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 πŸ˜‰

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

WIAW (on Sunday)

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

Breakfast

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

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

Lunch

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

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

Snack

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

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

Tennis

It’s a Christmas court!

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

Dinner

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

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

Coconut Tzatziki (vegan, gluten-free)

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

1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped

mint leaves, to taste

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper, to taste

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

Dessert

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

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

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

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

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #42.Β 

This or That

By now you probably all know that I’m a sucker for surveys. Anytime I see one on someone’s blog, I just have to do it. It makes for an easy post idea (lazy alert!) and it’s just plain fun. This latest survey is health and fitness related, which is perfect!

Run/work out in the heat and humidity or freezing temps and snow?

Well, considering I’ve only ever lived in Arizona and Colorado, I basically have no experience with extreme humidity. The rare few days that it gets up to 50% humidity after a thunderstorm are pure torture for me πŸ˜› However, I hate the cold and specifically snow even more, so I have to go with heat. When I play tennis, I’d much rather be sweating like crazy because it’s 90+ degrees instead of bundled up trying to ignore the crazy winds and blowing snow. I once played tennis outside in November and it wasn’t the best idea…

Have washboard abs or flat abs?

I kind of already have flat-ish abs, depending on if I’ve eaten recently or not, but I would kinda like them to be flat all the time no matter what. Washboard abs take a lot of work and discipline and while I’d be willing to work for them, there’s just some things I don’t want to give up to get them, like dark chocolate and coconut milk ice cream!

Dr. Oz or The Doctors?

I actually kinda hate Dr. Oz because he tries to make people scared of certain things, like one episode he said taking a shower is unsanitary, and stuff like that. I just started watching The Doctors last year from time to time and I actually like the show. It’s cool how they all have different areas of expertise and they cover so many topics in one episode.

Cardio or Strength?

This is so bad, but I basically do no strength training, aside from things like planks and ab workouts. I’m a cardio girl all the way!

Do water balloon fights count as cardio?!

Cravings: protein or carbs?

Let’s be real…I almost never crave protein. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some protein sources I love, like Plant Fusion protein powder, tempeh and edamame, but I don’t exactly crave them. I do, however, crave carbs often–what can I say, I’m a carbavore! But I do stick with the healthier carbs, like whole grains and fruits/veggies and it seems to work for me.

Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper?

Jillian! She’s so bad ass and I love her no-nonsense approach to fitness. I wish I could be as tough as she is!

Frozen yogurt or ice cream?

I used to be such a huge fan of froyo, but since I’ve been more devoted to veganism, I rarely get it because the places I go to only ever have one or two nondairy flavors. When I get froyo, I only ever top it with fresh fruit but I’m not as obsessed with it as I used to be. Now I’m in love with high quality, coconut or almond milk based vegan ice creams. They cost about $5 for a pint but they’re worth the splurge a couple times per month, plus they last me so long because they’re so much more filling than froyo.

I really love the Nadamoo! brand of vegan ice cream!

To train: upper body or lower body?

Since I don’t do much strength training, I can’t really answer this. But I do know that I feel awesome after a yoga or plank session when my arms feel all weak!

Protein powder or food with protein?

Let me preface this by saying I only use protein powders that are totally plant-based, with as few ingredients as possible and no soy. With that said, I prefer protein powder. I love that I can be eating a sweet treat while still getting in quality protein. I use it in so many things, from smoothies to protein frosting to baked goods. I like some sources of whole foods protein, but protein powder is a lifesaver for me!

I’m in love with protein waffles (and protein powder frosting-topped waffles!)

Lunges or squats?

Lunges! I don’t know why, they’re just fun.

Sweet or salty?

I really love the two together. Lately I’ve been loving the combo of almond peanut cashew butter, real maple syrup and chocolate chips! I usually go for just sweet though.

Workout attire: cute or comfy?

Cute for sure. Of course I want to be comfortable, but I don’t feel comfortable if I’m wearing something I don’t love. So cuteness always has to come first for me.

My typical cute-ish and comfy workout outfit.

Body Pump or Heavy Lifting?

I haven’t done either, but I’ll go with heavy lifting because I know so many people have good results with it.

Yoga or Pilates?

Are you kidding me? Yoga! I still really need to go to a hot yoga class though…

Nike or Adidas?

Nike!

Running on the treadmill or outdoors?

