Coach’s Oats Review!

So who’s ready for the weekend? I know I am! I’ll be back next week with what will hopefully be a recap of a fun weekend, but in the meantime, I wanted to give you guys an unofficial review of Coach’s Oats.

I mentioned in my last post that I won a giveaway on Facebook through Coach’s Oats page. Now, let me just tell you that I was beyond thrilled that I was one of their winners. #1, I never win anything. Like literally never. And #2, I was a winner of oats, aka one of my favorite foods. So yep, definitely happy to win that giveaway. Anyways, little did I know that they were going to be sending me a Hugh Jass bag of oats! I was surprised by that, but in a good way, of course. I was expecting some sample packets or something, so getting a giant package in the mail was awesome.

Before I get on with the review, I need to let you know that I was not in any way paid or compensated by Coach’s Oats to do this review–they actually didn’t even ask me to review them, they just sent them for free. This review is 100% my own opinion of the product.

When I first opened the bag, I thought something was wrong. Coach’s Oats don’t look like the typical thick rolled oats that I always buy; they’re kinda cracked and look a little like those pieces of popcorn shell that you get stuck in your teeth. I was skeptical at first, but I mixed some in with my usual oats and whipped up a serving of voluminous ‘overnight’ oats.

Coach's Oats/rolled oats topped with raisins and peanut flour paste.

So how did they taste? Honestly, they actually did taste a little nuttier than normal oats, just like the bag says! Also, despite their small appearance in the bag, they fluffed up really nicely. I like my oats super-thick and not watery at all, which is why I make them the voluminous way and then let them sit for a few hours to thicken up, and these definitely did that!

Apparently, they are similar to steel-cut oats (which I’ve never had) but cook much more quickly, just like quick and rolled oats. This is definitely good for people like me, who don’t have access to a stove or want to make a bowl of oats really quickly.

Next up, I tried them in a bowl of savory oats. Yes, savory. This was actually my first bowl of savory oats ever–I have such a sweet tooth that I normally have them topped with all sorts of sweet toppings (even for dinner!). But I’ve heard a lot of good things about savory oats, so I finally took the plunge. I made a bowl that I call Chipotle-inspired oats, because it’s similar to their naked burrito bowls, with oats instead of rice, but topped with grilled peppers, guacamole, plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and refried pinto beans.

Naked savory oats.

 

Chipotle oats topped with organic refried pinto beans, guacamole, a little plain Oikos, grilled pepper strips and crushed multigrain chips.

How did I like my first experience with savory oats? They were actually pretty good. My only complaint is that the oats themselves were pretty bland; when I make sweet oats, I add a packet of Truvia to sweeten them up, but obviously I wouldn’t do that with savory oats. Next time, I’d just add a pinch of salt to the oats before making them to really bring out their flavor. However, again, they did have a subtle nutty taste and I loved all the toppings I put on the oats. I’m already thinking of more combos, like curry-raisin or Mediterranean (with hummus and falafel)!

The nutritionals on Coach’s Oats are pretty stellar as well. They have 160 calories, 3 grams of fat (0.5 gram saturated), 4 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein in 1/3 cup, which is about the same as 1/2 cup of rolled oats. However, these fluff up enough that I think 1/3 cup would be a decent serving size, especially with toppings.

Overall, these are a very good alternative to regular oats, or just a way to mix it up. I personally think I’ll use them mixed in with my usual rolled oats just to add in a different texture. I definitely recommend them if you’re an oats lover like me! And thanks again, Coach’s Oats!

Have you ever tried Coach’s Oats? What combination would you try in a bowl of savory oats?

 

WIAW: Goals for March

Hi everyone! I am so glad we’re halfway through the week! This weekend, I’m going home for the last time before spring break (which is in 16 days, heck to the yes) and I can’t wait. Not just because I love any opportunity to go home, but also because this Saturday is the annual father daughter dinner dance in my city. My dad and I have gone every year since I was in seventh grade, and the past 4 or 5 years my little sister has gone with us too. I love getting to get all glammed up and have fun dancing the night away with my dad and sissy. I will definitely be posting a recap early next week, so look for that!

