Currently: July

Wow. That’s all I can say about the responses I got to my last post. I was touched by every single word you guys shared with me and I’m seriously blown away by just how many views it got. It reminds me that being open and honest really pays off, so thanks for every comment, tweet and repost!

Now onto something a little more fun. I haven’t done a ‘Currently’ post very much in the last few months so I thought it was time for an insight into my life at the moment.

Current Book: Does People StyleWatch count? I’m not much of a book reader, but I can pore over fashion magazines. This one’s especially fun because it features celebs and is a little more reasonable than, say, Vogue.

I'm excited to read the latest issue.

I’m excited to read the latest issue.

Current Music: I’ve been loving this brand new song by a new-to-me group, The Griswolds. It’s a fun, summer-y tune.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Spending so much damn $$$ on groceries. Gah. I thought I was getting good at budgeting. The past three weeks, I’ve spent around $100 for a week of groceries. Even this week, when I thought I didn’t have any big purchases (like protein powder) I still spent a ton. I guess those organic figs, stevia chocolate chips and raw cashew clusters add up! I’d like to keep my bill around $80 next week though.

I'm not giving up my produce to save some $$$.

I’m not giving up my produce to save some $$$.

Current Nail Color: Still Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Hot Tamale. I did just score a fun blue sparkly polish from Target for under $2…I live by the cheap-o Sally Hansen polishes because they work just as well as OPI but for a fraction of the price.

Current Needs: I need to find a restaurant for my birthday dinner. It’s a week from this coming Sunday (!!!) and I just happened to stumble upon some menus for some very veg-friendly places here, but for whatever reason, none of them are open on Sundays for dinner. And I’m not sure I can convince my family to make an almost 2 hour drive to OKC for some vegan Mexican food (there’s apparently a very good all-veg Mexican place there).

Current Drink: Other than the usual ice cold water, I finally caved and invested in Chameleon cold brew concentrate. Holy yum, this stuff is good and it should actually save me money on Starbucks trips. I only ever get iced coffees, so this stuff is perfect.

Sorry Starbies, you've been replaced!

Sorry Starbies, you’ve been replaced!

Current Food: I finally got my fix of the Whole Foods salad bar after going at least a month without it. I went to the WF a little farther from home and they had the most killer selection of stuff. It was one of my favorite salad bar boxes to date. And actually cheap — only $6!

The key to having a cheap WF salad bar box is using lettuce from home and loading the box with only the best.

The key to having a cheap WF salad bar box is using lettuce from home and loading the box with only the best.

Current Obsession: My love for running (outside) is still going strong. I generally run 2 miles three to five days per week, but on Sunday, I managed to run 3 full miles! I still take walk breaks at the halfway point, but it really helps keep up my stamina on these days when it feels like 100 degrees out.

How can you not love running when you have this view? These colors are all-natural!

How can you not love running when you have this view? These colors are all-natural!

Current Triumph: Just having a much better body image. I guess writing my last post was really therapeutic for me, because I’m really seeing my body in a very different light than I used to…which is a good thing!

Current Bane of my Existence: This fly that’s been in my apartment for several days and somehow refuses to die. It’s also too quick to swat, so I’ve been just waiting for it to give up.

Current Indulgence: This amazing strawberry snow cone I picked up from Whole Foods on Friday. I haven’t had a snow cone in years, but when I heard WF was making some with locally-made syrups (also free of any processed crap) I knew I had to get one. And it was $2 and perfect for a super hot afternoon.

This was incredible!

This was incredible!

Current Excitement: My family is driving out to visit me for my birthday weekend! I haven’t seen them since April, which is the longest I’ve ever gone without being with my fam. It hasn’t been as hard of a transition as I thought it would be, but I still miss them, and my birthday would be weird without them. So thankfully, I have four days off around the big day in which to show them around my new city, drag them to all the veg-friendly restaurants I’ve been dying to try, go to a concert I’m extremely pumped for and just enjoy their presence. But…that also means getting my apartment ready for their arrival in just over a week. Not sure when that’s gonna happen!

Current Mood: So ready for my birthday!

Current Outfit: I’ve also been buying a lot of clothes lately (but trying to stay within my budget) and my outfit on Saturday incorporated a skirt I just bought from VS Pink. Yes, they have actual clothes there that are pretty cute!

I love mint and tribal, but they're even better together!

I love mint and tribal, but they’re even better together!

Current Link: What is Femme Anyway? This post actually ties in quite well with my last one — basically it’s how I personally define myself as a woman. Some might describe me as high-maintenance, but part of my personality is about caring very much about my appearance and I’m proud of that. And it really spoke to me when it talks about loving yourself, because that’s something I’m always working towards.

What are some of your currentlies? 

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Fireworks, Food and Farmers Markets

I love long weekends! Especially in the summer — since I work full-time, it’s nice to have an extended break to enjoy the incredible weather and everything else the season has to offer.

My weekend is still going strong, but I thought I’d pop in with a few of my favorite moments from the July 4th weekend. After I got off work on Thursday morning, I didn’t really have any solid plans for my time off, other than to get in my weekly trip to Whole Foods, spend some time by the pool and go for some runs. And I ended up doing all that and more…

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Lots of cold water is necessary after these hot runs I’ve been going on. One perk of having time off is I can go for a run earlier (like around 10 or 11) so it’s not quite as hot.

This is freaking adorable.

This is freaking adorable.

I love how Snapchat celebrates holidays — this was really cute and brightened up my morning (not that it was bad…how can it be when you have the day off?)

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

I haven’t been to the main mall here since Memorial Day weekend (who am I?) so I knew it was time to return. And I scored some pretty great deals. A cute top from Abercrombie & Fitch for $10? Unheard of, except for during holiday weekends. I’m a sucker for giant purses, so I went to ALDO for my fix. And I got a push-up bandeau bra from Victoria’s Secret because I love strapless styles but this girl needs some padding #ACupProblems. I spent around $50 for all this, which is cheaper than both the top and the purse alone were originally!

My patriotic outfit.

My patriotic outfit.

I’ve seriously worn these shorts every July 4th since I got them a few years ago. I love them, and I had to take advantage of the fact that I wasn’t going to work, so I could wear weather-appropriate clothes.

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

My breakfast wasn’t totally patriotic, but the cherries made up for it. By Friday, I was seriously running low on food, especially produce, but I made it work. These were the last of some super cheap cherries I found at Sprouts 2 weeks ago and they were incredible!

As for my July 4th evening plans? No photo evidence because it was dark, but I drove to one of my coworkers’ homes to watch the fireworks from his place. He invited a few other people I knew from work, as well as more crazy TV people from other stations in town. It was fun to hang out for a couple hours, but the parking situation and traffic coming home was insane. It would have been an easy commute about 15 minutes up the street from me, but most of that road was blocked off and even when I was leaving around 10:45 (an hour after the fireworks wrapped up), I got caught in traffic jams on another street. Also, I had to park a couple blocks away from his house, which was fine, but walking back in the dark had me a little on edge, especially after some recent assaults across the city. But I made it safe, and my car wasn’t towed, so yay!

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

My July 4th dinner was totally ‘Merican, but with a healthier twist. I had a weird craving for potato salad (which I don’t even like), so I decided to whip up my own version using a sweet potato, coconut ‘bacon’ and a homemade mayo made with hemp seeds/water/olive oil/spices. It turned out incredible, so I’m sharing it!

Hemp Mayo Potato Salad (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small wedges (can use white potato if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sea salt, to taste
  • garlic granules, to taste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum, to thicken
  • 2 tbsp coconut bacon (optional, but really good!)

Place cubed sweet potato in medium pot and pour water about an inch above them. Bring to a low boil; cover pot and lower heat and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until potato is fork tender (but not too soft). Drain water and set aside to cool. In a food processor, blend hemp hearts, water, salt, garlic and ACV. Add in xanthan gum if you want to thicken the mayo. Once potatoes are cool, pour mayo over them and stir in coconut bacon. Makes 1 serving. 

I'm obsessed with the farmers market.

I’m obsessed with the farmers market.

Saturday morning started early (well, if you think 8 am is early). But for good reason — I had plans to go to the farmers market! I usually only get to swing by after I get done with work, and by that time, most things are sold out. Getting to the market an hour earlier meant fewer crowds AND better selection. I got some organic potatoes, blackberries (!) and an incredible gluten free vegan cookie. I love supporting local farmers and restaurants and I hope to keep doing so throughout the season. And I WILL be back for more of those cookies 😉

Saturdays are for selfies.

