It’s Friday night and I’m super excited about taking on a vegan diet for the month of September. For the past month I have been researching products and looking for fabulous replacements for my recipes. I was feeling a little discouraged at first having to give up my favorite foods like : yogurt, salmon, jello, cottage cheese etc. It’s almost similar to the fear of giving up fast food, candy and soda when I first started my healthy lifestyle back in 2009. I eventually got over it and was fine, so I know I can do this. Plus, it’s only a month. After September I’m planning on eating vegan three times a week to continue building vegan recipes that are healthy. It’s going to involve lots of planning ahead to make sure there are always vegan options where ever I am. Today I made a vegan salsa and bought organic vegan black bean chips to bring tailgating. I also packed fruit and raw almonds to munch on. I plan on making a smoothie before I go, so I’ll post the recipe up asap! I’m going to try to post how my day went everyday and let you know if it’s getting easier or more challenging. I’ll most likely be taking all my questions to twitter during the day so I’ll need your help! Some of you have vegan dictionaries in your heads and hopefully one day I’ll have all that knowledge too. I know a lot about the pescatarian diet, vegetarian diet but not enough about being a vegan. I have crammed a bunch of information up there the past couple days so I’m hoping it’s enough to make it through this journey!
Fab Fit Friday: Sweet Bean and Avocado Salsa- For Vegan Tailgating
Football is just around the corner and so are the unhealthy foods! Start going through the recipe books and put together some healthy alternatives to take to the tailgating parties, grill outs and the games! Here is a great recipe I came up with for dip, it has TONS of healthy nutrients and super delicious! No one will know it’s healthy! This is also a vegan recipe to kick start my vegan month for September! Tomorrow is the first Iowa Hawkeye game in Chicago and I’ll be bringing this to the tailgate with vegan black bean chips!
3 Large Avocados
4 Cups Frozen Sweet Corn
1/4 Cup Chopped Green Onion
4 Medium Ripe Tomatoes
1 Tsp Black Pepper
2 Cans Black Beans
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Red Onion
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/8 Tsp Garlic Salt
1 Packet Low Sodium Salsa Seasoning
Drain cans of black beans and add them to the mixing bowl. Defrost corn, drain water and add them with the beans
Chop up tomatoes into little dices and add them to the bowl!
Make sure to drain the juices from the tomatoes before adding them to the bowl.
Chop up green onion and red onion very finely.
Add the onions to the bowl! Add packet of seasoning, brown sugar, black pepper , garlic salt and vinegar.
Mix until everything is combined evenly.
Chop up three avocados into dice sizes and squeeze 1/2 a lime over the top of the avocado to prevent them from browning.
Add the avocado to the bowl and mix gradually. Be careful not to smash the avocado!
Can’t wait to bring this dish tomorrow! This is also perfect for any Labor Day parties!
Store in the refrigerator when not eating. The longer it sits the more flavor it has :)
The end of the contest has come! You all did a WONDERFUL job picking out clothes that fit your style personalities. I can relate to so many of you! I loved reading your descriptions and picking up some of your style tips!
I will be posting a new contest soon to give you more chances to win stuff so make sure too look out for it. Thank you so much for participating it makes it so much fun!
After my workout today I was craving something sweet and needed a little protein so I grabbed my Chobani and the unsweetened cocoa.
My mom used to add cocoa to my yogurt when I was little to trick me into thinking it was ice cream and I loved it! This brought back so many memories as a kid! Also, chocolate raspberries are my favorite dessert.
I added 1 Tbsp of the cocoa into my yogurt, 1 packet of truvia and mixed it all up. You don’t have to add the truvia I just love things extra sweet. The smell was amazing I just wanted to demolish it!
After I ate my yogurt I made another one and stuck it in the freezer to have for dessert later!
After looking back at my high school years here are the things I should have done more! I really took these tips and put them to use during college and ended up finally sticking to a healthy lifestyle!
The Healthy Starter Kit : Reduce Waste and Save Money
1. Three Different Kinds of Vegetables- It’s easy to buy tons and tons of vegetables when you are starting out a healthy lifestyle, but we forget how fast they go bad. If you don’t eat them fast enough you will find yourself throwing too many out each week and wasting a lot of your money. Changing to a healthy diet takes some adjusting too when it comes to the flavor or vegetables. Buy three types of vegetables each week and learn to create a taste for them. If you have no problem eating them before they go bad then feel free to add more to the list each week. Make sure to get lots of green vegetables and avoid buying too many of the starchy ones. If three is too much then you aren’t incorporating enough vegetables in your meals. Start adding them to: your morning omelet, your lunch sandwiches, your cottage cheese or your dinner rice. Vegetables are important when starting a healthy diet because they keep you full and feed your body with nutrients.
