Meal Prep Monday: Raw Week 4

My “fully raw February” challenge is almost over…but I’m not done with the raw vegan lifestyle by any means! In my introductory post I said I was planning on going raw til dinnertime, but that actually turned into eating raw all day, every day since February 3 (besides a cooked dinner on Valentine’s Day) and I’ve been loving the results. I feel so light and refreshed after my meals, without any desire for cooked foods or added oil, sugar or salt (aside from a little pink sea salt added into my guacamole and kraut). This is something I want to keep up as long as possible and though I may be experimenting in the next month with high raw dinners (cooked beans with raw veggies), I feel great eating mostly raw and it’s something I’ve found I enjoy more than I thought I would!

Meals for the Week

Breakfast: This is always my most simple meal. Plenty of chia puddings, flax pancakes and I do want to try fruit+buckwheat rawnola someday if I can get out of my breakfast rut.

Lunch: I’m planning on zucchini noodles with raw marinara sauce or pumpkin seed pesto, salads and possibly lettuce wraps, with some fruit on the side.

Pesto zoodles for lunch.

Pesto zoodles for lunch.

Dinner: This is where I like to get creative and actually meal plan. I’ve got raw falafel/hummus/cauliflower tabbouleh on the lineup one night based on these recipes, pumpkin seed & garlic zucchini pasta and maybe a kelp noodle thing if I get to the store to restock them. I also will probably have more jicama chili fries since I have some leftover.

Snacks: Same as usual–snack plates with veggies, fruit and a fat source; protein banana softserve for dessert; chia pudding if I didn’t have it for breakfast.

Lean, green banana softserve packed with raw protein powder and spinach.

Lean, green banana softserve packed with raw protein powder and spinach.

Recipes for the Week

Other than the dinner recipes linked above, I’m planning on making these raw cacao donuts, a raw take on pink lemonade, spicy hot zucchini chips from Going Raw, sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator and probably more raw brownie bites. I had the best batch of them last week, but I forgot exactly what I put in them, so I’ll have to try again!

These look almost too good to be raw!

These look almost too good to be raw!

Source

Groceries for the Week

I’m including some things my dad picked up for me at Sprouts; otherwise, the rest was from Whole Foods and as usual, the produce will last for part or all of the week while other stuff may last through next week or longer.

*= organic

Produce: strawberries, baby spinach*, watermelon, cauliflower*, fry-cut yams, zucchini*, carrots*, avocados, garlic, mint*, bananas, papaya (excited to try this!), blueberries (on sale), lemons, cilantro, parsley, romaine hearts*

A little early for watermelon, but still tasty.

A little early for watermelon, but still tasty.

Bulk Bins: Medjool dates, raw mixed nuts, sprouted walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almond flour, raw cashews, nutritional yeast

Miscellaneous: raisins*, coconut aminos, pitted dates, no-salt-added tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, frozen cherries*, hemp hearts, chia seeds, xylitol mints

As usual, lotsa produce and bulk bin seeds and nuts. My Whole Foods trip cost me about $70, which is a great deal for tons of fresh fruits and veggies. My biggest tip for keeping grocery costs low is shop from the bulk bins. I always get my nuts, seeds and dried fruit from there because I get only what I need and it saves a ton over buying them prepackaged. And I can always try a little bit of something new without worrying about wasting my money!

Have you ever tried papaya? What’s your best tip for saving money at the store?

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WIAW: Working With Almond Flour

The blogging world has introduced me to so many things–overnight oats (which I haven’t had in months…just got burned out on them), chia seeds, green monsters, Larabars, socca…and now, almond flour.

Almond flour is wayyyyy different than other flours, even gluten free flours. It’s basically made from ground up almonds so it packs plenty of healthy plant fats, fiber and protein. Even though I tend to eat gluten free 90% of the time, I haven’t done any experimenting with the typical GF flours like brown rice, sorghum, etc. When I make GF baked goods, I usually use buckwheat, quinoa or peanut flours but since I discovered almond flour a couple months ago, I’ve been loving it! It’s definitely harder to work with than other GF flours but it adds a great texture to things and unlike coconut flour, you don’t always need eggs to make it work, which I love as a vegan.

This week, I’ve had the house to myself for the mornings and early afternoons so I’ve been taking advantage and whipping up some new recipes in the kitchen. And because of my recent addiction to almond flour, a lot of those experiments have included almond flour in them!

