Sunday, July 29, 2007

Out and about, some eats, and another anniversary

Yesterday one of my friends from Athens came down and we got out and explored the new town together. Her cousin works at a local restaurant called Raging Burrito so we decided to stop in there for lunch. I forgot to take my camera, but next time I'll be sure to--they have some really neat menu options, and everything is vegan except for the obvious meat, cheese, and sour cream. No hidden ingredients lurking in the beans, guac, and sauces, which meant there was plenty for me to choose from. I ordered the Thai Salad (not a burrito at all!) which came with sautéed tofu and was drizzled with a light peanut sauce. It was so tasty, and HUGE--on a normal day it would have been enough for Bob and me to split, but I managed to eat the whole thing yesterday as I had uncharacteristically skipped breakfast and was pretty famished. The prices were very reasonable--$5 to $7 per meal--and with each dish being big enough to share, I can see Raging Burrito becoming a great place to stop in for a quick bite every now and then.

After lunch we roamed the streets for a little while, ducking into the little shops and things downtown. The town I live in is so close to Atlanta that it is basically a part of Atlanta rather than being a separate suburb, but it has its own downtown area that is quaint and artsy. It reminds me a little bit of downtown Athens, but more sophisticated and less trashy--Athens was a college town, of course, which meant the streets always reeked of alcohol and other unmentionable scents, but here it's clean and classy. We had fun walking and window-shopping, and occasionally stepping inside a store to get a break from the awful heat.

After exploring downtown, we headed a little further into Atlanta to check out this store I had read about on Happy Cow.

I have browsed the website of Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe several times, but I was very pleased to learn that they recently opened a retail store only about five miles from my apartment! My friend is vegetarian and quite interested in vegan living, so she was delighted to come along and check the place out with me.

The store is small, but they have some wonderful shirts and shoes and purses and wallets, as well as a section of supplements and beauty products, a nice collection of vegan cookbooks and magazines, and of course a grocery section. I found some brands that I have wanted to try--including Temptation soy ice cream, as well as Sheese (though the Sheese is quite expensive, I have to say, and whenever I can finally bring myself to buy it, it will have to be a VERY occasional purchase)! I picked up two dark chocolate peanut butter cups and a little package of seitan jerky. Today I went back, dragging Bob along with me. He loved the place too, of course... He especially loves his ice cream, so we picked up a little pint of this:

It's so creamy and rich (read: fattening!) so hopefully I'll be able to control myself around it. It's made on 100% vegan equipment by a 100% vegan company... which is just cool, and the way vegan ice cream should be (though I definitely have nothing against Soy Delicious!)... I remember reading about it on Bazu's blog, and I'm glad that I can finally try it myself.

Here are some of the things I have been cooking this week:

I have made this dahl before, but it was so good that it merited another photo.

This I have not made before, but now that I have made it, I can't figure out why it's taken me so long--I guess because I've never been a fan of Ranch dressing, so it's not been high on my list of things to veganize. But The Grit Cookbook has a recipe for its Famous Vegan Ranch Dressing, and I decided to give it a shot because the only way I've ever been able to force myself to eat raw carrots is by dipping them in Ranch dressing. Now, I don't know how "famous" this stuff really is, but it's far, far better than any Ranch dressing I have ever had before. I used Nayonaise, which really doesn't taste like real mayonnaise--and I suspect that's the reason I like this so much, because I always hated mayonnaise. The other bonus is that by using Nayonaise, this dressing has less than 30 calories per tablespoon--much less heart-stopping than the "real" thing!

I was cleaning out some of our folders and things where we have been stashing junk for the past two years (it's amazing how that stuff accumulates), and I came across a recipe on an index card that I had stashed away and forgotten before I ever even made it. It looked good, and a quick glance at the ingredients told me that I could veganize it in a snap... so I did.

Gingerbread scones. I know it's not exactly the season, but how I love anything gingerbread! I'm including the veganized recipe at the end here. I used fresh grated ginger, but when I make these again I might splurge a little and throw in some chopped crystallized ginger for a special treat. These are excellent dipped in coffee or orange-flavored tea.

Monday was our wedding anniversary, but today, 29 July, marks another anniversary--two, really. It's the one-year anniversary of this blog, but more importantly, a year ago today was when Bob and I made the decision to remove animal products from our diet and our lives. We had been nearly vegan for a couple of months already, and we knew after being vegetarian for about six months and doing our research about animal agriculture that committing to a vegan lifestyle was the right thing to do. So we did it, and we have not looked back. We've learned that being vegan, once you get used to it, is not difficult but exciting. Our tastes have changed, our bodies are so thankful for being kinder to them, and my cooking skills have truly blossomed. And, I have come to know and love so many like-minded people through your beautiful blogs. I know I've said this before, but you all really inspire me and give me hope, and I thank you for sharing your lives and your families with me. So often when I'm talking I will just refer to you by name--"So-and-so said such-and-such," as if we had just had a conversation over a cup of coffee or something. And that's really special to me, my friends! So thanks for sharing this year with me, and teaching me so much, and just for being so special.

Until next time!

Gingerbread Scones

1 tablespoon flax meal
3 tablespoons very warm water
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
6 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine, chilled
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup molasses
Orange juice
Demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 400. In a blender, combine the flax meal and the warm water and mix until frothy. Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda, and salt, and stir in the grated ginger. Cut the margarine into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the 1/4 cup water and the molasses to the flax mixture, and blend again until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir until moist. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead about 10-15 times. Shape the dough into a circle and cut into 12 wedges. Place the wedges onto a cookie sheet, brush the tops with the orange juice, and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until done.


