Four Questions (& a return to blogging)

Wow, it’s been both a long and short 2 months since I last posted! Life has been truckin’ right along — work has been…well, work…but I’ve  also had some really nice weekends. Since my last post, I’ve been transitioned to working Monday  through Friday so now I get actual weekend days off, which is a blessing and a curse.

Instead of trying to catch y’all up on the past 2 months,  why don’t I just share a fun and easy survey that I’ve seen floating around. At this point, I’m just trying to get through the last 3 days of work this week (no work on Christmas, which is lucky for me) and then flying home Saturday morning. Better late than never, right? So here’s something quick to get me back into blogging!

4 Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name
1. Ash (a lot of people)
2. Sweet-O’s (my mom)
3. Sissy Fishy (my sister)
4. Ass (my best friend…it’s a long story haha)

4 Jobs I’ve Had
1. Managing editor for monthly newsletter for college faculty
2. Reporter intern at local TV station (unpaid)
3. Weather intern at local TV station (also unpaid, but I loved it)
4. News producer at NBC affiliate station (first ‘real’ job)

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First day on the job back in April (when I was still blonde)

4 Movies I’ve Seen More Than Once
1. Mean Girls (I quote it all the time with my sister)
2. Devil Wears Prada (probably my favorite)
3. A Christmas Story (the BEST Christmas movie)
4. 1776 (my favorite movie-musical…history nerd alert)

4 Books I’d Recommend
1. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series
2. A Series of Unfortunate Events series
3. Any Dave Barry books (he’s so funny)
4. Peace, Love & Baby Ducks (reminds me of my relationship with my sis)

4 Places I’ve Lived
1. Phoenix, AZ (where I was born)
2. Colorado Springs, CO (age 2 to 18)
3. Fort Collins, CO (age 18 to 21…aka college)
4. Tulsa, OK (since April of this year)

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I still want to move back to my desert home.

4 Places I’ve Been
1. San Francisco (a mission trip in HS…but now I wanna live there)
2. Salt Lake City (to visit my bestie in October)
3. Galveston, TX (a few times since my aunt and uncle live in Houston)
4. Orlando (Disney World back in 2006)

4 Places I’d Rather Be
1. California
2. The mountains
3. Home in Colorado
4. On vacation anywhere

4 Things I Don’t Eat
1. Meat, dairy, eggs (the obvious)
2. Pears
3. Tomatoes
4. Mushrooms

4 of My Favorite Foods
1. Spinach
2. Banana softserve
3. Vegan protein powder (specifically Sunwarrior and Garden of Life)
4. Cupcakes

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Worth the 2 hour drive to OKC for these vegan babies.

4 TV Shows I Watch
1. New Girl (loveeeee Jess Day, aka Zooey Deschanel)
2. Portlandia (Fred Armisen is the best)
3. Saturday Night Live
4. The Carrie Diaries (why only 2 seasons?)

4 Things I’m Looking Forward to Next Year
1. More outdoor running (I hope to keep doing it through winter)
2. Getting a new job/moving (I currently have a love/hate relationship with my current job and I hope by mid 2015 I will be in one I actually love and living in another state)
3. Possibly taking more trips (having a job=money and I want to spend it on travel)
4. Center of the Universe festival in July (if I’m still in Tulsa)

4 Things I’m Always Saying
1. Really?
2. That’s so cool
3. I can’t wait
4. So weird

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

My Food Biography

The credit for this post goes to the lovely Kaila, who always has the most creative post ideas! She shared her food biography recently, and it inspired me to think back about what meals have become memorable over the years. I’m going to be sharing 10, but I thought of a lot more!

You can read more about the idea behind a food biography here, but I think it’s a really cool idea. Food is such an important part of our lives, from the social aspect of it to the fact that it’s necessary to sustain life. For me, my food biography isn’t necessarily my favorite foods, since those change all the time, but rather is the foods I most associate with certain memories.

  • Einstein Bros. bagels with cream cheese (specifically the asiago and chocolate chip flavors)

Growing up, on some Saturday mornings my dad would wake up early and grab us bagels from Einstein Bros. Getting to eat a bagel for breakfast instead of the usual cold cereal was such a treat. I remember leisurely mornings around the table with my family, newspaper spread out (we’re big newspaper readers!) and enjoying either a chocolate chip bagel with strawberry cream cheese or an asiago bagel with jalapeno cream cheese. They had the best ‘shmear’ flavors and paired with the doughy bagel, it was just bliss. I haven’t had a bagel in years (major fear food) but I remember this special childhood treat.

