New in Review: Chai & Chocolate

I have a problem. A problem with starting too many post series that I never stick to. I did keep my College Vegan on a Budget series going for several months and obviously I can’t go back to it now as a post-grad. But several other series I had big plans for died an early death.

I’m hoping I can keep this one going for awhile. See, I like product review posts a lot. I read them when I spot a new product on the shelves and I’m wondering if it’s worth a purchase, or if I just bought something and want to see what other people think. Either way, I think they’re informative and fun, so I wanted to bring something like that to AlmostVegGirlie.

I’m calling this new series New in Review, and it will be my honest thoughts about products (not just food!) that I’ve recently tried. Everything I post will be products I bought myself, so no sponsored posts here. And I hope you find them to be interesting!

  • Quinn Kale & Sea Salt popcorn

2014-04-15 16.32.32

I spotted this at Whole Foods, and even though I eat grain free a lot of the time by default, I’ve been craving popcorn lately. Plus it’s gluten free and sounded interesting, so I bought it. When I opened the bag, I was surprised to see that the popcorn was¬†green. Like spinach green. I love all things green, though, so it didn’t scare me away, though some picky people might be thrown off by it. But then, it is made with dried organic kale (and carrot), so it’s basically like salad ūüėȬ†

The ingredients list is stellar–non-gmo popcorn kernels (corn is a heavily GM product so non-gmo is important), sunflower oil (healthier than most veggie oils, though coconut oil is best), dried organic kale and carrot (seriously, veggies in popcorn is incredible), sea salt, onion powder and garlic powder. That’s it…just popcorn and spices and a little oil. The best part is how tasty this popcorn is. It’s got a slight veggie flavor but not overpowering, with the perfect amount of saltiness and tang from the spices. And it’s a little addicting, but in a good way, because one serving of popcorn (4 cups) is 150 calories.

Pros: organic/non-gmo, clean ingredients, good flavor

Cons: I wish there was more popcorn!

  • Maybelline Volum’ Express Mega Plush mascara

2014-04-15 16.33.47

I’ve been partial to Maybelline mascaras since I discovered their Illegal Length mascara. My lashes are fairly voluminous, so I’m mostly looking to add length and darkness. I like Maybelline’s mascaras because they last a long time (I use it daily) and are fairly inexpensive and available at regular stores like Target.

This mascara is gel mousse, so the texture is a bit different, but it doesn’t clump at all. It also has a flexible brush, which makes it easier to apply. I prefer washable mascaras so I haven’t tried the waterproof kind, but the washable one is easily removable with soap+water or makeup wipes but it doesn’t smudge either.

Pros: inexpensive ($7 ish for a tube), goes on smoothly, feels light

Cons: I wish it added length as well as volume

  • Fearless Chocolate

2014-04-15 16.33.18

This is officially my go-to chocolate brand now! So far, I’ve tried 4 flavors: Superfruit, Green Tea Mint, Exploding Coconuts, and Super Seeds Crunch. All of them are good, but the Exploding Coconuts is my favorite so far. It’s got great little chunks of coconut in it! Though I can’t wait to find their new coffee flavor–I love coffee+chocolate!

Fearless Chocolate has one of the simplest ingredients list of any chocolate brand. They’re soy free (no soy lecithin, which is hard to find in chocolate), gluten free, vegan and certified organic & fair trade. Best of all, they’re made with raw cacao instead of cocoa butter, making them purely chocolate, and organic cane sugar is the last ingredient, so the bars aren’t too sweet.

Pros:¬†Basically everything I’m looking for in dark chocolate

Cons: I didn’t love the mint flavor as much as I thought I would, a little pricey

  • ¬†Trader Joes Spiced Chai Tea

2014-04-15 16.33.07

 

I went to Trader Joes for the first time about a month ago, and while I’ve already finished off most of the things I’ve bought, I’ve still got plenty of pink sea salt and this chai tea left.

With the warm days we’ve been having lately, I decided to use these tea bags to make iced tea over the weekend. I cold-brewed them in a pitcher for 10 minutes or so, and then taste-tested. This tea has a great, complex spiced flavor but it isn’t too bold. It also pairs well mixed with a bit of stevia and some coconut-almond milk over ice.

Pros: budget friendly, good flavor

Cons: No TJs near me anymore so I can’t buy more¬†ūüė¶

  • Kevita Probiotic Drinks

2014-04-15 16.31.59

I still haven’t gotten on the kombucha train, but I loooooove Kevita! It’s a little fizzy, sweetened with stevia and comes in a bunch of tasty flavors (I’ve tried the lemon cayenne, strawberry acai coconut, mango coconut & mojita lime mint).

This stuff is about the same price as GT Kombucha (though generally cheaper at Sprouts and Whole Foods when on sale) and it boasts the same probiotic qualities. But there’s no weird aftertaste or floaties that come with some kombuchas. Plus it’s organic and made with reverse osmosis water. It’s almost like a light, refreshing soda but so much better for you and won’t make you all bloated like diet soda does.

My new favorite flavor is the lemon cayenne cleanse–it tastes like lemonade!

Pros: tasty, health benefits, lots of flavors

Cons: a bit expensive when not on sale

What new products have you tried lately? 

“But Where Do You Get Your Protein?” (Garden of Life Review)

If you are or have ever been a plant-based eater, you’ll know that the protein question is all too common…and annoying! Many omnivores believe that the only sources of protein are found in animals, and vegans especially are scrutinized for the presumed lack of protein in their diet. My parents, though both omnis, are luckily very open to my veganism (they’ve even tried and loved some vegan dishes) and don’t question my protein content, but I know that I’ve been making more of a conscious effort over the past year to increase my protein consumption without turning to animal-based sources.

When I first started AlmostVegGirlie, I was mostly vegetarian but had never heard of tempeh or peanut flour. As I transitioned into a vegan diet, I eschewed shrimp and Greek yogurt, only to find myself lacking in the protein department. A year ago, I was only getting about 15% of my calories from protein on a daily basis–I know some sources say you only need roughly 10-20% from protein, but I wasn’t feeling as energetic as I knew I could be. So I started incorporating more protein sources: sprouted tofu, nutritional yeast (2 tbsp has 8 grams of protein!), nuts/seeds, tempeh, peanut flour and plant-based protein powders all entered my rotation of food within the last year.

One of my favorite (secret) sources of protein--a 1 ounce serving has 9 grams of protein!

One of my favorite (secret) sources of protein–a 1 ounce serving has 9 grams of protein!

Now, I try to include a source of protein with every meal and snack, and I’m getting between 25 and 30% of my calories from protein–what a difference! I feel like I’m¬†benefiting¬†more from my workouts and I tend to feel less hungry when I get enough protein (though increasing my healthy fats in the last few months has helped too). I’m strongly considering starting a strength training routine soon and I know that having more protein will be beneficial for that.

So what does all this protein talk have to do with a review? Well, about a month ago the lovely people at Garden of Life¬†sent me some samples to review. I’ve mentioned my love of their protein powders before and I’m so glad I discovered them because they’re my favorite plant-based protein powder.

What I love about Garden of Life is that their protein powders are made from sprouted protein sources including quinoa, lentil, flax and chia seeds (instead of the usual soy-based powders), they’re sweetened only with stevia and they are a source of raw probiotics from chlorella. But the best part is, they don’t taste plant-y at all! The flavors are true to life and not overpowered by sweetness.

I was sent the RAW vanilla and RAW chocolate flavors to try. I had bought and tried the chocolate before myself so I knew I’d love it but it was nice that they sent individual serving size packets which are perfect for taking on-the-go. I had never tried the vanilla before but I was excited to see if it was better than other vanilla protein powders I’d tried. Usually, vanilla powders are hit or miss–some are delicious and not too sweet but others just taste fake. Garden of Life’s vanilla was very clean and a little bit ‘green’ tasting but I liked it. The consistency was great for making protein frosting and it works well in baked goods.

Chocolate peppermint buckwheat waffle with Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein frosting.

Chocolate peppermint buckwheat waffle with Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein frosting.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Garden of Life RAW protein powders. They’re well-priced (you can get them for $28 on iHerb, $25 on Amazon and Whole Foods has them for about $30 but they usually have a $5 off coupon for them in their monthly flyer), taste great, are made from plant-based clean ingredients and have great stats (90 calories, 17 grams of protein and 0 grams of sugar per scoop). I would recommend any of the flavors, but if you have a Whole Foods near you, be sure to check out the store’s exclusive vanilla chai flavor–it’s my favorite!

Disclaimer: I was given this product to review by Garden of Life. All opinions are my own. 

Have you ever tried Garden of Life protein powder? Do you prefer chocolate, vanilla or other flavors of protein powder? 

College Vegan on a Budget: Last Stock-Up

The latest installment in a series of posts on sticking with a college-sized budget with expensive, vegan tastes and a love for cooking.

My last week of classes officially started today, and I am beyond excited to go home for Christmas break! I don’t wanna brag, but my college is giving us 5 whole weeks of break this year–usually we only get 4, so I feel really blessed. Thanksgiving break came and went too quickly so I’m planning on enjoying every moment of Christmas break.

This weekend is (hopefully) the last shopping trip of the semester while I’m at school. I bought a lot of stuff, but I can bring it back with me when I go home so I’m not too worried about it. As usual, I picked up a couple new-t0-me things because, well, why the heck not? Some of the things I bought are specifically for recipes I’m planning on making so if they turn out amazing, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Sprouts

My Sprouts haul

My Sprouts haul

*=organic

What I Got: Silver Hills Bakery The Big 16 sprouted bread*, gold nugget squash (love finding new squashes), navel orange, cauliflower, buckwheat flour*, curry seasoning

What It Cost Me: $16. 43 (this is why I love Sprouts!)

Verdict: I’m excited to try the squash and the bread. I’ve been on the lookout for a really good sprouted bread without unnecessary ingredients (Ezekiel is okay, not my fave, and Alvarado Street is a little too processed) and I was excited to see that they sell Silver Hills bread in CO. I love their simple, whole ingredients so I’m super excited they sell it here. Now I need to look for their Little Big Bread and their gluten free breads!

Whole Foods

Whole Foods staples...

Whole Foods staples…

What I Got: almond flour, dried pineapple*, red enchilada sauce, Coconut Secret raw coconut nectar (not sure how I feel about this yet…), So Delicious no sugar added mint chip coconut milk ice cream (love the mint chip combo), Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter squeeze packet, dark chocolate raisins*, Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder (new favorite protein powder brand), spelt flour*, Vega One French vanilla protein powder packet, Theo toasted coconut dark chocolate bar, mini candy canes* (so excited for these), Rudi’s gluten free spinach tortillas, kale*, no oil tangerine dressing, baby carrots*, black figs* (I’ve been missing these like no other)

What I Spent: $86.73 (typical lately…)

Verdict: I wasn’t expecting to spend this much, but then again I spent under $50 last weekend and I was running low on protein powder, which is a major chunk of the total (even with a coupon). I bought the coconut nectar because I needed more maple syrup and it was the same price for a larger amount, but I’m not sure I love it yet. I think I’ll use it in recipes, but save my beloved maple syrup for waffles and almond butter.¬†

...and Whole Foods splurges

…and Whole Foods splurges

Do you like sprouted bread? What’s the best new food find you’ve discovered lately?

 

WIAW: Fall Flavors

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m excited for fall. I vowed to not wear long pants until fall officially arrived…yeah, that didn’t happen. I wore them twice in the past two weeks because it got randomly chilly for a couple days. I’ve embraced my moccasins again (and I’m looking for another pair to buy). And I’ve been enjoying the flavors of fall. Here they are, WIAW style!

Caramel apple coffee? Uh, heck to the yes!

You know me, I’m a sucker for anything seasonal or limited edition. I recently inherited my dad’s coffeemaker and I was planning on buying the coconut macaroon flavored coffee from Target, but when I saw this, there was no stopping me. I mean, you can’t go wrong with caramel and apple in coffee. Especially when it’s made with vanilla almond milk.

Looks weird, tastes amazing.

I’ve finally got a recipe for y’all! I made this last week when I got down to the end of my first can of pumpkin. I also had a bit of a leftover sweet potato so I decided to mix them up with a few other things and it turned out surprisingly really good.

Pumpkin Coconut Mash (vegan, gluten-free)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/4 sweet potato (or another 1/4 cup pumpkin)

1 tbsp coconut flour

drizzle agave or maple syrup

maple or vanilla extract

unsweetened vanilla almond milk, to thin

cinnamon, raisins, protein frosting, etc. for topping

In a bowl, mash together pumpkin, sweet potato (if using) and coconut flour. Add in liquid sweetener and extract to taste and pour in almond milk until mixture is thick and wet. Microwave on high for 1-3 minutes, or until combined and hot. Drizzle with more maple or agave, cinnamon, raisins, protein frosting or whatever you want. Makes 1 serving.

Coconut oil makes everything better!

This was my attempt at homemade plantain chips. I’ve always wanted to try them, but I’m not a fan of deep-fried things or weird oils. So I bought a plantain, put a little coconut oil in a pan and cooked up the slices. I also sprinkled cinnamon on them while they were cooking. They turned out really delicious, but not crispy at all. Next time I think I’ll cook them first and then dehydrate them.

Slice homemade white pizza, slice homemade sweet and salty pumpkin pizza, fresh blueberries.

Have any of you ever had “white” pizza? I think it’s usually an alfredo-based sauce topped with wilted spinach. I haven’t had it in years but I really wanted to recreate it, healthy vegan style, and I was totally successful. I topped some Whole Foods multigrain pizza dough with Follow Your Heart vegan creamy garlic dressing, shredded kale leaves and navy beans. Super simple, but it turned out great. The dressing kinda soaked into the crust and it tasted even better that way. The pumpkin pizza I made wasn’t quite as good, but I made an amazing pumpkin pizza¬†last year, so I’ll just have to tweak this sauce next time.

This is basically the cleanest donut ever!

Have you ever seen a donut with these ingredients? I’ll admit, neither had I until the other day. I really think it’s awesome that Whole Foods made a healthier donut. Who could say no to garbanzo beans, coconut, almonds and pumpkin in their donut? Of course I had to buy it to try it out!

This gluten free and vegan donut was a winner!

And the verdict is….amazing! This donut was perfectly moist and fudgy, like the perfect chocolate cake. I’m not even a fan of cake and I liked this. I was only disappointed because it claimed to be a pumpkin donut, and it was basically all chocolate. But I don’t complain about chocolate, ever.

I’ll miss being able to wear strapless tops with no jacket…

I’ve been switching up my workouts lately with an app called Skimble Workouts. Most of the stuff on there is free, and they’ve got a ton of pre-made workout routines of different lengths and intensities. I’ve been getting great ab, leg and arm workouts lately and they’re lots of fun. Obviously I wanted to show off my hard work with a progress pic of sorts. Can you see that baby bicep?

So I was going to end this post with a video of my first weather forecast ever from last week but the video wouldn’t load. I should be able to get either this week or last week’s forecast up in the next few days though. I’d love any and all feedback you guys have for me!

What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve seen in a baked good? What’s your favorite “fall flavor”?

A New Decade (Birthday Weekend Recap)

Hi everyone! Did you all have fab weekends? Mine was the best I’ve had probably all summer, and as promised, I’ve got a recap of my birthday weekend for ya! (Warning: Plenty of photos ahead!)

Who doesn’t want their own birthday banner?

I woke up on Friday to this–my mom taped it up there while I was asleep, how sweet is that?! My morning continued with an unpictured homemade chocolate chip oat flour waffle topped with fresh raspberries and chocolate protein frosting.

I love having a summer birthday because I can always wear a cute dress on my big day!

Most of the morning and afternoon were low-key. My mom and I stopped at the store to pick up a few things she needed and then we headed downtown for a special Olympics event they were holding. We got there around 4, which was when it was supposed to start, but not much was going on when we first got there. There were some cool things set up, like a giant trampoline, BMX ramps, a mini tennis court and a synthetic ice rink but no one was really doing anything. We did end up getting on TV though–one of the guys I know from my TV internship saw us and he interviewed my mom! And I also got some free Starbucks (unsweetened iced coffee) so it was worth it.

Whole Foods cold bar dinner: jicama apple quinoa salad, sweet potato/pepper/currant salad, marinated artichokes, zucchini pickles, chipotle orange tofu, curried potatoes and Korean slaw.

For my birthday dinner, I chose the Whole Foods salad bars! I am obsessed with the one near me, they always have the best stuff and they change it a lot so I can always get something new. My mom got some of the Mexican things they had, I got a random mish-mash of cold salads and my dad got a seafood sandwich (my sister was at her rehearsal for the theatre camp she’s at, so she missed out on the WF fun). Oh, and we of course watched the Olympic opening ceremonies! The best part is watching all the countries come in and making fun of their outfits.

My first birthday cake in a couple years! Totally vegan, and totally yummy!

I’m usually not a huge fan of cake. I’ll eat it if it’s a really interesting flavor, but I definitely prefer giant warm cookies or vegan ice cream for desserts. In fact, the last couple of years for my birthday, I’ve requested gelato instead of cake. But this year, I was super excited to try one of Whole Foods’ vegan cakes. I was planning on getting a slice of raw cheesecake but (full disclosure) the fat and calorie content kinda freaked me out. I loved how simple the ingredients were (cashews, coconut oil, raw chocolate) but I ended up with a slice of their vegan chocolate raspberry cake. And I was not disappointed at all! I split this giant square with my dad, who also loved it. With most cakes, I scrape the frosting off immediately because I’ve never been a fan. But this vegan frosting was so rich and delicious that I couldn’t skip it.

My special birthday nails (that match my laptop!)

Saturday wasn’t too exciting. I had work in the afternoon, but after dinner, my dad and I watched The Descendants. George Clooney and Shailene Woodley were perfect in it and it was a really great movie. Funny in some parts, and super sad in others. Plus it made me realize that I need to move to Hawaii!

Ready for a day of shopping!

Sunday was the day I was really looking forward to. I decided to forgo birthday presents in favor of a parent-funded shopping spree in Denver. I live for shopping, seriously! I just love looking through all the stores I love, laughing at some of the weirder items and finding the perfect outfits. We started out at the Pavilions at the 16th Street Mall and hit up H&M and Forever 21. Both of those stores are HUGE at that location so it can be kinda hard to find something you want to buy, but it’s still super fun. And I bought my first-ever item at H&M!

From top to bottom: navy lace tee (Hollister), pink printed tank dress (Forever 21), colorblock skirt (F21), navy bow leather flip-flops (HCo.)

I love long necklaces: pink heart pendant (Forever 21), jeweled parrot pendant (ALDO Accessories).

We also went to my favorite mall on the south side of Denver. My sister and I ventured off on our own and ended up going to a bunch of stores: Hollister, American Eagle, ALDO Accessories, Bath & Body Works and Abercrombie & Fitch. It sucked though because it was a Sunday, and we got to the mall around 4:30…and all the stores started closing at 6. We got to Abercrombie as soon as they were closing, so we had to rush around trying to find something to buy and I left the store empty-handed. We’ve never gone up there on a Sunday, so it was weird being kicked out of the stores so early, but we’ll know better next time.

I feel so French in this dress: light pink/black striped T-shirt dress (H&M).

Cute in stripes: orange/navy striped cropped tee (Hollister).

Apparently I love orange: strapless orange dress (Hollister).

Garbanzo is one of my fave places to go! I ordered a plate with falafel, tabbouleh, cilantro sauce, grilled eggplant, lettuce, red cabbage and hummus.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to the vegetarian restaurant because it was a little pricey but I’m planning a visit to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in my college town sometime soon. We did go to Garbanzo, though, which I could eat at every week. They have a lot of vegan options too which I love and everything there is so fresh and pretty cheap. Their tabbouleh and hummus are my favorite of any Mediterranean place I’ve been to!

So that’s pretty much my entire birthday weekend. I had such a fun time, treated myself a few times and did some major shopping. I couldn’t have asked for a better 20th birthday!

What did you do for your last birthday? What do you like for your birthday dessert?

WIAW: I Can Almost Taste Thanksgiving!

Purple cauliflower fans unite! Oh, hi guys, sorry I was just excited about all the great responses to my last post! I love seeing that you could relate to my stressage about signing up for classes and all the foodie-type things I included in the post.

Anyways, on with this week’s WIAW. I was lucky enough to get to go home this weekend sorta unexpectedly, because I have a humongo stats test on Friday that I’m pretty sure I’ll¬†fail without getting some help, so I recruited my math-whiz dad. But the weekend wasn’t all studying, because how blah would that be? Basically though, it¬†was just like a mini tease of Thanksgiving break, which is making me really anxious for break to start.¬†Unlike a lot of weekends at home, it was pretty chill, which was exactly¬†what I needed before this crazy week hit. Why do professors/teachers assign so much the week before a break? It makes me nuts! But, let’s just move on to the WIAW¬†and weekend recap and talk about school craziness latah!

Peas and Crayons

Friday¬†afternoon¬†started out with me¬†taking a stats quiz (ick) and then finally¬†getting picked up by my mom and sissy. We headed straight for the campus bookstore, to pick up some Christmas gifts for my g-parents. Since we were already¬†at the student center, my mom suggested we eat at the food court and use my RamCash, which is basically money the school gives you to spend on laundry, food at the food court, etc. I barely use it, besides every once in awhile¬†for laundry, so I have a buttload on my card, since they add more every semester. My mom first¬†told me that only Panda Express was open on Friday evenings, and I wasn’t too excited about that. They apparently have nothing that’s certified vegetarian, since things get mixed around and veggies may touch meat, plus their food is just greasy and ugh. ¬†But luckily, the soup and salad place was still open, so I got a cup of winter squash soup. It was pretty decent, not the best I’ve had from there (their vegetarian chili is BOMB!) but I definitely prefered it to Panda. My mom and sister got it though, and it ended up costing $16! Call me crazy, but that’s a lot for two people’s dinners at a fast food-type place. But we enjoyed our dinners in the awkwardness that was the empty food court. Usually it’s packed with people, but who wants to eat there on a Friday night when almost everything else is closed?

Not soup (obviously) but my hodgepodge dinner from last week: plain Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon, Pink Lady, chocolate PB2 sauce, baby carrots, pumpkin protein frosting. So weird but really hit the spot.

Back at home, it wasn’t too late so I had dinner part 2, since I didn’t finish the soup and I was starving. I had my first sweet potato in probably 3 weeks (it was a happy reunion, that’s for sure ūüėÄ ) topped with some PB2¬†that I brought home. Okay, is this sad or what–I’ve gone through¬†most of the jar in basically 5 days! 2 tablespoons of it is supposed to be 15 servings, what a lie! I’ve mostly been having 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of it per day, and it’s¬†almost gone! What?

A seasonal variation on the banana whip--banana pumpkin whip. Enjoyed straight outta the blender, how classy am I?

Saturday I could barely make myself sleep in til 8. I think my schedule this semester has¬†been¬†screwing me up, I used to be able to sleep in til 9 easily if I stayed up past 11 or so. Well, I’m not complaining, 8 is fine with me! I hate sleeping in so late that I feel like the day is wasted, so I totally don’t get people that sleep in past noon or whatever. I had a nice breakfast of leftover pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes¬†and my usual veggie sausage, alongside a homemade Starbucks peppermint mocha! I’ve been totally craving Starbucks, and since I rarely go (that’s gonna change in less than a week ūüėČ ) I wanted to make a drink that’s almost as good. My mom got some Silk Mint Chocolate soy milk (best stuff ever!) so I steamed it and added it to some Starbucks VIA.

Almost as good as Starbucks, for way less, and in a cute snowman mug!

For lunch, I ended up burning the last 2 pieces of tempeh bacon (whoops) while I was cooking my second sweet potato in two days. Obviously, they have been very missed. I topped it with more PB2 (addicted much?), and plated it and the burned bacon with some frozen raspberries. Oh so good.

Who can beat a nut butter topped sweet potato? Especially with tempeh bacon and frozen raspberries?

After lunch, my dad and I headed out to the store. Well…stores! I was only planning on getting some apples and grapes to tide me over for the 5 days I’d be on campus before break, but knowing me, I got a lot more. Well, not a lot more, but definitely some. But it was all needed, so it’s justified. I did get the apples and grapes I needed, plus some Silk Pumpkin Spice (haven’t tried it yet), Whole Foods fresh-grind crunchy almond butter, butternut squash cubes, my crack¬†Late July green mojo chips, peanut butter pows¬†cereal (apparently renamed peanut butter balls?), full moon brownie kid Clifs, dates, rolled oats, vegan chorizo taquitos¬†and my personal favorite, Oikos frozen Greek yogurt! I’ve been dying to try it since I saw it on Tara’s¬†blog awhile back. I got it in chocolate, and it is heavenly. Better than their original chocolate froyo, since it’s a little tangy just like Greek yogurt. Plus it’s got a little more protein, which is always a win. I can’t wait to try the blueberry and honey…and I hope they come out with superfruits, because that is my favorite flavor of their yogurt! Whole Foods was pretty lame this time as far as samples go, but I think I found a good vegan alternative to the Thanksgiving turkey–Field Roast Grain Meat loaves. They’re made from vital wheat gluten and veggies and they look pretty decent. I hope I can convince my mom to buy it for me, since my dad seemed to think it looked good.

I dressed up my first bowl of Oikos froyo with frozen raspberries and PB balls cereal. Love the mix of textures and flavors.

Then my wonderful daddy surprised me with some Pinkberry. I was so excited when it first came to my city, and I loved the watermelon froyo¬†I got the first time around, all the way back in June! Unfortunately, I hadn’t been back there since but I got my fix this weekend. If you’ve never been to a Pinkberry, they only have 6 flavors at a time, but they rotate based on season, and their yogurt is better quality than most froyos. I’m such¬†a sucker for all things seasonal, as you probably know by now, and peppermint is by far my favorite seasonal flavor–especially paired with dark chocolate! So when I saw the peppermint froyo on the front door, I knew exactly what I wanted to get. I also decided to branch out (and piss off my ED a bit) and topped it with some peppermint bark, which was the perfect pairing. Usually, I only stick with fruit as a topping, but I have no regrets getting the bark instead. And I don’t care what ED says about it, it was crazy good and I didn’t get fat overnight by eating it. So there!

Perfection in a cup. I love that they swirl it so perfectly, and that it's light pink!

The rest of the night was devoted to church, eating Amy’s cheeseless¬†pizza with a side of Silk Mint Chocolate (can’t get enough of the mint/chocolate combo obvi!), showering, studying up on stats with the padre and watching some SNL. Emma Stone was the host, she’s so funny and I love her voice. It makes me less self-conscious for having a deeper voice than most girls ūüėõ

Sunday's (very orange) lunch of Gardein chickenless nuggets, sweet potato tots (ob-sessed), more raspberries and spicy three pepper mustard. Like fast food but...not!

Sunday was pretty leisurely. Breakfast and lunch were had over the Sunday pap-ah, I went for a nice walk with my dad and sister and then it was sadly time to head back. Most times when I have to go back, I’m a little sad, since I won’t get to see my family for 2 weeks, but this time I wasn’t because I knew I’d be seeing my madre’s¬†lovely face again on Friday–for a whole 9 days, in fact! I was just annoyed with the fact that I had a full 5 days of school to deal with ūüė¶ Before dropping me off, we had a delicious dinner at Garbanzo, my favorite fast-casual place. I think I’ve mentioned it about a bazillion times already, but it’s just that good. Mediterranean food is my all-time fave.

Ninja shot of my dinner. The best falafel ever, red cabbage, vegetable salad, lettuc, grilled eggplant, hummus and tabbouleh, with a side of cilantro and curry sauces. Can I live in the bowl? Kthx.

So there you have it, my weekend-before-Thanksgiving-break in a (big) nutshell. I always make these recap things way too long, guess it shows how excited I am about the weekends I get at home. Now I’ve just gotta focus on studying for my Friday stats test and…PACKING! I love packing, so I can’t wait!

What was the best part of your weekend? Mine was probably Whole Foods shopping, ’cause I’mma nerd like that! What is your favorite seasonal flavor? I luuuuuurrrrrvvvve peppermint, especially paired with dark chocolate and coffee. Starbucks Skinny Peppermint Mocha, here I come!