Holiday Week Part 1: My Winter Break Bucket List, the WORST Thing about Whole Foods, Reviews, Stuffing my Face, Healthy Eve Feast + Christmas Presents

What. A. Week!

Lots of friends, food, festivities, fondness, family, and of course, lots of stories to tell! But what a way to end 2015 with a bang! I’ve gotten some pretty substantial scholarships from colleges, including Chapman University, which I actually thought I wouldn’t get into, which is absolutely fantastic for me, personally! Anyways, enough about my college app life because that is SO not interesting, onto what I have in store for the first week of my winter break!

So I created a pretty long bucket list of places I wanted to go and what I wanted to accomplish because I literally had ZERO time to do so in the last few months of the semester. I mean, what kind of AP class and college app would treat a student kindly? I think none, if you ask me. If there was an AP cooking class or an AP eating class, then I’d probably get 110%.

Bucket List

  1. Find a good protein powder at GNC ✓
  2. Visit Sprouts ✓
  3. Shop at Erewhon Market ✓
  4. Raid the Whole Foods sushi aisle and hot bars ✓
  5. Get the biggest food baby at the Royal Delhi Palace ✓
  6. Volunteer again ✓
  7. Try the seasonal flavors at Go Greek Yogurt
  8. Watch Creed, Mockingjay Part 3, Point Break and possibly The Big Short in theaters
  9. Make vegan sushi
  10. Make Josie Mai’s protein powder soft-serve recipe
  11. (recently added) Make a three-layer purple sweet potato cake  ✓ (well, sort of)

FRIDAY 1 (last day of my finals!)

For breakfast, I had the Paleo breakfast plate for the first time, and it definitely won’t be the last! Dipping the sweet potatoes in the runny egg yolks tasted absolutely amazing! However, I was super surprised by how much I LOVED the berry balsamic salad. The tartness, the sweetness and the bitterness really balanced each other out and just came into this delicious creation. I highly recommend this recipe–if you’re vegan, just swap out the eggs for tofu, chickpeas or whatever you want!

And enjoy the unedited runny yolk.

IMG_1018

After school time: SEE YA, AP Calculus! Sorry, I really strongly dislike that subject. However, as scared as I was after taking that final, I was so happy at the same time because all of my worries were behind me. My friend and I drove to the village and ate at this Japanese restaurant called Wokcano to split some Ma Po tofu and sauteed eggplant! I thought the sauces were a bit too overpowering and everything was a bit salty, but it was tasty and satisfying enough not to want more.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I was also able to get my little sister’s Christmas present (which I ended up returning on Monday) and my father’s Christmas present before I got home. You have NO idea how sore I was when I drove back home because I did so much walking! When I got home, I decided to get started on a recipe with a cool vegan protein powder I found at Whole Foods! It’s basically branded from the market itself and comes in multiple flavors, but I chose vanilla caramel because that sounded the most exciting!

IMG_1075IMG_1076IMG_1077

I decided to see if I could try making a 3-ingredient chocolate protein waffle again. You’ll see how UNSUCCESSFUL that was very soon!

IMG_1078.JPG

Dinner was just Vietnamese food that I forgot to take a picture of, but I had a squid stir-fry with various vegetables! Of course, I couldn’t skip a healthy dessert, so I just stirred in some Stevia and cinnamon into the last of my Greek yogurt and sprinkled on some GF corn flakes, cherry lavender granola and buckwheat hemp flakes! Seriously hit the spot! It looks gross, but it tastes so sweet, creamy and filling.

IMG_1073

SATURDAY 1 (Chocolate Protein Crumble, Topanga Adventures + Pumpkin Peanut Butter!)

Today was probably one of the more adventurous/eventful-ish days of the week! No, I didn’t go skydiving or pet white alligators, but I did go to the mall, browse some fun goodies and make some delicious food! First up I tried actually cooking the three-ingredient protein waffle after a killer circuit workout. Eh, it TOTALLY did NOT hold together in the waffle maker and I was super upset! However, I did eat the crumble afterwards and was very pleased with how delicious it still was! I also filmed it in my last YouTube video as one of my favorite vegan recipes!

As for the protein powder, it was wonderful in texture as expected from a brown rice protein. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too much of the vanilla caramel flavor because I added in cocoa powder, so that’s my fault, but I will remember to get it again so that I can try it in a two-ingredient frosting recipe or another protein pancake without the cocoa!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

My family and I went to The Hook Burger for lunch where I ended up getting a bunless turkey lettuce wrap with tomatoes and onions. It was a bit bland by itself, but I doused it in Tabasco sauce afterwards! I like my food really spicy! I basically spent the rest of the day at the mall taking photos of items that I thought were really cool, too!

IMG_1196

Around the mall I found several knick-knacks that I thought were super interesting! The book of mindfulness and the Sriracha to-go bottle were the coolest items, but I was STOKED to see D’s Naturals No Cow Bar at GNC, so stoked that I made a mental note to get it next time!

I also stopped by HomeGoods to get a few Christmas presents for my friends and, drumroll, I found THIS! The Wild Friends Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter! My mom even let me buy it, which is AMAZING because she hates buying food at HomeGoods or any other place besides a health food store or a market of some type. Anyways, onto this gorgeous beauty!

IMG_1227IMG_1229

I already know that Wild Friends only uses very healthy ingredients, which is awesome considering that many conventional peanut butter brands such as Skippy’s, Jif’s, whatever you find at any supermarket, uses all types of weird oils, salts and sugars. So I took a teaspoon of peanut butter and tried it on its own, and instantly fell in love. It’s cinnamon-y, very sweet, almost like the pumpkin spice version of cookie butter. Even better, actually!

IMG_1319IMG_1322

Note that you should not refrigerate this nut butter, otherwise it will solidify a bit and be harder to spread onto your food, unless you actually like that. This has a very drippy and thinner consistency like almond butter, even though peanut is a saturated fat and is solid at room temperature. That being said, it is still healthy and addictive! Literally, this is cocaine in peanut butter form.

Site: https://wildfriendsfoods.com/

SUNDAY (The WORST Thing at Whole Foods + Stuffing My Face at the Hot Bars)

Boy, do I have a story to share will all of you! Today my family and I went to Fashion Island in Newport Beach to do some walking, shopping, and of course, EATING. We were STARVING when we arrived and stopped by our favorite cafe Pain du Monde. I ordered the egg white French omelette with goat cheese on the side. It had black pepper, a little cilantro, onion, mushrooms, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, and asparagus on top!

IMG_1236.JPG

Even though the omelette was delicious, I was still a bit unsatisfied because I arrived with a completely empty stomach. Hence, I followed the yellow brick road to the GINORMOUS Whole Foods market and got a little less than two pounds of food–TWO POUNDS–from the hot bars! Call me odd because I like to take close-ups, but on my plate were big slices of eggplant, bell peppers, extra firm tofu in a pea tomato stewed sauce, beets, cucumber, sweet potato with coconut flakes, chicken curry, and tons of vegetables that I forget; I highly recommend the tofu and the curry for sure! I was utterly happy and stuffed for hours after that meal!

Now for the titular moment, Whole Foods really, really, disappointed me with their eggplant. It was rough, hard to chew, undercooked, rubbery, and unflavorful. Seriously some of the most disgusting eggplant I’ve ever tasted! If there is only ONE horrible-tasting type of food you would find at Whole Foods, it would be their eggplant. I’m so sorry, I love you, Whole Foods markets, but you really need to learn how to check if your eggplant is soft enough before serving it.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Anyways, I ended up going to Whole Foods twice, the second time being the end of my shopping trip after trying to search for a few Christmas presents that my sister and I ended up splitting pay for. What I ended up getting at Whole Foods were two single-serving protein powder packets: the Whole Foods Market’s vegan chocolate cinnamon protein, and the PlantFusion vegan Cookies n’ Creme protein, both of which sound so good!; I also bought the Rise snickerdoodle bar that I’ve hunted far and wide for, and vanilla maple Arctic Zero that my sisters and I taste-tested and nearly demolished right before dinner time! Plus, it’s only 150 calories for the whole pint and contains no artificial ingredients whatsoever!

Seriously, though. This was creamy, super sweet, strong in the maple flavor, strong in the vanilla flavor and melt-in-your-mouth cold. Make sure that it’s thawed for best taste! (I tried it when it was still too cold and thought it was too icy!)

