WIAW: Red, White & New

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow U.S. bloggers! Unlike most years, I won’t be watching fireworks…well maybe on TV, but due to all the fires, most fireworks shows were cancelled around here. I will be wearing some red, white and blue and enjoying some festive eats, though–maybe with a recipe to come!

Anyways, for this week’s WIAW I wanted to highlight some new things I’ve been enjoying lately and share a couple recipes. Note: This was not all eaten in one day!

Red, white and blue fruit bowl: fresh strawberries, frozen banana, double blueberry chia jam.

I’ve been wanting to make my own jam forever so when I stumbled upon Angela’s blueberry chia jam, I knew I had to make it. I bought chia seeds for the first time ever and adapted the recipe to what I had on hand. Turns out, homemade jam is 1000 times better than storebought. And it’s not that hard to make!

Double Blueberry Chia Jam (vegan, gluten free)

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed

1-2 tbsp blueberry flavored agave (can use regular agave)

1 tbsp chia seeds

In a small pot, bring blueberries and agave to a low boil, stirring often. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Lightly smash the berries with a fork, if desired. Stir in chia seeds, stirring often to prevent from sticking to the pot. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until jam is at your desired consistency. Remove from heat and store in a glass tupperware container or jar in the fridge. Makes about 1/2 cup. 

This flavor is now in my top 5!

I still can’t believe I used to hate Larabars a couple months ago. Correction: I was scared of them, because of their calorie and fat content. Truth is, I love ’em now and all their calories and fat come from healthy, simple sources. Nothing but real foods in these! I was finally able to track down a couple new-to-me flavors, peanut butter chocolate chip and key lime pie. I’ve yet to try the key lime but the PB chocolate chip is amazing, especially when the chocolate chips melt, which is inevitable in this heat wave. Now I’m dying to try the chocolate chip cookie dough one!

Homemade vegan nachos: Late July sweet potato multigrain chips, black beans, spicy nacho cheez, crispy kale, guac, pumpkin seeds and nooch.

I think I have a problem. I put nooch on almost everything I eat now! It’s just so addicting, and I love knowing I’m getting a little protein and B vitamin boost from it. These nachos are my favorite thing to whip up for a quick and easy dinner. The cashew cheez sauce is what makes it!

Cookie the size of a salad plate…dominated!

If you haven’t tried Whole Foods’ vegan chocolate chip cookie and you have a store near you…go buy one now! I promise it’ll be the best 99 cents you’ve ever spent, especially if you pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. I’m always shocked that this gigantic cookie has only 170 calories in it–the magic of vegan baking!

This $6 salad bar box was worth every penny.

I’m obsessed with the Whole Foods salad bars. The one near me always has a great selection and a lot of their options are vegan. I load up on a little bit of everything and it always turns out perfect. I can’t even remember everything in this box but there was some emerald sesame kale, marinated artichoke hearts, fruit salad, a warm bok choy salad, Asian cous cous, Mediterranean crunch salad, curry tofu and a falafel ball. It was worth all the stares I got for eating it at my internship–some people just don’t appreciate healthy eating!

Double chocolate protein waffle topped with NadaMoo! maple pecan coconut milk ice cream.

I’ve really been into making protein waffles lately. First I made them with peanut flour but then I tried some protein powder samples I got from Whole Foods. This one was made with Vega One and it was soooooooo good. For a snack, I topped it with some coconut milk ice cream. The ice cream melted all over the warm waffle which made it even better.

Double Chocolate Protein Waffle (vegan, high protein)

1 sample packet Vega One chocolate protein powder

2 tbsp oat flour (can sub whole wheat or gluten-free flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life dairy free chips)

1 tbsp flax or chia seed, mixed with water to make flax or chia “egg”

unsweetened almond milk, to thin

stevia, to taste (I used one packet)

Heat up waffle iron (or skillet, if making into pancakes) and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Mix together all dry ingredients until combined. Add in flax egg and almond milk until batter is smooth and thick, but can  be easily scooped up. Spoon batter (in two batches) onto waffle iron and cook until outside is crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Makes 2 waffles (the entire batch has about 18 grams of protein and around 300 calories!).

I love homemade pizza!

Since I became vegan, I’ve become much more creative with pizza toppings. I rarely even use vegan cheeses anymore but pizzas don’t really need cheese if you have amazing toppings. The one on the left is an Indian-inspired pizza topped with curry sauce, raisins (weird, I know, but it was actually good), cauliflower, carrots and chickpeas. The one on the right was a spicy Italian version with Field Roast Mexican chipotle grain sausage, garlic basil sauce, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. The crust was amazing too, even though it turned out super thick. I used the fresh multigrain pizza dough that Whole Foods sells in their refrigerated section and I love the taste and doughiness of it, but it tends to rise a little bit too much!

Recent lunch: strawberries topped with double blueberry chia jam; peanut flour granola in almond milk with raisins, sunflower seeds and mini chocolate chips; spicy curry sauce with edamame, broccoli slaw and kale.

I’ve been loving whipping up a simple curry and veggie bowl for lunch lately. The sauce I use is the spicy & tangy curry sauce by Spicy Nothings and it’s one of the best curries I’ve ever had. It’s not even honestly that spicy, but then again I’m kinda obsessed with spicy things. It goes so well with kale and edamame but I want to try it soon with some tempeh!

How do you get in protein in the mornings? Do you like things spicy or mild?

WIAW: Weekend of Veggies and Dancing

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

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

Friday

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

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

Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My place card.

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

Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

My new favorite Late July chips!

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

Two of my favorite dips in one!

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

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

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