February 28, 2009

Birthday Weekend Extravaganzaaaa!

We went to Manitou Springs for my birthday last weekend and had a really great time. If you're in Colorado and looking for a laid back and inexpensive mini-vacation, follow these steps:

1. Make a reservation at Gray's Avenue Hotel (actually a bed and breakfast). There are several rooms under or around $100 a night in the off season. We stayed in the Osage, which was super cozy and had me squeeing with delight about the canopy bed.

Photo from bbonline.com.

Danny gave them a heads up that we're vegan, and when we arrived they had a plate of almond butter, fruit, and crackers waiting. Gwen made us vegan cookies that night, and tofu scramble, vegan pancakes, and vegan blueberry muffins on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Bourge it up with wine in the hot tub before bed, and don't forget to pet the resident furries on your way out to explore.

2. Go hiking in Garden of the Gods. Admission is free, the hiking is easy, and the views are beautiful.


3. Eat at Adam's Mountain Cafe. I was a little peeved when they didn't have any vegan appetizers on the menu, but then I realized that it's not actually a vegetarian restaurant, and our main courses were so good that I forgot about it.

Pear salad with apple vinaigrette.

Senegalese vegetables with tempeh. I would eat this every day if I could.

Pan seared tofu with udon noodles.

PS. Before you leave, be sure to check your luggage for stowaways.

February 25, 2009

And we're back!

And by we, I mean me. Since November I have been bouncing from Florida to DC to job hunting in Denver with not much time for web logging. But now I'm back and ready to talk about lentils.

I don't know a whole lot about about the nutritional value of many of my favorite foods, and so I've been studying up (ie, Wikipedia) almost every time I cook. Last night I made Egyptian Style Lentil Soup from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, and was pleasantly surprised by what I learned while the soup was simmering. They are packed with fiber, protein, folate, magnesium, and iron. Plus, they cook quickly and don't require soaking, which means they can be thrown into quick weeknight soups like this one:

So easy, so good.

Red lentils are smaller than other varieties, and turn a light orange color when cooked.

I used red lentils to give it a warm, cheery color, and dressed it up with vegan sour cream and diced tomatoes (not exactly appropriate for the Egyptian style soup, but delicious nonetheless). Fennel seeds, cumin, and oven roasted onions will make your house smell heavenly. Warm flatbread (or whatever you have on hand) is necessary to sop up the last bits of soup in your bowl.

If you're looking to vary your protein sources and up your iron intake (good advice for vegans and non-vegans alike), try this soup, or one of these recipes:

French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme
Dazee's Misr Allecha
Spiced Lentils and Rice
Lentils Tartare

February 7, 2009