Best Of…December!

Hey everyone! Have you been enjoying your weekend so far? I can’t believe we’re already a week into the new year, it’s completely crazy. I feel like just yesterday it was Christmas, but that was already 2 weeks ago!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about my monthly “Best Of…” post! I love recapping my favorite moments from the previous month, and even though I just did a 2011 recap post, I almost neglected a recap of December.

Best Recipe: Coffee Maple Pecan Butter

I probably had the most recipes ever this month, from raw salted caramel dip to nutty cherry chocolate chunk cookies to raw mini pecan pies. All were delicious and devoured (I was surprised that my dad ate half of the cookies–he really loved them!) but this nut butter takes the cake. It was my first attempt at making nut butter, and since it was so successful, I hope to make another kind soon.

Best Fun Post: Oh We Need a Little Christmas [Inspiration]

I love looking for random inspiring photos on Pinterest and weheartit, so this was just a fun little way to get in the Christmas spirit!

Best Challenge: Jumping on the Bandwagon

I joined in on the NaNeFoMo train, and I didn’t regret it. In fact, I want to make it one of my goals for this year to try one new food each month. Food ruts and ‘safe foods’ are fine and all but if I truly want to challenge my ED and find new food loves, I’ve gotta branch out and try new things. Kombucha and vegan marshmallows are still on my list!

Best Really Long Post: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Super long post, but then again when isn’t a recap post really long, especially a Christmas recap post? Christmas 2011 was honestly one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a while, not sure why–maybe because we actually had a ton of snow and got to go sledding? Yeah, that was probably it 😉

Best Fashion Post: Shopping & Sledding

Sadly, it was my only fashion post of the month, but I really want to get back to doing my Style Phile posts every once in a while. Fashion is one of my obsessions, so I’d like to include it a little more on this blog. After all, it’s not all about the food!

What was the best part of December for you? Christmas, and Christmas break!

What are you anticipating in January? Starting my new classes in about a week. 

Rawsome Sauce

Hi guys, how have you been? I can’t believe it’s almost the weekend again–my winter break has practically flown by! Luckily, I still have about a week and half left of it before it’s back to school time again.

It’s only been a couple of days and I’ve already accomplished some of my goals! I was honestly not anticipating that at all but it feels awesome to have already made some progress.

First of all…I got a Twitter! I really liked what you all had to say about it, so I decided to get one of my own. You can follow me @fashion_ash, and I will definitely follow you back!

This wasn’t one of my goals, but I also got a brand new phone. It’s my first real smart phone and I’m already in love with it! The only thing I don’t like is how quickly the battery dies, but I guess that’s pretty normal. Oh, and it’s a Droid phone, so any of you out there with Droids–do you have any suggestions for apps I should get?

I love my new myTouch, aka my baby 😉

Speaking of my phone, if you look in the screen shot above, you’ll see that the temperature was 62 degrees today. Say what? Yes, Colorado is being crazy with the warm weather. It actually got to 65 today at my house, and we live in a forested area that’s pretty shaded, so that’s saying a lot! I’m not complaining though, because I’m sure more snow is right around the corner.

At lunch today, I came up with something new–mango softserve! Only it was more like mango Dip-n-Dots 😀 Mango isn’t as great for blending as bananas are but I didn’t break the food processor so that’s a plus.

Simple, quick lunch of mango softserve, plain Greek yogurt and peanut flour sauce.

The other goal I accomplished was making yet another raw recipe! It’s officially my fifth raw recipe, and one of the best so far–the raw brownies do hold a special place in my heart though 😛 I based them basically off my raw blondies, except using plain almonds, no protein powder and no added sweeteners, plus the necessary ‘carrot cake’ ingredients. They turned out really delicious, and I think I’m gonna enjoy my first one tonight with a frosting of peanut flour sauce. So it won’t be totally raw, but still yummy!

Awww, how cute are these tiny carrot cakes?

