WIAW: Life Lately

I kinda missed being a part of the WIAW party last week, so this week I’ll be doing a big photo dump showing my life lately. Get ready for lots of pictures!

Woke up to this last Monday and wasn't thrilled.

Woke up to this last Monday and wasn’t thrilled.

No, you’re not seeing things. This was over a foot of snow…in April. My college town got dumped on quite literally over the course of 3 days last week by winter storm Yogi. While Colorado usually gets some snow in April, we don’t usually get this much, ever! And my college is known for never giving snow days, but we got 2 half snow days last week and it kinda made my life. I had to take the bus for most of the week when classes were in session, but I’m hoping I’ll be back to driving my car to campus for the rest of the semester.

One of my favorite 'bucks drinks: tall unsweetened iced coffee, sweetened with stevia.

One of my favorite ‘bucks drinks: tall unsweetened iced coffee, sweetened with stevia.

This was consumed well before the snowstorm, when it actually was feeling like spring. I actually prefer the cold drinks to the hot drinks anyway, because I tend to get overheated too quickly with hot coffee. So I’m really glad we’re getting into summer when it’s more acceptable to sip on iced coffees and iced teas.

Recent lunch: spinach topped with green olives, raw jalapeno kraut, sprouted pumpkin seeds and white bean 'falafel'.

Recent lunch: spinach topped with green olives, raw jalapeno kraut, sprouted pumpkin seeds and white bean ‘falafel’.

Again with the salad-a-day. I’ve been going more for nori ‘burritos’ for lunch but sometimes a nice spinach salad hits the spot. Ironically, this was eaten on one of the snow days! Obviously I’m still craving summer when there’s snow on the ground. What can I say, summer is my favorite season by far.

Mini raw cinnamon rolls.

Mini raw cinnamon rolls.

I still haven’t been able to find a great vegan and GF baked cinnamon roll recipe, but the raw versions I’ve made are pretty good. This one was made with almond flour, flaxseed, raw honey, dates, raisins, coconut oil and cinnamon (duh). They turned out to be pretty tiny rolls, but the filling was ridic. So gooey…I love dates like no other!

Grilled asparagus salad.

Grilled asparagus salad.

I can’t wait til I’m home for the summer and can hit up the amazing salad bar at the Whole Foods near me, but for the next month, I’ll be slumming it at the lame salad bar at the WF in my college town. Ok, just kidding, it has a pretty lame selection but I’ve been saving money and not buying anything from there too often since it’s usually disappointing. But some of the cold salads in the prepackaged area are actually decent, like this grilled asparagus salad. The ingredients are pretty clean, and the veggies taste bomb when drizzled with some balsamic. I think these would be perfect for a veggie wrap with some hummus or guac.

Qdoba naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

Qdoba naked veggie salad with black beans, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

Speaking of guac, Qdoba has some of the best. I love that they always give me a huge scoop of it, so I don’t even care that it costs extra. I pretty much get the same thing every time I go: the naked vegetarian taco salad with black beans, habanero salsa (I like things spiiiiiicy) and the guac. So simple, but so perfect.

Dessert-ish for breakfast: chocolate coconut protein 'ice cream' topped with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and coconut chips.

Dessert-ish for breakfast: chocolate coconut protein ‘ice cream’ topped with Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and coconut chips.

I always get stuck in ruts with my breakfasts. I used to love overnight oats, then I moved to smoothies-in-a-bowl, then pancakes, then waffles and most recently chia seed puddings. Now I’m returning to the smoothie thing, but more like the protein ‘ice cream’ I’ve seen around the blog world a lot. Basically, I blended almond milk with Sunwarrior protein powder, some melted coconut oil (not needed, just for extra flavor and a fat boost), and then added a few ice cubes and some xanthan gum. It turned out thick, creamy and icy, almost like actual ice cream!

More snow this week=not a happy camper.

More snow this week=not a happy camper.

As if a foot of snow wasn’t enough, just by the time it all melted on Sunday, we got hit with another quick round of snow. This time we got about half the amount and it started to melt really quickly, but still. This is yet another reason why I really want to leave Colorado after college–I need warmth! (Just as an aside, Colorado generally isn’t this snowy, it’s a pretty dry state but we’ve had a weird spring this year).

