Hey all! Happy Cinco de Mayo! Boy has it been a busy day, complete with cleaning, unpacking, freelancing and cooking for hours on end (which I loved)! Let’s start with breakfast…

Ezekial English Muffin with homemade agave cinnamon flax almond butter and organic raisins (Newman’s Own brand).

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Lunch: Leftover Snobby Joes! Still just as delicious as yesterday.

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Dinner: Veganomicon allll the way (and a little Mrs. LC!). Mexican Millet, Black beans in Chipotle Adobo sauce, homemade guacamole, homemade refried beans. Served with toasted Ezekial wraps “chips. Here’s my plate:

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First I must say how wonderful it is to have 3, extra, live-in food critics for when I cook! Here’s why: I thought all of the recipes turned out amazing. I’m realizing my taste buds are changing a lot though and the foods that were bland to me a few months ago are decadent and savory now! So while I loved everything I made tonight, my family thought the Mexican Millet was a little weird. I’ll give it to them that the texture was very different (think crunchy spanish rice) but I don’t mind stuff like that anymore. They really loved everything else though (especially the guacamole and the refried beans)! I don’t think they’ll ever buy canned refried beans again–way to go Lindsey!


Dessert: From Vegan with a Vengeance and keeping up with the Cinco de Mayo theme, I made the Mexican Chocolate Rice Pudding with the Macadamia Cream Sauce.

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The rice pudding was okay by itself, but the cream sauce made it much much better. I used a mix of almonds and hazelnuts for the sauce because I didn’t have macadamias on hand. It worked really well! My brother ate all of his serving but said he didn’t like it and ate it for me (that’s sweet of him?). My dad said it was very satisfying but could have used a little more sweetness. My mom really liked it but thought that last night’s raw vegan dessert was better (keep reading to find out what it was!) What did I think? I liked it and thought it was satisfying and not overbearingly rich and sweet. Would I make it again? Probably not…I don’t care for the rice texture in pudding.

So while we’re on the topic of desserts, I’ll share with you last night’s creation. This idea came from Angela over at Oh She Glows. As soon as I saw how easy it was to make her new raw vegan chocolate chip cookies, I jumped right on board! And holy moly were they YUMMY! My family is in love too…especially with the chocolate chips. Now, will I be making these again? HECK YES!! Thank you Angela! I made them as cookie dough bites rolled in unsweetened coconut.

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VEGAN CHALLENGE WINNER

Wow, I have to say that I can’t believe it’s time to pick a winner already! Though, I’m not surprised with who my random number generator picked because this girl participated in almost all 30 days of the challenge AND linked back to the challenge through her own blog and other guest blogs 15 times, so she had A LOT of entries!

#14: Congratulations Sarah from Sarah is Healthy! Way to go and thank you so much for all of your support! Send me your address and I’ll get your prize package out to you soon!

Thank you to everyone who participated! I had a lot of fun and obviously learned a lot too!

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That’s all from me for tonight! I have a private swim lesson tomorrow afternoon but I’ll be doing laundry and unpacking in the mean time. Then I’ll be packing up to visit Evan in Melbourne this weekend for his graduation party! Yay!!!

PS. I’m participating in Gena and Jenna’s Raw Challenge so I will be eating one raw meal and one raw snack tomorrow in the spirit of their challenge! So excited!!!

PPS. Check on Gena’s Spiralizer Giveaway!!! Or don’t so I have a better shot at winning it πŸ˜‰

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Wow has it been a crammed, joyous and stressful weekend! As a result I don’t have pictures of my eats for you, but since we ate our meals out at restaurants all weekend I can give you a pretty detailed recap of what was consumed πŸ™‚ I bet you won’t mind no food pictures because there’s lots of other ones to feast your eyes on!

On Friday night my parents arrived in Gainesville and we immediately headed to Leonardo’s Pizza for some grub. I gobbled down a vegan slice, an organic salad and a couple of their to die for rolls which are essentially just their pizza dough in roll form. Delicious!

