Friday Faves (August 24)

Well, I can’t believe I finally (almost) made it through my first week of my junior year of college! I can already tell this semester will be busy and challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been getting used to a lot of big changes, like the daily commute to classes (which usually takes way longer than it should) and keeping my apartment clean but I’m starting to feel like an adult and it feels so good!

After my first day of classes on Monday, I treated myself to a passion iced tea from Starbucks (much needed, that’s for sure!) and I promised myself last weekend that if I made it through a whole week of classes and extracurriculars, I could treat myself to some Whole Foods salad bar goodies. So you better believe I’m doing that tonight for dinner 😀

Favorite Recipe Redux: Peppermint Super Brownie Bites

Not the most appetizing picture, but I can guarantee it tastes amazing!

I’ve been doing some recipe experimenting here and there when I’ve had time after classes. I made a few things that turned out delicious but not quite perfect. Then I stumbled upon an idea, combining both my raw brownie recipe and Angela’s no bake peppermint patty bars (which are fab, BTW). I wanted something small, cute, chocolate-y and minty without being too overwhelming. That’s where the super brownie bites come in! They’re almond and walnut based, like my raw brownies, so they add a protein and healthy fat punch and are grain-free. I added in a packet of chocolate Amazing Grass, which adds 10 grams of protein, along with tons of greens.  They’re sweetened with a few dates and just a little real maple syrup, so they’re perfectly sweet. The chocolate icing on top is made from dark chocolate chips and coconut oil, both healthy fats. But the result is a delicious, minty brownie bite that tastes almost unhealthy!

Peppermint Super Brownie Bites (vegan, gluten-free)

2 packages 100 calorie almonds and walnuts

1 packet chocolate-flavored Amazing Grass protein powder

3 small Medjool dates

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

3 tbsp vegan chocolate chips

1/2 tsp coconut oil

In a food processor, process nuts, Amazing Grass, dates and cocoa powder until crumbly. Add in maple syrup and 1/4 tsp peppermint extract until mixture sticks together. Roll brownie batter into small balls and place in mini muffin tin or on foil. Meanwhile, in a small pot over low heat, stir together remaining peppermint extract, chocolate chips and coconut oil until chocolate gets melty. Spoon icing over each bite and stick muffin tin or foil in freezer to set. Makes 8 bites. 

Favorite Moment: First time as a weather anchor

The local female weather anchor I look up to…maybe I’ll be like her one day?!

I hate to brag and pretend like I’m super awesome, because that’s just not who I am, but I’ve been working on owning my accomplishments and being more confident, so being complimented for how I handled my first night as a weather anchor at my campus TV station was thrilling for me. It was a practice run through, so it wasn’t aired, but I completely ad-libbed for about a minute, not even knowing much about the weather forecast, and my producer and fellow anchors congratulated me afterwards for how well I did and how they couldn’t imagine ad-libbing for an entire segment. It gave me so much confidence for the semester to come!

Favorite Thing I’m Looking Forward To: Whole Foods salad bar

One of my favorite Whole Foods hot/cold bar boxes to date!

It’s a little lame, but I get really excited for grocery shopping, particularly at Whole Foods. I could live there and be totally happy! When I first discovered the salad bars a year ago, I became hooked and even though I didn’t get it again for another 6 months, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. This summer, I went a little more frequently and tried to switch it up every time. The Whole Foods in my hometown (well, one of them) has a great selection of items at the hot and cold bars and I’m hoping the one in my college town does too!

Favorite Time of Day: Driving to class

Disclaimer: I did NOT take this while driving!

Don’t get me wrong, it is stressful trying to get to class on time while also avoiding cyclists, pedestrians and other cars that are going wayyyyyy too fast and also trying to find parking that isn’t miles away. But it also makes me happy, because I haven’t driven regularly since senior year of high school. In fact, before this summer and my internship, I barely ever drove in the past 2 1/2 years. I actually really love driving alone, because I can blast my music, sing along and just get ready for the day ahead. I feel so much more independent and responsible–Alejandro is my baby and I want to keep him safe 😉

Do you like to ‘healthify’ your desserts (whatever that means to you)? Do you prefer city driving or freeway driving?