Monday, July 21, 2008

Back from Hot-lanta

That's right--I've returned from my weekend trip to Atlanta. My family and I had a great time getting to know the fishies, doing a little shopping (at Crate & Barrel!),and dining out. You can probably guess what my favorite part of the trip was...eating at Cafe Sunflower! More on that later:)

Here are a few pictures from the Georgia Aquarium. By the way, did you know that they ship sea animals via UPS?! I guess UPS handles more than just my shoes from Zappos! Onto the eats:

I made a simple banana hemp shake on Friday evening. This was so simple but so tasty. I added some chocolate syrup and coconut at the last minute. Good call!
Before hitting the road on Saturday morning, I packed up some snacks for the car: Primal Strips (soy jerky), low sodium V8, Dr. Weil bars, peanuts, and a few snack boxes of cereal. I ate about half of this throughout the weekend.
I managed to eat some breakfast before our departure as well: flax waffles, kiwi, and plain soymilk.

For lunch, we stopped at Moe's Southwest. If you're unfamiliar with this chain, it's like Subway, except for Mexican food. I got a vegetarian salad with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, black beans, and guacamole (I asked for extra guac!). I also got a Diet Coke, but ya know, I really just don't like it. (Diet Pepsi is another story). My brother in law, Major, wanted to make his Broccoli Hut premiere, so here he is enjoying his Saturday lunch, a meatball sub from Lenny's. (FYI, he is not a vegetarian, haha).
After a trip to Ikea and checking into the hotel, we went to Cafe Sunflower. This was my first vegetarian restaurant experience, so I was super-psyched. I am so jealous of you bloggers who have this kind of dining available all the time; I would eat at Cafe Sunflower every day if I could! Anyway, here's what I ordered: a blueberry iced tea (unsweetened), starter salad with soy sesame dressing and a whole wheat roll, grilled veggie dumplings, stuffed acorn squash, and carrot cake, which was shared by the table. Whew! Everything I ordered was meat- and dairy-free. Woohoo! I will definitely try to recreate that stuffed acorn squash--the combination of vegetables, cranberries, and walnuts was just amazing! It won't be too hard to recreate this dish--I purchased the cookbook while I was there, and I even got the author to sign it!
Free breakfast at the hotel the next morning was a little disappointing. Usually I load up on the free fresh fruit and snack-size cereal boxes, but the offerings at this hotel were a little different: scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes. At least I got some perfectly cooked oatmeal, lots of watermelon, and I *might* have stashed a few of the Tazo teas...

We went shopping at a few of Atlanta's local malls later that day, so lunch was at the food court. I opted for the Mediterranean place, where I got the 3-Salad Combo: Garden Salad, Hummus ( I guess that's considered a salad?), pita-ish crackers, and Mediterranean Salad. I didn't end up eating the garden salad because I didn't realize it was already dressed with a creamy dressing. Later, I had a big red apple that I swiped from the free breakfast.
Once home in Birmingham, I made a quick grilled Tofurky and mozzarella sandwich on the GF (George Foreman). I also had broccoli, lots of salad (making up for my lack of veggies over the weekend), and Dreena's Banana Cashew Ice Cream for dessert.
For my shake, I wanted something sweet (shocker!), so I made another chocolate one--special dark cocoa is a recent favorite of mine.
Today was the first time all summer that is has simply been too hot to run outside. It was 86* at 8AM! After a pleasantly cool indoor workout, I made a hot bowl of oatmeal on the stovetop with whipped banana and almond butter. How did I ever live without almond butter?

Quick lunch before class today: absent egg salad (vegan) with Ak-maks, Romaine with raw cashews, and an orange.
Now, I am off to make dinner and study. Enjoy your evening!


VeggieGirl said...

Welcome back!! Looks like you ate deliciously on your trip, as always :0)

Haha, wow, that banana wrapped in BLUE plastic wrap threw me off for a minute - I thought that the actual banana was blue at first!! :0D

Yes, almond-butter is a must in one's life - but you MUST, MUST, MUST try hazelnut-butter (my favorite)!!! :0)

CeciLiA said...

REALLY?! They ship sea animals via UPS?! Oh boy, I hope they feel alright during the trip :0) Looks like a lot of people were at the aquarium that day! How many of you went to the trip by the way?!

Hahaha, the Moe's Southwest restaurant reminds me of Moe in 'The Simpson' ;0) Yummy mexican salad you have there - I love salad bar! Too bad I'm not a fan of guacamole :0( The texture just turns me off for some odd reason :0/

I'm SO jealous of you!! I'm YET to discover an awesome vegetarian restaurant here! Yummy food you ordered - yes, yes, yes - DO try to recreate that stuffed acorn squash thing and do let me have the recipe PLEASEEEE... :-D

Ahhh hotel breakfast is AWESOME for an omni but not so much for VEGs eh?! I would SERIOUSLY passed out if I ever saw a vegan buffet!! *swoon* Oh ... don't worry about the teas - my mum does that ALL the time when we stayed in a hotel! ;0)

Eek ... sorry about the salad - that happened to me before as well - I NEED to pay more attention when picking!! :-/

Awww man!!!! STOP teasing me with the banana cashew ice cream - you're such a mean bean!!

Your (soy)shake looks scrumptious as usual and oh boy, that oatmeal looks so decadent - perfect for me who is stuck in this cold/chilly weather!

Hope you have a great day Caroline!!!

Anonymous said...

wow - who knew they ship marine life through UPS - that is so interesting!!!

