On Not Cooking

Hello, hello! As usual, I’ve been relatively quiet post-MoFo. And not just for all the usual burnout reasons. There’s another one: I simply haven’t been cooking! If you read between the lines of my MoFo posts, you’ll find a formerly exuberant home cook who was becoming extremely tired of cooking. Or, more accurately, tired of planning and preparing meals.

Steven and I have had a long-standing arrangement wherein I do the cooking and he does the clean-up. Mostly for dinner, but also the occasional weekend breakfast. Leftovers often serve as lunches for us both. And we both thought it was an equitable arrangement.

Until I realized it wasn’t.

One day toward the end of October, I was at work. As the afternoon passed, I began to think — and stress — about what to make for dinner. I was already pretty worn out from MoFo cooking, so I decided to use a big bowl of leftover beans and rice and recycle it into bean burgers.

Then I got home and discovered that Steven had eaten the leftovers for lunch.

I overreacted. I was unduly upset, and it took me a while to figure out why: I was so, so worn out with the anxiety of planning meals, of managing — in my head — the pantry, of making sure we had ingredients, of thinking ahead, of spending all this time in the goddamn kitchen not for the love of cooking, but just to get something on the table. I realized that all the emotional and mental energy I was putting into cooking — not to mention the time — was not equal to the simple task of cleaning up, post-dinner. Steven could plug in his earbuds and mindlessly wash dishes. No stress.

I should mention here that I don’t at all “blame” Steven for this. There’s no blame to be had. He never set unfair expectations about what we’d eat for dinner and was happy with semi-frequent “fend for ourselves” nights. We both thought it was a good and fair arrangement. But after six years, it wasn’t. And the instant I realized what was bothering me, the instant I articulated it, Steven volunteered to cook all our dinners — and the occasional weekend breakfast — for the indefinite future. And this marvelous human has also been doing 85% of the post-dinner cleanup, too.

It has been wonderful.

Wonderful for both of us, I think. Because I created this role for myself as THE cook, Steven has never really had the chance to develop his own culinary skills. In the past, when he tried, I was a bit… overbearing. The kitchen was *my* domain, and I knew best. So I would hover, giving him “tips” and “pointers” and generally being a pain.

But now I stay the hell out of the kitchen while he’s cooking, only offering advice if asked. I banish myself to the living room and take the time to work on freelance assignments or to simply read. And then I get served up a nice hot meal, which I did not have to think about or plan for or prepare. It’s glorious!

I feel very lucky to have such a kind partner. I know this is a silly, self-induced “problem” to have, but it was causing me legitimate stress. I hope that by stepping out of the kitchen for a while, it’ll rekindle my enjoyment of cooking. I think it will. We’re going to share the cooking for a low-key Thanksgiving we’re hosting for Steven’s mom and step-dad, and I’m actually looking forward to it. That’s a good sign.

So! Where does this leave us? Well, I realize that I should have peppered this post with pictures of Steven-prepared meals, but I shamefully haven’t photographed a single one. I’ve just enjoyed them. But I do have some great content planned for y’all, including a really lovely interview with an author and a giveaway of her book. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I’ll be over here eating food I did not cook. ;)

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Halloween Snackin’ | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Thirty-One

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
Halloween – Try not to scare us too much with your spookiest dish.

Hallelujah, it’s Halloween! Or, more accurately: Hallelujah, it’s the last day of VeganMoFo — a fact for which I’m embarrassingly thankful. Man, this has been a tough month. While I wouldn’t say I’ve been phoning it in, per se, I definitely haven’t given 100% this year. Seven new recipes, a few half-recipes/half-templates, and a bunch of round-up posts would be quite (!) productive for a normal month, but are maybe a little lackluster for VeganMoFo. Next year, I think I’ll come up with my own theme. It’ll give me more time to prepare and free me from the prompts that didn’t inspire me. Hindsight!

Anyway, on to Halloween. I didn’t dress up this year, for a variety of reasons, but I did get to enjoy a whole lot of treats at work. An enterprising new employee arranged a staff party, complete with be-costumed dogs and a vegan potluck! (Perks of working for an animal welfare organization.) I wanted to snap a few photos of the spread, but the room was dim (you know, to enhance the the spookiness) so here’s a photo of my plate instead.

Plate o' Halloween snacksThat vegan buffalo chicken dip on the right might be a bit visually unappealing, but it was insanely good! Rich, creamy, and a total indulgence, but yummy with celery dippers. I also loved the mini Almond Joy bites on the top left. And I wish I’d gotten a photo of that orange cake — one of our talented coworkers made a vanilla cake decorated with orange frosting and black piped spiders and spiderwebs. She also made a chocolate cake frosted to look like a gravestone.

