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zing bar review!

After a long day of classes I came home to find this box of goodies waiting for me…

the gems

Zing Bars!!!! I have been dyin to try these babies so I was stoked to see a box with my name on it. I had to hold myself back from breaking into it and devouring them all on the spot.

I received a bar of each of their 6 flavors: Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Almond Blueberry, Cranberry Orange, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. Half of their flavors are vegan (made with brown rice protein), and the other half are not (made with whey protein).

And this is what I thought of them!

Chocolate Coconut – vegan, chocolate coated, literally tasted like a Mounds candy bar. My favorite flavor!

Chocolate Peanut Butter – not vegan, chocolate covered, not overly sweet. Def another favorite!

Almond Blueberry – not vegan, very moist (I hate that word haha, does anyone else agree with me?!) and a little sticky, tasted a little like marzipan. Second favorite!!

Cranberry Orange – vegan, the citrus flavor from the orange made it taste very refreshing unlike some of the others, soft and dough-like consistency. Good, but not my favorite!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip – vegan, reminded me of cookie dough but healthy, and with peanut butter! Another favorite!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip – not vegan, tasted just like an oatmeal raisin cookie but with chocolate chips in it. Yum!

These absolutely delicious bars are created by nutritionists, are gluten, soy, corn & wheat free, won’t spike blood sugar and are my new favorite bars! They are a little on the pricey side, so unfortunately for me, I won’t be able to eat them on a regular basis, but I encourage you all to try them out! For more information and nutrition facts check out their website here.

taken from the Zing bar website

Let me know if you guys have ever tried these!

Questions of the Day:

Are there any words that you don’t like using or just sound weird to you? For me, it’s “moist.” And the word “chunk” has always kind of weirded me out…I think it was because an elementary school teacher would use it to describe a stack of paper. “Everyone grab a chunk of paper!” Huh?!

If you’ve tried the Zing Bars what is your favorite flavor?

Well, hope everyone’s having a happy Thursday!!

xoxo

Kara

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vegan eats

Hi babydolls!

Sorry I’ve been MIA for quite a while…the quarter just started Monday so I’ve been figuring out my classes and catching up with friends I haven’t seen in a whole month!

My vegan diet has been going well so far, I have completed a week plus two days now! Surprisingly finding things to eat has been easy, although I’ve had to get a little more creative and do some planning ahead of time.

When I was at home, my sister and mom had some delicious looking (and smelling!) cheesy pesto bread with their dinner and I would have loved a big bite of it, but I told myself that I couldn’t give in quite yet. I do reallllly really miss cheese and eggs, but I’ve had no cravings for meat so far!

As of now, my thoughts about this whole vegan ordeal is that I do not want to deprive my body of anything it craves. If after 2 weeks I’m craving cheese or eggs, I will allow my body some cheese and eggs! There’s no sense in torturing and depriving myself.

Now I’ll let ya guys in on what I’ve been eating lately ;).

sprouted whole wheat toast with ab & pb and fresh berries. my mouth is watering just looking at those berries right now! get in mah belly.

i tried an amy's indian spinach tofu wrap. it was perfect for a quick and delicious small meal!

portobello mushroom burger/sandwich with all the fixins and sauteed green beans with hazelnuts.

crocodile crunch from alicia silverstone's "the kind diet." 1 t spirulina, ~3/4 T almond milk, ~3/4 T orange juice, ~3/4 T maple syrup, 1 t almond butter. mix sauce and pour over fresh fruit and coconut. top with kamut puffs, granola or whatever cereal you like! beware: this looks gross (I mean it issss green) but it's actually DELICIOUS and may turn your teeth temporarily green hehe.

sauteed vegetables, tempeh, and lentil & bean mix.

butternut squash and vegetable curry over brown rice and topped with coconut and roasted almonds & cashews (in bragg liquid aminos)

the. best. pancakes. EVER. (recipe coming soon!)

quinoa bowl with veggies, salsa and cilantro jalapeno hummus (found at TJs).

kale, tempeh and wild rice!

green beans and asparagus over brown rice with Mama Pea's "mmm" sauce drizzled on top!

snacky dinner! butternut squash soup, veggies & crackers (Marys crackers and Flackers) to dip in hummus and salsa. and a sliced apple!

