We miss Mendocino already

10 Tips for Vegan Road Trips and a Giveaway Announcement!

Following a series of unfortunate events I have decided to move away from one of the most magical places on Earth: Mendocino, California. It’s bittersweet to leave that gorgeous piece of coastal land, but I’ve decided to drive back home to hot and sunny Atlanta, Georgia. I miss my friends and I miss my family, but I just left Mendocino and my heart already aches for the coast too. Will I ever feel settled anywhere? Ironically, I sometimes feel the most at home while on the road so this trip is, for me, a celebration of this little bit of summer we have left.

As a seasoned vegan road-tripper I can show you how easy it is to eat healthfully and compassionately while traveling with the help of a just a little planning ahead.

As I travel across the country I’ll be collecting a prize pack full of my favorite vegan and organic goodies to send off to one lucky winner! My hope is to inspire whoever wins to go out on their own grand adventure and explore this beautiful planet we live on together! There are three different ways to enter:

  • Sign up for the Eat Love Now mailing list (if you’re already signed up, congratulations you already have one entry)
  • Follow @Eat_Love_Now on Instagram
  • For ten bonus entries, make any recipe from the blog and post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #EatLoveNowRoadTripGiveAway

It’s that easy! You have until I make it to Atlanta to enter!

Now for my list of the 10 Ultimate Vegan Road Trip Tips:

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buffalo tempeh nuggets

Buffalo Tempeh Nuggets

Just before I decided to go vegan about 7 years ago I was eating tons of hot wings. I loved how they tasted, but I knew each chicken only had two wings, and seeing a huge piles of them on plates or in baskets just made me feel too sad…even though for a while I still kept eating them. Eventually though (after watching tons of documentaries on Netflix… first Food Inc. followed by Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, and anything else I could find about food and farm animals) I could not reconcile my guilt with continuing to enjoy meat or any products that come from animals. So inspired my love of both animals and hot wings I started making these Buffalo Tempeh Nuggets. For 7 years I have made these for all kinds of people; meat eaters, tempeh haters, health nuts, and picky eaters. They all love these Buffalo Tempeh Nuggets, but my recipe has always been time intensive and required dirtying a lot of dishes. But yesterday I mad a marvelous discovery and figured out how to cut the prep time by quite a bit, create much less of a mess to clean up, and make these taste even better than they always have! This isn’t what I would consider a health food but it’s so much better for you than nuggets made out of chickens, and such a delicious alternative for anyone who wants to make compassionate choices when it comes to food. They are hearty and filling, crispy, hot and spicy. Dip them in some vegan ranch or bleu cheese dressing to satisfy a nostalgic craving (I just finally got to try the Ranch and Bleu Cheese dressings made by Daiya and was blown away by how thick, creamy, and accurate both of the flavors are).
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A Beginner’s Guide to Vegan Sushi + Best Ever 2 Ingredient Spicy Mayo

If you follow me on Instagram you know that sushi is one of my favorite things to eat and to make. I love the ritual involved in rinsing the rice. I love dreaming up endless combinations of flavors, textures, and colors. Arranging the sushi rolls delicately on the plates is always fun too. The beauty of this food is that it can be simple and straightforward or fantastically creative! Making sushi is fun and expressive, in a way that goes beyond just a means to fill your belly.

I’m going to walk you through the process of making sushi, step-by-step and give you the recipe for one of my favorite sushi accompaniments, Spicy Mayo! If this is your first time rolling sushi, be patient and forgiving with yourself, because it can take a little practice. But don’t worry, I’ve got all the info you need right here, you’ll be a pro in no time!

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Watermelon and Avocado Salad with Fresh Herbs

I was recently introduced to a beautiful poem by Frank O’Hara that begins:

“Light clarity avocado salad in the morning”

I immediately fell in love with the verse and then started dreaming of avocado salads. There are so many possibilities. For this salad, the juicy watermelon is a nice compliment to creamy avocado slices, and the fresh lemon, mint, and basil add a brightness that is perfect for the morning.

