Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February Level-Up + Lunch at Leaf Café in Boulder

I've set myself a health regimen for the month of November, and composed a list of #guidelines regarding food, exercise, art, etc. To myself I'm calling it a Level-Up Intensive, and my Prime Directive is to follow Special Agent Dale Cooper's advice to, "Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it, don't wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a cat nap in your office chair, or...two cups of good, hot, black coffee."

I started the day with a very good cup of good, hot, black coffee and some raisin oatmeal, then after a morning stroll around Boulder, treated myself to lunch at Leaf.

Leaf is a farm-to-table vegetarian restaurant located right in the middle of Boulder. It's right off the mall and the bus station is like 3 blocks away. I love their decor and the food and the service are both superb. Or at least, their tacos are! both times I've lunched at Leaf I ordered tacos. The first time I ate their Korean BBQ tacos - can't resist kimchi - and today I ate Buffalo Cauliflower tacos - because it's Tuesday, by golly! I added a side salad and a glass of Pinot noir. A perfect selfie lunch date.

At work I ate a bowl of Peanut Soup. After work, I hiked home under the full moon for 4.5 miles. The route has a gradual and constant gain in elevation, but there are a few downslopes. I ran on the downhills and made it home in 1:20. I'm getting faster. At home I ate some of the spinach and beet lasagna I baked yesterday and most of a Native Foods carrot-caramel cupcake (all the caramel cream cheese frosting and a bite or two of carrot cake). I figured I deserved it after the long walk.

Beet It Lasagna: cashew-cauliflower garlic ricotta layered with spinach, basil, red onion, and thin slices of red and yellow beets. If you want the recipe, please post a comment below!

If you want to eat at Leaf, which I highly recommend, their address is 2010 16th Street, Boulder, CO.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Mindset Makeover

Happy New Year! I love the optimism that January brings - everyone gets another chance at a new beginning. It's a season of reflection and resolution, of hopes and dreams, schemes and stratagems.

Or at least, for me it is. I used to make long and complicated Resolutions, some of which were kept. Last year I decided that instead of making resolutions, I would create a Plan of Action. I wrote a list of my greatest ambitions and desires, chose three goals from the list, and broke each goal into monthly steps with the intent of taking one small action every day toward my goals.

I didn't exactly stick with my plan, because life is all about adapting. Some improvisation is required. As Tara Marino says in her Sensual Planning course, one must remain "committed yet unattached" to fulfilling a goal. My 2014 was full of upheaval and surprises but to my astonishment, I accomplished much of what I set out do.

My first goal was to "level up" in yoga. I managed to get a part-time receptionist job at a wonderful yoga studio in New Jersey, where I regularly attended intermediate-level classes and even attempted a few advanced-level workshops. The physical and mental challenges of yoga helped me develop new strength and flexibility in mind and body.

Another of my goals was to exhibit new artwork. Thanks to my dearest friend, I was able to check this goal off in March. She not only gave me a place to live and work, she even organized a group show of local artists and included me! Because of her support and encouragement, I was confident enough to continue making and exhibiting art the rest of the year.

My third goal was to travel abroad. While I never made it out of the U.S., I did quite a bit of cross-country travelling. I moved from Buffalo, NY to Lambertville, NJ, visited New York City several times, visited my sisters in Michigan, and then moved to Colorado. I spent the second half of the year exploring this beautiful state and getting up into the mountains as often as I possibly could.

A fourth goal from 2014 that I feel I can check "complete" was to fall in love. I know that falling in love isn't exactly something you can plan, but the idea was that instead of trying to meet the perfect someone, I would work on making myself more perfect. I had a broken heart that needed to heal, and my self-confidence was nearly gone, but I drew strength from the love and encouragement of my friends and family. I learned to enjoy being single (even at 35!) and in the process began to love myself again.

2014 was the year of my Soul Makeover. I decided to start the year out with a detox, to cleanse my body and mind so that I could focus on my soul's desires. After a three-weeks regimen of self-care, I began forming healthy new habits. I learned that if you nourish your body, you will naturally begin to nourish your mind and your spirit as well. My Deep Soul Detox set the stage for my entire year. I was proud of myself for completing a 21-day cleanse, and felt ready for new challenges.

I gained a lot of clarity last year - I discovered a lot about myself, my needs and my purpose in life. I know that 2015 will be another transformative year, and I want to be prepared for new adventures. It is time for another detox. 2015 is the year of my Mindset Makeover. I will learn to believe in myself and I will change my dreams into reality! As my hero, Captain Jean-Luc Picard would say, "Make it so!"

