Showing posts with label Dearborn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dearborn. Show all posts

Friday, July 26, 2013

Farmer's Market Fridays - 7/26/13

Yes, it's almost August and this is my first Farmer's Market post of the summer.  Why the delay?  Let me explain.  I could say I've been out of town on Fridays this summer and haven't gone to the market.  Which is mostly true.  However, the real reason is that the Dearborn Farmer's and Artisan Market has been a real disappointment this year.  It is under new management and many of the vendors from previous years are not back.  I went about a month ago and there was only one produce vendor.  ONE.  If you ask me, a farmer's market needs to have more than bread, cookies, jams, soap, and crafty items.  Those things are fine to have (you know I LOVE my soap!) but they have to be in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables.  After that I didn't go back. 

Today I decided to give it another chance.  Well, mostly I wanted to buy soap (shocking, I know) but I figured I'd take a look around and see what else was there.  It was better than last month but still not good.  In total there were 5 produce vendors - 3 selling vegetables, 1 selling fruit, and 1 selling both vegetables and fruit.  The rest were artisans with bread and cookies, pies, plates, candles, jewelery, wooden boxes, jams, and wired art.  The Dearborn Animal Shelter had dog cookies and Oakwood Hospital was doing free blood pressure screening.  Binell Bros. were sharpening knives.  All that is fine and good but only 5 produce vendors?  Seriously?  And my favorite, Farmer Glen, didn't come back this year with his "no spray" carrots and parsnips.  He's been a stand-by since year one. 

I did pick up some cherries, a bunch of kale, and one cucumber.  And my Cellar Door Soaps, of course.  Today's selections were Patchouli Bergamot, Cherries Jubilee, and Jaguar Fever

The Dearborn Farmer's Market has always been small but it had been growing from year to year.  Until this year.  Now there are significantly fewer vendors and with that you inevitably have fewer customers.  There are extended market hours - until 3pm instead of 1pm - but it doesn't sound like that's helping to swell the crowds.  Or bring in the vendors.

I'm not sure what's going to happen to our market next year.  Unless they can get more produce vendors, I don't see how they will be sustainable as a farmer's market.  I'd love to see Dearborn turn it around and make a go of it.  Sadly, I think they may have lost this season but my hope is that next season will be better.  

What do you love about your local farmers market? 

Friday, October 5, 2012

3rd Annual No-Beast Feast - and a GIVEAWAY!

The Dearborn Animal Shelter held it's 3rd annual No-Beast Feast on Friday, September 14th.  I love this event because it's a great fundraiser for the shelter, all the food is vegan, and VegMichigan is there to promote the benefits of and answer questions about living a veg lifestyle.  This year the guest speaker was Dr. Kerrie Saunders - a food and fitness consultant who teaches people how to reverse disease through diet and exercise.  I actually met with her a few years ago for a nutrition consultation at her Birmingham office.  I was so pleased to see that she was speaking at the No-Beast Feast this year because she is so down to earth and approachable, not to mention extremely knowledgeable about nutrition and exercise.  And, of course, vegan.

During Kerrie's presentation, it was interesting to see and hear people's reactions to some of her comments.  There were two non-vegetarians sitting with my mom and me that were very open to what she had to say.  If nothing else, they were going to go home with new things to think about and consider.  Then there were some people at a table behind us that were definitely scoffing at some of the comments.  They certainly weren't giving up their cheese for collard greens anytime soon!  Oh well.  Overall, I think most people were receptive and they really couldn't ignore the statistics she gave from her Michigan Firefighter Challenge. I mean, really, the health benefits of a plant-based diet truly speak for themselves!  One new piece of information I came away with was that legumes are the best food to reduce belly fat.  So if you want to know my secret it must be those 3-4 cans of chickpeas I go through a week!  

I spoke with Kerrie for a few minutes after dinner and she remembered meeting with me for my consultation.  I told her how I run circles around some of the guys at Boot Camp and they want to know how I have so much energy.  My response is always, "It's my vegan diet!"  She gets similar reactions from firefighters - until they take on the challenge of a vegan diet, that is.  

Besides meeting Kerrie Saunders, I also had the pleasure of meeting another special person - local artist John Orischak.  He's the creator of Wired Art Works, which is art made from recycled political lawn signs.  You can find his art on Fridays at the Dearborn Farmer's & Artisans Market.  My mom owns two of his pieces and I own one so it was very exciting to be sharing a table with him!  He was super friendly and fun.  I love meeting local celebrities!

