Best Discoveries This Year

Before I start this post, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic shooting that occurred just a few days ago in Aurora, CO. It’s always hard to hear and read about these horribly sad events, but even more so when they happen in your own state, only about an hour’s drive away from where I live. Please keep all the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers!

Now onto something lighter! Yes, I realize it’s not the end of the year yet–but it will be soon if the year keeps flying by like it has–but since my birthday is just around the corner, it kinda feels like a new year for me.

Anyways, I’ve made a lot of new purchases and discoveries since last July 27th so here are some of the best! They’re not all food related but knowing me, most of them are 😉

Whole Foods Hot/Cold Bars

The most recent edition, and one of my favorites so far!

Honestly, if I could, I would eat at Whole Foods once a week, it’s just that good! But $7 salad boxes just aren’t in my budget so I’ve only had them about 5 times over the past year. But each one is amazingly delicious, and I can always find something new. Oh, and I never stick with the boring spinach leaves and black olives…no, I load my boxes up with flavored tofu (they have the best stuff), cold veggie salads, fresh fruit and yummy grains. They never disappoint!

LabelBox (and Phonto)

I love all the colors!

Move over, Instagram, you’re old news! LabelBox and Phonto are the perfect way to jazz up your Instagram’d photos and if you’re as much of a font nerd as I am, you won’t be able to live without them. Plus they’re free, and who doesn’t like free?

Veganism

Who says vegan foods have to be boring and tasteless?

My decision to go vegan a little less than a year ago has been seriously life-changing. During my eating disordered days, I relied on low-cal, low-fat things too much because I thought they were ‘healthy’. Now as a vegan I’m eating mostly whole foods and minimally processed foods, with plenty of nuts, grains like quinoa and oats and tempeh, all things I never would have touched a few years ago. I feel healthier, happier and more vibrant. I feel okay treating myself to things like coconut milk ice cream and tons of guacamole because they have health benefits and make my life better. Not to mention, I’ve become more creative in the kitchen and ordering things at non-vegan restaurants. I am not 100% vegan, as I do enjoy gelato or froyo and honey on occasion, but I know I’m doing a good thing for the animals, the environment and myself and that’s why I continue to do it.

Pinterest

I still want this for my apartment!

I don’t go on this as much as I should (or could?) but I still love how inspirational it is. I pin a lot of fashion and decor stuff and when I’m done, I get some closet and apartment inspiration. Sure, some of it is unrealistic but it’s so fun!

Kale

Kale: a nutritious part of this complete dinner!

How did I not discover what’s become my favorite veggie until February? I first tried this superfood in kale chip form and was hooked. I didn’t love it raw at first but when I figured out you have to massage a dressing or sauce into it, I fell in love. It’s also really great crisped up in a dry skillet with salt, pepper and garlic. Basically it’s awesome no matter how you use it, and I love that I feel like a superhero when I eat it!

Zevia

My second-fave flavor so far. This root beer’s got a bite!

I’ve never been a big soda drinker, but I would always always always stick to diet versions. But all that fake sweetener isn’t the best and it gives me headaches. So I went soda-less for awhile, until I stumbled upon Zevia. I love stevia as a sweetener and thought why not. Yeah, $5 or 6 is kinda a lot for a 6-pack, but it’s worth it for a 0 calorie natural soda. The cream soda is the bomb, and I also love the cola and root beer. Still have yet to find the lime cola and strawberry but I’m on the hunt!

Bold Shorts

Dark grey and hot pink make a perfect outfit!

I’ve never been one to shy away from bright colors, but I wasn’t so sure about the neon shorts trend. Luckily I got over that quickly because I love my hot pink shorts! They’re fun and different while still being polished and pretty. I’m planning on investing in a few more pairs of bright shorts (and some bright jeggings) before the summer’s over!

Sweet Quinoa

I need to have this deliciousness from breakfast again soon!

Who knew quinoa could be tasty for dinner and breakfast? I was skeptical at first but after seeing some mouthwatering breakfast quinoa pictures on Instagram, I knew I needed to try it for myself. And now I’ve got a new breakfast obsession, along with fluffy homemade waffles and overnight oats. Give them a try if you haven’t already, they’re worth the weird stares you might get from people 😛

What’s one of your best discoveries from the past year? What’s your favorite veggie?

Best of…June!

