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, 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,