2. Two Grab N Go Fruits and Two In Container Fruits- Fruits are perfect for a healthy new lifestyle. Fruits keep you full, give you fiber and cure the sweet tooth. Fruit is very similar to vegetables when it comes to how long they last. Try not to buy too many fruits until you get an idea of how many you go through per week. Taking notes of your eating habits on your previous grocery list will help you save money and shop accordingly next trip. Choose two grab n go fruits like apples or peaches for the days you are busy and don’t have time to sit down and have a bowl of the container fruits like diced pineapple or watermelon. Container fruits are perfect for adding to your yogurt to fill you up more.
3. Greek Yogurt/Cottage Cheese- I always keep a container of 1% cottage cheese and plain fat free cottage cheese in the house each week. I use these two grocery items more than any other. I add Greek yogurt to my meals as a sour cream replacement, dipping sauce for fruits and vegetables, for baking substitutes and a late night snack. I use cottage cheese for dressings, late night snacks, in my omelets and on my fruits or vegetables. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are a great source of calcium and protein.
4. Two Kinds of Lean Protein- You want to make sure to have a nice lean protein as a meal choice but it may get boring eating the same chicken dish each night so try to get two kinds like chicken and salmon or shrimp and turkey. Make sure you proteins work well with the vegetables you have chosen as well. To save money you can buy your protein portioned from the counter instead of the freezer sections. Don’t buy more than you can eat in a week. Avoid fatty red meats or breaded protein.
5. Lettuce and Dressing- Choose your favorite type of lettuce and a low calorie dressing. Eating a small salad before your meals can prevent you from overeating and provide your body with fiber. Each week try to choose a different lettuce and dressing to create new taste and avoid getting sick of the same old salads. Getting used to salads is hard after eating an unhealthy diet so start smal and have little ones as much as you can. Eventually you will grow to love them and start making them larger for meals.
6. Air Popped Popcorn - Air Popped popcorn is very important to keep in the house for the nights when snacking is endless. Sometimes I want to eat for no reason at all so I pop some air popped popcorn and season it a little. The fiber fills me up fast and the lack of sugar and fat will help you fall asleep easier than eating a tub of ice cream or a bag of potato chips. Buying microwave bagged popcorn is okay if you are only eating one cup, but who stops at one cup? Air Popped Popcorn allows you to have control over what is added and how much you pop. You can make it sweet by adding a little truvia or savory with a little garlic powder.
7. Whole Grain Bread/Brown Rice- Brown rice is the perfect go to carb for dinner. It’s healthy and goes perfectly with protein and vegetables, as long as you are eating it in moderation. You can flavor it up with seasonings or add it to a stir fry. Whole Grain Bread is great to keep in the house, but only allow yourself 2 slices per day. Choose it for one of your meals whether its a sandwich for lunch, toast for breakfast or grilled cheese for dinner. You don’t want to eat too many grains but you also don’t want to eat too few, so find the perfect balance.
8. Low Calorie Portioned Desserts- It’s important to buy desserts that are packaged in single proportions, that way you are aware of how much you are indulging in. It’s easy to take the tub of ice cream out of the fridge and eat until you’re full ,but what if that’s half the tub and you don’t notice till you are finished? That could be over 5 servings and over 800 calories after dinner which is not a healthy habit. Buying single servings is a perfect treat after dinner, as long as you don’t find yourself going back for more. If you don’t treat yourself with a small dessert everyday it could lead to a binge caused from depriving yourself. I like to buy the weight watcher ice cream bars or skinny cow.
9. One Type Reduced Calorie Cheese- Cheese seems healthy but is surprisingly high in fat, sodium and cholesterol. Try to limit your cheese intake to 2 servings per day. Eat some on your salad or with your lunch sandwich but don’t eat cheese by itself. Finding cheese made from skim milk is also a bonus because its much lower in fat but still high in sodium. If you are making a pizza sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese instead of handfuls.
10. Raw Almonds/Natural Peanut Butter- Nuts are great for you because of their healthy fats and protein. I don’t eat almonds or peanut butter unless I need a post/pre work out snack. Nuts provide your body with great energy because of the amount of calories. It’s easy to eat over 500 calories with a simple handful so make sure to portion out any nut products. Buying natural peanut butter should also be a priority because of the added sugar in unnatural brands. Don’t eat peanut butter or almonds buy themselves or you might find yourself going back for more. Spread some on your toast or add them to fruit or celery.
11. Salsa/Fat Free Cream Cheese- These are perfect for adding to your meals or flavoring up your vegetables. Instead of eating a bag of chips and salsa, eat baked bell peppers and salsa or celery and salsa. Instead of adding butter to your toast, add fat free cream cheese. The great thing about the cream cheese is that you can make it sweet or savory.
12. Two Types Low Sodium Seasoning - Food would be pretty bland without seasoning. Choose a seasoning that you can use for almost any of your grocery items. Find a seasoning that works great with your protein, vegetables, popcorn or rice. Each week try to pick up 2 more seasonings and soon your kitchen will be stocked up without making a large bank dent. Choosing low sodium can be hard but it’s important to watch out for the high amounts. It’s dangerous for your health and bloats the heck out of you!
13. Whole Grain Oatmeal - Oatmeal is the perfect morning meal you can prepare it in so many different ways that it never gets boring. It gives you fiber and energy. Oatmeal is a great budget friendly grocery item because it last for several weeks if you eat the correct proportion amount. You can bake with oatmeal too! Make sure to buy the no sugar added in the tub size to save money and to avoid a sugary breakfast.
14. Truvia/Stevia - The natural sweetener. I use this in my coffee, tea, on my popcorn and when I’m baking. It’s the perfect way to avoid unnecessary calories and sugar highs. Too much sugar in your diet can damage your health and waistline.
15. Olive Oil/ Natural Honey - Olive oil is what I bake with to feed my body healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats from butter or vegetable oil. Natural honey is also a great way to flavor your proteins or fruits. It’s important to make sure you buy a natural brand of honey that doesn’t have any extra added sugar. I like to add honey to my fruits, cottage cheese or salmon.
16. Low Sodium Soup- Soup is perfect before meals to help you stay full and prevent overeating. Stick to vegetable based soups because they are typically lower in sodium. Natural and Organic brands are also typically lower in sodium. I love soup during the fall and winter when I need a warm meal to keep me.
17. Hot Tea/Coffee- Warm beverages are also important when trying to control your hunger and to keep you from snacking after meals. Hot tea also helps you digest your food if you eat it during and after your meals. I like to drink coffee during breakfast and tea through out the day. I add a little honey or Truvia. Each week try to buy a new flavor of tea or coffee so you don’t get burnt out on the drink. In the summer brewing your own tea out in the sun is also a great idea or a refreshing beverage! Don’t forget to drink 8oz of water for ever 8oz of tea or coffee you drink.
18. Organic Cage-Free Eggs- Eggs are perfect for protein and baking. I love boiling the eggs for salads, eating omelets for breakfast or using egg whites for baking. Eggs can help with baking vegetables or adding a glaze to your grilled proteins.
Fall is just around the corner and if you are anything like me I start to crave drinks with spice and seasonal flavor! Chai is one of my favorites! It’s easy to stop at Starbucks and grab a Chai Frappuccino but then you’d be indulging in : 350 calories, 66g of carbs, 7g of fat and 65 grams of sugar! That’s a lot for just one drink. I’d rather use those calories on food. When I was in the aisle searching for Chai tea I saw Maxwell had Chai back for the season, I immediately had to grab it and make a frappuccinno. Instead of indulging in the high calorie Starbucks frappuccino this one was only: 60 calories, 2g of fat, 13g of carbs, and 10g of sugar. Sounds much better right? I thought so too! It also tasted the EXACT same!
All you need is:
1 Serving of Chai Frappuccino Mix
1 1/2 Cups of Ice
3/4 Cup Ice Cold Water
1 Packet Truvia (You can use any sweetener or none)
In 8 days I am going to be eating a completely vegan diet for 30 days. I have been doing tons of research and constantly looking at ingredients to work with. I’ve been very cautious and looking at all the labels and praying I don’t miss a thing. If you see me use a “non-vegan” ingredient please let me know! This is VERY new to me so your help is greatly needed.
This morning I decided to have a smoothie but instead of adding sugar (which is surprisingly not vegan or vegetarian) and yogurt I used almond milk and Truvia to give it a creamy flavor.
1 Packet Truvia
1/2 Small Banana
1/4 Cup Blueberries
1 Tbsp Raw Almonds
2 Tbsp Flax Seed
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
4-5 Large Ice Cubes (Add more if you need to)
Blend on High!
This was actually one of the BEST tasting smoothies I have ever had.
Ever had a banana split? Growing up my mom used to make them on Sunday’s during the summer. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to get through one without it melting all over, but that was may favorite part. Drinking the bottom of the bowl…okay now I realize why I gained weight…makes sense now that I’m reminiscing back on it. I wanted create a banana split that has healthy aspects and fewer calories at the same time.Most banana splits you order from restaurants or even make from home can be over 1000 calories alone! Even if you split the dessert you’d still be consuming a large amount of sugar and fat.
Most of the calories in my banana split come from the healthy ingredients. The lowest calories come from the ice cream, cool whip and syrup.
1 Tsp Flax Seeds
1/2 Pineapple Slice
1 Tbsp No Sugar Added Strawberry Pie Filling
1 Tbsp Sliced Almonds
3 Walnut Halves
1 Tsp Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup
1 Tsp Sugar Free Caramel Syrup
1 Medium Banana
1/2 Cup Fat Free Reddi Whip
3 Maraschino Cherries
3 Flavors of Skinny Cow Ice Cream
I had a hard time finding banana split bowls at the store so I bought a butter holder and flipped it upside down. Add 1/4 cup of Reddi Whip to the bottom of the bowl. Slice the banana in fourths and place it on top of reddi whip.
Dice up the pineapple and lay it on top of the banana. Add another layer of Reddi whip on top of the pineapple. The idea of the dessert is to make it look much larger than it really is. By filling in the spaces with Reddi Whip it will help.
I have a ice cream scooper that scoops 1/4 cups and that is what I used to scoop out the ice cream. I scooped 1/4 of each flavor and laid it on top of the Reddi Whip Layer.
Next I drizzled 1 Tbsp of Chocolate Syrup and 1 Tbsp of Caramel syrup on the split with a spoon. After all the syrups were added I topped with with the almonds, walnuts and flax seeds.
This dessert would be so much fun to set up for a party with the girls or a summer barbecue with friends or family.
The calories seem pretty high BUT you have to remember it takes A LOT of ingredients to make a banana split and compared to a restaurant banana split you can save up to 800 calories. Also, the calories in my version are mostly coming from the nuts, and the banana.
This would also be a great treat to split with someone! Hey that’s why they call it the banana split right? Okay maybe that’s not why, but it still works :)
Had an AMAZING time salmon fishing yesterday. We had to wake up at 1:45am to be there! It was freeeeeezing out so thank goodness for the jacket. I eat salmon all the time but I never realized how hard it was to real those suckers in! They put up quite the fight and they are extremely smart so when they come to the surface they fight even harder! Fortunately I caught the biggest one yesterday, I’m definitely feeling the pain in my arms today. It took me 7 minutes to real my third fish in and I felt like I was dragging a sumo wrestler it was so hard! The view was so pretty and I can’t wait to go back! After our long day of fishing it started to warm up so Jeremy and I went to a cute little waterfront shop, I had a double shot latte with skim and he had a chocolate ice cream cone. We snacked on : blueberries, watermelon, veggies and spinach dip all day.
New Contest - 3 Winners, 3 Prizes and 3 Minutes of Your Time!
I haven’t done a contest in so long! I want to start doing more because they are super fun and I love giving things away. This contest will end on the 29th of this month! Don’t worry because I’ll be doing a new contest every month! Maybe even a couple a month if this one is a success. This contest is super easy and wont take too much of your time. You don’t need a kitchen, or a camera just a computer and your personality! I will announce three winners on the 29th, so check back with my blog to see if you’ve won! Have your friends or family enter too for a better chance to win. Don’t worry I WILL ship outside of the U.S. so EVERYONE can participate.
I wanted to choose a site that has outfits with a variety of styles and I’m curious to know how different or alike our fashion preferences are. You MUST select an outfit from this site that best fits your style personality. It takes 3 seconds to sign up and start browsing. Click HERE to start the contest.
After you select your outfit, pin it to pinterest with a small description of why this outfit fits your personality and anything else you’d like to add. After you have pinned it, you can send the link to @taralynnstweets and I’ll re-pin it into the contest board. Click HERE to see my entry example or others. If you don’t have a pinterest or twitter you can still enter. Just email me the link and your description to your outfit choice at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll repin it to the board. You may not re-pin someone else’s entry as your own, your pin must be pinned directly from the site. (This will help me know who’s entry is who’s)
Whats In My Fridge? This Week's Grocery Shopping & Organizing
Today I made a shopping trip to Costco and picked up a couple items. Later I’ll be making a trip to another grocery store to get the other necessities I keep in my fridge. Keeping my fridge stocked with healthy food and organized helps me keep a healthy diet. You can buy bins like this everywhere. I bought several of mine from : Costco, Target, and The Container Store.