Saturdays are for selfies.

No description needed…

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

And after the farmers market, it was on to Whole Foods! I made my weekly restock trip, and yes, it was more expensive than I planned on, but only because I needed to buy protein powder. I actually got a good deal on that — 2 pounds for $25, when it’s normally over $40! So my grocery trips for the rest of the month should be cheaper. Doesn’t it just feel so good to have a full pantry and fridge again though?

Picnic-style leftovers.

Picnic-style leftovers.

After restocking my kitchen, Saturday’s dinner was a repeat of Friday’s but this time with some watermelon and avocado oil potato chips. If you haven’t tried these, you may not want to…because they’re addicting. I usually prefer sweet potato chips, but these are still healthy because they’re cooked in avocado oil instead of unhealthy canola or sunflower oil and the only ingredients are potatoes, avocado oil and sea salt. And paired with some picnic-style sides (the above homemade potato salad and vegan firecracker coleslaw from Whole Foods) I totally fit in with all the other people enjoying traditional July 4th meals. Except, you know, vegan and gluten free!

That's hot!

That’s hot!

My run on Sunday felt hot, and now I know why! I went around noon, and while the breeze helped, I was still a sweaty mess afterwards. When I checked my phone later, I saw the heat index was 104 degrees! Luckily it wasn’t super humid, so I spent some time poolside both Saturday and Sunday. But check it — today is supposed to be 100 degrees, so who knows what the heat index will be!

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

I have my dad to thank for getting me into Dave Barry probably a good 10 years ago (that makes me feel old). If you’ve never read him, he’s freaking hilarious and you’re missing out. I enjoyed some of his work while chillin’ on my porch waiting to Skype my parents. Best way to end my Sunday!

Is it any wonder July is my favorite month? The 4th is one of my favorite holidays (#historynerd), it feels like the essence of summer and my birthday is at the end of the month. And this year, I’m really looking forward to that. My family is driving out here for a few days and I can’t wait to be with them again after nearly 4 months without seeing them and to show them around! T-minus 20 days til the big day…

How did you enjoy your weekend? 

Week through my iPhone: Part II

Well, it’s been almost a week since I last posted, whoops! I have some time off coming up so maybe another post will make it in there somewhere. I can’t make any promises though. I love being busy though — it makes time fly (which is sometimes good, sometimes bad…like when my weekend ends too soon).

I freaking love the heat. But the humidity, not so much.

I freaking love the heat. But the humidity, not so much.

It hasn’t technically hit 100 degrees here yet, but the heat index has been in the 100s on some days. I only hate it when I’m trying to push through a run or when it messes up my hair. Humidity+me = super sweaty hot mess. Is it any wonder I want to move to the desert?

Aforementioned sweaty selfie.

Aforementioned sweaty selfie.

Running has been going well. Still running between 2 and 3 miles, but trying to run almost every single day, even if it’s just a mile on the treadmill mixed with walking. I ran in the drizzle one day last week, and it was the best. I was basically alone out on the trail, and it wasn’t too hot. The above picture was from a very sunny, 90+ degree run.

Figs+coconut butter. Just do it.

Figs+coconut butter. Just do it.

I’ve been shelling over $5 for figs on the reg at Whole Foods and I’m not mad about it. Especially not since I discovered the best flavor combo ever — figs and coconut butter. The coconut butter formed a little shell on this fresh-from-the-fridge-fig and it was so creamy. Why do I have such expensive tastes? At least I never eat out!

 

A sense of my immature humor at work.

A sense of my immature humor at work.

Work is…work. Some days I wake up at 2 am ready to hit it and other times I think “I wish I could lay in bed forever”. But having little moments like this makes it better. Some videos on the NBC feed are really…weird? Yeah, I think I’ll pass on running a package about overactive bladders in my newscast, thanks.

Nautical AND nerdy.

Nautical AND nerdy.

And I’m trying to find work-appropriate things that work in the summer. The station is air-conditioned, so that means cardigans are a must (and I can’t get away with tanks anyway). I also got called out for wearing a dress that was ‘too short’ so I’ve been more cautious ever since. The dress code is casual, but apparently a dress that is more than an inch or two above the knees is not okay (but basketball shorts and a T-shirt are?).

