WIAW: Best of the Week

I’m finally back, guys! And before I get into today’s WIAW post, I want to express my sorrow for the devastation in Oklahoma. Natural disasters can be incredibly hard to deal with, since they are so random and there’s no one to blame. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of nature (I know I did last summer as my hometown faced the most destructive fire in state history) but I know that the people affected by the tornado appreciate all the support and love we can give them.

I’m finally all moved back home and getting into the swing of summer. Though right now it doesn’t feel quite like summer since I’m in an online geography class that I need in order to graduate early but luckily, after a few more weeks of studying and note-taking, I can say goodbye to school stuff for the rest of the summer. However, I am getting really excited to finally start my weather internship on Monday! Last summer’s internship at a different station wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be (yet still a good experience) but since this summer’s will be in the actual field I want to pursue within broadcast journalism, I’m sure it’ll be even better.

With my busy weekend, I didn’t have much time to snap many pictures but I still wanted to do a WIAW so I’m going to be taking a different approach this week. This week’s WIAW will be focused on the best things I’ve seen/eaten/etc. over the past few days!

Best Summer Fun Under $20

I. Need. This.

I. Need. This.

Kid at heart over here, but I love summer water toys. When I was a lot younger, we had Super Soaker Twister (way better than regular Twister) and a Slip N Slide and I loved those things. I’ve always dreamed of living somewhere that was warm year-round so I could have a real pool in my yard. My sister and I have even tried convincing our parents to get one 0f those huge inflatable water bouncy houses but let’s be real, those things are crazy expensive and way too big for our now-tiny backyard. But this waterslide from Target is $19.99 and would definitely fit behind the house. Plus it’s even better than the regular Slip N Slide because it’s got room for 3 people to slide at once. I may actually just end up buying this soon… #noshame

Best Raw Meal…EVER!

Raw kelp noodle pad Thai from my favorite vegan restaurant.

Raw kelp noodle pad Thai from my favorite vegan restaurant.

One perk of moving out of my apartment over the weekend? Getting to go to my fave restaurant, Tasty Harmony, one last time until the school year starts again. I love this place because it’s mostly vegan (surprisingly rare to find in Colorado…other than Native Foods in Boulder which I have yet to try…) and the menu is seasonal so there’s always something new to try. And I’ve tried something new almost every time I’ve gone, and I’ve loved it all, including the samples I stole off my parents’ and sister’s plates. This time, one of the new dishes was a raw pad Thai, made with my favorite kelp noodles. I couldn’t not get it, so I did and I was pleasantly surprised. The kelp noodles were perfectly crunchy, the veggies were fresh and the sauce was amazing. I wish I could have a bottle of just the sauce to take home and use on my kelp noodle dishes because it was just that good!

Best Splurge (aka Non-Vegan Meal)

After our vegan feast, we decided to hit up a mostly non-vegan (still veg though) favorite, Gelazzi. Gelato has always been my favorite frozen dessert and Gelazzi was my favorite gelato place ever. Sadly, it closed down in the fall and my whole family was upset because it was so good. But this weekend, my dad texted me when he and my mom were out and said he saw the doors were open again. I just had to see it for myself, so we decided to check it out after dinner. I ended up getting an old favorite I hadn’t had in probably 2 years, the birthday cake gelato. Most of their flavors, other than the fruit ones, aren’t vegan as they’re made with milk (but are still a lot healthier than dairy ice cream) but I wasn’t feeling the fruit flavors and decided to go for a small of the birthday cake. OMG, heaven in a cup. It tastes like vanilla frosting and is just ridiculously good. So sorry to let down the vegan police, but I just had to have it again.

Best Weird Target Find

Uhhhhhh...

Uhhhhhh…

This was in the clothes section so I know it’s meant to be a bodysuit, but it looks like the ugliest one piece swimsuit ever! I just had to take a picture because…um…who would buy this thing? Target, I love you but sometimes you have the weirdest clothes.

Best Repeat Meal

Reunited with the (good) Whole Foods salad bar.

Reunited with the (good) Whole Foods salad bar.

You knew this had to happen. I am obsessed with the Whole Foods salad bar and I had to get it again once I got back home to the good salad bar. They had all my favorites (curry tofu, marinated artichoke hearts, sweet potato salad) and I was happy. Expect to see a similar photo many more times this summer.

