Minimalist Packing List

Peeeeeeps!

I’m so excited for this post. Mitch just commented that I haven’t been this hyped about a post since my minimalist guide from a few weeks ago, and he is totally right because I am so so passionate and excited about this topic. I feel so happy and free in my little minimalist life over here, and one area that I feel the most free in is minimalist traveling. While traveling in the past, I have felt distinctly frustrated while clumsily rushing through an airport while trying to balance the multitude of bags, blankets, pillows, food, water bottles, and sweaters that my friends and I bring with us. It’s always felt like it is simply not worth it to carry so much with me, and packing lighter has been a dream come true for me. Now when I walk through the airport, I have only my backpack on my back, and my hands are free to carry any food I pick up or to carry my water bottle (because if you know me, you know I always have my water bottle in my hand– damn that water stuff is good).

Below is exactly what I packed for the trip that I’m currently on, up in Washington, so I packed a lttle warmer than I would for other trips. Even with a sweater and a blanket for the airplane (not pictured), it was a roomy fit in my backpack. For some items, like the shoes, I simply wore them so there was no need to keep room for them in my backpack. And remember that I wore an entirely separate outfit on the day of the trip, so I essentially have one more outfit that is unaccounted for in this photo.

 

 

 

A couple more quick things to remember: I am traveling for nine days on this trip, including the two days of traveling, so I am definitely planning to rewear a couple of these clothing items. I am purposefully packing items that I can easily mix and match, e.g. all of my pants are high rise, and all of my shirts are crop tops, so they can easily be exchanged for one another. Also, I do have access to a washer and dryer because I’m staying in my in-laws’ house, so I do plan to wash my clothes midway through the trip, extending the life of the clothes that I pack.

If you want to use this as a minimalist traveling guide for yourself and your next trip, save this PDF and check off items as you pack them. These are what I consider to be my absolute essentials, but yours may vary from mine. Happy packing, and happy minimizing!

MINIMALIST LIST

 

Love,

Kassy

 

 

Simple Vegan Shortbread Cookies

 

Who’s ready for a cheat day?

I’ve been kinda into eating healthier lately, but I had about a year there where every day was a cheat day. But don’t think that I’m upset or disappointed about that at all! I was feeling good about myself, and I was having a good time. Not to mention that it was my first year going back to school, so I was happily embracing my Freshman Fifteen. Now that my life is settling down a little bit more, I have a stable job and home, my hobbies are routine and comfortable, I feel more excited to make healthier meals at home rather than going out, and I started lifting weights a little more regularly (I’m super excited to talk more about that some day). I have been working really hard within myself to break my habits of fearing certain foods or loathing myself for eating in certain patterns. I think that’s what I’m most grateful for from my Freshman Fifteen experience: the realization that my body is simply a vessel through which I perceive the world, and it fluctuates. It ebbs and flows. It is different, and it responds differently, depending on where I am and what I am doing in my life.

By feeling comfortable with my body in all of its fluctuation and all of its ebbing and flowing, I have felt so happy to embrace the time in my life that I am working hard at the gym, and the times that I am munching hard with my friends and my family. One of the things that connects me with my friends and coworkers is my love for baking cookies, and though they are (obviously) not the healthiest, I am no longer afraid to indulge in them when I want to make a batch.

 

 

The recipe for today is a cookie recipe that I’m drooling at just by reading the ingredients, because I’m remembering how scrumptious this buttery, crumbly, flakey melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie is. Coated in a little chocolate because chocolate, these cookies will convince anyone that you’re a regular dessert chef. Not only are they extremely simple, but they hold up very well. No premature crumbling or completely drying out your mouth. They are the vegan version or EXACTLY what a shortbread cookie should be.

I love these with a cup of almond milk, hot cocoa, and a few close friends. Don’t forget to share them if you make some!

 

 

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Simple Vegan Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 20
Author Kassy

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Earth Balance butter (or similar vegan butter) softened at room temp
  • 1 cup bone char-free sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Optional

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Let butter sit out at room temperature until softened.

  2. Cream together butter and sugar until well combined, and then add vanilla extract and blend well.

  3. Pour 3 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt over the creamed mixture, and combined the flour and salt together on the top before combining the dry ingredients with the rest. Stir until everything is just combined (no need to over-mix).

  4. If the dough is a little thin, add more flour. Fold in pecans.

  5. Pull the dough out, form into a ball in your hands, and place back in the bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes.

  6. Pull out of the fridge and preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, roll the dough out onto a cutting board about 1/2-inch thick.

  7. Cut into any shape you'd like (I seriously used the top ring of a mason jar lid for my circles) and place them onto an ungreased baking sheet.

  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bottoms are a light golden brown.

  9. Cool for 30 minutes.

Optional

  1. Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl in thirty second increments in the microwave, stirring in between.

  2. Dip cooled cookies into the chocolate to coat one side, and place the cookies back onto the baking sheet until the chocolate cools.

