Orlando Vacation 2k13: What I Saw

Hey everyone!! Thanks for bearing with the long posts! Believe it or not, this post is going to be even longer! I took a ton of pics while I was there, mostly of the beautiful scenery and weather and also of some cool stuff that I saw. I’m so excited to show you everything!!

Before I get started though I just thought I’d let you know that it actually rained a lot of the time I was there. I was very bummed out about it but it finally cleared up and the sun was shining by Sunday! We tried to spend time outside on Sunday and Monday to soak up some vitamin D and put some damn color on my pasty skin ;) It worked because naturally I had a sunburn within an hour, lol!

Anyway, here we go!

I saw these ADORABLE owl mugs at JFK while I was waiting to board my flight. I was a good girl and exercised some good self control by not getting it… but you better believe I thought about it! ;)

This photo is for Shen who requested a lizard pic! There were TONS of lizards crawling around on the screen but this cute little guy happened to be inside! He was backlit so it turned into a cool silhouette pic.

I think you can see it a little bit but one day when we went out the clouds had a rainbow thing going on! It was so pretty and I was actually shocked that it came out in the pic! It was so bright out (there’s an Instagram effect on it but it was very bright!) I didn’t think I’d be able to catch it but there it is!

Sunday was probably my favorite day :) It was absolutely gorgeous outside and we ended up going to the Downtown Orlando Farmer’s Market at Lake Eola. It was one of the best farmer’s markets I’ve ever been to! They had a ton of food vendors as one would expect but they also had an abundance of artists, jewelry makers, etc. I LOVED that! Here’s a few things I saw:

Check out these gorgeous orchids!! I wanted to get one but I knew it would never survive lol. They were absolutely gorgeous though… probably the most beautiful orchids I’ve ever seen. I love the different colors!

By far my favorite find at the market was an artist named Bianca Roman-Stumpff. Her art is amazing and adorable and she clearly has a sense of humor. She was kind enough to let me take a pic of her display.

You can probably see the art a little better if you click on the pic. As you can see she has TONS of different prints (all of those baskets have tons of different varieties) and it was so hard narrowing it down! I narrowed down to four prints and to be honest I’m probably going to order more from her. If you look at the second panel on the right you’ll see prints of her paintings of TEDDY BEARS DRESSED AS SUPERHEROES!!!!!! Can you deal with how friggin cute those are?! I feel like I’m probably going to order some of those… ;)

This is the print that drew me in to her table to begin with. I can’t deal with the baby ninja turtles. This is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my life. She told me about how people would take pics of the prints and print those and I think that’s really messed up so I tried to take it at a bit of an angle so people won’t be able to do it with this pic but I really really really wanted to show it to you!

I loved her skull prints as well so I decided to get three of them to put together as a series. Aren’t they cool?! She is so talented! I’m a little jealous actually. It has always been a dream of mine to be able to paint and draw well but I can’t so I’ll just continue to buy her work ;) If you are interested in checking out her work you can check her out on Facebook HERE.

After the farmer’s market we took a walk around the lake since the weather was so beautiful. It’s not a terribly huge lake by any means so it didn’t take long. Like an idiot I forgot to take pics of the lake which is sad because it has a nice view of downtown.

The following day, Monday, was my last day in Orlando. Luckily, my flight wasn’t until later on in the day so we had plenty of time to get outside to enjoy the beautiful day. We decided to walk around a different lake, Lake Baldwin, which is much larger. I think the walk is just short of three miles. Check out some of the gorgeous scenery!

This was a gorgeous alley of trees that we walked through. It was so pretty I had to take a pic :)

As you can see it was an absolutely perfect day.

There is a dog park along the lake with a dock right next to it. We had walked out on the dock and I took this pic toward the dog park. You can’t really see it but it was really cute! Lots of picnic tables and people hanging out. We decided that we are going to do a picnic there the next time I’m in town.

Lots of blue!!

I thought these trees were cool and the sky was so beautiful behind them. It was seriously a perfect day.

This last picture is probably one of my favorite “found moments” I’ve ever photographed. Coincidently, this was the first time I ever bothered to do the whole airplane mode thing with my phone (usually I just keep it off but I used it to listen to a podcast this time) and it was the perfect trip to do so! I looked out the window and saw a perfect heart in the clouds! Do you see it? I love this picture so much. It was the perfect way to end a great trip.

So there you have it! My trip summed up into two ginormous posts ;) I hope you all enjoyed the recap, I had fun writing it! Hope you are all having a great week!

