First Day at the Farm!

Well, I started my day bright and early this morning! I was expected at the farm at 7:30, so I had to leave the house by 7:00 and be up at 6:30.

Because I was going to be working all day, I had to have a big breakfast to fuel me up. I made myself a delicious breakfast burrito with a quinoa, corn, black bean mixture I made yesterday, leftover sweet potatoes from a house dinner last night, cilantro, and daiya cheese. Check out this beauty: 

When I got to Greenbrier I was thrown right into the thick of things! They have their first farmer’s market tomorrow, so today was going to be a busy day. Megan, another intern working and living on the farm, took me out to water the plants in the greenhouse and harvest spinach.

Beautiful, huh? That’s the garden!


This dill is going to make some delicious pickles one day . . . 

Picking the spinach. I’m pretty sure the people I was working with were really amused that I kept pulling out my camera!

Then we went to visit the hogs. Pigs were my favorite animal as a child, so I was pretty excited!

Look at these little guys! So curious. I’ve read that pigs have the intelligence level of three year old children–pretty crazy! They rank fourth on the list: humans, primates, dolphins, then our porcine friends.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow I’ll share the rest of my first day at the farm.

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Vegan Fudge Pops!

I am already getting such good use out of the blender my parents brought me this past weekend! It’s only Tuesday, and I’ve used it twice. The possibilities are truly endless!

This little guy is born out of my love for chocolate, smoothies, and snacking. These past few weeks a vegan diet has been particularly challenging for me, especially around desserts and goodies other people were eating. My family was in this past weekend, and I was at Spill The Beans (a local coffee/ice cream shop) not once but TWICE and definitely tempted by the delicious frozen treats everyone was enjoying.

Super versatile and easily modified, these pops can be made out of a variety of combinations and altered easily for taste. (I’m thinking of some strawberry-chocolate and mint chocolate espresso chip flavors in the future!) Keep in mind, many of these measurements are approximate. I tend to shy away from following exact recipes when I cook, preferring to add “a little bit of this” and “a little bit of that.” Rest assured, however, that these can’t be messed up!

Spices! Coca powder has antioxidants and fiber, cinnamon helps insulin production, and stevia is a natural sweetener.

I don't have a lot of experience with silken tofu (I usually use extra-firm for cooking) but this worked wonderfully!

Vegan Fudge Pops

1 Frozen Banana
1 1/2 cups frozen spinach (you can’t taste it, I promise!!) 
1 tablespoon almond butter (or any other nut butter)
3/4 cup almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon protein powder 
1/5 packet tofu (I used silken, feel free to omit or use a different consistency) 
1 tsp chia seeds 
1/2 tsp flaxseed
2 tsp instant coffee
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
2 packets of stevia  

Blend ingredients together. Pour into popsicle maker and freeze. If you are using the amco express popsicle maker as I was (which I do not recommend), freeze the base 24 hours first and then pour the liquid in and pop it into the freezer for another 20 minutes or so. My parents just brought me the blender and the popsicle maker, and I didn’t know how to use it–I just froze it with the liquid. The pops refused to budge, so I had to let them warm up a bit in the fridge before they slid out.
You can omit the spinach, protein powder, and flax and chia seeds without consequence! I like them because of the added nutritional boost. Spinach is full of vitamins, fiber, and phytochemicals; flaxseed has healthy omega 3s and fiber, and chia seeds are full of protein, omega 3s, and several vitamins and minerals! Super foods for the win.

Even had some left over for a smoothie, which made a delightful afternoon snack!

I didn’t include a picture of the fudge pops themselves, because as you can imagine they are a long, dark brown log shape. Though they are delicious, they resemble…something unpleasant!

Delicious, Nutritious Breakfast

I know I’ve said it before, but true things bear repeating: maintaining a healthy lifestyle while at school is hard. Granted, it’s hard in general, but I think especially so at school. In college we experience a host of new things: less sleep, more stress, practically unlimited access to junk food, late night WaHo (read: Waffle House) runs, and no parent figure preparing balanced meals. For a lot of college freshman (whether they gain the freshman 15 or not), this can mean a decline in health level.

At my school, all freshman are required to purchase the unlimited meal plan. We can have food from the Dining Hall whenever we so please, with fast food options in another location on campus. Because I am cheap aspire to fiscal responsibility, I am and was determined to get the most out of my meal plan, and avoided purchasing foods for myself. I think a lot of other students run into this same problem–often, what’s cheapest and easiest to prepare in a college dorm room doesn’t have the most stellar nutritional stats. Though I’m right next to the kitchen on my dorm (a luxury many students don’t have) we lack pans and pots to cook in, as well as time. I also love the social experience of eating in the dining hall–I get to see my friends and take a break from class.

With this said, I have a hard time with breakfast and the weekends. On the weekends our dining hall has very limited hours and limited options, and for breakfast I have fewer vegan options than I have at home. Most of the cereals are full of added sugar, sodium, and refined carbs, the potatoes are fried, and the soy milk also has added sugar. That leaves oatmeal and fruit–not bad, but given my extreme hatred for aversion to oatmeal… let’s just say I’m learning to like it, and at this point only enjoy it with added cereal or granola for crunch, peanut butter for flavor, raisins for sweetness, and soy milk to make it like cereal. So the oatmeal I prepare isn’t that much better than the other cereals…

Because I’m trying to limit/remove sources of refined sugar in my diet (more on this later), I’m going to start having breakfast in my dorm room more often. This is good! More time to sleep, less available liquid caffeine to encourage my dependency. My parents are coming this weekend for the first time since they brought me to school last August, and they’ve procured an inexpensive, used blender for me!! Prompted a shopping trip that was heavy on nutrition and easy on the wallet. The fruit is courtesy of our dining hall–I recommend making your meal plan work for you!

That shredded wheat has no sugar or sodium,9 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein! I also got peanut butter that was only peanuts--no added oils or sweeteners!

Enter the breakfast smoothies. At home, I have one every morning chock full of whatever veggies we have in the fridge, unsweetened soy or almond milk, fruits, and other goodies that vary depending on my day and mood. Cocoa powder, stevia, cinnamon,  protein powder, nut butters, tofu , and oats are some of my personal favorites to add in.

I’ve washed and sliced my smoothie ingredients, and they’re waiting and ready to be blended together!

frozen pears and apples!

My poor roommate–I’ve filled our small freezer!

Spinach is my FAVORITE mix in for smoothies. Adds a serving of veggies in the morning, and I can't even taste it.

 Since I don’t get my blender until Thursday, I’m trying out alternatives both in my room and the dining hall. This morning, I had shredded wheat with my special mix of flaxseed, protein powder, and cinnamon (I carry it with me to our dining hall in the mornings in a tupperware container…I get some funny looks, but it’s worth it). The nutritional stats were awesome (about 16 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber), and I was full (even with a hard workout) until lunch!

What are your favorite healthy breakfasts on the go?