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Whether you're reaching out with a product question, inquiring about a tasting at your workplace, looking for your next wedding flavor or would like to mentor as part of our employment training program, we'd love to hear from you! Either fill out the form to the right, or shoot us a note at hello@grounduppdx.com. We'll be in touch soon!

Healthy, gourmet nut butters that provide job skills training to women in need.

Blog

Team Spotlight: Meet J

Carolyn Cesario

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J is our labelling master - she loves it! She is also becoming a pro at using our filling machine which is impressive because it is not an easy task. We’re so inspired by the strong, hardworking women on our team and are excited to introduce you to J!

What has your experience with Ground Up been like? How has it helped your confidence?

It’s helped a lot with my confidence. I didn’t have a lot of hope before Ground Up. It’s built a lot of confidence for me and I’ve done things that I didn’t even know I could do. Some of the things I do,  I didn’t even know I had in me. 

What does it mean to you to have a job and be back in the workforce?

I look forward to going to work every day… Honestly, I wish I could be here everyday! I really enjoy it. The hours go by so quick. It goes by too fast. I could label all day! I love it!

What is the community at Ground Up like? What does having this community mean to you?

I normally just don’t like being around women…. There’s drama, they’re catty. Here everyone has a job to do, they are here for a reason and I like that a lot. When I was in the hospital, some new employees were hired and the staff changed, but coming back, it feels like I never even left. Everyone is great. 

What do you like to do for fun?

Since I’ve been out of the hospital I’ve been doing a lot of walking to strengthen my legs. I like to walk to the park or find some stairs. 

What is your favorite Ground Up nut butter flavor + favorite way to enjoy it?

Snickerdoodle. I just like to eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon!

What do you hope to do after Ground Up?

My dream job is to be a juvenile mentor. I want to be a mentor for young girls that are heading down the wrong path. I went down the wrong path as a teenager, so I know how it can get started. I want to be able to steer them in another direction.

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Team Spotlight: Meet Bonnie

Carolyn Cesario

Bonnie with her new favorite flavor, Salted Eggnog!

Bonnie with her new favorite flavor, Salted Eggnog!

I had just started to get on my feet, after years of chronic homlessness and substance abuse. I had a full-time job, doing laundry at a local 3-star hotel. I had moved out of my tent and into a roommate situation in NE Portland. I could see a light at the end of the tunnel…

The day I moved into the 2-bedroom apartment, officially paid our new roomie and got my key, I was “let go” from the hotel. Oh. Did I mention that I’m pregnant. Year, so I’m just starting my 2nd trimester when I lost my job. The roomie situation didn’t work out too well, either. My fiance and I left there, after about 75 days.

We stayed with family, on the conditions that we were only there to “eat and sleep.” I kept searching for work, while my fiance was dealing with some medical concerns. 

I had twelve job interviews, in five weeks, with nothing to show for it. 

Brian’s health problems were increasing and I started to feel hopeless, lost and desperate. But I continued my search for employment with determination.

*fast forward*

I bumped into a friend (now, co-worker) and explained my job hunt woes to her. She introduced me to Ground Up and gave me Julie’s email address. I emailed her the next day (I think it was Thursday) and was excited and surprised to receive a reply on Friday. The next Monday I had an interview, followed by a “working interview” on Tuesday. Needless to say, I got the job!

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One of the highlights of Ground Up is the community of women. We all support one another without judgement I can honestly say that I’ve NEVER felt so accepted, encouraged and enlightened at my place at work.

Julie and the whole team really feels like “coming home” to me.

Another point I feel was made, Julie (all management, really) met me where I was at. They understood and accepted my 10+ year gap in consecutive and stable employment. And I so appreciate that, and all it entails!

Here I am, 5 weeks away from bringing a new life into the world, and I wouldn’t be where I am, mentally or physically, without the help of all the ladies at Ground Up! As I grow rounder and less active, I am still coming to work. There is still so much for me to learn. 

Everyone has been super helpful, making sure I’m comfortable and well-fed. And all my needs are met, while on the clock.

I’m very proud to be part of the Ground Up team. Each and every day brings a new learning experience, blossoming friendships and knowledge that I’m part of the bigger picture. I look forward to continuing to grow and expand with Ground Up.

-Bonnie S. 

