WIAW: Weekend of Veggies and Dancing

Hey! Glad you all liked my product review! It was really fun to do and hopefully I’ve inspired some of you to go out and try the oats for yourself.

Anyway, as promised, here’s a recap of my weekend, in WIAW form. Okay, so it’s not really What I Ate Wednesday, but What I Ate And Did This Weekend (so WIAADTW). Whatever, WIAW sounds better! And this weekend, I got in a ton of veggies, which always seems to be the case when I go home. So hopefully spring break will be veggie city 😀

Friday

My madre picked me up around 11, as usual, and we hit the road. The thing I love best about getting done with class so early on Friday is that on the weekends I go home, my mom can come pick me up right away and we don’t end up hitting any rush hour traffic in Denver, plus I get a slightly longer weekend at home. Win win! We got back to the Springs just in time to pick up my sister from school, headed home for a little bit, then back out to drop her off for the musical she was performing in. My mom and I hit up Qdoba for a quick dinner, and obviously, I forgot to take a picture. But I ordered my usual, the Naked Vegetarian Taco Salad topped with lettuce (duh), black beans, fiery habanero salsa (super hot, just the way I like it) and corn & black bean salsa. So good! I was starving so I finished off the entire salad. Guess I love my greens 😉

Then we met my dad to see my sister’s musical. It was based on the Prince of Egypt movie, and it was pretty decent. She was the understudy for Zipporah (Moses’ wife) but unfortunately, she didn’t get to fill in. She was good in the other parts she did, though!

Saturday

I ate breakfast (obvs) and showered, which is so unusual for me since I usually do it at night, but my dad, sister and I were going to a father daughter dinner dance so I needed to be fresh for that!

Breakfast: carrot cake oats with raisins, spicy veggie sausage.

I did some yoga and cardio circuits, had lunch and then just did whatever around the house until it was almost 3…yikes, I needed to get ready pronto! I repainted my nails with pink crackle polish (my fave), curled my hair and got into my dress for the dance.

The only picture I have right now of me in my dress...more to come hopefully soon!

Lunch: sweet potato topped with crunchy almond butter and real maple syrup, crushed natural nacho kale chips, frozen banana slices, side of water in a Starbucks holiday tumbler.

Since neither my mom or sister were there (they were at the last performance of the musical), my dad had to take a few pictures of me outside in my dress, alone. Usually my mom would take pics of the three of us all dressed up, but it was just me this time. Not that I minded 😉 Except it was freezing outside and windy! Not fun.

My dad (who looked handsome in his suit, by the way) and I headed out…not for the dance yet, but for Whole Foods! The hotel the dance was at was catering dinner, but I know from past experience that I don’t like the vegetarian option they serve (and they had no vegan option, as far as I know) so my dad suggested we get something to go from Whole Foods. Um, yeah, I was a happy camper, especially when I discovered tons of new salads at the hot/cold bars. The Whole Foods I go to most of the time has an amazing selection, so I filled my box with a ton of different ones, like sweet potato chunks with cannelini beans, orange chipotle tofu cubes, an Asian kale salad, spicy marinated artichoke hearts and a Mediterranean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and chickpeas. All of it was ridiculously good so it’s pretty sad that I could only get a super lame picture of it, since I had to take it in the dark ballroom at the dance. Yeah, it felt a little weird eating my Whole Foods salads while everyone around me was having the chicken or steak meals, but I did not regret my decision–it was super tasty, and healthy!

It doesn't look too tasty, but it really was!

The program was really really good, but of course, I was looking forward to the dancing! It’s always so fun to make a fool of myself with my dad and sister while busting a move on the dance floor. First, we had our pictures taken by the photographer there, and then we hit the floor! When we first went back in the ballroom, it was  packed and people were handing out these weird balloons for no reason. It was so funny though, because all the dads and daughters were waving them around to the music. So random, but so fun! Most of them popped by the end of the night, but I actually still have mine at home!

This random button we found on our table--my sister and I thought it was hilarious.

My place card.

The band was pretty decent, I just wish they had played more modern songs than the oldie type stuff, but I guess they wanted to appeal to the dads and daughters. They did do Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”, so my sister and I really got down to those! And of course, the last song was “Butterfly Kisses”–I almost cried while I was slow-dancing with my dad. The whole event makes me really appreciate how much my dad loves me.

