Summer (Recipe) Lovin’

Anyone catch the Grease reference? Ironically, my sister’s auditioning for it in the fall at her school since she’s really into musical theatre. I’m actually not even sure if I’ve ever seen the entire movie, but I have definitely heard some of the songs from it.

Anyways, I’ve been doing a lot of recipe experimentation lately and it’s all been pretty successful. Well, okay I did attempt to make Katie’s deep dish cookie pie and it turned out alright, except it tasted a little beany and it didn’t last very long even inside a Ziploc bag without starting to get moisture inside the bag so I had to toss them. But everything else has been not just edible but pretty delicious. Note: All of these are my own recipes, except where I gave credit to the original.

These tiny bites are addicting!

I know I said before that I’m a bigger fan of cookies ‘n cream, but I couldn’t pass up these cookie dough bites I saw on Angela’s blog. If you’ve ever wanted to eat cookie dough but didn’t want to get sick from the raw eggs, these little bites are perfect because they’re vegan, so no eggs involved! But they taste exactly like raw cookie dough and are super simple to make.

Cookie Dough Bites (vegan)

Adapted from Oh She Glows

1/4 cup raw cashew pieces

2 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp oat flour

sprinkle sea salt

8-10 drops vanilla stevia, to taste

2 tbsp honey vanilla agave (or plain agave)

1 tbsp semisweet vegan chocolate chips

In a food processor, blend cashews and oats until combined and flour-like in texture. Add in oat flour, salt and stevia drops until mixed. Add in agave until mixture comes together and is sticky. In a bowl, take cookie dough mixture and mix in chocolate chips by hand. Form into 8 to 10 small balls and keep in fridge until ready to eat.

Mocha softserve topped with peanut butter Puffins.

This one’s so simple it’s barely a recipe but I thought I’d share it anyway because it’s so good. If you’ve ever made banana softserve before and you’re a coffee fan, you’ll love this version. Just two ingredients and it tastes almost like coffee ice cream.

Mocha Softserve (vegan, gluten-free)

banana slices, frozen

1 tsp instant coffee powder (I used Starbucks’ VIA mocha instant coffee)

Blend banana slices in a food processor or high-powered blender until the slices clump together. Add in coffee powder and process until slices form into a big scoop that’s brownish in color. Serves 1.

Trust me, your wallet and your taste buds will thank you for this bowl!

If you’ve been to Chipotle and have ever had their burrito bowls, you’ll know that they are some of the best things ever. They are always my go-to when I get around to going there (it’s been almost a year since I last went!) because I love getting a bunch of random tasty things in a bowl. But then I made this Chipotle-inspired bowl and realized that it’s even better than the restaurant’s, in both taste and nutrition. Guess I won’t be wasting any of my hard-earned money there anytime soon 😉

Better-than-Chipotle Burrito Bowl (vegan, gluten-free, high protein)

1/3 cup cooked quinoa

cilantro, chopped

lime, quartered

1/2 cup beans (I used pinto, you can use black or whatever beans are your favorite)

kale, chopped and massaged with lemon juice and nooch

spoonful salsa

spoonful guacamole

Mix quinoa with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice until combined. Add a pinch of sea salt if needed. Top with beans, kale, salsa, guacamole or whatever burrito bowl toppings are your favorites. Serves 1. 

Almost totally homemade cinnamon rolls!

About a year ago, I attempted to make Mama Pea’s cinnamon rolls, which are completely from scratch. Now usually I like making things from scratch and most of the time they turn out. Not this time, probably because I have nada experience with making bread that has to rise. I was still on the search for an easy vegan cinnamon roll recipe when I found out that you can make them using pizza dough. I had just gotten some fresh dough from Whole Foods the other day so I decided to put some of the dough to use in almost homemade cinnamon rolls. And they were a delicious success, not to mention totally easy. If you’re scared about making cinnamon rolls from scratch, this is the perfect recipe for you. Plus they’re really healthy–no butter or oil used, lightly sweetened with a natural sweetener and packed with nutritious grains like millet and oats (if you use multigrain pizza dough). What’s better than an easy, yummy and no-guilt breakfast?

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

half ball of fresh multigrain pizza dough

1 tbsp agave or maple syrup (I used Ohgave! honey vanilla)

generous sprinkle cinnamon

handful chopped maple or regular pecans

oat flour (to flour surface)

Let pizza dough rise in a towel-covered bowl for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out risen dough on floured cutting board until about 1 inch thick and rectangular in shape. Mix agave and cinnamon in a small bowl until thick and paste-like and spread on dough. Sprinkle with pecans and roll into a thick log, pinching ends. Cut into 4 small rolls with a floured knife and place in sprayed baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Serve warm from the oven topped with icing, cream cheese or vanilla almond butter. 

Quinoa power cookie (almost raw).

We just invested in a dehydrator, thanks to my obsession with dried fruit and how expensive that habit is. So far, I’ve made dried pineapple and kiwi…and these cookies. Yep, it’s true, you can make cookies in a dehydrator, and not just any cookies, but magical ones. Like ones made from simple, healthy ingredients like quinoa and almond butter. These babies are tiny but powerful…and delicious of course. They made my house smell like peanut butter and are crunchy and chewy at the same time. Oh, and if you’re dehydrator-less, you can make these in the oven at a low temp. I can’t vouch for how they’ll turn out, but the recipe I adapted them from said you can do that. I personally think it’s cooler making cookies in a dehydrator! Oh, and each cookie has less than 80 calories, so you can totally eat a few of them at a time without feeling guilty!

Quinoa Power Cookies (vegan, gluten-free)

Adapted from Insatiably Healthy

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tbsp almond butter (I used almond peanut cashew butter)

2 tbsp agave (I used Ohgave! honey vanilla agave) or other liquid sweetener

2 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp peanut flour

1 tbsp ground flax-seed

1/2 tbsp sweetened cacao nibs

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, almond butter and agave. Stir in oats, peanut flour and flax until mixture sticks together. Fold in cacao nibs and chocolate chips. Form into 10 small cookies and place on dehydrator trays. Cook on 115 F for 3-6 hours or until crunchy on the outside. 

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately? What’s your go-to Chipotle order?

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Easter Weekend in Pictures

Hi bloggy friends! I hope you all had a lovely Easter/Passover weekend (if you celebrate). Mine was really really good, but as usual, it went by super fast and it’s back to the daily grind. The only good thing about that is that the countdown is officially on–4 weeks til I’m no longer a sophomore! Wooooooo 😀 I am beyond excited for summer and everything I have planned for it, plus all the little things that are sure to pop up. Just gotta get through these next few weeks.

I took a bunch (well, not really) of pictures this weekend so I wanted to do a mostly wordless recap of my Easter weekend. So here goes!

Small sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and almond peanut cashew butter, garlicky kale, fresh strawberries, chocolate and peanut butter Puffins in unsweetened almond milk.

Look how bright those strawberries are! My mom bought a huge box of them at Whole Foods for only $5 and even though they started to go bad by the end of the weekend, I got to enjoy them several times over the weekend. They’re my first of the season and were really juicy and fresh. Definitely a sign that summer is on its way! The garlicky kale is a super simple dish that I whipped up three times this weekend–oh yeah, it’s that good!

Garlicky Kale (vegan, gluten-free)

large handful curly kale, washed and patted dry

1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2-1 tsp minced garlic (or freshly grated garlic clove)

sea salt, nutritional yeast and black pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add kale and salt and pepper, until the kale starts to shrink and gets crispy edges. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and browned. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top and serve as a side dish (makes 1 serving).

Saturday's outfit: navy striped cropped tee (Hollister), dark wash jeggings (American Eagle), necklace and bracelet (American Eagle).

Saturday was fairly busy but pretty fun. My sister and I went for a walk, then my dad and I popped in at my pastor’s house for his birthday open house and later my whole family went out to eat to celebrate my dad’s birthday a few days late. The restaurant wasn’t too vegan friendly, but I did get a yummy homemade-style black bean burger with a side of avocado and black bean salsa. Yum!

The lovely Easter eggs, post-dyeing.

Coloring Easter eggs is one of our family traditions. My sister didn’t join in on the fun this year because of homework, but I had fun dyeing the eggs. Do I have a future as an artist? Ummmm, probably not!

Easter outfit: yellow floral dress (Abercrombie and Fitch), bracelets and necklace (American Eagle), unpictured silver wedge sandals (Target).

Besides going to church on Easter (I always love the holiday services!), we also went to Starbucks where I got my new favorite unsweetened iced coffee, played tennis for 45 minutes, snacked outside in the gorgeous weather (sunny and in the low 70s), colored eggs, made a special dinner and Skyped with my grandma and grandpa.

This year's Easter basket!

