Irregardless

Last night was date night for Ron and me and we finally made it to a restaurant that has been recommended to me so many times over the last few years.  Irregardless.

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It’s located just off Hillsborough Street in Raleigh near Charlie Goodnight’s Comedy Club.  The restaurant has convenient parking across the street in a gravel lot on the hill.

I loved everything about it from the moment we walked in!  The staff was so attentive and friendly!  We arrived a little before 6:00 on a Saturday night and there were only a few patrons.  Almost everyone that was dining was sitting outside and luckily there were a few tables left.  I adore al fresco dining!

20150502_175125Ron started with an IPA from Mother Earth Brewing and I got a pear martini.  Yummo.  I sipped on this one the entire time we were there.

This was the special menu that was offered in addition to their normal menu.

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We both chose the vegan scallops and decided to share the arugula and goat cheese salad.

For starters, they gave us this little plate of bread and butter.

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And here’s the salad!  I just love it when they half it for you and serve it on 2 plates when you are sharing.  It was AMAZING!

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Here’s the “scallops.”

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Divine!  The risotto was so creamy and flavorful and you could almost believe you were eating real scallops.  (We ate our flowers too.  Smile)

You know I can’t pass up dessert so I asked the server what her favorite was.  She told me the vegan cheesecake.

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Very, very good.

Before we left I stepped inside and got a shot of the inside of the restaurant.  They had a live piano player and the tables had really filled up in the hour or so that we were there.

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It was a little pricy there and our 2.5 entrees with 2 beers, 1 cocktail, and 1 dessert topped out at $88 bucks.  A quick doubling of the 10% for the tip made us just put down $105 bucks and call it a night.

As we were walking back to our car this chalkboard caught my eye from the business next door.  Made me smile.

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The night was still so young and the weather so beautiful, we ended up at our favorite brewery in Clayton, Deep River.  They were supposed to have live music but I guess the artist was a no show.  Ron got a 4 pack of his favorite to take home.

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Later that night Ron mentioned that we had eaten $100 bucks of mushrooms that evening and that we might better really focus on eating like my new book.  I’ve never laughed so hard in a very long time.  He really had me rolling.

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Seriously though, I loved Irregardless and will love to go back.  It’s a special place and worth the splurge maybe once a year or so.

Speaking of how I’m eating lately, I told you I owed you a post.  For most of 2014, I ate a vegetarian diet.  I ate a little meat here and there when we were on vacation but mostly it was always vegetarian.  Honestly, for the past 5 years, I’ve been an on again off again veggie.  More on than off and the only thing that kept me from going vegan were the eggs that I get from my neighbor’s backyard chickens and the cheese that I end up eating at Mexican restaurants and when I have pizza.  I’m cool with no yogurt and no milk.  Almond milk is fine for me.  The cheese is my pitfall.

And it’s really crazy because I hate dairy farming the most of all.  I hate how they impregnate the cows over and over again and take their calves away from them so soon.  It breaks my heart.  Also, those dairy cows get so big they often can’t walk.  I’ve seen 2 movies and when they pick up the cows in the frontloaders to carry them away, I die.

I’m not proud to admit this but Ron talked me into trying the Whole 30 diet with him last month and for 26 days, I did eat meat.  On the Whole 30 all you can have is meat and veggies and limited fruits.  No sugar, breads, or grains.  I lost 7 lbs. very quickly and I did feel good.  Ethically, though, I felt horrible.

I recently saw the movie Cowspiracy and it was very different than Forks over Knives or other documentaries I’ve seen.

It focused on the environmental impact that factory farming has on the earth.    I really care about the environment and I am really trying to reduce, reuse, and recycle like crazy.  For me though, the treatment of the animals is my main concern.

Cowspiracy-Infographic (1)

source

Even though Ron eats a lot of vegan and veggie meals with me happily, I don’t see him giving up meat entirely.  Same for the rest of the family.  I cook a lot of meat for Andie, Jonathan, and Lydia.  I try to get grass fed beef and meat from small farms when I can.

I’ll give a a review of how I do on the new recipes in Vegan on the Cheap next week.  I’m excited!

Hoping to get some good runs in this week along with my 2 CrossFit nights.

Happy Week Ya’ll!

“Missy! What do you eat?”

I traveled to Wise, VA this past weekend to spend some time with my mother and step-father.

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On all my trips, I always call Mother when I get to Wytheville as that is about 2 hours away from Wise.  This gives her an idea of when to expect me.

When I called her on Saturday, the first words out of her mouth was, “Missy! What do you eat?”  She sounded so frustrated I simply answered that I mostly ate fruits and vegetables but that I would enjoy whatever she had in mind.

That made her happy and after we hung up, I realized just speaking those words made me happy too.

My friends, I have to report to you all that my veganism only lasted for 3 weeks.

Lydia does ok with my vegetarian meals most of the time but she was getting very frustrated too.  So, last week, I made her chicken spaghetti following The Pioneer Woman recipe.

She loved it.  And so did I.

After that one meal of meat and cheese, I ended up going back to more or less a vegetarian diet.  The yogurt and cheese proved to me to be very difficult to get away from.

I still feel very strongly that you can be a successful vegan athlete but what I discovered is that to be successful, you must plan, plan, plan, and more plan.

If you don’t have your meal ready to rock-n-roll, it is very hard to get a balanced diet.  I wasn’t prepared some days and a peanut butter sandwich was about all I could come up with.

I have 2 nieces that are big Paleo fans.  When I told one of them that I would never be convinced that good wholesome grains were bad for you she gave me this example:

What does a rancher feed his cows and pigs when he wants to fatten them up?  Grains!

I will give her that but I don’t think it is healthy to eat a lot of meat.

Another thing that happened that made me get to thinking was 2 weekends ago when I was at my sister’s, she had a huge piece of wild salmon.  She was cutting and wrapping it in small single serving size pieces.  She said she and her husband loved having salmon once or twice a week.  Sometimes on salads and sometimes just by itself served alongside a favorite vegetable.  I wanted salmon again too!

So, what I have decided for now anyway, is to make my plate as colorful and healthy as possible and ease up some on any set rules.

Now back to more of my weekend at my mother’s.

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I went out for a run on both Saturday and Sunday while mother was taking a nap.  On my Sunday run, I picked her these flowers and as I ran I composed this little poem.

I picked some wildflowers for my mother,

who’s love for me is like no other.

I pray she doesn’t get a chigger,

for my love for her could be no bigger.

I know, I know.  Pretty bad.  But she liked it.  Smile

On my Saturday run I found these on the sidewalk in downtown Wise.

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First person to correctly identify them gets nature expert bragging rights.

Here are a few more of the sights that I encountered on my runs:

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We had an awesome weekend.  Dinner with family.  Going to church together.  Just sitting and talking.  Watching family videos on the computer.

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I love you Mother!  See you again soon.  Until then, keep singing this song.

“When He reaches out His Hand,
Billows cease at His command.
Winds and waves obey His will
When He says to them, “Be still!”
What man is this they all did say
Whom the wind and waves obey?
He’s the One who sails with me;
He’s the Master of the sea.”

Remedy for the Wednesday Night Blues

Tonight was date night!  Lydia was working at Bo Jangles so Ron and I slipped away to The Remedy Diner in downtown Raleigh.

It was SO good!

Ron’ started with a local IPA from The Aviator Brewery in Fuquay Varina.  We toured that brewery last year so Ron already knew he loved that one.

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I tried this Ginger Ale.

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Boy was it spicy!  We Googled Blenheim and learned that it is made on the grounds of the  famous South of The Border tourist attractions in Hamer, South Carolina.  I drank most of it but asked for a glass of water about half way through my meal.  Not sure why it is so spicy.  I guess it’s the ginger but it was more like jalapenos if you ask me.

I ordered the Eastern Carolina BBQ which was shredded vegan BBQ made from soy in a classic eastern NC vinegar based sauce and homemade cole-slaw.  They served it on a delicious Kaiser roll with kettle chips on the side.

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Tasted just like real BBQ.  So delicious!

Ron mulled over the menu for the longest time but finally settled on his usual; the Veggie Reuben.  It was a marinated tempeh grilled on rye topped with avocado, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, dill pickles and melted Swiss cheese.  He chose to add a side salad.

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Ron loved it.  He gave me a taste and I concur that it was scrumptious.

Another Aviator arrived and I got this shot of the other side of his glass.

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For my poison, I chose the vegan sopapilla cheesecake.

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No earthly idea how they made this vegan.  It was heavenly!

The Remedy Diner is located at 137 E. Hargett Street just down from the Marbles Museum.  There was plenty of parking on the street and we enjoyed the short walk in this beautiful Fall night air.  They have foods for everyone and have many vegetarian and vegan entrée’s to choose from.  The pricing was moderate but next time we go, we’re taking cash.  You can earn a $20 gift card after you spend $100 and pay in cash.  I’ve heard that it helps small businesses if you pay in cash because the credit card processing fees are so high these days.

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Night all!

Getting to bed early so I can get my run in BEFORE work tomorrow.

A Garden of Eden

Ron has been super busy at work and since I tend to be so busy too, we decided last week that we needed to schedule a date.  This afternoon was our chance.  I Googled vegetarian restaurants near Smithfield and happened upon Eden’s Vegetarian Dining and Catering Services.  What a lucky find!

