During my time on Simply Overjoyed, I have shared many breakfasts.
Smoothies? Check. Oats? Yup. Chia pudding? of course!
Yes, it seems that as of now, waffle-lovers get all the attention on my blog.
Remember when you made a resolution to be healthy? Well, hopefully you are still sticking with it on January 2nd.
I know many of you may hate the idea of healthy food. Veggies are boring, salads are meh, brown rice is bland.
The good news: if you make a habit of eating clean, after awhile, you start to crave all the foods that currently bore you.
My selfie from New Year’s Eve last year….before I started a blog, started at a University, became certified in group exercise, and still lived in that miserable apartment. I wonder where I’ll be from this point next year?
Happy New Year!
I hope you are recovering from a fun night, and are starting the year off relaxing and watching football. I know that’s what I’m doing today!
I also know how cliche New Year’s Resolutions are. And yeah, I know lots of people don’t actually stick to them.
I actually do have some goals for 2017, for both the blog and my life.
In the past, I have made some pretty difficult goals (last year, I planned to eat 5 servings of veggies per day….whoops).
This year, I don’t want to do anything unrealistic. I really just want to strive for better as often as I can.
Here are some simple goals:
That’s really it. I want to eat clean, keep my space clean, organize my thoughts, and stay mindful. I also need to work hard this year since most of my applications for grad school next year are due in January-needless to say I will be in panic mode on the first day of 2018.
Ultimately, I just want 2017 to be a fun year. I want to try new things, go new places, and take advantage of my free time.
On the other side of things, I want to work my absolute hardest. I have some tough classes ahead (ones that I am super excited for, though!), and I have lots of other extracurriculars that I am involved in. Needless to say, I am going to be BUSY!
However, that is not going to stop me from working hard on the blog!
In fact, I want to do more.
My goal for the blog is just to continue learning and growing.
I want to do a bit more work in terms of promotions: building my email list (and actually sending some emails every now and then-probably weekly), improving my Pinterest boards, and looking into scheduling Facebook/Twitter/etc. posts ahead of time so that my social media is frequently updated.
Not only that, I also want to improve my posts themselves….Better photos, better recipes, you name it! I also want a better site in general, like adding a logo and a better design, but honestly, I just can’t afford that right now.
Another thing I want to work on is an ebook! I have a few ideas for a recipe ebook, and I have a couple themes in mind, so we shall see what I come up with. I would love to be able to release something for you in the next year, or at least have one in the works!
Unfortunately, the blog is not my full-time job. I am not able to put in all the time that I wish I could because ultimately, school comes first, and it will until I graduate (3-4 years). However, that does not mean that I have no time or motivation to keep up with posts, share new recipes and ideas, spread the vegan message, and improve my blog overall in the next year, because I absolutely want to do all of the above! I am excited for some of the ideas I have, and I have been busy at work on some pretty amazing recipes and more for the month of January. I will make sure to be engaged with you, and I will be a bit more organized with my work. I feel really inspired to make my blog 10x better!
We shall see what 2017 has in store!
I can’t tell you what I’ll be working on for the entire year (hell, I don’t even know that, yet).
However, I can give you some hints for the month: be prepared for green smoothies, my first pancake recipe (it’s worth the wait), and some dessert. Plenty of healthy dishes as well. Be ready for deliciousness coming to you soon!
Have a wonderful New Year! I hope you reach your goals. I hope you try new things. I hope you have fun. I hope you work hard. Most of all, I hope you are happy.
Happy almost New Year!
We have made it to the end of the year, and I must say, as weird of a year 2016 was, it sure did bring some delicious food! I founded the blog in 2016, and while I did not blog for the entire year, I do have some pretty cool recipes to share.
For my Top 16, I am going with popularity. I want to share the posts that you-my readers enjoyed the most!
Some of my favorite recipes made the cut, as well as some surprises. Seeing what you all enjoy gives me a great idea of what you might like to see in the future.
