WIAW: Finals Week Food

Today I have my last final EVER (well, besides when/if I get my meteorology certificate…but we’ll pretend like that doesn’t count) and I’m beyond excited to be done with this semester. It’s been long (but it’s gone by so fast), it’s been hard, it’s been busy (taking 6 classes on top of working at the TV station every week is no joke) so I’m ready to enjoy some time off at home. It’s still crazy to think I’ll be a college graduate in a few days…

Before my emotions get the better of me, let’s get on with WIAW! As I’m typing this, I’m kinda procrastinating on studying for my Wednesday final so this is gonna be a mostly wordless post of some of the things I’ve been eating to fuel my studying (and to be honest, my procrastinating too).

Monday lunch. Miracle noodles dry-sauteed with some peanut butter/cayenne pepper/almond milk for a spicy peanut sauce, with spinach and sauerkraut added in. Organic honeycrisp on the side.

Monday lunch. Miracle noodles dry-sauteed with some peanut butter/cayenne pepper/almond milk for a spicy peanut sauce, with spinach and sauerkraut added in. Organic honeycrisp on the side.

Monday's dinner. Supposed to be a curried cauliflower soup, but really thick so it was more like a sauce. Still good, especially topped with sauerkraut and these addicting raw spicy sunflower seeds from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

Monday’s dinner. Supposed to be a curried cauliflower soup, but really thick so it was more like a sauce. Still good, especially topped with sauerkraut and these addicting raw spicy sunflower seeds from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

A quick selfie in the car before my history final on Monday morning. So glad to have my car back!

A quick selfie in the car before my history final on Monday morning. So glad to have my car back!

Monday's snackplate. Satsuma, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, some Food Should Taste Good sweet potato kettle chips, energy bites from the bulk bin (I don't really like these), some homemade PB&J bites.

Monday’s snackplate. Satsuma, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, some Food Should Taste Good sweet potato kettle chips, energy bites from the bulk bin (I don’t really like these), some homemade PB&J bites.

Big salad for lunch on Tuesday. One head of romaine lettuce, with some cauliflower soup/sauce as the dressing, garbanzo beans, more sauerkraut and spicy sunflower seeds.

Big salad for lunch on Tuesday. One head of romaine lettuce, with some cauliflower soup/sauce as the dressing, 1 leftover falafel, chickpeas, more sauerkraut and spicy sunflower seeds.

A very orange snackplate from Tuesday. Satsuma, sweet potato chips, carrots, and leftover pan-roasted chickpeas.

A very orange snackplate from Tuesday. Satsuma, sweet potato chips, carrots, and leftover pan-roasted chickpeas.

Strawberry Zevia makes the perfect study drink. Can't wait til I go out for some adult beverages with my friends on Thursday ;)

Strawberry Zevia makes the perfect study drink. Can’t wait til I go out for some adult beverages with my friends on Thursday 😉

Tuesday dinner. Mung bean pasta (so high in protein, and grain free), mixed with cauliflower soup/sauce, more sauerkraut and raw spicy sunflower seeds, side of homemade sweet potato fries and pomegranate seeds.

Tuesday dinner. Mung bean pasta (so high in protein, and grain free), mixed with cauliflower soup/sauce, more sauerkraut and raw spicy sunflower seeds, side of homemade sweet potato fries and pomegranate seeds.

Not quite the same as the typical college student’s mac and cheese and fast food dinners during finals 😛 Really, though, it’s been all about convenience for me as I’ve been keeping busy with studying for finals, taking a few finals and finding ways to avoid thinking about finals. Most of my meals have been quick, no fuss, and made while doing something else. Multitasking at its finest! I have no desire to cook right now, and that’s okay. My food processor has been getting a lot of use though–I’ve been whipping up homemade Larabar-like bites lately for quick study snacks. I’m more than ready to go out for sushi tonight, drinks/appetizers tomorrow and then my favorite vegan restaurant on Saturday as a grad celebration dinner!

What have you been eating lately?

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?

College Vegan on a Budget: Makin’ Changes

An occasional series on my trials and successes in grocery shopping for myself for the first time while on a college budget.

