Birthday Week is a Thing

Can’t believe it’s been almost one year since I wrote this post. I was looking forward to my 21st birthday even more than usual, and no, it’s not because I couldn’t wait to drink legally. To be honest, I could probably count on both hands the number of drinks I’ve had since then! I have nothing against drinking, I’m just picky about my drinks (love sangria and white wine and mojitos my mom makes) and I just don’t care to do it often…it’s more of a special occasion thing for me.

Anyways, a year has come and gone and again it’s time for my birthday. The big 2-2. I might be even more excited for this one, because I will finally feel like more of an adult. I’m literally the youngest person at work, and being 22 will mean I at least seem as old as some of my similar age co-workers. And also because it’s my first birthday being away from home. I’ve always loved having a summer birthday, because it meant never having to go to school on my special day and usually getting to do something fun (and outside!) with my family. This year, my family is making the 10+ hour drive to come visit me for my birthday weekend so it feels really special.

Artsy selfies by the pool...totally necessary.

Artsy selfies by the pool…totally necessary.

So it’s officially birthday week, and how am I celebrating? I plan on doing a little something for myself every day this week. Tomorrow I’m probably going to try this new-to-me cafe and get a gluten free vegan crepe. Wednesday and Thursday I have work but after I get off on Thursday I’m going to my favorite juice cafe to get an overpriced fresh-pressed juice.  I want to get the Whole Foods salad bar sometime this week. Of course, I’m hoping to get a couple runs in there because a good run makes everything feel better. And pool time will be necessary. My fam gets here Thursday night and from there birthday week really gets going.

An early little treat.  Mostly because it cost $5.

An early little treat. Mostly because it cost $5.

So that’s life for me right now. I will hopefully be back with a birthday weekend recap next week but in the meantime, I’m stepping away from blogging and social media to just soak in the next few days. See ya later!

Do you celebrate your birthday week? 

 

WIAW: Dead Week Staples

Well, guys, I’m in the midst of dead week here, and it’s kind of hitting me hard. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but I’m definitely a lot busier than normal and last-minute assignments are still pouring in. Side note: doesn’t the term ‘dead week’ just sound so much more awful than it is? Don’t get me wrong, it is a stressful time but I have yet to die in the 5 dead weeks I’ve experienced so far in college. Just sayin’.

Anyways, here are some of the things that have been keeping me sane during this crazy week full of papers, presentations, class evals and finals.

Looks weird, tastes good.

Looks weird, tastes good.

This week, I’ve been loving on the crepes more than the waffles. Errr…well…my attempt at crepes. I’m calling them ‘pancrepes’ because they’re not quite as thick as pancakes, but thicker than crepes. Either way, they’re really good and easy to make. Basically I just take 3 tbsp of buckwheat flour and mix it with stevia, then add enough almond milk to thin it out, swirl it around in a pan, cook and then stuff with lots of fillings, fold over and eat. Who knew crepes were so easy to make?

Lovin' on the raw kale salads.

Lovin’ on the raw kale salads.

A raw kale salad has been my lunch staple for the past few days and it’s not changing anytime soon…except when I run out of kale. I bought a new salad dressing over the weekend, a no-oil tangerine dressing that’s sweet and sour and perfect for mixing with kale, dried fruit, nuts, lentils, whatever other weird things I decide to throw in my salad.

I'm usually a sucker for seasonal things, but this was not good.

I’m usually a sucker for seasonal things, but this was not good.

I had such high hopes for this bar. I’ve been looking for it since last year, with no luck until a week or so ago. I haven’t had a Clif bar in probably a year because I just don’t care for the flavor anymore, and they’ve got too many ingredients for me, but I really wanted to try this. Unfortunately, it disappointed this peppermint-loving girl’s taste buds. It was not peppermint-y at all and I couldn’t even swallow the one bite I took. Sorry, Clif, but I just can’t do your products anymore.

Another variation on the classic stir-fry: orange-glazed tempeh, kale, cauliflower, quinoa, pineapple, pumpkin seeds.

Another variation on the classic stir-fry: orange-glazed tempeh, kale, cauliflower, quinoa, pineapple, pumpkin seeds.

Another thing I can’t really stomach anymore? Tempeh. I blame it on a few instances of stomach bugs over the summer that for some reason turned me off tempeh. I used to prefer it over tofu and ate it regularly, but I just can’t stand the taste of it anymore. I tried an orange-glazed version but only liked it when I ate it with the other parts of the stir-fry and not by itself. I’m thinking of going back to (organic) tofu again–I seem to really love it at the Whole Foods salad bars.

A delicious new breakfast: sprouted grain French toast topped with fresh fig and raw vanilla chai protein powder.

A delicious new breakfast: sprouted grain French toast topped with fresh fig and raw vanilla chai protein powder.

Up until this summer, I’d never had French toast. For real. Then I made this recipe, loved it and then forgot about it. Until I bought a new brand of sprouted bread. And I loved this version even more than the original one. I cut a slice of the sprouted bread down the middle (the slices are pretty big), toasted it first, soaked it in a mix of almond milk and raw vanilla chai protein powder, cooked it up and topped it with almond butter and a fresh fig. The key was definitely toasting the bread first–it made the French toast less soggy. Plus the flavor combo was totally winning. You can’t go wrong with fresh figs.