  • Soy chocolate gelato at Gelazzi
One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi--the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi–the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

When I first tried gelato (sometime in early HS) I was hooked. Even when froyo became a big thing a few years later, I stuck with gelato. We had one or two local places, but when I went on a college tour of the college I ended up going to, my dad and I just had to try Gelazzi, the gelato place in that town. I remember ordering the soy chocolate gelato and absolutely falling in love. That moment is significant for me because at the time of my college visit, I had recently started recovering from anorexia. I still feared most foods, and going out to eat was really hard for me. The fact that I could order gelato, a dessert, and enjoy it was huge. Since that first experience, me and my family have returned many times to Gelazzi and I’m sad that I can’t go there anymore since I moved away. P.S. Gelato is the reason why I’m only 99% vegan!

  • Teriyaki steak on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, for as long as I can remember, my mom made teriyaki steak for dinner. Basically it was flank steak marinated in a teriyaki sauce with lots of green onions. There was a brief time during my childhood that I was obsessed with steak (as long as it was well-done) and I always looked forward to this dinner. Even though I don’t eat steak anymore and I don’t plan on it ever, this meal just reminds me of Christmas Eve–going to church with my family, coming home and enjoying this meal, and then reading Christmas stories before going to bed early.

I’m so thankful my dad took the time to cook meals with me when I started getting interested in cooking. We’ve cooked together many times, but this one sticks out to me in particular. I’ve actually since made vegan eggplant muffulettas with him as well! I remember going to the store and picking out fancy olives and good bread and then coming home and making the sandwiches on the panini press. I enjoyed picking out a recipe with him, getting a little cooking lesson and then getting to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

  • Chili lime pasta

Another mom-made meal that I became obsessed with. When a Williams-Sonoma came to our city, my mom would always take me there to browse all the cool kitchen stuff. One time she found this chili-lime seasoning, thought it sounded good, and bought it. She used it on grilled chicken I think, but what I remember most was her chili-lime pasta. Basically it was a sauce made of olive oil and the seasoning with grilled shrimp, grilled peppers and pasta all tossed together. It was really simple but totally delicious and satisfying.

  • Snack plates
So much good stuff.

So much good stuff.

I still enjoy these to this day, but I was first introduced to them when my family would go camping. We camped a lot during the summers (something I really miss) and on Saturday (and Sunday if it was a 3 day weekend) we would always have snack plates for lunch. I always called it ‘feast’ because it really was–we would have stuff like crackers, veggies, cheese, summer sausage and fruit–and just enjoy a random sampling of it for lunch. Now I always crave a bunch of different flavors, so I still love snack plates for snacks and meals.

  • Root beer popsicles 

Popsicles were my jam in the summers growing up! I always ate the Popsicle brand, since it had the best flavors. Anybody else remember those firecracker pops? Now they have a whole bunch of crazy varieties like Jolly Rancher and Yosicles but when I was a kid, there were just the classics. And my favorite was by far the root beer one that came in the variety pack with banana and lemon lime. I remember the jokes written on the popsicle stick and eating them out on the porch with my little sister on hot days.

  • Jelly Bellies on Christmas

Another Christmas tradition in my family was Jelly Bellies. So random! But one year for whatever reason, we bought Jelly Bellies as a stocking stuffer and the idea stuck. I remember going to Target with my dad and sister a week before Christmas and filling our bags from the different flavored bins. And then my sister and I would tear into our bags on Christmas morning and eat Jelly Bellies before breakfast 😛 They were one of my favorite candies, and I was obsessed with certain flavors, like the strawberry cheesecake and orange creamsicle.

  • Mini cereal boxes

This was another camping staple. My family has always been a cold-cereal-for-breakfast bunch, and when we went camping, that didn’t change. But my mom would give in and let us have those fun, sugary kids cereals (we normally ate healthier cereals like Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats). My sister and I would fight over the Lucky Charms and the Cocoa Puffs and the Trix and leave the boring Honey Smacks and Corn Pops to our parents 😉

  • Hummus pizza at Poppy’s
So. Good.

So. Good.

