Best of…May! (and an award)

Uh, yeah, so how crazy is it that it’s already June? Where has this year gone? I can’t believe that last month at this time, I was stressing about finals and projects. Now I’m stressing (sorta) about my internship and packing. More on those later though!

Best New Find: Justin’s vanilla almond butter and So Delicious almond milk ice cream

Probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent!

Last month I discovered sooooooo many new-to-me products, it was a little crazy. Not that I’m complaining, though–one of my favorite things to do is buy new products and try them out. Sure, sometimes they disappoint but in other cases (like with the nut butter and ice cream), they were beyond amazing.

Best Discussion: Eating Comes at a Cost

I know I’ve said this before, but you guys are the best! Seriously, I’ve been loving all the responses I’ve gotten so far. I am very passionate about issues like this but these kinds of posts are always hard for me to publish because I worry about the backlash. You guys are always really respectful and thoughtful in your comments, though, which is great!

Best Recipe: Peanut Flour Pancakes

How delicious do these look?

Not gonna lie, this was muy dificil to decide on! Considering I had a record number of recipes in May (12 of them!) I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just one. But these protein-packed, peanutty pancakes are something I’ve been coming back to over and over. They’re simple to make but taste almost gourmet.

Best Non-Food Post: Work It Out

Hiking in snow…in the summer?!

Even though my blog is usually about food, I definitely have other interests, like fashion and fitness! I really liked sharing my favorite ways to workout and even though none of them involve the gym, I’ve come to realize that no one way to exercise is better than another.

Best Photo

I don’t know why, but this is just a gorgeous photo!

A lot of you commented on this photo and said you liked it. Well, I do too! Instagram is my favorite app, hands down, and this photo just speaks to me somehow.

And now for the award ceremony 😉 Hahaha, just kidding, but both Aja and Kat nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks, ladies!

1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2. Answer these 10 questions, below, for fun if you want to.
3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs 
(I was too slow.) you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

1. What is your favorite color?

Pink, for sure! I love hot pink, light pink, whatever shade. I also love orange, especially paired with pink.

2. What is your favorite animal?

This is really hard, but I’m gonna go with rabbits. I think bunnies are the cutest thing ever, especially the lop-eared kind. I really want to get a bunny for a pet someday.

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Iced coffee, no milk and sweetened with flavored stevia. I just discovered that Panera has this as a drink option by the soda machines…score!

4. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter! I love reading really short updates (I have a short attention span) and funny tweets (like by Condescending Wonka).

5. What is your favorite pattern?

Is lace a pattern? If it is, that’s what I choose. I have a few lacy pieces that I really love–they’re girly and cute but still elegant.

6. Do you prefer giving or getting presents? 

Not gonna lie, getting presents is better. I do love giving presents, but getting them is just so exciting!

7. What is your favorite number?

7 or 11. I like 7 because I was born on July 27th, and I like 11 because it rhymes with 7 😀

8. What is your favorite day of the week? 

I probably would have said Saturday a month ago, but now that I intern on that day, I’ll go with Friday. It’s not quite as special during the summer, but it’s still great.

9. What is your favorite flower? 

I like those huge, brightly-colored daisies!

10. What is your passion?

Clothes and grocery shopping, being outside and yoga.

Now it’s time for some nominations!

Alexandra She just started a new blog all about lifting and life in general. I loved her old blog and I have a feeling I’m gonna love this one even more!

Tessa I can always relate to her ED posts and she always has the best insights! I love her honesty and she really takes the time to respond to her reader’s comments, which I think is awesome.

Chloe I am super jealous of her cooking skills! Her food photography always makes me drool, too.

Amy Lauren I wish I could be an amazing runner like she is! She’s also a really great writer, and her race recaps are fun to read.

Lena I love that she’s from Colorado too, and I’m jealous that she gets to go to all these cool Denver-area restaurants! She’s also an awesome runner.

What was the best workout you did in May? What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Work It Out

I don’t mention a lot of fitness stuff on here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big part of my life! Especially during the summer I love to get outside and get my heart pumping with some fun workouts.

I will admit that I’ve fallen into the trap of ‘exercise guilt’–you know, like feeling bad that I’m not a runner or for not working out as hard on one day compared to the previous one. But honestly, exercise always feels better when it’s something you truly love to do and aren’t pushing yourself to enjoy it. And I’m slowly learning that taking a rest day every once in awhile is okay. I’m not so good at that part right now, but I know it’ll come. For now, here are some of the things I enjoy doing, guilt free!

Tennis

How embarrassing is this photo? I’m so glad I’m not 15 anymore!

This is probably my favorite physical activity at the moment. It’s fun because I do with my dad (and sometimes sister) so we can talk and laugh. I love outdoor exercise, and being out in the sunshine on a perfect summer day feels amazing. Tennis works your whole body (and mind!) but it doesn’t feel like a workout to me because I enjoy it so much.

Biking

Another old-ish photo (from 2 years ago) but at least I look okay in this one!

 

Biking is another of my favorites. I love how powerful I feel when I’m pedaling along a trail, feeling the breeze and sun on my skin. I have definitely experienced a few wipe-outs and not-so-great rides, but I keep coming back for more. I haven’t biked in about a month, since I haven’t had the chance to refill the tires with air, but I’m excited to get back on my bike and ride!

Yoga

I wish I had a cool pic of me doing a yoga pose…

Yoga keeps me centered, focused and (somewhat) flexible. I love how it stretches out my muscles when they’re sore and I am obsessed with the feeling of weak spaghetti arms after doing a bunch of chaturangas. I still have yet to go to a hot yoga class, but I’m dying to.

Cardio Circuits

This one is my favorite at the moment!

Most days I just end up doing a bunch of 10 minute cardio circuits throughout the day. I like them because they’re short but kinda intense and they’re basically equipment-free. I space them out throughout the day for time’s sake and also because I like being active throughout the day.

Hiking

Why yes, we do like to hike in the snow during the summer!

This one is definitely a summer-only occurrence but I always look forward to hiking. Colorado is an awesome state for it, and I’ve climbed a lot of (small) mountains in my life. My parents are really into it and have dragged me and my sister along since we were itty bitty and now I can say I truly love it. It feels great to get more in touch with nature (I’ve even seen a baby bear on a hike once!) and challenge myself on the trails.

What’s your favorite way to work out? Have you ever seen a scary animal on a hike?

WIAW: Weekend Food and Fitness Thoughts

Hi girlies! Hope you enjoyed your weekend! As I mentioned in my last post (which I loved all the comments on, BTW!) I went home this weekend, actually for the first time since spring break. And I’m headed back home this weekend, because of Easter. I know it seems like I go home for the weekend a lot but I only live about a 2 hour drive away, so it’s not a huge haul plus having no car means my weekends on campus are super-boring (yet really good for getting homework, papers and studying done). Usually I go home every other weekend, and it’s nice to get a little break from college life, and I love my family to death so it’s a win-win. Anyways, I wanted to recap my weekend for this week’s edition of WIAW. Instead of just sharing all my eats (most of which went undocumented, unfortunately), I also wanted to give you all a little insight into what I was thinking regarding food/fitness this weekend. As I’m sure you can guess, I still struggle a lot with disordered thoughts but I think letting them out is a good way to figure out where they’re coming from and how to refocus them.

Oh, and P.S. today (Tuesday) is my daddy’s birthday! I won’t get to be there to celebrate with him but I’ll just have to have a belated party for him this weekend!


Friday

After writing my hand off finishing an essay exam in my only Friday class, I waited around until my mom and sister got here to pick me up. Usually it’s just my mom, since she doesn’t work on Fridays, but it was their spring break this past week, so my sister was able to come up and get me too. We are really close, so I loved seeing her again.

We had plans to go out to lunch, which I was really excited for. My mom let me pick the place, and being indecisive as usual, I had come up with 3 or 4 possible places. We checked out two of them and finally decided on Ingredient, which is a small chain restaurants with locations in Colorado (where we went, obviously), Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. I had looked up the menu ahead of time and I found plenty of things that were Ashley-friendly, aka vegan (or could be modified to be vegan) and ‘safe’, ED-wise. Yes, looking up menus/nutritional facts ahead of time is a habit I’ve clung to, I pretty much do it every time I’m planning on going out to eat, not just to find the lowest calorie item, but also now because I’m eating primarily vegan, and non-vegan things can be hiding in almost anything! I would like to move away from the calorie researching thing, but it’s still a scary thing for me not to know the calories in something.

Anyways, we settled on Ingredient and we enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather outside as we waited for our food. Like I said, the restaurant had a lot of options for me, but I ended up getting something ‘safe’, aka a build-your-own salad. But to be honest, I didn’t order it just because it was safe, but because I really love getting to make creative salads. I ordered napa/bok choy mix topped with fresh jalapenos, artichoke hearts, fresh strawberries, white beans and fat-free raspberry vinaigrette. Random, I know, but it was what was appealing to me at the moment. And I did love the salad, but I mostly just ate the toppings because the lettuce ended up being hearts of romaine, and it wasn’t very tasty. But…I kinda regretted getting it, because I saw that they had other yummy-sounding options, like a falafel sandwich, a veggie burger with whatever toppings you wanted and make-your-own pizza (which I could have gotten without cheese). But I chose the ‘safe’ option, and while it was good, it wasn’t very satisfying.

Saturday

I woke up bright and early (aka like 8 am) because my dad, sister and I had plans to play tennis! We’ve been playing tennis on and off during the spring and summer ever since my sister and I went to a tennis camp 5 years ago and discovered that we really liked it. Now it’s one of my favorite forms of exercise, because it’s challenging mentally and physically, and I can do it with other people, namely my dad and sister. We kinda play doubles, only my dad is on his own 😉 We had breakfast and set out for the tennis courts that are about a 10 minute drive from our house–which is HUGE, because almost nothing is within 10 minutes of our house. We live in the middle of nowhere 😛

My tennis 'outfit': navy hoodie (Hollister), white cami (Aeropostale), new royal blue yoga shorts (Hollister).

The weather was gorgeous, even at 10 in the morning. It was the perfect temperature (around 70 degrees) and the sun was out with almost no wind. We played for almost an hour, but I wasn’t even close to being tired. In fact, I felt like we had only been playing for half an hour! The only issue was, I tripped on my way back from class on Friday (klutz status!) and totally tore up both knees, plus a few layers of skin ripped off one of my big toes. TMI, I know! I was wearing band-aids all over, and of course, my right knee was kinda stiff because the skin was trying to grow back and all that jazz that happens after you fall down. It didn’t really impact my playing, just that I wasn’t able to run to get the ball as much as usual. This made my ED voice act up big time. He was basically just telling me that even though we’d been playing for an hour, it was barely a workout, because I didn’t run as much as I usually would and mostly just walked to get the ball when it went out of the court. Okay, the reason I play tennis is not only to burn calories, but also because I truly love it, but it still made me feel ‘bad’ and ‘fat’ that I hadn’t been able to exert myself as much as usual.

Saturday's lunch: frozen pineapple, mixed greens topped with mini sweet peppers (SO GOOD!), edamame and flax tempeh cubes.

Lunch was…lame. Like I do on most weekends at home, I take advantage of the abundant (or sometimes not-so-abundant) selection of produce and made myself a salad. I was going for an Asian-ish twist, so I whipped up some peanut dressing made with peanut flour and sriracha sauce, and topped the greens with a little edamame, a few mini sweet peppers (a new obsession) and cubed tempeh heated up on the stove. I also had some frozen pineapple on the side. Unfortunately, the dressing turned out to be bland and the edamame was freezer-burned so the entire salad was not too tasty. I ate all the pineapple, peppers and most of the tempeh but had to throw the rest out. Better luck next time? And yes, I know this was nowhere near enough food, especially since I had just played tennis, but I was just not feelin’ it. Of course, later on I was starving–duh, I had barely eaten before! I’m still trying to work out my weird hunger cues–I am rarely hungry after working out, but I definitely feel it later on.

After church with my family (a guy from Jews for Jesus came and told us all about the Seder meal for Passover–it was really cool!) we headed home for some dinner. I was very hungry even after having a decent snack a few hours earlier. My mom was going to grill sausages (chicken for my family, veggie for me) and have some salad and fries (aka sweet potato tots for me) on the side. I was excited…until I saw the sausages she bought for me. They were the Field Roast brand, the Mexican chipotle flavor. Um yeah, these sounded totally delicious…but 250 calories for one sausage? That’s about how many calories I’ve been eating for dinner, never mind we were also having stuff on the side! I freaked out, despite the fact that A) they sounded really good, B) they are pretty healthy and non-processed and C) they have 23 grams of protein per sausage (not too shabby!) But the disordered side of me went straight towards the ‘high’ calorie count (which is honestly not that high). I tried to compensate by skipping a bun (I’m not really a fan of them anyway) and only having a half serving of sweet potato tots. This didn’t stop me from mentally beating myself up after dinner, especially when my dad said, “Wow, you must have liked it!” because I ate the whole sausage. Well, yes, I did like it, but I interpreted his comment to mean “Wow, you’re a pig!” Unfortunately, I let his comment get to me and after dinner, I tried to feel better about how much I had eaten (not that much in reality, but more than I’m used to) by doing some cardio circuits for 15 or 20 minutes. I do this sometimes, try to make up for eating what I see as too many calories (aka the number doesn’t fit into my set plan for the day, despite the fact that it might still be not enough) by working out extra. And on top of this, it wasn’t enjoyable because my knee was still hurting and my ankles were sore. That’s been freaking me out–my ankles have ached whenever I’ve been doing cardio since this weekend and I’m not sure why–and I’m scared I’ll have to take a break from daily workouts, which is a big no-no for me.

