Peruvian Crunch

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Chocoholic here again. I know, I’m out of control.

This chocolate bar is tasty. The coconut sweetness nicely balances the bitter of the chocolate and adds texture to the experience. Very yummy.

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Bananas and Chocolate

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No one can go wrong with bananas AND chocolate! This is a delicious twist to my banana bread recipe. Just replace the 1/2 cup of walnuts with 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the breakfast/brunch staple just became a dessert that no one can resist. Yummers!

Spinach And Alfredo Pasta

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I had this dish in a cooking class last year, but forgot to take a picture and only made it again recently. Our farmers market is open again and I am loving all the fresh produce.

This dish is modeled after something I used to make before being vegan. The dish is more healthy now and, IMHO, more delicious. What you will need:

One batch of my Alfredo sauce with a bunch of fresh basil added to the blend, about 1/4 of a cup

1 Package spinach pasta (4 cups cooked)

2 good sized tomatoes, heritage if you can find them, diced

1 can white beans (Great Northern or White Kidney), rinsed

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, combine pasta, beans, Alfredo and tomatoes. Gently mix. Serve hot.

Can sprinkle with Parma if desired.

Wonderful fresh or as leftovers. Yummers!

Artichoke Dip

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One of the things we loved in Spain was bread with various dips. My most favorite was an artichoke dip that I had to recreate once home. What you will need:

1 can artichoke hearts, drained

1/4 cup raw pine nuts

2 TBS olive oil

The juice from 1/2 a lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until the big chunks are gone, but the dip is not completely mushy.

Serve immediately with crusty bread, tortillas, crackers, or raw vegetables. Yummers!

Plane Food

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Once upon a time, meals on planes were common, expected even. Today, they are rare and I seem to only encounter them on international flights. Our trip to Spain was on Delta and for the flight over we were unsure if we had placed our food restrictions in their system properly. We had not, but the flight attendants scrambled around and found some beautiful fruit and potato chips for me. They were very kind. For the flight back, hubby and I tried harder to make sure vegan was part of my profile and it actually worked! I got an entire tray of vegan food that was edible. I’m not sure exactly what it all was, but it tasted okay and I could eat it. Phew!

This story reiterates the importance of packing my own snacks. For the flight over I was okay because I was prepared. Otherwise, I would have been starving. I still had some snacks on the way back, but was thankful for the tray of new flavors. My story also points out how difficult it can be to get special meals on planes. But plane food never discourages my wander lust!

Shi-Shang

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Our last day in Madrid we decided to do a little shopping. There is one main street with lots of stores to choose from. Knowing we would be on this street, I did a little research and found a vegetarian Chinese buffet on Happy Cow that is about four blocks away. Happy Cow said the buffet was mostly vegan and the tempura was vegan, so I was excited to ry it.

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I was not disappointed and had great fun trying lots of different things. There was even a vegan flan to end with.

Shi-Shang gets four out of five vegan cupcakes. It was good and I would go back, but there were a lot of faux-meat options and I really enjoy bean and tofu options. As a buffet, it also didn’t taste as fresh as I normally enjoy.┬áIt’s a perfect option for a quick lunch.

yerbabuena

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Our second night in Madrid we connected with four friends. The culture is to walk around and stop of drinks and tapas as desired and as a group we had already stopped twice. Unfortunately, as the only vegan in the group, I was unable to eat during the two stops and I started to get very hungry. I had hoped to find an easy grab and go to satisfy just me, since I was the only one needing something unique. Our friends decided to find and take all of us to a vegetarian restaurant. Even when we arrived I said they did not have to join me. I was just so thankful food was coming. They all decided to sit and have dinner with us and loved every bite. Everyone enjoyed the food.

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As a vegetarian restaurant, several of my friends ordered dishes with cheese, but the menu and waitstaff use the word “vegano” for vegan and completely knew what I wanted. The food was beautiful and delicious. It was so good that when I found myself in the same neighborhood again a few days later, I stopped in for lunch. It absolutely receives five out of five vegan cupcakes.

Rayen

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In Madrid, with the help of Happy Cow, I found a fabulous vegan restaurant very close to my hotel. My first visit I got brunch and so I returned for lunch a few days later.

Our waitress was very nice and brunch has five courses. Mmm…

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1: Bread and toppings. I picked artichoke and avocado

2: Yogurt, fruit, and granola

3: Squash soup

4: Potatoes and tofu scramble, but much more savory scramble than what I find in the US

5: Dessert – lemon and poppyseed

This is served with a juice of choice (I picked orange and hubby got peach) and a hot drink (I got green tea and hubby got coffee). The bill comes in a cute little basket!

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Every bite was delicious. Rayen gets five out of five vegan cupcakes. I highly recommend stopping here when in Madrid.