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Apr 04

Gettin’ Grounded & TVP Bacon Bits

I can admit when I’m wrong.

 

Sometimes.  If I’m in the right mood.

Wednesday I ranted about declining service in restaurants.  I still stand by my theory, but I have to call out the fact that I had absolutely amazing service at dinner last night.

I met a friend at Metro Fresh, one of my favorite local spots.  They serve fresh, clean food.  The menu changes daily and the prices are reasonable.  It’s my go-to.

After enjoying a fantastic piece of salmon and a leafy green salad, I was craving dark chocolate.   I asked if they had squares, but they didn’t.  Much to my surprise, one of the employees brought over the most delicious (housemade!) cinnamon roll.  For.  Free.  

MetroFresh salmon

 

When I got home, I wrote an email to the owner bragging on his staff and thanking him for another great experience.  Have you ever done this?  I try to be as quick to compliment as I am to complain. 

This morning when he emailed out the daily menu, he included my note saying it was especially nice to get after a long, busy day.  How cool is this?!

MetroFresh

Awesome.  There is hope.  There are still restaurant owners and staff that care about the experience customers have in their establishments.

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It feels so good to be APRIL!  I’ve been waiting for this month all year!

It’s my last month of law school, and I am so so so so excited to be almost done!  I could not have done this without my friends and family and their constant support.  (Editor’s note: SO PROUD of you!!!)

I went to my cousin’s amazing wedding, and got to spend time with my mom and brother and dad.  Being with my family reminded me of how important they are because they make me feel so grounded.  This is probably because your family are your roots, and even though they might sometimes drive you batty, they are where you come from.

See, I get it from my momma (and I know the quality of this picture SUCKS – but you can see where I get my quirky qualities)

See, I get it from my momma (and I know the quality of this picture SUCKS – but you can see where I get my quirky qualities)

Me and my handsome brother

Me and my handsome brother

 

It was also a blessing to go to my cousin’s wedding and spend time with my extended family.  WOW.

It was so cool to see how in love they are and to know how much they’ve been through before they ever got married.  Their love is the kind of love I aspire to, and they truly have a fairy tale.  (Editor’s note: I flippin’ loved seeing all their wedding pics – cowboy fairy tale!)

SEE?!?!? So stinkin' cute!

SEE?!?!? So stinkin’ cute!

 

When I came home, I also had a beautiful necklace in the mail – a tree that represents the earth and feeling grounded… this is symbolic for me because I think I realized that this is my theme of the year/month/right now/whatever.

My groundedness is coming from my family, my ability to connect with nature, to be with the earth.  I love what I get from the earth and feel incredibly lucky every day.

earth

I also got to connect with Laura over a wonderful dinner at Bacchanalia!  I can’t believe she treated me to such an awesome birthday dinner!  (Editors’ note: Thank god the company was good! ;) )  

At the dinner, she asked me to share what I have been doing with TVP, so I had to oblige.  TVP Bacon Bits!!!

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TVP Bacon Bits

In my opinion, what gives these a better flavor (and meatier than most) is the combo of the BBQ sauce, cumin, and nutritional yeast. I have never seen a recipe that used this combination, and I don’t know why!  It’s amazing.

I put these bits on EVERYTHING!  Make your friends jealous.  Try it on a salad, on your guacamole (or on half of an avocado), on your baked potato, eat them plain, top your chili.  Endless possibilities!Avocado

 

Also, another great reason to try this recipe, besides that it’s super easier and way healthier than bacon, (Editor’s note: mmm… bacon), is that you can taste as you go!  You can tell by the flavor of the un-crisped mixture what the final product will taste like, so you can adjust.  Need a pinch of salt?  Want a little more barbecue flavor?  No problem!

Now, what else can we do with these bits? I’m glad you asked. Bacon PANCAKES.  That’s right.  Add a handful of these bad boys to your pancake mixture.  You will NOT regret it.

Pancake batter

Pancake batter

 

I really like Karina’s recipe, but mine do not come out nearly as beautiful.  I used her recipe and added a bit of cinnamon and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast.  Once I made the mixture, I ladled some into the pan, and added the TVP Bacon Bits.

I suck at flipping pancakes.  They’re never consistent in color but they’re delicious.  (Editor’s note: that’s all that matters!)

Bacon Bit Pancakes

I like these so much, I eat them plain – no butter, no syrup, etc.

Also, I now get why it’s impossible to take pretty pictures of brown food.  Editor’s note: told you so!!!)  So, you will have to take my word for it.

Enjoy!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

TVP Bacon Bits

Vegan TVP Bacon Bits

  • 3./4 C TVP
  • 3 T nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 C boiling water
  • 1-1.5 T smokey barbecue sauce (or Laura’s sodium and sugar free recipe)
  • 2.5 T tamari (of soy if you’re not gluten-free)
  • 1/2 T maple agave (maple syrup would also work, or you can eliminate for a sugar-free version – I just like maple bacon flavors)
  • 2 T sunflower oil
  • 1 T cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne

 

Preheat the oven to 265 degrees (yes, 265 – that is not a typo. I just couldn’t decide between 250 and 275).

