Posted by: Grub | October 8, 2011

Football Fuel

Today is my wild card day, and to be honest, I was planning to blow it off. In fact, about ten minutes ago, I told Chad that I was not going to post tonight. But then, when I was in the kitchen putting together my breakfast for tomorrow, I remembered taking a spur of the moment picture last weekend and decided to pull this one out of the proverbial you-know-what. (If you don’t know what, it rhymes with “spitter”, and this blog is too family-friendly for me to type it out. More importantly, my Mom reads it. YOU’RE WELCOME, MOM.)

A few years ago, I posted about my football shake, or smoothie, and although I still love me some peanut butter chocolate goodness, I have found that what I am about to share with you has really improved my energy levels and reduced muscle cramping when I am playing football, especially when we have double headers or when I have to play an entire game without subbing. It came about after a particularly awful pre-game warm-up a few seasons ago, when, after two coffees, an energy bar and no water, I did my warm-up jog and ran one pattern (actually one half of one pattern) and suffered for the rest of the morning with a terribly cramped up hamstring and for the second half of the game with a spasming back.  Something needed to change.

I remember reading about vegan overnight oats, and did some research, and the following weekend, I broke out my first bowl.  I haven’t gone back.  This takes about 5 minutes of prep time the night  before, and then up to 10 minutes in the morning, depending on how you choose to fancify your bowl or jar or fancy servingware.

Pretty layers. This was banana-cherry "soft serve" layered with the oats.

I start with a basic bowl of overnight oats (the recipe I originally worked from is found here) and then add some fork-smashed banana or, if I have a few extra minutes, a frozen banana and a handful of frozen cherries pureed up in my food processor until they are kind of a soft ice cream texture.  Then I grab a jar and alternate layering the oats with the banana or frozen fruit blend until it looks like a parfait.  I use an old brown rice syrup jar or a Vegenaise jar (I prefer the syrup jar because it has a metal lid that seals tighter) and throw it in my bag if I don’t have time to eat before I go.  It is pretty easy on the stomach, and I have eaten leftovers between games with no stomach issues.

My vegan overnight oats combo is as follows:

  • about 3/4 cup rolled oats (the old-fashioned kind, not quick oats)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 scoops of Amazing Grass chocolate wheatgrass powder (you can really use any kind of greens powder, or just omit it, but I picked this up on sale at Whole Foods on a whim and have been slowly working my way through the can; Angela at Oh She Glows also suggests carob powder, and you could probably use cocoa powder as long as you add a touch of sweetener, like maple syrup or agave nectar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup soymilk or almond milk (I use unsweetened plain, but you could use vanilla- or chocolate-flavoured as well)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl until well incorporated, add the milk and vanilla, and stir together for a few minutes.  I usually like to let it sit for a few minutes so that the chia seeds start soaking up the liquid, and then give it another stir before putting it in the fridge. Let it sit overnight and eat in the morning!  It actually probably only needs to sit for an hour or two, in case you are in need of a bowl on shorter notice.

A few notes.  This stuff looks like toxic waste sludge.  It tastes kind of like cold chocolate oats, which is good, and much better than toxic waste, but to be honest, it isn’t my favourite tasting breakfast (hello, waffles and fruit and soy whipped cream and tempeh bacon).  From a performance perspective though, it has been perfect.  The other interesting note is about the chia seeds.  I find that when I drink a couple of cups of coffee in the morning and then eat something with chia seeds in it, I pee way, way less than I would normally have to.  I’m sorry, is that TMI for anyone?  But, it’s true! And so, I actually think that it helps with some of my hydration issues as well, helping my body retain the water that I do drink before I play.

See, kinda sludgy. It tastes way better than it looks.

Chia seeds are expensive, but if you are only using a tablespoon at a time like you do here, they last a long time.  And, if you want to have more fun with the ch-ch-ch-chia (sing it out, you know you want to), you can make a really easy chia seed pudding, that is dead simple to prepare while you are travelling or on vacation and is really hydrating and good for you two.  I’ll post my favourite recipe for that at some point, too.

