WIAW & ABCs

You guys already know how much I love surveys so I always get really excited when I see a new one floating around the blog world. This one’s a little more focused on life in general rather than food+fitness but I’ll still be including some WIAW-worthy pictures throughout!

Addictionsyoga, nori sheets (gotta love that seaweed-y flavor), sunshine & warm days, colored shorts, nut butter-stuffed dates, sleeping in, dark chocolate+mint combo, Larabars…etc.!

Recent lunch: nori 'burrito' (filled with cashew butter, coconut aminos, raw kraut, kelp noodles and spinach), dry roasted edamame, dried apples.

Recent lunch: nori ‘burrito’ (filled with cashew butter, coconut aminos, raw kraut, kelp noodles and spinach), dry roasted edamame, dried apples.

Bed size: Full. Prior to college, I always had a twin bed, then in the dorms they had twin XL but finally I’m in an apartment with a bigger bed and plenty of space for it!

Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom, or pulling weeds. We used to have the worst weeds at our previous house, and some of them were kinda scary to pull up (imagine 3-4 foot tall spiky green plants)!

Dogs or cats: I don’t have either, but I’d love to have one of each someday, preferably an Italian Greyhound and an orange tabby.

Essential start to your day: My now-daily ACV drink. I got into the trend a few months ago after reading all about it on blogs and while I haven’t noticed too many changes (I do tend to have less acne around that time of the month, though) I’ve come to enjoy the sweet and sour combo of ACV+vanilla stevia+cinnamon.

My daily 'cocktail'.

My daily ‘cocktail’.

Favorite color: Pink is #1, but orange is a close second.

Gold or silver: I prefer silver for jewelry, but I love the look of gold sparkly shoes! I currently own two pairs and want more.

Height: 5’1 and 1/2. Yes, that extra half inch really counts when you’re this tiny!

Instruments you play (or have played): I’ve played the clarinet, tenor and alto saxophones (my favorite to play!), piano and electric guitar. I’m not sure I could play any of them well now though.

Job titles you’ve had: people & academics editor, managing editor and weather anchor. I’ve actually never had a job outside my field of study (journalism) before and hopefully it’ll stay that way, though I wouldn’t mind working at Whole Foods for a summer!

Kids: Um…not right now, I’m only 20 (almost 21!) but it’s crazy how many people my age are getting married and having kids already. I want to have kids someday, hopefully twin girls.

Live: Both northern (for college) and southern (where I grew up) Colorado.

Mom’s name: Tammy, but I still call her Mommy!

Nickname: Usually just Ash, but my sister sometimes calls me Ashie.

Overnight hospital stays: None, I’ve actually never been to the hospital for anything other than when I was born.

Pet peeves: People smoking right by me, people showing up really late (like more than half an hour late with no explanation), rude drivers.

Quote from a movie: “She doesn’t even go here!” Name that movie, it’s one of my faves!

Right-handed or left-handed: Right-handed.

Siblings: Just my younger sister. I can’t believe she’ll be turning 18 in December!

Time you wake up: Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:30 (I know, college life is rough), Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 and weekends between 8:30 and 9:30. I definitely need to get in at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

Underwear: Yes, I wear it. And my underwear store of choice is Victoria’s Secret PINK, they have the cutest stuff there.

Veggies you dislike: Spaghetti squash, tomatoes and beets.

One of my favorite veggies (sweet potato) for dinner.

One of my favorite veggies (sweet potato) for dinner.

What makes you run late: finishing up a workout, getting together all my stuff for the day.

X-rays you’ve had done: teeth, right ankle and foot, left wrist.

Yummy food you make: Raw desserts, kelp noodle stir-frys, waffles, banana bread and eggplant muffulettas.

A very delicious waffle-for-dinner I made last week: cornbread (organic cornmeal+buckwheat flour) waffle topped with spinach, homemade chili and nooch.

A very delicious waffle-for-dinner I made last week: cornbread (organic cornmeal+buckwheat flour) waffle topped with spinach, homemade chili and nooch.

Zoo animal: I love flamingos! I just think it’s so cool that they’re pink.

One of the last times I enjoyed pretzels...oh it's been way too long!

One of the last times I enjoyed pretzels…oh it’s been way too long!

Thanks to an Instagram reminder from Kat, I realized I haven’t enjoyed pretzels in over a year. I remember how much I used to love the Annie’s bunny pretzels dipped in almond butter and jelly, but I gave them up because they were too ‘processed’ or whatever. Even though I don’t eat much gluten nowadays, I can still enjoy some fairly clean and GF pretzel sticks from Mary’s Gone Crackers with some of my favorite sweet+salty combos.

One of the best French toast combos ever: dark chocolate+coconut.

One of the best French toast combos ever: dark chocolate+coconut.

I have a confession to make. This delicious-looking French toast pictured above is NOT vegan! I know right?! I’m not giving up veganism by any means, but I was really curious about this frozen ‘Paleo bread’ I saw at a health store (mostly because it was made of coconut flour, which I love, but I can’t deny that the high fiber+protein and low calorie count also drew me in) and though it’s made with egg whites, I wanted to give it a try. I haven’t knowingly eaten egg products in forever, mostly because I’ve always hated eggs, but I though egg whites in a baked thing would be fine. For those of you wondering, the bread has only a slight coconut flavor and is kinda spongy but it works really well as French toast. I wouldn’t buy it again because it isn’t vegan but mostly because it cost almost $10 for a loaf, yikes! I’m still on the hunt for a totally vegan and gluten free bread that tastes great and isn’t too pricey…

Snow...in April?!

Snow…in April?!

I wish this were a (late) April Fool’s trick, but sadly, Colorado is known for bad April snowstorms. However, they predicted a blizzard, with high wind gusts and up to a foot of snow, and that (thankfully) didn’t happen! I was dreading having to take the bus to classes, but the streets stayed snow and ice free. Since it’s been so warm otherwise, I’m hoping the rest of it will melt soon too.

The best kraut I've ever had!

The best kraut I’ve ever had!

This stuff is seriously addicting! I’ve been looking for the local brand of kimchi that Whole Foods stores around here sell and they’ve been out for weeks, but this smoked jalapeno kraut is an amazing substitute. I’m seriously putting this on everything, from salads to nori burritos to kelp noodle stir-frys and even just eating straight up. This brand isn’t quite local, but I’ve heard most real krauts are only sold within the region they’re made in, so if you’re from California (where it’s made) or anywhere in the western U.S. you might be able to find this brand!

Share some of your ABCs here! Do you like kraut or kimchi?

WIAW: Working With Almond Flour

The blogging world has introduced me to so many things–overnight oats (which I haven’t had in months…just got burned out on them), chia seeds, green monsters, Larabars, socca…and now, almond flour.

Almond flour is wayyyyy different than other flours, even gluten free flours. It’s basically made from ground up almonds so it packs plenty of healthy plant fats, fiber and protein. Even though I tend to eat gluten free 90% of the time, I haven’t done any experimenting with the typical GF flours like brown rice, sorghum, etc. When I make GF baked goods, I usually use buckwheat, quinoa or peanut flours but since I discovered almond flour a couple months ago, I’ve been loving it! It’s definitely harder to work with than other GF flours but it adds a great texture to things and unlike coconut flour, you don’t always need eggs to make it work, which I love as a vegan.

This week, I’ve had the house to myself for the mornings and early afternoons so I’ve been taking advantage and whipping up some new recipes in the kitchen. And because of my recent addiction to almond flour, a lot of those experiments have included almond flour in them!

Homemade summer rolls with sunflower seed butter/lite coconut milk/red curry paste dipping sauce. Filled with fresh cucumber slices, pan-fried almond flour-coated tofu and roasted peanuts.

Homemade summer rolls with sunflower seed butter/light coconut milk/red curry paste dipping sauce. Filled with fresh cucumber slices, pan-fried almond flour-coated tofu and roasted peanuts.

Almond flour works really well as a GF and grain free breadcrumb-like coating. I’ve been loving sprouted tofu again lately so for my first time making summer rolls at home, I decided to pan-fry the tofu in a little coconut oil. I coated it in some light coconut milk mixed with red curry paste, rolled the tofu slices in some almond flour and threw it in the pan. Even though the filling fell out of some of the rolls, it was still a delicious dinner.

My first morning ACV 'cocktail'. Made with 1 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 10 drops English toffee liquid stevia, vanilla extract and water.

My first morning ACV ‘cocktail’. Made with 1 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 10 drops English toffee liquid stevia, vanilla extract and water.

Another thing the blog world has introduced me to is ACV cocktails. Apple cider vinegar is apparently a wonder food that’s rich in potassium, can regulate blood pressure, improve skin appearance and removes toxins from the body, among other things. I finally invested in a bottle of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar from Spectrum Organics (it’s important to use this kind, otherwise you don’t reap the benefits) and I made my first ACV cocktail the other day. It was really sour at first, but I got used to it quickly and I’m planning on using it daily from now on!

Lunch: vegan socca-style 'omelette', stuffed with chopped baby carrots, jalapeno pepper and kale.

Lunch: vegan socca-style ‘omelette’, stuffed with chopped baby carrots, jalapeno pepper and kale.

This is also unrelated to almond flour, but it’s a new lunch I’ve been loving lately: the vegan omelette. Even as an omni, I HATED eggs and I never ate omelettes so it’s kinda ironic that now I’m vegan I’m craving omelettes. Whatever. Since I’ve never had an omelette, I can’t really tell you if the texture of this is similar to a real one, but it’s a simple protein and veggie packed lunch that’s also totally customizable to your tastes. I really love adding a tablespoon of nooch to the batter and filling it with carrots, jalapenos and spicy nacho cheez sauce.

Vegan Omelette (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1/4 cup garbanzo/fava bean flour

sea salt, to taste

nutritional yeast, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, etc.

1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh veggies (carrots, spinach, peppers, etc.)

Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. In a bowl, mix garbanzo flour, salt and spices until combined. Add in just enough water to make a batter (should be drippy but not too thin). Pour batter into pan and wait for both sides to cook through (can flip over if you want). Once both sides are cooked, add in veggies and whatever other fillings you want to half of the omelette, and then with a spatula, flip over the uncovered half onto the veggie-covered half. Continue cooking for about a minute or until veggies start to soften. Serves 1.

This was submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #27

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip almond flour pancakes topped with peanut flour paste and pomegranate arils.

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip almond flour pancakes topped with peanut flour paste and pomegranate arils.

I’ve been switching up my breakfasts lately and loving it because then I’m not getting burned out too quickly. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect vegan pancake that isn’t full of gluten but is still delicious and I think I’ve got a winner. It took me a few tries to get the consistency right but these almond flour-based pancakes are really good. They’re definitely not the fluffy, Bisquick-like pancakes of your childhood but they’re great as a healthier every day breakfast and they’re perfect for all kinds of toppings, which are the best part anyway!

Pumpkin Almond Pancakes (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

2-4 tbsp almond flour (depending on how many pancakes you want or if you want a lot of toppings)

1/2 tbsp tapioca or arrowroot starch (don’t leave this out!)

1 tsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 packet stevia, to taste

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp pumpkin puree (can use applesauce or banana if you don’t want pumpkin pancakes)

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat nonstick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray or use coconut oil to cook. In a bowl, whisk dry ingredients (through sea salt) until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until combined.  Pour dry ingredients into wet and if needed, add a little more almond milk to thin out (you want the batter to be somewhat thick so it can stick together in the pan). Spoon half of the batter into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Only cook one pancake at a time so they don’t stick. Serve with fresh berries, real maple syrup or nut butter. Serves 1 or 2. 

Snack: garnet yam with sunflower seed butter and raisins/fig, unpictured peanut flour paste.

Snack: garnet yam with sunflower seed butter and raisins/fig, unpictured peanut flour paste.

My latest order of peanut flour came in at the right time, just as I was starting to go through withdrawals 😉 Kidding, but I loooooooove that stuff! My favorite way to eat it is to mix it up with stevia and water so it’s like a peanut frosting and then top a garnet yam with it and sprinkle on some dried fruit. Um, yum!

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

And now I finally have a delicious gluten free (and technically grain free too, since buckwheat is a seed) vegan donut recipe! And I took Heather’s donut advice to heart and remembered to flip the pan onto the baking rack…now my donuts are prettier! This time around, I was inspired by the citrus season and my year-round love for summer and made some orange creamsicle donuts. Because who wouldn’t want a summery treat when it’s all blah outside?

Orange Creamsicle Donuts (vegan, gluten free)

1 tbsp ground flax+ 3 tbsp warm water, for flax ‘egg’

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup (2 scoops) Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder (or other vegan vanilla protein powder)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural granulated sugar)

1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

juice and zest of one large tangerine (I used a Minneola)

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan with nonstick cooking spray (I used a 6 cavity). In a small bowl, mix flax with water to gel into ‘egg’ and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (through coconut sugar). In the bowl with the flax ‘egg’, stir in almond milk, vanilla, juice & zest, coconut oil and applesauce until combined. Pour wet into dry–the batter should be lumpy and thick. Add a bit more almond milk if needed. Spoon or pipe batter into donut pan (it will make a little more than can fit in a normal-sized 6 cavity pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just set. Makes 6 donuts. 

And if you’re not overwhelmed by all the recipes yet, here’s one more (it’s the last one, I promise!) It’s a recipe for almond flour-based biscotti…but don’t be intimidated by the name! I had never made biscotti before this, let alone grain free vegan biscotti, but it actually turned out exactly like I hoped it would and my non-vegan cookie-loving dad told me I should sell them! So that’s a good sign, right 😛 I based my recipe off the one found here, just making a couple of changes to make it my own. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures but you can check out the original recipe for some great pics.

Almond Flour Biscotti (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1 cup almond flour

1 tbsp raw cacao powder (you can use regular cocoa or carob powder)

2 tsp tapioca or arrowroot starch

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp maple syrup (can sub honey, coconut or agave nectar)

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 dried Calimyrna fig, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend together almond flour, starch, sea salt and baking soda just until combined. Add the maple syrup until mixture comes together into a sticky ball. Run hands under water and place ball of dough onto parchment-lined sheet and press dough together. Add in sunflower seeds and fig and form dough into a long, narrow log. Bake for 20 minutes, or just until it starts to harden. Remove from oven for 10-15 minutes, cut the dough into about 1o or 12 pieces (cut along the diagonal) and then place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes to finish hardening. 

Sorry about the recipe overload! Obviously I am way too excited about my almond flour successes but trust me when I say that they’re all really good substitutes for the typical gluten-filled desserts and breakfasts. Almond flour isn’t the lowest calorie flour per serving out there, plus it’s a lot higher in fat (healthy fat, of course) than most others but that’s why I like it–it’s a way to challenge my former ED fear of fats and it’s fun experimenting with ways to make vegan baked goods without the gluten or grains!

Have you ever tried almond flour in any recipe? Do you drink anything ‘weird’ in the morning?