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Work and Play in the City; Nutrient Dense Salad Dinner with Sweet Potato and Lentil Loaf

Posted Apr 05 2012 7:26pm

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Hi all! Thanks for the warm responses to Jennifer’s story. If you haven’t caught it yet, Jennifer Molica shares some brave and heartfelt thoughts on how veganism can help to pull one out of the isolation and self-involvement of an ED. Not to be missed!

I had a perfect morning planned: yoga at Laughing Lotus at 7:30, work in a local café, a quick tea with Jasmin at 10:45, more work at a wifi-equipped café, meeting up with my friend Cassie at 2:15, and more work in the afternoon, location TBD. Unfortunately, the 1 line had other plans for me (water main break), so I missed the 7:30 class and found myself orphaned on 18th street. I suppose there are worse fates! I love the Flatiron/Chelsea neighborhood (it was my work home for years), so I decided to find a place to sit, eat, and get some work done before heading to the 9:30 am LL class instead. Fortunately, there was a Le Pain Quotidien right around the corner!

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My love for LPQ is no great secret: it was always one of my favorite spots for business lunches, as it’s tremendous vegan-friendly (vegan-oriented, even). Now that I’m in DC, and vegan dining options are scarce, LPQ has become even more of a standby for lunches and dinners.

I began breakfast with nice, strong, hot coffee and steamed, organic soymilk. Good thing, too, as I had bundled coffee at home due to my complete ineptitude with my Mom’s coffee maker.

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I also ordered the steel cut oats with berries. And an extra cup of berries! I love stirring berries into hot oats: it’s a lovely way to add sweetness and texture without relying on sweeteners, and of course it ads a nice helping of antioxidants to your morning meal. Note that LPQ will always prepare oats without milk for vegans.

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After that, and some work, it was off to my yoga class. As always, it feels like coming home when I walk into the bright pink doors of NYC’s most exuberant yoga studio. This hour long class was quick-paced and vigorous, yet relaxing: the perfect yoga mix (sidenote: I’d had the option of an 8 am class at Yogaworks Union Square instead, but in my personal experience the classes there are always too slow and too focused on periodic lectures about anatomy to hold my attention!).

I met Jasmin in Soho, at Snice , where we were going to get tea. Since it was a little crowded, we decided just to sip tea at Jasmin’s place instead. It was wonderful.

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This semester has been a hard one for me, as my academic struggles just continue to mount with the misery of Orgo II. Jasmin—pictured above, at Vida Vegan this summer, in all of her usual panache—has been extraordinarily supportive and kind throughout, checking in with phone calls, notes, and the constant assurances that I’m doing the right thing. She’s a mentor to me personally, and she’s also a true friend. It’s always exciting to hear about what she’s up to at Our Hen House , changing the world for animals and showing us all how to embrace activism in our own lives!

When I departed, I made a stop at Organic Avenue on Sullivan for a study snack. Avocado soup fit the bill: OA soups are some of the best raw soups around. Just vegetables, water, avocado, and green goodness. I also picked up their “green monkey smoothie” as an afternoon snack—this is banana, lucuma, kale, coconut water, and green powder. It’s good, as I learned in the late afternoon, but the green powder is VERY detectable, so you have to enjoy that taste!

In the morning, I had packed a raw sandwich as my portable lunch, so between the soup, the sammie, and the juice snack for later, I was set with a proper day of food. Curious about my sandwich? It was my standard raw cracker recipe with hemp seeds added, cut into bread form and stuffed with zucchini, red pepper, spinach, and simple hummus.

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This sandwich accompanies me on buses between NYC and DC, in class, and to the library. It’s delicious and nutritious, but it’s also quite familiar. The raw soup, then, was the star of lunch. This is and always has been my favorite thing on the menu at OA: it’s simple, a little salty, a little tangy (lemon and cilantro are definitely notable), and creamy from the fresh avocado. So delicious:

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The afternoon moved along, and I met up with Cassie for a lovely round of catching up. After that, and before heading uptown, I stopped at the Union Whole Foods for some groceries to enjoy while at my Mom’s this weekend. After some more work this afternoon, I concocted the following nutrient dense salad :

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This mix is:

  • spinach
  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • romaine
  • red cabbage
  • 1/2 small avocado
  • lemon
  • Bragg’s
  • navy beans
  • cherry tomatoes

On the side, a leftover portion of the lentil and sweet potato loaf that my Mom ordered last night at Josie’s for dinner. It is the same lentil loaf that inspired my own lentil and sweet potato loaf :

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As it turns out, it makes for fantastic leftovers.

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Can we all take a moment to share in my excitement that my Mom chose a 100% vegan entrée last night when we ate out? Ripples are spreading. Baby steps are being taken. And all that jazz.

And now, it’s time for more work and to meet up with my friend Gabi. Till tomorrow, at which point I hope to deliver a vegan Passover recipe or two, along with the usual chatter!

xo

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