Category Archives: Lunch

Vegan cookout

In my 17 months as a vegan, I have been to many, many potlucks, a cookie exchange and other gatherings surrounded by food. It’s so nice to go somewhere and not have to say “what’s in this?” or “can I eat this?”

But it wasn’t until this past weekend that I went to a vegan cookout! And it was so much fun 🙂

Saturday was Derby Day here in Kentucky but the Louisville Vegetarian Club decided to have an “alternative” cookout held at Tyler Park here in Louisville. This event was sponsored by Tofurky and Rainbow Blossom (a local health food store) who both donated food items!

What a beautiful day it was!

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And the food was yummy too!

Tofurkey!

Tofurky brat on a Rudi’s hot dog bun with relish, mustard, ketchup and some organic tortilla chips with Athenos roasted garlic hummus 🙂

And of course, the rest of the crew brought some really delicious food to share!

Yum

Carrie‘s black bean quinoa and Seana’s vegan macaroni salad

Somebody knew my birthday was the day before and made this amazingly decadent chocolate cake with ganache and strawberries 🙂

Cake!

Thank you Carrie 😉

I also had some spicy pasta salad a la Karen and these insanely addictive peanut butter chocolate chip blondies. Let’s just say I did not need to eat the rest of the evening!

I have to thank everyone for coming out and for sharing some truly wonderful dishes. You guys are so wonderful and I’m so glad to have this group in my life 🙂

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Lunch at Cumberland Brews

This past Saturday, we had our monthly community meeting for the Louisville Vegetarian Club at a local joint, Cumberland Brews.

Photo courtesy of Cumberland Brewery Website

We had a really great discussion about how to eat “vegan on the cheap” and also how to apply that to other things we consume besides what we eat (clothing, beauty products, cars, etc). I learned a lot and it was great to hear where other people are coming from. Refreshing.

We also got to eat some really tasty food!

On the recommendation of my friend Karen, I ordered the veggie burger (which is a falafel patty!) with no cheese and some fries. The lighting was not the best but here’s a small glimpse.

CbIt came on a bun with lettuce, tomato, red onion and a mushroom, plus some guacamole I happily smothered on top. Would you believe I ate everything on that plate. It got messy, but it was so good.

Once again, I am very thankful for the LVC. If it weren’t for our meeting here, I would maybe never have known how delicious the food is (I’m not much of a beer drinker). I will definitely be going back again someday!

Cumberland Brews on Urbanspoon

Fleur de Lis Cafe, Take 2

I first visited this restaurant with a group of friends back in September. I was really impressed with the food and of course the half priced bottles of wine 🙂

This time, I had a Living Social coupon that I needed to use, so my friend Courtney and I decided to hit the place up for lunch after some shopping in the Highlands.

Yes, the vegan options are limited but I was grateful that they at least have them. Plus there are a few things on the menu that could be “veganized” if need be.

For lunch, I ordered the Vegan Muffaletta:

Fleur de lisFor my side I got a “side salad” which was a funny name because it was huge!

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The food was really delicious and the service was just as good. Since we had a Living Social coupon we did not have to pay much for the meal but we sure did tip the waiter well. 🙂

I just love the place, it’s atmosphere is cute and cozy, they have good food and good service. They weren’t very busy when we first got there, but it picked up and we always had enough of everything we needed.

My only complaint? They really need to update their website. Their menu is far more vast than what appears online!

Happy Thursday 🙂

Fleur de Lis Cafe on Urbanspoon

Free lunch!

After a really sweaty workout, I decided to check out a health fair taking place on campus. It was geared mostly toward students but they were happy to see staff people there too 🙂

I am so glad that I went because I ended up getting free food!

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This veggie wrap was unbelievably tasty and impressive. I can’t remember the last time I actually found real, good vegan food at a health fair (sadly).

The wrap, along with some hummus and pita chips (not pictured) ended up being my lunch, instead of the veggie burger that has been in the freezer at work going on two days now 😉

We also got some free snacks for later!

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I ended up having the apple with some peanut butter for a snack just now 🙂

Austin’s Restaurant

I had been to Austin’s Restaurant here in Louisville maybe three times in my entire life. I couldn’t remember much about it, other than I liked the spaciousness of the inside and that they held a lot of banquets/parties there.

So when my mom wanted to go there for her birthday celebration with our family, I decided to check out the menu.

They are known for their “contemporary Southern cuisine” which unfortunately means a lot of meat and cheese. While they do offer a “garden veggie burger” I wasn’t sure if this would contain dairy, like some other restaurants’ veggie burger choices do. (I can’t tell you how much I wish Buffalo Wild Wings would do me a solid and at least opt for the Boca vegan burger if I’m going to pay $7 for something I could make at home)

So I emailed the address listed on their website to ask about vegan options. I got almost an immediate response from the general manager, Adam, who informed me that most items on their menu do indeed contain meat and/or dairy, but that the kitchen staff would be more than happy to make a special dish for me.

