WIAW: Spring Break Bonanza!

Let me start off by saying…thank you all SO much for your comments on my last post! It seriously means the world to me that you all care so much about me and want to see me live my life to the fullest–without ED in it, of course.

BTW to all who asked, the doctor appointment was not what I expected. My weight was a little higher than it was when I weighed myself at home, because the appointment was soon after breakfast and I was wearing jeans with a belt, but both weights were low and I was expecting the doctor to say something about it but she really didn’t. I guess she didn’t think losing about 5-7 pounds was a big deal, which obviously I think is, considering my BMI is now between 15.5 and 16. It’s kind of discouraging to not have the support of the doctor is my efforts to eat more, but I will just have to rely on my own strength (and your comments) to take the plunge and fuel myself properly. It’ll be hard, but I know it’ll be worth it.

Anyway, on to more exciting things–like this week’s WIAW! I have tried a ridiculous amount of new-to-me things in the past couple of days and I’ve loved being home because I can actually cook things. I only have a couple of recipes for you so far, but I will be sharing more in the next few days as I continue to cook up a storm! Today, I want to share the recipes and also my reviews on some products I just tried. Let’s get to it!

Probably the best nondairy 'ice cream' I've ever tried!

I love almond milk, especially Pacific Naturals unsweetened vanilla, but I had never tried (or even seen) almond milk ice cream. I’ve had a couple of flavors of soy ice cream before and they were okay but nothing too great. Luckily, this Almond Dream ‘ice cream’ was way more amazing! It was super creamy, and tasted exactly like an iced latte from Starbucks. The swirl of chocolate was a nice surprise too. I would definitely buy this again, but I also want to try the new So Delicious almond milk ice creams.

Orange and dark chocolate is almost as good as raspberry and dark chocolate.

And to think just a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t go anywhere near chocolate! Yes, it is still somewhat scary for me to eat, but I still eat a little bit of some dark chocolate every day, because it makes me happy. When I discovered this mini Chocolove bar at Whole Foods, my dad encouraged me to get it so I did. The moment I tried my first square, I fell in love. Orange and dark chocolate are a match made in foodie heaven, for reals! Now I really want to try all of their other dark chocolate bars–I love that they’re dairy-free, and local-ish (they’re made in Boulder).

Quinoa pasta with vegan spinach 'cheese' sauce, smart bacon strips.

Since I bought nutritional yeast a few weeks back, I’ve been really wanting to try a vegan mac and cheese recipe. I kind of improvised my own and it actually turned out pretty tasty. The quinoa pasta I served it on was new and really yummy. I loved that it’s just made out of corn and quinoa flours (so it’s gluten-free for all of you out there who are gluten-intolerant or just want to switch it up from wheat pasta) and this variety also incorporated some spinach and beets. Extra veggies = win!

Spinach ‘Cheese’ Sauce (vegan, high protein)

1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other nondairy milk)

1/2 tbsp whole wheat flour (or cornstarch)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

cracked pepper, to taste

handful spinach

Mix almond milk and flour in a pot over medium heat until combined and thickened. Add in rest of the ingredients and stir until spinach is wilted. Serve over pasta, quinoa or as a spinach ‘cheese’ dip (makes 1 serving). 

Red cabbage with vegan Caesar dressing, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast topped with almond peanut cashew butter and peanut flour, frozen pineapple, orange seitan.

Westsoy seitan strips and Follow Your Heart vegan Caesar dressing are two of my many new Whole Foods finds. It was my first time trying seitan and I wasn’t really a fan. I love that it has tons of protein (21 grams per serving) but the texture just sketched me out. I made it orange chicken style, and it was decent but I wouldn’t buy it again. Maybe it was just the brand, but I didn’t really like it. The dressing on the other hand, was perfection in a bottle! It reminds me of regular Caesar dressing, only less rich. I love dipping carrots in it and topping fresh cabbage with it. I even made kale chips with the dressing that turned out pretty yummy.

This is my "Gotta go take a drug test so I have to drink up" face.

