Thursday, August 18, 2011

Asheville Veg Fest!

I'm finally doing a post on Asheville's first Veg Fest!  It was a great festival--it was small, but there were a lot of great vendors and even better food.  I had some amazing food!  

Here are some of the food vendors and pictures from the festival:

(Veggie Love-a new food truck in Asheville that's set to officially open in September)

(Some amazing raw food from Veggie Love)

(I didn't actually have a veggie dog, I just thought it was cool that they were selling them!)

(Green Light Vegetarian Kitchen is an all vegetarian restaurant in Asheville that I still haven't tried yet.)

(A bit of the menu from Green Light)

(This cake was AMAZING!  It was a raw cake from Veggie Love.  R got a piece that we shared and then I ended up going back and getting my own!)

(Veg-In-Out is one of TWO local vegetarian/vegan meal delivery services.  They provide a week's worth of food for you.  The other service was also at the festival and it's called Wingbean.)

(Veg-In-Out was serving up some samples of some of their meals.)

(Gypsy Queen Food Truck makes some amazing Lebanese food--she made everything vegan for Veg Fest.  This was the first time I ate at GQ and I had the best falafel I have ever eaten!)

(This shirt is from Chai Pani-an Indian restaurant that has a lot of veg options on their menu.  I just thought the shirt was funny!  I have not tried Chai Pani yet.)

(Some of the books that Firestorm was selling.)

(Firestorm was also selling some of the Herbivore stickers.)

(I loved this shirt but didn't end up buying one.  It's from a company who makes tofu out of Virginia called Twin Oaks.  I did buy one block of their tofu though.)

(This is the woman who owns the Gypsy Queen Food Truck where I had the amazing falafel.  She is fighting pretty hard right now to make it possible for food trucks to stay in Downtown Asheville.)

(I have not tried the "Farmacy" yet but love the name.)

(Thoroughly enjoying the best falafel ever!)

(R trying some of the samples from Veg-In-Out.)

(The Hop is a local ice cream shop that usually has 2 or 3 vegan ice cream flavors each day but all of the ice cream they sold was vegan for Veg Fest!  Yay!)

Some other random photos from the festival and around Asheville

(Could a veg fest be complete without a sweet animal mascot?)

(Her tattoo has a rabbit on it and says "vegan"--you really have to be committed to the cause to get a tattoo!)

(I LOVED this quote!  So true.)

(Green Sage should have been representing at Veg Fest--they always have great veg options and are all about sustainability.  They are a great local business to support.)

I hope that Veg Fest continues to grow in the future.  For it being the first year, I thought it was great!  Asheville's veg scene seems to keep growing.  It's such a great town to live in and be vegan!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mexi Pizza and Product Review

Simple, quick meals have been my go to all summer basically out of convenience.  Moving into a new home and still having many of my cooking supplies at the other house has made it difficult to cook from scratch.  Although I don't plan on eating convenience foods as much now that we are getting settled in, I did discover a product that I wanted to share.....Wayfare We Can't Say It's Cheese Mexi Cheddar.  I have purchased the We Can't Say It's Cheese Products before, but I wasn't really able to figure out what to do with them before they expired.  But the other day, I was at Earth Fare grocery store and decided to give the Mexi Cheddar variety a try.  I hadn't tried this variety before, so I thought I would see what it was like.  I think one of the reasons I decided to give this product a try is because 2 TBSPs are only 45 calories.  That's not bad at all and TBSPs really goes a long way.  

(Photo source: Wayfare Foods)

I decided to create a Mexican style pizza with the Mexi cheddar instead of using Daiya.  I love Daiya, but sometimes it's good to mix things up.  The base of the pizza is fat free organic refried beans....yes, also a convenience product. I have been buying these because they are also low in calories and a good source of protein.  The drawback is the sodium.  Canned refried beans are ridiculously high in sodium, so I plan to start making my own refried beans in the near future.  Here's the recipe for my Mexi Pizza:

Mexi Pizza
(1 serving)

-1 Flatout Wrap or 1 large tortilla
-1/2 cup fat free organic refried beans
-2 large handfuls of spinach
-1/2 container of mushrooms (around 100 grams)
-1/4 cup of corn (frozen or canned)
-salsa (optional)

(Other possible additions could be roasted or sauteed bell peppers, vegan "beef" crumbles, Daiya cheddar, or sauteed onions)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or so.  (I am not exactly sure what the oven temperature is because the oven temperature gauge is messed up at our new house.)

In a pan, saute the mushrooms first.  I have been using Dr. Neal Barnard's trick to sauteing veggies without oil from his 21 Day Weightloss Kickstart book.  I put the mushrooms in the pan and turn the stove on medium heat.  I let the mushrooms sit there for a few minutes without doing ANYTHING to them.  Once they start to brown, then I add a little onion powder, salt and just a touch of water.  Then add the spinach and saute until the spinach is wilted.  

