Currently: June

Haven’t done one of these in awhile but I thought I’d give a little insight into my life at the moment!

Current Book: Wintergirls. It’s a fictional book about eating disorders, but it feels so real to me. Too real. I devoured the book on my tablet in one day. I feel like I have to read it again just to totally pick up everything that’s going on. Definitely a chilling and potentially triggering read, but really good.

Current Music: I love The Black Keys’ new album and also Foster the People’s new one. “Best Friend” is a really fun pump-up song I plan on adding to my running playlist soon!

Current Guilty Pleasure: The new ALDO purse I bought on Memorial Day. Okay, it was on sale, but it’s still a splurge for this girl.

Current Nail Color: Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Hot Tamale.

Seen here pictured with my first Whole Foods coffee bar iced almond milk latte.

Seen here pictured with my first Whole Foods coffee bar iced almond milk latte.

Current Needs: More money (sigh), new glasses (I really want to order some totally hipster ones), face time with my family, a bang trim.

Current Foods: Homemade sweet potato hash, romaine hearts + spicy mustard, Sunwarrior protein chia pudding, flax crackers, berries.

Give me allllllll the produce.

Give me allllllll the produce.

Current Drink: ice cold water. It’s been HOT here. Not complaining!

Current Triumphs: trying to be smart with my money (I get paid every other Friday, and at the beginning of the month it’s hard to stretch the paycheck after paying for rent), getting back into running after hurting my Achilles’ tendon. I actually just started running a few weeks ago, and for now it’s more a mix of walking and running, but I really love it. Like a lot more than I thought I would. It helps that I have a gorgeous riverside trail just across the street from my apartment.

Current Bane of Existence: Humidity. I’m a total baby when it comes to this. I was born in Arizona and grew up in Colorado, aka both basically deserts. I know Oklahoma is nothing compared to Texas/Florida/etc. for humidity, but I just can’t take it. Give me dry heat any day!

Sweaty selfies are my favorite.

Sweaty selfies are my favorite.

Current Indulgence: Recent mini shopping trips on my days off. I am giving myself a clothing budget each month, but of course it’s a new month now — I can totally buy a few new things again 😉

Current Blessing: Being able to start working a different position at work. I’m still an associate producer, but I’ve been producing the midday newscast a couple of days per week and while it’s totally scary, it’s also fun learning how to do. And it beats the assignment desk any day! I could bitch go on and on about how much I hate the fact that the station I work at hasn’t hired a PT desk person yet so I can stop filling in for a position I wasn’t hired for.

Current Outfit: My new jumpsuit. I feel totally fierce in it and now I want more jumpsuits!

I tried to get creative with my outfit shot. Blame it on being basically alone at work for 8 hours.

I tried to get creative with my outfit shot. Blame it on being basically alone at work for 8 hours on a Saturday morning.

Current Excitement: My birthday in less than 2 months! Any guesses as to how old I’ll be turning? Hint: think an overplayed Taylor Swift song!

Current Link: 35 Things Only People Who Work Weird Hours Will Understand. Buzzfeed just gets me. These are some of the annoyances I have with having a weird schedule. It’s not all bad but let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m not into the whole nightlife scene anyway. Basically my days consist of work, sleep, working out, laying by the pool and eating. Such is life!

What are some of your ‘currentlies’? 

 

Take Me Back

Thank you, so much, for the responses to my last post! I’ve had some honest and heartfelt posts in the past, mainly about my ED, but this post was hard for me to write because it brought up so many memories and feelings about the house I left a year ago, and that may never be the same again. Natural disasters are sadly something that everyone can relate to, but it’s great when communities can come together and rebuild. The best part of this is that the fire is now 55% contained as of Saturday night, and so many homes have been spared, as well as the lives of some animals caught in the fire who were saved by the incredible firefighters.

Today I want to talk about something more fun…namely, the mini-vacation I took last week! I call it a mini-vacation because it was just a trip into the mountains (about a 2 1/2 hour drive) and we were there for only 4 days, but it was a nice escape from real life for a few days and it kinda prepared me for our longer trip to visit the grandparents in August. I’m excited for that vacation, but also nervous. It’s the first time we’ve gone back since I’ve been vegan, and since my grandparents all live in Wisconsin, it’s definitely not the most veg-friendly environment. My mom’s being really accommodating with the trip and is promising a trip to Whole Foods (and possibly my first trip to a Trader Joes!) once we land so I’m hoping I can find plenty of vegan options and not stress out too much about eating and exercise.

Anyways, onto the vacation pics! I’m going to go wordless style on this and take you through the highlights of the trip in order. And…go!

Selfie on the way to Estes Park. Don't worry, I wasn't driving!

Selfie on the way to Estes Park. Don’t worry, I wasn’t driving!

Finally in Estes.

Finally in Estes.

Elk right outside our car! They're pretty normal around those parts.

Elk right outside our car! They’re pretty normal around those parts.

 

View of the mountains from the condo.

View of the mountains from the condo.

 

Excited to go to dinner and a movie (we saw The Internship).

Excited to go to dinner and a movie (we saw The Internship).

Late night Starbies after the movie.

Late night Starbies after the movie.

 

Poooool.

Poooool.

 

I got a little burned...

I got a little burned…

Winery with the parentals. Only a month and 10 days before I can partake ;)

Winery with the parentals. Only a month and 10 days before I can partake 😉

It's not everyday you see llamas on your way to dinner.

It’s not everyday you see llamas on your way to dinner.

Cute swing by Fall River.

Cute swing by Fall River.

View of the condos from below.

View of the condos from below.

Chillin' by Fall River.

Chillin’ by Fall River.

On Fern Lake Trail.

On Fern Lake Trail.

Big rocky cliffs on the Fern Lake trail.

Big rocky cliffs on the Fern Lake trail.

Seestas on the trail.

Seestas on the trail.

 

 

 

Big Thompson river.

Big Thompson river.

Snow on Trail Ridge Road...in June!

Snow on Trail Ridge Road…in June!

Um...wow!

Um…wow!

 

 

Beaver at Trail Ridge Road visitor center...not real!

Beaver at Trail Ridge Road visitor center…not real!

Awkward wolves at a gift shop in town. It's been a running joke in our family for a few years.

Awkward wolves at a gift shop in town. It’s been a running joke in our family for a few years.

Baja blackened tacos at Native FOods in Boulder on our way back home. New favorite vegan restaurant!

Baja blackened tacos at Native Foods in Boulder on our way back home. New favorite vegan restaurant!

Gluten free PB parfait at Native Foods. I was stuffed after eating half of this, and one taco!

Gluten free PB parfait at Native Foods. I was stuffed after eating half of this, and one taco!

 

Besides all that, we packed even more into 4 days, like tennis, bumper boats and mini golf, window shopping in town and making fun of  the local TV station’s funny commercials. My family’s been going to Estes Park every summer since I was 9 or 10 and I love it every time! Even though I might not be living with them next summer, I hope I can still go back…I miss Estes already!

Do you go on vacations to new destinations or old favorites? Any tips for veg-friendly long distance plane and car travel?

WIAW: Adios, Junior Year

First things first–yes, I did change my blog design after at least a year and a half with the previous one. I just needed something new, plus I like the sidebar ‘about me’ things everybody has and the old design wouldn’t let me do that! 

I’ve been waiting for this day all year. Well, maybe not, but I’ve definitely been for at least the past month or so! The last day of my junior year of college is TODAY…and how crazy is that? I remember when college felt sooooo far away, and now I’m really close to graduation. Scary stuff.

I know my blogging’s been pretty sporadic anyways for the past few weeks but it’s gonna get even more infrequent in the next week or so. First of all, I’m moving back a lot of my stuff this afternoon and moving home for the summer. Then my family’s driving back up here this weekend to load everything else up and my mom will be doing some epic cleaning (maybe not that dramatic) so I can turn in my keys to my complex for the summer and end my lease. It’s a pain to have to move everything out, only to move it back in again in August, but I’d rather not pay the extra rent just to keep my stuff here for the summer. And then next week is when I hopefully start my internship, so it’ll be a whirl of paperwork, a drug test and plenty of excitement. And there’s a doctor’s appointment thrown in there as well, so it all makes for quite a crazy several days. So I’m really sorry if I don’t post here too much or comment on all of your blogs but I will be back as soon as the craziness dies down.

What wasn’t too crazy was the meals I enjoyed over the past week. Well, unless you consider a lot of random experimenting to be crazy, but all I know is it was delicious. And I had plenty of fun, despite finals week and moving out looming. Hey, I only had one actual final exam this semester, so paper writing and projects were the name of the  game, and a little less stressful than studying.

