Confessions

We all need to let loose sometimes, am I right? And no, not necessarily in the crazy college kid partying sense, but more like “I just need to get some things off my chest”.

I’ve taken only a few pictures since Wednesday.

Usually, I’m Instagramming on the reg and taking food pics at least once a day. But the last part of this week was busy with exams and work and now I’m trying to just relax during my first few days of spring break. So even though I’ve been eating some delicious meals and wearing cute outfits and just having fun in general, it’s gone mostly undocumented.

The spinach salad I had on Thursday before heading home.

The spinach salad I had on Thursday before heading home.

I went to two Whole Foods in the same day.

This was not planned, but I’m not complaining. Well, maybe my wallet is a little, but I’m sure not. I stopped at the WF in my college town for a little post-midterms and pre-spring break treat (fresh mango and cacao nibs) and then when I got back home, I picked up some salad bar goodness that I was able to split into two meals. Good thing, too, because it cost me $11 #yikes

My salad bar leftovers.

My salad bar leftovers.

I kinda just want to do nothing during spring break.

My spring breaks in college have been a little on the boring side–appointments, meetings and just hanging out at home on my own. In my defense, my mom (a teacher) and little sister have a different spring break than me so we haven’t been able to vacation during March in awhile. But this year, I don’t have many obligations at all…so I’m kinda just gonna work out, eat, blog, shop and hopefully get some sun. I feel like I’m being lazy, but I really just need this week to de-load.

I want it to be in the 70s and 80s forever.

It’s been SO nice here the past couple of days–highs in the upper 60s and low 70s. And I’m dreading the snow we’ll probably get through April. Colorado is weird in the spring–we can get a blizzard one day, and sunny and 70s the next. I’ve learned to roll with it but I kinda just want it to be warm forever.

I've loved being able to wear shorts and dresses for the first time in months.

I’ve loved being able to wear shorts and dresses for the first time in months.

I’ve been in a blogging funk.

I’ve been hardly blogging about anything other than grocery trips and WIAWs. My bad. It’s been busy around here but even now that it’s spring break, I can’t guarantee that I’ll have anything super insightful. I just feel like I don’t know what to post about, what will get a good response, etc.

Anything you’d like me to post about? How’s the weather been in your parts?

 

WIAW: No Filter

No, this title isn’t leading into a post where I just say what I feel without thinking it through. Not that kind of no filter. I’m talking about no Instagram or PicMonkey filter. I’m a sucker for prettying up my photos (which, lets be honest, are 99% of the time taken on my smartphone) but I’m trying to avoid the over-filtering of my photos. So I’m gonna share my original version of photos for this week’s WIAW…well, minus one or two filtered pics that slipped in there!

Breakfast: samoas-inspired chia pudding.

Breakfast: samoas-inspired chia pudding.

Sorry for the chia seed pudding overload lately–I’m not kidding when I say I get into breakfast ruts. First (almost 2 years ago at this point) it was overnight oats, then hot oats, then smoothie bowls, then pancakes, then waffles, now it’s the chia pudding. This version was inspired by the classic Girl Scout cookie (which I don’t think I’ve ever actually had) and made with Sunwarrior vanilla and Vega chocolate protein powders, lucuma powder for a caramel-y accent (my new love!) and topped with coconut, cashew butter (love this stuff) and a crumbled raw chocolate macaroon. This was good stuff.

Friday night sushi with friends. Cucumber maki and sweet potato tempura roll. Demolished.

Friday night sushi with friends. Cucumber maki and sweet potato tempura roll. Demolished.

I actually went out to eat twice this weekend. Both times with friends. This is big for me. I always feel super guilty when I have to eat out twice in a week/weekend, and I still have some anxiety about eating out with friends. But I had so much fun that it was worth it! The food wasn’t too bad either!

Failed recipe: healthy vegan Nutella.

Failed recipe: healthy vegan Nutella.

I’ve honestly never been a fan of Nutella (though Justin’s vegan version is pretty good) but I wanted to try making a healthier, vegan version to see if I’d like it better. It was pretty easy (other than attempting to remove the skins from the hazelnuts, which I eventually gave up on) but didn’t turn out delicious. I blame it on only adding 1 tbsp of coconut sugar. Definitely needed more sweetness.

