My Ode to the Whole Foods Salad Bar

If you’ve been reading AlmostVegGirlie for awhile, you’ll know that I have an unhealthy obsession with the Whole Foods salad bar. I first discovered it in July 2011–even though there’s been a Whole Foods in my city for years, I had never ventured to the salad bar side of the store. I fell in love at first bite, and the rest is history. Actually, after my first time trying it, I didn’t get it again for 7 months. But once this summer hit, I’ve been getting my salad bar fix on the reg (probably once or twice a month) and each box is totally worth it.

Some of my favorite salad bar creations, in collage form.

Some of my favorite salad bar creations, in collage form.

Dear Whole Foods Salad Bar, 

When I first met you, I had high expectations

I hoped you’d be delicious, and you were.

We didn’t meet again for many months

And I missed you every day

But now we’re reunited

And I won’t forget about you again.

I love your variety, your tasty flavors

You always have plenty of vegan options

You’re my favorite place to eat.

You have my old favorites

But there’s always something new to discover

And that’s why I love you…

Even though you cost 5 or 6 bucks

It’s a love affair that’s worth every cent 

 

Boy was that cheesy or what 😉 Obviously I have a scary addiction to it, but there are definitely worse things to be addicted to.

Other than that lame poem (that didn’t even rhyme), I wanted to share some of my tips for Whole Foods salad bar picking and some of my favorites.

Tips

  • If you want to save money, only put one or two heavier items in your box. They charge by pound (the bars by me charge $7.99 per pound) so you’ll want to load up on lighter weight items if you’re going for a cheaper meal.
  • Read the ingredients. If you have an allergy, intolerance or dietary preference, the salad bar will be your savior. They have cards out above each item listing all the ingredients in it, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
  • Try new things. I have a few favorites I always get, but when I see something new and interesting, I usually put a little of it in my box. That way, if it isn’t great, I won’t have wasted valuable box space. But if it is good, then you’ll have a new favorite!
  • Go to different Whole Foods. If you have more than one in your area, I would highly recommend trying out different stores to see which one has the best salad bar variety. The Whole Foods I shop the most at at home has the best salad bar options, while the one in my college town is more hit-or-miss. And go on different days, too, since they usually switch up items a lot from day to day or week to week.

Favorites

  • Maple glazed sweet potato chunks. I can’t remember the exact name of these, but it’s big chunks of sweet potatoes in a lightly sweet sauce with bell peppers and currants. It’s one of my “heavy item” splurges.
  • Homemade wheat tortilla chips. I generally don’t eat wheat products on a daily basis because I feel better without it, but these chips are definitely worth it. They’re so fresh and thick and salty and delicious.
  • Guacamole. Whole Foods makes the best guac, period.
  • Coconut curry tofu. They also make the best tofu. This version is great, creamy without the dairy and a bit spicy.
  • Superfood salad. This combines so many superfoods in one–kale, cashews, blueberries and acai dressing.
  • California quinoa salad. I have yet to recreate this one but I really need to. It’s red quinoa, edamame, flaked coconut, mango and bell pepper in a really good light dressing.
  • Marinated artichokes. I love artichoke hearts anyway, but these are totally craveable.

Have you ever eaten the Whole Foods salad bars? What’s your favorite item there?

WIAW: What I (Want to) Eat on Thanksgiving

Can you believe we’re just over a week away from T-day? Me neither! Does it surprise you that I really like Thanksgiving–even as a vegan? For me, it’s not really about the food (the desserts, though…) but the fact that I get a week-long break away from school, just when I need one. I am really stressin’ right now but luckily this year, I get an extra day off because my class on Friday was cancelled. Definitely thankful for that!

Even though I’m not a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving fare, I still have some things I would like to make and eat on the big day. Some of the flavors that scream ‘Thanksgiving’ for me include maple, pumpkin, cranberry and pecan so hopefully I can include all of those in this year’s meal.

Maple roasted veggies. Photo from La Vida Vegga.

Roasted veggies are the best–why not make them even better with a hint of real maple syrup? I think these would be great as leftovers too!

Maple pecan pie bars. Photo courtesy of Natural Noshing.

Can you believe these are vegan, gluten-free and grain free? Me either, but I really want to give them a whirl to see if they turn out as delicious as they look. I actually really love trying out recipes that are vegan and grain free, which is kinda hard to find since most grain free recipes include eggs, but this one thankfully doesn’t!

Cranberry kale salad. Photo courtesy of Kraft (recipe from Whole Foods).

You all know how much I love kale (it’s my favorite veggie, other than sweet potatoes) so combining it in a salad with fresh cranberries and miso paste sounds perfect for Thanksgiving.

Vegan caramel apple. Photo courtesy of Healthy Happy Life.

Caramel apples seem so complicated and way too sugary…but not this one! The recipe seems so easy to follow, and the caramel sauce itself is made with coconut sugar (lower glycemic!) and coconut milk so it’s much healthier.

Spiced grilled sweet potatoes. Photo courtesy of Whole Foods.

Sweet potatoes are great, but even better when they’re grilled and made spicy!

Pumpkin s’mores pudding. Photo courtesy of Healthy Food for Living.

How amazeballs does this look? It’ll be the perfect way to use up some of the Ricemellow creme I just bought–huge container, thought it was a little too sweet but it would be great on top of this!

Pecan pie waffle. Photo courtesy of Three and a Half Vegans.

You know my obsession with waffles–these take that to a whole new level! I think I know what I’ll be having for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning…

Do you prefer pumpkin, apple, sweet potato or pecan pie? What’s your favorite fall flavor? 

WIAW: Weird Day of Eats

This is going to be a quick WIAW post since I’ve been incredibly busy this week–it’s midterm time and I’ve been overloaded with other school stuff too. But I still wanted to get in a WIAW so here it is! This is showing (almost) all of my food from Monday and it was a weird day of eating. My fridge hasn’t been working so I’ve had to keep my food in a small insulated cooler and I have to constantly change the ice out. It’s a pain in the butt, especially since the whole ordeal ended up making my kale inedible 😦 but hopefully my fridge will be fixed soon.

Caramel apple protein smoothie. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk. A quarter of a Pink Lady apple. 1 small Medjool date. Vega vanilla almondilla protein powder. Dried apple ring.

This was totally made up on the spot, but it worked, and actually tasted caramel-y. It’s still warm enough here most days for smoothies so I hope I can enjoy this a few more times.

Starbucks tall salted caramel mocha frappuccino light with soy. Unpictured side of dry roast edamame and maple pecans.

Yes, this was lunch. And yes, it was delicious. Also yes, it didn’t leave me satisfied. Obviously having a lunch that’s mostly caffeine and fake sugar will do that to you, but I was really craving a light frappuccino and this did the trick. I tried to bulk it up by adding protein (edamame) and fat (pecans). I wouldn’t do it again, but it was tasty.

Hannah yam. Salted almond butter, maple syrup, vegan chocolate chips.

This quick snack did the trick. The combo seems really weird but it works. If you’ve never tried a Hannah yam, you should. They look like regular potatoes on the outside but have a yellow-y inside and taste like a sweet potato.

This is my morning weather update from this week! It’s CTV’s (my college’s TV station) first week trying out these morning weather updates so hopefully they get better over time. And next time I hope I don’t look fat–it’s probably just how the shot was cropped and that it’s widescreen but I look seriously bloated. No bueno.

Yay for cheap-o knockoffs!

If you thought these were TOMS, you’d be wrong. But they’re almost as good, plus they were under $10. I made an impromptu stop at Super Target the other day and got sucked into buying these shoes. But hey, they were a good deal and I needed a pair of flats. You can’t really tell by the picture, but they’re a glittery gold. So cute, and so cheap.

Coconut flour microwave cake topped with peanut flour. Kale with vegan creamy garlic dressing. Two falafel balls. Dried apple rings.

Finally some veggies other than a sweet potato! This was the last of my kale because sadly it wilted after being in a less-than-cold fridge. Sad day. This was a delicious, if random, dinner though. (Side note: I finally have peanut flour back in my life!)

Protein cereal bowl. Sunrise maple cereal. PB & chocolate Puffins. Chocolate chips. Raisins. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Peanut flour.

I used to be such a cereal fiend, but now I have it maybe once a week. And it’s always in protein cereal bowl form, aka I put protein powder or peanut flour in the bottom of a bowl, dump in the cereal and other add-ins and then add almond milk. So good, and I get a nice dose of protein with my carbs.

Do you have any ‘knockoff’ shoes? What’s the weirdest lunch you’ve ever had?

WIAW: “Normal” Eating

This WIAW will be more ED focused than most of them, but I’ve got a few fun things to share so hopefully that’ll make up for the more serious talk!

So remember way back when (aka March) when I talked about how I was fed up with how much I was restricting? And I mentioned in other posts after that one about how I was working on making changes. Well…honestly…that didn’t happen. I didn’t make much of an effort to increase my eats, other than an extra handful of something here and there. I didn’t really make a conscious effort at all until…well, a couple of days ago. Okay, so it really started a few weeks back but lately I’ve been making big strides in eating more. And not only eating more, but feeling okay and ‘safe’ with it. Safe was one of the words my ED used to justify restriction–it felt safe and ‘normal’ to me. But now that I’ve seen the light, and realized I can eat way more and not balloon out of control well…I’m kinda saying goodbye to ED.

I know I still need to increase more. 2000+ calories seems to be the magic number for a lot of people. I’m fairly active, between walking to classes and doing daily full body workouts. But I’m also a small girl and I’m thinking I probably need fewer calories than somebody taller or wither a bigger build. But I know that what I’m eating now, even though it’s more than I was eating for too many months, still isn’t quite enough.

Anyways, enough of the chit chat. Let’s see how I’ve been normalizing my eating, and what better time to do it than WIAW?

Just as good as it looks, and so easy to make!

Yes, I made this. And yes, I also have been eating it. What exactly is it? It’s coconut whipped ‘cream’, completely vegan and totally yum. I followed Angela’s method, using a little bit of maple syrup and peppermint extract to sweeten it up. While mine didn’t turn out as fluffy as hers (maybe my canned coconut milk had a defect?) it is still delicious, creamy and crave-worthy. I’ve been enjoying a spoonful here and there and enjoying my new found love of coconut.

Another Whole Foods salad bar box? #sorryimnotsorry

This isn’t anything new…oh, wait, actually it kinda is! It was my first time trying beets (they had them in raw form at the salad bar) and I’m officially a fan. I’m also apparently a fan of veggies dipped in a big dollop of fresh guac and dumping tons of pumpkin seeds on my salad. Embrace the fats, people. So good.

Tall iced Americano. With 2 pumps pumpkin spice syrup and a splash of u/s vanilla almond milk. Welcome, fall.

It sure didn’t feel fall-like on Monday when I stopped into Starbucks for this new-to-me drink. But it totally got me in the mood for it. I finally gave in and tried the pumpkin spice syrup that everyone raves about. I took home my pumpkin-spiked Americano and added in some vanilla almond milk (seriously, Sbux, why don’t you have this?) It was good, but not amazing. I guess I’m more of a peppermint mocha kinda girl.

Disclaimer: not taken while actually driving.

Guys, I’m sorry. But I’m officially addicted to the ‘driving selfie’. Except I always take them in the parking lot, or mayyyyyybe at a stop light if I’m feeling rebellious 😉 I just like making goofy faces and seeing the reaction of my fellow drivers.

This meal made me a tofu lover. Mixed greens/broc slaw with raspberry acai vinaigrette. Curry spiked ketchup. Tofu “fingers”. Alexia chipotle sweet potato fries.

I was never a big fan of tofu. Yes, I know I’m a crazy vegan, but it’s true. I would eat it sometimes, but never loved it. All that changed when I made Angela’s tofu nuggets over the weekend. They were crazy good on their own. But they were even better dipped in ketchup. Oh yeah, now I also like ketchup too. I found an organic brand with only 2 grams of sugar, and it’s pretty good.

This truly was a bowl of decadence, and I enjoyed every bite.

My nightly snacks are taking on a different look lately. I don’t go for cereal much anymore. Instead, I like a bunch of different flavors and textures in one bowl. Enter, this bowl of healthy vegan decadence. Healthy, because the base was a protein microwave cake, made with a plant-based protein powder, some flax and almond milk. Decadent, because it was topped with a spoonful of Whole Foods vegan chocolate mousse (just a few healthful ingredients, but tastes so rich), Nada Moo coconut milk ice cream, semisweet chocolate chips and a little of the mint coconut whipped ‘cream’. Yeah, this was just as good as it sounds and looks. I think I’ll be repeating this soon.

