Classic Beans and Rice

This super simple and tasty recipe is budget friendly and really a staple meal at my place. Just a handful of ingredients and a few hours to let it cook in a slow cooker, and you’ll have enough for a few meals throughout the week!

Yield: 8 servings



1 can pinto beans
1 cup rice
4 celery stalks
1/2 white onion
1 green bell pepper
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt and pepper
2 1/2 cups of water


Wash and dice the onion, celery, and bell pepper and place into the crock pot.

Drain and rinse the beans and add into the pot. Add in the spices with 1/2 cup of water,  stir and let cook on high for 1 hour.

Add in the remaining 2 cups of water and the rice, stir and cooker.

Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on  high.

*Check periodically to see if the water has absorbed and test if the rice is cooked through….my crock pot  from the 70’s so it takes about 2 hours, your’s may vary in time. All the water should be absorbed and the rice cooked at this point.

Turn off the heat, dish out, and enjoy your rice and beans!

Let me know if you have tried this recipe, and comment below! You can also connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest under @noshchefjulie 

Raw Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream

This healthy version of ice cream is so fantastic. The Strawberries blended with banana is so creamy without the guilt!

Yield: 2 servings


1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 non dairy milk
Dash of cinnamon


Blend all in a food processor, add a little more milk if needed to make a creamy consistently and enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments below! If you made this recipe, tag me in Instagram and Twitter! @noshchefjulie

25 Green Living Tips To Save You Money

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A few months ago I watched a documentary called Chasing Coral on Netflix. I had never really thought about the plastic pollution problem, and it made me realize that the things I spend money on, especially grocery shopping, was in  my control.

assorted plastic bottles

The next day I went through my entire kitchen puling out everything that was plastic. I went to my local thrift store for glass containers, and I started saving glass jars from my food supply and recycled them as my new food storage and pantry containers.

aroma aromatic assortment containers
Photo by monicore on

I purchased a few things to help me sustainable and plastic free in the future:

Reusable grocery bags– these are my favorite! They hold 35 lbs and I’ve had them for a few years and they hold up and wash very well!

Bulk produce bags- These are great mesh bags in different sizes so it’s easy to use when filling up your bags and keep your goods organized.

A gallon glass pitcher – I love making my own oat milk, fruit infused water, and iced teas. This pitcher is perfect!

A stainless steel water bottle.- I take this everywhere! And the stainless steel keeps my water cold.

I started using this water filter on my kitchen sink so I eliminated the need for cases of bottled water. That alone will save you money.

I recycled all my plastic bags at the grocery store, gave some kitchen supplies to friends, and donated the rest. Now if I do forget my reusable bags, I just use paper and either recycle them or use them to wrap gifts around the holidays.

person holding red and white disposable bottle
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

It made me realize how many things in my life revolve around plastic and how accustomed I got to using it on a daily basis. After purging all I had it really made me appreciate what I have. Now I use glass or stainless steel for everything. I’m learning how to make my own bath and beauty products also and will post my recipes once I am comfortable with them and have been using them for a bit.

The photos above are from my own sugar scrub…..recipe here make your own sugar scrub

Here are 25 easy tips you can do to start living plastic free as well, and save money in the process.

