WIAW: Fall Foodie Finds

I’m glad you’re all embracing fall as much as I am! Though to be honest, I kinda wish it were already Thanksgiving/Christmas time. Oh well, it’ll come around soon enough.

So it’s the first week of October which is crazy but what isn’t crazy is finding lots of fall-ish stuff in stores. The berries and peaches of the summer are on their way out and squash of all kinds are in. It’s still pretty warm here, but the weather will be cooling down pretty soon so I know I’ll be wanting warmer meals in a couple weeks. This weekend when I went home, I ended up buying a lot of new things and some old favorites that I forgot about and I’m loving having a stocked fridge and cabinets again. I hate when they’re empty because I’m so bad at putting meals together from nothing so it’s great to have tons of options.

Double the chocolate? Ummmm, yes!

This wasn’t one of the bars I got to review but I bought it myself because it was a kind I’d never seen before. And it’s really good too, I love the addition of the cacao nibs. I don’t think you can ever have too much chocolate ūüėČ

This would make a perfect side for Thanksgiving.

I don’t know if you’ve seen these at your nearest Whole Foods but if you do, please buy one! They also have a spicy stuffed squash variety that I haven’t tried yet, but the sweet is so good when you roast it. I sliced mine after roasting and put the pieces in a container in the fridge for those times when I want something sweet but also need some veggie action.

Crunchy > creamy. No question.

Before this year, I’d never had sunflower seed butter. Crazy, yes, but now I know it’s delicious. I used to get the Maranatha brand but I love Sunbutter more because it’s a little more flavorful and they have a crunchy variety. I always prefer crunchy over creamy, I need that extra texture!

What’s more fall-like than maple pecan?

My (vegan) ice cream consumption doesn’t end when fall begins…oh no! I eat it well into winter, it’s just that good. I skipped getting my favorite mint chocolate flavor for the millionth time in favor of this more fall-appropriate flavor. If you’ve ever wanted to try coconut milk ice cream, I definitely recommend this brand. It’s so creamy and soft without being too rich. I just wish they had a few more flavor options.

Trying to figure out what to do with these…

I bought these randomly because I’ve always like dried cranberries. I know these aren’t quite the same but they have the bonus of no added sugar, plus they’re in a way bigger bag. Maybe I can make some kind of cranberry orange fruit butter with them?

A new bar to add to my rotation!

Like a lot of bloggers, I love bars. Not bars with alcohol, but protein type bars! My tastes have changed a lot since I had my first bars though–I used to love Clif bars and Kashi bars but now I prefer KIND, Lara and Pure bars since they have simpler ingredients and aren’t too overpowering. I also heard a lot of good things about the Vega bars and since I love their protein powders, I decided to try one out. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good and it’s got great stats and clean ingredients. I’m not as big of a fan of the price (over $2, which is more than Larabars!) but if it tastes good, it’ll be worth it.

I can’t believe these are raw and sprouted…they’re so delish!

Kaia Foods has the best raw seeds out there! I loved their cocoa mole sunflower seed clusters and this garlic and sea salt kind is even better. I really want to try their pumpkin seed “party mix” because it sounds like a real party in my mouth ūüėČ

Kale wraps make leftovers better.

My mom and I had dinner at Tokyo Joes (a Colorado-based Asian fusion fast casual restaurant) and now I’ve realized how much I love that place. We’d only eaten there once before and I liked it but after what I ordered on Sunday, I need to go back. Like now. I got their lettuce wraps, subbing organic grilled tofu for the chicken, and it came with little rice noodles, an awesome cucumber salad, avocado, raw veggies and these amazing dipping sauces. I could seriously drink them, they were that good! What I love at Tokyo Joes is that they all their food is either all-natural or organic and the only sweetener they have for drinks (other than sugar) is stevia. They even have a stevia-sweetened teriyaki sauce. My kinda place for sure!

Starbucks in the grass…nothin’ better!

My new official Bux drink (well, before it gets cold) is a tall iced Americano with three pumps sugar-free hazelnut. Simple, yep, but amazing. I bet this will taste great hot too so I guess I have a new go-to for all seasons! I do prefer iced coffees though since hot coffee tends to overheat me, which is no bueno.

Do you prefer iced or hot coffee drinks?¬†What’s your favorite bar brand(s)?

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for Alter Eco goodies!

WIAW: Salads and…Snow?

Happy WIAW…and happy birthday to my lovely madre! She is one lucky lady, having both her birthday and Mother’s Day in the same week. I’m so glad school ended just in time for me to be home to enjoy both days with her.

I haven’t gotten around to taking photos of an entire day’s worth of eats (bad blogger, I know, but it’s just slipped my mind most of the time) so this week’s WIAW is just a random compilation of the best of what I’ve been eating this past week along with a recipe and some new grocery store finds.

Breakfast: overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, mashed strawberries and maple macadamias.

This is my new favorite overnight oats combo. Peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, fresh strawberries and maple macadamia nuts are surprisingly yummy together, and taste like summer. The maple macadamia nuts are a new obsession of mine from the Whole Foods bulk section. They are expensive (18 bucks per pounds, yikes) but they’re so worth it.

