Best of…June!

We’re officially halfway through the year–wooooo! July is my favorite month for several reasons, one being that my 20th birthday is on the 27th, which also happens to be the opening day of the summer Olympics this year. I also really love the 4th of July, even though this year I won’t get to see any fireworks because of all the fire bans. Better safe than sorry though–all the fires here have been scary and I don’t want anyone else to lose their homes because of a careless mistake. And I just love July because it’s pretty much the height of summer–my favorite season.

But backing up to June for the moment, here is my monthly recap of my favorite posts!

Best Deep Post: I’m Done…

I’m so tired of counting calories rather than enjoying my life.

I won’t lie, it’s always hard for me to hit publish on my more honest posts, but it’s always worth it. I appreciate all of the comments you guys left on that post and I’ll be looking back at it often to remind me of why I’m choosing life over calories.

Best Recipe: Sunny “Raw”nola

This stuff is beyond yum!

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Since I posted this recipe, I’ve simplified it even more to just 3 ingredients and it’s just as delicious as the original 5 ingredient version. I’ve made it on a weekly basis and my dad even loves it, which is a testament to how good it is. If you have oats, sunflower seeds and agave–make this now!

Best New Find: NadaMoo! coconut milk ice cream

Review to come soon!

Let’s just say I don’t fear coconut as much anymore. I’ve mentioned it periodically on my blog, but coconut has been fear food numero uno since my ED. However, since seeing coconut products all over the blog world, I’ve become more and more interested in trying it again. I finally conquered my fear and bought a pint of maple pecan coconut milk ice cream last week. From the first bite, I was in love. I still love my almond milk ice creams, but this stuff was beyond creamy, which is crazy for a vegan ice cream! Best part is, it’s sweetened naturally (with agave nectar) and all the fat is from a healthy plant source, coconut. Never again will I shy away from a coconut product!

Best WIAW: Secret Nutrition Edition

Looks like dessert, but is secretly packed with antioxidants and potassium!

I love switching up my WIAW posts from the typical everything-I-ate-today kinds, and this was really fun to research all the health benefits behind some of my favorite foods. Look for another similar post soon!

Do you like coconut or coconut milk products? What’s your favorite Olympics event to watch?

So Many Surveys

I think I have a problem. I literally cannot turn down any fun surveys that come my way! What can I say, I love wasting my time filling them out and they’re just fun to do. Yes, basically I have no life 😉

This is the healthy living survey that’s been floating around for a little while now. I just spotted it on Tessa’s blog and thought “Why not?” Now that it’s kinda sorta summer for me, I have plenty of time to blog and what-not, so if any more surveys pop up this summer, I will definitely be filling them out.

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Peanut flour pancakes with homemade strawberry jam and sunflower seed butter.

Those pancakes above! Don’t they look amazing?! Sorry to tease you, the recipe will be up on my WIAW post for this week!

2. How much water do you drink each day?

Not enough, that’s for sure! Now that I’m home, I think I’m a little better with this, since I drink water with both snacks and also at lunch, but usually not any other time. I love water (especially with a little vanilla stevia added in) but I just don’t think about it. Something to work on, especially as the weather heats up this summer.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

Either tennis, or the daily cardio circuits I do courtesy of some free iPod apps. I would like to mix things up and buy different workout apps or just try new workout routines. I’m starting to feel burned out, which is no bueno.

4. How many calories do you eat each day?

In an effort to not be triggering, I won’t say how much but let’s just say it’s not a  healthy amount. I am still working on bulking up my meals and working towards eating about the same amount last summer when I was able to maintain my weight and feel good. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how much I actually need, and maybe even the amount I was having a year ago wasn’t quite enough but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Oh gosh, I have a ton! I can’t list them all but here are a few…

  • Larabars (love the cappuccino and chocolate chip brownie flavors, excited to try the brand new seasonal flavors…)
  • Pure bars (chocolate brownie, wild blueberry and cranberry orange are my faves)
  • Clif Mojo bars (obsessed with the mountain mix and white chocolate macadamia kinds)
  • Fruit! Frozen, fresh or dried.
  • Almond milk ice cream/banana soft serve. What, it’s a lot healthier than actual ice cream, but it tastes so creamy and good!
  • Snack plates, with random items

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

When I was at school, it was mostly a bar (see above) paired with fruit and some baby carrots, since I was usually on-the-go. Now that I’m at home, I love having the time to prepare all kinds of things, from nut butter-topped sweet potatoes to epic salads.

7. What is your favorite body part to train?

Abs/core! I have definitely improved my core strength over the past few months and I love feeling that burn in my abs.

8. What is your least favorite body part to train?

I have to go with legs right now. My left ankle has been killing me every time I try to run or even walk for a long time and it’s not fun. I’m not sure what’s up with that…

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?

I still have a lot of foods on my “bad” list, but I honestly don’t crave them at all. I like eating healthy and my indulgences tend to be on the healthier side as well, but I guess I’ll go with dark chocolate. I used to say I didn’t like it, but I was totally lying to myself. Now I allow myself one square a day (Chocolove FTW!) but that means that chocolate is still somewhat of a fear food for me.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Yes! I have since I was a little kid, my parents were always good about making us do that. Currently I take a gummy multivitamin and a gummy calcium/vitamin D supplement, since I don’t get enough of those as a vegan.

11. How often do you eat out?

During the school year, it was about once every two weeks, because my mom had to take me back up to school after a weekend spent at home so we’d eat out at fast casual places like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles and Mad Greens. Now that I’m home for the summer, we probably won’t eat out as much, but my mom’s birthday (and Mother’s Day) are next week, so we’ll definitely be going out to a real restaurant for that!

12. Do you eat fast food?

No way! I haven’t had legit fast food in at least 5 years and I don’t miss it at all. We never used to eat much fast food anyway. Now when we want a quick meal on-the-go, we hit up places like the ones I mentioned above. They are all super tasty, have plenty of healthy options and even some things I can veganize, which is always a win.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

This is tough, because I have three for sure–my mom, my dad and my little sister. I truly enjoy spending a lot of time with my family. We are really close, I know they’ve always got my back and we all share the same sarcastic humor 😉

14. Do you have a gym membership?

Nope, but in the fall, my apartment complex has a fitness center which I hope will be a good place to workout!

15. How many hours of sleep do you get each night?

I am high-maintenance in that I need 8-10 hours per night to function, otherwise I’m just dragging through the afternoon and sometimes end up with a headache. Since I’ve been home, my sleep schedule’s been thrown off a bit, but I’m sure I’ll get back into one soon!

16. Do you have a cheat day?

No. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m feeling better with eating stuff I love each and every day in moderation. I’m not sure I can call them treats, since they’re all pretty healthy, but if I want something, I will usually have it.

17. Do you drink alcohol?

Honestly, only small sips here and there when my parents offer it. I am underage, and I would rather wait til I am 21 (in a year and 2 ish months!) to drink more than that. I did enjoy a little bit of my mom’s homemade margarita on Saturday–had to celebrate Cinco de Mayo of course–and it was pretty good.

18. Do you have a workout buddy?

Usually not, but for tennis, I always play with my dad and sister.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

It has helped me move away somewhat from my eating disorder. In my worst days, I’d eat all sorts of low cal crap, like sugar-free Jell-O and Lean Cuisines because I genuinely believed they were healthy, since they were low fat and what-not. Now I now that some fats are healthy and I enjoy them every day, especially in nut butter form! It helped me transition into veganism, which feels right for me and my body, and has opened me up to new foods I never would have thought to try before.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

I went for a walk with my dad yesterday. It was cold and windy, but I loved catching up with him and getting some fresh air.

 

Where’s your favorite place to eat out at? What did you eat for breakfast?

 

WIAW: Weekend of Veggies and Dancing

Hey! Glad you all liked my product review! It was really fun to do and hopefully I’ve inspired some of you to go out and try the oats for yourself.

Anyway, as promised, here’s a recap of my weekend, in WIAW form. Okay, so it’s not really What I Ate Wednesday, but What I Ate And Did This Weekend (so WIAADTW). Whatever, WIAW sounds better! And this weekend, I got in a ton of veggies, which always seems to be the case when I go home. So hopefully spring break will be veggie city 😀

Friday

My madre picked me up around 11, as usual, and we hit the road. The thing I love best about getting done with class so early on Friday is that on the weekends I go home, my mom can come pick me up right away and we don’t end up hitting any rush hour traffic in Denver, plus I get a slightly longer weekend at home. Win win! We got back to the Springs just in time to pick up my sister from school, headed home for a little bit, then back out to drop her off for the musical she was performing in. My mom and I hit up Qdoba for a quick dinner, and obviously, I forgot to take a picture. But I ordered my usual, the Naked Vegetarian Taco Salad topped with lettuce (duh), black beans, fiery habanero salsa (super hot, just the way I like it) and corn & black bean salsa. So good! I was starving so I finished off the entire salad. Guess I love my greens 😉

Then we met my dad to see my sister’s musical. It was based on the Prince of Egypt movie, and it was pretty decent. She was the understudy for Zipporah (Moses’ wife) but unfortunately, she didn’t get to fill in. She was good in the other parts she did, though!

