My First Resolutions

Happy New Year! It feels so weird that the holidays are already over, and even weirder that I won’t be heading back to school in a couple of weeks, so I’m not really getting back into any sort of routine. I really want to enjoy the time I have off though, because even though I’m beyond excited to get my first real job, I know I won’t have much free time once I start. So I’m excited to have some down time at home…but I’m hoping it doesn’t last more than a few months!

I’m not one to make resolutions. I do like to set goals for myself, but they’re rarely something I put into words. I really want to set some goals for myself this year, because my life will be changing a LOT, and I want to set some clear resolutions for myself. I’m not saying I’ll be perfect at all of these goals, but having them written down keeps me accountable to them, and I think choosing more realistic goals will help me achieve them.

1. Apply to at least 3 jobs per week. Ideally, I’d like to apply to one (on average) each week day, so 5 per week. But if I get at least 3 applications done, I’ll be happy.

2. Drink more water! Having a reusable water bottle handy in the fridge has helped me drink more water over the past 6 months, but I would like to go through at least 2 full water bottles each day. That’s 2 pints of water, and I think that’s a doable goal.

3. Eat more raw foods. This is a little harder to do in the winter months, when fresh produce isn’t as good and I want warming foods more often. But I know I feel my best when my diet is at least 50% raw, so I’m planning on incorporating at least one big salad per day (I usually do this anyway), fresh fruit at every meal and trying my hand at sprouting beans/grains.

I will definitely keep eating banana softserve for breakfast as often as possible.

I will definitely keep eating banana softserve for breakfast as often as possible.

4. Take control of my health. I mentioned in this post that I haven’t had my period in now (almost) 8 months. Obviously, that isn’t healthy and I know I need to see my doctor about this issue. I think there are some other underlying issues, since I’m dealing with acne and I’m not as lean as I think I should be for how clean I eat and how much I exercise. On that last topic, I really think I need to change my routine drastically–I don’t incorporate rest days as much as I should (I take one once or twice a month on average, and they’re very hard for me to take mentally), I have some digestive problems (even after cutting out most gluten) and I’m not sure I’m eating enough for my workouts. I will definitely discuss these issues with my doctor and hopefully I can get an answer as to why my body isn’t functioning the way it should.

5. Do something out of my comfort zone. I tend to be kinda cautious and not totally adventurous, but I’m really considering doing something that scares me, like cutting my hair shorter or telling somebody I love them or going skydiving or something. Okay, probably not that last one, but I need to challenge myself in some way. I think that maybe if I end up moving out of state for my first job, it’ll be a big step out of my comfort zone since I’ve never lived farther than 2 hours away from my family. We’ll see what happens with this one!

6. Stop comparing myself to other people. This is one of my biggest bad habits. I constantly compare my body, my workouts, my lifestyle choices, my success to other people’s and all it does is make me miserable. I need to take more pride in myself, and realize that there’s no point in comparing myself to other people because I’m unique and I need to respect that.

I can see more selfies in my future as a way to reassure myself that I'm awesome just the way I am!

I can see more selfies in my future as a way to reassure myself that I’m awesome just the way I am!

Do you make resolutions or goals? What are some of yours for 2014?

Looking Back on 2013

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I still can’t believe it’s over, and that 2014 is just around the corner. I still didn’t feel like it was Christmas until earlier this week so it’s crazy that it went by so fast.

I’ll probably do a recap of my Christmas/New Year’s week sometime next week but for now, I wanted to share some of my favorite posts and moments from 2013. As with any year, there were some ups, some downs, but overall it was an incredible year for me for many reasons, and I’m hoping 2014 is even better!

January

I experimented with homemade donuts, I took a hiatus from WIAW and I shared my orthorexia story

Some post-holiday Christmas lights in Denver.

Some post-holiday Christmas lights in Denver.

February

I broke some fashion rulesmade some Superbowl-worthy raw jalapeno poppers and shared my thoughts on clean eating

No white after Labor Day? Pssh, I wear what I want!

No white after Labor Day? Pssh, I wear what I want!

March

I compared my meals from when I started my blog until nowI tried out grain free baking and I admitted to my struggles with the scale and mirror

My first sushi night with friends.

My first sushi night with friends.

