WIAW: Branded for Life

Sadly, spring break came to an end for me and now it’s back to the daily grind. The break really got me excited for summer and I can’t wait to start my TV internship in exactly two months! I just want school to be over with already–just six and a half more weeks left in the semester. It’s actually pretty crazy how quickly this school year’s gone by for me. I can’t believe I’m almost a junior and I’ve got less than 2 months left of dorm living. Trust me, I’m not complaining though–I think I’m going to start a countdown til I move in to my apartment ūüėČ

This WIAW, I don’t have any exciting food pictures or recipes to share with you, since I just got back from break and my dorm room eats have been sub-par but I still wanted to participate in the part-ay so I’m gonna do a little twist on the typical WIAW. This edition is all about brand loyalty, whether it’s to clothes or food or beauty products. I know most of us have some brand preferences so I wanted to share a few of mine.

Sorry for the repeat picture, but it was too good not to share twice!

When it comes to coffee, it’s Starbucks or nothing for me. Really. I’ve tried Archer Farms’ flavored coffee blends and they were just nasty. Yes, Starbucks is an expensive habit, but luckily I only go maybe once or twice a month right now, so it’s not too expensive. When I want coffee at home, I buy their VIA instant packets and pretend I’m drinking it inside a real ‘bucks.

A tempeh-topped salad with a side of frozen bloobs and half a yam topped with almond peanut cashew butter and raisins.

I’m one of those vegans who eats fake ‘meat’. I’m not a fan of the overly processed stuff, or of meat-like subs such as seitan and tofu (tofu is alright, just not my fave) but I do love me some tempeh and soy pepperoni slices. For those, I always rely on LightLife. Their faux meat products are always vegan, and full of protein and fiber. They are a little processed, but they don’t have a million and one ingredients and I can actually pronounce all of them. Plus they’re tasty, so they’re winners in my book.

My Coach Poppy backpack is probably my favorite designer purse.

I haven’t talked about it much on this blog, but I am a designer purse fanatic. I currently own 5 (all of which I was so lovingly gifted with for my birthday or Christmas over the past few years) and I love them all, from my orange Gianni Bini hobo bag to my brown leather Fossil tote. However, if I had to pick a favorite designer brand, I’d go with Coach. I have 2 Coach purses (well, one’s a backpack) and I just love their classic but standout designs. I realize they aren’t cheap by any means, but I take good care of them and they are well-worth the price…at least for me!

My favorite banana whip smoothie made with unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

Oh, almond milk. I go back and forth on this one. Not that I don’t love it, because I most definitely do. But I do switch between three brands on occasion–Pacific Naturals, Whole Foods 365 Organic and Almond Breeze. I love Pacific Naturals’ unsweetened vanilla flavor–it’s so creamy and thick. Whole Foods’ organic brand doesn’t have a u/s vanilla flavor, so I stick with their u/s original, which is pretty good for using in recipes. And Almond Breeze is the only one I know of that has a u/s chocolate flavor, so I buy that. They’re all good in their own ways, but for my personal favorite, I have to go with Pacific Naturals.

My new mini lotions (and lip gloss) for spring: Coconut Lime Breeze, Bali Mango, White Citrus and Liplicious Limeade.

Is anybody else obsessed with Bath and Body Works? I really just love going into a BBW and smelling all their lotions–they’re just so yummy-smelling! Of course, sometimes I do actually buy some of their products and as far as lip gloss and lotions go, they’re the only place I’ll buy from. They have the best quality products at fairly low prices and so many amazing scents.

Maybe I like this chip brand because my birthday's in Late July?

You guys all probably know this by now, but I am way more of a sweet snack fan than a salty snack fan. However, there are some times when I could really go for something salty and crunchy–like Late July multigrain chips. These chips come in a ton of varieties (I’m really loving the sweet potato kind right now) and they’re all gluten-free and most flavors are also vegan. I love that they’re baked and made with organic, whole foods ingredients like brown rice, chia seeds, quinoa and amaranth. I love plating them up with sweeter stuff for an afternoon snack plate.

Greek yogurt and frozen blueberries make a perfect sweet treat.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I am NOT a “Cho Ho” or whatever fans of Chobani like to call themselves. I realize I am in the minority here, but my favorite brand is and always will be Stonyfield Oikos. Why? Because it’s organic, I like the flavors they have (like superfruits, peach mango and even chocolate) and they don’t have as much sugar as Chobani. I’ve yet to try the new Oikos by Dannon, but I’m too busy enjoying my one true Greek yogurt love…

Spring break = perfect excuse for a shopping spree!

A fashion-lover like me must have some favorite brands, right? Of course. But I’m not a fan of runway styles or a lot of high-end designer pieces (mostly because of the price) so I stick with fairly high quality but lower price options such as Abercrombie & Fitch (okay, not exactly cheap but I love them anyway), American Eagle, Forever 21, Gilly Hicks, Hollister and VS Pink. The styles that these stores carry really just appeal to me and the prices are reasonable. If I had to pick one favorite, I’d go with Hollister, because I love their bold beachy style and most of my closet is made up of stuff from that store. In fact, when I went shopping over spring break, I picked up three things from Hollister, one thing from A&F, two things from American Eagle and one thing from Forever 21. So I am definitely obsessed with Hollister! Oh, and in case you were interested, you’ll hopefully be seeing some of my new purchases on here soon!

These are a few of my favorite bars!