I have been loving being able to drive myself places over the past few days. At school, I don’t have my own car but being at home and having three cars at my disposal has been so nice! This may sound weird, but I love driving all by myself because I can sing along to “Starships” (one of my new fave songs) and go wherever I want. The reason I’ve been driving myself so much is that I’ve had tons of appointments this week and since both my parents have to work, I had to go to them on my own, which was fine by me. That means more singing 😉 Plus I’ve always wanted to take one of those pictures when you’re in the front seat so yesterday before my internship meeting, I did just that. No worries, I was parked–otherwise I would have had no hands on the wheel! And I was just drinking some iced water sweetened with some vanilla stevia so I could take a required drug test for my summer internship. If you’ve never put liquid stevia in your water, dooooo it now! The vanilla reminds me of a non-carbonated cream soda.

There's no shame in going to Whole Foods three times in five days!

Speaking of going wherever I want, I made a pit stop after my meeting on Tuesday at Whole Foods. It was weird shopping on my own, mostly because I think other people thought I was just a kid and not an almost-20-year-old because of my size, but I didn’t get too many weird stares because the store was pretty dead compared to most times I go. At first I was going to grab myself a lunch thing from the hot/cold bars but I decided to play it cheap and just buy a bunch of random stuff I’ve wanted to try. I’ve had the unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze before, but not in a while and it’s just so good (plus it was on sale). I grabbed a couple of fruit strips, some vegan sprinkles because sprinkles are just fun, another mini Chocolove bar (this time raspberries in dark chocolate) and a Two Moms in the Raw cacao chia bar. I really wanted to get their almond butter cacao truffles, but they were a little bit too expensive. I love raw bars in general (especially Pure bars) so I can’t wait to try this one. I also snagged a couple cappuccino Larabars when I hit up WF on Saturday–this is my first time getting a Larabar and I’m so excited to try out their new flavor!

The perfect dessert for spring.

I finally got around to making raw cashew ‘cheesecake’. I mentioned in my last WIAW that I wanted to make a key lime version so I did! I tweaked the recipe I’m posting a little because I had to basically scrape the crust together out of a few things I had and it didn’t make enough to be the base for a whole cheesecake. But it’s pretty tasty and really simple.

Raw Key Lime ‘Cheesecake’ (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

1 cup cashews, soaked for 6-12 hours

1 tbsp sweetener (I used a mix of maple syrup and vanilla stevia drops)

1/2 lime, squeezed

1/2 cup raw almonds

4-6 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tbsp raw rolled oats

Mix cashews, sweetener and lime juice in a food processor until thick, creamy and combined. Add water as needed. Set aside and blend almonds, dates and oats in a blender or food processor until combined. Spread crust in a small dish and top with cashew cream. Top with key lime slices (makes 4 slices).

The newest overnight oats flavor--chocolate covered orange!

I haven’t come up with a new overnight oats combo in a while–obviously that had to change. Taking inspiration from my newest obsession, the Chocolove orange peel in dark chocolate bar, I whipped up chocolate covered orange oats. I sweetened the oats base with some Valencia orange stevia drops and then in the morning, topped them with Sumo tangerine slices and a square of the orange peel chocolate. Mmmmmm! Next time, I’d make a parfait, layering chocolate oats and orange oats with orange slices and keeping the chocolate on top.

This vegan meat sub is a definite winner!

So you know how I said above that I’m not a fan of seitan? That doesn’t mean I don’t like any vegan whole food meat substitutes. I think I’m a tempeh girl at heart! The first time I tried Lightlife’s tempeh bacon last summer, I fell in love. I finally decided to try their flax tempeh, even though I’ve heard people say that the plain varieties can be bitter. Not to me! I even tried a little piece uncooked and I loved the nutty flavor. I cooked some up fry-style (sliced thin and sautéed until browned) and served it on top of a spinach salad with spicy avocado hummus and a side of a yam topped with nut butter and raisins. I loved this tempeh even more when it was cooked–I’m thinking it’s definitely a new staple. It’s actually got pretty stellar nutritionals–20 grams of protein in 4 ounces, plus 11 grams of fiber!