Tomorrow Jeremy and I are going on a fishing trip to catch salmon and we have to pack a large cooler full of snacks and food for everyone. We found this dip at Costco to go with crackers and vegetables. It’s only 40 calories so when eaten in moderation it’s very healthy. Its hard to find a light spinach dip so I was surprised to see this.
I try to eat a salad every single day so buying my lettuce in bulk saves me tons of money. It’s hard to keep it fresh when its in an open bag so I keep it in a large container.
I have a bin for cheese, butter and a bin for eggs. I usually keep hard boiled eggs in containers too for salad toppers but I haven’t had time to get around to it yet. I’m also running low on eggs.
I keep unsweetened applesauce in my refrigerator for substituting butter when I bake. I also buy asparagus in bulk because it’s one of my FAVORITE vegetables to grill. I buy bulk bags of shrimp and they come frozen so I keep them in a container in the fridge to defrost. They are perfect for snacking, salad toppings, and to add a little protein meals.
I buy a couple options of dried fruits at Costco to top my salads with or add to my popcorn during the week. The Premium Berry Mix and Dried Mandarins are my favorite.
A couple things I always keep in my fridge: Hawaiian Marinade, Tuscan Italian Dressing and Sugar Free Jelly.
I have jars of spaghetti sauce, pickles, jalapenos and salsa.
I bought a couple of Skinny Cow mini tubs because they were on sale for fifty cents at the store yesterday. I plan on using them for a dessert recipe. I love the portion sized tubs.
12 Seemingly Vegan & Vegetarian Foods That Really Aren’t
Found this interesting article that will help me during the month of September! I have about 10 more days to fit in enough research to help me through the vegan diet. Thank you for sending me emails and tips! They are very helpful. Jeremy has decided not to do the vegan diet so I will still be posting some healthier meals during September that he has in addition to vegan recipes.
It seems like every time I finish one party or celebrate one holiday there is another right around the corner.
Birthdays are always going on, celebrations are always being celebrated and holidays are every month. These events always have one thing in common….CAKE! Cake is sometimes irresistible and screams my name every time I walk by it. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses. I’m not sure if it’s the flavor or the fact that it is so pretty and colorful! This weekend is one of my closest friends birthday and she wanted a good idea for a “HEALTHY” cake. She is trying to get herself in shape for her wedding and
has been eating very clean lately. I did a couple browses and tried to find the healthiest recipes. After looking at
Pinterest (for hours…) I saw a couple different people use pineapple, melon, watermelon and apples as a cake replacement.
I thought this was an amazing idea and especially for the summer heat! This cake was super easy and faster than baking any cake!
It also only cost me around $7.00. This cake is full of protein, nutrients and healthy fats, you cant say that about most celebration cakes!
Here is my own take on the “fruit cake”
1 Whole Seedless Watermelon - Any size (For some reason mine had seeds but they were so tiny you couldn’t tell)
1 12oz Container Plain Chobani Yogurt
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Almond Extract
1 Packet Truvia
1 Tbsp Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 Cup Almonds
Slice the watermelon into thirds cutting off the round bottom and top. (Don’t forget to save tops)
Shave your cuts with your knife to make sure they are flat
In your Chobani container mix together yogurt, almond extract, vanilla extract, truvia and pudding mix
Place your watermelon on top of plate or cake stand. Spread yogurt mixture on top of watermelon evenly. You will want to lay it on thick or it will slide off.
Place almonds around the outside of the cake
Take the tops of your watermelons and make thin slices for cutting out shapes.
For breakfast this morning I had: two slices whole grain bread with sugar free blackberry jam and 1 tbsp chopped walnuts. For fruit I had: 1/2 large banana with sprinkled cinnamon, honey and watermelon. I also had 2 Tbsp of raw almonds. Of course my breakfast started with 1 cup of coffee and ended with one as well.
All you need is two medium russet potatoes, 1 large sweet potato and 2 Tsps Taco seasoning! Cut the potatoes into fry slices and microwave for 3 minutes to soften.
Heat the oven to 380 degrees and cover a baking sheet with tin foil. Spray the tin foil with cooking spray and lay the cut potatoes spread out onto the sheet. Sprinkle the top with taco seasoning. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy.