My Food Biography

The credit for this post goes to the lovely Kaila, who always has the most creative post ideas! She shared her food biography recently, and it inspired me to think back about what meals have become memorable over the years. I’m going to be sharing 10, but I thought of a lot more!

You can read more about the idea behind a food biography here, but I think it’s a really cool idea. Food is such an important part of our lives, from the social aspect of it to the fact that it’s necessary to sustain life. For me, my food biography isn’t necessarily my favorite foods, since those change all the time, but rather is the foods I most associate with certain memories.

  • Einstein Bros. bagels with cream cheese (specifically the asiago and chocolate chip flavors)

Growing up, on some Saturday mornings my dad would wake up early and grab us bagels from Einstein Bros. Getting to eat a bagel for breakfast instead of the usual cold cereal was such a treat. I remember leisurely mornings around the table with my family, newspaper spread out (we’re big newspaper readers!) and enjoying either a chocolate chip bagel with strawberry cream cheese or an asiago bagel with jalapeno cream cheese. They had the best ‘shmear’ flavors and paired with the doughy bagel, it was just bliss. I haven’t had a bagel in years (major fear food) but I remember this special childhood treat.

  • Soy chocolate gelato at Gelazzi
One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi--the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

One of my favorite flavor combos at Gelazzi–the soy chocolate and birthday cake.

When I first tried gelato (sometime in early HS) I was hooked. Even when froyo became a big thing a few years later, I stuck with gelato. We had one or two local places, but when I went on a college tour of the college I ended up going to, my dad and I just had to try Gelazzi, the gelato place in that town. I remember ordering the soy chocolate gelato and absolutely falling in love. That moment is significant for me because at the time of my college visit, I had recently started recovering from anorexia. I still feared most foods, and going out to eat was really hard for me. The fact that I could order gelato, a dessert, and enjoy it was huge. Since that first experience, me and my family have returned many times to Gelazzi and I’m sad that I can’t go there anymore since I moved away. P.S. Gelato is the reason why I’m only 99% vegan!

  • Teriyaki steak on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, for as long as I can remember, my mom made teriyaki steak for dinner. Basically it was flank steak marinated in a teriyaki sauce with lots of green onions. There was a brief time during my childhood that I was obsessed with steak (as long as it was well-done) and I always looked forward to this dinner. Even though I don’t eat steak anymore and I don’t plan on it ever, this meal just reminds me of Christmas Eve–going to church with my family, coming home and enjoying this meal, and then reading Christmas stories before going to bed early.

I’m so thankful my dad took the time to cook meals with me when I started getting interested in cooking. We’ve cooked together many times, but this one sticks out to me in particular. I’ve actually since made vegan eggplant muffulettas with him as well! I remember going to the store and picking out fancy olives and good bread and then coming home and making the sandwiches on the panini press. I enjoyed picking out a recipe with him, getting a little cooking lesson and then getting to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

  • Chili lime pasta

Another mom-made meal that I became obsessed with. When a Williams-Sonoma came to our city, my mom would always take me there to browse all the cool kitchen stuff. One time she found this chili-lime seasoning, thought it sounded good, and bought it. She used it on grilled chicken I think, but what I remember most was her chili-lime pasta. Basically it was a sauce made of olive oil and the seasoning with grilled shrimp, grilled peppers and pasta all tossed together. It was really simple but totally delicious and satisfying.

  • Snack plates
So much good stuff.

So much good stuff.

I still enjoy these to this day, but I was first introduced to them when my family would go camping. We camped a lot during the summers (something I really miss) and on Saturday (and Sunday if it was a 3 day weekend) we would always have snack plates for lunch. I always called it ‘feast’ because it really was–we would have stuff like crackers, veggies, cheese, summer sausage and fruit–and just enjoy a random sampling of it for lunch. Now I always crave a bunch of different flavors, so I still love snack plates for snacks and meals.