I was really excited by this response, not just the timeliness, but the fact that he was willing to work with me. I’ve emailed places before and either gotten no response, a generic response indicating they did not even read my email, or in the case of Applebee’s, my email was answered by a phone call from a person who did not speak very good English.

Last Sunday when we went to Austin’s, I was the last to order and I was a little nervous. It’s intimidating when you are with 8 other people and you are the only one with a special request. I was also a little unsure of what I wanted and had hoped the waitress would recommend something or ask the chef/kitchen staff what they usually make if they receive a request such as this. She told me if I knew what I wanted, they’d make it, but they couldn’t just pick something for me. Duh, it was silly of me to think that, right?

Luckily, she sent the kitchen manager out who suggested their spinach pasta dish, minus the chicken and cheese, and with a ton of veggies added in their place. Sounds good to me!

This dish was delicious! The mushrooms were probably my favorite part, but all the veggies were just so fresh and went very well with the olive oil-garlic sauce. They even threw some asparagus in there. It was also great because I had enough for lunch that day plus leftovers!

While I was a little worried at first, I ended up being very happy with my dining experience and even my family was impressed that a restaurant would go out of their way for someone with special dietary needs. A lot of times, I am afraid to ask so I will just order a salad or a plain baked potato. But I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone this time.

If this is how I plan to eat forever, then I’d better get used to it!

Have you ever made a special request at a restaurant? How did it go?

Austins on Urbanspoon

Bring Back Summer!

The weather has taken a turn for the cold here and the only thing keeping me warm right now (besides the dog on my lap) is fond memories of the stuff I did (and ate) this summer.

One of those things was a really great meal at local restaurant Cafe 360.

You may remember I ate at this place for my birthday dinner last year, pre-vegan, but definitely vegetarian-curious. It was under construction, dark, and they had a limited menu at the time.

But this time, I met a friend for lunch and we sat outside in the warm sunshine on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and plenty of good food to choose from.

I started off with the Spinach and Strawberry Salad which is listed as “vegan” on the menu (so helpful).

142 This salad was huge but so fresh and tasty, I devoured every last bit of it, except for the dressing, which I just drizzled on top a little bit.

I also had a cup of what was, to this day, the best vegetarian chili I have EVER had.

143 They even claim on the menu: “Our vegetarian chili will tempt non-vegetarians, trust and give it a try!” Trust me, they are absolutely right.

It was so flavorful and loaded with veggies, not just the same ol’ boring beans and tomatoes. I can’t remember everything that was in it, but the summer squash was a nice touch!

I can’t believe it took me this long to post about it, but I definitely need to go back to this place soon, for the vegetarian chili alone 🙂

In the mean time, let’s hope it warms up again around here soon. I’d really like to have some fall before we go straight into winter!

Amy’s pies : 1-1

Okay, I will admit now to you guys that I’ve sort of been lazy in the kitchen lately which is why I have been buying so many frozen foods. I’ve been so busy and it has been so hot here that it literally drains any energy I have left for cooking. I promise I will be back to cooking my own food again soon.

But in the meantime, it has been fun to try some new things and at least I am buying good brands with better ingredients, like Amy’s, right?

I found some frozen pot pies at Rainbow Blossom on Saturday, so I decided to give them a try for lunch on two separate occasions this week.

I didn’t realize it before I took this to work, but this one had to be cooked in the oven! Luckily, we happen to have one here, but it was hard to wait 15 minutes for my lunch to cook when my stomach was rumbling.

And it was worth the wait! The veggies, even though they had been frozen and then re-heated inside the pie, were tasty and still firm and I loved the crust.

And it had some tofu in there too! I really enjoyed this one. Way more than this:

This one cooked in the microwave, thank goodness, but sadly, I didn’t care much for it.

It was edible, but the mashed potatoes didn’t have a lot of flavor and the entire dish itself was just pretty bland. I think I found probably two garbanzo beans in the whole pie.

There just wasn’t much to it. I think it could’ve used some more seasoning or something. As much as I hate to add salt to anything, I think that might’ve helped, looking back.

I’m definitely picking up another veggie pot pie in the future though, that thing was amazing!

Mama Pea’s slow cooker BBQ tofu

One of my favorite blogs to read every day is Peas and Thank You. The fabulous “Mama Pea” has some excellent recipes (which are vegan) on her blog along with photos of her two adorable girls and tons of hilarious prose.

A few weeks couple of months ago, I saw her make tofu in the slow cooker. Since I am always looking for new ways to enjoy one of my favorite protein sources, I decided I had to try it myself!

Plus, I have two slow cookers and they don’t get used nearly enough.

I drained and pressed the tofu and then sort of just broke it apart as I placed it into the slow cooker. Then I poured in some of this!

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Then I went to work and let it sit in the slow cooker on “low” for about 9 hours. It’s nice to have dinner cooking for you while you are at work!

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I decided to serve it in a pita pocket as a tofu barbecue sandwich.

