Currently: July

Wow. That’s all I can say about the responses I got to my last post. I was touched by every single word you guys shared with me and I’m seriously blown away by just how many views it got. It reminds me that being open and honest really pays off, so thanks for every comment, tweet and repost!

Now onto something a little more fun. I haven’t done a ‘Currently’ post very much in the last few months so I thought it was time for an insight into my life at the moment.

Current Book: Does People StyleWatch count? I’m not much of a book reader, but I can pore over fashion magazines. This one’s especially fun because it features celebs and is a little more reasonable than, say, Vogue.

I'm excited to read the latest issue.

I’m excited to read the latest issue.

Current Music: I’ve been loving this brand new song by a new-to-me group, The Griswolds. It’s a fun, summer-y tune.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Spending so much damn $$$ on groceries. Gah. I thought I was getting good at budgeting. The past three weeks, I’ve spent around $100 for a week of groceries. Even this week, when I thought I didn’t have any big purchases (like protein powder) I still spent a ton. I guess those organic figs, stevia chocolate chips and raw cashew clusters add up! I’d like to keep my bill around $80 next week though.

I'm not giving up my produce to save some $$$.

I’m not giving up my produce to save some $$$.

Current Nail Color: Still Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Hot Tamale. I did just score a fun blue sparkly polish from Target for under $2…I live by the cheap-o Sally Hansen polishes because they work just as well as OPI but for a fraction of the price.

Current Needs: I need to find a restaurant for my birthday dinner. It’s a week from this coming Sunday (!!!) and I just happened to stumble upon some menus for some very veg-friendly places here, but for whatever reason, none of them are open on Sundays for dinner. And I’m not sure I can convince my family to make an almost 2 hour drive to OKC for some vegan Mexican food (there’s apparently a very good all-veg Mexican place there).

Current Drink: Other than the usual ice cold water, I finally caved and invested in Chameleon cold brew concentrate. Holy yum, this stuff is good and it should actually save me money on Starbucks trips. I only ever get iced coffees, so this stuff is perfect.

Sorry Starbies, you've been replaced!

Sorry Starbies, you’ve been replaced!

Current Food: I finally got my fix of the Whole Foods salad bar after going at least a month without it. I went to the WF a little farther from home and they had the most killer selection of stuff. It was one of my favorite salad bar boxes to date. And actually cheap — only $6!

The key to having a cheap WF salad bar box is using lettuce from home and loading the box with only the best.

The key to having a cheap WF salad bar box is using lettuce from home and loading the box with only the best.

Current Obsession: My love for running (outside) is still going strong. I generally run 2 miles three to five days per week, but on Sunday, I managed to run 3 full miles! I still take walk breaks at the halfway point, but it really helps keep up my stamina on these days when it feels like 100 degrees out.

How can you not love running when you have this view? These colors are all-natural!

How can you not love running when you have this view? These colors are all-natural!

Current Triumph: Just having a much better body image. I guess writing my last post was really therapeutic for me, because I’m really seeing my body in a very different light than I used to…which is a good thing!

Current Bane of my Existence: This fly that’s been in my apartment for several days and somehow refuses to die. It’s also too quick to swat, so I’ve been just waiting for it to give up.

Current Indulgence: This amazing strawberry snow cone I picked up from Whole Foods on Friday. I haven’t had a snow cone in years, but when I heard WF was making some with locally-made syrups (also free of any processed crap) I knew I had to get one. And it was $2 and perfect for a super hot afternoon.

This was incredible!

This was incredible!

Current Excitement: My family is driving out to visit me for my birthday weekend! I haven’t seen them since April, which is the longest I’ve ever gone without being with my fam. It hasn’t been as hard of a transition as I thought it would be, but I still miss them, and my birthday would be weird without them. So thankfully, I have four days off around the big day in which to show them around my new city, drag them to all the veg-friendly restaurants I’ve been dying to try, go to a concert I’m extremely pumped for and just enjoy their presence. But…that also means getting my apartment ready for their arrival in just over a week. Not sure when that’s gonna happen!

