Monday Meal Planning: February 21 - 25

What's for dinner?

Monday: PB & J, Veggie Sticks and Snackies
A packed and on-the-go dinner, since we were spending the evening on Mt. Hood snowboarding!

Tuesday: ALT Wraps and Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach & Chickpeas in a Maple Vinaigrette
Wraps with red leaf lettuce, avocado, cherry tomatoes and homemade sweet pickles from the Get Naked Fast! cookbook and a quinoa salad from Karina Allrich's blog; The Gluten-Free Goddess.

Wednesday: Fettuccine Alfredo and Green Salad
Trying out a fettuccine alfredo recipe from the March issue of VegNews Magazine, as well as having a green salad full topped with sliced radishes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber and sunflower seeds, lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

Thursday: Burritos with Spinach & Berry Salad
Burritos stuffed with my special mix of refried pinto beans, salsa, spinach and olives in a brown rice tortilla for me and an organic whole wheat tortilla for my love, who requested this meal. Wrapped in foil and baked in the oven - they could very well rival Laughing Planets. Add in a spinach salad topped with raspberries and sliced almonds and we have ourselves a lovely dinner.

Friday: Happy Hour at Blossoming Lotus!
Amazing taco plates and naan pizza (for the "naan" GF, hardy har).


Blossoming Lotus for Brunch - Vegan, Gluten Free, Portland Restaurant Review

Behold, I am finally posting about my hands-down, all-time, very favorite restaurant in Portland!

Blossoming Lotus is a vegan restaurant located in NE Portland that also offers a variety of raw and gluten free options on their various brunch, lunch, dinner and happy hour menus. I have loved them since their original location in the Pearl and even more now - with their extended offerings. Their fresh, creative and beautifully presented food is so amazingly good, that we frequent this place more than our checking account should know! It's embarrassing that I have never blogged about it, but I am finally getting with the program and starting out with a brunch review, since Andrew and I enjoyed it this past Sunday.

As we were driving over to BL, I was already busy looking over their brunch menu on Andrew's iPhone. I anticipated a long wait, but surprisingly it only took about five or ten minutes. That is the nice thing about their brunch; it can have a fairly short wait compared to other restaurants. I decided I would order a hot coconut chai and was highly anticipating it. Their chai is my absolute favorite. Ever. It is made with coconut milk and sweetened with agave and for me it has just the right balance between the sweetness and spiciness of a chai. I declare it perfect. I often daydream about driving there mid-day, mid-week, just to treat myself. Anyway... Andrew got a cup of their organic Caffe Vita coffee with soy creamer, which is also a special treat for him. I am not a coffee drinker, but he says that it's pretty good.

Coconut Milk Chai

Originally I was going to order the breakfast parfait since I hadn't tried it yet, but then I saw someone get my favorite brunch dish (loaded home fries) and my whole plan changed. I was done for - I had to have them! The loaded home fries (vegan + gf) were even better than the previous time I had ordered them. They changed the potatoes, which used to be your run-of-the-mill cubed potatoes, but are now round potato slices. I am totally one of those people that think the shape can affect the taste, and the new little potato discs or slices were a nice change. Nobody else does that and the thinner, the better. They really held the flavor of the seasonings on them and also seemed to work better in the dish as a whole.

The potatoes were laying on a bed of steamed kale, which is a nice BL touch to many dishes (and they give you a lot!). The dish was topped with smokey maple tempeh bits, scallions and cashew and avocado sour cream. The loaded home fries are one of the cheapest things on the brunch menu and a really hefty portion (two things that make me love it even more)! With the new potato slices, I thought it tasted at its best and was so happy I got it.

Loaded Home Fries:

I also enjoy their savory pancakes (gf), which are made from quinoa and sweet potato and topped with a cashew cream cheese and come with soy butter and pure maple syrup. You can choose one side: kale, grits or applesauce. I wish it automatically came with kale, but since it does not, my pick is the applesauce (it's homemade!).

Andrew ordered a vegan (not gf) benedict with seitan on a spelt biscuit, covered with hollandaise sauce and tomato. It came with a side of steamed kale and plain home fries. He enjoyed it thoroughly, but compared it to a similar dish at Vita Cafe on Alberta (another review for another day). He said BL had the fresher, healthier tasting dish and he liked how it came with sides. However, he can't get over Vita's vegan hollandaise sauce, which he declares the best. All in all, he really liked it but doesn't think it's his favorite brunch item at BL (he really loves their scrambles and breakfast burrito).

Andrew's Benedict:

So, there you have it! A lovely brunch at my favorite restaurant, Blossoming Lotus!


