A Green Life and Enchilada Casserole


When I was in Southern California visiting colleges, my views on what I wanted to do with my future took kind of a radical turn.

See, for a while now I’ve been saying I wanted to major in psychology and minor in nutritional science (or double major). I said I wanted to work in a recovery facility for girls with eating disorders, because I remembered how much more relatable and helpful those therapists were who admitted they had struggled in the past as well -it was like I could trust them more.

But I started to question myself once I visited my first college (UC Santa Barbara). I realized I have a love for the Earth. I want to learn more about it, to love it, to save it. My favorite class junior year was by far AP Envrionmental Science. I loved learning everything I did in that class, and I felt so empowered learning how much my diet helps the earth, and how much more I can do to help it. Being on a campus that was so environmentally friendly, spending a week by the ocean, being surrounded by hippies,  I realized that I don’t want to be a psychologist, sitting in an office, listening to other people’s problems (not that I don’t think they are wonderful!). I realized what I really want is to help people. To make a difference.

I got to thinking whether it was really me who wanted to work in a recovery facility, or if that was another outlet of the disorder that has plagued me. Yes, I wanted to help people, but is that the best way? Or is that simply me trying to find another outlet to let the obsession with food continue? While I love learning about nutrition, and disorders of the mind are interesting to me, is that really the best option for me to move forward from this stage in my life, to move forward from the hyper focus on food and lifestyle? Or is that me deciding, subconsciously, that I am not quite ready to let go? I am not saying that dietitians and psychologists are disordered, or that they are holding themselves back and settling. I am in awe of each and every professional for their passion to help people! They have helped me! They are incredible, and I will always be interested in those subjects. What I am saying, though, is that I realized I don’t want to spend the rest of my life focused on the same thing as my past, or be surrounded by clients that could potentially be a trigger for me, should I encounter a tough time in the future. After the final college I visited, I realized that I don’t want to focus on nutrition and health for the rest of my life, I want to spend my life making a difference in a bigger way. (After I decided this, I went and got some vegan ice cream. A large, since I decided not to focus anymore 😉 )

I want to major in environmental studies, maybe minor in sociology. I want to learn how to save the earth, I want to teach other people how they can do the same. I want to move forward in my life, to do something, to be out there, making changes, making my voice –MY voice, not any lingering disorder -heard.

After I decided this, I discovered the most amazing opportunity. It’s called Youth Empowered Action Camp (YEA), and it is a week long summer camp for youth aged 12-17 who want to make a difference in the world, whether it be animal rights, the environment, social justice, what have you. They help you develop leadership skills, knowledge, confidence and community. They help you discover your passion, and then develop a plan to make it happen. You are set up with an adult mentor to help guide you after the camp in making a difference, and are set up with local and national organizations focused on the same issues you are passionate about so that you can become an integral part of the movement. This is a program that has turned out youth with unlimited futures, making changes at their schools, speaking at public events, starting their own businesses (Ever heard of Clara’s Cakes?), and getting involved with organizations like Stop Child Trafficking Now and Compassion Over Killing. Oh, and the camp is vegan and eco friendly too. This was seriously like a break-in-the-clouds, I-absolutley-have-to-do-this moment for me, and I found out about it the last possible summer I could have. I am 17, so it is my last chance, I found out about it 3 weeks before the camp, and I managed to squeeze in and secure the last spot in the camp. I am going -I am doing this. I am changing my life -I am about to make a difference. Go check out their website here: www.yeacamp.org

And….shameless plug, if you want to help me out a bit, I could use a little help getting there 🙂 >donation site (big thanks if you want to help me:) )

Now, what does all of this have to do with enchiladas???

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Well, like myself, these enchiladas have undergone quite a bit of change…and they are green -like the environment.

That was a painful transition.

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We have been making these enchiladas (well, cheater enchiladas) for many years now, and they have evolved right along with us. Originally, you see, they were fish enchiladas with cream cheese. Instead of black beans and mushrooms, the filling was made with potatoes, onions, asparagus and mahi mahi. Instead of spreading each tortilla with refried beans, it was with cream cheese. So why in the world would I be giving you a recipe for fishy, cheesy enchiladas?