Saturday's real outfit: new flutter-sleeved royal blue tee (Hollister), navy twill shorts with white belt (Hollister).

Sunday

Sunday was a LOT better for me, thoughts-wise. I had breakfast with my family (BTW, chocolate and peanut butter Puffins taste amazing in unsweetened almond milk, they sweeten it up and make it taste like cookies and cream!), got ready for the day and played a few tricks on my parents. It was April Fool’s Day, after all! They were a little lame, like prank calling them on their cell phones using blocked numbers (they somehow knew it was me and my sister) but the best one was pouring some vinegar and tonic water into my dad’s flavored sparkling water at lunch. He totally spit it out and it was just hilarious! I was considering putting some toothpaste in place of the cream in the Oreos we had in the pantry, but I didn’t want to be too mean 😉

Sunday's lunch: spicy peanut pasta salad, green grapes, garlicky kale.

Speaking of lunch, it was a winner, especially compared to Saturday’s. I whipped up a quick pasta salad using quinoa pasta (love this stuff), chopped baby carrots, edamame and spicy peanut dressing (basically the same as on Saturday, but I got the proportions right this time so it actually tasted like something). I also had some green grapes on the side, as well as garlicky kale, which I sauteed on the stove with some salt and garlic until it was crispy. It was so good, I am definitely making this as much as I can! The best part of lunch, though, was enjoying it out on the deck with my family reading the Sunday paper. I love getting to eat outside and enjoy a leisurely lunch, which I never get to do at school. Only 4 and a half more weeks til I can eat outside every day!

Before my mom and I had to hit the road, my sister and I went for a quick walk on our street. The weather was perfect and it’s hard to believe it was almost 80 degrees when I was home–it’s been cold, cloudy and windy the past two days, plus it snowed…Colorado is bipolar! 😦 It’s supposed to warm up by tomorrow though.

Back in good old FoCo, my mom and I had dinner at Garbanzo, since they were having a buy one get one deal. It was really crowded and busy because of this, but still enjoyable. It’s one of my favorite fast casual places to eat at, since it’s all Mediterranean cuisine, which is one of my faves, and they also have a lot of veg options. I got my usual plate of hummus, cilantro sauce, fresh red cabbage, tabbouleh (they have the best!), lettuce and I tried the portobello mushroom this time. I would probably skip it next time, since it was really watery, but it wasn’t too bad. I ate it all minus most of the mushrooms and loved it. And surprisingly, I didn’t feel too guilty about it, which I usually do after eating out. However, Garbanzo is a really healthy place and I truly just love it.

Monday's quick lunch: fresh kale massaged with peanut flour sauce, Clif Kids s'mores bar, red grapes.

So yes, I realize this was a monstrous post, but it really feels good to get all my thoughts out there and just be honest with myself and all of you. I really love how Tessa does this with her WIAW posts, because I can always relate, and I think it just adds something rather than just sharing what I ate. I think it’s more important to share the thoughts and feelings behind the food, rather than the food itself.

What did you do this weekend? What’s your favorite way to eat kale?

Saturday Seven: Oh, Fudge!

Let me just say that I loved all your responses to my WIAW post–you guys are the best, seriously, so thanks! I’ve been getting some…erm, weird, creepy and downright mean comments in my spam box but seeing all the supportive and nice comments from you all has really helped me brush off the anonymous negativity.

Anyway, I’m spending another weekend on campus, this one filled with tons of studying and homework, but at least I have a weekend at home to look forward to a week from now! I thought I’d do yet another Saturday Seven post because they’re just fun so here we go!

1. You can make fudge in a dorm room

Oats topped with peanut flour paste and frozen PB fudge cubes.

I know I complain a lot about not having the best food living in a dorm, but honestly, I’ve been making do and it’s not that horrible. I actually eat pretty similarly here and at home, just minus the extra cooking appliances like an oven, stove and food processor. However, I think this is my first real recipe that I’ve ever created in my room–and it rocks! I made two variations and I really love both. So simple, so tasty…make it now!

Frozen PB Fudge (vegan)

1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (I used Almond Breeze)

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

1/2 tbsp peanut flour

sweetener, to taste (I used 2 packets of Truvia)

Stir all ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; take out and stir til mostly mixed. Microwave for another 3o seconds and then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours (makes 1 small tray of fudge cubes or half a tray if you have a bigger tray)

I was surprised how delicious these little fudgy cubes are. They’re a bit icy, but I don’t mind that. They’ve got a rich chocolate flavor from the combo of the chocolate almond milk and dark cocoa powder. And they’re a lot healthier than traditional fudge–low cal (about 40 for the entire batch!) and sugar-free (if you use a natural no-calorie sweetener like stevia or Truvia).

Frozen Vanilla PB Fudge (vegan)

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Pacific Naturals)

1/4 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Soytein)

1 tbsp peanut flour 

sweetener, to taste

Stir all ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; take out and stir til mostly mixed. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours (makes 1 small tray of fudge cubes or half a tray if you have a bigger tray). 

This combo is also super yummy and has about 8 grams of protein in the entire batch–not too shabby for ‘fudge’!

2. Snow is really pretty…as long as you don’t have to be out in it

The view from my room on Thursday night. Isn't it gorgeous out there?

I’ve lived most of my life in Colorado, so it’s safe to say I’ve been through my fair share of real winters. Almost 17, to be exact. Okay, okay, maybe they’re not as brutal as Midwestern or even Northeastern winters, but they can still be pretty rough. I used to love snow as a kid, because it meant sledding, hot cocoa and snow days. Now, it means cussing under my breath while trekking to class. Even last winter, when we had sub-zero temps (which never happen here!) my college was basically the only school in the state that didn’t close. Yeah, didn’t appreciate that. Anyway, this Thursday and Friday was supposed to be the mother of all winter storms. As far as I know, it snowed a ton in Denver and at my house, but not so much in my college town. It probably snowed 5 inches, which isn’t horrible, and the sidewalks were just a little slushy. But still, I hate having to be out in snow! Can it just be summer already?

3. I really love quick cardio circuits

Looks easy, but it's a really effective workout!

I am not the kind of girl who likes to hit the gym for a workout–I prefer fitting exercise into my day, like walking to classes (I walk for 30-60 minutes 5 days a week!), outdoor sports like tennis and biking or my personal favorite, shopping! What, it totally counts as cardio 😉 Because it’s winter, doing stuff outside is usually not an option, so I turn to cardio circuits I can do in my room. I love that they’re quick but they do give you a really good workout. I’m definitely sweating and my heart’s pumping after 15 minutes of these circuits. I typically do two different ones per day, as well as some yoga and walking to class. The one above is a new personal favorite, and I also love this free workouts app I have on my iPod that gives me a good full-body workout.

4. I’m obsessed with ordering food online

Still waiting impatiently for my kale chip order!

I ordered a Hugh Jass thing of peanut flour as soon as I got back from winter break (hey, I was running out!) and earlier this week I ordered some Natural Nacho Brad’s Raw Kale Chips. I’m really nervous that my order isn’t going through, since I got the confirmation email and it said that there’s a lot of demand for the chips at the moment…and then the other day, the charge was canceled on my credit card. I’m holding off on reordering for a few days so I don’t spend money that I don’t need to in case the shipping is just delayed. I can’t wait to get my hands on the kale though–I’ve heard good things about it!

5. I have 4 tests coming up in the next 2 weeks

So. True.

They’re not even midterms–I’ve only ever had two midterms in my year and a half in college, so I don’t know the awfulness that is midterm week. I’ve got a weather & climate test on Tuesday, a broadcast writing test on Valentine’s Day, an American environmental history essay exam on that Thursday, and a national parks history test the next day. Yikes, I hate having three tests in a week! It makes me think it’s finals week, which sadly it isn’t. Luckily, this semester I only have ONE final exam, so I guess it’s not too bad having so many tests back-to-back.

6. I don’t get Recipage

I just don't understand how it works!

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers using Recipage, and I think it looks really professional, so I set up an account and followed all the directions, but it didn’t create a Recipage on my blog! WTH? I don’t get what I did wrong, so for now, I’m still storing my recipes in a somewhat disorganized way on my Eats & More page. I really want to set up a Recipage at some point, so does anyone have any advice for me on how to make it work?

7. Naps are my new BFF

I can only hope to look this cute when I take a nap!

