Throwback Thursday: My First Posts

Throwback Thursdays are still a thing, right? I love finding old pics and sharing them on Instagram. Sometimes embarrassing, sometimes cute, but always fun to look back on the past.

As of May 24, this little blog will be 3 years old! I’ve blogged at various other blogs since 2009 but none have been maintained as regularly as AlmostVegGirlie! I almost can’t believe it’s been that long since I decided to start my first food/lifestyle blog and it’s all thanks to you lovely readers and commenters for continuing to support me and my blogging. So thanks so much! And in honor of my 3 year blogiversary coming up in the next couple of months, I thought I’d do a little Throwback Thursday to some of my earliest posts. It’s seriously SO crazy to me how much my life has changed since I started this blog, but then again, how boring would life be if it were always the same? I know a lot of people fear change, but I’ve made the choice to embrace it as much as possible. It’s just such an inevitable part of life, and it makes things interesting.

My first photo on AlmostVegGirlie. Possibly an iPod touch photo...oh how times have changed!

My first photo on AlmostVegGirlie. Possibly an iPod touch photo…oh how times have changed!

I think the WIAW party was just starting to catch on when I started blogging–it’s come so far since then! I participated in my first WIAW 2 days after I started blogging and it looks a lot different than my more recent WIAWs. For a little background, I named my blog AlmostVegGirlie because at the time, I was mostly vegetarian, but still eating some poultry/seafood. My first WIAW featured not only some very non-vegan food (Greek yogurt, ground turkey tacos) but some not so great photos either. You live and you learn! But in true HLB fashion, I did enjoy green smoothies and Ezekiel wraps.

I used to eat overnight oats daily!

I used to eat overnight oats daily!

Once I got into the blogging groove, I also discovered some HLB trends. Overnight oats was a big one. I was never an oatmeal fan, but overnight oats I could get behind! I started soaking oats in almond milk every night and dressing them up every morning with all kinds of crazy toppings. At one point, I dedicated an entire blog page to my overnight oat creations! I don’t think I’ve touched overnight oats since 2012–I got seriously burned out, and I moved on to more nutrient-packed breakfasts. Sometimes, you gotta get away from the trends.

My first selfie on AVG...certainly not the last!

My first selfie on AVG…certainly not the last!

I actually created my Instagram account way back in 2011 with my iPod touch (which I still use on a daily basis 3+ years later) but back then, I knew practically no one in the blogging world or on Insta so my account was private and I used it just to be artistic with my photos. I feel cool (in a nerdy way) that I was an early adopter of the app. According to this site, I was in the first 1.45% of Instagram users! I’m still a little obsessed with Instagram–I browse it at least once per day and I upload my own photos a few times per week. It’s such a great social media tool! And if you follow me, you’ll know that the selfie reigns supreme 😉

My first experience with the Whole Foods salad bar...and I've been addicted ever since!

My first experience with the Whole Foods salad bar…and I’ve been addicted ever since!

Blogging introduced me to the wonderful world of Whole Foods, which is both a blessing and a curse. My family shopped at Whole Foods every so often for specialty products, but it wasn’t until I discovered HLBs love for the store that I started going there regularly. Now it’s my main go-to store and their salad bar is one of my favorite ‘restaurants’. Where else can you get a random selection of vegan-friendly food for under $10? I know the salad bar isn’t exactly cheap, but for me, it often beats a meal out because they have so many more plant based options than a regular restaurant. And trust me, I have many more photos documenting my love for the WF salad bar!

An unconventional 19th birthday present--my first homegrown strawberry.

An unconventional 19th birthday present–my first homegrown strawberry.

Let’s pretend I don’t look like I’m about 12 in that picture! That was actually taken on my 19th birthday…what a youngin’! I remember being excited then because I was about a month away from living in a single dorm room for my sophomore year–no more roommates for this girl. And here I am now, a college graduate, about to really live on my own, 600 miles from my family (more on that later!).

Looking all professional for my second round of Skype interviews.

Looking all professional for my second round of Skype interviews.

It still blows my mind how much things can change in 3 years…or even in just 3 months! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared at all about the future, but at the same time, I am so ready to start my new life. I really feel like an adult, and even though I know I’ll make mistakes and probably miss my old life, I’m excited for what’s to come!

What’s changed the most for you in the past few months or years?

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WIAW: Foods of the Moment

I like trying new things. It’s the best way to figure out what you like, right? But sometimes, you just gotta come back to old–or new–favorites.

Doing the whole raw foodism thing for the past 2+ weeks has given me plenty of time for experimenting, and it’s helped me figure out what foods are my favorite. So lemme share them with you this WIAW!