I just love Christmas trees!

I just love Christmas trees!

I couldn’t ignore Christmas, even amidst all the studying and stress! Decorating my mini tree and listening to Christmas music all day long have really helped me get through the past week and it’s reminded me how close I am to being home for Christmas. I think the season’s even more special now that I actually get to go home for Christmas.

A cheap girl's answer to pumpkin butter.

A cheap girl’s answer to pumpkin butter.

So I was always jealous of the bloggers who slathered their food with pumpkin butter. I craved that fall-ish spread but didn’t want to shell out $6 or more for a teeny jar. So I got creative, invested in this much cheaper (and larger) can of organic pumpkin pie mix that’s basically just pumpkin, cane juice and spices and realized that it’s exactly like pumpkin butter. But it’s better for your wallet and it lasts longer too. Win win!

Now this was a winner of a dinner: creamy kale enchiladas roja.

Now this was a winner of a dinner: creamy kale enchiladas rojas.

I haven’t been having too much success with recipe experimentation lately. But this dinner discovery definitely made up for it! I found the recipe for cashew kale enchiladas on this great vegan recipe blog but as per usual, I made a few changes to it and well, it’s a keeper.

Creamy Kale Enchiladas Rojas (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

sea salt and pepper, to taste

cayenne pepper, to tastes

kale, rinsed and shredded

4 gluten-free tortillas (I used Rudi’s gf spinach tortillas)

1 cup canned lentils, drained and rinsed

red vegan enchilada sauce (I used the Frontera brand)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large glass oven-safe cooking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. In a food processor, blend soaked cashews, nooch and spices with enough water to smooth out. Place tortillas in the cooking dish and fill with cashew cheese, shredded kale and lentils. Roll each tortilla tightly and place side by side. Pour enchilada sauce over the tortillas to cover them. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until sauce starts to soak into the tortillas. Serve with extra cashew cheese, fresh guacamole and salsa. Makes 4 enchiladas.

Have you ever had a crepe? What’s one thing you used to love that you just can’t stand to eat anymore?

Oh Hey September

Where has the year gone? It feels like just the other day I was ringing in the new year. Gosh, time flies when you’re having fun, huh? Or, I guess, when you’re really busy. I’m starting to miss summer, but I’m also excited for fall. It’s just starting to cool down a little (if you think 80 degrees is cool…) and I’m already thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wow, can you say cray-cray?

Anyways, I kinda just realized that it’s September now, and I’ve been going like a mile a minute since it started. Thursday I had classes all day and I was running around trying to print off assignments and turn in an application for a student editor position at our campus staff newsletter (fingers crossed that I get it!). Then mi madre came to pick me up for a long weekend at home. We were going back and forth between Whole Foods, my room and getting dinner. We didn’t get home until 9 (stupid long commutes!).

Friday I got to chill in the morning, but then we had to go to the bank, pick up my sister from school and then go back home for like an hour before we had to leave again with my daddy in tow for another long drive. 2 hours each way to this teeny tiny town called Westcliffe, where my dad’s play was being put on. It was actually really weird to see, because my sis and I were the lead characters in the play like 5 or 6 years ago when it was first produced. We had to laugh when someone from the town said “Oh yeah, it’s so busy here this weekend.” And literally, none of the stores were open and basically no one was out on the street at 10 pm. Apparently, that’s busy for them 🙄

Saturday was…well, amazing! Okay, besides having to wake up at 7 after going to bed at 1 (yeah, 6 hours of sleep and I DO NOT get along). My mom and sister and I drove another 2 hours or so to Breckenridge, this really cool ski town in the mountains. Of course, we weren’t skiing since it’s September and we can’t ski. At all. There was a duck race happening that we haven’t missed in the 5 years we’ve been going up there and a bunch of other festivities. Unfortch, many of them were adult-related, such as a wine tasting festival. 2 more years and then I can do that too. Erm, but probs not. We ate 3 amazing meals up there, but I was stupid and didn’t take any pictures. So ummmm, yeah, I decided to “borrow” some photos from weheartit. No shame.

I actually got the same thing for lunch and dinner, but at two different places. Fresh spring rolls are just too good to not repeat. Plus they had different veggies in them (including amazing pickled ginger in one).

They have this really good (but reaaaaally popular) crepe cart where they make them by hand. I got a raspberry and marshmallow crepe that was to die for. Melted marshmallow=mmmmmm!

 As per tradition, my sissy and I bought 3 rubber duckies each and also took tons of selfies during down time. No shame in that, either. We had such a fun time giggling at all the cute kids and puppies there and freaking out when some crows almost attacked us.

Our view of the kiddie duck race.

Oh hey, Brooke's arm!

The newest additions to the rubber duck collection.

Thousands of duckies waiting to race.

 

I love the mountains!

Go duckies, go!

 

Awhhhhhh...sister love!

Some random stuffed puppies we saw in a gift shop. I love the patterns on them!

 

I'm so boss 😉

 So that’s been my September so far. No complaints here; I can’t wait to see what fall’s gonna bring!

 

How has September been for you? What do you like about fall?