Vegan Food on the Road, Cross Country, & Costume Party Run Update

Ignite

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Team Ignite Athlete, but I thought it was kind of cool how they jazzed up my picture, so I thought I’d share. I’ve been using the InRefresh Electrolytes, and loving it, especially in this humid, hot weather we’ve been suffering through enjoying lately. I didn’t carry my own fluids during the Costume Party Run, but I tried to hydrate as much as possible, both before and after the race, using InRefresh.

Costume Party Run Update

Speaking of the Costume Party Run, I received an email from Ken at Superhero Events. He thanked all the participants, asked for feedback about the race, and promised that it would be even bigger and better next year. The improvements will include providing tech shirts instead of trucker’s hats, and reducing the amount of distance spent running through the parking lot of Qualcomm. Hurray! Those were my only two, admittedly minor, complaints. And they are going to make the finisher’s medal even bigger! Next year, it will be the size of an actual 45 record. Huge! Can’t wait for next year. Hmmm, what should I go as?

Vegan Food

Cross Country

Cross Country practice started on Tuesday! I am always excited to get the season underway, meet the team, start training and planning for the upcoming year. The fact that practice started on the worst day, weather-wise, that we’ve had yet didn’t put a damper on my excitement.

Vegan Food - Costume Party Run

It looks pretty, but it was hot, humid, and even smoky! Though the weather managed to get even worse for my own run the next morning. Just gotta say, 70% humidity is HUGE in the desert! It just doesn’t happen. Until it does.

Vegan Food - Costume Party Run

Vegan Food on the Road

I always get excited when I travel to Encinitas, because I know that I’ll get to eat at my favorite restaurants. After we checked into the hotel on Saturday, Alan and I walked over to the Roxy for lunch. I was in the mood for hummus for some reason, so that’s what I ordered. The Hummus and Pita appetizer, plus a side salad (I didn’t take a picture of it but it was HUGE!).

Vegan Food

I couldn’t even eat the whole thing (the picture is missing a slice of hummus because I couldn’t wait–I reformed it into a 5 pointed star instead of 6). We burned it off by walking to Moonlight Beach to check out the renovations that had been done. They recently built a new dressing room/restroom/concessions complex, made some changes to the landscaping, and enlarged the picnic/playground area. It looked really nice.

Now that Native Foods has opened in Encinitas, there is never any doubt where we’re going to have dinner. I did post a teaser photo on Instagram, though.

Vegan Food

Alan and I both went old school. I had the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, he had the Chicken Run Ranch Burger. And we shared an order of Native Fries. And we each had a piece of apple pie. I had to fuel for my race, didn’t I?

Vegan Food

Vegan Food

Vegan Food

Honestly, I think I kind of overdid it at dinner. Fortunately I didn’t have any stomach issues during the race, but my tummy didn’t quite feel normal. Too much delicious food!

After the race (if you missed my recap click here) and a little rest, we headed to the Lotus Cafe for a late breakfast. I was delighted to see that they’d added a full line of breakfast items to their menu, including my favorite, Tofu Scramble. It was really very good. It was served with vegan breakfast sausage (I don’t think I’ve even tried that before!), and potatoes. It did a great job of refilling my tank!

Vegan Food

Even better than the food though, was who we got to eat with.

Vegan Food - family

Vegan Food - family

And especially

Vegan Food - Family

As you can see, Samuel is wearing a specially designed helmet that will correct and round out a flat spot on his head. According to my son, this has become more common since they now tell parents to always put an infant to sleep on their back. If they turn their head more often to one side than the other, it can develop a flat spot. The helmet will correct it, but he has to wear it for four-six months. Since that will encompass football season, my forward looking son and daughter-in-law had the helmet made in blue and are awaiting receipt of various Charger logo stickers to dress up Samuel’s helmet.

Vegan Food - family

I was mostly concerned because, for a baby who always has a smile on his face, Samuel didn’t look very happy. I was afraid the helmet was making him sad. They assured me that he was simply tired, and it was true that after a short nap, the true Samuel-face reappeared.

Vegan Food - family

I drove home feeling completely happy and satisfied on all levels. I successfully completed my half marathon within seconds of my two hour goal (I’m simply not going to sweat that 11 seconds), had great food the whole weekend, and best of all, got to spend time with my family. Life is good.

I’m a little late asking this, but I hope you’ll still tell me..How was your weekend? Did you compete in any events, eat at any great restaurants, spend time with family? It was such a long weekend that you may have had time to do all of the above!

What I’m Eating: A Week of Vegan Food

In all my years of blogging about vegan food, creating and sharing recipes, writing restaurant reviews, I have never participated in any kind of a What I Ate Wednesday link up or written any thing like Lindsey’s Weekly Eats posts. And as those of who you read my blog, and my history of “series failures” know, it may be a while before you see another post like this. But, as I sat down to write today, I just kept thinking about all the awesome vegan food that I’ve eaten in the last week and I felt like I wanted to share.