  1. Shop second hand for glass containers, tins, and meal prep containers.
  2. Shop second hand stores for clothing, furniture, and home goods too. You’ll spend a fraction of the price and less impact on the environment. 
  3. Use reusable shopping bags, keep one in your purse, keep a few in your car. 
  4. Use a stainless steel or reusable water bottle.
  5. Buy in bulk to save money and packaging.
  6. Cook from scratch, processed food is unhealthy and more expensive. 
  7. Use a recycled tumbler and take it with you to the coffee shop, or better yet make your own coffee at home.
  8. Loose tea is cheaper than bagged, and less waste.
  9. Make your own cleaners, laundry detergents, toothpaste, deodorant, sugar scrub, and more at home. Try these Diy recipes on the blog I use!
  10. Go no poo…no shampoo or conditioner and do the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method. Your hair will be shiny, clean, and healthy without all those chemicals, and you’ll wash your hair less often. I wash my hair once a week doing this. Recipe here
  11. Clean up your living space with plants to cleanse the air…..and open your windows once and while. The air inside can be worse than the air outside.
  12. Combine errands together to save time and gas. 
  13. Save spaghetti and salsa jars for food storage, yogurt containers work well also. 
  14. Clean your mirrors and windows with vinegar and water. 50/50 ratio works great. The vinegar smell disappears once its dry and no streaks! 
  15. If your errands are less than 1 mile away, walk there. You’ll get great exercise and save on gas.
  16. Take your bike to run errands instead of your car. 
  17. Work closer to home. 
  18. Learn to sew and mend your clothes. 
  19. Stop using paper napkins and towels. Re purpose old towels into napkins, dish cloths, and cleaning rags.
  20. Have a clothing swap with friends instead of buying new. 
  21. Have a potluck with your friends to save money on going out. 
  22. Bring your own Tupperware container to a restaurant to take home leftovers. 
  23. Stop using disposable items like one use razors, cutlery, dishes, cups, etc. Use metal, glass, ceramic, bamboo, and try using a safety razor.
  24. Have a date night in with yourself or significant other. Stay up and look at the stars, take a walk, have a picnic in the park, or grill outside. Go to the library and check out free movies. Look up free events in your town/ community center, free museum days, or go for a hike together. 
  25. Use what you have, fix what you own, borrow what you can, or do without. 

What are your favorite green living tips? Let me know what you think in the comments below! You can also connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest under @noshchefjulie

Homestyle Scratch Biscuits

Being on this budget meal plan has taught me even more how grateful I am for everything….using what you have….taking care of what you own, and saving for a brighter future.

So as I dream of a homestead of my own, I can start in my apartment making these delicious biscuits from scratch and loving every minute of it….. especially with homemade jam.

I’ve been learning more ways to become a homesteader which means cooking a lot from scratch. I use to make bread everyday at a previous job and wanted to start making my own at home to save money and make healthier food at home.

This recipe is simple and the results are delicious! Top with your favorite jams, vegan butters, a side with soups, breakfast sandwiches, and more.

Also feel free to add in spices like rosemary, thyme, or garlic powder!

Yield: about 15 biscuits, depending on how thick you make your dough and size of cutter.


2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp. sugar (I used raw cane sugar)

1 cup oat milk (or any plant based milk) Here’s my recipe to make your own Oat Milk

1 tsp. salt (I used pink Himalayan)

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. baking powder



Preheat your oven to 425*F.

Using a dough hook on your mixer combine all the dry ingredients first.

In a small bowl pour in the oil or butter with the milk.

On a low speed mix the dry ingredients 1-2 minutes until well combined.

Slowly add the liquid ingredients in thirds. You can use a spatula to scrape the sides in between adding in the liquid.

Once all is combined, the dough will start to form and after a minute or two it will start pulling from the sides and form a ball of dough. Don’t over mix the dough.

On a lightly floured surface kneed the dough a few times. Add in a sprinkle of flour is the dough still feels wet. The dough should feel tacky without sticking to your fingers.

Lightly grease a baking tray.

Roll out the dough to a quarter inch or half inch thick and cut out rounds. Space on baking sheet with one inch between biscuit. Roll out the extra scraps of dough or just ball into one large biscuit and bake on a separate tray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the biscuits are slightly golden on top, and enjoy with all your favorites!

