Thinking Out Loud #1

I haven’t been into linkup style posts in awhile. I used to do the WIAW thing almost weekly, and it just got old. I share my food here anyway, but I’d rather do it when I want to and not feel forced to do it just because it’s the ‘cool’ thing.

But I’ve got a bunch of random ramblings going on in my head right now, so what better way to share them than with the Thinking Out Loud Thursday linkup?

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  • I bought baby food AND dog food at Sprouts. And I don’t have a dog or a baby…
Some of my other Sprouts buys.

Some of my other Sprouts buys.

On one of my days off, I decided to make the trek to Sprouts for a midweek produce restock…and of course, I bought a lot more than I intended to. I don’t go to Sprouts more than maybe once a month anymore because it’s just not as convenient to work or home as Whole Foods is, but they do have some pretty cheap produce. But then I happened to stroll down the baby food aisle and I decided to get a couple pouches. They’ll be good to take to work when I don’t feel like packing veggies! And then I saw the Brad’s Raw dog treats were on sale, and even though they’re meant for dogs (but people-friendly too), the ingredients are spot on and they sounded good. Well, that was a waste of $5, because they taste nasty. I don’t even know why, because they’re just made of kale, sweet potatoes, spices and buckwheat groats. Maybe I’ll find an actual dog to feed them to…

  • I legitimately don’t understand how 20-somethings can vacation so much

Chalk it up to bitter jealousy, but I just don’t get it. ‘Tis the season for vacations, and it seems like every blog I read has some vacation recap and/or talking about an upcoming trip. I’m certainly not opposed to travel, it’s just that I grew up in a family where we vacationed once, maybe twice, per year. And usually one of those trips was an in-state road trip to the mountains. We weren’t poor, it’s just that my parents chose to spend money on other things. Now that I have a job and money of my own, I realize just how $$$ traveling is. And that’s why I don’t get how recent college grads like myself can take trips (especially by plane) so often. I’m talking multiple times in the summer alone! A car trip just to go back home is a good 10 hour + trip one way (I’m not making that drive, it sucks) and a 2-3 hour flight is at least $150 each way. And that would be going home, not even having to pay for a hotel or food. I want to fly home at least once this year, and I’d like to visit my good friend when she moves to Salt Lake City, but traveling that much is just not in the cards, wallet-wise 😦

  • I basically eat the same breakfast every day, and it does NOT get old
The protein bowl, aka my breakfast special.

The protein bowl, aka my breakfast special.

I got into the habit of making a protein chia pudding (Sunwarrior or Garden of Life raw protein+chia seeds+almond milk) for breakfast and then topping it with all sorts of stuff, usually raisins, stevia chocolate chips, raw granola and raw salted nuts. I’m basically obsessed with the sweet+salty combo. And now I’ve eaten this every single day for probably a month. I even eat it when I have breakfast at work — I just put the chia pudding in one mini tupperware and the toppings in another and combine at my desk. Sometimes I add fresh fruit (like the figs in the above picture), or half a Larabar, but it’s way too good. And sometimes, I even have it for dessert.

  • I’m obsessed with the pink+grey combination
I also love dresses with scarves.

I also love dresses with scarves.

Who says scarves are for fall and winter? I love them year-round, especially paired with dresses. And a plain (but really cute) dress like this just screams to be put with a patterned scarf. I also love how pink and dark grey pop against each other. It’s a good way to make pink less girly for those of you who dislike the color (obviously not me).

How often do you travel? Have you ever bought baby food to eat yourself? 

WIAW: Foods of the Moment

I like trying new things. It’s the best way to figure out what you like, right? But sometimes, you just gotta come back to old–or new–favorites.

Doing the whole raw foodism thing for the past 2+ weeks has given me plenty of time for experimenting, and it’s helped me figure out what foods are my favorite. So lemme share them with you this WIAW!

Cauliflower ‘Rice’

Random dinner of romaine hearts, homemade guac, cilantro lime cauliflower 'rice' and dehydrated sweet potato fries.

Random dinner of romaine hearts, homemade guac, cilantro lime cauliflower ‘rice’ and dehydrated sweet potato fries.

Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes

Almost like baked fries but even better.