What did I contribute to this massive table of vegan treats? Absolutely nothing. Frankly, my reserves for non-essential cooking are at an all-time low. (And actually, Steven has taken over the essential cooking to give me a break.) Plus, we were downtown last night at a panel discussion on the changing face of American journalism, and we didn’t get back till nearly 10pm. No time to whip up anything! I usually always contribute to potlucks and other group meals, so I didn’t feel bad not doing so this time. Instead, I just enjoyed the food.

And with that, I bid adieu to VeganMoFo 2017. Time to hand out vegan lollipops to the trick-or-treaters!

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Holiday Plans | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Thirty

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
Practice-run a dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or another upcoming holiday.

Dudes, I cannot even think about the holidays right now! But I have to. Steven and I are hosting a (very low-key) Thanksgiving this year for his mom and step-dad, so we’ll have to come up with a Thanksgiving dinner menu. It’s not the first time we’ve hosted — back in 2011, back when we were in Wisconsin, we hosted Thanksgiving for my immediate family and his mom, all of whom flew in to join us. I’m a little shocked we did that, now that I think back on it — we’d only been dating for nine months, yet we tackled a holiday dinner together. And it was 100% vegan! And we didn’t strangle one another!

If I learned anything from that experience, it was to keep things simple. I made three main dishes (including my first-ever Tofurky), and it was overkill! This year, I think we’ll offer one main dish and a whole bunch of sides. I might tackle some kind of turkey Wellington… or maybe we’ll just stick with one of the commercially available ones. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy are a given for the sides, and I’ll probably do some roasted garlicky Brussels sprouts. Maybe I’ll add something new, like this cauliflower gratin or even this roasted kabocha squash. For dessert? My sweet potato pie, for sure, and whatever else catches my eye.

Boring? Maybe. Also classic and no-fail. No need to bring added stress onto a laidback Thanksgiving, right?

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Vegan Chamomile-Lemon Scones | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty-Nine

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
History. What would you cook for your favourite historical figure?

The idea for these chamomile-lemon scones came to me a few weeks ago, but I haven’t had the energy to try them till this weekend. On our all-vegan fjords cruise last month, Steven and I became wholly enamored of the afternoon tea tradition. Between 3:30 and 4:30 PM, we could choose from a massive display of little finger sandwiches and sweet treats — including lots of vegan scones (served with cream and jam, of course). We inevitably filled up on all these delicacies, but that meant we just availed ourselves of a later dinner. No problem.

This is perhaps an obvious pairing, but I’m going to invite Jane Austen over for afternoon tea. I wouldn’t say she’s my all-time favorite historical figure, but I’ve long admired her writing and think she’d be a lively companion. I could ask her all about her life and her works, getting answers to the questions biographers have puzzled over for centuries. We’d chat over pots of dark tea and heaping baskets of scones — including these chamomile-lemon ones.

Vegan chamomile-lemon scones // govegga.comThis is a relatively straightforward vegan scone recipe, but the inclusion of dried chamomile and lemon gives these scones a somewhat unusual — yet subtle — flavor. They’re not super sweet, so feel free to add a little more sugar if you’d like. I opted for refined coconut oil as my fat of choice for; unrefined will give you a more coconutty flavor, and you could easily substitute vegan butter or shortening. I also used oat milk instead of the usual suspects (soy, almond); it’s America’s Test Kitchen’s alt-milk of choice for baked goods, so I figured I’d give it a shot. (Look for a review of their new(ish) cookbook, Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between, soon!) For the chamomile, I used the contents of a few teabags, but looseleaf would be a great choice here as well. Serve these with butter and vegan clotted cream, if you’d like!

Chamomile-Lemon Scones

Makes 12

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon solid coconut oil (use refined to avoid coconut flavor)
  • 1/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers, ground
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Scant cup oat milk (read instructions for details)

Preheat oven to 400˚F and prepare a baking sheet by lightly oiling or lining with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined. Add the coconut oil and use either a pastry cutter, your fingertips, or two forks, cut in the oil to make a crumbly, sand-like mixture.

Make a well in the center of bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, holding out some of the milk. Mix gently until a soft dough forms. If it’s too dry, add the rest of the milk.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured, clean surface. Flour your hands and gently give the dough a few kneads. Pat dough into a circle about 3/4″ to an inch high. Using a floured cookie cutter or a glass turned upside-down, cut out circular scones about 2 1/2″ in diameter.

Transfer scones to the prepared baking sheet. (Optionally, dust the tops with extra sugar.) Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two before serving.

PIN IT

Vegan chamomile-lemon scones // govegga.com


Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

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The Best Places for Vegan Brunch in D.C. and Maryland | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty-Eight

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
Brunch: the under-appreciated get-together meal.

‘Round these parts, brunch is most definitely not an under-appreciated meal! It’s a weekend tradition for many, and whenever I have friends or family visiting, Steven and I nearly always take them for brunch. We’re lucky to have a few top-notch vegan brunch choices in Maryland and D.C., so I figured I’d share them with you today. (If you’re looking for a whopping big post of brunch-y recipes and inspiration, I direct you here.) Now, on to the list!

Great Sage

I never ever regret going to Great Sage for brunch. Although I’m sometimes disappointed by their main dinner dishes, which can sometimes lack creativity, their brunch selection is consistently solid. They always have a perfect mix of savory and sweet options, so all your dining companions should be able to find something that appeals. Plus, they have boozy breakfast drinks — including a massive vegan Bloody Mary! I’ve enjoyed quite a few Great Sage brunches in my day, such as the crabcake sandwich, their amazing pierogi quesadillas, and their yummy breakfast sandwich (featuring a tofu egg, sausage, and cheese). You’d also do well to get one of their signature cinnamon buns to go — they are massive and delicious.

 

Glory Doughnuts

I’ve sung the praises of this Frederick-based establishment a fair few times over the past few months, and for good reason. Not only are their doughnuts top-notch, but they have a fabulous and creative selection of all-day brunch eats! Think PBR-infused Belgian waffles, big ol’ plates of huevos rancheros, and decadent apple pie stuffed French toast. Their coffee is also exceptional; it’s from a local woman-owned, fair-trade roaster and is just really, really tasty. Get here early to make sure there are doughnuts available, and stake your spot early — tables fill up fast!

Smoke and Barrel

Tofu scramble and Smoke & Barrel in D.C.

For a vegan brunch in D.C. proper, Smoke and Barrel in Adams Morgan is an excellent choice. Yes, it’s a BBQ and bourbon joint. But if you can get past all that BBQ, you’ll be rewarded with some surprisingly creative vegan brunch options, like a a house-made sweet potato and oat burger and a massive chili-cheese tofu scramble (featuring Daiya). They even have vegan wings! I ordered the tofu scramble last Galentine’s Day when I was out with my ladies and did not regret it. It comes with a massive pile of tofu scramble; a smoky, spicy chili; thick slabs of Texas toast; and crumbly delicious home fries. And although we ordered a mimosa pitcher on that day, Smoke and Barrel also has brunch cocktails! The Happy Trails (bourbon, peach liqueur, orange bitters, soda water) sounds particularly nice.

Fare Well

Owned and operated by Doron Petersan — the same brilliant gal who started Sticky Fingers bakery — Fare Well is an old-fashioned (yet all-vegan) diner with plenty of brunch and breakfast options. Truth be told, I’ve never actually been here for brunch — just for small snacks (including the croissant pictured above), but I really need to rectify that mistake. Just look at that menu: French toast casserole, featuring challah French toast?! Seitan and waffles?!? Cookie dough pancakes?!?!? Give me a break! I have no doubt everything is excellent, and I need to get here stat.

Sticky Fingers

No list of vegan spots in D.C. would be complete without Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, Petersan’s original vegan joint. It’s really more of a bakery than a full restaurant, but you can still enjoy brunch at this small cafe. The weekend brunch menu is small but features a few options similar to those at Fare Well — challah French toast, for example. You can also get biscuits and gravy, a breakfast burrito, and a few other options. I’ve been to Sticky Fingers plenty of times and have never been disappointed.

Other options

The buffet-style vegan Sunday brunch at Equinox is a bit of a legend around here, but somehow I’ve never been. It’s $35 a head — excluding drinks, which will set you back ~$11 each. That’s a bit steep for me; I have a small stomach and buffets don’t play to my eating style (I prefer smaller but frequent meals, spread out throughout the day.) Still, I know I should try it — with options like a chickpea cassoulet, stuffed whole-grain French toast, and a tofu scramble station, I’m sure it would be a great experience.

NuVegan Café in College Park is one of our favorite spots for comfort food: I can never pass up their mac ’n’ cheese, their fried chicken “dummies,” or their garlicky kale salad. They also have brunch, though I’ve never tried it. But the options are vast and varied, with everything from oatmeal to pancakes to omelettes, and I’m willing to bet it’s all quite tasty.

Local chain Founding Farmers is an oft-hailed farm-to-table establishment with vegan-friendly main dishes (including the Impossible Burger). They allegedly have vegan options as part of their set-price brunch buffet, but their online menu is unclear. That’s a shame — and a missed opportunity. I’m not about to pay upwards of $30 when there’s a chance I’ll only have fruit and toast for breakfast.


This isn’t an exhaustive list, and I haven’t even touched Baltimore!. I’m sure there are plenty of other spots in D.C. with vegan options, but I live far enough from the city that a trip in for brunch is rare. I’ll update this list if I try any great new places, though.

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Kid-Friendly Vegan Eats | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty-Seven

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
Meals for the young (at heart)!

Maybe this is my idealistic, kid-free self shining through, but here’s what I think: If you introduce a variety of foods to kids early on, if you don’t make a big deal about any of them, if you encourage kids to try everything and reintroduce foods later if kids balk at them immediately, if you invite them to help out in the kitchen and make some meal decisions themselves, you can probably tamp down on that whole “kids are so picky!” thing. Sure, some kids are absolutely pickier than others, and we all have our own taste/texture preferences, but I think parents unwittingly do a bit of the damage themselves when they don’t model healthy, curious eating patterns or when they build up “eating your veggies” as a chore that must be completed, not a normal part of life that’s tasty and fun.*

Which is why I believe all foods are for all bodies, big or small, young or old! Eat what you want, when you want! Make most of it healthy, but don’t worry about the junk food and sweets too much.

So, to the prompt. Frankly, I’m just as likely to enjoy so-called kid-friendly recipes as an actual kid! I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat googly-eye chocolate pretzel “screams” or homemade gelatin-free Lucky Charms?! Does that make me young at heart? Ehhh… I just like cute things. ;)

But anyway — I do understand the point here. As adventurous an eater as your kid is, kids in general will typically prefer simpler flavors and familiar meals. Here are a few of those, both from me and from others around the web.

PB granola and vegan yogurt // govegga.com

  • Kids love crunching and munching handfuls of snacks, so how about some granola? Try this peanut butter-chocolate chip version, or strawberry-coconut for a more allergy-friendly version. Or add it to yogurt for a filling breakfast.
  • These cinnamon crackers would also be fun to munch! (Be sure to check out the kid-friendly tag at Fork and Beans — she makes some seriously fun food.)
  • For lunch or a snack, how about these homemade broccoli tater tots? They’re packed with veggies but feel like junk food!
  • Super simple, toddler-endorsed, pasta. The sauce is made of hummus!
  • Colcannon — mashed potatoes with a healthy twist.
  • Mac and cheese! Start your kid off on the good stuff (like this one) and they’ll never crave Kraft.
  • This colorful fruit pizza would be fun to make and fun to eat.

*Having said this, I will probably end up with the pickiest, most obstinate eater if I ever do decide to have a child. Oops.

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A Few Not-So-Showstopping Sweets | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty-Six

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
Showstopper dessert: Something that would earn a handshake from Paul Hollywood!

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever made anything truly, showstoppingly, spectacular. (And given my current malaise when it comes to cooking, I’m not about to do so any time soon.) The most visually impressive dessert I’ve ever attempted was a five-layer cake for Steven’s and my five-year anniversary in 2016, but the results were… less than perfect, at least visually speaking.

Our five-layer cake was Neapolitan inspired, with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry layers sandwiched between vanilla buttercream. It was massive! It was delicious! It was… kinda plain? My cake-decorating skills are not exactly finely honed, so that vanilla frosting quickly became quite crumb-laden. I think I foisted the task onto Steven and refused to take part after I realized it wasn’t going to come out perfectly. (That’s why you can see him in the bottom left photo, earbuds in place, frosting away while I snap pics.) Not the end of the world, but not the visually stunning cake of my dreams. Oh well — looks, as they say, aren’t everything.

Lego cupcakesA slightly more appealing dessert presentation: these Lego cupcakes I made for my dad’s 60th birthday a few years ago. Dad’s Lego-themed party obviously needed appropriately matching sweets, and these did the trick! Simple chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, dressed up with Lego-inspired wrappers, vanilla buttercream, and candy Lego bricks. Not terribly fancy, but perfectly befitting of his Lego theme.

…and that’s it. That is the full extent of my showstopping. Paul Hollywood would definitely NOT give me a handshake for either of these desserts (though I might merit a Fielding fondle).