Cauliflower ‘Rice’

Random dinner of romaine hearts, homemade guac, cilantro lime cauliflower 'rice' and dehydrated sweet potato fries.

Random dinner of romaine hearts, homemade guac, cilantro lime cauliflower ‘rice’ and dehydrated sweet potato fries.

Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes

Almost like baked fries but even better.

Almost like baked fries but even better.

Carrot Cake Anything

Banana softserve+carrot cake (added in a carrot+raisins+coconut manna) = best dessert ever.

Banana softserve+carrot cake (added in a carrot+raisins+coconut manna) = best dessert breakfast ever.

Fruits and Veggies (of ALL kinds)

Whole Foods produce haul. This makes up at least HALF of my grocery bill.

Whole Foods produce haul. This makes up at least HALF of my grocery bill.

More veggies in the produce drawer. Cauliflower, rainbow carrots, jicama, kale, bell peppers.

More veggies in the produce drawer. Cauliflower, asparagus, rainbow carrots, jicama, kale, bell peppers.

Strawberries, blackberries, spinach and romaine.

Strawberries, blackberries, spinach and romaine.

Fruit bowl. Bananas waiting to ripen, mango, blood oranges, lemon, lime.

Fruit bowl. Bananas waiting to ripen, mango, blood oranges, lemon, lime.

Beautiful blood oranges.

Beautiful blood oranges.

Zucchini ‘Pasta’

Zucchini fettuccine with easy marinaraw sauce (tomato paste+spices+date), olives, homemade pumpkin seed pesto and hemp seeds.

Zucchini fettuccine with easy marinaraw sauce (tomato paste+spices+date), olives, homemade pumpkin seed pesto and hemp seeds.

And zucchini rawsagsna. Layered with homemade marinaraw sauce, raw cashew cheez, kalamata olives and hemp seeds.

And zucchini rawsagsna. Layered with homemade marinaraw sauce, raw cashew cheez, kalamata olives and hemp seeds.

Chia Puddings

Valentine's Day breakfast of cherry vanilla Sunwarrior chia pudding topped with coconut manna and homemade raw brownie bites.

Valentine’s Day breakfast of cherry vanilla Sunwarrior chia pudding topped with coconut manna and homemade raw brownie bites.

Garden of Life mocha brownie batter chia pudding topped with fresh strawberries, coconut manna and raw brownie bites.

Garden of Life mocha brownie batter chia pudding topped with fresh strawberries, coconut manna and raw brownie bites.

Sprouted Mung Beans

Just soak and marinate for a great raw protein source.

Just soak and marinate for a great raw protein source.

Kelp Noodles

Kelp noodle 'stirfry' (adapted from Going Raw book) with rainbow carrots, spinach/arugula and orange bell pepper.

Kelp noodle ‘stirfry’ (adapted from Going Raw book) with rainbow carrots, spinach/arugula and orange bell pepper.

Avocado (in sweet things)

Avocado+Garden of Life+cacao mousse topped with coconut flakes and raisins.

Avocado+Garden of Life+cacao mousse topped with coconut flakes and raisins.

Flax Pancakes

Flax 'pancakes' topped with Garden of Life protein sauce, coconut flakes and frozen blueberries.

Flax ‘pancakes’ topped with Garden of Life protein sauce, coconut flakes and frozen blueberries.

Even though I have a lot of favorites, one thing I love about being raw is getting such a variety of foods in every day. Instead of getting stuck in a food rut, I’m always excited about trying something new and mixing things up so I get in a variety of nutrients!

What are some of your ‘foods of the moment’?

WIAW: Eat Yo Veggies

“Sooooo…what exactly do raw vegans eat?” While I personally haven’t been posed that question just yet, I know it’s a commonly asked question just from my experience as a vegan and from browsing raw vegan forums. But really, anybody who eats different from the ‘norm’ is probably asked this question and you know it can get annoying.

It probably comes as no surprise, but I’m eating a LOT of veggies as a raw vegan. And I mean a lot. Most days I eat veggies at lunch, snack and dinner and on Tuesday, I happened to cram veggie servings into each meal. Currently, I’m feeling great eating this way and I’m excited to continue my adventures into the raw foods world, but more on that in Friday’s post. For now, let me share some of what I’ve been eating lately!

Carrot cake-inspired protein chia pudding. No better way to start the day than with a serving of veggies!

Carrot cake-inspired protein chia pudding. No better way to start the day than with a serving of veggies!

This is one of my favorite breakfasts at the moment. Sadly, my vanilla Sunwarrior is almost out and I have to wait til I can afford it again to reorder more from Amazon. It pairs so well with carrots (I used one full-size carrot here)+raisins and coconut manna. Speaking of which, Nutiva’s  raw coconut manna is amazing and cheaper than Artisana’s coconut butter!

