Hungry Haley

it's more than food

Cacao Coconut Collagen Smoothie (Paleo, GF)

GF, Drink, Dairy-free, Smoothie, PaleoHaley Hansen2 Comments

Never have I ever wanted a day to just be over. O V E R. 

Cacao Coconut Collagen Smoothie (Paleo, GF)

A highly anticipated bomb-azz night of rest was rudely interrupted by sweltering heat and welcomed to stay by a lack of air conditioning in my apartment. The twisty fan (as I like to call it) did next to nothing to cool me and my roommate off - who joined me in my bed with hopes of a cooler temperature. Three o'clock in the morning is TOO early to wake up, and I'm a morning person. I am not a three-o'clock-in-the-morning person (is anyone?). 

All efforts to go back to sleep between 3:00-3:45 AM were fruitless. 

I needed sleep. Desperately. Two nights before, I woke up three times - 1) to pee, 2) just because, and 3) probably just because, again. The following night (the night before last), I crawled into bed at 1:30 AM, spent a now-regretted 30 minutes on my phone, and finally fell asleep 2 AM (still feeling like I could sing and dance to the songs at the line-dancing joint from which my friend and I had just gotten home. My body did it's natural thing and woke me up at 7:30 AM. Do the math. 

Neither day included a nap, but both included extra coffee. 

Last night, after strolling a lively farmers market with a friend, I was curled up in bed by 10 PM and asleep only minutes later. And seemingly awake again only hours after that. Is it needless to say that I was less than satisfied with last night's five hours of sleep? Probably. I'll still say it though. 

Thankfully, I wasn't left to ponder in the unexplored (until now) wee hours of the morning alone. My roommate couldn't sleep either, so downstairs we went and found what felt like a 10-degree-drop in the temperature. We chatted, (delusionally) laughed, and eventually made the one of the most random, spontaneous, weird, but also BEST decisions to date - "wanna' go the beach?"

Cacao Coconut Collagen Smoothie (Paleo, GF)

5:30 AM - dark, but not cold. Quiet, but not without sounds of cars racing by (who is awake on a Saturday at this hour?!). Creepy-ish, but not enough to make us want to leave. Perched on the beach. Smiling. Sipping coffee. More okay with the current sleepless situation than I'd ever expect myself to be. More chatting, this time about Jesus, family, and actual serious life matters. The hour until sunset felt like three (like the three hours of sleep I should've gotten). 

And finally, almost as if ushered in by the worship music that filled our ears, the sun rose more beautiful than ever. Clouds dotted the sky, illuminated by first a calming purple, then whimsical pink, and lastly a characteristic good-morning-shade of yellow. This painting made us thankful to be awake and witnesses to God's artwork. 

Eight hours later, that's worn off. I've been sitting on the couch for the past four hours. I refuse to go outside because my iPhone thermometer readers 108F. 108F. 108F. Oh, but I did take a nap, so that's fantastic! I can now add one hour's worth tally to last night's sleep record. My plans include a workout at some point, more blogging, reruns of The Great British Baking Show, dinner, and BED (with tons of prayers for a night's rest as reassuring as this morning's sunrise). 

Cacao Coconut Collagen Smoothie (Paleo, GF)

But, yeah, back to my original statement. I know that no day is without purpose. Today probably had a lot of purpose intended for it, but the heat last night and right now has... well... melted that. I would like to fast-forward from now until 9 PM, a.k.a bedtime. I would LOVE that. 

Come to think of it, I actually have leftovers of this rich, chocolatey smoothie in my freezer (meaning it's frozen!!!!!). Snack time? Yes. Chocolate time? Always. Collagen time? It's becoming a thing. 

Cacao Coconut Collagen Smoothie (Paleo, GF)

Makes 2 smoothies

2 frozen bananas
2 tbsp. Nuttzo Chocolate Power Fuel
1 scoop Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water collagen peptides
2 tbsp. cacao powder
1/2 cup water or coconut milk
2 tbsp. shredded coconut, for topping

  1. Blend the bananas, nut butter, collagen peptides, cacao powder, and liquid until smooth. 
  2. Top with shredded coconut and serve immediately. 
  3. Enjoy! 
Cacao Coconut Collagen Smoothie (Paleo, GF)

Homemade Cold Brew

Drink, Vegan, GFHaley Hansen6 Comments

To all the adults who have their careers figured out (or, at least, mostly figured out), did you go through a period of major conflict in deciding on a career? 

Please say yes. Please say yes. Please say yes. 

