Foraging for Wild Vegan Food in Grand Rapids

Mumra signed us up for a free three-hour foraging class recently. She said it started at 1pm, so of course I got to her house around 5 after. And she still wasn’t ready yet. When we arrived at the park at 1:15, there was a guy in the pavilion talking about organic gardening, but no sign of foragers anywhere. I thought Mumra was going to cry.

I looked up the event to see how many people actually signed up for the class because it seemed weird they’d just disappear in the park. What I saw is there were three different classes, each an hour long, and ours hadn’t started yet!


So naturally we decided to make an ice cream run at Furniture City Creamery. Mumra got the avocado lime, I got toasted coconut chocolate chip…


with caramel sauce. I love that caramel sauce (the chocolate sauce is vegan, too).

We got back to the park just in time for the foraging class. After about half an hour of talking, we were shown four plants…all of them plants Mumra is familiar with because they’re growing in her backyard garden. Oh well.


Since the class ended an hour earlier than planned, we went foraging at Little Africa. We’re familiar with all the plant foods there and know what’s safe to eat (everything).

Cherry Amaretto Coconut Bliss and an Everything Cookie

Yesterday I stopped at Harvest Health and found Larry & Luna Coconut Bliss on sale, so I grabbed some for Cheesefare weekend.

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I still had a couple of my Earth Fare Everything cookies left, but it actually was missing one thing…

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great big chunks of black cherry 🙂

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I let the Coconut Bliss get all melty next to the freshly-baked cookie and ate a bite of each together. Might have to do the same tonight (THREE HOURS LEFT!). I love Coconut Bliss ice cream, might have to find a way to keep it from melting in my Pascha basket this year.

Spoonlickers

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A person reading this blog for the first time will probably wonder, “Does she ever actually cook?” I do, I really do!! But just not recently. The past two weeks have been a blur and left me with not much time or energy for cooking, but I still did a TON of eating! So at least if you’re in Grand Rapids you’ll know where to find the good stuff if you’re just not in the mood to cook for yourself.

After making three visits to Furniture City Creamery in one week, the other night Mumra and I decided to stop at Spoonlickers. We were at the Eastown location at 1551 Wealthy Street, but you can find the other locations HERE.

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Like Furniture City Creamery, the flavors at Spoonlickers change every so often.

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They always have at least two vegan flavors. Hooray!

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There are a few places around town with this setup (Pump House and Bloop being the other two I’m aware of). You grab a bowl and fill it with as much ice cream/sorbet/frozen yogurt your little heart desires,

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choose from an assortment of toppings, and then put it on the dreaded scale to find out how much damage you’ve done…

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I went with the Pistachio and Chocolate flavors, with a short squeeze of Pistachio hidden under a big ol’ pile of Chocolate.

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I was happily surprised to see warm vegan chocolate sauce.

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Mine is topped with crushed bits of Nutter Butter cookies, a homemade strawberry sauce, and the warm chocolate sauce. Like a PB&J on steroids, ya know, in a good way.

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Mumra got the same ice cream flavors, simply drizzled with chocolate sauce and sprinkled with pecans. She did say the pecans seemed a little stale – oops!

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It’s kind of a neat place – but it is not goth if that’s what you were thinking, just decorated for Halloween 🙂

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Aaaaaaaand if you wanna take some ice cream home, you can buy it by the pint. And there are vegan flavors available in the pints, too! I didn’t buy any this time, but I hope I’ll get a chance to try the Vegan Blueberry Frozen Yogurt.

Furniture City Creamery

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I’ve been following Furniture City Creamery on facebook for about a month now, but I just finally got there last week. Why did I wait so long?!??!??

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I didn’t take a ton of pictures because it’s a small space and I felt weird, but it has a fun retro look.

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Kind of hard to see, but the vegan flavors are marked by a cute little bracket drawn on the glass case. They have multiple vegan, and gluten free, flavors every day. You can try a sample before you order. I tried the Apple Pie flavor, and guess what? It tastes EXACTLY like apple pie! I mean, it’s supposed to, but it was really dead on. I was impressed. In the end I went with Pumpkin Pie.

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Mother went with a cup of Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip. She’s not really into sweets, so this was perfect – probably the most “savory” ice cream flavor, with a light nutty flavor from the toasted coconut. But still definitely a dessert!

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Sure, you can just get a cup or cone of ice cream, but why not reminisce with ice cream on your grandmother’s davenport? Or at least ice cream in a davenport. As in, in one of these little bowl-shaped vegan oatmeal cookies!

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There’s a cute little seating area outside. This was probably the last day this year anyone would ever want to sit outside and eat a frozen dessert. It’s getting so cold 🙁

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Something for your pup. And finally….

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My vegan Pumpkin Pie ice cream, reclining comfortably on an oatmeal cookie davenport, wrapped in a warm, snugly blanket of vegan caramel sauce. It’s all made in-house.