Sunday

Unfortunately, we had an early wake-up call, which sucked after being out so late (I didn’t fall asleep til after midnight) the night before. We’re trying to sell our house, and we had a showing in the morning so we had to get out for a little while. Of course, it was the perfect opportunity to hit up Starbucks! I rarely get to have Starbucks in the morning–I usually go in the afternoon. It was nice to get a little caffeine burst…I definitely needed it!

My Starbucks order du jour: tall skinny soy hazelnut latte.

My family got some bagels at Einstein, but I just got a fruit cup for my breakfast. Okay, honestly, bagels are a HUGE fear food of me–so many carbs, especially the “bad” kind, a ton of calories, blah blah blah. I don’t think I’ve had one in a year and a half, and even then I only ate half of one at a time, without cream cheese (because of all the fat), of course. I would have loved to try to at least somewhat conquer my fear, with one of their bagel thins and some vegan cream cheese (they don’t have this, but I can dream, right?), but I didn’t. Part of it was because I honestly wasn’t hungry–and this actually continued throughout the day, which was weird–but it was also because I was just too afraid. Maybe next time I can try a bagel thin…

Sunday was actually just a really weird day, because like I just said, I was barely hungry the whole day. I had my Starbucks drink and the fruit for breakfast, skipped lunch, had a few orange and banana slices before my mom and I headed back up to school and a Clif Kids bar in the car. For dinner we stopped at Corner Bakery, where I got their salad trio, with the Asian edamame salad, mixed greens salad and seasonal fruit medley. Of course, the fruit medley was mostly cantaloupe (ick!) so I just had the few grapes, apple slices and pineapple pieces mixed in, a little bit of the mixed greens (the dressing was  way too oily) and all of the edamame salad (which was really good and fresh). It honestly was not much food, but I still wasn’t hungry. After my mom dropped me off, my hunger finally returned so I could have some oats with peanut flour for a snack. But the whole day just threw me off and it actually sucked!

My hunger did return on Monday (thank God!) so I was able to enjoy a few of the new purchases my mom got for me from Whole Foods. First up, Late July organic sweet potato multigrain chips. I thought I wouldn’t really like these because I didn’t really like the Food Should Taste Good version, but these are so much better! They’re slightly sweet, slightly salty and are the perfect mix of soft and crunchy. They have a subtle sweet potato taste, but I love them.

My new favorite Late July chips!

I also tried some Hope Hummus, which is a locally-made hummus brand. I liked their sweet potato hummus, but when I saw they had a spicy avocado version, I just had to get it. It tastes like a blend of guacamole and hummus and it’s really good! The sweet potato chips were awesome dipped in it.

Two of my favorite dips in one!

And finally, I tried a Sumo orange for the first time. My dad spotted them at Whole Foods, picked up a few, and I took a couple with me to try. They definitely live up to their name in size, and they have an amazing, juicy, tangerine-like taste. I recommend them if you love oranges!

For size comparison, a Sumo on the left, a blood orange on the right.

What was the best thing you ate this weekend? What do you do on “not hungry” days?

WIAW: Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve

Hey friends, what is up? Can you believe that we’re just 4 days away from Christmas (hence my title)? It’s total craziness if you ask me, but I’m definitely looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for several reasons. One being I love the church service my family goes to every Christmas Eve, and I also can’t wait to watch the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story on TBS! That is my favorite Christmas movie, so hilarious and such a classic.

But enough about Christmas, let’s get on with this week’s WIAW! Is it lame that I’m always super excited for it? Nah, I don’t care if it seems dumb, it’s such a fun foodie party that I can’t not participate in it week after week. This week’s edition includes some random eats I’ve been loving lately, as well as a couple of recipes too–BONUS 😀 And apparently this week I was obsessed with Instagram…

Peas and Crayons

Hot caramel apple pie volume oats--I know you've gotta be drooling by now!

As I mentioned in my NaNeFoMo bucket list post, I said I was planning on making some raw treats. Well, the first thing on my mind was raw salted caramel apple dip. I bookmarked this recipe a few weeks back and was just itching to test it out for myself. I made a few tweaks to it, though, but it still turned out yummy. Next time, I think I’d add a bit more salt, though, because it didn’t have quite the hint of saltiness I thought it would.

Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip (vegan, no cook)

1/2 cup dates (the original called for Medjool, I used California pitted), about 12 dates

1 T raw nut butter (I used Artisana’s walnut)

squeeze fresh lemon juice

sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

Soak dates in water for at least four hours (I did overnight) and cover. Drain dates and reserve soaking liquid. Blend dates and rest of ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add in soaking liquid one spoonful at a time until it’s the right consistency for you. Use as a topping for oats, as a spread on fruit or bread or as an apple dipper, of course! Makes about 3/4 cup.

The salad kick continues with a homemade salad of spinach, crispy tempeh bacon slices and Whole Foods' carrot ginger dressing.

The dressing can really make or break a salad, but luckily, this one was a winner! I found it in the produce section when I hit up WF the other day, and it’s got a nice tanginess to it.

The perfect sides for a salad--a ripe Satsuma tangerine and some peanut butter balls cereal.

Hot cocoa (with marshmallows!) and frozen raspberries make a yummy snack.

I’ve been craving hot cocoa lately, so I decided to whip up an easy mug of it. I just heated up some unsweetened vanilla almond milk in the micro, mixed it with some Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder and a packet of stevia, and topped it with a few pescetarian marshmallows. It was the best hot cocoa I’ve had in quite a while (I actually rarely drink hot cocoa), so I’m thinking almond milk is what made it amazing. But then again, what isn’t amazing about almond milk?

A throwback to an old favorite--"taco salad" with black beans, spinach, plain Oikos and crushed mild green mojo multigrain chips on top.

So remember me talking about how I’ve been obsessed with salads lately? Ummmm, well, that obsession’s gotten a little bit stronger since then. Since I got home, I’ve had a different salad for lunch every single day and it’s been glorious. Having fresh spinach leaves really takes them over the top. A good obsession to have, am I right?

Simple ingredients make for the most delicious cookies!

Nutty Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies (vegan)

1/4 c almond butter

1/3 c maple syrup

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 c pumpkin puree (I used butternut squash, since it was on hand)

1/2 c oat flour

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 c vegan chocolate chips

1/4 c unsweetened dried cherries

1/4 c chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine almond butter and maple syrup together until mixed; add in pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda and then add in to wet mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, cherries and pecans until combined. Cover and chill batter for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Scoop chilled batter with a melon baller onto baking sheet, spacing dough 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown and just slightly soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside on baking rack to cool. Makes 12.

I loosely based this recipe off one from the Whole Foods website, but I made it vegan by subbing almond butter for dairy butter, maple syrup for white sugar and pumpkin puree for eggs. They turned out pretty good, a little small, but nice and “rugged” I guess. I like cookies that aren’t delicate–I definitely prefer ones like these that have chunks of good stuff in them! These cookies are pretty low-cal (about 120 per cookie) and you can feel good about eating them because they’ve got healthy ingredients like nuts and oats in them. But mostly you’ll just like them ’cause they taste good 😉

A 'classic' dinner with a twist--homemade black bean burger, sweet potato tots (best little things ever!), peanut flour sauce.

I made an attempt at making my own veggie burger last night, and it actually turned out decent, except it was too crumbly. I basically just mashed drained black beans and rolled oats together with a little chili powder and cooked it up in the skillet. It was a simple and delicious dinner alongside my favorite sweet potato tater tots and some peanut flour sauce for dippage. My kind of “burger and fries”.

What better way to start out the morning than with peanutty raspberry chocolate volume oats?

I have so much fun creating new oats combos. This one, like most of them, was a total winner, but then again when isn’t the combo of raspberry, peanut and chocolate delicious? Unfortunately, my supply of peanut flour is running dangerously low (no worries, another bag is on the way) so it turned out kinda runny but it still mixed well with organic jam and a few dark chocolate chips.

 

What is something you’ve tried again recently for the first time in a while? What is your favorite part of Christmas (if you celebrate it)?

Saturday Seven: Home Sweet Home

Well, by the title of my post I’m pretty sure you can guess that I’m home 😀 I have been since about 9 on Thursday night and I’ve had so much fun so far! I’ll explain this in my Saturday Seven, so let’s do it to it (sorry I’m such a dork 😉 )

1. I can’t wait to wear these booties!

I am ob-sessed with these!

Ever since I bought my brown tall boots I’ve been totally head-over-heels (haha, get it?) in love with boots of all kinds. And I’ve had my heart set on these Aldo Pirnie booties in particular since earlier this fall. When my grandpa sent me an Amazon gift card for an early Christmas present, and I saw they had these boots for $28, I snapped them up. They came on Tuesday, and they were probably the reason I was most excited to come home (just kidding!) I finally got to try them on on Thursday night and they fit perfectly and look super adorable. The only problem is, my dad said I can’t wear them til after Christmas, since they are technically a Christmas present. Boooooo 😦 Dads just don’t understand that we girls want to show off our new clothes 😛

2. I’m on a salad kick, and loving it

It basically looked like this, except for with a different salsa and there was lettuce of course!

Monday night when my mom dropped me off after my weather anchor audition (I spent a long weekend at home), we hit up my favorite salad place, Mad Greens, and I got the Don Quixote, which is one of my fave salads there. It had lettuce (duh), mango chunks (yes please!), fresh avocado, corn and black beans. Not a fan of corn at all, but the salad was still good. On Thursday night my mom and I grabbed dinner at Qdoba on our way outta town, and I got the naked vegetarian taco salad. The naked part just means it is in a bowl instead of a taco shell. I was starving, so I went to town on that baby! It was basically lettuce, black beans, corn salsa, habanero salsa (which was soooo hot, but soooo good!) and their fat free picante ranch dressing. That dressing is so delicious, but definitely not overpowering, and it made for a delicious dinner. Then yesterday, my sister and I had a nice lunch at Panera, where I got the Thai Chopped salad, minus the chicken and wontons. The peanut sauce, edamame and cashew clusters really make the salad and again, I devoured it. No shame! I’ve been craving salads like crazy, since at school I mostly just eat in my dorm and don’t have space for lettuce. You best believe I am stocking up on salad greens ASAP to make my own salad creations at home!

3. Need someone to unpack your stuff? Just call me!

Recycled from Thanksgiving break, but you get the picture! Obviously too tired after all that unpacking to snap a new pic.

Friday morning, I went to town unpacking the two giant suitcases I brought back half my life in. I think it took me like 20 minutes at the most, and it’s all unpacked. I think you just gotta get in the groove, and it doesn’t feel like work. If you put it off, it’ll just suck when you finally get around to it. Plus, I’m somewhat of a neat freak, and can’t stand having too many things out on the floor. Drives me nuts.

4. Colorado doesn’t get white Christmases

SNOW...oh wait, just kidding, that's basically just frost!

That picture above was taken last year on Christmas Eve…does it looks like snow to you? Ummmm, no. Seriously, we have a much better chance of it snowing on Easter than on Christmas here. And Halloween, too. Bizarre weather much? Apparently in the last 100 years, only 13% of the time has Colorado had a white Christmas, where it either snowed on Christmas day, or there was snow on the ground on the day. How sad is that? I’m hoping it snows this year, or at least the snow that’s still on the ground sticks around for another week…

5. There’s a sequel to “Santa Baby”…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm_YHHyAlYY

Don’t ask about the weird  image that’s with the song. But anyways, my mom told me that she heard this song for the first time the other day (it’s called “This Year’s Santa Baby”) and since then, I’ve heard it twice. It has the same melody, but new and kinda funny lyrics. But apparently, it was never a hit, which is probably why it’s rarely played. But if you have Sirius XM radio, definitely check out the Holiday Traditions station because they’ve been playing it a lot!

6. I could totally live in a bottle of Bath & Body Works’ Vanilla Bean Noel lotion

It smells like cookies and magic!

Uh, yeah, don’t mind me over here smelling my lotion bottle like a crazy person. I can’t help it, BBW has the best lotion scents. This one is truly amazing. Don’t tell anyone, but I kinda want to eat it…

7. I really want lace shorts for Christmas

These ones in particular, from Abercrombie Kids!

I’m kinda obsessed with the shorts and tights (with boots!) trend for winter, and what better way to dress up the combo than with lacy shorts? I think they’re completely cute and I’m really hoping I get them. I like these grey ones, since white seems too summery and I already have a pair of navy shorts.

What is your favorite salad from a restaurant? Do you like the lacy shorts trend for winter?