Best Item for the Baby I Don’t Have

I'm a sucker for cute cartoon animals and patriotic accessories.

I’m a sucker for cute cartoon animals and patriotic accessories.

I’m not exactly sure I even want kids, but if I ever did have one, I’d be obsessed with dressing him/her in cute baby clothes. Like this adorable 4th of July themed hippo bib. Just. So. Cute.

What’s your favorite outdoor summer item? What have you ‘splurged’ on lately (food or otherwise?)

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Currently: May

I feel like I was just saying this a month or so ago, but it’s dead week again on my campus. It’s honestly not as awful as it sounds, but seeing as I have just over a week until my first and only final, as well as many projects due this week, I needed to get in some quick and easy posts while I’m stressed out over end-of-the-year stuff for the next week and a half. I promise I’ll be back to more normal posting once school ends, I move out and get settled back in at home and with my internship and online summer class. Until then, enjoy the mindless fun posts 😀

Current Book: Does my geology book count? ‘Cause that’s probably the only book I’ll be reading until next Tuesday…and it’s not even by choice.

Current Music: Still loving on the alt rock genre, especially Vampire Weekend and Blondfire. I jammed out to this song while taking an impromptu mini road trip to the mountains two weekends ago. Reminds me that summer’s coming soon!

Current Guilty Pleasure: All things raw and delicious! This weekend alone, I stocked up on kale chips (hey, they were on sale!), sprouted Thai curry cashews (total obsession), cacao nibs, dried fruit and a few raw energy bars. Raw food can be expensive but it’s worth it to me for the taste and health benefits.

Haven't bought this in awhile, but it may be my post-finals treat.

Haven’t bought this in awhile, but it may be my post-finals treat.

Current Nail Color: Pink+coral, with polka dots. So fun, but so easy to do!

Super cute!

Super cute!

Current Drink: My infused water…planning on making a second batch soon!

Current Food: I’ve been loving on the raw snacks (as I said above), sweet potatoes (what else is new?), salted crunchy peanut butter (normally not a PB lover, but I’m going with it), all kinds of summer fruit, tofu, avocados and the new paleo BBQ sauce I picked up.

Current Favorite Show: I haven’t been keeping up with many shows, but SNL is a perennial favorite of mine and Zac Galifianakis is always hilarious.

Probably one of the funniest sketches.

Probably one of the funniest sketches.

Current Wishlist: For the weather to stay warm for the rest of the summer(60s and rain is better than snow, but I want 70s and 80s!), good grades in all my classes, a smooth move-out process, maybe one more time to hang out at my apartment’s pool (which as far as I know still hasn’t reopened…and there’s less than 2 weeks left in the semester).

Current Needs: Less stressful days,  more sunshine (we’re set to get rain most days this week, which is nice for drought conditions but makes me a little sad) & more regular visits to the Whole Foods salad bar (maybe when I go home for the summer?!)

Current Triumphs: Finishing off my second semester at CTV strong, getting the summer internship I really wanted, starting to conquer my food issues. (P.S. Look for me in the video at about 6:20 and ignore the awkward screenshot)

Current Bane of Existence: The checkout list I got from my complex for moving out. Seriously, it’s a full page of cleaning instructions. I see a lot of sweeping and vacuuming in my future 😦

Current Celebrity Crush: Justin Timberlake. He’s super sexy, got a great voice and sense of humor and I loved his SNL “Veganville” song!

 

So flippin' funny!

So flippin’ funny!

Current Indulgence: I finally got my fill of the Whole Foods salad bar again this weekend, and it reminded me how excited I am to be home so I can enjoy it more often. My wallet doesn’t love it, but it makes for a better dinner out option than most restaurants! And everyone’s got a guilty pleasure, right? Might as well be a healthy one!

Always so damn good.

Always so damn good.

Current Blessing: Much better weather this week than we’ve been getting the past 3 weeks. I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m thinking we’re done with the snow for awhile, and rain is always much-needed here. I would hate to have to deal with a wildfire like California is right now and like the bad ones we experienced last summer.

What are some of your currently’s?

WIAW: Then & Now

Before I start, let me just say a big thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post! You all had such insightful advice and I really appreciated each and every comment.

