A Summer Harvest from the Cherry Street Local Farmer's Market in Troy
Story & Photos by Lisa Neff

   Grab your reusable tote and head out to your local farmer’s market for the season’s best veggies!

   Most cities have local farmer’s markets in the summer where you can find local treats like vegetables and fruits, baked goods, fresh flowers, maple syrup and honey. I visited the Cherry Street Local Farmer's Market in downtown Troy last Saturday and got everything I needed to create a fresh pasta salad to take advantage of the summer harvest, except for a few items already in my pantry. It’s perfect for a summer lunch or dinner. The recipe is at the end of the article. 

   The market is held on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon on Cherry Street. I arrived at 11:30 a.m. and found they were still well stocked. The vegetables and fruits were obviously just picked. Everything looked ripe and the colors were bright. I’m a visual person, so colorful veggies are inspiring to me.

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    I quickly found the ingredients for the pasta salad and the prices were great. Some of the veggies were organic or no chemicals used, which is what I prefer to eat. I try to at least stick to the “dirty dozen” list, which lists the vegetables and fruits you should always buy organic, compiled annually by the Environmental Working Group. Bell peppers, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes are on the list because they have thin skins and absorb more pesticides. (See the full list HERE.)

   The Troy Farmer’s Market has many vendors. I purchased a lemon-thyme blueberry muffin from Basil & Bloom (pictured above, below right) that was vegan and gluten free. How could I resist? The owner stated that she tries to have one vegan item per week. I’ll definitely be back for more! I also purchased an organic tea blend from McGuffey Herb & Spice Company that was wonderful with my breakfast the next day. There were several other vendors to round out the shopping experience, providing many basics and treats such as jellies and jams, cookies and fresh flowers for your dining table. 

Farmer’s Market Vegan Pasta Salad:
Serves 6, prep time 30 minutes (plus 1 hour cooling in refrigerator).

  • 12 oz spiral pasta, cooked al dente (gluten free or regular)

  • 1-2 cucumbers, chopped (1 large or 2 small)

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (or substitute 15 cherry tomatoes, halved)

  • 2 bell peppers, chopped

  • ½ head broccoli, chopped

  • ½ bunch green onion, chopped 

  • ½ bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (optional for protein) 

 

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Italian vegan dressing:

  • 2/3 c. olive oil

  • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp water

  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup

  • 2 tsp Italian herbs, dried

  • ½ tsp garlic powder, or one garlic clove, crushed

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp pepper

 

Blend all dressing ingredients in blender or add to a covered jar and shake! 

Cook pasta as directed then rinse with cold water. While your pasta is cooking, chop your farmer’s market veggies and make your dressing. Combine the veggies and pasta and mix in Italian dressing. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. 

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About Lisa Neff

Lisa Neff is a Tippecanoe High School alumni and still lives in the Greater Dayton area. She has been vegetarian since 2007 and fully vegan since 2009 (no meat, dairy or eggs). She believes in eating vegan for the planet, for the animals and for health. She will be writing articles about local vegan restaurant options, farmer’s markets and sharing healthy vegan recipes.

Summertime Smoothies at ReU Juicery & at Home

Story & Photos by Lisa Neff

   Summer is the perfect time to get out your blender and make healthy smoothie bowls for breakfast, snacks or even dinner. They are fast and easy to create and you can customize them to your tastes (or whatever ingredients you have in the fridge or pantry).

 

   When it’s too hot to cook dinner, I turn to blended frozen and fresh fruits and toppings like granola and almond butter. Smoothie bowls are thicker in consistency than regular smoothies, similar to soft serve ice cream and eaten with a spoon. 

 

    I visited ReU Juicery in Troy (5 E. Main St.) last week to try their Super Greens Bowl and I was inspired to create a recipe to share with you (at the bottom of this article).

