Happy Sunday everyone! With a little delay of a few hours, today we’re posting yesterday’s final post in this edition of our ‘What’s for Dinner?’ series. I’m sorry this wasn’t live yesterday as it always is, but I had a very good excuse! It was my birthday! This means you had to wait a few more hours for our last installment, but it also means that we went out with a total bang! Yesterday was an amazing day, in both the delicious vegan food I enjoyed, not to mention the special day itself. If you’re new to our ‘What’s for Dinner?’ series, let me put you up to speed. For one week, we share photos and descriptions of every little morsel of vegan food we eat, in the hopes that it might inspire our readers with some great ideas for plant based cooking. Click here to view the previous posts from this week as well as our previous editions of the series. Let’s get to today’s yummy food and some photos and stories from the special day I had yesterday!
A special occasion like today calls for a special breakfast. Today, that meant homemade french toast topped with blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas and lots of maple syrup. I had a naughty vegan chorizo sausage (Wheaty brand) on the side. Hubby made his famous soy lattes with agave, cinnamon and calcium fortified soy milk, and the whole meal was superb.
We had been planning for weeks to spend my birthday in my magical little hiking spot in Avila. This time we were planning on taking Nala and having a picnic by the river and spending my birthday completely isolated in nature. The weather however had different plans for me. We woke up to a rainy and gloomy day which made our hiking plan go bye bye. However, as the hours went by, the clouds started parting and although it was too late to go hiking, we decided to recreate our original plan. You know what they say, when life gives you rainy lemons… you pack a picnic anyway and go to the forest near your house! It couldn’t have been better! As soon as we found a spot in the woods and set up our blanket, the sun magically came shining through, and we had the best picnic ever. Take a look!
For the picnic I had made sandwiches with vegan mayo, dijon mustard, thinly sliced tomatoes, smoked veggie deli slices, a drizzle of olive oil and some freshly ground pepper. Hubby’s sandwich was on a crispy baguette, but I wanted mine on a soft whole grain bread (that’s the way my mamma used to make them for me!). We had some chips on the side, and I made some of my famous picnic potato salad too. For dessert I had a chocolate chip cookie (recipe coming next week!).
Being in nature is my absolute favorite thing to do, especially when you have some good company and yummy food to take it all in! We looked at the trees and the birds, our little Nala had a blast keeping watch and walking around, not to mention stealing some potato chips. It was just an amazing day and an incredible way to celebrate my birthday.
Can you feel the doggie bliss?
In case you haven’t met them before, here I am with my two loves, who make me feel like I’m the luckiest girl alive every single day!
Since we were planning on going on a day long hike to Avila, it’s the first year in which I didn’t officially plan a celebration with all my friends. It’s just one of those years in which I simply felt like completely relaxing. However, three of my friends insisted, and invited me to an amazing dinner at my absolute favorite restaurant in Madrid, Rayen Vegano. We’ll be having an official review of this restaurant soon, but let me just tell you that not only do they serve the most unbelievable vegan food, but the two owners (who are also de waiters, the chefs, the pastry chefs, the administrators and everything else) are two of the most special people on this planet. They know me very well since I practically live there, so as soon as I walked through the door, I had the most beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for me, from the owners! Wow! Already the night felt so special! I had my favorite beer from a local brewery, called the Osa (which means bear in Spanish). We had a couple of starters to share. One was their plate of vegan patés and homemade breads with olive oil. Their delicious patés included a Sicilian capponata, an artichoke spread and a tapenade. The other appetizer we shared was their famous roasted potato dish with three sauces, a chimichurri style sauce, a super fluffy and whipped vegan mayonnaise with paprika and a creamy mint herbed sauce.
As a main dish I ordered their ‘pastel de choclo’, a traditional casserole style dish from Chile with eggplant and other veggies, cumin and spices and a crispy corn topping. It was delicious! I have to admit I also had a couple of bites of my husband’s lentil burger because it looked totally irresistible, so here’s a photo of that too.
After lots of chatting, eating and another beer, all of the lights at the restaurant were suddenly turned off, and they bring out the dessert I had ordered, a massive chocolate cake with a berry filling, and the cutest little ladybug candle. The entire restaurant was singing happy birthday and clapping and the whole thing was so sweet! The cake was unbelievable as all of their desserts are. Completely fluffy and moist with a thick chocolate icing and a refreshing and sweet berry filling in the middle. My friends had asked for a piece of carrot cake and a piece of a banana and chocolate cake, which I also tried and which were amazing, but my chocolate cake was the best, especially with a little ladybug by my side.
In spite of all the food, drinks and excitement, I still managed to have a mojito (or two!) at my favorite bar after dinner. At the end of the night I was walking alone with my hubby through the lively streets of Madrid and felt I had had the best birthday ever, weather sabotaging my plans and all!
That’s it for ‘What’s for Dinner?’ everybody! At least until our next edition of the series. Before we go, I’m adding one last meal. One my husband made today (Sunday) while I was tending to my veggie garden and Nala was soaking up some rays. The idea behind this series, and the photo you’re about to see, is to show you that a vegan diet can be far from boring, flavorless, or odd if you just let go of the resistance and the preconceived notions. There’s nothing I want that I can’t have now. It might not be exactly the same, or taste the same as its non vegan counterpart, but vegan food is exquisite in its own right. It’s not difficult to make, and it certainly isn’t boring or lacking in anything. I hope that even if you aren’t completely vegan yet (or maybe even nowhere near there), that you’ve been inspired by some of our ideas, so that you can reduce your intake of animal based foods. Your health will thank you, the environment thanks you, the animals thank you and I thank you!
This was a plate of my husband’s delicious vegan barbecue including baked (then grilled) potatoes with vegan sour cream (Tofutti brand) and green onions (I ended up having only half of the potato), grilled shitake mushrooms marinated in soy sauce, grilled peppers and onions, grilled asparagus, grilled barbecue tofu slices, and some of my famous holy moly guacamole! Bon appetite! Bon vegan!
Here’s our Saturday quick recap!
… and our little extra Sunday lunch!
I’ll see you soon in our next edition of ‘What’s for Dinner?‘ and this week for lots of new posts!