Team Spotlight: Meet Marie

Carolyn Cesario

Marie with her favorite flavor, Snickerdoodle!

Marie with her favorite flavor, Snickerdoodle!

What has your experience with Ground Up been like? How has it helped your confidence?

It’s been an empowering experience. I came in having never worked in a kitchen before. I’m learning new skills, like even washing dishes in an industrial sink, and I’m thriving at it. It’s given me a boost of confidence. I feel as though I can tackle more problems in my personal life because I’m learning skills to tackle the problems that can come up here. 

What does it mean to you to have a job and be back in the workforce?

It means a lot. I feel better about myself having a job and I feel like I’m being a productive member of society again. They’ve been so supportive here. They’re giving me the time do group therapy and willing to let me work around my appointments. I feel as though can continue working on the problems that got me being homeless while I’m in a supportive atmosphere. 

What is the community at Ground Up like? What does having this community mean to you?

The community is supportive. We ask how each others week has been, you really get to know the other women on more than just a casual level. A person can always use more community. Having the support from the women and being able to support them gives you a warm feeling inside because it’s a two way street. I’m supported and I support others. 

Julie and Carolyn are the most supportive employers I’ve ever had in my life, and I am a 50+ year old woman. We have one-on-ones so we can communicate and know what to work on, as well as deal with personal issues that may be affecting the job. I feel like I can freely discuss anything with them. A lot of bosses you don’t tell your personal problems to because it could be detrimental to your job, but here it is encouraged. 

What do you like to do for fun?

I like to play video games, specifically role playing ones. I read, I crochet, I do puzzles, I spend time with my friends.

What is your favorite Ground Up nut butter flavor + favorite way to enjoy it?

Snickerdoodle. I just eat it out of the jar! It’s a complete snack in itself. It’s got sweet, it’s got salt, it’s just plain yummy.

What do you hope to do after Ground Up?

I am working with a vocational rehab. I volunteer at Portland Rescue Mission and I really enjoy that. They’re helping me find a part time job where I do something similar, working with people who are either homeless or potentially homeless populations. I work directly with the people there and I enjoy it, it brings me such joy. When you get that smile or thank you because you helped someone it brings me joy and I feel like I did a great thing. It doesn’t feel like work. 

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She’s Empowered Spotlight: Leesa Morales, Founder of The Purposeful Plate

Carolyn Cesario

We’re so excited to continue our She’s Empowered series and introduce you to the next gal we’re featuring, Leesa Morales of @purposefulplate. It’s been so fun getting to know Leesa through her beautiful food photography, hanging with her at farmers markets and food events, and through reading her blog (which is a great resource for health + wellness!). 

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Tell us a little bit about you!

Hi! I'm Leesa. Nutritionist, photographer, and recipe curator at Purposeful Plate, a wellness blog dedicated to thoughtful ingredients and functional foods to reduce disease and promote longevity. 

What's the story behind your blog, Purposeful Plate?

The idea started in graduate school while getting my Master's degree in nutrition. We learned that whole, fresh foods from the earth contain powerful vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and even more compounds that we haven't fully identified yet that positively impact the body in specific ways. I knew right away I wanted to share this information with the world in a beautiful, colorful, delicious way -- so my blog was born!

When you're not creating amazing recipes, how are you spending your time?

I'm a city girl at heart and love to wander around PDX in my free time, soaking up the amazing community and connecting with other female makers and doers. I am so grateful for that! I also love to explore and see the outdoors, so hiking, camping, and road trips are almost always in rotation.

What ingredient is your kitchen NEVER without?

TOO many to list. But if I had to pick one... some kind of vegetable. They are the foundation of almost every meal in our house, and a stocked fridge or an empty fridge always has at least one to choose from.

Ok, we have to ask. What's your favorite way(s) to eat your Ground Up PDX?

I know this is not a unique answer, but honestly -- by the spoonful. It's a treat in itself! Otherwise, drizzled on fruit is a close second.

How do you stay inspired?

Luckily I have never been short of inspiration. In fact, my head is buzzing constantly with ideas. The challenging part for me personally, is following through and seeing an idea all the way through. If I'm in need of direction for an idea, I brainstorm, ask around, research, and make a plan. When I'm ready to make it happen, I generally do it quickly so as not to lose focus.

What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community?