Saturday morning we headed to Cracker Barrel around 8:30 AM for some breakfast. I was a little nervous about the vegan-friendly choices they would have and my nervousness was quickly validated when I got a good look at the menu. No fresh fruit anywhere. So I went with oatmeal and requested raisins, pecans and brown sugar for my toppings. I also got a side of whole wheat toast and an orange juice. It was actually quite satisfying and I’d get it again there.

After breakfast we headed to the bookstore so I could sell back all of my textbooks I never opened the entire semester and then went shopping for a fancy diploma frame! I’m pleased to say that the frame I loved and wanted was marked nearly 50% off because of a little blemish that you can’t really see. Yay! I can’t wait to display my diploma when it comes in July.

The morning disappeared in the blink of an eye and it was suddenly time to get ready for my commencement ceremony at 1 PM. I went home and my parents went back to their hotel to get ready. An hour later we met back up and headed to the Phillips Center for Performing Arts and took some pictures before heading inside.

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My teaching partner, Bethany, and I posed for a picture to send off to our 4th graders πŸ™‚

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My beautiful mom and I!

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My 14-year old brother is suddenly taller than me and getting more handsome by the minute!

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I love this picture of my dad and I.

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My favorite picture of them all…

Graduation began and I was extremely, extremely excited to turn that tassel from right to left and then proceed to walk across the stage and shake hands with the dean.

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Here I am right after graduating!!!

After the ceremony, we headed to Chipotle where I got the most amazing burrito of my life there. It contained black beans, rice, guacamole, corn salsa and mild tomato salsa and some sauteed veggies. I didn’t miss my normal serving of cheese and sour cream I used to get one bit. It was perfect.

We finished eating just in time to head over to the O’Connell Center to meet up with Evan after his graduation. Unfortunately our ceremonies started 1.5 hours apart and we weren’t able to catch one another’s graduation. Pictures were a must, though and we took plenty. Take a look!

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I will be a “Bull” next year at the University of South Florida so this picture was very necessary for me to get since I just completed 4 years as a “Gator”!


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One last one of the two of us! I’m in my orange and blue UF colored cords and my green and gold USF colored dress!

Lastly, there were some great family photos taken that I definitely want to show off as well πŸ™‚ Looking at these I wish we’d gotten a shot of all 11 of us! Oh well…next graduation πŸ™‚

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We all (11 of us) headed to one of our favorite restaurants Liquid Ginger for a lovely celebration dinner later that night. There was so much conversation and wonderful food and I couldn’t have felt more lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful family. Evan and I are very lucky πŸ™‚ I had a spinach and tofu soup, ginger dressing salad, pad thai with tofu, and red bean ice cream. Red bean ice cream? Yes…I went there and I couldn’t have made a better decision than to eat my all-time favorite flavored ice cream than on my graduation day. I do have a picture to share of that moment actually…haha!

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I knew Sunday was going to be very hectic and since we didn’t leave the restaurant ’til about midnight, I crashed in my bed immediately after arriving for my last night in Gainesville and at my condo.

I pretty much had 75% of my stuff left to pack by the time Sunday (moving day) rolled around. Thank goodness for my parents, my brother, and my roommate Kathryn for all of their help. It would have taken me days on end to do what all of us accomplished in 7 hours. It was very stressful though. There were talks of my stuff not fitting in the small pull-behind U-Haul my dad had rented and me having to make the 2.5 hour trip back to Gainesville today to get the rest of it. I was not having any of that and I used every square inch of available space in the trailer, my car, and my parents car to get it all in one trip. I felt like this master conductor of a huge jigsaw puzzle, but thankfully I got it all to fit and did not have to go back today.

I spent my entire Monday cleaning out my room at my parents’ house and unloading my stuff. I had so much stuff from high school that needed to be purged, especially before loading my recently moved back items into my room. While my parents were at work and my brother was at school I jammed to Pandora (LOVE IT!!) and successfully unloaded the entire U-Haul by myself in an hour! My body is going to hate me tomorrow, but it felt good to get it done.

Somehow I managed to cook some dinner and dessert for my family tonight too! I realized I had everything except for a bell pepper on hand to make Snobby Joes from Veganomicon, so I was all over that! While my lentils simmered (under my mom’s supervision of course!) I ran out to get the pepper. This normally would have been really inconvenient BUT a new Publix location opened about 2 minutes from my house on Thursday!!! It’s SO nice!

