WIAW: Photo Dumpage

Wow, I’ve been gone for awhile! Obviously, it’s that time of the year–midterms. Luckily I’ve just got one more left and then tomorrow afternoon starts my spring break! I won’t be doing anything too exciting (unless you consider going home for over a week to be exciting) but it’ll be great to see my family again…and possibly mooch off them for groceries? Haha it’s the little things!

Anyways, I’ve just got a photo dump of a WIAW for you…so enjoy!

Leftover chocolate chili yam from Tasty Harmony.

Leftover chocolate chili yam from Tasty Harmony.

One of the best vegan restaurant meals ever. How can you go wrong with chocolate chili+sweet potato+cashew ‘cheese’+tempeh bacon?

My new fave Kevita flavor.

My new fave Kevita flavor.

I just noticed this for the first time this weekend at Whole Foods, and I had to snag this flavor. Um, this is spot on like a sparkling mojito!

Outfit of the day (Monday): navy striped crop tee (Hollister), white watch (American Eagle), burgundy jeggings (Hollister).

Outfit of the day (Monday): navy striped crop tee (Hollister), white watch (American Eagle), burgundy jeggings (Hollister).

I had to take advantage of the nice weather and wear a tee without a sweater for the first time in months. Rumor has it it will be in the 70s on Friday…hell to the yes!

It's hard to tell, but that's a pink car next to mine!

It’s hard to tell, but that’s a pink car next to mine!

The car doesn’t look so pink in this picture, but it was most definitely a raspberry color. I want!

Fresh pineapple.

Fresh pineapple.

Eating fresh pineapple makes me want to take a beach trip real badly. Too bad I’m a college student with no extra money.

Kelp noodle stirfry. Kelp noodles, fresh pineapple, red cabbage, spinach, peanut flour curry sauce, raw pumpkin seeds.

Kelp noodle stirfry. Kelp noodles, fresh pineapple, red cabbage, spinach, peanut flour curry sauce, raw pumpkin seeds.

I can’t get enough of kelp noodle stirfrys. You can just make them so many different ways it’s impossible to get bored with them.

A new dinner: homemade edamame burger crumbles topped with spinach, jalapeno slices and pineapple, side of eggplant 'fries' and homemade BBQ sauce.

A new dinner: homemade edamame burger crumbles topped with spinach, jalapeno slices and pineapple, side of eggplant ‘fries’ and homemade BBQ sauce.

This was actually a pretty successful dinner, though the veggie burger didn’t hold up too well. The eggplant fries were sooooo good though–coated in almond flour, sprinkled with sea salt and dipped in homemade BBQ sauce (basically unsweetened ketchup mixed with stevia and liquid smoke).

My more fun Whole Foods buys.

My more fun Whole Foods buys.

There was no budgeting post this weekend, but I managed to stay around $50 for the week, buying just stuff from Whole Foods with a few splurges! I’m excited to try the new Vega One bar, 15 grams of clean vegan protein in a chocolate-covered bar!

Have you ever seen an unusual colored car? What warm weather foods are you loving right now?

Bread for All (Grain Free Flatbread)

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Paleo, it’s basically one of the biggest trends in the healthy living blog world at the moment. Obviously, it’s not for me as it completely eschews legumes (no black beans? no peanut flour?), soy (I love me some edamame and tofu/tempeh) or grains (I can go grain free most of the time but I still love buckwheat, quinoa and other GF whole grains). Basically, it’s a vegan’s worst nightmare. I’m not knocking paleo by any means, I’m just sayin’ that I could never handle all the meat and eggs the diet requires. I think it’s great that it promotes whole foods rather than the processed junk that a lot of Americans live off of but I think any kind of whole f00ds-based diet can be healthy and it’s all up to the individual to decide what works best for them.

Anyways, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with grain free vegan recipes. They’re actually really hard to come by, because grain free recipes generally work better with lots of eggs holding them together. However, I came across a recipe for grain free flatbread made with coconut flour and surprisingly, it was already vegan! I knew I had to try it out, so I made a few tweaks and it turned out amazingly well. It actually held together for the most part, even when I made eggplant muffulettas with it, and it tasted better after a day or so of sitting out. Plus, it only requires a handful of ingredients and is perfect for both paleo people and vegans and well, pretty much everyone!

Eggplant muffuletta (adapted from Veganomicon) on coconut flour grain free flatbread.

Eggplant muffuletta (adapted from Veganomicon) on coconut flour grain free flatbread.

Coconut Flour Flatbread (vegan, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

1/4 coconut flour 

1 tbsp ground psyllium husk or psyllium powder (CANNOT substitute/omit)

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

3/4-1 cup boiling water

spices, to taste (can add garlic, salt and red pepper for savory bread or cinnamon, ginger and salt for sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk coconut flour, psyllium and spices. Add in coconut oil, and slowly pour in boiling water. Use just enough to make mixture thick and make sure there aren’t any dry spots. Spread mixture onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and smooth out with back of a spoon or a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bread starts to become a little crumbly. Remove from oven and let cool. Makes 4 regular sized slices. 

I enjoyed this as the bread for my eggplant muffulettas (it soaked up the olive juices and tastes amazing) and as a flatbread to dip into an African peanut stew I made last weekend. It tastes even better a day or so after being made so be patient and let it sit 😉

Have you ever had a grain free food that’s usually made with grains? What’s your favorite style of bread?

College Vegan on a Budget: A New Low

One college vegan’s mission to save money while still maintaining her clean eating standards.

I’ve really been needing to reign in my spending habits lately. Between a $40 iHerb purchase last week (mostly necessary, but some were impulse buys to get the free shipping), picking up a few personal care items at Target the other day that set me back $30 (including some heavier free weights–woohoo, I’m progressing!) and going out to eat a few times with friends (not a bad things, since I need to get more comfortable with this), the last thing I needed was a giant grocery bill this weekend. And luckily, I was smart with my spending and walked away spending just over $80 for the week. This has become my new weekly goal, so let’s see if I can hit it more often than not!

Sprouts buys under $30.

Sprouts buys under $30.

*=organic

Sprouts

What I Got: dried apple rings, Medjool dates, hazelnuts (for vegan healthy Nutella–stay tuned!), Kevita strawberry acai coconut probiotic drink*, raw cacao powder* (this brand was much cheaper than my fave Navitas Naturals), poppy seeds, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, Wholly Guacamole avocado verde salsa (one of the best salsas I’ve ever had!)

What I Spent: $26.86

Verdict: Again, Sprouts can be a big money saver. The salsa was literally $1–and it’s the best $1 I’ve ever spent! They have the cheapest nothing-added dried fruit and nut selection and their produce is dirt cheap, but is just as good as anywhere else. 

Whole Foods haul under $55.

Whole Foods haul under $55.

Whole Foods

What I Got: Kale Krunch cheezy chipotle kale chips*, 365 brand light coconut milk x2*, cashew butter, liquid smoke (for eggplant “bacon”), WFM brand almond oil, Hail Merry vanilla maple almonds, Hail Merry raw chocolate macaroons and chocolate tart, raspberry balsamic vinegar, Thai curry cashew mix, raw cashew pieces (on sale!), raw vegan brownie, pineapple chunks (also on sale), eggplant*

What I Spent: $53.47

Verdict: One of my cheapest Whole Foods trips for weekly staples ever! I even bought a few splurge-y items (ahem, raw desserts!) but still stayed under $60 and got a lot of things that will last awhile and stuff I needed for recipes I want to try out. 

What’s the best salsa you’ve ever had? What new recipes have you been trying out? 

WIAW: Halloween (Weekend) Edition

Hey guys, how were all of your Halloweens? Mine was basically like any other school day: classes at 10 and 1, then an editorial meeting with staffers at 3. Oh yeah, not sure if I mentioned this or not, but I’m the editor for my campus’ faculty & staff newsletter! I’m so stoked because it’s a paid job and it’s in journalism, which is my field. I was dreading trying to look for some lame minimum wage job but I’m so glad I got hired for this. It was a long process of interviewing and paperwork, but it’s finally coming together. Me and another girl (the other editor) get along really well, and even though we’re pretty confused and overwhelmed at this point since we have a deadline this week and only just hired our writers, we’re still loving the position. So yeah, I officially have my first ever job 😀 But anyways, yeah, my Halloween was pretty boring…but Halloween weekend is a totally different story!

Peas and Crayons

Mi madre picked me up around 2 on Friday and we were off! Unlike most weekends that I go home, she was able to get me earlier which meant I got to eat a home cooked meal. Score! Sure, I like going out to fast casual places, but they can get repetitive and expensive after a while, and I’ve missed being able to use the oven. So that’s exactly what I did–I made Gardein meatless ‘chicken’ nuggets and Alexia sweet potato tots (best thing ever!) alongside some green beans (ick, but decent with some spicy three-pepper mustard) for dinner. It was basic but gourmet compared to my dorm meals. Though I can get pretty creative with those… 😉

Look how much snow was still at our house 4 days after the storm!

Friday night was so much fun, because we all carved pumpkins and watched some reallllllly old (from the early 90s!) Disney Halloween cartoons. Those 2 things are basically a Halloween tradition in our house, and I love it. I ended up carving a pumpkin in my pumpkin because I thought a face was too cliché haha. It was so much easier than carving a face too, and the only part that sucked was digging out all the seeds. The insides of all the pumpkins were freezing cold so it hurt our hands after a while to get all the seeds out. But trust me, it was worth it–you’ll see why soon!

My pumpkin in a pumpkin!

My mom's and dad's pumpkins. My dad always likes to do something--erm--creative!

Saturday morning I woke up a little early (like 8:15, which is totally not early but it is for the weekend) because I wanted to make pancakes for my lovely familia. But not just any pancakes–oh no!–I made pumpkin pancakes with dark chocolate chips! OMG, pumpkin and chocolate are a match made in heaven for sure. I love the Archer Farms pancake/waffle mixes because they have the best flavors, especially seasonal kinds. My personal fave is the double chocolate peppermint (I’ll be making those over Thanksgiving break!) but pumpkin is awesome-sauce too. I also added a scoop of vanilla protein powder, to up the protein a little and use up the powder. They turned out really good but sadly, there weren’t that many of them. The amount I used only made 15 mini pancakes, so everyone got 3 (and I froze 3 for myself for later…shhhhh!)

Pancake batttttttah 😉

Just 3 ingredients: pumpkin pancake mix, mini chocolate chips and vanilla protein powder. Oh, and water of course!

My dad and I ventured out to (where else?) Whole Foods. Knowing us, we also made stops at Sunflower Market and Albertson’s. Gotta stock up on food, ya know? I got bunches of yummy stuff from WF, including some new things you’ll hopefully be seeing on this bloggie soon, like purple cauliflower and dried figs. Love that store. At Sunflower, I basically took their entire bar selection 😉 Just kidding, but I got soooooo many bars, like my newly beloved Clif Mojo white chocolate macadamia, Clif Kid Z-Bar full moon brownie and Pure orange cranberry. That is literally the only store near me that has that flavor of Pure bars and Clif Mojo bars, so I gotta get ’em where I can.

I may love the chocolate and PB Puffins even more than the PB!

Back at home I had a super late lunch and then got to work roasting my pumpkin seeds. You know the seeds are the best part, right? Of course they are. I decided to stray from the usual spice combinations and make a spicy-sweet kind. I found the recipe from here and they turned out better than I thought. I made a few tweaks though based on what I had on hand: I used Eggbeaters egg sub in place of the egg white, I used raw sugar instead of cane sugar and I used crushed red pepper flakes instead of cayenne pepper. They still ended up amazing, with just enough sweetness and heat.

So. Flippin'. Addicting.

Dinner turned out to be an (almost) family affair. My dad and I really wanted to try grilling eggplant and brussels sprouts so we fired up the grill for those. Meanwhile, my mom made dinner for the rest of the fam (minus me) while I cooked up a couple of Gardein meatless nuggets at the last minute. My sister, the only non-cook in the house, was of course the only one who didn’t participate but it was still fun. I miss being in the kitchen with everyone. It’s just such a fun, lively atmosphere. Anyways, dinner turned out great, especially the grilled veggies. I’ve had grilled eggplant before, but I’ve never done it myself and it turned out amazing. Same with the brussels sprouts. The outsides got nice and crispy and the insides were warm and smooth. So. Darn. Delicious.

Would you like a little fake chicken with your veggies?

I love how pink this raspberry cappuccino smoothie is!

The rest of the night was spent watching-slash-making-fun-of a really lame infomercial on 70s music, my dad helping me with stats (beeteedubs, I absolutely HATE stats with a passion, so this sucked but was also super helpful), me learning to enjoy hot tea (my mom got some Celestial Seasonings candy cane and sugar cookie tea bags, and they totally transformed me into being a hot tea lover) and watching reruns of SNL. I ended up staying up pretty late but it was so worth it.

Mmmmmmm, I'm such a sucker for all things seasonal!

I love this mug (please ignore all the random crap in the background).

Sunday, as usual, was pretty chill. Enjoying breakfast with the fam, reading the Sunday newspaper, packing up my stuff, lunch, hanging out with my sister and finally having to drive back up to school. I always hate Sundays on weekends I’m at home because it means I have to go back to school. Don’t get me wrong, I like school and my dorm and all, but I just really cherish the weekends I spend at home and it sucks when they’re over. They always seem to go by way too fast 😦 Back up in good old FoCo, my mom and I stopped for more groceries (I couldn’t live with nut butter, of course!) but sadly, I’ll have to be sweet potato-less for the next two weeks ’cause we couldn’t find them anywhere. We also stopped for dinner at a new-to-us place, HuHot Express. We went to HuHot once for my dad’s birthday, but this one was slightly different because it’s not all-you-can-eat. But I ended up loving what I got here better than at the regular place. I got rice noodles topped with shrimp, fresh jalapeno (spicy is where it’s at), edamame, spinach and what was called a Mongol mustard sauce. It was really delish, a little spicy, and not too overwhelming. I ended up mostly just eating the shrimp and veggies, but I would totally get it again. But the real star was the super-cool, high-tech soda machine. It had a touch screen menu so you could mix and match between all kinds of sodas and juices. Normally, I don’t drink soda but I had to try this. I got diet orange Coke mixed with diet vanilla Coke–it was like an orange creamsicle! Have you guys ever seen one of these machines? They are le-git!

Overnight oats in a jar! I basically just saved this jar and keep reusing it. Cookies 'n cream overnighters, frozen raspbs, spicy veggie sausage. Breakfast of champions right thurrrr!

I love tempeh bacon. And apples. And sriracha. Oh, and cold brussels sprouts. Don't judge me 😀

Of course, it was sad to say goodbye to such a fun-filled weekend, but Thanksgiving break is in less than 3 weeks–wooooohooooo 😀 You know I’m looking forward to 9 days away from school!

What was the best thing you did or ate this weekend? Do you like roasted pumpkin seeds?