At the end of May to the very beginning of June I was in Austin, Tx attending the third and final Vida Vegan Con. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the last two. I wish VVC would happen again. Its been a great way to get myself out of NJ for a couple of days but I understand what an undertaking it is for the 3 lovely ladies who organize everything.
I’ve never been to Texas and I’ve heard so many good things about Austin that I couldn’t wait to go. I wanted to eat all the food!
We arrived in Austin around 10 am on a Thursday. After checking into our hotel room we decided to go to Counter Culture for our first meal. Everything on the menu sounded so good! Eventually I settled on the Philly Seitan Cheesesteak with a Pac Mac Kale Salad on the side. It took me a bit to realize the carrots were purposely cut into little pac man shapes! The meal was delicious and it left me wanting to come back and try something else..which we eventually did.
Right down the road from Counter Culture is the famed vegan bakery Capital City Bakery! I couldn’t wait to see this place! I’ve been following the owner Kristen Davenport on various social media outlets for quite some times now…before she even started the bakery as a food truck. It was so nice to see someone’s dream realized and in such a cute space. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of the cuteness only the one dark photo above. The space isn’t dark at all! I was so tired from being up at 4 am for our flight that I just didn’t think to take more pictures. I ended up buying a brownie to bring back to the hotel. It was one of the best brownies I’ve ever had from a bakery!
We ended up back at the hotel and had a quick nap and rest before heading out to the unofficial official meet and greet at The Buzzmill. I’ll blame jet lag or maybe it was just the incredible Texas heat but I somehow didn’t take a single picture! I felt like I was melting it was so hot. I assure you that the vegan eggrolls I ate for dinner, at the Golden Spike Rail Cart, which is in the backyard of The Buzzmill, were amazing and worth sitting in the sun for!
I’ll admit now that this was my least favorite meal during my entire trip. The company and conversation was lovely and I truly enjoyed myself. I just could have done without this meal. It wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t memorable. I ordered the Spicy Tempeh Enchilada’s. For me..more needed to be done to the tempeh for my liking. I did however really like their Spicy Cashew Chipotle Sauce that topped the Enchilada’s and their black beans were good too. What I liked about Mother’s Cafe is how easy they make it to veganize almost anything on their menu and I would go back and try something else if I ever find myself in Austin again.
Part 2 of Dining Out in Austin, Tx will feature my new all time favorite restaurant anywhere in the world: Bouldin Creek Cafe! I might have eaten there 3 times while in Austin. :)
If it’s your birthday I’ll pretty much make anything you want. My sister requested Lavender Cupcakes. She envisioned them being lavender in color as well as flavor. I just stuck with the lavender flavor. I’ll use food coloring sometimes but would rather just stick with non dyed foods especially if a recipe would need A LOT of dye, which, this would have. They definitely tasted like lavender and were very pretty to look at. I’m not sure if I would make them again. A little too herb-y for a sweet treat I think.
My daughter is very into learning how to bake. She wants to own a bakery when she is “a teenager”. :) So we’ve been experimenting with our own recipes every once in a while. Our latest, which needs more testing, is and Oatmeal Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cookie. We were big fans of these!
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin
When your banana’s start to go you make Banana Bread/Muffins. We always add chocolate chips to ours. I have some bananas that are perfect for muffin making on my counter right now!
Mini Key Lime Pies
This was a Pinterest recipe that I pinned awhile ago. I’m one of those pinners who pin but never do anything with those pins in real life.
This past weekend we celebrated Easter. For me, as a non religious person, it’s just another food holiday, which are my favorite! I love making new and special meals to share with family. After a backyard Plastic Easter Egg Hunt for the kids I got to work in the kitchen preparing 2 dishes to bring to my Mother In Laws house.
First up was a Gluten Free/Soy Free/Nut Free-Vegan Carrot Cake. We have some allergies in our family (!) and as the only vegan in the family I wanted to make sure we had a dessert that everyone could eat. I’ve never made a full size Gluten Free cake before so I was a little nervous at how it would come out. As is my nature I tend to not test new recipes out before hand for holidays or events. Its a terrible habit but one that I’ve been able to get away with and managed to get away with again…phew! The cake was a huge success! It was full of hand shredded carrots and a ton of spices. The spiciness of the cake was everyone’s favorite part of it. It was loaded with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
To decorate the cake I made a peachy pink vegan buttercream that I spread out as smooth as possible and piped some little decorations around the edge of the cake. I found some unsweetened coconut in my baking cabinet and sprinkled that on top.
