Fireworks, Food and Farmers Markets

I love long weekends! Especially in the summer — since I work full-time, it’s nice to have an extended break to enjoy the incredible weather and everything else the season has to offer.

My weekend is still going strong, but I thought I’d pop in with a few of my favorite moments from the July 4th weekend. After I got off work on Thursday morning, I didn’t really have any solid plans for my time off, other than to get in my weekly trip to Whole Foods, spend some time by the pool and go for some runs. And I ended up doing all that and more…

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Lots of cold water is necessary after these hot runs I’ve been going on. One perk of having time off is I can go for a run earlier (like around 10 or 11) so it’s not quite as hot.

This is freaking adorable.

This is freaking adorable.

I love how Snapchat celebrates holidays — this was really cute and brightened up my morning (not that it was bad…how can it be when you have the day off?)

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

I haven’t been to the main mall here since Memorial Day weekend (who am I?) so I knew it was time to return. And I scored some pretty great deals. A cute top from Abercrombie & Fitch for $10? Unheard of, except for during holiday weekends. I’m a sucker for giant purses, so I went to ALDO for my fix. And I got a push-up bandeau bra from Victoria’s Secret because I love strapless styles but this girl needs some padding #ACupProblems. I spent around $50 for all this, which is cheaper than both the top and the purse alone were originally!

My patriotic outfit.

My patriotic outfit.

I’ve seriously worn these shorts every July 4th since I got them a few years ago. I love them, and I had to take advantage of the fact that I wasn’t going to work, so I could wear weather-appropriate clothes.

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

My breakfast wasn’t totally patriotic, but the cherries made up for it. By Friday, I was seriously running low on food, especially produce, but I made it work. These were the last of some super cheap cherries I found at Sprouts 2 weeks ago and they were incredible!

As for my July 4th evening plans? No photo evidence because it was dark, but I drove to one of my coworkers’ homes to watch the fireworks from his place. He invited a few other people I knew from work, as well as more crazy TV people from other stations in town. It was fun to hang out for a couple hours, but the parking situation and traffic coming home was insane. It would have been an easy commute about 15 minutes up the street from me, but most of that road was blocked off and even when I was leaving around 10:45 (an hour after the fireworks wrapped up), I got caught in traffic jams on another street. Also, I had to park a couple blocks away from his house, which was fine, but walking back in the dark had me a little on edge, especially after some recent assaults across the city. But I made it safe, and my car wasn’t towed, so yay!

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

My July 4th dinner was totally ‘Merican, but with a healthier twist. I had a weird craving for potato salad (which I don’t even like), so I decided to whip up my own version using a sweet potato, coconut ‘bacon’ and a homemade mayo made with hemp seeds/water/olive oil/spices. It turned out incredible, so I’m sharing it!

Hemp Mayo Potato Salad (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small wedges (can use white potato if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sea salt, to taste
  • garlic granules, to taste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum, to thicken
  • 2 tbsp coconut bacon (optional, but really good!)

Place cubed sweet potato in medium pot and pour water about an inch above them. Bring to a low boil; cover pot and lower heat and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until potato is fork tender (but not too soft). Drain water and set aside to cool. In a food processor, blend hemp hearts, water, salt, garlic and ACV. Add in xanthan gum if you want to thicken the mayo. Once potatoes are cool, pour mayo over them and stir in coconut bacon. Makes 1 serving. 

I'm obsessed with the farmers market.

I’m obsessed with the farmers market.

Saturday morning started early (well, if you think 8 am is early). But for good reason — I had plans to go to the farmers market! I usually only get to swing by after I get done with work, and by that time, most things are sold out. Getting to the market an hour earlier meant fewer crowds AND better selection. I got some organic potatoes, blackberries (!) and an incredible gluten free vegan cookie. I love supporting local farmers and restaurants and I hope to keep doing so throughout the season. And I WILL be back for more of those cookies 😉

Saturdays are for selfies.

Saturdays are for selfies.

No description needed…

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

And after the farmers market, it was on to Whole Foods! I made my weekly restock trip, and yes, it was more expensive than I planned on, but only because I needed to buy protein powder. I actually got a good deal on that — 2 pounds for $25, when it’s normally over $40! So my grocery trips for the rest of the month should be cheaper. Doesn’t it just feel so good to have a full pantry and fridge again though?

Picnic-style leftovers.

Picnic-style leftovers.

After restocking my kitchen, Saturday’s dinner was a repeat of Friday’s but this time with some watermelon and avocado oil potato chips. If you haven’t tried these, you may not want to…because they’re addicting. I usually prefer sweet potato chips, but these are still healthy because they’re cooked in avocado oil instead of unhealthy canola or sunflower oil and the only ingredients are potatoes, avocado oil and sea salt. And paired with some picnic-style sides (the above homemade potato salad and vegan firecracker coleslaw from Whole Foods) I totally fit in with all the other people enjoying traditional July 4th meals. Except, you know, vegan and gluten free!

That's hot!

That’s hot!

My run on Sunday felt hot, and now I know why! I went around noon, and while the breeze helped, I was still a sweaty mess afterwards. When I checked my phone later, I saw the heat index was 104 degrees! Luckily it wasn’t super humid, so I spent some time poolside both Saturday and Sunday. But check it — today is supposed to be 100 degrees, so who knows what the heat index will be!

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

I have my dad to thank for getting me into Dave Barry probably a good 10 years ago (that makes me feel old). If you’ve never read him, he’s freaking hilarious and you’re missing out. I enjoyed some of his work while chillin’ on my porch waiting to Skype my parents. Best way to end my Sunday!

Is it any wonder July is my favorite month? The 4th is one of my favorite holidays (#historynerd), it feels like the essence of summer and my birthday is at the end of the month. And this year, I’m really looking forward to that. My family is driving out here for a few days and I can’t wait to be with them again after nearly 4 months without seeing them and to show them around! T-minus 20 days til the big day…

How did you enjoy your weekend? 

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Keep It Simple

I feel like I haven’t posted a recipe on here forever! I could blame it on my crazy work schedule (which is true), or the hot temperatures which have kept me far from the oven, but really, it’s just because I’ve been embracing simple foods lately.

My work meals are easy to throw together — Sunwarrior chia puddings+toppings (raisins, stevia chocolate chips, raw nuts), Kit’s Organic bars, fresh fruit, flax crackers, carrots+homemade hummus. Basically anything I can eat at my desk while writing stories for 8 hours. When I get home, I get my workout in and then throw something together for ‘dinner’ (if you can count a meal eaten at 4 pm as dinner…that’s life when you work early mornings). No more elaborate recipes requiring special ingredients. It’s all about things I can make from my pantry staples and put together in 10 minutes or less.

Keepin' it simple at the farmer's market. Locally-grown mini zucchinis and local-made smoked hummus.

Keepin’ it simple at the farmer’s market. Locally-grown mini zucchinis and local-made smoked hummus.

So what have I been eating?

Sweet potato hash.

Sweet potato hash.

Sweet potato hash. Aka heaven in a bowl. Basically I take a sweet potato, peel it, and then chop it up into fine chunks in my Ninja, and blend it with spices (pink salt, nooch, garlic, cayenne). And then I dump it into a pan heated up with a a little coconut oil, add in some spinach and hemp ‘tofu’ when I have it and let it cook up til it’s crispy. And then I top with hummus (either local from the farmer’s market or homemade) and raw nuts and seeds.

Pan-roasted cole slaw (cabbage and carrots) with kelp noodles, spices, hemp seeds and smoked hummus.

Pan-roasted cole slaw (cabbage and carrots) with kelp noodles, spices, hemp seeds and smoked hummus.

Pan-roasted veggies. The spices are really what makes these so craveable. I’ve done it with both cauliflower and cabbage, and both are really good. My go-to spices are pink sea salt, garlic granules, cayenne powder and nutritional yeast. And I just cook the crap out of the veggies over a pan on the stove, because ovens are overrated and I love having a gas range that heats up in seconds.

It's gotta be greeeeeeen.

It’s gotta be greeeeeeen.

Banana softserve. Some days, I really wanted a cold dinner that was more on the sweet side. Enter banana softserve. I think you all know how this works, but I blend a frozen banana with greens (spinach or romaine), some Sunwarrior protein powder and a little almond milk. And then I serve with raw nuts and dried fruit on the side.

Snack plates. When all else fails, and I’m feeling like eating a bunch of random stuff, I go for the snack plates. While my combinations vary, I always include…A) a veggie (usually romaine hearts drizzled with spicy mustard or carrots), B) fruit (berries or watermelon), C) hummus or salsa, D) raw nuts or seeds, E) dried fruit/stevia chocolate chips.

