Currently: December

…Also known as “It’s almost finals week so I’m stressed and practically brain dead so here’s a fun post that will take my mind off all that I have to do in the next week and a half.” All my fellow (or former) college students will understand what I’m saying here.

Current Book: I’m currently doing my best to avoid all books, even my textbooks. Just kidding, but really the only books I have time to care about are my textbooks. #sorrynotsorry

Current Music: All things Christmas music, especially Vince Guaraldi trio, aka A Charlie Brown Christmas music!

Current Guilty Pleasure: Homemade dark chocolate-covered orange slices. Remember those chocolate oranges that always came out around Christmas? These are like that, but better because I’ve been making them with satsumas (100x better than plain old oranges) and stevia-sweetened dark chocolate. So does that make them a guilty pleasure, or not so much?

Current Nail Color: They’re chipping now, but last weekend I painted my nails with my friend who has a million different nail polishes (seriously, a girl’s dream) and I used OPI The Color of Minnie and Essie Toggle to the Top for some festive-looking nails.

I can never get my nails to not chip a few days in.

I can never get my nails to not chip a few days in.

Current Drink: Celestial Seasonings gingerbread tea or water.

Current Food: Alllllllll the homemade ‘balls’, creamy & spicy butternut squash sauce, leftover grain free stuffing, pomegranates, satsumas, stevia-chocolate chips melted on everything, sauerkraut and these really good spicy sprouted sunflower seeds I got from the bulk section at Whole Foods. I like how I always list multiple things in my ‘Current Food’ section. What can I say, I love food!

Some completely random nachos from sometime last week. I had some sprouted cranberry pumpkin tortilla chips I needed to use them up, so I paired them with beans, sauteed spinach, sauerkraut, olives and homemade cranberry sauce.

Some completely random nachos from sometime last week. I had some sprouted cranberry pumpkin tortilla chips I needed to use them up, so I paired them with beans, sauteed spinach, sauerkraut, olives and homemade cranberry sauce.

Current TV Show: This question and the book question need to go, seriously. I never answer them because I’m never reading/watching anything regularly enough. I will say that my dad has been getting The Newsroom on Netflix and we watched a few episodes of that over Thanksgiving break to get caught up. I am obsessed with that show. Take my love for journalism/news and my love for (recent) history and you’ve got a perfect show for this nerd 😉

Current Wishlist: To make it out of finals week alive (and graduated), to mentally prepare myself for Christmas (not that I’m dreading it, it just doesn’t quite feel like Christmas yet to me), and to magically have my dream job right now #nothappening.

Current Needs: More coffee (haven’t had any Starbucks in almost 2 weeks), my car to start again (poor Alejandro’s battery doesn’t work after a week of near-zero temps) so I can stop taking the bus to campus, the end of school to come sooner.

This was back when Alejandro could deal with some cold and snow.

This was back when Alejandro could deal with some cold and snow.

Current Triumphs: Trying not to stress out so much. Emphasis on the trying there. I’m not 100% anxiety-free, but I’m doing better. I had a lot of stressful situations thrown at me the beginning of the week and I’m still trying to deal with those (such as my car not working, and having to take the bus to campus) on top of stressing about finals, graduation and the post-grad life. I’m doing well not worrying so much about what I’ll be doing with my life after school is over, but I need to also focus less (in a good way) on the more present issues so I don’t run myself down too much.

Current Bane of Existence: How damn cold it was here for the past week, and still kinda is. We got about 6 inches of snow last Tuesday/Wednesday and it’s barely melted due to how cold it’s been. I know a lot of the country’s been dealing with very cold weather, but even living in Colorado most of my life, we never get weather this cold for this long. I blame my Arizona-born blood for not being able to handle the cold 😀

The snow we got a week ago...and it still basically looks like this today.

The snow we got a week ago…and it still basically looks like this today.

Current Indulgence: Mung bean pasta (so good–grain free and 25 grams of protein per serving) with homemade spicy butternut squash sauce, sauerkraut and salted pumpkin seeds. It tastes like a totally decadent pasta dish but is actually healthy.

Current Blessing: Being so close to the end of my school career (for now, anyways). I feel like I’ve been a student forever, and I kinda have if 16 years is forever, so it’s completely crazy that by next Saturday I’ll be done. I’m so thankful that I’ve had the chance to go to college, finish out my degree and make some amazing memories.

Current Outfit: Chillin’ in my pajamas at the mo, but here’s a recent memorable outfit. It was from last Friday, when I had my capstone panel review. One of the most nerve-wracking things ever, but I got some good feedback and it’s all over now!

I'm so classy in my Ann Taylor skirt suit set I got on sale during Labor Day weekend and wore for the first time ever last week.

I’m so classy in my Ann Taylor skirt suit set I got on sale during Labor Day weekend and wore for the first time ever last week.

Current Excitement: CHRISTMAS (duh!), graduation and most of all, being home for the holidays. I. Can’t. Wait.

What are you currently excited about? Is it still cold where you are?

Post-Thanksgiving (No) Blues

Do you ever feel let down after a holiday is over? I almost always do, especially after Christmas. It’s always a little sad to have to take everything down, and move on to real life again. I’m usually a little upset after Thanksgiving is over, usually because it means that I have to go back to school in a few days. This year, though, I’m kind of ready for Thanksgiving break to be over. Not that break was bad–I really needed the time off from school–but I’m more than ready for the semester, and my time in college, to be over. Senioritis, much?!

Even though break is almost over, and I’m itching to go back to school and finish up the semester strong (just 8 more days of classes, then finals) I’ve definitely enjoyed Thanksgiving break while it lasted. It was pretty low-key, mostly just plenty of time spent with my parents and sister and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also had some pretty delicious food (on Thanksgiving Day and otherwise), did some retail therapy pre-Black Friday (it was way less crazy to shop on Wednesday) and even got some school stuff done.

Snow on campus to kick off Thanksgiving break.

Snow on campus to kick off Thanksgiving break.

I love the Mexican-inspired dishes at Native Foods!

I love the Mexican-inspired dishes at Native Foods!

Caught up on a few episodes of my new favorite show--The Newsroom.

Caught up on a few episodes of my new favorite show–The Newsroom.

Native Foods leftovers. Ensalada Azteca salad+sweet potato fries and some black beans, sauerkraut and pomegranate seeds.

Native Foods leftovers. Ensalada Azteca salad+sweet potato fries and some black beans, sauerkraut and pomegranate seeds.

I was feeling the navy blue on Black Friday. Cardigan: American Eagle. Strapless checked peplum top: Abercrombie & Fitch (hand-me-down from my younger sister). Dark wash jeggings: American Eagle. Necklace: American Eagle.

I was feeling the navy blue on Black Friday. Cardigan: American Eagle. Strapless checked peplum top: Abercrombie & Fitch (hand-me-down from my younger sister). Dark wash jeggings: American Eagle. Necklace: American Eagle.

Pumpkin nog banana softserve. Made with pumpkin puree+Califia Farms almond milk nog+frozen bananas and topped with cinnamon and pecans.

Pumpkin nog banana softserve. Made with pumpkin puree+Califia Farms almond milk nog+frozen bananas and topped with cinnamon and pecans.

Desert-like field near my house.

Desert-like field near my house.

Thanksgiving snack plate in lieu of lunch. Date+romaine wraps, sweet potato chips, olives, homemade guac, Skinny Crisps.

Thanksgiving snack plate in lieu of lunch. Date+romaine wraps, sweet potato chips, olives, homemade guac, Skinny Crisps.

The cutest car ever, spotted on a walk through the neighborhood.

The cutest car ever, spotted on a walk through the neighborhood.

Parnsip mash, with olive oil, sea salt and garlic.

Parnsip mash, with olive oil, sea salt and garlic.

Maple orange shredded brussels sprout salad.

Maple orange shredded brussels sprout salad.

Sweet potato fritters coated in pumpkin seeds+pistachios.

Sweet potato fritters coated in pumpkin seeds+pistachios.

Raw caramel pecan pie topped with cacao sauce and more pecans and raisins.

Raw caramel pecan pie topped with cacao sauce and more pecans and raisins.

I have some exciting (well, for me) plans for my time post-Thanksgiving. It might seem a little cliché to be hyperfocused on clean eating after the holidays, but that isn’t what I’m intending my plan to be about. I’m going to be avoiding all added sugars for the next two to three weeks and trying to get back to eating more whole foods. I generally do pretty well with this, but I also sometimes buy some cleaner packaged foods that happen to have added sugars. Things like store-bought buckwheat rawnola or the Larabars with chocolate chips aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but all those added sugars do add up, and I know I feel my best when eating foods without added sugars. So what will I be eating the next few weeks? I’m not going to be drastically changing anything, just focusing more on fruits, veggies, nuts and nut butters (with nothing added), beans and lentils and some raw stevia-sweetened protein powder. I will not be avoiding stevia during this mini-challenge because I feel like it’s a healthier alternative to sugar and I don’t tend to go overboard with it, so it’ll be nice to still allow it in my diet in things like stevia chocolate chips, black coffee and homemade desserts. I don’t think this challenge is coming from a disordered place–I just want to be more mindful of what I’m eating because added sugars are in EVERYTHING, and even the sweeteners I feel comfortable with (maple syrup, coconut sugar and raw honey) are much better in small amounts. So hopefully this challenge will help me realize that I can live without added sugars in my life. And I will definitely keep you all up to date on how this goes for me!