I made the most delicious tofu scramble the other day. I’ve written (frequently) about my love of tofu scrambles, and I’ve posted several recipes (here and here). This time I winged it, keeping it very simple and it turned out great.

week of food

In a nutshell: One block of firm tofu, drained. Break it up with a fork (so that it looks like scrambled eggs). Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon celery salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and a little pepper. Adjust to your taste. Chop up 1/2 onion, 1/4 yellow or orange pepper, 1 potato, and 1 or 2 Serrano or jalapeno chiles. Cook in a little olive oil over medium heat, until the onion is soft and the potatoes are slightly browned. Stir in the tofu mixture and cook, stirring frequently until the tofu is heated through. Reduce heat and cover. Cook over low heat until the potatoes are cooked. Add a little vegan cheese and re-cover until the cheese is melted. Serve with tortillas, avocado, salsa, etc.

Vegan food

Last night I made tempeh burgers. Nothing especially fancy or different about them but they were very good. I served them with baked potato and zucchini fries.

vegan food

My variations on my shawarma recipes are always a hit in our household. This week I made it with seitan, served with quinoa, hummus, and pita breads.

vegan food

I also discovered Nuttzo! I’ve been using heart healthy Nuttzo all week instead of my regular peanut butter. All the nuts and seeds used in Nuttzo are organic, there are no added sugars, and two tablespoons of the healthy fat in Nuttzo provide 50% of the daily allowance of Omega 3 ALAs. I am pretty boring with my breakfast food, but I’ve used Nuttzo in protein shakes, slathered it on bananas and on my morning toast or muffins all week.

vegan food

I’ve already written about the restaurants where I ate last weekend, so I’ll skip the review and just give you the food porn.

We took out food from Native Foods in Encinitas:

vegan food

vegan food

We had lunch at Earth Bistro in Temecula:

Earth Bistro

vegan food

And breakfast at the Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar:

vegan food

vegan food

What kind of delicious food have you eaten in the last week? Dish! (haha, see the pun?)

Disclosure: I was given a jar of Nuttzo to try and review. All opinions are my own.

On the Road: Vegan Dining in Temecula and Encinitas

As I mentioned in my Weekly Training Recap post, our drive to the coast was quite an experience. Under normal circumstances, when Alan and I drive to the San Diego area, we take the “scenic” route, which takes us through the Santa Rosa mountains, then heads down into Temecula where we jump on the freeway for the rest of the drive. This weekend, though, because of the strange, cold, and rainy weather, we took a not-so-scenic route, which heads west on the freeway, then takes us through Hemet (which sometimes smells like the dairy capital of California), continuing to Temecula, where we follow the rest of the route above.

As soon as we left La Quinta at about 12:30 on Friday, we ran into some weather. The wind was cold and gusting out of the west as we drove on the freeway. The wind also brought in some showers, and I felt bad for the cyclists planning to ride in the Tour de Palm Springs the following day. As it turns out, the riding weather was not too bad, but very cold, but it must have given out-of-towners a scare as they drove into town on Friday night.

We arrived in the Banning and Beaumont area about an hour outside of the desert. Although the elevation is around 2,500 feet, Banning and Beaumont generally have comfortable weather, just slightly cooler than my desert heat. So we were surprised to see snow on the ground as we drove through the towns. It was even falling lightly as we drove (though my cousin in Canada laughs that we call that little bit of white fluff “snow”).

vegan dining

As we continued on through Hemet, the light snow turned to heavy rain along with a little hail. It was really kind of strange. It would pour for several minutes, then stop completely, then pour, then stop. And so on. We decided to stop in Temecula for lunch.

We do that frequently now on our drives to San Diego because we recently discovered Earth Bistro. While not a completely vegetarian or vegan restaurant, they specialize in whole, organic food, and have vegan options clearly marked on their menu. And their servers “get it,” which makes ordering so much easier.

Earth Bistro

Alan likes the “create your burger” option. He starts with a vegan patty and a whole wheat bun and adds a variety of goodies, including red onion and avocado. I usually order the Portobello burger, but the last time I was there I tried the Flatbread with Dippers appetizer. It was so good, but it was too big, so I brought home the leftovers. I came home from work the next day, mouth watering thinking about my flatbreads, took them out of the fridge, when Alan called me to help him do something (I can’t remember what). When I came back, my dogs were sitting there with guilty but satisfied looks, my flatbreads had disappeared, and I was sad. So that was a long story to tell you that I ordered the Flatbreads with Dippers for my lunch.

vegan dining earth bistro

Amazingly, after driving in wind, rain, hail, and snow, we finally arrived in Encinitas in time for a beautiful sunset.  We made a quick stop at Moonlight Beach to enjoy the sunset, then headed over to check into our hotel.

