Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Lemongrass Thai Bistro

Review of Lemongrass Thai Bistro in Macon, Ga

A nice little restaurant in downtown Macon. The nice thing about the restaurant is they label their food and also state at the top of the Thai list that items can be made vegan. 

Blurry menu but top is "V" description for veganizing items

On Thursdays the restaurant offers happy hour deals until 6pm. This includes discounted appetizers including these delicious veggie double tempura rolls. 

Veggie Double Tempura Rolls
Sorry for the poor picture quality. Thursday night is date night, and the lights are lowered in the restaurant.

Please note for vegans that the orange drizzle on the side is actually a mayo style sauce that does contain dairy. Ask your serve to leave this off the plate. The good thing is it was not touching the tempura rolls. 

The tempura rolls are the best appetizer on the menu. Actually they can serve as dinner, and right now on Thursday night before 6pm they cost just $5! 

Now, I highly recommend if you like spicy food asking for the TomTom (s/p) sauce. It is made in-house and is spicy goodness. 

Pad Ki Mow Nua with tofu (#N3)
For the main course, which I ended up taking most of it home, is what I would call drunken noodles. Be careful. Thai hot was too hot for me. I typically ask for two chili peppers and then add TomTom sauce to it if needed. 

It can be hard to find parking, and the restaurant is small. So be prepared for limited tight seating. They also have seating outside. Again, Thursday night before 6pm is currently Happy Hour with discounted drinks, appetizers, and other items.  

Overall the restaurant offers great food, and during Happy Hour at a great price. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vegan biscuits at last!

I've hunted far and wide for vegan biscuits, and come up empty. I'm sure there are probably some available at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's but sadly there isn't a store near Macon or Columbus. We typically take side trips to Atlanta just to grocery shop about every other month. I really wanted to find a place locally that had good biscuits or find a good recipe.

So I went online, and then my sweet husband offered to make biscuits from scratch. And O.M.G. they were so delicious. I mean look...

Homemade vegan biscuit with Upton's Naturals bacon seitan and Daiya provolone style cheese slices

If you are more of a fan of sweet than savory then this is your jam:

Homemade vegan biscuit with strawberry jam from the Mulberry Farmer's Market
The great thing about these biscuits is they only take 1 bowl and about 30 minutes. The recipe is online at Minimalist Baker (original recipe adopted from Alton Brown).

If you don't have a biscuit cutter, then use a glass or the top from a mason jar. Just make sure to dust with flour and don't overwork the dough. Overworking the dough will make for dense non-fluffy biscuits. 

Upton's Naturals bacon seitan
Make sure to add seasoning to the seitan bacon. We found it a little plain without adding seasoning. 

Vegan Biscuits Ingredients:
  1. 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 1 Tbsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 3/4 tsp sea salt
  5. 4 Tbsp non-dairy, unsalted butter (I use Earth Balance)
  6. 1 cup unsweetened PLAIN almond (I used Soy milk as we don't keep almond milk on hand) milk + 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

So 7 ingredients, 1 bowl, and 30 minutes. Sounds too good to be true, and the taste. Yum! But wait it gets better... 

That's right... homemade vegan sausage gravy!!! We My husband made the gravy this weekend to go with our biscuits. 

Vegan Sausage Gravy Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups soy or almond milk
  • 4 sausage substitute patties or ground sausage links (ex. Boca or Morningstar Breakfast Patties. Make sure to read the packages ingredients. I don't like Morningstar, or really Boca. We typically use Kroger Simple Truth. I prefer the taste over Morningstar or Boca, but that's just me. When cooking the sausage add liquid smoke. It will turn the gravy brown but will also be so good)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt -- we added more
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper -- we added more
  • Mrs. Dash... we wanted more spice
  • My note: Add sriracha sauce as it's cooking to kick it up a notch. Just a little!
  • Recipe from the Southern Vegan

As you can see we made these biscuits several times and tried various versions. These biscuits have become a regular item in our house most weekends now because they are awesome. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Photo essay: What's growing in West Virginia's urban ruins?

