Week through my iPhone: Part II

Well, it’s been almost a week since I last posted, whoops! I have some time off coming up so maybe another post will make it in there somewhere. I can’t make any promises though. I love being busy though — it makes time fly (which is sometimes good, sometimes bad…like when my weekend ends too soon).

I freaking love the heat. But the humidity, not so much.

I freaking love the heat. But the humidity, not so much.

It hasn’t technically hit 100 degrees here yet, but the heat index has been in the 100s on some days. I only hate it when I’m trying to push through a run or when it messes up my hair. Humidity+me = super sweaty hot mess. Is it any wonder I want to move to the desert?

Aforementioned sweaty selfie.

Aforementioned sweaty selfie.

Running has been going well. Still running between 2 and 3 miles, but trying to run almost every single day, even if it’s just a mile on the treadmill mixed with walking. I ran in the drizzle one day last week, and it was the best. I was basically alone out on the trail, and it wasn’t too hot. The above picture was from a very sunny, 90+ degree run.

Figs+coconut butter. Just do it.

Figs+coconut butter. Just do it.

I’ve been shelling over $5 for figs on the reg at Whole Foods and I’m not mad about it. Especially not since I discovered the best flavor combo ever — figs and coconut butter. The coconut butter formed a little shell on this fresh-from-the-fridge-fig and it was so creamy. Why do I have such expensive tastes? At least I never eat out!

 

A sense of my immature humor at work.

A sense of my immature humor at work.

Work is…work. Some days I wake up at 2 am ready to hit it and other times I think “I wish I could lay in bed forever”. But having little moments like this makes it better. Some videos on the NBC feed are really…weird? Yeah, I think I’ll pass on running a package about overactive bladders in my newscast, thanks.

Nautical AND nerdy.

Nautical AND nerdy.

And I’m trying to find work-appropriate things that work in the summer. The station is air-conditioned, so that means cardigans are a must (and I can’t get away with tanks anyway). I also got called out for wearing a dress that was ‘too short’ so I’ve been more cautious ever since. The dress code is casual, but apparently a dress that is more than an inch or two above the knees is not okay (but basketball shorts and a T-shirt are?).

My baby is almost at 100K.

My baby is almost at 100K.

It’s official — Alejandro is getting old. Okay, he’s only 5 years old, but he’s almost 100 K miles. Whattttt? He’s seen me through two years of college and now my new adventure in Tulsa…maybe another move on the horizon in a year? I just hope he holds out that long — Hyundais are pretty reliable!

 

The best chocolate in the world.

The best chocolate in the world.

On my last trip to Whole Foods, I was upset when I walked through the baking aisle and my beloved stevia-sweetened chocolate chips were nowhere to be found (aka sold out). I basically live off those things, so I was devastated. But when I finally spotted the new flavor of my favorite chocolate bar brand I decided to buy two bars. Well, I should have bought more because this stuff is incredible. It tastes exactly like chocolate-covered espresso beans but it just has three ingredients — cacao, fair trade coffee, and cane sugar.

 

I can't tell you how much I love these new glasses.

I can’t tell you how much I love these new glasses.

I generally wear contacts because it’s just easier (especially when I’m running) and I’m lucky that my eyes can tolerate them, but sometimes you just gotta wear glasses. Or in my case, you use them as a fashion statement. I’ve been lusting after hipster glasses for years, and finally got some (real ones) of my own. These were $50, lenses and all, because I took advantage of a first pair free deal on Coastal.com. They arrived in my mailbox within just a couple days and they’re basically perfect. No, I promise I wasn’t asked to write a glowing review (or any review, period), I just really loved my first experience with Coastal.

Random bowl of deliciousness, coming right up!

Random bowl of deliciousness, coming right up!

More randomness thrown in a bowl and called a meal. This was my favorite homemade sweet potato hash with added in spinach, hemp tofu, cauliflower and topped with homemade hummus, coconut ‘bacon’, sprouted salted nut mix and spicy peppers. Colorful, balanced and oh so tasty. And easy. I haven’t been in the mood (or had the time) to make anything complicated and that’s fine with me.

