College Vegan on a Budget: New Finds

A series of posts on one college girl’s trials and errors in budgeting her grocery money and still eating well.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last CVB post! Don’t worry, I’ve definitely still been buying groceries since then, I just haven’t had too many exciting purchases. Until this week, that is.

As I mentioned in my WIAW post this week, I’ve been enjoying a lot of new-to-me products this week. Other than the ones I already mentioned, I just got my latest iHerb order in the mail and other than my usual peanut flour and Alter Eco dark chocolate bar, I also gave in and finally bought the blogger favorite–coconut butter. I’ve heard so many raves about it that I had to give it a try, even at $11 a jar (yes, I bought the Artisana kind). And…I love it! I know a year ago, it would have been a waste of money since I both disliked and feared coconut anything, but now that I’m pretty much obsessed with all things coconut (oil! flour! milk! shredded! bars!) I hoped I would like it. Coconut butter is amazing as a nut butter substitute, especially stuffed in dates. I can’t wait to try it out in recipes!

My new finds from Sprouts and Whole Foods.

My new finds from Sprouts and Whole Foods.

You know me, always on the lookout for new, clean, vegan bars that I can try out as snacks and quick meals. I first spotted the new Larabar ALT variety on their website towards the beginning of the year, but I never saw them in stores until I shopped at a new Sprouts last Sunday. My college town has two Sprouts stores (kinda crazy considering my hometown of half a million only has one, but my tiny college town of only 150,000 has two) but I’d only been to one of them before. I was disappointed in that location’s selection of bars so I decided to check out the other Sprouts. This one is closer to me, bigger and seems to have a much better selection of everything…they even had the strawberry Zevia I’ve been looking all over for! Anyways, they also happened to carry all 4 flavors of the ALT bar so I snatched up all but the cinnamon apple crisp (I’m not a huge fan of apple-flavored things). So far, I love the pumpkin flavor and I really like that they offer 10 grams of pea protein.

As for my other new buys, I picked up the carrot cake Larabar, an organic raw foods bar, my second flavor of Vega One bars (I love these because they’re just the right amount of sweet and chocolate and have 15 grams of protein + greens in a 250 calorie bar, which is perfect for a quick lunch!), grape Zevia, Pure Via (I’ve heard some negative things about my favorite Truvia so I wanted to try a cleaner brand), Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour in bulk (only $3.99 per pound which is much cheaper than buying prepackaged), a champagne mango (better than regular mangoes!), tricolored carrots and baked apple chips (I know you love these, Amanda!)

I like trying new things because then I can find things I love, and figure out what things I don’t like so I don’t end up wasting more money on them in the future. That’s why I like when I can find single-serve things (like the bars and Zevia) that aren’t so expensive, so if I hate them, I didn’t waste that much money. Luckily this time around, I’ve really liked everything I’ve tried so far!

Do you buy new things at the store a lot, or stick with old favorites? Do you like trying different varieties/colors of produce? 

Raw Survey and Letting Go

Another survey, I know! If this was a tweet, I’d be saying #sorryimnotsorry. So yeah, I like surveys and they’re easy to do. But I’ve also got a more serious discussion in this post too, so look for that! This survey is all about raw foods, because I’m interested in raw foodism and I love experimenting with raw dessert recipes.

Favorite nut?

Oh man, this is a super hard question! I love so many nuts/seeds. But my fave nut at the moment is definitely cashews. I can’t believe I used to hate them, now I eat them in some form almost every day. They make amazing raw dips and spreads (like my spicy nacho cheez and mascarpone ‘cream’) and can be incorporated in all kinds of raw desserts.

Favorite fruit and veggie?

Another hard one. I’ll just go with what I’m loving most right now–mango and kale. I actually dominated an entire mango the other day at one time, no shame. Now I really want to make some kind of raw massaged mango kale salad!

How good does this look?!

What raw food have you never liked?

Sashimi. Um, yuck. I used to like fish before I became vegan, but even then I thought raw fish sounded nasty. I never wanted to risk getting sick, so I never tried it.

Favorite raw dessert?

Either raw brownies or raw cheesecake. Both are really easy and fun to make but I want to try a store-bought or restaurant version some day!

Raw key lime cheezcake, made with cashews.

What raw food do you eat most often?

Definitely fruits and veggies. I actually prefer most veggies in their natural, aka uncooked and raw form, they just taste so much better that way. A lot of people don’t like raw kale, but I’m obsessed with it. Just squirt a little lemon juice on it, sprinkle some nooch on it and you’re good to go!

What raw food do you want to try?

Raw protein powders. I would love to add a protein punch to my raw desserts and I just think the raw powders might taste even better and more real than the vegan powders I currently love.

What is your favorite raw food discovery?

Cacao nibs. I was intrigued by them when I saw them on someone’s blog and then I decided  to order some. They make a great (but less sweet) sub for chocolate chips and they’ve got a cool texture.

An (almost) totally raw breakfast, featuring banana softserve and cacao nibs.

Onto the “letting go” part of my title. As I said in my last post, I’m going on vacation soon. As much as I love getting away from the daily grind, vacations can be so hard, especially for my eating and exercise habits. I’m realizing that I won’t be able to do my daily 45-60 minute workouts for a few days and we’ll be eating out for dinner every night and I’m kinda freaking out. But really, why can’t I enjoy myself for 5 days and balance my normal healthy eating with some meals out (that’ll still be fairly healthy) and just working out by hitting the outdoor pool and walking around the town and hiking in the mountains. I think I’ll live, and probably have more fun. So for at least the days I’m on vacation, I want to skip adding up my meals and workouts in the calorie tracking app I use and not flip out if I can’t be as balanced as I am at home. I think I can still be really healthy–it’s not like I’m going to start eating junk because it doesn’t make me feel good–and the few days I’m away might make all the difference in the changes I’m trying to make to fight my ED. I like knowing the numbers and the macros, but really, they’re not the be-all end-all. I want to try moving towards intuitive eating, instead of restriction and counting.

What raw food do you eat most often? How do you balance vacations and your health?

WIAW: Snack Talk

July’s almost over and I haven’t even done a WIAW post that really fits with the theme for this month…sorry to disappoint, but this one doesn’t either! Oh well, I play by my own rules 😉

As you can probably guess by the title, this WIAW is all about snacking. I am big on snacks and have at least 2 per day, along with little bites and tastes of fruit and nuts here and there. I can’t do the 3 square meals a day because I get full fast but I also get hungry fast so my 5 meals a day are all fairly small and snack-sized but that’s what works for me. And I love getting to eat a little bit of a bunch of things rather than one big thing so snacks are perfect! These are some of the snacks I’ve been enjoying this week…

One of my favorite new finds: Alter Eco dark chocolate with quinoa crisps.

Chocolove used to be my favorite chocolate brand because of all their creative flavors, like ginger dark chocolate and chilies and cherries in dark chocolate. But once I discovered Alter Eco chocolate, I’m not planning on going back to Chocolove. For one thing, Alter Eco’s chocolate is organic and fair trade. But it also tastes richer and more like chocolate. Oh, and it comes in a quinoa crisp-studded flavor. Yeah, it’s like those chocolates with rice crisps in it, but way better. Quinoa may seem weird in chocolate but it so works!

Nothing better than fresh mango!

I didn’t eat this bad boy all at once, but I probably could have. I love the juiciness of a ripe mango and don’t really care how messy and sticky it is, it’s just so damn good. They’re so hard for me to cut, but it’s well worth the deliciousness.

Homemade trail mix: dry roast edamame, freeze-dried mango, pistachios and mini chocolate chips.

I’m a trail mix lover for sure. What I don’t love is the price–store-bought trail mix is pretty pricey and not always tasty. That’s why I like to make my own because I can put only the stuff I like in it and it’s cheaper to buy all the ingredients I need in bulk. That’s a win win in my book.

Outfit break! Red flutter-sleeve shirt (American Eagle), aqua cami (Aeropostale), denim cuffed shorts (Abercrombie Kids).

I always say that I don’t really have a set style. It’s kind of a mix of girlie, preppy and boho but it’s all me. This outfit was more on the breezy, boho side. I bought this top a couple summers ago and I love it. I don’t have a lot of red in my closet but some days I like wearing the color if I’m feeling really bold and fun.

Nighttime snack: vegan chocolate chip cookie, Nadamoo mint chip coconut milk ice cream.

I recently discovered Nadamoo and their coconut milk ice creams and I can’t get enough of them. So far I’ve had the maple pecan, java crunch and now the mint chip. My favorite is hands-down the mint chip. Everyone has a favorite ice cream or froyo flavor that they go back to over and over and mine is anything pairing mint and chocolate. The coconut milk ice cream version is super creamy and reminds me of Christmas because it’s more pepperminty but I love it. And I love that it’s colored slightly green by spirulina instead of artificial colors!

Who said vegans couldn’t have maple bacon waffles?

This wasn’t a snack, but I just had to share it. I have no idea where I came up with this waffle flavor, but I realized I had a package of smart bacon in my fridge and wanted to experiment with it. I’m not the hugest fan of it because it’s pretty processed, despite being low in calories and stuff, but it does taste good when it’s crisped up in the microwave. I decided to put it in a waffle and this sweet and salty combo was born. It was actually decent, but next time I’d drizzle more maple syrup on top. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of real, pure maple syrup. None of that low-cal, fake syrup stuff for me!

What’s your favorite frozen dessert flavor? What’s the weirdest waffle or pancake flavor you’ve ever seen?

Friday Faves (June 1st)

Hi guys! Happy first day of June! I can’t believe we’re already almost halfway done with 2012–crrrrrrrazy stuff. I’m excited though because in a little less than 2 months, I’m turning 20 which is also crazy. Where is my life going?

I wanted to start doing Friday Faves posts to highlight some of the things I’m currently loving so here goes!

Favorite Song: Titanium (David Guetta ft. Sia)

I don’t know why, but I’m just loving this song. The music video is a little out there, but it kinda goes along with the lyrics. I like them because they’re talking about inner strength, which is something I always need a little more of.

Favorite Nail Color Combo: Teal and sea foam

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Blue Streak (teal), Nicole by OPI in Peas and Q’s (sea foam).

Apparently I’m taking my nail polish inspiration from the ocean! I really love how these two shades play off each other and work so well together. And they’re bold but not too flashy.

Favorite Lunch

Kale massaged with Ginger People hot ginger jalapeno sauce, mango-glazed tempeh (recipe to come), watermelon chunks, Alvarado Street sprouted sourdough toast with carrot cake toppings (almond peanut cashew butter, raisins, carrots, cinnamon).

I’m loving random lunches lately. The one above covered all the bases: veggie, fruit, grain, protein, fat. But more importantly, it was delish! If you’ve never tried sprouted sourdough bread, you must. It’s flour free but has that great hint of sourness and is perfect for toast. The mango-glazed tempeh was also a winner and beyond easy to make.

Favorite Website: The F***ing Weather

Don’t go here if you don’t like, um, not so nice language. But it’s kinda hilarious.

Favorite Outfit

Dark grey lace tank (Hollister), hot pink twill shorts (Abercrombie & Fitch).

Lace anything is my favorite right now, as are neon-colored shorts. What can I say, I like to make a statement! Dark grey and hot pink look amazing together and are just as good of a color combo as black and pink–I hate black, so this is how I roll.

Favorite Thing I’ve Made: Spicy Nacho Cheez Sauce

Uh, doesn’t this look tasty!

I love love love cashew cheez! Seriously, it’s perfect in every form–cream cheez, mascarpone cheez and now, nacho cheez. Who would have thought a simple nut could make delicious vegan cheese sauces?! I don’t question it, I just make it! Now you can enjoy some vegan nacho cheez to drizzle on nachos (duh), tacos or whatever. I made mine thick, like a hummus, but you can thin it out with more almond milk. So far, I’ve had it as a dressing on a veggie burger salad and as a carrot dip and it’s sooooo creamy and spicy.

Spicy Nacho Cheez Sauce (vegan, gluten-free)

1/4 cup raw cashew pieces 

1/2 can white beans, drained and rinsed (use any kind of white beans that are soft, like navy beans)

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk 

1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast

sea salt, to taste

1/2 large jalapeno, sliced

cayenne pepper, to taste

In a food processor or blender, process all ingredients until smooth and thick. Add more jalapeno slices or cayenne pepper, if needed. Serve warmed over multigrain tortilla chips, or chilled over salads. Makes about 1 cup.

Favorite Purchase: AE Metallic T-Strap Sandal

I love American Eagle’s leather sandals!

They still haven’t come yet (stupid slow mail) but I’m beyond excited to wear them. I love that they’re simple yet still dressy and they’ll go with a lot. Plus I got them for only $18…with free shipping. Score!

What’s your favorite song right now? What have you bought lately?

WIAW: The One With the New Products

Happy Wednesday everyone! Or should I say, happy first day of February! I am so so so glad we are done with January, it’s always one of my least favorite months because it’s smack dab in the middle of winter (hate winter!) and just seems to drag on. February’s always a short month, even this year with an extra day, and always is a little more exciting. Especially because it’s one month closer to spring–can you tell I just want winter to be over?

So today is obviously the first WIAW of the new month, and to celebrate that, I have my reviews of some new-to-me products that I recently tried. I mentioned a few of them in my last WIAW, but since then, I’ve tried even more new products! I just love trying out new things and seeing what I like and don’t like. If I paid for my own groceries, I would definitely be at Whole Foods on a weekly basis scoping out new products…or maybe not, since that could get a little expensive! What can I say, I have expensive tastes 😉

Peas and Crayons

First up, Smart Bacon. Now, you all know how much I love my Morningstar spicy vegetarian sausage patties in the A.M. (or even at night, letsbehonest) but a girl needs to switch it up every once in a while. I like to have a protein source at breakfast to keep me going through long mornings spent in classes and walking around campus, so these give me a little protein boost (4 grams in 2 slices) and taste delicious. A little too salty, but I love them. I make them super-crispy in my microwave because I hate squishy soft bacon. I’m not sure if this tastes like real bacon, since I haven’t had that in years but it’s still pretty yummy.

It really is smart!

This is the only product I tried that isn’t vegan, but it is vegetarian-friendly and amazing–Arctic Zero! I know it seems like a ‘diet-y’ thing, but I honestly loved this product more than froyo. I got the mint chocolate flavor, and it was the perfect consistency and taste after a quick zap in the microwave. Now, maybe I loved it because I actually like the taste of sorbet, but it was actually amazing for being only 150 calories in an entire pint. I was only able to eat half the pint in one sitting because it was pretty filling, but I would buy it again in a heartbeat–probably in the coffee flavor since I’m a coffee-holic. I liked that it had almost 8 grams of protein in the serving I had!

One of the best frozen desserts I've ever had!

I’m a dried fruit fiend, so when I saw these two products, I just had to have them. I really need to invest in a dehydrator ASAP because I’m spending an arm and a leg buying all this dried fruit. It’s so worth it though. First, Crunchies are my favorite freeze-dried fruit. I love their mixed fruit and cinnamon apple slices, so when I saw the tropical fruit mix at Sunflower Market, I snapped it up! It’s got freeze-dried bananas, strawberries, oranges, mangos and pineapples and is amazing. Anything tropical is, just saying. I also got some dried mango slices when my mom and I made our first trip to Sprouts and I love it! It’s so hard to find dried fruit that is just fruit, with no added sugars or oils, so when I found these I was super pumped. Oh, and I don’t know if all of you have heard of Sprouts before–it’s basically a smaller version of Whole Foods that just has stores in Arizona, California, Colorado and Texas. Definitely check them out if you have one near you–I thought it was a pretty cool store. Sunflower Market is basically the same, but it also has stores in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah. I still can’t wait to get a Trader Joes here, though!

I'm basically obsessed with tropical fruits.

It was cheap, but that's only because there's not very much of it!

