WIAW: Spring Break Bonanza!

Let me start off by saying…thank you all SO much for your comments on my last post! It seriously means the world to me that you all care so much about me and want to see me live my life to the fullest–without ED in it, of course.

BTW to all who asked, the doctor appointment was not what I expected. My weight was a little higher than it was when I weighed myself at home, because the appointment was soon after breakfast and I was wearing jeans with a belt, but both weights were low and I was expecting the doctor to say something about it but she really didn’t. I guess she didn’t think losing about 5-7 pounds was a big deal, which obviously I think is, considering my BMI is now between 15.5 and 16. It’s kind of discouraging to not have the support of the doctor is my efforts to eat more, but I will just have to rely on my own strength (and your comments) to take the plunge and fuel myself properly. It’ll be hard, but I know it’ll be worth it.

Anyway, on to more exciting things–like this week’s WIAW! I have tried a ridiculous amount of new-to-me things in the past couple of days and I’ve loved being home because I can actually cook things. I only have a couple of recipes for you so far, but I will be sharing more in the next few days as I continue to cook up a storm! Today, I want to share the recipes and also my reviews on some products I just tried. Let’s get to it!

Probably the best nondairy 'ice cream' I've ever tried!

I love almond milk, especially Pacific Naturals unsweetened vanilla, but I had never tried (or even seen) almond milk ice cream. I’ve had a couple of flavors of soy ice cream before and they were okay but nothing too great. Luckily, this Almond Dream ‘ice cream’ was way more amazing! It was super creamy, and tasted exactly like an iced latte from Starbucks. The swirl of chocolate was a nice surprise too. I would definitely buy this again, but I also want to try the new So Delicious almond milk ice creams.

Orange and dark chocolate is almost as good as raspberry and dark chocolate.

And to think just a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t go anywhere near chocolate! Yes, it is still somewhat scary for me to eat, but I still eat a little bit of some dark chocolate every day, because it makes me happy. When I discovered this mini Chocolove bar at Whole Foods, my dad encouraged me to get it so I did. The moment I tried my first square, I fell in love. Orange and dark chocolate are a match made in foodie heaven, for reals! Now I really want to try all of their other dark chocolate bars–I love that they’re dairy-free, and local-ish (they’re made in Boulder).

Quinoa pasta with vegan spinach 'cheese' sauce, smart bacon strips.

Since I bought nutritional yeast a few weeks back, I’ve been really wanting to try a vegan mac and cheese recipe. I kind of improvised my own and it actually turned out pretty tasty. The quinoa pasta I served it on was new and really yummy. I loved that it’s just made out of corn and quinoa flours (so it’s gluten-free for all of you out there who are gluten-intolerant or just want to switch it up from wheat pasta) and this variety also incorporated some spinach and beets. Extra veggies = win!

Spinach ‘Cheese’ Sauce (vegan, high protein)

1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other nondairy milk)

1/2 tbsp whole wheat flour (or cornstarch)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

cracked pepper, to taste

handful spinach

Mix almond milk and flour in a pot over medium heat until combined and thickened. Add in rest of the ingredients and stir until spinach is wilted. Serve over pasta, quinoa or as a spinach ‘cheese’ dip (makes 1 serving). 

Red cabbage with vegan Caesar dressing, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast topped with almond peanut cashew butter and peanut flour, frozen pineapple, orange seitan.

Westsoy seitan strips and Follow Your Heart vegan Caesar dressing are two of my many new Whole Foods finds. It was my first time trying seitan and I wasn’t really a fan. I love that it has tons of protein (21 grams per serving) but the texture just sketched me out. I made it orange chicken style, and it was decent but I wouldn’t buy it again. Maybe it was just the brand, but I didn’t really like it. The dressing on the other hand, was perfection in a bottle! It reminds me of regular Caesar dressing, only less rich. I love dipping carrots in it and topping fresh cabbage with it. I even made kale chips with the dressing that turned out pretty yummy.

This is my "Gotta go take a drug test so I have to drink up" face.

I have been loving being able to drive myself places over the past few days. At school, I don’t have my own car but being at home and having three cars at my disposal has been so nice! This may sound weird, but I love driving all by myself because I can sing along to “Starships” (one of my new fave songs) and go wherever I want. The reason I’ve been driving myself so much is that I’ve had tons of appointments this week and since both my parents have to work, I had to go to them on my own, which was fine by me. That means more singing 😉 Plus I’ve always wanted to take one of those pictures when you’re in the front seat so yesterday before my internship meeting, I did just that. No worries, I was parked–otherwise I would have had no hands on the wheel! And I was just drinking some iced water sweetened with some vanilla stevia so I could take a required drug test for my summer internship. If you’ve never put liquid stevia in your water, dooooo it now! The vanilla reminds me of a non-carbonated cream soda.

There's no shame in going to Whole Foods three times in five days!