Courtney said...

Your new town/city sounds great--I am so happy for you! And, happy blogaversary!


VeggieGirl said...

I've heard nothing but favorable praise for the Temptation® soy ice cream - looks divine!! oh and those gingerbread scones?? brilliant!! thanks for posting the recipe!!

I love what you said at the end of this post, about the excitement of being vegan/getting used to it; and I'm so glad as well that you are willing to share your thoughts and photos with us in the blogging world - I look forward to reading more of your posts, as always :0)

bazu said...

Happy veganniversary and bloggiversary! How exciting, and so soon after your wedding anniversary. Sigh. It's just too lovely.

I know what you mean about referring to other bloggers- I've gotten tired of saying "my blogger friend" and now just say my friend, or use the person's name. I love our little blogging community.

Glad you got to try Temptation- I love their cookie dough flavor!

Johanna3 said...

Happy blogaversary!
thanks for posting the recipe, sounds divine.

maybepigscanfly said...

Happy Bloggiversary and Veganniversary (that's a mouthful)! Your last paragraph is so heartfelt, and I totally know what you mean about the blogger community.

I'm glad that you've settled in and seem to be enjoying your new town. And how exciting to find the Vegan shop.

I must try those gingerbread scones! I love ginger, but I haven't ever baked with it (although, I don't know why). About how many scones does it yield?


Vivacious Vegan said...

Happy Happy Happy Aniversaries!!!

One of these days we're going to make it down to Atlanta (it is the closet TJ's and Ikea afterall) and I can't wait to meet up with you. I can totally relate to speaking about my "blogger" friends. I used to just say my blogger friend so and so but now I just refer to everyone by their name. It cracks Marty up every time I say my friend Bazu (I know that's not her real name but it's so charming I like using it). I agree that it's such a wonderful community. Everyone here helps motivate and inspire me and I don't know how successful I would have been as a vegan without everyone's support.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Woohoo! Happy veganiversary and blogoversary! I am about to hit one year as a vegan too and agree that it is an amazing, life changing experience!! The blogging community is a wonderful network of people, so I glad I stumbled upon it!

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

happy blog 'n veganniversary!

i'm hoping that, between Isa's recent post about chocolate ginger scones and this gingerbread scone of yours i can practice some restraint (i looooove all things ginger). must....not....bake....for a bit ;)

sounds yummy tho, as usual!

Monika K said...

Happy Anniversaries! It's been a pleasure reading about your journey - keep up the great posts!

stonielove said...

happy anniversary! it's awesome that you and bob have been vegan together! (mi marido is not, so it gets a bit tricky at times - i'm a bit envious!). i really enjoy your blog, and i hope to see more of it :)

mmm! for your scones!

vko said...

Happy vegan & blog anniversary! It's so nice that you & Bob share the vegan lifestyle and you are so so lucky to have that cute Cosmos' vegan shop nearby- how fun! I would be there everyday...and that dahl looks delightful, I love dahl.

Happy happy anniversary!

urban vegan said...

Wow--sounds like you'll be very happy in your new 'hood. That dahl looks dahl-licious.

I made your candy--I just have to find a box and it will be on its way, weather permitting (though they are calling for another heat wave up here over the next few days....stay tuned!)

VegTeen for Christ said...

Your scones look delicious! I just might have to make them somtime!

Jennifer C. said...

Congratulations on your anniversaries & your move! Sounds like your new place is near everything a vegan could ever possibly need.

Vegan*asm said...

Happy anniversaries! I think gingerbread scones and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream are a terrific way to celebrate. Atlanta looks like a lot of fun. I have been promising my family there that I will visit soon. Now that I hear how neat it is, I will have to come sooner.

KleoPatra said...

Laura, you know i <3 you and i know how busy you've been so i'm glad you posted!!

i'm wishing you a very happy anniversary with Bob as well as happy blogversary here!

Love when prices for veg food's reasonable!

i have this rockin' CD (i can't remember the name but Athens was in the title) that was made years and years ago, when Athens was "the place" for new music, sort of like what happened to/at Seattle... i have always wanted to see that part of the world.

i laughed about your description of Athens with the streets reeking of alcohol and other scents... heh. i can only imagine! College towns... ya gotta love 'em. They certainly have their own vibe!

Gingerbread scones - with fresh grated ginger. Mmmmmmmm!!!

Cosmo's looks excellent!! We have a store here called "All Vegan" that has some of the stuff i'm sure they have there but there is no frozen foods section, boo! i would love to try this Temptation and the expen$ive Sheese, too... i recall reading about Temptation on Bazu's blog, and maybe Diann's too??? and U.V. just posted about the Sheese and other vegan cheezes on her blog, so now i'm *really* jonesin' for some of both of these!!!

i don't think i have ever had Ranch dressing... i'd be curious what it tastes like. i use Nayonaise like crazy on stuff since i never could have the real thing when i was a kid (allergic to eggs all my life)...

The second-to-last paragraph here really sums up why i think the world of you... you're such a special soul and i'm so happy Bob and you are together, living the vegan life so successfully and that you share with all of US parts of you and your world.


That's you.