What’s been going on in your life lately? 

WIAW: Tricks & Treats

I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween (can it just be Christmas already?) but I had to tie in this week’s WIAW with it. Well, at least a little bit. I’m not going to be dressing up, other than for my campus TV station’s special Halloween live show (I’m reporting on the weather!), or indulging in any candy, but I do have some product reviews for you this week. How’s that for a treat 😉 Plus I’ve been kinda burned out on food lately–some of my favorites haven’t been sounding so appealing sometimes so it’s been kind of boring on the eating front so I decided to do this instead of a usual WIAW.

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Whole Foods canned pumpkin.

I usually buy the Farmer’s Market brand of canned pumpkin, because it’s organic and the cans are BPA-free, plus they now come in boxes which is even better than cans. But I spotted the 365 brand of canned pumpkin and couldn’t pass it up since it was a dollar cheaper than my usual brand. When I opened the can, the pumpkin was more orange and a bit runnier than the Farmer’s Market pumpkin, but it tastes about the same. I might just stick with my favorite brand though because I like the fact that there’s no BPA.

I originally took the coffee maker my dad used when I moved into my apartment 2 months ago because he said he wasn’t using it very much. I didn’t mind that one, but it made way more coffee than I needed at one time. So when my dad said he wanted his coffee maker back, I was more than happy to return it in exchange for a brand new one. I got this baby for under $20 at Kohls…isn’t it adorable?  It only makes one serving’s worth of coffee which is great for a single lady like me. And it works perfectly, so I’m happy. Plus I like that it’s green, and not black like the other one. What can I say, I’m a sucker for bright colors!

Saturday’s shopping outfit: grey lace tee (Hollister), fish necklace (American Eagle), burgundy jeggings (Hollister).

I bought these jeggings last weekend because I was in desperate need of some more jeans. I paid more than I would have liked for them, but they fit great and the dark red color goes with a lot. I can’t complain!

Maranatha raw maple almond butter.

My go-to brand of nut butter has been Archer Farms for quite awhile. I love their almond peanut cashew butter, it’s so creamy and nutty. But–surprise–it was one of the recalled nut butters under the salmonella scare. So I’ve been APCB-less for a month or so, and it’s been sad. I especially loved it because it was pretty cheap for an all-natural, nothing-added nut butter. I finally decided to try this Maranatha variety after seeing it on a few blogs. And while it’s no almond peanut cashew butter, it’s really good! It’s not overly sweet, but I prefer it over the Justin’s maple almond butter. And it’s only a couple bucks more than my favorite, so I guess that’s not too bad.

Tessemae’s vegan hot wing sauce.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a buffalo wings fan, not even when I was omni. However, you all know my love for all things spicy. I was in the market for a new dressing, and when I saw this one on the shelf at Whole Foods, I knew I’d love it. It has very simple ingredients, basically just lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and spices. You know it’s good stuff because it separates and hardens up…gotta love all-natural foods with all their quirks! P.S. This stuff is amazing massaged on kale!

Letting my nerdy side show!

I have been dying to get a pair of reader’s glasses since they first came into vogue. I don’t know if you think they’re cute or not, but I sure do! I bought my pair for 15 bucks at American Eagle and it is the best 15 bucks I’ve ever spent. I love the tortoiseshell print and how they add a hipster touch to any outfit. Best part is, I can wear them with my contacts since they’re not real glasses, just a fashion accessory!

So Delicious no sugar added chocolate coconut milk ice cream.

My usual coconut milk ice cream brand is Nadamoo, and I love all their flavors and pronounceable ingredients, and they’re much cheaper than most coconut milk ice creams. But when I saw the So Delicious no sugar added variety for the same price, I had to give it a try. This stuff is a little less creamy than Nadamoo, but it’s only 100 calories for 1/2 cup and has just 1 gram of sugar–the rest is all erythritol, which is a natural no calorie sweetener. It tastes basically like a Fudgesicle, which I loved, but I wish they had had one of their other NSA flavors available for me to try since I usually go for more exciting flavors. Guess I can always jazz it up with toppings though!

Feather print jeggings from American Eagle.

Two new pairs of jeggings within a week?! A year ago, this never would have happened. I was scared to death of tight-fitting jeans because I hated my legs (still kinda do) and I didn’t want them to look big in skinny jeans. But around Christmas last year, I finally caved and bought a pair of dark wash jeggings from American Eagle…and finally fell in love with them. I now have 4 pairs and am definitely embracing the trend. I prefer the pairs with more structure, like pockets and zippers and actually made from denim or a thicker material so they look more like jeans. I love this new pair because it’s very unique but it’ll still go with everything because it’s in a dark color, I think feathers are cool and these fit perfectly. American Eagle is definitely my favorite store for jeggings, they always fit me just right. And they were $15 on clearance, you can’t pass that up!

So Delicious mint chocolate coconut milk.

Too soon for the holiday-inspired drinks? Never! I’d been dreaming of Silk’s mint chocolate soy milk since last Christmas, but now that I don’t do soy milk (too processed) I was excited for a different nondairy version. And So Delicious definitely delivered! I’d never had refrigerated coconut milk before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but this was pretty thick without being overwhelming. The flavor was perfectly sweet and partly sweetened with stevia so that lowered the sugar content a lot! There’s only 50 calories in half a cup which makes it a perfect lower calorie sub for Starbucks peppermint mochas! And as a huge mint chocolate lover, I totally approve of this drink!

What kind of jeans or pants do you like to wear? Do you drink holiday-type beverages?

WIAW: Loving Lately

Happy WIAW! I swear, this year’s gonna be over before I know it. I can’t believe I’m already almost done with midterms, am about to sign up for classes for next semester and Christmas is almost 2 months away. I’m one of those crazy people who can’t wait for it to be the holiday season so I’m already counting down to Thanksgiving. But can you blame me, I need a break!

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Unlike my most recent WIAWs, this one isn’t documenting what I ate on a certain day. I used to like doing that but then I always ended up posting similar items each week. I don’t feel like I eat the same things all the time, but I almost always end up taking pictures of the same things. So this week is all about what I’ve been loving on lately.

Apple nachos. Half a sliced Jazz apple. Peanut flour drizzle. Mini chocolate chips. Raisins. Maple almonds.

Not much to say about these, except you’ve gotta try them. They take apples to a whole new level!

One minute coconut flour carrot cake. Coconut flour. Chopped carrots. Cinnamon. Chopped dates. Ground flax. Almond milk. Peanut flour paste.

This was a microwave cake, but I’m working on a vegan, grain free coconut flour based carrot cake for the oven. Stay tuned!

Coffee roasted squash seeds. Ground coffee. Kabocha seeds. Maple syrup. Coconut oil.

These were even better than the original squash seeds. But then again, anything coffee-flavored is.

Dirty chai waffle. Buckwheat and almond flours. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Ground coffee. Raw cacao powder. Topped with raw pumpkin chocolate protein frosting, mini chocolate chips, fresh figs and maple syrup.

What’s dirty chai? Apparently it’s chai tea mixed with espresso, and this waffle was inspired by that delicious combo. The best part of any waffle is the toppings though!

Roasted kabocha with peanut flour drizzle. Coconut flour microwave cake crumbles. Frozen grapes. Alter Eco dark mint chocolate. Justin’s vanilla almond butter.

This snackplate style lunch was perfect right before class. This week I roasted my first kabocha and I’ve gotta say that now I understand the addiction. The texture is a little weird but it’s so tasty!

Kale topped with nooch.

So simple, so good. Seriously, try this and you will be amazed how good kale can be when topped with plenty of nooch.

My macros. So proud of that 25% protein!

I don’t really talk macros on here much, but I really love tracking mine. Usually my carbs are around 45%, protein at 20% and fat at 35%, it’s just what works for me. But there are a few days that I definitely love my protein and fats more. Who says you can’t get enough protein as a vegan?!

Spicy Italian-style kelp noodles. Sauteed kale. Half a chopped Field Roast Mexican chipotle vegan sausage. Nooch. Olives. Spicy harissa hummus. Kelp noodles. Basil pasta sauce.

Who knew I’d end up loving kelp noodles even more than my beloved quinoa pasta? It’s really just so cool how kelp noodles are pasta-like but are made from a sea veggie instead of grains. I love having them any way, but the Italian way is my fave. Bring on the olives and the nooch!

Whole Foods salad bar box. Crushed homemade tortilla chips (the best!). Curried wild rice. Cold sweet potato salad. Coconut curry tofu. Orange chipotle tofu. Calabasitas (mixed grilled squash).

I wish this weren’t true, but the Whole Foods salad bar at my home WF is so much better than the one at the WF near school. I love the store near school, but the salad bar rarely has many tasty vegan options like the one at home has. As you can probably guess, this particular box was from a weekend trip home.

What foods have you been loving lately? What do your macros look like (if you track them)?

WIAW: Fall Flavors

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

Caramel apple coffee? Uh, heck to the yes!

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

Looks weird, tastes amazing.

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

Pumpkin Coconut Mash (vegan, gluten-free)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

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

1 tbsp coconut flour

drizzle agave or maple syrup

maple or vanilla extract

unsweetened vanilla almond milk, to thin

cinnamon, raisins, protein frosting, etc. for topping

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

Coconut oil makes everything better!

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

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

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

This is basically the cleanest donut ever!

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

This gluten free and vegan donut was a winner!

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

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

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

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

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

The Meal Survey

Happy Labor Day, for those of you who get the day off! Sorry I’ve been pretty MIA since midweek–school was crazy and then I came home for the long weekend. My family and I went to Breckenridge, CO on Saturday for their annual duck race. Sounds silly, but totally fun and a great excuse for a day trip to the mountains. I was really looking forward to it, especially because the weather here has been crazy hot for months and it’s always cooler up there. Well, we got a little more than we bargained for–it was sunny and hot in the morning, storm clouds rolled in and it rained like crazy, then it was cold and windy, then sunny again and finally cold and rainy. Totally bipolar day, but still fun!

Today I’ve just got a fun food-related survey that’s been all around the blog world lately. Enjoy!

Breakfast Questions

1. Favorite cereal as a child?

Tough question, since I was a huge cereal lover as a kid. That was basically my breakfast every morning. I remember really loving Post Blueberry Morning. It was a healthy-ish cereal but plenty sweet and full of berries and almonds!

2. Coffee or tea? With milk or without?

Coffee for sure! I love tea, but really only iced tea. Coffee is great iced and hot. When I get it iced, I go for just straight black coffee sweetened with some Truvia. But I prefer my hot coffee with a little soymilk or almond milk (Starbucks, can you get on the almond milk trend?) and one of their sugar-free syrups. I know artificial sweeteners aren’t the best, but I love their syrups and they’re an occasional indulgence.

First hot coffee drink in months! Tall soy skinny vanilla latte.

3. The one food you eat most often at breakfast?

I go through major breakfast phases. A year ago, I was really into overnight oats. Then I liked hot oats. Then smoothies in a bowl. Then pancakes. Now it’s waffles, and I’m ob-sessed! I always make them with buckwheat flour (I want to experiment with coconut flour though), ground flax, almond milk and then go crazy with mix-ins or toppings. My favorites are dark chocolate chips, real maple syrup, sweet potato, berries and protein frosting.

Lunch Questions

1. Sandwiches are generally considered a “lunch food”. If you had to choose between a grilled cheese and a peanut butter and jelly, which would you pick?

Hands-down, PB&J! I obviously don’t eat real cheese anymore and I’m not a big fan of the vegan cheeses. I actually never was a big grilled cheese lover, even as a kid. However, I did used to eat just jelly sandwiches on wheat bread because I hated (still do) PB. I was a weird kid 😉 I absolutely love almond butter and jelly sandwiches though. I really want to try a macadamia butter and mango jam sandwich, it just sounds amazing!

2. You can only put four ingredients in your salad (not including greens); what do you throw in the mix? Additionally, which greens and dressing do you pick?

Ooooooh, hard question! I really love complex, random salads so it’s hard for me to pick just four. I guess I’ll go with edamame, peanut sauce, red peppers and chili-flavored cashews (like the Thai salad from Panera!) For greens, I usually go with kale or baby spinach. I hate hate HATE arugula though, so I’ll pick it out if it’s in a spring mix. I’m so high maintenance 😉

Another favorite salad, from Qdoba. Black beans, corn salsa, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

3. One food you can’t live without at lunch?

My lunches are always different, but one thing that stays the same is produce. I always have a fruit and veggie at lunch time and I try to mix it up. I love salads but it isn’t always practical to have one, so sometimes I’ll bring baby carrots or mini sweet peppers to campus and for fruit I try to go with something more portable if I can’t be at my apartment for lunch.

Dinner Questions

1. It’s the end of the day. You’re tired, hungry, and your fridge is empty. If a fast food (from a chain) is your only option, where do you go and what do you order?

I haven’t had legit fast food in years, and I have no desire to do so. Plus most of them aren’t very vegan-friendly. I prefer fast casual chains, like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles, etc. since they have plenty of healthy options. However, my real ‘go-to’ is Whole Foods. Their prepared foods section is amazing and you all know my love for their salad bar! I actually just got some again on Friday and I’m already wanting more #noshame

The latest Whole Foods salad bar box. Marinated artichokes, sweet potato and pepper salad, orange chipotle tofu, Korean veggies, chana masala.

2. TV/computer on or off while you’re eating?

Always on, at least when I’m by myself, otherwise it feels too quiet and weird.

3. The one food you eat most often at dinner?

Sweet potatoes! I don’t know why, but I rarely have them at other meals (besides my sweet potato chocolate chips waffles). They’re my addiction for sure, especially topped with nut butter!

Dessert Questions

1. Choose between these two American desserts: cheesecake or apple pie?

Cheesecake, definitely. Never been an apple pie fan, but cheesecake was one of my faves before becoming vegan. Now I still enjoy it sometimes, when I make raw cheesecake from scratch or buy this amazing raw cheesecake brand from Whole Foods (super expensive, but worth it).

First attempt at raw cheesecake!

2. Choose between these two foreign desserts: tiramisu (Italy) or flan (Spain)?

Never had flan, but it does not look appetizing. Tiramisu, on the other hand, is amazing. I haven’t had it in forever, but I’m working on a raw, vegan version. Stay tuned!

3. Ice cream: cone or cup?

I prefer cups, unless it’s a special-flavored waffle cone like this one place in Estes Park makes. They seriously have flavors like bubblegum and marshmallow!

What nut butter and jelly sandwich combo have you always wanted to try? What’s your favorite American-style dessert?

There’s Kale in My Pesto and Coffee in My Banana Bread (Recipes!)

Long time, no recipe post, huh? Sure, I’ve been including recipes here and there in my posts lately, but sometimes it’s nice to devote an entire post to them. I haven’t had one of these since June 10th–almost a month, yikes! But I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen and it’s paid off with two recipes I think you might love.

First up, something you might want to whip up as a quick dinner. Usually when I have pasta, I use some kind of red sauce or sometimes my spicy nacho cheez sauce for a vegan take on mac ‘n cheese. I rarely even think about pesto, the popular green cousin of tomato sauce. But when I saw a recipe for pumpkin seed pesto on the Whole Foods website, I knew I had to make some for myself…with some changes, of course, to make it my own recipe.

Cheezy pumpkin seed kale pesto over quinoa pasta and Rising Moon artichoke and olive ravioli, watermelon slices.

Cheezy Pumpkin Seed Kale Pesto (vegan, gluten free)

1/2 cup hulled (green) pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup water

1/2 tbsp olive oil

lemon juice, to taste

two handfuls kale, roughly chopped

nooch, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until combined and creamy. Add more nooch if desired, and serve over pasta, veggies or quinoa. Makes about 1 cup.

The pesto paired perfectly with chilled quinoa pasta and soy ricotta ravioli but I also want to try it as a sandwich spread! It’s more nutritious than the typical pesto, because it’s cheese-free (but uses nooch to get that cheezy taste) and uses kale which is packed with Vitamins A & C and has some calcium and fiber. And the pumpkin seeds add an interesting taste and creamy texture to the sauce!

And what’s dinner without some dessert afterwards? I usually space my dinner and nighttime snack so there’s about 2 hours in between, just enough time to digest and work up some hunger for dessert! I haven’t baked something in pretty much forever (probably close to two months) so it was definitely time. I made banana bread for the second time ever–the first time was about 3 years ago. I like banana bread, but I just rarely think to make it. But I didn’t want to just make plain ‘ol banana bread, no, I had to try incorporating some unusual ingredients. It turned out great and even better than normal banana bread.

Nothin’ better than warm banana bread crumbled in almond milk topped with almond peanut cashew butter and mini chocolate chips!

Mocha Chip Banana Bread (vegan)

3/4 cup oat flour (can sub whole wheat, or gluten free flour)

3/4 cup oats [adds some texture]

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

5 squares dark chocolate with coffee pieces, chopped (can use normal dark chocolate, or chocolate chips)

1/4 cup cold coffee (I made mine with 1/3 packet Starbucks VIA instant mocha powder and 1/4 cup water)

2 ripe bananas

2 tbsp maple syrup or agave

1/2 tbsp chia or flax seed, for “egg”

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together flour, oats, baking powder, salt and chocolate until combined. In a blender or food processor, blend the coffee, bananas and maple syrup until smooth and mixed thoroughly. Pour wet mixture into dry and add in chia or flax egg. Pour batter into baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Makes 8 slices.

Mine didn’t rise a lot (stupid high altitude baking!) but it was still tasty and very dense. It’s a lot healthier than the typical banana bread and isn’t quite as sweet but for around 110 calories per slice, it makes the perfect snack crumbled in almond milk or spread with almond butter. And I love the slight coffee taste it has! Next time I would add even more coffee to it. Oh, and my junk food-loving little sister loved it, so that’s saying a lot!

This recipe is being submitted for this week’s (September 7) Healthy Vegan Friday

What’s your favorite kind of bread to eat? Do you like red sauce, white sauce or pesto?

WIAW: Spring Break Bonanza!

Let me start off by saying…thank you all SO much for your comments on my last post! It seriously means the world to me that you all care so much about me and want to see me live my life to the fullest–without ED in it, of course.

BTW to all who asked, the doctor appointment was not what I expected. My weight was a little higher than it was when I weighed myself at home, because the appointment was soon after breakfast and I was wearing jeans with a belt, but both weights were low and I was expecting the doctor to say something about it but she really didn’t. I guess she didn’t think losing about 5-7 pounds was a big deal, which obviously I think is, considering my BMI is now between 15.5 and 16. It’s kind of discouraging to not have the support of the doctor is my efforts to eat more, but I will just have to rely on my own strength (and your comments) to take the plunge and fuel myself properly. It’ll be hard, but I know it’ll be worth it.

Anyway, on to more exciting things–like this week’s WIAW! I have tried a ridiculous amount of new-to-me things in the past couple of days and I’ve loved being home because I can actually cook things. I only have a couple of recipes for you so far, but I will be sharing more in the next few days as I continue to cook up a storm! Today, I want to share the recipes and also my reviews on some products I just tried. Let’s get to it!

Probably the best nondairy 'ice cream' I've ever tried!

I love almond milk, especially Pacific Naturals unsweetened vanilla, but I had never tried (or even seen) almond milk ice cream. I’ve had a couple of flavors of soy ice cream before and they were okay but nothing too great. Luckily, this Almond Dream ‘ice cream’ was way more amazing! It was super creamy, and tasted exactly like an iced latte from Starbucks. The swirl of chocolate was a nice surprise too. I would definitely buy this again, but I also want to try the new So Delicious almond milk ice creams.

Orange and dark chocolate is almost as good as raspberry and dark chocolate.

And to think just a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t go anywhere near chocolate! Yes, it is still somewhat scary for me to eat, but I still eat a little bit of some dark chocolate every day, because it makes me happy. When I discovered this mini Chocolove bar at Whole Foods, my dad encouraged me to get it so I did. The moment I tried my first square, I fell in love. Orange and dark chocolate are a match made in foodie heaven, for reals! Now I really want to try all of their other dark chocolate bars–I love that they’re dairy-free, and local-ish (they’re made in Boulder).

Quinoa pasta with vegan spinach 'cheese' sauce, smart bacon strips.

Since I bought nutritional yeast a few weeks back, I’ve been really wanting to try a vegan mac and cheese recipe. I kind of improvised my own and it actually turned out pretty tasty. The quinoa pasta I served it on was new and really yummy. I loved that it’s just made out of corn and quinoa flours (so it’s gluten-free for all of you out there who are gluten-intolerant or just want to switch it up from wheat pasta) and this variety also incorporated some spinach and beets. Extra veggies = win!

Spinach ‘Cheese’ Sauce (vegan, high protein)

1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other nondairy milk)

1/2 tbsp whole wheat flour (or cornstarch)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

cracked pepper, to taste

handful spinach

Mix almond milk and flour in a pot over medium heat until combined and thickened. Add in rest of the ingredients and stir until spinach is wilted. Serve over pasta, quinoa or as a spinach ‘cheese’ dip (makes 1 serving). 

Red cabbage with vegan Caesar dressing, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast topped with almond peanut cashew butter and peanut flour, frozen pineapple, orange seitan.

Westsoy seitan strips and Follow Your Heart vegan Caesar dressing are two of my many new Whole Foods finds. It was my first time trying seitan and I wasn’t really a fan. I love that it has tons of protein (21 grams per serving) but the texture just sketched me out. I made it orange chicken style, and it was decent but I wouldn’t buy it again. Maybe it was just the brand, but I didn’t really like it. The dressing on the other hand, was perfection in a bottle! It reminds me of regular Caesar dressing, only less rich. I love dipping carrots in it and topping fresh cabbage with it. I even made kale chips with the dressing that turned out pretty yummy.

This is my "Gotta go take a drug test so I have to drink up" face.

I have been loving being able to drive myself places over the past few days. At school, I don’t have my own car but being at home and having three cars at my disposal has been so nice! This may sound weird, but I love driving all by myself because I can sing along to “Starships” (one of my new fave songs) and go wherever I want. The reason I’ve been driving myself so much is that I’ve had tons of appointments this week and since both my parents have to work, I had to go to them on my own, which was fine by me. That means more singing 😉 Plus I’ve always wanted to take one of those pictures when you’re in the front seat so yesterday before my internship meeting, I did just that. No worries, I was parked–otherwise I would have had no hands on the wheel! And I was just drinking some iced water sweetened with some vanilla stevia so I could take a required drug test for my summer internship. If you’ve never put liquid stevia in your water, dooooo it now! The vanilla reminds me of a non-carbonated cream soda.

There's no shame in going to Whole Foods three times in five days!

Speaking of going wherever I want, I made a pit stop after my meeting on Tuesday at Whole Foods. It was weird shopping on my own, mostly because I think other people thought I was just a kid and not an almost-20-year-old because of my size, but I didn’t get too many weird stares because the store was pretty dead compared to most times I go. At first I was going to grab myself a lunch thing from the hot/cold bars but I decided to play it cheap and just buy a bunch of random stuff I’ve wanted to try. I’ve had the unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze before, but not in a while and it’s just so good (plus it was on sale). I grabbed a couple of fruit strips, some vegan sprinkles because sprinkles are just fun, another mini Chocolove bar (this time raspberries in dark chocolate) and a Two Moms in the Raw cacao chia bar. I really wanted to get their almond butter cacao truffles, but they were a little bit too expensive. I love raw bars in general (especially Pure bars) so I can’t wait to try this one. I also snagged a couple cappuccino Larabars when I hit up WF on Saturday–this is my first time getting a Larabar and I’m so excited to try out their new flavor!

The perfect dessert for spring.

I finally got around to making raw cashew ‘cheesecake’. I mentioned in my last WIAW that I wanted to make a key lime version so I did! I tweaked the recipe I’m posting a little because I had to basically scrape the crust together out of a few things I had and it didn’t make enough to be the base for a whole cheesecake. But it’s pretty tasty and really simple.


Raw Key Lime ‘Cheesecake’ (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

1 cup cashews, soaked for 6-12 hours

1 tbsp sweetener (I used a mix of maple syrup and vanilla stevia drops)

1/2 lime, squeezed

1/2 cup raw almonds

4-6 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tbsp raw rolled oats

Mix cashews, sweetener and lime juice in a food processor until thick, creamy and combined. Add water as needed. Set aside and blend almonds, dates and oats in a blender or food processor until combined. Spread crust in a small dish and top with cashew cream. Top with key lime slices (makes 4 slices).

The newest overnight oats flavor--chocolate covered orange!

I haven’t come up with a new overnight oats combo in a while–obviously that had to change. Taking inspiration from my newest obsession, the Chocolove orange peel in dark chocolate bar, I whipped up chocolate covered orange oats. I sweetened the oats base with some Valencia orange stevia drops and then in the morning, topped them with Sumo tangerine slices and a square of the orange peel chocolate. Mmmmmm! Next time, I’d make a parfait, layering chocolate oats and orange oats with orange slices and keeping the chocolate on top.

This vegan meat sub is a definite winner!

So you know how I said above that I’m not a fan of seitan? That doesn’t mean I don’t like any vegan whole food meat substitutes. I think I’m a tempeh girl at heart! The first time I tried Lightlife’s tempeh bacon last summer, I fell in love. I finally decided to try their flax tempeh, even though I’ve heard people say that the plain varieties can be bitter. Not to me! I even tried a little piece uncooked and I loved the nutty flavor. I cooked some up fry-style (sliced thin and sautéed until browned) and served it on top of a spinach salad with spicy avocado hummus and a side of a yam topped with nut butter and raisins. I loved this tempeh even more when it was cooked–I’m thinking it’s definitely a new staple. It’s actually got pretty stellar nutritionals–20 grams of protein in 4 ounces, plus 11 grams of fiber!

Curried sweet potato pinto burger (under the red cabbage and jalapeno), grilled asparagus, sweet potato tots, mustard.

For dinner last night, I made some veggie burgers for my fam–first time ever making them for someone besides just me! These were a winner, which is always exciting for me to hear because I love seeing my family choose healthier options. These are totally healthy, but hearty enough for any meat lover…and they’re perfect for sweet potato lovers like me! They’re based off Mama Pea’s recipe, but I made some tweaks to make them my own.

Curried Sweet Potato Pinto Burgers (vegan, gluten-free)

1-15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 small sweet potato, cooked and peeled

1 1/2 tbsp nut butter (I used almond peanut cashew)

spices, to taste (I used cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, garlic salt and black pepper)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Flatten bean mix and make into four even-sized patties, and place patties in pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and slightly crunchy. Serve on buns, in a wrap, on top of a salad, however you like your veggie burgers!

Wow, this was a crazy-long post! Sorry about that, obviously I am just so excited about all my new finds and recipes I’ve tried out. Of course, there’s still more to come, but I will save that for a later post. I don’t want to bore all of you 😀

Have you ever tried tempeh or seitan? What’s your new favorite Whole Foods find (or from another store if you don’t have one near you)?