Crossroads : Los Angeles, California

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About a month ago, my parents and I went to Los Angeles for a big event to kick off my dad’s new project with Usher. That’s right, the singer Usher. I’m so proud of my dad and all he’s accomplished, and my mom and I were extremely excited to be sharing that experience with my dad.

(and to meet Usher, of course.)

If you know me, you know that my major guilty pleasure is reading celebrity gossip. I stick to the people I trust, i.e. People and Just Jared. And recently, they had been posting a lot about Emily Deschanel (Bones, my favorite!) and Beyonce, and some other people going to this upscale vegan restaurant called Crossroads.

So when my dad asked where I wanted to go while we were in LA, I suggested we branch out a little and try this place.

Obviously, eating at a vegan restaurant is like heaven for me. Not having to worry about ordering, and being able to order literally anything off the menu is perfection. I also wanted to go because I really wanted to write about it for all of you. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but was able to take a few pictures of the food with my phone. It was incredible.

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Vegan Stuffed Shells

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Stuffed-Shells-2

This is one of those good ole’ traditional recipes.. made dairy-free though, obvs.

It’s so funny how when I had dairy, stuffed shells were a meal that I never really craved, and never really ordered from restaurants and ate. But now without dairy, I seriously craveee stuffed shells. I think I really just want that creamy, ricotta cheese type filling. That’s in ravioli, stuffed pizza crust, cannelloni, you know what I’m saying.

And thankfully this recipe fulfills all that and more.

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I’m learning that the more I cook and measure ingredients, the more I instinctively know how much olive oil should be in the pan before I sauté onions, or how many cups of milk I should put in the pot, or how many tablespoons of nutritional yeast to make the recipe “cheesy”. Am I becoming a real chef or something?

Nawww… not even close.

But hey, at least I’m trying :)

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And trust me, I still make serious mistakes. Like, after I photographed these babies I stuffed one right into my mouth, only to be met with some serious heat.

I had accidentally used arrabiata pasta instead of regular tomato sauce.

You live some, you learn some.

Or something like that (I was never good with puns, or slangs, or whatever it’s called).

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Vegan Stuffed Shells
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 14-ounce box extra firm tofu
  • 21 jumbo shells (about half of a 12-ounce box)
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
for the filling:
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup fake cheese (I used Daiya)
Instructions
  1. Drain the tofu.
  2. Press the tofu. To do so, lay out four layers of paper towels (two pieces folded over), then place the tofu on top, then add four more layers of paper towels on top of tofu, place a plate on top with a can or a few heavy books.
  3. While pressing the tofu, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the jumbo shells. Cook the shells for 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain the shells and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is translucent and soft, mix in the nutritional yeast.
  6. In a medium sized bowl, remove the tofu from the "press" and crumble it into the bowl. Stir in the oregano, basil, non-dairy milk, and salt.
  7. Add the tofu mixture onto the skillet with the onions and garlic and sauté until the mixture is hot and well mixed together, resembling ricotta cheese.
  8. In a 2 quart baking dish, add half the jar of tomato sauce and ¼ cup "cheese".
  9. Using a spoon, scoop the filling into the shells and place on the baking dish.
  10. Sprinkle the other ¼ cup "cheese" on top.
  11. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  12. Serve hot.

Yum!

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Sixth & Pine: Salt Lake City, Utah

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So Nordstrom’s has this really nice restaurant inside their stores, called Sixth & Pine. The food is incredible, but getting there with an allergy wasn’t so easy.

I’ve been traveling for a little over a month now, and since I’ve been eating out often I’ve noticed that restaurants are really getting the gluten free allergy down. They now have GF next to tons of their foods on the menu, and seem to be very knowledgable on all things gluten free. Which is just amazing! It’s so awesome to see restaurants really catering to those needs.

Unfortunately though, dairy allergies still seem to struggle and options for us are pretty obsolete at restaurants.

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Big Bob Gibson’s Incredibly Delicious Chocolate Pie

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Visit Big Bob Gibson in Decatur, Alabama or at their website: www.bigbobgibson.com

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Let’s all be clear on one thing: my grandmother, Grammy as she is known in my family, rocks. She’s so cool, funny, beautiful and just overall amazing. She lived with my parents for a month when I was born to help take care of me, and would drive 13 hours from her home in Moulton, Alabama to South Florida (where we lived until I was ten) twice a month for years. Of course, Abuelo (my Puerto Rican Grandfather, yes, I’m 1/4 Puerto Rican) was there too, but more about him later ;)

Grammy used to hold me for hours as a baby while I cried and cried and cried, and when we discovered it was because of my dairy allergy, she was as relieved as I was. She knew that was the reason (besides just being a baby) that I was so upset all the time my first years of life… because my tummy hurt!

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Maggiano’s: Boston

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My parents started a school a few years ago called Ohana Institute. It’s a pretty amazing 5th-12th grade accredited private school, and you should for sure check it out. www.ohanainstitute.org

I graduated from Ohana two years ago, and work there as a teacher’s assistant now. And Vivian is too young to go to Ohana (yet). But my younger sister, Hannah, and Viv’s two older sisters, Anne Margaret and Evelyn, attend.

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