Monday, May 28, 2012

Countdown to Tough Mudder - 19 Days

The team hit the trails at Maybury State Park for an early morning Memorial Day run.  Believe it or not, this was my first experience running on trails.  It was amazing!!  I loved the hills, the bumpy terrain, the unexpected twists and turns, and the general beauty of running through a forest.  It wasn't too hot and humid and with the exception of one evil fly, the bugs weren't too bad.  We ran 4.25 miles of trails - mostly hiking, some horse.  We figured the horse trails gave us better training experience for some of the muddier parts of the Tough Mudder (although there wasn't really much mud today but the trails required a little more stabilization, as well as avoidance of certain, um, obstacles in our path).

So the trails were a lot of fun and better training than paved roads.  And no Tough Mudder training session would be complete without a playground workout!  We found a small playground at the end of our run and did some climbing practice and pullups.  Nothing really new or exciting.  I definitely got some new bruises.  Because of course, no Tough Mudder training session would be complete without new bruises, either!

Then we headed back to Dearborn to (finally) make our travel arrangements, narrow down our uniforms, and plan our next training session.  Not a bad day, Mudders.  Not a bad day.  

Shoot!  Except that I forgot to take pictures again!  Next time - when we're throwing tires - I will take pictures.  (Ooooh, how's that for a teaser?)

Read previous "Countdown to Tough Mudder" posts - 34 Days, 30 Days, 22 Days

Do you run on trails? 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Upcoming Events

June 15th - Tough Mudder 
I think I'll be taking it easy in July.  Well, maybe . . .  Winking smile

What races/events do you have on your calendar?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Farmer's Market Fridays - 5/25/12

Yesterday was opening day at the Dearborn Farmer's and Artisan Market.  I had the day off work for the holiday weekend so I made a quick stop.  (I didn't stay long because I was sandwiching it between my morning run and a pedicure appointment.)  It was a beautiful day and although it was a little sparse in terms of both vendors and visitors, everyone seemed quite happy to be out in the sunshine.

Because it's still early, there weren't many vegetables.  I saw a lot of asparagus, some of which I bought from Farmer Glen.  There was also a lot of fresh herb plants, as well as plenty of beautiful annual flowers.  It's definitely too early in the season for any fruit.

Farmer Glen's fresh asparagus

Before I got to the market, I promised myself I wouldn't buy any soap.  If you remember my Lush binge at Christmas time, you know I have enough soap to last me into the next century.  However, when I found myself at Cellar Door Soap Co., I quickly forgot my promise.  And I can't just buy one soap.  Not when they're 3/$15.  So I left with 3 new soaps.  I bought the last bar of Turkish Mocha.  SOOOOO yummy!  I also bought Orange Clove and Peach Bellini.  

Cellar Door Soap Co.

There's also a new soap maker in town - Union Street Soapworks.  Not all of these soaps are vegan (some use goat milk or honey) so read the labels carefully.  I love that they use avocado and coconut; also essential oils.   I'll definitely try out some of these later in the summer.  (Note - you may want to try out "Dirt" or "Beer Soap" for the man in your life.  Intriguing, right?)

Did you go to a Farmer's Market this weekend?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Countdown to Tough Mudder - 22 Days


No, we haven't been slacking this week!  We DID meet again Monday for another Tough Mudder training session at the park.  I just haven't gotten around to posting about it until today.  It's been one of those weeks... 

Strength-wise, we did much of the same stuff as last week - monkey bars, slides, railings, push-ups, etc.  However, the theme of this week's training session was "Free Your Mind."  We were trying to tackle things that were outside of our comfort zones.  

Such as jumping the fence around the baseball field.  I was perfectly content to climb it.  That I can do just fine.  But to prep for those Berlin Walls, what we really have to work on is taking a running leap and jumping so your feet are halfway up the fence and your hands are on top of the fence.  BOTH hands.  The higher the initial jump, the better off you'll be.  My running leap finally got me so that my right hand was on top of the fence but no matter how many times I tried, my left hand always just seemed to hang limply at head-height.  Andy was NOT pleased.  Again and again I tried but every time it was the same.  Finally he let me give it a rest.  Maybe next time I'll tie my right hand behind my back.