Speaking of going wherever I want, I made a pit stop after my meeting on Tuesday at Whole Foods. It was weird shopping on my own, mostly because I think other people thought I was just a kid and not an almost-20-year-old because of my size, but I didn’t get too many weird stares because the store was pretty dead compared to most times I go. At first I was going to grab myself a lunch thing from the hot/cold bars but I decided to play it cheap and just buy a bunch of random stuff I’ve wanted to try. I’ve had the unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze before, but not in a while and it’s just so good (plus it was on sale). I grabbed a couple of fruit strips, some vegan sprinkles because sprinkles are just fun, another mini Chocolove bar (this time raspberries in dark chocolate) and a Two Moms in the Raw cacao chia bar. I really wanted to get their almond butter cacao truffles, but they were a little bit too expensive. I love raw bars in general (especially Pure bars) so I can’t wait to try this one. I also snagged a couple cappuccino Larabars when I hit up WF on Saturday–this is my first time getting a Larabar and I’m so excited to try out their new flavor!

The perfect dessert for spring.

I finally got around to making raw cashew ‘cheesecake’. I mentioned in my last WIAW that I wanted to make a key lime version so I did! I tweaked the recipe I’m posting a little because I had to basically scrape the crust together out of a few things I had and it didn’t make enough to be the base for a whole cheesecake. But it’s pretty tasty and really simple.


Raw Key Lime ‘Cheesecake’ (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

1 cup cashews, soaked for 6-12 hours

1 tbsp sweetener (I used a mix of maple syrup and vanilla stevia drops)

1/2 lime, squeezed

1/2 cup raw almonds

4-6 Medjool dates, pitted

2 tbsp raw rolled oats

Mix cashews, sweetener and lime juice in a food processor until thick, creamy and combined. Add water as needed. Set aside and blend almonds, dates and oats in a blender or food processor until combined. Spread crust in a small dish and top with cashew cream. Top with key lime slices (makes 4 slices).

The newest overnight oats flavor--chocolate covered orange!

I haven’t come up with a new overnight oats combo in a while–obviously that had to change. Taking inspiration from my newest obsession, the Chocolove orange peel in dark chocolate bar, I whipped up chocolate covered orange oats. I sweetened the oats base with some Valencia orange stevia drops and then in the morning, topped them with Sumo tangerine slices and a square of the orange peel chocolate. Mmmmmm! Next time, I’d make a parfait, layering chocolate oats and orange oats with orange slices and keeping the chocolate on top.

This vegan meat sub is a definite winner!

So you know how I said above that I’m not a fan of seitan? That doesn’t mean I don’t like any vegan whole food meat substitutes. I think I’m a tempeh girl at heart! The first time I tried Lightlife’s tempeh bacon last summer, I fell in love. I finally decided to try their flax tempeh, even though I’ve heard people say that the plain varieties can be bitter. Not to me! I even tried a little piece uncooked and I loved the nutty flavor. I cooked some up fry-style (sliced thin and sautéed until browned) and served it on top of a spinach salad with spicy avocado hummus and a side of a yam topped with nut butter and raisins. I loved this tempeh even more when it was cooked–I’m thinking it’s definitely a new staple. It’s actually got pretty stellar nutritionals–20 grams of protein in 4 ounces, plus 11 grams of fiber!

Curried sweet potato pinto burger (under the red cabbage and jalapeno), grilled asparagus, sweet potato tots, mustard.

For dinner last night, I made some veggie burgers for my fam–first time ever making them for someone besides just me! These were a winner, which is always exciting for me to hear because I love seeing my family choose healthier options. These are totally healthy, but hearty enough for any meat lover…and they’re perfect for sweet potato lovers like me! They’re based off Mama Pea’s recipe, but I made some tweaks to make them my own.

Curried Sweet Potato Pinto Burgers (vegan, gluten-free)

1-15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 small sweet potato, cooked and peeled

1 1/2 tbsp nut butter (I used almond peanut cashew)

spices, to taste (I used cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, garlic salt and black pepper)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Flatten bean mix and make into four even-sized patties, and place patties in pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and slightly crunchy. Serve on buns, in a wrap, on top of a salad, however you like your veggie burgers!

Wow, this was a crazy-long post! Sorry about that, obviously I am just so excited about all my new finds and recipes I’ve tried out. Of course, there’s still more to come, but I will save that for a later post. I don’t want to bore all of you 😀

Have you ever tried tempeh or seitan? What’s your new favorite Whole Foods find (or from another store if you don’t have one near you)?

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?

WIAW: Weekend of (Many!) Firsts

First off…thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for your responses to my story. It means so much to me that I’ve gotten so many amazing comments and that you’ve taken the time to read it. You ladies are the best 😀 I’ll be posting part 2 (my recovery journey so far) hopefully on Friday or Saturday.