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with bars. But I am pretty picky when it comes to the brand. I have tried out several kinds, but my personal favorites are Clif (Mojo and kids bars only), Kind bars and Pure bars. I still need to try my new cappuccino Larabars and the raw cacao chia bar I got over break, but Clif, Kind and Pure are definitely my top three. I’m weird when it comes to bars, though, because I’m even more picky about the flavor. Like with Clifs, I really don’t like the originals anymore and I only buy the Mojo bars in mountain mix and white chocolate macadamia. With Kind bars, I’m obsessed with the PB & strawberry, but I also kinda like pomegranate blueberry pistachio. And I’ve tried all the Pure bars except the naturals line and their new dark chocolate berry flavor (which I’m dying to try) and I like them all but I only ever buy the chocolate brownie, cranberry orange and wild blueberry.

What are some brands (food, clothing, etc.) that you’re loyal to? What’s your favorite lotion scent?

I’m Weird Because…

My spring break has officially begun! I am super psyched to get a whole 9 days off from school and get a little chance to relax in the middle of this crazy semester. I don’t have any really exciting plans for this break (boo!) but I’m sure I’ll have some fun no matter what goes down.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about things that I like and comparing them to the preferences of the healthy living blogging community as a whole. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not comparing in a way that makes me feel inferior or whatever–just in a fun way that shows that we all have differences and it’s good to embrace those differences. So in the spirit of my It’s Okay…¬†post a while back and share the reasons that I’m¬†weird¬†awesome!

I’m weird because…I love peanut flour but can’t stand peanut butter.

I basically have peanut flour paste in some form at least once a day!

I know most people say peanut flour isn’t a replacement for PB, but for me it is–not because I’m scared of the fat in PB (I just prefer other nut butters, like almond and pecan) but because I don’t like the texture or taste of straight-up PB. I use peanut flour as a source of easy protein and I just love how delicious it is!

I’m weird because…my Greek yogurt brand of choice is Oikos.

I haven't seen this flavor in sooooo long!

I know, I know, I’m not a Chobani fan like most of the blogging world. Honestly, I discovered Greek yogurt prior to blogging and Oikos was the first brand I tried–and I was hooked! I’ve tried Chobani and Fage a few times since then (Fage is okay…) but Oikos is still my one true Greek yogurt love. I like that it’s organic and I just love the flavors they offer, plus the plain kind is so thick and tangy.

I’m weird because…my favorite dinner at the moment is a topped sweet potato.

An oldie but a goodie!

I just love a hot sweet potato “baked” in the microwave and topped with peanut flour paste, almond peanut cashew butter and some cinnamon. I don’t know why, but it’s just so tasty and filling!

I’m weird because…I’m loving my coffee iced and my tea hot right now.

Some iced coffee (and a yogurt mess) from last summer.

Before a couple of months ago, you couldn’t¬†pay¬†me to drink hot tea–I loved iced, and that was that. Now I really love me some hot Celestial Seasonings, especially country peach passion, and I’m craving iced coffee like no other. I’m hoping I can hit up Starbucks over spring break and get some of their iced coffee with some sugar free vanilla or hazelnut syrup in it–mmmm! For now, I’m making my own and flavoring it with my new stevia drops.

I’m weird because…I prefer my fruit frozen.

Bananas are so much better frozen!

Once I realized bananas taste amazing when frozen, I don’t think I’ve eaten a room temperature banana! I’m also hooked on freezing my grapes, and buying frozen pineapple, mango and berries from Target. There’s just something about frozen fruit that can’t be beat. I don’t even care if it’s cold out, I’m eating my fruit frozen!

I’m weird because…I make oats just for the toppings.

One of my fave oats combos--caramel apple pie oats.

Okay, maybe I don’t make them¬†just¬†for the toppings, but they are the best part! You’ll never find me eating a naked bowl of oats–I love me some nut butter/peanut flour, dried fruit, nuts, cereal, etc. to top them with. I love creating flavor combos and making a totally delicious bowl. Some of my current faves include carrot cake, s’mores, PB&J (topped with grapes and peanut flour) and banana/honey/pretzel/peanut flour. Mmmm, so many choices!

Finish this statement: I’m weird because…

WIAW: A Day of Red & Pink

Hey everyone! I hope you all had fabulous weekends! Mine was really good, since I spent it at home, and actually a little longer than usual, because of a snowstorm that kept me here for another day. But I’m not complaining ūüėČ

Anyways, I really wanted to thank every single one of you who commented on my last post. I loved that you guys spoke your mind in a very respectful way and I really liked the conversation that the post sparked. I really do believe that every person is totally different and as such, they have completely different nutritional needs and we should all be respectful and understanding of that, which you all did. So thanks again!

Peas and Crayons

Moving on to WIAW for this week! I decided to do mine a little early, since I wanted to do a special Valentine’s Day edition and V-Day is today! Basically, my meals were pretty pink and red (and chocolate-y) today in honor of the holiday. I’m not a huge fan of V-Day, but I also don’t hate it. I mean, my parents are basically the best Valentines ever, since they got me the sweetest card, a pink carnation plant and a cute American Eagle scarf. And after all, the day’s a good excuse to wear pink which is exactly I did. But more on that later!

Breakfast: raspberry mocha smoothie in a bowl topped with Kashi GoLean, peanut flour paste, gummy vitamins and a couple vegan chocolate chips.

