Disclosure: All reviews are my true and honest opinions. Posts may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission from your purchase, but I will always let you know which links those are. :)

Friday, August 17, 2018

My Favorite Granola Recipe (at the moment) [VEGAN]

I love this granola so much and I've gotten several requests for my recipe, so here it is! I switch my granola up every once in awhile, but this is the latest batch I've been in love with and have made several times now.


I've also included a rough cost per serving.
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3 cups old fashioned oats $2.76
1/2 cup sliced almonds $1.03
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes $1.19
1/4 cup chia seeds $.76
1/4 cup flax seeds $.87
1/4 cup hemp seeds $1.24
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon $.67
2 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup) $.23
2 Tbsp coconut oil $.36
2 Tbsp brown sugar $.05
1 tsp vanilla $.58

Makes 6 cups of finished granola. I get 7+ servings out of one batch personally.

Cost
(based on Walmart/Target pricing in St. Louis MO)
Total recipe: $9.74
makes about 7 servings
= $1.39/serving
+$.50/cup plant milk
= $1.89 per serving

1. I mix the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, all seeds, and cinnamon in one big bowl. (All of the dry ingredients except sugar)

2.Then I put the agave, coconut oil, and brown sugar in a separate, microwave-safe bowl. I microwave this mixture for 30-60 seconds to melt it all. Once I remove it from the microwave, then I add the vanilla and stir it all up. Then I pour it into the big bowl with all the dry ingredients and gently mix it around until everything looks evenly coated.

3. I bake it on parchment paper on two baking sheets. I lay it all out evenly, then press my spatula down on the mixture so it isn't loose. This will help it get clumpier.

4. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. I usually bake mine for about 23-25 minutes, but keep an eye on it after 15 min! There is a super fine line between perfectly browned and burnt beyond saving!

5. Do not touch it until it is completely cool. This will help any clumps stay together better. Store in an airtight container. Mine is gone within two weeks, so I'm unsure just how long the possible shelf life would be.


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***I posted a similar recipe HERE when I first started my vegan challenge. When I first posted it, I incorrectly wrote the temperature as 350, do not do that! Put it at 300! It burns way too quickly at 350. I ruined at least two batches this way! It's always soooo sad burning a batch of granola. It makes me want to cry! :( I'm so sorry to anyone who followed my instructions before and ruined their granola!

I used to make it without the brown sugar, but I found it didn't stick together very well. This recipe leaves some chunks, but some loose bits as well. I always eat mine like cereal, so the loose bits don't bother me. If you're wanting super clumpy granola, you might need to add more sweetener or adjust the recipe otherwise.
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It's super yummy and makes me feel like I'm eating pretty healthy with all the seeds and nuts and whatnot. I joke that breakfast used to be my most junky meal of the day and now it's my healthiest. I literally eat this five days a week!

Thanks for reading! And requesting!
Love,
Alaina

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

5 Tips for Nursing/Breastfeeding in Public

I was pretty shy about nursing my first son whenever and wherever. But these tips have really helped me gain confidence while nursing my second son. Yes, perhaps, some of it can be attributed to the fact that it's my second baby, but these tips should still help you gain the confidence you need!

Our first ever breastfeeding pic! (taken by my husband without my knowledge lol)

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1. Wear comfy and easily accessible tops. My favorite tops are ones that don't open up completely, but mostly cover, just leaving a little space for the booby.

2. Since you've found this link, I'm sure you've already done this one. Search tips for confidently nursing in public. Look at historical pictures of women nursing babies. Those kinds of pictures always surprised me. I envision the past as a time when everyone was so stuck up, so it surprised me to see black and white photographs of women nursing their babies whenever and wherever they needed to! Those are inspiring to me. Breastfeeding is the reason the human race has even survived, after all!

3. Just don't care. I know it's way harder than it sounds, but seriously, try it. Recite these things to yourself: Breastfeeding is totally natural. Guys expose their nipples all the time and nobody freaks out. Would everyone around me rather hear this baby screaming at the top of his lungs right now? It just looks like he's sleeping in my arms.

4. Play on your phone so you don't have to see if anyone's staring or giving you dirty looks. Or, if at all possible, bring someone with you. I know when I'm with my husband or sister, I feel very confident.

5. Be consistent! The more you practice nursing whenever and wherever baby needs you, the more natural it will come and the easier it will be to nurse in public. Start this in the hospital!

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I've nursed Eren in the mall food court, in restaurant booths, on a bench at the zoo, at museums, and all the time in front of friends and family at my own house and others'. And I've never had anyone say anything snotty or rude. People might avoid eye contact until we're finished, but they go right back to cooing at little Eren when he's done with his snack.

And just maybe, one day you'll get a gentle smile from another mommy across the room to reassure you that you're doing your best!

I hope these tips were helpful for you! Good luck & you can do it!
Love,
Alaina

My Journey to Becoming Vegan : Two Months In

Roasted zucchini and sweet potato, with tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, seasonings, chia seeds, on spinach and romaine lettuce. It was sooo good. I love eating it warm, when the sweet potato and zucchini come straight out of the oven. 


I've been on this vegan journey for over two months now. Here's a little update.

I have lost seven pounds, but I'm also nearly 5 months postpartum, so I can't attribute the weight loss to the diet change, it's much more likely that it's just the baby weight slowly, but surely, coming off.

I feel more motivated to work out. I enjoy doing yoga. I love thinking about how animals are not fueling my energy. I feel more at peace.

I feel really good when I go grocery shopping. My cart is just so much healthier these days (even though I'm still buying meat for my husband).

I'm still not fully vegan because we have stuff in the house I want to use up, not just throw out. I've already given away sooo much stuff to my sister too.

I am still looking for some alternatives. Like Cheez-its. I see that Earth Balance has one but it's not at any of my local stores. Justin and Cal have been on a Cheez-its kick lately and I wish we had an alternative we could all enjoy.

Finally got some unfrosted Poptarts for Calvin and he eats them just the same! That's a #momwin haha.

Learned about a ton of vegan junk food at Aldi's from THIS video from Caitlin Shoemaker.

Went out to a fully vegan/vegetarian restaurant and it was awesome. It made me kind of wish we lived in the city instead of the middle of freaking nowhere haha. It was awesome looking at a full menu knowing I could have anything I wanted!

I mention all the time that I can't wait to see restaurant menus in 10 or 20 years. I get excited to see vegan/vegetarian options coming to all restaurants! Why is there not a veg section on every menu?!

The vegan selection at my middle of nowhere Walmart is surprising. If you looked at us on a map and saw all the farmland for miles and miles, you probably never would have thought our Walmart would have tofu, Field Roast cheese, or Gardein chicken tenders! I did not have high hopes for my first vegan trip to Walmart, that's for sure. But I was pleasantly surprised.

I like to think I'm setting a good example for my family. Not just my boys and my husband, but my parents, my sisters. 

I like to think I can raise the boys vegan one day. Maybe I have a better shot with Eren since he's still a tiny baby. Calvin's two and he sure has his preferences already, he's even pickier than his father! The things that worry me about the boys are 1. milk, and 2. the grandmas. So #1, Calvin only nursed until he was 15 months old. He still needed to be drinking milk after that, so he drank cow's milk. It's my understanding that kids need the protein at least until the age of two. If he had continued breastfeeding, that wouldn't have been an issue. I just hope Eren continues breastfeeding until he's two, therefore we won't have to worry about that. For #2, my mother and MIL watch the boys while I'm at work four days per week. I am unsure they will be able to accept my lifestyle change as a change for my whole family.

Let's go ahead and mention digestive system improvement, regularity.

I haven't had a zit in awhile. But once again, that could be part of the postpartum journey. I never used to have bad acne til I started making babies... lol.

What do I still need to use up at home?

Beef & chicken bouillon cubes! Why did I buy so many of you?! I have two jars of each!

One jar of four cheese pasta sauce. Why?! I seriously haven't made spaghetti in two months?

Marshmallows and Swiss Miss hot chocolate?! I won't be going through any of that until it's not 100 degrees every damn day.

A bulk size ranch seasoning container in the pantry, right next to the bottle of local honey I bought like the week before I started my journey. 

One lonely can of tuna. Calvin liked tuna at one time. Now he just eats the saltines I serve it with...

When we go out, I order vegan food. I buy vegan stuff at the store. I'm not purchasing anything that's not vegan for myself and I'm not intentionally eating non vegan stuff at the house unless it's these items mentioned, just because I'm trying to get rid of them.

And I'm pretty sure that's about all we have left at home. So we're getting pretty close here! I'm excited to get all of these things used up so I can clamp down on the vegan variety in our house.

Thanks for reading!
Let me know about your journey to veganism and how your family reacted.

Love,
Alaina




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower


1/2 cup flour
1/2 plant milk (like unsweetened almond or cashew)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Coat cauliflower in batter.
Place on parchment paper on baking sheet.
Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, coat with a vegan buffalo sauce. Return to oven until it starts to crisp up, about 10 minutes or more.

Then make yourself some vegan ranch with THIS recipe. It's sooo good.

Thanks for reading!
Love,
Alaina