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!
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
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!
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.
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 accompaniant. There 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!
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!
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.
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:
For dinner, I’ve been steaming veggies and putting a homemade sesame giner sauce over them:
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!
I will let you know what my results are in a few weeks!
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??
Here are the goodies that I bought!
Took the cupcakes with the octopus and walrus over to my grandkids. They really enjoyed them, as did I and my partner!
I had seen a groupon for a hotel in Astoria, OR. I thought it was a good deal, so I purchased it. The only thing about those deals, is it’s not as ideal as I could hope for. I work Tuesday nights, and get off on Wednesday mornings around 6am. So I need to get some sleep when I get off work. I have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and every other Saturdays off. I was hoping to reserve the room for Thursday and Friday nights, but of course there wasn’t any availability for Friday night. I settled for Wednesday and Thursday night. I figured I would take a nap after I get home and wake up around noon to pack and depart for Astoria. I didn’t get up as early as I hoped for and was tired the rest of the day. Also, the perfect weather I had ordered, didn’t happen. But it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. My room at the Riverwalk Inn had a nice view of the Astoria-Megler bridge.
Check in was at 4pm, but we didn’t get there till 4:30ish, and we went up to the room to rest. I kept looking for vegan friendly places to dine. Not a whole lot in Astoria. We decided to check out Fort George Brewery. They have a pizza that they could veganize using gluten free crust.
The next day, we went letterboxing at some cool places. We went to all the local sightseeing spots such as the Goonies House, Flavel House, Oregon Film Museum, Column, Maritime Memorial and Maritime Museum.
We had lunch at the Blue Scorcher Bakery.
We went back to our room after an exhausting day of sightseeing. But then we got ourselves ready to go check out the Columbian Cafe for dinner. Garlic Toast with different jellies, some spicy, all delicious!
The chef did a vegan Chef’s choice for us…absolutely wonderfully creative dishes!
We had an awesome time doing all the things that I enjoy!
It’s been a while since I’ve been down to the Salem area. I posted a question on a social media to find out where vegans like to eat in the area. The majority said Marco Polo. So that’s where I went…and it was a very good choice! I ordered a chickpea curry soup and veggies in black bean sauce, very flavorful! My dining companion got vegan potstickers and spring rolls, and he said they were some of the best he’s had.
Afterwards, we headed back up to Keizer, OR to check out the Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. Disappointed that there weren’t that many flowers in bloom, but I may try to head back in a couple of weeks. Here is a picture of the few that I was able to capture.