Current Blog Series: The Vegan College Cookbook

By the way, I am having some issues with photos in older posts not displaying properly. I am looking into the source of the trouble, and they should be back online soon. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Monday, June 30, 2014

CTTVCC: Micro-Ritos

Hello Everyone! This recipe is on page 155 of PETA's Vegan College Cookbook. This is a particularly easy recipe. As is often the case, it makes a LOT of food. I'd recommend cutting the recipe in half unless you're making enough for you and a few friends, or unless you just REALLY love burritos. I know it's been a while since I did a Vegan College Cookbook post, so here we go!

The recipe calls for:

  • 1 (8-ounce) bag vegan chicken or steak strips
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar salsa
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black or pinto beans
  • 1 (10-ounce) package Mexican-style vegan cheese, grated
  • 1 package (10-inch) tortillas
  • 1 bag boil-in-bag brown or white rice (optional)
I chose to use Beyond Meat Grilled vegan chicken strips. They're gluten-free too.

BeyondMeat_Package_Nutritionals_web_LS_042114

I used Target-brand salsa, and Earth Fare brand black beans.

I didn't have any Mexican-style vegan cheese, so I used half a bag of Daiya Cheddar shreds, and half a bag of Daiya Mozzarella Shreds



I made my first burrito on a 10-inch tortilla, but the tortillas kept falling apart, and that much burrito was a little bit too much for me to eat. So, I switched to little 6-inch corn tortillas of some obscure brand. I also decided that since the rice was optional anyway, I'd substitute quinoa to make the burritos have a bit more protein. Besides, I had precooked quinoa sitting in my fridge taking up precious space.

Here is what mine looked like:


As the picture makes very obvious, this is horribly ugly. But then again, you wrap it in a tortilla so you don't have to look at it. The physical attractiveness of this food is indirectly proportional to the yumminess. (That means it tastes great!) 

So, if you chose to make the recipe differently, or even the same as I did, I'd love to hear how it turned out. Please, leave a comment and tell me what you thought of the recipe!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Food Finds Friday: Faux at Trader Joe's

I love Trader Joe's. It's a cute grocery store, it has lots of gluten free and vegan products, and it's inexpensive. We got one in my city a few years ago, and since then, I've fallen in love. While I could go on for ages about the wonderful things I've found there, this post is going to focus on only faux dairy products.
 
First, they have some amazing soy coffee creamer. (Not to mention amazing coffee.) I love this stuff. It's delicious, and it helps me survive mornings.


Next, I've found the most wonderful vegan cream cheese there. You may recall a post I wrote a while back that compared different vegan cream cheeses. Oh my. If I'd found this stuff then, I would have included it. This is the most delicious vegan cream cheese I've ever tried. The texture isn't 100% like the real stuff, it doesn't taste 100% like the real stuff, but guess what it is 100% of? BETTER!  Oh my goodness. I make whatever excuse I can to eat it. It's amazing. Love at first bite.


My last favorite to mention now is maybe not really faux dairy, because most sorbet doesn't have dairy anyway, but if you think of it as fake ice cream, I think it counts. Trader Joe's mango sorbet is divine. I adore this stuff. In moderation of course. My sister on the other hand, would eat the whole carton while I'm not looking if I'm not careful.


I hope this has been helpful! There are so many other wonderful things at Trader Joe's, like vegan yogurt, tofu, vegan hot dogs (they're also gluten free by the way,) etc. And I plan to write about more amazing finds from there soon. Have you find anything wonderful at Trader Joe's? Let me know about it! Leave a comment, and share with your friends!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Original Recipe: Vegan Chicken and Broccoli over Spaghetti

Alright. So first things first, the name isn't 100% accurate. Honestly, you can use whatever pasta you want. Of course, whatever noodles I use are going to be gluten-free as well, and I prefer using more string-like noodles like fettuccine, angel hair, or even pad thai noodles (obviously not with pad thai sauce for this.) But like I said, really any pasta will work. This is a variation of a favorite recipe in my family, and my family has traditionally used spaghetti.