Homemade Cold Brew

I am in that situation as we speak. Registered Dietitian/part-time blogger vs. Food Writer/part-time blogger is my current toss-up. UGH. The latter was my dream for about two years at the beginning of college, which I spent as a Journalism major. Telling people how to/what to eat in such a strict manner, which I thought would be my main role as an RD, really turned me off to the career. Plus, I just LOVE writing and I love food and I love writing about food (hence, the blog).

Homemade Cold Brew

The former has only recently come about as I've switched my major to Nutrition. There came a time in my studies of Journalism when I just couldn't stand the classes anymore and found within myself a HUGE passion for nutrition (specifically veganism, at the time), so I switched. I dove head first into chemistry and biology and Nutrition classes and loved every minute. For a while, I wanted to continue my pursuit of food-writing, but as I immersed myself more and more in my Nutrition studies, and as God made me more aware of the need for RD's who don't promote fleeting, unsustainable diets, I couldn't ignore His voice (obviously). 

Homemade Cold Brew

Now, I feel like I'm bouncing back and forth between the two careers, unable to settle on just one because each comes with pros and cons and I can't seem to figure things out. As an RD, I'd imagine more opportunity to make a stronger impact on lives and help stimulate much-needed change in diet culture (or maybe elimination is a better word than change here). As a food-writer, I'd imagine more opportunity to chase the heck after my passion - food + writing - and maybe, just maybe, write for my dream magazine, Bon Appetit. Here, I'd make my impact by showing others that food. is. to. be. enjoyed. Every food is special and worthy and unique and that is b-e-a-utiful.

As I articulate these thoughts through the process of writing - one of the main reasons I love it and do it so often - I realize that the careers intersect in a way I didn't see before. Both promote a fearless love of food and self, which is the theme of what God's been teaching me in the years of healing from my past relationship with food. 

It is important, however, to mention that an RD certification would require at least one year of a paid internship (meaning I pay and don't get paid) and possibly two years of grad school. To be a food-writer would only require endless amounts of time spent in the community, making connections with newspapers and other writers, + here on the blog, continuing and improving what I do now. 

So, I know my next few steps. I know I need to finish my undergrad, which I will finish with a BA in Nutrition. I know I need to spend a year working and saving money, which might be done as a waitress or a donut-slinger at my favorite shop or a diet aide at the hospital or a full-time nanny. From there, God only knows! 

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.’
— Jeremiah 29:11-12, NIV
Homemade Cold Brew

Makes 4-5 servings 

4 1/2 cups filtered water
1 1/4 cups coarse-ground coffee (Purity Coffee is my go-to)
Ice and creamer/milk for serving, if desired

  1. Combine the coffee and water in an airtight container (mason jar worked perfectly), stir, and let sit for at least 12 hours. 
  2. I used an Ellie's Best nut milk bag to filter it, which you can view here. I've also heard that cheese cloths work. Strain the coffee beans (any suggestions for uses? I hate throwing them all away!) and pour the cold brew back into a pitcher or back into the rinsed mason jar. 
  3. Store in the fridge for up to six months. Serve with a touch more water, plus some ice and creamer, if desired. 
  4. Enjoy!

Use "hungryhaley" for your Purity Coffee purchase and "hungryhaley10" for your Ellie's Best purchase!

Homemade Cold Brew

Honey Ginger Iced Chai Tea

Drink, GF, Dairy-freeHaley HansenComment

Today, I officially accept and embrace favoring the fall and winter seasons over the spring and summer ones. 

Honey Ginger Iced Chai Tea

Don't ask me why this is such a big deal because it's probably not, but I've just been thinking about it lately. The more time I spend in California, especially the beloved Central Coast, the more I realize all that a warm summer has to offer - surfing (though I never have), paddle-boarding (love it), beach-ing alllllll day, BBQ-ing allllll night, relaxing, biking (to and from the farmers' market is my jam), driving up the coast for more beach-ing, and even more that I probably am unaware of. I've never loved summer this much until God placed me on the Central Coast. 

Honey Ginger Iced Chai Tea

But, a bigger part of my heart belongs in Fall and Winter. Watching the leaves change color, smelling the crisp air that somehow feels fresher in the colder months, preparing for holidays and celebrating them with close friends and family, bundling up on the couch for movies (and dessert, like 98% of the time), BAKING (can you tell which activity is my favorite?), all while still being able to appreciate the breath-taking-ness of the Central Coast God so beautifully designed - is there anything better??? 

Honey Ginger Iced Chai Tea

I feel like one of the few people I know who prefers these seasons over summer. For example, I'm laying in bed right now - at 2:15 PM on a gorgeous Sunday in Idaho - blogging and breathing and relaxing while my family is out paddle-boarding on the river. Is there something wrong with me? Shouldn't I really rather be out there with them, soaking up the sun?, I quietly allow guilt to slide those thoughts into my brain. 