Southwestern style nachos for dinner. Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, leftover sweet potato, green olives, white beans, sprouted pumpkin seeds and raw jalapeno kraut.

Southwestern style nachos for dinner. Sprouted sweet potato tortilla chips, leftover sweet potato, green olives, homemade guac, white beans, baby spinach, sprouted pumpkin seeds and raw jalapeno kraut.

I gotta say, homemade nachos are one of my favorite throw-together dinners ever. And nachos don’t have to be unhealthy! I always top mine with sauteed kale or spinach and other veggies, have plenty of beans for protein and healthy fats (seeds and guac) and use the Way Better Snacks brand of chips since they’re made from simple ingredients and sprouted grains and seeds. I also had a different twist on nachos last week with some Greek style nachos…those are a definite repeat, once I stock up on more Skinny Crisps crackers. They remind me a lot of pita chips but they’re grain free!

Nori wraps are a new lunch must-have.

Nori wraps are a new lunch must-have.

I’ve still been enjoying my salads for lunch, but I love mixing it up with nori wraps. I usually stuff ’em with kelp noodles, spinach, raw kraut or kimchi, mango or pineapple, coconut aminos and raw cashew butter. I wish they were more portable though since they make a great quick lunch option.

Random dessert: half of a cinnamon apple ALT Larabar, no sugar added vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

Random dessert: half of a cinnamon apple ALT Larabar, no sugar added vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

If you’ve never warmed a Larabar, plllllllease do! It’s so good, especially with the chocolate chip flavors ’cause then they get all melty. Warming the cinnamon apple ALT bar made it taste like apple pie, and of course I had to have it a la mode, with my favorite ice cream.

Have you discovered any unexpectedly good flavor combos lately? How’s the weather where you are? 

WIAW: I’m Baaaaack!

When I posted a few weeks back that I was done with WIAWs for awhile, I wasn’t sure how long of a break I’d be taking. Well, it’s only been 2 Wednesdays since then and I’ve caved…but only because I have a lot of food I wanted to share with you guys! I probably won’t be doing WIAW on a weekly basis, as I’m still trying to overcome my orthorexia and I’ve been making strides in eating intuitively, at least amount-wise and not counting calories, but the urges to ‘eat clean’ are still strong and I feel more pressure to eat as cleanly as possible for WIAW posts. So I’m thinking it’s best for me to not do them as often.

Anyways, this week’s WIAW is basically just a bunch of random meals I’ve been eating lately, mostly over this past weekend. I’m sensing a few trends in my recent eats: my salad-a-day goal is still going strong, I love homemade waffles for weekend breakfasts and a few old favorites have made their way back into the rotation. Oh, and an obsession with Instagram and seasonal PicMonkey effects #noshame.

Obviously, still loving the Whole Foods hot/cold bars.

Obviously, still loving the Whole Foods hot/cold bars.

Sorry this is super cheesy, but I had to put a heart around one of my fave meals ever–the WF hot/cold bar! I know I’ve said that the WF up here at school blows, at least as far as their salad bar selection goes. Well, it’s more like hit-or-miss. This box, consumed last Friday, was a hit–tofu ratatouille (a little too salty, but decent), Asian cous-cous, kale topped with maple pecans, grilled asparagus, edamame and my favorite, the in-store made vegan tortilla chips. I also added some homemade guac and it was a delicious box that was totally worth the $7 or whatever it cost. I like never go out to eat, so I think a couple of WF hot/cold bar runs a month is justified 😉

Vanilla blueberry chia pudding made with Sunwarrior protein powder, frozen blueberries, almond milk and shredded coconut.

Vanilla blueberry chia pudding made with Sunwarrior protein powder, frozen blueberries, almond milk and shredded coconut.

This was one of the few successful chia puddings I’ve made–most of them turn out to be runny, no matter how long I let them set. I think this one worked because Sunwarrior is incredibly drying, as in it soaks up liquid easily. Anyways, I love the vanilla+blueberry+coconut combo, so this will be a repeat breakfast/snack.

Southwestern-inspired salad. Spinach, green olives, pinto beans, homemade cashew cilantro dressing, hot sauce.

Southwestern-inspired salad. Spinach, green olives, pinto beans, homemade cashew cilantro dressing, hot sauce.