Now onto the best party of the week…WIAW! I’ve seen a theme going around lately about then & now type WIAW posts. Mine’s a little different–I’ll be focusing on what I ate when I first started this blog in 2011, and what I’m eating now. It’s crazy how much my eating style has changed in just two years!

Breakfast

Then

Yogi blueberry granola crisps over Greek yogurt, half a homemade blueberry waffle, veggie breakfast sausage.

Yogi blueberry granola crisps over Greek yogurt, half a homemade blueberry waffle, veggie breakfast sausage.

Basically, some variation on whole grain carbs+processed protein. For some reason, I ate a Morningstar spicy veggie pattie or veggie sausage pretty much every day with breakfast for a year. It was a decent source of protein, but I shudder at the mile-long ingredient list now.

Now

Tiramisu chia pudding.

Tiramisu chia protein pudding.

I don’t have a chia pudding every day, but they’re one of my favorite breakfasts now. I focus a lot more on healthy fats (nut butters, raw bars, coconut cream) and cleaner carbs and proteins. Some other favorites are protein frosting-topped homemade buckwheat waffles, almond flour pancakes and protein microwave muffins.

Lunch

Then

Spinach salad with frozen mango and Gardein chick'n nuggets.

Spinach salad with frozen mango and Gardein chick’n nuggets.

I still did salads for lunch (not as often as I do now) but they were a lot more plain and usually protein-ed up with Gardein products. I think their products are good for newbie vegans and vegetarians or when you want some vegan junk food, but I prefer whole foods sources of protein now like beans, edamame and tempeh.

Now

Spinach salad with nooch dressing and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Spinach salad with nooch dressing and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

I love salads with homemade dressings, seeds/nuts, dry roasted edamame, dried fruit, olives, leftover brown rice sushi…basically, anything goes! I also pretty much always have a side of fresh fruit…and sometimes maybe a square of dark chocolate.

Snack

Then

Golden corn Vitatop, Crystal Light pink lemonade.

Golden corn Vitatop with almond butter, Crystal Light pink lemonade.

Sensing a theme here? I was definitely eating a lot of ‘healthy’ (aka low fat, lower calorie) processed foods. I used to LOVE Vitatops, especially the corn ones, but I haven’t had one in over a year. And I don’t miss all the preservatives and weird ingredients at all.

Now

A typical snackplate.

A typical snackplate.

My snacks are often a snack plate-style assortment of protein (peanut flour paste or dry roasted edamame), fats (nuts, seeds, guacamole) and produce (dried fruit, kale chips, carrots). Oh, and chocolate is necessary!

Dinner

Then

OMG fish on a plant-based blog?! Mahi mahi topped with homemade strawberry salsa, watermelon gazpacho.

OMG fish on a plant-based blog?! Mahi mahi topped with homemade strawberry salsa, watermelon gazpacho.

Most of my meals were vegetarian back in 2011, but I did enjoy the occasional fish or seafood dinner. I think if I ever decide to eat meat again, I’ll only eat fish/seafood because it’s really healthy and it was the one meat I actually enjoyed.

Now

Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

I don’t eat Whole Foods salad bar every night (I wish!) but I definitely eat completely plant-based and get in plenty of veggies and different sources of protein. I like to mix things up though: breakfast-for-dinner, eggplant muffulettas on coconut flour bread, homemade veggie burgers (or Sunshine burgers), nooch-y nachos…the list goes on!

Dessert

Then

Raw brownie with coffee froyo and raspberries.

Raw brownie with coffee froyo and raspberries.

Actually, this still looks pretty good! I haven’t had a raw brownie in way too long…Anyways, I loved Stonyfield froyos (especially the coffee flavor), cereal and Whole Foods brand Oreos as desserts–not horrible, but way too sugary for me now!

Now

Raw vegan chocolate ganache.

Raw vegan chocolate ganache.

Still loving the raw desserts, but now they’re more often store-bought (that needs to change though–too bad my tiny food processor sucks!). I generally eat protein microwave muffins or banana softserve most nights, but sometimes have no-sugar-added coconut milk ice cream or raw desserts or Larabars.

How have your meals changed in the past 2 years? Were you ever obsessed with a food/brand that you can’t stand now?

Confessions

We all need to let loose sometimes, am I right? And no, not necessarily in the crazy college kid partying sense, but more like “I just need to get some things off my chest”.

I’ve taken only a few pictures since Wednesday.

Usually, I’m Instagramming on the reg and taking food pics at least once a day. But the last part of this week was busy with exams and work and now I’m trying to just relax during my first few days of spring break. So even though I’ve been eating some delicious meals and wearing cute outfits and just having fun in general, it’s gone mostly undocumented.

The spinach salad I had on Thursday before heading home.

The spinach salad I had on Thursday before heading home.

I went to two Whole Foods in the same day.

This was not planned, but I’m not complaining. Well, maybe my wallet is a little, but I’m sure not. I stopped at the WF in my college town for a little post-midterms and pre-spring break treat (fresh mango and cacao nibs) and then when I got back home, I picked up some salad bar goodness that I was able to split into two meals. Good thing, too, because it cost me $11 #yikes

My salad bar leftovers.

My salad bar leftovers.

I kinda just want to do nothing during spring break.

My spring breaks in college have been a little on the boring side–appointments, meetings and just hanging out at home on my own. In my defense, my mom (a teacher) and little sister have a different spring break than me so we haven’t been able to vacation during March in awhile. But this year, I don’t have many obligations at all…so I’m kinda just gonna work out, eat, blog, shop and hopefully get some sun. I feel like I’m being lazy, but I really just need this week to de-load.

I want it to be in the 70s and 80s forever.

It’s been SO nice here the past couple of days–highs in the upper 60s and low 70s. And I’m dreading the snow we’ll probably get through April. Colorado is weird in the spring–we can get a blizzard one day, and sunny and 70s the next. I’ve learned to roll with it but I kinda just want it to be warm forever.

I've loved being able to wear shorts and dresses for the first time in months.

I’ve loved being able to wear shorts and dresses for the first time in months.

I’ve been in a blogging funk.

I’ve been hardly blogging about anything other than grocery trips and WIAWs. My bad. It’s been busy around here but even now that it’s spring break, I can’t guarantee that I’ll have anything super insightful. I just feel like I don’t know what to post about, what will get a good response, etc.

Anything you’d like me to post about? How’s the weather been in your parts?

 

WIAW: I’m Baaaaack!

When I posted a few weeks back that I was done with WIAWs for awhile, I wasn’t sure how long of a break I’d be taking. Well, it’s only been 2 Wednesdays since then and I’ve caved…but only because I have a lot of food I wanted to share with you guys! I probably won’t be doing WIAW on a weekly basis, as I’m still trying to overcome my orthorexia and I’ve been making strides in eating intuitively, at least amount-wise and not counting calories, but the urges to ‘eat clean’ are still strong and I feel more pressure to eat as cleanly as possible for WIAW posts. So I’m thinking it’s best for me to not do them as often.

Anyways, this week’s WIAW is basically just a bunch of random meals I’ve been eating lately, mostly over this past weekend. I’m sensing a few trends in my recent eats: my salad-a-day goal is still going strong, I love homemade waffles for weekend breakfasts and a few old favorites have made their way back into the rotation. Oh, and an obsession with Instagram and seasonal PicMonkey effects #noshame.

Obviously, still loving the Whole Foods hot/cold bars.

Obviously, still loving the Whole Foods hot/cold bars.

Sorry this is super cheesy, but I had to put a heart around one of my fave meals ever–the WF hot/cold bar! I know I’ve said that the WF up here at school blows, at least as far as their salad bar selection goes. Well, it’s more like hit-or-miss. This box, consumed last Friday, was a hit–tofu ratatouille (a little too salty, but decent), Asian cous-cous, kale topped with maple pecans, grilled asparagus, edamame and my favorite, the in-store made vegan tortilla chips. I also added some homemade guac and it was a delicious box that was totally worth the $7 or whatever it cost. I like never go out to eat, so I think a couple of WF hot/cold bar runs a month is justified 😉

Vanilla blueberry chia pudding made with Sunwarrior protein powder, frozen blueberries, almond milk and shredded coconut.

Vanilla blueberry chia pudding made with Sunwarrior protein powder, frozen blueberries, almond milk and shredded coconut.

This was one of the few successful chia puddings I’ve made–most of them turn out to be runny, no matter how long I let them set. I think this one worked because Sunwarrior is incredibly drying, as in it soaks up liquid easily. Anyways, I love the vanilla+blueberry+coconut combo, so this will be a repeat breakfast/snack.

Southwestern-inspired salad. Spinach, green olives, pinto beans, homemade cashew cilantro dressing, hot sauce.

Southwestern-inspired salad. Spinach, green olives, pinto beans, homemade cashew cilantro dressing, hot sauce.

My salad-a-days have mostly been eaten at lunch, but on my busiest day (Wednesday) I have to eat while typing up a weather forecast in the newsroom–aka, I want something I can eat with one hand, and pack easily into my bag and not have to lug around all day. Salads are semi-portable, but they can get messy, so I usually eat a Larabar with some carrots, and then have my salad-a-day for dinner. Oh, and the salad-a-day goal was just something I decided I’d try out at the beginning of the year, and I think it’s been going strong for a month now. It’s been fun experimenting with different add-ins, greens and dressings but I have a few favorites I like to come back to often.

Return of the snack plate! PB and cacao nib stuffed date (aka best healthy dessert ever), sprouted buckwheat and ancient grains granolas, kale chip crumbs, dried apple slices, salted pistachios, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate and peanut flour paste.

Return of the snack plate! PB and cacao nib stuffed date (aka best healthy dessert ever), sprouted buckwheat and ancient grains granolas, kale chip crumbs, dried apple slices, salted pistachios, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate and peanut flour paste.

Yep, snack plates are back in my life and better than ever. I love having balanced meals (complex carbs/fruit/veggies, protein and healthy fat) so these cover all the bases, and taste delicious. Plus it gives my indecisive tastebuds a lot of different flavors at once…but I’m weird and only eat one part at a time!

Sweet potato chocolate chip buckwheat & almond flour waffle. Topped with chocolate Nuttzo and Sunwarrior 'frosting'.

Sweet potato chocolate chip buckwheat & almond flour waffle. Topped with chocolate Nuttzo and Sunwarrior ‘frosting’.

It’s official–waffles have become my weekend breakfast. I might still have them as an occasional breakfast during the week, but I’m sticking with quicker meals to maximize the time I can spend in bed before getting up 😉 Kidding, it’s really so I have more time to get ready and work out without feeling rushed. But I won’t give up my waffles. I’ve found the best flour combo is an equal ratio of buckwheat to almond, with a little tapioca starch thrown in there to keep them together. They always turn out thick and fluffy!

Nachos for dinner. Raw jalapeno popper on the side. GF multigrain sweet potato chips, sauteed spinach, green olvies, pinto beans, sprouted sunflower seeds, homemade guac and homemade nacho sauce.

Nachos for dinner. Raw jalapeno popper on the side. GF multigrain sweet potato chips, sauteed spinach, green olvies, pinto beans, sprouted sunflower seeds, homemade guac and homemade nacho sauce.

These are basically like my salads, only with less greens. I haven’t had nachos for dinner in awhile, because of my silly fear of grains, but I can’t deny that I love me some Late July multigrain sweet potato chips and honestly, they’re pretty healthy: gluten-free, made with simple ingredients like chia seeds and quinoa and nothing weird in them, and baked. So nachos will be back in the rotation, at least on the nights where I don’t feel like making dinner but have all the ingredients ready to go. I also really want to experiment with Asian and Greek inspired nachos…so stay tuned!

Cinna-mini rolls. Gluten free, vegan, and oh-so-easy.

Cinna-mini rolls. Gluten free, vegan, and oh-so-easy.

I’ve been trying to perfect the cinnamon roll for awhile. For me, it has to be vegan (duh), healthy, gluten free if possible and foolproof. I don’t do well with making my own rolls from scratch, sadly. I’ve made some tasty almond flour based cinnamon ‘rolls’ that, while delicious and simple, were super crumbly and not much like cinnamon rolls at all. Not that that’s bad, but I was still unsatisfied. Until I discovered the perfect gluten free AND vegan frozen pizza dough ball at Whole Foods. Yeah, it’s really rare to find a whole grain based pizza dough that’s GF and vegan so I was thrilled. I’ve made some great cinnamon rolls before using premade pizza dough so I knew this had to work. And luckily for me, it did! I thawed the dough, rolled it out, filled it with just cinnamon, raw honey and chopped dates, rolled it up and cut it into 8 mini rolls and baked it. They turned out a little too chewy, but delicious and pretty darn close to perfect. Finally!

