sweet persimmon

Homemade Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

I came across a recipe for a unique take on cinnamon rolls and decided that it was a perfect for a little break and breakfast on a Sunday morning. What is great about this how easy it is to make and how tasty it is with all the nuts, currants, carrots and cinnamon. I decided to replace raisins with currants and walnuts for pecans, which I had on hand. I also thought the recipe was sweet enough without frosting so I opted for a dash of powdered sugar. My boyfriend came and helped with sprinkling the fillings and rolling it up, which can be a bit tricky yet the best part is seeing it come together. We did need some patience as we waited for the rolls to rise an hour before popping them in the oven, but well worth it. His photographs of the rolls make me wish I made more. Check out the recipe at the link below and best enjoyed right out of the oven!

(Source: healthyfoodforliving.com)

Wholesome Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a staple in the house, especially for weekend breakfasts. I use organic steel-cut oats and cook them over the stove with a dash of vanilla extract and some agave nectar. To top off the oatmeal, I add natural peanut butter and jam, mixed in with a scoop of trail mix. Growing up, my mom would add peanut butter and jam to make what can be a boring breakfast to something to look forward to for my sister and I. It’s definitely packed with a lot of goodness to start the day. Enjoy!

Last night out in Tucson

After discovering Cup Cafe at the Congress Hotel in Tucson, we had to come back and try dinner and enjoy their local drinks. I learned that they literally have the best margarita and won “The World’s Greatest Margarita” in 2010. They also have amazing tamales made with plantains and sweet potatoes served over green rice and their vegan beans topped with pickled carrots. It was delicious and the best tamale I’ve never had. We enjoyed the meal and great conversation under the clear Tucson moon outdoors that was captured perfectly.

(Source: tucson.metromix.com)

Spring Breeze at Simone’s

Sunday’s weather proved to be more summer than spring. We went down to Simone’s to enjoy a bit of the weather as well as some food and drinks. I enjoyed some ice tea and we ordered their quinoa and avocado pizza with grilled onions. The bartender mentioned the option of soy cheese, but later found out that they didn’t have anymore because no one ordered it…of course it seemed like no one knew either! The pizza was still delicious without cheese and came with a shot of my choice: lemon drop. It turned out to be a nice way to spend a warm Sunday afternoon.

(Source: simonesbar.com)

Pick Up Those Butts!

I really hate the idea of smoking not only for the toxic smoke itself, but because of the dirty nasty butts that get thrown away on the street. It is a bad habit of throwing away butts, which is exactly littering. If you know someone who does, please say something or remind them of these tips that I read from the Milwaukee East Side Business Improvement District (which does awesome work with farmers market, etc.):

We’ll give you 4 reasons to do so:
1) Causes harm to the environment - especially our waterways and Lake Michigan
2) Many minors first experiment with smoking by picking up a butt
3) Animals eat them and become sick
4) Unsightly litter brings down our whole neighborhood

Easy steps you can do to help:
1) If you’re a smoker, discard your butts appropriately and make sure your friends do the same
2) If you’re a business owner, don’t skimp on the outdoor ash receptacles. Provide them visibly at each entry point
3) If you’re a business owner, sweep up your property thoroughly, daily to help prevent “butt migration” and hold your neighbor businesses to the same task
4) Place a “Please don’t litter” message on the door of your establishment or residence
5) Build and enforce a no-litter policy with your employees, vendors and guests

(Source: theeastside.org)

Buying Organic: Family Tree

I’m fan of Good Magazine for the fact they try to visualize important information and focus on issues related to health, environment, design, education, media, politics and so much more. This graph below shows the breakdown organic food companies and their parent companies, which can be seen either as a good or bad thing. Good that larger food manufacturers see the value and are producing organic products…and bad, the U.S. food industry is comprised of very large and few food companies that control most of our food. I think one way to look at is to buy more locally grown food and less processed foods, especially from locally owned businesses. Now that spring is in the air, the outdoor farmer’s market is not too far away. Click on the link below to see the actual image.

(Source: GOOD)

» Eco-Paris, oui!

I adore the idea of traveling to Paris and today came across New York Times Travel article centered on an environmentally friendly Paris trip. The article mentions eco-friendly cafes, organic markets, hotels and of course shops. Just recently the famous bicycle sharing program, Velib, celebrated its 4th birthday in Paris. I doubt it’s just a fade and glad to hear more destinations feature more environmentally-friendly and sustainable businesses that will eventually to the norm. Click on the title to see the rest of the article.

(Source: ecovisitparis.com)

Madres Stir-Fry

Last night, I prepared an Indian-style meal using my favorite easy-to-use simmer sauces from Seeds of Change. I’ve tried all 4 different kinds and last night I used Madres, which is more on the medium hot side. Not only is easy and delicious as well as certified organic, their mission is to make “organically grown seeds available to gardeners and farmers, while preserving countless heirloom seed varieties in danger of being lost to the “advances of modern industrial agriculture.” You can also purchase actual seeds and growing kits as well. Here, Jalfrezi sauce completed the dish of small red potatoes, carrots, peas, tofu, onions and garlic served over jasmine rice:

  • 4 carrots diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 6-8 small red potatoes quartered
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1/2 lb. of organic firm tofu cubed
  • dash of pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

In a pot, bring water to a boil to soften the potatoes. Once you can pull a fork out of them easily, the potatoes are ready. Once the potatoes have been cooking for a bit, start with a large pan and heat the olive oil. Then add in the garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes. Add in the tofu for 2 minutes, stirring over medium heat. Then the carrots and mix in well. Since the carrots were diced, they should cook through without boiling. Once the potatoes are drained, add them in as well as the peas. Mix together with the Seed of Change sauce and lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve over jasmine rice and dash on pepper and/or red pepper flakes for some heat and enjoy!

(Source: seedsofchangefoods.com)

Chicago Diner Turns 28!
Chicago Diner is turning 28 today and they are celebrating with giveaways,  goodies and specials. I would love to make it there tonight, but school  keeps me away. Hope you can make it there. Click to see what they are giving away!

Chicago Diner Turns 28!

Chicago Diner is turning 28 today and they are celebrating with giveaways, goodies and specials. I would love to make it there tonight, but school keeps me away. Hope you can make it there. Click to see what they are giving away!

(Source: veggiediner.com)

Tucson Cup Cafe

My favorite place to eat in Tucson has to be the Cup Cafe located in the Congress Hotel downtown. The hotel itself came recommended by my good friend, Alex, who use to live in Tucson. They have a few bars and a great place to see live shows. The Cup Cafe’s lunch menu had a couple of vegan and vegetarian options, which they were friendly to accommodate. We ordered their tortilla soup, vegan version of their nicoise salad and also a warm (non-vegan) brie, apple compote with arugula sandwich and a Nimbus brew, a local beer, to wash down the great meal. The salad I had was delicious with their bright blue potatoes and vegetables. They also had a tofu scramble and vegan sausages available for a breakfast option and served through lunch. It was a very cool vibe from their menu to the wine bottle chandelier to their service. Highly recommended for anyone’s next Tucson visit!

(Source: hotelcongress.com)

Lovin’ Spoonfuls

Another great stop in Tucson we found was 100% all vegan restaurant called Lovin’ Spoonfuls. We had just hiked around the Sabino Canyon and stopped in for a late lunch. I was so excited and hungry and in need of a burger. What hit the spot was their own special burger made of adzuki beans, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, corn, organic oats and walnuts with crispy soy bacon and melted soy cheese topped with lettuce, tomato and vegan mayo on a whole wheat bun. On the side were kettle chips and a yummy cold carrot raisin slaw, which was very tasty. To finish off the burger, we ordered a triple chocolate cake and carrot cake cupcake that were irresistible. They also serve breakfast and dinner, which everything sounds great. The staff and owner were super-friendly and of course we will be back!

(Source: lovinspoonfuls.com)

» Growing Home CSA Share Giveaway!

Growing Home is giving away a summer CSA share valued at $590!

The catch is it’s only people who sign up for their e-news mailing list between April 1 and April 15 are eligible to win the CSA share. You can win 18 weeks of farm-fresh veggies. Since I can’t, hopefully you can be the lucky one! Just click on this message to be taken to their website.

Also, check out their urban farm in the Englewood community in Chicago designed by Shed Studio of Chicago.  They were featured at a conference - Structures for Inclusion - I attended and was awarded the Regional SEED (Social, Economic, Environmental Design) award at the link below.  Congrats!

(Source: designcorps.org)

» Promoting Reuse

I came across this website today called Green is Universal, which promotes reuse of existing products into other creations in different areas such as fashion, for the home, etc. There’s a competition associated it presented by Esty.com, which participants upload their creations and projects to be voted upon. The last upload date is April 8th. I’m sure we all have creative reuse projects around our home and it would be worth showing off! I’m interested in seeing some innovative reuse that really transforms the original object that can’t be recycled in the first place. Good luck!

With school being a bit busy, I haven’t been cooking as much as I would like. Luckily, Karyn’s Cooked restaurant is nearby and I can grab a healthy and hearty meal where I know I can eat everything! I had their special of the day: Beef medallions stuffed with spinach and mushrooms with a lemon sauce served with fries and a side salad. My boyfriend enjoyed his usual choice of seitan steak wrap with potato wedges and delicious coleslaw. I’m starting to be a regular there and glad to see a few families last night. Enjoy!

(Source: karynraw.com)

Chicago Diner Brunch

My sister came into town this weekend and the best part of her visits are finding great places to eat and making meals, but food is usually the focus. It was also an excuse to introduce her to Chicago Diner, a great place for vegetarian and vegan food. Their famous Radical Reuben with a side of sweet potato fries and Titanic Vegan BLT Burger topped with fried onions with a side of cheese broccoli soup were delicious as well the plate of sausage and gravy was finished within 2 minutes and not pictured. Chicago Diner is celebrating their 27th year and small proceed was donated to the Japan Relief for certain dishes like the Titanic Burger. It’s always good to eat well and know the places you dine help support causes. Enjoy!

(Source: veggiediner.com)

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