WIAW: Photo Dump

Wow, it’s been sooooo long since I’ve done a WIAW! I’ve really missed it, but I had to do what was right for me and for a while, I was trying to get away from focusing on food so much. Now that I’ve found a way of eating that’s working for me, I want to start participating in the best party of the week more often.

Basically, I have a LOT of food/random photos to share so let’s get to it!

One of the newest Larabar flavors.

One of the newest Larabar flavors.

I can’t remember where I first saw the latest additions to the Larabar family, but I knew I had to find them. Luckily, Natural Grocers seems to always have bar flavors other stores don’t have, so when I spotted a few of their new Uber varieties, I had to snag one. I got baklava since it sounded the tastiest, and it was pretty good, with the signature spices of baklava. I still like the bananas foster Uber the best out of that line!

Pumpkin chocolate chip buckwheat+almond flour protein pancakes. Topped with coconut butter, homemade apple chia jam, side of local honey.

Pumpkin chocolate chip buckwheat+almond flour protein pancakes. Topped with coconut butter, homemade apple chia jam, side of local honey.

Breakfast for dinner! These pancakes incorporated a few new products, namely stevia-sweetened chocolate chips (um, yes PLEASE!) and sacha inchi powder. The powder has great stats (40 calories and 6 grams protein per tablespoon) but I don’t love the flavor on its own. It worked great in these pancakes with the flavors of pumpkin and buckwheat!

Beautiful pink flowers at the trial gardens on campus.

Beautiful pink flowers at the trial gardens on campus.

Pretty yellow-ish orange flowers.

Pretty yellow-ish orange flowers.

My family visited me a couple of weekends ago and we took a little walk around the trial gardens on a nice, sunny day. Flowers always make me happy and it was great to see them one last time–probably the last time I’ll see them before I graduate!

Lots o' produce!

Lots o’ produce!

I made my weekly grocery trip on Sunday. Unfortunately for my wallet, it was one of those stock-up trips…meaning I spent a lot more than I wanted to. But I got a lot of things I needed, like produce to refill my fridge, coconut oil and protein powder that will both last awhile and some other pantry staples.

Random buys and pantry staples.

Random buys and pantry staples.

That chocolate bar in the front is perfect for true chocolate lovers–it’s literally just made of cacao beans! It’s a bit too bitter for me so I drizzle a little local honey on it and it’s perfection.

In the Forever 21 dressing room.

In the Forever 21 dressing room.

Trying on dress number 2.

Trying on dress number 2.

Aaaand dress 3, the one I bought. It has little colorful triangles all over!

Aaaand dress 3, the one I bought. It has little colorful triangles all over!

My mom and I did a little shopping while I was home this past weekend. I’ve been looking for a professional-looking dress I can wear to school, for doing the weather for the campus TV station and hopefully to wear at my first big girl job. It’s a lot harder than it seems! I can’t buy anything blue or green (because of the green/blue screen I have to stand in front of), I can’t get dresses that are sleeveless unless I want to wear a blazer over them and of course, they have to fit and look right. I can’t even tell you how many stores we went to and left empty-handed. Finally, we went to Forever 21 and hit the jackpot. I only got one of these dresses (the last one pictured) but I actually loved them all. The top one was a bit too big in the chest area (#ACupProblems) and my mom didn’t like the cutouts on the second one but the third one we both agreed was cute and professional. I can’t wait to wear it on TV this week! Oh, and I’m for sure putting the other two dresses on my Christmas wishlist 😉

I love seasonal food items!

I love seasonal food items!

If I had a vice, it would be seasonal food products. Seriously. I have a big problem. I immediately want to buy them, even if I don’t really need them. Luckily, this week I did need to stock up on protein powder (and this one was on a 3 day sale at Whole Foods, score!) and I wanted to buy some sprouted tortilla chips to make nachos. I want to do some kind of review post soon on the products I’ve tried recently but for now, I have to say I love and recommend both of these. The Amazing Meal has the perfect mix of chocolate and peppermint, and I love the vitamins and minerals in all their products. And the chips are a little sweet and a little salty and great for dipping.

Return of the Whole Foods salad bar box.

Return of the Whole Foods salad bar box.

The last thing my wallet needs right now is the Whole Foods salad bar, but I haven’t had it in at least 2 months, so I was desperate for my favorite takeout. I got some usuals and tried a few of their Indian dishes. It was SO much food, but it was worth the price for sure. At least it’s a rare indulgence, amiright?

Local matcha 'frappuccino' from Nourish Organic Juice.

Local matcha ‘frappuccino’ from Nourish Organic Juice.

