Posts tagged friends

MSP on the Road: Atlanta’s Cafe Sunflower

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting my BFF, Sarah, in Atlanta. We had an amazingly fun time preparing for her wedding with spa pedicures, sorbet, and a delicious meal at Atlanta’s premiere vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Cafe Sunflower. The cafe offers a wide variety of international vegetarian cuisine, serving everything from Jamaican Black Bean Cakes to Wild Mushroom Fettuccine. To start, Sarah and I ordered the Rainbow Pancakes –  “crispy wedges of carrot-scallion flour pancake with a sweet plum dipping sauce” – a scrumptious appetizer that reminded me of moo shu. For our entrees, Sarah ordered the Spicy Pad Thai Noodles and I had the Sweet and Sour Soy Chicken.  The portions were huge and the food was amazing. What really blew my mind was when our waitress asked if she could bring out the dessert tray. Um, YES you can! There were several different cake options, like gluten-free chocolate, vegan cheesecake, and coconut cake, but we had our sights set on the raspberry chocolate mousse slice. It was so decadent, and did not have a hint of “fake” flavor that vegan desserts sometimes have. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the area!

Sarah eating Pad Thai

Sarah enjoying her Pad Thai Noodles

Sweet n Sour Soy Chicken

My Sweet and Sour Soy Chicken

Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake

Our Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake

Luscious Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Saturday, I went to a Christmas party at my boyfriend’s parents’ house. His mom, Sherry, made a fantastic vegan pineapple upside down cake based on a recipe she found on VegWeb (recipe by user BayPuppy.) The cake was so good, everyone was raving about it. It was moist, held its shape very well, and it made a beautiful centerpiece to the buffet.

The recipe calls for pineapple chunks and does not call for maraschino cherries, but I think the whole pineapple slices and cherries add great color and texture to the cake.

Thanks for the delicious meal, Sherry!

Here is the recipe reposted from VegWeb:

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks in unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pour juice off can of pineapple into 1 cup measuring cup-it should be about 3/4 cup juice. Add water to make 1 cup. In a separate bowl, combine the pineapple juice, oil, and vinegar.

2. Dump pineapple chunks into the bottom of a 12″ spring form pan (you could use an 8″ x 8″ or other sized spring form, just adjust cooking time). Sprinkle with brown sugar.

3. Quickly mix wet ingredients into dry, stirring quickly to combine ingredients well and get out the big lumps.  Pour into pan on top of the pineapple/brown sugar mix.

4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Baking time will depend on pan size) Let cool and loosen sides of cake from pan. Remove side ring and place serving plate on top. Flip cake over onto serving plate and remove pan bottom.

Eat. Yumm.

Source of recipe: This is a modification of Jeanne’s White Cake recipe I found here under Wedding Recipes.  This cake turned out well so I thought I would share!  This makes a pretty sweet, moist cake.  You can replace the juice with just water if you are concerned about it being “too sweet”.

Makes: 8 to 12 servings, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Casserole

Spinach Artichoke Casserole

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Casserole

My dad came home from a potluck the other night, raving about the spinach artichoke casserole his friend Joan McAllister had brought. It was like a spinach artichoke dip you would normally eat with pita chips as an appetizer, but instead you bake it with fried onions on top like a green bean casserole. Ingenious!

So I decided to try a vegan version, which nixes the parmesan/asiago cheese and instead uses a powdery faux parmesan recipe that comes from La Dolce Vegan. The result is a delightfully crunchy-on-the-outside casserole with a creamy spinach underbelly. To be honest, I don’t think the faux cheese added much flavor, so next time I might even leave it out. You could use Daiya I suppose, but either way, this is a great vegan side dish. Thanks for sharing, Joan!

Spinach Artichoke Casserole


  • 2 10 oz boxes of frozen spinach, prepared and drained
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, sauteed in butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts or bottoms
  • 8 oz sour cream (I used Tofutti vegan sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup asiago or parmesan cheese (I used the vegan parm recipe below)
  • 1 can French’s fried onions

Vegan Parmesan Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Vegan Parmesan Directions:
Combine in food processor and grind until thoroughly mixed.

Casserole Directions:
Mix the spinach, onion, artichoke, and sour cream together. Put half of it in a buttered casserole and top with cheese; repeat. Top with French’s fried onions. Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes.

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