Purple Carrot Plant-Based Meal Subscription Review

Southern Style Corn Fritters with Chowchow salad and date butter. Purple Carrot takes out all of the guess work.

Southern Style Corn Fritters with Chowchow salad and date butter. Purple Carrot takes out all of the guess work.

SUBSCRIPTION BOXES! Is there a thing that exists that you cannot receive in via a monthly subscription box straight to your doorstep? No, no there isn’t. I received a Purple Carrot subscription and wanted to give my opinions. Keep reading if you would like the tea.

What I Liked

I really liked the meals that you can choose from. There is a “quick and easy” option which is what I went with, but there are other options for higher protein meals or more gourmet style as well. It makes it so much easier to make more complicated meals or to use ingredients that I would shy away from. It was a lot of fun trying new foods, techniques, and adding variety into our week.

I like how simple it is to skip weeks from the website. You can choose the meals that you want, with a minimum of three. You can add on breakfasts, lunches, and more dinners if you want to. From this same page you can skip future weeks.

Each week, regardless of how many meals you choose, you get the recipe book for all of them. I absolutely love this feature. Just because you didn’t get the meal that week, you could totally get the ingredients needed from the store and make it yourself in future weeks. You could have a whole cookbook worth of recipes in just a few weeks time.

The quick and easy recipes really are quick and easy. If you just follow the steps, you will have a delicious meal in no time. I loved making some of the dinners with Danny, and we pretended to be on FInal Table (lol).

Too much plastic for me to consciously use meal subscriptions long-term

Too much plastic for me to consciously use meal subscriptions long-term

What I Didn’t Like

In order to package everything properly, A LOT of plastic is used. All the ingredients must be packaged individually, there is a lot of insulation used. It’s just a lot of waste, and that is my number one dislike. Some of the containers you can rinse and re-use, but they quickly stack up.

If you don’t skip your meals by the deadline, you are locked in. Additionally, some meals sell out so if you do not choose your meals in advance, there is a possibility you could be stuck with something you wouldn’t have originally chosen. This could be more problematic for picky eaters or people that can’t eat certain food items.

Who Is It For?

Purple Carrot is perfect for people that are brand new to veganism or just vegan curious. Everything is planned for you, and it takes all of the guessing out of it. This would be an excellent way to familiarize yourself with plant based cooking and ingredients! You could totally do this for a month and have enough fresh ideas for weeks and weeks.

People that want to eat healthier. Each meal gives exact nutritional information. Some are higher in calories, and I often cut my serving in half. Purple Carrot could easily jump-start a healthier meal plan lifestyle.

Busy bees! Purple Carrot is perfect for those that work long hours or have time commitments that don’t allow them the time to meal plan, make grocery lists, go to the store, etc. This cuts out a huge chunk of time that you can use to do other things.

This was perhaps the most delicious thing I have personally ever cooked

This was perhaps the most delicious thing I have personally ever cooked

Would I Use It Again?

Ultimately, yes! I have received two weeks worth of Purple Carrot at this point, and I think we will use it again with upcoming travel weeks when we would rather not be rushed with meal planning and store lists, etc. Your initial box can be very affordable with coupon code “pcspring30” - just $42! Subsequent weeks do go up in price, and as I have the time to go to the store, it is much more affordable for us to opt that way. Purple Carrot isn’t sustainable for us on a weekly basis, but I love it for busier weeks.


Do you have any questions about Purple Carrot or otherwise? Let me know in the comments!

K8's (Updated) Go-To Vegan Protein Oatmeal Recipe

LOVE my oatmeal in the morning (or any time really)

LOVE my oatmeal in the morning (or any time really)

Oatmeal is one of my very favorite foods, especially in the cold weather. Versatile, healthy, filling, cheap, nutritious, cozy. It is probably the only food that I could (and do) eat every day and not grow tired of it. Below you will find my go-to recipe, it’s easy, quick and many of the ingredients are able to be eliminated or swapped out based on preference or what you have in your own kitchen or pantry.