Noochy kale salad, cashew ranch dressing and grain free PB chocolate chip blondie from Nourish.

Noochy kale salad, cashew ranch dressing and grain free PB chocolate chip blondie from Nourish.

While I was at home, my dad and I saw some short films at a film festival downtown. The movies were fun, but the best part was trying out a newish vegan place nearby for lunch. My dad is definitely NOT a vegan but he’s so accepting of my lifestyle (as is my mom) and he’s always willing to try vegan restaurants and food, plus he’s really into eating foods without artificial ingredients, so that’s a plus. The restaurant we went to is mostly a smoothie and cold-pressed juice place but they had some tasty food options as well. My salad was small but really delicious, especially with their homemade dressing. The frappuccino was perfect–a lot less sweet than frapps from Starbucks, and made with matcha tea, almond milk and a bit of agave. And the PB blondie was incredible–I had it for dessert that night and it was even better warmed in the microwave. I love that they are completely gluten free and vegan (with a lot of grain free options) and that they make all their stuff in-store or buy it locally. Definitely my kind of place!

What have you been eating and doing lately? 

WIAW and New Series

It feels like forever since I’ve done a WIAW (okay, so it’s only been 2 weeks) so I’m back again with some random things I’ve been eating throughout the past few days. And…I’ve been wanting to start another post series like my grocery budgeting one and with my new found interest in raw foodism, I figured, why not do posts on my adventures in going raw?

I’ll start off with a few non-raw pics for WIAW, and then move into the first Adventures in Raw topic, which will be obsessiveness. I know a lot of non-raw-foodies think that a raw food diet, whether LFRV (aka the 80-10-10 fruitarian diet) or HFRV (including some higher fat raw foods) or somewhere in between, can become obsessive and restrictive, but so far, I’ve found that to be the opposite. More on that below!

WIAW

A non-raw breakfast for once: GF buckwheat+coconut flour based pancakes, topped with vanilla Sunwarrior 'frosting', Justin's vanilla almond butter, blueberries and coconut flakes.

A non-raw breakfast for once: GF buckwheat+coconut flour based pancakes, topped with vanilla Sunwarrior ‘frosting’, Justin’s vanilla almond butter, blueberries and coconut flakes.

Besides when I was on vacation, and even then I was still trying to eat somewhat raw when I could, I’ve been eating at least one raw meal a day, and it’s usually been breakfast. But one day I was craving a cooked breakfast so I opted for some quick GF pancakes made from a mix of coconut and buckwheat flours. They turned out fine, but I realized while eating them that I missed my raw breakfasts. Nothing like prepping raw flax pancakes or chia puddings the night before and just having to plate and top them in the morning!

Dinner from the grill: portobello mushroom (marinated in coconut aminos, liquid smoke and a little maple syrup) topped with fresh-made guac, side of grilled sweet potato fries.

Dinner from the grill: portobello mushroom (marinated in coconut aminos, liquid smoke and a little maple syrup) topped with fresh-made guac, side of grilled sweet potato fries.

If I haven’t been eating mostly raw at dinner, I’ve been wanting things grilled. Grilled veggies, grilled fruit, grilled tempeh. I finally decided to grill a portobello for the first time. It was good, but it could have been grilled a little longer–I like my foods dry! The sweet potato fries were pretty good though. I thought you had to always precook sweet potatoes before you grill, but I just sliced up this one, spiced it with Old Bay and almond oil, and tossed it in a grill basket. Some pieces were too firm, and some too burned, but they were tasty!

Work snacks: half a Vega One double chocolate bar (the cleanest and tastiest protein bar out there!), organic blueberries, leftover grilled sp fries, date.

Work snacks: half a Vega One double chocolate bar (the cleanest and tastiest protein bar out there!), organic blueberries, leftover grilled sp fries, date.

On Mondays and Thursdays I work a 5 hour shift from 2 to 7 pm at my weather internship. That’s basically my ideal snack time, and I want to make sure I’m not too starving to make the half hour drive home from work unbearable (or make my wallet unhappy by stopping at Whole Foods every time) so I pack a lot of little snacks that I eat whenever I get the time. My favorite combo is half of a Vega or Larabar, with fresh veggies and fruit.

If only alcohol was raw, amiright?

If only alcohol was raw, amiright?

