Embracing Fall

Let me start out by saying I am a “summer” girl all the way. My birthday is smack dab in the middle of summer (July 27th to be exact) and I always loved never having to go to school on my birthday, plus the added perk that I could spend my special day at my favorite water park. When I was younger, summer also meant camping, sleepovers, swimming and visiting my grandparents, so it was always a special time of year. Now I love summer not only for my birthday, but for the amazing produce, warm weather, the fourth of July and getting a break from college life. So I was kinda sad when the first day of fall rolled around this year–no more summer for another 9 months. Luckily here in CO, summer’s decided to stick around for a while because we’ve had amazing weather since the autumnal equinox. Plenty of sunshine with most days in the mid 70s to low 80s…can you say ideal? It’s definitely helped me ease into fall but also embrace the season that follows my absolute favorite. This year, I’m actually excited for fall traditions like carving pumpkins and taking pictures of the changing leaves and of course all the delicious seasonal foods.

I’m starting to embrace fall with my wardrobe. I would be an extremely happy girl if I could wear flip-flops and dresses year-round, but that isn’t going to happen here. So I’m transitioning from shorts and swimsuits to sweaters and scarves, while keeping the still-warm weather in mind. I like pairing tights and ankle booties with shorts, or jeggings and a light cardigan with moccasins. I’m still incorporating the bright shades I love, but trying to tone them down by mixing them with darker hues.

Super old pic (from last year, when I was still doing the dorm thing) but you get the idea. This is one of my favorite fall outfits!

I am loving fall-inspired foods this year, more than ever before. Remember this post from last year? Yeah, that was like fall overload and it was the first time I really started embracing fall foods. This year, I’m already on pumpkin overload, incorporating it into pretty much everything and I have no shame. I just bought one of the sweet stuffed squashes they’re selling at Whole Foods by the other pre-wrapped veggies and fruit and I’m excited to roast my first squash. I also got some frozen cranberries which I’ve never had before but I really want to try them out. And I’m excited for my favorite Pink Lady apples. Last year the apples I got were not that great but they seem to be way better this year! So look forward to a lot of fall-ish recipes in the near future 😀

Some of My Favorite Fall Recipes

Spicy Pumpkin Pizza (vegan, gluten-free)

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

Raw Mini Pecan Pies (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

Coffee Maple Pecan Butter (vegan, gluten-free)

Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

Creamy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Rawnola (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

And as far as fall activities go, I really want to take advantage of my proximity to the mountains and go on a hike to see all the changing leaves. The mountains are so gorgeous this time of year (well, actually any time of year) so I hope my dad and I can head up there this upcoming weekend when he comes to see me for Homecoming weekend. And the house we moved into a couple of months ago actually has trees with leaves, so some leaf pile jumping will be in order sometime soon 😉

What do you love about fall fashion, food and activities?

WIAW: What I Ate (& Made) Monday

Most of my WIAW posts are a random assortment of food pics I happened to take through the week. But not this week, no, I was actually on top of things and managed to take a picture of everything (well, basically everything) that entered my mouth on Monday. Plus I’ve got a recipe to share with you so it should be one of my better WIAWs in awhile. Let’s do it to it!

[from left] Leftover pumpkin”water”. Pumpkin chip buckwheat waffle topped with real maple syrup, Vega chocolate protein frosting and pumpkin spice latte quinoa granola.

Most people are either “pancake people” or “waffle people”. I am most definitely a waffle person. Not frozen waffles, of course, but I love whipping up a homemade waffle for breakfast. I like pancakes, but I am horrible at making them turn out perfectly fluffy and circular. So I’m sticking with waffles, which are more foolproof. Except that one time I tried making a coconut flour-based waffle and it got majorly stuck to the waffle iron. Let’s just say that vegan pancakes and waffles don’t work so well made with coconut flour. This waffle was amazing though and it didn’t get stuck to the iron at all. Win win. Yes, I am obsessed with all things pumpkin. But it’s even better combined with chocolate.

[from left] Kelp noodles. Spicy peanut sauce. Shredded carrots. Steamed edamame. Alter Eco dark chocolate with quinoa crisps. Black Mission figs. Justin’s vanilla almond butter.

