College Vegan on a Budget: Looking Ahead

A healthy food-loving girl’s adventures in the world of grocery budgeting.

If you’ve been sticking with me since I started the CVB series then you’ve seen how I’ve had my ups and downs with budgeting. I think I’ve learned a lot since August though, and I want to keep what I’ve learned in mind every time I go grocery shopping, even if it’s on my parents’ dime. Which it will be verrrrry soon, aka in like 4 days!

But CVB will not be back until school starts up again in the fall, so if you still want to read about budgeting, just check out my previous posts on the topics. And just a note, this produce will all be finished this week, but some of the non-perishable or frozen items will be returning home with me when I move back.

Whole Foods produce purchases this week.

Whole Foods produce purchases this week.

*=organic

Whole Foods 

What I Got: watermelon half, baby spinach*, limes, avocados x3*, red mango*, strawberries*, Medjool dates, raw strawberry cheesecakes x2 (on sale and a treat for post finals!), Truvia, bulk whole almonds, Hail Merry vanilla maple almonds, Gone Raw sprouted Thai lemon curry cashews (I’m seriously obsessed, I buy these every week), gluten free frozen pizza dough, Incan berries* (not sure if I like these yet), raw mint chocolate squares, raw southwestern kale chips (also on sale and my fave), Vega One bar, Kit’s Organic chocolate coconut bar*

What I Spent: $67.57 (pretty typical lately)

Verdict: As usual, I spent about 1/3 of my total bill on produce (it came out to about $22 this time, totally worth it for organic  or good quality produce), and I also bought some ‘fun’ things that will probably only last through Wednesday when I move back home. Some things I’m planning on bringing back with me because I don’t think I can get them at the Whole Foods stores in my hometown.

The rest of the purchases.

The rest of the purchases.

When you’ve moved or traveled, do you try to eat everything before or do you bring leftover stuff with you? How much do you spend on produce?

 

Advertisements

WIAW: No Filter

No, this title isn’t leading into a post where I just say what I feel without thinking it through. Not that kind of no filter. I’m talking about no Instagram or PicMonkey filter. I’m a sucker for prettying up my photos (which, lets be honest, are 99% of the time taken on my smartphone) but I’m trying to avoid the over-filtering of my photos. So I’m gonna share my original version of photos for this week’s WIAW…well, minus one or two filtered pics that slipped in there!

Breakfast: samoas-inspired chia pudding.

Breakfast: samoas-inspired chia pudding.

Sorry for the chia seed pudding overload lately–I’m not kidding when I say I get into breakfast ruts. First (almost 2 years ago at this point) it was overnight oats, then hot oats, then smoothie bowls, then pancakes, then waffles, now it’s the chia pudding. This version was inspired by the classic Girl Scout cookie (which I don’t think I’ve ever actually had) and made with Sunwarrior vanilla and Vega chocolate protein powders, lucuma powder for a caramel-y accent (my new love!) and topped with coconut, cashew butter (love this stuff) and a crumbled raw chocolate macaroon. This was good stuff.

Friday night sushi with friends. Cucumber maki and sweet potato tempura roll. Demolished.

Friday night sushi with friends. Cucumber maki and sweet potato tempura roll. Demolished.

I actually went out to eat twice this weekend. Both times with friends. This is big for me. I always feel super guilty when I have to eat out twice in a week/weekend, and I still have some anxiety about eating out with friends. But I had so much fun that it was worth it! The food wasn’t too bad either!

Failed recipe: healthy vegan Nutella.

Failed recipe: healthy vegan Nutella.

I’ve honestly never been a fan of Nutella (though Justin’s vegan version is pretty good) but I wanted to try making a healthier, vegan version to see if I’d like it better. It was pretty easy (other than attempting to remove the skins from the hazelnuts, which I eventually gave up on) but didn’t turn out delicious. I blame it on only adding 1 tbsp of coconut sugar. Definitely needed more sweetness.

Lunch: spinach salad with homemade cashew cilantro dressing and avocado verde salsa, dry roasted edamame, eggplant 'bacon' and kalamata olives.

Lunch: spinach salad with homemade cashew cilantro dressing and avocado verde salsa, dry roasted edamame, eggplant ‘bacon’ and kalamata olives.