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When we went dairy free, we switched the cream cheese for tofutti. Then we went vegan. so we just switched the fish for yummy beans and mushrooms! The more we moved toward whole foods, we changed over to refried beans instead of cheese, and other brands of enchilada sauce (some of them have chicken stock and corn syrup solids-how about no) -and discovered green salsa works in a pinch!

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These are really customizable! I love them with asparagus (thats our original recipe) diced into discs, but any green veggie you have on hand works! Broccoli, zucchini, nopales (cactus), anything! Also, if you aren’t a wimp like me like spicy foods, use a medium or spicy sauce!! My sister and I are just to scandinavian to appreciate spicy (thats also why these aren’t traditional rolled enchiladas, we just aren’t that authentic haha!), so my mom has always made these mild for us! All the flavor, none of the burn! And if you really, really want to, make them the way we used to with Mahi Mahi and cream cheese -just spread each tortilla on both sides with cream cheese before layering into casserole.

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So you see, sometimes things change -diets, life paths, majors, ideas…But all that means is a chance to make something good and turn it even better!

Green Enchilada Casserole

or Green Enchilasagna, as I like to call it. But my mom said that was silly.

vegan, serves 9-12. Feel free to change to fit your diet preferences, or try it like it is!!

Filling:

  • 5-6 small/medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 7-8 mushrooms (or 2-4 portabellas), diced
  • 1 4 oz can diced mild green chiles
  • 2 small/medium zucchinis or 1 bunch asparagus, diced
  • 1/2  16 oz package frozen spinach (about 8 oz)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1.5 C. green enchilada sauce or green salsa (till it tastes good to you!)

Enchilada layers:

  • filling
  • 5-6 large whole grain tortillas (brown rice, teff, Ezekial, corn, etc.)
  • 1-2 cans vegetarian refried beans
  • 2-3 C. green enchilada sauce or green salsa (depending on how thick/thin you spread it)
  • non dairy cheese (optional)

Gather your ingredients

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Preheat oven to 400.

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Wash and chop your potatoes into bite sized bits and steam them

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Dice your onion and garlic and sautee them with a little veggie broth, water, or oil until the onion is translucent. Add your mushroom and continue to cook until they are all brown and fragrant and delicious. 🙂

Add your zucchini (or asparagus), then your beans, spinach, and peppers. Once the zucchini is somewhat cooked, add the steamed potatoes and enchilada sauce. Mix it all together (and whaddya get?! haha sorry)

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Now comes the fun part! In a large casserole dish, spread a layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom and sides. Add a layer of tortillas.

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Spread a layer of refried beans on the tortillas

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Then a layer of filling (about 1/2), followed by another layer of sauce, tortillas, beans…

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Repeat:)

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After your second filling layer, top with tortillas and spread the top with more sauce. Add some nondairy cheese if you would like!

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My stepdad likes the cheese, I don’t care for it.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, broiling for a few minutes at the end if you would like. We were in a rush and didn’t have time

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Also, my mom added more cheese, as you can see. I dealt. These would also be delicious with a dollop of guacamole to serve, but I was all out of avocados (the horror!!!)

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These are, without a doubt, my favorite dinner recipe. Its something we’ve been making for ages, and I watched my mom make them so many times that I didn’t even ask her for the recipe before I made it myself. They are so easy and simple to make, and incredibly delicious.

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like a fine wine like soup ( 😉 ), these babies get better with age! I’ve always thought they taste even better the next day (Yay leftovers!!), and even cold! They are delicious any way you slice ’em!

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Enjoy!!

What did/do you want to do when you grow up?

What are some dinners that have evolved through the years?

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WIAW!!

AAHHH! Its my 100th post!!! this is cool! I have a recipe coming for you soon 🙂

In other news happy Wednesday!!

 

Lets get to the eats!

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Vanilla cinnamon oats topped with strawberries and almonds

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Tropical smoothie (froz mango, bloobs, tropical VEGA, spinach) topped with granola

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Mixed banana berry smoothie topped with strawberry raspberry granola. These are my new favorite thing after eating an acai bowl almost every stinkin day in Southern California

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Of course, I could never let a perfectly good OIAJ opportunity go to waste! Peach, apple, blueberry oats with (homemade) almond butter

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My family had a spring roll bar for lunch the other day! Carrots, beets, cucumber and local 5 spice tofu. I had more than this, don’t worry 🙂 It was just a pretty picture! And delicious in peanut sauce.

