Pancake Party!

I get into breakfast ruts a lot. For most of my life, I ate cereal with skim milk and possibly a side of waffles for breakfast basically every single morning. I’ve never been a savory breakfast kind of girl, because I’ve always hated eggs, bacon and sausage. Within the past year, though, I’ve moved away from having cereal for breakfast. First, I was on an overnight oats kick that started about a year ago. I was obsessed and came up with a million different combos. I still love overnight oats, but now I’ve been having them for snacks more often than for breakfast. Just a couple of weeks ago, I started having a smoothie-in-a-bowl basically every single day, topped with fruit or crushed cereal. So good. But since I’ve been home for the summer, there’s been only one thing on my mind–pancakes.

Before a week ago, I don’t think I’d ever made pancakes from scratch. Sometimes on the weekends I’d whip my family up a batch made from an Archer Farms mix. While they have tons of awesome flavors, they aren’t super healthy (or vegan–why do so many things have to have milk in them?) Earlier last week, I made my first homemade, single-lady pancake batch and I was hooked!

If you’re intimidated by making your own pancakes completely from scratch, fear not. They are super simple to make, take practically no time at all (maybe 10 minutes at the most, if you make a batch for just yourself) and are totally customizable. Here’s the basic formula I’ve been using…

3 T to 1/4 cup flour (I like peanut flour or oat flour)

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 to 1 T flax seed, ground and made into flax egg

2-4 T unsweetened almond milk (any flavor) plus extra water to thin

sweetener (I’ve been using Truvia packets or flavored liquid stevia)

Stir flour and baking powder together in a small bowl until combined. Add in liquid ingredients until mixed well. The batter should be thin enough to drip off a spoon but thick enough to hold together. Makes 3-4 small pancakes.

The baking powder is really the only thing you can’t substitute. You can use any flour you like, gluten-free or whatnot. If you’re not vegan or don’t have flax on hand, sub in egg whites or chia seeds. You can use all water, or all almond milk, or any kind of milk you want. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can leave out the sweetener or you can use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey. And of course, any add-ins  and toppings you like! You can even play around with the texture. I love mine really thick and fluffy, so I make tiny, pillowy pancakes.

I’m sharing some of my favorite combos that I’ve made so far–all of them have been amazing and so much better than pancakes made from mixes!

Carrot cake pancakes made with oat flour and shredded carrot/fresh pineapple chunks/cinnamon/raisins, topped with peanut flour sauce and raisins.

PB&J pancakes made with peanut flour and topped with homemade strawberry jam and sunflower seed butter.

Cookie dough pancakes made with oat flour and chopped vegan chocolate chips, topped with honey vanilla agave syrup.

Tiramisu pancakes made with oat flour and Starbucks instant coffee powder, topped with homemade cashew ‘mascarpone’ cream, dusting dark cocoa powder and honey vanilla agave syrup.

Cashew ‘Mascarpone’ Cream (vegan, gluten-free, no added sugar)

1/4 cup cashew pieces, soaked in water overnight

2-3 T unsweetened almond milk (vanilla or plain)

5-6 drops liquid vanilla stevia, to taste

Drain water off cashews and pour into food processor or high powered blender. Add in almond milk and stevia and process until mostly smooth and creamy. Serve on top of pancakes/waffles, as a dip for fresh fruit or as sandwich filling. Makes about 1/4 cup.

Do you prefer pancakes, waffles or crepes? What are your favorite toppings for pancakes?

WIAW: (Almost) Wordless

Heeeeey guys, I loved hearing what you think about Larabars! I always like to know what other people’s preferences are and try out new things based on a good review.

Today’s WIAW will be basically wordless, besides the captions, and just a mishmash of foods I ate throughout the weekend and early part of this week. Obviously this is not all I ate, nor was it all eaten in one day, it’s just some of the highlights of what I’ve been noshing on.

Baby carrots and (shiny) red grapes.

I love Whole Foods' no salt no oil popcorn, especially sprinkled with nooch!

Peanut butter Puffins in unsweetened vanilla almond milk are my crack.

My first time trying kale in a smoothie--and it's actually delicious, mixed with u/s vanilla almond milk, frozen banana and Truvia.

