Favorites Lately

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was great–I spent it at home with the fam, and after not having been home in a few weeks, it was nice to be back again. While there, I got my hair done, saw my sister in her latest production, watched this weekend’s SNL (a lot funnier than I thought it would be), made a little Whole Foods trip, carved a pumpkin and watched some classic Disney Halloween cartoons. It was the perfect weekend, and the weather was unreal–sunny and in the 60s. Perfection.

I wanted to start off the week with a fun little post…and what could be more fun than sharing some of my recent favorites, from food to fashion and beyond.

I love being a brunette!

I love being a brunette!

So when I said I got my hair done…I really meant it! I’ve been planning on changing my hair color for awhile, mostly because I’ll be starting the job hunt soon and I needed a more professional/mature look. I decided to go back to a more natural hair color for me, and I absolutely love how my hair turned out. It’s a big change for me after getting full blonde highlights throughout my time at college, but I’m really embracing the change!

What American Accent Do You Have?

My dad and I are obsessed with dialects, and this quiz he showed me was super interesting. It’s a really quick quiz, but it’s fairly accurate. It told me I have a “Midland” accent, which basically means I have no accent. I’m not from the “Midland” (which they say is Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri–but I’ve always heard it’s more like Nebraska and Kansas) but apparently it means I have a good voice for TV which is exactly what I need!

I've been wishing for this forever!

I’ve been wishing for this forever!

A few weeks ago, I was looking for my usual favorite vegan chocolate chip brand, Enjoy Life, at Whole Foods when I stumbled upon this gem. Yep, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips exist! I was excited that these were vegan too because the rest of the Lily’s dark chocolate line has milk added in the bars. The price tag was a bit steep ($7 vs. $4-ish for Enjoy Life) but I bit the bullet and decided to try them. They’re REALLY good–a little more bitter than Enjoy Life chips, but just the right amount of sweetness and I love that they’re sugar free. These won’t be a regular purchase because of the price, but I will definitely choose them over any other chocolate chip most of the time.

So fierce.

So fierce.

If I had to name a favorite shoe brand, it’d have to be ALDO (wellllll, maybe Sperry’s too). I only own 2 pairs of their shoes, but I think they’re very well-made, reasonably affordable and cute to boot (see what I did there?) I actually own a similar style of booties to these from ALDO (but mine are grey corduroy with brown leather detailing) but I can’t resist how awesome these ones are. Definitely going on my Christmas wishlist–hey, I need black booties anyway!

Vegan comfort food at its healthiest.

Vegan comfort food at its healthiest.

When I saw this recipe for butternut squash pasta, I had no idea I’d be diving into a new obsession. Seriously. I’ve made the sauce twice and I’ve been so sad when it’s run out. This stuff is incredible, sweet and spicy, creamy and comforting but in a totally healthy way. I’ve served it with kelp noodles and hemp seeds, as a spread for socca, and even just eaten straight off the spoon cold. I made some changes to the recipe to make it my own and I hope to share it with guys soon. It’s a real keeper.

I've been wanting a cute capelet for forever...

I’ve been wanting a cute capelet for forever…

I’m glad the capelet trend is still going strong…I still need to get my hands on one for this winter! I think they’re so cute and versatile. I haven’t seen any in stores around me so this may be a Christmas wishlist item or a future online order. I really like this one, but I also love the houndstooth/plaid patterned ones as well.

What are some of your favorites?

Countdown to Christmas Recipes: Almond Flour Pumpkin Chip Muffins

My Friday post was scheduled ahead of time, so I was unable to acknowledge the horrible tragedy that occurred in CT. Please keep everyone affected by the event in your thoughts and prayers.

This may seem like more of a Thanksgiving recipe than a Christmas one, but I think pumpkin is still fitting this time of year. If you’re in need of a quick dessert to take to your holiday parties, this might fit the bill. It’s healthier than most muffin recipes–it’s grain free, packs in almost 5 grams of protein (if you go by the serving size, has only 2 tbsp of added sugar in the entire recipe and is packed with Vitamin A in the form of pumpkin, but I think most people will just be focusing on the incredible taste 😉

This is a very crumbly recipe, so you should probably keep it refrigerated ahead of time if you want it to hold up at a Christmas party. But if you make it just for yourself, I’d suggest crumbling one on top of some chocolate chia pudding, a bowl of fruit or whatever you want. Messy food is fun!

almond flour pumpkin chip muffin

 

Almond Flour Pumpkin Chip Muffins (vegan, grain free, gluten free)

1/3 cup almond flour or meal

2 scoops Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder (or any ‘clean’ vegan protein powder of choice)

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

1/2 tbsp baking powder

cinnamon, to taste

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp ground flax (made into flax ‘egg’ with 2 tbsp water)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin or baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients through salt. In a food processor or blender, mix pumpkin, maple syrup and almond milk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in flax egg until batter forms. Pour batter into muffin tins (or 1 baking dish) and bake for 20 minutes. Makes 10 small muffins. 

Each muffin is around 70 calories, so it’s a good smaller-size option for parties, but if you’re making them for yourself, you can make 5 or 6 bigger muffins and still be enjoying a much healthier treat.

Do you still eat pumpkin around Christmas time? Have you ever baked with almond flour before?

 

 

WIAW: Protein-Packed, Plant Style

Any current or former vegetarians and vegans out there know this question all too well: “So where do you get your protein?” To most omnis, protein is only found in meat, eggs and dairy products. But as we all know, protein is found in pretty much everything, from kale to cacao nibs. Yes, there are actually 3 grams of protein in a one ounce serving of cacao nibs, which is all the more reason to enjoy chocolate 😉 Anyways, the point is, even strict vegans don’t need to worry much about adequate protein consumption as long as they’re consuming enough calories as well. However, I do love a lot of plant-based protein sources–I love me some healthy carbs, but I can’t survive on those alone. Last year, when I was just starting out on my vegan journey, I gravitated more towards carbs, which is okay, but nowadays I have a much better balance of fats, protein and carbs and I feel a lot more energized. If I had to categorize my macros, I’d say I’m usually around 45% carbs, 20-25% protein and 30-35% fats. That’s a big change, especially in the fats department, but I’m definitely embracing protein a lot more today too.

That being said, here are Monday’s protein-packed, plant-based eats. Note: I am a big fan of plant protein powders (not soy-based ones, but ones made from sprouted quinoa/rice, pea and cranberry proteins, like Vega and Sunwarrior) and I use them frequently, but I don’t think they’re a necessity in a plant-based diet. I use them (along with peanut flour, which isn’t really a protein powder but just concentrated peanut protein that tastes AMAZING) because I like how they taste and that they give me a protein boost for relatively fewer calories. Yes, I will admit that I still have a fear of eating ‘enough’, mostly because I don’t know what ‘enough’ is for me and it’s scary to change our habits. I do like whole food sources of protein, but protein powders are fun and tasty and I always choose the less processed versions.

Breakfast: banana bread in a bowl. Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder, half of a mashed banana, almond milk, mini Enjoy Life chocolate chips, topped with Maranatha maple almond butter.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with banana bread. I’ve been fulfilling that craving with making my protein microwave cakes with a banana mashed in and adding chocolate chips. Maybe you won’t believe me, but this legit reminds me of banana bread. The best part is the gooey banana and chocolate, and the melty nut butter on top. Swoooon…

Protein: 19 grams

Lunch: pumpkin curry socca pizza topped with kale and red cabbage, side of black grapes and Chocolove peppermint dark chocolate square.

Socca is a great way to have pizza while still getting in some great protein. I love loading up my pizzas with veggies, and since I don’t eat cheese, most traditional pizzas don’t have much in the way of protein. But socca does, and I love it! Today’s version had a pumpkin curry sauce (made by mixing pumpkin puree and a premade coconut curry sauce) and was topped with sauteed kale and crunchy red cabbage. Perfect combo!

Protein: 8 grams

Afternoon snack: peanut and buckwheat flour waffle, topped with maple almond butter and vegan chocolate mousse.

You guys already know I have an insane obsession with homemade waffles. I love everything about them–the toppings, the texture, the endless flavor options, the flour choices. This one was made with a mix of (mostly) peanut flour and a little buckwheat flour and then topped with my new favorite almond butter and some mousse from the Whole Foods dessert section (it has a really great ingredients list of just dark chocolate, tofu and maple syrup). I added in a bit of banana and some more chocolate chips into the batter and it was just too good.

Protein: 14 grams

Dinner: pineapple fried quinoa, with edamame and (unpictured) Kaia raw sprouted “party mix” pumpkin seeds, unpictured side of kabocha squash dipped in organic ketchup.

Guys, this may be my new favorite dinner (other than waffles). I made it for the first time around my birthday back in July and made it a few times shortly after, but then forgot about it as I was moving into my apartment and starting school again. I randomly decided I wanted to make it again and I am so glad I rediscovered it. It is really so simple, but tastes crazy good. The best part is, it’s packed with protein from whole foods sources–edamame, quinoa and pumpkin seeds.

Protein: 11 grams

Dessert: PB Puffins mixed with peanut flour, almond milk, raisins and mini chocolate chips, unpictured side of peppermint dark chocolate square and Hail Merry raw maple vanilla almonds.

I don’t have cereal as much anymore, but I still have a soft spot for PB Puffins. They’re just so…addictingly good. Now when I have cereal, I like to add in some protein powder or peanut flour in with the almond milk to make it more substantial. This particular bowl was very peanutty, but good, even for a girl who hates peanut butter (but loves peanut otherwise).

Protein: 11 grams

The total protein count for the day was 63 grams! I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s right in line (actually a little higher) than Fitsugar’s chart on protein needs based on weight and activity levels. And for me, it’s about double the protein that I was eating a year ago so I consider that a major success! And it just goes to show that vegans can get enough protein, without having to eat a ton of soy (I only had half a serving on Monday) or even a lot of supplements (I only used one full scoop of protein powder the entire day).

Do you ever track your protein consumption? What’s your favorite plant-based protein source? 

WIAW: Weird Day of Eats

This is going to be a quick WIAW post since I’ve been incredibly busy this week–it’s midterm time and I’ve been overloaded with other school stuff too. But I still wanted to get in a WIAW so here it is! This is showing (almost) all of my food from Monday and it was a weird day of eating. My fridge hasn’t been working so I’ve had to keep my food in a small insulated cooler and I have to constantly change the ice out. It’s a pain in the butt, especially since the whole ordeal ended up making my kale inedible 😦 but hopefully my fridge will be fixed soon.

Caramel apple protein smoothie. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk. A quarter of a Pink Lady apple. 1 small Medjool date. Vega vanilla almondilla protein powder. Dried apple ring.

This was totally made up on the spot, but it worked, and actually tasted caramel-y. It’s still warm enough here most days for smoothies so I hope I can enjoy this a few more times.

Starbucks tall salted caramel mocha frappuccino light with soy. Unpictured side of dry roast edamame and maple pecans.

Yes, this was lunch. And yes, it was delicious. Also yes, it didn’t leave me satisfied. Obviously having a lunch that’s mostly caffeine and fake sugar will do that to you, but I was really craving a light frappuccino and this did the trick. I tried to bulk it up by adding protein (edamame) and fat (pecans). I wouldn’t do it again, but it was tasty.

Hannah yam. Salted almond butter, maple syrup, vegan chocolate chips.

This quick snack did the trick. The combo seems really weird but it works. If you’ve never tried a Hannah yam, you should. They look like regular potatoes on the outside but have a yellow-y inside and taste like a sweet potato.

This is my morning weather update from this week! It’s CTV’s (my college’s TV station) first week trying out these morning weather updates so hopefully they get better over time. And next time I hope I don’t look fat–it’s probably just how the shot was cropped and that it’s widescreen but I look seriously bloated. No bueno.

Yay for cheap-o knockoffs!

If you thought these were TOMS, you’d be wrong. But they’re almost as good, plus they were under $10. I made an impromptu stop at Super Target the other day and got sucked into buying these shoes. But hey, they were a good deal and I needed a pair of flats. You can’t really tell by the picture, but they’re a glittery gold. So cute, and so cheap.

Coconut flour microwave cake topped with peanut flour. Kale with vegan creamy garlic dressing. Two falafel balls. Dried apple rings.

Finally some veggies other than a sweet potato! This was the last of my kale because sadly it wilted after being in a less-than-cold fridge. Sad day. This was a delicious, if random, dinner though. (Side note: I finally have peanut flour back in my life!)

Protein cereal bowl. Sunrise maple cereal. PB & chocolate Puffins. Chocolate chips. Raisins. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Peanut flour.

I used to be such a cereal fiend, but now I have it maybe once a week. And it’s always in protein cereal bowl form, aka I put protein powder or peanut flour in the bottom of a bowl, dump in the cereal and other add-ins and then add almond milk. So good, and I get a nice dose of protein with my carbs.

Do you have any ‘knockoff’ shoes? What’s the weirdest lunch you’ve ever had?

Vegan MoFo: Pumpkin Macaroons

I first heard of Vegan MoFo last year, when I was new to veganism and still eating Greek yogurt on occasion. I thought it was a cool concept but I didn’t think much of it until this year. Now I would say I’m 99% vegan (that 1% accounts for occasional trips for gelato, or accidentally eating something at a restaurant that turns out to not be vegan) and eating a more well-rounded plant-based diet. A year ago I was eating a lot more vegan ‘convenience’ food like Morningstar veggie sausages every morning and I couldn’t live without my daily bowl of overnight oats. Now I skip all those faux meats (tempeh and tofu don’t count!) and I rarely have oats anymore. I’m eating cleaner than ever and experimenting all the time with my meals. Basically I’m having more fun with food and loving it!

One of the new foods I’ve been embracing is coconut. I used to be afraid of it, but now I know how healthy and tasty it is. I’ve mostly been using it in oil and flour form and both are amazing but I bought some coconut shreds a couple weeks ago and barely made a dent in the huge bag…until now.

I’ve been wanting to try Hail Merry’s raw macaroons ever since I first spotted them at Whole Foods. But at $7.99 a bag, they’re a definite splurge that have just not been in my budget lately. So why not try to make my own macaroons?

Mine are almost raw, and incorporate everyone’s favorite fall veggie, pumpkin. I mean, why not put it in everything and end up being orange by the end of fall? And I just had to include some chocolate in there because you can’t deny the amazingness of pumpkin + chocolate, but you can always skip that step.

Chocolate dipped.

Pumpkin Macaroons (vegan, gluten-free, grain free)

1/2 cup finely shredded coconut 

2 tbsp almond flour/meal

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

pinch sea salt

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips

In a food processor, blend the first 5 ingredients until they stick together. Roll into small balls (makes about 15) and place on a sheet of foil or a plate. Stick in the freezer for 10 minutes. In a microwave safe bowl or over low heat on the stove, heat the coconut oil and chocolate chips until melted. Dip macaroons into melted chocolate and stick back in the freezer. 

Plain.

What I love about these is that it doesn’t make a huge batch (you can always scale up the ingredients to make more though) and each little macaroon is around 30 calories…yes, even with the chocolate! So you can always have a few for a snack or just pop one after dinner for a mini dessert. They’re grain free and are packed with healthy fats, natural sugar and even a veggie…but they taste like a dessert!

 

This recipe was submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #15

Have you ever had a macaroon? Do you like the pumpkin + chocolate combo?

WIAW (on Sunday)

So I haven’t done a legit WIAW (aka, posting all my meals from one day) in a really long time…why not do one now? I managed to take Instagram pics of basically everything I ate on Sunday so here it is!

Breakfast

Homemade oat flour waffle with semisweet chocolate chips and frozen raspberries, topped with chocolate protein ‘frosting’ and fresh raspberries.

It’s obvious that I’m obsessed with waffles for breakfast. But I haven’t spent a dime on frozen waffles in probably 2 years. Why not make your own, with all the things you want and nothing you don’t? My waffle maker is getting so much use by me that my mom said I could take it with me to my apartment! My basic recipe always includes oat flour, baking powder, Truvia, unsweetened almond milk and chia gel. But I always include add-ins. And you can’t forget the protein frosting, that’s the icing on the cake waffle.

Lunch

Steamed edamame topped with nooch, baby carrots, mini raw carrot cake bite topped with pineapple cashew cream frosting, fresh pineapple and blueberries.

I love having edamame at lunch! Lately, I’ve been increasing my protein and it keeps me so satisfied. I’m not straying from veganism for the sake of protein though–there are plenty of plant based proteins that I’m obsessed with. Edamame is definitely one of them, it’s just so good and easy to make. And it tastes awesome with nooch–sounds weird, but it does.

Snack

Simply sprouted sweet potato chips, wasabi rice crackers, kettle corn, dried edamame, maple cashews, Medjool date, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

I don’t think it’s possible for me to get sick of snack plates–there’s just so many combos! I always have a good mix of carbs (sprouted chips, rice crackers and organic kettle corn), protein (edamame), fat (cashews) and fun (chocolate and date). I just love the mix of flavors and textures, plus it lets me be indecisive 😉

Tennis

It’s a Christmas court!

I’ve been trying to play tennis with my dad every weekend this summer. It hasn’t always happened, but we’ve been playing a lot and it’s always a fun break from the norm. On Sunday we only played for half an hour since we started out late (around 5:50 pm) and the clouds were rolling in but we were running around the court more than usual.

Dinner

Spinach and mixed greens topped with falafel and homemade vegan tzatziki, veggie straws (unpictured chocolate banana protein smoothie).

I was feeling lazy and uninspired when dinner rolled around but I decided to make use of some falafel balls taking up space in the fridge. I whipped up a vegan tzatziki sauce made from some coconut milk yogurt I just bought, topped some greens with the baked falafels and sauce and had some veggie straws and a protein smoothie on the side. It was actually a great dinner, especially for being on the fly!

Coconut Tzatziki (vegan, gluten-free)

1 container So Delicious plain coconut milk yogurt (can use Greek-style or regular)

1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped

mint leaves, to taste

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper, to taste

Scoop yogurt into a bowl. Add in cucumber, mint leaves, garlic and lemon juice. Stir until combined, and add in salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to let flavors mix. Makes 4-5 small servings.

Dessert

Half of a WF vegan chocolate chip cookie, fresh raspberries, mint chip coconut milk ice cream.

I know I post a picture of a vegan cookie and ice cream all the time, but I don’t have it every night! The cookie I buy maybe once every two weeks when I hit up Whole Foods, and I split it in half to make it last two nights. And I have a small bowl of vegan ice cream a few nights a week, it’s just too good not to enjoy often! But it’s expensive so I try to make it last!

I just noticed that I was obsessed with chocolate and berries on Sunday–not bad obsessions at all 😛 Actually, I’ve been loving both a lot lately, along with pineapple, mango, quinoa and sunflower seed butter. Hey, food ruts aren’t all bad!

Have you been in any ‘food ruts’ lately? Do you like eating salads for dinner?

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #42

Friday Faves (June 8th)

Is it just me or did this week go by super fast? I guess staying busy will do that to you–I’ve been going to my internship, grocery shopping and packing for an upcoming move. I’ve barely had time to whip up any recipes lately so sorry for the lack of them this week!

Favorite Find: Fruit Infusion Pitcher

Who wouldn’t want fruit infused water?

I saw this baby at Target–aka, the store I could spend hours in looking at all of their stuff, especially their kitchen and patio stuff. This pitcher is really cool because you just put fruit in the inner cylinder and it infuses the plain water with it. So basically like juice but without the added sugar. How cool is that?!

Favorite Video: S*** Vegans Say

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the S*** ________ Say video series. This one and it’s sequel are flipping hilarious because I have definitely said some of those things before. Even if you aren’t vegan, you’ll probably find it funny because a lot of the stuff mentioned is pretty popular around the blog world. And maybe you’ve even said some of those things before yourself 😛

Favorite Breakfast

Chilled quinoa mixed with u/s vanilla almond milk and vanilla stevia, topped with peanut flour, raisins, sunflower seeds almond peanut cashew butter, chocolate chips and drizzle honey vanilla agave.

Move over, overnight oats! Overnight quinoa is where it’s at. When I first made this, I was worried it would turn out weird. But it’s actually really really good and a nice change from oats. The toppings are what make it, though!

Favorite Buy: Harbor Beach pinstriped skirt from Hollister

Mine is actually orange-striped, but you get the idea.

For such a girly girl, you’d think I’d own more skirts. I actually only have 6, not including my latest purchase. I love this one though because it has a summery, nautical feel and it feels fun to twirl around in. Yes, I am 5 years old, apparently.

What breakfast are you loving lately? What’s the best thing you’ve ever found at Target?