Beneath this beautiful roasted veggie-quinoa-bean bowl (recipe coming!) was a very interesting article.

Lettuce take a closer look.

Wex has done some cool things.  First of all, he shops at Trader Joe’s.  The friendly cashier pointed out his driver and fancy silver car to Ally and I last time we were there.  He also recently donated some pocket change, $100 million,  to OSU.  But  more importantly, the Wexner Center is home to a fab new cafe.

Heirloom Cafe.  On Campus. Local and organic ingredients.  Seasonal menu.  Vegetarian and vegan options.  Need I say more?

This Wex knows his stuff.

Kara and I decided to eat lunch at Heirloom today.  There are actually many more meat options than veg and they’re mostly all organic which is quite exciting!   I noticed butternut squash guacamole and hummus as sides on the menu… love at first sight.  The chef has worked for Northstar as well, so you know the food is bound to be humbelievable.

I of course ordered the Grainy as a side.  It was so fresh and had a great cilantro lime tanginess. Did you notice the locally grown Ohio apples to the left? Oh yeah.

I ordered the Big Salad–mixed greens, arugula, pasta (got it without), sunflower seeds, raisins, currants, carrot, broccoli, cucumber, white balsamic maple vinaigrette and some SERIOUS croutons.  The croutons were warm and crispy and amazing, definitely the star of the salad.  The woman who brought our food said the pasta makes the salad, so next time I’ll get it with the pasta.  The vinaigrette was fresh and perfect. It was definitely reminded me of the dressing on my favorite Village Salad at Northstar.

The only problem was that it wasn’t that big.  Hmmmm, “the Big Salad”….riiiight.

The Grainy.  Aptly named… definitely “not your granny’s grainy!” 

Take a bite. It won’t kill ya.

I highly recommend this place.  Honestly, there really is nothing else like it on campus.  It’s refreshing to go somewhere where I actually want everything on the menu.   They have awesome looking desserts and coffee, too.

If you don’t take my advice, at least stop by the farmer’s market on fifteenth and high because it’s literally right on your way home.

See you there!

the big ten

Football season is the best season.  But no, not that big ten…
Here are some of my favorite recipes to make on a Sunday and eat all week for lunch.  Don’t tell me you don’t have time to pack a lunch! Or else I’ll have to throw ten easy recipes at you.
  • Meatloaf Muffins.  These are incredible.  I made them for the girls and they told me they really tasted like homemade meatballs.  The best part is that they have are made from whole ingredients like oats and beans.  This is one of my favorite recipes and it was especially helpful when I first went veggie andwanted something easy but full of protein.  Pair it with whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash.

  • Beans and Rice.  Simple, healthy and delish.  Complimentary protein heyyyy!

  • Tempeh Chilli from Mama Pea’s cookbook.  Guess you’ll have to buy the book for the recipe!

Go bucks!

toasted tofurkey

I’m fairly sure that turkey sandwiches aren’t vegan.  I think turkeys have mothers.  And faces.

With lunch box season in bloom, it would be really nice to pack a sandwich.  Back in the day, I’d die for a turkey and muenster. A tuna with tomato and cheddar.  A corned beef on rye with LiaBanana portions of mustard. 

These days, my sandwich options are either a pb and j or a hummus and veggie.  Eh, not that impressed. Let’s step it up a notch.  Or else we’ll be forced to eat gorgeous salads every day.

Building a vegan turkey sandwhich isn’t as scary as it sounds. Promise.

It  sounds gross, right?  Right.

It tastes pretty much like regular turkey, right?  Right.

It’s made with freaky ingredients, right?  WRONG!

It’s basically made with organic tofu, vital wheat gluten and spices that give it a nice smokey edge.  I’m not gonna lie…I was scared of it.  Eating regular lunch meat turns me off  because of all the salt and chemicals and slime.  Eating lunch meat that isn’t even lunch meat turns me off even more.  I’m not a fan of vegan chick’n/meat/cheese…I like to stick with whole food versions that have similar taste profiles.

Well, I stand corrected.

Nikki’s new veg self came home with lots of my old time Trader Joe’s favorites: hummus, Ezekiel bread, tons of veggies, apples, etc.  Then I saw the tofurkey and thought, “Ok, Nik.  Now you’re gonna teach me something!”

