Little Victories

Sitting at McAlister's for lunch and a little photo editing today. McAlister's, by the way, is one of my favorite restaurants. Yes, I'm aware it's just a glorified deli. I love it!

My typical meal of choice is veggie chili nachos. I order a variation of the regular chili nachos. It's a massive pile of tortilla chips, veggie chili, tomatoes, jalapenos and lettuce. It's huge, really way too big for one person's meal. It's meant to share. I generally eat the entire plate by myself. I usually get multiple refills on sweet tea as well.

Today, however, I got half a veggie sandwhich, no cheese, and a cup of veggie chili. I only got one refill and used a smaller cup than usual. 

Yay for small victories!


Exporting to Facebook

for the last time.
Just a note, for those interested...
I'll no longer be exporting my blog to Facebook via Notes. I'll still blog, though, and my blog is still open to the public.
I do plan to finish my Asheville series, btw. It's coming.


Asheville, Tuesday - Downtown, Pt 1

I'm so behind on this blogging business!

Tuesday, I left the hotel with intentions of shooting up a storm in Downtown. Well, my excursion ended up being less shooting and more thinning of my wallet. But I'm okay with that. I had some tasty treats and supported some local artists and met some fun people.

A local clothier called Hunter & Coggins. I was amused with their sidewalk sign.

This store was so impressive! The storefront totally drew me in, with its great green facade and funky hanging planters. Nest Organics carries organic mattresses, pillows and other bedding and lots of other home products.

I loved their displays and decor. Lots of natural features.
So much local work. That's definitely one of the things I loved about Asheville. Most places that I shopped, I felt like my money was staying in Asheville, supporting local artists and the local economy.

Next, I hit up Malaprop's, a great local bookstore and cafe.  I picked up a calendar from a vegan cookbook author that I'd been eyeing for a while. Also got the tastiest coffee I've had in forever. It was a vanilla hazelnut latte with soy. I'm not even that big on coffee, but this was incredible. 

I've actually probably consumed more coffee this week than I have in the last 5 years. I'm sure this is mostly because everyone offers milk alternatives.

Uh huh, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. The "V" is for vegan! I didn't actually get one of these because I was on the hunt for cheesecake and/or ice cream.

Malaprop's had a great regional section with local authors. They also have a nice vegetarian cookbook section. Sadly, no local vegetarian cookbooks. The staff was super nice. I even met a group of the owners and management. The made sure to give me more recommendations for my Asheville trip.

More Downtown Asheville to come...


Asheville, Tuesday - Nine Mile

Clint and I drove to Nine Mile for dinner on Tuesday night. It's focused on fresh, local, organic caribbean-inspired dishes. 
The atmosphere is kinda lively, but low key at the same time. The first thing I noticed was the incredible aroma. It made me even more hungry. Nine Mile is a small, dimly lit restaurant. We arrived around 7 pm and had a short wait. I spent the time warming up, dancing in place to the reggae music and watching the staff run around. 

We started with the Lion A Roar, a chipotle fire roasted tomato mango salsa with chips. Different, but quite tasty. You could really taste the fire roasted tomatoes.

I got a Reed's Ginger Brew. Quite gingery - go figure! I wouldn't order one again, but it was nice to try.

Yay for salads with His Majesty's, an amazing ginger garlic dressing. And Natty Bread, locally baked City Bakery bread with a garlic spread. Even Clint liked the dressing :)

Clint stayed awake by taking notes. He had a week of pretty full days for his conference. I always felt like he was about to fall asleep at dinner.

I put away a gorgeous bowl of Jamaican Me Thirsty, grilled jerk tofu with fire roasted tomatoes, garden fresh vegetables, sauteed with white wine & our own jerk marinara sauce. Tossed with linguine & spring onions. Instead of linguine, I had fresh spiral cut zucchini. Yum! I substitute squashes and zucchini for pasta quite often at home, but it was the first time I've ever been able to do so at a restaurant.

Clint had the One Foundation, grilled jerk chicken with garden fresh
vegetables, grilled pineapple, fire-roasted tomatoes sauteed with white wine & folded in our fresh house alfredo sauce. Served over spinach fettuccine. It looked and smelled wonderfully.

Thanks, Asheville, for another amazing veggie-friendly meal!


Asheville, Monday - Greenlife Grocery

I wanted to make a quick trip to a grocery store or drug store or something to pick up some snacks and maybe some cold medicine on Monday night. A guy at the hotel desk sent me just a couple blocks away to Greenlife Grocery. This was quite possible the worst place the dude could have sent me. Worst, as in, I could have stayed there forever!

When I pulled up, I hear a drum and this guy belting out lyrics to "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder." I get closer to the door and see this fella swaying and beating on his drum, eyes closed, yelling to the skies. I was entertained. I even pulled out a digital recorder because I enjoyed listening so much. My recorder battery died, though.

I walked in to see a big case full of seaweed salad, pasta salad, roasted potatoes, baked tofu, black bean cakes. Next to it was row upon row of desserts. More were listed vegan than not! Oh, my! There was a smoothie and juice bar, hot and cold salad bar, a case full of sushi rolls, a bulk section like none I've ever seen. I could make my own nut butters, whether I wanted peanut, almond or cashew. Tons of fresh (mostly overpriced) produce. A massive selection of meat alternatives and cheese alternative. So many different yogurt alternatives. A freezer full of non-dairy ice creams, raw desserts. Oh, my!

I had to focus, grab food and leave quickly! Or I could be there all night.

I picked up a yummy veggie roll with ginger kale, carrots, asparagus and almond in brown rice. Quite tasty.

Seeded Lemon Cranberry bread deliciousness! It was sooo good. and vegan!

I also picked up a club sandwich and kettle chips for Clint. 

Greenlife Grocery, I hope we meet again. You are my new crunchy love.


Asheville, Tuesday - Rosetta's Kitchen

Rosetta gets her own post!

Headed straight for Rosetta's at 116 N Lexington Ave this morning. And she did NOT disappointed.
A local vegan recommended that I try the Family Favorite and sweet potato fries, and that's just what I did.

The Family Favorite is peanut butter baked tofu, smashed potatoes and gravy and sauteed kale. And OH WOW! It's amazing! The kale is tremendous. The gravy makes the potatoes. And peanut butter makes everything better!

Also had the sweet potato fries, fresh cut and dusted with Cajun spices and served with homemade chipotle ketchup. The fries were thick cut and incredibly tasty. The ketchup was kickin'. I'm definitely an abuser of ketchup, but could have done without them on these. It was, however, the best ketchup I've ever eaten.

The dessert case was the first thing I saw when I walked into the restaurant. Everything in there is vegan! I chose the chocolate mint cream pie. It was okay, but I'll definitely try something different when I go back later this week.

Still no vegan cheesecake, but I have 3 days left to continue the hunt.


Asheville, Monday - Magnolia's

While I planned to stay in bed all day today, I drug myself out to grab lunch with Clint.

This is what I see outside my room, though. A First Baptist Church with the coolest roof.

For lunch, we went to a great little place right behind the hotel. Magnolia's at 26 E Walnut is a Raw Bar and Grill, with lunch, dinner and raw bar menus. I had a yummy salad with balsamic dressing and the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich.
A portobello cap with roasted red peppers, spring mix and a roasted garlic aioli on focaccia bread. This was, by far, the best focaccia that I've ever had. The mushroom was cooked wonderfully. I loved it! Clint had an awesome-looking fried shrimp po'boy. It came with smoked tomato tartar sauce that smelled incredible! I think Magnolia's is probably a really neat place when the weather is nice. They have a huge patio with walls that open up to make it a fantastic courtyard space with wrought-iron gates and lots of green plants.

Our waitress told us about a drum circle downtown on Friday night. I might have to stick around.

I have a growing list of awesomeness that I need to check out here in Asheville. Right now, I MUST check out Rosetta's. A local vegan lady recommended I go there. The menu looks incredible, and it's all just for me! I'm also on the hunt for vegan cheesecake!

Oh, I almost forgot, I think the cleaning lady left me a snack.


4 Years Ago Today

on a treacherously icy/snowy day in Arkansas, I met this boy for the first time.

And life has never been the same.


A weekend

of pictures, new friends and painting. It was delightful.

I spent some time with my new friend, Robin, shooting some of her amazing work for her Etsy shop. Check out her store. And buy stuff from her! She made my awesome black and pink kitty hat that I'm wearing in my profile pic.

Sips N Strokes with Jenn. Goodtimes that made me realized how much I miss painting in art school (and being social!) Maybe I'll have to revisit it (both.) I did discover that I do NOT like acrylics because they dry way too fast. My shadows stink!

Put on a pot of soup to have for lunches this week. I picked this up at Kroger, as it was on sale last week. Thought I could give it a whirl. It made the apartment smell yummy. It's a very simple taste, nothing specific or overpowering. Quite comforting though. And filling! I packed a cup and a half in addition to a huge Greek salad for lunch today. Yum.

Shot Ellianna and her adorable little family yesterday.  She'll be a new big sister in the next week or so.

Good weekend with lots to keep me busy, but lots of relaxing time with Clint.


Food Alternatives

as of late.

I've been getting back into finding better alternatives for foods. For Christmas dinner at my parents' house, I made sweet potato casserole with acorn squash instead of sweet potatoes. The texture was slightly different just because the potatoes are so starchy, but the taste was quite similar. I absolutely LOVE sweet potato casserole and usually get upset if it's not at a holiday meal. But I really like this alternative. I will probably make this more at my own place now. Clint said we should.

Here's a calorie breakdown just for kicks:

quite a difference, huh!

For dinner last night, I finally tried something that's been on my list for ages.
colorful, huh?
That's not mashed potatoes though. It's mashed cauliflower! And it was delicious. Even Clint enjoyed it.

I just steamed the cauliflower and tossed it in my amazing Blendtec with some salt, pepper, garlic and Earth Balance.
Clint said he'd like to have mashed cauliflower with his salmon soon. Yay!

Impressive, no?


Holidays 2009

Like any other holiday, we spent this one traveling. It happens when your parents and his parents live at opposite ends of the state and you two live a couple states over.

Crashed with the wonderful DeAngelo's in their new home in Lucedale, MS, on our first night out of Alabama.

Christmas with Mom's family in Kenner. My grandparents were just delighted with their new family portrait.

We watched the Saints with Clint's family at his baby brother's great new house. Gumbo courtesy his mom, of course.

Headed to NOLA.

And wandered the streets for an evening.

Browsed the French Market and fell in love with a piece from a local artist. Merry Christmas to me from Clint.

Then Ruston-bound for a visit with

my family (well, just Mom and Dad here)

and old friends. I wonder who she gets her looks from.

A quick drive to Arkansas

To see the one and only Jenny.

Pulled out my first digital camera while at my parents' house. This is the first digital camera from which The Tech Talk regularly had images. Crazy!

That's right. 1.3 megs. oh, my!

In the middle of all this, I got to see lots of old friends (the old roomie and her husband; an old dorm buddy, her husband and little boy; and an old photo classmate) and even the old boss in Ruston. Spent lots of quiet time with the families and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Clint came home with bronchitis, sadly. But not before my mom took him to the doctor and sent him packing with lots of meds, of course.
NYE was incredibly uneventful and I'm okay with that. Now to just finish resting up with the weekend before heading back to a new year of work.