New in Review: Nails & Noshes

Hey look, I didn’t totally give up on my new series! I’m going to try to get these up every other week so I hope y’all like them as much as I do!

This week features a couple nail-related beauty products as well as plenty of food items…

  • Veggie-Go’s (sweet potato pie)

2014-05-04 17.17.46

I’ve actually had these before but I never did a formal review on them. They’re anything but your basic fruit strip, because they include veggies (!) and have no added sugar. This flavor in particular tastes like a dessert, but it’s only got 2 grams of sugar, from the sweet potatoes and apples. They’re just fruit, veggies and spices — perfect if you’re like me and prefer your food to be as simple as possible.

Pros: extremely tasty, perfect for a quick 1/2 serving each of fruit & veggies

Cons: a little expensive for the size (~$1.25 per strip)

Where to buy: Whole Foods, their site

  • Sally Hansen Kwik Off Moisturizing Nail Polish Remover

2014-05-04 17.16.00

Has anyone else ever been intrigued by those little containers you dip your fingers in to get nail polish off? My friend had one and it worked magic, so I thought I’d buy one instead of the usual messy nail polish remover liquid. This stuff works like a charm, and it doesn’t smell all chemical-y or get all over the place. I will never buy acetone remover again!

Pros: inexpensive, easy to use, no lingering smell

Cons: honestly, none!

Where to Buy: Target, Sephora, drug stores (CVS and Walgreens probably have them)

  • Dr. in the Kitchen Flackers raw flax crackers

2014-05-04 17.19.15

Another cheat (I first started buying them like 2 years ago), but I started recently buying them more often now that the Whole Foods nearest me carries them. I’ve tried the dill, rosemary, sun dried tomato & basil and cinnamon & currants flavors (basically all of them but the savory flavor) and I love them all except the cinnamon and currants. That one gets a bit too chewy from the currants and the flavor is weirdly sour. But all the others are tasty, not too salty and have stellar nutritionals. 6-7 grams of fiber, raw, gluten free and 4-5 grams of protein per serving. Freakin’ delicious on a snack plate with some olives or raw cashew cheez.

Pros: really healthy, good flavors

Cons: a bit expensive, hard to find

Where to Buy: Whole Foods (not all carry them), natural foods stores, Amazon

  • Honest Fizz (root beer)

Y’all know Zevia has my heart. I mean, sure it costs a lot more than your typical diet soda but it’s so much better for you. If you drink soda, you really need to switch to Zevia.

But Honest Fizz is another great alternative that is a little cheaper. Currently, they only have 4 flavors but I’m hoping they’re successful so maybe they’ll add more. Fingers crossed they (or Zevia) make a watermelon soda. Obsessed. Anyways, the root beer is pretty spot on. I actually prefer the Zevia root beer only because it has a kick from the ginger, but the Honest Fizz was less filling (I don’t drink Zevias too often because I hate being filled up with soda, even if it’s zero calorie) which I like. And I think it would make a pretty good healthy root beer float!

Pros: cheaper than Zevia, less filling

Cons: not many flavor options

Where to Buy: Whole Foods, possibly Sprouts

  •  Broadway Nails imPress press-on manicure

2014-05-06 17.28.46

I’ve gotten into the habit of constantly having my nails painted. The problem is I hate constantly touching up and redoing my nails every few days after they inevitably chip. Enter the fake nails! This is my first time using them, and I can honestly say I am imPressed 😉

These go on really quickly and easily. You press them down for a few minutes and after an hour they’re completely good to go. My nails were fairly short at the time I applied these, so even the ‘short’ length had to be trimmed down a bit, but they look natural. Best of all, no chipping!

Pros: easier than nail polish, look natural

Cons: more expensive per use than nail polish, only get 1-2 uses out of each pack

Where to Buy: Target, CVS, Walgreens

  • Living Intentions superfood cereal (hemp & greens)

2014-05-04 17.18.15

I first discovered this granola at the Whole Foods in my college town. They started stocking it in the bulk bins last spring and once I saw it, I had to give it a try. Of course, being a sprouted, superfood-y type thing, it’s expensive. About $12 per pound! But if you only get a little bit at a time like I do, it’s a lot less expensive. Some stores only sell it prepackaged so you can’t buy only what you need, but if your Whole Foods sells it in the bulk area, BUY IT!

I’ve tried a few of the flavors, but my favorite by far is the hemp & greens. This one isn’t sweetened with agave like some of the others, which I like. It’s got a bit of a ‘green’ flavor from the added spirulina, chlorella, spinach, alfalfa and dandelion — what other cereal can boast those ingredients? It’s grain free (made from buckwheat), low sugar, high protein…basically the healthiest granola ever. It’s perfectly crunchy and just a bit sweet and pairs well with almond milk. I also love it as a topping for my protein puddings.

Pros: one of the healthiest cereals ever, great ingredients

Cons: expensive, I love it so much I keep buying it 😉

Where to Buy: Whole Foods, Sprouts, Nuts.com

What new products have you tried lately? 

Advertisements

WIAW: Red, White & New

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

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

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

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

Double Blueberry Chia Jam (vegan, gluten free)

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed

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

1 tbsp chia seeds

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

This flavor is now in my top 5!

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

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

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

Cookie the size of a salad plate…dominated!

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

This $6 salad bar box was worth every penny.

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

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

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

Double Chocolate Protein Waffle (vegan, high protein)

1 sample packet Vega One chocolate protein powder

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

1 tsp baking powder

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

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

unsweetened almond milk, to thin

stevia, to taste (I used one packet)

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

I love homemade pizza!

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

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

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

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

5 Ingredient “Raw”nola

So I decided to make it my goal this summer to try to post at least one recipe per week. I’d really like to do a weekly recipe round-up of all the recipes I’ve made in that week but that probably won’t be happening, since I have a lot of recipe mishaps. Most of the things I make are at least edible, if not yummy, but sometimes they don’t turn out as well as I hoped they would and I don’t post them because they aren’t amazing. Like the sour ‘cream’ and onion kale chips I made last weekend. They weren’t half bad and I loved how the dehydrator made them perfectly crispy, but the flavor wasn’t exactly reminiscent of sour cream and onion.

This “raw”nola on the other hand is delicious. It’s got just enough sweetness with a touch of nuttiness and I like that it came out in huge clumps. The clusters are always my favorite part of granola! Plus it’s (mostly) raw and has only 5 simple ingredients. And it’s so easy a 4 year old could make it.

Mmmm, look at those clusters!

Sunny “Raw”nola (vegan, raw)

1 cup oats (could use oat groats)

1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1 tbsp raw almond butter (or other raw nut butter)

1/4 cup agave (I used honey vanilla flavored agave)

pinch sea salt

In a large bowl, stir together the oats and seeds. Add the almond butter, agave and salt until they coat the oats and seeds and form a sticky mixture. Spoon large clumps onto a lined dehydrator tray (I used a round wax paper cut-out) and spread out until granola is about 1/2 inch high. Dehydrate for 4-6 hours, then set granola out to air dry for 1 hour. Store in a plastic bag/container or enjoy with almond milk. Makes about 2 cups.

What’s your favorite granola flavor? 

My Foodie Staples

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

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

PB & Chocolate Puffins, Bear Naked Fit granola

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

Red grapes, giant Honeycrisp apple, bunch 'o bananas

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

Cubed b-nut squash, baby carrots, cauliflower

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

Organic Medjool dates, raisins, organic dried pineapple

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

2 mini EVOL veggie fajita frozen burritos

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

Cinnamon and almond butter topped sweet potato

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

Ground cinnamon and hot Mexican-style chili powder

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

Big box o' Truvia packets

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

Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter

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

Spicy veggie breakfast sausage, fudgie-topped millet bread

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

Smucker's Organic concord grape jelly

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

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

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

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

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

Pacific Naturals organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk

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

Carrot cake overnight oats

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

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

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

What are your foodie staples?

WIAW: Randomness

Some weeks, I just don’t get around to taking pictures of all my meals for WIAW. Blame it on laziness busyness. I was running around like a crazy person this last weekend and I kinda forgot to snap some pics of all my food. Most of it was pretty boring (aka using up whatever I could find at home since there wasn’t much Ashley-friendly food) but with the stuff that was good, well…I was too busy having fun to really remember to get pictures.

So for this week’s WIAW, it’s pretty much some random food pics that I managed to take within the past couple of days, plus some non-food stuff (aka outfits and such). Oh, and a random survey. Just the way I roll. Random is good, peeps.

Peas and Crayons

Early morning breakfast (hence why the lighting sucks). Coffee overnighters topped with PB Puffins. Probably my favorite overnight oats combo right now.

What was the last thing you bought? The necklace in the picture below. Not even kidding. I’ve been dying to buy the owl necklace since I first saw it and I finally had to cave and buy it online, since I never saw it once in any American Eagle store. Stupid shipping & handling, but it’s well worth it for this beauty.

This picture looks reallllllllly awkward. I was wearing a grey lace-front shirt so it's kinda see-through. But the owl really pops!

What’s the weirdest thing anyone’s ever asked you? If I’ve skipped a grade. IDK where that came from, especially since I didn’t know the person who said it. I guess I am small for my age, though. Someone thought I was a HS freshman when I was a senior. Ugh.

A GIANT date! Okay, so it doesn't look so big, but trust me, it was like almost the size of my palm!

A typical yogurt mess: plain Greek yogurt mixed with blueberry protein powder, topped with Bear Naked Fit triple berry granola. It's even better in a pink bowl.

Best Halloween costume? Oh gosh, I loved so many of them. I was a blue M&M once (funny story: a few years after I wore this costume, a guy in my class said he was going to be Eminem for Halloween, and I was so naïve that I said “What color?” since I thought he was talking about M&Ms. Silly child!), bride of Frankenstein and a pirate. Uh, yeah, I think that was my favorite, since I wore obnoxious boot covers with jangly coins on them. I like being loud.

Amazing froyo (when is it ever NOT amazing)? Irish mint swirled with Oreo froyos, topped with raspberries and strawberries. Bliss in a cup.

What are you wearing right now? Look at the picture below. That’s exactly it. A light yellow hoodless sweatshirt from Hollister (hand-me-down from the lil sis. Anyone find that weird?), khaki twill shorts from Hollister and got-wet-in-the-random-rainstorm tan mocs from American Eagle. This is what I consider casual.

I used to be scared to wear yellow. Silly me.I'm really into playing around with the color and saturation of photos. It's kinda an obsession now.

 

What is your favorite food that your mom makes? Definitely this really really good chile lime pasta (usually with shrimp). She totally came up with the recipe on her own, and it’s super simple but delish. It has roasted bell peppers, Williams Sonoma chile lime seasoning and it’s just downright amazing.

Green goodness: Late July green mojo chips (aka crack chips), spicy guac/Greek yogurt dip. It's easy being green.

Best concert? The best one I’ve actually been to would have to be Relient K. But my dream concert is Lady Gaga. Shocker, right? But I’m dying to dress up in one of her bizarre outfits without getting looked at like I’m cray cray.

Poor mocs. All wet from the freak rainstorm on my way back from classes.

Things you do for fun? Shopping. Tennis. Mountain biking. Modeling photo shoots. Texting (well, I mostly do this when I’m bored). Fashion magazine-reading. Blog-surfin’ on my iPod touch. All the stuff cool kids do, obvs.

My second-ever Halo bar! I liked this one almost as much as the S'mores kind. I think I love vegan marshmallows more than regular ones, especially when they're combined with peanuts and flax seeds...

 

Answer one (or many!) of the questions above!

WIAW: It’s Almost July!

Hey errrrrybody! Hope you’re all having a fantastic Wednesday! The lil sis and I have had the house to ourselves since yesterday afternoon since my parents went on their anniversary trip. It’s the first time we’ve been alone together overnight, and I gotta say, it’s kinda nice to be without the parentals for awhile. No, we didn’t go crazy inviting all our friends over for a party or anything 😉 It’s been pretty chill but today we went to Panera for lunch (I had the half size of their strawberry poppyseed salad and it was the bomb.com, with all that fresh fruit in it!) and afterwards did some window shopping at Ulta, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. And blasted some Lady Gaga on the way home, no big deal 😛

Peas and Crayons

Now it’s time for WIAW! I love catching up on everyone’s recent eats and getting new recipe ideas. I also love that it’s almost July (favorite month everrrrrrr 😀 ) because it’s almost the 4th of July and my family’s doing something fun this year for it (details to come!) and also because my birthday is at the end of the month. I can’t believe I’m almost 19!

Breakfast: frozen raspberry mocha overnight oats, frozen grapes, spicy veggie sausage, 1/2 homemade protein cake batter waffle

 

Lunch: sweet tater topped with black beans and spicy Oikos Greek yogurt dip, baby carrots, mango chunks and bloobs, raw blondie

 

Snack (actually Monday's snack): grande unsweetened green iced tea from Starbucks, 1/2 container strawberry Oikos and 1/4 cup Bear Naked Fit berry granola yogurt messDried fruit munched on throughout the afternoon

 

 

Dinner: bloobs, baby carrots, banana and unsweetened chocolate soymilk smoothie, quinoa/sweet potato/tempeh bacon/edamame guac mess

 

Snack: coffee froyo, 2 Whole Foods duplex cookies

 Well, that was fun as usual!

What is the best thing you’ve eaten lately?