I don’t know what’s been up with me but lately, an afternoon nap has sounded so good to me. It’s not like I’m not sleeping enough at night–I get about 8 to 9 hours per night (I’m one of those people who needs that much to function) but I think it’s because my Tuesdays and Thursdays are crazy-busy. I have classes straight from 9:30-2 and by the time I get back, I just want to take an hour-long power nap. I’ve napped 3 times in the past week, and that’s just something I never do. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing right now since I’m getting used to having a crazier schedule, plus I feel so refreshed when I wake up.

Do you take naps? What do you think about snow?

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Apparently I’m on a roll with these cheesy Christmas song titles 😉 What can I say, I’m in love with Christmas music and I’m so sad that most radio stations (besides Sirius XM) have stopped playing the stuff.

Anyways, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (if you celebrate it) and a wonderful weekend. It was really nice just getting a couple of days to relax, have fun and not feeling the need to be ‘plugged in’. I love getting a break from technology every once in awhile, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to do just that. But now I think it’s about time for a recap of the past few days, so here we go!

Friday

My mom and I headed out for last-minute gift shopping. Because we got a lot of snow on Thursday, we weren’t able to get out and get presents earlier, so unfortunately we had to face the crowds. But I was able to get some of my favorite things at Whole Foods, a game for my dad at Barnes and Noble and a cute necklace for my sister at American Eagle. I also bought myself my first-ever pair of jeggings at AE and surprisingly, I love them. I have a lot of issues with my body image, my legs and arms in particular, so I usually stick with looser fitting, boy fit type jeans. But I really needed some jeans that can fit in my new boots without looking baggy, so the jeggings fit the bill perfectly. They’re actually a lot more comfortable than I thought they would be, and not too tight at all. I think I might start actually buying jeggings and skinny jeans on a more regular basis, which is a total body image win!

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

Saturday

Christmas Eve! I love this day so much, maybe even more so than Christmas Day, because of the anticipation. The morning and early afternoon were pretty chill, and then we all got ready to go to church. I got to debut my new booties which was awesome! I also really loved the Christmas Eve church service. The end part is definitely the best, because the lights are turned off and everyone lights their candles and sings Silent Night. It’s just so beautiful and reminds me what the real reason for the season is. Afterwards, we drove around and checked out a few light displays and then went home to start on dinner. Now, I’m not gonna lie, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable around this time because dinner was going to be at least an hour later than I feel comfortable with. I hate eating so late because I’m afraid of weight gain, which is so stupid. Our bodies don’t know what time we’re eating, but it’s just a fear I cling to. But once I dug into the dinner I made, I didn’t feel so guilty. I made some vegan butternut squash ravioli, with peanut flour sauce and roasted asparagus spears on the side. It was an amazing Christmas Eve dinner, and I loved enjoying it with my family surrounded by candlelight. After dinner, we watched some of A Christmas Story on TV (best Christmas movie EVER!) and then went to bed…but not before my dad read me a few Christmas stories. It’s one of our traditions, and I always love hearing these classic stories year after year.

Check out my fierce booties!

The best Christmas Eve dinner I could ask for!

Sunday

The big day, of course! I woke up bright and early around 8 ‘o clock and made myself a delicious breakfast of peanutty raspberry chocolate oats and then my sister and I opened our stockings. We always open those in our pajamas, and then get ready for the day and then open presents together as a family. We always go around and open one at a time, so everybody can see what everyone else got and so the present-opening doesn’t go by way too quickly. I got a lot of amazing gifts, which I’m incredibly thankful for. A few highlights include metallic faux-snakeskin Bearpaw boots, a vegan dessert cookbook, a faux leather jacket, some gift cards to my favorite stores and dark chocolate covered espresso beans–a definite fear food of mine, but so so good that I’m not gonna let them go to waste, I’m just going to have a couple a day and enjoy them without any guilt 😀

Presents!

 

I love the dark chocolate+coffee combo!

The cute little countdown to Christmas app I have--I couldn't wait til it said 0 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds!

Mi madre opening one of her gifts.

Bahaha I love how excited my sister is!

 

My dad is obviously in love with his new space heater.

