Pancake Party!

I get into breakfast ruts a lot. For most of my life, I ate cereal with skim milk and possibly a side of waffles for breakfast basically every single morning. I’ve never been a savory breakfast kind of girl, because I’ve always hated eggs, bacon and sausage. Within the past year, though, I’ve moved away from having cereal for breakfast. First, I was on an overnight oats kick that started about a year ago. I was obsessed and came up with a million different combos. I still love overnight oats, but now I’ve been having them for snacks more often than for breakfast. Just a couple of weeks ago, I started having a smoothie-in-a-bowl basically every single day, topped with fruit or crushed cereal. So good. But since I’ve been home for the summer, there’s been only one thing on my mind–pancakes.

Before a week ago, I don’t think I’d ever made pancakes from scratch. Sometimes on the weekends I’d whip my family up a batch made from an Archer Farms mix. While they have tons of awesome flavors, they aren’t super healthy (or vegan–why do so many things have to have milk in them?) Earlier last week, I made my first homemade, single-lady pancake batch and I was hooked!

If you’re intimidated by making your own pancakes completely from scratch, fear not. They are super simple to make, take practically no time at all (maybe 10 minutes at the most, if you make a batch for just yourself) and are totally customizable. Here’s the basic formula I’ve been using…

3 T to 1/4 cup flour (I like peanut flour or oat flour)

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 to 1 T flax seed, ground and made into flax egg

2-4 T unsweetened almond milk (any flavor) plus extra water to thin

sweetener (I’ve been using Truvia packets or flavored liquid stevia)

Stir flour and baking powder together in a small bowl until combined. Add in liquid ingredients until mixed well. The batter should be thin enough to drip off a spoon but thick enough to hold together. Makes 3-4 small pancakes.

The baking powder is really the only thing you can’t substitute. You can use any flour you like, gluten-free or whatnot. If you’re not vegan or don’t have flax on hand, sub in egg whites or chia seeds. You can use all water, or all almond milk, or any kind of milk you want. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can leave out the sweetener or you can use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey. And of course, any add-ins  and toppings you like! You can even play around with the texture. I love mine really thick and fluffy, so I make tiny, pillowy pancakes.

I’m sharing some of my favorite combos that I’ve made so far–all of them have been amazing and so much better than pancakes made from mixes!

Carrot cake pancakes made with oat flour and shredded carrot/fresh pineapple chunks/cinnamon/raisins, topped with peanut flour sauce and raisins.

PB&J pancakes made with peanut flour and topped with homemade strawberry jam and sunflower seed butter.

Cookie dough pancakes made with oat flour and chopped vegan chocolate chips, topped with honey vanilla agave syrup.

Tiramisu pancakes made with oat flour and Starbucks instant coffee powder, topped with homemade cashew ‘mascarpone’ cream, dusting dark cocoa powder and honey vanilla agave syrup.

Cashew ‘Mascarpone’ Cream (vegan, gluten-free, no added sugar)

1/4 cup cashew pieces, soaked in water overnight

2-3 T unsweetened almond milk (vanilla or plain)

5-6 drops liquid vanilla stevia, to taste

Drain water off cashews and pour into food processor or high powered blender. Add in almond milk and stevia and process until mostly smooth and creamy. Serve on top of pancakes/waffles, as a dip for fresh fruit or as sandwich filling. Makes about 1/4 cup.

Do you prefer pancakes, waffles or crepes? What are your favorite toppings for pancakes?

WIAW: Free At Last (Almost!)

Well girlies, I am so close to being completely done with my first two years of college! I’ve just got one final bright and early tomorrow night and then I am done done DONE! I’ve already been home since Friday afternoon, but getting this over with means that summer can officially begin.

Being home has been awesome so far! Of course, I went on a huge grocery haul my first full day back–does anyone else love grocery shopping? I could literally do it every day and not get bored, especially at Whole Foods. There’s always some new product and I’ve always gotta try it! So this week’s WIAW will be featuring a few of those new finds, and a couple of recipes.

The ginger root beer variety is almost as good as the cream soda.

