WIAW: New & News

Before I get to the best party of every week, I wanted to share a little news with you guys. I’ll be doing a couple reviews (with a possible giveaway) within the next week so look forward to that! I love entering giveaways and reading reviews so I’m really happy that companies have started to reach out to me to share their products with my readers.

Now onto the eats! I’ve been eating a lot of “new-to-me” stuff lately which I always love. I’m not really a creature of habit, I do know what I love and stick with that but I really like switching things up and trying out new food. I did some of that over spring break and apparently that trend is continuing this week.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

The chia seed pudding obsession is going strong, but what’s new is the addition of (half of) this new-ish to me Larabar flavor. I tried the chocolate chip cherry torte flavor last summer and didn’t love it. But after having it a second time, I kinda like it. I pretty much hate anything cherry or cherry-flavored, so this is huge for me. Probably the chocolate chips are what make it ok 😉

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

The salad-for-lunch thing isn’t new (I’ve been eating one almost every day for three months!) but the green garbanzos sort of are! I bought some frozen ones from Whole Foods on a whim about a month ago and haven’t been using them a lot, but they’re really good in salads drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I’d love to try making falafel from them too!

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

If you have the new ALT bars near you, please try them! Especially this flavor. It reminds me of spice cake, and is really good and filling! Half of one made the perfect lunch dessert, and it had 5 grams of pea protein to boot (the entire bar has 10 grams). I love finding all-natural vegan protein bars that actually taste good!

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

The kale chips are semi-new (the southwest ranch flavor of Kale Krunch chips is unreal) and so are the apple chips and the cashew butter (the WF brand reminds me of cookie dough, but it’s just made from cashews and a little safflower oil!) but the real newbie is the yellow carrot. Can you believe I’d never had a whole carrot before a week ago? I spotted a bunch of tri-colored carrots at Whole Foods and just had to snag them. I don’t think I’m gonna rely on baby carrots so much anymore, I love the crunch of these full size carrots! And the fun color is just an added bonus.

This doesn't look awkward at all...

This doesn’t look awkward at all…

‘Nuff said!

Grape Zevia.

Grape Zevia.

I’ve been wanting to try this flavor for awhile, but I didn’t want to pay $5 for a 6 pack, in case I didn’t like it. Verdict: while it’s not my favorite flavor (that would be the cream soda) , it actually grew on me and I do like it. At first it reminded me of children’s Tylenol, but it’s actually pretty tasty!

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Socca pizzas are a staple around here, but this was a first for me–a sweet socca pizza. I made my usual socca base (1/4 cup chickpea flour, salt, enough water to thin) and topped it with 1/4 of a mashed sweet potato mixed with almond milk and cinnamon, crumbled maple mesquite walnuts, shredded coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup. It was like dessert pizza for dinner, and it was oh so good!


These were actually all my meals for Monday, minus my nighttime snack (unpictured because it was eaten too late for a good photo to be taken), which was coconut flour mixed with a little baking powder, chocolate chips and almond milk and microwaved to make a coconut flour muffin, a square of Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, peanut flour paste and a date stuffed with cashew butter and cacao nibs. Nothing exciting, but I love it.

If you’ve tried Zevia, what’s your favorite flavor? Have you ever eaten a weird colored veggie?

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Food & Fitness Friday

Well, apparently I’m a sucker for alliteration. And themed posts. Hey, whatever works right? And it’s Friday, by this point in the week I’m just happy it’s the weekend and I’m looking forward to my 3 day break from thinking. Joking, of course, because I still (always) have homework to do but it’s still nice to have a few days off from classes and the daily grind.

I hate when I get excited about a new food find…and it’s disappointing

All the way from the U.K. and not even that great.

All the way from the U.K. and not even that great.

I’ve seen these bars on several, mostly U.K.-based blogs and totally drooled over it. What’s not to love about a vegan, gluten free, no added sugar, maple peanut protein bar? Apparently, a lot. First of all, it’s a light grey-colored bar. Totally unappetizing, but I took a bite anyway. Aaaaand…not the best bar I’ve ever had. It didn’t really taste like maple or peanut, more just sweet and it had a texture different than the Larabars I’m used to. The only thing great about it was the 12 grams of protein. Not a repeat purchase for me. (P.S. I did love the raw chocolate brownie Pulsin’ bar I bought though…)

I took my first “progress” pics…and I’m actually posting them!

Definitely not where I want to be, but hopefully I'll make some gains soon!

Definitely not where I want to be, but hopefully I’ll make some gains soon!

I started lifting at the beginning of February (light weights, nothing too crazy at first) and I wanted to take some progress pics to establish a baseline. I have noticed a few changes, mostly that my biceps are a bit more defined than they were, and my triceps are tighter when I flex. I really want to start seeing some changes in my stomach (I have a few ab like lines when I flex but they’re not as defined as I’d like) and my legs are still one of the spots I don’t like on my body. I always feel like they’re huge, flabby, etc. even though I know they’re muscular and (hopefully) not huge. I just need to start accepting my thighs for what they are!

I’m having sushi twice in one week #getatme

I love having leftover sushi as a salad topper.

I love having leftover sushi as a salad topper.

After coming back up to campus on Monday evening and having to make a grocery run, I decided to just do a lazy dinner and get some veggie brown rice sushi from Whole Foods. I split the box into two servings, and enjoyed one of them the other day for dinner on top of a peanut flour and coconut aminos-massaged kale salad. And tonight, I’m planning on getting sushi from an actual sushi place with a friend. Nothing beats a Friday night sushi date!

I just can’t get enough…of chia puddings for breakfast!

A tiramisu inspired pudding. Made with Sunwarrior vanilla, ground coffee, chia seeds and topped with  1/4 raw chocolate brownie Pulsin' bar and the last of the coconut whipped 'cream'.

A tiramisu inspired pudding. Made with Sunwarrior vanilla, ground coffee, chia seeds and topped with 1/4 raw chocolate brownie Pulsin’ bar and the last of the coconut whipped ‘cream’.

These are becoming my new breakfast obsession. Actually, I could eat these for any and all meals, they’re just that good. The version I had yesterday morning was one of my favorites, nothing beats the coffee/chocolate/coconut combo.

Tiramisu Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1 scoop Sunwarrior Warrior Blend vanilla protein powder (or other vanilla protein powder)

1-2 tsp chia seeds

1 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 tbsp ground coffee (I used Archer Farms candy cane blend)

1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, to mix

In a small bowl, mix together protein powder, chia seeds, coconut flour and ground coffee. Add enough almond milk to make a creamy and thick consistency with no dry spots. Add a little extra if you want your chia pudding to be more liquid-y. Refrigerate overnight and serve in the morning topped with coconut whipped cream (just the thickened part of a can of coconut milk that’s been  refrigerated overnight or a few days), more ground coffee and a chocolate Larabar-type bar. Makes 1 serving. 

iHerb is my addiction #sorryimnotsorry

The latest iHerb order...including new-to-me lucuma powder and a free watermelon lollipop!

The latest iHerb order…including new-to-me lucuma powder and a free watermelon lollipop!

So I should have known when I first ordered from iHerb (November 2011…wow how time flies!) that I’d become addicted! I only buy from them once a month, mostly for my peanut flour fix, but they have great selection, decent prices and they always ship out pretty quickly. My latest order shipped out on Monday and I got it Thursday morning…free shipping rocks! I got my beloved peanut flour, my favorite chocolate brand in the two flavors I can never find (and love the most), a big thing of coconut sugar, my favorite Larabar flavor in a 5 pack and new-to-me lucuma powder that I’m already loving! If you’ve never shopped on iHerb…do it now! Oh, and use my code NOQ779 for $5 off orders under $40 and $10 off orders over $40!

What’s going on in your world food and fitness wise this Friday? What hashtag sums up your life right now?

Recipe submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #32

WIAW: Fall Foodie Finds

I’m glad you’re all embracing fall as much as I am! Though to be honest, I kinda wish it were already Thanksgiving/Christmas time. Oh well, it’ll come around soon enough.

So it’s the first week of October which is crazy but what isn’t crazy is finding lots of fall-ish stuff in stores. The berries and peaches of the summer are on their way out and squash of all kinds are in. It’s still pretty warm here, but the weather will be cooling down pretty soon so I know I’ll be wanting warmer meals in a couple weeks. This weekend when I went home, I ended up buying a lot of new things and some old favorites that I forgot about and I’m loving having a stocked fridge and cabinets again. I hate when they’re empty because I’m so bad at putting meals together from nothing so it’s great to have tons of options.

Double the chocolate? Ummmm, yes!

This wasn’t one of the bars I got to review but I bought it myself because it was a kind I’d never seen before. And it’s really good too, I love the addition of the cacao nibs. I don’t think you can ever have too much chocolate 😉

This would make a perfect side for Thanksgiving.

I don’t know if you’ve seen these at your nearest Whole Foods but if you do, please buy one! They also have a spicy stuffed squash variety that I haven’t tried yet, but the sweet is so good when you roast it. I sliced mine after roasting and put the pieces in a container in the fridge for those times when I want something sweet but also need some veggie action.

Crunchy > creamy. No question.

Before this year, I’d never had sunflower seed butter. Crazy, yes, but now I know it’s delicious. I used to get the Maranatha brand but I love Sunbutter more because it’s a little more flavorful and they have a crunchy variety. I always prefer crunchy over creamy, I need that extra texture!

What’s more fall-like than maple pecan?

My (vegan) ice cream consumption doesn’t end when fall begins…oh no! I eat it well into winter, it’s just that good. I skipped getting my favorite mint chocolate flavor for the millionth time in favor of this more fall-appropriate flavor. If you’ve ever wanted to try coconut milk ice cream, I definitely recommend this brand. It’s so creamy and soft without being too rich. I just wish they had a few more flavor options.

Trying to figure out what to do with these…

I bought these randomly because I’ve always like dried cranberries. I know these aren’t quite the same but they have the bonus of no added sugar, plus they’re in a way bigger bag. Maybe I can make some kind of cranberry orange fruit butter with them?

A new bar to add to my rotation!

Like a lot of bloggers, I love bars. Not bars with alcohol, but protein type bars! My tastes have changed a lot since I had my first bars though–I used to love Clif bars and Kashi bars but now I prefer KIND, Lara and Pure bars since they have simpler ingredients and aren’t too overpowering. I also heard a lot of good things about the Vega bars and since I love their protein powders, I decided to try one out. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good and it’s got great stats and clean ingredients. I’m not as big of a fan of the price (over $2, which is more than Larabars!) but if it tastes good, it’ll be worth it.

I can’t believe these are raw and sprouted…they’re so delish!

Kaia Foods has the best raw seeds out there! I loved their cocoa mole sunflower seed clusters and this garlic and sea salt kind is even better. I really want to try their pumpkin seed “party mix” because it sounds like a real party in my mouth 😉

Kale wraps make leftovers better.

My mom and I had dinner at Tokyo Joes (a Colorado-based Asian fusion fast casual restaurant) and now I’ve realized how much I love that place. We’d only eaten there once before and I liked it but after what I ordered on Sunday, I need to go back. Like now. I got their lettuce wraps, subbing organic grilled tofu for the chicken, and it came with little rice noodles, an awesome cucumber salad, avocado, raw veggies and these amazing dipping sauces. I could seriously drink them, they were that good! What I love at Tokyo Joes is that they all their food is either all-natural or organic and the only sweetener they have for drinks (other than sugar) is stevia. They even have a stevia-sweetened teriyaki sauce. My kinda place for sure!

Starbucks in the grass…nothin’ better!

My new official Bux drink (well, before it gets cold) is a tall iced Americano with three pumps sugar-free hazelnut. Simple, yep, but amazing. I bet this will taste great hot too so I guess I have a new go-to for all seasons! I do prefer iced coffees though since hot coffee tends to overheat me, which is no bueno.

Do you prefer iced or hot coffee drinks? What’s your favorite bar brand(s)?

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for Alter Eco goodies!