Bringing back an old favorite from last summer: pineapple 'fried' quinoa.

Bringing back an old favorite from last summer: pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa.

I’m doing my best to embrace the healthy grains again. I have to say I prefer the ‘ancient’, gluten free, psuedo-grains such as quinoa and buckwheat, for their stellar nutritional profile and higher protein, not to mention their deliciousness. I had some leftover quinoa in my fridge from a couple of weeks ago, and I remembered how much I used to love this random stirfry I threw together for the first time last year around my birthday. The best part about it is it’s totally customizable, so I threw in the last of my frozen edamame (I’m trying to finish up or toss things that aren’t as easily transportable before I move home), orange cauliflower, spinach, curry powder, coconut aminos (way better than soy sauce!) and fresh pineapple was a given. Not too far off from the original, and topped with sprouted pumpkin seeds and cashew butter, it was a total winner dinner.

Pineapple fried quinoa leftovers in a nori wrap, side of Thai lemon curry cashews.

Pineapple fried quinoa leftovers in a nori wrap, side of Thai lemon curry cashews.

And the little bit I had leftover made the perfect nori filling for lunch one day. I think I’ve been loving on the Asian and Mexican flavors a lot lately, between my homemade guac obsession to constantly resupplying my pantry with those addicting Thai lemon curry cashews. Maybe I could combine the two and create a Mexican stirfry or an Asian taco…

Poooool time. Pool > studying. Sorryimnotsorry.

Poooool time. Pool > studying. Sorryimnotsorry.

My apartment complex does have a pool, but they’ve been slacking on opening it up (uh, kinda late there, management. Almost everyone’s moving out this week…) so when my friend invited me to her complex’s pool on Monday, I jumped on the chance to lay out. Honestly, I usually just lay out by the pool versus actually swimming, but I did go in it a few times just to cool off. Guys, I’m so happy. We finally have my dream weather, aka 80s and sunny. With afternoon thunderstorms. Basically, it’s finally summertime in Colorado.

A not-so-pretty carrot cake protein pancake (mix of garbanzo flour+peanut flour with shredded carrot and cinnamon in the batter) topped with chopped dried fig and coconut butter crumbles.

A not-so-pretty carrot cake protein pancake (mix of garbanzo flour+peanut flour with shredded carrot and cinnamon in the batter) topped with chopped dried fig and coconut butter crumbles.

I don’t get how some people make their protein pancakes look so perfect. I do okay with multiple, small-sized pancakes but a full size one is just asking for trouble. I thought I waited long enough to flip, but part of the top crumbled off so I cooked it in two pieces. It luckily didn’t burn, but it certainly wasn’t round or anything, and parts of the inside were still undercooked. It tasted great, but my pancakes skills need some work…

Quinoa flour+chocolate Sunwarrior protein waffle. Topped with strawberries, cacao nibs and coconut butter.

Quinoa flour+chocolate Sunwarrior protein waffle. Topped with strawberries, cacao nibs and coconut butter.

…which is why I stick to waffles. Sometimes they don’t quite hold up, but if I get the ratios just right, they turn out pretty perfect and intact. This one was a bit crumbly, but it mostly stayed together, and it tasted great, which is what really counts. Protein waffles are hard to make vegan, so I’m proud that most of mine aren’t complete disasters.

I love the sun.

I love the sun.

I’m glad I stuck through the crappy weather we got in April (and foot of snow on May 1st…thanks but no thanks, Mother Nature!) because it is absolutely gorgeous now! Like I said, 80 degree temperatures, lots of sun, minimal wind (but enough of a breeze to keep you cool) and the trees are blooming after being freaked by weird cold weather. And the grass, at least here in my college town, is nice and green after getting enough precipitation last month. If you’ve ever been to Colorado, you know that the grass here is generally brown because it’s basically a high altitude desert. I’ll be going back to brown lawns today (my hometown wasn’t blessed with as much snow) but I’m hoping we get some nice afternoon rains to keep the fire danger low and makes the grass nice.

Random but surprisingly good snack: half an avocado sprinkled with stevia, topped with organic crunchy PB, cacao nibs and coconut shreds.

Random but surprisingly good snack: half an avocado sprinkled with stevia, topped with organic crunchy PB, cacao nibs and coconut shreds.

I can’t remember where I first saw the idea for a sweet avocado, but I was really intrigued by it. I’ve really only used avos in guac, and had them raw in salads, but topping my avo with something other than lime juice or salt seemed weird. But I decided to try it with one of my favorite flavor combos (PB+cacao nibs+coconut) and it was actually really amazing. The key is a perfectly ripe avocado, so the flavor isn’t too overpowering. I still don’t like avocados plain (to me, they either need salt or something sweet to taste like anything) but now I have a new way of enjoying them!

Peanutty kelp noodles with romaine and carrots.

Peanutty kelp noodles with romaine and carrots.

Kelp noodles are still a favorite of mine, but especially now that it’s so warm and I prefer to do as little cooking as possible. I love that kelp noodles are raw, and they work out perfectly in salads, like this one. I used up some of my PB2 for the dressing (I finally finished the jar, and I’m glad it’s over because I did not like it, especially compared to real peanut flour), and added in carrots and romaine lettuce, aka the last of the produce I had until I went grocery shopping later that day.

Always need to have an awkward selfie.

Always need to have an awkward selfie.

The problem with poolside selfies is that A) I’m wearing a bikini which is super awks in a photo (and already sporting a sunburn) and B) I can’t really see my phone screen in the sun, so I end up taking them from a weird angle and usually have a weird face in them. #firstworldproblems

The best dessert/breakfast ever. Coconut cream (scooped off top of full fat coconut milk from fridge) blended with chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder and frozen banana chunks, topped with fresh strawberries and half a crumbled chocolate coconut Kit's Organic bar.

The best dessert/breakfast ever. Coconut cream (scooped off top of full fat coconut milk from fridge) blended with chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder and frozen banana chunks, topped with fresh strawberries and half a crumbled chocolate coconut Kit’s Organic bar.

This is like a super-rich mousse, but the best part is that it’s perfectly acceptable for breakfast, because it’s protein-packed. There was 16 grams alone in just the Sunwarrior, plus a few extra grams from the other ingredients and toppings. It’s also no added sugar, just the natural sugars from the fruits (the Kit’s bars are just date sweetened, like Larabars) and the stevia in the Sunwarrior, so it makes for a healthy dessert option that isn’t too sweet. And it’s so easy to make if you have a food processor, just add in the protein powder, coconut cream and frozen bananas (optional, but add a little sweetness and coldness) to the processor, blend, and top away! I’ve enjoyed this twice this week, once as a dessert and once as breakfast and it was perfect for either occasion. I only wish I had more coconut cream to make it again!

Any new breakfasts you’ve been trying out? What’s your ideal weather conditions?

WIAW: On and Off

Sorry about the lack of posting lately! But it’s back-to-school time and this year means moving into my own apartment and getting all settled into a new routine. But now I’m back and ready for another WIAW!

This week, I’ve just got a random assortment of what I’ve been eating and doing, on and off campus. Even though I’m finally living off campus this year, I’m spending more time on campus with all my classes, working at the campus TV station 2 nights a week and a possible new job.

Almond peanut cashew butter mixed with maple syrup and chocolate chips, protein cereal bowl (Nature’s Path sunrise vanilla and PB Puffins mixed with Plant Fusion vanilla pro powder, u/s almond milk and raisins).

Protein powder is a must on my busy days for getting protein in. Now I love mixing it in the bottom of my cereal with some almond milk and enjoying the extra flavor and texture boost.

Pretty flower on campus!

My sister and I headed to campus a few days early to hunt down my class locations (some were in buildings I’d never been to before!) and we saw this awesome flower on our walk. I obviously love how pink it is!

Quinoa pasta and vegan ravioli mixed with basil merlot pasta sauce, mini bell peppers, olives and nooooooooch!

I can’t get enough of the nooch lately, seriously. It might be a problem, but it’s a good problem 😉

A pool? A short walk away? Yes please!

Yes, there is a pool at my apartment. Have I gone in yet? No, but I did spend some time tanning by it with my sis over the weekend. Let’s just say it’s a prime tanning and hang out spot.

Hummus and fresh veggie salad on a pita.

My mom and I tried a new-to-us place just down the street from my apartment. It was super fast, super fresh and really yum. I didn’t eat the pita part of this pita, but the hummus and veggies were outta this world!

3 minute carrot cake protein oats.

This was so good, for a super quickie snack! I mixed thick rolled oats with Truvia, almond milk, chopped carrots, raisins, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder and ground flax and topped it with Nature’s Path sunrise vanilla cereal (so good, and gluten free!) and almond peanut cashew butter.

Car selfie FTW!

Can I just say I love having a car? Not only does it make things more convenient, I can also take awesome selfies in it. Alejandro, you’re the best!

My reward after my first day of classes: grande passion iced tea (unsweetened).

I was in desperate need of some Starbies love after my first day of classes. I hit the nearest one up right after my 4 pm class for one of my fave summer drinks and enjoyed it in the sunshine.

Easy breakfast: chocolate mint protein muffin topped with homemade almond butter cup, grapes.

I’ve definitely been getting my kitchen experimenting on, now that I actually have a kitchen! So far, I’ve made no bake peppermint patty bars, mint chocolate almond butter cups and mini buckwheat corn muffins. The bars and cups are the best though–I’ve been on a mint chocolate kick lately.

First dinner in my new place: vegan nachos! Made with Late July multigrain chips, pinto beans, spicy guac, peach mango salsa, kale sauteed in coconut oil and nooch.

I finally got over my fear of the white stuff and bought some coconut oil. I’ve heard so many good things about the health benefits of it and was sick of avoiding recipes because they included it. I accidentally got the refined kind, but next time I’ll know to get the extra virgin kind for coconutty flavor!

Have you used coconut oil? How do you use protein powder?

Almost Wordless Vacation Recap

So I haven’t been on the computer in a week, and it honestly felt so freeing to just forgo technology (well, besides my phone and iPod) and just enjoy a few days of fun with my family. I also had an extra day away because I had to go up to my college town for some job training for my weather anchor position at the school’s TV station. I’m actually starting to get pumped up for school to start in just a week–well, maybe not school but having my own apartment and being on TV.

Anyways, here’s my mostly wordless vacation recap of my trip to Estes Park, CO with some words at the end about my intuitive eating/exercise experiment!

The cheese-free individual-size hummus pizza at Poppy’s…I devoured it all!

The view of Fall River from the condo.

Tanning by the pool.

Noodles in the deep end of the pool.

A mini Stanley Steamer model (steam-powered car) in the EP Museum.

Spicy sweet and sour tofu & veggies at Thai Kitchen…super spicy, but so good!

Sissy time!

The view from our hike around Lily Lake.

Tall iced soy skinny mocha enjoyed by the Big Thompson River.

Some awesomely bright flowers!

First time trying the Coconut Bliss brand of coconut milk ice cream–verdict = so good, even for the insanely high price ($6/pint). I had some chocolate hazelnut ‘ice cream’ topped with fresh raspberries.

The coolest owl cookie jar!

This really cool, super-vintage looking church just outside EP. It was even cooler inside!

The Big Thompson river.

First time trying vegan sushi! I had the sweet potato rolls filled with Japanese sweet potato, avocado and cucumber. And I loved the pickled ginger on the side.

Me and my sister down by the river.

I think I honestly kicked some serious ass on my self-imposed intuitive eating and exercise challenge. I didn’t record any of my meals or exercise in the calorie counting app I have since last Tuesday and I didn’t freak out (too much) about my macro balance. I feel like I ate more than I usually do, which I know is still probably not enough, but it was definitely a start. I feel like my meals out were pretty balanced–the first night, I had a small vegan pizza covered in veggies; the second night I had a Sunshine veggie burger (without the bun) topped with fresh guacamole; the third night I had sweet and sour tofu and veggies with a little brown rice on the side; and the last night I had a strawberry, spinach and walnut salad with balsamic and some vegan sushi. I honestly loved all the dinners that I had and didn’t have too much of a problem finding something healthy and vegan at the restaurants we went to. I challenged myself to try the Coconut Bliss brand of coconut milk ice cream despite it being higher in calories and saturated fat than my tried-and-true brand. I skipped my usual cardio circuits but was not a couch potato–I played tennis with my dad for an hour one day, walked around town a lot, went on a hike and did some swimming in the condo’s pool. I felt a little more comfortable in my skin than I usually do at home, despite wearing just a swimsuit a lot of the time. I tried a lot of new-to-me things, had some old favorites (veggie straws, baby carrots and PB Puffins, say what?!) and didn’t try to think too much about the food. Overall, the 5 days I spent intuitively eating were some of the best days I’ve had in awhile, and I want to try to keep eating the same way. Now that I’m home, I have more access to veggies, protein, etc. but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep eating more adequately and enjoying my food. And while I’m excited to go back to my regular exercise, I realize that a few days with less intense workouts won’t kill me. So I’m going to try to live every day like I did on my vacation–without the pool time, of course 😉

Do you eat intuitively or plan out your meals? Have you ever had vegan or vegetarian sushi?

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)?

Estes Park Day 2

Hey everyone! If you missed my last post on the first day of my vacation, click here to catch up!

Sunday I woke up bright and early around 9, ready to start the day with some breakfast. I don’t think I’ve ever missed eating breakfast since I first started eating–it’s definitely my favorite meal ever and an amazing way to welcome a new day. Unfortch, I wasn’t able to have my beloved overnighters (my new nickname for overnight oats…cute, huh 😉 ) but don’t worry, they made a reappearance once I got back home. However, I was able to try a new-to-me cereal, Puffins Multigrain puffs. I loved that these were lightly sweet, full of fiber and were tri-colored! Puffins are one of my favorite cereal brands, but I’ve yet to try the Peanut Butter & Chocolate variety. Tori, I’m jealous of you right now 😀 I also had some mini pancakes (yay for little kid food!) and my usual sausage.

After the fun times that is breakfast, we headed straight over to the Lake Estes marina. Nope, no boating/fishing was involved (though it has been in past years. I haven’t gone kayaking since my mom and I got stranded two years ago near the barriers that separate the lake from the dam. Scary stuff, I tell ya!) but we did rent some pedal carts and biked pedaled around the lake. It was a nice little ride, but not really that strenuous. If you asked me sister, though, she would have said it “was the hardest thing she’s ever done”. Not quite sure if that was sarcasm, but it does run in the family…

 

Me and the sister pedal-carting it

 

Lake Estes

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch condo, we hit up the pool! Probably the main reason we go to Estes (haha, JK!), but really, I love me some pool time. The place we used to stay at had a great outdoor pool…however, it was always crowded and FREEZING. No joke, it was probably 70 degrees, which sounds warm, but isn’t if you’re talking about pool water. This new place has an even better outdoor pool, namely because there are fewer people and it feels like bath water, but also because it’s more scenic. You can look up while swimming laps to see towering mountains and blue skies. Amazing. Well, unfortch, Sunday wasn’t the best day to go to the pool, because it was inhabited by little kids (nothing against them, but boy can they splash!) and also the storm clouds rolled in early. Basically, I spent 10 minutes in the pool before we had to go inside. No bueno, but at least I got some tanning time in!

 

The pool!

 

By the pool with my sis (yes, I do have hair!)

 

Later that afternoon, my parents dragged me and my sis to one of the wineries in town. They’re not actual wineries with grapes and stuff growing outside, but small buildings where you can sample local wines and where they steep (?) the wine. Trust me, I know nada about wines and such. Basically, the sister and I sat outside in the blazing sun and had some fun with the ‘Fail’ app on her iPod. We’re mature, I know 😉

Then it was off to dinner, at one of my favorite EP restaurants–Grubsteak. They have a lot of vegetarian options and even exotic stuff, like yak and elk meat. I stayed away from the weirder things and ordered the Jalapeno and Jack burger, minus the Jack because I don’t do cheese and I got it with an original Sunshine burger. I’ve never tried a Sunshine burger before, and the verdict is: delicious! I never realized they were so thick and hearty, which is so different from other veggie burgers I’ve had. The jalapenos on my burger seemed fresh, which was great because I hate pickled jalapenos. If we go there again, I will definitely be ordering the same thing, it’s just too good to pass up.

 

Yummy vegan burger

 

We returned to the condo briefly, and then headed back into town to get dessert. I’d heard of this place that had baked goods as well as a cereal buffet, and I couldn’t pass that up! But…it was closed since it was late so we wandered further down the street into a place that served ice cream and cupcakes. I didn’t end up getting anything, because they had no gelato/froyo/sorbet but my fam seemed to enjoy their flavors. My sister got peppermint s’mores, which sounds like an awesome combo. I’ve gotta come up with an overnighters recipe for that…

What do you eat for breakfast when you’re on vacation? Ever had a Sunshine burger (if so, what flavor do you recommend)?

More to come!