It’s getting to be that time of year ago–finals week. Okay, technically it’s not for another 4 weeks, but close enough, right? With that being said, these CVB posts will probably be on hiatus soon for the next few months, as I move back home for the summer and hopefully go back to my parents paying for most of my groceries. I’m excited for that, but truth be told, I’ve been having fun and learning a lot doing this budgeting thing and I don’t plan on going crazy with the groceries once my parents are doing the purchasing.

So I’ve been doing a great job at keeping my weekly Whole Foods trips at around $60 or under, but I’ve failed at keeping my whole weekly grocery budget at around $80. I shop at Sprouts on a weekly or every other week basis and keep my costs to around $30 or under, but I get into trouble when I go crazy over their Larabar selection, or when I hit up yet another natural foods store in the same week (as I did last week, going to Natural Grocers and spending $20 on some super-expensive coconut flour bread, dark chocolate and cappuccino Larabars that were on sale) or when I buy food online from iHerb or Amazon (as I did two weeks ago). So for the rest of the semester, I’m going to be limiting those purchases as much as possible, probably only making one more purchase from iHerb to restock my peanut flour. And since I’ll be moving out of my apartment in a month, I need to get rid of some of the pantry staples I have, like beans and flours, so I’ll really be watching my grocery list and eliminating unnecessary purchases.

Sprouts buys.

Sprouts buys.

*=organic

Sprouts

What I Got: ALT  and Uber Larabars, Kit’s bar*, chocolate Kale Krunch* (not planned, but I’d never seen it before and was intrigued), cherry cola Zevia (on sale for only $2.99!), pineapple, Gone Nuts chipotle pistachios, unsweetened applesauce*, avocados x3*, serrano peppers

What I Spent: $32.70

Verdict: The raw nuts and kale chips were the only things not on my list (and the two most expensive by far) but I bought them because I’ve never seen them anywhere else and wanted to try them. I stocked up on the Zevia (a new-to-me flavor) even though I have some others in my pantry because they were a steal at just $3, compared to the usual $5 or $6. The avocados were bought organic because they were the same price as conventional and buying organic whenever possible is always best.

Whole Foods purchases.

Whole Foods purchases.

Whole Foods

What I Got: Gone Raw Thai curry cashews (it’s a problem, I’m obsessed), raw cashew butter (this stuff is AMAZING, and only getting a little bit from the bulk aisle saved me tons of money), bulk unsweetened coconut shreds, bulk white Turkish figs*, Medjool dates*, Veggie-Gos fruit and veggie strips*, canned green olives, Tom’s kids toothpaste (I had a coupon, and have been looking for a more natural toothpaste), cherry chocolate Vega One bar, plain Skinny Crisps (for an upcoming recipe), eggplant*, watermelon (yes!), 1 lb. strawberries (finally we’re getting into berry season), Ataulfo mangos X2 (tastiest mangos ever!), baby spinach*, fair trade vanilla extract (on sale and one of the only clean extracts I could find), Hail Merry raw chocolate tart (another thing I need to stop buying, I love it too much!), bulk fair trade 65% dark chocolate chips*

What I Spent: 60.76

Verdict: I have gotten SO much better at spending less at Whole Foods while still getting a lot. Produce is usually about 1/3 of my total purchase, which is really decent, especially for such great quality and sometimes organic produce. I still got a few fun purchases, but I’ve been better about not buying all my favorite splurges all the time. 

What fruit are you most excited to eat this summer? What’s the best grocery store deal you’ve encountered lately (for me, it’s either the Zevia, or the Larabars I found for under $1 each)?

WIAW: The Home Stretch

Well, this is (almost) it. Just two more finals, a day and a half and some packing before I don’t have to think about school for 5 weeks! I’ve been excited about Christmas break since at least Thanksgiving break and it’s finally here. This weekend was a little tease though–I went home on Friday and came back last night, mostly so I wouldn’t have to take back a crap ton of things when I drive home on Thursday night but also to be in a better study environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my one bedroom apartment all to myself but things can get a little cray-cray around the complex on the weekends so I thought it would be better to try to study at home.

Today’s WIAW features my eats from Tuesday–side note, I wasn’t able to snap a picture of dinner, so I’m reusing a similar-looking pic from this summer.

Breakfast: peanut chocolate chia 'pudding' topped with homemade almond flour banana bread and unsweetened coconut shreds.

Breakfast: peanut chocolate chia ‘pudding’ topped with homemade almond flour banana bread and unsweetened coconut shreds.

The pantry has been a little slack-a-lackin’ as of late (wow, did I really just say that?) so I’ve been whipping meals and snacks out of my butt. The microwave at home also just broke (how convenient) so instead of being able to make my usual protein microwave cake, I had to settle for a cold breakfast. Luckily I had some chia seeds on hand so I made a chia pudding overnight made with peanut flour, almond milk and raw chocolate protein powder. In the morning, I topped it with crumbles of an almond flour-based banana bread I made over the weekend (so good, BTW!) and unsweetened shredded coconut. This was actually really good, definite repeat breakfast. I can’t believe I used to hate coconut, it’s such a good topper!

Lunch: homemade sweet potato wedges with organic ketchup for dipping, raw cauliflower, homemade maple cinnamon cashews, peanut flour paste with Theo coconut dark chocolate square.

Lunch: homemade sweet potato wedges with organic ketchup for dipping, raw cauliflower, homemade maple cinnamon cashews, peanut flour paste with Theo coconut dark chocolate square.

The snackplate lunch returns! This was a very random one, but I like random. The sweet potato wedges were made on Monday night and I’ve gotta say, homemade is way better than store bought when it comes to sweet potato fries–I’m baking them myself from now on! The cauliflower is my latest veggie obsession, I always eat it raw and plain, which is totally weird but whatever. It’s good. I made the cashews over the weekend and again, never going back to store bought flavored nuts (ok, I probably will when I’m feeling lazy). I just mixed a tablespoon of maple syrup with a shake of cinnamon and a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan until it started to boil and then stirred in the cashews. This will totally work with all nuts, in case you hate cashews. I don’t love them, but they were all I had on hand and they were good with the maple and cinnamon.

Snack: dried pineapple eaten in the car.

Snack: dried pineapple eaten in the car.

I didn’t eat this entire bag, but I love it so much I could have! This stuff isn’t cheap (~$3.50 per bag) but it’s a pretty good deal for dried fruit with nothing added, and I always make it last almost a week. I only eat dried fruit that doesn’t have added sugars or oils or other crap, and let me tell you, it is beyond amazing! I’m calling it my crack in a bag, it is literally that good.

Dinner: Panera chopped Thai salad, without the chicken or wontons.

Dinner: Panera chopped Thai salad, without the chicken or wontons.

My mom and I grabbed Panera for dinner before she dropped me off. Panera is always a good, quick, healthy option and I pretty much always order the same thing: the Thai chopped salad minus the chicken and the wontons. I love it because A) it’s a huge bowl of fresh veggies and B) it has an addicting spicy-tangy peanut dressing and edamame. I almost went with the black bean soup because it was so cold on Tuesday, but I had to go with my favorite. Never disappoints.

Dessert (left to right clockwise): peanut flour/raw chocolate protein powder microwave cake topped with Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter; raw lemon pie macaroon; a few Vega cocoa-covered saviseeds.

Dessert (left to right clockwise): peanut flour/raw chocolate protein powder microwave cake topped with Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter; raw lemon pie macaroon; a few Vega cocoa-covered saviseeds.

I was feeling indecisive when snack time rolled around (but when am I not?) so I went with a mix of my favorite protein-packed snack of a protein microwave cake and healthy, delicious fats in the form of a raw macaroon and some dark chocolate-covered saviseeds. Those last two items were part of my most recent iHerb purchase, and they were both worth the price. The raw macaroons taste exactly like a lemon pie and are perfectly dense with just a hint of coconut. I love that they’re raw and basically made from coconut, almond flour, maple syrup and lemon juice. My kinda snack. The saviseeds have definitely grown on me–the first time I bit into one, I thought it had the oddest taste, but now they taste almost like what I remember peanut M&Ms tasting like. I’m glad I got the cocoa saviseeds because I have an obsession with all things dark chocolate. It’s a problem.