Peas and Crayons

Now let’s get on to WIAW! I promised y’all some weekend update-age, so here it is! Instead of posting my eats from this week, they’re all from this weekend and best of all, there’s 3 recipes, plus mini product reviews! You guys are so lucky this week 😉

My Saturday morning started out with one of these little suckers. My throat's been bugging me lately, and I hate cherry/honey lemon cough drops so I was pumped to find these when I got home--tropical cough drops!

 Mi madre picked me up after classes on Friday and we hit the road…and a bunch of traffic. We planned on going to urgent care when we got back so we could get it over with, but first we stopped at Panera. I love their salads so much, and I ended up getting a new-ish favorite, the Thai Chopped salad without wontons or chicken. The dressing on this is actually delish especially compared to most restaurants and not too overpowering, plus I love the edamame and little cashew clusters.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find these in my drawer. Well...I did order them a week or so ago, but I'd had them shipped home instead of to my dorm. In case you can't tell what they are, they're coral culotte shorts (from A&F). They'll be great for pairing with tights when it gets cold!

 We got to urgent care and basically sat around for 15 minutes until the receptionist directed us to the check-in desk for x-rays. We checked in, waited another 5 minutes and then I got x-rayed (for like the millionth fourth or fifth time ever, not counting tooth x-rays). Luckily there wasn’t anyone else in line for the x-ray (who would at like 7:30 at night?) so I got it over with. But of course, if you’ve ever gotten an x-ray, you know you have to wait around for awhile for it to be developed. So my mom and I were stuck in the pediatrics area, watching incredibly lame Disney Channel shows. Never have I been more glad that I am too old to watch these shows. I mean, Disney used to be awesome back in the day, but now? Not so much. Anyway, the x-ray came back and the doctor said there was no fracture or anything, but that I have plantar fasciitis. Apparently, you can’t do a lot to treat it, but it can become a chronic problem that I might have to get injections for. So fun 😦 I actually kinda wanted it to be fractured so it could be fixed, but oh well.

Long name, delicious taste. Can I just say I've fallen in love with Target's nut butters? They are so simple (this one's just almonds, peanuts, cashews and sea salt) but so good.

Apple pie...gum?! I saw this when we were checking out and I had to try it. I honestly wasn't expecting much, but it's so yummy! It doesn't last long, but while it does, it's amazing.

I really wanted a more natural alternative to agave and a cheaper one to maple syrup, so when I found this, I snapped it up. Raw is goooooood!

Ugh, the lighting in my room is legit the worst. I need a lightbox or something. But this was delish nonetheless.

OMG, my new favorite vegetable!

 On Saturday, my wonderful daddy and I ran a bunch of errands, which is honestly one of my favorite things to do, especially when it involves Target/Whole Foods. Don’t judge me 😉 At Target, I found SO many new-to-me products that–ahem–weren’t on my list, but I couldn’t pass them up, now could I? Especially this seasonal stuff–I’m such a sucker for them. So here’s my honest reviews on them (disclaimer: I bought my dad bought these, I wasn’t given these to review and the opinions are my own).

Archer Farms Almond Peanut Cashew Butter: I’ve had the Archer Farms almond butter before, and it’s really really good. This was also yummy, almost as good as the AB. That’s probably because I’m partial to the AB, but this was very yummy. It’s pretty smooth and drippy, which is perfect for sandwiches/wraps and oats. It’s pretty peanutty, which I thought I wouldn’t like, but there’s also a hint of almond in there which balances it out nicely. I just wish there was more cashew taste.

Extra Dessert Delights Apple Pie gum: I can’t believe this is a sugar-free gum! It’s so sweet, but in a good way. Oh and yes, it does taste and smell exactly like an apple pie. I know, I was shocked too! I thought it’d just be apple, but there is definitely a pie element to it. I don’t know how Extra does it, but this is a winner in my book!

Archer Farms Organic Raw Wildflower Honey: If you’ve gotta have sugar (which I do!), organic and raw is the way to go. I love feeling like I’m treating my body right, while also getting my sugar fix. This will be so good on frozen nanner slices, with nut butter and as an oats topper.

Vitatops Pumpkin Spice: I love Vitatops! My favorite include banana nut, golden corn and bluebran, but there are so many I really want to try. When I saw this, and realized it was already October, I knew I couldn’t leave the store without em. I heated up my first one on Monday night, and I could smell the pumpkin coming from the micro. It was love at first bite. I loved the little pumpkin seeds on top (even though they weren’t well-distributed) but I was surprised to find chunks of candied ginger in the Vitatop. It seemed weird at first but it’s not a bad thing.

Brussels Sprouts: How have I never tried these before? I think it’s probably because they have such a bad rep for being gross. My dad decided to buy them, I said I’d try them and at home, we sprinkled a little olive oil, kosher salt and ground pepper on them and then roasted them in the oven. As soon as I took my first bite, I was in lurrrrve 😀 The outside was crispy and salty and the inside was tender and so good. I had a bowl full of them at dinner, and then at lunch on Sunday, I polished off the leftovers. You could say I’ve discovered my new favorite veggie!

Spicy pumpkin pizza: brown rice tortilla crust, topped with organic canned pumpkin puree mixed with spices, green chiles, orange bell pepper and tempeh bacon.

Close up of my new fave pizza...holla!

 Alright, it’s recipe time! First up is my super-simple recipe for spicy pumpkin pizza. I know a lot of bloggers are ob-sessed with pumpkin and I am too. But I wanted to find a way to use it in a savory recipe. Then I thought–why not make a pizza sauce? So I bought a can of organic pumpkin puree and got to cookin’!

Spicy Pumpkin Pizza (vegan, makes 2)

2 brown rice tortillas, whole wheat naan bread or whatever crust you’d like to use

2/3 can organic pumpkin puree

veggies (I used spicy green chiles and grilled orange bell pepper)

spices (I used black pepper, a little kosher salt and chili powder)

tempeh bacon, precooked tofu cubes, whatever protein you’d like to use

Spoon pumpkin into a bowl and mix with spices to taste. Spread “sauce” on your crusts and top with veggies and protein source. Bake in a 400 degree oven (on a baking sheet) for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Dig in and enjoy!

I had a very orange dinner...can you blame me, it's October! I love getting in the Halloween spirit with my food.

 Creamy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie (vegan, makes 1)

1/3 can pumpkin puree (use what’s left from the pizza!)

1/2 cup Silk soy eggnog (I love it ’cause it’s nondairy but so delish)

ground ginger, cinnamon to taste

Pour all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add xanthan gum if you want it to be really thick, or make it a Green Monster by adding in a handful of spinach.

Corn bread is good, but pumpkin corn bread is even better!

 I found this recipe for corn bread several years ago when I was first getting really into cooking. I haven’t baked anything in awhile, but I was really wanting to make cornbread to take back to school with me. But then I thought, why not keep this pumpkin trend going and make it pumpkin cornbread? Genius, no? 😛

Pumpkin Cornbread (makes 12 pieces)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup cornmeal

2 tbsp honey*

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin puree

1/2 cup Silk soy eggnog

*This recipe is vegan if you replace the honey with agave or brown sugar)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray loaf pan (or muffin tins, if you want to make muffins) with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Mix flour, corn meal, baking soda and salt in a bowl til combined. Add in honey, pumpkin and soy nog until blended. You may have to add up to 1/2 cup water to make batter wet enough to stick together. Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until outside is golden brown. Let cool and slice; serve with honey, nut butter or in a yogurt mess.

My first encounter with butternut squash..and I didn't have to prepare it. Thank you, Whole Foods!

I've found a new tortilla love...move over sprouted grain tortillas!

 

Awh, it's all crumbly and broken!

Butternut Squash: I’m pretty new to the squash world. I’ve been hunting down kabocha with no success, but when I saw this package of pre-cut b-nut squash at Whole Foods, I decided to try it. Since I’m such a newbie, I had to guess what to do with it, and since my only heating apparatus thingie is a microwave, I used it to heat up the cubes, since they were kinda hard. After a minute and a half, they were nice and tender and I sprinkled some raw honey and cinnamon on it. OMG, so tasty! Maybe this is my new favorite veggie…?

Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas: I’m not gluten-free, but I don’t like regular tortillas, so when I discovered Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas, I bought them. I’ve had them all summer and liked them for the most part, but lately I haven’t really been that excited about them. I’ve seen a ton of bloggers have the brown rice tortillas by the same company, so I was on the lookout for them. I love that they’re huge but not so calorie-dense (I’m looking at you, Chipotle burritos!) plus they’re just darn good and make perfect pizza crusts. They remind me of the tortillas EVOL burritos have, and I love those, so these are also a winner.

Sunshine Falafel veggie burger: I love veggie burgers, specifically many of Amy’s, but I wanted to find a new one I could buy regularly. I had my first Sunshine burger on vacation this summer and it was so good and dense. I wanted to try another variety, and I thought falafel sounded interesting enough. And it actually does taste like baked falafel, and it even kinda looks like a giant falafel. I just hate that it’s so crumbly, but I can live with that.

Woo, you all made it through that monster of a post 😀 But I hope you enjoyed my mini-reviews and recipes (and will go out and buy the products I loved…basically all of them, and maybe got a lil recipe inspiration…a girl can dream, right 😉 ?)

What is something new you’ve tried lately and loved? Are you into seasonal food items (like pumpkin or apple-flavored things)?

P.S. Check out my Best Of… page for these recipes and all the others that I’ve posted on here–with more to come!

Weekend Food & Fun

Ya wanna know what my least favorite part of the weekend is? When it’s coming to an end. I hate that feeling you get on Sunday night when you realize that the weekend’s pretty much over and tomorrow it’s back to the daily grind. Can you tell that I’m sick of school already? 😉 I know how sad that sounds, I mean come on, I’m only like 5 weeks in! Honestly, I actually love school this year (nerd alert!) but sometimes you just want a nice little break. Especially when you’ve got a crazy busy next few weeks ahead–in my case, 2 tests this Friday (eek!), 2 tests next week and a paper due in 3 weeks. Gosh, these professors are insane!

This is my "You've gotta be kidding me, 2 tests in one day?" face.

 But the point of this post is not to complain about school but to talk about my weekend! It started out when my mom picked me up around 6:30 on Friday. We grabbed dinner at Garbanzo, which is this really awesome fast casual Mediterranean place. It was a little too awkward taking a picture of my amazing dinner, so I’ll just explain it: baby greens, tabbouleh salad, fresh red cabbage, hummus, falafel topped with spicy cilanto sauce and grilled eggplant slices on top. It was drool-worthy.

I finally changed my nail polish! My sis got the shatter polish for homecoming, so I def had to try it out once I got home. Verdict: love it! And every time, it's a different design!

Saturday started out bright and early (if you consider 8:15 early, which sadly I don’t anymore since I’m used to being up by 7) with some Kashi Honey Sunshine-topped overnight oats. Oh how I’ve missed Honey Sunshine! I haven’t had it for months and forgot how much I loved it. Topped with frozen nanner slices and mango chunks, it was heaven in a bowl.

Please take me back, Honey Sunshine! I can't live without ya 😉

Around 11:30, my mom turned on the TV so we could cheer on my college’s football team in their big annual rivalry game. The Rammies did so well in the first quarter, but then they lost a lot of steam after the half. It was getting way too depressing so I stopped watching 😦 Luckily, my dad and I ended up going to see “Crazy Stupid Love” (I was shocked it was still in theatres) so it ended up being a great afternoon. I love comedies, and it was  really good one, so definitely see it if you have the chance. Then my dad took me to get froyo nearby–how could I pass that up? Despite the fact that I was freezing cold all day (seriously, the weather changed so drastically!), I still enjoyed my frozen yogurt. I got a new-t0-me flavor, apple pie. It tasted as good as it sounds 😀 Perfect for an almost fall day.

I have so many froyo pics on this blog, it's a bit ridic. But each one is unique and a piece of art (baha). Apple pie froyo topped with raspberries and blueberries.

After a Target run, we got home and I was able to make my own dinner–for realsies this time, I actually used the oven, which totally counts as cooking. I miss being able to do real cooking, but I’ve got a whole lineup of recipes that I want to make come Thanksgiving break. Everyone better stay outta my way–the kitchen will be mine 😆

I also appreciate the slightly better lighting I get at home! My dinner was a Gardein veggie burger topped with General Tso sauce, baby carrots, chipotle seasoned sweet potato fries and sweet potato tots. I think I OD'd on the orange.

The rest of the night was pretty low-key: SNL-watching, shower-taking, beating my dad at an UNO tournament. I am beast at UNO–no really!–I mostly always end up winning against my dad.

I think a big trend for me this fall will be layering--I love how cozy I felt in this outfit. Grey knit duster cardigan (A&F), burgundy plaid tunic (A&F Kids), navy culotte shorts (A&F), navy sparkle tights (AE).

Today was even more chill–at least until I had to head back up to school. When we finally got up here, my mom suggested Larkburger for dinner. It’s basically this pretty simple place with all-natural gourmet burgers and fries and such. Usually I end up getting the portobello burger but I wasn’t too hungry tonight and settled for the field greens salad topped with a grilled tuna filet and some edamame on the side. The tuna was amazing and the edamame was too (of course!) but the salad wasn’t great, mostly because they served it in this plastic container that was extremely hard to eat out of, plus the tamari ginger dressing  that sounded so promising, turned out to be totally nast. I hate when that happens, but I pretty much usually expect restaurant dressings to be sub-par. Luckily, it was on the side so I could just toss it without having the whole salad be ruined. I ended up saving the salad to eat sometime this week–in a more convenient way, like on a plate!

More Kashi Honey Sunshine? Yep, I'm a woman obsessed.

Now it’s back to the real world 😕 Oh well, not every day can be a blast and I know I’ll have some awesome days in the near future!

Oh, P.S. an update on my foot. Thanks so so so much for the well wishes! It’s still in pain, I wrapped an Ace bandage around it and hope it might help–hey, if it doesn’t, at least people will know why I’m limping around 😀 Plus I feel cool with it on, please don’t ask me why!

 

What fun things did you do this weekend? What is your dream froyo flavor?

WIAW: ABC’s of Food Survey

I haven’t done a survey in wayyyyyyy too long. Sad, because I love ’em. I’ve always loved taking quizzes (except in school…) and questionnaires, so foodie surveys are right up my alley. But just in time for another WIAW, I’ve got a survey to take, courtesy of Tori of Fresh Fruition. Let’s get to filling it out!