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Uhh, duh. Kabocha…What were you expecting? 😉

 

 

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On Fathers day I made a picnic for my dad and step siblings! I brought the fixins for sun butter and jelly sandwiches, grapes, carrot sticks, and freshly made chocolate chip cookies using this recipe. They were just slightly under baked and perfect 🙂

 

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Please, please tell me you’ve tried dipping grapes in nut butter. Its delicious and tastes like straight up PB&J. Especially if its peanut butter and those really dark, sweet purple grapes. Heaven. Ignore the nasty napkin 😉

 

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We had a vegan BBQ/Pot luck the other day! An assortment of spanish rice, quinoa salad, pasta salad, fruit and fresh veganic veggies, and a veggie dog. I think I am officially past the whole “transition foods” stage of veganism, because I didn’t really like the veggie dog. Any of that fake stuff-fake meat, fake cheese, etc just doesn’t appeal to me. I’d rather eat real food, thats not trying to be something its not. Superficial vegan food 😉

 

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Soy ice cream on the other hand, thats perfectly fine with me 🙂 Especially with brownies and peanut butter cookie dough bites!

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Very rarely does a container of figs actually make it home. Everytime we buy them, my mom and I go through the whole display to find the most ripe ones, make our own little basket full, and eat them all on the car ride home. Its like a tradition 😉 Also this fig was huge. I had to show you guys.

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Have you ever heard of a Santa Clause Melon? Its like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew, and it looks like a green football on the outside. Anyway, I found it at WF and its delicious. I had it on a salad with Braggs Braggberry dressing (blueberry, raspberry, acai, gogi, grape, and ACV. Totes recreating it)


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Our weather was super weird a few days ago, and it went from 90’s to 60’s and raining in 2 days. Now its in the 90’s again and will be 106 on Monday. Ouch. Anyway, I just so happened to be sick on the rainy day, so I spent all day on the couch reading and ate a mug of split pea soup for lunch. If only I hadn’t been sick I would have been so cozy!


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Later that afternoon I decided I didn’t like being sick. I now believe in the healing powers of rest and green smoothies. I made a huge smoothie with santa clause melon, lemon, ginger, celery, cucumber, parsley and power greens lettuce mix. I tell you what, this sick affected my whole family for 3-4 days, and I was only sick for one. All Hail the Smoothie!!!

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Movie snack! Apple, puffins and almonds with warm vanilla milk (almond milk, stevia, and vanilla extract. A slightly healthier version of the vanilla milk I grew up making (read cows milk and spoonful upon heaping spoonful of sugar. Like sickly sweet. I know, great for a 5 year old before bedtime) and like better than hot cocoa!) I had this while watching Warm Bodies, which I highly recommend!!


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Island Portabella burgers with grilled pineapple and baked sweet potato fries on the side. This was delicious 🙂
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And here we have baked japanese sweet potato topped with cheater baked beans and coconut bacon, plus a side salad. How to make cheater baked beans: We followed Happy Herbivore’s recipe but on stovetop, and using kidney beans plus corn. Since we weren’t actually going to bake them, we mashed the beans a bit and that thickened the whole dish up quite nicely! This was really really good!

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And last but not least, a bit of a sneak peak of that recipe I will be sharing shortly!! Doesn’t it look good???

Hehehe:)

Had any weird weather lately?

Whats your latest breakfast obsession?

Southern California Recap

On a side note: Oh hey there wordpress, you’ve changed! Sporting a new black side bar, you look good! All fancied up I see 😉

Hookay so I guess I didn’t have time to blog the past week, but I took lots and lots of pictures! I’ll try not to bore you too much! But this trip was eye opening for me, in a life-path-changing sort of way. More on that later though. ONTO THE RECAP!!

Ironically, this was a college road trip, yet I did not get a single one of those token “Incoming Student at the Campus Sign” photos. Just a couple random shots of like, the library and the window haha! Food on the other hand I kept track of for you!

Day 1

We spent all day in the car, driving down to Santa Barbara, not much to interest you there! But once we *finally* got to Santa Barbara, I was impressed to say the least!

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What a gorgeous view!

For dinner we stopped at Sojourner Cafe, which had a lot of vegan options. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too satisfied with what I ordered, but my mom got the (delicious!) special, a Morrocan chickpea stew with a sweet chutney and pita bread. I ended up sharing that with her, plus we got vegan corn muffins on the side that were awesome in the stew!

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We bopped around downtown for a bit after dinner, before going back to the hotel for a good nights sleep -We had colleges to visit the next day!

Day 2:

For breakfast we hit up a place called Backyard Bowls, which was like a smoothie/oatmeal place and I got my first (of three) acai bowl ever! I was in love…

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An acai bowl is basically a thick smoothie made with acai and other things, topped with fruit, granola, and honey or agave. I got the green bowl (banana, acai, broccoli, spinach, lime juice, soy milk, and something else I think) topped with granola, berries, and I asked for bee pollen because they had it and I wanted to try it. Yes I am a vegan, but I still eat honey and bee pollen was novel to me so I had it. I liked it! It was really sweet and made me feel all cool and stuff 😉 haha

Then it was off to UC Santa Barbara! I really loved this college, everyone was super friendly and the campus was right on the beach and I started to feel like I was really an upcoming college student! I feel old now haha!

Unfortunately we couldn’t spend that long in SB because we had a 1:00 tour in Malibu at Pepperdine that we had to make! Lunch was an in the car affair, of sweet potato soup from a cafe plus oatmeal and an apple haha

The view from Pepperdine:

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I could get used to that…

Pepperdine was very different from UCSB, it is a private christian college so everything is smaller and more inclusive. The class sizes are tiny, the professors know everyones name, you know. I fell in love with this one too!

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Plus their chapel has the biggest Stained Glass window west of the Mississippi! Gorgeous! Everyone here was super friendly too, and the overall atmosphere was very scholarly and, well, christian, which I liked.

After Pepperdine we drove to LA to meet up with my cousins for dinner and a fun evening.

We went to Real Food Daily for a late (read like 8:30 pm) dinner

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I got one of their specials: Island Quesadillas -which was coconut lentils, spinach and caramelized onions in a WW tortilla with a cilantro lime coconut creme, guac, mango salsa, and grilled plantains. This was delicious and I was stuffed after only 2/3 of the ‘dilla! Of course, everything else was pretty much demolished 😉

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My stepdad got their kung pao tempeh dish, which I tried and it was awesome but too spicy for me!! I’m a wimp 😉

After dinner we headed down to the Santa Monica Pier for a little late night fun

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The view from the Ferris Wheel

When we finally got back to the hotel at like 12:30, I was exhausted! Straight to bed I went!

Day 3:

Breakfast was nothing crazy, we made oatmeal in our hotel room with apples that we cut using a plastic knife ontop of the free notepad…guess that had to be thrown away 😉

My stepdad went and rented a car to go visit a Navy Ship Museum in Long Beach, so my mom and I were on our own for the day! We went to UCLA first and while it was a beautiful campus, it was too…big and scholarly for me. If your interested in being a doctor or a lawyer or something it would be perfect, but I’m not. I just got the feeling that it wasn’t right for me there, I wouldn’t be getting the personal experience I want. I felt like a little fish in a big giant sea there. Ah well!

My mom and I left UCLA and ventured downtown for lunch. We ended up at Native Foods

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We split two salads, because we both wanted to try each

photo 4-71The Carribean Jerk Tempeh salad, which had kale, mango, blackened tempeh, avocado, and coconut among other things

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And the Racchidal (spelling?) salad, with veggies, potatoes, corn, crispy onions and marinated tofu.

Both of these were delicious! We got BBQ sauce on the side instead of dressing because my mom is sensitive to a lot of nuts and oils that usually make up the dressing base, but they were still awesome!! The tempeh was almost creamy which was crazy! And the flavors worked very well together. Nice job Native Foods!

Even though their desserts looked delicious, we skipped on those because Happy Cow told us something else was nearby

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An all vegan ice cream parlor and cafe had just recently opened, so of course we had to check it out!