Homemade summer rolls with sunflower seed butter/lite coconut milk/red curry paste dipping sauce. Filled with fresh cucumber slices, pan-fried almond flour-coated tofu and roasted peanuts.

Homemade summer rolls with sunflower seed butter/light coconut milk/red curry paste dipping sauce. Filled with fresh cucumber slices, pan-fried almond flour-coated tofu and roasted peanuts.

Almond flour works really well as a GF and grain free breadcrumb-like coating. I’ve been loving sprouted tofu again lately so for my first time making summer rolls at home, I decided to pan-fry the tofu in a little coconut oil. I coated it in some light coconut milk mixed with red curry paste, rolled the tofu slices in some almond flour and threw it in the pan. Even though the filling fell out of some of the rolls, it was still a delicious dinner.

My first morning ACV 'cocktail'. Made with 1 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 10 drops English toffee liquid stevia, vanilla extract and water.

My first morning ACV ‘cocktail’. Made with 1 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 10 drops English toffee liquid stevia, vanilla extract and water.

Another thing the blog world has introduced me to is ACV cocktails. Apple cider vinegar is apparently a wonder food that’s rich in potassium, can regulate blood pressure, improve skin appearance and removes toxins from the body, among other things. I finally invested in a bottle of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar from Spectrum Organics (it’s important to use this kind, otherwise you don’t reap the benefits) and I made my first ACV cocktail the other day. It was really sour at first, but I got used to it quickly and I’m planning on using it daily from now on!

Lunch: vegan socca-style 'omelette', stuffed with chopped baby carrots, jalapeno pepper and kale.

Lunch: vegan socca-style ‘omelette’, stuffed with chopped baby carrots, jalapeno pepper and kale.

This is also unrelated to almond flour, but it’s a new lunch I’ve been loving lately: the vegan omelette. Even as an omni, I HATED eggs and I never ate omelettes so it’s kinda ironic that now I’m vegan I’m craving omelettes. Whatever. Since I’ve never had an omelette, I can’t really tell you if the texture of this is similar to a real one, but it’s a simple protein and veggie packed lunch that’s also totally customizable to your tastes. I really love adding a tablespoon of nooch to the batter and filling it with carrots, jalapenos and spicy nacho cheez sauce.

Vegan Omelette (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1/4 cup garbanzo/fava bean flour

sea salt, to taste

nutritional yeast, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, etc.

1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh veggies (carrots, spinach, peppers, etc.)

Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. In a bowl, mix garbanzo flour, salt and spices until combined. Add in just enough water to make a batter (should be drippy but not too thin). Pour batter into pan and wait for both sides to cook through (can flip over if you want). Once both sides are cooked, add in veggies and whatever other fillings you want to half of the omelette, and then with a spatula, flip over the uncovered half onto the veggie-covered half. Continue cooking for about a minute or until veggies start to soften. Serves 1.

This was submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #27

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip almond flour pancakes topped with peanut flour paste and pomegranate arils.

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip almond flour pancakes topped with peanut flour paste and pomegranate arils.

I’ve been switching up my breakfasts lately and loving it because then I’m not getting burned out too quickly. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect vegan pancake that isn’t full of gluten but is still delicious and I think I’ve got a winner. It took me a few tries to get the consistency right but these almond flour-based pancakes are really good. They’re definitely not the fluffy, Bisquick-like pancakes of your childhood but they’re great as a healthier every day breakfast and they’re perfect for all kinds of toppings, which are the best part anyway!

Pumpkin Almond Pancakes (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

2-4 tbsp almond flour (depending on how many pancakes you want or if you want a lot of toppings)

1/2 tbsp tapioca or arrowroot starch (don’t leave this out!)

1 tsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 packet stevia, to taste

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp pumpkin puree (can use applesauce or banana if you don’t want pumpkin pancakes)

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat nonstick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray or use coconut oil to cook. In a bowl, whisk dry ingredients (through sea salt) until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until combined.  Pour dry ingredients into wet and if needed, add a little more almond milk to thin out (you want the batter to be somewhat thick so it can stick together in the pan). Spoon half of the batter into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Only cook one pancake at a time so they don’t stick. Serve with fresh berries, real maple syrup or nut butter. Serves 1 or 2. 

Snack: garnet yam with sunflower seed butter and raisins/fig, unpictured peanut flour paste.

Snack: garnet yam with sunflower seed butter and raisins/fig, unpictured peanut flour paste.

My latest order of peanut flour came in at the right time, just as I was starting to go through withdrawals 😉 Kidding, but I loooooooove that stuff! My favorite way to eat it is to mix it up with stevia and water so it’s like a peanut frosting and then top a garnet yam with it and sprinkle on some dried fruit. Um, yum!

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

And now I finally have a delicious gluten free (and technically grain free too, since buckwheat is a seed) vegan donut recipe! And I took Heather’s donut advice to heart and remembered to flip the pan onto the baking rack…now my donuts are prettier! This time around, I was inspired by the citrus season and my year-round love for summer and made some orange creamsicle donuts. Because who wouldn’t want a summery treat when it’s all blah outside?

Orange Creamsicle Donuts (vegan, gluten free)

1 tbsp ground flax+ 3 tbsp warm water, for flax ‘egg’

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup (2 scoops) Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder (or other vegan vanilla protein powder)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural granulated sugar)

1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

juice and zest of one large tangerine (I used a Minneola)

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan with nonstick cooking spray (I used a 6 cavity). In a small bowl, mix flax with water to gel into ‘egg’ and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (through coconut sugar). In the bowl with the flax ‘egg’, stir in almond milk, vanilla, juice & zest, coconut oil and applesauce until combined. Pour wet into dry–the batter should be lumpy and thick. Add a bit more almond milk if needed. Spoon or pipe batter into donut pan (it will make a little more than can fit in a normal-sized 6 cavity pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just set. Makes 6 donuts. 

And if you’re not overwhelmed by all the recipes yet, here’s one more (it’s the last one, I promise!) It’s a recipe for almond flour-based biscotti…but don’t be intimidated by the name! I had never made biscotti before this, let alone grain free vegan biscotti, but it actually turned out exactly like I hoped it would and my non-vegan cookie-loving dad told me I should sell them! So that’s a good sign, right 😛 I based my recipe off the one found here, just making a couple of changes to make it my own. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures but you can check out the original recipe for some great pics.

Almond Flour Biscotti (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1 cup almond flour

1 tbsp raw cacao powder (you can use regular cocoa or carob powder)

2 tsp tapioca or arrowroot starch

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp maple syrup (can sub honey, coconut or agave nectar)

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 dried Calimyrna fig, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend together almond flour, starch, sea salt and baking soda just until combined. Add the maple syrup until mixture comes together into a sticky ball. Run hands under water and place ball of dough onto parchment-lined sheet and press dough together. Add in sunflower seeds and fig and form dough into a long, narrow log. Bake for 20 minutes, or just until it starts to harden. Remove from oven for 10-15 minutes, cut the dough into about 1o or 12 pieces (cut along the diagonal) and then place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes to finish hardening. 

Sorry about the recipe overload! Obviously I am way too excited about my almond flour successes but trust me when I say that they’re all really good substitutes for the typical gluten-filled desserts and breakfasts. Almond flour isn’t the lowest calorie flour per serving out there, plus it’s a lot higher in fat (healthy fat, of course) than most others but that’s why I like it–it’s a way to challenge my former ED fear of fats and it’s fun experimenting with ways to make vegan baked goods without the gluten or grains!

Have you ever tried almond flour in any recipe? Do you drink anything ‘weird’ in the morning? 

WIAW: Ringing in the New Year

After missing out on WIAW last week (being sick for a few days=no delicious food photos, or food period) I was itching to join in on the foodie party this week!

New Year’s Day is always a bit depressing for me–it marks the official end of the holiday season and it’s back to the daily grind and blah-ness of the winter season. Not that I’m complaining about getting back into a routine (I’m also not technically back into my normal routine for another 3 weeks when spring semester starts up again) but January is a bit of a letdown after the holidays. This year I want to be more excited about January so I’m soaking in my last few weeks of Christmas break and just enjoying the month for what it can be–a fresh start.

Pretty Christmas lights still up in Denver.

Pretty Christmas lights still up in Denver.

The usual post-Christmas shopping spree was on Sunday. The fam and I headed up to Denver for the day and my dad checked out the Van Gogh exhibit at the art museum while us girls shopped the afternoon away. Other than the clothes shopping (I’ll be sharing some of my purchases later this week!), I also convinced my mom to stop at Nooch Vegan Market, a fairly new addition to the city. It’s a small, all-vegan grocery store that stocks a lot of products that not even Whole Foods offers. I could have bought so many things, but I just left with some garlic Parma (a nut-based ‘cheese’ sprinkle), pico de gallo bean chips and a super-delicious dark chocolate chipotle caramel bar. The combo of coconut milk caramel, chipotle powder, dark chocolate and pecan/peanut pieces is incredible–I wish I had gotten more than one!

Maybe the last red cup of the season...

Maybe the last red cup of the season…

While shopping I sipped a short soy skinny peppermint mocha. I’ve never gotten a short at Starbucks before but it’s a good size option for when I don’t want to be too filled up by the drink. I’m sad about this picture though because I’m thinking that might be the last time I drink out of a red cup until November 😦

Recent lunch: leftover sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, chopped dried fig, sunflower butter and mini chocolate chips, spicy orange bok choy.

Recent lunch: leftover sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, chopped dried fig, sunflower butter and mini chocolate chips, spicy orange bok choy.

I have a new obsession with bok choy. It is sooooo good sauteed in a little coconut oil and topped with a thin sauce made from red curry paste, citrus juice and coconut aminos. It gets all wilty and delicious in the pan. New favorite veggie over here!

Recent snack: leftover sweet potato fries dipped in Nuttzo, organic ketchup and peanut flour paste.

Recent snack: leftover sweet potato fries dipped in Nuttzo, organic ketchup and peanut flour paste.

This was a weird (but good) snack. I love cutting up sweet potatoes into fry shapes and then baking them with some spices and then dipping them in everything and anything. Organic ketchup and peanut flour paste are the best options, of course.

The cookbooks I got for Christmas...I love them!

The cookbooks I got for Christmas…I love them!

I generally don’t make things from cookbooks, but that’s only because I never had a vegan cookbook before this year. I was lucky enough to get two great vegan cookbooks for Christmas and I’ve already tried a couple recipes from them. Last night I made eggplant muffaletta sandwiches from Veganomicon for my family and they loved them.  It was literally one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, probably because I love the combo of olives, spinach and really good bread. I haven’t had bakery bread in at least a year (it’s a huge fear food of mine) but I got some ciabatta bread from Whole Foods specifically for this recipe and it did not disappoint. I guess eating bread, especially quality bread, every once in awhile won’t kill me!

Recent snack: sweet potato tortilla chips with fresh salsa and hatch chili guac, roasted kabocha squash, dried figs and peanut flour paste.

Recent snack: sweet potato tortilla chips with fresh salsa and hatch chili guac, roasted kabocha squash, dried figs and peanut flour paste.

Another random snack plate. Roasted kabocha tastes amazing dipped in salsa and guac, don’t knock it til ya try it!

Ringing in the new year with Kahlua+almond milk+amaretto.

Ringing in the new year with Kahlua+almond milk+amaretto.

This was a coffee-lover’s dream cocktail. It tasted like a hazelnut latte! Like I’ve said before, I’m not a huge drinker (and I’m not planning on becoming one when I turn 21) but it’s great to enjoy a nice cocktail every once in awhile, especially for special occasions.

My last meal of 2012: Whole Foods salad bar goodies including Indian coleslaw, homemade tortilla chips, coconut curry tofu, chipotle orange sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and lentil dal.

My last meal of 2012: Whole Foods salad bar goodies including Indian coleslaw, homemade tortilla chips, coconut curry tofu, chipotle orange sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and lentil dal.

My dad and I made a quick stop at WF for some NYE snacks and I just couldn’t pass up the salad bar–they had a bunch of vegan Indian food options. I got some of my usual items, and then loaded up on the Indian coleslaw (not at all like traditional coleslaw but way better), green garbanzo curry, lentil dal and some battered veggies. It was an amazing last meal!

My first successful donut experiment.

My first successful donut experiment.

