Weekend Wish List

In all the excitement of getting ready for school, I haven’t had time to complete any real blog posts for this week. I have tons of fun stuff that’s almost ready, but for now I thought I’d just pop in to share my “weekend wish list.” Inspired by ImmaEatThat and Chickpea in the City, this is a compilation of the recipes, products, and activities I’ve been loving recently, as well as those I hope to try in the near future.

 

I’m Loving:

  • Raw Chocolate Chip Bars by Rachel Mansfield
    • I posted about these on Instagram a couple weeks ago, and ever since then I have been in love. Today I found myself practically licking the bowl (er, food processor) after I made a batch. Even my sugar-loving little brother begs me to make them for him.
  • Larabars
    • Obviously I can have multiple favorite bars at a time, and considering I scored a box of 16 peanut butter cookie Larabars off Amazon for 12 dollars (best deal ever!!), I don’t think I’ll be getting over these anytime soon.
  • Sriracha Hummus
    • The Sriracha hummus from Trader Joe’s. I know I’m late to the party, but this stuff is so good I’m not even mad. If you’re (fashionably) late too, PLEASE go get some and join my hummus party.
  • Chloé jeans (my latest thrift store finds)
    • The other day I tried on about 20 pairs of thrift store jeans searching for a pair that would make me feel special and beautiful and awesome. Just when I was about to give up hope, I found the most incredible pair. Since they’re second hand they’re waaayyy less expensive than regular Chloé jeans, and they make me feel on top of the world.
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle by Cake
    • My friend was playing this song the other day and it made me laugh so hard. I showed it to my dad and apparently it’s one of his favorites too, so obviously I now feel very cool. (Not even being sarcastic- he has great taste in music)
  • Nike+ Training App
    • This app is like having a free personal trainer on my phone. The quick workouts are super easy to fit into my schedule, and the customized plan is unbeatable.
  • The Moth Podcast
    • The funniest, sweetest, most heartwarming stories. This podcast has made me laugh and cry, and it is an amazing way to replace Netflix once in awhile.
  • This article on building a food Instagram and this article on photography
    • While my blog, and corresponding Instagram, are not only about food, recipes and healthy eating are definitely a focus, and I am finding both of these articles extremely helpful as I work to improve my content.

 

I’m Wishing For:

  • Lola Granola Bars + Squarebars
    • Someone please send me truckloads of these bars. Help fuel my granola bar addiction. My obsession with all bars is pretty intense, so when I say these are the best, you can trust me. I know what I’m talking about. While these are too expensive for me to buy often, they’re my go-tos when I want to treat myself.
  • Lunchbots Grown Up Lunch Box
    • The @srunsforcake Instagram feed will forever be my packed lunch goals, and while my school meals may never reach that level of perfection, packing healthy lunches would be so easy and fun with these bento-style boxes.
  • Jordana Eyeliner
    • Liquid Eyeliner??? For under 3$??? Sign me up! I’ve never owned liquid eyeliner before, and honestly I’m not really one to invest in makeup, so this product seems like the perfect, low commitment way to test out the fancy eyeliner trend.
  • Pressed Freeze
    • I’ve been seeing Pressed Juicery’s soft-serve “ice cream” all over Instagram, and I am SO jealous. Hopefully I’ll get to try some eventually, but so far it isn’t sold near me. In the meantime, I’m excited to try Pinch of Yum’s Peanut Butter Nice Cream and Açaí Bowls by Kitchen Confidante to take the edge off my craving.
  • A cute backpack
    • Unfortunately I can’t even list a specific product here because I haven’t been able to find one that looks nice and will still fit all my school shiz.
  • The Bar Method
    • While most boutique fitness classes are way out of my price range, so much so that I’ve never actually been to one,  I’m completely obsessed with them. I think I’d feel so cool walking out of some trendy studio, post-picture perfect workout, on my way to buy a green juice. I know this image probably isn’t entirely accurate, but The Bar Method’s memberships are so affordable I might get the chance to find out!
  • Me Before You
    • Come out on Amazon already!! I missed seeing this in the theater, and I’m embarrassed by how badly I want to see it. (You won’t judge, right?)
  • Homemade Chai Latte
    • As you know, my latte love is intense (perhaps the most serious relationship in my life at the moment), so I can’t wait to try this plant powered, DIY recipe.

This is the stuff that’s been getting me through all the stress of back to school season. I feel like we forget often forget to have fun and treat ourselves when life becomes more challenging, but i believe those times are when it’s most important to practice self care. As always, I’d love to know what items are on your weekend wish list- comment here or go visit me on Instagram!

Vegan Breakfast Cookies

How do you feel about vegetables? Honestly. Not what you think you should say, or what you’d like to say, but how you really feel. Because if, by any chance, you’re feeling a little “meh” on the veggies, I’m right there with you. I like eating my greens, but they’re not making my top 10 favorite foods list anytime soon.

Most days, I’m pretty sure I don’t get anywhere near my recommended daily veg intake. Honestly, I’m not too worried because I believe strongly in trusting my body and avoiding food rules as much as possible. When it comes to my diet, I try my best to follow an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. To me, this just means that as long as I’m feeling healthy and happy, there’s no point in trying to “perfect” my diet.

That being said, I think there is absolutely value in a balanced diet, and I do strive to enjoy summer’s beautiful produce whenever possible.

I’m visiting my grandparents at the moment, and they have a gorgeous garden in their yard that floods the house with fresh tomatoes and zucchini on a daily basis. Every day we harvest multiple massive zucchini, so my whole family has been busy eating it as fast as we possibly can. Naturally, when I began brainstorming recipes I knew I needed to give everyone a break and try to find a use for all that zucchini.

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My first thought was zucchini bread, because I’m currently on the hunt for easy make-ahead breakfasts to enjoy during the school year (if you have any suggestions let me know!).

Unfortunately, this idea had three problems. 1) Zucchini bread is pretty basic, and I wanted to shake things up a little. 2) I wanted something I could eat on the road, and breads aren’t always the most portable. 3) While I’m not vegan, I prefer to eat plant-based meals as much as possible, and I’ve struggled with making vegan quick breads in the past.

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Kudos to agave for making vegan baking 100x easier

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In the end, I landed on the idea of zucchini cookies and I’m so incredibly glad I did. These cookies are actual magic. After I came up with a recipe, I thought I’d need a hundred test runs to perfect them, but they came out perfect on the first go! The cookie gods are clearly smiling upon me:) Somehow all the flavor and texture of classic zucchini bread got baked into healthy, portable breakfast cookies. It truly is a dream come true. They taste incredible, are packed with whole food, amazing-for-you (vegan!!) ingredients, and can be whipped up in about 30 minutes.

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Zucchini Breakfast Cookies

Makes 10 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup zucchini*

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup almond meal

⅔ cup rolled oats

½ cup nut milk of choice

¼ cup olive oil (can sub melted coconut oil)

1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

⅓ cup agave

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease baking sheet.
  2. Shred zucchini, then wrap in a clean cloth and squeeze out excess moisture.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine nut milk, agave, olive oil, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir until combined.
  4. Stir almond meal and oats into the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly. It’s ok if the mixture still looks a little too wet, as the zucchini and walnuts will help it firm up.
  5. Gently fold zucchini, walnuts, and chia seeds (if using) into the batter. At this point the batter should be thick and hold together well.
  6. Scoop up small balls of batter and press them onto the baking sheet until they form circles about 3” in diameter.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. I prefer my cookies softer, so I only baked them for about 15 minutes, but it all depends on personal preference. Once they are done baking, do your best to resist the urge to grab one straight out of the oven, as it is important to give them about 10 minutes to set (especially for softer cookies).

*Measure the zucchini after it has been shredded and squeezed dry.

Enjoy! If you make these, be sure to share them with me on instagram (@16goingon60) using #16bakes.

Simple Sweat: 30 minute workout

So far, my summer has been full of so much great movement. I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with exercise in the past, but recently moving my body has brought me so much joy. Hiking, dancing, tv workouts, and old fashioned gym trips have all been part of my repertoire, but I worry I won’t have time for any of these activities when school starts up again.

Therefore, I have consolidated some of my favorite movements into a 30 minute session you can fit into the busiest of days. To ensure this workout takes the same amount of time for everyone, I measure activities in minutes instead of reps. I would suggest setting a timer for 30 minutes at the beginning of the workout, then watching the clock so you know when to switch activities.