Have you ever tried a raw macaroon or saviseeds? What’s your favorite dried fruit? 

WIAW: Dead Week Staples

Well, guys, I’m in the midst of dead week here, and it’s kind of hitting me hard. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but I’m definitely a lot busier than normal and last-minute assignments are still pouring in. Side note: doesn’t the term ‘dead week’ just sound so much more awful than it is? Don’t get me wrong, it is a stressful time but I have yet to die in the 5 dead weeks I’ve experienced so far in college. Just sayin’.

Anyways, here are some of the things that have been keeping me sane during this crazy week full of papers, presentations, class evals and finals.

Looks weird, tastes good.

Looks weird, tastes good.

This week, I’ve been loving on the crepes more than the waffles. Errr…well…my attempt at crepes. I’m calling them ‘pancrepes’ because they’re not quite as thick as pancakes, but thicker than crepes. Either way, they’re really good and easy to make. Basically I just take 3 tbsp of buckwheat flour and mix it with stevia, then add enough almond milk to thin it out, swirl it around in a pan, cook and then stuff with lots of fillings, fold over and eat. Who knew crepes were so easy to make?

Lovin' on the raw kale salads.

Lovin’ on the raw kale salads.

A raw kale salad has been my lunch staple for the past few days and it’s not changing anytime soon…except when I run out of kale. I bought a new salad dressing over the weekend, a no-oil tangerine dressing that’s sweet and sour and perfect for mixing with kale, dried fruit, nuts, lentils, whatever other weird things I decide to throw in my salad.

I'm usually a sucker for seasonal things, but this was not good.

I’m usually a sucker for seasonal things, but this was not good.

I had such high hopes for this bar. I’ve been looking for it since last year, with no luck until a week or so ago. I haven’t had a Clif bar in probably a year because I just don’t care for the flavor anymore, and they’ve got too many ingredients for me, but I really wanted to try this. Unfortunately, it disappointed this peppermint-loving girl’s taste buds. It was not peppermint-y at all and I couldn’t even swallow the one bite I took. Sorry, Clif, but I just can’t do your products anymore.

Another variation on the classic stir-fry: orange-glazed tempeh, kale, cauliflower, quinoa, pineapple, pumpkin seeds.

Another variation on the classic stir-fry: orange-glazed tempeh, kale, cauliflower, quinoa, pineapple, pumpkin seeds.

Another thing I can’t really stomach anymore? Tempeh. I blame it on a few instances of stomach bugs over the summer that for some reason turned me off tempeh. I used to prefer it over tofu and ate it regularly, but I just can’t stand the taste of it anymore. I tried an orange-glazed version but only liked it when I ate it with the other parts of the stir-fry and not by itself. I’m thinking of going back to (organic) tofu again–I seem to really love it at the Whole Foods salad bars.

A delicious new breakfast: sprouted grain French toast topped with fresh fig and raw vanilla chai protein powder.

A delicious new breakfast: sprouted grain French toast topped with fresh fig and raw vanilla chai protein powder.

Up until this summer, I’d never had French toast. For real. Then I made this recipe, loved it and then forgot about it. Until I bought a new brand of sprouted bread. And I loved this version even more than the original one. I cut a slice of the sprouted bread down the middle (the slices are pretty big), toasted it first, soaked it in a mix of almond milk and raw vanilla chai protein powder, cooked it up and topped it with almond butter and a fresh fig. The key was definitely toasting the bread first–it made the French toast less soggy. Plus the flavor combo was totally winning. You can’t go wrong with fresh figs.

I just love Christmas trees!

I just love Christmas trees!

I couldn’t ignore Christmas, even amidst all the studying and stress! Decorating my mini tree and listening to Christmas music all day long have really helped me get through the past week and it’s reminded me how close I am to being home for Christmas. I think the season’s even more special now that I actually get to go home for Christmas.

A cheap girl's answer to pumpkin butter.

A cheap girl’s answer to pumpkin butter.

So I was always jealous of the bloggers who slathered their food with pumpkin butter. I craved that fall-ish spread but didn’t want to shell out $6 or more for a teeny jar. So I got creative, invested in this much cheaper (and larger) can of organic pumpkin pie mix that’s basically just pumpkin, cane juice and spices and realized that it’s exactly like pumpkin butter. But it’s better for your wallet and it lasts longer too. Win win!

Now this was a winner of a dinner: creamy kale enchiladas roja.

Now this was a winner of a dinner: creamy kale enchiladas rojas.

I haven’t been having too much success with recipe experimentation lately. But this dinner discovery definitely made up for it! I found the recipe for cashew kale enchiladas on this great vegan recipe blog but as per usual, I made a few changes to it and well, it’s a keeper.

Creamy Kale Enchiladas Rojas (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

sea salt and pepper, to taste

cayenne pepper, to tastes

kale, rinsed and shredded

4 gluten-free tortillas (I used Rudi’s gf spinach tortillas)

1 cup canned lentils, drained and rinsed

red vegan enchilada sauce (I used the Frontera brand)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large glass oven-safe cooking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. In a food processor, blend soaked cashews, nooch and spices with enough water to smooth out. Place tortillas in the cooking dish and fill with cashew cheese, shredded kale and lentils. Roll each tortilla tightly and place side by side. Pour enchilada sauce over the tortillas to cover them. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until sauce starts to soak into the tortillas. Serve with extra cashew cheese, fresh guacamole and salsa. Makes 4 enchiladas.

Have you ever had a crepe? What’s one thing you used to love that you just can’t stand to eat anymore?

Saturday Seven: Good Things Come in Threes

Hi everyone! So here we are again at the end of another week…and it’s almost halfway through April! I feel like I’ve said this a million times before, but time is really flying by! It’s almost kinda scary, considering how much stuff I still have to finish before I can say adios to this semester. Oh well, that’s pretty much the status quo for the end of any semester.

I haven’t done a Saturday Seven in…um, 2 months?! Yeah, let’s fix that right now!

1. The countdown is SO on!

I'm hoping this doesn't happen (photo from here).

As the title of this post suggests, there are only 3 weeks left in my semester. Technically, there are 4, but I only have one real final (the rest are papers or projects, which I kinda prefer) so I’m planning on peacing out the weekend before finals and just popping back up here on that Thursday to take that final. This is the first time I’ve ever had only one final in my college career so I am definitely going to appreciate it! Plus going home a few days early is always a plus.

2. I have a shopping addiction…

Obviously I suck at being creative!

Online shopping, that is. It’s where I get all these new-to-me food products that I never seen in stores or that are a little too expensive when I do see them. The latest purchases are from Amazon, where I got some Vega vanilla almondilla shake and go protein powder, xanthan gum and liquid vanilla stevia, all for under $40 and free shipping! I’m really excited to try the Vega powder because I’ve been on the hunt for some good, fairly inexpensive vegan protein powder that is free of soy protein, and this fits the bill! The xanthan gum is something I’ve been wanting for awhile, after seeing everyone post amazing-looking, super thick smoothies. And the stevia I’ve had before, but now it’s in a bigger bottle so I’ll get to use it more.

3. I’m actually being creative with my hair

I'm lovin' the side ponytail lately!

I almost never, I repeat NEVER put my hair up. But three times in the past week, I’ve put it in a side ponytail. Who am I? Twice this last week, it was curly (and in a side pony one of those days), then it was wavy for two days and finally straight for two days (once as a side pony). It’s actually been fun switching up my hairstyles, because I used to only have it wavy or straight, and down. I’m going to experiment with a side braid next.

4. It’s supposed to SNOW this weekend

I'm not looking forward to this again!

I already know that Colorado is a bizarre state, after living here for 17 years of my life. But this unusually warm spring has thrown me for a loop, and now I’m expecting it to continue to stay warm until October. Yeah, too bad it’s still April, one of the snowiest months here. We don’t get spring showers, we get spring blizzards. Luckily they are usually short-lived, and warmer temps return the next day, but snow is still no fun.

5. I’m becoming a Larabar lover

My second-ever Larabar...almost as good as the first.

I used to say I wasn’t a fan of Larabars–not sure why, as I’d never tried them before a couple of weeks ago. But I actually do love ’em…a lot! So far, I’ve tried the cappuccino (mmmm!) and the chocolate chip brownie, which reminded me of a chocolate brownie Pure bar, except with the addition of fair trade chocolate chips. It was good, but I think I’d stick with the Pure bar version in the future, since it has more protein. That’s my only complaint–most Larabar flavors have barely any protein. But I think some of the more unique flavors might be worth the lack of protein, and a few actually do have 5-7 grams, so it’s not too big of an issue. I just love how simple they are, yet really tasty!

6. I’m really missing the food at home

One of my favorite lunches over spring break: curried sweet potato pinto burger, kale chips, fresh mango.

Yeah, dorm room food isn’t cutting it anymore. Every time I go home for the weekend, I remember how much I love being able to cook for myself. And no, the microwave and blender don’t count. This is another big reason why I’m so ready for it to be summer–I can finally cook again. Plus I love summery foods, like berries, asparagus (okay, this is more springy but whatevs) and grilled veggie burgers so that makes cooking even more exciting.

7. I’m all ready for next semester

Registering for classes is always really stressful, but it wasn't too awful this time around.

Next semester is going to be SO different than my past 4 semesters have been. Mostly because I’ll be living off-campus for the first time, and I’ll be taking the bus everyday to classes. So I’ve gotta learn the bus routes and schedules. I also tried to schedule my classes in a way that would either give me big breaks (so I can catch a bus back to my apartment) or really small breaks so I can stay on campus in between them. I’ll definitely have to do more meal planning, even more than I already do with my current schedule, but I’m excited for a change. I think I’ll feel even more independent than I currently do.

Do you like to change up your hairstyles? What’s your favorite or least favorite Larabar flavor?

Christmas Came Early!

Hi everyone! I can’t believe how close we are to Christmas, it’s craaaaaaaazy! I am so excited for the big day, of course, but also to finally be free of school. I have one more final tomorrow afternoon and then I’m home free–literally! College is super awesome because they give you a month off. Honestly, that’s all I really want for Christmas, but some presents are a nice bonus 😉

Because I’m obviously in the Christmas spirit, I decided to share a few things from my life lately that are somewhat holiday-related. First up is (part of) a survey, from  Alexandra and Tara. I love doing surveys and a Christmas one is even better! I kinda shortened it so this post wouldn’t be quite as monstrous. I also was awarded the Versatile Blogger award by Lindsay, which was super sweet of her, and since I’m doing this survey, it kinda counts as my seven random facts, right? Either that or I’m just too lazy to come up with seven more things about me 😀

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

I’m gonna go with eggnog, but I like the Silk Nog, not the regular way-too-sweet-and-rich stuff. The Nog is so good without being too much.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

He definitely wraps them, but his handwriting and wrapping paper is different, so you can tell who it’s from 😉

3. Colored or white lights on the tree/house?

In a perfect world, I would have pink lights on everything! But I think white looks so classy and wintery on houses.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Ermmmm, no. I always think it’s super awkward if there is mistletoe for some reason.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving. We like to have them up early, and don’t take them down until sometime in January!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (besides dessert)?

Gosh, I was totally going to say a dessert since that’s the best part! We don’t always have the same thing, but I remember last year we had chili lime pasta with grilled shrimp and it was sooooo good!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

My dad used to always read short Christmas stories to us on Christmas Eve right before we’d go to bed–I used to fall asleep though!

8. What’s on your Christmas wishlist?

Lots of clothes, because I’m a total shopaholic and also a vegan cookbook.

9. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?

Nope, never! We always save them til Christmas morning and we try not to rush through opening them. We open stockings first, then have breakfast and get dressed and then finally open presents. When I was little, I always just wanted to open all my presents right away!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

The one in my dorm is tiny, but it has ornaments that match my bedding–so it’s pink, red, purple and orange! The one in my bedroom at home has blue lights and aqua and silver and green ornaments and the main tree has a ton of random ornaments that we put up every year. My favorite one is a mini book about Humpty Dumpty–don’t ask 😉

11. Snow–love it or dread it?

I always love the first snow because it’s so beautiful, but I hate when it sticks around and gets all dirty. I also love snow on Christmas, but it rarely happens here. We almost always get snow on Easter in Colorado, though, which is super bizarre!