So what you will need:

  • a regularly-sized package your choice of pasta, cooked (gluten-free if needed)
  • 2 cups unsweetened alternative milk (I prefer flax milk)
  • 2 tbs. corn starch
  • 2 tbs. vegan butter
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 small package of frozen broccoli, thawed (you can use broccoli with other veggies mixed in)
  • 1 package of vegan chicken, chopped to bite-size (Beyond Meat is good for gluten-free people)
  • vegan cheese, parmesan or mozzarella 
  • microwave-safe pan that will hold all the pasta and also fit in the microwave, greased
  • large microwave-safe bowl
How to make it:
  • In microwave-safe bowl, melt vegan butter into alternative milk.
  • Add cornstarch to the butter and milk, and whisk until evenly mixed.
  • Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Mix thawed broccoli and chopped vegan chicken with the cream sauce.
  • Spread cooked pasta evenly over the bottom of the pan. 
  • Pour chicken, broccoli, and sauce over the pasta.
  • Sprinkle on desired amount of vegan cheese.
  • Microwave for 10 minutes on high or until veggies are hot. 
  • Allow to cool to an edible temperature, and enjoy!


WOAH! That's so simple! Really. It's not very hard. It's also very satisfying because it has carbs, veggies, and protein all in one dish. If you want to look fancy, you can serve it with salad and / or vegan garlic bread, or you can eat it by itself.
Let me know if you tried it! Let me know if you made any alterations or substitutions, and how they turned out! If you have any pictures or reviews on this, I'd love to see them. I want to know what you thought. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Runway Wednesday: Vaute Couture

Before I start, I'd just like to apologize for posting this so late in the day. But, OMG. I am so excited to know the results of PETA's 2014 Vegan Fashion Awards! Looking at the winners, I'm really inspired. If you haven't already read the results, check them out here. I really think I might have found some new favorite brands. I think I'm already addicted to Vaute.

VauteCouture

 I need it in my life. Here are some of my favorites (women's wear) currently on their website:

The Lisa In Waxed Canvas-Multiple Colors (This was the Women's Outerwear Winner)


Kristina Dress In Organic Velvet-Black


I Can't Even Look At You In That Fur Boyfriend Sweatshirt-Grey


Love Is Mighty Pumps


As a side note, the children's wear is adorable, and the men's wear is very striking. I wish I'd been able to purchase a certain extra-long, black peacoat for my boyfriend. Unfortunately, it's sold out, and I'm a poor college student. I never could have afforded it. 

Quite honesty, I probably would have included links and pictures to practically every item on the site, but that would take the fun out of it for you! If I didn't post your favorites, leave the link in a comment! I'd love to see what you love! May all of your hearts be full of love, and my all your endeavors be fabulous!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Original Recipe: Nearly-Instant Taco Wrap

So, this is a really basic, simple recipe. I'm pretty sure a 5-year-old could make it without even making that much of a mess. I don't know why, but I've been craving tacos a lot recently. And so I make them. And I keep on wanting them. Does that mean they're my favorite food? I don't even know. Maybe it's because these are actually pretty good for you, and they're so ridiculously filling. I make them gluten-free and vegan, (obviously,) and they're super-easy to make free of whatever else you need it to be free of. They could be a snack, or a meal. That all depends on how hungry you are, and how much you make.

What you will need:

soft tortillas
vegan taco filling (as in fake meat)
vegan sour cream
vegan cheese
fresh spinach

What I use:






http://www.tofutti.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/SourCream-Non-Hydrogenated-Better-Than-Cream-Cheese.png



And spinach. 

What to do:

Place a tortilla on a microwave-safe plate. Spread desired amount of vegan cheese out over one side of the tortilla. Add desired amount of taco filling in a column on the center of the tortilla, leaving about 1.5 inches of space from the end on one side. Microwave for 30 seconds to a minute. Add desired amount of spinach on top of the column of taco filling. Add desired amount of sour cream to the column as well. Fold the end with space up and the sides in so that you can eat it with your hands. Enjoy!

Here's what mine looked like:


Words. Cannot. Describe. (And I will proceed at an attempt at verbal description anyway.) This is really super-amazing. I still don't know if it counts as a recipe. . . Because You aren't really COOKING anything. . . Whatever. This counts. So good. I said it was pretty good for you at the beginning of my post. It is. veggie crumbles / taco filling has a TON of protein. Fake cheese also has lots of protein. I'm pretty sure even vegan sour cream has a decent amount of protein. And let's face it, as delicious as iceberg lettuce is, spinach has way more goodness in it, like iron, calcium, antioxidants, etc. 