She buttered up (with Earth Balance obviously) some Ezekiel bread and started toasting it on the stove.  Then she spread on some spicy brown mustard. It was nice to see normal amounts of mustard.  I’m used to LiaBanana pouring it into her mouth like cheez whiz.

Now we’re no longer tofurkey virgins.  Hallelujah!

The TJ’s guacamole kit was getting jealous, so we got down to business.

Now we’re finally relaxing, watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding to go along with our big fat green bellies.

 “Ian’s a vegetarian… He doesn’t eat meat.”

“What do you mean you don’t eat no meat?!  That’s ok.  I make lamb!”

one cupcake at a time

Ain’t that the truth.

I feel like I have a million things on my plate and it’s only the first day of class.

By plate, I don’t mean the vegtastic plate of food that I ate at Chabad’s BBQ tonight. 

I probably ate a fourth of the grilled veggies on that serving plate.  Not pictured above: massive amounts of salad, more coleslaw and an Amy’s bistro burger (vegan!). Oh, and a chocolate chip cookie.

I keep reminding myself of the advice I gave you all in this post. It’s so important to not lose sight of doing what you love.  I’ll be honest…I get stressed about finding the time to blog in a way that’s up to my standards.  I would rather post my heart out when I have the time than give you something  everyday that doesn’t make you laugh, make you hungry and make you want to go cook up a veg storm.  So in the first few months of senior year, bear with me! 

Enough serious business. Let’s move on to more important matters.

My closet.

Take a closer look.

No, I’m not referring to my dire need of clothing and shoes.

Ding ding ding!

Is that not the t-shirt of all t-shirts? The cream of the crop? The to on the fu? The frosting on the cupcake?

Nikki’s mom got it for me at a vegan convention.  I would have given an arm to go to that convention.

I’ll have to thank her next time she visits with some grits buttery oat bran.

I really should listen to my own advice.  I really should listen to this t-shirt.  I really should come up with a killer cupcake recipe to go along with that gem of a t-shirt.

It’ll all get done.  It’ll all work out.  One cupcake at a time.

* * *

You all make my world sweeter one post at a time. Thank you for reading! It means SO much to me and I love reading each and every comment.

“Love who you love, say that you do…don’t waste the time that flies so fast.”  Rascall Flats

Buttery Oat Bran

Moving into a new apartment is like getting black mold off an old bathtub.

Oh wait, it isn’t like that.  It is that.

The good thing is that if you run out of room for your squash stash, there’s always the top of the microwave.  Acorn, butternut, spaghetti…gang’s all here!

Black mold isn’t exactly blog material, so instead let’s talk about how I’ve been eating the same thing for breakfast every day and it is SO good.  It’s also SO simple.  You should probably make it tomorrow morning.  It will really get you going, if you know what I mean.

I love this recipe because it reminds me of grits.   What’s not to love about buttery grits?

Let me answer that for you:


Now let’s discuss Trader Joe’s toasted oat bran.  Nutty, toasty, oaty perfection.

Let’s look at the stats.  One serving of oat bran plus the two tablespoons of chia seeds in the following recipe has 23% of the daily value of iron and 12% for calcium. Not to mention 13 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein.  And the ingredients are just oat bran and chia seeds!  Nothing added, clean and simple 🙂

The chia seeds in this recipe remind me of those little black things in grits.  What are those things, anyway?

Buttery Oat Bran

-serves one

  •  1/3 cup oat bran
  • 3/4 cup milk  (I use unsweetened almond)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • good sprinkling of sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter, optional)

I forgot to take a picture, since I always eat it too fast.  Oops.

you could even make your oat bran with these adorable milk boxes!!

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Microwave for a minute.  Stir and microwave for another minute.

It’s important to add enough salt to this to get that gristsy flavor so make sure to salt to taste!  Also, the butter isn’t really necessary.  For some reason, it’s still so buttery without it.  You can decide on you own.  But if the mixture seems not quite liquidy enough, feel free to add more water/milk when it’s done cooking!

With sweet oats, I can never finish the whole bowl.  I’m overwhelmed by all the peanut butter, banana and chocolate that I cram in there.  But there is something so addicting about this salty oat bran.  And what if even I added some nutritional yeast for a cheezey twist? Dream big.

If you’re not completely satisfied, I’ll give you a bite of my Tasi honey wheat toast with homemade vanilla  peach jam.

But seriously, I finish the whole bowl of oat bran every time.  Take that, specially processed degerminated white corn grits!

You’re really not that special.

Where do you get your iron!?

My eats today were delicious, but let’s not be too wordy about it.

Lunch was Aab Indian buffet. Snackage was buttery oat bran with chia seeds (recipe to come).  Dinner was leftover smoky spinach split pea soup and maple butter acorn squash.

My eats yesterday were delcious as well.  This may get wordy.

After my run I refueled with this baby. Warning: it ain’t pretty.

What IS that thing?! Split pea soup? Pop eye’s breakfast of champions? The loch ness monster? 

No, silly.

Chia Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl

-makes one huge bowl o’ smoothie, inspired by OhSheGlows Pumpkin Pie Monster

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1-2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 sliced frozen banana
  • 1/2  cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or combo of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)
  • 2 tsp molasses/maple syrup
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • stevia to taste (I used half a packet)

Blend until smooth!

*The chia seeds thicken up the smoothie a lot. They’re quite the superfood, packed with calcium, iron, omega-3’s, fiber (6 grams in 2 tbsp!) and protein. They also have more antioxidants than flaxseed!

After having two huge bowls of split pea soup and Mary’s Gone Crackers with half a container of Whole Foods greek hummus, I was of course still hungry. 

I wanted something chocolately and cerealy. We all know I don’t eat Corn Pops, so it’s not like I was gonna grab any Cocoa Krispies.  But I still wanted that chocolately-drinkable-milk effect.

Not to mention my ghiradelli dark chocolate chips that were on sale at Target were staring at me.

Dark Choco PB Cereal

-lightly adapted from Fitnessista’s serious cereal

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup kamut puffs
  • 1 1/2 tsp DARK cocoa powder (or more if you’re a chocosapien)
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips
  • stevia/sugar to taste(I used almost a whole packet!  You want this sweet.)
  • milk

Combine oats, kamut puffs, cocoa powder, choco chips and stevia in a bowl.  Stir in peanut butter. Make sure to sweeten this enough to taste!  You may want to use sweetened milk, as well.  YUM!

If you make this, you have to promise me one thing… That you’ll drink the milk.

Smile because the milk is chocolately and because one tablespoon of Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa powder has 2 grams of fiber and 15% of your daily value of iron!

Soooo next time a skeptical carnivore asks you where you get your iron, you can say hmmm…leafy greens, beans, and dark choco pb cereal, DUH!

Smoky Spinach Split Pea Soup

Every single light was green on the way home from the gym today.

It was a sign.

A sign that the big pot of green simmering away for two hours while I ran was going to be the biggest, most beautiful pot of delicious smelling green on God’s green earth.

Meet Smoke.  Liquid Smoke.

He is not optional. He is most definitley required.  Do NOT leave him out, or you will regret it.  He costs two or three dollars at Whole Foods, and you’re already going out to buy split peas anyway.

Smoky Spinach Split Pea Soup

-serves 8

  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 8 cups water (total)
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3-4 cups of packed spinach (to be blended with 1/2 cup water)
  • 4 large diced carrots
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt (at least) and pepper to taste 
I forgot the spinach in this picture…oops!
  • Spray a large pot over medium heat with cooking spray.  Saute diced onion and garlic for about five minutes.  Add a bit of water if they seem too dry.
  • Add in diced carrot and saute for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, stuff your spinach into a food proccesor or blender and blend with 1/2 cup of water.  It should end up looking like a thick green liquid.  You can use as much spinach as you want (you won’t taste it!), but if you add more water, you need to subtract it from the 8 cups of total water used.
  • Add in spinach mixture, dried basil and the bay leaf. Give it a good sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. Add in 7 1/2 cups of water and bring it to a boil.

  • Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours.
  • Once simmered, the soup should be thick and the peas should be tender.  Add sea salt to taste (at least 1 1/2 tsp) and pepper, then the lemon juice and liquid smoke.  If you want it more smoky, feel free to add more liquid smoke!