Spray a cooking sheet with just a touch of nonstick cooking spray.  Put the Flatout Wrap or tortilla on the cooking sheet.  Then spread out the refried beans on top of the tortilla.  Then add the sauteed mushrooms and spinach.  Next, add the corn.  Finally, spread out the Mexi Cheddar on top of the pizza.  Let it bake for just a few minutes.  When the corners of the tortilla start to brown, then you will know that it's done.  This is about 5 minutes with my oven.  

Once the pizza is out of the oven, I top it with either fresh tomatoes or salsa.  It just depends on what I have on hand.  This is a total convenience meal, but it's delicious, quick and filling.  Also, the total pizza is somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 calories.  That's not too bad at all!  

I buy the Mexi Cheddar at Earth Fare in the vegan specialty items section.  Whole Foods might also have this product but I am not sure.  It's definitely a vegan specialty item, so it will more than likely be found at a health food store.  (Here's a store locator.)  For those of you eating gluten free, it's also free of gluten, corn and soy.  That's pretty awesome!  Also, as I mentioned before, it has 45 calories per 2 TBSP and 4 grams of fat.  The main ingredient is oats!  It also reminds me of the trashy Tostito's queso out of the can I used to eat as a kid but MUCH healthier and better!  (Here's the nutritional information.)

Also, I have noticed that many of the containers have coupons on them right now for buy 2 get 1 free.  If you see those coupons, it might give you a chance to try the other varieties if your local health food store carries them.  I know I have been stocking up with this coupon!  I hope you enjoy this product as much as I do!  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pushing the Reset Button

This isn't a particularly flattering picture of me, however, it's an important picture because I had just completed an intense workout.  A workout where I burned over 800 calories getting ready for the upcoming Hope for Horse 5K that's coming up in October.  I took this picture because I want to remember this feeling I had after I finished a workout on a particularly hot day.  I was tired and hot, but the sense of accomplishment far outweighed the feeling of fatigue.  I want this picture to serve as a reminder for how I feel when I do something good for myself and my body.  This picture can be there for me on those days where I feel lazy and unmotivated.  I can look at this and think about how I will feel afterwards and that feeling makes it all worth it.  

I have mentioned how it's been a struggle for me lately because of moving, starting a new job and just life transitions in general.  Life has been hectic.  It's easy to put health on the backburner when everything else gets stressful.  But I have pressed the reset button.  I am starting fresh and I am not going to let my health get pushed aside just because life is stressful.  In fact, that's when I need to be healthy the most.  I have set three new goals for myself.  Two of the goals are weight related and one of the goals is fitness related.  We have started meal planning again and grocery shopping.  We are getting our lives put back in order and it feels good.  I have two weight milestones coming up.  The first one coming up is my first goal--Goal #1 is to get in the 160s.  I am so close and I really feel like it could happen in the next two weeks.  The next weight goal--Goal #2 is to hit the 100 pounds lost milestone by my birthday.  That's also very possible if I stay focused.  Yes, I know our bodies do their own thing sometimes, so if my body doesn't want to cooperate, that's okay.  But this is what I am going to work towards with my exercise and calorie range each day.  And goal #3 is my fitness goal--to run in the Hope for Horses 5K in mid-October and try to do it in under 30 minutes.  So.....those are my goals!  

I have pressed the reset button!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Keeping Myself in Check

My new city that I live in, Asheville, is wonderful and great.  I love it!  However, I have found that it's a bit of a "food danger zone" for me.  Wonderful vegan food is almost on every corner.  There are two local ice cream shops that make their own vegan ice cream.....TWO OF THEM!!  And they are both delicious!  It's crazy!  When my mom was in town a couple of weeks ago, we went out to eat at all of the wonderful restaurants instead of me cooking at home.  I went a little wild with that!  One of the restaurants we ate at was Sunnypoint Cafe.  Sunnypoint is listed on the Happy Cow but I had never actually eaten there b/c my time has always been so limited in Asheville and I usually would just go to the all veg restaurants since there are a few to choose from.  However, I was blown away by my vegan meal at Sunnypoint.  I would definitely go back, especially with my non-veg friends.

I am going to have to learn to control myself with some of the places like Firestorm.  It's so easy to be downtown and just stop in for one of their many delicious baked goods.  I also discovered this past weekend that their sandwiches are awesome too!  Firestorm.....oh how I love and loathe you!  :)  Just kidding.....I really just love you! I just need to not come in every weekend for your delicious food!  

Another place is Veg Heads Vegetarian Drive-thru......a veg drive thru!  How awesome is that?!  Luckily, this is a little off the beaten path for me so I have only stopped by once and that was really just for the experience.  I just got a frozen coffee drink and was able to keep myself from ordering everything off the menu!  

After this weekend, I knew it was time to weigh myself again it was not pretty.  I have to learn to "check myself before I wreck myself!"  I think allowing myself to really enjoy the Asheville foods is important, but moderation is key.  That's what I have to figure out.  I have to figure how to let myself enjoy without going crazy.  Life is a balancing act and I guess nutrition is too.  This is what I am going to work on while living in this wonderful city!