From Texas to Tulsa

Thursday is the big day. AKA I pack up my life in Colorado and move 600+ miles away to Tulsa, OK. I also start my first real girl job in less than a week, so all that adds up to one stressed chica. I’m just trying to take things one day and one box at a time and enjoy the time I have left as an unemployed Colorado girl 😉

But enough moving and life change talk, let’s talk about spring break instead. Specifically my spring break. I spent most of it in Houston, TX at my aunt and uncle’s house and then a couple days at their lake house a few hours away (along with a side trip to Tulsa the weekend before to find me an apartment and furniture). This was possibly my last family vacation ever and even though it wasn’t always perfect, I tried to soak up every minute (even our way-too-long 18 hour drive home on Saturday) of the trip.

car snacks

Prepping road trip snacks.

Lunch at Whole Foods after a morning of apartment hunting in Tulsa. This WFM was huge, had a great salad bar selection and is a 7 minute drive from my new place!

Lunch at Whole Foods after a morning of apartment hunting in Tulsa. This WFM was huge, had a great salad bar selection and is a 7 minute drive from my new place!

lizard

A cute li’l lizard I found (you can barely see it, but it’s in the middle, on the fence) when I was laying out by the pool.

I could get used to this #poollyfe

I could get used to this #poollyfe

Galveston day trip.

Galveston day trip.

I love my sissy!

I love my sissy!

They had the most colorful parrots at the Moody Gardens rainforest.

They had the most colorful parrots at the Moody Gardens rainforest.

I dressed up for a day that was mostly spent driving to the lake house.

I dressed up for a day that was mostly spent driving to the lake house.

Rain on the window.

Rain on the window.

Doesn't this look so real? It was actual a fake turtle in an exhibit at a national park visitor center.

Doesn’t this look so real? It was actually a fake turtle in an exhibit at a national park visitor center.

Easy and healthy road trip snacks in the car on the way back home. Grapes, carrots and one-ingredient PB.

Easy and healthy road trip snacks in the car on the way back home. Grapes, carrots and one-ingredient PB.

I didn't know the TX panhandle had so many mesas! I absolutely love desert-like terrain.

I didn’t know the TX panhandle had so many mesas! I absolutely love desert-like terrain.

I love vacations, but it feels great to be back in my own bed!

I love vacations, but it feels great to be back in my own bed!

This vacation really challenged me A LOT! I had to deal with 4 really long drives (CO to Tulsa, Tulsa to Houston, Houston to the lake house, the lake house to home) where I was eating on the road (either Chipotle salads or healthy road trip snacks like Larabars and kale chips and carrots) and not getting much movement (I HATE sitting for long periods of time), as well as eating meals at weird times (my aunt and uncle love eating dinner late, so every night we ate after 8:30 pm!) and sometimes skipping meals because I wasn’t hungry, and also not getting any real exercise other than some walking. There were times on the trip I was miserable, because the humidity was messing with my hair and skin and I felt downright ugly and fat. But honestly, it was a nice trip, even though it wasn’t necessarily very relaxing. And when I got home, I was surprised to notice that my body didn’t really change at all during a week of no formal exercise and mostly eating snacks and not a ton of veggies. Of course, it felt great to get back into my daily workout routine and eating normal meals/snacks at regular times but this vacation taught me that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Flexibility is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, a part I’ve been mostly neglecting. Yes, regular exercise and balanced eating are incredibly good for you, but eating at Chipotle twice in one week or taking a break from working out on vacation is normal sometimes, and there’s no reason to beat ourselves up about it. This is hopefully something I can carry into my new life, because there may not always be time for 2 workouts a day or homemade salads for lunch, but I can still be healthy, and that’s what matters.

Do you prefer road trips or flying? How do you fit flexibility into a healthy lifestyle? 

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Summer (Recipe) Lovin’

Anyone catch the Grease reference? Ironically, my sister’s auditioning for it in the fall at her school since she’s really into musical theatre. I’m actually not even sure if I’ve ever seen the entire movie, but I have definitely heard some of the songs from it.

Anyways, I’ve been doing a lot of recipe experimentation lately and it’s all been pretty successful. Well, okay I did attempt to make Katie’s deep dish cookie pie and it turned out alright, except it tasted a little beany and it didn’t last very long even inside a Ziploc bag without starting to get moisture inside the bag so I had to toss them. But everything else has been not just edible but pretty delicious. Note: All of these are my own recipes, except where I gave credit to the original.

These tiny bites are addicting!

I know I said before that I’m a bigger fan of cookies ‘n cream, but I couldn’t pass up these cookie dough bites I saw on Angela’s blog. If you’ve ever wanted to eat cookie dough but didn’t want to get sick from the raw eggs, these little bites are perfect because they’re vegan, so no eggs involved! But they taste exactly like raw cookie dough and are super simple to make.

Cookie Dough Bites (vegan)

Adapted from Oh She Glows

1/4 cup raw cashew pieces

2 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp oat flour

sprinkle sea salt

8-10 drops vanilla stevia, to taste

2 tbsp honey vanilla agave (or plain agave)

1 tbsp semisweet vegan chocolate chips

In a food processor, blend cashews and oats until combined and flour-like in texture. Add in oat flour, salt and stevia drops until mixed. Add in agave until mixture comes together and is sticky. In a bowl, take cookie dough mixture and mix in chocolate chips by hand. Form into 8 to 10 small balls and keep in fridge until ready to eat.

Mocha softserve topped with peanut butter Puffins.

This one’s so simple it’s barely a recipe but I thought I’d share it anyway because it’s so good. If you’ve ever made banana softserve before and you’re a coffee fan, you’ll love this version. Just two ingredients and it tastes almost like coffee ice cream.

Mocha Softserve (vegan, gluten-free)

banana slices, frozen

1 tsp instant coffee powder (I used Starbucks’ VIA mocha instant coffee)

Blend banana slices in a food processor or high-powered blender until the slices clump together. Add in coffee powder and process until slices form into a big scoop that’s brownish in color. Serves 1.

Trust me, your wallet and your taste buds will thank you for this bowl!

If you’ve been to Chipotle and have ever had their burrito bowls, you’ll know that they are some of the best things ever. They are always my go-to when I get around to going there (it’s been almost a year since I last went!) because I love getting a bunch of random tasty things in a bowl. But then I made this Chipotle-inspired bowl and realized that it’s even better than the restaurant’s, in both taste and nutrition. Guess I won’t be wasting any of my hard-earned money there anytime soon 😉

Better-than-Chipotle Burrito Bowl (vegan, gluten-free, high protein)

1/3 cup cooked quinoa

cilantro, chopped

lime, quartered

1/2 cup beans (I used pinto, you can use black or whatever beans are your favorite)

kale, chopped and massaged with lemon juice and nooch

spoonful salsa

spoonful guacamole

Mix quinoa with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice until combined. Add a pinch of sea salt if needed. Top with beans, kale, salsa, guacamole or whatever burrito bowl toppings are your favorites. Serves 1. 

Almost totally homemade cinnamon rolls!

About a year ago, I attempted to make Mama Pea’s cinnamon rolls, which are completely from scratch. Now usually I like making things from scratch and most of the time they turn out. Not this time, probably because I have nada experience with making bread that has to rise. I was still on the search for an easy vegan cinnamon roll recipe when I found out that you can make them using pizza dough. I had just gotten some fresh dough from Whole Foods the other day so I decided to put some of the dough to use in almost homemade cinnamon rolls. And they were a delicious success, not to mention totally easy. If you’re scared about making cinnamon rolls from scratch, this is the perfect recipe for you. Plus they’re really healthy–no butter or oil used, lightly sweetened with a natural sweetener and packed with nutritious grains like millet and oats (if you use multigrain pizza dough). What’s better than an easy, yummy and no-guilt breakfast?

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

half ball of fresh multigrain pizza dough

1 tbsp agave or maple syrup (I used Ohgave! honey vanilla)

generous sprinkle cinnamon

handful chopped maple or regular pecans

oat flour (to flour surface)

Let pizza dough rise in a towel-covered bowl for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out risen dough on floured cutting board until about 1 inch thick and rectangular in shape. Mix agave and cinnamon in a small bowl until thick and paste-like and spread on dough. Sprinkle with pecans and roll into a thick log, pinching ends. Cut into 4 small rolls with a floured knife and place in sprayed baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Serve warm from the oven topped with icing, cream cheese or vanilla almond butter. 

Quinoa power cookie (almost raw).

We just invested in a dehydrator, thanks to my obsession with dried fruit and how expensive that habit is. So far, I’ve made dried pineapple and kiwi…and these cookies. Yep, it’s true, you can make cookies in a dehydrator, and not just any cookies, but magical ones. Like ones made from simple, healthy ingredients like quinoa and almond butter. These babies are tiny but powerful…and delicious of course. They made my house smell like peanut butter and are crunchy and chewy at the same time. Oh, and if you’re dehydrator-less, you can make these in the oven at a low temp. I can’t vouch for how they’ll turn out, but the recipe I adapted them from said you can do that. I personally think it’s cooler making cookies in a dehydrator! Oh, and each cookie has less than 80 calories, so you can totally eat a few of them at a time without feeling guilty!

Quinoa Power Cookies (vegan, gluten-free)

Adapted from Insatiably Healthy

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tbsp almond butter (I used almond peanut cashew butter)

2 tbsp agave (I used Ohgave! honey vanilla agave) or other liquid sweetener

2 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp peanut flour

1 tbsp ground flax-seed

1/2 tbsp sweetened cacao nibs

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, almond butter and agave. Stir in oats, peanut flour and flax until mixture sticks together. Fold in cacao nibs and chocolate chips. Form into 10 small cookies and place on dehydrator trays. Cook on 115 F for 3-6 hours or until crunchy on the outside. 

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately? What’s your go-to Chipotle order?

So Many Surveys

I think I have a problem. I literally cannot turn down any fun surveys that come my way! What can I say, I love wasting my time filling them out and they’re just fun to do. Yes, basically I have no life 😉

This is the healthy living survey that’s been floating around for a little while now. I just spotted it on Tessa’s blog and thought “Why not?” Now that it’s kinda sorta summer for me, I have plenty of time to blog and what-not, so if any more surveys pop up this summer, I will definitely be filling them out.

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Peanut flour pancakes with homemade strawberry jam and sunflower seed butter.

Those pancakes above! Don’t they look amazing?! Sorry to tease you, the recipe will be up on my WIAW post for this week!

2. How much water do you drink each day?

Not enough, that’s for sure! Now that I’m home, I think I’m a little better with this, since I drink water with both snacks and also at lunch, but usually not any other time. I love water (especially with a little vanilla stevia added in) but I just don’t think about it. Something to work on, especially as the weather heats up this summer.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

Either tennis, or the daily cardio circuits I do courtesy of some free iPod apps. I would like to mix things up and buy different workout apps or just try new workout routines. I’m starting to feel burned out, which is no bueno.

4. How many calories do you eat each day?

In an effort to not be triggering, I won’t say how much but let’s just say it’s not a  healthy amount. I am still working on bulking up my meals and working towards eating about the same amount last summer when I was able to maintain my weight and feel good. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how much I actually need, and maybe even the amount I was having a year ago wasn’t quite enough but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Oh gosh, I have a ton! I can’t list them all but here are a few…

  • Larabars (love the cappuccino and chocolate chip brownie flavors, excited to try the brand new seasonal flavors…)
  • Pure bars (chocolate brownie, wild blueberry and cranberry orange are my faves)
  • Clif Mojo bars (obsessed with the mountain mix and white chocolate macadamia kinds)
  • Fruit! Frozen, fresh or dried.
  • Almond milk ice cream/banana soft serve. What, it’s a lot healthier than actual ice cream, but it tastes so creamy and good!
  • Snack plates, with random items

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

When I was at school, it was mostly a bar (see above) paired with fruit and some baby carrots, since I was usually on-the-go. Now that I’m at home, I love having the time to prepare all kinds of things, from nut butter-topped sweet potatoes to epic salads.

7. What is your favorite body part to train?

Abs/core! I have definitely improved my core strength over the past few months and I love feeling that burn in my abs.

8. What is your least favorite body part to train?

I have to go with legs right now. My left ankle has been killing me every time I try to run or even walk for a long time and it’s not fun. I’m not sure what’s up with that…

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?

I still have a lot of foods on my “bad” list, but I honestly don’t crave them at all. I like eating healthy and my indulgences tend to be on the healthier side as well, but I guess I’ll go with dark chocolate. I used to say I didn’t like it, but I was totally lying to myself. Now I allow myself one square a day (Chocolove FTW!) but that means that chocolate is still somewhat of a fear food for me.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Yes! I have since I was a little kid, my parents were always good about making us do that. Currently I take a gummy multivitamin and a gummy calcium/vitamin D supplement, since I don’t get enough of those as a vegan.

11. How often do you eat out?

During the school year, it was about once every two weeks, because my mom had to take me back up to school after a weekend spent at home so we’d eat out at fast casual places like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles and Mad Greens. Now that I’m home for the summer, we probably won’t eat out as much, but my mom’s birthday (and Mother’s Day) are next week, so we’ll definitely be going out to a real restaurant for that!

12. Do you eat fast food?

No way! I haven’t had legit fast food in at least 5 years and I don’t miss it at all. We never used to eat much fast food anyway. Now when we want a quick meal on-the-go, we hit up places like the ones I mentioned above. They are all super tasty, have plenty of healthy options and even some things I can veganize, which is always a win.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

This is tough, because I have three for sure–my mom, my dad and my little sister. I truly enjoy spending a lot of time with my family. We are really close, I know they’ve always got my back and we all share the same sarcastic humor 😉

14. Do you have a gym membership?

Nope, but in the fall, my apartment complex has a fitness center which I hope will be a good place to workout!

15. How many hours of sleep do you get each night?

I am high-maintenance in that I need 8-10 hours per night to function, otherwise I’m just dragging through the afternoon and sometimes end up with a headache. Since I’ve been home, my sleep schedule’s been thrown off a bit, but I’m sure I’ll get back into one soon!

16. Do you have a cheat day?

No. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m feeling better with eating stuff I love each and every day in moderation. I’m not sure I can call them treats, since they’re all pretty healthy, but if I want something, I will usually have it.

17. Do you drink alcohol?

Honestly, only small sips here and there when my parents offer it. I am underage, and I would rather wait til I am 21 (in a year and 2 ish months!) to drink more than that. I did enjoy a little bit of my mom’s homemade margarita on Saturday–had to celebrate Cinco de Mayo of course–and it was pretty good.

18. Do you have a workout buddy?

Usually not, but for tennis, I always play with my dad and sister.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

It has helped me move away somewhat from my eating disorder. In my worst days, I’d eat all sorts of low cal crap, like sugar-free Jell-O and Lean Cuisines because I genuinely believed they were healthy, since they were low fat and what-not. Now I now that some fats are healthy and I enjoy them every day, especially in nut butter form! It helped me transition into veganism, which feels right for me and my body, and has opened me up to new foods I never would have thought to try before.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

I went for a walk with my dad yesterday. It was cold and windy, but I loved catching up with him and getting some fresh air.

 

Where’s your favorite place to eat out at? What did you eat for breakfast?

 

Coach’s Oats Review!

So who’s ready for the weekend? I know I am! I’ll be back next week with what will hopefully be a recap of a fun weekend, but in the meantime, I wanted to give you guys an unofficial review of Coach’s Oats.

I mentioned in my last post that I won a giveaway on Facebook through Coach’s Oats page. Now, let me just tell you that I was beyond thrilled that I was one of their winners. #1, I never win anything. Like literally never. And #2, I was a winner of oats, aka one of my favorite foods. So yep, definitely happy to win that giveaway. Anyways, little did I know that they were going to be sending me a Hugh Jass bag of oats! I was surprised by that, but in a good way, of course. I was expecting some sample packets or something, so getting a giant package in the mail was awesome.

Before I get on with the review, I need to let you know that I was not in any way paid or compensated by Coach’s Oats to do this review–they actually didn’t even ask me to review them, they just sent them for free. This review is 100% my own opinion of the product.

When I first opened the bag, I thought something was wrong. Coach’s Oats don’t look like the typical thick rolled oats that I always buy; they’re kinda cracked and look a little like those pieces of popcorn shell that you get stuck in your teeth. I was skeptical at first, but I mixed some in with my usual oats and whipped up a serving of voluminous ‘overnight’ oats.

Coach's Oats/rolled oats topped with raisins and peanut flour paste.

So how did they taste? Honestly, they actually did taste a little nuttier than normal oats, just like the bag says! Also, despite their small appearance in the bag, they fluffed up really nicely. I like my oats super-thick and not watery at all, which is why I make them the voluminous way and then let them sit for a few hours to thicken up, and these definitely did that!

Apparently, they are similar to steel-cut oats (which I’ve never had) but cook much more quickly, just like quick and rolled oats. This is definitely good for people like me, who don’t have access to a stove or want to make a bowl of oats really quickly.

Next up, I tried them in a bowl of savory oats. Yes, savory. This was actually my first bowl of savory oats ever–I have such a sweet tooth that I normally have them topped with all sorts of sweet toppings (even for dinner!). But I’ve heard a lot of good things about savory oats, so I finally took the plunge. I made a bowl that I call Chipotle-inspired oats, because it’s similar to their naked burrito bowls, with oats instead of rice, but topped with grilled peppers, guacamole, plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and refried pinto beans.

Naked savory oats.

 

Chipotle oats topped with organic refried pinto beans, guacamole, a little plain Oikos, grilled pepper strips and crushed multigrain chips.

How did I like my first experience with savory oats? They were actually pretty good. My only complaint is that the oats themselves were pretty bland; when I make sweet oats, I add a packet of Truvia to sweeten them up, but obviously I wouldn’t do that with savory oats. Next time, I’d just add a pinch of salt to the oats before making them to really bring out their flavor. However, again, they did have a subtle nutty taste and I loved all the toppings I put on the oats. I’m already thinking of more combos, like curry-raisin or Mediterranean (with hummus and falafel)!

The nutritionals on Coach’s Oats are pretty stellar as well. They have 160 calories, 3 grams of fat (0.5 gram saturated), 4 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein in 1/3 cup, which is about the same as 1/2 cup of rolled oats. However, these fluff up enough that I think 1/3 cup would be a decent serving size, especially with toppings.

Overall, these are a very good alternative to regular oats, or just a way to mix it up. I personally think I’ll use them mixed in with my usual rolled oats just to add in a different texture. I definitely recommend them if you’re an oats lover like me! And thanks again, Coach’s Oats!

Have you ever tried Coach’s Oats? What combination would you try in a bowl of savory oats?