Terrific Tempeh Tacos

Tempeh tacos make a terrific meal for Meatless Monday! They are nutritious and delicious, as well as a fast and easy recipe to prepare. They are also a great introduction into the use of tempeh in vegan and vegetarian recipes. They are also gluten free (check the label on your tempeh, not all of them are gluten free).

Fast, easy and delicious vegan Tempeh Tacos. They are also gluten free..

For me, tempeh was an acquired taste. It took me a while to learn how to prepare it properly, but when I did, I finally came to appreciate its subtle flavor, as well as its versatility.

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that has a chewy texture and somewhat nutty flavor. It is very nutritious and contains many health promoting phytochemicals such as isoflavones. The fermentation process produces natural antibiotic agents but leaves the desirable soy isoflavones intact.

Tempeh is a complete protein food that contains all the essential amino acids. Isoflavones have many health benefits: they strengthen our bones, help to ease menopausal symptoms, reduce risk of coronary hearth disease and some cancers. Tempeh has all the fiber of the soybeans and even has some digestive benefits from the enzymes formed during the fermentation process.

Terrific Tempeh Tacos

This recipe is very easy and fast. It takes only about 30 minutes and then you’ll be enjoying these delicious tempeh tacos.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Terrific Tempeh Tacos
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 package tempeh, crumbled. Note: For gluten free, check ingredients. Some tempeh is not gluten free.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped and divided
  • 2 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • corn tortillas
  • Taco Filling: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, salsa, jalapenos, avocado, lime juice...
Instructions
  1. Remove the tempeh from the package and crumble into small pieces.
  2. Combine the cumin, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add half the onion (reserve the other half for taco filling), and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the tempeh and cook for about two more minutes. Stir in the tamari and the spice mixture. Add about ¼ cup of water. Cook until heated through, the water has evaporated, and the tempeh is slightly browned.
  4. Heat your tortillas. Place a couple spoonfuls of tempeh on each tortilla. Top with the fillings of your choice.

 

 

Tempeh-Tacos

My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!

Meatless Monday with Tina and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie 
Bonnie, the Pin Junkie
Tip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape
Wednesday Wisdom with Nanna’s Wisdom
That Friday Blog Hop with xoxo Rebecca
The Blog Booster Party with Kathleen

Have you tried tempeh before? What did you think?

Banana Walnut Bread Recipe Gluten Free and Vegan

I’ve been spending some time experimenting with the fabulous aquafaba, including baking another batch of my vegan, gluten free chocolate chip cookies. I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but they taste a little better each time a make them!

Vegan and gluten free banana walnut bread

Banana Walnut Bread Gluten Free and Vegan

I also spent some time making vegan Banana Walnut Bread! It’s gluten free too, and the final version is slightly lower in sugar and oil. Oh, it’s pretty delicious.

I used aquafaba again as the egg replacer. It’s so easy, basically three tablespoons equals one egg. In case you missed last week’s post, aquafaba is simply bean brine. You know, that juice you usually drain off and throw away. This weekend was the first time ever that I opened a can of beans just to get the juice (I did save the beans, though, I’ll probably toss them on a salad or something.). I used chickpeas again for my aquafaba, though you really can use the brine from any type of bean, canned or freshly made.

By the way, last week’s post was Aquafabulous Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just sayin’.

Vegan and gluten free Banana Walnut Bread.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Banana Walnut Bread: Gluten Free and Vegan
 
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Author:
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup walnuts or other nuts, chopped (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons aquafaba
  • ½ cup sunflower seed oil
  • ½ cup vanilla vegan yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and walnuts in a bowl. Stir gently until well blended
  3. In another bowl, combine aquafaba, oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, sugar, and brown sugar. Mix until blended.
  4. Add the mashed bananas and blend.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour mixture.
  6. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan.
  7. Bake until golden brown and check that a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about an hour).
  8. Allow to sit in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
Notes
I skipped the salt in this recipe because there was salt in the beans. If you use salt free bean brine you can add a ½ teaspoon sea salt if you'd like.

Banana Walnut Bread. Vegan, gluten free, made with aquafaba.I made my first batch on Saturday. I followed an old recipe I used to make in my pre-vegan days, just changing up the ingredients as needed. I used rice flour to make it gluten free, the aquafaba to replace the eggs, and almond milk instead of the real thing. Other than that I followed the original recipe. It tasted really good, maybe a little too sweet, but it took a long time to bake, about an hour and a half, and was still quite dense and almost gooey (if that’s the right word).