You knew I couldn’t go more than a week without trying out my new donut pan! I made some so-so pumpkin protein donuts over the weekend but I finally made some delicious (and healthier) donuts that I just had to share. They are pretty much like banana bread in donut form…

Banana Bread Donuts (vegan)

1 tbsp ground flax+3 tbsp warm water, for flax “egg”

1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 banana, mashed

1 packet stevia (optional)

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural sugar)

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder (or other protein powder, or more spelt flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Spray a donut pan (I used a 6-cavity pan) with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, mix flax and water; stir and set aside to gel into an “egg”. Stir in all ingredients through coconut sugar. Add in spelt flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips until a batter forms. Spoon batter into donut pan, filling each to the top, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just set. Remove from pan and set out on wire rack to cool. Makes 6 donuts.

These donuts are a healthier morning option, made with whole grains and about 6 grams of protein per donut, and they’re made with natural sugars and not overpoweringly sweet. I’m still trying to experiment with gluten free and vegan donut recipes so hopefully I can have one up soon for all you GFrs.

What have you been eating so far in 2013? Do you like to cook from cookbooks? 

An Unconventional Christmas

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

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

The huge, beautiful Christmas tree at church!

The huge, beautiful Christmas tree at church!

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

My present for my mom. She loved it :)

My present for my mom. She loved it 🙂

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

Waking up to snow on Christmas morning is always magical!

Waking up to snow on Christmas morning is always magical!

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

Stocking...

Stocking…

...and stocking stuffers!

…and stocking stuffers!

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

My family's Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

My family’s Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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”?

Savoring Summer

Guess what, guys? Just ONE MORE WEEK til I am done with my sophomore year! Wooooooo 😀 Okay, so I still have one final the next week, but I’m trying to ignore that fact 😉 Anyways, my summer basically begins next Friday and I am beyond ready and excited for it! 3 whole months of enjoying the warm weather, soaking up the sun, going on a couple vacays (hopefully) and my internship, along with some other things that I’ll share with y’all later. Oh, and of course, my 20th birthday is in exactly 3 months–heck to the yes!

I’ve mentioned this about a million times before, but living in a dorm is pure torture for a foodie like me. I really miss having a kitchen and getting to experiment with recipes but luckily that won’t be a problem in a week. Of course, I’ve been planning up tons of things I want to make once I have daily access to the kitchen and it’s been making me really hungry 😛 In case you’ve been wanting some recipe inspiration, I’m sharing a few of them here (note: none of them are my own recipes, though when I make them, I will probably tweak some a lot of things. Plus all of them are vegan or can be made vegan).

Photo courtesy of Peas and Thank You.

Who doesn’t want a fun way to eat their veggies? The sauce alone is drool-worthy.

Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

A healthified root beer float? Count me in, especially since it’s spiked with coffee! I’m planning on making mine with some root beer stevia and vanilla-flavored almond milk ice cream.

Photo courtesy of 101 Cookbooks.

My tempeh obsession is still going strong, and this Asian-inspired dish looks beyond tasty.

Photo courtesy of Shape.

Would you believe me if I told you the taco filling is made from walnuts and the ‘sour cream’ is made from cashews? It sounds strange but I’m willing to bet it’s really good.

Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

Pink lemonade is a great summertime refresher, but add in a little coconut water, and it’s even better!

Photo courtesy of Peas and Thank You.

I still need to get a donut pan, but as soon as I do, you best believe I am making these salted maple donuts!

Photo courtesy of Healthy Food for Living.

I’ve tried making chocolate avocado pudding and let’s just say it wasn’t great. But pudding with sweet potatoes sounds promising!

Photo courtesy of The Raw Chef.

I am obsessed with all things Greek/Mediterranean and I’m also interested in raw foods. Combining the two sounds like perfection, especially in this totally raw falafel and hummus wrap.

Photo courtesy of Oh She Glows.

Who wants a chemical-laden, sugar-filled DQ Blizzard when you can have a totally vegan, much healthier cookie dough version?

Photo courtesy of The Vegan Version.

I generally don’t like cheese (duh, I’m vegan!) but nut cheese is a whole different story! This baked ‘feta’ made from almonds seems almost too good to be true!

Photo courtesy of Peas and Thank You.

Who knew watermelon could be grilled? It’s definitely a summer staple for me, so it’s nice to have new ways to enjoy it.

Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

I always need new overnight oats inspirations–why didn’t I think of sticky banana bread? This topping looks crazy good and perfectly indulgent.

What recipes look the yummiest to you? What do ‘summery’ recipes usually include for you?