WIAW: Easter Weekend

It seems like Easter was weeks ago, but nope, it was just a couple of days ago! Obviously I’m great at procrastinating on posting about it 😉 But seriously though, it’s getting to be that busy time of the semester, when everything is just starting to pile up so apologies if I go missing around here for a few days!

Easter weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had in awhile. I really needed the long weekend after a rough post-spring break week back at school, so the fun and rest was much appreciated. I’ll break it all down for you in some pics I snapped over the weekend.

OOTD March 28: black studded tank (F21), black/white printed harem pants (F21), white watch (AE).

OOTD March 28: black studded tank (F21), black/white printed harem pants (F21), white watch (AE).

Thursday started out with morning classes, and then my mom drove up to bring me back home. She got up to my apartment around noon so we stopped for lunch before hitting the road. We went to Wahoo’s, one of our old favorites that we now can’t get back home since all the locations shut down. Luckily my college town still has one–Wahoo’s has the best guac, hands down. I got a surprisingly amazing salad topped with guac, salsa and roasted veggies.

Fast forward a couple of hours. My parents were both in a Holy Week play at our church so my sister and I went to go watch them. For not having many rehearsals, everybody was really good and a lot of the monologues were very emotional.

Some new-to-me groceries.

Some new-to-me groceries.

Friday morning I got to sleep in a little, and then after lunch my mom and I went out to find birthday presents for my dad. Shhhh, don’t tell him I told you but he’s turning the big 5-0 today! Anyways, we also hit up Whole Foods as per usual so I could pick up groceries for the week ahead. I got a few new things as usual too–the Sunwarrior chocolate was ordered by my dad off Amazon, but everything else was bought by me. So far, I loved the sweet potato apple fruit strip–it was delicious and only a couple of grams of sugar–the nori sheets (perfect for raw wraps) and the kale chips. Seriously, the Kale Krunch brand is the best, I’ve loved all their flavors I’ve tried.

Artisan pizza to celebrate my dad's birthday a little early. This was Saturday's leftover dinner (over a bed of spinach+balsamic) but I ordered a pizza with kalamata olives, artichokes, capers, garlic and oregano (no cheese of course).

Artisan pizza to celebrate my dad’s birthday a little early. This was Saturday’s leftover dinner (over a bed of spinach+balsamic) but I ordered a pizza with kalamata olives, artichokes, capers, garlic and oregano (no cheese of course).

This may seem weird as a clean eating vegan, but I LOVE pizza! By pizza, I don’t mean mass-produced Domino’s or frozen pizza with greasy cheese and no veggies. I love good quality, hand tossed pizza from authentic restaurants topped with classic Mediterranean toppings like olives and artichokes and thin crispy crust. And of course, no cheese! Even when places offer vegan cheese, I never order it because I like to keep my pizzas focused on the veggies. We ate dinner pretty late since we went to the Good Friday service at our church before (always a very moving service) but surprisingly, I wasn’t too freaked out about eating dinner around 9. I even ate 4 out of 6 of the slices…and had two leftover for a great dinner on Saturday!

My diva Easter eggs, thanks to a Target egg kit.

My diva Easter eggs, thanks to a Target egg kit.

Who needs to dye eggs when you can accessorize them? At my house, we’ve decorated Easter eggs since I was little and I can’t imagine not doing it. This year, I convinced my mom to buy the diva decorating kit from Target rather than the usual glitter and dye kits. Yes, I’m still 5 years old 😀 My sister and I had a blast glamming out our eggs to be rocker chicks on Saturday night. Easter eggs have never been this cool!

Grain free carrot cake pancakes for Easter breakfast.

Grain free carrot cake pancakes for Easter breakfast.

What’s better than homemade pancakes on Easter morning? Ok, for me, waffles would win, but my waffle maker lives at my apartment while I’m at school so sadly I couldn’t make them. But I settled for carrot cake pancakes, made with almond and buckwheat flours (so technically grain free, since buckwheat is a seed, like quinoa), shredded carrot, raisins and topped with peanut flour paste and cashew butter and more raisins, dipped in real maple syrup. If only I could make pancakes every morning!

My Easter outfit (actually the exact same as last year!)

My Easter outfit (actually the exact same as last year!)

I didn’t realize it until looking at my photos from last year, but I wore the same dress last Easter. Oh well, I’m sure no one but me noticed. Easter is usually snowy and cold here for some reason (April is one of our snowiest months, go figure) but this year we had no snow at all and it was actually sunny and in the 60s. So I could wear a dress without bundling up in a coat and sweater too!

Finally tried the strawberry Zevia!

Finally tried the strawberry Zevia!

Sprouts is my savior…first they had the ALT Larabars, now they have strawberry Zevia. And unlike the grape, which I only sorta liked, this one was delicious and almost tasted like watermelon (always a good thing). And I just love the light pink can color!

My Easter basket!

My Easter basket!

Another Easter tradition that never gets old? Hiding Easter baskets! My mom hid one for me, my sister and dad this year and I still loved searching all over the house for it. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that she had filled it with my favorite nail polish color, great smelling lotion and vegan candy from Whole Foods. Now, to be 100% honest, I’m still a little wary about this candy–it’s healthier than most but it still doesn’t have completely ‘clean’ ingredients up to my ridiculous standards. However, I know she wanted me to be able to enjoy some candy, so I’ll try to get over my fear and enjoy a little of it every day. It’s not even that unhealthy, to be honest, just another issue I’m still dealing with.

So Delicious sugar free vanilla coconut milk ice cream topped with frozen blueberries.

So Delicious sugar free vanilla coconut milk ice cream topped with frozen blueberries.

Easter dessert was something I haven’t had in awhile–ice cream! I love coconut milk ice cream, but again, it was something I pushed aside because it wasn’t totally ‘clean’. However, I really like the no sugar added kind by So Delicious and it’s really not that processed so I enjoyed a small bowl of the vanilla with blueberries and a homemade chocolate PB bunny on the side (recipe to come).

Carrot cake 'white chocolate' truffles (recipe soon!)

Carrot cake ‘white chocolate’ truffles (recipe soon!)

Easter weekend was extra long because I didn’t head back up to school until early Monday morning. Once back at my apartment after classes, I whipped up another batch of the homemade chocolate PB bunnies (this time I made ‘eggs’) and also experimented with making a carrot cake inspired version. Both kinds turned out amazing, so look for those recipes very soon! Both recipes have no added sugar, and are super easy to whip up.

What was the best part of your weekend? Are you a snob about any foods (like me with pizza)?

 

 

 

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?

WIAW: Tricks & Treats

I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween (can it just be Christmas already?) but I had to tie in this week’s WIAW with it. Well, at least a little bit. I’m not going to be dressing up, other than for my campus TV station’s special Halloween live show (I’m reporting on the weather!), or indulging in any candy, but I do have some product reviews for you this week. How’s that for a treat 😉 Plus I’ve been kinda burned out on food lately–some of my favorites haven’t been sounding so appealing sometimes so it’s been kind of boring on the eating front so I decided to do this instead of a usual WIAW.

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Whole Foods canned pumpkin.

I usually buy the Farmer’s Market brand of canned pumpkin, because it’s organic and the cans are BPA-free, plus they now come in boxes which is even better than cans. But I spotted the 365 brand of canned pumpkin and couldn’t pass it up since it was a dollar cheaper than my usual brand. When I opened the can, the pumpkin was more orange and a bit runnier than the Farmer’s Market pumpkin, but it tastes about the same. I might just stick with my favorite brand though because I like the fact that there’s no BPA.

I originally took the coffee maker my dad used when I moved into my apartment 2 months ago because he said he wasn’t using it very much. I didn’t mind that one, but it made way more coffee than I needed at one time. So when my dad said he wanted his coffee maker back, I was more than happy to return it in exchange for a brand new one. I got this baby for under $20 at Kohls…isn’t it adorable?  It only makes one serving’s worth of coffee which is great for a single lady like me. And it works perfectly, so I’m happy. Plus I like that it’s green, and not black like the other one. What can I say, I’m a sucker for bright colors!

Saturday’s shopping outfit: grey lace tee (Hollister), fish necklace (American Eagle), burgundy jeggings (Hollister).

I bought these jeggings last weekend because I was in desperate need of some more jeans. I paid more than I would have liked for them, but they fit great and the dark red color goes with a lot. I can’t complain!

Maranatha raw maple almond butter.

My go-to brand of nut butter has been Archer Farms for quite awhile. I love their almond peanut cashew butter, it’s so creamy and nutty. But–surprise–it was one of the recalled nut butters under the salmonella scare. So I’ve been APCB-less for a month or so, and it’s been sad. I especially loved it because it was pretty cheap for an all-natural, nothing-added nut butter. I finally decided to try this Maranatha variety after seeing it on a few blogs. And while it’s no almond peanut cashew butter, it’s really good! It’s not overly sweet, but I prefer it over the Justin’s maple almond butter. And it’s only a couple bucks more than my favorite, so I guess that’s not too bad.

Tessemae’s vegan hot wing sauce.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a buffalo wings fan, not even when I was omni. However, you all know my love for all things spicy. I was in the market for a new dressing, and when I saw this one on the shelf at Whole Foods, I knew I’d love it. It has very simple ingredients, basically just lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and spices. You know it’s good stuff because it separates and hardens up…gotta love all-natural foods with all their quirks! P.S. This stuff is amazing massaged on kale!

Letting my nerdy side show!

I have been dying to get a pair of reader’s glasses since they first came into vogue. I don’t know if you think they’re cute or not, but I sure do! I bought my pair for 15 bucks at American Eagle and it is the best 15 bucks I’ve ever spent. I love the tortoiseshell print and how they add a hipster touch to any outfit. Best part is, I can wear them with my contacts since they’re not real glasses, just a fashion accessory!

So Delicious no sugar added chocolate coconut milk ice cream.

My usual coconut milk ice cream brand is Nadamoo, and I love all their flavors and pronounceable ingredients, and they’re much cheaper than most coconut milk ice creams. But when I saw the So Delicious no sugar added variety for the same price, I had to give it a try. This stuff is a little less creamy than Nadamoo, but it’s only 100 calories for 1/2 cup and has just 1 gram of sugar–the rest is all erythritol, which is a natural no calorie sweetener. It tastes basically like a Fudgesicle, which I loved, but I wish they had had one of their other NSA flavors available for me to try since I usually go for more exciting flavors. Guess I can always jazz it up with toppings though!

Feather print jeggings from American Eagle.

Two new pairs of jeggings within a week?! A year ago, this never would have happened. I was scared to death of tight-fitting jeans because I hated my legs (still kinda do) and I didn’t want them to look big in skinny jeans. But around Christmas last year, I finally caved and bought a pair of dark wash jeggings from American Eagle…and finally fell in love with them. I now have 4 pairs and am definitely embracing the trend. I prefer the pairs with more structure, like pockets and zippers and actually made from denim or a thicker material so they look more like jeans. I love this new pair because it’s very unique but it’ll still go with everything because it’s in a dark color, I think feathers are cool and these fit perfectly. American Eagle is definitely my favorite store for jeggings, they always fit me just right. And they were $15 on clearance, you can’t pass that up!

So Delicious mint chocolate coconut milk.

Too soon for the holiday-inspired drinks? Never! I’d been dreaming of Silk’s mint chocolate soy milk since last Christmas, but now that I don’t do soy milk (too processed) I was excited for a different nondairy version. And So Delicious definitely delivered! I’d never had refrigerated coconut milk before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but this was pretty thick without being overwhelming. The flavor was perfectly sweet and partly sweetened with stevia so that lowered the sugar content a lot! There’s only 50 calories in half a cup which makes it a perfect lower calorie sub for Starbucks peppermint mochas! And as a huge mint chocolate lover, I totally approve of this drink!

What kind of jeans or pants do you like to wear? Do you drink holiday-type beverages?

College Vegan on a Budget: The Newbie

This is a new series I’m testing out and it’s all about shopping on a college girl budget, as a vegan who has healthy (and expensive) tastes. Enjoy!

I’ve never really grocery shopped for myself before. Yes, I’m a college junior and have been “on my own” (with my parents help) the past 2 years, but until now I never had the means to go grocery shopping. Sure, sometimes when I was home and had access to a car I’d pick up a couple splurges for myself at Whole Foods, but I never had to pay for staples and such. Now that I have a car and am living off campus with a full kitchen, grocery shopping is a necessity. I can’t always rely on my mom to get me what I need every two weeks, so I’m having to start grocery shopping for myself. Call me a nerd, but I’ve always had fun doing it! But now, it’s serious business–I have a budget I have to stick to. This week, it was $50 (plus $20 in cash that my mom gave me). Could I do it? Let’s see how my weekend shopping trips turned out!

So excited about the chiles, the coconut flour and the coconut Greek yogurts!

Sprouts

Can I just say that I love this place? Seriously, I can’t wait til the Sunflower Market back home turns into a Sprouts because it’s such a great alternative to WF. Now that I’m back at school, though, I have access to Sprouts which is great for my tastes and my budget.

I looked up their weekly deals and sales before I headed out so I knew what I should stock up on based on my not-so set-in-stone shopping list. And I tried to tell myself to stick to that list, but being the first time I’ve ever bought a lot of stuff on my own, I was like a kid in a candy store. I kept seeing all these things I wanted to try and I ended up getting a few things not on the list, but it didn’t turn out too expensive.

What I Got: fresh roasted Hatch chiles (made in store that morning!),  2 red mangoes , whole raw cashews in bulk, coconut flour in bulk (excited to try it), dried mango slices (nothing added!), 2 So Delicious coconut milk Greek yogurts (yay!) and a Luna Fiber bar. 

What It Cost Me: $15.43 (I used cash)

Verdict: I will try to shop here more often (even though it’s a little out of the way) because I got a lot of great stuff pretty cheaply. And they have a lot of products Whole Foods doesn’t stock, like the fiber bars, coconut flour and vegan Greek yogurts.

Oh peanut flour, how I’ve missed you!

Whole Foods

Ah yes, my favorite store! Unfortunately, it doesn’t always love me back. When my parents take me there, a typical stock-up trip can cost $60 or more. Since I was just planning on getting a few fill-in items, I figured I wouldn’t have to worry. Just to be safe, I kept my cell phone’s calculator handy so I could add up totals as I went along (and I’ll be doing this from now on).

Again, though, I went a little too crazy and bought several things not on my list. Good for my foodie curiosity, bad for my budget. But you live and learn.

What I Got: fresh black figs, raw agave nectar, maple almonds (got a little too many of these…), nooch (always necessary), kelp noodles, dark chocolate chunks (ran out and couldn’t live without ’em for a week!), frozen edamame (running low), frozen pineapple, PB2 (impulse buy…I was missing peanut flour, which I haven’t had in a couple months), vegan cookie, coconut milk caramel from checkout counter.

What It Cost Me: $39.32 (yikes!)

Verdict: I will definitely be sticking to the list in the future at WF! Too many impulse buys add up, especially the PB2 which was $6! I also need to be careful with the bulk stuff, since it can be expensive. I ended up with a bunch of almonds, and while I’ll definitely eat them, they weren’t cheap. Also, the figs were supposed to be $3.99 for a pound, but somehow ended up costing me almost $6  even though they weighed a little over half a pound (maybe they were priced wrong?). Definitely need to read labels more closely and avoid buying multiple things that cost $5 or more. The other items were really cheap, so if I had been more careful, I could have stayed under $30.

Obviously, I am such a beginner here when it comes to budget shopping. I wasn’t able to use any coupons, which could have saved me, and while I did try to avoid buying all the things I’ve been dying to have or try, I need to make more of an effort to do that. I will definitely use up all the items, but in the future I need to be more conscious of cost and if I really need it or if I can wait a couple weeks. However, I am excited to try all the new-to-me items!

Do you have experience budget shopping? What is your biggest grocery shopping splurge?

Friday Faves (July 6)

The festivities of the 4th are over so now it’s back to real life. Who am I kidding, summer isn’t real life, at least if you’re still a student! I still have about a month left at my internship but the majority of my weeks are spent doing whatever I want. I’m definitely appreciating that I can still do that–in a couple years, that won’t be an option!

Favorite App: LabelBox

Labels make everything more fun!

I’ve been noticing cute little labels popping up on a lot of people’s Instagram photos so I had to do a little sleuthing to figure out how they were doing this. Turns out, it’s a simple and free app called LabelBox. It’s available for iPhones/iPods and Androids and it’s so easy to use. Basically all my Instagram photos will be labeled now. #Sorryimnotsorry

Favorite Obsession: Waffles

Told you I’d be using these labels a lot!

I almost can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a waffle for breakfast! And don’t be fooled, these homemade waffles are 100 times healthier and tastier than those pathetic frozen Eggo waffles. I’ve been loving on the protein waffles mostly but when I just want a simple, fruit-packed waffle like the one above, I just use some oat flour, which gives it a perfectly fluffy texture while also packing it with fiber. And toppings are necessary, of course. I topped my 4th of July waffle with fresh raspberries and protein frosting made with Vega vanilla almondilla protein powder and water. Mmmmmmm!

Favorite New Find (that I haven’t found yet): So Delicious Greek-style almond milk yogurt

6 grams of protein and fiber ain’t too shabby for a nondairy yogurt!

The Amande almond milk yogurts are decent, but a little too jiggly and low in protein for my liking. When I popped on over to the So Delicious website and saw this gem, I knew I had to have it ASAP! The only thing I somewhat miss from my non-vegan days is Greek yogurt, and now I can get my fix in nondairy form, with more fiber and calcium than the dairy version! I just need to find it in stores first…

Favorite 4th of July Activity: Water balloon wars

I probably dropped more than I caught, but it was still fun!

What do you do on the 4th when it’s hotter than an oven outside and inside, the parade your family was planning on going to was cancelled and there are no fireworks shows within 100 miles? Have a water balloon war, of course! Filling up countless water balloons was worth the fun we had and it was actually great getting water in your face when you didn’t catch a balloon. Not that that happened to me though 😉

What’s something fun you did on the 4th (whether you’re from the U.S. or not!)? What’s your favorite app?

Best of…May! (and an award)

Uh, yeah, so how crazy is it that it’s already June? Where has this year gone? I can’t believe that last month at this time, I was stressing about finals and projects. Now I’m stressing (sorta) about my internship and packing. More on those later though!

Best New Find: Justin’s vanilla almond butter and So Delicious almond milk ice cream

Probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent!

Last month I discovered sooooooo many new-to-me products, it was a little crazy. Not that I’m complaining, though–one of my favorite things to do is buy new products and try them out. Sure, sometimes they disappoint but in other cases (like with the nut butter and ice cream), they were beyond amazing.

Best Discussion: Eating Comes at a Cost

I know I’ve said this before, but you guys are the best! Seriously, I’ve been loving all the responses I’ve gotten so far. I am very passionate about issues like this but these kinds of posts are always hard for me to publish because I worry about the backlash. You guys are always really respectful and thoughtful in your comments, though, which is great!

Best Recipe: Peanut Flour Pancakes

How delicious do these look?

Not gonna lie, this was muy dificil to decide on! Considering I had a record number of recipes in May (12 of them!) I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just one. But these protein-packed, peanutty pancakes are something I’ve been coming back to over and over. They’re simple to make but taste almost gourmet.

Best Non-Food Post: Work It Out

Hiking in snow…in the summer?!

Even though my blog is usually about food, I definitely have other interests, like fashion and fitness! I really liked sharing my favorite ways to workout and even though none of them involve the gym, I’ve come to realize that no one way to exercise is better than another.

Best Photo

I don’t know why, but this is just a gorgeous photo!

A lot of you commented on this photo and said you liked it. Well, I do too! Instagram is my favorite app, hands down, and this photo just speaks to me somehow.

And now for the award ceremony 😉 Hahaha, just kidding, but both Aja and Kat nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks, ladies!

1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2. Answer these 10 questions, below, for fun if you want to.
3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs 
(I was too slow.) you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

1. What is your favorite color?

Pink, for sure! I love hot pink, light pink, whatever shade. I also love orange, especially paired with pink.

2. What is your favorite animal?

This is really hard, but I’m gonna go with rabbits. I think bunnies are the cutest thing ever, especially the lop-eared kind. I really want to get a bunny for a pet someday.

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Iced coffee, no milk and sweetened with flavored stevia. I just discovered that Panera has this as a drink option by the soda machines…score!

4. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter! I love reading really short updates (I have a short attention span) and funny tweets (like by Condescending Wonka).

5. What is your favorite pattern?

Is lace a pattern? If it is, that’s what I choose. I have a few lacy pieces that I really love–they’re girly and cute but still elegant.

6. Do you prefer giving or getting presents? 

Not gonna lie, getting presents is better. I do love giving presents, but getting them is just so exciting!

7. What is your favorite number?

7 or 11. I like 7 because I was born on July 27th, and I like 11 because it rhymes with 7 😀

8. What is your favorite day of the week? 

I probably would have said Saturday a month ago, but now that I intern on that day, I’ll go with Friday. It’s not quite as special during the summer, but it’s still great.

9. What is your favorite flower? 

I like those huge, brightly-colored daisies!

10. What is your passion?

Clothes and grocery shopping, being outside and yoga.

Now it’s time for some nominations!

Alexandra She just started a new blog all about lifting and life in general. I loved her old blog and I have a feeling I’m gonna love this one even more!

Tessa I can always relate to her ED posts and she always has the best insights! I love her honesty and she really takes the time to respond to her reader’s comments, which I think is awesome.

Chloe I am super jealous of her cooking skills! Her food photography always makes me drool, too.

Amy Lauren I wish I could be an amazing runner like she is! She’s also a really great writer, and her race recaps are fun to read.

Lena I love that she’s from Colorado too, and I’m jealous that she gets to go to all these cool Denver-area restaurants! She’s also an awesome runner.

What was the best workout you did in May? What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

So Many Products, So Little Time

It’s probably no secret that I absolutely love product reviews. I’ve done them a few times on my blog and I also like reading them on other blogs so I know what’s worth trying out and what’s not. It’s so much fun trying out new things and since I know a lot of you like product reviews too, I like to be able to share my unbiased opinions.

Lately I’ve been able to buy more new products and test them out, so I’m gonna share a bunch of them right now!

So Delicious Unsweetened Almond Plus

Like I mentioned in my last WIAW post, I’ve been trying out different almond milks lately. I’ve had my eye on this one since I first heard about it, but had yet to see it anywhere until my mom made a stop at Walmart and I noticed it there. Yep, Walmart of all places has a pretty decent selection of almond milks. Who knew? I opted for this one instead of the Silk unsweetened vanilla I was planning on getting since this one seems to be pretty rare. I like that it’s unsweetened, has some vitamins (not enough calcium though, boo!) and even has 5 grams of protein per cup. I always need a little extra protein and since I don’t do soy milk much anymore, it’s great to find an almond milk that has some. It’s fairly thick for almond milk, and makes a great addition to smoothies or with cereal. I just wish they’d come out with an unsweetened vanilla kind.

Carrot cake smoothie made with So Delicious Almond Plus.

Ohgave! Honey Vanilla Agave Syrup

If you’re vegan and miss honey (I still have raw honey from time to time, as I don’t believe it harms the bees) this agave is perfect for you! I honestly wish it had more of a vanilla taste, but that’s just me. It’s the perfect drippy syrup consistency, so it works great on pancakes. I bought it because I wanted a cheaper alternative to real maple syrup and it’s great for recipes too that call for maple syrup. The company has several other flavored agaves, including blueberry, but I passed on that because it’s not as versatile as honey vanilla. I would love to try it when I run out of this one though.

Peanut flour chocolate chip pancakes drizzles with Ohgave! honey vanilla agave.

Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter

Even though it’s a local-ish company (from Boulder) I’ve never tried Justin’s nut butters. I know, I know, I’m crazy. They just never appealed to me because I prefer nut butters without added sugar or oil. However, when I saw the mini squeeze-pack of the vanilla almond butter in the Whole Foods aisle when I was checking out, I couldn’t pass it up (especially since it was just 99 cents). It tastes basically like frosting in nut butter form so it’s a definite repeat buy!

Rising Moon Organics Artichoke & Olive Ravioli

I first tried their butternut squash ravioli for Christmas Eve dinner and fell in love. I was never a huge ravioli lover as a kid, but the vegan kinds are actually super delish. I am obsessed with artichokes and olives so I knew this kind would be perfect for me. They cooked up fast and were yummy, if not strongly flavored. The insides were soft and purple, which was a little weird, but still good. I want to try their gnocchi next, since I’ve never had gnocchi before.

Rising Moon Organics vegan ravioli (not the artichoke olive one) with peanut sauce and roasted asparagus.

So Delicious Cookies ‘N Cream Almond Milk ice cream

I’ve also been on the lookout for this since So Delicious introduced almond milk ice creams a few months ago. I love Almond Dream’s cappuccino swirl almond milk ice cream but the So Delicious flavors sounded even better. I will admit I’ve been drooling over their line of coconut milk ice creams (you can’t tell me turtle trails and pomegranate chip don’t sound heavenly) but I’m scared to death of anything with coconut because of the high saturated fat content. It’s a fear I want to conquer, though, because a lot of vegan items contain coconut and from what I remember, it’s delicious. Anyways, I finally found the So Delicious almond milk ice creams at the Whole Foods I rarely go to since it’s on the other side of town. It was well worth the trip (and the 4 bucks) for this pint of deliciousness. I’ve always preferred cookies ‘n cream to cookie dough flavored things, and this version was totally creamy and cookie-packed without being overwhelming. In half a cup it only has 7 grams of sugar plus 5 grams of fiber. Try finding that in dairy ice cream! I’m excited to try the mint chip and mocha almond fudge flavors next. Who am I kidding, I want to try them all!

Whole Foods vegan chocolate chip cookie

I’ve always wanted to try Whole Foods vegan baked goods but since I usually shop there with my parents, I was never able to convince them to shell over a few bucks for a cookie or muffin. I like baking things myself, but when I can find relatively healthy vegan treats for a pretty low price, I’m there. When I made a quick solo stop at Whole Foods last week (when I got the vanilla almond butter and almond milk ice cream) I also bought one of their vegan chocolate chip cookies for just 99 cents. For just 170 calories, this cookie is thick, huge and delicious. Mine wasn’t as soft as I would have liked, but a quick spin in the microwave took care of that. You wouldn’t even know it’s vegan, because it’s just that good.

Do you prefer cookies ‘n cream or cookie dough? What’s the best new product you’ve bought lately?

Easter Weekend in Pictures

Hi bloggy friends! I hope you all had a lovely Easter/Passover weekend (if you celebrate). Mine was really really good, but as usual, it went by super fast and it’s back to the daily grind. The only good thing about that is that the countdown is officially on–4 weeks til I’m no longer a sophomore! Wooooooo 😀 I am beyond excited for summer and everything I have planned for it, plus all the little things that are sure to pop up. Just gotta get through these next few weeks.

I took a bunch (well, not really) of pictures this weekend so I wanted to do a mostly wordless recap of my Easter weekend. So here goes!

Small sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and almond peanut cashew butter, garlicky kale, fresh strawberries, chocolate and peanut butter Puffins in unsweetened almond milk.

Look how bright those strawberries are! My mom bought a huge box of them at Whole Foods for only $5 and even though they started to go bad by the end of the weekend, I got to enjoy them several times over the weekend. They’re my first of the season and were really juicy and fresh. Definitely a sign that summer is on its way! The garlicky kale is a super simple dish that I whipped up three times this weekend–oh yeah, it’s that good!

Garlicky Kale (vegan, gluten-free)

large handful curly kale, washed and patted dry

1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2-1 tsp minced garlic (or freshly grated garlic clove)

sea salt, nutritional yeast and black pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add kale and salt and pepper, until the kale starts to shrink and gets crispy edges. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and browned. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top and serve as a side dish (makes 1 serving).

Saturday's outfit: navy striped cropped tee (Hollister), dark wash jeggings (American Eagle), necklace and bracelet (American Eagle).

Saturday was fairly busy but pretty fun. My sister and I went for a walk, then my dad and I popped in at my pastor’s house for his birthday open house and later my whole family went out to eat to celebrate my dad’s birthday a few days late. The restaurant wasn’t too vegan friendly, but I did get a yummy homemade-style black bean burger with a side of avocado and black bean salsa. Yum!

The lovely Easter eggs, post-dyeing.

Coloring Easter eggs is one of our family traditions. My sister didn’t join in on the fun this year because of homework, but I had fun dyeing the eggs. Do I have a future as an artist? Ummmm, probably not!

Easter outfit: yellow floral dress (Abercrombie and Fitch), bracelets and necklace (American Eagle), unpictured silver wedge sandals (Target).

Besides going to church on Easter (I always love the holiday services!), we also went to Starbucks where I got my new favorite unsweetened iced coffee, played tennis for 45 minutes, snacked outside in the gorgeous weather (sunny and in the low 70s), colored eggs, made a special dinner and Skyped with my grandma and grandpa.

This year's Easter basket!

My mom still hides Easter baskets for me and my sister…yes, we are still 5 years old! Haha, just kidding, but I still think it’s fun to go find the basket and see what’s in it. This year, I got some Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail strips (super excited about these!), some sparkly green nail polish, guava-scented body wash from Ulta, mini Sweet Tart bunnies/ducks/chicks and two new-to-me Chocolove dark chocolate bars. My mom knows me so well 😀

My Easter dinner: grilled chili lime tofu and mini sweet peppers, broiled lemon pepper asparagus (tops only, the best part) and cheezy quinoa (sprinkled with nooch).

While the rest of my family enjoyed their carnivorous dinner (flank steak, asparagus and cheesy mashed potatoes, in case you were wondering), I had a very vegan and very yummy dinner. It was my first time grilling tofu and I was a fan. I think next time I’d get extra firm, rather than super firm sprouted tofu, since it was kinda bitter, and I’d try out a marinade, rather than a seasoning on the outside. But still a really nice Easter dinner.

My new favorite 'ice cream': So Delicious mini Neapolitan nondairy ice cream sandwich.

I really wanted to try the new So Delicious almond milk ice cream sandwiches, but my Whole Foods didn’t have them. I did find these, which are soy ice cream, and actually really good, if really small. I haven’t had an ice cream sandwich in years, but these are better than regular dairy ice cream sandwiches. They also have coconut milk ice cream versions, if you like coconut milk.

Just what I needed on a Monday morning--Starbucks tall coffee light Frappuccino with soy.

Monday came early–at 6 am, to be exact. I wanted to stay all of Sunday so I could spend more time with my family, so my dad had to take me back up to school on Monday morning and we had to leave at 7. Luckily, we made a stop at Starbucks and I got my first Frapp in about six months. It was the perfect little pick-me-up!

How did you spend your weekend? What’s your go-to weekend lunch?