 

   When I saw the menu, I was frozen in my tracks! There were so many healthy vegan options including smoothies, smoothie bowls, juices, functional lattes, toasties, sandwiches, daily soup special and “Good life bowls.” I had to make a second visit to try the Good life bowls and juice flights because there were so many vegan options that I could not decide. Everything I tried was delicious!

 

   ReU Juicery does serve some fish and nitrate free turkey, but the majority of the menu is vegan friendly (dairy free). They have a new location in Tipp City at 1928 Donn Davis Way featuring the same menu, pictured bottom right.

 

   The décor of the Troy location (pictured below left) is very fresh and welcoming. Someone must have a green thumb because all the plants are beautiful and green. It feels like a little tropical oasis which is so uplifting.

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   I chose the Super Greens Bowl (pictured top right) to try first because it has kale, which is a superfood. Kale contains several vitamins and iron. But, when you blend it with other ingredients, you can’t taste the kale. The other ingredients included coconut “mylk”, banana, mango and spirulina. The toppings were sliced banana, granola and coconut flakes. The bowl was so big, I couldn’t finish it in one sitting. It was a great value! I also had an “Ohana” juice made with pineapple, cucumber, apple, lemon and Blue Majik (a brand of blue spirulina, a superfood high in antioxidants). The tropical flavor was a great complement to the smoothie bowl. 

 

    The key to making smoothie bowls is frozen bananas. They create a thick base that mixes well with other frozen fruits. Peel your bananas before you freeze them for best results. You can also try protein powder, chia seeds, silken tofu or nut butters to thicken your smoothie bowls, but I have not experimented with that yet. If you try to create your own recipe, think about staying with similar fruit colors (one side of the color wheel). If you mix green kale and red strawberries, the result is a grey-brown color that doesn’t look very appetizing, but it will still taste good. Try my recipe below for a refreshing, vitamin-packed snack.

Kale-Peach-Pineapple Smoothie Bowl:
Serves 1, prep time 10 minutes.


1 large frozen banana, chopped
½ cup frozen peaches, chopped
½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 handful kale
2 fresh dates, pits removed
¼ - ½ cup coconut water or nut milk 


Place all smoothie ingredients in a blend or food processor and blend until smooth. Start by using ¼ cup coconut water or nut milk and add more slowly if needed.
Then, top with one sliced kiwi, ¼ cup coconut flakes, ¼ cup blueberries, 2 tsp granola, and 2 tsp hemp hearts (for added protein). Enjoy!

 

(Be creative with your toppings! Try sliced strawberries, raspberries, fresh mango, chocolate chips, sweet cacao nibs, sliced almonds, almond butter or chia seeds.)
My coconut bowl and spoon are from a local company, Hollis and Hanh. Their bowls are sourced from Vietnam and fair trade. 

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About Lisa Neff

Lisa Neff is a Tippecanoe High School alumni and still lives in the Greater Dayton area. She has been vegetarian since 2007 and fully vegan since 2009 (no meat, dairy or eggs). She believes in eating vegan for the planet, for the animals and for health. She will be writing articles about local vegan restaurant options, farmer’s markets and sharing healthy vegan recipes.

Delicious Vegan Food in Tipp City & at Home

Story & Photos by Lisa Neff

   Vegan options are everywhere! I visited historic downtown Tipp City last week and found delicious vegan options for lunch and dinner. I grew up in Tipp City in the 80s. My family was and still is omnivore, but I went vegan in 2009. Personally, it has been the best diet option. I’ve lost fifty pounds and kept it off, by choosing healthy vegan foods (and occasional vegan desserts) and exercising.

   The vegan movement is growing more each year with food options even in small towns. If you shop at Kroger, you can find their own brand of vegan meats, several brands of vegan cheese, dips and sauces and a great selection of fruits and vegetables. I’ll be sharing a recipe at the end of this article with ingredients from Kroger.

   I ate lunch at Coldwater Café, and I was very impressed with their new vegan taco salad. It had fresh, healthy ingredients including spiced tempeh, house-made vegan cheese (made from cashews), cilantro, tomatoes, avocado and a cilantro lime vinaigrette dressing, topped with fried tortilla strips. It came with a few small slices of wheat bread in a basket. It was so filling and kept me going all afternoon.

   The atmosphere at Coldwater Café is lovely. The décor is unique, upscale and yet quaint. They were quite busy for a weekday lunch hour. The service was fast, and my server was very helpful and knowledgeable about their vegan options.

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From left to right above: The beautiful interior and entrance to Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City. A windowfront in the historic shopping district in downtown Tipp City. Left to right below: A cucumber soda and the new Vegan Taco Salad at the Coldwater Cafe.

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   It’s always best to call ahead, check the website or ask your server about vegan options they may have. Often restaurants have vegan options that are not listed on the menu. Sometimes you need to clarify the definition of vegan, but most restaurants today are aware. Coldwater Café doesn’t offer the taco salad at dinner though. The server told me that the crispy brussel sprouts appetizer is very popular and vegan. They also have a house salad, seasonal vegetables and coconut rice. That sounds like a tasty dinner to me!

   Mexican food is one of the easiest cuisines to make vegan. You can substitute many things for meat including: tempeh, black beans, shredded jackfruit, crumbled tofu, lentils, ground walnuts, seitan or portobella mushrooms. Tipp City has two Mexican restaurants, Frida’s and Dos Lunas. I called both of them to find out what vegan options they offer. Frida’s lists a vegan salad, but it has buttered corn, which can be left off. They also have veggie fajitas and a grilled veggie sope. Just ask for no sour cream or cheese. I always ask for extra guacamole instead. They were helpful and assured me that there was no dairy in the guacamole and that there was no lard or pork in the beans. They have a variety of vegetarian options as well, if you eat dairy.

   Dos Luna’s offers similar items and were also very knowledgeable. They have a unique item that I haven’t seen anywhere else, a veggie chimichanga. It is vegan without the cheese sauce. It is deep-fried, so it’s not the healthiest option, but I’ll be trying it soon!

Vegan Taco Salad at Home

   Now, let’s make a vegan taco salad. The prep and cooking time is just 25 minutes for the salad and dressing.

Serves four. Pictured below left is what you'll need to make this recipe. At right is the taco salad being cooked.

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Taco Filling:

8 oz. tempeh, crumbled or grated

1 - 10 oz. can Mexican spiced diced tomatoes

2 tsp. chili powder

3 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. garlic powder

¼ cup Braggs liquid aminos, or soy sauce

1 tsp. smoked paprika

½ medium red onion, diced

Add tempeh, tomatoes, spices and Braggs to a large bowl and stir together. Sautee the diced red onion in a non-stick skillet for 3 minutes, adding a little oil or water if needed. Add the tempeh mixture to the skillet, flipping a few times, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

 

Cilantro Lime Dressing:

¾ cup cilantro (1 bunch), thicker stems removed

1/3 cup lime juice (3 limes)

¼ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp. sugar

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

 

Combine all ingredients into a blender, blend about 2 minutes. The dressing will last 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

 

To assemble the salad, use any greens you like for the base, add shredded vegan cheese, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, avocado and tortilla strips, and top with cilantro lime dressing. Add hot sauce to taste, if you like it extra spicy!

Another option for a spicier salad is to substitute 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, 3 adobo chilis in sauce, chopped, and ½ cup water for the can of Mexican spiced diced tomatoes. The adobo chilis have a smoky heat that will really warm you up. Enjoy!

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The new Vegan Taco Salad at Coldwater Cafe.

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A spiced-up version of the dish made at home.

About Lisa Neff

Lisa Neff is a Tippecanoe High School alumni and still lives in the Greater Dayton area. She has been vegetarian since 2007 and fully vegan since 2009 (no meat, dairy or eggs). She believes in eating vegan for the planet, for the animals and for health. She will be writing articles about local vegan restaurant options, farmer’s markets and sharing healthy vegan recipes.