Category Archives: wine

Pizza e Vino

Confession: I went through a period where I HATED pizza!

It’s one of my husband’s favorite foods but it always left me feeling bloated and miserable, thanks to what I later learned was my intolerance for dairy and my general dislike of the way my body chooses to digest meat.

Thankfully, when I decided to go vegan, I started to love pizza for probably the first time in my life since I felt good eating it!

I swapped out heavy meats for fresh veggies, greasy crusts for pitas, and when I’m in the mood for it, vegan cheese:

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Chicago Soy Dairy company sent me this sample to try out and I decided to use it to make homemade pizza! Sometimes I go completely cheese-less but every now and then “teese” sounds really good 🙂

I topped a pita with pizza sauce, diced red onion, mushrooms, and grated vegan mozzarella cheese. This is what it looked like before going in to the oven:

009While it was cooking in the oven (425* for 15 minutes) I enjoyed some Romaine salad with Goddess dressing and a glass of wine that I picked up at World Market this weekend.

010I haven’t been drinking much Chardonnay lately because I developed a preference for Pinot Grigio, but this one was fantastic. Plus, I love the name and the label, I’m totally lame like that 😉

Random question: do you find that you prefer white wines in the summertime and reds in the winter? I think it’s a hot/cold weather thing for me.

When the pizza was done it smelled delicious!

012The cheese didn’t melt all the way but I was hungry and it was good enough for me to go ahead and eat it. I love how pita gets nice and crunchy, just the way I like my crust to be!

011Honestly, the CSD vegan mozzarella cheese was okay. It mostly melted and it tasted pretty good.

But it wasn’t as cheesy as Daiya, which melts a lot better and has a much more cheese-like taste and texture. But I would definitely call this one a close second.

Thanks Chicago Soy Dairy for the sample, I look forward to using it on a few more pizzas in the next couple of weeks!

How do you feel about pizza? What is your favorite topping?

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Sweet Potato Cornbread

Last night’s girl’s night potluck was totally fun! We ended up watching “Twilight” which I hadn’t really seen before. I’m not as big of a fan as some of you 😉 I haven’t read the books either, but it was a fun movie to watch (and laugh about) with the girls.

(Source)

For dinner, we had vegetarian chili that Beth made on top of some noodles.

It was a little spicy and definitely filling, although I did go back for a little more after this initial bowl 🙂


That hunk of bread you see in the above picture was my contribution this week…Sweet Potato Cornbread! I was originally going to make biscuits until I learned that I do not own a rolling pin. What?! Guess what I’m shopping for soon?

Not only have I never made this recipe before, I’ve never even made my own cornbread. I get so excited when I am able to create something myself from scratch, as opposed to making it out of the box. I feel a sense of achievement 🙂 The best part is, I had all of this stuff in my fridge and pantry already!

Sweet Potato Cornbread (based on this recipe from Random Girl)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup Silk plain almond milk + 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice. Next, stir in the cornmeal. Add each of the remaining ingredients and mix together. Spoon into a lightly oiled square pan bake for 30 minutes.

It definitely tasted like cornbread! It came out very moist and just a little sweet. I really enjoyed it and so did the girls. What a great way to use up some sweet potatoes too!

We enjoyed some merlot for dessert. I hadn’t had merlot in forever!


This merlot was really good. It was dry but not too much. I prefer red wines to white. What about you?

While we were watching the movie, I snacked on some orange flavored Lifesaver mints, which tasted just like orange tic tacs! Loved ’em.


When I got home, I was quite hungry again. Not sure why, but I wasn’t going to bed with a growling stomach, so I had half a pita with almond butter, which settled things back down.

Hope you are having a good week so far! I can’t believe it’s already Thursday. I’ve got a busy weekend coming up but we’re expecting beautiful weather again, hooray 🙂

What are your plans for the weekend?

My first frittata

For girl’s night potluck this week, I had the main course. I wanted to try a new recipe and I was definitely feeling like a breakfast dish.

Only this time, instead of baked oatmeal, I was feeling more like something savory. I decided to bust out my copy of Vegan Planet and make a frittata!

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I was shocked at how easy this was to make. I decided to use vegetables I already had on hand and thanks to Lindsay, I learned I could substitute corn starch for arrowroot.

In the mix: asparagus, red onion, red and green peppers.

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I was a little unsure about using tofu in a dish like this. I wasn’t sure how it would look or taste.

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When I poured the mixture on top of the veggies, I was getting nervous.

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But when it came out of the oven, it sort of looked like eggs and the consistency was quite similar.

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The only problem was the veggies sort of “fell out” so it got a little messy 😉

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But I have to say, it tasted pretty good. It didn’t taste like eggs, more like baked tofu, but I liked it!

And because the ingredients were so simple and fresh, the calories were pretty low in this dish.

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For dessert, I had some strawberries that were pretty good. I’m so looking forward to Spring and Summer fruits.

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We also enjoyed a bottle of Beringer Pinot Grigio.

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I had a glass with some bread that arrived later (this Meijer fresh baked bread is vegan and totally delicious).

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I also had a cup of Plantation Mint and another piece of bread (and another that went unpictured)!

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Everything was so good and I was really pleased with how my first “frittata” turned out.

I do think I will try it again and I’m also ready to tackle a tofu scramble that sounds really good 🙂

What dish have you made that you were unsure about, but it turned out good?

New phone!

Hey guys, it’s official…I finally got a new phone 🙂

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On the left is my old slide phone with absolutely nothing to it except making phone calls and text messaging (which didn’t know half the words of the English language) and liked to turn itself off randomly.

On the right is my new Blackberry, woo hoo!

It was so worth waiting for. I can do so much more with this new phone, plus it’s my favorite color 😉

Anyway, let’s talk about food, shall we?

I had another Breakfast and Dinner day as far as pictures go.

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Pumpkin oats 🙂

Somehow snacks and lunch escaped. But that’s okay. For those of you interested in my fitness program, I had an awesome run yesterday too.

If it’s Wednesday, there must be wine!

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I could not find Cycles Gladiator on my nifty vegan alcohol website, but honestly, I did not care for it too much so I likely wouldn’t buy it myself.

It just didn’t have much flavor. Plus I’m more of a red girl.

For dinner, Margie made this DELICIOUS veggie soup which I am very proud to say she got the recipe from one of my favorite vegan blogs Cooking for a Vegan Lover!

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Croissants on the side, a la Aleta!

For dessert, we had the awesome vegan brownies.

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Another awesome girls night.

I have the main dish next week, so I’m going to have to start looking at recipes!

Do you have a regular girl’s night?

I highly recommend them 😉

Ladies and the ’80s

Last night, our regular Wednesday girl’s night took a road trip 🙂

Our mission : to find some awesome ’80s attire and accessories to wear for my friend Courtney’s 30th birthday party on Saturday! I’d say we were pretty successful in our quest. I can’t wait for the party and to post pictures of it afterwards!

When we finally got back it was late for dinner, so I had to break my 9:00 rule. Hey, rules are meant to be broken once in a while, right?

While dinner was heating up, I enjoyed a class of Ravens Wood Zinfandel, my very first one!

I really liked it. Usually I prefer red wines that aren’t quite this dry but it still had a really good taste. Unfortunately, here again I found another brand that is not vegan friendly. I had no idea that so many animal products were used in making wine, did you all? I’m going to print out a list of the ones that ARE, I’m sure it’s rather short in comparison, but maybe not.

Dinner was taco soup (yum), bread and some tortilla chips too (not pictured).


Confession : I am still struggling with getting some of these last remaining non-vegan products out of my life (such as the wine and bread above). I guess since I started this whole thing for health reasons, I didn’t see the need to be so strict. But as I am learning more and really experiencing began vegan, my health is improving and my heart is changing so I am feeling more inclined to get rid of everything containing animal products. But it’s been a process as you’ve seen. I’m not perfect by any means, nor do I think I ever will be. But I’m trying my best!

Why is there egg in my wine?

On Wednesday night, I got to try two more new wines. The first was Armento, an Italian white wine made of organically grown grapes.

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This was much drier than white wines I am used to and that is a good thing, I don’t like the ones that are too sweet.

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I checked the handy Barnivore site, but it wasn’t listed. In fact, I couldn’t even find a real website for it!

The second one I tried was this lovely shiraz from Jacob’s Creek.

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This was so good, I am totally a red wine girl to the core.

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Unfortunately, according to the site, this might contain skim milk powder or egg white! Apparently they use it to “remove excess aggressive tannins and astringency.”

I just don’t get why there might be egg in my wine 😦 It really makes me worry about people who have allergies too, but I’m sure they realize all the places dairy and egg can sneak in, I hope.

This is why I keep trying new wines…eventually I’m going to find a really great, vegan-friendly choice (like Yellow Tail shiraz, which I loved before going vegan).

Red, red wine…

On Wednesday, I was in charge of “dessert” which has lately become wine…fine by me.

This week, I chose a red that is new to me. I don’t have the most sophisticated taste in wine but for me it’s not about how much it costs but how good it tastes.

Barefoot has never let me down.

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I hadn’t had a Pinot Noir in a long time so I was really excited!

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This wasn’t my favorite red, I am much more of a Shiraz girl but this was pretty good. Less sweet and a bit dryer than the reds I’ve had lately. But I would definitely get it again.

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I think the girls liked it too, which is great because I think most of them prefer anything but red wine 😉

Do you like wine? What is your favorite?

I definitely prefer red over white but I like most all of them. There is really only one kind I don’t like which is Moscato. Tastes like I’m drinking perfume, ick!

Struggling to catch up

Wow, I didn’t realize just how behind I was. Not only am I struggling to write my own blog again but I’m having trouble catching up on your alls too.

The good news is that as of right now, I am OFF WORK UNTIL 2010!! 🙂

Let’s just look at today for now, shall we?

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Pumpkin oats with Dark Chocolate Dreams. Holy breakfast! This was so awesome I wish I’d thought of it sooner.

Mid morning I snacked on a vegan rice krispie treat and worked hard to get everything done before the big holiday break.

Lunch was some pita, hummus and peas. Random but good and filling.

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Finished off my Newman’s Own chocolate, must get some more of this!

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Snacked on some clementines this afternoon 🙂

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My workouts have been really random lately since I was suffering from a major toothache and then working to build my appetite and energy back up.

But today, I managed to get an awesome 30 minute incline workout on the treadmill and then lifted some weights and did some abs before heading home to make dinner.

I love Mama Pea’s black bean burgers! Best burgers ever, who needs Boca?

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Inside of a pita pocket with organic ketchup and cauliflower on the side.

Also finished off this bottle from Monday night 🙂

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This is semi-local Oliver wine from Bloomington, Indiana. It lived up to its description, very soft and just slightly sweet. I’d like to try more from this brand.

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Yes, it’s 6:00 and I have already had dessert 🙂

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My cookie balls are really good. Check out Lindsey’s recipe to make ‘em yourself!

Tonight, all us girls are piling into the car to go check out some Christmas lights and I hear there might be a Starbucks run along the way?

Hope you all have a good night!

Sharing a vegan dinner

When I first transitioned to eating a vegan diet, I was a little afraid of how some of my friends and family would respond.

I’ve always liked making healthy dishes and sharing them with whomever would try them, and my best friend Court is always game for whatever I make. She’s awesome like that.

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So last night, I busted out the recipe for Happy Herbivore’s vegan meatloaf and mashed potatoes. You will recall, I made the faux meatloaf several weeks ago for my other omni friend Renee and it was awesome!

This time, I added green peppers but kept everything else the same (note: I almost always sub oats for bread crumbs).

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This was my first time making the vegan mashed potatoes and it was so easy. I also used a little Smart Balance Light since it is vegan!

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They turned out kind of spicy (think it was the garlic powder) but that was a good thing. Yum!

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I steamed my broccoli in my steamer and I have to say, I don’t want to buy frozen vegetables anymore! Something about buying fresh veggies and steaming them not only tastes good but makes me feel good too.

Courtney said everything was really good and that I should make this for our Wednesday night potluck soon 😉

She brought over this delicious wine from Argentina.

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I thought I had never had Argentinean wine before but apparently the Gato Negro I had the other night is also from there…I didn’t even look, ha ha.

This wine was really good, I have to say it rivals the Yellowtail Shiraz for me, which is a current favorite. Plus what a cute name and label (they get me every time).

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We had fun watching the UFC and spending time together. What a great weekend this has been, truly.

I can’t wait to start a new week though, time to pile on some more miles!

I also have an Exercise Science exam tomorrow but I’m taking the approach I did with the first one, just reviewing my notes and not trying to memorize everything like I did on the second test. I did much better the first time because of that!

How do you study? Do you do better when you study over the course of a few days, using flashcards and memorization? Or are you better just reviewing, winging it and counting on a good night’s sleep to help your brain retain the information?

I’m in the latter group there. It’s weird but procrastination and not preparing too much pays off for me. Ha ha.

Groceries, avocado, wine

I did a major grocery shop today and managed to spend just $45! Including…

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Most of the above is Josh’s, save the Larabars and huge can of pumpkin 🙂

And…

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I love buying fresh veggies as opposed to frozen. They just have so much more flavor and now that I re-discovered my steamer, I look forward to making them this week!

I went to three stores today: Meijer, Kroger and ValuMarket, after I studied their ads online to see who had what on sale. Josh remarked that soon we won’t have to have as tight of a budget (his car is almost paid off), but I said that would not change my “style” of shopping.

I still plan to be on a budget and shop for the best stuff for the best price, I just may be able to splurge on a high priced item every now and then 😉

For dinner tonight, I made another strange use of an avocado 🙂

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I cooked up a serving of coucous and stirred in some green onions (chopped) and a slice avocado, then topped it all with salsa. It looked good, sounded weird, but tasted amazing.

I had my dinner with some vino!

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I got this bottle at Meijer for $4 and I had never heard of the brand before so I couldn’t wait to try it!

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The color was a very dark red and it tasted a lot like Shiraz to me. Pretty light and crisp for a red. But I’m no wine expert 😉 I pretty much drink it all!

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You may have noticed my blogging has been sort of random lately.

I decided that for now, I’m just going to write about the “new” stuff in my day instead of making this a really boring food journal. So sorry if you really wanted to know what I had for lunch today, ha ha.

Luckily, I’m constantly trying new foods, combinations or recipes so it should be easy to keep it going for a while. We’ll just see where it goes.

I’m sorry to see this beautiful weekend come to an end but it’s time to get back to the normal routine and I’ve got to plan out a really awesome strength routine for tomorrow!

Good night everyone 🙂