Friday, December 20, 2013

A pre-review of *What I am Currently Reading*…and why you should read it too!

The holidays are here and before you know it, so will 2014, which means only one thing: New Year Resolutions. We all know “going to the gym” is on the list of resolutions as we pray and hope we can sweat off the holiday sugar cookies and champagne, but in all reality, there’s more to going to the gym. 


While this saying tends to have several different meanings, it stands true to the fact that a lean body requires one to focus more on clean eating than on exercise.  Now don’t get me wrong, daily exercise is extremely important, but you can’t outrun a bad diet. You just can’t. So if you’re looking for a new resolution this year, ditch the gym and start eating clean! And I know just the book that can help you get started: Brad’s Raw Made Easy by Brad Gruno (aka the maker of the best frickin’ kale chips EVER!)

For the last month, during rare moments of spare time, I have been diving into Brad’s new book, Brad’s Raw Made Easy. The title fits the book every well as it is easy to read, easy to understand and the recipes in the back are quick and easy to make. As someone who has been a raw foodie aka a rawsie for quite a while now, I find this book something I wish I would have had when I first started my journey to a raw food lifestyle. The information Brad supplies would have been extremely helpful. 

Throughout the book Brad provides some basic science behind the raw food diet as well as a chapter on the benefits it can provide the body. Think detoxification, energy and of course, weight loss. The FAQ section is extremely helpful as many new to this diet tend to ask many questions. Can I drink tea? Do I HAVE to have special equipment? What’s considered raw? And so on and so on. After all the basic questions have been answered, Brad offers his readers the opportunity to start their journey following his 60-day plan, complete with details on what to focus on each week and meal plans to keep you on track with your transition. He even provides a list of must have ingredients and several recipes to try out to make sure you’re meals are never boring, only fun and delicious. One of my favorites, the Mayan Chocolate Truffles! Oh, and let’s not forget the food diary to help you track your progress.

This book is a must have for those looking to start eating clean this upcoming New Year. It gives you everything you need to get started on your journey to healthier, new you. And the best part is Brad follows the 80/20 rule: 80% raw, 20% cooked. That’s right! You get to cook on this plan!  No deprivation! It’s not about restrictions but about learning to eat clean. So if you’re looking for a different kind of resolution that still focuses on your same goals, then I recommend grabbing a copy of Brad’s Raw Made Easy. You’ll feel  amazing once you start feeding your body with living foods!

Need someone to get started with? Starting January 6th, a co-challenger of Brad’s 7 Day Raw Food Challenge and I plan on starting Brad’s 60-day plan. We both like a good challenge and figured, what better way to start the New Year and get our eating back on track then with a raw-food challenge.  It’ll be fun and nothing is better than having a support system to keep you motivated. If you’re ready for a new you, grab Brad’s book, and let us know you’re in! (PS: They're offering some pretty awesome perks when you order the book!)

To celebrate the holidays as well as the upcoming release of Brad’s Raw Made Easy, I’d love to share with you the recipe for my current favorite go-to treat: Mayan Chocolate Truffles. These are sweet, chocolaty, and creamy and that hint of spiciness totally kicks it up a notch!

Mayan Chocolate Truffles
By Brad Gruno from Brad’s Raw Made Easy
Makes several 1 inch truffles

  • 1 cup cashew butter ("raw", freshly ground is best!)
  • 1 cup raw honey (I actually used a bit less to adjust to my preferred sweetness)
  • ¾ cup raw cacao or carob powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp maca powder
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well incorporated.
  2. Place 1-2 Tbsp of additional cacao powder onto a plate.
  3. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (I used a Tbsp measuring spoon) and then roll them into the cacao powder.
  4. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
  5. These are best cold!

So do you plan on joining us for the 60-day journey to clean eating?

Keep an eye out for a follow review on Brad's Raw Made Easy. As soon as I get my life back from this holiday, year end chaos! I may have some more recipes to share too!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy Herbivore: Light and Lean: A review + a recipe for Lindsay's simple, low-calorie, low-fat, flavor filled Caribbean Bowl #HHLL


Behind every cookbook is a story. A story of success and failures. A story of inspiration driven from a deep passion or desire. Or in this case, a journey that led to self-discovery. Every cookbook tells a tale. You can find it written out in clear view in the introduction or hidden in the recipes, in the way they are written and organized. Every cookbook is unique and the new Light and Lean by Lindsay S. Nixon, aka the Happy Herbivore, is no exception.

