My Food Biography

The credit for this post goes to the lovely Kaila, who always has the most creative post ideas! She shared her food biography recently, and it inspired me to think back about what meals have become memorable over the years. I’m going to be sharing 10, but I thought of a lot more!

You can read more about the idea behind a food biography here, but I think it’s a really cool idea. Food is such an important part of our lives, from the social aspect of it to the fact that it’s necessary to sustain life. For me, my food biography isn’t necessarily my favorite foods, since those change all the time, but rather is the foods I most associate with certain memories.

  • Einstein Bros. bagels with cream cheese (specifically the asiago and chocolate chip flavors)

Growing up, on some Saturday mornings my dad would wake up early and grab us bagels from Einstein Bros. Getting to eat a bagel for breakfast instead of the usual cold cereal was such a treat. I remember leisurely mornings around the table with my family, newspaper spread out (we’re big newspaper readers!) and enjoying either a chocolate chip bagel with strawberry cream cheese or an asiago bagel with jalapeno cream cheese. They had the best ‘shmear’ flavors and paired with the doughy bagel, it was just bliss. I haven’t had a bagel in years (major fear food) but I remember this special childhood treat.

  • Soy chocolate gelato at Gelazzi
One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi--the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi–the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

When I first tried gelato (sometime in early HS) I was hooked. Even when froyo became a big thing a few years later, I stuck with gelato. We had one or two local places, but when I went on a college tour of the college I ended up going to, my dad and I just had to try Gelazzi, the gelato place in that town. I remember ordering the soy chocolate gelato and absolutely falling in love. That moment is significant for me because at the time of my college visit, I had recently started recovering from anorexia. I still feared most foods, and going out to eat was really hard for me. The fact that I could order gelato, a dessert, and enjoy it was huge. Since that first experience, me and my family have returned many times to Gelazzi and I’m sad that I can’t go there anymore since I moved away. P.S. Gelato is the reason why I’m only 99% vegan!

  • Teriyaki steak on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, for as long as I can remember, my mom made teriyaki steak for dinner. Basically it was flank steak marinated in a teriyaki sauce with lots of green onions. There was a brief time during my childhood that I was obsessed with steak (as long as it was well-done) and I always looked forward to this dinner. Even though I don’t eat steak anymore and I don’t plan on it ever, this meal just reminds me of Christmas Eve–going to church with my family, coming home and enjoying this meal, and then reading Christmas stories before going to bed early.

I’m so thankful my dad took the time to cook meals with me when I started getting interested in cooking. We’ve cooked together many times, but this one sticks out to me in particular. I’ve actually since made vegan eggplant muffulettas with him as well! I remember going to the store and picking out fancy olives and good bread and then coming home and making the sandwiches on the panini press. I enjoyed picking out a recipe with him, getting a little cooking lesson and then getting to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

  • Chili lime pasta

Another mom-made meal that I became obsessed with. When a Williams-Sonoma came to our city, my mom would always take me there to browse all the cool kitchen stuff. One time she found this chili-lime seasoning, thought it sounded good, and bought it. She used it on grilled chicken I think, but what I remember most was her chili-lime pasta. Basically it was a sauce made of olive oil and the seasoning with grilled shrimp, grilled peppers and pasta all tossed together. It was really simple but totally delicious and satisfying.

  • Snack plates
So much good stuff.

So much good stuff.

I still enjoy these to this day, but I was first introduced to them when my family would go camping. We camped a lot during the summers (something I really miss) and on Saturday (and Sunday if it was a 3 day weekend) we would always have snack plates for lunch. I always called it ‘feast’ because it really was–we would have stuff like crackers, veggies, cheese, summer sausage and fruit–and just enjoy a random sampling of it for lunch. Now I always crave a bunch of different flavors, so I still love snack plates for snacks and meals.

  • Root beer popsicles 

Popsicles were my jam in the summers growing up! I always ate the Popsicle brand, since it had the best flavors. Anybody else remember those firecracker pops? Now they have a whole bunch of crazy varieties like Jolly Rancher and Yosicles but when I was a kid, there were just the classics. And my favorite was by far the root beer one that came in the variety pack with banana and lemon lime. I remember the jokes written on the popsicle stick and eating them out on the porch with my little sister on hot days.

  • Jelly Bellies on Christmas

Another Christmas tradition in my family was Jelly Bellies. So random! But one year for whatever reason, we bought Jelly Bellies as a stocking stuffer and the idea stuck. I remember going to Target with my dad and sister a week before Christmas and filling our bags from the different flavored bins. And then my sister and I would tear into our bags on Christmas morning and eat Jelly Bellies before breakfast 😛 They were one of my favorite candies, and I was obsessed with certain flavors, like the strawberry cheesecake and orange creamsicle.

  • Mini cereal boxes

This was another camping staple. My family has always been a cold-cereal-for-breakfast bunch, and when we went camping, that didn’t change. But my mom would give in and let us have those fun, sugary kids cereals (we normally ate healthier cereals like Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats). My sister and I would fight over the Lucky Charms and the Cocoa Puffs and the Trix and leave the boring Honey Smacks and Corn Pops to our parents 😉

  • Hummus pizza at Poppy’s
So. Good.

So. Good.

After our camping days came to an end, we made an annual trip to Estes Park for a week spent in a cabin–by a pool, in the mountains, hiking and of course, enjoying the local restaurants. Estes Park is one of my favorite places in the entire world–I’m going to miss going there every summer but I hope I can eventually make it back there more regularly. Anyways, on our first night, we’d always go out to eat at Poppy’s, a pizza place by the river. We always sat outside, listening to the sounds of the river and live music. When I was younger, I’d get weird pizzas with shrimp and green olives (seriously, they had so many topping options) and then for a year or two during the height of my ED, I ordered a plain grilled chicken sandwich because I was scared of pizza, but after that time, my go-to order was the hummus pizza, which happened to be vegan (even before I was vegan). The dough was perfectly soft and chewy and the right thickness. The hummus was homemade and super creamy. The olives and the sundried tomatoes and the artichoke hearts and the spinach were matched perfectly and made it the best pizza I’ve ever had. Last summer when we were in Estes, I tried to order it and they said they’d gotten rid of it 😦 So unfortunately, the pizza legend does not live on. But I still remember how good it was, and how much I enjoyed just being in that beautiful place.

What foods would be in your ‘food biography’?

WIAW: On and Off

Sorry about the lack of posting lately! But it’s back-to-school time and this year means moving into my own apartment and getting all settled into a new routine. But now I’m back and ready for another WIAW!

This week, I’ve just got a random assortment of what I’ve been eating and doing, on and off campus. Even though I’m finally living off campus this year, I’m spending more time on campus with all my classes, working at the campus TV station 2 nights a week and a possible new job.

Almond peanut cashew butter mixed with maple syrup and chocolate chips, protein cereal bowl (Nature’s Path sunrise vanilla and PB Puffins mixed with Plant Fusion vanilla pro powder, u/s almond milk and raisins).

Protein powder is a must on my busy days for getting protein in. Now I love mixing it in the bottom of my cereal with some almond milk and enjoying the extra flavor and texture boost.

Pretty flower on campus!

My sister and I headed to campus a few days early to hunt down my class locations (some were in buildings I’d never been to before!) and we saw this awesome flower on our walk. I obviously love how pink it is!

Quinoa pasta and vegan ravioli mixed with basil merlot pasta sauce, mini bell peppers, olives and nooooooooch!

I can’t get enough of the nooch lately, seriously. It might be a problem, but it’s a good problem 😉

A pool? A short walk away? Yes please!

Yes, there is a pool at my apartment. Have I gone in yet? No, but I did spend some time tanning by it with my sis over the weekend. Let’s just say it’s a prime tanning and hang out spot.

Hummus and fresh veggie salad on a pita.

My mom and I tried a new-to-us place just down the street from my apartment. It was super fast, super fresh and really yum. I didn’t eat the pita part of this pita, but the hummus and veggies were outta this world!

3 minute carrot cake protein oats.

This was so good, for a super quickie snack! I mixed thick rolled oats with Truvia, almond milk, chopped carrots, raisins, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder and ground flax and topped it with Nature’s Path sunrise vanilla cereal (so good, and gluten free!) and almond peanut cashew butter.

Car selfie FTW!

Can I just say I love having a car? Not only does it make things more convenient, I can also take awesome selfies in it. Alejandro, you’re the best!

My reward after my first day of classes: grande passion iced tea (unsweetened).

I was in desperate need of some Starbies love after my first day of classes. I hit the nearest one up right after my 4 pm class for one of my fave summer drinks and enjoyed it in the sunshine.

Easy breakfast: chocolate mint protein muffin topped with homemade almond butter cup, grapes.

I’ve definitely been getting my kitchen experimenting on, now that I actually have a kitchen! So far, I’ve made no bake peppermint patty bars, mint chocolate almond butter cups and mini buckwheat corn muffins. The bars and cups are the best though–I’ve been on a mint chocolate kick lately.

First dinner in my new place: vegan nachos! Made with Late July multigrain chips, pinto beans, spicy guac, peach mango salsa, kale sauteed in coconut oil and nooch.

I finally got over my fear of the white stuff and bought some coconut oil. I’ve heard so many good things about the health benefits of it and was sick of avoiding recipes because they included it. I accidentally got the refined kind, but next time I’ll know to get the extra virgin kind for coconutty flavor!

Have you used coconut oil? How do you use protein powder?

Kid Approved

No worries–I don’t have kids nor do I want any for awhile! I just happened to spot another survey floating around and thought it would be fun to relive my childhood through all my former favorite foods.

Favorite Cereal: On normal days, Post Blueberry Morning. Yeah, I was one of those kids who always ate fairly healthy cereals. But whenever we’d go camping during the summer, my mom would buy us those multipacks of mini cereals, and my favorite was always Lucky Charms, obviously for the marshmallows!

Favorite Breakfast Food: Waffles, specifically frozen ones. Apparently when I was two years old, I would be in my bed in the morning asking for waffles! I can’t remember the exact flavors I liked, but I think I preferred the blueberry ones.

Favorite Drink: I used to love Capri Sun (especially the strawberry banana flavor), but mostly because when I was done drinking it, I used to turn it into a ‘cell phone’. Did anyone else ever do that?!

Favorite Lunchable: Oh gosh, this is a hard one as I used to really love Lunchables when I was in elementary school, especially on field trips. I think my favorite was the nachos one–though now I can’t imagine eating that fake cheese crap. The best part was always the dessert though!

Favorite School Lunch: Honestly, I rarely ate the cafeteria food, since I preferred bringing my own lunch. In middle school I did sometimes though and I liked the popcorn chicken or breadsticks with marinara. So healthy, I know 😉

Favorite Cookie: I used to love those Snackwell’s cookie cakes, especially the mint chocolate kind.

Favorite Snacks: Gushers and Fruit-by-the-Foot (rarely had them, but I enjoyed them a lot when I did), Rold Gold honey mustard pretzel twists and popsicles/fudgsicles.

Favorite Home-Cooked Dinner: I was such a picky eater as a little kid, but I always loved when my mom would make chicken curry over rice. I loved anything spicy, even back then!

Favorite Restaurant Dinner: I can’t think of specific meals I loved, but one of my favorite places to eat at was Red Robin.

Favorite Ice Cream Truck Snack: The ice cream truck was so fun! I really liked those orange or raspberry creamsicles.

Favorite Fruit: I’ve loved fruits forever, so I can’t remember a specific favorite from the past but I loved bananas, kiwis, watermelon and berries.

Favorite Vegetable: Like a lot of kids, I wasn’t a huge veggie fan (now I am though!) but I’ve always loved baby carrots.

It’s so weird thinking about how much my eating habits have changed! Some of the changes are because of trying new things and becoming interested in healthy eating, others are because of my eating disorder and fear foods that I still have and some are because I’m now vegan and have no interest in eating some of those things again. I would say that as a kid I had a pretty well-balanced diet–we would almost always have a home-cooked dinner, I’ve always eaten breakfast and I would usually pack a lunch for school but there were some treats here and there. I’m definitely happy eating the way I do now though–eating healthy makes me feel so much better!

What did you used to like to eat for breakfast? Did you have a favorite Lunchable?

Survey Time Up in Here!

Who even likes tests or quizzes? Not me. Especially not around this time of year, aka dead week, aka the week before all hell breaks loose, aka finals time. Luckily this semester I only have one actual final, but I’m still dreading it. One thing I will never dread is taking surveys. They are so much more fun than real tests and you actually learn something about yourself and other people. Take that, weather and climate final exam!

I saw this survey on a couple blogs recently and I decided to do it while I still have brain cells left. Definitely fill it out if you get the chance because it’s fun–way more fun than a pop quiz. Oh, and I did change a few of the questions to be more veg-friendly 😉

Coke or Pepsi? Ummmm, neither?! Sorry, not a soda girl at all. Not even diet anymore (though Zevia’s an exception…), though I used to drink Diet Coke occasionally a few years ago. So I guess I’ll go with Coke, since I was never able to stomach Pepsi.

Lemonade or Fruit Punch? Lemonade, baby! It reminds me so much of summer. I haven’t had a legit lemonade in quite a few years, but I’d like to try making my own this summer with some stevia.

Caramel Apple or Cotton Candy? I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a caramel apple, so I think I’ll have to go with cotton candy. The colors always appealed to me when I was younger. Though I really do love my overnight oats version of caramel apples!

Even better than a real caramel apple!

Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate? Dark all the way. I prefer the stuff that’s between 55-75%, since I do have a major sweet tooth, but I’ve preferred dark chocolate since I can remember–yes, I was that weird kid who liked the Hershey Special Dark bars at Halloween!

Tofu or Tempeh? No question…tempeh! Some people say it tastes bitter, but to me it’s just a little nutty. Tofu weirds me out, especially the taste. I can handle the texture if it’s extra firm, but I’ve never had really good-tasting tofu, aside from the stuff they have at the Whole Foods hot bar. Now that is some good tofu!

Soy or Almond Cheese? Both are pretty good, but I’m gonna go with almond, because it’s a little healthier than soy cheese. Plus I’ve found it in awesome flavors like jalapeno jack.

Crackers or Cookies? Hmmmm, this one is tough. I like crackers, but I haven’t had any in awhile since it’s been hard to find kinds without milk in them (crazy, I know). I like cookies too, but they have to be certain kinds, like the knock-off healthier Oreos that Whole Foods makes, or really soft homemade cookies. I think I’ll say cookies, to go with my sweet tooth!

Pretzels or Chips? Uh, can I say both? I used to not be such a huge fan of pretzels, but once I discovered that they make a really good topping for sweet and salty oats (not to mention delicious dipped in almond butter), I was hooked. The only chips I really eat are the sweet potato multigrain chips from Late July, but they are beyond amazing!

A snackplate with BOTH chips and pretzels!

Mexican or Indian Food? This one’s hard. I like Mexican food a la Chipotle or Qdoba, which I know isn’t authentic Mexican, but whatever. I’m mostly in it for the pico de gallo and guacamole. I haven’t had Indian in awhile, but I’ve always loved its spiciness and curries are so good. I’m gonna say Indian.

Mediterranean or Chinese Food? No question–Mediterranean. How can you beat hummus, tabbouleh and falafel? You can’t.

Pie or Cake? Uh, pie…maybe? I actually prefer cold desserts, like sorbet and gelato, but pie is definitely better than cake for me. I hate frosting, so whenever I’d have cake at a party, I’d just eat the cake part. Which is boring. A good fruit-filled pie can be pretty delicious though.

Pasta or Pizza? Another hard one! I prefer pasta in cold pasta salads (especially quinoa pasta), and I like pizzas sans cheese, but with tons of random toppings, like artichoke hearts or olives or pineapple or hummus. Not all on one pizza though. I’ll say pizza, because I really want to experiment with making my own pizzas this summer.

Literally the best pizza I've ever had (and made)--brown rice tortilla topped with spicy pumpkin sauce, tempeh bacon, orange bell pepper and green chiles.

Green or Red Grapes? Red, obvs. They’re usually sweeter, and they’re awesome frozen. Just do it.

Salad or Soup? Come on, really? I am a salad fiend fo sho! Soup isn’t really my thing, but I love devouring huge salads, especially from places like Panera, Qdoba and my favorite place, Mad Greens.

A simple but sweet salad from Whole Foods.

Pancakes or Waffles? Waffles. There’s just something about them that reminds me of being a kid, plus they’re just more fun than pancakes to me. And easier to make!

Raw or Cooked Veggies? I’m weird because I prefer a lot of veggies raw. Like the obvious ones (baby carrots, greens) but also broccoli, cauliflower and bell peppers. Try dipping raw cauli in salsa, it’s amazing!

Oatmeal or Cereal? Oats! I used to gag just thinking about oats, but that was before I discovered how great overnight oats are and the million flavor combos. So much better than those lame Quaker packets. The only cereal I really like is peanut butter Puffins, which I’m basically addicted to.

One of my favorite overnight oats combos--dark chocolate oats topped with mint chocolate chip gelato.

Answer any of the questions above!

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: Award Season

Can you believe it’s already the second WIAW party of the year? Um, nope, neither can I! If the year’s already going by this fast, that’s a good sign. The first few months of the year always tend to drag on, which isn’t fun. I already can’t wait for summer break, which is pretty pathetic 😛

Peas and Crayons

Anyways, the very sweet and beautiful Kat just tagged me in the Lactose Free Lizzie Food Award. It is award season, after all, with the Golden Globes and SAG Awards and the Oscars all coming up within the next month or so!

“The blogger that is tagged must host an award thing-ama-gig about FOOD. Yes, food (it’s the food awards). Anything related to it. A food blogger, a company, a favorite meal, or even whatever you like to sprinkle on your popcorn. After you are finished you tag 3 other bloggers to host a Food  Award ceremony (aka a post). But remember, you may only focus on the positive aspects of what you are awarding. No negativity is tolerated, especially if it will hurt someone’s feelings). Also, you are ALL winners in my book, even if you are not mentioned   xoxo Lizzie”

Nominees for Best Greek Yogurt Flavor

  • Oikos superfruits
  • Siggis orange & ginger
  • Fage mango guanabana

Winner–Oikos! I’ll admit that I’m a diehard Oikos fan (the original Stonyfield organic kind, not the new Dannon variety), so all of their flavors are winners in my book, but the superfruits takes the cake!

Breakfast: turtle sundae voluminous overnight oats (topped with banana soft serve, small Medjool date, chopped pecans), unpictured spicy veggie sausage

Nominees for Best Veggie Burger

  • Sunshine falafel burger
  • Gardein ultimate beefless burger
  • Amy’s low sodium California burger

Winner–Gardein! I actually love all these veggie burgers, but the Gardein has the most protein, 17 grams in one burger. Not too shabby!

Lunch: random snack plate of steamed edamame (with mustard for dipping), the thickest peanut flour paste I've ever made, fresh pineapple

Nominees for Best Nut Butter

  • MaraNatha natural honey almond butter
  • Whole Foods bulk crunchy almond butter
  • Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter

Winner–Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter! Obviously, almond butter is my hands-down favorite nut butter, but this one has the creamiest texture and a great mixed nuts taste.

Afternoon snack: peanut flour paste, fresh pineapple, frozen black grapes, teaspoon of homemade cookie butter

Nominees for Best Use of Sweet Potatoes

  • Alexia sweet potato tater tots
  • topped with nut butter and cinnamon
  • the base of a baked good

Winner–Alexia sweet potato tots! I love these crunchy little nuggets of sweet potato goodness. They’re much healthier than typical tater tots, because they’re baked not fried and cooked in just a little olive oil. Definitely my favorite way to enjoy my favorite veggie!

Dinner: homemade vegetarian spicy chili, iced unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze (first time trying this brand of AM and I'm hooked!)

Nominees for Most Versatile Product

  • Medjool dates
  • Oats
  • Peanut flour

Winner–peanut flour! All three of these are staples in my daily eats, but I can’t deny the amazing-ness of peanut flour. It’s a great sub for flour, is delicious as a protein powder, works well in microwave mug cakes and (my personal favorite) is beyond yummy mixed into a paste with water! It’s like a higher protein version of nut butter!

Dessert: Raw carrot cake bite with peanut flour 'frosting'

I’m passing the award onto… Aja @ Writing and Recovering, Chloe @ LightOnMyFeet and Lena @ Fit on the Rocks!

What’s your nominee for most versatile product? What is one food you’ve been obsessed with lately?

WIAW: Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve

Hey friends, what is up? Can you believe that we’re just 4 days away from Christmas (hence my title)? It’s total craziness if you ask me, but I’m definitely looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for several reasons. One being I love the church service my family goes to every Christmas Eve, and I also can’t wait to watch the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story on TBS! That is my favorite Christmas movie, so hilarious and such a classic.

But enough about Christmas, let’s get on with this week’s WIAW! Is it lame that I’m always super excited for it? Nah, I don’t care if it seems dumb, it’s such a fun foodie party that I can’t not participate in it week after week. This week’s edition includes some random eats I’ve been loving lately, as well as a couple of recipes too–BONUS 😀 And apparently this week I was obsessed with Instagram…

Peas and Crayons

Hot caramel apple pie volume oats--I know you've gotta be drooling by now!

As I mentioned in my NaNeFoMo bucket list post, I said I was planning on making some raw treats. Well, the first thing on my mind was raw salted caramel apple dip. I bookmarked this recipe a few weeks back and was just itching to test it out for myself. I made a few tweaks to it, though, but it still turned out yummy. Next time, I think I’d add a bit more salt, though, because it didn’t have quite the hint of saltiness I thought it would.

Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip (vegan, no cook)

1/2 cup dates (the original called for Medjool, I used California pitted), about 12 dates

1 T raw nut butter (I used Artisana’s walnut)

squeeze fresh lemon juice

sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

Soak dates in water for at least four hours (I did overnight) and cover. Drain dates and reserve soaking liquid. Blend dates and rest of ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add in soaking liquid one spoonful at a time until it’s the right consistency for you. Use as a topping for oats, as a spread on fruit or bread or as an apple dipper, of course! Makes about 3/4 cup.

The salad kick continues with a homemade salad of spinach, crispy tempeh bacon slices and Whole Foods' carrot ginger dressing.

The dressing can really make or break a salad, but luckily, this one was a winner! I found it in the produce section when I hit up WF the other day, and it’s got a nice tanginess to it.

The perfect sides for a salad--a ripe Satsuma tangerine and some peanut butter balls cereal.

Hot cocoa (with marshmallows!) and frozen raspberries make a yummy snack.

I’ve been craving hot cocoa lately, so I decided to whip up an easy mug of it. I just heated up some unsweetened vanilla almond milk in the micro, mixed it with some Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder and a packet of stevia, and topped it with a few pescetarian marshmallows. It was the best hot cocoa I’ve had in quite a while (I actually rarely drink hot cocoa), so I’m thinking almond milk is what made it amazing. But then again, what isn’t amazing about almond milk?

A throwback to an old favorite--"taco salad" with black beans, spinach, plain Oikos and crushed mild green mojo multigrain chips on top.

So remember me talking about how I’ve been obsessed with salads lately? Ummmm, well, that obsession’s gotten a little bit stronger since then. Since I got home, I’ve had a different salad for lunch every single day and it’s been glorious. Having fresh spinach leaves really takes them over the top. A good obsession to have, am I right?

Simple ingredients make for the most delicious cookies!

Nutty Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies (vegan)

1/4 c almond butter

1/3 c maple syrup

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 c pumpkin puree (I used butternut squash, since it was on hand)

1/2 c oat flour

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 c vegan chocolate chips

1/4 c unsweetened dried cherries

1/4 c chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine almond butter and maple syrup together until mixed; add in pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda and then add in to wet mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, cherries and pecans until combined. Cover and chill batter for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Scoop chilled batter with a melon baller onto baking sheet, spacing dough 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown and just slightly soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside on baking rack to cool. Makes 12.

I loosely based this recipe off one from the Whole Foods website, but I made it vegan by subbing almond butter for dairy butter, maple syrup for white sugar and pumpkin puree for eggs. They turned out pretty good, a little small, but nice and “rugged” I guess. I like cookies that aren’t delicate–I definitely prefer ones like these that have chunks of good stuff in them! These cookies are pretty low-cal (about 120 per cookie) and you can feel good about eating them because they’ve got healthy ingredients like nuts and oats in them. But mostly you’ll just like them ’cause they taste good 😉

A 'classic' dinner with a twist--homemade black bean burger, sweet potato tots (best little things ever!), peanut flour sauce.

I made an attempt at making my own veggie burger last night, and it actually turned out decent, except it was too crumbly. I basically just mashed drained black beans and rolled oats together with a little chili powder and cooked it up in the skillet. It was a simple and delicious dinner alongside my favorite sweet potato tater tots and some peanut flour sauce for dippage. My kind of “burger and fries”.

What better way to start out the morning than with peanutty raspberry chocolate volume oats?

I have so much fun creating new oats combos. This one, like most of them, was a total winner, but then again when isn’t the combo of raspberry, peanut and chocolate delicious? Unfortunately, my supply of peanut flour is running dangerously low (no worries, another bag is on the way) so it turned out kinda runny but it still mixed well with organic jam and a few dark chocolate chips.

 

What is something you’ve tried again recently for the first time in a while? What is your favorite part of Christmas (if you celebrate it)?