Gluten Free Monthly Favorites: Vegan Energy Bars, Dental Surgery & More

‘Tis the season...and the time for another gluten free monthly favorites! By the time this post goes live, I’ll be officially done with my first semester of grad school and teaching English 101 and only 24 hours away from sleeping in my own bed at my parent’s house in Colorado Springs.

To say that I’m excited would be a major understatement. As challenging and rewarding and growth-filled as this grad school semester has been, giving my mind and body a rest is an absolute must. So while I’m furiously packing for my trip home, why don’t you enjoy an adventure-packed edition of my gluten free monthly favorites?

Gluten Free Monthly Favorites: Vegan Energy Bars, Dental Surgery, Holiday Deals & More

Whether you’re looking for one of the best vegan protein bars on the market, are curious to hear more about my experience with gum graft surgery or want to hear about some holiday deals and blogging plans, keep reading to find out!

What I'm Eating

Lots of banana ice cream...like, enough to bring down Mankato's daily high by at least a few degrees. Of course, my recent addiction to banana ice cream has a lot to do with me struggling to find soft foods to eat after surgery. But is there really any bad time for healthy vegan ice cream? I don’t think so! I’ve basically been using this recipe minus the popcorn and dates. When I’m feeling really crazy, I’ve been throwing in pumpkin purée + pumpkin spice, spirulina + mint extract and even cacao powder (<-- affiliate links, FYI!).

Vegan and gluten free Dharma Bars! It's hard enough to find delicious gluten free protein bars, not to mention gluten free and vegan energy bars that are also soy free, organic, non-GMO, and free of refined sugars, preservatives and trans fats. So when Dharma Bar reached out and offered to let me try their vegan energy bars (in return for an honest review), I couldn't say no!

Gluten Free Monthly Favorites: Vegan Energy Bars, Dental Surgery, Holiday Deals & More

"Dharma" itself means purpose, and each of their three bars - Endurance in a Chocolate Almond Date flavor, Recover in a Cacao Hemp Cherry flavor and Balance in a Vanilla Coconut Almond flavor - are intended to help you kick booty at whatever physical activity you decide to take on that day. My favorite part about the bars is the texture: soft and chewy with crunchy bits of almonds dispersed throughout. They're also not overly sweet like some energy bars can be, and I've enjoyed eating the Endurance bar as part of my night snack. Of course, I haven't been able to chow down on Dharma Bars since my dental surgery, but you can bet that I'm counting down the days until I can enjoy these vegan energy bars (and all of my other favorite chewy and crunchy foods!) again.


Homemade black bean soup! The highlight of my gum graft surgery was definitely having the motivation to finally try making my own gluten free and vegan black bean soup. I based it on this recipe, and it turned out so thick and creamy, it’s definitely a new favorite easy gluten free dinner of mine.

Gluten Free Monthly Favorites: Vegan Energy Bars, Dental Surgery, Holiday Deals & More

What I'm Doing/Loving:

Drooling over all of the goodies in my last Love with Food monthly gluten free subscription box. I'm an affiliate/ambassador of theirs, and November’s box really was one of their best boxes ever. Pamela’s pancake mix, Boom Chicka Seasalt Popcorn, Go Organically Fruit Snacks, Glutino pretzels and more! As I've shared before, Love with Food really is an awesome Christmas gift for any gluten free foodie. Plus, they have a sweet holiday deal going on right now that you can check out here --> LOVE WITH FOOD HOLIDAY SALE: Get a FREE Holiday Box ($25 value) with any 6-month (or longer) plan and SAVE an EXTRA $10 on selected plans. Ends 1/1

Thrifting for more winter staples. I’ve been super lucky in that Minnesota’s winter has been “mild” so far (with temps being in the 50s versus the 20s lately). However, we’ve still had our fair share of single-digit days, and I know it’s going to be absolutely freezing when I return from Christmas break...which is where thrifting comes in! This fluffy hat and huge scarf were some of my fave $3 finds.

Gluten Free Monthly Favorites: Vegan Energy Bars, Dental Surgery, Holiday Deals & More

Surviving gum graft surgery! As I shared last week, I underwent dental surgery the day before Thanksgiving to hopefully fix some receding gums (darn you genetics). Not to scare any future gum graft patients away, but it’s definitely been more challenging than I thought. It’s hard to get enough calories in with soft foods, and the pain and paranoia about doing something wrong are lasting longer than I expected. I’m trying to focus on taking baby steps (or baby bites, to be more accurate) and remain patient (medical pun intended). Wish me luck!

What I'm Planning:

Going home! As I shared in the introduction of this post, I’m 1000% excited to be spending almost a month with my family for Christmas break. I haven’t seen my folks since they helped me move to Mankato for grad school this past summer, and the homesickness has been real. To be honest, I’m also looking forward to having a little less responsibility for a few weeks. Between teaching a college class, dealing with computer and car problems and going through a somewhat major surgery all on my own, I’m going to savor a short break from adulting!

Gluten Free Monthly Favorites: Vegan Energy Bars, Dental Surgery, Holiday Deals & More

Getting back into the kitchen. I have to be honest. I’ve probably only cooked five or so “new” dishes in all of November; when life is crazy, it’s easier to just microwave some potatoes, roast some veggies, add some avocado and protein and call it a meal. I can’t wait to see what gluten free recipes I whip up at my folk’s house...and I’ll be sharing the winning recipes on here, as usual. 

Going with the flow when it comes to blogging. To be honest, I’m so burnt out from the surgery and car problems and the end of the semester that even blogging feels like a challenge some days. I’ll certainly still be posting on my blog and social media, but if I don’t get two posts up every week, just know I’m taking a mental health break. Hopefully, people are spending more time relaxing with family than spending time on the Internet anyway!

My first semester of grad school really was the quickest college semester I’ve ever had. I’d be lying to say that everything went as planned or that I fit everything I wanted to into those 16 weeks. However, this first semester of grad school did teach me a lot - especially about what I still need to learn - and I’m grateful for how far I’ve come with teaching, living on my own and becoming more of a true "Minnesotan" - at least for three years of grad school, anyway.

Gluten Free Monthly Favorites: Vegan Energy Bars, Dental Surgery, Holiday Deals & More

November was a flurry of busyness, activity and hard work. Let’s hope that December is a snow storm of family bonding, Christmas baking and winter adventures! 

*As mentioned above, I am an affiliate of Love with Food and there are affiliate links in this post. An affiliate link does not affect the price you pay for anything you purchase through them, but they do help me pay for my college textbooks. And while I received Dharma bars free of charge in return for an honest review, all opinions and photographs are my own. Thanks for supporting what supports Casey the College Celiac!*



What were your favorite foods and activities in November? What are you planning to be up to in December? Tell me in the comments! 

Comments

  1. Agh! I hope you feel better soon. I love that more companies are coming out with healthier gluten free options for on the go. Good luck with holiday clothes shopping and the soft food!! ❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Jamie! Have a great week!

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congrats on finishing up your first semester! I hope that your time home is fun, relaxing and filled with good memories [and yummy food!] ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kat! I hope you are having lots of fun family time and tasty food!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts