Archive for the ‘Trader Joe’s’ Tag

Snack Whore   Leave a comment

One of the most critical components to my newfound veganism is snacking.  Oh how I love to snack!  Snacking keeps my stomach full and gives me the necessary calories that just veggies and fruits three times a day wouldn’t do.  Plus, snacking is soo much fun!  Who doesn’t love a snack?

As a vegan, I think it’s an absolute necessity to incorporate snacking into your daily routine.  Us vegans, not consuming any meat and dairy, tend to burn right through our meals.  While vegan meals are very filling at the time and for a couple of hours thereafter, I find that the full-o-meter tends to be on “e” way before it’s time for my next big meal.  This, is where snacking comes in.  Figure out what you like.  Sweet?  Salty?  Both?  Then hit your local grocery, health foods store or farmer’s market.

For sweet there are a bunch of vegan treats I love.  I’ve just discovered vegan, soy free (which is great for me and those with soy allergies) brown rice crispy treats courtesy of Trader Joe’s ®.  I also love their kettle corn.  Try dried fruits, like banana chips.  Mmmmm!  Vegan ice cream?  There are a whole range of dairy free ice creams made from soy, rice milk and coconut milk.  Choose the one that suits your tastes; and there’s always sorbet.  Nowadays, there are plenty of vegan versions of the sweet treats we love.  Uncle Eddie’s® is a great brand.  A lot of great snacks can be found at your local farmer’s market too.  Remember fruit roll ups?  Well, they still exist, in a healthy fruit wrap version.  Don’t forget good ol’ fashioned fresh fruit, too!  Grapes, cherries, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries…you get the idea.

In the mood for something salty?  There’s a slew of options on the salty side, as well.  My new fave, plantain chips.  Sooo good!  Pita chips, try to get whole wheat ones, with hummus are fantastic.  Nuts, nuts, nuts!  Nuts are not only delicious and nutritious, but they are super filling.  Grab a couple of handfuls of pistachios or almonds on your way out the door and your stomach will love you for it.  While they’re not the healthiest, potato chips are salty 🙂  Howeva!  Make sure they are organic, low sodium chips if you can and read the ingredients.  All the ingredients should be something that wasn’t made in a lab, like oh I don’t know… potatoes, salt and oil?  These are just a few ideas when it comes to snacking.

One of the best parts of snacking is discovering the snack.  When shopping, vegans can’t be in a rush, so make sure to have time on your hands to explore and read labels.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the interesting things you’ll find.  Remember, you’re a vegan now.  Living off of three meals a day, isn’t as easy as it was when you were tearing up chicken legs in your meat eating days.  So put on your cruelty-free shoes and go snacking!

~p~

I Heart Smoothies!!   Leave a comment

Since I began this venture into veganism, one of the essential tools I’ve come to appreciate and love is SMOOTHIES!  I was first introduced to smoothies by my co-author here on calivegans a little while back, when I used to sucker her into making them for me on occasion.  However, having my blender die on me months before, I never ventured into the world of smoothie making myself.  That all changed when, “by chance” (I don’t believe in “chance”) the day before we were to start our full body cleanse, we ran across blenders for sale at Target®.  We jumped on them and thus began my love affair with smoothies.

Smoothies are a great breakfast, especially if you’re on the go in the mornings, as most of us are.  They are quick and easy to make, full of nutrients, energy-boosting, surprisingly filling, and dee-licious!  They can also be a great midday snack or an evening sweet tooth soother.  No matter what time of day you enjoy a smoothie, you are always getting a great meal full of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Sold?  Perfect.  Now all you need is obviously, a blender.  Once you’ve got that, head to your grocery store freezer section.  Pick out your favorite frozen fruits.  Mango chunks, strawberries and blueberries are my faves.  You can find almost any fruit you love in the frozen section.  Another favorite new pastime I have picked up on my vegan adventures is freezing my own fresh fruit.  This may also be more cost effective, if there are sales in the fresh fruit aisle, or when choosing organic.  Just rinse the fruit, cut it up, put it in a freezer bag and throw it in theeee… you guessed it, freezer.  Voila!  Frozen fruit.

Now that you have your fruits, fresh or frozen, it’s time to head to the juice aisle and pick out your favorite juices.  Now, here’s where you have to focus.  Make sure you are buying 100% juice, none of that kinda’ sorta’ stuff; defeats the purpose.  I would also suggest going a step further and making it organic.  Orange juice is a great base for your smoothie.  Another favorite base of mine is green drink/juice.  Depending on the brand, these can be very tasty, contrary to popular belief.  I love Trader Joe’s® Green Plant Green Food Juice Blend.  I would also recommend adding a vegetable juice to your smoothie for extra nutrients.  I like carrot and beet juice.  Make sure to mix it with a sweet juice base so the smoothie is still deelish.  Electrolyte-rich coconut water is another great “juice” to add to a smoothie, but I would mix another juice with it as it may water down the flavor.  Definitely, try out your favorite fruit juices and if you’re in a creamy mood, add some almond, soy or rice milk.  Mix, mingle and experiment.  Your taste buds will love what you discover!

Now, you’re home with your frozen fruits and juice staring at your blender.  All you do is pour in your juice(s); about 1.5 cups, for a good-sized smoothie.  Throw in your frozen fruits, do NOT thaw.  (I also add some unfrozen banana for extra sweetness and more nutrients, depending on the juices I’m using).  You should see some of the fruits peeking out of the top of the juice. You can also add protein and green food powders for more nutrients and well, protein.  Next, hit the switch aaaand… smoothie!

**For breakfast, I suggest drinking a full glass of water before or after your smoothie (a) because water is good for you duh! and (b) it helps keep you feeling  full and satisfied even longer.

Welcome to the woooorld o’ smoothies!  Enjoy!

~p~

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