Okay, onto the food.  The meal was delicious this year.  I didn't photograph the appetizers because although they tasted good, I'm not sure what they were and they looked kind of weird.  They would have photographed terribly.  I'm guessing they were some sort of faux chicken things.  Usually they have fresh rolls from Bangkok 96 but for some reason they put those out with the desserts.  I think that might have been an oversight.  Either that or it's some new trend that I'm not up on.  I really would have liked to have one for an appetizer!

The soup this year was a thick spicy tomato with black beans and veggies.  Super delish!

Dinner included tons of fruit (which I saved for dessert), salad (which I skipped to save room for other things), quinoa salad, green beans, a broccoli pie, and THE best Mexican lasagna.  I wish I could get the recipe for it to know exactly what was in it but they seemed to be keeping it top secret  It definitely had pumpkin and cumin in it.  There were black beans and it had a sprinkling of Daiya cheese on top.  The broccoli pie was really good but the lasagna was by far my favorite.

For dessert, Chef Genevieve from Bangkok 96 prepared a selection of raw desserts.  There didn't seem to be enough for everyone to take more than one, plus raw desserts are not something I like to eat a lot of, so I just took one small thing.  Nothing was labeled but it tasted like a coconut/cashew/banana tart and there was a juicy ripe blackberry on top.  It was very good.  There were other tarts as well as cheesecakes.  It was all gone in a flash.

The event seemed to be quite a success and very well-attended.  Hopefully this means the animal shelter will have it again next year!

Oh, I almost forgot!  My table won a vegetarian cookbook!  It isn't vegan, however, and doesn't look like one that I would likely go through the trouble to veganize.  SO, I've decided to host my first ever Vegan Road Runner giveaway.  If you would like your own copy of Vegetarian - More than 100 Fresh Flavoursome Recipes, here's how you can win:

1. Comment about this post on the blog.
2. Comment about this post on Facebook.

If you want an additional chance to win, you can do so by "liking" Vegan Road Runner on Facebook.  If you already "like" VRR on Facebook, one comment will get you two entries.  Deadline is noon EST Saturday, October 13th.  I'll put all entries in a hat and pick a winner!  Good luck!

This could be yours!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Farmer's Market Fridays - 8/24/12

All summer long I knew this day would come but there is still no way I could be prepared for it.  How could I be prepared for my last summer Friday?  How could I be ready for the last Friday where I get to wake up and go to yoga, then leisurely stroll over to Starbucks for my coffee and oatmeal (which, BTW, I don't even have to order anymore because my ladies know me so well), and then go hang out at the farmer's market with all my favorite vendors - nay - friends?  There's no way to be ready for that.  No way.

But alas, ready or not, today was that day.  The weather was gorgeous so I really took my time at the market, chatting it up at all my favorite booths - Perkins Pickles, The Granola Tree, and Cellar Door Soap Co.  (In fact, I talked for so long that my mom finally left me at the market and went home!)  

I was most excited about Perkins Pickles because I used up my chow chow a few weeks ago and have been craving it ever since.  Although it was quite tempting to buy more, I limited myself to two jars.  Oh, and look!  It matches my hair!

At The Granola Tree I bought two more jars of Carrot Cake Jam and one of Cranberry Orange Marmalade.  You know how I love to make my Carrot Cake Jam Oatmeal!  I also found that the Cranberry Orange Marmalade, with slivered almonds and dried cranberries, makes a fantastic oatmeal, as well.

Believe it or not, I managed to walk away from Cellar Door without buying any soap.  It wasn't easy but I managed.  It helped that Brandon told me I couldn't buy any.  Repeatedly.  I'm glad he intervened because I need to save my soap money for next weekend when the Fall and Halloween soaps come out.  There are going to be TEN of them!!  And you know that I won't be able to pick and choose so I'll be coming home with TEN new soaps next week.  Brandon has been previewing one new soap each day on Facebook and will continue to do so up until the September 1st release date.  So far we've seen "Witches Brew," "Zombie Repellent," "Chai Latte," and "Apple Wood."  I can't wait to see the rest - and buy them all!  Muhahahahaha!

There was a new vendor this week at the market - Motor City MunchiesThey sell energy bars made with medjool dates, nuts, and hemp or chia seeds.  (Similar to Larabars but local, fresher, and more flavorful.)  In addition to the base ingredients, some also have vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, or cacao nibs.  They are all organic, gluten free, raw, and vegan.  There are 3 flavors - Raw Energy, Raw Vitality, and Raw Indulgence.  I sampled all three.  While all of the bars were delicious, I ended up buying the Raw Indulgence Bar, which has dates, cashews, cacao nibs, coconut, hemp seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon.  (Definitely the most indulgent of the three!)  While the bars are not cheap - $3 each - I wanted to support this new local business and figured it would be a nice treat.