For this week’s WIAW party, I wanted to share my goals for next month. I got the idea from Emily to do a 30-day health challenge. I think it’s a really good idea, because we all have things we can improve on. I’m deciding to start it in March, rather than right now, because I have spring break coming up and while I generally eat pretty healthy as it is, it can be hard to implement changes while living in a dorm and having a busy schedule most weeks. Once I’m home, I have access to a real kitchen, meaning I can eat even healthier and try new things! So here are a few of my goals for next month, some food-related and some not. And of course, some random eats from throughout the week!

Peas and Crayons

1. Eat more veggies!

I love veggies, and I’ve even tried some new ones on recent weekends at home (kale chips and parsnips are some of my new faves) but it’s really hard to cook/prep veggies in a dorm with just a microwave. Basically, I live on carrots, cubed butternut squash and frozen grilled pepper strips and while I love them all, it gets pretty boring. I also happened to basically run out of veggies this week, besides sweet potatoes, so that’s been pretty pathetic! Over spring break, I want to work on eating a big salad once a day (probably at lunch) as well as trying new veggies and prep methods. It might be a little late for Love Your Veggies Month, but it still counts, right 😉

Berry Green Power Smoothie: 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened soy, because that's what I had at home), handful spinach, frozen berries (I used Dole Antioxidant Blend w/ strawbs, bloobs, raspbs, blackbs? and pom seeds)

2. Work towards getting a summer internship

This one is probably non-negotiable, at least to my dad. We’re allowed to have 2 for-credit internships while in college, and the school-organized one is next summer, so this summer I have to find one on my own. It’s probably going to be maybe a 5-10 hour per week commitment, which isn’t a huge deal, it’s just finding one that might be a hassle. I think I’m going to be emailing the TV stations around me over break so I can give them a heads-up for summer. After all, my summer break starts less than 2 months after spring break!

One of my new fave oats combos: volumized overnight oats topped with peanut flour paste, almond peanut cashew butter, frozen bananas and drizzle raw honey.

3. Cook more

Honestly, I really miss cooking when I’m up at school. I definitely appreciate having an oven, stove and grill while I’m at home so I want to take advantage of them. My mom and sister have different spring breaks than me, so I’ll have the house to myself that week from 8:30 to 2:30. Perfect for recipe experimentation! I have a few plans for what I want to make, like more kale chips, pecan milk and vegan “butter chicken” but I want to attempt to make at least one thing every day I have off. That might mean a lot of leftovers, but as long as they’re delicious, I don’t mind!

I won a Coach's Oats giveaway on Facebook, but I was totally blown away when they sent me this Hugh Jass bag of oats. Guess I'm stocked up for awhile!

4. Work on budgeting

I am still not the best at this, but I do want to learn! Right now, I am getting paid monthly for my work as an editor for my campus’ faculty newsletter and since it’s still a relatively new thing to me, I get super excited about seeing money in my bank account, and then I end up buying things on impulse. While I do end up using these things (like peanut flour, Hollister purchases, etc.) I would like to think out my purchases more and not just buy things because I can. This might be hard, especially considering my huge wishlist of spring clothing, but I know it’ll be worth it in the future when I have a real job.

Probably my second-favorite Pure bar flavor, cranberry orange. I love the combo of sweet and tart!

5. Avoid food ruts whenever possible

Most of the time, I don’t really think of them as ruts, because I enjoy what I’m eating and for many things (like oats, dried fruit, almond peanut cashew butter), I don’t get burned out on them–they just become favorites that I come back to over and over. But sometimes I do get into ruts and unfortunately, I eventually lose interest in that item, which is a shame, because I want to get a variety of things in my diet. So I want to work on mixing up my daily staples, trying out new products (including ‘fear foods’) and giving other ones a small break so I don’t get burned out.

Sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste and real maple syrup drizzle, mixed stir-fry veggies on the side topped with curry paste/mustard sauce.

