Grilled Cheese

Before going vegan I never really ate grilled cheese sandwiches. I remember eating them as a kid. As an adult I only ate “fancy” grilled cheese sandwiches (think jazzed up with mushrooms and onion jam). However, I’ve found vegan cheese makes amazing grilled cheese sandwiches.

Autumn finally arrived in North Carolina and I’ve been enjoying grilled cheese sandwiches as an easy meal. I usually use Follow Your Heart Cheese. Sometimes I jazz them up with garlic mushrooms or sauteed spinach. Sometimes I just eat them plain. But I’ve found new enjoyment in a food I used to not enjoy.

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Triad Vegan Market

I had a weekend off! The Triad Vegan Market happened to be the same weekend. My partner and I decided that we had to go and grab food there. It was held at the Greensboro Curbside Farmer’s Market building. This is the first vegan event I’ve ever attended. I wish I could afford to eat all the food there.

My lunch consisted of a vegan tamal and some gelato. It was awesome.

Kitchen Tour

It’s the final day of Vegan MoFo. I can’t believe the month is over. Today’s prompt is a kitchen tour. Since last year I’ve had a move across town, so this is my newer (to me) kitchen. Please pardon the mess. The floors are a bit messy because my dog is afraid of mops, brooms, and the vacuum cleaner (I’m cleaning next time she visits grandma) and the sink is loaded with dished because I just popped some muffins into the oven.

Our kitchen is fairly small, but we make it work. We have a fridge, decorated with all sorts of fun magnets.

Across from the fridge is our pantry. Part of the reason we love the apartment we picked is because of the pantry (not a lot of apartments in our price range had them).

Then we have counter space and cupboards. It’s limited and narrow. If I cook with my special person it takes a lot of communication and teamwork so we don’t run over each other.

Our range is gas, and to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of it. It’s impossible to cook things on a low heat (I did manage to make successful pancakes a few times). Also, making baked goods in the oven is still a work in progress. At least we have a dishwasher.

Instead of using the breakfast nook for our table it’s extra storage. We have shelves for the microwave, baking stuff, and random appliances that won’t fit in the cabinets.

And if you’re curious about the baby gates, Mya isn’t allowed in the kitchen unattended. She’s a known counter surfer and we’re afraid of her stealing food and turning on the gas.

Brunch

My plan for today was to make a nice brunch, but working 7 days a week has led to a nervous breakdown and cooking isn’t really on my mind this morning. Which is a shame; I love brunch and my special person would have indulged me today.

A long while ago my special person and I went to Asheville, NC for a concert. We got there early so we could explore and have fun. We stopped at the Laughing Seed Cafe for brunch. I wasn’t vegan at the time, but I always ate vegan food when it was the option.

I started off with a cocktail. I’m a gin girl, so I opted for a French 75. It’s a cocktail with gin, sparkling wine, lemon juice, and often some simple syrup. They’re often served in a champagne flute, but this came in a glass (which is cool, because it’s basically a Tom Collins made with sparking wine).

For my dish I got the vegan huevos rancheros. It was made with tofu scramble and vegan cheese.

We shared a salted caramel cinnamon roll (also vegan, duh!). Oh my gosh! It was amazing! It was sweet and I didn’t even hate the salted caramel (which I normally hate).

Picnic

So, my plan was to make food for the picnic prompt when we had a beach or mountain vacation, but then Hurricane Florence wrecked havoc on the beach and the mountains. Then I got super bust working 2 jobs and had no time for a picnic.

Then we had a day, Monday, that felt like fall. All I wanted to do was sit outside and eat good food and drink something warm. I threw on my leggings and a comfy t-shirt and went down to Camino. I got a vegan sandwich, Maple Sriracha Tempeh with a squash spread, and a french toast (maple, cinnamon, and vanilla) latte made with almond milk. I’m usually a black coffee girl, but every so often when times are bad I treat myself to a fancy coffee. Camino has the BEST fancy coffee (and other drinks) in town.

It might not have been a “real” picnic; it might have been more money than I would have spent normally, but it was worth it to enjoy my favorite season and seek a moment of pleasure.

TV Dinner

When I was a kid we were only allowed to eat in front of the TV at Sleepovers and during the Super Bowl. I still remember eating some of those microwaved meals with the plastic film when things were busy and my parents wanted something quick and easy for all of us. Mom would often let us pick one when we tagged along to the grocery store with her.

As an adult I sometimes eat in front of the TV a bit more, but living with a 45lb fluff ball of a dog makes it challenging. I’m not a big fan of the microwave meals available for vegans, though there are a few good ones out there. Sometimes, you just want something easy to fix, then you want to come home, throw on your pajamas and watch your guilty pleasure.

For me the easy is take out. There’s a nice Chinese place about 2 miles down the road from my apartment. It’s actually the place we’ve been going since I was a child. Mr. Lu’s doesn’t have a lot of vegan options, but the ones they have are decent and cheap. Plus, there’s a beer growler place next door now. So I can grab a growler and enjoy a nice beer with my dinner and TV.

The most healthful option is the Bean Curd Home-style. It’s tofu, veggies, and a savory sauce. It comes with rice and is a hearty meal. One order will usually feed me for 2 meals (and I have a pretty big appetite).

Birthdays!!!

I am a Birthday person at heart. I love celebrating them. Who doesn’t love cake and gifts? I sometimes cook for myself and sometimes I eat out, it just depends on how busy I am with life.

But let’s be real, a birthday needs cake. You can read about my first birthday as a vegan here. I also enjoy making cakes and cupcakes for myself and those I care about.

At the beginning of September my mom had a birthday. I made her chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate ganache on top.

 

The first vegan birthday cake I ever made was a cake for me. It was my favorite flavors: chocolate and peanut butter. It has a chocolate layer, a peanut butter layer, peanut butter butter cream, and chocolate ganache. This was made a few years before making the vegan jump.

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When my brother was in college he loved margaritas, so one year I converted the margarita cupcake recipe into a cake recipe for him. He enjoyed it.

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One of my mom’s favorite cakes is the Chocolate Raspberry Blackout cake from Vegan with a Vengeance. DSCN0476