WIAW: Ashley Lately

Hi guys! Sorry I’ve been so MIA lately–my Thanksgiving break started on Thursday afternoon and since then I’ve been busy writing papers (why do professors make assignments due right after break?), cleaning the house before my grandparents come for T-day (I haven’t seen them since my high school graduation 2 1/2 years ago!), doing a butt load of grocery shopping and just enjoying my time off. I definitely needed to come back in time for WIAW though! Especially since it’s just before American Thanksgiving and I have a couple of recipes to share 😀

How appropriate–my most loved veggie shaped like a heart!

Garnet yams and sweet potatoes are my fave veggie right now, other than kale. Or maybe cauliflower. Anyways, I think I love sweet potatoes because they’re one of the few veggies where it’s totally normal to top them with sweet things. I went with raisins and maple almond butter this time, and it was a great combo.

Not food, but I can’t resist cute Christmas things!

I am such a sucker for all things Christmas, whether it’s a limited edition holiday coconut milk drink, or an adorable decorated Kleenex box. I realize these things tend to be overpriced, but Christmas only comes once a year. Why not live it up with a snowman tissue box 😉

Halfway through the longest paper I’ve ever had to write!

As much as I like to write, I don’t like it enough to be able to breeze through a 4000 word term paper. Ironically, this is for one of my journalism classes and in all journalism, specifically broadcast journalism which is my (hopefully) future career, the writing is very short and to the point. None of this 20 page paper bull shit  crap. At least I’m interested in the topic I’m writing about, it’s just incredibly time-consuming. But I literally only started this paper on Friday, so I’ve gotten pretty far. This calls for a coffee break…

Speaking of Christmas…my favorite Starbucks holiday drink.

Most people even hate or love peppermint. I personally love it, especially combined with chocolate. So it’s no secret that I love Starbucks’ soy peppermint mocha. And now I love it even more that they offer a skinny version. I like sweet things, but their normal version is way too sweet so I like that they have a sugar-free version so it’s not too overpowering.

I love the Christmas Pandora stations.

Speaking of Christmas, it’s definitely not too early for me to start playing Christmas music. I started a week ago, when Sirius XM started playing their holiday stations again and now I’m listening to it daily, almost non-stop. It just puts me in a good mood, even when I’m mad because I got a crap ton of work to do over break.

Another take on the easy-as-pizza cinnamon roll.

Remember when I made cinnamon rolls out of pizza dough? Cinnamon rolls have always intimidated me but when you make them with fresh dough, they are beyond easy to make and customize. This time I went with a pumpkin chocolate chip combo and it was even better than the original maple pecan rolls.

Pumpkin Chip Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

half ball of fresh multigrain dough (can use gluten-free)

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave or coconut nectar)

sprinkle cinnamon, to taste

powdered stevia, to taste

1/2 tbsp mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix dough with sweetener to taste. Roll out dough on floured cutting board until about 1 inch thick and rectangular in shape. Mix pumpkin, maple syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl until thick and paste-like and spread on dough. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and roll into a thick log, pinching ends. Cut into 6 small rolls with a floured knife and place in sprayed baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Serve warm from the oven topped with pumpkin butter, protein frosting or more maple syrup.

The return of the hipster glasses…

Remember when kids used to be made fun of for wearing glasses? I find it so funny that now it’s actually fashionable to wear them. These aren’t my real glasses, but they are my new favorite accessory. They add a nerdy chic touch to any outfit and I just think they’re fun.

Latest dinner obsession: pineapple fried quinoa.

I hope I never get sick of this dinner, because it is just so damn good! I think if I keep mixing around the ingredients, I could eat this forever. I’ve had it three times since last Wednesday and each time it’s been a little bit different. One time I topped it with peanut flour paste and had red cabbage and kale in it, then I had cauliflower in it and the other time I had sweet potato chunks and kale in it. Sooooooo good, so easy.

With gorgeous weather like this, I can’t complain too much.

If you’ve never been to Colorado, you probably think we’re the land of snow and cold, at least in the fall and winter. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, the mountains get dumped on but here on the Front Range, we get temps in the 60s into November and December sometimes (I remember a couple of days this past January that were nearly 70!). We almost never get a white Christmas (we’re more likely to get a white Easter) and Thanksgiving Day is usually pretty warm. It’s been sunny and gorgeous all week and I’m loving it. As much as I want to move somewhere like California or Arizona for even warmer weather, I do love it here. And I get to see the beautiful mountains every day!

Can you believe I’m just trying spaghetti squash now? Crazy talk.

Guys. Why did I never try spaghetti squash until now? It’s so good, and really interesting. I like pasta and noodle dishes, but it’s all about the sauce and toppings. Spag squash makes for a great noodle replacement because it’s a fiber-filled veggie with a light taste that goes with red sauce, Asian sauces and pretty much anything. This version featured cauliflower, a spicy peanut flour-based sauce and sprouted pumpkin seeds. Gooooooooood stuff!

My latest lotion obsession: BBW sweet cinnamon pumpkin.