My salad-a-days have mostly been eaten at lunch, but on my busiest day (Wednesday) I have to eat while typing up a weather forecast in the newsroom–aka, I want something I can eat with one hand, and pack easily into my bag and not have to lug around all day. Salads are semi-portable, but they can get messy, so I usually eat a Larabar with some carrots, and then have my salad-a-day for dinner. Oh, and the salad-a-day goal was just something I decided I’d try out at the beginning of the year, and I think it’s been going strong for a month now. It’s been fun experimenting with different add-ins, greens and dressings but I have a few favorites I like to come back to often.

Return of the snack plate! PB and cacao nib stuffed date (aka best healthy dessert ever), sprouted buckwheat and ancient grains granolas, kale chip crumbs, dried apple slices, salted pistachios, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate and peanut flour paste.

Return of the snack plate! PB and cacao nib stuffed date (aka best healthy dessert ever), sprouted buckwheat and ancient grains granolas, kale chip crumbs, dried apple slices, salted pistachios, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate and peanut flour paste.

Yep, snack plates are back in my life and better than ever. I love having balanced meals (complex carbs/fruit/veggies, protein and healthy fat) so these cover all the bases, and taste delicious. Plus it gives my indecisive tastebuds a lot of different flavors at once…but I’m weird and only eat one part at a time!

Sweet potato chocolate chip buckwheat & almond flour waffle. Topped with chocolate Nuttzo and Sunwarrior 'frosting'.

Sweet potato chocolate chip buckwheat & almond flour waffle. Topped with chocolate Nuttzo and Sunwarrior ‘frosting’.

It’s official–waffles have become my weekend breakfast. I might still have them as an occasional breakfast during the week, but I’m sticking with quicker meals to maximize the time I can spend in bed before getting up 😉 Kidding, it’s really so I have more time to get ready and work out without feeling rushed. But I won’t give up my waffles. I’ve found the best flour combo is an equal ratio of buckwheat to almond, with a little tapioca starch thrown in there to keep them together. They always turn out thick and fluffy!

Nachos for dinner. Raw jalapeno popper on the side. GF multigrain sweet potato chips, sauteed spinach, green olvies, pinto beans, sprouted sunflower seeds, homemade guac and homemade nacho sauce.

Nachos for dinner. Raw jalapeno popper on the side. GF multigrain sweet potato chips, sauteed spinach, green olvies, pinto beans, sprouted sunflower seeds, homemade guac and homemade nacho sauce.

These are basically like my salads, only with less greens. I haven’t had nachos for dinner in awhile, because of my silly fear of grains, but I can’t deny that I love me some Late July multigrain sweet potato chips and honestly, they’re pretty healthy: gluten-free, made with simple ingredients like chia seeds and quinoa and nothing weird in them, and baked. So nachos will be back in the rotation, at least on the nights where I don’t feel like making dinner but have all the ingredients ready to go. I also really want to experiment with Asian and Greek inspired nachos…so stay tuned!

Cinna-mini rolls. Gluten free, vegan, and oh-so-easy.

Cinna-mini rolls. Gluten free, vegan, and oh-so-easy.

I’ve been trying to perfect the cinnamon roll for awhile. For me, it has to be vegan (duh), healthy, gluten free if possible and foolproof. I don’t do well with making my own rolls from scratch, sadly. I’ve made some tasty almond flour based cinnamon ‘rolls’ that, while delicious and simple, were super crumbly and not much like cinnamon rolls at all. Not that that’s bad, but I was still unsatisfied. Until I discovered the perfect gluten free AND vegan frozen pizza dough ball at Whole Foods. Yeah, it’s really rare to find a whole grain based pizza dough that’s GF and vegan so I was thrilled. I’ve made some great cinnamon rolls before using premade pizza dough so I knew this had to work. And luckily for me, it did! I thawed the dough, rolled it out, filled it with just cinnamon, raw honey and chopped dates, rolled it up and cut it into 8 mini rolls and baked it. They turned out a little too chewy, but delicious and pretty darn close to perfect. Finally!

Another salad...yes I'm obsessed with nooch, spinach and olives in my salads.

Another salad…yes I’m obsessed with nooch, spinach and olives in my salads.

And to end on a veggie-filled note (to go with this month’s WIAW theme, of course), yet another salad creation. At this point, I don’t necessarily make my salads based on a theme, like Mexican or Asian or whatever, but I kinda just throw things in a bowl, shake it up and see what works. I generally love a combo of sweet and salty, so I like a lot of olives, dried fruit and something spicy in there.

Do you eat salads a lot? Have you ever tried to perfect a dessert recipe? 

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: What I Ate (& Made) Monday

Most of my WIAW posts are a random assortment of food pics I happened to take through the week. But not this week, no, I was actually on top of things and managed to take a picture of everything (well, basically everything) that entered my mouth on Monday. Plus I’ve got a recipe to share with you so it should be one of my better WIAWs in awhile. Let’s do it to it!

[from left] Leftover pumpkin”water”. Pumpkin chip buckwheat waffle topped with real maple syrup, Vega chocolate protein frosting and pumpkin spice latte quinoa granola.

Most people are either “pancake people” or “waffle people”. I am most definitely a waffle person. Not frozen waffles, of course, but I love whipping up a homemade waffle for breakfast. I like pancakes, but I am horrible at making them turn out perfectly fluffy and circular. So I’m sticking with waffles, which are more foolproof. Except that one time I tried making a coconut flour-based waffle and it got majorly stuck to the waffle iron. Let’s just say that vegan pancakes and waffles don’t work so well made with coconut flour. This waffle was amazing though and it didn’t get stuck to the iron at all. Win win. Yes, I am obsessed with all things pumpkin. But it’s even better combined with chocolate.

[from left] Kelp noodles. Spicy peanut sauce. Shredded carrots. Steamed edamame. Alter Eco dark chocolate with quinoa crisps. Black Mission figs. Justin’s vanilla almond butter.

Lunch was faux stir fry with a side of figs dipped in AB and a square of chocolate.  The stir fry was faux because it wasn’t really stir-fried but it tasted like a peanutty stir fry. Kelp noodles are amazing, because they totally soak up the flavors of whatever sauce you pour on them, and they are pretty similar to noodles, without the calories and carbs but with all the nutrients of sea vegetables. The chocolate, well, I swear, I can’t not eat chocolate in some form for most of my meals or snacks. It’s kind of a problem.  Oh, and BTW, if you have access to fresh figs and Justin’s vanilla AB, please try them together. It’s a magical combo.

[clockwise from left] Chocolove raspberry dark chocolate square. Apple nachos topped with Udi’s g-free cranberry granola, almond peanut cashew butter, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds. Cookie dough inspired protein microwave muffin.

Those apple ‘nachos’ are my favorite snack discovery. They are a million times better than regular nachos, obviously health wise, but they also taste great for being so simple. Basically you slice an apple (I used a Pink Lady, my fave) really thin, microwave it for 30 seconds and then top it with whatever you like. I went with drippy almond butter, chocolate chips, granola and pumpkin seeds. So. Good. And then there are the usual suspects, a microwave protein muffin (easy to make and a great way to get in some extra protein) and a square of one of my favorite chocolates. Missing from the pictures is a little bit of some dry roasted edamame I ate during my late class.

Almost raw granola inspired by a classic Starbucks drink.

I was obsessed with making rawnola (raw granola) over the summer when I got my dehydrator. But since being at school, I’ve only lugged it out once to make some kale chips. That obviously had to change, since I missed homemade granola. Like everyone else, I’ve been loving pumpkin lately (which is weird ’cause I didn’t like it much last year) so I decided to make a pumpkin-y rawnola. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can totally make this in an oven, set to a low temperature.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Rawnola (vegan, gluten-free, raw)

1/2 cup dry Alter Eco organic royal rainbow quinoa, soaked for a few hours

1/2 cup rolled oats (can sub buckwheat groats to make raw)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 tbsp raw agave or maple syrup

1 tbsp ground coffee (I used Archer Farms caramel apple coffee)

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp chopped nuts and seeds

In a large bowl, mix oats and soaked quinoa until combined. Add in coffee, raisins, nuts and any other mix-ins you’d like. Stir in agave and pumpkin until mixture is a little sticky and thick. Spoon granola mixture onto wax paper lined dehydrator trays (or use reusable dehydrator liners, if you have them) and dehydrate for 4-6 hours. Turn off dehydrator and let rawnola sit uncovered for several hours or overnight. Serve with almond milk or on top of fruit. Makes about 1 cup.

[clockwise from top left] navy striped sweater (Hollister), navy lace pencil skirt (Gilly Hicks). Mom-made veggie chili. Spiced yellow squash, red grapes, giant corn coconut microwave muffin. Celestial Seasonings tropical iced tea.

Like how I threw in a random outfit shot there? Yeah, it looks so dark ’cause I forgot to take one until it was already nighttime. Oops. Dinner on Monday was a winner, though. I reheated some spicy veggie chili my mom made a couple weeks ago and sent with me to freeze for future dinners. So if I can’t make it to the grocery store, I guess I’ll be set for a few days! Lately I’ve been loving yellow squash–I bought it randomly at Target and I can’t get enough of it sauteed with a little coconut oil and seasoned with chili powder and cinnamon. But the giant corn muffin was the best part of the dinner, obviously. I don’t know how it turned out so giant, I just made it with 2 tbsp of corn meal, 2 tbsp of coconut flour, some water, salt, stevia, baking powder and flax. Whatever, I’m not complaining. It was so good, especially for being thrown together, and it actually wasn’t too crumbly for a grain-free vegan microwave cake.

Are you a pumpkin fan or not so much? Are you a waffle person or a pancake person?

This post was submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #10.

WIAW: On and Off

Sorry about the lack of posting lately! But it’s back-to-school time and this year means moving into my own apartment and getting all settled into a new routine. But now I’m back and ready for another WIAW!

This week, I’ve just got a random assortment of what I’ve been eating and doing, on and off campus. Even though I’m finally living off campus this year, I’m spending more time on campus with all my classes, working at the campus TV station 2 nights a week and a possible new job.

Almond peanut cashew butter mixed with maple syrup and chocolate chips, protein cereal bowl (Nature’s Path sunrise vanilla and PB Puffins mixed with Plant Fusion vanilla pro powder, u/s almond milk and raisins).

Protein powder is a must on my busy days for getting protein in. Now I love mixing it in the bottom of my cereal with some almond milk and enjoying the extra flavor and texture boost.

Pretty flower on campus!

My sister and I headed to campus a few days early to hunt down my class locations (some were in buildings I’d never been to before!) and we saw this awesome flower on our walk. I obviously love how pink it is!

Quinoa pasta and vegan ravioli mixed with basil merlot pasta sauce, mini bell peppers, olives and nooooooooch!

I can’t get enough of the nooch lately, seriously. It might be a problem, but it’s a good problem 😉

A pool? A short walk away? Yes please!

Yes, there is a pool at my apartment. Have I gone in yet? No, but I did spend some time tanning by it with my sis over the weekend. Let’s just say it’s a prime tanning and hang out spot.

Hummus and fresh veggie salad on a pita.

My mom and I tried a new-to-us place just down the street from my apartment. It was super fast, super fresh and really yum. I didn’t eat the pita part of this pita, but the hummus and veggies were outta this world!

3 minute carrot cake protein oats.

This was so good, for a super quickie snack! I mixed thick rolled oats with Truvia, almond milk, chopped carrots, raisins, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder and ground flax and topped it with Nature’s Path sunrise vanilla cereal (so good, and gluten free!) and almond peanut cashew butter.

Car selfie FTW!

Can I just say I love having a car? Not only does it make things more convenient, I can also take awesome selfies in it. Alejandro, you’re the best!

My reward after my first day of classes: grande passion iced tea (unsweetened).

I was in desperate need of some Starbies love after my first day of classes. I hit the nearest one up right after my 4 pm class for one of my fave summer drinks and enjoyed it in the sunshine.

Easy breakfast: chocolate mint protein muffin topped with homemade almond butter cup, grapes.

I’ve definitely been getting my kitchen experimenting on, now that I actually have a kitchen! So far, I’ve made no bake peppermint patty bars, mint chocolate almond butter cups and mini buckwheat corn muffins. The bars and cups are the best though–I’ve been on a mint chocolate kick lately.

First dinner in my new place: vegan nachos! Made with Late July multigrain chips, pinto beans, spicy guac, peach mango salsa, kale sauteed in coconut oil and nooch.

I finally got over my fear of the white stuff and bought some coconut oil. I’ve heard so many good things about the health benefits of it and was sick of avoiding recipes because they included it. I accidentally got the refined kind, but next time I’ll know to get the extra virgin kind for coconutty flavor!

Have you used coconut oil? How do you use protein powder?

