TRAVELS OF LATE

This spring I’ve been #blessed enough to do a bit of traveling. #hashtag #poundsign #travelbug #travelearthworm

I generally keep the blog to recipes and random anecdotes, but I thought I would experiment with including some details of my trips in case anyone is planning some visits and would like tips on what to do in these places (vegan or otherwise). My tips for traveling relatively cheaply are pretty straightforward: stay with people you know and/or couchsurf and/or find  inexpensive Airbnbs; eat meals at home when you can, so that you can splurge on drinks and meals at night (haaaay box of cereal and almond milk for breakfast and lunch); book flights early and use Hipmunk to find deals OR road trip and get people to chip in for gas; travel domestically! I think the US is a fabulous place to travel. If you don’t believe me, read hereherehere, here, here and here.

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In March, I went to Charleston, South Carolina for a long weekend with my mom. Some people might find five days nonstop with their mom to be their own personal hell, but I like my mom, so it was fun. My personal hell is the DMV, but I will likely get to that in another post.

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While in Charleston, we ate at a bunch of great places, including: Xiao Bao Biscuit (get the Mapo Doufu– spiiiicy), Hominy Grill (everything comes with boiled peanuts!), Co, and Dellz Uptown. We stayed in an Airbnb, which definitely enhanced the feeling of being a local for a few days. With that in mind, I randomly found myself with a ticket to a Shakey Graves concert at the Charleston Music Hall and went to two yoga classes at a great local studio. I am trying to adopt this style of travel (hypnotizing yourself to believe you’re a local so you can skip all the tourist traps) because I think you get a lot more out of it. That said, we did hit some historic house tours, Magnolia Plantation, and the Charleston Museum, which were all super interesting. A lot of Civil War facts came flooding back from 8th grade, and I ain’t mad.

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Continuing on our vague tour of the South, in early May we hit up New Orleans for my cousin Jasper’s wedding. The wedding was pretty perfect. They served champagne and potato chips at the reception and had a brass band come play, so obviously things got funky. For eats, we hit up Dat Dog (they have vegetarian and vegan dogs, plus SO MANY TOPPING OPTIONS), Mat and Naddie’s (ignore the Comic Sans on their website, the food is great), Maurepas Foods in the Bywater (1-2 veg options, but very good drinks), and Vietnamese food from Mint. We were fairly consumed with wedding and family things, but made time for walks around the Garden District and stopped by the French Quarter.

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Last but not least, this Memorial Day weekend Ben and I shot up to Portland and Boothbay Harbor, Maine for a little getaway. Portland is SO COOL. We stayed at another fabulous Airbnb for one night (I really do adore them) and with Ben’s family for the next two. We borrowed bikes to explore downtown and had time to visit a handful of spots: LFK for drinks, Pai Men Miyake for some damn fly ramen, The Bearded Lady’s Jewel Box for more drinks and somewhat creepy times, Local Sprouts for breakfast (lots o’ vegan options), and always a stop at the Co-op. Up in Boothbay Harbor we grabbed our first cones of the summer (my blueberry sorbet tasted like sweet, sweet summer in my mouth). We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out at the rocky beach and pretending the water temp wasn’t actually 15 degrees.

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That’s all I’ve got! If you have any questions hit me up. Where are you traveling next?

 

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Cranberry Rhubarb Breakfast Bulgur

One of the many awesome things about where I work is that every so often, superstars of the food world show up to talk to our small staff and share stories about their work and their passion for food. In the last several months alone, I’ve been lucky enough to hear Christina Tosi, Dori Greenspan, and Maria Speck speak about how they entered the food world, their favorite dishes to make at home, horrible kitchen experiments gone wrong (it’s nice to know the pros mess up, too), and the inspiration behind their newest super badass cookbooks.