Site: https://www.arcticzero.com/

On the way home I also tried a little bit of the Rise Carob Chip protein bar that was hidden in my purse! The texture was VERY hard to chew, not going to lie, so it would have been much better if microwaved. However, it lends a very nice chocolate and date flavor. It’s not your typical chocolate bar, but it’s still rich and delicious. It does contain whey and honey, so if you’re vegan and looking for a good protein bar, I recommend their lemon cashew bar or their sunflower cinnamon bar, which are my two favorites, actually, but they also have TONS of vegan fruit and breakfast bar varieties! 🙂

Check out my full review of all of the bars for more information. Rise is an incredible bar company that is getting more recognition and I’m so happy for them, because they’re reaching out to more people and it’s much easier to get their tasty products!

Site: https://risebar.com/

We finally got home, ate some really delicious, healthy but also very inexpensive Vietnamese food (probably the second time in a row!) and called it a day. Not for me, though! I made some dessert by mixing in Greek yogurt, cinnamon, Stevia, corn flakes and cherry lavender granola that I’ve been obsessed with. Sometimes I add in some cacao or cocoa powder or swap cereals!

IMG_1318

Oh, and DO NOT forget the pumpkin spice peanut butter and pumpkin spice dark chocolate. Yeah. I said pumpkin spice dark chocolate. You’ll hear more about it soon 😉

IMG_1320

MONDAY (Biggest Food Baby Ever)

Three words: HOLY INDIAN FOOD. My sister and I started off the day by literally going to town at the Royal Delhi Palace’s lunch buffet. I’m usually not one for big buffets because they’re generally not sanitary, but I will be utilizing them a lot in college, plus I love an all-you-can-eat spot for a very cheap price. Our meals were less than $17, which is probably the price of one or two typical menu items! That is literally INSANE.

Anyways, my sister and I both split pineapple and tried the bengan bharta, basically mashed eggplant and peas in spices, saag paneer, or a delicious Indian cheese in a special spinach sauce, pickled carrots, cucumber, yellow lentil dal, and this interesting carrot dish that consisted of sweet shredded carrots and sliced almonds! I enjoyed it more than my sister did because she thought it was a bit too funky to her liking. It was a very interesting dessert-like dish that would be very easy to recreate at home!

Unlike my sister, I tried four different chickens! First is chicken tikka masala, always a classic, chicken curry, spicy chili chicken, and chicken tandoori. The chicken tikka masala was flavorful and not too spicy, and I thought the meat was not necessarily fall-off-the-bone moist, but tender enough to fill me up. Meanwhile, the chicken curry was also really good, but nothing super extraordinary. Hands down, the chili chicken was my FAVORITE, probably because it was spicy and super flavorful! There were also lots of onions with the chicken, which adds a nice crunch! The tandoori was okay, but I got unlucky and bit into a little gristle 😦

IMG_1327

Round two! It also wasn’t my last round 😉

IMG_1328

This was probably one of the best brunches I’ve ever had, especially because I could eat an unlimited amount for a small price. There wasn’t too much variety and it’s pretty far-fetched from my typical sweet potato or smoothie recipes. However, Indian food is probably in my Top 3 list of favorite types of cuisines, and I could NEVER get sick of it! I highly recommend that you look for a good Indian restaurant that offers a lunch buffet if you’re living on a tight budget. It’s supposedly really good for those in college, have busy schedules, or want to practice intermittent fasting on a budget. I’ve also been practicing intermittent fasting a little bit, probably around seven days or more but not necessarily in a row, and will update with a full review and experience log of it very soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

My sister and I then went to Sprouts, browsed around, got two bags of Justin’s dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups and caught up with our lives. Because we’re two years apart, we’re also both super busy with school work, my sister with field hockey, me with volunteering, AP classes and college app touch-ups and blogging, our social lives and such, we’ve grown a bit apart. It’s odd, because we live in the same house but sometimes we feel more uncomfortable around each other than with our friends, which is actually very sad if you think about it. We still love each other very much, but it’s not like the Mary-Kate and Ashley type of sisterhood. Hopefully, winter break will give us plenty of time to rekindle our relationship so that we become just as close as before!

We were so full from the brunch that we didn’t eat at all until dinner time, which was seven hours later! At home, I also received my acceptance letter from Chapman University that came with a scholarship letter, a brochure and a whole guide to the college as well! I’m still incredibly blessed that I not only have been admitted but have also gotten a scholarship for my whole four years! 😀 This called for me to have some vanilla maple Arctic Zero, Wild Friends pumpkin spice peanut butter and Erewhon Organics corn flakes. YUM.

IMG_1332

TUESDAY (Vegan Protein Crumble + Apple Pie)

This is probably one of the only days where I actually ate based on a normal schedule! After KILLING it with the stairs and circuit training, I recreated some chocolate protein pancakes with chia powder to bind everything. Eh, still was too flimsy and failed at holding together, so I ended up with a chocolate protein scramble! It was still tasty and rich though 🙂 I topped it with some corn flakes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, Wild Friends pumpkin nut butter, Kith & Thyme granola and Evoke Foods antioxidant muesli!

Below I used the Whole Foods Market chocolate cinnamon vegan protein powder. I really liked the texture and flavor that it yielded. I didn’t even have to use any excess cacao powder and I got a super rich and dark velvety taste. Totally recommend it, and I’m so looking forward to trying their vanilla caramel powder again!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Today I also had volunteering, so I had to eat lunch a little earlier than everyone else. Basically, as my mother finished cooking each dish one by one, I nibbled at all of them! First up was leftover ma po tofu and a little bit of green bean chicken breast for protein. Second was cooked butternut squash that I realized would be the soup. Oops! Then everything was finished and I had some roasted Brussel sprouts, butternut squash soup and ended the meal with Greek yogurt, blueberries, a strawberry, dark chocolate and pumpkin peanut butter right before volunteering at my local senior residence center!

Because of this special holiday week, my volunteering center scheduled a Christmas-related activity every day for the week. Today, we baked apple pie with a thin crust, cinnamon apple slices and a homemade sugar glaze! We also shared jokes and Christmas stories while it was baking, and the smell of the baking pie was so good that I literally felt fat just being next to the oven! It looked incredibly amazing after it was done!

IMG_1430IMG_1429

Right before going home I stopped by my grocery store to get purple sweet potatoes (YES!) and popcorn for the family. The night itself was pretty mellow, however. I ended the night on a much lighter and healthier note with baked chicken breast, mixed cilantro, homemade marinara, mushrooms and mixed greens on the side. You simply just bake chicken breast at 450F with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and cook low sodium canned plum tomatoes in a large pot with sea salt, pepper, chicken broth, garlic, onions and mushrooms. Delicious!

IMG_1433

WEDNESDAY (Dessert Nachos for Breakfast + Erewhon Market Adventure)

At last, the day before Christmas Eve! Today started off with quite a scare, actually! If something bad happened to me, I would have died! Anyways, what happened was that I ran to the gym, did a 40-minute park workout, and ran back home. When I arrived home, little did I know that my car keys would VANISH from my pockets! Hence, I had to retrace all the way back to where I ran and found my car keys in the middle of a sidewalk. I felt so lucky!

Breakfast was AMAZING, on the other hand! I microwaved and sliced a Japanese sweet potato and topped the slices with raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt mixed with cacao powder and Stevia, Kith & Thyme granola, dark chocolate pieces, Evoke Foods muesli, Arctic Zero vanilla maple ice cream and Wild Friends pumpkin peanut butter! Talk about breakfast nachos 2.0! Is that not the most beautiful concoction you’ve ever seen???

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

You can call me crazy, but I love these nachos mostly in sweet form. Who doesn’t love a good dessert-for-breakfast recipe? It tasted like a soft ice cream sundae with cake if you ask me. Not complaining at all!

For lunch, I got rid of my leftovers and whipped up a 30-second small chicken tomato sauce salad with mixed greens and a handful of berries! Dessert with a bit of Arctic Zero and dark chocolate. It was very tasty but SUPER simple. You can never go wrong with leftovers.

IMG_1612IMG_1613

My dad and I also tried boxing again for a little bit. We were SO rusty–I only got in eight punches that day! Normally I would get in a really good fourteen or fifteen around the face and the body–my record being more than twenty! Using a punching bag really isn’t equivalent to a real person ha ha! Hopefully I’ll improve soon!

I spent the rest of the day at Erewhon Market, actually! It’s literally the love child of Whole Foods and Gelson’s, two amazing supermarkets and health food stores! It is more pricey than Trader Joe’s but probably less than Whole Foods, assuming from Yelp. I made sure to dress in my biggest sweater because it can get REALLY cold in supermarkets!

IMG_1638

Anyways, I arrived with my laptop to catch up on blogging and social media as well so that I wouldn’t loiter like a madwoman. Not exactly the best idea if you hate carrying anything heavy! The hot bar was probably the first place I went to and after browsing around a bit, I was given permission to sample a few items! I had the tamari tofu, teriyaki chicken, and GET THIS: brown rice crusted orange chicken that was COMPLETELY gluten free! I was SOLD and bought a combo of orange brown rice chicken, tamari tofu and cinnamon roasted squash.

Afterwards, I decided to explore some more just to see what Erewhon had. I can’t believe that Erewhon isn’t a staple on my health food stores list! They sell some homemade delicious and healthy foods in Mason jars, which is so good for the environment and for general storage. The dahl was definitely the most appealing one because of my love for Indian food!

IMG_1616

What REALLY impressed me too was that they actually sold eggs from a local and pasture-raised chicken farm! You could actually see the multiple-colored eggs and feel them! It’s wonderful that Erewhon supports local farmers just like everyone should.

IMG_1615IMG_1614

Another one of my favorite sections is the raw and prepared foods. A LOT of items really caught my interest! They actually sell Cafe Gratitude meals, including the collard wraps and raw vegan desserts! You have no idea how much I contemplated buying the raw vegan carrot cake, pumpkin pie or tiramisu. It was SO difficult. I wanted to buy everything there! As a result, I got so overwhelmed and ended up buying none of them 😦 I seriously regret it!

Catching up on some blogging….do you like the desktop background??

IMG_1630

Because our family’s favorite sushi restaurant was literally right around the corner in walking distance, I met with my dad and sister there to eat our dinner! I told them what I got and it sounded so good that even my vegetarian sister was upset that there wasn’t orange brown rice-crusted tofu! Great recipe idea, right? Be on the lookout 😉

I ended up ordering my favorites: the Oishi roll and crab salad! Super filling, low in carbs, high in protein and super high in flavors! The chefs also made the cucumber peel look extra pretty this time!

IMG_1631IMG_1632

We made a last-minute trip to Erewhon so that we could collect a few items we needed for our Christmas Eve dinner! We ended up buying an organic graham cracker pie crust, some red bell peppers, quinoa with vegetables, and we snuck in some whole foods vegan and gluten free chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!

IMG_1633

My sister and I both absolutely LOVED these cookies! They were soft, super sweet and just melt-in-your-mouth warm–so good that I have to hunt down a copycat recipe. I dipped them in a little coconut milk as well–not too much because milk all in itself is quite bland. I remember that I used to drink it all up after eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Froot Loops because it would soak up the flavors and the sugars too!

I really do recommend the coconut milk or any milk, because the cookies are so sweet. It’s great, but if you don’t like things too sweet, the milk acts as a good dilute.

THURSDAY (Christmas EVEEEEEEEE + Maple Cinnamon and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Bake)

Woke up at around 7:23 A.M., which is probably the latest I’ve EVER woken up this month, and almost ever! I also skipped my A.M. workout because I wanted to schedule it closer to the Christmas Eve dinner so that my body would absorb nutrients more readily when I would actually feast. Since I wasn’t at all that hungry, I had around a little less than a cup of Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon and Stevia and topped it with crushed corn flakes, blueberries and strawberry slices.

IMG_1645.JPG

If you’re curious as to how I dress whenever I’m not doing anything, I just wear workout gear! Who knows–I like to move around a lot!

IMG_1650

My second snack-meal was another cup of Greek yogurt, except with cacao powder and Stevia! I topped it with five raspberries, cherry lavender granola, sea salt dark chocolate and pumpkin peanut butter! It really helped curb my chocolate and peanut butter cravings! I mean, I always crave chocolate and peanut butter but still 😀

IMG_1659

Two hours later, it’s baking time! While my sister was baking an apple pie crumble, I was in charge of the sweet potatoes! I actually made this recipe myself, but I can’t tell you the exact recipe just yet! I was originally going to make a gingerbread-style sweet potato bake, but we were out of all of the spices I needed except cinnamon! I was so upset, but I found a good way around it and baked something that would probably be even better! What I created were roasted maple cinnamon and sea salt sweet potatoes! I ended up having to bake in two batches because there were so many pieces, but every time I took them out of the oven, there would come this delicious, beautifully sweet aroma of cinnamon and spices that would just remind you of warmth, Grandma’s house and cuddling up by the fire. Ah, Christmas cooking!

