WIAW: Early to the Party

Hi all, what is up? I’m glad you appreciated my random ramblings in my last post–finals just really make you lazy and scrambling for any blog content no matter how lame. At this point, I have 2 finals left (one today and one on Thursday) and then I’m headed home on Thursday afternoon for a month of glorious freedom! I can almost taste it 😛

My weekend was super-fun in a low-key way and definitely a preview of winter break, because I went home for an extended weekend–from Friday afternoon til Monday afternoon. Despite having to work on a stats take-home exam, I had a good time with my family and it only made me even more excited to come back home for a much longer time. I haven’t been home for more than a week since this summer so it should be amazing! A few random highlights from my weekend include hearing my church’s choir sing Christmas songs at a special service, signing my lease for an apartment next year ( 😀 ) and actually getting to cook. But you’ll get to see that part in the rest of the post!

Peas and Crayons

I decided to post my WIAW a little early this week because I’m super excited to show you all some things I made this weekend. Not recipes, per se, because they’re almost all so simple a 10 year old could make them, but I’m proud that I created and enjoyed them.

Maybe my favorite voluminous overnight oats combo to date--trail mix oats!

First up, my favorite part of the day…breakfast! You know me, can’t go a day without oats so I started my Sunday morning (and Saturday night…) off with a new oats combo–trail mix. Basically, I made my usual 1/4 cup of voluminous oats (so it really makes a fluffy 1/2 cup) and in the morning I heated it up and topped it with a pinch of chopped pecans (maybe my new fave nut?), a little bit of Whole Foods kettle corn, a couple of vegan chocolate chips and a bunch of raisins. The chocolate melted a little which made the combo even yummier. This is a definite keeper–simple, yet really tasty! And you can customize the trail mix topper any way you like, I personally love the chocolate/nut/dried fruit combo and the sweet-saltiness of the kettle corn added a little something extra.

I'm really in the Christmas mood, obviously.

This is obviously not food, but a picture I took of our big kitchen window that I wrote on. We just got a new dryer and it filled the house with steam, so the windows fogged up. I am definitely a 5 year old, so I couldn’t resist writing on the window. My mom came and wiped it off of course, but I had to snap a pic first!

Fancy pumpkin pecan pie s'mores.

My creativity really got away from me making s’mores this weekend. I can’t wait to find vegan marshmallows to really take this over the top, as the marshmallows I had were too hard and I ended up scraping them off the graham and eating the s’mores sans marshmallow. But basically, I took the pumpkin s’more recipe and added chopped pecans to it. It turned out amazing and really amped up the basic s’more to a whole new level. Try it, you won’t regret it. And I will be coming up with even more crazy s’mores ideas, so stay tuned!

Staying home alone makes me resort to lame photo shoots with myself. No shame.

I stayed home alone on Monday, since my sister had school and my parents had work so what did I do? Besides whip up a batch of homemade nut butter (hold on, it’s coming right up!), I also had an impromptu iPod touch photo shoot with my lovely self. I love my iPod because it has the dual camera, so I can see what I look like before I snap the picture. Basically, I am obsessed with weird random selfies that I sometimes edit with Instagram. I obviously have no life 😉

Coffee maple pecan volume oats...try saying that three times fast!

The new oats combos continued with this baby, which wasn’t quite as good as the trail mix kind, but it’s a work in progress. I need to find some way to keep the drizzled maple syrup from getting mixed in with the oats before I mix it in. But it’s a delicious combo anyways.

The coffee maple pecan trend continues with...homemade coffee maple pecan butter!

Now for what you’ve all been waiting for…the homemade nut butter recipe! I’ve always wanted to make a nut butter at home, but I never got the opportunity until now! I used up the chopped pecans to create this deliciousness, which is nice and sweet with a touch of bitterness from the coffee. But trust me, it’s good…I almost can’t wait until Thursday night to enjoy it again!