  3. EAT UP

Smokey Vegan Cheese Dip

 

GUYS.

BIG BIG DAY.

THIS IS MY 100TH POST!

To celebrate my 100th post here, this recipe fittingly goes out to my beautiful husband Mitchy. It was inspired by a restaurant that we used to love going to up in Washington (If you’re ever in Spokane, it’s the Sanarac Pub). We discovered one day that they had some vegan options, and we went to try them out and absolutely fell in love. They have a whole series of smokey vegan cheese products, with a macaroni and cheese and *BU-NUUUUM* a bombin’ smokey cheese pretzel dip. 

I’m still working on the perfect vegan pretzel, and trust me that you’ll get the recipe as soon as I have it. For now, you’ll have to settle for this delicious cheese dip with some store bought pretzels or anything else that you can dip in it. We used some bread bites for most of ours. I know that I’m going to need to make some more of this dip again soon because it was un-freakin-believable, and we finished it, along with all of our bread bites, in the same day that I made it. It turned out so well, and I love how every bite reminds of those fun nights that Mitch and I would go to the pub for dinner and binge on pretzels and smokey vegan cheese.

 

 

Like a lot of my other recipes, you really can modify this dip to be exactly how you like it: a little smokier? Add more liquid smoke. A little thicker? Add more flour. A little saltier? Come on, dude. Add salt. I hope you already know that trick.

Other than those modifications, you’ll really just need to blend a few ingredients together and then heat them up on the stove and BAM the yummiest vegan cheese dip you’ve ever tasted. Dare I say it? It might be better than the kind we always had at Sanarac.

It might even be better than your mama’s classic family recipe dairy cheese dip. There’s only one way to find out.

 

 

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Smokey Vegan Cheese Dip

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1-2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp liquid smoke to taste
  • 1 sprinkle ground chili pepper

Instructions

  1. Soak raw cashews overnight. (For quick softening, you can also simply bring them to boil, pull them off of the stove, and let them simmer and soak for one hour)

  2. Add the cashews into your blender with the hot water, nutritional yeast, garlic, flour, vinegar, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke, and blend until very smooth.

  3. Taste test and add more salt, pepper, or liquid smoke until your desired flavor is reached.

  4. Pour smooth cheesy sauce (it should still be pretty thin) into a medium pot and stir frequently on medium heat until mixture is thick, gooey, and hot.

  5. Serve immediately with bread bites, soft pretzels, or your favorite crackers!

  6. Store leftovers in fridge for no more than 3-4 days. To reheat, simply pour it back into a pot on medium heat until the sauce is hot again.

Yogurt Fruit Dip

Alright, you’ve had your savory yogurt recipe. Now it’s time for a deliciously sweet yogurt dip to knock your socks off. As we wrap up this wonderful summer, I wanted to throw out at least one more fruity recipe for you to enjoy before all of our fruits go out of season for a while. Here I present to you a flavorful, creamy yogurt and cream cheese dip. This recipe tastes way more complicated than it really is, and party guests would never think that you could whip it up in just a few minutes!

Okay, enough of the food blogger voice. Let me just tell you about this dip. It’s dope. You only need four ingredients, and they’re all things that you can usually find in the grocery store, like the vegan cream cheese and the coconut yogurt alternative.

 

 

Once you have the cream cheese and the yogurt, you just add a little cinnamon and some sweetener of your choice. I had agave on hand so that was what I used, but maple syrup or fine cane sugar would be great as well! I love these kinds of recipes because they help me to increase my fruit intake when I’m not feeling like eating just plain fruit. I don’t mean to tempt you or anything, but the dip also goes unbelievably well in a cookie sandwich. Combine it with some salted dark chocolate chip cookies, and it’s freakin’ vegan heaven.

 

 

If you do try out this super simple combo with your next fruit platter (or cookie sandwich), please let me know what you think!

Love and peace and happiness to you 🙂

 

Print

Vegan Yogurt Fruit Dip

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 container Tofutti cream cheese or similar brand
  • 1 container vanilla vegan yogurt 5-ish oz.
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Scoop the cream cheese into a bowl and stir it until creamy and chunks are smooth. Use a mixer to make it smoother.

  2. Add in the yogurt, agave, and cinnamon, and stir until well combined and creamy.

  3. Serve with your favorite fruits, nuts, seeds, or even cookies!

How to Minimize Your Wardrobe

Howdy, friends! Welcome back! This one goes out to all the folks who read my last post and realized that their true calling was to become a minimalist, or to all those who just read whatever I post to keep up with me (Hi mom!).

So You’ve Decided to Minimize Your Wardrobe

Minimalism is not about downsizing your belongings so much that you cross the line into being a cool kid, bragging that you only own five articles of clothing, but feeling uncomfortable with your limited options. It’s about owning only what you need and learning to let go of the rest. Everyone’s minimalist journey is unique, but these are a few steps that I followed/follow to help me transition to a smaller wardrobe more easily.

1. put on every single item of clothing you own

 

 

OWN IT GIRL (AND CUPID)

This initial step helps you to get perspective on the clothes that you haven’t seen or felt yourself in for a while. For me, this was the most exhausting step because I used to own a LOT of clothes- an entire walk-in closet stuffed to the brim. This step was also probably the most important because it reminded me of those pieces that I’d been holding on to for “when I lose ten pounds” or that I never really felt comfortable in but that I’d held on to because I thought I needed at least one of them in my wardrobe (i.e. a cocktail dress, a huge winter coat, a matching pair of pjs, etc.). I tried to look critically at every item I put on to challenge myself about whether or not I really enjoy it and if it adds value to my life.

2. get rid of everything except for your favorites

After I tried every item on, I came up with a very simple task for deciding whether or not I would keep it. I asked myself the same question about every single one, and tried to answer myself honestly: “Is this my favorite?” Is this your favorite shirt? Your favorite pair of shorts? And for every time you think “no,” toss it in a Goodwill pile where it might find someone who does cherish it as their favorite. For every time you think “this just might be my favorite shirt,” keep it. Wear it even more!

 

 

Our wardrobe defines how we feel about ourselves in most cases, and if we continue to hold on to those items in our closets that don’t really fit our personal styles or our current body shapes, I think we are negatively impacted when we look at those items. I used to keep so many pieces that didn’t look or feel quite right. They weren’t my favorites, but I kept torturing myself with them anyways, and every time I would see them in my closet I would feel a little worse, a little more self conscious, and a little less satisfied with my current body. If you’re holding on to those items that you think will inspire you to lose weight to fit in them, or if you think you’ll wear them when you’re feeling especially confident one day, just do yourself a big fat favor and toss them out!

3. If you’re not sure, pull it out of your wardrobe

If you really aren’t sure, and for some items that will definitely be the case, don’t hand it over to Goodwill quite yet. Instead, just pull it out of your wardrobe and set it aside for a while. I have a little basket in the corner of my room that I continually put items into that I am not quite sure if I love, and if in the next few weeks I think “man, I would love to wear that shirt today,” I pull it back out of the basket and wear it. For the vast majority of things that I pull out of my closet, I never put them back in. In fact, when I look back at the basket I think “wow, why did I ever even keep that in my closet? I would never wear that!” Rule of thumb: if you’re not sure, pull it out.

4. give your old clothes to charity

Whether it’s to a Goodwill-esce thrift store or to a clothing bank that works more directly with people who are homeless, letting your clothes go feels a lot easier when you know that someone else might get more use out of them than you ever did. When you’re giving clothes away, think “is it possible that someone could love this item more than I do?” For most of the items we own in our lives, the answer is a resounding YES. I only know of a few items in my life that I feel confident enough in to say I love it more than most other people could, and it’s usually because the item was gifted to me by someone I love or because I endured an important time in my life and the item reminds me of the time and helps me to reflect on it. Giving your old clothes to charity makes sure that you can feel good about what is happening to the clothes to which you feel emotionally attached but that you know you don’t really love; it helps you to let go of them with the confidence that they could be loved deeply by someone else.

 

 

5. keep downsizing

The most important lesson that downsizing has taught me is that I am never done downsizing. Downsizing is a state of mind that you use to critically question the necessity of items you own. It helps you to continue asking yourself whether or not you really need what you have, and why you think your material possessions bring value to your life. When I initially downsized my wardrobe, I donated about eighty percent of the clothes I owned, leaving me with twenty-something shirts and twenty-something pairs of pants, but in the last few months since downsizing, I still find myself looking more skeptically at the items I kept, thinking “even with fewer items, I still don’t really wear this shirt. Do I really need it, or could someone else love it more?” For most or the items that I question, I feel so much better once I throw them in the donate pile, and since my initial downsizing I have already cut my wardrobe almost in half. That means that even after initially downsizing, I was still holding on to twice the amount of clothes that I really needed, wanted, and loved. Today, my closet looks like this (minus two more items from this photo!)

 

 

I think you’d be surprised at how very few items you really need and love from your wardrobe. I can also tell you from personal experience how refreshing it feels to simplify a wardrobe. I now have so much easier of a time deciding what I’m going to wear. I never have those mornings where I try on five or more outfits trying to feel right in clothes that I don’t love, eventually settling to feel a little off during the day in whatever outfit I decide on. I feel comfortable and happy, and despite my numerous blog posts talking extensively about it, I really don’t have to think about my clothes much. If you’re feeling inspired to downsize but want to know more of my personal experiences or adventures, just ask! I’d love to help you through it if you think that downsizing can help you to feel even a little lighter and a little happier in this beautiful life.

Peace to you, love to you, and happy minimizing!