Another salad...yes I'm obsessed with nooch, spinach and olives in my salads.

Another salad…yes I’m obsessed with nooch, spinach and olives in my salads.

And to end on a veggie-filled note (to go with this month’s WIAW theme, of course), yet another salad creation. At this point, I don’t necessarily make my salads based on a theme, like Mexican or Asian or whatever, but I kinda just throw things in a bowl, shake it up and see what works. I generally love a combo of sweet and salty, so I like a lot of olives, dried fruit and something spicy in there.

Do you eat salads a lot? Have you ever tried to perfect a dessert recipe? 

WIAW: Makin’ Changes

No matter how much you may love your life–your daily routine, your meals, your workouts, etc.–there’s always a time for change. I’ve been making some changes lately and loving them…so let’s get to it, WIAW-style! (P.S. These are all my meals from Monday)

Breakfast: grain free almond joy pancakes (almond flour, raw cacao powder, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, raw cacao protein powder 'frosting'), roasted kabocha.

Breakfast: grain free almond joy pancakes (almond flour, raw cacao powder, unsweetened coconut shreds, cacao nibs, raw cacao protein powder ‘frosting’), roasted kabocha.

I’ve been moving away from my beloved homemade buckwheat waffles to grain free pancakes. I change my breakfasts up every few months and now I’m on a pancake kick, especially almond or peanut flour based pancakes. They’re not pretty but they’re tasty and easy to whip up and change around. The almond joy inspired combo is a real winner…I can’t believe I hated coconut for so long!

My new hair (and new-ish dress).

My new hair (and new-ish dress).

I had a long overdue hair appointment on Friday. Seriously, I hadn’t gotten it done since August, yikes. I got more blonde highlights added and took the plunge and got full bangs, rather than my usual sideswept. I gotta say, I love my new bangs. I feel more adult and fashion-y, if that makes any sense.

Lunch part 1: green smoothie (made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach and Sunwarrior vanilla).

Lunch part 1: green smoothie (made with unsweetened almond milk, spinach and Sunwarrior vanilla).

I don’t do smoothies a lot (they’re too filling for me, and I’d rather eat my calories) but I wasn’t feeling a salad today so I went for my greens in smoothie form. I actually didn’t finish this because it was getting too filling, but it was pretty delish. I think I’ll be doing more green smoothies for lunch this semester on busy days.

Lunch part 2: Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Lunch part 2: Whole Foods salad bar leftovers.

Sorry for the millions of Instagrammed WF salad bar photos–can you tell I’m obsessed?! I’ve just been trying to get my fill of the salad bar while I’m still home on break because as I’ve said before, the WF near me at school has a subpar salad bar. Though, I haven’t been there in over 5 weeks, so maybe they’ve improved it…? I celebrated the Golden Globes on Sunday with half of this box, and saved the rest for Monday’s lunch. Leftovers have never tasted better!

Snack (reused photo, minus the bok choy): half garnet yam with peanut flour 'frosting', sunflower seed butter, mini dark chocolate chips and chopped dried fig.

Snack (reused photo, minus the bok choy): half garnet yam with peanut flour ‘frosting’, sunflower seed butter, mini dark chocolate chips and chopped dried fig.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been eating too many grains lately. Not necessarily on purpose (oh and BTW, I am NOT going paleo, I could never eat all that meat/eggs), just because I’ve found that other things are more appealing to me, plus I just like to switch things up and I’m actually doing a lot more experimenting now without relying on grains for most of my meals. Anyways, my favorite snack at the moment is a sweet potato/yam topped with SSB, peanut flour paste, dried fruit and chocolate chips. Sweet potatoes are a great filling snack option, and they’re just amazing topped with nut butters and chocolate. Trust me, it sounds weird but when the chocolate gets all melty, you’ll understand my obsession.

Dinner: peanut coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry with kale, pineapple, peanut flour and edamame.

Dinner: peanut coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry with kale, pineapple, peanut flour and edamame.

I’m so glad I discovered kelp noodles, because they’re my favorite easy go-to dinner lately. They don’t add any weird taste and soak up other flavors easily so they’re perfect in stirfrys. I know a lot of people like using spaghetti squash as a pasta replacement and as much as I love squash, the spaghetti variety isn’t my fave. Kelp noodles are also a veggie-based pasta replacement (a sea veggie, so they have a lot of minerals!) but I just like them better, and there’s minimal prep work involved with them.

