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. :)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Stay at Home Mom : Pros & Cons by a Working Mom

When we started trying for our first son, we decided I would be a stay at home mom some day. We knew it wouldn't be with him, but it was on our radar for one day!

We said maybe when #3 was born.
Then we said when we got the house paid off.
And yet we've come to a point not based on either of those things.

We've come across an opportunity for me to stay home while still making a little income. I'll be babysitting for my best friend whose daughter was born in September.

Some days I am ecstatic and cannot wait! I can't wait to take the boys to story time at the library, nature walks, playground and park visits, puzzles and workbooks, plus so many more activities! I can't wait to spend everyday with my littles.

But then I think about the bad days. When Eren needs to nurse at the same time Calvin's having a breakdown about something that seems very insignificant to me. And I think to myself, how on earth am I going to do this 24/7?! And then throw another baby in the mix?! What have I gotten myself into?!

So I thought I'd jot down some pros and cons that come to mind while thinking about this transition. Just to clear my mind and lay some things out in the open here.

  • I will be surrounded by the tiny humans all day, every day! - I've never done this before. I'm an introvert. Will I need more alone time? Will I crave adult conversation and interaction? Will the couple hours each night I get to spend with my husband fulfill that need? 
  • Gas money savings - My commute to work is super short: 10 miles one way. So I don't spend a ton on gas anyway. But will we even save money on gas? If I take the kids to the park a couple days, the doctor another day, grocery shopping another day, I'll be spending the same in gas even if I'm not going to work.
  • Grocery trips - I will no longer be able to stop by the store on the way home from work and grab things without worrying about toting around two little ones. Will I go on the weekends and abandon my husband with the kids. Will grocery time become my "mommy time?" Or will I haul these little people around with me to get the shopping done during the week?
  • My husband will save time. He helps me get the kids ready in the mornings during the week. Without having to wake them up, he'll get to sleep in an extra half hour each morning and not have to worry about the tiny humans while he's getting ready for work. That will be nice for him.
  • Will I have more or less time for YouTube and the blog? Since I'll be spending all week with the kiddos, will it be easier for me to take an hour or two on the weekends to work while my husband hangs out with them? Will I find it impossible to get a spare moment to film or edit during the week? Will I have more or less motivation?
  • Household chores - Hopefully, if I can get my shit together, I'll be able to do the stupid things like laundry and cleaning before my husband gets home, so he'll be able to spend his "off" time actually off and with the family. But will I resent him for never having to do those chores? Will I be able to accept my new job as designated housewife? Or will it be super hard to find time to even do those chores and we'll still be stuck doing laundry all weekend?

And the bigger worries...
What if I'm not any good at it?! What if they drive me crazy? What if I lose my crap every single day? What if I take my frustrations out on my husband or can't get any housework done or my plan for a fun-time weekly schedule totally goes up in flames? What if I'm simply not cut out for this?

Well, all I can say is, you never know until you try, right? :)


Thursday, November 1, 2018

10 Breastfeeding Tips

1. Don't stress. I know it's hard! But being nervous about it only makes it harder! Relax. Find the comfiest spot on the couch and declare it yours.

2. Tell your family they are only allowed to say positive things about breastfeeding. It will be hard. You will cry. But if your husband's over there saying, "why don't you just give them formula?" he isn't helping your journey!

3. If you get a clogged duct, immediately start working on fixing it! A warm compress and extra nursing are the two things that helped me. Take a hot shower and massage your breast. But remember, your baby is the best fixer! He will do a much better job than your pump will. If you're at work, go home sick! Seriously. You need to get that duct taken care of before it gets infected and you get mastitis! Go get your baby and just lay in bed all day nursing until your booby is better.

4. Ask your pediatrician or the nurses if you can nurse in front of them at one of the many newborn doctor appointments you'll go to. They'll either reassure you things are looking good or give you tips about making it better. They might even weigh baby before and after so you know how much milk they just drank.

5. If the latch isn't working, Google it. There are so many helpful articles about latching babies. HERE is a good one. You might even be able to find videos. Remember, it's just a nipple! Don't be shy about watching someone else showing you how to get a good latch. One thing that really helped me was the "Breast Sandwich" where you kind of flatten out your boob so it's easier/smaller for baby to latch on to. Both of my boys struggled with latching, so I know how hard it is!

6. Last resort: nipple shield! I know there are differing opinions about this one, but I used one with my first son for the first 7 weeks and I can honestly say that I'm unsure we would have been so successful at nursing if it wasn't for that darn shield. We had a love/hate relationship, but in the end, it was what worked best for us.

7. Newborns can be super tired. You might have to force them to wake up to eat. Tickle their feet. Nearly yell at them. Hold them up like baby Simba. Take all their clothes off. Blow on them. Seriously. Newborns can sleep through anything and if they're not gaining enough weight, you might just have to force them into waking up for the boob.

8. Healthy eating helps your milk supply. Oats, nuts, seeds. It's good for you and it's even better for your milk.

9. Learn to nurse in the side-lying position. It will make nighttime feedings suck less.

10. Let your nipples "air out." Apply some breast milk or balm and just let them be bare for awhile. In the midst of the early breastfeeding journey, even t-shirt fabric feels like sandpaper. Letting them be free can be a bit of a comfort.

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Touched Out Momma

Being an introverted mom is hard. But I definitely don't think this is a problem just for introverts. All moms must experience some level of it. Feeling 'touched out' is very strange. Today I felt it because I cared for the children alone the previous day while my husband was just right outside our window, building a shed in the backyard. Then I was dog sitting today. Dog sitting in itself is a pretty easy task, but as someone with two tiny people to care for and personally really very much being a cat person, it was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. That dog apparently likes me. He followed me all day. Sat at my feet while I edited videos, stared at me while I ate, and stood right underneath me as I cooked for my family. 

I immediately took a shower after dinner instead of waiting for the boys to go down, just so I could have a moment to myself. Maybe I even cried in the shower. 

When I returned from my shower, my toddler was making growling sounds as he played before bed. And no matter how many times I asked or told him to stop growling, he didn't and I couldn't handle it anymore so I ran upstairs with the baby to finish his bedtime nursing session. Those little noises were driving me nuts. Then, no joke, my cat was sitting on my desk chair next to the bed, licking herself. I had to stop nursing the baby, get up, and throw her out of the room because the sound of her tongue was making me lose my mind. And I'm actually typing this post right now from my phone while Eren's falling asleep on the boob. I am so ready for bedtime. 

I feel so extremely touched out today. And honestly, I don't think I get that feeling all too often, I can think of maybe two other times I've noticed it in these 2.5 years of motherhood. But today it came on strong. It's different from the usual end of the day exhausted feeling of everyday motherhood. It's exactly what it sounds like, feeling touched out. I just want my space, I want everyone out of my personal bubble, I don't want anyone clingy to me anymore.

And, just like so many other parts of motherhood, it's a strange feeling. I feel so bad afterward for avoiding my children's affection. I know they just want to be loved and held and I know all too well this isn't going to last much longer. Calvin already hardly ever sits by me and cuddles anymore as it is. I need to be basking in this cuddly love, but today just wasn't one of those days. I guess we'll try again tomorrow.


Monday, October 15, 2018

5 Tips for Pumping at Work

1. Don't pump too little! Every 3 hours is a great guideline to follow. Pump until you don't keep feeling letdowns or your milk stream slows. Personally I pump 3x a day for 15 min each. If I'm in the middle of a letdown or still getting a decent amount of milk when my 15 min is up, I'll pump for 2-3 more.

2. Look at pictures, or even better, watch videos of your baby! Believe me, it helps your letdown come faster.

3. Wear nursing appropriate clothes with easy access.

4. Don't stress. Don't worry about how much milk you need. Don't worry about someone walking in on you. Just relax. (I know, easier said than done!) Anxiety will not help you get adequate milk.

5. Start a little freezer stash before you return to work. If you have a few days of wiggle room, you won't feel so stressed out about needing to pump exactly how much breast milk your baby is going to be using the following day.

I hope these were helpful!


Friday, October 12, 2018

5 Ways We Get Our Toddler to Eat Healthier

These are 5 things we do to get our toddler to eat a little healthier.

Calvin is two and he has gone through many picky phases. This is what works for us and I hope you can take a tip here or there that might work for your family.

1. Sneaking healthy stuff into his normal food.
Seeds are so healthy and pretty easy to sneak into things. Hemp seeds in grilled cheese and chia seeds in PBJs are my two go-tos.

2. Give in to his healthy cravings.
When he gets on a less picky kick, we make sure to feed his healthy food desires. A month or two ago, he was really into apples so I made sure to always have them on hand at home. He went through the same phase with bananas and grapes. Anytime he's asking for something other than cookies and candy, it's a win and it needs to be rewarded, if you ask me.

3. Incentive.
We use the iPad. If he takes a bite, he can play on it. If he doesn't keep eating, we take it away. We usually whip it out on days we're trying something new and we're unsure he's going to be willing to take that first bite. Sometimes we use dessert as incentive to eat dinner too.

4. Using baby brother.
We threaten to feed his food to Eren (7 months old). We also show him what we're giving Eren to see if he also wants to try it too. It's pretty cool how much better he's gotten about trying different things since Eren started eating with us at dinnertime. Seeing brother so eager to eat everything has been rubbing off on Cal.

5. Switching things up.
Sometimes Cal gets his own meal, sometimes he eats what we're eating. I think finding a balance between these two kinds of meals has really helped us as a family. I get much less frustrated and I think that helps him not feel so much pressure too.

Bonus: Tasty vitamins.
I'm pretty sure he just thinks they're extra special candy. It makes me feel better knowing that even if he isn't eating his best, he's still getting some nutrition in his vitamins.

I hope you found some help in these. Let me know your favorite tips in the comments below!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Healthy Spicy Cheesy Hummus Spread for Quesadillas

This is my go-to for quesadillas and grilled cheese. It's cheesy and spicy. It would be an awesome dip on its own too!

Based on THIS recipe, with the heat turned down.

1 cup (measured dry) chickpeas, soaked, cooked
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno without seeds
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium/large whole tomato chopped

Put everything in the food processor and mix until you get a nice, smooth consistency. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.

Usually I don't need to add water because the tomato is so juicy. But if you aren't getting a nice spreadable consistency, just add a couple tablespoons of water.


Monday, October 1, 2018

Easy Vegan Dinner : Baked Pasta

This is such an easy and delicious dinner. We used to make it with meat and real cheese before I went vegan, but let me tell you, it's just as delicious veganized. I promise!

2 cups of macaroni noodles (measured dry)
1/2 jar of tomato basil pasta sauce
1 cup of cooked lentils
vegan Parmesan and mozzarella cheese to taste

Mix the noodles, sauce, and lentils together.
Pour it into a lasagna pan, then pat it down.
Top with veg parm & mozz.
Throw it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
Serve with garlic bread.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Vegan + Meat Eater Monthly Meal Plan for September 2018

The last time I showed our monthly meal plan was for JANUARY!
I started my journey to veganism on Memorial Day. We meal plan every month. But this is the first time I am coming at you with our vegan/meat-eater meal plan, so let's hop right in!

I'm vegan, my husband eats whatever he wants.

This plan isn't set in stone, it just helps me figure out the shopping list. We switch things up occasionally. 

If you're interested in how I keep myself and my husband happy, check out this post HERE where I show you meal ideas for vegan/vegetarian and meat eating families. 


This is the schedule we tend to stick to:

Mon. – easy, minimal prep
                Grilled cheese
                Breakfast for dinner
    Taco salad (w/ leftover meat)

Tues. – leftovers from Sat.

Wed. – more prep
                Beef & broccoli w/ rice
                Teriyaki/orange chicken w/ rice
                Philly cheese steak w/ fries
    Baked spaghetti w/ garlic bread

Thurs. – medium prep/other
Crockpot chicken, potatoes, carrots 
            One pot veg pasta
            Spaghetti w/ garlic bread

Fri. – fun meals
            Flatbread pizza
Burgers w/ fries
Fried chicken w/ potatoes
Sloppy joes w/ fries

Sat* – big meal w/ enough for leftovers
                Mexican casserole
                Lasagna w/ garlic bread
                Chili w/ red lobster biscuits
                Potato soup w/ red lobster biscuits (still haven't tried this one veganized yet, if you have a recipe suggestion, let me know!)

*I only plan one meal for the weekend and it goes on "Saturday" on the menu. It's not always made on Saturday. Sometimes we eat with other family, go out for dinner, attend parties, etc. Aside from the one big meal of the weekend, other meals tend to be "whatever sounds good in the moment."


I hope this was helpful in some way! I love meal planning and always knowing what's for dinner, but still being flexible if we decide to go out or want something different.

I love you guys!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Best Vegan Cheese Sauce

This is the yummiest cheese sauce I've come up with so far. Plus, it's actually good for you! I'll use it for everything.

1/2 cup cashews, soaked
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp pepper

Soak the cashews at least 2 hrs, drain.
Blend all ingredients until smooth.


Nachos (actually approved by my super picky, non-vegan husband!)
Pasta (even mac n cheese!)
Grilled cheese (just not stretchy)
Cheesy filling for ravioli or wontons (haven't tried yet but it sounds so good)
Cheesy broccoli and cauliflower (my mom used to make that all the time when we were little)
Baked potato?!
Dip for anything you can think of...
There are endless possibilities for this yummy sauce and I can't wait to try them all!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Appreciating the Little Things in Motherhood

Yesterday was my day off with the boys. And the day went awesome. Everyone woke up at around 6-6:30. I filmed a YouTube video at my desk while the boys played on my bed. We went downstairs and put the diaper laundry in the dryer from the night before and hung the covers out on the drying rack outside. I also filmed another video while we were outside. Eren got tired so I put him in the swing, and I was able to edit those two videos while Calvin watched TV. I folded the diaper laundry and started a load of regular laundry. I swept the kitchen, did the dishes from the night before, and even cleaned the downstairs half bath. I felt super accomplished. And all of this took place before 11 am. Eren wasn't having that great of a day, he was only sleeping in 30-45 min increments, but it was still maybe my most productive solo day ever since Eren was born! And I just wish everyday was like that!

But every day is not like that. It's just that simple. Some days I wake up with an attitude, or I forget to feed myself and get hangry and my fuse is really short. Some days Eren wants to nurse every hour on the hour and I have no time to do anything else. Some days the children seem to be having a pooping contest to see how many diapers I can change before lunchtime! Haha. And, simply put, sometimes a good day can turn less than good in just a moment's time.

Motherhood has surely taught me to take things a little less serious. If we're just not having a good day, I won't even attempt to accomplish household things or YouTube work. Some days I have to tell myself, "you're not going to accomplish anything today, just let it go." And those are the days when I let it all go and only tend to the children. And you simply can't predict which days will run smoothly and which ones will feel more difficult.

So even though the morning was awesome, the afternoon wasn't quite as great. Eren slept for about 30 min at the beginning of Cal's nap, but then was not very happy for the rest of the napping period. He didn't really want to nurse and he still sounded awfully tired, but didn't want to nap either. So I didn't get much down time to myself for the day. But I still felt so accomplished. And I still felt super happy and grateful for the day.

Awesome days don't happen all the time, but motherhood has changed my definition of an awesome day and has taught me to appreciate the little things more.

(written several weeks ago)

I hope you're having a good day today. :)

Friday, September 7, 2018

Easy One Pot Vegan Pasta

This batch has zucchini, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes chopped finely with a slice of toasted sourdough bread on the side.

This is my go-to favorite pasta since starting my transition to veganism.
I thought I would never be able to satisfy the craving for a nice, creamy pasta sauce, but seriously, this stuff is delicious!
You will NOT feel like this pasta is lacking. You won't miss cheese at all. Cooking the pasta in plant milk and veggie broth gives it sooo much flavor on its own!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup veg broth
1/2 cup plant milk (like unsweetened cashew or almond)
2 cups macaroni pasta, uncooked
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup (or more) each of chopped zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, or whatever else sounds yummy.
tomatoes - sundried, grape, or cherry


Use a pan with a lid.
Heat up the olive oil in the pan.
Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds to a minute.
Add the veg broth and plant milk. (If I don't have veg broth I'll just add 1 cup of water with a bouillon cube. You shouldn't need to add salt because the broth is salty enough.)
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let simmer for 15-20 min. Check to see the liquid has evaporated and the pasta is soft.
From there, you can add whatever extras you like. I like roasted veggies.

Serve on its own, with a bread stick, or a slice of yummy sourdough bread, & eat up!

For the veggies:
Since my husband hates veggies, I cook them in the oven separately and just add them to my dish at the end. I'll toss them in olive oil and throw them in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes. I actually prefer my broccoli this way, I love when it gets a teeny bit charred on the edges. I usually add the tomatoes to the finished pasta, uncooked.

I hope you enjoy this pasta as much as I do. I could eat this every night, seriously.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

My Veggie Burger Recipe : Black Beans, Chickpeas, & Sweet Potato

I've been making these for a couple years now, before I ever thought about going vegan. (I've never been a big fan of traditional beef burgers to begin with). These are delicious and actually survive the grill! I cook them in the oven and freeze them for future use. I would definitely recommend!

1 large sweet potato
1 cup (dry) chickpeas
1/2 cup (dry) black beans
1 bell pepper diced
1/2 of a sweet onion diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 flax egg (1 T ground flax, 3 T water mixed and set in fridge 10 min)
1 1/2 cup (dry) oats, ground (I measure before grinding)
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Form into patties.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 min, flipping halfway.
Makes 10-12 burgers.

Soak the dry chickpeas and black beans overnight.

Put the sweet potato, chickpeas, and black beans in the crockpot (8 hrs on low, 4 hours on high).

Drain everything from the crockpot and put in a large mixing bowl. It's going to be hot, so you should wait awhile before you start mixing with your hands.

Start your flax egg by grinding 1 Tbsp of flax seed and adding it to 3 T of water. Put this in the fridge for at least 10 minutes so it can set and thicken to the weird, egg-like consistency you need.

While you have the blender out, grind up your oats too. Add to the bowl with the beans and sweet potato.

Chop up your bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Add to the bowl. Add seasonings. Add the flax egg. Mix everything together. I like to use a potato masher to get the consistency I like. I leave about 1/4 of the beans whole.

Then make the patties. If the mixture is a little too wet, you can add a bit of flour to your hands or the mixture itself. I can fit about 8 patties to a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 min. You can eat them straight out of the oven, but I bet you're not going to be serving a dozen at a time, so you can also freeze them. I'll freeze them right on the baking sheet, then once frozen the next morning, I'll throw them into a big gallon Ziploc bag. When you're ready to eat them again, just throw it on the grill or in a pan and cook like a regular burger, no thawing needed.

before cooking

These really hold up on the grill! I have come across many veggie burgers that absolutely fall apart and these are not one of them!


I love these burgers. I'll put some spicy hummus and ketchup on top and they are awesome!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Healthy Vegan Lasagna with Lentils Sauce and Chickpea Cheesy Layers

served with a french baguette with veg butter, garlic powder, mozzarella, and vegan parmesan 

I recently wanted some lasagna. So I watched a few videos, looked up some recipes on Pinterest and ultimately just decided to wing it with the tidbits of info I gathered online. So here is the lasagna I made a couple weeks ago. And it was delicious and totally hit the spot!

I'm sure you all know how to make lasagna, so let me just tell you the jist of things here.
I used lentils instead of meat.
I used a chickpea blend for the cheese.
I used store bought pasta sauce because I'm lazy.
I used magical no-boil lasagna noodles also because I'm lazy.
So pretty much the only thing you need to know is how to make the cheesy part.

"Cheese" recipe
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 Tbsp basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Throw it all in the food processor until it looks nice and mixed.
Then I crumbled it in my hands into the lasagna.

crumbled "cheese" layer

Other stuff you need:
Lasagna noodles (9)
Pasta sauce (nearly a whole jar)
1/2 cup (measured dry) Lentils, cooked

I'm sure you know how to layer lasagna, but here are the layers I made from bottom to top: sauce, noodles, sauce, cheese, lentils with sauce, noodles, etc.

Baked it according to the noodle box instructions at 375 F for 50 minutes with foil on top, then I removed the foil and baked another 10 minutes.

I did use a little bit of vegan Parmesan on top just to make it look a little more interesting than just the sauce. You could use store bought veg mozzarella or leave it plain.

I hope you enjoy it!


Monday, August 20, 2018

Fancy Vegan Cheese to Take to the Winery :)

I made this cheese (Based on this recipe HERE) to take to the winery with my sisters over the weekend. Everybody liked it, so I thought I'd tell you how I made it. :) Enjoy!

1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 4 hours, then drained)
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
Juice from one lemon
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
handful of sundried tomatoes chopped up all tiny

Blend everything together except the sundried tomatoes. Blend for at least 5 minutes, stopping every once in awhile to scrape down the sides. Add the tomatoes once everything else is nice and smooth. Only blend with the tomatoes until they are nicely distributed throughout.

Transfer into a cheese cloth and place in a colander suspended above a bowl in the fridge. You probably want to make it at least a day ahead of time so it can harden up in the fridge.

This is not a hard cheese, it's more like a spread, but it's still super delicious!

I hope you enjoy it!


Saturday, August 18, 2018

What I Eat in a Day + Cost : Typical VEGAN Workday

Here's a random workday "what I ate today" breakdown. I've also included cost just for fun. :) Enjoy.

look, there's my cute litte Eren :)

Breakfast- Granola with plant milk: $1.89
(see recipe & cost details HERE)

Lunch- Salad: $2.59
Romaine $.50
Grape tomatoes $.70
Croutons $.67
Dressing $.62
Black beans: $.10

Pistachios: $1.02

Dinner - Quinoa tacos: $1.02/ea x2 = $2.04
Tortilla $.13
Veg Butter $.07
Quinoa $.44
Black beans $.05
Salsa $.14
Taco seasoning $.04
Lettuce $.15

Total cost: $7.54
1800 calories
230 g carbs
55 g protein
32 g fiber


Yes, you can eat for less than this! I personally didn't realize how expensive my daily salad was until I did the math for this post! So I've calculated a different lunch to see if I could bring the cost down.

Alternative lunch:
Veggie fried rice with chickpeas:
Brown rice: $.18
Veg butter: $.07
Chickpeas: $.16
Frozen veg: $.16
Seasonings: $.04
Soy sauce: $.03
Total: $0.64

This lunch is cheaper (1/4 of the cost!), has more calories (about double), more fiber and protein. But it's lacking in the folate and vitamin A found in the salad. So there's a bit of give and take there.

Making the change from salad to fried rice would save over $30 a month! (savings of $1.95/day x 4 days/week x 4.33 wks/month) But, of course there's a downside, it takes more prep time.

I hope this was helpful or interesting in some way.
I love you guys!

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.

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.

(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.


***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.


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!

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)


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!


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!

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.


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!

Some Thoughts on Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is hard! I might even go as far as to say that nursing my second baby boy has been harder than my first. That was unexpected. I thought we might have some challenges, but I knew we could get through them. I felt confident that we could survive anything since I had struggled with my first son, Calvin.

With my first, we used a nipple shield for the first seven weeks. He could not, or would not, latch for more than a couple gulps. Although I hated that stupid shield because we were both dependent on it for those seven weeks, I also have so much love for that shield. Without it, I'm unsure we would have been successful at breastfeeding.

Eren, my second, has had a crappy latch from the start. He just wasn't very good at it in the beginning, and he still has moments where he doesn't get it quite right and we have to start over. I asked the pediatrician about tongue or lip ties when he was a newborn and she did not see any issues. My nipples hurt. I mean really, really hurt. I'm pretty sure I told my husband that breastfeeding hurt way worse than any moment of the c-section recovery. It sucked. I truly wonder if I would have continued trying if Eren had been my first son. But because I had been through it with Calvin, my oldest, I was determined to breastfeed again. I knew we would come out on the other side and be so grateful for continuing. We were only able to continue because I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

It does get better! Your poor little nipples will heal eventually. And once you get through that, it is easy peasy smooth sailing, let me tell you! Breastfeeding now at 5 months old is a breeze. I feel sorry for mommas who have to wash bottles day and night. I just whip out the boob and we're good to go. A lot of women say the first couple weeks are the worst. For me, it was the whole first month with my second, then another month of less than great, and only then did it start to be easy!

Even thought it's hard, breastfeeding is perhaps my favorite thing about new parenthood. It's amazing to be able to calm your baby with the boobies. Binkies were made to replace boobies, not the other way around!

With all that being said, I understand why women stop. Even my husband has made those comments, seeing me struggle in pain and overwhelming frustration. I cried a lot with both of my boys. But my husband never once said, "hey, let's just do formula." And he would have gotten an earful if he had! I wanted to breastfeed. I wanted it so much. After the traumatic birth of my first son, I felt I had failed as a mother already (after spending over a month in the hospital with pPROM, then being induced and having pushed for two hours and ending up in a c-section anyway) and if I was not going to be able to nurse that baby, that would have felt like complete and utter failure as a mom in just the first few days of his little life! The lactation consultant and nurses in the hospital were not as helpful as they could have been with my first. But I thank God, literally, for the nurse at our pediatrician's office who told me that using a nipple shield would be okay. I thank God for that nipple shield!

My experience with the lactation consultant with my second son was soo much better than my first! I truly felt like she wanted me to succeed. She didn't just assume I knew what I was doing because I had nursed my first for 15 months. I think everyone deserves to meet with someone like her.

So I guess I write this to say, "keep trying!" Breastfeeding started out crappy with both of my boys, but we have had great nursing relationships! Don't quit on a bad day. Every little drop really does count!

I love you guys.

Monday, August 13, 2018

5 Unexpected Things About Birth and Postpartum with Baby #2

I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I just did this less than two years ago, after all! But, like they say, every baby is different, so here are some things I did not expect about the birth of my second son.

