Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why hello everyone!

I'd be posting a lot more often if I had batteries in my camera to take pictures of some of the wonderful food I've been eating and the things I've been up to, but I always forget to re-charge those little suckers.

In the meantime though, I'm happy to discuss restaurants, things I've been trying, things I want to try, and life.

The first thing I want to bring to everyone's attention is a lovely little restaurant here in Wisconsin called "Cafe Manna". I went there a couple months ago with my dad to try some of their raw options. In Wisconsin, we don't have much to work with when it comes to vegan eateries, much less raw options, so I was stoked to come across this place. Not everything is raw, but everything IS 100% meat-free which is a rarity out here... and the fact that they at least have raw options at all, is good enough for me!

The place itself is really discrete located at the end of a strip mall. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it has a really gorgeous, inviting interior. Plus it's eco-friendly! The floors and front counters are made of bamboo. Window and bathroom counters are “paper stone,” constructed of recycled paper. Recycled metal light fixtures, walls covered with 100% non-toxic paint and foyer partitions fashioned of recycled plastic complete the CafĂ©’s decor. They further support the environment by using carry- out containers made from sugar cane, corn, potato or vegetable protein. They use no plastic or styrofoam. (Taken from the about page on their website)

When we were seated the wait staff was so warm and welcoming, and told us all about the place, showed us around the menu, and gave us the low down on all the different options. (Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free) We received a complimentary appetizer of "Baba Ghanouj". It wasn't raw, but it was vegan so I had a bite to try, and it was pretty good. My dad loved it and took it upon himself to gobble it all up.

We also ordered an appetizer of marinated Crimini mushrooms which were incredible... I could have eaten three bowls of those.

For dinner I ordered the "Crunchy Nutty Sandwich"

which consisted of veggies, guac, and nut-mayo on raw sprouted almond bread. It came with rainbow coleslaw and vegetable chips. It was SOOO good, I made a total pig of myself and cleaned off the entire plate.

And even though I was feeling really bloated and full already, I just HAD to try their raw dessert, the "Banana Fig Pudding"

It was sooo good...and they were sweet enough to spoil me and also give me a try of their raw carrot cake with raw carrot cookies for free. I was in heaven.

With that said... if you're from Wisconsin or if you're ever visiting, I HIGHLY recommend this place... I can't wait to go back and try the "Mushroom Extraordinaire" and the "Pecan Pate" appetizer!

As far as things I've been creating goes... I've done a bit of experimenting, though not as much as I'd like to. Many of the things I want to try...such as Russell James' Curried Cabbage Pillows... I simply haven't gotten around to doing because I am never in one place long enough to put things on my dehydrator. It will definitely have to be something I try on the weekend. Perhaps this weekend will be the weekend!

I'd also really like to try some recipes that I either just can't bring myself to spend the money on the ingredients (ingredients like macadamia nuts...holy hell are they expensive) or the ingredients are hard to come by. I did locate a market that sells young coconut, but apparently it's in a pretty rough neighborhood, so I won't be going there without my boyfriend to escort, hahaha.

At any rate, over the weekend I finally gave Ani Phyo's simple raw flax pancakes a try. Oooooh my god I think I died and went to heaven. I mixed some cinnamon and raisins into the batter, and topped them with blueberries... fantastic. Even the non-raw boyfriend loved them. I loved them so much I ate three of them and then laid around on a bloated tummy all evening afterwards, hehe. I will definitely be making these again REALLY soon, and when I do, I'll make sure I capture a photo of their glory. Mmm...

I just got a dehydrator for Christmas, so I haven' t tried much on it yet, but I have tried kale chips, and ATTEMPTED to make some corn chips. Well the kale chips were a success, and the boyfriend really liked those, too. (He actually has liked nine out of ten raw concoctions that I've introduced him to, which is awesome that he is so open minded!) I made mine with a lot less ingredients than most people seem to... I drizzled a very minimal amount of olive oil on the bunch with some sea salt...massaged the kale for a bit... through them on the tray and sprinkled some nutritional yeast flakes and cayenne pepper atop... glorious! I gotta say... I've been missing popcorn a lot, and this was even BETTER...

And the corn chips. Well I don't know what happened there. It might have been a few things... for one thing, apparently I had two trays stuck together, so they might not have gotten the proper, and even enough heating they deserved ... and well, I'm not sure I used enough corn, or processed it quite enough. They didn't taste bad, but they were rather chewy, not as much "chippy" and, they were very very thin...

Next time I'll use LOTS more corn, make sure my damn trays aren't sticking together, and possibly stick them in there for even longer.

In the meantime, I've been living off of variations of zucchini pasta. I just can't get enough of it, and the spiralizer is so much fun to use! I've made all sorts of sauces...marinara, alfredo, you name it!

I've also been really lovin' on homemade cashew butter with cinnamon and raisins with some apple slices dipped in it. So good!!

Anyway... besides eating all the delicious food, I've been using the energy I get from it to keep active at the gym during these cold months. Man I am SO happy I signed up for the gym. My mood has been 110% better this winter because of it... I've always been prone to seasonal depression, but I haven't noticed even a hint of it!

I feel so proud of myself, too! Everytime I am able to increase the weights I am lifting...or run for longer distances, etc... it makes me feel so great about myself.

Anyway :)
I dyed my bangs (back to) purple. To match my coat. haha

happy Wednesday!

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