Peas and Crayons

A new creation of mine: snickerdoodle cookie overnighters! Mixed with plenty 'o cinnamon, Truvia and topped with Annie's cinnamon bunny grahams.

[A] Apples or Oranges: I like both but I’ll have to go with apples. Especially Exclusively Pink Ladies. Oranges are great in the summertime, though.

[B] Beans or Lentils: I’ve only had lentils once or twice, so definitely beans, though I’d like to try lentils more often. My fave beans are hands-down black beans, but garbanzos are also muy delicioso.

[C] Cereal or Oatmeal: Gosh, I used to be such a cereal fiend but since this spring, I’ve been lovin’ on the oats almost daily (sometimes twice!). I love all the overnighters combos I’ve had and I think oats are the perfect palette for getting creative.

[D] Dates or Raisins: Before I discovered dates, I liked raisins a lot, but once I bit into the gooey golden goodness that is a Medjool date, I forgot all about raisins. Luckily, I recently rediscovered my love for raisins and I’ve been having a handful a day. But nothing can beat an almond butter-stuffed date!

I like to eat a lot of small things at every meal so I don't get bored. The usual spicy veggie sausage, frozen mango and peanut butter Puffins. I'm slightly addicted to these.

 [E] Eggs or Milk: Now that I’m mostly vegan, both are out. However, I’ve never ever liked eggs in anything. I do like nondairy milks, however, especially unsweetened chocolate soy milk and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Yum!

[F] French Toast or Waffles: Considering that I can’t ever remember eating French toast, I’ll go with waffles. I haven’t had one in a few weeks (that’s gonna change soon, hopefully!) but I love making my own or just chowing down on some toasted mini blueberry waffles.

[G] Garlic or Salt: Garlic. I’m pretty sensitive to saltiness so if something tastes a bit too salty, it ruins the whole dish for me. Garlic is amazing in all kinds of savory dishes, but it gives me horrible breath. Yikes!

I love salads at lunch, especially if they have a bit of crunch. Mixed greens salad topped with black beans, Greek yogurt/guac dip and multigrain chips. Raisins, frozen pineapple and mint chocolate roasted almonds on the side.

 [H] Honey or Maple Syrup: I’m starting to become addicted to maple syrup–the real stuff, of course! I’ve never been a huge fan of honey, except in Greek yogurt. Maple is amazing on oats, in yogurt, on waffles and toast…pretty much anything.

[I] Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt: Froyo all the way! I don’t go for heavy things like ice cream anymore, but give me some froyo any day. But if I really had to choose between all frozen desserts, my answer would obviously be gelato. It’s so much thicker and fluffier than ice cream, but healthier and not as filling.

[J] Jam or Toast: Since I’ve discovered Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread, I’ve been loving toast. Though some nice organic jelly can be good, too.

I painted my nails! The new trend is to paint only one nail in a different color, so I painted 9 of them silver and one hot pink!

 [K] Kale or Spinach: I’ve only had kale one time in a really good Asian salad from Whole Foods, and it was good, but spinach has my vote. It’s my green-of-choice for salads and smoothies (Green Monster, anyone?)

[L] Lemon or Lime: Unlike most people, I prefer lime. It’s so sour without being too much–I love it squeezed into fresh iced tea or drizzled on black beans.

Outfit of the day: charcoal grey cropped tee (American Eagle), dark brown leather woven belt (Abercrombie), distressed boyfit midi shorts (American Eagle), bangles and shell necklace (American Eagle). I used my new hair waver to create the "hippie" look I was going for today.

 [M] Muffins or Cupcakes: I absolutely hate frosting, so muffins it is! I love how muffins taste decadent but are usually pretty healthy–at least healthier than cupcakes!

[N] Nut Butter or Jelly: Nut butter! More specifically, crunchy almond butter. I love mine unadulterated, just almonds ground up. Though I would love to try the almond cashew peanut butter from Target…

[O] Onions or Peppers: As much as I love the taste of onions, I’ve gotta go with peppers because they don’t leave me with a terrible aftertaste for days. No joke. Grilled bell peppers are one of my favorite veggies.

[P] Peanuts or Almonds: Almonds, fo sho! I like peanuts when they’re cooked into an Asian dish, but otherwise, give me the almonds and no one gets hurt 😉

[Q] Quick or Yeast Bread: I have never made yeast bread before because it seems way too complicated for me so quick bread it is.

Peanut butter Puffins make yet another appearance, this time atop plain Greek yogurt mixed with a drizzle of maple syrup.

 [R] Raspberry or Blackberry: Definitely raspberry! I love those ruby bites of yumminess, but I actually like the golden variety even better.

[S] Sweet or Savory: Are you kidding me? I have such a sweet tooth it’s not even funny. I’ve gotta have something sweet at every meal, even dinner. In fact, give me breakfast for dinner and I’ll be happy.

[T] Tea or Coffee: I like both, but only in specific ways. Coffee–must be Starbucks (I know, I’m spoiled 😛 ), preferably in a skinny latte, light mocha frappuccino or straight-up iced. Tea–gotta be iced, sweetened with a packet of Truvia.

Dried fruit is my favorite thing to snack on! Freeze-dried strawberries, Medjool date and dried pineapple. All that's missing is raisins!

[U] Udon or Spaghetti Noodles: I don’t think I’ve ever had udon noodles, so I’ll say spaghetti but I really only like whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Spinach pasta is also so good.

[V] Vanilla or Chocolate: Chocolate! I usually only eat chocolate-flavored things instead of straight-up chocolate, but if I do eat it that way, it must be dark. I do love adding vanilla extract to my oats, though.

Dinner: Gardein veggie burger on wheat sandwich thin with a pickle tongue (!), baby carrots, sweet potato tater tots. These tots were new to me, and I loved em.

[W] Whole Wheat or White Bread: My mom has never bought white bread for sandwiches, not even when I was a kid, so I’ve always been eating wheat and liking it. My new favorite grain-filled bread is Ezekiel cinnamon raisin.

[X] Xanthan or Guar Gum: I’ve never used either one, though I’d really like to try some in my smoothies, so I can’t say I have a preference. I think xanthan sounds the coolest, though. Xanthan, xanthan, xanthan…

[Y] Yogurt or Pudding: Yogurt. Greek yogurt of course; my brand of choice is Oikos. I love all the flavors, especially chocolate, superfruits and peach mango. Plain is perfect in place of sour cream. I would love to try some soy pudding, though.

[Z] Zucchini or Cucumber: Cucumber, mostly because I’ve never had zucchini, but also because it’s amazing in Greek salads.

Oats twice in one day? Bring it on! This time, another new variety: tiramisu. Mocha overnighters topped with coffee-infused Greek yogurt.

 Tell me more about you! Fill out any of the above letters with your answers!

WIAW+Lucky #7

Well kiddos, it’s time once again for WIAW! This week, since I was also tagged in the 7 Links thing by the beautiful Tori, I decided to combine the two into an epicpost. Okay, just kidding about the epic part, but wouldn’t you know it…7 is my lucky number. Along with 11. I’m not sure exactly why, maybe because they rhyme and also because my birth date is 7-27. I digress. Basically, I have to choose 1 post for each category and then tag some of my readers. Sounds easy enough. And I’m totally a pro at the whole WIAW thing 😉

Peas and Crayons

My most beautiful post: This is a hard one for me to answer, mostly because I’m not sure what beautiful means in this context! I’m thinkin’ it has something to do with pictures or something. In that case, definitely WIAW: I ❤ Instagram! because I’m kind of addicted to Instagram-d photos because they make anything look amazing.

The best part of breakfast--overnighters! Sadly, this was my last batch of oats since I ran out; I think a Whole Foods trip is in order! Rolled oats mixed with dark cocoa powder and topped with PB Puffins

My most popular post: WIAW: Another Week, Another Survey. This one also kind of surprised me by the number of comments I got on it, but I think a lot of people like surveys (as do I) and WIAW is always popular around these here parts!

The other part of breakfast--spicy veggie sausage, freshly-washed bloobs and sour gummy Flintstones gummies. I know you're jealous...

My most controversial post: I haven’t honestly received many controversial comments, per se, but maybe WIAW: Survey Says… because obviously not everyone has the same taste in food, and I know so many people love peanut butter, but I just…don’t. Unless you’re talking about PB Puffins, because I’m all over those 😉

Having a sweet potato at lunch just...sweetens it a little bit. Microwaved sweet tater topped with Greek yogurt/guac dip and black beans, frozen pineapple, plain Greek yogurt topped with PB Puffins

My most helpful post: Calling All Overnight Oats Lovers…. Despite not getting many comments, I thought it was helpful for me to explain how I make my overnight oats and share some crazy-cool combinations with people and possibly inspire them to make overnighters of their own. I’m also basically obsessed with them, so I loved posting my latest and greatest “recipes”.

My mom treated me and my sister to some yummy froyo today. I got strawberry lemonade, watermelon and cheesecake topped with golden kiwi (!). I can never just get one flavor!

A post whose success surprised me:Estes Park Day 2. While this wasn’t the most commented-on post (that award would go to WIAW: Survey Says…), I was honestly shocked that so many people would read my rambling vacation recaps. I mean, the vacation was fun but reading about someone else’s adventures isn’t always the funnest. I’m just really glad so many people enjoyed it!

Dinner was quick 'n easy because my dad and I had to catch "Friends With Benefits" (great movie, BTW). Gardein beefless burger cooked on the stove topped with spicy guac, with strawbs and chipotle sweet tater fries on the side. I like things spah-cee!