This was my family’s first experience with vegan cooking. They were definitely skeptical at first but they quickly realized that what I made wasn’t weird or freaky or really anything to be scared of whatsoever. My mom even handed me some cash after dinner to go get something to make for tomorrow night! I’d call that a success! There was even a raw, vegan dessert but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see how that turned out πŸ˜›

Until then…goodnight!!

P.S. My daily eats and the Vegan Challenge winner announcement will resume tomorrow! Catch ya then πŸ™‚

Today marked the last official day of the Vegan Challenge! For those who participated, how’d you do? Let me know so I can make sure my participant list is accurate for when I randomly pick a winner after my graduation and big move this weekend.

I’m going to get right to it…I know you all are wondering if I am going to keep this up after today and the partial answer is yes. I’m going to try to follow a vegan diet from here on out. Quite honestly, this isn’t daunting at all because I’ve been doing it so naturally over the last month. It seems like the easiest and most convenient thing to do at this point! I never thought eating vegan would be easy, but I’ve found it to be easy, simple, and less complicated than the Standard American Diet and what I was eating prior to the Vegan Challenge. Just think, I can avoid nearly half of the grocery store when I go shopping!! Additionally, Whole Foods and natural food stores are like my candy store now with so many new things to try and new foods to experience. I love it! I’ve never felt better with the foods I’ve been eating than I have over the last month and I don’t think there’s any better reason that that for me to keep this up.

I said “partial” answer above because I’m not ready to proclaim myself as a vegan and I don’t know if I ever will. As I’ve discovered in the last 30 days, it’s a very loaded term and label and I don’t think I’m ready to be continuously judged by saying I’m a vegan. Most people don’t even know what that means and the ones who do think you’re an animal loving, tree-hugging, pot smoking hippie as soon as you say, “I’m a vegan”. I don’t identify myself with any of those things, and I’m certainly not choosing to eat this way for animal rights. I love animals and I hate the truths about factory farming, but I’m in this for my health. Call me selfish πŸ™‚ From now on, you might hear me say I’m “following a primarily vegan diet” and that’s the truth.

If you see honey or a product that “may contain trace amounts of milk” don’t be alarmed! I’ve had countless dreams over the last month where I’ve temporarily forgotten that I’m vegan and eaten something like cheese or chicken, only to realize afterward that I wasn’t supposed to eat it. And I feel awful in the dream about it and wake up completely relieved that it didn’t actually happen. Kind of like a nightmare! Those dreams were alarming to me and I realized I needed to let go of strict rules and boundaries and just do what was right for me. I don’t see myself choosing to eat meat and dairy products because, honestly, the thought of them going into my mouth at this point kind of grosses me out. But I draw the line at the ingredients list. If they don’t contain animal products, I’m in!

As I’ve progressed through this challenge, I’ve learned a lot. To me, the most interesting aspect of eating vegan is the concept of the raw, vegan diet. The benefits of this are amazing to me and I’d really like to start incorporating more raw foods into my diet. I’m currently looking into juicers and when I have the cash flow, I’ll be ordering one. I love my green smoothies, and juicing is the best next step up! I’ve been following Kris Carr’s blog over the last month and I’ve found her to be extremely informative and inspiring. Gena from Choosing Raw also joined the food blogging world during my Vegan Challenge and I am absolutely in love with her blog and all of the information she provides to everyone on a daily basis. These are just a couple of the inspirations I’ve had over the last month and I can’t wait to keep growing with all of the new information that is out there to discover.

So with all of this, I’ve kind of hit a little wall in my blogging (you may have noticed). So much has changed since I started this blog back in November. If you don’t believe me, head on back in the ol’ archives and see for yourself! It’s crazy to think about the health transitions I’ve made because of blogging. I feel like I’m heading in a completely different direction now and I think I need to change my blog to reflect that. I’m not quite sure what this means yet, but I’m open for suggestions! Leave a comment here, or shoot me an email. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, anything! I’m hoping that graduating, having the summer off, moving back home and then to graduate school will be enough change to get my wheels seriously turning!

