Fireworks, Food and Farmers Markets

I love long weekends! Especially in the summer — since I work full-time, it’s nice to have an extended break to enjoy the incredible weather and everything else the season has to offer.

My weekend is still going strong, but I thought I’d pop in with a few of my favorite moments from the July 4th weekend. After I got off work on Thursday morning, I didn’t really have any solid plans for my time off, other than to get in my weekly trip to Whole Foods, spend some time by the pool and go for some runs. And I ended up doing all that and more…

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Double fisting it after a hot run.

Lots of cold water is necessary after these hot runs I’ve been going on. One perk of having time off is I can go for a run earlier (like around 10 or 11) so it’s not quite as hot.

This is freaking adorable.

This is freaking adorable.

I love how Snapchat celebrates holidays — this was really cute and brightened up my morning (not that it was bad…how can it be when you have the day off?)

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

Taking advantage of July 4th deals at the mall.

I haven’t been to the main mall here since Memorial Day weekend (who am I?) so I knew it was time to return. And I scored some pretty great deals. A cute top from Abercrombie & Fitch for $10? Unheard of, except for during holiday weekends. I’m a sucker for giant purses, so I went to ALDO for my fix. And I got a push-up bandeau bra from Victoria’s Secret because I love strapless styles but this girl needs some padding #ACupProblems. I spent around $50 for all this, which is cheaper than both the top and the purse alone were originally!

My patriotic outfit.

My patriotic outfit.

I’ve seriously worn these shorts every July 4th since I got them a few years ago. I love them, and I had to take advantage of the fact that I wasn’t going to work, so I could wear weather-appropriate clothes.

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

No watermelon but cherries are patriotic, right?

My breakfast wasn’t totally patriotic, but the cherries made up for it. By Friday, I was seriously running low on food, especially produce, but I made it work. These were the last of some super cheap cherries I found at Sprouts 2 weeks ago and they were incredible!

As for my July 4th evening plans? No photo evidence because it was dark, but I drove to one of my coworkers’ homes to watch the fireworks from his place. He invited a few other people I knew from work, as well as more crazy TV people from other stations in town. It was fun to hang out for a couple hours, but the parking situation and traffic coming home was insane. It would have been an easy commute about 15 minutes up the street from me, but most of that road was blocked off and even when I was leaving around 10:45 (an hour after the fireworks wrapped up), I got caught in traffic jams on another street. Also, I had to park a couple blocks away from his house, which was fine, but walking back in the dark had me a little on edge, especially after some recent assaults across the city. But I made it safe, and my car wasn’t towed, so yay!

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

Sweet potato salad with hemp mayo.

My July 4th dinner was totally ‘Merican, but with a healthier twist. I had a weird craving for potato salad (which I don’t even like), so I decided to whip up my own version using a sweet potato, coconut ‘bacon’ and a homemade mayo made with hemp seeds/water/olive oil/spices. It turned out incredible, so I’m sharing it!

Hemp Mayo Potato Salad (vegan, gluten free, grain free)

  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small wedges (can use white potato if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sea salt, to taste
  • garlic granules, to taste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum, to thicken
  • 2 tbsp coconut bacon (optional, but really good!)

Place cubed sweet potato in medium pot and pour water about an inch above them. Bring to a low boil; cover pot and lower heat and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until potato is fork tender (but not too soft). Drain water and set aside to cool. In a food processor, blend hemp hearts, water, salt, garlic and ACV. Add in xanthan gum if you want to thicken the mayo. Once potatoes are cool, pour mayo over them and stir in coconut bacon. Makes 1 serving. 

I'm obsessed with the farmers market.

I’m obsessed with the farmers market.

Saturday morning started early (well, if you think 8 am is early). But for good reason — I had plans to go to the farmers market! I usually only get to swing by after I get done with work, and by that time, most things are sold out. Getting to the market an hour earlier meant fewer crowds AND better selection. I got some organic potatoes, blackberries (!) and an incredible gluten free vegan cookie. I love supporting local farmers and restaurants and I hope to keep doing so throughout the season. And I WILL be back for more of those cookies 😉

Saturdays are for selfies.

Saturdays are for selfies.

No description needed…

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

Whole Foods buys (minus unpictured produce).