Just before serving the cake my daughter and I added some handmade decorations that she made for the cake earlier in the day to make it more festive. It was adorable. I highly recommend letting your kids help decorate a cake with some of their drawings taped to long wooden skewers.
My husbands Aunt declared that this cake will be her new birthday cake. She loved it that much and I will be happy to make it for her again.
Seitan and Mushroom Roulade
For the vegetarian main entree I made a Seitan and Mushroom Roulade. I only had half a plan for this part of the meal. I know I was going to saute onions, seitan, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and spices and then deglaze the pan with tamari and red wine and then do something with filo dough. First I was going to make individual “cigars”. Then I was going to make individual wrapped pockets. In the end I didn’t have time for anything “individual” and a roulade was just to thing to speed things up! I saved some of the seitan simmering broth and we used that as a jus sauce. It was a nice a festive main entree.
On my plate next to the roulade were Thyme Infused Spring Vegetables and Asian Sauteed Asparagus, both made by my mother. I didn’t eat a lot because I was saving room for the cake! Which we served with Trader Joe’s Soy Vanilla Ice Cream. It was the perfect Holiday Meal.
Homemade Seitan Wrap w. Mesclun and Sriracha Mayo
We are home, yet again, with another snowstorm. Spring is only 15 days away and I can’t imagine ever seeing my neighborhood without snow again! Its gotten to a point where there isn’t any place else to shovel it. I feel bad for the people up in and near Boston. They have it way worse then us. I love the snow and love that it is snowing but it’s getting to the point where enough is enough.
Grilled Tofu with Spicy Veg Stirfry
Since the kids and I are home today I’m thinking of trying out some new recipes. Turn the oven on and make the house cozy warm. A few months ago I started working on a Spinach-Cheddar Biscuit. They would be so comforting to make and eat today. I’m thinking up an enchilada recipe or possibly a stuffed sweet potato recipe. Maybe I should combine both ideas? My 7 year old daughter wants to learn to bake so I though we could create a cookie recipe today with whatever is in the baking cabinet.
I let her make my Secret Brownie recipe the other day. She did about 95% of it herself which is not only a big deal for her but also a big deal for me. Its very hard for me to give control over to someone else in the kitchen! She did a great job on them. Can’t wait to bake with her some more!
Hope you are all safe and warm indoors today if you live in the path of this current snowstorm!
I don’t often make side dishes. We are a one pot meal type of family. If I do make a side it’s just a “sauteed garlicky green”. While this might fall into that category, the additions of peppers and peanuts just made it much more then another “garlicky green” side dish. Chomping into a pepper was like a burst of sunshine! Something we definitely need in the mid-atlantic/northeast. The amount of snow we have been getting plus ice storms has me craving warm weather and sunshine. Two things I’m not totally fond of! Is this a sign of old age that I’m against the winter and snow for the first time in my life? I hope not! The salted peanuts added a nice texture and taste to the whole thing. Instead of adding chopped garlic I used garlic salt instead. I’ll admit to not wanting to chop garlic. I served this along side our weekly meal of rice and beans. It worked beautifully together. Especially the peanuts with the seasoned beans! I’ve already purchased more peppers and kale to make this again. I’m (maybe) looking forward to the summer months (?) when I have kale and peppers growing in my garden. I’ll be able to eat this whenever I feel like it!
Kale, Pepper, and Peanut Saute
An easy and quick side dish to round out any meal.
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed and torn into pieces
- 1 cup salted peanuts
- 1-2 teaspoons garlic salt*
- In a large saute pan heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the sliced yellow bell peppers and cook for 3 minutes.
- Mix in the kale and raise the heat to medium high. Stirring occasionally.
- When the kale is tender, 5-7 minutes add the salted peanuts and garlic salt.
- Stir and cook for 5 minutes longer or until the peanuts brown a bit.
- *Not all garlic salt is the same. My favorite brand for garlic salt is Simply Organic. It has little bits of parsley in it and its just perfect.
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