This is a great story of how a small group of individuals is trying to improve a community while offering healthier food. Giving hope to an area that is suffering. I wonder if something like this could be done in Macon? Or in other towns in Georgia that are struggling? Could this be a way to fight blight in the area? I've heard stories of how community gardens that were started had to be closed due to vandalism and people arguing over ownership of the vegetables. What do you think? Could this type of urban farming be done in Georgia? In Macon? Is it already being done? Either way, the eco/green hippie in me would love to dive in and play in the dirt all day! :)

from Diigo


Friday, October 3, 2014

Grocery Shopping in the Heart of Georgia

Calling all shoppers, this post is for you!

Ok, so I don't really like to shop. I often try to avoid it, but what I do like is finding unique stores. Whether it is grocery stores, or thrift stores or antiques I prefer to shop at local unique places (Oh, I need to post about recent trip with many antique stops!)... when my bank account allows. I also like learning about the owners and farmers in local areas. The issue is sometimes shopping for specialty vegan items outside of large urban areas can be a challenge. For instance, I often struggle to find hazelnut milk at a decent price. I can find chocolate milk but not plain hazelnut milk. So what can you do in Macon? What about Columbus? 


Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant and Store 

For Columbus, I've mentioned it before... Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant and Store has some of the best prices on items in the bulk bins. I checked the nutritional yeast price per pound to the Amazon price, and Country Life had the best price. Now, their pre-packaged items are higher than Publix or Winn-Dixie. 

Market Days on Broadway:

This market has really grown in the last few years. It now stretches several blocks and it is fun to see all the local vendors. Plus you stumble across great finds like these:

A family member who was at the market said, "Figures Alisha would buy a painting of a pig." Yes... Yes I did! In fact, I bought the big pig, chicks, and cow. They are now proudly displayed in my kitchen. I almost bought more since the artist is local to Columbus and has very reasonable prices. I really just liked the happy faces on the animals and the bright colors.

Prices can be high for the fresh produce but you are supporting local farmers. Always ask the bread artisans if the bread contains egg, dairy, or honey. I have yet to find a bakery at the market that is vegan. If you have found one, please let me know!

I could list all the grocery stores in Columbus, but I really just wanted to hit the highlights. Check out Marvin's Market for great prices on local produce. The frozen vegetables are some of the best prices in town. Of course there is Publix, which does have Diaya, Tofurky, and other items. 


Farmer's Market on Eisenhower

I've been to this market a few times. I really like that it is outside but is covered; however, not all of the produce is local. So keep this in mind when shopping. The prices vary at each vendor. I typically go here to find peas... oh wonderful deliscious locally grown peas like blackeyes, pinkeyes, and more.

Mulberry Street Market on Wednesday Afternoons

I've been to this market a few times and purchased some great local vegetables. The market has outgrown its current location and is moving to Tattnell Square Park. The first day in the new location is October 15th at 3:30 pm. I am glad to hear it is moving. Parking was always an issue in its previous location, and it was kind of small. I hope it continues to grow. 

Wesleyan Farmers Market on Saturday 

I tend to forget about this market. It may be due to the schedule changing. I would check their Facebook page for the latest schedule. 

Yvonne's Natural Market

Yvonne's Natural Market, while it does carry lots of meat and supplements (not really my thing), it does carry some veggie items I cannot find elsewhere. For instance, Snapeas are sold here at a good price. Review on Snapeas soon!

Forsyth Farmer's Market

Yes, I have traveled to Forsyth to visit their Farmer's Market. Ok, maybe I just happened to be in the area and noticed a great little market set up so I stopped. And I am so glad we did stop! 
They had great local produce in a cute small town. Check the website for times and dates, but it usually is opened on Friday mornings.
Town square in Forsyth
Really big cabbage at the market that was delicious!
I may have also made a side trip or two just to buy an insane amount of peaches at Dickey Farms; although, I seem to have hidden the photographic evidence. So I highly recommend checking out local farms. If you have any good ones, let me know in the comments.