  • Root beer popsicles 

Popsicles were my jam in the summers growing up! I always ate the Popsicle brand, since it had the best flavors. Anybody else remember those firecracker pops? Now they have a whole bunch of crazy varieties like Jolly Rancher and Yosicles but when I was a kid, there were just the classics. And my favorite was by far the root beer one that came in the variety pack with banana and lemon lime. I remember the jokes written on the popsicle stick and eating them out on the porch with my little sister on hot days.

  • Jelly Bellies on Christmas

Another Christmas tradition in my family was Jelly Bellies. So random! But one year for whatever reason, we bought Jelly Bellies as a stocking stuffer and the idea stuck. I remember going to Target with my dad and sister a week before Christmas and filling our bags from the different flavored bins. And then my sister and I would tear into our bags on Christmas morning and eat Jelly Bellies before breakfast 😛 They were one of my favorite candies, and I was obsessed with certain flavors, like the strawberry cheesecake and orange creamsicle.

  • Mini cereal boxes

This was another camping staple. My family has always been a cold-cereal-for-breakfast bunch, and when we went camping, that didn’t change. But my mom would give in and let us have those fun, sugary kids cereals (we normally ate healthier cereals like Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats). My sister and I would fight over the Lucky Charms and the Cocoa Puffs and the Trix and leave the boring Honey Smacks and Corn Pops to our parents 😉

  • Hummus pizza at Poppy’s
So. Good.

So. Good.

After our camping days came to an end, we made an annual trip to Estes Park for a week spent in a cabin–by a pool, in the mountains, hiking and of course, enjoying the local restaurants. Estes Park is one of my favorite places in the entire world–I’m going to miss going there every summer but I hope I can eventually make it back there more regularly. Anyways, on our first night, we’d always go out to eat at Poppy’s, a pizza place by the river. We always sat outside, listening to the sounds of the river and live music. When I was younger, I’d get weird pizzas with shrimp and green olives (seriously, they had so many topping options) and then for a year or two during the height of my ED, I ordered a plain grilled chicken sandwich because I was scared of pizza, but after that time, my go-to order was the hummus pizza, which happened to be vegan (even before I was vegan). The dough was perfectly soft and chewy and the right thickness. The hummus was homemade and super creamy. The olives and the sundried tomatoes and the artichoke hearts and the spinach were matched perfectly and made it the best pizza I’ve ever had. Last summer when we were in Estes, I tried to order it and they said they’d gotten rid of it 😦 So unfortunately, the pizza legend does not live on. But I still remember how good it was, and how much I enjoyed just being in that beautiful place.

What foods would be in your ‘food biography’?

ABCs and Recipes

Last summer, I was completely obsessed with blog surveys. I did one almost every week, usually on Wednesday (for WIAW) and I loved coming up with answers for the questions. I got a little burned out on them after a while, but now that I’ve seen this new survey pop up all over the place, I decided to jump in on it. I’ve also got a couple more recipes for you too!

A is for Age: 19, but I’ll be 20 in 4 months!

B is for Breakfast today: Coffee-flavored overnight oats topped with a little peanut flour paste, with a side of veggie bacon (made crispy in the microwave) and some raisins.

C is for Currently Craving: Starbucks unsweetened iced coffee! I had my first one yesterday and it was totally refreshing for a warm spring day. I sweetened it up with a little Truvia and it was perfection.

Enjoying some Starbucks in the sunshine.

D is for Dinner tonight: Hopefully some Mediterranean food at Garbanzo, aka my favorite fast casual restaurant!

E is for favorite type of Exercise: Either biking or tennis. I hope I can do one of those tomorrow, since it’s supposed to be super warm!

F is for irrational Fear: Someone breaking into my house…and squirrels.

G is for Gross food: Any kind of meat (that’s why I’m veg*n), ketchup and eggs. Ick!

H is for Hometown: Phoenix, AZ. Now I live in CO but I want to move back to AZ someday for the warm weather.

I need to live in Phoenix so I can tan outside all the time.

I is for something Important: I couldn’t live without my family, seriously.

J is for current favorite Jam: Music-wise, I’m loving “Starships” by Nicki Minaj. Food-wise, I really like orange ginger marmalade.