Actually, I kinda lied saying that the Arctic Zero was the only non-vegan product too. This KIND bar isn’t either, because it has honey in it, but I know that the honey debate is a big deal in the vegan community. Personally, I think it’s okay as long as the honey is raw and organic but that’s just me. Obviously I’m not a strict vegan because I still have dairy (in Greek yogurt form) maybe once or twice a week, but I’m working towards it because I think it’s a lifestyle that would work well for me, since it has so far. Anyways, I picked up the Peanut Butter & Strawberry on a whim, since I’ve never tried a KIND bar before. I like the simple ingredients and the fact that this variety has 7 grams of protein–not too shabby! And pretty much, it tasted exactly like a PB&J sandwich. I loved the crunch of the almonds and peanuts and it’s definitely another bar to add to my ever-expanding stash!

A high protein PB&J in bar form.

So next week, I have a special WIAW in the works, so look for that! I know I’m excited about it, but I’m weird like that 😛

Can't forget the outfit of the week! Red/navy plaid shirt (Abercrombie), navy lace tank (Abercrombie Kids), dark wash jeggings (American Eagle), unpictured brown suede boots (DSW).

What is the best product you’ve recently tried? Do you like shopping at small health food stores?

WIAW: Award Season

Can you believe it’s already the second WIAW party of the year? Um, nope, neither can I! If the year’s already going by this fast, that’s a good sign. The first few months of the year always tend to drag on, which isn’t fun. I already can’t wait for summer break, which is pretty pathetic 😛

Peas and Crayons

Anyways, the very sweet and beautiful Kat just tagged me in the Lactose Free Lizzie Food Award. It is award season, after all, with the Golden Globes and SAG Awards and the Oscars all coming up within the next month or so!

“The blogger that is tagged must host an award thing-ama-gig about FOOD. Yes, food (it’s the food awards). Anything related to it. A food blogger, a company, a favorite meal, or even whatever you like to sprinkle on your popcorn. After you are finished you tag 3 other bloggers to host a Food  Award ceremony (aka a post). But remember, you may only focus on the positive aspects of what you are awarding. No negativity is tolerated, especially if it will hurt someone’s feelings). Also, you are ALL winners in my book, even if you are not mentioned   xoxo Lizzie”

Nominees for Best Greek Yogurt Flavor

  • Oikos superfruits
  • Siggis orange & ginger
  • Fage mango guanabana

Winner–Oikos! I’ll admit that I’m a diehard Oikos fan (the original Stonyfield organic kind, not the new Dannon variety), so all of their flavors are winners in my book, but the superfruits takes the cake!

Breakfast: turtle sundae voluminous overnight oats (topped with banana soft serve, small Medjool date, chopped pecans), unpictured spicy veggie sausage

Nominees for Best Veggie Burger

  • Sunshine falafel burger
  • Gardein ultimate beefless burger
  • Amy’s low sodium California burger

Winner–Gardein! I actually love all these veggie burgers, but the Gardein has the most protein, 17 grams in one burger. Not too shabby!

Lunch: random snack plate of steamed edamame (with mustard for dipping), the thickest peanut flour paste I've ever made, fresh pineapple

Nominees for Best Nut Butter

  • MaraNatha natural honey almond butter
  • Whole Foods bulk crunchy almond butter
  • Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter

Winner–Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter! Obviously, almond butter is my hands-down favorite nut butter, but this one has the creamiest texture and a great mixed nuts taste.

Afternoon snack: peanut flour paste, fresh pineapple, frozen black grapes, teaspoon of homemade cookie butter

Nominees for Best Use of Sweet Potatoes

  • Alexia sweet potato tater tots
  • topped with nut butter and cinnamon
  • the base of a baked good

Winner–Alexia sweet potato tots! I love these crunchy little nuggets of sweet potato goodness. They’re much healthier than typical tater tots, because they’re baked not fried and cooked in just a little olive oil. Definitely my favorite way to enjoy my favorite veggie!

Dinner: homemade vegetarian spicy chili, iced unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze (first time trying this brand of AM and I'm hooked!)

Nominees for Most Versatile Product

  • Medjool dates
  • Oats
  • Peanut flour

Winner–peanut flour! All three of these are staples in my daily eats, but I can’t deny the amazing-ness of peanut flour. It’s a great sub for flour, is delicious as a protein powder, works well in microwave mug cakes and (my personal favorite) is beyond yummy mixed into a paste with water! It’s like a higher protein version of nut butter!

Dessert: Raw carrot cake bite with peanut flour 'frosting'

I’m passing the award onto… Aja @ Writing and Recovering, Chloe @ LightOnMyFeet and Lena @ Fit on the Rocks!

What’s your nominee for most versatile product? What is one food you’ve been obsessed with lately?

Rawsome Sauce

Hi guys, how have you been? I can’t believe it’s almost the weekend again–my winter break has practically flown by! Luckily, I still have about a week and half left of it before it’s back to school time again.

It’s only been a couple of days and I’ve already accomplished some of my goals! I was honestly not anticipating that at all but it feels awesome to have already made some progress.

First of all…I got a Twitter! I really liked what you all had to say about it, so I decided to get one of my own. You can follow me @fashion_ash, and I will definitely follow you back!

This wasn’t one of my goals, but I also got a brand new phone. It’s my first real smart phone and I’m already in love with it! The only thing I don’t like is how quickly the battery dies, but I guess that’s pretty normal. Oh, and it’s a Droid phone, so any of you out there with Droids–do you have any suggestions for apps I should get?

I love my new myTouch, aka my baby 😉

Speaking of my phone, if you look in the screen shot above, you’ll see that the temperature was 62 degrees today. Say what? Yes, Colorado is being crazy with the warm weather. It actually got to 65 today at my house, and we live in a forested area that’s pretty shaded, so that’s saying a lot! I’m not complaining though, because I’m sure more snow is right around the corner.

At lunch today, I came up with something new–mango softserve! Only it was more like mango Dip-n-Dots 😀 Mango isn’t as great for blending as bananas are but I didn’t break the food processor so that’s a plus.

Simple, quick lunch of mango softserve, plain Greek yogurt and peanut flour sauce.

The other goal I accomplished was making yet another raw recipe! It’s officially my fifth raw recipe, and one of the best so far–the raw brownies do hold a special place in my heart though 😛 I based them basically off my raw blondies, except using plain almonds, no protein powder and no added sweeteners, plus the necessary ‘carrot cake’ ingredients. They turned out really delicious, and I think I’m gonna enjoy my first one tonight with a frosting of peanut flour sauce. So it won’t be totally raw, but still yummy!

Awww, how cute are these tiny carrot cakes?

Mini Raw Carrot Cakes (vegan, raw)

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup dates (I used about 8 California pitted)

3/4 cup grated carrots

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch sea salt

3 T raisins

Process dates and almonds until mostly combined. Add a little water to thin things out if necessary (about 2 T). Grate carrots and squeeze out any excess moisture. Add carrots, cinnamon and salt to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth dough. Add in raisins until combined. Pack carrot cakes into muffin liners (makes 5 small, or 3 larger cakes) and keep in fridge. Frost with raw cashew ‘cream cheese’, peanut flour sauce, nut butter or enjoy plain. 

I also have another recipe for you guys…not raw, but still completely delicious. I decided to create a homemade version of cookie butter! I know a lot of you with TJs close by rave about this stuff. I don’t have one near me sadly, plus I know it’s definitely not the healthiest thing, so I set out to create a much healthier, simpler version. And I think I rocked it! I’ve never had cookie butter or Biscoff or whatever, so I can’t tell you how it compares, but let’s just say mine tastes like cookie dough in nut butter form!

I think I may have found a new favorite spread...

Healthier Homemade Cookie Butter (vegan, no cook)

3 T nut butter (I would suggest using a raw, lightly-flavored kind like cashew or walnut, so it doesn’t overpower the cookie flavor)

1 serving cookies of choice (I used 30 Annie’s bunny friends bunny grahams)

water, to thin (about 2 T)

sweetener, to taste (I used 1 packet stevia)

Mix nut butter and cookies together until it forms a crumbly paste, adding in water and sweetener as needed. Makes about 1/4 cup. Store in a jar in the fridge and enjoy as an oats topper, toast spread or fruit dip.