Kroger in Macon

Kroger has many vegan items, and although it is a chain I had to post a couple of pictures from recent trips :)
Keep an eye out for coupons from fellow shoppers left on the shelf. I happened to find this coupon on the shelf and combined it with the sale on Earth Balance. :)

The sign I've been in the grocery store... vegan book prominently displayed!
While I buy local items often, I also like to support the stocking of vegan items at larger stores so they don't discontinue items like this:

It was a great buy, but a sad day to see the earth balance popcorn was only in the stores for a month before they stopped carrying the product in Macon.

Atlanta side trips:

All of this being said, I still make a trip to Atlanta at least once every other month to visit Dekalb International Farmer's Market, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

Why? Dekalb International Farmer's Market has the best prices on spices, bulk nuts, coconut oil, and a few other items.


  1. Grab a buggy in the parking lot before going inside (there are no buggies inside). 
  2. Check out the spices, veggies, fruits, and alcohol section. The pre-packaged foods are not a great buy.
  3. The meat section is all the way on the back left hand side of the store and it can be difficult to walk past for some. 
  4. For all us greenie/crunchy/hippie/environmentalist put your reusable bags on the bottom. 
  5. Never go on Saturday morning... it is crazy busy and jammed pack like a pickle jar.

Ok so what did I miss? Any farmers markets, local farms, or unique grocery stores you enjoy in the area? Maybe somewhere else in Middle Georgia you like to visit? Please share with the group! Look for a post soon about some unique antique/thrift stores.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Review: Earth Balance Mac & Cheese

So when I heard Eartg Balance came out with a box version of Mac & cheese, I knew I had to try it. I've been trying to find a good fix. I've tried several homemade recipes. Some are good, others ok but sometimes you just want a quick convenience meal.

First, let me say this box is currently only available in select stores. Supposedly, Whole Foods in Atlanta carries this product but I couldn't find it :( I tried the local natural food store in Macon, Ga, with no luck. So what's a vegan gal to do? Well call your personal shopper, aka Dad. I found out that Country Life Vegetarian in Columbus, Ga, just started carrying this product (about $3.50 per box). And guess what? My sweet Dad picked me up some of this yummy pasta! 

I decided to pack some for our recent beach trip and try it out. I really liked the messages on the box. 

The pasta is basically just like the blue box. 

To me it was yummy, gooey, and cheesy. Of course, I could always use more cheese. I made the box using soy milk and Earth Balance soy butter. You can use any plant milk and non-dairy cheese.

So did it pass the test? Well my cousin's son ate some not knowing it was vegan, and he was none the wiser, which means it must be good! 

I think for a quick meal this is a great and easy fix. I also have a box of parmasean to try soon. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grand re-opening of Back to Edenz Today!

I previously posted about the new veggie restaurant in Macon, Ga.
Today Back to Edenz will celebrate the Grand Reopening of Edenz. The grand opening officially starts at 12noon -2. If your not able to make it during those hours don't worry. They will have activities going on all day into the night ending with our poetry/open mic night. There will be Live Music going on throughout the day, door prizes and lots more. 
I am also really interested in the official roll out Back to Edenz Meal plan where you'll be able to save money while eating healthy. Curious to find out more details about this program! 
So stop by Back to Edenz today and show support for this local veggie restaurant. See the image from their Facebook page for more information.

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's back! Back to Edenz Vegetarian Restaurant

This past week I had a wonderful experience. I went into a restaurant, and started casually talking to someone in the line. We were discussing the different items on the buffet, and I asked if she was a vegetarian. Not only is she a vegetarian and vegan on many days, but we found out we both recently moved from Columbus, Ga. We then lamented on how we missed Country Life.

I miss the great buys in the bulk bins!

So while I had a captive audience, I casually mentioned I was trying to start up a veggie group in this area. She got excited and said I thought that was you! Yes she had heard of Heart of Georgia Veggies! It was an amazing moment for me to know that others are reading my posts, beyond just my family and close friends. Thank you to everyone who reads this post. A BIG thank you to the person I ran into at the restaurant, who had found this blog! It is great to know that reviewing the local resources, etc. is providing information for others. This has only encouraged me to post more and try to improve the blog and group.

