Welcome to Portland!

Thursday, May 23, 2013 , , , 2 Comments

Yay! I'm in Portland for VVC (Vida Vegan Con) - the vegan lifestyle blogging conference of my dreams!! I feel like I died and went to vegan heaven - except like the heaven for vegans who like 50 degree weather with a side of rain. I guess the weather is not usually like this, though I really don't care. The food and the experience more than make up for the weather. I'm so excited that I didn't mind only sleeping 3 hours, waking up at 4am, taking a 4 hour flight to Seattle, switching to a small plane for the flight from Seattle to Portland and coming to a cold and rainy place. These things are all part of this fantabulous journey for VVC and really this journey that is my life.

So, what's a girl to do when it's cold and wet outside? Get something hot to eat, of course! So I braved the rain with my trusty raincoat and made my way over to Blossoming Lotus. Yum! Oh. my. goodness!

That soup really hit the spot. It had just the right amount of spice - enough to give it a great flavor and kick while also allowing the flavor of the corn and other veggies to really shine through. And I think I detected a hint of coconut in there. There or not, me thinking it's there spells love. The cornbread was by far the best cornbread I've ever had and I think I've had some great cornbread before. Really though, the best thing about this food was the way I felt after eating it. Picture a sleep-deprived, slightly jet lagged, tired from walking in the rain, wishing I had brought a real coat instead of just a raincoat girl. After eating this I was ready to take on more. This food gave me energy and made my body feel good. Thank you Blossoming Lotus! I think I'll come back again, but it will be hard to not want to eat the same thing again!!

Organic Spicy Caribbean Corn Chowder & warm Cornbread

Post Blossoming Lotus, I headed into Starbucks for a hot tea - okay really I just wanted some free internet, but the hot tea was good too. This woman sat down next to me. I didn't really notice because I was just enjoying the view through the window . . . until she started choking. At first I thought it was no big deal, just a cough, but it didn't stop and she was starting to look like she couldn't breathe? So, I asked if she needed help (dumb question, but I'm not going to go over and just randomly give the Heimlich maneuver to a stranger who really didn't need or want the help. So she motions for help and just as I'm about to lay my hands on her, the thing caught in her throat magically comes up! Hooray! I was so glad she was okay! Even though I didn't do anything, she was really grateful for my concern and attempt to help her. She even invited me to some kind of a performance she was doing or something like that, but I was kind of confused and disoriented by the whole thing.

I was forced to come back to the hotel by a phone battery that wanted to die and a lot of random people talking to me and making me feel like I just might need a phone with a working battery. As it got a little darker, those same random strangers entered my mind and I realized that I really don't know much about Portland and my brilliant idea of walking around for miles in the rain, all alone, may not have been so brilliant after all. Luckily, I picked up this brochure at the front desk of the hotel.

Free Delivery? Vegan Pizza? Yes, please!! I really hadn't heard or read anything about this place so I didn't know if it was going to be any good, but I thought that it couldn't be THAT bad and the convenience was unbeatable! It was so nice to finally take a hot shower, eat some healthy salad and a hot pizza and just relax while I waited for my husband to make his way into town. Though I was hesitant about the food since I hadn't heard of the place, it was delicious! I loved that the salad was made with romaine lettuce and the pizza tasted even better than it looked. And they use eco-friendly packaging!

Garden Salad with Vegan Ranch and Bari Pizza (pizza sauce, spinach, diced tomatoes, red onions, roasted red peppers, fresh basil and vegan cheese)

I'm really looking forward to another day of culinary adventures (and probably other surprise adventures as well). Bring it on, Portland!


Quick & Easy Tempeh Reuben

Quick & Easy Vegan Tempeh Reuben Vegetarian

Rye bread
1 small onion, chopped
1 package tempeh
sauerkraut, to taste (I recommend Bubbies)
non-dairy thousand island dressing, to taste (I used OrganicVille brand)
non-dairy cheese to taste, optional (Daiya works well)
oil to saute
tamari, to taste
cayenne pepper, optional (for those spicy food lovers)

1. Slice the tempeh in half as shown


2. Now lay it flat and cut into triangles as shown below

3. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent.
4. Add the tempeh and drizzle the tamari over top trying to get all the pieces.
5. Continue to saute, flipping tempeh as needed until both sides are golden.
6. Layer the tempeh & onions, sauerkraut, cheese and thousand island on the bread.
Optional: For my husband, I sprinkle a little cayenne pepper on with the thousand island dressing.
7. Cook on the George Foreman (or other) grill for a couple of minutes until it's hot and has those nice grill lines on it.

Alternatively, you could put the sandwiches together and then fry them in the frying pan. 


Mom's Simple Pea Soup

This is one of the foods I always ask my mom to make. It's a simple, budget recipe that tastes great the day you make it and beyond. It's the kind of soup you could make on the weekend and then divide into containers for quick, healthy lunches and dinners for the week. You can even reinvent this soup by putting it on a baked potato, over rice, or spreading it between a couple of pieces of toast and making a delicious sandwich. Who said you need to eat frozen food at work?

1 lb green split peas
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse your peas.
2. Bring peas and water to a boil.
3. Skim off froth from the top.
4. Add everything else!
5. Let it simmer for 45 mins - 1 hour until peas are tender.