WIAW: The Home Stretch

Well, this is (almost) it. Just two more finals, a day and a half and some packing before I don’t have to think about school for 5 weeks! I’ve been excited about Christmas break since at least Thanksgiving break and it’s finally here. This weekend was a little tease though–I went home on Friday and came back last night, mostly so I wouldn’t have to take back a crap ton of things when I drive home on Thursday night but also to be in a better study environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my one bedroom apartment all to myself but things can get a little cray-cray around the complex on the weekends so I thought it would be better to try to study at home.

Today’s WIAW features my eats from Tuesday–side note, I wasn’t able to snap a picture of dinner, so I’m reusing a similar-looking pic from this summer.

Breakfast: peanut chocolate chia 'pudding' topped with homemade almond flour banana bread and unsweetened coconut shreds.

Breakfast: peanut chocolate chia ‘pudding’ topped with homemade almond flour banana bread and unsweetened coconut shreds.

The pantry has been a little slack-a-lackin’ as of late (wow, did I really just say that?) so I’ve been whipping meals and snacks out of my butt. The microwave at home also just broke (how convenient) so instead of being able to make my usual protein microwave cake, I had to settle for a cold breakfast. Luckily I had some chia seeds on hand so I made a chia pudding overnight made with peanut flour, almond milk and raw chocolate protein powder. In the morning, I topped it with crumbles of an almond flour-based banana bread I made over the weekend (so good, BTW!) and unsweetened shredded coconut. This was actually really good, definite repeat breakfast. I can’t believe I used to hate coconut, it’s such a good topper!

Lunch: homemade sweet potato wedges with organic ketchup for dipping, raw cauliflower, homemade maple cinnamon cashews, peanut flour paste with Theo coconut dark chocolate square.

Lunch: homemade sweet potato wedges with organic ketchup for dipping, raw cauliflower, homemade maple cinnamon cashews, peanut flour paste with Theo coconut dark chocolate square.

The snackplate lunch returns! This was a very random one, but I like random. The sweet potato wedges were made on Monday night and I’ve gotta say, homemade is way better than store bought when it comes to sweet potato fries–I’m baking them myself from now on! The cauliflower is my latest veggie obsession, I always eat it raw and plain, which is totally weird but whatever. It’s good. I made the cashews over the weekend and again, never going back to store bought flavored nuts (ok, I probably will when I’m feeling lazy). I just mixed a tablespoon of maple syrup with a shake of cinnamon and a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan until it started to boil and then stirred in the cashews. This will totally work with all nuts, in case you hate cashews. I don’t love them, but they were all I had on hand and they were good with the maple and cinnamon.

Snack: dried pineapple eaten in the car.

Snack: dried pineapple eaten in the car.

I didn’t eat this entire bag, but I love it so much I could have! This stuff isn’t cheap (~$3.50 per bag) but it’s a pretty good deal for dried fruit with nothing added, and I always make it last almost a week. I only eat dried fruit that doesn’t have added sugars or oils or other crap, and let me tell you, it is beyond amazing! I’m calling it my crack in a bag, it is literally that good.

Dinner: Panera chopped Thai salad, without the chicken or wontons.

Dinner: Panera chopped Thai salad, without the chicken or wontons.

My mom and I grabbed Panera for dinner before she dropped me off. Panera is always a good, quick, healthy option and I pretty much always order the same thing: the Thai chopped salad minus the chicken and the wontons. I love it because A) it’s a huge bowl of fresh veggies and B) it has an addicting spicy-tangy peanut dressing and edamame. I almost went with the black bean soup because it was so cold on Tuesday, but I had to go with my favorite. Never disappoints.

Dessert (left to right clockwise): peanut flour/raw chocolate protein powder microwave cake topped with Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter; raw lemon pie macaroon; a few Vega cocoa-covered saviseeds.

Dessert (left to right clockwise): peanut flour/raw chocolate protein powder microwave cake topped with Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter; raw lemon pie macaroon; a few Vega cocoa-covered saviseeds.

I was feeling indecisive when snack time rolled around (but when am I not?) so I went with a mix of my favorite protein-packed snack of a protein microwave cake and healthy, delicious fats in the form of a raw macaroon and some dark chocolate-covered saviseeds. Those last two items were part of my most recent iHerb purchase, and they were both worth the price. The raw macaroons taste exactly like a lemon pie and are perfectly dense with just a hint of coconut. I love that they’re raw and basically made from coconut, almond flour, maple syrup and lemon juice. My kinda snack. The saviseeds have definitely grown on me–the first time I bit into one, I thought it had the oddest taste, but now they taste almost like what I remember peanut M&Ms tasting like. I’m glad I got the cocoa saviseeds because I have an obsession with all things dark chocolate. It’s a problem.

