Four Food Brands Worth Checking Out

Oh hey…I still exist. Just in case you were wondering.

Things here have been running at the continued frenzied pace of “omg hold on for dear life.” And I’ve loved every second of it.

Seriously, my love for this city sometimes utterly overwhelms me. There is no where else in the world (yes, the world) I’d rather be than in NYC. Even with the many bumps an bruises that came along with this move, I’m just so utterly at peace, finally. And yes I know it sounds counterintuitive to find peace in the city that never sleeps but for me, it just works.

All that being said, I must concede one point to Boston – VegFest. I’m officially counting myself a VegFest connoisseur at this point given that I’ve literally been to events up and down the eastern seaboard (ok ok…from Boston to DC). And to this day, Boston still wins. In fact, after having attended NYC’s this weekend, I can definitely say that there is no place like Boston…for VegFest. And VegFest only. Lest there be any confusion about my true affiliation. Winking smile

Even disregarding the fact that NYC’s is a ticketed event (thankfully they do $5 end-of-day tix for the last 2 hours), the choice of vendors…ok. It was fun to see all of the local brands but there weren’t a ton of commercially available products (read: no coupons). There’s obviously positives and negatives to both of this and I don’t want to get into the debate at this moment, but given the fact that we are, indeed, still on a budget, buying my goodies exclusively online (without a discount) just isn’t totally practical. I also didn’t think there were nearly as many hot food vendors as at other shows…

Plus, why is it in the middle of winter? Ok the end, but still…having to lug my coat was a PITA. Yes I know…I’m a spoiled New York-er. Get over it. Winking smile

Like I said, I did discover some fab brands that I’m excited to share with you today. Many of these do fall into the “can’t buy in stores” category but they are so worth sharing about because they rock.

Nuttin Ordinary
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I know that making cashew cheese is a fairly simply process. But the price of buying nuts in bulk still gives me a heart attack and honestly I usually just end up using them to make raw desserts. Enter Nuttin Ordinary. First of all, I ❤ their name. Secondly, their Spicy Cheese Spread has such a great kick to it without being overwhelming. And when they told me to think of their products as vegan goat cheese…and then it tasted like vegan goat cheese…for much less than the cost of Kite Hill or Treeline…I was hooked. Oh, and they’re a New Hampshire-based company. Love my New Englanders!

Right now their products are only available in NH, Brattleboro, VT, and Western MA. But they’re obviously expanding and I can’t wait until they’re more readily available!

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I was a little confused on these at first…and honestly had already spent a lot of money on chocolate. Shh, don’t tell! But alas I was hooked from first bite!

The best way to think Mountain Morsels is as chocolate-drenched trail mix. Do I have your attention yet? They’re mixtures of dried fruits, nuts, and spices all smothered in dark chocolate delicousness. And they aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. Win win win.

And since I’m clearly on an I<3theNortheast kick, I’ll add that each Morsel flavor is named after a part of the Appalachian Trial. A fact that my ego would like to inform you I figured out all by myself after seeing the name of one of the peaks the beau and I climbed several years back. Ego aside, love that this Bronx-ite is also a NH-native and is giving a delish shout-out to her roots!

Unfortunately, these goodies aren’t available in any stores but will be at NYC farmer’s markets. I win. Smile with tongue out

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First up, I really hate the name of this company. I know – not a good introduction. But it’s a) bulky and b) contains the word “superfood” which I generally dislike

All that aside, OLS’ stuff effing rocks. Like I sampled about 10 different things (I also was trying to shove as much food in my mouth as possible in the 75 minutes I had to see the whole damn expo) and proceeded to buy three of their products. They offer a ton of different products ranging from dried fruits (you know things like goji berries and mulberries), trail mixes, nuts, energy squares (omgosh so damn good) and my fave: Organic Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Chunks. Which taste like a mounds bar except a million and one times better because its real chocolate and not a bunch of fake stuff.

OLS sells their goodies at over 50 locations in Boston. <—wait how the heck haven’t I seen them at Boston VegFest before?! What the what?!


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Last but not least – my new fave bar. My previous fave bar decided to stop being peanut-free which broke my little heart…I found out at VegFest and lodged as formal of a complaint as possible before taking my money back. Soooo sad…but thankfully Amrita (which apparently means ‘immortal’ in Sanskrit) was there to be my rebound. #allhail

So as you can see these bars are all fantastically allergen free (and utterly delish) which is great because finding a vegan bar that isn’t made in a facility that processes peanuts (and isn’t just a shit ton of soy protein isolate b) is kind of hard. And by hard I mean “nearly impossible” and “outrageously expensive.” These bars unfortunately still fall into the latter category but they are available in stores throughout the Tri-State area. And sometimes its worth spending a little more so I can kiss my beau without worrying about brushing my teeth or potentially killing him because I just wanted a damn larabar.

My favorite part of NYC VegFest was the fact that my beloved Emmy’s was back. Yes I could buy these down in Balto but you know what? There’s nothing like stuffing yourself with unlimited samples of your fave macaroons and then buying a few bags for half the grocery store price. Sooo perfect and amazing.

Yoga/beauty/yum,

Kait xo

Money Saving Monday–Taking the Bus

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I’m happy to report that things are finally settling down and I’m getting into a routine. Huzzah! Considering how the last several weeks and months have gone, it’s nice to be establishing something different.

Of course this weekend I’m attending a wedding, then the beau visits, and then its Thanksgiving but shhhhhhh! I’m going to live in a happy place called routine land for a bit longer…

Meal Plan
*Happy Herbivore test recipes are marked with an asterik*

Balsamic Roast* with Mediterranean Chard (Everyday Happy Herbivore) and bulgur
Tofu Lettuce Wraps* with Peanut Noodles*
Creamy Avocado Spaghetti Squash Pasta
Creamy Beet Salad*

Epic food week dontcha think?!

Spending Savings

Farmers Market: $15
Whole Foods: $19.65
Total: $35.00

Farmers Market: $10
Whole Foods: $8.35
Total: $18.35 (53%)

The farmers market is still matching food stamp benefits up to $10. So my $15 that I spent became $25! This is a wonderful beautiful thing.

Steals and Deals

Buy (2) Nasoya Extra Firm Sprouted Tofu, 16oz: $5.00
Use (1) $1.25/2 Nasoya products coupons (Sept/Oct Whole Deal)
Total: $3.75 or $1.88 each <—not the best deal BUT I have a cushy parking spot and wasn’t about to give it up to drive elsewhere!

Buy (1) Arrowhead Mills Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, 2lb: $3.99
Use (1) $1.00/1 Arrowhead Mills baking products coupon (NLA)
with (1) $1.00/1 Arrowhead Mills product Nov/Dec Whole Deal coupon
Total: $1.99 or $0.99/lb

Buy (1) Dream Non-Dairy milk, 32 oz: $2.99
Use (1) $2.00/1 Dream non-dairy beverage or dessert coupon
Total: $0.99 or $3.96/gal

I know this was short, sweet, and to the point this week folks but I figure you’re probably ok with it!

Until next time…

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Money Saving Monday: Welcome Back Edition

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Has anyone else missed these posts? Gosh knows I have! The past few weeks have been utterly insane and grocery shopping has been a luxury I’ve missed desperately. So today I committed to relishing in my trip. As I wrote in my Passion by Kait newsletter this week:

“Me? I’m going to curl up with a good book, a cup of tea, and the kitty I now share a home with. On Saturday I’m going to dance my heart out at a special Zumba class and indulge in a decadent breakfast afterwards. And Sunday I’m going to take my time at the farmers’ market, thoroughly experiencing my visit rather than rushing around like usual.”

I did all of the above this weekend, along with volunteering at a work event and getting to hang out with co-workers after. There was dancing, delicious food, practical jokes, cuddle time, and a boatload of beauty. And today there was epic grocery shopping. 🙂

Meal Plan
*I’m currently testing for the fifth Happy Herbivore cookbook. Test recipes are marked with an asterik*

Ragut* with Pineapple Rice (Happy Herbivore Abroad)
Belizean Beans* over baked sweet potatoes
Arugula Pear Salad (with Tofurkey slices and no cheese)!
Farro with Leeks and Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Rainbow Greens (Everyday Happy Herbivore) with Curried Chickpea Salad and rice
Split Pea and Edamame Hummus
Non-Mexican Vegan Mac & Cheese

Spending Savings

Farmers Market: $30.00
Safeway: $27.32
Total: $57.30

Farmers Market: $5.00
Safeway: $24.08
Total: $29.08 (51%)

Ok so two things to note: 1) the farmers market is doubling all food stamps*. Huzzah! And thank you Kaiser Permanante for the grant that allowed this. So that’s how I saved my $$$. 2) I know I overspent. But because of point #1, I’ll still be able to stick to my budget for the rest of the month. #win

*After five months of job hunting, and though I did get a part-time job, I needed to look into options that would help me out. Though admittedly I struggled with a bit of embarrassment about this, another of my classmates bravely posted about her experiences signing up for both food stamps and Medicaid. I know this can be a polarizing issue but I also want to work to decrease the stigma around something that should carry no shame. In my opinion, asking for help is one of the most difficult and most beautiful choices you can make. I’m glad I did and ever so grateful that a system is in place to help those of us who need it.

Steals & Deals

Safeway is one of my fave places to shop. Their regular prices are nothing to write home about. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Whole Foods’ frozen veggies are cheaper. But their sales, the fact that they double manufacturer’s coupons under $1.00, and their Just for You (J4U) personalized deals make it possible to get some ridiculously low prices!

Herdez Canned Salsa: B1G1 free ($0.99 for 2)
O Organics 1 lb salad mixes: $5.00
GT’s Kombucha: 2/$5.00
Avocados: $0.95 (J4U personalized price)
Bananas: $0.59/lb
(J4U personalized price)

Buy (1) Libby’s Pumpkin (15oz), $1.99
Use (1) $0.50/1 Libby’s pumpkin, 15oz+ coupon
Coupon doubles
Total: $0.99 or $0.07/oz

Buy (1) Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (15oz), $1.50
Use (1) $0.50/1 Muir Glen canned tomatoes coupon (no longer available)
Coupon doubles
with 10% off any canned J4U promotion
Total: $0.35 or $0.02/oz

Buy (2) Blue Diamond Coconut/Almond Almond Breeze (32oz), $1.99
Use (1) $1.00/2 Shelf Stable Almond Breeze milks coupon (no longer available)
or (2) $0.55/1 Blue Diamond Almond Milk (SS 10/13/13)

Total: as low as $1.78 or $0.89 ea

Buy (2) Triscuits, $3.54
Use (1) $1.00/2 Triscuit crackers coupon (SS 10/20/13)
Total: $2.54 or $1.27 ea

Buy (1) Almond Dream Bites, $3.50
Use (1) $1.00/1 Dream Non-Dairy product coupon
Total: $2.50

Buy (1) Tofurky Peppered Deli Slices, $2.50
Use (1) $1.00/1 Tofurky product coupon (DC Vegfest)
or (1) $0.75/1 Tofurky item coupon
Total: as low as $1.00

Though my late-night trip to Safewy last week won (I saved  more than I spent), I’m happy with how this week’s trip turned out. I might not be a regular, but I couldn’t say no to the cheap avocados! If they give me that again, they’ll definitely have won my heart!

Until next week…

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Money Saving Monday – All By Myseeeeeeelf

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Welcome to another week of saving money and taking names! 😉 This week I was flying solo since the beau was working. The upside: I only bought what was on the list (yes ladies and gents – my beau is the impulse shopper in this family!). The downside: I was totally discombobulated and never had enough hands. I guess I’ve gotten a bit spoiled… #firstworldproblems

Anyway, I’m prepping for a big interview (which I’ll be at by the time you read this) so its going to be short and sweet this week.

Meal Plan

For some reason I was feeling super inspired to turn to Mama Pea this week. <–probably because her serving sizes are a tad bigger and didn’t require any math on my end to double the recipe!

Lemon Lentil Soup
Thai Crunch Salad (Peas and Thank You)
Lasagna Rolls (using the Tofu Ricotta from here because it is the best and I want to licked the bowl clean) + arugula salad
Kale + Cheese Stuffed Tortillas
Avocado and Quinoa Chimichurri Salad
Zucchini Bread (Peas and Thank You) <–because I haven’t had some all summer and they’re almost out of season!

Spending Savings

Farmers Market: $35
Whole Foods: $20.53
Trader Joe’s:
CVS: $8.36
Walgreens: $3.52
Total:

Farmer’s Market: $1.00
Whole Foods: $3.75
CVS: $5.80
Walgreens: $8.04
Total: $18.59 (

Steals and Deals

Whole Foods

Corn Tortillas (12): $1.49

Buy (3) Larabars, $2.97 ($0.99 ea as “Treat of the Week”)
Use (1) $0.75/3 Larabar, Uber, ALT or Jocalat Bars coupon
and (1) $1.00/3 Larabar, Uber, ALT or Jocalat Bars July/August Whole Deal coupon
Total: $1.22 or $0.41 each!

Buy (1) Ezekiel 4:9 Bread, $3.49 (price varies by variety)Use (1) $0.50/1 Food for Life product coupon or here
Total: $2.99

CVS

Buy (1) Tom’s Toothpaste, $3.79
Use (1) $1.00/1 Tom’s Toothpaste or Mouthwash (SS 09/15/13)
Receive (1) $1.00 ExtraCare bucks
Total: $2.79 + $1.00 to spend on a future purchase

Buy (1) Organic Cotton Balls, $3.59
Get (1) 1/2 off
Use (1) $1.00 ECB from prior purchase
Total: $4.39 or $2.19 each

Walgreens

Buy (1) Scott Naturals Paper Towel 6-pack, $4.00
Use (1) $1.00/1 Scott Naturals Towels coupon
and (1) $1.00/1 Scott Naturals Paper Towels Walgreen September coupon (in store)
Total: $2.00 or $0.33/roll

Buy (4) Kleenex Facial Tissues, 85-ct, $3.52
Use (1) $1.00/4 Kleenex Facial Tissues coupon (SS 8/11/13)
Total: $2.52 or $0.63 each

OR

Buy (3) Kleenex Facial Tissues, 85-ct, $2.64
Use (1) $0.55/3 Kleenex Facial Tissue coupon
Total: $2.09 or $0.70 each

Until next time… keep your fingers crossed about my interview!

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo
 

http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2013/8/28/grilled-kale-cheese-stuffed-tortillas.html

Money Saving Monday: Speak Up

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Let’s start with the super duper important things. Like this Kale Smoothie popsicle I scored at the Farmer’s Market this week

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It was absolutely delish and the only ingredients are kale, green grapes, and banana. Um that is my kind of breakfast right there thankyouverymuch. Considering the beau and I got up super duper early to hit the market before my 10am training, this was about the only thing that brought a smile to my very grumpy self. I followed this up with another new obsession: Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread. Ohmygoodness it is soooo raisin-y and delicious especially with a touch of Earth Balance. nom nom nom

And since I’m sharing breakfast i-photos, I might as well show you this little gem. Can we talk about the color of that peach? Aka it was perfect. The roll is actually one of the Schar ones I got for super cheap last week. The beau and I were both big fans and we will definitely be grabbing these the next time we stop by Wegmans.

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Now that that’s done…onto the main post!

Tip of the Week

Keep your cool when dealing with frustrated workers but don’t let awful behavior pass. So I  had a pretty poor Whole Foods experience this week. For some reason the poor cashiers at all MD grocery stores have to manually enter every coupon instead of just scanning it. Like they literally have to type in the dollar amount and choose a department. UUUUGH. The WF down here have another annoying policy so that whenever you use more than 1 of the same WF coupon the supervisor needs to use a key. You can imagine this is somewhat annoying. Unfortunately, this week that annoyance was taken out on me. While I smiled and apologized and empathized regarding how frustrating the situation must be, I also left feeling really crappy. Which, IMO, is not okay. So I took the time to craft a very professional letter to the store letting them know that I understood the source of the emotions but didn’t feel it was right for them to get transferred to consumers. Will anything come of it? I don’t know. But the eternal optimist in me hopes that we can engage in a conversation about these ridiculous policies and maybe some good will come of it.

Anyway, don’t be afraid to speak up if you have a negative experience. Just be sure to be courteous and give facts and not just feelings. Be as objective as possible and for heaven’s sake don’t lose your temper. Remember honey > vinegar. Winking smile

Meal Plan

Mexican Cabbage (we never got it it last week)
Vegan Caprese Pizza using this dough and these toppings
Curried Sweet Potato soup with wild rice (Happy Herbivore Cookbook)
Tofu Shirataki noodles with Broccoli Pesto (HHC)

Since its our anniversary on Tuesday, we’ll also be celebrating with dinner out at our favorite sushi restaurant here in Bmore. They do Living Social deals fairly often and we always stock up!

Spending Savings

Farmer’s Market: $36.00
Whole Foods: $26.60
Walgreens: $9.47
Eddie’s: $3.00 (avocados are cheaper here!)
Total: $75.07

I may run to Target and spend that last $5. I may not. We’ll see.

Whole Foods: $14.59
Walgreens: $10.30
Total: $24.89 (33%) #nottooshabby

Steals and Deals

Whole Foods

Buy (1) box Back to Nature Crackers, 2/$7
Use (1) $1/1 Back to Nature Product coupon
and (1) $0.50/1 Back to Nature Cookie, Cracker, Granola, or Nut item Sept/Oct Whole Deal coupon
Total: $2.00

Buy (1) bag Kettle Chips, 2/$4
Use (1) $1.00/1 Kettle Chips coupon*
and (1) $0.75/1 Kettle Chips July/August Whole Deal coupon
Total: $0.25!

*You may have to change your Zip code. Simply go to Coupons.com, sign in to your account, and click on your name in the upper right-hand corner. Choose ‘Your Profile’ and set your zip to 18051. Click ‘Submit Changes’ and close the screen. Then try the link above again!

Buy (2) House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles, 2/$3
Use (1) $1.50/2 packages House Foods Tofu Shirataki coupon (SS 08/04/13)
and (1) $1.50/2 packages House Foods Tofu Shirataki July/August Whole Deal coupon
Total: FREE!

Buy (2) So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurts, 2/$3
Use (2) $1.00/1 So Delicious Dairy-Free product coupon (SS 07/28/13 OR 09/08/13)
OR (2) $0.55/1 So Delicious Dairy-Free product coupon from here or here
and (1) $1.00/2 So Delicious Dairy-Free product July/August Whole Deal coupon*
Total: as low as FREE!

*There is also a $1.00/3 coupon in the Sept/Oct Whole Deal. Simply change ever (2) to a (3). Final cost will be as low as $0.50 or $0.17 each.

Buy (1) Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch (formerly Shredded Oats), $3.99
Use (1) $1.00/1 Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch coupon
and (1) $1.00/1 Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch Sept/Oct Whole Deal coupon
Total: $1.99

Buy (2) Delallo Whole Wheat Pasta, $2/6
Use (1) $1.50/2 packages Delallo Whole Wheat Pasta coupon
Total: $4.50/2 or $2.25 each

Walgreens

Buy (1) Colgate 360 toothbrush, $2.99
Use (1) $1.00/1 Colgate 360 toothbrush (SS 09/08/13 #2)
Receive (1) $1.00 Register Rewards for next purchase
Total: $1.99 OOP + $1.00 to spend on a future purchase

Buy (1) Starbucks K-Cup, 10-pack, $6.99
Use (1) $1.50/1 Starbucks K-Cup pack (SS 09/08/13 #2)
and (1) $1.00 Register Reward from ^ purchase
Receive 1,000 points ($1.00) for next purchase
Total: as low as $4.49 or $0.45/cup +$1.00 to spend on a future purchase

Buy (1) Sensodyne toothpaste, $4.99
Use (1) $1.00/1 Sensodyne toothpaste coupon (SS 09/08/13 #2)
and 1,000 points ($1.00) from ^ purchase
Total: as low as $2.00 +$1.00 to spend on a future purchase

*whew* That’s it for this week!

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Money Saving Tuesday: Better Late than Never

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Hiya loves!

Is it just me or are you totally confused about what day of the week it is? I woke up with a start yesterday, convinced I had slept through a doctor’s appointment that was actually this morning. *shakes head* Oh holiday weekends…I love you so much but man you mess with my head!

Anyway this post is coming late because we didn’t actually shop until Monday afternoon and t that point I figured everyone was probably enjoying sunshine and picnic food. As an added bonus, now ya’ll have something to entertain you while back at work. You’re welcome. 😉

Last note – there’s now a Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods coupon matchup!!!!!! I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this because going in blind or making an extra trip to scout the deals  is a pain. In a different region? Check Healthy Life Deals for more location-based match-ups.

Tips of the Week

Have a plan! I know I’ve talked about meal planning before but let’s just say lately, I haven’t  practiced what I preach. And you know what? I learned my lesson! Any week the beau and I winged it, we would run out of food by Wednesday or Thursday and have to dip into our ‘fun fund’ to buy more. Uh, no thank you. On the weeks we planned, however, we got more food, spent less money, and usually had groceries left over for the next week. This week was no exception. Our main bill came to a mere $65. Um what?! We used the rest of the money to splurge on things like local honey and new-to-us products. This is the beauty of taking 15 minutes to google some recipes and write down ingredients.

Focus on produce. Out of four bags, three were filled with produce, most of which was local and/or organic. You already saw the numbers so I really don’t need to say anything else. 😉

Meal PlanIt’s that time of year again – Happy Herbivore cookbook testing!That means some recipes will not have links and will only have loose descriptions (e.g. kale dish). All test recipes are marked with a star*.

Green Gazpacho <–I’m really loving her recipes and have had uniformly good results from them. She offers a good mix of plant-based or plant-adaptible recipes and they make a lot!Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Mexican Cabbage (HHC)
Some sort of kale salad
Roasted sweet potatoes with creamed kale* and bean dip*

Spending Savings

Farm stand: $20.00
Wegmans: $50.80
Fresh & Green’s: $9.43
Total: $80.23

Wegmans: $7.08 (9%)

Steals and Deals

Wegmans

Buy (1) So Delicious Almond+ Milk (64 oz), $3.49
Use (1) $0.55/1 So Delicious product coupon
*doubles*
Total: $2.39 each or $4.78/gal

Buy (1) Schar Multigrain Ciabatta Rolls, $4.49
Use (1) $3.00/1 Schar bread product coupon
Total: $1.49

Buy (5) Goya Low Sodium Beans (any variety), $4.95
Use (1) $1.00/5 Goya Low Sodium Beans coupon
Total: $3.95 or $0.79 each

Buy (1) Food for Life Bread 9any variety), $3.99
Use (1) $0.50/1 Food for Life product coupon or here
Total: $2.99

Until next time…

Yoga/beauty/savings,

Kait xo

Super Simple (Almost) Raw Pasta

This week I made a fantastic quick lunch dish that I wanted to share.

Yes that’s right, I’m sharing a recipe!  WHAT?!

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This super simple dish came together in bout 30 minutes and was filling and all sorts of delish…tangy and crunchy and refreshing and light.

Super Simple (Almost) Raw Pasta

2 zucchini (mine were ~5 in each)
1 carrot (same size)
1-1.5 Tbsp oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced.
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2+ Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Make raw noodles using a spiralizer, juliennee peeler, regular peeler, or sharp knife.

Heat a frying pan on medium-low When the pan is warm, add oil (you may need more or less depending on the pan you’re using). When the oil is warm, add garlic and pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add raw pasta, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, and salt and pepper. Mix together and heat for 3-5 minutes, depending on how soft you want the noodles. Top with additional nooch and hemp seeds.

That’s it! It was a filling, delicious, colorful, and filling lunch.

Yoga/beauty/mmm,

Kait xo

 

Money Saving Monday, City-Style

 

i-love-saving-money-copyHi there lovelies!  Welcome back to another week of Money Saving Monday.  Unlike Project Food Budget, I will never abbreviate the title of this series.  You see, in the public health world MSM = “men who have sex with men.”  So yea…not what these particular posts are about!

Last week was an exciting one for this little couponer.  Why?

  1. I started receiving my newspaper again after 3 weeks without it.  Yay for coupons!  Now if only I can figure out where the heck my mail is…
  2. New July coupons, including a brand spankin’ new Whole DealNeed I say more?
  3. We can officially walk to the Farmers Market.  And we did, despite the 100+ degree heat.  #worthit
  4. All the summer fruit is out.  We have blueberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and plums for the week. It was essentially a whole new farmers market.  So so good.
  5. Popsicles.  There is this stand that I’ve never seen before.  Vegan, homemade fruit possible with locally-sourced ingredients.  I got cherry dark chocolate chunk; the beau, peach sriracha.  Nom nom nom
  6. I officially started shopping at the downtown Whole Foods.  Ok there were ups (such a better vibe – younger, hipper, and more urban…obviously) and downs (where the heck is the new Whole Deal and don’t you tell me the May/June one is it…come on now folks).  But all in all, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
  7. We learned to never take public transit across town. Our trip to WF took about 2.5 hours…we were int eh store for maybe 45 minutes (and that’s super duper generous).  Mmmm hmmm…. thankfully it was sunny and we had nowhere to be.  And our frozen stuff didn’t completely melt.  <–win

Though most of our shopping was done at the Farmers Market and will continue to be for as long as its open, I wanted to share both a tip and some great deals that we scored at Whole Foods and Walgreens.

Tip of the Week

Haggling at farmers markets is totally ok.  You might not hear a ton of people doing it but I can promise you its happening.  Haggling is especially easy if you go towards the end of the market.  Obviously the risk here is that the selection will be less, but you’ll also likely get the most amount of savings.  Its definitely a tricky balance!  I try to go within the last hour.  By then, the farmers tend to want to get rid of as much stuff as possible so they don’t have to lug it back.  I actually had someone come right out and say this to me yesterday!

By the end of the market, the farmers tend to fall into one of three categories:

  1. Those who automatically discount their prices.
  2. Those who will give you extra produce just because (e.g. you ask for 2 zucchini and they give you 4).
  3. Those who do business as normal and only discount if asked.

This last group is key for haggling.  They’re smart too- since the customer has to initiate the deal, its less likely that the farmer will sell their products for less than they’re priced.

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Qi’a Giveaway

Hi beautiful people!

Well two weeks ago I promised a giveaway.  In the meantime the worst finals week of my life hit <–seriously, I wish I were kidding!  And anything that didn’t involve working, catching a bit of sleep when I could (and by “a bit” I mean 4-ish hours a night ugh), drinking more caffeine in two weeks than I do in an average 3-month span, and showering every now and then, nothing else mattered.

But alas I am back…and here is the giveaway as promised.

Truth be told, I wish I had a bit of Qi’a in my pantry during finals to fuel and energize me.

Qia_2012 (5)

Delicious, versatile, crunchy Qi’a.

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Guaranteed, non-GMO, nutrient-packed, filling Qi’a.

Qia_2012 (4)

Qi’a that can be all yours.  Not just one bag.  But three…one of each flavor.

The wonderful people at Nature’s Path have decided to share all three flavors with a lucky winner.

Simply leave a comment below telling me which flavor you’re most excited to try.

The giveaway ends Friday, March 22 at 11:59pm.

Yoga/beauty/mmm,

Kait xo

Sharing the Couponing Love…with you!

One of my favorite things about couponing is the chance to get free stuff.  And I don’t mean just at the store…oh no, there’s a ton of companies ready and willing to give out free samples to those who take the time to look.

Luckily for me (and you), Hip2Save does the searching for us.

Though my dedication to couponing waxes and wanes depending on my mood, my coursework, etc, I diligently read Colin’s daily newsletter to see what free samples are up for grabs.  After all, it usually takes about five minutes to read the e-mail and an additional minute to fill in any sample request forms.  Six to eight weeks later, the goodies, which at this point you barely remember requesting, show up in your mailbox.  Its kind of like Christmas/Chanukah come early, dontcha think?  😉

Most of the time the companies giving out the swag allow you to opt-out of their newsletter.  Even if that isn’t the case, there’s always the handy “unsubscribe” button.  And really, at the end of the day, free stuff is worth a minute of your time and the “hassle” *coughcough* of unsubscribing from a newsletter.

Especially when the surprise goodies look like this…

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Cute box…but what’s inside???

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Everything…

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The goodies I kept!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t get the Love with Food box completely free since I had to pay the whopping $2 for shipping but I’d still cal it a win.  😉  Although I couldn’t eat everything in the box, I signed up for the December box because a) it was on sale for only $5 (including shipping) and b) for the months of November and December the company was donating two meals to Sandy victims for every box purchased.  I figured $7 for two months (versus $24) was pretty good.  And those mini crunch things were soooo good!  In fact, they were my favorite goodie in this box.  The juice spruced up some smoothies and the Inca Corn satisfied my PMS. The cookie, on the other hand, was stale-tasting and a huge disappointment.  You win some you lose some, right?

I’ve gotten a ton of other random samples in the meantime…and I must say, there really isn’t anything quite like opening your mailbox to free stuff you forgot you ordered.  It always brings a smile to my day, regardless of how stressful or long or difficult it has been.  And today I’m sharing some of that (holiday) joy with you all!

You see, in the various samples that I’ve gotten there’s undoubtedly been stuff that doesn’t interest me, either because it isn’t vegan, it has caffeine, or I just don’t care for it.  Instead of tossing it or letting the beau take it all (true story: he couldn’t resist the Asian-flavored Turkey Jerky that came in the Love Box <–I know this breaks many hearts, right?! tehe), I figured I would do a mishmash giveaway.

I don’t want to ruin the surprise by telling you exactly what’s coming but I will say there is chocolate, tea, and baking stuff.  <–ok I guess that kind of ruined it but you don’t know the specifics. *evil laugh*

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me about your ultimate free sample.  Aka if you could receive anything from a company, what would it be?  The contest ends on Thursday, Dec 13 at 11:59 EST.  A winner will be chosen at random.  *Not all products are vegan.

Now since its the Holiday season and I’m the only person in my apartment complex with a Christmas tree up <–#wishIwerejoking I figured I share my little slice of Christmas spirit with you all.  It isn’t much, but it makes me ridiculously happy.

Christmas 2012 (2)

And finally…a sneak peak at my first speaking event!  This past Saturday I partnered with Johns Hopkins’ Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW) to present at the first ever Panhellenic Council aka sorority council) Wellness Day.  I had a blast and am excited to be working with CHEW on a number of future events.  I am so grateful for the opportunity and the day really reaffirmed my love for public speaking & performing <–because isn’t every public speaking event a bit of a performance?  I think so! as well as for working with women to create change.  It was a great day and I can’t wait until February’s events.

Leading a yoga-inspired gratitude exercise.

Leading a yoga-inspired gratitude exercise.

Now that I’ve totally distracted you…don’t forget to enter the giveaway by telling me about your ultimate free sample!  😉

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Love with Food or Hip2Save.  All opinions expressed here are my own.