WIAW: Flooding, Fedoras and Fun

Sometimes, you can’t do much better than the classic alliterative title! And with that, here’s another WIAW…

Flash flood aftermath, day 2.

Flash flood aftermath, day 2.

My city is just getting hit hard with natural disasters, after last summer’s fire, this summer’s fire (which hit even closer to home for me and my family) and now flash flooding on the southwest side of town. We all knew it would happen eventually with the burn scar in the foothills meaning no vegetation to slow down rainfall, but no one imagined it would happen after just half an inch of rain fell in half an hour! Luckily, they were able to clean up the streets and businesses that were affected very quickly and by the time I made it over there on Tuesday, it looked normal, aside from tons of mud near the creek. The perks of being in TV news is that you’re always the first to know about things, and you can always get a close look at whatever happened, which is good for a nosy person like me!

I wanna be a localvore!

I wanna be a localvore!

I really love this new campaign Whole Foods has going about focusing on local food. I’ve become passionate about buying local, and even though it’s hard to get really good local produce in CO, Whole Foods does stock local produce when its available and a lot of the products I love to buy, like Larabars and raw kimchi, are produced in my state! Once I move to a better produce state (ahem, CA!) I hope to exclusively buy locally-grown produce.

Ah-mazing stuff.

Ah-mazing stuff.

And speaking of local, I happened across this gem on a random trip to the Whole Foods I rarely frequent. It’s smaller than the one I prefer and farther from where I live but I wanted to see if they had anything different. I’m so glad I did, because I have yet to see this new brand at the WF I usually go to. I spotted the “I’m a local” tag and the awesome flavor combos and was instantly intrigued. I mean, what other brand has cherry vanilla almond butter, or blueberry cinnamon walnut butter? I decided to get the dark chocolate coconut one since I knew I’d like it, but now I wish I’d gotten the espresso hazelnut one too! The best part is, there’s no added sugar aside from dates and the only added oil is organic coconut oil, which is the healthiest kind. I’ve never been a fan of the flavored nut butters that have added sugars and gross oils that some bloggers like, but now that I have a cleaner, more natural flavored nut butter option I don’t have to go without!

A good look for me?

A good look for me?

If you think this hat looks too small for me, that’s because it is. It was technically found in the little boys’ section at Target, but lets be honest, I rock it better than any little boy would 😉 Ok, maybe not, but my sister and I had way too much fun at Target the other night. Insider’s tip: if you ever want to joke around in Target and generally just act immature, the best time to go is after 7 pm. Fewer people are there so you can be obnoxious and take silly photos without anyone caring.

The new Starbucks Refresher!

The new Starbucks Refresher!

I took advantage of the half off Refreshers deal at Starbucks last weekend and tried the new Valencia orange flavor. Not bad, it reminded me of Sunny D actually, but it wasn’t my favorite (I prefer the lime). I’d love to mix this with vodka or something for a citrus-y cocktail though 😀

WF salad bar for the millionth time.

WF salad bar for the millionth time.

After going without it for 3 weeks, I caved and got some Whole Foods salad bar…twice in one weekend. I know I have problems, but I wanted a break from it for awhile to see if they started rotating in new things and they did! I’m now in love with these homemade bread-and-butter pickles they have (they’re obviously fresh!) and their addictive curry roasted nut mix. Obviously, I got some greenage in the form of romaine lettuce, and I got my favorite curried tofu salad because Whole Foods does tofu right and I realized I’ll never be able to make it as good so I gave up on buying it. Oh, and get this: one of the nights I got the salad bar was with my sister (before said Target outing). The weird thing is, she loves the salad bar as much as I do, but for very different reasons–the macaroni and cheese, and the Caesar salad. Sometimes, I think we come from two different families 😉 Just kidding, but we eat completely differently, which is funny that we both have a place we love.

Random taco salad for dinner.

Random taco salad for dinner.

After being busy at my internship, I haven’t felt much like throwing anything together that takes more than 5 minutes. I’ve also been craving salads, because all I have time to scarf at my internship is a Larabar, some berries/grapes and baby carrots. I’ve still been sticking to mostly raw, but I threw in some navy beans mixed with nooch and garlic gomasio (basically garlic, sea salt and sesame seeds–soooooo addictive!) and called it a well-balanced dinner…with some water and watermelon on the side.

My favorite right now. I could eat this. all. day. long.

My favorite right now. I could eat this. all. day. long.

Speaking of watermelon, it’s my favorite fruit at the moment. It’s just the best when it’s straight from the fridge, especially on a hot day. I hope summer never ends, so I can eat watermelon forever.

Silly seesta time at Target.

Silly seesta time at Target.

Sometimes, it’s good to be spontaneous and just enjoy life. I love spending time with my sister because she brings out the best in me. We always have fun together and I’m gonna miss her to pieces when I graduate in the fall. Only we could have fun wearing kids hats and taking embarrassing pics of us wearing bras over our clothes (don’t ask)!