Lunch: kale wraps with cold grilled tofu strips, sauteed bell peppers and Ginger People hot ginger jalapeno sauce.

Move over, lettuce wraps! Kale wraps are heartier, more nutritious and delicious. One day for lunch I decided I didn’t want a salad but I still wanted to get my greens in. So I took a few heads of kale, partially destemmed them and filled them with leftover fajitas filling, aka grilled tofu strips and sauteed peppers. I drizzled them with my new favorite sauce, and they turned out perfectly spicy and crunchy.

Lunch: chopped kale, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sprinkle of nooch and vegan Caesar dressing thinned with almond milk.

I’ve also been loving raw kale salads for lunch lately. The key is to let the greens soak up the dressing or sauce overnight and marinade with the other ingredients. Oh, and nooch is a necessity for me. This was a Mediterranean inspired salad that I’m definitely repeating. It would be great for dinner bulked up with some chickpeas and kalamata olives.

Lime green striped oversize tee (American Eagle), denim cuffed shorts (Abercrombie Kids).

Can you believe I wore this outfit on a day it snowed? Okay, so I definitely changed into something more weather-appropriate when I had to go out that night to see a performance of Hairspray (really good, BTW) but it’s crazy to think that it didn’t snow at all here in March or April, and then we get dumped on practically in May. What?!

White cardigan (Target), navy lace tank (Abercrombie Kids), navy plaid shorts (Hollister).

I’m not complaining though because after a weekend of rain, light snow and thunder (yeah, Colorado’s weird!) it was back to shorts weather by Monday. I enjoyed a little time outside and did a stairs workout that left me tired (in a good way) and hungry. Running up and down the stairs of my deck was no joke, but it was a fun, heart-pumping workout that I like to do every once in a while to change things up.

My new-to-me Whole Foods finds.

I’m pretty sure I can’t go to Whole Foods without trying out at least one new thing. When I went over the weekend, I hit the¬†mother lode and got mostly all new-to-me things. So far, I’ve tried the quinoa pasta (better than whole wheat or regular), ginger peanut sauce (perfect for Asian dishes), maple macadamias (0b-sessed!), rice cakes¬†(pretty plain but good with toppings), honey vanilla agave (great sub for pancake syrup) and artichoke hearts (basically like any other artichokes, which I love) so I’m excited to try the lemon Larabar, vegan ravioli and pasta sauce.

First Frapp of the summer: tall mocha light with soy and 1 pump raspberry. So effing delicious!

You know me, can’t pass up Starbucks, especially when it’s half price. Sadly, I only got to take advantage of their happy hour once, but I’m glad I did for the deliciousness above. Mocha light Frappuccinos are my absolute favorite, and they get even better with the addition of a pump of raspberry syrup. If you love the chocolate and raspberry combo, order this. Now.

I’m growing my own cilantro!

Get ready for a whole lotta pico de gallo recipes around here…because I officially have my own cilantro plant! My dad’s growing a mint plant so we are definitely stocked up on two of the best herbs. Last summer I grew strawberries and while there weren’t many and they were tiny, it was cool to grow my own stuff. The cilantro already looks pretty healthy and vibrant, so I’m excited.

California Pizza Kitchen’s half Thai Crunch salad without chicken, dressing or wontons…so basically Napa cabbage, carrots, avocado, edamame, peanuts and Ginger People ginger peanut sauce.

I love me some giant salads. I had one on Thursday post-final at Mad Greens with my dad (no picture, but it was spinach/artichoke hearts/kalamata olives/garbanzo beans/sunflower seeds with fat free balsamic) and I had one on Sunday night to celebrate Mother’s Day. We got CPK to-go and I was debating between a veggie pizza without cheese and this salad. Glad I went with the salad, even though there aren’t any leftovers (boo!) We hadn’t eaten at CPK in well over a year and I almost forgot how much I love them and their giant salads. Plus now I know that they’re totally¬†accommodating¬†to vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free people and also if you’re picky like me and don’t like wontons or restaurant dressings. I totally demolished this salad and for the record, it took up my entire regular-sized dinner plate. No shame!

Definitely freeze these if you want to be able to eat them whole!

I made raw blondies for the first time last summer¬†and they were definitely a hit…well at least with me, since my family’s wary of trying raw desserts. I made a new and improved version the other day and while they’re crumbly and messy, they’re simple and healthy, with just 4 ingredients.

Raw Amaretto Blondies (vegan, gluten-free, raw)

3 100 calorie pack cinnamon almonds (can use plain almonds)

6 pitted dates (I used California pitted)

1/2 tbsp raw agave nectar (can sub raw honey or real maple syrup)

1 tbsp Vega Vanilla Almondilla protein powder (can use other protein powder but this gives it the amaretto flavor)

Blend almonds and dates in food processor or high powered blender until mostly combined and crumbly. Add in agave and protein powder until mixed in. Pack blondie mixture into a square glass dish and keep frozen (so the blondies don’t crumble). Makes 4 blondies.

Have you ever tried quinoa pasta? What’s your favorite “special” nut?