Mini Raw Carrot Cakes (vegan, raw)

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup dates (I used about 8 California pitted)

3/4 cup grated carrots

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch sea salt

3 T raisins

Process dates and almonds until mostly combined. Add a little water to thin things out if necessary (about 2 T). Grate carrots and squeeze out any excess moisture. Add carrots, cinnamon and salt to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth dough. Add in raisins until combined. Pack carrot cakes into muffin liners (makes 5 small, or 3 larger cakes) and keep in fridge. Frost with raw cashew ‘cream cheese’, peanut flour sauce, nut butter or enjoy plain. 

I also have another recipe for you guys…not raw, but still completely delicious. I decided to create a homemade version of cookie butter! I know a lot of you with TJs close by rave about this stuff. I don’t have one near me sadly, plus I know it’s definitely not the healthiest thing, so I set out to create a much healthier, simpler version. And I think I rocked it! I’ve never had cookie butter or Biscoff or whatever, so I can’t tell you how it compares, but let’s just say mine tastes like cookie dough in nut butter form!

I think I may have found a new favorite spread...

Healthier Homemade Cookie Butter (vegan, no cook)

3 T nut butter (I would suggest using a raw, lightly-flavored kind like cashew or walnut, so it doesn’t overpower the cookie flavor)

1 serving cookies of choice (I used 30 Annie’s bunny friends bunny grahams)

water, to thin (about 2 T)

sweetener, to taste (I used 1 packet stevia)

Mix nut butter and cookies together until it forms a crumbly paste, adding in water and sweetener as needed. Makes about 1/4 cup. Store in a jar in the fridge and enjoy as an oats topper, toast spread or fruit dip.

I’m already thinking of more variations, like using peanut flour in place of the nut butter for a peanut-buttery cookie butter!

What’s the weather like where you are? Have you ever tried cookie butter or Biscoff?

2011 in Review

Hi guys, can you believe that there is just one day left in 2011? Time really flies, doesn’t it, especially at the end of the year!

I decided to do a recap of my year since I started this blog just a little over seven months ago. So much has happened since then, so I thought I’d give a little breakdown of the most memorable parts of each month, along with a couple of my favorite photos from that month.

May

One of my first overnight oats creations--carrot cake oats.

I first started AlmostVegGirlie on May 24, just a couple of weeks after I finished my freshman year of college. I have had a couple of blogs before (and still have a fashion-focused one on Blogger) but never a food-related one, and since I was really starting to get into cooking a lot, I decided to finally start one after discovering the healthy living blogging community. Besides starting my blog, I also celebrated my mom’s birthday (and Mother’s Day the week before) and went to a U2 concert up in Denver!

Celebrating my madre's birthday.

Post of the Month: My First WIAW

June

Enjoying the fun after the Elephant Rock bike ride.

I biked in my first real biking event (with my dad). It was only seven miles, but it really helped me discover my love for biking and inspired me to compete in future events. One of the best parts (besides the ride itself) was all the free samples tents set up after the ride.  Not gonna lie, that was super awesome 😉 I also started my volunteer job at the local library that continued all summer.

First trip to Pinkberry!

Post of the Month: Bad “Raw”mance

July

In Estes Park with my mom and sister.

July was a great month for me! I started it out with a family trip to Estes Park which was so much fun and a great little getaway for the fourth of July weekend.The excitement continued with my first trip to the Whole Foods hot/cold bar and my 19th birthday on the 27th. I loved being one of the first people in Colorado’s first IKEA store, plus it was nice to get a gift card for going there on my birthday!

I want to go back and have this all over again!

Post of the Month: Foodie Newbie

August

Sweaty bike ride=the best!

The month started out with a lot of active things, from bike rides to playing tennis to hiking in the mountains. I went on a couple of shopping trips before school started again towards the end of the month. I moved into a single dorm room and loved having even more independence.

Gelato is basically my favorite food!

Post of the Month: What I’ve Been Up To This Weekend (first ever vlog!)