Cilantro lime cauliflower rice in the making. Better than Chipotle's.

Cilantro lime cauliflower rice in the making. Better than Chipotle’s.

I’ve never been a huge fan of rice, brown or white. It’s just a filling carb and I haven’t eaten it in a couple years (other than in sushi occasionally) because it does nothing for me. Cauliflower rice, on the other hand, is incredible. I prefer the texture to rice and when seasoned with fresh-squeezed lime juice and cilantro, plus a little nooch and onion powder, you won’t miss regular rice at all.

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar or salt)

1/2 head raw cauliflower, rinsed

handful fresh cilantro leaves

lime juice, to taste

1 tsp nutritional yeast

pinch onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until cauliflower is about the consistency of rice. Serves 1-2.

Superfood salad for lunch featuring cilantro lime cauliflower rice. Base of spinach+arugula, with cauliflower rice, hemp hearts, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds, Farmhouse Culture raw jalapeno kraut and a little raw taco filling.

Superfood salad for lunch featuring cilantro lime cauliflower rice. Base of spinach+arugula, with cauliflower rice, hemp hearts, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds, Farmhouse Culture raw jalapeno kraut and a little raw taco filling.

This salad was completely random, and as per usual, was amazing. Funny how the most random combos turn out the best. I’m sad that I’m out of my favorite sauerkraut (Farmhouse Culture brand, smoked jalapeno flavor) but that just means a trip to Whole Foods is in order, amiright? Sauerkraut is my weird obsession–I can’t get enough of the sour, spicy tang and the fact that it’s a natural probiotic is even better. This stuff is expensive, but it lasts me about a month, so it’s worth it.

No veggies in this, but still good!

No veggies in this, but still good!

I made the superfood cups from the Sweetly Raw blog, only these were basically just triple coconut cups. EV coconut oil, coconut manna, a little lucuma powder and flaked coconut on top. Perfect for people who are as obsessed with coconut as I am. Can’t believe it used to be one of my major fear foods…plant-based saturated fats no longer scare me!

Crazy for Coconut Cups (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

2 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil (use extra virgin for best taste)

1 tbsp melted coconut manna

1/2 tsp lucuma powder (optional)

1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil, manna and lucuma powder until smooth. Pour into cupcake liners and top with coconut flakes. Makes 3 small cups.

Taco Tuesday! Lettuce wrap tacos for lunch with homemade guac, more kraut, hemp seeds and raw taco filling.

Taco Tuesday Monday! Lettuce wrap tacos for lunch with homemade guac, more kraut, hemp seeds and raw taco filling.

I finally got some good avocados at Whole Foods this weekend! I’d given up on making guac at home because the avocados I was getting were mealy and too brown, even when they weren’t quite ripe. Maybe they’re coming back into season now or I picked well, because at least one of the avocados I got turned out perfectly creamy and ripe. Mexican food to me is alllllll about the guac, and going raw hasn’t changed that for me. I definitely prefer the fresh crunch of romaine hearts to traditional taco shells and I love loading them up with my favorite raw healthy fats, like hemp and sunflower seeds and guacamole, of course.

Lots of good stuff on my snackplates.

Lots of good stuff on my snackplates.

More snackplate action.

More snackplate action.

I never skimp on the veggies when it comes to snack time! This is when I like to get creative with my veggies, like romaine+dates or dried figs or dehydrated sweet potato ‘chips’. Plain raw veggies get the job done too. And I’ve been loving blackberries lately since I got some on sale for $2 this weekend at WF. Is that a steal, or what? I never used to like blackberries, but blame it on my changing palate since going raw–I love them now!

The raw sweet potato fries, courtesy of Rawmazing.

The raw sweet potato fries, courtesy of Rawmazing.

I made some incredible sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator yesterday, so I will be making this raw poutine once I get some mushrooms for the gravy. I know poutine is big in Canada, and I’ve actually never tried it (nor want to) but this raw version looks incredible! I’m becoming more and more creative while eating raw and I love it. It’s the perfect way to get me out of my food ruts, and I’m learning to love all kinds of different veggies. Of course, I still have my favorites (ahem romaine, spinach, carrots, cauliflower and sweet potatoes) but I’m up for trying new things all the time and adding new favorites to my rotation.

Other than that, my dinners have mostly been raw macro bowls on top of greens or kelp/carrot/zucchini noodles with some kind of sauce. I like how easy it is to make dinner now, but that I can go more creative if I want to.

From way back in December, but just pretend this was recently.

From way back in December, but just pretend this was recently.