For those of you who live in Canada, I hope you had a nice Canada Day on Monday and for my fellow American readers, I hope you enjoy Independence Day tomorrow! My plans for the day are going to a parade and having water balloon fights with my family…fun stuff!

What have you been up to lately? What have you been eating?

 

Speechless

It’s been hard coming back to the blog world, after taking a week off for vacation and then returning to the real world. But something has made it harder than it would have normally been.

I don’t know how many of you have been watching the news lately, but a fire here in Colorado has started to make national news. It’s not just any fire, though. It’s the most destructive fire in Colorado history after just 4 days of burning…and it’s in my city. Not just in my city, but it’s where my family and I used to live, literally just a year ago.

All forest and wildfires break my heart, because sadly I’ve seen far too many of them so close to home in my lifetime. But the Black Forest Fire hits even closer to home, because I know the area so well. My family and I lived in Black Forest for 8 years, and we loved it, but we ultimately moved because the drive into town (particularly for my dad who worked across town) was getting to be too much. I lived there through half of my middle school years, all of high school and half of college, so it really was like home to me, even when I went off to college and only came back once a month or so on weekends.

A photo of our old deck, about a month before we moved into town.

A photo of our old deck, about a month before we moved into town.

I only remember one other move in my lifetime, when I was 12 and we were moving out to the forest. I was excited for that, because the lot our new house was on was gorgeous, and great for an outdoors-loving kid like me. My sister and I enjoyed exploring our backyard, which was literally 5 acres, covered with ponderosa pine trees. It reminded me of camping up in the mountains, but it was all ours. We were truly lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

I was sad when we had to move just over a year ago. I loved having my own bathroom, a huge bedroom but mostly, the trees I got to see outside my window every day. Moving back into town was a shock, not just because I had to move into a smaller room, but the scenery wasn’t the same.

One of my favorite pictures taken in 'our forest', just 2 years before the fire hit.

One of my favorite pictures taken in ‘our forest’, just 2 years before the fire hit.

I never would have imagined that such a destructive fire would hit the place I once called home, let alone just a year after we left it. I’ve dealt with fires before, namely the Waldo Canyon fire on the west side of my city last year, but this new fire just broke my heart. Not only did we once live out there, but my family knows a lot of other people who still live out there, and they were evacuated from their homes.

As I’m typing this on Friday, at least 400 homes have been completely destroyed. Up to 41,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, and are having to stay in shelters, hotels or with friends. The sad part is, some of these people may never get to return to the place they called home.

Though I don’t live out there anymore, the fire still weighs heavy on my mind. I worry about family friends who were evacuated, trails and parks that my family still liked to visit even after we moved, and our own house that we left last summer. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if we had still been there, and were forced to evacuate and maybe even lose our house. I’m so thankful that we left when we did. And being an intern at a local news station has made the last few days even more stressful. I got back from vacationing in the mountains where a fire sparked in Rocky Mountain National Park on our last day there, to a massive plume of smoke hanging over my city. And the other day, I returned to my internship to a whirl of activity and stress as the station has been broadcasting basically 24 hours a day about the fire. It’s hard to escape the fire coverage, and it makes me feel so bad for the people who still aren’t sure what’s happened to their house.

Smoke from the Big Meadows Fire in RMNP.

Smoke from the Big Meadows Fire in RMNP.

I’ve definitely rambled on more than I meant to, and I’m sorry for getting into such a personal post on my first day back, but any prayers and good thoughts are appreciated as my city and other parts of the state (and other states too!) are dealing with huge wildfires.

Have you ever dealt with any natural disasters near you? 

WIAW: The Random Salad Chef

Like a lot of bloggers out there, I love me a good salad. Not just any lame rendition of greens and too much dressing will do, though–it’s gotta be flavorful and unique. There are a couple restaurants that actually make some pretty awesome salads (like Panera and Chipotle) and Whole Foods always has some amazing versions at their hot and cold bars but making my own almost always beats them out because I control what goes in…and I can make them huge to last for several days! Lately I’ve been feeling pretty creative when it comes to salads and I made a couple in big batches so I can enjoy them again and again. And luckily, they’re delicious enough that I want to eat them daily!

Breakfast: peanut flour chocolate chip waffle topped with sunny “raw”nola and honey vanilla agave.

I’ve been on a pancake kick lately but I’ve been wanting to switch it up so I dug out the waffle maker and decided to wing a high protein waffle. I based it off my peanut flour pancake recipe and it actually turned out almost perfect. Sure, it was a little thin and crispy but I loved it, especially with a few dark chocolate chips thrown in there and topped with my sunny “raw”nola and agave.

Lunch: southwestern style pasta salad, baby carrots, half a raw brownie, fresh blueberries.

This pasta salad was not totally thought out, but it worked. It’s been hotter than hell here lately (in the upper 90s, yikes!) so I’ve been wanting chilled dinners. I boiled some quinoa pasta (I love it more than whole wheat pasta and it’s gluten free), cooled it off and mixed it with pinto beans, chopped sweet peppers, cilantro and a homemade dressing made with a little olive oil and chili lime seasoning. It made a huge batch–I had some for dinner on Sunday, lunch on Monday and I still have a ton left. Of course, I topped it with some nooch, aka my obsession and served it with a delicious raw brownie that I froze, baby carrots and blueberries. Perfect summer lunch.

Pool time is where it’s at!

Kiddie pool time, that is!

Speaking of being hot, we just invested in an inflatable pool for our new backyard. My sis and I tried sitting in it for awhile on Monday but the water was a little too freezing. We ended up just settling for putting our feet in it and it helped cool us down, at least for a little while.

Snackplate: kettle corn, sweet potato multigrain chips, frozen pineapple, Chocolove coffee crunch chocolate square, maple macadamias, peanut flour paste.

Nothing crazy or new here, just a different variation on my typical snackplate.

Hopefully I wasn’t a hot mess like I felt I was…

Dinner: Moroccan quinoa salad, unpictured carrot cake smoothie.

This salad was more thought out and actually turned out pretty delicious. I dubbed it the Moroccan salad because the flavors seemed Moroccan-ish but what do I know?!

Moroccan Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup raisins, golden or regular

handful green kale, washed and patted dry

1 medium sweet potato

1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

cinnamon, hot chili powder, curry powder, sea salt (to taste)

sunflower seeds, to garnish

Place chickpeas, raisins and kale in a large bowl or container and set aside. Cook sweet potato in microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until partially cooked but still firm. Slice into thin rounds, brush with a little olive oil and some spices and place on oiled grill (or grill pan) for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato gets grill marks. Make quinoa (boil 1/2 cup of water, add in rinsed quinoa, turn down heat and let simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes) and then stir in with chickpea mixture. Once sweet potato is cooked, chop slices into quarters and add in with chickpeas and quinoa. In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, apple cider vinegar and spices until it forms a thin paste (add water if needed to thin out). Mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge for at least half an hour. Top with sunflower seeds. Makes 4-5 servings.

Dessert: peanut butter Puffins in almond milk, sunny “raw”nola, almond peanut cashew butter.

Cereal is the best way to end the day, obviously!

Oh, and before I forget–please keep Colorado in your thoughts and prayers. There have been way too many wildfires here within the past month and a lot of people have been displaced temporarily or even lost their homes. There are large fires burning near both of the cities I call home (my college town and my hometown) and it’s been kinda scary watching the news lately. Thanks for thinking of us!

One of the fires, only 30-ish miles from my house 😦

What’s the most random salad you’ve ever made? How have you been keeping cool (if it’s hot where you are)?

BIG News!

So this weekend is gonna be filled with a few “firsts” for me! Tomorrow is my first day volunteering at the library for the kids summer reading program. I went to the brief training the other day but I didn’t really learn a whole lot about what I’m actually going to be doing, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m excited but also kinda not. It’s from 12-2 every Saturday until the end of July, and while it’s not a huge deal to be giving up 2 hours of my week, I just wish it was during a different time block. I’m a little strict when it comes to meal times. I usually eat lunch between 12 and 1, but obviously that won’t be happening since we’re not allowed to bring food with us. There is no way I’ll be hungry before I leave and by the time I get back, it’ll be close to snacktime, so I’m not sure if any lunch will be happening these next 9 Saturdays. I’m okay with that, but my parents are another story. I’m still recovering from anorexia (it’s been 2 years since I was diagnosed) and they still tend to watch my eating kinda closely. They trusted me during my first year of college to eat on my own regularly, but since I’ve been home I feel like every bite I put in my mouth is being monitored. I’m pretty sure they’d freak out if I went without lunch, even if it’s just for 9 days. We’ll see…

Sunday is even more exciting, because my dad and I are registered for our first-ever bike race! I’m not sure if it’s exactly a race, but it involves a lot of other riders and it supports a few charities, so it’s not just an impromptu ride like we usually do. We signed up for the 7-miler, which was the shortest distance, because the next-shortest one (25 miles) seems a bit too long. I think the most we’ve ever ridden is 10 miles, so the 7-miler shouldn’t be too hard. Based on my lame informal training plan, I’ve been consistently riding a little over 2 miles in 10 minutes, so if I keep up my pace of 13.5 mi/hr than the race should only take about 35-40 minutes. Well, I guess that depends on if I’m riding behind someone who’s slow 😉

I’m just hoping for nice weather (aka no wind) on Sunday so the ride will go smoothly. I rode two miles up and down my street (1 mile each way) today and I was planning on riding 3 but the wind was too much, plus I was dehydrated, my butt hurt (stupid bike seat!) and it smelled like smoke outside because of all the forest fires in the state. It wasn’t my best ride ever, but I think I’ll be fine on Sunday.

A goofy picture of me, just because

Q: What are you up to this weekend?