Lunch: spinach salad with homemade cashew cilantro dressing and avocado verde salsa, dry roasted edamame, eggplant 'bacon' and kalamata olives.

Lunch: spinach salad with homemade cashew cilantro dressing and avocado verde salsa, dry roasted edamame, eggplant ‘bacon’ and kalamata olives.

My salad-a-day is still going strong and I’ve been especially loving my latest dressing combo–homemade cashew cilantro dressing and the Wholly Guacamole brand avocado verde salsa I picked up over the weekend. So good, and better than regular old dressing.

Eggplant 'bacon' wrapped date stuffed with cashew 'cream cheese'.

Eggplant ‘bacon’ wrapped date stuffed with cashew ‘cream cheese’.

Speaking of eggplant bacon, this was one of my successful recipe experiments over the weekend. Seriously, so simple but so damn tasty. I wish I had had more than half an eggplant (I used the other half for something else) so I could make a bigger batch. It was especially delicious wrapped around a Medjool date stuffed with homemade cashew cream cheese. Mmmm, I could eat this all day!

Outfit of the day (March 4): pink cropped cardigan (Abercrombie & Fitch), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink ruffle tank (Abercrombie Kids), burgundy jeggings (Hollister), unpictured brown riding boots (Macy's).

Outfit of the day (March 4): pink cropped cardigan (Abercrombie & Fitch), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink ruffle tank (Abercrombie Kids), burgundy jeggings (Hollister), unpictured brown riding boots (Macy’s).

I felt like a Valentine when I wore this on Monday, but who cares, I love pink! I’m really excited though for when I can finally wear dresses and skirts without tights–hopefully soon! Spring, come sooner.

Dinner: eggplant muffuletta on grain free bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheezy chipotle kale chips.

Dinner: eggplant muffuletta on grain free bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheezy chipotle kale chips.

Ummm…grain free bread? What is this madness? I will admit that, yes, I need to get over my fear of grains other than buckwheat and quinoa, but on the other hand, I can’t deny my love for coconut flour. And surprise, surprise, it actually makes a decent grain free and vegan bread when combined with a few other ingredients. Yes, it actually held together pretty well even when soaked with kalamata olive relish and baked eggplant, and it tasted a lot like naan after sitting for a few days. Look for a super simple recipe soon!

Another dinner: Thai stuffed sweet potato. Half a large sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and raisins/coconut shreds on one side, coconut cream and raw Thai curry cashews on the other.

Another dinner: Thai stuffed sweet potato. Half a large sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and raisins/coconut shreds on one side, coconut cream and raw Thai curry cashews on the other.

I’m definitely doing a stuffed sweet potato for dinner more often…thanks for the inspiration, Sara! This one was Thai-like, with a peanutty sauce on one side, and curry+coconut on the other. I think I could do a different combo of this every day.

How do you like your sweet potatoes? Did you have a recipe success or failure over the weekend? 

 

WIAW: I’m Baaaaack!

When I posted a few weeks back that I was done with WIAWs for awhile, I wasn’t sure how long of a break I’d be taking. Well, it’s only been 2 Wednesdays since then and I’ve caved…but only because I have a lot of food I wanted to share with you guys! I probably won’t be doing WIAW on a weekly basis, as I’m still trying to overcome my orthorexia and I’ve been making strides in eating intuitively, at least amount-wise and not counting calories, but the urges to ‘eat clean’ are still strong and I feel more pressure to eat as cleanly as possible for WIAW posts. So I’m thinking it’s best for me to not do them as often.

Anyways, this week’s WIAW is basically just a bunch of random meals I’ve been eating lately, mostly over this past weekend. I’m sensing a few trends in my recent eats: my salad-a-day goal is still going strong, I love homemade waffles for weekend breakfasts and a few old favorites have made their way back into the rotation. Oh, and an obsession with Instagram and seasonal PicMonkey effects #noshame.

Obviously, still loving the Whole Foods hot/cold bars.

Obviously, still loving the Whole Foods hot/cold bars.

Sorry this is super cheesy, but I had to put a heart around one of my fave meals ever–the WF hot/cold bar! I know I’ve said that the WF up here at school blows, at least as far as their salad bar selection goes. Well, it’s more like hit-or-miss. This box, consumed last Friday, was a hit–tofu ratatouille (a little too salty, but decent), Asian cous-cous, kale topped with maple pecans, grilled asparagus, edamame and my favorite, the in-store made vegan tortilla chips. I also added some homemade guac and it was a delicious box that was totally worth the $7 or whatever it cost. I like never go out to eat, so I think a couple of WF hot/cold bar runs a month is justified 😉

Vanilla blueberry chia pudding made with Sunwarrior protein powder, frozen blueberries, almond milk and shredded coconut.

Vanilla blueberry chia pudding made with Sunwarrior protein powder, frozen blueberries, almond milk and shredded coconut.

This was one of the few successful chia puddings I’ve made–most of them turn out to be runny, no matter how long I let them set. I think this one worked because Sunwarrior is incredibly drying, as in it soaks up liquid easily. Anyways, I love the vanilla+blueberry+coconut combo, so this will be a repeat breakfast/snack.

Southwestern-inspired salad. Spinach, green olives, pinto beans, homemade cashew cilantro dressing, hot sauce.

Southwestern-inspired salad. Spinach, green olives, pinto beans, homemade cashew cilantro dressing, hot sauce.

My salad-a-days have mostly been eaten at lunch, but on my busiest day (Wednesday) I have to eat while typing up a weather forecast in the newsroom–aka, I want something I can eat with one hand, and pack easily into my bag and not have to lug around all day. Salads are semi-portable, but they can get messy, so I usually eat a Larabar with some carrots, and then have my salad-a-day for dinner. Oh, and the salad-a-day goal was just something I decided I’d try out at the beginning of the year, and I think it’s been going strong for a month now. It’s been fun experimenting with different add-ins, greens and dressings but I have a few favorites I like to come back to often.

Return of the snack plate! PB and cacao nib stuffed date (aka best healthy dessert ever), sprouted buckwheat and ancient grains granolas, kale chip crumbs, dried apple slices, salted pistachios, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate and peanut flour paste.

Return of the snack plate! PB and cacao nib stuffed date (aka best healthy dessert ever), sprouted buckwheat and ancient grains granolas, kale chip crumbs, dried apple slices, salted pistachios, Alter Eco mint dark chocolate and peanut flour paste.

Yep, snack plates are back in my life and better than ever. I love having balanced meals (complex carbs/fruit/veggies, protein and healthy fat) so these cover all the bases, and taste delicious. Plus it gives my indecisive tastebuds a lot of different flavors at once…but I’m weird and only eat one part at a time!

Sweet potato chocolate chip buckwheat & almond flour waffle. Topped with chocolate Nuttzo and Sunwarrior 'frosting'.

Sweet potato chocolate chip buckwheat & almond flour waffle. Topped with chocolate Nuttzo and Sunwarrior ‘frosting’.

It’s official–waffles have become my weekend breakfast. I might still have them as an occasional breakfast during the week, but I’m sticking with quicker meals to maximize the time I can spend in bed before getting up 😉 Kidding, it’s really so I have more time to get ready and work out without feeling rushed. But I won’t give up my waffles. I’ve found the best flour combo is an equal ratio of buckwheat to almond, with a little tapioca starch thrown in there to keep them together. They always turn out thick and fluffy!

Nachos for dinner. Raw jalapeno popper on the side. GF multigrain sweet potato chips, sauteed spinach, green olvies, pinto beans, sprouted sunflower seeds, homemade guac and homemade nacho sauce.

Nachos for dinner. Raw jalapeno popper on the side. GF multigrain sweet potato chips, sauteed spinach, green olvies, pinto beans, sprouted sunflower seeds, homemade guac and homemade nacho sauce.