My mom still hides Easter baskets for me and my sister…yes, we are still 5 years old! Haha, just kidding, but I still think it’s fun to go find the basket and see what’s in it. This year, I got some Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail strips (super excited about these!), some sparkly green nail polish, guava-scented body wash from Ulta, mini Sweet Tart bunnies/ducks/chicks and two new-to-me Chocolove dark chocolate bars. My mom knows me so well 😀

My Easter dinner: grilled chili lime tofu and mini sweet peppers, broiled lemon pepper asparagus (tops only, the best part) and cheezy quinoa (sprinkled with nooch).

While the rest of my family enjoyed their carnivorous dinner (flank steak, asparagus and cheesy mashed potatoes, in case you were wondering), I had a very vegan and very yummy dinner. It was my first time grilling tofu and I was a fan. I think next time I’d get extra firm, rather than super firm sprouted tofu, since it was kinda bitter, and I’d try out a marinade, rather than a seasoning on the outside. But still a really nice Easter dinner.

My new favorite 'ice cream': So Delicious mini Neapolitan nondairy ice cream sandwich.

I really wanted to try the new So Delicious almond milk ice cream sandwiches, but my Whole Foods didn’t have them. I did find these, which are soy ice cream, and actually really good, if really small. I haven’t had an ice cream sandwich in years, but these are better than regular dairy ice cream sandwiches. They also have coconut milk ice cream versions, if you like coconut milk.

Just what I needed on a Monday morning--Starbucks tall coffee light Frappuccino with soy.

Monday came early–at 6 am, to be exact. I wanted to stay all of Sunday so I could spend more time with my family, so my dad had to take me back up to school on Monday morning and we had to leave at 7. Luckily, we made a stop at Starbucks and I got my first Frapp in about six months. It was the perfect little pick-me-up!

How did you spend your weekend? What’s your go-to weekend lunch? 

WIAW: Goals for March

Hi everyone! I am so glad we’re halfway through the week! This weekend, I’m going home for the last time before spring break (which is in 16 days, heck to the yes) and I can’t wait. Not just because I love any opportunity to go home, but also because this Saturday is the annual father daughter dinner dance in my city. My dad and I have gone every year since I was in seventh grade, and the past 4 or 5 years my little sister has gone with us too. I love getting to get all glammed up and have fun dancing the night away with my dad and sissy. I will definitely be posting a recap early next week, so look for that!

For this week’s WIAW party, I wanted to share my goals for next month. I got the idea from Emily to do a 30-day health challenge. I think it’s a really good idea, because we all have things we can improve on. I’m deciding to start it in March, rather than right now, because I have spring break coming up and while I generally eat pretty healthy as it is, it can be hard to implement changes while living in a dorm and having a busy schedule most weeks. Once I’m home, I have access to a real kitchen, meaning I can eat even healthier and try new things! So here are a few of my goals for next month, some food-related and some not. And of course, some random eats from throughout the week!

Peas and Crayons

1. Eat more veggies!

I love veggies, and I’ve even tried some new ones on recent weekends at home (kale chips and parsnips are some of my new faves) but it’s really hard to cook/prep veggies in a dorm with just a microwave. Basically, I live on carrots, cubed butternut squash and frozen grilled pepper strips and while I love them all, it gets pretty boring. I also happened to basically run out of veggies this week, besides sweet potatoes, so that’s been pretty pathetic! Over spring break, I want to work on eating a big salad once a day (probably at lunch) as well as trying new veggies and prep methods. It might be a little late for Love Your Veggies Month, but it still counts, right 😉

Berry Green Power Smoothie: 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened soy, because that's what I had at home), handful spinach, frozen berries (I used Dole Antioxidant Blend w/ strawbs, bloobs, raspbs, blackbs? and pom seeds)

2. Work towards getting a summer internship

This one is probably non-negotiable, at least to my dad. We’re allowed to have 2 for-credit internships while in college, and the school-organized one is next summer, so this summer I have to find one on my own. It’s probably going to be maybe a 5-10 hour per week commitment, which isn’t a huge deal, it’s just finding one that might be a hassle. I think I’m going to be emailing the TV stations around me over break so I can give them a heads-up for summer. After all, my summer break starts less than 2 months after spring break!

One of my new fave oats combos: volumized overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, almond peanut cashew butter, frozen bananas and drizzle raw honey.

3. Cook more

Honestly, I really miss cooking when I’m up at school. I definitely appreciate having an oven, stove and grill while I’m at home so I want to take advantage of them. My mom and sister have different spring breaks than me, so I’ll have the house to myself that week from 8:30 to 2:30. Perfect for recipe experimentation! I have a few plans for what I want to make, like more kale chips, pecan milk and vegan “butter chicken” but I want to attempt to make at least one thing every day I have off. That might mean a lot of leftovers, but as long as they’re delicious, I don’t mind!