I'd love to see pictures of your own taco wraps! If you made these, let me know how it went! What did you think? Did you like it? Is it your new favorite thing? Did you make any awesome changes? Hit me up! Leave a comment. Can't wait to hear how things went!




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Runway Wednesday: Improving the Duct Tape Mannequin / Dress Form

Alright, so some of you might be wondering: This girl is a fashion major at university. Surely she has access to REAL mannequins. Why would she want a form made of duct tape? Isn't that a little bit amateur? (Now, some of you probably had no idea I am a fashion major, or you just weren't wondering. Just hold on.)

For those of you who WERE wondering, I do have access to regular dress forms at school. So why am I interested in duct tape dress forms? Well, first off, I don't like having to go in to school to use the mannequins, since I'm a town student, and they right size form is hardly ever available. Also, the sewing lab at my school has really stupid hours.

 Second though, I actually PREFER duct tape forms for couture garments. Why? I'm glad you asked! While the mannequins at my school have moveable shoulders, which is really nice for putting clothes on them, they are very standard-shaped. That's cool for ready-to-wear clothing. But for custom clothing, things get difficult. 

Let me explain. My favorite design method, especially for custom designs, is draping. (As opposed to flat patterning.) For those of you know don't really know what that means, it means that I use magic to throw fabric at a mannequin and turn it into a piece. Actually, It just means that the garment is shaped directly on a mannequin without a pattern. Duct tape mannequins are just as customized as the model or customer, because you're basically using duct tape to cast their exact shape. So, you know the garment will fit them. Additionally, regular forms tend to have very shallow layers of stuffing before you get to a hard shell. This makes it difficult to stick pins directly into the form. Duct tape forms are stuffed without a hard shell, so you can push pins right in, very easily. This is really convenient for draping, since you need the pieces to stay in place while you're shaping the garment. Personally, my dress forms look like giant voodoo dolls while I'm constructing clothes. I need those pins to stay there. Another big advantage of duct tape forms is they display those custom garments better, due to the custom fit. Displaying a couture garment on duct tape? Isn't that a little trashy? I don't think so. There are plenty of decorative tapes if you want to make things look nice. You can also sew fabric covers for the dress form, or you can decoupage decorative (or minimalist) paper over the duct tape to make it look professional.

So, why do YOU need a duct tape mannequin / dress form? Well, maybe you don't. But if you're into DIY projects, they frequently require pinching / folding / pinning / cutting fabric on yourself, and it's a whole lot easier if you have a body double. If you make a lot of your own clothes, it's nice to have a custom fit, and it's nice to be able to display projects you're not currently wearing. Even if you don't make your own clothes, they make good decorations! You get to feel really fancy if you display your favorite ensembles on a mannequin, and all your friends will be jealous. Or, you can display things you don't get to wear frequently, such as prom dresses, wedding dresses, bride's maid dresses, costume / cosplay outfits, or any other ensembles that you obviously wouldn't wear every day, instead of putting them in storage or hiding them in the back of your closet.

Well, now that we've covered that, let's move on to the real purpose of this post. I'm not going to actually tell you HOW to make one of these things. How rude. Why not? Because there are TONS of tutorials on the internet. I don't need to just be a repeat. This post is all about how I'm making these dress forms BETTER. The basics are the same. I have 5 tips for you to make sure that you have the best duct tape dress form that you can!

Tip #1: Wear a giant trash bag under the tape. Some tutorials will tell you to wear a t-shirt that you don't like under the tape. You cut through the shirt and it is destroyed and lost when you remove the form from yourself. I don't care if you don't like the shirt. That's a waste. There are much cooler things you can do with shirts. Especially shirts that you don't like. That's why I suggest wearing a cheap trash bag under the tape. The best length for dress forms / mannequins that aren't a whole body is to cut off approximately where the fingertips reach on the thighs and go up part of the way up the neck, and out to the edge of the shoulders. Because whatever you're wearing under the tape will shift as you put the tape on, you might end up needing two bags, or perhaps one trash bag with a grocery bag taped to the bottom. But if you use shirts, this will ruin two shirts potentially, and that's just sad. And let me tell you, you do have to wear something under the tape. I don't even want to think how painful it would be to get the form off without a barrier in between the tape and your body. Oh, and girls, wear a bra under the bag and the tape. Just be really careful when you cut the form off. That way whatever garments will fit you with a bra on, whether it's built in or separate. I guess if you'd rather not, that's your business. 

