Pea protein? no whey

Hello everyone. Right now, I am sitting in front of my laptop, post workout, disgusted as I gulp down my protein smoothie. But wait: it’s full of fruits, vegetables, coconut milk yogurt, AND almond milk so how can I be disgusted you may be wondering?

It is filled with a minuscule amount of pea protein powder that gives off a chalky before, during, and aftertaste no matter how I incorporate it into my post workout drink. However, I put the last of my frozen fruit and yogurt into it, so I cannot make another.

Since going vegan, people I don’t even know have the audacity of asking me ‘Where do you get protein?’ to which I always roll my eyes and eat another crabless crabcake. Before I went vegan, I used whey protein in my smoothies and I couldn’t taste it. However, whey protein isn’t really an option for my plant-based self.

I am calling upon the vegan community (or hell just anyone who uses proteins that aren’t whey) to tell me what their favorite protein powder is. I would go out and buy all of the proteins and see what I like the most, however, protein powder is not by any means cheap and I don’t want my possible protein deficiency to break the bank.

I really do enjoy the benefits of protein powder, and especially since I have been working out a ton since the New Year I would like to have some protein to build muscles because I know there are days when I (everyone for that matter) is deficient on some of the key nutrients we need. However, I would like mine to never be protein so that the next time someone asks me about my protein consumption; I can spike their drinks with pea protein.


Please please please help me. I have resorted to plugging my nose while I drink my smoothie today and I need immediate assistance with the task at hand.

Until next time

Alicia

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Thrive by GoMacro Nut Bars Review

Hi everyone, a couple weeks back, I won a giveaway done by Lazy Girl Vegan, sponsored by GoMacro. The prize was a sample pack of their new Thrive ‘Ancient Seeds Superfood Nut Bars.” I have tried some of GoMacro’s bars before but never these (since they are new) and decided to share with the blog world my opinion of them. Let’s get started.

The box containing all 12 bars
The box containing all 12 bars

The Thrive bars are available in 6 flavors: Ginger Lemon, Almond Apricot, Caramel Coconut, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip, Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, and Blueberry Lavender.

All six of the flavors
All six of the flavors

They have quite a few flavor combinations for all kinds of palettes. I tried all 6 flavors and will share the pros and cons of each, and some of my favorites.

*The bars are listed in order from my favorite to least favorite*

Almond Apricot
Almond Apricot

Almond Apricot: I can honestly say I had never tried an apricot before this so I had no idea what I would be in for. I really really really really liked this one. A ton. I am always hesitant on fruit flavored bars unless they are strawberry because you never know what you’re going to get. This was surprisingly good and very refreshing. If there is one I am most excited about buying it is the Almond Apricot because it’s unlike any other bar I have ever tried

    Pros: It was a very refreshing taste, almost like eating the fruit right then and there.

    Cons: The almonds in the bar are whole almonds am personally not a huge fan of when there are full almonds in bars. I like them sliced or whatever.

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Chocolate, Nuts, and Sea Salt

Chocolate, Nuts, and Sea Salt: Being a firm believer in the chocolate and sea salt combination, I grabbed this one first. This one takes the cake for my favorite of the sweet ones (without fruit). If you are a chocolate lover like myself, BUY THIS BAR.

    Pros: Very tasty and nothing was too overpowering

    Cons: For me, nothing

Caramel Coconut
Caramel Coconut

Caramel Coconut: I was never a coconut fan. Every Halloween, had I been given any Almond Joys they went straight to the trade pile. However, after living in California for a year, the love of coconut has been ingrained in me. I liked these a ton as well.

    Pros: You could really taste and feel the coconut flakes which to me is always a good reminder real coconut is used

  Cons: Couldn’t taste an extreme amount of caramel and the coconut did overpower it

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: Your average chocolate chip peanut butter combination. Nothing too special about it. Good nonetheless.

  Pros: One of those, you can’t mess up the formula and is good no matter what.

   Cons: Nothing really.

Blueberry Lavender
Blueberry Lavender

Blueberry Lavender: Well, blueberry lavender. Lavender. I was a bit terrified of this name because when I think lavender I think of freshly washed sheets but was curious as to how the two would taste together. Curiosity killed the cat… and my taste buds. I was not a fan. The blueberry part was good but whatever lavender I was tasting, was not good. I made my dad try it and he wasn’t displeased with the bar. He said it was a bit bland but not terrible.

    Pros: The blueberry half was good, very sweet.

    Cons: The lavender was mainly the aftertaste but still, not a fan

Ginger Lemon
Ginger Lemon

Ginger Lemon: Preface before even tasting: I hate ginger. So naturally I wouldn’t like this bar… I didn’t. Not to be overdramatic but I couldn’t even swallow it. This is by far my least favorite. But I knew it would be because I hate ginger. I had my mom eat what I couldn’t bare to and she loved it. So, this one is definitely palette dependent

    Pros: The lemony aftertaste

    Cons: The ginger.

All in all, I love the brand in general and will continue to buy the bars that fit my palette. Something I love about not only these bars, but the entire GoMacro company is that they are certified Gluten-Free, Vegan, Organic, and Non-GMO. Perfect for so many people trying to live health-conscious and those with allergies as well.