My salad-a-day is still going strong and I’ve been especially loving my latest dressing combo–homemade cashew cilantro dressing and the Wholly Guacamole brand avocado verde salsa I picked up over the weekend. So good, and better than regular old dressing.

Eggplant 'bacon' wrapped date stuffed with cashew 'cream cheese'.

Eggplant ‘bacon’ wrapped date stuffed with cashew ‘cream cheese’.

Speaking of eggplant bacon, this was one of my successful recipe experiments over the weekend. Seriously, so simple but so damn tasty. I wish I had had more than half an eggplant (I used the other half for something else) so I could make a bigger batch. It was especially delicious wrapped around a Medjool date stuffed with homemade cashew cream cheese. Mmmm, I could eat this all day!

Outfit of the day (March 4): pink cropped cardigan (Abercrombie & Fitch), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink ruffle tank (Abercrombie Kids), burgundy jeggings (Hollister), unpictured brown riding boots (Macy's).

Outfit of the day (March 4): pink cropped cardigan (Abercrombie & Fitch), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink ruffle tank (Abercrombie Kids), burgundy jeggings (Hollister), unpictured brown riding boots (Macy’s).

I felt like a Valentine when I wore this on Monday, but who cares, I love pink! I’m really excited though for when I can finally wear dresses and skirts without tights–hopefully soon! Spring, come sooner.

Dinner: eggplant muffuletta on grain free bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheezy chipotle kale chips.

Dinner: eggplant muffuletta on grain free bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheezy chipotle kale chips.

Ummm…grain free bread? What is this madness? I will admit that, yes, I need to get over my fear of grains other than buckwheat and quinoa, but on the other hand, I can’t deny my love for coconut flour. And surprise, surprise, it actually makes a decent grain free and vegan bread when combined with a few other ingredients. Yes, it actually held together pretty well even when soaked with kalamata olive relish and baked eggplant, and it tasted a lot like naan after sitting for a few days. Look for a super simple recipe soon!

Another dinner: Thai stuffed sweet potato. Half a large sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and raisins/coconut shreds on one side, coconut cream and raw Thai curry cashews on the other.

Another dinner: Thai stuffed sweet potato. Half a large sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and raisins/coconut shreds on one side, coconut cream and raw Thai curry cashews on the other.

I’m definitely doing a stuffed sweet potato for dinner more often…thanks for the inspiration, Sara! This one was Thai-like, with a peanutty sauce on one side, and curry+coconut on the other. I think I could do a different combo of this every day.

How do you like your sweet potatoes? Did you have a recipe success or failure over the weekend? 

 

Raw Foodism 101

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, particularly my recipe posts, you’ll know that I’ve recently discovered a love for raw ‘cooking’ and foods. I currently only have 8 raw recipes in my repertoire but I’m constantly thinking up new desserts I can ‘raw-ify’. I know a lot of people out there don’t know a lot about what raw foodism is, so I thought I’d give you a little rundown of what it means to me and how to start incorporating raw foods into your diet. Note: I am NOT a strict raw foodist, or an expert on this topic. These are just my opinions and what I’ve read from other blogs about raw foodism.

In a (raw) nutshell, raw foodism is eating foods that have not been cooked above a temperature around 115-118 degrees. The main type of raw foodism is raw veganism (as many vegan foods are safe for consumption without being cooked), but some raw foodists are vegetarians or omnivores. Raw foods are preferred over cooked because cooking can destroy the healthful enzymes found in the raw form.

Raw vegans eat fruits, vegetables, soaked nuts & seeds and sprouted grains & legumes. The strictest raw vegans follow a diet known as 80/10/10, which is 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fat, and eat just raw fruits and veggies.

Raw ‘cooking’ is a bit more complicated than just eating straight-up raw or soaked foods. You need a lot of kitchen appliances, like a food processor, blender, juicer and dehydrator. Raw foodists can still eat crackers and cookies–by using these appliances, they can make healthier, more nutrient-dense versions of these popular items while still staying raw. Dehydrators technically heat foods, but only to 115-118 degrees.

Raw ‘cooking’ involves different ingredients than regular cooking. I haven’t done as much experimenting with savory raw dishes, but I can tell you some of the staples needed to make raw desserts.

