Meal Prep Monday: Raw Week 1

Eating raw doesn’t seem feasible to most people (I’ll be discussing that in a post later this week) but I gotta say, a lot of people are interested in seeing what raw foodies eat. After all, on the surface, raw foodism seems restrictive, boring and complicated…but honestly, it’s NONE of those things! With that being said, here’s my plans for my upcoming week eating raw.

Meals for the Week

Breakfast: I plan on rotating between chia pudding, flax pancakes and possibly fruit+buckwheat granola in homemade almond milk. I like to keep things simple for breakfast, with plenty of fruit and healthy fats, usually in the form of almond butter or coconut manna.

Raw flax pancakes topped with Sunwarrior protein sauce, pomegranate and date syrup.

Raw flax pancakes topped with Sunwarrior protein sauce, pomegranate and date syrup.

Lunch: I want to switch this up every single day this week and try at least a few new things. I have a feeling BLT wraps will be back this week, as well as raw macro bowls, giant salads and protein smoothies.

Raw take on the classic macro bowl.

Raw take on the classic macro bowl.

Dinner: This is where my creativity and plenty of bookmarked raw recipes come in. I plan on making the Asian noodle “stir-fry” from my Going Raw book, this fettuccine alfredo, lettuce taco wraps with my raw taco filling and possibly this raw vegan poutine if I can figure out how to make sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator. I’ve got a full week of meals lined up, and since I went fully raw last week, I think I can do it again this week…though I am giving myself the freedom to eat a plant-based cooked dinner if I’m feeling it.

Snacks: Snack plates, chia pudding, banana softserve…all the usual suspects.

I love my random, nutrient-packed snack plates!

I love my random, nutrient-packed snack plates!

Recipes for the Week

Other than the ones linked above, I’m planning on making more coconut bacon, these superfood cups, these sprouted raw buckwheat bars (like rice krispies but better!) and another batch of date syrup.

Groceries for the Week

No pictures this time, but here’s some of what I stocked up on for this week. Note: most of what I bought this week will last for just this week, but a lot of raw food staples (like coconut aminos, raw nut butters, superfood powders, etc.) will last a lot longer, and even though they may be expensive upfront, they’re worth it to keep around in your pantry for future use.

Produce: blackberries (on sale), yams, romaine hearts, spinach/arugula mix, bananas (always bananas!), orange bell pepper, avocados, ginger, cilantro, pineapple (on sale), zucchinis, rainbow carrots

Bulk Bins: dates, dried Turkish figs, raw mixed nuts, raw cashew pieces, hemp seeds, Himalayan pink sea salt, coconut flour

Miscellaneous: nothing this week

What’s always on your grocery list? Do you like to stick with the same things for a certain meal or switch it up? 

Friday Five: Foodie Edition

Thanks for all the helpful words on my last post! It’s hard to deal with well-meaning but unhelpful advice from family and friends, but it’s a good reminder that we have to take those words with a grain of salt and do what’s best for our health.

I wanted to bring back the Friday Five posts again and this week, I’m focusing on some fun food things for all my fellow foodies out there!

1. I found some new Larabar flavors…at Target!

You all know my love for Target and Larabars…so put the two together and it’s a perfect match! I actually generally don’t buy my Larabars from Target since they don’t usually have a huge selection like Whole Foods and Sprouts do. But since they have a lot of New Years resolution health stuff right now, they had some Uber bars on sale for $1 each, including 2 new-to-me flavors! You definitely can’t beat that–and they sound downright delicious too.

Ummmm, yum!

Ummmm, yum!

2. I’m obsessed with making grain-free flatbreads. 

First, it was this flatbread made into grain free stuffing. Then it was my staple socca. Now it’s this focaccia, which happens to be egg-free also! If you think grain free baking is hard, try it without eggs. It’s really fun to experiment with grain-free flours and when something turns out delicious, it’s even better.

3. I’m really craving the produce of spring and summer. 

Winter is hard enough as it is, with plenty of cold days, snow and the general feeling of blah-ness once the holidays are over. At least I didn’t get hit with the crazy cold weather here in Colorado (we’ve been in the 40s and 50s, which I can’t complain too much about) and we get over 300 days of sunshine each year, so my mood stays the same. The one thing I crave (other than warmer weather) is spring and summer produce. I miss all the berries, the watermelon, the peaches and cherries, the asparagus and the artichokes. Winter produce just isn’t cutting it–I’m already sick of squashes and citrus. At least I still have my beloved pomegranate…only 68 days until spring arrives!

I miss having fresh berries for my breakfast!

I miss having fresh berries for my breakfast!

4. I haven’t had peanut flour in over 6 months…and I kinda want it again.

Remember when I was addicted to ordering food from iHerb? Yeah, me neither since the last time I ordered from them was last May! I don’t know what happened, but I guess I got more budget-conscious and my monthly orders stopped happening. I used to eat peanut flour AT LEAST once per day, and I haven’t had it since June. I just miiiiight end up ordering some more with some of my graduation money, but then again, it might all go towards clothes #sorrynotsorry

5. I’m debating going back on the raw foods train.

I actually did this for quite a while last summer and then I stopped once school started back up and fall came and there was less good produce around. I’m not planning on going 100% raw anytime soon, but I’d like to reincorporate more raw foods into my diet. I’m a big fan of eating whole, minimally-processed foods and this just takes it an extra step. This might be more realistic once spring happens, because there will be more produce, and I love loading up my plate with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, but in the meantime, I’m going to be buying more raw things, like nuts/seeds and making my own almond milk and stuff like that. I have a lot more time on my hands now that I’m just looking for a job, so I have tons of time to experiment in the kitchen!

I'm going to be making more recipes from this book.

I’m going to be making more recipes from this book.

Anyone else missing the warm weather produce? What’s a food you haven’t eaten in awhile that you want to start eating again more often?

Meal Prep Monday: Thanksgiving Redux

I’m having fun with these meal prep posts, so I thought I’d make it more of a regular thing here on AlmostVegGirlie!

This week’s edition is a bit of a throwback to Thanksgiving, because I made a couple recipes that are pretty Thanksgiving-y, but the best part is that they don’t require T-day leftovers to make. You can make these recipes whenever you have a craving for some traditional Thanksgiving eats, and they’re pretty adaptable to any diet–vegan, gluten free, grain free and no added sugar!

Groceries

Pantry staple from Natural Grocers and Whole Foods.

Pantry staples from Natural Grocers and Whole Foods.

Luckily I was able to brave the below-freezing temperatures and snow to get to the grocery stores on Friday. I stopped at Natural Grocers for a few things and spent under $20, and then hit up Whole Foods and spent around $55. I finally restocked my bean pasta (I got the mung bean variety this time, and it’s just as good as the black bean), got my new favorite stevia chocolate chips and some weekly staples like no-salt added beans, fresh ground PB and raisins.

Produce from Whole Foods.

Produce from Whole Foods.

Whole Foods had some pretty great deals on produce this week, with avocados 4 for $5 (I got 2), organic pomegranates 2 for $5 (I got 1) and Ataulfo mangoes 2 for $3 (I got 2). And I got my usuals, like bananas, romaine hearts and yams.

Groceries for recipes.

Groceries for recipes.

I also stocked up on some things I needed for recipes I planned on making this weekend. I still have been eating mostly no-sugar-added by default (not saying this will last forever, or even for the 3 weeks I planned on doing it for) as it’s just what I’ve been feeling lately, so I finally bought some date sugar to try out in dessert recipes. I love sweetening things with dates anyway, and date sugar will work better in things that call for cane sugar, so I can’t wait to give it a try.

Meals

Grain free apple cran stuffing, made with the best grain free bread I've ever made.

Grain free apple cran stuffing, made with the best grain free bread I’ve ever made.

The Thanksgiving plate. Thanksgiving veggie burger topped with homemade cranberry chia jam on a bed of spinach. Side of grain free apple cran stuffing.

The Thanksgiving plate. Thanksgiving veggie burger topped with homemade cranberry chia jam on a bed of spinach. Side of grain free apple cran stuffing.

I know I said that Thanksgiving is a not-so-exciting holiday for plant-based eaters, but for some reason I was really craving Thanksgiving flavors this week. It all started when I bookmarked this recipe for paleo-friendly stuffing, and when I realized it could easily be made vegan, I decided to give it a shot. However, I changed it up a lot based on what I had on hand and what I could find in the store, so I’m going to share my recipe here, along with my recipe for a Thanksgiving-inspired veggie burger.

Grain Free Cran Apple Stuffing (vegan, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

Bread

1/3 cup almond meal

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 tsp xanthan gum (can sub guar gum)

1/4 cup tapioca starch (can sub arrowroot)

1/2 tsp baking soda

Himalayan pink sea salt, to taste (I only used a pinch)

1 tbsp almond oil (can sub olive oil, or another nut/seed oil)

1/2 cup water

Stuffing

1/4 cup apple-juice sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 6 oz box of 100% apple juice (like the kid’s size apple juice)

almond or coconut oil, for sauteeing

4 stalks celery, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

cinnamon, pink sea salt and other spices, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F (at a higher altitude, heat to 425). Grease a sheet of foil with coconut oil, and place foil on cookie sheet. In a bowl, whisk almond meal, coconut flour, xanthan gum, tapioca starch, baking soda and sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together water and almond oil, and stir in with dry ingredients. Keep mixing until ingredients come together and are a bit sticky. Spread dough out onto greased foil, and spread thin, about 1/2 an inch thick. Drizzle a little almond oil on top, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bread starts to brown. Set aside to cool and harden a little, for about 10 minutes.

Lower the oven’s heat to 350 F. Once bread has cooled, tear or chop into small chunks, and place in a coconut oil-greased baking dish. In a pan on the stove over medium heat, saute the almond oil with celery and garlic, until softened. Add in spices, dried cranberries and apple juice, and continue to cook until mixture is fragrant and starts to thicken. Remove from heat, and carefully pour over bread chunks. Mix all ingredients gently, then cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

So you understand just how good the bread part of this stuffing is, I made a second batch of it the next day, this time sprinkling it with cinnamon and date sugar before baking…and I ate several pieces of it the same day. I don’t know how, but this bread has the doughiness and taste of a regular bread without any grains in it at all! That’s why I love experimenting with grain free baking–it’s so different from regular baking (especially doing it without any eggs) but when I finally figure out something that works, it feels amazing. Total nerd status, but I just love cooking!

I was going to share the recipe for the Thanksgiving veggie burger, but while the taste was spot-on, the texture was not. I’ve yet to make a perfect veggie burger–one that tastes good AND holds together without the use of an egg or breadcrumbs. I definitely don’t mind veggie burger crumbs, but they don’t exactly make a great recipe. I can direct you to the recipe I adapted for mine though, on the Post Punk Kitchen site. That one uses lentils as the base, which I would have done if I wasn’t lazy and had time to cook some lentils from scratch.

What’s your favorite flavor of Thanksgiving (traditional or not)? Any tips for making a good veggie burger that holds together well?

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?

What’s in My Kitchen?

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who LOVES grocery/fridge/pantry type posts. I like seeing what other people stock up on to give me good ideas and just because I love how differently everyone eats. It’s cool to see that diversity, plus I like to inspire other people to eat more plant-based, so here’s my take on the ‘what’s in my kitchen’ type post!

produce 9-27

Produce

This is a biggie in my weekly grocery budget. I think fresh produce should be the basis of everyone’s diet, and I definitely spend a big chunk of my money on it, but it’s worth it for the amazing taste and the health benefits. However, I’m not one of those people who buys the same fruits and veggies week after week–there are a few things I buy nearly weekly, but I like to switch it up based on what’s in season and what’s on sale. Here’s some of what I’ve been buying lately.

  • bananas, organic or conventional (I buy these as ripe as possible so I can use them right away)
  • lemons and limes
  • berries (Sprouts has some great deals on organic berries, and I try to always buy these organic)
  • figs (a personal favorite)
  • watermelon, depending on availability (I only buy in summer/early fall)
  • frozen fruit, organic (I like cherries frozen better than fresh!)
  • grapes, organic
  • plantains
  • mangoes and pineapple, if on sale
  • avocados, organic or conventional depending on price
  • hot peppers (Hatch chiles, jalapenos, etc.)
  • romaine lettuce, organic
  • baby spinach, organic
  • sweet potatoes or yams, organic
  • celery, organic
  • red cabbage
  • full size carrots, organic

groceries 9-27

Pantry/Fridge Staples

These tend to be things that last a week or longer, so even if they’re a little pricey, they’re worth the price in the long run since I won’t have to restock for awhile. Again, these aren’t weekly buys, and I often switch up brands/flavors of these things depending on what I’m in the mood for or what’s on sale that week.

  • almond or flax milk (I like Good Karma with protein unsweetened flax milk, 365 brand unsweetened vanilla almond milk, Califia Farms toasted coconut unsweetened almond milk)
  • coconut water
  • almond meal, from bulk bins
  • raw cashews, from bulk bins
  • dates and dried figs, from bulk bins
  • raisins, organic
  • hemp seeds, from bulk bins
  • dark chocolate (I’m really loving Fearless chocolate because it’s mostly raw and has simple ingredients)
  • canned no-salt beans (365 organic brand)
  • Whole Foods bread and butter pickles (made in store!)
  • sauerkraut or kimchi
  • raw buckwheat groats, wild rice, quinoa (pre-rinsed)
  • sprouted corn tortillas (Food for Life brand)
  • olives (from Whole Foods olive bar)
  • Living Intentions raw nuts (I love most of their varieties)
  • nutritional yeast, from bulk bins
  • applesauce, unsweetened
  • peanut butter and coconut butter (just the nut, nothing else added)
  • kelp noodles
  • coconut flour and buckwheat flour
  • Larabars (yes, these are a must have and I go through 4-6 bars per week on average!)

Specialty

These are things I don’t buy every week–I usually get them if they’re on sale or I’m really wanting them or need them for a recipe or something.

  • Hail Merry raw tarts (the BEST vegan dessert–and pretty clean, too) and macaroons
  • protein powder (my favorite right now is Garden of Life RAW Meal in Marley Coffee–a Whole Foods exclusive flavor–and I also like Sunwarrior and RawFusion)
  • popcorn (no salt, no oil from Whole Foods)
  • One Degree Organics cereal (I like that these are GF and made from sprouted grains and coconut sugar)
  • dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life mini chips)
  • sweet potato tortilla chips (Way Better Snacks)
  • raw local honey or maple syrup (from bulk area so it’s cheaper!)
  • spices (pink sea salt, garlic-and-herb-no-salt blend, curry powder, cayenne pepper, garlic gomasio)

If I had to define how I eat, this is what I would say: I eat 99% plant based (other than raw honey), mostly gluten free (I only eat gluten if I go out to eat and I really want something, like a vegan pizza, and I know it won’t really bother me–I’m not celiac, but I feel better without gluten), grain free a lot of the time (I usually only eat psuedograins like buckwheat or quinoa if I eat them at all–probably 2 times per week at the most), produce lover (especially fruit!), tries to eat organic as much as possible, mostly a whole foods eater who still likes cleaner packaged foods, maybe 50% raw foodie and total sweet tooth that I try to tame with stevia, maple syrup, raw honey and coconut sugar. Honestly, I’m feeling better about the way I eat now than I ever have before, and it’s so freeing to be able to enjoy Larabars regularly without feeling guilty because they have so many calories, and to be able to eat intuitively and enjoy my healthy homemade meals 90% of the time as well as eating out and truly loving it. I know that to a lot of people, being vegan, gluten free and mostly grain free might seem restrictive, but it’s what makes me feel my best right now, and I don’t think it’s restrictive at all! For example, my family came up to visit me this weekend and we went out to eat at this awesome, hipster-type restaurant where I got a pizza on gluten free crust with kale, dried figs, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil (and ate 4/6 of it) and then had a gluten free vegan pumpkin cupcake (UNREAL!) without an ounce of guilt. There are still SO many things I can eat, and I’m not as strict with myself when going out to eat–as long as I stick to healthier vegan options, I feel amazing and not guilty at all! I’ve said before that I’d love to give a fully raw lifestyle a try, but I don’t think I could stick to it full time because there are some things I LOVE that I wouldn’t be able to eat on that diet, and honestly, those things are healthy too, just not 100% raw. I think it’s best to have an 80/20 or 90/10 mindset when it comes to eating–eat clean 80-90% of the time, enjoy whatever else you love the other 10-20% of the time and just don’t be so obsessed about food. Food is fun, and tasty, but it isn’t the be-all, end-all. Enjoy it, and move on!

What’s in YOUR kitchen right now? How would you define your eating style? 

WIAW: Food Fails & Fashion Talk

I like trying out new recipes, and just new things in general, but unfortunately, they don’t always work out in my favor. I bookmark recipes with high hopes that they’ll be amazing and sometimes they’re not but that’s okay! That’s why I like to throw some new things into the mix but keep some old favorites so I’m never totally disappointed.

Breakfast: cacao banana softserve with Sunwarrior, cacao and lucuma powders, topped with buckwheat rawnola and raw pumpkin seeds.

Breakfast: cacao banana softserve with Sunwarrior, cacao and lucuma powders, topped with buckwheat rawnola and raw pumpkin seeds.

This isn’t really a fail, but more like a weird thing I’ve been doing lately. I used to be able to blend my banana softserve with just bananas, and it would turn out smooth and creamy every time. Now that I’ve been doing add-ins everyday, I’ve needed to add in a splash of coconut milk to get things moving. Not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes the softserve turns out more like a thick soup than ice cream. Trial and error!

Lunch: raw taco salad. Base of romaine, dressed with lime juice and cracked pepper, topped with homemade guac, homemade sprouted and dehydrated corn chips. Side of canary melon and water.

Lunch: raw taco salad. Base of romaine, dressed with lime juice and cracked pepper, topped with homemade guac, homemade sprouted and dehydrated corn chips. Side of canary melon and water.

I’ve been trying to perfect the homemade salad dressing. I love cashew based dressings, but they are sometimes chunkier than I’d like them to be. I just can’t get the smooth consistency down, even though I soak the raw cashews beforehand. At least they taste good, right?

Raw snackplate: homemade buckwheat rawnola in coconut milk, half a chocolate coconut Kit's Organic bar, frozen watermelon. carrot, flax crackers, Thai coconut curry cashews.

Raw snackplate: homemade buckwheat rawnola in coconut milk, half a chocolate coconut Kit’s Organic bar, frozen watermelon. carrot, flax crackers, Thai coconut curry cashews.

Snack plates are never a fail! You just can’t go wrong combining different tastes, textures and macros all in one plate. Like I’ve said before, I’m indecisive when it comes to snacks, and I like having a little bit of everything.

Dinner:: raw teriyaki portobello burger (marinated in coconut aminos+liquid smoke and prepped in dehydrator for 30 minutes) on romaine 'bun' topped with homemade cashew pumpkin seed 'pesto' and fresh pineapple.

Dinner:: raw teriyaki portobello burger (marinated in coconut aminos+liquid smoke and prepped in dehydrator for 30 minutes) on romaine ‘bun’ topped with homemade cashew pumpkin seed ‘pesto’ and fresh pineapple.

I had high hopes for my first raw veggie burger, but sadly it wasn’t that great. I think I just don’t like the consistency of portobello mushrooms if they aren’t cooked well enough or at least drained of their excess water. I found a few recipes for raw portobello burgers but they all called for the portobello to be in the dehydrator for at least an hour. I was running short on time and wanted to eat NOW so I set it in there for only half and hour and it wasn’t so tasty. The toppings definitely made up for it though! I’ll definitely try it again when I have more time to let it sit in the dehydrator.

Dessert: chocolate Sunwarrior protein 'pudding' topped with cacao+coconut oil 'magic shell', raspberries and coconut flakes.

Dessert: chocolate Sunwarrior protein ‘pudding’ topped with cacao+coconut oil ‘magic shell’, raspberries and coconut flakes.

The only fail about this was that I ran out of Sunwarrior a week or so ago and had to wait for my order to come in from Amazon before I could start whipping up raw protein-packed desserts. I used to like the Garden of Life RAW protein powders but they’re really chalky and only taste ok in some things, like banana softserve. Lesson learned: Sunwarrior is the best raw protein powder I’ve found so far!

The BEST raw chocolate I've found!

The BEST raw chocolate I’ve found!

I raved about this bar on Instagram the other day. Such a delicious raw treat, but at $5 per bar (and these bars are about half the size of a normal chocolate bar), it’s a once-a-week purchase that I make last for a whole week. I could easily demolish the whole small bar in one day, but that would be a total wallet fail. Maybe I’ll try to make a version of it at home with the lucuma powder I have, coconut oil, cacao and dates. I gotta say though, as much as I like making things from scratch, some things are better storebought. Like this chocolate. And the Living Intentions raw flavored nut mixes I love.

OOTD June 25: black studded tank (Forever 21), light pink high-waisted shorts (Abercrombie & Fitch), unpictured pink heart pendant and white rose ring (F21), white watch (American Eagle), black sparkly flats (Target).

OOTD June 25: black studded tank (Forever 21), light pink high-waisted shorts (Abercrombie & Fitch), unpictured pink heart pendant and white rose ring (F21), white watch (American Eagle), black sparkly flats (Target).

I feel like my style is really evolving lately, and I like it. Both the tank and shorts are recent purchases (bought within the last 3 months) and prior to this year, I would have never bought either. The tank is the first black thing I’ve ever owned as casual wear and though I’m still not a huge fan of black, I think it works well in small doses and paired with pink or white/black patterned things. The shorts are high-waisted, which I never thought I could pull off–they generally work well on curvier girls and I am…not curvy. They may not be as fitted as they’re supposed to be but I really like them and I think they look great with tucked in shirts or cropped tops.

As I’m getting closer to college graduation, I’m reevaluating my closet. As much as I still like most of it (and the rest I gave away to charity–one good thing that came out of the fires was that I was able to donate some of my summer clothes to fire victims!), some of it screams high school, or at least college. I may or may not donate those things, but I know that they’ll probably be more casual and weekend wear for me. I would like to focus on building a more adult casual wardrobe, but especially focus on finding career wear. I have a few things that I got last year when I started with the campus TV station that are definitely work-appropriate, but I need a LOT more (or maybe just want a lot more…). Before this year, I didn’t have a need for a ton of dressy clothes, and while I never wore the typical college kid yoga pants and sweatshirts, my school clothes are a bit too trendy for the workplace. On-air dress code is generally business casual to business (blazers with pencil skirts, solid sheath dresses, etc.) and I’ve never really had a need for those clothes before, so it’ll definitely be a learning experience for me. Luckily, I don’t mind dressing up as long as I can make my outfits fun with a pop of color and such, so I’m excited for what’s ahead fashion-wise.

Do you ever have food or recipe ‘fails’? If you have a job, what’s your dress code? 

ABCs of Raw

Checking in from my vacation with a raw foods survey!

A…preferred way to eat Avocados:  Definitely homemade guac, made with fresh jalapeno, cilantro, a squeeze of lime and sea salt.

B…daily Banana intake:  I’m definitely no 30 bananas a day person. I maybe eat one in a day, but not every day, and usually in frozen or banana softserve form.

C…Cacao or carob:  Cacao! I’ve actually never had carob, and while I know cacao can be controversial in the raw foodist world for its caffeine content, I love the taste and health benefits of cacao too much to care.

D…Durian?:  Never tried it, and I’ve heard it’s quite awful from a guy my dad said tried it.

E…Essential start to the day:  Water, multivitamin (I get the Alive! brand, which has a pretty clean ingredient list and a decent amount of calcium, plus greens) and breakfast. Lately I’ve been eating raw flax pancakes for b-fast (recipe coming soon!) and loving how easy it is to whip together.

raw flax pancakes

F…favorite Fruit:  Gosh, so hard. Right now, I’m loving cold watermelon, and champagne mangoes. Berries are finally tasting amazing again too!

G…Guru you like:  I don’t really know any raw food gurus, but I love Brendan Brazier and his Thrive Forward program. My one wish for Vega products is that they could have a raw protein powder product!

H…Healthy meal: Kelp noodles massaged in raw cashew cilantro dressing, topped with fresh greens, homemade guac and hemp seeds…aka super green kelp bowl!

Mmmm, green!

Mmmm, green!

I…Ice cream base:  Banana, but I really want to try Organic Nectars’ raw cashew gelato!

J…Juice or smoothies: Smoothies for sure, especially green monster ones made with chocolate Sunwarrior and frozen banana.

K…favorite way to eat Kale:  Dehydrated kale chips, homemade or store-bought.

L…# of Lemons in your house now:  1 I think…

M…Muscle testing–hoax or real?:  Never heard of it, but it seems like an interesting (if not totally accurate) way of determining imbalances in the body and food sensitivities.

N…Nut butter–favorite kind:  Cashew or almond, preferably raw.

O…Organic or conventional:  I try to buy organic when I can, especially the dirty dozen, but I usually pass if it’s too expensive and is in the clean fifteen.

P…Pickled veggies–ever made them?:  No, but I want to! The WF salad bar has these awesome clean bread and butter pickles and I want to recreate those.

Q…Questions you get asked about your diet:  Mostly, “What is that?” when someone sees what I’m eating. Plants, people. It’s not that foreign.

R…Recipe you love:  Raw maple cinnamon French toast, where I got the inspiration for my raw French toast!

raw french toast+ raw coconut bacon+raw honey, Sunwarrior chocolate coconut mousse+raspbs

S…Skin brushing?:  Nope, but I’ve heard it has benefits for poor circulation, so I want to try it on my feet.

T…Type of water you drink:  Nothing fancy, from the tap usually. We have really good water in Colorado, so I’m not too concerned that it isn’t filtered or whatever.

U…Unbelievable thing that’s related to eating raw:  I love feeling so light and energized after eating a raw meal!

V…Vegetable you love:  Spinach is my number one love at the moment. I also love carrots (the ‘real’ ones are so much better than baby carrots) and raw purple cauliflower.

W…Why did you start eating raw?:  I wanted to try something new, and I’ve always loved fresh produce.

X…X-rated fruit or vegetable:  Haha, this is super funny and awkward. People always think bananas are sexual, but carrots can be kinda…awkward.

Uh...yeah...

Uh…yeah…

Y…Yummy food you make:  Um, everything? But really, probably most of my raw dessert recipes, especially the classic raw brownie.

Z…favorite use of Zucchinis:  Zucchini noodles…I need a spiralizer, NOW!

Answer any of the above!

College Vegan on a Budget: Looking Ahead

A healthy food-loving girl’s adventures in the world of grocery budgeting.

If you’ve been sticking with me since I started the CVB series then you’ve seen how I’ve had my ups and downs with budgeting. I think I’ve learned a lot since August though, and I want to keep what I’ve learned in mind every time I go grocery shopping, even if it’s on my parents’ dime. Which it will be verrrrry soon, aka in like 4 days!

But CVB will not be back until school starts up again in the fall, so if you still want to read about budgeting, just check out my previous posts on the topics. And just a note, this produce will all be finished this week, but some of the non-perishable or frozen items will be returning home with me when I move back.

Whole Foods produce purchases this week.

Whole Foods produce purchases this week.

*=organic

Whole Foods 

What I Got: watermelon half, baby spinach*, limes, avocados x3*, red mango*, strawberries*, Medjool dates, raw strawberry cheesecakes x2 (on sale and a treat for post finals!), Truvia, bulk whole almonds, Hail Merry vanilla maple almonds, Gone Raw sprouted Thai lemon curry cashews (I’m seriously obsessed, I buy these every week), gluten free frozen pizza dough, Incan berries* (not sure if I like these yet), raw mint chocolate squares, raw southwestern kale chips (also on sale and my fave), Vega One bar, Kit’s Organic chocolate coconut bar*

What I Spent: $67.57 (pretty typical lately)

Verdict: As usual, I spent about 1/3 of my total bill on produce (it came out to about $22 this time, totally worth it for organic  or good quality produce), and I also bought some ‘fun’ things that will probably only last through Wednesday when I move back home. Some things I’m planning on bringing back with me because I don’t think I can get them at the Whole Foods stores in my hometown.

The rest of the purchases.

The rest of the purchases.

When you’ve moved or traveled, do you try to eat everything before or do you bring leftover stuff with you? How much do you spend on produce?