Viva Las Vegas! Vegan in Sin City: Travel Day and Day 1

My best friend is a very important guy who works for a Canadian high-end circus that has many shows in Las Vegas. I’m sure you can piece together which one I’m talking about. Anyway, he’s been living in Las Vegas for the past year, and he’s invited me to come visit him! Yay!

I boarded the plane with a fierce potato salad (steamed mini-potatoes in different colors, chopped chives, lemon juice, salt, EVOO) and a mix of farmers market greens with my naked Italian dressing.

I didn’t get a picture of it because it was too delicious. I ate it before going, “Oh yeah. I should have shared that.” Oh well!

Anyway, I landed in Sin City.

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My friend picked me up from the airport, but then he had to go back to work. I was pretty hungry at this point, so I typed in “vegan restaurant” on Google Maps, and it led me to a fantastic place I wouldn’t have ever known about. Veggie Deli is a fantastic vegetarian/vegan place located on Wynn Rd. The inside looks like any number of Chinese restaurants I’ve seen in NYC. Continue reading

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Why Tap Dancing is the Best Cardio EVER!

Let me reintroduce myself:

Hi. My name is Whitney, and I blog about not dieting because dieting totally sucks. Plus, it doesn’t work. (No, Really. It doesn’t work.) So yeah, my name is Whitney and I blog, but i’m also a dancer. More specifically, I’m a tap expert who worked for a Tony Award winning Broadway show.

tap dance

I’ve always danced. I’ve been a dancer since I was two years old (my mother lied to the local dance studio about my age and said I was three to get me enrolled.) I don’t know if I was too annoying to handle, or if I just had feet that never wanted to stay still… but into class I went at two years old, and I haven’t stopped since.

That’s 27 years of dancing. (Don’t tell anyone my age if you can do the math. I still tell everyone I’m 21.)

Tap was the most fun, super awesome thing I did as a little child. Come on, you know what I’m talking about! A lot of us took tap when we were young, made a TON of noise with our feet, then  stopped going to class for whatever reason. (Maybe we joined the cheerleading squad, or maybe we moved on to playing POGS.)

The great thing about tap is that it’s never too late to start again. Continue reading

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Homemade Tomato Sauce with Fava Beans (The Beans So Nice, You Shell Them Twice!)

I am a huge fan of the easy, ten minute tomato sauce a la Jamie Oliver. His recipe is brilliant and can be used as pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or tomato soup. Rad, right?

I don’t strain it… I just blend it together and use all of it (I also add some thai chili in with the garlic at the beginning), but you get the idea. Anyway, I usually always use this method for tomato sauce… but not last night!

Yesterday I realized the fridge had accumulated a large number of Roma tomatoes. I’d been to the farmers market and Fairway and ended up with a nice little stash of the guys. Chef B’friend also remembered we had acquired a good amount of fava beans and had a brilliant idea. Time to make a vegan pasta dish! (Check that your pasta doesn’t contain egg… some do. If you’re not worried about the egg, then use whatever you want.)

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How to make Chef B’Friend’s Ziti and Homemade Tomato Sauce with Fava Beans: Continue reading

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Ditch the Popcorn. Kale Chips to the Rescue!

Chef B’friend and I decided to watch a movie last night after a long day of running around (I ran up the Hudson River. He ran around on the soccer field.) We chose a very serious and sophisticated movie (Lost Boys) to watch, and we wanted some delicious noms to accompany the flick. Chips? Gross. Popcorn? Stale.

Kale Chips? Hell yeah!

Kale chips are the perfect, guilt free snacky snack that is so inexpensive to make, you can buy yourself a new swimsuit with all the money you’ll save on movie nights (and you’ll have the figure to match since you’re not pigging out on Pirate’s Booty.)

Here’s how to make them:  Continue reading

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Got Stairs? Quick 10 Minute Workout

If you’re tired of running the streets, run some stairs! This is the best way to shake-up your routine, get in some intense cardio, and work your legs.

  1. run up, walk down
  2. run up every other step, walk down
  3. side-step up on the right side, walk down
  4. side-step up on the left side, walk down
  5. step up backwards, walk down

Do 4-5 sets of this, and you’ll have earned some pretty crazy sweat!

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Perfect Breakfast Bite: PB, Banana, and Honey Toast

This little toast creation is the perfect quick and easy breakfast. I’ve been buzzing around all morning, totally satisfied and feeling light. Here’s how to slap it together:

  1. Choose your toast of choice. This morning I used “Bread Alone” bread (I like them because they hand-make their bread using little more than organic grains, salt, and water.) I usually use Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread, but I wanted a little change this week.
  2. Once the toast has popped out of the toaster, slap on your nut butter of choice. I like almond butter or any organic peanut butter where the ingredients say: peanuts (and that’s it!)
  3. Slice up a banana and pile it on top. I like to make the slices look like scales, but that’s because I’m a bit weird.
  4. Sprinkle some flax seeds on top. Why flax seeds? Because it’s an ancient grain that can reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Gladiators used to chew them. Friggin’ awesome, right? Also, they look cute and give a tiny crunch texture.
  5. Drizzle your local seasonal honey on top. If you take honey to reduce seasonal allergies, make sure you have the right season of honey to match the time of year. Spring honey will not help you in the fall because the bees that made that spring honey weren’t exposed to the flowers and spores that bloom in the fall. Immune yourself with the proper season you’re trying to battle. (Got that little tip from a beekeeper in Union Square.)

