WIAW: Adios, Junior Year

First things first–yes, I did change my blog design after at least a year and a half with the previous one. I just needed something new, plus I like the sidebar ‘about me’ things everybody has and the old design wouldn’t let me do that! 

I’ve been waiting for this day all year. Well, maybe not, but I’ve definitely been for at least the past month or so! The last day of my junior year of college is TODAY…and how crazy is that? I remember when college felt sooooo far away, and now I’m really close to graduation. Scary stuff.

I know my blogging’s been pretty sporadic anyways for the past few weeks but it’s gonna get even more infrequent in the next week or so. First of all, I’m moving back a lot of my stuff this afternoon and moving home for the summer. Then my family’s driving back up here this weekend to load everything else up and my mom will be doing some epic cleaning (maybe not that dramatic) so I can turn in my keys to my complex for the summer and end my lease. It’s a pain to have to move everything out, only to move it back in again in August, but I’d rather not pay the extra rent just to keep my stuff here for the summer. And then next week is when I hopefully start my internship, so it’ll be a whirl of paperwork, a drug test and plenty of excitement. And there’s a doctor’s appointment thrown in there as well, so it all makes for quite a crazy several days. So I’m really sorry if I don’t post here too much or comment on all of your blogs but I will be back as soon as the craziness dies down.

What wasn’t too crazy was the meals I enjoyed over the past week. Well, unless you consider a lot of random experimenting to be crazy, but all I know is it was delicious. And I had plenty of fun, despite finals week and moving out looming. Hey, I only had one actual final exam this semester, so paper writing and projects were the name of the  game, and a little less stressful than studying.

Bringing back an old favorite from last summer: pineapple 'fried' quinoa.

Bringing back an old favorite from last summer: pineapple ‘fried’ quinoa.

I’m doing my best to embrace the healthy grains again. I have to say I prefer the ‘ancient’, gluten free, psuedo-grains such as quinoa and buckwheat, for their stellar nutritional profile and higher protein, not to mention their deliciousness. I had some leftover quinoa in my fridge from a couple of weeks ago, and I remembered how much I used to love this random stirfry I threw together for the first time last year around my birthday. The best part about it is it’s totally customizable, so I threw in the last of my frozen edamame (I’m trying to finish up or toss things that aren’t as easily transportable before I move home), orange cauliflower, spinach, curry powder, coconut aminos (way better than soy sauce!) and fresh pineapple was a given. Not too far off from the original, and topped with sprouted pumpkin seeds and cashew butter, it was a total winner dinner.

Pineapple fried quinoa leftovers in a nori wrap, side of Thai lemon curry cashews.

Pineapple fried quinoa leftovers in a nori wrap, side of Thai lemon curry cashews.

And the little bit I had leftover made the perfect nori filling for lunch one day. I think I’ve been loving on the Asian and Mexican flavors a lot lately, between my homemade guac obsession to constantly resupplying my pantry with those addicting Thai lemon curry cashews. Maybe I could combine the two and create a Mexican stirfry or an Asian taco…

Poooool time. Pool > studying. Sorryimnotsorry.

Poooool time. Pool > studying. Sorryimnotsorry.

My apartment complex does have a pool, but they’ve been slacking on opening it up (uh, kinda late there, management. Almost everyone’s moving out this week…) so when my friend invited me to her complex’s pool on Monday, I jumped on the chance to lay out. Honestly, I usually just lay out by the pool versus actually swimming, but I did go in it a few times just to cool off. Guys, I’m so happy. We finally have my dream weather, aka 80s and sunny. With afternoon thunderstorms. Basically, it’s finally summertime in Colorado.

A not-so-pretty carrot cake protein pancake (mix of garbanzo flour+peanut flour with shredded carrot and cinnamon in the batter) topped with chopped dried fig and coconut butter crumbles.

A not-so-pretty carrot cake protein pancake (mix of garbanzo flour+peanut flour with shredded carrot and cinnamon in the batter) topped with chopped dried fig and coconut butter crumbles.

I don’t get how some people make their protein pancakes look so perfect. I do okay with multiple, small-sized pancakes but a full size one is just asking for trouble. I thought I waited long enough to flip, but part of the top crumbled off so I cooked it in two pieces. It luckily didn’t burn, but it certainly wasn’t round or anything, and parts of the inside were still undercooked. It tasted great, but my pancakes skills need some work…

Quinoa flour+chocolate Sunwarrior protein waffle. Topped with strawberries, cacao nibs and coconut butter.

Quinoa flour+chocolate Sunwarrior protein waffle. Topped with strawberries, cacao nibs and coconut butter.

…which is why I stick to waffles. Sometimes they don’t quite hold up, but if I get the ratios just right, they turn out pretty perfect and intact. This one was a bit crumbly, but it mostly stayed together, and it tasted great, which is what really counts. Protein waffles are hard to make vegan, so I’m proud that most of mine aren’t complete disasters.

I love the sun.

I love the sun.

I’m glad I stuck through the crappy weather we got in April (and foot of snow on May 1st…thanks but no thanks, Mother Nature!) because it is absolutely gorgeous now! Like I said, 80 degree temperatures, lots of sun, minimal wind (but enough of a breeze to keep you cool) and the trees are blooming after being freaked by weird cold weather. And the grass, at least here in my college town, is nice and green after getting enough precipitation last month. If you’ve ever been to Colorado, you know that the grass here is generally brown because it’s basically a high altitude desert. I’ll be going back to brown lawns today (my hometown wasn’t blessed with as much snow) but I’m hoping we get some nice afternoon rains to keep the fire danger low and makes the grass nice.

Random but surprisingly good snack: half an avocado sprinkled with stevia, topped with organic crunchy PB, cacao nibs and coconut shreds.

Random but surprisingly good snack: half an avocado sprinkled with stevia, topped with organic crunchy PB, cacao nibs and coconut shreds.

I can’t remember where I first saw the idea for a sweet avocado, but I was really intrigued by it. I’ve really only used avos in guac, and had them raw in salads, but topping my avo with something other than lime juice or salt seemed weird. But I decided to try it with one of my favorite flavor combos (PB+cacao nibs+coconut) and it was actually really amazing. The key is a perfectly ripe avocado, so the flavor isn’t too overpowering. I still don’t like avocados plain (to me, they either need salt or something sweet to taste like anything) but now I have a new way of enjoying them!

Peanutty kelp noodles with romaine and carrots.

Peanutty kelp noodles with romaine and carrots.

Kelp noodles are still a favorite of mine, but especially now that it’s so warm and I prefer to do as little cooking as possible. I love that kelp noodles are raw, and they work out perfectly in salads, like this one. I used up some of my PB2 for the dressing (I finally finished the jar, and I’m glad it’s over because I did not like it, especially compared to real peanut flour), and added in carrots and romaine lettuce, aka the last of the produce I had until I went grocery shopping later that day.

Always need to have an awkward selfie.

Always need to have an awkward selfie.

The problem with poolside selfies is that A) I’m wearing a bikini which is super awks in a photo (and already sporting a sunburn) and B) I can’t really see my phone screen in the sun, so I end up taking them from a weird angle and usually have a weird face in them. #firstworldproblems

The best dessert/breakfast ever. Coconut cream (scooped off top of full fat coconut milk from fridge) blended with chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder and frozen banana chunks, topped with fresh strawberries and half a crumbled chocolate coconut Kit's Organic bar.

The best dessert/breakfast ever. Coconut cream (scooped off top of full fat coconut milk from fridge) blended with chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder and frozen banana chunks, topped with fresh strawberries and half a crumbled chocolate coconut Kit’s Organic bar.

This is like a super-rich mousse, but the best part is that it’s perfectly acceptable for breakfast, because it’s protein-packed. There was 16 grams alone in just the Sunwarrior, plus a few extra grams from the other ingredients and toppings. It’s also no added sugar, just the natural sugars from the fruits (the Kit’s bars are just date sweetened, like Larabars) and the stevia in the Sunwarrior, so it makes for a healthy dessert option that isn’t too sweet. And it’s so easy to make if you have a food processor, just add in the protein powder, coconut cream and frozen bananas (optional, but add a little sweetness and coldness) to the processor, blend, and top away! I’ve enjoyed this twice this week, once as a dessert and once as breakfast and it was perfect for either occasion. I only wish I had more coconut cream to make it again!

Any new breakfasts you’ve been trying out? What’s your ideal weather conditions?

WIAW: Almost Summer (Or Not)

It’s finally May! Can you believe it? This year has already flown by, and I’ll be packing up to go home for the summer in just about 2 weeks. I’m not sure if you’re as much of a weather nerd as I am (actually, pretty sure you’re not since I’m pretty obsessed, but hey, it is my job!) but if you’ve been keeping up with the national forecast, good old Colorado is getting yet another snowstorm today. Yep, May 1st. Snow isn’t totally unusual here, but since we’re supposed to get around 6 or more inches (writing this on Tuesday when it’s still raining, not snowing yet and hopefully won’t), that’s way more than normal. Can you believe we were at 80 degrees on Monday? This is just insane, and really not fair.

Anyways, I’ll stop my weather complaints and move on to better things…namely WIAW! This one will be fairly wordless other than captions, but full of recent food photos so enjoy!

Fully loaded kelp noodle stirfry: kelp noodles, peanut flour/curry/coconut aminos sauce, pineapple/mango, spinach, red cabbage, pan fried tofu, coconut flakes and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Fully loaded kelp noodle stirfry: kelp noodles, peanut flour/curry/coconut aminos sauce, pineapple/mango, spinach, red cabbage, pan fried tofu, coconut flakes and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Homemade blueberry infused, watermelon stevia sweetened water.

Homemade blueberry infused, watermelon stevia sweetened water.

Horestooth Reservoir and the mountains. One of the biggest lakes in Colorado is in my backyard. Nothing better than mountains+water!

Horestooth Reservoir and the mountains. One of the biggest lakes in Colorado is in my backyard. Nothing better than mountains+water!

'Guacachoc' PB protein mousse, aka avocado mousse. Recipe to come!

‘Guacachoc’ PB protein mousse, aka avocado mousse. Recipe to come!

More clean nachos! Sprouted sweet potato chips, red cabbage, homemade guac, sweet potato, black beans and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

More clean nachos! Sprouted sweet potato chips, red cabbage, homemade guac, sweet potato, black beans and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Grain free protein pancakes. Mix of chocolate Sunwarrior and garbanzo flour. Topped with PB, homemade pumpkin grainless granola and dark chocolate chips.

Grain free protein pancakes. Mix of chocolate Sunwarrior and garbanzo flour. Topped with PB, homemade pumpkin grainless granola and dark chocolate chips.

Beautiful weekend weather in the 70s.

Beautiful weekend weather in the 70s.

Raw snackplate. Cacao nib Cocoroon, organic strawberries, southwestern ranch kale chips, orange rosemary pecans, Thai lemon curry cashews, currant flacker with homemade blueberry vanilla chia jam.

Raw snackplate. Cacao nib macaroon, organic strawberries, southwestern ranch kale chips, orange rosemary pecans, Thai lemon curry cashews, currant flacker with homemade blueberry vanilla chia jam.

Green-ish grass and sunny skies.

Green-ish grass and sunny skies (and my Alejandro behind the power box).

Socca-style taco filled with raw red cabbage, black beans, sweet potato, homemade guac and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Socca-style taco filled with raw red cabbage, black beans, sweet potato, homemade guac and sprouted pumpkin seeds.

Is is almost summer where you are (school wise, or weather wise)? What’s the best thing you ate this weekend?

WIAW: Salads and…Snow?

Happy WIAW…and happy birthday to my lovely madre! She is one lucky lady, having both her birthday and Mother’s Day in the same week. I’m so glad school ended just in time for me to be home to enjoy both days with her.

I haven’t gotten around to taking photos of an entire day’s worth of eats (bad blogger, I know, but it’s just slipped my mind most of the time) so this week’s WIAW is just a random compilation of the best of what I’ve been eating this past week along with a recipe and some new grocery store finds.

Breakfast: overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, mashed strawberries and maple macadamias.

This is my new favorite overnight oats combo. Peanut flour paste, sunflower seed butter, fresh strawberries and maple macadamia nuts are surprisingly yummy together, and taste like summer. The maple macadamia nuts are a new obsession of mine from the Whole Foods bulk section. They are expensive (18 bucks per pounds, yikes) but they’re so worth it.

Lunch: kale wraps with cold grilled tofu strips, sauteed bell peppers and Ginger People hot ginger jalapeno sauce.

Move over, lettuce wraps! Kale wraps are heartier, more nutritious and delicious. One day for lunch I decided I didn’t want a salad but I still wanted to get my greens in. So I took a few heads of kale, partially destemmed them and filled them with leftover fajitas filling, aka grilled tofu strips and sauteed peppers. I drizzled them with my new favorite sauce, and they turned out perfectly spicy and crunchy.

Lunch: chopped kale, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sprinkle of nooch and vegan Caesar dressing thinned with almond milk.

I’ve also been loving raw kale salads for lunch lately. The key is to let the greens soak up the dressing or sauce overnight and marinade with the other ingredients. Oh, and nooch is a necessity for me. This was a Mediterranean inspired salad that I’m definitely repeating. It would be great for dinner bulked up with some chickpeas and kalamata olives.

Lime green striped oversize tee (American Eagle), denim cuffed shorts (Abercrombie Kids).

Can you believe I wore this outfit on a day it snowed? Okay, so I definitely changed into something more weather-appropriate when I had to go out that night to see a performance of Hairspray (really good, BTW) but it’s crazy to think that it didn’t snow at all here in March or April, and then we get dumped on practically in May. What?!

White cardigan (Target), navy lace tank (Abercrombie Kids), navy plaid shorts (Hollister).

I’m not complaining though because after a weekend of rain, light snow and thunder (yeah, Colorado’s weird!) it was back to shorts weather by Monday. I enjoyed a little time outside and did a stairs workout that left me tired (in a good way) and hungry. Running up and down the stairs of my deck was no joke, but it was a fun, heart-pumping workout that I like to do every once in a while to change things up.

My new-to-me Whole Foods finds.

I’m pretty sure I can’t go to Whole Foods without trying out at least one new thing. When I went over the weekend, I hit the mother lode and got mostly all new-to-me things. So far, I’ve tried the quinoa pasta (better than whole wheat or regular), ginger peanut sauce (perfect for Asian dishes), maple macadamias (0b-sessed!), rice cakes (pretty plain but good with toppings), honey vanilla agave (great sub for pancake syrup) and artichoke hearts (basically like any other artichokes, which I love) so I’m excited to try the lemon Larabar, vegan ravioli and pasta sauce.

First Frapp of the summer: tall mocha light with soy and 1 pump raspberry. So effing delicious!

You know me, can’t pass up Starbucks, especially when it’s half price. Sadly, I only got to take advantage of their happy hour once, but I’m glad I did for the deliciousness above. Mocha light Frappuccinos are my absolute favorite, and they get even better with the addition of a pump of raspberry syrup. If you love the chocolate and raspberry combo, order this. Now.

I’m growing my own cilantro!

Get ready for a whole lotta pico de gallo recipes around here…because I officially have my own cilantro plant! My dad’s growing a mint plant so we are definitely stocked up on two of the best herbs. Last summer I grew strawberries and while there weren’t many and they were tiny, it was cool to grow my own stuff. The cilantro already looks pretty healthy and vibrant, so I’m excited.

California Pizza Kitchen’s half Thai Crunch salad without chicken, dressing or wontons…so basically Napa cabbage, carrots, avocado, edamame, peanuts and Ginger People ginger peanut sauce.

I love me some giant salads. I had one on Thursday post-final at Mad Greens with my dad (no picture, but it was spinach/artichoke hearts/kalamata olives/garbanzo beans/sunflower seeds with fat free balsamic) and I had one on Sunday night to celebrate Mother’s Day. We got CPK to-go and I was debating between a veggie pizza without cheese and this salad. Glad I went with the salad, even though there aren’t any leftovers (boo!) We hadn’t eaten at CPK in well over a year and I almost forgot how much I love them and their giant salads. Plus now I know that they’re totally accommodating to vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free people and also if you’re picky like me and don’t like wontons or restaurant dressings. I totally demolished this salad and for the record, it took up my entire regular-sized dinner plate. No shame!

Definitely freeze these if you want to be able to eat them whole!

I made raw blondies for the first time last summer and they were definitely a hit…well at least with me, since my family’s wary of trying raw desserts. I made a new and improved version the other day and while they’re crumbly and messy, they’re simple and healthy, with just 4 ingredients.

Raw Amaretto Blondies (vegan, gluten-free, raw)

3 100 calorie pack cinnamon almonds (can use plain almonds)

6 pitted dates (I used California pitted)

1/2 tbsp raw agave nectar (can sub raw honey or real maple syrup)

1 tbsp Vega Vanilla Almondilla protein powder (can use other protein powder but this gives it the amaretto flavor)

Blend almonds and dates in food processor or high powered blender until mostly combined and crumbly. Add in agave and protein powder until mixed in. Pack blondie mixture into a square glass dish and keep frozen (so the blondies don’t crumble). Makes 4 blondies.

Have you ever tried quinoa pasta? What’s your favorite “special” nut?

Pancake Party!

I get into breakfast ruts a lot. For most of my life, I ate cereal with skim milk and possibly a side of waffles for breakfast basically every single morning. I’ve never been a savory breakfast kind of girl, because I’ve always hated eggs, bacon and sausage. Within the past year, though, I’ve moved away from having cereal for breakfast. First, I was on an overnight oats kick that started about a year ago. I was obsessed and came up with a million different combos. I still love overnight oats, but now I’ve been having them for snacks more often than for breakfast. Just a couple of weeks ago, I started having a smoothie-in-a-bowl basically every single day, topped with fruit or crushed cereal. So good. But since I’ve been home for the summer, there’s been only one thing on my mind–pancakes.

Before a week ago, I don’t think I’d ever made pancakes from scratch. Sometimes on the weekends I’d whip my family up a batch made from an Archer Farms mix. While they have tons of awesome flavors, they aren’t super healthy (or vegan–why do so many things have to have milk in them?) Earlier last week, I made my first homemade, single-lady pancake batch and I was hooked!

If you’re intimidated by making your own pancakes completely from scratch, fear not. They are super simple to make, take practically no time at all (maybe 10 minutes at the most, if you make a batch for just yourself) and are totally customizable. Here’s the basic formula I’ve been using…

3 T to 1/4 cup flour (I like peanut flour or oat flour)

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 to 1 T flax seed, ground and made into flax egg

2-4 T unsweetened almond milk (any flavor) plus extra water to thin

sweetener (I’ve been using Truvia packets or flavored liquid stevia)

Stir flour and baking powder together in a small bowl until combined. Add in liquid ingredients until mixed well. The batter should be thin enough to drip off a spoon but thick enough to hold together. Makes 3-4 small pancakes.

The baking powder is really the only thing you can’t substitute. You can use any flour you like, gluten-free or whatnot. If you’re not vegan or don’t have flax on hand, sub in egg whites or chia seeds. You can use all water, or all almond milk, or any kind of milk you want. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can leave out the sweetener or you can use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey. And of course, any add-ins  and toppings you like! You can even play around with the texture. I love mine really thick and fluffy, so I make tiny, pillowy pancakes.

I’m sharing some of my favorite combos that I’ve made so far–all of them have been amazing and so much better than pancakes made from mixes!

Carrot cake pancakes made with oat flour and shredded carrot/fresh pineapple chunks/cinnamon/raisins, topped with peanut flour sauce and raisins.

PB&J pancakes made with peanut flour and topped with homemade strawberry jam and sunflower seed butter.

Cookie dough pancakes made with oat flour and chopped vegan chocolate chips, topped with honey vanilla agave syrup.

Tiramisu pancakes made with oat flour and Starbucks instant coffee powder, topped with homemade cashew ‘mascarpone’ cream, dusting dark cocoa powder and honey vanilla agave syrup.

Cashew ‘Mascarpone’ Cream (vegan, gluten-free, no added sugar)

1/4 cup cashew pieces, soaked in water overnight

2-3 T unsweetened almond milk (vanilla or plain)

5-6 drops liquid vanilla stevia, to taste

Drain water off cashews and pour into food processor or high powered blender. Add in almond milk and stevia and process until mostly smooth and creamy. Serve on top of pancakes/waffles, as a dip for fresh fruit or as sandwich filling. Makes about 1/4 cup.

Do you prefer pancakes, waffles or crepes? What are your favorite toppings for pancakes?

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? 

Too Much Fruit?

Can I just tell you how excited I am for Thanksgiving break? I know, I know, I’ve pretty much mentioned it in at least my last 5 posts probably, but it’s really exciting. 9 days away from school–woooo! Now, I do love having a room all to myself, but as I’m one of the only sophomores in my hall, let’s just say that I’m getting really sick of all the immature freshman being loud at the worst possible hours. Like last week, they all decided to chat out in the hall right by my room…at 3 AM! Okay, I know I’m a granny when it comes to bedtime, but staying up til 3 is ridiculous, especially on a school night. Can’t wait for them to grow up and stop screaming and giggling constantly. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the relative peace and quiet of home, seeing my family for over a week, as well as unlimited access to the kitchen. That is for sure the best part!

Anyways, today I have sort of a rant for you guys, so if you’d rather not read, I understand. But honestly, it’s not really that negative, just something that’s really bothered me lately. And it’s about fruit, my favorite food group.

I love fruit on its own...

Who doesn’t love fruit? I’ve loved it my entire life–I was never one of those kids who had no idea what a fresh apple looked like or whatever. We always had fruit around my house, and I’d probably have it at least once or twice a day. Today, I’m such a fruit freak it’s not even funny. I probably have it 4 times a day, at almost every meal or snack. Seriously, I love it that much! I always have to have grapes, bananas, apples, various dried fruits and sometimes even frozen fruit in my dorm because I can’t go a day without it. And you know what, I always thought it was really healthy. I mean, we’re supposed to get like 3 to 5 servings each of fruits and veggies a day, and while I’m sometimes slacking on the veggies, I never neglect my beloved fruit. But now with all this talk about diabetes and obesity, a lot of people are encouraging cutting down on fruit.

...in salsas and gazpachos...

Say what? Fruit is nature’s candy–it’s naturally sweet, with plenty of vitamins and antioxidants and fiber. Most are low in calories and fat, so how can it be that bad? Well, apparently, all the sugar in them. I just recently started using this MyFitnessPal app to track my food (just as an experiment to see how much I’m really eating/burning, NOT to restrict) and I’ve been shocked at how high my sugar intake has been.It’s usually around 60 grams, and they recommend only 25 in a day. I freaked out, but then decided to really look at the numbers. I realized that most of it was coming from fruit. I usually have an apple per day–there goes 10 grams of sugar! Half a banana has basically the same amount, and dried fruit has a TON. But really, it’s not like I’m overdosing on the fruit or anything. I loved dried fruit, but I usually even eat less than the serving size. Having a serving of fruit 4 times a day isn’t really that bad, is it? Well according to this app, I’m probably going to become a diabetic soon.

...as my topping of choice for frozen yogurt...

Honestly, I think it’s completely ridiculous. They should have a disclaimer or something saying that the 25 grams is added sugars only, not the natural ones found in fruit and some veggies. Otherwise, some people might start cutting fruit out of their diets, which isn’t good. Fruit is so healthy for you, in moderation, and some people still don’t even eat the recommended amount. With all this hype about sugar being so bad for you, everyone’s going to start shunning fruit!

...and in overnight oats!

When I subtract the sugars I’m getting from the fruit I eat, I actually end up around their recommended 25 grams. And I love my fruit, so I’m not going to give it up. I don’t care what all these ‘so-called’ experts say–if I want to enjoy an apple with my lunch, or some berries with breakfast, I will! Recovering from an ED, I have enough fear foods as it is without adding fruits to my list. That’s just ridiculous. #rantover

Cat Nap Time

Okay, this is random, but isn't this like the cutest thing ever? I found this website called cutestpaw.com and it has the most adorable animals on it!

Do you love fruit? What do you think about all this hype about too much sugar and fruit?

WIAW: Survey Says…

I really, really REALLY missed WIAW last week when I was on vacay–shows how addicted I’ve become to it 😉 It just doesn’t feel right to let a Wednesday go by without doing it! But don’t worry, now I’m back and ready to get back into some WIAW action.

Peas and Crayons

Recently, on Amanda’s and Tori’s blogs (both amazing, BTW) I saw a cute lil foodie survey so I thought “Why not include that in my next WIAW?” Sure, I wasn’t technically tagged in it, but there’s nothing saying I can’t do it, right? Right 😀 So look for that between my meals. This week, I decided to highlight some of my favorite meals I’ve had recently, so while these aren’t all from the same day, they are from the past week or so.

These were the oats that started it all...my "pudding on oats" obsession, that is! This particular bowl is Neapolitan overnighters, topped with homemade black bean pudding (don't knock it til you try it...thanks Tara for the recipe!) and fresh strawbs.

 How do you like your eggs? Ummmm…not at all? I have honestly never liked eggs, ever. I’m not sure if it’s the texture or the smell or taste that throws me off, but I refuse to eat them unless they’re cooked into something, like baked things. Otherwise, keep those eggs far away from me!

Also muy delicioso, today's bowl was mocha pudding! Coffee-infused oats topped with more black bean pudding. It's super chocolatey (if you use dark cocoa powder) and is thicker than typical pudding, but still very yum.

 How do you take your coffee/tea? If it’s tea, that’s easy: only iced. I’ve been living off of freshly-made iced tea this summer and nothing’s better to beat the heat. My family’s been going through 2 pitchers a day, easily 😉 Coffee must be Starbucks (I’m picky haha), and I prefer iced to hot (mostly because I never fail to burn my tongue on the hot stuff). My current favorite drink is any of their skinny lattes, especially the hazelnut. Mmmm…

Favorite breakfast food? As of right now, definitely overnight oats! I’ve had so many different combos lately and none disappointed. In fact, many were absolutely amazing! Some of my favorites are Neapolitan (see above), banana split, cookies ‘n cream and carrot cake.

Peanut butter: smooth or crunchy? Well, considering I haven’t eaten peanut butter in several years (probably since elementary school!), I can’t really answer this. Oh, except for almond butter, my one true nut butter love! I love it smooth or crunchy, but I think crunchy wins out. The texture is the bomb.com.

I love this lunch! I found these soy chorizo-filled vegan taquitos at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago and I had to try them. They did not disappoint! I always chop one up on top of some greens and add a Southwest-inspired topper, like black bean hummus or spicy Greek yogurt dip.

 What kind of dressing on your salad? I really like the Annie’s mango vinaigrette, or any simple light balsamic. Or, edamame guac/black bean hummus/spicy Oikos dip like on the salad above!

Coke or Pepsi? I haven’t had soda in at least a year, but I always preferred Coke, hands-down. The diet vanilla Coke was my fave.

I get stuck in ruts a lot at snacktime. But it's not necessarily a bad thing! Lately, I've been loving on the Kashi TLC crackers, with fresh berries and an almond butter-stuffed date on the side. Snack plates rule.

You’re feeling lazy, what do you make? It depends on what meal. Breakfast, probably cereal or overnight oats. Lunch, a quick banana and almond butter wrap on an Ezekiel tortilla. Snacks, Oikos Greek yogurt, possibly with some Bear Naked granola. Dinner, a cheeseless tortilla pizza (those can get pretty crazy, though!)

You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order? Definitely something sans cheese. I’m no vegan, but I just don’t do cheese (unless it’s soy or almond-based). Plus I think cheeseless pizzas taste so much fresher.

Excuse my strange face. I just got back from the dentist with less-than-good news (a cavity). No bueno.

You feel like cooking. What do you make? Possibly a quinoa bowl, a vegan BLA (tempeh bacon, lettuce, avocado) or some grilled shrimp tacos. I do the meatless thing a lot, but I really like seafood.  

Do any foods bring back good memories? I used to really love those Nutrigrain bars when I was little! Also, eating uncooked ramen mixed with the seasoning in a Ziploc bag as a snack. I haven’t eaten those things in years, but they still remind me of being a kid.

There, that's better! When life gives you bad news, smile!

Do any foods bring back bad memories? When I was struggling hard core with my ED, I would eat teeny tiny amounts of cold black beans and white rice. I do love black beans still, though, so that’s not really bad. I’d also have sugar-free Jello and those lame “light” bread slices. I can’t believe I deprived myself that much.

Why get takeout when you can make it at home? I made a Chipotle-inspired quinoa bowl, filled with black beans, salsa, lime slices and edamame guac.

 Is there a food you refuse to eat? I’m kind of embarrassed to admit (thanks to my ED) that there are a lot of things I won’t eat anymore. However, some of those things aren’t because of lingering fear, but true hatred, like: tomatoes, eggs, meat (minus the occasional chicken, ground turkey and seafood, of course), ketchup (yet I love salsa, go figure), cheese and corn.

What was your favorite food as a child? I was a big cereal lover (I think I really liked Honey Bunches of Oats and Berry Berry Kix) and I also loved candy. I didn’t really eat junk food a lot, but I looked forward to Halloween for sure!

Is there a food you hated as a child but now like? Yogurt (Greek yogurt is amazeballs), a lot of veggies (like artichokes and asparagus), tempeh bacon and other vegan things (but I never really tried them then, so I can’t be sure).

I randomly thought this up last night, and thought "Why not?" I call it cheesecake yogurt, because it kinda reminds me of cheesecake. I took some plain Greek yogurt, added a packet of Truvia to sweeten, mixed in a little black bean pudding and stuck in a Whole Foods duplex cookie. Deeeeeelish!

 Favorite junk food? I honestly don’t eat junk food anymore (doesn’t appeal to me). Do froyo and Whole Foods sandwich cookies count? 😛

Do you have any weird food habits? I prefer eating off small plates–larger ones are too overwhelming. I always eat my overnighters in the same bowls. I always have to have a little “dessert” or something sweet to end my lunch with, like a granola bar or a homemade raw treat.

Favorite dessert? Hands down, gelato. I don’t get it a lot, but when I do, I’m in heaven. My favorite place to get it is called Gelazzi, and they have tons of flavors, but my favorites are soy chocolate and birthday cake. In fact, I’m thinking of getting a gelato cake for my birthday (which is in two weeks, eeeek!).

My baby strawberry plant is growing up.

I tag…everyone! Seriously, please do this if you want to. It’s fun to find out about other bloggers. In fact, why not answer one of the survey questions in your comment if you wanna!

P.S. I’ll post the last two vacation recap posts ASAP!

Strawberry Melon Gazpacho

Summer is my favorite season EVER! I love the warm weather, the sunshine (which has annoyingly been missing the past week and a half in my neck of the woods 😦 ), the cute clothes (shorts, tanks, dresses and flip-flops…YES!) and the food. I love all the fresh, yummy produce that summer brings like berries, watermelon and apricots. Summer is usually the season when I eat the healthiest, because my daily diet is packed with fresh fruits and veggies (fruits mostly…I have a huge sweet tooth 😉 ). I love incorporating all this yumminess into the recipes I make. So without further ado, I introduce you to…gazpacho!

It’s a cold soup usually with a tomato base that’s perfect for hot summer days. It’s the perfect side to a veggie burger, pasta or a big salad. Since I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes, I’ve been on the lookout for a gazpacho that didn’t have them. I searched the Whole Foods website (love that store and their recipes) and found lots of gazpacho recipes but one caught my attention: strawberry melon gazpacho. I LOVE strawberries and melons, and I thought it sounded really yummy.

Mmmm, fresh fruits and veggies!

 Into the food processor went 2 cups cubed watermelon (make sure to take out the black seeds first!), 1 pound strawberries, 1/4 of a large cucumber (peeled and chopped) and some lime juice. Then I pureed it until it was smooth with some chunks.

I served mine with some grilled mahi mahi topped with a strawberry pico de gallo (recipe to come!)

Q: Have you tried gazpacho?