And after the farmers market, it was on to Whole Foods! I made my weekly restock trip, and yes, it was more expensive than I planned on, but only because I needed to buy protein powder. I actually got a good deal on that — 2 pounds for $25, when it’s normally over $40! So my grocery trips for the rest of the month should be cheaper. Doesn’t it just feel so good to have a full pantry and fridge again though?

Picnic-style leftovers.

Picnic-style leftovers.

After restocking my kitchen, Saturday’s dinner was a repeat of Friday’s but this time with some watermelon and avocado oil potato chips. If you haven’t tried these, you may not want to…because they’re addicting. I usually prefer sweet potato chips, but these are still healthy because they’re cooked in avocado oil instead of unhealthy canola or sunflower oil and the only ingredients are potatoes, avocado oil and sea salt. And paired with some picnic-style sides (the above homemade potato salad and vegan firecracker coleslaw from Whole Foods) I totally fit in with all the other people enjoying traditional July 4th meals. Except, you know, vegan and gluten free!

That's hot!

That’s hot!

My run on Sunday felt hot, and now I know why! I went around noon, and while the breeze helped, I was still a sweaty mess afterwards. When I checked my phone later, I saw the heat index was 104 degrees! Luckily it wasn’t super humid, so I spent some time poolside both Saturday and Sunday. But check it — today is supposed to be 100 degrees, so who knows what the heat index will be!

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

Nothing like ending the day with some laughs.

I have my dad to thank for getting me into Dave Barry probably a good 10 years ago (that makes me feel old). If you’ve never read him, he’s freaking hilarious and you’re missing out. I enjoyed some of his work while chillin’ on my porch waiting to Skype my parents. Best way to end my Sunday!

Is it any wonder July is my favorite month? The 4th is one of my favorite holidays (#historynerd), it feels like the essence of summer and my birthday is at the end of the month. And this year, I’m really looking forward to that. My family is driving out here for a few days and I can’t wait to be with them again after nearly 4 months without seeing them and to show them around! T-minus 20 days til the big day…

How did you enjoy your weekend? 

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New in Review: Fear Foods

I know some people don’t like the term ‘fear foods’. I know we shouldn’t be giving food so much power and control over our lives. But for me, fear foods are just that  — foods I’m still scared of in one way or another, but when I use them to challenge myself, I can take away some of that power.

The thing about my particular list of fear foods is that it’s changed a lot over the years. During the worst of my initial round of ED, I was scared to death of anything with fat in it. I subsisted on black beans, white rice and sugar-free Jell-O. At the beginning of my recovery, there were times that I feared almost any food my parents had me eat, since it took away my control. I remember throwing an apple across the room in anger. It shocks me now that I could be scared of an apple. Other foods have come and gone on my list. I still have fear foods to this day. Today, it’s mostly things I’ve deemed less than ‘clean’. Any added sugar, products with added oils other than coconut or olive oil, preservatives and the biggie for me, gluten and most grains. I eat gluten free not because I’ve been diagnosed with celiac or because I feel better without gluten (though generally I do) but because it’s become a fear of mine.

So for this edition of New in Review, I’m tackling a few fear foods. I can’t promise to take on the biggies but I did try some new-to-me things that still scare me to the point that it took me a few days after buying them to bite the bullet and just eat them.

  • Califia Farms Watermelon Ginger Lime Agua Fresca
Mmm, watermelon.

Mmm, watermelon.

After posting about this a few weeks ago, I honestly thought I’d never get the chance to try it out. But the Whole Foods here is pretty good about stocking new products. So when I spotted this, I knew I had to try it. Of course, I scanned the ingredient list and my heart sank a little when I saw cane sugar on the label. I guess I figured it was 100% fruit juice. Sadly, no, but luckily sugar is 4th on the short ingredient list.

Enough about my clean eating rant. I know you all want to know about the taste. It’s basically like eating a ripe, ice cold watermelon. There’s a little hint of ginger and lime, but the watermelon is the big star. And it’s definitely sweet, so I like to mix just a bit of it with water and shake it up with ice.

Pros: tasty, simple ingredients

Cons: added sugar

  • O’Dough’s Bagel Thins (sprouted whole grain flax)
Bagel thins topped with coconut butter and stevia chocolate chips. Side of Sunwarrior protein 'frosting' and berries.