Coffee Maple Pecan Butter (vegan, makes 1/3 cup)

3/4 cup chopped pecans, raw or toasted

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp instant coffee powder (I used Starbucks VIA mocha)

Pulse pecans in a food processor for 5-1o minutes, until smooth and buttery. Add in maple and pulse til combined. Add in coffee powder until all ingredients are mixed. Serve on fruit (apples or bananas would go well) or right off the spoon 😀

Each tablespoon of the pecan butter has about 115 calories, which is pretty comparable to most flavored nut butters. Best of all, it’s really yummy, unique and super simple to make!

What kind of nut butter combo would you make? What kind of flavor combo would make a perfect s’more?

WIAW: With a Side of Survey

Hiya guys! I can’t tell you how glad I am that I’m not the only one who seems to be stressed out around this time of year! For any of you currently in the same boat as me (finals, packing, etc.)–hang in there! We will make it through, and today is one day closer to freedom break.

I decided to interrupt my studying (ummmm who am I kidding, I haven’t started yet!) and bring you this week’s edition of WIAW, aka the best part-ay ever! I mean who wouldn’t want to party it up in the midst of finals and projects? I know I do so let’s get to it! This week’s version includes a fun little survey brought to you by Tessa at Amazing Asset.

1. Four TV Shows I Watch

  • The Office—OMG, so funny! I started watching this show religiously a couple of seasons ago and haven’t stopped since. It isn’t quite the same with Steve Carell (aka Michael Scott) around, but it’s still hilarious
  • What Not to Wear—probably my favorite show. Stacy and Clinton aren’t afraid to tell people that their style is horrendous, and I love seeing the before & after, and their shopping trips.
  • Saturday Night Live—okay, maybe this is my favorite show? This show makes me crack up every time, and I love watching it with my family. Looking forward to some hilarious fam time over winter break catching up on SNL. Seriously, we are so obsessed that we constantly quote the sketches.
  • The news—haha I watch the local news on a pretty much daily basis, whether I’m at home or at school. What can I say, I’m a broadcast journalism major and I pretty much have anchors who are my idols on the local news!

Breakfast of champions: (last) Clif Kids full moon brownie bar, spicy veggie sausage, gummy dinosaur vitamins, frozen pineapple/banana chunks.

2. Four Things I’m Passionate About

  • Healthy living. One positive thing that’s stemmed from my eating disorder is my passion for eating healthy. I am now vegetarian/semi-vegan and it just feels right for me. I also like to stay active in fun ways like playing tennis with my dad and sister, going for a long bike ride or a major shopping trip  😉
  • My faith. I don’t mention it a lot on here, but I have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and it really fuels everything I do. I’ve been  Christian my whole life but my faith has grown even more as I’ve struggled with things during the past few years.
  • Fashion. I really need to do another  Style Phile post on here soon, because I’m missing having a fashion outlet through blogging. I am not the kind of girl who goes to class in sweats or jeans and a t-shirt. That being said, I do think comfort and style can go together and that’s how I strive to dress.
  • Staying true to myself. Sometimes, yeah, I do feel out of place for not going out and partying every weekend (or ever…) but I remind myself that that’s just not who I am and I know personally that that’s not what I consider fun. I prefer hanging out with people on a closer basis and just doing low-key things and that’s perfectly okay.

Seems like a bizarre lunch, but I promise you it was delicious! 1/2 cup organic kettle corn (my new addiction), tablespoon peanut flour sauce, plain Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon and Truvia.

3. Four Words/Phrases I Use A Lot

  • Like, especially when I’m nervous!
  • Definitely. It’s pretty much my go-to phrase.
  • Haha. That one is definitely overused in my text messaging!
  • That sucks! So creative, I know!

Apples and peanut flour sauce are a match made in my mouth 😉

4. Four Things I’ve Learned in the Past

  • Don’t take things too personally. Honestly, I am still so bad at this. I get emotional really easily and I read too much into people’s words and reactions. But really, most of the time, people don’t care that much about me, so I should just move on.
  • Comparisons suck. I am so done with comparing myself to others, it’s just completely pointless and has it ever made anyone feel better about themselves?
  • Making excuses all the time can really bite you in the butt. I make excuses a lot and while they sometimes work to my advantage, sometimes I just need to suck it up and do the work.
  • I am so glad I’m not majoring in a math-related field. Pretty self-explanatory, but I am so over math and science. I definitely wasn’t expecting to have to take some classes in it in college…

And this is why I've stopped taking pictures of my dinner! The sun sets basically at like 5 pm, so lighting at a quarter to 7 is awfulness. But it honestly was good--volume oats topped with peanut flour sauce (I'm on a roll with this, obvs) and organic raspberry jam, with a side of cinnamon-spiked butternut squash.

