Meal time at Champs Diner!

I have been dying to check out Champs Diner for the longest. Champs Diner is 100% vegan and has all your typical diner food like pancakes, burgers, sandwiches, and even milkshakes! I finally had the chance to check it out with a friend and I have to say it was sooooo good. Literally has all the comfort food one would want. Next time I definitely want some pancakes or the tatertachos haha

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We decided to order the mozzarella sticks which have been popping up all over on instagram. They were delicious! The cheesy was nice and gooey. I haven't have mozzarella sticks in forever and these were so good just like real mozzarella sticks without dairy!  

I was debating between getting a cheeseburger or the cauliflower po boy. Luckily my friend ended up getting the cauliflower po boy so I convinced her to split the meals to try both haha. The po boy came with a side salad was on a hero and had deep fried caulifower, chili-lime mayo, lettuce, coleslaw, tomato, and pickles. The po boy was good but honestly the cheeseburger was our favorite. The cheeseburger came with fries and had lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, mayo and pickles. No idea what the patty was made of but it was delicious. I totally didn't see the part that you could add bacon so I would do that to see what it tastes like. 

Lastly we decided to be all Veronica and Betty from Riverdale and shared a cookie dough milkshake-- really good loved the chunks of cookie dough and vegan whipped cream! A milkshake is something else I haven't had in forever. The meal at Champs Diner was so good it made me wish more places had vegan options on their menu! 

Vegan Colombian tamales

Totally get that I'm the worst at actually using my blog. Sorry! I thought I'd make it up to you by sharing a recipe and not just any recipe... a Vegan COLOMBIAN  tamales recipe! What?! I know, its crazy! So full disclosure I'm not 100% vegan anymore as I added fish into my diet again (I still don't eat eggs and dairy though and don't see myself doing that ever again). But Colombian tamales if you don't know are usually FILLED with an insane amount of meat... my mom literally puts in three kinds of meats to her tamales. And in Colombian restaurants its super hard to find a vegetable tamale so thats we're my mom comes in being the best haha. For thanksgiving I asked my mom if we could make some tamales and it happened so you all get the recipe woohoo! Sorry some of the pictures are fuzzy, super hard to take pictures when working on tamales.

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What you need to make tamales:

  • Twine
  • Paper
  • Banana leaves
  • Masarepa (in the Colombian aisle)
  • tomatoes (around 10 diced)
  • scallions (around 8 sliced)
  • red pepper (diced)
  • cilantro (diced) 
  • potatoes (sliced) 
  • carrots (cut up in chunks)
  • can of Chickpeas or peas
  • Veggies for filling (we used- sliced mushrooms, diced okra, sliced eggplant, and diced onions)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 3 sazon packets 

First thing you want to make is the guizo: In a big pot, you with a bit of olive oil throw in your diced up tomatoes. Cook this down for a bit and then add in your sliced scallions and diced pepper and a handful of cilantro. Sprinkle 3 sazon packets, a pinch of salt and mix. Let this cook under low heat. Cook for about ten to fifteen minutes or to your desired consistency. I like when it cooks a bit longer as its all nice and juicy. Then let cool on the side.

While the guizo is being cooked, you can prep your veggies that will be going inside the tamales. We usually soak some peas for the inside of the tamales but this time decided to use a can of rinsed chickpeas. Cut some carrots in chunks and slice potatoes. You don’t want the potatoes to be too big  because then it will take longer to cook.

Once that’s done you can work on the veggies that you will precook for the filling such as slicing up some  mushrooms, dice up the okra, and slicing the eggplant. Once you have the veggies ready, sauté them in a bit of olive oil, until cooked. Then let cool on the side.

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Okay now time for the masa. The masa is something that can be tricky to get right. First you want to make a stock. We used 2 cans of vegetable stock and 2 cups of water, we let this heat up for a bit and also tied in some cimarron to give the stock some more flavor. Once the stock is done, turn off the pot and add some masarepa gradually. You can also add in half a cup of the guise the to the masa to give it extra flavor. You want the masa to be smooth but not that thin or thick. Look for the middle ground, this can be a bit difficult haha But you got this! 

Now that everything is ready, its time to rally some friends or family and make an assembly line. This makes life 100x easier! 