Saturday

I ate breakfast (obvs) and showered, which is so unusual for me since I usually do it at night, but my dad, sister and I were going to a father daughter dinner dance so I needed to be fresh for that!

Breakfast: carrot cake oats with raisins, spicy veggie sausage.

I did some yoga and cardio circuits, had lunch and then just did whatever around the house until it was almost 3…yikes, I needed to get ready pronto! I repainted my nails with pink crackle polish (my fave), curled my hair and got into my dress for the dance.

The only picture I have right now of me in my dress...more to come hopefully soon!

Lunch: sweet potato topped with crunchy almond butter and real maple syrup, crushed natural nacho kale chips, frozen banana slices, side of water in a Starbucks holiday tumbler.

Since neither my mom or sister were there (they were at the last performance of the musical), my dad had to take a few pictures of me outside in my dress, alone. Usually my mom would take pics of the three of us all dressed up, but it was just me this time. Not that I minded 😉 Except it was freezing outside and windy! Not fun.

My dad (who looked handsome in his suit, by the way) and I headed out…not for the dance yet, but for Whole Foods! The hotel the dance was at was catering dinner, but I know from past experience that I don’t like the vegetarian option they serve (and they had no vegan option, as far as I know) so my dad suggested we get something to go from Whole Foods. Um, yeah, I was a happy camper, especially when I discovered tons of new salads at the hot/cold bars. The Whole Foods I go to most of the time has an amazing selection, so I filled my box with a ton of different ones, like sweet potato chunks with cannelini beans, orange chipotle tofu cubes, an Asian kale salad, spicy marinated artichoke hearts and a Mediterranean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and chickpeas. All of it was ridiculously good so it’s pretty sad that I could only get a super lame picture of it, since I had to take it in the dark ballroom at the dance. Yeah, it felt a little weird eating my Whole Foods salads while everyone around me was having the chicken or steak meals, but I did not regret my decision–it was super tasty, and healthy!

It doesn't look too tasty, but it really was!

The program was really really good, but of course, I was looking forward to the dancing! It’s always so fun to make a fool of myself with my dad and sister while busting a move on the dance floor. First, we had our pictures taken by the photographer there, and then we hit the floor! When we first went back in the ballroom, it was  packed and people were handing out these weird balloons for no reason. It was so funny though, because all the dads and daughters were waving them around to the music. So random, but so fun! Most of them popped by the end of the night, but I actually still have mine at home!

This random button we found on our table--my sister and I thought it was hilarious.

My place card.

The band was pretty decent, I just wish they had played more modern songs than the oldie type stuff, but I guess they wanted to appeal to the dads and daughters. They did do Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”, so my sister and I really got down to those! And of course, the last song was “Butterfly Kisses”–I almost cried while I was slow-dancing with my dad. The whole event makes me really appreciate how much my dad loves me.

Sunday

Unfortunately, we had an early wake-up call, which sucked after being out so late (I didn’t fall asleep til after midnight) the night before. We’re trying to sell our house, and we had a showing in the morning so we had to get out for a little while. Of course, it was the perfect opportunity to hit up Starbucks! I rarely get to have Starbucks in the morning–I usually go in the afternoon. It was nice to get a little caffeine burst…I definitely needed it!

My Starbucks order du jour: tall skinny soy hazelnut latte.

My family got some bagels at Einstein, but I just got a fruit cup for my breakfast. Okay, honestly, bagels are a HUGE fear food of me–so many carbs, especially the “bad” kind, a ton of calories, blah blah blah. I don’t think I’ve had one in a year and a half, and even then I only ate half of one at a time, without cream cheese (because of all the fat), of course. I would have loved to try to at least somewhat conquer my fear, with one of their bagel thins and some vegan cream cheese (they don’t have this, but I can dream, right?), but I didn’t. Part of it was because I honestly wasn’t hungry–and this actually continued throughout the day, which was weird–but it was also because I was just too afraid. Maybe next time I can try a bagel thin…

Sunday was actually just a really weird day, because like I just said, I was barely hungry the whole day. I had my Starbucks drink and the fruit for breakfast, skipped lunch, had a few orange and banana slices before my mom and I headed back up to school and a Clif Kids bar in the car. For dinner we stopped at Corner Bakery, where I got their salad trio, with the Asian edamame salad, mixed greens salad and seasonal fruit medley. Of course, the fruit medley was mostly cantaloupe (ick!) so I just had the few grapes, apple slices and pineapple pieces mixed in, a little bit of the mixed greens (the dressing was  way too oily) and all of the edamame salad (which was really good and fresh). It honestly was not much food, but I still wasn’t hungry. After my mom dropped me off, my hunger finally returned so I could have some oats with peanut flour for a snack. But the whole day just threw me off and it actually sucked!

