Every now and again, I like to post some sort of an update on the foods I’m buying and how I’m preparing dishes for the week ahead. This past weekend has been a great opportunity for me to cook some delicious things, and Nathaniel even helped me to cook as well! I hope you find some inspiration from this article and enjoy these fall-themed food ideas.
Breakfast: Overnight Oats
It’s hard to go wrong with overnight oats, and whenever I prepare them, I feel like I really have my life together. I love everything from brainstorming the different ideas for customizations, prepping them, and of course, eating them! I’ve been sticking with strawberry banana overnight oats this week because that’s what I picked up at the grocery store, but next week I’d like to try pumpkin oats and PB & J oats. Ellie Krieger has a great recipe on her website for the pumpkin oats, so I’ll have to think about giving those a go!
Bread: Soft ‘N’ Sweet Dinner Rolls
Like I said, Nathaniel and I did some cooking together last weekend, and one of the things we made were soft ‘n’ sweet dinner rolls. I have to say, this bread baking experience was a lot different than my other bread experiences because this one required activating the yeast and kneading the dough. Our rolls were delicious, but they were definitely much denser and biscuit-like than the recipe intended them to be. I’ve been pairing them with my dinner soup, which I’ll get to soon. I’m really happy with how they came out, and I hope they come out even better the next time.
Lunch: Fall Apple Salad
Keeping with the seasons, lately I’ve been enjoying prepping this easy fall salad. It’s a common variation of a salad I’ve made a lot and talked about on my blog: sweet kale base, apples, walnuts, craisins, and poppy seed dressing. I really like crunchy, fruity salads, and this dish definitely offers me the perfect combination of both. It’s super easy to whip up in big batches, and several of the ingredients are fairly cheap and easy to find (if not all of them.) My favorite poppy seed dressing to use is the Panera variety, as I find the creamier versions don’t quite pair as well with the other ingredients.
Dinner: Butternut Squash Soup
Lastly, I’ve been burning through my homemade butternut squash soup all week, and there’s still a ton left in my fridge! This was the other dish Nathaniel and I made together, and I think it was an absolutely perfect choice. I was surprised because the recipe called for two cups of apple cider, but once it was incorporated into the actual dish, it actually tasted really good. I think this is one of those dishes that tastes better as a leftover, too, so I’ve been really enjoying eating a little bit every day and observing different notes in the flavors.
So, that’s everything I’ve meal prepped to eat for this week! I really wanted to choose dishes that I felt celebrated the fall season, and I also made sure I picked ingredients that are cheap (and fresh) as well. I already have a lot of ideas for what I want to cook next week, so I’m looking forward to sharing that with you guys. I’ve been meaning to make pumpkin bread for forever now, so maybe that will be on my agenda next.
As much as I like to jokingly refer to myself as one, I am not a “health guru” by any means. However, I do think I make a pretty good salad. I used to not be a fan of salads at all, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that making salad doesn’t have to be a dull experience. And thus, my fruity, crunchy salad was born through lots of trial and error. It’s super easy to find ingredients for and whip together, and it’s great for you, too!
Another thing I enjoy about this salad is that it is easy on my wallet. I buy canned pineapple and frozen strawberries, which really brings down the price of items without compromising nutrition. There are several yummy elements to this salad, but here are the key ingredients:
Kale, as I’m sure many of you are tired of hearing, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. I used to admittedly not be a fan of it, until I decided to buy a sweet kale salad mix and I absolutely loved it. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, which is perfect for the summertime, and it can also help to lower your cholesterol.
Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, so I was really happy to find a salad mix that has both broccoli and kale. Not only is broccoli crunchy and delicious, it’s also a great source of calcium and vitamin K. Both of those are important for supporting healthy bones, so you can feel good about incorporating it into this salad.
Pineapple adds a punch of sweetness to this salad, and it makes the salad look absolutely beautiful as well. I’m a strong believer that food tastes better when it’s pleasing to look at. While pineapple is very high in sugar, it also has several nutritional benefits as well. It contains disease-fighting antioxidants, and some people say it can even aid in a speedy recovery after a workout! I’ve been trying to work out more frequently, so I’ll have to let you know if I see any difference.
Strawberries are my favorite fruit, so of course I knew I wanted to add them to my salad as well. Normally I buy frozen strawberries because they are cheaper, but since the DTA has started increasing SNAP funds due to the pandemic, I’ve been able to splurge a bit and buy fresh strawberries. And what a beautiful treat it is! I love how shiny and vibrant they are, and they’re truly my favorite element of the meal. Just like kale and pineapple, strawberries also have lots of healthy antioxidants!
Pecans are one of the few nuts I actually like, so that was my topping of choice for this salad. They compliment the crunchiness of the broccoli and kale very nicely, and even though nuts are relatively expensive, I felt like they were worth it for this meal. Also, pecans have loads of health benefits for you! They improve digestion, aid in weight loss, prevent skin problems, and boost your immunity. All good things that I would love to carry with me in 2020.
The complete list of everything I use in this salad is the Taylor Farms Sweet Kale salad mix, a small container of canned pineapple, 4-5 strawberries, a sprinkling of pecans, and I finish it off with the Panera Poppyseed dressing. It’s sweet and vibrant, and it all mixes together beautifully! I’ve been enjoying this salad a lot lately, and I’m sure you guys will love it too. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, which means it’s also a very inclusive salad.
Thanks for tuning into Recipie of the Season! I’ll see you guys for another installment in the fall.
Now that I’ve been living on my own for about a month, I’ve learned that there’s one element of adulting that I love more than any other: meal prepping.
I’ve always been such a planner and I love discovering new recipes to try, so it’s no surprise I look forward to meal prepping every week! Grocery shopping can be kind of a *fun* challenge for me, since I’m living off savings until I get a job and I need to find the best ways to stretch my grocery money. What I’ve learned is that non-perishable items are usually the way to go, so that’s why you’ll see I buy a lot of frozen fruit, canned fruit, nuts, granola, etc. I enjoy shopping at Target and BJ’s the most; Target carries a lot of the vegetarian products I like, and BJ’s enables me to buy in bulk for super cheap.
Here is everything on my grocery list this week:
Individual yogurt containers – $1.50 each
Granola – $4
Almond milk – $3
Frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries) – $5
Canned fruit (oranges, pineapple) – $20 for 32 cups
Romaine lettuce (this is safe again, right?) – $2
Sweet kale salad base mix – $2
Pecans – $8 (whyyy are nuts so expensive?)
Apples – $2
Poppyseed dressing – $5
Vegan ‘Chicken’ Scallopini – $5
Broccoli – $2
Meal 1: Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats are a super simple recipe that makes for a healthy, filling, and easy breakfast. What I like most about this recipe is that it is extremely customizable, so you are bound to find a flavor that works best for you. For the basics, you’ll simply need quick oats (I buy a giant container for a couple of bucks, and it lasts me for months,) and the milk of your choice. From there, you can flavor your overnight oats however you want! Today I’m going to prepare the flavors blueberry muffin, strawberries and creme, mint chocolate chip, and s’mores. I also really like banana bread flavored overnight oats, but I didn’t buy any bananas on this past grocery trip. For the ‘blueberry muffin’ oats, I tossed in about a quarter of a cup of oats, a handful of frozen blueberries, a dash of cinnamon, a quarter of a cup of blueberry granola, and then I filled about half of the jar with almond milk. The rest of the oats have the same ratio of oats and milk, but different toppings. For strawberries and creme, I added about 2-3 large frozen strawberries and a hearty dollop of strawberry Greek yogurt. For the mint chocolate chip and s’mores flavors, I used those individual yogurt cups that come with the dry toppings included, and just mixed those all in with the oats and the milk. After you lid your oats, give them a good shake, and you can keep them in your fridge for up to four days! As you can probably infer, they’re called ‘overnight oats’ because you’re ideally supposed to prepare them the night before to let them chill and mix together. Side note: you can also add chia seeds to your overnight oats for an extra health boost, but I didn’t have any on hand this time.
Meal 2: Autumn Salad
The salad I am going to prepare this week is an ‘autumn salad’ that I found on pinterest. This salad also calls for pears, but I couldn’t find any at the store because they’re not in season yet. For salad, I like to make about 3-4 servings in advance and then stack them in my fridge, in tupperware, for when I’m ready to use them. First I add a thin layer of romaine lettuce, then I mix that in with this delicious sweet kale salad base I found at Target. I honestly was never really a kale person until I tried this mix- it’s so crunchy and sweet, and the broccoli adds such a delicious touch. After I mix those two bases together, I’ll throw in my toppings: sliced apples, craisins, and pecans. When I’m ready to unpack it and eat it, I add my dressing, which is the Panera brand strawberry poppyseed dressing. I’m really picky about the dressings I like, but this poppyseed dressing goes great on everything and it doesn’t completely overpower the salad. I’ve been enjoying this salad for about two weeks now, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Meal 3: Lemon ‘Chicken’ Scallopini with Broccoli
I’m honestly not really a cooking expert, so even though this recipe sounds fancy, it’s actually really easy to make! On my last shopping trip, I found Gardein vegan ‘chicken’ scallopini, and I decided to give it a try. I cooked it on my stove with about a cup of broccoli, some garlic salt, parsley, oregano, and a squeeze of lemon, and of my god, it tasted amazing. It’s also super easy to make, considering it basically only consists of two main ingredients, and then a few spices. I know vegan chicken isn’t for everybody, but I actually really like the way this tastes and I’m looking forward to making it again! The lemon really added a juicy, zesty kick to the fake chicken. I have a lot of microwavable Tupperware containers that I’ve saved from restaurants, so I think I’m going to make a large batch of this ahead of time and then stash it away in my freezer.
I hope you guys enjoyed this article and found some food inspiration, particularly for you fellow vegetarians! Let me know if you try any of these recipes, and what you think of them yourself.
My favorite month is FINALLY here, and I’m ready to go all-out with the fall content. I do have a ton of fun things planned for this month, including a visit to a haunted goat farm. More to come on that.
Anywho, let’s talk produce. Pretty much all of my favorite fruits and veggies are in season this month, so I’d love to schedule some fruit picking to use in baking. I’m not an incredible cook, but it’s a lesser-known fact that I’m pretty good baker. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.
Pumpkins | Reducing Chronic Diseases
It shouldn’t be new information that October is PUMPKIN month. Technically, pumpkins are a type of winter squash, but I truly believe the pumpkin deserves its own entry. Not only are they delicious for baking and Starbucks drinks- you can also carve them into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween night. We love a spooky, well-rounded healthy snack. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, which can help protect you from chronic diseases, different cancers, and skin damage. Pumpkins are also filled with nutrients that can improve your immune system- something I especially appreciate during allergy season. Below I’ve included a link to a basic pumpkin pie, which you can make dairy-free by opting for almond milk instead. You can also make it vegan by using applesauce instead of eggs!
Bananas | Heart Health & Weight Loss
Bananas are one of my favorite fruits to eat year-round. They’re extremely delicious and highly convenient to eat, and (of course), they are also perfect for baking. One banana only has around 100 calories, and they consist almost entirely of water and carbs. Because bananas have such a low calorie count and fill you up fast, they are an ideal snack for those seeking to lose weight. My mom makes the most amazing banana bread on the planet, but sadly, I don’t have her recipe on hand. However, I do have this delicious recipe from Allrecipes, which comes up as a close second. Just replace the butter and the sour cream with vegan replacements, and you’re good to go.
Apples | Dietary Fiber
Just like pumpkins, apples are a staple of October that deserve love and recognition. I haven’t gone apple picking in forever, so I’d love to make time for that this month! Apples are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which can help prevent the development of certain diseases. Consuming apples has been linked to the prevention of obesity, diabetes, strokes, dementia, and other neurological disorders. Less healthy than eating an apple (but arguably more delicious) is an apple pie, and my personal favorite version is the one by Marie Callender. It’s 100 percent vegan, completely by accident, and it tastes deliciously homemade. I have an entire article about accidentally vegan snacks, so I’ll link that below, too.
Greens | High in Vitamins, Low in Calories
Leafy greens include kale, herbs, spinach, cabbage, arugula, and romaine lettuce. I am admittedly a little picky about the leafy greens I like to eat, but most of them can snuck into a smoothie undetected. A kale smoothie might not strike you as a typical fall meal, but it’s one of the best ways to get some raw kale in your body (especially if you hate the taste on its own, like me). Also, a fall salad with some grapes and nuts actually sounds delicious to me ATM, and as we all know, those leafy greens are fantastic for your health. Consider combining some of the other produce in this guide to make your perfect fall salad, smoothie, or breakfast meal!
Potatoes | No Fat, Sodium, or Cholesterol
You may not think of a potato as being particularly healthy, but it’s actually not a bad choice. Like the subtitle states, potatoes contain no fat, sodium, or cholesterol, and they’re packed with healthy nutrients. Potatoes are also naturally gluten-free, making them an iconic staple in the vegan + gluten-free community. I found a great recipe for vegan mashed potatoes on Allrecipes, so I’m going to link that down below for you too! Also, real talk, can we make potato picking a thing? I would be 100 percent incented to go to a potato picking farm as a charming fall activity.
Raspberries, Strawberries, and Cranberries | Healthy Skin
Technically, strawberries aren’t a berry, but their high antioxidant count is very similar to that of a berry. Antioxidants aid in a variety of wonderful things for your body, notably, they can even help prevent wrinkles and skin damage. Berries are also excellent for fighting inflammation, which helps to defend your body against infections from injury. In regards to cooking, there are a multitude of great ways to bake with berries and strawberries. Below I’m going to link a Triple Berry Crisp recipe, which can be easily customizable with different fruits, and easily made vegan as well.
Winter Squashes | Vitamin C
Last but certainly not least, winter squash is in season for the month of October. Did you know that squash is actually a fruit? (I did not know until I started writing this article). I love squash for its sweet, nutty taste, and its versatile properties in both summer and winter dishes. Squash is packed with a variety of different vitamins, most notably vitamins C and A. The benefits of eating squash include boosting your immunity, regulating your metabolism, and even preventing infections! The notorious winter cold is just around the corner, so eat up on your veggies and get in as much squash as you can!
With so much clashing information about the foods we put in our body, it’s hard to know what to believe. As a vegetarian, I face a lot of questions about plant-based protein, such as soy, and whether or not these processed replacements are adequate for my health. Today I’m compiling a list of the top six foods I hear controversial information about, and how I personally feel about putting these foods in my body. This story is going to be a combination of facts and opinions, so I encourage you to do your own research to form your own thoughts about these foods!
The pros: Like I said, eating soy-based products is a huge part of my ovo-vegetarian diet. So many of the food staples in my fridge are soy-based, including vegan burgers, hot dogs, deli meat, cheese, yogurt and of course, tofu. Vegan meat replacements are a great way to get in your daily dose of protein, and because soy has a very mild flavor, it can be easily manipulated to take on the flavor of something new. Soy replacements are also easily accessible at supermarkets, and many restaurants are starting to offer plant-based entrees as well.
The cons: Soy allergies are common, so it sadly isn’t an ideal meal replacement for everybody. Soy also contains isoflavones, which can mimic the effects of estrogen and can thus disrupt your body’s natural hormone balance. For me, the best way to eat soy is to eat it in careful moderation, and ultimately balance the sources from which you receive your complete proteins.
The pros: There is no conclusive research that shows white rice can cause weight gain, so you can stop worrying about that. White rice is also extremely easy to digest, making it ideal for anyone struggling with nausea, heartburn, or vomiting. If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, white rice can be an excellent food to alleviate those uncomfortable systems. White rice can also be beneficial for pregnant women, due to the extra folate found in enriched white rice! I personally prefer brown rice over white rice, but I don’t think there’s anything detrimental about eating the latter. Again, it’s all about moderation.
The cons: Unfortunately, white rice is stripped of many nutrients and minerals found in brown rice. White rice is much more processed than brown rice, because it is stripped of its protective coating (called the hull). In a nutshell, white rice is just an empty carb, and doesn’t contain nearly as many nutritional benefits as its brown rice (which is a whole grain). That being said, white rice does have a longer shelf life, so it’s really your call. If you’re not too worried about your carb intake, then bring on the white rice.
The pros: As a vegetarian, eggs are my absolute favorite protein source. They’re cheap, easy to prepare, and are generally really nutritious. Although one large egg only contains six grams of protein, it’s still an excellent source to due the presence of all the essential amino acids (Or should I say, egg-sential). Eggs are easily accessible to me on my campus, and it’s usually a safe breakfast option for me. I’m glad I decided to reintroduce eggs into my diet after not eating them for a year, because my energy levels and overall health has definitely improved.
The cons: While eggs are a great source of protein, they’re also very high in cholesterol. High cholesterol can be a leading factor in heart disease, so most nutritionists say limit your egg consumption to one a day. Eggs can also cause food poisoning if not cooked correctly, so make sure you cook them properly to avoid any illness. In general, scrambled eggs are less likely to make you ill than eggs with runny yolks. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy eggs, but make sure they’re properly cooked and safe to put in your body!
The pros: For a while, it seemed like everyone was talking about how amazing coconut oil is. And then… everyone suddenly changed their mind? Coconut oil is often found in vegan snacks and baked goods, which is why so many people love it. I personally consume a lot of products containing coconut oil, because it works as a great filler for butter and lard. It also has a light, non-detectable taste, hence why it’s used in so many products.
The cons: Unfortunately, although it is natural, coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fat. Similarly with high cholesterol, this can lead to heart disease and other serious issues. It’s been argued that consuming coconut oil is actually worse for you than butter, but again, if you’re a vegan, that’s usually your only option. I like to think of coconut oil in the same light as butter- it’s not healthy to eat all the time, but in a baked good or a sweet treat, a little bit is okay. One vegan cupcake will certainly not kill you.
Zero Calorie Sweetener
The pros: Zero-calorie sweeteners were introduced for consumers seeking to limit their sugar and calorie intake. These types of sweeteners, both natural and artificial, can be useful for people with certain allergies who need these types of substitutes in their diet. Zero-calorie sweeteners will also not raise your blood pressure, making them ideal for folks with diabetes.
The cons: I personally do not consume any zero-calorie sweeteners, because I believe the cons outweigh the pros in this case. These sweeteners can cause a variety of problems down the line, including, uh, CANCER. Some sweeteners can also have a laxative effect, and can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea. I’m personally not a big soda person, but I always choose the real deal over the “diet” variety. I’d rather deal with a few extra calories than diarrhea and cancer, personally speaking. If you are looking for an alternative sweetener, try fruit juices/nectar, honey, molasses, or maple sugar.
The pros: Drinking dairy milk during childhood has been linked with preventing childhood obesity, and can help to promote healthy bones and weight management. The high calcium in milk is what makes it so great for bone health, and that’s a leading reason why some people choose it over nut milk. Cow’s milk is also a great source of potassium, which can reduce high blood pressure.
The cons: I am a little bit biased with this viewpoint, because I personally do not consume any dairy (no butter, cheese, ice cream, and certainly no milk). I primarily do this for ethical reasons, but I also abstain from dairy for health reasons. To put it simply, cow’s milk is not designed for human consumption. Excessive amounts of calcium can cause an influx of mucus and kidney stones in your body, which certainly doesn’t sound pleasant. I personally just feel healthier and lighter drinking almond milk instead, and I don’t notice a significant difference in taste, either. In a NUTshell, to each their own!
It’s unbearably hot in Massachusetts right now, and the flimsy window fan in my room isn’t helping. It looks like the rest of the week is going to be just as hot, so I’m trying to brace myself for that and seek out all the AC’s placed on campus.
Over the weekend, I spent a lot of time thinking about my future, and what type of life I would eventually like to fall into. One thing I know for certain is that I do not want to become a corporate drone. I do not want to wake up every day and dread my useless 9-5 life. I know that nobody enjoys working boring 9-5 jobs, but I would especially despise it. In order for my life to feel meaningful, I need to do work that matters to me and sparks passion. It’s my ultimate goal in life to help people, and lessen the emotional burden we face in the stressful environment of my country. I want to make people laugh, smile, and relax, in any way I can. Even if it means I’m working 14 hour days and just scraping by, I will work those hours tirelessly and with so much joy in my heart. All I want in a career is to be my own boss, make my own money, and do what makes me feel meaningful.
I’m also very focused on working with animals. I adore ALL animals, with the exception of bugs and other creepy-crawly insects. But everything else? I am READY to devote my life to you. As a sensitive person, I’ve always felt extremely connected to animals and wanted to spend time with them. I volunteered for a short while at a farm over the summer, and then spent the rest of my time pet-sitting in my apartment building. My life goal is to have a pet cow; not even for agricultural purposes, I just want to have a cow to hang out with and take care of.
This is a really long-winded way of saying I want to live somewhere with tons of animals: cows, goats, horses, chickens, dogs, cats, and small animals, like rats. I’m reluctant to call it a farm, because like I said, I’m not using it for agriculture. But I want to open up my land to the public, and allow guests to get close-up to the animals and learn how to handle them. I want to open up my land to cow-cuddling, so people can learn how affectionate and gentle these creatures are. Obviously, I would have to monetize this business to get by, and I would also want to blog about my animals, sell merch, or open up a Bed-and-Breakfast. In a nutshell, I want to start a community where people can come and just spend close-up time with animals. I mean, it would be the best of both worlds. I get to hang out with animals, and, I get to help people while working from home! (Future wife: I hope you’re on board with this.)
I recently re-took an assesment on MASScis called Career Cluster Inventory, which is a resource I’ve been using for years now. It’s free and extremely easy to find, so I highly suggest it to all of you. Basically, you are provided with a list of activities, and rate how much you would be interested in each of those activities. At the end of the assessment, the website generates which industries, in best-to-worst order, are ideal for you. My number one industry is Business Management, my second is arts, and my third is human services. I just wanted to throw that tidbit in there for you guys, because I think it’s a really amazing resource. I’ll leave the link to MASScis at the bottom of the page, if any of you are interested in that.
By the way, I am still using a lot of my Fab Fit Fun products regularly! I used up all of the delicious-smelling sugar cubes, and today I used my lunchbox to carry my food. More to come on that tomorrow!
Tuesday, September 24th
Like I said, I’ve been using my lunch box frequently since I received it in my Fab Fit Fun box. Because my diet is very specific and somewhat limited (my choice), I do have to make time in my schedule to order groceries and prepare meals. I have free delivery from Whole Foods because I’m an Amazon Prime user, so that definitely helps me tremendously. I prefer to have my groceries delivered because I don’t have a car, so literally walking to the grocery store is a hassle and a waste of time. I feel lucky that I live relatively close to a Whole Foods (within four miles), so I can have my groceries delivered within two hours.
This week I ordered some kitchen staples, like vegan Deli meat and vegan cheese, to make sandwiches with. The packages are small and compact, so they fit in my fridge perfectly, and one pack can last me up to a week. Every night I swipe a couple of pieces of bread from the dining hall, and assemble the sandwiches in my room before bed. Then I pack my sandwich in my lunchbox, and stash the whole bag away in the fridge until the next day. It’s convenient to have a meal to take with me, especially one high in protein and fiber.
I also got a couple tubs of vegan cashew yogurt, which tasted surprisingly authentic and delicious. I was only able to buy the unsweetened variety, so I swiped a few teaspoons of sugar from the dining hall and added it to the tub to sweeten it up a bit. This is what I’ve been eating most mornings, usually while I do my makeup and get ready.
I also ordered a few other comfort foods this week, as my college obviously does not provide dairy-free and meat-free alternatives for things like that. I let myself buy a pint of dairy-free ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s (finished immediately), and the best vegan boxed macaroni and cheese I’ve EVER had. Seriously, if you’re looking for amazing vegan mac-and-cheese, you have to try the cheddar style by Modern Table Meals. I’m definitely buying that in bulk the next time I order my groceries!
Anyway, that’s pretty much what I do to get by here at college and still enjoy food that tastes good. Although it may not sound like much, it really is enough to get me through the week until I order groceries again. It’s expensive, yes, but that’s the price we have to pay for having specific diets. I’m hoping in the future my college will expand to offer more dairy-free staples, like vegan cheese and almond milk. I’m getting pretty tired of drinking my hot coffee black in humid September.
Moving on, today has already been quite busy. I had to leave my Human Services class early because my professor started talking about lobotomies, and I do NOT fuck around with that kind of stuff. Especially since I hadn’t eaten anything yet, I was feeling really squeamish and didn’t want to risk passing out in class. I’ve been pretty tired since then- panic always makes me feel lethargic for the rest of the day. It must use up a lot of energy.
I decided to go ahead and write for my school’s fashion/lifestyle/culture magazine, so the rest of this week will probably be spent focusing on that. I love having writing projects and deadlines, so I’m looking forward to it! And, of course, I’m going to be working hard to punch out three articles a week on here, plus my weekly catch-up. This is the kind of work that makes me feel happy and fulfilled, so I’m really excited to tackle these various projects. I would say I probably spend 2-4 hours per day writing, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Wednesday, September 25th
My anxiety has been somewhat heightened for the past few weeks, and it seems to come in waves. Sometimes I am able to keep it under control, because I’ve learned a variety of coping mechanisms along the way, but other times I just have to ride the wave.
I had two instances of bad anxiety yesterday; the first was in my Human Services class, as I said, but I was able to leave the situation and go take deep breaths outside. Last night I had another bout of anxiety, but this one wasn’t the direct result of anything in particular. I was watching a show (a murder mystery actually), which obviously heightened my emotions and kept me on the edge of my seat. But then I suddenly started to feel a little anxious. And then, it just snowballed from there. Having anxiety at night can be the worst because there’s no one you can call or talk to; in this case it was 2:00am and everyone is asleep. I was extremely lucky because one of my friends happened to be awake at that time, and I chatted with her on the phone until I was calm again. Now that it’s the next morning, I’m absolutely exhausted. I do owe my aromatherapy rollerball some credit, because after I added some drops to my pillowcase, I started to slowly calm down and get sleepy. It’s never fun to have serious anxiety, but when it interferes with sleep, that’s especially not fun.
I also had some weird dreams; not quite nightmares, but tense and anxious in nature. I’m sure it’s all connected in some way. The good news is, I woke up today feeling fine (albeit tired). I have three classes today, so I’m hoping they go by relatively fast.
Friday, September 27th
I didn’t get any writing done yesterday, not even for classes or homework. My mom and my dog came to visit, so I was primarily preoccupied with that. We sat in the grass and I caught her up on all of my life happenings, and in general, it was just really nice to see her. We’re also planning on getting dinner next week with my brother, so I’m looking forward to that!
Afterwards, I felt pretty drained, so I didn’t end up getting any work done. I don’t think it has to do with the visit, I think it’s because I’m approaching my 4th week in my pill pack and I’m generally fatigued around that time. I’ve gotten a lot of texts from distant friends, but I haven’t replied to many of them. I feel like I just needed a little break from talking to people and helping them with their needs, so I could focus on my own needs for one night.
Saturday, September 28th
Yesterday ended up being really fun, but I didn’t end up writing any more because I was actually off campus! My good friend and I went to Playa Bowls in Boston for an early dinner, which was a lovely time and the banana bowl I got was delicious. If I had a steady income, I would be spending my money at Playa Bowls constantly! Afterwards we went to the Museum of Science to use the telescopes (also in Boston), and finished off the night at The Cheesecake Factory. It was a long night with a lot of walking, but we had tons of fun. Lily is someone I can laugh with all day, all night, and her personality is so vivacious. By the way, for those of you who don’t know, The Cheesecake Factory has the Impossible Burger!
I’m so happy that more restaurant chains are offering more plant-based options, including KFC, Subway, and Burger King. I will say that I’m not a huge fan of Impossible Foods due to their business practices, but if that’s the only thing on the menu I can eat, obviously I’ll take it. I respect Beyond Meat a lot more as a company, and love that you can even get their products at the supermarket! What are your favorite vegan menu items? I’d love to try the vegan chicken being tested at KFC, but it hasn’t caught up to New England yet.
I’ve been focusing a lot more on internships lately, because I need one to graduate in May. I will almost definitely be taking on a Spring internship, and it’s surprisingly hard to find something that appeals to me. Like I’ve said many times before, I’m not a corporate-oriented person. I’d love to find something that allows me to be creative, oral, and visual, rather than feel like a drone or a personal assistant. The unique thing about my degree (Digital Media + Social Justice) is that it applies to almost all industries, so hopefully I will find the perfect fit somewhere!
Being a vegetarian/vegan at college can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Some schools will offer a wide variety of plant-based options for students, but other times, you’ll likely have to do some of your own grocery shopping. I personally like to do my own shopping because I’m much more of a snacker than a “meal person”- I tend to snack throughout the day and have small meals, rather than 3 large meals. Or, I’ll have 2-3 small meals throughout the day, and then something larger and protein-heavy for dinner. I’ve never been someone who likes a big breakfast, but I do try to always eat something, even if I’m not hungry. I also tend to get very snacky around 8:00 or 9:00pm, as I usually go to dinner around 5:00. Whatever your situation is, I’m sure you’ll love the list of snacks I’ve compiled in this article. They’re simple, delicious, and of course, plant based!
Like I said, I’m usually not a huge fan of breakfast, so I like to eat something on-the-go that packs a lot of protein. Amy’s Kitchen is one of the best companies for plant-based eaters, hands down. It’s also ideal for picky eaters, as they offer frozen homestyle options of your favorite meals (like vegan cheezy mac and meatloaf). I personally love the tofu scramble wraps because they’re easy to make, vegan, and filled with delicious, healthy ingredients. I’m picky about things like spinach, but I absolutely love it in this breakfast wrap! Leafy greens are an ideal source of iron for vegans, so it’s a great way for me to sneak that in. This wrap also has 11g of protein, which is about 16% of my daily value! All in all, it’s incredibly easy to make, and I never get tired of eating them. All I have to do is microwave it for a few minutes, and boom, breakfast on the go is ready.
Nutritionally Complete Shake | Huel | about $60.00 per package
I may have mentioned Huel before on here, as I’ve been using the product for about three months. Ideally, you could live mostly off these shakes and still be healthy, as they are nutritionally complete. I don’t drink them every single day, but I aim to make about 3-5 of them per week. One shake is equal to a full meal, and contains nearly all of the vitamins and nutrients you need on a daily basis. They’re often so filling, I can’t even finish one, and I subsequently stay full for up to six hours! The bags of Huel powder I buy are about $60 for two bags, which is actually a pretty stellar deal. You only need a couple of scoops of powder to make a shake, so the bags will literally last you months (they’re huge). This is also an environmentally friendly food option, because it requires minimal packaging to ship and no packaging to prepare, as you can mix the shake in a reusable bottle, or the free shaker that comes with your order. I’ve also significantly cut down on using one-use Styrofoam coffee cups, because I can mix powdered coffee into my Huel and get my caffeine that way. Breakfast and coffee all in one shake- ingenious!
☐Nut free *due to cross contamination*
The Complete Cookie | Lenny and Larry’s | about $12.99 per box
Lenny and Larry’s cookies (and their other nutritionally-complete snacks) are a perfect grab-and-go option for the days when you’re running low on energy. I don’t eat them every day, because they’re expensive and not really designed to be eaten as a casual, light snack. The company was originally aimed towards bodybuilders or athletes trying to build muscle, as they are high in both protein and fiber. I like I throw one in my bag to save for emergencies- for example, if my blood sugar drops suddenly, or I’m out in Boston doing lots of walking and I’m starting to feel peckish. This is another one of those snacks that keeps you full for a long time, so I appreciate having it in times of emergencies. Their snacks come in a variety of forms and flavors, but not all of them are vegan (some contain whey). They’re absolutely delicious and have a great mission, so I’m honestly surprised not a lot of people have heard of this company!
Naked Noodle | about $3.50 ea.
Naked Noodle is a new item that I’ve recently added to my snack collection. My mom actually picked them up for me, so I’ll have to ask her where they’re from! These dairy-free, vegetarian ramen cups are easy to make and taste extremely fancy! Why would you go out and spend $20 on some over priced restaurant food when you could make a top-notch meal in four minutes? I’ve tried to do extensive research on this company, but I wasn’t able to come up with a lot of nutritional info. Just from looking at the ingredient list, I can tell you that this is not egg, nut, or soy free, so please keep that in mind if you have any serious food allergies. Ultimately, I’m really happy that my mom picked some of these cups for me, and I’m totally loving all the diverse flavors! It’s a college student’s dream when you can take ramen to the next level.
Nut Bars | Pure Organic | about $5-10 per box
The pure organic bars are yet another new snack I hadn’t tried previously. I’m not so much a granola bar person, because I don’t like the mess, so I appreciate soft bars like this. I’m not someone who really likes to sit down for meals at school, so these bars are a great essential for me to have in my bag when I’m starting to get peckish. Usually, the way I eat throughout the day starts with a Huel shake (gotta get those nutrients in), a nut bar or a salad, and then a fulfilling, protein-heavy dinner around 5pm or so. Some days I eat more during the day, especially if I’m on my period, but for the most part, I don’t even get hungry until noon or so. Additionally, these bars only have seven simple ingredients, so I can trust that I am only putting good foods into my body. I’m admittedly not a fan of nuts (pun intended). Like, I would never willingly reach for a handful of almonds, so these sneaky fruit and nut bars are a great way for me to make up for that distaste. If that sounds like you, I promise you’ll love these bars, too.
Coming up next: Moving back into college! Sarah’s Weekly Catch-up
Summer break is winding down, and though I want to, I sadly haven’t done any fruit picking thus far. That being said, there’s still time, and there are a ton of delicious fruits and veggies currently in season. Most of the produce in season isn’t too far off from last month’s, so don’t be shocked if you see any repeats. As always, I’ll also include recipes that I see fit with the produce I mention!
