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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Healthy Chick Melodies - Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

In the past few years I've developed a new appreciation for aging. Maybe it's the yogini in me who cares less about what happens to our physical appearance in this container of ours (better known as our body), but rather enjoying how as each moment passes we learn more and more about ourselves, and grow wiser each day. That being said, the only bad thing about getting older is the amount of responsibilities that come along with it, which leads me to my point in this rambling paragraph on this cloudy morning. I had to turn down 2 spectacular concerts this week due to work-related obligations!! Now, I'll be the first one to say how much I love my job(s) more than anything and how I couldn't be happier about my lovely career...but still! So, this morning I'm unfortunately feeling one of the downsides of getting older, where I have to put things like sleep, practicality, clients and yoga classes before trekking off to every fabulous concert in the nearby area. Sigh.

Yea, so this week I've had to turn down Arcade Fire at MSG on Wednesday night (w/ Spoon opening), and then a FREE (it hurts every time I say it) Metric show at Prospect Park on Thursday night.

That concludes my whining.

Last month I was able to catch Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the beautiful Governor's Island, along with Beach House and the National at Prospect Park. So, concert life ain't too bad! I think the Phish fan in me has made me always want more live music, wherever I can get it. I could pack up and live as a gypsy on the road traveling from one great show to the next, selling my jewelry and artwork and nutritious veggie burritos in the parking lot while bartering tickets for yoga sessions...but it's just not realistic! In the meantime I'll carry on with my career(s) that I adore and that bring me SO much joy!

What this Healthy Chick is listening to...NOW!:
Arcade Fire's NEW album, The Suburbs. Dude, it's everything I love about Arcade Fire all in one album, from start to finish. It's dramatic, rich, solid, and as always, grandiose at moments. A stunningly accomplished album in my opinion (and their BEST one yet). I'm finding new lines that I fall in love with each time the album replays (which it's been doing non-stop for the past 3 days now and I have no plans on turning it off).

A few of the extraordinary songs on this album that I'm loving this very morning are "Ready to Start," "Half Light II (No Celebration)," "Suburban War," " Deep Blue," and "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)."

Are you going to either of those shows this week? If so, fill me in on the juicy details afterwords. What are you listening to right now? I'd love to hear, please share below!

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vegan tastings in Monmouth County.....

Last friday Stephen took a lunch break and went to the Atlantic Highlands Farmers Market where he found the Veggie Brothers!

Veggie Brothers is a Jersey Shore based company that ships prepared vegetarian and vegan foods nationally. They are the first and only on-line vegan restaurant featuring vegetarian versions of our favorite classic American dishes. They offer well over 100 menu items including breakfast, lunch and dinner, soups, appetizers, sides and even dessert! Products are either 100% vegan or 100% vegetarian and the majority of their ingredients are organic and GMO FREE! Sounds win-win, right?

3HC have known about the Veggie Brothers for a while, but unfortunately we've never actually tasted their creations. What a mistake, we should have dug in years ago!! Needless, to say, when Stephen called I was psyched to find out that they're the AH farmers market and told him to bring one of everything home. He brought home the Hot & Spicy Buffalo Wings, Southern Fried Soy Chicken Nuggets, Blackbean Burger, Lentil Walnut Burger, and the Pioneer Burger.

So, we haven't made it through all of our purchases yet, but so far here's the deets:

Southern Fried Soy Nuggets: We had these last Wednesday after my Karma Yoga Class at Fair Haven Yoga. We paired them with a big salad of mixed greens (radicchio, spinach, kale and dandelion), sweet jersey corn, red bell peppers, avocado, shredded carrots and sunflower seeds. When I took them out of the oven, I was surprised at the amount of grease on the pan. Then I realized that "southern fried" anything has grease whether or not it's soy based! So, before I dished them out I placed them on a paper towel to remove any excess. Both Stephen and I dipped our soy nuggets in a little bit of honey and let me say, they were divine!! Super crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. DELICIOUS! I don't often eat this sort of food (fried chicken or nuggets - even if they are soy) so it was a great treat....and for once a month - this is a win-win!!!

Lentil Walnut Burger: We cooked these last night. (See above!) Baked in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes (Stephen likes things well done and crispy!). They were served on whole grain buns and topped with spinach, tomato, avocado, sliced cucumbers and sweet pea sprouts. Stephen had cheese and ketchup as well, I used a bit of honey mustard. We paired the burger with some fresh Jersey corn and shared a sweet potato. On a side note, the Jersey corn is amazing this year! In fact it was so sweet and delicious, I tried it and loved it raw (Stephen did insist on cooking though). So, back to the Lentil Walnut Burger.. 4 Words for you OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. It was the best veggie burger that I didn't make myself from scratch that I've had in a LONG time. It was so completely filling and hearty that I could barely finish half! Next time, we're definitely ordering the 12 pack instead of the individuals!

So, we haven't gotten to the Spicy Buffalo Wings or the Pioneer Burger yet. They're next on the list. I have to say, Veggie Brothers have some stiff (family) competition with Kayas Kitchen - I have a serious love for Kaya's Karma Wings. So much that my mouth just watered while I typed that out. I am also super curious about the Pioneer Burger. Stephen thinks the veggie burger at Kayas is the closest flavor he's had to a beef burger. Something in my gut tells me the Pioneer Burger and Kayas veggie burger are one in the same. A taste test will have to reveal whether or not my instincts are right.

So long as we're talking about Vegetarian and Vegan cuisine. I am happy to say that the Good Karma Cafe in Red Bank, NJ is finally open!! It has been a long wait and we're excited to have a vegan go to in Red Bank. Stephen picked up a TLT sandwich (tempeh version of a S.A.D. BLT) for us to share for lunch and a raw key lime pie for dessert after dinner. I am unhappy to say that those two items cost us $19.00. Rye Bread, shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, too much vegan mayo and less than 2 oz of smoked tempeh for $10. If you're going to charge me $10 for a vegan BLT, at least give me a nutritious green like kale or spinach or arugula instead of regular "l" The raw key lime pie was fabulous, and I suppose I am used to paying $7+ for a raw dessert. I will go back and try more, because I am excited about their raw menu choices and I think it's important to support local small business especially when it's a healthy business!!

There has been a lot of hub-ub on the local message boards about the pricing at Good Karma Cafe. (and the people defending them on those boards aren't doing them any favors). The prices at Good Karma Cafe are extremely high, higher than other vegan restaurants. I blame Red Bank for this, not the Good Karma Cafe. Commercial/Retail space in Red Bank is outrageous and I don't think Good Karma is price gouging, I think they're just trying to make their rent. *sigh* wouldn't it be great if every restaurant in every town had vegetarian and vegan offerings?? Maybe some day....

Until then, try something new and Keep it Fresh!