Super easy + healthy breakfast recipes

I will firmly admit that I don’t eat breakfast every single day, but when I do, I really enjoy it. I find that breakfast is the perfect opportunity to eat both dairy-free and vegan, which I do not follow throughout the rest of the day (I’ve tried, it’s not for me, I’M SORRY VEGANS… I RESPECT YOU).

I had my fair share of yogurt parfaits and avocado toast with egg over the past few years, and while those foods are delicious and filling, I find that I tend to enjoy lighter, easier meals in the morning.

These two (super easy, I’m not claiming to be an innovator here) recipes are what I’ve been mainly eating over the past few months.

  1. Berry Banana Smoothie

This could not be simpler. All you need:

  • Frozen berry medley (I get mine from Whole Foods frozen fruit section)
  • 1 or 1 1/2 bananas (depending on your preference)
  • Coconut water
  • Optional additions: baby spinach, chia seeds

Blend all of these wonderful ingredients together and you have an easy, amazing smoothie. I’m seriously obsessed with this and I drink it in the dead of winter in Chicago, I don’t care! I sometimes sprinkle it with some granola, but that’s just if I’m feeling like I need a little more to fill me up.

2. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dream

What you’ll need:

  • Whole grain oats, make sure the only ingredient listed is OATS. (I use instant, but I hear those aren’t the best for you. If you want to take the longer, healthier route, go ahead.)
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk (obsessed with Califia Farms brand)
  • Real maple syrup
  • Real peanut butter

Follow the instructions for making the oatmeal, but use the almond milk instead of dairy milk or water. Then stir in about a tablespoon and a half of peanut butter (two if you’re feeling it) and pour in about a tablespoon of maple syrup. This has been the most filling and amazingly delicious breakfast. It would also be great if you add sliced banana and cinnamon to the top.

These have been my go-to’s and I think for good reason.

Let me know if you guys give either of these a try and let me know if you have any good breakfast recipes for me to try in the comments. I’m always looking for new food.

Thanks for reading,

Emily

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FALL TRADER JOE’S HAUL

PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN

We are in september now which means it is fully fall and what better place to celebrate the changing of seasons other than Trader Joe’s. This store is awesome in general, even more so if you’re vegan or have allergies.. they have a wide selection (neither apply to me), and they have so many yummy fall goodies. If you haven’t ever been here.. you need to go.

The cool thing about Trader Joe’s is that most of the store is “Trader Joe’s” brand. It’s like shopping at a ma-and-pa place¬†with super cool employees who pretend to be your best friend.

So, Tom and Me decided to do yet another fall-related review. This time we chose some new food items the store put out for AUTUMN. Let’s begin:

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#1: THIS PUMPKIN WALKS INTO A BAR

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First of all, that packaging is adorable. These cereal bars are super delicious and Trader Joe’s has them in different flavors all year long (apple, blueberry, fig), but now they are here IN PUMPKIN.

REVIEW: Tastes like actual pumpkin pie without the cool-whip. It might say low-fat, but that does not in any way effect the flavor. The spices are perfect and we wanted to eat the whole box, but we settled on splitting one. They are soft, chewy and absolutely perfect for fall. You. Need. Them.

RATING: 8.5/10


#2: PUMPKIN PANCAKE & WAFFLE MIX

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Check out those perfect pancake making skills

How can you not want a pancake or waffle when the temperature is dropping. I want them all year, but I am a special breakfast-loving human. When I saw these in the store, I instantly fell in love without even tasting.

REVIEW: All the pancake texture with a subtle pumpkin flavor. If you are looking for a slap-you-in-the-face type of pumpkin taste, you probably won’t get it eating these, but they are pretty delicious. It’s everything you need to get your hot, buttery pumpkin fix. (PRO TIP: Add some homemade cinnamon butter on top)

RATING: 8/10


#3: McINTOSH APPLE JUICE

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I’m always in the mood for apple juice. I saw this one today while shopping and just had to get it. Okay, actually Tom saw it.

REVIEW: Honestly, the most crisp, refreshing apple juice we’ve ever had. It tastes like it’s fresh out of the orchard. It’s an amazing fall drink. BUY A FEW GALLONS. (PRO TIP: It would be an amazing apple juice to use to make a hot drink w/ caramel)

RATING: 9.5/10


#4: FIG BITES

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HOLY MOLY. I don’t know about you guys, but this tickled my fancy just with it’s name. It was an automatic throw-it-in-the-bag.

REVIEW: Are figs even fall related? I’m not 100% sure. But, I made them fall related, so here we are. If you are a fan of Fig Newtons, you need to get these amped up, more delicious FIG BITES. We were actually blown away and ate a ton. They are so light and fruity.

RATING: 9/10


#5: TRADER JOE’S PEANUT BUTTER (Creamy + Unsalted)

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If you’ve never heard anything about this peanut butter, then you better get in your car as soon as possible and go get some and try it.. now.

I mean unless you’re allergic, then please do not. **DO NOT CONDONE**

REVIEW: Technically not a fall item.. I know. But, when is PB ever a bad option? I love this peanut butter because the only ingredient is.. peanuts. How natural and refreshing. The taste is a classic, clean flavor that makes you feel good about eating it. I wanted to bathe in it, but Tom is scared of peanut butter. I would definitely suggest trying this.

RATING: 10/10 DUH.


I hope you guys get the chance to try some of these out!

I LOVE ANIMALS (Plus: Experience Being A Vegan)

I am obsessed with animals. My main love is dogs, but I am completely in awe of¬†almost every animal I see. I’ve been this way since I was little, constantly begging my parents to let me have another animal to add to my gang (they would then tell me I could get a stuffed version of whatever I had asked for). I’ll never forget the day, after months of online searching and begging, that we got my first dog Tiger, a very small Shih-Tzu. He unfortunately didn’t have a very long life due to health problems from being inbred (I know, sad).

Then, shortly after, we got my best friend: My beloved Shih-Tzu named Oliver Twist. He came to us sassy, un-cuddly and sort of distant. He has a very big ego still to this day. I think that’s what has always made me love and adore him.. He’s the dog version of me (minus the big ego).

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Oliver (right) and Peanut, my brothers dog (left) on Halloween

I also had a brief stint with a hamster named Charlie. I thought he was the coolest thing ever (turns out HE was a SHE) until I tried to pick him up and he bit me. After that, I was a little distant from Charlie. I’d occasionally put him in his hamster ball and show him some love, but I was too afraid to pick him up again. One night, Charlie escaped from his hamster home and ran across my room. I jumped onto my bed, too scared that if I got down, he would bite me. ¬†I was terrified of a miniature, dwarf hamster. He was found and returned to his cage. To my surprise, my Mom decided to give Charlie away one day to a family friend. I cried my eyes out, but later learned that this was a better decision.

I was soon okay.. because we still had my Shnubby-Wubby (Oliver).

In Spring 2014, I was living in Chicago for school. I had been quite bored during the day in-between classes and had started watching some Netflix documentaries about animal-free diets. I had been kind of big on eating healthy for a good year-and-a-half before that so I figured it was something I could easily do. I had heard of several students around campus who followed this diet and they seemed healthy and fine. ¬†But, this time I wasn’t just doing it to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I was doing it for the animals; my fluffy little friends.

So, that was it. I made my decision. My roommate Taylor decided to join me in this journey. We cold-turkey (hehe) gave up meat and animal products in exchange for veggies, fruits, beans, whole grains and nuts. It’s basically totally amped-up vegetarianism. I shopped at Trader Joes for everything (I 10/10 recommend Trader Joes even if you’re not vegan) since it keeps things pretty natural and cheap. Below is some food I ate while vegan:

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I lasted total about 1 month. I must say, it’s a lot harder to do then it sounds. I have a lot of respect for those who choose this a life-long thing because it’s awesome. If I wasn’t so weak, I would still be doing it, but I am a huge foodie who loves chicken.

If you’re curious how Taylor and I broke the vegan-life, she was taken over by the cheese fry demons, and I (soon after) was taken over by the cupcake demons. We just weren’t meant to be, BUT WE DID TRY VERY HARD.

Some great things that came out of being vegan: my hair was super shiny, my face was clear and smooth, I felt great about myself and I ate at home more.

Chicago is home to some pretty delicious vegan places to eat (even if you aren’t vegan normally, still amazing to give it a try) like The Chicago Diner and Native Foods Cafe. Chicago Diner is if you’re looking for some (normally) unhealthy meals like burgers and shakes. Native Foods has slightly healthier foods like wraps, sandwiches and amazing sweet potato fries.

In my opinion, just because you don’t totally follow a vegan lifestyle, doesn’t mean you can’t try out the foods or try to eat this way a few days a week.