My hunger did return on Monday (thank God!) so I was able to enjoy a few of the new purchases my mom got for me from Whole Foods. First up, Late July organic sweet potato multigrain chips. I thought I wouldn’t really like these because I didn’t really like the Food Should Taste Good version, but these are so much better! They’re slightly sweet, slightly salty and are the perfect mix of soft and crunchy. They have a subtle sweet potato taste, but I love them.

My new favorite Late July chips!

I also tried some Hope Hummus, which is a locally-made hummus brand. I liked their sweet potato hummus, but when I saw they had a spicy avocado version, I just had to get it. It tastes like a blend of guacamole and hummus and it’s really good! The sweet potato chips were awesome dipped in it.

Two of my favorite dips in one!

And finally, I tried a Sumo orange for the first time. My dad spotted them at Whole Foods, picked up a few, and I took a couple with me to try. They definitely live up to their name in size, and they have an amazing, juicy, tangerine-like taste. I recommend them if you love oranges!

For size comparison, a Sumo on the left, a blood orange on the right.

What was the best thing you ate this weekend? What do you do on “not hungry” days?

Yum vs. Yuck

Everyone has them. A ‘yum’ and a ‘yuck’ list. Maybe they’re not actually written-down lists, but you know what foods you can’t live without and those that you wish would just disappear.

Here’s a few things I want to share from my own lists. Some of them have changed over the years, while some have stayed the same. Of course, it’s great to work on incorporating a lot of variety into our eats, but it’s okay to admit that there are some foods we just can’t stand.

Yuck!

  • Cottage cheese. I haven’t tried it recently, or very often, but the texture is just too sketchy for me. I much prefer Greek yogurt, thank you very much! Plus, now that I’m mostly vegan, I see no need to include it in my diet.
  • Green beans. It’s one of my mom’s favorite veggies, so I’ve been forced to have it throughout the years and it’s just never good. The only way I can stand them even a little bit is with tons of mustard!
  • Ketchup. I think I might have liked it as a kid, but now it’s just so gross to me! I mean, who wants a sweet condiment? Plus, I hate tomatoes (except in salsa) so it kind of explains my disdain for ketchup.
  • White potatoes. Give me a sweet potato any day and I’ll happily devour it. But a white potato–no thanks! They just make me really thirsty for some reason, and I really can’t stand them roasted.
  • Eggs. This one’s been on my list since I first tried them. Ick, ick ick! I think it’s the whole texture thing. I know they have a ton of protein, nutrients, blah blah blah but…just no.
  • Cheese. Used to like it as a kid, was scared to death of it during the worst of my ED, now I just think it’s disgusting. Soy and almond cheese, however, are sometimes part of my diet since they’re vegan-friendly and yummier than dairy cheese.

I prefer my pizzas with tons of veggies and NO cheese!

  • Coconut. Not quite sure how I feel about this one. Part of it is because it’s a “fear food” for me (because of the high sat fat content) but part of it is that it just weirds me out, especially in shredded form.
  • Pears/cherries/canteloupe. These are the only fruits that I’ve tried (and can think of) that I just don’t like. Cherries are too sour, but I’m okay with dried cherries, pears are just too squishy and canteloupe is bleh, not to mention that whole scare that happened over the fall with them–the farm traced to it is only 2 hours away from me 😯

The only way I'll eat cherries is in overnight oats.

  • Cashews. I like a lot of nuts, from almonds to walnuts to pecans to pistachios but there’s just something off with cashews for me. I do want to try them in a raw cashew cheezecake, though!

Yum!

  • Medjool dates. Actually, I had never tried these until about a year ago, and I fell in love. They’re so sweet, with an almost caramel taste and an amazing soft texture. Now I love them stuffed with almond butter, dark chocolate or used in raw desserts.
  • Unsweetened almond milk. The blog world helped me discover this, and I’m forever thankful. It’s so deliciously creamy and makes the perfect base for smoothies. I looooooove the vanilla kind, but I want to try Almond Breeze’s unsweetened chocolate kind.
  • Rolled oats. Another blog world find. I never used to like oatmeal as a kid, since it was too mushy, but once I figured out how to make it overnight (and voluminous) style, I was hooked. Now I get a perfect, chewy bowl of oats practically every day. And the topping/flavor combos are almost endless.

Carrot cake oats are one of my current fave combos!

  • Brussels sprouts. I grew up thinking they were beyond nasty, even though I’d never had them before, because they just had a negative connotation. I tried them for the first time this fall, and they are so good grilled or roasted with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  • Cilantro. I know some people can’t stand the taste of it, but it’s my favorite herb!
  • Almond butter. This one is a pre-blog discovery, and it’s stuck with me ever since. I’ve never been a fan of peanut butter, even as a kid (I would always eat jelly-only sandwiches–yeah, I was weird) but almond butter is a whole different story. Now I also love walnut butter, pecan butter and almond peanut cashew butter.
  • Tropical fruits. I love practically all fruits, but this is probably my favorite group. Pineapples, bananas, mangos, kiwi, limequat, pomegranate, tangerine, watermelon…I love all the kinds I’ve tried and I still want to try even more!
  • Quinoa. I had this for the first time several years ago, when my cousins introduced it to us. They lived in South Africa for a year and quinoa’s really popular there and as soon as I tried it, I was hooked on the fluffy texture and nutty flavor. I also love that it’s so versatile and is a complete vegan protein source.
  • Edamame. I know some people say soy is unhealthy, but I just can’t get enough of edamame! It’s so good in stirfrys and I love getting it in the pod at Asian restaurants. And it has tons of healthy plant protein!

Edamame guacamole, ready to be mixed.

What’s one thing on your yum or yuck list? Have you tried anything lately that moved from one list to the other?

Best Of…December!

Hey everyone! Have you been enjoying your weekend so far? I can’t believe we’re already a week into the new year, it’s completely crazy. I feel like just yesterday it was Christmas, but that was already 2 weeks ago!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about my monthly “Best Of…” post! I love recapping my favorite moments from the previous month, and even though I just did a 2011 recap post, I almost neglected a recap of December.

Best Recipe: Coffee Maple Pecan Butter

I probably had the most recipes ever this month, from raw salted caramel dip to nutty cherry chocolate chunk cookies to raw mini pecan pies. All were delicious and devoured (I was surprised that my dad ate half of the cookies–he really loved them!) but this nut butter takes the cake. It was my first attempt at making nut butter, and since it was so successful, I hope to make another kind soon.

Best Fun Post: Oh We Need a Little Christmas [Inspiration]

I love looking for random inspiring photos on Pinterest and weheartit, so this was just a fun little way to get in the Christmas spirit!

Best Challenge: Jumping on the Bandwagon

I joined in on the NaNeFoMo train, and I didn’t regret it. In fact, I want to make it one of my goals for this year to try one new food each month. Food ruts and ‘safe foods’ are fine and all but if I truly want to challenge my ED and find new food loves, I’ve gotta branch out and try new things. Kombucha and vegan marshmallows are still on my list!

Best Really Long Post: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Super long post, but then again when isn’t a recap post really long, especially a Christmas recap post? Christmas 2011 was honestly one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a while, not sure why–maybe because we actually had a ton of snow and got to go sledding? Yeah, that was probably it 😉

Best Fashion Post: Shopping & Sledding

Sadly, it was my only fashion post of the month, but I really want to get back to doing my Style Phile posts every once in a while. Fashion is one of my obsessions, so I’d like to include it a little more on this blog. After all, it’s not all about the food!

What was the best part of December for you? Christmas, and Christmas break!

What are you anticipating in January? Starting my new classes in about a week. 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Apparently I’m on a roll with these cheesy Christmas song titles 😉 What can I say, I’m in love with Christmas music and I’m so sad that most radio stations (besides Sirius XM) have stopped playing the stuff.

Anyways, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (if you celebrate it) and a wonderful weekend. It was really nice just getting a couple of days to relax, have fun and not feeling the need to be ‘plugged in’. I love getting a break from technology every once in awhile, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to do just that. But now I think it’s about time for a recap of the past few days, so here we go!

Friday

My mom and I headed out for last-minute gift shopping. Because we got a lot of snow on Thursday, we weren’t able to get out and get presents earlier, so unfortunately we had to face the crowds. But I was able to get some of my favorite things at Whole Foods, a game for my dad at Barnes and Noble and a cute necklace for my sister at American Eagle. I also bought myself my first-ever pair of jeggings at AE and surprisingly, I love them. I have a lot of issues with my body image, my legs and arms in particular, so I usually stick with looser fitting, boy fit type jeans. But I really needed some jeans that can fit in my new boots without looking baggy, so the jeggings fit the bill perfectly. They’re actually a lot more comfortable than I thought they would be, and not too tight at all. I think I might start actually buying jeggings and skinny jeans on a more regular basis, which is a total body image win!

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

Saturday

Christmas Eve! I love this day so much, maybe even more so than Christmas Day, because of the anticipation. The morning and early afternoon were pretty chill, and then we all got ready to go to church. I got to debut my new booties which was awesome! I also really loved the Christmas Eve church service. The end part is definitely the best, because the lights are turned off and everyone lights their candles and sings Silent Night. It’s just so beautiful and reminds me what the real reason for the season is. Afterwards, we drove around and checked out a few light displays and then went home to start on dinner. Now, I’m not gonna lie, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable around this time because dinner was going to be at least an hour later than I feel comfortable with. I hate eating so late because I’m afraid of weight gain, which is so stupid. Our bodies don’t know what time we’re eating, but it’s just a fear I cling to. But once I dug into the dinner I made, I didn’t feel so guilty. I made some vegan butternut squash ravioli, with peanut flour sauce and roasted asparagus spears on the side. It was an amazing Christmas Eve dinner, and I loved enjoying it with my family surrounded by candlelight. After dinner, we watched some of A Christmas Story on TV (best Christmas movie EVER!) and then went to bed…but not before my dad read me a few Christmas stories. It’s one of our traditions, and I always love hearing these classic stories year after year.

Check out my fierce booties!

The best Christmas Eve dinner I could ask for!

Sunday

The big day, of course! I woke up bright and early around 8 ‘o clock and made myself a delicious breakfast of peanutty raspberry chocolate oats and then my sister and I opened our stockings. We always open those in our pajamas, and then get ready for the day and then open presents together as a family. We always go around and open one at a time, so everybody can see what everyone else got and so the present-opening doesn’t go by way too quickly. I got a lot of amazing gifts, which I’m incredibly thankful for. A few highlights include metallic faux-snakeskin Bearpaw boots, a vegan dessert cookbook, a faux leather jacket, some gift cards to my favorite stores and dark chocolate covered espresso beans–a definite fear food of mine, but so so good that I’m not gonna let them go to waste, I’m just going to have a couple a day and enjoy them without any guilt 😀

Presents!

 

I love the dark chocolate+coffee combo!

The cute little countdown to Christmas app I have--I couldn't wait til it said 0 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds!

Mi madre opening one of her gifts.

Bahaha I love how excited my sister is!

 

My dad is obviously in love with his new space heater.

 

After the present-opening, we continued to watch the 24 hour A Christmas Story marathon while munching on snacks. But the best part of the day was getting to go sledding in our yard! We got probably about half a foot of snow, so the sledding was great. We live on a 5 acre property with tons of pine trees and some hills in the back part of the property, so it’s always fun to get a chance to go sledding. It was our first white Christmas in awhile, and probably one of the only times we got to sled on Christmas Day. My sister, who usually hates sledding, actually went with my dad and I and we had the best time! It was a great workout climbing back up the hill in all that snow, of course, but I was just thinking about how fun it was. I absolutely hate feeling like I’m forcing exercise (which I still unfortunately tend to do) so working out in a fun way is definitely preferred. Sledding definitely did not feel like a workout, but it was nice to be active and get fresh air while still having fun and being with my family.

I ❤ sledding!

 

My dad loves sledding too!

Dinner was an awesome pasta dish that my mom made up. It’s so simple but just really tasty. It’s basically just bell peppers and pasta sauteed with this chili lime seasoning from Williams Sonoma and then she adds in some kind of protein. My version was with whole wheat pasta and shrimp and it was sooooo amazing! I hate traditional Christmas-type dinners (because I’m mostly vegetarian/vegan besides the occasional seafood and because it’s so boring) so this was a really nice change. After dinner, we played two new board games that we got (my family loves board games!) while watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Best way to end Christmas, in my opinion. Oh, but I can’t forget about dessert, of course! I enjoyed one of the raw pecan tartlets that I made–they were soooooo good! I’m not gonna lie that I didn’t feel guilty about eating it, because they’re fairly small but “high” in calories (not really, maybe around 120 per tartlet) but because they have such simple ingredients (basically just dates and nuts!) I didn’t feel too bad and they turned out delicious.