September

First ever (almost empty) almond butter from Target.

Labor Day weekend was a whirlwind of activities, from going to see a production of a play my dad wrote to a day trip to Breckenridge (which was filled with tons of good food). School was…school. I discovered a few new foods, like deep chocolate Vitatops, Halo bars and of course, many new oats combos.

Me and my sissy in Breck.

Post of the Month: A Pain in the…Foot?

October

Carving pumpkins!

I like to call this the month that I rediscovered my creativity in the kitchen. I think I cooked more new things this month than I did all summer! I spent a couple of weekends at home, which helped fuel my passion. I made quite a lot of pumpkin-related things, but what can you expect for October? I also went to urgent care to check out the pain in my foot that started in September and found out I have plantar fasciitis. Oh, and I officially started my first-ever real job as the news managing and PR editor of my college’s staff newsletter! I love what I do (and I love the fact that I get paid to do it!)

First salted caramel mocha light Frap from the 'bucks...basically delish.

Post of the Month: My Story (parts 1 and 2)

November

Vegan festive garland bars.

Thanksgiving break was also a great time for me to get creative in the kitchen. I also stayed pretty busy outside the kitchen during break, with a big shopping trip to 16th Street Mall. I also had my first-ever vegan Thanksgiving meal.

I was excited for my first iHerb order!

Post of the Month: Simply Having a Wonderful Weekend Time

December

I promise you I'm actually really more excited about my new cookbook than I look like I am.

The stress of finals, projects and packing really got to me this year, but before I knew it, I was home! This month, I’ve enjoyed seeing lots of snow (even some on Christmas), playing games with my family, trying out new recipes, sledding, shopping and so much more.

One of my first raw dessert recipes–mini raw pecan pies.

Post of the Month: Jumping on the Bandwagon

It’s definitely been a very good year for me. Despite my struggles in school and with my eating disorder, I would have to say that I had more ups than downs. If you had told me at the beginning of 2011 that I’d be riding in a real bike event, go mostly vegan, get my first job, try something called ‘peanut flour’ (total life-changer, BTW), injure my foot and make raw desserts, I would have told you no way. But life’s funny that way–the things we least suspect always seem to happen. So here’s to 2012…whatever it may bring!

What were some highlights of your year? What are you most looking forward to in 2012?

Shopping & Sledding

Soooooo guys, I kinda lied to you last time at the end of my post when I said we were going sledding. We actually ended up going sledding yesterday since the state park we were going to didn’t have any facilities open on Monday or Tuesday and we didn’t want to be stuck up there without a bathroom–ummmm TMI!

What we did end up doing on Tuesday was even better–shopping! Obviously I am such a shopaholic, I will almost never turn down a shopping trip, clothes or grocery or otherwise. It’s just so much fun. We headed up to our favorite Denver mall for a day of shopping and eating out.

One major disappointment of the day was driving to Gelazzi (aka the best gelato place ever) and realizing that it was closed for remodeling! Yeah, uh, what is that all about? But no worries, we ended up checking out a new-to-us froyo place called Peach Wave and the disappointment ended when I realized they had several seasonal flavors to choose from. Me and seasonal flavors are BFFs, of course, so I ended up getting peppermint stick and chocolate froyos with raspberries on top. Boy was it delicious! I also sampled a few other flavors, including peanut butter, which was outta this world! But then again nut butters rock my world 😉

Shopping was hella fun, as expected. My sister and I headed out on our own, only to be surprised by how crazy the crowds were! I don’t think we’ve ever gone shopping that soon after Christmas so it was quite a shock. We even had to wait in a line outside of Hollister for about 5 minutes before they’d let us in since so many people were in the store 😯 It was hectic to say the least, but we got a ton of good deals and we both scored a ton of things! I seriously don’t think I’ve ever bought that many things at once!