There isn't anything wrong with me, and I don't have to prefer one season over another just because the former is the current season and my family is enjoying it in a different way than I am in this moment. I make absolutely sure to spend as much quality time with my family (especially the extended members, whom I rarely see) as possible when the opportunity presents itself - playing board games, sitting around the table chatting, cooking and savoring homemade meals, riding bikes, etc. I make absolutely sure to be present in those moments by leaving my phone, my worries, my to-do list behind to care for them later. And that's okay! 

Honey Ginger Iced Chai Tea

Maybe I find such comfort and joy in the fall and winter months because my introverted self lovvvvvves the idea of a peaceful morning spent baking, or a creative coffee-filled afternoon dedicated to reading and writing, or a cozy night indoors watching movies with close friends. I love that. Though in the past year God has really opened my eyes to an extroverted fraction of my personality I didn't know existed, my larger introverted fraction usually takes the cake. 

Here's to all the introverts! And the extroverts! Whichever you are, accept it. Embrace it. Love any/all seasons. You pick. 

chai iced tea cup.jpg

This iced chai tea is a combination of drinks desired in the hot months and drinks desired in the cold ones. Cheers! 

Makes 4-5 servings

2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2-3 tbsp. honey
4 cups filtered water
4 chai tea bags

  1. In a large pitcher (here's the one I used), stir the honey and filtered water until the honey dissolves. 
  2. Using the Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker, insert the grated ginger and the tea bags into the tea infuser and screw into the lid. 
  3. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 6-8 hours before serving. 
  4. Enjoy! 

Use "hungryhaley10" for a discount on your Ellie's Best purchases!

Honey Ginger Iced Chai Tea

Fresh-Squeezed Strawberry Lemonade (Vegan, GF)

Drink, Dairy-free, GF, VeganHaley HansenComment

Remember that one time I made cinnamon rolls? You saw snapshots of the process and photos of the finished product, but you didn't see the entire thing from start to finish. If you had, you'd have a 3823751 times better understanding of just how excited food gets me. 

It was the same exact thing with this lemonade. My dad saw it all, and kept wondering, "Haley, it's just lemonade. What's the big deal?" 

DAD IT'S HOMEMADE AND IT'S GOOD. There's just something about doing it all yourself, whether it be cinnamon rolls or crackers or strawberry lemonade or vegan cheese. And there's a little extra something to discovering that a DUH-licious homemade version of some of your childhood favorites actually exists and works, you know?

When I made lemonade as a kid, perhaps to sell to generous neighbors in hopes of raising maybe $2-3 to buy ice cream from the ice cream truck later in the sweltering summer afternoon, there were no fresh lemons involved. The only preparation included stirring the powdered lemon + sugar flavoring into a pitcher of water, tossing in some ice cubes, and calling it a day. Remember that? 

The same thing went for cinnamon rolls. Crack that Pillsbury can open, cut the rolls and spread them out on a pan to bake for 30-40 minutes, top with the canned icing, and boom - done and done. Of course, I'm holding nothing against good ol' Pillsbury doughboy, buuuuuuut... there's nothing I would love more in this moment than to invite the cute, giggly little fluff-ball over for some freshly baked vegan cinnamon rolls with a light coconut cream icing. 

Don't worry - you can come, too!

The HungryHaley who had no idea the non-diet mentality + Intuitive Eating + all-foods-count concept existed would've demonized these packaged foods. Heck, she probably wouldn't even have made this lemonade because of the sugar required *eye roll*. BUUUUUT the new and happily, healthfully improved HungryHaley will not label any food - sugar-free or sugar-rich, vegan or non-vegan, packaged or whole - as "bad" or "off-limits". Every food has its time, its place, and its calling (even the powdered lemonade mix and the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls). 

BUUUUUT (can you tell I enjoy capital and repeating letters for emphasis?) let me bring myself back to magical satisfaction that is homemade favorites. 

Strawberry lemonade. 

I picked up fresh strawberries from the local strawberry stand - it's a popular thing where I live in OC - on Saturday morning for this recipe. Maggie (my lil' pup) and I pulled up to the stand on the side of the road and one thing caught my eye immediately. It wasn't the berries red as jewels, or the dates sweet enough for caramel, or even the competitive prices. 

It was the man leaning up against his pick-up truck, munching on some of those little red jewels. His body language and the contentment on his face said, "I have nowhere else to be. I love this place. I love this moment. I love these berries. I grew them, and I'm so ready for you (me and the pup) to enjoy them, too." 