After our camping days came to an end, we made an annual trip to Estes Park for a week spent in a cabin–by a pool, in the mountains, hiking and of course, enjoying the local restaurants. Estes Park is one of my favorite places in the entire world–I’m going to miss going there every summer but I hope I can eventually make it back there more regularly. Anyways, on our first night, we’d always go out to eat at Poppy’s, a pizza place by the river. We always sat outside, listening to the sounds of the river and live music. When I was younger, I’d get weird pizzas with shrimp and green olives (seriously, they had so many topping options) and then for a year or two during the height of my ED, I ordered a plain grilled chicken sandwich because I was scared of pizza, but after that time, my go-to order was the hummus pizza, which happened to be vegan (even before I was vegan). The dough was perfectly soft and chewy and the right thickness. The hummus was homemade and super creamy. The olives and the sundried tomatoes and the artichoke hearts and the spinach were matched perfectly and made it the best pizza I’ve ever had. Last summer when we were in Estes, I tried to order it and they said they’d gotten rid of it 😦 So unfortunately, the pizza legend does not live on. But I still remember how good it was, and how much I enjoyed just being in that beautiful place.

What foods would be in your ‘food biography’?

What I’m Loving Wednesday: Part 1

Thanks for all the advice, support and helpful words on my last post! I always get a little anxious before posting my more open posts, especially regarding my eating disorder recovery, but then I’m always blown away (in a good way) by the responses I get. So thanks, as always!

Instead of doing WIAW this week (let’s be honest, I forget to take food pics, even though I’m not as busy anymore) I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been loving this week. Maybe this will become a regular kind of post, we’ll see!

Work-appropriate dresses

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I feel like I’ve been shopping sooooo much lately, and I kinda have, just to use up my Christmas/graduation $$$. It’s finally all gone after 4 shopping trips, and my latest one lat weekend gave me 3 new dresses I can add to my work wear. Yeah, so I’m not working just yet, but I want to be ready for when I do get my first job, and all of these dresses will look great on camera and off. Plus each of the dresses (1 from H&M, 2 from Forever 21) were inexpensive YET fairly well-made, so I’m hoping they’ll last a long time. I may not be able to wait til I’m working to wear them…I love them so much I want to wear them NOW!

Starbucks black iced coffee

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I don’t go to Starbucks as regularly as I did my last year and a half of college (2-3 times per month) but sometimes I still want to treat myself to some quality ‘bucks time. Last Friday was warm–60 degrees–and sunny, so it was the perfect time to grab my favorite drink, a black iced coffee. I know it’s so simple, and maybe boring, but it’s got a great flavor that’s even better with just a little stevia added. I love that I could drink an iced drink in January, when most of the country was dealing with sub-freezing temperatures and snow. It was good I got my iced coffee fix when I did, because it finally snowed on Monday…but I’m sure iced coffee weather will be back again in a week!

Someecards

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Someecards are the best, aren’t they? So accurate to life, and better than regular old cards. They just get my sarcastic sense of humor. The one above was taken from a Buzzfeed post my dad shared with me that was supposed to be the different U.S. states summed up in a postcard, and meant to be offensive. Sorry, but the Colorado one is pretty darn accurate but not that offensive. Whole Foods is one of the best stores ever–why wouldn’t a state want to be like Whole Foods? That’s actually something I’ll miss a lot about Colorado if I end up moving elsewhere for my first job–it has so many Whole Foods and health stores (still no Trader Joes til February though!)

Sunwarrior protein powder

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I’ve had Sunwarrior before a few times, but I wasn’t really a fan of how chalky and powdery it was. Until I tried the classic blend. This stuff is way creamier and tastes even better than the warrior blend. The vanilla is so rich and creamy it’s almost hard to believe it’s a raw vegan protein powder. I’ve been loving a scoop of it for breakfast (16 grams of protein!) mixed with unsweetened almond milk and a little coconut flour and topped with fresh fruit.

Plaids+leggings

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I love my dresses and skirts, but sometimes I want to dress a little more casually. Black leggings (from American Eagle in the picture) look sleek and chic while still being comfy and they pair well with buffalo plaid shirts. I wore this on a day I was just hanging around the house doing laundry and such but it would be just as cute for running errands or grabbing some Starbucks paired with black riding boots and an oversize tote bag!

What have you been loving this week?

WIAW: Fall Favorites

I’d like to get back into a more regular WIAW groove, but for now, doing it every once in awhile is working best for me! Check out the rest of the weekly party and let’s get into some of my latest favorites…

Homemade vegan chili fries...aka healthy vegan comfort food at its finest! Base of hannah yam 'fries' (baked with pink sea salt and cayenne), topped with homemade chocolate chili (made with black beans), homemade guac, pumpkin seeds and jalapeno.