Then we found a pull-up bar on one of the playgrounds that became quite a fascination for us all. We were each determined to get our whole bodies up on top of it one way or another.  Scott kept hopping up there like it was nobody's business, while the rest of us kept falling off.  (And while this IS a child's playground we were not using it the way it was intended so no judgement, please.)

Finally, I tried something different and with a little butt-push from Erica I was up.  Wahoo - teamwork!  Then she climbed the pole it was attached to and got up all by herself.  Super impressive!  Haikel managed it also the same way.  Score!  So it was just Andy left to conquer the pull-up bar.  Well, and me, technically, since I did it with a butt-push.  I still need to go it alone.  (Thanks, Andy, for bursting my bubble.)  I tried climbing the pole and that was really super hard.  So now I have both the fence AND the pull-up bar.  Argh.  We'll get 'em next week, Andy.

Oh, there was a pretty funny moment when Andy insisted on a team-building exercise that resulted in me being hoisted - and consequently lodged in - a tree.  When he realized that I was potentially stuck in said tree he went running away for his own safety until I could be safely removed.  Which I was.  No hard feelings. 

Next up will be trail-running at Maybury State Park on Monday.  Uh oh!  Lots of trees at Maybury.  I think it's Andy's turn to go in the tree . . .

Read previous "Countdown to Tough Mudder" posts - 34 Days, 30 Days

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vegan Eats in San Francisco

In April, Brian and I took an unprecedented spring break vacation to California.  It was unprecedented because A. Brian never takes time off when I'm on spring break and  B. We've never been to California together (in fact, I've never been to California at all).  It was a much-needed break for both of us.

We flew out on Easter Sunday afternoon and stayed until Friday morning.  Although San Francisco is a relatively small city - 7 miles each way - there is so much to do there that we easily could have spent another couple of days.  Had I not had the misfortune of losing my iPhone (er, being pick-pocketed) on the bus and needing to spend several hours (on multiple occasions) in the Apple store buying a new one and downloading my stuff from iCloud, we may have also had more time.  And money.  But that's neither here nor there.  

Anywhooo, we really packed it in with the time we had.  We did a LOT of walking (my, oh, my is it hilly!), spent some time at Fisherman's Wharf, saw sea lions, hung off cable cars, visited Alcatraz, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, went on a Sonoma County wine tour with Terrific Tours (best wine tour EVER - highly recommend!), drove to Apple HQ and Stanford, saw the Painted Ladies from "Full House", and went to the M. Ward concert at the Fillmore.

Here are a few pics (courtesy of Brian):

And now, onto the food!  Because of my phone being stolen and some software issues with the new one, not all of my photos uploaded to iCloud and subsequently were lost.  I apologize.  (Insert super-sad face here.)

Chabaa - We found Chabaa around the block from our hotel.  We're not sure if this was really the best Thai food we'd ever eaten or if we were just so hungry that anything would have tasted good!  The curry sauce was so creamy and delicious (almost buttery from the coconut milk) and I loved that they had the option of brown rice over white and fresh tofu over fried.  Best Easter dinner EVER!

Chabaa is just a tiny little place - but with Thai places, isn't smaller always better? 
Red curry w/ brown rice and fresh tofu

Starbucks - We went to Starbucks nearly every day for breakfast.  Brian had oatmeal and I had a multigrain bagel and banana.  We each had a Pike Place coffee.  Breakfast of champions!

Millennium - Although Millennium is one of San Francisco's premier vegan restaurants, you don't have to dress up to go there.  A gourmet restaurant you can go to wearing jeans and flip flops?  That's my kind of place!  I'd read about Millennium in VegNews but it was actually Brian who suggested it after reading the Steve Jobs biography.  Steve was a fan of jeans and flip flops, as well.  And vegan food.  Yay, Steve!