My workout started off a bit rough because I planned the actual circuit out a bit poorly, but I tried running in place with weights and actually really underestimated the impact of the dumbbells! I even only used a 3-lb set because I didn’t want to injure myself! Sweat dripped from my face within five minutes! Anyways, the rest of the workout turned out to be extremely efficient. The majority of my circuit focused on weight training with my arms while implementing a little bit of HIIT and cardio into the moves as well to work everything. Here’s how the workout went:

REPEAT X 2

  • 5 min push-ups with hands on an incline
  • 10 min running in place with weights
  • 5 min military presses with calf raises
  • 5 min of one renegade row with each arm and one plank jack after both sides
  • 5 min burpee with weighted shoulder press
  • 5 min in-n-out squat jumps (no weights)
  • 5 min lunge kicks
  • 10 min running in place with weights

I made sure to also drink a liter of water right after my workout to replenish the energy I needed right before the most exciting part of the day: the Christmas Eve feast! We actually had a pretty healthy array of dishes as well: a salad with arugula, butternut squash, almonds, Brussel sprouts and quinoa; mushrooms stuffed with quinoa and vegetables; organic and grass-fed steak; corn; steamed green beans; and of course, my maple cinnamon and sea salt sweet potatoes that turned out to be a hit!

IMG_1675

Round 1 of food out of 3!

IMG_1677

Even though we were all getting full, of course, we could not pass my sister’s dessert apple crumble! It wasn’t the healthiest on the market because there was quite a bit of flour, sugar and butter in it, but you have to live sometimes! I topped my bit with vanilla maple Arctic Zero, which practically went with the crumble like a dream!

I probably ate around 7,000 calories worth of food, plus I got a food baby about the size of a twin trimester! Ohhhhhhh well. But you know what? I didn’t decide that I would immediately work out again to compensate, nor would I starve myself tomorrow and work out for more than two hours at the gym. Instead, I just snuggled up with the family and watched Dead Poets Society.

I don’t believe in “getting back on track” right away and starting off those low-carb diets, juice cleanses and daily trips to the gym. That has to be something you love as a part of your lifestyle and not an obligation. If you don’t like to eat clean and go to the gym, by all means, don’t do it. It is so pointless to drag yourself to exercise or drink a smoothie if you’re not going to stick to it in the long run. I recommend that if you really do want to start a healthy lifestyle or to at least become a bit healthier, do your research on healthy recipes, reasons why you should and how to easily incorporate healthier habits into your life, such as small and simple hacks. Anyways, I hope that you all had a loving and happy Christmas Eve, enjoyed lots of delicious food and company and shared gratitude.

FRIDAY 2 (Martial Arts Circuit, Epic Christmas Brunch + Presents)

This morning I actually woke up at around 7:06 A.M., even though I didn’t get out of bed 45 minutes later! Hey, progress. In general, if there’s anything I always want to be on point in terms of health, it’s my sleeping pattern. Lately I have been sleeping in and staying up a bit too late, which isn’t really good for my hormones nor good for my appetite, stress and energy levels. I do want to get back in the habit of sleeping a little earlier and waking up early.

I changed and ran to the gym once again, except this time I purposely decided to stay outside and workout in the park! It took me around 30 minutes to run to the park and back in total, while I spent around 45 on my latest circuit! This one was really special because I incorporated some boxing and martial arts moves in it too!

  • Martial Arts Circuit
    • 5 min warm up (run in place)
    • 5 min front jabs (alternating after 10 each arm)
    • 5 min step jumps
    • 5 min tricep dips
    • 5 min roundhouse kicks (alternate after 10 reps per leg)
    • 5 min split leg crunch (alternate after 10 reps per leg)
    • 5 min jump lunges
    • 5 min elbow push-ups (with a sweater lying on the surface, of course!)
    • 5 min in-n-out jumps

It was around 9:30 A.M. when I came back home and I literally looked like I just had a sweatfest. I was so exhausted from my workout this morning–in the best way! For breakfast I decided to bake the biggest purple sweet potato I got during the week while my family and I opened presents!

IMG_1689

By the time we were done opening and putting away presents, it was already 11:30 A.M., so I made a huge brunch feast for myself using a lot of Christmas dinner leftovers! I had two egg white omelets and filled one with green beans and the other with my maple cinnamon and sea salt sweet potatoes while topping both with homemade marinara and mushrooms! On the side I had the leftover quinoa with Brussel sprouts and butternut squash, and drumroll please, the mashed purple sweet potato one-ingredient cake with blueberries, a small strawberry and cinnamon!

Behind the scenes with my cake! I mean, just look at that perfect softness and shape that it holds together when you slice it! And of course, I could not forget the pumpkin spice peanut butter. Look at that fooooood porn…. *_*

If you’re wondering, purple sweet potatoes don’t taste at all like your typical orange sweet potatoes. They don’t even taste like Japanese ones! Purple sweet potatoes are very, very crumbly, dense, and not nearly as sweet as your normal sweet potato. It actually has a fairly rich flavor that’s difficult to describe!

Now, I normally don’t like showing off what I got for Christmas because I find it quite narcissistic. Also, I know that a lot of YouTubers do it and gift videos aren’t at all interesting to me. However, I just want to say that I am so grateful of my friends and family who got me gifts this year. I felt so spoiled and I really didn’t need all of these presents! 🙂 The reason why I did take this photo is because hopefully it can give you some ideas on what you would like to get for your friends, your family or even for yourself!

(taken from left to right)

  • Sweatpants (I forget the brand, but they are SUPER nice!)
  • Blogilates Designs yoga mat
  • Red headphones
  • ZARA earrings
  • Lululemon shirt
  • Purple elastic headband
  • Blue and orange earphones
  • Christmas card (with a check)
  • Blogilates OGorgeous “Train Insane” hoodie
  • Free People bags
  • Sugar Cherry lip balm
  • Glitter nail polish
  • Jo Malone perfume
  • Free People 1971 shirt
  • Lululemon red tee

present panorama

The rest of the day was spent practicing some boxing sparring drills with my dad, taking Christmas pictures and basically planning for my big shopping day tomorrow! I had such a hard time deciding where I wanted to go, but it was between Westfield Topanga and The Oaks. My family wanted to go to Westfield instead, so that’s what I decided on! Unlike most girls, however, I’m not hugely interested in the clothing stores. GNC actually happens to be one of the most exciting shops in the mall because that’s where I can find my protein powders, Quest bars, and protein nut butters! Don’t get me wrong–I love shopping for clothes, but only if I legitimately need something or if there’s a special event coming up (*cough* PROM) that I’m so excited about I plan irrationally way too early for. You can call me incredibly weird, but I am just not that type of person who’s into filling my closet with so much clothing I get overwhelmed with it.

Pre-dinner munchies call for some cinnamon Greek yogurt, pumpkin peanut butter, granola and dark chocolate! We were out of blueberries though 😦

IMG_1837

Christmas Day dinner was INSANELY good–definitely not your traditional feast, however. My mother made this buttery, mild white fish called ling, which I topped with more marinara sauce!  I also had homemade shakshuka and Asian-style kale salad with avocado, carrots, sesame dressing and almonds! I was actually really full after having a little bit more shakshuka and salad. Otherwise, this was probably one of the best dinners I’ve ever had!

IMG_1838

And finally, here’s a family holiday photo! Merry Christmas!

IMG_1836d

SATURDAY 2 (Asian-Style Breakfast, GNC Haul + Healthy Banana Bread)

I was having the hardest time deciding what I wanted for breakfast this morning, and I mean that I literally spent three days picking and choosing between my Erewhon food from Wednesday versus vegan sushi, and by the time Saturday came around I still didn’t have an answer. Luckily my mom and sister rushed me out the door so I went with my Erewhon take-out “Chinese” food, which was basically the brown-rice crusted organic orange chicken, tamari tofu and cinnamon-roasted squash–all doused in Sriracha! It was actually super filling and flavorful. Not your typical breakfast food, but it definitely hit the spot. I’d totally get this again!

Just look at that spicy, flavorful deliciousness. And it’s gluten free, only made with brown rice and organic ingredients!! (Seriously, if you look at the photo with the ingredients in it, you won’t find a single thing that looks unnatural or unhealthy!)

I bought lunch at a small hummus bar where I customized my own spinach salad! I chose to put in gluten free and vegan falafels, beets, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, tomatoes and a little bit of kale pesto hummus on the side! I was stuffed for hours afterwards, probably because of all the fiber in those falafels, which were pretty generous in size!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Also, I was able to get some freaking fantabulous deals at our GNC! Firstly, I got chocolate whey protein powder for literally the quarter of the original price, or even a sixth of the cost of typical protein powders. Protein supplements can be very expensive, and the chocolate powder I purchased was on clearance for an incredible deal! I know that the ingredients aren’t the healthiest (*cough* CORN SYRUP AND SUCRALOSE *cough*) nor is the powder vegan, but hey, I want to take advantage of the best possible deals, plus I am the cheapest person on the face of this planet.

The next products I got were a single-serving packet of Quest peanut butter protein powder, which OH MY GOD, I’ve been wanting to try for the LONGEST TIME ever, plus my two favorite Quest bars of all time: double chocolate chunk and chocolate peanut butter! I was also so happy to see the No Cow Bars from D’s Naturals so I had to purchase the peanut butter chocolate chip flavor. There was a buy three get one free deal at GNC, hence I also got their other flavor Raspberry Truffle. I cannot wait to try these, but I do have to research the best ways to eat them–whether microwaved, broiled or on its own!

After a while when we got back home, I was able to sneak in a few Blogilates videos while my parents worked out in our garage, along some boxing lessons and sparring circuits with my dad! Because I’m going to college soon, he recommended that I start learning basic self-defense techniques in case if I get into a fistfight or get attacked on the streets! I admit, having me yell as I practice kicking was a bit ridiculous, but it will help me out in the future so I will never take these lessons for granted. Oh and do you likey the Blogilates hoodie? So do I!

IMG_1870

Onto probably the most exciting part of today: the healthy banana bread recipe! Again, you’ll just have to be patient for the full procedure and measurements coming out in a separate post so that this one doesn’t take you two days to read it, but instead of my crackworthy almond banana bread ingredients, we adapted from a recipe online and swapped out the all-purpose flour for sprouted whole grain flour, decreased the sugar quantity and added coconut flakes and dark chocolate chips! Waiting for it to bake completely was the HARDEST PART.

Dinner for me was simply steamed broccoli and baked chicken breast with mushroom marinara sauce and Sriracha. You can’t beat simplicity! Everything was perfectly cooked and was also hearty but light enough to help balance out that heavy falafel salad I had for lunch!

I also tried some broccoli with leftover kale pesto hummus! Let me tell you that that is some reeeeeeeeeally good hummus 🙂

Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the ba-ba-ba-ba-na-na-na-na bread! The result were so unexpectedly fabulous that everyone had a piece and wanted seconds! Cut into it, and you yield a super fluffy, moist, buttery loaf with a brown and crispy crust. It doesn’t even taste healthy. The bananas are so sweet and harmonize with the chocolate chips and the coconut so perfectly! And even though I didn’t have to, I decided to go a little crazy and add a scoop of vanilla maple Arctic Zero on top of my slice! Tastes like Grandma’s house. Except it’s my house, and my grandmother can’t bake! Well, a lot of my family members can’t, but this was an exception!

Well I hope you enjoyed this absolutely-positively-way-too-loooooooooooooooooooooooong summary of my week, and it was so much fun to capture all the amazing memories I had, from baking to food babies to shopping to…well, more food babies! Wishing you all a restful and blessed week of the end of the holidays, and I will see you all very soon for my sweet potato bake recipe, banana bread recipe, and lots more fun stuff to come next week!

How many food babies did you have this week? (Mine would probably be six!) What exciting memories do you have to share?


6 thoughts on “Holiday Week Part 1: My Winter Break Bucket List, the WORST Thing about Whole Foods, Reviews, Stuffing my Face, Healthy Eve Feast + Christmas Presents

    1. Thank you–everything tastes absolutely delectable, except the eggplant XD yes, I love While Foods’ hot bars but their eggplant was terribly undercooked!
      And yes, I NEVER get tired of sweet potatoes! (Same with Indian food–LOL!)

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s