Current Mood: So ready for my birthday!

Current Outfit: I’ve also been buying a lot of clothes lately (but trying to stay within my budget) and my outfit on Saturday incorporated a skirt I just bought from VS Pink. Yes, they have actual clothes there that are pretty cute!

I love mint and tribal, but they're even better together!

I love mint and tribal, but they’re even better together!

Current Link: What is Femme Anyway? This post actually ties in quite well with my last one — basically it’s how I personally define myself as a woman. Some might describe me as high-maintenance, but part of my personality is about caring very much about my appearance and I’m proud of that. And it really spoke to me when it talks about loving yourself, because that’s something I’m always working towards.

What are some of your currentlies? 

Meal Prep Monday: Raw Week 1

Eating raw doesn’t seem feasible to most people (I’ll be discussing that in a post later this week) but I gotta say, a lot of people are interested in seeing what raw foodies eat. After all, on the surface, raw foodism seems restrictive, boring and complicated…but honestly, it’s NONE of those things! With that being said, here’s my plans for my upcoming week eating raw.

Meals for the Week

Breakfast: I plan on rotating between chia pudding, flax pancakes and possibly fruit+buckwheat granola in homemade almond milk. I like to keep things simple for breakfast, with plenty of fruit and healthy fats, usually in the form of almond butter or coconut manna.

Raw flax pancakes topped with Sunwarrior protein sauce, pomegranate and date syrup.

Raw flax pancakes topped with Sunwarrior protein sauce, pomegranate and date syrup.

Lunch: I want to switch this up every single day this week and try at least a few new things. I have a feeling BLT wraps will be back this week, as well as raw macro bowls, giant salads and protein smoothies.

Raw take on the classic macro bowl.

Raw take on the classic macro bowl.

Dinner: This is where my creativity and plenty of bookmarked raw recipes come in. I plan on making the Asian noodle “stir-fry” from my Going Raw book, this fettuccine alfredo, lettuce taco wraps with my raw taco filling and possibly this raw vegan poutine if I can figure out how to make sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator. I’ve got a full week of meals lined up, and since I went fully raw last week, I think I can do it again this week…though I am giving myself the freedom to eat a plant-based cooked dinner if I’m feeling it.

Snacks: Snack plates, chia pudding, banana softserve…all the usual suspects.

I love my random, nutrient-packed snack plates!

I love my random, nutrient-packed snack plates!

Recipes for the Week

Other than the ones linked above, I’m planning on making more coconut bacon, these superfood cups, these sprouted raw buckwheat bars (like rice krispies but better!) and another batch of date syrup.

Groceries for the Week

No pictures this time, but here’s some of what I stocked up on for this week. Note: most of what I bought this week will last for just this week, but a lot of raw food staples (like coconut aminos, raw nut butters, superfood powders, etc.) will last a lot longer, and even though they may be expensive upfront, they’re worth it to keep around in your pantry for future use.

Produce: blackberries (on sale), yams, romaine hearts, spinach/arugula mix, bananas (always bananas!), orange bell pepper, avocados, ginger, cilantro, pineapple (on sale), zucchinis, rainbow carrots

Bulk Bins: dates, dried Turkish figs, raw mixed nuts, raw cashew pieces, hemp seeds, Himalayan pink sea salt, coconut flour

Miscellaneous: nothing this week

What’s always on your grocery list? Do you like to stick with the same things for a certain meal or switch it up? 

Meal Prep Monday: Thanksgiving Redux

I’m having fun with these meal prep posts, so I thought I’d make it more of a regular thing here on AlmostVegGirlie!

This week’s edition is a bit of a throwback to Thanksgiving, because I made a couple recipes that are pretty Thanksgiving-y, but the best part is that they don’t require T-day leftovers to make. You can make these recipes whenever you have a craving for some traditional Thanksgiving eats, and they’re pretty adaptable to any diet–vegan, gluten free, grain free and no added sugar!