You'll need to make a reservation when you dine at Millennium.  Due to a glitch in Google Maps that sent us to their old location - and a slight, um layover, at the Apple Store - we were almost late to ours.  But nothing a little power-walking couldn't take care of!  We made it right on time and boy, pre-dinner drinks never tasted so good.  (It had been a stressful few hours.)

The menu at Millennium is very impressive.  We spent quite a bit of time poring over it, trying to decide what to order.  Finally we settled on the following: 
  • Black Bean Torte (appetizer) - with caramelized plantains, smokey black bean puree, and pumpkin-habenero papazul
  • Seared Polenta Nera (my entree) - with butter beans, leeks, mushrooms, bitter greens salad, roasted fennel, seared rapini, and green peppercorn relish
  • Pumpkin Seed & Cornmeal Crusted Portabello Mushroom (Brian's entree) - with masa arepa, yellow eye bean and corn hominy stew with coconut & aji chile, and sauteed greens
  • Seasonal Sorbet & Ice Cream Sampler (my dessert) - flavors change daily; I can't remember what mine were because they were unusual but deeelish!
  • Terrine (Brian's dessert) - a layered chocolate thing with ganache topping; very rich but he loved it
  • Sweet Endings - cookies and truffles (On the house!  A surprise for our troubles finding their new location.  Now that's what I call sweet - HA!)

Seared Polenta Nera (prepared low-oil, per my request)

All the food at Millennium was delicious.  We loved the fresh, innovative ingredients and the unique combinations.  It was wonderful to see so many fresh vegetables mixed together to create a delicious dish rather than a few vegetables and a whole lot of rice, which is so often the case with vegan dishes around here.  

Although we may have overdone it a bit on dessert and left feeling pretty stuffed, we knew we had a week of walking ahead of us so we weren't too concerned.  (Well, Brian is NEVER concerned and I knew I would work out in the morning PLUS have a week of walking ahead of us so...)

Sunflower Caffe Espresso and Wine Bar - We ate at the Sunflower Caffe during our Sonoma County wine tour.  There weren't really any vegan offerings so I just had my Larabar and ordered a smoothie.  We all sat out back on the patio with heat lamps (it was a damp, dreary day) and enjoyed a cozy lunch together.

The Plant Cafe - We went to The Plant Cafe after our day of wine tasting.  We had been to 3 wineries and a tasting room (a tasting room with FIVE Pinot Noirs).  I hadn't eaten much along the way so by the third winery I was River-dancing and cracking inappropriate jokes with my fellow wine-tasters.  I needed a hearty meal STAT.  The Plant Cafe came to my rescue.  I ordered the Wasabi Plant Burger, which is made from lentils, beets, cashews, mushrooms, bulgar wheat and topped with sauerkraut, wasabi, and raspberry aioli.  It was an incredible burger and totally hit the spot!  It also came with mixed greens and herb-roasted potatoes.  Brian had an asparagus pizza, which he liked a lot.  There are several locations; we ate at the Embarcadero Pier 3 restaurant.

Wasabi Plant Burger on sourdough

Yoshi's Jazz Club - We ate dinner here before the M. Ward show at the Fillmore.  Yoshi's is a swanky jazz club/Japanese restaurant.  There was live music playing during dinner, which was cool.  Although it was quite swanky (yes, I'm repeating that word because it's truly the best descriptor I can think of for Yoshi's), we didn't feel under-dressed in our jeans.  That's what I love about San Francisco!

The food was pretty good.  For an appetizer we ordered the Asparagus and Beet Salad.  As the name implies, it was only asparagus and beets but it had both green and white asparagus and red and yellow beets.  It was drizzled with a sesame dressing.  VERY flavorful!

Asparagus and Beet Salad

Instead of an entree I ordered another salad and a sushi roll.  The salad was Grilled Vegetables - nasu, kabocha, zucchini, shiitake & enoki mushrooms - with a spicy miso and wasabi yuzu aioli for dipping.  This was an amazing salad!  I could have eaten two of them.  Unfortunately, the sushi roll was not nearly as fabulous as the salads.  It was a standard veggie roll and was just sort of "eh."  Kind of bland, although it did have a rather interesting sauce in addition to the wasabi.  Too bad it needed the extra sauce, ya know?  Ah well. 

Coupa Cafe - Coupa Cafe is located on the campus of Stanford University, which is an absolutely gorgeous campus.  We walked around it one morning for a couple of hours and stopped here for breakfast.  I had an amazing fruit salad and a bagel.  And a coffee, of course.  With cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.  Mmmm...

Greens Restaurant - Another Steve Jobs' favorite, it was rather funny how determined Brian was to get to Greens.  [Side note, the day we went was when we'd done our build-your-own Silicon Valley tour that included a Steve Jobs' former home drive-by and a stop at Apple HQ.]  Due to yet another stop at the Apple Store, we were forced to make a reservation that was late even for us.  We took a bus, walked several blocks in the wind and rain, and finally made it it to Greens looking a bit disheveled.  Lucky for us, like Millennium, this is another one of those upscale/casual eateries so we were okay.

The menu at Greens changes daily based on what the chef sources from the local farmers' market each week.  Everything is local, seasonal, and organic.  Everything is vegetarian and I was told that anything that is not vegan can easily be made so.  It all sounded fresh and innovative.  We went with a sampler plate for an appetizer, which included quinoa salad, hummus, grilled artichoke, three beet salad, spicy tomato jam, grilled pita, and olives.  We both agreed that the quinoa salad with fruit and pistachios was the best part.

Spring Sampler

I also ordered Moroccan Lentil Soup and for my entree I had Mesquite Grilled Brochettes, which were tofu and veggie kebabs with carrot slaw and rice.  They were good but I asked for the half order and received the full.  Should I have said something?  Yes.  Should I have eaten just one kebab?  Yes.  Did I instead keep eating until my plate was clean?  YES!  Ah well.  I did mention I was hungry, right?  Neither Brian nor I remember what he ordered, but whatever it was, it was good.

Farm : Table - I didn't see any vegan breakfast sandwiches or pastries at Farm : Table but this tiny little coffee shop brewed me the best cup of coffee (next to Astro).  Bonus points for having homemade almond milk!

That was our trip!  There were several restaurants on my list that I didn't get to try (and other city sights to see) but we definitely have plans to return to San Francisco in the near future.   

Have you been to San Francisco?  What are your favorite veg restaurants/places to visit?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Countdown to Tough Mudder - 30 Days

On Monday we met for our first official Tough Mudder team training.  (Read more about Tough Mudder in my previous post.)  Yes, we needed to start training but the idea was mostly to get us all together because we hadn't yet done so since becoming a team.  We'd been trading emails about travel arrangements and what to wear (Andy and my "Hunger Games" theme ideas didn't go over so well with the rest of the team) but that was about it.

So we met at a local park that has several playgrounds, a track, and lots of space to run around.  It also had lots of children to set a terrible example for how NOT to use playground equipment.  (Sorry, parents.) 

I had initiated the training session so I think everyone was expecting me to have some sort of plan in place.  My plan was to show up and figure it out when I got there, maybe work out for 30 minutes, chat about some details, and be done.  Not much of a plan, right?  (Please don't ask to see my lesson plans at work, either.)  It would have been all fine but Andy was ready and sprang into action, leading us through the park from one playground to the next.  We scaled plastic walls, crawled under picnic tables, pulled each other up slides, leaped onto the backs of bleachers, hoisted each other into trees, ran on the balance beam, and swung across the monkey bars.  Between obstacles we did push-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, and mountain climbers.  Then we went through it all again.  Oh, Andy and Malakeh are really hardcore and even belly-crawled across the entire sand volleyball court!  The rest of us wimped out on that (sorry Andy - next time).

