Four Questions (& a return to blogging)

Wow, it’s been both a long and short 2 months since I last posted! Life has been truckin’ right along — work has been…well, work…but I’ve  also had some really nice weekends. Since my last post, I’ve been transitioned to working Monday  through Friday so now I get actual weekend days off, which is a blessing and a curse.

Instead of trying to catch y’all up on the past 2 months,  why don’t I just share a fun and easy survey that I’ve seen floating around. At this point, I’m just trying to get through the last 3 days of work this week (no work on Christmas, which is lucky for me) and then flying home Saturday morning. Better late than never, right? So here’s something quick to get me back into blogging!

4 Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name
1. Ash (a lot of people)
2. Sweet-O’s (my mom)
3. Sissy Fishy (my sister)
4. Ass (my best friend…it’s a long story haha)

4 Jobs I’ve Had
1. Managing editor for monthly newsletter for college faculty
2. Reporter intern at local TV station (unpaid)
3. Weather intern at local TV station (also unpaid, but I loved it)
4. News producer at NBC affiliate station (first ‘real’ job)

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First day on the job back in April (when I was still blonde)

4 Movies I’ve Seen More Than Once
1. Mean Girls (I quote it all the time with my sister)
2. Devil Wears Prada (probably my favorite)
3. A Christmas Story (the BEST Christmas movie)
4. 1776 (my favorite movie-musical…history nerd alert)

4 Books I’d Recommend
1. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series
2. A Series of Unfortunate Events series
3. Any Dave Barry books (he’s so funny)
4. Peace, Love & Baby Ducks (reminds me of my relationship with my sis)

4 Places I’ve Lived
1. Phoenix, AZ (where I was born)
2. Colorado Springs, CO (age 2 to 18)
3. Fort Collins, CO (age 18 to 21…aka college)
4. Tulsa, OK (since April of this year)

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I still want to move back to my desert home.

4 Places I’ve Been
1. San Francisco (a mission trip in HS…but now I wanna live there)
2. Salt Lake City (to visit my bestie in October)
3. Galveston, TX (a few times since my aunt and uncle live in Houston)
4. Orlando (Disney World back in 2006)

4 Places I’d Rather Be
1. California
2. The mountains
3. Home in Colorado
4. On vacation anywhere

4 Things I Don’t Eat
1. Meat, dairy, eggs (the obvious)
2. Pears
3. Tomatoes
4. Mushrooms

4 of My Favorite Foods
1. Spinach
2. Banana softserve
3. Vegan protein powder (specifically Sunwarrior and Garden of Life)
4. Cupcakes

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Worth the 2 hour drive to OKC for these vegan babies.

4 TV Shows I Watch
1. New Girl (loveeeee Jess Day, aka Zooey Deschanel)
2. Portlandia (Fred Armisen is the best)
3. Saturday Night Live
4. The Carrie Diaries (why only 2 seasons?)

4 Things I’m Looking Forward to Next Year
1. More outdoor running (I hope to keep doing it through winter)
2. Getting a new job/moving (I currently have a love/hate relationship with my current job and I hope by mid 2015 I will be in one I actually love and living in another state)
3. Possibly taking more trips (having a job=money and I want to spend it on travel)
4. Center of the Universe festival in July (if I’m still in Tulsa)

4 Things I’m Always Saying
1. Really?
2. That’s so cool
3. I can’t wait
4. So weird

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

Spring/Summer Survey

When this post is published, it’s officially my 7th day in a row of working. Yikes! As this is my first real job, I’ve only worked the traditional 5 day work week, and sometimes that’s exhausting enough. My schedule is being shifted around as the station plans to hire more people, so for now, I’m having to fill in the holes sometimes. Luckily, my ‘weekend’ starts tonight when I get off work at 10:30 and after that, I go back to a more regular 5 day work week. Phew! 

After a week of mostly working, workouts at my apartment’s fitness center and trying to get as much sleep as I can, I think a survey post is necessary! I found this one over on Kaila’s blog, and as a spring/summer lover, I just knew I had to fill it out.

Smoothies vs. juices?

Smoothies! I don’t have a juicer so I can’t make them at home, and the only fresh juices I like are the ones made by Suja…and they’re expensive! Smoothies are easy for me to whip up in my own kitchen and I can include whatever I want in them.

Grilled veggies vs. salads?