Ingredients:

1/3 cup rolled oatmeal

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 serving vegan protein powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup of non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon black strap molasses

Toppings of your choosing. Some of my favorites: banana, pink lady apple, frozen cranberries, granola, nut butter, dessert hummus, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut and chia jam.

Adding frozen cranberries into my oatmeal is one of my favorite winter oatmeal variations!

Adding frozen cranberries into my oatmeal is one of my favorite winter oatmeal variations!

Method:

I always just cook my oatmeal in water. The ratio is usually 1:1 but since I add protein powder, I usually add 1/2 cup of water for 1/3 cup of oatmeal. 

Bring the water to a boil, pour in your oatmeal and your chia seeds and stir. Place the heat on simmer. Cook according to time suggested on your oatmeal packaging. 

Stir in your protein powder, I typically use Nuzest but whatever you like will work just fine. This will thicken up the oatmeal a lot so I usually stir in a little unsweetened cashew milk or almond milk, whatever I happen to have in the fridge at the time. This will make it creamier, but feel free to use water.

I also stir in a teaspoon of black strap molasses, more for nutritional value than for taste. Sometimes I will sprinkle in turmeric for the same reasons.

Prepare your toppings! You can do this while the oatmeal is cooking or before you begin. This is where you can get creative. I like to have fun in the kitchen so this is the best part for me. Cut your banana up in a fun way, use a fruit you wouldn’t normally think of, try new nut butters.

Put your oaties in a bowl and top with any nuts, fruit, seeds or granola that you wish.

These oats are so satisfying yet so easy to make. If you make some, take a photo and tag me on Instagram! I will share them on my stories. Hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Vegan Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Easy and delicious vegan soup - perfect for cold weather!

Easy and delicious vegan soup - perfect for cold weather!

Wondering what to do with the leftovers? Or maybe you want a lower-calorie option for one of your favorite soups! Admittedly, I probably held onto my Christmas leftovers a little too long, but I am still alive and well so I guess it wasn't too bad. I turned the few leftover mashed potatoes I had into a delicious and healthy version of one of my all time favorite soups: Creamy Potato! 

This winter has been pretty bitter in my part of the world. I don't know about you, but I always want soup and grilled cheese when it is cold and bitter outside. This recipe is very simple and pairs perfectly with a Daiya grilled cheese (or crackers...or by itself) Tag me on Instagram @k8canrelate if you make the soup! 

Soup and grilled cheese for 2

Soup and grilled cheese for 2

What you'll need: 

  • 1 large head of cauliflower 
  • 1 medium yellow onion 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes 
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (or more for taste)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt 
Use as much or as little Nutritional Yeast as you want, this is what gives the soup a cheesy flavor.

Use as much or as little Nutritional Yeast as you want, this is what gives the soup a cheesy flavor.

What to do: 

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop your cauliflower - they don’t need to be uniform. Peel 4 cloves of garlic. Place the cauliflower and garlic onto a nonstick pan or parchment lined pan. Place the pan into the oven for 20 minutes. 

In the last 10 minutes of cook time for the cauliflower, chop your yellow onion. Place your olive oil into a pot and place the burner on medium heat. Dump your onions into the pot and let cook down for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour your vegetable broth into the pot as well and stir. 

Check your cauliflower, it should be golden brown and a little crispy. Put your roasted cauliflower and garlic into the pot with the onions and vegetable broth. Turn up the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. 

If you have an immersion blender, that method works. I used a regular blender. I poured my broth and other ingredients into my blender, everything except the leftover mashed potatoes. I powered the blender on low for about 4-5 minutes. I then added the mashed potatoes in and blended for an additional 3 minutes. 

Check the consistency. If you feel that it’s too thick, add in more vegetable broth or, for a creamier texture, unsweetened almond milk. 

Serve immediately or keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days. 

Healthy + Vegan Winter Veggie Bowl with Crispy Tofu

PERFECT for meal prep and packed lunches! 

PERFECT for meal prep and packed lunches! 

