Category Archives: tips

Grocery Shopping

I apologize for not blogging for two weeks. I have an exam tomorrow and my grandpa had a heart attack and is in the hospital in critical condition. He is slowly, but steadily, improving and it would be rad if you guys could all keep him in your hearts, if only for a minute.

As far as food… so much to catch up on! First off:

Grocery shopping! These are last week’s groceries, that’s how behind I am. I bought beans, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, bananas, hummus, avocadoes, cumin, ezekial bread, kale, broccoli, half a baby coconut, a larabar, a vegan cookie, vegan coconut ice cream, and a raw vegan white chocolate bar! I used up pretty much all my fresh stuff today so there will be another grocery trip tomorrow.

That huge case of strawberries in the middle? $7.99. Awwwwwesome! I’ll put them in my freezer and use them for smoothies.

Strawberries!!

Other than buying super discounted items in bulk, here are the ways I save money on groceries:

1. Shop locally. I shop at a local grocer called Ward’s where everything is cheaper than the grocery chains here and they have 3 times more organic selection. If you don’t have a local grocer check out co-ops and farmer’s markets. Research and contact local farmers and ask them if you can buy straight from the source.

2. Second guess EVERY purchase. If I don’t do this I often go home with lots of things that I don’t use or have trouble finding ways to use because I love spontaneous purchases and buying things like freshly ground raw cashew butter (yes, Ward’s has this, how cool is that??) that I won’t use enough of.

3. Know how much you eat. I am a college student so I eat out a few times a week for convenience. This is slightly more expensive but it saves time I need to study. Occasionally I’ll buy too much at the grocery store or eat out too much and waste food I have at home. Knowing how much you eat in general, and how much you eat out, will help you save yourself from wasteful spending.

4. Only buy on sale. I’ve gone into the grocery store and decided I would only buy what was on sale. Of course, this limits me to non-organic produce, but it saved money. At the end of my trip, there would be a few things I still didn’t have that I needed and I would go back for those things, even though they weren’t on sale. This is my quick and dirty way of by-passing all of the things I don’t absolutely need.

Things that I needlessly spend on are dessert items. But dessert is a definite need for me! đŸ˜‰

Every once in a while I buy different flavors of this brand of ice cream. I’ve tried chocolate, pineapple, peanut butter chocolate, and turtle trails. I’ve liked all of them but the pineapple because it still had the strands from the actual pineapple and I’m a huge texture freak. In the turtle trails, there are delicious chocolate covered pecans that becomes a bit like uncovering buried treasure while you’re eating it. =)

These are probably my favorite brand of cookies, EVER. They are so soft and delicious. I’ve tried pumpkin pie, mac the chip, chocolate chip, double fudge, espresso chip, and oatmeal. I didn’t dig the oatmeal so much, even though SAD oatmeal cookies were some of my favs. Double fudge was AMAZING but I bought that on a trip to the local rock climbing gym and Ward’s doesn’t carry that flavor. =( My second fav is mac the chip, as shown above.

I have been searching for a white chocolate vegan bar for quite a while and to find one that’s raw?? I gasped the kind of gasp that you don’t gasp unless something bad is about to happen, out loud in the middle of the busy grocery store, haha. The front of the wrapper says rich in Vitamin C, rich in macronutrients, rich in antioxidants, NO refined sugar, NO dairy, NO gluten, NO soy. It was made primarily from coconut, and I do not recall if there were nuts in it or not. It was delicious, although not near the flavor of SAD white chocolate. It was very smooth with a caramel hint underneath.

Speaking of dessert, I occasioned a vegan ice cream/coffee shop that’s 2 blocks from my apartment quite a bit this week. I did not capture any pictures of the ice cream because I was too busy devouring it. Next time though, I will grab a quick pic.

My bes' fraind Sabrina at Karma Cream studying with me

Other eats this week:

Chipotle Imitation Bowl

Tofu Teriyaki at a sushi restaurant downtown

Pita bread and Hummus

This pita and hummus was from a local salad place called Designer Greens where I also had a huge salad… no picture of the huge salad because I ate it before it occurred to me to take a picture, haha. … I need to remember to do that more often….

Navy bean and potato soup

This was some of the best vegan comfort food I’ve ever had, thanks to my boyfraind’s mom. They mashed up navy beans and mixed with water, salt, and herbs for the thick stew-like broth and just threw in potatos and more navy beans. I will never ever give up beans, no matter how raw I get. They are just too damn good.

Green smoothie

This was the green smoothie I had this morning with one frozen banana, a handful of strawberries, coconut water, maca, kale, and 4 tablespoons of the coconut pineapple ice cream I don’t enjoy on its own. The ice cream actually made the smoothie. I found a use for it!

Count on a blog post within the next few days.

Who would be interest in a post on all the great places to get vegan food in Gainesville, Florida? Anyone?

What’s your favorite vegan comfort food?

How do you save money on groceries?

6 Comments

Filed under chocolate, coconut, dessert, green smoothie, grocery list, ice cream, strawberries, tips, Uncategorized

How to Do the Morning Smoothie When You Have No Time

I have to regularly break my addiction to coffee. Not caffeine, coffee. And this is only partially because of lack of willpower đŸ˜‰

I work for the most recognized corporate coffee shop in the U.S. I’m not gonna say which it is directly in case it somehow gets me in trouble. We get coffee for free. For our entire shift. … And I have to be there, 5 days a week, at 4:45 A.M. Talk about your recipe for addiction disaster!! I have tried to quit cold turkey drinking anything except tea from work many times since declaring my raw veganness. Oh, and did I mention sometimes free food is available too? And none of it is vegan. Because of this constant free source of non vegan eatables and drinkables I have hit many many bumps (and taken a few detours) on my road to my diet goals. I wasn’t even fully vegetarian until 2-3 months after this blog got started. I had a rough time giving up chicken from Chipotle.

So basically the point of this is:

1. Rarely does anyone go vegetarian/vegan overnight. I was gung-ho about going cold turkey, even while I was still eating meat! I was in love with the ideal but I didn’t know how to transition. I read all the books, all the blogs, knew the necessary kitchen equipment, wanted to try all kinds of new recipes… but I didn’t know what to eat to stay full; I didn’t know how to make meals out of legitimate raw vegan food. For me, this was a learning-by-doing process. Changing my diet so radically was a learning experience and took time. It still is. Raw uncooked foods are only 30-40% of my daily diet, at best. But, I am 100% vegan now and I am proud of myself for reaching that goal. Slowly, day by day, I am making myself aware of what I eat and how I can change the vegan snacks and meals to raw vegan snacks and meals. If you are reading this and you haven’t reached your diet goals yet, realize that you will make it there, no matter how long it takes. You are already amazing for wanting to reach those goals.

Now, onto the point of the title! When I drank green smoothies every day for breakfast I had so much more energy, I was much more likely to eat vegan and raw for the rest of the day, my skin was clearer, etc, etc. The last few weeks I’ve had black and white americanos every day. Granted, they’ve been decaf, but the coffee dehydrates me and the sugar has been SO bad for my skin. It’s comforting in the morning to have hot, sweet coffee but I have to break this bad habit and start making green smoothies again… which is what I did this morning bright and early at 4:15 A.M.

Ingredients! =)

If I can make smoothies at 4:15 A.M., 15 minutes before I have to leave for work, then anyone can do it.

How to Make A Smoothie In the Morning When You Have No Time

1. Find yourself a fabulous to go-cup. I bought mine at Wal-Mart for like 5 bucks. It’s around 30 ounces, BPA free, spill-proof, insulated, with a built in straw and a loop to hang off of a backpack. It was everything I was looking for in a cup.

You want your to-go cup to give you as much convenience as possible. This  means spill proof, a suckable straw, and double insulated so there’s no condensation. If you prefer, something to enable attaching to a backpack or bicycle. If you are health conscious, you will want BPA-free plastic, or stainless steel. Glass is probably the healthiest material to drink a smoothie out of but because of breakability, will not work for your to-go cup.

2. Set up EVERYTHING, down to the last detail, the night before.

  • Put everything together in a giant baggy, prechopped and peeled as needed, in the fridge or freezer. If your blender can’t handle frozen items, pre-chill your cup by putting it in the freezer overnight. This is what I did, since I have a $250 Cuisinart and not a Vitamix.
  • Put your blender where you blend in the morning. Plug it in. Have the lid handy. Put every non-chilled ingredient right next to the blender, pre-measured if so desired. Personally, I don’t really measure ingredients so I just set the bags out.