Definitely salads. I love giant salads year round, but they’re even more refreshing in the warmer months. Grilled veggies are good too, but I usually only get them when I go out to eat, since I don’t have a grill.

Corn on the cob vs. sweet potato fries?

No question–sweet potato fries! I know they don’t seem seasonally appropriate, but I actually hate corn and never got the appeal of corn on the cob. Sweet potato fries, on the other hand? Pure deliciousness, especially the ones from Native Foods!

Raw sweet potato fries are also delish.

Raw sweet potato fries are also delish.

Burgers or dogs (veggie varieties included)?

I love a good veggie burger, especially homemade and fresh off the grill or stove. I love tossing them on some spinach and adding tons of toppings.

Baseball or soccer?

Baseball is such a summer sport to me, and it’s one of the few sports I actually enjoy watching…at least in real life! I miss going to Rockies games with my family and soaking up the sunshine while enjoying a good game.

Walking or biking?

I love walking, especially hiking, in the summer. Spending time out in nature, especially the mountains, is something I try to do as often as possible when it’s warm, and it’s something I’m going to miss about moving away from Colorado…no more mountain trails!

One of my favorite places in Colorado.

One of my favorite places in Colorado.

Beach or trails?

As much as I love hiking trails, I gotta go with the beach. I’m pretty sure I’m meant to be a California girl (I will be someday!) and I love the relaxing sound of the waves hitting the shore, the soft sand and the cool water.

Ice cream or fresh fruit?

Fresh fruit! I like vegan ice cream (especially the So Delicious no sugar added kind), but fruit is something I enjoy multiple times per day, especially in the summer.

I loooooove berries.

I loooooove berries.

Sun bathing or swimming?

I like soaking up the sun, but I prefer getting in the pool! Especially after laying out in the sun for a bit, and then cooling off with a few laps.

Tulips or daffodils?

I love tulips! Don’t know why, they just remind me of spring.

Farmers markets or garage sales?

Definitely farmers markets! I went to my first real one the other weekend, and I fell in love. It’s nice being able to buy local produce and flowers for a bargain price. I’m definitely planning on hitting up a market every week this summer.

Cherry Street farmers market.

Cherry Street farmers market.

Sneakers or sandals?

Sandals allllllllll the way. I honestly have way too many pairs of sandals but I’ll never have enough. Target, American Eagle and Hollister are my sandal go-to stores.

Flower garden or veggie garden?

As much as I think flowers are pretty and spring-like, I think veggie gardens are more useful. You can plant the veggies you like, and save a bunch of money, not to mention get to enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor! Last summer, my dad and I planted a bunch of veggies/herbs and we had success with parsley, Japanese eggplant, hot peppers and cilantro.

Ice cream or fruit? Sneakers or sandals? Beach or trails?

WIAW: Raw Til 6

One of my resolutions for this year, and also one of my goals last summer was to eat more raw. I love so many raw foods, and I prefer most of my produce raw too, but there are some cooked things I still love and don’t really want to give them up just yet. Maybe someday I’ll be fully raw but for now, I’m trying the popular Raw Til 4 plan, where you basically eat all raw until dinner time. Since I eat my afternoon snack around 4, I’m changing the name to Raw Til 6 to fit my schedule better 😉

Basically how I’m going about it is eating all raw until dinner, and then for dinner/dessert I’ll eat something cooked or something that’s not necessarily raw if I’m feeling like it. See, I love my roasted sweet potatoes/peanut flour/grain free pizza and since I usually eat these for dinner, it makes sense to keep them in my food rotation. My other meals will stay pretty similar to how they are now —> breakfast will be Sunwarrior/Garden of Life raw protein or chia seed pudding or a green smoothie or raw flax cakes, lunch will be a salad or lettuce wraps or a protein smoothie made with raw protein powder, and my snacks will be banana softserve or snackplates with plenty of fresh produce or homemade raw desserts. What I won’t be doing is restricting my fats or carbs. I personally don’t believe that 80/10/10 is the most balanced way to eat (I love my fruit but I can’t survive on just carbs) and I don’t want to go raw gourmet either because I don’t want to rely so heavily on nuts and avocados for every meal. Instead, I’ll be sticking pretty close to my normal macros (45% carbs, 25% protein, 30% fat) and just incorporating more raw foods. I’m also planning on making plenty of raw dinners as well because I’ve been bookmarking a TON of amazing-looking raw entrees and I’m really excited to try them out. I’m also going to start sprouting legumes and making my own almond milk and I can’t wait to try all these new things!

Enough of the wordiness, let’s get to the food. I’ve also got 2 recipes for you today, and another one linked up from my other blog, so I’m going pretty recipe-crazy over here!

Homemade [cheaters] almond milk.

Homemade [cheaters] almond milk.

I’ve been meaning to start doing this for a loooooong time, since there have been a lot of posts and articles out there lately discussing the potential harmful effects of carrageenan and other things added to packaged almond milk. It’s easier than you’d think to whip up your own almond milk at home, especially when you take the cheater’s route like I did. I had some fresh ground raw almond butter on hand and within a few seconds of blending with water, I had homemade almond milk, raw and completely free of unnecessary ingredients!

3 Ingredient 3 Second Almond Milk (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 4 cups water (can use filtered, or just plain tap water)
  • pinch stevia extract (optional)

In a large food processor or blender (I used my Ninja processor), add all the ingredients and blend or pulse for a few seconds or until it turns white-ish and creamy. Makes 4 1-cup servings. 

Superbowl snacks, gone raw.

Superbowl snacks, gone raw.

By now, we all know the outcome of the Superbowl. Even though I’m a fan of the Denver Broncos, being raised in Colorado, I’m not a diehard fan by any means and I honestly didn’t even watch the game so I’m not really upset by their loss. Besides, the Superbowl is just an excuse for snacks, am I right? This year, I made my raw jalapeno poppers (if you haven’t made them and love spicy things, I suggest you do!) and I had one alongside some raw cauliflower, local salsa, spicy guac made fresh at my Whole Foods, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds and a dried fig. This was the perfect snack plate for a spicy food lover like me and I didn’t even care who won the game!

A typical raw breakfast.

A typical raw breakfast.

My breakfasts have been pretty simple lately, though I’m planning on trying some new things soon. I’ve mostly been making raw protein puddings–Sunwarrior or Garden of Life raw protein powder mixed with water/homemade almond milk and sometimes raw coconut flour to thicken, and topped with pomegranate and raw nuts or seeds. It covers all the macros, tastes great and is beyond easy to whip up in just a minute.

Protein chia pudding topped with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Protein chia pudding topped with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Protein-packed chia puddings have been happening for breakfasts and snacks, too. I forgot how much I adore the thick and creamy texture that chia seeds make when they gel up. Honestly, I could eat these all day but it really is all about the toppings and mix ins. The one above was Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+homemade almond milk+1/2 tbsp chia seeds and topped in the morning with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Sunwarrior vanilla+frozen cherries+homemade almond milk+baby kale+coconut flour smoothie, with a side of raisins and raw mixed nuts.

Sunwarrior vanilla+frozen cherries+homemade almond milk+baby kale+coconut flour smoothie, with a side of raisins and raw mixed nuts.

Lunches have been a little bit less predictable. On Monday I had a green protein smoothie with some raw trail mix (just raisins & raw nuts) on the side. Really quick and easy to make and pretty filling, too. I love how eating raw makes food prep so much easier. Sure, I’ve been using my dehydrator and food processor a lot but it’s so hands-off and meals come together so quickly.

BLA lettuce wraps and pineapple. Romaine hearts+homemade coconut 'bacon' and Whole Foods fresh guacamole.

BLA lettuce wraps and pineapple. Romaine hearts+homemade coconut ‘bacon’ and Whole Foods fresh guacamole.

Tuesday’s lunch was a little more creative. I made a batch of raw coconut ‘bacon’ in the morning and since I’m basically addicted to it, I decided to incorporate it into my lunch in a creative way. Enter the BLA wraps. The BLA is a spin on the classic BLT, only without the tomato…and avocado in its place. This raw version was incredibly good and I miiiiight have it for lunch again today.

Homemade raw banana protein bars.

Homemade raw banana protein bars.

Going mostly raw has made me more creative in the kitchen! I love that I have so much time to experiment with recipes right now (truth time–I’m still itching to get my first post-grad job!) and I’ve been making a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t normally if I was still eating mostly cooked foods. Like these raw protein bars. I’ve stopped buying Larabars for the time being to save some money and also so I can try making my own raw bars. These are NOT the same consistency as Larabars but I still love ’em…and who says being raw means no protein? I’ve actually been keeping my protein levels up (about 25-30% of my daily macros) during this raw challenge with raw protein powders/nuts/seeds and I’m planning on sprouting lentils soon so stay tuned for that!

Raw Banana Bread Protein Bars (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

  • 2 ripe bananas (best when spotty)
  • 2 scoops Garden of Life RAW protein powder (or any raw plant-based protein powder)
  • 3 tbsp raw coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

In a food processor or high-powered blender, pulse bananas until smooth and liquefied. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Divide into 6 large balls and flatten into bar shapes. Makes 6 bars, ~100 calories and 8 grams protein per bar.

Zucchini pasta and raw pumpkin seed pesto for dinner.

Zucchini pasta and raw pumpkin seed pesto for dinner.

So far, my dinners have been raw because that’s what I’ve been craving, even though it’s been snowing here and below freezing! I’ve been making raw pastas with zucchini, carrots and kelp noodles and tossing them in a nut or seed based sauce, pairing it with fruit and calling it dinner. Raw dinners are the simplest things ever, but I’m learning to appreciate simplicity!

Do you prefer homemade or store-bought when it comes to bars? Do you like your produce cooked or raw? 

WIAW: On Repeat

I’ve been eating a lot of the same things lately. That’s not to say I haven’t been trying new things/recipes, but I’ve been really feeling a few favorites this week, and I’ve been repeating them…a lot.

Banana softserves with various toppings.

Banana softserves with various toppings.

Breakfasts have been of the banana softserve variety for…ummmm…2 to 3 weeks now? Yep, this is one of the longer breakfast ruts, and I’m hoping it’ll last awhile. I love having something cold and fruity in the morning, and this fits the bill. Toppings are necessary, at least in my world, and generally homemade protein balls+homemade coconut butter lately.

Snackplates for snacks...and lunch. Full-size organic carrots, raw flax crackers, fresh pineapple+mango+golden raspberries, homemade PB&J bites, homemade guac from half an avocado.

Snack plates for snacks…and lunch. Full-size organic carrots, raw flax crackers, fresh pineapple+mango+golden raspberries, homemade PB&J bites, homemade guac from half an avocado.

Snack plates have just been super easy to throw together, and I’m loving them for lunch now too. Luckily, my snack plates have evolved from a lot of crackers and chips (I thought they were healthy because they were organic/vegan, but not so!) to mostly fresh fruits and veggies with a few ‘fun’ things that still have plenty of nutritional value. Take the flax crackers–packed with omega 3s, raw and made with lots of veggies. And the PB&J bites were a random thing I threw together in the food processor and basically made from dates, raisins and peanut flour. So good…too bad I ran out of peanut flour!

My mom's hibiscus plant is finally flowering!

My mom’s hibiscus plant is finally flowering!

As much as I loved our old house, I like our new yard because we’ve planted so many flowers, veggies and herbs. I love this hibiscus especially because it’s so tropical and smells amazing. And I’m excited because my Japanese eggplant is flowering, and my hot pepper plants are growing baby peppers!

Awkward OOTD. Only wearing glasses because my contacts bothered my eyes...stupid allergies.

Awkward OOTD. Only wearing glasses because my contacts bothered my eyes…stupid allergies.

I’m starting to feel okay with my body, at least some days. Yesterday was a bit hard, because I chose to wear a bodycon-style dress. I love it, and think it looks cute, but I always feel so self-conscious about how my stomach looks in it, especially after meals. I’ve gotta remind myself that everyone’s stomach expands after eating (duh!) and no one else notices or cares but me. Same with my arms. For some reason, they tend to be my most hated body part, and some days I think they look toned and lean, while others they look huge to me. Working through these feelings and telling myself they’re just temporary helps me avoid getting stuck in a bad body image rut.

Snack plate for snack too! Watermelon, Sunwarrior protein dip, raw zucchini with garlic gomasio (told ya I'm obsessed), raw maple walnuts, blueberries.

Snack plate for snack too! Watermelon, Sunwarrior protein dip, raw zucchini with garlic gomasio (told ya I’m obsessed), raw maple walnuts, blueberries.

Snack time snack plates are about the same as lunchtime ones, only with different veggies and fruit. I’ve been trying to get in veggies at lunch, snack and dinner and have been going strong with that for a couple of weeks. Gotta love fueling up with produce!

Raw vegan goat 'cheese'.

Raw vegan goat ‘cheese’.

I love making raw vegan cheeses. I was never a huge fan of cheese pre-veganism, but now I love homemade vegan cheeses.

Raw Goat Cheez (vegan, gluten free, raw, grain free)

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 1 hour (I recommend longer)

1-4 tbsp water (less for thicker cheez)

1/2 tsp olive oil (optional, adds Mediterranean flavor)

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

In a food processor, blend soaked and drained cashews until they begin to resemble cashew butter. Add in remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon into cheesecloth or coffee filter (this helps thicken and strain the cheez) and place in a small bowl in the fridge. Serve with flax crackers, veggies or on salads. Makes 1/4 cup.

Salads on salads on salads. Organic spinach base, organic chickpeas topped with nooch, homemade guac.

Salads on salads on salads. Organic spinach base, organic chickpeas topped with nooch, homemade guac.

I’ve been getting my daily dose of greens with dinner, in the form of salads. My greens of choice have been baby spinach and chopped romaine lettuce. I’ve been loving chickpeas on salads, guac and nooch (for taco salads), strawberries and balsamic, my raw goat cheez. Anything goes on my salads…well, almost.

Desserts have also been snackplate-y, but with more fruit. And chocolate.

Desserts have also been snackplate-y, but with more fruit. And chocolate.

I’ve either been doing Sunwarrior protein mixed with coconut water as a base for fruit+coconut butter, or mini snack plates with berries, raw cacao powder+coconut oil+a little raw local honey mixed to make a raw chocolate dip, dates and homemade protein bites. Half a Larabar with some fruit has been happening too. I haven’t been 100% raw every day, but I’m trying to stay high raw at every meal, while incorporating some non-raw sources of protein like beans. So far, it’s working for me and I like not having to be so strict with my macros. I feel like I’m eating healthier than ever, and as a result, my mindset around food and my body has been healthier as well.

 

What foods/meals have you been repeating lately?

Adventures in Raw: 80-10-10 or Gourmet?

I want to preface this post by saying I don’t believe there’s one right way of eating for everyone. Not only is it a matter of personal preference, but it’s also a matter of what works for YOU and your body and lifestyle. I do think that the SAD (standard American diet) way of eating isn’t good for anyone, but within the spectrum of healthy eating, there are millions of variations and one way doesn’t work for everyone.

If you do any research into the world of raw foodism, you’ll most likely stumble upon two different ways of thinking and eating. The most-discussed one is the 80-10-10 diet, which is based primarily on fresh fruits and vegetables, with the addition of some overt fats (things like avocados, coconut and raw nuts) very occasionally. The name ’80-10-10′ refers to the macro breakdown: 80% carbs, 10% protein, 10% fat. 80-10-10ers believe that it isn’t fruit or the sugars in them that make us fat, but the combination of sugars (primarily processed ones) and fats. They consume mostly fruit in order to get enough calories (and they generally recommend at least 2500 calories per day) and eat greens and other veggies to get more vitamins and nutrients.

An 80-10-10 approved mono meal of peaches.

An 80-10-10 approved mono meal of peaches.

On the other end of the raw spectrum is gourmet raw foodists. They also shun processed foods but focus their diets on raw, plant-based sources of fat–coconut, nuts and seeds, avocados. They generally get upwards of 50% fat in their diet, with relatively low carbs and moderate protein from the more protein-rich fat sources. They still eat plenty of fresh produce, but veggies and especially fruit are rarely the base of their diet.

Even though I’m not strictly 100% raw right now, I’ve still been considering both of these forms of raw foodism. Where do I fall, and which one is better? For me, I believe a balance between the two is optimal. I think fresh produce should be the base of everyone’s diet, but I’m not about to eat 15+ bananas in a day and nothing else. I also think greens are very healthful, but there’s honestly no point in eating them if they aren’t consumed with a fat. The nutrients found in fresh veggies can’t make it to the bloodstream as easily if they aren’t eaten with a fat–numerous articles and studies are coming out saying that having some fat with your salad is actually a good thing, and better than having a salad with fat-free dressing, for many reasons. I’m not a fan of most salad dressings from the store, but I love topping my salads with raw seeds or guacamole or a homemade cashew-based dressing. Am I freaking out because I’m eating more than 10% fat? Heck no! I definitely don’t want to go back to my eating disordered days where I was scared of fat. I’ve come to love my healthy plant-based sources of fat and I don’t feel guilty for enjoying these whole foods. However, I don’t plan on going to the other extreme and consuming most of my calories from fat–there is a limit to how beneficial fats can be and I wouldn’t want to crowd out other nutritious foods just to eat more fats.

I prefer more balanced macros, as seen in this banana softserve creation--still raw, but with protein (Sunwarrior) and fat (pumpkin seeds).

I prefer more balanced macros, as seen in this banana softserve creation–still raw, but with protein (Sunwarrior) and fat (pumpkin seeds).

I’m also probably eating more than 10% protein, from the nuts and seeds and Sunwarrior powder and sprouted legumes I eat, and that’s okay too! I don’t buy into the hype that we need so much protein (because we actually don’t), and 10% seems to be the magic number or at least the minimum for even active people, but I do like to have a little more than that to fuel my lifting workouts. Protein is in so many things, even vegetables, that it isn’t hard to hit 10-15% or more eating just plant-based sources.

A lot of things, especially eating, always seem to be so black-and-white, like one way is wrong and the other’s right, but it doesn’t have to be that way! You can eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies and still enjoy plant-based fats and protein on a raw diet–it doesn’t have to be high carb low fat or high fat low carb. Moderation is always best, and when it comes to diets that are already pretty dang healthy as it is, there’s no need to nitpick over the logistics. Just eat whole foods from the earth, raw if you roll that way and don’t stress if it isn’t ‘perfect’.

What’s your take on the ongoing diet battles? 

WIAW: Going Raw-ish

One of my goals for the summer is to eat more raw. Now, I’m not saying I’m following the 80-10-10 lifestyle, or anything like that, but I’ve been genuinely curious about the raw food diet for quite awhile, and now that I have many of the ‘tools of the trade’ (a good food processor, a dehydrator) and it’s summer, I’ve been trying to eat at least one raw or high raw (80-99% raw) meal per day and on Monday, I ate pretty much entirely raw, aside from one square of Alter Eco chocolate, a peanut butter Larabar (peanuts aren’t raw) and some peanut flour in my kelp noodle salad, and I felt really energized throughout the day, despite the heat and being at my internship for the afternoon. I’m definitely not planning on eating raw all day every day, but it’s nice to get a break from cooking, especially when it’s hot out. It literally took me just a few minutes to put my meals together and plate them!

With that said, here’s some raw meals and snacks I’ve been enjoying lately. These weren’t all from one day, but I’ve been eating at least one raw meal a day for probably the past week and loving it!

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Breakfast: raw ‘French toast’ topped with raw coconut ‘bacon’ and raw honey. Side of chocolate Sunwarrior+coconut cream ‘mousse’ topped with fresh raspberries.

I’ve been wanting to make over a traditional breakfast food in a raw way for awhile. I attempted pancakes, but they got too hard in the dehydrator overnight. I wanted to make waffles, but the recipe seemed complicated. When I found a recipe for raw French toast, I was intrigued. It seemed simple enough, and I had everything on hand. It didn’t turn out perfect, but it held together quite well after a few hours in the dehydrator and tasted delish topped with raw coconut ‘bacon’ and a drizzle of raw honey. A side of raw protein mousse made the breakfast complete, and a definite repeat meal.

Raw French Toast with Coconut ‘Bacon’ (vegan, gluten free, grain free, raw)

1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats

5 pitted dates

1/4 cup flaked coconut 

coconut aminos and liquid smoke, to taste (for non-raw version, can use tamari)

In a food processor or blender, grind groats into fine meal. Add in dates and process until mixture is sticky. Add in more dates or a little water as needed. Shape mixture into 4 small rectangles and place on a nonstick dehydrator sheet (or parchment paper). Dehydrate at 115 for 3-6 hours, or until mixture holds together. 

In a bowl, mix coconut flakes, coconut aminos and liquid smoke until combined. Spread coconut on nonstick dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 115 for 1-2 hours, or until crisp.

Serve raw French toast soaked in raw coconut or almond milk and top with coconut bacon and coconut nectar (or raw honey, for non-vegan version). 

Raw desserts > regular desserts.

Raw desserts > regular desserts.

I love Hail Merry’s line of raw nuts and raw Miracle Tarts, but my Whole Foods only ever carries the chocolate and Meyer lemon and I’ve been dying to try the other flavors. When my mom took me to Natural Grocers to check out their prices and selection, I was blown away by their raw food selection. Not only did they have amazing raw ‘caramel’ chocolate cheaper than Whole Foods (Righteously Raw brand, BTW!) but they also had a few more Miracle Tart flavors. I had to get the chocolate almond butter, of course, and it reminded me of a more decadent PB cup! I loved the raw almond butter filling and the chocolate mousse-like outside. I will be making a trip back to Natural Grocers for sure…and not just for their raw desserts!

Enjoying the sun before the storm.

Enjoying the sun before the storm.

I’ve been trying to get outside as much as possible, whether to lay out for half an hour or just enjoy a meal outside in the sunshine. We’ve been having some random weather (it was 90 degrees on Monday, then yesterday it got cloudy and rained, today it’s supposed to be like 60…what’s up, Colorado?) so I’ve been going outside when it’s been nice and hoping for even warmer weather.

Nori 'burrito' filled with spinach, sprouted tofu, raw kimchi and homemade raw cilantro cashew cream.

Nori ‘burrito’ filled with spinach, sprouted tofu, raw kimchi and homemade raw cilantro cashew cream.

This is another ‘high raw’ meal, because apparently sprouted tofu is generally made from cooked and sprouted soybeans, but I ate it raw (aka right out of the package, seasoned with coconut aminos) so it counts, right? I’ve been liking tofu a lot more lately but I’m wanting to go back to tempeh, since it’s a healthier form of soy and it’s higher in protein than tofu. I used to love tempeh, but after getting sick early last summer, I haven’t wanted to touch it since for some reason.

Blue skies.

Blue skies.

We got some sun yesterday morning before the clouds and thunder rolled in and rain dumped on us for a solid 15 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, it was much-needed and appreciated, but I would have liked a little more sunshine and a little less thunder and lightning. Oh well, thunderstorms are pretty much a part of life in the summers here.

Muscle progress?

Muscle progress?

I’ve been continuing with my lifting routine, doing arm and shoulder focused routines a few times a week at least and I’ve been seeing some more progress. My biceps are more defined and my triceps are a lot stronger and firmer now (they’re pretty hard even when I barely flex now) and I’m even getting some definition in my shoulders and back. I’m not lifting heavy by any means, but I’m still loving the progress I’m making. Eating clean and working out almost daily (with more regular rest days now) are really making me fitter! I would love to work out my legs too, but since I don’t have gym access, I can’t really use any machines and just have to focus on yoga and cardio to tone my legs.

High raw powerbowl for dessert. Chocolate Sunwarrior+peanut flour base (mixed with coconut milk) and topped with strawberries, crumbled Hail Merry chocolate almond butter tart and raw coconut butter.

High raw powerbowl for dessert. Chocolate Sunwarrior+peanut flour base (mixed with coconut milk) and topped with strawberries, cacao nibs, crumbled Hail Merry chocolate almond butter tart and raw coconut butter.

When I first bought Sunwarrior and coconut butter, I thought they’d be a huge waste of money. I wasn’t in love with either of them and I used them just to get rid of them. But lately I’ve been loving them like crazy and using them daily. The coconut butter (Artisana brand) is even better now that it’s summer and the heat of my house makes it a little melty. And the Sunwarrior makes the perfect protein-packed base for raw powerbowl desserts. I’ve been eating these powerbowls at least once a day and they’re still not getting old. And they’re a lot easier to make than most raw desserts!

Has it been sunny where you live? If you had to pick one meal to eat raw, what would it be?

The Meal Survey

Happy Labor Day, for those of you who get the day off! Sorry I’ve been pretty MIA since midweek–school was crazy and then I came home for the long weekend. My family and I went to Breckenridge, CO on Saturday for their annual duck race. Sounds silly, but totally fun and a great excuse for a day trip to the mountains. I was really looking forward to it, especially because the weather here has been crazy hot for months and it’s always cooler up there. Well, we got a little more than we bargained for–it was sunny and hot in the morning, storm clouds rolled in and it rained like crazy, then it was cold and windy, then sunny again and finally cold and rainy. Totally bipolar day, but still fun!

Today I’ve just got a fun food-related survey that’s been all around the blog world lately. Enjoy!

Breakfast Questions

1. Favorite cereal as a child?

Tough question, since I was a huge cereal lover as a kid. That was basically my breakfast every morning. I remember really loving Post Blueberry Morning. It was a healthy-ish cereal but plenty sweet and full of berries and almonds!

