Four Questions (& a return to blogging)

Wow, it’s been both a long and short 2 months since I last posted! Life has been truckin’ right along — work has been…well, work…but I’ve  also had some really nice weekends. Since my last post, I’ve been transitioned to working Monday  through Friday so now I get actual weekend days off, which is a blessing and a curse.

Instead of trying to catch y’all up on the past 2 months,  why don’t I just share a fun and easy survey that I’ve seen floating around. At this point, I’m just trying to get through the last 3 days of work this week (no work on Christmas, which is lucky for me) and then flying home Saturday morning. Better late than never, right? So here’s something quick to get me back into blogging!

4 Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name
1. Ash (a lot of people)
2. Sweet-O’s (my mom)
3. Sissy Fishy (my sister)
4. Ass (my best friend…it’s a long story haha)

4 Jobs I’ve Had
1. Managing editor for monthly newsletter for college faculty
2. Reporter intern at local TV station (unpaid)
3. Weather intern at local TV station (also unpaid, but I loved it)
4. News producer at NBC affiliate station (first ‘real’ job)

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First day on the job back in April (when I was still blonde)

4 Movies I’ve Seen More Than Once
1. Mean Girls (I quote it all the time with my sister)
2. Devil Wears Prada (probably my favorite)
3. A Christmas Story (the BEST Christmas movie)
4. 1776 (my favorite movie-musical…history nerd alert)

4 Books I’d Recommend
1. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series
2. A Series of Unfortunate Events series
3. Any Dave Barry books (he’s so funny)
4. Peace, Love & Baby Ducks (reminds me of my relationship with my sis)

4 Places I’ve Lived
1. Phoenix, AZ (where I was born)
2. Colorado Springs, CO (age 2 to 18)
3. Fort Collins, CO (age 18 to 21…aka college)
4. Tulsa, OK (since April of this year)

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I still want to move back to my desert home.

4 Places I’ve Been
1. San Francisco (a mission trip in HS…but now I wanna live there)
2. Salt Lake City (to visit my bestie in October)
3. Galveston, TX (a few times since my aunt and uncle live in Houston)
4. Orlando (Disney World back in 2006)

4 Places I’d Rather Be
1. California
2. The mountains
3. Home in Colorado
4. On vacation anywhere

4 Things I Don’t Eat
1. Meat, dairy, eggs (the obvious)
2. Pears
3. Tomatoes
4. Mushrooms

4 of My Favorite Foods
1. Spinach
2. Banana softserve
3. Vegan protein powder (specifically Sunwarrior and Garden of Life)
4. Cupcakes

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Worth the 2 hour drive to OKC for these vegan babies.

4 TV Shows I Watch
1. New Girl (loveeeee Jess Day, aka Zooey Deschanel)
2. Portlandia (Fred Armisen is the best)
3. Saturday Night Live
4. The Carrie Diaries (why only 2 seasons?)

4 Things I’m Looking Forward to Next Year
1. More outdoor running (I hope to keep doing it through winter)
2. Getting a new job/moving (I currently have a love/hate relationship with my current job and I hope by mid 2015 I will be in one I actually love and living in another state)
3. Possibly taking more trips (having a job=money and I want to spend it on travel)
4. Center of the Universe festival in July (if I’m still in Tulsa)

4 Things I’m Always Saying
1. Really?
2. That’s so cool
3. I can’t wait
4. So weird

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

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On Being a Nerd

I have a confession to make…I’m a nerd. And honestly, I don’t care who knows.

Since when is it ‘uncool’ to be passionate about something? Why do we have to feign disinterest in certain topics just because it’ll make us fit in if we do? Why can’t we all embrace our ‘nerdy’ sides?

I'm so nerdy I wear these huge glasses for real (and love them)!

I’m so nerdy I wear these huge glasses for real (and love them)!

I truly believe everyone is a nerd about something. For me, there are a couple things I geek out about. One is weather. I plan on going back to school as soon as possible (maybe this fall?) to get my meteorology certificate. I want to forecast the weather on TV someday, I get excited about storms and I always know what the temperature’s going to be each day. I even dragged my family to a weather museum when we were on spring break in Houston!

I love being up on the wall!

I love being up on the wall!

Another thing I completely love is nutrition. I could research it all day and read every article there is. I’m totally passionate about eating healthy, and encouraging others to do the same. I love trying out new ingredients in my own cooking, using superfoods to boost nutrient density and of course, browsing grocery store aisles and being an avid label reader.

No sugar-filled juices for this girl. I only go for the fresh-pressed, fruit and veggie-packed varieties!

No sugar-filled juices for this girl. I only go for the fresh-pressed, fruit and veggie-packed varieties!

What are you a ‘nerd’ about? 

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?

Liebster.

Happy Friday! I honestly feel obligated to start out a post like that, but let’s be real — I now hate it when people get all hyped up about Friday. Because Friday isn’t my Friday. It’s generally my Wednesday, so nothing to get too excited about! But I realize most people have a normal work/school schedule, so happy Friday to all of you 🙂

liebster

What is happy about today is that I was nominated by the lovely Kaila from Healthy Helper to fill out the Liebster survey. You know I love surveys, so I’m alllllll over this. Thanks Kaila!

The Rules

1) You must link back to the person who nominated you

2) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you

3) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)

4) You must create 10 questions for your nominees

5) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

Kaila’s Questions

1. What was your favorite show as a middle schooler?

Is it totally embarrassing that I still watched Arthur at that age? It was a really good show though…and in my defense, my little sister was still 7 or 8 at the time, so completely acceptable 😉

2. What season were you born in?

Summer! I’m absolutely obsessed with my birthday. I’ve never had to go to school (or work now) on my birthday and I’ve spent many birthdays at a waterpark or on vacation. Summer has always been my favorite season, and it’s partly because it’s my birthday season. Just a month and two weeks until the big day!

I just love summer!

I just love summer!

3. What Disney princess did you want to be when you were little?

I always identified with Belle, because I used to love reading (I was always in advanced reading classes as a kid and got to read all the exciting books) and I have long brown hair.

4. If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in another language, which would you choose?

Spanish. I know that sounds boring, but I took Spanish classes from second grade through my senior year of high school, and still didn’t pick up much of the language. I also want to live somewhere in the southwestern U.S., where Spanish really comes in handy!

5. If you could wear only one color or pattern for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Can you tell I love pink?

Can you tell I love pink?

Color: pink! Pattern: floral.

6. What’s your least favorite fictional couple? 

This is hard — I can’t even really think of any off hand! I guess I’ll say Chandler and Janice from Friends (still love that show!). Even though they didn’t end up together, they were totally not meant to be.

7. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

This is going to sound weird, but I’ve had a few people tell me I have a really good voice. Not singing-wise, but for talking. It makes me feel good, since I’m still chasing after my goal of becoming a TV anchor someday and having a good speaking voice is key!

8. What is the most unusual food you’ve ever eaten?

A raw enchilada at my favorite vegan spot. I don’t even know how to describe it — it was different than a regular enchi, but sooooooo much better. And the side of ‘rawfried’ beans was spot on like refried beans, but made with nuts and zucchini!

Not my picture, but they looked a lot like these!

Not my picture, but they looked a lot like these!

9. If you had to choose to lose one of the five senses, which would you choose and why?

would choose smell, but since smell and taste are connected (and I don’t wanna lose my sense of taste), I’m going to go with touch. Yeah, it’d be a little weird not to feel things, and I’d have to be careful not to get burned, but it would probably be the easiest to go without.

10. Name 3 blogs you read on a daily basis.

Hungry Hungry Hippie (even though she’s not vegan anymore, her food always looks so good and her little guy is so cute), Happy.Healthy.Life. (the most drool-worthy vegan food ever), Extra Petite (not necessarily on a daily basis, but I love getting fashion inspiration from a fellow petite lady).

Since I don’t know 10 people to tag who haven’t done this yet, I’m going to cheat and tag anyone who wants to do this…and you can just answer the same 10 questions I did!

Answer any of the above!

Hippie Hipster

If I had just two words to define myself, it would be hippie hipster. These two terms seem worlds apart in some ways but I assure you they’re not that different. And I think they both sum up my life pretty well!

Hippie

Maxi skirts and fringed crop tops are pretty damn hippie.

Maxi skirts and fringed crop tops are pretty damn hippie.

Vegan // likes natural products (like cleaning solutions, toiletries, etc.) // loves being outside in nature // liberal-minded // prefer wearing my hair wavy (naturally) and long // can totally picture myself living in San Francisco 

I live for being outside in the summer.

I live for being outside in the summer.

Hipster

Can't live without my Starbucks.

Can’t live without my Starbucks.

Starbucks junkie // alt rock music is my favorite // loves giant glasses // liberal-minded (kinda fits with both) // skinny jeans are my jam // also could picture myself living in Seattle or Portland

Rockin' the (fake) hipster glasses.

Rockin’ the (fake) hipster glasses.

How would you define yourself? 

 

New in Review: Fear Foods

I know some people don’t like the term ‘fear foods’. I know we shouldn’t be giving food so much power and control over our lives. But for me, fear foods are just that  — foods I’m still scared of in one way or another, but when I use them to challenge myself, I can take away some of that power.

The thing about my particular list of fear foods is that it’s changed a lot over the years. During the worst of my initial round of ED, I was scared to death of anything with fat in it. I subsisted on black beans, white rice and sugar-free Jell-O. At the beginning of my recovery, there were times that I feared almost any food my parents had me eat, since it took away my control. I remember throwing an apple across the room in anger. It shocks me now that I could be scared of an apple. Other foods have come and gone on my list. I still have fear foods to this day. Today, it’s mostly things I’ve deemed less than ‘clean’. Any added sugar, products with added oils other than coconut or olive oil, preservatives and the biggie for me, gluten and most grains. I eat gluten free not because I’ve been diagnosed with celiac or because I feel better without gluten (though generally I do) but because it’s become a fear of mine.

So for this edition of New in Review, I’m tackling a few fear foods. I can’t promise to take on the biggies but I did try some new-to-me things that still scare me to the point that it took me a few days after buying them to bite the bullet and just eat them.

  • Califia Farms Watermelon Ginger Lime Agua Fresca
Mmm, watermelon.

Mmm, watermelon.

After posting about this a few weeks ago, I honestly thought I’d never get the chance to try it out. But the Whole Foods here is pretty good about stocking new products. So when I spotted this, I knew I had to try it. Of course, I scanned the ingredient list and my heart sank a little when I saw cane sugar on the label. I guess I figured it was 100% fruit juice. Sadly, no, but luckily sugar is 4th on the short ingredient list.

Enough about my clean eating rant. I know you all want to know about the taste. It’s basically like eating a ripe, ice cold watermelon. There’s a little hint of ginger and lime, but the watermelon is the big star. And it’s definitely sweet, so I like to mix just a bit of it with water and shake it up with ice.

Pros: tasty, simple ingredients

Cons: added sugar

  • O’Dough’s Bagel Thins (sprouted whole grain flax)
Bagel thins topped with coconut butter and stevia chocolate chips. Side of Sunwarrior protein 'frosting' and berries.

Bagel thins topped with coconut butter and stevia chocolate chips. Side of Sunwarrior protein ‘frosting’ and berries.

Let me just start out by saying bagels are one of my biggest fear foods. I think the last time I ate a legit bagel was during my freshman year of college. I used to occasionally go to the bagel place in the student center and order a plain blueberry bagel, and eat half of it. I was still terrified of bagels then, but not nearly as much as I am now.

When I saw these at Sprouts, I knew I couldn’t pass them up. First of all, they’re gluten free AND vegan. It’s hard to find bread products that are both. Most have egg in them or other questionable ingredients. These are pretty standard, and healthy. And second of all, they’re bagel thins. I know I wouldn’t be able to get myself to eat a full-size bagel, but getting bagel thins means I can eat a whole bagel in one sitting. Disclaimer: it still took me three days from when I bought them to actually try them. So…the fear is still there.

As for the actual product, I’m on the fence. It toasted up well and is doughy without being overwhelming or too chewy. But the taste is off. For some reason, it has a slight fishy smell and taste, maybe from the flax, but I’m not really sensitive to the flavor of flax. It tastes fine when it’s topped with something, but I don’t think I’d buy these again because of that.

Pros: gluten free and vegan, 100 calories per whole bagel

Cons: weird flavor, they’re made with soy flour (I generally avoid soy) and have a little added sugar

  • The Gluten Free Bistro pizza crust
I love me some (gluten free, vegan) pizza.

I love me some (gluten free, vegan, homemade) pizza.

I already loved TGFB products before I tried this one. I’ve used their frozen dough to make pizza crust and cinnamon rolls, and it’s got a great texture and flavor. But I’d never seen their pre-made crust until a few weeks ago. This is yet another Whole Foods find, but if you check their website, they do sell them at other natural foods stores, and apparently some pizza places use their crust.

I’m a total pizza snob. You wouldn’t think a clean eating vegan would love pizza, right? Well, in my case, you’d be wrong. I skip the Daiya and other fake cheeses in favor of plenty of fresh veggie toppings. And when possible, I go for gluten free crust. TGFB’s crust is definitely the healthiest GF+vegan crust ever. It’s made of a mix of 4 GF flours (brown rice, sorghum, buckwheat and coconut) which adds a nice hearty flavor, tapioca starch, unsweetened applesauce, yeast, sugar (just to activate the yeast), xanthan gum, olive oil and garlic salt. No eggs or weird stabilizers needed!

The taste and texture are the best too. I much prefer thin crusts, and this one is thin while still being doughy and soft. It tastes a bit like sourdough, but it blends well with all toppings. And it reheats well the next day in the oven!

Pros: minimal ingredients, whole grain and gluten free, tastes incredible

Cons: a little expensive for just a crust

As for how I’m tackling these fear foods, the verdict is mixed. I used the pizza crust this weekend and got three solid dinners out of it. The juice I bought two weeks ago, and I’ve gotten about 1/4 of the way through it. And I’ve eaten one bagel thin so far…hopefully I can get myself to finish the rest. Luckily, they’re frozen so I don’t have to worry about them going bad before I can finish them. But I’d prefer not to toss them out  — I’ve already done that with far too many things in the past!

Do you have any ‘fear foods’? 

The Easiest Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Ever

Do you ever get cravings for something that you’ve probably never eaten before? No? Let me explain…

Sometimes I see a recipe on a blog and it looks so good that I want it right there and then. Understandable, right? But some cravings are a little more complicated. Like my craving for tuna salad.

See, I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually eaten tuna salad. Despite liking fish growing up, the idea of tuna salad grossed me out. When people would eat it, I would turn up my nose at the smell. My high school cafeteria served Subway sandwiches and without fail, the tuna salad sub would always be the lone remainder at the end of the lunch period. I think it’s one of those comfort foods for some people, and I’ve never understood why.

But at the same time, I crave the idea of tuna salad. I haven’t eaten fish in years and I’ve always hated mayo–even vegenaise is a no-no for me. But I love that ocean-y taste and creamy texture that tuna salad provides.

I decided to veganize and simplify the classic tuna salad. I know there are plenty of vegan recipes for it out there, but none of them appealed to me. Most of them included vegenaise, or pickle relish, or some other random ingredient that I don’t have and I don’t want to buy for one recipe. So I went for things I already had in my pantry and fridge. Chances are you might have most of these things too! So let’s make tuna salad…vegan & healthy style!

2014-05-09 17.28.39

No-Mayo Chickpea Tuna Salad (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

1 can no-salt chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2-3 large celery stalks, chopped

1 tbsp kelp granules (can use dulse flakes or nori)

1 tsp nutritional yeast

lemon juice, to taste

sea salt, to taste

onion powder, to taste

In a large bowl, mash chickpeas to your desired texture. Add in celery, spices, kelp and lemon juice. Stir until combined. Serve with flax crackers, on toast or on top of greens. Makes ~2 cups. 

Do you ever crave weird foods?