Have you ever tried a raw macaroon or saviseeds? What’s your favorite dried fruit? 

WIAW: Secret Nutrition Edition

I like eating healthy, but I also like to enjoy what I’m eating. If I’m not liking what I’m putting in my mouth, then what’s the point? Luckily, I’ve trained my taste buds to love nutritious things, like kale salads and raw seeds, but I still like to have fun with my food. That  being said, this week’s WIAW features a few of the meals I’ve been enjoying lately, with the ‘secret’ (or not so secret) nutrition aspect of the food too!

Breakfast: banana softserve ‘sundae’ topped with peanut flour paste, cacao nibs and PB Puffins.

Secret: Cacao nibs. These tiny dark brown bits are raw and packed with magnesium, which helps with muscle function and bone strength. They also have more antioxidants than blueberries, green tea and red wine! Cacao nibs pack a powerful healthy fat punch and can boost your energy.

Lunch: Qdoba naked taco salad with romaine, black beans, habanero salsa and guacamole.

Secret: habanero peppers and guacamole. Habaneros are one of the spiciest peppers (between 100,000-500,000 Scoville units) because of their high concentration of capsaicin. Capsaicin can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and can even increase the body’s metabolism while consuming it. Guacamole is made from avocados, which can increase absorption of lycopene and beta carotene when combined with lettuce or spinach. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, and their oleic acid can increase absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.

Snackplate: organic kettle corn, Way Better Snacks Simply So Sweet Chili multigrain chips, fresh pineapple, baby carrots, tamari pumpkin seeds, Chocolove peppermint dark chocolate.

Secret: pumpkin seeds and multigrain chips. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and protein. Their phytosterols can help lower cholesterol, and the seeds have anti-inflammatory benefits. This brand of multigrain chips is probably the healthiest I’ve found. All of the ingredients are real foods, and the chips are full of healthy fats in the form of sprouted flax seeds and sprouted chia seeds. The chips are also made with sprouted quinoa, stone ground corn and sprouted broccoli seeds, and are low in sodium.

Dinner: spicy mac ‘n cheez (quinoa pasta, Field Roast Mexican chipotle vegan grain meat sausage, spicy nacho cheez sauce, nooch).

Secret: nooch, spicy cheez sauce, quinoa pasta. Nooch, aka nutritional yeast, is a vegan staple for a reason. It’s a complete protein source (the brand I used has 8 grams per serving) and is full of necessary vitamins including B12. The spicy cheez sauce recipe can be found here and it’s made with simple, whole ingredients including raw cashews. Cashews provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and magnesium which helps with bone health. They also can prevent gallstones. Quinoa pasta is made from two simple ingredients, quinoa and corn, so it’s perfect for a gluten-free diet. It’s full of fiber and protein, so it can fill you up faster than traditional white pasta, plus it has all the benefits of quinoa.

Unsweetened brewed iced coffee from Panera.

Secret: coffee. This tropical bean is full of antioxidants, helps prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and protects against some forms of cancer. Without any milk/cream or sugar added, it’s a very low calorie drink. To boost your iced coffee, add in unsweetened almond milk and stevia for minimal calories.

What’s something you enjoy eating that also has a ‘secret’ benefit? Do you like iced coffee?

Saturday Seven: Home Sweet Home

Well, by the title of my post I’m pretty sure you can guess that I’m home 😀 I have been since about 9 on Thursday night and I’ve had so much fun so far! I’ll explain this in my Saturday Seven, so let’s do it to it (sorry I’m such a dork 😉 )

1. I can’t wait to wear these booties!

I am ob-sessed with these!

Ever since I bought my brown tall boots I’ve been totally head-over-heels (haha, get it?) in love with boots of all kinds. And I’ve had my heart set on these Aldo Pirnie booties in particular since earlier this fall. When my grandpa sent me an Amazon gift card for an early Christmas present, and I saw they had these boots for $28, I snapped them up. They came on Tuesday, and they were probably the reason I was most excited to come home (just kidding!) I finally got to try them on on Thursday night and they fit perfectly and look super adorable. The only problem is, my dad said I can’t wear them til after Christmas, since they are technically a Christmas present. Boooooo 😦 Dads just don’t understand that we girls want to show off our new clothes 😛

2. I’m on a salad kick, and loving it

It basically looked like this, except for with a different salsa and there was lettuce of course!

Monday night when my mom dropped me off after my weather anchor audition (I spent a long weekend at home), we hit up my favorite salad place, Mad Greens, and I got the Don Quixote, which is one of my fave salads there. It had lettuce (duh), mango chunks (yes please!), fresh avocado, corn and black beans. Not a fan of corn at all, but the salad was still good. On Thursday night my mom and I grabbed dinner at Qdoba on our way outta town, and I got the naked vegetarian taco salad. The naked part just means it is in a bowl instead of a taco shell. I was starving, so I went to town on that baby! It was basically lettuce, black beans, corn salsa, habanero salsa (which was soooo hot, but soooo good!) and their fat free picante ranch dressing. That dressing is so delicious, but definitely not overpowering, and it made for a delicious dinner. Then yesterday, my sister and I had a nice lunch at Panera, where I got the Thai Chopped salad, minus the chicken and wontons. The peanut sauce, edamame and cashew clusters really make the salad and again, I devoured it. No shame! I’ve been craving salads like crazy, since at school I mostly just eat in my dorm and don’t have space for lettuce. You best believe I am stocking up on salad greens ASAP to make my own salad creations at home!

3. Need someone to unpack your stuff? Just call me!

Recycled from Thanksgiving break, but you get the picture! Obviously too tired after all that unpacking to snap a new pic.

Friday morning, I went to town unpacking the two giant suitcases I brought back half my life in. I think it took me like 20 minutes at the most, and it’s all unpacked. I think you just gotta get in the groove, and it doesn’t feel like work. If you put it off, it’ll just suck when you finally get around to it. Plus, I’m somewhat of a neat freak, and can’t stand having too many things out on the floor. Drives me nuts.

4. Colorado doesn’t get white Christmases

SNOW...oh wait, just kidding, that's basically just frost!

That picture above was taken last year on Christmas Eve…does it looks like snow to you? Ummmm, no. Seriously, we have a much better chance of it snowing on Easter than on Christmas here. And Halloween, too. Bizarre weather much? Apparently in the last 100 years, only 13% of the time has Colorado had a white Christmas, where it either snowed on Christmas day, or there was snow on the ground on the day. How sad is that? I’m hoping it snows this year, or at least the snow that’s still on the ground sticks around for another week…

5. There’s a sequel to “Santa Baby”…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm_YHHyAlYY

Don’t ask about the weird  image that’s with the song. But anyways, my mom told me that she heard this song for the first time the other day (it’s called “This Year’s Santa Baby”) and since then, I’ve heard it twice. It has the same melody, but new and kinda funny lyrics. But apparently, it was never a hit, which is probably why it’s rarely played. But if you have Sirius XM radio, definitely check out the Holiday Traditions station because they’ve been playing it a lot!

6. I could totally live in a bottle of Bath & Body Works’ Vanilla Bean Noel lotion

It smells like cookies and magic!

Uh, yeah, don’t mind me over here smelling my lotion bottle like a crazy person. I can’t help it, BBW has the best lotion scents. This one is truly amazing. Don’t tell anyone, but I kinda want to eat it…

7. I really want lace shorts for Christmas

These ones in particular, from Abercrombie Kids!

I’m kinda obsessed with the shorts and tights (with boots!) trend for winter, and what better way to dress up the combo than with lacy shorts? I think they’re completely cute and I’m really hoping I get them. I like these grey ones, since white seems too summery and I already have a pair of navy shorts.

What is your favorite salad from a restaurant? Do you like the lacy shorts trend for winter?

WIAW: The Big 1-9

Hey guys! Sorry my WIAW is a little late this week. I was pretty busy on Wednesday, so I didn’t have much time to post. But I still wanted to get in on the party, so here it is!

Well, it’s finally here–my 19th birthday!I feel like I’ve been waiting a whole year for my birthday…oh wait, I have 😉

The most exciting part of this year’s birthday (besides a special store opening event–more on that in a bit) is that it just so happens that it’s also Wednesday. As in, What I Ate Wednesday! I love this weekly party (hosted by the lovely Jenn) and this week, it feels like even more of a party, since it’s my b-day. Self-centered much? 😀

Peas and Crayons

I started my birthday out reaaaaaaaally early (well, early for me!) at the ripe hour of 6 o’ clock. Who in their right mind wakes up that early on their birthday if they don’t have to go to work (or they just happen to be an early bird, which I am most definitely not)? This girl right here, and for a good reason–my mom and I were going up to Denver for the grand opening of Colorado’s first-ever IKEA store! I’ve never been to an IKEA store so I was curious about what they’d have there, but mostly because they were giving away gift certificates worth $52.80 (the elevation of the store is 5280 feet, I guess that’s how they got that amount) only to people whose birthday was on July 27th (the grand opening day, obvs). I’ve never thought my birthday was on a special day (though, one of my lucky numbers is 7, so it’s kinda special) but I guess it was in this case! I had to prove my birthday was really July 27th, though (this is when having a driver’s license comes in handy…oh, I guess also if you want to drive 😉 )and I got a neato Happy Birthday stamp on my wrist. I think some people thought it was a tat lol JK.

Cake batter oats for breakfast. I just had to, I mean, it was my birthday after all!

...along with a spicy veggie sausage, mixed berries and PB Puffins.The sun was shining right behind it, so you can't really read the sign

Welcome to IKEA!

The coolest stamp ever!

 My mom scored a $10 gift certificate at the door, so we had over $60 to spend. My dad told us that we couldn’t go crazy and spend way over the amount we got (knowing us, we probs could have easily) and we didn’t! We even had $5 left over. We ended up getting a floor lamp with a pink and orange shade, a pink plastic shower caddy and a cool orange lamp thing (notice a trend here?) All the stuff gonna be for my dormie room and I can’t wait! I’ll show pics when everything’s actually assembled. As for the verdict on IKEA? Love. It. I’m a big fan of modern, sleek, cool furniture and I can totally see myself shopping here when I have a place of my own. The best part is that it’s all pretty cheap but well-made. Double score!

After the adventure that was IKEA (I totally got my exercise in for the day at that store. No joke. We were running to try to find the birthday certificate hand-out area, wrestled people to the ground manuevered around people to check out the lighting fixtures and almost got lost in that maze of a store.) we went to Panera for lunch. I got the strawberry poppyseed salad for the second time, and it was perfect for a hot summer day. It was huge though, so I wasn’t able to eat much of it.

Mi ensalada: greens, grilled chicken, pecans, strawbs, mandarin oranges, bloobs and pineapple

Then we drove to Gelazzi (the best gelato place, hands-down!) to pick up my b-day dessert. I was planning on getting a gelato cake or pie, but after being shellshocked by the prices (30 bucks for a cake? No thanks!) I settled on 2 pints of gelato, one mint chocolate chip and the other Hilo pineapple. Mmmmm (not together, though!)…

Back at home, I was starving so I munched on a handful of PB Puffins (those things are like crack, I swear) and some raisins. IDK why, but I’ve been loving on the raisins lately, even more so than my beloved dates. Don’t worry dates, you’ll always be my true love 😛

Birthday girl outfit: light green floral Hollister dress, coral VS Pink bandeau bra, AE pink crystal necklace

After some cardio interval time and yoga (as if I didn’t exercise enough already at IKEA…) I had a snackie that’s quickly becoming a favorite of mine: Late July mild green mojo multigrain chips alongside an almond butter-stuffed date and pineapple chunks. I convinced my sis to try the chips and she fell in love. My sister, the organic-hater, loved these organic healthy chips because they “taste like Doritos” (her words, not mine). I’m glad I can convert her to healthy eating 🙂

Amazing snack!Another birthday "present" I got was my first edible strawberry from my little plant. The first one got eaten by birds...yikes!

My daddy got home and then we were off to Pei Wei for my birthday din din. If you’ve never heard of/been to Pei Wei it’s basically a cheaper version of PF Changs. Okay, maybe that didn’t help either, but it’s a place that has a bunch of different Asian cuisines and dishes. I got my personal fave, the Vietnamese Chicken Salad rolls. I also had some iced chai black tea (s0 delish with a fresh orange slice!), edamame and a little bit of my dad’s brown rice mixed with peanuts from his Kung Pao. Such a delish dinner and I can’t wait to have the leftover roll for lunch! My only complaint is that I was freezing my butt off the entire time! What is it with restaurants and their extreme air conditioning?

Sorry about the horrible quality of these photos, they were taken in weird lighting and I had to be sneaky about it!

Edamame for the win!Vietnamese summer rolls are my favorite!

 

 Presents time back at home (aka my favorite part of my b-day)! I got really sweet cards from my parents and sis and some pretty rockin’ presents as well.

Coach Poppy backpack, cropped denim jacket, Gilly Hicks pink tee and blue floral pj shorts, hair waver, fashion book

I'm a little obsessed with wrapping paper...

After a little AGT (America’s Got Talent) watching, I was starving again (!) so we decided to have the birthday gelato then. Remember above when I said that I would never have pineapple and mint chocolate chip gelato at the same time? Well…I did. It honestly wasn’t bad, but that’s probs because I ate each flavor separately (and now I can look forward to many more nights of gelato leftovers!) I was surprised the house didn’t burn down, with 19 candles on a tiny gelato container!

That's a whole heck of a lot of candles!

Mint chocolate chip and pineapple--a match made in (weird) foodie heaven!

My new pjs in action!

Thanks for sticking with me through that monster of a post! I had an amazing day and couldn’t ask for anything more!

What is one of your birthday ‘traditions’? Ever been to an IKEA?