Curried sweet potato pinto burger (under the red cabbage and jalapeno), grilled asparagus, sweet potato tots, mustard.

For dinner last night, I made some veggie burgers for my fam–first time ever making them for someone besides just me! These were a winner, which is always exciting for me to hear because I love seeing my family choose healthier options. These are totally healthy, but hearty enough for any meat lover…and they’re perfect for sweet potato lovers like me! They’re based off Mama Pea’s recipe, but I made some tweaks to make them my own.

Curried Sweet Potato Pinto Burgers (vegan, gluten-free)

1-15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 small sweet potato, cooked and peeled

1 1/2 tbsp nut butter (I used almond peanut cashew)

spices, to taste (I used cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, garlic salt and black pepper)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Flatten bean mix and make into four even-sized patties, and place patties in pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and slightly crunchy. Serve on buns, in a wrap, on top of a salad, however you like your veggie burgers!

Wow, this was a crazy-long post! Sorry about that, obviously I am just so excited about all my new finds and recipes I’ve tried out. Of course, there’s still more to come, but I will save that for a later post. I don’t want to bore all of you 😀

Have you ever tried tempeh or seitan? What’s your new favorite Whole Foods find (or from another store if you don’t have one near you)?

26 thoughts on “WIAW: Spring Break Bonanza!

  1. OMG so much awesomeness to comment on! That almond ice cream sounds delicious, the raw key lime cheesecake sounds even more delicious, oober huge yay for multiple whole foods trips and it sounds like your spring break is going fabulously!
    Can’t wait to see all the kitchen adventures you’ll have next! 😀

  2. Hmm that doctor appointment doesn’t sound too helpful but if your BMI is still that low well then woman, please ignore and GAIN! You and I both know that is way under and just think how every.single.part of your body will improve if you gain to where you need to. Anything below 18.5 is considered underweight soooo yeah. Plus mentally you will feel better as well! Again, I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but try to trust the process

    And now the food… that almond ice cream sounds fantastic, I will have to be on the lookout for that next WF visit 🙂 And the burgers as well! Thank you for the recipe love

    • My thoughts exactly on the doctor appointment! I have had not so helpful experiences with doctors and dietitians in the past so I think it’s better if I just do it on my own.

      The burgers are so good! I thought of you when I made them because I know how much you love sweet potatoes!

  3. sarah says:

    Gosh, you guys have the best food in the US, *jealous* ! I’d be in Wholefoods all the time too:).
    Iv been meaning to make a vegan mac n cheese , cheesecake and overnight oats for aaaages- I need to get on it!
    I actually always want to try all your recipes- exactly my kind of food. When I stop being lazy your carrot cake hummous,(I just tried banana bread hummous as my 1st sweet hummous and its SO GOOD, if you haven’t tried it you should!), and those burgers- I love how simple the ingredients aren are on top of my to make list:).

    As far as the doc goes, that really does not sound helpful at all. It is important to remember that doctors don’t know absolutely everything, and most won’t specialise in ED’s at all,( do you see an eating disorder service?), and ED’s are such a widely misunderstood illness as well. But you are a smart enough girl to know you are not healthy and living your life to the fullest right now. And strong enough to take responsibility of your own life and health.

  4. I’ve yet to see a doctor who understood anything about eating disorders. Fortunately my current doctor actually seems to CARE even if he doesn’t understand, so I stick with him. The two female doctors I’ve had have honestly been worse about it than this one who’s a guy. I don’t think doctors like to comment on weight so much, and I think a lot of it is because most patients are overweight and don’t want to be called fat (understandably, as some people just have higher weights anyway because of body composition).

    But, regardless of your doctor, you REALLY need to be concerned about your weight loss/BMI. Now, I know BMI isn’t everything, but losing 5-7 pounds is a pretty big deal for ANYONE. I think you and I are about the same height too, and it’s VERY different for someone our size to lose that weight compared to someone like my husband who’s 6’0″ and a dude or even a taller girl. However, I know you’ve heard all of that before, and I’m glad you’re going to the doctor and keeping your appointments and hopefully trying to beat this thing.

