My Top 10 Vegetarian Eats in Memphis

I must confess, as a vegetarian, I was pretty nervous about moving to the BBQ capital of the world. Would I ever be able to find a restaurant with great vegetarian dishes? It took some time, but luckily – I did! In case any of you are Memphis-bound in the future or are wondering how to entertain vegetarian, vegan, or any friends, here are my suggestions. 🙂
1. Central BBQ: I love, love, love their Portobello BBQ sandwich! For the longest time, I believed that I would have to leave Memphis without ever having tried BBQ. Then, a friend of ours told us about this sandwich. It is so darn tasty! They also serve it on a salad, which I have enjoyed as well. 
Central BBQ!

2. Trolley Stop Market (TSM): What don’t I love about the Trolley Stop Market?!? I love their commitment to locally sourced food and the owners are such a cute little family. 🙂 If I had to pick to two dishes, their pizza is fantastic as well as their house-made veggie burger. Yum.

Chilling at TSM. 

3. Boscos: Boscos is the only brewery/restaurant in Memphis and I love tasty beer. 🙂 They also have some great food. I’ve tried a lot of things on the menu, but I think the real winner is their Black Bean and Goat Cheese Tamale!

Black bean and goat cheese tamale…

4. Molly’s La Casita: We’ve tried a few Mexican restaurants in town and Molly’s is the one that we keep going back to! My favorite is their Mushroom and Spinach Enchiladas with a side of the delicious black beans. I wish I could make black beans at home that were as good!

5. Movie Pizza Company: This little pizza place on Mud Island is so cute! Plus, their pizzas are superb! They work some kind of magic on the crust so it is just a little garlic-y and delicious!

Pizza Pac Man

6. Pho Saigon: There is nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of pho on a chilly day. This one is close to Will’s house so we usually end up here, but there are a few others in Memphis that I’ve heard are also good! I usually add cubed tofu to mine. 🙂

I am starting to warm up already.

7. Jasmine Thai and Vegetarian Restaurant: This cute little restaurant in Midtown was the first place that I’ve ever had seitan – and I’m totally hooked! They have lots of fun dishes to try.

8. The Elegant Farmer: This quaint little restaurant tucked into the back of an antique shop is owned by one of our favorite people in Memphis, Mac Edwards! Below is a fantastic mushroom and greens main dish with mashed potatoes I had during on of his “Last Supper (of the month)” theme meals. The menu consists of Southern food with a twist and is all obtained from local farmers. We see Mac shopping at the market a lot! If you could only go to one place on this list, make it this restaurant! 🙂

9. Abyssinia Ethiopian: Located on Poplar near the library, this is one small restaurant that is easy to just pass by – but you shouldn’t! I was a little skeptical judging by the outward appearance, but our friends Genevieve and Stanton took us there once and promised it was delicious. They were right! The vegetarian dishes are a mix of different vegetables and spiced lentils all served with injera bread. The fish is good too! If you are looking to try something different, stop here!

10. Fuel Truck: Ok, so this one isn’t a restaurant, but I had to mention it! Fuel is always at the farmer’s market and has some of the best vegetarian tacos and grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had! I wish I knew how they made their taco “meat” filling – it looks like it’s a combo of lentils and a few other things. Yum! You can track the truck from @FuelFoodTruck on Twitter.

Mmm… I wish I could have one of these right now!

A few other mentions… all equally delicious!
 – Rock-n-Dough Pizza! Another food truck run by one of the geniuses behind the delicious pizzas at Trolley Stop Market. Jeremy bakes up the pizza in a brick oven he has built into his custom trailer. So good! Follow the truck via Twitter @RocknDoughPizza!
 – Imagine Vegan Cafe. A nice little completely vegan restaurant tucked into a shop in Cooper Young. If you have a vegan friend in town – this is the place to go!
 – Bluefin downtown has a great selection of sushi. I love sitting at their outdoor tables in the summer and people watching. 🙂

For dessert??

Muddy’s Cupcakes!!!

Entirely "Scratch-Made" Pizza!

Happy Sunday!
As the keto and gluten free diets have been so popular of late, people on the internet have been getting creative about making pizza low-carb/gluten-free. I had seen a cauliflower pizza crust mentioned a few times on Pinterest and different blogs, so Will and I decided to give it a shot! Since we were going to make the crust from scratch, we decided “why not make the entire pizza at home?”! (Yes, we’re those kind of people. Haha!) The cheese making kit I bought Will for Christmas has really come in handy – while I was making the crust and sauce, he was making up a batch of fresh mozzarella (Click HERE for my cheese-making post!). Yum!

To start, we gathered all the ingredients we would need. 1 gallon of milk for the cheese, tomatoes for the sauce, cauliflower and eggs for the crust, and veggie toppings!

For the crust, I used this recipe from the blog, Eating Bird Food. I just pulsed the raw cauliflower a few times with a food processor until it was chopped into rice sized pieces. After you have a cup chopped up, you just cook it uncovered in the microwave for 8 minutes to soften and remove some of the excess moisture from the cauliflower. 
Mix the cooked cauliflower “rice” with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 egg, and spices. Pat into a 9″ round circle on a greased cookie sheet. Pop in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and the middle starts to set.  

Top the crust with sauce (I used a Mark Bittman recipe for this), more cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings! We added mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell pepper, and red onion. Broil the pizza for just a few minutes until the cheese on top begins to melt.

We served ours with a salad. It was delicious! The crust is definitely different from a normal bread crust and still has a bit of a cauliflower taste, but I would definitely make it again. We thought we might try spreading the cauliflower into a thinner circle to see if we could get it a little crisper. The browned pizza “crust” around the edges was the tastiest!

Playing With My Food

In the midst of searching for a new apartment (from hundreds of miles away!), resume revising, and becoming a profession online application filler… I have been continuing to experiment in the kitchen. (Of course!). New recipes and my new love for the gym have been great stress-relievers in this scary, life-being-turned-upside-down time! I have also been working playing with my camera to try and improve the quality of my food pictures. Will bought me a great little light tent and spot lights for Christmas, which have made my amateur efforts at food photography so much more fun! I have a lot to research and a lot to learn… but I am finding that I enjoy it more and more! (Even if it does mean that my meals are never piping hot. Ha!) Here are a few images from the weekend – a blessedly long one thanks to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I really needed that!

Spicy curry with seitan and mixed veggies!

Curry is such an easy and versatile dish! It makes an easy, low-carb vegetarian meal – something both Will and I can both appreciate it! I’ve been meaning to write an instruction post on how to make it. In this batch, we picked seitan as our vegetarian protein and added eggplant, bell pepper, and mushrooms for the veggies.

Braised monk fish with salad and roasted cauliflower. Yum!

This fish turned out great!! Monk fish is one of the more “meaty” fish like tuna and salmon, but with a bit more mild flavor. For this one, Will started by sauteing it with oil on the stove-top then adding broth and tossing it in the oven, pan and all. The broth cooks down and infuses it with delicious flavor. Yum.

Mmm… Look at those layers…
Served up with some delicata squash.

I saw this on Kath’s blog and knew I had to make it immediately! It’s a lasagna layered with pumpkin, kale, goat cheese, and mozzarella. Mmm… Loved it! I am so glad it made about 4 servings so I have plenty to munch on all week. 🙂
Hope you are all staying warm and eating well!!!

I Miss Snow Days

One of the bad parts of working in a hospital is that no matter what the weather, you have to go to work. We had a little bit of an ice storm here, so the schools in town were closed. Luckily, the roads never really froze. I’m just not used to chipping away at the 1/4 inch accumulation of ice on my windows! Give me 6 inches of fluffy snow any day! Anyways… here is a glimpse of what I have been up to of late. I tried out a couple of new recipes!
Not too long ago, I stumbled across this great vegetarian blog called, Oh My Veggies. The author does a great job of making vegetarian recipes approachable – there are no difficult to find ingredients or complicated directions. I had a couple of random lemons languishing in my produce drawer and was craving some brussels sprouts, so I made her Lemony Wheat Berries and Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe.

 So what are wheat berries? They are wheat kernels – the stuff they grind up to make flour! Cooked whole, they are chewy and remind me a little of rice. This recipe turned out… ok. Part of the reason I was a little disappointed had to do with the fact that my wheat berries were a bit too chewy. I had take them off the heat a little early because the fire alarm in our building went off! I had tried a couple before I evacuated the building and thought they were close enough to done. However, when I sat down with a whole bowl, my jaw was tired by the end! Ha. I will definitely be interested in trying another recipe with this fun new grain again though.

Baked oatmeal!!! I used a random recipe online to cook up a pan of apple cinnamon oats. I love making this on Sunday so I have an easy heat-n-eat breakfast all week! I have been topping mine with sunflower seed butter (my new obsession!), brown sugar, and a bit of milk. This is definitely a great breakfast for chilly winter mornings. 🙂
Jenna from Eat Live Run suggested this book The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey last week. I went to the bookstore to pick up my next book club selection but they didn’t have it. I saw The Snow Child on display, so I decided to grab it instead. I was not disappointed! I loved this book! It’s based on this fairy tale where an older, childless couple builds a girl out of the snow and she comes to life! In this enchanting novel, Jack and Mabel, each seeking to escape the grief of their own struggle with the inability to have children, move to the Alaskan wilderness. One night, on a whim, they build a little girl out of snow. The next morning, a mysterious blonde girl appears from the forest. With each passing winter, they get to know the girl, Faina, until she becomes like their own child. Throughout the novel, Ivey keeps returning to this fairy tale as both Jack and Mabel struggle to reconcile magic and coincidence with each reappearance of Faina. Highly recommend this one! Which reminds me… I recently discovered the site Good It reminds me of a combination of Facebook and Pinterest for books! This bookworm was definitely happy to find this site! 

Spicy Lentil "Meat"balls

It’s about time I came around with a new recipe! 🙂 Last week I saw a tweet that linked to a recipe for lentil “meat”balls. I was totally intrigued! I didn’t have all the ingredients that specific recipe called for, so I did some research online and combined a couple of recipes to make my own. They turned out well! These are pretty spicy, so you may want to use less red chile powder for a milder batch. Also, they turned out a little softer than I expected, but they still tasted great crumbled in the tomato sauce!
Lentils are such a versatile food. Did you know they are a bean? I used the think that they were another type of grain – but no! The benefit of lentils over other types of dried beans is that they cook up so much faster! In one cup of these little beans you get (

  • Only 230 calories!
  • 16 grams of fiber!
  • 18 grams of protein
  • 37% of DRI for Iron!
Lets make some lentils, shall we?
All the ingredients together and ready for a quick puree!
Ready for the oven. 🙂
Simmer briefly in tomato sauce.

Spicy Lentil “Meat”balls
(Adapted from Simple Vegan Cooking recipe)
– 1 cup of dried brown lentils
– 2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
– 1 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs (I made my own by toasting a few slices of bread and sending them through the food processor until crumbly.)
– 1/2 cup of rolled oats
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 handful spinach
– 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
– 2 tablespoons Worchestershire
– 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
– Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Bring the lentils and broth to a simmer in a medium sized saucepot on the stove. Once simmering, cover and cook until broth has been absorbed by the lentils. It should take ~25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine the onion, oats, breadcrumbs, spinach and spices in a food processor.
4. Add 1/2 of the prepared lentils to the other ingredients in the food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour into bowl with the rest of the lentils and mix well.
5. Form mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until the outsides begin to brown a little.
6. To serve, add to your tomato sauce as you simmer it before using on your pasta. Pour over whole wheat noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Staying Fit Without Running

                                Source: via Jen on Pinterest

Over the last month, I have been having a lot of fun trying new things in the world of fitness. Although I love, love, love running, I didn’t realize just how much I was missing out! Here a bit of what I’ve been doing lately:

Bikram (Hot) Yoga
   Bikram yoga is a sequence of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises created by Bikram Choudhury. You practice the sequence in a room that is about 105 degrees – which means you are soaked within minutes! I always feel like I haven’t done a hard workout unless I worked up a good sweat – bikram is the first time that has happened with yoga. Even though I thought I would get a bit bored of doing the same poses, I found that I liked the routine. Each class, I would try to pick a pose that I wanted to improve – some of the standing ones were really tough to hold! I still haven’t got the hang of the “standing bow pose”! Oi.
  All the instructors follow the same script when describing the poses and that script includes some quirky sayings. For example in a standing head to knee pose they say, “fold like a Japanese ham sandwich” or while doing wind-removing pose they say, “this pose is good for massaging the descending colon”. Ha!

   What a great workout! These classes are always so high energy that even though they are tough and I leave a sweaty mess, it flies by quickly. My legs were sore for two days after my class this week! I’m excited to do this more often!

   I feel like this one is pretty similar to yoga, but is much more focused on working your abs… and who doesn’t want to define their middle?! Early in my marathon training, I bought a Groupon for a few pilates classes in town. Not only did I feel like I was working my core in this class, but it was a great way to do some leg strengthening and stretching. I totally want to try out this 8-Minute Pilates Workout.

One of the beauties of Pinterest is that tons of people are pinning all these great cross training/strength workouts. I’m so excited to do some of these! Also, did you know that strength training not only increases muscle strength but can also improve bone strength/density. Something I definitely need to work on!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
  I hope you had fun ringing in 2013 with friends and family! This new year promises to be one with a lot of changes! In February, we’ll be finally moving to Chicago!! Eek! I’m torn between my excitement to start something new and saying goodbye to the great friends we have made here in Memphis. There’s also that little thing of finding a new job – oi! It promises to be an exciting adventure though! 🙂
  Although I didn’t make any resolutions this year, I do have some plans/goals in mind! I hope to be doing some major remodeling on my little blog. 🙂 I can’t wait to see what the new year holds!