Dessert: PB chocolate protein microwave cake topped with sunflower seed butter, mint chocolate almond milk ice cream, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

Dessert: PB chocolate protein microwave cake topped with sunflower seed butter, mint chocolate almond milk ice cream, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

This is a normal dessert for me, but I’m planning on switching it up. I like having some protein before bed to keep me from getting hungry, but I’m going to forgo my usual almond or coconut milk ice cream for awhile. It’s kinda expensive to buy (even just twice a month like I was doing) and has a lot of sugar. I’ve been cleaning up my eats a bit lately and am trying to go for more natural sugars. Even though the ice creams aren’t unhealthy or as sugary as normal ice cream, I just need to take a break from them for awhile and try out different desserts like banana softserve, nuts and dried fruit, etc. But the daily dark chocolate habit won’t be changing anytime soon 😉

Have you been making any changes in your life lately? What’s your go-to breakfast?

My Ode to the Whole Foods Salad Bar

If you’ve been reading AlmostVegGirlie for awhile, you’ll know that I have an unhealthy obsession with the Whole Foods salad bar. I first discovered it in July 2011–even though there’s been a Whole Foods in my city for years, I had never ventured to the salad bar side of the store. I fell in love at first bite, and the rest is history. Actually, after my first time trying it, I didn’t get it again for 7 months. But once this summer hit, I’ve been getting my salad bar fix on the reg (probably once or twice a month) and each box is totally worth it.

Some of my favorite salad bar creations, in collage form.

Some of my favorite salad bar creations, in collage form.

Dear Whole Foods Salad Bar, 

When I first met you, I had high expectations

I hoped you’d be delicious, and you were.

We didn’t meet again for many months

And I missed you every day

But now we’re reunited

And I won’t forget about you again.

I love your variety, your tasty flavors

You always have plenty of vegan options

You’re my favorite place to eat.

You have my old favorites

But there’s always something new to discover

And that’s why I love you…

Even though you cost 5 or 6 bucks

It’s a love affair that’s worth every cent 

 

Boy was that cheesy or what 😉 Obviously I have a scary addiction to it, but there are definitely worse things to be addicted to.

Other than that lame poem (that didn’t even rhyme), I wanted to share some of my tips for Whole Foods salad bar picking and some of my favorites.

Tips

  • If you want to save money, only put one or two heavier items in your box. They charge by pound (the bars by me charge $7.99 per pound) so you’ll want to load up on lighter weight items if you’re going for a cheaper meal.
  • Read the ingredients. If you have an allergy, intolerance or dietary preference, the salad bar will be your savior. They have cards out above each item listing all the ingredients in it, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
  • Try new things. I have a few favorites I always get, but when I see something new and interesting, I usually put a little of it in my box. That way, if it isn’t great, I won’t have wasted valuable box space. But if it is good, then you’ll have a new favorite!
  • Go to different Whole Foods. If you have more than one in your area, I would highly recommend trying out different stores to see which one has the best salad bar variety. The Whole Foods I shop the most at at home has the best salad bar options, while the one in my college town is more hit-or-miss. And go on different days, too, since they usually switch up items a lot from day to day or week to week.

Favorites

  • Maple glazed sweet potato chunks. I can’t remember the exact name of these, but it’s big chunks of sweet potatoes in a lightly sweet sauce with bell peppers and currants. It’s one of my “heavy item” splurges.
  • Homemade wheat tortilla chips. I generally don’t eat wheat products on a daily basis because I feel better without it, but these chips are definitely worth it. They’re so fresh and thick and salty and delicious.
  • Guacamole. Whole Foods makes the best guac, period.
  • Coconut curry tofu. They also make the best tofu. This version is great, creamy without the dairy and a bit spicy.
  • Superfood salad. This combines so many superfoods in one–kale, cashews, blueberries and acai dressing.
  • California quinoa salad. I have yet to recreate this one but I really need to. It’s red quinoa, edamame, flaked coconut, mango and bell pepper in a really good light dressing.
  • Marinated artichokes. I love artichoke hearts anyway, but these are totally craveable.

Have you ever eaten the Whole Foods salad bars? What’s your favorite item there?