Raw Mini Pecan Pies (vegan, raw)

15 Medjool dates

2/3 cup raw nuts (I used a mix of almonds and pecans)

1 T raw nut butter (I used walnut)

sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt

Soak 12 of the dates for at least four hours and cover. Drain dates and add to food processor with nut butter and salt. Pulse until smooth, adding in soaking water if necessary to thin out. Set aside. Pulse nuts and remaining 3 dates until a fine crumb is form. Pack nut mixture into muffin liners (makes about 5) and freeze for an hour. Remove and pour in date mixture and freeze again for at least another hour. Top with chopped or whole pecans and serve straight from the freezer. 

Cute little desserts are the best!

Monday

I watched Holiday Inn with my dad in the morning (a really cool Christmas/holidayish movie from the 1940s with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire), enjoyed a delicious sweet potato topped with peanut flour for lunch and then ran a few errands with my dad and sister. It was kinda crazy out there to be honest, since apparently a lot of people like to return stuff and go shopping the day after Christmas, but we made it out alive 😉 Then for the best part, we went to Starbucks! I had to get my skinny soy peppermint mocha fix, of course! It was nice enough that we were able to sit outside, and I also bought myself a cute holiday cold cup for $5! Before Christmas, it was twice that much so maybe the post-Christmas bargains aren’t so bad after all!

My Christmas Eve 'dessert': peanut flour sauce, freeze-dried apples and vegan chocolate chips.

Well, today we’re planning on going up into the mountains for more sledding and I can’t wait! I’ll be back later in the week for more updates!

What was the most fun thing you did on Christmas? What is your favorite winter ‘sport’?

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Hi lovelies, how were all your weekends? I am beyond excited that it’s less than a week til Christmas, but I’ll save that excitement for later!

After having read a lot about NaNeFoMo (or National New Food Month) around the bloggy world, I decided to finally join in! Yes, I know it’s kinda late, but I have already made some progress and created a “bucket list” of things I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

Photobucket

1. Peanut flour. I finally sucked it up and ordered some online a couple of weeks back. This has changed my life, for real! I’ve had it practically on a daily basis since it first arrived in the mail (which is why I just had to order more!) and I’m definitely not sick of it yet. It makes an amazing paste, peanut sauce for stir-frys and salads, as flavoring for Greek yogurt and as a source of protein in smoothies. I even used it in place of flour in my festive garland bars. Definitely a new staple in my pantry!

The perfect topper for banana softserve and Puffins!

2. Chocolate chips. These were (and still are) a fear food of mine, so I thought they’d be perfect to include in my list. I bought some vegan chocolate chips at Whole Foods, used them in a few recipes and now I love them! Yes, they’re still scary, so I only eat maybe a teaspoon or so per day, but I don’t want to deprive myself of dark chocolate ever again!

Chocolate chips make an appearance in nutty cherry chocolate chunk cookies...recipe to come!

3. Making my own nut butter. Being home alone a week ago gave me the perfect opportunity to whip up a batch of homemade nut butter. But what kind to make? I had a bag of chopped pecans, so I mixed those up with some instant coffee powder, a little maple syrup and coffee maple pecan butter was born. You’re welcome 😉

Simple combination, but oh so tasty!

4. Vegan marshmallows. Erm, well, not quite yet! I haven’t been able to find any in stores near me, so I decided to settle for some pescetarian marshmallows. Ummmm, say what? Yeah, marshmallows have gelatin in them, which is made from animals, but I was able to find some kosher ones, which means the gelatin is made from fish. Since I am basically a pescetarian right now, these are fine by me til I can find some truly vegan marshmallows.

5. Kombucha. This one is very scary to me. Not a fear food, in the eating disorder sense, but scary because A) they’re expensive and B) what if they taste horrible? I’ve still yet to take the plunge on this, but I’m hoping maybe I’ll get to sample it at Whole Foods or something and see if it’s worth the price.

6. More raw/vegan desserts. Every one I’ve attempted so far has turned out amazingly well (even if I am the only one who ends up eating them…oh well, more for me!) and I’d love to do more experimenting in the kitchen over the next month. Raw desserts can be kinda “scary” since they include lots of calorically-dense foods such as dates and nuts, but they taste so good and are so healthy for you compared to regular desserts. A few things I have in the works include raw salted caramel sauce, vegan peppermint bark and another variation on my raw brownies with chocolate peppermint avocado “buttercream” frosting. This month sure is looking delicious 8)

One of my favorite desserts ever--raw brownie pie with frozen raspberries and nonfat coffee froyo.