Orlando Vacation 2k13: What I Ate

Hey everyone!! I’m back from Orlando :) I had an AMAZING time and I’m excited that I have tons of pictures to show you! So many, in fact, that I’m going to have to split this into two posts. So today I figured I’d share with you the yummy food that I ate and tomorrow I’ll show you some of the cool and pretty things I saw during the trip. For those of you on Instagram I know you’ve seen most of these pics :)

So here are the yummy things that I ate! Be forewarned that this stuff isn’t particularly healthy… I made a deal with myself before that I’d enjoy vacation and get back on the CSD train when I got back :) So here’s (some of) what I ate on my vacation!

I’ve come to realize that as I get older I’m becoming more and more of a germophobe. Walking through the airport I realized that planes are gross, and people are gross so I picked up some Airborne, mixed it with a bottle of water and sucked it down.

We stayed in for the most part on Thursday and ate there so our first meal out was for lunch on Friday. We decided to go to Loving Hut because it’s so damn good :) I really wanted to try something different but I decided to stick with my usual which is “Combo 1.” It has a fresh summer roll, golden rice, tofu and veggies. It is so good and definitely not too heavy (which is what I was afraid of with some of the other dishes). I could eat buckets of that rice, it’s SO GOOD.

After Loving Hut we decided to go to Raphsodic Bakery, which we first tried the last time I was there. I LOVE that they put the word “Love” on all of their bags and boxes. Anyway, we chose four different treats to share because we couldn’t decide. There is a slice of pumpkin loaf, a chocolate chip sandwich cookie, a chocolate almond biscotti, and chocolate marzipan brownie. Everything was amazing but believe it or not the biscotti was my favorite! And Shen, now I know how you can eat just half of your yummy desserts :)

My friend happens to live near a Mellow Mushroom which I had read offers vegan pizza. This is not something I come across every day so we decided to bring pizza in. I don’t remember what day but it was early on so I want to say maybe Friday night? Anyway, I got a small (10 inch) Kosmic Karma pizza which (when veganized) had roma tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and daiya. It was great and it literally lasted me all weekend.

For brunch on Saturday we went to our usual brunch spot, Ethos Vegan Kitchen. I really love this restaurant. The food is always good and their new location is larger and has a great atmosphere. However, this is the one meal of my trip that I kind of regretted a little. Not because it wasn’t good because damn it was actually REALLY good. I decided to go for something on the menu that I knew I’d never be able to recreate because sometimes that’s the fun of going out. I decided on the biscuits and gravy. Like I said, the food was delicious but holy shit was it heavy. I got about 2/3 of the way in before I had to throw in the towel. And I didn’t eat again until that night because I couldn’t shake that heavy feeling for a long time. I want to re-iterate though that the food wasn’t bad by any means and in fact was really delicious! I just should have known better than to order a really heavy dish, especially for my first meal of the day. Ethos is definitely still one of my fav spots in Orlando!

Every time I visit I like to bake something for my friend and his friends. This time I decided to take something I found on Pinterest and veganize it. I saw the recipe for Funfetti Cheesecake Cookie Cups and thought they were so cute! I decided to veganize it and make my life a little easier so I made them into bars! Look how cute they came out. Basically I used the cheesecake recipe from Vegan Heartland’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars (doubled with sprinkles added at the end) and the chocolate chip cookie recipe was Super Vegan’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever recipe. I followed the directions on the pinned recipe (I had to cook it a little longer though) and it came out really well! Above is the only piece that I ate but it was damn good.

My laziness got the best of me for Cinco de Mayo so I went the easy route and made some vegan nachos. They were REALLY good. All I did was heat/melt some spicy fat free refried beans and Daiya Cheddar on some tortilla chips. Simple but tasty.

I talked a big game about how I was going to partake in some alcoholic beverages but the reality was that I only drank this single glass of wine. Partially because I am a cheap date and it doesn’t take much for me to start feeling warm and partially because I just wasn’t feeling it. This glass of wine was really delicious though. This is by far my favorite wine and I can’t find it here in NY! Wah!

So these are the meals and beverages that I thought were photo worthy. As you can see we ate a lot of meals in and made some meals and snacks last pretty much the whole weekend. Everything was delicious but I’m definitely craving some fresh produce and am looking forward to getting back on track with a Crazy Sexy Diet inspired lifestyle.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my Orlando trip wrap up! I know it was a long post so thanks for bearing with me! The next one is probably going to be even longer since I have so many pics so sorry in advance!

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend! Back to the grind, boo!

Vegan MoFo Day 3: Cafe 118 Divine Cherry Smoothie

Hello my friends!! Happy Hump Day! I guess Thursday is my new hump day as I work Tuesday through Saturday but for normal people it’s all smooth sailing from here :)

Today’s super simple recipe recreation is for a super simple smoothie. I’ve never tried it but it definitely caught my eye on the Cafe 118 menu! Cafe 118 is a raw food restaurant in Orlando. I found it when my friend and I were taking a stroll in the really cute Park Avenue neighborhood on one of my previous trips to Orlando (in February I believe). The area is so cute with tons of great restaurants and shops. Hidden up a side street is one of the few raw restaurants I’ve heard of in the Orlando area. We didn’t eat there since we had already eaten but I grabbed a menu with the plan to recreate some of their delicious dishes and drinks.

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

I woke up this morning not feeling super hungry and also with the plan to try and get some prep work done for future recipes. I decided to keep breakfast simple and for that, I decided a 3 ingredient smoothie would be perfect. I knew that the Divine Cherry Smoothie from Cafe 118 would do the trick.

Frothy and frosty, a perfect treat!

It has a pretty similar flavor profile to my Cherry Chocolate Smoothie but has even fewer ingredients. I used some of my fresh cherries that I froze over the summer :) Here is my “recipe.” I feel bad calling it a recipe because it is 3 ingredients and so easy but here ya go!

Cafe 118 inspired Divine Cherry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen cherries

3/4 cup Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk

1/2 tablespoon Coconut Butter (I used Artisana)

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Enjoy!

Thanks Cafe 118 for the inspiration! I plan on making more of their drinks and smoothies in the future. This is such a treat, you can definitely have this as a sweet treat for dessert too. Or put it into molds and freeze into a popsicle ;)

As I discussed on Monday, I participated in a Birthday Care Package Swap with the lovely Gabby of the Veggie Nook. You can check out the package I sent her here!

Hope you all have a great day! I did lots of prep today so hopefully it’ll be easier for me to get meals together over the next few days. I’m looking forward to what I have planned over the next few days :)

My Orlando Vacation!

Hey everyone! I’m back from Orlando! My vacation went so fast but I had a great time! Lots of time with my best friend, great warm weather and of course, yummy vegan food! I took lots of pictures of my delicious meals and couldn’t wait to share them with you!

I arrived there Wednesday evening and my friend’s birthday was Thursday! I decided to cook him a nice birthday brunch. I had such a great time doing it and it came out amazing!

As soon as I saw Allysia’s Pumpkin Coffee Cake recipe I knew I had to make it. It sounded delicious and looked like it would come together quickly and it was such a great choice! You guys have to try this recipe, it is AMAZING!! Perfect way to welcome the fall!

This was my brunch plate with all of the final dishes :) While the cake was cooling I threw together a quick tofu scramble and had bought some fruit for the side. It was such a delicious and perfect brunch! A little sweet, a little savory and the burst of fresh fruit. So amazing.

We spent a lot of time sitting in his back patio space and almost every time we went out there there were lizards crawling around on the screen. I thought they were so cute so I took this pic! I love the way it looks with the instagram effect :)

The following day we went to The Loving Hut for lunch. We are a little dense apparently because we didn’t realize they close from 3-5 and arrived a little before 4. The woman let us in anyway and still fed us! It was like a private seating and it was so sweet of them to serve us even though they were closed. I started off my meal with a delicious bowl of wonton soup. The broth was light and lovely and the wontons were super tender and delicious.

For my meal I ordered the Combo #1 which consists of golden rice (amazing), some tofu, a really delicious simple salad and a summer roll. It was absolutely delicious.

That night we decided to stay in and have a mellow movie night so decided to load up on some goodies. We got 2 bottles of Electra Moscato and some treats from Raphsodic Bakery. The bakery is literally my vision I’ve always had for a bakery come to life so I was teetering between jealous (lol!) and so stoked that it exists and seems to be thriving. Anyway, back to the treats! In the box you’ll find a chocolate chip “sammie,” (a cookie sandwich with frosting in the middle), a chocolate espresso cupcake, a chai cookie sammie and a lavender brownie. I ate the chai cookie sammie and it was amazing! I now understand Shen’s ability to eat half at a time because I think these treats are even richer than they look so it was eating in halves :)

Even the box was adorable :)

Yesterday (Saturday) we checked out the amazing Farmer’s Market! I didn’t get pics and didn’t buy anything since I was leaving so soon but it was so great! It was huge and had gorgeous produce. There was one vendor selling amazing fresh pineapple and you could smell it from so far away! Yum!

A friend of my friend was hanging out with us and decided to bring his kitty over for me to meet! Her name is Hannah and she is so adorable! I passed by her just hanging out at the top of the stairs and decided to take a pic of her sweet face :)

This morning we went to brunch at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. They moved to a new location since the last time I was there and I love the new space! It is big and spacious and has a great vibe and decor. It definitely seems to be thriving! I decided to have the breakfast burrito because it just sounded so delicious! It was tofu scramble with sausage and potatoes wrapped in a tortilla and smothered in sausage gravy. It was super savory and delicious and obviously really filling!

I obviously didn’t photograph everything I ate but these were definitely the highlights! I decided that I would just enjoy myself and sure I had a few rich meals but my messed up digestive system kept me in check with nausea and a few headaches. Ha! Anyway, it was an absolutely amazing time and I’m sad it went so quickly!

Tomorrow is the beginning of Vegan MoFo! I feel like it snuck up on me! I’ll be back tomorrow with an introductory post and then I’ll be ready to dive into my theme of recreating restaurant meals! I’m so excited for this project!

Have a great night friends! Thankfully I have off tomorrow since I have the daunting task of trying to catch up with all of your blogs :)

This Is What I Eat on Vacation!

Hey everyone! Got home from my long weekend in Orlando. It went by so fast!! I’m bummed that it’s over but I had an amazing time. It was great to see my friend, I ate some amazing vegan food and went to one of the most amazing farmer’s markets I’ve ever seen.

I have a lot of food to share with you so I’m going to try and organize it so it makes it easier for you to read (and for me to post!). I’ll share my restaurant meals, my cooked meals and something I picked up from the farmer’s market :) I took all of the pics with my phone so the quality isn’t great but you’ll definitely get the point. I used instagram on some to spruce them up so the color may vary a bit but they look ok I guess! Let’s dive in!
So first I’ll share two of the three restaurant meals I ate. I didn’t take a pic of the third because to be honest it made me really annoyed. I’ll explain in a second.
I actually ate this absolutely DELICIOUS sandwich for lunch today. I usually go to Ethos Vegan Kitchen for brunch when I’m in Florida but I wanted to try it for lunch so we went somewhere else for brunch (which subsequently served me the meal that annoyed me). I got the “Hippie Wrap” in the gluten free option minus the banana peppers. I chose the fruit for my side. This was AMAZING. Ethos is one of my favorite restaurants in Orlando which is why I go back every time I’m there!

This meals is from The Loving Hut! I actually ordered the “Combo #1″ but was given the Combo #2. It originally arrived with a faux beef skewer type thing that was definitely made with wheat gluten which I wasn’t really interested in. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it since the summer roll and rice were correct. Instead of the spring roll I was supposed to get veggies but it was fine so I just asked them to switch the wheat meat for the tofu I was originally supposed to get and all was well. It was SO GOOD! This is another place I come every time I’m in Orlando. They usually get the order right but the girl who took our order was new. No big deal though, it was still delicious!
Quick story about that third restaurant. They had a salad that looked great…basically greens topped with supposed fresh fruit. I expected beautiful fruit to be sitting on those greens…instead I saw a sparse, sad looking salad with minimal fruit that was far from fresh. The thing that annoyed me about it wasn’t necessarily that the salad was kind of pathetic. It was that I was sitting in the restaurant staring out the window at the farmer’s market. It drives me nuts when restaurants don’t even think to utilize the beautiful, fresh, local ingredients located literally 100 feet from their door. So ridiculous.
Speaking of the farmer’s market, I went to the Winter Park Saturday Farmer’s Market and was completely blown away. They even had a small stall with raw shakes and some tea blends and a few raw things such as crackers, soup and moon pies. I have been dying to try raw crackers so I picked up a package.
I tried to eat a lot of healthy raw food in between some indulgences that I’ll share at the end of this post. They were fairly consistent with what I eat on a regular basis.
A beautiful salad of greens, cucumber, carrots and some avocado. I dressed it with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

Cherry chocolate green smoothie for breakfast one of the ninja turtle glasses I got my friend for his birthday!

Snacky type lunch plate with carrots, an orange and some of the raw crackers from the farmer’s market with mashed avocado. So good!
I tried to be somewhat virtuous with my food choices during the trip but definitely wanted to indulge a bit as well. As part of our tradition I made a really great dinner followed by dessert, both of which were decadent and rich and 100% amazing.
Check out this amazing, decadent mac n cheese! I used this recipe and it was so good. I made it gluten free with rice pasta and gf flour and left the breadcrumbs off the top. Next time I’d add a little more seasoning but it was creamy and amazing!

I forgot to take a wide shot but I served it up with some amazing brussels sprouts that I picked up at the farmer’s market and roasted, as well as some carrots. It was a really delicious meal and totally worth the splurge!
And every decadent dinner should be followed by an equally decadent dessert!
You seriously have to try these! They are amazing! I was super careful to avoid wheat the rest of the weekend because I knew I would be eating this and wanted to make sure it wouldn’t effect me that much and it didn’t. These are great, impressive and pretty easy!
So that’s what I ate on vacation! I indulged a bit more than I typically would and it is amazing that I came home craving healthy, raw foods. I guess that is a great thing and shows just how much my tastes have changed over the past month or so. It’s a great feeling!
It’s back to reality for me now. Here I am very relaxed and happy (although some makeup would make this photo a bit more flattering ha!) before I left to come home. Hopefully I can keep this feeling for a little while before I settle back into my reality.
Hope you all had a great weekend, now I have to catch up on all of your blogs!