Sunday, February 28, 2016

Vegan Sunday Brunch: Savory Breakfast Bowl with Roasted Potatoes.

Nobody alive can deny the fact that breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but also the most delicious. I mean, come on--is there anything on earth better than a tall stack of perfectly fluffy flapjacks after a long day?! Nope. Nothing. 
One of the coolest things about breakfast is the diversity of dishes and flavor combos--you've got sweet, salty, warm, cold, comforting not, fresh, the list goes on and on. I'm generally a "sweet" or "fresh" brekkie eater: I can't go a day without my nice cream, oatmeal, and smoothies! But some days a girl just needs to eat breakfast twice...because there's just too many options!! And this, my friends, is my theory of how "breakfast for dinner" was born...along with this delicious recipe :) enjoy!

               Vegan Sunday Brunch. 

Savory Breakfast Bowl and Roasted Potatoes. 

        Veggieful "meaty" goodness!

       Crisped to oil needed!

Vegan Sunday Brunch: Savory Breakfast Bowl with Roasted Potatoes. Vegan, gluten-free. Serves one. 

Breakfast bowl
1. 2/3 cup TVP granules
2. 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
3. 1 T braggs liquid aminos
4. 1/4 cup chopped red onion 
5. 2 tsp minced garlic 
6. 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms 
7. 1/4 cup sliced grape tomatoes
8. 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
9. Black pepper, to taste

1. Two medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced into wedges
2. Braggs aminos, drizzle
3. Spices of choice, to taste (I opted for onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and a little cumin! Delish!)
4. Ketchup for serving, optional 

Breakfast Bowl
1. Combine TVP and poultry seasoning in a medium microwaveable bowl and mix. Add 2/3 cup water and 1 T aminos and stir. Nuke 2 minutes. 
2. Line a small soup pot with water and satire onion and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. 
3. Stir in cooked TVP "meat" along with tomatoes. Add a splash of water and stir. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. 
4. Stir in chopped spinach off of heat until wilted. Season with pepper and spoon into serving dish. 

1. Place potato wedges into large bowl and drizzle with aminos. Sprinkle with spices and stir well to coat. 
2. Spread coated potatoes over a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. 
3. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Serve alongside breakfast bowl, with ketchup on the side, if desired. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Super Simple Salsa Chili.

I absolutely LOVE the book The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell. I discovered it not long after I went vegan, and fell in love with both his method, AND the cookbook that went along with the plan. Being a new vegan, I was an avid recipe follower, and perused cookbooks daily searching for a recipe that intrigued me (this was obviously before I started experimenting with MY OWN creations...and TFVG was born!). The China Study Cookbook was my very favorite of ALL the vegan cookbooks I ever had...and one recipe in particular really sticks in my, my tastebuds. It was a hearty vegetable stew recipe that has a secret ingredient to add a flavor punch: JARRED SALSA! Yes, you did, in fact, read that correctly. Good 'ol tex-mex style salsa. No, I'm not kidding. (Don't knock it till you try it, people.)
Although I don't remember the exact recipe for this bomb-diggity delicious stew, I've frequently thrown some salsa into my pot when I feel like it's lacking some flavor...and I have yet to be disappointed! So here's one of my favorite chili recipes that uses salsa as the main flavor booster--it's super simple and only takes about 10 minutes, start to finish...and depending on the heat of the salsa you use, this comforting bowl of goodness can pack QUITE the punch! Enjoy, my dears. :)

Super Simple Salsa Chili.
Super Simple Salsa Chili. Vegan, Gluten-free. Serves one. 

1. 1-2 cups vegetable broth (more or less, depending on how thick you want your chili)
2. 1/2 cup TVP granules, cooked in 1/2 cup water
3. onion and garlic powders, to taste
4. 1 cup frozen broccoli florets
5. 1/2 cup jarred salsa, heat of choice 

1. Combine TVP and water in a medium-sized microwaveable bowl and nuke for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave and set aside. 
2. Combine veggie broth, TVP, and broccoli in a small/medium-sized soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in salsa. Simmer 10-15 minutes for flavors to mingle. 
3. Remove stew from heat and stir well. Pour into large bowl and serve hot, with crusty bread for dipping. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Favorite Weeknight Dinner: Savory Oatmeal!

If you're one of those people who think oatmeal is strictly a breakfast food, prepare to have your world a GOOD WAY! Savory oatmeal is the new thing, people. Seriously. If you've never tried it before, this is a great recipe to start with--quick and simple and loaded with flavor and nutrition. Add a simple side salad and some fresh fruit and BOOM--"Dinn in 10"! Enjoy, guys!