My latest Larabar find--peanut butter and jelly. It was just okay, not bad, but I wouldn't buy it again. Bring on the cappuccino and chocolate chip brownie flavors instead!

Carrot cake overnight oats (topped with raisins, almond peanut cashew butter and peanut flour) with a side of fashion magazine reading and a stuffed Medjool date.

Frozen grapes > fresh grapes.

Raw massaged lemon pepper kale topped with nooch and crumbled hempfast Sunshine burger. I have been obsessed with nooch on everything lately!

Another of my typical snack plates, with nooch-ified edamame, Late July sweet potato multigrain chips, mini sweet pepper, plain popcorn and kettle corn, kalamata olives, Medjool date and dark chocolate espresso bean.

What is the best thing you ate this past weekend? Have you ever tried kale in a smoothie?

WIAW: What I Want to Make Over Spring Break

Another week, another WIAW! I gotta tell you guys, I am hooked on these weekly WIAW parties. I’ve been doing them every week since June of last year (except for a couple of times) and I love seeing what all of you who participate in WIAW have been up to, eating-wise.

This week’s edition won’t be what I’ve been eating this week, because let’s be honest, it hasn’t been too interesting–just finishing up a lot of stuff before spring break rolls around. But I want to share some of the recipes I’m planning on making next week when I’m home for break. I’ve been dying to get back into the kitchen and get my chef on so I’ve got a lot of recipes I want to try out.

Seitan Makhani (Vegan “Butter Chicken”)

From AllRecipes.com

I remember when I was a lot younger, my family went out to eat at an Indian restaurant in our city quite often–I was introduced to spicy foods and different cuisines at a young age, which is why I love them today! Anyways, my sister and I would usually split an order of butter chicken, along with some onion bahji and fresh-baked naan and it was super delicious. Being vegan and a lot more health-conscious now, of course I don’t eat butter or chicken but this veganized recipe sounds really amazing and pretty healthy. I’ve never cooked (or eaten) seitan before but I definitely want to experiment with it.

Raw Key Lime Cashew Cheezecake

Photo from Evolving Wellness

I don’t have a specific recipe in mind for this, I just want to make my own based off other raw cheezecakes. After a failed raw key lime pie experiment in January, I really want to make a key lime flavored cashew cheezecake, since key lime is perfect for spring and I’ve been wanting to make a cashew cheezecake for a while.

More kale chips

Photo from thehealthyeatingsite.com

After my first homemade batch a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been craving these yummy green chips like no other! Again, I don’t have a specific recipe in mind but I want to try a sweet and spicy batch and maybe a batch coated in vegan ranch dressing…

Carrot Cake Pancakes

From wholefoodsmarket.com

Whole Foods always has the most drool-worthy recipes and photos, and when I saw these little gems, I knew I had to try them out. I love carrot cake in overnight oat form, so why not in pancakes? I’ll have to change a few things around to make them vegan, but they look simple enough and they’ve got tons of yummy things in them, like pineapple, raisins and pecans.

Orange Poppyseed Muffins

Photo from shine.yahoo.com

For some odd reason, I have been thinking about lemon poppyseed muffins lately! But why not a twist on the traditional–vegan orange poppyseed muffins? Fresh citrus flavors are really appealing to me since spring is just around the corner so this sounds perfect!

BBQ Tofu Pizza

Photo from foodbuzz.com

I still have yet to experiment with tofu, so what better place to start than on a pizza? I’m planning on marinating some extra firm tofu in a natural barbecue sauce and topping a brown rice tortilla (best pizza base, in my opinion) with some red onions, red cabbage and possibly fresh pineapple. Though really, any kind of homemade pizza would be delicious!

Peanut Flour Banana Bread

Photo from thedailygarnish.com

I actually want to create my own recipe for this, using some kind of mix of peanut flour, oat flour, vegan chocolate chips and bananas (duh). I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but the flavor combo just sounds awesome.

Carrot Mango Smoothie

Photo from wholeliving.com

Not so much a recipe as an idea–I have no idea why I thought of this, but it just sounds really refreshing. I know a lot of people make Green Monsters…this will be an Orange Monster!

I may not get around to making all of these recipes, and I might try out other ones, but these are just my ideas as of right now! I’m getting excited (and hungry!) just thinking about them.

Pink cardigan (on arm, Abercrombie & Fitch), green floral dress (Hollister), pink crystal necklace (American Eagle)

Oh, and on an unrelated note, this is what I wore today! It has been almost 70 degrees here the past two days, and I couldn’t be happier that it feels like spring…even though snow is in the forecast for later in the week. Booooooo! My dress isn’t actually that bright of a green, it’s more of a sea foam green but I always have to color correct my photos because of the bad lighting in my room so things turn out weird colors. Also, don’t ask why my cardigan is hanging off one arm–I was trying out different poses, okay? You can check out more photos on my fashion blog!

What recipe looks the best to you? Have you ever “veganized” a recipe?

WIAW: Weekend of Veggies and Dancing

Hey! Glad you all liked my product review! It was really fun to do and hopefully I’ve inspired some of you to go out and try the oats for yourself.

Anyway, as promised, here’s a recap of my weekend, in WIAW form. Okay, so it’s not really What I Ate Wednesday, but What I Ate And Did This Weekend (so WIAADTW). Whatever, WIAW sounds better! And this weekend, I got in a ton of veggies, which always seems to be the case when I go home. So hopefully spring break will be veggie city 😀

Friday

My madre picked me up around 11, as usual, and we hit the road. The thing I love best about getting done with class so early on Friday is that on the weekends I go home, my mom can come pick me up right away and we don’t end up hitting any rush hour traffic in Denver, plus I get a slightly longer weekend at home. Win win! We got back to the Springs just in time to pick up my sister from school, headed home for a little bit, then back out to drop her off for the musical she was performing in. My mom and I hit up Qdoba for a quick dinner, and obviously, I forgot to take a picture. But I ordered my usual, the Naked Vegetarian Taco Salad topped with lettuce (duh), black beans, fiery habanero salsa (super hot, just the way I like it) and corn & black bean salsa. So good! I was starving so I finished off the entire salad. Guess I love my greens 😉

Then we met my dad to see my sister’s musical. It was based on the Prince of Egypt movie, and it was pretty decent. She was the understudy for Zipporah (Moses’ wife) but unfortunately, she didn’t get to fill in. She was good in the other parts she did, though!

Saturday

I ate breakfast (obvs) and showered, which is so unusual for me since I usually do it at night, but my dad, sister and I were going to a father daughter dinner dance so I needed to be fresh for that!

Breakfast: carrot cake oats with raisins, spicy veggie sausage.

I did some yoga and cardio circuits, had lunch and then just did whatever around the house until it was almost 3…yikes, I needed to get ready pronto! I repainted my nails with pink crackle polish (my fave), curled my hair and got into my dress for the dance.

The only picture I have right now of me in my dress...more to come hopefully soon!

Lunch: sweet potato topped with crunchy almond butter and real maple syrup, crushed natural nacho kale chips, frozen banana slices, side of water in a Starbucks holiday tumbler.

Since neither my mom or sister were there (they were at the last performance of the musical), my dad had to take a few pictures of me outside in my dress, alone. Usually my mom would take pics of the three of us all dressed up, but it was just me this time. Not that I minded 😉 Except it was freezing outside and windy! Not fun.

My dad (who looked handsome in his suit, by the way) and I headed out…not for the dance yet, but for Whole Foods! The hotel the dance was at was catering dinner, but I know from past experience that I don’t like the vegetarian option they serve (and they had no vegan option, as far as I know) so my dad suggested we get something to go from Whole Foods. Um, yeah, I was a happy camper, especially when I discovered tons of new salads at the hot/cold bars. The Whole Foods I go to most of the time has an amazing selection, so I filled my box with a ton of different ones, like sweet potato chunks with cannelini beans, orange chipotle tofu cubes, an Asian kale salad, spicy marinated artichoke hearts and a Mediterranean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and chickpeas. All of it was ridiculously good so it’s pretty sad that I could only get a super lame picture of it, since I had to take it in the dark ballroom at the dance. Yeah, it felt a little weird eating my Whole Foods salads while everyone around me was having the chicken or steak meals, but I did not regret my decision–it was super tasty, and healthy!

It doesn't look too tasty, but it really was!

The program was really really good, but of course, I was looking forward to the dancing! It’s always so fun to make a fool of myself with my dad and sister while busting a move on the dance floor. First, we had our pictures taken by the photographer there, and then we hit the floor! When we first went back in the ballroom, it was  packed and people were handing out these weird balloons for no reason. It was so funny though, because all the dads and daughters were waving them around to the music. So random, but so fun! Most of them popped by the end of the night, but I actually still have mine at home!

This random button we found on our table--my sister and I thought it was hilarious.

My place card.

The band was pretty decent, I just wish they had played more modern songs than the oldie type stuff, but I guess they wanted to appeal to the dads and daughters. They did do Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”, so my sister and I really got down to those! And of course, the last song was “Butterfly Kisses”–I almost cried while I was slow-dancing with my dad. The whole event makes me really appreciate how much my dad loves me.

Sunday

Unfortunately, we had an early wake-up call, which sucked after being out so late (I didn’t fall asleep til after midnight) the night before. We’re trying to sell our house, and we had a showing in the morning so we had to get out for a little while. Of course, it was the perfect opportunity to hit up Starbucks! I rarely get to have Starbucks in the morning–I usually go in the afternoon. It was nice to get a little caffeine burst…I definitely needed it!

My Starbucks order du jour: tall skinny soy hazelnut latte.

My family got some bagels at Einstein, but I just got a fruit cup for my breakfast. Okay, honestly, bagels are a HUGE fear food of me–so many carbs, especially the “bad” kind, a ton of calories, blah blah blah. I don’t think I’ve had one in a year and a half, and even then I only ate half of one at a time, without cream cheese (because of all the fat), of course. I would have loved to try to at least somewhat conquer my fear, with one of their bagel thins and some vegan cream cheese (they don’t have this, but I can dream, right?), but I didn’t. Part of it was because I honestly wasn’t hungry–and this actually continued throughout the day, which was weird–but it was also because I was just too afraid. Maybe next time I can try a bagel thin…

Sunday was actually just a really weird day, because like I just said, I was barely hungry the whole day. I had my Starbucks drink and the fruit for breakfast, skipped lunch, had a few orange and banana slices before my mom and I headed back up to school and a Clif Kids bar in the car. For dinner we stopped at Corner Bakery, where I got their salad trio, with the Asian edamame salad, mixed greens salad and seasonal fruit medley. Of course, the fruit medley was mostly cantaloupe (ick!) so I just had the few grapes, apple slices and pineapple pieces mixed in, a little bit of the mixed greens (the dressing was  way too oily) and all of the edamame salad (which was really good and fresh). It honestly was not much food, but I still wasn’t hungry. After my mom dropped me off, my hunger finally returned so I could have some oats with peanut flour for a snack. But the whole day just threw me off and it actually sucked!

My hunger did return on Monday (thank God!) so I was able to enjoy a few of the new purchases my mom got for me from Whole Foods. First up, Late July organic sweet potato multigrain chips. I thought I wouldn’t really like these because I didn’t really like the Food Should Taste Good version, but these are so much better! They’re slightly sweet, slightly salty and are the perfect mix of soft and crunchy. They have a subtle sweet potato taste, but I love them.

My new favorite Late July chips!

I also tried some Hope Hummus, which is a locally-made hummus brand. I liked their sweet potato hummus, but when I saw they had a spicy avocado version, I just had to get it. It tastes like a blend of guacamole and hummus and it’s really good! The sweet potato chips were awesome dipped in it.

Two of my favorite dips in one!

And finally, I tried a Sumo orange for the first time. My dad spotted them at Whole Foods, picked up a few, and I took a couple with me to try. They definitely live up to their name in size, and they have an amazing, juicy, tangerine-like taste. I recommend them if you love oranges!

For size comparison, a Sumo on the left, a blood orange on the right.

What was the best thing you ate this weekend? What do you do on “not hungry” days?

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: Back at It+Obsessions

Well guys, I’m finally back at school and ready to start off second semester! I really enjoyed having a full month off to be at home with my family, and not gonna lie, it was hard coming back. Besides missing my family, I also miss the comforts of home, having a car and a kitchen to cook in. Spring break is only a month and a half away though, so I’m looking forward to that!