I won a Coach's Oats giveaway on Facebook, but I was totally blown away when they sent me this Hugh Jass bag of oats. Guess I'm stocked up for awhile!

4. Work on budgeting

I am still not the best at this, but I do want to learn! Right now, I am getting paid monthly for my work as an editor for my campus’ faculty newsletter and since it’s still a relatively new thing to me, I get super excited about seeing money in my bank account, and then I end up buying things on impulse. While I do end up using these things (like peanut flour, Hollister purchases, etc.) I would like to think out my purchases more and not just buy things because I can. This might be hard, especially considering my huge wishlist of spring clothing, but I know it’ll be worth it in the future when I have a real job.

Probably my second-favorite Pure bar flavor, cranberry orange. I love the combo of sweet and tart!

5. Avoid food ruts whenever possible

Most of the time, I don’t really think of them as ruts, because I enjoy what I’m eating and for many things (like oats, dried fruit, almond peanut cashew butter), I don’t get burned out on them–they just become favorites that I come back to over and over. But sometimes I do get into ruts and unfortunately, I eventually lose interest in that item, which is a shame, because I want to get a variety of things in my diet. So I want to work on mixing up my daily staples, trying out new products (including ‘fear foods’) and giving other ones a small break so I don’t get burned out.

Sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and real maple syrup drizzle, mixed stir-fry veggies on the side topped with curry paste/mustard sauce.

Do you have any goals for March? What’s your favorite veggie at the moment?

WIAW: Flavor Flav

Hi my lovelies! What is up? I loved all your responses to my fashion blogging post–even if you aren’t the ‘fashion’ type, I really appreciated your feedback on what makes a good blog.

Peas and Crayons

Anyways, no, my WIAW title this week has nothing to do with the rapper–it’s just my super-lame way to say that this week’s edition is all about new-t0-me flavors. Like I mentioned in my recent Saturday Seven post, I love trying out new things and this week, I apparently tried out a few new combos and they did not disappoint! So lesssss go!

Breakfast: PBBH sandwich oats (aka peanut butter banana honey sandwich), topped with peanut flour paste, frozen banana slices, drizzle raw honey; unpictured veggie sausage

Ummmmm yeah…let’s just say I have yet another favorite oats combo. I don’t know where I came up with this idea, but it totally reminded me of a peanut butter banana honey sandwich and it. was. delicious. The combination of frozen banana chunks, thick peanut flour paste, creamy voluminous oats and a drizzle of my favorite honey was a magical one. This has just replaced my latest favorite, carrot cake oats!

Starbucks Christmas VIA Blend with AB unsweetened chocolate almond milk.

I have no lunch picture this week (and probably won’t for a while) because my class schedule forces me to eat on-the-go, hence I basically just scarf down baggies of Kashi GoLean, baby carrots, grapes or edamame. Not the most gourmet, but it gets the job done. Oh how I miss leisurely lunches at home…

Tuesday's outfit: pink cropped cardigan (A&F), navy lace-front tank with pinstripe waist tie (A&F Kids), slim boot jeans (American Eagle). The weird face is all me, sadly.

This week and last have been devoted to wearing all my brand-new clothes. I actually love that part of back-to-school–showing off all my new outfits. The tank top in the picture is the new piece, and I love it because it’s one of my few lace pieces, and it’s got an adorable bow around the waist. What’s not to love?

Snack: plain Stonyfield Oikos yogurt mixed with cinnamon and Truvia, topped with half a honeycrisp apple and a little Kashi GoLean.

I’ve been really enjoying plain Greek yogurt lately. Now hear me out. Plain doesn’t mean boring–it just means I buy the plain kind and then flavor it myself with cinnamon, dark cocoa powder, instant coffee–whatever. It’s more economical that way, plus I get more yogurt in a container. Win win! I loved this combo in particular because it had the crunch from the cereal and the sweet-tartness from the apple. Plus the amazing protein and calcium from the yogurt.

Dinner: vegan nachos.

Definitely not nachos in the traditional sense, but good nonetheless. I topped some Late July mild green mojo chips (the best chips, in my opinion) with some Whole Foods refried beans (with chile and lime) and some heated-up frozen grilled peppers from Target. Simple, delicious and a healthy way to get your Mexican fix.

Snack: Annie's pretzel bunnies, heaping teaspoon almond peanut cashew butter.