3. If you don’t have a Vitamix or a Blendtec, only you know your blenders capabilities. If you can throw everything in with some liquid and put it on a low setting and leave it while you get dressed and brush your teeth, then awesome! Do that to save yourself from time. If you know your blender will need some coaxing set aside 3 extra minutes and follow your blender’s manual as to order of ingredients to blend. Some blenders recommend that you blend liquid and non-frozen things first, and then add in the frozen stuff.

Some other tips: If you are making a breakfast smoothie, for god sake’s make a breakfast smoothie. Make it dense and thick and caloric and DELICIOUS!!! Good ingredients to make it more caloric and thick are frozen bananas, hemp milk/seeds, nut milk/seeds, dates, and apples.

Yum!

This morning, mine had hemp milk, a banana (I should have put 2), some frozen strawberries, cacao powder, maca powder, and TONS of greens. It was chocolatey and delicious!

6 Comments

Filed under banana, cacao, chocolate, goals, green, green smoothie, strawberries, tips, Uncategorized

Some Helpful Tips for Starting Out Raw

So I have been on my raw journey for a little over 6 months now. It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride. First, I had no idea how to start out. All I saw in raw books were recipes that catered to SAD mindset meaning complex recipes, dehydrated recipes, recipes requiring a vitamix or food processor or even simple recipes with expensive ingredients. Being that I had no money, no dehydrator, no blender, no food processor, I was lost and Larabar was my light.

It didn’t help that half my family are meatavores and my mom (love her for this but it made things difficult at the time) is always trying to buy me treats and food I will enjoy. The fridge was constantly stuffed with my favorite SAD foods.

Being that I have had my fair share of ups, downs, and learning experiences, I thought I’d post sort of a mini-guide for beginners. Not necessarily a how-to, but more of an FAQ for the questions I had when I first started out.

First, and foremost. Start out with super easy meals, even if you think they’ll bore you. I hated salad when I started out and then I discovered I could put apples in my salad for an even better substitute for the crunchiness of iceberg lettuce (which has no nutritional value). Find recipes with less than 7 ingredients, ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery store. If you feel like you can’t find any (which you can), look at more complicated recipes for inspiration and take out some of the ingredients. Examples I can think of off the top of my head include zucchini pasta with a simple marinara sauce, slaws, muesli, and marinated veggies.

Bananas are your best friend. When in doubt, eat a banana. They’re good for any meal, any snack, any time of day. They’re filling and sweet and delicious. Sure, there are other fruits besides bananas. And I recommend these too. Peaches, nectarines, honeydew, pineapple, strawberries, and grapes are some of my favorites. But bananas are the most caloric and therefore, the most filling.

Let go of your preconceived notions of food, and what constitutes a meal. This is both the hardest and most practical advice I can give you. When I first started, all I saw in my books were the dehyrated meals, the ones that were the most complicated and resembled my favorite SAD foods. I didn’t think three bananas was a breakfast, or that a smoothie could be really filling. I tried raw oatmeal, and found I hated the taste of raw oats. I ate Larabars, random crap, or nothing, and struggled with the first, and most important, meal of the day. I craved bread and pasta and tried in vain to find recipes to imitate these, but I didn’t have a spiralizer or dehydrator. Normal raw foodists don’t eat dehydrated bread, SAD imitations, raw desserts, etc. They eat fruit, greens, vegetables, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, avocado, seaweed. Let go of the notion that whole fruit, salads, and vegetables are boring. They can be as delicious and creative as you want them to be.

As you continue, allow yourself to buy a few expensive specialty items every once in a while. Eventually, you will have a pantry full of these items and you can make any recipe you want, but you’ll find you don’t actually make them very often.

Buy a variety of things at the grocery store. You’ll want to experiment when you are first starting, and buying a little bit of everything will allow you to do that. There’s merit in planning meals and buying accordingly, but if you do that too strictly when you first start out and a recipe fails, you get bored, or you don’t like something, you are set back more than if you dabble. Buy lots of salad ingredients, one package of nuts to make trail mix/nut milk, lots of fruit (bananas!, bananas!, bananas!), and maybe one or two specialty items to start you out on a couple of recipes.

Leave a comment

Filed under banana, menu, salad, tips