Peas and Crayons

This WIAW, I thought I’d show you some of the food I’ve been obsessed with lately while I was home, as well as a few other recent ‘obsessions’.

Breakfast: raspberry mocha protein waffle, frozen grapes, spicy veggie sausage

I really wanted waffles the other day, since I haven’t had one in a couple of months, but I wasn’t feeling a boxed mix. Instead, I whipped up my own raspberry mocha protein waffles, and they did not disappoint, especially with 6 grams of protein per waffle! I had one as my last breakfast at home 😦 along with a spicy veggie sausage and frozen grapes (another obsession).

Raspberry Mocha Protein Waffles (vegan, high protein)

1/2 cup oat flour (or ground rolled oats)

1 scoop Soytein cappuccino protein powder

handful frozen raspberries

1 tbsp vegan chocolate chips

sweetener, to taste (I used Truvia)

water, to thin

Process oats in a food processor or blender til mostly ground. Mix oats, protein powder and sweetener in a bowl until combined. Add water until desired consistency is reached; stir in chocolate chips and raspberries. Heat a waffle iron (or make into pancakes) and cook until browned (makes about 4 small waffles). 

I'mma office supply nerd!

I just stocked up on new pens for the upcoming semester, and of course, I scored the most colorful kind! I’m obsessed with organizing my notes by color, so these will be well-used.

Lunch: summer rolls, edamame in the shell, fresh pineapple, "poor girl's" spicy mustard (yellow mustard mixed with Sriracha)

My parents and I went to Pei Wei on Friday for lunch. I got my usual, the Vietnamese summer rolls, but when I asked them to leave out the chicken, they said they couldn’t do that! Most places are usually pretty accommodating to vegetarians, so this was a shock, especially since Pei Wei has plenty of veg options. I still got the rolls and just picked out all the chicken, which wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it for the delicious summer rolls (with a side of in the shell edamame). Next time, I’d get an actual vegetarian option, despite my fear of ordering noodle dishes in restaurants.

Snack: in the shell edamame, small Pink Lady apple, handful organic cinnamon crunch cereal, PF paste

Snack plates are my favorite, whether for snacks or even lunch (I’d love to do one for dinner, too). I’m so indecisive so I like my meals to have many components so I don’t get bored. This was a pretty random one, but it fulfilled my craving for something sweet (cereal), something green (edamame), something crunchy and fresh (apple) and something delicious and protein-packed (peanut flour).

Outfit of the day: cream cropped sweater (Hollister), navy ruffled tank (Hollister), multi floral skirt (Hollister), grey polka dot tights (Target), grey corduroy booties (ALDO)

Sorry that I look super-pissed in the picture above–I always make the stupidest faces when I self-time. And, yes, I did just take this picture on Saturday and yes, I still have my mini Christmas tree up. What can I say, I like to make the holidays last as long as possible 😉 I’m in love with the booties that I got just before Christmas, but they’ve still yet to make a debut at school. I blame the snow and ice that randomly dumped on campus on Monday afternoon!

Dinner: Gardein beefless tips stir fry (with asparagus, mixed veggies and edamame), frozen mango chunks, freeze-dried strawberries

While I was still at home, I discovered a TON of frozen Gardein products in the freezer. I went through a phase over the summer where I was obsessed with them, but then I got kinda burned out. I rekindled my love for their meatless goodness over Christmas break and it was wonderful. The beefless tips weren’t as good as I remembered, though…

Dessert: carrot cake oats topped with almond peanut cashew butter and raisins

I don’t know why, but I’ve been obsessed with the carrot cake flavor combo lately. I’ve been loving the raw carrot cake bites I made and I’ve enjoyed quite a few bowls of carrot cake oats recently. I just love the mix of carrots, raisins and nut butter! Another awesome, new-to-me combo is coffee oats, topped with peanut flour paste and crushed Annie’s bunny pretzels–sweet and salty is the best!

What have you been obsessed with lately? What is your favorite pen color?

Yum vs. Yuck

Everyone has them. A ‘yum’ and a ‘yuck’ list. Maybe they’re not actually written-down lists, but you know what foods you can’t live without and those that you wish would just disappear.