Do you have any goals for March? What’s your favorite veggie at the moment?

WIAW: A Day of Red & Pink

Hey everyone! I hope you all had fabulous weekends! Mine was really good, since I spent it at home, and actually a little longer than usual, because of a snowstorm that kept me here for another day. But I’m not complaining 😉

Anyways, I really wanted to thank every single one of you who commented on my last post. I loved that you guys spoke your mind in a very respectful way and I really liked the conversation that the post sparked. I really do believe that every person is totally different and as such, they have completely different nutritional needs and we should all be respectful and understanding of that, which you all did. So thanks again!

Peas and Crayons

Moving on to WIAW for this week! I decided to do mine a little early, since I wanted to do a special Valentine’s Day edition and V-Day is today! Basically, my meals were pretty pink and red (and chocolate-y) today in honor of the holiday. I’m not a huge fan of V-Day, but I also don’t hate it. I mean, my parents are basically the best Valentines ever, since they got me the sweetest card, a pink carnation plant and a cute American Eagle scarf. And after all, the day’s a good excuse to wear pink which is exactly I did. But more on that later!

Breakfast: raspberry mocha smoothie in a bowl topped with Kashi GoLean, peanut flour paste, gummy vitamins and a couple vegan chocolate chips.

This was my first attempt at a smoothie in a bowl and while it was super tasty, it wasn’t thick. At all. More like cold soup, which is alright but I want a super thick smoothie. Looks like I have to invest in some xanthan gum…Anyways, the smoothie was just a mix of some frozen raspberries, cocoa powder, u/s vanilla almond milk (my personal fave brand is Pacific Naturals) and a little Starbucks instant coffee powder. I love the little caffeine burst+coffee flava in the morning without shelling out $4 for some ‘bucks. Speaking of which…

Tall skinny soy caramel macchiato (love!) in a special Starbucks Valentine's cup.

My dad and I hit up the ‘bucks on Sunday for some afternoon coffee and I was soooooo excited, because I’d heard about the special V-Day cups. I am such a sucker for all things seasonal so this did not disappoint. I also tried out a new-to-me drink, the skinny caramel macchiato with soy and it was delicious and caramel-y without being too rich. Definitely a repeat order.

Outfit of the day: hot pink cropped cardi (A&F), pink ruffled tank (A&F Kids), tan corduroy jeggings (Hollister), pink plaid scarf (American Eagle), pink polka dot headband (American Eagle).

I was honestly surprised by how few people were wearing red or pink on campus. I guess I just like to be festive 😉 The pants look like a nasty color in the photo, but trust me, they’re actually a caramel color, not a gross mustard yellow. The lighting in my dorm is pretty pathetic!

Lunch: butternut squash cubes with cinnamon, chocolate brownie Pure bar, raisins.

Who says you can’t eat a brownie for lunch? It is Valentine’s Day, after all! And of course, the chocolate brownie Pure bar is super-healthy, so it’s alright. I enjoyed this lunch on-the-go between classes as per usual.

Snack: raspberry zinger tea, superfruits Oikos.

My favorite Oikos flavor, hands down, would have to be the superfruits. It’s an amazing mix of pomegranate, raspberry and acai and I just love it. I haven’t had it in literally months, though, because the stores me never seem to stock it. When my lovely mom picked up groceries for me last week, she found it and knowing how much I love it, got it for me. Now I get to enjoy it three more times!

Dinner: dark chocolate raspberry "cheesecake" oats, smart bacon.

I love love LOVE having oats for dinner…with some protein and a fruit or veggie to balance it out, of course. Tonight I went for a really sweet oats combo of dark cocoa powder and frozen raspberries with a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt stirred in. The yogurt made the oats really creamy and reminded me a little bit of cheesecake. A healthy cheesecake, of course!

Snack: bunny pretzels, organic strawberry jam, almond peanut cashew butter, peanut flour paste.

Of course I had to use my heart-shaped bowl at least once today. I’m not really sure how this snack is related to Valentine’s Day, except that it’s in the bowl and it has strawberry jam. It’s just one of my favorite snack combos at the moment!

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What’s your favorite berry?

WIAW: Flavor Flav

Hi my lovelies! What is up? I loved all your responses to my fashion blogging post–even if you aren’t the ‘fashion’ type, I really appreciated your feedback on what makes a good blog.

Peas and Crayons

Anyways, no, my WIAW title this week has nothing to do with the rapper–it’s just my super-lame way to say that this week’s edition is all about new-t0-me flavors. Like I mentioned in my recent Saturday Seven post, I love trying out new things and this week, I apparently tried out a few new combos and they did not disappoint! So lesssss go!

Breakfast: PBBH sandwich oats (aka peanut butter banana honey sandwich), topped with peanut flour paste, frozen banana slices, drizzle raw honey; unpictured veggie sausage

Ummmmm yeah…let’s just say I have yet another favorite oats combo. I don’t know where I came up with this idea, but it totally reminded me of a peanut butter banana honey sandwich and it. was. delicious. The combination of frozen banana chunks, thick peanut flour paste, creamy voluminous oats and a drizzle of my favorite honey was a magical one. This has just replaced my latest favorite, carrot cake oats!

Starbucks Christmas VIA Blend with AB unsweetened chocolate almond milk.

I have no lunch picture this week (and probably won’t for a while) because my class schedule forces me to eat on-the-go, hence I basically just scarf down baggies of Kashi GoLean, baby carrots, grapes or edamame. Not the most gourmet, but it gets the job done. Oh how I miss leisurely lunches at home…

Tuesday's outfit: pink cropped cardigan (A&F), navy lace-front tank with pinstripe waist tie (A&F Kids), slim boot jeans (American Eagle). The weird face is all me, sadly.

This week and last have been devoted to wearing all my brand-new clothes. I actually love that part of back-to-school–showing off all my new outfits. The tank top in the picture is the new piece, and I love it because it’s one of my few lace pieces, and it’s got an adorable bow around the waist. What’s not to love?

Snack: plain Stonyfield Oikos yogurt mixed with cinnamon and Truvia, topped with half a honeycrisp apple and a little Kashi GoLean.

I’ve been really enjoying plain Greek yogurt lately. Now hear me out. Plain doesn’t mean boring–it just means I buy the plain kind and then flavor it myself with cinnamon, dark cocoa powder, instant coffee–whatever. It’s more economical that way, plus I get more yogurt in a container. Win win! I loved this combo in particular because it had the crunch from the cereal and the sweet-tartness from the apple. Plus the amazing protein and calcium from the yogurt.

Dinner: vegan nachos.

Definitely not nachos in the traditional sense, but good nonetheless. I topped some Late July mild green mojo chips (the best chips, in my opinion) with some Whole Foods refried beans (with chile and lime) and some heated-up frozen grilled peppers from Target. Simple, delicious and a healthy way to get your Mexican fix.

Snack: Annie's pretzel bunnies, heaping teaspoon almond peanut cashew butter.

I’ve said it a million and one times, but again, I love the sweet-salty combo. Nothing better. The other night, I got the super-smart idea to dip pretzels in almond butter. Soooooooo tasty. I love Annie’s pretzel bunnies in particular, because they’re cute!

What’s your favorite way to eat pretzels? What’s the best flavor combo you just discovered?

WIAW: Back at It+Obsessions

Well guys, I’m finally back at school and ready to start off second semester! I really enjoyed having a full month off to be at home with my family, and not gonna lie, it was hard coming back. Besides missing my family, I also miss the comforts of home, having a car and a kitchen to cook in. Spring break is only a month and a half away though, so I’m looking forward to that!

Peas and Crayons

This WIAW, I thought I’d show you some of the food I’ve been obsessed with lately while I was home, as well as a few other recent ‘obsessions’.

