Trader Joe’s: cheapest groceries around

20 Feb

Hello! Anyone else out there obsessed with Trader Joe’s? We don’t have a T.J’s close by, but there is one right by my parent’s house. I always swing by and stock up when we’re in town.

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I love shopping at Trader Joe’s for three reasons…

1. Cheap, cheap, cheap

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Sometime last month, I stocked up and my bill was only $112.57 ! My parents were awesome enough to give us two $100 gift cards (I had already used one!) for Christmas, reducing my bill to $12.57. Awesome.

2. Unique products

Trader Joe’s is known for their unique selection of products. Sunflower seed butter, seaweed snacks, and my favorite almond milk all come from T.J’s.

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They also carry repackaged brand name products. Trader Joe’s is able to sell these items using the TJ’s brand at a lower cost. Read more about it here!

3. Awesome selection of healthy, vegan, and gluten free foods

Trader Joe’s carries tons of our favorite frozen meals, organic fruits and veggies, and even some delicious gluten free goodies!

Here’s the haul I got for a whopping $112.

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Organic orange juice, hummus, bananas, recycled paper towels, vegan fried rice, and gluten free corn penne pasta- just to name a few things.

Do you shop at Trader Joe’s? What’s your favorite product?


For Murphy.

15 Feb


Late last night, my family lost one of their dear friends, our dog Murphy.

He was one of the sweetest pups I had ever had the pleasure of meeting. Image

It happened very suddenly, the doctor said his death was caused from blood collecting around his heart. I hope he didn’t suffer and wasn’t too scared, but there’s no way we can know. 

This is the first time I’ve had to deal with the loss of an animal and it’s really hard. I feel even worse for my Dad, he loved that dog like a son and has to be hurting more than I ever could.

Murphy, I’ll miss being greeted by a giant furball everytime I come back home.

I’ll miss taking you and Maggie (my dog) out to run amuck in the woods. Remember that time you both pooped in the neighbor’s yard?

I’ll miss the way you would lay your head into everyone’s lap when you cuddled.

I’ll miss chucking the ball for you, again and again, until you couldn’t find it. 😉

I’ll miss going into the garden with you, Dad, and Maggie. You knew just how to weave through the plants and where the best snacks were. Oh, and you loved to pee on all the vegetables. (I never told Mom.)

Thank you for being so sweet to me, and for being the best hair-covered brother we all ever had. More importantly, thank you for being the best furry- son Dad could ever ask for. We love you, and miss you.

Please send some positive thoughts our way, and hug the ones you love extra tight tonight. Feel free to leave any messages to loved ones you have lost in the comments section. 


The Raw Café: Detroit

12 Feb

Hello everyone! Another Sunday, another post. I noticed that I have started a Sunday-only posting trend. Hopefully I can remedy that soon!

Last weekend, John and I met up with his family at Garden Bowl in Detroit. His sister, his mom’s husband, and John have birthdays on consecutive days. We all got together for the triad birthday celebration! Strangely enough, there was an organic, vegan, and raw café two doors down. HECK YES. I ran down during our second game to grab us some grub.



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I was a bit skeptical when I saw organic on the menu, but as I sat and waited for our order I could see various organic ingredients in the kitchen. Spices that we have in our own pantry. and organic cacao nibs. Delicious!

I ordered the collard wrap, which was filled with avocado, cabbage, broccoli. and a delicious garlic dressing. It was perfectly dressed, and so crispy!

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I ordered John the “spaghetti and meatballs.” This dish was actually zucchini noodles with nut based balls. ::giggles::

It was excellent, and he was nice enough to share!

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To finish our meal, I got us a slice of the raw apple pie to split. Split means John takes 2 bites and I eat the rest. Happy birthday? 😉

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This pie was made of dates, apples, cranberries, and spices. I think there was some raw sugar in there too. Holy yumminess! IMG 0922

I highly recommend The Raw Café if you are in Midtown! Located on Woodward, this café is fantastic!

Coconutty goodness!

22 Jan

Hello! How was your weekend? Mine was very relaxing (maybe too much so!)  I did manage to get in my 10 mile training run yesterday afternoon, but other than that it has been a weekend full of couch sitting and chocolate chip eating. Hehehe… 😉

Waaaay back in October, I contacted So Delicious in hopes of receiving some samples of their new Greek Style yogurts.  Gail was nice enough to hook me up, and I never got around to blogging about them. 😦 I received the package of yumminess right after we moved into our new rental home, I was still adjusting to my busy schedule.  I ended up eating them one by one, without reviewing the product.

Let me tell you- they were delicious! They were thick and creamy, and I didn’t find them to be too sweet. My favorite flavor was raspberry, but they are all great!  Keep in mind that these only contain a tiny amount of protein, much different than traditional greek yogurt, but they have a great thick consistency.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find them at any of the health food stores around here. When we were visiting family last weekend, I scored some at Zerbo’s, an awesome health food store in Livonia.