I hope you all have enjoyed following me on this journey and will stick around for more foodie adventures to come! I feel like there’s been a whole new world opened up to me from this and I’m really eager to keep exploring!

Have a fabulous Thursday evening and Friday!! I’ll see you guys after GRADUATION for a complete recap of my weekend with wonderful friends and family!

Love you all πŸ˜€

Can anyone tell me where that title comes from? πŸ˜›

Hello! First, I have to apologize for my absence over the last week (seriously has it been that long?!) It feels like I just posted about Earth Day last night, but the calendar doesn’t lie I guess. Anyway, I’m alive and well and still thriving during the Vegan Challenge (more on that tomorrow, I promise). Life is just extra crazy right now with taking care of my final exams, working double my normal hours this week, spending time with Evan before I move, and stressing out over getting the last 2 years of my life packed and ready to move by Sunday morning. There was also an unexpected trip to the Dr. in there which I won’t get into, but I’ve got my meds and I’m fine now! πŸ˜€

I’ve got to run but I’ll leave you with these pictures from the last week (including some from my exciting day with Evan last Thursday!)

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Happy Earth Day everyone!!! This day really got me thinking about how Earth-friendly I’ve become since last year’s Earth Day. Let me count the ways:

  1. I started eating significantly more organic produce and foods, some of which is locally grown and purchased at farmers’ markets.
  2. I’ve been eating less animal products over the last year, and in the last month have completely eliminated them.
  3. I went from a gas-guzzling SUV to a tiny hatchback car that doubled the number of miles I could get per gallon.
  4. I started using more reusable grocery bags whenever possible.
  5. I stopped buying bottled water and instead purchased a Klean Kanteen and BPA-free Camelbak water bottle
  6. I bought a lunch box instead of using brown paper bags
  7. I started washing all of my clothes on the cold cycle.
  8. I’ve bought more environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  9. I cut my hair off!

Yes, you read #7 correctly. Cutting your hair is earth friendly! How?

  • You use less shampoo and conditioner which means less time in the shower washing your hair. Saves water, time, AND money!
  • It takes less time to blow-dry and straighten your hair, if you’re styling it. Saves energy, time and money!
  • You use less styling products which means less plastic bottles in the trash each year and saves you more money!

My goals for this coming year:

  • Use my reusable grocery bags every time I go to the store. I really wish our grocery stores would stop offering plastic/paper bags so everyone would be forced to reuse bags.
  • RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE. I have gotten better about recycling this last year, but I could do so much better.
  • Keep the tires on my car properly inflated to make my car even more fuel-efficient.
  • Attempt to buy more local, organic produce.
  • Switch my beauty products to items with more natural ingredients (I’ve already done this with my deodorant and toothpaste)

How have you reduced your impact on our planet? Do have any goals for this coming year?

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Today was Vegan Challenge Day 22 and it was pretty normal, including the appearance of two Amy’s products (are you really surprised? hehe)

Breakfast: Umm…I slept through breakfast. Let’s move to lunch.

Lunch: Amy’s Non-Dairy Burrito and an organic romaine, celery, cucumber and sunflower seed salad topped with Annie’s Goddess dressing.

I’m loving the goddess dressing. Yum, yum! You may have noticed I haven’t made many salads (I think this is only #2) during the Vegan Challenge. I’m really not a huge salad person and would rather somewhat disguise my veggies. I’m warming up to the salads more though as I start to crave more fresh veggies.

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Mid-Afternoon Snacks: organic Braeburn apple and a vanilla coconut milk yogurt with ginger zing granola and added cinnamon.

The question was asked yesterday about my ginger zing granola. It’s Nature’s Path and I get it from the bulk bins at my local health food store. I picked this one because it’s made with molasses instead of honey and doesn’t contain whey protein. It also has yummy cashews added in πŸ™‚

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Dinner: Amy’s Enchilada Dinner Whole Meal

I was feeling lazy tonight and didn’t have any inspiration for cooking, so I picked this up after work. It wasn’t very big, but it was actually the perfect amount of food for me tonight as I wasn’t starving. If you’re looking for a lot of food, this isn’t it though. Definitely spend the extra buck and get one of the bowls instead or bulk it up with a bunch of spinach or something.

