Raw, Vegan Snack Chips
May 31, 2010

Hey guys!

Happy Memorial Day. It’s warm and sunny here in NYC, so I hope anyone who’s local is taking some time to enjoy the weather and soak up a little vitamin D!

Starting tomorrow, my schedule will be shifting–not, I’m afraid, for the better. Between this coming week and the end of July, I’ll be working later than usual–probably till 9:30 or 10:00 pm each night. This has some unpleasant side effects–less time with my friends, later bedtimes (because I’ll have counseling work to do when I get home), and less time to enjoy the long daylight hours. But it’s professionally important, so I’m making the best of it!

The real downside of working later will be having less time to cook. Sad face! Creating nourishing and tasty food is my favorite hobby and one of my only creative outlets; it is also, obviously, a huge part of my work as a blogger. I hope you’ll all bear with me patiently for the next two months as I work my derriere off, forgiving me when creative recipes don’t go up as often as usual. August will afford me more time for fresh and innovative food: that’s a promise!

Working past 8:00 pm means dinner at the desk (or on the go). This, in turn, means that, for the next 6-8 weeks, I’ll be packing all three meals and snacks every single weekday. Ooof! This will require

  • Superhuman organization
  • Weekend planning
  • Efficient leftover usage
  • Remembering to freeze excess food
  • Keeping a checklist in my head each morning of what I’ll need for the day, so that I pack it all accordingly.

I’ve certainly gone through periods of late working hours like this before, so I know what I need to do: the trick is staying energetic and organized, so that I don’t fall into the habit of squandering money on takeout or the Whole Foods salad bar.

Packing three meals a day also means relying on more prepared foods than I usually do, which is sort of a bummer in that it quashes my love for all things spontaneous and fresh, but absolutely necessary for my schedule (and sanity). In this busy period of time–and whenever I’m away from my apartment more than usual–foods that will keep me going include:

  • Nutrient dense salads, packed up the night before work
  • Sprouted bread sandwiches, filled with marinated veggies, avocado and greens, hummus, or other veggie-based fillings
  • PB and banana on manna bread. A comfort food fave.
  • Grain salads–favorite bases for these include quinoa, millet, wheatberries (sprouted or boiled), and brown rice
  • Raw collard wraps, with various nut pates and nut cheezes as fillings
  • Snack plates of hummus or nut butter and raw veggies
  • Kale chips
  • Larabars, Wild Bars, and Flying Vegan bars (for more on my top energy bar picks, check out this recent post)
  • Homemade raw trail mix
  • Lydia’s raw crackers
  • Soups and curries — easy to prepare on weekends and easy to freeze for future consumption
  • Brown rice sushi rolls from Whole Foods when I’m feeling lazy 🙂

Naturally, other foods will make appearances in what I’m eating, but these will be the fundamentals. Stable, quick to prepare, and transportable.

Another food trend I expect in the next two months is increased use of my dehydrator. You all know how I feel about the dehydrator: it’s not an appliance I use often, and if I hadn’t been gifted with one, I wouldn’t have invested in it: since I’m not strict on the 115 degree law (or enzyme theory in general), I’d be content to bake food at a very low temperature in my oven. However, I do have a dehydrator, and it will come in handy in the coming weeks, as I work to prepare foods on the weekend that will remain shelf-stable and snackable.

This weekend, I decided to fire up the dehydrator with my first batch of portable snacks: veggie chips. In spite of the fact that I have almost no memory of eating regular potato chips (I know I did when I was little, but I don’t remember, and didn’t have much sentimental attachment to them), I do love a bit of crunch in my life, and I love it even more when it comes with some vitamins and nutrients. What could be better for this than veggie chips, which are painless to make and lack the sodium and low-quality fat content of conventional chips?

