(Almost) Wordless Weekend

I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever, but really, it’s only been 5 days. It’s been quite the whirlwind of 5 days though and a LOT has changed, though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet…

Instead of boring you with the details of my (amazing) weekend, I’ll just share some of my favorite pictures from the last 3 ish days. It’s still crazy to me that Christmas is in less than 2 days now, since I just moved out of my apartment this morning and I’m finally home for the holidays. I’m planning on ‘celebrating’ tonight with some Whole Foods salad bar action 😉

Ashley-sized mojito at Luscious Nectar downtown to celebrate being done with finals with some friends.

Ashley-sized mojito at Luscious Nectar downtown to celebrate being done with finals with some friends.

 

Fun (and cheap) Target finds. Navy blue wedges, sparkly gold nail polish, under $10 for both.

Fun (and cheap) Target finds. Navy blue wedges, sparkly gold nail polish, under $10 for both.

Getting ready before graduation on Saturday.

Getting ready before graduation on Saturday.

 

Getting pumped to be a college grad!

Getting pumped to be a college grad!

Leaving for the commencement ceremony.

Leaving for the commencement ceremony. It was so cold, I was glad I wore pants!

 

First selfie as a college graduate.

First selfie as a college graduate.

My mom and me after the ceremony :)

My mom and me after the ceremony 🙂

My family held up signs for me, how cute!

My family held up signs for me, how cute!

 

Caught in the act of taking a selfie!

Caught in the act of taking a selfie!

The amazing vegan reuben on gluten free bread at my favorite vegan restaurant in FoCo.

The amazing vegan reuben on gluten free bread at my favorite vegan restaurant in FoCo.

 

Cute lamb slippers at Bath & Body Works shopping for my mom's Christmas presents.

Cute lamb slippers at Bath & Body Works shopping for my mom’s Christmas presents.

 

 

Soy skinny peppermint mocha and some sister and dad time at Starbucks after shopping.

Soy skinny peppermint mocha and some sister and dad time at Starbucks after shopping. My first Starbucks drink in 3 weeks!

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to attend the school that I did, have an amazing experience there, and was able to graduate in 3 1/2 years without too much stress! This weekend was incredibly fun (and busy) so I’m ready for Christmas and some down time before I start the job search. I still can’t believe I’m living the post-grad life haha.

Enjoy your holidays, and have a happy New Year if I don’t talk to you before then!

What did you do this weekend?

 

Currently: December

…Also known as “It’s almost finals week so I’m stressed and practically brain dead so here’s a fun post that will take my mind off all that I have to do in the next week and a half.” All my fellow (or former) college students will understand what I’m saying here.

Current Book: I’m currently doing my best to avoid all books, even my textbooks. Just kidding, but really the only books I have time to care about are my textbooks. #sorrynotsorry

Current Music: All things Christmas music, especially Vince Guaraldi trio, aka A Charlie Brown Christmas music!

Current Guilty Pleasure: Homemade dark chocolate-covered orange slices. Remember those chocolate oranges that always came out around Christmas? These are like that, but better because I’ve been making them with satsumas (100x better than plain old oranges) and stevia-sweetened dark chocolate. So does that make them a guilty pleasure, or not so much?

Current Nail Color: They’re chipping now, but last weekend I painted my nails with my friend who has a million different nail polishes (seriously, a girl’s dream) and I used OPI The Color of Minnie and Essie Toggle to the Top for some festive-looking nails.

I can never get my nails to not chip a few days in.

I can never get my nails to not chip a few days in.

Current Drink: Celestial Seasonings gingerbread tea or water.

Current Food: Alllllllll the homemade ‘balls’, creamy & spicy butternut squash sauce, leftover grain free stuffing, pomegranates, satsumas, stevia-chocolate chips melted on everything, sauerkraut and these really good spicy sprouted sunflower seeds I got from the bulk section at Whole Foods. I like how I always list multiple things in my ‘Current Food’ section. What can I say, I love food!

Some completely random nachos from sometime last week. I had some sprouted cranberry pumpkin tortilla chips I needed to use them up, so I paired them with beans, sauteed spinach, sauerkraut, olives and homemade cranberry sauce.

Some completely random nachos from sometime last week. I had some sprouted cranberry pumpkin tortilla chips I needed to use them up, so I paired them with beans, sauteed spinach, sauerkraut, olives and homemade cranberry sauce.

