Thursday, June 27, 2013

Vegan adventures in the DMV- Rafting, Running & Paying it forward.

I started this blog post a few weeks ago, then promptly forgot to publish...

Saturday (6/15) I ran the Loyola River Race 5k, a local race with some serious hills.  It was a beautiful course, but again, seriously hilly.  I wish I'd known that much before signing up.  I probably would have still run it, but it would have been good to know.

My friend, Rune, also ran the race, and got a PR & a medal!  There weren't that many people running, and many got medals.  In fact, the last two people to finish the race (they were 6 & 7 people behind me, and at least 15 minutes, but I'm not counting!) were 2nd and 3rd in their age group (under 14) and got medals.  At least that's one thing to look forward to when I turn 40 in a year and a half- I'll be in a different age group!

Sunday (6/16), Rob and I went on a whitewater rafting trip with a local Vegan Meetup group.  VSDC does a ton of stuff, but this is the first meetup we've been able to go to.  It was a blast.

We put in our rafts just south of Great Falls, VA, and rafted down to Carderock State Park (MD).  The trip took a few hours, and we stopped and had a vegan picnic lunch along the way.  We had a ton of fun, and will look forward to doing other trips like this with the group in the future.

Afterwards, we wanted to have a beer before dinner, and ended up at the Vienna Inn, a totally dumpy dive bar off of Chain Bridge Road.
And, if you know Rob and I, you know that a totally dumpy dive bar is the kind of place we like best.  There was NOTHING there that I could eat, but the beers were good (clean tap lines!) and we ended up striking up a conversation that was fun at the bar with some locals.

Since then, I've also run the Run for the Rainforest in Arlington (6/23) and bested my time from last year by over a minute!  That brings me to 9 races that I've run this year.  Looking at my schedule,  most of the rest of my races this year will be in the fall, and will be longer ones- one 5k, two 8k's, one 10k, and one 5miler.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What vegans eat...

I've been slacking a bit on blog posting lately, so here is a collection of pictures of what I've been eating!

From Great Sage, vegan artichoke dip.

Mia's order from Great Sage, a spinach puff pastry.

My order from Great Sage, spicy seitan with grilled plantains.

From Loving Hut in Falls Church, vegan wontons.

 Mia's order from Loving Hut, rice and quiche and shredded protein.

My order from the Loving Hut, Golden Vermicelli with lemongrass. 

Dessert from Loving Hut, vegan canollis. 

From Sunflower vegetarian cafe, chick'n bites.

My order from Sunflower, vegan General Tso tofu.

Rob's order from Sunflower, spicy tofu noodles.

From a local place, Famous Dave's deli, they veganized a turnover for me.

Too dark to really appreciate, but Rob has become quite the ramen expert. He makes ramen soups and pho from scratch. Here, he used rice noodles, and added tofu cubes.

My cooking this week has included lots of asparagus. Because it is summertime, and oh, so tasty.

Each month I get a Vegan Cuts snack box, with all sorts of vegan goodies to try. 

Happy eating, all!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reclaiming my love for bread

When I first went vegan, I had no idea how many breads include milk &/or eggs.  I knew most of them would, but I didn't envision that I would then spend hours at the grocery store reading every bread label looking for a vegan one.

I discovered that many rye and pumpernickel breads were safe, and that was great.  I like rye and pumpernickel, except, not all the time.  If I'm trying to veganize french toast, rye is not a good choice.

So I haven't eaten much bread in the last few years.  In fact, we eat so little bread that when I buy it, I generally keep it in the freezer, and pull out just a few slices at a time, so that it doesn't go bad.

Mia working at Mom's has changed things, though.  Not only do they have a couple of different vegan breads, but since bread is delivered fresh daily, day-old bread is free to employees.