K is for Kids: Obviously not right now, but someday I’d love to have twin girls!

L is for current Location: See photo below!

I love being outside!

M is for the most recent way you spent Money: I bought Starbucks drinks for me and my sister.

N is for something you Need: Ummm, how about a car? I’ve loved being able to drive myself around this week and I’m kinda mad that I won’t be able to do that again until summer.

O is for Occupation: Student and blogger right now, future TV anchor hopefully soon 😀

Outfit of the day: striped crop top (Hollister), navy twill shorts (Hollister), silver bangles (American Eagle).

P is for Pet Peeve: Chipped nail polish. I love having my nails polished, but I have to repaint them almost every day because they constantly chip!

Q is for Quote: 

R is for Random fact about you: I have a tooth that grew in facing backwards! I had to have braces on my lower teeth for over 3 years because of it but it’s still backwards.

S is for favorite healthy Snack: Kale chips. Here’s my latest recipe for them…

Why are kale chips so addicting?

Curried Kale Chips (vegan, gluten-free)

1 bunch kale, washed and dried

curry powder, garam masala, sea salt, cracked black pepper (to taste)

oil spray (I used Pam)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Tear kale into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Spritz lightly with oil spray and sprinkle on spices (add as much or as little as you’d like). Place kale on foil-lined baking trays and put in oven for 20-30 minutes, until crisp. 

T is for favorite Treat: Gelato, or almond milk ‘ice cream’. As far as desserts go, cold ones are definitely my favorite, I’m not as huge of a fan of baked goods, but I also love raw desserts.

U is for something that makes you Unique: My eyes used to be blue when I was a baby, but now they’re hazel! As much as I think blue eyes are really pretty, I think hazel ones are really cool.

V is for favorite Vegetable: My favorites at the moment include spinach, baby carrots, edamame, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and asparagus.

A produce-filled lunch: quinoa pasta salad (the colored ones are made of dried spinach and beets) with baby carrots, edamame and vegan Caesar dressing, side of fresh mango.

Super Simple Pasta Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup quinoa pasta

1/4 cup cooked edamame

handful chopped carrots, other veggies

1 tbsp dressing of choice (I used Follow Your Heart’s vegan Caesar)

Make pasta according to package. Mix with edamame and other veggies and place in a bowl in the fridge for a few hours. Once chilled, toss with dressing and other toppings of choice, like nooch, nuts or dried fruit (makes 1 serving).

W is for today’s Workout: I did a quickie cardio circuit, and I’m also going to be spending the day shopping. Shopping is my favorite form of cardio, hands down 😉

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Right ankle, left wrist, teeth and right foot. I also had an MRI done when I fractured my right ankle in fourth grade.

Y is for Yesterday’s highlight: Getting to pick up my sister from school and taking her to Starbucks, having my last orthodontist appointment ever, making dinner for my family. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures but I made orange chicken-style tofu with quinoa. It was decent, but I want to tweak the recipe before I post it.

Z is for your time Zone: Mountain time zone, baby! I love being one of the few bloggers actually in this time zone, haha.

 

Answer any of these for yourself!

Simply Having a Wonderful Weekend Time!

Heya everyone, thanks for all the input on my fruit and sugar post. Of course, I know fruit is good for me, but with all my eating disordered tendencies, it can be really hard to push all these silly “diet tips” out of my brain and do what’s right for my body. I really love what you all had to say on the subject though!

Now onto more fun 😀 Sorry about my really lame title, can you tell I’m in the Christmas spirit? I’ve officially been home for Thanksgiving break for 63 hours as I’m writing this (yes, I really did count!) and it’s been the best two days so far!

Friday was a crazy-busy day as I got ready to leave campus for break while also having classes and a test to go to 😦 I was running back and forth between class and my dorm and then I finally met my mom back in the parking lot after my last class. I was so excited to see her, even though I had just been home the weekend before. But I haven’t been home for more than 2 days since summer break back in August so it’s definitely been awhile since I could just take some time to relax at home. We headed straight for this nearby apartment complex that I recently applied to for next year. I am so ready to get out of the dorms after almost a year and a half so I was super pumped when I found out that they accepted my application. So we went on a little tour of the place, and it seems pretty cool. I’m planning on moving into a one-bedroom (because of my horrible roommate fiasco of last year) and the one bedrooms actually are pretty large. My mom seemed to like the place too, and it’s not too expensive, plus it’s on the bus line to campus which is awesome as I might not have a car next year. Oh, and it has an outdoor pool–holllllla! I’m crossing my fingers that we can sign a lease soon. An apartment with a real kitchen, here I come!

After that, I had to take a stats test (so ready to be done with that awfulness) and then my mom treated me to some gelato! I haven’t had some in months and I’ve been craving it, even though it’s been cold out, so it was a nice little snack. I got my usual soy chocolate, and some pumpkin. Seriously, the combo of pumpkin and chocolate is up there with peppermint and chocolate. Just so darn tasty!

I could seriously live at Gelazzi, it's the best gelato place ever!

After grabbing all my stuff from my room, we headed home, what we thought would be a 2 and half hour drive as usual. Well…it actually turned out to be a 3 hour and 15 minute drive, because of all the horrible traffic. Seriously, drivers in northern CO are the worst–they slam on their brakes for almost anything. Cars pulled off on the shoulder cause major pile-ups and end up making the relatively short drive home way too long. Luckily, we did get home safely and we listened to Christmas music the whole way down, so it wasn’t too awful 😛

On Saturday morning, I totally savored the family time at breakfast. On the weekends, we almost always all have breakfast together, and it is the best, with the newspaper all over the table! We are big newspaper readers fo sho, even though I usually only read the lifestyle section and the comics 😉 Then I dragged my dad outside so we could get the mail…because I was expecting something big! Well, not really, but I was excited. I ordered……….peanut flour! Heck ya, you better believe I was chomping at the bit to try it! I’ve seen it on like a billion blogs, and never got to try it, since I have no Trader Joe’s in my state 😦 Come on TJs, come to Colorado, pretty please? I ordered mine off iHerb and I couldn’t wait to dig in. For lunch, I was really feeling some veggie chili, so I heated up some Amy’s black bean chili and I really wanted cornbread on the side. Of course, I didn’t want to make a huge batch of it in the oven, so I thought why not make a microwave corn muffin? And add peanut flour to the mix–genius! It was soooooo good, you’d think it was actually cooked in the oven, but it only took a minute in the micro to puff up nicely.

Veggie chili + corn muffin = best cold day lunch.

Peanut Corn Muffin for One (vegan if Greek yogurt omitted, high protein)

1 tbsp yellow corn meal

1 tbsp peanut flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

water, enough to make smooth

1/2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt (can use pumpkin or applesauce to make vegan)

sweetener, to taste (I used a packet of Truvia)

Mix dry ingredients together in a small microwave-safe ramekin or nonstick cooking sprayed coffee mug. Add wet ingredients and stir til smooth and blended. Place in microwave on high for one minute; add additional time if necessary. Serve with veggie chili or topped with nut butter.

I am definitely making more microwave mug cakes with peanut flour–it adds a nice light peanutty taste, not to mention lots of protein!

After this delicious lunch, we were off–to Starbucks! They were having a deal this weekend between 2 and 5 pm where you could buy one holiday drink and get another one free. I love their holiday stuff, and couldn’t wait to try their new skinny peppermint mocha so I dragged my dad and sister along. Just kidding, they love Starbucks as much as I do! First, we made a stop at the mall nearby. It was cool to see it all decked out for Christmas–the crowds on the other hand were not so cool. I guess they’re normal around this time of year though. After a brief swing through Hollister (mine and my sister’s favorite clothing store), we hit up Bath and Body Works. I ran out of the vanilla bean noel lotion awhile back, and since I love their holiday lotions, I wanted to stock up. I got a mini vanilla bean noel lotion, a mini pink sugarplum lotion (one of their new ones, and SO good) and another pink sugarplum lotion for my sister since they were 3 for 10. I love Bath and Body Works–lotion is one of my addictions for sure and theirs are the best.

