Welcome to Jamie Oliver-land

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while then you’ll know that Jamie Oliver is one of my favorite chefs.

So I made an effort to find a few of his restaurants when we were in London. High on my list was Union Jack’s which is tied to his Great Britain cookbook. Here’s the vegetarian catch- I have to rethink he’s classic British recipes not only to convert them, but reinvent them to make them veg. So alas, the menu turned out not to have the adventurous veggie eating I was hoping for. I ended up just cruising by and taking pictures while it was closed.

I loved the decor because it reminded me so much of his cookbook.





We dropped by his pop-up Jamie’s Diner late one night for dessert. I think it was suppose to be a twist on the Route 66 diner notion, but that twist ended up being- Surprise-dinosaurs!



John had rosemary sprinkled “chips” and a cream soda (which was really good) and I had a lemon pie with a dandelion soda. The pie was good, but I wanted a vat of the whipped cream.



I’m not going to lie, we weren’t wowed.


But that’s why it’s a pop-up right? They did have these lovely words painted on the wall.


We made sure to stop by a Jamie’s Italian. We ate at one when we were in Leeds 2 years ago and had a fantastic meal.
This time John had squash stuffed ravioli that reminded me of candy wrappers.

There were beet chips involved which went really well with the pasta.

I had a cheese tortellini primavera which was light and nice. And yes, those are mushy peas under the pasta.


But let’s be honest- what we came for was dessert.
John had the Epic Brownie which included amaretti ice cream and, brace yourself, caramel amaretti popcorn on top.


I had the ice cream combo I fell in love with in Leeds: a scoop of honey, salted caramel, and vanilla with warm butterscotch and crushed honeycomb on the top.

Oh my.

Jamie Oliver-land mission accomplished. Now where can I buy some of that smashed honeycomb?


meatless monday: vegan mac & cheese




yes that’s right that’s some vegan mac & cheese and it was oh so yummy!


serves 4


2 cups elbow macaroni

1 1/2 bags diaya shredded cheese

2 TBSP tofutti sour cream

1/2 cup soy or almond milk

1 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ground pepper

paprika for sprinkling


*cook elbow macaroni till just tender. while macaroni is cooking mix together 1/2 a package of shredded diaya cheese, with sour cream, milk, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper.

*when macaroni is down mix in with milk and cheese mixture, mix well, add in the rest of the shredded cheese, mix well. place mixture into a greased 9×9 baking dish. sprinkle paprika on top. cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes and 375

The Borough Market, or should I say, Food Heaven

Ok, I didn’t plan this, but one of the oldest open air food markets was in our hotel’s back yard. I did plan on going to several food markets, but I had no idea that the second I walked in that I would feel like I was entering a food dream come true.


Imagine if your local farmer’s market tripled in size and almost every vendor was cooking AND selling fresh local foods. My pictures can’t convey the wonder of it all…especially the fabulous smells. Everyone was stirring, frying, cutting, tasting…I was overwhelmed with happy plate-ness and cooking bliss.




Hand-tied homemade sausages. The ties were not just knots, but bows.



I was on a mission for a meringue.


I didn’t eat all of these, but I could have. I got a brownie chocolate meringue. Holy Queen Elizabeth was that a good idea. We also had cheesy bread twists, lavender-mint earl grey tea, and cheese onion pasty.

We ended up in food markets in Shoreditch, Spitalfields, and an Asian market outside the Southbank Center.

I took a Soundpic of the Southbank market so you could hear the moment! Just press play to listen.


And everyday we walked by this giant frying pan of wonderful at an outside restaurant.


John said I smiled every time I saw it. Yes, yes indeed, I did.


London Pride


Guess what? We went to London (again)! You know that means– John and I had to have our standard veggie fish and chips with mushy peas at The Anchor. This pub is “our” pub when we’re in Londontown and this trip we decided to be week long Londoners who live Southbank (making The Anchor our legitimate pub).

I always sample the local ale and this time London Pride was on tap. It lived up to it’s name. Man I love pints!


It was also hard apple cider season. the weather was in the lower 60’s temperature wise so it kind of made sense for June. I tried Rosie’s Pig. It actually tasted like lemonade…which might be why the bartender was hesitant to just let me order it. But I’m a high adventurer!


“Yeah, but how were the veggie fish and chips?” you ask…

They were was so good…


(warm, barely melted insides…perfect)


…and then so gone!


meatless monday: taj mahal restaurant review

lets go on a meatless monday restaurant adventure! that was my suggestion. i’d been dying to try the newest indian restaurant in springfield, taj mahal on repbulic road. Elise ventured out with me and we ordered up a mix of food. including naan, mango chutney, vegetable pakora!

elise with the pakora

elise with the pakora

we ordered up a couple of dishes. mine was a mixture of tomatoes and eggplant, elise got a dish with potatoes and mushrooms.

behold the yumminess

behold the yumminess

conclusion……..that was some of the best indian food i’ve ever had!! lets just say i wanted to go back again the next day. on my next visit i plan to try one of their naan wrap sandwiches!

Their selection of vegetarian dishes is pretty significant, curries, various sauces, chickpea dishes, cheese based meals, and of course the option to choose your own level of spicy. I will say I got mine medium spicy and there was some serious kick to it. I did not investigate how vegan some of the dishes are so make sure to ask if it’s important.

Can’t wait to go back and hope to see you there on the next meatless Monday!

Foodie Adventure: Blue Food?

In this picture it looks a little more green than blue, but trust me, this pasta was brighter than a robin’s egg. Did I make this? No, but I did try it at a graduation party (blue was one of the school colors- fyi, so it was for a celebratory cause).

It tasted good, so I guess just like peace, we should always give blue food a chance.

You can kind of see a peek of the true color behind my veggie burger to the right of the deviled egg…


its a dairy free world

in the last few months i have been diagnosed with a full on dairy allergy. combined with my other development of a shellfish allergy in the last few years eating whatever i want has now fully gone out the window. i haven’t really missed anything to much. i mainly get mad at the fact other people can just eat whatever the hell they want and i have to ask 50 billion questions about what is in food and then i pretty much feel you are lying to me so its best if i just stay home to eat. but the beauty is that in the last few years wonderful dairy free products have started to be produced. from almond bite frozen bon bons to vegan sour cream. my most recent exciting purchase dairy free frozen pizza. i’m almost starting to feel a little normal again.

dairy free pimento cheese

its not a pimento cheese sandwich if it doesn't have pickles

its not a pimento cheese sandwich if it doesn’t have pickles

you can’t grow up in the mid-south without loving yourself some pimento cheese.  here’s my dairy free version.  leave it vegan or and a little carnivore flavor to it by mixing in some chopped up bacon bits!




1 bag shredded dairy free cheese crumbles (i like daiya)

2 tbsp daiya cream cheese

1 small jar pimentos

1/2 cup veganaise

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp red ground pepper

mix all ingredients together in a bowl. its best to use your hands to get it evenly mixed.  serve as a sandwich or on top of some fried green tomatoes!


Wave those red, white and blue pies!

So, some of my recipes and pies were features on Hallmark.com!


These pictures I took in my kitchen before taking my pie babies to the profession photo studio.



Here they are in all their picture-perfect, heartfelt and fourth of July-iness.


They asked for red, white and blue pies and one to have stripes…that was a new one for me, but it turned out to be easier to pull off than I thought it was going to be.

If you need some patriotic pies for your cook-out, these recipes will do the trick!