Embracing Fall

Let me start out by saying I am a “summer” girl all the way. My birthday is smack dab in the middle of summer (July 27th to be exact) and I always loved never having to go to school on my birthday, plus the added perk that I could spend my special day at my favorite water park. When I was younger, summer also meant camping, sleepovers, swimming and visiting my grandparents, so it was always a special time of year. Now I love summer not only for my birthday, but for the amazing produce, warm weather, the fourth of July and getting a break from college life. So I was kinda sad when the first day of fall rolled around this year–no more summer for another 9 months. Luckily here in CO, summer’s decided to stick around for a while because we’ve had amazing weather since the autumnal equinox. Plenty of sunshine with most days in the mid 70s to low 80s…can you say ideal? It’s definitely helped me ease into fall but also embrace the season that follows my absolute favorite. This year, I’m actually excited for fall traditions like carving pumpkins and taking pictures of the changing leaves and of course all the delicious seasonal foods.

I’m starting to embrace fall with my wardrobe. I would be an extremely happy girl if I could wear flip-flops and dresses year-round, but that isn’t going to happen here. So I’m transitioning from shorts and swimsuits to sweaters and scarves, while keeping the still-warm weather in mind. I like pairing tights and ankle booties with shorts, or jeggings and a light cardigan with moccasins. I’m still incorporating the bright shades I love, but trying to tone them down by mixing them with darker hues.

Super old pic (from last year, when I was still doing the dorm thing) but you get the idea. This is one of my favorite fall outfits!

I am loving fall-inspired foods this year, more than ever before. Remember this post from last year? Yeah, that was like fall overload and it was the first time I really started embracing fall foods. This year, I’m already on pumpkin overload, incorporating it into pretty much everything and I have no shame. I just bought one of the sweet stuffed squashes they’re selling at Whole Foods by the other pre-wrapped veggies and fruit and I’m excited to roast my first squash. I also got some frozen cranberries which I’ve never had before but I really want to try them out. And I’m excited for my favorite Pink Lady apples. Last year the apples I got were not that great but they seem to be way better this year! So look forward to a lot of fall-ish recipes in the near future 😀

Some of My Favorite Fall Recipes

Spicy Pumpkin Pizza (vegan, gluten-free)

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

Raw Mini Pecan Pies (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

Coffee Maple Pecan Butter (vegan, gluten-free)

Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

Creamy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Rawnola (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

And as far as fall activities go, I really want to take advantage of my proximity to the mountains and go on a hike to see all the changing leaves. The mountains are so gorgeous this time of year (well, actually any time of year) so I hope my dad and I can head up there this upcoming weekend when he comes to see me for Homecoming weekend. And the house we moved into a couple of months ago actually has trees with leaves, so some leaf pile jumping will be in order sometime soon 😉

What do you love about fall fashion, food and activities?

Simply Having a Wonderful Weekend Time!

Heya everyone, thanks for all the input on my fruit and sugar post. Of course, I know fruit is good for me, but with all my eating disordered tendencies, it can be really hard to push all these silly “diet tips” out of my brain and do what’s right for my body. I really love what you all had to say on the subject though!

Now onto more fun 😀 Sorry about my really lame title, can you tell I’m in the Christmas spirit? I’ve officially been home for Thanksgiving break for 63 hours as I’m writing this (yes, I really did count!) and it’s been the best two days so far!

Friday was a crazy-busy day as I got ready to leave campus for break while also having classes and a test to go to 😦 I was running back and forth between class and my dorm and then I finally met my mom back in the parking lot after my last class. I was so excited to see her, even though I had just been home the weekend before. But I haven’t been home for more than 2 days since summer break back in August so it’s definitely been awhile since I could just take some time to relax at home. We headed straight for this nearby apartment complex that I recently applied to for next year. I am so ready to get out of the dorms after almost a year and a half so I was super pumped when I found out that they accepted my application. So we went on a little tour of the place, and it seems pretty cool. I’m planning on moving into a one-bedroom (because of my horrible roommate fiasco of last year) and the one bedrooms actually are pretty large. My mom seemed to like the place too, and it’s not too expensive, plus it’s on the bus line to campus which is awesome as I might not have a car next year. Oh, and it has an outdoor pool–holllllla! I’m crossing my fingers that we can sign a lease soon. An apartment with a real kitchen, here I come!

After that, I had to take a stats test (so ready to be done with that awfulness) and then my mom treated me to some gelato! I haven’t had some in months and I’ve been craving it, even though it’s been cold out, so it was a nice little snack. I got my usual soy chocolate, and some pumpkin. Seriously, the combo of pumpkin and chocolate is up there with peppermint and chocolate. Just so darn tasty!

I could seriously live at Gelazzi, it's the best gelato place ever!

After grabbing all my stuff from my room, we headed home, what we thought would be a 2 and half hour drive as usual. Well…it actually turned out to be a 3 hour and 15 minute drive, because of all the horrible traffic. Seriously, drivers in northern CO are the worst–they slam on their brakes for almost anything. Cars pulled off on the shoulder cause major pile-ups and end up making the relatively short drive home way too long. Luckily, we did get home safely and we listened to Christmas music the whole way down, so it wasn’t too awful 😛

On Saturday morning, I totally savored the family time at breakfast. On the weekends, we almost always all have breakfast together, and it is the best, with the newspaper all over the table! We are big newspaper readers fo sho, even though I usually only read the lifestyle section and the comics 😉 Then I dragged my dad outside so we could get the mail…because I was expecting something big! Well, not really, but I was excited. I ordered……….peanut flour! Heck ya, you better believe I was chomping at the bit to try it! I’ve seen it on like a billion blogs, and never got to try it, since I have no Trader Joe’s in my state 😦 Come on TJs, come to Colorado, pretty please? I ordered mine off iHerb and I couldn’t wait to dig in. For lunch, I was really feeling some veggie chili, so I heated up some Amy’s black bean chili and I really wanted cornbread on the side. Of course, I didn’t want to make a huge batch of it in the oven, so I thought why not make a microwave corn muffin? And add peanut flour to the mix–genius! It was soooooo good, you’d think it was actually cooked in the oven, but it only took a minute in the micro to puff up nicely.

Veggie chili + corn muffin = best cold day lunch.

Peanut Corn Muffin for One (vegan if Greek yogurt omitted, high protein)

1 tbsp yellow corn meal

1 tbsp peanut flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

water, enough to make smooth

1/2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt (can use pumpkin or applesauce to make vegan)

sweetener, to taste (I used a packet of Truvia)

Mix dry ingredients together in a small microwave-safe ramekin or nonstick cooking sprayed coffee mug. Add wet ingredients and stir til smooth and blended. Place in microwave on high for one minute; add additional time if necessary. Serve with veggie chili or topped with nut butter.

I am definitely making more microwave mug cakes with peanut flour–it adds a nice light peanutty taste, not to mention lots of protein!

After this delicious lunch, we were off–to Starbucks! They were having a deal this weekend between 2 and 5 pm where you could buy one holiday drink and get another one free. I love their holiday stuff, and couldn’t wait to try their new skinny peppermint mocha so I dragged my dad and sister along. Just kidding, they love Starbucks as much as I do! First, we made a stop at the mall nearby. It was cool to see it all decked out for Christmas–the crowds on the other hand were not so cool. I guess they’re normal around this time of year though. After a brief swing through Hollister (mine and my sister’s favorite clothing store), we hit up Bath and Body Works. I ran out of the vanilla bean noel lotion awhile back, and since I love their holiday lotions, I wanted to stock up. I got a mini vanilla bean noel lotion, a mini pink sugarplum lotion (one of their new ones, and SO good) and another pink sugarplum lotion for my sister since they were 3 for 10. I love Bath and Body Works–lotion is one of my addictions for sure and theirs are the best.

How cute are these?

Starbucks was also crowded, but it was worth the wait to get my tall skinny peppermint mocha latte–in a red cup, my first of the season! The red cups always make me feel so cozy and excited for the holidays. I was really glad I got a hot drink yesterday, too. It was so windy and cold out that the drink definitely warmed me up. The verdict? I loved the drink. I’ve mentioned before that I always get the skinny versions of their drinks, and this one did not disappoint. Peppermint and chocolate (plus coffee!) is my favorite seasonal flavor combo, and this drink might become my go-to this season. Plus I didn’t get a headache or feel sick afterwards, so that was a win. I’ve found that if I get anything larger than a tall, I get all queasy and feel crappy the rest of the day, which is no bueno. So tall it is for me!

Oh yes, Starbucks, you are my best friend 😉

Saturday night, we saw my wonderful daddy in a play. Seems like every time I come home, I’m seeing someone in a play. I guess my family is very theatrical 😛 Actually, it’s usually only my sister, though I used to be really into acting in middle school and high school, and my parents used to run kids acting classes. Now my dad mostly just writes plays in his free time, but he got corralled into acting in one of the short plays. The one he was in was pretty funny, as was another one of the plays. The other two were…well, bad, but luckily they were short!

A random lunch that was actually great: vegan quesadilla (jalapeno almond cheese on brown rice tortilla), dark chocolate peanut mug cake, cinnamon-spiked butternut squash.

Sunday was grocery shopping part uno. You all know how much I love grocery shopping, and shopping in general. My mom and I went to Bath & Body Works (again!) to find some lotions that we ended up having to order online, but we did get hand massages in the store! Then we went to Super Target, aka my favorite grocery store after Whole Foods. Since Thanksgiving is only a few days away, it was busier than usual, and we ended up spending almost 2 hours walking all over the store. Shopping is my favorite form of cardio for sure 😉 By the time we got out of there, our cart was filled to the brim, and I ended up getting some ingredients I need for some things I’m planning on making (recipes to come very soon), as well as a dress, pair of heels and tights for an audition/interview I have with my school’s TV station (I want to be a weather anchor!) and also some Christmas window clings for my window at school. Definitely a successful shopping trip!

A very orange and yellow dinner: Gardein veggie nuggets, chipotle sweet potato fries, sweet tater tots, butternut squash and yellow mustard.

I really wanted some oats this morning, and since I’ve been really into volumized oats lately, I had to plan in advance, so I whipped up a batch of dark chocolate peppermint oats! I think I ended up adding a little bit too much peppermint extract, but they were still nice and minty and refreshing.

Dark chocolate peppermint oats topped with half a homemade dark chocolate peppermint waffle. Peppermint overload? No way!

Today seemed to be the day of making new, simple recipes. At dinner, I made a smoothie with Silk Nog, organic pumpkin puree and peanut flour (yes, I’m already obsessed) and it actually turned out awesome. Peanut flour really does go with almost everything, it was definitely a smart purchase. Then I made pumpkin s’mores. Oh yeah, get excited! Pumpkin and chocolate is an amazing combo, I love s’mores in general so I thought it would be awesome. And I was not disappointed!

Check out that oozing pumpkin goodness and an Instagram'd photo.

Pumpkin S’mores (can be made vegan, makes 1)

1 graham cracker square, halved

vegan chocolate chips (I used a teaspoon)

vegan or regular mini marshmallows (I used a tablespoon)

1 tbsp pumpkin puree

Place chocolate chips on one side of a graham square and microwave for 15-20 seconds on high until the chips start to melt. Add marshmallows on top and microwave for 10 more seconds. Spoon pumpkin onto other graham square and place on top of chocolate and marshmallow side. Don’t forget the napkins!

Besides my random experiments in the kitchen, I also did some more grocery shopping (this time at Whole Foods–yay!) as well as boot shopping and a hair cut. I always love how my hair looks right afterward until I shower, but then I can never style it the exact same way again. And the boot shopping was also a huge success–I’ll show you guys my new boots in action sometime soon, but for now, here’s a photo from the DSW website, where I got them from. There were a little bit more expensive than I would have liked, but they’re very cute and comfortable, even with a 2 inch heel. I think they’ll get a lot of use and I can’t wait to show them off on campus.

Mine are brown, but they are exactly like this!

I love my new hair, too!

So my weekend was definitely action-packed, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had so much fun and I can’t wait for the rest of Thanksgiving break. And no worries, I’ll be getting back to you all with a few recipes very soon!

What was something fun that you did this weekend? Do you like tall boots?