Let me know what you think in the comments below! You can also connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest under @noshchefjulie

$20 Challenge Budget Vegan Meal Plan for 1 Week

Grocery shopping as a vegan isn’t expensive, and eating whole unprocessed foods is so much better for you. Below I have listed out what I bought for the week and meals to go with it.No smart phone apps or coupons were used in this trip, just the basics, a little savvy, and a stocked pantry for the week.So for this week I have spent just under $18 for a weeks worth of meals. I shopped at King Soopers and bought a total of 16 items for $17.65. I got a small discount for working there at the time, but even after I add in those savings my total would have been $18.41.
I will be making 21 meals for myself of one which equals out to $.87 per serving!

Here’s my receipt

Note: For this meal plan I didn’t include spices or condiments in the budget with most basics like salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, hot sauce, mustard, etc. for my meals. If you need to add any generic brands usually go for $1 or less.

And here’s a list of everything I bought:

  • 18 ounces of whole grain rolled oats $0.79
  • 10 pack of flour tortillas $0.99
  • multigrain french bread marked down to $1.19
  • 1 lb. of carrots $0.79
  • small 6 ounce can of tomato paste $0.67
  • 1 lb. bag of dried pinto beans $0.99
  • 1 lb. bag of split peas $1.79
  • 1 lb. bag of long grain rice $0.99
  • small pack of romaine lettuce $1.49
  • 1 bunch of bananas (8 bananas) $1.44
  • 1 bunch of cilantro $0.49
  • 1 small yellow onion $0.30
  • 6 small red potatoes $1.31
  • 1 lb. bag of dried garbanzo beans $1.49
  • 2 yellow squash $0.76
  • 2 zucchini $0.89

16 items for 21 meals over 1 week. I’ll meal prep the beans and rice at the beginning of the week so I can pack lunches, or heat them up for dinner when I need them.

Meals I will make for the week include:

  • 7 servings of Oatmeal in the mornings for breakfast everyday with some cinnamon. Recipe here Simple Oatmeal with Cinnamon
  • 4 servings of Split pea soup with onion, carrot, and spices like garlic powder with multigrain bread on the side. Recipe here Vegan Split Pea Soup with Carrots
  • 2 servings of 2 bean and rice burritos. Recipe here Easy Pinto Bean and Rice Burritos with Cilantro
  • 2 servings of salad with veggies, rice, and beans.
  • 8 servings of bananas as a snack or with my oatmeal if I choose.
  • 2 servings of chickpea falafel balls with romaine, cilantro, cut up squash and zucchini wraps. Recipe here Chickpea Falafel
  • 2 servings of boiled red potatoes with squash, zucchini, and pinto beans.
  • 2 servings of carrot and chickpea tacos with rice,  and cilantro.

Here’s how the week went:


Sunday: I soaked the 1 lb. of pinto beans, and 1 lb. of chickpeas overnight. I started prepping all the ingredients on Sunday to start this plan on Monday. I also made the split pea soup.
Monday: I cooked the pinto beans in my crock pot with 1/4 onion on low for 9 hours. This yielded me 6 cups of cooked beans. I also cooked the chickpeas in my crock pot for 4 1/2 hours on high which yielded me 4 cups total. This day I had oatmeal with cinnamon for breakfast, and split pea soup for lunch and dinner with some of the multigrain bread, and a banana for a snack.

Tuesday: Today I worked early so instead of cooking the oatmeal at home, I made some Oat Milk and soaked 1/2 cup of oats in the milk, added some cinnamon, and sliced up a banana and heated it all up for breakfast. For lunch I had some split pea soup with the multigrain bread. When I got home from work I cooked the 1 lb. bag of rice (2 1/2 cups dry) that yielded me about 11 cups total of cooked rice. For dinner I heated up the beans, added some spices like salt, paprika, onion powder, salt, tomato paste, and made the bean and rice burritos with some cilantro.

Wednesday: Oatmeal for breakfast again with banana and cinnamon……so good and filling to get me through busy mornings at work. For lunch I had 2 rice and pinto bean burritos with cilantro, and then a salad for dinner with rice, beans, and sautéed veggies over romaine.