I'm starting to really love stripes--especially in my favorite color (A&F Audrey pullover sweater)

 

I can always use another cute tank top...especially when it has the same name as me 😉 (A&F Ashley tank)

Abercrombie & Fitch, usually the calmest store at the mall, was packed with so many people that my sister and I got really frustrated! We did end up leaving the store with two purchases each in hand (for 40% off, too)–a pair of flare jeans and a lacy top for her, a pink striped sweater and ruffly grey cami for me.

I'm obsessed with lace...and bows! (Abercrombie Kids Dessa tank)

Abercrombie Kids was also a zoo, but practically everyone in the store was much shorter than me–that’s what I get for shopping in a kids store, I guess. I did score this adorable lacy tank with a pinstripe bow ‘belt’ for less than $20 though!

As if I really need more necklaces in my life... (AE)

How cute is this ring? (AE XO Ring)

 

American Eagle is the best place to get good jewelry cheap (okay, Forever 21 is too). I had a gift card to here that I spent completely on a necklace and a ring. I am basically jewelry obsessed and rarely go a day without wearing at least a necklace or some bangles. Apparently this Christmas I was really blessed with jewelry, since I also got another necklace and another ring as presents…

You can never have too much plaid (Hollister Manhattan Beach shirt)

 

Still in love with jeggings (Hollister Cord Jegging)

At Hollister, I continued my recent obsession with plaid shirts and jeggings. I’ve been eyeing these corduroy jeggings for the longest time, and once I took the plunge and bought my first pair the other day I decided to get these too. Since they’re tan, they’ll look good with anything and will fit well with my brown suede boots and the new boots I got for Christmas!

I also did a little online shopping back at home, where I ended up buying grey lace shorts from Abercrombie Kids and a pinstriped oxford-type shirt from Gilly Hicks.

We ended our day in Denver with dinner at On the Border, courtesy of a gift card my mom got. I haven’t been there in years, not since I’ve gone vegetarian, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a delicious veg-friendly meal of grilled veggie fajitas. Fajitas are always good and this one did not disappoint–it was mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, squash, zucchini and topped with super-hot fresh jalapeno slices. You can bet I was downing a ton of water throughout the meal, but it was delish! The fresh guac on the side was also amazingly good. I’m also pretty sure that the fajitas are vegan-friendly, as long as you don’t eat the side of sour cream that it came with–so I was able to find a yummy vegan meal in a regular restaurant..wooooo!

Sledding yesterday was also oodles of fun! We drove up to a state park up in the mountains and spent a couple of hours racing down the hills on our sleds. On one really fast run, I ended up tearing our inner tube on a stick and it deflated 😦 But it was fun while it lasted, and we still had two other sleds to have fun on. I was surprised by how fast and far we could go, and also by how bumpy the runs were. It was also reeeeeeally hard to walk up the hills, but it was an awesome workout without really feeling like one! On our way back home, we hit up Starbucks and I bet you can guess what I got–my usual holiday drink, a tall skinny soy peppermint mocha. Definitely a day to remember!

What fun things have you been up to lately? Have you gotten any good after-Christmas deals yet?

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Apparently I’m on a roll with these cheesy Christmas song titles 😉 What can I say, I’m in love with Christmas music and I’m so sad that most radio stations (besides Sirius XM) have stopped playing the stuff.

Anyways, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (if you celebrate it) and a wonderful weekend. It was really nice just getting a couple of days to relax, have fun and not feeling the need to be ‘plugged in’. I love getting a break from technology every once in awhile, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to do just that. But now I think it’s about time for a recap of the past few days, so here we go!

Friday

My mom and I headed out for last-minute gift shopping. Because we got a lot of snow on Thursday, we weren’t able to get out and get presents earlier, so unfortunately we had to face the crowds. But I was able to get some of my favorite things at Whole Foods, a game for my dad at Barnes and Noble and a cute necklace for my sister at American Eagle. I also bought myself my first-ever pair of jeggings at AE and surprisingly, I love them. I have a lot of issues with my body image, my legs and arms in particular, so I usually stick with looser fitting, boy fit type jeans. But I really needed some jeans that can fit in my new boots without looking baggy, so the jeggings fit the bill perfectly. They’re actually a lot more comfortable than I thought they would be, and not too tight at all. I think I might start actually buying jeggings and skinny jeans on a more regular basis, which is a total body image win!

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

Saturday

Christmas Eve! I love this day so much, maybe even more so than Christmas Day, because of the anticipation. The morning and early afternoon were pretty chill, and then we all got ready to go to church. I got to debut my new booties which was awesome! I also really loved the Christmas Eve church service. The end part is definitely the best, because the lights are turned off and everyone lights their candles and sings Silent Night. It’s just so beautiful and reminds me what the real reason for the season is. Afterwards, we drove around and checked out a few light displays and then went home to start on dinner. Now, I’m not gonna lie, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable around this time because dinner was going to be at least an hour later than I feel comfortable with. I hate eating so late because I’m afraid of weight gain, which is so stupid. Our bodies don’t know what time we’re eating, but it’s just a fear I cling to. But once I dug into the dinner I made, I didn’t feel so guilty. I made some vegan butternut squash ravioli, with peanut flour sauce and roasted asparagus spears on the side. It was an amazing Christmas Eve dinner, and I loved enjoying it with my family surrounded by candlelight. After dinner, we watched some of A Christmas Story on TV (best Christmas movie EVER!) and then went to bed…but not before my dad read me a few Christmas stories. It’s one of our traditions, and I always love hearing these classic stories year after year.

Check out my fierce booties!

The best Christmas Eve dinner I could ask for!

Sunday

The big day, of course! I woke up bright and early around 8 ‘o clock and made myself a delicious breakfast of peanutty raspberry chocolate oats and then my sister and I opened our stockings. We always open those in our pajamas, and then get ready for the day and then open presents together as a family. We always go around and open one at a time, so everybody can see what everyone else got and so the present-opening doesn’t go by way too quickly. I got a lot of amazing gifts, which I’m incredibly thankful for. A few highlights include metallic faux-snakeskin Bearpaw boots, a vegan dessert cookbook, a faux leather jacket, some gift cards to my favorite stores and dark chocolate covered espresso beans–a definite fear food of mine, but so so good that I’m not gonna let them go to waste, I’m just going to have a couple a day and enjoy them without any guilt 😀

Presents!

 

I love the dark chocolate+coffee combo!

The cute little countdown to Christmas app I have--I couldn't wait til it said 0 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds!

Mi madre opening one of her gifts.

Bahaha I love how excited my sister is!

 

My dad is obviously in love with his new space heater.

 

After the present-opening, we continued to watch the 24 hour A Christmas Story marathon while munching on snacks. But the best part of the day was getting to go sledding in our yard! We got probably about half a foot of snow, so the sledding was great. We live on a 5 acre property with tons of pine trees and some hills in the back part of the property, so it’s always fun to get a chance to go sledding. It was our first white Christmas in awhile, and probably one of the only times we got to sled on Christmas Day. My sister, who usually hates sledding, actually went with my dad and I and we had the best time! It was a great workout climbing back up the hill in all that snow, of course, but I was just thinking about how fun it was. I absolutely hate feeling like I’m forcing exercise (which I still unfortunately tend to do) so working out in a fun way is definitely preferred. Sledding definitely did not feel like a workout, but it was nice to be active and get fresh air while still having fun and being with my family.

I ❤ sledding!

 

My dad loves sledding too!

Dinner was an awesome pasta dish that my mom made up. It’s so simple but just really tasty. It’s basically just bell peppers and pasta sauteed with this chili lime seasoning from Williams Sonoma and then she adds in some kind of protein. My version was with whole wheat pasta and shrimp and it was sooooo amazing! I hate traditional Christmas-type dinners (because I’m mostly vegetarian/vegan besides the occasional seafood and because it’s so boring) so this was a really nice change. After dinner, we played two new board games that we got (my family loves board games!) while watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Best way to end Christmas, in my opinion. Oh, but I can’t forget about dessert, of course! I enjoyed one of the raw pecan tartlets that I made–they were soooooo good! I’m not gonna lie that I didn’t feel guilty about eating it, because they’re fairly small but “high” in calories (not really, maybe around 120 per tartlet) but because they have such simple ingredients (basically just dates and nuts!) I didn’t feel too bad and they turned out delicious.

Raw Mini Pecan Pies (vegan, raw)

15 Medjool dates

2/3 cup raw nuts (I used a mix of almonds and pecans)

1 T raw nut butter (I used walnut)

sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt

Soak 12 of the dates for at least four hours and cover. Drain dates and add to food processor with nut butter and salt. Pulse until smooth, adding in soaking water if necessary to thin out. Set aside. Pulse nuts and remaining 3 dates until a fine crumb is form. Pack nut mixture into muffin liners (makes about 5) and freeze for an hour. Remove and pour in date mixture and freeze again for at least another hour. Top with chopped or whole pecans and serve straight from the freezer. 

Cute little desserts are the best!

Monday

I watched Holiday Inn with my dad in the morning (a really cool Christmas/holidayish movie from the 1940s with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire), enjoyed a delicious sweet potato topped with peanut flour for lunch and then ran a few errands with my dad and sister. It was kinda crazy out there to be honest, since apparently a lot of people like to return stuff and go shopping the day after Christmas, but we made it out alive 😉 Then for the best part, we went to Starbucks! I had to get my skinny soy peppermint mocha fix, of course! It was nice enough that we were able to sit outside, and I also bought myself a cute holiday cold cup for $5! Before Christmas, it was twice that much so maybe the post-Christmas bargains aren’t so bad after all!

My Christmas Eve 'dessert': peanut flour sauce, freeze-dried apples and vegan chocolate chips.

Well, today we’re planning on going up into the mountains for more sledding and I can’t wait! I’ll be back later in the week for more updates!

What was the most fun thing you did on Christmas? What is your favorite winter ‘sport’?

Oh We Need a Little Christmas [Inspiration]

OMG! Can you believe that Christmas Eve is tomorrow and then it’s Christmas? And in a little over a week, we’ll all be embarking on a brand new year! How crazy is that? 

I have definitely been getting into the Christmas spirit lately, between watching classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and SNL’s “A Very Gilly Christmas” TV special (okay, not so much a classic but I adore SNL!) and stocking up on groceries for the big day. But there’s also a big part of me that almost can’t believe it’s so close to Christmas already. That’s where my little inspiration board comes in!

Okay, so a few of the things don’t seem so Christmas-y, but trust me, they are! I really want a pair of booties for Christmas (like in the lower right hand picture), and that cheetah scarf would make a nice stocking stuffer. Oh, and those bejeweled nails would just be great to have any time 😉

I don’t want to leave you with a post that’s completely food-less so I’ll share some of what I’m planning on eating in the next couple of days!

Vegan butternut squash ravioli? Ummmm yes!

I discovered vegan ravioli over the summer and it was goooooood! I decided to try this brand this time around and the butternut squash kind sounds like it’ll turn out delicious. This is going to be my Christmas Eve dinner, topped with some kind of curry sauce that I’m planning on making myself. Hopefully my peanut flour will arrive before then so I can use that!

Don't these just look adorable?

Continuing on my raw dessert kick, I’m planning on making these raw pecan pie tartlets for Christmas Eve or Day dessert. They’ve only got 5 ingredients, are completely raw and healthier for you than traditional pie. Plus who wouldn’t want a cute little “pie” of their own?

What’s putting you in the holiday spirit? Are you planning on making any desserts (share your recipes!)?

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Hi lovelies, how were all your weekends? I am beyond excited that it’s less than a week til Christmas, but I’ll save that excitement for later!

After having read a lot about NaNeFoMo (or National New Food Month) around the bloggy world, I decided to finally join in! Yes, I know it’s kinda late, but I have already made some progress and created a “bucket list” of things I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

Photobucket

1. Peanut flour. I finally sucked it up and ordered some online a couple of weeks back. This has changed my life, for real! I’ve had it practically on a daily basis since it first arrived in the mail (which is why I just had to order more!) and I’m definitely not sick of it yet. It makes an amazing paste, peanut sauce for stir-frys and salads, as flavoring for Greek yogurt and as a source of protein in smoothies. I even used it in place of flour in my festive garland bars. Definitely a new staple in my pantry!

The perfect topper for banana softserve and Puffins!

2. Chocolate chips. These were (and still are) a fear food of mine, so I thought they’d be perfect to include in my list. I bought some vegan chocolate chips at Whole Foods, used them in a few recipes and now I love them! Yes, they’re still scary, so I only eat maybe a teaspoon or so per day, but I don’t want to deprive myself of dark chocolate ever again!

Chocolate chips make an appearance in nutty cherry chocolate chunk cookies...recipe to come!

3. Making my own nut butter. Being home alone a week ago gave me the perfect opportunity to whip up a batch of homemade nut butter. But what kind to make? I had a bag of chopped pecans, so I mixed those up with some instant coffee powder, a little maple syrup and coffee maple pecan butter was born. You’re welcome 😉

Simple combination, but oh so tasty!

4. Vegan marshmallows. Erm, well, not quite yet! I haven’t been able to find any in stores near me, so I decided to settle for some pescetarian marshmallows. Ummmm, say what? Yeah, marshmallows have gelatin in them, which is made from animals, but I was able to find some kosher ones, which means the gelatin is made from fish. Since I am basically a pescetarian right now, these are fine by me til I can find some truly vegan marshmallows.

5. Kombucha. This one is very scary to me. Not a fear food, in the eating disorder sense, but scary because A) they’re expensive and B) what if they taste horrible? I’ve still yet to take the plunge on this, but I’m hoping maybe I’ll get to sample it at Whole Foods or something and see if it’s worth the price.

6. More raw/vegan desserts. Every one I’ve attempted so far has turned out amazingly well (even if I am the only one who ends up eating them…oh well, more for me!) and I’d love to do more experimenting in the kitchen over the next month. Raw desserts can be kinda “scary” since they include lots of calorically-dense foods such as dates and nuts, but they taste so good and are so healthy for you compared to regular desserts. A few things I have in the works include raw salted caramel sauce, vegan peppermint bark and another variation on my raw brownies with chocolate peppermint avocado “buttercream” frosting. This month sure is looking delicious 8)

One of my favorite desserts ever--raw brownie pie with frozen raspberries and nonfat coffee froyo.

So that’s my bucket list so far–three things down, three to go! I’m proud of myself for conquering one fear food so far and I’m looking forward to trying out new things, especially the recipes. While I like to make “tried and true” type things, it’s always rewarding making something brand new and having it turn out amazing. And if it doesn’t, it’s not a huge deal!

Are you participating in NaNeFoMo? Have you ever made a raw dessert?

Saturday Seven: Home Sweet Home

Well, by the title of my post I’m pretty sure you can guess that I’m home 😀 I have been since about 9 on Thursday night and I’ve had so much fun so far! I’ll explain this in my Saturday Seven, so let’s do it to it (sorry I’m such a dork 😉 )

1. I can’t wait to wear these booties!

I am ob-sessed with these!