I totally forgot to take pictures of us in action but I did go back and take photos of some of the equipment we used.*  We tried to focus mostly on upper-body exercises.  Ugh, it's 3 days later and my chest and lats are STILL sore from this workout!  I guess that means I was doing something right!

So here are some of the things that we used:

Railings - We used just our arms to move across railings.  This was a majorly difficult workout for my triceps!

Walls - So these aren't quite the "Berlin Walls" we'll see in Tough Mudder but it was good agility training.

Balance Beam - We need to practice our balancing acts for "Twinkle Toes".

Slides -  These were harder than they look to climb up so it was just some good old-fashioned grit needed to get yourself up.  With the tube slide, we had to help pull each other up from the top.  Yay, teamwork!

Picnic Tables - Good for running over and crawling under.

Monkey Bars -  Very important for Funky Monkey, but they're a great way to build upper-body strength in general.

* While sprinting around the park taking photos with my phone, I made sure to tell parents I was not taking pictures of their children.  I think that made it way less creepy.  Right???

Do you have any playground workout suggestions? 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sugar Cookie Tea - It's Not Just for Christmas

While I can't take full credit for this oatmeal recipe, I have made enough changes that I feel I can share it with you.  But I will certainly give credit where credit is due.  At Christmas time, Chocolate-Covered Katie posted this oatmeal recipe using Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea, which is a personal favorite of mine for using in smoothies (I haven't posted that one but it's the Banana Chamomile Smoothie but with this tea instead).  I wasn't a fan of her prep method so I never got around to making it.  Plus I've been on a big smoothie kick for months and haven't been eating much oatmeal at all.

Sugar Cookie Smoothie

A couple of weeks ago I was in my basement pantry and came across the 4 boxes of tea that I excitedly purchased at the health food store over the holidays.  And when I say "excitedly," that's an understatement.  I actually shrieked and jumped up and down, causing nearby customers to stop their conversations and stare.  Brian was mortified, to say the least.  

This is a reenactment.  Actual excitement was more intense.

What to do with all this tea?  Well, not make smoothies.  You see, my smoothie kick came to an abrupt halt when I got the stomach flu after having a green smoothie last week.  (I'm sure you can imagine!)  Then I remembered that Chocolate Covered-Katie has all kinds of oatmeal recipes, including the sugar cookie one.  I thought I'd use her idea of the tea with my traditional method, change up the ingredients a bit, and voila!  A new delicious (and easy!) oatmeal flavor was born!  If you don't have the Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea, you're out of luck to find it until the holidays but you could substitute another vanilla-flavored tea*. 

Cranberry Almond Cookie Oatmeal
(printable recipe)


1 cup vanilla almond milk (I use Almond Breeze - unsweetened)
2 Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea bags
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries


1. Heat almond milk and steep tea bags for 10-15 minutes.  (I do this at night before bed and then stick it in the fridge until morning.)  Gently squeeze tea bags to get out as much of the tea flavor as possible.

2. Combine milk and oats in a bowl.  Microwave at high-power for 2 minutes.  Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds.

3. Remove the bowl from the microwave, cover with a plate, and let sit for 3 minutes.  After 3 minutes, stir in the agave, almonds, and cranberries.  Enjoy!

Suggestion: I've been wanting to try this with shredded coconut instead of or in addition to the almonds but haven't done so yet. 

*Try Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Vanilla or Madagascar Vanilla Red Rooibos.

How do you get creative with your oatmeal?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Countdown to Tough Mudder - 34 days

Have you heard of Tough Mudder?  Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.  Some of the obstacles include 12' walls, frigid ice water, small tubes, greased monkey bars, burning straw, and a field of live wires.  There are 25 obstacles total and you run from one to the next.  And as the name implies, there's mud.  A LOT of mud.

Sounds pretty tempting, right?  HA!

Scott and Toby from Boot Camp did the event back in April in Ohio.  Scott was so pumped that he signed up for the event again for June in Indiana.  And then he set to work trying to build a team.  For weeks he talked it up.  At first I thought it might be cool.  And then I realized there was no way in hell I was doing any of it.  (Mind you, I hadn't watched the videos yet and didn't really know what it entailed.  I just know I don't really like to get dirty.)