If you have suggestions for the blog, the group, or ideas for meet ups please let me know. Also, don't forget to join the Facebook group.

I see the stats on this blog, and I know that people are looking at it, but I know the SEO (search engine optimization) isn't that great. This basically means that when I do a Google search the blog doesn't come up :(.  I am usually pretty good at these techie items, but I just haven't had time to devote to this page. I'll work on it, and if anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

Now for the review of the magical restaurant where I had this awesome experience while grabbing some yummy food:

After living in Macon for a year and hearing several people mention that there use to be a vegetarian restaurant in Macon, but it closed in 2008. Well, its back! Back to Edenz had a soft opening on July 7th, and will have a grand opening toward the end of the month. Right now, they are open Monday-Friday 11 am- 3 pm, but plan to offer dinner hours after the grand opening  now open Monday-Thursday 11 am - 7pm, Friday 11 am - 3 pm & Sunday 12-5pm. They also deliver 478 405-3336. 

As you can see from the sign above their menu changes daily and is sold by the pound. This is good for people who want to try a little of everything, but bad for those of us that sometimes eat with our eyes....


Starting from the top clockwise: collards, squash, plantain, veggie stir fry, scalloped potatoes, and pasta salad. Oh, my goodness I was so full afterwards!

I typically do not eat plantains, but these were very good. I particularly enjoyed the veggie stir fry, and scalloped potatoes. Everything was very flavorful and filling. The scallop potatoes were not ooey gooey, but they were very good. The veggie stir fry was basic rice and veggies, but I love fried rice so it was really good to me.

The only item I've seen so far that is not vegan is the vegetarian fried chicken:


My husband tried this, and said it was awesome. He said it was crispy, and had a good texture. This is vegetarian fried chicken since it contains egg whites.

So the food was so good, I went back the next week :)

Vegan barbecue 
Vegan Macaroni and cheese, and vegan black eyed pea casserole

I picked this up to go so the pictures are not that great, but the food tasted great! The mac and cheese again wasn't ooey gooey. It was more nutty flavor, and tasted more like a casserole. I really enjoyed it, but if you're expecting something like the blue box, this isn't it. This is more homemade casserole type mac and cheese. It was really good.

I was pleasantly surprised by the blacked eye pea casserole. It had an awesome flavor and texture. You can see some greens mixed in too.

Now for dessert!

Vegan Apple Pie

Vegan carob cupcake
I normally love apple pie, and don't get me wrong this was good... but the carob cupcake, IMO, wins hands down. It was creamy, chocolate, sweet but not too sweet, and just yummy.

I added Back to Edenz to Happy Cow (see previous post to learn about Happy Cow). Please add restaurants to Happy Cow in the Columbus and Heart of Georgia area. Adding items to the app, marking items on Yelp or Urbanspoon, etc. really help other veggies find good places to eat. It also helps these small restaurants. Vegans Unite! Oh, wait that's another website and another post for another time as this one has already turned into a book with tons of exclamation points.

For now, check out Back to Edenz and help support this local veggie restaurant. They post their menu on Facebook each day. I saw they even have vegan deviled eggs. I will have to try those soon! It is great to have a veggie restaurant back in this area. I look forward to going back to Back to Edenz again for many more delicious meals, talks with fellow veggies, and maybe even a veggie meet up at Back to Edenz. Anyone interested?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Tropical Smoothie Cafe Columbus, GA

Sometimes you just want something cool and refreshing especially when it is hot outside. So one morning my Mom and I ventured over to Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Columbus, Ga. I wanted to try the Beyond Meat sandwiches they recently started offering. 

It has been a while since I've been so I am trying to remember exactly what I ordered! It was part of the island combo deal. I ordered a half of a bistro sandwich and smoothie. 

Now, the beyond meat was not listed in the bistro sandwiches. I had to ask the cashier to substitute the beyond meat in one of the sandwiches, but it wasn't an issue.

The sandwich was basic. It was bread with beyond meat, minus the mayo add mustard, and basic lettuce and tomato. The sandwiches typically have mayo and some type of cheese. Make sure to let your cashier if you are vegan to leave out the mayo and cheese. The best thing is it was just enough to go with the really big Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie.