Bagel thins topped with coconut butter and stevia chocolate chips. Side of Sunwarrior protein ‘frosting’ and berries.

Let me just start out by saying bagels are one of my biggest fear foods. I think the last time I ate a legit bagel was during my freshman year of college. I used to occasionally go to the bagel place in the student center and order a plain blueberry bagel, and eat half of it. I was still terrified of bagels then, but not nearly as much as I am now.

When I saw these at Sprouts, I knew I couldn’t pass them up. First of all, they’re gluten free AND vegan. It’s hard to find bread products that are both. Most have egg in them or other questionable ingredients. These are pretty standard, and healthy. And second of all, they’re bagel thins. I know I wouldn’t be able to get myself to eat a full-size bagel, but getting bagel thins means I can eat a whole bagel in one sitting. Disclaimer: it still took me three days from when I bought them to actually try them. So…the fear is still there.

As for the actual product, I’m on the fence. It toasted up well and is doughy without being overwhelming or too chewy. But the taste is off. For some reason, it has a slight fishy smell and taste, maybe from the flax, but I’m not really sensitive to the flavor of flax. It tastes fine when it’s topped with something, but I don’t think I’d buy these again because of that.

Pros: gluten free and vegan, 100 calories per whole bagel

Cons: weird flavor, they’re made with soy flour (I generally avoid soy) and have a little added sugar

  • The Gluten Free Bistro pizza crust
I love me some (gluten free, vegan) pizza.

I love me some (gluten free, vegan, homemade) pizza.

I already loved TGFB products before I tried this one. I’ve used their frozen dough to make pizza crust and cinnamon rolls, and it’s got a great texture and flavor. But I’d never seen their pre-made crust until a few weeks ago. This is yet another Whole Foods find, but if you check their website, they do sell them at other natural foods stores, and apparently some pizza places use their crust.

I’m a total pizza snob. You wouldn’t think a clean eating vegan would love pizza, right? Well, in my case, you’d be wrong. I skip the Daiya and other fake cheeses in favor of plenty of fresh veggie toppings. And when possible, I go for gluten free crust. TGFB’s crust is definitely the healthiest GF+vegan crust ever. It’s made of a mix of 4 GF flours (brown rice, sorghum, buckwheat and coconut) which adds a nice hearty flavor, tapioca starch, unsweetened applesauce, yeast, sugar (just to activate the yeast), xanthan gum, olive oil and garlic salt. No eggs or weird stabilizers needed!

The taste and texture are the best too. I much prefer thin crusts, and this one is thin while still being doughy and soft. It tastes a bit like sourdough, but it blends well with all toppings. And it reheats well the next day in the oven!

Pros: minimal ingredients, whole grain and gluten free, tastes incredible

Cons: a little expensive for just a crust

As for how I’m tackling these fear foods, the verdict is mixed. I used the pizza crust this weekend and got three solid dinners out of it. The juice I bought two weeks ago, and I’ve gotten about 1/4 of the way through it. And I’ve eaten one bagel thin so far…hopefully I can get myself to finish the rest. Luckily, they’re frozen so I don’t have to worry about them going bad before I can finish them. But I’d prefer not to toss them out  — I’ve already done that with far too many things in the past!

Do you have any ‘fear foods’? 

The Lust List: May

Let me just get this out of the way first–I can’t believe it’s already May! Where did the last 4 months of my life go? I feel like it was just Christmas and I was a newbie college grad applying to jobs. Sooooo much can change in just a few months!

So I know lust is technically considered a vice, but I don’t mean lust in the traditional sense. I mean things I’ve been wanting for awhile–whether that be clothes (per usual), food or something else. Here’s my lusts for May!

Flamingo iPhone case (VS Pink).

Flamingo iPhone case (VS Pink).

Watermelon ginger lime agua fresca (Califia Farms).

Watermelon ginger lime agua fresca (Califia Farms).

Casalserugo colorblock purse (ALDO).

Casalserugo colorblock purse (ALDO).

Bridget bikini (Aerie).

Bridget bikini (Aerie).

Watermelon Amazing Grass.

Watermelon Amazing Grass.

Cucumber jalapeno margarita (photo courtesy of Fork & Beans)

Cucumber jalapeno margarita (photo courtesy of Fork & Beans).

Coconut chocolate chip Larabar.

Coconut chocolate chip Larabar.

Kaycia leather sandals (Joan & David -- Rue La La).

Kaycia leather sandals (Joan & David — Rue La La).

Obviously I’m obsessed with all things watermelon, flamingo and PINK!

What are you “lusting” after? 

 

Meal Prep Monday: Raw Week 4

My “fully raw February” challenge is almost over…but I’m not done with the raw vegan lifestyle by any means! In my introductory post I said I was planning on going raw til dinnertime, but that actually turned into eating raw all day, every day since February 3 (besides a cooked dinner on Valentine’s Day) and I’ve been loving the results. I feel so light and refreshed after my meals, without any desire for cooked foods or added oil, sugar or salt (aside from a little pink sea salt added into my guacamole and kraut). This is something I want to keep up as long as possible and though I may be experimenting in the next month with high raw dinners (cooked beans with raw veggies), I feel great eating mostly raw and it’s something I’ve found I enjoy more than I thought I would!

Meals for the Week

Breakfast: This is always my most simple meal. Plenty of chia puddings, flax pancakes and I do want to try fruit+buckwheat rawnola someday if I can get out of my breakfast rut.

Lunch: I’m planning on zucchini noodles with raw marinara sauce or pumpkin seed pesto, salads and possibly lettuce wraps, with some fruit on the side.

Pesto zoodles for lunch.

Pesto zoodles for lunch.

Dinner: This is where I like to get creative and actually meal plan. I’ve got raw falafel/hummus/cauliflower tabbouleh on the lineup one night based on these recipes, pumpkin seed & garlic zucchini pasta and maybe a kelp noodle thing if I get to the store to restock them. I also will probably have more jicama chili fries since I have some leftover.

Snacks: Same as usual–snack plates with veggies, fruit and a fat source; protein banana softserve for dessert; chia pudding if I didn’t have it for breakfast.

Lean, green banana softserve packed with raw protein powder and spinach.

Lean, green banana softserve packed with raw protein powder and spinach.

Recipes for the Week

Other than the dinner recipes linked above, I’m planning on making these raw cacao donuts, a raw take on pink lemonade, spicy hot zucchini chips from Going Raw, sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator and probably more raw brownie bites. I had the best batch of them last week, but I forgot exactly what I put in them, so I’ll have to try again!

These look almost too good to be raw!

These look almost too good to be raw!

Source

Groceries for the Week

I’m including some things my dad picked up for me at Sprouts; otherwise, the rest was from Whole Foods and as usual, the produce will last for part or all of the week while other stuff may last through next week or longer.

*= organic

Produce: strawberries, baby spinach*, watermelon, cauliflower*, fry-cut yams, zucchini*, carrots*, avocados, garlic, mint*, bananas, papaya (excited to try this!), blueberries (on sale), lemons, cilantro, parsley, romaine hearts*

A little early for watermelon, but still tasty.

A little early for watermelon, but still tasty.

Bulk Bins: Medjool dates, raw mixed nuts, sprouted walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almond flour, raw cashews, nutritional yeast

Miscellaneous: raisins*, coconut aminos, pitted dates, no-salt-added tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, frozen cherries*, hemp hearts, chia seeds, xylitol mints

As usual, lotsa produce and bulk bin seeds and nuts. My Whole Foods trip cost me about $70, which is a great deal for tons of fresh fruits and veggies. My biggest tip for keeping grocery costs low is shop from the bulk bins. I always get my nuts, seeds and dried fruit from there because I get only what I need and it saves a ton over buying them prepackaged. And I can always try a little bit of something new without worrying about wasting my money!

Have you ever tried papaya? What’s your best tip for saving money at the store?

Currently: August

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! You really know how to make a girl feel special 😀

I’m not sure when (or if) I’ll get back to a regular posting schedule with a vacation coming up and settling back in at scchool but for now, enjoy this little survey I always enjoy doing.

Current Book: I’m loving my new “Going Raw” cookbook. I like that it’s not just recipes (and delicious-looking ones at that) but it also came with a tutorial DVD and has tips for implementing raw foods into your lifestyle. I basically want to make everything in the book!

That burger on the cover looks unreal.

That burger on the cover looks unreal.

Current Music: I’m loving the new Grouplove song “Ways To Go” and “Hurricane” by MS MR. Alt Nation on Sirius XM is my all-time favorite radio station.

 

Current Guilty Pleasure: Phoney Baloney’s coconut bacon. Gah, I need to stop devouring this stuff–I only bought a small bag of it and the stores around me don’t sell it yet! Sooooo addicting, and awesome ingredients list.

Current Nail Color: Mint Sprint by Sally Hansen.

This goes with almost everything.

This goes with almost everything.

Current Drink: Water all day errryday in my VS PINK giant water bottle. It makes drinking water that much easier. Also, coconut water iced coffees.

Current Food: Salads at least 1X per day, protein banana softserve (though not as much anymore), protein fruit ‘cereal’ (Sunwarrior+almond milk+fruit+other toppings in a bowl), Larabars, ice cold watermelon.

These veggies aren't for eating but they sure are cute! An adorable recent IKEA find.

These veggies aren’t for eating but they sure are cute! An adorable recent IKEA find.

Current TV Show: I’m not watching much right now, but I like that new Hollywood Game Night show on NBC. I like seeing celebs in real life!

Current Wishlist: Some clothes I can transition into fall (particularly a hi-lo dress), more cute oxfords (spotted the cutest pair at a little boutique the other day!), a new planner for the school year…and motivation to get through this last semester. Senioritis is hitting me hard!

How cute is this one!

How cute is this one!

Current Needs: The need to pack! Seriously, I actually like packing but I always procrastinate. I can’t even think about packing up stuff again for school in 2 weeks…I just need to pack for vacation first!

Current Triumphs: Finishing up my weather internship with a bang. Last summer’s internship was a bit of a letdown but this summer’s was an amazing learning experience and I got to work in a great environment with awesome people. I’m going to miss that place a lot, but I’m thankful for the experience I got there. Annnnnnd, I may end up posting some of my work from there at some point on here, who knows!

Current Bane of Existence: School coming up. I’m sorta looking forward to it, but after 16 years of school, I am beyond ready to just get my diploma and move on to the real world. I loved college but at this point, I’m so done.

Current Indulgence: The vegan carrot cake ice cream I enjoyed the other day. Totally fine with having ice cream right after a delicious salad, and it was really good ice cream. It was like two of my favorite desserts (carrot cake+vegan ice cream) in one.

Ugh so good.

Ugh so good.

Current Blessing: Being able to see my extended family again. We haven’t been back to see most of the fam in 4 years and it’s good timing now because one of my grandpas is not doing so well. Hopefully our visit can lift his spirits and help him feel better. Not to mention, it’ll be great to get away for a week and enjoy a different state!

Current Outfit: Strapless blue-checked corset-style top from Abercrombie & Fitch, navy blue twill shorts from Hollister, jewelry from American Eagle.

It's getting hot again (wooo!)

It’s getting hot again (wooo!)

Current Excitement: Vacation…and college graduation in T-minus 5 months!

Answer any of the above! 

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?

WIAW: Flooding, Fedoras and Fun

Sometimes, you can’t do much better than the classic alliterative title! And with that, here’s another WIAW…

Flash flood aftermath, day 2.

Flash flood aftermath, day 2.

My city is just getting hit hard with natural disasters, after last summer’s fire, this summer’s fire (which hit even closer to home for me and my family) and now flash flooding on the southwest side of town. We all knew it would happen eventually with the burn scar in the foothills meaning no vegetation to slow down rainfall, but no one imagined it would happen after just half an inch of rain fell in half an hour! Luckily, they were able to clean up the streets and businesses that were affected very quickly and by the time I made it over there on Tuesday, it looked normal, aside from tons of mud near the creek. The perks of being in TV news is that you’re always the first to know about things, and you can always get a close look at whatever happened, which is good for a nosy person like me!

I wanna be a localvore!

I wanna be a localvore!

I really love this new campaign Whole Foods has going about focusing on local food. I’ve become passionate about buying local, and even though it’s hard to get really good local produce in CO, Whole Foods does stock local produce when its available and a lot of the products I love to buy, like Larabars and raw kimchi, are produced in my state! Once I move to a better produce state (ahem, CA!) I hope to exclusively buy locally-grown produce.

Ah-mazing stuff.

Ah-mazing stuff.

And speaking of local, I happened across this gem on a random trip to the Whole Foods I rarely frequent. It’s smaller than the one I prefer and farther from where I live but I wanted to see if they had anything different. I’m so glad I did, because I have yet to see this new brand at the WF I usually go to. I spotted the “I’m a local” tag and the awesome flavor combos and was instantly intrigued. I mean, what other brand has cherry vanilla almond butter, or blueberry cinnamon walnut butter? I decided to get the dark chocolate coconut one since I knew I’d like it, but now I wish I’d gotten the espresso hazelnut one too! The best part is, there’s no added sugar aside from dates and the only added oil is organic coconut oil, which is the healthiest kind. I’ve never been a fan of the flavored nut butters that have added sugars and gross oils that some bloggers like, but now that I have a cleaner, more natural flavored nut butter option I don’t have to go without!

A good look for me?

A good look for me?

If you think this hat looks too small for me, that’s because it is. It was technically found in the little boys’ section at Target, but lets be honest, I rock it better than any little boy would 😉 Ok, maybe not, but my sister and I had way too much fun at Target the other night. Insider’s tip: if you ever want to joke around in Target and generally just act immature, the best time to go is after 7 pm. Fewer people are there so you can be obnoxious and take silly photos without anyone caring.

The new Starbucks Refresher!

The new Starbucks Refresher!

I took advantage of the half off Refreshers deal at Starbucks last weekend and tried the new Valencia orange flavor. Not bad, it reminded me of Sunny D actually, but it wasn’t my favorite (I prefer the lime). I’d love to mix this with vodka or something for a citrus-y cocktail though 😀

WF salad bar for the millionth time.

WF salad bar for the millionth time.

After going without it for 3 weeks, I caved and got some Whole Foods salad bar…twice in one weekend. I know I have problems, but I wanted a break from it for awhile to see if they started rotating in new things and they did! I’m now in love with these homemade bread-and-butter pickles they have (they’re obviously fresh!) and their addictive curry roasted nut mix. Obviously, I got some greenage in the form of romaine lettuce, and I got my favorite curried tofu salad because Whole Foods does tofu right and I realized I’ll never be able to make it as good so I gave up on buying it. Oh, and get this: one of the nights I got the salad bar was with my sister (before said Target outing). The weird thing is, she loves the salad bar as much as I do, but for very different reasons–the macaroni and cheese, and the Caesar salad. Sometimes, I think we come from two different families 😉 Just kidding, but we eat completely differently, which is funny that we both have a place we love.

Random taco salad for dinner.

Random taco salad for dinner.

After being busy at my internship, I haven’t felt much like throwing anything together that takes more than 5 minutes. I’ve also been craving salads, because all I have time to scarf at my internship is a Larabar, some berries/grapes and baby carrots. I’ve still been sticking to mostly raw, but I threw in some navy beans mixed with nooch and garlic gomasio (basically garlic, sea salt and sesame seeds–soooooo addictive!) and called it a well-balanced dinner…with some water and watermelon on the side.

My favorite right now. I could eat this. all. day. long.

My favorite right now. I could eat this. all. day. long.

Speaking of watermelon, it’s my favorite fruit at the moment. It’s just the best when it’s straight from the fridge, especially on a hot day. I hope summer never ends, so I can eat watermelon forever.

Silly seesta time at Target.

Silly seesta time at Target.

Sometimes, it’s good to be spontaneous and just enjoy life. I love spending time with my sister because she brings out the best in me. We always have fun together and I’m gonna miss her to pieces when I graduate in the fall. Only we could have fun wearing kids hats and taking embarrassing pics of us wearing bras over our clothes (don’t ask)!

For those of you who live in Canada, I hope you had a nice Canada Day on Monday and for my fellow American readers, I hope you enjoy Independence Day tomorrow! My plans for the day are going to a parade and having water balloon fights with my family…fun stuff!

What have you been up to lately? What have you been eating?