Almost like baked fries but even better.

Carrot Cake Anything

Banana softserve+carrot cake (added in a carrot+raisins+coconut manna) = best dessert ever.

Banana softserve+carrot cake (added in a carrot+raisins+coconut manna) = best dessert breakfast ever.

Fruits and Veggies (of ALL kinds)

Whole Foods produce haul. This makes up at least HALF of my grocery bill.

Whole Foods produce haul. This makes up at least HALF of my grocery bill.

More veggies in the produce drawer. Cauliflower, rainbow carrots, jicama, kale, bell peppers.

More veggies in the produce drawer. Cauliflower, asparagus, rainbow carrots, jicama, kale, bell peppers.

Strawberries, blackberries, spinach and romaine.

Strawberries, blackberries, spinach and romaine.

Fruit bowl. Bananas waiting to ripen, mango, blood oranges, lemon, lime.

Fruit bowl. Bananas waiting to ripen, mango, blood oranges, lemon, lime.

Beautiful blood oranges.

Beautiful blood oranges.

Zucchini ‘Pasta’

Zucchini fettuccine with easy marinaraw sauce (tomato paste+spices+date), olives, homemade pumpkin seed pesto and hemp seeds.

Zucchini fettuccine with easy marinaraw sauce (tomato paste+spices+date), olives, homemade pumpkin seed pesto and hemp seeds.

And zucchini rawsagsna. Layered with homemade marinaraw sauce, raw cashew cheez, kalamata olives and hemp seeds.

And zucchini rawsagsna. Layered with homemade marinaraw sauce, raw cashew cheez, kalamata olives and hemp seeds.

Chia Puddings

Valentine's Day breakfast of cherry vanilla Sunwarrior chia pudding topped with coconut manna and homemade raw brownie bites.

Valentine’s Day breakfast of cherry vanilla Sunwarrior chia pudding topped with coconut manna and homemade raw brownie bites.

Garden of Life mocha brownie batter chia pudding topped with fresh strawberries, coconut manna and raw brownie bites.

Garden of Life mocha brownie batter chia pudding topped with fresh strawberries, coconut manna and raw brownie bites.

Sprouted Mung Beans

Just soak and marinate for a great raw protein source.

Just soak and marinate for a great raw protein source.

Kelp Noodles

Kelp noodle 'stirfry' (adapted from Going Raw book) with rainbow carrots, spinach/arugula and orange bell pepper.

Kelp noodle ‘stirfry’ (adapted from Going Raw book) with rainbow carrots, spinach/arugula and orange bell pepper.

Avocado (in sweet things)

Avocado+Garden of Life+cacao mousse topped with coconut flakes and raisins.

Avocado+Garden of Life+cacao mousse topped with coconut flakes and raisins.

Flax Pancakes

Flax 'pancakes' topped with Garden of Life protein sauce, coconut flakes and frozen blueberries.

Flax ‘pancakes’ topped with Garden of Life protein sauce, coconut flakes and frozen blueberries.

Even though I have a lot of favorites, one thing I love about being raw is getting such a variety of foods in every day. Instead of getting stuck in a food rut, I’m always excited about trying something new and mixing things up so I get in a variety of nutrients!

What are some of your ‘foods of the moment’?

WIAW: Eat Yo Veggies

“Sooooo…what exactly do raw vegans eat?” While I personally haven’t been posed that question just yet, I know it’s a commonly asked question just from my experience as a vegan and from browsing raw vegan forums. But really, anybody who eats different from the ‘norm’ is probably asked this question and you know it can get annoying.

It probably comes as no surprise, but I’m eating a LOT of veggies as a raw vegan. And I mean a lot. Most days I eat veggies at lunch, snack and dinner and on Tuesday, I happened to cram veggie servings into each meal. Currently, I’m feeling great eating this way and I’m excited to continue my adventures into the raw foods world, but more on that in Friday’s post. For now, let me share some of what I’ve been eating lately!

Carrot cake-inspired protein chia pudding. No better way to start the day than with a serving of veggies!

Carrot cake-inspired protein chia pudding. No better way to start the day than with a serving of veggies!

This is one of my favorite breakfasts at the moment. Sadly, my vanilla Sunwarrior is almost out and I have to wait til I can afford it again to reorder more from Amazon. It pairs so well with carrots (I used one full-size carrot here)+raisins and coconut manna. Speaking of which, Nutiva’s  raw coconut manna is amazing and cheaper than Artisana’s coconut butter!

Cilantro lime cauliflower rice in the making. Better than Chipotle's.

Cilantro lime cauliflower rice in the making. Better than Chipotle’s.

I’ve never been a huge fan of rice, brown or white. It’s just a filling carb and I haven’t eaten it in a couple years (other than in sushi occasionally) because it does nothing for me. Cauliflower rice, on the other hand, is incredible. I prefer the texture to rice and when seasoned with fresh-squeezed lime juice and cilantro, plus a little nooch and onion powder, you won’t miss regular rice at all.

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar or salt)

1/2 head raw cauliflower, rinsed

handful fresh cilantro leaves

lime juice, to taste

1 tsp nutritional yeast

pinch onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until cauliflower is about the consistency of rice. Serves 1-2.

Superfood salad for lunch featuring cilantro lime cauliflower rice. Base of spinach+arugula, with cauliflower rice, hemp hearts, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds, Farmhouse Culture raw jalapeno kraut and a little raw taco filling.

Superfood salad for lunch featuring cilantro lime cauliflower rice. Base of spinach+arugula, with cauliflower rice, hemp hearts, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds, Farmhouse Culture raw jalapeno kraut and a little raw taco filling.

This salad was completely random, and as per usual, was amazing. Funny how the most random combos turn out the best. I’m sad that I’m out of my favorite sauerkraut (Farmhouse Culture brand, smoked jalapeno flavor) but that just means a trip to Whole Foods is in order, amiright? Sauerkraut is my weird obsession–I can’t get enough of the sour, spicy tang and the fact that it’s a natural probiotic is even better. This stuff is expensive, but it lasts me about a month, so it’s worth it.

No veggies in this, but still good!

No veggies in this, but still good!

I made the superfood cups from the Sweetly Raw blog, only these were basically just triple coconut cups. EV coconut oil, coconut manna, a little lucuma powder and flaked coconut on top. Perfect for people who are as obsessed with coconut as I am. Can’t believe it used to be one of my major fear foods…plant-based saturated fats no longer scare me!

Crazy for Coconut Cups (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

2 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil (use extra virgin for best taste)

1 tbsp melted coconut manna

1/2 tsp lucuma powder (optional)

1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil, manna and lucuma powder until smooth. Pour into cupcake liners and top with coconut flakes. Makes 3 small cups.

Taco Tuesday! Lettuce wrap tacos for lunch with homemade guac, more kraut, hemp seeds and raw taco filling.

Taco Tuesday Monday! Lettuce wrap tacos for lunch with homemade guac, more kraut, hemp seeds and raw taco filling.

I finally got some good avocados at Whole Foods this weekend! I’d given up on making guac at home because the avocados I was getting were mealy and too brown, even when they weren’t quite ripe. Maybe they’re coming back into season now or I picked well, because at least one of the avocados I got turned out perfectly creamy and ripe. Mexican food to me is alllllll about the guac, and going raw hasn’t changed that for me. I definitely prefer the fresh crunch of romaine hearts to traditional taco shells and I love loading them up with my favorite raw healthy fats, like hemp and sunflower seeds and guacamole, of course.

Lots of good stuff on my snackplates.

Lots of good stuff on my snackplates.

More snackplate action.

More snackplate action.

I never skimp on the veggies when it comes to snack time! This is when I like to get creative with my veggies, like romaine+dates or dried figs or dehydrated sweet potato ‘chips’. Plain raw veggies get the job done too. And I’ve been loving blackberries lately since I got some on sale for $2 this weekend at WF. Is that a steal, or what? I never used to like blackberries, but blame it on my changing palate since going raw–I love them now!

The raw sweet potato fries, courtesy of Rawmazing.

The raw sweet potato fries, courtesy of Rawmazing.

I made some incredible sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator yesterday, so I will be making this raw poutine once I get some mushrooms for the gravy. I know poutine is big in Canada, and I’ve actually never tried it (nor want to) but this raw version looks incredible! I’m becoming more and more creative while eating raw and I love it. It’s the perfect way to get me out of my food ruts, and I’m learning to love all kinds of different veggies. Of course, I still have my favorites (ahem romaine, spinach, carrots, cauliflower and sweet potatoes) but I’m up for trying new things all the time and adding new favorites to my rotation.

Other than that, my dinners have mostly been raw macro bowls on top of greens or kelp/carrot/zucchini noodles with some kind of sauce. I like how easy it is to make dinner now, but that I can go more creative if I want to.

From way back in December, but just pretend this was recently.

From way back in December, but just pretend this was recently.

Dessert has often been protein banana softserve, usually with spinach blended in for an extra serving of greens. I’m not a crazy 30 bananas a day raw vegan, but I usually eat 1 or 2 bananas a day at the moment, always in softserve form. Something about an unfrozen banana freaks me out now, I just prefer the taste and texture of frozen!

So that’s what this raw vegan’s been eating lately! I’ll be back with a post on Friday with some of my current raw food staples and how anyone can incorporate more raw foods into their diet…even omnivores!

What are some of your favorite veggies?

WIAW: Raw Til 6

One of my resolutions for this year, and also one of my goals last summer was to eat more raw. I love so many raw foods, and I prefer most of my produce raw too, but there are some cooked things I still love and don’t really want to give them up just yet. Maybe someday I’ll be fully raw but for now, I’m trying the popular Raw Til 4 plan, where you basically eat all raw until dinner time. Since I eat my afternoon snack around 4, I’m changing the name to Raw Til 6 to fit my schedule better 😉

Basically how I’m going about it is eating all raw until dinner, and then for dinner/dessert I’ll eat something cooked or something that’s not necessarily raw if I’m feeling like it. See, I love my roasted sweet potatoes/peanut flour/grain free pizza and since I usually eat these for dinner, it makes sense to keep them in my food rotation. My other meals will stay pretty similar to how they are now —> breakfast will be Sunwarrior/Garden of Life raw protein or chia seed pudding or a green smoothie or raw flax cakes, lunch will be a salad or lettuce wraps or a protein smoothie made with raw protein powder, and my snacks will be banana softserve or snackplates with plenty of fresh produce or homemade raw desserts. What I won’t be doing is restricting my fats or carbs. I personally don’t believe that 80/10/10 is the most balanced way to eat (I love my fruit but I can’t survive on just carbs) and I don’t want to go raw gourmet either because I don’t want to rely so heavily on nuts and avocados for every meal. Instead, I’ll be sticking pretty close to my normal macros (45% carbs, 25% protein, 30% fat) and just incorporating more raw foods. I’m also planning on making plenty of raw dinners as well because I’ve been bookmarking a TON of amazing-looking raw entrees and I’m really excited to try them out. I’m also going to start sprouting legumes and making my own almond milk and I can’t wait to try all these new things!

Enough of the wordiness, let’s get to the food. I’ve also got 2 recipes for you today, and another one linked up from my other blog, so I’m going pretty recipe-crazy over here!

Homemade [cheaters] almond milk.

Homemade [cheaters] almond milk.

I’ve been meaning to start doing this for a loooooong time, since there have been a lot of posts and articles out there lately discussing the potential harmful effects of carrageenan and other things added to packaged almond milk. It’s easier than you’d think to whip up your own almond milk at home, especially when you take the cheater’s route like I did. I had some fresh ground raw almond butter on hand and within a few seconds of blending with water, I had homemade almond milk, raw and completely free of unnecessary ingredients!

3 Ingredient 3 Second Almond Milk (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 4 cups water (can use filtered, or just plain tap water)
  • pinch stevia extract (optional)

In a large food processor or blender (I used my Ninja processor), add all the ingredients and blend or pulse for a few seconds or until it turns white-ish and creamy. Makes 4 1-cup servings. 

Superbowl snacks, gone raw.

Superbowl snacks, gone raw.