OK, off to bed so that I can play a good game tomorrow.  We are having a bit of a dismal season from a win/loss perspective, so I am really trying to focus on playing the best game that I can play, and doing things better every week, and working as hard as I can.  It also helps to remember that lots of people aren’t in any kind of shape or situation to be able to play women’s flag football at 36 years old, and so I try to remember how lucky I am to even live in a place like Vancouver and to be healthy enough to have the opportunity.  Yay, football!

This will be me tomorrow, ten minutes before warm-up starts. Mostly empty jar of oats (last week I had smashed banana, which was already all eaten), my cleats and a really crappy sports bag. Hopefully a decent attitude, too.

Posted by: Grub | October 7, 2011

My Favourite Vegan Products

So, I just got home from a late work dinner and I am beat, so it will be another quickie tonight.

I thought that I would profile a couple of my favourite vegan products this month so that people could appreciate that I still eat junk food – it just doesn’t have animals in it anymore! (I actually had someone tonight suggest that my cookie must have carob in it, since vegans CAN’T EAT CHOCOLATE, and so I felt the need to confirm that yes, many vegans do in fact eat chocolate, and a whole other range of junk foods, too.)

The first product I would like to profile is what has saved me from my crazy Kraft Dinner cravings.  Although I got over cheese pretty quickly, I still sometimes think about “cheating” with KD.  Luckily, a few years ago, I met Leahey Gardens Cheese Flavoured Sauce Mix.  Leahey also sells a prepackaged macaroni and cheese, but I prefer to buy a big bag of the sauce powder when I can find it (which, unfortunately is not as often as I would like).

If you follow the package instructions, you can cook up some cheesy sauce in no time, and if you have some leftover pasta in the fridge like I did last weekend, you can have macaroni and cheese in about ten minutes.  Probably less.  This was delicious eaten in front of this week’s episode of Fringe (which I won’t spoil, in case Rob, who is on a TV hiatus, is reading).

Hopefully I will have something a bit more interesting for you tomorrow, but at the end of a long work week, I make no promises!

Posted by: Grub | October 6, 2011

What We Eat Wednesdays

So, after yesterday’s epic post, I am doing a quickie today.  My Wednesday series for Vegan MOFO is in response to the question “what do vegans eat?”, and is going to feature a meal that we made at home in the previous week.  I know sometimes people wonder what we eat at home, so I thought this might be a fun idea.

This week we will feature… Buffalo Tempeh Sammies!  Over the weekend, we piled the very easy, very tasty Buffalo Tempeh recipe from Appetite for Reduction onto toasted whole grain bread, with Cool Slaw (lower-fat cole slaw, also from Appetite for Reduction) and sliced, perfectly ripe avocado.  It required a bit of preparation time (steaming and marinating the tempeh and letting the cole slaw soften up a bit in the dressing), but it was very little work and was mega-delicious.  We are already planning to make them again this week.

Crappy lighting (sorry!), but look at all that good stuff in there. Mmmmm....

As a side note, I cannot recommend Appetite for Reduction enough.  So many easy and delicious recipes, and although they are lower in fat, you wouldn’t know it.  I am only three recipes away from my goal of making 50 before my birthday!

Outta here till tomorrow!

Posted by: Grub | October 5, 2011

Top Ten Restaurant Meals of Summer 2011

Well, here we are, our first Top Ten Tuesday of the month. Today we will be reviewing our Top Ten Meals of Summer 2011. The further qualifications are that these are all restaurant-type meals and all from our travels this summer. They aren’t necessarily all the best, fanciest food, either – I have taken into account ambience, particular food items and creative menus, as well as that “it” factor. You know the one.

10. South Pine Cafe – Grass Valley, CA

This probably wouldn’t have made it into the Top Ten otherwise, but it was such a surprising find in such an old California gold mining town (Grass Valley was actually really amazing, and had lots of funky shops and bookstores, but I just didn’t have great luck with food).  There were a tonne of vegan options on the menu and the food was very good.  They had delicious house-made jam and good-size portions, and I was so, SO happy that I wasn’t eating a green salad hold the cheese, egg and bacon.

