College Vegan on a Budget: Stocking Up

A look into my adventures of learning how to budget shop for healthy vegan groceries.

After my refrigerator fiasco of last week (BTW: I got a new fridge out of the deal, score!) I had to throw out a bunch of my food. Normally I don’t mind tossing things that I didn’t love or whatever, but now that I’m buying almost all of my own groceries, it kinda hurts to have to waste so much, especially not by choice. I just didn’t want to risk getting sick! However, I was excited to do a big restock of my fridge and freezer. Yeah, I get excited over grocery trips. Lame, maybe, but I don’t care! Anyways, I went on a couple shopping trips this weekend while I was at home and my dad was nice enough to buy a few things for me so I won’t be counting those things in my budget list, but I am pumped to try them. I got my first ever kabocha squash and after hearing so many amazing things about them I am roasting mine ASAP, and I also got a chocolate raspberry Raw Revolution bar that sounds so good.

Pantry staples.

Whole Foods

This is all the stuff I bought for myself to restock my fridge, freezer and pantry. I missed a few things, but I’ll be making a trip back next weekend for some extras. (*=organic)

What I Got: kale*, garnet yams*, black grapes*, black figs*, brussel sprouts, baby carrots*, Jazz apples, bulk nutritional yeast (nooooooch!), raisins*, unsweetened vanilla almond milk*, sprouted tofu*, bulk maple almonds (ob-sessed), garbanzo beans*, virgin unrefined coconut oil*, harissa hummus, pineapple upside down Larabar, frozen sweet potato puffs, kelp noodles, NadaMoo! mint chocolate coconut milk ice cream, dry roasted edamame, pumpkin puree in a box*, Justin’s vanilla almond butter squeeze packs, olive bar olives, black bean dip, fresh guacamole, hot sauce dressing (ummm, yes please), Truvia

Fridge and freezer stuff.

What It Cost Me: $81.84 (pretty good for having some higher priced items in there)

Verdict: So glad it came in under $100. I had to do a bunch of restocking since my fridge was basically empty, but I got a bunch of things that will last me a while like the nooch, coconut oil, hummus and sweet potato puffs. I only spent over $5 on 3 items, which is a great way to save money. Those more expensive items add up!

Produce (minus apples and yams).

Now I’m all restocked and ready to go for another week here at my apartment! I’ll be doing some meal prep throughout the week and will hopefully come back sometime with some recipes for you to try out. Tonight I’m making socca pizza for the first time…with a twist!

How much produce do you buy every week? What’s your favorite dip/dressing?

WIAW: On and Off

Sorry about the lack of posting lately! But it’s back-to-school time and this year means moving into my own apartment and getting all settled into a new routine. But now I’m back and ready for another WIAW!

This week, I’ve just got a random assortment of what I’ve been eating and doing, on and off campus. Even though I’m finally living off campus this year, I’m spending more time on campus with all my classes, working at the campus TV station 2 nights a week and a possible new job.

Almond peanut cashew butter mixed with maple syrup and chocolate chips, protein cereal bowl (Nature’s Path sunrise vanilla and PB Puffins mixed with Plant Fusion vanilla pro powder, u/s almond milk and raisins).

Protein powder is a must on my busy days for getting protein in. Now I love mixing it in the bottom of my cereal with some almond milk and enjoying the extra flavor and texture boost.

Pretty flower on campus!

My sister and I headed to campus a few days early to hunt down my class locations (some were in buildings I’d never been to before!) and we saw this awesome flower on our walk. I obviously love how pink it is!

Quinoa pasta and vegan ravioli mixed with basil merlot pasta sauce, mini bell peppers, olives and nooooooooch!

I can’t get enough of the nooch lately, seriously. It might be a problem, but it’s a good problem 😉

A pool? A short walk away? Yes please!

Yes, there is a pool at my apartment. Have I gone in yet? No, but I did spend some time tanning by it with my sis over the weekend. Let’s just say it’s a prime tanning and hang out spot.

Hummus and fresh veggie salad on a pita.

My mom and I tried a new-to-us place just down the street from my apartment. It was super fast, super fresh and really yum. I didn’t eat the pita part of this pita, but the hummus and veggies were outta this world!

3 minute carrot cake protein oats.

This was so good, for a super quickie snack! I mixed thick rolled oats with Truvia, almond milk, chopped carrots, raisins, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder and ground flax and topped it with Nature’s Path sunrise vanilla cereal (so good, and gluten free!) and almond peanut cashew butter.

Car selfie FTW!

Can I just say I love having a car? Not only does it make things more convenient, I can also take awesome selfies in it. Alejandro, you’re the best!

My reward after my first day of classes: grande passion iced tea (unsweetened).

I was in desperate need of some Starbies love after my first day of classes. I hit the nearest one up right after my 4 pm class for one of my fave summer drinks and enjoyed it in the sunshine.

Easy breakfast: chocolate mint protein muffin topped with homemade almond butter cup, grapes.

I’ve definitely been getting my kitchen experimenting on, now that I actually have a kitchen! So far, I’ve made no bake peppermint patty bars, mint chocolate almond butter cups and mini buckwheat corn muffins. The bars and cups are the best though–I’ve been on a mint chocolate kick lately.

First dinner in my new place: vegan nachos! Made with Late July multigrain chips, pinto beans, spicy guac, peach mango salsa, kale sauteed in coconut oil and nooch.

I finally got over my fear of the white stuff and bought some coconut oil. I’ve heard so many good things about the health benefits of it and was sick of avoiding recipes because they included it. I accidentally got the refined kind, but next time I’ll know to get the extra virgin kind for coconutty flavor!

Have you used coconut oil? How do you use protein powder?

Raw Survey and Letting Go

Another survey, I know! If this was a tweet, I’d be saying #sorryimnotsorry. So yeah, I like surveys and they’re easy to do. But I’ve also got a more serious discussion in this post too, so look for that! This survey is all about raw foods, because I’m interested in raw foodism and I love experimenting with raw dessert recipes.

Favorite nut?

Oh man, this is a super hard question! I love so many nuts/seeds. But my fave nut at the moment is definitely cashews. I can’t believe I used to hate them, now I eat them in some form almost every day. They make amazing raw dips and spreads (like my spicy nacho cheez and mascarpone ‘cream’) and can be incorporated in all kinds of raw desserts.

Favorite fruit and veggie?

Another hard one. I’ll just go with what I’m loving most right now–mango and kale. I actually dominated an entire mango the other day at one time, no shame. Now I really want to make some kind of raw massaged mango kale salad!

How good does this look?!

What raw food have you never liked?

Sashimi. Um, yuck. I used to like fish before I became vegan, but even then I thought raw fish sounded nasty. I never wanted to risk getting sick, so I never tried it.

Favorite raw dessert?

Either raw brownies or raw cheesecake. Both are really easy and fun to make but I want to try a store-bought or restaurant version some day!

Raw key lime cheezcake, made with cashews.

What raw food do you eat most often?

Definitely fruits and veggies. I actually prefer most veggies in their natural, aka uncooked and raw form, they just taste so much better that way. A lot of people don’t like raw kale, but I’m obsessed with it. Just squirt a little lemon juice on it, sprinkle some nooch on it and you’re good to go!

What raw food do you want to try?

Raw protein powders. I would love to add a protein punch to my raw desserts and I just think the raw powders might taste even better and more real than the vegan powders I currently love.

What is your favorite raw food discovery?

Cacao nibs. I was intrigued by them when I saw them on someone’s blog and then I decided  to order some. They make a great (but less sweet) sub for chocolate chips and they’ve got a cool texture.

An (almost) totally raw breakfast, featuring banana softserve and cacao nibs.

Onto the “letting go” part of my title. As I said in my last post, I’m going on vacation soon. As much as I love getting away from the daily grind, vacations can be so hard, especially for my eating and exercise habits. I’m realizing that I won’t be able to do my daily 45-60 minute workouts for a few days and we’ll be eating out for dinner every night and I’m kinda freaking out. But really, why can’t I enjoy myself for 5 days and balance my normal healthy eating with some meals out (that’ll still be fairly healthy) and just working out by hitting the outdoor pool and walking around the town and hiking in the mountains. I think I’ll live, and probably have more fun. So for at least the days I’m on vacation, I want to skip adding up my meals and workouts in the calorie tracking app I use and not flip out if I can’t be as balanced as I am at home. I think I can still be really healthy–it’s not like I’m going to start eating junk because it doesn’t make me feel good–and the few days I’m away might make all the difference in the changes I’m trying to make to fight my ED. I like knowing the numbers and the macros, but really, they’re not the be-all end-all. I want to try moving towards intuitive eating, instead of restriction and counting.

What raw food do you eat most often? How do you balance vacations and your health?

Best Discoveries This Year

Before I start this post, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic shooting that occurred just a few days ago in Aurora, CO. It’s always hard to hear and read about these horribly sad events, but even more so when they happen in your own state, only about an hour’s drive away from where I live. Please keep all the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers!

Now onto something lighter! Yes, I realize it’s not the end of the year yet–but it will be soon if the year keeps flying by like it has–but since my birthday is just around the corner, it kinda feels like a new year for me.

Anyways, I’ve made a lot of new purchases and discoveries since last July 27th so here are some of the best! They’re not all food related but knowing me, most of them are 😉

Whole Foods Hot/Cold Bars

The most recent edition, and one of my favorites so far!

Honestly, if I could, I would eat at Whole Foods once a week, it’s just that good! But $7 salad boxes just aren’t in my budget so I’ve only had them about 5 times over the past year. But each one is amazingly delicious, and I can always find something new. Oh, and I never stick with the boring spinach leaves and black olives…no, I load my boxes up with flavored tofu (they have the best stuff), cold veggie salads, fresh fruit and yummy grains. They never disappoint!

LabelBox (and Phonto)

I love all the colors!

Move over, Instagram, you’re old news! LabelBox and Phonto are the perfect way to jazz up your Instagram’d photos and if you’re as much of a font nerd as I am, you won’t be able to live without them. Plus they’re free, and who doesn’t like free?

Veganism

Who says vegan foods have to be boring and tasteless?

My decision to go vegan a little less than a year ago has been seriously life-changing. During my eating disordered days, I relied on low-cal, low-fat things too much because I thought they were ‘healthy’. Now as a vegan I’m eating mostly whole foods and minimally processed foods, with plenty of nuts, grains like quinoa and oats and tempeh, all things I never would have touched a few years ago. I feel healthier, happier and more vibrant. I feel okay treating myself to things like coconut milk ice cream and tons of guacamole because they have health benefits and make my life better. Not to mention, I’ve become more creative in the kitchen and ordering things at non-vegan restaurants. I am not 100% vegan, as I do enjoy gelato or froyo and honey on occasion, but I know I’m doing a good thing for the animals, the environment and myself and that’s why I continue to do it.

Pinterest

I still want this for my apartment!

I don’t go on this as much as I should (or could?) but I still love how inspirational it is. I pin a lot of fashion and decor stuff and when I’m done, I get some closet and apartment inspiration. Sure, some of it is unrealistic but it’s so fun!

Kale

Kale: a nutritious part of this complete dinner!

How did I not discover what’s become my favorite veggie until February? I first tried this superfood in kale chip form and was hooked. I didn’t love it raw at first but when I figured out you have to massage a dressing or sauce into it, I fell in love. It’s also really great crisped up in a dry skillet with salt, pepper and garlic. Basically it’s awesome no matter how you use it, and I love that I feel like a superhero when I eat it!

Zevia

My second-fave flavor so far. This root beer’s got a bite!

I’ve never been a big soda drinker, but I would always always always stick to diet versions. But all that fake sweetener isn’t the best and it gives me headaches. So I went soda-less for awhile, until I stumbled upon Zevia. I love stevia as a sweetener and thought why not. Yeah, $5 or 6 is kinda a lot for a 6-pack, but it’s worth it for a 0 calorie natural soda. The cream soda is the bomb, and I also love the cola and root beer. Still have yet to find the lime cola and strawberry but I’m on the hunt!

Bold Shorts

Dark grey and hot pink make a perfect outfit!

I’ve never been one to shy away from bright colors, but I wasn’t so sure about the neon shorts trend. Luckily I got over that quickly because I love my hot pink shorts! They’re fun and different while still being polished and pretty. I’m planning on investing in a few more pairs of bright shorts (and some bright jeggings) before the summer’s over!

Sweet Quinoa

I need to have this deliciousness from breakfast again soon!

Who knew quinoa could be tasty for dinner and breakfast? I was skeptical at first but after seeing some mouthwatering breakfast quinoa pictures on Instagram, I knew I needed to try it for myself. And now I’ve got a new breakfast obsession, along with fluffy homemade waffles and overnight oats. Give them a try if you haven’t already, they’re worth the weird stares you might get from people 😛

What’s one of your best discoveries from the past year? What’s your favorite veggie?

There’s Kale in My Pesto and Coffee in My Banana Bread (Recipes!)

Long time, no recipe post, huh? Sure, I’ve been including recipes here and there in my posts lately, but sometimes it’s nice to devote an entire post to them. I haven’t had one of these since June 10th–almost a month, yikes! But I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen and it’s paid off with two recipes I think you might love.

First up, something you might want to whip up as a quick dinner. Usually when I have pasta, I use some kind of red sauce or sometimes my spicy nacho cheez sauce for a vegan take on mac ‘n cheese. I rarely even think about pesto, the popular green cousin of tomato sauce. But when I saw a recipe for pumpkin seed pesto on the Whole Foods website, I knew I had to make some for myself…with some changes, of course, to make it my own recipe.

Cheezy pumpkin seed kale pesto over quinoa pasta and Rising Moon artichoke and olive ravioli, watermelon slices.

Cheezy Pumpkin Seed Kale Pesto (vegan, gluten free)

1/2 cup hulled (green) pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup water

1/2 tbsp olive oil

lemon juice, to taste

two handfuls kale, roughly chopped

nooch, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until combined and creamy. Add more nooch if desired, and serve over pasta, veggies or quinoa. Makes about 1 cup.

The pesto paired perfectly with chilled quinoa pasta and soy ricotta ravioli but I also want to try it as a sandwich spread! It’s more nutritious than the typical pesto, because it’s cheese-free (but uses nooch to get that cheezy taste) and uses kale which is packed with Vitamins A & C and has some calcium and fiber. And the pumpkin seeds add an interesting taste and creamy texture to the sauce!

And what’s dinner without some dessert afterwards? I usually space my dinner and nighttime snack so there’s about 2 hours in between, just enough time to digest and work up some hunger for dessert! I haven’t baked something in pretty much forever (probably close to two months) so it was definitely time. I made banana bread for the second time ever–the first time was about 3 years ago. I like banana bread, but I just rarely think to make it. But I didn’t want to just make plain ‘ol banana bread, no, I had to try incorporating some unusual ingredients. It turned out great and even better than normal banana bread.

Nothin’ better than warm banana bread crumbled in almond milk topped with almond peanut cashew butter and mini chocolate chips!

Mocha Chip Banana Bread (vegan)

3/4 cup oat flour (can sub whole wheat, or gluten free flour)

3/4 cup oats [adds some texture]

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

5 squares dark chocolate with coffee pieces, chopped (can use normal dark chocolate, or chocolate chips)

1/4 cup cold coffee (I made mine with 1/3 packet Starbucks VIA instant mocha powder and 1/4 cup water)

2 ripe bananas

2 tbsp maple syrup or agave

1/2 tbsp chia or flax seed, for “egg”

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together flour, oats, baking powder, salt and chocolate until combined. In a blender or food processor, blend the coffee, bananas and maple syrup until smooth and mixed thoroughly. Pour wet mixture into dry and add in chia or flax egg. Pour batter into baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Makes 8 slices.

Mine didn’t rise a lot (stupid high altitude baking!) but it was still tasty and very dense. It’s a lot healthier than the typical banana bread and isn’t quite as sweet but for around 110 calories per slice, it makes the perfect snack crumbled in almond milk or spread with almond butter. And I love the slight coffee taste it has! Next time I would add even more coffee to it. Oh, and my junk food-loving little sister loved it, so that’s saying a lot!

This recipe is being submitted for this week’s (September 7) Healthy Vegan Friday

What’s your favorite kind of bread to eat? Do you like red sauce, white sauce or pesto?

WIAW: Red, White & New

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow U.S. bloggers! Unlike most years, I won’t be watching fireworks…well maybe on TV, but due to all the fires, most fireworks shows were cancelled around here. I will be wearing some red, white and blue and enjoying some festive eats, though–maybe with a recipe to come!

Anyways, for this week’s WIAW I wanted to highlight some new things I’ve been enjoying lately and share a couple recipes. Note: This was not all eaten in one day!

Red, white and blue fruit bowl: fresh strawberries, frozen banana, double blueberry chia jam.

I’ve been wanting to make my own jam forever so when I stumbled upon Angela’s blueberry chia jam, I knew I had to make it. I bought chia seeds for the first time ever and adapted the recipe to what I had on hand. Turns out, homemade jam is 1000 times better than storebought. And it’s not that hard to make!

Double Blueberry Chia Jam (vegan, gluten free)

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed

1-2 tbsp blueberry flavored agave (can use regular agave)

1 tbsp chia seeds

In a small pot, bring blueberries and agave to a low boil, stirring often. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Lightly smash the berries with a fork, if desired. Stir in chia seeds, stirring often to prevent from sticking to the pot. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until jam is at your desired consistency. Remove from heat and store in a glass tupperware container or jar in the fridge. Makes about 1/2 cup. 

This flavor is now in my top 5!

I still can’t believe I used to hate Larabars a couple months ago. Correction: I was scared of them, because of their calorie and fat content. Truth is, I love ’em now and all their calories and fat come from healthy, simple sources. Nothing but real foods in these! I was finally able to track down a couple new-to-me flavors, peanut butter chocolate chip and key lime pie. I’ve yet to try the key lime but the PB chocolate chip is amazing, especially when the chocolate chips melt, which is inevitable in this heat wave. Now I’m dying to try the chocolate chip cookie dough one!

Homemade vegan nachos: Late July sweet potato multigrain chips, black beans, spicy nacho cheez, crispy kale, guac, pumpkin seeds and nooch.

I think I have a problem. I put nooch on almost everything I eat now! It’s just so addicting, and I love knowing I’m getting a little protein and B vitamin boost from it. These nachos are my favorite thing to whip up for a quick and easy dinner. The cashew cheez sauce is what makes it!

Cookie the size of a salad plate…dominated!

If you haven’t tried Whole Foods’ vegan chocolate chip cookie and you have a store near you…go buy one now! I promise it’ll be the best 99 cents you’ve ever spent, especially if you pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. I’m always shocked that this gigantic cookie has only 170 calories in it–the magic of vegan baking!

This $6 salad bar box was worth every penny.

I’m obsessed with the Whole Foods salad bars. The one near me always has a great selection and a lot of their options are vegan. I load up on a little bit of everything and it always turns out perfect. I can’t even remember everything in this box but there was some emerald sesame kale, marinated artichoke hearts, fruit salad, a warm bok choy salad, Asian cous cous, Mediterranean crunch salad, curry tofu and a falafel ball. It was worth all the stares I got for eating it at my internship–some people just don’t appreciate healthy eating!

Double chocolate protein waffle topped with NadaMoo! maple pecan coconut milk ice cream.

I’ve really been into making protein waffles lately. First I made them with peanut flour but then I tried some protein powder samples I got from Whole Foods. This one was made with Vega One and it was soooooooo good. For a snack, I topped it with some coconut milk ice cream. The ice cream melted all over the warm waffle which made it even better.

Double Chocolate Protein Waffle (vegan, high protein)

1 sample packet Vega One chocolate protein powder

2 tbsp oat flour (can sub whole wheat or gluten-free flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life dairy free chips)

1 tbsp flax or chia seed, mixed with water to make flax or chia “egg”

unsweetened almond milk, to thin

stevia, to taste (I used one packet)

Heat up waffle iron (or skillet, if making into pancakes) and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Mix together all dry ingredients until combined. Add in flax egg and almond milk until batter is smooth and thick, but can  be easily scooped up. Spoon batter (in two batches) onto waffle iron and cook until outside is crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Makes 2 waffles (the entire batch has about 18 grams of protein and around 300 calories!).

I love homemade pizza!

Since I became vegan, I’ve become much more creative with pizza toppings. I rarely even use vegan cheeses anymore but pizzas don’t really need cheese if you have amazing toppings. The one on the left is an Indian-inspired pizza topped with curry sauce, raisins (weird, I know, but it was actually good), cauliflower, carrots and chickpeas. The one on the right was a spicy Italian version with Field Roast Mexican chipotle grain sausage, garlic basil sauce, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. The crust was amazing too, even though it turned out super thick. I used the fresh multigrain pizza dough that Whole Foods sells in their refrigerated section and I love the taste and doughiness of it, but it tends to rise a little bit too much!

Recent lunch: strawberries topped with double blueberry chia jam; peanut flour granola in almond milk with raisins, sunflower seeds and mini chocolate chips; spicy curry sauce with edamame, broccoli slaw and kale.

I’ve been loving whipping up a simple curry and veggie bowl for lunch lately. The sauce I use is the spicy & tangy curry sauce by Spicy Nothings and it’s one of the best curries I’ve ever had. It’s not even honestly that spicy, but then again I’m kinda obsessed with spicy things. It goes so well with kale and edamame but I want to try it soon with some tempeh!

How do you get in protein in the mornings? Do you like things spicy or mild?

Saturday Survey

Thanks for all the good thoughts and well wishes on my last post! A quick update on the fire–it’s now 15% contained, which is a lot better than the 5% it’s been since last weekend and some people have been allowed to return home and to work (including my dad–his office was in the evacuation area and he had off of work since Wednesday) but unfortunately, over 300 homes have been destroyed. Keep thinking of us out here and pray for rain!

On another note, sorry there wasn’t a Friday Faves post this week! I was pretty busy this week–I was at my internship on Tuesday between 2 and 10 pm answering phone calls about the fires and running little errands for the anchors, reporters and producers; I went grocery shopping (more on that later!), to the post office, played tennis with my dad (one perk to him having a few days off) and some other stuff and it kinda just slipped my mind. But I didn’t want to forget about posting this weekend altogether so here’s a survey I filled out awhile ago. I found it on a vegan blog, so a lot of the questions are vegan-related but I hope you still enjoy it anyway!

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan but you don’t?

Greek yogurt. My mom was still buying it for me a month or so ago and I just can’t do it anymore, it’s not as appealing to me.

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?

Pretty much most veggies. I liked carrots and lettuce and bell peppers, but that was about it. Now I love a lot of them, like kale, eggplant, portobellos, sweet potatoes and spicy peppers.

Kale is my favorite veggie ever!

What vegan food or dish do you feel like you should like, but don’t?

Almost all tofu. I like it from the Whole Foods hot/cold bars, but that’s about it. It’s also okay if it’s sliced really thin, but otherwise it’s just gross to me. Luckily I like tempeh a lot, so it’s no loss.

Spice/herb you would die without?

Nooch…I put that s**t on everything! When I first bought it (because everyone else was doing it), I thought it was bizarre but now I just can’t get enough.

Seitan, tofu or tempeh?

Tempeh allllllll the way! I can even eat it raw, is that weird? I just love its nutty flavor! Tofu is my second favorite. Generally, it’s a meh for me though. And I’ve only tried seitan once but it was just not my thing at all.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?

Dried fruit, or just fruit in general. It’s so addicting grabbing a handful of fresh pineapple, or making a Medjool date stuffed with nut butter. I always choose dried fruit without anything added so I know it’s not unhealthy, but sometimes I fill up on fruit before the meal even starts!

The dried pineapple is especially addicting!

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?

Desserts. I love healthier prepackaged desserts, but it’s so much more satisfying eating something you made yourself.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?

Nut butter, maple syrup, flavored dark chocolate, stevia-sweetened soda…yeah, I have expensive tastes 😉

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?

Kalamata olives are a must, as are artichoke hearts. I love kale, jalapenos and tempeh bacon too. Nooch is almost always dumped on top.