Now that I’m legal almost 21 (in just a month and 8 days!), and it’s summer, I’ve been in the mood to sometimes (read: once or twice a month) enjoy a little adult drink. And by little, I really mean little, because my body does NOT have a high tolerance for alcohol. I can’t even handle one drink without feeling a little weird. Guess that means I’ll be a cheap date in the future 😉 However, I was able to handle this watermelon frosty because it was just 1 shot of vodka and basically, it was like a watermelon in frozen form! My mom added some lime juice and a bit of honey with the watermelon, along with the vodka and a little water to the blender and it was the perfect summertime drink. It would be awesome too in nonalcoholic form, and made more raw-friendly with raw honey instead of regular.

Adventures in Raw

Now, onto what I was saying about raw foodism and obsessiveness. I know it can seem, and can actually become, overwhelming to eat all raw, all the time. Right now, I’m not at that point. I still eat cooked foods once or twice a day, and some things I eat aren’t strictly raw, but I keep it clean and healthy within the limits I’ve given. Going out to eat while raw can be hard, unless the restaurant you go to has some raw options, so that’s why I’m keeping my diet mostly raw at home, and just healthy and vegan if I’m out (unless there is a raw option, then I’ll probably go for it!)

Anyways, my point is that raw foodism doesn’t seem obsessive to me. In my experiments with it so far, it’s made me less obsessed over macros especially. When I was still tracking my calories, and even after I stopped, I was so focused on my macro balance. Earlier this year, I think I was striving for a 50-20-30 balance (carbs/protein/fat) and it wasn’t just a loose goal–I tried to get that everyday, and if I didn’t, I was disappointed and beat myself up. With eating raw, I just focus on nutrients and getting in enough calories because you have to eat a LOT more when you’re raw. It’s helped me challenge my old bad habit of wanting to restrict and seeing raw foodies’ Instagrams inspires me to eat a lot more than I’m used to. I just don’t worry about getting the perfect balance of macros anymore. I’m not sure I believe that the 80-10-10 balance is the way to go, because I feel great with more fats, but I think I’m probably hitting more of a 60-15-25 balance right now, and it’s great. I don’t stress about getting enough protein or too many carbs like I used to, but I also don’t worry about getting too much fat from healthy sources like raw nuts, seeds and coconut.

Raw banana 'ice cream' mixed with a little chocolate Sunwarrior and a Medjool date, topped with raw pumpkin seeds and a raw chocolate bar. This meal had protein, carbs and fat but I wasn't stressing if I got enough or too much of any macro.

Raw banana ‘ice cream’ mixed with a little chocolate Sunwarrior and a Medjool date, topped with raw pumpkin seeds and a raw chocolate bar. This meal had protein, carbs and fat but I wasn’t stressing if I got enough or too much of any macro.

Raw foodism has also made meal prep a breeze. Like I mentioned above with the pancakes, I’m getting used to making meals that take almost no prep time, or can be made ahead of time. Even complicated raw desserts or sauces just need a few minutes in the food processor and they’re ready to be served. And making things in the dehydrator is actually less time-consuming, because I’m not constantly checking on the food and I can just let it run overnight. And if I’m starving and want to eat NOW, I can just throw veggies, spices and a fat together in a bowl and call it a meal.

Green goddess bowl--an easy raw dinner. Base of kelp noodles mixed with coconut aminos and lime juice, topped with spinach, mashed avocado mixed with sea salt and lime juice and raw pumpkin seeds.

Green goddess bowl–an easy raw dinner. Base of kelp noodles mixed with coconut aminos and lime juice, topped with spinach, mashed avocado mixed with sea salt and lime juice and raw pumpkin seeds.

And with raw foods, I don’t have to worry so much about the ingredient list. Looking at ingredients became such a compulsive and unhealthy thing for me. Whenever I wanted to buy a new food, I always had to check out the ingredients list in the store or research it online before to see if the ingredients were acceptable. With raw foods, pretty much all the ingredients have to be clean and vegan anyway, so I’m not so stressed out about buying new products.

I'm even trying out new-to-me fruits, like this canary melon. Kinda tastes like a sweeter honeydew.

I’m even trying out new-to-me fruits, like this canary melon. Kinda tastes like a sweeter honeydew.

Do you prefer quick and easy meals, or ones that require a lot of prep work? What’s your favorite thing to grill?

WIAW: Easter Weekend

It seems like Easter was weeks ago, but nope, it was just a couple of days ago! Obviously I’m great at procrastinating on posting about it 😉 But seriously though, it’s getting to be that busy time of the semester, when everything is just starting to pile up so apologies if I go missing around here for a few days!

Easter weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had in awhile. I really needed the long weekend after a rough post-spring break week back at school, so the fun and rest was much appreciated. I’ll break it all down for you in some pics I snapped over the weekend.

OOTD March 28: black studded tank (F21), black/white printed harem pants (F21), white watch (AE).