Here are some of my other “avocado salad in the morning” ideas. Perhaps I’ll be making more avocado salads soon…

  • Avocado + Strawberry + Basil + Lemon
  • Avocado + Roasted Garlic + Cherry Tomato + Olive Oil
  • Avocado + Arugula + Lemon + Walnuts + Olive Oil
  • Avocado + Mango + Sticky Coconut Rice + Black Sesame
  • Avocado + Grapefruit + Ginger + Macadamia Nuts
  • Avocado + Watermelon + Heirloom Tomato
  • Avocado + Braised Kale + Croutons
  • Avocado + Grilled Pineapple + Mint

I could go on and on…

Read on for the Watermelon, Avocado and Fresh Herb Salad recipe.

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PB and J Cupcakes

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes: small yellow cakes filled with organic raspberry preserves, and topped with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting. These sweet little vegan treats are certain to be crowd-pleasers, honestly, who doesn’t like PB and J? Combine that flavor with cupcakes and you’ve got yourself one tasty dessert! The frosting is nice because the peanut butter mellows out the sweetness of the frosting and is balanced with a pinch of salt.  Feel free to use whatever your favorite jam or jelly is, mine has always been raspberry…with the seeds.

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Root Beer Float Cakes

These mini cakes are perfect for anyone who loves root beer as much as I do. I was inspired to make these remembering the Coca Cola Sheet Cakes that are so popular down in Georgia. Those super sweet cakes were always such a special treat when they showed up at pot luck dinners or cake walks. These are just a mini version of that classic southern Coca Cola Cake, but made with less sugar, a bit healthier (and much more compassionate) ingredients, and obviously root beer instead of cola! Enjoy!

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Beer Battered Coconut Tofu

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve family trips to Florida, where we would spend all day at the beach and the rest of the evening sitting on screened in porches of seaside restaurants where my parents would enjoy a beer and we would all enjoy some fried food.  This dish encapsulates the flavor of those memories.  I’m also including the recipe for a Horseradish Marmalade Sauce to dip in, but if you’d rather just buy a sauce already made, go for a sweet chili sauce (probably any kind is good but my favorites are Grama’s Sweet Chili Sauce and Mae Ploy Chili Sauce)

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Garlicky Miso Glazed Noodles with Sesame Roasted Veggies

These noodles are probably my favorite noodles ever. They are the perfect vehicle for this garlicky miso glaze, and they’re incredibly quick and easy to make.  This recipe calls for wide flat rice noodles.  Probably the easiest to find in your local supermarket would be these by Taste of Thai.  But my favorite ones are the Pad See Ew noodles from Nona Lim.  They are fresh rice noodles that have the perfect consistency and take only 30 seconds in boiling water to cook. I was super excited to find them in the cold case in my local Safeway. The one’s from Taste of Thai are dried in a box, and take a little longer to cook, so read the directions on the package of noodles and allow yourself a little more time if using the dried, boxed kind. Definitely check out your local Asian market if there’s one around you though, you’re liable to find some really good noodles there, and probably at a fraction of the price.  Use any of your favorite veggies, it doesn’t have to just be brussels sprouts and mushrooms, about 4 cups total. Add some baked Gardein Mandarin Chicken at the very end too if you want to really bulk out the meal and make it super filling.

*Note:  If you’d like to make this gluten free, just use tamari instead of soy sauce.

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Japanese Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Blood Orange Sauce

I have been experimenting for a long time trying to make a really firm, dense, yet still creamy “plain New York Style” vegan cheesecake.  This is the closest I’ve gotten, but you still taste the delicate flavor of Japanese sweet potato coming through (which is totally a good thing).  The earthy sweetness of the sweet potato pairs nicely with the tart, zesty blood orange.  Hope you enjoy my Japanese Sweet Potato Cheesecake, it’s decadent yet firm without being too heavy, creamy and velvety, yet still healthy!  This cheesecake is awesome just on its own, but the blood orange sauce really bumps it up a notch!

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Blood Orange Dessert Sauce

It starts with fresh squeezed blood orange juice, and cooks down into a decadently sweet and fresh syrupy dessert sauce. Blood oranges tend to be more tart than your typical orange, but that’s why this sauce has such a nice bright flavor and color! I am going to go ahead and file this under desserts, because I originally made it to go with a Japanese Sweet Potato Cheesecake. But with that being said, I could file this under breakfast too, as it would be amazing on top of pancakes or waffles in the morning…just sayin.

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