5. Four Places I’d Like to Go

  • Somewhere in the Caribbean. I love that whole tropical atmosphere, plus the water there is gorgeous!
  • Mall of America. Shopaholic over hurrrrr! Haha but seriously, this mall has everything (or so I’ve heard). I just need a ton of cash to spend first!
  • Australia. I’d actually love to go there this time of year (when it’s summer there) and spend Christmas on the beach or something. It would probably blow my mind.
  • A vegan/raw restaurant. They have these in a few places across the U.S. but they just sound so yummy whenever someone posts about going there. The food seems so creative and I’d love to try a raw recreation of some of my fave foods.

This banana looks suspiciously vibrant...with some almond peanut cashew butter and a couple of vegan dark chocolate chips.

6. Four Things I Did Yesterday (I’m writing this on Tuesday, so it’s what I did Monday)

  • Gave a presentation in my PR class. My group did pretty well I think, but I just can’t wait to be done with the project altogether. Just some issues I’m having with the group…
  • Did NOT slip on random ice patches in my new heeled boots. We had to dress professional for the presentation (I was basically the only one who really did) so I decided to wear my boots with tights and a dress. Luckily, I didn’t slip on the stupid random patches of ice all around campus.
  • Took an hour-long nap around 5:30. I try not to nap so late in the day, so it doesn’t wreck my sleep schedule, but I was honestly so exhausted yesterday that it felt good to just rest. I didn’t really sleep much, but it was still a nice break.
  • Continued to count down to Christmas break. Yeah, it’s down to only 8 days total, as of Wednesday!

And finally, for a pin of the day--how women see color vs. how men see color. So. True.

7. Four Things I Love About Winter

  • Starbucks holiday drinks and red cups. You could say I’m obsessed.
  • The holidays. Christmas and New Year’s, it doesn’t get any better than that!
  • Wearing tights and boots together. It’s one of my favorite outfit combos—sometimes I wear (different) tights and boots every day of the week!
  • How pretty snow is when it’s falling. Once it’s on the ground and frozen over so you slip every few seconds, not so much…

What is one thing you love about winter? Do you have a peanut flour obsession?

WIAW: What I’ve Been Making

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to all my fellow U.S. bloggers! Are you excited for the big day? I know I am, since I’m planning on making a few things for the meal.

I wasn’t exactly planning on doing a WIAW post this week–in fact, it almost slipped my mind! But I did promise you guys a few recipes, so I decided that a WIAW post could be good for that. I know it’s kinda cheating, but I did eat them all on Tuesday, so it’s just a shorter version of my usual WIAWs.

Peas and Crayons

I was totally inspired by my pumpkin s’more from Monday night, so I decided to recreate it in oats form. I made a batch of plain volume oats, heated it up in the a.m. and topped with a teaspoon of vegan chocolate chips, a couple of mini marshmallows and a square of graham cracker. I loved how the chocolate and marshmallows melted into the oats. Probably my best oat creation to date!

S'mores in a bowl!

Remember those festive garland bars from WIAW a couple of weeks ago? Well, I made them and they turned out fabulously good. I’m so glad that I’ve finally been able to make a baked treat that turned out perfect. Plus, they’re completely vegan!

Sweet, salty, pumpkin-y and chocolate-y.

Festive Garland Bars (vegan)

1/2 c oat flour

3/4 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1/8 t baking soda

1/3 c dried cranberries

1/3 c vegan chocolate chips

1/3 c maple syrup

1/4 c pumpkin puree

1 c Whole Foods popcorn or kettle corn

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with PAM; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add 3 T cranberries and 3 T chocolate chips and toss to coat. In a large bowl, mix maple syrup and pumpkin until combined. Add flour mixture and stir together until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until just cooked through and golden brown, about 20 minutes; set aside to let cool. Melt remaining chocolate chunks. Spread 2/3 of melted chocolate over bars and immediately scatter remaining cranberries and popcorn over the top, pressing down gently to help adhere. Drizzle remaining chocolate over bars. Set aside until chocolate sets, about 15 minutes; cut into squares and serve immediately.

This dessert was definitely a turning point for me, as far as my ED goes. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my biggest fear foods is chocolate. I love dark chocolate, but I can’t eat it straight-up, it has to be in cocoa powder form or something. I’m mostly scared of the saturated fat in it, which is ridiculous. I don’t eat very much sat fat, maybe 2 grams a day, so it scares me that just a tablespoon of chocolate chips has 2 1/2 grams. But I used 6 whole tablespoons of vegan chocolate chips in these bars, so there’s a little over 1/2 a tablespoon of chocolate per square. I gotta be honest, I loved these little bars, but the chocolate did make me feel a little guilty, especially since I already had a teaspoon earlier. I know this probably sounds completely ridiculous, but I’m working on feeling okay with eating chocolate, one teaspoon at a time.

The main ingredients of the most amazing bars!

Later, I made dinner for me and my parents. My mom ended up not liking it, but she hates squash for some reason! Crazy woman 😉 This recipe is not vegan, because it has shrimp, but if you don’t eat seafood like I do on occasion, then you can definitely sub tofu or even just chickpeas.

I love my orange overload dinners!

Butternut and Pumpkin Curry with Quinoa

1 butternut squash, cut into small cubes

1 c unsweetened plain almond milk

1 c vegetable broth

1 lb raw shrimp

1 T red curry paste

1/4-1/2 c pumpkin puree

1/2 yellow onion

1 t minced garlic

1 t ground ginger

1 cup quinoa (dry)

Chop up onion and toss in pot with garlic and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cook on medium heat until onion is fragrant and translucent. Add red curry paste to taste, and cook for a few more minutes. Add veggie broth, almond milk, pumpkin, ginger and squash and cook until boiling. Cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook quinoa in 2 cups of water (for about 15-20 minutes on medium low heat), and cook shrimp in a pan until pink. Set quinoa aside and add shrimp to curry. Cook for a few more minutes, then serve on top of quinoa. Makes 4-5 servings.

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately?

Who New?

Heeeeeeey there! Glad to see there was a lot of Whole Foods lovin’ going on around here. I will hopefully be getting my cook/bake on in less than 2 weeks and making some or all of those things.

So lately in my life there’s been a lot of new stuff, which is always fun and exciting. So obviously, I had to make a little play on words (get it–who knew…who new…new things?) because that’s how I roll. So lets run down the list of new-ish things, shall we?

Who new…voluminous oats could change my life?

Dark chocolate java raspberry almond voluminous oats. Probably the best combo I've ever created, just sayin'.

Ignore the crapalicious quality of the pic, it was taken at like 9 pm. Cinnamon raisin voluminous oats. See how much they fill up the bowl?

 Ever since I discovered the joy of oats, I’ve been hooked. I’ve been whipping up overnight oats almost every day since this May, and I haven’t gotten sick of them yet. But…no more. I found CCK’s Voluminous Oatmeal Trick and I’ve abandoned my beloved overnighters in favor of thick, fluffy, volume-filled oats. Sure, I still eat them cold (for some reason, they are just SO good that way) but now they actually take a little prep work, which I don’t mind at all. Sure, they tend to spill in the micro which is annoying, but who wouldn’t want double the oats for the same amount of calories? I was shocked at the amount of oats my usual 1/4 cup made when I used this method. And the texture is pure awesomeness. Do I miss my overnighters? Well, yeah, but not enough to quit my addiction to voluminous oats!

Who new…Iron Chef America would do a challenge with oatmeal?

Okay, okay, so this episode isn’t exactly new (I found out it was from the 2010 season) but I just saw it for the first time on the Food Network a week or so ago. Usually, they do things like exotic veggies or something, but oatmeal? So cool to see for a self-proclaimed oats lover like me.

Who new…I’d have issues signing up for next semester’s classes?

My schedule so far. I'm still waiting on one class...

