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How to Make Beans… My First Cooking Show!

October 14, 2013

One of my “bucket list” things to do was to make a cooking video for YouTube.  Well, I finally did it!

In my first video of hopefully many, I decided to focus on something easy:  BEANS!!

What do you think?

We Finally Got a Piece of the Pie…

August 15, 2013

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I never make pie because I hate rolling dough, and there’s something really heartbreaking about a pre-made crust.  Therefore, I just don’t eat pie.  No big deal, there are other things in life to keep me happy, like cake.

But every time I open Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s classic, The Joy of Vegan Baking (I might as well just superglue the book to my face) the recipe for the  No-Bake Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Chunks jumps out at me.  So… what the hell, right?

After all, it’s friggin’ summertime!  Time to smush as many fresh fruits and veggies into our faces as possible!  After you tire of eating them as-is (as if!), you throw them into a dang pie or cobbler and eat them that way.  It’s okay.

My name is Alecia, and today I made pie.

Anyway, I know that this recipe has been around the internet and back, but I just wanted to share a link to it (and my pictures) so that you remember to keep it in your life.

Oh yeah, and the crust for this pie is of the crumb variety, so no rolling required.  Muhahahaaa

Get the recipe HERE.

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What’s your favorite summertime dessert?

Six Chicago Restaurants I Will Miss

July 6, 2013

After what seemed like an eternity of dealing with cold weather, mood swings, seasonal affective disorder, and subtle marital power struggles, Andy and I have moved from Chicago to San Diego, again.  Again??

I’m dealing with it.

Happy husband, happy life.  People say that, right?

No other city has given me such overwhelming regret.  (Okay, except maybe Paris…) There’s so much left that I haven’t seen or done.  Whole neighborhoods I haven’t visited, new people I haven’t met.

I haven’t written in over a year, and didn’t do any blog posts about Chicago at all, WTF?  Granted, I was busy with work, planning a wedding and dealing with depression, but really?  

Can I have a do-over?  Can we go back to Chicago, where I’d do everything I should have done during our  year there?

I’d move to a cool apartment in a more affordable part of town.  I’d throw dinner parties for my neighbors.  I’d take cooking classes, and befriend local bloggers, chefs and foodies.  I’d join my friend Kevin’s beach volleyball team.  I’d take the water taxi to Chinatown all the time, because I could.  I’d follow my friend Brittany all over the city, because she is the queen of free/cheap entertainment and bargain shopping.  I’d go to new restaurants every week.  And I’d photograph and write about everything.

Anyway, I’ve fallen out of the habit of taking pictures of everything I eat/make – but here is a list of eating establishments I already miss, the ones I will seek out when I return for visits… in no particular order:

  1. Karyn’s on Green – Andy and I had our wedding reception brunch there, so this place will always be special to us.  Located in the West Loop, this spot has the best French toast in the city!
  2. The Chicago Diner – Junk food galore! Wings, milkshakes, Reuben sandwiches, milkshakes.  Booze.  Hot male servers.  Hot female servers.  I love this place so hard.  If it’s crowded at the original Halsted Street location (which it often is), you will probably be asked to sit at the bar.  While it’s not as nice as a booth or a table by the window, you can watch one of the hotties preparing milkshakes.  If he messes up a milkshake (made the wrong kind, made too much, etc), he may give that mistake to you, for free.  This happened to me at least three times.  ;)
  3. Bon Bon Sandwiches – Vietnamese Banh Mi is my new sandwich of choice (move over, falafel), and Bon Bon’s Lemongrass Tofu is perfect.  Crusty/soft baguette, chewy fried tofu flavored with lemongrass and soy sauce, sweet daikon radish and carrot relish, creamy avocado and vegan mayo.  I want one NOW, with mango bubble tea!  And the place, located in Wicker Park, is a great hangout spot, with free Wifi, comfy seating, and music that’s at a good level for conversation.
    Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi and Bubble Tea!  Yum yum

4.  Native Foods – I worked there briefly when we first moved to Chicago, so after I quit it was weird for me to go in there for a while.  But I still adore their food!  Yeah, it’s a chain, but the closest location to San Diego is two hours away (by bus, anyway) so I mourn no longer being able to walk there.  This place, though I did enjoy flashier options such as the Scorpion Burger and the Super Italian Meatball Sub, was truly one of the places I could visit to get a really good salad.  I rarely order salads at restaurants, except at Native Foods.  (Okay, there’s the occasional Buffalo Ranch Salad at Chicago Diner, but it’s smothered in so much ranch dressing that it just ain’t healthy anymore.)  The Caribbean Jerk Kale Salad was my favorite, followed by the Ensalada Azteca.

5.  Ba Le Sandwiches – Another Banh Mi place?  This food-crush is turning serious.  Ba Le was only a block away from our apartment in the Loop, and from day one the lady there  always remembered to leave the cheese and mayo off my sandwich, even when I forgot to say anything.  I just wanted to put her in my pocket and take her everywhere, so she can yell at anyone who even dares to fuck up my food.  Though their sandwiches are pricier and not quite as flavorful as Bon Bon’s, they are larger, and served at a steamier temperature, which makes them quite satisfying to tuck into on a cold afternoon.  In their refrigerated case, they always had vegan salad rolls (spring rolls filled with avocado, rice noodles and spicy sauce), which were delightful.

6. Ruby of Siam – Three doors away from Ba Le, this quiet BYOB is a Thai food haven in the western Loop area when other establishments have closed.  And the food is yum!  They are very vegan friendly and can make almost anything on their very large menu animal-free.

