Favorites Lately

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was great–I spent it at home with the fam, and after not having been home in a few weeks, it was nice to be back again. While there, I got my hair done, saw my sister in her latest production, watched this weekend’s SNL (a lot funnier than I thought it would be), made a little Whole Foods trip, carved a pumpkin and watched some classic Disney Halloween cartoons. It was the perfect weekend, and the weather was unreal–sunny and in the 60s. Perfection.

I wanted to start off the week with a fun little post…and what could be more fun than sharing some of my recent favorites, from food to fashion and beyond.

I love being a brunette!

I love being a brunette!

So when I said I got my hair done…I really meant it! I’ve been planning on changing my hair color for awhile, mostly because I’ll be starting the job hunt soon and I needed a more professional/mature look. I decided to go back to a more natural hair color for me, and I absolutely love how my hair turned out. It’s a big change for me after getting full blonde highlights throughout my time at college, but I’m really embracing the change!

What American Accent Do You Have?

My dad and I are obsessed with dialects, and this quiz he showed me was super interesting. It’s a really quick quiz, but it’s fairly accurate. It told me I have a “Midland” accent, which basically means I have no accent. I’m not from the “Midland” (which they say is Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri–but I’ve always heard it’s more like Nebraska and Kansas) but apparently it means I have a good voice for TV which is exactly what I need!

I've been wishing for this forever!

I’ve been wishing for this forever!

A few weeks ago, I was looking for my usual favorite vegan chocolate chip brand, Enjoy Life, at Whole Foods when I stumbled upon this gem. Yep, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips exist! I was excited that these were vegan too because the rest of the Lily’s dark chocolate line has milk added in the bars. The price tag was a bit steep ($7 vs. $4-ish for Enjoy Life) but I bit the bullet and decided to try them. They’re REALLY good–a little more bitter than Enjoy Life chips, but just the right amount of sweetness and I love that they’re sugar free. These won’t be a regular purchase because of the price, but I will definitely choose them over any other chocolate chip most of the time.

So fierce.

So fierce.

If I had to name a favorite shoe brand, it’d have to be ALDO (wellllll, maybe Sperry’s too). I only own 2 pairs of their shoes, but I think they’re very well-made, reasonably affordable and cute to boot (see what I did there?) I actually own a similar style of booties to these from ALDO (but mine are grey corduroy with brown leather detailing) but I can’t resist how awesome these ones are. Definitely going on my Christmas wishlist–hey, I need black booties anyway!

Vegan comfort food at its healthiest.

Vegan comfort food at its healthiest.

When I saw this recipe for butternut squash pasta, I had no idea I’d be diving into a new obsession. Seriously. I’ve made the sauce twice and I’ve been so sad when it’s run out. This stuff is incredible, sweet and spicy, creamy and comforting but in a totally healthy way. I’ve served it with kelp noodles and hemp seeds, as a spread for socca, and even just eaten straight off the spoon cold. I made some changes to the recipe to make it my own and I hope to share it with guys soon. It’s a real keeper.

I've been wanting a cute capelet for forever...

I’ve been wanting a cute capelet for forever…

I’m glad the capelet trend is still going strong…I still need to get my hands on one for this winter! I think they’re so cute and versatile. I haven’t seen any in stores around me so this may be a Christmas wishlist item or a future online order. I really like this one, but I also love the houndstooth/plaid patterned ones as well.

What are some of your favorites?

WIAW: Halloween (Weekend) Edition

Hey guys, how were all of your Halloweens? Mine was basically like any other school day: classes at 10 and 1, then an editorial meeting with staffers at 3. Oh yeah, not sure if I mentioned this or not, but I’m the editor for my campus’ faculty & staff newsletter! I’m so stoked because it’s a paid job and it’s in journalism, which is my field. I was dreading trying to look for some lame minimum wage job but I’m so glad I got hired for this. It was a long process of interviewing and paperwork, but it’s finally coming together. Me and another girl (the other editor) get along really well, and even though we’re pretty confused and overwhelmed at this point since we have a deadline this week and only just hired our writers, we’re still loving the position. So yeah, I officially have my first ever job 😀 But anyways, yeah, my Halloween was pretty boring…but Halloween weekend is a totally different story!

Peas and Crayons

Mi madre picked me up around 2 on Friday and we were off! Unlike most weekends that I go home, she was able to get me earlier which meant I got to eat a home cooked meal. Score! Sure, I like going out to fast casual places, but they can get repetitive and expensive after a while, and I’ve missed being able to use the oven. So that’s exactly what I did–I made Gardein meatless ‘chicken’ nuggets and Alexia sweet potato tots (best thing ever!) alongside some green beans (ick, but decent with some spicy three-pepper mustard) for dinner. It was basic but gourmet compared to my dorm meals. Though I can get pretty creative with those… 😉

Look how much snow was still at our house 4 days after the storm!

Friday night was so much fun, because we all carved pumpkins and watched some reallllllly old (from the early 90s!) Disney Halloween cartoons. Those 2 things are basically a Halloween tradition in our house, and I love it. I ended up carving a pumpkin in my pumpkin because I thought a face was too cliché haha. It was so much easier than carving a face too, and the only part that sucked was digging out all the seeds. The insides of all the pumpkins were freezing cold so it hurt our hands after a while to get all the seeds out. But trust me, it was worth it–you’ll see why soon!

My pumpkin in a pumpkin!

My mom's and dad's pumpkins. My dad always likes to do something--erm--creative!

