My (Now) Crazy Life

Sorry I’ve been missing lately! I wish I could promise a more regular posting and commenting schedule but my life is about to get even crazier and busier in the next couple of weeks so I may not be around much. But I want to fill you in on what’s been happening in my (now) crazy life lately!

I don't always get manis...but when I do, I take shameless selfies to show them off!

I don’t always get manis…but when I do, I take shameless selfies to show them off!

It all started on Wednesday. I drove up 2 1/2 hours to my college town to reunite with one of my best friends. We hadn’t seen each other since before I graduated in December and a fun girls’ day was in order. We got sushi for lunch with her boyfriend (I got an avocado maki roll and it was the cheapest lunch ever–like $4!) and then drove over to our favorite nail salon to get manis and then drove down to the outlet mall for a little shopping. We didn’t buy much (I only ended up getting a coral dress from American Eagle for under $20) but we had fun trying on different outfits and just reconnecting. She’s graduating in May so we talked a lot about our future plans. And I filled her in about my new job! I haven’t talked about it a lot here yet, but let’s just say I’m moving out of state in a couple weeks…

Of course, this chipped a couple of days later.

Of course, this chipped a couple of days later.

My first time at a Trader Joes! I fell in love :)

My first time at a Trader Joes! I fell in love 🙂

On Friday my mom and I headed up to Denver for a busy day of shopping and food. We got lunch at Native Foods first (my last time getting to eat there for awhile 😦 ) and then the moment I’ve been waiting for for at least a year…we stopped at the new Trader Joes! Colorado finally got with the program and opened up a few TJs last month, but since none are where we live, we had to drive about an hour up to Denver to check out the store.

Their produce is so cheap but incredibly good!

Their produce is so cheap but incredibly good!

The store was a little smaller than I was expecting it to be, but then again I’m used to Whole Foods and Sprouts which are a little bigger. But the selection is incredible! They had so many products I’ve never seen anywhere else, and a lot of stuff (like their raw almond butter) is just much cheaper than at any other store. It made me a little sad that I’m moving to a state that doesn’t have any TJs. Of course, I ended up with a bunch of stuff, including dried persimmon (!), almond butter, tofu burgers and a pink sea salt grinder. My mom was mostly impressed with their beer and wine selection!

Where else can you find exotic dried fruits for less?

Where else can you find exotic dried fruits for less?

IKEA has my heart.

IKEA has my heart.

After a quick trip to our favorite ice cream place (they always offer 4 rotating vegan flavors and I got the spiced cider sorbet–just like apple cider!), it was off to IKEA! If you’ve never been to an IKEA, you won’t realize how awesome it is. It’s also a decent workout, as you have to walk through the entire store to get to the checkout. My mom and I went to check out some inexpensive furniture for my new apartment but we didn’t get anything other than a tabletop ironing board because we realized we won’t have enough room in the car to move it. And there’s no IKEA where I’m moving to, so any IKEA furniture will have to wait until I come back home to visit and I can take some back with me.

An amazing locally-made GF vegan cookie. So buttery and maple-y.

An amazing locally-made GF vegan cookie. So buttery and maple-y.

On Saturday my dad and I hit up a vegan pop-up market downtown. The weather was seriously crappy (windy, cloudy and cool) but luckily the market was held inside. It was a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be, but we got free samples of kale chips and green juice and I also got a couple locally-made gluten free vegan cookies. I wish I had bought more, because they were incredible.

I love sangria.

I love sangria.

After church, it was time for my celebratory dinner out. My family doesn’t go out to eat often (once a month, if that) but we always do for special occasions, like birthdays and apparently job offers! I chose Tapateria, where I had my birthday dinner in July and even though we couldn’t sit outside because of the weather, it was still just as nice of an experience as it was the first time. We ordered a lot of the same things as last time, like the incredible fresh garlic bread (everything is gluten free, which I love!), the warm olives and of course, the sangria. I don’t drink that often (again, probably about once or twice a month) but I love sangria and I plan on making my own this summer.