If any of your try these bars please let me know what you think of them! Also remember to check out Lazy Girl Vegan because I wouldn’t have had the chance to try all of them had it not been for her.

Alicia

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake

One of the items on my summer bucket list was to make a vegan cake, and I surprisingly did it. I’ve had this recipe on a word doc for a while so I don’t have the website where it originated. I also may have adjusted a family recipe to make it vegan, I really can’t remember. Anyway, the cake was delicious, and even my sister, who isn’t vegan, really enjoyed it. Note I didn’t make the frosting (we used store bought) but I have made the frosting for cupcakes I once made and the frosting is delicious as well.

As a kid, I always loved chocolate cake, and I’ve always been a sucker at parties for cake. However, since going vegan, cake has been something I haven’t been able to enjoy. For my birthday I didn’t get a cake (because my family doesn’t really know anything about vegan baking) and just ended up eating grapes after my grandma put candles in a few of them.

With this recipe, I was quite surprised it turned out as good as it did. With a few of my other vegan baking experiences, I’ve ended up with underdone banana bread, dry chocolate chip cookies, and the most disgusting oily frosting I’ve ever eaten (not this recipe’s). So naturally, I was a little bit nervous about making this recipe. Not only did I have to please myself, but my sister was also going to enjoy this cake as well, and I don’t think I would live it down if this recipe turned out less than perfect. However, it did, and after she added some flower sprinkles, the cake was to her liking.

How I made this delicious vegan cake:

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After preheating my oven to 350F, I gathered all of my ingredients (listed at the end of this post)

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Next, in a large bowl (as large as you have) put all of the dry ingredients in that bowl ,and whisk together.

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Now, in a medium sized bowl, add all of the wet ingredients and whisk those together as well.
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Using a mixer, gradually mix the wet ingredients with the dry, making sure not to over mix.
Next, grease two 8″ round pans and divide the batter into the two pans.
Note: When baking my cakes, there was some cake hat stuck to the pan, not too much and the cakes were not difficult to remove, however, to make the residue as minimal as possible and removing the cakes simple, you can place parchment in the pans before pouring the batter.
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Bake  until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (40 minutes) Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

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Once the cakes are cooled, run a knife around the edge of both cake pans, and flip the pans over to remove each cake.
Once the first cake is set on the plate, cover the entire top of that cake with frosting. Then place the second cake on top of that. Frost the entire top of that cake and around the sides of the entire cake. Decorate if needed desired. Serve.
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients:
  • 2½ Cups  Flour
  • 2½ Cups  Sugar
  • 1 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2⅔ Cups Non-Dairy Milk of Choice (I used almond)
  • ⅔ Cups Vegetable Oil (Canola can be used as well)
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1.  Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Prepare two 8″ round baking pans by lightly greasing them.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients, then put aside.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together all of the wet ingredients.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix.
  6. Divide the batter into the prepared pans, then bake for about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
  7. To Assemble the Cake: Run a knife around the edges of the cake pans, and flip the pans over to remove the cakes.
  8. Set the first cake on your cake plate, and frost the top. Place the second cake on top of the frosted cake, and spread the remaining frosting on top of that cake.
I hope all of my vegans (and non-vegans) try this recipe and let me know how it goes. Also, if anyone has any other fool proof vegan recipes I should try, let me know.
Alicia

CUPCAKES

Alright, friends. Living in California and being vegan is one thing. There are vegan shops, cafes, restaurants, and Whole Foods on every other block. In Chicago, on the other hand, vegan food is a bit more hard to come by. Yes, I can get my fresh fruit, veg, and yes my ever so needed protein at Target, Trader Joe’s, and our sole Whole Foods. However, when it comes to sweets, and meals at restaurants that are vegan that’s another story.

For my birthday, I mentioned I was going to make a vegan cake. Yet, on the day of my birthday our gas went out and I was unable to use my stove. Wanting some sort of cake or cupcake because what kind of birthday is it without cake? My mom and I ventured to Whole Foods to see if we could find some vegan cake. They only had gluten-free cakes 😦 BUT they had vegan cupcakes. Naturally, I bought 3 to have one then and then save some for later. It was not only one of the best vegan desserts I have ever eaten but any dessert I have ever eaten. Also, it turns out that the cupcakes are made right here in Chicago.

This morning, my mom and I made the drive there, got there right as they opened and got 6 cupcakes. 3 vegan and gluten-free and 3 regulars (I’m the only vegan in the house).

 

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The outside of Swirlz. Very quaint but super adorable

 

Swirlz (the name of the cupcake place) has flavors of the day. They mainly are nonvegan and filled with gluten but they also make gluten-free ones, and vegan and gluten-free ones. Today’s selection in the vegan and gluten-free department were cookie dough and vanilla. I’m typically not too keen on cookie dough or vanilla. I’m more of a chocolate kind of gal. However, upon returning home, and opening the super cute box the cupcakes were housed in, I have fallen in love with cookie dough cupcakes and the Swirlz cupcake shop in general. The cupcake was sort of like a chocolate chip cupcake with a dollop of cookie dough in it and then topped with vanilla frosting and a cookie dough piece.

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The box
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The cupcakes: Mine are the bottom 3

The shop was super adorable and I am definitely feeling a second trip on a different day for another cupcake type. 😉

PS, I highly recommend this shop to any of my followers who are ever in my neck of the woods. Vegan or not, their cupcakes are to die for.

They are located at:  705 w. Belden, Chicago, IL 60614

Their website can be found here

If any of you have been there or are planning on making a trip, let me know.

Alicia

 

 

My all time Favorite Coffee Shops in San Diego

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Hi guys, so in case this hasn’t been prevalent, I Love coffee and whenever I can, I am trying new coffee shops and different things at these shops. So, I’m going to make a list of my top 5 favorite coffee shop in San Diego, and my favorite things from there. If anyone has any coffee shops that I should try in the San Diego, Phoenix, or Chicagoland areas please let me know!!

  1. Coffee and Tea Collective
  • Favorite thing:  Soy Latte
Soy Latte
Soy Latte
  1.   Lestat’s Coffee House
  • Favorite thing: Vegan Cupcakes

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  1.   Heartwork Coffee Bar
  • Favorite thing: Soy Iced Mocha

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  1.   Dark Horse Coffee Roasters
  • Favorite thing: Iced Tea/ donuts (THEY ARE VEGAN!!!!!!)

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  1.   Cafe Italia
  • Favorite thing: Soy Mocha
I didn't take a picture of my coffee but this was about a block away from it
I didn’t take a picture of my coffee but this was about a block away from it

 

There you all have it… My favorites. Do you guys agree or have suggestions?

Let me know

Talk to you all soon

Alicia 🙂

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P.S. While searching for a featured image I found a bunch of hilarious coffee gifs and thought I would share

1314811785_cockatiel_vs_stirring_coffee giphy-3 Best-Coffee-GIF-2015 giphy-2 giphy-1 coffee-gif-Favim.com-290740

 

Vegan Alternatives

Hi guys. I know quite a few people who are very hesitant about going vegan because they loveeeee sweets. It was definitely a big thing for me. However, there are so  many alternatives for milk, eggs, and butter and just completely different recipes, So I’ll share a few

Milk alternatives

  1. Coconut milk
  2. Rice Milk
  3. Almond Milk**
  4. Soy Milk**
  5. Flax milk
  6. Oat Milk
  7. Macadamia Nut Milk
  8. Cashew Milk
  9. Hemp Milk
  10. Hazelnut Milk

**Most commonly used/found alternatives (Silk is my favorite brand)

Egg Alternatives

  1. Ener-G Egg Replacer(Never used but friends I know love it)
  2. Flax seed (Grind up- does gives a nutty flavor so best in baked goods)
  3. Banana
  4. Tofu

Butter Alternatives

  1. Coconut Oil (I love it. I use it for so much more than butter replacement.. it is basically a gift from the gods)
  2. Avocado- mashed
  3. Flax Seed Oil
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

So, these are some top milk,egg, and butter substitutes. What do I do with all of these???? Make some yummy vegan recipes of course…

Vegan Gluten Free Brownies

Vegan Gluten Free Brownies and Mix

Vegan Almond Butter Blondies

Gluten Free Vegan Brownies

Vegan Salted Caramels

Vegan Cookie Dough (for 1; when it’s one of those days)

If you guys have other vegan/ gluten free recipes you love, let me know.

Talk to you all soon

Alicia

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Why I’m Going Vegan

A goal of mine is to have a career or at least have a hobby of something involving animals. I’ve always loved animals my home growing up was a basically a wildlife rehab center. There have been squirrels (which led to fleas), fish, turtles, hamsters, hermit crabs, my dog, stray dogs, birds, birds from outside, and so many more. I would never eat these animals. So, why is acceptable for me to eat a pig or a chicken or horse hooves? These animals are all precious to our Earth so why am I allowed to pick and choose what animals I eat and what animals I don’t. In all honesty, I can’t. Which is why I’m trying to become a vegan. I’m already lactose intolerant so that part isn’t that hard. And the idea that eggs are chicken periods is reason enough to never look at eggs the same way again. Thanks roommate for turning me, but it is for the best.

Now, as I begin to transition my life to veganism, I need to prepare myself for all of the criticism I will be getting from my friends and family. After I admitted that I was lactose intolerant and become gluten-free, I got and still get a lot of criticism. My uncle told me “you’re just being another California pussy” and my mom had never been too on board with my dietary decisions. For 4 weeks my freshman year I had to be a vegetarian and then my friend and I tried becoming vegans for a week and she gave me crap for it for about a month leading up to it and every day while I was doing the vegan/vegetarianism.

But, I have decided that it is my life, it is my decision. So, I just need to tell people that. I’m making this decision for not only the health of the animals’ health, but mine as well. All I know is that vegan food is better than processed fast food. Not only better for you, but better tasting. So, I’m very excited for this next step in my life and I can’t wait to see how different I look and feel in 6 months and just for the rest of my life.

I have so many more ideas for posts so hopefully I can keep them coming

Talk to you all soon

Alicia

bye-bye-bye-o