Dessert has often been protein banana softserve, usually with spinach blended in for an extra serving of greens. I’m not a crazy 30 bananas a day raw vegan, but I usually eat 1 or 2 bananas a day at the moment, always in softserve form. Something about an unfrozen banana freaks me out now, I just prefer the taste and texture of frozen!

So that’s what this raw vegan’s been eating lately! I’ll be back with a post on Friday with some of my current raw food staples and how anyone can incorporate more raw foods into their diet…even omnivores!

What are some of your favorite veggies?

WIAW: Raw Til 6

One of my resolutions for this year, and also one of my goals last summer was to eat more raw. I love so many raw foods, and I prefer most of my produce raw too, but there are some cooked things I still love and don’t really want to give them up just yet. Maybe someday I’ll be fully raw but for now, I’m trying the popular Raw Til 4 plan, where you basically eat all raw until dinner time. Since I eat my afternoon snack around 4, I’m changing the name to Raw Til 6 to fit my schedule better 😉

Basically how I’m going about it is eating all raw until dinner, and then for dinner/dessert I’ll eat something cooked or something that’s not necessarily raw if I’m feeling like it. See, I love my roasted sweet potatoes/peanut flour/grain free pizza and since I usually eat these for dinner, it makes sense to keep them in my food rotation. My other meals will stay pretty similar to how they are now —> breakfast will be Sunwarrior/Garden of Life raw protein or chia seed pudding or a green smoothie or raw flax cakes, lunch will be a salad or lettuce wraps or a protein smoothie made with raw protein powder, and my snacks will be banana softserve or snackplates with plenty of fresh produce or homemade raw desserts. What I won’t be doing is restricting my fats or carbs. I personally don’t believe that 80/10/10 is the most balanced way to eat (I love my fruit but I can’t survive on just carbs) and I don’t want to go raw gourmet either because I don’t want to rely so heavily on nuts and avocados for every meal. Instead, I’ll be sticking pretty close to my normal macros (45% carbs, 25% protein, 30% fat) and just incorporating more raw foods. I’m also planning on making plenty of raw dinners as well because I’ve been bookmarking a TON of amazing-looking raw entrees and I’m really excited to try them out. I’m also going to start sprouting legumes and making my own almond milk and I can’t wait to try all these new things!

Enough of the wordiness, let’s get to the food. I’ve also got 2 recipes for you today, and another one linked up from my other blog, so I’m going pretty recipe-crazy over here!

Homemade [cheaters] almond milk.

Homemade [cheaters] almond milk.

I’ve been meaning to start doing this for a loooooong time, since there have been a lot of posts and articles out there lately discussing the potential harmful effects of carrageenan and other things added to packaged almond milk. It’s easier than you’d think to whip up your own almond milk at home, especially when you take the cheater’s route like I did. I had some fresh ground raw almond butter on hand and within a few seconds of blending with water, I had homemade almond milk, raw and completely free of unnecessary ingredients!

3 Ingredient 3 Second Almond Milk (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 4 cups water (can use filtered, or just plain tap water)
  • pinch stevia extract (optional)

In a large food processor or blender (I used my Ninja processor), add all the ingredients and blend or pulse for a few seconds or until it turns white-ish and creamy. Makes 4 1-cup servings. 

Superbowl snacks, gone raw.

Superbowl snacks, gone raw.

By now, we all know the outcome of the Superbowl. Even though I’m a fan of the Denver Broncos, being raised in Colorado, I’m not a diehard fan by any means and I honestly didn’t even watch the game so I’m not really upset by their loss. Besides, the Superbowl is just an excuse for snacks, am I right? This year, I made my raw jalapeno poppers (if you haven’t made them and love spicy things, I suggest you do!) and I had one alongside some raw cauliflower, local salsa, spicy guac made fresh at my Whole Foods, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds and a dried fig. This was the perfect snack plate for a spicy food lover like me and I didn’t even care who won the game!

A typical raw breakfast.

A typical raw breakfast.

My breakfasts have been pretty simple lately, though I’m planning on trying some new things soon. I’ve mostly been making raw protein puddings–Sunwarrior or Garden of Life raw protein powder mixed with water/homemade almond milk and sometimes raw coconut flour to thicken, and topped with pomegranate and raw nuts or seeds. It covers all the macros, tastes great and is beyond easy to whip up in just a minute.

Protein chia pudding topped with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Protein chia pudding topped with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Protein-packed chia puddings have been happening for breakfasts and snacks, too. I forgot how much I adore the thick and creamy texture that chia seeds make when they gel up. Honestly, I could eat these all day but it really is all about the toppings and mix ins. The one above was Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+homemade almond milk+1/2 tbsp chia seeds and topped in the morning with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Sunwarrior vanilla+frozen cherries+homemade almond milk+baby kale+coconut flour smoothie, with a side of raisins and raw mixed nuts.