So fresh, so garlicky, so good.

So fresh, so garlicky, so good.

It’s crazy that Saturday’s dinner was one of the last times I’ll be eating out with my family. I know it’s kinda hard on my parents too–my sister’s going off to college in the fall so they’ll officially be empty-nesters. I’m lucky to be so close with my family, so I know the transition period will be tough on all of us, but it’s nice to know that I’m always a phone call, text or 9 hour drive away from seeing them.

I'm finally an iPhone owner!

I’m finally an iPhone owner!

On Sunday, I officially became an iPhone owner! I’ve had an iPod touch since 2010 but all my smartphones have been Androids. I’ve been wanting an iPhone for awhile, and since T-Mobile finally offers them, I upgraded to the iPhone 5C. In pink, naturally. That phone is seriously my baby. I’m in love with iOS 7 and the feel of the phone. And I still have the best of both worlds, because my tablet still has all my Android stuff on it. Win win! The best part is, I can finally use emojis so…don’t be surprised if my Instagram is bombarded with them 😉

So there’s just a little glimpse into the craziness of my life lately. I’ve got one more post lined up for this week, and then I’m off to TX at the end of this week for spring break! Fair warning, my life will be even crazier post-spring break so I’ll try to keep up with commenting but I probably won’t post much for the next few weeks. See y’all in mid-April!

What were you up to this weekend? 

 

Facing the Fats

Fats tend to get a bad rap. Not quite as much in the blog world, where almost everyone enjoys nut butters and avocado on the daily but they’re still viewed as somewhat scary. And I’m one of those people who used to be scared to death of fats. Because I thought they’d make me fat. I mean, duh, that’s their name, why wouldn’t they do that? Boy was I wrong!

My eating disorder days were when I feared fats the most. Can you blame me–I was a kid of the 90s, when low-fat was everything, and I was brainwashed by school nutrition programs to seek out lower fat options. Just before I was at my worst ED-wise, I replaced my old favorite snacks with fat-free pudding and those Snackwell cookies. What I didn’t realize was that low-fat is another name for more sugar, or more sodium. Without some fats, food doesn’t have much flavors (besides fruits and veggies, of course!) But I didn’t care, I felt like I was superior because I was eating little to no fat, unlike most people my age. In my worst days, I subsisted on black beans and rice, “light” toast, sugar-free Jell-O and fruit. The only real fat I was eating was maybe 1 teaspoon of almond butter per day. What a sad, flavorless life! At that point, I was not only afraid of fat but also carbs and my health and appearance were really suffering because of it. I took a nap almost every day after school because I had no energy–not something a normal 16 year old does. My skin was dry, my hair had tons of split ends and was falling out, I was super pale and just didn’t look happy and healthy. Little did I know that it was due to the lack of nutrients.

This is how the food pyramid should look!

During my early recovery, I started to eat more fats again, like larger servings of almond butter and guacamole, but I still shied away from them, especially saturated fats. I wasn’t so afraid of the total fat count, but I always looked at the saturated fat content on every food I bought. I tried my hardest to stay under 2 grams of sat fat total per day, which is damn hard to do. I looked longingly at Clif and Luna bars but always passed them up because most of them had just a little over my total saturated fat “allowance” for the day.

The Luna Bar I always wanted to try (but didn’t) because of the 2.5 grams of sat fat.

Unfortunately, this fear of saturated fat continued for almost three more years. I rejected foods I used to love, like dark chocolate, because they had too much of this scary fat. It didn’t help that most nutrition articles I read supported my fear. I continued to keep my saturated fat levels low…that is, until I transitioned to veganism almost one year ago.

As I embraced vegan foods and tried new things, I realized a lot of them had saturated fat–some more than the measly 2 grams I’d been allowing myself per day. Things like tempeh, nuts and dark chocolate all looked so good, but they were chock-full of fats, mostly the supposed healthy kind (aka unsaturated fats) but they also had a decent amount of saturated. Wanting to be a healthy, fats-embracing vegan, I decided to dip my toe into the world of plant-based saturated fats. And now I can proudly say that I’m never going back to the low-fat lifestyle again!

I would have never let myself eat this much guacamole a year ago!

I eat plant based fats on a daily basis and I love them. Nuts, seeds, tempeh, avocado, olives, dark chocolate and nut butters are my favorite sources and I don’t even want to try living without them. But coconut…that was a different story. I’ve feared coconut for at least 5 years, because it’s extremely high in fat, especially saturated. I wouldn’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole, even though I kinda liked it pre-ED. Until a week or so ago, I hadn’t eaten it in any form since I was probably 13 or 14. Turns out, it’s not as scary as I thought, and I actually like it. Coconut milk ice cream is so much creamier than other vegan ice creams, and maybe even more than regular ice cream (from what I can remember). Coconut milk adds a really nice taste to curry sauces, and it works really well in Larabars. I’m even considering investing in some coconut oil for baking and cooking, since so many people love it and it’s a healthy fat. Yep, I said it, it’s healthy! Now I know that pretty much all plant-based fats are totally healthy, and offer so many benefits. And they taste so amazing!

How did I ever live without this deliciousness?

Basically what I’m saying here is if you’re like me and you are wary of fats, don’t be. Don’t fear the fats–they taste awesome and they’ll give you so much health and energy. I eat about 30 to 35% of my daily calories from fat, and I’ve never felt better! Stick with the plant based fats–nuts and seeds, avocado, coconut–and I think you’ll see the benefits too.

Have you ever feared fats? What’s your favorite fat source?

WIAW: Strange Combos

I’ve been doing a lot of pre-scheduled posts lately because I am actually in the process of moving! Well obviously not just me but my mom, dad and sister too. I don’t want to go into too many details about the move, but it’s not really major since we’re just moving about 20 miles from where we are now. It’s kinda bittersweet, though, since I’ve lived in this house since I was 12 and I’m in love with everything about the house, especially the location (it’s in a forested area that’s pretty quiet and secluded but gorgeous and nature-y). But since I’m now spending most of the year living in my college town, my sister’s off to college in two years and all the crappy bad economy stuff going on, my family’s downsizing and moving into town to save money on gas and house costs. It definitely makes sense but it’s gonna be hard getting used to sharing a bathroom with my sister and having a smaller kitchen!

Enough with the boring stuff, let’s move on to WIAW! I’ve been kinda slacking on the photo taking with all the packing and moving shenanigans I’ve been involved in but I have some random food pics that all have something in common–weird combinations. Sometimes I experiment and combine really strange foods together and it actually works out!

Breakfast: peanut flour brownie batter pancakes, blue corn blueberry pancakes with Amande blueberry almond milk yogurt and granola.

Pancakes–normal. But pancakes made with blue cornmeal? I decided to try out the blue cornmeal I bought to make quinoa cornbread in some mini pancakes. I mixed the cornmeal with oat flour and added some blueberries into the mix. They actually turned out tasty and had a different texture than typical pancakes. The almond milk yogurt on top was my first experience with nondairy yogurt and it was pretty good, but the texture is definitely different. It’s got a lot of calcium though–30% DV–which is always something I’m trying to get more of.

Lunch: multigrain pizza pita bread, baby carrots, green chile hummus, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts with nooch, tamari pumpkin seeds.

I was going for a Mediterranean-inspired lunch snackplate here. The tamari pumpkin seeds kinda threw that off since they’re more Asian though. The pizza pita bread was from some leftover Whole Foods multigrain pizza dough that I cut into thin-ish pieces. The hummus also isn’t really Mediterranean, and it’s not my favorite hummus either. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect hummus that I can pair with anything…any suggestions?

Alvarado Street sprouted sourdough toast topped with Crofter’s mango jam, sunny “raw”nola and maple macadamias.

This was kind of a tropical take on toast. The mango jam is the best jam I’ve ever had and it went perfectly with the macadamias and granola pieces. Kinda weird to have crunchy things on toast but I don’t care, it was delicious.

Dinner: spicy mac ‘n cheez (quinoa pasta, spicy nacho cashew cheez sauce, Mexican chipotle Field Roast vegan sausage), random kale salad with Bragg’s aminos/lemon juice, nooch, raisins and sunflower seeds.

The mac ‘n cheez isn’t the weird part, the kale salad is. I really don’t know how I came up with this combo but it worked. I took raw kale, massaged lemon juice into it, spritzed it with Bragg’s liquid aminos, dumped nooch on top and sprinkled on raisins and sunflower seeds. Completely random, but totally winning.

What are the weirdest food combos you love to eat? Have you ever tried almond milk yogurt?

Top Ten Tuesday

So in case you haven’t noticed, it’s already almost May. Ummmm, what the heck?! Seriously, I feel like just the other day it was Christmas. Like many other college kids, I’m feeling pretty burned out on school at this point. But my summer unofficially begins in 10 days, so obviously I am beyond psyched for that! I say unofficially because I have only one final exam this time around, so I’m starting my summer a little early, heading home next Friday and popping back up here to take my final the following Thursday…then my summer will officially begin!

Because of this burnout, which extends to many aspects of my life (oh summer, please come faster!) I’ve decided to do a little Top Ten list type post for today, as a little recap of my weekend, and also because I can’t really think about posting an actual post 😀 Hopefully you enjoy this for the time being though!

Ten Foods I Can’t Live Without

1. FruitOkay, technically this is cheating, but there are a billion fruits I can’t live without, from grapes to pineapple to watermelon to bananas to raspberries to kiwi to…you get the picture!

2. Almond milk. I love the unsweetened vanilla kind, but the plain unsweetened is kinda growing on me.

3. Oats. 

My favorite oats combo at the moment--topped with kettle corn, pretzel sticks, raisins and peanut flour/almond peanut cashew butter.


4. Kale. It’s great in chip form, cooked up with some salt/pepper/garlic on the stove and even raw and massaged with some kind of dressing.

5. Tempeh. My vegan “meat” of choice. I love it’s nutty flavor!

6. Peanut flour. 

I prefer peanut flour to PB2, I just store mine in an old PB2 jar so it's less messy!

7. Kalamata olives. Some people can’t stand olives–I don’t understand those people!

8. Medjool dates. So gooey, so caramel-y, so addictingly good.

9. PB Puffins. Do I really even have to explain this one? It’s basically my crack (besides peanut flour).

10. Sweet potatoes. 

Saturday's simple but yummy dinner: sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, baby carrots, garden herb Sunshine veggie burger topped with mustard.

Ten Things I Did This Weekend

1. Went to an independent film fest with my dad. We’ve gone to it since it started 5 years ago–we both love seeing random short indy films.

2. Went to church on Saturday night. Pretty self-explanatory!

3. Went out to eat…4 times! Normally, we barely ever eat out, except for when my mom drops me off back at school after a weekend at home. Due to our busyness this weekend, we had to eat out a lot. Definitely a struggle for me with my ED thoughts, but I mostly succeeded. Yes, I did order ‘safe’ things, like salads and veggie/hummus plates, but I truly enjoyed all of them. My favorites of this weekend were the salad I ordered at Mad Greens on Friday afternoon (baby spinach topped with Kalamata olives, dried cranberries, artichoke hearts and garbanzo beans with a fat free balsamic dressing) and the salad I got on Sunday night at Noodles (the Med salad with no dressing or feta, topped with grilled tofu). I kinda learned that I’m really not a tofu girl–it’s not necessarily the texture, but the taste for me. I’m not the hugest fan.

4. Played tennis with mi padre. Usually we play singles and a half (because we play with my sister) but she was unavailable so the two of us just played singles. It was so warm out and I was running around more than usual, so it was a great workout!

5. Grocery shopping. When my mom and sister picked me up on Friday afternoon, we hit up the Whole Foods and Super Target up here, then back at home we picked up a couple more things at the Super Target by us. And on Sunday, my dad and I ventured to Walmart where I stocked up on Truvia.

6. Bought my first-ever Zevia! I got the cream soda variety, and while I’m still waiting for the perfect opportunity to enjoy it, I have a feeling it’ll be incredible. Hopefully not so incredible that I feel the need to buy it on a regular basis since it’s pretty expensive…

So excited to try this!

7. Rode my bike for the first time since last fall. I never get the chance to ride it during the winter because of snow (duh) and there was even some lingering snow when I came home for spring break. I got in two quickie miles that were super hard because my tires were flat. Oops!

8. Worked on my final papers. Not fun, but they have to get done at some point!

9. Starbucks trip! I ordered a tall unsweetened iced coffee with 3 pumps of sugar-free hazelnut. Even better than the plain unsweetened with Truvia. I loved the nutty taste.

10. Repainted my nails silver and pink. I love this color combo and I actually haven’t had it since the beginning of school back in August!

My (slightly chipped) nails, and my lovely snake ring from American Eagle.

Ten Things to Do Before School’s Out

1. Finish my papers/essays. I’m definitely on track, just gotta keep my motivation up.

2. Clean my room. Vacuuming, dusting and all that should probably be done before I peace out.

3. Laundry. I don’t want to burden my mom too much, so I’m planning on washing my sheets and towels.

4. Finish up my last two weeks of classes. Even though I’m so done, I still have to get through 8 more days of classes. I can do this!

5. Make a (huge) list of recipes to make this summer. Some of this list will be coming ‘atcha tomorrow or Thursday for WIAW.

6. Turn in the last page of my internship stuff. The adviser in charge of organizing internships for students has such limited office hours that every time I stop by her office she isn’t there. I need to get this in though!

7. Move everything out of my room. Most of this will be done next Friday, and the rest the day of my only final. Not exciting or fun, but it’s gotta be done.

8. Sell my textbooks? Since I won’t be here during finals week, I’m not sure if this will get done, but I hope it will so I won’t have to have all these books laying around until the next buyback.

9. Study outside. It’s been incredibly nice here lately (I’m talking 80 degrees in April!) so I want to do this at least once.

10. Move out of the dorms…forever! I can’t tell you how excited I am for this. I love my dorm this year, since it’s all my own and it’s new and has air conditioning, but I am so ready for my own place next year.

What’s on your top ten foods list? What’s the best thing you did this weekend?

WIAW: (Almost) Wordless

Heeeeey guys, I loved hearing what you think about Larabars! I always like to know what other people’s preferences are and try out new things based on a good review.

Today’s WIAW will be basically wordless, besides the captions, and just a mishmash of foods I ate throughout the weekend and early part of this week. Obviously this is not all I ate, nor was it all eaten in one day, it’s just some of the highlights of what I’ve been noshing on.

Baby carrots and (shiny) red grapes.

I love Whole Foods' no salt no oil popcorn, especially sprinkled with nooch!

Peanut butter Puffins in unsweetened vanilla almond milk are my crack.

My first time trying kale in a smoothie--and it's actually delicious, mixed with u/s vanilla almond milk, frozen banana and Truvia.

My latest Larabar find--peanut butter and jelly. It was just okay, not bad, but I wouldn't buy it again. Bring on the cappuccino and chocolate chip brownie flavors instead!

Carrot cake overnight oats (topped with raisins, almond peanut cashew butter and peanut flour) with a side of fashion magazine reading and a stuffed Medjool date.

Frozen grapes > fresh grapes.

Raw massaged lemon pepper kale topped with nooch and crumbled hempfast Sunshine burger. I have been obsessed with nooch on everything lately!

Another of my typical snack plates, with nooch-ified edamame, Late July sweet potato multigrain chips, mini sweet pepper, plain popcorn and kettle corn, kalamata olives, Medjool date and dark chocolate espresso bean.

What is the best thing you ate this past weekend? Have you ever tried kale in a smoothie?