Lunch was faux stir fry with a side of figs dipped in AB and a square of chocolate.  The stir fry was faux because it wasn’t really stir-fried but it tasted like a peanutty stir fry. Kelp noodles are amazing, because they totally soak up the flavors of whatever sauce you pour on them, and they are pretty similar to noodles, without the calories and carbs but with all the nutrients of sea vegetables. The chocolate, well, I swear, I can’t not eat chocolate in some form for most of my meals or snacks. It’s kind of a problem.  Oh, and BTW, if you have access to fresh figs and Justin’s vanilla AB, please try them together. It’s a magical combo.

[clockwise from left] Chocolove raspberry dark chocolate square. Apple nachos topped with Udi’s g-free cranberry granola, almond peanut cashew butter, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds. Cookie dough inspired protein microwave muffin.

Those apple ‘nachos’ are my favorite snack discovery. They are a million times better than regular nachos, obviously health wise, but they also taste great for being so simple. Basically you slice an apple (I used a Pink Lady, my fave) really thin, microwave it for 30 seconds and then top it with whatever you like. I went with drippy almond butter, chocolate chips, granola and pumpkin seeds. So. Good. And then there are the usual suspects, a microwave protein muffin (easy to make and a great way to get in some extra protein) and a square of one of my favorite chocolates. Missing from the pictures is a little bit of some dry roasted edamame I ate during my late class.

Almost raw granola inspired by a classic Starbucks drink.

I was obsessed with making rawnola (raw granola) over the summer when I got my dehydrator. But since being at school, I’ve only lugged it out once to make some kale chips. That obviously had to change, since I missed homemade granola. Like everyone else, I’ve been loving pumpkin lately (which is weird ’cause I didn’t like it much last year) so I decided to make a pumpkin-y rawnola. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can totally make this in an oven, set to a low temperature.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Rawnola (vegan, gluten-free, raw)

1/2 cup dry Alter Eco organic royal rainbow quinoa, soaked for a few hours

1/2 cup rolled oats (can sub buckwheat groats to make raw)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 tbsp raw agave or maple syrup

1 tbsp ground coffee (I used Archer Farms caramel apple coffee)

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp chopped nuts and seeds

In a large bowl, mix oats and soaked quinoa until combined. Add in coffee, raisins, nuts and any other mix-ins you’d like. Stir in agave and pumpkin until mixture is a little sticky and thick. Spoon granola mixture onto wax paper lined dehydrator trays (or use reusable dehydrator liners, if you have them) and dehydrate for 4-6 hours. Turn off dehydrator and let rawnola sit uncovered for several hours or overnight. Serve with almond milk or on top of fruit. Makes about 1 cup.

[clockwise from top left] navy striped sweater (Hollister), navy lace pencil skirt (Gilly Hicks). Mom-made veggie chili. Spiced yellow squash, red grapes, giant corn coconut microwave muffin. Celestial Seasonings tropical iced tea.

Like how I threw in a random outfit shot there? Yeah, it looks so dark ’cause I forgot to take one until it was already nighttime. Oops. Dinner on Monday was a winner, though. I reheated some spicy veggie chili my mom made a couple weeks ago and sent with me to freeze for future dinners. So if I can’t make it to the grocery store, I guess I’ll be set for a few days! Lately I’ve been loving yellow squash–I bought it randomly at Target and I can’t get enough of it sauteed with a little coconut oil and seasoned with chili powder and cinnamon. But the giant corn muffin was the best part of the dinner, obviously. I don’t know how it turned out so giant, I just made it with 2 tbsp of corn meal, 2 tbsp of coconut flour, some water, salt, stevia, baking powder and flax. Whatever, I’m not complaining. It was so good, especially for being thrown together, and it actually wasn’t too crumbly for a grain-free vegan microwave cake.

Are you a pumpkin fan or not so much? Are you a waffle person or a pancake person?

This post was submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #10.

WIAW: A Day of Raw Challenge

Hey ladies, how is February treating you so far? I’m just glad we’re that much closer to March–I can’t wait to bust out the dresses and flip-flops again!

