Coastal getaway in Lincoln City, OR

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long, but this is the first annual family vacation that I scheduled.  It’s challenging enough being vegan at the coast, but even more challenging is being vegan in a family of omnis.  This took a lot of thought and pre-planning of meals.  My partner made up a big batch of vegan chocolate chip cookies, and everyone enjoyed them.  I made a big bowl of potato salad.  I took a couple of vegan frozen meals for emergencies.

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Our first night there, the omnis had my potato salad along with their fried chicken.  I microwaved a couple of Gardein’s BBQ pork-less buns to go with my potato salad.  This was so easy and tasty!  I don’t have a microwave at home, so I don’t get to eat the BBQ pork-less buns often, but at work or a beach getaway, these little guys hit the spot!

The next day, I made vegan sandwiches with Tofurkey deli meat and it went well with the potato salad.  For dinner, we popped our homemade enchiladas in the oven, and I made Spanish rice to accompany it, along with a salad.

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For lunch the next day, we had leftover enchiladas and rice.  For dinner, we made a BBQ.  I love Field Roast Apple Sage sausages, we grilled up a bunch of those, and I also like Sweet Earth Teriyaki burgers.

For lunch the next day, we went over to McMenamin’s lighthouse.  McMenamin’s is a hit or miss as far as vegan cuisine goes.  They had a food special of a flatbread called, “Olive to Die Another Flatbread”. This was a flatbread spread with an olive tapenade, sauteed tomatoes and balsamic red grapes, topped with arugula.  It’s supposed to come with feta cheese, but I opted out of the cheese.  That evening, we had spaghetti and garlic toast.  Everyone loved it, even the omnis.

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For lunch the next day, we headed over to the shops on 101.  I had read on Yelp and Happy Cow of a place called Nepali Restaurant.  According to the reviews, the veggie momo’s were a must try.  My partner ordered those, and they were OK.  I ordered this mixed bean soup with spinach and whole wheat dumplings.  The flavors in the soup was excellent!  It’s a quaint little restaurant with a cute garden patio in the back.  The service was a little slow.

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We cooked up the frozen potstickers that we brought from home.  I had bought a big bag at Costco prior to the trip.  These potstickers are so delicious, I would take some to work for potlucks, and everyone would rave about them.  Costco will carry them, and then they won’t.  I was so excited to see these in stock again, but imagine my disappointment when we tried to get an extra bag prior to the trip.  Hopefully they will carry them again!

We went for a walk on the beach everyday.  Always seeing something new and different.  On one of the first days we were on the beach, these little shells were washed up.  I had never seen them before, and I didn’t see them again the rest of the trip.  They had little clear mohawks.  Not sure what that was.  Maybe a thin layer of the shell came off?  It was very rubbery to the touch.  I loved seeing all the colorful flowers to and from the beach.  Some planted in the yards of the beach houses, others growing wild on the side of the road.  We took the grandkids to fly kites, and that was fun.  But on the very last day, we saw a pair of bald eagles!  They were sitting up high on a rail of some sort when we first spied them.  Black birds kept swooping down on them trying to shoo the eagles off.  The eagles took to flight and found an area on the face of a cliff that looked a little more protected.  But then the seagulls started swooping in on them.  The male looked like he had had enough and flew off, leaving the female behind.  After a while, she took off after her mate.  For me, that was an exciting moment in my beach getaway!

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a.n.d. cafe

I found a couple of articles on the web for vegan foods. One listed the top 13 vegan restaurants to try, and the other listed 20+ restaurants that had a signature vegan dish to try. The restaurants aren’t necessarily vegan. Well out of the 13 vegan restaurants, I’ve been to 7 of them. I’ve decided at least once a week I would visit at least 1 of them. Yesterday I went to a.n.d. cafe for brunch. And it was a most awesome brunch! I had the walnut meatloaf Benedict. It was topped with herbed tofu and hollandaise sauce. My dining partner had the Reuben. He loves Reuben sandwiches, and he is on a quest to find the best vegan Reuben there is. Right now he is enamored with Native Foods, though he said a.n.d. cafe came close. I loved my meatloaf Benedict, though my sourdough toast was a little too hard for my liking.