Current TV Show: This question and the book question need to go, seriously. I never answer them because I’m never reading/watching anything regularly enough. I will say that my dad has been getting The Newsroom on Netflix and we watched a few episodes of that over Thanksgiving break to get caught up. I am obsessed with that show. Take my love for journalism/news and my love for (recent) history and you’ve got a perfect show for this nerd 😉

Current Wishlist: To make it out of finals week alive (and graduated), to mentally prepare myself for Christmas (not that I’m dreading it, it just doesn’t quite feel like Christmas yet to me), and to magically have my dream job right now #nothappening.

Current Needs: More coffee (haven’t had any Starbucks in almost 2 weeks), my car to start again (poor Alejandro’s battery doesn’t work after a week of near-zero temps) so I can stop taking the bus to campus, the end of school to come sooner.

This was back when Alejandro could deal with some cold and snow.

This was back when Alejandro could deal with some cold and snow.

Current Triumphs: Trying not to stress out so much. Emphasis on the trying there. I’m not 100% anxiety-free, but I’m doing better. I had a lot of stressful situations thrown at me the beginning of the week and I’m still trying to deal with those (such as my car not working, and having to take the bus to campus) on top of stressing about finals, graduation and the post-grad life. I’m doing well not worrying so much about what I’ll be doing with my life after school is over, but I need to also focus less (in a good way) on the more present issues so I don’t run myself down too much.

Current Bane of Existence: How damn cold it was here for the past week, and still kinda is. We got about 6 inches of snow last Tuesday/Wednesday and it’s barely melted due to how cold it’s been. I know a lot of the country’s been dealing with very cold weather, but even living in Colorado most of my life, we never get weather this cold for this long. I blame my Arizona-born blood for not being able to handle the cold 😀

The snow we got a week ago...and it still basically looks like this today.

The snow we got a week ago…and it still basically looks like this today.

Current Indulgence: Mung bean pasta (so good–grain free and 25 grams of protein per serving) with homemade spicy butternut squash sauce, sauerkraut and salted pumpkin seeds. It tastes like a totally decadent pasta dish but is actually healthy.

Current Blessing: Being so close to the end of my school career (for now, anyways). I feel like I’ve been a student forever, and I kinda have if 16 years is forever, so it’s completely crazy that by next Saturday I’ll be done. I’m so thankful that I’ve had the chance to go to college, finish out my degree and make some amazing memories.

Current Outfit: Chillin’ in my pajamas at the mo, but here’s a recent memorable outfit. It was from last Friday, when I had my capstone panel review. One of the most nerve-wracking things ever, but I got some good feedback and it’s all over now!

I'm so classy in my Ann Taylor skirt suit set I got on sale during Labor Day weekend and wore for the first time ever last week.

I’m so classy in my Ann Taylor skirt suit set I got on sale during Labor Day weekend and wore for the first time ever last week.

Current Excitement: CHRISTMAS (duh!), graduation and most of all, being home for the holidays. I. Can’t. Wait.

What are you currently excited about? Is it still cold where you are?

Currently…

Hi guys, long time no see huh? It’s getting to be that time of the year again…back-to-school time! So I’ve been pretty busy the past few days getting everything packed and ready for second semester. I’m actually really excited to go back–my classes seem interesting, I’m ready to do weather anchoring again and I can’t wait to be back in my apartment so I can do whatever the heck I want. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family to pieces, but I need my alone time sometimes and having my own kitchen again will be nice.

Since life’s been cray over here, I’m gonna borrow a little survey I spotted on Amanda’s blog the other day so enjoy…and I’ll be back next week with some updates!

Current Books: Erm…uh…I’m actually not a big book reader (please don’t hate me!). I do have some books I love, like Dave Barry (he is hilarious!) and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, but I haven‘t actually read them in awhile. I am loving Veganomicon though–so many delicious vegan recipes I need to try out.

Current Music: Anything by Foster the People. Love them. I just added their station to Pandora and I’m addicted. Right now I can’t get Houdini out of my head.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Lotions from Bath & Body Works. Seriously, can I just buy them all?! They smell so delicious…

Current Nail Color: OPI’s Giftcards for Everyone. Oh, and Sally Hansen’s Posh Plum on my ring fingers. I got the OPI color as a mini giftset for Christmas and the colors are perfect for winter.

I'm still mastering the art of nail polishing.

I’m still mastering the art of nail polishing.

