Weekend of Family, Food and Fathoming

Again with the alliteration! Sorry guys, just can’t help myself sometimes…even when it is a little cheesy.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I love that it was basically an extended weekend for me–I went to my internship Monday and Tuesday, and I had Wednesday through Sunday off to do as I pleased. Some grocery shopping, workouts and the typical daily stuff happened but it was definitely a weekend to remember!

Family

Fox Run Park was perfect for picnicking on the 4th.

Fox Run Park was perfect for picnicking on the 4th.

My family had originally planned on heading to a nearby town for their annual 4th of July parade. Apparently it’s one of the longest parades in the country (lasting over 2 hours) and we’ve gone a few times in the past and enjoyed it. However, after the nearby fire from earlier in the summer, a lot of people planned to go to this parade to show support for the local firefighters…so basically, parking was nonexistent, and we couldn’t even take the shuttle buses going to the parade because the line waiting for the bus was like a mile long. We ended up driving to the south side of town to see if there was anything going on down there for the 4th (there wasn’t), made a quick stop at home for some picnic supplies, the fam stopped at Subway for sandwiches (I munched on cold watermelon and a whole champagne mango) and then we headed back up to one of our favorite parks. Luckily, not many people were there so we had our pick of tables and after lunch, we played a bunch of outdoor games.

My patriotic outfit.

My patriotic outfit.

I love spending time with my family, and I appreciate it more now that I’m so close to being a real adult (aka out on my own, with a job and without their financial support). Even though things didn’t go as planned (and it rained later when we wanted to eat dinner outside, boo!) we still had a great 4th of July. Oh, and we also didn’t get to see the fireworks because we didn’t feel like braving the crowds downtown at the park, so we tried watching them from the hill near our house but they were blocked by another hill. You win some, you lose some!

I forgot how much I love swings!

I forgot how much I love swings!

My sister and I took the opportunity to play around on the playground like we were 5 again. I’ve been realizing more and more that being spontaneous and just having fun (even if you look silly while doing it) makes life that much more enjoyable.

Speaking of spontaneity...

Speaking of spontaneity…

The whole fam partook in our almost annual water balloon/water gun fights. Filling up and tying those water balloons wasn’t so easy, but getting to enjoy some simple fun with the people I love most was worth it. Unfortunately, no photographic evidence of how soaked we got, but let’s just say we didn’t need to shower the next day 😉

Food

July 4th breakfast: banana softserve blended with frozen cherries and chocolate Sunwarrior. Topped with homemade raw cacao nut clusters and raw brownie bite.

July 4th breakfast: banana softserve blended with frozen cherries and chocolate Sunwarrior. Topped with homemade raw cacao nut clusters and raw brownie bite.

Snackplate. Mostly watermelon and raw zucchini slices topped with garlic gomasio.

Snackplate. Mostly watermelon and raw zucchini slices topped with garlic gomasio.

Friday's lunch. Snackplate of carrots, homemade bean dip, homemade raw 'goat cheese' dip, zuke with garlic gomasio. Side of leftover berries.

Friday’s lunch. Snackplate of carrots, homemade bean dip, homemade raw ‘goat cheese’ dip, zuke with garlic gomasio. Side of leftover berries.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m obsessed with fruit. And raw zucchini slices. And garlic gomasio (basically a seasoning blend of sesame seeds, garlic and sea salt…super addictive). And banana softserve for breakfast, errryday. I’m becoming more of a creature of habit when it comes to my food, and that’s ok. My weekly Whole Foods trips have been looking similar lately: lots of fresh produce, flax crackers, raw chocolate, raw nuts, beans, olives. Makes things easier for sure!

Fathoming

Free stuff is always nice!

Free stuff is always nice!

I’ve been thinking more about budgeting lately, and how I’m going to handle a much stricter budget when I’m on my own. I’ve recognized that I have a love for going shopping, whether it be for food, clothes or beauty stuff. I don’t buy something every time I go, but it’s hard for me to say no when I have the funds necessary. I want to save up for things that really matter, and not go hog wild on little purchases here and there, and I also know that I might not be able to afford only shopping at Whole Foods when I have my first job. I have a few other health food stores I like that are cheaper, I just have to make it more of a habit to shop there instead of always Whole Foods. Gotta say though, getting free stuff from coupons/gift cards (like the Bath & Body Works stuff above) is always a bonus.

I'm kicking myself for not ordering anything from here!

I’m kicking myself for not ordering anything from here!

My mom and I went to VegFest Colorado on Saturday. I love how supportive my mom is, despite her being an omnivore who has no intentions of giving up animal products. I’m glad she went, though, because I hope it opened up her eyes to some of the needless suffering animals go through to be on her plate. She did buy some free range, organic chicken the other day, so that’s a step in the right direction. I hate to get all preachy, because that’s not who I am, but going to VegFest made me realize that I’m vegan not just for the health benefits, but for the animals. It made me realize that I’m very much against animal suffering, and that I need to do something else to show that I am. I already avoid all animal products when it comes to food…why don’t I try to start buying only cruelty-free beauty products? One of the speakers we saw said something that struck me–he said all creatures deserve to feel loved. That is so true. We all seek out love in our lives, why wouldn’t animals do (and deserve) the same? I’m certainly not saying everyone needs to go vegan, but just making small differences in the animal products you choose to buy and consume can show the animals that they are loved.

Other than the amazing message, the food was great too. I got to try several new-to-me products that I loved (namely locally-made raw chocolates and a chocolate coconut hot fudge sauce) and I got to see the Chef AJ do a cooking demo. A lot of what she said struck me as well. She’s really focused on unprocessed foods, which I am all for, but she mentioned that oil, salt and sugar are all unnecessary evils in our lives and we really don’t need them to cook delicious things. I have to say, I feel that’s a little extreme, especially as a recovering anorexic who’s still challenging old food fears, but I get what she’s saying. I try to use the most natural, unprocessed forms of all of those things, like coconut oil, sea salt and maple syrup/raw honey and I feel like that’s a good balance for me. But the desserts she made for us without sugar (a PB Larabar-esque bit, black bean brownies and muesli) were really delicious and inspired me to try to use just dates like she did as a sweetener in my desserts. I do agree that Americans tend to eat way too much sugar, salt and oil especially in their more processed forms, so any step in the direction of eliminating them is a good one.

Her cooking demo obviously got through to me, because when it was time for lunch, I ended up passing on the delicious-looking vegan waffle sandwiches from the Waffleganger food truck and just got a salad from Qdoba on the way home. As much as I’d like to say my eating is way more free now, it isn’t always. I worried about all the gluten and sugar in the waffle sandwich but now I’m mad that I didn’t just jump out of my comfort zone and at least split one with my mom. Luckily, the waffle truck is based in Denver so I’m planning a trip to visit it for brunch on my birthday in 3 weeks!

How was your weekend? How do you feel about cutting out all sugar, oils and salt?

Friday Faves (July 6)

The festivities of the 4th are over so now it’s back to real life. Who am I kidding, summer isn’t real life, at least if you’re still a student! I still have about a month left at my internship but the majority of my weeks are spent doing whatever I want. I’m definitely appreciating that I can still do that–in a couple years, that won’t be an option!

Favorite App: LabelBox

Labels make everything more fun!

I’ve been noticing cute little labels popping up on a lot of people’s Instagram photos so I had to do a little sleuthing to figure out how they were doing this. Turns out, it’s a simple and free app called LabelBox. It’s available for iPhones/iPods and Androids and it’s so easy to use. Basically all my Instagram photos will be labeled now. #Sorryimnotsorry

Favorite Obsession: Waffles

Told you I’d be using these labels a lot!

I almost can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a waffle for breakfast! And don’t be fooled, these homemade waffles are 100 times healthier and tastier than those pathetic frozen Eggo waffles. I’ve been loving on the protein waffles mostly but when I just want a simple, fruit-packed waffle like the one above, I just use some oat flour, which gives it a perfectly fluffy texture while also packing it with fiber. And toppings are necessary, of course. I topped my 4th of July waffle with fresh raspberries and protein frosting made with Vega vanilla almondilla protein powder and water. Mmmmmmm!

Favorite New Find (that I haven’t found yet): So Delicious Greek-style almond milk yogurt

6 grams of protein and fiber ain’t too shabby for a nondairy yogurt!

The Amande almond milk yogurts are decent, but a little too jiggly and low in protein for my liking. When I popped on over to the So Delicious website and saw this gem, I knew I had to have it ASAP! The only thing I somewhat miss from my non-vegan days is Greek yogurt, and now I can get my fix in nondairy form, with more fiber and calcium than the dairy version! I just need to find it in stores first…

Favorite 4th of July Activity: Water balloon wars

I probably dropped more than I caught, but it was still fun!

What do you do on the 4th when it’s hotter than an oven outside and inside, the parade your family was planning on going to was cancelled and there are no fireworks shows within 100 miles? Have a water balloon war, of course! Filling up countless water balloons was worth the fun we had and it was actually great getting water in your face when you didn’t catch a balloon. Not that that happened to me though 😉

What’s something fun you did on the 4th (whether you’re from the U.S. or not!)? What’s your favorite app?