Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend Eats

I have to tell you about Friday night's dinner, because it was so, so good. It was one of the best things I've made in a while, and I couldn't stop eating it... I kept grabbing more and more out of the pan! Hubby and son also ate every bite of theirs as well and seemed to really enjoy it. What did I make?

I made the Mango BBQ Beans out of Appetite for Reduction. Oh my word, these beans are INSANE! Kidney beans are simmered with some fresh diced mango, tomato sauce, and spices for almost an hour. When they are done, the mango has completely broken down and added a very subtle sweetness to the beans. Think baked beans, but wayyyyyy better! I served them over some brown basmati rice with a side of collard greens. I'm already thinking about the next time I'm going to make them!! Beans, greens, and rice - a totally simple meal, but so fantastic.

Saturday morning, my hubby and son headed out in the jogging stroller for a long, fast walk. I wanted to run a bit so I decided to get a few miles in and then join them on the loop back to our house. The weather was gorgeous - warm, sunny, and bright, and all of the spring flowers and trees are in full bloom. It was so nice to be out with my two favorite people! :) Plus, we always find that being outside and getting some exercise is the best way to start our day.

After breakfast, we headed over to my in-laws' house to visit and have lunch. I made an almond butter and banana sandwich for me, a cashew butter, peanut, and raisin sandwich for my hubby, and a cashew butter and jam sandwich for my son. What can I say, I aim to please :) It was a last-minute thing so I was happy to bring some sandwiches along. They graciously offered to watch our son for a few hours so my hubby and I could go out and do something we haven't done in months...go to an afternoon movie and then go out for dinner! Ohhh, it was awesome!! We saw a movie I have been dying to see, Water for Elephants, and I wasn't was so good! 'Course, having Robert Pattinson in any movie deems it watchable for me :) But I love Reese Witherspoon, too, so I was really psyched to see it. Now I have to read the book!

After the movie, we headed to one of my favorite restaurants, Garden Grille Cafe in Pawtucket, RI. I have to say, I first went to Garden Grille several years ago, and I wasn't very impressed at all. I went a second time to make sure my first visit wasn't just a fluke, and it still underwhelmed me. However, this past fall, my friend Allison had a Groupon for Garden Grille and invited her favorite vegan friend (that's me) along to join her. Even though I had my doubts, I decided to give it another chance. Boy, was I glad I did. I don't know if they got a new chef, or just overhauled the place in general, but the food was absolutely amazing. My omni friend got a tempeh dish and, even though she'd never had tempeh before, she loved it. Now, tempeh is definitely a hit-or-miss either love it, or hate it. I happen to be on Team Tempeh and love it, love it, love it, but not everybody does and I wasn't sure if she'd like it. I was also hoping she wouldn't hate it and then be scared away from vegan food forever. Fortunately, she loved it and now makes vegan food for me, 'cuz she's awesome like that.

So, after last fall's successful dinner, I wanted to go there again with my hubby. Amateur food blogger that I am, I forgot to bring my camera to take pictures of our food (duh). But we both loved our dishes. I  got the Eggplant Rollatini with tofu nut cheese, grilled polenta, garlic spinach, and pomodoro sauce. It was the perfect choice for me because I am too busy (lazy) to bother making eggplant rollatini at home. My hubby got one of the specials, Korean BBQ Tempeh. His dish came with some pureed lentils, garlic spinach, and jicama salad. Yum.

After dinner, we decided to head a few doors down to Garden Grille's sister location, Wildflour Vegan Bakery Cafe. We didn't have a lot of time so we just grabbed a Red Velvet Cupcake and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake to go. I was actually kinda full from dinner so they are still sitting in my fridge, ready to be devoured. Hubby couldn't wait and had half of the Red Velvet Cupcake last night and deemed it awesome :)

Well, we're off to my friend's daughters' birthday party, but I did make two new dishes for dinner, Wild Rice Salad with Oranges and Beets, and Basic Baked Tempeh, from (you guessed it) Appetite for Reduction. I've been on an AFR kick lately, as you can tell. I just love how simple, quick, delicious, and healthy this cookbook is. Plus, Isa is just a rad chick. I might just end up making everything from the book! Anyway, we'll have dinner after the party, so food pics and my reviews will follow.

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