Groceries

Pantry staple from Natural Grocers and Whole Foods.

Pantry staples from Natural Grocers and Whole Foods.

Luckily I was able to brave the below-freezing temperatures and snow to get to the grocery stores on Friday. I stopped at Natural Grocers for a few things and spent under $20, and then hit up Whole Foods and spent around $55. I finally restocked my bean pasta (I got the mung bean variety this time, and it’s just as good as the black bean), got my new favorite stevia chocolate chips and some weekly staples like no-salt added beans, fresh ground PB and raisins.

Produce from Whole Foods.

Produce from Whole Foods.

Whole Foods had some pretty great deals on produce this week, with avocados 4 for $5 (I got 2), organic pomegranates 2 for $5 (I got 1) and Ataulfo mangoes 2 for $3 (I got 2). And I got my usuals, like bananas, romaine hearts and yams.

Groceries for recipes.

Groceries for recipes.

I also stocked up on some things I needed for recipes I planned on making this weekend. I still have been eating mostly no-sugar-added by default (not saying this will last forever, or even for the 3 weeks I planned on doing it for) as it’s just what I’ve been feeling lately, so I finally bought some date sugar to try out in dessert recipes. I love sweetening things with dates anyway, and date sugar will work better in things that call for cane sugar, so I can’t wait to give it a try.

Meals

Grain free apple cran stuffing, made with the best grain free bread I've ever made.

Grain free apple cran stuffing, made with the best grain free bread I’ve ever made.

The Thanksgiving plate. Thanksgiving veggie burger topped with homemade cranberry chia jam on a bed of spinach. Side of grain free apple cran stuffing.

The Thanksgiving plate. Thanksgiving veggie burger topped with homemade cranberry chia jam on a bed of spinach. Side of grain free apple cran stuffing.

I know I said that Thanksgiving is a not-so-exciting holiday for plant-based eaters, but for some reason I was really craving Thanksgiving flavors this week. It all started when I bookmarked this recipe for paleo-friendly stuffing, and when I realized it could easily be made vegan, I decided to give it a shot. However, I changed it up a lot based on what I had on hand and what I could find in the store, so I’m going to share my recipe here, along with my recipe for a Thanksgiving-inspired veggie burger.

Grain Free Cran Apple Stuffing (vegan, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

Bread

1/3 cup almond meal

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 tsp xanthan gum (can sub guar gum)

1/4 cup tapioca starch (can sub arrowroot)

1/2 tsp baking soda

Himalayan pink sea salt, to taste (I only used a pinch)

1 tbsp almond oil (can sub olive oil, or another nut/seed oil)

1/2 cup water

Stuffing

1/4 cup apple-juice sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 6 oz box of 100% apple juice (like the kid’s size apple juice)

almond or coconut oil, for sauteeing

4 stalks celery, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

cinnamon, pink sea salt and other spices, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F (at a higher altitude, heat to 425). Grease a sheet of foil with coconut oil, and place foil on cookie sheet. In a bowl, whisk almond meal, coconut flour, xanthan gum, tapioca starch, baking soda and sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together water and almond oil, and stir in with dry ingredients. Keep mixing until ingredients come together and are a bit sticky. Spread dough out onto greased foil, and spread thin, about 1/2 an inch thick. Drizzle a little almond oil on top, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bread starts to brown. Set aside to cool and harden a little, for about 10 minutes.

Lower the oven’s heat to 350 F. Once bread has cooled, tear or chop into small chunks, and place in a coconut oil-greased baking dish. In a pan on the stove over medium heat, saute the almond oil with celery and garlic, until softened. Add in spices, dried cranberries and apple juice, and continue to cook until mixture is fragrant and starts to thicken. Remove from heat, and carefully pour over bread chunks. Mix all ingredients gently, then cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

So you understand just how good the bread part of this stuffing is, I made a second batch of it the next day, this time sprinkling it with cinnamon and date sugar before baking…and I ate several pieces of it the same day. I don’t know how, but this bread has the doughiness and taste of a regular bread without any grains in it at all! That’s why I love experimenting with grain free baking–it’s so different from regular baking (especially doing it without any eggs) but when I finally figure out something that works, it feels amazing. Total nerd status, but I just love cooking!

