WIAW: Easter Weekend

It seems like Easter was weeks ago, but nope, it was just a couple of days ago! Obviously I’m great at procrastinating on posting about it ๐Ÿ˜‰ But seriously though, it’s getting to be that busy time of the semester, when everything is just starting to pile up so apologies if I go missing around here for a few days!

Easter weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had in awhile. I really needed the long weekend after a rough post-spring break week back at school, so the fun and rest was much appreciated. I’ll break it all down for you in some pics I snapped over the weekend.

OOTD March 28: black studded tank (F21), black/white printed harem pants (F21), white watch (AE).

OOTD March 28: black studded tank (F21), black/white printed harem pants (F21), white watch (AE).

Thursday started out with morning classes, and then my mom drove up to bring me back home. She got up to my apartment around noon so we stopped for lunch before hitting the road. We went to Wahoo’s, one of our old favorites that we now can’t get back home since all the locations shut down. Luckily my college town still has one–Wahoo’s has the best guac, hands down. I got a surprisingly amazing salad topped with guac, salsa and roasted veggies.

Fast forward a couple of hours. My parents were both in a Holy Week play at our church so my sister and I went to go watch them. For not having many rehearsals, everybody was really good and a lot of the monologues were very emotional.

Some new-to-me groceries.

Some new-to-me groceries.

Friday morning I got to sleep in a little, and then after lunch my mom and I went out to find birthday presents for my dad. Shhhh, don’t tell him I told you but he’s turning the big 5-0 today! Anyways, we also hit up Whole Foods as per usual so I could pick up groceries for the week ahead. I got a few new things as usual too–the Sunwarrior chocolate was ordered by my dad off Amazon, but everything else was bought by me. So far, I loved the sweet potato apple fruit strip–it was delicious and only a couple of grams of sugar–the nori sheets (perfect for raw wraps) and the kale chips. Seriously, the Kale Krunch brand is the best, I’ve loved all their flavors I’ve tried.

Artisan pizza to celebrate my dad's birthday a little early. This was Saturday's leftover dinner (over a bed of spinach+balsamic) but I ordered a pizza with kalamata olives, artichokes, capers, garlic and oregano (no cheese of course).

Artisan pizza to celebrate my dad’s birthday a little early. This was Saturday’s leftover dinner (over a bed of spinach+balsamic) but I ordered a pizza with kalamata olives, artichokes, capers, garlic and oregano (no cheese of course).

This may seem weird as a clean eating vegan, but I LOVE pizza! By pizza, I don’t mean mass-produced Domino’s or frozen pizza with greasy cheese and no veggies. I love good quality, hand tossed pizza from authentic restaurants topped with classic Mediterranean toppings like olives and artichokes and thin crispy crust. And of course, no cheese! Even when places offer vegan cheese, I never order it because I like to keep my pizzas focused on the veggies. We ate dinner pretty late since we went to the Good Friday service at our church before (always a very moving service) but surprisingly, I wasn’t too freaked out about eating dinner around 9. I even ate 4 out of 6 of the slices…and had two leftover for a great dinner on Saturday!

My diva Easter eggs, thanks to a Target egg kit.

My diva Easter eggs, thanks to a Target egg kit.

Who needs to dye eggs when you can accessorize them? At my house, we’ve decorated Easter eggs since I was little and I can’t imagine not doing it. This year, I convinced my mom to buy the diva decorating kit from Target rather than the usual glitter and dye kits. Yes, I’m still 5 years old ๐Ÿ˜€ My sister and I had a blast glamming out our eggs to be rocker chicks on Saturday night. Easter eggs have never been this cool!

Grain free carrot cake pancakes for Easter breakfast.

Grain free carrot cake pancakes for Easter breakfast.

What’s better than homemade pancakes on Easter morning? Ok, for me, waffles would win, but my waffle maker lives at my apartment while I’m at school so sadly I couldn’t make them. But I settled for carrot cake pancakes, made with almond and buckwheat flours (so technically grain free, since buckwheat is a seed, like quinoa), shredded carrot, raisins and topped with peanut flour paste and cashew butter and more raisins, dipped in real maple syrup. If only I could make pancakes every morning!

My Easter outfit (actually the exact same as last year!)

My Easter outfit (actually the exact same as last year!)

I didn’t realize it until looking at my photos from last year, but I wore the same dress last Easter. Oh well, I’m sure no one but me noticed. Easter is usually snowy and cold here for some reason (April is one of our snowiest months, go figure) but this year we had no snow at all and it was actually sunny and in the 60s. So I could wear a dress without bundling up in a coat and sweater too!

Finally tried the strawberry Zevia!

Finally tried the strawberry Zevia!

Sprouts is my savior…first they had the ALT Larabars, now they have strawberry Zevia. And unlike the grape, which I only sorta liked, this one was delicious and almost tasted like watermelon (always a good thing). And I just love the light pink can color!

My Easter basket!

My Easter basket!

Another Easter tradition that never gets old? Hiding Easter baskets! My mom hid one for me, my sister and dad this year and I still loved searching all over the house for it. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that she had filled it with my favorite nail polish color, great smelling lotion and vegan candy from Whole Foods. Now, to be 100% honest, I’m still a little wary about this candy–it’s healthier than most but it still doesn’t have completely ‘clean’ ingredients up to my ridiculous standards. However, I know she wanted me to be able to enjoy some candy, so I’ll try to get over my fear and enjoy a little of it every day. It’s not even that unhealthy, to be honest, just another issue I’m still dealing with.

So Delicious sugar free vanilla coconut milk ice cream topped with frozen blueberries.

So Delicious sugar free vanilla coconut milk ice cream topped with frozen blueberries.

Easter dessert was something I haven’t had in awhile–ice cream! I love coconut milk ice cream, but again, it was something I pushed aside because it wasn’t totally ‘clean’. However, I really like the no sugar added kind by So Delicious and it’s really not that processed so I enjoyed a small bowl of the vanilla with blueberries and a homemade chocolate PB bunny on the side (recipe to come).

Carrot cake 'white chocolate' truffles (recipe soon!)

Carrot cake ‘white chocolate’ truffles (recipe soon!)

Easter weekend was extra long because I didn’t head back up to school until early Monday morning. Once back at my apartment after classes, I whipped up another batch of the homemade chocolate PB bunnies (this time I made ‘eggs’) and also experimented with making a carrot cake inspired version. Both kinds turned out amazing, so look for those recipes very soon! Both recipes have no added sugar, and are super easy to whip up.

What was the best part of your weekend? Are you a snob about any foods (like me with pizza)?

 

 

 

An Unconventional Christmas

Hey there ๐Ÿ˜€ Hope you all had a very lovely Christmas (if you celebrate)! As usual, it went by wayyyyy too fast but at least there’s still New Years and post-Christmas shopping to look forward to.

You might be wondering why I titled this post ‘An Unconventional Christmas’. While it was definitely enjoyable and memorable, there were a few unexpected things that happened, some good and some bad. Let me explain…

The huge, beautiful Christmas tree at church!

The huge, beautiful Christmas tree at church!

It all started out on the morning of Christmas Eve. I woke up feeling out of it, sick and nauseated. Not the best way to start any day, but especially not Christmas Eve. I hoped it would pass but it didn’t. I spent most of the morning trying to fall asleep so I wouldn’t have to focus on feeling sick. My mom was prepping food downstairs and literally every smell made my stomach churn, even the smell of fresh-baked cookies. Yep, it was that bad. I attempted some toast but couldn’t stomach it and spent the afternoon watching Friends with my mom and sister. I still wasn’t feeling great, but I was determined to go to our church’s annual evening Christmas Eve service so I stuck it out and got ready for church. By this time I had started to feel achy and had chills. But the church service itself was beautiful, as usual. We sang lots of traditional Christmas hymns and the best part, as usual, was singing ‘Silent Night’ by candlelight. I always feel so emotional after the Christmas Eve service, and I was glad I didn’t let my sickness get in the way of soaking up the experience.

My present for my mom. She loved it :)

My present for my mom. She loved it ๐Ÿ™‚

Back at home, we started watching ‘A Christmas Story’. It’s a tradition for us to watch bits and pieces of the 24 hour marathon they play every year–I love that movie! But I still wasn’t really feeling that great and I was kinda upset that I wasn’t going to be able to make my planned dinner for Christmas Eve–coconut curry tofu. This year marks my second Christmas as a vegan, and I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be eating anything special…or much of anything really. I was able to have a bunch of water and some applesauce but that’s about it. The worst thing is, I had been telling myself for days prior to Christmas that I was going to relax my food rules over Christmas–I was still going to be eating vegan, but I wasn’t going to count calories, or worry too much about fitting in all my usual exercise and I was going to eat things that I wanted, when I wanted. So I was upset that I couldn’t eat the things I wanted, let alone most foods.

Waking up to snow on Christmas morning is always magical!

Waking up to snow on Christmas morning is always magical!

But I don’t want to go all Debbie Downer on you guys. I most definitely enjoyed my Christmas, sick or not. One ‘unconventional’ surprise that was good was getting snow on Christmas. I’ve lived in CO for most of my life, and one of the misconceptions a lot of non-Coloradans have about the state is that we get a LOT of snow. Not true, unless you live in the mountains. Living just east of the Rockies and being at a higher elevation, we do tend to see some snow throughout the winter and early spring, but CO rarely gets a white Christmas, especially a real white Christmas where it snows on Christmas. Even though I knew that snow was in the forecast, I was still thrilled to see a few inches of snow on the ground on Christmas day.

Stocking...

Stocking…

...and stocking stuffers!

…and stocking stuffers!

My family does things a little differently on Christmas. We’re only allowed to open our stockings before breakfast and getting ready for the day. This year I got lots of beauty related things in my stocking, and of course, a bar of my favorite dark chocolate!

My family's Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

My family’s Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

After getting all ready for the day it was finally time…for presents! As I’ve gotten older, I still love getting Christmas presents but I appreciate all the other parts of Christmas–the family traditions, the story of Jesus’ birth, the lights and the music and all the excitement that the holiday season brings. However, I did receive many wonderful gifts this year. Some of my favorites include a pair of dark brown riding boots (I’ve been wanting these forever!), a pink blingy cell phone case (my old blue one was falling apart), a heart-shaped donut pan, a couple of vegan cookbooks (Veganomicon and Practically Raw) and some clothes/gift card to Hollister. Honestly, I really love all the presents I got, no matter how small, because I know my family took a lot of time picking out things they knew I’d like.

So excited to try out some vegan donut recipes with this bad boy!

So excited to try out some vegan donut recipes with this bad boy!

The rest of the day was pretty chill. We just spent it relaxing inside, since it was below freezing outside! My dad got a Google tablet for Christmas so he spent most of the day playing around with that, and the rest of us listened to Christmas CDs and watched the rest of the ‘A Christmas Story’ marathon. Even though I started feeling sick again later in the day, I still thoroughly enjoyed my Christmas.

Me and my little sissy. Some people think we look alike...can you tell us apart?!

Me and my little sissy. Some people think we look alike?

Christmas wasn’t what I was expecting at all, between getting sick, the snow and cold weather and of course the presents I got, but it was still a wonderful day, filled with love and appreciation. I’m glad I didn’t let my sickness ruin Christmas for me–after all, it only comes around once a year, and even though it isn’t always ever perfect, it can still be an amazing day if you spend it with those you love.

P.S. I’m feeling better now…so you better believe I’m trying out some of the recipes in my new cookbooks!

Did you have a normal or unconventional Christmas this year? What’s one of the best gifts you got?

Almost Wordless Vacation Recap

So I haven’t been on the computer in a week, and it honestly felt so freeing to just forgo technology (well, besides my phone and iPod) and just enjoy a few days of fun with my family. I also had an extra day away because I had to go up to my college town for some job training for my weather anchor position at the school’s TV station. I’m actually starting to get pumped up for school to start in just a week–well, maybe not school but having my own apartment and being on TV.

Anyways, here’s my mostly wordless vacation recap of my trip to Estes Park, CO with some words at the end about my intuitive eating/exercise experiment!

The cheese-free individual-size hummus pizza at Poppy’s…I devoured it all!

The view of Fall River from the condo.

Tanning by the pool.

Noodles in the deep end of the pool.

A mini Stanley Steamer model (steam-powered car) in the EP Museum.

Spicy sweet and sour tofu & veggies at Thai Kitchen…super spicy, but so good!

Sissy time!

The view from our hike around Lily Lake.

Tall iced soy skinny mocha enjoyed by the Big Thompson River.

Some awesomely bright flowers!

First time trying the Coconut Bliss brand of coconut milk ice cream–verdict = so good, even for the insanely high price ($6/pint). I had some chocolate hazelnut ‘ice cream’ topped with fresh raspberries.

The coolest owl cookie jar!

This really cool, super-vintage looking church just outside EP. It was even cooler inside!

The Big Thompson river.

First time trying vegan sushi! I had the sweet potato rolls filled with Japanese sweet potato, avocado and cucumber. And I loved the pickled ginger on the side.

Me and my sister down by the river.

I think I honestly kicked some serious ass on my self-imposed intuitive eating and exercise challenge. I didn’t record any of my meals or exercise in the calorie counting app I have since last Tuesday and I didn’t freak out (too much) about my macro balance. I feel like I ate more than I usually do, which I know is still probably not enough, but it was definitely a start. I feel like my meals out were pretty balanced–the first night, I had a small vegan pizza covered in veggies; the second night I had a Sunshine veggie burger (without the bun) topped with fresh guacamole; the third night I had sweet and sour tofu and veggies with a little brown rice on the side; and the last night I had a strawberry, spinach and walnut salad with balsamic and some vegan sushi. I honestly loved all the dinners that I had and didn’t have too much of a problem finding something healthy and vegan at the restaurants we went to. I challenged myself to try the Coconut Bliss brand of coconut milk ice cream despite it being higher in calories and saturated fat than my tried-and-true brand. I skipped my usual cardio circuits but was not a couch potato–I played tennis with my dad for an hour one day, walked around town a lot, went on a hike and did some swimming in the condo’s pool. I felt a little more comfortable in my skin than I usually do at home, despite wearing just a swimsuit a lot of the time. I tried a lot of new-to-me things, had some old favorites (veggie straws, baby carrots and PB Puffins, say what?!) and didn’t try to think too much about the food. Overall, the 5 days I spent intuitively eating were some of the best days I’ve had in awhile, and I want to try to keep eating the same way. Now that I’m home, I have more access to veggies, protein, etc. but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep eating more adequately and enjoying my food. And while I’m excited to go back to my regular exercise, I realize that a few days with less intense workouts won’t kill me. So I’m going to try to live every day like I did on my vacation–without the pool time, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you eat intuitively or plan out your meals? Have you ever had vegan or vegetarian sushi?

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Apparently I’m on a roll with these cheesy Christmas song titles ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 realย 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 earlyย 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 โค 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 lovesย 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.ย 

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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’?