So there ya have it! Not exactly everything I’ve been eating lately, but a summary! Today, I had a delicious falafel pita sandwich with cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, hummus and tahini sauce from a Mediterranean cafe. I’m determined to recreate it. And tonight I think I’ll make some overnight oats for tomorrow’s breakfast! Mmmm.

Hope you all had a fabulous week!

xoxo,

Kara

WIAW #10 and day one of being a vegan!

“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates

After watching the nutrition documentary, Forks Over Knives last night, the above quote stuck with me. In the movie, (which you should watch if you haven’t!) two doctors show patients who are suffering from conditions like heart disease and diabetes how diet is the best medicine. These two admirable doctors both found that these types of diseases and some forms of cancer can be prevented, and sometimes reversed, by adopting a “whole-foods, plant-based diet.” What I found most astonishing was a study with rats. They fed the rats a diet of 20% casein (the main protein found in dairy products), then 5% casein, switching off between the two levels of protein for a period of time and observing the effects of this dietary change on the rat’s cancer cells. There was a dramatic drop in cancerous growths in the rats that were fed a diet of 5% casein rather than 20%.

I’ve always thought about going vegan but never actually went through with it. I was vegetarian for about a year, but then felt like I wasn’t getting enough protein in my diet and went back to eating meat. Forks Over Knives completely shocked me, I had no idea animal products can actually induce cancer cells! I still want to do some more research before fully committing to veganism, though. I realize that eventually I am going to die someday (sorry to be so blunt) whether that be old age, cancer, or disease…and in recent research it seems like everything causes cancer – parabens found in lotion, hair dyes, chemicals in makeup, sodium lauryl sulfate found in shampoos and toothpaste, aluminum based deodorants, non- organic fruits and vegetables, plastic water bottles, microwaves….I could go on and on. I think that if we live our lives fearing everything that causes cancer in the world, we will end up becoming complete crazies hiding from life.

Okay, but now I am going to contradict myself because even though I can’t prevent cancer entirely, it’s worth a shot. Plus, I’ve always been intrigued by the vegan diet so I figured why not try it if it won’t hurtcha?!

My goal is to try being vegan for 2 weeks and see if there are any changes in how I feel. In the movie, the real life patients boasted feeling more energetic and had no need for medications. (My dream!! A world of barely any prescription drugs..which only cure the symptoms not the actual disease or sickness itself, and more homeopathic remedies! But maybe I am crazy.) In the vegan cookbook called The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstein (who’s prego if you didn’t know!!) also expressed feeling more energetic on the vegan diet as well as having her acne clear up. I wouldn’t mind feeling more energetic and having completely clear skin, but those are not my main reasons for trying veganism, I simply want to try it to see how it affects me. Who knows, in two weeks I may feel no different and be back to eating how I was, or I may continue down the road of being a vegan. Thanks to Forks Over Knives my life could be entirely changed after this.

I do have a few concerns:

1) The Forks Over Knives diet rules out most fats (even the healthy ones like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds!). I CANNOT DO WITHOUT FAT. Soo I will be eating plenty of that in my new vegan diet.

2) I’ve gotten over the stage of caring what people think of me, but being the odd one out is never fun. Thank goodness my friend Cat (also a Nutrition Science major and the one who told me about this movie!!) agreed to try veganism with me. It is definitely going to be hard ordering at restaurants, eating with friends and attending family events. I’m sure we’ll get plenty of weird looks and questions like “so why exactly are you vegan?” or  “you’re one of those animal rights activists aren’t you?” or  “you don’t eat any cheese or meat?!” or “how do you live?!”

3) My last concern is gaining weight. I love peanut butter as you all know, nuts, seeds, avocado…which are all fat and high in calories. Good fat, but must be eaten in moderation. I’m worried that I might overdo it on those (I loooove trail mix and can eat a whole bag easily) out of boredom of the other foods I’m eating and end up actually gaining weight rather than losing pounds or maintaining my weight.