    I love tempeh! We have a restaurant here called Mellow Mushroom that has a tempeh hoagie sandwich and it’s delicious.

    • Yeah I honestly have little faith in most doctors–that’s interesting though that a guy doctor actually cares more about ED issues but it’s great that you’ve found one like that!

      Mmmm the sandwich with tempeh sounds so good! I’ve yet to try it in a sandwich but I’m sure it’s even better than on it’s own.

      • I’m in Florence. But I’ve noticed a lot of Mellow Mushrooms around the South :). I know Columbia & Myrtle Beach have it too. It is amazing and has lots of healthy, vegetarian, options.

  5. I understand your disappointment regarding the reaction of your doctor,but maybe,she just doesn’t know much about EDs? How long do you know her already? Because if you haven’t been seeing her some times before,she possibly thinks this weight is “normal”,meaning okay for you… I wouldn’t exclude this possibility as you’re a small and tiny person in any case.

    Thanks for the “cheeze” sauce recipe,anyhow – I’ve been dying to try making one since I got my nooch last week,but I didn’t really dare to yet. Your recipe sounds super easy and super awesome though,so I’ll definitely give it a try later on! 🙂
    I’ll also try stevia in my water as I’m always super thirsty,but never drink something because water tastes so “boring”… I know,I know,I’m stupid!

    • I think you’re right about the doctor–this was my first time seeing her since I switched over from the doctor I’ve had since I was a kid, so the new one didn’t know much about my ED history.

      Definitely try the stevia in water! I love vanilla especially, it’s just so good!

  6. That’s a bit strange with your doctor and I can totally understand why you were disappointed! Maybe you could book another appointment just to go through your history with her?

    The Almond Dream ‘ice cream’ looks and sounds amazing, I saw a delicious looking dairy free ice cream in the organic supermarket nearby but I can’t remember the make, I’ll try and find out for you!

    Your cheesecake looks so tasty and I’m really intrigued as I’ve never had a raw cheesecake. I love that you have tricolour pasta, we used to when we were little as a treat 🙂

    • I love tricolor pasta too! It seems more special than regular pasta.

      Raw cheesecake is actually pretty tasty. It’s not quite the same texture as regular cheesecake but it tastes almost the same!

  7. I went shopping at Whole Foods yesterday (I’m back on campus early for Orgo review sessions before Monday’s midterm, but the dining halls are still closed for spring break) and definitely spent within $5 of $100. I love WF, but my wallet HATES it!

    That’s a really dangerous BMI, I don’t know what’s wrong with your doctor. I’d recommend switching – any doctor I know, or have ever seen, would be having a mini-heart attack on your behalf!

    The portions still look teensy, but it’s good that you’re trying and I do understand that it takes a while to be physically able to eat more. I’d recommend throwing more snacks in there, if you can’t eat much at once yet, and going for more nutrient dense, and less low-calorie & filling (ie: plain veggies, unless they’re topped with lots of rich sauce, etc.) foods. Dried fruits, veggie chips, and juice are great! I’ve also seen vegan versions of Ensure around, so that’s always an option… Good luck, girl!

    • I think I’m going to eat the nutrient dense stuff first like you said, because my hunger is definitely lacking sometimes. Luckily, I love dried fruits and nut butter, I just gotta up my portions of them!

  8. I want a whole foods! I love new foodie products and I bet that store would probably be the death of me (read: my wallet). Never tried the chocolate + orange flavor because I’m too stuck on the chocolate + sea salt flavor but I do need to try it soon when I want a change from the sea salt. Love that it inspired you to make that oat combo! It’s sad your doctor didn’t say anything especially since you have an ED history, you should still eat more though and not let it give you an excuse to go back to your ED ways.

    • Haha Whole Foods should seriously be called Whole Paycheck, I spend so much money there but it’s totally worth it!

      I need to try the chocolate and sea salt combo. I love sweet and salty together so it sounds perfect.

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