You may have noticed the scarcity in my post over the past couple weeks. Well dear friends I do have a good excuse for my
absence. I have been traveling for quite some
time now. When my brother and really good friend moved out to the east coast, it seemed like only the right time to make the trip. So here I am in Freeport, Maine taking in this beautiful scenery and enjoying the calm laid back life-style.
I started my trip in Newark, Delaware where my brother moved for his job. This adorable college town made me go yippy-skippy with all it’s vegetarian menu options. I was astounded. Not even the best choices back in Indiana even come close to what I had discovered in this town. Home Grown Cafe is a local restaurant that makes all their dishes from local produce. Almost everything on the menu had a star next to it saying it could be made vegetarian AND a double star for vegan. Holy cow, a restaurant that actual caters to us plant-eaters. I was falling head over heels in love.
I would also like to take a moment to celebrate one of the most wonderful foods I discovered so far on this trip. Chili Mashed. I found this lovely side dish at another local restaurant in Newark, Santa Fe Mexican Grill. If you haven’t figured this out yet, I love my mashed potatoes. I don’t know if it’s an Indiana thing, a Midwest thing, I don’t know, but I do love mashed potatoes. These Chili Mashed weren’t just your ordinary mashed potatoes. I mean what Mexican restaurant serves mashed potatoes anyway?!These things were mashed and infused with a spicy chili. Nothing super hot, just velvety potatoes with a little kick. A little kick that had me coming back the next day just for this particular treat. My taste buds were in heaven yet again! I cannot wait to try to recreate these bad boys when I get home!
(I wish I had a picture of these Chili Mashed Potatoes, the restaurant was just too dark)
Next stop Philadelphia
My dear brother probably found the one thing that would get me excited more than all this vegetarian food and culture, a Sublime concert! While there’s nothing healthy about that, it certainly made me one happy chick!
(I made it all the way to the 2nd row. I was stoked)
While in Philly, after the concert, a lost debit card, and a little too much beer, my brother showed me the ultimate vegan late-night food. A tomatoe pie topped with arugula! While first making a stop by the greatest bar I discovered which was hosting a mustache party and claims to be Home of the Pickleback, we then made it to some pizza joint which I can’t recall ha! For this!
Right: Tomato pie with arugula. Left: Sign in the bar claiming home of the pickleback, which is a shot of Jameson followed by pickle juice for a chaser. Delish!
I should make a quick shout out, before moving on, to my brother, Kodi. Thank you for being the greatest travel/eating buddy I could imagine. For you veggies and vegans, I highly recommend finding another like you. It makes eating on vacation a luxury rather than gluttony.
Now for my extremely long trip to Maine
Let’s start off by explaining exactly what this entails. At 9am I took a train from Wilmington, Delaware to Philadelphia. Then waited 3 hours for a bus from Philly to New York City. Then I had to walk nearly 2 miles to a different bus stop in NYC to take a bus to Boston. Where I waited for an hour for a bus that I was pretty sure wasn’t coming, so bought a last minute ticket with a different bus company to Portland, Maine, where my uncle picked me up at 12:10am. There will be a post on this particular day that I will call Fear and Loathing.
Anyway, I really didn’t leave the bus stations in Philly or Boston for fear of missing my bus or getting lost. However, in NYC I had no choice but to do some exploring (finding the next station). I don’t stray too far from the route my GPS has planned out for me, but I walk by a little shop on the corner that says Juices and Smoothies on the outside. I’m interested. I walk in, and they do indeed have green juices and fruit smoothies, plus a salad bar and a sandwich station. All look delicious, but I’m so dang excited that I can actually order a REAL smoothie! Not some fake sugar crap blended with some fake fruit for some fake ass smoothie. Pardon my language, but that’s how I genuinely feel. So, I create my own. My favorite. Banana, pineapple, spinach, orange, and blueberries. Gosh dang it, I couldn’t keep the glee of my face. I had gone without fresh juice or a smoothie for 7 days until then!
Now I had one more mission with my short time in NYC. I wanted to answer THE question. Which is better Chicago style pizza or NY style pizza? So I sit in this little juice shop, a gentleman sits down next to me and I’m thinking he’s got to know where I can find some good NY pizza. He’s got to. He’s got the accent. Haha. I work up my nerve half way through my smoothie. He says in his NY accent, “Ohh yea, 2 blocks up here, it’ll be on your left. Big sign says #12 pizza in New York.” I smile excited that it’s on my way so I won’t have to get lost in this gigantic city. I make my way up the street, eyes peeled for a sign boasting good pizza. I eventually see one. Though, I’m not so sure it was the one he was telling me about, but I’m too fearful of getting lost and missing my bus. So I duck my way into this pizza joint. Pizzas line the counter. I look at all my options. I consider the veggie pizza and decide that just a plain piece of cheese pizza will probably give me the best means to decide, Chicago or NY? I get this beautiful, huge piece of cheese pizza. Thin crust, but not too thin, cheese melted evenly across the whole thing. I hold up this masterpiece nearly above my head so I can take a first bite and I know the answer. A slightly sweet tomato sauce, goey cheese, perfectly fired crust. New York style pizza takes the cake… or pie?!
Once I hit Maine, I was so darn tired. I spent 13 hours that day, sitting, waiting, walking, going from trains to buses after buses. In my head though, there was one thing I knew I couldn’t wait for… to cook my own meal! That next morning despite having gone to bed late, the sun woke me up at 8am, and I scooted by butt to the kitchen. I scoured the cabinets. I had one thing on my mind. Potatoes. I wanted MY homefries for breakfast and what do you know! I found them. I cooked my own food for the first time in what felt like a month, and it was pure delight. 🙂
Left: MY home fries. Made with red potatoes, yellow bell pepper, and shitake mushrooms sprinkleds with salt, pepper, and garlic powder! (Though at home I use fresh garlic)
Right: The street my brother lives on in Newark, Delaware. That’s him to the left.
Cheers to more traveling! I’ll be hitting Boston soon 🙂
PS whoever said you can’t be healthy, happy, and hot while traveling is seriously misinformed!
Five days complete in my 30 day challenge! It’s been going great! I have so many things I want to share with you! That’s what I get for waiting 5 days before posting You’ll forgive me though, right?!
I promised you my veggie lasagna that’s so good you’ll never miss the traditional stuff… well turns out I didn’t buy lasagna noodles. whoops! I ended up making Veggie Stuffed Shells that once I get pictures, I will share. But for now.. First thing is first!
I love the color of this smoothie. It reminds me of grape soda 🙂
1 banana, peeled
1/4 c. almond milk
6 large strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries
1 handful spinach (or other leafy green)
1 Tbsp flax seeds
1/2 c. ice
Add it all to your blender. Blend until smooth. Then enjoy!
Tip: I add banana and ice to almost every smoothie I make. Banana adds the creamy texture you’re looking for and ice makes it cold.
I’ll admit I’m still a little salad challenged, but let me share with you what’s been getting me through it.
1. Organic Spring Mix. This is chock full of more than 10 good-for-you greens including; arugula, spinach, beet greens, radicchio, endive, tango, red chard, and the list goes on. Those are just the ones I remember.
2. NUTrition. This little mix here has almonds, pistachios, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and granola. (I might be missing something, but who cares!) This stuff is so yummy. I’ve just been throwing it on top of my salads for some crunch and a yummy healthy kick. This right here is for the lazy salad maker! (ie: me!) Give it a try! Oh, and it’s great as a to-go snack by itself.
Now I did tell you I made Veggie Stuffed Shells instead of lasagna, since I can’t share that recipe with you just yet, I’ll give you one better. The real star of the show.
Guilt Free Garlic Bread
The trick here is you want to go to the bakery and buy a whole grain loaf. Any kind, Italian, French, whatever. WHOLE GRAIN. Traditionally my mom made this with the sweet Italian bread, but we’re giving it that healthy ramp and going vegan with this bad boy!
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. Earth Balance buttery spread
(This is a vegan butter, I generally just call it butter)
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, rough mince
1. Combine EVOO, butter, and garlic in a bowl. (I do recommend a garlic press for this. You can see mine in the picture, but it allows the garlic to combine with the butter rather than be big clumps that I chopped up.) Mix until smooth. I just use a fork for this.
2. Turn your oven on to broil. Then continue to cut your bread into slices. Like above. Spread the garlic butter evenly over each piece.
3. Sprinkle with your fresh chopped cilantro. (Picture was taken at this step!)
4. Broil for about 3 minutes or until golden brown or butter is melted and bread is crispy!
I also use this same recipe for crutons, just cooked a little longer!
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. I’ll continue in my 30 day challenge. Good luck to those of you joining me!
In case you were wondering my hula-hooping skills are getting much better! haha 🙂
What are you waiting for?! Get Healthy, Happy, and Hot! Eat these delicious foods!