I love to connect with others in the food/bev/wellness industry. Mentoring new graduates, meeting other entrepreneurs, supporting friends following their dreams...I feel the most connected when I'm engaged in a good conversation and I think communicating is a gift our community will always value. Dining at local restaurants, purchasing from individuals, supporting the small guy has always felt right. Spreading good to me means being open, honest, transparent, encouraging, and kind as a real person in real life in addition to our purchasing habits.

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Carrot Noodle Bowls w/ Spicy Walnut Sauce & Toasted Honey Cashews

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For the sauce:

¼ cup Ground Up Walnut Cashew butter

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp water

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp rice vinegar

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp gochujang, or other asian-style hot sauce

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Pinch of sea salt, to taste

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For the bowl:

1 package tempeh, cubed

3 cups carrot spirals, or other noodles of choice

½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved

½ lime, cut into wedges

½ cup raw cashews

¼ tsp honey

Pinch of flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Optional garnish: chopped cilantro, parsley, sesame seeds, chili flakes


Directions:

  1. Heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium. Once hot, add a drizzle of olive oil and the tempeh. Season generously with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.* Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tempeh is golden and crispy, adding more olive oil by the teaspoon as needed.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust as desired. Set aside.

  3. Once the tempeh is cooked to your liking, transfer it to a plate and set aside. 

  4. Add the carrot spirals to the hot pan and toss in a drizzle of olive oil. If the carrot spirals are frozen, there will be enough water in the pan to steam them. If they are fresh, add a teaspoon or two of water. Cover with a lid, and steam for 3-4 minutes, or until al dente. 

  5. While the spirals cook, preheat a small non-stick skillet over low heat. Add the cashews, and toast, shaking the pan every 1-2 minutes so they brown evenly. Once the cashews are golden and fragrant, add the honey to the pan, and stir to coat the cashews. Toast for 2 minutes more, or until the cashews are golden and sticky.

  6. Arrange the bowls: divide the carrot spirals into two bowls, top each with half of the tempeh, tomatoes, cashews, and a generous pinch of sesame seeds, chili flakes, or any other toppings of choice. Serve each with a lime wedge, a pinch of flaky sea salt, and drizzle with as much walnut sauce as desired! 

*I almost always season tempeh with smoked paprika, garlic powder, and a “mixed” seasoning of sorts, like the Trader Joe’s 21-Seasoning Salute. Tempeh doesn’t have much flavor on its own, but there is so much going on in this bowl that it doesn’t necessarily require any of these. Feel free to play with it as you wish!

Team Spotlight: Tiffany

Carolyn Cesario

We’re so inspired by each of the women on our team. Tiffany joined the team in 2018 and has consistently blown us away with her grit, her bravery, and her ambition. Not to mention her amazing sense of humor and positivity! We can’t imagine the Ground Up team without her and are so excited to share a bit more of her story.

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What’s been your proudest accomplishment since joining Ground Up?

It's been a year since I hit about as low as I could. I had to move into a shelter. For almost 3 months I just curled up in a ball, and cried. My son was scared for me, and stopped talking to me. My depression and PTSD was out of control. I finally checked myself into a behavioral health hospital for 2 weeks. I pushed myself so hard to get better. I was honest with the doctors, did any of the group classes, and was slowly coming out of my shell. I felt like myself again. More importantly, my son was talking to me again. He even wanted to start spending time with me. I started floating on Cloud 9. I proved to myself that I can do anything if I just push myself. I now have my own apartment, work with all of the amazing ladies at Ground Up, and go spend time with my son every other weekend. Life is awesome!!

How do you want to continue to grow this year?

I hope to keep growing my relationship with my son. I also want to start working full time employment as either an Office Manager, or an Administrative Assistant. I also hope to share my growth and volunteer more. There are so many homeless ladies in the area. I hope by sharing my experience, I can encourage others to push as hard as I have.

She's Empowered Spotlight: Clare Stager, Founder of Ground Breaking Bread

Carolyn Cesario

We’re excited to continue our She’s Empowered series and introduce you to Clare Stager, the owner and founder of Ground Breaking Bread. We’ve had the privilege of getting to know Clare well over our time at our current kitchen space; she uses our commissary kitchen space most early mornings before we do! You’re going to love learning more about her + her amazing… dare we say ground breaking, bread.

Photo Credit: Olivia Ashton

Photo Credit: Olivia Ashton

Tell us a little bit about you!

I'm a Portland native and am so grateful and aware of the privilege to be from such a beautiful place with access to the outdoors and clean, fresh air and water. I love to get outside, and have tons of summer trips planned in my trusted 1978 Dodge Minibus (whose name is Bruno). I feel most like myself when I'm moving around and having fun outside... or with two hands in a big bowl of bread dough.

What's the story behind your business, Ground Breaking Bread?

I started GBB in the last few days of 2017 with no clue that a business had just been created. I was eagerly searching for food I wanted to fuel my body with, and had just moved back from years living overseas. I threw all of my favorite ingredients in a bowl thinking this could work or this could turn out terribly - to my surprise it worked and friends actually wanted to buy it off me. Now I get to share an organic, nourishing bread with many people that need it for various reasons (allergies, chronic illness, etc.) GBB has been the greatest connector for me; connecting back to farmers and the land where ingredients come from, to other business owners in Portland, and to all of the people in this community. It has been the greatest gift!

When you're not making delicious bread, what are your favorite ways to spend your time?

I'm drawn to the ocean and the mountains. I really love to surf (not well) and ski, hike, etc in the mountains. Road trips, planting and growing plants and veggies, cooking, so many activities. Funnily enough, I truly dislike baking all things except bread. and brownies.

What ingredient is your kitchen NEVER without?

I know the jury is out on this one but I love nutritional yeast. I put it on everything... everything.

Photo Credit: Olivia Ashton

Photo Credit: Olivia Ashton

Ok, we have to ask. What's your favorite way(s) to eat your Ground Up PDX?

Is it cliché to say on a huge chunky slice of Ground Breaking Bread? Every morning I either slice a huge chunk of bread, toast it in a pan with coconut oil and top with your Chunky Almond, Cashew and Coconut Butter OR I make a big bowl of GF organic oatmeal and top it with frozen marionberries, hemp seeds and your Honey Lavender Almond and Cashew Butter. Both are so filling and incredibly tasty ways to start my day.

How do you stay inspired?

One of the best ways to stay inspired is by continuously asking this question: What do I feel inspired by today or even this week? It's always changing. Right now I feel inspired by women all over the world standing up for one another and the collective "we". For mother's day I spent the evening gardening with my mom and watching the movie on Ruth Bader Ginsberg which inspired me to wake up this morning and keep. on. hustling.

Photo Credit: Olivia Ashton

Photo Credit: Olivia Ashton

What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community?

My other "job" (more of a passion really) is guiding yoga classes. I love being a part of the yoga "teaching" community because it creates an opportunity to guide others through a very personal practice where they are setting themselves up for success, to be the best version of themselves they can be in that moment and throughout the day or week. Guiding yoga is a powerful way to spread the light, the love and the joy that we all have within us, and to help others see it too.

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Almond Butter Seedy Protein Bites

Recipe makes approx 12 large bites

Ingredients :

1 bag Ground Breaking Bread Original Seed Bread Mix
1.5 cup Ground Up PDX ( I like the Lavender Honey or Oregon Hazelnut for these but any flavor is delicious)
1/2 cup Dairy free chocolate chips or chunks (I like the brand “Enjoy Life”
1 cup Coconut oil
1/2 cup Honey or maple syrup

Instructions:

1. Pour bread mix in mixing bowl
2. In a separate bowl whisk together slightly warmed almond butter, melted coconut oil, and honey/maple syrup
3. Combine wet and dry ingredients with washed hands!
4. Chill bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes
5. Form about 1 inch balls in palms (if dough still doesn’t stick together, add more oil, honey or nut butter and rechill)

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Voila! Snack bites full of protein and fiber. Store in air tight container in the fridge or freezer!

She's Empowered Spotlight: Kruti Shah, Founder of Cultivate with Kruti

Carolyn Cesario

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We’re so excited to introduce you to the next gal in our She’s Empowered series! Meet Kruti of @cultivatewithkruti. Kruti always has the best health insights and fun recipe ideas! We’ve learned so much from Kruti — and can’t wait to dive into this spotlight! As an added bonus, at the end of the post you’ll get her (totally droolworthy) recipe for her Almond Butter Crunch Bars.

Tell us a little bit about you!

Hi! My name is Kruti Shah! I was born and raised in sunny California, where I spent many years until my recent move to Florida. Currently, I’m studying to receive my master’s in occupational therapy, which I’m so passionate about! Helping others has always been a dream of mine, and I’m excited I’m finally pursuing my dream career.

What's the story behind your blog, Cultivate with Kruti?

I started Cultivate with Kruti back in 2015, when I was finishing up prerequisites for graduate school and working part-time. My brother suggested I begin posting my recipes to share with family and friends, which I was so nervous to do it at first! I’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen, and it was so wonderful to be able to share my passion of healthy living and eating with others. I know throughout the years, it’s also helped me evolve as a person tremendously. I appreciate the food, the wonderful community and the amazing brands I’ve formed relations with.

When you're not creating amazing recipes, how are you spending your time?

Now that I’m in school full-time, I spend a lot of days on campus for classes or at the library studying. However, between the copious amounts of schoolwork, I enjoy staying active, attending yoga classes with friends, or discovering new restaurants to eat with friends in Florida!

What ingredient is your kitchen NEVER without?

I can’t choose just one, so my top three include: avocados, sweet potatoes and of course, Ground Up PDX Smooth almond butter!

Ok, we have to ask. What's your favorite way(s) to eat your Ground Up PDX?

Currently I love chopping an apple, adding a spoonful of smooth almond butter and dark chocolate chips!

How do you stay inspired?

This one is tough! I get into so many ruts, however I love exploring other blogs or scrolling through Instagram to see what fun recipes other bloggers are making! Other times, I enjoy stepping away from Instagram for a week or two, which I find so helpful in getting back to my creative self!

What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community?

I love spreading good by encouraging others to establish grounded routines—whether that includes doing nothing, yoga, meditation, walks in nature, journaling, etc. Incorporating acts of self-care helps balance the stresses of life, and honestly just makes you feel good to tackle the day!

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ALMOND BUTTER CRUNCH BARS

Directions: Line a bread pan with parchment paper. Combine nut butter and brown rice crisps.  Pour into pan. Allow mixture to set in the fridge for 10 minutes. Next, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together. Layer on top, and allow the bars to set in the freezer. Enjoy!

She's Empowered Spotlight: Robin Plotnik, Founder of What Robin Eats

Carolyn Cesario

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We’re so excited to introduce you to the next gal in our She’s Empowered series! Meet Robin of @whatrobineats. We’ve loved connecting with Robin and consistently learn more amazing ways to use our nut butter just by following along with her journey on Instagram!

Tell us a little bit about you! 

I'm a certified nutritionist who has a passion for a healthy lifestyle. I've worked in gyms from San Diego to New York City and now work with clients all over the country via my website, www.WhatRobinEats.com. I worked as a fashion model, modeling lookbooks, editorials, and runways for over 10 years. When I'm not writing nutrition plans for my clients or creating recipes in the kitchen for @WhatRobinEats, you can find me with my eight month old baby girl Poppy, my husband Joel, and hairless cat Aero. I believe that a strong body equals a healthy mind and hope to encourage everyone to live a more balanced life. 

What's the story behind your blog, What Robin Eats? 

Being in the fashion industry for ten years, the big question was “what do models eat?”. What started as a hashtag seven years ago became a passion for me. I knew I loved nutrition but never looked at cooking with an artistic eye. I began plating my food with care and putting my “strange but good” toast combos out there for everyone to see. After 2 1/2 years @WhatRobinEats has become more than an Instagram full of food, there is a community that has grown through healthy breakfasts, comfort food hacks, and fitness events. I encourage my audience to tag their #ToastTuesday creations with #ToastLikeRobin every Tuesday and add a nut butter syrup drizzle to just about everything. @WhatRobinEats is a place for people to be inspired to live a healthy lifestyle through fitness and eating food that’s sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

When you're not creating amazing recipes, how are you spending your time? 

With my sweet baby girl, Poppy! I became a mom eight months ago and it has completely changed my life for the better. Yes, it’s the toughest job I’ve ever had but it brings me endless joy. I love being her mom!

What ingredient is your kitchen NEVER without? Nut butter, cinnamon, bananas, eggs, and probiotic yogurt.

How do you stay inspired? Flipping through monthly Bon Appetit magazines and browsing food photography on Pinterest. 


What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community? 

Nut butter syrup drizzles, staying positive, and a whole lotta Poppy videos.

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with a Cinnamon Snickerdoodle syrup drizzle (makes two servings)

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices sourdough bread

  • 2 egg whites or 2 whole eggs

  • 1/4 cup nut milk

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 2-4 tbsp dairy free strawberry cream cheese

  • 1/2 banana cut into slices

Nut butter syrup drizzle:

  • 6 tbsps maple syrup

  • 1-4 tsp water (depending on desired consistency)

  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Cashew Almond Butter, melted

  • Dried strawberries (optional topping)



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Directions:

  • Heat a flat skillet on medium heart and spray with nonstick cooking spray or use 1/2-1 tbsp ghee to coat the pan.

  • Whisk together egg whites (or whole eggs) , nut milk, and cinnamon in a bowl large enough to dip the sourdough bread pieces into. Set aside.

  • Spread 1-2 tbsps of strawberry cream cheese on one slice of bead. Cover the cream cheese with 1/2 of the banana slices and top with an additional piece of bread (like a sandwich). Repeat once more. Place one “sandwich” into the egg wash and lightly press down to make sure the bread soaks in some liquid. Let sit one minute, flip, and repeat. Place on hot skillet and dip the other “sandwich” into the egg wash. Repeat steps above and place on skillet. Let cook roughly 5 minutes on each side, or desired crispness. 

  • While french toast is cooking, make the cinnamon snickerdoodle syrup drizzle. Melt nut butter in a microwavable ramekin for 15 seconds. Stir in syrup and add water as needed. Consistency should be runny yet thick. 

  • Once french toast is done cooking, cut each slice in half, plate, and cover with cinnamon snickerdoodle syrup drizzle and dried strawberries. In my opinion, this tastes like strawberry captain crunch, enjoy!

She's Empowered Spotlight: Kate Jenkins, Founder of Vegukate

Carolyn Cesario

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We’re big fans of the #womensupportingwomen movement (if that wasn’t already obvious) and are excited to launch our She’s Empowered series! Over the next several weeks we will introduce you to some of the women that inspire us on the regular. Up first we have Kate! Kate is the founder, nutritionist, recipe mastermind, and photographer behind Vegukate. We’ve loved connecting with her here in Portland and are so excited to introduce you to her!

Alright Kate, tell us a little bit about you!

My name is Kate and I am a Portland-based nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, recipe developer, photographer, the creator of the blog vegukate.com, and advocate for real food nutrition and wellness! 

What's the story behind your blog, Vegukate?

I started my blog as a bit of an outlet for photography and creativity, as well as to share some of my favorite healthy recipes with family and friends. I never imagined that complete strangers would start following along with my blog and creating my recipes, too! It's crazy and wonderful and so much fun! The name came from my younger brother, actually. He put together "Kate" and "educate" and we called it a day! Because I hope to educate my community on how veggies are delicious and avocados are cool, I really think the name fits! 

What ingredient is your kitchen NEVER without?

HAH. I can't choose just one, and I enter full-on panic mode when I don't have: avocado, lemons, olive oil, sweet potatoes, coffee, almond or cashew milk, and nut butter. 

Ok, we have to ask. What's your favorite way(s) to eat your Ground Up PDX?

My favorite dessert: a bowl of raspberries and blueberries smothered in chunky almond, cashew, and coconut nut butter, and sprinkled with cacao nibs and big flaky coconut. SO good. 

How do you stay inspired?

When it comes to recipes and recipe development, I'm inspired by the seasons changing and new produce coming into the market. I also love reading cookbooks and exploring our delicious Portland food scene. It's always super fun to recreate a dish in my own kitchen, with slightly more wholesome twists. 

What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community?

Shopping local and organic at the Portland farmer's market. I love supporting and talking with the people who grow/raise/produce/fish/farm the foods I'm eating. I love heading to the PSU farmer's market on Saturday mornings for pasture-raised meats and eggs, wild salmon, (and super delicious smoked salmon), all of the fresh produce, and other exciting and local foods! 

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Golden Milk and Ginger Smoothie

Serves 1

1 cup frozen cauliflower

1 Tbsp. hemp seeds, plus more to garnish

1 tsp. chia seeds, plus more to garnish

2 Tbsp. GroundUp PDX's Golden Milk nut butter

1-2 dates

1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

1 Tbsp. coconut flakes, to garnish

1 dash ground turmeric, to garnish 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients, except for coconut flakes, in a high-speed blender.

Blend on high until smooth and creamy.

Pour into a glass and garnish with hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut flakes, and a dash of turmeric. Enjoy!

Follow Kate on Instagram for more amazing recipes like what you read above! You can also visit her blog here!

The Story Behind our Cashew Chai Nut Butter: Meet Melanie Hunt

Carolyn Cesario

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For International Women’s Day we partnered with the Portland Lyft team to run a contest for their female drivers, where one lucky winner got to bring their dream nut butter to life! After receiving hundreds of submissions we came across a glorious flavor idea (Cashew Chai anyone?) submitted by Melanie, an aspiring teacher who drives Lyft as a side hustle while she pursues her Masters in teaching. We’ve been SO inspired by Mel and think you will be too!

Alright Mel, tell us a little bit about yourself!

I moved to Portland almost two years ago from the Bay Area. I’m passionate about education and am currently pursuing a Masters degree in Teaching at Lewis and Clark Graduate School.  I’ve worked many jobs within the education world, including campus supervisor, substitute teacher, and behavior assistant. I also spent a summer teaching English in Indonesia! I originally started driving for Lyft as a way to make some quick money, because when I first moved to Portland I didn’t have a job.

I’ve enjoyed driving more than I thought I would! I have been able to meet people from all over and have such intellectual conversations. I’m constantly learning new things from my passengers. It’s been nice sharing ideas and opinions with people from all walks of life.

How did you come up with the idea for the Cashew Chai flavor?

I guess I just love chai so much that when I saw the contest, Cashew Chai was the first flavor that popped into my head. I drink a lot of tea, and chai tea is always such a treat. I also really love cashews, and I thought the milder flavor of cashews would go nicely with a bold chai flavor. (She was right, by the way!)

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How do you feel most empowered as a woman? How do you empower other women?

I feel empowered as a woman when I am taking care of myself. Taking care of my physical, mental, and spiritual health is important to me. It’s not always easy, especially when life gets busy, so each time I exercise, meal prep, meditate, read, or simply just relax…I feel empowered. I know that I’m a badass woman who can balance school/work with life and still make time for myself. (Preach it sister!)

I would say my biggest influence is in trying to empower young girls. I work in education, and will soon be licensed to teach social studies at the secondary level (grades 6-12). In social studies, I am constantly trying to present to students the voices that are missing from the textbook, and more often than not, women are part of the voiceless in history. I try to get students thinking about the role women have played in history. I hope that this empowers my young female students. 

Lyft has also provided a platform for me to empower women. Driving for Lyft is similar to bartending in that some customers are really willing to open up to me. I would say I have a trusting and inviting personality, and have noticed that several of my female passengers feel comfortable talking to me about really personal issues. It warms me to feel such trust from strangers. I have talked with women who are having issues at work, issues with family/boyfriends, or just in general having a bad day. I feel like I have a unique position in being able to offer people an unbiased opinion. I’m thankful to Lyft for providing this opportunity for me to feel like I’m supporting women, even if it’s just on their drive to work.

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How do you stay inspired?

I’m a forever learner. I am constantly seeking new knowledge that inspires me to be better. I’m also inspired from the people I talk to everyday. This includes both my students and my Lyft passengers. It’s amazing what you can learn from other people if you take the time to listen.

What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community?

I’m super eco-conscious, so my favorite way to #spreadgood in my community is by being good for the environment. Slowly but surely I am eliminating all single-use items from my home and I like to support local companies that are using sustainable materials/energy.

I also like to #spreadgood just by being cheerful! Human connection is so important, so I try to connect to those around me, even if it’s just a simple smile or “hello” as I pass someone on the street. The best way to support your community, in my opinion, is recognizing that you are part of one.

The Lyft x Ground Up Cashew Chai flavor is our most limited flavor yet! And to top off all the goodness of this flavor- for every jar sold Lyft is donating a ride to a woman in need through a partnership with Outside In. Order your jar of Cashew Chai before it’s too late!