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Vegan Treats for Furry Friends | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty-Five

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
Cook for your best friend. Tell us about your best friend and their favourite dish, and make them a vegan version of it.

My best friend is a grey-furred, four-legged little beast with an under-bite and an uncanny ability to throw some serious side-eye shade.

Moria

Oh. A human best friend, you say? How boring. My best two-legged friend is Steven, but I cook for that dude just about every day! (He does all the clean-up; it’s a mostly fair trade.) He’s also a plant-eater like me, so all his favorite dishes are already vegan. That’s why I’m going to show you what we feed our best furry friends instead! It’s also the perfect chance to introduce our new dog: Rosie!

RosieWe adopted Rosie from a local rescue this weekend. We don’t know too much about her past; she was brought to Maryland from a high-kill shelter in the south and was with the rescue for about three months without getting much interest from potential adopters. Dummies! She is the sweetest. This lady is probably 5-7 years old, and she has the best ugly-cute face. Her left eye is smaller than the right, probably due to a genetic deformity. She has the serious case of snaggleteeth, and she occasionally limps (luxating patella?). Since we just love broken dogs nobody else wants, she was the perfect fit.

She’s been with us for three days and has settled in beautifully. Her former foster family said she didn’t really like sleeping in bed with them, but guess who spent both the past two nights snuggling us? Yep, this girl.

She and Moria seem to be mostly ignoring one another, which doesn’t surprise me — Moria and Luna had a similar arrangement. Honestly, I don’t think Moria particularly likes having a second dog around, but we make sure to share the love (and the treats) equally.

Which brings me to the prompt! If Moria could talk, she’d probably say that her favorite food is “everything,” followed by “treats.” The good news for Moria? There are tons of vegan doggie treats out there! Moria particularly enjoys Whimzees, a brand of chews, breath bones, and other delicacies derived from plant sources. They’re the perfect substitute for those nasty animal-based chews you’ll find at pet stores. They even make one that looks like a pig’s ear…. which is both disturbing and probably unnecessary. Pretty sure Moria doesn’t care what her treats look like, as long as they taste good! And apparently Whimzees do.


Editor’s note: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something from one of my links, it costs nothing extra to you, but I get a few pennies to cover hosting costs.

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Fun Foods for Festivities | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty-Four

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
Party! Canapés, finger foods, something to share.

Guess what? We already have our annual winter holiday party scheduled. People’s calendars fill up fast come December, so we decided to send out the evites nice and early this year. I’ve also started thinking about the menu. Typically we like to set out a massive spread of savories, sweeties, and lots of drinks, and I doubt we’ll stray from that formula this year. But I am toying with the idea of a more themed menu — like, maybe I’ll feature recipes from different countries. We’ll see. In the meantime, here’s a slightly blurry shot of last year’s spread — with bonus Moria butt under the table. This was our first holiday party in the new house!

Holiday party 2016

Here’s a tentative list of what we’ll prepare for our lucky guests, heavily inspired by last year’s menu.

  • Savories:
    • Homemade vegan cheeses
      • One of Maple Spice’s almond-based cheeses — you can’t go wrong with these!
      • A nut-free cheese ball from Vegan Richa; this one is particularly yummy
      • A third cheese, probably one of Miyoko’s
    • Crackers!
    • Hot caramelized onion-bacon dip — we are pretty much contractually obligated to serve a double batch of this dip at every party.
    • Sliced baguettes for dippin’
    • Veggie crudités, also for dippin’
    • One more dip, perhaps a mushroom pâté
    • One or two more little nibbles. Last year I made lasagna bites and Steven made sausage rolls, so we’ll do something along those lines again.
  • Sweeties:
    • Maple fudge
    • A couple batches of cookies. Duh. I think I’d like to bring back Isa’s Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles; I haven’t made these in ages and they’re so good.
    • Candied nuts, ‘cuz they’re good for easy snackin’.
    • Some kind of cake, or maybe gingerbread?
  • Sippables:
    • Mulled wine
    • Assorted beer, wine, and hard liquor
    • Various mixers (cranberry juice, apple cider)
    • At least one cocktail — maybe something featuring aquafaba, because I’m digging it in flips and fizzes lately.

If you have any recommendations, share away! And if this post seems familiar, you’re right — I posted a similar one last year during MoFo. :) You’re all invited to this year’s party!

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Restaurant Dishes I Have Known | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Twenty-Three

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Four: Entertaining
Fancy AF. Dazzle us with your haute cuisine or gourmet dishes.