 

After the present-opening, we continued to watch the 24 hour A Christmas Story marathon while munching on snacks. But the best part of the day was getting to go sledding in our yard! We got probably about half a foot of snow, so the sledding was great. We live on a 5 acre property with tons of pine trees and some hills in the back part of the property, so it’s always fun to get a chance to go sledding. It was our first white Christmas in awhile, and probably one of the only times we got to sled on Christmas Day. My sister, who usually hates sledding, actually went with my dad and I and we had the best time! It was a great workout climbing back up the hill in all that snow, of course, but I was just thinking about how fun it was. I absolutely hate feeling like I’m forcing exercise (which I still unfortunately tend to do) so working out in a fun way is definitely preferred. Sledding definitely did not feel like a workout, but it was nice to be active and get fresh air while still having fun and being with my family.

I ❤ sledding!

 

My dad loves sledding too!

Dinner was an awesome pasta dish that my mom made up. It’s so simple but just really tasty. It’s basically just bell peppers and pasta sauteed with this chili lime seasoning from Williams Sonoma and then she adds in some kind of protein. My version was with whole wheat pasta and shrimp and it was sooooo amazing! I hate traditional Christmas-type dinners (because I’m mostly vegetarian/vegan besides the occasional seafood and because it’s so boring) so this was a really nice change. After dinner, we played two new board games that we got (my family loves board games!) while watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Best way to end Christmas, in my opinion. Oh, but I can’t forget about dessert, of course! I enjoyed one of the raw pecan tartlets that I made–they were soooooo good! I’m not gonna lie that I didn’t feel guilty about eating it, because they’re fairly small but “high” in calories (not really, maybe around 120 per tartlet) but because they have such simple ingredients (basically just dates and nuts!) I didn’t feel too bad and they turned out delicious.

Raw Mini Pecan Pies (vegan, raw)

15 Medjool dates

2/3 cup raw nuts (I used a mix of almonds and pecans)

1 T raw nut butter (I used walnut)

sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt

Soak 12 of the dates for at least four hours and cover. Drain dates and add to food processor with nut butter and salt. Pulse until smooth, adding in soaking water if necessary to thin out. Set aside. Pulse nuts and remaining 3 dates until a fine crumb is form. Pack nut mixture into muffin liners (makes about 5) and freeze for an hour. Remove and pour in date mixture and freeze again for at least another hour. Top with chopped or whole pecans and serve straight from the freezer. 

Cute little desserts are the best!

Monday

I watched Holiday Inn with my dad in the morning (a really cool Christmas/holidayish movie from the 1940s with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire), enjoyed a delicious sweet potato topped with peanut flour for lunch and then ran a few errands with my dad and sister. It was kinda crazy out there to be honest, since apparently a lot of people like to return stuff and go shopping the day after Christmas, but we made it out alive 😉 Then for the best part, we went to Starbucks! I had to get my skinny soy peppermint mocha fix, of course! It was nice enough that we were able to sit outside, and I also bought myself a cute holiday cold cup for $5! Before Christmas, it was twice that much so maybe the post-Christmas bargains aren’t so bad after all!

My Christmas Eve 'dessert': peanut flour sauce, freeze-dried apples and vegan chocolate chips.

Well, today we’re planning on going up into the mountains for more sledding and I can’t wait! I’ll be back later in the week for more updates!

What was the most fun thing you did on Christmas? What is your favorite winter ‘sport’?

The BIG Day!

Well, I can officially say that I’ve completed my first official bike event! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!

It was a lot of fun, exciting and tiring all at once. I mentioned in my last post that it was a 7 mile ride and before I did it, I thought it would be super easy. I’ve ridden that far before, it can’t be that bad, right? I wouldn’t say it was bad, it was just…challenging. There were a few steep hills but one giant “killer” hill. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it was hard. Colorado is not a flat state AT ALL! I took a few quick breaks but I didn’t get off my bike and walk it once! I am so proud of myself. For pretty much the entire course, I was way ahead of my dad. But he did really well on the killer hill and didn’t even stop once, so I’m proud of him too. The ride was a really good experience and I really want to do more rides like that this summer, but hopefully work my way up to a longer distance.

Me, pre-ride

 I didn’t even mind getting up early (6:45 😦 ) because I had so much fun. It just felt so rewarding to participate in something that big because I’ve never done anything like that. We even got race numbers and everything 😀

Post-ride was amazing too! They had tons of tents set up with free samples. I tried Clif Crunch Honey Oat, Clif Bar White Chocolate Mac, Clif Bloks strawberry, a sample of Mix1 Acai Pomegranate 90-cal protein drink, a few sips of Honest Tea and I snagged a ton a few mini Clif bars and Clif Bloks for another time (P.S. electrolyte drinks are disgusting!). I didn’t eat anything besides the tiny samples because I wasn’t hungry at all. It’s weird, but after working out, I’m never hungry. Me and my dad looked around at all the stuff, got a few more free things and then rode back to the car.