Vegan dining

I was really excited about going to dinner because Native Foods has finally opened in Encinitas. I have written many times about Native Foods, I’ve celebrated there, enjoyed the grand re-opening of the Palm Springs location, mourned the loss of the Palm Desert site, visited other So Cal locations. The opening in Encinitas was delayed several times, but they finally opened at the end of January. I was so in!

As the only vegan restaurant in Encinitas, I suspected they would be busy, and I was right. It is quite large, about three or four times as big as the Palm Springs location. As in all Native Food, you order at the counter, then they deliver your food to your table. The problem was that all the tables were full, so people who had ordered were waiting around to snag a table as soon as someone else finished. Alan and I quickly made a decision to take our food back to the hotel.

vegan dining Native Foods

vegan dining Native Foods

I realize my tendency to stay with the program and order my two or three favorites all the time (that would be the Gyro Bowl, Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, and my new fave, the Bistro Steak Sandwich. So, just to keep it fresh and exciting, I ordered the Native Reuben. Even before I gave up meat I had never eaten a Reuben sandwich. Corned beef? Nope! Sauerkraut? Definitely nope. But, the Native Foods fans on Facebook have been whining about this sandwich when the took it off the menu singing the praises of the Native Reuben for so long, I decided to give it a try.

vegan dining Native Foods

It was…good. I guess there was a reason I never ate a Reuben when I was eating meat. Don’t get me wrong. It was fresh and tasty, the marble rye was yummy, the sauce was very good. If you like a Reuben, you’ll love this cruelty free version.

Alan had the Baja Blackened Tacos, but he was too fast and the picture came out all blurry. He liked them, but says that his old favorite, Tijuana Tacos, were better. We also had dessert. Cranberry Orange Cake and Homemade Apple Pie. Both were excellent.

vegan dining Native Foods

vegan dining Native Foods

Saturday morning after our run, Alan and I showered, checked out, and headed out to accomplish our primary mission for the weekend, picking up my Aunt’s ashes in Chula Vista. We needed some fuel to go forward, though. I had eaten a bagel from the continental breakfast at the hotel, so I wasn’t super hungry. I thought a smoothie sounded pretty good, so we headed to the Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar, which not only has a wide variety of smoothies, also has many vegan options on their menu. When I read that their smoothies contained only fruit and fruit juice, I thought that we needed just a little more calories and protein.

I’ve been to the Lotus Cafe many times, but this was the first time that I realized that they had tofu scrambles! I guess we usually come for lunch. Anyway, Alan and I each ordered a smoothie and decided to share a tofu scramble burrito.

vegan dining Native Foods

vegan dining Native Foods

This was one of the best dishes I’ve had from the Lotus Cafe. Of course, I love a tofu scramble under any conditions, but this one was well seasoned, spicy, and hot. And the smoothie was really good too.

From breakfast, Alan and I went on to take care of business, then stopped at my son’s house for a visit with Samuel. Best part of the weekend!

vegan dining

When we finally headed toward home on Saturday afternoon, we found that the weather had changed substantially. No more rain or snow, very little wind. It was still pretty cold, so I was happy that I did not do the Tour de Palm Springs ride. At least no one out get blown off their bikes. Still beautiful, no longer dangerous.

Vegan dining

I kind of feel bad talking about cold weather when so many of you had to live through a blizzard last weekend. I hope that everyone is safe, dry and warm. Were you able to get any fun into your weekend?

Wednesday Workout: Moonlight Beach Circuit

From the desert to the beach. After last week’s Las Vegas Strip Workout, we move west to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas (north of San Diego). Alan and I unexpectedly had to return to the coast today (he left his megaphone, a necessity for a race announcer, at the event last weekend), which put a crimp in my run plans.

Fortunately, I’m nothing if not flexible. I decided to move my workout to the beach! I planned a quick circuit workout that would work all my major muscle groups, didn’t need any equipment, included some cardio, and wouldn’t make me feel too foolish by doing it in public.

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Okay, before I get too comfy, let’s get to the workout.

Beach-Circuit1

And the best part? You get to do the workout barefoot! (And in your bathing suit if you like!)

Remember. While the directions say to do your walking lunges into the water, please use your good judgement. If the water is rough, there is a sudden drop off, or any other safety factors, do your lunges outside of the water or parallel to the water’s edge.

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After the workout and a little beach time (and swimming time for Alan), we packed up and went to lunch at the Lotus Cafe. It is usually one of my favorite lunch spots in Encinitas, with a large vegan selection, but no so much today.

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I had a falafel pita which was so dry it broke open with my first bite. The two (!) little falafels were over cooked and hard. Alan’s quesadilla was good though, and I helped him finish a cup of chili, which though not as good as mine at least filled me up.

After lunch we had to head south to Chula Vista to pick up the megaphone, then home. A lot of driving for one day, about six hours, which we share, but at least we got out of the desert (112 and humid!), went to the beach, and had a great workout.

Have you ever worked out on the beach? Or anywhere public like a park?