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?

WIAW: Food Fails & Fashion Talk

I like trying out new recipes, and just new things in general, but unfortunately, they don’t always work out in my favor. I bookmark recipes with high hopes that they’ll be amazing and sometimes they’re not but that’s okay! That’s why I like to throw some new things into the mix but keep some old favorites so I’m never totally disappointed.

Breakfast: cacao banana softserve with Sunwarrior, cacao and lucuma powders, topped with buckwheat rawnola and raw pumpkin seeds.

Breakfast: cacao banana softserve with Sunwarrior, cacao and lucuma powders, topped with buckwheat rawnola and raw pumpkin seeds.

This isn’t really a fail, but more like a weird thing I’ve been doing lately. I used to be able to blend my banana softserve with just bananas, and it would turn out smooth and creamy every time. Now that I’ve been doing add-ins everyday, I’ve needed to add in a splash of coconut milk to get things moving. Not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes the softserve turns out more like a thick soup than ice cream. Trial and error!

Lunch: raw taco salad. Base of romaine, dressed with lime juice and cracked pepper, topped with homemade guac, homemade sprouted and dehydrated corn chips. Side of canary melon and water.

Lunch: raw taco salad. Base of romaine, dressed with lime juice and cracked pepper, topped with homemade guac, homemade sprouted and dehydrated corn chips. Side of canary melon and water.

I’ve been trying to perfect the homemade salad dressing. I love cashew based dressings, but they are sometimes chunkier than I’d like them to be. I just can’t get the smooth consistency down, even though I soak the raw cashews beforehand. At least they taste good, right?

Raw snackplate: homemade buckwheat rawnola in coconut milk, half a chocolate coconut Kit's Organic bar, frozen watermelon. carrot, flax crackers, Thai coconut curry cashews.

Raw snackplate: homemade buckwheat rawnola in coconut milk, half a chocolate coconut Kit’s Organic bar, frozen watermelon. carrot, flax crackers, Thai coconut curry cashews.

Snack plates are never a fail! You just can’t go wrong combining different tastes, textures and macros all in one plate. Like I’ve said before, I’m indecisive when it comes to snacks, and I like having a little bit of everything.

Dinner:: raw teriyaki portobello burger (marinated in coconut aminos+liquid smoke and prepped in dehydrator for 30 minutes) on romaine 'bun' topped with homemade cashew pumpkin seed 'pesto' and fresh pineapple.

Dinner:: raw teriyaki portobello burger (marinated in coconut aminos+liquid smoke and prepped in dehydrator for 30 minutes) on romaine ‘bun’ topped with homemade cashew pumpkin seed ‘pesto’ and fresh pineapple.

I had high hopes for my first raw veggie burger, but sadly it wasn’t that great. I think I just don’t like the consistency of portobello mushrooms if they aren’t cooked well enough or at least drained of their excess water. I found a few recipes for raw portobello burgers but they all called for the portobello to be in the dehydrator for at least an hour. I was running short on time and wanted to eat NOW so I set it in there for only half and hour and it wasn’t so tasty. The toppings definitely made up for it though! I’ll definitely try it again when I have more time to let it sit in the dehydrator.

Dessert: chocolate Sunwarrior protein 'pudding' topped with cacao+coconut oil 'magic shell', raspberries and coconut flakes.

Dessert: chocolate Sunwarrior protein ‘pudding’ topped with cacao+coconut oil ‘magic shell’, raspberries and coconut flakes.

The only fail about this was that I ran out of Sunwarrior a week or so ago and had to wait for my order to come in from Amazon before I could start whipping up raw protein-packed desserts. I used to like the Garden of Life RAW protein powders but they’re really chalky and only taste ok in some things, like banana softserve. Lesson learned: Sunwarrior is the best raw protein powder I’ve found so far!

The BEST raw chocolate I've found!

The BEST raw chocolate I’ve found!

I raved about this bar on Instagram the other day. Such a delicious raw treat, but at $5 per bar (and these bars are about half the size of a normal chocolate bar), it’s a once-a-week purchase that I make last for a whole week. I could easily demolish the whole small bar in one day, but that would be a total wallet fail. Maybe I’ll try to make a version of it at home with the lucuma powder I have, coconut oil, cacao and dates. I gotta say though, as much as I like making things from scratch, some things are better storebought. Like this chocolate. And the Living Intentions raw flavored nut mixes I love.

OOTD June 25: black studded tank (Forever 21), light pink high-waisted shorts (Abercrombie & Fitch), unpictured pink heart pendant and white rose ring (F21), white watch (American Eagle), black sparkly flats (Target).

OOTD June 25: black studded tank (Forever 21), light pink high-waisted shorts (Abercrombie & Fitch), unpictured pink heart pendant and white rose ring (F21), white watch (American Eagle), black sparkly flats (Target).

I feel like my style is really evolving lately, and I like it. Both the tank and shorts are recent purchases (bought within the last 3 months) and prior to this year, I would have never bought either. The tank is the first black thing I’ve ever owned as casual wear and though I’m still not a huge fan of black, I think it works well in small doses and paired with pink or white/black patterned things. The shorts are high-waisted, which I never thought I could pull off–they generally work well on curvier girls and I am…not curvy. They may not be as fitted as they’re supposed to be but I really like them and I think they look great with tucked in shirts or cropped tops.

As I’m getting closer to college graduation, I’m reevaluating my closet. As much as I still like most of it (and the rest I gave away to charity–one good thing that came out of the fires was that I was able to donate some of my summer clothes to fire victims!), some of it screams high school, or at least college. I may or may not donate those things, but I know that they’ll probably be more casual and weekend wear for me. I would like to focus on building a more adult casual wardrobe, but especially focus on finding career wear. I have a few things that I got last year when I started with the campus TV station that are definitely work-appropriate, but I need a LOT more (or maybe just want a lot more…). Before this year, I didn’t have a need for a ton of dressy clothes, and while I never wore the typical college kid yoga pants and sweatshirts, my school clothes are a bit too trendy for the workplace. On-air dress code is generally business casual to business (blazers with pencil skirts, solid sheath dresses, etc.) and I’ve never really had a need for those clothes before, so it’ll definitely be a learning experience for me. Luckily, I don’t mind dressing up as long as I can make my outfits fun with a pop of color and such, so I’m excited for what’s ahead fashion-wise.

Do you ever have food or recipe ‘fails’? If you have a job, what’s your dress code? 

Friday Five: Online Shopping Addict

Hi guys! Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately–the semester’s starting to get busy and I literally have next to no time during the middle of the week for anything but sleeping and getting homework done. But I’m more thankful than ever to have three day weekends every week–it’s seriously my lifesaver.

Anyways, I didn’t want to let a whole week go by without another post so I’m throwing a little Friday Five fun in here!

Five Things I’ve Eaten Recently

  •  The best vegan restaurant pizza I’ve ever had. It’s hard to find vegan pizza in restaurants. It’s even harder to find amazing vegan pizza. I’m not one for fake cheese (don’t get the Daiya appeal) so I always go cheeseless. The other toppings are the best part anyways, especially in this case. My mom and I tried out a new-to-us restaurant in my college town called Restaurant 415. They aren’t specifically vegan, but they have plenty of gluten free and vegan options and focus on locally-sourced and organic ingredients. My kinda place for sure! I ordered The Woodland pizza sans the cheese and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The crust was not too thin or too thick, and it came topped with garlic & olive oil, mushrooms, deliciously salty & crunchy kale (when do you ever see kale on a pizza?!), dried figs (ditto), caramelized onions and a balsamic glaze. The sweet and salty flavors worked together perfectly and I was in vegan pizza heaven. 
My delicious leftovers!

My delicious leftovers!

  • Banana softserve…with a twist. Who doesn’t love banana softserve, aka frozen bananas all blended up until they look like ice cream? Seriously, one of my favorite blog food finds ever. Well, I also discovered a little trick recently: mix almond butter (or nut butter of choice) with a little  coconut oil and drizzle over banana softserve…homemade magic shell! You can even add cacao powder or whatever you want to make it even better. I like topping my softserve and shell with cacao nibs for the perfect healthified dessert.
Who needs ice cream when you can have banana softserve?

Who needs ice cream when you can have banana softserve?

  • Raw jalapeno poppers.  I’ve been eating them whole, putting them in salads…basically just loving them. I should have made more but I’ll definitely be stocking up on jalapenos this weekend!
So spicy, so clean, so good!

So spicy, so clean, so good!

  • Brown rice sushi from Whole Foods. I’ve mentioned before how disappointed I am in the salad bar at the WF in my college town. However, when I discovered their brown rice sushi, I just couldn’t resist. I’ve never had brown rice sushi before, let alone vegan-friendly brown rice sushi. I got the avocado carrot cucumber roll and it was great dipped in coconut aminos and as a salad topping.
An easy dinner at it's finest.

An easy dinner at it’s finest.

  • Salads…on salads on salads. I’ve had a salad-a-day streak for at least the last three weeks, and I don’t want it to end anytime soon. I’ve discovered what makes a really great homemade salad–chopping the greens, shaking everything up to mix it around and letting it sit for at least half an hour in the fridge. It all makes for a very tasty salad. The toppings and dressings are what makes them, though.
Latest obsession: taco-inspired salads.

Latest obsession: taco-inspired salads.

Five Things I’ve Bought This Week

  • A set of weights. Yep, finally jumped on the strength training trend, and I gotta say, I really love it! I’m definitely not lifting heavy yet, but it’s good to start out light. And besides, I’m not so much wanting to build muscle as I am wanting to lean out. So lighter weights+more reps=(hopefully) a leaner body!
And they're green, what could be better than that (besides pink)?

And they’re green, what could be better than that (besides pink)?

  • A geology textbook and cacao nibs from Amazon. Random, yes, but I needed to get the super saver shipping so the cacao nibs were a much-wanted add-on item. The textbook is obviously for the geology class I’m in–I took it because it’s supposedly a prereq to the meteorology program I want to get into after graduation and I don’t really love it so far (mostly because of the professor) but I have a friend in it so that helps a lot!
  • A massive iHerb order. They used to offer free shipping in the U.S. for any order over $20 or $25 I think, but now it’s for orders over $40. I hate paying for shipping so I just stocked up my online cart more than usual. I got a few new-to-me items (raw buckwheat granola, a new brand of coconut flour) and some other things I can’t get in store (namely, peanut flour). I think I’ll be set with new products for awhile…
Love getting packages in the mail!

Love getting packages in the mail!

  • Some new-to-me Whole Foods finds. Yes, I love shopping online for things I can’t get near me, but there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned shopping trip to the grocery store. On my last trip to Whole Foods, I got a bunch of new-to-me items and I’m loving them all so far. The best is the Thai coconut curry hummus by Hope Hummus–it’s a local brand, but they might have it in WFs across the country so definitely check them out if you ever see them near you. This is the best hummus flavor I’ve ever tried, period. I also got a couple new Larabar flavors, unsweetened ketchup, coconut oil spray, dark chocolate Nuttzo (it was on sale!) and WF brand pickles (because other brands have not-so-good ingredients).
There's always something new to try at Whole Foods.

There’s always something new to try at Whole Foods.

