Sunday, February 7, 2016


Y’ALL!! What a wonderfully fun, busy and hopefully productive week it’s been for your Elf! As Big Solid predicted, hours at The Crossroads Café expanded in order for us to complete our tasks. In addition to heppin’ at the salad and hot bars, we baked cookies (E.P.I.C.) and made our first vegan soup as part of the ‘Something from Susan’ project to introduce non-plant-based folks to delicious vegan/plant-based dishes.
We had to delay our elf-fort by a day as the supplies came in a bit late in the evening for TE to get it together to make the soup (Smoky Refried Bean Soup) 
 but we DID get it all going to serve on Wednesday.

The recipe suggests serving the soup with a fresh tomato salsa/pico de gallo and baked tortilla chips. While the soup was heating up on Wednesday, waiting for the lunch crowd, we did make the pico de gallo and baked some whole grain tortillas. We were really excited to see that first bowl go out and got a chance to talk to the lovely lady who ordered it. She said that the soup was delicious (YAY!) which gave us a chance to talk to her about Susan Voisin and the FatFree Vegan Kitchen. She and her table mate had no idea of Susan’s notoriety in the national vegan/plant-based community and that she resides RIGHT here in little ole Mississippi!!

It’s pretty obvious right now that ‘Something from Susan’ will continue on a bi-weekly basis until we get our orderin’ and prep times more organized. What THAT allows us to do it find some recipes of Susan’s we haven’t TRIED that would be GREAT additions to The Crossroads Café menu and give us a practice run at getting our ‘mis en place’. So, our next FFVK recipe to practice AND enjoy will be Superfoods Soup. 
This soup looks not only delicious but it’s very low in calories, VERY nutritious and can be changed up a bit each time with some substitutes. Plus it will give The Elf a chance to shop at Mr.Chen’s wonderful Asian grocery store for the baby bok choy and some good tofu.
We also had a nice comment on our E.P.I.C. cookies. A gentleman came in to The Café and ordered lunch earlier in the week. When he got ready to leave, he asked about the cookies and we were able to share with him what they are and how they got their name. So, he got one of each. We got busy doin’ something when we heard, “Miss?” We turned around to see the gentleman who’d ordered the cookies and gestured ‘me?’. He nodded, so we went over to see what he needed. He held a half-eaten Oatmeal Walnut Cherry/Craisin cookie in his hand, grinned and said, “You really got something here.” My goodness, Your Elf damn near cried. He complimented the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie as well but his biggest grin was for the Walnut/Cherry. We ran right over to Joe Moorefield (our awesomeness chef) to tell him. He’s been such a great mentor as The Elf bumbles around sometimes; we had to share.
Since today is Super Bowl Sunday, we fixed up a variety of stuffs to have. So we’ll do a lot of snacky stuffs instead of a big meal. Big Solid LOVES our little ‘sausage’ rolls and dipping sauce, so those are on tap with some dipping sauces.

 Here’s the link to the sausage recipe but we altered it to make them appetizers. 

Then we made some Asian Guacamole (REALLY GOOD!) and will have that with some Wasabi flavored Rice Crackers.

We encountered this yummy dish at The Mongolian Grill in Memphis a couple of weeks back and decided we had to learn how to make it. We googled the title and sorta put two recipes together. We’ve had jar of Roasted Black Sesame seeds around for a while, so they FINALLY found their way into a recipe! We’ll get the recipe together and post next week. And our final gustatorial endeavor for the Super Bowl (well, besides a martini or two) will be a revised version of the Smoky Refried Bean Soup. We say revised because Big Solid and black beans (used in Susan’s recipe) do NOT agree with each other. So, we stuck with regular pintos. We also made a pico de gallo to add and have some baked tortilla chips as well. We should be set. We hope it’s a good game with all players safe and sound when the clock runs out.

AND, Tuesday February 9th is Mardi Gras! Annie is dressed in her finest Mardi Gras-ness and ready to catch some beads. She wanted two pictures this time…one of her ‘window’ appearance and the other a close-up of her cool purple hat (it lights up!) and her purple streakedy hair.

 Today, we made some plant-based Andouille sausages (from The Gentle Chef’s Seitan and Beyond cookbook). We prepared a double recipe (12 sausages) because these usually go pretty quickly. We weighed the dough so we’d know how much for each sausage (grams works better than ounces), rolled them in foil and steamed them for about 45 minutes.

 The finished picture is an older one as the final sausages won’t be ready until tomorrow, after the steamed dough has been refrigerated overnight. Helps to develop a  more sausagey texture. The Elf LOVES Red Beans and Rice but Big Solid, not so much. So we may just grilled up some sausages and have a sandwich, throw some beads in the air and play some Zydeco.
And finally, we found a really cool example of how Mother Nature DOES EPIC. Twice a day we walk our fur kids (MiniPearl, Belle and Marley, The Wayward Poodle) for about a mile through a couple of neighborhoods. On the way, there is a small hole in the sidewalk where a mini-world has found purchase. Not sure why, but I LOVE this little miracle world and look forward to it every day.

So, until next week, ‘Let the Good Times Roll’, laugh with gusto, eat plants, love life and DO EPIC!


  1. Just a tip...the Smokey Refried Bean Soup is fantastic over baked potatoes. I cook it down a bit so the texture is more like a thick stew. One of my favorite after workout meals! Bet it would be a hit at the cafe.

  2. What a great idea!! Thanks for the heads up!! T.E.