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Happy Monday to you!

Why is Monday happy? Because it’s meatless! And it’s another glorious opportunity to make great choices for ourselves.

Have you heard about Meatless Monday? It’s a national campaign that encourages people to cut down on their meat consumption one day a week. They say:

“Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.”

Imagine what going meatless two, three, or even seven days a week could do for your health and our planet! Not to mention the countless animal lives spared! Now that’s a happy Monday!

In celebration of Meatless Monday, I’m posting pictures of some of the delicious meat-free (and of course vegan!) dishes I enjoyed over the weekend.

Each Monday, in addition to my more in-depth Thursday posts, I’ll share photos of what I eat, what I wear, or what I buy, so stay tuned!

This weekend was a bit out of the ordinary for me since I had family in town visiting who spoiled my husband and me with several meals out at delicious places. Check out the pictures below to see what I ate!

This is General Tofu (fried tofu in a sweet and spicy sauce) from Red Orchids Chinese Bistro in West Ashley (www.redorchids.com). I eat it over brown rice and order extra veggies on the side. The generous serving size is more than enough to save some for lunch the next day, which I did!

For dinner on Saturday night, we went to Alluette’s Cafe (www.alluettes.com) downtown. It’s known for its holistic soul food and friendly service, and their sign even explicitly welcomes vegans! LOVE that!

I was full from all of my Chinese leftovers at lunch, so I ate light (though they have several vegan entrees on their menu): here’s the organic lima bean soup, perfectly seasoned. My niece liked hers so much, she lifted her bowl up like a cup to slurp the very last drops out…I had to remind myself that I’m a grown up to restrain myself not to do the same!

Here’s Alluette’s beautiful, fresh-from-the-farm, organic garden salad featuring in-season veggies and their scrumptious Geechee Girl vinaigrette.
Even though they didn’t have any vegan desserts available that night, they do have them occasionally and we left with the promise of some vegan brownies for next time!

For dessert that night, we headed to Tutti Frutti (http://tfyogurt.com/) in Mt. Pleasant for their vegan frozen yogurt! I got vanilla and chocolate with Oreo crumbles (yes, Oreos are vegan! How awesome is that?!), and sprinkles of course.

For brunch on Sunday, we visited Puree (http://www.thinkpuree.com), a new organic cafe in Mt. Pleasant. I opted for the vegan spinach pie with sides of kalamata barley and ginger/citrus slaw, all of which were delicious. I felt I could use a little bit of caffeine, so I indulged in their local coffee (but they have wonderful juice offerings too).

My hubby chose Puree’s BBQ tempeh sausage burger with sauteed onions, avocado, and more, pictured here with a side of kale chips. He was very generous and allowed me several bites of this savory, perfect sandwich.

Doesn’t everyone get dessert after brunch? Puree offers several gluten free options and this is one of them: a decadent chocolate pudding topped with crunchy granola. YUM!

TWO desserts after brunch? Sure, why not? I couldn’t pass up Puree’s vegan cinnamon roll. It was perfectly doughy and sweet. A beautiful finish to an indulgent (but organic!) Sunday brunch!

We wrapped up the weekend on Sunday night with a home-made favorite: Red curry quinoa with sauteed Brussels sprouts. This is a go-to meal that we make once a week. It’s healthy, filling, and easy!

Want to try the Red Curry Quinoa at home to see if you’d like to add it to your recipe repertoire? Try it out below!

1 cup quinoa (soaked anywhere from 1 to 8 hours in filtered water to sprout it)
1 can coconut milk
1/4 can organic diced tomatoes with chipotle peppers (Muir Glen organic brand is good)
2 1/2 tsp. red curry paste (I get Thai Kitchen brand) or add more to taste

Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Spoon the quinoa into the milk and allow it to return to a gentle simmer on medium low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and curry paste and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t sear at the bottom. When it’s ready, it should have a porridge consistency. Let it cool a little and enjoy!

To Happy Meatless Mondays!