I go crazy over seasonal scented lotions. Bath and Body Works is my lifesaver–they have so many yummy scents at a decent price and they introduce new ones all the time. This one was new this year, and I hope they never stop making it. It’s just great, period. Please go smell this now if you haven’t.

Do you like seasonal products? What’s the longest paper you’ve ever had to write? 

ABCs and Recipes

Last summer, I was completely obsessed with blog surveys. I did one almost every week, usually on Wednesday (for WIAW) and I loved coming up with answers for the questions. I got a little burned out on them after a while, but now that I’ve seen this new survey pop up all over the place, I decided to jump in on it. I’ve also got a couple more recipes for you too!

A is for Age: 19, but I’ll be 20 in 4 months!

B is for Breakfast today: Coffee-flavored overnight oats topped with a little peanut flour paste, with a side of veggie bacon (made crispy in the microwave) and some raisins.

C is for Currently Craving: Starbucks unsweetened iced coffee! I had my first one yesterday and it was totally refreshing for a warm spring day. I sweetened it up with a little Truvia and it was perfection.

Enjoying some Starbucks in the sunshine.

D is for Dinner tonight: Hopefully some Mediterranean food at Garbanzo, aka my favorite fast casual restaurant!

E is for favorite type of Exercise: Either biking or tennis. I hope I can do one of those tomorrow, since it’s supposed to be super warm!

F is for irrational Fear: Someone breaking into my house…and squirrels.

G is for Gross food: Any kind of meat (that’s why I’m veg*n), ketchup and eggs. Ick!

H is for Hometown: Phoenix, AZ. Now I live in CO but I want to move back to AZ someday for the warm weather.

I need to live in Phoenix so I can tan outside all the time.

I is for something Important: I couldn’t live without my family, seriously.

J is for current favorite Jam: Music-wise, I’m loving “Starships” by Nicki Minaj. Food-wise, I really like orange ginger marmalade.

K is for Kids: Obviously not right now, but someday I’d love to have twin girls!

L is for current Location: See photo below!

I love being outside!

M is for the most recent way you spent Money: I bought Starbucks drinks for me and my sister.

N is for something you Need: Ummm, how about a car? I’ve loved being able to drive myself around this week and I’m kinda mad that I won’t be able to do that again until summer.

O is for Occupation: Student and blogger right now, future TV anchor hopefully soon 😀

Outfit of the day: striped crop top (Hollister), navy twill shorts (Hollister), silver bangles (American Eagle).

P is for Pet Peeve: Chipped nail polish. I love having my nails polished, but I have to repaint them almost every day because they constantly chip!

Q is for Quote: 

R is for Random fact about you: I have a tooth that grew in facing backwards! I had to have braces on my lower teeth for over 3 years because of it but it’s still backwards.

S is for favorite healthy Snack: Kale chips. Here’s my latest recipe for them…

Why are kale chips so addicting?

Curried Kale Chips (vegan, gluten-free)

1 bunch kale, washed and dried

curry powder, garam masala, sea salt, cracked black pepper (to taste)

oil spray (I used Pam)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Tear kale into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Spritz lightly with oil spray and sprinkle on spices (add as much or as little as you’d like). Place kale on foil-lined baking trays and put in oven for 20-30 minutes, until crisp. 

T is for favorite Treat: Gelato, or almond milk ‘ice cream’. As far as desserts go, cold ones are definitely my favorite, I’m not as huge of a fan of baked goods, but I also love raw desserts.

U is for something that makes you Unique: My eyes used to be blue when I was a baby, but now they’re hazel! As much as I think blue eyes are really pretty, I think hazel ones are really cool.

V is for favorite Vegetable: My favorites at the moment include spinach, baby carrots, edamame, kale, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and asparagus.

A produce-filled lunch: quinoa pasta salad (the colored ones are made of dried spinach and beets) with baby carrots, edamame and vegan Caesar dressing, side of fresh mango.

Super Simple Pasta Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup quinoa pasta

1/4 cup cooked edamame

handful chopped carrots, other veggies

1 tbsp dressing of choice (I used Follow Your Heart’s vegan Caesar)

Make pasta according to package. Mix with edamame and other veggies and place in a bowl in the fridge for a few hours. Once chilled, toss with dressing and other toppings of choice, like nooch, nuts or dried fruit (makes 1 serving).

W is for today’s Workout: I did a quickie cardio circuit, and I’m also going to be spending the day shopping. Shopping is my favorite form of cardio, hands down 😉

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Right ankle, left wrist, teeth and right foot. I also had an MRI done when I fractured my right ankle in fourth grade.

Y is for Yesterday’s highlight: Getting to pick up my sister from school and taking her to Starbucks, having my last orthodontist appointment ever, making dinner for my family. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures but I made orange chicken-style tofu with quinoa. It was decent, but I want to tweak the recipe before I post it.

Z is for your time Zone: Mountain time zone, baby! I love being one of the few bloggers actually in this time zone, haha.

 

Answer any of these for yourself!