Sam at the South Pine Cafe, although you can't really tell. He enjoyed some blackberry peach jam with his cereal in that bowl.

9. Sage’s Cafe and the Vertical Diner – Salt Lake City, UT

So, I’m cheating here, but I am including both of these places in one, as from all we could tell, they are sister restaurants.  Vertical Diner was casual and had great food and even had vegan options on its kids’ menu – they were wonderful to Sam and he started to learn to use a fork eating their vegan banana pancakes!  Sage’s was fancier, and had two of my favourite food items of the trip – an appetizer with roasted shiitakes on bread with carrot butter (I have since recreated this at home to rave reviews) and… wait for it… tiramisu! This was my favourite dessert of the trip by far – it has been a long time since I have been able to eat  tiramisu, and this did not disappoint.

8. Magnolia – Burlington, VT

We ate at Magnolia several times while we were in Burlington, and it was a great choice for brunch/lunch.  Sometimes when we go for brunch in a new place, I really struggle to choose between sweet and savoury.  Well, luckily, I got to try both at Magnolia – sweet French toast and savoury chickpea salad sandwich on two different days.  Perfect! The service here was always friendly and the house-made jams were to die for.  It’s a bit hard to find, as it is tucked away below the level of the main street, but it is well worth seeking it out if you are in town.

7. Frida’s – Stowe, VT

Frida’s had lovely, fresh Mexican food and the most amazing, enormous bowl of guacamole. Sometimes fresh guacamole is all a girl needs.  (The rest of the food and drink was good, too.)

6. Aux Vivres – Montreal, QC

Holy moley, do I love Montreal.  We had about two hours in Montreal before we flew home (most of which was spent navigating through various construction detours), but we made it to Aux Vivres and had an amazing lunch.  I had a Choco-Classique smoothie and a Vegelox wrap (vegan “lox” with cream cheese and veggies all rolled up in a chapathi) and I was so full after, I could hardly get back in the car.  But, I got to order in French! And speak French to the waitress! And gaze at all of the French-ness of Montreal as we drove through on our way back to the airport!  Magnifique!!

5. Native Bowl – Portland, Oregon

In my previous post, I talked about the food cart scene in Portland and my bad food cart luck in Vancouver, but I didn’t mention that I have had equally bad (actually, worse) luck with actually eating at a food cart in Portland.  Our trip to Native Bowl this summer was our first successful trip to a food cart, and it was really amazing.  I ate the Mississippi Bowl (BBQ soy curls, rice, coleslaw and ranch sauce) and had a Chocolate Cup (warm chocolate cake and chocolate sauce in a little paper cup!) for dessert. I actually tried to recreate the Mississippi Bowl at home when we got back (using the recipes from the owner’s book, Vegan Diner, which I have mentioned here before). We were wildly successful in our attempts, but it wasn’t the same as eating the real thing at a little table in Portland with my boys.  Behold my photo series:

Sam and I in the seating area. Unfortunately Native Bowl is to my left in this photo, so you can't see it. But, we are cute, so hopefully that makes up for it.

Terrible photo, delicious food. Mississippi Bowl!

My Mississippi Bowl. A better picture, and although it wasn't as good as the real thing, still pretty delicious! Look at those tasty BBQ soy curls hiding under there.

4. Mint – Waitsfield, VT

So, I just typed Mint’s name with a bit of a lump in my throat.  We had a lovely, peaceful lunch at Mint at the tail end of our trip to Vermont – the food was fantastic (I had a tempeh bowl that was better than anything I have ever had at home, and the tofu sauce on that bowl was one of the best sauces I have ever had), the hibiscus cooler was deliciously refreshing in the heat and the restaurant space was so calming and bright and soothing.  The restaurant was located in a multi-level little commercial space beside the river running through Waitsfield and after lunch, we stopped and watched a couple of kids jumping off of a covered bridge into a deep pool beside the bridge.  It was a pretty nice afternoon.  Well, sadly, if you click through to Mint’s website, you will see that when Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast in August, the whole space was terribly flooded and they are now serving lunch out of a church basement while they try to rebuild their space (the pictures as you scroll down the page are really crazy). I really hope they are able to get back up and running, because this was such a beautiful space and amazing food.  Virtual hugs to them!!