Sunwarrior vanilla+frozen cherries+homemade almond milk+baby kale+coconut flour smoothie, with a side of raisins and raw mixed nuts.

Lunches have been a little bit less predictable. On Monday I had a green protein smoothie with some raw trail mix (just raisins & raw nuts) on the side. Really quick and easy to make and pretty filling, too. I love how eating raw makes food prep so much easier. Sure, I’ve been using my dehydrator and food processor a lot but it’s so hands-off and meals come together so quickly.

BLA lettuce wraps and pineapple. Romaine hearts+homemade coconut 'bacon' and Whole Foods fresh guacamole.

BLA lettuce wraps and pineapple. Romaine hearts+homemade coconut ‘bacon’ and Whole Foods fresh guacamole.

Tuesday’s lunch was a little more creative. I made a batch of raw coconut ‘bacon’ in the morning and since I’m basically addicted to it, I decided to incorporate it into my lunch in a creative way. Enter the BLA wraps. The BLA is a spin on the classic BLT, only without the tomato…and avocado in its place. This raw version was incredibly good and I miiiiight have it for lunch again today.

Homemade raw banana protein bars.

Homemade raw banana protein bars.

Going mostly raw has made me more creative in the kitchen! I love that I have so much time to experiment with recipes right now (truth time–I’m still itching to get my first post-grad job!) and I’ve been making a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t normally if I was still eating mostly cooked foods. Like these raw protein bars. I’ve stopped buying Larabars for the time being to save some money and also so I can try making my own raw bars. These are NOT the same consistency as Larabars but I still love ’em…and who says being raw means no protein? I’ve actually been keeping my protein levels up (about 25-30% of my daily macros) during this raw challenge with raw protein powders/nuts/seeds and I’m planning on sprouting lentils soon so stay tuned for that!

Raw Banana Bread Protein Bars (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

  • 2 ripe bananas (best when spotty)
  • 2 scoops Garden of Life RAW protein powder (or any raw plant-based protein powder)
  • 3 tbsp raw coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

In a food processor or high-powered blender, pulse bananas until smooth and liquefied. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Divide into 6 large balls and flatten into bar shapes. Makes 6 bars, ~100 calories and 8 grams protein per bar.

Zucchini pasta and raw pumpkin seed pesto for dinner.

Zucchini pasta and raw pumpkin seed pesto for dinner.

So far, my dinners have been raw because that’s what I’ve been craving, even though it’s been snowing here and below freezing! I’ve been making raw pastas with zucchini, carrots and kelp noodles and tossing them in a nut or seed based sauce, pairing it with fruit and calling it dinner. Raw dinners are the simplest things ever, but I’m learning to appreciate simplicity!

Do you prefer homemade or store-bought when it comes to bars? Do you like your produce cooked or raw? 

WIAW: Finals Week Food

Today I have my last final EVER (well, besides when/if I get my meteorology certificate…but we’ll pretend like that doesn’t count) and I’m beyond excited to be done with this semester. It’s been long (but it’s gone by so fast), it’s been hard, it’s been busy (taking 6 classes on top of working at the TV station every week is no joke) so I’m ready to enjoy some time off at home. It’s still crazy to think I’ll be a college graduate in a few days…

Before my emotions get the better of me, let’s get on with WIAW! As I’m typing this, I’m kinda procrastinating on studying for my Wednesday final so this is gonna be a mostly wordless post of some of the things I’ve been eating to fuel my studying (and to be honest, my procrastinating too).

Monday lunch. Miracle noodles dry-sauteed with some peanut butter/cayenne pepper/almond milk for a spicy peanut sauce, with spinach and sauerkraut added in. Organic honeycrisp on the side.

Monday lunch. Miracle noodles dry-sauteed with some peanut butter/cayenne pepper/almond milk for a spicy peanut sauce, with spinach and sauerkraut added in. Organic honeycrisp on the side.

Monday's dinner. Supposed to be a curried cauliflower soup, but really thick so it was more like a sauce. Still good, especially topped with sauerkraut and these addicting raw spicy sunflower seeds from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

Monday’s dinner. Supposed to be a curried cauliflower soup, but really thick so it was more like a sauce. Still good, especially topped with sauerkraut and these addicting raw spicy sunflower seeds from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

A quick selfie in the car before my history final on Monday morning. So glad to have my car back!

A quick selfie in the car before my history final on Monday morning. So glad to have my car back!

Monday's snackplate. Satsuma, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, some Food Should Taste Good sweet potato kettle chips, energy bites from the bulk bin (I don't really like these), some homemade PB&J bites.