Tip #2: WRAP THE TAPE COMFORTABLY! People. This is HUGELY important. The first time I made a duct tape form, I wrapped it really tightly because I thought that all the layers of tape would build up and make all my pieces too big. Guess what? They didn't. What ended up happening is my clothes were too tight and I had to let everything out. Not cool. Another reason to put the tape on comfortably is you'll squish your body into the wrong shape. My first form was really lopsided, lumpy, and weird-looking. Tragic. This is especially important if you're a girl, which is probably the majority of you (or at least your models and customers.) Remember what I said about wrapping too tightly changing the shape? You want your chest to be the right shape. If you wrap too tightly, you'll lose the definition of the chest and end up with an awkward uniboob look, and nothing you make will fit. This is just a NO. In order to make sure you have that shape right, you must use pre-cut pieces of tape. It also might be helpful to carefully cut the pieces down the length of the tape, that way you can be more precise. This technique is also helpful if you're wanting to make a mannequin with separate legs instead of a true dress dorm. 

Tip #3: Don't skimp on the tape. My first dress form was only 2 layers thick, which meant it didn't keep it's shape well. I've had a lot more success with 4-5 layers. I wrap 3 layers while it's on the model, and then seal up the holes, and add another layer over the whole thing. A bonus tip about the top layer: wrap it the cross direction of your other layers. (Up and down instead of side to side.) This adds strength to the dress form. If you wrap all the layers in the same direction, gravity will pull your mannequin apart. Here's a work-in-progress example of wrapping cross grain:


(The tragic dress form with the red tape did not have cross-grain tape, and kept pulling apart. That's why there's red tape. I had run out of the silver tape, and I kept having to repair it with the red.) Another reason to add a layer over the top after the dress form is sealed up is because sometimes after you've stuffed it, you find spots that didn't get enough stuffing. For me, this is almost always the neck and chest. I frequently have to cut it open again, and add more stuffing to those places. I tape it back up when I'm done, but the final layer helps make sure that won't pop open. Wrap a cross-grain layer even if you're going to decoupage over it all. There is no such thing as too strong when it comes to these things.

Tip #4: Don't spend a ton of money on fancy stuffing. You have to pack the stuffing in really tightly, so you almost always end up needing more than you expected. Some tutorials will tell you to stuff your form with Fiber Fill. Well, you'll need a TON of that stuff, and it's not always very cheap. Others will tell you to use wadded newspaper, but that's not always very effective. An easy filling is destroyed hosiery. My mom had a ton of stretched out and torn pantyhose and tights around the house, and she was perfectly happy to let me get rid of them for her. I also use fabric scraps that are too small or ugly to do anything with. A great place to find these is around a serger if you have one. Yarn, string, and thread scraps are also good. If that's not enough to fill up your form, my go to stuffing is paper from the shredder. If you don't have enough paper shreds, go through your junk mail stack. I'm sure you'll have plenty of shreds in no time. With so many options for filling, there's no reason to spend money on it unnecessarily. Admittedly, sometimes I have to use some fiber fill when adding stuffing to the neck and chest, but if you don't want to do that, save your fabric and string scraps for that. It's just really hard to get paper shreds in re-opened holes. 

Tip #5: Put something solid in the neck to help it keep the right shape. I didn't think about this when I made my first duct tape dress form, Marie Antoinette, and she had a tragic, untimely ending. See:


This is just sad. Duct tape is pretty strong, but it's not THAT strong. What I suggest to put in the neck is a peanut butter jar lid. It's about the right shape as it is, but if it's not quite big enough, you can always use another kind of lid, or you could wrap a bit of duct tape around the outside of the lid until it's wide enough. Here's a dress form I made with a lid in the neck:


Isn't that so much better?

