WIAW: Weekend of (Many!) Firsts

First off…thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for your responses to my story. It means so much to me that I’ve gotten so many amazing comments and that you’ve taken the time to read it. You ladies are the best 😀 I’ll be posting part 2 (my recovery journey so far) hopefully on Friday or Saturday.

Peas and Crayons

Now let’s get on to WIAW! I promised y’all some weekend update-age, so here it is! Instead of posting my eats from this week, they’re all from this weekend and best of all, there’s 3 recipes, plus mini product reviews! You guys are so lucky this week 😉

My Saturday morning started out with one of these little suckers. My throat's been bugging me lately, and I hate cherry/honey lemon cough drops so I was pumped to find these when I got home--tropical cough drops!

 Mi madre picked me up after classes on Friday and we hit the road…and a bunch of traffic. We planned on going to urgent care when we got back so we could get it over with, but first we stopped at Panera. I love their salads so much, and I ended up getting a new-ish favorite, the Thai Chopped salad without wontons or chicken. The dressing on this is actually delish especially compared to most restaurants and not too overpowering, plus I love the edamame and little cashew clusters.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find these in my drawer. Well...I did order them a week or so ago, but I'd had them shipped home instead of to my dorm. In case you can't tell what they are, they're coral culotte shorts (from A&F). They'll be great for pairing with tights when it gets cold!

 We got to urgent care and basically sat around for 15 minutes until the receptionist directed us to the check-in desk for x-rays. We checked in, waited another 5 minutes and then I got x-rayed (for like the millionth fourth or fifth time ever, not counting tooth x-rays). Luckily there wasn’t anyone else in line for the x-ray (who would at like 7:30 at night?) so I got it over with. But of course, if you’ve ever gotten an x-ray, you know you have to wait around for awhile for it to be developed. So my mom and I were stuck in the pediatrics area, watching incredibly lame Disney Channel shows. Never have I been more glad that I am too old to watch these shows. I mean, Disney used to be awesome back in the day, but now? Not so much. Anyway, the x-ray came back and the doctor said there was no fracture or anything, but that I have plantar fasciitis. Apparently, you can’t do a lot to treat it, but it can become a chronic problem that I might have to get injections for. So fun 😦 I actually kinda wanted it to be fractured so it could be fixed, but oh well.

Long name, delicious taste. Can I just say I've fallen in love with Target's nut butters? They are so simple (this one's just almonds, peanuts, cashews and sea salt) but so good.

Apple pie...gum?! I saw this when we were checking out and I had to try it. I honestly wasn't expecting much, but it's so yummy! It doesn't last long, but while it does, it's amazing.

I really wanted a more natural alternative to agave and a cheaper one to maple syrup, so when I found this, I snapped it up. Raw is goooooood!

Ugh, the lighting in my room is legit the worst. I need a lightbox or something. But this was delish nonetheless.

OMG, my new favorite vegetable!

 On Saturday, my wonderful daddy and I ran a bunch of errands, which is honestly one of my favorite things to do, especially when it involves Target/Whole Foods. Don’t judge me 😉 At Target, I found SO many new-to-me products that–ahem–weren’t on my list, but I couldn’t pass them up, now could I? Especially this seasonal stuff–I’m such a sucker for them. So here’s my honest reviews on them (disclaimer: I bought my dad bought these, I wasn’t given these to review and the opinions are my own).

Archer Farms Almond Peanut Cashew Butter: I’ve had the Archer Farms almond butter before, and it’s really really good. This was also yummy, almost as good as the AB. That’s probably because I’m partial to the AB, but this was very yummy. It’s pretty smooth and drippy, which is perfect for sandwiches/wraps and oats. It’s pretty peanutty, which I thought I wouldn’t like, but there’s also a hint of almond in there which balances it out nicely. I just wish there was more cashew taste.

Extra Dessert Delights Apple Pie gum: I can’t believe this is a sugar-free gum! It’s so sweet, but in a good way. Oh and yes, it does taste and smell exactly like an apple pie. I know, I was shocked too! I thought it’d just be apple, but there is definitely a pie element to it. I don’t know how Extra does it, but this is a winner in my book!

Archer Farms Organic Raw Wildflower Honey: If you’ve gotta have sugar (which I do!), organic and raw is the way to go. I love feeling like I’m treating my body right, while also getting my sugar fix. This will be so good on frozen nanner slices, with nut butter and as an oats topper.

