Friday, August 10, 2007

The real world looms...

I went grocery shopping around noon yesterday--a very bold move since I had been up since before 7 that morning and had not yet had lunch. So when I went to the freezer case and spotted these Amy's burritos on special this week, I made an impulse decision that a black bean burrito would make the perfect lunch.

I've never tried any of the Amy's brand frozen products before, and I was quite impressed at how tasty a frozen burrito could be, topped with some salsa and enjoyed with a salad. Bob and I are both of the mindset that the "convenience food" craze is a very sad trend that not only impacts health but also people's connection to their food. However, when I was shopping yesterday I thought about both of us working full-time jobs, coming home tired and needing some relaxation time. I hope that I will find cooking dinner after work a way to relax sometimes, but... am I above eating a frozen burrito every now and then? Certainly not--I am glad that there is convenience food out there for me, even if I only want it to be an occasional thing.

I made these Sunny Blueberry-Corn Muffins from VWaV, and only as I was already mixing up the ingredients did it dawn on me that the 1/2 cup oil called for is A LOT of oil. Next time I'd really like to try and lower the fat content of these... but I have to admit, these are probably the best blueberry muffins I've ever tasted, with the lemon zest and the nice cornmeal texture. I'm staying out of them, though--I shared one with Bob and he's taking the rest to work to snack on and share.

I've been eating lots of salads lately, and I thought I'd take some pictures to prove it. One of my favorite varieties includes using mango chunks and Dreena's Simple Cider Vinaigrette (Vive).

I was not scheduled to start my new job until the 27th, but the company called me yesterday and asked if I'd be willing to start Monday--as in three days from now! Yikes--the real world looms larger than ever now, and Bob and I went out to dinner last night to celebrate my last weekend before jumping headfirst into full-fledged adult life.

I had read some reviews for this restaurant downtown called Thai Me Up--yes, Thai cuisine, as you may have guessed. It is very highly acclaimed, and I called to ask if it was vegan-friendly; I was assured that almost any order could be prepared to be vegan. So we got there at 6:00 and were able to take advantage of the early bird special--$10 per person for an appetizer, main course, and dessert.

Bob and I both chose the spring rolls to start, filled with shredded vegetables and black mushrooms and served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Delicious--though only after they came out did I realize that I had meant to order the summer rolls, which are the same as the spring rolls but not fried. My mistake--oops.

Bob ordered the Red Thai Curry, which was rich and only mildly spicy.

I ordered the vegan Pad Thai, sweet and nutty and lightly crunchy from the mung bean sprouts. I ate less than half before I was finished, and the rest came home. What you see surrounding the noodle dish are chunks of fried tofu. I don't know why, but I expected the tofu to be sautéed, not deep-fried... I ended up peeling off the breading and just eating the tofu out of the middle, and next time I'll see if I can get it sautéed or steamed or something instead.

We both chose raspberry sorbet for dessert. You can't really tell from this picture, but it was one scoop of sorbet served in a tiny glass with a tiny spoon. It was just enough dessert to be refreshing without being too heavy.

The atmosphere of the restaurant was light and easy, with simple decor centered around white, pink, and lavender. I wish I had taken a picture of the pretty paper lanterns that hung by the tables--everything about the place was just lovely. We'll be back.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me about local versus organic produce. It's been a difficult subject for me for quite awhile, because I see the merits in both choices... though I've generally chosen local when I've been faced with the decision. As I get used to my new surroundings and do some more research about what's around, I feel certain that I'll find farmers markets and CSAs where I can support both--and then I can have my local, organic cucumber, and eat it too!

That's all I have for now, friends. Enjoy your weekend, and think of me as I start my new job Monday! Cheers!

PS--Sorry I have not been responding to your comments lately, but until we get internet at our new place I won't have time. As soon as we do, though, I'm going to start responding to each of you again--I still appreciate and adore everything you have to say!


Anonymous said...

convenience food is great! i used to make lots of food and freeze them for "back-up" dinner. i certainly understand how challenging it can be at times to balance house work and day jobs :)

by the way, your muffin looks very good and "thai me up" looks like a fabulous restaurant!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your new job on Monday--that is very exciting!