Chicago is such a foodie city that of course there are more restaurants I could have mentioned, but I’ll stop there.

I’m in San Diego now and am happy.  And my husband’s happy.  And we’re renting a cute place (a house, not an apartment) in an affordable part of town.  Too far away from the beach to join a volleyball team, and there isn’t a water taxi or a Chinatown, but we do throw dinner parties for our neighbors.  And I’ve taken a few cooking classes and tried some restaurants.

But I haven’t found a good Banh Mi sandwich here.  (Or falafel, for that matter.)  Vegan French toast?  Forget it.  And all I keep telling everyone is that I miss Chicago.

Thanksgiving: Cake, Lust, Caution

December 4, 2011

Just landed in Chicago a couple days ago, and while it’s wonderful to be back in the US there are already things I miss about Spain…

Such as Lujuria Vegana‘s cake!  Lujuria is the Spanish word for lust, you know.  Mmmm I feel like such a dirty girl.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Cake

Read more…

Barcelona Brief

November 30, 2011

Well…  Did Andy and I go to Berlin, as we had originally planned last summer?

Nope, we went to Barcelona instead.

We rented an apartment in the suburbs via AirBnB, and have been here for almost two months.  Though we didn’t do a whole lot of touristy stuff (WTF, no Parc Güell?!?) I have fallen in love with the place and hope to return.  The weather has been poopy (rainy season!), the food has been mostly so-so compared to other places we’ve been to, but the people have been (mostly) wonderful. Barcelona is undoubtedly a beautiful city but its beauty isn’t as in-your-face as that of, say, Paris.  In that way, I felt as though it was more…accessible.  Does that make sense?  I didn’t find it to be an overly flashy and glittery city, just a very pleasant one.

If we can get work visas, we’d like to try living here for a while. My guy and I are very sick of moving around and though we do want to continue to travel, we desperately need a “home base.”  So…who knows?

Anyway, what did we do here?

We ate, duh…

I was pleasantly surprised to find so many vegan options!  If you’re checking out La Rambla, you must go to Gopal!

Gopal (unsurprisingly crowded!)  C/dels Escudellers, 42 08002 Barcelona

Gopal (crowded of course!) C/ dels Escudellers, 42 08002 Barcelona

Gopal's menu--look at all the choices!

Gopal's menu--look at all the choices!

It’s a cute little 100% vegan deli with delicious, affordable hamburguesas.  And if you need a vegan dessert, you’re in luck–their cakes and brownies come from Lujuria Vegana.  Mmmm… it’s best to go in the early afternoon because it’s a small place that fills up quickly!  Or, get some sammiches “para llevar” (to go, or literally “for to take”) and go back to La Rambla.  Have a seat next to the statue at Plaça del Teatre and have a picnic!

Other stuff I enjoyed:

Pimientos de Padrón! (Available at most tapas bars...just padrón peppers pan-fried in olive oil and sprinked with sea salt--yum)

Pimientos de Padrón! Available at most tapas bars...just padrón peppers pan-fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt--yum.

Vegan Paella @ Organic, C/ Junta de Comerç, 11  08001 Barcelona

Vegan Paella @ Organic, C/ Junta de Comerç, 11 08001 Barcelona

Vegetable Couscous @ Venus Delicatessen, C/ Avinyó, 25, 08002 Barcelona

Vegetable Couscous @ Venus Delicatessen, C/ Avinyó, 25, 08002 Barcelona

Also available at many places... Hummus, BEER, and pan con tomate, a Catalan favorite

Also available at many places... Hummus, BEER, and pan con tomate, a Catalan favorite

Because we stayed in a non-touristy suburb (Cornellá de Llobregat) and are on a tight budget, sadly we didn’t visit as many “veg” establishments as I would have liked.  You’ll have to visit them for me and tell me how they are.  :)

Places that I didn’t visit and am looking forward to visiting next time include:

  • Veggie Garden, C/ dels Angels, 3, 08001, Barcelona  (I hear they have vegan lasagna…)
  • The Dog is Hot, C/ Joaquin Costa, 47 08001 Barcelona (Veggie dogs!  Loads of toppings!  Yesss)
  • Cat Bar, C/ Bòria, 17  08003 Barcelona, Spain (quarrygirl said it had the best veggieburgers in BCN… is that true??)

One place that’s within walking distance of our place, Café Bambu (C/Vicenç Bou 12, Esplugues de Llobregat, 08950 Barcelona), which had tasty burgers and hummus, is being sold and may be an Irish pub or something by the time we return.  :(  If you get a chance to go before it closes, the owner, Stephanie, is very nice!

Oh yeah, what else did Andy and I do recently?

WE GOT ENGAGED!!!!

Yaaay!!

Yaaay!!

Vegan Travel Meal Ideas From a Former Flight Attendant! (Part 3)

June 29, 2011

(Super-secret information for flight crewmembers ONLY!!)

Vegan Snacks and Meals for the Regional Flight Attendant

(Okay, Okay…

OR

For Anyone Who Travels a Lot)

By Alecia A. Lott

***PART THREE***

Read more…

Vegan Travel Meal Ideas From a Former Flight Attendant! (Part 2)

June 27, 2011

(Super-secret information for flight crewmembers ONLY!!)

Vegan Snacks and Meals for the Regional Flight Attendant

(Okay, Okay…

OR

For Anyone Who Travels a Lot)

By Alecia A. Lott

***PART TWO*** Read more…

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