Forever 21

Finally 21. I usually don’t feel different on my birthday, but this year I did. I feel more mature, more independent. Not just because I can legally drink but also because I’m just a few months away from graduating college. It almost feels like yesterday that I started college as a scared little freshman, and now I’m about to embark on my adult life. Weird.

21 was a birthday I’ve only really looked forward to in the past year or so. Before that, I vowed I would never drink–because the few sips I sampled of my parents’ drinks tasted gross to me. That’s not to say that now I’m 21 I’m going to become a crazy partier. I have no desire to get drunk or drink cheap alcohol. I would much rather sip a glass of white wine while watching a movie at home, or enjoy a fun cocktail at a fancy restaurant.

I did drink on my 21st, but my birthday was more than just about the alcohol. This birthday marked the last time (most likely) I’ll be living at home to celebrate. It’s bittersweet looking back on the past 21 birthdays (obviously the first few I don’t remember)–going to waterparks on my birthday, spending it by the pool in the mountains, watching the Summer Olympics, always going out to eat with my family/friends. I’m going to miss this part of my life.

As I said, my 21st was a lot more than being able to drink in a restaurant–which I definitely did, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I started the day as usual–waking up, checking my phone, enjoying some sweet potato-Sunwarrior-banana softserve with homemade magic shell (hey, had to make it special for my birthday!) and getting ready. I did wake up still sick, with a still-sore throat and irritated eyes, but I’m sick of letting little things ruin my day, so I’m really glad I didn’t let lingering sick feelings make my birthday less than special. And what made it that much more special was the decorations I found once I got downstairs. My parents have always been great about making our birthdays feel fun, no matter what we end up doing, and I’m really grateful for that!

bday decos

Starbucks and shopping were on the agenda…with none other than my sister! Even though we’re really different, we have a lot of things in common–namely our love for the ‘bucks, shopping for clothes (especially at Forever 21), Whole Foods salad bar and alt rock music. All of which we enjoyed together on my birthday 😀 I’m seriously gonna miss that girl when I graduate and I still can’t believe she’s just a year away from college herself! Anyways, we had the best time drinking iced coffees, yelling at stupid drivers, finding the perfect things to buym laughing at the dumbest things and marveling at the giant Whole Foods we ate lunch at.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making my own birthday dessert. I’d never done that before, but I really wanted to make something that my family and I could all enjoy together. I went with this raw coffee cheesecake and it.was.delicious. My dad even said it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made, and he’s a total dessert freak! It’s definitely a great dessert to make for raw vegans and non-raw vegans alike, especially if you love coffee. Aaaaaaaand…I got to enjoy a piece for two nights afterwards, so a total winner!

Dinner was what I was looking forward to all day though (other than shopping obviously!) I’d been wanting to go to a tapas place in town since I’d heard they had lot of vegan options, and the fact that they’re 100% gluten free was icing on the cake. I wasn’t sure if my family’d like it, especially my sister who’s pretty picky and likes typical teen food, but they loved it just as much as I did!

Tapas are basically small dishes generally in a Mediterranean or Spanish style that are meant to be shared with others. I’d never had tapas before but since I love eating little bits of a lot of different things (and Mediterranean food!) I knew I’d like it. My family got some dishes with meat or cheese, but I was still able to try a lot of the things we got, like warm olives (love olives!), fresh garlic bread (the best garlic bread I’ve ever had, and GF too!), patatas bravas, artichoke and onion salad and a gazpacho ‘shooter’. Everything was so fresh and tasty–definitely my kinda place. And their sangria was amazing as well. We got two carafes–one was the sangria del dia, which was pineapple orange with white wine and my personal favorite, and the other was a traditional blood orange sangria with white wine. I got carded (of course) but I loved the experience of being able to enjoy a quality drink in a nice atmosphere. And sangria is now my favorite drink!