Thursday: This morning I had oatmeal with cinnamon and a banana for breakfast. For lunch I had the last serving of pea soup with bread and froze the extra portions. And for dinner I made carrot and chickpea tacos.*Note This week I only bought burrito size tortillas so my taco idea turned into burritos. All was still really delicious wrapped up anyway~ I also heated up a little more than I expected for 2 meals. I cooked enough to make 6 burritos so I froze the extra 2 for a later meal.
I heated up in a small pot some rice, pinto beans, carrots, and chickpeas. Added in a spoonful of tomato paste with a splash of water with spices like paprika, chili powder, onion powder, salt, and cumin and cooked it for five minutes. I warmed up some tortillas, topped it all off with fresh cilantro, and my dinner was ready.

Friday: Breakfast was oatmeal with cinnamon and banana. Lunch was the second portion of the carrot and chickpea tacos. For dinner I had the second serving of salad with rice, beans, and sauteed squash and zucchini with some cilantro on top.

Saturday: Breakfast was oatmeal with banana, and cinnamon. For lunch I boiled the red potatoes with sauteed zucchini, squash, and some pinto beans. Dinner I had the chickpea falafel wraps over a tortilla with raw romaine, squash, and zucchini. .

Recipe here Chickpea falafel

Sunday:For the last day of this challenge I ate oatmeal with banana and cinnamon for breakfast. Last night when I made the falafel, I used the last two tortillas, so when I had the falafel again for lunch I ate them over romaine lettuce. Lastly for dinner I  ended the day with the last serving of boiled red potatoes with zucchini, squash, and pinto beans.

There you have it 21 meals cooked and prepared from scratch under $20 and $0.87 per serving!

Conclusion: I find after I had all the ingredients prepped and ready to go at the beginning of the week it saved a lot of time making my meals throughout the week. These were simple, filling, and got me through with extra food leftover to carry me through part of the next week.

At the end of the week I still  ended up with quite a bit of leftover food:

  • 3 extra servings of pea soup
  •  2 cups of pinto beans
  • 2 cup of chickpeas
  • 5 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 cups of oatmeal
  • and about a cup of each for the zucchini and squash.
  • 1 1/2 cups of romaine lettuce
  • 1 banana

So with originally counting all this food in my $.87 per serving, it actually turned out to be less if you count the food leftover.  I learned a lot on this challenge. I may have bought too much and could have simplified my list to make fewer options for meals. With so much leftover I’ll pair down my choices in the future, and try to get a little more produce like fruit and greens. I didn’t tire of the beans, or the oatmeal, and I could have eaten the pea soup everyday it was so delicious. The falafel wraps were my favorite, and this whole plan opened my eyes to new possibilities with shopping, cooking, and execution of the plan. I hope you got some tips from this and I’ll be working on a new meal plan with a similar budget to play with and post my findings.

What are some of your meal planning tips and advice? Share your thoughts below! You can also connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest under @noshchefjulie

2 Ingredient Homemade Oat Milk

I love making my own non-dairy milks. Making your own milk at home is so much cheaper than buying at the store. You can make this recipe for literally pennies versus the $3+ to buy a quart at the supermarket. Grab your oats and let’s get started!

Note: I found its best to use cold filtered water and only blend for 1-2 minutes. If you use water that is too warm or blend too long it can warm up the oats and in a couple of days you’ll have slimy milk.

Yield: 4 cups of oat milk


1 cup of whole rolled oats (not the instant quick oats)

4 cups cold filtered water




Place 1 cup of whole rolled oats and 4 cups of water into your blender.

Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes. If you have a french press this is perfect for straining out the oats, or use a fine mesh strainer and pour milk into a glass jar or pitcher and enjoy.

The small bits of oat can settle so shake before each use. This will last in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! If you made this recipe tag me @noshchefjulie on Twitter and Instagram!

Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I made a bunch of these for holiday gifts. There easy, delicious, and so much fun to do. I also love to have these as a late night snack. Grab your vegan chocolate and pretzels and let’s get started!