Thanks for the review on the Amy's burrito...I have never tried any of the Amy's frozen products either, but it is nice to know that they taste good, just in case.


Vegan*asm said...

Mmm, Thai food is one of my favorites! Especially Pad Thai made with tofu. I hope you first day at your new job is great. I know what you mean about jumping in head first. I just had three interviews for jobs in Austin today, and if I'm hired, they want me here next week! I won't even have a house until the first of September. Eek! I guess that means I'll be getting nice and friendly with my friend's sofas.

Vegan_Noodle said...

What a coincidence...I had that same burrito for lunch today!! I also try not to buy too much convienence food, but sometimes it is necessary. Plus Amy's burrito's are pretty tasty. Your salads looks awesome, I love mango on salads as well. Best of luck starting your new job on Monday!!

VeggieGirl said...

oh my goodness Amy's® products are my go-to meals when there's no time to cook an elaborate dish (I reviewed one of Amy's® pizzas a few weeks ago). definitely give some of the other products a try!

those muffins and salads look delicious! I love the addition of the mangoes.

good luck with your new job!! you'll be great :0)

shan said...

deep fried is the way to go.

bazu said...

oh my gosh, welcome to the real world! As they said on "Friends"- it sucks! No, just kidding, you are going to have loads of fun. Good luck with your new job- how exciting!

That Thai food looks great (great name for a restaurant, too), I especially am digging the tiny scoop of sorbet at the end. I remember when I traveled to Rotterdam, one of my favorite things was that you could buy tiny scoops of gelato. They were only about 50 cents each. That way, you could have just a tiny bite, or combine 2 or 3 flavors and never get more than the perfect amount!

Oh, and I'm loving all your salad shots- yum!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your new job !

thefood looks great! what a good place.

love your salad.

aTxVegn said...

Your salads look great! I love summer and the infinite combination of fresh salad ingredients. We don't eat out too often, mostly due to all the extra fat we know we'll ingest. But the food looks great and there's nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence!

Best of luck Monday, Laura! How exciting for you. Let's see, now you have about 40 more years of 8:00 to 5:00 left.....

theONLYtania said...

Hey, good luck on your new job!! How exciting (well, sort of.. it IS work..)

I've thought about getting the Amy's stuff but in the end it's too expensive for me. Looks good though!

MMM those muffins look good too, I always pass that recipe and never make it, maybe I should.

Thai Me Up? Interesting... but you must be confused. This is America.. everything is deep fried. Food looks good though!

urban vegan said...

I adore Thai food...especially the coconut based curries. I also love papaya salad.

I feel so bad about the delay in getting you your candies...but last week was insanely hot...I have the stuff all made, and I will search for a box and send it on its way.

Good luck with your new job!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're settling into to your new home/city. Isn't it nice to have veg-friendly places? But, I'm sure you miss the Grit!

Good luck on your first day tomorrow. I hope your new job is everything you want it to be.

b36Kitchen said...

I keep some Amy's meals in my freezer for lunches on days that Peter has taken all of the leftovers for his lunch..It's a nice convienence although homemade is better and more rewarding!


Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Best of luck to you tomorrow morning, Laura! They will love you. I have that burrito in my freezer -- waiting for the right time. It's so nice that we have quick options in vegan food now. I've been meaning to try those muffins - they look so good.

Dr. Melissa West, Lifestyle Coach said...

Hi Laura

Great post. I love thai food. I have been hankering after a vegetarian thai cook book on amazon for a while now. I want to know how to make those curries without fish sauce.

I never even look at the frozen food stuff because we don't have a microwave anymore. Can you heat up the burritos in the oven or toaster oven?

Your salad looks super yummy. I love fruit on my salad and really need to get into eating a lot more of them rather than justifying the quantity of veggies in my pasta as a reason not to have one.

Good luck at work!

KleoPatra said...

Sorbet, sweet way to end a nice post. All that food really looks excellent. i love that restaurant name, "Thai Me Up" - i'm such a word nerd....

Hope the new job is going well!!!! i'm with you all the way.

Judith MacCaellich-Young said...

Those frozen burritos looks really good for a frozen item!
I do love your restaurant reviews, they make me dream that one day someone will open a veggie restaurant here. Nice dream. ;)