Homemade vegan chili fries…aka healthy vegan comfort food at its finest! Base of hannah yam ‘fries’ (baked with pink sea salt and cayenne), topped with homemade chocolate chili (made with black beans), homemade guac, pumpkin seeds and jalapeno.

What’s fall without some chili? Unfortunately, the one pictured above wasn’t so great–I had dreams of making a chocolate chili like my favorite restaurant offers but my recipe skills (aka throwing things together and hoping it’ll work) didn’t work in my favor this time. It was edible, but not super flavorful. You win some, you lose some. It was pretty good as part of this chili fry creation–I’ve been loving on the homemade root veggie fries lately!

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work.

I’ve still been mourning the loss of my beloved summer fruits (and figs, which for some reason have been absent at my Whole Foods since early October…why?) but I’ve been drowning my sorrows in the jewel of the fruit world, also known as the pomegranate. These have still been a bit pricey as the season is just beginning, but I managed to score 4 organic poms at Sprouts the other week for $2.99 total! Quite a deal, considering one pomegranate is going for $2.99 at Whole Foods. These juicy little gems are definitely worth the work and the mess it requires to prepare them and they’re definitely my favorite fall/winter fruit.

Apple daiquiri at Luscious Nectar.

Apple daiquiri at Luscious Nectar.

Despite what I might portray on here, I am not a frequent drinker by any means. I have an adult beverage once or twice a month, and I always stick to one drink because this petite girl can’t handle any more than that! When my parents were up visiting this weekend, they took me to Luscious Nectar, this cool juice bar in Old Town that offers vegan tapas and cool alcoholic drinks all made in-house. I love that because then there’s no weird additives. I got an apple daiquiri, which was a frozen blended drink made with green apple liqueur, lime and rum. It was good but super strong–I got a ‘short’ which was apparently 10 ounces, and I was only able to drink half before I started feeling it. I would definitely come back to try some of their other drinks though–they had an awesome sounding pumpkin cocktail–and their vegan tapas sounded incredible (we had the chips and guac to share, which were decent).

Grain free pumpkin raisin bagels right from the oven.

Grain free pumpkin raisin bagels right from the oven.

I like experimenting with grain free recipes because I love the nutritional benefits of almond flour and coconut flour. Grain free recipes without eggs don’t always work though–but these bagels are an exception. They’re definitely not quite the same as regular doughy bagels but they have a similar chew and they’re a lot healthier. I adapted the recipe from here and they’re pretty straightforward and one of the few baked goods that actually turns out right for me. I have the worst luck with baking, because I usually make a ton of changes to recipes and I’m at a high altitude so everything’s different and nothing ever rises. These are definitely a recipe I recommend if you want to try making some healthier bagels. Oh, and they’re definitely a lot smaller than regular bagels–they’re more like mini bagels, but mini things are always cuter!

Pre-cut yams make life so much easier.

Pre-cut yams make life so much easier.

When I was home a few weekends ago, I went to the Whole Foods near my house and found these pre-packaged fry cut yams in the produce section. I love making homemade sweet potato fries, but cutting the sweet potatoes can be a pain, so I just had to get these to make fry-making a little easier. These worked so well for making fries and I wish the Whole Foods near school would stock these!

Natural Grocers mini haul.

Natural Grocers mini haul.

I’ve been doing so well lately with grocery budgeting. It’s been kind of a necessity, since I’ve been running low on funds and I’m gonna need a little help from my parents as the semester wraps up, but I’ve been consistently spending around $60 or less at Whole Foods each week. Who says it’s called Whole Paycheck? This week, I actually spent just over $66 for my entire week’s worth of groceries and that was shopping at 2 stores and buying a couple splurge-y items. I got a few things at Natural Grocers I’ve been dying to find, like the Silver Hills gluten free bread (the slices are small, but it’s the best GF bread I’ve ever had) and the black bean spaghetti (literally tastes like regular pasta, but grain free and 25 grams of protein PER serving!) and I also got a great deal on some persimmons that were actually ripe. I also have 2 persimmons chilling in my produce bowl that have been there for almost 2 weeks now and they’re still not ripe…what’s up with that?

Vegan pizza from a restaurant? Too good to be true? Yep.

Vegan pizza from a restaurant? Too good to be true? Yep.