Yield: 1 pound of chocolate covered pretzels


1 lb. (16 ounces) bag of pretzels (any shape you like)

8-12 ounces of dark chocolate chips

Garnish: (optional) crushed up candy canes, colored sugar, or sprinkles


You’ll need to set up 1-2 baking pans lined with parchment paper or silicone mats

In a microwave safe bowl you can heat the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals stirring after each time interval, until melted.

Or you can melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Using a small pot filled with 1 inch of water and heat to a simmer. Place a glass bowl on top of the pot with chocolate chips inside and continue to stir until melted through.

Take your pretzels and dip them in the chocolate, shake off excess, and lay on lined baking sheet.

once all the pretzels are dipped, sprinkle or dip pretzels in the garnish of your choice and set on baking sheets in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes to completely set.

Once chocolate has cooled and firmed take out and let them come to room temperature 5-10 minutes. It makes them easier to come off the trays, if they are too cold the pretzels can break.

Wrap as gifts or enjoy these treats for yourself.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! If you made this recipe tag me @noshchefjulie on Twitter and Instagram!


Pineapple and Parsley Detox Smoothie

This smoothie is so refreshing! The combination of fresh parsley and pineapple juice is so cleansing, and cool. This has become a new favorite of mine to make in the mornings. For quick smoothies I like to keep peeled frozen cucumber in the freezer along with bananas, and other fresh fruits to make smoothies a breeze. Grab your blender and let’s go!

Note: Always peel your bananas before freezing, and chop your cucumbers, and fruits up into chunks so its easier and faster to blend.


Yield: 1 large or 2 small smoothies


1 cup almond milk
1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup frozen nectarines
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup collard greens
2 tbsp. fresh parsley
1/2 frozen cucumber

Wash collard greens, and parsley. In a blender add the pineapple juice, almond milk, nectarines, banana, cucumber, parsley, and collard greens. Blend until well combined.  If the smoothie is too thick, feel free to add filtered water or more milk or a few ice cubes to make it extra cold. Drink and enjoy.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! If you made this recipe tag me @noshchefjulie on Twitter and Instagram!



Savory and Sweet Mason Jar Salad

I’ve been on a meal prep kick, and salads are so fast and easy to make. I always bring my lunch to work so these are great to make quickly and have a fresh and healthy lunch.

Yield: 1 salad

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup chickpeas
2 tbsp. Raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup red seedless grapes
5 dried apricots


Wash spinach and rinse chickpeas. Fill mason jar with spinach, chickpeas, grapes, apricots, pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy with your favorite dressing, or make a quick one use olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a touch of salt and pepper.

mason jar salad

Let me know what you think in the comments below! If you made this recipe tag me @noshchefjulie on Twitter and Instagram!

Mixed Berry Salad with Spinach and Walnuts

This spinach salad is so light and the fresh berries make a great combination. Try it with my  sesame ginger dressing, recipe below.

Yield: 2 salads


3 cups fresh spinach leaves

1 cup mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cucumber

2 celery stalks

1 tbsp. sesame seeds

For the dressing:

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. pickled ginger and brine

2 tbsp. sesame oil

pinch of salt and pepper


Wash and pat dry the spinach leaves well. Wash all the berries and pat dry. Trim the strawberries and discard the tops. Slice the strawberries in half or in quarters. Crush the walnuts into smaller pieces. Wash and slice the cucumber and celery.

For the dressing:

In a small bowl combine the olive oil, sesame oil, pickled ginger with the brine, and a little salt and pepper. Mix with a fork and add more oil/ brine to reach desired consistency.

In a large bowl toss the spinach, berries, cucumber, celery, and walnuts together. Drizzle the dressing over the salad as desired and gently toss. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and enjoy.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! If you made this recipe tag me @noshchefjulie on Twitter and Instagram!