C-Section Procedure 
In the Operating Room, my first c-section actually went really well. This time around, I felt so terribly gross the whole time. I threw up. And afterwards I still felt so sick to my stomach, I hadn't eaten in way too long, and still couldn't eat immediately afterwards. I couldn't even keep my eyes open, and I literally just passed out as soon as they got me back to my hospital room. It sucked! 

C-Section Recovery
The recovery was surprisingly easier than the first time. Maybe I kept up on my pain meds better once I got home, but overall recovery wasn't too bad, even in the hospital. Maybe I just knew to take it easier this time around. 

I didn't think my stomach looked too bad after Calvin, but holy crap, Eren messed it up. The stretchmarks were way worse the second time. And the overall sagginess was worse. And I can totally feel the lack of core strength now too. 

Breastfeeding Struggles
It's not that I thought it would be easy peasy, but I definitely did not expect it to be harder than the first time around.

Brotherly Love
With all the negatives on this list, I thought I'd include one very big positive. I cannot explain how much overwhelming love and fullness I feel when I see my two boys together. When I see Calvin loving on his baby brother, it quite literally melts my heart. I thought it would be cute seeing them together, but cute doesn't even begin to describe it. I never could have imagined this incredible feeling!

Thanks for reading!
I love you guys,

Monday, July 30, 2018

Meal Ideas for Vegan Vegetarian + Meat Eating Households

I've been working on this post for a loooong time now and I really hope you enjoy it! Please leave a comment below if you have any dinners to add! I love you guys!


My husband is a little picky. He's not big on vegetables. And I thought for sure we would have a lot of fights when I decided to transition to a vegan diet. But it's been really great. He's been really great.

I thought this might be helpful for anyone out there wanting to reduce their family's meat consumption. These are different meals we've had and how we adjust them for our family. I really hope it helps.

Veg chili with vegan red lobster biscuits (recipe HERE). They seriously taste just like regular ones! 
Just skip the ground beef. My husband doesn't mind it without any meat, but if he really wanted to, he could simply fry some up and add it to his bowl individually. Sometimes I do miss cheddar cheese with this, so I'll add a little nutritional yeast or veg cheddar to my bowl.

Sometimes you're just in the middle of your dinner and realize you forgot to take a pic of it for your blog! :)

Grilled cheese & tomato soup
I use a spicy hummus (I'm going to mention it a lot, so HERE is the recipe, I often use it to replace cheese) with nutritional yeast for my sandwich. If we have some vegan cheddar shreds, I might add a little bit of those. I add some cooked chickpeas to the tomato soup for a boost of protein and that's it. So yummy. My husband and toddler can eat regular grilled cheese like usual.

Can you believe this plate doesn't have any meat or dairy?
I make myself a cheesy sauce (there are a lot of recipes out there and I haven't found one I really like enough to share just yet) and use some cheddar shreds and my husband can make his nachos like usual. I make a taco seasoning/black bean/salsa mixture for my "meat" and he fries up his own ground beef.

Mmmmm salad

There are so many options for salad. Taco salad is a good one. My husband adds his own beef, while I'll add beans for my protein and pureed salsa for a dressing. Plus onion, peppers, tortilla strips, corn, etc. Or buffalo chicken/tofu salad. He can add meat, I can add whatever I want.

This sourdough bread from Aldi is sooo good. Cover it in veg butter and fry it on the skillet a couple minutes. 
Sandwiches are great because everyone can choose what they want on theirs. I like to do a BLT without the bacon. I toast some sourdough bread, add Just Mayo, tomato slices, and lettuce and POW, it is so good. And my husband can add cheese and salami or whatever he wants to his own.

Brussels sprouts and zucchini with soybean noodles. 
There are a bunch of different pasta recipes to choose from (haven't tried this one yet, but HERE's an example). My husband picks out the veggies and adds in some chicken if he wants it. He could always add some Parmesan to his bowl if he really misses the cheesy flavor.

Greek marinated tofu kabobs recipe HERE with zucchini, red bell pepper, & onion.

Tofu or meat. Everyone can pick and choose what they want on theirs.

Quesadillas are a family favorite around here. 

Quesadilla are another good one where everyone can pick their own ingredients. My husband and toddler will usually have a plain cheese quesadilla. I'll put spicy hummus and zucchini on mine. You could always add beans and salsa too. Mexican style food really is great for veganizing, plus we've discovered our toddler seems to like stuff inside tortillas.