Do you ever feel sad when the holidays are over? How do you feel about post-holiday eating plans?

WIAW: Adios, Junior Year

First things first–yes, I did change my blog design after at least a year and a half with the previous one. I just needed something new, plus I like the sidebar ‘about me’ things everybody has and the old design wouldn’t let me do that! 

I’ve been waiting for this day all year. Well, maybe not, but I’ve definitely been for at least the past month or so! The last day of my junior year of college is TODAY…and how crazy is that? I remember when college felt sooooo far away, and now I’m really close to graduation. Scary stuff.

I know my blogging’s been pretty sporadic anyways for the past few weeks but it’s gonna get even more infrequent in the next week or so. First of all, I’m moving back a lot of my stuff this afternoon and moving home for the summer. Then my family’s driving back up here this weekend to load everything else up and my mom will be doing some epic cleaning (maybe not that dramatic) so I can turn in my keys to my complex for the summer and end my lease. It’s a pain to have to move everything out, only to move it back in again in August, but I’d rather not pay the extra rent just to keep my stuff here for the summer. And then next week is when I hopefully start my internship, so it’ll be a whirl of paperwork, a drug test and plenty of excitement. And there’s a doctor’s appointment thrown in there as well, so it all makes for quite a crazy several days. So I’m really sorry if I don’t post here too much or comment on all of your blogs but I will be back as soon as the craziness dies down.

What wasn’t too crazy was the meals I enjoyed over the past week. Well, unless you consider a lot of random experimenting to be crazy, but all I know is it was delicious. And I had plenty of fun, despite finals week and moving out looming. Hey, I only had one actual final exam this semester, so paper writing and projects were the name of the  game, and a little less stressful than studying.

Bringing back an old favorite from last summer: pineapple 'fried' quinoa.

Bringing back an old favorite from last summer: pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa.

I’m doing my best to embrace the healthy grains again. I have to say I prefer the ‘ancient’, gluten free, psuedo-grains such as quinoa and buckwheat, for their stellar nutritional profile and higher protein, not to mention their deliciousness. I had some leftover quinoa in my fridge from a couple of weeks ago, and I remembered how much I used to love this random stirfry I threw together for the first time last year around my birthday. The best part about it is it’s totally customizable, so I threw in the last of my frozen edamame (I’m trying to finish up or toss things that aren’t as easily transportable before I move home), orange cauliflower, spinach, curry powder, coconut aminos (way better than soy sauce!) and fresh pineapple was a given. Not too far off from the original, and topped with sprouted pumpkin seeds and cashew butter, it was a total winner dinner.

Pineapple fried quinoa leftovers in a nori wrap, side of Thai lemon curry cashews.

Pineapple fried quinoa leftovers in a nori wrap, side of Thai lemon curry cashews.

And the little bit I had leftover made the perfect nori filling for lunch one day. I think I’ve been loving on the Asian and Mexican flavors a lot lately, between my homemade guac obsession to constantly resupplying my pantry with those addicting Thai lemon curry cashews. Maybe I could combine the two and create a Mexican stirfry or an Asian taco…

Poooool time. Pool > studying. Sorryimnotsorry.

Poooool time. Pool > studying. Sorryimnotsorry.

My apartment complex does have a pool, but they’ve been slacking on opening it up (uh, kinda late there, management. Almost everyone’s moving out this week…) so when my friend invited me to her complex’s pool on Monday, I jumped on the chance to lay out. Honestly, I usually just lay out by the pool versus actually swimming, but I did go in it a few times just to cool off. Guys, I’m so happy. We finally have my dream weather, aka 80s and sunny. With afternoon thunderstorms. Basically, it’s finally summertime in Colorado.

A not-so-pretty carrot cake protein pancake (mix of garbanzo flour+peanut flour with shredded carrot and cinnamon in the batter) topped with chopped dried fig and coconut butter crumbles.