Without further ado, here are your 16 favorite recipes of 2016:
No contest. This buffalo cauliflower wing burger was by far the favorite of the year! I am so happy about how enthusiastic people were over my favorite summer burger! Who doesn’t love a good veggie burger? Add cauliflower wings and…..I’m not surprised this was a favorite.
I was surprised by how well received this recipe was. I thought it was a bit risky since it’s one of those love-it-or-hate-it type of ideas. Still, I would say that overall, you all liked this recipe and it makes an awesome lunch-especially in the spring or summer.
I was very surprised by how popular this recipe quickly became. I am not surprised that people like it because it is probably the most delicious recipe I have ever created. Still, I wasn’t sure if this peanut butter and banana pizza was anything new or exciting, but fortunately, people love it! I hear it’s been making its way around Tumblr, so thank you all for sharing and for your enthusiasm!
My first recipe on the blog, and probably one of my best. I was so excited to create this recipe and bring it to life. I am still so proud of this amazing smoothie. If you have not tried it, I highly recommend it. It seriously tastes like the real thing!
This is the recipe that all fellow health nuts loved! There is nothing more useful than a reset button, and this smoothie can do just that! Filled with dozens of the healthiest ingredients, while I cannot confirm that this is actually the healthiest smoothie on earth, it could totally be a top contender.
I am only semi-ashamed to admit that this is the only salad recipe on the blog to date. I will definitely change that in 2017, but until then, we can go crazy over this delicious BBQ chickpea salad with homemade vegan ranch. I can’t say that this is my favorite recipe I have shared all year, but I can say with confidence that of all my photo shoots, this one is by far my favorite and what I consider as some of my best work (coming from a novice).
This has to be one of my favorites, and mainly because I’ve been working on it for almost a year now. Every vegan needs a good mac n cheese recipe, and this is one of the best (I promise I am only a little bit biased)!
I made this pudding on a whim after getting some fresh raspberries at a farmer’s market, and I was so pleased with the results! I’d say this is one of the best (and EASIEST!) desserts I created in 2016. Here’s to toping I can top it!
I know many people enjoy the guacamole bacon burger at Red Robin, and I wanted to create a healthy, vegan version. I think that this turned out even better than the original! Made with my addicting garlic guacamole, I practically swallowed this burger whole when I first tried it.
My burger recipes were a hit in 2016, and I have no complaints about that! My sriracha peanut burger was something I had in my head awhile back, and I love how they turned out! Without a doubt, the patty is the most unique out of all my burgers in 2016, and it’s inspired me to continue testing new veggie burger recipes.
Everyone loves peanut butter cups, and everyone loves chocolate pretzels. Keeping this in mind, I put the two together as my Halloween candy recipe. These were fun to test, but I can’t say they lasted in my apartment for very long (can you blame us?).
One of my early posts, and one of my favorites. I make this smoothie on a weekly basis, and if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it for a delicious and healthy breakfast.
I loved my 13 Blogs of Halloween series, and it brought many new recipes, including this pumpkin pie smoothie bowl. This could not have been a more simple recipe, and I like showing that popular Summer meals (smoothies and smoothie bowls, for example) can be adapted and enjoyed in the fall.
I was almost hesitant to post this recipe because it is almost too simple. I made date caramel and spread it over apples and here you go: healthy, vegan caramel apples. I am surprised that so many enjoyed them. It is a good reminder that sometimes simple can be better!
This recipe brought a sentimental story that ended up being very impactful in my life. I wanted to create nice cream and make it even healthier. Using spirulina, cacao powder, and real mint leaves, I consider this nice cream recipe to be easy, perfect for the warmer months, and super healthy (see what I did there?).
I love this recipe because it works any time of the year. I can have this for breakfast in April, July, or January (though it may be a bit cold for that). I think this recipe is really easy and tastes amazing. I am not surprised to see that people like it due to how simple it really is.
2016 was a fun year and I love all the recipes I made for the blog. I am hoping for even better in 2017: better recipes, better photos, better posts, better everything! I have learned so much and I plan on making 2017 a great one! Hope you stick with me!
