WIAW: Monday’s Meals

Now that you’ve seen my meal prep, let’s see what I’ve done with all that food! These are all my meals from Monday, minus an afternoon snack of a pink lady apple and some homemade raw bites that I forgot to take a picture of because I ate them in my night class.

Let me start this post by talking a little more about Instagram. I know I’ve ranted about it in the past, but for me, it’s something I easily get sucked into even if I’m trying not to let it dictate my choices. A lot of the users I follow are raw vegans–even though the lifestyle is a little extreme (I don’t think all fats are bad, and I would like to try being more raw but not necessarily super low fat like most raw vegans), I find their viewpoint on food to be refreshing. They aren’t afraid of the carbs or sugar in fruit, and promote flexibility within the diet, but overall they’re committed to real, whole foods. So those users are positive influences on me. But then there are other users, who I stumble upon from the comments section of another user I follow, and I’m kinda pissed at what these people post. Every other picture is a Quest bar, and some even talk about how they don’t eat fruit after 2 pm because they don’t want the sugar in it to turn to fat. Disordered much? It just makes me so mad, and makes me question my own diet. Seriously, though, fruit is NOT bad and you shouldn’t feel afraid to eat it in the afternoon. And don’t preach ‘clean eating’ and ‘whole foods’ when all you eat is Quest bars and Walden Farms syrup. End rant.

Breakfast: frozen banana blended with romaine lettuce+Garden of Life raw protein powder for banana softserve, side of trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, homemade coconut bacon and raisins.

Breakfast: frozen banana blended with romaine lettuce+Garden of Life raw protein powder for banana softserve, side of trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, homemade coconut bacon and raisins.

Not an unusual breakfast for me. Actually, any breakfast not involving banana softserve is unusual. Yes, I still enjoy my cold breakfasts even into the winter. I just turn up the heat 😉

Lunch: random mix of kelp noodles, black beans, cauliflower, kraut and homemade spicy pumpkin sauce. Side of ataulfo mango and leftover homemade hannah yam fries.

Lunch: random mix of kelp noodles, black beans, cauliflower, kraut and homemade spicy pumpkin sauce. Side of ataulfo mango and leftover homemade hannah yam fries.

I love my lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because I can come home to my apartment and whip up something that I don’t have to scarf down in between classes or make the night before to take on campus. So I can have leisurely lunches like this random one above. Seriously, it sounds like a gross combo but somehow it all tasted good together.

Monday's outfit: black blazer (Charlotte Russe), black/pink patterned dress (Target), black tights (Target), black heeled suede booties (Target).

Monday’s outfit: black blazer (Charlotte Russe), black/pink patterned dress (Target), black tights (Target), black heeled suede booties (Target).

Monday’s outfit, brought to you by Target. But really, like most of this outfit came from Target. I honestly don’t buy clothes from there that much, but I love their cheap (and colorful) tights collection and adorable shoes. My mom happened to buy the dress for me, mostly to wear to work, but I love it as a dressier outfit for school too. I’m obsessed with the boots+tights+dress combo. I need more winter-appropriate dresses. The shoes were new, on clearance, and super cute but not the best for wearing on campus. I only had two classes on Monday, and I walked about 10 minutes from my car to class each way, but these were killing my feet. I just need to get better about walking in heels.

Dinner: salad of romaine lettuce, leftover Thai sweet potato veggie burger crumbles, raisins, pumpkin seeds, kraut and more homemade spicy pumpkin sauce.

Dinner: salad of romaine lettuce, leftover Thai sweet potato veggie burger crumbles, raisins, pumpkin seeds, kraut and more homemade spicy pumpkin sauce.

I’ve been on a roll with the random meals lately. Why do the most random combos always taste the best? I hate it because I can never remember exactly what was in the mix, so I can’t recreate it 100%. Like the pumpkin sauce in lunch and dinner. I remember pumpkin puree, almond milk, nooch, sea salt and some spices going into it. Maybe some sunflower butter too. It was so rich and creamy and just yum though. And it worked perfectly with the veggie burger crumbles and other toppings in this salad.