Five Sites I’m Loving This Week

  • Chicnova. It’s an online store I just discovered that has a ton of cute, affordable clothes in all kinds of styles. I haven’t ordered anything (yet) but there’s quite a few things I’m drooling over.
  • Warby Parker. Notice the online shopping trend? Okay, so I haven’t bought from here either but I love the concept: you get to choose prescription glasses to try on at home, and you send back the ones you don’t like. I’m a sucker for hipster style glasses, so the next time I need a new pair, I’ll definitely be hitting up this store.
  • DAMY Health. I don’t follow their nutrition plan by any means, but the recipe section has all sorts of amazing-looking vegan, gluten free and raw desserts. I kinda want to make them all…
  • PicMonkey. The best free editing site I’ve come across. I just wish I could use all the upgraded features.
  • Weather Channel. Yep, I’m a weather nerd and proud of it (that’s why I’m going into meteorology!) Besides just the forecasts, they also have weather stories and articles that are really interesting. For example, I found out the other day that Denver is in the top 6 cities for most snowfall. I actually don’t believe it, because for the past few years we haven’t gotten much snow at all!

Do you do any strength training? What’s one of your favorite sites at the moment? 

WIAW: The Home Stretch

Well, this is (almost) it. Just two more finals, a day and a half and some packing before I don’t have to think about school for 5 weeks! I’ve been excited about Christmas break since at least Thanksgiving break and it’s finally here. This weekend was a little tease though–I went home on Friday and came back last night, mostly so I wouldn’t have to take back a crap ton of things when I drive home on Thursday night but also to be in a better study environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my one bedroom apartment all to myself but things can get a little cray-cray around the complex on the weekends so I thought it would be better to try to study at home.

Today’s WIAW features my eats from Tuesday–side note, I wasn’t able to snap a picture of dinner, so I’m reusing a similar-looking pic from this summer.

Breakfast: peanut chocolate chia 'pudding' topped with homemade almond flour banana bread and unsweetened coconut shreds.

Breakfast: peanut chocolate chia ‘pudding’ topped with homemade almond flour banana bread and unsweetened coconut shreds.

The pantry has been a little slack-a-lackin’ as of late (wow, did I really just say that?) so I’ve been whipping meals and snacks out of my butt. The microwave at home also just broke (how convenient) so instead of being able to make my usual protein microwave cake, I had to settle for a cold breakfast. Luckily I had some chia seeds on hand so I made a chia pudding overnight made with peanut flour, almond milk and raw chocolate protein powder. In the morning, I topped it with crumbles of an almond flour-based banana bread I made over the weekend (so good, BTW!) and unsweetened shredded coconut. This was actually really good, definite repeat breakfast. I can’t believe I used to hate coconut, it’s such a good topper!

Lunch: homemade sweet potato wedges with organic ketchup for dipping, raw cauliflower, homemade maple cinnamon cashews, peanut flour paste with Theo coconut dark chocolate square.

Lunch: homemade sweet potato wedges with organic ketchup for dipping, raw cauliflower, homemade maple cinnamon cashews, peanut flour paste with Theo coconut dark chocolate square.

The snackplate lunch returns! This was a very random one, but I like random. The sweet potato wedges were made on Monday night and I’ve gotta say, homemade is way better than store bought when it comes to sweet potato fries–I’m baking them myself from now on! The cauliflower is my latest veggie obsession, I always eat it raw and plain, which is totally weird but whatever. It’s good. I made the cashews over the weekend and again, never going back to store bought flavored nuts (ok, I probably will when I’m feeling lazy). I just mixed a tablespoon of maple syrup with a shake of cinnamon and a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan until it started to boil and then stirred in the cashews. This will totally work with all nuts, in case you hate cashews. I don’t love them, but they were all I had on hand and they were good with the maple and cinnamon.

Snack: dried pineapple eaten in the car.

Snack: dried pineapple eaten in the car.

I didn’t eat this entire bag, but I love it so much I could have! This stuff isn’t cheap (~$3.50 per bag) but it’s a pretty good deal for dried fruit with nothing added, and I always make it last almost a week. I only eat dried fruit that doesn’t have added sugars or oils or other crap, and let me tell you, it is beyond amazing! I’m calling it my crack in a bag, it is literally that good.

Dinner: Panera chopped Thai salad, without the chicken or wontons.

Dinner: Panera chopped Thai salad, without the chicken or wontons.