Here are some of my dreams for 2015:
  1. Climb a 14'er. Go hiking at least once a week, in all different terrains and conditions. Build strength and endurance for the high altitudes.
  2. Level up to Advanced yoga practice, and begin training to be a yoga instructor. Attend classes at least twice a week. Perfect the basic asanas.
  3. Advance in my career as a professional artist. Make art and make connections. Organize an artist camping trip in the mountains.
  4. Launch TRAPEZOID magazine with my sisters. (More on this exciting project in a future post!)

How will you spend your life force this year? I have decided to launch 2015 with a 21-day detox, to attain the strength and focus I need to make this year great! Who wants to join me?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Orange Sesame Truffles - Virtual Vegan Potluck 2014

Happy Potluck! Are you stuffed yet? I usually bring an appetizer, but this year I fancied something sweet. I wasn't alone! This year's dessert demographic is daunting - how will I ever manage to try a bit of everything?

My post was originally supposed to be a vegan remake of one of my favorite childhood desserts, Chocolate Lava Cake. I decided to experiment with coconut flour, and discovered that it is highly absorbent, and if you sub it 1:1 for regular flour you will have a cake but you won't be able to eat it.

Instead I concocted a semi-sweet treat that takes some time to chill but very little to make. In keeping with the potluck's Citrus theme, I decided to pair orange with sesame. Combine those two ingredients with cashews, agave, tahini, and a little coconut flour and freeze. 
 Abracadabra! Truffles...

1/2 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked and drained
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup coconut flour
zest of 2 oranges
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
Blend cashews in food processor until fine, then add the agave syrup and the tahini and blend 2 to 3 minutes, until a sticky paste has formed.
Put the cashew mixture in a bowl, then fold in the coconut flour. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
When firm, roll small spoonfuls of the truffle dough into balls. Roll the truffles in sesame seeds and orange zest. Keep chilled until just before serving.

Bon appetit!

For more potluck goodies, skip ahead to Wendy's amazing Rocky Road Brownies...

or go back for some of Kyra's scrumptious Lemon Cheesecake!

 A thousand thousand thank-yous to Annie for creating the Virtual Vegan Potluck! Bloggers and vegans around the world are linking up today and sharing their amazing eats. I feel very lucky to have been around since the beginning!

Here is my VVP history:
Ghosts of Potlucks Past... 

November 2013
 Brussels Bruschetta with Empire State Cranberry Sauce

May 2013
Sweet Potato Samosas with Mango Mint Chutney

November 2012

May 2012

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Novembrunch: Coquette's Bistro, Colorado Springs

After brunch in a Denver on Saturday afternoon, I bummed a ride to Colorado Springs for CHAPPO's next performance. I danced again in my silver cowgirl boots, though not as vigorously as I had at the previous night's show. Denver can dance! Colorado Springs is a bit more subdued.

Perhaps there would be more dancing if there were more vegan options for brunch. I crashed at a friend's place after the show and we went out for brunch on Sunday morning at Coquette's Bistro. I had been to Coquette's once before, for a Colorado Springs Vegans meet-up luncheon, and snagged a couple of their vegan cupcakes on my way out. Their cupcakes are bad-ass.

There was only one vegan option on the brunch menu. Normally, I would have felt some mild disappointment, but after a second night of dancing shots of whisky I was utterly ravenous and not of a mind to make decisions. I wanted only three things: 
  1. coffee, dark and bitter
  2. $3 mimosas
  3. vegan brunch

If vegan brunch is a scramble of house made black bean tofu with veggies and roasted carrot purée plus a side of truffle fries, who am I to complain? I will order that vegan brunch and I will eat it. All.

I had some of that roasted carrot purée on my first visit, with the Fried Red Pepper Polenta, with sautéed Swiss chard, mushrooms, onion, tomato and almonds. The carrot purée was the best part of both dishes. The truffle fries were exactly what one expects of truffle - tantalizingly to overpoweringly flavorful. The black bean tofu was more like a bean pancake than tofu, but that's okay. I'm one of those weirdos who actually likes tofu.

Coquette's Bistro is located at 312 N Tejon, Colorado Springs, CO. They are open 9 am - 10 pm on weekends, closed on Mondays, and open 11 am - 10 pm Tuesday through Friday. They have vegan cupcakes.

Vegan Cupcakes!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Novembrunch: Watercourse Foods, Denver

Third time's a charm! I brought some friends of mine to Watercourse Foods for brunch on Saturday, and was pleasantly surprised. 