Current Drink: I can’t go without my (almost) daily ACV morning cocktail. 1 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar, English toffee stevia drops to taste, cinnamon and water to dilute. It tastes like a sour apple pie.

Current Food: I’m loving the sweet potato+sunflower butter+peanut flour paste+raisins+chocolate chips combo, as I mentioned on WIAW. Sounds weird, tastes heavenly and never gets old.

Current Favorite Show:  I heard the new season of WNTW (What Not to Wear) is on so I really need to start watching that again, I really missed my Clinton & Stacy fix. Other than that, I think 1600 Penn is hilarious and I love Chopped on the Food Network.

Current Wishlist: I would love some Starbucks and iTunes gift cards because I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for my own coffee and music #collegeproblems

Current Needs: Not sure if this is more of a need or a want, but dumbbells. I really want more muscle and bodyweight training alone isn’t cutting it. I’m really wanting to start a strength training routine so I’m planning on hitting up Target soon to pick up some cute and colorful weights.

Current Bane of My Existence: The fact that everyone is coming down with the flu, and I reaaaaaaallllly don’t want to get it. No such thing as hand sanitizer overload during flu season.

Current Celebrity Crush: Bradley Cooper. He was amazing in Silver Linings Playbook, and he doesn’t look half bad 😉

Mmmmm, yes...

Mmmmm, yes…

Current Indulgence: My recent trip to Whole Foods. A little over $100…yikes. Yes, it was a restock-my-apartment-because-it’s-foodless trip but still. Hope they’ll last me awhile!

Current Blessing: No snow in the forecast for awhile. I know we could really use the moisture but I’m already sick of winter and snow. Bring on summer!

Current Slang: Whatevs. I know that’s so old and lame but I don’t care, I still use it.

Current Excitement: My family’s spending the day with me tomorrow at my apartment and it’s gonna be fun! We’re going out to eat at my favorite vegan restaurant (which my omni family all love) and my sister and I will probably do some hardcore shopping and jamming out in the car. We’re so cool…

What I got the last time I went to Tasty Harmony...oh sooooo good!

What I got the last time I went to Tasty Harmony…oh sooooo good!

Current Mood: Excited for tomorrow, and nervous for the semester to start.

Current Link: Zite. They have an app and everything, but I love it because you put in your interests and it generates new stories and articles on those and related topics for you to read…and it changes every day!

Answer any of the above!

WIAW: Working With Almond Flour

The blogging world has introduced me to so many things–overnight oats (which I haven’t had in months…just got burned out on them), chia seeds, green monsters, Larabars, socca…and now, almond flour.

Almond flour is wayyyyy different than other flours, even gluten free flours. It’s basically made from ground up almonds so it packs plenty of healthy plant fats, fiber and protein. Even though I tend to eat gluten free 90% of the time, I haven’t done any experimenting with the typical GF flours like brown rice, sorghum, etc. When I make GF baked goods, I usually use buckwheat, quinoa or peanut flours but since I discovered almond flour a couple months ago, I’ve been loving it! It’s definitely harder to work with than other GF flours but it adds a great texture to things and unlike coconut flour, you don’t always need eggs to make it work, which I love as a vegan.

This week, I’ve had the house to myself for the mornings and early afternoons so I’ve been taking advantage and whipping up some new recipes in the kitchen. And because of my recent addiction to almond flour, a lot of those experiments have included almond flour in them!

Homemade summer rolls with sunflower seed butter/lite coconut milk/red curry paste dipping sauce. Filled with fresh cucumber slices, pan-fried almond flour-coated tofu and roasted peanuts.

Homemade summer rolls with sunflower seed butter/light coconut milk/red curry paste dipping sauce. Filled with fresh cucumber slices, pan-fried almond flour-coated tofu and roasted peanuts.

Almond flour works really well as a GF and grain free breadcrumb-like coating. I’ve been loving sprouted tofu again lately so for my first time making summer rolls at home, I decided to pan-fry the tofu in a little coconut oil. I coated it in some light coconut milk mixed with red curry paste, rolled the tofu slices in some almond flour and threw it in the pan. Even though the filling fell out of some of the rolls, it was still a delicious dinner.

My first morning ACV 'cocktail'. Made with 1 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 10 drops English toffee liquid stevia, vanilla extract and water.

My first morning ACV ‘cocktail’. Made with 1 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 10 drops English toffee liquid stevia, vanilla extract and water.