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl together, whisk with a fork. Spread mixture across a baking sheet.  Place in oven.

I set my timer for 24 minutes. But they really needed like 31.3 minutes…. until I got really impatient.  When they still weren’t crispy, because it takes forever and you have to keep moving them around, you start to get really annoyed.  The next step was to heat that bad-boy of and oven up to 425.  After that, they were done in 10 more minutes.  Crispy and delicious.  This was a trial and error… but came out AWESOME!

Editor’s Note: I think the moral of the story might be to make them at a higher temp. ;)

***

I have to admit… I’m a little sad that Kat beat me to this idea.  Haha.  Really… I’m gong to be making these STAT.

Does your family keep you grounded, even when you feel insane?  No comment.

What’s exciting about your April?

 

60 comments

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  1. Lisa

    Wow, that is definitely awesome about the restaurant!
    Being with my family totally makes me feel grounded as well, I truly love being around them for that reason, it’s just a sense of happiness, peace, and love.
    Ohhhh my gosh, these bits look awesome! Too creative.

    1. Kat

      I think I gave the impression that they taste like Barbeque… they really don’t! SO GOOD & they’re just crunchy bits!

      1. Laura

        Ohhh… but BBQ is a great idea!

  2. Morgan

    Wow! Totally blown away with the BBQ TVP! I have been addicted to the Proatmeal jars but this is summer TVP- I see lots of creations with braggs aminos, wasabi & sirracha ahead. You are my go-to read for early AM long treadmill runs- thank you for getting my mind moving with these great ideas :)

    1. Kat

      Glad to hear it inspired at the beginning of the day! Definitely a fun salad topping/potato/whatever! :)

    2. Laura

      Wasabi! I really, really love that idea! They’d be like those wasabi soy beans… I’m going to make that this wekeend. :)

      1. morgan

        oooh! wasabi TVP in fresh home made tomato soup….drooling at the desk. thanks ladies ;-)

  3. Kierston @candyfit

    I can’t believe we are already in the month of April! Time is flying!

    My family is amazing. I just had coffee with my Mom yesterday and I just love being able to sit and talk about everything! My parents and my family are awesome and I’m so grateful!

    1. Kat

      I feel like I don’t take enough time to really appreciate it! It’s nice to have that relationship though! :)

  4. Pamela Hernandez

    Love making my own “bacon” bits! Thanks for sharing another version for me to try.

    1. Kat

      What’s your favorite ingredient for “bacon” bits”?? And what do you use for the flavor?

      1. Laura

        I want to know too! So many possibilities!

        1. Pamela Hernandez

          I use liquid smoke. The recipe I use is from a book called the Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.

  5. Lee

    I love Metro Fresh (and Souper Jenny).

    Interesting about the bacon bits. I’ll have to try this. Congrats on finishing law school, Kat!

    1. Kat

      Thanks! I hope they turn out good! I just don’t really like liquid smoke very much, which is why I tried to swap up the flavors.

      1. Laura

        We should have another blogger dinner at Metro!!!

  6. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    If I get exceptional service, I do sometimes try to let a manager know. I think too many times they only hear complaints and sometimes it’s really nice to get a compliment and then they’re more likely to keep up the good services.

    1. Laura

      That’s a great practice. I’m making a big effort to do that more.

    2. Kat

      I need to get better about it, but I always tell someone when it’s truly excepional

  7. Jody - Fit at 55

    Very cool on your restaurant visit! Pays to be loyal! :)

    I am not a bacon fan – I know!! I am also not knowledged in all this TVP I see in the blog world & have for a while – I have not tired it & not sure what it is supposed to do – can you enlighten me?

    1. Kat

      Jody – There are some easier tvp recipes that I like to use… it makes a good “ground beef” for tacos. I just add some boiling water to them (like above).. add my favorite taco seasonings and sautee until they are browned. It’s an easier way to introduce yourself to the easiest way to get protein by way of a fake-o meat product ever!

      1. Laura

        I wouldn’t call it a fake-o meat product because it is more pure (no addiitives) than those fake soy meats… Jody was worried it would affect her stomach though. Kat, have you ever noticed a problem?

  8. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers

    I love everything bbq… or at least nearly everything. :) Yum

    1. Laura

      Haha – there are exeptions to everyhing. :) BBQ ice cream would NOT be good. I think…

      1. Kat

        I think BBQ ice cream could work in the right light! :)

  9. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    The older I get, the more I realize just how important family is and also where all my weird quirks come from; you can always blame your parents. ;)

    I’m fascinated by the Vegan TVP Bacon Bits. Back in my meat eating days, bacon was always my favorite.

    1. Kat

      Thanks for the comment. I wasn’t sure if people would respond to the sappy part of my post! :)

      The Bits are great! I also think smoke portabella mushrooms are also a great substitute for that bacon flavor/smell

  10. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

    My parents, husband and friends definitely keep me grounded (not so much my sisters . . . we aren’t that close). It’s so important to have people in our lives that can “set us straight” when need be!