OOTD March 28: black studded tank (F21), black/white printed harem pants (F21), white watch (AE).

Thursday started out with morning classes, and then my mom drove up to bring me back home. She got up to my apartment around noon so we stopped for lunch before hitting the road. We went to Wahoo’s, one of our old favorites that we now can’t get back home since all the locations shut down. Luckily my college town still has one–Wahoo’s has the best guac, hands down. I got a surprisingly amazing salad topped with guac, salsa and roasted veggies.

Fast forward a couple of hours. My parents were both in a Holy Week play at our church so my sister and I went to go watch them. For not having many rehearsals, everybody was really good and a lot of the monologues were very emotional.

Some new-to-me groceries.

Some new-to-me groceries.

Friday morning I got to sleep in a little, and then after lunch my mom and I went out to find birthday presents for my dad. Shhhh, don’t tell him I told you but he’s turning the big 5-0 today! Anyways, we also hit up Whole Foods as per usual so I could pick up groceries for the week ahead. I got a few new things as usual too–the Sunwarrior chocolate was ordered by my dad off Amazon, but everything else was bought by me. So far, I loved the sweet potato apple fruit strip–it was delicious and only a couple of grams of sugar–the nori sheets (perfect for raw wraps) and the kale chips. Seriously, the Kale Krunch brand is the best, I’ve loved all their flavors I’ve tried.

Artisan pizza to celebrate my dad's birthday a little early. This was Saturday's leftover dinner (over a bed of spinach+balsamic) but I ordered a pizza with kalamata olives, artichokes, capers, garlic and oregano (no cheese of course).

Artisan pizza to celebrate my dad’s birthday a little early. This was Saturday’s leftover dinner (over a bed of spinach+balsamic) but I ordered a pizza with kalamata olives, artichokes, capers, garlic and oregano (no cheese of course).

This may seem weird as a clean eating vegan, but I LOVE pizza! By pizza, I don’t mean mass-produced Domino’s or frozen pizza with greasy cheese and no veggies. I love good quality, hand tossed pizza from authentic restaurants topped with classic Mediterranean toppings like olives and artichokes and thin crispy crust. And of course, no cheese! Even when places offer vegan cheese, I never order it because I like to keep my pizzas focused on the veggies. We ate dinner pretty late since we went to the Good Friday service at our church before (always a very moving service) but surprisingly, I wasn’t too freaked out about eating dinner around 9. I even ate 4 out of 6 of the slices…and had two leftover for a great dinner on Saturday!

My diva Easter eggs, thanks to a Target egg kit.

My diva Easter eggs, thanks to a Target egg kit.

Who needs to dye eggs when you can accessorize them? At my house, we’ve decorated Easter eggs since I was little and I can’t imagine not doing it. This year, I convinced my mom to buy the diva decorating kit from Target rather than the usual glitter and dye kits. Yes, I’m still 5 years old 😀 My sister and I had a blast glamming out our eggs to be rocker chicks on Saturday night. Easter eggs have never been this cool!

Grain free carrot cake pancakes for Easter breakfast.

Grain free carrot cake pancakes for Easter breakfast.

What’s better than homemade pancakes on Easter morning? Ok, for me, waffles would win, but my waffle maker lives at my apartment while I’m at school so sadly I couldn’t make them. But I settled for carrot cake pancakes, made with almond and buckwheat flours (so technically grain free, since buckwheat is a seed, like quinoa), shredded carrot, raisins and topped with peanut flour paste and cashew butter and more raisins, dipped in real maple syrup. If only I could make pancakes every morning!

My Easter outfit (actually the exact same as last year!)

My Easter outfit (actually the exact same as last year!)

I didn’t realize it until looking at my photos from last year, but I wore the same dress last Easter. Oh well, I’m sure no one but me noticed. Easter is usually snowy and cold here for some reason (April is one of our snowiest months, go figure) but this year we had no snow at all and it was actually sunny and in the 60s. So I could wear a dress without bundling up in a coat and sweater too!

Finally tried the strawberry Zevia!

Finally tried the strawberry Zevia!

Sprouts is my savior…first they had the ALT Larabars, now they have strawberry Zevia. And unlike the grape, which I only sorta liked, this one was delicious and almost tasted like watermelon (always a good thing). And I just love the light pink can color!

My Easter basket!

My Easter basket!