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I love to cook (if that isn’t obvious, you haven’t been reading very carefully), but I’m also a millennial, which means during most of my formative years I was pushed toward reading and interacting with the world on computers, not books. I am guilty of depending on the internets for most of my information, but I still can appreciate and cherish the feeling of a book in my hands. I especially love the feeling of opening a new cookbook and leafing through the pages to find inspiration for my next meal. Blogs are great (and I’m glad you’re reading mine!), but nothing really measures up to real cookbooks.

After hearing Maria Speck speak about her book, Simply Ancient Grains, I basically knocked over every child and little old lady in my path and sprinted to the nearest bookstore to get a copy. I should add that nobody asked me to write this, I just think it’s worth every penny.

This is adapted from a recipe in the book. I made several substitutions, including adding creaminess from coconut milk (both mixed in and as a garnish), topping it with extra dried cranberries, and throwing in some fresh rhubarb, because SPRING! Still, the inspiration comes fully from Maria’s beautiful book. CZECH IT!

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Cranberry-Rhubarb Breakfast Bulgur

Adapted from Simply Ancient Grains
Serves 4

  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (I like the Goya leche de coco, which is thicker than other brands)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh rhubarb

garnish

  • 1-2 teaspoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar (or honey)
  • handful of fresh blueberries
  • handful of dried cranberries

1. Add the bulgur, cranberry juice, water, coconut milk, and vanilla to a small pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the grains are chewy but soft. Remove from heat and serve warm, topped with coconut milk, liquid sweetener, and fresh berries.

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Feeling Ballsy (Vegan Cookie Dough Balls)

First off, let’s all just take a minute to laugh at the word balls, because, hey, we’re all 13 year old boys. This recipe is stupid easy, so I figured it needed a stupid title. OKAY WE’VE HAD OUR GIGGLES NOW, LET’S CARRY ON.

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I made my first iteration of this recipe about four years ago. Since then, it’s been one of my constant favorites when I want to eat something that tastes indulgent, but am not in the mood to polish off a container of coconut milk ice cream or full batch of cookies by myself (which I also do sometimes, it ain’t no thaaaaang). I recently made these for my friend Sophie and admitted that I didn’t want to post them here because they were TOO damn simple. Sophie made the point that most people want simple recipes. Touché, girl.

These have been floating around the internets for the last few years, so here is my take on one of the easiest snacks-dash-desserts you can make (they double as one of the easiest-to-convince-yourself-they’re-healthy-desserts, too). I should say that I do not follow a raw vegan diet, nor will I ever, but depending on what kind of nuts and which add-ins you use, these just so happen to be raw. SO THERE’S THAT. *pats self on the back, pretending I don’t eat pizza like 15 times a week*

Anyway, like I always say, it’s always the right time to pop a ball in your mouth.

(Sorry, mom)

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Glorious Balls (Vegan Cookie Dough)

  • 3/4 cup medjool dates (pits removed, v important), this is usually around 12
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (I also really like substituting almonds!)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • optional add-ins (start with 1 teaspoon and add to taste):
    • dark chocolate chips
    • coconut flakes
    • sesame seeds
    • cocoa powder
    • a teaspoon or two of tahini
    • hemp seeds
    • dried cranberries
    • squeeze of lime or lemon juice
    • cinnamon
    • dried blueberries

Simply throw the nuts in a food processor and blend to a fine meal. Add the oats and process for a few seconds until those are blended in, too. Add the medjool dates one at a time and process for a minute or two until it starts to gather into a big ball. Add your optional add-in (or combine multiple!), then blend for a second or two to just barely incorporate. Remove the mixture from the food processor and roll into balls. The “dough” should be pliable and easy to work with, like Play-Doh. If it’s not, try adding it back to the food processor and add another 1-2 dates.

I like to store my Glorious Balls in the freezer and pop them out one at a time as I feel like it. Sometimes I eat the whole batch in one sitting. Life it short, eat balls.

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©2015 Veganizzm. Design, caligraphy and illustrations by Pati Mo / Developed by Tyler Schappe

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