April

I got snowed in, shared my fear of rest days and feeling full and made some homemade Easter candy.

Snow in April isn't unusual but a FOOT of snow definitely is!

Snow in April isn’t unusual but a FOOT of snow definitely is!

May

I spent some time at the poolgot all nerdy about cacao powder and started my weather internship at a local TV station. 

I also reunited with an old Starbucks favorite,, the unsweetened passion iced tea.

I also reunited with an old Starbucks favorite,, the unsweetened passion iced tea.

June

I started eating more raw foods, expressed my sorrow over a second year of wildfires in my hometown and revisited an old favorite vacation spot

More pool time for this chica.

More pool time for this chica.

July

I professed my love for homemade fooddealt with some flash flooding on the job and found that being sick can be an ED trigger

I also celebrated my 21st birthday in style, even while recovering from being sick.

I also celebrated my 21st birthday in style, even while recovering from being sick.

August

I indulged in some incredible vegan carrot cake ice creamvacationed to see family in Wisconsin and got a tablet to replace my dying laptop. 

I love airports and flying!

I love airports and flying!

September

I tried out eggs (and ended up keeping them out of my diet), gave an inside look at my fridge and struggled with senioritis

I also got my third-ever manicure.

I also got my third-ever manicure.

October

I shared my thoughts on figure competitionstalked about the ‘Ashley Diet’ and did some fun things with my family during a weekend at home

A quick and yummy lunch from a local vegan juice bar and cafe.

A quick and yummy lunch from a local vegan juice bar and cafe.

November

I let you all in on my meal prepping secrets, I talked about some girl problems and I bought a bunch of fun foodie products

I went to Native Foods for only the second time ever and I can't wait to go back again.

I went to Native Foods for only the second time ever and I can’t wait to go back again.

December

I started a no-added-sugar plan before the holidays, I got through finals week with some good food and I graduated college a semester early. 

The happy graduate.

The happy graduate.

I feel like I’ve grown up so much since the beginning of the year–I’ve conquered another year of living (mostly) independently, completed an amazing internship, got through a semester taking on a full course load, dealt with some personal struggles (some are still going on), made some great friends and most of all, started my new life as a post-grad looking for her first full-time job. It’s crazy how much things have changed since this time last year, but I wouldn’t trade any of it! I’m even more excited to take on 2014!

What were some of your most memorable moments of 2013? What are you looking forward to most in 2014? 

WIAW: Ringing in the New Year

After missing out on WIAW last week (being sick for a few days=no delicious food photos, or food period) I was itching to join in on the foodie party this week!

New Year’s Day is always a bit depressing for me–it marks the official end of the holiday season and it’s back to the daily grind and blah-ness of the winter season. Not that I’m complaining about getting back into a routine (I’m also not technically back into my normal routine for another 3 weeks when spring semester starts up again) but January is a bit of a letdown after the holidays. This year I want to be more excited about January so I’m soaking in my last few weeks of Christmas break and just enjoying the month for what it can be–a fresh start.

Pretty Christmas lights still up in Denver.

Pretty Christmas lights still up in Denver.

The usual post-Christmas shopping spree was on Sunday. The fam and I headed up to Denver for the day and my dad checked out the Van Gogh exhibit at the art museum while us girls shopped the afternoon away. Other than the clothes shopping (I’ll be sharing some of my purchases later this week!), I also convinced my mom to stop at Nooch Vegan Market, a fairly new addition to the city. It’s a small, all-vegan grocery store that stocks a lot of products that not even Whole Foods offers. I could have bought so many things, but I just left with some garlic Parma (a nut-based ‘cheese’ sprinkle), pico de gallo bean chips and a super-delicious dark chocolate chipotle caramel bar. The combo of coconut milk caramel, chipotle powder, dark chocolate and pecan/peanut pieces is incredible–I wish I had gotten more than one!

Maybe the last red cup of the season...

Maybe the last red cup of the season…

While shopping I sipped a short soy skinny peppermint mocha. I’ve never gotten a short at Starbucks before but it’s a good size option for when I don’t want to be too filled up by the drink. I’m sad about this picture though because I’m thinking that might be the last time I drink out of a red cup until November 😦

Recent lunch: leftover sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, chopped dried fig, sunflower butter and mini chocolate chips, spicy orange bok choy.