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I was a little excited about this

photo 3-77My mom got Bananas Foster and Almond Brownie Fudge, and I got the Cookies and Creme and Cheesecake. Both of the almond milk based flavors were a little more on the sorbet side (thats true with alot of almond based ice creams though), but the almond brownie and cheesecake were divine! Super creamy and delicious, almost like gelato! yumm..All of the flavors are made in house, and more options will be on the menu as they develop the store!

We went back to the area of LA we had stayed in, bopped around Target for a little while and then picked up my stepdad at the rental place. For dinner we went to a Pizza Place where they were debuting a new healthy vegan menu ala Chef AJ, so we had a nice healthy, free (after this trip, free is good 😉 ) dinner and got to say hi to Chef AJ before we left for San Diego that night. Oh yeah, long drive!

Day 4:

We woke up in San Diego (well, La Jolla), got ready for the day and went to go find breakfast. There was a little natural foods cafe across from our hotel and I got (surprise surprise)

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Acai Bowl #2! This one was sweeter and not as thick as my first one, but was still good. Only downside: It was overcast, I ate outside, I was cold.

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Decaf Soy Latte to the rescue!

Next up was UC San Diego! I was super excited about this one, it was my top before we left and it remains my favorite afterwards!

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Okay, one cheesy picture by the mascot (Triton). It was really bright, aren’t I preeetttyyy ;p hahaha

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Look at their library!!! It is 6 stories above ground and another 2 below. Its gigantic, and was also the inspiration for the building in Inception!!

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Its the Theodore Geisal Library (aka Dr. Seuss!)

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Do you see the house? Itssocool!!!!

Even though the campus itself is big (there are like, 3 olympic sized swimming pools, an entire gymnastics gym and dance studios, two student commons, stores, a bajillion buildings etc.), it is separated into 6 colleges so you still get the personal, small college feel while getting the experience of being at a large university. Plus its PETA’s #1 most vegan friendly college! Our tour guide was awesome too! UCSD was definitely my favorite 🙂

We had to make a quick trip from La Jolla to San Diego for a 1:30 tour at the University of San Diego, a private college. My mom and I stopped for a quick bite to eat (no pictures) at a place called Naked Cafe, funny story though! As we were driving through SD to find the cafe using the Maps app, we passed one or two strip clubs. My mom started freaking out a lot little. Then we passed by Casual Male and she was all “SEE?!?! I bet you this place isn’t a cafe! Its in a strip club! We are going to a strip club!” And I was all “Mom, Casual Male is a clothing store. Its at the mall. And Happy Cow wouldn’t send us to a strip club.” Needless to say she was very relieved when we finally found the restaurant. And that it wasn’t a strip club.I was just trying not to laugh 😉

USD was really, really pretty, but it just felt like a private UCLA to me. I didn’t get the right vibes. It wasn’t so much college-y as it was country club.

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Like I said, really pretty, but I couldn’t picture myself going there. (Sorry if anyone is partial to this school, this is strictly my own opinion). You know in The Social Network movie the Winklevoss twins? That was the aura I got from this place…not my style.

After this I was hot and tired (Literally on Thurs I toured colleges for like, 3-4 hours, walking in the sun). So my mom and I got ice cream…again 😉

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GUYS WE FOUND VEGAN SOFT SERVE! I was so happy! When I first went vegan, soft serve/froyo was basically the only thing I missed. Sorbet doesn’t cut it. The sweet, softness is awesome. It was at Paradise Yogurt. We got the peanut butter flavor, and I got mine with carob chips, berries and toasted coconut. I asked for a medium in a large cup (toppings, duh) but she gave me a large in an XL cup. I ate it all (well, almost all, I had to relent to a sugar stomach ache towards the end) But it was sooo good! And bonus! No ED thoughts! Whoop!! The only thing I was sad about was that I didn’t get it in cone form, because a soft serve ice cream cone is the bomb dignity. Oh yeah, I said it. You know it too. 😉

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Finally chillaxin’ 😉

We finally ended our day at the nicest hotel ever. My stepdad found the room for a reasonable price (for downtown San Diego, I mean) online and when we got to the hotel we found out they were booked so we had the biggest room in the hotel!!! 7th floor, on the corner, with a separate living area, slightly separated ‘bedrooms’ and a gigantic bathroom. It was a suite basically. Yes.

My stepdad went to a Padres game that night but my mom and I were beat so we stayed at the hotel, and I worked on an application for a summer camp (more in another post). We finally ventured out for dinner around 8:00, but by the time we had walked to our destination it was like, 8:30. It was the most interesting night,I’ll tell you that. Note: Don’t walk in the Gas Lamp District near the salvation army at night. Its scary and there are lots of drunk people. We ate at a grungy little mexican place that had good reviews on Happy Cow, and at the end of the meal my mom and I had to laugh because we felt so out of place there -you now, dark lighting, dusty, loud rock music, those inappropriate bumper stickers all over the walls -the works. Haha!

We sorta ran walked really really fast back to the hotel afterwards 😉 Then I introduced her to Say Yes to the Dress and made tea while we waited for my stepdad to get back and going to bed.

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In case you didn’t know: At hotels I always make tea with the coffee machine -you just add the water but don’t put any coffee in, and stick the tea bag in the cup. The tea brews while the mug fills up!

Day 5:

We were very relaxed getting out of the door (don’t make us leave the fancy room!), but we shouldn’t have been because of the long drive ahead of us!

We stopped at Whole Foods for brekkie, and I was excited because this WF had a juice and smoothie bar!

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Any guesses? I’ll give you a hint-its my new favorite thing. I have to say, flavor wise it was my favorite smoothie (called the Farmers Market, and it tasted like Jamba Juice!), but other than that it wasn’t my fav bowl. The smoothie was too soupy (the first bowl I had was thick like ice cream) and the toppings were just okay. My favorite bowl was the first one, with the bee pollen.

Then we got on the road for our 10 hour car trip! Whoo.

We finally got home at 8:30 pm, and boy I was glad to be back! As nice as hotel beds are, your own is always the comfiest 🙂

Needless to say I did not do a single thing on Saturday.

College Road Trip: On our Way

The bags are packed

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The tours have been scheduled and the maps printed out

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The restaurants have been Happy Cow‘ed

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when you go to Southern California (Vegan hub of the golden state), you have to visit at least a few. #priorities

We’ve cleaned out the fridge…

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Well, sometimes you find yourself about to leave for a week with two GIANT zucchinis, a huge bunch of veganic* chard, and a large bag of baby potatoes…hence the veggie filled dinner…

*veganic is food grown organically (no pesticides) without animal fertilizers. So it’s vegan-organic. Get it? Theres a veganic farm at a near farm sanctuary. No risk of E.Coli or other diseases!!!

Frozen what we couldn’t consume

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Look at all of those bananas…so close to banana bread :(…

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And yes, that would be bananas, tortillas, and avocados. I also froze half of a breakfast cake. Deal.

And made ice cream with some leftovers…

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sometimes you turn fails (lemon tofu frosting with WAY too much xanthan gum…) into successes (lemon vanilla ginger apricot ice cream/sorbet) ice cream is kept in the freezer. I am justified.

My mom caught me cleaning out the vitamix

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and by cleaning I mean licking.

and by “my mom caught me” I mean I giggled about how funny it would be if she had, contemplated asking her to take a picture of what I was doing, and decided to take a selfie instead. #noshame. #iputhashtagsinmyblogeventhoughtheyarepointlesshere #dealwithit. 😉

And with that we are all set and ready to leave in the AM!!!

For the next 5 days I am going on a college tour to visit UC Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, UCLA, UC San Diego, and San Diego State University. I may or may not blog in the next few days, but I will take lots of pictures for you I promise!!!

Here I go!

Currently.

Soo…I’ve been seeing these ‘Currently’ posts up around blog land (I love that it’s called that.) and I thought I’d join in on the fun! Also, I want to post about something other than food today 😉

Current Book

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A Thousand Sisters by Lisa Shannon. This book is remarkable, its a true story chronicling 5 months that Shannon spent in Congo, listening to the stories that the women, children, and other victims of violence during the war in Congo had endured. It is very powerful.

Current Music

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Disney Pandora. All day, every day 😀 And yes, I sing along. My neighbors love me 😉

Current Guilty Pleasure

Okay, I was going to say something slightly cheesy like lazy summer mornings, but lets be real. Lately my guilty pleasure has been attention see (girl talk time), now I’m up to a weight that I am starting to have a figure other than that of an 11 year old, and my neighborhood has plenty of young teenage (and older teenage) boys. So I’ve gotten a couple of cat calls and “nice butt”s whilst running or walking my doggies. I always act disgusted and avoid eye contact, but secretly, I don’t mind. Man, I feel like a woman (ish) 😉

Current Nail Color

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Kiki from Zoya. I literally just painted my nails, hence the messiness. I paint my whole finger to make sure the nail part is perfect, the rest comes off later 😉 please tell me I’m not the only one!

Current Drink

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I defy summer and drink tea even at 2:00 in the afternoon! Its a new to me flavor, and I have a feeling I’ll like it better cold. Fruity tea tastes like watered down juice to me. Iced fruity tea on the other hand is delicious! Especially sun tea.

Current Food

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This is basically my latest obsessions. Yes, I still eat my oats and my greens, but lately I’ve been lovin on the sweet potatoes (have you tried topping them with almond butter? Divine!), summer fruit by the (cereal or larger) bowlfulls, chocolate almonds and Cinnamon Crunch (the organic, ‘healthy’ cinnamon toast crunch from Cascadian Farms.)

Fun Fact! Rarely do I eat a bowl of cereal (i.e. with milk for breakfast). However, as a topping and as a munchy movie snack, its my favorite.

Current Favorite TV Show

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I decided to watch So You Think You Can Dance this season and I must say, I do enjoy it! Its like a more interesting, less receptive American Idol, and some of the dancers are just breathtaking.

Fun Fact!! I danced at the same studio that Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval (season 7) started at! He once helped ‘teach’ one of my ballet classes for the day, but mostly everyone was just cracking up. I also go to the same high school he went to 🙂

Current Wish list

All of the clothes!!! Every time I go to the mall, it’s like a reminder of what great fashion instinct I have, and how (comparatively and relatively) little I have to spend on those clothes. Either everything should be free, or I need to get a job. sigh…

Current Needs

More henna so I can re-dye my hair!! Its faaaadddiiinnggg!!!! I want my bright red haaiiiirrrrrr back!

Current Triumphs

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Check out that plank! Okay, so it wasn’t all a ‘normal’ plank, because I break it up by doing like, 1 or 2 minutes normal, then a minute per side and keep changing it up, but still. Thats awesome.

Current Bane of my Existence

Two blisters from my new running shoes. I love the shoes, but they aren’t broken in yet!!! Also, if you pop a blister, do it after you shower. Never has water been so painful. (sorry)

Current Celebrity Crush

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Need I say more??

Current Indulgence

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I baked a triple batch of brownies for a potluck today. Of course I licked the bowl! And maybe had a lot few chocolate chips on the side 😉 testing for poison, obvs. 

Current Blessing

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Beautiful Summer evenings and walks with my Sophie 🙂 Its been absolutely lovely lately. Only in the upper 80’s!!

Current Outfit

Sweat pant shorts and a production shirt for Bye Bye Birdie. No picture for this one, its my jammies haha!

Current Excitement

Can I have multiple??

I got new shooeeesss:D

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Also I am leaving in a few days for a COLLEGE ROADTRIP!!! Gonna go down to southern California to visit potential colleges! (and beaches, you know 😉 ). So excited!!

Current Mood

sleepy. This is the second time I’ve sat down to write this, and its 11:00 pm. I know, I know, I’m such a night owl 😉

Current Link

Hannah’s American snack food review.

Its just so hilarious, yet so true. Although I have to admit, sometimes I wonder what those things (cupcake pop tarts/goldfish) would taste like were I not vegan. And against food dye and chemicals. And the American Food industry. I’m too cynical. 😉

What are your ‘currentlys’? Answer any of the above!! 

And sometimes its WIAW

Happy WIAW!!

Looking over some of my recent eats, I’ve come to the conclusion that allthetime sometimes I have some very, well, interesting eats. And sometimes its best not to question them.

Sometimes….

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…you feel like making an actual meal (pasta and veggies with a dairy free cheese sauce, recipe up soon!!)

But sometimes…

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…Its just frozen pizza night (new gluten and dairy free vegan pizza on the shelves, with a few extra veggies for good measure)

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…but you’ll probably make a salad too. (spiralized carrots and candy cane beets with peach vinegar and honey mustard)

Sometimes…

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…you eat a reasonable amount of squash. But more than likely you’ll go back for more and never learn your lesson (cough cough bloated cough cough don’t care)

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…you might also eat large amounts of melon. I didn’t take pictures of the watermelon I had too…

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…or fresh summer fruit in general.

Sometimes…

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…You get a little creative in your breakfasts (nuts instead of nut butter omg.)

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….but often you will go back to your tried and true. (especially if it’s caramel macchiato almond butter)

Sometimes…

photo 1-70…You hate being out of lettuce and therefore out of your lunch salad routine, but instead of being creative you just use frozen spinach instead. and then get a tad annoyed that all of your sauces are on the potato and not the spinach. #thestruggle 😉

Sometimes…

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…you are cleaning up from lunch and have a ‘hmm what would happen if…’ moment resulting in a little BLT* action that is so good you make it again and document it. Aka leftover apple slice + cucumber + coconut bacon is delicious. Even when you are full. This would be a good sandwich. *BLT-Bites, licks and tastes

Sometimes…

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…you get excited because its like Raley’s knew it was your birthday. (I spy banana bread in the near future)

Sometimes…

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…it takes a few tries to make a birthday cake…

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…so you just decide on a DIY strawberry shortcake instead 🙂

Sometimes…

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…your desserts seem well put together (farmers market fresh strawberries with farmers market granola on top of a vanilla cream concoction)

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… and you eat chocolate pudding in an acceptable manner

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…And sometimes its best not to question what you were thinking. (for the record, chocolate, cinnamon cereal, and cantaloupe is actually pretty good. then again, its chocolate, cinnamon, and melon. when aren’t those delicious?)

Sometimes…

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…edible birthday presents are awesome

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….but its the non-edible ones that are the best. ( I named him Stefan 😉 and yes, Stefan is an oven mit. It makes taking cookies out of the oven intense.)

Whats the best birthday present you have ever gotten? 

Any strange concoctions you’ve come up with lately?

The Cake that Wasn’t….

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And it comes to an end…

Remember how I said that I was going to end this week with a cake recipe to knock your sprinkles off? Well…..

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I really should start testing recipes in advance. Therefore, I, alas, do not have a cake recipe for you.

Fear Not!!! I shall not go cake less on mine own birthday!!

I have a birthday cake version of Michelle’s Pretty Lemon Cake in the oven…

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(Lovely Photo from Peachy Palate)

Which I added some sweetener to to make more of a dessert cake, then baked it in a bundt pan because its pretty…

And I’m going to top it with a fluffy meringue/whipped cream of this sort:

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(Wing it Vegan)

And more berries, likely:) I’ll show you pictures later!

Instead, lets do a roundup of the recipes I did make this week!!

To kick things off, I dusted off my ice cream machine and created a lovely

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Birthday Cake Ice Cream!!

Then I decided I wanted things a little less frozen, and created

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Cake Batter Milkshake

Things got a little heated once I turned on my oven for these

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Funfetti Cookies

Not that I minded, they were one of my favorite recipes I made this whole week!! I recommend eating them warm, topped with cashew butter, or made into an ice cream sandwich with the cake batter ice cream or a ‘whoopee pie’ of sorts with extra cookie dough 🙂

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Because these cookies rock unbaked too 🙂

It was back to breakfast with a personal birthday cake when I made my Funfetti Baked Oats

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Which were delicious and, now that I think about it, could totally have been adapted into a full size cake recipe 😉 or cupcakes!!!

mmmm…. cupcakes….mmmmm cake for breakfast….do it.

A cake stacked high was next on my list

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Birthday Cake Pancakes!! They may have almost failed, but their delicious butteriness (and loads of sweet ‘frosting) saved them from pancake destruction. Not that they lasted long anyway…..

And to finish off the week, I went the easy route

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A prep- ahead Birthday Cake Parfait was just what I needed on a hot hot day at the end of a long week in the kitchen:)

I hope your weekend is going well!!

Whats Your Favorite Birthday Treat?  Favorite flavor of Cake?? Although it may not seem as such (based on all of the vanilla and sprinkles recipes) My personal favorite is fresh and fruity!! I love lemon cakes, and I used to enjoy angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries (which I attempted to veganize but it fell from heaven alas).