I’ve said it a million and one times, but again, I love the sweet-salty combo. Nothing better. The other night, I got the super-smart idea to dip pretzels in almond butter. Soooooooo tasty. I love Annie’s pretzel bunnies in particular, because they’re cute!

What’s your favorite way to eat pretzels? What’s the best flavor combo you just discovered?

WIAW: With a Side of Survey

Hiya guys! I can’t tell you how glad I am that I’m not the only one who seems to be stressed out around this time of year! For any of you currently in the same boat as me (finals, packing, etc.)–hang in there! We will make it through, and today is one day closer to freedom break.

I decided to interrupt my studying (ummmm who am I kidding, I haven’t started yet!) and bring you this week’s edition of WIAW, aka the best part-ay ever! I mean who wouldn’t want to party it up in the midst of finals and projects? I know I do so let’s get to it! This week’s version includes a fun little survey brought to you by Tessa at Amazing Asset.

1. Four TV Shows I Watch

  • The Office—OMG, so funny! I started watching this show religiously a couple of seasons ago and haven’t stopped since. It isn’t quite the same with Steve Carell (aka Michael Scott) around, but it’s still hilarious
  • What Not to Wear—probably my favorite show. Stacy and Clinton aren’t afraid to tell people that their style is horrendous, and I love seeing the before & after, and their shopping trips.
  • Saturday Night Live—okay, maybe this is my favorite show? This show makes me crack up every time, and I love watching it with my family. Looking forward to some hilarious fam time over winter break catching up on SNL. Seriously, we are so obsessed that we constantly quote the sketches.
  • The news—haha I watch the local news on a pretty much daily basis, whether I’m at home or at school. What can I say, I’m a broadcast journalism major and I pretty much have anchors who are my idols on the local news!

Breakfast of champions: (last) Clif Kids full moon brownie bar, spicy veggie sausage, gummy dinosaur vitamins, frozen pineapple/banana chunks.

2. Four Things I’m Passionate About

  • Healthy living. One positive thing that’s stemmed from my eating disorder is my passion for eating healthy. I am now vegetarian/semi-vegan and it just feels right for me. I also like to stay active in fun ways like playing tennis with my dad and sister, going for a long bike ride or a major shopping trip  😉
  • My faith. I don’t mention it a lot on here, but I have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and it really fuels everything I do. I’ve been  Christian my whole life but my faith has grown even more as I’ve struggled with things during the past few years.
  • Fashion. I really need to do another  Style Phile post on here soon, because I’m missing having a fashion outlet through blogging. I am not the kind of girl who goes to class in sweats or jeans and a t-shirt. That being said, I do think comfort and style can go together and that’s how I strive to dress.
  • Staying true to myself. Sometimes, yeah, I do feel out of place for not going out and partying every weekend (or ever…) but I remind myself that that’s just not who I am and I know personally that that’s not what I consider fun. I prefer hanging out with people on a closer basis and just doing low-key things and that’s perfectly okay.

Seems like a bizarre lunch, but I promise you it was delicious! 1/2 cup organic kettle corn (my new addiction), tablespoon peanut flour sauce, plain Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon and Truvia.

3. Four Words/Phrases I Use A Lot

  • Like, especially when I’m nervous!
  • Definitely. It’s pretty much my go-to phrase.
  • Haha. That one is definitely overused in my text messaging!
  • That sucks! So creative, I know!

Apples and peanut flour sauce are a match made in my mouth 😉

4. Four Things I’ve Learned in the Past

  • Don’t take things too personally. Honestly, I am still so bad at this. I get emotional really easily and I read too much into people’s words and reactions. But really, most of the time, people don’t care that much about me, so I should just move on.
  • Comparisons suck. I am so done with comparing myself to others, it’s just completely pointless and has it ever made anyone feel better about themselves?
  • Making excuses all the time can really bite you in the butt. I make excuses a lot and while they sometimes work to my advantage, sometimes I just need to suck it up and do the work.
  • I am so glad I’m not majoring in a math-related field. Pretty self-explanatory, but I am so over math and science. I definitely wasn’t expecting to have to take some classes in it in college…

And this is why I've stopped taking pictures of my dinner! The sun sets basically at like 5 pm, so lighting at a quarter to 7 is awfulness. But it honestly was good--volume oats topped with peanut flour sauce (I'm on a roll with this, obvs) and organic raspberry jam, with a side of cinnamon-spiked butternut squash.