Saturday morning I woke up a little early (like 8:15, which is totally not early but it is for the weekend) because I wanted to make pancakes for my lovely familia. But not just any pancakes–oh no!–I made pumpkin pancakes with dark chocolate chips! OMG, pumpkin and chocolate are a match made in heaven for sure. I love the Archer Farms pancake/waffle mixes because they have the best flavors, especially seasonal kinds. My personal fave is the double chocolate peppermint (I’ll be making those over Thanksgiving break!) but pumpkin is awesome-sauce too. I also added a scoop of vanilla protein powder, to up the protein a little and use up the powder. They turned out really good but sadly, there weren’t that many of them. The amount I used only made 15 mini pancakes, so everyone got 3 (and I froze 3 for myself for later…shhhhh!)

Pancake batttttttah 😉

Just 3 ingredients: pumpkin pancake mix, mini chocolate chips and vanilla protein powder. Oh, and water of course!

My dad and I ventured out to (where else?) Whole Foods. Knowing us, we also made stops at Sunflower Market and Albertson’s. Gotta stock up on food, ya know? I got bunches of yummy stuff from WF, including some new things you’ll hopefully be seeing on this bloggie soon, like purple cauliflower and dried figs. Love that store. At Sunflower, I basically took their entire bar selection 😉 Just kidding, but I got soooooo many bars, like my newly beloved Clif Mojo white chocolate macadamia, Clif Kid Z-Bar full moon brownie and Pure orange cranberry. That is literally the only store near me that has that flavor of Pure bars and Clif Mojo bars, so I gotta get ’em where I can.

I may love the chocolate and PB Puffins even more than the PB!

Back at home I had a super late lunch and then got to work roasting my pumpkin seeds. You know the seeds are the best part, right? Of course they are. I decided to stray from the usual spice combinations and make a spicy-sweet kind. I found the recipe from here and they turned out better than I thought. I made a few tweaks though based on what I had on hand: I used Eggbeaters egg sub in place of the egg white, I used raw sugar instead of cane sugar and I used crushed red pepper flakes instead of cayenne pepper. They still ended up amazing, with just enough sweetness and heat.

So. Flippin'. Addicting.

Dinner turned out to be an (almost) family affair. My dad and I really wanted to try grilling eggplant and brussels sprouts so we fired up the grill for those. Meanwhile, my mom made dinner for the rest of the fam (minus me) while I cooked up a couple of Gardein meatless nuggets at the last minute. My sister, the only non-cook in the house, was of course the only one who didn’t participate but it was still fun. I miss being in the kitchen with everyone. It’s just such a fun, lively atmosphere. Anyways, dinner turned out great, especially the grilled veggies. I’ve had grilled eggplant before, but I’ve never done it myself and it turned out amazing. Same with the brussels sprouts. The outsides got nice and crispy and the insides were warm and smooth. So. Darn. Delicious.

Would you like a little fake chicken with your veggies?

I love how pink this raspberry cappuccino smoothie is!

The rest of the night was spent watching-slash-making-fun-of a really lame infomercial on 70s music, my dad helping me with stats (beeteedubs, I absolutely HATE stats with a passion, so this sucked but was also super helpful), me learning to enjoy hot tea (my mom got some Celestial Seasonings candy cane and sugar cookie tea bags, and they totally transformed me into being a hot tea lover) and watching reruns of SNL. I ended up staying up pretty late but it was so worth it.

Mmmmmmm, I'm such a sucker for all things seasonal!

I love this mug (please ignore all the random crap in the background).

Sunday, as usual, was pretty chill. Enjoying breakfast with the fam, reading the Sunday newspaper, packing up my stuff, lunch, hanging out with my sister and finally having to drive back up to school. I always hate Sundays on weekends I’m at home because it means I have to go back to school. Don’t get me wrong, I like school and my dorm and all, but I just really cherish the weekends I spend at home and it sucks when they’re over. They always seem to go by way too fast 😦 Back up in good old FoCo, my mom and I stopped for more groceries (I couldn’t live with nut butter, of course!) but sadly, I’ll have to be sweet potato-less for the next two weeks ’cause we couldn’t find them anywhere. We also stopped for dinner at a new-to-us place, HuHot Express. We went to HuHot once for my dad’s birthday, but this one was slightly different because it’s not all-you-can-eat. But I ended up loving what I got here better than at the regular place. I got rice noodles topped with shrimp, fresh jalapeno (spicy is where it’s at), edamame, spinach and what was called a Mongol mustard sauce. It was really delish, a little spicy, and not too overwhelming. I ended up mostly just eating the shrimp and veggies, but I would totally get it again. But the real star was the super-cool, high-tech soda machine. It had a touch screen menu so you could mix and match between all kinds of sodas and juices. Normally, I don’t drink soda but I had to try this. I got diet orange Coke mixed with diet vanilla Coke–it was like an orange creamsicle! Have you guys ever seen one of these machines? They are le-git!

Overnight oats in a jar! I basically just saved this jar and keep reusing it. Cookies 'n cream overnighters, frozen raspbs, spicy veggie sausage. Breakfast of champions right thurrrr!

I love tempeh bacon. And apples. And sriracha. Oh, and cold brussels sprouts. Don't judge me 😀

Of course, it was sad to say goodbye to such a fun-filled weekend, but Thanksgiving break is in less than 3 weeks–wooooohooooo 😀 You know I’m looking forward to 9 days away from school!

What was the best thing you did or ate this weekend? Do you like roasted pumpkin seeds?