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

But the best surprise of the night was when our waiter found out it was my birthday and he let me pick out a dessert for free. I had already made a dessert for us at home, but the chocolate tasting plate sounded too good to pass up, so I ended up sharing that with everyone. It was basically 8 small squares of dark chocolate ranging from 65-85% cacao and it was paired with some blueberries and Marcona almonds. It was some good chocolate, and it went really well with the berries and almonds. So glad I went for the dessert instead of opting out just because I had dessert already planned!

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

Back at home, I opened presents and then we had my birthday cake cheesecake. A few of my presents were total surprises, like the denim shirtdress and Zoku pop maker, but everything I got was something I’ve been wanting for awhile. You know you’re a foodie when you get excited for a popsicle maker and vegetable peelers 😉 And the raw ‘cookbook’ has some really delicious looking recipes so hopefully I can share some with you guys soon! The purse and clothes will also get a lot  of use–this girl can never have too many purses or outfits!

My birthday was one of the best birthdays I’ve had, and it wasn’t just because I got presents I loved or because I could finally order a drink in a restaurant. It was more about the memories I made with my family and the happiness I got from being able to enjoy one last birthday with them.

What made your last birthday special? What’s your ultimate birthday dessert? 

The Best Products (I’ve Tried) of 2012

Can you guys believe we’re just a little over two weeks away from a new year? Craziness. When it gets to be this time of year, all I’m thinking about is how excited I am for Christmas, enjoying my time off from school and all the things I accomplished over the past year.

And if you’re a foodie like I am, you might also be reminiscing about the new food you’ve tried over the past 12 months…I know I am! With that said, here are a few of the best things I’ve tried since January 2012!

Zevia

zevia ginger root beer

Before I sucked it up and finally bought my first (overpriced) can of this amazing stuff in May, I’d heard lots of good things about it. I’ve never been a big soda fan, but I used to enjoy diet sodas on occasion. So having an all-natural diet soda was a definite treat! Since then, I’ve tried the ginger root beer, cream soda, cola, orange and lime cola (the orange is the only gross one) and I can’t wait to try more. Like a lot of things I love, these are very pricey so I buy a 6 pack when they’re on sale or maybe once a month at most and make them last.

Kabocha squash

kabocha, peanut flour sauce, coconut flour micro muffin crumbles, frozen grapes, dark mint chocolate, justins vanilla AB

This was another blogger-hyped product that I was on the lookout for since last fall. I didn’t find one until this October and haven’t found it very often since (but I stocked up on two last weekend!), but it’s my favorite squash by far (other than delicata). I prefer the texture and taste over any other and it’s delicious with peanut flour paste, almond butter or ketchup.

Larabars

pineapple upside down cake larabar, fresh pineapple, baby carrots

I’ve seen these around for awhile, but because of my previous fear of fat, I never gave them a try until March but they’ve become my bar of choice since then. I love the flavor variety and the fact that they’re made from whole foods, like dates and nuts. My favorite flavors are cappuccino, pineapple upside down cake, peanut butter chocolate chip, chocolate chip brownie and the Uber banana bread.

Vega products

vega cocoa kissed saviseed

Can you believe I never tried Vega products until earlier this year? Vegan blasphemy, for sure. They have good quality (though expensive) protein powders, simple protein bars and I’m obsessed with their latest product, the dark chocolate-covered saviseed which is packed with protein and Omega-3s.

Cashew cream

raw key lime 'cheesecake'

This stuff is incredibly versatile, and easy to make. Basically you just soak raw cashews overnight or for several hours, and then it’s ready for blending. I’ve made a raw cheesecake (see above), nacho ‘cheez’ dip, mascarpone ‘cream’ and savory cashew cream filling–it really is good for anything!

Coconut milk ice cream

so delicious nsa chocolate

Even if you eat dairy, you need to try this vegan ice cream, it is out-of-this-world good! The healthy coconut fat makes it incredibly rich but not overly indulgent, and stores like Whole Foods carry a million and one flavors so you don’t have to feel limited to chocolate and vanilla. So Delicious and NadaMoo are my favorite brands, but there are definitely more out there–there’s a variety for everyone!

Kale

kale wraps

I think I actually tried kale for the first time last year (it was when I first tried the Whole Foods salad bars) but I didn’t fall in love with it until this year. I know a lot of people say it’s bitter, and it can be, but I’ve found lots of ways to make it tasty and craveable. Homemade kale chips (they’re best made in the dehydrator), crispy sauteed kale, ‘pizza’ kale (kale cooked with pasta sauce and olives), raw massaged kale salads, kale/almond milk smoothies…I’ll eat it almost any way, and I try to eat it at least once a day! Bonus: it’s an amazing superfood.

Coconut flour (or really, coconut everything)

coconut flour carrot cake

I used to say I hated coconut, partly because I didn’t like the texture of shredded coconut but also because I was deathly afraid of the fat in it. I avoided saturated fats like the plague but once I became pretty much 100% vegan, I realized that plant-based saturated fats were totally healthy and necessary. One of the first coconut products I bought was coconut flour–I wasn’t sure if I’d like it but I do! I really love it mixed with baking powder and almond milk and microwaved for a minute to make a crumbly coconut flour muffin but I also want to experiment more with it in baked goods. It’s hard to bake it into things without using eggs but I want to try it out.

Kelp noodles

coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry

If you’ve ever seen these before, they’ve probably grossed you out just a little. They weirded me out too the first time I bought them but I really wanted to try a raw noodle substitute and I’d heard good things. Unlike shirataki noodles, these are made from a seaweed so they’re more of a whole food, they don’t smell weird and they soak up the flavors in anything. They make the perfect low-cal sub for pasta and I especially love them mixed with pasta sauce, nooch, a crumbled veggie burger, kale and olives. I also included them in a stirfry the other night and they were amazing–recipe coming soon!

Garden of Life RAW protein powder

pumpkin chip cinnamon roll with vanilla chai protein frosting

I’ve tried a lot of vegan protein powders, from the (not-so-good) cheapo soy-based powders to the delicious but expensive Vega and Sunwarrior. But I think Garden of Life is my fave. First, it’s made from a blend of raw sprouted plant-based proteins, like quinoa and sunflower seed. It’s also pretty high in protein (17 grams per serving) and is a bit cheaper than some other higher-quality brands, it’s sweetened only with stevia but best of all, it’s delicious. I love both the chocolate and vanilla chai (only available at Whole Foods) flavors and the lovely team at Garden of Life was nice enough to send me some samples of the regular vanilla too so I can’t wait to try that one! Look for a review soon and possibly a giveaway in early 2013!

Figs

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

It actually makes me really sad that fig season is over–it became my new favorite fruit over the past few months. It pairs so well with both sweet and savory things and though they are a bit expensive, they’re worth every dollar. They’re out of season now but at least I can settle for dried figs!

What are some new foods you’ve tried (and loved) in 2012)? What’s your favorite squash variety?

Random Ramblings

Hi guys! How was your weekend? As you might be able to tell, I’m a little lacking on blog content lately but I’ve been itching to post something so luckily the lovely Amanda recently posted a fun survey over on her blog and as per usual, I can’t resist taking part in surveys. So here goes!

A is for age: 20, baby! I kinda want to be 21 already though because I’m excited to feel more adult-like. I’m not planning on drinking all the time or anything but it’ll be nice to be able to legally order a nice cocktail in a fancy restaurant 😀

B is for breakfast today: raw chocolate protein powder topped with cacao nibs, cinnamon Puffins and apple slices. I wish I could have had one of my homemade waffles but I was still at home with my fam and my waffle maker was 2 1/2 hours away.

C is for currently craving: A giant healthy vegan cookie and some cute knee-high riding boots. Random, but I am both a foodie and a fashionista!

D is for dinner tonight: I had Panera with my mom, the Thai chopped salad without chicken or wontons, and a side of their black bean soup. That salad is the bomb, I never order anything different!

E is for favorite type of exercise: Either tennis with my dad, or a major shopping spree. I just went on one this weekend and while I didn’t do much damage to my wallet, my feet were killin’ me after a couple hours of walking around malls. It didn’t help that I wore (adorable) wedge ankle booties…

F is for irrational fear: I have a lot, but one of my main ones is dying from a brain aneurysm. I get headaches a lot (once or twice a week, usually) and while they’re never usually big ones, I do get some that don’t go away after taking medicine and it freaks me out.

G is for gross food: I’m a picky eater, but I’ve gotten better about it. Ironically, going vegan has made me more adventurous. But now I just think gross things are anything meat and dairy-related (and I’ve always hated eggs) and all the unnatural ingredients and preservatives in most packaged food. I’m such a label reader, but there are just some things I’d rather not put in my body, vegan or not.

H is for hometown: Reppin’ the Phoenix, AZ area 😉 I only lived there for the first 2 years of my life but when I went back for vacation a few years ago, I fell in love and I want to move back to the land of cactus and 110 degree weather. Some people might call me crazy but living in CO and AZ all my life I couldn’t live anywhere with high humidity. I just love it dry and hot. I’m such a desert rat haha!

I is for something important: My family. I know they would do anything for me, and they already do so much. My mom in particular is extremely supportive–for the past 3 years I’ve been going to college 2 1/2 hours away from home, she’s been willing to drive 5 hours straight 1 or 2 weekends per month to come bring me home for the weekend. She is seriously amazing.

J is for current favorite jam: I like the fruit-sweetened superfruits jam from Crofter. Such a good blend of fruits, and no extra sugar!

K is for kids: Someday, I’d love to have a set of twin girls. I just think it would be so fun to have twins! Actually, I want to be a twin…

L is for current location: The couch in my second-floor apartment, with a zebra-striped blanket on my lap and the TV set to Breaking Amish. Such a great show. (P.S. I wrote this post on Sunday night)

M is for the most recent way you spent money: At Whole Foods, restocking my fridge and cupboards for the week. I spent a lot, but I got a crap ton of produce which is great!

N is for something you need: A break from school. Luckily, Thanksgiving break is in T-minus 15 school days…

O is for occupation: Junior year broadcast journalism student by day, blogger and part-time weather anchor by night. Someday I want to be a full-time weather anchor, preferably at a TV station in CO, AZ or CA.

P is for pet peeve: People on bikes. I’m all for bike riding for recreation or competition or whatever, but when you’re a college student riding a bike like you’re invincible, that’s when I get pissed. When I’m driving, they run through the red lights so I always have to be watching, and they don’t have lights on them at night. Stupid. And when I’m walking, I have to listen to the telltale sign of their chains to make sure I don’t become roadkill. Seriously, they ride all over the streets and sidewalks here. It’s nuts.

Q is for a quote: “She doesn’t even go here!” Mean Girls, anyone? Sorry, I’m hopelessly obsessed with that movie.

R is for a random fact about you: According to my dad, I have weird problems. I get the most random pains and sensations all over my body and when I tell him about it, he always laughs and says that. My latest issue is that the top of my left foot hurts when I point it, and I have to bend it against the floor to make it feel better. So weird!

S is for favorite healthy snack: Dry roasted edamame, flavored dark chocolate squares (give me anything mint flavored and I’m happy), frozen grapes, sweet potatoes with almond butter and protein powder microwave cakes. I try to make all my snacks somewhat healthy though!

T is for favorite treat: Food-wise, I love coconut milk ice cream. It’s ridic expensive, but so worth it for it’s dairy-free creaminess. Fashion-wise, I go for the accessories. I love dressing up my outfits with statement necklaces, random rings, scarves and cute shoes.

U is for something that makes you unique: As a baby, I had blonde hair and blue eyes. As I grew up, my hair darkened to light brown and my eyes changed from brown to hazel. Even though a lot of people think blue eyes are the prettiest, I like my hazel eyes because they make me different!

V is for favorite vegetable: This changes with the season, but right now I’m all about the squash, especially kabocha and acorn, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. And kale, that’s a favorite year round.

W is for today’s workout: I didn’t do as much as I usually do, which gave me some exercise anxiety, but I did some walking in a few stores buying groceries and such and I did a couple short circuit workouts.

X is for x-rays you’ve had: Too many to count! The obligatory dental/orthodontic ones, one on my right ankle, one on my right foot, one on my left wrist and an MRI on my right ankle. I’ve had some strains and sprains and plantar fasciitis  here and there but only one major injury: a fractured ankle.

Y is for yesterday’s highlights: Shopping in Denver with my family, my first vegan ice cream experience in an ice cream place (it was good, but not great) and having dinner in a really cool, veg-friendly restaurant. It was a long, exhausting day but so worth it.

Z is for your time zone: Mountain. I always feel like no one cares about the Mountain Time Zone but it’s awesome.

Answer with any of the letters you want!

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. 

Best of…October!

Hey guys, I’m so glad I’m not alone in loving pumpkin seeds and sugar cookie tea! Those two things have really been getting me into the holiday spirit a little early this year, which is okay by me! Only 2 weeks til Thanksgiving break, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I honestly almost can’t believe that October’s already over and in less than 2 months, it’ll be 2012! Wow, a new year already? I feel like 2011’s just flown by like cah-razy! I’m not complaining, though–bring on Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s 😀 So with that in mind, I decided to start a little tradition around these here parts…Best Of! Hopefully I’ll remember to do it at the beginning of every month 😉 But anyways it’s just a highlight of a few of my favorite posts/moments from the previous month, so this one is obviously for October.

Best Response: It’s Okay…

I loved how you guys could all relate in some way or another to not being perfect, and feeling okay with admitting it!

Best Recipe: Pumpkin Pizza, Pumpkin Smoothie and Pumpkin Cornbread

Okay, so I technically chose 3 recipes, but it’s not really cheating ’cause they were all in the same monster-of-a-WIAW post. I can’t wait to make these three things again–well, with the exception of the pumpkin cornbread, which ended up not tasting so great after a few days. Hey, you win some, you lose some!

Best Heart-to-Heart: My Story, Parts 1 & 2

I was sooooo blown away (in a good way, of course) by the amazingly-sweet comments I received on my posts about my struggle with anorexia. I did not anticipate that so many of you would relate (which is sad, obviously, but also reassuring) and I literally smiled at every one of your responses 😀

Best Foodie Discovery: Clif Mojo White Chocolate Macadamia bar or Starbucks Light Salted Caramel Mocha Frap

I actually discovered a lot of new faves in the month of October, lucky me! Here’s hoping November’s even better with foodie finds–well, I’m sure it will be with Thanksgiving and all!

Best Fun Post: Why Did I Have to be Born in Arizona?

OMG, vlogs are so fun! I’ve only done 2 so far but man are they a blast. This one was really hilarious too because I basically have no accent but it was fun to see what you guys thought of my voice and what you say differently/the same as me.

Best Weekend of Food: WIAW Halloween Weekend Edition

 

Okay, honestly this is probably tied with my WIAW: Weekend of (Many!) Firsts post waaaaay back at the beginning of the month, but I already used that one for the recipes. But for real, who wouldn’t want to eat a ton of roasted veggies, PB & chocolate Puffins, pumpkin seeds, smoothies, sugar cookie tea, pumpkin chocolate pancakes, sweet potato tots, apple and tempeh bacon, especially all in one weekend? Obviously, this girl does! Oh, and yeah, I just realized that this post was from November, but all the photos were taken in October, so it still counts 😛

What was one of your favorite posts or memories from October?

My Foodie Staples

Aren’t there a few many things you can’t live without? I’m sure we all have them, I know I do! They tend to change every once in a while, but I definitely have some items I’d prefer to not go without. With that being said, here’s my current list of foodie staples!

Cereal: Right now, I’m loving on the PB Puffins (hope I never get sick of those!), Kashi Honey Sunshine, 365 Organic Honey Crunch & Oats and Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Crunch. I also really like Bear Naked Fit granola (especially triple berry crunch–what’s with all these cereals and having crunch in their name?) and Udi’s cranberry granola. I generally don’t have cereal at breakfast (I used to everyday, though) but it makes an amazing snack…or small dinner?

PB & Chocolate Puffins, Bear Naked Fit granola

Fruit: Gosh, no way could I ever live without this! I love almost all fruits I’ve tried, except for plums and pears. In my dorm, it’s hard to have some of my favorite fruits, like pineapple and berries, so I’m sticking with some tried-and-true varieties, like bananas, black grapes and apples. They’re all pretty versatile and easy to take with me to classes.

Red grapes, giant Honeycrisp apple, bunch 'o bananas

Veggies: I also love veggies, but I don’t really have a way to cook it, so raw it is. Luckily, I love raw cauliflower, and it’s pretty easy to eat. I also discovered butternut squash, which is amazing and simple to heat up in the micro. Plus it comes pre-cut (thanks, Whole Foods!) so it’s perfect for someone without a sharp knife handy. Baby carrots are also a good option.

Cubed b-nut squash, baby carrots, cauliflower

Dried fruit: Mmmmmm, yes! Dried fruit is the bomb.com and even less of a hassle to bring to classes. I love Medjool dates, raisins (golden and regular), dried pineapple, freeze-dried fruit…the list goes on and on. I just look for dried fruit without any added sugar or chemicals and I’m good to go!

Organic Medjool dates, raisins, organic dried pineapple

Mini frozen burritos: I have 2 small fridges with tiny freezer compartments, so I need all the space I can get. EVOL makes mini burritos, which are perfect as a snack or part of dinner/lunch. I love the veggie fajita kind, since it’s vegan and yummy. Score!

2 mini EVOL veggie fajita frozen burritos

Sweet potatoes: I’ve been missing these guys like crazy lately, but luckily, they’re back in my life again. They heat up quick in the micro and taste so so good topped with almost anything–nut butter, trail mix, honey, guacamole, chili powder…

Cinnamon and almond butter topped sweet potato

Spices: Speaking of chili powder, girl’s gotta have her spices. All I got right now is curry powder, ground cinnamon and hot Mexican chili pepper, but it’s good enough for me! Those are probably my 3 fave, and they can ‘spice’ up anything from coffee (the cinnamon, of course) to veggies.

Ground cinnamon and hot Mexican-style chili powder

Truvia: I like things sweet, but I don’t want to add real sugar to some things, ya know? That’s where Truvia packets come in. They’re easy to carry around in case I get an unsweetened iced tea on-the-go and I always add a packet to my oats to sweeten them up. I love that they’re a natural sub for fake sugar.

Big box o' Truvia packets

Almond/nut butter: Where would we be without nut butter? As I’ve said several times before, PB is not my fave (sorry!). But I absolutely adore almond, and lately, almond peanut cashew. Nut butters are soooooo good on sweet taters, as an oats topper, on wraps/sandwiches, with fruit (especially dates) or even off your finger 😉

Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter

Morningstar spicy veggie sausages: I have one of these almost every morning, and have for probably the last year. Somehow, I’m not getting bored of them. I’m definitely not a savory person, especially at breakfast, but they’re a great source of vegetarian protein, they’re easy to make (except when your micro burns them…) and they taste so darn good. I like anything spicy, like I’ve said millions of times before.

Spicy veggie breakfast sausage, fudgie-topped millet bread

Organic jelly: It’s kinda upsetting how many jellies have high fructose corn syrup in them. I mean, come on, why can’t they just have simple, natural ingredients? When I found Smucker’s Organic line of jellies, I fell in love. Sure, there’s still sugar in them, but it’s real sugar, and it’s natural and organic. There aren’t any weird ingredients in it either. Is it weird that I like it with nut butter and crackers????? It’s also delish as an oats topper.

Smucker's Organic concord grape jelly

Starbucks VIA instant coffee: I can’t live without my ‘bucks fix every once in awhile. But when you’re a college student with no car, it’s kinda hard to get. Lucky for me, they came out with instant coffee packs that are almost as good as their brewed stuff. Not only do I love it in homemade skinny lattes, but it’s amazing mixed in with overnight oats. Talk about an energizing breakfast 😛

Date with almond butter, homemade Starbucks VIA latte, Greek yogurt with raw organic honey

Protein bars: I’m no athlete, but I still eat these like it’s my job. Kidding, but I do love ’em. I don’t get the huge ones, like regular Clifs (I usually cut them in half to have as a snack), I prefer the Mojo kind which are like trail mix bars, and Pure and Halo bars. They make a perfect on-the-go lunch alongside some fruit and they come in so many varieties. My faves at the moment are Mojo white chocolate macadamia and mountain mix, Pure chocolate brownie and Halo s’mores and nutty marshmallow. I try to get bars that have at least 6 grams of protein (the Halo ones don’t, but they’re good for a snack) and only natural sugar.

Clif Mojo Mountain Mix & White Chocolate Macadamia, Clif Z-Bar Chocolate Chip and Full Moon Brownie, Pure Cherry Cashew and Chocolate Brownie, Halo Nutty Marshmallow and Clif C Blueberry

Almond milk: I switched to soy last May, and I liked it for a while, but now I prefer almond. I still have soy milk every so often (the Silk seasonal kinds are SO good) but now I’m trying to buy almond more often. I really love the Pacific Naturals unsweetened vanilla, but the plain Whole Foods brand is also good. It lasts longer in the fridge than soy and has a nice, light nutty taste.

Pacific Naturals organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Rolled oats: Of course I have these! I probably have oats in some form every single day…well actually, I pretty much just eat them in overnight oats 😀 Unlike a lot of people, I prefer overnighters to cooked oats. But anyways, oats are incredibly versatile, easy to prepare and so healthy. I don’t even want to start to explain my overnight oats, so just check out my page devoted to them!

Carrot cake overnight oats

 Greek yogurt: Another “duh” if you read my bloggy regularly! Oikos is my one true Greek yo’ love, but sometimes I go off and have an affair with Fage mango guanabana or blueberry acai. Shhhhhh, don’t tell 😉

Oikos organic plain, Fage Total 0% blueberry acai, Oikos organic caramel

 Of course, there are many many more products I’ve (sadly) had to leave out ’cause I didn’t wanna bore y’all with it, but these are what I have most often and love the most!

What are your foodie staples?

It’s Okay…

Hey guys! I want to take a little bit of a different approach with this post, so I hope you enjoy (and relate)!

It’s okay…that I prefer almond butter to peanut butter–hands down!

Sorry, PB, you aren’t it for this girl!

 It’s okay…that I like to mostly eat healthy foods, even supposedly disordered “diet food” like veggies and nonfat yogurt. Just because I’m in recovery doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy these things.

I love salads (even without dressing)…no shame!

It’s okay…to eat a mostly-vegan diet but still have Greek yogurt (a lot!) and froyo/gelato every so often.

You can’t say that doesn’t look delicious…

 It’s okay…that I can’t live without Whole Foods. I’d probably be broke if I was spending my own money 😉

I love the salad bars especially! This delicious mess was Asian kale salad, curried tofu, roasted sweet potato and curried quinoa pilaf.

It’s okay…that I’ve never made oats on the stove. Overnight oats are where it’s at for me!

One of my favorite overnighters combos to date: PB&J remix oats, topped with black grapes and PB Puffins.

It’s okay…that I LOVE carbs!

Nothing beats cereal and dried fruit!

It’s okay…that this is my lunch when I’m on-the-go–and I love it!

Quick, easy & good: Pink Lady and Clif Mojo bar!

 

It’s okay…to sometimes have breakfast for dinner–with some squash on the side.

I love breakfast so much…so why not?

 

It’s okay…that I’ve never had a Lara bar. Because I love Pure bars instead!

They’re almost as simple as Lara bars, but they’ve got way more protein!

 

It’s okay…that I can take way better pictures at home than I can at school.

This is one of my favorite pics ever, I actually got a pretty good closeup of this salad. Compare this to my lame photos now with crap lighting.

 

Answer your own “It’s okay…” question!