Blogging and Friendship

Peanut Butter CupDark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, using Annie’s base then adding in the middle: 1/2 cup each: vegan graham cracker crumbs, melted peanut butter and vegan powdered sugar stirred together.

Blogging is a funny thing. At first you start posting your recipes, hoping to garner some sort of recognition, then you start reading other people’s blogs, then joyfully and inevitably some lovely friendships form. Sometimes, you get lucky enough to actually meet and get to know these friends. Pure love. So, I’m apologizing now to all my blogging friends whom I haven’t been by your sites to read or comment on your posts lately. In the last month I’ve sustained two different injuries that have left me mostly couch bound, reading the classics, and drinking lots of tea and trying not to feel sorry for my sad self. My cooking skills have gone down the proverbial toilet (as evidenced by THREE batches of failed cupcakes for a Valentines party yesterday). You may have noticed I haven’t been around, I’m not feeling inspired and I’m sorry to say that the last thing I’m interested in right now is reading about food. I’m sure when I recover I’ll be back with a vengeance, but in the meantime I hope you’ll forgive my absence. It’s not you, it’s me.

PancakesAnnie’s Whole Wheat Nectarine Pancakes (except I used apples) and a blob of her Cocoa Coconut Butter. The best invention ever.

It hasn’t helped my mojo that one of my best blogging buddies jumped ship and moved back to her home in Oklahoma after being here in Utah for the better part of 2012. I’m feeling forlorn and I miss her like I miss my right arm. I thought you might enjoy a post about her food since I’m not creating anything wonderful. At least you can get some inspiration from Annie at An Unrefined Vegan.

Chocolate AssemblyAssembling the chocolates.

Flavors to try: coconut, chopped crystalized ginger, roasted almond and raisin, orange (using a couple drops essential oil), mayan (cinnamon and chili), peppermint (using a couple drops essential oil), pecan, and of course peanut butter cup.

Miso SoupAnnie’s Miso Ginger Soup with mushrooms added in. Nearly as comforting as a hug from the girl herself.

I’ll miss our lunch dates my friend.

DSC_0004The big funny: Emergency pit stop with Annie at the always fabulous Cafe Rio Mexican Grill after a lunch date at another restaurant we were reviewing left us famished and disappointed (minuscule portions, average food).


Sage’s Cafe, Salt Lake City, Utah

I’d never been to an all vegan restaurant until last week (I know, what’s wrong with me?) It’s not that I don’t have  local options, Veg News declared Salt Lake City as “America’s Next Great Vegan City.” I don’t have any excuses for myself other than I just don’t go out to eat that often. That same article in Veg News states: [referring to Salt Lake City] Today, there is a vegan grocery store, two vegan bakeries, two vegan food carts, four vegan restaurants, and 50 vegan friendly restaurants with specific vegan options on their menus. Radical. Sage’s Cafe offers an entirely plant-based menu and specializes in local and organic food, it is one of four totally vedged out locations owned by Utah native, Chef Ian Brandt/Elevated Cuisine Group.

Want to know the best part? I met Annie from An Unrefined Vegan there for my belated birthday lunch (no applause please, it was last month). 😉  Photos of the lunch are courtesy of Annie’s Phone.

I had the Guac-n-Roll Sandwich, which is an amazing nut burger, made with cashews, almonds and garbanzo beans served on a locally made seven grain baguette with guac. Everything about it was delicious. The baguette was perfectly toasted, the pesto had just the right verve and the nut burger was beautifully seasoned. It tasted a little like a milder and yummier version of falafel. The only thing left on my plate after a few minutes of bliss was a sliver of red onion. Did I mention the freedom I felt at being able to order anything on the menu? Totally awesome!

Annie had the Magical Wok Entrée, since we’re doing dual reviews today, head on over to her site to see what she thought about it. As you can see, from the photo below, it’s presentation was fantastic.

We had a lot of catch up to do since we hadn’t seen each other for a while. We sat in the lovely sun room, where our waiter kindly kept refilling our drinks for over 2 hours while we dined and chatted. He must have noticed the giant bag full of awesome birthday gifts she had for me because when we declined dessert, he said he would offer a birthday dessert on the house. We asked for his suggestion and both said YES when he mentioned the tiramisu.

Although I couldn’t detect even a hint of espresso, I have to say it was one of the most delicious tiramisu(s?) that I have ever eaten. If I wasn’t in a vegan joint, I would have never guessed this culinary confection was completely dairy free. In short, it was incredible. We finished every last bite and it was only out of politeness that I didn’t lick the plate.

The food, the company and the warm ambiance of the sun room made for one of the best afternoons I’ve had in a while. My only complaint about Sage’s is that despite driving up and down the street multiple times, I couldn’t easily identify it from the road. I finally parked and walked and then texted Annie to guide me there beneath the grape vines. I will tell you that I went home feeling happy, light, refreshed and ready to conquer the world (usually when I leave a restaurant I feel bloated, tired and uncomfortable). While Annie and I aren’t eloping any time soon, there’s not a lot of time left to sign up for our baby (project), the Virtual Vegan Potluck. If you’ve wanted to join and haven’t done so, DO IT! There’s literally less than 5 slots 2 slots left. It closes when it reaches 100 participants.

Oh, you’re still here and want to know what I got for my birthday loot?

The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, let’s just say upon returning home I couldn’t put this book down for several hours and have all ready made 4 things 6 things out of it since Friday. I really (really) wish I had this book when I first went vegan. It would have made my transition SO much easier. If you don’t own it, BUY IT RIGHT NOW!

Blog Photo Plates – Annie knows my kids me so well, these babies are made of unbreakable melamine.

Forks Over Knives the Cookbook – Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating all Through the Year. The name says it all! In LOVE! Thank you so much Annie!!! xoxo!