Then a few more people joined the team, including two girls.  All of a sudden it didn't sound so bad.  In fact, it sounded like a - dare I say FUN? - challenge.  And before I knew it, I was sitting at the computer, signing my life away with each waiver I initialed.  (Mind you, I STILL hadn't watched the video yet and didn't entirely know what it entailed.)

Well, a week after signing up, I finally watched the video.  And read the descriptions of the obstacles.  I have to say some of them sound downright scary, particularly the "Arctic Enema" and the "Fire Walker".  (I'm hoping that maybe the latter will thaw me out if I develop hypothermia.)  It IS in June, though, so perhaps the frigid temps will be refreshing.

And it's a team event.  There are 7 of us total - 3 guys and 4 girls - and you rely on your fellow Mudders to get you through.  That's the point of the whole thing.  There's no way you could do it alone.  Me scale a 12' wall on my own?  My team will have to either pull me up or launch me over.  (Though I fully intend to train hard to help pull myself over, thank you very much!)  In fact, some of the obstacles are nearly impossible to complete anyway.  Greased monkey bars?  Come on!  You try, you fall into the icy water, you swim your way to the end.  No big deal.

How are we training, you ask?  Well, we're all in pretty great shape to begin with.  Most of us do Boot Camp 1-2x a week, as well as a combination of strength and cardio.  My schedule has been:

Boot Camp - 2x/week
Cycle - 2x/week
Running - 3x/week (about 12-15 miles total)
Weight machines - 1x/week

I'll need to start adding in more upper-body exercises, such as pull-ups, belly-crawling, and monkey bars.  Do the rock climbing wall at the gym.  I also have to do some trail running, since all my running is done on paved surfaces.  I should probably turn off the water heater for my showers, too.  Hey, not only will it prep me for the "Arctic Enema" but it will save money, as well.  (Early Retirement Extreme, anyone?  Inside joke.)

The team is getting together at a local park tomorrow for a training session.  We'll utilize the playground equipment and do the body weight exercises from Tough Mudder Boot Camp Training.  (Many of these we're familiar with from our Boot Camp class anyway but it's great that they're designed to help with the specific obstacles.)

The event is June 16th in Indiana.  We have a start time of 10:20 a.m. 

I'll keep you updated with my training.  34 days and counting...

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder event?  Share your story!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Seva Detroit

Last night Brian and I took our good friends Aaron and Terry to Seva.  Not only was it their first trip to Seva but it was their first time dining at an exclusively-vegetarian restaurant.  Aaron used to be quite the carnivore until he attended a life-changing Morrissey concert back in December.  Morrissey showed the audience "Meet Your Meat" - a video that graphically depicts the inhumane treatment of animals raised for slaughter.  After seeing that video - specifically the herding of the cattle and the dirty conditions of the poultry - Aaron decided that he could no longer eat meat.

It's been 5 months and Aaron is doing an amazing job sticking to his vegetarian diet.  I am so proud of him!  Although not vegetarian herself, Terry has been a big supporter of his dietary changes and has been helping him experiment with new protein sources.  (Just don't try to get him to eat quinoa!)

Okay, back to Seva.  We sat in the main dining area, which I love because of the huge wall of windows.  As luck would have it (or was it fate?), who should stroll over to our table to take care of us for the evening?  It was Dan - the best Seva server ever!  (See previous Seva post.)  It was quite a thrill.  For him and for us.