Vegan and gluten free banana walnut bread made with aquafaba.For the second batch, I needed to buy more flour, so I picked up some Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour (basically because that’s what they had at the grocery store). It is a blend of white and brown rice flour, potato starch, and a few other ingredients, designed to replace regular flour one to one.

I also cut the sugar in half, replaced some of the oil and the almond milk with Silk vanilla soy yogurt (you can always use coconut yogurt if you prefer soy-free), and I used walnuts (I skipped any nuts in the first version). And as I mentioned in the notes, I didn’t use any salt because the bean brine did have salt. If you use salt-free beans, you may want to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

This time it only took an hour to cook and the texture was much better. It was still plenty sweet.

Banana Walnut Bread vegan and gluten freeI’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday, and with Annmarie, for another Meatless Monday! Hop on over to their blogs to check out all the delicious meat-free food they’re sharing. I’m also linking with Bonnie, the Pin Junkie!

So on the way to the movies on Sunday, Alan and I played cloud pictures. We’re both quite good at finding shapes in the clouds, and we usually see what the other person points out. Kind of like a fluffy Rorschach test.

CloudsI see an alligator about to eat a fox. How about you?

Clouds 2I see Snoopy riding a pig. How about you?

So, how was your holiday weekend? I hope you had lot’s of fun with family, races, and other adventures that I hope you’ll share. And what do you see in the clouds?

This post contains affiliate links.

Aquafabulous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Vegan and Gluten Free

I am not a baker. I don’t pretend to be. So it may seem a little odd that I’m going to share a cookie recipe with you. So let me tell you how this all came about.

These Aquafabulous Chocolate Chip Cookies are vegan and gluten free. They are made using aquafaba as an egg replacement.

A couple weeks ago, Lindsay shared a cookie recipe on her blog. They were gluten free, dairy free, Maple Chocolate Chip cookies. They sounded delicious, and I commented saying so, and shared them on Twitter. They did contain eggs, and Lindsay knows that I’m vegan, so when she replied to my tweet…well, just read it yourself:

That led to a conversation between Lindsay, Beth Miller (@millerbeT) and myself about what on earth chickpeas had to do with vegan cookies. And that led to my learning about aquafaba.

Cookies2

What is aquafaba? Well, simply put, it is bean juice. Seriously, you know that liquid that you usually pour out when you open a can of beans? It turns out that it makes an amazing egg replacement. How amazing? Well, you can actually make meringue, whipped “cream,” waffles, macarons, mousse, cookies, cakes, and more. It even has its own Facebook page where people share their meringue recipes.

The best part (well aside from it being virtually free), is how simple it is to use as an egg substitute. One egg = Three tablespoons aquafaba. That’s so easy even I could do it.

Aquafabulous6

To keep it extra simple, I decided to use an old standard cookie recipe and see if I could make it vegan using aquafaba. I decided on veganizing Toll House Cookies, because that recipe is easy to find, pretty basic, and definitely not vegan. I decided to also make the cookies gluten free, in honor of Lindsay who inspired them.

Aquafabulous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Vegan and Gluten Free

Vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies with aquafaba, the leftover juice from garbanzo beans!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Aquafab-ulous Chocolate Chip Cookies. Vegan and Gluten Free
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 2-3 doz
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup non-dairy butter (I used Melt which is made from coconut oil)
  • ½ cup safflower oil
  • 6 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1 package (10 or 12 ounces) non-dairy chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in small bowl. Beat non-dairy butter, sunflower oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, aquafaba, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

These cookies don’t make any pretense to being anything but delicious. Yes, they may have too much sugar and oils to be considered healthy, but they’re cookies. Enjoy a couple, share a lot. And while most people use the brine from garbanzo or white northern beans, black or other beans can be used too. And yes, you can make your own when you cook beans.

Aquafabulous5

I’m linking with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday. Hop on over to their blogs and find some more fabulous recipes.

Have you heard of aquafaba? Are you as excited as I am? Just think of the possibilities!

Baseball, Father’s Day, and a New Surfing Record

If you were a dad and you could pick your best Father’s Day ever, what would you do? If I asked my husband, I know that he would say that if he could spend a lot of time with his grandsons, take them to a baseball game, go for a run and do other fun things with them, he would have the best time ever. Well, that’s what we did. I’d say we had almost a full week of Father’s Day celebration!

Fathers Day CollageI’m so lucky to have so many great fathers in my life. Clockwise from the top left: My dad, who I think of every day even though he’s been gone almost 30 years. We shared a birthday and a lot more. My husband Alan, who was denied a chance to be a dad to his two “real” sons when they were young, but helped my own boys become better men by being a part of their life. He’s an amazing grandfather too! My youngest son, David, who, though he doesn’t have children of his own yet, is an wonderful father figure to his girlfriend’s children. My stepson John, and of course, my son Nathan, father of Samuel and my future granddaughter Emma.

So let’s back up to early last week. After a lovely May, the weather has finally heated up in the desert. With the high forecast up to 116, the only way to get in a run is to get out early. Alan and I weren’t totally successful with that goal, getting out about 6:15. We ran on the trails for about an hour and it was pretty darn hot by the time we finished.

FD Week 8

FD Week 9Our grandsons were in town for the week, so after the run we picked them up with plans for cool activities (in both senses of the word!).

First, we headed over to see Jurassic World (in 3D of course!).

Jurassic World

It was quite good by the way, though quite violent and gory. It brought back the spirit of the original and, of course, the special effects have come a long way.  And Chris Pratt makes a pretty good action hero (remember when I met him?).

Chris PrattAnd yes, he actually competed in that triathlon.

After the movie we headed over to an arcade that was close by. It was way too hot for miniature golf or go carts, so we went into the cool indoors, where the boys played video games for about an hour (and got their butts kicked by grandpa in air hockey).

Arcade GamesAbout that time I was wavering a little. I hadn’t planned on such a long afternoon and hadn’t eaten properly. The boys (including grandpa) had filled up on popcorn and other junk at the movie, but I needed food fast. Fortunately there was a Trader Joes right across the way, so I popped over and grabbed a snack. Whew!

On Wednesday I did a speed workout on the road near my house. I got out a little earlier, but it was still hot. I did eight quarter-mile intervals, plus a warm up and cool down. Not bad for the first speed workout in a while.

Speed work w/Asics Electro 33

On Thursday the plan was to pick up the boys around noon and drive them back to Huntington Beach. Their mom was going to follow later. Long story, but my stepson and daughter-in-law had a funeral to attend, so the plan was for us to stay at their home with the boys. No complaints from us! It was about 40 degrees cooler along the coast!

We had a late lunch at one of our favorites in Huntington, Coaches. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant and they have a great falafel pita.

Felafel at Coach's

Cash

DaneAfter lunch we had to hurry home and get the boys off to basketball practice. No pictures because Alan and I ran to pick up a few groceries while they played.

Every morning when we’re in Huntington Beach, Alan gets up and makes a trip to Starbucks, where he picks up coffee for the adults and hot chocolate for the boys. Friday was no exception. Then we took off for a short run. They boys stayed home (their mom and dad weren’t leaving until the evening) so they could keep their legs rested for their basketball game that evening.

FD Week 5So, so nice to run along the ocean, at 8:00 instead of the crack of dawn like at home. The rest of the morning was spent playing a little ball, and generally hanging out.

Huntington BeachWe drove the boys to their basketball game, and this time stuck around. It was pretty exciting. The other “team” was actually members of their own team (it’s complicated), but it was a real game. Cash played excellent defense, and Dane made some great shots. Here are a couple that I posted on Instagram (<– Follow Me!)

@chipperw getting it done.

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

On Saturday we all took a run together, including Tito, their dog. Family Run Then somehow we missed seeing this:

They broke the world record for people on a surfboard! The surfboard itself was 42 feet long, and Alan and the boys did go down and see it before the attempt, while I stayed with the dog. Our timing didn’t work out to go back, which is too bad because the boys had a chance to be on the board for the world record attempt. Here’s the full story:

Saturday afternoon we wanted to go to the baseball game because Alan’s Giants were playing at Dodger Stadium. We didn’t have tickets, but we decided to go anyway and maybe find a scalper or something. As we pulled up to enter the parking lot, we were told that the game was sold out. Did we have tickets? I fibbed, yes we did, in hopes that we would shortly actually have tickets.

It seems that the Dodgers do an excellent job of keeping the scalpers away from the actual stadium. The last time I was there was years ago (with tickets), and I seem to recall them outside of the parking area. Not this year, and not anywhere else either. I was really afraid that we’d have to turn around and go home. Fortunately, Alan decided to check at the ticket booth, and sure enough, there were plenty of tickets available. Weird.

Dodger StadiumAppropriately it was Pups at the Park day! If we’d known we could have brought Tito along with us! As you can see, we had pretty good seats. One problem though. It was about 90 degrees inside Dodger Stadium and our seats were in the full sun for the entire game. In fact, at 7:10 or so, right after the final out, the sun was just getting ready to dip behind the stadium. It was hot!

Dodger Giants Baseball

That didn’t stop us from having a great time though!

Yasiel PuigThe boys were sure that rightfielder Yasiel Puig was returning their wave.

We even found vegan food! Here’s mine:

Vegan at Dodger StadiumLet’s see, $8 for the “Veg Out” cup, which was some stalks of carrots, celery, cucumber, a couple radishes, and a tiny cup of hummus; $6.50 for the veggie dog, and $13 for the “premium” beer. That brought the total for just my food to $27.50. Well, at least the Giants won, so there was some consolation.

Sunday, the actual Father’s day, was quite a bit quieter than the rest of the week. We took the day off of running, and the water was pretty cold so the boys didn’t go swimming. They did play a lot of ball though, and just generally spent quality time with their grandpa.

We were anxious to get home, in spite of the heat. We haven’t been away for three nights for a long time. As you know, we have a handicapped dog, and it’s hard to trust anybody with her care. Our dogsitter came through, though, and everybody, including Goldie, was fine. Alan calls this practice for when we go to Hawaii in December for the Honolulu Marathon for 10 days. Yikes!

I took a run alone on Monday, while Alan headed to the pool. I got out late again, but ironically, I felt better than I had running at the overcast beach. I guess I’m just a desert rat at heart!

Running in the heat

Gosh, that was a long one, wasn’t it? Sorry, but we just had so much going on last week. How was your Father’s Day? I hope everyone had a chance to see their dads or to spend it with their children and their dads. Bad sentence, I know, but hopefully you know what I mean.

 

Jackfruit: The Perfect Whole-Food Meat Substitute + a Recipe!

I want to start off by thanking you so much for your kind words of support on Friday’s post. Your reminders that I was working for a school system helped remind me that this was political and bureaucratic, not personal. They may have tried, but couldn’t take away the fact that I am a coach and will always be one.

Today I want to tell you about an all natural, whole-food meat substitute that has no fat, very few calories, and can be used to replace chicken or pork in a variety of recipes. It’s called jackfruit, and while I’m really not sure if it is considered a fruit or a vegetable, I do know that it is completely plant based, contains so gluten, soy, chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors, or sugars. That’s because it grows on trees!

Jackfruit

I’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! I’m also linking with Annmarie for her Meatless Monday party! Be sure to check out all of their yummy recipes! I have a few jackfruit recipes to share with you too.

I’ve written about the amazing jackfruit before, but in case you’re new, here’s the scoop on this amazing “vegetable meat.”

The jackfruit grows in tropical locales on tall, evergreen trees. Pricky and green in its unripened state, which is when it is perfect to use as a meat substitute (it is yellow and sweet when ripe). It is cultivated in India, Ceylon, southern China, Thailand, and other countries with hot, humid climates.

But, how does it taste? The unripened jackfruit has a taste and consistency similar to chicken when it is cooked. It can be shredded or cut into chunks, and can be slow cooked for extra flavor. Because of its cultivation in Asian countries, it is frequently used in curries.

The jackfruit is nutrient rich, especially in vitamins C and B complex. It has small amounts of vitamin A, plus potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. It is also high in dietary fiber.

So you don’t have a jackfruit tree in your backyard? No worries. In this country, jackfruit is most frequently available in cans and is sold at Asian and Caribbean markets.  There are a few online sources, including Amazon.com (note: that’s an affiliate link, but it is much cheaper if you can find it in a local market. Like about $20 cheaper!) Make sure to look for green unripe (or young) jackfruit in brine or water.

In fact, the only nutritional downside to jackfruit is, that since it is so low in calories, it is also pretty low in protein. So to offset that deficit, be sure to prepare or serve your jackfruit with foods that are higher in protein. Beans work great, either to thicken a sauce or to serve as a side dish with many jackfruit recipes.

So, have I piqued your interest in jackfruit? Here is my favorite recipe (originally posted in September 2013), plus a few links to others.

Curried Jackfruit with Avocado - vegan and gluten free recipe

Curried Jackfruit with Avocado

Curried Jackfruit - vegan recipe

This curried jackfruit is served hot, over rice and avocado, but it would taste great chilled too.

curried jackfruit - vegan

Curried Jackfruit with Avocado. Vegan
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Curry
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 can jackfruit, green, in water or brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida (if you don't have this, don't worry. Add a teaspoon more curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour (for gluten free simply use a thickener of your choice)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces coconut milk (from a can)
  • 8 ounces vegetable broth
  • 1-2 avocados, scooped out with a spoon
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, use a fork to shred the jackfruit,
  2. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic until soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the jackfruit and cook, stirring occasionally, until the jackfruit's moisture has evaporated. If necessary, use the fork to break up the jackruit a little more.
  4. Add the curry powder, asafetida, and salt and stir to combine.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the jackfruit mixture, add the beans, and stir to combine.
  6. Slowly pour in the coconut milk, mixing it in as you go.
  7. Increase the heat and stir in the broth. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. You can add more seasonings to taste if you'd like.
  8. Heat the avocado halves (30 seconds in the microwave or 5 minutes in a 350 oven).
  9. Serve on rice, spooning a scoop of the curried jackfruit on each avocado half (you can quarter the avocado for a lighter meal if you'd like).

curried jackfruit - veganI called that my favorite, but in fact, I love all of the dishes I’ve created with jackfruit. Here are a few more. Remember, they are all vegan and gluten free (except the tortilla on the burrito, easily fixable if you need or prefer gluten free).

Jackfruit “Tuna” Salad with Avocado and Quinoa

Jackfruit Tuna 4Jackfruit Chili

Jackfruit ChiliJackfruit Burritos

Jackfruit Burrito veganAvocado Stuffed with Jackfruit Salad

Jackfruit Salad - vegan recipeI hope you enjoy trying out this perfect meat substitute. If you’ve tried it before, I’d love to see links to your own recipes. I have two cans sitting in my cupboard right now!

Mary’s Secret Garden Review plus an Instagram Weekend

Alan and I were in Ventura over the weekend. We got home kind of late on Sunday and I was in no mood to open up my computer. So I apologize that I don’t have a new recipe for Meatless Monday today. However, I’m still linking up with Tina and Deborah today because we visited one of the most popular vegan restaurants in Southern California on Saturday, so I’m sharing pictures and my review.

Mary’s Secret Garden

Marys Secret Garden Review. One of the most popular vegan restaurants in So. Cal, this little gem is tucked away in Ventura, a few blocks from Main St.

Mary’s Secret Garden is a tiny, funky little restaurant tucked away on Fir Street, a few blocks from downtown Ventura. With a beaded entry to the kitchen, messages printed on the ceiling, and a casual atmosphere, it almost feels like stepping back in time. The music, selections from the 60s, helped cement that impression.

Marys Secret Garden 6

Marys Secret Garden 3

We had called ahead to make a reservation, but it really wasn’t necessary. There were many open tables, though most of them filled up as the evening went on. Our server was quick and friendly, and introduced the specials briefly before she went to fill our drink orders. I had a glass of chardonnay, Alan tried the homemade ginger ale. I had to give it a taste, and I’ll say that it was different than any other ginger ale I’ve ever tasted. It actually tasted of ginger, something you rarely get notice in the canned version.

Alan and I decided to share an appetizer and an entree. Because of our almost four hour drive, lunch had been a little late, so we weren’t super hungry. For the appetizer we chose the Cheeze Trio ($15). It is served with three raw vegan nut cheeses: Macadamia Chive, Chipotle Cashew cheeze, and Curried Almond cheeze, along with cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and raw gluten free crackers.

Marys Secret Garden 2All three were excellent. The curried cashew cheeze was deliciously flavorful, with a bite of curry, smoothed out with other seasonings. The chipotle also had a little spicy bite, and the macadamia chive (my favorite) was creamy and was probably the one that tasted the most like real cheese. The crackers were good too, and they went quickly. Our order for a second serving of the raw crackers was $4.

For our entry we chose to share the Cilantro Chycken Sandwich ($14). It came with grilled veggie chycken, chipotle cashew cheeze, cilantro pistachio pesto, avocado, red onion, grilled jalapeno peppers, and tomatoes on a whole grain bun. We chose to add the Fakin Bakin ($2). It was served with a choice of soup or salad. I selected the Coconut Broccoli Lemongrass, which was the soup of the day.

Marys Secret Garden 4First, the soup. I love lemongrass soup, and this was no exception. It was very flavorful, with just the right amount of lemongrass. Alan, who does not care for broccoli, enjoyed the soup too, even though there were a few pieces of the vegetable in our bowl.

The sandwich was very good. The chycken had a good flavor and texture, and it was made even tastier with the chipotle cashew cheeze and pesto. It was served cut in half, so it was easy to share. It was quite large, so a half was just perfect for the two of us.

Of course, we had saved room for dessert (a bonus for sharing our entree). Mary’s has a Jumbo Cupcake du Jour ($8), and the offering that day was Chocolate Peanut Mousse. Our server suggested we try the vanilla coconut milk ice cream. I’m not sure of the price as an add on, but a serving of the ice cream alone is $8.

Marys Secret Garden 5I loved the presentation. And both the cupcake and ice cream lived up to it. The cupcake was moist and chocolatey, and the peanut mousse was delicious and oh, so rich. The coconut milk ice cream was light and creamy, and a great complement for the cupcake.

Mary’s, as always, came through with a great, healthy meal. Yes, it is a little pricy, but all of the food is natural, organic, much of it raw and gluten free, and made on the premises. The service was friendly and the atmosphere is comfortable. Whether or not you are a vegan, Mary’s Secret Garden is a great option in Ventura.

Mary’s Secret Garden Organic Vegan Bistro
100 S. Fir St.
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 641-3663
Reservations not required but suggested

Meatless Monday

My Marvelous Weekend (the Instagram version)

Other than that, Alan and I had a marvelous weekend in Ventura. While the desert sizzled at around 107 on Sunday, we were a little chilly in the overcast, cloudy weather on the coast. Still, it was good to get home and see the pups. I’m even glad it’s Monday, which is why I’m linking up with Katie for MIMM!

MiMMWe were in Ventura because Alan was announcing the Father’s Day 5k and 10k. At the last minute I decided to run the 10k. I have not really been training, just running, so I had no expectations. I though it would be a good tempo run, plus, the weather you know, how could I not enjoy that?

Here are some Instagram photos from the weekend (do you follow me?), that pretty much tell all about our Marvelous weekend.

VenturaSome would call it gloomy and cold. We called it wonderfully cool and a great change from the desert.

WineWe stopped and bought a few things for the morning before the race, plus I bought a bottle of wine. It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel room (or rather motel..Motel 6 that is. Ah, the glamorous life of a race announcer!), that I realize that I forgot to bring a wine opener. I have a lot of these. I seem to buy them every time we travel, then forget to bring it along the next.

RaceWe got to the race venue early. Before the race director actually. Alan likes to be prompt. That meant I had a few hours to wait around until the race actually started. There was a nap involved.

Race 2The race was fun. I had no real goals, but as I got going I decided I’d like to finish under an hour. It had been about 13 years since I’d run a 10k. In the last one I ran 44:04, was first woman and fourth person overall. I also won my 40-44 division (oh, and I was 44). I think four was my lucky number that year.

Race 4This year I accomplished my goal of coming in under an hour by about 45 seconds, 59:14. I was also second in my age group (the first woman in my age group was second woman overall!), and eight woman overall. Yes, it was a small race. It was also flat and cool, basically out and back on the bike path. Very well organized. Oh, and they had a great announcer too.

Race 3As part of the Father’s Day theme, there were team divisions: Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Grandfather/Grandson, and Grandfather/Granddaughter. The winners of each team division took home a cruiser bike! I passed this little cutie above on the way back. She did the whole 5k with her dad! When I passed her I gave her a thumbs up and said something like “great job!” She smiled and said “thank you very much!” Adorable.

They also gave out four cruiser bikes to random bib numbers. Sadly, I did not win.

NatashaThis is Natasha, not from over the weekend but earlier last week. For those of you who have asked: She’s doing just fine. She is 17 years old (so is her “brother,” Boris). She’s in great health, but lately she has been losing a lot of weight. We found out that she is hyperthyroid, a common condition in older cats. She also has a little UT infection. She is on medication for both and is doing much better. She should start to gain some of that weight back now, though she will be on the thyroid medication for the rest of her life. Happy ending!

Whew! Got a little wordy on this one didn’t I? Well, for those of you who stuck with me I hope that you had a marvelous weekend as well. Any events, delicious food, or other fun stuff? Do please share!