WIAW: On Repeat

I’ve been eating a lot of the same things lately. That’s not to say I haven’t been trying new things/recipes, but I’ve been really feeling a few favorites this week, and I’ve been repeating them…a lot.

Banana softserves with various toppings.

Banana softserves with various toppings.

Breakfasts have been of the banana softserve variety for…ummmm…2 to 3 weeks now? Yep, this is one of the longer breakfast ruts, and I’m hoping it’ll last awhile. I love having something cold and fruity in the morning, and this fits the bill. Toppings are necessary, at least in my world, and generally homemade protein balls+homemade coconut butter lately.

Snackplates for snacks...and lunch. Full-size organic carrots, raw flax crackers, fresh pineapple+mango+golden raspberries, homemade PB&J bites, homemade guac from half an avocado.

Snack plates for snacks…and lunch. Full-size organic carrots, raw flax crackers, fresh pineapple+mango+golden raspberries, homemade PB&J bites, homemade guac from half an avocado.

Snack plates have just been super easy to throw together, and I’m loving them for lunch now too. Luckily, my snack plates have evolved from a lot of crackers and chips (I thought they were healthy because they were organic/vegan, but not so!) to mostly fresh fruits and veggies with a few ‘fun’ things that still have plenty of nutritional value. Take the flax crackers–packed with omega 3s, raw and made with lots of veggies. And the PB&J bites were a random thing I threw together in the food processor and basically made from dates, raisins and peanut flour. So good…too bad I ran out of peanut flour!

My mom's hibiscus plant is finally flowering!

My mom’s hibiscus plant is finally flowering!

As much as I loved our old house, I like our new yard because we’ve planted so many flowers, veggies and herbs. I love this hibiscus especially because it’s so tropical and smells amazing. And I’m excited because my Japanese eggplant is flowering, and my hot pepper plants are growing baby peppers!

Awkward OOTD. Only wearing glasses because my contacts bothered my eyes...stupid allergies.

Awkward OOTD. Only wearing glasses because my contacts bothered my eyes…stupid allergies.

I’m starting to feel okay with my body, at least some days. Yesterday was a bit hard, because I chose to wear a bodycon-style dress. I love it, and think it looks cute, but I always feel so self-conscious about how my stomach looks in it, especially after meals. I’ve gotta remind myself that everyone’s stomach expands after eating (duh!) and no one else notices or cares but me. Same with my arms. For some reason, they tend to be my most hated body part, and some days I think they look toned and lean, while others they look huge to me. Working through these feelings and telling myself they’re just temporary helps me avoid getting stuck in a bad body image rut.

Snack plate for snack too! Watermelon, Sunwarrior protein dip, raw zucchini with garlic gomasio (told ya I'm obsessed), raw maple walnuts, blueberries.

Snack plate for snack too! Watermelon, Sunwarrior protein dip, raw zucchini with garlic gomasio (told ya I’m obsessed), raw maple walnuts, blueberries.

Snack time snack plates are about the same as lunchtime ones, only with different veggies and fruit. I’ve been trying to get in veggies at lunch, snack and dinner and have been going strong with that for a couple of weeks. Gotta love fueling up with produce!

Raw vegan goat 'cheese'.

Raw vegan goat ‘cheese’.

I love making raw vegan cheeses. I was never a huge fan of cheese pre-veganism, but now I love homemade vegan cheeses.

Raw Goat Cheez (vegan, gluten free, raw, grain free)

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 1 hour (I recommend longer)

1-4 tbsp water (less for thicker cheez)

1/2 tsp olive oil (optional, adds Mediterranean flavor)

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

In a food processor, blend soaked and drained cashews until they begin to resemble cashew butter. Add in remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon into cheesecloth or coffee filter (this helps thicken and strain the cheez) and place in a small bowl in the fridge. Serve with flax crackers, veggies or on salads. Makes 1/4 cup.

Salads on salads on salads. Organic spinach base, organic chickpeas topped with nooch, homemade guac.

Salads on salads on salads. Organic spinach base, organic chickpeas topped with nooch, homemade guac.

I’ve been getting my daily dose of greens with dinner, in the form of salads. My greens of choice have been baby spinach and chopped romaine lettuce. I’ve been loving chickpeas on salads, guac and nooch (for taco salads), strawberries and balsamic, my raw goat cheez. Anything goes on my salads…well, almost.

Desserts have also been snackplate-y, but with more fruit. And chocolate.

Desserts have also been snackplate-y, but with more fruit. And chocolate.

I’ve either been doing Sunwarrior protein mixed with coconut water as a base for fruit+coconut butter, or mini snack plates with berries, raw cacao powder+coconut oil+a little raw local honey mixed to make a raw chocolate dip, dates and homemade protein bites. Half a Larabar with some fruit has been happening too. I haven’t been 100% raw every day, but I’m trying to stay high raw at every meal, while incorporating some non-raw sources of protein like beans. So far, it’s working for me and I like not having to be so strict with my macros. I feel like I’m eating healthier than ever, and as a result, my mindset around food and my body has been healthier as well.

 

What foods/meals have you been repeating lately?

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Recipe Redux: (Raw) Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

So I’m bringing back an old old favorite of mine, just in time for Superbowl Sunday. To be honest, I don’t really care that much about the game, especially since the Broncos aren’t in it (they were so close…) but I’ll probably be rooting for the 49ers since I’ve actually been to San Fran and am definitely considering moving to the area at some point. Anyways, the Superbowl is all about the snacks anyway for us foodies–but what if you want healthier options than the typical chips and dip or buffalo wings? Being vegan also takes many of those traditional snacks out of the equation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t remake them to enjoy a healthy, plant-based option.

I used to love jalapeno poppers as a kid. I’ve been a huge fan of spicy foods for most of my life and the combo of a jalapeno and (fake) cheese was perfect for my picky tastebuds. I haven’t had them in years for obvious reasons but I still have a love for fresh jalapenos and have been wanting to remake them into a vegan version. I’m definitely not the first to think of this as there are plenty of other vegan poppers out there but I really wanted a whole foods-based option so I made my own…and they just so happen to be raw!

'Nuff said!

‘Nuff said!

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers (vegan, gluten free, grain free, can be raw)

4-5 large jalapeno peppers

1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours

raw apple cider vinegar, to taste (adds tangy, cream cheese-like flavor)

sea salt, to taste

1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1-2 tbsp almond meal or flour

Rinse off jalapenos and slice in half. You can reserve some of the seeds if you want the poppers to be hotter; if not, just discard the seeds. Remove the ribs from the peppers. In a food processor, blend cashews, ACV, salt and nutritional yeast. Add more nooch and ACV to taste, and add enough water to blend (but make sure it’s thick, like cream cheese). Spoon cashew cheese mixture into each jalapeno half, and top with enough almond flour to cover. 

Raw Version: place jalapeno halves right side up in a dehydrator and dehydrate for 1-2 hours or until warm. 

Baked Version: heat oven to lowest setting, place jalapeno halves on foil-lined baking sheet and cook until warmed and browned (keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn).

What’s your favorite game day snack? Do you like things spicy? 

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #29

WIAW: Secret Nutrition Edition

I like eating healthy, but I also like to enjoy what I’m eating. If I’m not liking what I’m putting in my mouth, then what’s the point? Luckily, I’ve trained my taste buds to love nutritious things, like kale salads and raw seeds, but I still like to have fun with my food. That  being said, this week’s WIAW features a few of the meals I’ve been enjoying lately, with the ‘secret’ (or not so secret) nutrition aspect of the food too!

Breakfast: banana softserve ‘sundae’ topped with peanut flour paste, cacao nibs and PB Puffins.

Secret: Cacao nibs. These tiny dark brown bits are raw and packed with magnesium, which helps with muscle function and bone strength. They also have more antioxidants than blueberries, green tea and red wine! Cacao nibs pack a powerful healthy fat punch and can boost your energy.

Lunch: Qdoba naked taco salad with romaine, black beans, habanero salsa and guacamole.

Secret: habanero peppers and guacamole. Habaneros are one of the spiciest peppers (between 100,000-500,000 Scoville units) because of their high concentration of capsaicin. Capsaicin can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and can even increase the body’s metabolism while consuming it. Guacamole is made from avocados, which can increase absorption of lycopene and beta carotene when combined with lettuce or spinach. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, and their oleic acid can increase absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.

Snackplate: organic kettle corn, Way Better Snacks Simply So Sweet Chili multigrain chips, fresh pineapple, baby carrots, tamari pumpkin seeds, Chocolove peppermint dark chocolate.

Secret: pumpkin seeds and multigrain chips. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and protein. Their phytosterols can help lower cholesterol, and the seeds have anti-inflammatory benefits. This brand of multigrain chips is probably the healthiest I’ve found. All of the ingredients are real foods, and the chips are full of healthy fats in the form of sprouted flax seeds and sprouted chia seeds. The chips are also made with sprouted quinoa, stone ground corn and sprouted broccoli seeds, and are low in sodium.

Dinner: spicy mac ‘n cheez (quinoa pasta, Field Roast Mexican chipotle vegan grain meat sausage, spicy nacho cheez sauce, nooch).

Secret: nooch, spicy cheez sauce, quinoa pasta. Nooch, aka nutritional yeast, is a vegan staple for a reason. It’s a complete protein source (the brand I used has 8 grams per serving) and is full of necessary vitamins including B12. The spicy cheez sauce recipe can be found here and it’s made with simple, whole ingredients including raw cashews. Cashews provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and magnesium which helps with bone health. They also can prevent gallstones. Quinoa pasta is made from two simple ingredients, quinoa and corn, so it’s perfect for a gluten-free diet. It’s full of fiber and protein, so it can fill you up faster than traditional white pasta, plus it has all the benefits of quinoa.

Unsweetened brewed iced coffee from Panera.

Secret: coffee. This tropical bean is full of antioxidants, helps prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and protects against some forms of cancer. Without any milk/cream or sugar added, it’s a very low calorie drink. To boost your iced coffee, add in unsweetened almond milk and stevia for minimal calories.

What’s something you enjoy eating that also has a ‘secret’ benefit? Do you like iced coffee?

Friday Faves (June 1st)

Hi guys! Happy first day of June! I can’t believe we’re already almost halfway done with 2012–crrrrrrrazy stuff. I’m excited though because in a little less than 2 months, I’m turning 20 which is also crazy. Where is my life going?

I wanted to start doing Friday Faves posts to highlight some of the things I’m currently loving so here goes!

Favorite Song: Titanium (David Guetta ft. Sia)

I don’t know why, but I’m just loving this song. The music video is a little out there, but it kinda goes along with the lyrics. I like them because they’re talking about inner strength, which is something I always need a little more of.

Favorite Nail Color Combo: Teal and sea foam

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Blue Streak (teal), Nicole by OPI in Peas and Q’s (sea foam).

Apparently I’m taking my nail polish inspiration from the ocean! I really love how these two shades play off each other and work so well together. And they’re bold but not too flashy.

Favorite Lunch

Kale massaged with Ginger People hot ginger jalapeno sauce, mango-glazed tempeh (recipe to come), watermelon chunks, Alvarado Street sprouted sourdough toast with carrot cake toppings (almond peanut cashew butter, raisins, carrots, cinnamon).

I’m loving random lunches lately. The one above covered all the bases: veggie, fruit, grain, protein, fat. But more importantly, it was delish! If you’ve never tried sprouted sourdough bread, you must. It’s flour free but has that great hint of sourness and is perfect for toast. The mango-glazed tempeh was also a winner and beyond easy to make.

Favorite Website: The F***ing Weather

Don’t go here if you don’t like, um, not so nice language. But it’s kinda hilarious.

Favorite Outfit

Dark grey lace tank (Hollister), hot pink twill shorts (Abercrombie & Fitch).

Lace anything is my favorite right now, as are neon-colored shorts. What can I say, I like to make a statement! Dark grey and hot pink look amazing together and are just as good of a color combo as black and pink–I hate black, so this is how I roll.

Favorite Thing I’ve Made: Spicy Nacho Cheez Sauce

Uh, doesn’t this look tasty!

I love love love cashew cheez! Seriously, it’s perfect in every form–cream cheez, mascarpone cheez and now, nacho cheez. Who would have thought a simple nut could make delicious vegan cheese sauces?! I don’t question it, I just make it! Now you can enjoy some vegan nacho cheez to drizzle on nachos (duh), tacos or whatever. I made mine thick, like a hummus, but you can thin it out with more almond milk. So far, I’ve had it as a dressing on a veggie burger salad and as a carrot dip and it’s sooooo creamy and spicy.

Spicy Nacho Cheez Sauce (vegan, gluten-free)

1/4 cup raw cashew pieces 

1/2 can white beans, drained and rinsed (use any kind of white beans that are soft, like navy beans)

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk 

1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast

sea salt, to taste

1/2 large jalapeno, sliced

cayenne pepper, to taste

In a food processor or blender, process all ingredients until smooth and thick. Add more jalapeno slices or cayenne pepper, if needed. Serve warmed over multigrain tortilla chips, or chilled over salads. Makes about 1 cup.

Favorite Purchase: AE Metallic T-Strap Sandal

I love American Eagle’s leather sandals!

They still haven’t come yet (stupid slow mail) but I’m beyond excited to wear them. I love that they’re simple yet still dressy and they’ll go with a lot. Plus I got them for only $18…with free shipping. Score!

What’s your favorite song right now? What have you bought lately?