  • raw, soaked nuts and seeds (especially cashews)
  • raw cacao powder
  • agave nectar, raw honey (not vegan)
  • dates, other dried fruit
  • fresh fruit
  • chia and flaxseed
  • maca/mesquite/lucuma powder
  • cacao nibs
  • soaked buckwheat

If you’ve ever wanted to try preparing raw meals for yourself, but are worried about how complicated it might be, never fear! There are plenty of easy and relatively inexpensive raw recipes out there for you to try out. Here are some that I’ve made in the past or planning to make soon…oh, and don’t mind my lame attempt at raw humor 😉

Rawcos (raw tacos)

Photo courtesy of My New Roots.

Tirawmisu

Photo courtesy of A Raw Story.

Cheezy Sundried Tomato Kale Chips (dehydrator recipe)

Photo courtesy of Oh She Glows.

Key Lime Cheezcake 

My own photo & recipe.

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Photo courtesy of Choosing Raw.

Rawco Salad (raw taco salad)

Photo courtesy of Oh She Glows.

Raw Mini Pecan Pie

My own photo & recipe.

So now you have no excuse not to try out raw foods for yourself!

What’s your favorite thing to eat raw? Have you ever made a raw meal or snack?

ABCs and Recipes

Last summer, I was completely obsessed with blog surveys. I did one almost every week, usually on Wednesday (for WIAW) and I loved coming up with answers for the questions. I got a little burned out on them after a while, but now that I’ve seen this new survey pop up all over the place, I decided to jump in on it. I’ve also got a couple more recipes for you too!

A is for Age: 19, but I’ll be 20 in 4 months!

B is for Breakfast today: Coffee-flavored overnight oats topped with a little peanut flour paste, with a side of veggie bacon (made crispy in the microwave) and some raisins.

C is for Currently Craving: Starbucks unsweetened iced coffee! I had my first one yesterday and it was totally refreshing for a warm spring day. I sweetened it up with a little Truvia and it was perfection.

Enjoying some Starbucks in the sunshine.

D is for Dinner tonight: Hopefully some Mediterranean food at Garbanzo, aka my favorite fast casual restaurant!

E is for favorite type of Exercise: Either biking or tennis. I hope I can do one of those tomorrow, since it’s supposed to be super warm!

F is for irrational Fear: Someone breaking into my house…and squirrels.

G is for Gross food: Any kind of meat (that’s why I’m veg*n), ketchup and eggs. Ick!

H is for Hometown: Phoenix, AZ. Now I live in CO but I want to move back to AZ someday for the warm weather.

I need to live in Phoenix so I can tan outside all the time.

I is for something Important: I couldn’t live without my family, seriously.

J is for current favorite Jam: Music-wise, I’m loving “Starships” by Nicki Minaj. Food-wise, I really like orange ginger marmalade.

K is for Kids: Obviously not right now, but someday I’d love to have twin girls!

L is for current Location: See photo below!

I love being outside!

M is for the most recent way you spent Money: I bought Starbucks drinks for me and my sister.

N is for something you Need: Ummm, how about a car? I’ve loved being able to drive myself around this week and I’m kinda mad that I won’t be able to do that again until summer.

O is for Occupation: Student and blogger right now, future TV anchor hopefully soon 😀

Outfit of the day: striped crop top (Hollister), navy twill shorts (Hollister), silver bangles (American Eagle).

P is for Pet Peeve: Chipped nail polish. I love having my nails polished, but I have to repaint them almost every day because they constantly chip!

Q is for Quote: 

R is for Random fact about you: I have a tooth that grew in facing backwards! I had to have braces on my lower teeth for over 3 years because of it but it’s still backwards.

S is for favorite healthy Snack: Kale chips. Here’s my latest recipe for them…

Why are kale chips so addicting?

Curried Kale Chips (vegan, gluten-free)

1 bunch kale, washed and dried

curry powder, garam masala, sea salt, cracked black pepper (to taste)

oil spray (I used Pam)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Tear kale into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Spritz lightly with oil spray and sprinkle on spices (add as much or as little as you’d like). Place kale on foil-lined baking trays and put in oven for 20-30 minutes, until crisp. 

T is for favorite Treat: Gelato, or almond milk ‘ice cream’. As far as desserts go, cold ones are definitely my favorite, I’m not as huge of a fan of baked goods, but I also love raw desserts.