Vitatops Pumpkin Spice: I love Vitatops! My favorite include banana nut, golden corn and bluebran, but there are so many I really want to try. When I saw this, and realized it was already October, I knew I couldn’t leave the store without em. I heated up my first one on Monday night, and I could smell the pumpkin coming from the micro. It was love at first bite. I loved the little pumpkin seeds on top (even though they weren’t well-distributed) but I was surprised to find chunks of candied ginger in the Vitatop. It seemed weird at first but it’s not a bad thing.

Brussels Sprouts: How have I never tried these before? I think it’s probably because they have such a bad rep for being gross. My dad decided to buy them, I said I’d try them and at home, we sprinkled a little olive oil, kosher salt and ground pepper on them and then roasted them in the oven. As soon as I took my first bite, I was in lurrrrve 😀 The outside was crispy and salty and the inside was tender and so good. I had a bowl full of them at dinner, and then at lunch on Sunday, I polished off the leftovers. You could say I’ve discovered my new favorite veggie!

Spicy pumpkin pizza: brown rice tortilla crust, topped with organic canned pumpkin puree mixed with spices, green chiles, orange bell pepper and tempeh bacon.

Close up of my new fave pizza...holla!

 Alright, it’s recipe time! First up is my super-simple recipe for spicy pumpkin pizza. I know a lot of bloggers are ob-sessed with pumpkin and I am too. But I wanted to find a way to use it in a savory recipe. Then I thought–why not make a pizza sauce? So I bought a can of organic pumpkin puree and got to cookin’!

Spicy Pumpkin Pizza (vegan, makes 2)

2 brown rice tortillas, whole wheat naan bread or whatever crust you’d like to use

2/3 can organic pumpkin puree

veggies (I used spicy green chiles and grilled orange bell pepper)

spices (I used black pepper, a little kosher salt and chili powder)

tempeh bacon, precooked tofu cubes, whatever protein you’d like to use

Spoon pumpkin into a bowl and mix with spices to taste. Spread “sauce” on your crusts and top with veggies and protein source. Bake in a 400 degree oven (on a baking sheet) for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Dig in and enjoy!

I had a very orange dinner...can you blame me, it's October! I love getting in the Halloween spirit with my food.

 Creamy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie (vegan, makes 1)

1/3 can pumpkin puree (use what’s left from the pizza!)

1/2 cup Silk soy eggnog (I love it ’cause it’s nondairy but so delish)

ground ginger, cinnamon to taste

Pour all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add xanthan gum if you want it to be really thick, or make it a Green Monster by adding in a handful of spinach.

Corn bread is good, but pumpkin corn bread is even better!

 I found this recipe for corn bread several years ago when I was first getting really into cooking. I haven’t baked anything in awhile, but I was really wanting to make cornbread to take back to school with me. But then I thought, why not keep this pumpkin trend going and make it pumpkin cornbread? Genius, no? 😛

Pumpkin Cornbread (makes 12 pieces)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup cornmeal

2 tbsp honey*

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin puree

1/2 cup Silk soy eggnog

*This recipe is vegan if you replace the honey with agave or brown sugar)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray loaf pan (or muffin tins, if you want to make muffins) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Mix flour, corn meal, baking soda and salt in a bowl til combined. Add in honey, pumpkin and soy nog until blended. You may have to add up to 1/2 cup water to make batter wet enough to stick together. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until outside is golden brown. Let cool and slice; serve with honey, nut butter or in a yogurt mess.

My first encounter with butternut squash..and I didn't have to prepare it. Thank you, Whole Foods!

I've found a new tortilla love...move over sprouted grain tortillas!

 

Awh, it's all crumbly and broken!

Butternut Squash: I’m pretty new to the squash world. I’ve been hunting down kabocha with no success, but when I saw this package of pre-cut b-nut squash at Whole Foods, I decided to try it. Since I’m such a newbie, I had to guess what to do with it, and since my only heating apparatus thingie is a microwave, I used it to heat up the cubes, since they were kinda hard. After a minute and a half, they were nice and tender and I sprinkled some raw honey and cinnamon on it. OMG, so tasty! Maybe this is my new favorite veggie…?

Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas: I’m not gluten-free, but I don’t like regular tortillas, so when I discovered Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas, I bought them. I’ve had them all summer and liked them for the most part, but lately I haven’t really been that excited about them. I’ve seen a ton of bloggers have the brown rice tortillas by the same company, so I was on the lookout for them. I love that they’re huge but not so calorie-dense (I’m looking at you, Chipotle burritos!) plus they’re just darn good and make perfect pizza crusts. They remind me of the tortillas EVOL burritos have, and I love those, so these are also a winner.

Sunshine Falafel veggie burger: I love veggie burgers, specifically many of Amy’s, but I wanted to find a new one I could buy regularly. I had my first Sunshine burger on vacation this summer and it was so good and dense. I wanted to try another variety, and I thought falafel sounded interesting enough. And it actually does taste like baked falafel, and it even kinda looks like a giant falafel. I just hate that it’s so crumbly, but I can live with that.

Woo, you all made it through that monster of a post 😀 But I hope you enjoyed my mini-reviews and recipes (and will go out and buy the products I loved…basically all of them, and maybe got a lil recipe inspiration…a girl can dream, right 😉 ?)

What is something new you’ve tried lately and loved? Are you into seasonal food items (like pumpkin or apple-flavored things)?

P.S. Check out my Best Of… page for these recipes and all the others that I’ve posted on here–with more to come!

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41 thoughts on “WIAW: Weekend of (Many!) Firsts

  1. So jealous of all your awesome purchases! The nut butter and tortillas in particular. Seriously, next time I visit the states I’m going to set up camp in whole foods. Also you’ve inspired me to try brussel sprouts – I eyed them wearily last time I was at the supermarket but I’ll definitely get them soon.

    I recently tried broad bean, asparagus lemon and mint hummus and fell in LOVE!

  2. buttonss - Cherie says:

    NEVER TOO OLD FOR DISNEY SHOWS!! Sometimes that kind of crappy TV is exactly what I need!!
    My gosh, Apple pie gum!?!?! best invention everrr!!

  3. Woo!!! Welcome to the world of WIAW! Prepare to be addicted 😀
    I’m a fiend for Target, love that store, especially the dollars aisle haha. And that cashew peanut almond butter makes me swoon mmm
    I’m SO addicted to pumpkin during fall…well…actually I am all year, but now I have an excuse haha! 😉

  4. great recipes sweetheart 🙂 I can’t wait to test out that smoothie, pizza, and bread! All of them look incredible 🙂 I have never thought of using pumpkin puree on a pizza before! Nice thinking 😉

  5. Oh YES, isn’t that nut butter from Target absolutely amazing?! I tried it for the first time a few months ago and so so tasty!
    I want to try that gum… anything apple flavored is A-Ok in my book 😀

  6. Those recipes sounds soo good! Especially the corn bread with pumpkin- yum!

    You picked up so many good stuff! Roasted brussel sprouts are my favorits! And I want to try out butternut squash 🙂

  7. I love target!!! They have so many fun products. I love the archer farms brand. I really need to try that nut butter! I’m so jealous that you found the pumpkin spice vita tops. I’ve been looking for them, but they aren’t available around here 😦

    • Oh no 😦 I’ve never seen the pumpkin spice ones before this trip, so maybe if you check the stores near you soon they’ll start stocking them? And I def recommend the nut butter, especially if you love PB or AB!

  8. Sara Grambusch says:

    Curry goes great with squash, butternut specifically if you’re new to it. That pumpkin pizza looks great!

    • Of course! All three are already dairy-free (I used soy milk in the smoothie and pumpkin corn bread), and the smoothie and pizza are both gluten-free (I used a brown rice tortilla for the crust). If you want to make the corn bread gluten free, just substitute the whole wheat flour for a gluten-free flour of your choice, like oat flour! Hope this helps 🙂

    • Yessss they are 😀 Oh, definitely make the corn bread! It’s perfect if you don’t like a really sweet bread, but if you want one that’s sweeter, just add in more honey.

  9. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan says:

    I’ve SO been wanting to try that apple pie gum, but I haven’t seen it in my area yet!

    Raw honey = YUM always! 🙂

  10. i’m very much into raw tofu and salsa with honeycrisp apples and pears for dessert. and of course, wine or a martini compliments!

  11. survivingcandyland says:

    Oh man I loooove that apple pie gum. The flavor is awesome, but you are so right. It sucks that it doesn’t last that long. Grr. They need to get with the program and fix that shiz.

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