This was my first attempt at a smoothie in a bowl and while it was super tasty, it wasn’t thick. At all. More like cold soup, which is alright but I want a super thick smoothie. Looks like I have to invest in some xanthan gum…Anyways, the smoothie was just a mix of some frozen raspberries, cocoa powder, u/s vanilla almond milk (my personal fave brand is Pacific Naturals) and a little Starbucks instant coffee powder. I love the little caffeine burst+coffee flava in the morning without shelling out $4 for some ‘bucks. Speaking of which…

Tall skinny soy caramel macchiato (love!) in a special Starbucks Valentine's cup.

My dad and I hit up the ‘bucks on Sunday for some afternoon coffee and I was soooooo excited, because I’d heard about the special V-Day cups. I am such a sucker for all things seasonal so this did not disappoint. I also tried out a new-to-me drink, the skinny caramel macchiato with soy and it was delicious and caramel-y without being too rich. Definitely a repeat order.

Outfit of the day: hot pink cropped cardi (A&F), pink ruffled tank (A&F Kids), tan corduroy jeggings (Hollister), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink polka dot headband (American Eagle).

I was honestly surprised by how few people were wearing red or pink on campus. I guess I just like to be festive ūüėČ The pants look like a nasty color in the photo, but trust me, they’re actually a caramel color, not a gross mustard yellow. The lighting in my dorm is pretty pathetic!

Lunch: butternut squash cubes with cinnamon, chocolate brownie Pure bar, raisins.

Who says you can’t eat a brownie for lunch? It is Valentine’s Day, after all! And of course, the chocolate brownie Pure bar is super-healthy, so it’s alright. I enjoyed this lunch on-the-go between classes as per usual.

Snack: raspberry zinger tea, superfruits Oikos.

My favorite Oikos flavor, hands down, would have to be the superfruits. It’s an amazing mix of pomegranate, raspberry and acai and I just love it. I haven’t had it in literally months, though, because the stores me never seem to stock it. When my lovely mom picked up groceries for me last week, she found it and knowing how much I love it, got it for me. Now I get to enjoy it three more times!

Dinner: dark chocolate raspberry "cheesecake" oats, smart bacon.

I love love LOVE having oats for dinner…with some protein and a fruit or veggie to balance it out, of course. Tonight I went for a really sweet oats combo of dark cocoa powder and frozen raspberries with a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt stirred in. The yogurt made the oats really creamy and reminded me a little bit of cheesecake. A healthy cheesecake, of course!

Snack: bunny pretzels, organic strawberry jam, almond peanut cashew butter, peanut flour paste.

Of course I¬†had¬†to use my heart-shaped bowl at least once today. I’m not really sure how this snack is related to Valentine’s Day, except that it’s in the bowl and it has strawberry jam. It’s just one of my favorite snack combos at the moment!

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What’s your favorite berry?

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?

Simply Having a Wonderful Weekend Time!

Heya everyone, thanks for all the input on my fruit and sugar post. Of course, I know fruit is good for me, but with all my eating disordered tendencies, it can be really hard to push all these silly “diet tips” out of my brain and do what’s right for my body. I really love what you all had to say on the subject though!

Now onto more fun ūüėÄ Sorry about my really lame title, can you tell I’m in the Christmas spirit? I’ve officially been home for Thanksgiving break for¬†63 hours as I’m writing this¬†(yes, I really did count!) and it’s been the best¬†two days so far!

Friday was a crazy-busy day as I got ready to leave campus for break while also having classes and a test to go to ūüė¶ I was running back and forth between class and my dorm and then I finally met my mom back in the parking lot after my last class. I was so excited to see her, even though I had just been home the weekend before. But I haven’t been home for more than 2 days since summer break back in August so it’s definitely been awhile since I could just take some time to relax at home. We headed straight for this nearby apartment complex that I recently applied to for next year. I am so ready to get out of the dorms after almost¬†a year and a half so I was super pumped when I found out that they accepted my application. So we went on a little tour of the place, and it seems pretty cool. I’m planning on moving into a one-bedroom (because of my horrible roommate fiasco of last year) and the one bedrooms actually are pretty large. My mom seemed to like the place too, and it’s not too expensive, plus it’s on the bus line to campus which is awesome as I might not have a car next year. Oh, and it has an outdoor pool–holllllla!¬†I’m crossing my fingers that we can sign a lease soon. An apartment with a real kitchen, here I come!

After that, I had to take a stats test (so ready to be done with that awfulness) and then my mom treated me to some gelato! I haven’t had some in months and I’ve been craving it, even though it’s been cold out, so it was a nice little snack. I got my usual soy chocolate, and some pumpkin. Seriously, the combo of pumpkin and chocolate is up there with peppermint and chocolate. Just so darn tasty!

I could seriously live at Gelazzi, it's the best gelato place ever!

After grabbing all my stuff from my room, we headed home, what we thought would be a 2 and half hour drive as usual. Well…it actually turned out to be a 3 hour and 15 minute drive, because of all the horrible traffic. Seriously, drivers in northern CO are¬†the¬†worst–they slam on their brakes for almost anything. Cars pulled off on the shoulder cause major pile-ups and end up making the relatively short drive home way too long. Luckily, we did get home safely and we listened to Christmas music the whole way down, so it wasn’t too awful ūüėõ

On Saturday morning, I totally savored the family time at breakfast. On the weekends, we almost always all have breakfast together, and it is the best, with the newspaper all over the table! We are big newspaper readers fo sho, even though I usually only read the lifestyle section and the comics ūüėČ Then I dragged my dad outside so we could get the mail…because I was expecting something big! Well, not really, but I was excited. I ordered……….peanut flour! Heck ya, you better believe I was chomping at the bit to try it! I’ve seen it on like a billion blogs, and never got to try it, since I have no Trader Joe’s in my state ūüė¶ Come on TJs, come to Colorado, pretty please? I ordered mine off iHerb¬†and I couldn’t wait to dig in. For lunch, I was really feeling some veggie chili, so I heated up some Amy’s black bean chili¬†and I really wanted cornbread on the side. Of course, I didn’t want to make¬†a huge batch of it in the oven, so I thought why not make a microwave corn muffin? And add peanut flour to the mix–genius! It was soooooo good, you’d think it was actually cooked in the oven, but it only took a minute in the micro to puff up nicely.

Veggie chili + corn muffin = best cold day lunch.

Peanut Corn Muffin for One (vegan if Greek yogurt omitted, high protein)

1 tbsp yellow corn meal

1 tbsp peanut flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

water, enough to make smooth

1/2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt (can use pumpkin or applesauce to make vegan)

sweetener, to taste (I used a packet of Truvia)

Mix dry ingredients together in a small microwave-safe ramekin or nonstick cooking sprayed coffee mug. Add wet ingredients and stir til smooth and blended. Place in microwave on high for one minute; add additional time if necessary. Serve with veggie chili or topped with nut butter.

I am definitely making more microwave mug cakes with peanut flour–it adds a nice light peanutty taste, not to mention lots of protein!

After this delicious lunch, we were off–to Starbucks! They were having a deal this weekend between 2 and 5 pm where you could buy one holiday drink and get another one free. I love their holiday stuff, and couldn’t wait to try their new skinny peppermint mocha so I dragged¬†my dad and sister along. Just kidding, they love Starbucks as much as I do! First, we made a stop at the mall nearby. It was cool to see it all decked out for Christmas–the crowds on the other hand were not so cool. I guess they’re normal around this time of year though. After a brief swing through Hollister (mine and my sister’s favorite clothing store), we hit up Bath and Body Works. I ran out of the vanilla bean noel¬†lotion awhile back, and since I love their holiday lotions, I wanted to stock up. I got a mini vanilla bean noel lotion, a mini pink sugarplum lotion (one of their new ones, and SO good) and another pink sugarplum lotion for my sister since they were 3 for 10. I love Bath and Body Works–lotion is one of my addictions for sure and theirs are the best.

How cute are these?

Starbucks was also crowded, but it was worth the wait to get my tall skinny peppermint mocha latte–in a red cup, my first of the season! The red cups always make me feel so cozy and excited for the holidays. I was really glad I got a hot drink yesterday, too. It was so windy and cold out that the drink definitely warmed me up. The verdict? I loved the drink. I’ve mentioned before that I always get the skinny versions of their drinks, and this one did not disappoint. Peppermint and chocolate (plus coffee!) is my favorite seasonal flavor combo, and this drink might become my go-to this season. Plus I didn’t get a headache or feel sick afterwards, so that was a win. I’ve found that if I get anything larger than a tall, I get all queasy and feel crappy the rest of the day, which is no bueno. So tall it is for me!

Oh yes, Starbucks, you are my best friend ūüėČ

Saturday night, we saw my wonderful daddy in a play. Seems like every time I come home, I’m seeing someone in a play. I guess my family is very theatrical¬†ūüėõ Actually, it’s usually only my sister, though I used to be really into acting in middle school and high school, and my parents used to run kids acting classes. Now my dad mostly just writes plays in his free time, but he got corralled into acting in one of the short plays. The one he was in was pretty funny, as was another one of the plays. The other two were…well, bad, but luckily they were short!

A random lunch that was actually great: vegan quesadilla (jalapeno almond cheese on brown rice tortilla), dark chocolate peanut mug cake, cinnamon-spiked butternut squash.

Sunday was grocery shopping part uno. You all know how much I love grocery shopping, and shopping in general. My mom and I went to Bath & Body Works (again!) to find some lotions that we ended up having to order online, but we did get hand massages in the store! Then we went to Super Target, aka my favorite grocery store after Whole Foods. Since Thanksgiving is only a few days away, it was busier than usual, and we ended up spending almost 2 hours walking all over the store. Shopping is my favorite form of cardio for sure ūüėČ By the time we got out of there, our cart was filled to the brim, and I ended up getting some ingredients I need for some things I’m planning on making (recipes to come very soon), as well as a dress, pair of heels and tights for an audition/interview I have with my school’s TV station (I want to be a weather anchor!) and also some Christmas window clings for my window at school. Definitely a successful shopping trip!

A very orange and yellow dinner: Gardein veggie nuggets, chipotle sweet potato fries, sweet tater tots, butternut squash and yellow mustard.

I really wanted some oats this morning, and since I’ve been really into volumized oats lately, I had to plan in advance, so I whipped up a batch of dark chocolate peppermint oats! I think I ended up adding a little bit too much peppermint extract, but they were still nice and minty and refreshing.

Dark chocolate peppermint oats topped with half a homemade dark chocolate peppermint waffle. Peppermint overload? No way!

Today seemed to be the day of making new, simple recipes. At dinner, I made a smoothie with Silk Nog, organic pumpkin puree and peanut flour (yes, I’m already obsessed) and it actually turned out awesome. Peanut flour really does go with almost everything, it was definitely a smart purchase. Then I made pumpkin s’mores. Oh yeah, get excited! Pumpkin and chocolate is¬†an amazing combo, I love s’mores in general so I thought it would be awesome. And I was not disappointed!

Check out that oozing pumpkin goodness and an Instagram'd photo.

Pumpkin S’mores (can be made vegan, makes 1)

1 graham cracker square, halved

vegan chocolate chips (I used a teaspoon)

vegan or regular mini marshmallows (I used a tablespoon)

1 tbsp pumpkin puree

Place chocolate chips on one side of a graham square and microwave for 15-20¬†seconds on high until the chips start to melt. Add marshmallows on top and microwave for 10 more seconds. Spoon pumpkin onto other graham square and place on top of chocolate and marshmallow side. Don’t forget the napkins!

Besides my random experiments in the kitchen, I also did some more grocery shopping (this time at Whole Foods–yay!) as well as boot shopping and a hair cut. I always love how my hair looks right afterward until I shower, but then I can never style it the exact same way again. And the boot shopping was also a huge success–I’ll show you guys my new boots in action sometime soon, but for now, here’s a photo from the DSW website, where I got them from. There were a little bit more expensive than I would have liked, but they’re very cute and comfortable, even with a 2 inch heel. I think they’ll get a lot of use and I can’t wait to show them off on campus.

Mine are brown, but they are exactly like this!

I love my new hair, too!

So my weekend was definitely action-packed, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had so much fun and I can’t wait for the rest of Thanksgiving break. And no worries, I’ll be getting back to you all with a few recipes very soon!

What was something fun that you did this weekend? Do you like tall boots?

WIAW: I Can Almost Taste Thanksgiving!

Purple cauliflower fans unite! Oh, hi guys, sorry I was just excited about all the great responses to my last post! I love seeing that you could relate to my stressage about signing up for classes and all the foodie-type things I included in the post.

Anyways, on with this week’s WIAW. I was lucky enough to get to go home this weekend sorta unexpectedly, because I have a humongo stats test on Friday that I’m pretty sure I’ll¬†fail without getting some help, so I recruited my math-whiz dad. But the weekend wasn’t all studying, because how blah would that be? Basically though, it¬†was just like a mini tease of Thanksgiving break, which is making me really anxious for break to start.¬†Unlike a lot of weekends at home, it was pretty chill, which was exactly¬†what I needed before this crazy week hit. Why do professors/teachers assign so much the week before a break? It makes me nuts! But, let’s just move on to the WIAW¬†and weekend recap and talk about school craziness latah!

Peas and Crayons

Friday¬†afternoon¬†started out with me¬†taking a stats quiz (ick) and then finally¬†getting picked up by my mom and sissy. We headed straight for the campus bookstore, to pick up some Christmas gifts for my g-parents. Since we were already¬†at the student center, my mom suggested we eat at the food court and use my RamCash, which is basically money the school gives you to spend on laundry, food at the food court, etc. I barely use it, besides every once in awhile¬†for laundry, so I have a buttload on my card, since they add more every semester. My mom first¬†told me that only Panda Express was open on Friday evenings, and I wasn’t too excited about that. They apparently have nothing that’s certified vegetarian, since things get mixed around and veggies may touch meat, plus their food is just greasy and ugh. ¬†But luckily, the soup and salad place was still open, so I got a cup of winter squash soup. It was pretty decent, not the best I’ve had from there (their vegetarian chili is BOMB!) but I definitely prefered it to Panda. My mom and sister got it though, and it ended up costing $16! Call me crazy, but that’s a lot for two people’s dinners at a fast food-type place. But we enjoyed our dinners in the awkwardness that was the empty food court. Usually it’s packed with people, but who wants to eat there on a Friday night when almost everything else is closed?

Not soup (obviously) but my hodgepodge dinner from last week: plain Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon, Pink Lady, chocolate PB2 sauce, baby carrots, pumpkin protein frosting. So weird but really hit the spot.

Back at home, it wasn’t too late so I had dinner part 2, since I didn’t finish the soup and I was starving. I had my first sweet potato in probably 3 weeks (it was a happy reunion, that’s for sure ūüėÄ ) topped with some PB2¬†that I brought home. Okay, is this sad or what–I’ve gone through¬†most of the jar in basically 5 days! 2 tablespoons of it is supposed to be 15 servings, what a lie! I’ve mostly been having 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of it per day, and it’s¬†almost gone! What?

A seasonal variation on the banana whip--banana pumpkin whip. Enjoyed straight outta the blender, how classy am I?

Saturday I could barely make myself sleep in til 8. I think my schedule this semester has¬†been¬†screwing me up, I used to be able to sleep in til 9 easily if I stayed up past 11 or so. Well, I’m not complaining, 8 is fine with me! I hate sleeping in so late that I feel like the day is wasted, so I totally don’t get people that sleep in past noon or whatever. I had a nice breakfast of leftover pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes¬†and my usual veggie sausage, alongside a homemade Starbucks peppermint mocha! I’ve been totally craving Starbucks, and since I rarely go (that’s gonna change in less than a week ūüėČ ) I wanted to make a drink that’s almost as good. My mom got some Silk Mint Chocolate soy milk (best stuff ever!) so I steamed it and added it to some Starbucks VIA.

Almost as good as Starbucks, for way less, and in a cute snowman mug!

For lunch, I ended up burning the last 2 pieces of tempeh bacon (whoops) while I was cooking my second sweet potato in two days. Obviously, they have been very missed. I topped it with more PB2 (addicted much?), and plated it and the burned bacon with some frozen raspberries. Oh so good.

Who can beat a nut butter topped sweet potato? Especially with tempeh bacon and frozen raspberries?

After lunch, my dad and I headed out to the store. Well…stores! I was only planning on getting some apples and grapes to tide me over for the 5 days I’d be on campus before break, but knowing me, I got a lot more. Well, not a lot more, but definitely some. But it was all needed, so it’s justified. I did get the apples and grapes I needed, plus some Silk Pumpkin Spice (haven’t tried it yet), Whole Foods fresh-grind crunchy almond butter, butternut squash cubes, my crack¬†Late July green mojo chips, peanut butter pows¬†cereal (apparently renamed peanut butter balls?), full moon brownie kid Clifs, dates, rolled oats, vegan chorizo taquitos¬†and my personal favorite, Oikos frozen Greek yogurt! I’ve been dying to try it since I saw it on Tara’s¬†blog awhile back. I got it in chocolate, and it is heavenly. Better than their original chocolate froyo, since it’s a little tangy just like Greek yogurt. Plus it’s got a little more protein, which is always a win. I can’t wait to try the blueberry and honey…and I hope they come out with superfruits, because that is my favorite flavor of their yogurt! Whole Foods was pretty lame this time as far as samples go, but I think I found a good vegan alternative to the Thanksgiving turkey–Field Roast Grain Meat loaves. They’re made from vital wheat gluten and veggies and they look pretty decent. I hope I can convince my mom to buy it for me, since my dad seemed to think it looked good.

I dressed up my first bowl of Oikos froyo with frozen raspberries and PB balls cereal. Love the mix of textures and flavors.

Then my wonderful daddy surprised me with some Pinkberry. I was so excited when it first came to my city, and I loved the watermelon froyo¬†I got the first time around, all the way back in June! Unfortunately, I hadn’t been back there since but I got my fix this weekend. If you’ve never been to a Pinkberry, they only have 6 flavors at a time, but they rotate based on season, and their yogurt is better quality than most froyos. I’m such¬†a sucker for all things seasonal, as you probably know by now, and peppermint is by far my favorite seasonal flavor–especially paired with dark chocolate! So when I saw the peppermint froyo on the front door, I knew exactly what I wanted to get. I also decided to branch out (and piss off my ED a bit) and topped it with some peppermint bark, which was the perfect pairing. Usually, I only stick with fruit as a topping, but I have no regrets getting the bark instead. And I don’t care what ED says about it, it was crazy good and I didn’t get fat overnight by eating it. So there!

Perfection in a cup. I love that they swirl it so perfectly, and that it's light pink!

The rest of the night was devoted to church, eating Amy’s cheeseless¬†pizza with a side of Silk Mint Chocolate (can’t get enough of the mint/chocolate combo obvi!), showering, studying up on stats with the padre and watching some SNL. Emma Stone was the host, she’s so funny and I love her voice. It makes me less self-conscious for having a deeper voice than most girls ūüėõ

Sunday's (very orange) lunch of Gardein chickenless nuggets, sweet potato tots (ob-sessed), more raspberries and spicy three pepper mustard. Like fast food but...not!

Sunday was pretty leisurely. Breakfast and lunch were had over the Sunday pap-ah, I went for a nice walk with my dad and sister and then it was sadly time to head back. Most times when I have to go back, I’m a little sad, since I won’t get to see my family for 2 weeks, but this time I wasn’t because I knew I’d be seeing my madre’s¬†lovely face again on Friday–for a whole 9 days, in fact! I was just annoyed with the fact that I had a full 5 days of school to deal with ūüė¶ Before dropping me off, we had a delicious dinner at Garbanzo, my favorite fast-casual place. I think I’ve mentioned it about a bazillion times already, but it’s just that good. Mediterranean food is my all-time fave.

Ninja shot of my dinner. The best falafel ever, red cabbage, vegetable salad, lettuc, grilled eggplant, hummus and tabbouleh, with a side of cilantro and curry sauces. Can I live in the bowl? Kthx.

So there you have it, my weekend-before-Thanksgiving-break in a (big) nutshell. I always make these recap things way too long, guess it shows how excited I am about the weekends I get at home. Now I’ve just gotta focus on studying for my Friday stats test and…PACKING! I love packing, so I can’t wait!

What was the best part of your weekend? Mine was probably Whole Foods shopping, ’cause I’mma nerd like that! What is your favorite seasonal flavor? I luuuuuurrrrrvvvve peppermint, especially paired with dark chocolate and coffee. Starbucks Skinny Peppermint Mocha, here I come!

WIAW: Old Things, New Ways

Hi ladies ūüėÄ Well, another Wednesday is upon us, and I for one couldn’t be happier. First of all, it’s supposed to snow for the first time this season today! Okay, so that might not be so fun to walk to classes in, but I think snow is so pretty, and the first few snowfalls are the best. Come January and February, not so much ūüė¶ But right now it’s great. It’s also another week closer to Thanksgiving break–aka 9 days of freedom from this crap known as school. I have big plans for that week–well, not really, but I have a lot of cooking and baking plans, that’s for sure. And finally, it’s almost the weekend and I’m headed home again! So it should be a pretty busy but fun 2 days.

Peas and Crayons

So I was really struggling coming up with some kind of theme for this week’s WIAW. I don’t know why, but I think it’s more fun with a theme or extra thing, like a survey. I kinda got burned out on surveys, so lately it’s been all about some theme like new purchases or recipes or what I did over the weekend. Since I haven’t had any of those this week, I couldn’t think of anything…until I looked through my pictures and realized that they were all of things I’ve had before, but in a new way. So that’s my WIAW theme this week!

Banana whip smoothie, half a sweet potato topped with hot Mexican style chili powder. Sweet and spicy...awwwww yeah!

¬†So I haven’t had a ‘banana whip’ since sometime this summer but that’s only because I haven’t had almond milk around since then. Sad, right? I finally grabbed a carton of unsweetened vanilla AM two weekends ago and it’s definitely been put to good use in lattes and cereal. But then I remembered how much I loved this smoothie, and I made it for a snack, alongside half a chili powder-spiked sweet potato (eaten cold, BTW). Basically, you just take 3/4 cup almond milk, a packet of Truvia¬†or stevia and a handful of frozen banana slices, and blend away. Once I invest in xantham gum, you best believe this will be even better and more milkshake like.

Pumpkin spice Vitatop (with a bite taken out of it, oops!) topped with a teaspoon of almond peanut cashew butter.

¬†Vitatops aren’t quite¬†the same when you can’t toast them (stupid dorm rules) but they still smell amazing in the microwave. I topped this one (pumpkin spice, of course) with some drippy, almost-at-the-bottom-of-the-jar APCB. So. Good. Period. Why did I never do this before? I honestly don’t know!

Vintage-ized photo taken by my lovely phone. Dr McDougall's vegan tortilla soup.

¬†So I’ve had this soup before, and it’s really really good but for some reason, I’ve always eaten it out of the paper container it comes in. I decided to fancy it up a bit by pouring it in a bowl. Classy, no? And I also just realized, after almost 2 years of having my phone, that it can edit photos right on the phone itself. Since this picture was taken at night (and therefore was super yellow), I messed around with the coloring and also decided to make it look vintage-y. I got bored, okay?

Caramel Oikos (in a bowl) topped with frozen banana slices.

¬†Again, I’ve had frozen banana slices and this flavor of Greek yogurt before, but never together and never in a bowl. I mean, it comes in a container you can eat out of, so why use dishes, right? Turns out, it tastes much better in a real bowl, especially when mixed with frozen banana. It’s like dessert almost (I had this for lunch, though).

Homemade Starbucks latte, half sweet potato, raisins, sour gummy vitamins, almond peanut cashew buttah.

¬†I’m a coffee girl at heart. Not so much for the caffeine, because it doesn’t do much for me (other than when I get anything larger than a tall at the ‘bucks–then I feel sick and have a humongo¬†headcahe afterwards) but for the delicious taste. I’m not a hardcore black coffee person at all–I like some sweetness and flavor. Oh, and I also rarely have coffee at breakfast, usually opting for the afternoon (because caffeine does not keep me up at night–I could probably drink coffee at 10 pm and still sleep fine) but lately, I’ve been feeling a¬†nice¬†cup¬†thermos at breakfast time, especially since it’s getting pretty cold around here. Anyways, I make my coffee with half a packet of Starbucks VIA mocha instant coffee, a packet of Truvia, 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk steamed in the micro and a dash of cinnamon. Alongside that I had half of a hot sweet potato, some raisins and APCB. Oh, and my beloved sour gummy vitamins. I wish I could eat them more than just once a day, because I totally would, they’re so good ūüėõ

The new Halloween Clif Kid bar flavor--full moon brownie.

¬†I love Clif¬†Z-bars–they’re perfectly snack sized and come in really good flavors. So far, I’ve tried the blueberry, chocolate brownie, apple cinnamon (which was discontinued) and s’mores and have liked them all. But the full moon brownie is by far my favorite! I love the soy white chocolate chunks and the richness of the bar itself. I wish it was a permanent flavor, though–guess I’ll just have to stock up before Halloween!

 

What “old favorite” have you eaten lately in a new way?

My Foodie Staples

Aren’t there a few¬†many things you can’t live without? I’m sure we all have them, I know I do! They tend to change every once in a while, but I definitely have some items I’d prefer to not go without. With that being said, here’s my current list of foodie staples!

Cereal:¬†Right now, I’m loving on the PB Puffins (hope I never get sick of those!), Kashi¬†Honey Sunshine, 365 Organic Honey Crunch & Oats and Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Crunch. I also really like Bear Naked Fit granola (especially triple berry crunch–what’s with all these cereals and having crunch in their name?) and Udi’s cranberry granola. I generally don’t have cereal at breakfast (I used to everyday, though) but it makes an amazing snack…or small dinner?

PB & Chocolate Puffins, Bear Naked Fit granola

Fruit: Gosh, no way could I ever live without this! I love almost all fruits I’ve tried, except for plums and pears. In my dorm, it’s hard to have some of my favorite fruits, like pineapple and berries, so I’m sticking with some tried-and-true varieties, like bananas, black grapes and apples. They’re all pretty versatile and easy to take with me to classes.

Red grapes, giant Honeycrisp apple, bunch 'o bananas

Veggies: I also love veggies, but I don’t really have a way to cook it, so raw it is. Luckily, I love raw cauliflower, and it’s pretty easy to eat. I also discovered butternut squash, which is amazing and simple to heat up in the micro. Plus it comes pre-cut (thanks, Whole Foods!) so it’s perfect for someone without a sharp knife handy. Baby carrots are also a good option.