Enjoy, yall!

Let me know if you make this and like it, or if you’ve made something similar before. Leave a comment! 

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Final Day of the Memphis Vegan Challenge: Back to NYC

After a refreshing night’s stay at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN (and by refreshing… I mean I survived a bachelorette party on Beale the previous evening), I suggested to my parents that we go to breakfast.

I really wanted to try one of the fabulous midtown vegan-friendly places like Cosmic Coconut or Imagine Vegan Cafe, but they didn’t quite seem like places my father would willingly agree to go. So, we ended up going to Perkins.

I had a plain salad with O&V… at ten AM. The quality of the lettuce was eeehh. However, it’s always really fun to hang out with my mom and dad.

We then decided to take Olivia, my dog, to Shelby Farms and play fetch.

Olivia waiting for dad to throw the ball.

Olivia waiting for dad to throw the ball. She is a fetch superstar.

Continue reading

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Memphis Vegan Challenge: Bachelorette Extravaganza

Day five of my Memphis Vegan Challenge culminated in bachelorette awesomeness.

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The bachelorette gang walking down the streets of Memphis, looking crunk as hell.

 

My schedule for the day included:

  1. Wake up and play with dog.
  2. Hang out with mother, grab some brunch.
  3. Shower.
  4. Show up at bridal shower smelling and looking presentable.
  5. Hop on party bus.
  6. Have fun.
  7. Oh yeah, did you try to eat vegan today? If so, pat self on back. If not, try harder tomorrow.
  8. Spend the night at the Peabody Hotel, one of the best hotels ever.

I woke up. I pet a dog. I hung out with mom, and we had a sensible brunch at Jason’s Deli. As we were pulling up, I searched online for some customer comments or a company comment on what I could enjoy. I was delighted to find there were four sandwich/wrap options. I chose the spinach wrap and steamed veggies with a cup of vegetable soup (which has no animal stock or seasoning.) It was really tasty, and I’d absolutely get it again.

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Then, it was off to the bridal shower!

Continue reading

Memphis Vegan Challenge: THE CRACKER BARREL TALE

Day four of my Memphis Vegan Challenge, and I’m feeling pretty great about it. My body feels good. My mind feels good. It’s been completely manageable in Memphis, TN to order vegan food without sounding like a complete jerk. You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about:

Vegan Customer: “Excuse me, but I’m vegan. What can I order?”

Server: “Well, there are several things on the menu that have no meat. Is egg or dairy okay?”

Vegan Customer: “Absolutely not! That’s what vegan means… no animal products. Jeeze. Get it straight if you’re going to work in food services.”

Server: “Well, I didn’t want to assume. You are wearing leather shoes.”

Annoying, right? I’d like to not come off as a total ass, so I’ve been either looking online, calling ahead, or asking informed questions to the servers that don’t include, “I’M VEGAN. LOOK AT MEEEEEE! BOW BEFORE MY SELFLESSNESS AND ASPIRE TO MY SPIRITUAL ELEVATION!”

Now, not being an idiot to servers is easy when you’re going somewhere like Paradise Cafe in Memphis.  Just ask for no cheese or mayo on the sandwich, and make sure the veggie gazpoucho doesn’t include meat or meat stock. Nicely asking informed questions isn’t hard or annoying, especially when it’s done with a smile and in a timely manner. Paradise Cafe is a small place in East Memphis that focuses on healthy choices for lunch. They’ve been around since I was little, and I remember going to get fruit and yogurt plates there with my mother.

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veggie sandwich and gazpacho from Paradise Cafe

Then again, trying to not come across as weird at somewhere like the Cracker Barrel would perhaps prove to not be so effortless.

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Cracker Barrel Old Country Store AKA Vegan Hell.

Continue reading

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Memphis Vegan Challenge: Day Three

Day three of the Memphis Vegan Challenge, and it’s almost a piece of cake. I don’t feel deprived. My body feels great.

Let’s get to the food.

Spelt Bagel (Gluten Free) with Tofu Spread (cream cheese substitute)
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I worked again choreographing at the studio out in Germantown. If you’ve been following my escapades, you’ll know that this dance studio is right next to one of my favorite delis of all time, Vanelli’s. I opted for the sandwich. Unfortunately, they were out of wheat bread, but it still tasted great. Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, pickles, salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, and mustard!

I also put chips on my sandwich because it would be weird if I didn’t. It’s just a thing I do. And you know you want to do it too.

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