A not-so-pretty carrot cake protein pancake (mix of garbanzo flour+peanut flour with shredded carrot and cinnamon in the batter) topped with chopped dried fig and coconut butter crumbles.

I don’t get how some people make their protein pancakes look so perfect. I do okay with multiple, small-sized pancakes but a full size one is just asking for trouble. I thought I waited long enough to flip, but part of the top crumbled off so I cooked it in two pieces. It luckily didn’t burn, but it certainly wasn’t round or anything, and parts of the inside were still undercooked. It tasted great, but my pancakes skills need some work…

Quinoa flour+chocolate Sunwarrior protein waffle. Topped with strawberries, cacao nibs and coconut butter.

Quinoa flour+chocolate Sunwarrior protein waffle. Topped with strawberries, cacao nibs and coconut butter.

…which is why I stick to waffles. Sometimes they don’t quite hold up, but if I get the ratios just right, they turn out pretty perfect and intact. This one was a bit crumbly, but it mostly stayed together, and it tasted great, which is what really counts. Protein waffles are hard to make vegan, so I’m proud that most of mine aren’t complete disasters.

I love the sun.

I love the sun.

I’m glad I stuck through the crappy weather we got in April (and foot of snow on May 1st…thanks but no thanks, Mother Nature!) because it is absolutely gorgeous now! Like I said, 80 degree temperatures, lots of sun, minimal wind (but enough of a breeze to keep you cool) and the trees are blooming after being freaked by weird cold weather. And the grass, at least here in my college town, is nice and green after getting enough precipitation last month. If you’ve ever been to Colorado, you know that the grass here is generally brown because it’s basically a high altitude desert. I’ll be going back to brown lawns today (my hometown wasn’t blessed with as much snow) but I’m hoping we get some nice afternoon rains to keep the fire danger low and makes the grass nice.

Random but surprisingly good snack: half an avocado sprinkled with stevia, topped with organic crunchy PB, cacao nibs and coconut shreds.

Random but surprisingly good snack: half an avocado sprinkled with stevia, topped with organic crunchy PB, cacao nibs and coconut shreds.

I can’t remember where I first saw the idea for a sweet avocado, but I was really intrigued by it. I’ve really only used avos in guac, and had them raw in salads, but topping my avo with something other than lime juice or salt seemed weird. But I decided to try it with one of my favorite flavor combos (PB+cacao nibs+coconut) and it was actually really amazing. The key is a perfectly ripe avocado, so the flavor isn’t too overpowering. I still don’t like avocados plain (to me, they either need salt or something sweet to taste like anything) but now I have a new way of enjoying them!

Peanutty kelp noodles with romaine and carrots.

Peanutty kelp noodles with romaine and carrots.

Kelp noodles are still a favorite of mine, but especially now that it’s so warm and I prefer to do as little cooking as possible. I love that kelp noodles are raw, and they work out perfectly in salads, like this one. I used up some of my PB2 for the dressing (I finally finished the jar, and I’m glad it’s over because I did not like it, especially compared to real peanut flour), and added in carrots and romaine lettuce, aka the last of the produce I had until I went grocery shopping later that day.

Always need to have an awkward selfie.

Always need to have an awkward selfie.

The problem with poolside selfies is that A) I’m wearing a bikini which is super awks in a photo (and already sporting a sunburn) and B) I can’t really see my phone screen in the sun, so I end up taking them from a weird angle and usually have a weird face in them. #firstworldproblems

The best dessert/breakfast ever. Coconut cream (scooped off top of full fat coconut milk from fridge) blended with chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder and frozen banana chunks, topped with fresh strawberries and half a crumbled chocolate coconut Kit's Organic bar.

The best dessert/breakfast ever. Coconut cream (scooped off top of full fat coconut milk from fridge) blended with chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder and frozen banana chunks, topped with fresh strawberries and half a crumbled chocolate coconut Kit’s Organic bar.

This is like a super-rich mousse, but the best part is that it’s perfectly acceptable for breakfast, because it’s protein-packed. There was 16 grams alone in just the Sunwarrior, plus a few extra grams from the other ingredients and toppings. It’s also no added sugar, just the natural sugars from the fruits (the Kit’s bars are just date sweetened, like Larabars) and the stevia in the Sunwarrior, so it makes for a healthy dessert option that isn’t too sweet. And it’s so easy to make if you have a food processor, just add in the protein powder, coconut cream and frozen bananas (optional, but add a little sweetness and coldness) to the processor, blend, and top away! I’ve enjoyed this twice this week, once as a dessert and once as breakfast and it was perfect for either occasion. I only wish I had more coconut cream to make it again!

