Vegan Bites & Brews at Kingma's Market

Sorry for the delay in posting this, I was extremely busy last week because my church was hosting the Midwest Parish Life Conference. So just pretend I posted this sometime last week.

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Saturday was a very happy day! Mumra and I drove over to Kingma’s Market for the Vegan Bites & Brews event hosted by Vegan Grand Rapids.

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I was surprised to see the front of the store was packed with people waiting in line for samples of delicious vegan food. Before we hit the main row of tables, we were greeted by a woman at the door with a big chunk of an EcoTrek Fitness Whole Foods Bar. It had the definite taste of a “fitness” bar, but…it was also chocolate. I made sure to buy one.

It was hard to stop and take pictures of everything because I didn’t want to slow the line, but there were samples of Earth Balance Aged White Cheddar flavored Puffs, and their yummy P.B. Popps. There were also The Redheads brand veggie burgers, made here in Michigan.

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An eggless egg salad made with tofu and Follow Your Heart brand Vegenaise.

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But my favorite was the grilled cheese sandwich. Jon, of Vegan Grand Rapids, whipped these up with Follow Your Heart slices. And instead of buttering the bread, he used Magic Vegan Bacon Grease!

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Kingma’s Market is currently the only place in town selling this stuff, and about $2 cheaper than I’ve found anywhere else.

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Kingma’s is also one of the few places you can find these lovely vegan asparagus tamales by El Cardenal, another Michigan-based business. We actually went back for seconds 🙂 They also make a wonderful salsa. You can find the tamales in the freezer section.

We also found Qrunch Burgers, including the elusive Green Chili flavor! They had a couple flavors of Daiya Cheese, and a big selection of foods made in Michigan, and some right here in Grand Rapids.

OH! I almost forgot to mention The Brinery, based in Ann Arbor, had a table where we sampled their tempeh and sauerkraut (and they make hot sauce!). And everything we tried is available at Kingma’s.

The Qrunch Burgers are overpriced (find them at Meijer or Target for $5-something), but Daiya shreds were only $4.99. Great overall value if you know your prices.

Propaganda Doughnuts 

So last night I mentioned the lady that choked on a doughnut right in the middle of National Doughnut Day, and said I was going to play it safe by not eating a doughnut. Well friends, that was a lie. The truth is I wasn’t too keen on driving downtown by myself at night, but I really, really wanted a doughnut. So badly. And Propaganda Doughnuts had a vegan supply.

Well, when a girl wants to feel safe, who does she call? DAD. At first he said he was too tired, but an hour later he called back and said he’d go if I’d drive. “I’m not going to eat any doughnuts,” He said. “But I’ll go so you don’t have to go alone.”

I called ahead to make sure they still had the vegan doughnuts, and they put four aside for me (thank you!!!!).

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So we pulled up to this cute old storefront you could easily miss from the road, thank goodness Siri was looking out for it. It’s right next to The Bandit Queen, the ramen place I’m hoping to try soon.

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They had vegan ice cream to go with the doughnuts! Love’s is that ice cream I showed you in my cheezy food haul video, it is delicious. If we’d been eating in I would have definitely splurged and gotten a scoop of ice cream on my doughnut.

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I couldn’t get a full picture of the day’s menu because a group of hipsters were standing in front of it stuffing their faces – I don’t blame them, I wanted to immediately begin eating every vegan doughnut in the place. Man did it smell it good in there. Anyway. The only vegan thing was the yeast risen doughnut. The non-vegan options included Blueberry Jam Shortbread, Chocolate Stout with Potato Chips, Smoked Whiskey with Torched Coconut, plain glazed, sprinkles, cinnamon & sugar…

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These. So my dad looked at all these fancy flavors, and what does he do?

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He ignores all those doughnuts on the counter and points to these big, fat, puffy doughnuts back there on the third rack from the top. “I want one of those!”

Guess what? That’s the vegan yeast raised doughnut. He picked the only vegan doughnut in the place. So then of course he had to get a second kind, probably in case the vegan one was no good.

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But we discovered the vegan doughnuts are DELICIOUS. They are so light and airy on the inside, and a crispy on top with a thin layer of sweet, sugary glaze that breaks apart when you bite into it and melts on your lips and tongue. And there’s just this tiny little hole in the middle, it’s like getting bonus doughnut.

I ate one before I remembered to take a picture. I might use another one to make a breakfast sandwich. So much for making Sunday my fat day, I think I’m having a fat weekend.

Vegan doughnuts are not available every day, so check the Propaganda Doughnut facebook page to see what’s offered daily. I think they also sometimes have gluten free options!

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).

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

Morel Mushrooms with Asparagus and Orzo in Creamy White Sauce

So a couple weeks ago I was at Horrock’s and saw they had fresh morel and chanterelle mushrooms. They were just little guys, and they were SO expensive! But it was just about payday, so I figured I could afford a little grocery splurge. I bagged two dozen small morels and 36 tiny chanterelles. Then I just kind of started throwing stuff into my basket, not quite knowing what it would turn into.

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Some of the things I grabbed – Teeze mozzarella, fresh Michigan asparagus, orzo, organic green onions, and plain unsweetened coconut milk beverage.

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Here are the baby morels. I used about half of them for this recipe. To prep them, I cut them in half and then submerged them in a bowl of cold water in case there was any dirt (or bugs!) tucked away in the little crevices. From what I read, this is the one time you actually want to put your mushrooms in water because morels are really hard to clean. After a short soak, I drained the water and then dried the morels between sheets of paper towel.

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Chanterelles do not need to be soaked, just brush them clean. I used about 15 of these little guys.

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After snapping off the hard ends of the asparagus, I cooked it over low-medium heat in a couple spoonfuls of Magic Vegan Bacon Grease. After a few minutes I added the mushrooms. Now is a good time to get your orzo cooking – 1/2 C dry orzo, cook according to instructions on package.

While the orzo was boiling, I added 4 sliced green onions and a few cloves of minced garlic, to taste. Sprinkle with a little salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally.

Now, we need to make our creamy white sauce.

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For this, I simply melted down a couple chunks of Teeze mozzarella in the plain (unsweetened!) coconut milk beverage. Then I added a touch of salt, a sprinkling of garlic powder, and a few shakes of black pepper. I’m not a huge fan of Teeze – it’s not bad, just not the best – and I sometimes regret cooking savory foods with coconut milk, but in this case it really worked.

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Once the asparagus is a nice, bright green and begins to feel tender, add your cooked and drained orzo.

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Then add the sauce. Gently stir to coat.

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I have to say, I was really pleased with myself when I tasted this. I even got my dad to try it while he was in the midst of making his own very Non-vegan dinner, and he loved it!

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The asparagus is more of a filler in this dish, so if you’re not a fan, you could use some other veggie. Carrots or parsnips would be nice, possibly peas, or you could go with a faux meat. Or just skip all that and have the creamy orzo and mushrooms. I loved the saltiness of the sauce with the earthy flavor of the morels. The chanterelles were good, but had a milder taste that didn’t pop as much. Maybe I’ll have to think of a different way to prepare the rest. Any suggestions?*

*Well, they’re all gone now since I wrote this two weeks ago and forgot to post it until now. I made this same dish again, but I chopped the chanterelles up finely just to make the dish a little meatier. I used carrots and broccoli for the veggies. I went back to the same store this past weekend to look for more morels, but they’re gone 🙁

something else happened

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If you’re in the Grand Rapids, MI area, or planning a visit, check out my new Vegan in Grand Rapids page. There you will find a list of vegan-friendly restaurants I’ve visited myself, with links to their websites and one or more blog posts. The blog posts at the very least include pictures of the food, some include pictures of the restaurant, and some include prices and other menu info. I’ll continue to update the list as I try new restaurants.

A link to the page also has a permanent home in the upper right corner of the blog.

fall


I’m not a fan of the cold weather that hits Michigan this time of year (and stays for about 6 months!), but it does look beautiful around here in autumn. This is the view from my office.

**Also I just noticed I got two hits for the search term “why is there stringy bits in my avocado?” I can’t add it to my Number One list because I am only number two so far. I’ll have to do something about that!