February 28, 2012

Lunch on the Go: Dean and Deluca Salad*

*This is actually an imitation D & D salad since I live about 200 miles away from one.

One of the million+ reasons I miss Charlotte is the amount of restaurants that aren't Bojangles or someplace called Mama's Chicken Kitchen. (Veganism aside, whose mama only cooks chicken? Creepy.)

Since I'm nothing if not a girl on a budget, one of my favorite places to sneak off to on a teacher workday or splurge on weeknight takeout was Dean and Deluca.

You...are...so beautiful...to meeeeee

My favorite was when my roomie's dad would pick us up salads and their amazing (probably calorie-laden) pita chips on Monday nights before The Bachelor came on. (Trust me: If you need to make Mondays bearable, add some D & D pita chips into the mix.)

In light of the fact that there are no Dean-and-Deluca-worthy restaurant establishments within many, many miles of me, I'm having to take matters into my own hands. I've attempted to put together my favorite ingredients for my very own D & D salad as my go-to lunch for the week.

Basically that means:
Spring Mix greens
Chik peas
Artichoke hearts
Cherry tomatoes

With some pita chips or tortilla chips on the side for some crunch.

Sigh. As delish as it is, it's still not the same.

What favorite restaurant meals do you re-create at home?

February 27, 2012

The Vegan Traveler: Charlie's Cafe, Norfolk, VA

When dining out as a vegan, I find brunch to be the most difficult meal to contend with. Very few restaurants carry non-dairy milk for my coffee (coffee=utter necessity for my basic brain functions), and I'm pretty much stuck with a "fruit plate" (i.e. a small bowl of mushy bananas and grapes) if I want to hold true to my diet. Sigh. 

However, on a recent sanity-saving weekend getaway to visit my cousin Royar in Norfolk, Virginia, we stumbled upon Charlie's Cafe, a local diner in the heart of downtown. 
Note: it was raining and freezing the day we went, so I opted for the picture from their website

They have a veggie/vegan option on their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, include tofu scramble and veggie dogs/burgers. I had the tofu scramble, and while it wasn't as good as The Flying Biscuit, it was mighty delish. The staff was incredibly friendly, and bent over backwards to make sure I was happy with my vegan brunch-fest. (Note to all: I LOVE when people bend over backwards for me. It's one of my top qualities I look for in potential friends or love interests.)

Where are you favorite vegan/veggie friendly brunch or breakfast places?

Fat Girl in a Little Town...

(Please sing the above title a la Chris Farley in Tommy Boy for the full effect.)

I have a confession ya'll.

I've been to the gym two times in February. (Not two times per week. Two times TOTAL.)

Broken down, that means it's cost me $12.50  every time I've stepped foot in there. It was worth it for my Zumba class, but that Tuesday were I spent 18 minutes pedaling on the stationary bike while reading an August 2008 issue of Traditional Home? Not so much.

Sigh. Not to mention that I've been totally tempted to eat my feelings, running to the vending machine whenever I'm groggy at the end of a long day. (Lance Peanut Butter Crackers anyone? Didn't think so. I'm afraid to ask what makes them so bright orange, since I'm pretty sure it's not beta-carotene.)

I will NOT be one of those teachers who gains 20 lbs her first year because she prioritizes filing papers over working out. Some changes need to be made around here. Starting today, I'm making some commitments to myself:

1. Schedule 4 workouts a week (so as to have a better chance of actually completing them)

(Ok so it was really just that one commitment.) I plan on taking a Zumba or Pilates class for two of those workouts (mostly because those are the only 2 classes offered at my lovely podunk YMCA) and doing the other two on the stationary bike/elliptical.

Question: how can I avoid boredom when working out on a machine? I literally want to chew my own arm off after about 2:39 of running on the elliptical.

Fingers crossed that I'll keep my commitments to myself. Until then, I'll be hearing Chris Farley singing in my ears...


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