I also finally bought some of Matt's Mix all-purpose seasoning.  Matt has been at the market for years.  I was talking to him last week about different vegetarian/vegan restaurants (his wife is vegan) and it occurred to me that I've never tried his mix!  So today I made sure to buy some.  It's a blend of Kosher salt, garlic, herbs, and spices that he claims is "great on everything!"  And I really don't think he would say it was if it wasn't.  I plan on using it on grilled veggies, kale chips, and popcorn with nutritional yeast.  There are recipes on his website; he specifically recommended I try the Black Bean Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad with Red Quinoa.  Thanks, Matt.  I think I will! 

Oh, and I bought some produce.  I picked up 4 huge red tomatoes and a massive bunch of curly kale.  Gotta make my kale chips - with Matt's Mix, of course!

So, that was my last summer Farmer's Market Friday.  But even though it was MY last day, the market still goes until the end of October.  Although who knows, perhaps I'll manage to sneak off work and get in one more trip before the season is over . . .

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Farmer's Market Fridays - 8/17/12

Today has been the most perfect day.  Which I have to say I really needed because it has not been all that great of a week for me.  (I'll spare you the "Debbie Downer" wah-wah details.  In hindsight, maybe starting my week with reading the Rachel Dratch memoir was a bad idea.)  I woke up feeling pretty positive, though, and was thankful I had yoga to start my day.  I met my mom and Callie at Sattva for a pretty challenging practice.  Although I felt really stiff at the beginning, after what seemed like 20 sun salutes I was a bit more loosened up!

After yoga we walked over to Starbucks for the usual post-yoga breakfast - Perfect Oatmeal with all the toppings and a Venti coffee.  The weather is gorgeous - temps in the low 70's and sunny with blue skies and fluffy white clouds - so we sat outside while we ate and sipped our coffee.  It was the kind of morning where we probably could have sat there for hours because it was so beautiful outside!

But we had to move on.  There were jams to be tasted and soaps to be smelled!  So off to the farmer's market we went.  From The Granola Tree I bought more Carrot Cake Jam (I went through nearly a whole jar in my oatmeal last week!) and a new flavor this week - Cranberry Orange Marmalade.  Mmm, super delish!  I'll be trying that in my oatmeal with some almonds for sure!

My current stash - Carrot Cake, Cranberry Orange, and Strawberry Coconut

Next stop, why Cellar Door Soap Co., of course!  Today I was on a mission for some gentlemanly soaps.  I really want Brian to start using Cellar Door Soaps.  He's been testing out my "Turkish Mocha" and has liked it well enough but I think he would really settle into it if he had his own gentlemanly bar.  (Not that they aren't ALL manly enough but well, you know.)  So anyway, there are a few different scents of the gentlemanly variety and I wanted to make sure to get one that was moisturizing enough for his skin.  Brandon's sister was running the booth today and she suggested either Sex Panther or Blackbeard's Delight.  You probably want to know, "Which one smells better?"  Tough to say.  They both smell pretty awesome.  That's not the question I asked myself, though.  The real question was, "WWNPHD?"  (That's, "What would Neil Patrick Harris do?")  If you read my post a few weeks ago, then you know which soap I bought for Brian.  

I also bought one of the Cellar Door soap wooden soap dishes (pictured below).  I've always used the soap exclusively in the shower but now I'm going to start using it for hand soap.  Uh oh, looks like I'll be going through soap a bit quicker now!

lively Lemon Verbena and sultry Sex Panther

Besides soap, I bought Brian some of his favorite Traffic Jam cookies. I also bought two kinds of heirloom cherry tomatoes - one container of red and one of yellow.  They will be perfect for roasting with just a little salt and pepper and fresh basil.  Our favorite!

Oh, and then I got a pedicure.  I had my toenails painted purple to match the purple streaks in my hair.  What did I tell you?  A perfect day!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Farmer's Market Fridays - 8/10/12

I know it's been two weeks since my last farmer's market post.  It's not that I didn't go last week - I just didn't get anything that seemed exciting enough to write about.  And I have to admit that last Friday I was feeling a little lazy when it came to blogging.  Ah well.  It happens.

Today is a dreary day.  A good day to sit at the computer.  It's cloudy, rainy, and only about 65 degrees.  Quite a change from last week when it was in the upper 90's and sunny! 

Callie - my new sister-in-law (yay!) - joined my mom and me for our Friday morning routine of yoga, Starbucks, and the Farmer's Market.  Since it was raining there weren't as many vendors at the market but there was still a decent turn-out.  I bought 4 big red tomatoes as well as a container of sweet purple cherry tomatoes.