Dessert: successful take on the mug cake. Almond flour+coconut flour+stevia+a little baking soda+almond milk+stevia chocolate chips.

Dessert: successful take on the mug cake. Almond flour+coconut flour+stevia+a little baking soda+almond milk+stevia chocolate chips.

I’ve been seeing a lot of mug cake creations around lately and I wanted to make one again. I’ve whipped up a few in the past and they’ve always been an easy dessert option. This version was my attempt at a cookie cake. It was lighter and fluffier than a traditional cookie cake, and no where near as sweet (just sweetened with stevia) but still incredible. And definitely a more realistic dessert option for this baking-averse girl.

What’s the most random but delicious combo you’ve come up with? How do you feel about the ‘no fruit after 2 pm’ thing (or Instagram disordered eating in general)?

Pumpkin Pie Mousse

Thank you guys again for all your amazing, thoughtful comments on my clean eating post! I feel like it’s a well-intentioned goal of a lot of bloggers out there, especially former ED sufferers, but it can get out of hand way too easily and a life of balance is a lot easier and healthier to manage!

It’s kind of ironic, then, that I’m posting a very ‘clean’ recipe today. I really do think that eating ‘clean’ or healthy will be something I’ll want to do most of the time, obviously not the point of obsession, but just enough to feel healthy, happy and balanced. And actually, this recipe is challenging one of my old ED fears–fats. I used to be terrified of them to the point that I’d meticulously measure out a teaspoon of almond butter, and that was the bulk of my fats for the day. Luckily, I’ve come around and started to embrace all the wonderful and healthy plant-based fats, most recently coconut. Now I love sauteing my veggies in coconut oil and sprinkling coconut shreds over everything and anything.

But raw desserts in general still challenge me, which is why I’m making it a goal of mine to incorporate more raw recipes into my life. That sounds like it’s restrictive, and it could be, but for me it won’t be because I need to see that nuts and seeds and coconut won’t make me blow up like a balloon. Raw desserts are much less processed than typical desserts, and preserve more of the nutrients in the ingredients than healthified desserts, but they don’t shy away from plant-based fats. However, I really adore raw desserts, whether homemade, store-bought or from a restaurant, so I really want to experiment with them more often. I do have a few raw desserts I’ve made before, as you can see from my recipes tab but I want to try all new flavor combos.

So pumpkin is generally thought of as a fall food, and seeing as it’s winter (and nearly spring, yay!) it may not be as fitting but it’s still just as delicious. And pumpkin puree is usually available in grocery stores year round, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find any of these ingredients. If you’d rather, you can use other squash purees but just make this mousse…you won’t regret it!

This tastes like real pumpkin pie...but it's all raw!

This tastes like real pumpkin pie…but it’s all raw!

Pumpkin Pie Mousse (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free)

3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 12 hours (I soaked mine for 2 days)

1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp raw honey (not technically vegan, but I use it because it’s raw and healthier than other sugar sources)

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt and vanilla extract, to taste

In a food processor/high powered blender, process soaked and rinsed cashews for at least a minute, or until they become creamy and smooth. You may need to add up to 1 tbsp of water to smooth out. Add in melted coconut oil, honey, pumpkin and spices and blend until combined. Serve chilled topped with shredded coconut, raisins, raw crushed pecans or coconut milk whipped cream. Makes 2 large servings. 

Do you enjoy raw desserts? Is pumpkin a fall food or a year-round food for you? 

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #42. 

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? 

Countdown to Christmas Recipes: Almond Flour Pumpkin Chip Muffins

My Friday post was scheduled ahead of time, so I was unable to acknowledge the horrible tragedy that occurred in CT. Please keep everyone affected by the event in your thoughts and prayers.

This may seem like more of a Thanksgiving recipe than a Christmas one, but I think pumpkin is still fitting this time of year. If you’re in need of a quick dessert to take to your holiday parties, this might fit the bill. It’s healthier than most muffin recipes–it’s grain free, packs in almost 5 grams of protein (if you go by the serving size, has only 2 tbsp of added sugar in the entire recipe and is packed with Vitamin A in the form of pumpkin, but I think most people will just be focusing on the incredible taste 😉

This is a very crumbly recipe, so you should probably keep it refrigerated ahead of time if you want it to hold up at a Christmas party. But if you make it just for yourself, I’d suggest crumbling one on top of some chocolate chia pudding, a bowl of fruit or whatever you want. Messy food is fun!

almond flour pumpkin chip muffin

 

Almond Flour Pumpkin Chip Muffins (vegan, grain free, gluten free)

1/3 cup almond flour or meal

2 scoops Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder (or any ‘clean’ vegan protein powder of choice)

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

1/2 tbsp baking powder

cinnamon, to taste

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp ground flax (made into flax ‘egg’ with 2 tbsp water)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin or baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients through salt. In a food processor or blender, mix pumpkin, maple syrup and almond milk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in flax egg until batter forms. Pour batter into muffin tins (or 1 baking dish) and bake for 20 minutes. Makes 10 small muffins. 

Each muffin is around 70 calories, so it’s a good smaller-size option for parties, but if you’re making them for yourself, you can make 5 or 6 bigger muffins and still be enjoying a much healthier treat.

Do you still eat pumpkin around Christmas time? Have you ever baked with almond flour before?

 

 

WIAW: Ashley Lately

Hi guys! Sorry I’ve been so MIA lately–my Thanksgiving break started on Thursday afternoon and since then I’ve been busy writing papers (why do professors make assignments due right after break?), cleaning the house before my grandparents come for T-day (I haven’t seen them since my high school graduation 2 1/2 years ago!), doing a butt load of grocery shopping and just enjoying my time off. I definitely needed to come back in time for WIAW though! Especially since it’s just before American Thanksgiving and I have a couple of recipes to share 😀

How appropriate–my most loved veggie shaped like a heart!

Garnet yams and sweet potatoes are my fave veggie right now, other than kale. Or maybe cauliflower. Anyways, I think I love sweet potatoes because they’re one of the few veggies where it’s totally normal to top them with sweet things. I went with raisins and maple almond butter this time, and it was a great combo.

Not food, but I can’t resist cute Christmas things!

I am such a sucker for all things Christmas, whether it’s a limited edition holiday coconut milk drink, or an adorable decorated Kleenex box. I realize these things tend to be overpriced, but Christmas only comes once a year. Why not live it up with a snowman tissue box 😉

Halfway through the longest paper I’ve ever had to write!

As much as I like to write, I don’t like it enough to be able to breeze through a 4000 word term paper. Ironically, this is for one of my journalism classes and in all journalism, specifically broadcast journalism which is my (hopefully) future career, the writing is very short and to the point. None of this 20 page paper bull shit  crap. At least I’m interested in the topic I’m writing about, it’s just incredibly time-consuming. But I literally only started this paper on Friday, so I’ve gotten pretty far. This calls for a coffee break…

Speaking of Christmas…my favorite Starbucks holiday drink.

Most people even hate or love peppermint. I personally love it, especially combined with chocolate. So it’s no secret that I love Starbucks’ soy peppermint mocha. And now I love it even more that they offer a skinny version. I like sweet things, but their normal version is way too sweet so I like that they have a sugar-free version so it’s not too overpowering.

I love the Christmas Pandora stations.

Speaking of Christmas, it’s definitely not too early for me to start playing Christmas music. I started a week ago, when Sirius XM started playing their holiday stations again and now I’m listening to it daily, almost non-stop. It just puts me in a good mood, even when I’m mad because I got a crap ton of work to do over break.

Another take on the easy-as-pizza cinnamon roll.

Remember when I made cinnamon rolls out of pizza dough? Cinnamon rolls have always intimidated me but when you make them with fresh dough, they are beyond easy to make and customize. This time I went with a pumpkin chocolate chip combo and it was even better than the original maple pecan rolls.

Pumpkin Chip Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

half ball of fresh multigrain dough (can use gluten-free)

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave or coconut nectar)

sprinkle cinnamon, to taste

powdered stevia, to taste

1/2 tbsp mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix dough with sweetener to taste. Roll out dough on floured cutting board until about 1 inch thick and rectangular in shape. Mix pumpkin, maple syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl until thick and paste-like and spread on dough. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and roll into a thick log, pinching ends. Cut into 6 small rolls with a floured knife and place in sprayed baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Serve warm from the oven topped with pumpkin butter, protein frosting or more maple syrup.

The return of the hipster glasses…

Remember when kids used to be made fun of for wearing glasses? I find it so funny that now it’s actually fashionable to wear them. These aren’t my real glasses, but they are my new favorite accessory. They add a nerdy chic touch to any outfit and I just think they’re fun.

Latest dinner obsession: pineapple fried quinoa.

I hope I never get sick of this dinner, because it is just so damn good! I think if I keep mixing around the ingredients, I could eat this forever. I’ve had it three times since last Wednesday and each time it’s been a little bit different. One time I topped it with peanut flour paste and had red cabbage and kale in it, then I had cauliflower in it and the other time I had sweet potato chunks and kale in it. Sooooooo good, so easy.

With gorgeous weather like this, I can’t complain too much.

If you’ve never been to Colorado, you probably think we’re the land of snow and cold, at least in the fall and winter. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, the mountains get dumped on but here on the Front Range, we get temps in the 60s into November and December sometimes (I remember a couple of days this past January that were nearly 70!). We almost never get a white Christmas (we’re more likely to get a white Easter) and Thanksgiving Day is usually pretty warm. It’s been sunny and gorgeous all week and I’m loving it. As much as I want to move somewhere like California or Arizona for even warmer weather, I do love it here. And I get to see the beautiful mountains every day!

Can you believe I’m just trying spaghetti squash now? Crazy talk.

Guys. Why did I never try spaghetti squash until now? It’s so good, and really interesting. I like pasta and noodle dishes, but it’s all about the sauce and toppings. Spag squash makes for a great noodle replacement because it’s a fiber-filled veggie with a light taste that goes with red sauce, Asian sauces and pretty much anything. This version featured cauliflower, a spicy peanut flour-based sauce and sprouted pumpkin seeds. Gooooooooood stuff!

My latest lotion obsession: BBW sweet cinnamon pumpkin.

I go crazy over seasonal scented lotions. Bath and Body Works is my lifesaver–they have so many yummy scents at a decent price and they introduce new ones all the time. This one was new this year, and I hope they never stop making it. It’s just great, period. Please go smell this now if you haven’t.

Do you like seasonal products? What’s the longest paper you’ve ever had to write? 

WIAW: What I (Want to) Eat on Thanksgiving

Can you believe we’re just over a week away from T-day? Me neither! Does it surprise you that I really like Thanksgiving–even as a vegan? For me, it’s not really about the food (the desserts, though…) but the fact that I get a week-long break away from school, just when I need one. I am really stressin’ right now but luckily this year, I get an extra day off because my class on Friday was cancelled. Definitely thankful for that!

Even though I’m not a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving fare, I still have some things I would like to make and eat on the big day. Some of the flavors that scream ‘Thanksgiving’ for me include maple, pumpkin, cranberry and pecan so hopefully I can include all of those in this year’s meal.

Maple roasted veggies. Photo from La Vida Vegga.

Roasted veggies are the best–why not make them even better with a hint of real maple syrup? I think these would be great as leftovers too!

Maple pecan pie bars. Photo courtesy of Natural Noshing.

Can you believe these are vegan, gluten-free and grain free? Me either, but I really want to give them a whirl to see if they turn out as delicious as they look. I actually really love trying out recipes that are vegan and grain free, which is kinda hard to find since most grain free recipes include eggs, but this one thankfully doesn’t!

Cranberry kale salad. Photo courtesy of Kraft (recipe from Whole Foods).

You all know how much I love kale (it’s my favorite veggie, other than sweet potatoes) so combining it in a salad with fresh cranberries and miso paste sounds perfect for Thanksgiving.

Vegan caramel apple. Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

Caramel apples seem so complicated and way too sugary…but not this one! The recipe seems so easy to follow, and the caramel sauce itself is made with coconut sugar (lower glycemic!) and coconut milk so it’s much healthier.

Spiced grilled sweet potatoes. Photo courtesy of Whole Foods.

Sweet potatoes are great, but even better when they’re grilled and made spicy!

Pumpkin s’mores pudding. Photo courtesy of Healthy Food for Living.

How amazeballs does this look? It’ll be the perfect way to use up some of the Ricemellow creme I just bought–huge container, thought it was a little too sweet but it would be great on top of this!

Pecan pie waffle. Photo courtesy of Three and a Half Vegans.

You know my obsession with waffles–these take that to a whole new level! I think I know what I’ll be having for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning…

Do you prefer pumpkin, apple, sweet potato or pecan pie? What’s your favorite fall flavor? 

Friday Faves (November 2): Vegan MoFo Style

Hey guys! So I haven’t done a Friday Faves post in awhile, but I really wanted to recap some of the best things I ate last month in honor of Vegan MoFo. Seeing as I’m basically 99 percent vegan, all of my food is vegan, but I had a few exciting meals and recipes from October that I want to share with you guys again. So here goes!

 

Best Vegan Meal in a Restaurant: Raw Enchiladas with “Rawfried Beans”, Tasty Harmony

 

When my dad came up for Homecoming/Family Weekend at the beginning of the month, I had to drag him to Tasty Harmony, after practically drooling over their entire menu. Before you think I’m weird, this was the first time I’d ever gone to an entirely vegetarian (and mostly vegan) restaurant so I was excited. I ordered my first ever raw entree in a restaurant too, and I loved it. The “beans” were exactly like refried beans, only they were made with nuts and seeds. And the carrot cake my dad and I shared was to die for. I want to know how they made it, so I can make it at home. The best part was, my dad loved his meal too and wants to go back…hopefully when my family visits me next weekend!

Best New Snack: Apple Nachos

 

A lot of you have mentioned that you think these are super creative. I’m not sure where I got the idea from, but I love them too! They’re easily customizable and are packed with fiber, healthy fat (if you top with nut butter) and protein (if you top with protein frosting).

Best Weeknight Dinner: Socca Pizza

 

I’m so mad I only just discovered socca…because I could have been devouring it for years! It’s just so good, and deceptively easy to make. My favorite toppings for it are either traditional pizza toppings: nooch, red sauce, kale and kalamata olives; and I also like vegan creamy garlic dressing and kale for a take on spinach white pizza.

Best Money-Saving Grocery Trip

 

Yes, this was all bought at Whole Foods on one trip, and yes, it cost me under $30. How is that for being vegan on a budget? Especially for a picky, health-conscious vegan like me, it can be tricky to stay under budget (especially since I’m a sucker for impulse buys, especially seasonal items) but I’ve been learning a lot by doing my budgeting posts and I’m getting better at it. This just goes to show that you can buy “splurge” specialty items, organic products and produce without emptying your wallet.

Best Recipe: Pumpkin Macaroons

 

I didn’t get to post as many recipes as I would have liked to during Vegan MoFo, but I did get a few good ones in there. These macaroons were surprisingly easy to make and really good for a little snack. Unfortunately, I had to toss most of them because I made them around the same time as the fridge debacle (aka my fridge broke and I got a new one) so they didn’t end up staying fresh. But I want to experiment more with macaroons and recipes in general. I’ve been in a food rut lately and I need some new, delicious things to make!

Best Buy: So Delicious mint chocolate coconut milk

 

I can’t say enough good stuff about this product–even if you do dairy, please try this! It’s a lot better for you than the traditional holiday-type drinks and if you love the mint chocolate flavor combo, you will love this.

Did you celebrate Vegan MoFo, even for just one meal? What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?