Peas and Crayons

 

As I promised in last week’s WIAW, I have a special edition of the weekly foodie party for you this week. As you might know, I’ve recently become interested in raw foodism. Let me just clarify that I am not considering eating 100% raw–I like the principles behind it and its health benefits, but I feel good right now with my current ‘almost vegan’ lifestyle and I feel like at this point in my ED recovery, I shouldn’t be excluding all cooked foods, because they are nutritious (not to mention delicious)! However, I do like making raw treats from time to time and I also love things like raw fruits and veggies (I actually prefer my veggies raw!) and nuts so I thought I’d try eating totally raw for one day and share my experience on here for a WIAW post. So here goes!

Breakfast: raw carrot cake bite topped with raw walnut butter, red grapes, dried mango slice.

Normally, I love my oat-filled breakfasts, usually with a side of veggie bacon or veggie sausage, or sometimes just a bowl of plain Greek yogurt and fruit, but this was a good way of switching things up. However, this meal didn’t have quite enough staying power (aka protein), so it’s not an ideal breakfast but still tasty.

Lunch: chocolate brownie Pure bar, baby carrots, freeze-dried mixed fruit.

However, I did get a little more protein at lunch with the delicious Pure bar! I love Pure bars, because they are basically bigger Larabars with a little bit fewer calories and more protein (7 grams in this flavor). I almost can’t believe they’re raw, they’re so good! The chocolate brownie is my favorite flavor, hands-down, plus I really needed my chocolate fix for the day since I couldn’t have my usual daily dose of  a handful of dark chocolate chips. I think I should invest in cacao nibs because they’re raw–I’ve heard they take some getting used to, though. The carrots and dried fruit were good for crunch and overall, this was a pretty balanced meal.

Post-lunch dessert: Medjool date stuffed with raw pecan halves.

I also had some unpictured frozen pineapple chunks during my weather and climate lab. The date and nut combo is amazing, it tastes exactly like a turtle sundae. Well, without the ice cream, of course, but it’s a good raw substitute.

Afternoon snack: Pink Lady apple, handful raw pecan pieces.

Having just fruit and nuts for a snack isn’t something I usually do, but it was actually really tasty. I drizzled the pecans with a little raw honey and they were even tastier. I think pecans are my new favorite nut–sorry, almonds.

Dinner: sprouted quinoa bowl with raisins, shredded carrots and raw walnut butter, blood orange.

Sorry about the awful photo quality–I eat dinner around 7 pm so it’s pretty dark, aka no natural lighting so I just wing it. Instagramming the photos usually helps somewhat though! Anyway, this was my first time trying sprouted quinoa and I gotta say, it was a little weird at first, since I’m used to fluffy cooked quinoa but the crunchiness was interesting. I mixed it up with some raw walnut butter, carrots and raisins, making a carrot cake sprouted quinoa bowl of sorts, and I had some water and a blood orange on the side. The quinoa was pretty bland, but I’d like to try using sprouted quinoa in some kind of salad with a good dressing.

Dessert: frozen banana slices drizzled with raw honey.

No day would be complete without a nighttime snack! Of course, I love the combo of frozen bananas and raw honey, so I definitely enjoyed this dessert. Sweet, simple and cold. It was worth shivering the rest of the night–yes, I eat frozen stuff in the middle of winter!

Overall–I had plenty of energy to get through the day, and it made me feel refreshed and ‘clean’. However, there were definitely some foods I missed (namely peanut flour, sweet potatoes and oats), so obviously this raw food thing is not going to become a daily occurrence. I think cooked foods have a place in a healthy diet, and I don’t want to deprive myself of foods I love just to be completely raw. I do like that the challenge helped me get out of food ruts and try out some new combos, and it also challenged me to overcome my fear of fats (most raw foodism is based on using nuts, which have lots of healthy fats). I didn’t like that I wasn’t able to get as much protein as I usually can, and I don’t even normally eat a ton of protein, usually between 35-50 grams per day, and on my raw day, I only got 18 grams. Yeah, not so good but it was just one day so I’m not sweating it. So basically, there are some aspects I liked about the challenge and others weren’t my favorites but I feel good about mixing it up and trying something new. I would consider doing another ‘day of raw’ challenge in the future if I had more options, since being in a dorm I was mostly limited to fruits and nuts. In the future, I’m going to stick with my usual mix of raw and cooked foods, and also try out new raw food recipes occasionally.

Would you eat raw for a whole day? What’s your favorite nut?

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?

What I’ve (Been Wanting to Eat) Wednesday

Hey ladiessssss I loved reading about all your Thanksgiving fun slash shopping adventures. I know I’m going to give H&M another chance, I just think it wasn’t such a great experience since a lot of stuff was picked over, but what can you expect the week of Black Friday?

Basically I haven’t taken any pictures since coming back from break, I’m just so burned out with projects, studying for finals and work stuff–I am so ready to be done. Thanksgiving was kinda like a little teaser for winter break so I’m hoping the next 15 days go by quickly so I can be outta here! But I love WIAW way too much to not participate in some way or another, so I decided to dig up some older food pics and make this week’s theme about things I’ve been wanting to eat lately.

I’m in the dorms, so it’s required to have a meal plan. Last year, I went a few times a week with my roommate (before our relationship got really awful) but then around October, I stopped going that much. Second semester was basically the same–I just wasn’t diggin’ the dining hall. Luckily I had a microwave in my room to cook stuff in. This year, I’ve been to the dining hall a whopping two times, and both were the first weekend of school. Yeah, can you say bad resident? The only thing that’s somewhat decent there is the salad bar, but I’m too lazy to go there. So I’ve been making do with my dorm, which this year is equipped with a micro and two fridges. Mini, of course, but still. And for the most part, I really love what I’ve been able to make in my room. But going home over break made me miss the oven and stove and grill and a real freezer and…you get the picture. Plus I miss being able to go out to eat occasionally with my fam, so this edition of WIAW is all about what I really want to eat.

Cinnamon-spiked apple, millet bread topped with crunchy AB and a date.

Breakfast: You know how much I miss being able to use a toaster? A LOT! I can’t ever have toast, or English muffins or waffles because of the stupid rule of not being able to have a toaster in the dorms. So dumb.

Qdoba naked veggie fajita burrito with grilled squash and onions, black beans, pico de gallo, cilantro lime rice and black beans.

Lunch: My lunches now are always something quick and easy, like some Greek yogurt and fruit or a Clif Mojo bar. But as much as I love those things, they get old fast. I haven’t been to Qdoba/Chipotle since I took this picture way back in August, and I miss their naked burritos, which are like a burrito in a bowl. I especially love the grilled veggies!

Yogurt mess with chocolate Oikos, vanilla Bear Naked granola and banana slices.

Snack: Okay, honestly, there’s nothing really stopping me from making a yogurt mess for snack. But…well…I haven’t. I’ve just been eating Greek yo’ on its own, or granola on its own, but not together. I guess I’m lazy?

Vegan Philly sandwich, carrots, waffle fries.

Dinner: This was something I made for mi familia way back during spring break. The inspiration just came to me randomly, and I decided to roll with it. I’ve never been a big Philly sandwich fan (since I never loved beef) but this vegan version was awesome. Seriously, try it! It was basically sautéed peppers and onions, vegan cheese slices and Gardein beefless tips. So easy but so delicious.

Raw brownie pie with raspbs and coffee froyo.

Dessert: Honestly, I was planning on making a version of my raw brownie pie topped with pumpkin Greek yogurt mousse over Thanksgiving break, but I already made the festive garland bars and didn’t want too many desserts around. Not that that’s a bad thing, since both are pretty healthy, but I didn’t want my mom getting on my case for making so many! But I really need to make a minty version of this over winter break. I’m going to experiment because I miss these delicious raw treats.

What have you been wanting to eat this week? Do you like Qdoba or Chipotle?

 

WIAW: I Can Almost Taste Thanksgiving!

Purple cauliflower fans unite! Oh, hi guys, sorry I was just excited about all the great responses to my last post! I love seeing that you could relate to my stressage about signing up for classes and all the foodie-type things I included in the post.

Anyways, on with this week’s WIAW. I was lucky enough to get to go home this weekend sorta unexpectedly, because I have a humongo stats test on Friday that I’m pretty sure I’ll fail without getting some help, so I recruited my math-whiz dad. But the weekend wasn’t all studying, because how blah would that be? Basically though, it was just like a mini tease of Thanksgiving break, which is making me really anxious for break to start. Unlike a lot of weekends at home, it was pretty chill, which was exactly what I needed before this crazy week hit. Why do professors/teachers assign so much the week before a break? It makes me nuts! But, let’s just move on to the WIAW and weekend recap and talk about school craziness latah!

Peas and Crayons

Friday afternoon started out with me taking a stats quiz (ick) and then finally getting picked up by my mom and sissy. We headed straight for the campus bookstore, to pick up some Christmas gifts for my g-parents. Since we were already at the student center, my mom suggested we eat at the food court and use my RamCash, which is basically money the school gives you to spend on laundry, food at the food court, etc. I barely use it, besides every once in awhile for laundry, so I have a buttload on my card, since they add more every semester. My mom first told me that only Panda Express was open on Friday evenings, and I wasn’t too excited about that. They apparently have nothing that’s certified vegetarian, since things get mixed around and veggies may touch meat, plus their food is just greasy and ugh.  But luckily, the soup and salad place was still open, so I got a cup of winter squash soup. It was pretty decent, not the best I’ve had from there (their vegetarian chili is BOMB!) but I definitely prefered it to Panda. My mom and sister got it though, and it ended up costing $16! Call me crazy, but that’s a lot for two people’s dinners at a fast food-type place. But we enjoyed our dinners in the awkwardness that was the empty food court. Usually it’s packed with people, but who wants to eat there on a Friday night when almost everything else is closed?

Not soup (obviously) but my hodgepodge dinner from last week: plain Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon, Pink Lady, chocolate PB2 sauce, baby carrots, pumpkin protein frosting. So weird but really hit the spot.

Back at home, it wasn’t too late so I had dinner part 2, since I didn’t finish the soup and I was starving. I had my first sweet potato in probably 3 weeks (it was a happy reunion, that’s for sure 😀 ) topped with some PB2 that I brought home. Okay, is this sad or what–I’ve gone through most of the jar in basically 5 days! 2 tablespoons of it is supposed to be 15 servings, what a lie! I’ve mostly been having 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of it per day, and it’s almost gone! What?

A seasonal variation on the banana whip--banana pumpkin whip. Enjoyed straight outta the blender, how classy am I?

Saturday I could barely make myself sleep in til 8. I think my schedule this semester has been screwing me up, I used to be able to sleep in til 9 easily if I stayed up past 11 or so. Well, I’m not complaining, 8 is fine with me! I hate sleeping in so late that I feel like the day is wasted, so I totally don’t get people that sleep in past noon or whatever. I had a nice breakfast of leftover pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes and my usual veggie sausage, alongside a homemade Starbucks peppermint mocha! I’ve been totally craving Starbucks, and since I rarely go (that’s gonna change in less than a week 😉 ) I wanted to make a drink that’s almost as good. My mom got some Silk Mint Chocolate soy milk (best stuff ever!) so I steamed it and added it to some Starbucks VIA.

Almost as good as Starbucks, for way less, and in a cute snowman mug!

For lunch, I ended up burning the last 2 pieces of tempeh bacon (whoops) while I was cooking my second sweet potato in two days. Obviously, they have been very missed. I topped it with more PB2 (addicted much?), and plated it and the burned bacon with some frozen raspberries. Oh so good.

Who can beat a nut butter topped sweet potato? Especially with tempeh bacon and frozen raspberries?