Any new breakfasts you’ve been trying out? What’s your ideal weather conditions?

College Vegan on a Budget: Looking Ahead

A healthy food-loving girl’s adventures in the world of grocery budgeting.

If you’ve been sticking with me since I started the CVB series then you’ve seen how I’ve had my ups and downs with budgeting. I think I’ve learned a lot since August though, and I want to keep what I’ve learned in mind every time I go grocery shopping, even if it’s on my parents’ dime. Which it will be verrrrry soon, aka in like 4 days!

But CVB will not be back until school starts up again in the fall, so if you still want to read about budgeting, just check out my previous posts on the topics. And just a note, this produce will all be finished this week, but some of the non-perishable or frozen items will be returning home with me when I move back.

Whole Foods produce purchases this week.

Whole Foods produce purchases this week.

*=organic

Whole Foods 

What I Got: watermelon half, baby spinach*, limes, avocados x3*, red mango*, strawberries*, Medjool dates, raw strawberry cheesecakes x2 (on sale and a treat for post finals!), Truvia, bulk whole almonds, Hail Merry vanilla maple almonds, Gone Raw sprouted Thai lemon curry cashews (I’m seriously obsessed, I buy these every week), gluten free frozen pizza dough, Incan berries* (not sure if I like these yet), raw mint chocolate squares, raw southwestern kale chips (also on sale and my fave), Vega One bar, Kit’s Organic chocolate coconut bar*

What I Spent: $67.57 (pretty typical lately)

Verdict: As usual, I spent about 1/3 of my total bill on produce (it came out to about $22 this time, totally worth it for organic  or good quality produce), and I also bought some ‘fun’ things that will probably only last through Wednesday when I move back home. Some things I’m planning on bringing back with me because I don’t think I can get them at the Whole Foods stores in my hometown.

The rest of the purchases.

The rest of the purchases.

When you’ve moved or traveled, do you try to eat everything before or do you bring leftover stuff with you? How much do you spend on produce?

 

Video

Currently: May

I feel like I was just saying this a month or so ago, but it’s dead week again on my campus. It’s honestly not as awful as it sounds, but seeing as I have just over a week until my first and only final, as well as many projects due this week, I needed to get in some quick and easy posts while I’m stressed out over end-of-the-year stuff for the next week and a half. I promise I’ll be back to more normal posting once school ends, I move out and get settled back in at home and with my internship and online summer class. Until then, enjoy the mindless fun posts 😀

Current Book: Does my geology book count? ‘Cause that’s probably the only book I’ll be reading until next Tuesday…and it’s not even by choice.

Current Music: Still loving on the alt rock genre, especially Vampire Weekend and Blondfire. I jammed out to this song while taking an impromptu mini road trip to the mountains two weekends ago. Reminds me that summer’s coming soon!

Current Guilty Pleasure: All things raw and delicious! This weekend alone, I stocked up on kale chips (hey, they were on sale!), sprouted Thai curry cashews (total obsession), cacao nibs, dried fruit and a few raw energy bars. Raw food can be expensive but it’s worth it to me for the taste and health benefits.

Haven't bought this in awhile, but it may be my post-finals treat.

Haven’t bought this in awhile, but it may be my post-finals treat.

Current Nail Color: Pink+coral, with polka dots. So fun, but so easy to do!

Super cute!

Super cute!

Current Drink: My infused water…planning on making a second batch soon!

Current Food: I’ve been loving on the raw snacks (as I said above), sweet potatoes (what else is new?), salted crunchy peanut butter (normally not a PB lover, but I’m going with it), all kinds of summer fruit, tofu, avocados and the new paleo BBQ sauce I picked up.

Current Favorite Show: I haven’t been keeping up with many shows, but SNL is a perennial favorite of mine and Zac Galifianakis is always hilarious.

Probably one of the funniest sketches.

Probably one of the funniest sketches.

Current Wishlist: For the weather to stay warm for the rest of the summer(60s and rain is better than snow, but I want 70s and 80s!), good grades in all my classes, a smooth move-out process, maybe one more time to hang out at my apartment’s pool (which as far as I know still hasn’t reopened…and there’s less than 2 weeks left in the semester).

Current Needs: Less stressful days,  more sunshine (we’re set to get rain most days this week, which is nice for drought conditions but makes me a little sad) & more regular visits to the Whole Foods salad bar (maybe when I go home for the summer?!)

Current Triumphs: Finishing off my second semester at CTV strong, getting the summer internship I really wanted, starting to conquer my food issues. (P.S. Look for me in the video at about 6:20 and ignore the awkward screenshot)

Current Bane of Existence: The checkout list I got from my complex for moving out. Seriously, it’s a full page of cleaning instructions. I see a lot of sweeping and vacuuming in my future 😦

Current Celebrity Crush: Justin Timberlake. He’s super sexy, got a great voice and sense of humor and I loved his SNL “Veganville” song!

 

So flippin' funny!

So flippin’ funny!

Current Indulgence: I finally got my fill of the Whole Foods salad bar again this weekend, and it reminded me how excited I am to be home so I can enjoy it more often. My wallet doesn’t love it, but it makes for a better dinner out option than most restaurants! And everyone’s got a guilty pleasure, right? Might as well be a healthy one!

Always so damn good.

Always so damn good.

Current Blessing: Much better weather this week than we’ve been getting the past 3 weeks. I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m thinking we’re done with the snow for awhile, and rain is always much-needed here. I would hate to have to deal with a wildfire like California is right now and like the bad ones we experienced last summer.

What are some of your currently’s?

WIAW: Almost Summer (Or Not)

It’s finally May! Can you believe it? This year has already flown by, and I’ll be packing up to go home for the summer in just about 2 weeks. I’m not sure if you’re as much of a weather nerd as I am (actually, pretty sure you’re not since I’m pretty obsessed, but hey, it is my job!) but if you’ve been keeping up with the national forecast, good old Colorado is getting yet another snowstorm today. Yep, May 1st. Snow isn’t totally unusual here, but since we’re supposed to get around 6 or more inches (writing this on Tuesday when it’s still raining, not snowing yet and hopefully won’t), that’s way more than normal. Can you believe we were at 80 degrees on Monday? This is just insane, and really not fair.

Anyways, I’ll stop my weather complaints and move on to better things…namely WIAW! This one will be fairly wordless other than captions, but full of recent food photos so enjoy!

Fully loaded kelp noodle stirfry: kelp noodles, peanut flour/curry/coconut aminos sauce, pineapple/mango, spinach, red cabbage, pan fried tofu, coconut flakes and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Fully loaded kelp noodle stirfry: kelp noodles, peanut flour/curry/coconut aminos sauce, pineapple/mango, spinach, red cabbage, pan fried tofu, coconut flakes and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Homemade blueberry infused, watermelon stevia sweetened water.

Homemade blueberry infused, watermelon stevia sweetened water.

Horestooth Reservoir and the mountains. One of the biggest lakes in Colorado is in my backyard. Nothing better than mountains+water!

Horestooth Reservoir and the mountains. One of the biggest lakes in Colorado is in my backyard. Nothing better than mountains+water!

'Guacachoc' PB protein mousse, aka avocado mousse. Recipe to come!

‘Guacachoc’ PB protein mousse, aka avocado mousse. Recipe to come!

More clean nachos! Sprouted sweet potato chips, red cabbage, homemade guac, sweet potato, black beans and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

More clean nachos! Sprouted sweet potato chips, red cabbage, homemade guac, sweet potato, black beans and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Grain free protein pancakes. Mix of chocolate Sunwarrior and garbanzo flour. Topped with PB, homemade pumpkin grainless granola and dark chocolate chips.

Grain free protein pancakes. Mix of chocolate Sunwarrior and garbanzo flour. Topped with PB, homemade pumpkin grainless granola and dark chocolate chips.

Beautiful weekend weather in the 70s.

Beautiful weekend weather in the 70s.

Raw snackplate. Cacao nib Cocoroon, organic strawberries, southwestern ranch kale chips, orange rosemary pecans, Thai lemon curry cashews, currant flacker with homemade blueberry vanilla chia jam.

Raw snackplate. Cacao nib macaroon, organic strawberries, southwestern ranch kale chips, orange rosemary pecans, Thai lemon curry cashews, currant flacker with homemade blueberry vanilla chia jam.

Green-ish grass and sunny skies.

Green-ish grass and sunny skies (and my Alejandro behind the power box).

Socca-style taco filled with raw red cabbage, black beans, sweet potato, homemade guac and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Socca-style taco filled with raw red cabbage, black beans, sweet potato, homemade guac and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Is is almost summer where you are (school wise, or weather wise)? What’s the best thing you ate this weekend?

College Vegan on a Budget: 2 Weeks & Counting

One clean-eating college girl’s goal to save as much money as possible at Whole Foods and beyond.