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Here's the order you want to make the tamales in. Paper, banana leaf, spoonful of masa, spoonful of guizo (try not to take the water, makes the tamales watery), chickpeas, carrot, potato, spoonful of veggies, bit more guizo and half a spoonful of  masa. Fold over the banana leaf and then close the tamale by using the paper. Hold together by tying a twine. Once you're done assembling the tamales, get a big pot and steam the tamales. 

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Meal time at Paulie Gee's!

After my trip to Chicago where I had awesome deep dish pizza at Kitchen 17, I've been wanting more pizza. So for my birthday I decided to check out Paulie Gee's and see if I could find a new pizza spot that wasn't miles away. Paulie Gee's has a whole section of the menu dedicated to vegan pizzas with 10+ options! They also have vegan dessert menu that includes a dessert pizza! 

Sometimes vegan cheese tastes weird especially melted...yea this is not the case at Paulie Gee's The pizza was so freaking good. We decided to split two pizzas and quickly decided to order a third when we realized we were devouring the pizza. 

The first pizza is the Chop’t ’Til You Drop. Honestly anything pesto and mushroom related count me in! The pizza has sliced cremini mushrooms, NUMU vegan mozzarella and nut-free kale pesto from the kitchen of Chop’t Creative Salad Company. 

The middle pizza is the Jackie Green which has vegan tomato sauce, basil, NUMU vegan mozzarella and vegan meatballs made with green jackfruit. I have seen so many recipes online with jackfruit but have been quite intimidated on trying it since I didn't know if I'd like it. Yup this pizza was great! 

The last pizza we ordered was soooo good!! It's called In Ricotta Da Vegan and has vegan tomato sauce, house-made vegan sausage, post-oven house-made cashew ricotta dollops, baby arugula, and extra virgin olive oil.  This one was our favorite! 

And then it was time for dessert! I had a vegan cheesecake.. oh my god this is literally what dreams are made of! Seriously do yourself a favor and check out Paulie Gee's! 

Travel diary: Chicago

Last month i had the pleasure of going on an impromptu girls trips to Chicago. This was my first time in the Windy City but it definitely won't be my last. 

Since the trip was super last minute we didn't have an itinerary set up of what we wanted to do other than of course go to the Bean and do a SUP class we found through class pass. We ended up doing some touristy things but mostly just went with the flow and found ourselves walking around and eating a few too many tacos (which of course I forgot to take pictures of). 

Something that was really cool was going to the Museum of Contemporary Art. They had a Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg exhibit, which was so awesome to see. Also on Tuesdays in front of MCA is a farmers market. Do yourself a favor and go on Tuesday and stop by the salsa stand that sells AMAZING vegan tamales! A couple blocks away from MCA is Big Wig Tacos, which also has great food. I of course forgot to take pictures but if you want to know how good it is let me just tell you that we went three times during our five day trip (and yes we went twice one day haha). 

Haha I feel like I'm mostly suggesting food places.. oh well. The number one place you MUST go to if you go to Chicago is Kitchen 17, its all vegan and ridiculously delicious! We decided to order the cauliflower wings, which were so good. They were crunchy and had a nice kick to them. Then we ordered some loaded nachos. We had been to many taco spots prior and had been eying nachos, but of course none of them were dairy free. Then we ordered the best damn vegan pizza. I forgot the name of the pizza but it had roasted artichoke, onions, garlic, spinach, vegan mozzarella and marinara. Ever since I've had dreams about their deep dish pizza. Seriously just go to Chicago and get yourself some great food. I've been telling G that we should go on a weekend trip to Chicago just so that I can get some pizza. Hands down best vegan pizza I've had! 

Last but definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip was going to a nike air society event that dealt with personal wellness, meditation and manifesting your dreams. The girls from black girls in om were the guest speakers and they were so inspirational. They really made me think about everything in life in general. Lauren wrote me an affirmation that I have been taking to heart and reminding myself everyday. Deun drew me an illustration on the same notecard. I framed the notecard and have it sitting on my desk reminding me about this day and what should matter.