What was your favorite recipe on 2016?
I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog.
I had lots of holiday recipe ideas, but unfortunately, I only got a couple in.
Life has been an emotional roller coaster lately. I lost 2 grandparents in less than 2 months, and I have been a little overwhelmed with my new responsibilities in life.
I needed to take some time off to rest and refocus. I couldn’t give you 100% of myself in my posts, so I decided to take a break.
During my break, I have gained much inspiration and have many posts planned for the next few months. I am really looking forward to sharing them with you. Beginning in January, I will be posted 4-5 times per week, and that will hopefully continue throughout the year. I will end the year with my 16 most popular posts so that you can get some highlights of the year. I love all of the recipes featured, and I hope I love what I create in 2017 even more!
Until then, I need another week. I hope it will be worth the wait. I just want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday! Whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate, I appreciate you, and I hope that you enjoy yourself!
I will see you all in 2017.
Before I droll over these candied pecans, I have a story time for you.
Candied pecans was the first thing I made in my kitchen when we moved. I’m not sure why, but I was just craving them. I took an Instagram photo of the pecans, and my grandma said that she wanted to try them. I said that I would make a batch and send them with my aunt and my mom the next time they visit her.
I was never able to.
At the end of September, my grandpa passed away. It was very sad, but I had emotionally prepared myself for it for months. When the call came, I was sad, but not shocked. We celebrated his life and it was beautiful.
A few weeks later, my grandma was admitted to the hospital. She was being treated for pneumonia. Though she was sick, she was going to be ok, and agreed to live with my cousin. But here’s the thing: she wasn’t ok.
On Monday, November 14th, my mom got a call that my grandma had complete kidney failure and that she was not going to live for much longer. My mom visited her the day later, along with some of my other family members. I was unable to because I was ion school. I though that if I waited until Wednesday, I would still have time. When me, my mom, and Matthew arrived at my cousin’s house on Wednesday morning, we were told that it was too late. We came inside and saw my grandma laying comfortably on the couch, but she was gone. Tears were in all of our eyes. When I came up to my grandma, I kissed her head and apologized for not coming sooner. Apparently the last thing Grandma said to my mom was “Give Natalia and Matthew a hug and a kiss for me”.
To be honest, this is really difficult to talk about. It has been almost a month, and I am still coming to terms with the fact that three months ago, I had both of my grandparents, and I lost both of them within two months. It has been a very difficult time for my family.
My grandma had a memorial, and it was amazing. I decided to bring these candied pecans. Since she was never able to try them, I figured that I would still bring them to her somehow. Better late than never.
I think I am going to make these candied pecans every year, to remember a woman that I absolute love. My grandma is the kindest woman, and I will love her forever.
Enough sad stories, onto the pecans:
These are delicious! Sweet, Chewy, Crunchy, they’re pretty much perfect!
On top of that, candied pecans could not be easier to prepare! If you love nuts roasted in cinnamon and sugar, look no further. My candied pecans are real deal!
It was October 14th….
Washington state had a huge storm warning. Basically, weather reports warned us of flooding, power outages, and more.
For the most part, it did not go nearly as badly as it was supposed to. In actuality, we never lost power and there was almost no damage. I think there was a couple branches in my mom’s backyard. There was a puddle outside my complex. We did rebuild, though. It is interesting how the media can exaggerate everything.
Still, a rainstorm did come. Living in Washington, rain really does not affect me much. October 14th did bring in a pretty rough rainstorm. I remember Matthew and I needing to go to the grocery store late at night, and it was not fun driving or bringing groceries in in that rain. It definitely poured down that night, and I remember telling Matthew that all I wanted was some hot cocoa. And just like that, my peanut butter hot cocoa came to life.
Back in October, I shared my Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate recipe, which is serious yum!
I actually created my peanut butter hot cocoa right after testing and perfecting the recipe, so I am surprised that it took 2 months to share this delicious creation with you.
