Savoring Summer

Guess what, guys? Just ONE MORE WEEK til I am done with my sophomore year! Wooooooo 😀 Okay, so I still have one final the next week, but I’m trying to ignore that fact 😉 Anyways, my summer basically begins next Friday and I am beyond ready and excited for it! 3 whole months of enjoying the warm weather, soaking up the sun, going on a couple vacays (hopefully) and my internship, along with some other things that I’ll share with y’all later. Oh, and of course, my 20th birthday is in exactly 3 months–heck to the yes!

I’ve mentioned this about a million times before, but living in a dorm is pure torture for a foodie like me. I really miss having a kitchen and getting to experiment with recipes but luckily that won’t be a problem in a week. Of course, I’ve been planning up tons of things I want to make once I have daily access to the kitchen and it’s been making me really hungry 😛 In case you’ve been wanting some recipe inspiration, I’m sharing a few of them here (note: none of them are my own recipes, though when I make them, I will probably tweak some a lot of things. Plus all of them are vegan or can be made vegan).

Photo courtesy of Peas and Thank You.

Who doesn’t want a fun way to eat their veggies? The sauce alone is drool-worthy.

Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

A healthified root beer float? Count me in, especially since it’s spiked with coffee! I’m planning on making mine with some root beer stevia and vanilla-flavored almond milk ice cream.

Photo courtesy of 101 Cookbooks.

My tempeh obsession is still going strong, and this Asian-inspired dish looks beyond tasty.

Photo courtesy of Shape.

Would you believe me if I told you the taco filling is made from walnuts and the ‘sour cream’ is made from cashews? It sounds strange but I’m willing to bet it’s really good.

Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

Pink lemonade is a great summertime refresher, but add in a little coconut water, and it’s even better!

Photo courtesy of Peas and Thank You.

I still need to get a donut pan, but as soon as I do, you best believe I am making these salted maple donuts!

Photo courtesy of Healthy Food for Living.

I’ve tried making chocolate avocado pudding and let’s just say it wasn’t great. But pudding with sweet potatoes sounds promising!

Photo courtesy of The Raw Chef.

I am obsessed with all things Greek/Mediterranean and I’m also interested in raw foods. Combining the two sounds like perfection, especially in this totally raw falafel and hummus wrap.

Photo courtesy of Oh She Glows.

Who wants a chemical-laden, sugar-filled DQ Blizzard when you can have a totally vegan, much healthier cookie dough version?

Photo courtesy of The Vegan Version.

I generally don’t like cheese (duh, I’m vegan!) but nut cheese is a whole different story! This baked ‘feta’ made from almonds seems almost too good to be true!

Photo courtesy of Peas and Thank You.

Who knew watermelon could be grilled? It’s definitely a summer staple for me, so it’s nice to have new ways to enjoy it.

Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

I always need new overnight oats inspirations–why didn’t I think of sticky banana bread? This topping looks crazy good and perfectly indulgent.

What recipes look the yummiest to you? What do ‘summery’ recipes usually include for you?

WIAW: A Day of Raw Challenge

Hey ladies, how is February treating you so far? I’m just glad we’re that much closer to March–I can’t wait to bust out the dresses and flip-flops again!

Peas and Crayons

 

As I promised in last week’s WIAW, I have a special edition of the weekly foodie party for you this week. As you might know, I’ve recently become interested in raw foodism. Let me just clarify that I am not considering eating 100% raw–I like the principles behind it and its health benefits, but I feel good right now with my current ‘almost vegan’ lifestyle and I feel like at this point in my ED recovery, I shouldn’t be excluding all cooked foods, because they are nutritious (not to mention delicious)! However, I do like making raw treats from time to time and I also love things like raw fruits and veggies (I actually prefer my veggies raw!) and nuts so I thought I’d try eating totally raw for one day and share my experience on here for a WIAW post. So here goes!

Breakfast: raw carrot cake bite topped with raw walnut butter, red grapes, dried mango slice.

Normally, I love my oat-filled breakfasts, usually with a side of veggie bacon or veggie sausage, or sometimes just a bowl of plain Greek yogurt and fruit, but this was a good way of switching things up. However, this meal didn’t have quite enough staying power (aka protein), so it’s not an ideal breakfast but still tasty.

Lunch: chocolate brownie Pure bar, baby carrots, freeze-dried mixed fruit.

