The Sea Star in Chincoteague Virginia

Some time ago, through using Happy Cow, I discovered that there is a small restauraunt in Chincoteague Virginia with vegan options.  I was intrigued, since that’s only 45 minutes from me.  But I haven’t been to Chincoteague since I was 15 and need I say, I am *way* over 15!

So today when we dropped T at a week of sleep-away space camp the rest of the family decided to go out to dinner before we started home.  Now, I didn’t even know Mark had put the Happy Cow app on his phone, but I shouldn’t be surprised since he’s pretty darn supportive.  As we waited to be dismissed from the social event that started the camp, Mark suggested we hit the Sea Star in Chincoteague for dinner.  Who am I to resist a cool place with vegan options??

This is one of those places where you walk up, order and pay, and then wait for them to call your number for food.  There is a whole “vegetarian” section of the menu with four sandwiches specifically marked as Vegan.  I chose the Malibu, a whole wheat wrap with hummus, avocado, tomato, sprouts and lettuce.  That little wrapped thing in front of the sandwich was my pickle and it was darn good.  The drink is an unsweetened passionfruit mango tea, and the chips in the back are not mine.  They, actually, included dairy but I liked reading the package as they were made by a very small company in Virginia.

Mark and E waiting for their food

My unwrapped meal

Yum

After dinner we walked around the funky little town some, checking out the “Misty of Chincoteague” statue before we drove down to wildlife refuge that is the beach.

It was a nice evening for the three of us, and definitely a place I’d go to again.  Since I’m not a local it may only be a place I’d go to in the warmer months when I could comfortably sit outside and eat, but it’s worth the drive for the cool feel and good food!  This is not fast food, though, and you have to wait while they make everything to order.  But that gave me more time to listen to the gulls!

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Papaya Smoothie-ness

Given the chance, I’m going to sleep in.  Let’s just put that out there as what it is, fact.  So during the summer and on the weekends I often sleep in.  A lot of those weekend days, by the time I’ve gotten up, Mark has already been to the store and the kitchen is clean.  I know, am I a lucky woman or what?

For me it’s sort of like opening a gift, seeing what fruits and veggies he has bought.  This weekend he brought home a papaya.  Man how I love how they look!

Usually I juice them, and they have made some of my favorite juice ever.  But can I admit something?  (Is this the ‘Jen admits her faults post??’)?  The juicer was dirty and I didn’t feel like cleaning it.  Yep.  This incredibly yummy recipe came along because I was lazy.  Oh well, grab the goodness where you can get it!

So I decided to make a papaya smoothie.  I figured ‘the worse that can happen is that it’s yucky.’  But it was good.  Really good!  And while the orange color is a little different, I thought it was beautiful!

Papaya Smoothie makes 2-3 servings

1/2 papaya

2 kiwi fruit, peeled

2 frozen bananas

1/8-1/4 cup coconut milk

I have found that when your papaya is ripe that the easiest way to get the flesh out when you don’t care how it looks is to use an ice cream scoop!

Scoop the papaya into the blender.  Add the peeled kiwis, the bananas broken into chunks, and the coconut milk.  The amount you use is determined by how thick you’d like it to be.  Blend until nice and smooth.

It looks thin right away but thickens very well as it sits.

Drinking this makes me think of sitting on a far-away island near the ocean.  Even if I’m sitting in my house contemplating the next load of laundry I need to do.  Yes.  It was that good!

Yellow Squash Chips – Or “Have Aliens Kidnapped my Children?”

I’ve had a lot of yellow squash lately in my CSA box.  A lot.  And I’ve used it in all sorts of ways; Two recent incarnations are here.

That’s chilled  yellow squash soup and summer squash paella.  While contingents of the family did enjoy them, none of them got the response of “When can you make more??” or “The last one is MINE!”  Until tonight.

And it’s the least pretty of the recipes, as well as the easiest.  But this is the one the kids fought over.

Yellow Squash Chips

One to Two Yellow squash, cleaned

Olive oil  (I use spray in an atomizer – You could put some on a paper towel as well)

Coarse Salt

Heat the oven to 225.

Using a mandolin (or a knife with very steady hands – Mine could never do this!) slice the yellow squash very thin.  Spray a baking sheet with some olive oil or rub some on with the paper towel.  Place the sliced squash on the sheet.  They can touch, they will shrink quite a bit.  Spray or rub on a little more olive oil, and then sprinkle on some salt.

Bake for 45 or so minutes.  I’d start checking around 35.  You want them to be just starting to get dark.

The kids, seriously, fought over these.  They said they tasted like potato chips (T is intolerant of potatoes so we don’t get those much here) and T begged me to make more.  This one was a win!