When I was last home, my mom and I stopped at Live Basil when she was taking me back home. We’ve been there I think 3 or 4 times and it’s definitely our favorite pizza place–they have fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and make the pizza right in front of you. Nothing like that Pizza Hut crap at all! Anyways, I usually get a make-your-own option so I can get it with tons of veggies and no cheese, but this last time, I saw they had a vegan option right on the menu. It was topped with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes (ick, but I could deal), onions (which I swapped for Greek olives) and mushrooms…oh, and vegan cheese. I am NOT a fan of most vegan cheeses (other than cashew cheese) but I figured that since they had so many other quality ingredients, the cheese couldn’t be too bad, plus I was thrilled to finally be able to order straight off the menu so that’s what I got. Ummmm…big mistake! The rest of the pizza was great (even the tomatoes were alright) but the cheese was straight up nast. I’m not sure what kind they used, possibly Daiya since it was melty (and for the record, I’ve never had Daiya before) but it was tasteless and gooey and just gross. I tried to remove what I could, but it was so glue-y and goopy that I couldn’t really fix it. It definitely ruined the rest of the pizza for me, and reminded me that I just don’t like vegan cheese. Sorry not sorry, but cheeseless pizzas are where it’s at!

Recent dinner: homemade lentil flatbread with homemade pumpkin butter and maple syrup mixed with organic PB, side of homemade carrot fries and Whole Foods bread & butter pickles.

Recent dinner: homemade lentil flatbread with homemade pumpkin butter and maple syrup mixed with organic PB, side of homemade carrot fries and Whole Foods bread & butter pickles.

I’ve been embracing lentils lately…in the form of lentil flatbread! Basically what you do is blend dried lentils (I like red ones because they aren’t as strongly flavored) until the form a flour, and then add in water, ground flax, sea salt and spices. Then you pour it in a pan on the stove like you would with socca, and cook away. I love the nutty flavor and how it’s packed with protein and so easy to make. I made one for dinner the other night and topped it with some sweet toppings, and served it alongside some homemade carrot fries (not quite as good as sweet potato fries, but really tasty) and bread & butter pickles made fresh in my Whole Foods prepared section. It was the perfect quick dinner after my 3 hour evening class on Monday night!

What are some of your fall favorites?

Favorites Lately

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was great–I spent it at home with the fam, and after not having been home in a few weeks, it was nice to be back again. While there, I got my hair done, saw my sister in her latest production, watched this weekend’s SNL (a lot funnier than I thought it would be), made a little Whole Foods trip, carved a pumpkin and watched some classic Disney Halloween cartoons. It was the perfect weekend, and the weather was unreal–sunny and in the 60s. Perfection.

I wanted to start off the week with a fun little post…and what could be more fun than sharing some of my recent favorites, from food to fashion and beyond.

I love being a brunette!

I love being a brunette!

So when I said I got my hair done…I really meant it! I’ve been planning on changing my hair color for awhile, mostly because I’ll be starting the job hunt soon and I needed a more professional/mature look. I decided to go back to a more natural hair color for me, and I absolutely love how my hair turned out. It’s a big change for me after getting full blonde highlights throughout my time at college, but I’m really embracing the change!

What American Accent Do You Have?

My dad and I are obsessed with dialects, and this quiz he showed me was super interesting. It’s a really quick quiz, but it’s fairly accurate. It told me I have a “Midland” accent, which basically means I have no accent. I’m not from the “Midland” (which they say is Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri–but I’ve always heard it’s more like Nebraska and Kansas) but apparently it means I have a good voice for TV which is exactly what I need!

I've been wishing for this forever!

I’ve been wishing for this forever!

A few weeks ago, I was looking for my usual favorite vegan chocolate chip brand, Enjoy Life, at Whole Foods when I stumbled upon this gem. Yep, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips exist! I was excited that these were vegan too because the rest of the Lily’s dark chocolate line has milk added in the bars. The price tag was a bit steep ($7 vs. $4-ish for Enjoy Life) but I bit the bullet and decided to try them. They’re REALLY good–a little more bitter than Enjoy Life chips, but just the right amount of sweetness and I love that they’re sugar free. These won’t be a regular purchase because of the price, but I will definitely choose them over any other chocolate chip most of the time.

So fierce.

So fierce.

