Tag Archives: vegan

Lessons Learned from Traveling Across the Country

We recently moved from Atlanta, GA to Eugene, OR. These are a few lessons I learned from traveling vegan-style with two greyhounds in a Buick for nearly 3500 miles.

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1. Pet friendly hotels are not hard to find. Our daily driving schedule was not rigid, so we ended up in random cities for the night. But we were always able to find a room in the following pet-friendly hotels  (in order of niceness): La Quinta, Best Western and Motel 6.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

I think the only one that charged an extra pet fee (which was pretty low) was Best Western but it does vary by location. A helpful pet friendly site that we used was bringfido.com.

This guy was always the last to get up.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

2. Although I am in awe of the dark, almost black rocky sand and huge rocky shores of northwest coast beaches, it is intense and scary if you’ve never seen a beach before (like Miles).

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

We drove along Highway 101 towards the end of our trip and had to pull over frequently to enjoy these scenic beaches.  They made me wanna yell…’Heeeey, yooouuu guuuyss!’ because Goonies.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

3. It’s nice to have generous and kind friends who will give you a place to stay along the way (even when they think you’re part of some vegan army stuff).

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

We enjoyed the momentary break from hotels and the pups enjoyed running and meeting new friends.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

4. Despite how soy-cheesy it may be, stop at the tourist areas. They’re tourist areas for a reason.

Outside the Trees of Mystery, Nikko and Paul Bunyan.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

An elk at one of the elk viewing areas about two hours outside of Eugene.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

5. When driving west, the end of the day becomes a perpetual chase of the sunset.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

In Joshua Tree National Park.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

6. Traveling across the country by car with two greyhounds, it IS entirely possible to eat well vegan-style even when we didn’t research restaurants before hand (because ain’t nobody got time for dat).

Most mornings we grabbed as much fruit as possible from the continental breakfasts (served at many of the places we stayed). I also had oatmeal and tea that I packed which just required hot water from the coffee maker.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

And while we certainly ate our fair share of Subway sandwiches, we managed to throw in some unique all vegan or vegan-friendly places along the way as well. Thank goodness for cell phones and Happy Cow! A few eats…

Chopped BBQ sandwich with grilled seitan and an El Paso Burger with chipotle vegan mayo and guacomole from Spiral Diner in Dallas, TX.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

A Mediterranean picnic in the park from International Delights in Las Cruces, NM. The server knew what “vegan” meant and happily accommodated us.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

The “Vegan Caper” bagel with an amazing tofu spread, capers, red onions and a sweet sauce from Los Bagels in Eureka, CA. They had seats outside so we brought the pups.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

Wonton Soup from Noble Veg in Sacremento, CA. I grabbed a menu while Neal stayed with the pups in the car. We decided what to get. Neal went to order and the kind people at Noble Veg brought the food out to the car. In retrospect, eating hot soup on my lap probably wasn’t the best car food. But I was really craving soup.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

A vegan barbecue “Chicken” pizza from Tomato Joe’s Pizza in Valencia, CA. This was dinner and breakfast the next morning.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

I think had this road trip been taken more than ten years ago, it would have been much more difficult to find places to eat good vegan food without meticulous planning ahead of time. But nowadays, its like my phone and the internet gives me super vegan powers. Or at least the ability to find vegan food easily…..unless of course we’re talking about Pecos, TX….now that’s a different story….

Have a Happy New Year!

Festive Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

These shortbread-y almond thumbprint cookies are flecked with tiny almond pieces and have ruby-like raspberry jam centers. Not overly sweet and with hints of almond flavor in each bite, these crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside cookies are perfect with a glass of almond milk.

I brought these festive cookies to a Vegan Cookie Swap over at Keepin’ It Kind with Kristy! Click here for the easy recipe!

Thumbprint Cookies- Luminous Vegans

What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

PS I am currently taking an epic road trip from Atlanta to Oregon. Me + live blogging on the road = fail, but if you’re interested you can check out my twitter and/or instagram feed.

Cornbread Cafe: Vegan Comfort Food in Eugene, Oregon

Eugene Oregon- Luminous Vegans

Back in early November we took a mini-trip to Eugene, Oregon (to find out why, keep reading). Cornbread Cafe was the first place we ate while there. This cozy, diner-like restaurant serves 100% vegan comfort food made in-house. Not only was the food and friendly staff amazing here, but Cornbread Cafe really makes an effort to keep things local and sustainable. You can read all about their mission here.

Cornbread Cafe Eugene -Luminous Vegans

Their menu is an indecisive person’s worst nightmare because there are so many tantalizing things to decide between from eggfu benedict to nachos and phish & chips.

Cornbread Cafe Eugene -Luminous Vegans

Since we went early on a Sunday morning, we selected dishes from the breakfast menu. Neal went with their Chik’n & Waffle – breaded and deep-fried seitan atop a large Belgian waffle served with country cashew gravy and maple/agave syrup.

Neal says it was THE best vegan chick’n and waffles he has ever had. The gravy was rich and savory and was perfectly complemented by the sweet syrup. And the seitan was the right kind of fried- moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Cornbread Cafe Eugene -Luminous Vegans

I went with the build-your-own-omelette served with home fries and a fluffy white biscuit. The omelette comes with Daiya cheese and a choice of 3 items to stuff it with. I chose to get mine stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and salsa.

I don’t know how they did it, but they have created the most eggy vegan omelette that I’ve ever tasted. Every bite was full of flavor. And most importantly, it was nice and moist. Nobody wants a dry omelette. I don’t think I could make an omelette at home that even comes close to how lovely this was.

