WIAW-just desserts (well, almost)

Happy Wednesday! If, in fact, you are reading this on Wednesday, and if it happens to be 12:05 pacific time, that means I am 24 hours away from SUMMER!!! yessss….

So this week I just so happened to take a lot of photos of dessert. It happens sometimes. I ate other stuff too, but you know, not as pretty 😉

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My sister, myself, and my brother 🙂 (told you I was short)

First and fore mostly, I want to congratulate my big sister on her college graduation!! I love her so much, and I couldn’t be more proud of her! She already has a job with the state too!

I was all caught up in the celebration and didn’t snap a photo of the food at the party, but (with the exception of the chicken) it was all vegan and delicious!

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okay so I took a picture of the cupcake-priorities 😉 Strawberry lemonade-and I may have split a red velvet with my mom too…delicious

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Normal food! We ate dinner at a place called Lettuce, which was like a build your own salad (think subway or coldstone), and they also had soup and quinoa salad (pasta, dessert, sandwiches, fresh bread, etc too) It was amazing. I do strongly believe they should become a chain!

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Matcha tea latte made with almond milk from whole foods -so frothy!! Can I please have a milk frother and fluff all the drinks? Please?

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A yummy portabella burger (i have to check every time I spell that) on the bbq! We also had grilled cabbage with an avocado balsamic dressing. Super yum.

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Aaannnddd because I wanted to prove to you my watermelon addiction. See this bowl? This is a very large bowl. It was filled to the brim-overfilled actually-with an entire watermelon on monday afternoon. This is what it looked like Tuesday afternoon. 24 hours allbymyself. *i don’t have a problem 😉

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I just thought this onion was pretty…

photo-122Ahhh yes, on to dessert!!! Here we have chocolate pudding…

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(sweet potato black bean) brownies (and strawberries)

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Hot Chocolate… well, its supposed to be raw, but I killed it and made it hot chocolate 😉

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This is very different, but good! Its a not too sweet, creamy cacao drink with warming spices and excellent stats! If you are looking for a traditional cocoa, just add a touch more sweetness and its awesome, otherwise its a good drink to get that chocolate craving without triggering that ineedmorechocolate button (you know what I’m talking about-the sweeter and richer the chocolate, the more you want ;). Very, sophisticated, tasting.

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And that Raw Carrot Cake I raved about last week! I made another one hehe.

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Its all gone now…:(

Happy Wednesday, and Happy Almost Summer!!

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Coming soon to a post near you!

Hey guys!! I am just dropping in to say hey before I get to work on studying for finals (3 more days of school…3 days…I can do this)

I don’t have a recipe or great topic for you now, but how about a little preview of what you might expect this summer?

-I am going to go visit some colleges (so excited) in Southern California! ROAD TRIP!!! After all, in about 4 days I will officially be a senior which means I have to think about college. I am excited, but scared at the same time. I have to grow up now eeps!!

-This summer is going to include a lot of changes. My family is going to start minimalizing (ala Lindsay Nixon) our house and lives-we have so much extra stuff we just don’t need lying around, and it would just seem to help de clutter our house and de stress our brains before another school year starts. What do I mean?? Check out Lindsay’s Minimalist Monday Series

-I realized I haven’t had a post on why I eat the way I do, why eating a plant based diet is important to me. I mean, its been a passionate part of my life for two and a half years, but its also become so normal that I hardly think about needing to explain it. Still, it is important to me and I want to share why!

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And yes, I do have this shirt. Problem? 😉

-Speaking of making changes as a family, did you know that this

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is directly harmful to them?

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My mom recently learned about the effects the production and harvesting of palm oil has on the rainforest and the poor orangutans in the forest, and it is horrible and sad. I’ll save the stories and gruesome pictures (maybe I’ll post them later) but lets just say it is enough to have made us start rethinking our purchases. A lot of vegan alternatives (and junk) is made from or with palm oil and is neither sustainable nor necessary. I’ve already started making some switches on my own, I’m using coconut oil as chapstick and moisturizer instead of (even organic and cruelty free) lotions full of palm oil, and this summer, as part of our minimalizing, we are going to be switching to more whole foods and fewer items processed with palm oil. Its. In. Everything. I know this sounds all campy and hippyish, but hey, your vote starts with your wallet right?

-You all know I’m a big fan of stevia, but after some research and thinking, we are transitioning off of it this summer.

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Its hard, but necessary for a few reasons. A) the more often we use it, the more we depend on it. Because it is so sweet, it keeps triggering the sweet tooth and more is necessary! I realized this the other day when I was using erythritol to sweeten my oats instead of stevia and I noticed two things-my oats actually tasted like oatmeal and not like super sweet dessert, and wow,the amount of sweetness I needed from the stevia was WAY more than I had thought, the equivalent sweetness in sugar form would have been spoonfuls. If I wouldn’t eat that much sugar in my breakfast (not to mention tea/coffee/soy yogurt/lemonade etc.), why is it okay to eat that much stevia? I was becoming desensitized to it. Also (B) its not as healthy as it seems. Did you know that women in South America use stevia as a natural form of birth control? Obviously it does something to your hormones!! Aack! As a girl who is still growing and trying to overcome an eating disorder/get my period, I think it is really important to start introducing other natural sweeteners (sweeteners with *GASP* Calories?!?!) , in smaller/more normal quantities, that don’t mess with my hormones. Not to say I’ll be cutting it completely, I mean there are a lot of products that sweeten with stevia now even a bit (like some soy milks), but we won’t be buying it in bulk to use on the daily. And I mean, I was eating a lot of stevia daily. Not good. It’s important to get over my sweetener fears, and get my body back to normal.

These changes aren’t about more restrictions. Quite the opposite, actually. I want to get more in touch with my body, allowing myself to eat natural, whole, beautiful foods with thought and thankfulness to where they come from. More farmer’s markets and home gardens, cooking from scratch and appreciating the sources. Not getting caught up in foodie movements (although yes I will still be a foodie likely) like trying all of the bars, butters, powders, extracts, because they are there. Although thats not to say I won’t eat at fun restaurants or take part in vegan cupcakes now and then (cough cough yesterday cough). My choices aren’t about eating only “clean” foods-they are about eating for the environment. Eating for my health and my future. Eating for healing. And eating for the animals, with compassion.

-In other news (enough with the hippy-dippy activism now, sorry) I have lots of recipes coming your way soon, once I can get back into the kitchen!! Also, I’m thinking more seriously about running, it’s been my goal since freshman year to run a half marathon before I graduate High School, and so I’m looking more into that. Its a great challenge, and a lot of learning about myself is going to take place. It’s going to include overcoming a lot of fears, a lot of I can’t’s, a lot of restrictions. I will have to eat more and gain more. But ultimately, I want to prove to myself that I can do anything. I can be anything. And I can overcome anything.

What are your plans for this summer? Are you trying anything new?

WIA-since my last WIAW…

Woah how long has it been since I did a WIAW? Like a month? Gee whiz!

Well I have some photos of the better meals for you today, that I have randomly taken but never got around to posting! Then next week we can start all over with more recent times!

photo-104Okay breakfasts are still kinda the same…OIA-(Homemade cashew butter) J. We go through nut butter like its our job. We always have at least 3 different kinds, and OIAJ is a regular occurrence for me (I finally have my family trained to leave the jars at prime picking!!)

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But when the jars aren’t empty, they are full of Caramel Macchiato Almond Butter 😉 Shameless plug.

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Told you its been a while!! Mothers day Breakfast! I made Heather’s Samoas Pancakes!

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They were quite delicious. AKA why don’t I make pancakes more often?!?!

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I tried a Kevita with my Veg News, but I think I prefer Kombucha. I want to taste them all!!
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WATERMELON!!! (while cleaning my room…that awkward moment when your mattress pad is a really good backdrop)

I may or may not have single handedly consumed 2 large and one personal watermelon in the past month. The most recent was a large melon in a record 4 days!

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I made Laura’s Blood Orange Avocado scones and we had them for dessert as strawberry shortcake (with lemon soy yogurt). Yum.

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Sweet potatoes topped with curried lentils and sautéed kale

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Feelin Fancy with my Free Time! Roasted red peppers stuffed with a curried lentil-farro grain-green peas mixture and lemon pepper balsamic broccolini on the side. I’m getting good at this 😉

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I made delicious comfort food too!! Not as pretty but just as yummy! Vegan Mac n Cheese (using this recipe) with peas and mushrooms. Because when I was little my mac always had peas in it. And sometimes hot dogs. Slash hamburger helper. mmm dinner in a box 😉

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the kabocha is tasting especially fine lately!

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First bbq of the season!!! I made mexican tempeh-black bean-cauliflower burgers that my stepdad grilled along with sweet raspberry chipotle asparagus and corn on the cob (that I can eat sans braces whoop!!)

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This was eaten during my stress month, can you tell? What better to put on chocolate pudding than chocolate brownies amiright?

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And its only fitting for the final picture to be of the final slice…of this amazing Raw Carrot Cake. The saddest part is that I couldn’t edge off more cake even out the rest of it when I was done…Guess I know what Im making tomorrow 😉

Summer is in the air, can you feel it?

What are you looking forward to this weekend? My big sister is graduating from College on Saturday so we are going up to see her!! Im so excited and proud of her!!

Marvelous in my Monday

It’s simply marvelous that I am actually home and free to do a post after school for the first time in ages:) No more shows, no more AP tests, barely any homework, and my only final is in French!!! Lets get the party started!!

It’s simply marvelous that I have time to make new recipes and revisit others

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It’s simply marvelous that I can bake for my mom’s staff development…

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and have them go over so well that only one muffin remains with people begging for the recipe 🙂

It’s simply marvelous to just be goofy with friends

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It’s simply marvelous to have dogs that always look like puppies, and have mastered the art of begging

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It’s simply marvelous that my only homework is working on personal statement essays

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and that I have blog posts to turn to for essay starters

It’s simply marvelous to try out new recipes, and love them (like this amazing raw carrot cake)

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It’s simply marvelous to go to the movies and drool over Chris Pine (you know you do to)

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It’s incredibly marvelous that there are only five full and two half school days until

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!!!!!!!!!

Whats your marvelous?

Caramel Macchiato Almond Butter

aaannnnnndddd BREAK!!! Woah that was an intense month and a half. More 12-14 hour school days, show make up, curling irons, and AP tests than I ever want to encounter again. But its all over and I just have a nice, easy week and a half of school left. Then let summer begin!!! I promise I will be more present in the coming months, just you wait! You should see the amount of recipe ideas I have noted on my phone…

Don’t blame me. Blame Heather for raving about Vanilla Espresso Almond Butter. Then blame Sarah for being all amazing and creating delicious nut butter flavors that inspire me and make me want to be her nutty apprentice 😉

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Okay okay. Then you can blame me 😉

I tried the Wild Squirrel almond butter and it was delicious, but I figured it would be really easy to re create:) I was right! I made a delicious replica, but didn’t really write down the ingredient amounts.

photo-90Then I made a mocha version (which I called :AP Week Almond Butter), but the coffee was too strong. Plus I burned the almonds. Not good. The nut butter was good, but not what I was going for…

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But the idea of coffee and almond butter was burned into my mind. “What next?” I wondered…

Then I looked into our extracts container

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perfect.

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It came together pretty quickly, I only had to alter it once before it was perfect!

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And it got two thumbs up from my mom and my (tentative, “what is this??” before trying anything) step dad!!

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Caramel Macchiato Almond Butter -makes 1 jar

Sweet, caramelly, java almond butter reminiscent of that famous Starbucks drink:) This is addictive. You are welcome 🙂

  • 1 pound raw almonds (like 1 trader joes bag)
  • 2 T. ground coffee or espresso (NOT INSTANT)
  • 1 tsp caramel extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract*
  • 1 tsp uncut stevia or sweetener to taste
  • dash salt

In a food processor, grind the almonds until they turn into butter. It may take a while, but it will butter-ify:) Add your flavors, pulse in, adjust flavors if nessecary, and store in a jar in the fridge 🙂

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For further guidance on making almond butter check this out

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notes on the recipe:

  • raw almonds work best because they make a mild, sweet tasting butter. I have tried roasting my own almonds for coffee butter before and, while roasted almond butter is delicious, it didn’t really work with the flavor I was going for. The nuttiness was too strong (plus I over toasted the almonds, so that might’ve done something…)
  • don’t use instant coffee or espresso, the flavor is diluted and oddly toasty, not coffee-ish
  • I used coconut extract because I was out of vanilla, and the coconut gave a similar flavor. If you don’t have the coconut, defiantly use vanilla, and maybe start with 1/2 tsp then add more if it needs:)
  • Don’t have caramel? Add more vanilla for vanilla-latte almond butter! Or chocolate! Or Vanilla-Chocolate-Caramel! (ooooh…or just wait and I’ll get back with that one!)

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Its delicious in so many ways!!! Toast, oats, pancakes, baked goods, apples, pears, other fruit, mixed into yogurt with cocoa powder…

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and spoons. Betcha can’t guess which is my favorite??

WIAW A busy busy month

Whooo! April is over! That was insane. Way too busy. Now I only have one more week (next week) of busyness from a dance show and AP tests and its a free ride till summer. getherefasterplease

April was full of too many days like this:photo 3-43School followed by auditions followed by eating in the locker room while doing hair and makeup for my musical. AKA bringing more food, clothes, and makeup to school than school supplies. Thank you 14 hour school days, I am through with ye!!By the way, that was sweet potatoes, curried veggies and an indian spiced veggie burger ;)Not every meal was this crazy though! How about some recent eats yeah?photo 5-19Blueberry and green apple oats topped with almond butterphoto-90And more recently: Red pear oatmeal topped with what Im calling “final stretch” almond butter. AKA homemade Coffee- chocolate -Get through AP tests and Finals-almond butter. Not quite good enough to post yet though, unless you reeeeaallllyyy like intense coffee flavor 😉photo 2-44This was actually a lunch! Mexican tofu breakfast burrito in an Udis GF spinach tortilla (<quickly becoming my favorites)photo 3-42First watermelon of the season from Trader Joes!! Was slightly dissapointingphoto-91Obviously I cared.  I may have been the only one eating it and it may have been gone in 4 days…photo-93Ugly pic, one of the best pizzas of my life!! We made this crust and ‘cheese’ sauce with almond butter instead of pine nuts, and topped it with a polynesian/bbq tomato sauce, red and green onions, mushrooms, zucchini and pineapple. Ahhhhhhssoooogooodd!!!!!!photo-95Island bbq portabello burgers on toast with sweet potatoes and broccoliphoto 5-18Fresh coffee flavored kombucha on tap at Earth Day. This was awesome.photo 2-43Vegetarian Ethiopian Plate (also at earth day)photo 3-41And a vegan lemon lime ice cream popsicle from Dave Pops (also at Earth Day!)photo-92The new Luna Bar, because I found it at Target. Not bad, not my favorite but pretty good!photo 2-45Okay. Im addicted. Sorry! (this one tastes like Gingerale!)photo-89Ginger noodlesphoto-94And quinoa brownies for dessert!!!FYI, if you make them with flax eggs and almond butter (instead of chicken eggs and oil), they come out more like baked pudding/custard, since flax doesn’t bake the way eggs do. But they are still delicious and fudgy and awesome!!Who’s ready for summer??