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Mama Pea never disappoints me! I loved it. 🙂 The Annie’s maple BBQ sauce is amazing too!

Later in the week, I had it leftover on a salad.

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I might’ve liked it even better the second time.

BBQ Tofu salad

What is your favorite way to cook tofu?

Feeling squashy

I started off Wednesday with some more oatmeal. I have had the same thing for breakfast almost every day this week!

Hey, if it ain’t broke

I’ve been alternating between sprinkling a tablespoon of milled flaxseed and raw wheat germ on my oatmeal. Both have great nutritional benefits (see links)!

Along with green juice, I have also been enjoying homemade iced coffee with unsweetened coconut milk 🙂

I snacked on some natural almonds.

For lunch, I had another Sunshine garden herb patty inside of a pita pocket with a tomato slice and salsa verde.


The tomato I used was purchased from Huber’s Farm, which is located about 45 minutes away from me over in Indiana. I felt good about making a semi-local purchase, but I was still sure to wash and scrub the tomato as I’m not sure what might’ve been on there.


I also had some cauliflower to round out my meal!


For “dessert” I had a new to me fruit: a champagne mango!

Since I didn’t bring a knife to cut it with, I just bit right into it.

The skin had a little bit of a funky taste, so I ended up peeling it back and eating the fruit inside. It was so good! It had a slightly different taste than a regular mango and I found this one to be much juicier and sweet than most mangoes I’ve had.

For my afternoon snack, I had a Larabar. One of my favorite flavors!


Then I went home and took Suzie for a walk instead of going to the gym. It was a good choice!

I was hungry when we got back so I had some raisins, which is what I was craving 🙂

Then for dinner, we headed over to Beth’s house for our weekly girl’s night potluck. On the menu this week: Squash!

Beth made a delicious dish of summer squash baked in garlic herb tomato sauce. It looked very simple but was bursting with flavor.

Between this dish and my beloved spaghetti squash, I can declare: I LOVE SQUASH! I love how it is technically a vegetable (?) but you can make it the main component of your meal. It is quite versatile since there are so many varieties of squash and ways to cook them.

I also had a side salad with diced tomatoes and onion with Annie’s natural goddess dressing and some warm, soft and chewy Meijer bakery bread, which I have absolutely no willpower to turn down 😉

For dessert, Margie brought a lovely rice milk treat.

I have had this brand before and their ingredients aren’t too bad and the sugar content is moderate, which I think being made from rice milk helps that. I thought it was pretty good too!

I enjoyed this while we watched New Moon. I never read the books but it’s fun to watch the movies and find out what everyone is obsessing about, ha ha. From an “outsider” perspective, I thought the second movie was better (but a little long), since the first one just made me laugh.

Do you like squash?

Day 7: A little too much fun

I took Friday off work to catch up on a ton of errands, including buying gifts for Mother’s Day and the wedding and two graduation parties I’m attending today!

I started the day off with a slice of homemade whole wheat bread that my stepmother-in-law made for me topped with peanut butter and banana. It’s so good!

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I also had some green Naked juice!

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I got a black coffee from Starbucks to enjoy whilst shopping!

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For lunch, I had my leftovers from Ramsi’s of course 🙂

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Before getting ready for my fun night out, I snacked on an apple with peanut butter.

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Then I got to go to this!

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But before the show, we went to BBC (Bluegrass Brewing Company) where I tried a couple things called “Beertails” which are cocktails made with their special brews.

The first one I tried was called a Wheat Spritzer, which contained grapefruit, orange juice and wheat beer. It was good and not too sweet!

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We also got to sit outside even though it ended up being rather windy out!

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I ended up ordering another drink (it was happy hour) and this time I tried the Cosmo of the Kings (I think?) which was made with their raspberry meade.

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For dinner, I ordered the Spinach Burger (no cheese, no mayo) and fries, which wasn’t really a challenge friendly meal but still pretty good.

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The burger was yummy! I loved how when I was taking bites out of it, I could actually see the spinach. It’s homemade which is always better than when a restaurant serves you a Boca patty!

Oh my heavens, the concert was great. The Goo Goo Dolls have been my favorite band for the past uhh…15 years or so? Gosh, I’m getting old, ha ha! But I love them and seeing them in concert is always a great experience.

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After the show, I wiped the drool from my face we met up with some friends who were in from out of town for the show and headed across the street to Cunningham’s.

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I wasn’t really in the mood for anything to eat, but I was quite thirsty so I chugged a few glasses of water but then we all decided to have another drink.

I got the Chateau St. Michele Riesling which was awesome!

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However, three alcoholic beverages in one night (even though spread out and none very strong) was not the best display of moderation on my part. I don’t feel bad physically at all, but I do think I need to control myself a little better in the future. Plus, I don’t need to drink so many calories!

All that being said, it was a great night and I’m so glad I got to spend it with my girlfriends!

I did get a little hungry by the time I got home (at 1 o’clock!) so I had a small cup of oats with peanut butter, perfect 🙂

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What is your favorite band?