U is for something that makes you Unique: My eyes used to be blue when I was a baby, but now they’re hazel! As much as I think blue eyes are really pretty, I think hazel ones are really cool.

V is for favorite Vegetable: My favorites at the moment include spinach, baby carrots, edamame, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and asparagus.

A produce-filled lunch: quinoa pasta salad (the colored ones are made of dried spinach and beets) with baby carrots, edamame and vegan Caesar dressing, side of fresh mango.

Super Simple Pasta Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup quinoa pasta

1/4 cup cooked edamame

handful chopped carrots, other veggies

1 tbsp dressing of choice (I used Follow Your Heart’s vegan Caesar)

Make pasta according to package. Mix with edamame and other veggies and place in a bowl in the fridge for a few hours. Once chilled, toss with dressing and other toppings of choice, like nooch, nuts or dried fruit (makes 1 serving).

W is for today’s Workout: I did a quickie cardio circuit, and I’m also going to be spending the day shopping. Shopping is my favorite form of cardio, hands down 😉

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Right ankle, left wrist, teeth and right foot. I also had an MRI done when I fractured my right ankle in fourth grade.

Y is for Yesterday’s highlight: Getting to pick up my sister from school and taking her to Starbucks, having my last orthodontist appointment ever, making dinner for my family. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures but I made orange chicken-style tofu with quinoa. It was decent, but I want to tweak the recipe before I post it.

Z is for your time Zone: Mountain time zone, baby! I love being one of the few bloggers actually in this time zone, haha.

 

Answer any of these for yourself!

WIAW: What I Want to Make Over Spring Break

Another week, another WIAW! I gotta tell you guys, I am hooked on these weekly WIAW parties. I’ve been doing them every week since June of last year (except for a couple of times) and I love seeing what all of you who participate in WIAW have been up to, eating-wise.

This week’s edition won’t be what I’ve been eating this week, because let’s be honest, it hasn’t been too interesting–just finishing up a lot of stuff before spring break rolls around. But I want to share some of the recipes I’m planning on making next week when I’m home for break. I’ve been dying to get back into the kitchen and get my chef on so I’ve got a lot of recipes I want to try out.

Seitan Makhani (Vegan “Butter Chicken”)

From AllRecipes.com

I remember when I was a lot younger, my family went out to eat at an Indian restaurant in our city quite often–I was introduced to spicy foods and different cuisines at a young age, which is why I love them today! Anyways, my sister and I would usually split an order of butter chicken, along with some onion bahji and fresh-baked naan and it was super delicious. Being vegan and a lot more health-conscious now, of course I don’t eat butter or chicken but this veganized recipe sounds really amazing and pretty healthy. I’ve never cooked (or eaten) seitan before but I definitely want to experiment with it.

Raw Key Lime Cashew Cheezecake

Photo from Evolving Wellness

I don’t have a specific recipe in mind for this, I just want to make my own based off other raw cheezecakes. After a failed raw key lime pie experiment in January, I really want to make a key lime flavored cashew cheezecake, since key lime is perfect for spring and I’ve been wanting to make a cashew cheezecake for a while.

More kale chips

Photo from thehealthyeatingsite.com

After my first homemade batch a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been craving these yummy green chips like no other! Again, I don’t have a specific recipe in mind but I want to try a sweet and spicy batch and maybe a batch coated in vegan ranch dressing…

Carrot Cake Pancakes

From wholefoodsmarket.com

Whole Foods always has the most drool-worthy recipes and photos, and when I saw these little gems, I knew I had to try them out. I love carrot cake in overnight oat form, so why not in pancakes? I’ll have to change a few things around to make them vegan, but they look simple enough and they’ve got tons of yummy things in them, like pineapple, raisins and pecans.

Orange Poppyseed Muffins

Photo from shine.yahoo.com

For some odd reason, I have been thinking about lemon poppyseed muffins lately! But why not a twist on the traditional–vegan orange poppyseed muffins? Fresh citrus flavors are really appealing to me since spring is just around the corner so this sounds perfect!

BBQ Tofu Pizza

Photo from foodbuzz.com

I still have yet to experiment with tofu, so what better place to start than on a pizza? I’m planning on marinating some extra firm tofu in a natural barbecue sauce and topping a brown rice tortilla (best pizza base, in my opinion) with some red onions, red cabbage and possibly fresh pineapple. Though really, any kind of homemade pizza would be delicious!

Peanut Flour Banana Bread

Photo from thedailygarnish.com

I actually want to create my own recipe for this, using some kind of mix of peanut flour, oat flour, vegan chocolate chips and bananas (duh). I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but the flavor combo just sounds awesome.

Carrot Mango Smoothie

Photo from wholeliving.com

Not so much a recipe as an idea–I have no idea why I thought of this, but it just sounds really refreshing. I know a lot of people make Green Monsters…this will be an Orange Monster!

I may not get around to making all of these recipes, and I might try out other ones, but these are just my ideas as of right now! I’m getting excited (and hungry!) just thinking about them.

Pink cardigan (on arm, Abercrombie & Fitch), green floral dress (Hollister), pink crystal necklace (American Eagle)

Oh, and on an unrelated note, this is what I wore today! It has been almost 70 degrees here the past two days, and I couldn’t be happier that it feels like spring…even though snow is in the forecast for later in the week. Booooooo! My dress isn’t actually that bright of a green, it’s more of a sea foam green but I always have to color correct my photos because of the bad lighting in my room so things turn out weird colors. Also, don’t ask why my cardigan is hanging off one arm–I was trying out different poses, okay? You can check out more photos on my fashion blog!

What recipe looks the best to you? Have you ever “veganized” a recipe?

WIAW: Weekend of Veggies and Dancing

Hey! Glad you all liked my product review! It was really fun to do and hopefully I’ve inspired some of you to go out and try the oats for yourself.

Anyway, as promised, here’s a recap of my weekend, in WIAW form. Okay, so it’s not really What I Ate Wednesday, but What I Ate And Did This Weekend (so WIAADTW). Whatever, WIAW sounds better! And this weekend, I got in a ton of veggies, which always seems to be the case when I go home. So hopefully spring break will be veggie city 😀

Friday

My madre picked me up around 11, as usual, and we hit the road. The thing I love best about getting done with class so early on Friday is that on the weekends I go home, my mom can come pick me up right away and we don’t end up hitting any rush hour traffic in Denver, plus I get a slightly longer weekend at home. Win win! We got back to the Springs just in time to pick up my sister from school, headed home for a little bit, then back out to drop her off for the musical she was performing in. My mom and I hit up Qdoba for a quick dinner, and obviously, I forgot to take a picture. But I ordered my usual, the Naked Vegetarian Taco Salad topped with lettuce (duh), black beans, fiery habanero salsa (super hot, just the way I like it) and corn & black bean salsa. So good! I was starving so I finished off the entire salad. Guess I love my greens 😉

Then we met my dad to see my sister’s musical. It was based on the Prince of Egypt movie, and it was pretty decent. She was the understudy for Zipporah (Moses’ wife) but unfortunately, she didn’t get to fill in. She was good in the other parts she did, though!

Saturday

I ate breakfast (obvs) and showered, which is so unusual for me since I usually do it at night, but my dad, sister and I were going to a father daughter dinner dance so I needed to be fresh for that!

Breakfast: carrot cake oats with raisins, spicy veggie sausage.

I did some yoga and cardio circuits, had lunch and then just did whatever around the house until it was almost 3…yikes, I needed to get ready pronto! I repainted my nails with pink crackle polish (my fave), curled my hair and got into my dress for the dance.

The only picture I have right now of me in my dress...more to come hopefully soon!

Lunch: sweet potato topped with crunchy almond butter and real maple syrup, crushed natural nacho kale chips, frozen banana slices, side of water in a Starbucks holiday tumbler.

Since neither my mom or sister were there (they were at the last performance of the musical), my dad had to take a few pictures of me outside in my dress, alone. Usually my mom would take pics of the three of us all dressed up, but it was just me this time. Not that I minded 😉 Except it was freezing outside and windy! Not fun.

My dad (who looked handsome in his suit, by the way) and I headed out…not for the dance yet, but for Whole Foods! The hotel the dance was at was catering dinner, but I know from past experience that I don’t like the vegetarian option they serve (and they had no vegan option, as far as I know) so my dad suggested we get something to go from Whole Foods. Um, yeah, I was a happy camper, especially when I discovered tons of new salads at the hot/cold bars. The Whole Foods I go to most of the time has an amazing selection, so I filled my box with a ton of different ones, like sweet potato chunks with cannelini beans, orange chipotle tofu cubes, an Asian kale salad, spicy marinated artichoke hearts and a Mediterranean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and chickpeas. All of it was ridiculously good so it’s pretty sad that I could only get a super lame picture of it, since I had to take it in the dark ballroom at the dance. Yeah, it felt a little weird eating my Whole Foods salads while everyone around me was having the chicken or steak meals, but I did not regret my decision–it was super tasty, and healthy!

It doesn't look too tasty, but it really was!

The program was really really good, but of course, I was looking forward to the dancing! It’s always so fun to make a fool of myself with my dad and sister while busting a move on the dance floor. First, we had our pictures taken by the photographer there, and then we hit the floor! When we first went back in the ballroom, it was  packed and people were handing out these weird balloons for no reason. It was so funny though, because all the dads and daughters were waving them around to the music. So random, but so fun! Most of them popped by the end of the night, but I actually still have mine at home!

This random button we found on our table--my sister and I thought it was hilarious.

My place card.

The band was pretty decent, I just wish they had played more modern songs than the oldie type stuff, but I guess they wanted to appeal to the dads and daughters. They did do Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”, so my sister and I really got down to those! And of course, the last song was “Butterfly Kisses”–I almost cried while I was slow-dancing with my dad. The whole event makes me really appreciate how much my dad loves me.

Sunday

Unfortunately, we had an early wake-up call, which sucked after being out so late (I didn’t fall asleep til after midnight) the night before. We’re trying to sell our house, and we had a showing in the morning so we had to get out for a little while. Of course, it was the perfect opportunity to hit up Starbucks! I rarely get to have Starbucks in the morning–I usually go in the afternoon. It was nice to get a little caffeine burst…I definitely needed it!

My Starbucks order du jour: tall skinny soy hazelnut latte.

My family got some bagels at Einstein, but I just got a fruit cup for my breakfast. Okay, honestly, bagels are a HUGE fear food of me–so many carbs, especially the “bad” kind, a ton of calories, blah blah blah. I don’t think I’ve had one in a year and a half, and even then I only ate half of one at a time, without cream cheese (because of all the fat), of course. I would have loved to try to at least somewhat conquer my fear, with one of their bagel thins and some vegan cream cheese (they don’t have this, but I can dream, right?), but I didn’t. Part of it was because I honestly wasn’t hungry–and this actually continued throughout the day, which was weird–but it was also because I was just too afraid. Maybe next time I can try a bagel thin…

Sunday was actually just a really weird day, because like I just said, I was barely hungry the whole day. I had my Starbucks drink and the fruit for breakfast, skipped lunch, had a few orange and banana slices before my mom and I headed back up to school and a Clif Kids bar in the car. For dinner we stopped at Corner Bakery, where I got their salad trio, with the Asian edamame salad, mixed greens salad and seasonal fruit medley. Of course, the fruit medley was mostly cantaloupe (ick!) so I just had the few grapes, apple slices and pineapple pieces mixed in, a little bit of the mixed greens (the dressing was  way too oily) and all of the edamame salad (which was really good and fresh). It honestly was not much food, but I still wasn’t hungry. After my mom dropped me off, my hunger finally returned so I could have some oats with peanut flour for a snack. But the whole day just threw me off and it actually sucked!

My hunger did return on Monday (thank God!) so I was able to enjoy a few of the new purchases my mom got for me from Whole Foods. First up, Late July organic sweet potato multigrain chips. I thought I wouldn’t really like these because I didn’t really like the Food Should Taste Good version, but these are so much better! They’re slightly sweet, slightly salty and are the perfect mix of soft and crunchy. They have a subtle sweet potato taste, but I love them.

My new favorite Late July chips!

I also tried some Hope Hummus, which is a locally-made hummus brand. I liked their sweet potato hummus, but when I saw they had a spicy avocado version, I just had to get it. It tastes like a blend of guacamole and hummus and it’s really good! The sweet potato chips were awesome dipped in it.

Two of my favorite dips in one!

And finally, I tried a Sumo orange for the first time. My dad spotted them at Whole Foods, picked up a few, and I took a couple with me to try. They definitely live up to their name in size, and they have an amazing, juicy, tangerine-like taste. I recommend them if you love oranges!

For size comparison, a Sumo on the left, a blood orange on the right.

What was the best thing you ate this weekend? What do you do on “not hungry” days?

Saturday Seven: Do the Kale Hail

Heeeeeeeeeeeey guys! So did you make it through the week? Honestly, I almost thought I wouldn’t! I had a 4-day week because I played hooky from classes on Monday since I was still at home, so that was nice, but it was kind of hard diving right into things on Tuesday. Especially because I had two tests this week, a huge essay to write and all the usual assignments, plus a random floor meeting and a meeting for work both on the same day. Needless to say, I was super happy for this week to finally be over. Next week isn’t looking too crazy, which will be great, plus I’m headed home again next weekend and it’ll be busy busy but fun. I’ll let you all know what’s going down latah!

For now, let’s get right into another edition of Saturday Seven. I’m on a roll with these lately–I’ve done one every weekend I’ve been on campus since December!

1. Homemade is better than store-bought

You were delicious, but too expensive!

At least when it comes to kale chips. I mentioned that I ordered some Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale chips a couple of weeks back, and I finally got them a week ago. I also happened to make my first batch of baked kale chips that same day. Verdict? I loved my homemade ones more (even though they still need some tweaking). I’m blaming in on the particular flavor I got of the chips–they’re natural nacho, and they’re a little too strongly “cheezy” for me, especially since I haven’t had real cheese in a few years. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad, just not quite what I was expecting. I love their crunch though. I would like to try another variety, like the Vampire Killer or Nasty Hot, but for now, I’ll be sticking with homemade. They’re so addicting!

2. T-minus 3 weeks…

I met Dory last year on my spring break...

Til spring break, of course! I don’t have any huge plans, but getting a 9 day break from school will be ah-mazing! Last year, I did end up doing a few fun things, like playing tennis, going to the aquarium, shopping and recipe experimentation (like a delicious vegan Philly “cheesesteak” sandwich) so hopefully I can do some of those things and more this time around. Actually, I really want to make at least one new recipe every day of break, so we’ll see how that goes down!

3. Small things are the cutest

These are brand new, and they look delicious!

I’m a huge fan of Gardein products because they’re quick and easy, pretty healthy for faux meat, yummy and vegan! When I saw these little guys on their website, I was sold. I’m not even that big on products that imitate beef, but their beefless veggie burgers are one of my favorites. Plus sliders are just adorable, and each one has 9 grams of protein–score!

4. Apparently I like to recycle…

More than just a holder for delicious coffee.

I liked my Starbucks Valentine’s cup so much that I washed it out and decided to use it as a pencil holder on my desk. Way to get creative while being green, right? Plus it just looks cute.

5. I’m still learning how to text on my new phone

I absolutely love the case though!

I got my new phone at the beginning of January (a T-Mobile MyTouch, in case you were wondering) and I’m still struggling with the texting. I had a touch screen before this one and I also have an iPod Touch, so I thought it would be easy to learn, but not so much. I guess I’m trying to text as fast as I used to so I end up hitting the wrong keys. I’ll get it eventually though, and besides, I really love the phone. It’s an Android so it has web service, so I can check my email/the weather/Twitter during class. Oops, did I just say that? 😉

6. A hair waver can work as a straightener

Wavy one day, straight the next...all with one tool!

I usually either straighten my hair or use my hair waver to enhance my natural waves. The other day I discovered that I can do both with the hair waver. Who knew? Now I don’t have to lug home both appliances on the weekend!

7. I’m so done with winter

It may look pretty, but I'm sick of it!

This winter has been pretty sucky here. At least compared to recent winters. January was actually alright and unseasonably warm for most of the month, but February hit and well, it’s been awful. For one thing, it’s been cloudy a lot, and that is really not normal for Colorado. I’m so used to sunshine year-round that it’s been kinda depressing. The cold and snow are another story altogether. February is usually in the 40s and sometimes 50s, but it’s been in the 30s and 20s most of the month, which is freaking freezing! I know some parts of the country have it worse, but I feel like we’ve just gotten the worst of the winter weather this year. I cannot wait until March and I’m hoping it comes in like a lamb, aka warm weather and sunshine! I miss my sandals, shorts and dresses!

What’s something you prefer homemade over store-bought? Are you looking forward to spring?