To me, it is worth the wait! There is nothing more comforting than hot cocoa, pajama pants, blankets, and Netflix. Not that I would know since I still have 5 more days of school…. all bitterness aside, my peanut butter hot cocoa is sweet, warm, and indulgent, but definitely not the worst treat you could enjoy during this time of year.
This is the perfect treat because it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, and it is so easy to double and triple the recipe! Best of all: it’s peanut butter hot cocoa. I really should have just saved the text and just let the name and photo speak for itself. This self itself.
Oh the holidays……gifts, movies, commercialism, food, weight gain, guilt, shame…
Ok, this is probably just my personal narrative of the holidays.
I’m sure lots of you totally have self-control. I don’t.
If you’re like me and are trying to stay healthy during the holidays, look no further than my healthy chocolate covered strawberries. In yesterday’s post, I talked about how to stay healthy during this time of year, and one of my tips was picking a healthier option when possible. Well, here’s a healthier option.
Chocolate covered strawberries are definitely not exclusive to the holidays. You can enjoy this recipe anytime you want. I just know that I love a nice, rich chocolate strawberry during the holidays, and I have a feeling that I am not alone. Fellow chocolate strawberry lovers: you are welcome.
What makes these healthy chocolate covered strawberries so healthy? The chocolate sauce! I use date chocolate. You can make a really thick, delicious chocolate sauce out of dates, and if you haven’t tried it, you should!
My healthy chocolate covered strawberries will make you feel much lighter than if you were to eat 20 milk chocolate strawberries. You get a great helping of natural sugar, fiber, lots of great nutrients, and a satisfied sweet tooth. Can you think of anything better? Besides vegan cheesecake and vegan chicken nuggets, I sure can’t!
Peppermint mochas as Starbucks, cookies and brownies everywhere, eggnog (vegan eggnog, of course), comfy pants, movie marathons, the holidays have it all!
Well, it has a lot of the unhealthy, unproductive stuff. And look, I think it’s great.
I love taking advantage of all the junk food and the break from school (that still has yet to start). I also bake all the time and have relaxing nights in. Needless to say, I don’t eat my best and I am not as active as I could be. I’m not mad about it. I refuse to feel guilty for enjoying myself, and you should not feel guilty, either.
However, you don’t have to completely let yourself go. I am sure that you have plenty of goals for the New Year, but you can give yourself somewhat of a head start, or at least maintain what you have now.
It is absolutely possible to stay healthy during the holidays, and still enjoy all of your favorite holiday traditions. Want to keep eating peppermint everything, every dessert you lay your eyes on, and marathon Christmas movies? Well, guess what….you can! You can do all of those things without putting on 20 pounds as well.
Want to stay healthy during the holidays without feeling like you aren’t having any fun? Try these 5 tips:
1. Don’t Stop Moving
I know how tempting it is to just want to sit at home and watch Netflix all day…trust me, I am craving that as I am just finishing up school for the quarter. Now, you can totally do this. In fact, I may or may not have an entire day planned to do absolutely nothing. However, it is still a good idea to keep up with some form of fitness routine. I still go to yoga classes and do some light cardio. You can do more or less, but I would definitely recommend staying active if you want to stay on track.
2. Plan Ahead
Ok, so you know that during the weekend, you will chow down on cookies, eggnog, and peppermint-everything. Fine. But are you doing anything special on Tuesday? No? Well then, dedicate that day (along with a few others per week) to clean eating. Have my Healthiest Smoothie on Earth during your healthy days to hit the reset button. It’s all about balance during the holidays. If you balance healthy eating with not-so-healthy eating, you will find that you won’t be too far off from getting back in shape for the new year.
3. Have One Clean Meal Per Day
Going off of #2, even if you do plan on spending the day eating decadent holiday dishes, have a healthy breakfast. Are you and your family having a big brunch? Have a healthy dinner. Just because you plan on eating something unhealthy during the day, does not mean that you have to dedicate the entire day to indulgent eating. Now, it is perfectly fine to have 1 or 2 bad eating days (I have them from time to time, too). But if you want to lower your chances of weight gain or feeling like total crap, I would recommend eating one healthy meal each day. I am trying to do this as well!
4. Enjoy Healthier Alternatives When Possible
During the holidays, I try to enjoy healthier alternatives to my favorite foods. I love the veggies during dinner, a healthy dessert, and so on. Now, I do not always have the healthier alternative, but if one is available, I will have it. If you do not know if there will be a healthy version of your favorite food at a party/event, try making it on your own. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised that some of your favorite foods can still taste good with a healthier spin. Check Pinterest if you want to find a specific dish!
5. Don’t Overthink It
It’s the Holidays! It is perfectly fine to be less mindful about food choices. You don’t have to exercise every day. Simply spending one hour in the gym for a few days per week or having a healthy breakfast everyday will be beneficial to your health. This is not the time of the year to overthink anything. Just enjoy the season, and realize that while you do not have to get completely off track, if you do, it’s ok. It’s only a month out of the year.
Ok, you’re keeping up with your workout routine, you’re still eating clean meals, and you aren’t overdoing it. You are doing just fine, and there is no need to strive for anything more. Just enjoy the holidays and have no regrets! There is nothing wrong with wanting to indulge and be lazy for a bit, and there is nothing wrong with pushing yourself in the gym all month long. Take whatever you want from my advice and ultimately, just enjoy the holidays!
Wait, vegan nog?
That’s a thing?
I was delighted to find vegan eggnog in my local Whole Foods last year.
The one thing on my mind before trying them was, “are they good?”
Well, the brands are pretty well-known and haven’t failed me yet, so I figured that they were probably good.
Eggnog was a tough thing for me to give up. Like 99% of people, I only have eggnog during the holidays, and my mom would always get a carton for me and my dad (she personally hates it). We would split it throughout the year, and was such a delicious treat that I could not get enough of.
I hoped that vegan nog would could provide me with the same satisfaction….
And well, I thought I would tell you some of my thoughts on the 3 vegan nogs I have found on the market. I haven’t made homemade eggnog yet…maybe next year. Until then, let’s see if any of these store-bought options pass the test!
1. Silk Nog
This one is good, but does not taste exactly like eggnog. My boyfriend actually prefers this flavor because it has a somewhat different flavor from authentic eggnog. If you are not a huge fan of nog, you might like this. It does not taste so different that I can’t see what they are trying to imitate, but I would not say that the flavor is spot-on.
2. So Delicious Holiday Nog
Ok, this one actually tastes just like eggnog, like it kinda creeps me out. It has the thickness, sweetness, and overall flavor of eggnog. Once again, So Delicious just knocks it out of the park.
3. Almond Breeze: Vanilla Chai
The Almond Breeze is a bit of an outlier. I did not find the original nog, so I settled for a vanilla chai spice, meaning that this one tastes a bit different than the other two. I did take that into account. In terms of tasting what it is supposed to, it does! I can taste the vanilla, and I taste the chai, and it has the consistency of eggnog. Not my favorite flavor, but vanilla chai lovers might enjoy it.
So Delicious Holiday Nog.
If you are a vegan, and a total eggnog lover, look no further! If you haven’t tried this yet, why not? Go to your local store and grab it now because this is the best on the market!
No, I am not being paid to say this….So Delicious has no clue who I am. I am just a genuine fan of their products, and the holiday nog is no exception. I am very impressed, and until I try and make something better, I will stick with So Delicious from here on out.
You should try all of these if you are curious. I think each of them are good and could be enjoyed by anyone! Sure, I may have my favorite, but you might try the Silk or Almond Breeze brand and absolutely love them, so take my opinion as that-an opinion.
With that said, as a die-hard nog lover, I love So Delicious’s dairy-free take. I can’t even tell that it is vegan.
Do you have a favorite vegan eggnog? Have you ever tried making your own?
I want to know your thoughts! Any better ones on the market that I need to try?
Let me know!