The other weekend I decided it had been way too long since I had made my beloved winter roasted veggie bowls for lunch and even longer since I had posted a recipe! I got all of these ingredients (sans tofu) at my local Aldi store. 

This recipe is PERFECT for meal prep and packed lunches! It is simple, budget-friendly, healthy, delicious and filling. That's really all we can ask for in life, am I right? 

Winter Veggie Bowl with Crispy Tofu

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free

What you'll need: 

  • Butternut squash
  • Broccoli (or Brussel sprouts) 
  • Large red onion
  • Garlic 
  • Extra-firm tofu
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Sauce of choice: I reccommend Balsamic vinegar
  • Grain of choice
Veggies before being put into the oven to roast!

Veggies before being put into the oven to roast!

What you do: 

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prep your veggies for roasting! Use a potato peeler to remove the skin on your butternut squash. Cut it in half (with a hefty knife) and then scoop out the seeds. Chop it up, you can try to make them the same size-ish so that they cook evenly but it isn't life or death. Next, cut up your broccoli. If you are using Brussel sprouts, cut them in half. Chop your red onion, I like to leave some of mine stuck together so that they don't cook as fast. Go ahead and get your garlic out of the coating. Place all of your veggies on a non-stick cooking sheet and drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over them and toss them to be evenly coated. I sprinkle on black pepper, but you can use salt or any other of you favorite seasonings. 

Put veggies into the oven. You will want them to cook for 10 minutes and you will flip them. While they are cooking, press your tofu. I have a tofu press but you can also use heavy objects like I used to, however, I would really suggest the tofu press. Leave this in the press for now. 

After 10 minutes have passed, take out your veggies and flip them. I removed my broccoli at this point because they were done but if you are using a sturdier vegetable, you might want to continue to cook them. Place the veggies back into the oven to cook for another 10 minutes.

No oil crispy tofu! 

No oil crispy tofu! 

HEALTHY CRISPY TOFU HACK. Don't you love crispy tofu at Thai or other Asian food restaurants? It is so good! But it is fried and not the most healthy. A lot of recipes for crispy tofu require you to toss them in cornstarch or do extra steps. Here is how I make my crispy tofu: Take your tofu out of the press and cut up into uniform squares. Place onto a nonstick cookie sheet (do not use foil or parchment paper, you want it directly on the sheet). Your oven should already be super hot at this point, so just place your tofu on the sheet and place it into the oven for ~8 minutes. Take it out and flip the tofu onto the other side. It should already be crispy on the side that was touching the pan. Cook for another 8 minutes. 

Budget-friendly Aldi finds for the win! 

Budget-friendly Aldi finds for the win! 

While your veggies and tofu are finishing up, make your grain. For the simplest method, I suggest finding a steamable grain like these that I found at Aldi. They are already flavorful and much quicker to cook. They are pretty foolproof as well and friendlier for the apprehensive cook. Go ahead and steam up your grain per the directions on the package. Your veggies and tofu should be ready to come out now. 

Toss all of your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add any sauce that you might like, I usually opt for Balsamic vinegar! Separate into your Tupperware for the week and enjoy. 

As always, let me know if you make this recipe by tagging me in your photos! 

Simple Vegan Dog Treats

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Are you a dog owner that is conscious about what kinds of foods you put into your own body? Have you considered that you may be harming your beloved four legged best friend by providing them with processed and questionable foods? Find a simple recipe below that uses real food and don't harm your dog, any other animals or the world! These are also safe for you or your children and are super delicious for a snack or crumbled on top of a smoothie.

 Ingredients:

  • 4 Sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 c - 3/4 c raw unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 c oatmeal

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F. Steam your sweet potatoes in the microwave. Make sure you puncture the skin so they can breathe. I didn't include the skin, but you probably can. Steam them with the skin on and it will peel right off after steaming. I steamed mine for about 5 minutes in the microwave (regular setting). Mash your sweet potatoes and add in the oatmeal. Stir in your peanut butter. I found fun silicone molds on Amazon which work great! Press mixture into molds and bake for 20 minutes (may need to bake longer depending on your mold)

Follow my pup on Instagram: @Zodiacthemutt

Follow my pup on Instagram: @Zodiacthemutt

Store well in the refrigerator for up to a week! Dog (and human) approved.