It was a snowy day and Watercourse was the only veg option within walking distance, so I decided to chance it. I had been to Watercourse a couple of times on my own, and wasn't terribly impressed. I felt the service was superb, but found the food lacked panache. This visit was different.

The place was packed - it was a Saturday at noon - but we were offered cups of coffee while we waited for our table. I happily ordered the 2-for-1 mimosa for $7 and decided to try the Denver Omelette, exclusive to the brunch menu. The omelette was delicious! Though in essence more like a crepe, it was stuffed with grilled veggies and satisfied the appetite of one who stayed up all night dancing.

As I was out with friends, I did not indulge in taking photos of my tasty brunch, but I can share some food porn from my previous visits.

Eden Ridge Cider & The Cuban  (smoky maple tempeh, Swiss, spicy beer mustard & pickles pressed into gluten-free bread) with a side of fries

On my first visit I tried the Cuban, which probably would have been better if I had not ordered it on gluten-free bread. The gluten-free bread is terribly dry, so don't go there. On the day that I finally taste an edible gluten-free-and-vegan slice of bread I will dance for joy. 

Titan IPA & Tofish and Chips (battered tofu and fries served with coleslaw, tartar sauce and malt vinegar)

I had to give Watercourse a second chance, because gluten-free bread is a nearly impossible challenge. Then they started serving vegan fish & chips.  I had never had a vegan version of fish & chips, so I went on purpose to try it. The tofish was yummy and way more than I could eat, but some of my chips were still cold inside. Gadzooks! As a foodie, I could not forgive an undercooked fry...

...but the fries were nice and crispy on my first visit, and Watercourse earned redemption with their winning brunch. I wanted to impress my musician friends from Brooklyn with my knowledge of Denver fare, and Watercourse passed the test. I would go back there again for a kombucha cocktail, but mostly because I love the wall murals by artist Ravi Zupa. I'm actually rather jealous of those murals...they are wonderful. They make me want to draw.

Watercourse is 100% vegan comfort food. Their slogan is, "eat the path of least resistance." They serve breakfast all day and are open 11am to 10 pm Monday - Friday and 8 am to 10 pm on weekends. Watercourse Foods is located at 837 E 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

City o' City, Denver

I hereby declare NOVEMBRUNCH! November shall henceforth be known as the month of brunch. I had so much fun with my curry theme in September, I decided to rename November. Get ready to munch and brunch!
Chana Masala Waffles and Moscow Mule at City o' City
I went undercover in October to sniff out all the vegan brunches my Metro Area has to offer. The best brunch I've had so far in Denver was served in waffle form at a hip vegetarian bistro called City o' City

206 E 13th Avenue, Denver CO
City o' City has a Waffle of the Week, abbreviated on the menu as W.O.W. An accurate acronym for their fluffy, puffy, gluten-free, enormous vegan waffles! I've ordered them twice, and hungry as I was, couldn't finish on either occasion. On my first visit the waffle of the week was a Horchata Waffle with cinnamon rice pudding and powdered sugar and slivered almonds. For my beverage, I ordered a gingery hot Bhakti Chai. On my second visit, I had a savory Chana Masala Waffle with mint raita that was kind of like a giant deconstructed samosa, some hot black coffee and a Moscow Mule in a copper mug.

Horchata Waffles and Bhakti Chai at City o' City
Besides serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, City o' City also has a full bar. Happy Hour happens twice a day - from 2pm to 6pm and from 11pm to close. Vegans in Denver have lots of options at City, so go for a brunchy drink and try the Waffles of of the Week...or maybe the Chilaquiles...or a pizza or a burger or even an omelette, if you wake up early enough for breakfast. I've been working evenings, so brunch is kinda my thing. Any time is a good time for waffles.
VO = Vegan Option

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bunny Against Animal Cruelty

It's Halloween, and this year I am dressed as a Bunny Against Animal Cruelty  (it's a conceptual costume) and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to share some of my favorite vegan beauty products.

For my birthday, I gifted myself permission to indulge in a little shopping and spend more time feeling pretty. I was totally out of face powder, so I placed an order with Bare Minerals and splurged on some eyeshadow and a liner brush. Herban Luxe mascara and Red Apple lipstick are both essential components of my makeup bag, and I've been drinking these super-healthy detoxifying juices by Tumeric Alive.

Here's a little video so you can see my costume. Hoppy Halloween!

I have two new vegan lipsticks on order from Lippy Girl, so there will be another cosmetics video from me in November

For more on vegan beauty products, check out these posts:

Holiday Sparkle Sans Crueuté
Cruelty Free Beauty for Boys and Girls