Cornbread Cafe Eugene -Luminous Vegans

I so wish that I could have tried more dishes but we were only there for a short time. Luckily I’ll be able to eat there as much as I want in several weeks because we’re moving to Eugene!

We’ve been dreaming and scheming about moving to the Pacific Northwest for a looong time. So when we saw our friends Kenn and Jeanette pull it off, we were inspired to finally go for it ourselves. The trip in November was our scopin’-out-places-let’s-make-this-happen trip.

We were able to secure a place to live and come the end of this week, we’ll be loading up the car and driving from Atlanta to Eugene. If it sounds cray-cray, I assure you it is. But I’m excited (and nervous, scared, anxious, etc.) about our new adventure! And I can’t wait to have another one of those omelettes…

What is your favorite vegan comfort food?

Parsnip Fries: Not French, Not Fried and Not Potatoes

Poor potatoes. Getting replaced by other vegetables. First there was cauliflower going all mashed tater-like. And now parsnips are acting all like french fries!  At least we’re set if we ever find out potatoes are sentient. Always look on the bright side of life, right Mrs. Spud?

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

I’ve never had parsnips. Ever. Until now. Anxious to try them, I excitedly took a bite of one right when these made it to my kitchen counter. I read that you could eat them raw. Um, anticlimactic much? They didn’t really taste like much. There was a hint of carrot-like sweetness and the teensiest hint of something else bite-y. Almost like a radish. But mostly it was just kinda bland. Almost like biting into a raw potato but a little better. Based on that bite, eating them raw was not gonna be a thing I did.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

So I poked around on the internet to find out what else I could do with them and found that they could be made to resemble the classic French fry. Perfect! Roasting veggies is my favorite lazy-girl method!

All I did was cut the parsnips into strips that resembled “fry shapes”. I left the cleaned skins on because ain’t nobody got time for dat! Then I lightly coated them in olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I roasted them at 450F for about 20 minutes, tossing them halfway. When they were done, I sprinkled a little more salt and pepper all over and topped it with some freshly chopped parsley.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

Roasted parsnips are much better than raw parsnips. I think the roasting helps bring out the sweetness some and makes it more of a delightful texture. The texture and taste are very similar to, well, a tender french fry but with a tad more sweetness and that very subtle hint of something mildly bite-y that I just can’t put my finger on. Some describe it as a “woody” or “earthy” taste. I’ll just call it that parsnip swag. Because it’s that swag that makes these parsnip fries stand out from regular old French fries.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

Although these parsnip fries are perfectly pleasant on their own, I couldn’t help but recreate the whole French fry experience by dipping it into ketchup. I demolished the whole plate all by myself.

Have you eaten parsnips before? Can you recommend other ways to cook and eat it?

Tales from the Vegan Army: Thanksgiving Plans

This installment of Tales from the Vegan Army is not as “combat-y” as the words “vegan army” imply*. Because it involves my dear ma.  Okay, here’s the deal. I never explicitly told my mom I was “vegan”.  Since English is her second language, I felt explaining to her that I didn’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, etc was just easier.

tales-from-the-vegan-army-Luminous Vegans

She’s been supportive about it since then. If I ever came home from college and she made me Thai food she’d know — no eggs, no fish sauce and add tofu and veggies. We’ve been doing this for more than a decade.

Which is why the following bit from a phone conversation that took place A WEEK AGO befuddled (and tickled) me. And I assure you that all conversations with my ma are this wonderfully strange. Love ya ma!

…..

Mom: Are you coming home for Thanksgiving?

Me: Yup. Are you going to go to *insert my sister’s name here* place?

Mom: Ok. What you want me to make for you? I can bring something.

Me: I dunno. I’m sure whatever you make will be good. You don’t have to make anything if you don’t have time.

Mom: Do you eat eggs?

Me: No ma, I thought you knew that.

Mom: [very seriously] Why not? What happens to you if you eat eggs?

Me: Ma, nothing happens to me, I jus…

Mom: [interrupting] What will happen? If you eat eggs?

Me: Ma! Listen to me. Nothing happens. I just choose not to eat eggs.

Mom: Why not? What will happen to you?

Me: [contemplates going into long ethical explanation but opts for...] I don’t want to eat something that comes from a chicken…or any animal.

Mom: [pauses] Ketty. It’s okay to not eat meat and be a vegetarian….[does not finish sentence].

Me:  Ma, I coulda swore you knew this. Remember? I would go to the restaurant (my ma had a Thai Restaurant for a while) and you would always tell the cooks to make my food — no eggs, no fish sauce? Remember?? [wonders if last 10 years were all a dream]

Mom: [pauses]…………Well, what about if I make something and you can’t taste the egg in it?

Me: [sighs] No ma. I don’t eat eggs even if I can’t taste it.

Mom: What about if I make sticky rice dessert with custard?

Me: What’s in the custard?

[silence]

Mom: [says quietly but very matter of factly]….Eggs.

…..

:-|

I love ya ma! Talking to my mom is always a rockin’ fun time. She has that dead-pan-can’t-tell-if-it’s-a-joke-or-not comedic act down. But she totes isn’t joking!  I probably could fill a tome with all the funny things she has said. Like that time she told me that tasting food should be done with none other than……my mouth. Genious!

*Tales from the Vegan Army are not meant to be combative or promote ill will. They’re just a fun way for me to find humor in a non-vegan world.