As we went through the process of ordering, he was very helpful with answering questions and making suggestions about menu items (of course - he's the best).  For an appetizer, we ended up going with the roasted red pepper hummus, which comes with crackers and raw veggies.  It was very flavorful and quite delicious.  I didn't have very much of it because I also ordered soup, which came out just after the hummus, so I got started right away on that.  It was amazing!  I had a bowl since it was only $1 more than a cup.  Brian had a cup of the African Peanut Soup.  I didn't try it but he said it was good.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus - $7
Greek Lentil Soup - Cup $4/Bowl $5
African Peanut Soup - Cup $4/Bowl $5

For our entrees, Brian had one of the specials - the Mushroom Sliders with yam fries.  They can be ordered vegan; however, his were smothered in regular cheese so I did not take a picture.  Aaron had the Eggs Veracruz.  Terry had the Cilantro Peanut Stir-Fry (vegan), which she really liked.  I had the Spinach Salad (minus red onion).  Dan recommended trying it with a tofu dill dressing but I went with the smoky maple that comes with it and I liked it.  I thought it went well with the tempeh, avocado, and red peppers.  It was an all-around awesome salad - a perfect combination of ingredients!

Cilantro Peanut Stir-Fry - $12
Spinach Salad - $11

So, once again, Seva did not disappoint.  With fantastic food and a phenomenal server, how could it?  Next time, however, we have to get dessert.  I'm not sure Dan will let us out of there without it...

Oh, and of course I must mention the company again.  Brian and I had a fabulous time showing Aaron and Terry the vegetarian and vegan ropes at Seva.  

So glad you met your meat, Aaron!  

BTW, when John Salley was in town he mentioned dining at Seva and loving it.  Uh, did I tell you I met John Salley?

Seva is located at 66 E. Forest in Detroit

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Woodbridge Pub - Spring Menu 2012

Spring has sprung at Woodbridge Pub!  The new menu has been out for a few weeks but Brian and I have been so busy that we didn't make it over there until this weekend.

I'm quite pleased with the variety of vegan offerings this time around and wanted to try everything!  (Then I remembered how often we go there and knew we'd be back soon, so I restrained myself.)

The following menu items are vegan:

Appetizers: Salsa Verde, Hummus w/ Tapenade
Soup: Carrot Ginger
Salad: Moroccan Carrot
Sandwiches: Stever McFever, White Bean Burger (both menu mainstays)
Entree: Seitan w/ Rice Pilaf
Sides: Grilled Asparagus, Spring Vegetable Saute, Rice Pilaf, Roasted Red Skin Potatoes

There are also a few other vegetarian items, as well.  Well done, Woodbridge.  Well done.

After much deliberation, I decided on the seitan entree.  It came with three house-made pieces of seitan atop a large bed of rice pilaf.  The pilaf is brown basmati rice with almonds, golden raisins, and peas.  Swirled around it all was a grape and fennel sweet and sour sauce.  Overall, it was a delicious and flavorful dish.  The seitan had a nice meaty texture and the combination of ingredients in the pilaf was just right.  I also really liked the flavor of the sweet and sour sauce.  As much as I liked the pilaf, however, it seemed to be a disproportionate amount for the dish.  I would suggest serving it with about half as much rice and subbing in some grilled asparagus, instead. 

Seitan w/ Rice Pilaf - $13.00

I only had the entree but Brian ordered a cup of Carrot Ginger soup (to go with his non-vegan shepherd's pie) and he let me take the first taste.  Both of us thought it was good.  It had a strong carrot flavor but the ginger was less pronounced.  I'll order it for myself next time so I can give it a more thorough review.

Carrot Ginger Soup - $3.50 (cup), $4.50 (bowl)

Woodbridge Pub is located at 5169 Trumbull in Detroit

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Martiantini, Anyone?

I keep forgetting to post about my age group award from the Martian 1/2 Marathon a few weeks ago!  In fact, I didn't even mention that I won an award!  The truth is that I didn't even know I came in 3rd in my age group until 11:00 p.m. the night of the race when I looked at the official results.  And it wasn't until several days later that I realized I received an award for coming in 3rd.  Then I had to go pick it up at Running Fit.  Then I had all the excitement over John Salley.

So here it is!  The post that took me 5 minutes to write is finally done.  Behold - the Martian 1/2 Marathon Age Group Award!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Celebrity Spotlight: John Salley

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful and for most, it was just another day.  But for me, it was the day I'd been waiting for all month.  It was the day I was going to see John Salley speak at VegFest!  (You can read about the VegFest highlights in my last post.)

Now, in case you don't know who he is, John Salley is a former Detroit Piston "Bad Boy" who also went on to play for the Bulls and the Lakers over his 15-year NBA career during which he won 4 championships.  Since retiring from the NBA in 2000 he has done work in television and film.  He has become a wellness advocate involved in nutrition eduction and has been working to encourage people to live healthier by adopting vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.  He is involved in PETA and PCRM.  And he's a vegan!  A RAW vegan!

Aren't you impressed that this 6'11", 252 lb. athlete is a raw vegan?!? 

Jaime and I had some of the best seats in the house - 3rd row center!  John's introduction could have been quite lengthy (he has accomplished quite a bit in his lifetime, wouldn't you say?); however, he asked for it to be kept simple: 

"Four-time NBA Champion and all-around nice guy - John Salley!"

John's presentation this year was entitled "What Does Being Healthy Mean?" and he spoke about the importance of following a vegan diet, eating food that is farm-fresh, and not putting chemicals into your body under the guise of food.  Example - If it looks like plastic, feels like plastic, but tastes like licorice, it can't be good for you.  It's never been near a farm and it's not food!

He talked about about how we have been brainwashed by the media to think that we like the taste of certain foods, like meat.  Or that we don't like the taste of certain foods, like broccoli.  We need to be un-brainwashed.  We feel good when we eat food that is good for us.  We feel bad when we eat food that is bad for us.  It's that simple.

He was very laid-back and casual and made excellent points.  Because I am vegan, there wasn't anything new for me to hear but I could have sat and listened to him talk all day.  He was just so real and down to earth.  He talked about how great he feels and how he only weighs 2 pounds more than he weighed in 1989.  And without even trying.  Just by eating a healthy, vegan diet.  How many people can say that?

Did I mention he was funny?  He was.  He was hilarious!    

John also talked about dining at Inn Season and Seva while in the Detroit area, as well as his passion for wine.  Really, what's not to love about the guy?

I really wish that some of my guy friends from the gym could hear him talk.  The guys who give me a hard time about where I get my protein.  The guys who might go veggie now and again but still insist that they "need their meat."  The guys who have to reward themselves with a steak dinner after a big race.  If John Salley - at 6'11" and 250 lbs. - can manage to get enough protein on a vegan diet, then surely they can too!  But John Salley would tell them in a much funnier, nicer, less in-your-face way than I ever could.  (John, are you free on Saturday mornings, say 9:30 a.m., for a post-Boot Camp intervention?  Ha ha, just kidding!)

After his presentation, John skillfully answered a few questions and then his time was up.  Jaime and I hurried out so we could get in line for a photo op.  (He promised that with a photo would come a butt grab.  I was pretty sure he was joking but hope springs eternal.  Sadly, it didn't happen.)

We were so nervous waiting to meet him!  Thankfully we didn't have to wait long (we were the 9th and 10th people in line - Jaime let me go ahead of her).  I usually don't know what to say when I think of meeting someone famous but this time I decided to be bold.  When it was finally my turn I introduced myself and told John that I loved his presentation and that I wished some of my guy friends from the gym could hear him talk.  Then I said I'd be posting about it on my vegan blog and I'd put a link to his website.  He gave me his email address and said to email him the link.  He said the email would go to him personally.  John Salley is going to read my blog!!  How exciting is that?!?  


Here are the photos from our encounter.

John signing his autograph (note the volunteer checking her watch as I'm already taking up a good deal of his time!)
John telling me to email him my blog (note my disbelief at this thrilling turn of events!)
All smiles!
Jaime's turn
Some post-Salley excitement
Two lucky gals!

It was an exhilarating day!  This was the 4th year that John has been a presenter at VegFest and I hope that he returns again next year.

For more information on John Salley, visit his website at  You can check out his videos, blog, and "like" him on Facebook.  You know I did!