Monday’s snackplate. Satsuma, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, some Food Should Taste Good sweet potato kettle chips, energy bites from the bulk bin (I don’t really like these), some homemade PB&J bites.

Big salad for lunch on Tuesday. One head of romaine lettuce, with some cauliflower soup/sauce as the dressing, garbanzo beans, more sauerkraut and spicy sunflower seeds.

Big salad for lunch on Tuesday. One head of romaine lettuce, with some cauliflower soup/sauce as the dressing, 1 leftover falafel, chickpeas, more sauerkraut and spicy sunflower seeds.

A very orange snackplate from Tuesday. Satsuma, sweet potato chips, carrots, and leftover pan-roasted chickpeas.

A very orange snackplate from Tuesday. Satsuma, sweet potato chips, carrots, and leftover pan-roasted chickpeas.

Strawberry Zevia makes the perfect study drink. Can't wait til I go out for some adult beverages with my friends on Thursday ;)

Strawberry Zevia makes the perfect study drink. Can’t wait til I go out for some adult beverages with my friends on Thursday 😉

Tuesday dinner. Mung bean pasta (so high in protein, and grain free), mixed with cauliflower soup/sauce, more sauerkraut and raw spicy sunflower seeds, side of homemade sweet potato fries and pomegranate seeds.

Tuesday dinner. Mung bean pasta (so high in protein, and grain free), mixed with cauliflower soup/sauce, more sauerkraut and raw spicy sunflower seeds, side of homemade sweet potato fries and pomegranate seeds.

Not quite the same as the typical college student’s mac and cheese and fast food dinners during finals 😛 Really, though, it’s been all about convenience for me as I’ve been keeping busy with studying for finals, taking a few finals and finding ways to avoid thinking about finals. Most of my meals have been quick, no fuss, and made while doing something else. Multitasking at its finest! I have no desire to cook right now, and that’s okay. My food processor has been getting a lot of use though–I’ve been whipping up homemade Larabar-like bites lately for quick study snacks. I’m more than ready to go out for sushi tonight, drinks/appetizers tomorrow and then my favorite vegan restaurant on Saturday as a grad celebration dinner!

What have you been eating lately?

WIAW: Monday’s Meals

Now that you’ve seen my meal prep, let’s see what I’ve done with all that food! These are all my meals from Monday, minus an afternoon snack of a pink lady apple and some homemade raw bites that I forgot to take a picture of because I ate them in my night class.

Let me start this post by talking a little more about Instagram. I know I’ve ranted about it in the past, but for me, it’s something I easily get sucked into even if I’m trying not to let it dictate my choices. A lot of the users I follow are raw vegans–even though the lifestyle is a little extreme (I don’t think all fats are bad, and I would like to try being more raw but not necessarily super low fat like most raw vegans), I find their viewpoint on food to be refreshing. They aren’t afraid of the carbs or sugar in fruit, and promote flexibility within the diet, but overall they’re committed to real, whole foods. So those users are positive influences on me. But then there are other users, who I stumble upon from the comments section of another user I follow, and I’m kinda pissed at what these people post. Every other picture is a Quest bar, and some even talk about how they don’t eat fruit after 2 pm because they don’t want the sugar in it to turn to fat. Disordered much? It just makes me so mad, and makes me question my own diet. Seriously, though, fruit is NOT bad and you shouldn’t feel afraid to eat it in the afternoon. And don’t preach ‘clean eating’ and ‘whole foods’ when all you eat is Quest bars and Walden Farms syrup. End rant.

Breakfast: frozen banana blended with romaine lettuce+Garden of Life raw protein powder for banana softserve, side of trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, homemade coconut bacon and raisins.

Breakfast: frozen banana blended with romaine lettuce+Garden of Life raw protein powder for banana softserve, side of trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, homemade coconut bacon and raisins.

Not an unusual breakfast for me. Actually, any breakfast not involving banana softserve is unusual. Yes, I still enjoy my cold breakfasts even into the winter. I just turn up the heat 😉

Lunch: random mix of kelp noodles, black beans, cauliflower, kraut and homemade spicy pumpkin sauce. Side of ataulfo mango and leftover homemade hannah yam fries.

Lunch: random mix of kelp noodles, black beans, cauliflower, kraut and homemade spicy pumpkin sauce. Side of ataulfo mango and leftover homemade hannah yam fries.

I love my lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because I can come home to my apartment and whip up something that I don’t have to scarf down in between classes or make the night before to take on campus. So I can have leisurely lunches like this random one above. Seriously, it sounds like a gross combo but somehow it all tasted good together.

Monday's outfit: black blazer (Charlotte Russe), black/pink patterned dress (Target), black tights (Target), black heeled suede booties (Target).

Monday’s outfit: black blazer (Charlotte Russe), black/pink patterned dress (Target), black tights (Target), black heeled suede booties (Target).

Monday’s outfit, brought to you by Target. But really, like most of this outfit came from Target. I honestly don’t buy clothes from there that much, but I love their cheap (and colorful) tights collection and adorable shoes. My mom happened to buy the dress for me, mostly to wear to work, but I love it as a dressier outfit for school too. I’m obsessed with the boots+tights+dress combo. I need more winter-appropriate dresses. The shoes were new, on clearance, and super cute but not the best for wearing on campus. I only had two classes on Monday, and I walked about 10 minutes from my car to class each way, but these were killing my feet. I just need to get better about walking in heels.

Dinner: salad of romaine lettuce, leftover Thai sweet potato veggie burger crumbles, raisins, pumpkin seeds, kraut and more homemade spicy pumpkin sauce.

Dinner: salad of romaine lettuce, leftover Thai sweet potato veggie burger crumbles, raisins, pumpkin seeds, kraut and more homemade spicy pumpkin sauce.

I’ve been on a roll with the random meals lately. Why do the most random combos always taste the best? I hate it because I can never remember exactly what was in the mix, so I can’t recreate it 100%. Like the pumpkin sauce in lunch and dinner. I remember pumpkin puree, almond milk, nooch, sea salt and some spices going into it. Maybe some sunflower butter too. It was so rich and creamy and just yum though. And it worked perfectly with the veggie burger crumbles and other toppings in this salad.

Dessert: successful take on the mug cake. Almond flour+coconut flour+stevia+a little baking soda+almond milk+stevia chocolate chips.

Dessert: successful take on the mug cake. Almond flour+coconut flour+stevia+a little baking soda+almond milk+stevia chocolate chips.

I’ve been seeing a lot of mug cake creations around lately and I wanted to make one again. I’ve whipped up a few in the past and they’ve always been an easy dessert option. This version was my attempt at a cookie cake. It was lighter and fluffier than a traditional cookie cake, and no where near as sweet (just sweetened with stevia) but still incredible. And definitely a more realistic dessert option for this baking-averse girl.

What’s the most random but delicious combo you’ve come up with? How do you feel about the ‘no fruit after 2 pm’ thing (or Instagram disordered eating in general)?

WIAW: Fall Favorites

I’d like to get back into a more regular WIAW groove, but for now, doing it every once in awhile is working best for me! Check out the rest of the weekly party and let’s get into some of my latest favorites…

Homemade vegan chili fries...aka healthy vegan comfort food at its finest! Base of hannah yam 'fries' (baked with pink sea salt and cayenne), topped with homemade chocolate chili (made with black beans), homemade guac, pumpkin seeds and jalapeno.

Homemade vegan chili fries…aka healthy vegan comfort food at its finest! Base of hannah yam ‘fries’ (baked with pink sea salt and cayenne), topped with homemade chocolate chili (made with black beans), homemade guac, pumpkin seeds and jalapeno.

What’s fall without some chili? Unfortunately, the one pictured above wasn’t so great–I had dreams of making a chocolate chili like my favorite restaurant offers but my recipe skills (aka throwing things together and hoping it’ll work) didn’t work in my favor this time. It was edible, but not super flavorful. You win some, you lose some. It was pretty good as part of this chili fry creation–I’ve been loving on the homemade root veggie fries lately!

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work.

Pomegranate seeds are well worth the work.

I’ve still been mourning the loss of my beloved summer fruits (and figs, which for some reason have been absent at my Whole Foods since early October…why?) but I’ve been drowning my sorrows in the jewel of the fruit world, also known as the pomegranate. These have still been a bit pricey as the season is just beginning, but I managed to score 4 organic poms at Sprouts the other week for $2.99 total! Quite a deal, considering one pomegranate is going for $2.99 at Whole Foods. These juicy little gems are definitely worth the work and the mess it requires to prepare them and they’re definitely my favorite fall/winter fruit.

Apple daiquiri at Luscious Nectar.

Apple daiquiri at Luscious Nectar.

Despite what I might portray on here, I am not a frequent drinker by any means. I have an adult beverage once or twice a month, and I always stick to one drink because this petite girl can’t handle any more than that! When my parents were up visiting this weekend, they took me to Luscious Nectar, this cool juice bar in Old Town that offers vegan tapas and cool alcoholic drinks all made in-house. I love that because then there’s no weird additives. I got an apple daiquiri, which was a frozen blended drink made with green apple liqueur, lime and rum. It was good but super strong–I got a ‘short’ which was apparently 10 ounces, and I was only able to drink half before I started feeling it. I would definitely come back to try some of their other drinks though–they had an awesome sounding pumpkin cocktail–and their vegan tapas sounded incredible (we had the chips and guac to share, which were decent).