WIAW: Red, White & New

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow U.S. bloggers! Unlike most years, I won’t be watching fireworks…well maybe on TV, but due to all the fires, most fireworks shows were cancelled around here. I will be wearing some red, white and blue and enjoying some festive eats, though–maybe with a recipe to come!

Anyways, for this week’s WIAW I wanted to highlight some new things I’ve been enjoying lately and share a couple recipes. Note: This was not all eaten in one day!

Red, white and blue fruit bowl: fresh strawberries, frozen banana, double blueberry chia jam.

I’ve been wanting to make my own jam forever so when I stumbled upon Angela’s blueberry chia jam, I knew I had to make it. I bought chia seeds for the first time ever and adapted the recipe to what I had on hand. Turns out, homemade jam is 1000 times better than storebought. And it’s not that hard to make!

Double Blueberry Chia Jam (vegan, gluten free)

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed

1-2 tbsp blueberry flavored agave (can use regular agave)

1 tbsp chia seeds

In a small pot, bring blueberries and agave to a low boil, stirring often. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Lightly smash the berries with a fork, if desired. Stir in chia seeds, stirring often to prevent from sticking to the pot. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until jam is at your desired consistency. Remove from heat and store in a glass tupperware container or jar in the fridge. Makes about 1/2 cup. 

This flavor is now in my top 5!

I still can’t believe I used to hate Larabars a couple months ago. Correction: I was scared of them, because of their calorie and fat content. Truth is, I love ’em now and all their calories and fat come from healthy, simple sources. Nothing but real foods in these! I was finally able to track down a couple new-to-me flavors, peanut butter chocolate chip and key lime pie. I’ve yet to try the key lime but the PB chocolate chip is amazing, especially when the chocolate chips melt, which is inevitable in this heat wave. Now I’m dying to try the chocolate chip cookie dough one!

Homemade vegan nachos: Late July sweet potato multigrain chips, black beans, spicy nacho cheez, crispy kale, guac, pumpkin seeds and nooch.

I think I have a problem. I put nooch on almost everything I eat now! It’s just so addicting, and I love knowing I’m getting a little protein and B vitamin boost from it. These nachos are my favorite thing to whip up for a quick and easy dinner. The cashew cheez sauce is what makes it!

Cookie the size of a salad plate…dominated!

If you haven’t tried Whole Foods’ vegan chocolate chip cookie and you have a store near you…go buy one now! I promise it’ll be the best 99 cents you’ve ever spent, especially if you pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. I’m always shocked that this gigantic cookie has only 170 calories in it–the magic of vegan baking!

This $6 salad bar box was worth every penny.

I’m obsessed with the Whole Foods salad bars. The one near me always has a great selection and a lot of their options are vegan. I load up on a little bit of everything and it always turns out perfect. I can’t even remember everything in this box but there was some emerald sesame kale, marinated artichoke hearts, fruit salad, a warm bok choy salad, Asian cous cous, Mediterranean crunch salad, curry tofu and a falafel ball. It was worth all the stares I got for eating it at my internship–some people just don’t appreciate healthy eating!

Double chocolate protein waffle topped with NadaMoo! maple pecan coconut milk ice cream.

I’ve really been into making protein waffles lately. First I made them with peanut flour but then I tried some protein powder samples I got from Whole Foods. This one was made with Vega One and it was soooooooo good. For a snack, I topped it with some coconut milk ice cream. The ice cream melted all over the warm waffle which made it even better.

Double Chocolate Protein Waffle (vegan, high protein)

1 sample packet Vega One chocolate protein powder

2 tbsp oat flour (can sub whole wheat or gluten-free flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life dairy free chips)

1 tbsp flax or chia seed, mixed with water to make flax or chia “egg”

unsweetened almond milk, to thin

stevia, to taste (I used one packet)

Heat up waffle iron (or skillet, if making into pancakes) and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Mix together all dry ingredients until combined. Add in flax egg and almond milk until batter is smooth and thick, but can  be easily scooped up. Spoon batter (in two batches) onto waffle iron and cook until outside is crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Makes 2 waffles (the entire batch has about 18 grams of protein and around 300 calories!).

I love homemade pizza!

Since I became vegan, I’ve become much more creative with pizza toppings. I rarely even use vegan cheeses anymore but pizzas don’t really need cheese if you have amazing toppings. The one on the left is an Indian-inspired pizza topped with curry sauce, raisins (weird, I know, but it was actually good), cauliflower, carrots and chickpeas. The one on the right was a spicy Italian version with Field Roast Mexican chipotle grain sausage, garlic basil sauce, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. The crust was amazing too, even though it turned out super thick. I used the fresh multigrain pizza dough that Whole Foods sells in their refrigerated section and I love the taste and doughiness of it, but it tends to rise a little bit too much!

Recent lunch: strawberries topped with double blueberry chia jam; peanut flour granola in almond milk with raisins, sunflower seeds and mini chocolate chips; spicy curry sauce with edamame, broccoli slaw and kale.

I’ve been loving whipping up a simple curry and veggie bowl for lunch lately. The sauce I use is the spicy & tangy curry sauce by Spicy Nothings and it’s one of the best curries I’ve ever had. It’s not even honestly that spicy, but then again I’m kinda obsessed with spicy things. It goes so well with kale and edamame but I want to try it soon with some tempeh!

How do you get in protein in the mornings? Do you like things spicy or mild?

WIAW: Flavor Flav

Hi my lovelies! What is up? I loved all your responses to my fashion blogging post–even if you aren’t the ‘fashion’ type, I really appreciated your feedback on what makes a good blog.

Peas and Crayons

Anyways, no, my WIAW title this week has nothing to do with the rapper–it’s just my super-lame way to say that this week’s edition is all about new-t0-me flavors. Like I mentioned in my recent Saturday Seven post, I love trying out new things and this week, I apparently tried out a few new combos and they did not disappoint! So lesssss go!

Breakfast: PBBH sandwich oats (aka peanut butter banana honey sandwich), topped with peanut flour paste, frozen banana slices, drizzle raw honey; unpictured veggie sausage

Ummmmm yeah…let’s just say I have yet another favorite oats combo. I don’t know where I came up with this idea, but it totally reminded me of a peanut butter banana honey sandwich and it. was. delicious. The combination of frozen banana chunks, thick peanut flour paste, creamy voluminous oats and a drizzle of my favorite honey was a magical one. This has just replaced my latest favorite, carrot cake oats!

Starbucks Christmas VIA Blend with AB unsweetened chocolate almond milk.

I have no lunch picture this week (and probably won’t for a while) because my class schedule forces me to eat on-the-go, hence I basically just scarf down baggies of Kashi GoLean, baby carrots, grapes or edamame. Not the most gourmet, but it gets the job done. Oh how I miss leisurely lunches at home…

Tuesday's outfit: pink cropped cardigan (A&F), navy lace-front tank with pinstripe waist tie (A&F Kids), slim boot jeans (American Eagle). The weird face is all me, sadly.

This week and last have been devoted to wearing all my brand-new clothes. I actually love that part of back-to-school–showing off all my new outfits. The tank top in the picture is the new piece, and I love it because it’s one of my few lace pieces, and it’s got an adorable bow around the waist. What’s not to love?

Snack: plain Stonyfield Oikos yogurt mixed with cinnamon and Truvia, topped with half a honeycrisp apple and a little Kashi GoLean.

I’ve been really enjoying plain Greek yogurt lately. Now hear me out. Plain doesn’t mean boring–it just means I buy the plain kind and then flavor it myself with cinnamon, dark cocoa powder, instant coffee–whatever. It’s more economical that way, plus I get more yogurt in a container. Win win! I loved this combo in particular because it had the crunch from the cereal and the sweet-tartness from the apple. Plus the amazing protein and calcium from the yogurt.

Dinner: vegan nachos.

Definitely not nachos in the traditional sense, but good nonetheless. I topped some Late July mild green mojo chips (the best chips, in my opinion) with some Whole Foods refried beans (with chile and lime) and some heated-up frozen grilled peppers from Target. Simple, delicious and a healthy way to get your Mexican fix.

Snack: Annie's pretzel bunnies, heaping teaspoon almond peanut cashew butter.

I’ve said it a million and one times, but again, I love the sweet-salty combo. Nothing better. The other night, I got the super-smart idea to dip pretzels in almond butter. Soooooooo tasty. I love Annie’s pretzel bunnies in particular, because they’re cute!

What’s your favorite way to eat pretzels? What’s the best flavor combo you just discovered?