3. A Single Pebble – Burlington, VT

This place wins for major underdog of the summer.  Although Chad and I like Chinese food, and there is almost always some kind of Chinese vegetarian option in most major (and not-so-major) North American cities, we NEVER go out for Chinese food. I think because when it is bad, it is so bad (oh, Chinese take-out restaurant in Park City, Utah, I am looking at you).  We had plans to go to a different restaurant, and it was closed for a private function, so we just kept walking around and when we walked by Single Pebble, I recognized it as being on a blog list I had read about good vegan eats in Vermont.  Well, I never.  The food was excellent – non-greasy, spicy in that gingery-garlicky-red pepper flakes way I love, and so so flavourful.  I still have dreams about their Salt and Pepper Tofu.  Dreams, people.  If you ever go to Burlington, you MUST go here.

2. Watercourse Foods – Denver, CO

The #2 spot was a pretty easy choice for me.  Watercourse was in a beautiful, bright, airy space in a lovely part of Denver, and it probably had my favourite menu of the summer.  A tonne of choices, including breakfast/brunch options at lunch, and all vegetarian, with lots of vegan substitution options.  I had a Po Boy sandwich on an amazing roll, with a polenta-encrusted portobello mushroom (WHAT), coleslaw and a chipotle mayo type dressing.  Ridiculous.  The menu here made me want to move to Denver so that I could try everything.  Including the VEGAN CHEESE PLATE.  Yes, that is for real. I am still kicking myself for opting for mediocre pub food on our first day in Denver when I could have been eating a cheese plate.

1. Millenium – San Francisco, CA

This was the easiest pick of the list.  I already wrote about our fabulous dinner here, but suffice it to say, the food was magnificent, the restaurant itself is beautiful and the service was impeccable.  Oh, and Vegan White Russians.  YES.

Black and White Russian.

There were so many honourable mentions (Zudaka in Boulder! VG Burgers in Boulder! Skinny Pancake in Burlington! Leaf in Boulder!), and I intentionally left off a few of our old standbys (Boundary Bay in Bellingham! Pepper Sisters in Bellingham! Vita in Portland!) in favour of new(er) places.

I also would feel remiss if I did not mention two of the very best meals of our whole trip that weren’t in a restaurant.  First, Ryan and Sonia Gallagher hosted us in their super cute house in Portland on our way back from California in June. We had lasagna and salad made with fresh veggies from their garden (so jealous!), we had an assortment of treats from Back to Eden bakery (LOVE this place) for dessert, and most importantly, we got to visit and catch up and show off Sam and see them before their lovely daughter, Naomie, was born in early August.

Sam all tucked in for supper at the Gallaghers. Bring on the food!

Then, on the way home from our travels through Vermont, we stopped in to see our friends, Gilles Barbeau and Lucinda Iglesias, in their beautiful new home in Sutton, Quebec.  We ate hearty bowls of grilled veggie pasta outside under the trees and finished off the evening with fresh, summer berries dripping with the lightest, clearest maple syrup you have ever seen (we even brought a few cans home with us and broke one out for Sam’s birthday).

We are so lucky to have such great friends, who will chef us up delicious and healthy food at a moment’s notice, and welcome us into their homes when we are weary from being on the road.

What an amazing summer of food! And, I haven’t even talked about all of the sweets yet.

(Phew, that was a long Top Ten.  I promise the rest will be shorter.  See you tomorrow!!!)

Posted by: Grub | October 4, 2011

Off the Wagon Food Cart

Many of you will know of my love for the food cart scene in Portland.  I have for many years talked about packing up shop as a lawyer and starting up my own food truck.  Imagine my excitement when, in the spring of 2010, I heard that the City of Vancouver was approving a series of food carts, mostly downtown!

Unfortunately for me, the carts weren’t set to roll out until July 31st, and I was supposed to have a baby on August 12th. I stalked the cart line-up for weeks beforehand, and on the first work day after the August long weekend, I wandered around to all of the proposed locations.  (At least all of the proposed locations within a few block radius of my office. I was 9 months pregnant after all.)

Nothing! Nada! Zero!  There was one lonely, closed-up cart, and every other street corner was empty. Never mind the fact that none of the carts I had previewed online seemed to offer any kind of vegan options, I would have ordered carrot sticks. Or fries. Or a freaking bottle of water! On my last few days in the office, I made some halfhearted efforts to wander around, trying not to look desperate while standing on (swollen) tippy-toes so that I could see if there was SOMEONE IN THAT CART WITH THE WINDOW LATCHED SHUT.  There wasn’t.

Of course, Sam arrived a few days early, and I never got to sample food cart fare.  Any time we made it downtown while I was on leave, we got sucked into spending every non-fussy minute in the office visiting with people and when we did stop for food, I made a point of going to my favourite downtown lunch spot, Gorilla Foods. (I am hoping to post about Gorilla later this month.)

Well, after a few botched attempts over the last two weeks, I finally, FINALLY got to eat lunch at a food cart downtown today.  And it was good!  And it was vegan!!  It was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella and I didn’t even CARE!!!

Food cart love.

The food truck was Off the Wagon, and to be fair, I knew that I was getting good food before I went there today.  They sell their delicious yam and black bean vegan tacos at the Kitsilano farmers market most weekends, and I devoured a pair of tacos for breakfast on more than one sunny Sunday over the summer. But, there was something super sweet today about sitting at my desk, working, and eating good, fresh vegan food for lunch, while it was a dark and wet and grey Vancouver day outside my window.  It isn’t easy to find good vegan eats in the heart of downtown, and on rainy days like today, the walk to Gorilla, or Nuba or La Taqueria a couple blocks further down, is just a little bit daunting (albeit well worth the wet pant legs, foggy glasses and flattened hair).

Look at those delicious tacos. The yellow stuff on top is wonderful, wonderful hot sauce.

I have a few more food carts picked out to try downtown with vegan potential, so we will see how that goes.  The one wrinkle here in Vancouver is that the carts are not allowed to park overnight, and so many of them change locations on a weekly or even daily basis. I got lucky today, as Off the Wagon wasn’t downtown my first week back in the office and so they were off my radar.  Hopefully they will stick around, as I would love to have their tacos as a regular lunch option!

Posted by: Grub | October 3, 2011

Vegan MOFO

So, there’s this thing called Vegan MOFO. It is kind of like NaNoWriMo, but the idea is to blog about vegan food for a whole month. I have been wanting to participate ever since the first year that it started, and this year is Vegan MOFO V (I suck). This year I really felt like I needed to either do it, or stop dreaming about doing it… but then I chickened out and didn’t sign up for the official list. (Just to give you some context, last year there were something like 700 blogs on this list and they were all linked to a feed so that you could read every single one of them every time they posted. This seemed a little bit daunting to me.)

However, my research has assured me that I can still participate, and so I think I am going to try to do it.  The (highly encouraged) commitment level is 20 posts in a month, which works out to pretty much every weekday.  Do you think I can do it? I would like to think so, but life isn’t always as predictable as I would like.  At the same time, I am feeling like I need to stop thinking about doing things, and at least TRY to do them, whether or not I think I may fail.  This is a really big step for me.

So, starting tomorrow, I am going to try to post every weekday.  My plan is to have some themed days of the week, but I haven’t actually settled on all five themes yet, so you will have to wait to find out what they are. I am considering including “Top Ten Tuesdays”, “What We Ate”, “Wild Card Fridays”, something about Sam and his food, maybe standard vegan ingredients, and also something about veganizing things that I ate “before”.  Some of these posts will be about things I have been working on before this month but just haven’t had time to share on this blog.  I am also open to suggestions – if you have anything at all that you are interested in reading about, let me know in the comments and I will try to work it in.  (Kori, if you haven’t given up on me, I am planning to write something about tempeh, but haven’t yet figured out if I have enough for a whole post just on tempeh!)

Wish me luck – I really do hope that I can pull this off.  In the meantime, I figure I should post something about food. So, here is something really wonderful that I ate when we were in Boulder, Colorado in August.  We were at a restaurant called V.G. Burgers that bills itself as vegan fast food – we had veggie burgers and fries that were quite good, but this hot fudge sundae was definitely my highlight. It was stink hot in Boulder this day, and this was pretty much exactly what I needed after lunch.  It was freaking amazing. Sam and I shared, and as you can see, he approved.

More, please.

(As a side note, when we were at Millenium in San Francisco in June, Sam wanted nothing to do with the fancy schmancy ridiculously delicious mint brownie sundae that I had there.  This old school version two months later, however, was right up his alley. My kind of kid.)

This counts as a post, right? 🙂

Posted by: Grub | September 6, 2011

Baking Bread the Modern Way

One of the things on my 37 before 37 list is to bake bread.  When I originally came up with this one, I intended “bake bread” to mean bake a fancy loaf of bread with yeast, that I have to knead and let rise.  Well, cooking around here has become an exercise in “what is the fastest way to get from A to B?”, and so I decided to break out my bread maker and try out a few recipes.

This oatmeal nut loaf, my first test run in at least a few years and definitely my first vegan loaf, turned out pretty great.  Chad has said that he would eat it again (duh).

We have been using it up making deluxe sandwiches – one of them is pictured below.  Slices of homemade chicken-style seitan roast (from Vegan Diner, a contender for my favourite new cookbook of the year), avocado, red leaf lettuce and juicy late summer tomatoes, with a little smear of Vegenaise for me and mustard for Chad.  So luxurious.  The bread is soft and nutty, with a slight sweetness.

I was too hungry to get a decent shot before I bit it into this. Oops. So worth it.

I am going to allow myself to cross this item off of my list, but I am hoping to get to the “real stuff” before my birthday rolls around.  I am also going to try to test a few more bread machine recipes, so that I can try to keep us in healthy bread once things get crazy (back to work two weeks today – we are well on our way!)

I was asked for the recipe, so thought I would share it here.  I adapted it from a recipe that came with my bread machine (a Black and Decker horizontal breadmaker).

Oatmeal Nut Bread (makes one 2 pound loaf)

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 tbsp soymilk powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups white flour
1/3 cup quick oats
1 3/4 tsp bread machine yeast
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Measure all of the ingredients in the order listed into the baking pan. Insert baking pan into breadmaker and close lid.
2. Select “GRAIN” setting and 2.0 pound loaf setting (or other appropriate settings if your breadmaker is different).
3. Start bread machine.  Remove once the bread has fully baked.
4. Allow to cool before slicing.

Note: This bread was extremely soft when it first came out of the machine, so I would definitely recommend letting it cool, or cutting it quite thickly otherwise.  Also, keep your tomatoes separate from the bread (by a layer of vegan mayo, a lettuce leaf or sliced avocado) or it may fall apart on you!

Another note:  The recipe actually calls for you to add the walnuts at a specific time in the bread cycle, but I didn’t want to get up at 5am to do that, so I just added them at the beginning.  If you decide to add them later in the cycle, you might want to chop the walnuts a bit more finely.

Posted by: Grub | August 9, 2011

Birthday Boy

Our baby is one year old today! Absolutely mindblowing.

He is a little under the weather today and also has a molar on the way (#1 poked its way through earlier in the week), so we had a pretty low-key day.  We hope to have a more festive evening one night later this week once he is feeling better.

Happy Birthday to our little bear!

Posted by: Grub | July 12, 2011

11 months old

Me: Gee, I wonder if he is getting new teeth.
Chad: Either or that, or he is a beaver.

Happy (belated) 11-month birthday to our little beaver!

(Although I have gotten behind in posting stories of our travels due to our busy schedule and sporadic access to the Internet over the last few weeks, I do have a few more travel posts almost ready to go and will try to post them soon.  We are back on the road on Thursday and will again be trying to keep up to date.)

Posted by: Grub | June 24, 2011

San Francisco to Squaw Valley

I would like to start today’s post with a small public service announcement. After our fancy dinner the other night, I had a pretty crazy night. My whole life I have had terrible nightmares, but I actually woke up twice having terrible hallucinations. It was one of the craziest things I have ever experienced. I did some research last night and apparently huitlacoche (a corn fungus) can cause hallucinations, in a similar way that it has been speculated that the mass hysteria that led to the Salem witch trials were caused by hallucinations brought on by ergot poisoning (as result of fungus in the community’s rye). In my Google research, I uncovered lots of people complaining (!) that they had eaten huitlacoche and didn’t have any hallucinations, but it seems to be considered relatively common that it can happen. Who knows if that is what actually caused my crazy night, but just wanted to put it out there as something to think about. Although I would probably steer clear of the huitlacoche in the future, just in case, I don’t regret my decision to try it just once!

We packed up and left San Francisco yesterday morning, and although I would have liked to spend another day or two there (and eat a few more meals!), I am also looking forward to some of our upcoming destinations, and I know that Chad is looking forward to running his race already!

Sam in his new Boundary Bay t-shirt. Is it wrong that my ten-month-old child is wearing a beer shirt??

We stopped in Berkeley on the way out to pick up some groceries at the hippie and awesome Berkeley Bowl. Seriously, this place has a huge produce section and the biggest bulk food section I have ever seen. I was only slightly saddened by the fact that they didn’t carry my peanut butter cups, and I am out. [Insert sad face here.] We stopped to pick up a “mid-morning snack” at Cinnaholic, a vegan cinnamon bun shop right across the street from the UC Berkeley campus. They have a basic model cinnamon bun with vanilla frosting that they let you customize with various frostings and toppings. Chad stuck with a basic model, and Mom and Dad both added nuts (Mom hazelnuts and Dad almonds). I of course went a little bit crazy and ordered the “S’mores” cinnamon bun – a basic model topped with chocolate sauce, mini chocolate chips, Dandies marshmallows and chunks of graham crackers. This was an over-the-top, mega-delicious sugar bomb! I certainly couldn’t eat one of these every day (or week, for that matter), but it was a very special treat.

Mom and Dad enjoying their nutty cinnamon buns.

S'mores. Look at those marshmallows. The graham crackers. The chocolate chips. Doesn't the chocolate sauce just seem a little over the top?

We then headed to Sacramende** for lunch at a local pub, the Fox and Goose. This is a place that we stopped at on our last trip through (although we were headed in the opposite direction last time), that is relatively vegan-friendly and serves basic pub grub. Sam and I shared a tofu scramble with avocados and mushrooms and some roasted potatoes. This place allows you to customize your tofu scramble the same way that you customize a pizza, which I think is a fantastic option.

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving up to Squaw Valley and are now here in our lovely suite looking out at the mountains. We cooked our own pasta dinner last night, and I was sad to discover that somewhere along the line our poor little tub of Earth Balance got left behind. [Insert another sad face here.]

Pasta Marinara with Garden Vegetables topped with Sauteed Mushrooms and Field Roast Apple Sage Sausages. Yummers.

Walking off all of that pasta in the Village.

Today we are going to head into Reno in between Chad’s race duties.  Not sure how many interesting photos or places we will see today (we are really going to do some shopping, not any interesting gambling or sightseeing), but I will try to catch a few so that we can do at least a short post about it.  In the meantime, here is a bonus shot of Sam having a good old laugh:

** And by Sacramende, I mean Sacramento.  Fans of the show Arrested Development (its loss is still mourned in our household) will remember that when asked by Michael where her child was, Lindsay thought that Maeby was with the debate club on the way to Sacramende for the semi-finals (she was not). In fact, she was overseeing a remake of the Old Man and the Sea for the film studio where she had bluffed her way into a job.  Sacramento will always be Sacramende to us.



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