Lindsay has written three cookbook’s so far, this new one being her fourth, yet it doesn’t fall short from being just as interesting and exciting to read as her first cookbook. She has captured the interest of many, including her fans, by adding something new and fun to her new read: workouts. Along with over 150 low-calorie recipes (all which are free from oils, processed foods and diet chemicals), the new cookbook, Happy Herbivore: Light and Lean also features “recipes” for your body, aka basic workouts, tips and tricks, to help readers not only feel light but lean and sexy. 

I got the opportunity to ask Lindsay a few questions about the book as well as her personal life as a fit, light and lean herbie and here is what she had to say.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions regarding your fabulous new cook/fitness book, Happy Herbivore: Light and Lean. I was hooked the moment I learned ut contained both healthy, plant-based recipes and a workout plan. As a busy momma, a well written out plan can make life a lot easier so thank you! Okay, on to the questions. 

I love how your new cookbook is geared towards herbies and fitness, a very popular topic that has been rising rapidly over the last year. Can you say the new trend, along with your own experience as a fit herbie inspired your new unique cookbook? If not, what did? 

The cookbook was inspired by my meal plans ( While the recipes in Light and Lean are different than the recipes my clents get each week with the meal plans, my approach to cooking (feeling full on fewer calories; making it ultra healthy but still delicious) was my focus with this cookbook. I was also a personal trainer some years ago, and it was nice to be able to bring the experience into this book. It felt like a good fit for the theme. 

I wasn't aware of any trend (and I write my cookbooks more than a year in advance) so I guess I had some lucky timing!

Since we are on the topic of fitness, what is the one workout that you love to do most that always leaves you feeling accomplished, fit and overall fabulous?

See Lindsay's Body Blast in Light & Lean :)

Will do!

One of the hardest  things for me is finding that perfect time to have a snack pre-workout and making sure that snack provides me with the fuel I need without being too heavy or giving me cramps. Do you have a favorite pre-workout snack or meal that you swear by?

You shouldn't eat before working out -- it can cause cramps, but you also don't want your body to be dividing up efforts (and energy) between physical exercise and trying to digest. Most people also don't *need* a snack as long as they're eating appropriately sized meals (and if you're trying to lose weight, avoid snacking altogether). If you absolutely must snack, make sure it's at least 60 mins, preferably 90 mins before.

Wow! Great answer!

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? If so, would you mind sharing? It could be fitness related, diet related, or life related. Anything that can inspire others such as me, to have a wonderful, successful day. :)

My mantra is progress not perfection :)

One of my favorites!

Lastly, back to your new cook/fitness book. I wonder, which section was more fun or maybe easier to write? The recipes or workout plan?

I teamed up with my friend Jon to write the workout section and having a second brain always makes things a bit easier :)

Awesome! Thank you again, Lindsay, and I wish you the best of luck on the release of your new book. I have no doubts it will be a success!

My Review

After making my initial flip through the new cookbook I immediately went to the introduction. I love reading the intro. It provides some insight on the author’s personality and usually tells an inspiring story that I can relate to in some way. Lindsay’s story was no exception. Her personality is contagious and her personal story, truly inspiring as she showed me that it is possible to find our own beautiful balance between diet, weight management and fitness without restrictions or "excessiveness".

After reading Lindsay’s story as well as the 100 Calorie Factor, which is a MUST READ as it put things into perspective for me, I started making my way page by page through the recipes.  The recipes are categorized by calories as part of the contents but organized by dish type throughout the book. I actually LOVE the list by calories. It makes it easy for those counting calories or watching their intake choose a recipe that is perfect for their caloric needs. Best of all? None of the recipes exceed 350 calories yet each dish is full of nutrition to keep the body energized and functioning properly. My favorite categories include the salads and drinks! Yes, drinks!! Oh and of course, the “recipes” for the body.

After the Light, there’s the Lean aka the “recipes” for the body. This section of the book provides not only tips on fitness, but an effective full-body workout that will target and tone every major muscle in the body. The modifications make it perfect for beginners and experts alike. It’ll have your heart pumping and your muscles desirably singeing. I love it!

Overall, Happy Herbivores: Light and Lean is a recipe for success. It will help anyone seeking to find and maintain their body’s personal perfect weight, reach that goal and find that balance. I can’t wait to start!


In honor of the recent release of Happy Herbivore: Light and Lean, I was given permission to share with you one of the recipes from the new cookbook; the Caribbean Bowl.