I’m already thinking of more variations, like using peanut flour in place of the nut butter for a peanut-buttery cookie butter!

What’s the weather like where you are? Have you ever tried cookie butter or Biscoff?

WIAW: Goals for the New Year

Hi everyone, and welcome to 2012! I know it’s been a few days already, but it still feels so weird to me that we’re in a brand new year. 2011, especially the second half, just flew by! I can’t believe I only have 2 1/2 years left in college–part of me is excited though, because I can’t wait to get out in the ‘real world’ and be even more independent!

Peas and Crayons

Sadly I missed out on WIAW last week and I did not want that to happen again this week (which is why I’m a little early to the par-tay)! I haven’t been so great with taking food photos, but honestly I’d rather just be having fun at home than trying to document every meal. But I do have a few pics from throughout the week so I’ll roll with that 😀 I also wanted to share a few of my goals for 2012. They’re not exactly resolutions, since I don’t really believe in them, but just things I’d like to make happen in the new year.

My last skinny soy peppermint mocha of the season? Say it isn't so!

  • Try out more raw foods/recipes. I’m not going to go completely raw, but I really love how whole, fresh, raw foods make me feel. I’ve made a couple of raw recipes in the past year (check them out here) and I actually loved them more than ‘traditional’ desserts so I’d love to make more. I’d also like to try out some raw main dish recipes (like raw tacos made out of walnuts!) and maybe even a raw dish at a restaurant!

Sweet potatoes make the best lunch! With fresh pineapple and mango and topped with peanut flour paste.

  • Improve my GPA in spring semester. Because of my (horrendous, horrible, awful, insert-word-here) stats class last semester, my GPA slipped a little bit. I will admit I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so getting a C+ as a final grade for the first time ever was somewhat devastating. I’m hoping I can pull my GPA back up in the coming semester, and maybe even make it better than before, since I’m taking all classes that interest me.

Switching up my breakfast has never tasted so good! 1/3 cup PB Puffins, plain Oikos mixed with a little organic raspberry jam, peanut flour paste sandwiched in half a banana.

  • Get a Twitter? I’m not sure if it’s worth it, but I’ve always been interested in it. However, I already waste enough time as it is on Facebook, so maybe not. But it seems like a good way to stay connected and stalk my fave celebs.

Organic kettle corn and a peanut flour-ed banana make a delicious nighttime snack!

  • Get an internship. I’m taking a class this next semester that I need to get an internship at a TV station over the summer, so I’m crossing my fingers that I land one. I honestly don’t care if I have to run Starbucks errands or make copies, as long as I can get my foot in the door in the TV news industry, I will be very happy!

Guys, seriously try this right now if you haven't--Medjool date stuffed with a couple dark chocolate chips. It legit tastes like a cookie!

  • Learn how to budget. Now that I have my first job and am getting paid on a somewhat regular basis, I’d like to work on my budgeting skills. I know I still rely mostly on my parents to provide me groceries and such, but I do need to learn in advance so I’m not completely lost when I’m out in the adult world. Oh, and I need to stop impulse buying clothes! I don’t really regret my purchases ever, but I should at least try to wait til they’re on clearance 😉

Cheeseless pizza makes my world go 'round! 2 slices Amy's vegan roasted veggie pizza, side of roasted brussels and a simple almond milk/banana/peanut flour smoothie.

  • Have more fun. I will admit that I’m naturally an introvert, and I actually like quiet nights at home vs. going out most of the time, but I’d like to take more risks and hang out with friends outside of class. I do tend to get bored spending a whole day at home, so I do like to go out for some shopping or whatever, but I usually don’t feel comfortable enough doing stuff like that with friends and I’d really like to do more of that this semester.

What is one of your ‘goals’ for the new year? What is the best thing you’ve eaten so far in 2012?