12. Real tree or fake tree?

We’ve never had a real tree because my mom has allergy issues with plants, but I think our fake one looks just fine! Plus we can reuse it year after year!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I got a doll house when I was like 3 or 4 and I was soooooo excited about it! I loved playing with it for years afterwards.

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas to you?

Being with my amazing family and remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season (so cheesy, I know, but true!)

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Peppermint bark! I’m on a mission to veganize it this year, so check back for a recipe hopefully soon! I’m also kinda in love with the festive garland bars I made over Thanksgiving break, so those are a definite must-make-again.

I think I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I got some free goodies from iHerb just for reviewing their products on my blog! How nice of them! I just got the package the other day and I swear I thought it was Christmas morning, I was so excited to rip into it!

Delicious free food is a great early Christmas present!

They sent me an Earnest Eats baked whole food bar in choco peanut butter, a jar of Artisana walnut butter with cashews and a 15-pack variety bag of organic lollipops! If that isn’t a great package I don’t know what is! The great part about all these products is that they’re completely vegan (even the lollipops) and have awesome ingredients. So far, I’ve only tried the walnut butter, which is subtle but sweet and nutty. I love having a new nut butter to add to my growing collection, which now includes crunchy almond butter, almond peanut cashew butter and homemade coffee maple pecan butter! I’ll let you guys know what I think of the other two products once I try them out. Thanks again so much, iHerb!

And finally, another early Christmas “present”…my last sweet potato! You can bet I savored this bad boy–topped with vegan chocolate chips and peanut flour paste. Chocolate chips sound like a weird topping, but trust me, it was sooooo good, since they got all melty on top of the hot potato!

Now I want to have a sweet potato again...

What was your favorite gift ever? How do you top your sweet potato?

Random Ramblings During Finals

Heeeeeeeeeeey all! What is up? I’m so glad the week is over–I’m ready to spend this weekend chilling at home before heading back up for a couple days of finals and what-not. I’ve already got one of of the way (yay!) with just 2 more left next week and a take-home one. I lucked out this time with finals for sure.

I basically have no brain cells left, and no motivation (thanks, school!) so my next few posts before break might be kinda sketchy. And by that, I mean pretty random. But random is good, and I hope you think it is too because that’s what I want to post!

A lot of people have shared their site stats in the past and I thought I’d jump on that bandwagon because I have some pretty hilarious search terms just within the past week or so. I’m not sure which one takes the cake for being the weirdest–I’ll let you decide that for yourselves!

  • Little girl leggings. Okay, you guys, you caught me. I do shop in the kids section (basically just Abercrombie Kids) sometimes…
  • Ultra nerd. You knew that already though.
  • Scrawny Christmas tree photos. Ummmm, what?????
  • Hummus myths. What, that it tastes awesome? ‘Cause newsflash, it actually does! That’s not a myth!
  • Good. Pooped out and ready for my weekend break haha. You? I feel ya. And thanks for asking.
  • Naked Hollister model. As yummy as that sounds, let’s keep it PG, ‘k?
  • Foodies love Medjool dates. Yes. Yes they do.
  • Why did I born. Obviously not to be an English major.
  • “Gun show” brides. I would actually really love to know what this is.

Yeah, okay, some of those were just too bizarre to even comprehend.I’m just gonna wrap up this quickie of a post with a few of my favorite fashion/beauty inspirations from Pinterest. But first, a little thank you to Abby of iHerb! She saw my mention of their great services on one of my posts and now she’s sending me a little package of some free stuff. Can’t wait to see what I get (and review it, of course!)

I want sparkly eyeshadow so bad!

My obsession with tights/boots continues with these cute patterned version.

A hair bow made out of...hair? Yes please.

These booties are so fierce!

I love the boots/leggings/long sweater trend for winter.

Who could pass up a Santa mani just in time for Christmas?

What is the weirdest search term you’ve ever had for your blog, or from the ones I shared? Anyone else a Pinterest addict?