Thursday, July 29, 2010

Asheville Part Two

Ok so I will try to get past telling you about our lunch at Laughing Seed. It will be hard since it was so awesome! ;)

After lunch we walked around downtown...

Bele Chere was going on all weekend which made the streets packed with people and booths. We were there pretty early, which is when this pic was taken so you can't see how crowded it was.

Yay for puppies. We went behind the pool to see the dogs and there were kennels with plush bedding, a fan blowing and fresh water. Glad to see the dogs are being treated well.

Some art work. Not really sure what it is or why it is there. Cool looking though. I don't really understand abstract art. Hmmm...Wish I were more artsy fartsy like my sister and my mom.

This was the cutest street in downtown. I think LT said it was called Wall Street. It just so happens to be the street Laughing Seed is on.

It was a super hot day which we were a tiny bit bummed about. LT walked through the misters to cool off. I was too worried about having hair like Monica did on that episode of Friends.

Us! <3

We stopped by Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria to taste a couple local brews. I told the bartender I liked wheat beers so he picked out something for me that I have no clue what the name of it was.

Here's the bartender. LT asked if I would like him to grow a beard like that, I said, "sure, if we lived in the mountains."

Here are some of the beers on tap.

On the way out I noticed Soy Cheese on the menu. I checked if the pizza crust was vegan, and it was!! We have dinner plans Sunday night!

After Bele Chere we went back to the hotel and got cleaned up for dinner. I didn't take any pictures of dinner at Zambra but it was a little tapas place with great ambiance. The food was really good and there were lots of choices, surprisingly.

Day 2
We headed out early to the Biltmore estate.

Look at the size of this house. 250 rooms in the house. We weren't allowed to take pics on the inside of the house. We listened to an audio tour, which was awesome because you could go as quickly or as slow as you wanted through the house. There was no AC since the house was built in 1895 but the windows were strategically placed where you almost always had a nice breeze and view of the mountains.

Me at the gardens.

LT at the gardens.

There were several gardens on the property. We only visited a couple and they were amazing. I can't imagine how much work goes into keeping up the gardens. For some strange reason, we didn't take any pics. I think we were in awe and didn't think about it.

Here we are after the wine tasting. We bought a glass of our favorite, Pinot Nior, to end our afternoon at the biltmore.

Sunday evening was nice an relaxing. We headed over to Barley's for some Pizza.

LT had the vegetarian pizza.

I had 2 slices of soy cheese, artichoke, sundried tomatoes and spinach. The crust was awesome!
After dinner...

Groves Park Hotel. I wish we could have stayed there. LT and I want to stay here next time and spend a day at the spa.

For some crazy reason, we decided to visit a local spot where people claim it's haunted.

You can't see it very well but it's a bridge up in the mountains where there is nothing around. No lights. No nothing. Click on the pic to see the bridge better.

Story is, a woman lost her daughter in a house fire so she came down to this bridge and hung her self. There are claims that she walks around in a long white dress asking people if they have seen her daughter. People also claim they have car problems when they park under the bridge, such as flickering lights and battery failure. Luckily we did not experience any of that but we did see some headlights appear out of nowhere and just as quickly disappear even though there were no streets to turn on. Weird!
I told LT that he needed to hurry up and get us out of there. LOL!

Day 3 - Last day. =(
Vacation was winding down and I was very sad.

We spent the morning walking the campus of LT's college, Montreat. It is a gorgeous place. All the buildings are super old with ton's of character. He is truly blessed to have had such an awesome college experience.

We went hiking up a local trail called the Lookout trail. This is us at the top of the mountain. We are very sweaty!

Here I am huffing and puffing after climbing up the trail at LT speed. I kept up and didn't even slow him down! (breaking my arm while I pat myself on the back)

I loved the hike. I loved the school. I loved Montreat and Black Mountain. I think I preferred this area over Asheville. The mountains are so beautiful!

After cleaning up and checking out of the hotel, we went to Rosetta's Kitchen. It's a close call between Laughing Seed and Rosetta's Kitchen. Both delish!

Ever tried vegan queso?? OMG... I was in heaven. I thought I would never get to eat queso again! Truly a sad story that I live so far away.

The veggie burger was very good.

But not as good as my mash potatoes and gravy. Seriously!?! Gravy? I have to figure out how to make that at home. Along side the potatoes (LOL) was grilled portabello and kale. Also very yummy!

I wanted the Peanut Butter Cake but I was way too full!

Reason to go back, very soon.

Well there are no more photos but basically that was the end. We are excited that this is a short work week and we are off to vacations #2 this weekend. We are going to the Florida Keys. I'll take lots of pics, I'm sure. I am a little bummed that the restaurant choices are pretty much seafood and burgers. I'm packing my trustee foods such as almond butter and apples, just in case there are no vegan friendly meals.

I'll post ya later. LOL. Seriously, I crack myself up. He he.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Asheville, NC - My future snow bird home!

What a great weekend! I should have posted last night but I had volleyball and I was wiped from getting home late on Monday.

VBall Update
July 27 - played against GatorNoleCats (again)
Lost all 3 (again)

That's ok. It's still a lot of fun!! =)

Asheville was Awesome! The food was even better! And don't forget the local brew... Yum!

From the beginning...

Here is us on our way out the door early Saturday morning. We are super excited!

We just boarded the plane. See my hair?? That's due to the lovely humidity. Aveda hairspray does not work!

Our car rental. Zoom Zoom Zoom. LT, who is over 6'2" was super cramped driving this car. I offered to drive... not sure why he wouldn't let me drive. LOL!

We had about an hour drive to the hotel. This pic does not do the beautiful scenery any justice. You can't see it in the picture but above the trees were several different shades of blue mountains.

We made it!

First stop... The Laughing Seed! Yay! I've been dying to try this place. Tons of Vegan and Vegetarian options.

We ordered...

Pakoras of the Day. One was Califlower-Onion and the other was Chard-Squash. The sauce is a spicy Punjubi chutney.

Smokin'Split Pea Soup.

Montford Sammie ~ Mock chicken salad sandwich with roasted local tempeh, Vegenaise, spice on toasted focaccia bread. Served with jalepeno onion fries. Deee -lish!

Omega Hempnut Burger with a side of vegan pasta salad. This was sooo yummy but it upset both of our tummies. I blame the Fiber.

We both ordered a beer from their brew. Mine was the Wheat (shown) and LT ordered a dark beer. It was the perfect way to wash down a perfect lunch.

I promise I didn't take this many pics of every meal. I was just super excited and a little camera happy.

Well I have to leave to go to "Game Night" at our lovely friends, Lory and Nic's house.

I will finish our Ashevile trip on the next post.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Countdown to Asheville

Less than 2 days until vacation! Yay! We are leaving Saturday morning for a long weekend in Asheville. We plan to eat at the Laughing Seed and Zambra. We will visit Biltmore and Montreat College (LT graduated from Montreat). And of course I want to do some shopping. I plan to bring as little as possible so I can get a few things. Yay!

I have not started to pack, mainly because I have no idea what I want to wear. LT says to wear tennis shoes. I want to wear summer dresses. Not thinking that would be a cute combo.

In an attempt to use the eggplant before we leave I made a dish from Yum Yum Vegan - Eggplant and Basil Stuffed Tomatoes.

I tend to follow recipes very loosely so it's not exactly as the cookbook says.
What I did:
I cored 2 large tomatoes and drained upside down on a paper towel. I pealed and chopped 1 large eggplant. Seasoned with evoo and S&P. I sauteed in a pan with fresh basil from my garden, dried oregano, red pepper flakes and the insides of tomatoes. Meanwhile I toasted chopped Ezekial bread, seasoned with evoo, S&P in the oven at 400 degrees until crispy. Once the eggplant was cooked, I added the home made crutons. I stuffed the tomatoes and baked at 400 degrees for 20 mins. Meanwhile I made a balsamic reduction by simply cooking balsamic vinegar at medium heat until syrupy. To serve, simply drizzle the reduction over the stuffed tomatoes.

I thought the flavor was great. I did add a little Vegan Parmesan Cheese after I took my first bite.

Next time:
~ add more red pepper flakes
~ make more balsamic reduction
~ season tomato with evoo and Italian spices

Any other ideas? Suggestions?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Volleyball - 2nd Match

Last night was our 2nd game of Indoor Volleyball. I just joined the league last week. In Dallas I played on several recreation teams, indoor and outdoor. My favorite is indoor for the competitiveness but I love sand volleyball for the fun and party feel. I never played in school (except for a PE credit in middle school, so by no means am I "good." I'd say... well, I don't stink terribly bad at vball. LOL.

Here is the team. We are calling ourselves "Brown Bombers." The name is inspired by the AWFUL shirts we have to wear. (Left to Right: Jason, Hannah, Ryan, Me, Bodi, Paul and Jill is sitting up front)

We all signed up as singles so we have never met each other before the first game. It takes a little while to get used to each other as players and communicators. Jason has "never touched a volleyball" and is struggling to keep up. Good news is he learns quickly. After 1 game and 1 practice he is already serving better. He is motivated to improve. Hannah, Bodi and Jill obviously played in school. Very intimidating but they are all super nice and helpful. Ryan and Paul are both good, too. I think our team will get better quickly.

1st Match against "You Look Fat When You Cry"
Lost 2
Won 1

2nd Match agains "GatorNoleCats" +some ringer guy they used for a sub.
Lost 3
Won 0

Last night, before vball, I made a quick and super yummy stuffed bell pepper.

Once again I will remind you that my food photography sucks but trust me it was tasty. Here is what I did. These are rough measurements and times.
I cut off the tops of 2 bell peppers and pulled out the seeds and stem. I drizzled EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) over them in a baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water in the dish. Sprinkled a little S & P (salt and pepper) and then they went in the oven at 350 degrees while I made the stuffing.
In a pan I sauteed a chopped onion, and diced jalepeno for a couple mins. I added about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of Boca vegan crumbles, 1/2 - 3/4 cup of white rice (all I had), 1 large chopped tomato, cumin, cayenne pepper, S & P, 1/2 cup of salsa verde, 1/4 cup of water, and hand full of cilantro. After about 5 mins of simmering. I stuffed the peppers half full with stuffing, sprinkled daiya cheddar cheese, another layer of stuffing and topped with daiya cheddar cheese. They went in the oven until cheese was melty and gooey.

I topped mine with Tabasco as I do with pretty much everything. LT said his was already too spicy. OOPS! ;)

I gotta go for now.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Shame on me. I rolled out of bed at 5:15 and then turned around and laid back down. =(

Monday, July 19, 2010

So much to talk about...

The past few days have been a lot of fun!!

Thursday Night

LT and I started the weekend a little early by going to Simon's Coffee House. I have not had many things "raw" but I've ordered the raw special both times I've been there and it was very yummy!

Raw Lasagna. YUM! Tangerine Beer. YUM!

It was so creamy and yummy. Reminded me of creamy alfredo pasta (Before Vegan) the next day straight from the fridge. Mmmm.... my fav.

LT liked it too. I think he secretly wanted to trade. ;) He ordered the Veggie burger. It looked really good but I didn't try it because unfortunately it was made with egg.

If you live around here, I totally recommend going there. It's a nice atmosphere with a variety of things to order. My only complaint is they don't have more choices that are vegan.

Friday Night

A nice low key night. We picked up Luke for the weekend. Our tradition is for us all (3 humans, 4 dogs... well the 2 big dogs aren't allowed to be on the couch) to pile up on the love seat and watch a marathon of "Home Funniest Videos," as Luke says.


It was a really hot summer day. Way too hot to go to the beach. Instead we decided to take Luke to BounceU.

Here he is....

Having tons of fun....

Never slowing down...

For 2 full hours.

I was exhausted watching him. He had a blast and that's all that matters!

For dinner we met Ricky, Ang and my sis Hayley at Daruma Japanese Steak and Sushi. Luckily they let me make my own roll.

My Creation. I would call it... Spicy Vegan Roll. I know, I know.... Sooooo original, right? Oh well. Inside was Jalepenos, scallions, and tempura portabello mushrooms. Avacado, sesame seeds and sirachi sauce on top. PERFECT! I wish it would not be totally rude to bring my vegan spicy mayo. I could be like... "Here! Make me a vegan volcano roll please." Blink... Smile.... Blink. LOL. I crack myself up.

We sat at the Hibachi table which is entertaining for meat eaters. I enjoyed watching Luke's reaction.

Toothless smile.. adorable. Ignore the stain on LT's shirt. I suggested that shirt move to the "around the house" pile. Love you babe!

Can you believe he knows how to use chopsticks? Cheaters or not. I'm impressed.


Church service was amazing as always. Very uplifting. The series right now is about Losing your religion. Basically saying, it's not all the rules and guidelines of religion that matters. All that matters is that Jesus is your focal point, your #1, your everything. Live you life for Jesus. I love leaving church with happy buzz.

We went to Whole Foods for lunch. The choices for vegans are awesome! I love that you don't feel like you have to modify, ask a million questions about ingredients or eat lettuce. There are choices! Yay! I had too much food to mention. I might sound like a pigglet.

The rest of the day was spent at Ricky and Ang's pool.

The boy's swam. Left to right; Ricky, Luke, LT. Looking good babe! Ang sun-baked while Hayley and I decided staying in the shade would be the best choice for us.

Hayley! =)


I didn't get up and walk/jog like I planned to. I think my exact words to LT were "I'd rather sleep than look good in a bathing suit." I'm really starting to relate to the quote: "I've never regretted going for a run but I have regretted skipping one." - Chris Beck. Thats ok because I am going to get up at 5:15 am tomorrow morning. I told LT to literally use his foot to push me out of bed if he has to.

Work was busy. Every Monday I go to the Power Networking Lunch of Venice. It's been a learning experience, for sure. There are a lot of good people in the group. I am pretty shy in large groups but each week I get to know more people. Worst part about the group is they don't cater to Vegans. Every week I order the salad with no meat, cheese, dressing, crutons, basically all I can have is lettuce and cucumber, please. Thanks! Starving after $15 lunches are no fun. Oh well. Once a week will not kill me.

Dinner was pretty good. I spruced up the leftover potato soup with some great northern beans and spinach served along side a pesto and tomato salad. I really like my home made pesto.

Soup with a dollop of pesto and tomato/pesto salad.

Well now that I am done with the worlds longest blog, I'll make a mental note to update more often.

Good night.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My new favorite breakfast!!!!

My food photography sucks! This picture does not give this VOO with Strawberry Banana Softserve any justice. It's so cold and creamy and deeeeliiicious! Thanks Angela at!