Another Easter tradition that never gets old? Hiding Easter baskets! My mom hid one for me, my sister and dad this year and I still loved searching all over the house for it. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that she had filled it with my favorite nail polish color, great smelling lotion and vegan candy from Whole Foods. Now, to be 100% honest, I’m still a little wary about this candy–it’s healthier than most but it still doesn’t have completely ‘clean’ ingredients up to my ridiculous standards. However, I know she wanted me to be able to enjoy some candy, so I’ll try to get over my fear and enjoy a little of it every day. It’s not even that unhealthy, to be honest, just another issue I’m still dealing with.

So Delicious sugar free vanilla coconut milk ice cream topped with frozen blueberries.

So Delicious sugar free vanilla coconut milk ice cream topped with frozen blueberries.

Easter dessert was something I haven’t had in awhile–ice cream! I love coconut milk ice cream, but again, it was something I pushed aside because it wasn’t totally ‘clean’. However, I really like the no sugar added kind by So Delicious and it’s really not that processed so I enjoyed a small bowl of the vanilla with blueberries and a homemade chocolate PB bunny on the side (recipe to come).

Carrot cake 'white chocolate' truffles (recipe soon!)

Carrot cake ‘white chocolate’ truffles (recipe soon!)

Easter weekend was extra long because I didn’t head back up to school until early Monday morning. Once back at my apartment after classes, I whipped up another batch of the homemade chocolate PB bunnies (this time I made ‘eggs’) and also experimented with making a carrot cake inspired version. Both kinds turned out amazing, so look for those recipes very soon! Both recipes have no added sugar, and are super easy to whip up.

What was the best part of your weekend? Are you a snob about any foods (like me with pizza)?

 

 

 

WIAW: Working With Almond Flour

The blogging world has introduced me to so many things–overnight oats (which I haven’t had in months…just got burned out on them), chia seeds, green monsters, Larabars, socca…and now, almond flour.

Almond flour is wayyyyy different than other flours, even gluten free flours. It’s basically made from ground up almonds so it packs plenty of healthy plant fats, fiber and protein. Even though I tend to eat gluten free 90% of the time, I haven’t done any experimenting with the typical GF flours like brown rice, sorghum, etc. When I make GF baked goods, I usually use buckwheat, quinoa or peanut flours but since I discovered almond flour a couple months ago, I’ve been loving it! It’s definitely harder to work with than other GF flours but it adds a great texture to things and unlike coconut flour, you don’t always need eggs to make it work, which I love as a vegan.

This week, I’ve had the house to myself for the mornings and early afternoons so I’ve been taking advantage and whipping up some new recipes in the kitchen. And because of my recent addiction to almond flour, a lot of those experiments have included almond flour in them!

Homemade summer rolls with sunflower seed butter/lite coconut milk/red curry paste dipping sauce. Filled with fresh cucumber slices, pan-fried almond flour-coated tofu and roasted peanuts.

Homemade summer rolls with sunflower seed butter/light coconut milk/red curry paste dipping sauce. Filled with fresh cucumber slices, pan-fried almond flour-coated tofu and roasted peanuts.

Almond flour works really well as a GF and grain free breadcrumb-like coating. I’ve been loving sprouted tofu again lately so for my first time making summer rolls at home, I decided to pan-fry the tofu in a little coconut oil. I coated it in some light coconut milk mixed with red curry paste, rolled the tofu slices in some almond flour and threw it in the pan. Even though the filling fell out of some of the rolls, it was still a delicious dinner.

My first morning ACV 'cocktail'. Made with 1 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 10 drops English toffee liquid stevia, vanilla extract and water.

My first morning ACV ‘cocktail’. Made with 1 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 10 drops English toffee liquid stevia, vanilla extract and water.

Another thing the blog world has introduced me to is ACV cocktails. Apple cider vinegar is apparently a wonder food that’s rich in potassium, can regulate blood pressure, improve skin appearance and removes toxins from the body, among other things. I finally invested in a bottle of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar from Spectrum Organics (it’s important to use this kind, otherwise you don’t reap the benefits) and I made my first ACV cocktail the other day. It was really sour at first, but I got used to it quickly and I’m planning on using it daily from now on!

Lunch: vegan socca-style 'omelette', stuffed with chopped baby carrots, jalapeno pepper and kale.

Lunch: vegan socca-style ‘omelette’, stuffed with chopped baby carrots, jalapeno pepper and kale.

This is also unrelated to almond flour, but it’s a new lunch I’ve been loving lately: the vegan omelette. Even as an omni, I HATED eggs and I never ate omelettes so it’s kinda ironic that now I’m vegan I’m craving omelettes. Whatever. Since I’ve never had an omelette, I can’t really tell you if the texture of this is similar to a real one, but it’s a simple protein and veggie packed lunch that’s also totally customizable to your tastes. I really love adding a tablespoon of nooch to the batter and filling it with carrots, jalapenos and spicy nacho cheez sauce.