So close to 90,000 miles! Alejandro and I will have to throw a party when that happens.

Contrary to what Alejandro’s odometer says, he’s only 4 years old. That’s kind of a lot of miles for that few years, but a lot of long distance driving was done in Alejandro before my parents let me have him. Oh yeah, in case you didn’t know, Alejandro’s my car, a super hot red Hyundai Santa Fe. I’m not totally crazy, promise.

Leftover tofu fingers with ketchup. Kale massaged with nooch and lemon juice. Fresh figs. Almond peanut cashew butter mixed with maple syrup and chocolate chips.

This was a lunch, but it’s a lot like my typical snackplates. What can I say, I love variety! My lunches lately have been more substantial, incorporating veggies, protein (usually edamame or my favorite protein powder) and fat (usually nut butter).

Breakfast is getting more delicious! Chocolate mint kale protein smoothie topped with mint coconut whipped ‘cream’ and chocolate chips.

Who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast? Okay, this wasn’t quite dessert, since it incorporated greens and protein (but I don’t exactly shy away from those things in my desserts) but the addition of the whipped ‘cream’ definitely took it over the top. And this pudding like breakfast packed 20 grams of protein, plus kale! Who wouldn’t go for that?

Sweet and salty kale salad–kale massaged with lemon juice and nooch, kalamata olives, strawberries, figs and dry-roasted edamame. Half sweet potato topped with maple-infused almond peanut cashew butter. Pumpkin spice iced Americano.

Coffee at lunch…why not? But let’s talk about this salad for a second–so good. I always love sweet and salty combos, and this was just amazing for a random mix. The sweet potato was great too. But that’s a given.

Do you like sweet and salty salad combos? Did you try anything new (food related or not) over the weekend?

WIAW: What I Ate (Monday)

I haven’t done a legit WIAW in awhile, you know, like posting all my eats from one specific day. Really, it’s just more fun to highlight some of my favorite meals from the past week instead of doing it all from one day, plus I always forget to take enough photos! But I thought I’d try to do a real WIAW this week since I actually remembered to take pictures.

Breakfast: peanut butter banana smoothie-in-a-bowl made with So Delicious unsweetened Almond Plus almond milk, peanut flour, xanthan gum, Truvia, mini banana and topped with peanut butter Puffins.

I’ve been experimenting with almond milks lately. So far, I’ve tried Pacific Naturals u/s vanilla, Almond Breeze u/s vanilla & chocolate, Silk u/s plain and So Delicious Almond Plus u/s plain. I’ve liked all of them, Almond Breeze and Silk are the creamiest and have the most calcium, not to mention I prefer the vanilla to plain, so I think I’ll be sticking to those to those two brands. The So Delicious one is good if you want  a little extra protein (5 grams versus 1 gram per cup in most almond milks) but I wish they would come out with an unsweetened vanilla.

Lunch: curried sweet potato pinto burger, carrots, ginger peanut sauce, fresh pineapple.

Being home has meant cooking for myself (for reals!) pretty much every day. For me, this isn’t a bad thing at all. Basically, because the rest of my family are omnis, I have to make my own dinner which has inspired me to get creative. Somewhat. I remade these awesome veggie burgers from spring break and they’ve been making an appearance at both lunch and dinner lately. The problem with cooking for one is you end up with a lot of leftovers…which maybe isn’t a bad thing at all!

Monday’s outfit: navy cardigan (American Eagle), dark grey lace tank (Hollister), navy/dark grey abstract floral skirt (Hollister), bangles (American Eagle).

The weather has been so effing bipolar here! Since I’ve been home, the weekends have pretty much sucked (temps. in the 60s at best, lots of clouds and wind, maybe some rain) and the weekdays are hit and miss. Monday was pretty warm, but cloudy for most of the day so I missed out on tanning. Boo 😦 Tuesday was super-warm, but I spent some of the day inside for my first day of my internship. What I did spend outside was extremely hot, even early in the morning. I’m just hoping this weekend is better because I want to do a lot of stuff outside.