As well as the yogurts, Gail was kind enough to send me 3 free product coupons! Score! Of course 2 were used on coconut milk ice cream (so insanely delicious!)

The last coupon was used for some cultured coconut milk, something I’d been dying to try but always held back due to the $5 price tag. Holy smokes, it’s worth every penny!

This stuff smells EXACTLY like yogurt, which I enjoyed so much before going (partially) vegan. It has the same tang- and is so dang good for you! I drank it straight up, used it with cereal, and used it as the base to many smoothies. John enjoyed it, and he hates coconut. 🙂

Some stats on coconut:


  • Coconut contains medium-chain saturated fats, which are burned faster than other fat sources. Medium-chain fatty acids are beneficial for your body, in particular the lymph nodes, and liver!
  • Coconut contains lauric acid which stops microbial growth. It also may help fight acne!
  • Everybody needs a decent amount of (healthy) fats in their diet in order to feel satisfied and to function at your best- coconuts are a great source!

So Delicious also makes some yummy coffee creamer, which I got my future mother-in-law hooked on! (Hi Melbs!)  They make several different flavors, and are even sold in many big box groceries! 

Obviously, I’m a huge fan of coconut. 

Coconut fan? Favorite coconut product? Share, share, share! 🙂

quick + easy

8 Jan

Happy Sunday! Hope you’ve had a relaxing weekend, mine went by quick! Last night I ran an 8 mile race with my friend Laura, it was a blast!

Today I’m sharing a meal that I’ve been making for about a year now. Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point inspired me to try it, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

baked beans + sweet potato + kale = delciousness.

simply cook your sweet potato, warm your beans, cook your kale and combine!

what quick and easy meals do you whip up?


6 Jan

Hello, blog world! Happy belated New Year- I hope you all were able to spend time with loved ones over the holidays. John and I had a fantastic break together, and had a chance to spend time with both of our families as well as many friends. 

It’s been over a month since my last post, oops! I suppose my absence can be explained by increased responsibility at work, but I have missed this! Life has been moving at warp speed, and I finally have some time to try and start again with this little blog.

Here’s a peek as to what we have been eating lately:

chickpea curry with brown rice + kale chips

tofu scramble and john’s breakfast potatoes

too much chocolate- this bar in particular is outstanding.

tortilla pizzas made by johnny- topped with cheddar daiya. mmm!

Too much booze consumed over the holidays as well- this was a hard cider from Michigan Brewing Company. John’s sister Lindsay and her boyfriend Ian came to visit for the day and we grabbed lunch with them. 🙂

snobby joes from veganomicon made tonight by moi- with a side of “carrot fries”

these carrot fries were just roasted carrots, but they were still scrumptious! 

We were lucky enough to score 2 gift cards to Trader Joe’s for Christmas from my Mom and Dad- and we used one on our way back home after the holiday. I bought two bags of organic apples and have been chowing down all week…

finally, we made some old fashioned pop corn, since we no longer have a microwave. it was delish!

Non- food related, we have officially set a wedding date for June 9th of this year! We have been slow to get planning, but have a few things in motion as of now.

I bought a new camera with a Best Buy gift Card I received from my Mom and Dad for Christmas, the Canon Power Shot SX150. So far I’m really happy with it, but need to figure out how to use all of the features.

I’ll be back with another post this weekend, have a great Saturday!


Emily’s Granola

1 Dec

 Hello! How was your Thursday? Mine has been great, and right now John and I are watching Beavis and Butthead.  We are a classy pair. 😉

Tonight I have a yummy granola recipe to share with all of you, and I’m most excited about it because I finally succeeded in making crunchy granola! I have tried to make granola before, but it always ended up chewy, even when I let it cool completely. 

I made this granola for my wonderful friend and co-worker, Emily. While we went to my cousin’s for Thanksgiving, Emily helped us out with our dog, Maggie. I told her I would repay her in food, and I finally got around to it during our snow day yesterday. 

Emily’s Granola


2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup chopped raw almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 cup maple syrup*

1/4 cup brown rice syrup

1/4 cup peanut butter**

2 tsp vanilla extract

*I used this Maple syrup Agave Nectar blend from Trader Joe’s-  any liquid sweetener will work!

** I used chunky peanut butter- any nut butter will do!


  • Preheat oven to 300.
  • Combine oats, almonds, and coconut in a large bowl.

  • Pour syrups, vanilla extract, and peanut butter into a small sauce pan, and heat until well combined.

  • Pour wet ingredients into dry, mix well.

  • Spread your ‘nola onto a greased baking sheet, spread evenly. (Yes, I just referred to granola as ‘nola.)

  • Bake your granola for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even baking. I baked this batch for   about 35 minutes, but could have taken it out a minute or too sooner. It’s done baking when it has turned a golden  brown and your kitchen smells like a hippie convention. 😉

  • Place your pan on a wire rack, and allow granola to cool for at least 10 minutes, until it’s wonderfully crunchy! Once cool, you can toss in your raisins.

Feel free to modify this recipe with whatever you have on hand. Chocolate chips would have been great- just make sure you add them after your granola cools. 