Making veggie chips is truly a cinch. Slice whatever veggies you’re using (eggplant, zucchini, yam, white potato, turnip, carrot, parsnip, etc.) very thinly–I’d say 1/8 inch is ideal–on a mandolin, in a food processor, or by hand. Toss them in a bit of olive oil or coconut oil, salt, pepper, and any spices you like (Italian spices are great; so is cumin or chili powder, especially on sweet potatoes or yams). Next, arrange all veggies on mesh dehydrator sheets (covered with Teflex if you like) and dehydrate for about 5-8 hours, or however long it takes for the chips to dry out and get crunchy. I used zucchini and sweet potato, like so:

After a night in my dehydrator, they were crispy, salty, and ready for munching! I served them as appetizers in a special lunch for my Mom yesterday:

From left to right, that’s leftover tomato tahini kale chips, sweet potato chips, and zucchini chips (which my friend Bitt has also made!).  They were a hit, and I’ve got a ton leftover to pack up for snackage this week. It’s one small item to check off my planning ahead list, and it couldn’t possibly have been easier to accomplish.

Before I sign off for the day, I wanted to share this week’s nutrient dense salad:

That’s chopped sweet potato, massaged kale, white beans, marinated and dehydrated broccoli and fennel, and zucchini dressing.

With that, I’m off to get some editing, reading, and more logistical planning done before the week begins. I’ll be back soon. In the meantime, wish me luck!!


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Categories: Raw, Snacks

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  1. good luck on the organization. im sure you can do it, no prob!

    i need to get a dehydrator! ive been wanting to try to make veggie chips. in the meantime, i think i’m going to try to bake these and see how it goes. thanks for the tutorial gena.

  2. I had a similar kafuffle this past semester – teaching at three schools, while working towards my second master’s degree. Salads sat in the trunk of my car, alongside jars of quinoa. I even bought a giant cylinder of sea salt to keep in there too!

    What you got going on good here is ORGANIZATION. You are setting aside time to prepare for the whole week! I never really did that. But when school starts again, I’ll be thinking of your mindset and being a big ol’ copycat.

    Thanks! 🙂

  3. Those chips looking amazing! And that salad looks even tastier..

    I hope you manage everything ok with your new schedule.


  4. Atta girl, gittin’ ‘er done. Sounds like you’ve got your ducks in a row, despite the packed schedule. If you find yourself short a salad, though, stop on by and I’ll spot you some kale. 🙂 xo

  5. Ouch! Good luck, all that planning seems sooooo intimidating! However, it looks like you’ve started off right with those sweet potato chip leftovers…they look scrumptious!! 🙂

  6. Ispiring as always, Gena! These look absolutely delicious and I know you will handle your new schedule with the grace that you handle everything!!! I will miss your recipes but take care of yourself.

  7. The veggie chips look delicious. The nutrient dense salad looks like another winner…

    good luck with the new schedule lady! I loved reading your ideas for meals on the go!

  8. i have a dehydrator now! but the last time i made chips they shrunk up teeny tiny…any tips on heat settings? do I need to do anything before putting my veggies in?

  9. Good luck getting through the hard times! You’ll be fine, based on this awesome list of handy foods! When I was working full time and going to school, I ate take out for lunch so many times that it’s embarrassing…

  10. Whew good luck with all that work! I admire your resilience. A post idea for you – how do you fit in workouts when you’re this busy? I believe you said before that you go to the gym every morning – maybe some background on that?

  11. oh my god gena, i can relate to you totally in “packing three meals for the day” situation… basically that was me daily 4 times a week in the past schoolyear, and it doesn’t help that i have no “office” and am literally lugging around my lunchbag around campus all day. yes, i had a giant lunch bag! my classmates know me as the crazy bagged lunch lady. haha. i also did that whole foods “salad bar” too often for my student budget during exam period, though the selections in the whole foods salad bar here in toronto is much smaller than what i see on american food blogs. there is a local raw resto that sells packed meals (usually zucchini pasta with bolognese sauce or raw pad thai) to a health food store super close to school campus, and only for $10, so i bought a ton of that along with larabars from the same store.

    the veg chips are a terrific idea. have you tried sweet potato with cocoa powder (as well as cinnamon)? it’s SO GOOD. i don’t even like the flavour of chocolate, but paired with the sweet potato… mmmm. i was also wondering if you’ve tried asian sweet potatoes? (japanese/korean variety)? they’re more purple than red on the outside and much whiter than regular sweet potatoes on the inside. they’re my favourite!

    ok, signing off this ridiculously long comment :X i admire you for being so hardworking, gena. wishing you all the luck!

  12. I admire so much your dedication to your career, your lifestyle and your readers! I’ll be with you through the summer, no matter how infrequently we are able to catch up. You are amazing and I can’t wait to see you on the other side of the next few months!!!

  13. Gorgeous chips! I have all the faith that you will manage these next two months with complete grace. Let me know if you need anything! xo

  14. Nannying and being a student means I pack a lot of my meals, but I think I’ve only had to do all three meals one time. It was a lot of work, but going through my day I remember being glad I did it. Three-a-days all week sounds crazy (but exciting). Good luck with everything!

  15. amazing post. can’t wait to see how you manage it all! Us new yorkers can relate to business, but I am afraid healthy food is often foresaken for convenience and time! I really love (and need) your planning tips. It will all be worth it in the end, Gena!

  16. So pretty! How come my sweet potato chips always come out chewy? I think I’m doing something wrong, but yours look amazing!!

    Good luck with the next couple of weeks!! Yooouu can do it! I’m so impressed with how you manage to balance all of the millions of things you do.

  17. packing all three meals and snacks every single weekday = HANG IN THERE!

    However, dare i say, this will be good practice for you one day if you ever have a child where you will literally need 13 diff snack options to go to the groc store. And have them fresh, healthy, and at the ready at a nanosecond’s notice..you are just getting in good practice now 🙂

    No apologies necessary about LIFE superceding the blog, recipes, etc. I am guilty to the enth degree though of feeling like if I disappear in large (or in any) part for a few weeks to move, do a show, do my life 🙂 that people won’t really understand. But just so you know, I DO understand about that thing called life.

    Dehyd. Cant wait to get back to San Diego where i can run it. Running a 125F or whatever hot box when it’s already 105F outdoors just makes me house too hot. So I havent dehyd’ed anything in months. Sigh. I want those veggie chips! and kale chips 🙂

  18. Yum! I’m not sure I could like any veggie chip more than kale chips, but I’ll give it a try. I wish you the best luck with what sounds like an absolutely insane schedule. If anyone can do it, you can!

  19. Good luck!!! You can do it 🙂 I’ve literally just made your zucchini dressing for the first time- it’s delicious! Thanks Gena. x

  20. These look great, I’ve been meaning to try more veggie chips including the recipes in Kristen Suzanne’s snacks book. As we prepare for more mini-summer road trips, I’ll be doing a lot more road food. Thanks!

  21. this is very impressive! i wish i were dedicated enough to devote this much time into healthy snacks – i’d rather just grab a piece of fruit + nut butter of sorts, but this is way more inventive!

    have you heard of the new kale chips that are baked and sold in brooklyn? it’s great to see these healthy snacks are becoming more mainstream!

  22. veggie chips!! coolest idea ever! i love chips but i don’t think i’ll ever buy a can of pringles again in my life so this is a very good idea 🙂

  23. Hey Gena, You know I’ll be reading even if the posts are scarce! No worries! We love you! 🙂

    Those chips look amazing! YUM!

    Love that salad too! Sweet potato & white beans are two of my favorite things!

  24. I’m so sorry you have to work so much. I hope it is at least stimulating. I have had to pack all three meals before and I always pack way more than I think I need and usually go through all of it.

    Thanks for the chip mention. I need to make more of those. And some sweet potato chips too. Ooh the dogs would love those too.

    Happy munching!

  25. Ahhh sweet potato, my favorite food. I tried making something similar to that once but I cut them too thick and didn’t bake them long enough :(. What kind of knife do you use to slice them so thin?

  26. Yum! So many new chips to try. I need to get my hands on a dehydrator and try some non-cooking. Now that it’s Summer, all I want is raw veggies