Grain free pumpkin raisin bagels right from the oven.

Grain free pumpkin raisin bagels right from the oven.

I like experimenting with grain free recipes because I love the nutritional benefits of almond flour and coconut flour. Grain free recipes without eggs don’t always work though–but these bagels are an exception. They’re definitely not quite the same as regular doughy bagels but they have a similar chew and they’re a lot healthier. I adapted the recipe from here and they’re pretty straightforward and one of the few baked goods that actually turns out right for me. I have the worst luck with baking, because I usually make a ton of changes to recipes and I’m at a high altitude so everything’s different and nothing ever rises. These are definitely a recipe I recommend if you want to try making some healthier bagels. Oh, and they’re definitely a lot smaller than regular bagels–they’re more like mini bagels, but mini things are always cuter!

Pre-cut yams make life so much easier.

Pre-cut yams make life so much easier.

When I was home a few weekends ago, I went to the Whole Foods near my house and found these pre-packaged fry cut yams in the produce section. I love making homemade sweet potato fries, but cutting the sweet potatoes can be a pain, so I just had to get these to make fry-making a little easier. These worked so well for making fries and I wish the Whole Foods near school would stock these!

Natural Grocers mini haul.

Natural Grocers mini haul.

I’ve been doing so well lately with grocery budgeting. It’s been kind of a necessity, since I’ve been running low on funds and I’m gonna need a little help from my parents as the semester wraps up, but I’ve been consistently spending around $60 or less at Whole Foods each week. Who says it’s called Whole Paycheck? This week, I actually spent just over $66 for my entire week’s worth of groceries and that was shopping at 2 stores and buying a couple splurge-y items. I got a few things at Natural Grocers I’ve been dying to find, like the Silver Hills gluten free bread (the slices are small, but it’s the best GF bread I’ve ever had) and the black bean spaghetti (literally tastes like regular pasta, but grain free and 25 grams of protein PER serving!) and I also got a great deal on some persimmons that were actually ripe. I also have 2 persimmons chilling in my produce bowl that have been there for almost 2 weeks now and they’re still not ripe…what’s up with that?

Vegan pizza from a restaurant? Too good to be true? Yep.

Vegan pizza from a restaurant? Too good to be true? Yep.

When I was last home, my mom and I stopped at Live Basil when she was taking me back home. We’ve been there I think 3 or 4 times and it’s definitely our favorite pizza place–they have fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and make the pizza right in front of you. Nothing like that Pizza Hut crap at all! Anyways, I usually get a make-your-own option so I can get it with tons of veggies and no cheese, but this last time, I saw they had a vegan option right on the menu. It was topped with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes (ick, but I could deal), onions (which I swapped for Greek olives) and mushrooms…oh, and vegan cheese. I am NOT a fan of most vegan cheeses (other than cashew cheese) but I figured that since they had so many other quality ingredients, the cheese couldn’t be too bad, plus I was thrilled to finally be able to order straight off the menu so that’s what I got. Ummmm…big mistake! The rest of the pizza was great (even the tomatoes were alright) but the cheese was straight up nast. I’m not sure what kind they used, possibly Daiya since it was melty (and for the record, I’ve never had Daiya before) but it was tasteless and gooey and just gross. I tried to remove what I could, but it was so glue-y and goopy that I couldn’t really fix it. It definitely ruined the rest of the pizza for me, and reminded me that I just don’t like vegan cheese. Sorry not sorry, but cheeseless pizzas are where it’s at!

Recent dinner: homemade lentil flatbread with homemade pumpkin butter and maple syrup mixed with organic PB, side of homemade carrot fries and Whole Foods bread & butter pickles.

Recent dinner: homemade lentil flatbread with homemade pumpkin butter and maple syrup mixed with organic PB, side of homemade carrot fries and Whole Foods bread & butter pickles.

I’ve been embracing lentils lately…in the form of lentil flatbread! Basically what you do is blend dried lentils (I like red ones because they aren’t as strongly flavored) until the form a flour, and then add in water, ground flax, sea salt and spices. Then you pour it in a pan on the stove like you would with socca, and cook away. I love the nutty flavor and how it’s packed with protein and so easy to make. I made one for dinner the other night and topped it with some sweet toppings, and served it alongside some homemade carrot fries (not quite as good as sweet potato fries, but really tasty) and bread & butter pickles made fresh in my Whole Foods prepared section. It was the perfect quick dinner after my 3 hour evening class on Monday night!

What are some of your fall favorites?