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Dessert: Zesty Lemon Sorbet by Haagen Dazs

I absolutely love desserts with a bit of a bite to them. This one was almost borderline too much sweet and not enough bite. I’m contemplating making my on sometime. Has anyone ever made their own lemon sorbet? I’d love to be able to adjust the amount of lemon flavor!

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Okay, that’s it from me for tonight! Stay tuned for tomorrow as Evan and I have loads of fun plans and I’m so so so excited about them! Yay!

Goodnight!!!

Hey there!

Man, my Tuesday started off very lazy. I woke up at 6:30 AM, then continued to sleep until 10 AM! Here’s the kicker though: I didn’t roll out of bed until 1 PM! And I only did that because I was hungry πŸ™‚ This was good for today but I can only do this for so long before I start feeling like a total failure at life, haha. I did wind up ending on sort of a productive note: phone interview for a class assignment, 2 hours of teaching swim lessons, a 30 minute run/walk and now this post! And tomorrow will be less lazy with 5 hours of babysitting, followed by 2 hours of swim lessons! That’ll pretty much be my entire day, but maybe I’ll get some packing squeezed in there somewhere too? Yeah, I doubt it…

So I guess I have some blogging to catch up on! First, here’s today’s eats!

Breakfast/Lunch: Oatmeal loaded with sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut, ginger zing granola, ground flax seed, cinnamon, agave, and raw almond butter. Braeburn on the side with my B12 supplement (the 2nd one I’ve taken since I started the Vegan Challenge, since it’s got like 300% my daily needs and I’m eating B12 enriched foods) and an Iced Rice milk Chai tea πŸ™‚

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Mid-Afternoon Snack: MOJO bars are BACK!!!!!!

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Dinner: Amy’s Tuscan Beans and Rice (mmmm, good) and an Ezekial tortilla

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Dessert: Green and Black Cherry Dark Chocolate

I was shocked to discover there were actual dried cherries in this. Delicious!!! Oh and I didn’t eat the whole bar haha. Just half…whoops!

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Wow, I didn’t eat very much today! I blame the lazy morning! Oh well, I don’t feel hungry so it’s all good.

Now, here are some pictures from Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Vegan Challenge Days 18, 19, 20). This is not everything I ate. I thought I’d taken pictures of everything but I guess not. Maybe some are still on my cell phone. Who knows. The theme of my weekend was sweets, sweets, sweets. I could not get enough of them! It happens πŸ˜‰

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Whoops, I guess some of our Saturday afternoon picnic photos accidentally slipped in there πŸ™‚ We enjoyed that green smoothie, some un-pictured fruit and a little “light” reading in Vegan Freak and a couple others I haven’t dove into completely yet. That pic of me was before my hair got cut and it was completely unruly. Glad it’s gone πŸ˜€

Okay, gotta go!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday and I’ll see you tomorrow night!

Hey guys! Despite the fact that my internship is OVER (thank goodness), I still had a busy weekend and a long Monday so no blogging from this girl! It keeps you all in suspense right?

I started feeling the typical post-finals-week-stress cold coming on Saturday night and have been fighting its full-blown effects since then (last week was pretty much my finals week, even though I still have a couple of things to do before I’m officially done). Normally (i.e. before I started eating well), this cold would have been full-blown 12 hours after I started getting symptoms. I’m happy to report that it’s been about 48 hours and I’ve only gotten a little sinus pressure and a wicked headache. The goal is to keep it from going full-blown by eating well and SLEEPING some more.

So that’s what I’m going to go do now (the sleeping part)! You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for my vegan challenge updates (still going VERY well!), but I will leave you with a quick pic I took of my NEW HAIRCUT (!!!) that I got yesterday on kind of a whim. I feel like I’ve gotten rid of the last 4 months of stress I’ve been carrying around just by cutting it all off. It’s light and free and perfect for summer. Love it πŸ˜€

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Goodnight all!