We also visited Cellar Door so Callie could pick up a few bars of soap.  Since there weren't any new scents today I didn't get any for myself but I think I smelled every single bar!  Brandon was telling me about the Halloween soaps he was working on recently.  I can't wait for those!

Well, today seems like a good day to curl up on the couch with the cats and a book.  And probably take a nap.

Happy Friday!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Farmer's Market Fridays - 7/27/12

Friday already?  This week has flown by!  I know I haven't posted much lately but It's been a busy week around here for this Lady of Leisure.  Brian's younger brother is getting married tomorrow so I did a lot of running around earlier in the week hunting down shoes and accessories for my outfit.  And yesterday I was in Ann Arbor all day for a free Mayer Hawthorne concert, which turned out to be possibly the best show I've ever been to.  I went by myself, met some cool people to sit with in the SIXTH ROW, and sang and danced along with Mayer for over an hour.  If you don't know Mayer Hawthorne, do yourself a favor and check him out.  

Okay, on to the real reason you're reading this post.  The farmer's market.  I actually didn't buy very much today.  With the wedding this weekend we won't be home for dinner tonight or tomorrow and I very much doubt I'll feel like cooking on Sunday.  The only produce I bought was some zucchini and yellow squash from Farmer Glen to put on the grill later in the week.

Then I went to Cellar Door Soap Co.  I had already warned Brian that I would be buying soap today.  (He pretended he didn't hear me.  He can't say I didn't warn him.)  Now, before I get to the soap that I bought, let me tell you a little story.  A little story about NPH.  (That's Neil Patrick Harris, but you already knew that.)  This is the story told to me by Brandon from Cellar Door, who was oh so lucky to meet Dr. Horrible in the flesh.  (He's keeping his fingers crossed that he meets Nathan Fillion next.)

It was an especially busy Sunday at the Canton Farmer's Market, when who should happen upon the Cellar Door Soap booth but NPH himself (quite incognito in sunglasses, a baseball hat, and a striped tank top - I got to see a pic!).  He was on his own at the time, just sort of doing his thing, smelling the soaps.  (FYI - I asked about his soap-smelling technique.  It sounds like he's a bit of a dainty sniffer.  Unlike yours truly!)  Brandon was otherwise occupied and didn't recognize him.  Eventually NPH moved on to some other booths. Fortunately, his girlfriend had a keen eye and did recognize him so she scooted over with a bar of Sex Panther (their best-selling soap, BTW).  They were quite discreet and very cool about not making a scene for NPH, which I'm sure he appreciated.  He ended up going back to their booth and buying a bar of Pineapple Grove.  When I found out about this on Facebook I was so excited because I, too, had used Pineapple Grove just that morning!  My reaction to the news went something like this (and you'll note I brought out his full name because this was serious):

"Oh my God Neil Patrick Harris bought Pineapple Grove!  (pause)
I use the same soap as Neil Patrick Harris!!  (wait for it . . .)
I might smell just like Neil Patrick Harris!!!"

Unfortunately for Brian we were in the car so his ears were really ringing after that one.  Then I had to wait all week to hear the full story of NPH going to Cellar Door at the Canton Farmer's Market.  Oh, and for those of you who don't know why he might have been in Canton in the first place, his fiancĂ© is from the area and has family in Canton.  So there are NPH sightings around here from time to time.  I'm still hoping for one myself. Until then I live vicariously through others.

Pictured below are the soaps I bought today.  My mom bought Orange Clove for herself and a couple of bars of Sex Panther to send to some of my guy cousins.  Inappropriate? Perhaps.  But in my family?  Nah.

I also stopped, of course, at The Granola Tree and bought a jar of jam.  This is one that I tried a few weeks ago and made a mental note to buy another day.  Today was that day. This would be delicious made into a dressing to serve over a spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts, and mandarin oranges.  Or just spread over a hearty whole-grain piece of toast.  

Tomorrow night is the wedding.  It's going to be at the Rattlesnake Club in Detroit and it's going to be very swanky.  I'm even going to get a vegan meal!  You'll be getting a full report next week, plus notes on the rehearsal dinner, which will be tonight at Mudgie's Deli (stellar vegan sandwiches included).  

Happy weekend!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Farmer's Market Fridays - 7/20/12

For the first time in a month the temperature was not already in the 80's when I left the yoga studio at 8 a.m.  I was actually chilly as I sipped my hot coffee and ate my oatmeal outside - but I was certainly not complaining!  What a nice change from 100+ degrees just a few days ago!

After breakfast at Starbucks my mom and I walked over to the market.  I only bought a few vegetables today - some red skin potatoes for Brian (he loves to grill them with garlic and fresh rosemary), a big basket of green and yellow beans, and 4 bright red tomatoes.  We chatted with Brandon from Cellar Door Soap Co. for a bit and I promised to buy soap next week (he said he'll have some new scents - ohhhh boy!).  The Granola Tree wasn't there today so I couldn't sample any jams and peanut butters, or buy another jar of Carrot Cake Jam.  Sad, right?

But then something even more amazing happened.  I met someone famous.  A local celebrity.  

It all began when I stopped at the Perkins Pickles booth to take a picture of their pickles.  (Their pickles are amazing and I needed a picture to share with those who aren't in the loop!)  There was a guy standing there and I looked at the label, then at him, then at the label, and back at him.  The following conversation ensued:

Me: "Is this YOU?"

Him: "Yes it is."

Me: "So YOU'RE Perkins?"

Him: "I'm Perkins."

Me: "I can't believe I'm meeting Perkins!  Of Perkins Pickles!"

And then I went on and on about how exciting it was and my mom said we were meeting a local celebrity and then I got my picture taken with him!  I'm pretty sure we made his day.  (At least we like to think so.)

I found out his name is Tom.  Tom Perkins.  Of Perkins Pickles.  And his pickles really are delicious.  They serve them with the sandwiches and burgers at Woodbridge Pub and Mudgies Deli and you can buy them at a variety of retail locations.  Check out their Facebook page for more details or stop by the market - maybe you'll be lucky enough to meet Tom Perkins yourself!

Oh, but I didn't buy any pickles today.  Instead I bought their chow chow, which is red cabbage, green tomatoes, pearl onions, carrots, and jalapenos.  I'm not sure what I'll try it on yet.  I'm thinking a kidney-quinoa burger or a salad.  It's delicious enough, however, that I could probably eat it straight from the jar!  Mmmmm, chow chow!

Happy Friday!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Farmer's Market Fridays - 7/6/12

Just the usual summer Friday around here for a LOL - that stands for Lady of Leisure.  I met my mom at the yoga studio at 7 a.m. for an especially painful yoga session (thanks to my Tough Mudder Boot Camp workout at the park on the 4th of July - ohhhhh, so sore!)  Then we went to Starbucks where I had my Venti iced coffee and oatmeal.  Brian is off work this week so he met up with us there.  Even though it was already getting hot and humid at 8:30, it was nice in the shade.

Next stop was the Farmer's Market.  I bought another bunch of kale to make kale chips, some zucchini and yellow squash, green beans, peaches, and a rosemary plant.  I visited The Granola Tree again and sampled many of their delicious jams and peanut butters.  They have such unique flavors!  Last week I bought the Carrot Cake Jam, which makes amazing oatmeal.  This time I had a hard time deciding between the Mulled Wine and Blackberries, Strawberry Lemonade, and Strawberry Coconut.  Finally, knowing that I can and will return next week, I went with the Mulled Wine and Blackberries.  I think I'll make some homemade bread this weekend to spread it on.

I also remembered to take my knife to have it sharpened for $2 at Binell Brothers Cutlery.  It's a used one that I bought from them last year and it's seriously the best knife I own.  After sharpening the blade, the guy asked if I just wanted a new (used) one instead since it was sharper.  Same price!  Um, yes please!  So I got a brand new (used) super sharp knife for $2!  Sweet deal!  

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I exercised great restraint at Cellar Door Soap Co. and did not buy any soap.  That's correct.  I didn't buy any soap!  Did I think about it?  Yes I did.  Did I smell every bar there and mentally pick my 3/$15?  Yes I did.   But I set them down and walked away, singing a little Kelly Clarkson tune to myself. 

So that was my morning at the market.      

Happy Friday!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Farmer's Market Fridays - 6/29/12

Hi.  My name is Amanda.  And I'm a soapaholic.  (Add that to the dictionary, spell check!)  I just can't stop buying soap!!  Hey, there are worse things to be obsessed with than soap, right?  And showering?  And being clean?  And supporting super awesome local businesses?  Definitely.

So today I made my second trip this summer to the Dearborn Farmer's and Artisan Market.  The last time I went was the first day it opened and I wasn't going to buy any soap from Cellar Door Soap Co.  I bought 3 bars.  Today I definitely wasn't going to buy any soap.  I bought 4 bars.  In my defense, I filled up my punch card so I got one free.  And they're 3/$15 so it would be silly not to get 3 more.  Plus there were three new ones that I hadn't smelled yet and one - Orange Clove - that is a leftover seasonal soap and almost sold out.  (Although it turns out I actually bought this last time so now I have two - oops!)  So there ya go - 4 bars of soap.  sigh.  Like I said, people struggle with far worse addictions.

Two light refreshing summer scents.

Don't let the name fool you - there's no honey in Tupelo Honey.  All their soaps are vegan!  It has a nice subtle honey/vanilla/coconut smell.  mmmmm!

There was more produce today than last month, so that was definitely nice to see!  I saw some delicious-looking berries and cherries.  I even saw the first of the peaches today.  I am definitely buying some fruit next week! 

Red spinach
Blueberries and cherries

I visited a new vendor called The Granola Tree.  They sell natural peanut butter, almond butter, jam, granola, oatmeal, and coconut.  (Not all of their products are vegan so check the labels.)  I bought a carrot cake jam that is absolutely amazing.  You would not believe how much it tastes like carrot cake!  I can't wait to try it out on toast and maybe even to stir it into some oatmeal.  They have some other interesting flavors of jams and some unique peanut butter flavors, as well.  (Again, a few have milk so check.)

It was such a beautiful morning to stroll through the market and talk to vendors.  I was feeling pretty good after yoga and my Venti iced coffee and oatmeal from Starbucks.  I even stopped to get my blood pressure checked.  (The nurse looked rather lonely and seemed to want some company so I figured I'd pay her a visit.)  She was laughing at how excited I was to have it checked.  When she checked it she knew why - 100/76.  Wahoo!  Then I got a free tote bag.  Bonus!  You know how teachers love free tote bags!  

And here's the produce I bought today:

squash, kohlrabi, and asparagus
massive bunch of kale

So that's been my morning.  It's going to be another hot one so I better get outside now for a little yard work before it gets too much hotter.  After that I'll certainly need to take a shower.  Hmmm . . . which soap will I use today???

Are you as obsessed with handmade soap as I am?


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?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Red Star Chinese Restaurant - Dearborn, MI

On our way home from the health food store on Saturday, Brian and I drove by some hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant that had certainly seen better days.  The kind that probably has a reputation for questionable meat and reusing their vegetable garnishes. Not the type of place that makes you crave Chinese food . . . yet at the same time totally makes you crave Chinese food.  Just not from there.  

Suddenly we both wanted Chinese food for dinner.

We realized that it's been years since either of us has eaten Chinese food (unless you count P.F. Chang's - which I don't know if I do), since we generally tend toward Thai food.  That's when I remembered Red Star in East Dearborn, which is a place I've been wanting to go to for years and for one reason or another we've never gone.  

First off, let me say that the ambiance of this place is weird and unlike any Chinese restaurant I've ever been in before.  The walls and carpeting are kind of drab and gray and there aren't many decorations, paintings, or wall hangings.  It has mirrors and chandeliers and seems more like a small banquet room than a Chinese restaurant.  

What's great about Red Star is that, although there are only a handful of vegan menu items, they will replace any meat on their menu with vegan chicken or beef.  This really opens up a whole world of possibilities and doesn't limit vegan diners to the usual mixed vegetable plate with tofu.  Granted, I'm not necessarily all about the vegan meats but every once in a while it's a nice treat.  (When I first heard about the place I was mistrustful but VegMichigan vouches for them.) 

So there are a couple of options there.  Basically, you can either choose an entree, which is one dish or you can choose a combo, which is smaller portions of two dishes.  The entree comes with veggie soup and the combo comes with a veggie spring roll or veggie egg roll.  Both come with white instead of shrimp fried rice.  (No brown, bummer.)

I ordered the combo with sweet and sour chicken and mixed vegetables.  I told our server I was vegan so she asked if I wanted the veggie spring roll or veggie egg roll (wasn't sure how the egg roll was vegan so I went spring) and said it would come with the vegan meat and white rice.  Although I like spring rolls, I'm really not a fan of fried food.  The smell is nauseating and the food usually doesn't sit well with me.  Plus I know it's not good for my body and the fat content scares me.  However, I don't eat it often so I threw caution to the wind with both the spring roll and the sweet and sour chicken.  (And in all honesty, I didn't know sweet and sour chicken is deep fried.  Damn.)

Veggie spring roll

Sweet and sour vegan chicken, mixed vegetables w/ white rice

Overall, the food was pretty good.  The chicken was definitely vegan, so that was good.  I liked the vegetables, even if the sauce was a little gelatinous.  I'm assuming it was some agar or cornstarch-thickened broth mixture.  Brian ordered the sesame chicken (real chicken) and liked it a lot.  I might try that next time with vegan chicken and the veggie soup.  There is definitely a lot on the menu so we'll be making a return trip to Red Star.

My combo with vegan meat and veggie spring roll cost $11.95.

They don't have a website but you can view their menu online here.

Red Star Chinese Restaurant is located at 13944 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn 
Open Sunday 2 p.m.-10 p.m.; Monday - Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday 12 p.m.-11 p.m.

What's your favorite Chinese dish?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meatless Mondays from 2 Edgy Veggies to Go

Last Monday was my last Meatless Monday Meal from 2 Edgy Veggies to Go for November.  The meal had an Asian theme and consisted of fresh rolls with peanut dipping sauce, soup, and rice pudding for dessert.  It was a nice lite, fresh meal. 

Vietnamese Fresh Rolls w/ sprouted tofu and orange-scented peanut dipping sauce

Thai Curried Potato Soup w/ fresh cilantro garnish

Coconut Jasmine Rice Pudding w/ toasted coconut and cashew topping

Go to the Exploits of a Vegan Wannabe blog for recipes:

Thai Curried Potato Soup
Vietnamese Fresh Rolls
Coconut Jasmine Rice Pudding

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meatless Mondays from 2 Edgy Veggies to Go

This is way delayed but after everything with Murray, posting about my Meatless Monday meal was the last thing on my mind.  But I promised so here's a quick recap of LAST week's meal.  

The 2 Edgy Veggies are in Florida this week for a half marathon they've been training hard for so there wasn't a meal pick-up this week.  Because of that, they did their Thanksgiving meal last week.  The menu included all the traditional Thanksgiving items - vegan style.  They were all delicious.  My favorite part of the meal was the roasted vegetables.  I love roasted root vegetables!

Roasted Tofurkey with Wild Rice Stuffing, Sage Gravy, and Roasted Root Vegetables
Orange-Cranberry Sauce
Delicate Pumpkin Pecan Tartelettes

If you're interested in the making the pumpkin pecan tartelettes for yourself, you can get the recipe here.  The orange-cranberry sauce recipe can be found here.  Both are courtesy of Exploits of a Vegan Wannabe.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meatless Mondays from 2 Edgy Veggies to Go

For my birthday, my sister-in-law Jennifer gave me a gift certificate for 3 Meatless Monday meals, courtesy of 2 Edgy Veggies to Go.  On November 7, 14, and 28 I can pick up my meal in the morning and then have it ready to warm up for dinner.  This is perfect because after a long day of work followed by a staff meeting and my cycle class, the last thing I want to think about when I get home after 6:30 is what to make for dinner.

Such a cute personalized bag!

Last week's meal was an orange, fennel, and beet salad; chik'n pot pie; and sweet potato pudding. I was a little ambivalent about the salad because I've never had fennel before. I looked it up on Wikipedia first to make sure it's not related to an onion. It was described as having an anise flavor, which I like, so I gave it a little nibble. It had a nice flavor that paired so well with the sweetness of the oranges and beets. I ate it all.  And drank the juice. If you want to try it yourself you can get the recipe here.

Orange Fennel Beet Salad

Next I moved on to the pot pie. Poor Brian - he loves pot pies - so I really felt bad eating this in front of him. (But not so bad that I offered him even a taste!). This was by far the most delicious pot pie I've ever tasted! The topping was a light and fluffy biscuit that was neither too dry nor too buttery. It was just the right thickness and was easy to cut through with a knife. Underneath the biscuit topping was a thick and hearty mix of fresh carrots, peas, potatoes, and little cubes of chik'n, all perfectly seasoned as a pot pie should be seasoned. I was sad to get to the last bite and practically licked the tin clean. (Truth be told, I DID lick the tin clean.)

It was 6:45 by the time I got this in the oven so I got a little impatient waiting for it to be ready.  After a while I took off the foil, hence the over-baked heart.  oops!  Otherwise it was perfect.

I waited a little while for my dinner to settle before having the sweet potato pie for dessert. It was thick and creamy with just the right mix of spices and sweet potato flavor. It almost had a hint of butterscotch to it, which I love. It would have been delish on its own but I topped it with a sprinkling of shredded coconut. Yum!

Sweet Potato Pudding

Wondering what was for dinner tonight?  I'll have to keep you in suspense for a little while...

Have you ever participated in a homemade meal service?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Farmer's Market Fridays - 10/7/11

Bet you thought you wouldn't see another one of these posts til next summer.  Well, an unfortunate circumstance led me to the farmer's market on Friday.  

I know that 1st grade germs are brutal.  Turns out they're even worse than I thought!  I was sick for over a week with a pretty bad cold.  I was taking cold medicine and resting but wasn't feeling better.  As time went on and it actually seemed to get worse, I figured it was a sinus infection and I should see a doctor.  It didn't explain the persistent smoker's cough that was keeping me up all night long but I didn't think it was a big deal.  That would go away.

