Survey Time Up in Here!

Who even likes tests or quizzes? Not me. Especially not around this time of year, aka dead week, aka the week before all hell breaks loose, aka finals time. Luckily this semester I only have one actual final, but I’m still dreading it. One thing I will never dread is taking surveys. They are so much more fun than real tests and you actually learn something about yourself and other people. Take that, weather and climate final exam!

I saw this survey on a couple blogs recently and I decided to do it while I still have brain cells left. Definitely fill it out if you get the chance because it’s fun–way more fun than a pop quiz. Oh, and I did change a few of the questions to be more veg-friendly 😉

Coke or Pepsi? Ummmm, neither?! Sorry, not a soda girl at all. Not even diet anymore (though Zevia’s an exception…), though I used to drink Diet Coke occasionally a few years ago. So I guess I’ll go with Coke, since I was never able to stomach Pepsi.

Lemonade or Fruit Punch? Lemonade, baby! It reminds me so much of summer. I haven’t had a legit lemonade in quite a few years, but I’d like to try making my own this summer with some stevia.

Caramel Apple or Cotton Candy? I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a caramel apple, so I think I’ll have to go with cotton candy. The colors always appealed to me when I was younger. Though I really do love my overnight oats version of caramel apples!

Even better than a real caramel apple!

Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate? Dark all the way. I prefer the stuff that’s between 55-75%, since I do have a major sweet tooth, but I’ve preferred dark chocolate since I can remember–yes, I was that weird kid who liked the Hershey Special Dark bars at Halloween!

Tofu or Tempeh? No question…tempeh! Some people say it tastes bitter, but to me it’s just a little nutty. Tofu weirds me out, especially the taste. I can handle the texture if it’s extra firm, but I’ve never had really good-tasting tofu, aside from the stuff they have at the Whole Foods hot bar. Now that is some good tofu!

Soy or Almond Cheese? Both are pretty good, but I’m gonna go with almond, because it’s a little healthier than soy cheese. Plus I’ve found it in awesome flavors like jalapeno jack.

Crackers or Cookies? Hmmmm, this one is tough. I like crackers, but I haven’t had any in awhile since it’s been hard to find kinds without milk in them (crazy, I know). I like cookies too, but they have to be certain kinds, like the knock-off healthier Oreos that Whole Foods makes, or really soft homemade cookies. I think I’ll say cookies, to go with my sweet tooth!

Pretzels or Chips? Uh, can I say both? I used to not be such a huge fan of pretzels, but once I discovered that they make a really good topping for sweet and salty oats (not to mention delicious dipped in almond butter), I was hooked. The only chips I really eat are the sweet potato multigrain chips from Late July, but they are beyond amazing!

A snackplate with BOTH chips and pretzels!

Mexican or Indian Food? This one’s hard. I like Mexican food a la Chipotle or Qdoba, which I know isn’t authentic Mexican, but whatever. I’m mostly in it for the pico de gallo and guacamole. I haven’t had Indian in awhile, but I’ve always loved its spiciness and curries are so good. I’m gonna say Indian.

Mediterranean or Chinese Food? No question–Mediterranean. How can you beat hummus, tabbouleh and falafel? You can’t.

Pie or Cake? Uh, pie…maybe? I actually prefer cold desserts, like sorbet and gelato, but pie is definitely better than cake for me. I hate frosting, so whenever I’d have cake at a party, I’d just eat the cake part. Which is boring. A good fruit-filled pie can be pretty delicious though.

Pasta or Pizza? Another hard one! I prefer pasta in cold pasta salads (especially quinoa pasta), and I like pizzas sans cheese, but with tons of random toppings, like artichoke hearts or olives or pineapple or hummus. Not all on one pizza though. I’ll say pizza, because I really want to experiment with making my own pizzas this summer.

Literally the best pizza I've ever had (and made)--brown rice tortilla topped with spicy pumpkin sauce, tempeh bacon, orange bell pepper and green chiles.

Green or Red Grapes? Red, obvs. They’re usually sweeter, and they’re awesome frozen. Just do it.

Salad or Soup? Come on, really? I am a salad fiend fo sho! Soup isn’t really my thing, but I love devouring huge salads, especially from places like Panera, Qdoba and my favorite place, Mad Greens.

A simple but sweet salad from Whole Foods.

Pancakes or Waffles? Waffles. There’s just something about them that reminds me of being a kid, plus they’re just more fun than pancakes to me. And easier to make!

Raw or Cooked Veggies? I’m weird because I prefer a lot of veggies raw. Like the obvious ones (baby carrots, greens) but also broccoli, cauliflower and bell peppers. Try dipping raw cauli in salsa, it’s amazing!

Oatmeal or Cereal? Oats! I used to gag just thinking about oats, but that was before I discovered how great overnight oats are and the million flavor combos. So much better than those lame Quaker packets. The only cereal I really like is peanut butter Puffins, which I’m basically addicted to.

One of my favorite overnight oats combos--dark chocolate oats topped with mint chocolate chip gelato.

Answer any of the questions above!

WIAW: Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve

Hey friends, what is up? Can you believe that we’re just 4 days away from Christmas (hence my title)? It’s total craziness if you ask me, but I’m definitely looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for several reasons. One being I love the church service my family goes to every Christmas Eve, and I also can’t wait to watch the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story on TBS! That is my favorite Christmas movie, so hilarious and such a classic.

But enough about Christmas, let’s get on with this week’s WIAW! Is it lame that I’m always super excited for it? Nah, I don’t care if it seems dumb, it’s such a fun foodie party that I can’t not participate in it week after week. This week’s edition includes some random eats I’ve been loving lately, as well as a couple of recipes too–BONUS 😀 And apparently this week I was obsessed with Instagram…

Peas and Crayons

Hot caramel apple pie volume oats--I know you've gotta be drooling by now!

As I mentioned in my NaNeFoMo bucket list post, I said I was planning on making some raw treats. Well, the first thing on my mind was raw salted caramel apple dip. I bookmarked this recipe a few weeks back and was just itching to test it out for myself. I made a few tweaks to it, though, but it still turned out yummy. Next time, I think I’d add a bit more salt, though, because it didn’t have quite the hint of saltiness I thought it would.

Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip (vegan, no cook)

1/2 cup dates (the original called for Medjool, I used California pitted), about 12 dates

1 T raw nut butter (I used Artisana’s walnut)

squeeze fresh lemon juice

sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

Soak dates in water for at least four hours (I did overnight) and cover. Drain dates and reserve soaking liquid. Blend dates and rest of ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add in soaking liquid one spoonful at a time until it’s the right consistency for you. Use as a topping for oats, as a spread on fruit or bread or as an apple dipper, of course! Makes about 3/4 cup.

The salad kick continues with a homemade salad of spinach, crispy tempeh bacon slices and Whole Foods' carrot ginger dressing.

The dressing can really make or break a salad, but luckily, this one was a winner! I found it in the produce section when I hit up WF the other day, and it’s got a nice tanginess to it.

The perfect sides for a salad--a ripe Satsuma tangerine and some peanut butter balls cereal.

Hot cocoa (with marshmallows!) and frozen raspberries make a yummy snack.

I’ve been craving hot cocoa lately, so I decided to whip up an easy mug of it. I just heated up some unsweetened vanilla almond milk in the micro, mixed it with some Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder and a packet of stevia, and topped it with a few pescetarian marshmallows. It was the best hot cocoa I’ve had in quite a while (I actually rarely drink hot cocoa), so I’m thinking almond milk is what made it amazing. But then again, what isn’t amazing about almond milk?

A throwback to an old favorite--"taco salad" with black beans, spinach, plain Oikos and crushed mild green mojo multigrain chips on top.

So remember me talking about how I’ve been obsessed with salads lately? Ummmm, well, that obsession’s gotten a little bit stronger since then. Since I got home, I’ve had a different salad for lunch every single day and it’s been glorious. Having fresh spinach leaves really takes them over the top. A good obsession to have, am I right?

Simple ingredients make for the most delicious cookies!

Nutty Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies (vegan)

1/4 c almond butter

1/3 c maple syrup

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 c pumpkin puree (I used butternut squash, since it was on hand)

1/2 c oat flour

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 c vegan chocolate chips

1/4 c unsweetened dried cherries

1/4 c chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine almond butter and maple syrup together until mixed; add in pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda and then add in to wet mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, cherries and pecans until combined. Cover and chill batter for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Scoop chilled batter with a melon baller onto baking sheet, spacing dough 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown and just slightly soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside on baking rack to cool. Makes 12.

I loosely based this recipe off one from the Whole Foods website, but I made it vegan by subbing almond butter for dairy butter, maple syrup for white sugar and pumpkin puree for eggs. They turned out pretty good, a little small, but nice and “rugged” I guess. I like cookies that aren’t delicate–I definitely prefer ones like these that have chunks of good stuff in them! These cookies are pretty low-cal (about 120 per cookie) and you can feel good about eating them because they’ve got healthy ingredients like nuts and oats in them. But mostly you’ll just like them ’cause they taste good 😉

A 'classic' dinner with a twist--homemade black bean burger, sweet potato tots (best little things ever!), peanut flour sauce.

I made an attempt at making my own veggie burger last night, and it actually turned out decent, except it was too crumbly. I basically just mashed drained black beans and rolled oats together with a little chili powder and cooked it up in the skillet. It was a simple and delicious dinner alongside my favorite sweet potato tater tots and some peanut flour sauce for dippage. My kind of “burger and fries”.

What better way to start out the morning than with peanutty raspberry chocolate volume oats?

I have so much fun creating new oats combos. This one, like most of them, was a total winner, but then again when isn’t the combo of raspberry, peanut and chocolate delicious? Unfortunately, my supply of peanut flour is running dangerously low (no worries, another bag is on the way) so it turned out kinda runny but it still mixed well with organic jam and a few dark chocolate chips.

 

What is something you’ve tried again recently for the first time in a while? What is your favorite part of Christmas (if you celebrate it)?