    1. Kat

      :) It’s so true! Thanks for the comment!

  11. Haley @ fullnfit

    ummm hello?!? these look fantastic!… btw, you had me at “bacon pancakes!”

    1. Laura

      Right?! It combines 2 of the best things ever. All we need now is a scoop of maple ice cream.

    2. Kat

      haha!! Your comment totally made me smile! :-D Bacon + Pancakes are a match made in heaven. breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

  12. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Wow, between that and your tvp oats, I really need to pick some up… been meaning to experiment with it in new ways. Fun idea!

    1. Laura

      Let me know if you do! You come up with the best stuff. :)

    2. Kat

      I need to try the “oats” versions.. and the overnight ones. I’m just so impatient! you should also try making TVP “ground beef” for tacos.. its so much like “the real thing”!!!

  13. Christy

    The bacon looks great! I just found this recipe for coconut bacon-another vegan option!

    http://veggienook.com/2013/03/27/wiaw-and-a-vegan-delish-review-and-giveaway/

    And adding them to pancakes is not weird at all. They should probably be added to most things. Mmmmm…

    1. Kat

      what a crazy unique idea!!! that is awesome! thanks for sharing!

  14. Debbie

    It is always so great to find a restaurant where you get really good service. You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the restaurant. Look, you’re telling people, you’ll go back, etc. What better advertising can they get?

    Thanks Kat for the TVP bacon! I’ve made fake bacon with tempeh and even tofu, but never thought of trying tvp. I will now!

    1. Kat

      tofu?!?! tell me how!! tofu is so moist, it seems like it would be hard to get it crispy!

      1. Laura

        You haven’t pressed it and dry fried it before?! We really need to cook together.

        1. Kat

          haha let’s make a date.

  15. Fran@BCDC

    Wow! Home made vegan bacon bits…I love it!

    1. Laura

      It would be a great topping for one of your salad-pies. :)

    2. Kat

      try it!

  16. Carol @ Lucky Zucca

    Metro Fresh LOVE!!! And I love that he watches the New Normal. <3 <3 <3

    Kat… you are AMAZING! So inspirational! Awesome recipes! Awesome tree necklace and meaning behind it. Awesome Awesome Awesome!!! I love the two of you.

    1. Kat

      Awe Carol! You seriously touched me with your comment! Thanks so much! :-D all smiles!

  17. Kristina

    ooohhhh MAMA what have you done!?!??! I am so stinkin’ excited to try these bacon bits. woo HOO. congrats on your last month of school – an accomplishment to be celebrated, for sure! (I remember how good it felt just getting that 4 year degree…) ;)

    and Laura YAY on free cinnamon rolls! and a good experience – see, what goes around comes around. or… it all balances out? yeah, that’s the ticket ;)

    1. Laura

      Step with great care and great tact… ;)

    2. Kat

      Thanks so much! I can’t wait to celebrate that I get to start studying for the bar. DOH. ;)

  18. Choc Chip Uru

    Awww being with your family is so nice!
    And get a chance to get eat bacon? Yes!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Kat

      haha I know.. I have to admit… I still prefer the real stuff… but these bits do keep longer

  19. Rynessa@eatrightnewsletter.com

    Congrats on being one step closer. I myself am about to graduate with my degree, and it’s a really bittersweet occasion for me. It’s something that I’ve been waiting impatiently on these last few years but now it seems like the time is just flying by. And fyi, i rarely ever flip anything successfully either. Lol. especially pancakes.

    1. Kat

      Congrats on your degree. I completely feel you on the bitter-sweetness of it. School is like a safe haven.

      I don’t even remotely practice enough to get better at flipping!

  20. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

    I don’t know what else to say but that.

    1. Kat

      If we were on facebook, i would “like” that comment

  21. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    Umm….I need to make these….now! :)

  22. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    Omg, Kat!! You are a flippin’ GENIUS!! I can’t wait to try these! And seriously…THAT’S what you call being bad a pancake flippin’? PLEASE! At least they are still in one piece! And heck, they’re ROUND! It took me a WHILE to hone in on and perfect my skillz…you should have SEEN the messes I ended up with in the beginning! Haha!

    Oh and can I just say that I love how your mind works that you thought to put these in pancakes anyway?! Totally what I would do! And hell yeah to Instagram for making brown food look good!! I swear we all need glasses that help us to see in IG filters! Lol

    No offense to my family, but I wouldn’t necessarily say they “ground” me…more of like, they make me feel grateful for all the changes I’ve made in my life. #truth

    1. Laura

      This whole family talk makes me think of your adoption by my mom. Which makes me think NEW plan: you come visit and we spent a night in ATL eating out (possibly Indian?!) and then we head to mamma’s house the next night to have a big grill out and play in the pool/hot tub,

      1. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

        Oh my god….YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!

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