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)?

WIAW: What I (Wish I Ate) From Whole Foods

Another week, another Wednesday…another WIAW, of course! I love this little shindig that Jenn came up with–total genius idea! And just think, only two more Wednesdays til Thanksgiving! If only T-Day were on Wednesday because how epic would that WIAW be?

Peas and Crayons

Anyways, y’all probably know how obsessed I am with Whole Foods already. I mean, I talk about it practically all the time 😛 Okay, maybe not that much, but lately I’ve been making a stop there every other weekend and I’m lovin’ it! My parents’ wallets, not so much 😉 But hey, I try not to go overboard there, just stocking up on the essentials like oats and dates and squash and cereal. I always end up with a few more things than I planned on, but I’m not complaining.

Besides my undying love for Whole Foods stores, I also love the recipes they have on their website/app. I’ve bookmarked so many it’s ridiculous. Obviously I haven’t even come close to making them all, but someday I will! For today’s WIAW, I wanted to share with you some of my current favorite recipes that hopefully I’ll be making come Thanksgiving break. So here we go! (P.S. All photos courtesy of http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/. I am not that good of a food photographer 😉 )

Breakfast: Cocoa Almond Baked Breakfast Quinoa

This almost looks like cake!

 I know what you’re thinking–quinoa for…breakfast? I totally thought the same thing, but this actually looks really heavenly, and is healthy to boot (of course!) Quinoa is a complete source of protein, which is great at breakfast, and with the addition of some hemp seeds and almond meal, has some healthy fats and fiber. Overall, it’s got 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per slice.  Plus it’s sweetened naturally with dates and is made with cocoa powder.  Total win, right?

Lunch: Carrot-Ginger Soup and TLC Sandwich

I love how orange this is!

It's like a BLT...but better/healthier!

 I’m usually not the hugest fan of soup, but I’ve gotta admit that it’s super-comforting in the fall and winter. I love carrots too and this broth looks so thick. I’d probably just swap out the regular potato for a sweet tater, you know, to increase my chances of turning orange 😉 And the soup/sandwich combo never gets old. This sammie features homemade tofu “bacon” which sounds absolutely amazing! Definitely a must-try recipe. If I was in a hurry, I’d probably just cook up some strips of tempeh bacon to put on the sandwich. I never used to be a big fan of real bacon, but I love me some vegan bacon! It’s so crispy and smoky.

Snack: Cocoa-Oat Truffles

Looks like poop, tastes SO much better 😉

 How simple are these–just 4 ingredients, plus extra spices if you want to. I would totally make these right now if only I had a food processor, because I’ve got everything else on hand. A mini food processor is DEF going on my Christmas wishlist! Basically, these are 4 of my favorite staples–rolled oats, cocoa powder (I’d use Hershey’s Special Dark), dates and almond butter–all rolled into one ball. Could they be any more yummy?

Dinner: Portobello and Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers (with a side of Baked Sweet Potato Fries)

Too bad mine wouldn't look this perfect!

Now I really want sweet potato fries!

 If you’ve ever had a portobello burger, you’ll know how delicious they are. I’m not even a big mushroom person and I love them. My favorite kind is from Larkburger, but I’d love to attempt to make my own at home. And I would totally dress them up with teriyaki sauce and grilled pineapple, because those are some of my fave burger toppings. And of course, what would a burger be without fries? I love love LOVE baked sweet potato fries with all my heart, they will never be replaced!

Dessert: Festive Garland Bars

Sweet and salty is the perfect way to end the day!

 I will find some way to make these vegan for sure. I’ll probably sub dark chocolate chunks for the white ones, omit the butter, replace the egg with pumpkin puree (for an extra festive twist!) and use oat flour or whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose. But these are definitely on my must-make list for Thanksgiving break, I just love the sweet and salty combination!

So there you have it! While I wish I could really cook on a regular basis, it just isn’t possible in a dorm room so I have to look forward to breaks and weekends at home!

Do you like the Whole Foods website recipes? What do you wish you could make for yourself right now?