It's also helpful to put something sturdy inside the shoulders, waist, and hips. I suggest hangers. If you don't want to waste your good hangers, there are plenty of stores that give you the hangers that come on the clothes. (Kohl's is one I can think of off the top of my head.) You can also use broken ones, like if the hook is broken off. Regular hangers are good for the shoulders and hips, and small skirt/pants hangers are good for the waist. If you can't find one small enough, you can just break a cheap hanger down to the right size. If you don't put these in to stabilize the form, the shoulders might droop, and the waist and hips will round out. What I mean by that is, they'll squish in at the sides, and out at the font and back. You don't want a sausage dress form. 

I really hope this was helpful for you! If you would like to share any additional tips, or tell me whether these worked for you, I'd really love to hear it. Leave me comments! If you thought these tips were useful, share the love! Share this post with your friends! I really do love hearing your feedback! It's nice to hear that what I'm doing is worth my time! Now go out there and create something amazing!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Food Finds Friday: Chocolate Edition

As I've mentioned recently, I've found some pretty impressive things in grocery stores recently. REALLY impressive. For any chocolate lovers out there, (this should be just about everyone in existence,) I've found some absolutely DELICIOUS ready-made chocolatey desserts. (Are you drooling yet?) I'm going to be sharing 2 items that are both gluten-free, and vegan. Both can be found for sure at Whole Foods, and probably several other health food stores. Are you ready?

Set?

LET'S GO!

1. Zen Pudding



This pudding if so rich, you'll forget you're a poor college student. Or maybe that's just me. This stuff is really great though. I totally enjoyed it. I had to make myself ration it out, or I would have eaten the whole pack of four in one sitting. They have several flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, chocolate and vanilla, and chocolate almond milk (depicted above.) It is a tiny bit more on the expensive side though. While I really enjoyed it, I probably won't buy it often, especially when there are several Vegan College Cookbook recipes for chocolate pudding, such as Break-Up Pudding! If you make the pudding yourself, there's more to go around. So, my final verdict is: it tastes great, but the price is not right.

2. The Piping Gourmets Whoopie Pies

The Piping Gourmets Rolls Out GFCO Certified Gluten-Free Whoopie Pies

For the love of everything beautiful in this world, thank you for existing. So far, I've been able to try the first 3 flavors from the left. Let me tell you: they are amazing. If I had to choose between being rich and famous and having a lifetime supply of these, it would be a pretty tough toss-up. They come frozen, and personally, I think they taste best thawed, but they taste fine frozen too if you really cannot wait. If you're cooking dinner though, and you get one out to thaw while you're cooking, it'll be ready for dessert. These are so rich, and so yummy. It's very difficult to describe them with words. If you spoke whoopie pie, I'd get one out and roll it around on the keyboard so you'd know. . . These taste perfectly real, except for that they're so good, it's unreal. They don't have that I'm-an-allergen-free-version-of-a-delicious-food taste to them. I have no idea how to make something this delicious! I'm perfectly happy to buy them. I think this is love. Final verdict: Oh, kale yeah.

Alright, well I'm going to wrap this post up now, because I want to go eat another whoopie pie after talking about them so much. I hope these product reviews were helpful! If you have any products to suggest for review, leave a comment saying what I should try!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Missing Blogger Found

So, as my readers probably remember, I had been blogging a cook-through of PETA's Vegan College Cookbook. You may also remember my new posts getting scarce to nonexistent. Apologies. I really do want to finish what I started with that. But frankly, I was starting to get a little bored with it. The recipes were great! I enjoy them! I enjoy writing! The only problem is, things were getting to be a lot of the same. I mean, the food was different, but every time, I'd say "Hi people! I made this thing to eat! This is what you need! This is what I used! Photo! Delicious! Yeah!" And that was getting boring to write. And the book has 275 recipes to write about. That's a lot. So I realized my lack-of-motivation problem was stemming from a lack of diversity.