Eden’s is located in the Dupree House at 709 S. 3rd Street, Smithfield, NC.  They specialize in International Vegetarian/Vegan Cuisine and have been in business since 2003.

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Chef Alex greeted us and started us off with a special fruit punch that he made.  It had an orange juice base and was exactly what I was craving on this 101 degree day.

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Next came our salads.  Fresh and crisp and the perfect start to our brunch.  The dressing that was on the salad was a very light vinaigrette of some kind and also had an orange juice base.  It complimented the delicious raw veggies perfectly.

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A slice of cornbread was served alongside the salad. Now I can make a mean batch of cornbread but this stuff was amazing.  I’m sure Alex’s was way more healthy then mine that is made with oil and sugar.

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The entrées are served home-style so Ron and I got to sample everything.

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The dish in the back was mock barbeque ribs.  This is made with soy gluten and seasoned with barbeque sauce.This was my very favorite of the entire meal.  Everything was very good but I loved the barbeque the most.  Continuing around clockwise were some awesome sweet potatoes, brown rice and field peas, summer squash / broccoli / carrots and onions, and  lastly the mock chicken Marsala.  Chef Alex asked Ron how hot on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the hottest he wanted it.  Ron requested a 7.  This was delicious too.  My second favorite.  It was pleasantly hot but next time I think we’ll ask for a 9.

Here’s what my plate looked like.

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We both had more than enough and were able to bring leftovers of everything except the sweet potatoes home for Lydia.  I know she is going to love it!

For dessert, we had our choice of a pound cake or a vegan pudding cake.  We went with one of each and shared.

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For the vegan dessert, Chef Alex told us that just this morning, he whipped up some tofu with a sweet potato and then blended in some coconut, raw sugar, spices, and nuts.  The pound cake was delicious but nothing could compare to the vegan concoction.  I implored Chef Alex that he just had to write down the recipe immediately so he wouldn’t forget this dish.  He just smiled and smiled and promised that he would.  It was SO good!

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We learned that Chef Alex is a neighbor of ours.  We couldn’t believe it when we realized we live only about 2 miles from each other.  Alex has been a vegetarian for 35 years.  He is originally from the Caribbean but was trained as a chef in New York City.  We didn’t get to meet his wife but we did learn that she was the main motivator for getting Alex into cooking.  She always enjoyed his dishes and encouraged him to pursue his dream.  She serves as #1 taste tester and if it gets her seal of approval, Alex knows he has a winner.

Even though we just popped in today without calling first, we did learn that all parties of 4 or more require reservations.  He also encouraged us to call ahead next time.  This way he can accommodate our personal preferences.  I’m not positive but I don’t believe all things on his menu are always available.

I can’t wait until the next time I get to go to Eden’s and visit my neighbor and now my friend!

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Happy Eating Friends!

Goat Cheese (Now I need a goat too!)

Two words!

Goat Cheese!

I had never tried it until tonight and it was out of this world!  Ron dvr’d an Emeril’s Table episode for me and I made one of the dishes he featured. It was Past Onna” – Pasta Primavera and it was so easy and so good. The goat cheese on top was the secret. Purchasing tofu that was already cubed like this was a first for me and boy was it ever a time saver. The only seasoning that is on there is a little salt, some red pepper flakes, and some EVOO.

Here it is with some yellow squash, zucchini, and some tomatoes.

Now with the noodles, some parmesan, and goat cheese on top.

Easy peasy and so delish!

Dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.

Now I need a goat too!

Goodnight Friends!

PS.  This is another item on the episode that looked right up my alley.   Hoping to make it soon.

Dinner and Dessert

I went out for a run and when I came back in, my kitchen was a disaster.

But when Ron served me his latest from then new Peas and Thank You Cookbook, all was forgiven.

Vegetarian Pad Thai!  Yummo!  I tried to find the recipe on her website but I couldn’t.  You’ll just have to buy the book if you want to try it.  It was so good and so healthy.

Here’s Mama Pea’s reci”peas” page:   http://peasandthankyou.com/recipage/  I really like her creations a lot!

After dinner, I popped a Vitatop in the microwave and somehow got the idea to put some Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter on top.

Doesn’t the PB look like frosting?!  I also added the walnuts.

For about 200 calories, this was one healthy dessert!

Now back to Pawn Stars (Ron’s favorite show) and the Christmas decorations….

Gooodnight Friends!

Hugh Jass Salad

This is my all time favorite salad dressing.  You can find the exact directions here:  http://ohsheglows.com/2010/03/13/a-salad-confessional/

Oh so Good!

While I was at it tonight, I snapped a few more pictures of notes taped to the inside of my kitchen cabinets.

Here are my oats I eat every morning.

And this note has to have been taped there for about 19 years or so.

Run done and salad eaten but no house cleaning commenced.  Andie and Mason are with Jonathan at his mother’s house and Lydia is out with Seth.  So….I’m hitting the couch with a Corona and watching Survivor.

I’ve got a Turkey Trot around my neighborhood planned for tomorrow morning before I begin cooking.

But before I go, let me leave you with my favorite Thanksgiving themed quote:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more. 

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. 

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.  ~Melody Beattie

Goodnight Friends!

 

Indian Shepherd’s Pie

Ok, let me just preface this review with the statement that my taste buds are very different now than they were 1.5 years ago.  Lydia took one bite of this dish and headed straight to the trashcan.  Me  —  well, I went back for 2nds.  So delish!

I ordered Lydia a birthday gift from Amazon the other day and while I was at it, I ordered this recipe book from one of my favorite bloggers.

I was reading it while Ron was driving and he was very intrigued.  He told me to pick something out and he would make it for us.  He wanted me to choose something with sweet potatoes because we had some we needed to use up.  We had almost all the ingredients for the Indian Shepherd’s Pie, so that’s what we decided on.  Here are the ingredients you will need:  sweet potatoes, butternut squash, vegan margarine, non-dairy milk, cinnamon, water, quinoa, onions, carrots, chickpeas, garlic, Tofurkey, vegetable broth, curry powder, coriander, salt, organic sugar, spinach, and dried cranberries.  All we had to pick up was the butternut squash, the dried cranberries, and the Tofurkey.

See here for the complete recipe:  http://peasandthankyou.com/2009/12/28/master-of-illusion/

Ron and I ran 5 miles tonight and he smoked me!  He was on fire.  Like a gentleman, after he made it home, he came back and we walked the last half mile together as a cool down.  Then he headed to the kitchen to whip up this dish while I did laundry.

Here’s what his final product looked like.

Ron is known for making his own adjustments to ALL recipes but he promised me he’d follow this one to a “T”.  I really wanted to see how Mama Pea meant it to taste.  The only substitution he made was adding honey instead of organic sugar.

I’m headed back for 3rds.

And packing some for lunch tomorrow.

Oh…and here’s one of my new sweatbands.

In an effort to keep my running routine exciting, I bought 5 new Bondi Bands.  They are the best sweatbands ever.  I’ll debut the others soon.

Have a great week.

Goodnight friends!

Real Fast Food

Just a quick post to show you some smoothie pictures.  It’s been a while since I have posted any but this week, I’ve really gotten back in the habit.

I had this one after a 4 miler this week and those frozen peaches were awesome!

Here’s what they look like in the Vitamix.

And here it is all blended up.

Here I am.  One happy runner.

And you want to see a picture of Real Fast Food?  Here you go.

Steamed kale, quinoa, chick peas in spaghetti sauce, all covered with parmesan cheese.  Looks disgusting but tastes so good!

Goodnight Friends!  Hope everyone has an awesome Friday.  I”ll have a surprise for you this Sunday.  Hint…it involves something old and very reliable.

Company Mill Trail

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day here in the heart of Carolina.  After church, I had a lot to do around the house but all I really wanted to do was get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.

I thought about the State Fair and would have loved it but I knew Ron and Lydia didn’t want to do that.  I suggested Clemmons State Forest in Clayton but Ron wasn’t feeling it.  A few minutes later,  Ron came back
over to me and he said if a hike is what I was looking for then we should go to Umstead.  We invited Lydia but she wanted to just chill after a hard week at band.

I packed a few items for a picnic and Ron filled up the water jug and we were off.

Here are few pictures of The Company Mill Trail at Umstead State Park in Raleigh.  We hiked for right at 3 hours and covered 5.8 miles.  The trail is marked “moderately difficult” and I think they hit it right on.  There were plenty of easy straightaways, but there were a lot of hills and rocks and roots to navigate through as well.

At the end of the hike we enjoyed some sandwiches, pumpkin muffins, and some fruit.  I had the kiwi and Ron went for the green apple.  Did you know you don’t have to peel your kiwis?  You can eat them skin and all.

While we were out, we ended the night with a short stop at Trader Joes.  This apple cider that they have is out of this world.  They only had a few bottles left and the check-out guy said that they had gotten 44 cases in
just last night.  He mentioned that I might want to get another bottle while they were in stock.  (What a great salesman!)

Very, very lovely day.

Now I have to figure out how I’m going to get laundry done this week sometime!

Goodnight Friends!