I was going to share the recipe for the Thanksgiving veggie burger, but while the taste was spot-on, the texture was not. I’ve yet to make a perfect veggie burger–one that tastes good AND holds together without the use of an egg or breadcrumbs. I definitely don’t mind veggie burger crumbs, but they don’t exactly make a great recipe. I can direct you to the recipe I adapted for mine though, on the Post Punk Kitchen site. That one uses lentils as the base, which I would have done if I wasn’t lazy and had time to cook some lentils from scratch.

What’s your favorite flavor of Thanksgiving (traditional or not)? Any tips for making a good veggie burger that holds together well?

Meal Prep Monday

Remember my ‘vegan on a budget’ posts from last year and earlier this year? I was planning on bringing them back once school started back up in the fall but it’s been…3 months since school started and I haven’t done one of those posts yet. Oops. Anyways, it’s a little late to do them again now since I only have 4 more weeks left, including finals! Crazy talk.

I’ve still been keeping up with my grocery budgeting and meal prepping, though, and I wanted to showcase a little of that, especially because I did a LOT of it this weekend. I managed to spend under $70 total for the week at 3 different grocery stores, which is way better than I was doing last semester, and I’ve been loving my long weekends (I only have classes Monday through Thursday, so 3 days weekends every week for this girl…enjoying them while they last!) because they give me plenty of time to go shopping and get my food prep done for the week. Taking an almost full course load means that I don’t have a ton of time during the week to do this, so it’s a blessing to have 3 days to catch up on stuff, including prepping my meals.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to in the kitchen lately!

Groceries

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

I wasn’t planning on going to Sprouts this weekend, but when my friend said she needed to swing by there for a few things, I decided to tag along. I ended up getting some cheap organic Pink Lady apples (my favorite kind), Ataulfo mangoes (also my favorite) and Medjool dates. All for under $10. Afterwards I stopped at Natural Grocers, mostly because they’re the only store in my area that carries black bean pasta, which is a new high-protein staple for me. Unfortunately, they were all out but I still ended up buying a few things I needed wanted, like my favorite Hail Merry miracle tart, xylitol-sweetened gum, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seed butter–for under $15.

Whole Foods produce...

Whole Foods produce…

...and pantry staples.

…and pantry staples.

Whole Foods is a given, but luckily it hasn’t been a budget breaker lately. I’ve been able to spend under $50 there consistently if I also shop at another store, and I only spend around $60 if that’s the only place I shop for the week. I can’t complain! This week I bought two more expensive items (the stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and Skinnycrisps) but the chocolate chips were on sale and the Skinnycrisps I hadn’t had in months and I wanted to bring them home to have over Thanksgiving break. I was planning on buying Tessemae’s BBQ sauce (sweetened only with dates!) so I could make this ‘pulled’ BBQ cauliflower but they were all out so I just had to nix that recipe for this week. As usual, I got a ton of produce (bananas, pomegranates and persimmons on sale, romaine hearts, lime, cilantro, Hannah yams) and some other things I needed for recipes like organic peanuts from the bulk section (on sale!), raisins and yeast. And of course, a few Larabars for quick snacks during the week. This was all just under $45, score!

Meals

Some of these things I made before I did my grocery shopping, so I was kinda using up some things and getting creative. I ran out of nut butter on Wednesday I think so that was fun trying to find other fat sources in my pantry. It was nice to finally restock and have more fruit and snack-y stuff again.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut 'bacon', pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut ‘bacon’, pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

I already plowed through one of the Garden of Life protein powder tubs my dad bought me late last month and I’m onto the second. I definitely recommend this brand, especially their new coffee flavor (it’s only available at Whole Foods right now, though)–decent consistency, especially mixed with coconut flour, and great stats for a raw protein powder.