Here’s a few things I want to share from my own lists. Some of them have changed over the years, while some have stayed the same. Of course, it’s great to work on incorporating a lot of variety into our eats, but it’s okay to admit that there are some foods we just can’t stand.

Yuck!

  • Cottage cheese. I haven’t tried it recently, or very often, but the texture is just too sketchy for me. I much prefer Greek yogurt, thank you very much! Plus, now that I’m mostly vegan, I see no need to include it in my diet.
  • Green beans. It’s one of my mom’s favorite veggies, so I’ve been forced to have it throughout the years and it’s just never good. The only way I can stand them even a little bit is with tons of mustard!
  • Ketchup. I think I might have liked it as a kid, but now it’s just so gross to me! I mean, who wants a sweet condiment? Plus, I hate tomatoes (except in salsa) so it kind of explains my disdain for ketchup.
  • White potatoes. Give me a sweet potato any day and I’ll happily devour it. But a white potato–no thanks! They just make me really thirsty for some reason, and I really can’t stand them roasted.
  • Eggs. This one’s been on my list since I first tried them. Ick, ick ick! I think it’s the whole texture thing. I know they have a ton of protein, nutrients, blah blah blah but…just no.
  • Cheese. Used to like it as a kid, was scared to death of it during the worst of my ED, now I just think it’s disgusting. Soy and almond cheese, however, are sometimes part of my diet since they’re vegan-friendly and yummier than dairy cheese.

I prefer my pizzas with tons of veggies and NO cheese!

  • Coconut. Not quite sure how I feel about this one. Part of it is because it’s a “fear food” for me (because of the high sat fat content) but part of it is that it just weirds me out, especially in shredded form.
  • Pears/cherries/canteloupe. These are the only fruits that I’ve tried (and can think of) that I just don’t like. Cherries are too sour, but I’m okay with dried cherries, pears are just too squishy and canteloupe is bleh, not to mention that whole scare that happened over the fall with them–the farm traced to it is only 2 hours away from me 😯

The only way I'll eat cherries is in overnight oats.

  • Cashews. I like a lot of nuts, from almonds to walnuts to pecans to pistachios but there’s just something off with cashews for me. I do want to try them in a raw cashew cheezecake, though!

Yum!

  • Medjool dates. Actually, I had never tried these until about a year ago, and I fell in love. They’re so sweet, with an almost caramel taste and an amazing soft texture. Now I love them stuffed with almond butter, dark chocolate or used in raw desserts.
  • Unsweetened almond milk. The blog world helped me discover this, and I’m forever thankful. It’s so deliciously creamy and makes the perfect base for smoothies. I looooooove the vanilla kind, but I want to try Almond Breeze’s unsweetened chocolate kind.
  • Rolled oats. Another blog world find. I never used to like oatmeal as a kid, since it was too mushy, but once I figured out how to make it overnight (and voluminous) style, I was hooked. Now I get a perfect, chewy bowl of oats practically every day. And the topping/flavor combos are almost endless.

Carrot cake oats are one of my current fave combos!

  • Brussels sprouts. I grew up thinking they were beyond nasty, even though I’d never had them before, because they just had a negative connotation. I tried them for the first time this fall, and they are so good grilled or roasted with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  • Cilantro. I know some people can’t stand the taste of it, but it’s my favorite herb!
  • Almond butter. This one is a pre-blog discovery, and it’s stuck with me ever since. I’ve never been a fan of peanut butter, even as a kid (I would always eat jelly-only sandwiches–yeah, I was weird) but almond butter is a whole different story. Now I also love walnut butter, pecan butter and almond peanut cashew butter.
  • Tropical fruits. I love practically all fruits, but this is probably my favorite group. Pineapples, bananas, mangos, kiwi, limequat, pomegranate, tangerine, watermelon…I love all the kinds I’ve tried and I still want to try even more!
  • Quinoa. I had this for the first time several years ago, when my cousins introduced it to us. They lived in South Africa for a year and quinoa’s really popular there and as soon as I tried it, I was hooked on the fluffy texture and nutty flavor. I also love that it’s so versatile and is a complete vegan protein source.
  • Edamame. I know some people say soy is unhealthy, but I just can’t get enough of edamame! It’s so good in stirfrys and I love getting it in the pod at Asian restaurants. And it has tons of healthy plant protein!

Edamame guacamole, ready to be mixed.

What’s one thing on your yum or yuck list? Have you tried anything lately that moved from one list to the other?

Rawsome Sauce

Hi guys, how have you been? I can’t believe it’s almost the weekend again–my winter break has practically flown by! Luckily, I still have about a week and half left of it before it’s back to school time again.

It’s only been a couple of days and I’ve already accomplished some of my goals! I was honestly not anticipating that at all but it feels awesome to have already made some progress.

First of all…I got a Twitter! I really liked what you all had to say about it, so I decided to get one of my own. You can follow me @fashion_ash, and I will definitely follow you back!

This wasn’t one of my goals, but I also got a brand new phone. It’s my first real smart phone and I’m already in love with it! The only thing I don’t like is how quickly the battery dies, but I guess that’s pretty normal. Oh, and it’s a Droid phone, so any of you out there with Droids–do you have any suggestions for apps I should get?

I love my new myTouch, aka my baby 😉

Speaking of my phone, if you look in the screen shot above, you’ll see that the temperature was 62 degrees today. Say what? Yes, Colorado is being crazy with the warm weather. It actually got to 65 today at my house, and we live in a forested area that’s pretty shaded, so that’s saying a lot! I’m not complaining though, because I’m sure more snow is right around the corner.

At lunch today, I came up with something new–mango softserve! Only it was more like mango Dip-n-Dots 😀 Mango isn’t as great for blending as bananas are but I didn’t break the food processor so that’s a plus.

Simple, quick lunch of mango softserve, plain Greek yogurt and peanut flour sauce.

The other goal I accomplished was making yet another raw recipe! It’s officially my fifth raw recipe, and one of the best so far–the raw brownies do hold a special place in my heart though 😛 I based them basically off my raw blondies, except using plain almonds, no protein powder and no added sweeteners, plus the necessary ‘carrot cake’ ingredients. They turned out really delicious, and I think I’m gonna enjoy my first one tonight with a frosting of peanut flour sauce. So it won’t be totally raw, but still yummy!

Awww, how cute are these tiny carrot cakes?

Mini Raw Carrot Cakes (vegan, raw)

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup dates (I used about 8 California pitted)

3/4 cup grated carrots

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch sea salt

3 T raisins

Process dates and almonds until mostly combined. Add a little water to thin things out if necessary (about 2 T). Grate carrots and squeeze out any excess moisture. Add carrots, cinnamon and salt to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth dough. Add in raisins until combined. Pack carrot cakes into muffin liners (makes 5 small, or 3 larger cakes) and keep in fridge. Frost with raw cashew ‘cream cheese’, peanut flour sauce, nut butter or enjoy plain. 

I also have another recipe for you guys…not raw, but still completely delicious. I decided to create a homemade version of cookie butter! I know a lot of you with TJs close by rave about this stuff. I don’t have one near me sadly, plus I know it’s definitely not the healthiest thing, so I set out to create a much healthier, simpler version. And I think I rocked it! I’ve never had cookie butter or Biscoff or whatever, so I can’t tell you how it compares, but let’s just say mine tastes like cookie dough in nut butter form!

I think I may have found a new favorite spread...

Healthier Homemade Cookie Butter (vegan, no cook)

3 T nut butter (I would suggest using a raw, lightly-flavored kind like cashew or walnut, so it doesn’t overpower the cookie flavor)

1 serving cookies of choice (I used 30 Annie’s bunny friends bunny grahams)

water, to thin (about 2 T)

sweetener, to taste (I used 1 packet stevia)

Mix nut butter and cookies together until it forms a crumbly paste, adding in water and sweetener as needed. Makes about 1/4 cup. Store in a jar in the fridge and enjoy as an oats topper, toast spread or fruit dip.

I’m already thinking of more variations, like using peanut flour in place of the nut butter for a peanut-buttery cookie butter!

What’s the weather like where you are? Have you ever tried cookie butter or Biscoff?