  I didn’t want to eat animals anymore, but thought I could eat dairy and eggs without having an animal die for me.  Her book opened my eyes to the treatment of animals.  I started watching documentaries and reading more about being vegan, and learning not only is it good for the animals to be vegan, but also for our health and the health of the planet Earth.

I took my granddaughter, and a friend joined us.

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She did a short question and answer period, spoke a little of her book that she was on tour for, “The Kind Mama” and then signed books.  She was very gracious to people that were in line.  It was such a lovely experience meeting Alicia Silverstone!

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Girls Night Out: Biwa

There’s a core group of us girls that dine out once a month or so. This time we went to Biwa in SE Portland.  I had heard good things about this place, so very interested in trying it out.  Half our group is mostly vegan, the rest of the group are vegan friendly, but will still choose meat options when it presents itself on the menu.  I perused the menu the night before, and pretty much knew what I wanted to order when I got there.  The items that are vegetarian or vegan have a dot next to the menu item.  Makes it easy to know what to order!

I started out with one of the specials for the night.  A spring mix salad with thinly sliced radish and edible flower.  The edible flower was really small and I should have fished it out for the photo, but alas I did not, and it’s lost in all the greenery.  There was a light ginger miso dressing that was pretty tasty.

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Next, I received my daigaku imo.  According to the menu, it’s Dan’s favorite  fried & glazed sweet potatoes.

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It was really delicious, and I tried to share as many as I could since it was very filling.  I then received my grilled shiitake mushrooms.  These were my favorite of the evening, and I don’t have a good photo, it’s to the side of my sweet potatoes.

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I then had my onigiri with pickled plum.  I really was much too full for it, but I haven’t had a rice ball in ages, and I always enjoy getting to the center to the umeboshi!  Anyways, Girls Night Out is always enjoyable, and we have great conversation and laugh ourselves silly!

My Healthy Lunch

I’m trying to eat less vegan junk food.  I made mango salsa, with fresh mangoes, tomatoes, a little piece of jalapeno, and since I didn’t have cilantro, I put basil in it.  I then made a veggie wrap that I put hummus, field greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and mango salsa on a whole wheat tortilla. So freakin’ good!

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Green Acres Farm Sanctuary

On Sunday, April 13th, I went to Green Acres Farm Sanctuary with two friends.  I had seen a posting on Facebook for an educational tour followed by a vegan lunch that Green Acres is offering once a month.  Reservations were required, so we emailed to get our spots.  Sunday was a gorgeous day, couldn’t have asked for better weather.  The farm sanctuary is situated in Silverton, OR, and it’s such a beautiful spot.  We were greeted by a company that creates plant based cheeses that were really delicious. As we began our tour, we heard the stories of the individual animals and the plight of animals in general.  I cannot believe I used to be carnivore.  I remember enjoying a meal with veal, and never thought about where the meat came from.  It makes me very sad to think back to that time in my life.  Seeing Hershey, I can’t imagine how anyone can eat veal, which would have been his fate if someone did not step in.  He was being auctioned off at 3 days old.  A woman couldn’t believe the cruelty that was part of the auction process.  She paid $7.50 to save him from the fate, even though she didn’t think much beyond that moment.  She couldn’t care for the calf, but luckily, Green Acres took him in.

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There were four turkeys, two which had arrived recently infested with internal and external parasites, overweight and their feathers looking tattered.

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Mr. Watson here, looked much like the other two, but after being cared for, he’s such a handsome bird!

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I felt such peace and calm during the visit.  I wish I could visit on a regular basis, but it was close to a two hour drive for me.

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After the educational tour, we were treated to a vegan lunch with Tofurkey beer brats, hot dogs and Italian sausages, pasta salad, chips, Odwalla smoothies, lemon sugar cookies.

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After lunch, we were welcome to meander around.  We got to visit with the pit bull/ lab puppies that were so adorable.  They are fostering the puppies till they can go to Safe Haven Humane Society where they can find their forever homes.  They had the most sweetest, calmest demeanor…I so wanted one!

I sat in one of the colorful adirondack chairs to enjoy the beautiful scenery and feel the cool breeze, then pat the horse good-bye.  It’s such a great experience, and I encourage you to visit a farm sanctuary if you get the chance!

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Shopping Find: Papaya Curry Sunflower Spread

One day I was scouring youtube videos of Food Network chef Jason Wrobel and the Eco Vegan Gal.  They had gone on a road trip where they went to different stores looking for unique vegan finds.  This inspired me to do something locally.  In my previous life as a non-vegan, grocery shopping was my most dreaded chore!  Now I love finding grocery stores that carry fresh produce that is organic.  I also like to find vegan treats.  Well this was one such find that I found at Natural Grocers store in Beaverton, OR.  I like making grilled eggplant sandwiches with hummus as a sandwich spread.  I wanted to try making the eggplant sandwiches with the Papaya Curry Sunflower Spread, but I never got that far!  I ate it spread on bagels and crackers.  I took it to work for co-workers to try, Papaya Curry Sunflower Spread and they really liked it.  Well, I need to make another run to Natural Grocers to pick some more of this tasty morsel up!

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Southwest Inspired Eggrolls

In my former life, I used to make what I called, Mexican Eggrolls.  I cooked up shredded chicken with cream cheese and jalapenos and green chiles and wrap it up in an eggroll wrapper and cook in oil.  I would make guacamole to go with them.  Well, I don’t eat chicken or cream cheese anymore, so I brainstormed on what to make for a filling for the eggroll wrappers.  I ended up stir-frying  some veggies and added black beans for that Southwest flair.  The veggies I had on hand were spinach, zucchini and mushrooms.

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I then placed the veggies in an eggroll wrapper and added shredded vegan pepper jack cheese and rolled them up.  Heated oil in a pan, and browned the eggrolls on all sides till it was crispy.

ImageI whipped up some quick guacamole. I’m kind of lazy when it comes to making guacamole, and since the ingredients in guacamole are avocados, and basically what you find in salsa, I buy a quality fresh salsa at Whole Foods that is organic and fresh.  I took an avocado and halved it.  Half I spooned into a bowl and mashed it up, the other half, I diced and added to the mashed portion and mixed it together.  I squeeze a little bit of lime juice into the avocado mixture, add a scoop of the salsa and mix into the avocado mixture to make guacamole! It’s really delicious and quick and easy.  This was my special valentine day dinner I made for myself!

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Portland Dining Month: Portobello

My phone seemed to revive after a night of rest and recharging.  But after the first picture that I took of the salad, seems that my phone decide to die a tragic death. :(  I turned to my dining companion’s flip phone to preserve the next two courses for memory sake!  It seems Portobello selected items off their current menu to make up the first two courses for their  Portland Dining Month menu.  The first course was the Beet salad with roasted pear vinaigrette, toasted hazelnuts and frisee.  For our second course, we had Trumpet royale mushrooms pan-roasted and served with Brussels sprouts, truffled potato puree and lemon cashew beurre blanc.  Loved the truffled potato puree and lemon cashew beurre blanc!

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And dessert was Chocolate mousse with hazelnut-orange praline, whiskey-coffee granita and coconut Chantilly…very decadent!

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I’ve had really good cocktails in the past at Portobello.  I wasn’t drinking alcohol on this visit, so had freshly brewed iced tea.  Most restaurants offer free refills on iced tea.When the server came and asked if I wanted more iced tea, I did want more because it would have been nice to sip on it during dessert.  It came at the very end of dessert, so I didn’t drink very much of my refill.  So just a tip, they charge you for your refill. I wouldn’t have minded, except by the time I got it, I was just about done eating.

Other than that, I highly recommend Portobello, I’ve loved the pizza, appetizers, among other dishes I have tried here in the past!

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