I’m not big into running, but I have to say treadmill. That way, I can read a magazine or whatever and I probably won’t end up tripping!

Whole Foods or Trader Joes?

I wish I could actually choose between them, but TJs is nowhere near me, like literally none within 200 miles of where I live! However, Whole Foods is really awesome and I don’t even mind the high prices most of the time. They have so many of my fave products!

Who can pass up the delicious salads at the Whole Foods hot and cold bars? Not this girl!

Summer or winter Olympics?

Summer, definitely. A lot of years they happen during my birthday (this year they started on my birthday), which is awesome and I love so many of the summer Olympics sports.

Exercise classes or exercise videos?

Classes. I love working out alone sometimes but with other people it’s ten times more fun.

Steamed veggies or roasted veggies?

Roasted, but I actually prefer grilled over either of those!

 

 

Answer any of the questions above!

WIAW: Snack Talk

July’s almost over and I haven’t even done a WIAW post that really fits with the theme for this month…sorry to disappoint, but this one doesn’t either! Oh well, I play by my own rules πŸ˜‰

As you can probably guess by the title, this WIAW is all about snacking. I am big on snacks and have at least 2 per day, along with little bites and tastes of fruit and nuts here and there. I can’t do the 3 square meals a day because I get full fast but I also get hungry fast so my 5 meals a day are all fairly small and snack-sized but that’s what works for me. And I love getting to eat a little bit of a bunch of things rather than one big thing so snacks are perfect! These are some of the snacks I’ve been enjoying this week…

One of my favorite new finds: Alter Eco dark chocolate with quinoa crisps.

Chocolove used to be my favorite chocolate brand because of all their creative flavors, like ginger dark chocolate and chilies and cherries in dark chocolate. But once I discovered Alter Eco chocolate, I’m not planning on going back to Chocolove. For one thing, Alter Eco’s chocolate is organic and fair trade. But it also tastes richer and more like chocolate. Oh, and it comes in a quinoa crisp-studded flavor. Yeah, it’s like those chocolates with rice crisps in it, but way better. Quinoa may seem weird in chocolate but it so works!

Nothing better than fresh mango!

I didn’t eat this bad boy all at once, but I probably could have. I love the juiciness of a ripe mango and don’t really care how messy and sticky it is, it’s just so damn good. They’re so hard for me to cut, but it’s well worth the deliciousness.

Homemade trail mix: dry roast edamame, freeze-dried mango, pistachios and mini chocolate chips.

I’m a trail mix lover for sure. What I don’t love is the price–store-bought trail mix is pretty pricey and not always tasty. That’s why I like to make my own because I can put only the stuff I like in it and it’s cheaper to buy all the ingredients I need in bulk. That’s a win win in my book.

Outfit break! Red flutter-sleeve shirt (American Eagle), aqua cami (Aeropostale), denim cuffed shorts (Abercrombie Kids).

I always say that I don’t really have a set style. It’s kind of a mix of girlie, preppy and boho but it’s all me. This outfit was more on the breezy, boho side. I bought this top a couple summers ago and I love it. I don’t have a lot of red in my closet but some days I like wearing the color if I’m feeling really bold and fun.

Nighttime snack: vegan chocolate chip cookie, Nadamoo mint chip coconut milk ice cream.

I recently discovered Nadamoo and their coconut milk ice creams and I can’t get enough of them. So far I’ve had the maple pecan, java crunch and now the mint chip. My favorite is hands-down the mint chip. Everyone has a favorite ice cream or froyo flavor that they go back to over and over and mine is anything pairing mint and chocolate. The coconut milk ice cream version is super creamy and reminds me of Christmas because it’s more pepperminty but I love it. And I love that it’s colored slightly green by spirulina instead of artificial colors!

Who said vegans couldn’t have maple bacon waffles?

This wasn’t a snack, but I just had to share it. I have no idea where I came up with this waffle flavor, but I realized I had a package of smart bacon in my fridge and wanted to experiment with it. I’m not the hugest fan of it because it’s pretty processed, despite being low in calories and stuff, but it does taste good when it’s crisped up in the microwave. I decided to put it in a waffle and this sweet and salty combo was born. It was actually decent, but next time I’d drizzle more maple syrup on top. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of real, pure maple syrup. None of that low-cal, fake syrup stuff for me!

What’s your favorite frozen dessert flavor? What’s the weirdest waffle or pancake flavor you’ve ever seen?

My Week Through Phonto

No WIAW this week–I know, how lame! Kidding, but my eats have been kinda lacking lately. Think homemade waffles with protein frosting for breakfast, steamed edamame with fresh fruit for lunch, DIY trail mix for snacks (I’ve been loving on the dry roasted edamame, raisin, pistachio and mini chocolate chip combo!), chilled stirfrys for dinner and healthy homemade baked goods for dessert. Okay, maybe not so boring since I love all of it (especially the protein powder-packed version of my mocha chip banana bread!) but you’ve all seen a million photos of these things already. So I thought this week I’d switch things up and share my favorite things from the week–in Phonto form!

Probably a pathetic little bicep, but I’m proud of it!

I professed my love for planks in last week’s Friday Faves–and this is why! My arms and core have been getting so strong because of them, which is awesome. I love body weight workouts because they make me feel badass–like I’m building strength all on my own, without any equipment!

One of my new fave Sbux drinks–berry hibiscus Refresher.

I love love love Starbucks, especially their iced drinks. I could probably just live on their plain iced coffee sweetened with stevia or their light soy Frappuccinos. Or maybe even their unsweetened passion iced tea. But these new Refreshers are definitely delicious, and totally live up to their name. When they were offering them free, my mom and I each got one. I loved the berry one most but the limeade one was decent. I’m excited to try their VIA packets though!

This sight isn’t very common here in CO, so I had to snap a shot!

Rain looks so pretty, especially with a rainbow, but it sure isn’t pretty to drive in! I got caught in it on my way home from my internship and the worst part was the crazy wind. I made a quick stop at Whole Foods and almost blew away on my way out! But when I got home, I spotted this rainbow and had to take a picture because it looked gorgeous.

Still rockin’ the color blocking nail!

I am obsessed with the party or color blocking nail trend. Basically you paint glitter over one of your nails or paint one of them a different color. So fun, and a little more grown up than painting every nail a different color! My favorite shades at the moment are coral and lavender. Who says they don’t go together? I make them work πŸ˜€

‘Nuff said πŸ˜‰

I’ve mentioned it no less than a million times but I’ll say it again–I lurve me some spicy foods! I’m not one of those wimps who thinks jalapenos are too hot…nope, I take my spicy stuff seriously. So these new pickles are right up my alley. They’re perfectly spicy and really crisp and fresh. I only eat Claussen pickles because they’re always kept refrigerated so they taste better. If you like spicy things like I do, please look for these. You won’t regret it…well, maybe your tastebuds will a little bit!

Striped tee: Hollister. White woven belt: Abercrombie & Fitch. Navy twill shorts: Hollister.

I used to hate stripes with a passion, dunno why. Now I’m totally embracing them, especially this particular shirt. It’s just so simple yet cute, slightly cropped and kinda loose fitting, just the way I like my tees in the summer.

A snackplate for dessert: kettle corn, WF vegan chocolate chip cookie pieces, NadaMoo! java crunch coconut milk ice cream, side of fresh pineapple,

I’m so indecisive that it’s no wonder I turn to snackplates almost every day. I’d rather have little bits of a lot of stuff than make a commitment to one big thing most of the time and this dessert was no different. I only had a few pieces of a cookie left so I paired it with some vegan coffee ice cream, my favorite kettle corn and some super juicy pineapple. I did eat them all separately though, otherwise that would just be weird and gross!

What have you been up to this week? Do you like pickles?

Facing the Fats

Fats tend to get a bad rap. Not quite as much in the blog world, where almost everyone enjoys nut butters and avocado on the daily but they’re still viewed as somewhat scary. And I’m one of those people who used to be scared to death of fats. Because I thought they’d make me fat. I mean, duh, that’s their name, why wouldn’t they do that? Boy was I wrong!

My eating disorder days were when I feared fats the most. Can you blame me–I was a kid of the 90s, when low-fat was everything, and I was brainwashed by school nutrition programs to seek out lower fat options. Just before I was at my worst ED-wise, I replaced my old favorite snacks with fat-free pudding and those Snackwell cookies. What I didn’t realize was that low-fat is another name for more sugar, or more sodium. Without some fats, food doesn’t have much flavors (besides fruits and veggies, of course!) But I didn’t care, I felt like I was superior because I was eating little to no fat, unlike most people my age. In my worst days, I subsisted on black beans and rice, “light” toast, sugar-free Jell-O and fruit. The only real fat I was eating was maybe 1 teaspoon of almond butter per day. What a sad, flavorless life! At that point, I was not only afraid of fat but also carbs and my health and appearance were really suffering because of it. I took a nap almost every day after school because I had no energy–not something a normal 16 year old does. My skin was dry, my hair had tons of split ends and was falling out, I was super pale and just didn’t look happy and healthy. Little did I know that it was due to the lack of nutrients.

This is how the food pyramid should look!

During my early recovery, I started to eat more fats again, like larger servings of almond butter and guacamole, but I still shied away from them, especially saturated fats. I wasn’t so afraid of the total fat count, but I always looked at the saturated fat content on every food I bought. I tried my hardest to stay under 2 grams of sat fat total per day, which is damn hard to do. I looked longingly at Clif and Luna bars but always passed them up because most of them had just a little over my total saturated fat “allowance” for the day.

The Luna Bar I always wanted to try (but didn’t) because of the 2.5 grams of sat fat.

Unfortunately, this fear of saturated fat continued for almost three more years. I rejected foods I used to love, like dark chocolate, because they had too much of this scary fat. It didn’t help that most nutrition articles I read supported my fear. I continued to keep my saturated fat levels low…that is, until I transitioned to veganism almost one year ago.

As I embraced vegan foods and tried new things, I realized a lot of them had saturated fat–some more than the measly 2 grams I’d been allowing myself per day. Things like tempeh, nuts and dark chocolate all looked so good, but they were chock-full of fats, mostly the supposed healthy kind (aka unsaturated fats) but they also had a decent amount of saturated. Wanting to be a healthy, fats-embracing vegan, I decided to dip my toe into the world of plant-based saturated fats. And now I can proudly say that I’m never going back to the low-fat lifestyle again!

I would have never let myself eat this much guacamole a year ago!

I eat plant based fats on a daily basis and I love them. Nuts, seeds, tempeh, avocado, olives, dark chocolate and nut butters are my favorite sources and I don’t even want to try living without them. But coconut…that was a different story. I’ve feared coconut for at least 5 years, because it’s extremely high in fat, especially saturated. I wouldn’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole, even though I kinda liked it pre-ED. Until a week or so ago, I hadn’t eaten it in any form since I was probably 13 or 14. Turns out, it’s not as scary as I thought, and I actually like it. Coconut milk ice cream is so much creamier than other vegan ice creams, and maybe even more than regular ice cream (from what I can remember). Coconut milk adds a really nice taste to curry sauces, and it works really well in Larabars. I’m even considering investing in some coconut oil for baking and cooking, since so many people love it and it’s a healthy fat. Yep, I said it, it’s healthy! Now I know that pretty much all plant-based fats are totally healthy, and offer so many benefits. And they taste so amazing!

How did I ever live without this deliciousness?

Basically what I’m saying here is if you’re like me and you are wary of fats, don’t be. Don’t fear the fats–they taste awesome and they’ll give you so much health and energy. I eat about 30 to 35% of my daily calories from fat, and I’ve never felt better! Stick with the plant based fats–nuts and seeds, avocado, coconut–and I think you’ll see the benefits too.

Have you ever feared fats? What’s your favorite fat source?

WIAW: New in Review

Who else loves finding new products at the grocery store? I know I can’t be alone…well, maybe I’m the only one who almost squeals when I see something I’ve been searching for forever or something that just looks too good to pass up πŸ˜‰ Lately, on all my Whole Foods trips, I’ve been buying at least one new-to-me product so I thought I’d share some of them with you in case you’ve been seeing them too and wanted to know if they’re worth the splurge. Spoiler alert: most of them are!

(Some) of the new-to-me flavors: lemon bar, key lime pie, peanut butter cookies, chocolate coconut chew.

First up, Larabars. Not exactly new, but lately I’ve been branching out and buying some flavors I’ve never tried before. Sure, I love the pineapple upside down cake and cappuccino, but I need to try new ones so I can find new favorites! And some of them were. The peanut butter chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie ones were awesome, the chocolate cherry torte not so much, but that can be expected because I hate most cherry flavored things. It was decent though, but mostly because of the chocolate chips! I haven’t tried the other flavors in this pic, but it’s only a matter of time πŸ˜‰

From the freezer/fridge: Spicy Nothings curry sauce, NadaMoo! java crunch coconut milk ice cream, Amande peach almond milk yogurt, Nayonaise.

Okay, I can’t say enough good things about the curry sauce and coconut milk ice cream! The curry sauce is perfectly spicy (which, coming from me, is saying something, because I love all things spicy, and most things aren’t spicy enough) and so good over veggies and the ice cream is so dreamy and creamy, all without dairy. Love it. I kinda like the Amande yogurts, since they’re made from almond milk, but they have the weirdest texture. I can’t wait to find the So Delicious Greek style almond milk yogurts because I’m guessing they’ll be so creamy and thick, not jelly-like like Amande. I do love that it’s got vegan probiotics and plenty of calcium though. I haven’t tried the Nayonaise yet, but I really want to use it in curried tofu salad and tofu crab cakes!

Told you I love the LabelBox app!

Like I mentioned in my latest Friday FavesΒ post, I love LabelBox app. It’s probably not new, but it still is to me, and it’s just so fun to use. Get it now if you still haven’t (bonus–it’s free)!

Annie Chun pad Thai style brown rice noodles, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, veggie spirals quinoa pasta.

The quinoa pasta isn’t new to me, but this particularly shape is! Who else loves getting cool shaped pasta just because? Plus this one is made with veggies, in addition to corn and quinoa flour. Yum. I also really love the brown rice noodles. They just have two ingredients, brown rice flour and water. It doesn’t get more simple than that, and they’re also really tasty with Asian dishes! But the real winner in this line-up is the chocolate. I used to think Chocolove was my favorite chocolate brand, but Alter Eco basically takes the cake. 7 of their 10 flavors are vegan, they’re totally organic and fair trade certified, which I think is awesome. The company is really focused on sustainability and being fair to the coffee growers, which is so much more than most companies can say. Plus they have a chocolate bar with quinoa puffs in it, which just sounds delicious!

A yummy, nutritious Pan-Asian dinner: brown rice noodles stir-fried with Spicy Nothings curry sauce, steamed kale and spicy orange-glazed chickpeas.

And finally, another recipe for you! I kinda made up this dinner on the spot but it turned out so good that I couldn’t not share. You can use whatever curry sauce you love or have on hand, but I definitely recommend the Spicy Nothings brand.

Spicy Curry Stirfry with Orange-Glazed Chickpeas (vegan, gluten-free)

For Chickpeas

1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 large navel orange

maple syrup, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

1 tsp cornstarch

For Stirfry

1 oz brown rice noodles

3 tbsp curry sauce

handful kale

In a small bowl, mix together orange juice, maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Toss in chickpeas and let marinate for 15-30 minutes. Β In a pot, boil water and add in brown rice noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. In a wok or sauce pan, cook chickpeas and kale until orange glaze starts to bubble. Stir in cornstarch until glaze thickens and add in noodles and curry sauce. Mix until combined and serve garnished with cashews, cilantro or sesame seeds. Serves 1.Β 

Do you like buying fair trade products? What’s your favorite noodle/pasta shape?

WIAW: Red, White & New

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow U.S. bloggers! Unlike most years, I won’t be watching fireworks…well maybe on TV, but due to all the fires, most fireworks shows were cancelled around here. I will be wearing some red, white and blue and enjoying some festive eats, though–maybe with a recipe to come!

Anyways, for this week’s WIAW I wanted to highlight some new things I’ve been enjoying lately and share a couple recipes. Note: This was not all eaten in one day!

Red, white and blue fruit bowl: fresh strawberries, frozen banana, double blueberry chia jam.

I’ve been wanting to make my own jam forever so when I stumbled upon Angela’s blueberry chia jam, I knew I had to make it. I bought chia seeds for the first time ever and adapted the recipe to what I had on hand. Turns out, homemade jam is 1000 times better than storebought. And it’s not that hard to make!

Double Blueberry Chia Jam (vegan, gluten free)

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed

1-2 tbsp blueberry flavored agave (can use regular agave)

1 tbsp chia seeds

In a small pot, bring blueberries and agave to a low boil, stirring often. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Lightly smash the berries with a fork, if desired. Stir in chia seeds, stirring often to prevent from sticking to the pot. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until jam is at your desired consistency. Remove from heat and store in a glass tupperware container or jar in the fridge. Makes about 1/2 cup.Β 

This flavor is now in my top 5!

I still can’t believe I used to hate Larabars a couple months ago. Correction: I was scared of them, because of their calorie and fat content. Truth is, I love ’em now and all their calories and fat come from healthy, simple sources. Nothing but real foods in these! I was finally able to track down a couple new-to-me flavors, peanut butter chocolate chip and key lime pie. I’ve yet to try the key lime but the PB chocolate chip is amazing, especially when the chocolate chips melt, which is inevitable in this heat wave. Now I’m dying to try the chocolate chip cookie dough one!

Homemade vegan nachos: Late July sweet potato multigrain chips, black beans, spicy nacho cheez, crispy kale, guac, pumpkin seeds and nooch.

I think I have a problem. I put nooch on almost everything I eat now! It’s just so addicting, and I love knowing I’m getting a little protein and B vitamin boost from it. These nachos are my favorite thing to whip up for a quick and easy dinner. The cashew cheez sauce is what makes it!

Cookie the size of a salad plate…dominated!

If you haven’t tried Whole Foods’ vegan chocolate chip cookie and you have a store near you…go buy one now! I promise it’ll be the best 99 cents you’ve ever spent, especially if you pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. I’m always shocked that this gigantic cookie has only 170 calories in it–the magic of vegan baking!

This $6 salad bar box was worth every penny.

I’m obsessed with the Whole Foods salad bars. The one near me always has a great selection and a lot of their options are vegan. I load up on a little bit of everything and it always turns out perfect. I can’t even remember everything in this box but there was some emerald sesame kale, marinated artichoke hearts, fruit salad, a warm bok choy salad, Asian cous cous, Mediterranean crunch salad, curry tofu and a falafel ball. It was worth all the stares I got for eating it at my internship–some people just don’t appreciate healthy eating!

Double chocolate protein waffle topped with NadaMoo! maple pecan coconut milk ice cream.

I’ve really been into making protein waffles lately. First I made them with peanut flour but then I tried some protein powder samples I got from Whole Foods. This one was made with Vega One and it was soooooooo good. For a snack, I topped it with some coconut milk ice cream. The ice cream melted all over the warm waffle which made it even better.

Double Chocolate Protein Waffle (vegan, high protein)

1 sample packet Vega One chocolate protein powder

2 tbsp oat flour (can sub whole wheat or gluten-free flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life dairy free chips)

1 tbsp flax or chia seed, mixed with water to make flax or chia “egg”

unsweetened almond milk, to thin

stevia, to taste (I used one packet)

Heat up waffle iron (or skillet, if making into pancakes) and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Mix together all dry ingredients until combined. Add in flax egg and almond milk until batter is smooth and thick, but can Β be easily scooped up. Spoon batter (in two batches) onto waffle iron and cook until outside is crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Makes 2 waffles (the entire batch has about 18 grams of protein and around 300 calories!).

I love homemade pizza!

Since I became vegan, I’ve become much more creative with pizza toppings. I rarely even use vegan cheeses anymore but pizzas don’t really need cheese if you have amazing toppings. The one on the left is an Indian-inspired pizza topped with curry sauce, raisins (weird, I know, but it was actually good), cauliflower, carrots and chickpeas. The one on the right was a spicy Italian version with Field Roast Mexican chipotle grain sausage, garlic basil sauce, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. The crust was amazing too, even though it turned out super thick. I used the fresh multigrain pizza dough that Whole Foods sells in their refrigerated section and I love the taste and doughiness of it, but it tends to rise a little bit too much!

Recent lunch: strawberries topped with double blueberry chia jam; peanut flour granola in almond milk with raisins, sunflower seeds and mini chocolate chips; spicy curry sauce with edamame, broccoli slaw and kale.

I’ve been loving whipping up a simple curry and veggie bowl for lunch lately. The sauce I use is the spicy & tangy curry sauce by Spicy Nothings and it’s one of the best curries I’ve ever had. It’s not even honestly that spicy, but then again I’m kinda obsessed with spicy things. It goes so well with kale and edamame but I want to try it soon with some tempeh!

How do you get in protein in the mornings? Do you like things spicy or mild?