Vegan Omelette (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1/4 cup garbanzo/fava bean flour

sea salt, to taste

nutritional yeast, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, etc.

1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh veggies (carrots, spinach, peppers, etc.)

Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. In a bowl, mix garbanzo flour, salt and spices until combined. Add in just enough water to make a batter (should be drippy but not too thin). Pour batter into pan and wait for both sides to cook through (can flip over if you want). Once both sides are cooked, add in veggies and whatever other fillings you want to half of the omelette, and then with a spatula, flip over the uncovered half onto the veggie-covered half. Continue cooking for about a minute or until veggies start to soften. Serves 1.

This was submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #27

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip almond flour pancakes topped with peanut flour paste and pomegranate arils.

Breakfast: pumpkin chocolate chip almond flour pancakes topped with peanut flour paste and pomegranate arils.

I’ve been switching up my breakfasts lately and loving it because then I’m not getting burned out too quickly. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect vegan pancake that isn’t full of gluten but is still delicious and I think I’ve got a winner. It took me a few tries to get the consistency right but these almond flour-based pancakes are really good. They’re definitely not the fluffy, Bisquick-like pancakes of your childhood but they’re great as a healthier every day breakfast and they’re perfect for all kinds of toppings, which are the best part anyway!

Pumpkin Almond Pancakes (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

2-4 tbsp almond flour (depending on how many pancakes you want or if you want a lot of toppings)

1/2 tbsp tapioca or arrowroot starch (don’t leave this out!)

1 tsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 packet stevia, to taste

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp pumpkin puree (can use applesauce or banana if you don’t want pumpkin pancakes)

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat nonstick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray or use coconut oil to cook. In a bowl, whisk dry ingredients (through sea salt) until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until combined.  Pour dry ingredients into wet and if needed, add a little more almond milk to thin out (you want the batter to be somewhat thick so it can stick together in the pan). Spoon half of the batter into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Only cook one pancake at a time so they don’t stick. Serve with fresh berries, real maple syrup or nut butter. Serves 1 or 2. 

Snack: garnet yam with sunflower seed butter and raisins/fig, unpictured peanut flour paste.

Snack: garnet yam with sunflower seed butter and raisins/fig, unpictured peanut flour paste.

My latest order of peanut flour came in at the right time, just as I was starting to go through withdrawals 😉 Kidding, but I loooooooove that stuff! My favorite way to eat it is to mix it up with stevia and water so it’s like a peanut frosting and then top a garnet yam with it and sprinkle on some dried fruit. Um, yum!

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

And now I finally have a delicious gluten free (and technically grain free too, since buckwheat is a seed) vegan donut recipe! And I took Heather’s donut advice to heart and remembered to flip the pan onto the baking rack…now my donuts are prettier! This time around, I was inspired by the citrus season and my year-round love for summer and made some orange creamsicle donuts. Because who wouldn’t want a summery treat when it’s all blah outside?

Orange Creamsicle Donuts (vegan, gluten free)

1 tbsp ground flax+ 3 tbsp warm water, for flax ‘egg’

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup (2 scoops) Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder (or other vegan vanilla protein powder)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural granulated sugar)

1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

juice and zest of one large tangerine (I used a Minneola)

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan with nonstick cooking spray (I used a 6 cavity). In a small bowl, mix flax with water to gel into ‘egg’ and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (through coconut sugar). In the bowl with the flax ‘egg’, stir in almond milk, vanilla, juice & zest, coconut oil and applesauce until combined. Pour wet into dry–the batter should be lumpy and thick. Add a bit more almond milk if needed. Spoon or pipe batter into donut pan (it will make a little more than can fit in a normal-sized 6 cavity pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just set. Makes 6 donuts. 

And if you’re not overwhelmed by all the recipes yet, here’s one more (it’s the last one, I promise!) It’s a recipe for almond flour-based biscotti…but don’t be intimidated by the name! I had never made biscotti before this, let alone grain free vegan biscotti, but it actually turned out exactly like I hoped it would and my non-vegan cookie-loving dad told me I should sell them! So that’s a good sign, right 😛 I based my recipe off the one found here, just making a couple of changes to make it my own. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures but you can check out the original recipe for some great pics.