These are basically like my salads, only with less greens. I haven’t had nachos for dinner in awhile, because of my silly fear of grains, but I can’t deny that I love me some Late July multigrain sweet potato chips and honestly, they’re pretty healthy: gluten-free, made with simple ingredients like chia seeds and quinoa and nothing weird in them, and baked. So nachos will be back in the rotation, at least on the nights where I don’t feel like making dinner but have all the ingredients ready to go. I also really want to experiment with Asian and Greek inspired nachos…so stay tuned!

Cinna-mini rolls. Gluten free, vegan, and oh-so-easy.

Cinna-mini rolls. Gluten free, vegan, and oh-so-easy.

I’ve been trying to perfect the cinnamon roll for awhile. For me, it has to be vegan (duh), healthy, gluten free if possible and foolproof. I don’t do well with making my own rolls from scratch, sadly. I’ve made some tasty almond flour based cinnamon ‘rolls’ that, while delicious and simple, were super crumbly and not much like cinnamon rolls at all. Not that that’s bad, but I was still unsatisfied. Until I discovered the perfect gluten free AND vegan frozen pizza dough ball at Whole Foods. Yeah, it’s really rare to find a whole grain based pizza dough that’s GF and vegan so I was thrilled. I’ve made some great cinnamon rolls before using premade pizza dough so I knew this had to work. And luckily for me, it did! I thawed the dough, rolled it out, filled it with just cinnamon, raw honey and chopped dates, rolled it up and cut it into 8 mini rolls and baked it. They turned out a little too chewy, but delicious and pretty darn close to perfect. Finally!

Another salad...yes I'm obsessed with nooch, spinach and olives in my salads.

Another salad…yes I’m obsessed with nooch, spinach and olives in my salads.

And to end on a veggie-filled note (to go with this month’s WIAW theme, of course), yet another salad creation. At this point, I don’t necessarily make my salads based on a theme, like Mexican or Asian or whatever, but I kinda just throw things in a bowl, shake it up and see what works. I generally love a combo of sweet and salty, so I like a lot of olives, dried fruit and something spicy in there.

Do you eat salads a lot? Have you ever tried to perfect a dessert recipe? 

Friday Five: Online Shopping Addict

Hi guys! Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately–the semester’s starting to get busy and I literally have next to no time during the middle of the week for anything but sleeping and getting homework done. But I’m more thankful than ever to have three day weekends every week–it’s seriously my lifesaver.

Anyways, I didn’t want to let a whole week go by without another post so I’m throwing a little Friday Five fun in here!

Five Things I’ve Eaten Recently

  •  The best vegan restaurant pizza I’ve ever had. It’s hard to find vegan pizza in restaurants. It’s even harder to find amazing vegan pizza. I’m not one for fake cheese (don’t get the Daiya appeal) so I always go cheeseless. The other toppings are the best part anyways, especially in this case. My mom and I tried out a new-to-us restaurant in my college town called Restaurant 415. They aren’t specifically vegan, but they have plenty of gluten free and vegan options and focus on locally-sourced and organic ingredients. My kinda place for sure! I ordered The Woodland pizza sans the cheese and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The crust was not too thin or too thick, and it came topped with garlic & olive oil, mushrooms, deliciously salty & crunchy kale (when do you ever see kale on a pizza?!), dried figs (ditto), caramelized onions and a balsamic glaze. The sweet and salty flavors worked together perfectly and I was in vegan pizza heaven. 
My delicious leftovers!

My delicious leftovers!

  • Banana softserve…with a twist. Who doesn’t love banana softserve, aka frozen bananas all blended up until they look like ice cream? Seriously, one of my favorite blog food finds ever. Well, I also discovered a little trick recently: mix almond butter (or nut butter of choice) with a little  coconut oil and drizzle over banana softserve…homemade magic shell! You can even add cacao powder or whatever you want to make it even better. I like topping my softserve and shell with cacao nibs for the perfect healthified dessert.
Who needs ice cream when you can have banana softserve?

Who needs ice cream when you can have banana softserve?

  • Raw jalapeno poppers.  I’ve been eating them whole, putting them in salads…basically just loving them. I should have made more but I’ll definitely be stocking up on jalapenos this weekend!
So spicy, so clean, so good!

So spicy, so clean, so good!

  • Brown rice sushi from Whole Foods. I’ve mentioned before how disappointed I am in the salad bar at the WF in my college town. However, when I discovered their brown rice sushi, I just couldn’t resist. I’ve never had brown rice sushi before, let alone vegan-friendly brown rice sushi. I got the avocado carrot cucumber roll and it was great dipped in coconut aminos and as a salad topping.
An easy dinner at it's finest.

An easy dinner at it’s finest.

  • Salads…on salads on salads. I’ve had a salad-a-day streak for at least the last three weeks, and I don’t want it to end anytime soon. I’ve discovered what makes a really great homemade salad–chopping the greens, shaking everything up to mix it around and letting it sit for at least half an hour in the fridge. It all makes for a very tasty salad. The toppings and dressings are what makes them, though.
Latest obsession: taco-inspired salads.

Latest obsession: taco-inspired salads.

Five Things I’ve Bought This Week

  • A set of weights. Yep, finally jumped on the strength training trend, and I gotta say, I really love it! I’m definitely not lifting heavy yet, but it’s good to start out light. And besides, I’m not so much wanting to build muscle as I am wanting to lean out. So lighter weights+more reps=(hopefully) a leaner body!
And they're green, what could be better than that (besides pink)?

And they’re green, what could be better than that (besides pink)?

  • A geology textbook and cacao nibs from Amazon. Random, yes, but I needed to get the super saver shipping so the cacao nibs were a much-wanted add-on item. The textbook is obviously for the geology class I’m in–I took it because it’s supposedly a prereq to the meteorology program I want to get into after graduation and I don’t really love it so far (mostly because of the professor) but I have a friend in it so that helps a lot!
  • A massive iHerb order. They used to offer free shipping in the U.S. for any order over $20 or $25 I think, but now it’s for orders over $40. I hate paying for shipping so I just stocked up my online cart more than usual. I got a few new-to-me items (raw buckwheat granola, a new brand of coconut flour) and some other things I can’t get in store (namely, peanut flour). I think I’ll be set with new products for awhile…
Love getting packages in the mail!

Love getting packages in the mail!

  • Some new-to-me Whole Foods finds. Yes, I love shopping online for things I can’t get near me, but there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned shopping trip to the grocery store. On my last trip to Whole Foods, I got a bunch of new-to-me items and I’m loving them all so far. The best is the Thai coconut curry hummus by Hope Hummus–it’s a local brand, but they might have it in WFs across the country so definitely check them out if you ever see them near you. This is the best hummus flavor I’ve ever tried, period. I also got a couple new Larabar flavors, unsweetened ketchup, coconut oil spray, dark chocolate Nuttzo (it was on sale!) and WF brand pickles (because other brands have not-so-good ingredients).
There's always something new to try at Whole Foods.

There’s always something new to try at Whole Foods.

Five Sites I’m Loving This Week

  • Chicnova. It’s an online store I just discovered that has a ton of cute, affordable clothes in all kinds of styles. I haven’t ordered anything (yet) but there’s quite a few things I’m drooling over.
  • Warby Parker. Notice the online shopping trend? Okay, so I haven’t bought from here either but I love the concept: you get to choose prescription glasses to try on at home, and you send back the ones you don’t like. I’m a sucker for hipster style glasses, so the next time I need a new pair, I’ll definitely be hitting up this store.
  • DAMY Health. I don’t follow their nutrition plan by any means, but the recipe section has all sorts of amazing-looking vegan, gluten free and raw desserts. I kinda want to make them all…
  • PicMonkey. The best free editing site I’ve come across. I just wish I could use all the upgraded features.
  • Weather Channel. Yep, I’m a weather nerd and proud of it (that’s why I’m going into meteorology!) Besides just the forecasts, they also have weather stories and articles that are really interesting. For example, I found out the other day that Denver is in the top 6 cities for most snowfall. I actually don’t believe it, because for the past few years we haven’t gotten much snow at all!

Do you do any strength training? What’s one of your favorite sites at the moment? 

My Ode to the Whole Foods Salad Bar

If you’ve been reading AlmostVegGirlie for awhile, you’ll know that I have an unhealthy obsession with the Whole Foods salad bar. I first discovered it in July 2011–even though there’s been a Whole Foods in my city for years, I had never ventured to the salad bar side of the store. I fell in love at first bite, and the rest is history. Actually, after my first time trying it, I didn’t get it again for 7 months. But once this summer hit, I’ve been getting my salad bar fix on the reg (probably once or twice a month) and each box is totally worth it.

Some of my favorite salad bar creations, in collage form.

Some of my favorite salad bar creations, in collage form.

Dear Whole Foods Salad Bar, 

When I first met you, I had high expectations

I hoped you’d be delicious, and you were.

We didn’t meet again for many months

And I missed you every day

But now we’re reunited

And I won’t forget about you again.

I love your variety, your tasty flavors

You always have plenty of vegan options

You’re my favorite place to eat.

You have my old favorites

But there’s always something new to discover

And that’s why I love you…

Even though you cost 5 or 6 bucks

It’s a love affair that’s worth every cent 

 

Boy was that cheesy or what 😉 Obviously I have a scary addiction to it, but there are definitely worse things to be addicted to.

Other than that lame poem (that didn’t even rhyme), I wanted to share some of my tips for Whole Foods salad bar picking and some of my favorites.

Tips

  • If you want to save money, only put one or two heavier items in your box. They charge by pound (the bars by me charge $7.99 per pound) so you’ll want to load up on lighter weight items if you’re going for a cheaper meal.
  • Read the ingredients. If you have an allergy, intolerance or dietary preference, the salad bar will be your savior. They have cards out above each item listing all the ingredients in it, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
  • Try new things. I have a few favorites I always get, but when I see something new and interesting, I usually put a little of it in my box. That way, if it isn’t great, I won’t have wasted valuable box space. But if it is good, then you’ll have a new favorite!
  • Go to different Whole Foods. If you have more than one in your area, I would highly recommend trying out different stores to see which one has the best salad bar variety. The Whole Foods I shop the most at at home has the best salad bar options, while the one in my college town is more hit-or-miss. And go on different days, too, since they usually switch up items a lot from day to day or week to week.

Favorites

  • Maple glazed sweet potato chunks. I can’t remember the exact name of these, but it’s big chunks of sweet potatoes in a lightly sweet sauce with bell peppers and currants. It’s one of my “heavy item” splurges.
  • Homemade wheat tortilla chips. I generally don’t eat wheat products on a daily basis because I feel better without it, but these chips are definitely worth it. They’re so fresh and thick and salty and delicious.
  • Guacamole. Whole Foods makes the best guac, period.
  • Coconut curry tofu. They also make the best tofu. This version is great, creamy without the dairy and a bit spicy.
  • Superfood salad. This combines so many superfoods in one–kale, cashews, blueberries and acai dressing.
  • California quinoa salad. I have yet to recreate this one but I really need to. It’s red quinoa, edamame, flaked coconut, mango and bell pepper in a really good light dressing.
  • Marinated artichokes. I love artichoke hearts anyway, but these are totally craveable.

Have you ever eaten the Whole Foods salad bars? What’s your favorite item there?

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? 

The Meal Survey

Happy Labor Day, for those of you who get the day off! Sorry I’ve been pretty MIA since midweek–school was crazy and then I came home for the long weekend. My family and I went to Breckenridge, CO on Saturday for their annual duck race. Sounds silly, but totally fun and a great excuse for a day trip to the mountains. I was really looking forward to it, especially because the weather here has been crazy hot for months and it’s always cooler up there. Well, we got a little more than we bargained for–it was sunny and hot in the morning, storm clouds rolled in and it rained like crazy, then it was cold and windy, then sunny again and finally cold and rainy. Totally bipolar day, but still fun!

Today I’ve just got a fun food-related survey that’s been all around the blog world lately. Enjoy!

Breakfast Questions

1. Favorite cereal as a child?

Tough question, since I was a huge cereal lover as a kid. That was basically my breakfast every morning. I remember really loving Post Blueberry Morning. It was a healthy-ish cereal but plenty sweet and full of berries and almonds!

2. Coffee or tea? With milk or without?

Coffee for sure! I love tea, but really only iced tea. Coffee is great iced and hot. When I get it iced, I go for just straight black coffee sweetened with some Truvia. But I prefer my hot coffee with a little soymilk or almond milk (Starbucks, can you get on the almond milk trend?) and one of their sugar-free syrups. I know artificial sweeteners aren’t the best, but I love their syrups and they’re an occasional indulgence.

First hot coffee drink in months! Tall soy skinny vanilla latte.

3. The one food you eat most often at breakfast?

I go through major breakfast phases. A year ago, I was really into overnight oats. Then I liked hot oats. Then smoothies in a bowl. Then pancakes. Now it’s waffles, and I’m ob-sessed! I always make them with buckwheat flour (I want to experiment with coconut flour though), ground flax, almond milk and then go crazy with mix-ins or toppings. My favorites are dark chocolate chips, real maple syrup, sweet potato, berries and protein frosting.

Lunch Questions

1. Sandwiches are generally considered a “lunch food”. If you had to choose between a grilled cheese and a peanut butter and jelly, which would you pick?

Hands-down, PB&J! I obviously don’t eat real cheese anymore and I’m not a big fan of the vegan cheeses. I actually never was a big grilled cheese lover, even as a kid. However, I did used to eat just jelly sandwiches on wheat bread because I hated (still do) PB. I was a weird kid 😉 I absolutely love almond butter and jelly sandwiches though. I really want to try a macadamia butter and mango jam sandwich, it just sounds amazing!

2. You can only put four ingredients in your salad (not including greens); what do you throw in the mix? Additionally, which greens and dressing do you pick?

Ooooooh, hard question! I really love complex, random salads so it’s hard for me to pick just four. I guess I’ll go with edamame, peanut sauce, red peppers and chili-flavored cashews (like the Thai salad from Panera!) For greens, I usually go with kale or baby spinach. I hate hate HATE arugula though, so I’ll pick it out if it’s in a spring mix. I’m so high maintenance 😉

Another favorite salad, from Qdoba. Black beans, corn salsa, habanero salsa and tons of guac.

3. One food you can’t live without at lunch?

My lunches are always different, but one thing that stays the same is produce. I always have a fruit and veggie at lunch time and I try to mix it up. I love salads but it isn’t always practical to have one, so sometimes I’ll bring baby carrots or mini sweet peppers to campus and for fruit I try to go with something more portable if I can’t be at my apartment for lunch.

Dinner Questions

1. It’s the end of the day. You’re tired, hungry, and your fridge is empty. If a fast food (from a chain) is your only option, where do you go and what do you order?

I haven’t had legit fast food in years, and I have no desire to do so. Plus most of them aren’t very vegan-friendly. I prefer fast casual chains, like Chipotle, Panera, Noodles, etc. since they have plenty of healthy options. However, my real ‘go-to’ is Whole Foods. Their prepared foods section is amazing and you all know my love for their salad bar! I actually just got some again on Friday and I’m already wanting more #noshame

The latest Whole Foods salad bar box. Marinated artichokes, sweet potato and pepper salad, orange chipotle tofu, Korean veggies, chana masala.

2. TV/computer on or off while you’re eating?

Always on, at least when I’m by myself, otherwise it feels too quiet and weird.

3. The one food you eat most often at dinner?

Sweet potatoes! I don’t know why, but I rarely have them at other meals (besides my sweet potato chocolate chips waffles). They’re my addiction for sure, especially topped with nut butter!

Dessert Questions

1. Choose between these two American desserts: cheesecake or apple pie?

Cheesecake, definitely. Never been an apple pie fan, but cheesecake was one of my faves before becoming vegan. Now I still enjoy it sometimes, when I make raw cheesecake from scratch or buy this amazing raw cheesecake brand from Whole Foods (super expensive, but worth it).

First attempt at raw cheesecake!

2. Choose between these two foreign desserts: tiramisu (Italy) or flan (Spain)?

Never had flan, but it does not look appetizing. Tiramisu, on the other hand, is amazing. I haven’t had it in forever, but I’m working on a raw, vegan version. Stay tuned!

3. Ice cream: cone or cup?

I prefer cups, unless it’s a special-flavored waffle cone like this one place in Estes Park makes. They seriously have flavors like bubblegum and marshmallow!

What nut butter and jelly sandwich combo have you always wanted to try? What’s your favorite American-style dessert?

WIAW (on Sunday)

So I haven’t done a legit WIAW (aka, posting all my meals from one day) in a really long time…why not do one now? I managed to take Instagram pics of basically everything I ate on Sunday so here it is!

Breakfast

Homemade oat flour waffle with semisweet chocolate chips and frozen raspberries, topped with chocolate protein ‘frosting’ and fresh raspberries.

It’s obvious that I’m obsessed with waffles for breakfast. But I haven’t spent a dime on frozen waffles in probably 2 years. Why not make your own, with all the things you want and nothing you don’t? My waffle maker is getting so much use by me that my mom said I could take it with me to my apartment! My basic recipe always includes oat flour, baking powder, Truvia, unsweetened almond milk and chia gel. But I always include add-ins. And you can’t forget the protein frosting, that’s the icing on the cake waffle.

Lunch

Steamed edamame topped with nooch, baby carrots, mini raw carrot cake bite topped with pineapple cashew cream frosting, fresh pineapple and blueberries.

I love having edamame at lunch! Lately, I’ve been increasing my protein and it keeps me so satisfied. I’m not straying from veganism for the sake of protein though–there are plenty of plant based proteins that I’m obsessed with. Edamame is definitely one of them, it’s just so good and easy to make. And it tastes awesome with nooch–sounds weird, but it does.

Snack

Simply sprouted sweet potato chips, wasabi rice crackers, kettle corn, dried edamame, maple cashews, Medjool date, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate square.

I don’t think it’s possible for me to get sick of snack plates–there’s just so many combos! I always have a good mix of carbs (sprouted chips, rice crackers and organic kettle corn), protein (edamame), fat (cashews) and fun (chocolate and date). I just love the mix of flavors and textures, plus it lets me be indecisive 😉

Tennis

It’s a Christmas court!

I’ve been trying to play tennis with my dad every weekend this summer. It hasn’t always happened, but we’ve been playing a lot and it’s always a fun break from the norm. On Sunday we only played for half an hour since we started out late (around 5:50 pm) and the clouds were rolling in but we were running around the court more than usual.

Dinner

Spinach and mixed greens topped with falafel and homemade vegan tzatziki, veggie straws (unpictured chocolate banana protein smoothie).

I was feeling lazy and uninspired when dinner rolled around but I decided to make use of some falafel balls taking up space in the fridge. I whipped up a vegan tzatziki sauce made from some coconut milk yogurt I just bought, topped some greens with the baked falafels and sauce and had some veggie straws and a protein smoothie on the side. It was actually a great dinner, especially for being on the fly!

Coconut Tzatziki (vegan, gluten-free)

1 container So Delicious plain coconut milk yogurt (can use Greek-style or regular)

1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped

mint leaves, to taste

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper, to taste

Scoop yogurt into a bowl. Add in cucumber, mint leaves, garlic and lemon juice. Stir until combined, and add in salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to let flavors mix. Makes 4-5 small servings.

Dessert

Half of a WF vegan chocolate chip cookie, fresh raspberries, mint chip coconut milk ice cream.

I know I post a picture of a vegan cookie and ice cream all the time, but I don’t have it every night! The cookie I buy maybe once every two weeks when I hit up Whole Foods, and I split it in half to make it last two nights. And I have a small bowl of vegan ice cream a few nights a week, it’s just too good not to enjoy often! But it’s expensive so I try to make it last!

I just noticed that I was obsessed with chocolate and berries on Sunday–not bad obsessions at all 😛 Actually, I’ve been loving both a lot lately, along with pineapple, mango, quinoa and sunflower seed butter. Hey, food ruts aren’t all bad!

Have you been in any ‘food ruts’ lately? Do you like eating salads for dinner?

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #42