Best of…March!

Hi! Can you believe we’re at the end of another week already? If time keeps flying by this quickly, it’ll be summer before I know it! Of course, I’m not complaining. School is starting to get hectic and I’m more than ready for an actual break for a few months.

As usual, I have my monthly recap post. It’s hard to believe that I’ve already done five of these (I started last October). I always have fun compiling these posts and I hope you all enjoy reading them as well.

Best WIAW: Spring Break Bonanza

I can see this being my go-to dinner this summer!

Over spring break, I got to try so many new products and new recipes. It was totally a party in my mouth 😉 I’m looking forward to being able to do this all over again in just 4 short weeks when summer starts.

Best Deep Post: When Less Isn’t More

Working on increasing my intake hasn't been easy, but I think it'll be worth it in the long run.

You guys really blew me away with your well thought-out, candid responses. Yes, some of it was hard to read, but I know if I want to make progress, I have to break bad habits and work through my issues. The only way to do that is to be honest, and while I was scared to post it, I think it was worth it.

Best Fun Post: ABCs and Recipes

I miss being able to tan outside...

Surveys are so fun! I’m really hoping someone in the blog world comes up with a new one ASAP because I’m definitely not creative enough to come up with one as good as this one. I also loved reading what you guys answered for all the letters if you did it on your own blog.

Best Recipe: Raw Key Lime ‘Cheesecake’

How delicious does this look?

I had 5 real recipes from last month, so it was hard to pick, but this one was definitely a winner! Next time I make it, I’ll experiment with other flavors (I want to try a chocolate raspberry variation) and increase the ingredients so it makes a bigger cheesecake. Who knew cashews could make an amazing dessert?

Best New Discovery: Chocolove Chocolate

So far I've tried 4 of their dark chocolate varieties and they're all really good.

I can’t believe 6 months ago, I was still deathly afraid of chocolate. It’s still a fear food of mine, but I can proudly say that I have eaten a small serving of dark chocolate every single day and I haven’t blown up like a balloon. Chocolove is now my favorite brand because they have so many flavors of dark chocolate. I love the orange peel, raspberry and chilies/cherries varieties, but I still want to try the crystallized ginger and peppermint ones, just to name a couple. I’m obsessed!

Did you do any recipe experimenting last month? What’s something you tried last month for the first time that you can’t live without now?

WIAW: Staples and Goals

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It’s also Lady Gaga’s birthday…can you tell I’m obsessed 😀 Ummmm yeah, so it’s also almost April and Easter–crazy stuff! In just a little over a month, I’ll be done with my sophomore year of college. I think my mom was right in saying that time flies by once you’re an ‘adult’–I still don’t feel like an adult, but I’m already going to be turning 20 in 4 months. Wow, where’d my childhood go?

Instead of reminiscing, let’s take a look at this week’s meals. With the change of seasons, extra daylight and amazing weather, I’ve been changing up my eats somewhat lately so I want to share some of my latest staples, plus an update of the goals I made for March.

Voluminous overnight oats topped with pretzel sticks, peanut flour paste, kettle corn, raisins and drizzle raw honey.

Okay, so overnight oats have been a staple in my life since last summer, but lately I’ve been loving on the sweet and salty combo. My go-to toppings are crushed pretzel sticks, almond peanut cashew butter, raisins and a little raw organic honey. I mixed it up on Monday when my peanut flour order came in (I can’t tell you how excited I was to see the package in the mail–can you say addicted?) by subbing PF paste for the nut butter and also adding in a little Whole Foods kettle corn. So. Good.

It looks like soda, but it's not and it's wayyyyy better!

I’ve professed my love for Starbucks’ unsweetened iced coffee a lot lately–but can you blame me? It’s just so refreshing! Now, I’m not hardcore enough to be able to drink it sans any sweetener–I just bring my own Truvia packets and stir away. That way, I can control the sweetness and it’s a natural sweetener so it’s healthier. My former favorite summer drink from the ‘bucks was their light Frapps, but this may be my new drink for the warmer months.

Fresh spinach and red cabbage salad topped with crumbled southwestern Sunshine burger and vegan Caesar dressing.

Usually my dorm room meals are sadly lacking in the veggie department. I usually have some baby carrots and edamame stocked in the fridge, and sweet potatoes of course, but I rarely have greens. After spring break, I had some leftover spinach, so I decided to bring it back up with me. Best decision ever! Now I’ve been able to enjoy a salad for dinner some nights. I’ve been really loving topping the spinach with a crumbled veggie burger. I haven’t had a Sunshine burger in several months but my mom happened to leave me some so I was able to have them again. I think they’re becoming my go-to veggie burger brand, because of how simple yet nutrient-packed they are.

Return of the snack plate: crushed Late July chips (summertime blues and sea salt by the seashore), Whole Foods kettle corn, raw kale chip crumbs, dried fruit (mango, pineapple, raisins and stuffed date), vegan pepperoni slices.

I rediscovered my obsession with snack plates over spring break, and I brought it back with me to school. Lately, I’ve been having combos similar to the one above. They’re the perfect snack for an indecisive person like me. I just love having a variety of flavors and textures to choose from.

Why didn't I try this earlier?

My bar obsession is still going strong. My current favorites are the Clif Mojo white chocolate macadamia trail mix bar, KIND peanut butter & strawberry bar, Pure chocolate brownie bar…and Larabars? Yes, I actually just tried my first one yesterday and wow! Why have I never tried these before? I love that they have so few ingredients, yet taste exactly what they’re named for. I guess I never tried them because of their low protein content (this flavor has 5 grams, though, and a few others have 6 grams, which is decent) and their high calories/fat. Since I’m working on feeling safer with higher calorie and fat things as long as they’re healthful, I decided to buy one, specifically the cappuccino flavor since I love anything coffee-flavored. It was perfect, especially paired with some dark chocolate chips! Now I can’t wait to try more Larabar flavors. I’m addicted!

Lovin' on the bright colors: belted coral ruffled tank (Hollister), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), jeggings (American Eagle), various bracelets.

Not a food staple, obviously, but with spring and the warm weather, I’ve been really loving wearing brighter colors. I am not someone to shy away from color, even in the winter, but spring and summer bring out the color-lover in me even more. I love how the tank top pops against the dark jeans, and coordinates nicely with the scarf.

Now onto the goal updating. I actually think I did pretty well with most of them, and it inspired me to make a few more for April!

  • Eat more veggies: Check! This WIAW doesn’t showcase many, but I definitely got in my veggies  a lot over spring break, and have been doing pretty well with my limited groceries back at school. Some of the veggies I’ve been enjoying include spinach, kale chips, yams, carrots, red cabbage and grilled asparagus. I’m excited to eat my veggie quota again during the summer!
  • Summer internship: I’m happy to announce that I landed an internship with a TV station back at home. I’m super excited to start working and it’ll be a great opportunity. It’s unpaid, of course, but amazing work experience.
  • Cook more: I definitely accomplished this over spring break. Of course, it’s basically impossible to cook while at school since all I have is a microwave, but I’ve been making do. When I was home for break, I made quite a few things and even shared 4 new recipes.
  • Budgeting: This was one area I didn’t really do too well on. I got paid right before spring break, and all I could think of doing was going on a major clothes shopping spree. So that’s what I did, and while I don’t regret it, I wish I had planned out my spending more wisely. I also really need to work on my grocery shopping budget, since I’ll be doing more of that myself next semester and I need to not blow all my money at Whole Foods Paycheck.
  • Avoid food ruts: Spring break helped me do this, since I had so many more food options, but I’m still doing well with this goal even with fewer groceries at my disposal.

With my success at goal-making and accomplishing this month, I wanted to set a couple new ones for next month.

  • Eat more. This goes back to my honest post a couple weeks ago, but it’s something I need to be consciously working on. I don’t want to lose all the progress I’ve been making in my ED recovery, so this is a non-negotiable goal. However, it’s still extremely hard. Most days I’m never super-hungry, so it’s difficult to eat more than I have been, but I’ve just gotta buck up and do it.
  • Don’t get burned out. Yes, summer is just around the corner. Yes, finals and final projects are too. I’m in the home stretch, and I can almost taste freedom. However, I’m also starting to get really burned out with school. I need to keep my motivation going for the next few weeks so I can finish this semester out strong.
  • Focus on eating more “whole foods”. Obviously, this doesn’t mean just stuff from Whole Foods, as much as I love that store. I’ve been reading a lot lately on how processed soy products are really not that healthy, and I want to cut them out of my diet. I’m not cutting out soy completely–just the more processed stuff. I’ll still be eating edamame, tempeh, tofu (0n occasion) and Clif Mojo bars, because they’re all either organic or more whole/natural forms of soy and therefore a lot healthier. Yes, things like soy bacon and other fake meats are tasty sometimes, but I’m going to work on finding better, “whole foods” versions to replace them with, like Sunshine burgers which are only made with veggies, seeds, brown rice, beans and spices; and beans, quinoa, etc. I don’t think all processed things are bad, but I’ll be buying things that have as few ingredients as possible, or at least all pronounceable, healthy ingredients.

Do you have any goals for April? What’s one of your food staples right now?

WIAW: Goals for March

Hi everyone! I am so glad we’re halfway through the week! This weekend, I’m going home for the last time before spring break (which is in 16 days, heck to the yes) and I can’t wait. Not just because I love any opportunity to go home, but also because this Saturday is the annual father daughter dinner dance in my city. My dad and I have gone every year since I was in seventh grade, and the past 4 or 5 years my little sister has gone with us too. I love getting to get all glammed up and have fun dancing the night away with my dad and sissy. I will definitely be posting a recap early next week, so look for that!

For this week’s WIAW party, I wanted to share my goals for next month. I got the idea from Emily to do a 30-day health challenge. I think it’s a really good idea, because we all have things we can improve on. I’m deciding to start it in March, rather than right now, because I have spring break coming up and while I generally eat pretty healthy as it is, it can be hard to implement changes while living in a dorm and having a busy schedule most weeks. Once I’m home, I have access to a real kitchen, meaning I can eat even healthier and try new things! So here are a few of my goals for next month, some food-related and some not. And of course, some random eats from throughout the week!

Peas and Crayons

1. Eat more veggies!

I love veggies, and I’ve even tried some new ones on recent weekends at home (kale chips and parsnips are some of my new faves) but it’s really hard to cook/prep veggies in a dorm with just a microwave. Basically, I live on carrots, cubed butternut squash and frozen grilled pepper strips and while I love them all, it gets pretty boring. I also happened to basically run out of veggies this week, besides sweet potatoes, so that’s been pretty pathetic! Over spring break, I want to work on eating a big salad once a day (probably at lunch) as well as trying new veggies and prep methods. It might be a little late for Love Your Veggies Month, but it still counts, right 😉

Berry Green Power Smoothie: 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened soy, because that's what I had at home), handful spinach, frozen berries (I used Dole Antioxidant Blend w/ strawbs, bloobs, raspbs, blackbs? and pom seeds)

2. Work towards getting a summer internship

This one is probably non-negotiable, at least to my dad. We’re allowed to have 2 for-credit internships while in college, and the school-organized one is next summer, so this summer I have to find one on my own. It’s probably going to be maybe a 5-10 hour per week commitment, which isn’t a huge deal, it’s just finding one that might be a hassle. I think I’m going to be emailing the TV stations around me over break so I can give them a heads-up for summer. After all, my summer break starts less than 2 months after spring break!

One of my new fave oats combos: volumized overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, almond peanut cashew butter, frozen bananas and drizzle raw honey.

3. Cook more

Honestly, I really miss cooking when I’m up at school. I definitely appreciate having an oven, stove and grill while I’m at home so I want to take advantage of them. My mom and sister have different spring breaks than me, so I’ll have the house to myself that week from 8:30 to 2:30. Perfect for recipe experimentation! I have a few plans for what I want to make, like more kale chips, pecan milk and vegan “butter chicken” but I want to attempt to make at least one thing every day I have off. That might mean a lot of leftovers, but as long as they’re delicious, I don’t mind!

I won a Coach's Oats giveaway on Facebook, but I was totally blown away when they sent me this Hugh Jass bag of oats. Guess I'm stocked up for awhile!

4. Work on budgeting

I am still not the best at this, but I do want to learn! Right now, I am getting paid monthly for my work as an editor for my campus’ faculty newsletter and since it’s still a relatively new thing to me, I get super excited about seeing money in my bank account, and then I end up buying things on impulse. While I do end up using these things (like peanut flour, Hollister purchases, etc.) I would like to think out my purchases more and not just buy things because I can. This might be hard, especially considering my huge wishlist of spring clothing, but I know it’ll be worth it in the future when I have a real job.

Probably my second-favorite Pure bar flavor, cranberry orange. I love the combo of sweet and tart!

5. Avoid food ruts whenever possible

Most of the time, I don’t really think of them as ruts, because I enjoy what I’m eating and for many things (like oats, dried fruit, almond peanut cashew butter), I don’t get burned out on them–they just become favorites that I come back to over and over. But sometimes I do get into ruts and unfortunately, I eventually lose interest in that item, which is a shame, because I want to get a variety of things in my diet. So I want to work on mixing up my daily staples, trying out new products (including ‘fear foods’) and giving other ones a small break so I don’t get burned out.

Sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and real maple syrup drizzle, mixed stir-fry veggies on the side topped with curry paste/mustard sauce.

Do you have any goals for March? What’s your favorite veggie at the moment?