Oh, bread.  I've missed you.  Garlic bread for breakfast?  Yes, please.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Best of SOMD

I really dig where I live.  Seriously, it's downright awesome.  Not only do I love my house and the people & critters I share it with, but I really like where we live.  My mom, who recently visited, loves the fact that we have the best of all worlds.  We're close to the city, so we can go in an experience city live and events whenever we want.  We're also close to the water, and a slower lifestyle pace.  I like all of those things, too. But here's a list of some of the best stuff about this area. In no particular order.
  1. Charles County Parks & Trails.  There are so many places to walk & run here, and each trail is beautiful in its own way.  The first year we lived here, I think I walked a different trail each day of the week.
  2. Booknuts Bookstore.  This is our new, locally and independently owned used bookstore.  The couple that owns it is just great and super nice.  John has tracked down a number of books for me now, and charges fair prices, hosts local author events, and is a World Book Night location!
  3. Mexico.  Not to downplay La Tolteca in La Plata, which we love for it's convenience and location, but Mexico Restaurant (formerly a humdrum Mexican steakhouse with lousy food) is a new favorite.  Mostly because we love our waiter, Nestor, and his ORGANIC MARGARITA is heaven.  You'll want two, but you should just drink one if you don't want to call a cab!  They are also super flexible, and are willing to make adjustments to just about anything.  Nestor is so awesome, I can order just about anything from the vegetarian section of the menu "vegan style" and not only does he make sure there's no sneaky cheese, he gets the kitchen to add in things like roasted peppers.
  4. Dr. Mark Hochman, DDS. I've lived a lot of places, and therefore, I've been to a lot of dentists.  I've had some that haven't been too bad, and others I just dreaded.  Dr. Hochman is the first dentist I've ever had who actually makes me look forward to getting my teeth cleaned!  I had a filling fall out shortly after we moved here, and was looking at different dentists in the area.  I chose Dr. Hochman because he had the word Namaste on his web page.  I thought (and later knew) that he was a kindred spirit.  Doc Hoc is the greatest- he's fun to talk to, does a great job with our teeth, has a fantastic staff (my missing filling required a root canal, and both he and his assistant called me later that evening from their personal cell phones to check on me), and isn't overly preachy about flossing and the like!
  5. Sir Pops-a-Lot, Kettle Corn.  The best kettle corn in the world.  Recently, when I went to go get a bag, the lady in front of me asked if there was a way to get less salt, because she had high blood pressure.  Eric made a whole new batch while she was waiting, not only without salt, but he also wiped down all of his equipment so she wouldn't even get a grain in her corn.  Fantastic.
  6. Mid-County Vet Clinic. Dr. Cosenza is old school, and so is this clinic.  You aren't going to find any computer printouts, no immediate access to shot records, which was a change for us, because we had been taking our pets to a VCA (basically, a pet HMO) at our old house.  MCVC is a small office, with furniture from the 70's, and they keep all the pet records handwritten in little envelopes filed away in drawers.  It is worth it, though, because Dr. Cosenza and Helen are just super nice, and really care about the pets.  They also aren't looking to strip you of all of your money by selling you stuff.  Little Jack is often itchy, and rather than prescribing me some crazy meds, Dr. Cosenza suggested we try giving him a Benadryl once in a while, which was perfect.
  7. Quizmaster Z. We enjoy playing bar trivia, and play with a group called TeamTrivia DC.  Mizell (AKA Quizmaster Z) is our favorite host.  He brings a lot to the game, including great eclectic music, and a fun rapport.  Unlike some trivia hosts, who just seem to read from a script, Mizell actually looks things up, and brings more information to the game.  
  8. The College of Southern Maryland. Ok, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this was also where I work, but honestly, I love this college.  I took classes here many moons ago, started teaching as an adjunct, and then was hired full time.  The campus is gorgeous, and ever-evolving.  There are three main campuses, and some satellite locations, and I really respect and enjoy the people who work there.  The college offers a tremendous amount to the community, from kid's programs, to sports and fine arts, to community education.  Even if I didn't work here, I would want to be associated with this great school.

I may continue to add to this list- I am always finding new great things to enjoy about the world around me!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Vegan chikn & waffles.

So, I've had this waffle craving lately, and I've also read a number of blog posts about veganizing chicken and waffles. I wasn't motivated enough to actually follow a recipie, this is Gardein strips and Vans vegan toaster waffles that I had for dinner the other night.
Believe it or not, it was delicious! And it quelled my waffle craving!

