Sunday, April 29, 2012

Michigan VegFest '12

Today I attended my 4th VegFest (which, coincidentally, also marks my 4th Veganversary).  Last year I wrote a, uh, less than stellar review of the event.  Based on that experience, I wasn't getting my hopes up again about this year.  I knew I had to go - I couldn't NOT go - but I wasn't going to get frustrated if it was disorganized ("serenity now"), there were long lines ("serenity now"), or there was an obnoxious man in a cow suit trying to scare people into the PETA booth ("SERENITY NOW!").  

Jaime said she would go with me again and we both decided this would be the year that we would finally go and see John Salley.  He has been a presenter every year that we've gone, but for one reason or another, we just haven't made it to his presentation.  Not this year.  We weren't going to let another VegFest slip by without seeing John Salley.  (FYI - Jaime had already met him once at Dunham's back when he was a Bad Boy; this would be my first encounter.)

So although we didn't want to get our hopes up about VegFest, we sure had our hopes up about John Salley!  In fact, Jaime arrived an HOUR EARLY to my house, she was so excited!  Although it meant I didn't have time to do my hair - I didn't want to make her wait around while I slaved over the flat iron - it gave us plenty of time to stop for coffee to get fueled up for the day.

Aside from a bit of disorganization upon entry, it was a relatively smooth operation.  It was much more spacious and spread out than last year, making it easier to get to vendors and food samples without having to wait in ridiculously long lines.  People seemed friendlier, more laid-back, and they weren't hogging all the food samples.

I met some really friendly veggies (much better than last year's cow!)

I had all the best intentions to take pictures of every bite and document its place of origin before I put it in my mouth; however, that didn't exactly happen.  Here's what I had to the best of my memory:

From Krishna: 

Khaman - chickpea batter steamed with sesame & mustard seeds, cilantro, and coconut as garnish

Mix Lentil Curry - chickpea, pigeon pea, adzuki bean in mung bean curry

Upton's Naturals was there serving up some of their seitan crumbles.  I didn't try any thisyear because I've had them before.  What was new was their wraps. There were three to choose from.  I had the chipotle and Jaime tried thechicken bacon ranch.  I can't remember the third flavor.  It was allso overwhelming and exciting that they were all vegan!  Both of the oneswe tried were very meaty and flavorful - delish!  I didn't get to ask butI think these must be a new product because I think I saw some packages but Iwasn't finding anything about them on the website.  Anyone know??

From Russell Street DeliHouse-Made Black Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup
Apple Rosemary Pecan granola - a winning flavor combo!  Pick up some of this low-fat Michigan-made granola at Eastern Market.

We had some tasty desserts, though we controlled ourselves better than in past years.  Not pictured but tasted was some lemon cake from Patisserie Ci, and delicious chocolate mousse from Whole Foods, and several other small bites, including a strawberry muffin, a scone, chocolate silk pie, a cookie, applesauce.  Hmmm, perhaps we didn't control ourselves so well after all . . .

Mini Oreo Clusters from Schakolad
Lily Reid Vegan Treats

After all of our eating we stopped at Herbivore Clothing Company to buy a shirt that I've had my eye on for a couple of years online but wasn't sure about the sizing.  I was so excited to see it in person!  While I was at it I also bought a sticker and a button.  How can you resist that pig?

And then . . . it was time.  Time to see John Salley.  He's too big to tell you about it in this post.  (Literally - he's a giant!)  He deserves a post of his own.  So, to build excitement, I'll leave you with this photo of my reaction to seeing him in the hallway.  (Well, a reenactment of my reaction.)  Please note that I'm 99.9% sure he saw this reaction from across the hallway, we locked eyes, and he smiled directly at me.  It was a magical moment.

Yes, I am actually clutching my heart!

My next post will be a Celebrity Spotlight edition on John Salley and I promise there will be photos!

Free samples given out at the end

Did you go to VegFest this year? 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sweet 'n Smoky Broiled Tempeh

It's been a long time since I've posted a recipe, I know.  I've been on the run.  It's not that I haven't been cooking but I haven't been cooking anything really new and noteworthy.  New and blogworthy, I should say (ha ha).  But a couple of weeks ago I made some tempeh that was pretty fabulous.  And more important, it was quick and easy.

Now I know that some of you have already looked at this, seen the word tempeh, and closed this window, but if you haven't done so already - WAIT!  Tempeh may seem weird and scary and ultra hippie but it's really delicious when prepared the right way.  And honestly, it's much meatier and more flavorful than tofu. 

Tempeh is basically cooked and fermented soybeans (mmmm, right?), so it's high in protein and low in fat.  The texture is firm, somewhat like a veggie burger.  It often has grains added to it.  It can be sliced, cubed, or crumbled and can serve as a replacement for meat in most any recipe.  On it's own it can have a somewhat bitter taste so steaming or boiling it prior to preparation can help to lighten the flavor and also help it absorb any marinades or sauces.

If you're new to tempeh, this recipe is a great way to try it for the first time.  Pair it with some simple steamed green beans and a garden salad. 