So that’s my bucket list so far–three things down, three to go! I’m proud of myself for conquering one fear food so far and I’m looking forward to trying out new things, especially the recipes. While I like to make “tried and true” type things, it’s always rewarding making something brand new and having it turn out amazing. And if it doesn’t, it’s not a huge deal!

Are you participating in NaNeFoMo? Have you ever made a raw dessert?

WIAW: What I’ve Been Making

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to all my fellow U.S. bloggers! Are you excited for the big day? I know I am, since I’m planning on making a few things for the meal.

I wasn’t exactly planning on doing a WIAW post this week–in fact, it almost slipped my mind! But I did promise you guys a few recipes, so I decided that a WIAW post could be good for that. I know it’s kinda cheating, but I did eat them all on Tuesday, so it’s just a shorter version of my usual WIAWs.

Peas and Crayons

I was totally inspired by my pumpkin s’more from Monday night, so I decided to recreate it in oats form. I made a batch of plain volume oats, heated it up in the a.m. and topped with a teaspoon of vegan chocolate chips, a couple of mini marshmallows and a square of graham cracker. I loved how the chocolate and marshmallows melted into the oats. Probably my best oat creation to date!

S'mores in a bowl!

Remember those festive garland bars from WIAW a couple of weeks ago? Well, I made them and they turned out fabulously good. I’m so glad that I’ve finally been able to make a baked treat that turned out perfect. Plus, they’re completely vegan!

Sweet, salty, pumpkin-y and chocolate-y.

Festive Garland Bars (vegan)

1/2 c oat flour

3/4 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1/8 t baking soda

1/3 c dried cranberries

1/3 c vegan chocolate chips

1/3 c maple syrup

1/4 c pumpkin puree

1 c Whole Foods popcorn or kettle corn

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with PAM; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add 3 T cranberries and 3 T chocolate chips and toss to coat. In a large bowl, mix maple syrup and pumpkin until combined. Add flour mixture and stir together until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until just cooked through and golden brown, about 20 minutes; set aside to let cool. Melt remaining chocolate chunks. Spread 2/3 of melted chocolate over bars and immediately scatter remaining cranberries and popcorn over the top, pressing down gently to help adhere. Drizzle remaining chocolate over bars. Set aside until chocolate sets, about 15 minutes; cut into squares and serve immediately.

This dessert was definitely a turning point for me, as far as my ED goes. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my biggest fear foods is chocolate. I love dark chocolate, but I can’t eat it straight-up, it has to be in cocoa powder form or something. I’m mostly scared of the saturated fat in it, which is ridiculous. I don’t eat very much sat fat, maybe 2 grams a day, so it scares me that just a tablespoon of chocolate chips has 2 1/2 grams. But I used 6 whole tablespoons of vegan chocolate chips in these bars, so there’s a little over 1/2 a tablespoon of chocolate per square. I gotta be honest, I loved these little bars, but the chocolate did make me feel a little guilty, especially since I already had a teaspoon earlier. I know this probably sounds completely ridiculous, but I’m working on feeling okay with eating chocolate, one teaspoon at a time.

The main ingredients of the most amazing bars!

Later, I made dinner for me and my parents. My mom ended up not liking it, but she hates squash for some reason! Crazy woman 😉 This recipe is not vegan, because it has shrimp, but if you don’t eat seafood like I do on occasion, then you can definitely sub tofu or even just chickpeas.

I love my orange overload dinners!

Butternut and Pumpkin Curry with Quinoa

1 butternut squash, cut into small cubes

1 c unsweetened plain almond milk

1 c vegetable broth

1 lb raw shrimp

1 T red curry paste

1/4-1/2 c pumpkin puree

1/2 yellow onion

1 t minced garlic

1 t ground ginger

1 cup quinoa (dry)

Chop up onion and toss in pot with garlic and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cook on medium heat until onion is fragrant and translucent. Add red curry paste to taste, and cook for a few more minutes. Add veggie broth, almond milk, pumpkin, ginger and squash and cook until boiling. Cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook quinoa in 2 cups of water (for about 15-20 minutes on medium low heat), and cook shrimp in a pan until pink. Set quinoa aside and add shrimp to curry. Cook for a few more minutes, then serve on top of quinoa. Makes 4-5 servings.

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately?