Saturday, May 31, 2008

Barton Springs

Barton Springs is a natural spring located in the humongous Zilker Park in Austin, TX. It's pool-like in that there is concrete surrounding it, and stairs, and diving boards. I didn't actually go in the water the day that we were at Barton Springs. It was one of those days that I was just perfectly content sitting on the grass right by the spring, chatting with some friends. The water seemed cold, and as you can see it was overcast. I read that there is a species of salamander that can only be found at the spring, but I didn't see any. There was definitely some plant life evident in the water. What a cool place! I'm sure Austiners love this place in the wilting summer heat!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lake Travis

While I was in Austin, I had the opportunity to go to Lake Travis. Though I didn't snorkel in Lake Travis, I did have an opportunity to swim and climb on these rocks. The only wildlife I noticed were the occasional bird and huge catfish. The water was probably about 70 degrees, not too cold, and it reminded me of the Atlantic Ocean in the summer. The weather was absolutely perfect-about 80 degrees with a slight, balmy breeze.

I'm used to the ocean, whether the Pacific, Atlantic, or Caribbean, so I have to admit I had a little bias towards lakes. My Lake Travis experience was so fun, I completely look at lakes differently now. I also had fun at Lake Mead last year:
When we were at Lake Mead it was about 105 degrees out and all those little rocks hurt my feet. Prior to that, my lake experiences include murky NJ lakes with lots of ducks and swans (I would never in a million years swim in them), and upstate NY lakes that were cold and muddy. Lake Travis gives lakes a good name! I look forward to meeting my next lake!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mother's Cafe and Garden in Austin, TX

Mmmmmmm... Dinner at Mother's Cafe and Garden was so satisfying! I wish we had more than one opportunity to eat there. Their breakfast options looked every bit as tempting as their dinner and dessert, which I was lucky enough to sample. I opted for the TLT: Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato. The marinated tempeh was grilled along with the scrumptious whole wheat bread. I also got melted Vegan Rella (the only vegan cheese that actually melts, in my experience), a scoop of home made guacamole, sprouts, and some home made dijon mustard sauce. I was able to eat the whole thing (I was really hungry), but it didn't leave me feeling heavy or gross at all. We also got BBQ Tofu, which was marinated in a tamari-peanut sauce, and served with sage mashed potatoes (they were heavenly) and black eyed peas. We washed this all down with refreshingly tart, home made limeade. We were in a rush, so I didn't get to take pictures of their amazing desserts. We got Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie and Belgian Chocolate Cake. It was a perfect meal at a really cool place!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Veggie Heaven in Austin, TX

Veggie Heaven was the first of many vegan-friendly places we ate at when we were in Austin. It was relatively inexpensive and quite good, in a deep fried sort of way. We started the meal with spring rolls:
Then ordered the "Protein 2000", which consisted of breaded and fried gluten, broccoli, and a yummy brown sauce that tasted soy sauce based.

I topped it off with a Thai Iced Bubble Tea made with soy milk and tapioca beads. It was fast, cheap, and it filled me up for the rest of the night! More to come on Austin soon...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm going to Austin!

I'll be in Austin, TX for the next few days...I can't wait to swim in Barton Springs and eat scrumptious vegan food, Austin style! I'll be sure to take lots of pics and write all about it when I'm back.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vegan Mac and Cheese

When I'm feeling lazy, and I have to go food shopping but don't want to, I usually find that I have on hand the ingredients needed for a decent mac and cheese. I usually use whole wheat pasta, silken tofu (the non-refrigerated kind), nutritional yeast, Braggs Liquid Aminos (basically soy sauce), dried basil, garlic powder, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. I follow the recipe from The Garden of Vegan. I put all ingredients except the pasta into the food processor, blend it all together, then just add it to the pasta when it's done. Easy and yummy comfort food.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Sea Glass Beach Photos

Yes, at this magical beach there was sea glass and odd-coral bits instead of sand. Apparently there was a dump nearby, where people threw glass and other debris into the ocean. The ocean reponded by spitting back polished and tumbled sea glass. Just one more reason Kauai is one of my favorite places on Earth.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Essential Vegan Travel Food

I've recently discovered Primal Strips vegan protein snacks, and I can't believe I've been traveling so long without them! I usually stack up on Luna Bars when I know I'm going to be on a plane or in a car traveling through vegan-unfriendly areas. Highway rest stops and airport food courts just don't offer the vegan goodness that I crave (although I have to say, the fact that just about every airport food court and highway rest stop has a Starbucks that carries Silk soymilk is pretty freakin awesome). Luna Bars are delicious, I love them for traveling, but Primal Strips feel more like a meal. They're made with soy protein, seitan, and shiitake mushrooms. My favorites so far are Teriyaki and Thai Peanut, each one with about 10 grams of protein. You can buy them at your local health food store or at Vegan Essentials.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Vegan Ice Cream Madness!

Following the advice on Vegan Ice Cream Paradise, I bought Jello pudding mix to put into my ice cream maker. I've found that the easiest way to make homemade ice cream is to mix about 3 cups of Sugar Free Silk with one package of pudding mix. I prefer Dr. Oetker's Organics to the Jello brand. Dr. Oetker's mocha pudding mix ingredients consist of organic cane sugar, organic cornstarch, organic instant coffee, and salt. Jello brand has scarier and less organic ingredients, but I did try the pistachio flavored Jello pudding and it was delicious with some crushed organic pistachios in it.