The 6-packs of Zevia were on sale at my WF, so I had to try out a new-to-me flavor. It was really good, but I was expecting a little more ginger flavor. I love ginger anything so it was a little disappointing, but I’m sure it’ll make the perfect healthy root beer float! I’ve been on the lookout for Zevia’s newer flavors (lime cola and strawberry) but no luck yet. I think I’ll be hitting up all the Whole Foods in CO… 😉

Whole Foods guacamole (aka the best guac ever) and amazing locally-made mango salsa, in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco de Mayo wasn’t too exciting for me or my family (my dad was more excited about the Kentucky Derby) but we did ‘celebrate’ with salsa and guacamole. WF has the  best guac, but unfortunately it’s super expensive. We got a tiny container of it for $4.99, a total rip-off but so worth it. The mango salsa was a much better buy, and also delicioso (had to get some Spanish in there somewhere!). I am in love with fruity salsas and really want to make my own this summer. I made a strawberry jalapeno pico de gallo last summer but the recipe never made it to the blog–I’ll be making it again soon and sharing the recipe this time!

What season is this?!

So Monday morning, I woke up to snow. Yes, snow in May. Crazy Colorado! We’ve had warm, dry weather for 2 months straight and now this. At least it was only a dusting, and didn’t stick around for long.

A Cinco de Mayo snack plate: crushed sweet potato and blue corn Late July chips, kettle corn, stuffed Medjool date, chili and jalapeno olives, guacamole and mango salsa.

I don’t think I will ever get sick of snack plates. They are perfect for indecisive people like me who don’t like to commit to one huge thing. I’d rather sample a bunch of small things and please all my cravings. Plus each snack plate is completely different, so I never get bored.

I’m always down for seasonal flavors!

You know you’re a foodie when you practically pee your pants upon seeing brand new Larabar flavors. Especially ones that you haven’t even heard about, and that sound as amazingly delicious as these. I am so glad I am no longer a Larabar snob because I will be hoarding these seasonal flavors like nobody’s business. I love anything and everything limited edition, especially summery things. I’ve only tried the pineapple upside down cake one and it’s so pineapple-y! I can’t believe it’s only made of almonds, dates and pineapple. If you see these near you, buy the whole box some! You won’t regret it.

[Pancake] breakfast of champions: peanut flour pancakes topped with homemade strawberry vanilla stevia jam and drizzle sunflower seed butter.

I couldn’t come home and not make pancakes, right? I haven’t had any in months, and this was my first time making them completely from scratch–no boxed mixes for this girl anymore! These pancakes are super easy to make, taste just like a gooey PB&J sandwich and have 15 grams of protein in the entire batch! P.S. Both recipes are adapted from here.

Peanut Flour Pancakes (vegan, gluten-free, high protein)

3 T peanut flour (or PB2)

1 T ground flax seed (I used golden flax) or mashed banana/unsweetened applesauce

1 1/2 T water

1/2 t baking powder

2 packets Truvia or stevia (can use liquid stevia drops)

4 T unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Almond Breeze)+ water, to thin

Stir together ground flax and water to make a flax “egg”. Set aside for a few minutes. In a bowl, mix together peanut flour, baking powder and Truvia. Add in flax egg, almond milk and any additional water needed to thin the batter. On a skillet or small pan heated to medium, scoop batter in small spoonfuls (I used a melon baller) or form into a larger pancake, cooking two at a time. Flip pancakes once the batter bubbles up. Serve pancakes topped with nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter), caramelized bananas, real maple syrup or homemade jam (see recipe below). Makes 5 small or 2 large pancakes.

Homemade Microwave Strawberry Vanilla Jam (vegan, gluten-free)

strawberries, sliced (I used 3 large berries)

4-8 drops liquid vanilla stevia, to taste (you can use any flavor)

Stir berries and stevia together until combined. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 min. Can serve warm or chilled. Spoon over pancakes, on toast or on top of nondairy ice cream. Makes 1 serving.

So spicy, so good.

Continuing with my love for all things hot, I picked up this gem at WF this past weekend. Like a lot of new-t0-me products, I hoped that it would live up to the hype that I put on it. Well, this definitely delivered! Spicy with just a hint of ginger, it’s perfect as a marinade, sauce and dip.

Having Mexican food a few days after Cinco de Mayo still counts, right? Black beans with mango salsa, crispy kale tempeh taco on sprouted Ezekiel tortilla topped with guacamole.

I am usually a fan of tacos. Just because I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a taco every once in awhile. In the past, I’ve used beans as a filler but this time I went for ground tempeh and it was a winner. In fact, it was probably the best taco I’ve ever had.

Crispy Kale Tempeh Tacos (vegan)

1 oz crumbled tempeh (I used Lightlife organic flax tempeh)

marinade of choice (I used the Ginger People Hot Ginger Jalapeno sauce above)

handful kale

salt and pepper, to taste

nooch, to taste

tortilla (I used a small Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla)

taco toppings (guacamole, vegan sour cream, Daiya cheese or cashew cheese, salsa)

Marinade tempeh in sauce for 5-10 minutes. Place tempeh in a pan on the stove over medium high heat and let cook until browned and somewhat crunchy. Add in kale, salt, pepper and nooch and cook until crispy. Spoon kale and tempeh onto tortilla and top with more sauce and whatever toppings you love. Makes 1 taco.

PB&J smoothie in a bowl (unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze, peanut flour, Truvia) topped with fresh strawberries and crushed PB Puffins.

Apparently I’m on a PB&J for breakfast kick right now! I’m just loving the combo of peanut flour and fresh strawberries right now–I may have to make a wrap or open-faced sandwich with these two ingredients soon.

Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Have you spotted the new Larabar flavors yet?

So Many Surveys

I think I have a problem. I literally cannot turn down any fun surveys that come my way! What can I say, I love wasting my time filling them out and they’re just fun to do. Yes, basically I have no life 😉

This is the healthy living survey that’s been floating around for a little while now. I just spotted it on Tessa’s blog and thought “Why not?” Now that it’s kinda sorta summer for me, I have plenty of time to blog and what-not, so if any more surveys pop up this summer, I will definitely be filling them out.

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Peanut flour pancakes with homemade strawberry jam and sunflower seed butter.

Those pancakes above! Don’t they look amazing?! Sorry to tease you, the recipe will be up on my WIAW post for this week!

2. How much water do you drink each day?

Not enough, that’s for sure! Now that I’m home, I think I’m a little better with this, since I drink water with both snacks and also at lunch, but usually not any other time. I love water (especially with a little vanilla stevia added in) but I just don’t think about it. Something to work on, especially as the weather heats up this summer.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

Either tennis, or the daily cardio circuits I do courtesy of some free iPod apps. I would like to mix things up and buy different workout apps or just try new workout routines. I’m starting to feel burned out, which is no bueno.

4. How many calories do you eat each day?

In an effort to not be triggering, I won’t say how much but let’s just say it’s not a  healthy amount. I am still working on bulking up my meals and working towards eating about the same amount last summer when I was able to maintain my weight and feel good. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how much I actually need, and maybe even the amount I was having a year ago wasn’t quite enough but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Oh gosh, I have a ton! I can’t list them all but here are a few…

  • Larabars (love the cappuccino and chocolate chip brownie flavors, excited to try the brand new seasonal flavors…)
  • Pure bars (chocolate brownie, wild blueberry and cranberry orange are my faves)
  • Clif Mojo bars (obsessed with the mountain mix and white chocolate macadamia kinds)
  • Fruit! Frozen, fresh or dried.
  • Almond milk ice cream/banana soft serve. What, it’s a lot healthier than actual ice cream, but it tastes so creamy and good!
  • Snack plates, with random items

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

When I was at school, it was mostly a bar (see above) paired with fruit and some baby carrots, since I was usually on-the-go. Now that I’m at home, I love having the time to prepare all kinds of things, from nut butter-topped sweet potatoes to epic salads.

7. What is your favorite body part to train?

Abs/core! I have definitely improved my core strength over the past few months and I love feeling that burn in my abs.

8. What is your least favorite body part to train?

I have to go with legs right now. My left ankle has been killing me every time I try to run or even walk for a long time and it’s not fun. I’m not sure what’s up with that…

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?

I still have a lot of foods on my “bad” list, but I honestly don’t crave them at all. I like eating healthy and my indulgences tend to be on the healthier side as well, but I guess I’ll go with dark chocolate. I used to say I didn’t like it, but I was totally lying to myself. Now I allow myself one square a day (Chocolove FTW!) but that means that chocolate is still somewhat of a fear food for me.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Yes! I have since I was a little kid, my parents were always good about making us do that. Currently I take a gummy multivitamin and a gummy calcium/vitamin D supplement, since I don’t get enough of those as a vegan.

11. How often do you eat out?

During the school year, it was about once every two weeks, because my mom had to take me back up to school after a weekend spent at home so we’d eat out at fast casual places like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles and Mad Greens. Now that I’m home for the summer, we probably won’t eat out as much, but my mom’s birthday (and Mother’s Day) are next week, so we’ll definitely be going out to a real restaurant for that!

12. Do you eat fast food?

No way! I haven’t had legit fast food in at least 5 years and I don’t miss it at all. We never used to eat much fast food anyway. Now when we want a quick meal on-the-go, we hit up places like the ones I mentioned above. They are all super tasty, have plenty of healthy options and even some things I can veganize, which is always a win.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

This is tough, because I have three for sure–my mom, my dad and my little sister. I truly enjoy spending a lot of time with my family. We are really close, I know they’ve always got my back and we all share the same sarcastic humor 😉

14. Do you have a gym membership?

Nope, but in the fall, my apartment complex has a fitness center which I hope will be a good place to workout!

15. How many hours of sleep do you get each night?

I am high-maintenance in that I need 8-10 hours per night to function, otherwise I’m just dragging through the afternoon and sometimes end up with a headache. Since I’ve been home, my sleep schedule’s been thrown off a bit, but I’m sure I’ll get back into one soon!

16. Do you have a cheat day?

No. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m feeling better with eating stuff I love each and every day in moderation. I’m not sure I can call them treats, since they’re all pretty healthy, but if I want something, I will usually have it.

17. Do you drink alcohol?

Honestly, only small sips here and there when my parents offer it. I am underage, and I would rather wait til I am 21 (in a year and 2 ish months!) to drink more than that. I did enjoy a little bit of my mom’s homemade margarita on Saturday–had to celebrate Cinco de Mayo of course–and it was pretty good.

18. Do you have a workout buddy?

Usually not, but for tennis, I always play with my dad and sister.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

It has helped me move away somewhat from my eating disorder. In my worst days, I’d eat all sorts of low cal crap, like sugar-free Jell-O and Lean Cuisines because I genuinely believed they were healthy, since they were low fat and what-not. Now I now that some fats are healthy and I enjoy them every day, especially in nut butter form! It helped me transition into veganism, which feels right for me and my body, and has opened me up to new foods I never would have thought to try before.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

I went for a walk with my dad yesterday. It was cold and windy, but I loved catching up with him and getting some fresh air.

 

Where’s your favorite place to eat out at? What did you eat for breakfast?

 

WIAW: The Finish Line

So who else had an awesome weekend? I finished two papers this weekend (not exciting, but it always feels great to get those done with, plus it means I’m just that much closer to being done-zo) and also saw Wicked at the Denver Center on Sunday. My sister is a huge musical fan, and Wicked is probably her favorite show, but this was my first time seeing it and I was blown away. Such an amazing score, costumes, actors and story. If Wicked comes to a city near you, I definitely recommend seeing it.

As I’ve mentioned probably a bazillion times, it’s my last week living in a dorm, and I only have 3 more days left as a sophomore. It’s kinda bittersweet, since I really enjoyed this year, but I definitely have some bigger and better things ahead of me, both this summer and in the fall, so I’m just ready to be done with this school year. So this WIAW is my final compilation of dorm room eats. I will NOT miss only having a microwave to do my cooking in!

A recent breakfast obsession: banana 'pudding' topped with crushed PB & chocolate Puffins.

I’ve been having smoothies-in-a-bowl almost every morning since I bought xanthan gum. I am so glad I made that purchase, because now my smoothies are so thick and creamy, almost like pudding. This one tasted like banana pudding, and it was amazing topped with Puffins.

Return of the snack plate: raw broccoli, spicy avocado Hope hummus, crushed Late July sweet potato chips, kettle corn, mixed dried fruit, kalamata olives.

I know most of the blogworld is obsessed with certain brands, like Chobani for Greek yogurt, Love Grown for granola and Sabra for hummus. Let’s just say I’ve never been one to go with the trends 😉 My favorite hummus brand is Hope Hummus, which is a Colorado company. They only make 3 flavors right now, but the spicy avocado flavor is the best hummus I’ve ever tasted.

Just like the diet cream soda I used to live, only more natural!

Diet cream soda used to be my favorite soda flavor. I never drank soda  a lot, but when I did it was usually that. Now that I avoid fake sweeteners, I love that there’s a more natural alternative to diet cream soda. And it tastes so good!

A very summery outfit: navy lace tank with pinstripe belt (Abercrombie Kids), red/navy/white plaid twill shorts (Abercrombie and Fitch), silver bangles (American Eagle), unpictured red flip-flops (Hollister).

It's crop top time! Dark grey Navajo-style cropped tee (American Eagle), fish necklace (American Eagle), dark wash jeggings (American Eagle).

Time for an outfit break! I’ve been loving the super warm weather (can anyone say 70s and 80s in April?) and wearing all my springy and summery clothes again. Summer is my favorite season for clothes–I could just live in dresses, cute twill shorts, pretty tanks and tees and leather sandals.

Sweet potatoes are back! Sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and pecan pieces, raisins/dried apples/Mission fig dipped in almond peanut cashew butter, cheezy lemon pepper kale.

Sweet potatoes don’t go away just because it’s almost summer. Oh no! I enjoy them year-round, with a variety of toppings. I especially love nut butters/peanut flour/actual nuts on top.

Stuffed dates are my favorite little treat!

If you’ve never stuffed a Medjool date with some kind of nut butter, you’re crazy! My recent favorite is honey walnut butter–basically I took some Artisana raw walnut butter and stirred in a little raw honey. I normally don’t like raw nut butters because they’re blander, but the touch of honey made it perfect.

A random dinner: frozen pineapple and mango, spicy guacamole, crushed Late July sweet potato chips, cheezy lemon pepper kale, edamame with nooch.

Okay, so you’re probably thinking, “This girl is obsessed with cheezy lemon pepper kale.” And you’d be right! But it’s a good obsession…I’ll even share the super-simple recipe I came up with with you. It doesn’t even have real measurements, which is always the sign of a good recipe 😉

Cheezy Lemon Pepper Kale (vegan, gluten-free)

handful kale, about 1 cup (I prefer shredding mine into smaller pieces)

squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper

nutritional yeast, to cover the kale

Squeeze lemon juice over kale in a bowl or measuring cup and massage into leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste, and nooch to coat the kale. Stick in the fridge for at least an hour, and enjoy as a salad base or a side dish (makes 1 serving).

Chocolate banana smoothie in a bowl with crushed PB & chocolate Puffins.

The chocolate version is just as good as the banana pudding version, but it’s even better with the Puffins on top. I love the contrast between the thick, smooth ‘pudding’ and the crunchy cereal.

Another iHerb order: peanut flour (duh), cacao sweet nibs, tiny jar of kumquat jam, sunflower seed butter, Chocolove dark chocolate bar with sea salt and almonds.

iHerb is officially my favorite online store ever! I can get so many foodie items that I either can’t find around me (cough cough peanut flour) or that are actually cheaper online. I finally realized that if you order at least $20 worth of stuff, you get free shipping. Score! So I stocked up on more peanut flour (can’t live without it), as well as three new-to-me products: cacao sweet nibs, sunflower seed butter and dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds. And they sent me a little freebie, a tiny and super-cute jar of kumquat jam, which I can’t wait to try! So exotic. The sweet nibs aren’t exactly like dark chocolate, but I like that they’re a raw product and only have 3 ingredients. The sunflower seed butter is my new second-favorite nut butter after almond peanut cashew butter; it’s perfectly salty and seedy. And the chocolate is heavenly and probably my favorite Chocolove flavor. Dark chocolate+almonds+salt=perfection.

What’s the most exotic jam or jelly flavor you’ve ever had? Do you like smoothies in a bowl?

Top Ten Tuesday

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

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

Ten Foods I Can’t Live Without

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

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

3. Oats. 

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


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

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

6. Peanut flour. 

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

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

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

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

10. Sweet potatoes. 

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

Ten Things I Did This Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

So excited to try this!

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Things to Do Before School’s Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter Weekend in Pictures

Hi bloggy friends! I hope you all had a lovely Easter/Passover weekend (if you celebrate). Mine was really really good, but as usual, it went by super fast and it’s back to the daily grind. The only good thing about that is that the countdown is officially on–4 weeks til I’m no longer a sophomore! Wooooooo 😀 I am beyond excited for summer and everything I have planned for it, plus all the little things that are sure to pop up. Just gotta get through these next few weeks.

I took a bunch (well, not really) of pictures this weekend so I wanted to do a mostly wordless recap of my Easter weekend. So here goes!

Small sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and almond peanut cashew butter, garlicky kale, fresh strawberries, chocolate and peanut butter Puffins in unsweetened almond milk.

Look how bright those strawberries are! My mom bought a huge box of them at Whole Foods for only $5 and even though they started to go bad by the end of the weekend, I got to enjoy them several times over the weekend. They’re my first of the season and were really juicy and fresh. Definitely a sign that summer is on its way! The garlicky kale is a super simple dish that I whipped up three times this weekend–oh yeah, it’s that good!

Garlicky Kale (vegan, gluten-free)

large handful curly kale, washed and patted dry

1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2-1 tsp minced garlic (or freshly grated garlic clove)

sea salt, nutritional yeast and black pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add kale and salt and pepper, until the kale starts to shrink and gets crispy edges. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and browned. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top and serve as a side dish (makes 1 serving).

Saturday's outfit: navy striped cropped tee (Hollister), dark wash jeggings (American Eagle), necklace and bracelet (American Eagle).

Saturday was fairly busy but pretty fun. My sister and I went for a walk, then my dad and I popped in at my pastor’s house for his birthday open house and later my whole family went out to eat to celebrate my dad’s birthday a few days late. The restaurant wasn’t too vegan friendly, but I did get a yummy homemade-style black bean burger with a side of avocado and black bean salsa. Yum!

The lovely Easter eggs, post-dyeing.

Coloring Easter eggs is one of our family traditions. My sister didn’t join in on the fun this year because of homework, but I had fun dyeing the eggs. Do I have a future as an artist? Ummmm, probably not!

Easter outfit: yellow floral dress (Abercrombie and Fitch), bracelets and necklace (American Eagle), unpictured silver wedge sandals (Target).

Besides going to church on Easter (I always love the holiday services!), we also went to Starbucks where I got my new favorite unsweetened iced coffee, played tennis for 45 minutes, snacked outside in the gorgeous weather (sunny and in the low 70s), colored eggs, made a special dinner and Skyped with my grandma and grandpa.

This year's Easter basket!

My mom still hides Easter baskets for me and my sister…yes, we are still 5 years old! Haha, just kidding, but I still think it’s fun to go find the basket and see what’s in it. This year, I got some Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail strips (super excited about these!), some sparkly green nail polish, guava-scented body wash from Ulta, mini Sweet Tart bunnies/ducks/chicks and two new-to-me Chocolove dark chocolate bars. My mom knows me so well 😀

My Easter dinner: grilled chili lime tofu and mini sweet peppers, broiled lemon pepper asparagus (tops only, the best part) and cheezy quinoa (sprinkled with nooch).

While the rest of my family enjoyed their carnivorous dinner (flank steak, asparagus and cheesy mashed potatoes, in case you were wondering), I had a very vegan and very yummy dinner. It was my first time grilling tofu and I was a fan. I think next time I’d get extra firm, rather than super firm sprouted tofu, since it was kinda bitter, and I’d try out a marinade, rather than a seasoning on the outside. But still a really nice Easter dinner.

My new favorite 'ice cream': So Delicious mini Neapolitan nondairy ice cream sandwich.

I really wanted to try the new So Delicious almond milk ice cream sandwiches, but my Whole Foods didn’t have them. I did find these, which are soy ice cream, and actually really good, if really small. I haven’t had an ice cream sandwich in years, but these are better than regular dairy ice cream sandwiches. They also have coconut milk ice cream versions, if you like coconut milk.

Just what I needed on a Monday morning--Starbucks tall coffee light Frappuccino with soy.

Monday came early–at 6 am, to be exact. I wanted to stay all of Sunday so I could spend more time with my family, so my dad had to take me back up to school on Monday morning and we had to leave at 7. Luckily, we made a stop at Starbucks and I got my first Frapp in about six months. It was the perfect little pick-me-up!

How did you spend your weekend? What’s your go-to weekend lunch? 

I’m Weird Because…

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

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

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

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

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

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

I haven't seen this flavor in sooooo long!

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

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

An oldie but a goodie!

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

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

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

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

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

Bananas are so much better frozen!

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

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

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

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

Finish this statement: I’m weird because…

WIAW: What I Want to Make Over Spring Break

Another week, another WIAW! I gotta tell you guys, I am hooked on these weekly WIAW parties. I’ve been doing them every week since June of last year (except for a couple of times) and I love seeing what all of you who participate in WIAW have been up to, eating-wise.

This week’s edition won’t be what I’ve been eating this week, because let’s be honest, it hasn’t been too interesting–just finishing up a lot of stuff before spring break rolls around. But I want to share some of the recipes I’m planning on making next week when I’m home for break. I’ve been dying to get back into the kitchen and get my chef on so I’ve got a lot of recipes I want to try out.

Seitan Makhani (Vegan “Butter Chicken”)

From AllRecipes.com

I remember when I was a lot younger, my family went out to eat at an Indian restaurant in our city quite often–I was introduced to spicy foods and different cuisines at a young age, which is why I love them today! Anyways, my sister and I would usually split an order of butter chicken, along with some onion bahji and fresh-baked naan and it was super delicious. Being vegan and a lot more health-conscious now, of course I don’t eat butter or chicken but this veganized recipe sounds really amazing and pretty healthy. I’ve never cooked (or eaten) seitan before but I definitely want to experiment with it.

Raw Key Lime Cashew Cheezecake

Photo from Evolving Wellness

I don’t have a specific recipe in mind for this, I just want to make my own based off other raw cheezecakes. After a failed raw key lime pie experiment in January, I really want to make a key lime flavored cashew cheezecake, since key lime is perfect for spring and I’ve been wanting to make a cashew cheezecake for a while.

More kale chips

Photo from thehealthyeatingsite.com

After my first homemade batch a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been craving these yummy green chips like no other! Again, I don’t have a specific recipe in mind but I want to try a sweet and spicy batch and maybe a batch coated in vegan ranch dressing…

Carrot Cake Pancakes

From wholefoodsmarket.com

Whole Foods always has the most drool-worthy recipes and photos, and when I saw these little gems, I knew I had to try them out. I love carrot cake in overnight oat form, so why not in pancakes? I’ll have to change a few things around to make them vegan, but they look simple enough and they’ve got tons of yummy things in them, like pineapple, raisins and pecans.

Orange Poppyseed Muffins

Photo from shine.yahoo.com

For some odd reason, I have been thinking about lemon poppyseed muffins lately! But why not a twist on the traditional–vegan orange poppyseed muffins? Fresh citrus flavors are really appealing to me since spring is just around the corner so this sounds perfect!

BBQ Tofu Pizza

Photo from foodbuzz.com

I still have yet to experiment with tofu, so what better place to start than on a pizza? I’m planning on marinating some extra firm tofu in a natural barbecue sauce and topping a brown rice tortilla (best pizza base, in my opinion) with some red onions, red cabbage and possibly fresh pineapple. Though really, any kind of homemade pizza would be delicious!

Peanut Flour Banana Bread

Photo from thedailygarnish.com

I actually want to create my own recipe for this, using some kind of mix of peanut flour, oat flour, vegan chocolate chips and bananas (duh). I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but the flavor combo just sounds awesome.

Carrot Mango Smoothie

Photo from wholeliving.com

Not so much a recipe as an idea–I have no idea why I thought of this, but it just sounds really refreshing. I know a lot of people make Green Monsters…this will be an Orange Monster!

I may not get around to making all of these recipes, and I might try out other ones, but these are just my ideas as of right now! I’m getting excited (and hungry!) just thinking about them.

Pink cardigan (on arm, Abercrombie & Fitch), green floral dress (Hollister), pink crystal necklace (American Eagle)

Oh, and on an unrelated note, this is what I wore today! It has been almost 70 degrees here the past two days, and I couldn’t be happier that it feels like spring…even though snow is in the forecast for later in the week. Booooooo! My dress isn’t actually that bright of a green, it’s more of a sea foam green but I always have to color correct my photos because of the bad lighting in my room so things turn out weird colors. Also, don’t ask why my cardigan is hanging off one arm–I was trying out different poses, okay? You can check out more photos on my fashion blog!

What recipe looks the best to you? Have you ever “veganized” a recipe?