CauliBerry Smoothie

Low sugar - Long lasting full feeling

Low sugar - Long lasting full feeling

Cauliflower Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen riced cauliflower
  • ½ cup frozen berries (I used strawberries here)
  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup coconut shavings
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground flax meal
  • 2 dates
  • 1 ½ cup nondairy milk of your choice

Place all your ingredients in the blender and blend on high. Stop and scrape down the sides, blend again until desired consistency. I like to top mine with puffed cereal, cacao nibs and chia seeds!

This makes quite a large amount of smoothie, it keeps me full for hours and is very low in sugar! The healthy fats are what maintain that full feeling for longer. I have been loving this for breakfast lately, it has helped me curb all of my late night snacking cravings. Start your day with a big breakfast full of this goodness!

 

 

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Smoothie Bowl

Topped with coconut, cacao nibs and fresh strawberries

Topped with coconut, cacao nibs and fresh strawberries

As you should know, I love using zucchini (and even cauliflower) in my oatmeal to make it more voluminous without the caloric density of added oatmeal. I had been hearing more and more about using vegetables as a base for smoothies but hadn't bothered to try it - UNTIL NOW

By using a vegetable base you are allowing for a low sugar smoothie, but this particular recipe is almost like a fluffy mousse texture, so delicious! I have already had this smoothie twice in 24 hours (this is not an exaggeration) and this recipe was adapted from Rachlmansfield.com ! I plan to experiment with more flavor combinations and also different vegetables for the base - comment below if you would like for me to blog various vegetable based smoothie recipes that I come up with.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c frozen zucchini
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 fresh avocado
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 2 dates
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder *optional
  • 1 scoop Natural Citizen Organic Digest *optional (coupon code available!)
  • 1 cup nondairy milk

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high until combined. Top with desired toppings such as coconut flakes, fresh fruit or cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Go Green Protein Bites

Organic Greens have only 4 ingredients and very little flavor, perfect nutritious punch of the spirulina without the typical overpowering flavor

Organic Greens have only 4 ingredients and very little flavor, perfect nutritious punch of the spirulina without the typical overpowering flavor

Go Green Protein Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon The Natural Citizen Organic Greens
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 1 scoop plant based protein (like Garden of Life or The Natural Citizen)

Method:

Mash banana with a fork, stir in oats and mix well. Add protein and Organic Greens and stir well. It will become thick and that is okay. Roll into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate for up to a week.


I have been using The Natural Citizen powders for about a year, and I love their stuff. I also love the people behind the stuff. They genuinely care about their customer, they put effort into the packaging, into their customer service and into the message that they put out into the world. I have partnered with them as an ambassador, that means when you use my coupon code, I get a portion of the sale. I never want to be salesy or pushy, but when it comes to a few companies and products that I REALLY believe in, I want you to know about it. There is a link on my Collaborations page that I would be super grateful if you would use to shop, and if you do order, at checkout you can use K8CANRELATE for 15% off your order (free domestic shipping!)

Thank you guys for continually supporting me and cheering me on, and let me know if you make some Go Green Protein Bites!

Organic Greens are also perfect to add into a smoothie in place of (or in addition to) kale or baby spinach as the Vitamin A and Iron content is so high!

Organic Greens are also perfect to add into a smoothie in place of (or in addition to) kale or baby spinach as the Vitamin A and Iron content is so high!

Mary's Cashew Cookie Nicecream Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews

  • 1 cup pitted dates

  • 2-3 ripe frozen bananas

  • ¼ to ½ tsp beet powder (optional)

  • ¼ cup dairy free chocolate chips

Directions:

For the cookies - Blend cashews and dates in a food processor or high speed blender until they form a sticky dough. (some large chunks of cashews can remain) Remove from the processor or blender and form a ball with the dough. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out with a rolling pin or flatten with hands to about a quarter inch thick. Use a super cool cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as you can. My little heart cookie cutter made 16 cookies and left a little extra dough for a snack. Place cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and let them chill in the freezer.

For the nice cream - Wash and dry your processor or blender so you can use it for your nice cream! Throw your frozen bananas in there and blend em up, occasionally stopping to scrape down the chunks of the sides of the processor or blender until smooth. Add beet powder (or not!) and blend until pink.

Initial assembly - Scoop the nice cream into a piping bag with a round tip in it (or Ziploc bag, trimming one corner to create a circular hole once filled and zipped) Removing your cookies from the freezer, carefully pipe a layer of nice cream on half of your cookies, and return them to the freezer for about five minutes. After five minutes have passed, remove the cookies from the freezer and carefully place the remaining cookies on top of the nice cream ones, creating sandwiches. You can give them a gentle tap to make sure the nice cream fully meets the cookie, but be super gentle! Return the cookie sandwiches to the freezer once more.

For the chocolate drizzle - Melt your chocolate chips in a non-stick pot over medium heat stirring constantly until completely smooth. (alternatively you can melt them in the microwave in a safe dish, stopping every 20 seconds to stir). Remove from the heat, pull cookie sandwiches from the freezer, and drizzle chocolate with the edge of a spatula or fork onto them. Be as fancy and neat or messy and generous as you'd like, but watch out for melty nice cream! Work as quickly as possible, and pop em in the freezer for as long as possible. Anywhere from an hour to overnight will make them ready to enjoy! (And you will definitely enjoy them...you may not even want to share!!!)

Find Mary on her YouTube channel or on her Instagram page: VeganLoveAdventure

Find Mary on her YouTube channel or on her Instagram page: VeganLoveAdventure

Mary is a friendly, Harry Potter obsessed, yoga practicing human who also happens to be a vegan and a wife and a lover of daily trips to the ocean. She is in love with being alive and free, adventuring as often as possible, attempting to live in a state of near-constant optimism and is convinced that we hold the power to manifest our own wonderful happenings. Follow along on her adventures, and find more vegan recipes too, on her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/veganloveadventure

On why others should eat plant based:

Everyone should eat plant based for three reasons – the animals, their own health and the health of our planet. When you eat a plant based diet, no one has to suffer or die for your meal. The animal thank us; our bodies thank us; and the planet thanks us. If you find yourself wanting to know more about how animals are treated at organic and “free range” farms, please check out PETA’s article (http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/free-range-organic-meat-myths/) entitled, “The Organic and ‘Free Range’ Myths”. If you want to learn more about how consuming animal products affects our health, check out any of Dr. Michael Greger’s videos on http://nutritionfacts.org/ or the pages of his novel, How Not to Die. And if you’re looking to learn more about how eating vegan can save the planet, look no further than Cowspiracy, an eyeopening documentary that you can watch for free on Netflix.

Acai Maqui Bowl

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Who doesn't love a creamy cold smoothie bowl? A perfect way to kick start the spring season! Spoiler alert: I never had an acai bowl before. I tried out the Sunfood Acai Maqui Bowl Mix and it was heavenly!

What are the benefits? ALLLL the vitamins! It's basically like a superfood vitamin in icecream form. WAY better than Flintstone's vitamins, and that is a tall order!

  • Vitamin A which may contribute to healthy immunity, vision, bone health and cell integrity
  • Vitamin C which may function as an antioxidant as well as contribute to healthy immunity and bone health
  • Vitamin B1 which may contribute to mental function and metabolism
  • Vitamin B3 which may help regulate metabolism and support normal cell growth
  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids which may contribute to mental function and hearth health
  • Calcium which may assist in supporting strong bones
  • Potassium which may help maintain healthy blood pressure in combination with a low sodium diet
  • Magnesium which may contribute to normal bone health and immunity
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Acai Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Sunfood Acai Maqui Bowl Mix
  • 1.5 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk

Method:

Combine in the blender or food processor until creamy. Toppings are the best part, go crazy! Delicious and nutritious, just how I like it.