Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vegan, GF Enchiladas! Just like mom used to make...kinda

Hiieee friends!
Once again, I've abandoned you for a whole week. I'm sorry! Life has been crazy with job hunting, house hunting, and most importantly, playing in the sun! I had a pretty awesome weekend; saw Katy Perry in concert with my sister, spent a LOT of time boating, participated in a pub crawl...makes it tough to get back in the swing of things when a new week starts.

The good news is, I did pick up a second job, so that lessens the job search a little, and there is a very good chance the house search could be over by the end of the week, so more time to make up some recipes for you guys! Especially cause Joe and I are getting sick of cooking the same dishes every night, so we are trying to branch out.

My mom used to make these KILLER homemade enchiladas that were basically corn, wheat and dairy all mixed together and cooked...needless to say I haven't had those in a while. But I'd been craving that recipe and I knew I could probably figure out a way to make them, so I attempted it last night. I used soy curls instead of chicken, because we tried soy curls at Blossoming Lotus that were marinated in enchilada sauce they tasted just like chicken, no joke. It got the Joe Kemp (aka non-gluten free and non-vegan) seal of approval, so I figured it was worth sharing!

Mom's Enchiladas (Vegan, GF, corn free)
Serves 2-3

1-2 cans enchilada sauce (if you are avoiding tomatoes, use a tomatillo one like I did...its the green one)
6 small GF tortillas (we used French Meadow but they do have a trace amount of corn, you can also use Food for Life and tear them in half or just make super-sized enchiladas haha)
~1/2 c. Wayfare Mexi Cheddar Style Spread (if you can't get this, I'm assuming any vegan cheese spread will do)
1/2 c. Daiya pepperjack shreds
1 1/2 c. soy curls

Heat about 3/4 of the enchilada sauce over medium high heat until warm. Stir in soy curls and remove from heat, letting them sit at least 20 minutes if possible (they will soften up more in the oven, but the longer you can marinate them the better). Take each tortilla and spread about a tablespoon of chedder spread in the middle. Top with soy curls and daiya cheese, roll up, and place in a square baking dish. Use a toothpick to hold them together if needed. Cover with remaining enchilada sauce (the more you use the softer they'll be) and sprinkle more Daiya over the top. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

They aren't a perfect replica of my mom's enchiladas (they were packed FULL of cheese), but they'll definitely do in a vegan pinch! I'm just happy I can make enchiladas again! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Have a wonderful week, and if you live in the Portland area, make sure to check out the Oregon Brewers Festival this weekend....they are FINALLY serving a gluten free beer!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kitchen Dances

Hello all!

Thought I owed you guys a post since I feel like I've been so behind these last few weeks. I've now spent two weekends in Seattle, which totally throws off any semblance of routine I have. When I'm out of town its hard to keep up with my meditation, yoga, morning juicing, and sadly, blogging. But its Monday morning, I've had my juice for breakfast and my salad for lunch, and I'm ready to write!

It's been an interesting week. I went to Seattle for my best friend Kelli's birthday. As excited as I was to celebrate with her, I was super bummed that I wouldn't be able to partake in any drinking thanks to my parasite (which Kelli named Clarence, by the way). Thursday of last week, I couldn't take it anymore. My diet is so restrictive as it is and although I'm a big advocate of treating things the natural way, the meds my natropath had me on were just taking too long. So I bit the bullet and went to a regular doctor. Thankfully, the new doctor I tried out was actually pretty awesome, so I appreciated that. They had to retest me for the parasite but once my results come back I can get on a more hardcore treatment that will hopefully knock little Clarence out. So I decided to go off my parasite diet for the weekend! And as a result I had an amazing weekend with Kelli and her friends. As much as I'm a stickler about my diet and health, there is really something to be said for letting go every once in a while. I think a little indulgence is good for our wellbeing.

Moving on...

If you are from the Portland/Vancouver area, you are well aware that Portland has a big food cart scene, one that is supposed to be the best in the country. There are seriously food carts for EVERYTHING! Aside from late night drunk munchies, I haven't done much exploration of these food carts simply because many of them only have hours that suit a lunch crowd, and seeing as I get a half hour lunch and work in Vancouver, I don't have the luxury of testing them out. Lucky me though, with my new work schedule, I get Friday's off as a part of my weekend. So I figured, what better way to celebrate this new freedom than check out a vegan food cart?

I happened to be running errands in the SE Belmont area, and I'd heard of this place called Kitchen Dances. It's located on Belmont and 43rd in a parking lot that has a whole bunch of carts all clustered together. You can't miss Kitchen Dances, its in a cute little red cart with an outdoor seating area towards the back. The menu is all vegan with a lot of raw and gluten free options and specials that change daily. But probably the most exciting little tidbit about this spot is that 2011 Vegan Top Chef winner Piper Dixon runs the cart...so you know the food is gonna rock!

I had a really difficult time deciding what to get...everything sounded amazing. They make vegan quesadillas and they even have gluten free tortillas for us celiacs, the beet ravioli also looked pretty unreal, but I ended up going for the salad that was on special, which was a delish mix of greens, topped with pear, avocado, carrots, sauerkraut and a super-fresh lemon tahini dressing. It definitely hit the spot, although I did consider ordering a quesadilla afterwords as well.

(I forgot to take the pic until I was halfway through...it was THAT good)

In addition to fresh lunch options, they also sell some of their stuff to go. They've got hummus made from raw chickpeas which I'm absolutely dying to try, as well as vegan cheesecake and all sorts of other little goodies. If I hadn't been on the parasite diet at the time, you KNOW I would have tested those out. Oh well, guess I have a good excuse to go back! Please go out and support this cart, I promise it is well deserving!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chaco Canyon Review - Seattle

Hello all!

Sorry its been awhile! I have a ton to blog about and not nearly enough time! Like seriously, I have a list in my iPhone of posts I need to write. I need to figure out how to make blogging my full time job.

This last weekend I spent a night in Seattle, dropping Joe off for his first Seattle to Portland ride! Every year, 10 thousand cyclists ride 204 miles from Seattle to Portland (if you couldn't guess), and this year I'm proud to say that my boyfriend was one of them! I honestly couldn't be more impressed. I've ridden 20 miles with him before, and that was just about all I could handle.

Here is Joe at 4:30 a.m., getting ready to embark on the STP journey:

And here he is crossing the finish line, 14 hours later. Unreal right?

As is normal for any kind of trip, I had to find somewhere I could eat! We went up Friday night so he could leave early Saturday morning, so dinner had to be pre-planed. I figured this wouldn't be too difficult in a big city like Seattle, but it was also important to us to find somewhere close to our hotel, since he wanted to be in bed early for the big race and Seattle traffic is nothing short of unpredictable. 

Thanks to my iPhone and Yelp, I was able to find a place super close to us (we went to the West Seattle location, but there is also one near University of Washington) called Chaco Canyon. Reading the menu online got me really excited...it reminded me a lot of one of my go to spots, Proper Eats.

The West Seattle location is in a quaint little neighborhood, right off one of the more main roads (I never have any idea where I am when in Seattle...its so confusing to me). It's got a very organic feel to it, lots of wood decor and a sustainable bus-your-own-tables mentality. You order at the counter, where you can also pick up their house-made granola, pumpkin seeds and a wide assortment of baked goods and desserts. Your order is then brought out to you. While you wait, you can check out a wide assortment of business cards, flyers, etc. pertaining to like-minded businesses and events. (I always love checking those out, they have one at Proper Eats too).

As usual, I had to order juice to start my meal. Places with juice bars score huge points with me these days. I ordered the Green Goddess, which according to Joe, tasted like a garden, and according to me was fresh and delicious! Joe got an apple, carrot concoction that I believe was called the Swamp Monster, and that was delicious as well, much sweeter than mine and definitely not green.

Choosing what to have for dinner was way difficult, a) because I have an unreal amount of limitations on my anti-parasite diet (no coconut...WTF?) and b) because everything looked amazing. Their menu clearly indicates what is gluten free, raw, and soy free, which I love. They have a whole list of specials that change every month, and reading through all of them still makes my mouth water...Raw Falafels anyone (contained tomato though, sad day). I ended up settling on the Raw Ginger Sesame Bowl, which was basically a ginger sesame dressing over a mix of kelp noodles and shredded zucchini, topped with carrots and their tamari pumpkin seeds on a bed of spinach. It actually reminded me a lot of the salads I eat at home, only made by professionals :). And you know I love my kelp noodles! I was so excited to actually see them on a menu! As I'm sure you could guess, it was freaking amazing...

I also got tempeh added to the top...Joe and I have decided we are tempeh connesseurs, so we try it everywhere we go. Not my favorite tempeh, but the rest of it was so good I could care less! And honestly, you can never go too wrong with tempeh in my book, I'm the girl who eats it right out of the package.

Joe ordered the Thai Peanut Bowl, which I obviously had to taste...it was pretty dang good too. Very peanut-y if you're into that. It was also super creamy for not having dairy, which is always a plus!

I think what impressed me most about this place was the service. The lady who helped me was one of the best restaurant employees I've ever encountered. I'm usually pretty high maintenance, but due to this stupid anti-parasite diet, I'm worse than ever. I've gotten to the point where I don't even get upset when someone seems annoyed with me, I'd be annoyed with me too, so I just apologize until my face falls off. But this lady was amazing. Not only was she patient, she went out of her way to help me decide what to get. They have a handy-dandy guide of all the ingredients in every item on the menu, which was awesome and made everything a whole lot easier. She even let me take it and look through it, which helped me out tremendously. After dinner, we had a hankering for something sweet, so even though I couldn't have any of their desserts (and trust me, she checked the ingredients on every single one), she made me an iced hemp milk with agave and chai spice that totally satisfied my sweet craving. Unreal service, I would go back in a heartbeat. I did actually, to get my morning juice for Saturday's breakfast :)

I would highly recommend this place to anyone travelling to/living in Seattle who wants a healthy gluten free, vegan meal. I can't wait to go back post-parasite and try more stuff!