5. Four Places I’d Like to Go

  • Somewhere in the Caribbean. I love that whole tropical atmosphere, plus the water there is gorgeous!
  • Mall of America. Shopaholic over hurrrrr! Haha but seriously, this mall has everything (or so I’ve heard). I just need a ton of cash to spend first!
  • Australia. I’d actually love to go there this time of year (when it’s summer there) and spend Christmas on the beach or something. It would probably blow my mind.
  • A vegan/raw restaurant. They have these in a few places across the U.S. but they just sound so yummy whenever someone posts about going there. The food seems so creative and I’d love to try a raw recreation of some of my fave foods.

This banana looks suspiciously vibrant...with some almond peanut cashew butter and a couple of vegan dark chocolate chips.

6. Four Things I Did Yesterday (I’m writing this on Tuesday, so it’s what I did Monday)

  • Gave a presentation in my PR class. My group did pretty well I think, but I just can’t wait to be done with the project altogether. Just some issues I’m having with the group…
  • Did NOT slip on random ice patches in my new heeled boots. We had to dress professional for the presentation (I was basically the only one who really did) so I decided to wear my boots with tights and a dress. Luckily, I didn’t slip on the stupid random patches of ice all around campus.
  • Took an hour-long nap around 5:30. I try not to nap so late in the day, so it doesn’t wreck my sleep schedule, but I was honestly so exhausted yesterday that it felt good to just rest. I didn’t really sleep much, but it was still a nice break.
  • Continued to count down to Christmas break. Yeah, it’s down to only 8 days total, as of Wednesday!

And finally, for a pin of the day--how women see color vs. how men see color. So. True.

7. Four Things I Love About Winter

  • Starbucks holiday drinks and red cups. You could say I’m obsessed.
  • The holidays. Christmas and New Year’s, it doesn’t get any better than that!
  • Wearing tights and boots together. It’s one of my favorite outfit combos—sometimes I wear (different) tights and boots every day of the week!
  • How pretty snow is when it’s falling. Once it’s on the ground and frozen over so you slip every few seconds, not so much…

What is one thing you love about winter? Do you have a peanut flour obsession?

WIAW: Old Things, New Ways

Hi ladies 😀 Well, another Wednesday is upon us, and I for one couldn’t be happier. First of all, it’s supposed to snow for the first time this season today! Okay, so that might not be so fun to walk to classes in, but I think snow is so pretty, and the first few snowfalls are the best. Come January and February, not so much 😦 But right now it’s great. It’s also another week closer to Thanksgiving break–aka 9 days of freedom from this crap known as school. I have big plans for that week–well, not really, but I have a lot of cooking and baking plans, that’s for sure. And finally, it’s almost the weekend and I’m headed home again! So it should be a pretty busy but fun 2 days.

Peas and Crayons

So I was really struggling coming up with some kind of theme for this week’s WIAW. I don’t know why, but I think it’s more fun with a theme or extra thing, like a survey. I kinda got burned out on surveys, so lately it’s been all about some theme like new purchases or recipes or what I did over the weekend. Since I haven’t had any of those this week, I couldn’t think of anything…until I looked through my pictures and realized that they were all of things I’ve had before, but in a new way. So that’s my WIAW theme this week!

Banana whip smoothie, half a sweet potato topped with hot Mexican style chili powder. Sweet and spicy...awwwww yeah!

 So I haven’t had a ‘banana whip’ since sometime this summer but that’s only because I haven’t had almond milk around since then. Sad, right? I finally grabbed a carton of unsweetened vanilla AM two weekends ago and it’s definitely been put to good use in lattes and cereal. But then I remembered how much I loved this smoothie, and I made it for a snack, alongside half a chili powder-spiked sweet potato (eaten cold, BTW). Basically, you just take 3/4 cup almond milk, a packet of Truvia or stevia and a handful of frozen banana slices, and blend away. Once I invest in xantham gum, you best believe this will be even better and more milkshake like.

Pumpkin spice Vitatop (with a bite taken out of it, oops!) topped with a teaspoon of almond peanut cashew butter.

 Vitatops aren’t quite the same when you can’t toast them (stupid dorm rules) but they still smell amazing in the microwave. I topped this one (pumpkin spice, of course) with some drippy, almost-at-the-bottom-of-the-jar APCB. So. Good. Period. Why did I never do this before? I honestly don’t know!

Vintage-ized photo taken by my lovely phone. Dr McDougall's vegan tortilla soup.

 So I’ve had this soup before, and it’s really really good but for some reason, I’ve always eaten it out of the paper container it comes in. I decided to fancy it up a bit by pouring it in a bowl. Classy, no? And I also just realized, after almost 2 years of having my phone, that it can edit photos right on the phone itself. Since this picture was taken at night (and therefore was super yellow), I messed around with the coloring and also decided to make it look vintage-y. I got bored, okay?

Caramel Oikos (in a bowl) topped with frozen banana slices.

 Again, I’ve had frozen banana slices and this flavor of Greek yogurt before, but never together and never in a bowl. I mean, it comes in a container you can eat out of, so why use dishes, right? Turns out, it tastes much better in a real bowl, especially when mixed with frozen banana. It’s like dessert almost (I had this for lunch, though).

Homemade Starbucks latte, half sweet potato, raisins, sour gummy vitamins, almond peanut cashew buttah.

 I’m a coffee girl at heart. Not so much for the caffeine, because it doesn’t do much for me (other than when I get anything larger than a tall at the ‘bucks–then I feel sick and have a humongo headcahe afterwards) but for the delicious taste. I’m not a hardcore black coffee person at all–I like some sweetness and flavor. Oh, and I also rarely have coffee at breakfast, usually opting for the afternoon (because caffeine does not keep me up at night–I could probably drink coffee at 10 pm and still sleep fine) but lately, I’ve been feeling a nice cup thermos at breakfast time, especially since it’s getting pretty cold around here. Anyways, I make my coffee with half a packet of Starbucks VIA mocha instant coffee, a packet of Truvia, 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk steamed in the micro and a dash of cinnamon. Alongside that I had half of a hot sweet potato, some raisins and APCB. Oh, and my beloved sour gummy vitamins. I wish I could eat them more than just once a day, because I totally would, they’re so good 😛

The new Halloween Clif Kid bar flavor--full moon brownie.

 I love Clif Z-bars–they’re perfectly snack sized and come in really good flavors. So far, I’ve tried the blueberry, chocolate brownie, apple cinnamon (which was discontinued) and s’mores and have liked them all. But the full moon brownie is by far my favorite! I love the soy white chocolate chunks and the richness of the bar itself. I wish it was a permanent flavor, though–guess I’ll just have to stock up before Halloween!

 

What “old favorite” have you eaten lately in a new way?

My Foodie Staples

Aren’t there a few many things you can’t live without? I’m sure we all have them, I know I do! They tend to change every once in a while, but I definitely have some items I’d prefer to not go without. With that being said, here’s my current list of foodie staples!

Cereal: Right now, I’m loving on the PB Puffins (hope I never get sick of those!), Kashi Honey Sunshine, 365 Organic Honey Crunch & Oats and Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Crunch. I also really like Bear Naked Fit granola (especially triple berry crunch–what’s with all these cereals and having crunch in their name?) and Udi’s cranberry granola. I generally don’t have cereal at breakfast (I used to everyday, though) but it makes an amazing snack…or small dinner?

PB & Chocolate Puffins, Bear Naked Fit granola

Fruit: Gosh, no way could I ever live without this! I love almost all fruits I’ve tried, except for plums and pears. In my dorm, it’s hard to have some of my favorite fruits, like pineapple and berries, so I’m sticking with some tried-and-true varieties, like bananas, black grapes and apples. They’re all pretty versatile and easy to take with me to classes.

Red grapes, giant Honeycrisp apple, bunch 'o bananas

Veggies: I also love veggies, but I don’t really have a way to cook it, so raw it is. Luckily, I love raw cauliflower, and it’s pretty easy to eat. I also discovered butternut squash, which is amazing and simple to heat up in the micro. Plus it comes pre-cut (thanks, Whole Foods!) so it’s perfect for someone without a sharp knife handy. Baby carrots are also a good option.

Cubed b-nut squash, baby carrots, cauliflower

Dried fruit: Mmmmmm, yes! Dried fruit is the bomb.com and even less of a hassle to bring to classes. I love Medjool dates, raisins (golden and regular), dried pineapple, freeze-dried fruit…the list goes on and on. I just look for dried fruit without any added sugar or chemicals and I’m good to go!

Organic Medjool dates, raisins, organic dried pineapple

Mini frozen burritos: I have 2 small fridges with tiny freezer compartments, so I need all the space I can get. EVOL makes mini burritos, which are perfect as a snack or part of dinner/lunch. I love the veggie fajita kind, since it’s vegan and yummy. Score!

2 mini EVOL veggie fajita frozen burritos

Sweet potatoes: I’ve been missing these guys like crazy lately, but luckily, they’re back in my life again. They heat up quick in the micro and taste so so good topped with almost anything–nut butter, trail mix, honey, guacamole, chili powder…

Cinnamon and almond butter topped sweet potato

Spices: Speaking of chili powder, girl’s gotta have her spices. All I got right now is curry powder, ground cinnamon and hot Mexican chili pepper, but it’s good enough for me! Those are probably my 3 fave, and they can ‘spice’ up anything from coffee (the cinnamon, of course) to veggies.

Ground cinnamon and hot Mexican-style chili powder

Truvia: I like things sweet, but I don’t want to add real sugar to some things, ya know? That’s where Truvia packets come in. They’re easy to carry around in case I get an unsweetened iced tea on-the-go and I always add a packet to my oats to sweeten them up. I love that they’re a natural sub for fake sugar.

Big box o' Truvia packets

Almond/nut butter: Where would we be without nut butter? As I’ve said several times before, PB is not my fave (sorry!). But I absolutely adore almond, and lately, almond peanut cashew. Nut butters are soooooo good on sweet taters, as an oats topper, on wraps/sandwiches, with fruit (especially dates) or even off your finger 😉

Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter

Morningstar spicy veggie sausages: I have one of these almost every morning, and have for probably the last year. Somehow, I’m not getting bored of them. I’m definitely not a savory person, especially at breakfast, but they’re a great source of vegetarian protein, they’re easy to make (except when your micro burns them…) and they taste so darn good. I like anything spicy, like I’ve said millions of times before.

Spicy veggie breakfast sausage, fudgie-topped millet bread

Organic jelly: It’s kinda upsetting how many jellies have high fructose corn syrup in them. I mean, come on, why can’t they just have simple, natural ingredients? When I found Smucker’s Organic line of jellies, I fell in love. Sure, there’s still sugar in them, but it’s real sugar, and it’s natural and organic. There aren’t any weird ingredients in it either. Is it weird that I like it with nut butter and crackers????? It’s also delish as an oats topper.

Smucker's Organic concord grape jelly

Starbucks VIA instant coffee: I can’t live without my ‘bucks fix every once in awhile. But when you’re a college student with no car, it’s kinda hard to get. Lucky for me, they came out with instant coffee packs that are almost as good as their brewed stuff. Not only do I love it in homemade skinny lattes, but it’s amazing mixed in with overnight oats. Talk about an energizing breakfast 😛

Date with almond butter, homemade Starbucks VIA latte, Greek yogurt with raw organic honey

Protein bars: I’m no athlete, but I still eat these like it’s my job. Kidding, but I do love ’em. I don’t get the huge ones, like regular Clifs (I usually cut them in half to have as a snack), I prefer the Mojo kind which are like trail mix bars, and Pure and Halo bars. They make a perfect on-the-go lunch alongside some fruit and they come in so many varieties. My faves at the moment are Mojo white chocolate macadamia and mountain mix, Pure chocolate brownie and Halo s’mores and nutty marshmallow. I try to get bars that have at least 6 grams of protein (the Halo ones don’t, but they’re good for a snack) and only natural sugar.

Clif Mojo Mountain Mix & White Chocolate Macadamia, Clif Z-Bar Chocolate Chip and Full Moon Brownie, Pure Cherry Cashew and Chocolate Brownie, Halo Nutty Marshmallow and Clif C Blueberry

Almond milk: I switched to soy last May, and I liked it for a while, but now I prefer almond. I still have soy milk every so often (the Silk seasonal kinds are SO good) but now I’m trying to buy almond more often. I really love the Pacific Naturals unsweetened vanilla, but the plain Whole Foods brand is also good. It lasts longer in the fridge than soy and has a nice, light nutty taste.

Pacific Naturals organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Rolled oats: Of course I have these! I probably have oats in some form every single day…well actually, I pretty much just eat them in overnight oats 😀 Unlike a lot of people, I prefer overnighters to cooked oats. But anyways, oats are incredibly versatile, easy to prepare and so healthy. I don’t even want to start to explain my overnight oats, so just check out my page devoted to them!

Carrot cake overnight oats

 Greek yogurt: Another “duh” if you read my bloggy regularly! Oikos is my one true Greek yo’ love, but sometimes I go off and have an affair with Fage mango guanabana or blueberry acai. Shhhhhh, don’t tell 😉

Oikos organic plain, Fage Total 0% blueberry acai, Oikos organic caramel

 Of course, there are many many more products I’ve (sadly) had to leave out ’cause I didn’t wanna bore y’all with it, but these are what I have most often and love the most!

What are your foodie staples?