My baby is almost at 100K.

My baby is almost at 100K.

It’s official — Alejandro is getting old. Okay, he’s only 5 years old, but he’s almost 100 K miles. Whattttt? He’s seen me through two years of college and now my new adventure in Tulsa…maybe another move on the horizon in a year? I just hope he holds out that long — Hyundais are pretty reliable!

 

The best chocolate in the world.

The best chocolate in the world.

On my last trip to Whole Foods, I was upset when I walked through the baking aisle and my beloved stevia-sweetened chocolate chips were nowhere to be found (aka sold out). I basically live off those things, so I was devastated. But when I finally spotted the new flavor of my favorite chocolate bar brand I decided to buy two bars. Well, I should have bought more because this stuff is incredible. It tastes exactly like chocolate-covered espresso beans but it just has three ingredients — cacao, fair trade coffee, and cane sugar.

 

I can't tell you how much I love these new glasses.

I can’t tell you how much I love these new glasses.

I generally wear contacts because it’s just easier (especially when I’m running) and I’m lucky that my eyes can tolerate them, but sometimes you just gotta wear glasses. Or in my case, you use them as a fashion statement. I’ve been lusting after hipster glasses for years, and finally got some (real ones) of my own. These were $50, lenses and all, because I took advantage of a first pair free deal on Coastal.com. They arrived in my mailbox within just a couple days and they’re basically perfect. No, I promise I wasn’t asked to write a glowing review (or any review, period), I just really loved my first experience with Coastal.

Random bowl of deliciousness, coming right up!

Random bowl of deliciousness, coming right up!

More randomness thrown in a bowl and called a meal. This was my favorite homemade sweet potato hash with added in spinach, hemp tofu, cauliflower and topped with homemade hummus, coconut ‘bacon’, sprouted salted nut mix and spicy peppers. Colorful, balanced and oh so tasty. And easy. I haven’t been in the mood (or had the time) to make anything complicated and that’s fine with me.

What’s been going on in your life lately? 

This or That

By now you probably all know that I’m a sucker for surveys. Anytime I see one on someone’s blog, I just have to do it. It makes for an easy post idea (lazy alert!) and it’s just plain fun. This latest survey is health and fitness related, which is perfect!

Run/work out in the heat and humidity or freezing temps and snow?

Well, considering I’ve only ever lived in Arizona and Colorado, I basically have no experience with extreme humidity. The rare few days that it gets up to 50% humidity after a thunderstorm are pure torture for me 😛 However, I hate the cold and specifically snow even more, so I have to go with heat. When I play tennis, I’d much rather be sweating like crazy because it’s 90+ degrees instead of bundled up trying to ignore the crazy winds and blowing snow. I once played tennis outside in November and it wasn’t the best idea…

Have washboard abs or flat abs?

I kind of already have flat-ish abs, depending on if I’ve eaten recently or not, but I would kinda like them to be flat all the time no matter what. Washboard abs take a lot of work and discipline and while I’d be willing to work for them, there’s just some things I don’t want to give up to get them, like dark chocolate and coconut milk ice cream!

Dr. Oz or The Doctors?

I actually kinda hate Dr. Oz because he tries to make people scared of certain things, like one episode he said taking a shower is unsanitary, and stuff like that. I just started watching The Doctors last year from time to time and I actually like the show. It’s cool how they all have different areas of expertise and they cover so many topics in one episode.

Cardio or Strength?

This is so bad, but I basically do no strength training, aside from things like planks and ab workouts. I’m a cardio girl all the way!

Do water balloon fights count as cardio?!

Cravings: protein or carbs?

Let’s be real…I almost never crave protein. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some protein sources I love, like Plant Fusion protein powder, tempeh and edamame, but I don’t exactly crave them. I do, however, crave carbs often–what can I say, I’m a carbavore! But I do stick with the healthier carbs, like whole grains and fruits/veggies and it seems to work for me.

Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper?

Jillian! She’s so bad ass and I love her no-nonsense approach to fitness. I wish I could be as tough as she is!

Frozen yogurt or ice cream?

I used to be such a huge fan of froyo, but since I’ve been more devoted to veganism, I rarely get it because the places I go to only ever have one or two nondairy flavors. When I get froyo, I only ever top it with fresh fruit but I’m not as obsessed with it as I used to be. Now I’m in love with high quality, coconut or almond milk based vegan ice creams. They cost about $5 for a pint but they’re worth the splurge a couple times per month, plus they last me so long because they’re so much more filling than froyo.

I really love the Nadamoo! brand of vegan ice cream!

To train: upper body or lower body?

Since I don’t do much strength training, I can’t really answer this. But I do know that I feel awesome after a yoga or plank session when my arms feel all weak!

Protein powder or food with protein?

Let me preface this by saying I only use protein powders that are totally plant-based, with as few ingredients as possible and no soy. With that said, I prefer protein powder. I love that I can be eating a sweet treat while still getting in quality protein. I use it in so many things, from smoothies to protein frosting to baked goods. I like some sources of whole foods protein, but protein powder is a lifesaver for me!

I’m in love with protein waffles (and protein powder frosting-topped waffles!)

Lunges or squats?

Lunges! I don’t know why, they’re just fun.

Sweet or salty?

I really love the two together. Lately I’ve been loving the combo of almond peanut cashew butter, real maple syrup and chocolate chips! I usually go for just sweet though.

Workout attire: cute or comfy?

Cute for sure. Of course I want to be comfortable, but I don’t feel comfortable if I’m wearing something I don’t love. So cuteness always has to come first for me.

My typical cute-ish and comfy workout outfit.

Body Pump or Heavy Lifting?

I haven’t done either, but I’ll go with heavy lifting because I know so many people have good results with it.

Yoga or Pilates?

Are you kidding me? Yoga! I still really need to go to a hot yoga class though…

Nike or Adidas?

Nike!

Running on the treadmill or outdoors?

I’m not big into running, but I have to say treadmill. That way, I can read a magazine or whatever and I probably won’t end up tripping!

Whole Foods or Trader Joes?

I wish I could actually choose between them, but TJs is nowhere near me, like literally none within 200 miles of where I live! However, Whole Foods is really awesome and I don’t even mind the high prices most of the time. They have so many of my fave products!

Who can pass up the delicious salads at the Whole Foods hot and cold bars? Not this girl!

Summer or winter Olympics?

Summer, definitely. A lot of years they happen during my birthday (this year they started on my birthday), which is awesome and I love so many of the summer Olympics sports.

Exercise classes or exercise videos?

Classes. I love working out alone sometimes but with other people it’s ten times more fun.

Steamed veggies or roasted veggies?

Roasted, but I actually prefer grilled over either of those!

 

 

Answer any of the questions above!

Friday Faves (July 6)

The festivities of the 4th are over so now it’s back to real life. Who am I kidding, summer isn’t real life, at least if you’re still a student! I still have about a month left at my internship but the majority of my weeks are spent doing whatever I want. I’m definitely appreciating that I can still do that–in a couple years, that won’t be an option!

Favorite App: LabelBox

Labels make everything more fun!

I’ve been noticing cute little labels popping up on a lot of people’s Instagram photos so I had to do a little sleuthing to figure out how they were doing this. Turns out, it’s a simple and free app called LabelBox. It’s available for iPhones/iPods and Androids and it’s so easy to use. Basically all my Instagram photos will be labeled now. #Sorryimnotsorry

Favorite Obsession: Waffles

Told you I’d be using these labels a lot!

I almost can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a waffle for breakfast! And don’t be fooled, these homemade waffles are 100 times healthier and tastier than those pathetic frozen Eggo waffles. I’ve been loving on the protein waffles mostly but when I just want a simple, fruit-packed waffle like the one above, I just use some oat flour, which gives it a perfectly fluffy texture while also packing it with fiber. And toppings are necessary, of course. I topped my 4th of July waffle with fresh raspberries and protein frosting made with Vega vanilla almondilla protein powder and water. Mmmmmmm!

Favorite New Find (that I haven’t found yet): So Delicious Greek-style almond milk yogurt

6 grams of protein and fiber ain’t too shabby for a nondairy yogurt!

The Amande almond milk yogurts are decent, but a little too jiggly and low in protein for my liking. When I popped on over to the So Delicious website and saw this gem, I knew I had to have it ASAP! The only thing I somewhat miss from my non-vegan days is Greek yogurt, and now I can get my fix in nondairy form, with more fiber and calcium than the dairy version! I just need to find it in stores first…

Favorite 4th of July Activity: Water balloon wars

I probably dropped more than I caught, but it was still fun!

What do you do on the 4th when it’s hotter than an oven outside and inside, the parade your family was planning on going to was cancelled and there are no fireworks shows within 100 miles? Have a water balloon war, of course! Filling up countless water balloons was worth the fun we had and it was actually great getting water in your face when you didn’t catch a balloon. Not that that happened to me though 😉

What’s something fun you did on the 4th (whether you’re from the U.S. or not!)? What’s your favorite app?

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)?

Friday Faves (June 15th)

Moving in the summer is no joke! It’s been at least 85 degrees here the past three days we’ve been moving stuff back and forth between our old house and our new one but it’s felt more like a million degrees in the house, especially carrying boxes and moving furniture around. I’m just glad I don’t live somewhere humid, so it’s sticky on top of being hot! I’m also glad we got our internet hooked up on our first full day of being moved in. It kinda sucks having to live without internet at your own house!

Favorite Workout: Walking to Starbucks with my sister

Tall coffee light Frappuccino with soy…worth the $4!

Like I mentioned in my WIAW post, we moved closer into town so now we’re nearby all the good things a city has to offer–like movie theatres, grocery stores, gas stations and…Starbucks! In fact, our new house is within walking distance of the ‘bucks! Okay, well if you consider walking distance a 20-25 minute walk in the blazing hot sun. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad though and going with my sister made it even more fun. And the drink was even more worth it since we had to work for it–win win! I love this Frapp flavor because it’s got a hint of caramely-ness (not a word but whatevs) that makes it perfect, and since it’s a light version with soy, it’s not a calorie bomb and I feel a little bit better about enjoying it!

Favorite Discovery: I love to drive…by myself

I have a liiiiiiiiittle bit too much fun while driving (no worries, this was taken in a parking lot!)

I don’t have a car of my own (yet…) but I’ve been doing a lot of solo driving lately and I’m loving it. It feels so freeing to sing at the top of my lungs to “Call Me Maybe”, go where I want when I want and cuss out other drivers for being stupid. Hey, it happens sometimes, and as long as I’m not actually engaging in road rage, I think a few choice words here and there are okay 😉 Anyways, it’s been a lot of fun realizing the independence that comes from having a car.

Favorite Thing That Cost Me $7: Whole Foods salad bar stuff

No boring salad bar for this girl! It was totally worth the money!

I always get super jealous when I see people’s pics of Whole Foods salad bar boxes on their blogs. The last time I went (before Tuesday and Wednesday) was February. Lame! So I used the opportunity of us moving and being too busy and tired to cook to pick up some of their salad bar goodies. Both days, I got basically the same things because I loved them all–chipotle orange tofu, chilled sweet potato chunks with currants and some yummy sweet dressing, salted pistachios, acai kale salad, Mediterranean crunch salad and California quinoa salad. Ah-mazing to all of the above, especially the sweet potatoes and quinoa salad. I also picked myself up a dessert on the side both days, one time it was a giant vegan chocolate chip cookie that I split up for two nights and the other time it was a vegan chocolate donut that I split with my sister. Actually, she ate most of it and loved it, which was fine by me. She’s usually wary of vegan items but she’s been loving the vegan desserts I’ve been giving to her lately! To anybody who thinks vegan means boring, it most certainly does not, as evidenced by this salad bar box and every vegan dessert I’ve ever tried 😀

Favorite Thing to Eat When I’m Not Feeling So Hot: Whole Foods Caribbean popsicles

Not quite the same, but you get the idea!

I generally don’t eat popsicles–like smoothies, they don’t usually do much for my hunger because I can eat them so quickly. But sometimes, you just gotta have a naturally-sweetened, giant popsicle. Yesterday, I was getting over some nasty stomach issue that left me leaving kinda queasy all day plus it was hot and I was moving stuff around. So a popsicle from Whole Foods was in order! I liked it a lot because it was pretty big so it took me longer to eat, it was tropical-flavored which is always my favorite and it only had a couple ingredients besides the fruit in it. It quenched my thirst, cooled me down and left my stomach feeling a little better.

What’s something you’re willing to spend a (relatively) large amount on? What do you eat or drink when you’re not feeling so great?