Return to the Mountains+Blog Updates

Wow it’s been awhile since I last posted! Honestly the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, sometimes great and sometimes not so good.

First I want to (briefly) recap my long weekend trip to Salt Lake City. My best friend just moved there in August and though we now live even further apart than when she was still in Colorado, I knew I wanted to go see her. And bonus, I got to explore a new-to-me city. SLC is a lot more spread out than I was picturing it. My friend lives in a suburb that’s pretty far away from downtown so I didn’t get to see that area but we did drive all over town.

It was also my first time flying by myself, aka without my parents or in a group. I was nervous but mostly excited because I love airline travel. I don’t get to do it nearly enough (usually just once or twice a year) and I think that might be why I love it. Or I’m just crazy 😉 I did get to meet my mom at DIA where I had a 3 1/2 hour layover on the way out and that was nice to see her for a couple of hours. She was so great to drive an hour each way early in the morning to see me, but we hadn’t seen each other since late July so it was a nice surprise. My flights there and back were great and I got the hang of putting my carry-on suitcase up in the overhead compartments. That was legitimately my biggest concern…I thought I’d be that girl who couldn’t even lift her own bag over her head but it wasn’t that awkward. And my seatmates weren’t totally annoying so that was good too.

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No one's gonna confuse this bag for their own.

Salt Lake City reminds me a lot of my Colorado hometown, with lots of mountains but in SLC they surround the city instead of just being on the west side. And of course, the lake was unreal. My friend told me it was actually pretty dried out, but it was still huge and beautiful. I just have a love for mountains and water.

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I could get used to this view...

As far as what we did from Friday to Tuesday, it was basically eating (at Noodles & Co because we don’t have it in OK…and incredible sushi…and making tofu at her apartment), manicures, shopping, sleeping in, hiking, walking her dog, seeing a musical, more shopping, movie watching, a wine+painting class, even more shopping, Starbucks, seeing the lake (and me falling in…) and more eating. So basically all the best things.

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Bestie time is the best time.

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Random, but the sushi place had the best brussels sprouts ever!

Getting back into a normal routine after that was hardddddddd. Making it even harder was the fact that my workplace is now even more understaffed and its not even funny anymore. So basically I came back and had to work 9 days straight. Bleh. The first few days were a total struggle and I’ve seriously wondered if I’m going to even stay in the TV world for long. I don’t want to say bad things about my employer, but lets just say things are going downhill fast and everyone knows it but the management. The smart people leave ASAP and the rest of us are stuck there until we can do the same.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t want my job to be my life. I truly do enjoy working, but I think I’d actually like it more if I didn’t feel so overworked, stressed and taken advantage of. I also can say that I don’t really have enough of a passion for the news to want to keep doing it. I would much rather be involved in some kind of entertainment show or working for a fashion magazine or something. TV seems glamorous but behind the scenes, it really sucks sometimes.

So where am I going with this? Basically I’m kind of taking a step back from the blog. I enjoy doing this, but I just can’t promise the time that I used to spend on it. Work is all about writing, and at the end of the day I don’t really want to write anymore. Plus the time I spend away from work is either sleeping (I work overnights so I sleep until the early afternoon), running/working out or just chilling right before work. Plus I feel like talking all about food isn’t really me anymore. In case you haven’t noticed, my Instagram has turned into kind of a fashion space, and I really love that. It’s one of my biggest passions, and I don’t do enough of it on here.

I’m not saying goodbye to AlmostVegGirlie right now, just more like I can’t promise weekly posts anymore. Being an adult with a full-time job and other extracurricular priorities has to take precedence for now. And if you can’t get enough of me, I’m still active on Instagram so follow me on over there!

Have you had to take a blog break? What have you been up to lately….I miss catching up with y’all!

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Feeling 22

Wow, where does the time go? I hate saying it because it’s such a cliche, but I can’t believe it’s August. Mostly because that means my birthday has come and gone…and I guess it’s time to talk about it!

The last four days of my birthday week were the best four days I’ve had in awhile. My family drove 10+ hours each way from Colorado to spend 5 days with me and I had so much fun. I honestly would not have wanted to spend my birthday any other way. And yes, I am feeling 22 😉

I don’t want to bore you with long descriptions of what went down (and believe me, I could go on and on) but I’ll just share some highlights of each day through pictures.

Thursday

My last day of work before an extended  (4 day) weekend. I spent the afternoon running errands, treating myself to an amazing green smoothie and getting my place ready for the fam. Once they got here, we went out to eat at Freebirds, a Chipotle-like place.

This stuff is worth the $7 price tag -- local and DELICIOUS.

This stuff is worth the $7 price tag — local and DELICIOUS.

 

Friday

Running some errands in the morning, pool time and then getting ready for the main event: Center of the Universe. I was SO excited for this alt rock music festival. It was freakin’ hot but Fitz and the Tantrums were incredible, 21 Pilots was also pretty cool (AWOLNATION was there too but we left during their set) and the falafel I got for dinner was amazing.

Getting ready for Fitz with my sissy.

Getting ready for Fitz with my sissy.

High-tech wristbands.

High-tech wristbands.

Watching local act Fiawna Forte from afar.

Watching local act Fiawna Forte from afar.

"Street" falafel, cucumber salad, spicy mango sauce, hummus and cabbage slaw for dinner in the hot hot sun.

“Street” falafel, cucumber salad, spicy mango sauce, hummus and cabbage slaw for dinner in the hot hot sun.

Right next to the famous Cain's ballroom.

Right next to the famous Cain’s ballroom.

The main attraction: Fitz and the Tantrums! So amazing live :)

The main attraction: Fitz and the Tantrums! So amazing live 🙂

 

Saturday

Pool time was a big theme for the day, as well as buying some fun apartment decorations for me. We did some tourist-y sightseeing around town at some landmarks. Dinner was at a taco place downtown — I got some tasty fried avocado tacos with black beans and these delicious roasted sweet potatoes. And then some Netflix and games at my apartment with the fam.

Pretty flowers on a tree.

Pretty flowers on a tree.

Largest praying hands in the world on the campus of ORU.

Largest praying hands in the world on the campus of ORU.

The Golden Driller.

The Golden Driller.

The real Center of the Universe, for which the music festival was named. It's a spot in the middle of a bridge where your voice echoes in a really cool way.

The real Center of the Universe, for which the music festival was named. It’s a spot in the middle of a bridge where your voice echoes in a really cool way.

Sunday

The big day! I really wanted to go for a hike, so we hit Turkey Mountain in the morning for a quick hike with some great views of the city. More pool time since it was so hot and then getting ready for dinner at Laffa, a cool Mediterranean place downtown. I finally got the sweet potato fries I’ve been craving for months! And for the birthday dessert, we stopped at Whole Foods (of course) and then celebrated back home with a few presents (think owl-themed stuff mostly) and games…and more pool time.  

Awww, love this sign.

Awww, love this sign.

Love this view.

Love this view.

My "I need to go hiking more" face.

My “I need to go hiking more” face.

Getting ready for the big birthday dinner.

Getting ready for the big birthday dinner.

Sister selfie.

Sister selfie.

This was called "Forbidden Fruit" and it was incredible. It tasted like fruit punch but it wasn't artificial at all and had some kind of hibiscus-infused vodka in it.

This was called “Forbidden Fruit” and it was incredible. It tasted like fruit punch but it wasn’t artificial at all and had some kind of hibiscus-infused vodka in it.

My dinner spread. Laffa flatbread (which I LOVED, even though it wasn't GF), harissa carrots, cabbage slaw, red pepper hummus and TONS of unpictured sweet potato fries stolen from my dad.

My dinner spread. Laffa flatbread (which I LOVED, even though it wasn’t GF), harissa carrots, cabbage slaw, red pepper hummus and TONS of unpictured sweet potato fries stolen from my dad.

Feeling 22!

Feeling 22!

These candles were too cute to throw away!

These candles were too cute to throw away!

Monday

I was dreading this day because it was the last full day my family was here. But it was a blast! We went to the zoo and literally spent 4 or 5 hours wandering around checking out all the animals and exhibits. It was basically the biggest zoo I’ve ever been to! I got to see tons of my favorite animal — flamingos! And then it was off to a sushi place for dinner (I found a new go-to). 

Really colorful fish.

Really colorful fish.

Polka dotted lizard.

Polka dotted lizard.

My favorite <3

My favorite ❤

This giraffe totally devoured those trees.

This giraffe totally devoured those trees.

My kind of place.

My kind of place.

What’s your favorite zoo animal? What do you like doing for your birthday? 

WIAW: No Filter

No, this title isn’t leading into a post where I just say what I feel without thinking it through. Not that kind of no filter. I’m talking about no Instagram or PicMonkey filter. I’m a sucker for prettying up my photos (which, lets be honest, are 99% of the time taken on my smartphone) but I’m trying to avoid the over-filtering of my photos. So I’m gonna share my original version of photos for this week’s WIAW…well, minus one or two filtered pics that slipped in there!

Breakfast: samoas-inspired chia pudding.

Breakfast: samoas-inspired chia pudding.

Sorry for the chia seed pudding overload lately–I’m not kidding when I say I get into breakfast ruts. First (almost 2 years ago at this point) it was overnight oats, then hot oats, then smoothie bowls, then pancakes, then waffles, now it’s the chia pudding. This version was inspired by the classic Girl Scout cookie (which I don’t think I’ve ever actually had) and made with Sunwarrior vanilla and Vega chocolate protein powders, lucuma powder for a caramel-y accent (my new love!) and topped with coconut, cashew butter (love this stuff) and a crumbled raw chocolate macaroon. This was good stuff.

Friday night sushi with friends. Cucumber maki and sweet potato tempura roll. Demolished.

Friday night sushi with friends. Cucumber maki and sweet potato tempura roll. Demolished.

I actually went out to eat twice this weekend. Both times with friends. This is big for me. I always feel super guilty when I have to eat out twice in a week/weekend, and I still have some anxiety about eating out with friends. But I had so much fun that it was worth it! The food wasn’t too bad either!

Failed recipe: healthy vegan Nutella.

Failed recipe: healthy vegan Nutella.

I’ve honestly never been a fan of Nutella (though Justin’s vegan version is pretty good) but I wanted to try making a healthier, vegan version to see if I’d like it better. It was pretty easy (other than attempting to remove the skins from the hazelnuts, which I eventually gave up on) but didn’t turn out delicious. I blame it on only adding 1 tbsp of coconut sugar. Definitely needed more sweetness.

Lunch: spinach salad with homemade cashew cilantro dressing and avocado verde salsa, dry roasted edamame, eggplant 'bacon' and kalamata olives.

Lunch: spinach salad with homemade cashew cilantro dressing and avocado verde salsa, dry roasted edamame, eggplant ‘bacon’ and kalamata olives.

My salad-a-day is still going strong and I’ve been especially loving my latest dressing combo–homemade cashew cilantro dressing and the Wholly Guacamole brand avocado verde salsa I picked up over the weekend. So good, and better than regular old dressing.

Eggplant 'bacon' wrapped date stuffed with cashew 'cream cheese'.

Eggplant ‘bacon’ wrapped date stuffed with cashew ‘cream cheese’.

Speaking of eggplant bacon, this was one of my successful recipe experiments over the weekend. Seriously, so simple but so damn tasty. I wish I had had more than half an eggplant (I used the other half for something else) so I could make a bigger batch. It was especially delicious wrapped around a Medjool date stuffed with homemade cashew cream cheese. Mmmm, I could eat this all day!

Outfit of the day (March 4): pink cropped cardigan (Abercrombie & Fitch), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink ruffle tank (Abercrombie Kids), burgundy jeggings (Hollister), unpictured brown riding boots (Macy's).

Outfit of the day (March 4): pink cropped cardigan (Abercrombie & Fitch), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink ruffle tank (Abercrombie Kids), burgundy jeggings (Hollister), unpictured brown riding boots (Macy’s).

I felt like a Valentine when I wore this on Monday, but who cares, I love pink! I’m really excited though for when I can finally wear dresses and skirts without tights–hopefully soon! Spring, come sooner.

Dinner: eggplant muffuletta on grain free bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheezy chipotle kale chips.

Dinner: eggplant muffuletta on grain free bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheezy chipotle kale chips.

Ummm…grain free bread? What is this madness? I will admit that, yes, I need to get over my fear of grains other than buckwheat and quinoa, but on the other hand, I can’t deny my love for coconut flour. And surprise, surprise, it actually makes a decent grain free and vegan bread when combined with a few other ingredients. Yes, it actually held together pretty well even when soaked with kalamata olive relish and baked eggplant, and it tasted a lot like naan after sitting for a few days. Look for a super simple recipe soon!

Another dinner: Thai stuffed sweet potato. Half a large sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and raisins/coconut shreds on one side, coconut cream and raw Thai curry cashews on the other.

Another dinner: Thai stuffed sweet potato. Half a large sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and raisins/coconut shreds on one side, coconut cream and raw Thai curry cashews on the other.

I’m definitely doing a stuffed sweet potato for dinner more often…thanks for the inspiration, Sara! This one was Thai-like, with a peanutty sauce on one side, and curry+coconut on the other. I think I could do a different combo of this every day.

How do you like your sweet potatoes? Did you have a recipe success or failure over the weekend? 

 

Food & Fitness Friday

Well, apparently I’m a sucker for alliteration. And themed posts. Hey, whatever works right? And it’s Friday, by this point in the week I’m just happy it’s the weekend and I’m looking forward to my 3 day break from thinking. Joking, of course, because I still (always) have homework to do but it’s still nice to have a few days off from classes and the daily grind.

I hate when I get excited about a new food find…and it’s disappointing

All the way from the U.K. and not even that great.

All the way from the U.K. and not even that great.

I’ve seen these bars on several, mostly U.K.-based blogs and totally drooled over it. What’s not to love about a vegan, gluten free, no added sugar, maple peanut protein bar? Apparently, a lot. First of all, it’s a light grey-colored bar. Totally unappetizing, but I took a bite anyway. Aaaaand…not the best bar I’ve ever had. It didn’t really taste like maple or peanut, more just sweet and it had a texture different than the Larabars I’m used to. The only thing great about it was the 12 grams of protein. Not a repeat purchase for me. (P.S. I did love the raw chocolate brownie Pulsin’ bar I bought though…)

I took my first “progress” pics…and I’m actually posting them!

Definitely not where I want to be, but hopefully I'll make some gains soon!

Definitely not where I want to be, but hopefully I’ll make some gains soon!

I started lifting at the beginning of February (light weights, nothing too crazy at first) and I wanted to take some progress pics to establish a baseline. I have noticed a few changes, mostly that my biceps are a bit more defined than they were, and my triceps are tighter when I flex. I really want to start seeing some changes in my stomach (I have a few ab like lines when I flex but they’re not as defined as I’d like) and my legs are still one of the spots I don’t like on my body. I always feel like they’re huge, flabby, etc. even though I know they’re muscular and (hopefully) not huge. I just need to start accepting my thighs for what they are!

I’m having sushi twice in one week #getatme

I love having leftover sushi as a salad topper.

I love having leftover sushi as a salad topper.

After coming back up to campus on Monday evening and having to make a grocery run, I decided to just do a lazy dinner and get some veggie brown rice sushi from Whole Foods. I split the box into two servings, and enjoyed one of them the other day for dinner on top of a peanut flour and coconut aminos-massaged kale salad. And tonight, I’m planning on getting sushi from an actual sushi place with a friend. Nothing beats a Friday night sushi date!

I just can’t get enough…of chia puddings for breakfast!

A tiramisu inspired pudding. Made with Sunwarrior vanilla, ground coffee, chia seeds and topped with  1/4 raw chocolate brownie Pulsin' bar and the last of the coconut whipped 'cream'.

A tiramisu inspired pudding. Made with Sunwarrior vanilla, ground coffee, chia seeds and topped with 1/4 raw chocolate brownie Pulsin’ bar and the last of the coconut whipped ‘cream’.

These are becoming my new breakfast obsession. Actually, I could eat these for any and all meals, they’re just that good. The version I had yesterday morning was one of my favorites, nothing beats the coffee/chocolate/coconut combo.

Tiramisu Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1 scoop Sunwarrior Warrior Blend vanilla protein powder (or other vanilla protein powder)

1-2 tsp chia seeds

1 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 tbsp ground coffee (I used Archer Farms candy cane blend)

1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, to mix

In a small bowl, mix together protein powder, chia seeds, coconut flour and ground coffee. Add enough almond milk to make a creamy and thick consistency with no dry spots. Add a little extra if you want your chia pudding to be more liquid-y. Refrigerate overnight and serve in the morning topped with coconut whipped cream (just the thickened part of a can of coconut milk that’s been  refrigerated overnight or a few days), more ground coffee and a chocolate Larabar-type bar. Makes 1 serving. 

iHerb is my addiction #sorryimnotsorry

The latest iHerb order...including new-to-me lucuma powder and a free watermelon lollipop!

The latest iHerb order…including new-to-me lucuma powder and a free watermelon lollipop!

So I should have known when I first ordered from iHerb (November 2011…wow how time flies!) that I’d become addicted! I only buy from them once a month, mostly for my peanut flour fix, but they have great selection, decent prices and they always ship out pretty quickly. My latest order shipped out on Monday and I got it Thursday morning…free shipping rocks! I got my beloved peanut flour, my favorite chocolate brand in the two flavors I can never find (and love the most), a big thing of coconut sugar, my favorite Larabar flavor in a 5 pack and new-to-me lucuma powder that I’m already loving! If you’ve never shopped on iHerb…do it now! Oh, and use my code NOQ779 for $5 off orders under $40 and $10 off orders over $40!

What’s going on in your world food and fitness wise this Friday? What hashtag sums up your life right now?

Recipe submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #32

Friday Five: Online Shopping Addict

Hi guys! Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately–the semester’s starting to get busy and I literally have next to no time during the middle of the week for anything but sleeping and getting homework done. But I’m more thankful than ever to have three day weekends every week–it’s seriously my lifesaver.

Anyways, I didn’t want to let a whole week go by without another post so I’m throwing a little Friday Five fun in here!

Five Things I’ve Eaten Recently

  •  The best vegan restaurant pizza I’ve ever had. It’s hard to find vegan pizza in restaurants. It’s even harder to find amazing vegan pizza. I’m not one for fake cheese (don’t get the Daiya appeal) so I always go cheeseless. The other toppings are the best part anyways, especially in this case. My mom and I tried out a new-to-us restaurant in my college town called Restaurant 415. They aren’t specifically vegan, but they have plenty of gluten free and vegan options and focus on locally-sourced and organic ingredients. My kinda place for sure! I ordered The Woodland pizza sans the cheese and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The crust was not too thin or too thick, and it came topped with garlic & olive oil, mushrooms, deliciously salty & crunchy kale (when do you ever see kale on a pizza?!), dried figs (ditto), caramelized onions and a balsamic glaze. The sweet and salty flavors worked together perfectly and I was in vegan pizza heaven. 
My delicious leftovers!

My delicious leftovers!

  • Banana softserve…with a twist. Who doesn’t love banana softserve, aka frozen bananas all blended up until they look like ice cream? Seriously, one of my favorite blog food finds ever. Well, I also discovered a little trick recently: mix almond butter (or nut butter of choice) with a little  coconut oil and drizzle over banana softserve…homemade magic shell! You can even add cacao powder or whatever you want to make it even better. I like topping my softserve and shell with cacao nibs for the perfect healthified dessert.
Who needs ice cream when you can have banana softserve?

Who needs ice cream when you can have banana softserve?

  • Raw jalapeno poppers.  I’ve been eating them whole, putting them in salads…basically just loving them. I should have made more but I’ll definitely be stocking up on jalapenos this weekend!
So spicy, so clean, so good!

So spicy, so clean, so good!

  • Brown rice sushi from Whole Foods. I’ve mentioned before how disappointed I am in the salad bar at the WF in my college town. However, when I discovered their brown rice sushi, I just couldn’t resist. I’ve never had brown rice sushi before, let alone vegan-friendly brown rice sushi. I got the avocado carrot cucumber roll and it was great dipped in coconut aminos and as a salad topping.
An easy dinner at it's finest.

An easy dinner at it’s finest.

  • Salads…on salads on salads. I’ve had a salad-a-day streak for at least the last three weeks, and I don’t want it to end anytime soon. I’ve discovered what makes a really great homemade salad–chopping the greens, shaking everything up to mix it around and letting it sit for at least half an hour in the fridge. It all makes for a very tasty salad. The toppings and dressings are what makes them, though.
Latest obsession: taco-inspired salads.

Latest obsession: taco-inspired salads.

Five Things I’ve Bought This Week

  • A set of weights. Yep, finally jumped on the strength training trend, and I gotta say, I really love it! I’m definitely not lifting heavy yet, but it’s good to start out light. And besides, I’m not so much wanting to build muscle as I am wanting to lean out. So lighter weights+more reps=(hopefully) a leaner body!
And they're green, what could be better than that (besides pink)?

And they’re green, what could be better than that (besides pink)?

  • A geology textbook and cacao nibs from Amazon. Random, yes, but I needed to get the super saver shipping so the cacao nibs were a much-wanted add-on item. The textbook is obviously for the geology class I’m in–I took it because it’s supposedly a prereq to the meteorology program I want to get into after graduation and I don’t really love it so far (mostly because of the professor) but I have a friend in it so that helps a lot!
  • A massive iHerb order. They used to offer free shipping in the U.S. for any order over $20 or $25 I think, but now it’s for orders over $40. I hate paying for shipping so I just stocked up my online cart more than usual. I got a few new-to-me items (raw buckwheat granola, a new brand of coconut flour) and some other things I can’t get in store (namely, peanut flour). I think I’ll be set with new products for awhile…
Love getting packages in the mail!

Love getting packages in the mail!

  • Some new-to-me Whole Foods finds. Yes, I love shopping online for things I can’t get near me, but there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned shopping trip to the grocery store. On my last trip to Whole Foods, I got a bunch of new-to-me items and I’m loving them all so far. The best is the Thai coconut curry hummus by Hope Hummus–it’s a local brand, but they might have it in WFs across the country so definitely check them out if you ever see them near you. This is the best hummus flavor I’ve ever tried, period. I also got a couple new Larabar flavors, unsweetened ketchup, coconut oil spray, dark chocolate Nuttzo (it was on sale!) and WF brand pickles (because other brands have not-so-good ingredients).
There's always something new to try at Whole Foods.

There’s always something new to try at Whole Foods.

Five Sites I’m Loving This Week

  • Chicnova. It’s an online store I just discovered that has a ton of cute, affordable clothes in all kinds of styles. I haven’t ordered anything (yet) but there’s quite a few things I’m drooling over.
  • Warby Parker. Notice the online shopping trend? Okay, so I haven’t bought from here either but I love the concept: you get to choose prescription glasses to try on at home, and you send back the ones you don’t like. I’m a sucker for hipster style glasses, so the next time I need a new pair, I’ll definitely be hitting up this store.
  • DAMY Health. I don’t follow their nutrition plan by any means, but the recipe section has all sorts of amazing-looking vegan, gluten free and raw desserts. I kinda want to make them all…
  • PicMonkey. The best free editing site I’ve come across. I just wish I could use all the upgraded features.
  • Weather Channel. Yep, I’m a weather nerd and proud of it (that’s why I’m going into meteorology!) Besides just the forecasts, they also have weather stories and articles that are really interesting. For example, I found out the other day that Denver is in the top 6 cities for most snowfall. I actually don’t believe it, because for the past few years we haven’t gotten much snow at all!

Do you do any strength training? What’s one of your favorite sites at the moment? 

The End is Near+Kelp Noodle Stirfry

Well guys, here we are again, at the end of another year. I hate being cliche, but where the heck did 2012 go? I feel like as I get older, the years fly by so much faster than when I was a kid. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s crazy to me that I’m practically done with college!

I’m really excited for 2013. I have no idea exactly what will happen, which scares the type-A planner in me, but it’s exciting to think about all the things that could happen this year. For one, I’m finally turning the big 21 in July. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not big into drinking or anything but it’ll be nice to be able to order a good drink in a restaurant sometimes, or enjoy a cool cocktail at home. Also, I might possibly be graduating in December–crazy talk! I really want to get all my credits done in time so I can graduate a semester early and get started on my first big girl job. I know a lot of people would rather stay in school as long as possible but I’m so excited about my future career (hopefully as a meteorologist) that I want to get a head start!

I don’t want to drag this post on forever, so I’ll just share some brief highlights from the year with you and then give you a delicious, quick recipe at the end.

January

I finally got a Twitter, I experimented more with raw recipes and I overcame my hatred for hot tea. 

Raw carrot cake bite with peanut flour frosting.

Raw carrot cake bite with peanut flour frosting.

February

I tried a bunch of new-to-me products, did a raw food challenge and went to a father daughter dance with my sister and dad. 

Dressed up for the dance.

Dressed up for the dance.

March

I reevaluated my recovery journey and eating habits, got an internship at a local TV station and made a bunch of recipes over spring break.

Enjoying the sunshine during spring break.

Enjoying the sunshine during spring break.

April

I celebrated Easter with the fam, tried Zevia for the first time and got ready for summer food & fun

Coloring Easter eggs.

Coloring Easter eggs.

May

I finished up my sophomore year of college, made my first pancakes from scratch and celebrated my blog’s first birthday

Peanut flour pancakes with homemade strawberry vanilla jam

Peanut flour pancakes with homemade strawberry vanilla jam.

June

I talked about why I eat healthy, made a goal to stop counting calories and moved to a new house

Eating applesauce on the go.

Eating applesauce on the go.

July

I embraced my love of healthy fats, made my go-to meal for the first time and celebrated my 20th birthday

The delicious vegan cake I enjoyed on my birthday.

The delicious vegan cake I enjoyed on my birthday.

August

I tried vegan sushi, almost saw the President and started budgeting my grocery shopping. 

Vegan sweet potato tempura sushi rolls.

Vegan sweet potato tempura sushi rolls.

September

I overcame my fear of coconut, had jury duty and embraced fall

I also did my first giveaway!

I also did my first giveaway!

October

I participated in Vegan MoFo, started my addiction to kabocha and broke some fashion rules.

My first Fashion Friday post.

My first Fashion Friday post.

November

I shared my Christmas wishlist a month early, proved that vegans can get protein too and spent Thanksgiving break writing papers

Almond cake vodka on Thanksgiving.

Almond cake vodka on Thanksgiving.

December

I proclaimed my love for the Whole Foods salad bar, stressed out about finals and had an enjoyable (while sick) Christmas.

It was a white Christmas after all!

It was a white Christmas after all!

 And now for the recipe! I don’t know about you, but after Christmas, some nights I’m feeling lazy and I just want a quick dinner to throw together so I have more time for family game and movie nights. This stirfry recipe comes together in 10 minutes and is easy to customize to your tastes. I used kelp noodles as the base because I love their texture and how they can bulk up a meal without adding any calories but you can use rice or soba noodles if you prefer.

coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry in bowl

Coconut Curry Kelp Noodle Stirfry (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1/4 cup light canned coconut milk (can use full fat)

1 tsp curry powder

red pepper flakes, to taste

1 tbsp peanut flour (or peanut butter)

1 tsp coconut aminos (or tamari)

1/2 cup kelp noodles, rinsed and dried

fresh or frozen veggies (I used shredded carrot slaw and fresh green kale)

1/4 cup fresh or frozen pineapple (or chopped fresh orange)

1/2 cup shelled edamame

In a small bowl, stir together coconut milk, curry powder, red pepper, peanut flour and aminos until thickened and combined. In a medium pan over medium heat, cook edamame, veggies and pineapple in a small amount of coconut oil. Add in kelp noodles and stir sauce over noodles. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture is hot and sauce thickens up a bit. Serve topped with shredded coconut, chopped peanuts, pumpkin seeds or a drizzle of sriracha. Serves 1. 

What are some of your favorite memories from 2012? What’s one new thing you tried this last year?

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #23.

Almost Wordless Vacation Recap

So I haven’t been on the computer in a week, and it honestly felt so freeing to just forgo technology (well, besides my phone and iPod) and just enjoy a few days of fun with my family. I also had an extra day away because I had to go up to my college town for some job training for my weather anchor position at the school’s TV station. I’m actually starting to get pumped up for school to start in just a week–well, maybe not school but having my own apartment and being on TV.

Anyways, here’s my mostly wordless vacation recap of my trip to Estes Park, CO with some words at the end about my intuitive eating/exercise experiment!

The cheese-free individual-size hummus pizza at Poppy’s…I devoured it all!

The view of Fall River from the condo.

Tanning by the pool.

Noodles in the deep end of the pool.

A mini Stanley Steamer model (steam-powered car) in the EP Museum.

Spicy sweet and sour tofu & veggies at Thai Kitchen…super spicy, but so good!

Sissy time!

The view from our hike around Lily Lake.

Tall iced soy skinny mocha enjoyed by the Big Thompson River.

Some awesomely bright flowers!

First time trying the Coconut Bliss brand of coconut milk ice cream–verdict = so good, even for the insanely high price ($6/pint). I had some chocolate hazelnut ‘ice cream’ topped with fresh raspberries.

The coolest owl cookie jar!

This really cool, super-vintage looking church just outside EP. It was even cooler inside!

The Big Thompson river.

First time trying vegan sushi! I had the sweet potato rolls filled with Japanese sweet potato, avocado and cucumber. And I loved the pickled ginger on the side.

Me and my sister down by the river.

I think I honestly kicked some serious ass on my self-imposed intuitive eating and exercise challenge. I didn’t record any of my meals or exercise in the calorie counting app I have since last Tuesday and I didn’t freak out (too much) about my macro balance. I feel like I ate more than I usually do, which I know is still probably not enough, but it was definitely a start. I feel like my meals out were pretty balanced–the first night, I had a small vegan pizza covered in veggies; the second night I had a Sunshine veggie burger (without the bun) topped with fresh guacamole; the third night I had sweet and sour tofu and veggies with a little brown rice on the side; and the last night I had a strawberry, spinach and walnut salad with balsamic and some vegan sushi. I honestly loved all the dinners that I had and didn’t have too much of a problem finding something healthy and vegan at the restaurants we went to. I challenged myself to try the Coconut Bliss brand of coconut milk ice cream despite it being higher in calories and saturated fat than my tried-and-true brand. I skipped my usual cardio circuits but was not a couch potato–I played tennis with my dad for an hour one day, walked around town a lot, went on a hike and did some swimming in the condo’s pool. I felt a little more comfortable in my skin than I usually do at home, despite wearing just a swimsuit a lot of the time. I tried a lot of new-to-me things, had some old favorites (veggie straws, baby carrots and PB Puffins, say what?!) and didn’t try to think too much about the food. Overall, the 5 days I spent intuitively eating were some of the best days I’ve had in awhile, and I want to try to keep eating the same way. Now that I’m home, I have more access to veggies, protein, etc. but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep eating more adequately and enjoying my food. And while I’m excited to go back to my regular exercise, I realize that a few days with less intense workouts won’t kill me. So I’m going to try to live every day like I did on my vacation–without the pool time, of course 😉

Do you eat intuitively or plan out your meals? Have you ever had vegan or vegetarian sushi?