I'll call this my "Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall" blog post...
Boyfriend Supports My Veganism <3
This picture is from way back when we still lived in Santa Ana. So wonderful to come home from a long day of work to an amazing boyfriend holding a delicious vegan dinner that he made for me. I believe this was rice and veggies (broccoli, carrots) and soy sauce. He is very interested and supportive of me being vegan. He looks stuff up all the time and helps me make sure I get all my nutrients. I am so lucky.
In return, I make him steak every now and then...
This was one of our first good home-cooked meals in our new apartment in Irvine. Salad, corn on the cob, asparagus, wine, and for him, steak. We work well together :)
Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal
That is what Starbucks officially calls its oatmeal. And it is true. This really is the most delicious oatmeal ever. I eat oatmeal basically every day for breakfast. (I treat myself to buying soymilk and cereal maybe about once a month). Starbucks' oatmeal comes with a fruit and nut medley that you put in it, as well as brown sugar and I think cinnamon. It is a wonderful blend of flavors. I don't get this often, because it simply makes more sense to eat breakfast at home, but it is a convenient and easy breakfast on mornings when I don't want to make it myself.
Vegan at UCI
I am so excited to start grad school at the University of California, Irvine in 20 days! This sign is hanging up in the Starbucks on campus. UCI got voted in the top 10 Most Vegan-Friendly campuses by PETA in 2011! I have decided that I am not getting a meal plan after all, but this is still great to know! Go Anteaters! (even though we don't eat ants, or any other living being...)
Super Easy Vegan Dinner
I have to include at least one recipe for all of you reading this loooong blog post. This is one of the most simple vegan dinners to make. Basically just take whatever veggies you have, or go buy your favorites, and cook em in a large pan on the stove top. I think I used some vegan butter that I had left over from when I made chocolate chip cookies, put that in the pan. I think my veggies in this one were spinach, tomatoes, onion, red pepper, broccoli... Just make sure not to cook certain veggies for too long. Spinach cooks really quickly, as do tomatoes. I'd say start with the broccoli in the pan first, then maybe onions, peppers, then add the spinach and tomatoes toward the end of the cooking time. We had rice already made leftover in the fridge, so I added the rice straight to the pan with the veggies, and finally I threw in whatever spices I had lying around. Just think about what would taste good together, and make it to suit your own individual taste buds! I can't remember if I added soy sauce to this dish or not, but you need something kind of wet, especially to revive the leftover rice. The vegan butter helped to do this too. Enjoy this dish with a glass of wine in a chalice engraved with your name on it, and you are all set for a super vegan dinner!
Pink's Hot Dogs... VEGAN?!!! No way.
Pink's Hot Dogs is a legendary hot dog joint in Hollywood. Seriously, they are super famous. The line is often super long, and they have hot dogs named after famous people. When Patrick's Grammie came to visit southern California we had a day in Hollywood. After a lovely time at the Griffith Observatory (our favorite place in Hollywood) we decided to go to Pink's, and to my extreme surprise and happiness, I learned that Pink's has a vegan hot dog on the menu!
They really load the guac on there. It was delicious! I also got a side order of fries, my vegan guilty pleasure. The hotdog costs $3.85. Great price, great food, and a Hollywood tradition that I don't have to miss out on because I'm vegan! Although I don't think I'll be going to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles anytime soon. :)
Sorry for another Starbucks plug, but this one is good. I had seen signs advertising Starbucks new Refresher drinks, and my initial thought was "I am not paying that much for juice, or whatever it is"
HOWEVER I then tried a free sample they had out at the register. The barista explained to me that it actually does have caffeine in it. I was told it has more caffeine than tea and just a little less than coffee. They extract the caffeine from unroasted coffee beans, put that in delicious juice, then it is about half juice/half water. It is ridiculously refreshing and rejuvenating, especially after a long morning of teaching dance and playing games with kids a summer camp. They have two flavors, Very Berry Hibiscus (blackberries) and Cool Lime. Cool Lime is hands down the better flavor. I drink the whole thing, which comes with a lime wedge, then I have them refill my cup with water and I squeeze the lime into the water. So it is like two delicious drinks in one. You should definitely try it. It is cheaper than a frappuccino and not as heavy, perfect for summer. Go now. Try it. Wait, finish reading this blog post first. Then go.
I went back to Wholesome Choice grocery store, the store I talked about in my previous blog post. I tried taking some pictures of their amazing produce department, but it is just too big to capture in a single photo!
This section is just for nuts and beans. You scoop your own nuts/beans into bags and buy it by the weight.
Blaze Pizza - the new kid on the block
A new, hip pizza joint opened up right down the street from us in Irvine. It is called Blaze Pizza. This is their very first location, with another one coming to northern California soon. Shortly after they opened up they had Free Pizza Day! They gave away one entire free pizza to everyone! They only make one size pizza, a moderately sized personal pizza. Unfortunately when Patrick and I went down there to get our free pizza, the line was about an hour long, so we didn't wait. I did, however, go back the next day to buy some pizza. It is assembly line style, one flat price. It costs just over $5. I don't remember the exact price. For that flat rate you get one cheese and any two meat toppings. Negative- there is a $2 upcharge for vegan cheese. Positive- you can get as many veggies as you want for the same rate. I took ALL the VEGGIES because of the $2 vegan cheese charge. Out of 10 I score Blaze Pizza a 7. Zpizza's Berkely Vegan Pizza is way better (9.5 out of 10). Blaze gets the good score of 7, though, because they offer the vegan cheese option and awesome veggies. Blaze is focused on quick service, so for a quick pizza place Blaze is awesome. As they say on their website "Every gourmet pizza is fast-fire'd over a blazing open flame to perfectly crisp perfection in just 120 seconds." I'd personally rather wait the extra 10 minutes and pay a little more but get a better pizza (zpizza). Blaze is certainly hip and trendy though, and they are a smart company who knows their crowd, because they opened their first location at UCI. The decor and pizza boxes are cool.
Vegan Blaze Pizza. Vegan Cheese and ALL THE VEGGIES!!!
That said, Patrick and I are going to the $2 movie theatre in Santa Ana tonight to see MIB3, then going to get some ZPIZZA because he has a coupon, and possibly some Tutti Frutti froyo, because there is not a Tutti Frutti anywhere near us in Irvine, and Tutti Frutti is the only froyo place for VEGANS!
Thank you for reading. I have one more, very important thing to post today. I know when I first went vegan I said I was not going to turn into one of those snobby vegans who makes you feel bad if you're not vegan and who thinks they are better than you because they are vegan. I was doing it completely for myself and for my own health. Well I really have learned a lot, and have a lot more to learn, about this whole vegan thing. I respect every person's decision to live their life they way they so choose and I judge no one. That said, please take 10 minutes to watch this video with an open mind. Comments welcome :)
The answer to so many things....
Happy Eating, Happy Saving the World <3