The Best Products (I’ve Tried) of 2012

Can you guys believe we’re just a little over two weeks away from a new year? Craziness. When it gets to be this time of year, all I’m thinking about is how excited I am for Christmas, enjoying my time off from school and all the things I accomplished over the past year.

And if you’re a foodie like I am, you might also be reminiscing about the new food you’ve tried over the past 12 months…I know I am! With that said, here are a few of the best things I’ve tried since January 2012!

Zevia

zevia ginger root beer

Before I sucked it up and finally bought my first (overpriced) can of this amazing stuff in May, I’d heard lots of good things about it. I’ve never been a big soda fan, but I used to enjoy diet sodas on occasion. So having an all-natural diet soda was a definite treat! Since then, I’ve tried the ginger root beer, cream soda, cola, orange and lime cola (the orange is the only gross one) and I can’t wait to try more. Like a lot of things I love, these are very pricey so I buy a 6 pack when they’re on sale or maybe once a month at most and make them last.

Kabocha squash

kabocha, peanut flour sauce, coconut flour micro muffin crumbles, frozen grapes, dark mint chocolate, justins vanilla AB

This was another blogger-hyped product that I was on the lookout for since last fall. I didn’t find one until this October and haven’t found it very often since (but I stocked up on two last weekend!), but it’s my favorite squash by far (other than delicata). I prefer the texture and taste over any other and it’s delicious with peanut flour paste, almond butter or ketchup.

Larabars

pineapple upside down cake larabar, fresh pineapple, baby carrots

I’ve seen these around for awhile, but because of my previous fear of fat, I never gave them a try until March but they’ve become my bar of choice since then. I love the flavor variety and the fact that they’re made from whole foods, like dates and nuts. My favorite flavors are cappuccino, pineapple upside down cake, peanut butter chocolate chip, chocolate chip brownie and the Uber banana bread.

Vega products

vega cocoa kissed saviseed

Can you believe I never tried Vega products until earlier this year? Vegan blasphemy, for sure. They have good quality (though expensive) protein powders, simple protein bars and I’m obsessed with their latest product, the dark chocolate-covered saviseed which is packed with protein and Omega-3s.

Cashew cream

raw key lime 'cheesecake'

This stuff is incredibly versatile, and easy to make. Basically you just soak raw cashews overnight or for several hours, and then it’s ready for blending. I’ve made a raw cheesecake (see above), nacho ‘cheez’ dip, mascarpone ‘cream’ and savory cashew cream filling–it really is good for anything!

Coconut milk ice cream

so delicious nsa chocolate

Even if you eat dairy, you need to try this vegan ice cream, it is out-of-this-world good! The healthy coconut fat makes it incredibly rich but not overly indulgent, and stores like Whole Foods carry a million and one flavors so you don’t have to feel limited to chocolate and vanilla. So Delicious and NadaMoo are my favorite brands, but there are definitely more out there–there’s a variety for everyone!

Kale

kale wraps

I think I actually tried kale for the first time last year (it was when I first tried the Whole Foods salad bars) but I didn’t fall in love with it until this year. I know a lot of people say it’s bitter, and it can be, but I’ve found lots of ways to make it tasty and craveable. Homemade kale chips (they’re best made in the dehydrator), crispy sauteed kale, ‘pizza’ kale (kale cooked with pasta sauce and olives), raw massaged kale salads, kale/almond milk smoothies…I’ll eat it almost any way, and I try to eat it at least once a day! Bonus: it’s an amazing superfood.

Coconut flour (or really, coconut everything)

coconut flour carrot cake

I used to say I hated coconut, partly because I didn’t like the texture of shredded coconut but also because I was deathly afraid of the fat in it. I avoided saturated fats like the plague but once I became pretty much 100% vegan, I realized that plant-based saturated fats were totally healthy and necessary. One of the first coconut products I bought was coconut flour–I wasn’t sure if I’d like it but I do! I really love it mixed with baking powder and almond milk and microwaved for a minute to make a crumbly coconut flour muffin but I also want to experiment more with it in baked goods. It’s hard to bake it into things without using eggs but I want to try it out.