Amanda said...

I laughed out loud when I read your tea comment. Looks like you had a great time!

What are you favorite flavors/brands of tea? I am looking for new ones. I am hesitant to try herbal though, I have heard mixed things about it.

I am just catching up on your post from last time. I was curious how you got used to plain yogurt. I would like to switch, but fage reminds me of sour cream which I hate. I have tried adding honey, but I have to add way too much honey to like it and it still taste like sour cream. Sorry for rambling!


p.s. are both your b-law's name Major? I remember you calling your other brother in law that and I had never heard that as a name before.

Caroline said...

yummy, yummy!
what kind of GF grill do you have? i want one really bad and have been looking at this style that has removable plates for easy cleaning (plus one of the plates is a waffle iron - yeah for double duty) but it seems expensive. do you ever do tofu or tempeh on your GF, and is it good that way?
also, what kind of mozzarella is that? is it that vegan teese i have heard so much about?

just me said...

i like the eloquent they are!

and your food you had this weekend looks great! i'm sure you enjoyed it to the last bite!

Allison said...

Your restaurant meal sounds and looks delicious! I can't wait to see how you recreate the meal...acorn squash is my favorite! I've become attached to my special dark cocoa, too...sadly I'm the only one in my house that likes it! You know, I've never thought to add guac to my salads for some reason~it looks great! Glad you had a fun trip...I LOVE aquariums!

Jenn said...

Sounds like a great trip! I'm so glad you enjoyed dinner at Cafe Sunflower. It would definitely be awesome to go to a restaurant and not even have to think about any of the items on the menu. And that carrot cake looks insanely good!

But most important of all - did you get anything exciting at Crate & Barrel?! :o)

Erin said...

I'm getting nervous just looking at those aquarium photos! I have a crazy phobia of all things underwater, especially the large fishies. I've gotten better with age though, I force myself to go to aquariums just to face them. Crazy that they ship with UPS! I'm sure there's some sort of business/endorsement deal going on there, but still...crazy.

The whole meal from Cafe Sunflower looks delicious! Very cool that you got to go. Also cool that you went to Ikea, I love that place.

Too bad the hotel breakfast was disappointing, at least there was something for you! Id've stashed away some Tazo teas as well! They're so good.

Does you BIL always lick his food? :)

ChickPea said...

VeggieGirl: Yeah, we always have colored plastic wrap lying around because my mom buys it on sale AFTER the holiday for which it was designed. Hence, Easter plastic wrap in July, etc. I will definitely try hazelnut butter-can you buy it at WF, or do I need to order it online?
Cecilia: THe aquarium was crowded! Our crew consisted of 5: me, my parents, plus Katie and Major.
Glad to know I'm not the only one who steals tea bags:)
LoveofOats: I know! I saw that sign and couldn't believe it! You learn something new everyday I guess.
Amanda: I could write an entire post about tea (I drink 1-2 cups per day, usually different kinds). I really like Tazo Passion and Chai flavors, but I freqently buy herbal sampler packs at the store (Celestial Seasonings and Lipton have good variety). Lemon and chamomile flavors are my picks for evening tea sipping. Also, during the holidays, I really enjoy pumpkin tea--it just tastes like cinnamon, cloves, etc.
I hate sour cream too, so I can understand your initial distaste for Fage. I learned to like it by sweetening with a packet of stevia, or I'll combine it with something super sweet--like cherries or applesauce. I also like to use it with crumbled muffins in my breakfast parfaits.
My brothers in law are Ryan and Major--I may have mentioned Major before, but this was the first time his picture appeared on the blog.
Caroline: I have a small countertop GF from several years ago--I think it was part of a "cool colors" series (mine is blue) with a bun warmer on top. I think it was about 20 bucks, so it has more than paid for itself in the past 4 or 5 years. I have seen the model with the interchangeable plates, but I think I like the simple model better, just for ease of use and lower price.
The mozzarella is Wholesome Valley organic mozzarella. I am a lactovegetarian so I still eat the yogurt and the occasional slice of cheese, although I have heard great things about Teese. Let me know if you try it!
Just Me: The beluga was my favorite part of the visit--I sat there staring for quite a while--so graceful!
Allison: I am the only one who likes the special dark cocoa in my house as well--these people don't know what they're missing!
Jenn: It was definitely weird to have an entire menu to choose from--normally I have 3-4 options, tops! At Crate & Barrel, I just got a few tiny spoons and some chopsticks. I got them to try to slow down my eating--I have a tendency to wolf down my food!
Erin: I assure you that the glass for all of those tanks was at least 12 inches thick, but I can understand your discomfort--those are some big fishes!
My BIL is a strange boy; don't ask me why he decided licking his sandwich would be a good way to be introduced to the blog.

LK said...

Love all the smoothies you make and the different concoctions!

Jenn said...

Check out my blog - I'm giving you an award :o)

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a fun trip! I used to live/go to Auburn and have been to Cafe Sunflower once, actually (which is a nice surprise, coming from a place where they fry everything that walks!). I don't remember what I got, but I loved the feeling of how I felt when I left! Delish!

ChickPea said...

Jenn: Thanks for the honor! I'll pass it on in one of my upcoming posts.
OrangePop: Haha, I can imagine that there was quite a contrast between Auburn's typical fare and that of the Cafe Sunflower. I felt "clean" after finishing my meal--not overly stuffed and uncomfortable like I do at some restaurants.