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Brunchin’ Like A Boss

August 7, 2014 — 1 Comment

When I’m asked, “Do you want to do brunch?” my immediate thought is, “Is there anything for me to eat there (aside from a fruit cup)?”

Truthfully, while I typically abide by a “You can take me (almost) anywhere” mantra, brunch can be a tough one for vegans. But when it’s on, it’s on. In recent months, I’ve enjoyed some standout vegan brunches across the Southeast states—brunches too good not to share.

With the exception of End of the Line’s $15 all-star, three-course brunch (that I most recently indulged upon this past Sunday with my mom), all of these platefuls came in under ten dollars a pop. For this reason, I will go ahead and refer to the following selections as vegan brunchin’ like a boss on a budget.

Whether you are planning to stay in for brunch, or dine out this coming weekend, here’s a little vegan brunch inspiration to get your mouth watering.

Brunchin’ in Pensacola — End of the Line Café

EOTLBrunch

Brunch Hours: Sundays, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. CST
On My Plate: Brunch of the Day–tofu eggs benny florentine with hollandaise and grape tomato-basil relish over black-eyed peas and yellow grits, served with a spring salad; Not Pictured: roasted red pepper bisque; peach cobbler with vanilla cream and toasted almonds
Selling Points: Although open for lunch and dinner throughout the remainder of the week, Sunday brunch is one of this vegan café’s most notable features. The following excerpt from a write-up I did last year for Inweekly’s Best of the Coast awards sums up my sentiments toward this rave-worthy hole in the wall: “Multi-course weekly spectaculars, tempeh anyway you could dream it up, made to order cashew cheese to take home with you—and that’s only the half of it. Over the course of the past decade, Jen Knight-Shoemaker, owner of End of the Line Café has transformed her coffee shop into a full-fledged, bright, shining, organic, locally-sourced, powerhouse of a vegan restaurant, coffee bar and art space. Yes, it really is quite a mouthful! And a tasty one at that.” Owner Knight-Shoemaker also contributed to a cover story I wrote for the paper last November during World Vegan Month, titled “V is for Vegan.”
Details: eotlcafe.com

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I know I’ve sounded off quite frequently this summer about surviving the heat, but it’s certainly been a hot one. Thanks to Vega’s Fuel Your Better campaign, despite the heat, I’ve been able to improve my fueling regime this summer, and focus on asking myself a single question: “What’s holding you back from better?” Along with helping me answer this question and motivating me toward better fueling, the Fuel Your Better campaign has turned my liking of Vega products into a love. This summer, the focus of my Vega love has been on a three-part sustain package made up of Vega Sport products that hydrate and provide immediate energy.

Electrolyte Hydrator

VegaHydrator

I’ve been sipping on Vega Electrolyte Hydrator every single day this summer (running or not) and I don’t plan on stopping this practice. Not only have I welcomed my family on board drinking Hydrator with me, I’ve even been blending up Hydrator-infused smoothies to share.

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On yet another trek from Pensacola to St. Augustine, my counterpart and I decided to make a lunch pitstop in Tallahassee. I just couldn’t resist introducing him to Southern vegan cuisine at the infamous Soul Veg, noted as part of the largest chain of vegan restaurants in the world, operated under the Hebrew Israelite Community of Jerusalem.

Situated just outside of downtown in a modest building next to some railroad tracks is this diamond in the rough. And yes, that’s me creeping in the reflection.

SoulVeg

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I am not what you would call a melon person. Yes, I said it. I hesitate ordering fruit salad as a side item when dining out because I know there is a 90 percent chance that it will be packed with honeydew or cantaloupe that is void of all color and freshness. Maybe some soggy pineapple if I’m lucky. While I’ll never appreciate melons that have become void of all color and taste, I’m slowly but surely growing to develop a liking for fresh melons, starting with one I already enjoy in small doses—watermelon. Although as a kid my watermelon intake was limited to pool parties, I’ve since learned to enjoy watermelon in cocktails and smoothies.

DreamsicleSmoothie

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Not at Home Cooking

July 3, 2014 — 5 Comments

On our way back to St. Augustine from our Florida wilderness retreat, we pulled over at the County Line in Hastings, Florida to stop at an acclaimed Farmer’s Market, literally called the County Line. We made out like bandits picking up potatoes, squash, beets, spinach, onions, tomatoes, mango and more for a mere $12. We even got to pick out our own courtesy apples after we had paid as a nice little thank you for stopping by.

CountyLine

Since we returned to St. Augustine with so many veggies in tow, we decided to go three for three on home cooked dinners for two, fully utilizing our findings.

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Confession: I’m always craving egg salad of the eggless variety. Itching to make this salad a bit less straightforward and more playful, I decided to incorporate it into a colorful dinner spread, featuring local produce I picked up at the market last weekend. Rather than scooping the eggless salad onto a naked plate, or a bed of greens, I opted to let it rest gracefully atop sautéed Portobello mushroom caps. These eggless egg-dressed caps were accompanied by steamed asparagus and sliced tomato, resulting in a balanced meal ranking low on the glycemic index and high on the satisfaction scale.

EgglessEggSalad

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Fuel Your Better

June 12, 2014 — 1 Comment

During the early part of this year, when I first started marathon training, I found myself struggling with proper fueling. Although at that point in time I had just kicked off my perfect oatmeal morning ritual, I had yet to develop a consistent regime for fueling before, during, or after runs.

Sure, I was drinking a reasonable amount of water, but I wasn’t taking any extra measures to replace electrolytes. As things heated up and the marathon rapidly approached, I found myself ending my long runs covered in salt, and feeling dehydrated and spent. Once I reached that point, no amount of water could revive me. Like many, I knew I could and should be fueling better, but I wasn’t taking the necessary strides.

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