Let’s get this out of the way: I am going to take some, ahem, creative license with the prompts this week. I alluded to it earlier this month, but I just haven’t approached this year’s VeganMoFo with much of my usual gusto. The trend continues this week. I’m tired; I’m busy with freelance work on top of my full-time work; I’m not in the mood to spend hours on fancy meals. We just adopted another dog (more on her later!); Steven’s not eating added sugar, so what’s the point of making yummy desserts; I’m stressed out by the horrible political climate in my country; sexist jerks on Facebook have gotten me down; the list continues.

It’s been difficult enough to follow the prompts up till now, but this week’s batch? Even worse. Terrifically worse! I have zero interest in spending hours with fiddly little cakes or troublesome sheets of fondant or the massive Thanksgiving-inspired hot water crust pie I briefly toyed with making. I can’t do it. I won’t do it. I rebel!

So! Here’s what I’m doing instead: Showing you photos of restaurant meals I’ve known and loved but mostly haven’t shared here, because that’s about as fancy as I’m going to get. (Case in point: For breakfast today I ate leftover buckwheat porridge, and lunch will probably be a lentil soup we recently dug out of the bowels of the freezer. Dinner is anyone’s guess. I will accept deliveries of vegan pizza; enquire within for my mailing address.)

…and now, having gone back through about a year’s worth of photos on my phone, I’ve seen too many photos of Luna and I miss her so much.

HAPPY FREAKING MONDAY. Here, let’s distract ourselves with food.

Vegan roast from 222 Veggie Vegan in LondonAn incredible take on a classic roast from 222 Veggie Vegan in London. From the menu: “Hearty vegetarian roast with potato and parsnip mash laced with fragrant herbs. Served with onion gravy and steamed french beans.”

Gosh, this was SO flavorsome. Perfect textures, just the right amount of seasoning, and a massive vat of tasty onion gravy with which to smother everything. Oh, I loved this dish so much, and what a gem of a restaurant! We went there on our last night in London on a bit of a whim (more to come on that trip later!) and it was such a perfect way to end our holiday. I haven’t heard too much about this place but we both loved our meals.

Beet carpaccio

Beet “carpaccio,” just one of the many — many! — dishes we enjoyed on our all-vegan (!) cruise of the Norwegian fjords last month. More posts to come on that experience!

Vegan Irish coffee

Vegan Irish coffee, also on our cruise. Steven and I both indulged in many of these tasty treats, usually while lazing away an afternoon reading. Vegan introvert perfection.

Soup and sandwich at Kaf in Bergen, NorwayThe one meal we paid for in Norway because we were going to miss lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner on the boat that day!

We stopped at Kaf, a tiny veg-friendly cafe in the adorably quaint Bryggen section of Bergen. I opted for a combo meal, which included a spiced sweet potato lentil soup and a half sandwich. The latter was topped with avocado, tomatoes, radish, mango, a balsamic reduction, and a piquant pesto. Steven had a full sandwich with lots of veggies, including tender slices of roasted eggplant. Everything was tasty, fresh, and clearly made with care. So good. So expensive. I’m glad we didn’t have to pay for any other meals in Norway — ouch!

Porridge from 26 Grains in London

Fancy AF porridge from 26 Grains in London. Nordic Pear on the left; Plum and Bay on the right. This is probably the most hipster thing I’ve ever spent money on but it was goooood. (So was their oatmilk flat white.) I need to improve my own oatmeal game!

Crabcake from Great Sage in Maryland

The drool-worthy crabcake from Great Sage — our one and only “local” fully vegan restaurant — during a pre-work-trip brunch this summer. This is a do-not-miss classic at Great Sage!

Carrot lox salad at Great Sage

My 30th birthday dinner from this past March, also from Great Sage! I had their carrot “lox” salad and an order of the amazing cheesy spinach and artichoke dip. The dip was good as ever, but the lox was just too salty. Luckily I saved room for dessert!

Vegan meal at Seasons 52Steven’s mom got married about a year ago, and we all went to Seasons 52 for a late lunch after their sweet little courthouse wedding. This fancier-than-my-usual-dining-establishment has a separate vegan menu!

I chose the vegan paella, which comes with roasted asparagus and a grilled kohlrabi steak on the side. Truthfully, I don’t remember many details about the meal; it was a year ago! They also have a great bar, and I enjoyed a really nice Old Fashioned or two. We’re heading back to this restaurant in a couple weeks to celebrate the couple’s one-year anniversary. :)

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