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a.n.d. is open for breakfast and lunch only. Hurry in there!

Vegan Beer and Food Festival

I had a blast last weekend at the Vegan Beer and Food Festival in Portland, OR last week!  I am so grateful that Portland has such a great vegan community.  Through social media, I learned of the festival.  I’m not really a beer drinker, so I didn’t want to pay for the upgrade to a wristband for unlimited beer sampling.  I wasn’t really into kombucha before, didn’t think I liked it.  But the wristband I bought, had unlimited kombucha sampling.  Turns out I really like kombucha!  There is tremendous health benefits to drinking it.  Probiotics for the gut, and heaven knows I can use all the help I can get in that regard!

I met up with some of my vegan friends…and a friend that is vegan friendly for some fun in the sun!  I was worried because the day before was rainy and gloomy.  But thankfully it was a gorgeous day!  My first sample of food was from Nicholas Restaurant, and it was free!  A tahini sauce over jasmine rice…really delicious, and I really want to go the restaurant for a full meal now! My first meal that I paid for, I shared it with a friend, was from Clean South.  A vegan food truck based in L.A.  This place did not disappoint in the least!  We got the fried chicken with pimiento mac and cheese and cole slaw!  It was the best vegan fried chicken I have tried, hands down!  We shared, because I wanted to pace myself!  I found myself in a vegan smorgasbord!

Next up was the sammy from Snackrilege.  This is a food truck based at 625 NE Killingsworth Portland, OR.  I can’t for the life of me remember what the name of the sandwich was, I don’t think it is on their menu, but it was pretty tasty!  It had cream cheese and bbq vegan meat stuff…so delish!  I definitely want to go visit them at their location!

Afterwards, I had a fried chicken bowl with roasted corn and mac and cheese from Southern Fried Vegan.  Awesomeness!  Was getting full by this point, so luckily I brought my green take-out food container to take leftovers home.  I drank so much kombucha, I thought I was going to pop on my drive home!  I also had the chocolate covered cheesecake from Blossoming Lotus.  I really wish I could have tried samples from all the food vendors, everything was so delicious!  Fun live bands to listen to as we sat back in our chairs next to the Willamette river with a view of the Tilikum Bridge. Truly a vegan heaven!

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Birthday Painting

My daughter painted this for my birthday. She knows that I love koi fish!

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Aviary Vegetarian Dinner

I was invited to join a group of people for a vegetarian tasting dinner at Aviary.  I had been to Aviary once before, and it didn’t strike me as being particularly vegan or vegetarian friendly.  I was able to find things to eat, but let me tell you, it’s not that easy.  I never thought I would ever go back to this restaurant, but lo and behold, occasionally, they put on a vegetarian dinner.  I asked if I could get my meal veganized, and they were able to oblige!

It was all so sumptuous! The way that they prepared the dishes, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on flavors.  Everything had a zing or pop in flavor!  aviary aviary2

Chilled beet and lemongrass soup: coconut, cucumber, nasturtium, snap peas; Silken tofu: sweet hot bean paste, scallions, cantaloupe, sasame, peanuts, lime; Eggplant terrine: figs, zucchini and berbere; Heirloom tomato salad: kimchi, sweet soy, thai basil; Smoked maitake tempura, pine nuts, lemon zest, tiato; Warm vegetable barigoule: artichoke, fennel chanterelles; Lemon cucumber sorbet: melon, dill

Priest Lake, Idaho

Last weekend I took a friend’s invitation to join her at her cabin in Priest Lake, Idaho.  It was a gorgeous place to spend quality time with a friend that I don’t see often enough.  We had great conversation, went kayaking and swimming in the crystal clear lake, relaxed on the hammock, read a book and eat good food!  I love road trips!  We ate at Cavanaugh’s, there was a delicious bean burger with annaheim chiles and guacamole.  It was so good, I went back the next night for the same exact burger!

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I engage in a hobby called letterboxing, and on this road trip, I was able to score 2 letterboxes!  On the drive home, I searched for a vegan restaurant in the Spokane area, and my search yielded Allie’s Vegan Pizzeria.  I had the Wild Mushroom pizza that was topped with a garlic rosemary cashew sauce…wow! So yummy!  I also got some potato salad and a chick’n slider to take on the road with me.

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Farm Spirit

It’s been a long while since I have posted a blog entry.  I had such an amazing foodie adventure, that I just have to post about it.  I had heard through the Portland vegan community about a new restaurant that was opening up.  I’ve been seeing photo posts on Instagram, and I felt immediately that I was missing out.  Initially, I thought this place was on the spendy side.  You have to make reservations online, and you have to purchase your ticket online.  Not only that, but you can’t just buy one ticket.  Well, I didn’t want to feel left out, so when a friend invited me to her event to join her and her husband for dinner there, I didn’t hesitate, and bought 2 tickets.  I asked a friend that I knew was interested in trying out the place, but was balking at the idea of paying for 2 tickets.  She immediately said yes.

 

Farm Spirit is a vegan restaurant that has one seating for dinner.  You can only get in with a reservation, and many nights are sold out.  Dinner is at 7.  For an additional cost, you can get a flight of wine to go with your meal, or you can get a flight of non-alcoholic beverages.  I chose the latter.  At first, the Kombucha was a little sour for me, but paired with the food, was a delicious accompaniantThere was a beet juice that you could taste all those nutrients.  Everything was well orchestrated.  As you dine on one course, the chefs are busy plating up the next dish.  The pace was really quick.  As the chefs worked, they conversed with all the patrons.  From the moment I stepped into the establishment, it felt really warm and welcoming.  There were about 15 courses of beautifully prepared dishes.  Every morsel was delicious and satisfying.  There was complimentary coffee or tea after the meal.  A special gluten-free zucchini bread prepared for the guests to take home.  All I have to say is, if you are in the Portland area, you need to go!

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Prasad

prasad I met up with a friend today,  I haven’t seen him in over a year.  We met a few years ago through a mutual friend, when he first moved to Portland.  He’s very outgoing and friendly.  Even though he’s 20 years younger than I am, we get along pretty well.  In the beginning, we would all meet up to do road trips or check out hot spots around Portland.    We connected on Facebook, but with life, you start to go separate ways.  When our mutual friend mentioned that our friend became vegan, I decided to message him on Facebook, and found out we were no longer friends.  Oh well, no hard feelings.  I messaged him anyways, congratulating him on becoming vegan.  This opened up a conversation about how being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean being healthier. For me, I know everyone has their reasons for being vegan.  For some it comes from a compassionate point of view, their love of animals.  For others, it could be to be healthier.  Everyone is on their own journey.  Shortly after that conversation, he sent me a friend request on Facebook.

Fast forward many months.  I posted a status update on Facebook, saying that I was following a nutritarian diet and would not be eating out at restaurants for a few weeks, until I got my blood tested.  I wanted to see if my diet was having a positive impact on my blood sugar.  He commented on my status update, that it was the best thing that he has ever done in his life.  He then sent me a message asking if I would like to meet with him for lunch.  My first thought, was that I just posted about not wanting to eat out.  He mentioned on how everything that the restaurant prepares is good for you.  So I agreed to meet with him.  It was a pleasant lunch.  We got caught up on what we’ve been up to.  Plans for the future.  Talk about our favorite vegan restaurants, talk about health aspects of a vegan lifestyle.  Just a really pleasant way to spend an afternoon!