Almond Flour Biscotti (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1 cup almond flour

1 tbsp raw cacao powder (you can use regular cocoa or carob powder)

2 tsp tapioca or arrowroot starch

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp maple syrup (can sub honey, coconut or agave nectar)

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 dried Calimyrna fig, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend together almond flour, starch, sea salt and baking soda just until combined. Add the maple syrup until mixture comes together into a sticky ball. Run hands under water and place ball of dough onto parchment-lined sheet and press dough together. Add in sunflower seeds and fig and form dough into a long, narrow log. Bake for 20 minutes, or just until it starts to harden. Remove from oven for 10-15 minutes, cut the dough into about 1o or 12 pieces (cut along the diagonal) and then place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes to finish hardening. 

Sorry about the recipe overload! Obviously I am way too excited about my almond flour successes but trust me when I say that they’re all really good substitutes for the typical gluten-filled desserts and breakfasts. Almond flour isn’t the lowest calorie flour per serving out there, plus it’s a lot higher in fat (healthy fat, of course) than most others but that’s why I like it–it’s a way to challenge my former ED fear of fats and it’s fun experimenting with ways to make vegan baked goods without the gluten or grains!

Have you ever tried almond flour in any recipe? Do you drink anything ‘weird’ in the morning? 

The End is Near+Kelp Noodle Stirfry

Well guys, here we are again, at the end of another year. I hate being cliche, but where the heck did 2012 go? I feel like as I get older, the years fly by so much faster than when I was a kid. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s crazy to me that I’m practically done with college!

I’m really excited for 2013. I have no idea exactly what will happen, which scares the type-A planner in me, but it’s exciting to think about all the things that could happen this year. For one, I’m finally turning the big 21 in July. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not big into drinking or anything but it’ll be nice to be able to order a good drink in a restaurant sometimes, or enjoy a cool cocktail at home. Also, I might possibly be graduating in December–crazy talk! I really want to get all my credits done in time so I can graduate a semester early and get started on my first big girl job. I know a lot of people would rather stay in school as long as possible but I’m so excited about my future career (hopefully as a meteorologist) that I want to get a head start!

I don’t want to drag this post on forever, so I’ll just share some brief highlights from the year with you and then give you a delicious, quick recipe at the end.

January

I finally got a Twitter, I experimented more with raw recipes and I overcame my hatred for hot tea. 

Raw carrot cake bite with peanut flour frosting.

Raw carrot cake bite with peanut flour frosting.

February

I tried a bunch of new-to-me products, did a raw food challenge and went to a father daughter dance with my sister and dad. 

Dressed up for the dance.

Dressed up for the dance.

March

I reevaluated my recovery journey and eating habits, got an internship at a local TV station and made a bunch of recipes over spring break.

Enjoying the sunshine during spring break.

Enjoying the sunshine during spring break.

April

I celebrated Easter with the fam, tried Zevia for the first time and got ready for summer food & fun

Coloring Easter eggs.

Coloring Easter eggs.

May

I finished up my sophomore year of college, made my first pancakes from scratch and celebrated my blog’s first birthday

Peanut flour pancakes with homemade strawberry vanilla jam

Peanut flour pancakes with homemade strawberry vanilla jam.

June

I talked about why I eat healthy, made a goal to stop counting calories and moved to a new house

Eating applesauce on the go.

Eating applesauce on the go.

July

I embraced my love of healthy fats, made my go-to meal for the first time and celebrated my 20th birthday

The delicious vegan cake I enjoyed on my birthday.

The delicious vegan cake I enjoyed on my birthday.

August

I tried vegan sushi, almost saw the President and started budgeting my grocery shopping. 

Vegan sweet potato tempura sushi rolls.

Vegan sweet potato tempura sushi rolls.

September

I overcame my fear of coconut, had jury duty and embraced fall

I also did my first giveaway!

I also did my first giveaway!

October

I participated in Vegan MoFo, started my addiction to kabocha and broke some fashion rules.

My first Fashion Friday post.

My first Fashion Friday post.

November

I shared my Christmas wishlist a month early, proved that vegans can get protein too and spent Thanksgiving break writing papers

Almond cake vodka on Thanksgiving.

Almond cake vodka on Thanksgiving.

December

I proclaimed my love for the Whole Foods salad bar, stressed out about finals and had an enjoyable (while sick) Christmas.

It was a white Christmas after all!

It was a white Christmas after all!