I’m super excited to be part of Allergy Free Alaska’s first Whole Foods Friday!  🙂

And, since this is part of my CSA haul, I certainly couldn’t forget In Her Chuck’s What’s in the box? CSA link!

It’s been awhile since I joined Wellness Weekend but I think this one fits!

And how can I resist joining something called Healthy Vegan Fridays?

Raw Veggies Corn Salad

This is the first year we’ve gone with a CSA.  We’ve chosen Taylor’s Fresh Organics and get to pick up a nice bag every week.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so I was very excited to start this year, and it’s been wonderful.  It’s definitely helped me to “taste summer” by having the freshest fruits and vegetables imaginable.

This week’s bag, among other things, included both corn and cantaloupe.  Some corn got boiled as usual, since T begged and begged for some to be prepped this way.  I will admit that I ate it with absolutely no adornment because it was that good.  And we all (ok, I) squealed when eating the cantaloupe because it tasted fresher than any I’ve ever tried.  And let me tell you, the Eastern Shore is the home of the ‘lope so I’ve had me some ‘lope.  But I love it plain and unadorned.  For me ‘lope doesn’t get any better than that.

But with half the corn I felt compelled to make something a little special since this goodness only comes around once a year.

Last summer I read some things about eating raw corn, but knew that I would only try it with fresh organic corn.  So now was my chance.

Raw Veggies Corn Salad

4 or so ears raw organic corn

1 large organic tomato

1 raw organic zuchinni

1/4 cup sweet onion

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp lime juice

½ tbsp. agave syrup

Salt & pepper

Husk the corn and clean well to remove the silk.  Scrape the corn off the cob into a bowl with a knife.

Cut the zucchini, the tomato, and the onion into a small dice and toss with the corn.

Mix the dressing together and pour over, using salt and pepper to taste.

Let sit for several hours for flavors to meld.

This is very fresh tasting, with a hint of sweetness.  There is a definite taste of the lime but I really enjoyed that.  This is one of those recipes that’s only made at one time of the year so, if you have some very fresh organic corn, it’s worth trying.  I figure I’ll be able to make it a few more times this summer and then the taste will be a memory until next summer.  It’s kind of fun that way, to be honest!

I’m sharing this recipe with Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Walking on Sunshine, and Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party!  And I was so excited to find out that there is a blog party specifically about what is in your CSA box!  So I’m going to link this to What’s In the Box!

The goodness around us

If you follow me on facebook you know about my day yesterday, but in case you don’t, here’s a recap.

I had taken “my” 3 kids (1 full time and 2 part time kids) to pick up my daughter at camp at the community college.  We got there early.  The three decided to wait in the car.  I grabbed my wallet from my purse because they often require ID to pick up a child.  As I walked into the building I realized that I had forgotten the shorts and shoes I brought for my daughter to change into since we were headed to a living history museum and it was hot.  (Her class requires long pants.)  I opened the back of the car, picked up the clothes, and then shut the trunk and walked back into the school.  Halfway up the stairwell to the third floor I realized I no longer had my wallet.  I called my son who was waiting in the car, assuming I had left it in the trunk.  He looked around but couldn’t find it.  Possibly another minute went by.  When I realized he didn’t have it I walked back down the stairs and out to my car but there was no wallet.  I stopped to ask a woman who was sitting and reading her book if she had seen it, but she had not.  Now, another mom was walking in to get her child and said “As I was driving in a woman stopped and picked up a green clutch from the ground and looked perplexed.  Then she walked into the school.  Could that be yours?”  Yep!

So I went into the building again and went to the information desk but there was no wallet.  I picked  up my daughter and we checked with all the offices in that building plus the main building with lost & found and the security office.  No wallet.

So we decided that our trip to the living history museum, which was 40 minutes or so away, wasn’t going to happen with no wallet and no money or cards.

I drove around for a bit, thinking that surely the people at the college would be calling any minute to say they had found it, but no such luck.

We went home and I canceled all my cards.  But I kept thinking that this wasn’t going to end badly.  I kept focusing on the fact that, while this was a hassle, we were all safe and well so oh well.  My other half is not as, shall I say positive, as I am.  He just assumed the wallet was gone and was making plans for how we were going to replace ids etc.

But I never gave up hope.

I did realize that my original plan to go blueberry picking today was going to have to be canceled because I didn’t have any way to get money.  I posted that on facebook and one response was that sometimes when things don’t go as we want what comes instead is even better.  I was thinking about that as I was getting into the shower when it hit me:

There are a ton of RA Vegan business cards in my wallet.  (Yes, I have business cards!  Not a lot of call for people who want them so I have a lot but they make me happy so it works for me!)  Those business cards have my name on them, which is the same as my driver’s licence.  And those business cards have my RA Vegan email address on them.  An email address I don’t check everyday because it’s mostly pinterest or twitter alerts.  But standing in the shower I knew there would be an email waiting for me about my wallet.

So after a quick shower and throwing some clothes on I logged onto that email account.  My eyes ran down the list of emails until I saw it!  “I think I have your clutch”

I whooped and hollered and was just beside myself.  Yes it was great to get it back, but I always knew this was going to end well.  Because I truly try to believe in the goodness around us.  I want to see it in everyone and I am genuinely shocked when it’s not there.  But, most of the time, I’m not disappointed.

Oh, I’ve gotten burned before, but it’s never changed my belief that, for the most part, people are good.  I’ve been lucky I suppose.  I know there is bad out there.  I have seen it.  But I refuse to let it change the way I see things.  I want to believe in good.  I want to think that the world I’m helping to create is a good one for my children and their children.  (My children, in this case, are both my biological children and all the kids I teach every year.  They are all “my children.”)  There are problems.  There are bad things.  But I can’t stop believing.  It’s too important to stop believing in good.

Most of the time, when we do something good, we don’t know of the ramifications of that action.

So a HUGE thank you to the very sweet woman who saw my wallet, picked it up, and then contacted me.  You help remind me of that good that is around us.  And since I don’t think she’ll read I’ll also tell you that I feel very compelled to give her something to thank her.  A way for her to know how much I truly appreciate it.  There’s been a discussion on my facebook page about what the right gift would be but I think we all agree that something would be nice.

Coconut Watermelon Banana Milkshake

It’s hot out.  It was hot out yesterday and it’s still hot out today.  Unlike yesterday, however, I wasn’t wearing a heart monitor so I could get in the water.  Today’s water adventure took place at Assateague National Seashore, one of my very favorite places on earth.

After about 4 hours in the sun jumping waves, walking, and watching ghost crabs, we were ready to go home, after a quick stop for ice cream for the others in my family since I’m the only vegan.  You might think I would be jealous.  Nah.  I had this to come home to:

And this is a Coconut Watermelon Banana Milkshake.  Long name but darn good drink on a hot day like today!

Coconut Watermelon Banana Milkshake  Serves 2 (one if you’re really hot!)

1 cup fresh watermelon, chopped

1-2 cups coconut milk ice cream, coconut flavor

1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 frozen bananas, broken into pieces

In your blender contraption (mine is a Vitamix) put the watermelon, the ice cream, and then lime juice.  Blend it until mostly combined.  Then add the frozen bananas and watch the color change a bit and things get nice and creamy.

Very quickly mine became

I wasn’t jealous of that ice cream stop at all.  This was good!

I’m linking this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.  This is definitely better for you than a traditional milkshake with all the fruit and you could make your own coconut ice cream to decrease the sugar even more!

Multiple Uses For the Same Recipe : Watermelon Strawberry Lemonade Pops

It’s hot here today.  So hot that we might beat previous heat records on the Delmarva Peninsula.  (The previous high temp in Salisbury is 106.  I am *not* looking forward to possibly breaking that!)  The kids have been in the pool but I’m wearing a heart-rate monitor just to make sure everything is working as it should and I can’t get it wet.  (Well, I can take it off once but we’re going to the beach tomorrow and that’s a bigger deal to me.)  So I’ve been sitting “in the shade” watching them swim.

My view from under the canopy is pretty but when it feels like 105 it’s hot even under the canopy!  So what’s a vegan girl to do?  (Other than drink LOTS of water?)  Have a pop of course!

A few months ago I pinned this recipe for Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade from Frosted Bake Shop.   I’ve now made it twice and we really enjoy it for a summer party. We actually like it even better half and half with iced tea!  Well, the last time I made it for a family event there was quite a bit leftover and it thickened up as it sat in the fridge for a day.

So I decided to turn this leftover drink into some homemade frozen pops and man are they good!

I need to admit that I am one of those people who really enjoyed things like the ice pops that are straight sugar.  I know they’re not healthy or good for you but they did taste good.  And my previous tries at homemade ice pops were never *quite* sweet enough for me.  These are pretty darn sweet.  Not sugar water sweet, but sweet enough that even people who are used to commercially prepared ice pops won’t be left wondering why they are not sweet.  If I was making the lemonade specifically for pops I would omit some of the water required and leave it thick.

I hope you are staying cool if you are experiencing a heat wave like we are!  I’m going to go have another ice pop!