Pancake with peanut butter, maple syrup, and chia seeds.

Breakfast for dinner (pancakes)
HERE's the recipe we use & BAM everyone's happy! I like to add peanut butter along with my syrup.
These crescents have halved grape tomatoes inside.

Crescent rolls 
Pillsbury brand crescent rolls are vegan (but not all other brands are, so check!). And you can put whatever you want inside a crescent roll. My husband and toddler do hotdogs, sausages, pepperoni and cheese, etc. I like spicy hummus, tomatoes, or I just make them plain and put some veg butter and jelly inside (super healthy dinner I know :)). Or fill with veg mozzarella and dip them in marinara. So many options.

I always have my husband roll my wraps because I'm not any good at it. Then he lays them out all fancy-like. 

Buffalo wraps
I use cauliflower or chickpeas, my husband gets chicken. Plus lettuce, onion, cheddar, ranch, buffalo sauce, etc. I cook the chickpeas in the crockpot all day after soaking overnight, then coat them in buffalo sauce and bake at 350 for like 30 min. You don't have to bake them of course, but baked chickpeas are the best, just saying... For the cauliflower I just coat in buffalo sauce and put them in the oven at 350 for 30 min or so too.

This bun is one of those super thin lower carb buns, they were the only wheat ones at Aldi that day! I usually eat regular buns. Also these fries were homemade and my husband said they made him feel healthier. Haha. 

This one's easy peasy. My husband has meat. I have a veggie burger. We both have fries. Done and done. Everyone's happy. You can find my homemade recipe HERE.

Red lobster biscuits, one half of a small potato (because I sacrificed the other half to my toddler), some baby carrots, and  a sweet potato.
Crockpot chicken & potatoes 
In the past, we ate this a lot on days I knew we wouldn't have a lot of time for dinner. I just added a chicken breast and a couple potatoes to the crockpot and let it cook all day while I was at work. I add water and half a packet of onion soup mix to it. Now I add a couple extras like carrots and a small sweet potato for myself and my husband can eat the chicken and potatoes like he usually would. He's not a fan of sweet potatoes.

Veggie flatbread pizza. Sooooo yummy, I don't even miss the cheese. 
Personal flatbread pizzas
I make my own flatbread with THIS recipe. I season and fry up veggies like cauliflower, tomatoes, zucchini. My husband uses pepperoni and cheese. We just use marinara for the sauce. It's great without cheese, but you can always add nutritional yeast for a little extra flavor.

This is actually a picture of my husband's leftovers at work the next day because I totally forgot to take a picture of my dinner the night before. :)

Philly cheesesteak
My husband gets meat and cheese like usual. I use onion and bell pepper with veg mozzarella for myself. I need to look into a vegan Worcestershire sauce though...

I love fried rice. I wish I had some fried cauliflower to go with it!
Fried rice
This is super simple. If he wants a side of meat, he can add some orange sauce or teriyaki sauce to some chicken. Sometimes I'll bread and fry some cauliflower for myself.

Trying out the fancy "food" filter on my new phone. :)

Teriyaki tofu and rice
Along the same lines as the fried rice, I will marinate some tofu in teriyaki or orange sauce, fry it up. And my husband can do the same with some chicken. Super easy.

Quinoa with taco seasoning, salsa, black beans, and lettuce in a flour tortilla. You could add some nutritional yeast too.
Quinoa tacos
I was never a big fan of tacos before, but quinoa tacos are awesome. I make some quinoa like usual, then stir in some taco seasoning. I used to puree salsa and mix that in, it's super yummy, but my husband wasn't a fan, so I just add my salsa separately now.

Bean and corn enchilada with a side of roasted tomatoes. Sometimes I do a side of steamed broccoli.  
Bean enchiladas
I cook the beans then mash up part of the mixture so it's in between regular beans and refried beans in texture. Add enchilada sauce. And I definitely add veg cheddar shreds because I really miss cheese with this particular meal. My husband doesn't even alter this one, he eats it just as it is.

Other stuff we've tried that is vegan for us both:
Sweet potato broccoli soup (my husband was not a fan, but I thought it was awesome)
Chickpea & sweet potato curry
Mexican casserole (based on this recipe HERE)

I really hope these gave you some ideas! This has been a much smoother process than I thought it would be. I hope your family members are supportive of your lifestyle change too!

Good luck.