Kelp noodles

coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry

If you’ve ever seen these before, they’ve probably grossed you out just a little. They weirded me out too the first time I bought them but I really wanted to try a raw noodle substitute and I’d heard good things. Unlike shirataki noodles, these are made from a seaweed so they’re more of a whole food, they don’t smell weird and they soak up the flavors in anything. They make the perfect low-cal sub for pasta and I especially love them mixed with pasta sauce, nooch, a crumbled veggie burger, kale and olives. I also included them in a stirfry the other night and they were amazing–recipe coming soon!

Garden of Life RAW protein powder

pumpkin chip cinnamon roll with vanilla chai protein frosting

I’ve tried a lot of vegan protein powders, from the (not-so-good) cheapo soy-based powders to the delicious but expensive Vega and Sunwarrior. But I think Garden of Life is my fave. First, it’s made from a blend of raw sprouted plant-based proteins, like quinoa and sunflower seed. It’s also pretty high in protein (17 grams per serving) and is a bit cheaper than some other higher-quality brands, it’s sweetened only with stevia but best of all, it’s delicious. I love both the chocolate and vanilla chai (only available at Whole Foods) flavors and the lovely team at Garden of Life was nice enough to send me some samples of the regular vanilla too so I can’t wait to try that one! Look for a review soon and possibly a giveaway in early 2013!

Figs

A delicious new breakfast: sprouted grain French toast topped with fresh fig and raw vanilla chai protein powder.

It actually makes me really sad that fig season is over–it became my new favorite fruit over the past few months. It pairs so well with both sweet and savory things and though they are a bit expensive, they’re worth every dollar. They’re out of season now but at least I can settle for dried figs!

What are some new foods you’ve tried (and loved) in 2012)? What’s your favorite squash variety?

WIAW: 6 Days

Ahhhhh I can’t believe we’re so close to Christmas! It always seems like the days drag on leading up to the big day, but then it’s all over so fast. So this year I’m trying to savor each moment leading up to the 25th so it doesn’t zip by me!

This week’s WIAW is what I ate Monday and it’s a random assortment of old favorites and new foods…and there’s even a recipe thrown in there.

Breakfast: carrot cake buckwheat waffle topped with shredded coconut and vanilla Sunwarrior protein frosting

Breakfast: carrot cake buckwheat waffle topped with shredded coconut and vanilla Sunwarrior protein frosting

I’ve been alternating between homemade waffles and protein chia puddings for breakfast. This waffle was carrot cake inspired–filled with carrot shreds and raisins, and topped with coconut and vanilla ‘frosting’. The Sunwarrior is new to me, and not my favorite protein powder, but I think it’ll grow on me.

OOTD: colorblock dress (American Eagle), pink heart necklace (Forever 21), tortoiseshell hipster glasses (American Eagle).

OOTD: colorblock dress (American Eagle), pink heart necklace (Forever 21), tortoiseshell hipster glasses (American Eagle).

It was not warm enough to wear this dress on its own (Colorado in December isn’t quite that nice!) but I paired it with my faux leather jacket, grey tights and my favorite grey wedge booties and felt like a total fashionista hipster. This is my first winter-appropriate dress and now I want even more–dresses are my absolute favorite thing to wear so it’s nice not to have to say goodbye to them during the colder months!

Lunch: fresh raw lemony kale salad topped with raw sunflower taco 'meat', mango salsa and guacamole.

Lunch: fresh raw lemony kale salad topped with raw sunflower taco ‘meat’, mango salsa and guacamole.

I love kale salads for lunch but I need a way to mix them up. Enter: raw sunflower taco ‘meat’. Obviously it’s not meat, as I am vegan, but it replicates taco filling so well…actually, better than taco filling! I’ve seen a few recipes for raw vegan tacos so I tweaked those to come up with my own, crave-worthy taco filling that’s totally raw, packed with healthy fats and protein and is delicious.

