Meal Prep Monday

Remember my ‘vegan on a budget’ posts from last year and earlier this year? I was planning on bringing them back once school started back up in the fall but it’s been…3 months since school started and I haven’t done one of those posts yet. Oops. Anyways, it’s a little late to do them again now since I only have 4 more weeks left, including finals! Crazy talk.

I’ve still been keeping up with my grocery budgeting and meal prepping, though, and I wanted to showcase a little of that, especially because I did a LOT of it this weekend. I managed to spend under $70 total for the week at 3 different grocery stores, which is way better than I was doing last semester, and I’ve been loving my long weekends (I only have classes Monday through Thursday, so 3 days weekends every week for this girl…enjoying them while they last!) because they give me plenty of time to go shopping and get my food prep done for the week. Taking an almost full course load means that I don’t have a ton of time during the week to do this, so it’s a blessing to have 3 days to catch up on stuff, including prepping my meals.

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to in the kitchen lately!

Groceries

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

Sprouts and Natural Grocers mini-haul.

I wasn’t planning on going to Sprouts this weekend, but when my friend said she needed to swing by there for a few things, I decided to tag along. I ended up getting some cheap organic Pink Lady apples (my favorite kind), Ataulfo mangoes (also my favorite) and Medjool dates. All for under $10. Afterwards I stopped at Natural Grocers, mostly because they’re the only store in my area that carries black bean pasta, which is a new high-protein staple for me. Unfortunately, they were all out but I still ended up buying a few things I needed wanted, like my favorite Hail Merry miracle tart, xylitol-sweetened gum, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seed butter–for under $15.

Whole Foods produce...

Whole Foods produce…

...and pantry staples.

…and pantry staples.

Whole Foods is a given, but luckily it hasn’t been a budget breaker lately. I’ve been able to spend under $50 there consistently if I also shop at another store, and I only spend around $60 if that’s the only place I shop for the week. I can’t complain! This week I bought two more expensive items (the stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and Skinnycrisps) but the chocolate chips were on sale and the Skinnycrisps I hadn’t had in months and I wanted to bring them home to have over Thanksgiving break. I was planning on buying Tessemae’s BBQ sauce (sweetened only with dates!) so I could make this ‘pulled’ BBQ cauliflower but they were all out so I just had to nix that recipe for this week. As usual, I got a ton of produce (bananas, pomegranates and persimmons on sale, romaine hearts, lime, cilantro, Hannah yams) and some other things I needed for recipes like organic peanuts from the bulk section (on sale!), raisins and yeast. And of course, a few Larabars for quick snacks during the week. This was all just under $45, score!

Meals

Some of these things I made before I did my grocery shopping, so I was kinda using up some things and getting creative. I ran out of nut butter on Wednesday I think so that was fun trying to find other fat sources in my pantry. It was nice to finally restock and have more fruit and snack-y stuff again.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut 'bacon', pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

Raw protein bowl for breakfast on Saturday. Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+coconut flour+almond milk base, topped with homemade raw coconut ‘bacon’, pomegranate seeds and a little chia ginger rawnola.

I already plowed through one of the Garden of Life protein powder tubs my dad bought me late last month and I’m onto the second. I definitely recommend this brand, especially their new coffee flavor (it’s only available at Whole Foods right now, though)–decent consistency, especially mixed with coconut flour, and great stats for a raw protein powder.

Lettuce wraps...for breakfast?

Lettuce wraps…for breakfast?

This was another recent breakfast, when I ran out of bananas so I couldn’t have my usual banana ‘softserve’, which is what I have like 90% of the time. Instead, I took some romaine hearts and filled them with dates, raisins and the last of my PB. The date/lettuce combo is seriously killer! I know it sounds weird, but it’s really good. I also had some Garden of Life protein powder mixed with almond milk on the side.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Salad with romaine, leftover black bean spaghetti, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and sauerkraut.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Random black bean and kelp noodle bowl with cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade pumpkin curry sauce.

Before my grocery trips this weekend, my lunches were getting pretty random. I was basically throwing together some leftovers, like the black bean noodles and pumpkin curry sauce, with some add-ins like pomegranate seeds and sauerkraut. These lunches were actually really tasty and filling–I just love the sweet and salty combos!

Oh She Glows' Thai veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Oh She Glows’ Thai sweet potato veggie burger on top of spinach, topped with sunflower seed butter+coconut aminos, peanuts, cilantro and mango. Side of roasted cauliflower.

Finally a more put-together meal! This was my take on Angela’s Thai-style veggie burger. I made a few changes to it though–I nixed the oats in favor of almond flour to make it grain free, I didn’t really measure anything, I only added in the spices/veggies that I had on hand like curry powder and cilantro and I topped mine with a sunflower seed butter sauce. These were pretty crumbly, but the flavor was spot-on and definitely the best homemade veggie burger I’ve ever had! I’m looking forward to leftovers all week..

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work and the mess.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

Sometimes simple desserts are the best. Like these stevia-sweetened chocolate fruit & nut clusters.

As for the rest of meal prep, I cut up and stored the 2 organic pomegranates I scored at Whole Foods for just $2.50 (they were on sale 4 for $5)–always messy work but I’m obsessed with pomegranates so it’s all good–made another batch of homemade sweet potato fries out of one of the Hannah yams I bought, made some more PB&J bites and some healthy ‘rice krispies’ (cacao brown rice cereal made with coconut sugar+sunflower seed butter+1 tbsp maple syrup+1 scoop protein powder+some almond milk made into bars) to use up some brown rice cereal I had and I also made the chocolate-covered fruit and nut clusters above. It’s so simple it doesn’t even really need a recipe, and I have no idea where I came up with it, but it’s basically raw mixed nuts (mine were from Whole Foods) and raisins topped with the Lily’s stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips and set in the freezer to harden. I used the stevia chocolate so these would be sugar free, but feel free to use whatever dark chocolate you have on hand. These are really good, and they’d be the perfect simple holiday dessert, maybe made more festive with dried cranberries instead of raisins and peppermint-flavored dark chocolate?

Do you like to do meal prep on the weekends? What are some of your recent favorite food finds?

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WIAW: Fall Favorites

I’d like to get back into a more regular WIAW groove, but for now, doing it every once in awhile is working best for me! Check out the rest of the weekly party and let’s get into some of my latest favorites…

Homemade vegan chili fries...aka healthy vegan comfort food at its finest! Base of hannah yam 'fries' (baked with pink sea salt and cayenne), topped with homemade chocolate chili (made with black beans), homemade guac, pumpkin seeds and jalapeno.

Homemade vegan chili fries…aka healthy vegan comfort food at its finest! Base of hannah yam ‘fries’ (baked with pink sea salt and cayenne), topped with homemade chocolate chili (made with black beans), homemade guac, pumpkin seeds and jalapeno.

What’s fall without some chili? Unfortunately, the one pictured above wasn’t so great–I had dreams of making a chocolate chili like my favorite restaurant offers but my recipe skills (aka throwing things together and hoping it’ll work) didn’t work in my favor this time. It was edible, but not super flavorful. You win some, you lose some. It was pretty good as part of this chili fry creation–I’ve been loving on the homemade root veggie fries lately!

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work.

I’ve still been mourning the loss of my beloved summer fruits (and figs, which for some reason have been absent at my Whole Foods since early October…why?) but I’ve been drowning my sorrows in the jewel of the fruit world, also known as the pomegranate. These have still been a bit pricey as the season is just beginning, but I managed to score 4 organic poms at Sprouts the other week for $2.99 total! Quite a deal, considering one pomegranate is going for $2.99 at Whole Foods. These juicy little gems are definitely worth the work and the mess it requires to prepare them and they’re definitely my favorite fall/winter fruit.

Apple daiquiri at Luscious Nectar.

Apple daiquiri at Luscious Nectar.

Despite what I might portray on here, I am not a frequent drinker by any means. I have an adult beverage once or twice a month, and I always stick to one drink because this petite girl can’t handle any more than that! When my parents were up visiting this weekend, they took me to Luscious Nectar, this cool juice bar in Old Town that offers vegan tapas and cool alcoholic drinks all made in-house. I love that because then there’s no weird additives. I got an apple daiquiri, which was a frozen blended drink made with green apple liqueur, lime and rum. It was good but super strong–I got a ‘short’ which was apparently 10 ounces, and I was only able to drink half before I started feeling it. I would definitely come back to try some of their other drinks though–they had an awesome sounding pumpkin cocktail–and their vegan tapas sounded incredible (we had the chips and guac to share, which were decent).

Grain free pumpkin raisin bagels right from the oven.

Grain free pumpkin raisin bagels right from the oven.

I like experimenting with grain free recipes because I love the nutritional benefits of almond flour and coconut flour. Grain free recipes without eggs don’t always work though–but these bagels are an exception. They’re definitely not quite the same as regular doughy bagels but they have a similar chew and they’re a lot healthier. I adapted the recipe from here and they’re pretty straightforward and one of the few baked goods that actually turns out right for me. I have the worst luck with baking, because I usually make a ton of changes to recipes and I’m at a high altitude so everything’s different and nothing ever rises. These are definitely a recipe I recommend if you want to try making some healthier bagels. Oh, and they’re definitely a lot smaller than regular bagels–they’re more like mini bagels, but mini things are always cuter!

Pre-cut yams make life so much easier.

Pre-cut yams make life so much easier.

When I was home a few weekends ago, I went to the Whole Foods near my house and found these pre-packaged fry cut yams in the produce section. I love making homemade sweet potato fries, but cutting the sweet potatoes can be a pain, so I just had to get these to make fry-making a little easier. These worked so well for making fries and I wish the Whole Foods near school would stock these!

Natural Grocers mini haul.

Natural Grocers mini haul.

I’ve been doing so well lately with grocery budgeting. It’s been kind of a necessity, since I’ve been running low on funds and I’m gonna need a little help from my parents as the semester wraps up, but I’ve been consistently spending around $60 or less at Whole Foods each week. Who says it’s called Whole Paycheck? This week, I actually spent just over $66 for my entire week’s worth of groceries and that was shopping at 2 stores and buying a couple splurge-y items. I got a few things at Natural Grocers I’ve been dying to find, like the Silver Hills gluten free bread (the slices are small, but it’s the best GF bread I’ve ever had) and the black bean spaghetti (literally tastes like regular pasta, but grain free and 25 grams of protein PER serving!) and I also got a great deal on some persimmons that were actually ripe. I also have 2 persimmons chilling in my produce bowl that have been there for almost 2 weeks now and they’re still not ripe…what’s up with that?

Vegan pizza from a restaurant? Too good to be true? Yep.

Vegan pizza from a restaurant? Too good to be true? Yep.

When I was last home, my mom and I stopped at Live Basil when she was taking me back home. We’ve been there I think 3 or 4 times and it’s definitely our favorite pizza place–they have fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and make the pizza right in front of you. Nothing like that Pizza Hut crap at all! Anyways, I usually get a make-your-own option so I can get it with tons of veggies and no cheese, but this last time, I saw they had a vegan option right on the menu. It was topped with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes (ick, but I could deal), onions (which I swapped for Greek olives) and mushrooms…oh, and vegan cheese. I am NOT a fan of most vegan cheeses (other than cashew cheese) but I figured that since they had so many other quality ingredients, the cheese couldn’t be too bad, plus I was thrilled to finally be able to order straight off the menu so that’s what I got. Ummmm…big mistake! The rest of the pizza was great (even the tomatoes were alright) but the cheese was straight up nast. I’m not sure what kind they used, possibly Daiya since it was melty (and for the record, I’ve never had Daiya before) but it was tasteless and gooey and just gross. I tried to remove what I could, but it was so glue-y and goopy that I couldn’t really fix it. It definitely ruined the rest of the pizza for me, and reminded me that I just don’t like vegan cheese. Sorry not sorry, but cheeseless pizzas are where it’s at!

Recent dinner: homemade lentil flatbread with homemade pumpkin butter and maple syrup mixed with organic PB, side of homemade carrot fries and Whole Foods bread & butter pickles.

Recent dinner: homemade lentil flatbread with homemade pumpkin butter and maple syrup mixed with organic PB, side of homemade carrot fries and Whole Foods bread & butter pickles.

I’ve been embracing lentils lately…in the form of lentil flatbread! Basically what you do is blend dried lentils (I like red ones because they aren’t as strongly flavored) until the form a flour, and then add in water, ground flax, sea salt and spices. Then you pour it in a pan on the stove like you would with socca, and cook away. I love the nutty flavor and how it’s packed with protein and so easy to make. I made one for dinner the other night and topped it with some sweet toppings, and served it alongside some homemade carrot fries (not quite as good as sweet potato fries, but really tasty) and bread & butter pickles made fresh in my Whole Foods prepared section. It was the perfect quick dinner after my 3 hour evening class on Monday night!

What are some of your fall favorites?

WIAW: Working With Almond Flour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegan Omelette (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1/4 cup garbanzo/fava bean flour

sea salt, to taste

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

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

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

This was submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #27

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 tsp dark chocolate chips (optional)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 packet stevia, to taste

1/4 tsp sea salt

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

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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

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

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

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

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

Orange creamsicle protein donut, made with almond flour.

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

Orange Creamsicle Donuts (vegan, gluten free)

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

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup almond flour

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

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural granulated sugar)

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

1 tsp vanilla extract

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

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

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

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

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

1 cup almond flour

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

2 tsp tapioca or arrowroot starch

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

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

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 dried Calimyrna fig, chopped

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

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

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

20 Questions, Health Style

It’s that time of year again for all us college kids–finals! I actually only have a few finals this semester but a lot of other crap to do before Christmas break like writing papers and such so saying that I’m stressed is definitely an understatement. So this is where fun little surveys come in! Plus I always love talking about food and health so here we go…

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Today I had a super-unconventional breakfast, at least for me. I had a rice cake (new obsession) topped with raw vanilla chai protein frosting and raisins, with a side of candy cane coffee (courtesy of Target–so good!) and some sauteed cinnamon kale. I usually go for breakfasts on the sweet side and this was, but definitely not my norm, especially with the addition of the kale.

2. How much water do you drink a day?

Not enough! I get headaches a lot (like at least once a week) and I think it may have to do with being a little dehydrated. I live in a really dry state so that doesn’t help but I really need to start drinking more. Water is really the only thing I drink during the day but I don’t get in a lot.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

Any of the workouts in this workout app I have on my iPod Touch. I really love the ab-focused ones, I always feel the burn!

4. How many calories do you eat a day?

I honestly don’t want to get into this. Yes, I count calories religiously (unfortunately…) but I really really want to stop. I’d rather focus on the nutrients and ingredients in my food rather than calories so I’m working towards that. The calories thing still bugs me though because I know I’m probably slightly restricting but I have no idea how many calories I really need to function at my best. Which is why I want to stop counting calories.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Fruit, dried and fresh and frozen. Rice cakes topped with pumpkin butter. Peanut flour paste. Almond butter mixed with maple syrup. Kale chips. Raw cauliflower dipped in salsa. Roasted squash dipped in nut butter. Dark chocolate…what? Who said it isn’t healthy?!

Pom seeds = totally delicious.

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

I try to get in a big bowl of kale in some form, or some veggie. Other than that, I don’t really have anything I eat a lot with lunch. I like to mix it up!

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?

I don’t do typical strength-training–I don’t lift weights or anything but I like bodyweight exercises. But I like to train my abs and arms, that’s where I feel the most progress and burn.

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

Legs. I don’t feel like it does as much as arms or abs.

9. What are your ‘bad’ food cravings?

I don’t really crave unhealthy foods, but since I have a sweet tooth, some days I go a little crazy with the dark chocolate, maple syrup and dried fruit. All healthy things, but not as nutritionally amazing as veggies  obviously!

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

I finally found a gummy vitamin without gelatin and I love it! It’s also supplemented with a variety of veggies and fruits which is great for those days that I can’t get in as much produce as I’d like.

11. How often do you eat out?

A few times per month, mostly when my mom picks me up for the weekend and we have to swing by Panera or Chipotle or whatever for a quick lunch or dinner. We don’t go out to real restaurants a lot, mostly because they don’t have tons of vegan options, but Tasty Harmony is my favorite sit-down place because it’s all plant-based and made from scratch. Plus the Whole Foods salad bars are always amazing!

Love the Whole Foods salad bars!

12. Do you eat fast food?

Unless you count places like Chipotle, then never. I haven’t in many years and I don’t really want to. I like fast casual places because they have lots of healthy, vegan options but fast food places do not appeal to me at all.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

My family, for sure! My mom has been driving 200 miles a couple of times per month throughout my college career to bring me home on some weekends and always has great advice. I can talk to my dad about anything and he has supported my dreams and expensive tastes. My sister is my best friend and fashion consultant (I’m hers too!). I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Love this girl!

14. Do you have a gym membership?

No, but I’ve always wanted to. I actually think some of those gym machines look really fun!

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

I always aim for at least 8 and I usually get that…and more! I’m lucky to be such a great sleeper and getting 9 or 10 hours of sleep feels great.

16. Do you have a ‘cheat’ day?

Nope. I have enough disordered thoughts in my life without thinking I need to ‘cheat’ and eat ‘badly’ on a certain day. For the most part, I eat what I like (which is mostly healthy anyways), try to get a good balance of macros and vitamins and that’s that. I try not to overthink indulgences and stuff like that.

Was this healthy? Not really (it was vegan and from Whole Foods though so not totally bad) but it was my birthday and I wanted cake!

17. Do you drink alcohol?

Not regularly, as I’m not quite legal, but I did enjoy a few cocktails on Thanksgiving and I think I’ll have to do the same over Christmas break!

18. Do you have a workout buddy?

Not really, but my dad and I play tennis together sometimes which is so fun.  We haven’t played in awhile so that needs to change!

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

I started eating healthier around 14 but then I fell into an eating disorder and now I’m coming out on the other side as a vegan and healthier than ever. I think I’ve started to discover balance–balancing healthy eating with exercise, sleep, work and fun. It’s not always easy, but getting that balance is key to being happy.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

Put on a sweatshirt because I was cold. That sounds totally silly, but it’s no fun to sit around freezing and it feels good to respect my body by not ignoring its cries for warmth 😉

Answer any of the questions above!

WIAW: Weekend Fashion & Monday Food

I’m baaaaack after a semi-relaxing weekend and a busy start to the week. You know how it goes. But I’ve got a major countdown going on until Thanksgiving break…only 23 days until no school for a week and a couple days! Yeah, that’s 23 days totalincluding weekends. Where has the semester gone? There’s only 5 1/2 weeks left, not counting finals week. Not that I’m complaining though. I’m in desperate need of a break!

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

This week’s edition of everyone’s favorite party features what I ate on Monday, along with a few extra pics from the weekend. I’ve been taking more fashion photos lately so enjoy those!

Can I pull off the hippie look?

Sometimes I think I could almost be a hippie. Vegan? Check. Liberal leaning? Yup. Long hair? Of course. Love of boho fashion? Sure. I don’t do the whole drug thing or ‘natural’ hygiene habits (I like my showers and trips to the salon, thankyouverymuch) but I think I could fit in with the hippie crowd just fine. Plus I have a newfound love for their headbands. I just think they add a cute touch to almost any outfit. But are sparkles considered hippie?

Or maybe I’m more of a hipster, writing a paper in Starbucks…

I spent a few hours on Sunday at my favorite FoCo Starbucks. Not because I love coffee so much (though I do) but because I had a paper to write and I thought I’d be less distracted at ‘bucks. Well, turns out that a change of scenery did me good. I was able to finish the paper, enjoy a tall Americano with sugar-free hazelnut and do some people watching while jamming out to Pandora. It was a great, productive afternoon.

First socca pizza = success flavor-wise, but not so pretty.

I finally invested in some garbanzo flour (it was only $2.50 at Sprouts…score!) so I could try out the blogger fave, socca. And I’ve gotta say, it makes a great gluten-free grain-free sub for pizza crust. However, I’m warning you–don’t taste test the socca batter before you cook it. The flavor reminded me of when I used to get bloody noses, it was so metallic-y. But once cooked (I did the skillet method) it tastes great. Especially if you mix it with plenty of spices.

Saturday’s errands outfit: navy striped crop tee (Hollister), dark wash jeggings (American Eagle), silver bangles (American Eagle).

I’ve been wearing flip-flops, tees and shorts on a regular basis…and yes, it is October. I know some of you may have already gotten snow, but this is why I love Colorado. Our weather is so unpredictable this time of year, but it can definitely be summer-like into October. Sadly this streak is coming to an end soon–snow is in the forecast for tomorrow into the weekend 😦

Breakfast

Monday breakfast: pumpkin vanilla protein pudding. Topped with pomegranate seeds and maple pecans.

Like I said, it’s been warm enough here even in the mornings to not want warm breakfasts quite yet. I still have to do smoothies and protein puddings so I don’t overheat. But I still want my meals to be fall-inspired, so Monday’s breakfast fulfilled both requirements. Pomegranate tastes awesome with pumpkin and pecans and maple. It’s like all the flavors of fall in one bowl.

Lunch

Lunch plates for the indecisive girl. Coconut oil roasted brussels sprouts (with organic ketchup), coconut flour microwave muffin crumbles, sweet stuffed acorn squash, peanut flour paste, almond butter, Alter Eco mint chocolate bar.

I haven’t been doing snackplates as much lately but I have been doing them for lunches! One of my go-tos is a coconut flour microwave muffin. It’s so simple to make, just add some coconut flour (1 or 2 tbsp), baking powder, salt/stevia and almond milk to a microwave safe bowl and let it cook for a minute or so. It turns out really crumbly, but totally voluminous and cake like. It’s crazy that a grain free flour turns out like a tasty muffin, but it just does. And I love it!

A side of pomegranate seeds and my phone.

I realize the seeds are called arils, but I don’t like that word. Seeds sounds better. I can’t believe how obsessed I am with these little guys. They were so worth almost staining my skin and every surface of my kitchen 😉

Monday’s outfit: navy pullover sweatshirt (Gilly Hicks), brown woven leather belt (Abercrombie), burgundy twill shorts (Abercrombie).

I don’t wear my glasses often in public (I usually wear contacts) but some days they’re just necessary. Like when one of your contacts is seriously bothering your eye and you realize that it’s illegal for you to drive without contacts or glasses. I can’t believe how bad my vision has gotten since I first got contacts/glasses 4 years ago. I hope I can eventually get laser surgery, but it’s kinda scary too…

Afternoon Snack

Yes, I like weirdly green food. Mint chocolate buckwheat waffle made with kale, topped with mint kale infused protein frosting.

I love love love homemade waffles, in case you couldn’t already tell. My waffle maker is my most-loved kitchen appliance for sure, it gets used almost every day whether for breakfast or a snack. I prefer making my own because ones from the store don’t taste that great, they aren’t as healthy and with homemade ones I can add in only the ingredients that I want and make them whatever crazy flavors I’d like! Plus they’re almost as convenient as store bought, so why not?

Dinner

Sepia-ified nachos. Sweet potato multigrain chips topped with 1/4 vegan Mexican chipotle seitan sausage, coconut oil-sauteed plantain slices, guacamole, crispy kale and nooch.

I love healthy nachos for a quick and easy dinner. The best part is, they’re totally customizable. Monday night’s version included delicious plantain slices, my favorite vegan sausage (it’s so spicyyyy and I love that it’s made with simple ingredients), pan-crisped kale and fresh guac. My nacho base is always Late July multigrain chips, which are great because they’re healthier than the typical chips, gluten free and packed with chia and flax seeds. So nachos can definitely be considered a ‘health food’…well, if you use the right ingredients 😛

Nighttime Snack

My latest favorite nighttime snack: chocolate peanut butter protein microwave cake, made with raw chocolate protein powder, peanut flour, almond milk, baking soda and topped with almond butter and vegan mousse.

I have a strange addiction to microwave protein cakes lately. They’re just so foolproof and you can make them almost any flavor. And they just call for toppings, dontcha think?! I recommend coconut milk ice cream, coconut whipped cream or almond butter!

Do you prefer making some things from scratch, or buying them? Have you ever tried socca or pomegranate?

College Vegan on a Budget: Under $50

A series about shopping for vegan groceries on a college budget, without compromising my values or health standards.

Another budget post? Yep, I’m just having a lot of fun doing these things and most importantly, I’m definitely improving on my budgeting skills. At least when it comes to grocery shopping. I needed another pair of jeans, so I hit up my city’s (lame) mall and ended up spending over $60 on a pair of burgundy jeggings at Hollister and a set of headbands at American Eagle. I didn’t need the headbands but they were so calling my name 😉 So obviously I’m still not great at saying ‘no’ when clothes shopping but what can you do when you’re a fashionista? Plus I justified it by saying I haven’t shopped for clothes in almost 3 months, so I was in desperate need (and still am) of some new pieces to freshen up my closet.

Anyways, this post is about groceries, not clothes. I was able to spend under $50 this weekend, and I shopped at two stores! This just goes to show that you can buy healthy, vegan foods at specialty stores and not burn a hole in your wallet. Obviously this was more of a stock-up-on-a-few-extras type of trip but it’s inspired me to try to pare down my regular shopping trips as well. I’m making a plan not to buy more than 1 or 2 special items a week–these things add up and I can’t afford to be buying multiple things over $5 or $6 each trip. So if one week I need more maple syrup, I’ll forgo buying some fancy nut butter or coconut aminos or whatever (I still want to buy those, BTW, but it’s $7 per bottle). I know that most of these more expensive items last longer, which is great, but I still can’t be buying them right and left.

My Sprouts mini-haul of the week.

Sprouts

What I Got: Medjool dates (much cheaper than at WF), plantain, garlic*, Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo bean flour (socca, here I come!), Metromint chocolate mint water, raw cashews, pomegranate, dried apple rings

What It Cost Me: $22.80

Verdict: I just really love Sprouts for their produce deals. The plantain was 99 cents, the pomegranate was $2.50 (and huge!), and the dried fruit is pretty cheap for having no added sugars or oils. There were a few more things I was planning on buying but decided not to to save money. But next time, I am definitely trying Zico pineapple coconut water!

 

Yummy Whole Foods buys.

Whole Foods

What I Got: Kaia sprouted party mix pumpkin seeds*, Chocolove peppermint dark chocolate bar, bulk cacao nibs, bulk almond flour, bulk maple pecans, 365 full fat coconut milk*, Vegan tropical protein powder, bulk olives, vegan chocolate mousse, sweet stuffed squash

What It Cost Me: $25.50

Verdict: The bulk bins save me again! I only have to buy what I need, so I end up saving a ton. Buying almond flour prepackaged costs about $8, but getting a quarter of a pound only cost me $1.20. And cacao nibs are usually very expensive but I got a small amount for just 98 cents! I prefer buying this way because I only make single lady meals, so I want my foods to stay fresh and by buying only what I need, I know it’ll stay fresh when I need it. 

I am super proud of my budgeting skills this week and I know I can make future shopping trips this cheap by watching what I’m spending my money on.

Do you do better at budgeting your grocery shopping or clothes shopping? What’s your policy on ‘splurge’ items?