After lunch, my dad and I headed out to the store. Well…stores! I was only planning on getting some apples and grapes to tide me over for the 5 days I’d be on campus before break, but knowing me, I got a lot more. Well, not a lot more, but definitely some. But it was all needed, so it’s justified. I did get the apples and grapes I needed, plus some Silk Pumpkin Spice (haven’t tried it yet), Whole Foods fresh-grind crunchy almond butter, butternut squash cubes, my crack Late July green mojo chips, peanut butter pows cereal (apparently renamed peanut butter balls?), full moon brownie kid Clifs, dates, rolled oats, vegan chorizo taquitos and my personal favorite, Oikos frozen Greek yogurt! I’ve been dying to try it since I saw it on Tara’s blog awhile back. I got it in chocolate, and it is heavenly. Better than their original chocolate froyo, since it’s a little tangy just like Greek yogurt. Plus it’s got a little more protein, which is always a win. I can’t wait to try the blueberry and honey…and I hope they come out with superfruits, because that is my favorite flavor of their yogurt! Whole Foods was pretty lame this time as far as samples go, but I think I found a good vegan alternative to the Thanksgiving turkey–Field Roast Grain Meat loaves. They’re made from vital wheat gluten and veggies and they look pretty decent. I hope I can convince my mom to buy it for me, since my dad seemed to think it looked good.

I dressed up my first bowl of Oikos froyo with frozen raspberries and PB balls cereal. Love the mix of textures and flavors.

Then my wonderful daddy surprised me with some Pinkberry. I was so excited when it first came to my city, and I loved the watermelon froyo I got the first time around, all the way back in June! Unfortunately, I hadn’t been back there since but I got my fix this weekend. If you’ve never been to a Pinkberry, they only have 6 flavors at a time, but they rotate based on season, and their yogurt is better quality than most froyos. I’m such a sucker for all things seasonal, as you probably know by now, and peppermint is by far my favorite seasonal flavor–especially paired with dark chocolate! So when I saw the peppermint froyo on the front door, I knew exactly what I wanted to get. I also decided to branch out (and piss off my ED a bit) and topped it with some peppermint bark, which was the perfect pairing. Usually, I only stick with fruit as a topping, but I have no regrets getting the bark instead. And I don’t care what ED says about it, it was crazy good and I didn’t get fat overnight by eating it. So there!

Perfection in a cup. I love that they swirl it so perfectly, and that it's light pink!

The rest of the night was devoted to church, eating Amy’s cheeseless pizza with a side of Silk Mint Chocolate (can’t get enough of the mint/chocolate combo obvi!), showering, studying up on stats with the padre and watching some SNL. Emma Stone was the host, she’s so funny and I love her voice. It makes me less self-conscious for having a deeper voice than most girls 😛

Sunday's (very orange) lunch of Gardein chickenless nuggets, sweet potato tots (ob-sessed), more raspberries and spicy three pepper mustard. Like fast food but...not!

Sunday was pretty leisurely. Breakfast and lunch were had over the Sunday pap-ah, I went for a nice walk with my dad and sister and then it was sadly time to head back. Most times when I have to go back, I’m a little sad, since I won’t get to see my family for 2 weeks, but this time I wasn’t because I knew I’d be seeing my madre’s lovely face again on Friday–for a whole 9 days, in fact! I was just annoyed with the fact that I had a full 5 days of school to deal with 😦 Before dropping me off, we had a delicious dinner at Garbanzo, my favorite fast-casual place. I think I’ve mentioned it about a bazillion times already, but it’s just that good. Mediterranean food is my all-time fave.

Ninja shot of my dinner. The best falafel ever, red cabbage, vegetable salad, lettuc, grilled eggplant, hummus and tabbouleh, with a side of cilantro and curry sauces. Can I live in the bowl? Kthx.

So there you have it, my weekend-before-Thanksgiving-break in a (big) nutshell. I always make these recap things way too long, guess it shows how excited I am about the weekends I get at home. Now I’ve just gotta focus on studying for my Friday stats test and…PACKING! I love packing, so I can’t wait!

What was the best part of your weekend? Mine was probably Whole Foods shopping, ’cause I’mma nerd like that! What is your favorite seasonal flavor? I luuuuuurrrrrvvvve peppermint, especially paired with dark chocolate and coffee. Starbucks Skinny Peppermint Mocha, here I come!

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?