Once we got home, I was pretty hungry, so I made myself a fakin’ bacon guac wrap, with tempeh bacon, mixed greens, an Ezekiel tortilla and my homemade edamame guacamole. I also had a white donut peach (btw, doesn’t taste like a donut at all, it’s just shaped like one w/o the hole) and a mini Chocolate Chip Clif bar on the side. And some strawberry Crystal Lite water.

I took a nice refreshing shower which felt amazing. I’m a little tired, but my muscles aren’t sore at all. We’ll see if they are tomorrow 😉 I’m planning on doing some yoga, but taking it easy otherwise. After all, I just rode 7 miles 😛

Q: Do you ever feel hungry after working out?

WIAW: It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Summer

It’s my favorite day of the week…What I Ate Wednesday Time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, just kidding, not my favorite day but I do like it a lot. It’s so much fun to post my eats and see what everyone else has been chowing down on.

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast was up first (well, duh!) I had a banana nut Vitatop muffin (I love these things, but I still can’t figure out what flavor is my favorite), 1/2 of a homemade berry Belgian waffle, Morningstar spicy veggie sausage and some pineapple/mango chunks. I wish I lived on a tropical island so I could get amazing fresh pineapple and mango every day!

I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher (so fun!), got dressed, did a little yoga and 10 minutes of a cardio circuit before it was time for lunch. Oh yeah, and a little blog stalking was involved 😉 Don’t judge!

Lunch was good but a little time-consuming. I made some Gardein chik’n nuggets (18 grams of all-vegetarian protein in 4 nuggets–whoooooo!) that took 20 minutes in the oven to get nice and crispy. I had some strawbs on the side, some broccoli slaw mixed with mustard, Crystal Light strawberry mixed with water and an Ezekiel tortilla spread with a fudgie and half a sliced banana. Oh, and some spicy pepper mustard for nugget dippage.

I spent the next half an hour cleaning our 4 bathrooms (oooh, even more fun 😉 ) and then convinced my sissy to go on a walk with me. We live on a dirt road in a forested area, so it seems kinda like an actual hiking trail but much wider and with more houses. I was surprised by how hot it was. It’s nearly 80 degrees and it’s only the first day of June! I’m not complaining, though, I’m ready for some hot weather! I wish I had been wearing something different, though, because I was sweating in my cropped jeans. When my sister went back inside, I ran about 1/4 mile from our driveway to the mailbox and back. I haven’t done any running (besides in my daily cardio circuits) in about a week, my right foot is still bothering me and I wasn’t really dressed right for the weather, but I did okay. I also realized that today is National Running Day so I’m glad I did it 😛

Snack time is my favorite time of day to eat! I’m always really hungry, so I don’t feel like I’m making myself eat. My stomach can’t hold much food, so I prefer snack-size meals. Today I had a new snackie: apple slices topped with cinnamon (don’t ask why I’ve never had this before!), a slice of millet bread topped with 1 tsp crunchy almond butter (I always get the bulk kind from Whole Foods that is just almonds and nothing else) and a small Medjool date. This was really yummy! In fact, I’m planning on having the millet bread/AB/date combo as part of my breakfast tomorrow. I bought the bread because I’d heard other bloggers say it tastes like pound cake and while it doesn’t to me, it works well with savory and sweet things.

After some more cardio (I always split my workouts up into several parts because I get bored easily) and yoga, I watched “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera) with my mom and sis until my dad got home for dinner which was…

…Oriental chicken salad! I love having huge salads for dinner because they’re satisfying without being filling and they have sooooo many fresh, crunchy veggies. Mine had grilled chicken, green onions, mandarin oranges, roasted almonds, Archer Farms lemon sesame dressing (I love Target!) and mixed salad greens. I also had a chocolate banana protein smoothie on the side.

After a shower (I always usually shower at night so I can wake up with wavy hair) and some hanging out I had my nighttime snack of Stonyfield nonfat Gotta Have Java froyo topped with some Cascadian Farms Chocolate O’s cereal. The combo of coffee and chocolate is one of my favorites, it never gets old!

Phew, I feel like I gave you wayyyyy too much information about my day! I guess I like to ramble 😉 Don’t worry, my life isn’t always this boring, sometimes I actually go out and do stuff but it can be nice to spend the day at home.

Q: What was the best thing you ate on Wednesday?