It’s been a hot minute since we’ve prepared any food together on the blog, and tonight, I decided to take it upon myself to try a recipe I’ve been meaning to make for a while: vegan tuna fish!
How does one make “vegan” tuna fish, you may ask? Turns out, it’s surprisingly easy, and it doesn’t require too many ingredients. I’ll link the original recipe I used here in case you want to take a look for yourself. According to the nutritional information on this recipe, it appears to have quite a bit of fiber, and nine grams of protein! On top of that, it’s absolutely delicious and I enjoyed every bite of it.
The base ingredient for vegan tuna fish is chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans. I used one drained can and mashed the contents up with a fork until they were mushy and close to the consistency of tuna fish. I noticed while I was doing so that chickpeas actually sort of have a “fishy” smell- has anyone else noticed this?
After I mashed up the chickpeas, I threw in ¼ of chopped celery, ¼ cup of red onion, ¼ cup of vegan mayo, and the juice of half a lemon. You could use regular mayonnaise if you’d like, but I personally just think that egg-free mayo tastes a lot better. The last ingredient I used was a bit of crush nori- a seaweed that is commonly used in the preparation of sushi. Because the seaweed had a classic “ocean” taste, it really added to the overall illusion of the vegan tuna.
I was a little apprehensive to try it at first, because I’m not exactly what you’d call an “adventurous” eater, but I surprisingly LOVED this recipe. It obviously did not have the exact consistency of tuna fish, but the taste was fairly spot-on, and the nori in particular was not as stinky as I expected it to be. Another thing I really enjoyed about this recipe was how cheap all of the ingredients were; like I said, all you really need is a can of chickpeas, a couple of vegetables, mayonnaise, and some seaweed if you’re feeling fancy. The recipe also included lots of other suggestions for additions you could throw in, such as pickles or leafy greens.
The recipe yielded enough for me to make three servings, so I’m definitely going to be bringing it to work tomorrow for lunch on some white bread. What do you guys think about this recipe? Would you try it for yourself? Let me know in the comments below!
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.
Since emerging into ∼adulthood∼ and learning how to cook various dishes, I’ve certainly come across my fair share of food blogs. Several of them I discovered through Pinterest (another milestone of adulthood?) but others are blogs I’ve known and loved for years, such as Budget Bytes and Ellie Krieger. I was drawn to several of these blogs because of their delicious vegetarian recipe selections, but trust me, you definitely don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to fall in love with these recipes.
Supper with Michelle
As I said, learning how to cook dinner and shop for groceries responsibly is like a pinnacle of adulthood. Particularly being a vegetarian, it can be difficult to find yummy recipes that are easy, cost effective, and nutritious, since most of us find ourselves resorting to boiling pasta or toast to save money.
What I like about Supper with Michelle is her site’s incredible organization: there are separate pages for vegetarian, vegan, and pescitarianmeals. She also has a tab specifically dedicated to soup, which I’m sure I will be frequenting as the months begin to cool down. Right now, I have my horizons set on making the Vegetable Ramen Noodle Soup. What could be a better cheap dinner meal for September?
If you are looking for delicious, affordable vegan meals that everyone will love (vegan or not,) Nora Cooks is the place to start. I love that so many of her recipes are classic, simple recipes- just vegan. So many times, people assume that if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you must only enjoy eating vegetables. That’s simply not true; plant-based love desserts, pasta dishes, and classic American dishes just as much as the next person. If you’re looking for a place to start, I highly recommend trying her jumbo stuffed shells with spinach– they’re incredible and worth every minute of prep!
Ironically, a lot of the recipes on Julia’s Album are actually not specifically vegetarian or plant-based (several of them are pasta or chicken dinner meals.) However, I love this blog because chicken meals are actually extremely easy to substitute with plant-based alternatives. Tofu is a great replacement for chicken, of course, but there are also several believable vegan “chicken” products you can buy at the grocery store (particularly those from Gardein.) I’m really looking forward to making her Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta next week and subbing it out with vegan chicken strips instead. I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it turns out!