I used to be so concerned about getting tons of variety in my diet, but now I honestly just go with the flow and eat what I crave. It’s so freeing, and it makes for easier grocery shopping trips. I literally buy about 20 or so of the same things every single week, with a few changes here and there. And of course, I still get plenty of variety in the produce I eat…and I’ve been a produce monster this summer so far! I spend about half of my grocery budget on fruits and veggies and I can’t get enough.

Giant produce haul (mostly organic) from Whole Foods.

Giant produce haul (mostly organic) from Whole Foods.

What have you been eating lately?

What I’m Making this Thanksgiving (Vegan and GF)

Thanksgiving is a weird holiday for vegans, vegetarians and a lot of other people with food restrictions. The day is alllllll about the food (and family, and being thankful of course) so it can make things awkward if you can’t or don’t want to partake in the usual T-day fare.

This year will be my third as a vegan (well, 2 years ago I wasn’t quite vegan but my Thanksgiving was) and I’ve come a long way since then in terms of meal planning and finding healthier options. I am not a fan of the fake turkey and other meat options, so I’ll be making plenty of vegan and gluten free side dishes for me and my family to enjoy this year. All the recipes I’m planning on making are very friendly to almost any diet–vegan, gluten free and even paleo people can get in on these recipes and enjoy the holiday without having to compromise their health or moral standards. Note: I plan on making some changes to each of these recipes but feel free to check out the original!

Pumpkin & Pistachio Sweet Potato Fritters via Happy.Healthy.Life. (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

Photo from Whole Foods.

Photo by Whole Foods Market.

Sweet potatoes are possibly my favorite food ever, and paired with pistachios/pumpkin seeds and sauteed in coconut oil is even better. The simple ingredient list is a winner, and I plan on pairing these with some kind of PB and maple sauce.

Maple and Date Brussels Salad via Hummusapien (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

Photo courtesy of A Little Saffron.

Photo courtesy of A Little Saffron.

Another Thanksgiving-perfect side dish. What’s not to love about Brussels sprouts shredded to make a salad, then tossed with some dates and maple syrup?

Garlicky Parsnip Mash (vegan, gluten free, grain free, sugar free) via Affairs of Living

 

Photo by Whole Foods Market.

Photo by Whole Foods Market.

I’ve never been a fan of greasy, glue-y mashed potatoes but if you want the tradition factor without all the unhealthy ingredients, look no further than these white potato imposters! Rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin C, parsnips perfectly imitate fluffy potatoes when blended with a few, whole foods ingredients. If you want a cheesy flavor, toss in some nutritional yeast.

Chia Caramel Pecan Pie via This Rawsome Vegan Life (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free)

Photo courtesy of This Rawsome Vegan Life.

Photo courtesy of This Rawsome Vegan Life.

I love all the recipes I’ve tried from this blog, like I’m literally obsessed. I’ve been wanting to make a raw pecan pie for awhile and Emily from This Rawsome Vegan Life has the perfect, totally decadent, Thanksgiving-dessert worthy option for one. Featuring dates, nuts and chia seeds, this pie is the perfect mix of indulgent and healthy.

What are you making for Thanksgiving?

WIAW & ABCs

You guys already know how much I love surveys so I always get really excited when I see a new one floating around the blog world. This one’s a little more focused on life in general rather than food+fitness but I’ll still be including some WIAW-worthy pictures throughout!

Addictionsyoga, nori sheets (gotta love that seaweed-y flavor), sunshine & warm days, colored shorts, nut butter-stuffed dates, sleeping in, dark chocolate+mint combo, Larabars…etc.!

Recent lunch: nori 'burrito' (filled with cashew butter, coconut aminos, raw kraut, kelp noodles and spinach), dry roasted edamame, dried apples.

Recent lunch: nori ‘burrito’ (filled with cashew butter, coconut aminos, raw kraut, kelp noodles and spinach), dry roasted edamame, dried apples.

Bed size: Full. Prior to college, I always had a twin bed, then in the dorms they had twin XL but finally I’m in an apartment with a bigger bed and plenty of space for it!

Chore you hate: Cleaning the bathroom, or pulling weeds. We used to have the worst weeds at our previous house, and some of them were kinda scary to pull up (imagine 3-4 foot tall spiky green plants)!

Dogs or cats: I don’t have either, but I’d love to have one of each someday, preferably an Italian Greyhound and an orange tabby.

Essential start to your day: My now-daily ACV drink. I got into the trend a few months ago after reading all about it on blogs and while I haven’t noticed too many changes (I do tend to have less acne around that time of the month, though) I’ve come to enjoy the sweet and sour combo of ACV+vanilla stevia+cinnamon.

My daily 'cocktail'.

My daily ‘cocktail’.

Favorite color: Pink is #1, but orange is a close second.

Gold or silver: I prefer silver for jewelry, but I love the look of gold sparkly shoes! I currently own two pairs and want more.

Height: 5’1 and 1/2. Yes, that extra half inch really counts when you’re this tiny!

Instruments you play (or have played): I’ve played the clarinet, tenor and alto saxophones (my favorite to play!), piano and electric guitar. I’m not sure I could play any of them well now though.

Job titles you’ve had: people & academics editor, managing editor and weather anchor. I’ve actually never had a job outside my field of study (journalism) before and hopefully it’ll stay that way, though I wouldn’t mind working at Whole Foods for a summer!

Kids: Um…not right now, I’m only 20 (almost 21!) but it’s crazy how many people my age are getting married and having kids already. I want to have kids someday, hopefully twin girls.

Live: Both northern (for college) and southern (where I grew up) Colorado.

Mom’s name: Tammy, but I still call her Mommy!

Nickname: Usually just Ash, but my sister sometimes calls me Ashie.

Overnight hospital stays: None, I’ve actually never been to the hospital for anything other than when I was born.

Pet peeves: People smoking right by me, people showing up really late (like more than half an hour late with no explanation), rude drivers.

Quote from a movie: “She doesn’t even go here!” Name that movie, it’s one of my faves!

Right-handed or left-handed: Right-handed.

Siblings: Just my younger sister. I can’t believe she’ll be turning 18 in December!

Time you wake up: Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:30 (I know, college life is rough), Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 and weekends between 8:30 and 9:30. I definitely need to get in at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

Underwear: Yes, I wear it. And my underwear store of choice is Victoria’s Secret PINK, they have the cutest stuff there.

Veggies you dislike: Spaghetti squash, tomatoes and beets.

One of my favorite veggies (sweet potato) for dinner.

One of my favorite veggies (sweet potato) for dinner.

What makes you run late: finishing up a workout, getting together all my stuff for the day.

X-rays you’ve had done: teeth, right ankle and foot, left wrist.

Yummy food you make: Raw desserts, kelp noodle stir-frys, waffles, banana bread and eggplant muffulettas.

A very delicious waffle-for-dinner I made last week: cornbread (organic cornmeal+buckwheat flour) waffle topped with spinach, homemade chili and nooch.

A very delicious waffle-for-dinner I made last week: cornbread (organic cornmeal+buckwheat flour) waffle topped with spinach, homemade chili and nooch.

Zoo animal: I love flamingos! I just think it’s so cool that they’re pink.

One of the last times I enjoyed pretzels...oh it's been way too long!

One of the last times I enjoyed pretzels…oh it’s been way too long!

Thanks to an Instagram reminder from Kat, I realized I haven’t enjoyed pretzels in over a year. I remember how much I used to love the Annie’s bunny pretzels dipped in almond butter and jelly, but I gave them up because they were too ‘processed’ or whatever. Even though I don’t eat much gluten nowadays, I can still enjoy some fairly clean and GF pretzel sticks from Mary’s Gone Crackers with some of my favorite sweet+salty combos.

One of the best French toast combos ever: dark chocolate+coconut.

One of the best French toast combos ever: dark chocolate+coconut.

I have a confession to make. This delicious-looking French toast pictured above is NOT vegan! I know right?! I’m not giving up veganism by any means, but I was really curious about this frozen ‘Paleo bread’ I saw at a health store (mostly because it was made of coconut flour, which I love, but I can’t deny that the high fiber+protein and low calorie count also drew me in) and though it’s made with egg whites, I wanted to give it a try. I haven’t knowingly eaten egg products in forever, mostly because I’ve always hated eggs, but I though egg whites in a baked thing would be fine. For those of you wondering, the bread has only a slight coconut flavor and is kinda spongy but it works really well as French toast. I wouldn’t buy it again because it isn’t vegan but mostly because it cost almost $10 for a loaf, yikes! I’m still on the hunt for a totally vegan and gluten free bread that tastes great and isn’t too pricey…

Snow...in April?!

Snow…in April?!

I wish this were a (late) April Fool’s trick, but sadly, Colorado is known for bad April snowstorms. However, they predicted a blizzard, with high wind gusts and up to a foot of snow, and that (thankfully) didn’t happen! I was dreading having to take the bus to classes, but the streets stayed snow and ice free. Since it’s been so warm otherwise, I’m hoping the rest of it will melt soon too.

The best kraut I've ever had!

The best kraut I’ve ever had!

This stuff is seriously addicting! I’ve been looking for the local brand of kimchi that Whole Foods stores around here sell and they’ve been out for weeks, but this smoked jalapeno kraut is an amazing substitute. I’m seriously putting this on everything, from salads to nori burritos to kelp noodle stir-frys and even just eating straight up. This brand isn’t quite local, but I’ve heard most real krauts are only sold within the region they’re made in, so if you’re from California (where it’s made) or anywhere in the western U.S. you might be able to find this brand!

Share some of your ABCs here! Do you like kraut or kimchi?

WIAW: New & News

Before I get to the best party of every week, I wanted to share a little news with you guys. I’ll be doing a couple reviews (with a possible giveaway) within the next week so look forward to that! I love entering giveaways and reading reviews so I’m really happy that companies have started to reach out to me to share their products with my readers.

Now onto the eats! I’ve been eating a lot of “new-to-me” stuff lately which I always love. I’m not really a creature of habit, I do know what I love and stick with that but I really like switching things up and trying out new food. I did some of that over spring break and apparently that trend is continuing this week.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

Breakfast: chocolate coconut chia protein pudding topped with cacao nibs, shredded coconut and chocolate chip cherry torte Larabar.

The chia seed pudding obsession is going strong, but what’s new is the addition of (half of) this new-ish to me Larabar flavor. I tried the chocolate chip cherry torte flavor last summer and didn’t love it. But after having it a second time, I kinda like it. I pretty much hate anything cherry or cherry-flavored, so this is huge for me. Probably the chocolate chips are what make it ok 😉

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

Lunch: spinach salad with green garbanzos and balsamic.

The salad-for-lunch thing isn’t new (I’ve been eating one almost every day for three months!) but the green garbanzos sort of are! I bought some frozen ones from Whole Foods on a whim about a month ago and haven’t been using them a lot, but they’re really good in salads drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I’d love to try making falafel from them too!

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

Lunch side: half a pumpkin pie ALT Larabar.

If you have the new ALT bars near you, please try them! Especially this flavor. It reminds me of spice cake, and is really good and filling! Half of one made the perfect lunch dessert, and it had 5 grams of pea protein to boot (the entire bar has 10 grams). I love finding all-natural vegan protein bars that actually taste good!

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

Snack: snackplate of yellow carrot, maple mesquite sprouted walnuts, baked apple chips, Kaia buckwheat rawnola and Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig GF granola, southwest ranch kale chips, peanut flour paste with mini dark chocolate chips.

The kale chips are semi-new (the southwest ranch flavor of Kale Krunch chips is unreal) and so are the apple chips and the cashew butter (the WF brand reminds me of cookie dough, but it’s just made from cashews and a little safflower oil!) but the real newbie is the yellow carrot. Can you believe I’d never had a whole carrot before a week ago? I spotted a bunch of tri-colored carrots at Whole Foods and just had to snag them. I don’t think I’m gonna rely on baby carrots so much anymore, I love the crunch of these full size carrots! And the fun color is just an added bonus.

This doesn't look awkward at all...

This doesn’t look awkward at all…

‘Nuff said!

Grape Zevia.

Grape Zevia.

I’ve been wanting to try this flavor for awhile, but I didn’t want to pay $5 for a 6 pack, in case I didn’t like it. Verdict: while it’s not my favorite flavor (that would be the cream soda) , it actually grew on me and I do like it. At first it reminded me of children’s Tylenol, but it’s actually pretty tasty!

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Dinner: sauteed kale, sweet potato socca pizza.

Socca pizzas are a staple around here, but this was a first for me–a sweet socca pizza. I made my usual socca base (1/4 cup chickpea flour, salt, enough water to thin) and topped it with 1/4 of a mashed sweet potato mixed with almond milk and cinnamon, crumbled maple mesquite walnuts, shredded coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup. It was like dessert pizza for dinner, and it was oh so good!


These were actually all my meals for Monday, minus my nighttime snack (unpictured because it was eaten too late for a good photo to be taken), which was coconut flour mixed with a little baking powder, chocolate chips and almond milk and microwaved to make a coconut flour muffin, a square of Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, peanut flour paste and a date stuffed with cashew butter and cacao nibs. Nothing exciting, but I love it.

If you’ve tried Zevia, what’s your favorite flavor? Have you ever eaten a weird colored veggie?

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? 

 

Currently…

Hi guys, long time no see huh? It’s getting to be that time of the year again…back-to-school time! So I’ve been pretty busy the past few days getting everything packed and ready for second semester. I’m actually really excited to go back–my classes seem interesting, I’m ready to do weather anchoring again and I can’t wait to be back in my apartment so I can do whatever the heck I want. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family to pieces, but I need my alone time sometimes and having my own kitchen again will be nice.

Since life’s been cray over here, I’m gonna borrow a little survey I spotted on Amanda’s blog the other day so enjoy…and I’ll be back next week with some updates!

Current Books: Erm…uh…I’m actually not a big book reader (please don’t hate me!). I do have some books I love, like Dave Barry (he is hilarious!) and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, but I haven‘t actually read them in awhile. I am loving Veganomicon though–so many delicious vegan recipes I need to try out.

Current Music: Anything by Foster the People. Love them. I just added their station to Pandora and I’m addicted. Right now I can’t get Houdini out of my head.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Lotions from Bath & Body Works. Seriously, can I just buy them all?! They smell so delicious…

Current Nail Color: OPI’s Giftcards for Everyone. Oh, and Sally Hansen’s Posh Plum on my ring fingers. I got the OPI color as a mini giftset for Christmas and the colors are perfect for winter.

I'm still mastering the art of nail polishing.

I’m still mastering the art of nail polishing.

Current Drink: I can’t go without my (almost) daily ACV morning cocktail. 1 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar, English toffee stevia drops to taste, cinnamon and water to dilute. It tastes like a sour apple pie.

Current Food: I’m loving the sweet potato+sunflower butter+peanut flour paste+raisins+chocolate chips combo, as I mentioned on WIAW. Sounds weird, tastes heavenly and never gets old.

Current Favorite Show:  I heard the new season of WNTW (What Not to Wear) is on so I really need to start watching that again, I really missed my Clinton & Stacy fix. Other than that, I think 1600 Penn is hilarious and I love Chopped on the Food Network.

Current Wishlist: I would love some Starbucks and iTunes gift cards because I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for my own coffee and music #collegeproblems

Current Needs: Not sure if this is more of a need or a want, but dumbbells. I really want more muscle and bodyweight training alone isn’t cutting it. I’m really wanting to start a strength training routine so I’m planning on hitting up Target soon to pick up some cute and colorful weights.

Current Bane of My Existence: The fact that everyone is coming down with the flu, and I reaaaaaaallllly don’t want to get it. No such thing as hand sanitizer overload during flu season.

Current Celebrity Crush: Bradley Cooper. He was amazing in Silver Linings Playbook, and he doesn’t look half bad 😉

Mmmmm, yes...

Mmmmm, yes…

Current Indulgence: My recent trip to Whole Foods. A little over $100…yikes. Yes, it was a restock-my-apartment-because-it’s-foodless trip but still. Hope they’ll last me awhile!

Current Blessing: No snow in the forecast for awhile. I know we could really use the moisture but I’m already sick of winter and snow. Bring on summer!

Current Slang: Whatevs. I know that’s so old and lame but I don’t care, I still use it.

Current Excitement: My family’s spending the day with me tomorrow at my apartment and it’s gonna be fun! We’re going out to eat at my favorite vegan restaurant (which my omni family all love) and my sister and I will probably do some hardcore shopping and jamming out in the car. We’re so cool…

What I got the last time I went to Tasty Harmony...oh sooooo good!

What I got the last time I went to Tasty Harmony…oh sooooo good!

Current Mood: Excited for tomorrow, and nervous for the semester to start.

Current Link: Zite. They have an app and everything, but I love it because you put in your interests and it generates new stories and articles on those and related topics for you to read…and it changes every day!

Answer any of the above!