If I had to name a favorite shoe brand, it’d have to be ALDO (wellllll, maybe Sperry’s too). I only own 2 pairs of their shoes, but I think they’re very well-made, reasonably affordable and cute to boot (see what I did there?) I actually own a similar style of booties to these from ALDO (but mine are grey corduroy with brown leather detailing) but I can’t resist how awesome these ones are. Definitely going on my Christmas wishlist–hey, I need black booties anyway!

Vegan comfort food at its healthiest.

Vegan comfort food at its healthiest.

When I saw this recipe for butternut squash pasta, I had no idea I’d be diving into a new obsession. Seriously. I’ve made the sauce twice and I’ve been so sad when it’s run out. This stuff is incredible, sweet and spicy, creamy and comforting but in a totally healthy way. I’ve served it with kelp noodles and hemp seeds, as a spread for socca, and even just eaten straight off the spoon cold. I made some changes to the recipe to make it my own and I hope to share it with guys soon. It’s a real keeper.

I've been wanting a cute capelet for forever...

I’ve been wanting a cute capelet for forever…

I’m glad the capelet trend is still going strong…I still need to get my hands on one for this winter! I think they’re so cute and versatile. I haven’t seen any in stores around me so this may be a Christmas wishlist item or a future online order. I really like this one, but I also love the houndstooth/plaid patterned ones as well.

What are some of your favorites?

WIAW: 6 Days

Ahhhhh I can’t believe we’re so close to Christmas! It always seems like the days drag on leading up to the big day, but then it’s all over so fast. So this year I’m trying to savor each moment leading up to the 25th so it doesn’t zip by me!

This week’s WIAW is what I ate Monday and it’s a random assortment of old favorites and new foods…and there’s even a recipe thrown in there.

Breakfast: carrot cake buckwheat waffle topped with shredded coconut and vanilla Sunwarrior protein frosting

Breakfast: carrot cake buckwheat waffle topped with shredded coconut and vanilla Sunwarrior protein frosting

I’ve been alternating between homemade waffles and protein chia puddings for breakfast. This waffle was carrot cake inspired–filled with carrot shreds and raisins, and topped with coconut and vanilla ‘frosting’. The Sunwarrior is new to me, and not my favorite protein powder, but I think it’ll grow on me.

OOTD: colorblock dress (American Eagle), pink heart necklace (Forever 21), tortoiseshell hipster glasses (American Eagle).

OOTD: colorblock dress (American Eagle), pink heart necklace (Forever 21), tortoiseshell hipster glasses (American Eagle).

It was not warm enough to wear this dress on its own (Colorado in December isn’t quite that nice!) but I paired it with my faux leather jacket, grey tights and my favorite grey wedge booties and felt like a total fashionista hipster. This is my first winter-appropriate dress and now I want even more–dresses are my absolute favorite thing to wear so it’s nice not to have to say goodbye to them during the colder months!

Lunch: fresh raw lemony kale salad topped with raw sunflower taco 'meat', mango salsa and guacamole.

Lunch: fresh raw lemony kale salad topped with raw sunflower taco ‘meat’, mango salsa and guacamole.

I love kale salads for lunch but I need a way to mix them up. Enter: raw sunflower taco ‘meat’. Obviously it’s not meat, as I am vegan, but it replicates taco filling so well…actually, better than taco filling! I’ve seen a few recipes for raw vegan tacos so I tweaked those to come up with my own, crave-worthy taco filling that’s totally raw, packed with healthy fats and protein and is delicious.

Raw Sunflower Taco Filling (vegan, grain free, gluten free)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 tbsp coconut aminos

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

chipotle powder, to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until it comes together and resembles taco filling. Serve in kale or lettuce leaves with guacamole, salsa and raw cashew cream. Makes about 1 cup. 

Lunch (part 2): fresh Satsuma tangerine.

Lunch (part 2): fresh Satsuma tangerine.

Can’t go without fruit or something sweet to end lunch! On my trip with my dad to WF over the weekend we picked up some Satsumas which are my favorite type of citrus fruit, and luckily, they’re actually good this year. I love how pretty they look with their leaves and stems, too.

Snack: rice cake topped with cheap girl pumpkin butter/chocolate chips/coconut shreds, baby carrots, peanut flour paste, Theo orange dark chocolate square, fresh fig.

Snack: rice cake topped with cheap girl pumpkin butter/chocolate chips/coconut shreds, baby carrots, peanut flour paste, Theo orange dark chocolate square, fresh fig.

