WIAW: What I Want to Make Over Spring Break

Another week, another WIAW! I gotta tell you guys, I am hooked on these weekly WIAW parties. I’ve been doing them every week since June of last year (except for a couple of times) and I love seeing what all of you who participate in WIAW have been up to, eating-wise.

This week’s edition won’t be what I’ve been eating this week, because let’s be honest, it hasn’t been too interesting–just finishing up a lot of stuff before spring break rolls around. But I want to share some of the recipes I’m planning on making next week when I’m home for break. I’ve been dying to get back into the kitchen and get my chef on so I’ve got a lot of recipes I want to try out.

Seitan Makhani (Vegan “Butter Chicken”)

From AllRecipes.com

I remember when I was a lot younger, my family went out to eat at an Indian restaurant in our city quite often–I was introduced to spicy foods and different cuisines at a young age, which is why I love them today! Anyways, my sister and I would usually split an order of butter chicken, along with some onion bahji and fresh-baked naan and it was super delicious. Being vegan and a lot more health-conscious now, of course I don’t eat butter or chicken but this veganized recipe sounds really amazing and pretty healthy. I’ve never cooked (or eaten) seitan before but I definitely want to experiment with it.

Raw Key Lime Cashew Cheezecake

Photo from Evolving Wellness

I don’t have a specific recipe in mind for this, I just want to make my own based off other raw cheezecakes. After a failed raw key lime pie experiment in January, I really want to make a key lime flavored cashew cheezecake, since key lime is perfect for spring and I’ve been wanting to make a cashew cheezecake for a while.

More kale chips

Photo from thehealthyeatingsite.com

After my first homemade batch a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been craving these yummy green chips like no other! Again, I don’t have a specific recipe in mind but I want to try a sweet and spicy batch and maybe a batch coated in vegan ranch dressing…

Carrot Cake Pancakes

From wholefoodsmarket.com

Whole Foods always has the most drool-worthy recipes and photos, and when I saw these little gems, I knew I had to try them out. I love carrot cake in overnight oat form, so why not in pancakes? I’ll have to change a few things around to make them vegan, but they look simple enough and they’ve got tons of yummy things in them, like pineapple, raisins and pecans.

Orange Poppyseed Muffins

Photo from shine.yahoo.com

For some odd reason, I have been thinking about lemon poppyseed muffins lately! But why not a twist on the traditional–vegan orange poppyseed muffins? Fresh citrus flavors are really appealing to me since spring is just around the corner so this sounds perfect!

BBQ Tofu Pizza

Photo from foodbuzz.com

I still have yet to experiment with tofu, so what better place to start than on a pizza? I’m planning on marinating some extra firm tofu in a natural barbecue sauce and topping a brown rice tortilla (best pizza base, in my opinion) with some red onions, red cabbage and possibly fresh pineapple. Though really, any kind of homemade pizza would be delicious!

Peanut Flour Banana Bread

Photo from thedailygarnish.com

I actually want to create my own recipe for this, using some kind of mix of peanut flour, oat flour, vegan chocolate chips and bananas (duh). I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but the flavor combo just sounds awesome.

Carrot Mango Smoothie

Photo from wholeliving.com

Not so much a recipe as an idea–I have no idea why I thought of this, but it just sounds really refreshing. I know a lot of people make Green Monsters…this will be an Orange Monster!

I may not get around to making all of these recipes, and I might try out other ones, but these are just my ideas as of right now! I’m getting excited (and hungry!) just thinking about them.

Pink cardigan (on arm, Abercrombie & Fitch), green floral dress (Hollister), pink crystal necklace (American Eagle)

Oh, and on an unrelated note, this is what I wore today! It has been almost 70 degrees here the past two days, and I couldn’t be happier that it feels like spring…even though snow is in the forecast for later in the week. Booooooo! My dress isn’t actually that bright of a green, it’s more of a sea foam green but I always have to color correct my photos because of the bad lighting in my room so things turn out weird colors. Also, don’t ask why my cardigan is hanging off one arm–I was trying out different poses, okay? You can check out more photos on my fashion blog!

What recipe looks the best to you? Have you ever “veganized” a recipe?

WIAW: Goals for March

Hi everyone! I am so glad we’re halfway through the week! This weekend, I’m going home for the last time before spring break (which is in 16 days, heck to the yes) and I can’t wait. Not just because I love any opportunity to go home, but also because this Saturday is the annual father daughter dinner dance in my city. My dad and I have gone every year since I was in seventh grade, and the past 4 or 5 years my little sister has gone with us too. I love getting to get all glammed up and have fun dancing the night away with my dad and sissy. I will definitely be posting a recap early next week, so look for that!

For this week’s WIAW party, I wanted to share my goals for next month. I got the idea from Emily to do a 30-day health challenge. I think it’s a really good idea, because we all have things we can improve on. I’m deciding to start it in March, rather than right now, because I have spring break coming up and while I generally eat pretty healthy as it is, it can be hard to implement changes while living in a dorm and having a busy schedule most weeks. Once I’m home, I have access to a real kitchen, meaning I can eat even healthier and try new things! So here are a few of my goals for next month, some food-related and some not. And of course, some random eats from throughout the week!

Peas and Crayons

1. Eat more veggies!

I love veggies, and I’ve even tried some new ones on recent weekends at home (kale chips and parsnips are some of my new faves) but it’s really hard to cook/prep veggies in a dorm with just a microwave. Basically, I live on carrots, cubed butternut squash and frozen grilled pepper strips and while I love them all, it gets pretty boring. I also happened to basically run out of veggies this week, besides sweet potatoes, so that’s been pretty pathetic! Over spring break, I want to work on eating a big salad once a day (probably at lunch) as well as trying new veggies and prep methods. It might be a little late for Love Your Veggies Month, but it still counts, right 😉

Berry Green Power Smoothie: 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened soy, because that's what I had at home), handful spinach, frozen berries (I used Dole Antioxidant Blend w/ strawbs, bloobs, raspbs, blackbs? and pom seeds)

2. Work towards getting a summer internship

This one is probably non-negotiable, at least to my dad. We’re allowed to have 2 for-credit internships while in college, and the school-organized one is next summer, so this summer I have to find one on my own. It’s probably going to be maybe a 5-10 hour per week commitment, which isn’t a huge deal, it’s just finding one that might be a hassle. I think I’m going to be emailing the TV stations around me over break so I can give them a heads-up for summer. After all, my summer break starts less than 2 months after spring break!

One of my new fave oats combos: volumized overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, almond peanut cashew butter, frozen bananas and drizzle raw honey.

3. Cook more

Honestly, I really miss cooking when I’m up at school. I definitely appreciate having an oven, stove and grill while I’m at home so I want to take advantage of them. My mom and sister have different spring breaks than me, so I’ll have the house to myself that week from 8:30 to 2:30. Perfect for recipe experimentation! I have a few plans for what I want to make, like more kale chips, pecan milk and vegan “butter chicken” but I want to attempt to make at least one thing every day I have off. That might mean a lot of leftovers, but as long as they’re delicious, I don’t mind!

I won a Coach's Oats giveaway on Facebook, but I was totally blown away when they sent me this Hugh Jass bag of oats. Guess I'm stocked up for awhile!

4. Work on budgeting

I am still not the best at this, but I do want to learn! Right now, I am getting paid monthly for my work as an editor for my campus’ faculty newsletter and since it’s still a relatively new thing to me, I get super excited about seeing money in my bank account, and then I end up buying things on impulse. While I do end up using these things (like peanut flour, Hollister purchases, etc.) I would like to think out my purchases more and not just buy things because I can. This might be hard, especially considering my huge wishlist of spring clothing, but I know it’ll be worth it in the future when I have a real job.

Probably my second-favorite Pure bar flavor, cranberry orange. I love the combo of sweet and tart!

5. Avoid food ruts whenever possible

Most of the time, I don’t really think of them as ruts, because I enjoy what I’m eating and for many things (like oats, dried fruit, almond peanut cashew butter), I don’t get burned out on them–they just become favorites that I come back to over and over. But sometimes I do get into ruts and unfortunately, I eventually lose interest in that item, which is a shame, because I want to get a variety of things in my diet. So I want to work on mixing up my daily staples, trying out new products (including ‘fear foods’) and giving other ones a small break so I don’t get burned out.

Sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and real maple syrup drizzle, mixed stir-fry veggies on the side topped with curry paste/mustard sauce.

Do you have any goals for March? What’s your favorite veggie at the moment?

Saturday Seven: Do the Kale Hail

Heeeeeeeeeeeey guys! So did you make it through the week? Honestly, I almost thought I wouldn’t! I had a 4-day week because I played hooky from classes on Monday since I was still at home, so that was nice, but it was kind of hard diving right into things on Tuesday. Especially because I had two tests this week, a huge essay to write and all the usual assignments, plus a random floor meeting and a meeting for work both on the same day. Needless to say, I was super happy for this week to finally be over. Next week isn’t looking too crazy, which will be great, plus I’m headed home again next weekend and it’ll be busy busy but fun. I’ll let you all know what’s going down latah!

For now, let’s get right into another edition of Saturday Seven. I’m on a roll with these lately–I’ve done one every weekend I’ve been on campus since December!

1. Homemade is better than store-bought

You were delicious, but too expensive!

At least when it comes to kale chips. I mentioned that I ordered some Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale chips a couple of weeks back, and I finally got them a week ago. I also happened to make my first batch of baked kale chips that same day. Verdict? I loved my homemade ones more (even though they still need some tweaking). I’m blaming in on the particular flavor I got of the chips–they’re natural nacho, and they’re a little too strongly “cheezy” for me, especially since I haven’t had real cheese in a few years. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad, just not quite what I was expecting. I love their crunch though. I would like to try another variety, like the Vampire Killer or Nasty Hot, but for now, I’ll be sticking with homemade. They’re so addicting!

2. T-minus 3 weeks…

I met Dory last year on my spring break...

Til spring break, of course! I don’t have any huge plans, but getting a 9 day break from school will be ah-mazing! Last year, I did end up doing a few fun things, like playing tennis, going to the aquarium, shopping and recipe experimentation (like a delicious vegan Philly “cheesesteak” sandwich) so hopefully I can do some of those things and more this time around. Actually, I really want to make at least one new recipe every day of break, so we’ll see how that goes down!

3. Small things are the cutest

These are brand new, and they look delicious!

I’m a huge fan of Gardein products because they’re quick and easy, pretty healthy for faux meat, yummy and vegan! When I saw these little guys on their website, I was sold. I’m not even that big on products that imitate beef, but their beefless veggie burgers are one of my favorites. Plus sliders are just adorable, and each one has 9 grams of protein–score!

4. Apparently I like to recycle…

More than just a holder for delicious coffee.

I liked my Starbucks Valentine’s cup so much that I washed it out and decided to use it as a pencil holder on my desk. Way to get creative while being green, right? Plus it just looks cute.

5. I’m still learning how to text on my new phone

I absolutely love the case though!

I got my new phone at the beginning of January (a T-Mobile MyTouch, in case you were wondering) and I’m still struggling with the texting. I had a touch screen before this one and I also have an iPod Touch, so I thought it would be easy to learn, but not so much. I guess I’m trying to text as fast as I used to so I end up hitting the wrong keys. I’ll get it eventually though, and besides, I really love the phone. It’s an Android so it has web service, so I can check my email/the weather/Twitter during class. Oops, did I just say that? 😉

6. A hair waver can work as a straightener

Wavy one day, straight the next...all with one tool!

I usually either straighten my hair or use my hair waver to enhance my natural waves. The other day I discovered that I can do both with the hair waver. Who knew? Now I don’t have to lug home both appliances on the weekend!

7. I’m so done with winter

It may look pretty, but I'm sick of it!

This winter has been pretty sucky here. At least compared to recent winters. January was actually alright and unseasonably warm for most of the month, but February hit and well, it’s been awful. For one thing, it’s been cloudy a lot, and that is really not normal for Colorado. I’m so used to sunshine year-round that it’s been kinda depressing. The cold and snow are another story altogether. February is usually in the 40s and sometimes 50s, but it’s been in the 30s and 20s most of the month, which is freaking freezing! I know some parts of the country have it worse, but I feel like we’ve just gotten the worst of the winter weather this year. I cannot wait until March and I’m hoping it comes in like a lamb, aka warm weather and sunshine! I miss my sandals, shorts and dresses!

What’s something you prefer homemade over store-bought? Are you looking forward to spring?

Saturday Seven: Counting Down Already?

Hi guys! It’s my first weekend back at school and I can already say that I think I may be overwhelmed this semester! Not that I haven’t thought that pretty much every semester of my school career, but this one looks like it might kick my butt if I don’t stay on top of things.

The classes, while probably difficult, are at least hopefully interesting. I’ve got a broadcast news class–what I’m majoring in and want to do with my life (and apparently it’s a very popular class…there’s a gigantic waiting list)–a business reporting class, a studio production workshop class, an American environmental history class, a class on the history of U.S. national parks and a weather & climate class. So, all things I’m interested in (journalism, U.S. history and weather) but this is my first semester taking all 300 and 400 level classes, aka I’m one of the only sophomores in most of them! Which is fine, but I can definitely predict them being a challenge.

1. Colorado’s getting a Trader Joe’s!

These look like tasty veggie burgers!

I actually mentioned this in one of my most recent Saturday Seven posts and just the other day on my Twitter. I was sooooo upset that TJs had no future plans for a store in Colorado, but then a few nights ago on the news and two days ago on the Coloradoans for Trader Joe’s Facebook page, it’s apparently official that they’re coming to good old CO sometime soon. Of course, the first location will be in Boulder, but I don’t care that it’s 2 hours from home (or an hour from my college campus)–I am dragging my parents there as soon as it opens! I can’t wait to try all the amazing products that everyone in the blog world raves about!

2. I’m already counting down to spring break

This is where I spent my spring break 2 years ago--any guesses where I was?

Yes, I’m fully aware that school just started, but can you blame me for wanting a break already? The weather here, despite being fairly warm for winter, still isn’t as great as spring (or summer) weather and I’m longing for the days when I can wear skirts with bare legs again, and reunite with my flip-flop collection. Until then, I’ll just be inside, bundled up, counting down the days til spring break (only 35 school days left!)

3. I need this puppy in my life…stat!

Who could resist this little face?

I got a daily calendar of cute animals for Christmas, and this is by far the cutest thing I’ve seen in it! I just want to keep this little guy forever and ever. I used to think I hated little dogs, but this is one of the most adorable dogs ever! If I can’t have a greyhound (dream dog), I’ll settle for a cute Chihuahua!

4. I have a new drink obsession

Mmmmm, Country Peach Passion tea!

I used to be a hardcore hot tea hater. I could only stand iced tea, which is ironically my drink of choice during the summer (preferably flavored and sweetened only with Truvia). Once I tried the Celestial Seasonings candy cane lane and sugar cookie sleigh ride teas, however, I was hooked! Before heading back up to school, I grabbed the fruit variety pack sampler and hoped these teas would be just as amazing. And…they are! I especially love the peach one, since it reminds me of summer, but the true blueberry and wild berry zinger ones are also winners. The acai mango zinger flavor is on my list of flavors to try!

5. I’m really loving this song right now

I don’t know why, but this song just makes me super happy! It doesn’t hurt that Enrique is a super-sexy beast 😉 I just bought it the other day, and every time I listen to it, I pretend that I’m the star of a movie and this song is the soundtrack. Anyone else ever do that with songs? It’s just me then?

6. Trying out new products is the highlight of my life

Just a few of the new products in my life!

Ever since NaNeFoMo, I’ve been more motivated than ever to try out new foods! On my back-to-school shopping trips, I bought a bunch of new-to-me things, including blood oranges, Amy’s bistro burgers and vegan soups, organic refried pinto beans with chile and lime, Lightlife vegan smart bacon, Ezekiel sprouted corn tortillas and Archer Farms frozen grilled peppers. What I’ve tried so far has been amazing, and I can’t wait to sample the rest. The only way you can find out if you like something is to try it!

7. The only two things on my wishlist: an apartment and a car

The Mini Cooper: (one of my) dream cars.

Even though I signed the lease for my apartment next year a month or so ago, I’m still nervous that something will fall through and I’ll have to do the dorm thing again, which is NOT okay with me. I did it for a year and a half, and I’m already so done with it. I need a kitchen and more independence, ya know? And a car…well, that’s also a big one. I could live without it if I had an apartment, but I’d prefer to have one so I could actually go places on my own without relying on other people. Of course, I have a few cars on my dream list, but I’d be perfectly okay with any safe, working car!

What is the best new product you’ve tried lately? What is your ‘dream’ car?