Some of my all-time favorite pizza toppings.

What’s on your grocery list this week?

I just went to the store on Thursday, but this was some of what was on my list: kale (weekly purchase), Medjool dates, oat flour, chia seeds (first time buying them!), maple almonds, protein powder samples, brown rice Pad Thai noodles, vegan curry sauce, Larabars (still can’t find the chocolate chip cookie dough or Jocalat flavors, grrrr…), coconut milk ice cream (another first time purchase) and multigrain pizza dough.

What is the best salad dressing?

The Ginger People hot jalapeno ginger. It’s technically a sauce, but it’s so good.

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?

Peanut flour with cacao nibs, or mango jam with a crackle of sea salt. Don’t knock it til you try it.

“Dressed up” sprouted toast (topped with mango jam, maple macadamias and sunny “raw”nola).

Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.

Alvarado Street sprouted sourdough (new fave bread), Field Roast Mexican chipotle sausages, NadaMoo! maple pecan coconut milk ice cream.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?

I still have yet to have a vegan cupcake, but I so want to. I would love a carrot cake kind with vegan cream cheese frosting, or maybe a s’mores kind.

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?

Kale and tempeh tacos.

Simple but oh so good.

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?

Most of my dessert things, surprisingly. My family’s used to super sweet, super rich desserts I guess (and crappy packaged stuff) so more natural, lower sugar stuff isn’t appealing to them. Oh well, more for me!

Favorite vegan chocolate/candy?

I love Chocolove’s dark chocolate in different flavors, especially raspberry, orange and peppermint. The peppermint kind tastes like a peppermint patty!

Most extravagant food item purchased lately?

Coconut milk ice cream from NadaMoo!. It’s like 5 bucks a pint, but totally worth it.

 

 

What’s the most extravagant purchase you’ve made in the last week? Name three items in your freezer!

 

WIAW: Free At Last (Almost!)

Well girlies, I am so close to being completely done with my first two years of college! I’ve just got one final bright and early tomorrow night and then I am done done DONE! I’ve already been home since Friday afternoon, but getting this over with means that summer can officially begin.

Being home has been awesome so far! Of course, I went on a huge grocery haul my first full day back–does anyone else love grocery shopping? I could literally do it every day and not get bored, especially at Whole Foods. There’s always some new product and I’ve always gotta try it! So this week’s WIAW will be featuring a few of those new finds, and a couple of recipes.

The ginger root beer variety is almost as good as the cream soda.

The 6-packs of Zevia were on sale at my WF, so I had to try out a new-to-me flavor. It was really good, but I was expecting a little more ginger flavor. I love ginger anything so it was a little disappointing, but I’m sure it’ll make the perfect healthy root beer float! I’ve been on the lookout for Zevia’s newer flavors (lime cola and strawberry) but no luck yet. I think I’ll be hitting up all the Whole Foods in CO… 😉

Whole Foods guacamole (aka the best guac ever) and amazing locally-made mango salsa, in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco de Mayo wasn’t too exciting for me or my family (my dad was more excited about the Kentucky Derby) but we did ‘celebrate’ with salsa and guacamole. WF has the  best guac, but unfortunately it’s super expensive. We got a tiny container of it for $4.99, a total rip-off but so worth it. The mango salsa was a much better buy, and also delicioso (had to get some Spanish in there somewhere!). I am in love with fruity salsas and really want to make my own this summer. I made a strawberry jalapeno pico de gallo last summer but the recipe never made it to the blog–I’ll be making it again soon and sharing the recipe this time!

What season is this?!

So Monday morning, I woke up to snow. Yes, snow in May. Crazy Colorado! We’ve had warm, dry weather for 2 months straight and now this. At least it was only a dusting, and didn’t stick around for long.

A Cinco de Mayo snack plate: crushed sweet potato and blue corn Late July chips, kettle corn, stuffed Medjool date, chili and jalapeno olives, guacamole and mango salsa.

I don’t think I will ever get sick of snack plates. They are perfect for indecisive people like me who don’t like to commit to one huge thing. I’d rather sample a bunch of small things and please all my cravings. Plus each snack plate is completely different, so I never get bored.

I’m always down for seasonal flavors!

You know you’re a foodie when you practically pee your pants upon seeing brand new Larabar flavors. Especially ones that you haven’t even heard about, and that sound as amazingly delicious as these. I am so glad I am no longer a Larabar snob because I will be hoarding these seasonal flavors like nobody’s business. I love anything and everything limited edition, especially summery things. I’ve only tried the pineapple upside down cake one and it’s so pineapple-y! I can’t believe it’s only made of almonds, dates and pineapple. If you see these near you, buy the whole box some! You won’t regret it.

[Pancake] breakfast of champions: peanut flour pancakes topped with homemade strawberry vanilla stevia jam and drizzle sunflower seed butter.

I couldn’t come home and not make pancakes, right? I haven’t had any in months, and this was my first time making them completely from scratch–no boxed mixes for this girl anymore! These pancakes are super easy to make, taste just like a gooey PB&J sandwich and have 15 grams of protein in the entire batch! P.S. Both recipes are adapted from here.

Peanut Flour Pancakes (vegan, gluten-free, high protein)

3 T peanut flour (or PB2)

1 T ground flax seed (I used golden flax) or mashed banana/unsweetened applesauce

1 1/2 T water

1/2 t baking powder

2 packets Truvia or stevia (can use liquid stevia drops)

4 T unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Almond Breeze)+ water, to thin

Stir together ground flax and water to make a flax “egg”. Set aside for a few minutes. In a bowl, mix together peanut flour, baking powder and Truvia. Add in flax egg, almond milk and any additional water needed to thin the batter. On a skillet or small pan heated to medium, scoop batter in small spoonfuls (I used a melon baller) or form into a larger pancake, cooking two at a time. Flip pancakes once the batter bubbles up. Serve pancakes topped with nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter), caramelized bananas, real maple syrup or homemade jam (see recipe below). Makes 5 small or 2 large pancakes.

Homemade Microwave Strawberry Vanilla Jam (vegan, gluten-free)

strawberries, sliced (I used 3 large berries)

4-8 drops liquid vanilla stevia, to taste (you can use any flavor)

Stir berries and stevia together until combined. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 min. Can serve warm or chilled. Spoon over pancakes, on toast or on top of nondairy ice cream. Makes 1 serving.

So spicy, so good.

Continuing with my love for all things hot, I picked up this gem at WF this past weekend. Like a lot of new-t0-me products, I hoped that it would live up to the hype that I put on it. Well, this definitely delivered! Spicy with just a hint of ginger, it’s perfect as a marinade, sauce and dip.

Having Mexican food a few days after Cinco de Mayo still counts, right? Black beans with mango salsa, crispy kale tempeh taco on sprouted Ezekiel tortilla topped with guacamole.

I am usually a fan of tacos. Just because I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a taco every once in awhile. In the past, I’ve used beans as a filler but this time I went for ground tempeh and it was a winner. In fact, it was probably the best taco I’ve ever had.

Crispy Kale Tempeh Tacos (vegan)

1 oz crumbled tempeh (I used Lightlife organic flax tempeh)

marinade of choice (I used the Ginger People Hot Ginger Jalapeno sauce above)

handful kale

salt and pepper, to taste

nooch, to taste

tortilla (I used a small Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla)

taco toppings (guacamole, vegan sour cream, Daiya cheese or cashew cheese, salsa)

Marinade tempeh in sauce for 5-10 minutes. Place tempeh in a pan on the stove over medium high heat and let cook until browned and somewhat crunchy. Add in kale, salt, pepper and nooch and cook until crispy. Spoon kale and tempeh onto tortilla and top with more sauce and whatever toppings you love. Makes 1 taco.

PB&J smoothie in a bowl (unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze, peanut flour, Truvia) topped with fresh strawberries and crushed PB Puffins.

Apparently I’m on a PB&J for breakfast kick right now! I’m just loving the combo of peanut flour and fresh strawberries right now–I may have to make a wrap or open-faced sandwich with these two ingredients soon.

Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Have you spotted the new Larabar flavors yet?