Snackplate: freeze-dried fruit, raisins, square of dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt, stuffed date, kettle corn, blue and sweet potato Late July chips, peanut flour paste. Side of (half a can of) cream soda Zevia.

Snackplates are officially never going away…at least I hope not! The above assortment has been my go-to combo lately and I’m not getting sick of it. I’m just running out of almost everything on it! Time to make a trip to Whole Foods 😀

Dinner: Hugh Jass sweet potato topped with black beans/guac/nooch on one side, peanut flour paste on the other, side of mini sweet peppers and ginger jalapeno sauce.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but this was one monstrous sweet potato! I enjoyed every last bite of it though, and of course had to please both my savory side (with the Mexican-inspired toppings) and my sweet side (with the peanut flour paste). The mini peppers are my new favorite veggie for summer, especially dipped in this spicy sauce. I can’t say enough good stuff about the Ginger People line of sauces. I love both kinds that I’ve tried and now I wanna try them all, well at least the ones without eggs or dairy in them!

Nighttime snack: PB Puffins in u/s almond milk, frozen grapes, peanut flour paste and almond peanut cashew butter.

See why I almost never post my meals from the same day? It’s because I repeat the same things throughout the day often. Like peanut flour, which I had 4 times on Monday, and Puffins which I had twice. I sometimes get really hung up on one thing and I eat it every single day or multiple times per day til I’m sick of it for awhile. I hope that never happens with my beloved Puffins and peanut flour…

Do you tend to eat the same things every day or multiple times per day? What’s your favorite thing to cook for just yourself? 

WIAW: The Finish Line

So who else had an awesome weekend? I finished two papers this weekend (not exciting, but it always feels great to get those done with, plus it means I’m just that much closer to being done-zo) and also saw Wicked at the Denver Center on Sunday. My sister is a huge musical fan, and Wicked is probably her favorite show, but this was my first time seeing it and I was blown away. Such an amazing score, costumes, actors and story. If Wicked comes to a city near you, I definitely recommend seeing it.

As I’ve mentioned probably a bazillion times, it’s my last week living in a dorm, and I only have 3 more days left as a sophomore. It’s kinda bittersweet, since I really enjoyed this year, but I definitely have some bigger and better things ahead of me, both this summer and in the fall, so I’m just ready to be done with this school year. So this WIAW is my final compilation of dorm room eats. I will NOT miss only having a microwave to do my cooking in!

A recent breakfast obsession: banana 'pudding' topped with crushed PB & chocolate Puffins.

I’ve been having smoothies-in-a-bowl almost every morning since I bought xanthan gum. I am so glad I made that purchase, because now my smoothies are so thick and creamy, almost like pudding. This one tasted like banana pudding, and it was amazing topped with Puffins.

Return of the snack plate: raw broccoli, spicy avocado Hope hummus, crushed Late July sweet potato chips, kettle corn, mixed dried fruit, kalamata olives.

I know most of the blogworld is obsessed with certain brands, like Chobani for Greek yogurt, Love Grown for granola and Sabra for hummus. Let’s just say I’ve never been one to go with the trends 😉 My favorite hummus brand is Hope Hummus, which is a Colorado company. They only make 3 flavors right now, but the spicy avocado flavor is the best hummus I’ve ever tasted.

Just like the diet cream soda I used to live, only more natural!

Diet cream soda used to be my favorite soda flavor. I never drank soda  a lot, but when I did it was usually that. Now that I avoid fake sweeteners, I love that there’s a more natural alternative to diet cream soda. And it tastes so good!

A very summery outfit: navy lace tank with pinstripe belt (Abercrombie Kids), red/navy/white plaid twill shorts (Abercrombie and Fitch), silver bangles (American Eagle), unpictured red flip-flops (Hollister).

It's crop top time! Dark grey Navajo-style cropped tee (American Eagle), fish necklace (American Eagle), dark wash jeggings (American Eagle).

Time for an outfit break! I’ve been loving the super warm weather (can anyone say 70s and 80s in April?) and wearing all my springy and summery clothes again. Summer is my favorite season for clothes–I could just live in dresses, cute twill shorts, pretty tanks and tees and leather sandals.

Sweet potatoes are back! Sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and pecan pieces, raisins/dried apples/Mission fig dipped in almond peanut cashew butter, cheezy lemon pepper kale.

Sweet potatoes don’t go away just because it’s almost summer. Oh no! I enjoy them year-round, with a variety of toppings. I especially love nut butters/peanut flour/actual nuts on top.

Stuffed dates are my favorite little treat!

If you’ve never stuffed a Medjool date with some kind of nut butter, you’re crazy! My recent favorite is honey walnut butter–basically I took some Artisana raw walnut butter and stirred in a little raw honey. I normally don’t like raw nut butters because they’re blander, but the touch of honey made it perfect.

A random dinner: frozen pineapple and mango, spicy guacamole, crushed Late July sweet potato chips, cheezy lemon pepper kale, edamame with nooch.

Okay, so you’re probably thinking, “This girl is obsessed with cheezy lemon pepper kale.” And you’d be right! But it’s a good obsession…I’ll even share the super-simple recipe I came up with with you. It doesn’t even have real measurements, which is always the sign of a good recipe 😉

Cheezy Lemon Pepper Kale (vegan, gluten-free)

handful kale, about 1 cup (I prefer shredding mine into smaller pieces)

squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper

nutritional yeast, to cover the kale

Squeeze lemon juice over kale in a bowl or measuring cup and massage into leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste, and nooch to coat the kale. Stick in the fridge for at least an hour, and enjoy as a salad base or a side dish (makes 1 serving).

Chocolate banana smoothie in a bowl with crushed PB & chocolate Puffins.

The chocolate version is just as good as the banana pudding version, but it’s even better with the Puffins on top. I love the contrast between the thick, smooth ‘pudding’ and the crunchy cereal.

Another iHerb order: peanut flour (duh), cacao sweet nibs, tiny jar of kumquat jam, sunflower seed butter, Chocolove dark chocolate bar with sea salt and almonds.

iHerb is officially my favorite online store ever! I can get so many foodie items that I either can’t find around me (cough cough peanut flour) or that are actually cheaper online. I finally realized that if you order at least $20 worth of stuff, you get free shipping. Score! So I stocked up on more peanut flour (can’t live without it), as well as three new-to-me products: cacao sweet nibs, sunflower seed butter and dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds. And they sent me a little freebie, a tiny and super-cute jar of kumquat jam, which I can’t wait to try! So exotic. The sweet nibs aren’t exactly like dark chocolate, but I like that they’re a raw product and only have 3 ingredients. The sunflower seed butter is my new second-favorite nut butter after almond peanut cashew butter; it’s perfectly salty and seedy. And the chocolate is heavenly and probably my favorite Chocolove flavor. Dark chocolate+almonds+salt=perfection.

What’s the most exotic jam or jelly flavor you’ve ever had? Do you like smoothies in a bowl?

Top Ten Tuesday

So in case you haven’t noticed, it’s already almost May. Ummmm, what the heck?! Seriously, I feel like just the other day it was Christmas. Like many other college kids, I’m feeling pretty burned out on school at this point. But my summer unofficially begins in 10 days, so obviously I am beyond psyched for that! I say unofficially because I have only one final exam this time around, so I’m starting my summer a little early, heading home next Friday and popping back up here to take my final the following Thursday…then my summer will officially begin!

Because of this burnout, which extends to many aspects of my life (oh summer, please come faster!) I’ve decided to do a little Top Ten list type post for today, as a little recap of my weekend, and also because I can’t really think about posting an actual post 😀 Hopefully you enjoy this for the time being though!

Ten Foods I Can’t Live Without

1. FruitOkay, technically this is cheating, but there are a billion fruits I can’t live without, from grapes to pineapple to watermelon to bananas to raspberries to kiwi to…you get the picture!

2. Almond milk. I love the unsweetened vanilla kind, but the plain unsweetened is kinda growing on me.

3. Oats. 

My favorite oats combo at the moment--topped with kettle corn, pretzel sticks, raisins and peanut flour/almond peanut cashew butter.


4. Kale. It’s great in chip form, cooked up with some salt/pepper/garlic on the stove and even raw and massaged with some kind of dressing.

5. Tempeh. My vegan “meat” of choice. I love it’s nutty flavor!

6. Peanut flour. 

I prefer peanut flour to PB2, I just store mine in an old PB2 jar so it's less messy!

7. Kalamata olives. Some people can’t stand olives–I don’t understand those people!

8. Medjool dates. So gooey, so caramel-y, so addictingly good.

9. PB Puffins. Do I really even have to explain this one? It’s basically my crack (besides peanut flour).

10. Sweet potatoes. 

Saturday's simple but yummy dinner: sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, baby carrots, garden herb Sunshine veggie burger topped with mustard.

Ten Things I Did This Weekend

1. Went to an independent film fest with my dad. We’ve gone to it since it started 5 years ago–we both love seeing random short indy films.

2. Went to church on Saturday night. Pretty self-explanatory!

3. Went out to eat…4 times! Normally, we barely ever eat out, except for when my mom drops me off back at school after a weekend at home. Due to our busyness this weekend, we had to eat out a lot. Definitely a struggle for me with my ED thoughts, but I mostly succeeded. Yes, I did order ‘safe’ things, like salads and veggie/hummus plates, but I truly enjoyed all of them. My favorites of this weekend were the salad I ordered at Mad Greens on Friday afternoon (baby spinach topped with Kalamata olives, dried cranberries, artichoke hearts and garbanzo beans with a fat free balsamic dressing) and the salad I got on Sunday night at Noodles (the Med salad with no dressing or feta, topped with grilled tofu). I kinda learned that I’m really not a tofu girl–it’s not necessarily the texture, but the taste for me. I’m not the hugest fan.

4. Played tennis with mi padre. Usually we play singles and a half (because we play with my sister) but she was unavailable so the two of us just played singles. It was so warm out and I was running around more than usual, so it was a great workout!

5. Grocery shopping. When my mom and sister picked me up on Friday afternoon, we hit up the Whole Foods and Super Target up here, then back at home we picked up a couple more things at the Super Target by us. And on Sunday, my dad and I ventured to Walmart where I stocked up on Truvia.

6. Bought my first-ever Zevia! I got the cream soda variety, and while I’m still waiting for the perfect opportunity to enjoy it, I have a feeling it’ll be incredible. Hopefully not so incredible that I feel the need to buy it on a regular basis since it’s pretty expensive…

So excited to try this!

7. Rode my bike for the first time since last fall. I never get the chance to ride it during the winter because of snow (duh) and there was even some lingering snow when I came home for spring break. I got in two quickie miles that were super hard because my tires were flat. Oops!

8. Worked on my final papers. Not fun, but they have to get done at some point!

9. Starbucks trip! I ordered a tall unsweetened iced coffee with 3 pumps of sugar-free hazelnut. Even better than the plain unsweetened with Truvia. I loved the nutty taste.

10. Repainted my nails silver and pink. I love this color combo and I actually haven’t had it since the beginning of school back in August!

My (slightly chipped) nails, and my lovely snake ring from American Eagle.

Ten Things to Do Before School’s Out

1. Finish my papers/essays. I’m definitely on track, just gotta keep my motivation up.

2. Clean my room. Vacuuming, dusting and all that should probably be done before I peace out.

3. Laundry. I don’t want to burden my mom too much, so I’m planning on washing my sheets and towels.

4. Finish up my last two weeks of classes. Even though I’m so done, I still have to get through 8 more days of classes. I can do this!

5. Make a (huge) list of recipes to make this summer. Some of this list will be coming ‘atcha tomorrow or Thursday for WIAW.

6. Turn in the last page of my internship stuff. The adviser in charge of organizing internships for students has such limited office hours that every time I stop by her office she isn’t there. I need to get this in though!

7. Move everything out of my room. Most of this will be done next Friday, and the rest the day of my only final. Not exciting or fun, but it’s gotta be done.

8. Sell my textbooks? Since I won’t be here during finals week, I’m not sure if this will get done, but I hope it will so I won’t have to have all these books laying around until the next buyback.

9. Study outside. It’s been incredibly nice here lately (I’m talking 80 degrees in April!) so I want to do this at least once.

10. Move out of the dorms…forever! I can’t tell you how excited I am for this. I love my dorm this year, since it’s all my own and it’s new and has air conditioning, but I am so ready for my own place next year.

What’s on your top ten foods list? What’s the best thing you did this weekend?

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?