Books currently reading: 
Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician by Daniel Wallace
The 13 clocks by James Thurber

Racing news, I did the Loyola River 5k today, a very hilly and challenging course. I am thinking about doing the Run for the Rainforest next weekend, too.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vegan Breakfast and swim/running

On Sunday, I woke up with a serious hankering for waffles.  It was raging.  It could not be quelled.  Except by waffles.

Now, here's my thing about breakfast foods.  I've always been a simple breakfast eater.  Before I started running, breakfast 98% of the time was cereal (not always with milk, because 1. unless you eat it right away, your cereal gets soggy, 2. if you eat it too quickly, you have dry cereal, and you're left with a bowl full of soy milk with crumbs in it, and 3. milk? who has time for that nonesense?  Cereal + cup = breakfast to go...) or toast.  

Anyway, back to my hankering for waffles...
Traditional hot breakfast foods are generally NOT vegan.  So when I get a hankering for flapjacks or waffles etc. I generally have to make them myself.  

There's a good company called Mom's Vegan Kitchen that makes mixes for pancakes, waffles and biscuits that I like, and I actually have one of the mixes in my pantry, but you know, when you get a really good waffle crave happening, you don't actually want to MAKE YOUR OWN waffles, do you?

Anyway, there's a lovely vegan restaurant in Temple Hills, MD (Everlasting Life Cafe), about 45 minutes from our place, that has a Sunday Brunch.  I've always wanted to go, and even though I've been there many times for lunch, have never gotten there on a Sunday.

Well, wouldn't you know it, when we got there, they didn't have any waffles, but flapjacks suited my needs just fine.  Rob and I each got something different, and split our meals in half.  That way we each got:
Strawberry pancakes, tofu scramble, vegan sausage, steamed broccoli, and grits!

I did think it was odd, though, that there was no coffee on the menu.  A cup of Joe (it could be organic and free-trade!) and the Washington Post would be the only two things that could have made this breakfast better.

Anyway, enough about food, now let's talk about running.

June 5 was National Running Day!  Yay!  Another cause for wanton celebration!  I got out and ran a 5k in the morning.

Photo: National running day!
It's national running day! I'm headed out for a 3miler. Happy jogging!

Then, like the crazy person I am, I signed up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon next March!  For the last month or so, I've been thinking pretty seriously about a half marathon.  The Running Day $20 discount sealed the deal.  So I guess it's serious now!  Anyway, I've read the No Meat Athlete guide to running a Half, and have started building up longer distances each week.  I have a while to get there.  Thank goodness.

I don't think I could do the program with the weather acting crazy like it has been for the last week.  When it's not thunderstorming (I don't ̶m̶i̶n̶d̶  hate running in a shower, but this stuff has been crazy!) it's SUPER HUMID.  So much so that when I have been running, I'm finding it hard to get good air in, it's like I'm swimming through the air!  At least it seems to be breaking up a bit. 

This is how I know I'm a runner.  When it rains at night, I wake up and am sad about not being able to run first thing in the morning.  I check the forecast at 2am to see what it will be like at 7!  

This morning, it was storming, so I didn't go.  After teaching my class this afternoon, it looked like it had stopped for a bit, and the forecast called for about an hour of no rain, so I booked it home, threw on my Saucony's and ran.  I made it about 10 minutes before the clouds broke open again, and by the time I got home, I was pretty wet.

Tomorrow doesn't look too much better.

Isolated T-Storms

Thunderstorms again in the morning, so I'll have to brave the afternoon run again.  Gah.  I hate running after I've eaten anything. I run so much better on an empty stomach- is that weird?

Anyway- cross your fingers that it clears up for me!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I went by the farmer's market. First stop, as always: Sir Pops a lot. Not only did he make me a fresh batch, but he also handed me his card, and told me that he created a loyalty program where every 11th bag is free, since I "come all the time." The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?
My name is Stephanie and I am a Kettle Corn addict.

BTW: SP-A-L's Kettle corn is vegan.  It's not the healthiest thing I could eat, but I CAN eat it.