The snackplate lives on! Sadly I had to toss the fig after a few bites because it was dried out inside and not tasty, but everything else was. The rice cake combo is something I’ve been having almost daily–there’s just something about pumpkin butter, chocolate and coconut that goes together so well.

Dinner (repeat photo, sorry): pineapple 'fried' quinoa with edamame, kale and cauliflower.

Dinner (repeat photo, sorry): pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa with edamame, kale and cauliflower.

As much as I love to give new recipes a try, there’s nothing like reinventing a classic. I’m just obsessed with pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa for some reason and I’ve been eating it at least once a week. I think it’s the sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy combo that just gets me. It’s so good and it’s so quick and easy to whip up.

Dessert: PB chocolate microwave protein cake topped with Nuttzo, java chip coconut milk ice cream, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate square.

Dessert: PB chocolate microwave protein cake topped with Nuttzo, java chip coconut milk ice cream, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate square.

I’ve been having some kind of protein cake for dessert for at least a week now and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. This version is probably my favorite though–I just combine peanut flour and raw chocolate protein powder with a splash of unsweetened almond milk, baking powder and sometimes a few Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (love them!) and pop it in the micro for a minute until it puffs up and turns into a cake-like consistency. I sometimes have it with a small side of coconut milk ice cream and a square of dark chocolate if I want a little extra something.

Do you prefer making new recipes or sticking with old favorites? Do you like citrus fruits?

Recipe submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #22

Friday Faves (August 17)

Wow, where has the week gone? I feel like I’ve been running around like crazy for most of the week and I’m not getting a break anytime soon! I got back from vacation on Sunday, left right away for FoCo for a job training session on Monday morning, came back home and started unpacking stuff from vacation, shopped for school supplies and repacked for college! I’ve just got this weekend before it’s back to the daily grind of school. I can’t believe the summer’s almost over, but I’m pretty pumped for this school year!

Favorite Change: New hair (color & style)

I desperately needed a trim and recoloring!

I think the last time I had anything done with my hair was over spring break…which was almost 6 months ago, yikes! It’s really hard to fit in hair appointments when I’m usually up at school but I’m just glad I got it done before I go back. My bangs really needed to be reshaped and cut and my color needed refreshing. Now I’m all ready for a new school year!

Favorite First Time Breakfast: Tropical French Toast

Alvarado Street California-style sprouted toast topped with fresh pineapple, Bear Naked Fit vanilla almond granola and organic maple syrup (side of frozen mango).

This might sound crazy, but I don’t think I’d ever had French toast before a couple days ago. I know, who am I? Obviously this was a veganized version (meaning no eggs) but I think it turned out delicious, especially for my first time making/eating it. And being the pineapple lover I am, I went for a pineapple upside down inspired version.

Tropical French Toast (vegan, can be gluten-free)

1 or 2 slices sprouted toast or gluten-free toast (like millet or rice bread)

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

cinnamon and ginger, to taste

vanilla stevia drops, to taste

handful small pineapple chunks

In a small pan, heat up some nonstick cooking spray or coconut oil over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together almond milk, spices and stevia until combined. Dip both sides of the toast in the milk mixture until it soaks in. Place toast on pan and heat on both sides until golden brown and crunchy. Before flipping, add pineapple chunks to top side of toast and then flip to cook. Serve French toast with granola, coconut butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit or whatever you want. Serves 1. 

Favorite Late “Birthday Present”: Alejandro

Meet Alejandro, my ‘new’ baby!

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I didn’t have a car at college the past two years. With the job I have this upcoming semester, along with my off-campus housing, my parents realized that I do need a car. Over the summer, we were considering getting me a newer model used car, then a brand new car, then they finally decided to let me have our red 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. It has a lot of miles on it for its age (because of my mom driving back and forth from home and my college town on weekends) but I really love it because A) it’s red and B) I’ve driven it a lot, especially this summer. I really love the look and feel of the car and I’m already used to it so it’ll be no big deal to take it up to school with me. And because I love him so much, I named him Alejandro (like the Lady Gaga song)!

Favorite Addiction: The Newsroom

I really need to get all caught up on this show!

I am so glad we moved to a new house back in June, because DirecTV gave us three free months of HBO…meaning I get to watch The Newsroom, which has become one of my new fave shows. I just watched the most recent episode and I’m hooked for part 2! I love how crazy and action-packed the show is.

What TV shows are you addicted to? Have you ever had “exotic” French toast (anything out of the ordinary)?