Well folks, there’s just over two weeks left until I’m officially done with my junior year of college (it’s also just under 3 months til I’m 21, but who’s counting 😉 ). It actually feels so weird to be saying that–I feel like I was just in 5th grade. It’s crazy to think that a year (or less) from now, I could be at my first big-girl job. Wow.

Like I mentioned in my last CVB post, this little series will be taking a hiatus over the summer as I transition back into life at home with my family. Obviously I’m looking forward to that, and also to be taking a break from budgeting! I’ve learned a lot, but I’m ready to have my parent’s financial support again for a few months. Considering that I may be living completely on my own in a year, it’ll be nice to rely on my parents for a little while to save up money for that!

I went to both Sprouts and Whole Foods this weekend, but I’ll only be listing and photographing my Whole Foods buys here, as I feel like I’ve come a long way with my budgeting skills there. Not too long ago, I was spending at least $80 there per week, sometimes upwards of $100. Yikes. Lately, I’ve been reigning in my impulse purchases, and it’s helped me stay below $60 almost every week there. I even spent under $40 there the other week…and who says it’s called Whole Paycheck? You really can shop there on a budget (maybe not a super-tight one), you just have to watch what you’re buying. I even buy more expensive things there sometimes, and still come in below $60.

Whole Foods produce

Whole Foods produce

*=organic

Whole Foods

What I Got: baby spinach*, lemons x2, romaine lettuce*, Ataulfo mangos x3, strawberries*, watermelon, bulk section almond flour, bulk section coconut flakes, bulk section raw cashew pieces, grind-your-own raw cashew butter, coconut aminos*, Thai curry cashew mix*, Vega One bar, Vega vanilla chai protein powder sample pack, Theo dark chocolate orange bar*, Tessemae’s paleo BBQ sauce (on sale, and the only BBQ sauce I know sweetened only with dates), Skinny Crisps cinnamon (like grain free graham crackers!)

What I Spent: $58.48

Verdict: I bought a LOT of produce this week (most of it organic) and it still didn’t eat up my budget! As I’ve said before, produce is typically about 1/3 of my budget per store and trying to stick with the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 guidelines can help me save money and decide what really needs to be bought organic when I have the choice. Buying from the bulk section in only the amount I need saves me a lot (for instance, I bought 1/3 a pound of almond flour for only $1.88!) and looking for deals helps when I make impulse buys. I like the Tessemae line of dressings, and when I saw their new BBQ flavor was on sale for about half the usual price, I had to try it, especially because I’ve been looking for a clean BBQ sauce. Some things, like the coconut aminos, cost a lot upfront (at least more than traditional soy sauce or even tamari/Bragg’s) but the quality ingredients and taste are worth it to me, and it lasts me a few months too. Basically, I try to make tradeoffs and figure out what the ‘real’ cost of an item is (good ingredients, how long it’ll last, etc.)

Other Whole Foods buys.

Other Whole Foods buys.

Are better ingredients/nutritional benefits worth it to you over low cost? How much does the organic label matter to you?

WIAW: Life Lately

I kinda missed being a part of the WIAW party last week, so this week I’ll be doing a big photo dump showing my life lately. Get ready for lots of pictures!

Woke up to this last Monday and wasn't thrilled.

Woke up to this last Monday and wasn’t thrilled.

No, you’re not seeing things. This was over a foot of snow…in April. My college town got dumped on quite literally over the course of 3 days last week by winter storm Yogi. While Colorado usually gets some snow in April, we don’t usually get this much, ever! And my college is known for never giving snow days, but we got 2 half snow days last week and it kinda made my life. I had to take the bus for most of the week when classes were in session, but I’m hoping I’ll be back to driving my car to campus for the rest of the semester.

One of my favorite 'bucks drinks: tall unsweetened iced coffee, sweetened with stevia.

One of my favorite ‘bucks drinks: tall unsweetened iced coffee, sweetened with stevia.

This was consumed well before the snowstorm, when it actually was feeling like spring. I actually prefer the cold drinks to the hot drinks anyway, because I tend to get overheated too quickly with hot coffee. So I’m really glad we’re getting into summer when it’s more acceptable to sip on iced coffees and iced teas.

Recent lunch: spinach topped with green olives, raw jalapeno kraut, sprouted pumpkin seeds and white bean 'falafel'.

Recent lunch: spinach topped with green olives, raw jalapeno kraut, sprouted pumpkin seeds and white bean ‘falafel’.

Again with the salad-a-day. I’ve been going more for nori ‘burritos’ for lunch but sometimes a nice spinach salad hits the spot. Ironically, this was eaten on one of the snow days! Obviously I’m still craving summer when there’s snow on the ground. What can I say, summer is my favorite season by far.

Mini raw cinnamon rolls.

Mini raw cinnamon rolls.

I still haven’t been able to find a great vegan and GF baked cinnamon roll recipe, but the raw versions I’ve made are pretty good. This one was made with almond flour, flaxseed, raw honey, dates, raisins, coconut oil and cinnamon (duh). They turned out to be pretty tiny rolls, but the filling was ridic. So gooey…I love dates like no other!

Grilled asparagus salad.

Grilled asparagus salad.

I can’t wait til I’m home for the summer and can hit up the amazing salad bar at the Whole Foods near me, but for the next month, I’ll be slumming it at the lame salad bar at the WF in my college town. Ok, just kidding, it has a pretty lame selection but I’ve been saving money and not buying anything from there too often since it’s usually disappointing. But some of the cold salads in the prepackaged area are actually decent, like this grilled asparagus salad. The ingredients are pretty clean, and the veggies taste bomb when drizzled with some balsamic. I think these would be perfect for a veggie wrap with some hummus or guac.

Qdoba naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

Qdoba naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

Speaking of guac, Qdoba has some of the best. I love that they always give me a huge scoop of it, so I don’t even care that it costs extra. I pretty much get the same thing every time I go: the naked vegetarian taco salad with black beans, habanero salsa (I like things spiiiiiicy) and the guac. So simple, but so perfect.

Dessert-ish for breakfast: chocolate coconut protein 'ice cream' topped with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and coconut chips.

Dessert-ish for breakfast: chocolate coconut protein ‘ice cream’ topped with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and coconut chips.

I always get stuck in ruts with my breakfasts. I used to love overnight oats, then I moved to smoothies-in-a-bowl, then pancakes, then waffles and most recently chia seed puddings. Now I’m returning to the smoothie thing, but more like the protein ‘ice cream’ I’ve seen around the blog world a lot. Basically, I blended almond milk with Sunwarrior protein powder, some melted coconut oil (not needed, just for extra flavor and a fat boost), and then added a few ice cubes and some xanthan gum. It turned out thick, creamy and icy, almost like actual ice cream!

More snow this week=not a happy camper.

More snow this week=not a happy camper.

As if a foot of snow wasn’t enough, just by the time it all melted on Sunday, we got hit with another quick round of snow. This time we got about half the amount and it started to melt really quickly, but still. This is yet another reason why I really want to leave Colorado after college–I need warmth! (Just as an aside, Colorado generally isn’t this snowy, it’s a pretty dry state but we’ve had a weird spring this year).

Southwestern style nachos for dinner. Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, leftover sweet potato, green olives, white beans, sprouted pumpkin seeds and raw jalapeno kraut.

Southwestern style nachos for dinner. Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, leftover sweet potato, green olives, homemade guac, white beans, baby spinach, sprouted pumpkin seeds and raw jalapeno kraut.

I gotta say, homemade nachos are one of my favorite throw-together dinners ever. And nachos don’t have to be unhealthy! I always top mine with sauteed kale or spinach and other veggies, have plenty of beans for protein and healthy fats (seeds and guac) and use the Way Better Snacks brand of chips since they’re made from simple ingredients and sprouted grains and seeds. I also had a different twist on nachos last week with some Greek style nachos…those are a definite repeat, once I stock up on more Skinny Crisps crackers. They remind me a lot of pita chips but they’re grain free!

Nori wraps are a new lunch must-have.

Nori wraps are a new lunch must-have.

I’ve still been enjoying my salads for lunch, but I love mixing it up with nori wraps. I usually stuff ’em with kelp noodles, spinach, raw kraut or kimchi, mango or pineapple, coconut aminos and raw cashew butter. I wish they were more portable though since they make a great quick lunch option.

Random dessert: half of a cinnamon apple ALT Larabar, no sugar added vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

Random dessert: half of a cinnamon apple ALT Larabar, no sugar added vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

If you’ve never warmed a Larabar, plllllllease do! It’s so good, especially with the chocolate chip flavors ’cause then they get all melty. Warming the cinnamon apple ALT bar made it taste like apple pie, and of course I had to have it a la mode, with my favorite ice cream.

Have you discovered any unexpectedly good flavor combos lately? How’s the weather where you are?