I’ve mentioned my love for cantaloupe before on the blog, so it’s no surprise that I have to mention melon is in season. My other favorite variety of melon is honeydew, because it tastes absolutely delectable and almost dessert-like. That being said, melon is much healthier for you than what you may traditionally think of as “dessert”! Melons are mostly made up of water, so they’re an ideal snack to have on a hot day when you have a higher risk for dehydration. Although melons are high in carbohydrates, they’re actually considered ideal if you’re trying to lose weight! (I’m not quite sure how that works, but I’m sure Wikipedia knows. I’ve been kind of into tossing cantaloupe into my salad, which sounds kinda weird but is actually hella good.
Blackberries are another one of my “fan favorites” in the fruit department, and they’re extremely easy to work into recipes for baking. Like many other berries, blackberries are very high in vitamin C and can assist with healthy immune system functioning. One of my favorite blackberry desserts is blackberry tart, because easily customizable to be vegan and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients to make. I’ll drop the link below if you’re interested in making this delicious French dessert yourself!
Peaches are debatably the most adorable fruit. They’re fuzzy, sweet, and apparently used in a lot of marketing for makeup. Seriously, I swear all of the cutest makeup is peach-themed. Not only are peaches delicious in a variety of different dishes, they’re also very good for you! Just like blackberries, peaches are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. Peaches can also aid in healthy digestion, so if you struggle with constipation or some other charming bowel movement, consider adding some more peach to your diet! Peaches are well-known for being great in baking, so if you’re interested in trying an amazing peach crisp recipe, I’ll leave the link below.
Plums, just like peaches, are yummy stone fruits with a juicy flesh and large pit. I actually remember having a plum tree in the backyard of my childhood home, and always being drawn to the beauty of it. Plums are less sweet than peaches, but I actually enjoy eating them just as much. Plums are low in calories and high in water, making them another ideal summer snack for humid, hot days. Although they taste fantastic on their own, I personally like them a lot better when they’re made into dishes and jams. I’m really interested in making this plum orange jam, because it’s already vegan without needing any tweaks.
Admittedly, I used to not be a fan of any peppers. I’m still not a big fan of anything spicy, but bell peppers have definitely grown on me. Fresh green peppers are always welcome in my salad and pizza, because they’re fresh flavorful without being too overpowering. In fact, I’m actually cooking with bell peppers for next week’s installment of Taco Tuesday! Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, and actually contain 97% of your daily value. They’re also a good source of vitamin B6, which aids with the conversion of food into energy. Like I said, I’m picky about peppers, but I think this vegetarian chili with bell peppers sounds absolutely amazing. I’m a huge fan of Cookie & Kate, and I actually have one of their cookbooks on my shelf. I’m really looking forward to making this chili, especially once the weather cools down.
Squash is genuinely one of my favorite fruits (that’s right, it’s a fruit!), and it’s always a treat to serve it up as a side dish on Thanksgiving day. It has a naturally buttery, nutty taste, and even though it may not feel healthy for that reason, squash is actually pretty good for you. My favorite variety of squash is butternut squash, which is chock-full of a variety of different vitamins and minerals. It’s also a great source of carotenoids, which aid in anti-inflammatory health. Squash is fabulous on its own, of course, but I felt really inspired by this summer squash sauté. It’s simple and easy to make, but incredibly rich at the same time. It might be time to up my Thanksgiving game with this dish.
Lastly, it’s time to finish up with a vegetable I actually hate: the very spongy, elusive eggplant. I actually really like the smell of eggplant, but as soon as it touches my tongue it becomes something completely different. I’m hoping that I can slowly develop a taste for it by starting simple, maybe with the eggplant Parmesan from my favorite Italian restaurant (minus the Parmesan). Eggplant is high in water but relatively low in essential nutrients, so I don’t feel that bad for not liking it. Nonetheless, I am trying to extend my taste palate, and I’m happy to start anywhere!
There are only twelve months in a year, of course, so it’s an unfortunate reality that I’m going to eventually run out of posts for “What’s in Season?”. For the time being, however, I’m happy to report that I still have a couple months left of produce content to cover. Maybe once “What’s in Season” is finished, I can start a new food-themed monthly series. What do you guys think?
Bananas are one of the most delicious, easiest snacks I can think of to have on the go. I’m not really a big citrus person, so I appreciate bananas for having a sweet, almost creamy taste. Bananas are also super versatile, and the possibilities for cooking with them are endless- smoothies, pancakes, and of course, baked goods. I usually don’t have much of an appetite when I wake up, so at the very least, I can usually convince myself to have a banana. It’s not a bad breakfast option- in fact, bananas are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and manganese (which is fantastic for your skin, by the way). Bananas also pack a ton of energy, making them perfect for a breakfast snack to ease you into the day. Like I said, however, they do make great desserts, so I’m going to include my favorite banana bread recipe at the bottom!
Bell peppers are also in season in July, and though they certainly aren’t sweet like a banana, they’re still delicious. Lots of people love to eat their peppers hot or stuffed, but for me, I actually only like them cold (and preferably on a salad). There’s something about squishy, warm vegetables that kind of turns me off. Nonetheless, bell peppers are extremely healthy, and they pack a ton of antioxidants. They also help support healthy night vision, similarly to carrots, and they can even help to raise your iron levels! I sometimes struggle with my own iron consumption because I’m such a picky eater, so if that sounds like you, considering throwing some red peppers onto your next salad or pizza.
Is it just me, or is cantaloupe severely underrated? I feel like not enough people are casually reaching for cantaloupe like they do with apples and oranges. Cantaloupe has a sweet, juicy taste and a soft consistency, and it’s also packed with nutrients. Cantaloupe contains a ton of carotene, which, yes, is the same thing that makes carrots orange. The vitamin A in carotene can help aid in healthy eyes, red blood cells, and even a healthy immune system. Because cantaloupe has so much water in it, it’s a perfect summertime snack to prevent yourself from becoming dehydrated. Cantaloupe is also safe to give your dogs in moderation, and I can say from personal experience that Duke approves of this healthy snack. (Side note, I love the feminine energy of this cantaloupe picture. Ugh. New lock screen?)