 Honestly, making your class schedule in college is way less stressful than in high school, at least at my university. But this year, I was freaking out because I need this one class to get an internship at a TV station this summer, and it’s a class mostly for juniors and seniors. I’m a sophomore. So I had to sign up for classes later, because of my class standing. A few days before my sign up date, there were only 4 slots out of 18 left. The day before, there were 2. And when I finally signed up for it, there was exactly one left. Yep, I got the last spot! I was so ecstatic to get it that I texted my dad about it. But signing up for other ones was more of a hassle. I need an additional comp class, and it’s a 300 level, so I thought I’d be able to get in no problem. Well…it wouldn’t let me, since I’m not a junior or senior. Urgh, what classes do they expect me to take then? I’ve already got most of my graduation requirements done or currently being finished. A lot of upper level journalism classes were already filled or didn’t work with the class I already signed up for. In the end, I’m taking two American history classes (for my option area, which is like a minor but less official), broadcast news and a weather and climate class (I’m considering being a TV meteorologist!). I also finally got into a TV studio production class that I needed an override for and I’m waiting on a business reporting workshop class to open up. If I get that, my spring semester looks pretty decent, no real math or science classes and a lot of journalism and history, which I love.

Who new…you can make a healthified sopapilla with just two ingredients?

Vintage-ized "sopapilla" picture.

 I can’t remember if I’ve ever actually had a sopapilla (maybe in a Spanish class fiesta a long time ago), but it wasn’t on my agenda to recreate one…but I did. A few nights ago, I was having a brown rice tortilla and on the side I had a little bit of honey. I was planning on making a wrap with the tortilla, honey, almond butter and butternut squash, but then I remembered how easily the tortillas fall apart. So I just ended up putting the honey in the tortilla, folding it over and well, it reminded me of a sopapilla for some reason! I mean, it actually does seem pretty similar to one, only way more healthy. Brown rice tortillas are pretty chewy like fried dough and putting honey on it sweetens it up just like with a real sopapilla. But you can feel good about eating this 2 ingredient “sopapilla” because it’s gluten-free, not fried and sweetened with just a little raw honey (well, if you use the ingredients I did). It makes a perfect little sweet snack.

Who new…cauliflower could be purple?

Purple overload! Purple cauliflower in a purple mini colander.

 I gotta admit, I was pretty weirded out myself when I first saw it at Whole Foods. But they were giving out samples of raw colored cauli and I just had to try it. It’s actually the same as regular cauliflower, just prettier. I always eat my cauli raw because it’s delish that way, especially dipped in spicy salsa!

Who new…I’d actually order something from iHerb?

My iHerb goodies. I Picnik'd this photo, in case you were wondering why it looks weird!

I’ve been dying to try ordering something from iHerb, but never got up the nerve until I saw a $5 off code I could use on my first order. Well, I knew right away what my first purchase would be–PB2! I have always wanted to try it, but didn’t really want to pay a lot for shipping and stuff on Amazon. With the $5 off, the chocolate PB2 was basically free, except for a measly $2 for shipping. Not half bad! And the verdict: so yummy! I think it’s fairly similar to peanut flour (probably my next purchase) and the chocolate doesn’t overpower the peanutty taste. And I love that it was so cheap. Overall, I really had a good experience with iHerb…and they included a little freebie in my package–some weird mushroom-infused coffee. Ermmmm, what? I guess I’ll try it, but I’m expecting to gag 😛

Oh, and P.S. for any of you who want to check out iHerb for the first time, you can use the code NOQ779. You can thank me later 😉 Just kidding, but iHerb is my new go-to for foodie finds.

And finally, thanks to the beautiful Brittany who awarded me with the Liebster award! How nice of her 😀

 

Liebster’ is German for ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite.’ The idea behind this award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers and show some support.
The rules of winning this award are as follows:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Post the award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

So I’m gonna give it to… Chloe at LightOnMyFeet, Aja at Writing and Recovering, Michelle at Oats ‘n Bows, Kat at A Dash of Fairydust and Ragnhild at Vegan Aphrodite.

What’s new with you? Have you ever bought anything from iHerb?