A small, easy-to-miss moment if I had been in a hurry or on my phone. Thank God neither of those were the case. 

Now, I wish I could invite the Pillsbury doughboy AND that welcoming strawberry-loving farmer over for a celebration of summer, Saturday, and a simple, innocent love for community and food. 

Like I said, I will never again tell someone not to eat this or that. I will never again label a food - vegan or not - as "bad" or even worse than another (in terms of nutrition, because taste is a different story). I WILL, however, stand firmly in the belief that the homemade version of pretty much anything - when done well - is...

Well, it's just unbeatable. 

Now that that's been said, invite some friends and farmers and family over for your own unique celebration - what brings you childlike joy? What has opened your eyes lately? What deserves attention and praise? Maybe it's homegrown tomatoes (that's a frequent celebration in my house), or maybe it's an A+ on your last exam, or maybe it's just L I F E. Remember, that, in and of itself, deserves celebration, too :) 

Fresh-Squeezed Strawberry Lemonade (Vegan, GF)

Makes about 6 cups

2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup organic cane sugar
2 cups boiling water
4 cups filtered water, room temp. or cold
1.5 cups fresh sliced strawberries, plus extra for garnish
Ice, optional

  1. Stir together the lemon juice, cane sugar, and boiling water in a heat-safe pitcher. 
  2. Next stir in the filtered water and refrigerate until cool. 
  3. If using the suggested flavor infuser + pitcher, place sliced strawberries into the infuser and pour the cooled lemonade into the pitcher. Screw the infuser in tight and close with the lid. 
  4. Fill glasses with ice cubes and extra sliced strawberries, and pour in the lemonade. 
  5. Enjoy!

Use the code "HALEY10" at checkout for 10% off your Ellie's Best order!

Fresh-Squeezed Strawberry Lemonade (Vegan, GF)

Homemade Pecan Milk (Vegan, GF)

Drink, Dairy-free, Vegan, GFHaley Hansen1 Comment

Step 1: squeeze pecan. 

Step 2: squeeze another pecan, and repeat squeeze-process until enough milk is obtained. 

Step 3: enjoy! 

pecan milk 2.jpg

Okay, I'm kidding. But I did have to make that joke because Dad thought it was absolutely hilarious when he attempted to squeeze a pecan to make some fun of my dairy-free milk. I thought it was funny, too, Dad. You win. 

Speaking of, have you heard of the dairy vs nondairy milk debate going on? My nutrition professor brought it up in class this week and I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Never did I ever think I'd come so far in life as to whip up my own homemade nut milk on a bi-weekly basis. Fifteen years ago, I was writing "Slim Jim's" on my Christmas lists as my brother and I sucked down Mom's homemade oreo milkshakes (loaded with real-life oreos and non-vegan ice cream). My comfort foods during the winter months were Dad's leftover-ham mac n' cheese and "skinny noodles" (aka just packages of Ramen) with a side of salami and crackers topped with butter. 

If you need some motivation, there it is. 

Where the heck would I be now, had I continued to consume at least one Slim Jim per day, not to mention the nachos (that canned, shelf-stable "cheese" sauce gives me nightmares) I just had to have at my brother's basketball games, and the no-stir, definitely-not-natural, barely-even-peanutty peanut butter, name a few. 

Alas, here I am. Cooking my own beans every week (I used to hate beans), drinking coffee at least once a day (used to hate that, too), blending kale and sometimes even cauliflower in my morning smoothie (but aren't veggies a dinner-only food? no), and soaking nuts for homemade nut milk on a bi-weekly basis. 

What a transformation. What a life I live. 

Still need a few more reasons to make the switch to homemade nut milks? 

  1. Doing so can reduce the sugar content (many store-bought brands add sugar). 
  2. Homemade nut milk = leftover pulp (i.e. almond meal for baking, and pecan meal is a thing, too, by the way). 
  3. Doesn't pretty much everything homemade just taste 10x better than the other guy?

Use "HALEY10" for a discount on your new Ellie's Best reusable nut milk bags

Makes ~5-6 cups

1 cup pecans (or any other nut)
6 cups water
Optional add-ins: vanilla extract, sea salt, cinnamon

  1. Soak 1 cup pecans in 6 cups water for at least 8 hours, or overnight. 
  2. Blend (with any other optional add-ins) and strain, using Ellie's Best bag, into an airtight container/bottle and refrigerate. 
  3. Spread pecan meal onto a baking sheet and dehydrate at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and crispy. 
  4. Store pecan meal in an airtight container for up to one month.