Raw Sunflower Taco Filling (vegan, grain free, gluten free)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 tbsp coconut aminos

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

chipotle powder, to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until it comes together and resembles taco filling. Serve in kale or lettuce leaves with guacamole, salsa and raw cashew cream. Makes about 1 cup. 

Lunch (part 2): fresh Satsuma tangerine.

Lunch (part 2): fresh Satsuma tangerine.

Can’t go without fruit or something sweet to end lunch! On my trip with my dad to WF over the weekend we picked up some Satsumas which are my favorite type of citrus fruit, and luckily, they’re actually good this year. I love how pretty they look with their leaves and stems, too.

Snack: rice cake topped with cheap girl pumpkin butter/chocolate chips/coconut shreds, baby carrots, peanut flour paste, Theo orange dark chocolate square, fresh fig.

Snack: rice cake topped with cheap girl pumpkin butter/chocolate chips/coconut shreds, baby carrots, peanut flour paste, Theo orange dark chocolate square, fresh fig.

The snackplate lives on! Sadly I had to toss the fig after a few bites because it was dried out inside and not tasty, but everything else was. The rice cake combo is something I’ve been having almost daily–there’s just something about pumpkin butter, chocolate and coconut that goes together so well.

Dinner (repeat photo, sorry): pineapple 'fried' quinoa with edamame, kale and cauliflower.

Dinner (repeat photo, sorry): pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa with edamame, kale and cauliflower.

As much as I love to give new recipes a try, there’s nothing like reinventing a classic. I’m just obsessed with pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa for some reason and I’ve been eating it at least once a week. I think it’s the sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy combo that just gets me. It’s so good and it’s so quick and easy to whip up.

Dessert: PB chocolate microwave protein cake topped with Nuttzo, java chip coconut milk ice cream, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate square.

Dessert: PB chocolate microwave protein cake topped with Nuttzo, java chip coconut milk ice cream, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate square.

I’ve been having some kind of protein cake for dessert for at least a week now and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. This version is probably my favorite though–I just combine peanut flour and raw chocolate protein powder with a splash of unsweetened almond milk, baking powder and sometimes a few Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (love them!) and pop it in the micro for a minute until it puffs up and turns into a cake-like consistency. I sometimes have it with a small side of coconut milk ice cream and a square of dark chocolate if I want a little extra something.

Do you prefer making new recipes or sticking with old favorites? Do you like citrus fruits?

Recipe submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #22

College Vegan on a Budget: Last Stock-Up

The latest installment in a series of posts on sticking with a college-sized budget with expensive, vegan tastes and a love for cooking.

My last week of classes officially started today, and I am beyond excited to go home for Christmas break! I don’t wanna brag, but my college is giving us 5 whole weeks of break this year–usually we only get 4, so I feel really blessed. Thanksgiving break came and went too quickly so I’m planning on enjoying every moment of Christmas break.

This weekend is (hopefully) the last shopping trip of the semester while I’m at school. I bought a lot of stuff, but I can bring it back with me when I go home so I’m not too worried about it. As usual, I picked up a couple new-t0-me things because, well, why the heck not? Some of the things I bought are specifically for recipes I’m planning on making so if they turn out amazing, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Sprouts

My Sprouts haul

My Sprouts haul

*=organic

What I Got: Silver Hills Bakery The Big 16 sprouted bread*, gold nugget squash (love finding new squashes), navel orange, cauliflower, buckwheat flour*, curry seasoning

What It Cost Me: $16. 43 (this is why I love Sprouts!)

Verdict: I’m excited to try the squash and the bread. I’ve been on the lookout for a really good sprouted bread without unnecessary ingredients (Ezekiel is okay, not my fave, and Alvarado Street is a little too processed) and I was excited to see that they sell Silver Hills bread in CO. I love their simple, whole ingredients so I’m super excited they sell it here. Now I need to look for their Little Big Bread and their gluten free breads!

Whole Foods

Whole Foods staples...