This recipe, like all of the recipes in Lindsay’s cookbook, is simple, quick to prepare, low in calories and fat, yet filling and loaded with nutrients. It took less than 30 minutes to prepare as promise, it’s less than 350 calories for the entire dish, and the ingredient list, short and simple. And don’t let that short list fool you either. This dish is bursting with flavor. It also leaves room for the imagination to fly. Add a few spices to kick it up a notch if you so choose or maybe an additional veggie say some avocado or bell pepper. It’s a very versatile dish, which I love. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. I wasn’t :)

Caribbean Bowl
Single Serving
by Lindsay S. Nixon, from Happy Herbivore: Light and Lean
Soy-free, Gluten-free, Quick Budget, Single Serving 

I love the pairing of black beans and pineapple! Inspired by the Caribbean Chili (in cookbook), now you have a Caribbean Bowl too! Avocado and guacamole also make a nice addition. - Lindsay
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup pineapple salsa
  • 1/2 cup diced or crushed pineapple
  • 2 green onions, sliced
Line a pot with a thin layer of water, bring to a boil, add kale, and cover for about a minute (the kale will turn bright green). Give it a stir so all of the kale is bright green and softer, then drain. Mix in quinoa and/or beans to warm it up a bit, if desired. (I like to serve this with everything warm except the salsa,pineapple, and green onion, which are chilled.) Transfer to a bowl and toss with salsa, pineapple, and green onions, leaving a few onion pieces for garnish. You can also drizzle hot sauce on top if desired.

** Just wanted to provide evidence that I did actually make it and devour it :) Insanely good and super filling! **

Make it a Wrap: Divide ingredients (skipping quinoa and using spinach instead of kale) into two wraps, for approximately 196 calories each.

Nutritional Information
Per bowl
Calories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.9g
Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65.6g
Fiber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.6g
Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8.3g
Protein. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16.7g
WW Points. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Tour Links

Here is a list of the bloggers participating in the Blog Tour. I will update it as more bloggers release their reviews and recipes!



Don't forget, it's the season for giving so purchase Lindsay's new book today for you or someone you know who will love it! It's available right now for a great price on Amazon (HERE). Get it! I promise you, you will love it!

Disclaimer: Although I was given this cookbook for free in return for my review, this in no way persuaded or changed my opinion of this cookbook or the recipe. Yes, I really do love it!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Vegan Cut's Snack Box: A vegan foodie's dream delivery.

Image from Vegan Cuts

I think it’s pretty obvious that most vegans are foodies. I know we here at The Split Plate are. We love cooking, finding veg-friendly restaurants and we’re obsessed with grocery shopping. We’ll drive several miles for a vegan event, vegan restaurant or even for a new grocery store! Yes, we vegan foodies are crazy, but it’s made life way more fun! 

One of my biggest foodie obsessions is finding and trying new vegan food products. A trip to Whole Foods and Trader Joes is always an adventure and I always tend to walk out of the store with at least one brand new product, which tends to always be a snack, that I haven’t tried. But what if I said you could get vegan snacks, some, if not most, you may not have tried yet, sent straight to your door, once a month, all wrapped up nicely into a small box for a small monthly fee? Yep, it exists. It’s called a Vegan Cut’s Snack Box and IT IS AWESOME!

Now you may be thinking, these monthly food box subscriptions exist everywhere. What makes Vegan Cut's Snack Box better? Well, for starters, Vegan Cuts is well known, online, vegan marketplace with a great selection of vegan products, and they’re always adding new products which means you are less than likely to receive the same product every month. Second, it’s vegan focused which means you will get nothing but awesome, vegan snacks. Third, for only $19.95 a month (that INCLUDES shipping) you get quite a good amount of high-quality, certified vegan products; 7-10 to be exact. What’s NOT to love? It’s a great box for anyone from the seasoned foodie to the vegcurious. 

Last month I was given the wonderful opportunity to try one of Vegan Cut’s Snack Boxes, the October Halloween edition to boot! It was very hard to wait til I got home to open it but when I did I was thrilled to find a package of wonderful goodies perfect for the Halloween holiday. Sweet treats, candies, and a few savory treats for balance. ;) There were also a few money saving coupons in there as well! The snacks were yummy, there wasn’t one I didn’t enjoy, okay maybe one (nothing to cry over), but my family loved them just as much. See below for a breakdown of what I received and my thoughts. 

Overall, Vegan Cut’s Snack Box has been one of my favorite subscription boxes that I have tried so far. Vegan focused, a great variety, mostly delicious, reasonably priced, and you can cancel anytime. I highly suggest Vegan Cut’s Snack Box for any and all foodies, vegan or not, who love snacking and trying new things.

So wanna see what I got in my October Box!?

  • Crunchmaster’s Multi-Grain Crackers: I’ve always wanted to try these and I’m so happy I finally got the opportunity too! With my daughter still in the beginning stages of her GF diet, finding dry snacks to bring to school has been quite tough. Anything I make is either not dry enough, made with nuts, or too small for her to enjoy while doing her school work. On the other hand, almost everything on the market is made with nothing but starches that are void of nutritional value. Thankfully Crunchmaster adds some of the value back by using brown rice flour, along with quinoa, millet, flax and sesame seeds in their crackers. Only real ingredients. Concerned about the corn? Me too. Crunchmaster is working on getting their products certified GMO and thankfully this particular product is on the list of already certified products. Wohoo! I found the cracker’s to be very satisfying and my daughter loved them as well.
  • Mediterranean Snack’s Baked Lentil Chips, Cracker Pepper: These were also pretty good. I loved the salt and pepper flavor that gave the crackers this nice peppery, spicy kick.Only thing I didn't care too much for was the maltodextrin found in the seasoning. I'm a bit of an OCD health freak so if that stuff doesn't bother you, than rock on! It's all about balance right? :) GF and certified GMO as well.

  • Raw Snack’s Cranberry Cashew Bar: We all know this rawsie was excited to see a raw snack in my box. I took this for a mid-day snack and work and it was perfect. Filling, sweet, salty, crunchy and a great energy booster to boot. Perfect. Organic and GF.
  • Stash Tea's Spiced Dragon Red Chai Tea: Mmm do I LOVE tea! My daughter and I both actually. We adored the flavor of this tea with the aromatic, warming spices. We added a splash of almond milk and sugar for a mid-day treat.
  • YumEarth Organic’s Sour Jelly Beans: Seeing as this WAS the Halloween edition, candy was to be expected. These jelly beans hit the spot with their authentic texture and flavor. You would have never known these were vegan when it comes to the texture. As for the flavor, these babies were bursting with natural, tangy fruitiness. WAY better than a regular bean. These are good for a rare treat such as a one time for Easter. The ingredients aren't the best, but then again, we are talking candy here. :) GF, dye-free.
  • YumEarth Organic’s Fruit Snacks: These too were bursting with fruit flavor. They reminded me very much of Runts except these candies were chewy. My daughter and I both devoured both bags! The ingredient list on these yummy candies are a bit better. All organic ingredients including fruit juice to flavor. Good for an occasional lunch treat. GF, organic.
  • Surf Sweet’s Peach Rings: I’ve always been a Surf Sweet’s fan. You can actually read my review post here. They’re Peach Rings are always fun to have around. GF, organic, certified GMO.

  • Rescue Chocolate’s Peanut Butter Pit Bull Bar: OMG! The Nut Butter Addict in me did a little skip, hop and a jump when she saw this mini-bar of chocolate covered peanut buttery goodness. My husband threatened many times to eat it as I was attempting to save it for last. It made it’s way to my belly shortly after. Sweet, salty, crunchy, peanut buttery and chocolaty. Seriously, what is there NOT to love!? Fair Trade, purchase helps save rescue dogs (extra perk :))
  • Smooz's Coconut Pineapple Frozen Ice Pop: When I first got the box I had thrown this treat into the freezer to freeze. It was a week or so after I had cleared the last goodie in my box did I notice it in the freezer hidden away in my ice cream maker. I pulled it out for my daughter and I both to try and at first bite our eyes lit up at the deliciousness of this treat! It was sweet, creamy and oh my  the combination of coconut and pineapple is my favorite! It’s also my daughter’s favorite too. I tried to sneak in more bites but unfortunately she stole it from me and finished it quickly before I got a chance to have more. Now we’ve been searching for them in stores and can’t find them anywhere. HELP! Kosher.
  • Runa Tea’s Original Zero Calorie Clean Energy Drink: This was unfortunately my least favorite snack in the box. Now, let me say I’m actually a huge Runa fan. I buy and drink their warm teas regularly and I will randomly buy one of their flavored bottle teas to enjoy as well. Unfortunately, the energy in the can didn’t do it for me. It was a bit too sweet for my liking (which I found odd considering it's 0 calories yet contains sugar??) and it tasted off as if it had stevia in it; a flavor I do not like nor can stand. I'm not a huge drink in the bottle person anyways minus my local kombucha, so this isn't a shock to me. Just a personal preference. HOWEVER, what I will say is that Runa's Guayusa is a great alternative to coffee for that natural caffeine boost and I will use it as an energy source when needed. I just prefer the tea bags. :) Mostly organic.
* I sadly didn't capture every single snack individually in photo, but the links will direct you to the products*

As I stated before, Vegan Cut’s Snack Box is a winner. If you’re like me and enjoy trying new things as well as snacking your heart out, or if you're just vegcurious, then this box is perfect for you. 

For more information about Vegan Cut’s Snack Box as well as their vegan Beauty Box, then visit their site here, at

Disclaimer: While I did receive this box for free in return for a review, that in no way changed or persuaded my opinion about this product or the product’s in the snack box.