This soup is delicious.  Not to mention it has about 15 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein per serving and almost no fat.  And you would never guess that there is a boatload of spinach hidden in there.

Green light.  Go!

Tall, dark and handsome

I know what you’re thinking when you read the name of this post. 

Not Channing Tatum.

Not Big from “Sex and the City.”

Not that one guy from that one movie who isn’t half as TD&H when you find out his name is Morris Chestnut.

You’re thinking of only one thing.

Tall Dark Hot Cocoa

  • 1 cup of milk*
  • 2 tbsp So Delicious coconut creamer (or dairy creamer)
  • 1 heaping tbsp dark cocoa powder (like Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 3/4 packet of Stevia (or other sweetener, like a couple tsp of sugar or to taste)
  • dash of sea salt
  • sprinkling of cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (plus 1 tbsp on the side)

*I used Silk Light because it’s lightly sweetened and has a great creamy taste.  I’m not a fan of hot cocoa made with almond milk, so I recommend Silk Light or dairy milk.  The coconut milk creamer makes this ultra creamy and decadent!

Heat the milk and creamer in a mug for about 90 seconds in the microwave.

While the milk is heating, stir all the other ingredients in a separate mug (like one that says Alex because Disney World didn’t think Alexis was cool enough in 1997).

Pour the heated milk over the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.  Put a little elbow grease in it…those chocolate chips aren’t gonna melt by themselves!

If you want this to be extra TD&H, serve it with a bowl of chocolate chips to pop in your mouth before each sip. Because of the dark cocoa powder, each sip tastes like a creamy bite of cookie.

Step aside, Morris. I’ve got cookies to drink.

Life’s Little Lessons

I can’t believe I’m a senior in college. Time is flying by.

Tonight when Liabanana was picking out bedtime stories, she said, “This one will crack your head off!”  She was right–they were pretty funny.  Luckily, I still have my head, and I even found a few thoughts up there that I thought I should share. 

Lesson #1: Kids don’t come out of the womb hating broccoli and all things healthy.

After school today, I asked Liabanana if she wanted her usual snack of something dipped in mustard.  When I told her there was arugula (perfect mustard vehicle) in the fridge, her eyes lit up like I had just told her I bought four puppies. 

The other night, I made her Amy’s mac and cheese.  Guess what she did?  She doused it in my mustard.  At least it’s turmeric making it yellow and not yellow #5 (take a look at the ingredients in banana peppers).  Did you think they were naturally electric yellow?

SaunBaun requested “the usual, which you should know by now,” –half of a  toasted whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.  She says she eats this nearly every twelve hours.  A true hummusapien.

Lesson #2: Make time to do what you love.

I thought starting my blog would be incredibly daunting, that it would take way too much time and effort.   Yes, I probably spend 3 hours a day taking pictures, blogging, thinking about blogging, and reading my other favorite blogs.  But it’s what I love to do.  I look so forward to it.  Yes, I go to sleep hungry nearly every night because I stare at avocado pudding and maple pancakes before bed.  But now that I’ve fallen in love with hummusapien, I feel like I’ve found my calling, my creative outlet, my passion.  Don’t sit around telling yourself that you’ll do it next month. You won’t. Do it now. 

Lesson #3: Don’t get too old to read before bed.

Lesson 4: Bad days are no fun.  But it’s no fun to dwell on the bad days when there are surely some good days ahead.

 Lesson #5: Have confidence in yourself.  At the right time in the right place, everything will start making sense. 

Lesson #6: Make Portobello mushroom burgers using this recipe.

These are so juicy and delicious.  Put it on a whole wheat but with a truckload of mustard and call it a day.  Or serve it on a bed of spinach and arugula with hemp seeds and your favorite vinaigrette.  Or slice them up and serve them salad style with hunks of goat cheese. 

Don’t have a grill?  Broil them for 4-5 minutes per side.  Now you have no excuses.

Tonight I curled SaunBaun’s hair because she was going to see Katy Perry in concert while LiaBanana and I sat through Spy Kids 4. Life is not fair. 

But hey, “Every single night turns into a brand new day.”