By now, we all know the outcome of the Superbowl. Even though I’m a fan of the Denver Broncos, being raised in Colorado, I’m not a diehard fan by any means and I honestly didn’t even watch the game so I’m not really upset by their loss. Besides, the Superbowl is just an excuse for snacks, am I right? This year, I made my raw jalapeno poppers (if you haven’t made them and love spicy things, I suggest you do!) and I had one alongside some raw cauliflower, local salsa, spicy guac made fresh at my Whole Foods, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds and a dried fig. This was the perfect snack plate for a spicy food lover like me and I didn’t even care who won the game!

A typical raw breakfast.

A typical raw breakfast.

My breakfasts have been pretty simple lately, though I’m planning on trying some new things soon. I’ve mostly been making raw protein puddings–Sunwarrior or Garden of Life raw protein powder mixed with water/homemade almond milk and sometimes raw coconut flour to thicken, and topped with pomegranate and raw nuts or seeds. It covers all the macros, tastes great and is beyond easy to whip up in just a minute.

Protein chia pudding topped with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Protein chia pudding topped with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Protein-packed chia puddings have been happening for breakfasts and snacks, too. I forgot how much I adore the thick and creamy texture that chia seeds make when they gel up. Honestly, I could eat these all day but it really is all about the toppings and mix ins. The one above was Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+homemade almond milk+1/2 tbsp chia seeds and topped in the morning with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Sunwarrior vanilla+frozen cherries+homemade almond milk+baby kale+coconut flour smoothie, with a side of raisins and raw mixed nuts.

Sunwarrior vanilla+frozen cherries+homemade almond milk+baby kale+coconut flour smoothie, with a side of raisins and raw mixed nuts.

Lunches have been a little bit less predictable. On Monday I had a green protein smoothie with some raw trail mix (just raisins & raw nuts) on the side. Really quick and easy to make and pretty filling, too. I love how eating raw makes food prep so much easier. Sure, I’ve been using my dehydrator and food processor a lot but it’s so hands-off and meals come together so quickly.

BLA lettuce wraps and pineapple. Romaine hearts+homemade coconut 'bacon' and Whole Foods fresh guacamole.

BLA lettuce wraps and pineapple. Romaine hearts+homemade coconut ‘bacon’ and Whole Foods fresh guacamole.

Tuesday’s lunch was a little more creative. I made a batch of raw coconut ‘bacon’ in the morning and since I’m basically addicted to it, I decided to incorporate it into my lunch in a creative way. Enter the BLA wraps. The BLA is a spin on the classic BLT, only without the tomato…and avocado in its place. This raw version was incredibly good and I miiiiight have it for lunch again today.

Homemade raw banana protein bars.

Homemade raw banana protein bars.

Going mostly raw has made me more creative in the kitchen! I love that I have so much time to experiment with recipes right now (truth time–I’m still itching to get my first post-grad job!) and I’ve been making a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t normally if I was still eating mostly cooked foods. Like these raw protein bars. I’ve stopped buying Larabars for the time being to save some money and also so I can try making my own raw bars. These are NOT the same consistency as Larabars but I still love ’em…and who says being raw means no protein? I’ve actually been keeping my protein levels up (about 25-30% of my daily macros) during this raw challenge with raw protein powders/nuts/seeds and I’m planning on sprouting lentils soon so stay tuned for that!

Raw Banana Bread Protein Bars (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

  • 2 ripe bananas (best when spotty)
  • 2 scoops Garden of Life RAW protein powder (or any raw plant-based protein powder)
  • 3 tbsp raw coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

In a food processor or high-powered blender, pulse bananas until smooth and liquefied. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Divide into 6 large balls and flatten into bar shapes. Makes 6 bars, ~100 calories and 8 grams protein per bar.

Zucchini pasta and raw pumpkin seed pesto for dinner.

Zucchini pasta and raw pumpkin seed pesto for dinner.

So far, my dinners have been raw because that’s what I’ve been craving, even though it’s been snowing here and below freezing! I’ve been making raw pastas with zucchini, carrots and kelp noodles and tossing them in a nut or seed based sauce, pairing it with fruit and calling it dinner. Raw dinners are the simplest things ever, but I’m learning to appreciate simplicity!

Do you prefer homemade or store-bought when it comes to bars? Do you like your produce cooked or raw? 

WIAW: New & News

Before I get to the best party of every week, I wanted to share a little news with you guys. I’ll be doing a couple reviews (with a possible giveaway) within the next week so look forward to that! I love entering giveaways and reading reviews so I’m really happy that companies have started to reach out to me to share their products with my readers.

Now onto the eats! I’ve been eating a lot of “new-to-me” stuff lately which I always love. I’m not really a creature of habit, I do know what I love and stick with that but I really like switching things up and trying out new food. I did some of that over spring break and apparently that trend is continuing this week.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

The chia seed pudding obsession is going strong, but what’s new is the addition of (half of) this new-ish to me Larabar flavor. I tried the chocolate chip cherry torte flavor last summer and didn’t love it. But after having it a second time, I kinda like it. I pretty much hate anything cherry or cherry-flavored, so this is huge for me. Probably the chocolate chips are what make it ok 😉

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

The salad-for-lunch thing isn’t new (I’ve been eating one almost every day for three months!) but the green garbanzos sort of are! I bought some frozen ones from Whole Foods on a whim about a month ago and haven’t been using them a lot, but they’re really good in salads drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I’d love to try making falafel from them too!

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

If you have the new ALT bars near you, please try them! Especially this flavor. It reminds me of spice cake, and is really good and filling! Half of one made the perfect lunch dessert, and it had 5 grams of pea protein to boot (the entire bar has 10 grams). I love finding all-natural vegan protein bars that actually taste good!

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

The kale chips are semi-new (the southwest ranch flavor of Kale Krunch chips is unreal) and so are the apple chips and the cashew butter (the WF brand reminds me of cookie dough, but it’s just made from cashews and a little safflower oil!) but the real newbie is the yellow carrot. Can you believe I’d never had a whole carrot before a week ago? I spotted a bunch of tri-colored carrots at Whole Foods and just had to snag them. I don’t think I’m gonna rely on baby carrots so much anymore, I love the crunch of these full size carrots! And the fun color is just an added bonus.

This doesn't look awkward at all...

This doesn’t look awkward at all…

‘Nuff said!

Grape Zevia.

Grape Zevia.

I’ve been wanting to try this flavor for awhile, but I didn’t want to pay $5 for a 6 pack, in case I didn’t like it. Verdict: while it’s not my favorite flavor (that would be the cream soda) , it actually grew on me and I do like it. At first it reminded me of children’s Tylenol, but it’s actually pretty tasty!

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Socca pizzas are a staple around here, but this was a first for me–a sweet socca pizza. I made my usual socca base (1/4 cup chickpea flour, salt, enough water to thin) and topped it with 1/4 of a mashed sweet potato mixed with almond milk and cinnamon, crumbled maple mesquite walnuts, shredded coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup. It was like dessert pizza for dinner, and it was oh so good!


These were actually all my meals for Monday, minus my nighttime snack (unpictured because it was eaten too late for a good photo to be taken), which was coconut flour mixed with a little baking powder, chocolate chips and almond milk and microwaved to make a coconut flour muffin, a square of Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, peanut flour paste and a date stuffed with cashew butter and cacao nibs. Nothing exciting, but I love it.

If you’ve tried Zevia, what’s your favorite flavor? Have you ever eaten a weird colored veggie?

WIAW: Then & Now

Before I start, let me just say a big thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post! You all had such insightful advice and I really appreciated each and every comment.

Now onto the best party of the week…WIAW! I’ve seen a theme going around lately about then & now type WIAW posts. Mine’s a little different–I’ll be focusing on what I ate when I first started this blog in 2011, and what I’m eating now. It’s crazy how much my eating style has changed in just two years!

Breakfast

Then

Yogi blueberry granola crisps over Greek yogurt, half a homemade blueberry waffle, veggie breakfast sausage.

Yogi blueberry granola crisps over Greek yogurt, half a homemade blueberry waffle, veggie breakfast sausage.

Basically, some variation on whole grain carbs+processed protein. For some reason, I ate a Morningstar spicy veggie pattie or veggie sausage pretty much every day with breakfast for a year. It was a decent source of protein, but I shudder at the mile-long ingredient list now.

Now

Tiramisu chia pudding.

Tiramisu chia protein pudding.

I don’t have a chia pudding every day, but they’re one of my favorite breakfasts now. I focus a lot more on healthy fats (nut butters, raw bars, coconut cream) and cleaner carbs and proteins. Some other favorites are protein frosting-topped homemade buckwheat waffles, almond flour pancakes and protein microwave muffins.

Lunch

Then

Spinach salad with frozen mango and Gardein chick'n nuggets.

Spinach salad with frozen mango and Gardein chick’n nuggets.

I still did salads for lunch (not as often as I do now) but they were a lot more plain and usually protein-ed up with Gardein products. I think their products are good for newbie vegans and vegetarians or when you want some vegan junk food, but I prefer whole foods sources of protein now like beans, edamame and tempeh.

Now

Spinach salad with nooch dressing and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Spinach salad with nooch dressing and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

I love salads with homemade dressings, seeds/nuts, dry roasted edamame, dried fruit, olives, leftover brown rice sushi…basically, anything goes! I also pretty much always have a side of fresh fruit…and sometimes maybe a square of dark chocolate.

Snack

Then

Golden corn Vitatop, Crystal Light pink lemonade.

Golden corn Vitatop with almond butter, Crystal Light pink lemonade.

Sensing a theme here? I was definitely eating a lot of ‘healthy’ (aka low fat, lower calorie) processed foods. I used to LOVE Vitatops, especially the corn ones, but I haven’t had one in over a year. And I don’t miss all the preservatives and weird ingredients at all.

Now

A typical snackplate.

A typical snackplate.

My snacks are often a snack plate-style assortment of protein (peanut flour paste or dry roasted edamame), fats (nuts, seeds, guacamole) and produce (dried fruit, kale chips, carrots). Oh, and chocolate is necessary!

Dinner

Then

OMG fish on a plant-based blog?! Mahi mahi topped with homemade strawberry salsa, watermelon gazpacho.

OMG fish on a plant-based blog?! Mahi mahi topped with homemade strawberry salsa, watermelon gazpacho.

Most of my meals were vegetarian back in 2011, but I did enjoy the occasional fish or seafood dinner. I think if I ever decide to eat meat again, I’ll only eat fish/seafood because it’s really healthy and it was the one meat I actually enjoyed.

Now

Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

I don’t eat Whole Foods salad bar every night (I wish!) but I definitely eat completely plant-based and get in plenty of veggies and different sources of protein. I like to mix things up though: breakfast-for-dinner, eggplant muffulettas on coconut flour bread, homemade veggie burgers (or Sunshine burgers), nooch-y nachos…the list goes on!

Dessert

Then

Raw brownie with coffee froyo and raspberries.

Raw brownie with coffee froyo and raspberries.

Actually, this still looks pretty good! I haven’t had a raw brownie in way too long…Anyways, I loved Stonyfield froyos (especially the coffee flavor), cereal and Whole Foods brand Oreos as desserts–not horrible, but way too sugary for me now!

Now

Raw vegan chocolate ganache.

Raw vegan chocolate ganache.

Still loving the raw desserts, but now they’re more often store-bought (that needs to change though–too bad my tiny food processor sucks!). I generally eat protein microwave muffins or banana softserve most nights, but sometimes have no-sugar-added coconut milk ice cream or raw desserts or Larabars.

How have your meals changed in the past 2 years? Were you ever obsessed with a food/brand that you can’t stand now?

WIAW: No Filter

No, this title isn’t leading into a post where I just say what I feel without thinking it through. Not that kind of no filter. I’m talking about no Instagram or PicMonkey filter. I’m a sucker for prettying up my photos (which, lets be honest, are 99% of the time taken on my smartphone) but I’m trying to avoid the over-filtering of my photos. So I’m gonna share my original version of photos for this week’s WIAW…well, minus one or two filtered pics that slipped in there!

Breakfast: samoas-inspired chia pudding.

Breakfast: samoas-inspired chia pudding.

Sorry for the chia seed pudding overload lately–I’m not kidding when I say I get into breakfast ruts. First (almost 2 years ago at this point) it was overnight oats, then hot oats, then smoothie bowls, then pancakes, then waffles, now it’s the chia pudding. This version was inspired by the classic Girl Scout cookie (which I don’t think I’ve ever actually had) and made with Sunwarrior vanilla and Vega chocolate protein powders, lucuma powder for a caramel-y accent (my new love!) and topped with coconut, cashew butter (love this stuff) and a crumbled raw chocolate macaroon. This was good stuff.

Friday night sushi with friends. Cucumber maki and sweet potato tempura roll. Demolished.

Friday night sushi with friends. Cucumber maki and sweet potato tempura roll. Demolished.

I actually went out to eat twice this weekend. Both times with friends. This is big for me. I always feel super guilty when I have to eat out twice in a week/weekend, and I still have some anxiety about eating out with friends. But I had so much fun that it was worth it! The food wasn’t too bad either!

Failed recipe: healthy vegan Nutella.

Failed recipe: healthy vegan Nutella.

I’ve honestly never been a fan of Nutella (though Justin’s vegan version is pretty good) but I wanted to try making a healthier, vegan version to see if I’d like it better. It was pretty easy (other than attempting to remove the skins from the hazelnuts, which I eventually gave up on) but didn’t turn out delicious. I blame it on only adding 1 tbsp of coconut sugar. Definitely needed more sweetness.

Lunch: spinach salad with homemade cashew cilantro dressing and avocado verde salsa, dry roasted edamame, eggplant 'bacon' and kalamata olives.

Lunch: spinach salad with homemade cashew cilantro dressing and avocado verde salsa, dry roasted edamame, eggplant ‘bacon’ and kalamata olives.

My salad-a-day is still going strong and I’ve been especially loving my latest dressing combo–homemade cashew cilantro dressing and the Wholly Guacamole brand avocado verde salsa I picked up over the weekend. So good, and better than regular old dressing.

Eggplant 'bacon' wrapped date stuffed with cashew 'cream cheese'.

Eggplant ‘bacon’ wrapped date stuffed with cashew ‘cream cheese’.

Speaking of eggplant bacon, this was one of my successful recipe experiments over the weekend. Seriously, so simple but so damn tasty. I wish I had had more than half an eggplant (I used the other half for something else) so I could make a bigger batch. It was especially delicious wrapped around a Medjool date stuffed with homemade cashew cream cheese. Mmmm, I could eat this all day!

Outfit of the day (March 4): pink cropped cardigan (Abercrombie & Fitch), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink ruffle tank (Abercrombie Kids), burgundy jeggings (Hollister), unpictured brown riding boots (Macy's).

Outfit of the day (March 4): pink cropped cardigan (Abercrombie & Fitch), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink ruffle tank (Abercrombie Kids), burgundy jeggings (Hollister), unpictured brown riding boots (Macy’s).

I felt like a Valentine when I wore this on Monday, but who cares, I love pink! I’m really excited though for when I can finally wear dresses and skirts without tights–hopefully soon! Spring, come sooner.

Dinner: eggplant muffuletta on grain free bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheezy chipotle kale chips.

Dinner: eggplant muffuletta on grain free bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheezy chipotle kale chips.

Ummm…grain free bread? What is this madness? I will admit that, yes, I need to get over my fear of grains other than buckwheat and quinoa, but on the other hand, I can’t deny my love for coconut flour. And surprise, surprise, it actually makes a decent grain free and vegan bread when combined with a few other ingredients. Yes, it actually held together pretty well even when soaked with kalamata olive relish and baked eggplant, and it tasted a lot like naan after sitting for a few days. Look for a super simple recipe soon!

Another dinner: Thai stuffed sweet potato. Half a large sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and raisins/coconut shreds on one side, coconut cream and raw Thai curry cashews on the other.

Another dinner: Thai stuffed sweet potato. Half a large sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and raisins/coconut shreds on one side, coconut cream and raw Thai curry cashews on the other.

I’m definitely doing a stuffed sweet potato for dinner more often…thanks for the inspiration, Sara! This one was Thai-like, with a peanutty sauce on one side, and curry+coconut on the other. I think I could do a different combo of this every day.

How do you like your sweet potatoes? Did you have a recipe success or failure over the weekend?