However, I did get a little more protein at lunch with the delicious Pure bar! I love Pure bars, because they are basically bigger Larabars with a little bit fewer calories and more protein (7 grams in this flavor). I almost can’t believe they’re raw, they’re so good! The chocolate brownie is my favorite flavor, hands-down, plus I really needed my chocolate fix for the day since I couldn’t have my usual daily dose of  a handful of dark chocolate chips. I think I should invest in cacao nibs because they’re raw–I’ve heard they take some getting used to, though. The carrots and dried fruit were good for crunch and overall, this was a pretty balanced meal.

Post-lunch dessert: Medjool date stuffed with raw pecan halves.

I also had some unpictured frozen pineapple chunks during my weather and climate lab. The date and nut combo is amazing, it tastes exactly like a turtle sundae. Well, without the ice cream, of course, but it’s a good raw substitute.

Afternoon snack: Pink Lady apple, handful raw pecan pieces.

Having just fruit and nuts for a snack isn’t something I usually do, but it was actually really tasty. I drizzled the pecans with a little raw honey and they were even tastier. I think pecans are my new favorite nut–sorry, almonds.

Dinner: sprouted quinoa bowl with raisins, shredded carrots and raw walnut butter, blood orange.

Sorry about the awful photo quality–I eat dinner around 7 pm so it’s pretty dark, aka no natural lighting so I just wing it. Instagramming the photos usually helps somewhat though! Anyway, this was my first time trying sprouted quinoa and I gotta say, it was a little weird at first, since I’m used to fluffy cooked quinoa but the crunchiness was interesting. I mixed it up with some raw walnut butter, carrots and raisins, making a carrot cake sprouted quinoa bowl of sorts, and I had some water and a blood orange on the side. The quinoa was pretty bland, but I’d like to try using sprouted quinoa in some kind of salad with a good dressing.

Dessert: frozen banana slices drizzled with raw honey.

No day would be complete without a nighttime snack! Of course, I love the combo of frozen bananas and raw honey, so I definitely enjoyed this dessert. Sweet, simple and cold. It was worth shivering the rest of the night–yes, I eat frozen stuff in the middle of winter!

Overall–I had plenty of energy to get through the day, and it made me feel refreshed and ‘clean’. However, there were definitely some foods I missed (namely peanut flour, sweet potatoes and oats), so obviously this raw food thing is not going to become a daily occurrence. I think cooked foods have a place in a healthy diet, and I don’t want to deprive myself of foods I love just to be completely raw. I do like that the challenge helped me get out of food ruts and try out some new combos, and it also challenged me to overcome my fear of fats (most raw foodism is based on using nuts, which have lots of healthy fats). I didn’t like that I wasn’t able to get as much protein as I usually can, and I don’t even normally eat a ton of protein, usually between 35-50 grams per day, and on my raw day, I only got 18 grams. Yeah, not so good but it was just one day so I’m not sweating it. So basically, there are some aspects I liked about the challenge and others weren’t my favorites but I feel good about mixing it up and trying something new. I would consider doing another ‘day of raw’ challenge in the future if I had more options, since being in a dorm I was mostly limited to fruits and nuts. In the future, I’m going to stick with my usual mix of raw and cooked foods, and also try out new raw food recipes occasionally.

Would you eat raw for a whole day? What’s your favorite nut?

Saturday Seven: Oh, Fudge!

Let me just say that I loved all your responses to my WIAW post–you guys are the best, seriously, so thanks! I’ve been getting some…erm, weird, creepy and downright mean comments in my spam box but seeing all the supportive and nice comments from you all has really helped me brush off the anonymous negativity.

Anyway, I’m spending another weekend on campus, this one filled with tons of studying and homework, but at least I have a weekend at home to look forward to a week from now! I thought I’d do yet another Saturday Seven post because they’re just fun so here we go!

1. You can make fudge in a dorm room

Oats topped with peanut flour paste and frozen PB fudge cubes.

I know I complain a lot about not having the best food living in a dorm, but honestly, I’ve been making do and it’s not that horrible. I actually eat pretty similarly here and at home, just minus the extra cooking appliances like an oven, stove and food processor. However, I think this is my first real recipe that I’ve ever created in my room–and it rocks! I made two variations and I really love both. So simple, so tasty…make it now!

Frozen PB Fudge (vegan)

1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (I used Almond Breeze)

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

1/2 tbsp peanut flour

sweetener, to taste (I used 2 packets of Truvia)

Stir all ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; take out and stir til mostly mixed. Microwave for another 3o seconds and then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours (makes 1 small tray of fudge cubes or half a tray if you have a bigger tray)

I was surprised how delicious these little fudgy cubes are. They’re a bit icy, but I don’t mind that. They’ve got a rich chocolate flavor from the combo of the chocolate almond milk and dark cocoa powder. And they’re a lot healthier than traditional fudge–low cal (about 40 for the entire batch!) and sugar-free (if you use a natural no-calorie sweetener like stevia or Truvia).

Frozen Vanilla PB Fudge (vegan)

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Pacific Naturals)

1/4 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Soytein)

1 tbsp peanut flour 

sweetener, to taste

Stir all ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; take out and stir til mostly mixed. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours (makes 1 small tray of fudge cubes or half a tray if you have a bigger tray). 

This combo is also super yummy and has about 8 grams of protein in the entire batch–not too shabby for ‘fudge’!

2. Snow is really pretty…as long as you don’t have to be out in it

The view from my room on Thursday night. Isn't it gorgeous out there?

I’ve lived most of my life in Colorado, so it’s safe to say I’ve been through my fair share of real winters. Almost 17, to be exact. Okay, okay, maybe they’re not as brutal as Midwestern or even Northeastern winters, but they can still be pretty rough. I used to love snow as a kid, because it meant sledding, hot cocoa and snow days. Now, it means cussing under my breath while trekking to class. Even last winter, when we had sub-zero temps (which never happen here!) my college was basically the only school in the state that didn’t close. Yeah, didn’t appreciate that. Anyway, this Thursday and Friday was supposed to be the mother of all winter storms. As far as I know, it snowed a ton in Denver and at my house, but not so much in my college town. It probably snowed 5 inches, which isn’t horrible, and the sidewalks were just a little slushy. But still, I hate having to be out in snow! Can it just be summer already?

3. I really love quick cardio circuits

Looks easy, but it's a really effective workout!

I am not the kind of girl who likes to hit the gym for a workout–I prefer fitting exercise into my day, like walking to classes (I walk for 30-60 minutes 5 days a week!), outdoor sports like tennis and biking or my personal favorite, shopping! What, it totally counts as cardio 😉 Because it’s winter, doing stuff outside is usually not an option, so I turn to cardio circuits I can do in my room. I love that they’re quick but they do give you a really good workout. I’m definitely sweating and my heart’s pumping after 15 minutes of these circuits. I typically do two different ones per day, as well as some yoga and walking to class. The one above is a new personal favorite, and I also love this free workouts app I have on my iPod that gives me a good full-body workout.

4. I’m obsessed with ordering food online

Still waiting impatiently for my kale chip order!

I ordered a Hugh Jass thing of peanut flour as soon as I got back from winter break (hey, I was running out!) and earlier this week I ordered some Natural Nacho Brad’s Raw Kale Chips. I’m really nervous that my order isn’t going through, since I got the confirmation email and it said that there’s a lot of demand for the chips at the moment…and then the other day, the charge was canceled on my credit card. I’m holding off on reordering for a few days so I don’t spend money that I don’t need to in case the shipping is just delayed. I can’t wait to get my hands on the kale though–I’ve heard good things about it!

5. I have 4 tests coming up in the next 2 weeks

So. True.

They’re not even midterms–I’ve only ever had two midterms in my year and a half in college, so I don’t know the awfulness that is midterm week. I’ve got a weather & climate test on Tuesday, a broadcast writing test on Valentine’s Day, an American environmental history essay exam on that Thursday, and a national parks history test the next day. Yikes, I hate having three tests in a week! It makes me think it’s finals week, which sadly it isn’t. Luckily, this semester I only have ONE final exam, so I guess it’s not too bad having so many tests back-to-back.

6. I don’t get Recipage

I just don't understand how it works!

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers using Recipage, and I think it looks really professional, so I set up an account and followed all the directions, but it didn’t create a Recipage on my blog! WTH? I don’t get what I did wrong, so for now, I’m still storing my recipes in a somewhat disorganized way on my Eats & More page. I really want to set up a Recipage at some point, so does anyone have any advice for me on how to make it work?

7. Naps are my new BFF

I can only hope to look this cute when I take a nap!

I don’t know what’s been up with me but lately, an afternoon nap has sounded so good to me. It’s not like I’m not sleeping enough at night–I get about 8 to 9 hours per night (I’m one of those people who needs that much to function) but I think it’s because my Tuesdays and Thursdays are crazy-busy. I have classes straight from 9:30-2 and by the time I get back, I just want to take an hour-long power nap. I’ve napped 3 times in the past week, and that’s just something I never do. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing right now since I’m getting used to having a crazier schedule, plus I feel so refreshed when I wake up.

Do you take naps? What do you think about snow?

WIAW: Goals for the New Year

Hi everyone, and welcome to 2012! I know it’s been a few days already, but it still feels so weird to me that we’re in a brand new year. 2011, especially the second half, just flew by! I can’t believe I only have 2 1/2 years left in college–part of me is excited though, because I can’t wait to get out in the ‘real world’ and be even more independent!

Peas and Crayons

Sadly I missed out on WIAW last week and I did not want that to happen again this week (which is why I’m a little early to the par-tay)! I haven’t been so great with taking food photos, but honestly I’d rather just be having fun at home than trying to document every meal. But I do have a few pics from throughout the week so I’ll roll with that 😀 I also wanted to share a few of my goals for 2012. They’re not exactly resolutions, since I don’t really believe in them, but just things I’d like to make happen in the new year.

My last skinny soy peppermint mocha of the season? Say it isn't so!

  • Try out more raw foods/recipes. I’m not going to go completely raw, but I really love how whole, fresh, raw foods make me feel. I’ve made a couple of raw recipes in the past year (check them out here) and I actually loved them more than ‘traditional’ desserts so I’d love to make more. I’d also like to try out some raw main dish recipes (like raw tacos made out of walnuts!) and maybe even a raw dish at a restaurant!

Sweet potatoes make the best lunch! With fresh pineapple and mango and topped with peanut flour paste.

  • Improve my GPA in spring semester. Because of my (horrendous, horrible, awful, insert-word-here) stats class last semester, my GPA slipped a little bit. I will admit I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so getting a C+ as a final grade for the first time ever was somewhat devastating. I’m hoping I can pull my GPA back up in the coming semester, and maybe even make it better than before, since I’m taking all classes that interest me.

Switching up my breakfast has never tasted so good! 1/3 cup PB Puffins, plain Oikos mixed with a little organic raspberry jam, peanut flour paste sandwiched in half a banana.

  • Get a Twitter? I’m not sure if it’s worth it, but I’ve always been interested in it. However, I already waste enough time as it is on Facebook, so maybe not. But it seems like a good way to stay connected and stalk my fave celebs.

Organic kettle corn and a peanut flour-ed banana make a delicious nighttime snack!

  • Get an internship. I’m taking a class this next semester that I need to get an internship at a TV station over the summer, so I’m crossing my fingers that I land one. I honestly don’t care if I have to run Starbucks errands or make copies, as long as I can get my foot in the door in the TV news industry, I will be very happy!

Guys, seriously try this right now if you haven't--Medjool date stuffed with a couple dark chocolate chips. It legit tastes like a cookie!

  • Learn how to budget. Now that I have my first job and am getting paid on a somewhat regular basis, I’d like to work on my budgeting skills. I know I still rely mostly on my parents to provide me groceries and such, but I do need to learn in advance so I’m not completely lost when I’m out in the adult world. Oh, and I need to stop impulse buying clothes! I don’t really regret my purchases ever, but I should at least try to wait til they’re on clearance 😉

Cheeseless pizza makes my world go 'round! 2 slices Amy's vegan roasted veggie pizza, side of roasted brussels and a simple almond milk/banana/peanut flour smoothie.

  • Have more fun. I will admit that I’m naturally an introvert, and I actually like quiet nights at home vs. going out most of the time, but I’d like to take more risks and hang out with friends outside of class. I do tend to get bored spending a whole day at home, so I do like to go out for some shopping or whatever, but I usually don’t feel comfortable enough doing stuff like that with friends and I’d really like to do more of that this semester.

What is one of your ‘goals’ for the new year? What is the best thing you’ve eaten so far in 2012?