We’re officially halfway through the year–wooooo! July is my favorite month for several reasons, one being that my 20th birthday is on the 27th, which also happens to be the opening day of the summer Olympics this year. I also really love the 4th of July, even though this year I won’t get to see any fireworks because of all the fire bans. Better safe than sorry though–all the fires here have been scary and I don’t want anyone else to lose their homes because of a careless mistake. And I just love July because it’s pretty much the height of summer–my favorite season.

But backing up to June for the moment, here is my monthly recap of my favorite posts!

Best Deep Post: I’m Done…

I’m so tired of counting calories rather than enjoying my life.

I won’t lie, it’s always hard for me to hit publish on my more honest posts, but it’s always worth it. I appreciate all of the comments you guys left on that post and I’ll be looking back at it often to remind me of why I’m choosing life over calories.

Best Recipe: Sunny “Raw”nola

This stuff is beyond yum!

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Since I posted this recipe, I’ve simplified it even more to just 3 ingredients and it’s just as delicious as the original 5 ingredient version. I’ve made it on a weekly basis and my dad even loves it, which is a testament to how good it is. If you have oats, sunflower seeds and agave–make this now!

Best New Find: NadaMoo! coconut milk ice cream

Review to come soon!

Let’s just say I don’t fear coconut as much anymore. I’ve mentioned it periodically on my blog, but coconut has been fear food numero uno since my ED. However, since seeing coconut products all over the blog world, I’ve become more and more interested in trying it again. I finally conquered my fear and bought a pint of maple pecan coconut milk ice cream last week. From the first bite, I was in love. I still love my almond milk ice creams, but this stuff was beyond creamy, which is crazy for a vegan ice cream! Best part is, it’s sweetened naturally (with agave nectar) and all the fat is from a healthy plant source, coconut. Never again will I shy away from a coconut product!

Best WIAW: Secret Nutrition Edition

Looks like dessert, but is secretly packed with antioxidants and potassium!

I love switching up my WIAW posts from the typical everything-I-ate-today kinds, and this was really fun to research all the health benefits behind some of my favorite foods. Look for another similar post soon!

Do you like coconut or coconut milk products? What’s your favorite Olympics event to watch?

Best of…May! (and an award)

Uh, yeah, so how crazy is it that it’s already June? Where has this year gone? I can’t believe that last month at this time, I was stressing about finals and projects. Now I’m stressing (sorta) about my internship and packing. More on those later though!

Best New Find: Justin’s vanilla almond butter and So Delicious almond milk ice cream

Probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent!

Last month I discovered sooooooo many new-to-me products, it was a little crazy. Not that I’m complaining, though–one of my favorite things to do is buy new products and try them out. Sure, sometimes they disappoint but in other cases (like with the nut butter and ice cream), they were beyond amazing.

Best Discussion: Eating Comes at a Cost

I know I’ve said this before, but you guys are the best! Seriously, I’ve been loving all the responses I’ve gotten so far. I am very passionate about issues like this but these kinds of posts are always hard for me to publish because I worry about the backlash. You guys are always really respectful and thoughtful in your comments, though, which is great!

Best Recipe: Peanut Flour Pancakes

How delicious do these look?

Not gonna lie, this was muy dificil to decide on! Considering I had a record number of recipes in May (12 of them!) I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just one. But these protein-packed, peanutty pancakes are something I’ve been coming back to over and over. They’re simple to make but taste almost gourmet.

Best Non-Food Post: Work It Out

Hiking in snow…in the summer?!

Even though my blog is usually about food, I definitely have other interests, like fashion and fitness! I really liked sharing my favorite ways to workout and even though none of them involve the gym, I’ve come to realize that no one way to exercise is better than another.

Best Photo

I don’t know why, but this is just a gorgeous photo!

A lot of you commented on this photo and said you liked it. Well, I do too! Instagram is my favorite app, hands down, and this photo just speaks to me somehow.

And now for the award ceremony 😉 Hahaha, just kidding, but both Aja and Kat nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks, ladies!

1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2. Answer these 10 questions, below, for fun if you want to.
3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs 
(I was too slow.) you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

1. What is your favorite color?

Pink, for sure! I love hot pink, light pink, whatever shade. I also love orange, especially paired with pink.

2. What is your favorite animal?

This is really hard, but I’m gonna go with rabbits. I think bunnies are the cutest thing ever, especially the lop-eared kind. I really want to get a bunny for a pet someday.

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Iced coffee, no milk and sweetened with flavored stevia. I just discovered that Panera has this as a drink option by the soda machines…score!

4. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter! I love reading really short updates (I have a short attention span) and funny tweets (like by Condescending Wonka).

5. What is your favorite pattern?

Is lace a pattern? If it is, that’s what I choose. I have a few lacy pieces that I really love–they’re girly and cute but still elegant.

6. Do you prefer giving or getting presents? 

Not gonna lie, getting presents is better. I do love giving presents, but getting them is just so exciting!

7. What is your favorite number?

7 or 11. I like 7 because I was born on July 27th, and I like 11 because it rhymes with 7 😀

8. What is your favorite day of the week? 

I probably would have said Saturday a month ago, but now that I intern on that day, I’ll go with Friday. It’s not quite as special during the summer, but it’s still great.

9. What is your favorite flower? 

I like those huge, brightly-colored daisies!

10. What is your passion?

Clothes and grocery shopping, being outside and yoga.

Now it’s time for some nominations!

Alexandra She just started a new blog all about lifting and life in general. I loved her old blog and I have a feeling I’m gonna love this one even more!

Tessa I can always relate to her ED posts and she always has the best insights! I love her honesty and she really takes the time to respond to her reader’s comments, which I think is awesome.

Chloe I am super jealous of her cooking skills! Her food photography always makes me drool, too.

Amy Lauren I wish I could be an amazing runner like she is! She’s also a really great writer, and her race recaps are fun to read.

Lena I love that she’s from Colorado too, and I’m jealous that she gets to go to all these cool Denver-area restaurants! She’s also an awesome runner.

What was the best workout you did in May? What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

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?

 

Best of…March!

Hi! Can you believe we’re at the end of another week already? If time keeps flying by this quickly, it’ll be summer before I know it! Of course, I’m not complaining. School is starting to get hectic and I’m more than ready for an actual break for a few months.

As usual, I have my monthly recap post. It’s hard to believe that I’ve already done five of these (I started last October). I always have fun compiling these posts and I hope you all enjoy reading them as well.

Best WIAW: Spring Break Bonanza

I can see this being my go-to dinner this summer!

Over spring break, I got to try so many new products and new recipes. It was totally a party in my mouth 😉 I’m looking forward to being able to do this all over again in just 4 short weeks when summer starts.

Best Deep Post: When Less Isn’t More

Working on increasing my intake hasn't been easy, but I think it'll be worth it in the long run.

You guys really blew me away with your well thought-out, candid responses. Yes, some of it was hard to read, but I know if I want to make progress, I have to break bad habits and work through my issues. The only way to do that is to be honest, and while I was scared to post it, I think it was worth it.

Best Fun Post: ABCs and Recipes

I miss being able to tan outside...

Surveys are so fun! I’m really hoping someone in the blog world comes up with a new one ASAP because I’m definitely not creative enough to come up with one as good as this one. I also loved reading what you guys answered for all the letters if you did it on your own blog.

Best Recipe: Raw Key Lime ‘Cheesecake’

How delicious does this look?

I had 5 real recipes from last month, so it was hard to pick, but this one was definitely a winner! Next time I make it, I’ll experiment with other flavors (I want to try a chocolate raspberry variation) and increase the ingredients so it makes a bigger cheesecake. Who knew cashews could make an amazing dessert?

Best New Discovery: Chocolove Chocolate

So far I've tried 4 of their dark chocolate varieties and they're all really good.

I can’t believe 6 months ago, I was still deathly afraid of chocolate. It’s still a fear food of mine, but I can proudly say that I have eaten a small serving of dark chocolate every single day and I haven’t blown up like a balloon. Chocolove is now my favorite brand because they have so many flavors of dark chocolate. I love the orange peel, raspberry and chilies/cherries varieties, but I still want to try the crystallized ginger and peppermint ones, just to name a couple. I’m obsessed!

Did you do any recipe experimenting last month? What’s something you tried last month for the first time that you can’t live without now?

Best Of…January!

Hey everyone, hope you had an amazing weekend! I’m glad to hear that my simple fudge recipe was a hit–it really is delicious and healthy!

Oh, and by the way, I updated my Eats and More page, so now it has tabs for different recipes and is easier to navigate! Check it out if you have the time!

It’s that time of the month again…no, not that time of the month 😉 It’s time for my monthly Best Of… post! I really have fun putting these together and I’m so glad I started doing these just a few months back because they’re a good way to recap my month.

Best Controversial Post: Yum vs. Yuck

Edamame got a lot of lovin'--but am I weird for loving it in guacamole?

Of course, everyone has their own food preferences and that’s totally okay! I hate a lot of things a lot of bloggers seem to love (like ketchup and eggs) and I have weird preferences (I love almond butter but can’t stand peanut butter). It was just cool seeing what people like and dislike as far as food goes.

Best WIAW: Flavor Flav

One of my new favorite oats combos.

I almost chose my latest WIAW post, where I featured a bunch of new-to-me products, but then I realized that was on February 1, aka not in January. Duh, Ashley! It was a good one, though. This one was good too, because I showed some new flavor combinations I’ve been enjoying lately. It’s hard to choose between WIAWs though, because it’s the best day of the week, in my opinion 😀

Best Recipe: Raw Carrot Cake Bites

Tiny desserts are always the best!

Another raw dessert recipe to add to the repertoire, and it’s one of my favorites so far! I especially love them topped with peanut flour paste. Definitely making these again, hopefully over spring break. The only issue with them is it took forever and a day to grate the carrots!

Best Decision: Join Twitter

Tweet!

I’m still learning the ropes, but I love it so far! Thanks to all of you who have followed me, and hopefully I remembered to follow you back! It’s becoming an addiction of mine, I swear…

Best Undocumented Eat: Mad Greens Dionysos Salad

Ninja phone shot for the win!

When I went home last weekend, my mom took me out to eat at Mad Greens, one of my favorite restaurants, for dinner when we came back up on Sunday. I love them because they have salads bigger than my head, and really creative names (like Annie Oakley and Don Quixote). This particular salad is one of my faves, because it’s a Greek inspired salad. Of course, I ate up all the kalamata olives (and edamame, which I added instead of feta) first and then tackled the yummy greens. I got it with tofu, which wasn’t too great, next time I’d probably get portobello mushroom for the protein instead. But I still devoured it, no shame!

Best Outfit: Cardi, Skirt, Tights and Booties

As usual, I look pissed in my outfit shot. Just pay attention to the outfit!

This was from when I was still at home, as evidenced by my spacious bedroom and the mini Christmas tree in the background. I loved this outfit best because I’m obsessed with the skirt/tights/boots combo for fall and winter. So much cuter than a pair of jeans!

What was your favorite part of January? What was the best decision you made last month?

Best Of…December!

Hey everyone! Have you been enjoying your weekend so far? I can’t believe we’re already a week into the new year, it’s completely crazy. I feel like just yesterday it was Christmas, but that was already 2 weeks ago!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about my monthly “Best Of…” post! I love recapping my favorite moments from the previous month, and even though I just did a 2011 recap post, I almost neglected a recap of December.

Best Recipe: Coffee Maple Pecan Butter

I probably had the most recipes ever this month, from raw salted caramel dip to nutty cherry chocolate chunk cookies to raw mini pecan pies. All were delicious and devoured (I was surprised that my dad ate half of the cookies–he really loved them!) but this nut butter takes the cake. It was my first attempt at making nut butter, and since it was so successful, I hope to make another kind soon.

Best Fun Post: Oh We Need a Little Christmas [Inspiration]

I love looking for random inspiring photos on Pinterest and weheartit, so this was just a fun little way to get in the Christmas spirit!

Best Challenge: Jumping on the Bandwagon

I joined in on the NaNeFoMo train, and I didn’t regret it. In fact, I want to make it one of my goals for this year to try one new food each month. Food ruts and ‘safe foods’ are fine and all but if I truly want to challenge my ED and find new food loves, I’ve gotta branch out and try new things. Kombucha and vegan marshmallows are still on my list!

Best Really Long Post: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Super long post, but then again when isn’t a recap post really long, especially a Christmas recap post? Christmas 2011 was honestly one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a while, not sure why–maybe because we actually had a ton of snow and got to go sledding? Yeah, that was probably it 😉

Best Fashion Post: Shopping & Sledding

Sadly, it was my only fashion post of the month, but I really want to get back to doing my Style Phile posts every once in a while. Fashion is one of my obsessions, so I’d like to include it a little more on this blog. After all, it’s not all about the food!

What was the best part of December for you? Christmas, and Christmas break!

What are you anticipating in January? Starting my new classes in about a week. 

2011 in Review

Hi guys, can you believe that there is just one day left in 2011? Time really flies, doesn’t it, especially at the end of the year!

I decided to do a recap of my year since I started this blog just a little over seven months ago. So much has happened since then, so I thought I’d give a little breakdown of the most memorable parts of each month, along with a couple of my favorite photos from that month.

May

One of my first overnight oats creations--carrot cake oats.

I first started AlmostVegGirlie on May 24, just a couple of weeks after I finished my freshman year of college. I have had a couple of blogs before (and still have a fashion-focused one on Blogger) but never a food-related one, and since I was really starting to get into cooking a lot, I decided to finally start one after discovering the healthy living blogging community. Besides starting my blog, I also celebrated my mom’s birthday (and Mother’s Day the week before) and went to a U2 concert up in Denver!

Celebrating my madre's birthday.

Post of the Month: My First WIAW

June

Enjoying the fun after the Elephant Rock bike ride.

I biked in my first real biking event (with my dad). It was only seven miles, but it really helped me discover my love for biking and inspired me to compete in future events. One of the best parts (besides the ride itself) was all the free samples tents set up after the ride.  Not gonna lie, that was super awesome 😉 I also started my volunteer job at the local library that continued all summer.

First trip to Pinkberry!

Post of the Month: Bad “Raw”mance

July

In Estes Park with my mom and sister.

July was a great month for me! I started it out with a family trip to Estes Park which was so much fun and a great little getaway for the fourth of July weekend.The excitement continued with my first trip to the Whole Foods hot/cold bar and my 19th birthday on the 27th. I loved being one of the first people in Colorado’s first IKEA store, plus it was nice to get a gift card for going there on my birthday!

I want to go back and have this all over again!

Post of the Month: Foodie Newbie

August

Sweaty bike ride=the best!

The month started out with a lot of active things, from bike rides to playing tennis to hiking in the mountains. I went on a couple of shopping trips before school started again towards the end of the month. I moved into a single dorm room and loved having even more independence.

Gelato is basically my favorite food!

Post of the Month: What I’ve Been Up To This Weekend (first ever vlog!)

September

First ever (almost empty) almond butter from Target.

Labor Day weekend was a whirlwind of activities, from going to see a production of a play my dad wrote to a day trip to Breckenridge (which was filled with tons of good food). School was…school. I discovered a few new foods, like deep chocolate Vitatops, Halo bars and of course, many new oats combos.

Me and my sissy in Breck.

Post of the Month: A Pain in the…Foot?

October

Carving pumpkins!

I like to call this the month that I rediscovered my creativity in the kitchen. I think I cooked more new things this month than I did all summer! I spent a couple of weekends at home, which helped fuel my passion. I made quite a lot of pumpkin-related things, but what can you expect for October? I also went to urgent care to check out the pain in my foot that started in September and found out I have plantar fasciitis. Oh, and I officially started my first-ever real job as the news managing and PR editor of my college’s staff newsletter! I love what I do (and I love the fact that I get paid to do it!)

First salted caramel mocha light Frap from the 'bucks...basically delish.

Post of the Month: My Story (parts 1 and 2)

November

Vegan festive garland bars.

Thanksgiving break was also a great time for me to get creative in the kitchen. I also stayed pretty busy outside the kitchen during break, with a big shopping trip to 16th Street Mall. I also had my first-ever vegan Thanksgiving meal.

I was excited for my first iHerb order!

Post of the Month: Simply Having a Wonderful Weekend Time

December

I promise you I'm actually really more excited about my new cookbook than I look like I am.

The stress of finals, projects and packing really got to me this year, but before I knew it, I was home! This month, I’ve enjoyed seeing lots of snow (even some on Christmas), playing games with my family, trying out new recipes, sledding, shopping and so much more.

One of my first raw dessert recipes–mini raw pecan pies.

Post of the Month: Jumping on the Bandwagon

It’s definitely been a very good year for me. Despite my struggles in school and with my eating disorder, I would have to say that I had more ups than downs. If you had told me at the beginning of 2011 that I’d be riding in a real bike event, go mostly vegan, get my first job, try something called ‘peanut flour’ (total life-changer, BTW), injure my foot and make raw desserts, I would have told you no way. But life’s funny that way–the things we least suspect always seem to happen. So here’s to 2012…whatever it may bring!

What were some highlights of your year? What are you most looking forward to in 2012?