Tomatoes are another one of those super versatile foods that I love to cook with and eat. I’m actually growing a tomato plant right now, bur admittedly, he isn’t looking too good. The interesting thing about tomato is that it’s technically a fruit, but usually prepared as a vegetable would be. In regards to health benefits, tomatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, and can even help to prevent some types of cancers. I’m really interested in trying shakshouka, which is a poached egg dish with tomato sauce and spices. I’ll put a link to that recipe at the bottom, so let me know if you’re going to try it as well!
I have a very complicated relationship with pineapple. Like I said, I’m not really a citrus person, and anything sour is a turn off. I do like pineapple on my pizza, which I realize is an unpopular opinion. Alas, pineapple is loaded with nutrients and disease-fighting antioxidants, so you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying it! Pineapple can also speed your recovery after surgery or strenuous exercise, which is something I appreciate as a relatively athletic person. I also enjoy putting pineapple in a morning shake, because it wakes me up without tasting too sour or acidic.
Corn is definitely one of my favorite vegetables, right up there with potatoes. Seriously, sweet corn makes the perfect side dish for anything. Corn can actually help aid with weight loss, despite the myth that it causes you to gain weight. I was reminded of my appreciation for corn after Jenna Marbles posted a video the other week making an excellent dish- “Corn on the cob, but instead of the corn bone, it’s a hot dog.” I will leave the link to that video at the bottom of this page, so that you may also bask in the glory of Jenna’s groundbreaking recipe and make it for yourself.
*Banana bread and Jenna’s recipe can be made vegan with substitutes!*
Summer has arrived, and living here in New England, it’s the perfect opportunity for fruit and vegetable picking at local farms. Unsurprisingly, fruits like blueberries and strawberries are at their peak for picking in June, but there are also a few other delicious foods to get your hands on. Below, I’ve compiled a few of my favorites.
Blueberry picking with my mom is one of my fondest summer memories as a child. It’s such a versatile food that I love to include in breakfast or desserts, and it’s also a treat that my dog can enjoy in small amounts. Not only are blueberries delicious, they’re also extremely high in antioxidants and low in calories. Like kale and avocados, blueberries are often referred to as a “superfood” for their nutritious benefits. There are the obvious ways to incorporate blueberries into meals, like blueberry pancakes and muffins, but you could also step it up and make a gorgeous vegan blueberry lime cheesecake. I’m dying to make it myself, and I’ll leave the link at the bottom of the page if you’re interested in making it, too.
Strawberries are also a perfect fruit-picking option in June, and personally, they are my absolute favorite fruit. Almost every fruit-flavored item I buy is of the strawberry variety- cereal, pop tarts, granola bars, seltzer water, etc. Not only is it super sweet and delicious, but they also help with blood sugar regulation. As someone who has suffered from quite a few blood sugar spikes, I personally love eating strawberries for this health reason now. One easy way I like to get in strawberries is by topping them on my overnight oats, which is one of my favorite quick breakfasts. I’ll include a link to a basic overnight oats recipe at the bottom, and from there, it’s really easy to customize with your favorite fruits. Even though the serving size may look small, it actually keeps me full for up to four hours.
On the topic of sweet fruits, mangoes are also in season in June! You may not be able to hand-pick them at your local farm stand, but you can still take solace in the fact that they are at their flavor peak. Surprisingly, mango contains a lot of iron, and 80 grams of mango only have 53 calories! If you’re looking for a guilt-free and easy-to-make dessert, I found this vegan mango ice cream recipe on a blog called Jessica in the Kitchen. With summer now here, it’s never the wrong time for a cold dessert, and this ice cream only contains three ingredients! I’ll leave the link at the bottom of the page so you can check it out as well.
Rhubarb, as I’ve mentioned before, is another one of my favorite plants for cooking. Although rhubarb is usually incorporated into sweet, fruity dishes, it is actually a vegetable- similar in appearance to celery. Rhubarb was originally used for medicinal purposes, and although it can be consumed raw, I prefer to eat it cooked and paired with strawberries (big surprise!). One of the medicinal purposes of rhubarb is as a laxative or purgative, so if you do choose to consume it, make sure you don’t eat too much. (Unless you want to have the big poops). Strawberry rhubarb pie is a delightful treat, and I found a delicious recipe on allrecipes. If desired, you can easily make it vegan by subbing the eggs for applesauce, and using a vegan butter instead of regular butter.
We all remember the iconic video of the Jamaican man singing about how wonderful cucumbers are. At least, I do. Cucumbers are so versatile and can be used for a variety of different things- not just cooking! As we’ve all seen from movies and cartoons, cucumbers can be placed on the eyes as a refreshing beauty regime, and it can also be used to relieve sunburn. Cucumber is mostly made up of water, so it’s a great summer snack to help combat dehydration. I always love to add a little bit of cucumber to my water when possible, because it somehow manages to make water taste even fresher. One website in particular that I visited states that cucumber makes water a more “attractive” drink, and honestly, I agree.
Did you know that there are over 130 different varieties of green beans? Me neither. Like many of the other fruits and veggies I have covered, green beans are low in calories and high in nutritional value, making them a healthy snack and addition to your favorite dishes. Interestingly, green beans have also been shown to combat depression, because they block interference with feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. Green beans are also a great snack for aiding in weight loss and increased energy, so if you live an active lifestyle, you may want to consider eating more of your healthy greens! I found a recipe for a five-star rated vegan green bean casserole, so if you’re interested in that recipe, I’ll leave it down below with the others!
Thanks so much for tuning into my June produce guide! I’m looking forward to doing some fruit picking this summer with my friends and family, and incorporating that fresh produce into some new dishes. Which ones are you excited to try? Let me know in the comments!