Sunday, June 26, 2011

Birthday goodness!

Ok so today was my 33rd birthday and it was a great one! I won't go too much into it but what I will cover is the vegan goodness of the day. 

First thing this morning my husband was nice enough to go out and get me vegan donuts from the always wonderful Fritz Pastry:

 Yep, that's a creme-filled one up top there! Very cool....
Oh and FYI I didn't eat all those myself! I had a donut-loving 4-year old helping me. 

And being as today was my birthday...I just hung around the house in my PJs all day and didn't feel bad about it one bit! 

For dinner we went to a place called El Nuevo Mexicano, I heard they had recently introduced a separate vegan menu and I just had to check these guys out!! Today was such a beautiful day so we took advantage of their patio seating. Ahh, summertime in Chicago is worth dealing with the winters!


Click here to see the entire vegan menu!

Since I'm a nerd, I had looked at the menu online last week (I dunno, do all vegans do that?) and already knew what I wanted.... Flautas de Verduras con Papa y Chorizo Vegano.

Now if you think this LOOKS good, then you have got to order one for yourself ASAP cause it was YUM!! I opted for the quinoa (as opposed to white rice) which proved to be a good choice because it was just like Spanish rice but with quinoa! I was very surprised and impressed. My friend Charisse went with the Enchiladas de Chorizo, Papa y Zanahoria en Salsa Tomatillo (with melted Daiya on top!):

Both dishes had quite a little kick if you ask me, but maybe you shouldn't ask me cause I am kinda wimpy when it comes to that. I enjoyed the flautas more overall, but both dishes were excellent.

Oh and don't think I would dare leave without dessert, my friends! I could not resist the Platanos Fritos con Nieve Vegano (fried plantains with coconut ice cream). And being the sweetheart he is, my husband asked the waiter to bring it out with a candle in it. And I got a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday sung to me by the waiter and my friends. 
Oh. My. Gosh. How can something so simple be so good? I don't know! But this was the perfect end to a perfect day. You guys, when (not IF, when!) you go to El Nuevo Mexicano, you have got to try this. It's best to have someone to share it with unless you're a fast eater though...the ice cream melts quickly. But still, this dessert sealed the deal and I will definitely be going back there again!

Me and Ryan

El Nuevo Mexicano
2914 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 528-2131

Song of the day: "Good Times" by Chic

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Well hello again!

Hey there one and all! Or just one...anyone? Who knows. Anyway...It's been quite a hiatus. I had to sort lots of things out. First of all I found myself getting way too absorbed in the "internets". Between Facebook, Yahoo, this blog, my family blog, reading the tons of blogs I subscribe to, online forums I read/contribute to...things were getting way out of hand! I felt I really needed to tone things down...a lot. So I deleted my Facebook. Then I stopped going into the online forums. Then slowly but surely I ended up kind of abandoning this blog and rarely updating the family blog (which I mainly do so our families in Montana, Arizona, Washington, etc can see what we're up to in Chicago). I guess it was all for the best because I was able to take some time out and just think with minimal interruption. And it helped! I feel like I'm in a better spot now and I've got my priorities in order, as least as far as the internet goes. I still limit myself quite a bit, but mainly so I can enjoy other hobbies of mine that I had kind of neglected. Reading, studying Japanese, playing Scrabble, and so forth and so on. I know I sound like a total nerd but I'm actually kinda cool if you get to know me! 

One thing I'm disappointed about is that over the past few months I've actually been lots of cool places and had mucho delicious vegan food. But alas I have no pics! Jeez! I just wasn't in a bloggy mood and therefore didn't take pics. But I sure wish I had. We went to Seattle last month and I enjoyed some yummy Thai food from a place called the Long Beach Cafe (they have a separate veg menu, always great!) and I was able to get out to Mighty O Donuts and had plenty of that!! Wow I am SO heading back there next time I'm in Washington! Oh and overall I was impressed with the vegan findings at Pike Place. 

And for Mother's Day I FINALLY got to go to Karyn's on Green! Again, NO PICS. Ugh I could kick myself. Even omni husband liked it! I would love to go there again, but our bill was $100 so I'll have to reserve that for special occasions! But if you find yourself in Chicago (or if you live here already) you have GOT to go there!

But, I figured I'd post a few pics in celebration of my return to the internets.

First off...has anyone had THESE yet??

Vegan? Check. Fair trade chocolate? Check. Delicious? Check! Holy cow these are awesome!! They are at Whole Foods here in Chicago (well the North Ave and the Northalsted locations anyway), so get some! I had a mixup with the staff and almost had to buy an entire carton of these bad boys (I thought they were ordering it for the STORE, they thought I was placing a special order), but thankfully they said they'll just put them out on the shelves since it's something they carry anyway. Whew! Not that I wouldn't want a carton of these but even I have to draw the line somewhere.

And here is my all-time fave cereal now:
I like to throw a handful of fresh blueberries on top, dump in some almond milk and I'm good to go! I like the fact that there's added protein, I use that to justify the wee bit of excess sugar in there. I have found this cereal at Whole Foods, but it's like $1.50 more there than at my local grocery store. 

And finally...on June 9th my little boy turned 4. He's super into monster trucks, so I decided to make him a monster truck-themed cake!

Not the best pictures, I know. I tried and tried. But the good news is that the cake is entirely vegan! I used the basic vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and converted them to cakes (I made two of each), then doubled the frosting recipe from the same book. I used Cosmic Cocos from Whole Foods, crushed up Oreos, and Sour Patch Kids apple stick thingys for the grass. Oh and pretzels for the "road". I've got a few vegan chocolate cookies on the side there as well, they're supposed to be boulders, but ended up looking more like wheels or something! Oh well, I gave it my best shot!

 I love this crazy kid!

Song of the Day: "Wordless Chorus" by My Morning Jacket