Roasted Garlic  Savory Oatmeal.

Roasted Garlic Savory Oatmeal. Vegan, Gluten-Free. Serves one.

1. 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
2. 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk
3. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
4. Onion powder, salt, and black pepper, to taste
5. Toppings of choice (I used a tossed medley of grape tomatoes, lentils, corn, green peas, and chopped carrots, with a drizzle of dijon mustard...delicious!)

1. Place milk in a small soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and whisk in oats and spices OFF OF HEAT.
2. Return pot to heat and whisk well. Cook, stirring regularly, until thickened.
3. Pour into bowl and let sit 5 minutes. Top as desired and serve!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"WILW": What I'm LOVING Wednesday!

I've seen lots of recipe bloggers who do a weekly "What I ate Wednesday" post on their blog, in which they literally devote that entire post to sharing everything that they ate on that particular day. I've always loved this idea--it's practically like a free meal plan from a health foodie, am I right?! However, as much as I love this idea and have thought about doing this type of post myself, I finally decided it was kind of pointless for me to do it...I mean, if you follow me on Instagram, you guys pretty much already know everything I eat ;) But, as I mentioned in a previous post not that long ago, I want to start transforming TFVG blog into more than just healthy recipes--I want to start posting about ALL the things I'm interested in, and interested in sharing with you all...start making TFVG a vegan health and fitness blog, instead of just a vegan recipe blog.
With that said, it's been really fun thinking up a new topic to post on each week--be it a new workout, a discussion question, general health and fitness tips, you name it. When this week started, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to post on for (one of) my non-recipe posts...ALL OF MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS as of late! I'm definitely a vegan health food product connoisseur--no question about it. I love spending hours perusing new health food stores, gourmet food shops, even local grocers that just so happen to have an outstanding organic or natural food section. Some of my all-time favorite products were an "accidental discovery," so to speak--I just ran into them in the most unlikely of places! I love, love, LOVE finding new yummy products to enjoy--but you know what they say...half the fun of doing something (or in this case, FINDING something!) is sharing it with someone else! And my foodie finds are no exception!
So here's a list of my current obsessions: what they are, why I love 'em, and where you can buy 'em! Hope you enjoy these goodies as much as I do :)

1. Grainful Steel Cut Meals and Sides

Grainful is a fairly new company, specializing in healthy, quick-to-prepare frozen meals and packaged sides...ALL MADE WITH STEEL CUT OATS! I know. Amazing, right? (And amazingly delicious, I might add). Grainful's products are all 100% natural, gluten-free, non-GMO, and super yummy. And while not all of their products are vegan-friendly, there are lots of  plant-based options (HELOOOO THAI CURRY!). You can find Grainful products on the company's website, at

2. wRAWp Raw Wraps

I am completely and totally 100% unashamedly OBSESSED with these wraps. THEY. ARE. UN. BELIEVABLE! All wRAWp's products are certified organic, gluten-free, vegan, low-fat, grain-free, paleo, and nut-free! Not to mention darn delicious. And while most gluten-free tortilla and wrap options tend to be stiff and crack easily, wRAWps are super soft and pliable--the perfect vehicle for an over-stuffed burrito :) You can find wRAWps on the website, at, in addition to on Amazon, and in various chain grocery stores.

3. Sami's Bakery Products

My love of Sami's Bakery Breads is nothing new--but it's too strong not to mention anyway! This is literally the most delicious bread I've ever had in my whole entire life...gluten-free or non! This bread is literally a dream come true: gluten-free*, oil-free, sugar-free, preservative-free, and NOT FROZEN! Yup, I repeat--NOT FROZEN PEOPLE! Amazingness. Thought you had to kiss your light-as-a-cloud PB & J sammy's goodbye?! Not with Sami's--pun intended. (see what I did there? I know. I'm so clever.) Sami's products are available on their website,, and in countless locations in the southeast (the actual bakery is in Tampa, FL!).
*While many of Sami's products do not contain wheat or any gluten-containing ingredients, none of Sami's products are certified gluten-free. However, I have a gluten-intolerance (non-celiac) and am not bothered at all by Sami's non-gluten products. However, if you are highly sensitive to gluten or have celiac's disease, be advised that Sami's products are NOT certified gluten-free and ARE processed in a facility that produces wheat and gluten-containing products.

4. Zevia Stevia Sweetened "Soda"

I just recently discovered Zevia soda--and immediately fell in love! As someone who was already obsessed with seltzer water, Zevia is a nice option for those times when seltzer just won't cut with a giant bowl of nooch-covered, oil-free popcorn and the latest Grey's Anatomy episode! :) Zevias are all-natural, sugar-free, calorie-free, and artificial sweetener free (sweetened with STEVIA and ERYTHRITOL--both of which are 100% natural plant-based sweeteners!), with TONS of yummy, fizzy flavors (my favorite is the Ginger Root Beer! So good!). Zevia soda can be found at any grocery store with a natural food section (ACME, Food Lion, Kroger, Whole Foods, some ShopRite locations, etc.), and on lots of online retailers (, Amazon, even!).

5. Wink Frozen Desserts 

Wink is absolutely the most amazing thing ever. Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, and Nut-free! Oh yeah, and you can eat the WHOLE PINT FOR 100 CALORIES (and 8 grams of plant-based protein, to boot!). I KNOW. The original "100 calorie pint" flavors are shown above (cinnamon bun is my fave!), but I'm currently crushing on their new "mixed up pints"...the strawberry cheesecake in particular....
Wink pints are making their way into more locations by the week--the first pints just hit the west coast this week! But you can always order on the website, And don't worry about your pints melting--they ship in dry ice, so pints stay COMPLETELY FROZEN, even if you're far, far away! (Trust me--I get a box every month. No shame.)

6. Just Great Stuff Protein Plus Powdered Peanut Butter

You guys know I love my powdered peanut butter. After discovering my fat intolerance in early 2014,  this stuff has kept me sane ever since...I'm a PB-a-holic! But THIS. I didn't think my love powdered PB could possibly get any better...and then they came out with PROTEIN PLUS! Just Great Stuff Protein Plus boasts an impressive 8 GRAMS of plant-based protein PER 2 TABLESPOON SERVING, compared to the original's 4 grams...all by adding the secret ingredient: PEA PROTEIN POWDER! JGS Protein Plus is available on the company website,, in addition to many other online retailers (Amazon, Vitacost, Lucky Vitamin, Pure Formulas, etc.). And while Protein Plus is available in the regular, 6.35 oz. canister, let's be realistic: you'll need the big one. ;)

7. Miracle Noodle Miracle Rice

As a Miracle Noodle Ambassador, I love experimenting with MN products--especially the Miracle Rice! I've been a long-time lover of shirataki noodles (as a nice option for those nights you want pizza AND pasta AND breadsticks...), but just recently got to try Miracle Rice for the first time! And oh my goodness--boy was I missing out! Not only is MR great as a lighter sub for regular rice, but is even awesomer to ADD VOLUME to a grain-based dish! It picks up the flavor of any sauce very nicely, with no fishy aftertaste like with tofu shirataki, and is soy-free. Miracle Noodles and Miracle Rice are EVERYWHERE online (Vitacost, Netrition, Amazon,, just to name a few!), and in lots of health food stores (check out the MN product locator on their website!)

8. Sunkist Freeze-Dried Fruit

Sunkist Freeze-Dried Fruit varieties are a super fun snack and a nice change from dried fruit. I love adding these crunchy goodies on top of my oatmeal, in cereal, in homemade "trail mix," or even straight outta the bag by the handful! And with four different fruits, the possibilities and combo ideas are endless (the grapes are my fave! YUM!). You can usually find these in Walmart, in addition to on the Sunkist company website.

That about wraps up my current list, I think! Well, I could go on (Amy's Gone Crackers pretzels, Wild Garden Hummus, Walden Farms Caramel Dip--because VEGAN CARAMEL PEOPLE--, VEGA One Vanilla Chai Protein Powder, Bird's Eye Frozen, Pre-Cooked Brown Rice...), but I think I've added enough items to your grocery list for now ;) Hope you guys enjoy these fun new yummies! Be sure to let me know whatcha think of 'em, and if YOU have any yummies for ME to try! I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Until next time, fitties...

"The Fit Vegan Ginger" 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Gluten Free Protein Cake Donuts with Peanut Butter.

You need these in your life. These Protein Donuts are gluten free, oil free, sugar free, and super high protein (obviously, according to the name, haha), and delicious. All you need is about 35 minutes in the kitchen TOTAL to make them even more impressive! Add a little peanut butter for dipping goodness, and these little guys become a perfect combo of protein and carbs-the ultimate post workout snack! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Protein Cake Donut. Vegan, Gluten-free. Serves one. 

1. 1/2 cup gluten free oat flour
2. One scoop vegan protein powder (I used Sunwarrior vanilla)
3. One packet stevia powder
4. 1/2 tsp baking powder
5. Scant 1/2 cup water

1. Combine flour, protein powder, stevia, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl and mix well. 
2. Add water, stirring in as you go to avoid clumping. 
3. Pour batter into mini donut silicone/nonstick pan and bake
 350 for 25-30 minutes, until firm. 
4. Let cool 10 minutes before removing. Serve with PB! 

Discussion of the Week: How often should you change your running shoes?

In October 2012, I broke my foot. It was my junior year of high school and I was, at the time, still in the hay day of my skating life, and I was training for the annual South Atlantic Regional Championships, to be held in October. Additionally, I had just finished running my first half marathon in August, and was still on a high from the excitement and live I felt--that race turned me into a runner: those 13.1 miles made me fall in love with running. I felt so good after the race, I decided I was going to train for a full marathon. The Richmond marathon is every November, and I figured, what could be more perfect--I was about halfway there with my weekly mileage if I wanted to train for a marathon, so why not?! A week after my half marathon, I dove into marathon training,  slowly increasing my weekly mileage by the recommended 10%. In addition to logging 35-40 miles a week, I was spending about 2 hours on the ice each day. I was having be time of my life--but started noticing my left foot giving me a little pain. 
At first it was just annoying: a niggle and nuisance on a long run. Then it got worse...I was training on rough trails, and had to take my runs inside to a treadmill to compensate for the pain. Then it started getting really bad...I had to seriously reduce my mileage, and give up on my hopes of running the marathon in November. I was just focused on running at all at this point. Then it happened. I was on the ice one day-a Thursday-and I was going into a double flip. Right beige will took off, I felt a crack...well heard a crack, to be exact. I immediately went to my orthopedic doctor, and he did an emergency MRI scan. When I got the results a week later, my greatest fear was confirmed: I had a broken foot. 
After I recovered, I spent time talking at length with my doctor.  He referred me to a physical therapist...who just so happened to be an ultra marathon runner also. She analyzed my gait, stride, muscle imbalances, and last but not least, shoes. Turns out I had over 2,000 miles on my current pair of trainers...DANGEROUSLY HIGH MILEAGE for a runner...especially a marathon runner. 
She gave me a prescription for the exact type of shoe I needed, and off to the running store I went! I'm now on my 5thvpair of mizuno runners...and haven't looked back!

So, here's the question: how often does an athlete really need to change their shoes?! There's tons of debates on this topic, from what type of athlete you are, to how much you weigh. For runners, it's especially important--really for any athlete that's involved in impact sports. Generally, people recommend changing your shoes every 700-1000 miles. That number can vary on body composition, terrain, etc.
 Also, if one has had a history of injury, they shouldn't even wait that long. My PT recommended for me to change my shoes every 500-600 miles. 
Since my injury in 2012, I have been faithful to log my mileage and keep track of the miles I'm putting on each pair of shoes. I'm conscious to change my shoes every 550 miles (which works out to be about every 6 months, based on my weekly mileage), and have not encountered any more problems. 
Bottom line: if you get a good, high quality pair of running shoes and keep a thorough track of how much use your out into them, take good care of them, and replace them when needed, you should be fine. And keep an eye on it--don't force yourself to wait until you hit 500 miles...if you feel them getting soft or breaking down sooner, get new ones. Just like. I always say listen to your body, listen to your shoes, too! And keep on keepin' on :)


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Protein Pasta Salad!

What's up with the weather this year? It's crazy! Last week we had 2 feet of snow on the ground...and today it was 59 degrees. But this girl ain't complaining--I HATE winter! Anyway, this warm burst has got me craving Spring...and springtime FOODS! And one of my all-time FAVORITE spring and summer dishes? PASTA SALAD. MMMMMMMMHHHMMMMM. And my Protein Pasta Salad is even better than regular pasta salad (shocking, I know)...because it has an impressive 25 GRAMS OF PLANT PROTEIN PER SERVING/RECIPE! My secret? BEAN PASTA NOODLES. I used a lentil macaroni noodle from the brand "Pasta Legume" which I am OBSESSED with, but I love all the bean pasta brands out there! Explore Asian is another great their mung bean fettuccine! I know. I just turned pasta salad fit. You love me, I know. Enjoy :)

Protein Pasta Salad!

Protein Pasta Salad! Vegan, Gluten-free. Serves One.

1. 3/4 cup bean-based small pasta noodles (I used lentil macaroni noodles from "Pasta Legume")
2. 1/4 cup chopped red onion
3. 1 cup raw cauliflower florets
4. 1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
5. 1/2 cup canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
6. one stick celery, sliced
7. 1/8 tsp each onion and garlic powder
8. 2 T white vinegar
9. black pepper and dried parsley, to taste
10. salt, to taste

1. Bring a small soup pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add pasta noodles and cook until al dente--NOTE--bean-based pastas cook MUCH faster than grain-based. When the pot begins to overflow, the goods are done!
2. Drain noodles and rinse briefly under cold water.
3. Combine noodles with remaining ingredients and toss well.
4. Spoon pasta salad into a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate 30 minutes for flavors to mingle (or until ready to eat). Serve chilled and enjoy!


So a few days I told you guys I was going to start writing some posts about fitness and health, in general, instead of just posting recipes. This is one of the ways in which I meant that! Every Wednesday will be "Workout Wednesday": I'll post a new workout sequence that I've developed and enjoy doing in my own exercise routine!
And what better type of workout to start with than HIIT, aka "High Intensity Interval Training." HIIT combines short bursts of very high intensity cardio with periods of low intensity cardio or rest. HIIT is a great option for when you're in a time crunch, but still want to get a thorough workout in: because  it's interval training, it's up to 60% more effective at burning calories than steady cardio...perfect for when you're in a hurry! Additionally, if you're like me and have to be completely DRENCHED in sweat to feel like you got a good workout, then fear not: you will be DRIPPING by the end of a HIIT session!
When I first started HIIT training 3 years ago, I looked to different websites and fitness sources for workouts. But the longer I HIIT trained, the more confident in my own ability to create my own specialized HIIT workout! And when I got my Personal Training certification in Summer 2014, I had no reason NOT to create my own! I've found I like making up my own sequences even BETTER than finding ones to do online--I can personalize them in such a way that they target the muscle groups I need to work on in particular, and focus less on the things that are already my strengths.
Convinced? HIIT really is quite fun, and an awesome workout. Try out my short sequence to test out the HIIT waters, and then get creative and start making up your own routines! I guarantee you'll have fun and get a great workout at the same time! :)

When I'm pressed for time and don't have time for my usual 1-hr cardio sash, I love HIIT workouts!


My Favorite HIIT Workout

Directions: Set an interval timer with a 50 second interval and a 10 second interval. Do each move (listed below) for 50 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat sequence 3 times, for a 15 minute workout.

1. BURPEES (also called squat thrust)
2. Crunches *TFVG FIT TIP--keep your chin off your chest, to protect your neck!*
3. Switch jumping lunges (stand in a lunge position and bend knees deeply into a lunge. Spring up powerfully and change legs, finishing with opposite leg in front. Repeat.)
4. Oblique Twist Crunches/Butterfly Crunches
5. Mountain Climbers (Brace yourself in pushup position and alternate bringing one knee into chest and switch, bringing opposite knee into chest as if you are "running" in pushup position.)

There ya go, guys! Your very first HIIT workout. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Roasted Tofu Tacos with Sliced Beets and Pumpkin-Herb Sauce.

Happy Taco Tuesday, my lovers! Taco Tuesday dinners are always one of my favorites of the if traditional Mexican tacos (or Tex-Mex...) aren't amazing enough, when you start branching out with what to fill in your tortillas, well, let's just say the possibilities are endless!
These Roasted Tofu Tacos with Sliced Beets and Pumpkin-Herb Sauce are so yummy, and super quick to prepare! Less than 8 ingredients, minimal prep time, and only about 20 minutes cooking time. BOOM! #TacoTuesYAY.

Roasted Tofu Tacos with Sliced Beets and Pumpkin-Herb Sauce.

Roasted Tofu Tacos with Sliced Beets and Pumpkin-Herb Sauce. Vegan, Gluten-free. Serves one.

1. Two soft corn tortillas
2. Two handfuls fresh spinach leaves, steamed
3. 5 oz. extra-firm tofu
4. pinch of salt
5. onion and garlic powders, black pepper to taste
6. 1/2 cup sliced, steamed red beets
7. 2 T canned pumpkin puree
8. splash of barge's liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
9. dried herbs and spices of choice, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Chop tofu cubes into small chunks and place in a medium-sized bowl, along with salt, onion, garlic, and black pepper. Toss with spoon to coat.
3. Spread tofu over parchment and roast for 20-30 minutes, until crispy. Remove from oven and let cool.
4. While tofu is baking, begin plating your tacos. Place tortillas on a large plate and divide steamed spinach between the two.
5. In a small bowl, whisk pumpkin puree with enough water to form a sauce. Add herbs and spices of choice, along with aminos/soy sauce, and stir well.
6. Top spinach with tofu, then steamed beets, and finally, pumpkin sauce. Serve!