 And now for the recipe! I don’t know about you, but after Christmas, some nights I’m feeling lazy and I just want a quick dinner to throw together so I have more time for family game and movie nights. This stirfry recipe comes together in 10 minutes and is easy to customize to your tastes. I used kelp noodles as the base because I love their texture and how they can bulk up a meal without adding any calories but you can use rice or soba noodles if you prefer.

coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry in bowl

Coconut Curry Kelp Noodle Stirfry (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1/4 cup light canned coconut milk (can use full fat)

1 tsp curry powder

red pepper flakes, to taste

1 tbsp peanut flour (or peanut butter)

1 tsp coconut aminos (or tamari)

1/2 cup kelp noodles, rinsed and dried

fresh or frozen veggies (I used shredded carrot slaw and fresh green kale)

1/4 cup fresh or frozen pineapple (or chopped fresh orange)

1/2 cup shelled edamame

In a small bowl, stir together coconut milk, curry powder, red pepper, peanut flour and aminos until thickened and combined. In a medium pan over medium heat, cook edamame, veggies and pineapple in a small amount of coconut oil. Add in kelp noodles and stir sauce over noodles. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture is hot and sauce thickens up a bit. Serve topped with shredded coconut, chopped peanuts, pumpkin seeds or a drizzle of sriracha. Serves 1. 

What are some of your favorite memories from 2012? What’s one new thing you tried this last year?

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #23.

I’m Done…

I’m done…with focusing on calories, rather than nutrients

Larabars might have a ‘lot’ of calories, but they’re healthy and simple!

I want to be a healthy vegan, so what does that mean? Getting enough fats and protein. Instead of seeking out the lowest calorie faux meat products (which do have protein, but aren’t that healthy), I want to buy nutrient-dense things that will fuel my body and help me feel my best, like Larabars and Sunshine Burgers (made from seeds, beans and veggies). I want to stop shying away from coconut products just because of their high saturated fat content. I’m done with being scared of plant-based fats, period.

I’m done…with having tiny portions of everything

Four mini pancakes are NOT enough for breakfast alone!

I know I will always likely have a smaller appetite than a lot of people but that doesn’t mean I have to eat like a hummingbird! I’m sick of eating small amounts at every meal and feeling hungry and unsatisfied an hour or two later. If I want to feel more comfortable with eating more, I can choose to snack more between my mini meals or even just increase the size of my meals a little bit over time. I’m tired of only having 1/4 cup of oats at breakfast (even with toppings it’s not enough) and only allowing myself a teaspoon of nut butter per day.

I’m done…with restricting my calories and my life

Why can’t I feel okay eating an entire (170 calorie) vegan chocolate chip cookie at one sitting and more than a tiny bowl of almond milk ice cream?

I’ve wasted way too much of my life semi-starving myself and listening to ED’s stupid demands. I want to be okay eating the calories I need to live a healthy life. I want to sometimes order something other than a salad at a restaurant. I want to cook vegan things that even my omni family will love, because it’s full of nutrients and flavor. I’m sick of freaking out every day that I exercise a little bit less than I wanted to. I’m done with constantly tallying up my calories and macro nutrients and over analyzing them.

I’m done…with second-guessing my cooking skills

My first attempt at a homemade vegan ice cream pie for Father’s Day…everyone loved it!

I hate worrying about cooking things for my family and wondering if they’ll even like it, just because it’s something they’re not used to. I want to do even more experimenting with cooking for myself. I want to make even more vegan desserts to show my family that vegan things can be just as tasty as normal desserts.

Vegan Ice Cream Pie (vegan)

8 sandwich cookies, any flavor (I used Whole Foods’ store brand, which are all-natural, but Oreos and Newman O’s are also vegan)

1/2 pint vegan ice cream, any flavor or variety like almond/coconut/soy (I used Almond Dream’s cappuccino swirl)

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder or cacao powder

1/2 tbsp agave or maple syrup

splash almond milk (or water)

fresh berries/bananas, shaved dark chocolate, vegan whipped cream, etc. for garnish

Separate the sandwich cookies and set aside the filling. Crumble cookies by hand or in a food processor until finely crushed. Mix in filling until mostly combined and starting to stick together. Press cookie crust into bottom of medium-sized glass bowl or cake pan and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Let ice cream soften and spread 1/4 of a pint over the crust, smoothing down with a rubber spatula or flat wooden spoon. Place in freezer for 30-60 minutes, or until ice cream layer is hardened. In a small bowl, stir together cocoa powder and agave until mostly mixed, and add in a splash of almond milk or water until it becomes a thick fudge-like paste. Spoon over ice cream layer and place in freezer for another 30 minutes. Let ice cream soften again and spread the remaining 1/4 pint over the fudge layer and freeze entire pie for 1-3 hours. Serve topped with berries, shaved/melted chocolate or whatever toppings you’d like. Makes 4 slices. 

What are you “done with”? How do you feel about cooking for others?

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?