These simple exercises require little to no special equipment and can be done in your living room, basement, backyard, or just out on the sidewalk if needed. If you do happen to have some light weights on hand, I’d highly recommend using them to do curls during lunges and wall sits, and possibly to add an extra challenge to punching.

Though I love this sequence, I am always looking for new ways to mix up my workout routine, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

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Warm up: 5 minutes LIGHT cardio. When I have access to an elliptical I’ll use that, but at home I most often jump rope or run around the block a few times. It is essential, however, that you do not over-exert yourself during this section or you may not have enough energy left for the rest of the workout (trust me, I know from experience).

 

5 minutes dynamic stretching

  • High-knees
  • Grapevine
  • Bootykickers
  • Moving lunges
  • Walking toe-touches
  • High kicks

Workout: Now that you’ve got your heart rate up it’s time for 20 minutes of strengthening exercises.

  1. Wall-sit (1 minute)
  2. Sit ups (1 minute)
  3. Cherry pickers/Russian twists (1 minute)
  4. Push ups (1 minute)
  5. Lunges (1 minute)
  6. Interval Cardio- this is intended to be more intense than the warm-up cardio, so perhaps alternate 1 minute of sprinting with 30 seconds of jogging or 1 minute of fast jump-roping with 30 seconds of slower jumping. (5 minutes)
  7. Jumping Jack Squats (1 minute)
  8. Plank (2 minute)
  9. Side Plank (1 minute, alternate after 30 seconds)
  10. Punch it out- in the air, on a punching bag, on a pillow (1 minute)

Cool down: 5 minutes stretches of your choice. Personally, I love these moves by Popsugar.

If you try this, share all your #fitspo photos with me (cause sweaty selfies are what working out is really all about, right?) using #16worksout. Have fun!

(End of) Summer Reading List

I love summer with every bit of my heart and soul. Summer is lazy 11am breakfast dates with friends in the middle of the week and singing so loud it hurts at concerts in the park. Summer is saltwater up my nose and the conviction that nothing tastes better than a slightly sandy PB&J after a long day at the beach. Summer is light, refreshing, al fresco dinners followed by ice cream cones the size of my face. Summer is my happy-time, and I know I’m not alone. Can we all start a petition for an extra month of summer? I’m not ready for everything to be over yet.

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What summer should be, Exhibit A

During the last few weeks of August, I often find myself torn between the desire to soak up every last second of summer and the need to prepare for the coming school year. Part of me wants to do nothing but lounge in the sun, sleep in, and spend time with family. At the same time, I feel the pressure to buy school supplies, get organized, and prepare for the classes I’ll be starting in the fall.  

Most often, I fail to take action either way and end up lounging by the pool worrying about how I should be taking a math refresher course or getting a head start on an article for journalism. I suppose this is my attempt to find balance, but I’m really just ending up with the worst of both worlds. I’m stressed and distracted, but I’m not actually getting any work done. 

This year, I wanted to make a change. My goal was to find a way to relish the last sun-streaked moments of summer while also easing back into academic-me (a very different person than summer-me). Personally, I think books are a wonderful way to make this transition.

I can’t be the only who reads a multitude of serious, educational books (most often for English class) during the year then binges on romance novels all summer. If it is just a me thing, don’t tell me. Let me live in denial. If I’m not the only one, perhaps we can form a support group. Anyways, I find switching from reading about romance and roses to reading about the policies Franklin Roosevelt can be a bit of a shock to my system.

Therefore, I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite “in-between” books. They are entertaining enough to make them truly enjoyable, while containing sufficient food for thought to help everyone ease back into their slightly more serious-minded, academic selves. Now everyone grab a book, hit the beach, and savor those last few moments of summer!

End of Summer Reading List

Americana By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Where’d You Go Bernadette By Maria Semple

Beauty Queens By Libba Bray

The Miseducation of Cameron Post By Emily M. Danforth

Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë

The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

When the Emperor was Divine By Julie Otsuka

My Beloved World By Sonia Sotomayor

Note: Any of these books would be wonderful choices, and I suggest you look into all of them. To be honest, I tried to provide descriptions but found I could not do these remarkable stories justice. I must admit, however, that I did list them in order of my own personal favorites, so, if in doubt, start at the top.