Another thing the blog world has introduced me to is ACV cocktails. Apple cider vinegar is apparently a wonder food that’s rich in potassium, can regulate blood pressure, improve skin appearance and removes toxins from the body, among other things. I finally invested in a bottle of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar from Spectrum Organics (it’s important to use this kind, otherwise you don’t reap the benefits) and I made my first ACV cocktail the other day. It was really sour at first, but I got used to it quickly and I’m planning on using it daily from now on!

Lunch: vegan socca-style 'omelette', stuffed with chopped baby carrots, jalapeno pepper and kale.

Lunch: vegan socca-style ‘omelette’, stuffed with chopped baby carrots, jalapeno pepper and kale.

This is also unrelated to almond flour, but it’s a new lunch I’ve been loving lately: the vegan omelette. Even as an omni, I HATED eggs and I never ate omelettes so it’s kinda ironic that now I’m vegan I’m craving omelettes. Whatever. Since I’ve never had an omelette, I can’t really tell you if the texture of this is similar to a real one, but it’s a simple protein and veggie packed lunch that’s also totally customizable to your tastes. I really love adding a tablespoon of nooch to the batter and filling it with carrots, jalapenos and spicy nacho cheez sauce.

Vegan Omelette (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1/4 cup garbanzo/fava bean flour

sea salt, to taste

nutritional yeast, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, etc.

1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh veggies (carrots, spinach, peppers, etc.)

Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. In a bowl, mix garbanzo flour, salt and spices until combined. Add in just enough water to make a batter (should be drippy but not too thin). Pour batter into pan and wait for both sides to cook through (can flip over if you want). Once both sides are cooked, add in veggies and whatever other fillings you want to half of the omelette, and then with a spatula, flip over the uncovered half onto the veggie-covered half. Continue cooking for about a minute or until veggies start to soften. Serves 1.

This was submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #27

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip almond flour pancakes topped with peanut flour paste and pomegranate arils.

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip almond flour pancakes topped with peanut flour paste and pomegranate arils.

I’ve been switching up my breakfasts lately and loving it because then I’m not getting burned out too quickly. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect vegan pancake that isn’t full of gluten but is still delicious and I think I’ve got a winner. It took me a few tries to get the consistency right but these almond flour-based pancakes are really good. They’re definitely not the fluffy, Bisquick-like pancakes of your childhood but they’re great as a healthier every day breakfast and they’re perfect for all kinds of toppings, which are the best part anyway!

Pumpkin Almond Pancakes (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

2-4 tbsp almond flour (depending on how many pancakes you want or if you want a lot of toppings)

1/2 tbsp tapioca or arrowroot starch (don’t leave this out!)

1 tsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 packet stevia, to taste

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp pumpkin puree (can use applesauce or banana if you don’t want pumpkin pancakes)

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat nonstick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray or use coconut oil to cook. In a bowl, whisk dry ingredients (through sea salt) until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until combined.  Pour dry ingredients into wet and if needed, add a little more almond milk to thin out (you want the batter to be somewhat thick so it can stick together in the pan). Spoon half of the batter into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Only cook one pancake at a time so they don’t stick. Serve with fresh berries, real maple syrup or nut butter. Serves 1 or 2. 

Snack: garnet yam with sunflower seed butter and raisins/fig, unpictured peanut flour paste.

Snack: garnet yam with sunflower seed butter and raisins/fig, unpictured peanut flour paste.

My latest order of peanut flour came in at the right time, just as I was starting to go through withdrawals 😉 Kidding, but I loooooooove that stuff! My favorite way to eat it is to mix it up with stevia and water so it’s like a peanut frosting and then top a garnet yam with it and sprinkle on some dried fruit. Um, yum!

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

And now I finally have a delicious gluten free (and technically grain free too, since buckwheat is a seed) vegan donut recipe! And I took Heather’s donut advice to heart and remembered to flip the pan onto the baking rack…now my donuts are prettier! This time around, I was inspired by the citrus season and my year-round love for summer and made some orange creamsicle donuts. Because who wouldn’t want a summery treat when it’s all blah outside?

Orange Creamsicle Donuts (vegan, gluten free)

1 tbsp ground flax+ 3 tbsp warm water, for flax ‘egg’

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup (2 scoops) Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder (or other vegan vanilla protein powder)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural granulated sugar)

1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

juice and zest of one large tangerine (I used a Minneola)

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan with nonstick cooking spray (I used a 6 cavity). In a small bowl, mix flax with water to gel into ‘egg’ and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (through coconut sugar). In the bowl with the flax ‘egg’, stir in almond milk, vanilla, juice & zest, coconut oil and applesauce until combined. Pour wet into dry–the batter should be lumpy and thick. Add a bit more almond milk if needed. Spoon or pipe batter into donut pan (it will make a little more than can fit in a normal-sized 6 cavity pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just set. Makes 6 donuts. 

And if you’re not overwhelmed by all the recipes yet, here’s one more (it’s the last one, I promise!) It’s a recipe for almond flour-based biscotti…but don’t be intimidated by the name! I had never made biscotti before this, let alone grain free vegan biscotti, but it actually turned out exactly like I hoped it would and my non-vegan cookie-loving dad told me I should sell them! So that’s a good sign, right 😛 I based my recipe off the one found here, just making a couple of changes to make it my own. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures but you can check out the original recipe for some great pics.

Almond Flour Biscotti (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1 cup almond flour

1 tbsp raw cacao powder (you can use regular cocoa or carob powder)

2 tsp tapioca or arrowroot starch

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp maple syrup (can sub honey, coconut or agave nectar)

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 dried Calimyrna fig, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend together almond flour, starch, sea salt and baking soda just until combined. Add the maple syrup until mixture comes together into a sticky ball. Run hands under water and place ball of dough onto parchment-lined sheet and press dough together. Add in sunflower seeds and fig and form dough into a long, narrow log. Bake for 20 minutes, or just until it starts to harden. Remove from oven for 10-15 minutes, cut the dough into about 1o or 12 pieces (cut along the diagonal) and then place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes to finish hardening. 

Sorry about the recipe overload! Obviously I am way too excited about my almond flour successes but trust me when I say that they’re all really good substitutes for the typical gluten-filled desserts and breakfasts. Almond flour isn’t the lowest calorie flour per serving out there, plus it’s a lot higher in fat (healthy fat, of course) than most others but that’s why I like it–it’s a way to challenge my former ED fear of fats and it’s fun experimenting with ways to make vegan baked goods without the gluten or grains!

Have you ever tried almond flour in any recipe? Do you drink anything ‘weird’ in the morning? 

WIAW: Ringing in the New Year

After missing out on WIAW last week (being sick for a few days=no delicious food photos, or food period) I was itching to join in on the foodie party this week!

New Year’s Day is always a bit depressing for me–it marks the official end of the holiday season and it’s back to the daily grind and blah-ness of the winter season. Not that I’m complaining about getting back into a routine (I’m also not technically back into my normal routine for another 3 weeks when spring semester starts up again) but January is a bit of a letdown after the holidays. This year I want to be more excited about January so I’m soaking in my last few weeks of Christmas break and just enjoying the month for what it can be–a fresh start.

Pretty Christmas lights still up in Denver.

Pretty Christmas lights still up in Denver.

The usual post-Christmas shopping spree was on Sunday. The fam and I headed up to Denver for the day and my dad checked out the Van Gogh exhibit at the art museum while us girls shopped the afternoon away. Other than the clothes shopping (I’ll be sharing some of my purchases later this week!), I also convinced my mom to stop at Nooch Vegan Market, a fairly new addition to the city. It’s a small, all-vegan grocery store that stocks a lot of products that not even Whole Foods offers. I could have bought so many things, but I just left with some garlic Parma (a nut-based ‘cheese’ sprinkle), pico de gallo bean chips and a super-delicious dark chocolate chipotle caramel bar. The combo of coconut milk caramel, chipotle powder, dark chocolate and pecan/peanut pieces is incredible–I wish I had gotten more than one!

Maybe the last red cup of the season...

Maybe the last red cup of the season…

While shopping I sipped a short soy skinny peppermint mocha. I’ve never gotten a short at Starbucks before but it’s a good size option for when I don’t want to be too filled up by the drink. I’m sad about this picture though because I’m thinking that might be the last time I drink out of a red cup until November 😦

Recent lunch: leftover sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, chopped dried fig, sunflower butter and mini chocolate chips, spicy orange bok choy.

Recent lunch: leftover sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, chopped dried fig, sunflower butter and mini chocolate chips, spicy orange bok choy.

I have a new obsession with bok choy. It is sooooo good sauteed in a little coconut oil and topped with a thin sauce made from red curry paste, citrus juice and coconut aminos. It gets all wilty and delicious in the pan. New favorite veggie over here!

Recent snack: leftover sweet potato fries dipped in Nuttzo, organic ketchup and peanut flour paste.

Recent snack: leftover sweet potato fries dipped in Nuttzo, organic ketchup and peanut flour paste.

This was a weird (but good) snack. I love cutting up sweet potatoes into fry shapes and then baking them with some spices and then dipping them in everything and anything. Organic ketchup and peanut flour paste are the best options, of course.

The cookbooks I got for Christmas...I love them!

The cookbooks I got for Christmas…I love them!

I generally don’t make things from cookbooks, but that’s only because I never had a vegan cookbook before this year. I was lucky enough to get two great vegan cookbooks for Christmas and I’ve already tried a couple recipes from them. Last night I made eggplant muffaletta sandwiches from Veganomicon for my family and they loved them.  It was literally one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, probably because I love the combo of olives, spinach and really good bread. I haven’t had bakery bread in at least a year (it’s a huge fear food of mine) but I got some ciabatta bread from Whole Foods specifically for this recipe and it did not disappoint. I guess eating bread, especially quality bread, every once in awhile won’t kill me!

Recent snack: sweet potato tortilla chips with fresh salsa and hatch chili guac, roasted kabocha squash, dried figs and peanut flour paste.

Recent snack: sweet potato tortilla chips with fresh salsa and hatch chili guac, roasted kabocha squash, dried figs and peanut flour paste.

Another random snack plate. Roasted kabocha tastes amazing dipped in salsa and guac, don’t knock it til ya try it!

Ringing in the new year with Kahlua+almond milk+amaretto.

Ringing in the new year with Kahlua+almond milk+amaretto.

This was a coffee-lover’s dream cocktail. It tasted like a hazelnut latte! Like I’ve said before, I’m not a huge drinker (and I’m not planning on becoming one when I turn 21) but it’s great to enjoy a nice cocktail every once in awhile, especially for special occasions.

My last meal of 2012: Whole Foods salad bar goodies including Indian coleslaw, homemade tortilla chips, coconut curry tofu, chipotle orange sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and lentil dal.

My last meal of 2012: Whole Foods salad bar goodies including Indian coleslaw, homemade tortilla chips, coconut curry tofu, chipotle orange sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and lentil dal.

My dad and I made a quick stop at WF for some NYE snacks and I just couldn’t pass up the salad bar–they had a bunch of vegan Indian food options. I got some of my usual items, and then loaded up on the Indian coleslaw (not at all like traditional coleslaw but way better), green garbanzo curry, lentil dal and some battered veggies. It was an amazing last meal!

My first successful donut experiment.

My first successful donut experiment.

You knew I couldn’t go more than a week without trying out my new donut pan! I made some so-so pumpkin protein donuts over the weekend but I finally made some delicious (and healthier) donuts that I just had to share. They are pretty much like banana bread in donut form…

Banana Bread Donuts (vegan)

1 tbsp ground flax+3 tbsp warm water, for flax “egg”

1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 banana, mashed

1 packet stevia (optional)

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural sugar)

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder (or other protein powder, or more spelt flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Spray a donut pan (I used a 6-cavity pan) with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, mix flax and water; stir and set aside to gel into an “egg”. Stir in all ingredients through coconut sugar. Add in spelt flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips until a batter forms. Spoon batter into donut pan, filling each to the top, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just set. Remove from pan and set out on wire rack to cool. Makes 6 donuts.

These donuts are a healthier morning option, made with whole grains and about 6 grams of protein per donut, and they’re made with natural sugars and not overpoweringly sweet. I’m still trying to experiment with gluten free and vegan donut recipes so hopefully I can have one up soon for all you GFrs.

What have you been eating so far in 2013? Do you like to cook from cookbooks? 

WIAW: 6 Days

Ahhhhh I can’t believe we’re so close to Christmas! It always seems like the days drag on leading up to the big day, but then it’s all over so fast. So this year I’m trying to savor each moment leading up to the 25th so it doesn’t zip by me!

This week’s WIAW is what I ate Monday and it’s a random assortment of old favorites and new foods…and there’s even a recipe thrown in there.

Breakfast: carrot cake buckwheat waffle topped with shredded coconut and vanilla Sunwarrior protein frosting

Breakfast: carrot cake buckwheat waffle topped with shredded coconut and vanilla Sunwarrior protein frosting

I’ve been alternating between homemade waffles and protein chia puddings for breakfast. This waffle was carrot cake inspired–filled with carrot shreds and raisins, and topped with coconut and vanilla ‘frosting’. The Sunwarrior is new to me, and not my favorite protein powder, but I think it’ll grow on me.

OOTD: colorblock dress (American Eagle), pink heart necklace (Forever 21), tortoiseshell hipster glasses (American Eagle).

OOTD: colorblock dress (American Eagle), pink heart necklace (Forever 21), tortoiseshell hipster glasses (American Eagle).

It was not warm enough to wear this dress on its own (Colorado in December isn’t quite that nice!) but I paired it with my faux leather jacket, grey tights and my favorite grey wedge booties and felt like a total fashionista hipster. This is my first winter-appropriate dress and now I want even more–dresses are my absolute favorite thing to wear so it’s nice not to have to say goodbye to them during the colder months!

Lunch: fresh raw lemony kale salad topped with raw sunflower taco 'meat', mango salsa and guacamole.

Lunch: fresh raw lemony kale salad topped with raw sunflower taco ‘meat’, mango salsa and guacamole.

I love kale salads for lunch but I need a way to mix them up. Enter: raw sunflower taco ‘meat’. Obviously it’s not meat, as I am vegan, but it replicates taco filling so well…actually, better than taco filling! I’ve seen a few recipes for raw vegan tacos so I tweaked those to come up with my own, crave-worthy taco filling that’s totally raw, packed with healthy fats and protein and is delicious.

Raw Sunflower Taco Filling (vegan, grain free, gluten free)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 tbsp coconut aminos

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

chipotle powder, to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until it comes together and resembles taco filling. Serve in kale or lettuce leaves with guacamole, salsa and raw cashew cream. Makes about 1 cup. 

Lunch (part 2): fresh Satsuma tangerine.

Lunch (part 2): fresh Satsuma tangerine.

Can’t go without fruit or something sweet to end lunch! On my trip with my dad to WF over the weekend we picked up some Satsumas which are my favorite type of citrus fruit, and luckily, they’re actually good this year. I love how pretty they look with their leaves and stems, too.

Snack: rice cake topped with cheap girl pumpkin butter/chocolate chips/coconut shreds, baby carrots, peanut flour paste, Theo orange dark chocolate square, fresh fig.

Snack: rice cake topped with cheap girl pumpkin butter/chocolate chips/coconut shreds, baby carrots, peanut flour paste, Theo orange dark chocolate square, fresh fig.

The snackplate lives on! Sadly I had to toss the fig after a few bites because it was dried out inside and not tasty, but everything else was. The rice cake combo is something I’ve been having almost daily–there’s just something about pumpkin butter, chocolate and coconut that goes together so well.

Dinner (repeat photo, sorry): pineapple 'fried' quinoa with edamame, kale and cauliflower.

Dinner (repeat photo, sorry): pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa with edamame, kale and cauliflower.

As much as I love to give new recipes a try, there’s nothing like reinventing a classic. I’m just obsessed with pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa for some reason and I’ve been eating it at least once a week. I think it’s the sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy combo that just gets me. It’s so good and it’s so quick and easy to whip up.

Dessert: PB chocolate microwave protein cake topped with Nuttzo, java chip coconut milk ice cream, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate square.

Dessert: PB chocolate microwave protein cake topped with Nuttzo, java chip coconut milk ice cream, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate square.

I’ve been having some kind of protein cake for dessert for at least a week now and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. This version is probably my favorite though–I just combine peanut flour and raw chocolate protein powder with a splash of unsweetened almond milk, baking powder and sometimes a few Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (love them!) and pop it in the micro for a minute until it puffs up and turns into a cake-like consistency. I sometimes have it with a small side of coconut milk ice cream and a square of dark chocolate if I want a little extra something.

Do you prefer making new recipes or sticking with old favorites? Do you like citrus fruits?

Recipe submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #22

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: The Home Stretch

Well, this is (almost) it. Just two more finals, a day and a half and some packing before I don’t have to think about school for 5 weeks! I’ve been excited about Christmas break since at least Thanksgiving break and it’s finally here. This weekend was a little tease though–I went home on Friday and came back last night, mostly so I wouldn’t have to take back a crap ton of things when I drive home on Thursday night but also to be in a better study environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my one bedroom apartment all to myself but things can get a little cray-cray around the complex on the weekends so I thought it would be better to try to study at home.

Today’s WIAW features my eats from Tuesday–side note, I wasn’t able to snap a picture of dinner, so I’m reusing a similar-looking pic from this summer.

Breakfast: peanut chocolate chia 'pudding' topped with homemade almond flour banana bread and unsweetened coconut shreds.

Breakfast: peanut chocolate chia ‘pudding’ topped with homemade almond flour banana bread and unsweetened coconut shreds.

The pantry has been a little slack-a-lackin’ as of late (wow, did I really just say that?) so I’ve been whipping meals and snacks out of my butt. The microwave at home also just broke (how convenient) so instead of being able to make my usual protein microwave cake, I had to settle for a cold breakfast. Luckily I had some chia seeds on hand so I made a chia pudding overnight made with peanut flour, almond milk and raw chocolate protein powder. In the morning, I topped it with crumbles of an almond flour-based banana bread I made over the weekend (so good, BTW!) and unsweetened shredded coconut. This was actually really good, definite repeat breakfast. I can’t believe I used to hate coconut, it’s such a good topper!

Lunch: homemade sweet potato wedges with organic ketchup for dipping, raw cauliflower, homemade maple cinnamon cashews, peanut flour paste with Theo coconut dark chocolate square.

Lunch: homemade sweet potato wedges with organic ketchup for dipping, raw cauliflower, homemade maple cinnamon cashews, peanut flour paste with Theo coconut dark chocolate square.

The snackplate lunch returns! This was a very random one, but I like random. The sweet potato wedges were made on Monday night and I’ve gotta say, homemade is way better than store bought when it comes to sweet potato fries–I’m baking them myself from now on! The cauliflower is my latest veggie obsession, I always eat it raw and plain, which is totally weird but whatever. It’s good. I made the cashews over the weekend and again, never going back to store bought flavored nuts (ok, I probably will when I’m feeling lazy). I just mixed a tablespoon of maple syrup with a shake of cinnamon and a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan until it started to boil and then stirred in the cashews. This will totally work with all nuts, in case you hate cashews. I don’t love them, but they were all I had on hand and they were good with the maple and cinnamon.

Snack: dried pineapple eaten in the car.

Snack: dried pineapple eaten in the car.

I didn’t eat this entire bag, but I love it so much I could have! This stuff isn’t cheap (~$3.50 per bag) but it’s a pretty good deal for dried fruit with nothing added, and I always make it last almost a week. I only eat dried fruit that doesn’t have added sugars or oils or other crap, and let me tell you, it is beyond amazing! I’m calling it my crack in a bag, it is literally that good.

Dinner: Panera chopped Thai salad, without the chicken or wontons.

Dinner: Panera chopped Thai salad, without the chicken or wontons.

My mom and I grabbed Panera for dinner before she dropped me off. Panera is always a good, quick, healthy option and I pretty much always order the same thing: the Thai chopped salad minus the chicken and the wontons. I love it because A) it’s a huge bowl of fresh veggies and B) it has an addicting spicy-tangy peanut dressing and edamame. I almost went with the black bean soup because it was so cold on Tuesday, but I had to go with my favorite. Never disappoints.

Dessert (left to right clockwise): peanut flour/raw chocolate protein powder microwave cake topped with Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter; raw lemon pie macaroon; a few Vega cocoa-covered saviseeds.

Dessert (left to right clockwise): peanut flour/raw chocolate protein powder microwave cake topped with Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter; raw lemon pie macaroon; a few Vega cocoa-covered saviseeds.

I was feeling indecisive when snack time rolled around (but when am I not?) so I went with a mix of my favorite protein-packed snack of a protein microwave cake and healthy, delicious fats in the form of a raw macaroon and some dark chocolate-covered saviseeds. Those last two items were part of my most recent iHerb purchase, and they were both worth the price. The raw macaroons taste exactly like a lemon pie and are perfectly dense with just a hint of coconut. I love that they’re raw and basically made from coconut, almond flour, maple syrup and lemon juice. My kinda snack. The saviseeds have definitely grown on me–the first time I bit into one, I thought it had the oddest taste, but now they taste almost like what I remember peanut M&Ms tasting like. I’m glad I got the cocoa saviseeds because I have an obsession with all things dark chocolate. It’s a problem.

Have you ever tried a raw macaroon or saviseeds? What’s your favorite dried fruit?