WIAW: The Random Salad Chef

Like a lot of bloggers out there, I love me a good salad. Not just any lame rendition of greens and too much dressing will do, though–it’s gotta be flavorful and unique. There are a couple restaurants that actually make some pretty awesome salads (like Panera and Chipotle) and Whole Foods always has some amazing versions at their hot and cold bars but making my own almost always beats them out because I control what goes in…and I can make them huge to last for several days! Lately I’ve been feeling pretty creative when it comes to salads and I made a couple in big batches so I can enjoy them again and again. And luckily, they’re delicious enough that I want to eat them daily!

Breakfast: peanut flour chocolate chip waffle topped with sunny “raw”nola and honey vanilla agave.

I’ve been on a pancake kick lately but I’ve been wanting to switch it up so I dug out the waffle maker and decided to wing a high protein waffle. I based it off my peanut flour pancake recipe and it actually turned out almost perfect. Sure, it was a little thin and crispy but I loved it, especially with a few dark chocolate chips thrown in there and topped with my sunny “raw”nola and agave.

Lunch: southwestern style pasta salad, baby carrots, half a raw brownie, fresh blueberries.

This pasta salad was not totally thought out, but it worked. It’s been hotter than hell here lately (in the upper 90s, yikes!) so I’ve been wanting chilled dinners. I boiled some quinoa pasta (I love it more than whole wheat pasta and it’s gluten free), cooled it off and mixed it with pinto beans, chopped sweet peppers, cilantro and a homemade dressing made with a little olive oil and chili lime seasoning. It made a huge batch–I had some for dinner on Sunday, lunch on Monday and I still have a ton left. Of course, I topped it with some nooch, aka my obsession and served it with a delicious raw brownie that I froze, baby carrots and blueberries. Perfect summer lunch.

Pool time is where it’s at!

Kiddie pool time, that is!

Speaking of being hot, we just invested in an inflatable pool for our new backyard. My sis and I tried sitting in it for awhile on Monday but the water was a little too freezing. We ended up just settling for putting our feet in it and it helped cool us down, at least for a little while.

Snackplate: kettle corn, sweet potato multigrain chips, frozen pineapple, Chocolove coffee crunch chocolate square, maple macadamias, peanut flour paste.

Nothing crazy or new here, just a different variation on my typical snackplate.

Hopefully I wasn’t a hot mess like I felt I was…

Dinner: Moroccan quinoa salad, unpictured carrot cake smoothie.

This salad was more thought out and actually turned out pretty delicious. I dubbed it the Moroccan salad because the flavors seemed Moroccan-ish but what do I know?!

Moroccan Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup raisins, golden or regular

handful green kale, washed and patted dry

1 medium sweet potato

1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

cinnamon, hot chili powder, curry powder, sea salt (to taste)

sunflower seeds, to garnish

Place chickpeas, raisins and kale in a large bowl or container and set aside. Cook sweet potato in microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until partially cooked but still firm. Slice into thin rounds, brush with a little olive oil and some spices and place on oiled grill (or grill pan) for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato gets grill marks. Make quinoa (boil 1/2 cup of water, add in rinsed quinoa, turn down heat and let simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes) and then stir in with chickpea mixture. Once sweet potato is cooked, chop slices into quarters and add in with chickpeas and quinoa. In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, apple cider vinegar and spices until it forms a thin paste (add water if needed to thin out). Mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge for at least half an hour. Top with sunflower seeds. Makes 4-5 servings.

Dessert: peanut butter Puffins in almond milk, sunny “raw”nola, almond peanut cashew butter.

Cereal is the best way to end the day, obviously!

Oh, and before I forget–please keep Colorado in your thoughts and prayers. There have been way too many wildfires here within the past month and a lot of people have been displaced temporarily or even lost their homes. There are large fires burning near both of the cities I call home (my college town and my hometown) and it’s been kinda scary watching the news lately. Thanks for thinking of us!

One of the fires, only 30-ish miles from my house 😦

What’s the most random salad you’ve ever made? How have you been keeping cool (if it’s hot where you are)?

Friday Faves (June 22)

Before I get into the post, I’ve gotta thank everyone for your wonderful and encouraging comments on my last post! I love having the support and also knowing that some of you out there are in a similar boat as me and want to stop letting your lives be dictated by ED. It’s only been a couple of days since I decided to actually buckle down and start eating more and while it is hard to change that mindset, I’m already feeling stronger and happier.

Favorite Bath & Body Works Scent: Signature Vanillas Lemon 

Can you tell I’m obsessed?

Since this scent first came out (either last summer or the one before), I’ve been in love with it. It seriously smells like a lemon poppyseed muffin with a hint of vanilla. It’s my daily go-to lotion and when I was at the mall the other day, I spotted the matching shower gel for only $2! If you love BBW and haven’t checked out their semi-annual sale yet, doooooo it! They’re having the best deals right now. Oh, and as if having the lotion and shower gel weren’t enough, I also have the lip gloss in this scent. Yeah, I’m kinda obsessed…

Favorite Dessert-like Breakfast

Are you sure this isn’t actually a decadent dessert?

It’s no secret that I have a major sweet tooth. I am NOT a savory breakfast kind of girl at all, but sometimes I even take my breakfasts to the extreme. Okay, not really, but this particular breakfast was pretty dessert-like. I made peanut flour flax pudding (peanut flour, ground flax and almond milk mixed together and set in the fridge overnight to thicken), added in a spoonful of dark cocoa powder and topped with fresh raspberries, chopped almonds and semisweet chocolate chips. Ummm, yeah, I could eat this every day! What other dessert boasts 10 grams of protein and flax seeds? Probably not many.

Favorite (Actual) Dessert I Want to Make: Vegan S’mores Hot Fudge Sundae

Who wouldn’t want some of this deliciousness? (photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life)

It’s been years since I’ve had an ice cream sundae, and sometimes a girl just has to treat herself to one (especially if she’s trying to eat more/gain weight). S’mores (and ice cream sundaes in general) aren’t usually vegan-friendly but this one is, thanks to the use of nondairy ice cream, ricemellow creme and soy whipped cream. Once I can track down some of the ingredients, I will for sure be trying this out…and reporting back, so you guys can try it too if you want!

Favorite Activity of the Week: Selfies

Trust me, this isn’t the only one I’ve taken this week!

Okay, actually this isn’t true. I’ve done a lot more exciting things this week but I don’t have photographic evidence of those things (such as messing around with the mannequins at Dillard’s with my sister…) so this is what I went with. Some days I just get bored, whip out my phone, pull up the Instagram app and go to town. It’s kinda fun making different faces and playing with the different effects.

What’s your favorite lotion scent? Do you have a dessert-like thing you like to eat for breakfast that’s actually healthy?

Friday Faves (June 8th)

Is it just me or did this week go by super fast? I guess staying busy will do that to you–I’ve been going to my internship, grocery shopping and packing for an upcoming move. I’ve barely had time to whip up any recipes lately so sorry for the lack of them this week!

Favorite Find: Fruit Infusion Pitcher

Who wouldn’t want fruit infused water?

I saw this baby at Target–aka, the store I could spend hours in looking at all of their stuff, especially their kitchen and patio stuff. This pitcher is really cool because you just put fruit in the inner cylinder and it infuses the plain water with it. So basically like juice but without the added sugar. How cool is that?!

Favorite Video: S*** Vegans Say

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the S*** ________ Say video series. This one and it’s sequel are flipping hilarious because I have definitely said some of those things before. Even if you aren’t vegan, you’ll probably find it funny because a lot of the stuff mentioned is pretty popular around the blog world. And maybe you’ve even said some of those things before yourself 😛

Favorite Breakfast

Chilled quinoa mixed with u/s vanilla almond milk and vanilla stevia, topped with peanut flour, raisins, sunflower seeds almond peanut cashew butter, chocolate chips and drizzle honey vanilla agave.

Move over, overnight oats! Overnight quinoa is where it’s at. When I first made this, I was worried it would turn out weird. But it’s actually really really good and a nice change from oats. The toppings are what make it, though!

Favorite Buy: Harbor Beach pinstriped skirt from Hollister

Mine is actually orange-striped, but you get the idea.

For such a girly girl, you’d think I’d own more skirts. I actually only have 6, not including my latest purchase. I love this one though because it has a summery, nautical feel and it feels fun to twirl around in. Yes, I am 5 years old, apparently.

What breakfast are you loving lately? What’s the best thing you’ve ever found at Target?

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?

Best of…May! (and an award)

Uh, yeah, so how crazy is it that it’s already June? Where has this year gone? I can’t believe that last month at this time, I was stressing about finals and projects. Now I’m stressing (sorta) about my internship and packing. More on those later though!

Best New Find: Justin’s vanilla almond butter and So Delicious almond milk ice cream

Probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent!

Last month I discovered sooooooo many new-to-me products, it was a little crazy. Not that I’m complaining, though–one of my favorite things to do is buy new products and try them out. Sure, sometimes they disappoint but in other cases (like with the nut butter and ice cream), they were beyond amazing.

Best Discussion: Eating Comes at a Cost

I know I’ve said this before, but you guys are the best! Seriously, I’ve been loving all the responses I’ve gotten so far. I am very passionate about issues like this but these kinds of posts are always hard for me to publish because I worry about the backlash. You guys are always really respectful and thoughtful in your comments, though, which is great!

Best Recipe: Peanut Flour Pancakes

How delicious do these look?

Not gonna lie, this was muy dificil to decide on! Considering I had a record number of recipes in May (12 of them!) I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just one. But these protein-packed, peanutty pancakes are something I’ve been coming back to over and over. They’re simple to make but taste almost gourmet.

Best Non-Food Post: Work It Out

Hiking in snow…in the summer?!

Even though my blog is usually about food, I definitely have other interests, like fashion and fitness! I really liked sharing my favorite ways to workout and even though none of them involve the gym, I’ve come to realize that no one way to exercise is better than another.

Best Photo

I don’t know why, but this is just a gorgeous photo!

A lot of you commented on this photo and said you liked it. Well, I do too! Instagram is my favorite app, hands down, and this photo just speaks to me somehow.

And now for the award ceremony 😉 Hahaha, just kidding, but both Aja and Kat nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks, ladies!

1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2. Answer these 10 questions, below, for fun if you want to.
3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs 
(I was too slow.) you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

1. What is your favorite color?

Pink, for sure! I love hot pink, light pink, whatever shade. I also love orange, especially paired with pink.

2. What is your favorite animal?

This is really hard, but I’m gonna go with rabbits. I think bunnies are the cutest thing ever, especially the lop-eared kind. I really want to get a bunny for a pet someday.

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Iced coffee, no milk and sweetened with flavored stevia. I just discovered that Panera has this as a drink option by the soda machines…score!

4. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter! I love reading really short updates (I have a short attention span) and funny tweets (like by Condescending Wonka).

5. What is your favorite pattern?

Is lace a pattern? If it is, that’s what I choose. I have a few lacy pieces that I really love–they’re girly and cute but still elegant.

6. Do you prefer giving or getting presents? 

Not gonna lie, getting presents is better. I do love giving presents, but getting them is just so exciting!

7. What is your favorite number?

7 or 11. I like 7 because I was born on July 27th, and I like 11 because it rhymes with 7 😀

8. What is your favorite day of the week? 

I probably would have said Saturday a month ago, but now that I intern on that day, I’ll go with Friday. It’s not quite as special during the summer, but it’s still great.

9. What is your favorite flower? 

I like those huge, brightly-colored daisies!

10. What is your passion?

Clothes and grocery shopping, being outside and yoga.

Now it’s time for some nominations!

Alexandra She just started a new blog all about lifting and life in general. I loved her old blog and I have a feeling I’m gonna love this one even more!

Tessa I can always relate to her ED posts and she always has the best insights! I love her honesty and she really takes the time to respond to her reader’s comments, which I think is awesome.

Chloe I am super jealous of her cooking skills! Her food photography always makes me drool, too.

Amy Lauren I wish I could be an amazing runner like she is! She’s also a really great writer, and her race recaps are fun to read.

Lena I love that she’s from Colorado too, and I’m jealous that she gets to go to all these cool Denver-area restaurants! She’s also an awesome runner.

What was the best workout you did in May? What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Summer (Recipe) Lovin’

Anyone catch the Grease reference? Ironically, my sister’s auditioning for it in the fall at her school since she’s really into musical theatre. I’m actually not even sure if I’ve ever seen the entire movie, but I have definitely heard some of the songs from it.

Anyways, I’ve been doing a lot of recipe experimentation lately and it’s all been pretty successful. Well, okay I did attempt to make Katie’s deep dish cookie pie and it turned out alright, except it tasted a little beany and it didn’t last very long even inside a Ziploc bag without starting to get moisture inside the bag so I had to toss them. But everything else has been not just edible but pretty delicious. Note: All of these are my own recipes, except where I gave credit to the original.

These tiny bites are addicting!

I know I said before that I’m a bigger fan of cookies ‘n cream, but I couldn’t pass up these cookie dough bites I saw on Angela’s blog. If you’ve ever wanted to eat cookie dough but didn’t want to get sick from the raw eggs, these little bites are perfect because they’re vegan, so no eggs involved! But they taste exactly like raw cookie dough and are super simple to make.

Cookie Dough Bites (vegan)

Adapted from Oh She Glows

1/4 cup raw cashew pieces

2 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp oat flour

sprinkle sea salt

8-10 drops vanilla stevia, to taste

2 tbsp honey vanilla agave (or plain agave)

1 tbsp semisweet vegan chocolate chips

In a food processor, blend cashews and oats until combined and flour-like in texture. Add in oat flour, salt and stevia drops until mixed. Add in agave until mixture comes together and is sticky. In a bowl, take cookie dough mixture and mix in chocolate chips by hand. Form into 8 to 10 small balls and keep in fridge until ready to eat.

Mocha softserve topped with peanut butter Puffins.

This one’s so simple it’s barely a recipe but I thought I’d share it anyway because it’s so good. If you’ve ever made banana softserve before and you’re a coffee fan, you’ll love this version. Just two ingredients and it tastes almost like coffee ice cream.

Mocha Softserve (vegan, gluten-free)

banana slices, frozen

1 tsp instant coffee powder (I used Starbucks’ VIA mocha instant coffee)

Blend banana slices in a food processor or high-powered blender until the slices clump together. Add in coffee powder and process until slices form into a big scoop that’s brownish in color. Serves 1.

Trust me, your wallet and your taste buds will thank you for this bowl!

If you’ve been to Chipotle and have ever had their burrito bowls, you’ll know that they are some of the best things ever. They are always my go-to when I get around to going there (it’s been almost a year since I last went!) because I love getting a bunch of random tasty things in a bowl. But then I made this Chipotle-inspired bowl and realized that it’s even better than the restaurant’s, in both taste and nutrition. Guess I won’t be wasting any of my hard-earned money there anytime soon 😉

Better-than-Chipotle Burrito Bowl (vegan, gluten-free, high protein)

1/3 cup cooked quinoa

cilantro, chopped

lime, quartered

1/2 cup beans (I used pinto, you can use black or whatever beans are your favorite)

kale, chopped and massaged with lemon juice and nooch

spoonful salsa

spoonful guacamole

Mix quinoa with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice until combined. Add a pinch of sea salt if needed. Top with beans, kale, salsa, guacamole or whatever burrito bowl toppings are your favorites. Serves 1. 

Almost totally homemade cinnamon rolls!

About a year ago, I attempted to make Mama Pea’s cinnamon rolls, which are completely from scratch. Now usually I like making things from scratch and most of the time they turn out. Not this time, probably because I have nada experience with making bread that has to rise. I was still on the search for an easy vegan cinnamon roll recipe when I found out that you can make them using pizza dough. I had just gotten some fresh dough from Whole Foods the other day so I decided to put some of the dough to use in almost homemade cinnamon rolls. And they were a delicious success, not to mention totally easy. If you’re scared about making cinnamon rolls from scratch, this is the perfect recipe for you. Plus they’re really healthy–no butter or oil used, lightly sweetened with a natural sweetener and packed with nutritious grains like millet and oats (if you use multigrain pizza dough). What’s better than an easy, yummy and no-guilt breakfast?

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

half ball of fresh multigrain pizza dough

1 tbsp agave or maple syrup (I used Ohgave! honey vanilla)

generous sprinkle cinnamon

handful chopped maple or regular pecans

oat flour (to flour surface)

Let pizza dough rise in a towel-covered bowl for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out risen dough on floured cutting board until about 1 inch thick and rectangular in shape. Mix agave and cinnamon in a small bowl until thick and paste-like and spread on dough. Sprinkle with pecans and roll into a thick log, pinching ends. Cut into 4 small rolls with a floured knife and place in sprayed baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Serve warm from the oven topped with icing, cream cheese or vanilla almond butter. 

Quinoa power cookie (almost raw).

We just invested in a dehydrator, thanks to my obsession with dried fruit and how expensive that habit is. So far, I’ve made dried pineapple and kiwi…and these cookies. Yep, it’s true, you can make cookies in a dehydrator, and not just any cookies, but magical ones. Like ones made from simple, healthy ingredients like quinoa and almond butter. These babies are tiny but powerful…and delicious of course. They made my house smell like peanut butter and are crunchy and chewy at the same time. Oh, and if you’re dehydrator-less, you can make these in the oven at a low temp. I can’t vouch for how they’ll turn out, but the recipe I adapted them from said you can do that. I personally think it’s cooler making cookies in a dehydrator! Oh, and each cookie has less than 80 calories, so you can totally eat a few of them at a time without feeling guilty!

Quinoa Power Cookies (vegan, gluten-free)

Adapted from Insatiably Healthy

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tbsp almond butter (I used almond peanut cashew butter)

2 tbsp agave (I used Ohgave! honey vanilla agave) or other liquid sweetener

2 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp peanut flour

1 tbsp ground flax-seed

1/2 tbsp sweetened cacao nibs

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, almond butter and agave. Stir in oats, peanut flour and flax until mixture sticks together. Fold in cacao nibs and chocolate chips. Form into 10 small cookies and place on dehydrator trays. Cook on 115 F for 3-6 hours or until crunchy on the outside. 

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately? What’s your go-to Chipotle order?

WIAW: What I Ate (Monday)

I haven’t done a legit WIAW in awhile, you know, like posting all my eats from one specific day. Really, it’s just more fun to highlight some of my favorite meals from the past week instead of doing it all from one day, plus I always forget to take enough photos! But I thought I’d try to do a real WIAW this week since I actually remembered to take pictures.

Breakfast: peanut butter banana smoothie-in-a-bowl made with So Delicious unsweetened Almond Plus almond milk, peanut flour, xanthan gum, Truvia, mini banana and topped with peanut butter Puffins.

I’ve been experimenting with almond milks lately. So far, I’ve tried Pacific Naturals u/s vanilla, Almond Breeze u/s vanilla & chocolate, Silk u/s plain and So Delicious Almond Plus u/s plain. I’ve liked all of them, Almond Breeze and Silk are the creamiest and have the most calcium, not to mention I prefer the vanilla to plain, so I think I’ll be sticking to those to those two brands. The So Delicious one is good if you want  a little extra protein (5 grams versus 1 gram per cup in most almond milks) but I wish they would come out with an unsweetened vanilla.

Lunch: curried sweet potato pinto burger, carrots, ginger peanut sauce, fresh pineapple.

Being home has meant cooking for myself (for reals!) pretty much every day. For me, this isn’t a bad thing at all. Basically, because the rest of my family are omnis, I have to make my own dinner which has inspired me to get creative. Somewhat. I remade these awesome veggie burgers from spring break and they’ve been making an appearance at both lunch and dinner lately. The problem with cooking for one is you end up with a lot of leftovers…which maybe isn’t a bad thing at all!

Monday’s outfit: navy cardigan (American Eagle), dark grey lace tank (Hollister), navy/dark grey abstract floral skirt (Hollister), bangles (American Eagle).

The weather has been so effing bipolar here! Since I’ve been home, the weekends have pretty much sucked (temps. in the 60s at best, lots of clouds and wind, maybe some rain) and the weekdays are hit and miss. Monday was pretty warm, but cloudy for most of the day so I missed out on tanning. Boo 😦 Tuesday was super-warm, but I spent some of the day inside for my first day of my internship. What I did spend outside was extremely hot, even early in the morning. I’m just hoping this weekend is better because I want to do a lot of stuff outside.

Snackplate: freeze-dried fruit, raisins, square of dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt, stuffed date, kettle corn, blue and sweet potato Late July chips, peanut flour paste. Side of (half a can of) cream soda Zevia.

Snackplates are officially never going away…at least I hope not! The above assortment has been my go-to combo lately and I’m not getting sick of it. I’m just running out of almost everything on it! Time to make a trip to Whole Foods 😀

Dinner: Hugh Jass sweet potato topped with black beans/guac/nooch on one side, peanut flour paste on the other, side of mini sweet peppers and ginger jalapeno sauce.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but this was one monstrous sweet potato! I enjoyed every last bite of it though, and of course had to please both my savory side (with the Mexican-inspired toppings) and my sweet side (with the peanut flour paste). The mini peppers are my new favorite veggie for summer, especially dipped in this spicy sauce. I can’t say enough good stuff about the Ginger People line of sauces. I love both kinds that I’ve tried and now I wanna try them all, well at least the ones without eggs or dairy in them!

Nighttime snack: PB Puffins in u/s almond milk, frozen grapes, peanut flour paste and almond peanut cashew butter.

See why I almost never post my meals from the same day? It’s because I repeat the same things throughout the day often. Like peanut flour, which I had 4 times on Monday, and Puffins which I had twice. I sometimes get really hung up on one thing and I eat it every single day or multiple times per day til I’m sick of it for awhile. I hope that never happens with my beloved Puffins and peanut flour…

Do you tend to eat the same things every day or multiple times per day? What’s your favorite thing to cook for just yourself? 

WIAW: Salads and…Snow?

Happy WIAW…and happy birthday to my lovely madre! She is one lucky lady, having both her birthday and Mother’s Day in the same week. I’m so glad school ended just in time for me to be home to enjoy both days with her.

I haven’t gotten around to taking photos of an entire day’s worth of eats (bad blogger, I know, but it’s just slipped my mind most of the time) so this week’s WIAW is just a random compilation of the best of what I’ve been eating this past week along with a recipe and some new grocery store finds.

Breakfast: overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, mashed strawberries and maple macadamias.

This is my new favorite overnight oats combo. Peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, fresh strawberries and maple macadamia nuts are surprisingly yummy together, and taste like summer. The maple macadamia nuts are a new obsession of mine from the Whole Foods bulk section. They are expensive (18 bucks per pounds, yikes) but they’re so worth it.

Lunch: kale wraps with cold grilled tofu strips, sauteed bell peppers and Ginger People hot ginger jalapeno sauce.

Move over, lettuce wraps! Kale wraps are heartier, more nutritious and delicious. One day for lunch I decided I didn’t want a salad but I still wanted to get my greens in. So I took a few heads of kale, partially destemmed them and filled them with leftover fajitas filling, aka grilled tofu strips and sauteed peppers. I drizzled them with my new favorite sauce, and they turned out perfectly spicy and crunchy.

Lunch: chopped kale, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sprinkle of nooch and vegan Caesar dressing thinned with almond milk.

I’ve also been loving raw kale salads for lunch lately. The key is to let the greens soak up the dressing or sauce overnight and marinade with the other ingredients. Oh, and nooch is a necessity for me. This was a Mediterranean inspired salad that I’m definitely repeating. It would be great for dinner bulked up with some chickpeas and kalamata olives.

Lime green striped oversize tee (American Eagle), denim cuffed shorts (Abercrombie Kids).

Can you believe I wore this outfit on a day it snowed? Okay, so I definitely changed into something more weather-appropriate when I had to go out that night to see a performance of Hairspray (really good, BTW) but it’s crazy to think that it didn’t snow at all here in March or April, and then we get dumped on practically in May. What?!

White cardigan (Target), navy lace tank (Abercrombie Kids), navy plaid shorts (Hollister).

I’m not complaining though because after a weekend of rain, light snow and thunder (yeah, Colorado’s weird!) it was back to shorts weather by Monday. I enjoyed a little time outside and did a stairs workout that left me tired (in a good way) and hungry. Running up and down the stairs of my deck was no joke, but it was a fun, heart-pumping workout that I like to do every once in a while to change things up.

My new-to-me Whole Foods finds.

I’m pretty sure I can’t go to Whole Foods without trying out at least one new thing. When I went over the weekend, I hit the mother lode and got mostly all new-to-me things. So far, I’ve tried the quinoa pasta (better than whole wheat or regular), ginger peanut sauce (perfect for Asian dishes), maple macadamias (0b-sessed!), rice cakes (pretty plain but good with toppings), honey vanilla agave (great sub for pancake syrup) and artichoke hearts (basically like any other artichokes, which I love) so I’m excited to try the lemon Larabar, vegan ravioli and pasta sauce.

First Frapp of the summer: tall mocha light with soy and 1 pump raspberry. So effing delicious!

You know me, can’t pass up Starbucks, especially when it’s half price. Sadly, I only got to take advantage of their happy hour once, but I’m glad I did for the deliciousness above. Mocha light Frappuccinos are my absolute favorite, and they get even better with the addition of a pump of raspberry syrup. If you love the chocolate and raspberry combo, order this. Now.

I’m growing my own cilantro!

Get ready for a whole lotta pico de gallo recipes around here…because I officially have my own cilantro plant! My dad’s growing a mint plant so we are definitely stocked up on two of the best herbs. Last summer I grew strawberries and while there weren’t many and they were tiny, it was cool to grow my own stuff. The cilantro already looks pretty healthy and vibrant, so I’m excited.

California Pizza Kitchen’s half Thai Crunch salad without chicken, dressing or wontons…so basically Napa cabbage, carrots, avocado, edamame, peanuts and Ginger People ginger peanut sauce.

I love me some giant salads. I had one on Thursday post-final at Mad Greens with my dad (no picture, but it was spinach/artichoke hearts/kalamata olives/garbanzo beans/sunflower seeds with fat free balsamic) and I had one on Sunday night to celebrate Mother’s Day. We got CPK to-go and I was debating between a veggie pizza without cheese and this salad. Glad I went with the salad, even though there aren’t any leftovers (boo!) We hadn’t eaten at CPK in well over a year and I almost forgot how much I love them and their giant salads. Plus now I know that they’re totally accommodating to vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free people and also if you’re picky like me and don’t like wontons or restaurant dressings. I totally demolished this salad and for the record, it took up my entire regular-sized dinner plate. No shame!

Definitely freeze these if you want to be able to eat them whole!

I made raw blondies for the first time last summer and they were definitely a hit…well at least with me, since my family’s wary of trying raw desserts. I made a new and improved version the other day and while they’re crumbly and messy, they’re simple and healthy, with just 4 ingredients.

Raw Amaretto Blondies (vegan, gluten-free, raw)

3 100 calorie pack cinnamon almonds (can use plain almonds)

6 pitted dates (I used California pitted)

1/2 tbsp raw agave nectar (can sub raw honey or real maple syrup)

1 tbsp Vega Vanilla Almondilla protein powder (can use other protein powder but this gives it the amaretto flavor)

Blend almonds and dates in food processor or high powered blender until mostly combined and crumbly. Add in agave and protein powder until mixed in. Pack blondie mixture into a square glass dish and keep frozen (so the blondies don’t crumble). Makes 4 blondies.

Have you ever tried quinoa pasta? What’s your favorite “special” nut?