Cubed b-nut squash, baby carrots, cauliflower

Dried fruit:¬†Mmmmmm, yes! Dried fruit is the bomb.com and even less of a hassle to bring to classes. I love Medjool dates, raisins (golden and regular), dried pineapple, freeze-dried fruit…the list goes on and on. I just look for dried fruit without any added sugar or chemicals and I’m good to go!

Organic Medjool dates, raisins, organic dried pineapple

Mini frozen burritos:¬†I have 2 small fridges with tiny freezer compartments, so I need all the space I can get. EVOL makes mini burritos, which are perfect as a snack or part of dinner/lunch. I love the veggie fajita kind, since it’s vegan and yummy. Score!

2 mini EVOL veggie fajita frozen burritos

Sweet potatoes: I’ve been missing these guys like crazy lately, but luckily, they’re back in my life again. They heat up quick in the micro and taste so so good topped with almost anything–nut butter, trail mix, honey, guacamole, chili powder…

Cinnamon and almond butter topped sweet potato

Spices: Speaking of chili powder, girl’s gotta have her spices. All I got right now is curry powder, ground cinnamon and hot Mexican chili pepper, but it’s good enough for me! Those are probably my 3 fave, and they can ‘spice’ up anything from coffee (the cinnamon, of course) to veggies.

Ground cinnamon and hot Mexican-style chili powder

Truvia:¬†I like things sweet, but I don’t want to add real sugar to some things, ya know? That’s where Truvia packets come in. They’re easy to carry around in case I get an unsweetened iced tea on-the-go and I always add a packet to my oats to sweeten them up. I love that they’re a natural sub for fake sugar.

Big box o' Truvia packets

Almond/nut butter: Where would we be without nut butter? As I’ve said several times before, PB is not¬†my fave (sorry!). But I absolutely adore almond, and lately, almond peanut cashew. Nut butters are soooooo¬†good on sweet taters, as an oats topper, on wraps/sandwiches, with fruit (especially dates) or even off your finger ūüėČ

Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter

Morningstar spicy veggie sausages:¬†I have one of these almost every morning, and have for probably the last year. Somehow, I’m not getting bored of them. I’m definitely not a savory person, especially at breakfast, but they’re a great source of vegetarian protein, they’re easy to make (except when your micro burns them…) and they taste so darn good. I like anything spicy, like I’ve said millions of times before.

Spicy veggie breakfast sausage, fudgie-topped millet bread

Organic jelly:¬†It’s kinda upsetting how many jellies have high fructose corn syrup in them. I mean, come on, why can’t they just have simple, natural ingredients? When I found Smucker’s¬†Organic line of jellies, I fell in love. Sure, there’s still sugar in them, but it’s real sugar, and it’s natural and organic. There aren’t any weird ingredients in it either. Is it weird that I like it with nut butter and crackers????? It’s also delish as an oats topper.

Smucker's Organic concord grape jelly

Starbucks VIA instant coffee: I can’t live without my ‘bucks fix every once in awhile. But when you’re a college student with no car, it’s kinda hard to get. Lucky for me, they came out with instant coffee packs that are almost¬†as good as their brewed stuff. Not only do I love it in homemade skinny lattes, but it’s amazing mixed in with overnight oats. Talk about an energizing breakfast ūüėõ

Date with almond butter, homemade Starbucks VIA latte, Greek yogurt with raw organic honey

Protein bars:¬†I’m no athlete, but I still eat these like it’s my job. Kidding, but I do love ’em. I don’t get the huge ones, like regular Clifs¬†(I usually cut them in half to have as a snack), I prefer the Mojo kind which are like trail mix bars, and Pure and Halo bars. They make a perfect on-the-go lunch alongside some fruit and they come in so many varieties. My faves at the moment are Mojo white chocolate macadamia and mountain mix, Pure chocolate brownie and Halo s’mores and nutty marshmallow. I try to get bars that have at least 6 grams of protein (the Halo ones don’t, but they’re good for a snack) and only natural sugar.

Clif Mojo Mountain Mix & White Chocolate Macadamia, Clif Z-Bar Chocolate Chip and Full Moon Brownie, Pure Cherry Cashew and Chocolate Brownie, Halo Nutty Marshmallow and Clif C Blueberry

Almond milk: I switched to soy last May, and I liked it for a while, but now I prefer almond. I still have soy milk every so often (the Silk seasonal kinds are SO good) but now I’m trying to buy almond more often. I really love the Pacific Naturals unsweetened vanilla, but the plain Whole Foods brand is also good. It lasts longer in the fridge than soy and has a nice, light nutty taste.

Pacific Naturals organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Rolled oats: Of course¬†I have these! I probably have oats in some form every single day…well actually, I pretty much just eat them in overnight oats ūüėÄ Unlike a lot of people, I prefer overnighters to cooked oats. But anyways, oats are incredibly versatile, easy to prepare and so healthy. I don’t even want to start to explain my overnight oats, so just check out my page devoted to them!

Carrot cake overnight oats

¬†Greek yogurt:¬†Another “duh” if you read my bloggy¬†regularly! Oikos¬†is my one true Greek yo’ love, but sometimes I go off and have an affair with Fage¬†mango guanabana¬†or blueberry acai. Shhhhhh, don’t tell ūüėČ

Oikos organic plain, Fage Total 0% blueberry acai, Oikos organic caramel

¬†Of course, there are many many more products I’ve (sadly) had to leave out ’cause I didn’t wanna bore y’all with it, but these are what I have most often and love the most!

What are your foodie staples?