Date Night at Modern Love Brooklyn

Okay so I've been dying to check out Modern Love Brooklyn. I don't think you guys understand how bad I've been wanting to go.  I've been stalking their Instagram and subtly hinting that I've been wanting to go so I was so excited to check it out. And I have to say thy didn't disappoint. I can't wait to go back again and I'm definitely making this my go to restaurant for celebrating birthdays. (We all have that one restaurant we celebrate our birthdays right?) 

So start the night we ordered some starters that were special for that night in particular. The first thing we ordered was the Korean rice gnocchi. I’ve been in search for a vegan gnocchi and was so happy to see that they not only had it as a special but also have a different variation as an entrée. (definitely need to go back and try that or the mac and shews!) The second starter was the cauliflower wings, which I have to try to make myself because I need that in my life more often! G by the way who is not vegan what so ever liked the wings a lot! 

For the entrées we ordered the grilled Caesar salad and the hen of the woods piccata. Both dishes were great but that grilled Caesar gave me life! It was so damn good I’ve been showing people pictures of the dish and telling them they HAVE to go. Seriously life changing!!

Then it was time for dessert, we ordered the special of the night which was a lemon mousse pie and yea just do yourself a favor and go to Modern Love Brooklyn like now!  

Summer Reading!

It's that time of the year again school is out and I have requested lots of books from the library. I was thinking of giving myself a break from reading since I have been reading approximately two books a week for school but let's be real, there's so many books I want to read haha. So here are some of the books that I'm hoping to read this summer, some are YA since I took a YA Lit class this semester and my reading list just grew out of control haha

If you want to see what I've been reading and adding to my to read list, check out my Goodreads account.  I'd also love any reccomendations of books you've been loving! 

Strawberry Muffins

The other day when I went to the supermarket I saw that strawberries were on sale 3 quarts for $5, so I had to pick them up. I have been tossing them into salad until I started craving something sweet and thought why haven't I made muffins before?!

I'm not one to toot my own horn but guys these are so delicious! You have to try them!

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  • 1 cup non diary milk (I used rice milk)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups gluten free flour (I LOVE Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 kosher salt
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or more if you want-- I like adding more personally)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • handful of cut up strawberries 

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, combine non-dairy milk with lemon juice to allow it to curdle (acts as buttermilk). In another bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt. In a bigger bowl mix sugar, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Once it is mixed well add in buttermilk mixture. In thirds add in dry mixture. Lastly fold in strawberries. Make sure you don't over mix! Spoon mixture into muffin tin -- I filled the muffin liners quite full because I wanted the muffins to grow big. Bake for about twenty-five minutes, and look every so often. Remove when they're golden brown and try your best to let them cool down before digging in,

A vegan dines at Nix

When I heard about Nix being a new vegetable inspired restaurant in the city, I knew I had to go check it out. Then I found out they received a Michelin star and thought oh god I need to go there now! I went a few months ago and only had some small dishes but they were all delicious! Other than being vegetable based (vegetarian)  they also have a vegan menu.

For starters we ordered hummus with zaatar as well as an avocado dip with mint and curry. The dips also came with tandoor bread as well as gluten free Indian crisp bread called papadum. My favorite hands down was the avocado dip.

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Other than the dips we ordered two salads to share. They were both sooo good! I don't remember the name of the first one but I do know that the second one was ribbons of jicama with fresno chili & blood oranges.

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ICELAND

This post is long overdue but I finally have most of the pictures. I bought two disposable cameras and keep forgetting to develop them. (Putting it on the top of my to do list right now!)

Iceland was on my bucket list for quite a while. I kept seeing pictures of Iceland popping up online and kept thinking "I NEED to go there!" When I saw that Icelandair was having a sale, I immediately jumped on board. We booked the trip for a total of six days and it was definitely enough time to get a lot done. 

We arrived in Iceland very early so we drove off to Blue Lagoon. Didn't really take pictures since my phone nor camera is water proof and of course I forgot the disposable waterproof camera in the car. (Yes I know I'm a mess!) The rest of the trip consisted of chasing waterfalls and becoming one with nature. The MVP of the trip was hands down my hiking boots! 

The trip was definitely one of a lifetime as it was filled with loads of magic. Being surrounded by nature was just amazing! My favorite parts happen to be when we'd come across beautiful horses and sheep. At Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, we even came across a seal! 

Disclosure and a big thank you to my friends that went on the trip with me. They took awesome pictures and let me borrow some!