WIAW: Salads and…Snow?

Happy WIAW…and happy birthday to my lovely madre! She is one lucky lady, having both her birthday and Mother’s Day in the same week. I’m so glad school ended just in time for me to be home to enjoy both days with her.

I haven’t gotten around to taking photos of an entire day’s worth of eats (bad blogger, I know, but it’s just slipped my mind most of the time) so this week’s WIAW is just a random compilation of the best of what I’ve been eating this past week along with a recipe and some new grocery store finds.

Breakfast: overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, mashed strawberries and maple macadamias.

This is my new favorite overnight oats combo. Peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, fresh strawberries and maple macadamia nuts are surprisingly yummy together, and taste like summer. The maple macadamia nuts are a new obsession of mine from the Whole Foods bulk section. They are expensive (18 bucks per pounds, yikes) but they’re so worth it.

Lunch: kale wraps with cold grilled tofu strips, sauteed bell peppers and Ginger People hot ginger jalapeno sauce.

Move over, lettuce wraps! Kale wraps are heartier, more nutritious and delicious. One day for lunch I decided I didn’t want a salad but I still wanted to get my greens in. So I took a few heads of kale, partially destemmed them and filled them with leftover fajitas filling, aka grilled tofu strips and sauteed peppers. I drizzled them with my new favorite sauce, and they turned out perfectly spicy and crunchy.

Lunch: chopped kale, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sprinkle of nooch and vegan Caesar dressing thinned with almond milk.

I’ve also been loving raw kale salads for lunch lately. The key is to let the greens soak up the dressing or sauce overnight and marinade with the other ingredients. Oh, and nooch is a necessity for me. This was a Mediterranean inspired salad that I’m definitely repeating. It would be great for dinner bulked up with some chickpeas and kalamata olives.

Lime green striped oversize tee (American Eagle), denim cuffed shorts (Abercrombie Kids).

Can you believe I wore this outfit on a day it snowed? Okay, so I definitely changed into something more weather-appropriate when I had to go out that night to see a performance of Hairspray (really good, BTW) but it’s crazy to think that it didn’t snow at all here in March or April, and then we get dumped on practically in May. What?!

White cardigan (Target), navy lace tank (Abercrombie Kids), navy plaid shorts (Hollister).

I’m not complaining though because after a weekend of rain, light snow and thunder (yeah, Colorado’s weird!) it was back to shorts weather by Monday. I enjoyed a little time outside and did a stairs workout that left me tired (in a good way) and hungry. Running up and down the stairs of my deck was no joke, but it was a fun, heart-pumping workout that I like to do every once in a while to change things up.

My new-to-me Whole Foods finds.

I’m pretty sure I can’t go to Whole Foods without trying out at least one new thing. When I went over the weekend, I hit the mother lode and got mostly all new-to-me things. So far, I’ve tried the quinoa pasta (better than whole wheat or regular), ginger peanut sauce (perfect for Asian dishes), maple macadamias (0b-sessed!), rice cakes (pretty plain but good with toppings), honey vanilla agave (great sub for pancake syrup) and artichoke hearts (basically like any other artichokes, which I love) so I’m excited to try the lemon Larabar, vegan ravioli and pasta sauce.

First Frapp of the summer: tall mocha light with soy and 1 pump raspberry. So effing delicious!

You know me, can’t pass up Starbucks, especially when it’s half price. Sadly, I only got to take advantage of their happy hour once, but I’m glad I did for the deliciousness above. Mocha light Frappuccinos are my absolute favorite, and they get even better with the addition of a pump of raspberry syrup. If you love the chocolate and raspberry combo, order this. Now.

I’m growing my own cilantro!

Get ready for a whole lotta pico de gallo recipes around here…because I officially have my own cilantro plant! My dad’s growing a mint plant so we are definitely stocked up on two of the best herbs. Last summer I grew strawberries and while there weren’t many and they were tiny, it was cool to grow my own stuff. The cilantro already looks pretty healthy and vibrant, so I’m excited.

California Pizza Kitchen’s half Thai Crunch salad without chicken, dressing or wontons…so basically Napa cabbage, carrots, avocado, edamame, peanuts and Ginger People ginger peanut sauce.

I love me some giant salads. I had one on Thursday post-final at Mad Greens with my dad (no picture, but it was spinach/artichoke hearts/kalamata olives/garbanzo beans/sunflower seeds with fat free balsamic) and I had one on Sunday night to celebrate Mother’s Day. We got CPK to-go and I was debating between a veggie pizza without cheese and this salad. Glad I went with the salad, even though there aren’t any leftovers (boo!) We hadn’t eaten at CPK in well over a year and I almost forgot how much I love them and their giant salads. Plus now I know that they’re totally accommodating to vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free people and also if you’re picky like me and don’t like wontons or restaurant dressings. I totally demolished this salad and for the record, it took up my entire regular-sized dinner plate. No shame!

Definitely freeze these if you want to be able to eat them whole!

I made raw blondies for the first time last summer and they were definitely a hit…well at least with me, since my family’s wary of trying raw desserts. I made a new and improved version the other day and while they’re crumbly and messy, they’re simple and healthy, with just 4 ingredients.

Raw Amaretto Blondies (vegan, gluten-free, raw)

3 100 calorie pack cinnamon almonds (can use plain almonds)

6 pitted dates (I used California pitted)

1/2 tbsp raw agave nectar (can sub raw honey or real maple syrup)

1 tbsp Vega Vanilla Almondilla protein powder (can use other protein powder but this gives it the amaretto flavor)

Blend almonds and dates in food processor or high powered blender until mostly combined and crumbly. Add in agave and protein powder until mixed in. Pack blondie mixture into a square glass dish and keep frozen (so the blondies don’t crumble). Makes 4 blondies.

Have you ever tried quinoa pasta? What’s your favorite “special” nut?

Top Ten Tuesday

So in case you haven’t noticed, it’s already almost May. Ummmm, what the heck?! Seriously, I feel like just the other day it was Christmas. Like many other college kids, I’m feeling pretty burned out on school at this point. But my summer unofficially begins in 10 days, so obviously I am beyond psyched for that! I say unofficially because I have only one final exam this time around, so I’m starting my summer a little early, heading home next Friday and popping back up here to take my final the following Thursday…then my summer will officially begin!

Because of this burnout, which extends to many aspects of my life (oh summer, please come faster!) I’ve decided to do a little Top Ten list type post for today, as a little recap of my weekend, and also because I can’t really think about posting an actual post 😀 Hopefully you enjoy this for the time being though!

Ten Foods I Can’t Live Without

1. FruitOkay, technically this is cheating, but there are a billion fruits I can’t live without, from grapes to pineapple to watermelon to bananas to raspberries to kiwi to…you get the picture!

2. Almond milk. I love the unsweetened vanilla kind, but the plain unsweetened is kinda growing on me.

3. Oats. 

My favorite oats combo at the moment--topped with kettle corn, pretzel sticks, raisins and peanut flour/almond peanut cashew butter.


4. Kale. It’s great in chip form, cooked up with some salt/pepper/garlic on the stove and even raw and massaged with some kind of dressing.

5. Tempeh. My vegan “meat” of choice. I love it’s nutty flavor!

6. Peanut flour. 

I prefer peanut flour to PB2, I just store mine in an old PB2 jar so it's less messy!

7. Kalamata olives. Some people can’t stand olives–I don’t understand those people!

8. Medjool dates. So gooey, so caramel-y, so addictingly good.

9. PB Puffins. Do I really even have to explain this one? It’s basically my crack (besides peanut flour).

10. Sweet potatoes. 

Saturday's simple but yummy dinner: sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, baby carrots, garden herb Sunshine veggie burger topped with mustard.

Ten Things I Did This Weekend

1. Went to an independent film fest with my dad. We’ve gone to it since it started 5 years ago–we both love seeing random short indy films.

2. Went to church on Saturday night. Pretty self-explanatory!

3. Went out to eat…4 times! Normally, we barely ever eat out, except for when my mom drops me off back at school after a weekend at home. Due to our busyness this weekend, we had to eat out a lot. Definitely a struggle for me with my ED thoughts, but I mostly succeeded. Yes, I did order ‘safe’ things, like salads and veggie/hummus plates, but I truly enjoyed all of them. My favorites of this weekend were the salad I ordered at Mad Greens on Friday afternoon (baby spinach topped with Kalamata olives, dried cranberries, artichoke hearts and garbanzo beans with a fat free balsamic dressing) and the salad I got on Sunday night at Noodles (the Med salad with no dressing or feta, topped with grilled tofu). I kinda learned that I’m really not a tofu girl–it’s not necessarily the texture, but the taste for me. I’m not the hugest fan.

4. Played tennis with mi padre. Usually we play singles and a half (because we play with my sister) but she was unavailable so the two of us just played singles. It was so warm out and I was running around more than usual, so it was a great workout!

5. Grocery shopping. When my mom and sister picked me up on Friday afternoon, we hit up the Whole Foods and Super Target up here, then back at home we picked up a couple more things at the Super Target by us. And on Sunday, my dad and I ventured to Walmart where I stocked up on Truvia.

6. Bought my first-ever Zevia! I got the cream soda variety, and while I’m still waiting for the perfect opportunity to enjoy it, I have a feeling it’ll be incredible. Hopefully not so incredible that I feel the need to buy it on a regular basis since it’s pretty expensive…

So excited to try this!

7. Rode my bike for the first time since last fall. I never get the chance to ride it during the winter because of snow (duh) and there was even some lingering snow when I came home for spring break. I got in two quickie miles that were super hard because my tires were flat. Oops!

8. Worked on my final papers. Not fun, but they have to get done at some point!

9. Starbucks trip! I ordered a tall unsweetened iced coffee with 3 pumps of sugar-free hazelnut. Even better than the plain unsweetened with Truvia. I loved the nutty taste.

10. Repainted my nails silver and pink. I love this color combo and I actually haven’t had it since the beginning of school back in August!

My (slightly chipped) nails, and my lovely snake ring from American Eagle.

Ten Things to Do Before School’s Out

1. Finish my papers/essays. I’m definitely on track, just gotta keep my motivation up.

2. Clean my room. Vacuuming, dusting and all that should probably be done before I peace out.

3. Laundry. I don’t want to burden my mom too much, so I’m planning on washing my sheets and towels.

4. Finish up my last two weeks of classes. Even though I’m so done, I still have to get through 8 more days of classes. I can do this!

5. Make a (huge) list of recipes to make this summer. Some of this list will be coming ‘atcha tomorrow or Thursday for WIAW.

6. Turn in the last page of my internship stuff. The adviser in charge of organizing internships for students has such limited office hours that every time I stop by her office she isn’t there. I need to get this in though!

7. Move everything out of my room. Most of this will be done next Friday, and the rest the day of my only final. Not exciting or fun, but it’s gotta be done.

8. Sell my textbooks? Since I won’t be here during finals week, I’m not sure if this will get done, but I hope it will so I won’t have to have all these books laying around until the next buyback.

9. Study outside. It’s been incredibly nice here lately (I’m talking 80 degrees in April!) so I want to do this at least once.

10. Move out of the dorms…forever! I can’t tell you how excited I am for this. I love my dorm this year, since it’s all my own and it’s new and has air conditioning, but I am so ready for my own place next year.

What’s on your top ten foods list? What’s the best thing you did this weekend?

WIAW: Weekend Food and Fitness Thoughts

Hi girlies! Hope you enjoyed your weekend! As I mentioned in my last post (which I loved all the comments on, BTW!) I went home this weekend, actually for the first time since spring break. And I’m headed back home this weekend, because of Easter. I know it seems like I go home for the weekend a lot but I only live about a 2 hour drive away, so it’s not a huge haul plus having no car means my weekends on campus are super-boring (yet really good for getting homework, papers and studying done). Usually I go home every other weekend, and it’s nice to get a little break from college life, and I love my family to death so it’s a win-win. Anyways, I wanted to recap my weekend for this week’s edition of WIAW. Instead of just sharing all my eats (most of which went undocumented, unfortunately), I also wanted to give you all a little insight into what I was thinking regarding food/fitness this weekend. As I’m sure you can guess, I still struggle a lot with disordered thoughts but I think letting them out is a good way to figure out where they’re coming from and how to refocus them.

Oh, and P.S. today (Tuesday) is my daddy’s birthday! I won’t get to be there to celebrate with him but I’ll just have to have a belated party for him this weekend!


Friday

After writing my hand off finishing an essay exam in my only Friday class, I waited around until my mom and sister got here to pick me up. Usually it’s just my mom, since she doesn’t work on Fridays, but it was their spring break this past week, so my sister was able to come up and get me too. We are really close, so I loved seeing her again.

We had plans to go out to lunch, which I was really excited for. My mom let me pick the place, and being indecisive as usual, I had come up with 3 or 4 possible places. We checked out two of them and finally decided on Ingredient, which is a small chain restaurants with locations in Colorado (where we went, obviously), Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. I had looked up the menu ahead of time and I found plenty of things that were Ashley-friendly, aka vegan (or could be modified to be vegan) and ‘safe’, ED-wise. Yes, looking up menus/nutritional facts ahead of time is a habit I’ve clung to, I pretty much do it every time I’m planning on going out to eat, not just to find the lowest calorie item, but also now because I’m eating primarily vegan, and non-vegan things can be hiding in almost anything! I would like to move away from the calorie researching thing, but it’s still a scary thing for me not to know the calories in something.

Anyways, we settled on Ingredient and we enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather outside as we waited for our food. Like I said, the restaurant had a lot of options for me, but I ended up getting something ‘safe’, aka a build-your-own salad. But to be honest, I didn’t order it just because it was safe, but because I really love getting to make creative salads. I ordered napa/bok choy mix topped with fresh jalapenos, artichoke hearts, fresh strawberries, white beans and fat-free raspberry vinaigrette. Random, I know, but it was what was appealing to me at the moment. And I did love the salad, but I mostly just ate the toppings because the lettuce ended up being hearts of romaine, and it wasn’t very tasty. But…I kinda regretted getting it, because I saw that they had other yummy-sounding options, like a falafel sandwich, a veggie burger with whatever toppings you wanted and make-your-own pizza (which I could have gotten without cheese). But I chose the ‘safe’ option, and while it was good, it wasn’t very satisfying.

Saturday

I woke up bright and early (aka like 8 am) because my dad, sister and I had plans to play tennis! We’ve been playing tennis on and off during the spring and summer ever since my sister and I went to a tennis camp 5 years ago and discovered that we really liked it. Now it’s one of my favorite forms of exercise, because it’s challenging mentally and physically, and I can do it with other people, namely my dad and sister. We kinda play doubles, only my dad is on his own 😉 We had breakfast and set out for the tennis courts that are about a 10 minute drive from our house–which is HUGE, because almost nothing is within 10 minutes of our house. We live in the middle of nowhere 😛

My tennis 'outfit': navy hoodie (Hollister), white cami (Aeropostale), new royal blue yoga shorts (Hollister).

The weather was gorgeous, even at 10 in the morning. It was the perfect temperature (around 70 degrees) and the sun was out with almost no wind. We played for almost an hour, but I wasn’t even close to being tired. In fact, I felt like we had only been playing for half an hour! The only issue was, I tripped on my way back from class on Friday (klutz status!) and totally tore up both knees, plus a few layers of skin ripped off one of my big toes. TMI, I know! I was wearing band-aids all over, and of course, my right knee was kinda stiff because the skin was trying to grow back and all that jazz that happens after you fall down. It didn’t really impact my playing, just that I wasn’t able to run to get the ball as much as usual. This made my ED voice act up big time. He was basically just telling me that even though we’d been playing for an hour, it was barely a workout, because I didn’t run as much as I usually would and mostly just walked to get the ball when it went out of the court. Okay, the reason I play tennis is not only to burn calories, but also because I truly love it, but it still made me feel ‘bad’ and ‘fat’ that I hadn’t been able to exert myself as much as usual.

Saturday's lunch: frozen pineapple, mixed greens topped with mini sweet peppers (SO GOOD!), edamame and flax tempeh cubes.

Lunch was…lame. Like I do on most weekends at home, I take advantage of the abundant (or sometimes not-so-abundant) selection of produce and made myself a salad. I was going for an Asian-ish twist, so I whipped up some peanut dressing made with peanut flour and sriracha sauce, and topped the greens with a little edamame, a few mini sweet peppers (a new obsession) and cubed tempeh heated up on the stove. I also had some frozen pineapple on the side. Unfortunately, the dressing turned out to be bland and the edamame was freezer-burned so the entire salad was not too tasty. I ate all the pineapple, peppers and most of the tempeh but had to throw the rest out. Better luck next time? And yes, I know this was nowhere near enough food, especially since I had just played tennis, but I was just not feelin’ it. Of course, later on I was starving–duh, I had barely eaten before! I’m still trying to work out my weird hunger cues–I am rarely hungry after working out, but I definitely feel it later on.

After church with my family (a guy from Jews for Jesus came and told us all about the Seder meal for Passover–it was really cool!) we headed home for some dinner. I was very hungry even after having a decent snack a few hours earlier. My mom was going to grill sausages (chicken for my family, veggie for me) and have some salad and fries (aka sweet potato tots for me) on the side. I was excited…until I saw the sausages she bought for me. They were the Field Roast brand, the Mexican chipotle flavor. Um yeah, these sounded totally delicious…but 250 calories for one sausage? That’s about how many calories I’ve been eating for dinner, never mind we were also having stuff on the side! I freaked out, despite the fact that A) they sounded really good, B) they are pretty healthy and non-processed and C) they have 23 grams of protein per sausage (not too shabby!) But the disordered side of me went straight towards the ‘high’ calorie count (which is honestly not that high). I tried to compensate by skipping a bun (I’m not really a fan of them anyway) and only having a half serving of sweet potato tots. This didn’t stop me from mentally beating myself up after dinner, especially when my dad said, “Wow, you must have liked it!” because I ate the whole sausage. Well, yes, I did like it, but I interpreted his comment to mean “Wow, you’re a pig!” Unfortunately, I let his comment get to me and after dinner, I tried to feel better about how much I had eaten (not that much in reality, but more than I’m used to) by doing some cardio circuits for 15 or 20 minutes. I do this sometimes, try to make up for eating what I see as too many calories (aka the number doesn’t fit into my set plan for the day, despite the fact that it might still be not enough) by working out extra. And on top of this, it wasn’t enjoyable because my knee was still hurting and my ankles were sore. That’s been freaking me out–my ankles have ached whenever I’ve been doing cardio since this weekend and I’m not sure why–and I’m scared I’ll have to take a break from daily workouts, which is a big no-no for me.

Saturday's real outfit: new flutter-sleeved royal blue tee (Hollister), navy twill shorts with white belt (Hollister).

Sunday

Sunday was a LOT better for me, thoughts-wise. I had breakfast with my family (BTW, chocolate and peanut butter Puffins taste amazing in unsweetened almond milk, they sweeten it up and make it taste like cookies and cream!), got ready for the day and played a few tricks on my parents. It was April Fool’s Day, after all! They were a little lame, like prank calling them on their cell phones using blocked numbers (they somehow knew it was me and my sister) but the best one was pouring some vinegar and tonic water into my dad’s flavored sparkling water at lunch. He totally spit it out and it was just hilarious! I was considering putting some toothpaste in place of the cream in the Oreos we had in the pantry, but I didn’t want to be too mean 😉

Sunday's lunch: spicy peanut pasta salad, green grapes, garlicky kale.

Speaking of lunch, it was a winner, especially compared to Saturday’s. I whipped up a quick pasta salad using quinoa pasta (love this stuff), chopped baby carrots, edamame and spicy peanut dressing (basically the same as on Saturday, but I got the proportions right this time so it actually tasted like something). I also had some green grapes on the side, as well as garlicky kale, which I sauteed on the stove with some salt and garlic until it was crispy. It was so good, I am definitely making this as much as I can! The best part of lunch, though, was enjoying it out on the deck with my family reading the Sunday paper. I love getting to eat outside and enjoy a leisurely lunch, which I never get to do at school. Only 4 and a half more weeks til I can eat outside every day!

Before my mom and I had to hit the road, my sister and I went for a quick walk on our street. The weather was perfect and it’s hard to believe it was almost 80 degrees when I was home–it’s been cold, cloudy and windy the past two days, plus it snowed…Colorado is bipolar! 😦 It’s supposed to warm up by tomorrow though.

Back in good old FoCo, my mom and I had dinner at Garbanzo, since they were having a buy one get one deal. It was really crowded and busy because of this, but still enjoyable. It’s one of my favorite fast casual places to eat at, since it’s all Mediterranean cuisine, which is one of my faves, and they also have a lot of veg options. I got my usual plate of hummus, cilantro sauce, fresh red cabbage, tabbouleh (they have the best!), lettuce and I tried the portobello mushroom this time. I would probably skip it next time, since it was really watery, but it wasn’t too bad. I ate it all minus most of the mushrooms and loved it. And surprisingly, I didn’t feel too guilty about it, which I usually do after eating out. However, Garbanzo is a really healthy place and I truly just love it.

Monday's quick lunch: fresh kale massaged with peanut flour sauce, Clif Kids s'mores bar, red grapes.

So yes, I realize this was a monstrous post, but it really feels good to get all my thoughts out there and just be honest with myself and all of you. I really love how Tessa does this with her WIAW posts, because I can always relate, and I think it just adds something rather than just sharing what I ate. I think it’s more important to share the thoughts and feelings behind the food, rather than the food itself.

What did you do this weekend? What’s your favorite way to eat kale?