Success! I had a fantastic day today! Now that it is pretty much over, I am looking back on my day with satisfaction!
I woke up a bit later than planned, so the oatmeal I was planning on cooking went out the window. At first I felt discouraged, 'already!?' but couldn't let that stop me, I've thrown my personal challenge out into the blogger world, and I can't back out now! I looked at the nutrition information on a box of Cheerios and poured myself a nice big bowl complete with soy milk, yum!
I must admit, I hate drinking milk of any kind, I've never liked it. I remember when I was a kid my mom tried to make me drink a glass of milk before I could get up from the table. When she wasn't looking I went and poured it down the sink, lol! Anyway, not a fan of drinking the stuff, but if I do use it, I always use soy. Next time you are at Starbucks, try soy milk instead, it's thick and slightly sweet tasting, so it seems rich and indulgent but is so much better for you!
I met my best friend for lunch in the bay area. As much as I wanted to forget the vegan thing and just eat lunch wherever, I knew I had to stick to my guns and speak up about it. I texted her about an hour beforehand and explained this challenge to her. I asked if she would rather me bring lunch and we could have a picnic, or find a vegan-friendly restaurant and be adventurous. She chose adventure and I'm so glad!
We went to a place called The Counter (http://www.thecounterburger.com/), a more upscale burger joint where you build your own burger! The menu was actually just a list of all the components; you checked off what you wanted in each section and they custom made your meal. It was fun and interactive, and I didn't have to feel bad about a lot of requests and instructions to make sure it was vegan, every ingredient was laid out for me already! Trisha is so supportive of me and this challenge, she went vegan with me! We both ordered the veggie burger, and let me tell you...delicious! I didn't know it was possible to put those two words together in the same sentence, but it's true, it was moist and so flavorful! We chose the burger bowl option, it came on a bed of lettuce rather than a bun. I had grilled onions (I made sure there was no butter involved!), jalepenos, diced green chilies and corn and black bean salsa, all with a dijon balsamic vinaigrette, it was so full of flavor and extremely satisfying! When we left I felt very full, but not weighed down or lethargic, like I would after a typical burger and fry meal. Speaking of fries, we did share an order of sweet potato fries, dee-licious! It came with aioli that we didn't eat (aioli is a fancy homemade mayonnaise, essentially), the fries didn't need it, sweet potatoes are flavorful enough on their own!
At first I felt a little guilty, like I was cheating for eating out this early in the game, but I realized that hey, life happens, and you don't always know where you will end up for a meal. Luckily I was able to plan ahead a little and find a restaurant that I knew would be vegan-friendly. I hate being 'that person' who makes crazy requests and demands about their meal, but I learned that it's ok to make sure the meal you pay for is what you want, and asking questions is ok! It was a great experience, and The Counter is a perfect date restaurant, the atmosphere is great, it has a full bar, and because you build your own meal, you each get exactly what you want, without compromising for the other. Two thumbs up!
For dinner I followed a recipe from Angela Liddon at http://ohsheglows.com/. I made Roasted Tomato, Onion and Basil Pesto Pizza with Vegan Parmesan Cheese...a mouthful to say, and eat...a delicious mouthful though! And it's true! I made this for my family tonight, and they all loved it! It had so much flavor that I didn't miss the pepperoni or cheese! I made the dough in the morning and let it rise during the afternoon, incorporating italian herbs into the crust was genius, it added so much flavor! The roasted garlic oil, basil pesto, roasted veggies and even vegan parmesan (I made it myself, click the link to find out how!) all together made for an incredibly yummy pizza. Again, when I was done I walked away full and satisfied! I'm excited to try more of her recipes throughout the week, I wish she had a cookbook!
I didn't realize that my whole family would be sharing the meal, so we had to stretch it a bit, the serving size was two but four of us ate it. I was still a little hungry afterwords, so I made dessert! I used a Cooking Light (http://www.cookinglight.com/) recipe, and can not get over how ridiculously simple and delicious this was!! I made 'sorbet' by blending 3 frozen bananas and 1 cup of frozen mixed berries in a food processor. That's it. 2 ingredients. So so good! I added an extra banana and half cup of berries, the serving size was 2 and there were 3 of us eating it, and it made a lot, more than you would think! I think the air incorporating in from the blades whipping up the fruit helped increase the volume. My mom, sister and I all sat around exclaiming how delicious it was, for something so simple. I can't wait to try out other fruit combinations!
I had an incredible first day, such a perfect start to this week, I am so excited to continue to learn about vegan eating and the lifestyle, and share it with you!