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie. Picture from Tropical Smoothie website.
The smoothie is what made this meal great. Yes the sandwich was good, and it was nice to have a savory item to offset the large smoothie but the smoothie was cooling and filling. I probably enjoyed the smoothie more due to the hot weather! 

A quick note about their smoothies, only certain smoothies can be made vegan. Each smoothie list next to it if it is made with yogurt and if it is then it cannot be made vegan (or at least that is what I found). Make sure to let your cashier know that you want a smoothie with no dairy, no yogurt, and no whey. The whey part is important. Some of the smoothies contain whey protein powder, which not everyone realizes is made from milk. It is always best to ask for the ingredient list in the smoothies and to see what can be substituted.

Really many items can be created from their menu. It is always nice to have a vegan smoothie option in Columbus, Ga. Plus, when you are traveling there are often Tropical Smoothie Cafe's around since it is a chain unless of course you live in Macon, Ga. There is no Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Macon, which means I will have to wait until I visit Columbus again for another smoothie trip!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: Mellow Mushroom Macon Georgia

It has been a while since I have posted a restaurant review, but that doesn't mean I haven't visited several restaurants. I have several pictures from previous visits that I will post with reviews soon.

Up first, Mellow Mushroom in Macon, Ga

The great thing about Mellow Mushroom is they have several options for vegetarians and vegans! The restaurant is often a welcome sight for people traveling through the heart of Georgia considering the limited veggie options. The restaurant has been added to Happy Cow, and I am excited to see someone else has posted a review. As the other reviewer notes, it is a great road trip stop. It is also great for veggies in town to have a veggie option.

As the menu states, they do offer vegan cheese, tofu, tempeh, and other veggie options. I have been here several times but as usual... I normally eat my food and then remember to take pictures.... opps! 

Sometimes I venture out and order the Portobello and Vegan Cheese Hoagie, or the Mega Veggie Pizza; however, I often order the House Calzone with vegan cheese. I mean look at this yummy goodness...

 This picture was from this past weekend in celebration of National Vegan Pizza Day. It was an excellent calzone that was packed full of veggies. See how they ooze out of the calzone with the vegan cheese.

So a couple of notes about this restaurant. While they do offer vegan cheese, tofu, tempeh, etc. you still must make sure to tell them not to include Parmesan or butter on the items. Then when the item comes out make sure to check it before digging in to the food. I have, on occasions, had the calzone come out with butter and Parmesan on top of it. The kitchen quickly remedied the situation, but it is no fun to get all the way home with a carry-out order to find out you cannot eat it. 

The atmosphere of the restaurant is nice and everyone is very welcoming... just be careful playing around the mystic ball playground...

So while Mellow Mushroom is not a unique pizza place since it is a chain that is found in many locations, it is still a welcome sight in a place with few veggie options. If you are driving through Macon it is right off I-75 and very accessible. Perhaps soon I will find some local pizza places in Macon or Columbus area to review. Anyone have any suggestions?


Sunday, June 8, 2014

New veggie restaurant in Macon!

So I just heard some of the best news. After living in Macon for a year now, and finding it challenging to eat at local restaurants, 'Back to Edenz' is re-opening!

According to their Facebook they are working on the final details now. There is no official opening date yet; although I've heard rumor it may be later this month! 

It looks like by the picture of their store front that they'll be open for lunch during the week. While this may make it challenging to visit as often as I'd like, since I don't often take a lunch, I will visit as often as possible.

As soon as there is more information I will post it here. Of course when the restaurant opens I'll do a full review. So far I've seen pictures of vegan fried chicken, but I must admit I'm really looking forward to vegan pastries!!! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Raw Vegan Recipe : Peaches and "Cream" Pie

Peach season is just around the corner. I plan on making this soon when we have fresh peaches. I also still have tons of peaches to use in my freezer. Any suggestions or recipe ideas? I am thinking of smoothies soon. Any other thoughts?

from Diigo


Saturday, March 8, 2014

14 Vegan Cheeses That Will Make You Forget About The Real Thing

I've made the cheddar cheese ball... Need to try some of the others soon. Yum!

from Diigo


Vitamix Review

Back in early January, we bought a Vitamix. I must admit, I have been wanting a Vitamix for a while now. I originally did not want to spend the large amount of cash on a blender, but after our Ninja started having issues blending cashews and other items we decided it was time to investigate a new blender. 

At first, we looked at the new professional series Ninja. Then we compared the Blendtec to the Vitamix. It was a difficult decision, but in the end we bought a refurbished Vitamix. 


So what was one of the first things I made with the Vitamix? Well a green smoothie of course!

Ingredients: Kale, peanut butter, ground flax seeds, frozen bananas, and water. 


I highly suggest layering your smoothies in the Viatmix to make for easier cleanup. See how I have the peanut butter at the top... yeah I don't recommend that at all. Last time I made a smoothie, I put the water, peanut butter and flax seed in first. Then I packed in the kale and on the top was the frozen bananas. This made it much easier to mix up the items and not have as much stick to the side of the container. 
Blend until spinach is pulverized!
Like the top? Reused top of soy milk carton. 

Then blend until you reach desired consistency and flavor. Look at all the yummy green smoothie! It looks like Vulcan blood :) 

The Vitamix does a great job. I will say it does sound like a jet engine taking off in my kitchen, but the noise only lasts for a few minutes. I also like that it is really easy clean-up. Before I was using a juicer and then the Ninja to make smoothies. It took longer, I was cleaning up two machines, and I never used the leftover pulp like I intended. Good intentions, but never got around to it. 

I am still experiementing with the Vitamix and trying out new recipes. Actually, my husband made a great soup with the blender the other night: 

I wish I could give you the instructions and ingredients for this potato soup that he made because it was absolutely delicious. The problem is he just threw it together. I know it included 3 kinds of potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, and other spices but I don't know the proportions or rest of the ingredients. It was absolutely the best potato soup I have ever had hands down. Plus, the Vitamix made for an easy clean-up!

As we experiment more with the Vitamix, I will post more recipes and an updated review on here. So far, it is worth the investment. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What's a Pummelo?

I'm always up for trying new food, well new vegan food. So the other day when we went to Whole Foods I saw a fruit I've never seen or had... and it was on sale! I've got a little bit of my dad in me, I could not pass up the sale :)

So what's a pummelo (or pomelo)?
Citrus maxima, is a crisp citrus fruit native to South and Southeast Asia. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white flesh and very thick albedo. Wikipedia

When it says very thick rind, it means it! So here are the pictures of the cutting and a review of a new fruit to me. 


Here is my pummelo waiting to be cut and enjoyed. It is the largest citrus fruit and it was kind of heavy compared to a grapefruit. SO how do you cut a pummelo? 

First, chop off the cap. You will need to cut two inches into the rind. I actually had to cut it, and then cut it again as I was worried I was going to cut into the flesh of the fruit. 

Next cut into the round (scoring like an orange but cut deeper as the rind is really thick!). You can see in this picture how thick the rind is on a pummelo. You can also see in this picture that I didn't cut deep enough. I was worried again I would cut the flesh of the fruit. The interesting thing here is the rind is really soft. It feels like Styrofoam. 

You can compost the rind. I was trying to find something else to do with it, as there is a lot of rind, but I couldn't find anything else. So if you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments below. 

Finally, this is the fruit on the inside. It took a good deal of work to get into this fruit, but it was worth it. The pummelo citrus fruit is like a sweet grapefruit. It does still have a bit of a bitter twinge, but otherwise it is really good. I have to admit I'm not much of a grapefruit person, but I could be a pummelo person. I usually prefer oranges or tangerines. Sweet fruits, not twangy. 

Will I buy this fruit again? If it's on sale, yes! I did enjoy it, and enjoyed eating a different kind of fruit. I cannot say it is my favorite fruit, but it is tasty and was worth the effort to cut into it. I'm going to keep trying new fruits and veggies then bring the results here. So look for more reviews and even maybe some recipes.