A post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: Foodie Newbie. I realize it’s only been up for a few days, but still. I thought more people would like to read product reviews. Anyways, I enjoyed eating all of that food, so it wasn’t all for nothing 😛

Great cereal mess after a great movie--MORE PB Puffins (I think I OD'd...jk), Kashi Strawberry Fields and a little Bear Naked Peak Protein

The post I am most proud of: WIAW: The Big 1-9. What can I say? I loved my birthday this year, especially since it was on Wednesday so I got to share my “big day” eats in a WIAW post. I’m proud that I had the patience to write up that monster of a post and take all those pictures throughout the day, when I could have easily forgotten because of all the festivities.

Lets end on the outfit of the day, shall we? I like taking photos from weird angles, don't judge! Neon green striped shirt (American Eagle), cuffed denim shorts (Abercrombie Kids)

 Is there one food you couldn’t live without (for me, it’s PB Puffins and overnighters, obvs)? Seen any good movies lately?

Oh, and I tag…EVERYONE! Who hasn’t done this 7 Links thing yet…have fun 😀

Estes Park Day 2

Hey everyone! If you missed my last post on the first day of my vacation, click here to catch up!

Sunday I woke up bright and early around 9, ready to start the day with some breakfast. I don’t think I’ve ever missed eating breakfast since I first started eating–it’s definitely my favorite meal ever and an amazing way to welcome a new day. Unfortch, I wasn’t able to have my beloved overnighters (my new nickname for overnight oats…cute, huh 😉 ) but don’t worry, they made a reappearance once I got back home. However, I was able to try a new-to-me cereal, Puffins Multigrain puffs. I loved that these were lightly sweet, full of fiber and were tri-colored! Puffins are one of my favorite cereal brands, but I’ve yet to try the Peanut Butter & Chocolate variety. Tori, I’m jealous of you right now 😀 I also had some mini pancakes (yay for little kid food!) and my usual sausage.

After the fun times that is breakfast, we headed straight over to the Lake Estes marina. Nope, no boating/fishing was involved (though it has been in past years. I haven’t gone kayaking since my mom and I got stranded two years ago near the barriers that separate the lake from the dam. Scary stuff, I tell ya!) but we did rent some pedal carts and biked pedaled around the lake. It was a nice little ride, but not really that strenuous. If you asked me sister, though, she would have said it “was the hardest thing she’s ever done”. Not quite sure if that was sarcasm, but it does run in the family…

 

Me and the sister pedal-carting it

 

Lake Estes

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch condo, we hit up the pool! Probably the main reason we go to Estes (haha, JK!), but really, I love me some pool time. The place we used to stay at had a great outdoor pool…however, it was always crowded and FREEZING. No joke, it was probably 70 degrees, which sounds warm, but isn’t if you’re talking about pool water. This new place has an even better outdoor pool, namely because there are fewer people and it feels like bath water, but also because it’s more scenic. You can look up while swimming laps to see towering mountains and blue skies. Amazing. Well, unfortch, Sunday wasn’t the best day to go to the pool, because it was inhabited by little kids (nothing against them, but boy can they splash!) and also the storm clouds rolled in early. Basically, I spent 10 minutes in the pool before we had to go inside. No bueno, but at least I got some tanning time in!

 

The pool!

 

By the pool with my sis (yes, I do have hair!)

 

Later that afternoon, my parents dragged me and my sis to one of the wineries in town. They’re not actual wineries with grapes and stuff growing outside, but small buildings where you can sample local wines and where they steep (?) the wine. Trust me, I know nada about wines and such. Basically, the sister and I sat outside in the blazing sun and had some fun with the ‘Fail’ app on her iPod. We’re mature, I know 😉

Then it was off to dinner, at one of my favorite EP restaurants–Grubsteak. They have a lot of vegetarian options and even exotic stuff, like yak and elk meat. I stayed away from the weirder things and ordered the Jalapeno and Jack burger, minus the Jack because I don’t do cheese and I got it with an original Sunshine burger. I’ve never tried a Sunshine burger before, and the verdict is: delicious! I never realized they were so thick and hearty, which is so different from other veggie burgers I’ve had. The jalapenos on my burger seemed fresh, which was great because I hate pickled jalapenos. If we go there again, I will definitely be ordering the same thing, it’s just too good to pass up.

 

Yummy vegan burger

 

We returned to the condo briefly, and then headed back into town to get dessert. I’d heard of this place that had baked goods as well as a cereal buffet, and I couldn’t pass that up! But…it was closed since it was late so we wandered further down the street into a place that served ice cream and cupcakes. I didn’t end up getting anything, because they had no gelato/froyo/sorbet but my fam seemed to enjoy their flavors. My sister got peppermint s’mores, which sounds like an awesome combo. I’ve gotta come up with an overnighters recipe for that…

What do you eat for breakfast when you’re on vacation? Ever had a Sunshine burger (if so, what flavor do you recommend)?

More to come!