My New Austin, TX, Life

I officially feel like a grownup.

I’ve been here in Austin for a few months now, and so far I’m loving my new life! I have a full time job, my own place, an amazing boyfriend and little dog, and I’m in one of the COOLEST, most vegan-friendly cities ever. In the last few years it had been a dream for me to live in Austin, and now I’m finally here.

Just a little update on what’s been going on with me lately:

I figured I would start with the food involved. Naturally.

My training class for my job just ended, and the last day we had a potluck that involved… a chocolate fountain.

Chocolate Fountain!

And the best part is that is was dairy free chocolate, so I could participate in the deliciousness.

More Chocolate Fountain!

Soooo good. I love living in a place where vegan food isn’t few and far between. In fact, I was actually able to fully enjoy the two potlucks our training group held. I wasn’t stuck eating only my own food! Although I have to brag a little on myself — the stuff I brought got very good feedback. And it’s all thanks to this book:

china study cookbook

The recipes in it are awesome. For the first potluck, I made the Broccoli Fettuccini with Cashew Cream and the No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars (I’m including the recipe for them at the end of this post). Here is my plate from that potluck with my Fettuccini dish and the others I could eat on it:

Potluck Vegan Food

The second potluck had me bringing Sweet Potato Enchiladas from the cookbook. I got some very good comments on this one, and two people asked me for the recipe! One coworker even mentioned that she couldn’t believe it didn’t have cheese in it. I love showing people how awesome vegan eating can be!

Enchildadas at the Work Potluck

This one also involved many delicious dishes that happened to be vegan.
My Potluck Plate

In other non-food news, I also recently went hiking with a work friend at Bull Creek Park, which was beautiful and so much fun. Here is me in all my sweaty glory:
Hiking at Bull Creek

And then last weekend, the boyfriend and I went to the local Humane Society and spent forever “awwww”ing over all of the adorable cats and dogs there. I just couldn’t not include pictures of those that really caught my eye. They were so sweet.

Sweet Babygirl at the Humane Society

Cute doggy

Animals hold such a large place in my heart, and it’s always a weird mix of feelings going to an animal shelter: happiness at being able to love on the animals as well as regret that you can’t take them and put them immediately in great new homes.

But oh, did we love on them that day!

Two cuties here. 🙂

That’s all for now. This weekend we’re planning to check out more of downtown Austin now that we’ve both gotten a little more settled in the cities and our jobs. I can’t wait!

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Black Bean Broccoli No-Meatballs

With my current work schedule, I have Wednesdays off. This is something I’m still getting used to — not getting up for work in the middle of the week — but that I’m also kind of enjoying.

The odd schedule has also given me some extra time to work on my own recipe ideas. This one came about as a result of my last Wednesday off, and the result was absolutely delightful!

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Here is my vegan meat ball recipe. I also cooked some linguine with diced tomato sauce to go with them, but I bet they would also be awesome with pasta sauce in a meatball sub!

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Black Bean Broccoli No-Meat Balls

Adapted from Everyday Happy Herbivore‘s Veggie, Bean, & Quinoa Croquettes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup broccoli florets, minced/chopped
1 3/4 cups black beans, cooked
1/2 onion, minced
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 wheat gluten
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsps veggie broth
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 tbsps Bragg’s liquid aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp barbecue sauce
2 tsps Dijon mustard

How-to:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, mash black beans until no full beans are left. Add all other ingredients to the bowl and mix with hands until fully incorporated.

3. Roll into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place on baking sheet.

4. Bake for about 35 minutes, until balls are firm.

Enjoy!

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