But I’m going to try not to worry about all that and enjoy my 2 (or more) weeks of being vegan!!

So here goes my first WIAW as a vegan.

Breakfast…

oatmeal made with oats, banana, cinnamon, and chia seeds topped with almond milk, strawberries and almonds

and a cup of the best tea ever.

Lunch…

black bean soup and sauteed green beans & spinach

Black Bean Soup

serves 3

Ingredients:

2 cans black beans, drained

1 c salsa

1 t cumin

1 1/2 c low sodium vegetable broth

Directions:

Put first three ingredients in food processor until you get your desired constituency (chunky or smooth). Then heat in a saucepan and mix in the vegetable broth. Top with green onion, avocado, salsa, etc!

yummmmy, quick and so easy!

cuddle time with my babyy

Snack…

apple cupcakes...sort of!

I used this recipe for high protein chocolate pudding on the left apple, but used cocoa powder instead of carob, and used cocoa liquid stevia instead of maple syrup.

high protein chocolate pudding on the left topped with dried cranberries and pepitas, the right topped with peanut butter and cacao nibs!

Dinner…

nutty israeli couscous!

Nutty Israeli Couscous with Arugula, Butternut Squash and Sage

serves 4

Ingredients:

1 1/3 c Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous)

1 3/4 c water

1 T EVOO + more for sauteeing and drizzling

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

5-6 fresh sage leaves, chopped

1/2 a butternut squash

1/4 c pecans

2 handfuls of arugula (or any other leafy green you like)

Balsamic vinegar

s & p

Directions:

Pierce butternut squash with a fork or knife a couple times so that air can escape while in the microwave. Nuke for 10 minutes, cut in half and let cool. Meanwhile, in a 2 quart saucepan, saute 1 1/3 c couscous with 1 T EVOO over medium heat until the couscous is lightly browned. This takes about 5 minutes. Slowly add 1 3/4 c water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove the rind of the butternut squash (I found it easiest to cut off the rind with a knife, but maybe you could try using a peeler?) and cut it into cubes. In a large frying pan set to medium heat drizzle some EVOO and add the chopped shallot, minced garlic and chopped sage leaves. Saute until the shallot is almost transparent. Mix in the pecans and saute some more, but make sure to not burn the nuts. By now the couscous should be finishing up, so turn off the heat, add a generous drizzle of EVOO and s & p. Then, add the butternut squash to the frying pan and cover. After about 3 minutes the butternut squash should be tender and aromatic. Now add the 2 handfuls of arugula, mix until wilted. Turn off the heat. Fold the butternut squash mixture into the saucepan with the couscous. Drizzle some balsamic, taste it and adjust how much s & p you would like. Enjoy!

filling and delicious!

Wahoo I survived my first day as a vegan! And it wasn’t as hard as I thought :)!

xoxo

Kara

happy, healthy holidays!

Hiii!

Oh how I’ve missed you guys! My excuse to explain my absence is that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with friends and family, sans technology. Who can blame me?

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and safe New Years! I’ve been a busy girl so here are some pictures to catch you all up :)!

sf with ceej

dinner at fishermans wharf!

my very first bite EVER of crab cocktail! i definitely have been missing out.

my plate of deliciousness. already full from looking at it. lobster, filet mignon, mashed potatoes, rice & vegetables. sooo freakin good & plenty of leftovers!

he was so excited to wear that bib.

buttery crabby hands ahhh!

afterwards, we went to the ghiradelli chocolate factory and even though my tummy felt like it might explode, we ordered a peanut butter chocolate sundae to share. we barely finished half of it. butttt it was tasty.

christmas eve day with the cousins!

sista friend

time to open presents!

OH MY GOD!!!! A Vitamix!

my dad knows me so well. i love dogs and peanut butter! best card ever and best dad ever.

after exchanging & opening gifts we nibbled on these babies and sipped tea (from Aveda...ya I know weird. it's a hair salon that sells tea! but it's my new favorite!) while watching christmas with the kranks.

all ready for santa!

don't mind me in all my early morning glory. i just rolled out of bed to make this green smoothie in my new vitamix!!

green smoothie creation (spinach, almond milk, frozen pineapple & mango) topped with pomegranate seeds!

Christmas morning, I woke to find some sparkly Juicy Couture stud earrings, Burt’s Bees hand cream, lotion & chapstick (addicted to their almond milk beeswax hand creme and chapstick), yoga pants & other goodies! Then my dad, Kristin and I had a plane to catch! Every winter, we meet up with my dad’s side of the family for a ski trip. We’ve been going to Big White in BC, Canada for years but just last year switched to Whistler. I LOVE it!!

kristin and i in front of the olympic rings!

veggie burger at a cute cafe in Whistler called Ingrids!

Kristin and I are the only snowboarders in the fam so we usually stick together – getting stuck in powder, falling while exiting the chairlift, flying off jumps in the terrain park, braving cliffs, and taking pictures on the slopes.

say cheese! notice our face masks...it is really cold in Whistler for these cali girls!

beeeeyouuutiful.

baby cousin gus, kristin, me and jen-ai (our aunt!)

After a great ski trip in Whistler, it was time to head back to the states to celebrate 2012!!!!!

nye dinner at scott's seafood

cj's fooood. i ate some of his "plants" and stole a bite of halibut.

my salmon with sundried tomato pesto and white beans.

dysfunctional new years pic with my friendsss.

it's almost midnight!

It was a fabulous night to say the least. And I’ve finally decided on a New Year’s resolution. My friend Sheeva came up with one that was too good, I had to steal. It is to make sure my friends and family know how much I love them because the unexpected sometimes does happen, and life is much too short.

Tonight my sister, mom and I are going to watch the documentary, Forks Over Knives. I heard about it from a friend who told me I must watch it!! I’m excited and will have a review tomorrow :).

xoxo

Kara

 

it’s been a while…hello WIAW! and thanksgiving recap.

Hi lovelies! Hope everyone had a delicious and memorable Thanksgiving. I know I sure did! It was full of nomzzz and my favorite people. Here’s a quick photo recap before I get into what I ate today…ahem…yesterday….

from left to right: turkey, stuffing for the vegs, stuffing for the carnivores, mashed sweet potatoes

roasted potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, steamed brussel sprouts, carrots, and two weirdos...

the table all set up and plates of my grandma's deeelicious salad

my plate! mmmm drooling

time to eat!

hey grandpa, smile!

Unfortunately I couldn’t wait to dig into the dessert that I didn’t take a picture, but I had a huge slice of apple AND pumpkin pecan pie. And an even bigger scoop of vanilla ice cream, obviously. Oh baybayyyyy.

lil miss cooksters aka the vacuum cleaner hiding under the table

modeling, the ushe.

i got it from my momma.

And that ends the Thanksgiving recap! I wish I had taken more pictures. The yummy cheeses for our cheese + cracker appetizer were placed on colorful fall leaves from the backyard, Kristin and I made the flower centerpieces, and the gravy transformed from a lumpy mess to pure deliciousness! (Secret ingredient(s): everything in the kitchen. Cornstarch? Check. Whiskey? Check. Beer? Check.) Shhh I didn’t tell you that. Anywhoo, I sucked at taking pictures on Thanksgiving. End of story.

Onwards!

Breakfast on this gloomy/foggy/horror-movie-esque day was:

smoothie in a bowl topped with oats, walnuts, raw almonds and cacao nibs!

Late lunch was:

tj's collard greens mix sauteed in EVOO and sliced garlic + tj's chile lime chicken burger + H2O on a cute urban outfitters coaster (gotta stay hydrated!)

Snack was: My favorite kind of apple. A Pink Lady! Mmmm sweet and tart!

Din din was:

tempeh veggie brown fried rice. i used tj's stir fry veggies, tj's 3-grain tempeh, handful of collard greens, an egg, sesame oil and braggs liquid aminos! topped with sesame seeds and grated ginger.

No workout today. Instead I studied and consumed large quantities of these:

can't. stop. eating. them. hoomygod.

Later….after hours of studying (finals week coming up!) slash online shopping slash blog stalking…the roomies and I came up with a brilliant idea.

to mix the best two things on earth: chocolate and peanut butter.

Anyone confused by Skippy’s “Natural” label? I would think natural would mean peanuts and maybe  salt, but the ingredients also include palm oil and sugar. What’s different about this and regular Skippy?!

anyone down for a late-night chocolate fondue party?!

We made chocolate fondue by microwaving chocolate chips for 1 minute, and made pb chocolate fondue (lighter one on the left) by mixing a huge scoop of pb into another bowl of microwaved choco chips. The featured dippers: frozen strawberries (ehh, not as good as they sounded), bananas, almonds, brown rice cakes, and sliced apples!

the ugly frozen strawberries were not popular.

Sugar highhhhhh + studying = success?!

On another note, I painted my nails today! Aka procrastination at it’s finest. You can’t do anything but sit there and wait for them to dry :).

still goin strong with the ring-finger-a-different-color trend!

Ring finger color: Urban Outfitters Chrome Pewter 1. Other fingers: OPI Russian Navy.

I hear navy nail polish is the new black ;). What do you think? My roommate says it reminds her of a robot. Haha. I think it also looks wintery..?!

Off to bed! I have a midterm tomorrow morning.

YAY.

xoxoxxoxo,

Kara

caramelized pecan banana bread

The other day I noticed my bananas were getting a tad bit old and squishy….

Then I thought…

I SHOULD MAKE BANANA BREAD!

But plain banana bread is boring…

Hmmmm.

I LOVE CARAMELIZED NUTS!

Genius.

I DECIDED TO MIX THE TWO TOGETHER.

Oh gollyyyy.

[Sorry for the all caps, it was needed that I yell at you.]

So without any further ado, I give you….

Caramelized Pecan Banana Bread

For the caramelized pecans:

1 TBS butter (I used Earth Balance)

2 TBS sugar

1 cup pecan halves

2 TBS ground cinnamon

 

For the bread:

1 c whole-wheat flour

1 c unbleached flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 large, overripe bananas

2 egg whites

3/4 c sugar

1/4 c coconut or almond milk (you could also use regular or fat-free milk, if you’re using fat-free add a little bit of lemon juice so the milk thickens)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. For the caramelized pecans: Melt the butter over medium heat, slowly stirring in the sugar and cinnamon, and finally the pecans. Mix until evenly coated and the pecans look shiny.

mmm hey derr

up-close and personal

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Add the egg whites, sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon and stir to mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the well in the dry ingredients and fold together until blended.

the dry ingredients

mashed up naner

add the wet ingredients!

notice the well?!

4. Fold the caramelized pecans into the batter.

all mixed up!

5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Lick the spoon.

i'm ready freddy!

6. Bake until a toothpick in the center of the bread comes out clean ~55-60 minutes. Cool for ten minutes or put in the fridge (I personally like it cold with peanut butter slathered on top). Enjoy!

ohhhhh baybayy get in mah belly

I ate it so fast, I never got a pretty picture of a slice with peanut butter on it :(. But I will make it again! And this time I want to try making it with a crumbly cinnamon topping! Mmmm sounds to die for right?!

Let me know if you try this! Or if you have any favorite banana bread mix-ins or recipes!

xoxo

Kara

brb

Hi lovebugs!

So, it’s midterms week (ah how I love love love the quarter system…grrr). I’ve been a busy bee attending classes, catching up on missed classes (my bad), doing homework, studying, etc. And in between all that fun stuff I’ve been a busy bee eating, cooking, baking, laughing, dancing, singing, working out…ya know, the ushe. Minus blogging. I’m sorry!

And now to be even more of a disappointment, it’s really time for me to buckle down and power through these 3 midterms I have coming up, so I would like to apologize in advance for  being MIA these next couple of days.

While I’m gone, I beg you to enjoy one of these for me..

cake batter funfetti blondies from girl meets life.

Or these…

peanut butter fudge pretzel brownies from how sweet it is.

Or both. Like what happened at my apartment this weekend. No. Regrets. At. All.

Calories don’t count during midterms week anyways. Everyone knows that.

Ta ta for now!

Kara