But I'm not a quitter! So I've come up with a plan to make my blog more exciting! I'm going to add in a new series or two, (maybe more,) to get my creativity flowing. So far I'm thinking about perusing one for cruelty-free cosmetics. This could be tutorials, product recommendations, tips, tricks, whatever. I was also thinking about doing one for awesome food-related finds. Frankly, as easy as TVCC recipes are too make, i just don't always feel like cooking. So these finds could be awesome ingredients, or it could also be amazing things that I never realized existed! (Some of the things I've found will  really impress you.) I'd also love to write about fashion, and how vegans cam still be amazingly trendy. This one is near and dear to me. I'm a fashion major. I might also start blogging original recipes more, or improvements of recipes. I'm also very open to suggestions. I'd really love to hear what you people want me to write about. I don't want to disappoint!

Again. I apologize for going M.I.A. but I think this is exactly what I need to get out of this stupid rut I'm in. I'm really excited about this! Keep a look out for updates very soon!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

CTTVCC: Ants on a Blog


This delicious snack is one I've enjoyed since childhood. Eating this again brings back memories of my nana making these for me when I was knee high to a grasshopper. (Pardon the funny expression. I don't really ever use it but it makes me laugh because it makes me think of cute little old ladies in the South.) My nana always cut the celery smaller so that it was more kid-friendly. I used to get these when coming home from dance lessons. Ah. . . Memories.

The recipe calls for:

  • 2 stalks celery, cut into sticks
  • 1 box raisins
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter
Here's what mine looked like:



The only thing I changed about this recipe was using dried cranberries instead of dried grapes. I mean, I did also use the sugar-free kind, just to be a little healthier, but whatever. For those who may have peanut allergies, or just want to try mixing this up a bit, you could use crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth, or any kind of nut or seed butter that you wanted. My favorite non-peanut butter is sunflower seed butter. Let me tell you, it is amazing. (I have also heard good things about pumpkin seed butter, but I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet. I might end up having to make some myself next fall after carving jack-o-lanterns.) Anyway, this is a super-simple, super-satisfying recipe that's great for snacking on without getting your hands that messy. Enjoy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sushi Salad

So, I'm a huge fan of sushi (vegan, obviously,) but I don't have one of those fancy sushi-roller-things, and getting sushi from a restaurant gets kind of pricey. It adds up pretty quickly if you get it on a regular basis. Now, I don't mind going out to a fancy sushi restaurant where I can get fancy things that I can't make for myself, or don't want to anyway, for special occasions or dates, but just your standard pre-made veggie sushi, I've kind of decided that it's not worth it. Now, recently, I've seen a lot of "deconstructed sushi bowl" and "sushi salad" recipes for and I decided to give it a go. Actually what happened was, I saw that my parents were cooking rice, and I was eating seaweed snacks, and I thought to myself: "Self, it would be so cool if I could eat some sushi." And then I thought, "But wait, it would taste the same whether it's all just a mess in a bowl, or if it is neatly arranged into little rounds. I will make a mess in a bowl." And so a mess in a bowl I made.


It was so delicious. But as I was saying, that was the messy version. I did make it look nicer first. But I'll post a picture of that later. I'm going to tell you how to make it. It's kind of up to you how you put it together.

What You Need:

  • cooked rice
  • seaweed snacks, torn into small pieces
  • chopped carrots, avocados, cucumbers, or whatever vegetables you like in sushi
  • soy sauce (gluten-free if you need)
  • gluten-free, vegan fish or tofu (If desired)
What To Do:
  • put everything into a bowl in the proportions you desire
I wish I'd had cucumbers, but I used avocado, chopped carrots, and gluten-free, vegan fish. obviously I used rice and seaweed, and my soy sauce was gluten-free. Here's what it looked like:


How pretty is that? I thought it was pretty. . . well. . . pretty. And you can put as much or as little of any ingredient as you want! So you can make it really easily. Personally, I didn't have to go to the store to buy any ingredients. I just used what I already had. So, I didn't have to spend any extra money. Also, it was incredibly satisfying, and I felt full, but not over-stuffed. It was a great balance, and I feel like it had a lot of good nutritional value. It doesn't take that much effort really, and you could honestly put even less effort than I did if you were just feeling extra lazy. No judgments. I hope you guys like this recipe as much as I did. I think if I was stranded on a desert island and I could only have one food, this would be in the running. For sure. Anyway, good luck! Enjoy!