Week through my iPhone: Part II

Well, it’s been almost a week since I last posted, whoops! I have some time off coming upΒ 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?Β 

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Meal Prep Monday

Remember my ‘vegan on a budget’ posts from last year and earlier this year? I was planning on bringing them back once school started back up in the fall but it’s been…3 months since school started and I haven’t done one of those posts yet. Oops. Anyways, it’s a little late to do them again now since I only have 4 more weeks left, including finals! Crazy talk.

I’ve still been keeping up with my grocery budgeting and meal prepping, though, and I wanted to showcase a little of that, especially because I did a LOT of it this weekend. I managed to spend under $70 total for the week at 3 different grocery stores, which is way better than I was doing last semester, and I’ve been loving my long weekends (I only have classes Monday through Thursday, so 3 days weekends every week for this girl…enjoying them while they last!) because they give me plenty of time to go shopping and get my food prep done for the week. Taking an almost full course load means that I don’t have a ton of time during the week to do this, so it’s a blessing to have 3 days to catch up on stuff, including prepping my meals.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to in the kitchen lately!

Groceries

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

I wasn’t planning on going to Sprouts this weekend, but when my friend said she needed to swing by there for a few things, I decided to tag along. I ended up getting some cheap organic Pink Lady apples (my favorite kind), Ataulfo mangoes (also my favorite) and Medjool dates. All for under $10. Afterwards I stopped at Natural Grocers, mostly because they’re the only store in my area that carries black bean pasta, which is a new high-protein staple for me. Unfortunately, they were all out but I still ended up buying a few things I needed wanted, like my favorite Hail Merry miracle tart, xylitol-sweetened gum, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seed butter–for under $15.

Whole Foods produce...

Whole Foods produce…

...and pantry staples.

…and pantry staples.

Whole Foods is a given, but luckily it hasn’t been a budget breaker lately. I’ve been able to spend under $50 there consistently if I also shop at another store, and I only spend around $60 if that’s the only place I shop for the week. I can’t complain! This week I bought two more expensive items (the stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and Skinnycrisps) but the chocolate chips were on sale and the Skinnycrisps I hadn’t had in months and I wanted to bring them home to have over Thanksgiving break. I was planning on buying Tessemae’s BBQ sauce (sweetened only with dates!) so I could make this ‘pulled’ BBQ cauliflower but they were all out so I just had to nix that recipe for this week. As usual, I got a ton of produce (bananas, pomegranates and persimmons on sale, romaine hearts, lime, cilantro, Hannah yams) and some other things I needed for recipes like organic peanuts from the bulk section (on sale!), raisins and yeast. And of course, a few Larabars for quick snacks during the week. This was all just under $45, score!

Meals

Some of these things I made before I did my grocery shopping, so I was kinda using up some things and getting creative. I ran out of nut butter on Wednesday I think so that was fun trying to find other fat sources in my pantry. It was nice to finally restock and have more fruit and snack-y stuff again.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut 'bacon', pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut ‘bacon’, pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

I already plowed through one of the Garden of Life protein powder tubs my dad bought me late last month and I’m onto the second. I definitely recommend this brand, especially their new coffee flavor (it’s only available at Whole Foods right now, though)–decent consistency, especially mixed with coconut flour, and great stats for a raw protein powder.

Lettuce wraps...for breakfast?

Lettuce wraps…for breakfast?

This was another recent breakfast, when I ran out of bananas so I couldn’t have my usual banana ‘softserve’, which is what I have like 90% of the time. Instead, I took some romaine hearts and filled them with dates, raisins and the last of my PB. The date/lettuce combo is seriously killer! I know it sounds weird, but it’s really good. I also had some Garden of Life protein powder mixed with almond milk on the side.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Before my grocery trips this weekend, my lunches were getting pretty random. I was basically throwing together some leftovers, like the black bean noodles and pumpkin curry sauce, with some add-ins like pomegranate seeds and sauerkraut. These lunches were actually really tasty and filling–I just love the sweet and salty combos!

