A Lunch in the life: Cafe Yumm & Library Books

On my walk back from Cafe Yumm yesterday, I had the grand realization that it was the best thing to happen to my lunch hour in quite some time.

That’s an ambitious statement, and it’s taken a few visits to get into the swing of things, so insert the following qualifying factors:

  • Easily transportable – particularly, the self-contained bowls
  • Super duper quick, for there or to go – VEGAN FAST FOOD.
  • Specifically handy when the farmers markets are closed in the colder months
  • Location: it’s in walking distance to my office and alongside PSU
  • Right on the MAX Green Line
  • Rather nutritious offerings
  • There’s sometimes extra avocado offered for vegans – Yay! (often the same at The Whole Bowl – Is it standard? Random? Often forgotten? I don’t know).

Three silly things I don’t like:

  • The diced tomatoes are consistently bland and blah.
  • Chewy tofu: stick to the tempeh! I don’t think I’ve ever specifically avoided tofu somewhere before.
  • All the college students: totally silly, selfish annoyance.  I left Boston for a reason.

Tempeh Skewer Bento with Ginger Asian Slaw, Jasmine Rice and Yumm Sauce (and Tapatio, of course)

I’m also become a fan of the Yumm! N Greens, Jazzy Bowl and Edamame Bowl.

After lunch, I stopped by the Central Library to pick up my hold (full disclosure: I’m giving the first season of Fringe another shot) and browse the cookbook section. I was there for French cuisine, but the vegetarian/vegan section never fails to catch my interest:

The full section:

Not sure if you want to buy a book? Check it out! Check. It. Out.

And if you want more vegan food by PSU, check out Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ!!!

A Day in the Life of Leftovers: Yellow Curry and Favorites

Yesterday’s ginger-riffic take out from Just Thai for lunch really hit the spot. The mellow yellow, (had to be said) brothy curry, chewy cubes of fried tofu and cutely ridged vegetables over steamed rice was super decently priced, quickly prepared, and with a drizzle of Srichacha, was just what my still-dulled-from-sickness taste-buds wanted. As you can see, even before I sat down for a single lunch, the leftovers were incredibly generous. I had the second round today, and there’s 2 more to go.

I’ve never been a big fan of leftovers. Growing up, my family rarely ate casseroles. Green bean what? The closest things in my memories were homemade Italian pasta dishes, and being picky, I didn’t eat most of them.  Nowadays, in my trying-to-be-a-grown-up years, busy life, and an always-cheap-at-heart mindset, I’m better behaved. I just like making something new so much! I’m well versed in what restaurants, and more likely, food carts, offer meals that will yield leftovers for at least a day, and I do take my leftovers from home to work. I mean, I have a rule where I HAVE TO LEAVE the building I work in for AT LEAST A WALK on my lunch hour, because I’m sane –  and I’m usually wary of the microwave and the smell of defrosted frozen meals of death – but I return and eat my lunch more often than not.  It’s actually refreshing when a couple of weeks go by and I realize I haven’t spent additional money on lunch.

I’ll admit that I’m just as likely to make dishes for the week with different components that can be assembled, such as noodle or grain bowls. I live alone, and again, don’t love leftovers, but I’m here to talk about casseroles*, not what homemade vermicelli bowl sauces have spilled in my purse.

Here are some of my favorite meals that yield more than a day’s worth of worthwhile leftovers.

Homemade Leftovers to Look Forward To:

  • New Farm-style, Gluten Free Mac and Cheese with Broccoli – will be posting an updated recipe for this tomorrow. Traditional Mac & Cheese was something else I never ate until college, strangely enough.
  • Sweet Potato Pie Casserole - I don’t make this every holiday season anymore, but it’s the essential dish attached to Thanks, Mom.
  • Lasagna. It’s been forever since I’ve made one. Therefore, the next time I’m invited to a social outing, I’m bringing one.
  • Tomato, Rice, Roasted Garlic and Navy Bean Soup from Veganomicon - one of the soups I’ve made the most in the past few years, since the ‘ole testing days.
  • Persian Eggplant Stew – a new one to my repertoire this past year that is just as soul-warming the next day, just like a stew should be.
  • Curry Roasted Vegetables – cube your protein, roast, add chopped vegetables, roast some more, add broth/curry paste/peanut butter/spices, etc., roast a bit more, serve over grains. Tah dah.
  • Tempeh Bacon: not so much of a dish, but the easiest of the baked proteins to just throw into everything: sandwiches, salads, wraps, smokey greens, etc. In most recipes it’s pan-fried, but I tend to bake it now.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms. I make these the most often for potlucks, stuffed with nuts and wine and herbs and goodness and whenever I do, I think, “Why the hell don’t I have these around more often?”
  • Chili: and it’s nearly always a variation of Tempeh Chili Con Frijoles or Seitan Chili Sin Carne Al Mole in my kitchen – even when I start out with another recipe.
  • Basil Fried Rice. Leftover rice? Acquire basil. Add garlic, veggie, sesame oil and pepper. Rice pudding is even easier, but this is my go-to path.
  • Refried Beans. Because with beans, which you really should be cooking on a regular basis anyway, you have the options of tacos, burritos, nachos, dips, beans bowls with sauce, etc.  Again, eat your beanz!

*Speaking of casseroles, the Vegan Iron Chef group in Portland is in the beginning stages of putting together the warmest, more comforting competition ever this winter – The Great Vegan Casserole Off! (a better name is perhaps, in the works)