WIAW: Life Lately

I kinda missed being a part of the WIAW party last week, so this week I’ll be doing a big photo dump showing my life lately. Get ready for lots of pictures!

Woke up to this last Monday and wasn't thrilled.

Woke up to this last Monday and wasn’t thrilled.

No, you’re not seeing things. This was over a foot of snow…in April. My college town got dumped on quite literally over the course of 3 days last week by winter storm Yogi. While Colorado usually gets some snow in April, we don’t usually get this much, ever! And my college is known for never giving snow days, but we got 2 half snow days last week and it kinda made my life. I had to take the bus for most of the week when classes were in session, but I’m hoping I’ll be back to driving my car to campus for the rest of the semester.

One of my favorite 'bucks drinks: tall unsweetened iced coffee, sweetened with stevia.

One of my favorite ‘bucks drinks: tall unsweetened iced coffee, sweetened with stevia.

This was consumed well before the snowstorm, when it actually was feeling like spring. I actually prefer the cold drinks to the hot drinks anyway, because I tend to get overheated too quickly with hot coffee. So I’m really glad we’re getting into summer when it’s more acceptable to sip on iced coffees and iced teas.

Recent lunch: spinach topped with green olives, raw jalapeno kraut, sprouted pumpkin seeds and white bean 'falafel'.

Recent lunch: spinach topped with green olives, raw jalapeno kraut, sprouted pumpkin seeds and white bean ‘falafel’.

Again with the salad-a-day. I’ve been going more for nori ‘burritos’ for lunch but sometimes a nice spinach salad hits the spot. Ironically, this was eaten on one of the snow days! Obviously I’m still craving summer when there’s snow on the ground. What can I say, summer is my favorite season by far.

Mini raw cinnamon rolls.

Mini raw cinnamon rolls.

I still haven’t been able to find a great vegan and GF baked cinnamon roll recipe, but the raw versions I’ve made are pretty good. This one was made with almond flour, flaxseed, raw honey, dates, raisins, coconut oil and cinnamon (duh). They turned out to be pretty tiny rolls, but the filling was ridic. So gooey…I love dates like no other!

Grilled asparagus salad.

Grilled asparagus salad.

I can’t wait til I’m home for the summer and can hit up the amazing salad bar at the Whole Foods near me, but for the next month, I’ll be slumming it at the lame salad bar at the WF in my college town. Ok, just kidding, it has a pretty lame selection but I’ve been saving money and not buying anything from there too often since it’s usually disappointing. But some of the cold salads in the prepackaged area are actually decent, like this grilled asparagus salad. The ingredients are pretty clean, and the veggies taste bomb when drizzled with some balsamic. I think these would be perfect for a veggie wrap with some hummus or guac.

Qdoba naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

Qdoba naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

Speaking of guac, Qdoba has some of the best. I love that they always give me a huge scoop of it, so I don’t even care that it costs extra. I pretty much get the same thing every time I go: the naked vegetarian taco salad with black beans, habanero salsa (I like things spiiiiiicy) and the guac. So simple, but so perfect.

Dessert-ish for breakfast: chocolate coconut protein 'ice cream' topped with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and coconut chips.

Dessert-ish for breakfast: chocolate coconut protein ‘ice cream’ topped with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and coconut chips.

I always get stuck in ruts with my breakfasts. I used to love overnight oats, then I moved to smoothies-in-a-bowl, then pancakes, then waffles and most recently chia seed puddings. Now I’m returning to the smoothie thing, but more like the protein ‘ice cream’ I’ve seen around the blog world a lot. Basically, I blended almond milk with Sunwarrior protein powder, some melted coconut oil (not needed, just for extra flavor and a fat boost), and then added a few ice cubes and some xanthan gum. It turned out thick, creamy and icy, almost like actual ice cream!

More snow this week=not a happy camper.

More snow this week=not a happy camper.

As if a foot of snow wasn’t enough, just by the time it all melted on Sunday, we got hit with another quick round of snow. This time we got about half the amount and it started to melt really quickly, but still. This is yet another reason why I really want to leave Colorado after college–I need warmth! (Just as an aside, Colorado generally isn’t this snowy, it’s a pretty dry state but we’ve had a weird spring this year).

Southwestern style nachos for dinner. Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, leftover sweet potato, green olives, white beans, sprouted pumpkin seeds and raw jalapeno kraut.

Southwestern style nachos for dinner. Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, leftover sweet potato, green olives, homemade guac, white beans, baby spinach, sprouted pumpkin seeds and raw jalapeno kraut.

I gotta say, homemade nachos are one of my favorite throw-together dinners ever. And nachos don’t have to be unhealthy! I always top mine with sauteed kale or spinach and other veggies, have plenty of beans for protein and healthy fats (seeds and guac) and use the Way Better Snacks brand of chips since they’re made from simple ingredients and sprouted grains and seeds. I also had a different twist on nachos last week with some Greek style nachos…those are a definite repeat, once I stock up on more Skinny Crisps crackers. They remind me a lot of pita chips but they’re grain free!

Nori wraps are a new lunch must-have.

Nori wraps are a new lunch must-have.

I’ve still been enjoying my salads for lunch, but I love mixing it up with nori wraps. I usually stuff ’em with kelp noodles, spinach, raw kraut or kimchi, mango or pineapple, coconut aminos and raw cashew butter. I wish they were more portable though since they make a great quick lunch option.

Random dessert: half of a cinnamon apple ALT Larabar, no sugar added vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

Random dessert: half of a cinnamon apple ALT Larabar, no sugar added vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

If you’ve never warmed a Larabar, plllllllease do! It’s so good, especially with the chocolate chip flavors ’cause then they get all melty. Warming the cinnamon apple ALT bar made it taste like apple pie, and of course I had to have it a la mode, with my favorite ice cream.

Have you discovered any unexpectedly good flavor combos lately? How’s the weather where you are? 

Best of…April!

Once again, it’s time for another Best of… post! Seriously, 2012 has flown by like crazy. I can’t believe I’m already totally done with my sophomore year of college (minus one final). But I am so ready to get my summer on!

Best Mouthwatering Post: Savoring Summer

This will be getting made sometime this summer, I (almost) guarantee it!

Who doesn’t love recipe inspiration posts, especially when they feature summery recipes? Summer is by far my favorite food ‘season’–from the amazing fruits and veggies to grilling everything to frozen desserts, it’s all so good. There are sooooo many things I want to make and I hope I have the time to make them all!

Best WIAW: The Finish Line

Smoothies in a bowl are the best breakfast ever.

Okay, don’t get all technical on me. Yeah, my latest WIAW post was posted on Tuesday night, which was May 1st, but all the photos were taken over the last few days of April, so it still counts. I love this WIAW because it includes a nice mix of my ‘staple’ foods as well as some new finds and twists on old favorites.

Best New Find: Larabars

One of my two fave flavas so far!

I am a total Larabar newbie, having turned my nose up at them for far too long. I’m not exactly sure why, maybe it was because I felt they were too much of a ‘trend’ in the blog world to be good (since I generally don’t like the trendy brands that everyone else seems to), or maybe because I was scared of how many calories/how little protein they have. I’m glad I got over my fears and worries though, because they’re so good, well at least the cappuccino and chocolate chip brownie flavors. I’ve yet to try any others (besides the peanut butter and jelly…not a fan) but I’m excited to.

Best Response: Weekend Food and Fitness Thoughts

I’m ready for more summery salads in my life.

Once again, you guys all blew me away with how much you care! It is really hard for me to open up and write posts regarding my eating disorder, but I really appreciate all your insights, whether they are super supportive or constructive criticism. You all are the best 😀

Best Recipe: Garlicky Kale

The kale makes a perfect side dish for basically every meal.

I had a hard time choosing between my only two recipes of the month–ironically both kale recipes. What can I say, I am obsessed with it! The garlicky kale one is really delicious though because it’s so simple yet flavorful and crispy, just like kale chips, except it cooks up really quickly on the stove.

Do you have any good kale recipes to share? What’s the best new product (food or otherwise) you discovered last month?


WIAW: Staples and Goals

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It’s also Lady Gaga’s birthday…can you tell I’m obsessed 😀 Ummmm yeah, so it’s also almost April and Easter–crazy stuff! In just a little over a month, I’ll be done with my sophomore year of college. I think my mom was right in saying that time flies by once you’re an ‘adult’–I still don’t feel like an adult, but I’m already going to be turning 20 in 4 months. Wow, where’d my childhood go?

Instead of reminiscing, let’s take a look at this week’s meals. With the change of seasons, extra daylight and amazing weather, I’ve been changing up my eats somewhat lately so I want to share some of my latest staples, plus an update of the goals I made for March.

Voluminous overnight oats topped with pretzel sticks, peanut flour paste, kettle corn, raisins and drizzle raw honey.

Okay, so overnight oats have been a staple in my life since last summer, but lately I’ve been loving on the sweet and salty combo. My go-to toppings are crushed pretzel sticks, almond peanut cashew butter, raisins and a little raw organic honey. I mixed it up on Monday when my peanut flour order came in (I can’t tell you how excited I was to see the package in the mail–can you say addicted?) by subbing PF paste for the nut butter and also adding in a little Whole Foods kettle corn. So. Good.

It looks like soda, but it's not and it's wayyyyy better!

I’ve professed my love for Starbucks’ unsweetened iced coffee a lot lately–but can you blame me? It’s just so refreshing! Now, I’m not hardcore enough to be able to drink it sans any sweetener–I just bring my own Truvia packets and stir away. That way, I can control the sweetness and it’s a natural sweetener so it’s healthier. My former favorite summer drink from the ‘bucks was their light Frapps, but this may be my new drink for the warmer months.

Fresh spinach and red cabbage salad topped with crumbled southwestern Sunshine burger and vegan Caesar dressing.

Usually my dorm room meals are sadly lacking in the veggie department. I usually have some baby carrots and edamame stocked in the fridge, and sweet potatoes of course, but I rarely have greens. After spring break, I had some leftover spinach, so I decided to bring it back up with me. Best decision ever! Now I’ve been able to enjoy a salad for dinner some nights. I’ve been really loving topping the spinach with a crumbled veggie burger. I haven’t had a Sunshine burger in several months but my mom happened to leave me some so I was able to have them again. I think they’re becoming my go-to veggie burger brand, because of how simple yet nutrient-packed they are.

Return of the snack plate: crushed Late July chips (summertime blues and sea salt by the seashore), Whole Foods kettle corn, raw kale chip crumbs, dried fruit (mango, pineapple, raisins and stuffed date), vegan pepperoni slices.

I rediscovered my obsession with snack plates over spring break, and I brought it back with me to school. Lately, I’ve been having combos similar to the one above. They’re the perfect snack for an indecisive person like me. I just love having a variety of flavors and textures to choose from.

Why didn't I try this earlier?

My bar obsession is still going strong. My current favorites are the Clif Mojo white chocolate macadamia trail mix bar, KIND peanut butter & strawberry bar, Pure chocolate brownie bar…and Larabars? Yes, I actually just tried my first one yesterday and wow! Why have I never tried these before? I love that they have so few ingredients, yet taste exactly what they’re named for. I guess I never tried them because of their low protein content (this flavor has 5 grams, though, and a few others have 6 grams, which is decent) and their high calories/fat. Since I’m working on feeling safer with higher calorie and fat things as long as they’re healthful, I decided to buy one, specifically the cappuccino flavor since I love anything coffee-flavored. It was perfect, especially paired with some dark chocolate chips! Now I can’t wait to try more Larabar flavors. I’m addicted!

Lovin' on the bright colors: belted coral ruffled tank (Hollister), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), jeggings (American Eagle), various bracelets.

Not a food staple, obviously, but with spring and the warm weather, I’ve been really loving wearing brighter colors. I am not someone to shy away from color, even in the winter, but spring and summer bring out the color-lover in me even more. I love how the tank top pops against the dark jeans, and coordinates nicely with the scarf.

Now onto the goal updating. I actually think I did pretty well with most of them, and it inspired me to make a few more for April!

  • Eat more veggies: Check! This WIAW doesn’t showcase many, but I definitely got in my veggies  a lot over spring break, and have been doing pretty well with my limited groceries back at school. Some of the veggies I’ve been enjoying include spinach, kale chips, yams, carrots, red cabbage and grilled asparagus. I’m excited to eat my veggie quota again during the summer!
  • Summer internship: I’m happy to announce that I landed an internship with a TV station back at home. I’m super excited to start working and it’ll be a great opportunity. It’s unpaid, of course, but amazing work experience.
  • Cook more: I definitely accomplished this over spring break. Of course, it’s basically impossible to cook while at school since all I have is a microwave, but I’ve been making do. When I was home for break, I made quite a few things and even shared 4 new recipes.
  • Budgeting: This was one area I didn’t really do too well on. I got paid right before spring break, and all I could think of doing was going on a major clothes shopping spree. So that’s what I did, and while I don’t regret it, I wish I had planned out my spending more wisely. I also really need to work on my grocery shopping budget, since I’ll be doing more of that myself next semester and I need to not blow all my money at Whole Foods Paycheck.
  • Avoid food ruts: Spring break helped me do this, since I had so many more food options, but I’m still doing well with this goal even with fewer groceries at my disposal.

With my success at goal-making and accomplishing this month, I wanted to set a couple new ones for next month.

  • Eat more. This goes back to my honest post a couple weeks ago, but it’s something I need to be consciously working on. I don’t want to lose all the progress I’ve been making in my ED recovery, so this is a non-negotiable goal. However, it’s still extremely hard. Most days I’m never super-hungry, so it’s difficult to eat more than I have been, but I’ve just gotta buck up and do it.
  • Don’t get burned out. Yes, summer is just around the corner. Yes, finals and final projects are too. I’m in the home stretch, and I can almost taste freedom. However, I’m also starting to get really burned out with school. I need to keep my motivation going for the next few weeks so I can finish this semester out strong.
  • Focus on eating more “whole foods”. Obviously, this doesn’t mean just stuff from Whole Foods, as much as I love that store. I’ve been reading a lot lately on how processed soy products are really not that healthy, and I want to cut them out of my diet. I’m not cutting out soy completely–just the more processed stuff. I’ll still be eating edamame, tempeh, tofu (0n occasion) and Clif Mojo bars, because they’re all either organic or more whole/natural forms of soy and therefore a lot healthier. Yes, things like soy bacon and other fake meats are tasty sometimes, but I’m going to work on finding better, “whole foods” versions to replace them with, like Sunshine burgers which are only made with veggies, seeds, brown rice, beans and spices; and beans, quinoa, etc. I don’t think all processed things are bad, but I’ll be buying things that have as few ingredients as possible, or at least all pronounceable, healthy ingredients.

Do you have any goals for April? What’s one of your food staples right now?