Whole Foods staples…

What I Got: almond flour, dried pineapple*, red enchilada sauce, Coconut Secret raw coconut nectar (not sure how I feel about this yet…), So Delicious no sugar added mint chip coconut milk ice cream (love the mint chip combo), Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter squeeze packet, dark chocolate raisins*, Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder (new favorite protein powder brand), spelt flour*, Vega One French vanilla protein powder packet, Theo toasted coconut dark chocolate bar, mini candy canes* (so excited for these), Rudi’s gluten free spinach tortillas, kale*, no oil tangerine dressing, baby carrots*, black figs* (I’ve been missing these like no other)

What I Spent: $86.73 (typical lately…)

Verdict: I wasn’t expecting to spend this much, but then again I spent under $50 last weekend and I was running low on protein powder, which is a major chunk of the total (even with a coupon). I bought the coconut nectar because I needed more maple syrup and it was the same price for a larger amount, but I’m not sure I love it yet. I think I’ll use it in recipes, but save my beloved maple syrup for waffles and almond butter. 

...and Whole Foods splurges

…and Whole Foods splurges

Do you like sprouted bread? What’s the best new food find you’ve discovered lately?

 

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?

WIAW: What I (Want to) Eat on Thanksgiving

Can you believe we’re just over a week away from T-day? Me neither! Does it surprise you that I really like Thanksgiving–even as a vegan? For me, it’s not really about the food (the desserts, though…) but the fact that I get a week-long break away from school, just when I need one. I am really stressin’ right now but luckily this year, I get an extra day off because my class on Friday was cancelled. Definitely thankful for that!

Even though I’m not a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving fare, I still have some things I would like to make and eat on the big day. Some of the flavors that scream ‘Thanksgiving’ for me include maple, pumpkin, cranberry and pecan so hopefully I can include all of those in this year’s meal.

Maple roasted veggies. Photo from La Vida Vegga.

Roasted veggies are the best–why not make them even better with a hint of real maple syrup? I think these would be great as leftovers too!

Maple pecan pie bars. Photo courtesy of Natural Noshing.

Can you believe these are vegan, gluten-free and grain free? Me either, but I really want to give them a whirl to see if they turn out as delicious as they look. I actually really love trying out recipes that are vegan and grain free, which is kinda hard to find since most grain free recipes include eggs, but this one thankfully doesn’t!

Cranberry kale salad. Photo courtesy of Kraft (recipe from Whole Foods).

You all know how much I love kale (it’s my favorite veggie, other than sweet potatoes) so combining it in a salad with fresh cranberries and miso paste sounds perfect for Thanksgiving.

Vegan caramel apple. Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

Caramel apples seem so complicated and way too sugary…but not this one! The recipe seems so easy to follow, and the caramel sauce itself is made with coconut sugar (lower glycemic!) and coconut milk so it’s much healthier.

Spiced grilled sweet potatoes. Photo courtesy of Whole Foods.

Sweet potatoes are great, but even better when they’re grilled and made spicy!

Pumpkin s’mores pudding. Photo courtesy of Healthy Food for Living.

How amazeballs does this look? It’ll be the perfect way to use up some of the Ricemellow creme I just bought–huge container, thought it was a little too sweet but it would be great on top of this!

Pecan pie waffle. Photo courtesy of Three and a Half Vegans.

You know my obsession with waffles–these take that to a whole new level! I think I know what I’ll be having for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning…

Do you prefer pumpkin, apple, sweet potato or pecan pie? What’s your favorite fall flavor? 

College Vegan on a Budget: Doubling Up

One in a series of posts about how I stay on a budget while getting my fill of healthy, vegan foods from higher-end stores.

As it is the week before Thanksgiving break (hollllllla!) I was in a bit of a pickle. I was running out of some things I need weekly (almond butter, kale, nuts, olives, almond milk) but I didn’t want to make a big stock-up trip and end up wasting money on things I won’t be able to use up in a week or be able to keep around until after break. I knew I couldn’t really live on what was left in my fridge unless I wanted to be totally restrictive and veggie-less for the week so I made the trip to Whole Foods…twice! Yeah, crazy, I know, but one of those times I went with my mom when she came up with the rest of my family for the weekend and the other time was a semi-emergency trip.

All this stuff should last me through this Thursday, and some of it I should be able to take home with me over Thanksgiving or just leave here without risking food poisoning. And I didn’t spend too much, which is a total win!

*=organic

New find, just in time for the holidays! And it’s fair trade!

Whole Foods (trip 1)

What I Got: dark chocolate covered raisins* (a fear food of mine I wanted to challenge–they had pretty clean ingredients so I went for it), Justin’s vanilla almond butter squeeze pack (ran out of AB, needed a quick fix for a couple of days), Garden of Life RAW vanilla chai protein powder (OMG, so good, look for a review of it soon), Theo peppermint dark chocolate bar (splurge, but it’s worth it for good chocolate)

What It Cost Me: $32.15 (I had a $5 off coupon for the protein powder, score!)

Verdict: I could have maybe skipped the chocolate and the raisins, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could go outside my comfort zone and buy a couple items I’ve been wanting for awhile but haven’t been brave enough to try. The protein powder was a total leap of faith (I’ve had the brand before, but a different flavor) but it was worth the money–great taste, good nutritional profile, awesome ingredients. 

My bigger Whole Foods haul, with plenty of produce and staples.

Whole Foods (trip 2)

What I Got: Pacific Naturals vanilla unsweetened almond milk*, Rising Moon garlic merlot pasta sauce (my favorite brand for sauce)*, Made in Nature dried pineapple and apple* (on sale!), Truvia, Farmer’s Market boxed pumpkin*, Maranatha maple almond butter (new favorite AB), maple covered almonds, Nada Moo! mint chocolate coconut milk ice cream, Celestial Seasonings vanilla red rooibos tea, green kale* (also on sale), 2 small bananas, green figs*, bulk olives

What It Cost Me: $47.23 (not bad!)

Verdict: I am so happy I stayed just under $80 for this week’s groceries (this is a new goal of mine for every week) and I got a lot of good stuff I was out of so this was a much-needed trip. Even better, we went at night so the store was not crowded at all!

Like I said above, I want to try to stick to a budget of $80 a week on groceries (I think I can do it!) and this week showed that I can do it, even buying more expensive items like the protein powder and vegan ice cream. I know there are certain things I don’t want to give up, because the higher price is worth the health benefits and taste, but I also know there are ways I can keep whittling down my budget to consistently stay around the $80 mark each week.

If you use protein powder, do you buy it online or from a store? What are some things you can’t live without every week?

WIAW: Weekend Fashion & Monday Food

I’m baaaaack after a semi-relaxing weekend and a busy start to the week. You know how it goes. But I’ve got a major countdown going on until Thanksgiving break…only 23 days until no school for a week and a couple days! Yeah, that’s 23 days totalincluding weekends. Where has the semester gone? There’s only 5 1/2 weeks left, not counting finals week. Not that I’m complaining though. I’m in desperate need of a break!

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

This week’s edition of everyone’s favorite party features what I ate on Monday, along with a few extra pics from the weekend. I’ve been taking more fashion photos lately so enjoy those!

Can I pull off the hippie look?

Sometimes I think I could almost be a hippie. Vegan? Check. Liberal leaning? Yup. Long hair? Of course. Love of boho fashion? Sure. I don’t do the whole drug thing or ‘natural’ hygiene habits (I like my showers and trips to the salon, thankyouverymuch) but I think I could fit in with the hippie crowd just fine. Plus I have a newfound love for their headbands. I just think they add a cute touch to almost any outfit. But are sparkles considered hippie?

Or maybe I’m more of a hipster, writing a paper in Starbucks…

I spent a few hours on Sunday at my favorite FoCo Starbucks. Not because I love coffee so much (though I do) but because I had a paper to write and I thought I’d be less distracted at ‘bucks. Well, turns out that a change of scenery did me good. I was able to finish the paper, enjoy a tall Americano with sugar-free hazelnut and do some people watching while jamming out to Pandora. It was a great, productive afternoon.

First socca pizza = success flavor-wise, but not so pretty.

I finally invested in some garbanzo flour (it was only $2.50 at Sprouts…score!) so I could try out the blogger fave, socca. And I’ve gotta say, it makes a great gluten-free grain-free sub for pizza crust. However, I’m warning you–don’t taste test the socca batter before you cook it. The flavor reminded me of when I used to get bloody noses, it was so metallic-y. But once cooked (I did the skillet method) it tastes great. Especially if you mix it with plenty of spices.

Saturday’s errands outfit: navy striped crop tee (Hollister), dark wash jeggings (American Eagle), silver bangles (American Eagle).

I’ve been wearing flip-flops, tees and shorts on a regular basis…and yes, it is October. I know some of you may have already gotten snow, but this is why I love Colorado. Our weather is so unpredictable this time of year, but it can definitely be summer-like into October. Sadly this streak is coming to an end soon–snow is in the forecast for tomorrow into the weekend 😦

Breakfast

Monday breakfast: pumpkin vanilla protein pudding. Topped with pomegranate seeds and maple pecans.

Like I said, it’s been warm enough here even in the mornings to not want warm breakfasts quite yet. I still have to do smoothies and protein puddings so I don’t overheat. But I still want my meals to be fall-inspired, so Monday’s breakfast fulfilled both requirements. Pomegranate tastes awesome with pumpkin and pecans and maple. It’s like all the flavors of fall in one bowl.

Lunch

Lunch plates for the indecisive girl. Coconut oil roasted brussels sprouts (with organic ketchup), coconut flour microwave muffin crumbles, sweet stuffed acorn squash, peanut flour paste, almond butter, Alter Eco mint chocolate bar.

I haven’t been doing snackplates as much lately but I have been doing them for lunches! One of my go-tos is a coconut flour microwave muffin. It’s so simple to make, just add some coconut flour (1 or 2 tbsp), baking powder, salt/stevia and almond milk to a microwave safe bowl and let it cook for a minute or so. It turns out really crumbly, but totally voluminous and cake like. It’s crazy that a grain free flour turns out like a tasty muffin, but it just does. And I love it!

A side of pomegranate seeds and my phone.

I realize the seeds are called arils, but I don’t like that word. Seeds sounds better. I can’t believe how obsessed I am with these little guys. They were so worth almost staining my skin and every surface of my kitchen 😉

Monday’s outfit: navy pullover sweatshirt (Gilly Hicks), brown woven leather belt (Abercrombie), burgundy twill shorts (Abercrombie).

I don’t wear my glasses often in public (I usually wear contacts) but some days they’re just necessary. Like when one of your contacts is seriously bothering your eye and you realize that it’s illegal for you to drive without contacts or glasses. I can’t believe how bad my vision has gotten since I first got contacts/glasses 4 years ago. I hope I can eventually get laser surgery, but it’s kinda scary too…

Afternoon Snack

Yes, I like weirdly green food. Mint chocolate buckwheat waffle made with kale, topped with mint kale infused protein frosting.

I love love love homemade waffles, in case you couldn’t already tell. My waffle maker is my most-loved kitchen appliance for sure, it gets used almost every day whether for breakfast or a snack. I prefer making my own because ones from the store don’t taste that great, they aren’t as healthy and with homemade ones I can add in only the ingredients that I want and make them whatever crazy flavors I’d like! Plus they’re almost as convenient as store bought, so why not?

Dinner

Sepia-ified nachos. Sweet potato multigrain chips topped with 1/4 vegan Mexican chipotle seitan sausage, coconut oil-sauteed plantain slices, guacamole, crispy kale and nooch.

I love healthy nachos for a quick and easy dinner. The best part is, they’re totally customizable. Monday night’s version included delicious plantain slices, my favorite vegan sausage (it’s so spicyyyy and I love that it’s made with simple ingredients), pan-crisped kale and fresh guac. My nacho base is always Late July multigrain chips, which are great because they’re healthier than the typical chips, gluten free and packed with chia and flax seeds. So nachos can definitely be considered a ‘health food’…well, if you use the right ingredients 😛

Nighttime Snack

My latest favorite nighttime snack: chocolate peanut butter protein microwave cake, made with raw chocolate protein powder, peanut flour, almond milk, baking soda and topped with almond butter and vegan mousse.

I have a strange addiction to microwave protein cakes lately. They’re just so foolproof and you can make them almost any flavor. And they just call for toppings, dontcha think?! I recommend coconut milk ice cream, coconut whipped cream or almond butter!

Do you prefer making some things from scratch, or buying them? Have you ever tried socca or pomegranate?

WIAW: Loving Lately

Happy WIAW! I swear, this year’s gonna be over before I know it. I can’t believe I’m already almost done with midterms, am about to sign up for classes for next semester and Christmas is almost 2 months away. I’m one of those crazy people who can’t wait for it to be the holiday season so I’m already counting down to Thanksgiving. But can you blame me, I need a break!

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Unlike my most recent WIAWs, this one isn’t documenting what I ate on a certain day. I used to like doing that but then I always ended up posting similar items each week. I don’t feel like I eat the same things all the time, but I almost always end up taking pictures of the same things. So this week is all about what I’ve been loving on lately.

Apple nachos. Half a sliced Jazz apple. Peanut flour drizzle. Mini chocolate chips. Raisins. Maple almonds.

Not much to say about these, except you’ve gotta try them. They take apples to a whole new level!

One minute coconut flour carrot cake. Coconut flour. Chopped carrots. Cinnamon. Chopped dates. Ground flax. Almond milk. Peanut flour paste.

This was a microwave cake, but I’m working on a vegan, grain free coconut flour based carrot cake for the oven. Stay tuned!

Coffee roasted squash seeds. Ground coffee. Kabocha seeds. Maple syrup. Coconut oil.

These were even better than the original squash seeds. But then again, anything coffee-flavored is.

Dirty chai waffle. Buckwheat and almond flours. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Ground coffee. Raw cacao powder. Topped with raw pumpkin chocolate protein frosting, mini chocolate chips, fresh figs and maple syrup.

What’s dirty chai? Apparently it’s chai tea mixed with espresso, and this waffle was inspired by that delicious combo. The best part of any waffle is the toppings though!

Roasted kabocha with peanut flour drizzle. Coconut flour microwave cake crumbles. Frozen grapes. Alter Eco dark mint chocolate. Justin’s vanilla almond butter.

This snackplate style lunch was perfect right before class. This week I roasted my first kabocha and I’ve gotta say that now I understand the addiction. The texture is a little weird but it’s so tasty!

Kale topped with nooch.

So simple, so good. Seriously, try this and you will be amazed how good kale can be when topped with plenty of nooch.

My macros. So proud of that 25% protein!

I don’t really talk macros on here much, but I really love tracking mine. Usually my carbs are around 45%, protein at 20% and fat at 35%, it’s just what works for me. But there are a few days that I definitely love my protein and fats more. Who says you can’t get enough protein as a vegan?!

Spicy Italian-style kelp noodles. Sauteed kale. Half a chopped Field Roast Mexican chipotle vegan sausage. Nooch. Olives. Spicy harissa hummus. Kelp noodles. Basil pasta sauce.

Who knew I’d end up loving kelp noodles even more than my beloved quinoa pasta? It’s really just so cool how kelp noodles are pasta-like but are made from a sea veggie instead of grains. I love having them any way, but the Italian way is my fave. Bring on the olives and the nooch!

Whole Foods salad bar box. Crushed homemade tortilla chips (the best!). Curried wild rice. Cold sweet potato salad. Coconut curry tofu. Orange chipotle tofu. Calabasitas (mixed grilled squash).

I wish this weren’t true, but the Whole Foods salad bar at my home WF is so much better than the one at the WF near school. I love the store near school, but the salad bar rarely has many tasty vegan options like the one at home has. As you can probably guess, this particular box was from a weekend trip home.

What foods have you been loving lately? What do your macros look like (if you track them)?