Lettuce wraps...for breakfast?

Lettuce wraps…for breakfast?

This was another recent breakfast, when I ran out of bananas so I couldn’t have my usual banana ‘softserve’, which is what I have like 90% of the time. Instead, I took some romaine hearts and filled them with dates, raisins and the last of my PB. The date/lettuce combo is seriously killer! I know it sounds weird, but it’s really good. I also had some Garden of Life protein powder mixed with almond milk on the side.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Before my grocery trips this weekend, my lunches were getting pretty random. I was basically throwing together some leftovers, like the black bean noodles and pumpkin curry sauce, with some add-ins like pomegranate seeds and sauerkraut. These lunches were actually really tasty and filling–I just love the sweet and salty combos!

Oh She Glows' Thai veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Oh She Glows’ Thai sweet potato veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+coconut aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Finally a more put-together meal! This was my take on Angela’s Thai-style veggie burger. I made a few changes to it though–I nixed the oats in favor of almond flour to make it grain free, I didn’t really measure anything, I only added in the spices/veggies that I had on hand like curry powder and cilantro and I topped mine with a sunflower seed butter sauce. These were pretty crumbly, but the flavor was spot-on and definitely the best homemade veggie burger I’ve ever had! I’m looking forward to leftovers all week..

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

As for the rest of meal prep, I cut up and stored the 2 organic pomegranates I scored at Whole Foods for just $2.50 (they were on sale 4 for $5)–always messy work but I’m obsessed with pomegranates so it’s all good–made another batch of homemade sweet potato fries out of one of the Hannah yams I bought, made some more PB&J bites and some healthy ‘rice krispies’ (cacao brown rice cereal made with coconut sugar+sunflower seed butter+1 tbsp maple syrup+1 scoop protein powder+some almond milk made into bars) to use up some brown rice cereal I had and I also made the chocolate-covered fruit and nut clusters above. It’s so simple it doesn’t even really need a recipe, and I have no idea where I came up with it, but it’s basically raw mixed nuts (mine were from Whole Foods) and raisins topped with the Lily’s stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips and set in the freezer to harden. I used the stevia chocolate so these would be sugar free, but feel free to use whatever dark chocolate you have on hand. These are really good, and they’d be the perfect simple holiday dessert, maybe made more festive with dried cranberries instead of raisins and peppermint-flavored dark chocolate?

Do you like to do meal prep on the weekends? What are some of your recent favorite food finds?

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Happiness

What is happiness? I think it means different things for everyone, but there are some universal things that make most of us happy in some way or another. With that, I’m sharing a fun little list Emily posted the other day…feel free to repost with your own answers!

8 Things Every Happy Woman Should Have 

  • A go-to drink: For me, it’s sangrias (love the white wine versions especially), cider on the rocks (I had a really good one a few weeks ago) and homemade margs. And for daily drinks, water always.
  • A go-to karaoke song: Anything Lady Gaga. Her songs just pump me up like no other.
  • A uniform: colored skinny jeans (especially burgundy), faux leather jacket, riding boots, statement necklace or loop scarf
  • A hair stylist they love: I’ve switched stylists a lot over the years, so I’m going to change this one to hair style. I love my hair in big curls with full bangs.
  • An exercise routine: At home workouts 7 days per week, with some walking thrown in as well.
  • A hobby: Grocery/clothes shopping, blogging, yoga, cooking.
  • A best friend: my sister, always and forever. And at the moment, a really close friend I’ve made through working together and having classes together. I’m going to miss her a LOT when I graduate but we’re hoping someday we end up at the same TV station!
  • A healthy sense of self: I feel like I’ve really grown a lot in the past year. Maybe it’s partly because I’m almost a college grad (scary!) but I’ve been maturing and becoming more independent and focusing less on things I used to freak out about. I can’t say I don’t worry about things anymore, but I’m trying to let life happen and just being okay with whatever comes my way. And I’m excited for the future.
Selfies make me feel good, too #noshame.