Oh She Glows' Thai veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Oh She Glows’ Thai sweet potato veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+coconut aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Finally a more put-together meal! This was my take on Angela’s Thai-style veggie burger. I made a few changes to it though–I nixed the oats in favor of almond flour to make it grain free, I didn’t really measure anything, I only added in the spices/veggies that I had on hand like curry powder and cilantro and I topped mine with a sunflower seed butter sauce. These were pretty crumbly, but the flavor was spot-on and definitely the best homemade veggie burger I’ve ever had! I’m looking forward to leftovers all week..

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

As for the rest of meal prep, I cut up and stored the 2 organic pomegranates I scored at Whole Foods for just $2.50 (they were on sale 4 for $5)–always messy work but I’m obsessed with pomegranates so it’s all good–made another batch of homemade sweet potato fries out of one of the Hannah yams I bought, made some more PB&J bites and some healthy ‘rice krispies’ (cacao brown rice cereal made with coconut sugar+sunflower seed butter+1 tbsp maple syrup+1 scoop protein powder+some almond milk made into bars) to use up some brown rice cereal I had and I also made the chocolate-covered fruit and nut clusters above. It’s so simple it doesn’t even really need a recipe, and I have no idea where I came up with it, but it’s basically raw mixed nuts (mine were from Whole Foods) and raisins topped with the Lily’s stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips and set in the freezer to harden. I used the stevia chocolate so these would be sugar free, but feel free to use whatever dark chocolate you have on hand. These are really good, and they’d be the perfect simple holiday dessert, maybe made more festive with dried cranberries instead of raisins and peppermint-flavored dark chocolate?

Do you like to do meal prep on the weekends? What are some of your recent favorite food finds?

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WIAW: 1 Week

1 week til I’m free (sorta) from classes. 1 week til I’m back home for the summer. 1 week til I can really relax. And 7 more days of stress, projects, to-do lists, papers and cleaning. Welcome to finals time!

Enough complaining, though, let’s get to this week’s WIAW. I haven’t posted a full day of eats in quite awhile but I managed to get pictures of all the food I ate on Monday for once!

Breakfast: chai carrot cake inspired smoothie in a bowl. Topped with cashew butter, raisins and crumbled grain free sweet potato coconut muffin.

Breakfast: chai carrot cake inspired smoothie in a bowl. Topped with cashew butter, raisins and crumbled grain free sweet potato coconut muffin.

My latest breakfast favorite is the smoothie in a bowl. It’s finally been warm enough to enjoy these regularly and since I stocked up on xanthan gum awhile back, I can finally make them thick and ice cream like. This version was made with vanilla chai Vega protein powder, almond milk, a dried fig, chopped carrots and cinnamon, plus an ice cube for a cold factor. I could eat this daily!

Lunch: spinach salad with leftover falafel+hummus & kimchi and olives; dried bananas and orange dark chocolate.

Lunch: spinach salad with leftover falafel+hummus & kimchi and olives; dried bananas and orange dark chocolate.

I basically scarfed this salad down between classes since I’ve been busy editing a video for a final project and eating isn’t allowed in the editing lab. However, I did sneakily eat the dried bananas (not like banana chips–these are soft and chewy and just made of bananas and lemon juice) and the chocolate. The salad was a bit too smelly (thanks to the kimchi) to eat inconspicuously.

Snack: an almost-raw snackplate with fresh pineapple+strawberries, part of a raw brownie bar, fig with cashew butter, Thai curry cashews, chipotle kale chips and PB2 dip.

Snack: an almost-raw snackplate with fresh pineapple+strawberries, part of a raw brownie bar, fig with cashew butter, Thai curry cashews, chipotle kale chips and PB2 dip.

I’ve been indecisive lately (when am I not?) so snackplates have been staples. I’ve been having some off days a lot lately in regards to hunger, so I ended up putting back some of the kale chips and cashews, and I wasn’t feeling the PB2. I bought it when I ran out of peanut flour, and it’s way too salty for me. I’d rather have peanut flour so I can add my own salt or stevia, and it’s got more protein anyway and is cheaper. Luckily my iHerb order came just in time and now I’m restocked.

Dinner: vegan tamale, unpictured watermelon and chipotle kale chips.

Dinner: vegan tamale, unpictured watermelon and chipotle kale chips.

I celebrated Cinco de Mayo a day late with this tamale that was on sale over the weekend at Whole Foods. I gotta say, I’ve never had a tamale before and this vegan bean-and-corn filled version was bomb! I could have gone for less corn, but it was really good and I’m glad I’ve got a second one to eat some other time this week.

Dessert: peanut flour paste, unsweetened applesauce, coconut butter stuffed date, part of a raw brownie bar, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, half of a vegan everything cookie.

Dessert: peanut flour paste, unsweetened applesauce, coconut butter stuffed date, part of a raw brownie bar, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, half of a vegan everything cookie.

I haven’t had one of Whole Foods’ cookies in months…but my dad offered to get me one over the weekend and I couldn’t say no. But full disclosure: I was scared to eat it. I very rarely eat wheat as I generally feel better without it, and this cookie is made with whole wheat flour. However, it’s pretty darn clean for a cookie, so I split it in half and enjoyed it over two nights without any problems. I know I’ve said before that I like eating clean and I don’t see that changing, but I want to get back to being able to enjoy indulgences like these every once in awhile.

An awkward selfie on a bad body image day.

An awkward selfie on a bad body image day.

And I’d be lying if I said I’ve been completely okay in my body lately. It seems to be a combination of seeing so many ab pictures on Instagram and just feeling insecure in my own body, but I’ve been feeling kinda crappy. Full disclosure: I don’t like body selfies like this but I feel like I needed to post one just to vent my frustrations. I feel uncomfortable in my spring and summer clothes after wearing pants all winter, and I feel like I’m gaining weight and it freaks me out. Honestly, I would love to have more definition in my abs, but I don’t believe it’s all about clean eating and working out–if that were true, I’d probably have more visible abs. As it is, I know that I do have something under there as I can flex and feel the hardness of my stomach, but it still bugs me that my abs don’t show. BTW, this picture was taken almost immediately after dinner, but I don’t have much more definition in the morning either. And I can’t tell you how much I hate seeing my thighs right now, especially in little shorts. This may be a topic for another post, but Instagram has basically become a place for comparison for me, and it’s definitely not positive comparison. I’m not sure if anyone else has felt the same way about Insta, and I’m not trying to make it seem like a bad thing (it certainly doesn’t have to be) but it seems to me that there are so many ‘ripped’ and ‘defined’ people on there that make it seem like they’re totally healthy but in reality they’re likely overexercising and underfueling. Just another reason for me to try to stay away for awhile.

I’m hoping that once the next week is over and I move back home that my appetite will return to normal and I can see myself in a more realistic light!

What have your breakfasts been looking like lately? How do you deal with changes in hunger?

Clean Candy (Homemade Truffles)

Easter may be over, but you don’t have to give up the candy just yet! Especially if it’s homemade, and packed with clean ingredients that are easy to find.

Over Easter weekend, I experimented with two versions of homemade truffle-type candy (adapted from here) and both are amazing in their own way. The dark chocolate+PB ‘bunnies’ or ‘eggs’ are perfect for chocolate and nut butter lovers, and the carrot cake truffles are a little less indulgent but still tasty and perfect for spring. The best part is, both are very adaptable to what you have on hand and your flavor preferences!

Chocolate+PB bunny (a little creepy-looking, but still cute!)

Chocolate+PB bunny (a little creepy-looking, but still cute!)

Chocolate PB Bunnies (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips or chunks

1/2 tbsp coconut oil, separated

1 scoop Sunwarrior/Vega chocolate protein powder, or 3 tbsp coconut or almond flour

2-3 tbsp peanut butter (can sub other nut/seed butters)

sweetener, to taste (I used ~1 tbsp maple syrup the first time, then used stevia+a little almond milk)

In a small bowl, mix protein powder/flour, nut butter, 1 tsp coconut oil and sweetener (if using). The mix should be combined but thick. Place bowl in freezer for 5-10 minutes to set. In a separate bowl, add remaining coconut oil and chocolate chips. Melt in microwave (~30 seconds to 1 minute) or in a small pot over medium high heat. Stir together and set aside. Remove bowl from freezer and roll batter into egg shapes or bunny heads and ears. Dip into melted chocolate, and place bunnies/eggs in muffin holders or on parchment paper. Return to freezer, and leave to harden up. Stores best in freezer (remover for 5 minutes to soften up to eat). Makes 4-5 bunnies/eggs.Β 

Carrot cake 'white chocolate' truffles.

Carrot cake ‘white chocolate’ truffles.

‘White Chocolate’ Carrot Cake Truffles (vegan, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

1/4-1/2 cup carrots, shredded (I used a food processor to chop them up)

2 tbsp raisins

4-5 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tsp raw cacao butter (should be white in color)

1 tbsp coconut butter

In a food processor or high powered blender, mix shredded carrots, dates and coconut until mix comes together. Add in raisins and almond milk if needed to combine. Set aside in a bowl and place in freezer for 5-10 minutes to set. In a microwave safe bowl, mix cacao and coconut butters and melt in microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute (or melt in small pan over medium high heat). Remove bowl from freezer and roll mix into small balls. Dip each into the ‘white chocolate’ mix and return to the freezer. Makes 10+ truffles.

What candy would you make at home or healthify if you could?Β 

WIAW: New & News

Before I get to the best party of every week, I wanted to share a little news with you guys. I’ll be doing a couple reviews (with a possible giveaway) within the next week so look forward to that! I love entering giveaways and reading reviews so I’m really happy that companies have started to reach out to me to share their products with my readers.

Now onto the eats! I’ve been eating a lot of “new-to-me” stuff lately which I always love. I’m not really a creature of habit, I do know what I love and stick with that but I really like switching things up and trying out new food. I did some of that over spring break and apparently that trend is continuing this week.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

The chia seed pudding obsession is going strong, but what’s new is the addition of (half of) this new-ish to me Larabar flavor. I tried the chocolate chip cherry torte flavor last summer and didn’t love it. But after having it a second time, I kinda like it. I pretty much hate anything cherry or cherry-flavored, so this is huge for me. Probably the chocolate chips are what make it ok πŸ˜‰

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

The salad-for-lunch thing isn’t new (I’ve been eating one almost every day for three months!) but the green garbanzos sort of are! I bought some frozen ones from Whole Foods on a whim about a month ago and haven’t been using them a lot, but they’re really good in salads drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I’d love to try making falafel from them too!

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

If you have the new ALT bars near you, please try them! Especially this flavor. It reminds me of spice cake, and is really good and filling! Half of one made the perfect lunch dessert, and it had 5 grams of pea protein to boot (the entire bar has 10 grams). I love finding all-natural vegan protein bars that actually taste good!

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

The kale chips are semi-new (the southwest ranch flavor of Kale Krunch chips is unreal) and so are the apple chips and the cashew butter (the WF brand reminds me of cookie dough, but it’s just made from cashews and a little safflower oil!) but the real newbie is the yellow carrot. Can you believe I’d never had a whole carrot before a week ago? I spotted a bunch of tri-colored carrots at Whole Foods and just had to snag them. I don’t think I’m gonna rely on baby carrots so much anymore, I love the crunch of these full size carrots! And the fun color is just an added bonus.

This doesn't look awkward at all...

This doesn’t look awkward at all…

‘Nuff said!

Grape Zevia.

Grape Zevia.

I’ve been wanting to try this flavor for awhile, but I didn’t want to pay $5 for a 6 pack, in case I didn’t like it. Verdict: while it’s not my favorite flavor (that would be the cream soda) , it actually grew on me and I do like it. At first it reminded me of children’s Tylenol, but it’s actually pretty tasty!

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Socca pizzas are a staple around here, but this was a first for me–a sweet socca pizza. I made my usual socca base (1/4 cup chickpea flour, salt, enough water to thin) and topped it with 1/4 of a mashed sweet potato mixed with almond milk and cinnamon, crumbled maple mesquite walnuts, shredded coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup. It was like dessert pizza for dinner, and it was oh so good!


These were actually all my meals for Monday, minus my nighttime snack (unpictured because it was eaten too late for a good photo to be taken), which was coconut flour mixed with a little baking powder, chocolate chips and almond milk and microwaved to make a coconut flour muffin, a square of Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, peanut flour paste and a date stuffed with cashew butter and cacao nibs. Nothing exciting, but I love it.

If you’ve tried Zevia, what’s your favorite flavor? Have you ever eaten a weird colored veggie?

College Vegan on a Budget: Lots O’ Newness

A series of posts highlighting my progress in budgeting my plant-based, clean-eating grocery trips.

Happy Sunday, guys! I know the East Coast is getting hit hard by Nemo, but we’re also (semi) buried in snow here in CO–so if you’re anywhere that’s gotten snow this weekend, hope you’re staying warm and safe.

So you all know how obsessed I am with trying new products, right? Yeah, it’s kind of a problem. Well, not really because I’m adding more foods into my rotation and figuring out what I really love, but it can be a problem for my budget. This week, I spent a little over $100 which I’m trying not to do (my goal is $80 or under) but I actually didn’t do too much damage at Whole Foods, which is good. However, I did buy a bunch of new-to-me items, all of which I’m loving so far. Not all of them will be regulars on my lists but they’re all winners for sure.

Sprouts

The haul.

The haul.

*=organic

What I Got: kabocha squash (0nly 88 cents/pound!), jalapenos, jewel yams*, avocados, Madhava raw honey*, shredded coconut*, Good Bean cinnamon roasted chickpeas, Vega One chocolate protein powder packet, dried apples*, Medjool dates, Larabars, Vega vibrancy bars, raw cashews

What I Spent: $49.88

Verdict: New-to-Me Items–raw honey, Vega bars (berry flavor). Usually I can spend $30 or less at Sprouts, but the dates and honey really put me over my usual amount. Not that I’m complaining though–the honey is really good and dates are a staple in my life, and cheaper here than anywhere else. The produce was where I definitely saved a lot though.

Whole Foods

New finds...

New finds…

*=organic

What I Got: Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig granola, bombay spice kale chips*, Kit’s Organic chocolate coconut bar*, Justin’s vanilla AB squeeze packs, Kaya sprouted pumpkin seeds*, So Delicious mint chip almond milk ice cream, 365 brand crunchy PB, raw coconut aminos*, canned green olives, dried white Turkish figs, crystallized ginger, nutritional yeast, raw mesquite maple walnuts, Theo vanilla nib dark chocolate bar,Β orange cinnamon Mexican-style dark chocolate, baby spinach*

What I Spent: $61. 27

Verdict: New-t0-Me Items–granola (love that it’s only sweetened with coconut sugar and made with ancient GF grains), kale chips (mmm, but expensive), Kit’s bar (haven’t tried yet), crystallized ginger (hopefully good for when I have stomach issues), raw walnuts (also good), dark chocolate bars (when is chocolate ever bad, and the ingredients are Ashley-approved). See, I didn’t do too badly at Whole Paycheck, and that’s even with a few higher-end purchases. The kale chips won’t be a regular purchase, as I can make them easily at home, but I was feeling lazy and really wanted an easy snack.

What’s something new that you’ve tried lately? Do you prefer kale chips from home or from the store?

WIAW: Makin’ Changes

No matter how much you may love your life–your daily routine, your meals, your workouts, etc.–there’s always a time for change. I’ve been making some changes lately and loving them…so let’s get to it, WIAW-style! (P.S. These are all my meals from Monday)

Breakfast: grain free almond joy pancakes (almond flour, raw cacao powder, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, raw cacao protein powder 'frosting'), roasted kabocha.

Breakfast: grain free almond joy pancakes (almond flour, raw cacao powder, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, raw cacao protein powder ‘frosting’), roasted kabocha.

I’ve been moving away from my beloved homemade buckwheat waffles to grain free pancakes. I change my breakfasts up every few months and now I’m on a pancake kick, especially almond or peanut flour based pancakes. They’re not pretty but they’re tasty and easy to whip up and change around. The almond joy inspired combo is a real winner…I can’t believe I hated coconut for so long!

My new hair (and new-ish dress).

My new hair (and new-ish dress).

I had a long overdue hair appointment on Friday. Seriously, I hadn’t gotten it done since August, yikes. I got more blonde highlights added and took the plunge and got full bangs, rather than my usual sideswept. I gotta say, I love my new bangs. I feel more adult and fashion-y, if that makes any sense.

Lunch part 1: green smoothie (made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach and Sunwarrior vanilla).

Lunch part 1: green smoothie (made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach and Sunwarrior vanilla).

I don’t do smoothies a lot (they’re too filling for me, and I’d rather eat my calories) but I wasn’t feeling a salad today so I went for my greens in smoothie form. I actually didn’t finish this because it was getting too filling, but it was pretty delish. I think I’ll be doing more green smoothies for lunch this semester on busy days.

Lunch part 2: Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Lunch part 2: Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Sorry for the millions of Instagrammed WF salad bar photos–can you tell I’m obsessed?! I’ve just been trying to get my fill of the salad bar while I’m still home on break because as I’ve said before, the WF near me at school has a subpar salad bar. Though, I haven’t been there in over 5 weeks, so maybe they’ve improved it…? I celebrated the Golden Globes on Sunday with half of this box, and saved the rest for Monday’s lunch. Leftovers have never tasted better!

Snack (reused photo, minus the bok choy): half garnet yam with peanut flour 'frosting', sunflower seed butter, mini dark chocolate chips and chopped dried fig.

Snack (reused photo, minus the bok choy): half garnet yam with peanut flour ‘frosting’, sunflower seed butter, mini dark chocolate chips and chopped dried fig.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been eating too many grains lately. Not necessarily on purpose (oh and BTW, I am NOT going paleo, I could never eat all that meat/eggs), just because I’ve found that other things are more appealing to me, plus I just like to switch things up and I’m actually doing a lot more experimenting now without relying on grains for most of my meals. Anyways, my favorite snack at the moment is a sweet potato/yam topped with SSB, peanut flour paste, dried fruit and chocolate chips. Sweet potatoes are a great filling snack option, and they’re just amazing topped with nut butters and chocolate. Trust me, it sounds weird but when the chocolate gets all melty, you’ll understand my obsession.

Dinner: peanut coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry with kale, pineapple, peanut flour and edamame.

Dinner: peanut coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry with kale, pineapple, peanut flour and edamame.

I’m so glad I discovered kelp noodles, because they’re my favorite easy go-to dinner lately. They don’t add any weird taste and soak up other flavors easily so they’re perfect in stirfrys. I know a lot of people like using spaghetti squash as a pasta replacement and as much as I love squash, the spaghetti variety isn’t my fave. Kelp noodles are also a veggie-based pasta replacement (a sea veggie, so they have a lot of minerals!) but I just like them better, and there’s minimal prep work involved with them.

Dessert: PB chocolate protein microwave cake topped with sunflower seed butter, mint chocolate almond milk ice cream, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

Dessert: PB chocolate protein microwave cake topped with sunflower seed butter, mint chocolate almond milk ice cream, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

This is a normal dessert for me, but I’m planning on switching it up. I like having some protein before bed to keep me from getting hungry, but I’m going to forgo my usual almond or coconut milk ice cream for awhile. It’s kinda expensive to buy (even just twice a month like I was doing) and has a lot of sugar. I’ve been cleaning up my eats a bit lately and am trying to go for more natural sugars. Even though the ice creams aren’t unhealthy or as sugary as normal ice cream, I just need to take a break from them for awhile and try out different desserts like banana softserve, nuts and dried fruit, etc. But the daily dark chocolate habit won’t be changing anytime soon πŸ˜‰

Have you been making any changes in your life lately? What’s your go-to breakfast?