Ever since I bought my brown tall boots I’ve been totally head-over-heels (haha, get it?) in love with boots of all kinds. And I’ve had my heart set on these Aldo Pirnie booties in particular since earlier this fall. When my grandpa sent me an Amazon gift card for an early Christmas present, and I saw they had these boots for $28, I snapped them up. They came on Tuesday, and they were probably the reason I was most excited to come home (just kidding!) I finally got to try them on on Thursday night and they fit perfectly and look super adorable. The only problem is, my dad said I can’t wear them til after Christmas, since they are technically a Christmas present. Boooooo 😦 Dads just don’t understand that we girls want to show off our new clothes 😛

2. I’m on a salad kick, and loving it

It basically looked like this, except for with a different salsa and there was lettuce of course!

Monday night when my mom dropped me off after my weather anchor audition (I spent a long weekend at home), we hit up my favorite salad place, Mad Greens, and I got the Don Quixote, which is one of my fave salads there. It had lettuce (duh), mango chunks (yes please!), fresh avocado, corn and black beans. Not a fan of corn at all, but the salad was still good. On Thursday night my mom and I grabbed dinner at Qdoba on our way outta town, and I got the naked vegetarian taco salad. The naked part just means it is in a bowl instead of a taco shell. I was starving, so I went to town on that baby! It was basically lettuce, black beans, corn salsa, habanero salsa (which was soooo hot, but soooo good!) and their fat free picante ranch dressing. That dressing is so delicious, but definitely not overpowering, and it made for a delicious dinner. Then yesterday, my sister and I had a nice lunch at Panera, where I got the Thai Chopped salad, minus the chicken and wontons. The peanut sauce, edamame and cashew clusters really make the salad and again, I devoured it. No shame! I’ve been craving salads like crazy, since at school I mostly just eat in my dorm and don’t have space for lettuce. You best believe I am stocking up on salad greens ASAP to make my own salad creations at home!

3. Need someone to unpack your stuff? Just call me!

Recycled from Thanksgiving break, but you get the picture! Obviously too tired after all that unpacking to snap a new pic.

Friday morning, I went to town unpacking the two giant suitcases I brought back half my life in. I think it took me like 20 minutes at the most, and it’s all unpacked. I think you just gotta get in the groove, and it doesn’t feel like work. If you put it off, it’ll just suck when you finally get around to it. Plus, I’m somewhat of a neat freak, and can’t stand having too many things out on the floor. Drives me nuts.

4. Colorado doesn’t get white Christmases

SNOW...oh wait, just kidding, that's basically just frost!

That picture above was taken last year on Christmas Eve…does it looks like snow to you? Ummmm, no. Seriously, we have a much better chance of it snowing on Easter than on Christmas here. And Halloween, too. Bizarre weather much? Apparently in the last 100 years, only 13% of the time has Colorado had a white Christmas, where it either snowed on Christmas day, or there was snow on the ground on the day. How sad is that? I’m hoping it snows this year, or at least the snow that’s still on the ground sticks around for another week…

5. There’s a sequel to “Santa Baby”…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm_YHHyAlYY

Don’t ask about the weird  image that’s with the song. But anyways, my mom told me that she heard this song for the first time the other day (it’s called “This Year’s Santa Baby”) and since then, I’ve heard it twice. It has the same melody, but new and kinda funny lyrics. But apparently, it was never a hit, which is probably why it’s rarely played. But if you have Sirius XM radio, definitely check out the Holiday Traditions station because they’ve been playing it a lot!

6. I could totally live in a bottle of Bath & Body Works’ Vanilla Bean Noel lotion

It smells like cookies and magic!

Uh, yeah, don’t mind me over here smelling my lotion bottle like a crazy person. I can’t help it, BBW has the best lotion scents. This one is truly amazing. Don’t tell anyone, but I kinda want to eat it…

7. I really want lace shorts for Christmas

These ones in particular, from Abercrombie Kids!

I’m kinda obsessed with the shorts and tights (with boots!) trend for winter, and what better way to dress up the combo than with lacy shorts? I think they’re completely cute and I’m really hoping I get them. I like these grey ones, since white seems too summery and I already have a pair of navy shorts.

What is your favorite salad from a restaurant? Do you like the lacy shorts trend for winter?