I spent the latter half of the week in Chicago on business. It was a very last minute trip, which although I enjoy, comes its own sets of frustrations and anxieties. By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I was excited to be boarding my plane and heading home.

The flight itself was uneventful. I watched a few movies on my iPad, and over the swell of a violin mid-romance film, the pilot announced our descent into Austin. The flight crew performed their final run through the cabin, forced the stragglers to return chairs and tray tables to their upright position, and buckled in for landing. My movie hit its climactic moment. The violin relaxed, and the characters settled into their new found happiness post-love confessions. The credits began to roll. I looked around, curiously. We were still in the air.

As if one cue, the pilot announced that a small storm cell had appeared over the city, and we were forced into a holding pattern. I pulled out my Kindle and settled in for the imminent 30 minute delay. Except when 30 minutes passed, we were not any closer to landing.

“You might have noticed we haven’t landed,” the pilot chuckled. No one else laughed. “We actually ran out of fuel circling, and we will be landing in Houston shortly. Once we load up, we’ll be back in the air and have you safe in Austin in no time.”

Passengers grumbled. I sighed and looked at my phone. It was already close to 6:00 PM, and I started to confront the reality that I would not be landing in Austin until closer to 7:30.

When we arrived at the gate in Houston, nothing happened. Minutes passed without any indication that our plane would actually be refueling as promised. Sure enough, after another half hour, the pilot announced that he and the co-pilot had reached their legal flight limit. The plane, they said, would not be going to Austin after all.

“Don’t worry, though. Attendants are waiting at the gate to help you find alternative flights home this evening.”

At this point, everyone was irritated. We all begrudgingly deplaned, only to be met with the fact that most of us already knew in our hearts: there were no more available flights to Austin that evening.

I stood there, frozen, trying to figure out my next move. A few other people close to my age had the same distraught look on their faces, and we did the only thing we could do: we rented a car together.

It was not something I would have ever seen myself doing, but it was so much fun! There were five of us total. We all piled into a mini-van. The whole experience was very Breakfast Club, and if I’m being 100% honest, I’m glad it happened. Was it stressful? Yes. But it felt good to meet people I never would have had the opportunity to meet before. Overall, not a bad start to the weekend!

Nevertheless, by the time I arrived home at close to 11:00 PM, I was exhausted. But I was greeted with a second mystery present: JB’s mom, S, sent us Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ Vegan with a Vengeance.

I want to take a moment to give a sincere shout-out to S. She has been so incredibly supportive of this blog and of our transition to veganism. One of my favorite parts about this blog is that it’s brought us closer. She always take the time to watch the documentaries I recommend, reads the reports I reference, and texts me with new vegan recipes she’s found. It’s really been awesome. <3 Thank you, S, for really taking what I have to say to heart. It means so, so much to me!

JB and I are very familiar with Isa Chandra’s Moskowitz’s recipes. The Veganomicon was one of the first vegan cookbooks that we purchased, and her Eggplant Bacon Mac and Cheeze was one of the first recipes that we made after deciding we wanted to switch from plain ol’ vegetarians to full-on vegans. There is no such thing as a bad Isa recipe (seriously, everything she does is incredible), so having more amazing food options at our fingertips is really exciting.

We’ll be making two recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance this week:

  1. Mushroom and Sun-dried Tomato Risotto
  2. Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Tapenade

And if I’m being honest with myself (and with you!), her recipe for chocolate chocolate chip (yes, DOUBLE CHOCOLATE) pancakes are definitely happening this weekend. Brunch anyone? Is it Sunday morning yet?

The rest of the weekend was a lot less more relaxed. JB, my brother, and our friend Z spent the first half of Saturday at Inks Lake State Park. It was gorgeous. JB was gracious enough to make chickpea salad sandwiches for all of us. I was nervous how it would hold up after a few hours in my backpack, but it tasted delicious after our 6.5 mile hike. Now that the highs here in Texas are only in the mid-nineties (yeah, only), it’s been so great being able to spend a large portion of the weekend outside.

Here are the local Austin vegan bites we were lucky enough to stuff ourselves with this weekend:

  • Rockstar Bagels
    I’ve driven past Rockstar Bagels several times, but didn’t realize that all their flavors (except for the jalapeno cheddar) were vegan until I saw them labeled “V” at Wheatsville Co-op. Since it is so close to our house, I made a quick trip to their brick and mortar location pre-Saturday hike. I had a rosemary and thyme and an everything, and they were delicious. I don’t know if you’re supposed to “carb up” before a day hike, but I definitely did. No regrets here.
  • Unity Vegan Kitchen‘s weekly special: Chickun Enchiladas (pictured below)
    Words are not necessary here. Just look at the photo. Unity has really been knocking it out of the park with their weekly specials. Last week they had a chickun fajita plate, and a few weeks before that, a vegan Philly cheese steak. Fingers crossed that chickun and waffles is making its way into the rotation soon!
  • Vegan Nom tacos
    JB and I could eat Vegan Nom every week. The tacos are some of the best I’ve ever had, including all of the ones that I consumed before transitioning to being vegan. Unfortunately, we always miss their monthly specials. This month’s is called the El Azteca and features VEGAN BARBACOA. It sold out before we wandered over to the trailer mid-afternoon on Sunday. I soothed my sadness with a tofu and potato breakfast taco and their Rockin’ Vegan Migas taco which is comprised of tortilla chips, peppers, tofu scramble, vegan cheddar, and smothered in their three signature sauces. The meal ended with one of Celeste’s Best chocolate chip cookies. Calories don’t exist on the weekends, right?

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After all the delicious treats, a healthy meal for Monday night was definitely in order. I whipped up Keepin’ it Kind’s Portobello Philly Cheese Steak Bowls and served it over quinoa. I’ve been on a real quinoa kick lately, and this recipe looked too good to pass over. Despite the cheese-y topping, a serving of this dinner was less than 400 calories. Since calories do exist on the weekdays, this is very good news for me.

How was your weekend, lovelies? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

xoxo,
sb

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