2. Coffee or tea? With milk or without?

Coffee for sure! I love tea, but really only iced tea. Coffee is great iced and hot. When I get it iced, I go for just straight black coffee sweetened with some Truvia. But I prefer my hot coffee with a little soymilk or almond milk (Starbucks, can you get on the almond milk trend?) and one of their sugar-free syrups. I know artificial sweeteners aren’t the best, but I love their syrups and they’re an occasional indulgence.

First hot coffee drink in months! Tall soy skinny vanilla latte.

3. The one food you eat most often at breakfast?

I go through major breakfast phases. A year ago, I was really into overnight oats. Then I liked hot oats. Then smoothies in a bowl. Then pancakes. Now it’s waffles, and I’m ob-sessed! I always make them with buckwheat flour (I want to experiment with coconut flour though), ground flax, almond milk and then go crazy with mix-ins or toppings. My favorites are dark chocolate chips, real maple syrup, sweet potato, berries and protein frosting.

Lunch Questions

1. Sandwiches are generally considered a “lunch food”. If you had to choose between a grilled cheese and a peanut butter and jelly, which would you pick?

Hands-down, PB&J! I obviously don’t eat real cheese anymore and I’m not a big fan of the vegan cheeses. I actually never was a big grilled cheese lover, even as a kid. However, I did used to eat just jelly sandwiches on wheat bread because I hated (still do) PB. I was a weird kid 😉 I absolutely love almond butter and jelly sandwiches though. I really want to try a macadamia butter and mango jam sandwich, it just sounds amazing!

2. You can only put four ingredients in your salad (not including greens); what do you throw in the mix? Additionally, which greens and dressing do you pick?

Ooooooh, hard question! I really love complex, random salads so it’s hard for me to pick just four. I guess I’ll go with edamame, peanut sauce, red peppers and chili-flavored cashews (like the Thai salad from Panera!) For greens, I usually go with kale or baby spinach. I hate hate HATE arugula though, so I’ll pick it out if it’s in a spring mix. I’m so high maintenance 😉

Another favorite salad, from Qdoba. Black beans, corn salsa, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

3. One food you can’t live without at lunch?

My lunches are always different, but one thing that stays the same is produce. I always have a fruit and veggie at lunch time and I try to mix it up. I love salads but it isn’t always practical to have one, so sometimes I’ll bring baby carrots or mini sweet peppers to campus and for fruit I try to go with something more portable if I can’t be at my apartment for lunch.

Dinner Questions

1. It’s the end of the day. You’re tired, hungry, and your fridge is empty. If a fast food (from a chain) is your only option, where do you go and what do you order?

I haven’t had legit fast food in years, and I have no desire to do so. Plus most of them aren’t very vegan-friendly. I prefer fast casual chains, like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles, etc. since they have plenty of healthy options. However, my real ‘go-to’ is Whole Foods. Their prepared foods section is amazing and you all know my love for their salad bar! I actually just got some again on Friday and I’m already wanting more #noshame

The latest Whole Foods salad bar box. Marinated artichokes, sweet potato and pepper salad, orange chipotle tofu, Korean veggies, chana masala.

2. TV/computer on or off while you’re eating?

Always on, at least when I’m by myself, otherwise it feels too quiet and weird.

3. The one food you eat most often at dinner?

Sweet potatoes! I don’t know why, but I rarely have them at other meals (besides my sweet potato chocolate chips waffles). They’re my addiction for sure, especially topped with nut butter!

Dessert Questions

1. Choose between these two American desserts: cheesecake or apple pie?

Cheesecake, definitely. Never been an apple pie fan, but cheesecake was one of my faves before becoming vegan. Now I still enjoy it sometimes, when I make raw cheesecake from scratch or buy this amazing raw cheesecake brand from Whole Foods (super expensive, but worth it).

First attempt at raw cheesecake!

2. Choose between these two foreign desserts: tiramisu (Italy) or flan (Spain)?

Never had flan, but it does not look appetizing. Tiramisu, on the other hand, is amazing. I haven’t had it in forever, but I’m working on a raw, vegan version. Stay tuned!

3. Ice cream: cone or cup?

I prefer cups, unless it’s a special-flavored waffle cone like this one place in Estes Park makes. They seriously have flavors like bubblegum and marshmallow!

What nut butter and jelly sandwich combo have you always wanted to try? What’s your favorite American-style dessert?