I love to eat granola with some soy or almond milk yogurt + a giant blob of peanut butter and a banana. Enjoy!

Have you made granola before? What ingredients did you use?

Baked Bean Tostadas

29 Nov

Hi! How was your Tuesday? We have some major snow coming down right now in Michigan- supposedly 6-8 inches by tomorrow morning?! All you teachers out there know what that means! ::fingers crossed::

On Sunday night, we couldn’t decide what we wanted for dinner. I was staring in the pantry when John said,

“We have baked beans.”

Say no more, Johnny! I love baked beans, and could eat them every meal. 🙂

My mom told me about these tostadas awhile back, she found the recipe in a magazine, and I figured they’d be great! I didn’t have the recipe, but here’s what I came up with.

Baked Bean Tostadas

1 15 oz can baked beans or 2 cups homemade baked beans

1 head of garlic, minced

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cayenne

squirt of lime juice

6 corn tortillas

olive oil


1. Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.

2. Add garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.

3. Add onions, and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

4. Add in the baked beans, mix.

5. Mash the bean mixutre with a potato masher, or whatever you have on hand.

6. Set your oven to 375

7. With a pastry brush, lightly brush your tortillas with olive oil on both sides. Place tortillas in the oven on a pan for 6-8 minutes, until crisp.

I also made a little bit of guacamole with the only avocado we had one hand.

Topped with some diced lettuce, and served next to some Mexican Millet from Veganomicon, this was a delicious impromptu meal!

Have a great night, and stay warm and safe if it’s snowing where you are! 

Blogging in a new kitchen

27 Nov

Hello friends! I’m back at it after an unplanned 3 1/2 month break. Life got busy- I started back up at my full time job, as well as working a second job part time. I have been adjusting to it all, but am so excited to get this blog back in action!

In October, John and I moved into our first rental home! Our place is awesome, and the best part for me, is the kitchen.

We went from this…

To this!

Isn’t it beautiful? This kitchen is incredible, and I’ve loved cooking in it! 

I was busy in our awesome new kitchen prepping for Thanksgiving on Wednesday….

This is Manifest Vegan’s Sugar Crunch Apple Pie– it received rave reviews from everyone who tried it at Thanksgiving dinner. This wasn’t a gluten free pie, but I had a bite and thought it was delicious! 

Besides pie, we ate Angela’s Ultimate Lentil Walnut Loaf, Mama Pea’s Herb Smashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Green Bean Casserole from Fat Free Vegan.  I made a pumpkin pie as well, since it’s my fave, and used Angela’s Pecan Spiced Pie Crust with filling from Healthy, Happy, Life. I whipped up some coconut cream to top it off…delicious!  

That’s all from me tonight, but I will be back soon! I plan on blogging at least 3 times a week- hold me to it!!

Thanks to everyone for reading and for all your sweet comments! Have a fabulous Monday!

Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies- Trail Mix Style

5 Sep

Hello! Happy Labor Day! Hope you all had a relaxing weekend, and were able to enjoy an extra day off! 🙂 

Before I get to the recipe, I want to thank all my new readers! I was checking my site stats the other day, and saw that a few of you have added me to your Google Reader! Thank you so much! And of course, a big thank you to Chelsey for allowing me to guest post and expand my readership! 🙂

A few weeks ago I was flipping through Vegetarian Times, and I saw an ad for Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter. With the ad, there was a recipe for trail mix cookies.  I have wanted to make a similar cookies ever since, and finally had the chance tonight!

These cookies are a cinch to whip together, plus they’re vegan, gluten free, and nut free! Sunflower seed butter can be found at any health food store (and maybe some big box groceries?) and is delicious! I buy Trader Joe’s brand, and love to eat sunflower butter+ jelly sandwiches. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant and prevents cardiovascular disease.

I would have liked to throw in some walnuts or almonds to add some crunch, but the child care center I work at is nut free, and I want to be able to bring one to snack on if need be.

I was inspired by the recipe from Once Again Nut Butters, but these are my own creation.

Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies- Trail Mix Style


1/2 cup oats

1 cup Bob Mills Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

2 T Chia Seeds

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup sunflower seed butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 ripe banana, mashed

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract 

**Feel free to add in nuts, more dried fruit, or coconut! I really wanted to add the coconut, but John hates it and I want him to try a few. The chia seeds aren’t necessary, but are great for some extra protein and nutrition. **


1. Preheat oven to 350, then mash the banana in a small bowl.

2. Add  brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sunflower seed butter to the mashed banana.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and chia seeds. 

4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula to combine, then mix in chocolate chips and cranberries. 

5. Plop your cookies onto parchment paper lined baking pans, and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

6. Eat 5 of them. Hey, I did!

These aren’t the prettiest cookies, but they are delicious! Definitely a cookie you could eat for breakfast too. 😉

Check out the nutrional stats! I used to get the breakdown.

While I was eating my third cookie, I noticed something odd. Umm, why are they green inside?!