Breakfast: raspberry mocha protein waffle, frozen grapes, spicy veggie sausage

I really wanted waffles the other day, since I haven’t had one in a couple of months, but I wasn’t feeling a boxed mix. Instead, I whipped up my own raspberry mocha protein waffles, and they did not disappoint, especially with 6 grams of protein per waffle! I had one as my last breakfast at home 😦 along with a spicy veggie sausage and frozen grapes (another obsession).

Raspberry Mocha Protein Waffles (vegan, high protein)

1/2 cup oat flour (or ground rolled oats)

1 scoop Soytein cappuccino protein powder

handful frozen raspberries

1 tbsp vegan chocolate chips

sweetener, to taste (I used Truvia)

water, to thin

Process oats in a food processor or blender til mostly ground. Mix oats, protein powder and sweetener in a bowl until combined. Add water until desired consistency is reached; stir in chocolate chips and raspberries. Heat a waffle iron (or make into pancakes) and cook until browned (makes about 4 small waffles). 

I'mma office supply nerd!

I just stocked up on new pens for the upcoming semester, and of course, I scored the most colorful kind! I’m obsessed with organizing my notes by color, so these will be well-used.

Lunch: summer rolls, edamame in the shell, fresh pineapple, "poor girl's" spicy mustard (yellow mustard mixed with Sriracha)

My parents and I went to Pei Wei on Friday for lunch. I got my usual, the Vietnamese summer rolls, but when I asked them to leave out the chicken, they said they couldn’t do that! Most places are usually pretty accommodating to vegetarians, so this was a shock, especially since Pei Wei has plenty of veg options. I still got the rolls and just picked out all the chicken, which wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it for the delicious summer rolls (with a side of in the shell edamame). Next time, I’d get an actual vegetarian option, despite my fear of ordering noodle dishes in restaurants.

Snack: in the shell edamame, small Pink Lady apple, handful organic cinnamon crunch cereal, PF paste

Snack plates are my favorite, whether for snacks or even lunch (I’d love to do one for dinner, too). I’m so indecisive so I like my meals to have many components so I don’t get bored. This was a pretty random one, but it fulfilled my craving for something sweet (cereal), something green (edamame), something crunchy and fresh (apple) and something delicious and protein-packed (peanut flour).

Outfit of the day: cream cropped sweater (Hollister), navy ruffled tank (Hollister), multi floral skirt (Hollister), grey polka dot tights (Target), grey corduroy booties (ALDO)

Sorry that I look super-pissed in the picture above–I always make the stupidest faces when I self-time. And, yes, I did just take this picture on Saturday and yes, I still have my mini Christmas tree up. What can I say, I like to make the holidays last as long as possible 😉 I’m in love with the booties that I got just before Christmas, but they’ve still yet to make a debut at school. I blame the snow and ice that randomly dumped on campus on Monday afternoon!

Dinner: Gardein beefless tips stir fry (with asparagus, mixed veggies and edamame), frozen mango chunks, freeze-dried strawberries

While I was still at home, I discovered a TON of frozen Gardein products in the freezer. I went through a phase over the summer where I was obsessed with them, but then I got kinda burned out. I rekindled my love for their meatless goodness over Christmas break and it was wonderful. The beefless tips weren’t as good as I remembered, though…

Dessert: carrot cake oats topped with almond peanut cashew butter and raisins

I don’t know why, but I’ve been obsessed with the carrot cake flavor combo lately. I’ve been loving the raw carrot cake bites I made and I’ve enjoyed quite a few bowls of carrot cake oats recently. I just love the mix of carrots, raisins and nut butter! Another awesome, new-to-me combo is coffee oats, topped with peanut flour paste and crushed Annie’s bunny pretzels–sweet and salty is the best!

What have you been obsessed with lately? What is your favorite pen color?

Yum vs. Yuck

Everyone has them. A ‘yum’ and a ‘yuck’ list. Maybe they’re not actually written-down lists, but you know what foods you can’t live without and those that you wish would just disappear.

Here’s a few things I want to share from my own lists. Some of them have changed over the years, while some have stayed the same. Of course, it’s great to work on incorporating a lot of variety into our eats, but it’s okay to admit that there are some foods we just can’t stand.

Yuck!

  • Cottage cheese. I haven’t tried it recently, or very often, but the texture is just too sketchy for me. I much prefer Greek yogurt, thank you very much! Plus, now that I’m mostly vegan, I see no need to include it in my diet.
  • Green beans. It’s one of my mom’s favorite veggies, so I’ve been forced to have it throughout the years and it’s just never good. The only way I can stand them even a little bit is with tons of mustard!
  • Ketchup. I think I might have liked it as a kid, but now it’s just so gross to me! I mean, who wants a sweet condiment? Plus, I hate tomatoes (except in salsa) so it kind of explains my disdain for ketchup.
  • White potatoes. Give me a sweet potato any day and I’ll happily devour it. But a white potato–no thanks! They just make me really thirsty for some reason, and I really can’t stand them roasted.
  • Eggs. This one’s been on my list since I first tried them. Ick, ick ick! I think it’s the whole texture thing. I know they have a ton of protein, nutrients, blah blah blah but…just no.
  • Cheese. Used to like it as a kid, was scared to death of it during the worst of my ED, now I just think it’s disgusting. Soy and almond cheese, however, are sometimes part of my diet since they’re vegan-friendly and yummier than dairy cheese.

I prefer my pizzas with tons of veggies and NO cheese!

  • Coconut. Not quite sure how I feel about this one. Part of it is because it’s a “fear food” for me (because of the high sat fat content) but part of it is that it just weirds me out, especially in shredded form.
  • Pears/cherries/canteloupe. These are the only fruits that I’ve tried (and can think of) that I just don’t like. Cherries are too sour, but I’m okay with dried cherries, pears are just too squishy and canteloupe is bleh, not to mention that whole scare that happened over the fall with them–the farm traced to it is only 2 hours away from me 😯

The only way I'll eat cherries is in overnight oats.

  • Cashews. I like a lot of nuts, from almonds to walnuts to pecans to pistachios but there’s just something off with cashews for me. I do want to try them in a raw cashew cheezecake, though!

Yum!

  • Medjool dates. Actually, I had never tried these until about a year ago, and I fell in love. They’re so sweet, with an almost caramel taste and an amazing soft texture. Now I love them stuffed with almond butter, dark chocolate or used in raw desserts.
  • Unsweetened almond milk. The blog world helped me discover this, and I’m forever thankful. It’s so deliciously creamy and makes the perfect base for smoothies. I looooooove the vanilla kind, but I want to try Almond Breeze’s unsweetened chocolate kind.
  • Rolled oats. Another blog world find. I never used to like oatmeal as a kid, since it was too mushy, but once I figured out how to make it overnight (and voluminous) style, I was hooked. Now I get a perfect, chewy bowl of oats practically every day. And the topping/flavor combos are almost endless.

Carrot cake oats are one of my current fave combos!

  • Brussels sprouts. I grew up thinking they were beyond nasty, even though I’d never had them before, because they just had a negative connotation. I tried them for the first time this fall, and they are so good grilled or roasted with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  • Cilantro. I know some people can’t stand the taste of it, but it’s my favorite herb!
  • Almond butter. This one is a pre-blog discovery, and it’s stuck with me ever since. I’ve never been a fan of peanut butter, even as a kid (I would always eat jelly-only sandwiches–yeah, I was weird) but almond butter is a whole different story. Now I also love walnut butter, pecan butter and almond peanut cashew butter.
  • Tropical fruits. I love practically all fruits, but this is probably my favorite group. Pineapples, bananas, mangos, kiwi, limequat, pomegranate, tangerine, watermelon…I love all the kinds I’ve tried and I still want to try even more!
  • Quinoa. I had this for the first time several years ago, when my cousins introduced it to us. They lived in South Africa for a year and quinoa’s really popular there and as soon as I tried it, I was hooked on the fluffy texture and nutty flavor. I also love that it’s so versatile and is a complete vegan protein source.
  • Edamame. I know some people say soy is unhealthy, but I just can’t get enough of edamame! It’s so good in stirfrys and I love getting it in the pod at Asian restaurants. And it has tons of healthy plant protein!

Edamame guacamole, ready to be mixed.

What’s one thing on your yum or yuck list? Have you tried anything lately that moved from one list to the other?

WIAW: Award Season

Can you believe it’s already the second WIAW party of the year? Um, nope, neither can I! If the year’s already going by this fast, that’s a good sign. The first few months of the year always tend to drag on, which isn’t fun. I already can’t wait for summer break, which is pretty pathetic 😛

Peas and Crayons

Anyways, the very sweet and beautiful Kat just tagged me in the Lactose Free Lizzie Food Award. It is award season, after all, with the Golden Globes and SAG Awards and the Oscars all coming up within the next month or so!

“The blogger that is tagged must host an award thing-ama-gig about FOOD. Yes, food (it’s the food awards). Anything related to it. A food blogger, a company, a favorite meal, or even whatever you like to sprinkle on your popcorn. After you are finished you tag 3 other bloggers to host a Food  Award ceremony (aka a post). But remember, you may only focus on the positive aspects of what you are awarding. No negativity is tolerated, especially if it will hurt someone’s feelings). Also, you are ALL winners in my book, even if you are not mentioned   xoxo Lizzie”

Nominees for Best Greek Yogurt Flavor

  • Oikos superfruits
  • Siggis orange & ginger
  • Fage mango guanabana

Winner–Oikos! I’ll admit that I’m a diehard Oikos fan (the original Stonyfield organic kind, not the new Dannon variety), so all of their flavors are winners in my book, but the superfruits takes the cake!

Breakfast: turtle sundae voluminous overnight oats (topped with banana soft serve, small Medjool date, chopped pecans), unpictured spicy veggie sausage

Nominees for Best Veggie Burger

  • Sunshine falafel burger
  • Gardein ultimate beefless burger
  • Amy’s low sodium California burger

Winner–Gardein! I actually love all these veggie burgers, but the Gardein has the most protein, 17 grams in one burger. Not too shabby!

Lunch: random snack plate of steamed edamame (with mustard for dipping), the thickest peanut flour paste I've ever made, fresh pineapple

Nominees for Best Nut Butter

  • MaraNatha natural honey almond butter
  • Whole Foods bulk crunchy almond butter
  • Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter

Winner–Archer Farms almond peanut cashew butter! Obviously, almond butter is my hands-down favorite nut butter, but this one has the creamiest texture and a great mixed nuts taste.

Afternoon snack: peanut flour paste, fresh pineapple, frozen black grapes, teaspoon of homemade cookie butter

Nominees for Best Use of Sweet Potatoes

  • Alexia sweet potato tater tots
  • topped with nut butter and cinnamon
  • the base of a baked good

Winner–Alexia sweet potato tots! I love these crunchy little nuggets of sweet potato goodness. They’re much healthier than typical tater tots, because they’re baked not fried and cooked in just a little olive oil. Definitely my favorite way to enjoy my favorite veggie!

Dinner: homemade vegetarian spicy chili, iced unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze (first time trying this brand of AM and I'm hooked!)

Nominees for Most Versatile Product

  • Medjool dates
  • Oats
  • Peanut flour

Winner–peanut flour! All three of these are staples in my daily eats, but I can’t deny the amazing-ness of peanut flour. It’s a great sub for flour, is delicious as a protein powder, works well in microwave mug cakes and (my personal favorite) is beyond yummy mixed into a paste with water! It’s like a higher protein version of nut butter!

Dessert: Raw carrot cake bite with peanut flour 'frosting'

I’m passing the award onto… Aja @ Writing and Recovering, Chloe @ LightOnMyFeet and Lena @ Fit on the Rocks!

What’s your nominee for most versatile product? What is one food you’ve been obsessed with lately?

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)?