P.S - Congrats to Chef Wes who has been voted the Hottest Chef in Portland and is now competing at the national level! Although I heard, they now call him "one vote Wes"- and that one vote could be mine!


Monday Meal Planning: February 14 - 19

I thought it might be fun and maybe even helpful to post my weekly meal plan for each Monday through Friday. Every weekend I take delight in filling out my magnetic What to Eat meal planner. I get super excited to fill in the boxes, browse through cookbooks and blogs for new recipes to try or to pencil in my favorites or go-to meals for quick and/or cheap eats.

Here is what the last (work) week looked like...

Monday: Breakfast Bake and Spinach & Berry Salad
A breakfast bake of yukon gold potatoes, tempeh, onion, garlic, button mushrooms, thyme, rosemary and cheddar daiya cheese from The Skinny Bitch Cookbook. Accompanied by a spinach salad topped with sliced strawberries, raspberries, chopped almonds and a pomegranate dressing. And a special fruit-sweetened pomegranate sparkling beverage!

Tuesday: Stir Fry
Steamed stir fry veggies on a bed of short brown rice and steamed kale, topped with black beans and drizzled with gluten free teriyaki sauce.

Wednesday: Veggie Burgers with Fingerling Potatoes and Fruit & Nut Salad
Oven baked veggie burgers topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, avocado, ketchup and mustard on a whole wheat bun for Mr. Havens and a bed of lettuce for moi, paired with oven roasted fingerling potatoes tossed with olive oil and herbs, with an apple-banana-walnut-cinnamon fruit salad.

Thursday: Tacos with Spinach & Berry Salad
Soft corn tortillas with a refried black bean and jalepeno filling, tomatoes, avocado, olives, shredded lettuce and taco sauce with a spinach salad topped with strawberry slices and raspberries, chopped almonds and pomegranate dressing.

Friday: Leftovers or a second dose of Veg Burgers, Potatoes and Fruit & Nut Salad
Andrew and I usually have a "date night" every Friday and we go out to eat. It's a favorite tradition for us and it doesn't even have to be expensive. Sometimes we hit up our favorite low budget places (Laughing Planet, Los Gorditos, Dalo's, etc.) or happy hours for ridiculously cheap eats. The Chinook Book also has great coupons (like buy one entree get one free or 50% off). I also get super excited to decide where we want to go each week. Long story short - this week Andrew was working longer hours, so we planned for a Saturday dinner date instead.


Vida Vegan Con 2011


This summer, the Mr. and I will be attending the first-ever Vida Vegan Con in Portland! We are super excited, from the meals, networking, classes, swag, bloggers, blogging, oooooh it's gonna be fun!

Andrew is excited for classes on podcasts and media stuff. I am just excited about the overall vegan-ness of this grand event!


For information check out their website! I also have an event badge on the right of this page. :)


Vegan Celebration Salsa!

Lately I feel like there is a lot to celebrate; the winter temperatures slowly rising and the beautiful, bright, sunny days we've had in Portland. Spring is steadily approaching (the groundhog said it was coming early!) and I can feel and smell it in the air. I'm even celebrating my own personal triumphs of getting back into a regular yoga practice for the past month and feeling my body responding. And celebrating special occasions with others, such as my mother-in-law's birthday, which is today (Happy Birthday Sherrie!) and February 13th, which was the anniversary of the day Andrew and I first met. We call it our "friendversary" and it might sound really silly, but to us it is our Valentines Day and every year I look forward to celebrating the day we met. This year was no different as we celebrated the day with love notes, flowers, chocolates, as well as dressing up and going out to a fancy dinner at Oba! It is our favorite place to go out for an expensive, romantic, dressed to the nines evening and we loooove a vegan-ized version of their butternut squash enchiladas with quinoa salad.

So with all this celebrating going on, it seemed fitting to share my recipe for celebration salsa (and I had a hankering)! This past summer my brother and sister-in-law kept bringing this amazing salsa to all our family functions. It was so fresh and pretty and everybody raved about it - so naturally one day I was craving it but didn't have the recipe, so I crafted my own, inspired by the ingredients I loved in the original.

I dubbed it "celebrations salsa" because it seems to be perfect for all kinds of get-togethers; birthdays, bbqs, luncheons, parties, game nights, picnics. It is so simple, incredibly healthy and has the freshest flavor. Wait, can I mention again that it is so simple?!

Celebration Salsa


1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can shoe-peg corn, rinsed and drained
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes

Simply toss all the prepared ingredients into a bowl and squeeze the juice of two limes over the top. Toss well and serve chilled. (Yup, that's it!)

Happy Eating!