My mom and I grabbed Panera for dinner before she dropped me off. Panera is always a good, quick, healthy option and I pretty much always order the same thing: the Thai chopped salad minus the chicken and the wontons. I love it because A) it’s a huge bowl of fresh veggies and B) it has an addicting spicy-tangy peanut dressing and edamame. I almost went with the black bean soup because it was so cold on Tuesday, but I had to go with my favorite. Never disappoints.

Dessert (left to right clockwise): peanut flour/raw chocolate protein powder microwave cake topped with Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter; raw lemon pie macaroon; a few Vega cocoa-covered saviseeds.

Dessert (left to right clockwise): peanut flour/raw chocolate protein powder microwave cake topped with Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter; raw lemon pie macaroon; a few Vega cocoa-covered saviseeds.

I was feeling indecisive when snack time rolled around (but when am I not?) so I went with a mix of my favorite protein-packed snack of a protein microwave cake and healthy, delicious fats in the form of a raw macaroon and some dark chocolate-covered saviseeds. Those last two items were part of my most recent iHerb purchase, and they were both worth the price. The raw macaroons taste exactly like a lemon pie and are perfectly dense with just a hint of coconut. I love that they’re raw and basically made from coconut, almond flour, maple syrup and lemon juice. My kinda snack. The saviseeds have definitely grown on me–the first time I bit into one, I thought it had the oddest taste, but now they taste almost like what I remember peanut M&Ms tasting like. I’m glad I got the cocoa saviseeds because I have an obsession with all things dark chocolate. It’s a problem.

Have you ever tried a raw macaroon or saviseeds? What’s your favorite dried fruit? 

WIAW: The Random Salad Chef

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

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

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

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

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

Pool time is where it’s at!

Kiddie pool time, that is!

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

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

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

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

Dinner: Moroccan quinoa salad, unpictured carrot cake smoothie.

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

Moroccan Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup raisins, golden or regular

handful green kale, washed and patted dry

1 medium sweet potato

1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

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

sunflower seeds, to garnish

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

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

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

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

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

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

WIAW: Salads and…Snow?

Happy WIAW…and happy birthday to my lovely madre! She is one lucky lady, having both her birthday and Mother’s Day in the same week. I’m so glad school ended just in time for me to be home to enjoy both days with her.

I haven’t gotten around to taking photos of an entire day’s worth of eats (bad blogger, I know, but it’s just slipped my mind most of the time) so this week’s WIAW is just a random compilation of the best of what I’ve been eating this past week along with a recipe and some new grocery store finds.

Breakfast: overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, mashed strawberries and maple macadamias.

This is my new favorite overnight oats combo. Peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, fresh strawberries and maple macadamia nuts are surprisingly yummy together, and taste like summer. The maple macadamia nuts are a new obsession of mine from the Whole Foods bulk section. They are expensive (18 bucks per pounds, yikes) but they’re so worth it.

Lunch: kale wraps with cold grilled tofu strips, sauteed bell peppers and Ginger People hot ginger jalapeno sauce.

Move over, lettuce wraps! Kale wraps are heartier, more nutritious and delicious. One day for lunch I decided I didn’t want a salad but I still wanted to get my greens in. So I took a few heads of kale, partially destemmed them and filled them with leftover fajitas filling, aka grilled tofu strips and sauteed peppers. I drizzled them with my new favorite sauce, and they turned out perfectly spicy and crunchy.

Lunch: chopped kale, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sprinkle of nooch and vegan Caesar dressing thinned with almond milk.

I’ve also been loving raw kale salads for lunch lately. The key is to let the greens soak up the dressing or sauce overnight and marinade with the other ingredients. Oh, and nooch is a necessity for me. This was a Mediterranean inspired salad that I’m definitely repeating. It would be great for dinner bulked up with some chickpeas and kalamata olives.

Lime green striped oversize tee (American Eagle), denim cuffed shorts (Abercrombie Kids).

Can you believe I wore this outfit on a day it snowed? Okay, so I definitely changed into something more weather-appropriate when I had to go out that night to see a performance of Hairspray (really good, BTW) but it’s crazy to think that it didn’t snow at all here in March or April, and then we get dumped on practically in May. What?!

White cardigan (Target), navy lace tank (Abercrombie Kids), navy plaid shorts (Hollister).

I’m not complaining though because after a weekend of rain, light snow and thunder (yeah, Colorado’s weird!) it was back to shorts weather by Monday. I enjoyed a little time outside and did a stairs workout that left me tired (in a good way) and hungry. Running up and down the stairs of my deck was no joke, but it was a fun, heart-pumping workout that I like to do every once in a while to change things up.

My new-to-me Whole Foods finds.

I’m pretty sure I can’t go to Whole Foods without trying out at least one new thing. When I went over the weekend, I hit the mother lode and got mostly all new-to-me things. So far, I’ve tried the quinoa pasta (better than whole wheat or regular), ginger peanut sauce (perfect for Asian dishes), maple macadamias (0b-sessed!), rice cakes (pretty plain but good with toppings), honey vanilla agave (great sub for pancake syrup) and artichoke hearts (basically like any other artichokes, which I love) so I’m excited to try the lemon Larabar, vegan ravioli and pasta sauce.

First Frapp of the summer: tall mocha light with soy and 1 pump raspberry. So effing delicious!

You know me, can’t pass up Starbucks, especially when it’s half price. Sadly, I only got to take advantage of their happy hour once, but I’m glad I did for the deliciousness above. Mocha light Frappuccinos are my absolute favorite, and they get even better with the addition of a pump of raspberry syrup. If you love the chocolate and raspberry combo, order this. Now.

I’m growing my own cilantro!

Get ready for a whole lotta pico de gallo recipes around here…because I officially have my own cilantro plant! My dad’s growing a mint plant so we are definitely stocked up on two of the best herbs. Last summer I grew strawberries and while there weren’t many and they were tiny, it was cool to grow my own stuff. The cilantro already looks pretty healthy and vibrant, so I’m excited.

California Pizza Kitchen’s half Thai Crunch salad without chicken, dressing or wontons…so basically Napa cabbage, carrots, avocado, edamame, peanuts and Ginger People ginger peanut sauce.

I love me some giant salads. I had one on Thursday post-final at Mad Greens with my dad (no picture, but it was spinach/artichoke hearts/kalamata olives/garbanzo beans/sunflower seeds with fat free balsamic) and I had one on Sunday night to celebrate Mother’s Day. We got CPK to-go and I was debating between a veggie pizza without cheese and this salad. Glad I went with the salad, even though there aren’t any leftovers (boo!) We hadn’t eaten at CPK in well over a year and I almost forgot how much I love them and their giant salads. Plus now I know that they’re totally accommodating to vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free people and also if you’re picky like me and don’t like wontons or restaurant dressings. I totally demolished this salad and for the record, it took up my entire regular-sized dinner plate. No shame!

Definitely freeze these if you want to be able to eat them whole!

I made raw blondies for the first time last summer and they were definitely a hit…well at least with me, since my family’s wary of trying raw desserts. I made a new and improved version the other day and while they’re crumbly and messy, they’re simple and healthy, with just 4 ingredients.

Raw Amaretto Blondies (vegan, gluten-free, raw)

3 100 calorie pack cinnamon almonds (can use plain almonds)

6 pitted dates (I used California pitted)

1/2 tbsp raw agave nectar (can sub raw honey or real maple syrup)

1 tbsp Vega Vanilla Almondilla protein powder (can use other protein powder but this gives it the amaretto flavor)

Blend almonds and dates in food processor or high powered blender until mostly combined and crumbly. Add in agave and protein powder until mixed in. Pack blondie mixture into a square glass dish and keep frozen (so the blondies don’t crumble). Makes 4 blondies.

Have you ever tried quinoa pasta? What’s your favorite “special” nut?