All I Want for Christmas…

‘Tis the season for wishlist posts, amiright? I don’t care if it’s uncool or what, because finals week/graduation is this week so I’m slacking on blogging motivation! So here’s what I’m wishing for this Christmas…

  • Some really cute booties, like these from ALDO (and for only $50!)
My weakness is booties.

My weakness is booties.

  • My first ‘big girl’ job–hopefully as a reporter/anchor/weather at a TV station somewhere in the West, and preferably somewhere warm (like California…)
  • A winter-ready dress I can wear with tights
I love this color and style. From American Eagle.

I love this color and style. From American Eagle.

  • Some pink sparkly Sperrys
Yeah, I'm super girly but I don't care.

Yeah, I’m super girly but I don’t care.

  • For my sister to get into the college she wants to attend for musical theatre–she puts so much work into her auditions and she really deserves a shot to prove herself
  • A capelet coat of some kind…this one from Forever 21 is inexpensive and really versatile
This would go with anything!

This would go with anything!

  • For my grandpa to get well. He’s been in assisted living since this summer and unfortunately, his health is failing.
  • This cookbook. I have her original Practically Raw one, but I have a crazy sweet tooth and I’m obsessed with raw desserts!
I want to make ALL the desserts!

I want to make ALL the desserts!

  • For a Trader Joes to finally open in Colorado. I’m seriously deprived out here, and I want to experience the amazingness that is TJs.

What’s on your wishlist?

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?

 

Raw Foodism 101

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, particularly my recipe posts, you’ll know that I’ve recently discovered a love for raw ‘cooking’ and foods. I currently only have 8 raw recipes in my repertoire but I’m constantly thinking up new desserts I can ‘raw-ify’. I know a lot of people out there don’t know a lot about what raw foodism is, so I thought I’d give you a little rundown of what it means to me and how to start incorporating raw foods into your diet. Note: I am NOT a strict raw foodist, or an expert on this topic. These are just my opinions and what I’ve read from other blogs about raw foodism.

In a (raw) nutshell, raw foodism is eating foods that have not been cooked above a temperature around 115-118 degrees. The main type of raw foodism is raw veganism (as many vegan foods are safe for consumption without being cooked), but some raw foodists are vegetarians or omnivores. Raw foods are preferred over cooked because cooking can destroy the healthful enzymes found in the raw form.

Raw vegans eat fruits, vegetables, soaked nuts & seeds and sprouted grains & legumes. The strictest raw vegans follow a diet known as 80/10/10, which is 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fat, and eat just raw fruits and veggies.

Raw ‘cooking’ is a bit more complicated than just eating straight-up raw or soaked foods. You need a lot of kitchen appliances, like a food processor, blender, juicer and dehydrator. Raw foodists can still eat crackers and cookies–by using these appliances, they can make healthier, more nutrient-dense versions of these popular items while still staying raw. Dehydrators technically heat foods, but only to 115-118 degrees.

Raw ‘cooking’ involves different ingredients than regular cooking. I haven’t done as much experimenting with savory raw dishes, but I can tell you some of the staples needed to make raw desserts.

  • raw, soaked nuts and seeds (especially cashews)
  • raw cacao powder
  • agave nectar, raw honey (not vegan)
  • dates, other dried fruit
  • fresh fruit
  • chia and flaxseed
  • maca/mesquite/lucuma powder
  • cacao nibs
  • soaked buckwheat

If you’ve ever wanted to try preparing raw meals for yourself, but are worried about how complicated it might be, never fear! There are plenty of easy and relatively inexpensive raw recipes out there for you to try out. Here are some that I’ve made in the past or planning to make soon…oh, and don’t mind my lame attempt at raw humor 😉

Rawcos (raw tacos)

Photo courtesy of My New Roots.

Tirawmisu

Photo courtesy of A Raw Story.

Cheezy Sundried Tomato Kale Chips (dehydrator recipe)

Photo courtesy of Oh She Glows.

Key Lime Cheezcake 

My own photo & recipe.

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Photo courtesy of Choosing Raw.

Rawco Salad (raw taco salad)

Photo courtesy of Oh She Glows.

Raw Mini Pecan Pie

My own photo & recipe.

So now you have no excuse not to try out raw foods for yourself!

What’s your favorite thing to eat raw? Have you ever made a raw meal or snack?

Rawsome Sauce

Hi guys, how have you been? I can’t believe it’s almost the weekend again–my winter break has practically flown by! Luckily, I still have about a week and half left of it before it’s back to school time again.

It’s only been a couple of days and I’ve already accomplished some of my goals! I was honestly not anticipating that at all but it feels awesome to have already made some progress.

First of all…I got a Twitter! I really liked what you all had to say about it, so I decided to get one of my own. You can follow me @fashion_ash, and I will definitely follow you back!

This wasn’t one of my goals, but I also got a brand new phone. It’s my first real smart phone and I’m already in love with it! The only thing I don’t like is how quickly the battery dies, but I guess that’s pretty normal. Oh, and it’s a Droid phone, so any of you out there with Droids–do you have any suggestions for apps I should get?

I love my new myTouch, aka my baby 😉

Speaking of my phone, if you look in the screen shot above, you’ll see that the temperature was 62 degrees today. Say what? Yes, Colorado is being crazy with the warm weather. It actually got to 65 today at my house, and we live in a forested area that’s pretty shaded, so that’s saying a lot! I’m not complaining though, because I’m sure more snow is right around the corner.

At lunch today, I came up with something new–mango softserve! Only it was more like mango Dip-n-Dots 😀 Mango isn’t as great for blending as bananas are but I didn’t break the food processor so that’s a plus.

Simple, quick lunch of mango softserve, plain Greek yogurt and peanut flour sauce.

The other goal I accomplished was making yet another raw recipe! It’s officially my fifth raw recipe, and one of the best so far–the raw brownies do hold a special place in my heart though 😛 I based them basically off my raw blondies, except using plain almonds, no protein powder and no added sweeteners, plus the necessary ‘carrot cake’ ingredients. They turned out really delicious, and I think I’m gonna enjoy my first one tonight with a frosting of peanut flour sauce. So it won’t be totally raw, but still yummy!

Awww, how cute are these tiny carrot cakes?

Mini Raw Carrot Cakes (vegan, raw)

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup dates (I used about 8 California pitted)

3/4 cup grated carrots

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch sea salt

3 T raisins

Process dates and almonds until mostly combined. Add a little water to thin things out if necessary (about 2 T). Grate carrots and squeeze out any excess moisture. Add carrots, cinnamon and salt to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth dough. Add in raisins until combined. Pack carrot cakes into muffin liners (makes 5 small, or 3 larger cakes) and keep in fridge. Frost with raw cashew ‘cream cheese’, peanut flour sauce, nut butter or enjoy plain. 

I also have another recipe for you guys…not raw, but still completely delicious. I decided to create a homemade version of cookie butter! I know a lot of you with TJs close by rave about this stuff. I don’t have one near me sadly, plus I know it’s definitely not the healthiest thing, so I set out to create a much healthier, simpler version. And I think I rocked it! I’ve never had cookie butter or Biscoff or whatever, so I can’t tell you how it compares, but let’s just say mine tastes like cookie dough in nut butter form!

I think I may have found a new favorite spread...

Healthier Homemade Cookie Butter (vegan, no cook)

3 T nut butter (I would suggest using a raw, lightly-flavored kind like cashew or walnut, so it doesn’t overpower the cookie flavor)

1 serving cookies of choice (I used 30 Annie’s bunny friends bunny grahams)

water, to thin (about 2 T)

sweetener, to taste (I used 1 packet stevia)

Mix nut butter and cookies together until it forms a crumbly paste, adding in water and sweetener as needed. Makes about 1/4 cup. Store in a jar in the fridge and enjoy as an oats topper, toast spread or fruit dip.

I’m already thinking of more variations, like using peanut flour in place of the nut butter for a peanut-buttery cookie butter!

What’s the weather like where you are? Have you ever tried cookie butter or Biscoff?

Bad “Raw”mance

I mentioned in my last post about my obsession with  love of Lady Gaga’s songs, especially her newest album. But you can’t forget “Bad Romance”, her extremely popular hit from her previous album. I may have forgotten to mention my new obsession with making raw desserts. I say once you go raw, you never go back 😉 Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme but it’s true for me, as far as making desserts goes. I love making them from scratch, but before I discovered raw versions, I always struggled in the baked goods department. Nothing ever turned out quite right (probably because of my many, many substitutions!) and I was getting frustrated. Then I found an amazing recipe for raw brownies and I just had to try them! They turned out amazing and my obsession was born!

Raw brownie pie topped with nonfat coffee froyo and frozen raspberries

 My first foray into raw brownie making wasn’t so successful (though it was yummy) and I decided to look for another recipe. I stumbled upon a pretty simple one, from here, and of course made some changes to it to make it my own. Here’s my recipe for raw brownie pie…

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup mint chocolate roasted almonds

1 cup dates

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (use Hershey’s Special Dark if you have it!)

1 banana

1 tbsp crunchy almond butter

Mix walnuts, almonds, dates and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in food processor. Spread into bowl or square pan. Pulse banana, remaining cocoa powder and almond butter in processor until smooth and liquidy. Spread chocolate banana almond ‘frosting’ on top of brownie batter and place container in freezer. Cut into 8 small slices (or 6 larger ones) and enjoy!

I loved those so much that I had one every day until they were gone (that was a sad day 😛 ). Today I attempted a second batch of brownies that didn’t turn out so well (the regular cocoa powder isn’t as yummy 😦 ) so I decided to try a brand new recipe, adapted from here… this time for raw blondies! OMLG (Oh My Lady Gaga 😉 ), these are even yummier than the brownies! The cinnamon almonds really made these stand out. I haven’t actually eaten a full one yet but I’ve tasted the batter and it was heavenly! If you love regular baked blondies, you will LOVE these. Raw desserts are so dense and nutritious, and this particular one has only 100 calories per square!

Raw Blondie Instagram closeup

 These are so easy to make and just require a food processor. Here’s my recipe…

3-100 calorie pack almonds (cinnamon roasted or original)

8 dates (I used a mix of California pitted and Medjool)

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Soytein)

1 tsp honey (optional)

1 tbsp almond butter

Mix almonds and dates in food processor with about 1/4 cup water until mostly smooth. Add in protein powder, honey and almond butter until combined and thick. Spread blondie batter in square dish and cut into 8 squares. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.

I just can’t get enough of the raw desserts! I’m thinking a raw chocolate raspberry mousse is gonna be next…

Have you ever tried a raw dessert? Are you Team Brownie or Team Blondie (my delicious blondies switched me over to the light side)!

WNTITOW (What New Things I Tried Out Wednesday)

It’s time for another addition of… WIAW!!!!!!! Except this time, I’m not going to be showing what I ate today or yesterday (mostly because I forgot to take pictures 😉 ). Instead, I’ll be reviewing new products I recently bought and let you know what I think about them. So here we go!

Peas and Crayons

BEAUTY/HOME

Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express Mascara (Target)

No, the computer was not included!

Verdict: It was okay, I thought it would actually give my eyelashes a false lash effect but I’m starting to realize that it’s probably physically impossible for a mascara to do that. I think I’m gonna stick with my Maybelline XXL Pro Extensions mascara in the future.

Jewelry Tree (Target)

Ignore the random stuff in the background haha

 
Verdict: Perfect! I used to store all my jewelry in the cute little cloth bags they give you at American Eagle when you buy jewelry and it all got tangled up. Now I have a pretty decoration that keeps my jewelry organized. Plus it was only $10!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rimmel London Eye Crayon (Target)

I love pink, but I'd like a silver crayon better...

 Verdict: I love how easy it is to apply and that it’s so versatile (it works as eyeliner and eyeshadow!) It’s less messy and sticky than cream shadows but it does smear a little in the creases. Now I really want to find a silver one…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray (Walmart)
 

Haha love the shower curtain in the background

 Verdict: I love this stuff! I’ve been looking all over for a sea salt spray to enhance my natural waves and give me a beachy look. This smells great, works great and is a lot cheaper than most other sea salt sprays.

FOOD/RECIPES

EVOL Mini Veggie Fajita Burrito (Whole Foods)

It's such a cute vegan lunch!

Verdict: It’s so little, so it makes a perfect snack or part of a small lunch (like I did). I love that it’s vegan and the tortilla is soooooo good! I just wish it was easier to find in other stores.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kashi TLC Zesty Salsa Pita Crisps (Target)

Kashi makes pita chips? Say whaaaaaat?!

 Verdict: I love almost anything Kashi, so when I saw these at Target, I had to snap them up. I tried one yesterday and I loved the flavor. The texture wasn’t quite as crispy as a pita chip but it was still good. 

Freeze-Dried Mango Crunchies

Crunchy mango? Yes please!

 Verdict: Ummmm, can I marry these? Lol, just kidding but these are SO good and I love that they are just made of freeze-dried mangos with no added sugar or anything. I’ve probably eaten half the bag already and I just got them yesterday. They are crunchy, so if you aren’t used to that, it might seem weird but they’re so good.

Raw Brownie Recipe (adapted from here)

Note: I cut the recipe in half and then in half again since I didn’t have enough almonds on hand (sad!) so it didn’t make a lot. Next time I would just halve it once and see how it turns out. Plus I found another raw brownie recipe with a banana chocolate ‘frosting’ I’m planning on trying! I didn’t take a picture, but the verdict on this is that it’s extremely yummy! I licked the spatula and it was sooooooo good. I haven’t had a full one yet but I’m sure it’ll happen sometime tonight… 😉

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup chopped dates (I used California pitted dates)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (if you love dark chocolate like me, PLEASE use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder!)

1/2 tablespoon rel maple syrup

Pulse almonds, walnuts and dates in a food processor until mostly combined (add 1/4 cup water if needed). Mix in cocoa powder, maple syrup and sprinkle salt until mixed. Spread raw brownie batter (don’t worry, it’s safe to lick the bowl 😛 ) into a foil-lined pan and refrigerate a few hours. Slice into 5 slices and enjoy!

Q: What’s the best new thing you’ve tried lately?