Nutritarian Diet

So far in my vegan journey, I’ve done everything in baby steps.  I feel like I’ve come a long way, but I know there is still quite a ways for me to go.  I’m always learning new things.  In my childhood, my mom was a stay at home mom, and we didn’t have a whole lot of extra money.  I can remember eating spam, tuna casseroles, hamburger helper, ramen noodles.  Usually she would make a big dinner on the weekend.  Pot roast, fried chicken, etc…  I was chubby as a child, and grew up to be overweight as an adult.  I was highly active, but I liked food.  Good food, bad food…I was an addict.  It was a good thing that I loved to exercise.  I loved hiking, biking, dancing, playing all racquet sports (especially racquetball), softball.  If I hadn’t been so active, I’m sure I would have weighed over 300 pounds!  As it were, after 2 kids, my highest weight was 235.  I’m only 5 feet tall.

I did take more of an active role in watching what I ate.  I lost 20 pounds.  After watching a news report on the horrendous treatment of factory farm animals, I switched to eating meat from farms that treated the animals more humanely.    I have several friends that were vegetarian, so I would go long stretches of eating vegetarian.  I noticed when I did that, my stomach aches went away.  I missed fish and other seafood, so became a pescatarian.  The year before I became vegan, I was mostly vegetarian, eating fish occasionally.  I then read a book by Alicia Silverstone called, “The Kind Diet”.  I didn’t realize how cruel it was to still be eating dairy and eggs.  I became vegan for compassionate reasons.  In her book, she does explain that it is healthier for humans and the planet to become vegan.  I watched the documentary, “Forks over Knives” which details the health aspects of a vegan diet.

So now I am vegan, but I’m not really losing weight, and my diabetes has gotten worse.  Before I was pre diabetic, now I am full blown diabetic with my last A1C reading around 9.1.  I was shopping at a grocery store, and the book, “The End of Diabetes” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman caught my eye.  I read it from cover to cover.  There’s a lot of big words.  But the gist of what I was reading, is to eat a more nutritious diet, a diet called the nutritarian diet.  It’s based on eating lots of veggies, beans, fruits, nuts and seeds.  Whole foods that aren’t processed.  By eating this way, you can lose weight and reverse diabetes.

I’ve scheduled myself for a check up with my doctor in June.  A week before I go in, I’m going to have my blood work done.  I’ve decided to eat the nutritarian diet without straying until then to see what the effects on my blood sugar will be.

Here is my typical daily diet:

For breakfast, I have been eating old fashioned rolled oats, soaked in unsweetened almond milk.  I add a sprinkle of cinnamon, tsp of chia seeds, pieces of walnuts and a handful of blueberries.

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For lunch, I’ve been having salad with homemade dressing.  I get organic spring mix, and top with cucumbers and tomatoes. This summer, I plan on getting a whole lot of fresh veggies from farmers markets to incorporate into my salads. On top I’ve been putting some type of beans.  Pictured here are garbanzo beans:

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For dinner, I’ve been steaming veggies and putting a homemade sesame giner sauce over them:

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I’ve been making soups from the “End of Diabetes” book.  Several of the recipes call for 2 cups or more of freshly juiced carrots.  My favorite soup so far is the Golden Austrian Cauliflower soup.  It has carrots, cauliflower, celery, leeks, garlic and spinach in it, and blended with cashews to make it creamy!

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I will let you know what my results are in a few weeks!

Vegan Bake Sale

I love Facebook for learning of events that I’m interested in attending.  I belong to the Portland Vegan group on facebook, and was invited to the Vegan Bake Sale at Tidbit Food Farm and Garden.  I had never been there before, but it’s someplace that I would like to visit again.  There quite a few food carts that had vegan offerings.  This place is located in SE Portland off Division and 29th.  There are times when I think I would love to move to this neck of the woods.  It’s so vegan friendly, which Forest Grove, the town I currently reside, is not!  In fact, I stopped at Costco to pick up some of my favorite vegan food items, and found out they discontinued carrying 3 items…how sad is that??

Anyways, the proceeds from this Bake Sale benefited Wildwood Farm Sanctuary and Sister of the Road.

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Here are the goodies that I bought!

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Took the cupcakes with the octopus and walrus over to my grandkids. They really enjoyed them, as did I and my partner!

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