So I went to the doctor.  Sinus infection?  Check.  Oh, and pneumonia on one side.  What?!?  Obviously it isn't the worst case of it but it's there.  Who'da thunk?  So my doctor recommended a few days of rest, gave me some medication including an inhaler, and said NO RUNNING.  I had the Big House Big Heart 10K planned tomorrow, which I obviously won't be doing.  And wouldn't you know that we're having the most beautiful October weather ever?  It's absolutely perfect weather for running!  Very frustrating!  I just hope that I'll be better by next Sunday to do the Detroit Free Press 1/2 marathon

Okay, back to the market.  Since I hadn't planned on taking the day off, I went in to work early to leave sub plans.  On my way home, I stopped at the market to pick up my share from Living Stones.

dinosaur kale and the last tomatoes of the season

mixed greens

golden beets

leeks and baby bok choy

eggplant and peppers

butternut and delicata squash

I also bought some of the limited edition Halloween and Fall soaps from Cellar Door Soap Co.  I'm a sucker for limited edition bath products.  There were a few others that were very tempting but I restrained myself and only bought 3 bars (I still have 3 in my closet plus the one I'm currently using).  You should definitely check them out for yourself before they're all gone.

I also got some carrots from Farmer Glen.  I was so glad to get to see him one last time before the year was out.  

That was it.  I didn't linger long, figuring no one wanted me coughing all over their produce.  Avalon wasn't there so I couldn't even treat myself to a date bar.  Tomorrow's my birthday so I think Brian and I might make a trip downtown to the bakery to get one.  I'll let you know if we do.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No-Beast Feast

On Friday I attended the Dearborn Animal Shelter's 2nd annual "No-Beast Feast" - an evening of vegan food, drinks, raffles, and entertainment.  Since it combines delicious vegan food with raising money to save animals, it's something I'm obviously all about!  Brian and my mom went with me and two other friends showed up, as well.  Our table was rounded out by a cute young couple and a woman who was there by herself.  She was a riot!  Our table was hilarious and it was definitely a good thing we were sitting in the back!

I didn't get many pictures because I only had my phone and the lighting wasn't great.  The food was delicious, though.  For appetizers I had 2 fresh rolls (compliments of Chef Genevieve Vang from Bangkok 96).  There were also fresh veggies and dips, along with pretzels and nuts.

Dinner was a light Michigan vegetable soup, rolls, salad, fruit, tofu stir-fry, rice, steamed broccoli, and shepherd's pie.  My favorite was the shepherd's pie.  I haven't had much shepherd's pie, vegan or otherwise, so I can't compare it to anything but this was incredibly delicious.  It was so hearty, savory, and flavorful that I wish I had taken a whole plate of it!

Dessert was an amazing array of mini cakes, cookies, fudge, truffles, and raw treats.  Here's just a small sampling (yes, there was more):

The trail mix cookies hiding under the thumbprint were probably my favorites.  I thought about smuggling a half dozen home in my purse but had forgotten to line it with aluminum foil before leaving the house.

Dark chocolate peanut butter ice cream from Treat Dreams - ohhh yeah!

Before leaving, I got up the courage to go and introduce myself to fellow bloggers Sherry and Sandy from Exploits of a Vegan Wannabe.  We have mutual friends but haven't actually met.  Now, for those of you who know me, you know I am shy.  VERY shy.  Like, so shy that I won't even go up to someone I went to high school with because they might not remember who I am and I'm worried it will be awkward.  So we were about to leave and I was standing there debating about whether or not I should go introduce myself.  The debate went on and on and was really just with myself.  But out loud.  Poor Brian.  

Finally I just walked over to Sandy who was talking to someone else and said, "Hi, sorry to interrupt.  My name is Amanda.  (slight pause)  I'm Vegan Road Runner!"  SO cheesy, right?  But if she thought it lame she didn't let on.  Instead, she grabbed Sherry who was standing nearby and we talked for a few minutes.  Their passion for health, animals, and the environment is an inspiration so I was extremely pleased to finally meet them.  (And they are SO approachable and easy to talk to - why the worries?!?)

Speaking of Sandy and Sherry, be sure to visit Exploits of a Vegan Wannabe for inventive vegan recipes that are delicious and easily accessible for both vegans and non-vegans alike.  They're great about keeping you updated and informed and since I've been delinquent in posting recipes lately, you can get fantastic meal ideas from them when you're wondering what to cook for Meatless Monday.

Give me a few weeks to settle into 1st grade, though, and I promise I'll be back with some regularity.  Just don't be surprised if most of my recipes utilize copious amounts of wine.