Selfies make me feel good, too #noshame.

What makes YOU happy? 

WIAW: Photo Dump

Wow, it’s been sooooo long since I’ve done a WIAW! I’ve really missed it, but I had to do what was right for me and for a while, I was trying to get away from focusing on food so much. Now that I’ve found a way of eating that’s working for me, I want to start participating in the best party of the week more often.

Basically, I have a LOT of food/random photos to share so let’s get to it!

One of the newest Larabar flavors.

One of the newest Larabar flavors.

I can’t remember where I first saw the latest additions to the Larabar family, but I knew I had to find them. Luckily, Natural Grocers seems to always have bar flavors other stores don’t have, so when I spotted a few of their new Uber varieties, I had to snag one. I got baklava since it sounded the tastiest, and it was pretty good, with the signature spices of baklava. I still like the bananas foster Uber the best out of that line!

Pumpkin chocolate chip buckwheat+almond flour protein pancakes. Topped with coconut butter, homemade apple chia jam, side of local honey.

Pumpkin chocolate chip buckwheat+almond flour protein pancakes. Topped with coconut butter, homemade apple chia jam, side of local honey.

Breakfast for dinner! These pancakes incorporated a few new products, namely stevia-sweetened chocolate chips (um, yes PLEASE!) and sacha inchi powder. The powder has great stats (40 calories and 6 grams protein per tablespoon) but I don’t love the flavor on its own. It worked great in these pancakes with the flavors of pumpkin and buckwheat!

Beautiful pink flowers at the trial gardens on campus.

Beautiful pink flowers at the trial gardens on campus.

Pretty yellow-ish orange flowers.

Pretty yellow-ish orange flowers.

My family visited me a couple of weekends ago and we took a little walk around the trial gardens on a nice, sunny day. Flowers always make me happy and it was great to see them one last time–probably the last time I’ll see them before I graduate!

Lots o' produce!

Lots o’ produce!

I made my weekly grocery trip on Sunday. Unfortunately for my wallet, it was one of those stock-up trips…meaning I spent a lot more than I wanted to. But I got a lot of things I needed, like produce to refill my fridge, coconut oil and protein powder that will both last awhile and some other pantry staples.

Random buys and pantry staples.

Random buys and pantry staples.

That chocolate bar in the front is perfect for true chocolate lovers–it’s literally just made of cacao beans! It’s a bit too bitter for me so I drizzle a little local honey on it and it’s perfection.

In the Forever 21 dressing room.

In the Forever 21 dressing room.

Trying on dress number 2.

Trying on dress number 2.

Aaaand dress 3, the one I bought. It has little colorful triangles all over!

Aaaand dress 3, the one I bought. It has little colorful triangles all over!

My mom and I did a little shopping while I was home this past weekend. I’ve been looking for a professional-looking dress I can wear to school, for doing the weather for the campus TV station and hopefully to wear at my first big girl job. It’s a lot harder than it seems! I can’t buy anything blue or green (because of the green/blue screen I have to stand in front of), I can’t get dresses that are sleeveless unless I want to wear a blazer over them and of course, they have to fit and look right. I can’t even tell you how many stores we went to and left empty-handed. Finally, we went to Forever 21 and hit the jackpot. I only got one of these dresses (the last one pictured) but I actually loved them all. The top one was a bit too big in the chest area (#ACupProblems) and my mom didn’t like the cutouts on the second one but the third one we both agreed was cute and professional. I can’t wait to wear it on TV this week! Oh, and I’m for sure putting the other two dresses on my Christmas wishlist 😉

I love seasonal food items!

I love seasonal food items!

If I had a vice, it would be seasonal food products. Seriously. I have a big problem. I immediately want to buy them, even if I don’t really need them. Luckily, this week I did need to stock up on protein powder (and this one was on a 3 day sale at Whole Foods, score!) and I wanted to buy some sprouted tortilla chips to make nachos. I want to do some kind of review post soon on the products I’ve tried recently but for now, I have to say I love and recommend both of these. The Amazing Meal has the perfect mix of chocolate and peppermint, and I love the vitamins and minerals in all their products. And the chips are a little sweet and a little salty and great for dipping.

Return of the Whole Foods salad bar box.

Return of the Whole Foods salad bar box.

The last thing my wallet needs right now is the Whole Foods salad bar, but I haven’t had it in at least 2 months, so I was desperate for my favorite takeout. I got some usuals and tried a few of their Indian dishes. It was SO much food, but it was worth the price for sure. At least it’s a rare indulgence, amiright?

Local matcha 'frappuccino' from Nourish Organic Juice.

Local matcha ‘frappuccino’ from Nourish Organic Juice.

Noochy kale salad, cashew ranch dressing and grain free PB chocolate chip blondie from Nourish.

Noochy kale salad, cashew ranch dressing and grain free PB chocolate chip blondie from Nourish.

While I was at home, my dad and I saw some short films at a film festival downtown. The movies were fun, but the best part was trying out a newish vegan place nearby for lunch. My dad is definitely NOT a vegan but he’s so accepting of my lifestyle (as is my mom) and he’s always willing to try vegan restaurants and food, plus he’s really into eating foods without artificial ingredients, so that’s a plus. The restaurant we went to is mostly a smoothie and cold-pressed juice place but they had some tasty food options as well. My salad was small but really delicious, especially with their homemade dressing. The frappuccino was perfect–a lot less sweet than frapps from Starbucks, and made with matcha tea, almond milk and a bit of agave. And the PB blondie was incredible–I had it for dessert that night and it was even better warmed in the microwave. I love that they are completely gluten free and vegan (with a lot of grain free options) and that they make all their stuff in-store or buy it locally. Definitely my kind of place!

What have you been eating and doing lately? 

College Vegan on a Budget: Produce Overload

A series of posts on my grocery budgeting adventures and misadventures through the aisles of Whole Foods and Sprouts.

Some of my previous budgeting posts don’t focus a lot on the produce I buy, but that’s not to say that I never buy it–I love veggies and (especially) fruit. I just usually happen to buy it and then stash most of it away in the fridge right away, or I buy it during the middle of the week sometimes and don’t bother snapping a pic because that’s all I bought. But this week, it’s all about the produce I happened to pick up on my usual weekend haul!

That's a lot of produce (and other stuff)!

That’s a lot of produce (and other stuff)!

*=organic

Sprouts

Produce I Bought: bananas* (7 for just $1.50!), unsweetened applesauce*, dried pineapple*, canned pumpkin puree*, Medjool dates

Other Stuff I Bought: almond flour, chia seeds (so much cheaper buying only what I need in the bulk section), raw cashews. Kevita coconut probiotic drink*, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, Vega protein bar

What I Spent (on Produce): $19.06

Verdict: Dried fruit (especially the kinds I get–with nothing added) can be pricey, but it never goes to waste! The bananas were a super deal, especially for organic. 

Whole Foods

Produce I Bought: frozen blueberries, dried white Turkish figs, baby spinach*, green kale*, watermelon chunks (I blame Amanda 😉 ), Hannah yams*, mango, baby carrots*

Other Stuff I Bought: guacamole, Vega choc-a-lot protein powder, canned artichoke hearts and green olives, kelp noodles, Hail Merry raw chocolate tart (what? it was on sale!), Justin’s vanilla AB squeeze packets, Gone Raw maple mesquite walnuts, lemon mints*, Thunderbird Energetica mint cacao bar*, roasted in-shell pistachios

What I Spent (on Produce): $24.58

Verdict: I spent a little under half of my total on produce, which is great, considering produce can be expensive, especially in winter. Best of all, I stuck to my list–yes, even the raw chocolate dessert was on my list!

What do you spend on produce? What’s some of the fruits and veggies always on your grocery list?