Recent lunch: leftover sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, chopped dried fig, sunflower butter and mini chocolate chips, spicy orange bok choy.

I have a new obsession with bok choy. It is sooooo good sauteed in a little coconut oil and topped with a thin sauce made from red curry paste, citrus juice and coconut aminos. It gets all wilty and delicious in the pan. New favorite veggie over here!

Recent snack: leftover sweet potato fries dipped in Nuttzo, organic ketchup and peanut flour paste.

Recent snack: leftover sweet potato fries dipped in Nuttzo, organic ketchup and peanut flour paste.

This was a weird (but good) snack. I love cutting up sweet potatoes into fry shapes and then baking them with some spices and then dipping them in everything and anything. Organic ketchup and peanut flour paste are the best options, of course.

The cookbooks I got for Christmas...I love them!

The cookbooks I got for Christmas…I love them!

I generally don’t make things from cookbooks, but that’s only because I never had a vegan cookbook before this year. I was lucky enough to get two great vegan cookbooks for Christmas and I’ve already tried a couple recipes from them. Last night I made eggplant muffaletta sandwiches from Veganomicon for my family and they loved them.  It was literally one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, probably because I love the combo of olives, spinach and really good bread. I haven’t had bakery bread in at least a year (it’s a huge fear food of mine) but I got some ciabatta bread from Whole Foods specifically for this recipe and it did not disappoint. I guess eating bread, especially quality bread, every once in awhile won’t kill me!

Recent snack: sweet potato tortilla chips with fresh salsa and hatch chili guac, roasted kabocha squash, dried figs and peanut flour paste.

Recent snack: sweet potato tortilla chips with fresh salsa and hatch chili guac, roasted kabocha squash, dried figs and peanut flour paste.

Another random snack plate. Roasted kabocha tastes amazing dipped in salsa and guac, don’t knock it til ya try it!

Ringing in the new year with Kahlua+almond milk+amaretto.

Ringing in the new year with Kahlua+almond milk+amaretto.

This was a coffee-lover’s dream cocktail. It tasted like a hazelnut latte! Like I’ve said before, I’m not a huge drinker (and I’m not planning on becoming one when I turn 21) but it’s great to enjoy a nice cocktail every once in awhile, especially for special occasions.

My last meal of 2012: Whole Foods salad bar goodies including Indian coleslaw, homemade tortilla chips, coconut curry tofu, chipotle orange sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and lentil dal.

My last meal of 2012: Whole Foods salad bar goodies including Indian coleslaw, homemade tortilla chips, coconut curry tofu, chipotle orange sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and lentil dal.

My dad and I made a quick stop at WF for some NYE snacks and I just couldn’t pass up the salad bar–they had a bunch of vegan Indian food options. I got some of my usual items, and then loaded up on the Indian coleslaw (not at all like traditional coleslaw but way better), green garbanzo curry, lentil dal and some battered veggies. It was an amazing last meal!

My first successful donut experiment.

My first successful donut experiment.

You knew I couldn’t go more than a week without trying out my new donut pan! I made some so-so pumpkin protein donuts over the weekend but I finally made some delicious (and healthier) donuts that I just had to share. They are pretty much like banana bread in donut form…

Banana Bread Donuts (vegan)

1 tbsp ground flax+3 tbsp warm water, for flax “egg”

1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 banana, mashed

1 packet stevia (optional)

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural sugar)

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder (or other protein powder, or more spelt flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Spray a donut pan (I used a 6-cavity pan) with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, mix flax and water; stir and set aside to gel into an “egg”. Stir in all ingredients through coconut sugar. Add in spelt flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips until a batter forms. Spoon batter into donut pan, filling each to the top, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just set. Remove from pan and set out on wire rack to cool. Makes 6 donuts.

These donuts are a healthier morning option, made with whole grains and about 6 grams of protein per donut, and they’re made with natural sugars and not overpoweringly sweet. I’m still trying to experiment with gluten free and vegan donut recipes so hopefully I can have one up soon for all you GFrs.

What have you been eating so far in 2013? Do you like to cook from cookbooks? 

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?