It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Apparently I’m on a roll with these cheesy Christmas song titles 😉 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 real 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 early 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 😀

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 loves 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. 

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 😉 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’?

WIAW: What I’ve Been Making

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to all my fellow U.S. bloggers! Are you excited for the big day? I know I am, since I’m planning on making a few things for the meal.

I wasn’t exactly planning on doing a WIAW post this week–in fact, it almost slipped my mind! But I did promise you guys a few recipes, so I decided that a WIAW post could be good for that. I know it’s kinda cheating, but I did eat them all on Tuesday, so it’s just a shorter version of my usual WIAWs.

Peas and Crayons

I was totally inspired by my pumpkin s’more from Monday night, so I decided to recreate it in oats form. I made a batch of plain volume oats, heated it up in the a.m. and topped with a teaspoon of vegan chocolate chips, a couple of mini marshmallows and a square of graham cracker. I loved how the chocolate and marshmallows melted into the oats. Probably my best oat creation to date!

S'mores in a bowl!

Remember those festive garland bars from WIAW a couple of weeks ago? Well, I made them and they turned out fabulously good. I’m so glad that I’ve finally been able to make a baked treat that turned out perfect. Plus, they’re completely vegan!

Sweet, salty, pumpkin-y and chocolate-y.

Festive Garland Bars (vegan)

1/2 c oat flour

3/4 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1/8 t baking soda

1/3 c dried cranberries

1/3 c vegan chocolate chips

1/3 c maple syrup

1/4 c pumpkin puree

1 c Whole Foods popcorn or kettle corn

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with PAM; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add 3 T cranberries and 3 T chocolate chips and toss to coat. In a large bowl, mix maple syrup and pumpkin until combined. Add flour mixture and stir together until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until just cooked through and golden brown, about 20 minutes; set aside to let cool. Melt remaining chocolate chunks. Spread 2/3 of melted chocolate over bars and immediately scatter remaining cranberries and popcorn over the top, pressing down gently to help adhere. Drizzle remaining chocolate over bars. Set aside until chocolate sets, about 15 minutes; cut into squares and serve immediately.

This dessert was definitely a turning point for me, as far as my ED goes. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my biggest fear foods is chocolate. I love dark chocolate, but I can’t eat it straight-up, it has to be in cocoa powder form or something. I’m mostly scared of the saturated fat in it, which is ridiculous. I don’t eat very much sat fat, maybe 2 grams a day, so it scares me that just a tablespoon of chocolate chips has 2 1/2 grams. But I used 6 whole tablespoons of vegan chocolate chips in these bars, so there’s a little over 1/2 a tablespoon of chocolate per square. I gotta be honest, I loved these little bars, but the chocolate did make me feel a little guilty, especially since I already had a teaspoon earlier. I know this probably sounds completely ridiculous, but I’m working on feeling okay with eating chocolate, one teaspoon at a time.

The main ingredients of the most amazing bars!

Later, I made dinner for me and my parents. My mom ended up not liking it, but she hates squash for some reason! Crazy woman 😉 This recipe is not vegan, because it has shrimp, but if you don’t eat seafood like I do on occasion, then you can definitely sub tofu or even just chickpeas.

I love my orange overload dinners!

Butternut and Pumpkin Curry with Quinoa

1 butternut squash, cut into small cubes

1 c unsweetened plain almond milk

1 c vegetable broth

1 lb raw shrimp

1 T red curry paste

1/4-1/2 c pumpkin puree

1/2 yellow onion

1 t minced garlic

1 t ground ginger

1 cup quinoa (dry)

Chop up onion and toss in pot with garlic and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cook on medium heat until onion is fragrant and translucent. Add red curry paste to taste, and cook for a few more minutes. Add veggie broth, almond milk, pumpkin, ginger and squash and cook until boiling. Cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook quinoa in 2 cups of water (for about 15-20 minutes on medium low heat), and cook shrimp in a pan until pink. Set quinoa aside and add shrimp to curry. Cook for a few more minutes, then serve on top of quinoa. Makes 4-5 servings.

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately?