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June leftovers & small town KS eats

August 12, 2011

Considering we’re well into August, it’s about time I wrapped up posting about June, don’t you think?

I apologize if my posts lately have seemed a tad hurried, with less chatter than usual. I’m a bit flustered by how behind I am, and if I’m going to get caught up in time for Vida Vegan Con, I’ve got a lot to get through! So for awhile longer, my posts will have fewer words, more pictures. (But maybe you prefer it that way anyway!)

I was on a major green juice kick when I got back from Living Light, so I drank many kale-cucumber-celery-apple-lemon juices like this one in June.

I made Matt some pasta one night and topped it with a simple homemade “meat” sauce.

One week at the farmers market, we picked up some beautiful thinner-than-pencil-thin asparagus and these adorable baby potatoes, and I roasted all of it for our breakfast that same day.

I worked on my low-fat, low-sugar Strawberry Blondies recipe, which I hope to share with you in the future.

I found out that honeydew juice (flesh AND rind) with a squeeze of lime is the most refreshing summer drink ever.

Inspired by the curry-veggie wraps I ate so many of at Living Light, I tried my hand at making my own. I crafted the dehydrated wrappers out of zucchini and red pepper, and I filled them with romaine lettuce, a quick sunflower seed pΓ’tΓ©, shredded carrots, sliced red pepper, and alfalfa sprouts.

Before going on a date one night to see Macbeth at Shakespeare in the Park, Matt and I stopped for treats at one of our favorite establishments, Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse. We got this mini chocolate cupcake with peppermint icing…

…and this “fauxstess” cupcake.

Cream-filled! Just like the real thing, but VEGAN. Yay!

I’m sad to say that Matt’s grandfather passed away while we were in Toronto. Just a day after our return, we had to travel down to the small town of Newton, Kansas for the funeral. We attended the wake that evening before staying overnight.

At the wake, Matt’s mom (who struggles with diabetes and overweight) surprised us by revealing that six weeks prior, she went vegan! Matt and I had visited her in April and gifted her with Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, hoping that she’d at least read it. Imagine our shock and happiness to learn that she’d not only read it, but she’d taken it to heart, and in six weeks had already lost 15 pounds and was working on reducing her diabetes medications. Incredible! It nearly brought tears to our eyes. Matt and I are both proud of her beyond words.

The next day, before the funeral, we went out to lunch with Matt’s parents at Reba’s Restaurant & Bar. Not a place you’d expect to find veg food, eh? Well, we were pleasantly surprised. First, we shared a White Bean Hummus & Tabbouleh platter, with toasted pita bread and fresh cucumber slices. Not bad at all! The hummus was SUPER-garlicky, just how I like it.

Matt, his newly-vegan mom, and I all got the same entrΓ©e: a Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burger, hold the mayo and cheese, on a toasted ciabatta bun, with mashed avocado and mixed veggies. Way to go, Reba’s!

One more impressive thing about itty-bitty Newton is that they actually have a health food store! It’s called Prairie Harvest, and although it’s fairly modest in size, they have a wonderful selection.

Matt and I picked up a nondairy blueberry smoothie and some carob-spirulina energy chunks before we attended the funeral and headed home to KC the next day.

QUESTION: Have you ever found surprisingly-good veg food in an unlikely place?

3 years ago…
Lollapalooza in Chicago
2 years ago…
Vegan in Wichita & Dallas
Deep chocolate brownies
A duo of raw sauces
Black-eyed pea-quinoa pizza
1 year ago…
Latin American onion-pepper sofrito
Venezuelan black beans & cilantro rice
Cuban ‘ropa vieja’ shredded seitan
Cavewoman bars reviewed
July leftovers

42 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2011 3:59 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful post! I bet Matt was elated! What a grand encouragement. BEautiful pictures. Sometimes pictures are all your words can say. I always am suprised by places. Even this morning my husband pointed out a place that had vegan options but failed to offer non-dairy milk. Very contradictory. 😦

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:13 pm

      Matt and I were both SO surprised and happy!

      How weird for a restaurant to cater to vegans with food, but not drink! =/

  2. August 12, 2011 4:08 pm

    How exciting for Matt’s mom! So glad to hear she’s doing better on a vegan diet. Can’t wait to hear about those strawberry blondies.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:15 pm

      It came as such a shock to us, but in the very best way. πŸ™‚

  3. Nicole permalink
    August 12, 2011 4:14 pm

    Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse = AWESOME

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:15 pm

      Damn straight! πŸ˜›

  4. bitt permalink
    August 12, 2011 7:29 pm

    how amazing about Matt’s mom! way to spread the love!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:16 pm

      I know, right? We’re SO happy for her!

  5. August 12, 2011 8:14 pm

    Oh yum all of this looks good and that is a really cute healthy food store. love that! while we are not vegan, we do eat several meals that are vegetarian or vegan and I love new recipes to try, so glad to come to your adorable blog!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:16 pm

      Yay! I love hearing from open-minded omnivores πŸ˜€ That’s great that you work vegetarian and vegan meals into your rotation!

  6. August 12, 2011 9:28 pm

    Aww those photos are great (love the thin asparagus, baby potatoes, strawberry blondie, and mini cupcakes!)–my condolences to you, Matt, and his loved ones for the loss and my blessings to his mom β™₯ It’s great to find veg foods in surprising places–warms my heart!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:18 pm

      I like my asparagus to be the thinnest of the thin and my potatoes to be the cutest of the cute. πŸ˜›

  7. August 13, 2011 12:20 am

    Wonderful news about Matt’s mom! So so great! Hope she’s able to continue on her new journey, enjoying it and getting healthy. WTG!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:19 pm

      I too hope she continues with her new diet indefinitely!

  8. rachel permalink
    August 13, 2011 12:34 am

    ‘modest’ in size? haha being from aus, and the country – that’s huge lol…actually it’s huge even for some of the ‘big’ ones i go to in melbourne! sorry to hear about matt’s grandfather, and glad to hear of the great news about his mum. look forward to more words when you’re less busy but glad that everything is going so well πŸ˜€

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:19 pm

      Haha, true, I realize I’m spoiled with Whole Foods right down the street =X

  9. August 13, 2011 6:50 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about Matt’s grandpa, but overjoyed that you and he have been such a positive influence on his mum’s life. All the many, many people in this world you’ve helped, Amber… it’s wonderful.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:20 pm

      Aw, I don’t know about that, but thank you nonetheless πŸ™‚ If I’ve even helped but a few, I am happy.

  10. August 13, 2011 11:08 am

    YAY to Matt’s mommy!!!!

    You’re food looks divine girl!!!! You had me at the blondies….do tell us more very, very soon!!!


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:20 pm

      Thanks Kris! Ah yes, those blondies…I am the blondie queen, after all, so I will have to share those at some point!

  11. August 13, 2011 11:12 am

    Wow, Im so proud of Matts mom! That is so amazing! Im secretly in love witd Dr Neal Barnard, and I love how he changes peoples lives!
    You get to eat so many yummy things! Love those thin asparagus!
    Have a wonderful weekend :**

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 13, 2011 12:26 pm

      Haha, I am such a doctor groupie…I love Dr. Barnard too, he’s one of my doc-crushes πŸ˜›

  12. August 13, 2011 12:01 pm

    As always, your eats look incredible! I’ll be looking forward to seeing that Strawberry Blondie recipe in the future πŸ™‚ And it’s never occurred to me to try honeydew juice–I love the fruit though, so I may have to give this one a try!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:21 pm

      Hehe, clearly I’m on the hook now for that blondie recipe! πŸ˜› Which isn’t a bad thing.
      Honeydew juice is INSANELY good – you must try it!

  13. August 14, 2011 9:35 am

    Isn’t it great to see a family member mack a change for the better. My mom went vegan for roughly 6 months in hopes to lose weight for my wedding and she lost 35lbs! She’s now a vegetarian/vegan 98% of the time which I applaud.

    I love Dr. Barnard too! His documentary was kicked me from vegetarian to vegan.

    Mud Pie is just down the street from me… I’m constantly in dangerous territory. I can’t say no to a soy chia and chocolate chip cookie from there. πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:23 pm

      That is awesome that your mom went almost-vegan! I’m sure many newly-formed healthy habits are now a permanent part of her life.

      You live right down the street from Mud Pie?! Ack, that is dangerous! πŸ˜›

  14. August 14, 2011 4:52 pm

    Some of that food just looks amazing. In fact, it all does! Yum!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:23 pm

      Hehe, thank you! πŸ™‚

  15. August 14, 2011 5:04 pm

    That’s great about Matt’s mother, and for the town of Kansas…Health food stores are an easier way for people to take good eating habits into their own hands. It’s great to be able to eat vegan when yr eating out but there are so many other tempting options that some people might renege on being vegan.
    The blueberry smoothie and honeydew/lime juice both look and sound amazing!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:25 pm

      I was so pleased and heartened to see a little town like Newton have such surprisingly good access to healthy food!

  16. August 14, 2011 7:29 pm

    Congrats to matt’s mom!!! my mom has started on a high vegg, low meat diet and has lost 21 lbs so far…she’s my inspiration!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:25 pm

      WOW! Congrats to your mom – that is so fantastic!!

  17. August 15, 2011 8:30 am

    I totally know what you mean about feeling hurried!! My posts have dwindled down to mostly pictures too but I agree with you that sometimes pictures are better than words!!
    I want that green juice now… never thought of throwing honeydew in πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:26 pm

      Honeydew juice on its own is like the nectar of the gods…I haven’t even tried it in a green juice yet – but that’s a great idea!

  18. August 15, 2011 10:30 am

    Oh my goodness – you think that’s just a modest sized health food store???????? Try visiting England – even in a city you’d be hard pressed to equal it, let alone exceed it!
    I’m really pleased and proud of Matt’s mom, what a fantastic result for her – and it must be such a weight off your minds, too.
    There are some great photos there, mouthwatering, in fact – I now want chocolate cake:)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:27 pm

      Heh, like I told Rachel above, I realize I’m spoiled when it comes to health food stores, with Whole Foods right down the street from me…

      There’s never a bad time for chocolate cake! πŸ˜›

  19. August 15, 2011 12:31 pm

    Yum GREAT eats!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:29 pm

      Indeed! πŸ˜€

  20. Mom permalink
    August 16, 2011 9:22 am

    As much as Dad loves asparagus and potatoes, that thin asparagus & roasted potatoes would thrill him! Sorry to hear about Matt’s Grandpa…but glad to hear about his Mom’s improved health and her excitement about it. Everything in your post really looks yummy, and so colorful. Keep up the great work, Amber.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:29 pm

      Matt’s mom is doing so well on this diet, it makes me wish Nanny and Jackie would try it.

  21. August 19, 2011 11:23 am

    How cool is that?? I live in Wichita, and it’s about 25 minutes to Newton for me, and I never knew about those two places. I’ll have to check them out πŸ˜€

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 19, 2011 2:04 pm

      Small world! You’ll have to take a trip north and visit them sometime. πŸ™‚

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