Return to the Mountains+Blog Updates

Wow it’s been awhile since I last posted! Honestly the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, sometimes great and sometimes not so good.

First I want to (briefly) recap my long weekend trip to Salt Lake City. My best friend just moved there in August and though we now live even further apart than when she was still in Colorado, I knew I wanted to go see her. And bonus, I got to explore a new-to-me city. SLC is a lot more spread out than I was picturing it. My friend lives in a suburb that’s pretty far away from downtown so I didn’t get to see that area but we did drive all over town.

It was also my first time flying by myself, aka without my parents or in a group. I was nervous but mostly excited because I love airline travel. I don’t get to do it nearly enough (usually just once or twice a year) and I think that might be why I love it. Or I’m just crazy πŸ˜‰ I did get to meet my mom at DIA where I had a 3 1/2 hour layover on the way out and that was nice to see her for a couple of hours. She was so great to drive an hour each way early in the morning to see me, but we hadn’t seen each other since late July so it was a nice surprise. My flights there and back were great and I got the hang of putting my carry-on suitcase up in the overhead compartments. That was legitimately my biggest concern…I thought I’d be that girl who couldn’t even lift her own bag over her head but it wasn’t that awkward. And my seatmates weren’t totally annoying so that was good too.

image

No one's gonna confuse this bag for their own.

Salt Lake City reminds me a lot of my Colorado hometown, with lots of mountains but in SLC they surround the city instead of just being on the west side. And of course, the lake was unreal. My friend told me it was actually pretty dried out, but it was still huge and beautiful. I just have a love for mountains and water.

image

I could get used to this view...

As far as what we did from Friday to Tuesday, it was basically eating (at Noodles & Co because we don’t have it in OK…and incredible sushi…and making tofu at her apartment), manicures, shopping, sleeping in, hiking, walking her dog, seeing a musical, more shopping, movie watching, a wine+painting class, even more shopping, Starbucks, seeing the lake (and me falling in…) and more eating. So basically all the best things.

image

Bestie time is the best time.

image

Random, but the sushi place had the best brussels sprouts ever!

Getting back into a normal routine after that was hardddddddd. Making it even harder was the fact that my workplace is now even more understaffed and its not even funny anymore. So basically I came back and had to work 9 days straight. Bleh. The first few days were a total struggle and I’ve seriously wondered if I’m going to even stay in the TV world for long. I don’t want to say bad things about my employer, but lets just say things are going downhill fast and everyone knows it but the management. The smart people leave ASAP and the rest of us are stuck there until we can do the same.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t want my job to be my life. I truly do enjoy working, but I think I’d actually like it more if I didn’t feel so overworked, stressed and taken advantage of. I also can say that I don’t really have enough of a passion for the news to want to keep doing it. I would much rather be involved in some kind of entertainment show or working for a fashion magazine or something. TV seems glamorous but behind the scenes, it really sucks sometimes.

So where am I going with this? Basically I’m kind of taking a step back from the blog. I enjoy doing this, but I just can’t promise the time that I used to spend on it. Work is all about writing, and at the end of the day I don’t really want to write anymore. Plus the time I spend away from work is either sleeping (I work overnights so I sleep until the early afternoon), running/working out or just chilling right before work. Plus I feel like talking all about food isn’t really me anymore. In case you haven’t noticed, my Instagram has turned into kind of a fashion space, and I really love that. It’s one of my biggest passions, and I don’t do enough of it on here.

I’m not saying goodbye to AlmostVegGirlie right now, just more like I can’t promise weekly posts anymore. Being an adult with a full-time job and other extracurricular priorities has to take precedence for now. And if you can’t get enough of me, I’m still active on Instagram so follow me on over there!

Have you had to take a blog break? What have you been up to lately….I miss catching up with y’all!

Advertisements

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?

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Apparently I’m on a roll with these cheesy Christmas song titles πŸ˜‰ What can I say, I’m in love with Christmas music and I’m so sad that most radio stations (besides Sirius XM) have stopped playing the stuff.

Anyways, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (if you celebrate it) and a wonderful weekend. It was really nice just getting a couple of days to relax, have fun and not feeling the need to be ‘plugged in’. I love getting a break from technology every once in awhile, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to do just that. But now I think it’s about time for a recap of the past few days, so here we go!

Friday

My mom and I headed out for last-minute gift shopping. Because we got a lot of snow on Thursday, we weren’t able to get out and get presents earlier, so unfortunately we had to face the crowds. But I was able to get some of my favorite things at Whole Foods, a game for my dad at Barnes and Noble and a cute necklace for my sister at American Eagle. I also bought myself my first-ever pair of jeggings at AE and surprisingly, I love them. I have a lot of issues with my body image, my legs and arms in particular, so I usually stick with looser fitting, boy fit type jeans. But I really needed some jeans that can fit in my new boots without looking baggy, so the jeggings fit the bill perfectly. They’re actually a lot more comfortable than I thought they would be, and not too tight at all. I think I might start actually buying jeggings and skinny jeans on a more regular basis, which is a total body image win!

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

Saturday

Christmas Eve! I love this day so much, maybe even more so than Christmas Day, because of the anticipation. The morning and early afternoon were pretty chill, and then we all got ready to go to church. I got to debut my new booties which was awesome! I also really loved the Christmas Eve church service. The end part is definitely the best, because the lights are turned off and everyone lights their candles and sings Silent Night. It’s just so beautiful and reminds me what the realΒ reason for the season is. Afterwards, we drove around and checked out a few light displays and then went home to start on dinner. Now, I’m not gonna lie, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable around this time because dinner was going to be at least an hour later than I feel comfortable with. I hate eating so late because I’m afraid of weight gain, which is so stupid. Our bodies don’t know what time we’re eating, but it’s just a fear I cling to. But once I dug into the dinner I made, I didn’t feel so guilty. I made some vegan butternut squash ravioli, with peanut flour sauce and roasted asparagus spears on the side. It was an amazing Christmas Eve dinner, and I loved enjoying it with my family surrounded by candlelight. After dinner, we watched some of A Christmas Story on TV (best Christmas movie EVER!) and then went to bed…but not before my dad read me a few Christmas stories. It’s one of our traditions, and I always love hearing these classic stories year after year.

Check out my fierce booties!

The best Christmas Eve dinner I could ask for!

Sunday

The big day, of course! I woke up bright and earlyΒ around 8 ‘o clock and made myself a delicious breakfast of peanutty raspberry chocolate oats and then my sister and I opened our stockings. We always open those in our pajamas, and then get ready for the day and then open presents together as a family. We always go around and open one at a time, so everybody can see what everyone else got and so the present-opening doesn’t go by way too quickly. I got a lot of amazing gifts, which I’m incredibly thankful for. A few highlights include metallic faux-snakeskin Bearpaw boots, a vegan dessert cookbook, a faux leather jacket, some gift cards to my favorite stores and dark chocolate covered espresso beans–a definite fear food of mine, but so so good that I’m not gonna let them go to waste, I’m just going to have a couple a day and enjoy them without any guilt πŸ˜€

Presents!

 

I love the dark chocolate+coffee combo!

The cute little countdown to Christmas app I have--I couldn't wait til it said 0 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds!

Mi madre opening one of her gifts.

Bahaha I love how excited my sister is!

 

My dad is obviously in love with his new space heater.

 

After the present-opening, we continued to watch the 24 hour A Christmas Story marathon while munching on snacks. But the best part of the day was getting to go sledding in our yard! We got probably about half a foot of snow, so the sledding was great. We live on a 5 acre property with tons of pine trees and some hills in the back part of the property, so it’s always fun to get a chance to go sledding. It was our first white Christmas in awhile, and probably one of the only times we got to sled on Christmas Day. My sister, who usually hates sledding, actually went with my dad and I and we had the best time! It was a great workout climbing back up the hill in all that snow, of course, but I was just thinking about how fun it was. I absolutely hate feeling like I’m forcing exercise (which I still unfortunately tend to do) so working out in a fun way is definitely preferred. Sledding definitely did not feel like a workout, but it was nice to be active and get fresh air while still having fun and being with my family.

I ❀ sledding!

 

My dad loves sledding too!

Dinner was an awesome pasta dish that my mom made up. It’s so simple but just really tasty. It’s basically just bell peppers and pasta sauteed with this chili lime seasoning from Williams Sonoma and then she adds in some kind of protein. My version was with whole wheat pasta and shrimp and it was sooooo amazing! I hate traditional Christmas-type dinners (because I’m mostly vegetarian/vegan besides the occasional seafood and because it’s so boring) so this was a really nice change. After dinner, we played two new board games that we got (my family lovesΒ board games!) while watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Best way to end Christmas, in my opinion. Oh, but I can’t forget about dessert, of course! I enjoyed one of the raw pecan tartlets that I made–they were soooooo good! I’m not gonna lie that I didn’t feel guilty about eating it, because they’re fairly small but “high” in calories (not really, maybe around 120 per tartlet) but because they have such simple ingredients (basically just dates and nuts!) I didn’t feel too bad and they turned out delicious.

Raw Mini Pecan Pies (vegan, raw)

15 Medjool dates

2/3 cup raw nuts (I used a mix of almonds and pecans)

1 T raw nut butter (I used walnut)

sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt

Soak 12 of the dates for at least four hours and cover. Drain dates and add to food processor with nut butter and salt. Pulse until smooth, adding in soaking water if necessary to thin out. Set aside. Pulse nuts and remaining 3 dates until a fine crumb is form. Pack nut mixture into muffin liners (makes about 5) and freeze for an hour. Remove and pour in date mixture and freeze again for at least another hour. Top with chopped or whole pecans and serve straight from the freezer.Β 

Cute little desserts are the best!

Monday

I watched Holiday Inn with my dad in the morning (a really cool Christmas/holidayish movie from the 1940s with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire), enjoyed a delicious sweet potato topped with peanut flour for lunch and then ran a few errands with my dad and sister. It was kinda crazy out there to be honest, since apparently a lot of people like to return stuff and go shopping the day after Christmas, but we made it out alive πŸ˜‰ Then for the best part, we went to Starbucks! I had to get my skinny soy peppermint mocha fix, of course! It was nice enough that we were able to sit outside, and I also bought myself a cute holiday cold cup for $5! Before Christmas, it was twice that much so maybe the post-Christmas bargains aren’t so bad after all!

My Christmas Eve 'dessert': peanut flour sauce, freeze-dried apples and vegan chocolate chips.

Well, today we’re planning on going up into the mountains for more sledding and I can’t wait! I’ll be back later in the week for more updates!

What was the most fun thing you did on Christmas? What is your favorite winter ‘sport’?