Sweet 'n Smoky Broiled Tempeh
(printable recipe


1 8-oz. block tempeh (I use Lightlife brand)
1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg brand, which is raw and unfiltered)
1/2 c. maple syrup
2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin


1. Cut tempeh into 8 equal pieces like so: cut in half width-wise into two squares, then slice each square down the middle so you have two thinner squares; cut each square in half to make 8 rectangles.  

2. Boil the tempeh for 10 minutes.

3. While the tempeh is boiling, mix up the marinade ingredients in a shallow container with a lid.  When the tempeh is cool, add to the marinade and let sit for at least an hour.

4. Turn your oven to BROIL.  Using a cast iron skillet (preferably) or metal pan, lay tempeh slices in a single layer and spoon some of the marinade over the top.  Broil for 5 minutes.  Flip slices, spoon more marinade over the top, and broil for another 5 minutes. 

What's your take on tempeh?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On the Run: Martian Invasion of Races Half Marathon 2012

This is one sweet ride!

Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of my first half marathon.  The Martian Marathon is not the most exciting race to run but it's nostalgic to me because if was my first big race.  Plus it's in Dearborn, so I appreciate that I can just roll out of bed and be at the starting line in 5 minutes, then be home again right after I'm done.  The course is extremely monotonous but one that I run often so while there can be a certain boredom to that there's also a sense of comfort, as well.

All that being said, and given my spectacular performance in the Rock CF Rivers half marathon 3 weeks ago, you'd think that I'd have been rarin' to go for this race.  Not exactly.  Brian and I were in San Francisco all week drinking wine and stumbling, uh walking, up and down hills, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and from Piers 2 - 49.  I never got adjusted to the 3 hour time difference while we were there and we were on the go constantly so I felt sleep-deprived.  We got home around 9:30 p.m. Friday night and I went to bed around midnight, thinking I'd fall right asleep.  Not quite.  Instead I just felt anxious.

When the alarm went off at 7:00 I was feeling less then rested.  And I had a stomach ache.  Great.  And there was rain in the forecast.  Excellent.  

Once I got to the starting line I was feeling a lot better about everything.  My stomach had calmed down a bit, I had a brand spanking-new playlist (thanks to an iTunes update allowing me to sync my Nano this time), and the rain had held off.  So off I went.

The first 6 miles felt fantastic.  I was probably running a little slower than I could have but didn't want to rush myself.  When I hit the turn around, however, I kicked it up a notch since I knew I was holding back.  Plus Kelly Clarkson came on and gave me some extra motivation.

Unfortunately, my stomach ache came back during the last 5 miles.  The last 3 miles were the worst.  THE WORST.  It really slowed me down.  You'd think I'd have learned my lesson from Dexter-Ann Arbor.  I should have made a stop but I was determined to just keep going.  I stop for nothing.  NOTHING.

Despite my horrendous stomach ache, I still managed to rock it out at the end and finish strong.  I just wish I could have pushed myself a little harder, though, earlier in the race.  When I found out my time I was kicking myself because it was just 8 seconds slower than last year.  EIGHT SECONDS SLOWER!!!   

And last year was my fastest Martian time yet.  Blerg!  So close!  I know considering everything with my stomach, the vacation, the flight, etc. I should be proud but I can't help but think of all the points in the race that I could have shaved off a few seconds and beat my time.  I mean come on - EIGHT SECONDS?!?  sigh.  And I mean really, my legs weren't even tired.  Stupid stomach.  

Well, all in all, it's another race well-ran.  I did enjoy it and had a fabulous playlist to listen to.  Seriously, every song was a perfect running song.  They are all highly recommended.

Lesson learned?  Stop when you have a terrible stomach ache?  Nah, that's silly.  Of course you just press on with every step being more agonizing than the one before.  Better to just get it over with, right?  ha ha.  No, perhaps don't have a massive bowl of oatmeal with raisins the night before a big race.  Yes, that's what I'll come away from this one with.  Then the need to stop becomes a moot point. 

Mama Martian and me!  (She was a little stand-offish.)


Vanilla Almond Luna Bar, banana

Ready to Start / The Arcade Fire
In the Sun / She & Him
Bright Side / Otto Vector
Party in the USA / Miley Cyrus
Back and Forth / Foo Fighters
Hurts Like Heaven / Coldplay
Lonely Boy / The Black Keys
Dear Rosemary / Foo Fighters
Free My Mind / Katie Herzig
Rumour Has It / Adele
Gonna Make You Love Me / Ryan Adams
We Found Love / Rihanna
Kiss With a Fist / Florence & the Machine
I Might / Wilco
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) / Kelly Clarkson
Spiderwebs / No Doubt
The Pretender / Foo Fighters
Running Out of Time / Hot Hot Heat
Machu Picchu / The Strokes
DoYaThing / Gorillaz feat. Andre 3000
From Now On / The Features
Gold on the Ceiling / The Black Keys
Lovefool / The Cardigans
I Didn't Mean It / The Belle Brigade
Arlandria / Foo Fighters
Waiting / Green Day
Devil's Dance Floor / Flogging Molly
Love the Way You Lie (Ft. Rihanna) / Eminem

Did you run any of the Martian Invasion of the Races events?