I’ve been a huge fan of Budget Bytes and Beth Moncel, its creator, for as long as I can remember. My mom originally bought the cookbook, and after I read that so many times it started to fall apart at the seams, I began checking out her blog. What I love about Beth and Budget Bytes is her affordable yet healthy recipes, as the name “Budget” Bytes may imply. As a recent college grad who lives off food stamps, being able to find cheap, delicious recipes has been invaluable to me. I’m looking forward to making her soft ‘n’ sweet dinner rolls next, with a side of butternut squash soup. Unfortunately, I do not have a link for her dinner roll recipe because I’m using it straight from the cookbook.
Ellie Krieger is yet another OG cookbook author from my childhood, and although her recipes aren’t particularly vegan/plant-based oriented, you can easily sub out the meat recipes with your favorite vegan ingredients (similarly to Julia’s Album.) As a nutritionist, Ellie Krieger is an expert about how to make recipes that are both yummy and healthy, which definitely takes tons of practice and knowledge to learn. I am so excited to try these Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats– don’t they look absolutely incredible and perfect for fall?
Anyway, those are all of my favorite food blogs! I am super excited to try some of these recipes and tell you guys how they turn out. I think I’m most excited for the pumpkin spice overnight oats and the dinner rolls- what do you think sounds the tastiest? Let me know down below!
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.
I’m not sure how interesting this will be to you guys, but personally, this is exactly the type of content I am here for. As a vegetarian, I occasionally get questions about what I eat in a day on a small college campus, so hopefully this article will answer some of those questions for you. Let’s get into it!
8:30am- Egg sandwich. I’m usually not too hungry in the morning, but because my PMDD is starting to kick in this week, I definitely wanted to eat something filling before my internship. I enjoy eating eggs in the morning because they’re filling, delicious, and a great source of vegetarian protein, so that’s what I did today! Obviously, it’s not the healthiest thing I could eat, but I wouldn’t say it’s the worst, either.
10am- Black coffee, 12oz. Every single day, I have a cup of coffee within a couple of hours of waking up. I’ve reached the point in my life where I need to have coffee, or else I experience intense withdrawals, so it’s definitely something I look forward to every morning. I actually really enjoy drinking my coffee black as well, so that’s what I’m doing today.
12pm- Peanut butter banana Clif bar. I’ve mentioned Clif bars a lot in my articles about snacks-on-the-go, and that’s because I love them and eat them all the time on my busy days. Especially today, with PMDD trying to kick my ass, an extra boost of energy is just what I need right now. I love the combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana, but my personal favorite flavor for Clif bars is the cool mint variety.
1pm- Raw broccoli, carrots, and waffle fries. Because my internship provides lunch for us, I don’t have to pack a bagged lunch when I come to work! This is incredibly convenient for me, because I have zero money, and I also genuinely like the food options. As I’ve said before, I’m crazy for raw broccoli, so I try to eat that every day. Sometimes my work has tofu or rice, but today the only vegetarian entree was waffle fries. Nonetheless, I made sure I got in my veggies.
6pm- Raw broccoli, corn, and Beyond Sausage. Incredibly, my dining hall has started serving Beyond burgers and sausage, so of course I’m going to opt for that when I need some protein. Per usual, I’m having more raw broccoli, because I’m absolutely obsessed with it and it’s another great source of plant protein. I would say this was a pretty well-rounded dinner for a college student.
8pm- A singular churro. I ended up going out with my friends tonight, so of course I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to spend my money on food I don’t need. Obviously it’s not the healthiest option on the planet, but it was delicious, and churros are currently my favorite dessert.
Anywho, I hope you guys enjoyed this article! Let me know if you’d like to see more lifestyle content from me, because I love writing these types of articles. Did anything that I eat surprise you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
With December marking my two-year anniversary as a vegetarian, I felt it was time for me to summarize some of my all-time favorite planty snacks. Now, does “planty” equal tasteless, bland, and “too healthy?” Absolutely not! I promise all of these snacks are filling, easy, and delicious to snack on. Especially being a college student on the go, it’s important to me that I can whip up healthy snacks when I’m short on time or in a rush. You’ll notice that many of these snacks are high in protein. Trust me, that’s no accident!
This is probably the thousandth time I’ve mentioned peanut butter banana toast on my blog, but trust me when I say I cannot get enough of it. It’s so delicious, so filling, and so quick to make. It also uses a lot of staples from my dining hall, so I can conveniently make it at school as well. Peanut butter may not be the healthiest thing out there, but it is a great source of vegan protein. This makes for a great breakfast, midday snack, or even a dessert if you’re feeling fancy. Also, it takes tops ten minutes to prepare and seconds to eat.
Overnight oats | Energy, Magnesium, Protein
My mom and I started getting into overnight oats about six months ago, after we stumbled upon the recipe in a Body Boss cookbook. There are countless ways to prepare overnight oats with a variety of different fruits and nuts, but the ones we make have rolled oats, chia seeds, almond milk, and frozen berries. That’s it. It really is that easy. I like to prepare 4-5 mason jars of overnight oats on Sunday evenings (because, you know, they’re overnight oats), and then I have ready-made breakfast for every day of the week! Also, none of those ingredients are even remotely expensive. Quaker rolled oats? Frozen berries? Milk? It’s such a poor man’s feast. Five stars from me.
“Banilla” yogurt with banana granola | Calcium & Antioxidants
Yogurt isn’t the most healthy option for breakfast or snacking, but hey, it’s a lot better than ice cream or a plate of nachos. Aaand, when you sprinkle granola onto the bowl and mix it in? Big nut. (No pun intended.) My favorite brand and flavor of yogurt is the Stoneyfield “Banilla,” which, as you may have guessed, is vanilla and banana. I like to make it feel a bit healthier by adding in fresh bananas as well, if I’m really feeling crazy. Nonetheless, it’s a small yet satisfying meal, and takes basically no time to whip up.
Huel shakes | Nutritionally Complete
I’ve mentioned Huel before on my blog, because I think it’s a genuinely great product that comes from a great company. Huel shakes contain all of the essential nutrients and minerals you need to stay healthy, so it’s essentially equal to a meal (so I guess you could theoretically live off of these, though I don’t recommend trying that). I also love Huel because they’re a relatively low-waste option; rather than drinking your coffee or eating your food from a plastic container, you can whip up a huel shake in your blender and drink it from a to-go cup. I love the variety of flavorings I can add to the shakes, and I always feel full for hours after drinking one. As a woman on the go, this is a win for me!
Avocado egg toast | Protein & Fiber
Avocado egg toast is like the sassy, savory sister of peanut butter banana toast. They’re both delicious and simple to make, but in different ways. Avocado, as you’ve heard twelve thousand times, is a highly nutritious fruit with a subtle, creamy flavor. I personally don’t really like avocado on its own, but it’s absolutely divine when combined with a yellow, gooey egg. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can even sprinkle some “everything bagel” seasoning on top. Or, if you want to substitute the eggs, try avocado toast with strawberries on top!
Clif protein bars | Quick Energy
Okay, this one is a little bit lazy because you don’t have to actually make anything, but I still consider Clif bars to be a great snack on the go. Sometimes, I don’t have ten minutes to spare for breakfast, especially on the days when I have three morning classes back-to-back. Clif bars are compact, clean (no annoying crumbs!), and they have a variety of delicious flavors to choose from. My personal favorite flavors are chocolate mint bars and banana chocolate peanut butter, so those are the ones I’ve been packing in my school bag this week.
Like many other plant-based eaters, I was thrilled when I learned that Burger King would be introducing a plant-based burger into every location across the nation earlier this year. I already have a hard enough time finding options at sit-down restaurants, so having a fast food choice was actually the next step up. I’m happy to have another cheap vegan junk food option I can enjoy while out on the road.
That being said, the launch has not come without a fair share of controversy, including criticism from my own perspective. There are two major problems I have with the Impossible Whopper (despite everything I love about having a plant-based option): animal testing and cross-contamination.
I’d also like to preface by saying these are my personal opinions about the subject matter, and I understand other people have equally valid points about the same facts. To each their own, that’s all I have to say.
First of all, let’s talk about the animal testing conducted by Impossible Foods for this product. The component of the Impossible Burger that gives it the iconic “meaty” taste is actually a molecule called heme, which is found in iron. Through genetic engineering, Impossible Foods was able to mass-produce heme- enough to make millions of burgers. Despite the fact that heme was approved by the FDA in 2017 (and the company thus was not required to test on animals), they did anyway. More than 180 rats were killed in the process of developing a plant-based burger, projected by a company that’s allegedly all about protecting animals. The soy leghemoglobin was fed to the rats “in massive doses” in three different tests, and subsequently, the rats were killed and cut apart to see how the compound reacted in their system. This is not secretive news- Impossible Foods is pretty open about the fact that they carried out these tests.
188 rats may not seem like much to you, but for someone who is an avid animal lover like myself, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. The first pets I’d like to have my first apartment are domesticated fancy rats. I can’t even write these statistics without feeling sick to my stomach-no matter how small or insignificant an animal may seem, it’s still an animal. It’s still an empathetic creature.
Secondly, the Impossible Whopper is not as safe for vegans and vegetarians as you may think. Unless specifically requested otherwise by the consumer, the Impossible Whopper patty is cooked on the same dirty stove as the beef patties. This is not only frustrating for plant-based eaters trying to avoid cross-contamination, but also for people with beef allergies who are relying on this burger to be a safe option. It would be one thing if the company clearly stated in their advertisements that you MUST ask for your burger to be microwaved in order to avoid contamination, but I cannot find a single statement on any ad. Many people, such as myself, went in eating this product believing it was a “safe” option, when the reality is I could have gotten very sick.
It’s very similar to the animal testing sentiment. It might not be a big deal to you, but for someone who is strongly affected by this careless action, it hits a lot harder. Maybe you aren’t bothered by the cross-contamination, but what about someone with a legitimate beef allergy who was wrongly led to believe that this burger is “100% plants”? It’s just flat-out wrong.
If you’re going to promote a product that is marketed as “100% plant based”, don’t cook it on a dirty stove by default. It completely destroys the point of the product if you’re not going to bother owning up to that statement. It’s probably mostly Burger King’s fault for not considering the complications of cooking everything on the same stove, but I would hold Impossible Foods at fault as well for not better marketing their product. Also, maybe don’t test your products on animals if you’re not required to by law?
“0% beef”? You also might want to think about revamping that slogan, Impossible Foods. Take some advice from me, and choose the plant-based options from Impossible Food’s top competitor, Beyond Meat, instead.
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
I have been a solid vegetarian for about two years now, and can genuinely say it is one of the best health-conscious decisions I have ever made. Not only is it better for the environment to abstain from eating meat (the mass-production of meat is terrible for our planet), but it can also bring with it a great deal of health benefits. As a plant-based eater, I am more likely to reach for a fruit or veggie than something containing meat or dairy.
That’s another thing- I have also completely cut out dairy from my diet. I was a strict vegan for about a year, but around last April I decided to re-introduce cage-free eggs for health related reasons. If you have the willpower and ability to do so, I would also highly recommend experimenting with a dairy-free diet. You will be shocked by how good your body feels!
I do not want to gloss over the fact that some people do need to consume meat to stay healthy, such as those with allergies to beans, soy, and other sources of vegetarian protein. For someone who literally needs meat to survive, I completely understand and place no judgment. Also, some people just don’t want to give up animal products, and that is your choice as well, not mine!
With that being said, I have compiled a list of my favorite cookbooks for my other plant-based homies. Whether or not you’re a strict vegetarian or vegan, I’m sure you will love the delectable recipes in these cookbooks!
Frugal Vegan | Katie Koteen | $9.99
Admittedly, I paid a lot more than $10 for this cookbook. I bought it about a year ago while vacationing in Canada with my family, and picked it up for a whopping $18 from Urban Outfitters. I’m happy I did, though- this cookbook has been extremely helpful to me. Being a broke college student, I can’t always be going out spending a hundred dollars on groceries, so this book has come in handy teaching me which produce items are cheaper than others. This cookbook is definitely aimed towards a crunchy, healthy, salad-loving vegan, so if you’re more into comfort food fixes, this probably isn’t the book for you. For me personally, I actually love the flavorful, earthy, creative dishes included in this book- especially the breakfast ideas and Mexican food recipes. I’m also dying to try “wacky cake”, which is a super cheap, vegan dessert made famous during The Great Depression.
Budget Bytes | Beth Moncel | $14.40
This cookbook is perfect for people who are maybe new to vegetarianism/veganism, and aren’t sure if it’s a commitment they want to stick with. That’s because this isn’t a plant-based specific cookbook- it has all sorts of recipes that cater to many different dietary needs. At the end of the book, Beth Moncel actually lists all of the vegetarian/vegan dishes, so that you can easily pick them out or customize them to fit your needs. If you’re someone looking for great vegetarian comfort food, this is the best book I can offer. As you can see, some of the pages are even starting to fall out because I’ve opened it so much! My personal favorite dish is the loaded enchilada pasta- I just forgo the shredded cheese and use nutritional yeast instead! This is another great cookbook for frugal eaters- Beth Moncel is noted worldwide for her number-crunching abilities. She also has a website, for those of you interested in doing some further reading.
The $5 a Meal College Vegetarian Cookbook | Nicole Cormier | $7.98
I received this book as a going-away-to-college present from my mom, and honestly, I’m still grateful to her for doing so. Some of the recipes were a ‘lil fancy for me, but many of them were easy and contains ingredients I could find at my dining hall (so no grocery shopping needed!). These recipes also yield a lot of servings, so a little can definitely go a long way. Once I get settled in my dorm, I’m dying to try the Quick and Easy Vegan Biscuits- I’m sure it would go delicious with a can of soup! This cookbook also contains a ton of vegan dessert recipes, and many of them are bake-free! Along with the recipes, the book also provides information about how much each serving is expected to cost you, along with nutritional values for the dishes. I personally love that feature, because as a vegan, it’s easy to slip up on important nutrients and proteins if you don’t stay conscious about what you’re eating.
Love Real Food | Kathryne Taylor | $24.99
Love Real Food is actually my mom’s favorite vegetarian cookbook, and while it’s a bit pricier than the others, I absolutely love it as well. The book is huge, containing a large variety of healthy recipes along with cooking tips, measuring notes, and guidelines for eating healthy. Just like Beth Moncel, Kathyrne Taylor also has a well-known blog called Cookie + Kate, where she shares even more recipes and fun additions (and a seasonal produce guide!). Similarly with Frugal Vegan, these recipes are designed to be as natural and earthy as possible, so just keep that in mind if crunchy salads and quinoa bowls are not really your gig. I’m personally looking forward to making her banana pecan shakes and customizable instant oatmeal mix, because I am always looking for new healthy breakfast options. Another thing I appreciate about this cookbook is the detailed allergy information at the bottom of every page- Kathryn makes sure you know if the recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and soy-free- and if it’s not, she explains how to customize it to fit your dietary restrictions. Thank you, Cookie + Kate!
Vegetarian Cookbook for Beginners | Rockridge Press | $10.79
Last but certainly not least, I have the perfect cookbook for beginners on their newfound vegetarian journey. This book not only contains 150+ recipes, but also includes a 14 day meal plan to get you started. The book also contains a glossary of several dietary/food terms used, such as the dictionary definition of gelatin (which is made of boiled animal skin and bones, by the way). It’s important to have an understanding of not only what you’re putting in you body, but also why it can be impactful to both your health and your diet. I would definitely recommend this book to fellow ovo-vegetarians (meaning someone like me, who is a vegetarian and also abstains from dairy), and I’m also happy with the amount of comfort-food dishes in the book. Picky eaters with a limited food palate (yes, that includes me), rejoice!
Coming up next: My Skincare Routine for Oily, Sensitive Skin