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 2: Raphsodic Bakery Chocolate Chip “Sammies”

Hi friends!! Today is my first day of my new schedule and I have to say that one of the benefits of the changes in my schedule is that I only have to work until 9 pm one day a week (Wednesdays). Oh, and I no longer have any ten hour days! Yay! The major down side is that I will be working only a fraction of the weddings that I used to and I guess I’m not training to shoot anymore… well at least not for this studio. I’m still kind of coming to terms with that.

Anyway, let’s talk about fun things. Like cookies. Cookies are fun and yummy and everyone likes them right? Well how about adding some frosting and another cookie? Sounds good right?!

My first recreation in this journey I’ve put myself on was inspired by my recent trip to Orlando. As you may recall, we visited Raphsodic Bakery, a super cute Vegan Bakery. The vegan bakery of my dreams in fact… literally. It has such a great vibe and is exactly what I have always envisioned my bakery would be if I ever opened one up. And everything look divine.

In our box of goodies you’ll note the treat at the top left corner with the giant chocolate chunks in the center. That, my friends, was their Chocolate Chip Cookie Sammie. Two chewy chocolate chip cookies sandwiching a layer of sweet vanilla frosting. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Well it was such a hit with my friend and I had so many leftover ingredients from what I bought to make his birthday brunch, I decided that as my first treat I would try to recreate for MoFo this year would be those chocolate chip sammies.

Not too shabby right?! I only photographed 4 but we got a few more out of the recipes I followed. I don’t know a chocolate chip cookie recipe off of the top of my head so I looked one up and picked one. It was kind of a crapshoot because I hadn’t tried any of the recipes that came up but I figured that the promise of the best chocolate chip cookies would probably be a good choice! I used Super Vegan’s recipe for The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever. And let me tell you, this recipe delivers.

The cookies were the perfect balance of slightly crispy and very chewy, which is perfect for a cookie sandwich. It tasted absolutely delicious! The frosting was the Vanilla Buttercream recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. This has become my go to frosting recipe… so much so that I can whip it up off the top of my head, probably with my eyes closed ;) A half batch would be more than enough to fill the cookies in one batch of the above recipe. It worked out perfectly and the cookies were soft enough that the frosting didn’t run out all over the place when cut or bitten.

It was SO EASY to put these together. All you do is bake your cookies and cool them completely. I whipped up a half batch of the frosting and put a generous dollop on one cookie, then used another to close the sandwich. And voila! These are really easy, delicious treats and are so impressive!

I tried a bite of one and it was divine. I’m glad I made these when I was in Florida so I could leave them with my friend. These decadent treats are amazing and would surely get me in trouble if they were here ;)

So there you have it! My first Vegan MoFo recreation and I’d say it was a success. My goal was to also make healthier versions of the restaurant dishes I found (if they were originally unhealthy) but this one clearly doesn’t follow that. I promise you that most of my other recreations will be healthy though! ;)

Have a great Tuesday everyone! I’ll see you tomorrow with another menu recreation!

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 :)