How cute are these?

Starbucks was also crowded, but it was worth the wait to get my tall skinny peppermint mocha latte–in a red cup, my first of the season! The red cups always make me feel so cozy and excited for the holidays. I was really glad I got a hot drink yesterday, too. It was so windy and cold out that the drink definitely warmed me up. The verdict? I loved the drink. I’ve mentioned before that I always get the skinny versions of their drinks, and this one did not disappoint. Peppermint and chocolate (plus coffee!) is my favorite seasonal flavor combo, and this drink might become my go-to this season. Plus I didn’t get a headache or feel sick afterwards, so that was a win. I’ve found that if I get anything larger than a tall, I get all queasy and feel crappy the rest of the day, which is no bueno. So tall it is for me!

Oh yes, Starbucks, you are my best friend 😉

Saturday night, we saw my wonderful daddy in a play. Seems like every time I come home, I’m seeing someone in a play. I guess my family is very theatrical 😛 Actually, it’s usually only my sister, though I used to be really into acting in middle school and high school, and my parents used to run kids acting classes. Now my dad mostly just writes plays in his free time, but he got corralled into acting in one of the short plays. The one he was in was pretty funny, as was another one of the plays. The other two were…well, bad, but luckily they were short!

A random lunch that was actually great: vegan quesadilla (jalapeno almond cheese on brown rice tortilla), dark chocolate peanut mug cake, cinnamon-spiked butternut squash.

Sunday was grocery shopping part uno. You all know how much I love grocery shopping, and shopping in general. My mom and I went to Bath & Body Works (again!) to find some lotions that we ended up having to order online, but we did get hand massages in the store! Then we went to Super Target, aka my favorite grocery store after Whole Foods. Since Thanksgiving is only a few days away, it was busier than usual, and we ended up spending almost 2 hours walking all over the store. Shopping is my favorite form of cardio for sure 😉 By the time we got out of there, our cart was filled to the brim, and I ended up getting some ingredients I need for some things I’m planning on making (recipes to come very soon), as well as a dress, pair of heels and tights for an audition/interview I have with my school’s TV station (I want to be a weather anchor!) and also some Christmas window clings for my window at school. Definitely a successful shopping trip!

A very orange and yellow dinner: Gardein veggie nuggets, chipotle sweet potato fries, sweet tater tots, butternut squash and yellow mustard.

I really wanted some oats this morning, and since I’ve been really into volumized oats lately, I had to plan in advance, so I whipped up a batch of dark chocolate peppermint oats! I think I ended up adding a little bit too much peppermint extract, but they were still nice and minty and refreshing.

Dark chocolate peppermint oats topped with half a homemade dark chocolate peppermint waffle. Peppermint overload? No way!

Today seemed to be the day of making new, simple recipes. At dinner, I made a smoothie with Silk Nog, organic pumpkin puree and peanut flour (yes, I’m already obsessed) and it actually turned out awesome. Peanut flour really does go with almost everything, it was definitely a smart purchase. Then I made pumpkin s’mores. Oh yeah, get excited! Pumpkin and chocolate is an amazing combo, I love s’mores in general so I thought it would be awesome. And I was not disappointed!

Check out that oozing pumpkin goodness and an Instagram'd photo.

Pumpkin S’mores (can be made vegan, makes 1)

1 graham cracker square, halved

vegan chocolate chips (I used a teaspoon)

vegan or regular mini marshmallows (I used a tablespoon)

1 tbsp pumpkin puree

Place chocolate chips on one side of a graham square and microwave for 15-20 seconds on high until the chips start to melt. Add marshmallows on top and microwave for 10 more seconds. Spoon pumpkin onto other graham square and place on top of chocolate and marshmallow side. Don’t forget the napkins!

Besides my random experiments in the kitchen, I also did some more grocery shopping (this time at Whole Foods–yay!) as well as boot shopping and a hair cut. I always love how my hair looks right afterward until I shower, but then I can never style it the exact same way again. And the boot shopping was also a huge success–I’ll show you guys my new boots in action sometime soon, but for now, here’s a photo from the DSW website, where I got them from. There were a little bit more expensive than I would have liked, but they’re very cute and comfortable, even with a 2 inch heel. I think they’ll get a lot of use and I can’t wait to show them off on campus.

Mine are brown, but they are exactly like this!

I love my new hair, too!

So my weekend was definitely action-packed, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had so much fun and I can’t wait for the rest of Thanksgiving break. And no worries, I’ll be getting back to you all with a few recipes very soon!

What was something fun that you did this weekend? Do you like tall boots?

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!

Vegan?!

If you’ve read my about me page, or even just seen my new header, you’ll know that I eat a primarily vegetarian diet. This is an ethical and also personal choice I made a few years ago–I just don’t really care for the taste of meat. Up until this past year, I still ate chicken, lean turkey and seafood more regularly (I haven’t eaten red meat or pork in years), but considered myself a flexitarian, or someone who eats a plant-based diet with meat on occasion. Being away at college, I could eat whatever I wanted and because I didn’t like the dining hall food, I pretty much ate a vegetarian diet, except for when I was at home and poultry or fish was being served. But this summer, I really realized that A) I can’t stomach meat anymore and B) I don’t want to exploit animals for my enjoyment (erm, or lack of enjoyment). So I started turning more and more to vegetarian sources of protein. I also discovered that I don’t like dairy much anymore, aside from Greek yogurt, froyo and gelato.

Favorite. Overnighters. Combo. Ever. Mint chocolate gelato topped chocolate oats. Dessert and breakfast in one.

Before this point, my parents were dead-set aga inst me going vegetarian, let alone vegan. Because of my history with anorexia, they wanted me to be getting as many nutrients as possible, especially protein. However, I’ve convinced them that eating a mainly-vegan diet actually makes me feel a lot better and is helping me in my eating disorder recovery. So my mom discussed it with me, and she thinks it would be okay for me to go mostly vegan, as long as I keep some source of calcium. I’m still going to eat Greek yogurt (I can’t disown my beloved Oikos–I feel perfectly okay about eating it because it’s organic) and drink fortified soy milk. I’m probably going to end up taking a calcium supplement along with a B12 vitamin, just so I don’t run into any deficiency issues. And…I’m going to make a huge effort to increase my healthy fat intake. I’ve been scared of fats ever since my eating disorder, but eating enough fats is essentialto health. So I’m gonna up my nut/nut butter intake (I so wanna try the Archer Farms Almond Cashew Peanut Butter!) and hopefully that’ll help. I also really like Clif Mojo bars and Pure bars, and those have a lot of healthy fats in them.

I love me some carrot cake...oats that is! Raisins and crunchy almond butter really make this shine.

However…I think while I’m still at home for a couple weeks, I may still have to eat meat on occasion. But honestly, I just don’t like meat at all. Period. Not even seafood as much.  I’m actually really excited to be eating a mostly vegan diet. It just feels so much more natural to me.

Don't worry, yogurt messes, you're not going anywhere anytime soon! Superfruits Greek yogurt topped with Bear Naked Fit and bloobs, soy iced coffee on the side.

[DISCLAIMER: I am not claiming to be 100% vegan. I would say that I am a vegetarian eating vegan a lot of the time–I still want to include Greek yogurt and the occasional frozen yogurt or gelato. But honestly, I don’t really like labeling–labels are for cans, not people. Also, I’m not trying to promote a specific diet–I think different things work for different people, and this is what works for me!]

If you’re vegan, what kinds of foods do you eat to get enough fats?

WIAW: The Big 1-9

Hey guys! Sorry my WIAW is a little late this week. I was pretty busy on Wednesday, so I didn’t have much time to post. But I still wanted to get in on the party, so here it is!

Well, it’s finally here–my 19th birthday!I feel like I’ve been waiting a whole year for my birthday…oh wait, I have 😉

The most exciting part of this year’s birthday (besides a special store opening event–more on that in a bit) is that it just so happens that it’s also Wednesday. As in, What I Ate Wednesday! I love this weekly party (hosted by the lovely Jenn) and this week, it feels like even more of a party, since it’s my b-day. Self-centered much? 😀

Peas and Crayons

I started my birthday out reaaaaaaaally early (well, early for me!) at the ripe hour of 6 o’ clock. Who in their right mind wakes up that early on their birthday if they don’t have to go to work (or they just happen to be an early bird, which I am most definitely not)? This girl right here, and for a good reason–my mom and I were going up to Denver for the grand opening of Colorado’s first-ever IKEA store! I’ve never been to an IKEA store so I was curious about what they’d have there, but mostly because they were giving away gift certificates worth $52.80 (the elevation of the store is 5280 feet, I guess that’s how they got that amount) only to people whose birthday was on July 27th (the grand opening day, obvs). I’ve never thought my birthday was on a special day (though, one of my lucky numbers is 7, so it’s kinda special) but I guess it was in this case! I had to prove my birthday was really July 27th, though (this is when having a driver’s license comes in handy…oh, I guess also if you want to drive 😉 )and I got a neato Happy Birthday stamp on my wrist. I think some people thought it was a tat lol JK.

Cake batter oats for breakfast. I just had to, I mean, it was my birthday after all!

...along with a spicy veggie sausage, mixed berries and PB Puffins.The sun was shining right behind it, so you can't really read the sign

Welcome to IKEA!

The coolest stamp ever!

 My mom scored a $10 gift certificate at the door, so we had over $60 to spend. My dad told us that we couldn’t go crazy and spend way over the amount we got (knowing us, we probs could have easily) and we didn’t! We even had $5 left over. We ended up getting a floor lamp with a pink and orange shade, a pink plastic shower caddy and a cool orange lamp thing (notice a trend here?) All the stuff gonna be for my dormie room and I can’t wait! I’ll show pics when everything’s actually assembled. As for the verdict on IKEA? Love. It. I’m a big fan of modern, sleek, cool furniture and I can totally see myself shopping here when I have a place of my own. The best part is that it’s all pretty cheap but well-made. Double score!

After the adventure that was IKEA (I totally got my exercise in for the day at that store. No joke. We were running to try to find the birthday certificate hand-out area, wrestled people to the ground manuevered around people to check out the lighting fixtures and almost got lost in that maze of a store.) we went to Panera for lunch. I got the strawberry poppyseed salad for the second time, and it was perfect for a hot summer day. It was huge though, so I wasn’t able to eat much of it.

Mi ensalada: greens, grilled chicken, pecans, strawbs, mandarin oranges, bloobs and pineapple

Then we drove to Gelazzi (the best gelato place, hands-down!) to pick up my b-day dessert. I was planning on getting a gelato cake or pie, but after being shellshocked by the prices (30 bucks for a cake? No thanks!) I settled on 2 pints of gelato, one mint chocolate chip and the other Hilo pineapple. Mmmmm (not together, though!)…

Back at home, I was starving so I munched on a handful of PB Puffins (those things are like crack, I swear) and some raisins. IDK why, but I’ve been loving on the raisins lately, even more so than my beloved dates. Don’t worry dates, you’ll always be my true love 😛

Birthday girl outfit: light green floral Hollister dress, coral VS Pink bandeau bra, AE pink crystal necklace

After some cardio interval time and yoga (as if I didn’t exercise enough already at IKEA…) I had a snackie that’s quickly becoming a favorite of mine: Late July mild green mojo multigrain chips alongside an almond butter-stuffed date and pineapple chunks. I convinced my sis to try the chips and she fell in love. My sister, the organic-hater, loved these organic healthy chips because they “taste like Doritos” (her words, not mine). I’m glad I can convert her to healthy eating 🙂

Amazing snack!Another birthday "present" I got was my first edible strawberry from my little plant. The first one got eaten by birds...yikes!

My daddy got home and then we were off to Pei Wei for my birthday din din. If you’ve never heard of/been to Pei Wei it’s basically a cheaper version of PF Changs. Okay, maybe that didn’t help either, but it’s a place that has a bunch of different Asian cuisines and dishes. I got my personal fave, the Vietnamese Chicken Salad rolls. I also had some iced chai black tea (s0 delish with a fresh orange slice!), edamame and a little bit of my dad’s brown rice mixed with peanuts from his Kung Pao. Such a delish dinner and I can’t wait to have the leftover roll for lunch! My only complaint is that I was freezing my butt off the entire time! What is it with restaurants and their extreme air conditioning?

Sorry about the horrible quality of these photos, they were taken in weird lighting and I had to be sneaky about it!

Edamame for the win!Vietnamese summer rolls are my favorite!

 

 Presents time back at home (aka my favorite part of my b-day)! I got really sweet cards from my parents and sis and some pretty rockin’ presents as well.

Coach Poppy backpack, cropped denim jacket, Gilly Hicks pink tee and blue floral pj shorts, hair waver, fashion book

I'm a little obsessed with wrapping paper...

After a little AGT (America’s Got Talent) watching, I was starving again (!) so we decided to have the birthday gelato then. Remember above when I said that I would never have pineapple and mint chocolate chip gelato at the same time? Well…I did. It honestly wasn’t bad, but that’s probs because I ate each flavor separately (and now I can look forward to many more nights of gelato leftovers!) I was surprised the house didn’t burn down, with 19 candles on a tiny gelato container!

That's a whole heck of a lot of candles!

Mint chocolate chip and pineapple--a match made in (weird) foodie heaven!

My new pjs in action!

Thanks for sticking with me through that monster of a post! I had an amazing day and couldn’t ask for anything more!

What is one of your birthday ‘traditions’? Ever been to an IKEA?

Shopping and Gelato

Shopping is officially one of my favorite things to do. I’m a total girly girl, so I of course love clothes shopping, but I also love to go food shopping too (especially at Whole Foods 😀 ). Despite my love of shopping, there is one thing that makes it even better…gelato!

Yesterday, my mom, little sister (she’s 15 and btw, looks older than me!) and I headed up to Denver to hit up our favorite mall for all the Memorial Day weekend sales. I have to admit that I’m not the “smartest” shopper–I don’t usually seek out the clearance section unless I love something there. But with storewide sales, I can buy a newly introduced item at a clearance price. And I’m so down for that!

I was the only one planning on buying anything, but my mom did end up getting a few things herself. My sister basically tagged along for some window shopping and since she loves the same stores as I do, she was able to find a few things she might get for herself in the future.

I got 5 very cute items for a lot less than they would normally be. If they were all full price, I probably would have spent over $100 (which I didn’t have!) As it was, I spent most of my money but I’m happy with my purchases. At Hollister (prob my favorite store), I got an adorable red floral romper, a pair of khaki twill shorts and a pair of coral flip-flops. I’ve wanted a romper since last summer, but I’ve always been worried what people would think of me in one. It was only $20 and with an extra 30% off my entire purchase, everything ended up costing only $35! I think I’ll really love the romper as an alternative to a summer dress. I love me some dresses, but I need to switch it up every once in awhile.

Rompin' around 😉

I also went to American Eagle, Abercrombie Kids and A&F. I ended up buying an oversized lime green striped top from AE (I love how cute and breezy it is) and a pair of denim shorts from Abercrombie Kids. I love A&F, but it’s pretty expensive and by the time we ended up there, I had spent almost all of my money! So just some window shopping for me.

After our afternoon of shopping, my mom took us to Gelazzi, this  AMAZING gelato place in Denver (and in the city where I go to school). They have soooooo many flavors and they all sound so good that it takes awhile to decide! I went with half soy chocolate (favorite flava!) and half birthday cake. It was delicious and so creamy. Seriously, if you have never tried gelato, you are missing out. It is a million times better than ice cream or even froyo. Sure, I love froyo but gelato is just too good to pass up!

I know you want some....

Q’s: How was your weekend? Bought anything (food, clothes, etc.) lately?