Lazy Berry Smoothie

This is super simple to make (kind of a cheat recipe, if we’re being honest) and has tons of vitamins; this is a great way to start the day or as a sweet dessert. 

I have just finished my first semester of college, and I’m exhausted. Exhausted and a little chubby. Not chubby, honestly, but I put on a few pounds during finals week and on my recent trip to New York. Side note: I tried two new vegan flavors of Ben and Jerry’s and they were FANTASTIC. So no regrets. But I feel a little sluggish and bloated, so I’m trying to feel better, no matter what the scale says.

This was actually one of my favorite cheats at school because you can make a really pretty smoothie with just two ingredients: Naked juice and Vitamin Water. I told you, it’s a cheat. But those were two things I could buy with my meal plan, and you have to get creative sometimes.

DSC08993.JPGPersonally, I prefer XXX Zero + Blue Machine. The flavors compliment well and they’re both packed with vitamins B6 and B12, which are really difficult for vegans to get sometimes. Plus, the taste is amazing.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz vitamin water, vitamin water zero, or other liquid of choice
  • 8 oz Naked juice, or other similar juice

Freeze the juice overnight, pop both into a blender, and enjoy! That’s it! I add chia seeds for a little extra umph.

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Peanut Butter Protein Oatmeal

DSC08916This peanut butter oatmeal is loaded with 15 grams of protein, 14 grams of fiber, and only 4 grams of sugar and is vegan, gluten-free, and easy to throw together.

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, gluten-free if needed
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbs PB2 powder
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs flax seeds, ground
  • stevia to taste

Prepare oatmeal as usual, using 1 cup of almond milk instead of water. Mix in additional almond milk and other ingredients after cooking, and enjoy!

Nutrition: 340 calories, 13 g fat, 30 g carbs (14 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 15 g protein.

Simple Chocolate Nicecream

DSC08909Sometimes, you need ice cream. Or, really, you want ice cream, something cold and sweet and indulgent and full of chocolate. You probably never need ice cream (but I’m not a nutritionist or God, so I really couldn’t say for sure…)

In my tiny college town, there’s one place to buy vegan ice cream. The selection is slim and full of sugar, and the store closes at 8 pm, which doesn’t help when those 10 pm cravings hit. I am also much more mindful of what I eat now, so a pint of sugar-laden, fatty coconut milk ice cream just isn’t very appealing. Enter nicecream.

You’ve all heard of it. Frozen bananas, blended up. I used to shudder at the thought. My aunt an cousin did a Whole30 cleanse and swore up and down that frozen bananas and cocoa powder tasted just like ice cream.  They’re wrong. This won’t taste like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. But it’s still good, and good for you.

Ingredients:

1/2 banana, chopped and frozen

1 tbs cacao powder

1 tbs almond milk

1 tsp maple syrup or other sweetener

add ins: cacao nibs, cinnamon, almonds, pecans, chocolate chips, flaked coconut

Mix all ingredients (except add ins!) in the blender, stir in your toppings, and enjoy!

Easy Mason Jar Cozy

 

There’s nothing more irritating than lugging around your bag of groceries and bulk food, or your lunch bag, and hearing the clank of mason jars against each other. I’ve frankly gotten tired of being a tuneless one-woman band, so I decided to make so travel bags/cozies for my mason jars.

What you need: 

  • an old men’s flannel shirt
  • fabric scissors
  • needle
  • thread

What to do: 

  1. Check that the jar fits in the sleeve when buttoned up. You should still be able to unscrew the lid with the cozy on.
  2. Measure where you want to cut, about one to two inches below where the jar sits when it’s in the sleeve. It’s better to cut a little extra than to be short.
  3. Cut the sleeve, trying to keep a straight line. It’s okay for this to be a little uneven and messy, though.
  4. Keeping the sleeve-let right side out, sew along the bottom. It doesn’t matter how neat this is, as long as it will stay.
  5. Turn the sleeve right side out.
  6. Place mason jar inside, button up, and turn down “collar”. Enjoy your noiseless, well-dressed snack or drink!

You can use the rest of the flannel to make rags, unpaper towels, dryer sheets, etc. I buy mine for about $3 each from my local thrift shop.

Vegan at College: How to Hack It

  1. MIX UP YOUR SALADS
    • add beans, salsa, chickpeas, guac, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, whatever is available
    • take advantage of the salad bar- there are probably delicious raw veggies you can eat plain, or with hummus, guac, peanut butter, etc
  2. PROTEIN POW(D)ER
    • if your protein options are limited, you can always keep some protein powder on you (I love Orgain Chocolate Fudge). Just add water or nondairy milk; or, make my favorite protein smoothie bowl (recipe soon to come!)
  3. SPICE IT UP
    • when the steamed green beans and broccoli start to get old, mix it up! Add soy, sriracha, lemon pepper, curry powder, paprika- use your imagination!
  4. MEAL PREP
    • if you have a fridge and microwave, you’re all set. Buy canned soup (I love Amy’s kitchen), and pre-portion veggies and hummus for grab-and-go dining
    • if you have access to a dorm kitchen, even better! Spend some time during the weekend roasting veggies, cooking up soup, or making peanut butter cookies
  5. Speak up!
    • petition for more choices, ask for items to be made vegan, maybe even start a vegan club!

WHAT NOT TO DO:

  • DON’T start eating all the vegan junk food you can; it’s hard, especially when you suddenly have new freedom. Avoid the Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, veggie burgers and fries- they won’t be your friend for long
  • DON’T ignore nutrient needs. Track your proteins, fats, micronutrients, etc. Make sure you take a vitamin supplement of some sort for those important B vitamins!
  • DON’T give up. It may seem difficult, but remember that you are not a potato, you are a coffee bean: when you’re put in hot water, change your surroundings, don’t let them change you!

Peanut Butter Cookies

I love cookies. I think everyone loves cookies- it’s part of human nature. But traditional cookies have problems. Butter. Eggs. FLour. Sugar. You know, the main ingredients? The ones that make cookies tasty? Yeah. They’ve got to go.

When I first went vegan, I didn’t care about nutrition- I was what I call a ‘fun vegan’- I ate Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, Ben and Jerry’s almondmilk ice cream by the pint (note: my last meal on earth will be a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and a 44 oz Coke Slurpee). Essentially, I didn’t care what I was putting into my body, as long as no animals suffered.

Then I started college, and my mental health took a nose dive. Could it have been constant access to coffee? Maybe. Co

uld it have been stress from new classes? Maybe. Could it have been getting dumped- twice- within the span of a few months? Yeah, that definitely didn’t help. During my winter break, I began watching as many food documentaries as I could. They all seemed to conclude the same thing: a vegan lifestyle is better on the body, environment, and mind.

I thought it was so unfair! I was already vegan! Why wasn’t I happy and healthy? Oh. Maybe it was all the Oreos, and Diet Coke, and french fries…

I started creating and changing recipes to cut out white flour, refined sugars, process oils, everything nasty and artificial. These cookies were my first major success, and I always keep the ingredients on hand. Fluffy, chocolatey, peanut-buttery goodness- I could probably eat a whole batch.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (I use Smuckers)
  • 2/3 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 4 tbs organic unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs

Combine all ingredients except cacao nibs until a soft dough forms. Stir in cacao nibs. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough into 1 to 1.5-inch balls, placing on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment par. Gently flatten with a fork. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for at least five minutes before serving. Eat of freeze within five days.

Nutrition: 119 calories, 6.6 g fat, 10.2 g carbs (1.5 g fiber, 7.1 g sugar), 3.2 g protein

Please comment, share, and subscribe! Happy baking!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Bars

I used to be the Protein Bar Princess. The Clif bar Queen. The Lady of Lärabars. Her Grace of Granola… you get the picture. They’re tasty! They’re convenient! They’re vegan! And they’re healthy, right? Right? Okay, maybe not. Maybe they’re full of sugar, and super wasteful.

I started looking into different recipes for homemade protein bars, but they were either expensive and tasted disgusting, or tasted amazing but comprised primarily of dates, nature’s sugar overload. Not quite what I was looking for. So, with hard work, determination, and some work from my valiant taste tester, I found a tasty, no-bake style bar that’s almost perfect. It can (and will) use some tinkering, but the results are still post- worthy.

I like to wrap these in my small abeego beeswax wraps and store them in the fridge like that, so they’re ready to go to class (even when I’m not).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Bars

  • 2 tbs cacao powder
  • 1.5 tbs chia seeds
  • .25 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 13 pitted dates
  • 3 tbs natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbs PB2 powder, prepared
  • 1 tbs raw honey

In a food processor, mix all ingredients until a dough forms press into 8 individual muffin tins. Let sit in fridge until set, at least an hour. Store in the fridge.

Nutrition: 120 calories, 14.5 g carbs (4 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 5.6 g fat, 4 g protein

Chocolate Covered Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

I have corrupted the chocolate chip cookie. Seriously. I have removed every semblance of a cookie ingredient and reconstructed it completely. And it’s delicious.

My family loves my chocolate chip cookies- you know, the regular, non-vegan, buttery, sugary kind. The kind I don’t eat. I had to find my own recipe, and I had to make it better.

Calling these “chocolate chip cookies” isn’t accurate. There aren’t actually chocolate chips. In fact, there’s not actually chocolate- just raw cacao nibs and powder. So really, it’s not a dessert, it’s a superfood packed energy snack. At least, that’s what I tell myself as I eat a whole batch at 2 a.m. while rewatching The Great British Bake Off for the third time. Spoiler alert: Nadiya still wins.

Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Bites:

(Makes 7 servings)

For the dough:

  • 6 tbs organic coconut flour
  • 6 tbs organic unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • stevia, to taste (I use around 4 packets)
  • 8-9 tbs unsweetened almond or cashew milk
  • 1-2 tbs raw cacao nibs, chopped

For the chocolate topping:

  • 4 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tbs raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbs pure grade A maple syrup

To make the dough, mix all ingredients except cacao nibs together until it forms a dough- it won’t look like a normal dough because there’s nothing fat like oil or butter. Add in chocolate chips.

Press the dough into a silicone mould or form into flat disks. You have a few options here: microwave the cookies for 1-2 minutes to set them; OR immediately put into the freezer. If you microwaved them, let cool before freezing, at least one to two hours.

To make chocolate, melt the coconut oil until liquid. Stir in other ingredients- you may want to sift the cacao powder beforehand to get out any lumps. Dip cookies in chocolate and return to fridge or freezer to harden. Eat right from the freezer or let them thaw a few minutes before eating, and enjoy!

Notes:

  • I have not tried an oven version yet, I will update the recipe when I do
  • If you don’t want to use stevia (and don’t mind the cookies being a little higher in calories), replace with organic coconut sugar to taste, about two tablespoons

Nutrition (using stevia):

153 kcal, 13g carbs (4.5g sugar, 5g fiber), 10g fat, 2.5g protein

My Zero Waste Travel Kit

Recently, I started to be much more conscious of the waste I was producing- specifically how much plastic and paper I was wasting in day to day tasks. Sure, I used to think I was being green- I recycled and bought organic coffee, right? But then I started noticing every little thing- every Larabar or fruit leather wrapper, every plastic bag, each paper (or worse, polystyrene) coffee cup. And I realized that just trying to be green when it’s convenient isn’t good enough.

I’m definitely not faultless: I still use paper towels sometimes, I can’t buy in bulk, and I eat the occasional protein bar when I’m on the go, but I try to be much more prepared. This kit contains everything you need to cut unnecessary waste from your life- as long as you’re fine with a little extra bulk and a few weird looks. But it’s for the planet.

  1. mason jar- good for food storage and drinks (even hot coffee, if you’re careful)

2. Kitchen towel- a thin, absorbent tea towel is perfect for some food storage (greens, baked goods, etc.) or for cleaning up larger messes

3. Handkerchief- use in lieu of a napkin or tissues; I would suggest buying a few from your local thrift shop and changing them out whenever needed.

4. Travel cutlery- never hunt for plastic forks again; this reusable cutlery set is made of bamboo and has a convenient keychain

5. Canvas bag- good for groceries, shopping, food, etc.

Everything except the utensil kit rolls up into the mason jar- it actually takes up very little room in a purse or backpack, and will come in handy more than you expect. Happy travels!