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The ice cream is coconut milk-based, making it extra rich and creamy. The caramel had a perfect slightly burnt flavor. Now the davenport, I have to say, was a little hard to eat. I couldn’t get through it with my spoon, so I ate all the ice cream and then picked it up and ate it like a regular cookie. A regular cookie sticky with caramel and melted ice cream 🙂 But it was so very good.

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And for green people who care ^

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And in case the ice cream didn’t give you enough of a sugar buzz, you may want to try an Oatmeal Cream Pie (made by Sweet Batches). Delicious creamy frosting-type filling sandwiched between two extra sweet, soft oatmeal cookies. This was much too sweet for my mom, but I (keep in mind I have been known to sip maple syrup from the bottle) LOVED it.

Now I see on their facebook page they also have vegan hot chocolate!!!!! And hot coffee, and hot cider. I really want to go back and try the Apple Pie ice cream with a steamy cup of hot apple cider. Yeah. I will be going back!

Furniture City Creamery is located at 958 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Cashewtopia

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I had to go to Harvest Health last week to pick up a couple things, which turned into several things. One of them was this cashewtopia raw agave gelato from Organic Nectars. It was on clearance!!!!!

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Just a cute little pint…

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Pretty much explains itself.

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I would probably only pay full price for a special occasion, like maybe for Pascha. I mean, it’s good – REALLY good. I’m just cheap.
When I got home from the store I decided to taste one little bite before I started making dinner. For some reason I already made up my mind it was going to be kind of gross. Well, I was wrong.
It was really creamy and tasty, I didn’t notice any weird aftertaste like you get from soy or rice milk ice cream. It was much closer to my favorite, coconut milk ice cream. In fact I think they’re tied for favorite now. There were mostly just little bits of cherry and tiny swirls of chocolate, but as I kept digging I ended up finding two whole cherries. Then when I got to the bottom…because, yes, I ate the whole thing in one sitting and was way too full for a real dinner – when I got to the bottom, I found a TON of chocolate. It was wonderful.

If you have a few extra bucks to spend, this is definitely worth trying. You just might want to save it for *after* dinner.

Little Africa, wine tasting & ice cream parties!!

This has been a good weekend for eating. As I have said, I often forget to take pictures when I’m out and about having a good time, or feel a little odd if I’m the only one taking pictures. So, this whole weekend of Ethiopian food, wine tasting & an ice cream party amounts to just one post. One glorious post.


First, I will show you around Little Africa on Fulton Street near downtown Grand Rapids. I know I’ve already posted pictures of the food a couple times, but now you can see the restaurant.


I snuck in for takeout before the wine tasting Friday night, right after work before the dinner crowd arrived.


These are the takeout boxes exactly as they were when I got home…notice someone has been eating out of one of them. Well, let me tell you…the downside to Ethiopian food is it’s so messy and hard to eat with one hand while you’re driving! But I managed. I basically got enough food for three people, so I ate before and after the wine tasting, and then had the rest for breakfast the next day. I used the leftover injera to make a huge batch of what I guess is basically ferfer, or a kind of injera porridge.


Then I went to my church’s annual Wine Tasting fundraiser. There are wines to sample from around the world, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, live & silent auctions and live music.


Caught this couple dancing…


I didn’t sample enough wine to feel like joining them.


Here’s the spread. For vegans, they had hummus & pita, olives, marinated artichokes and various grilled veggies.


I know nothing about wine, so I just look for interesting labels.

The event was right at the church, and I love how our church looks at night. Since I didn’t get many food pictures, here are a few shots of the church.


These are the stained glass windows in the chapel, lit up by the light in the church.


The dome


I like the reflection in the windows…


View into the sanctuary, peeking through the royal doors.

And…onto the ice cream party.


Z & Fr. R’s oldest daughter turned three this month, and they celebrated with an ice cream party with all the toppings.


Z bought So Delicious coconut milk ice cream for me and the other vegan, and I added peanuts & sprinkles to mine – and, of course, a cherry on top! I’m kicking myself for not bringing the vegan chocolate syrup I have in the fridge, I don’t get many opportunities to use it. I should just squirt it in my mouth…anyway, maybe it’s for the best I left it at home.

I still have some catching up to do. I found some pictures from before I went to Boston that still need to be posted. And I have a couple new recipe ideas I want to try, I’m pretty excited.

So Delicious brand fudge bar

Mmmmmm, medium chain fatty acids…. My dad bought me a box of So Delicious fudge bars as a little birthday treat (still not quite my birthday, but I don’t mind if people want to give me things all month long). I love this brand for making creamy frozen goodness with coconut milk instead of soy. Probably more fattening, but I like that, too. They are definitely “mini”, as the box says, but good for a light snack on a hot day. Dad thinks the fact that they’re small means you can eat twice as many, but I’d rather keep it as a 70 calorie treat.

Since I hear there are popsicle molds at the Womb of Greek Hospitality, maybe we can try making these ourselves. What do you think, C?