Sep
04

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1

The high elevations of southeastern Colorado, along with hot summers and cold nights, create a chile pepper that is thicker and meatier than others, which makes them ideal for roasting. During season, which is right now, pop-up stands selling roasted chile peppers can be found on almost every street corner in Colorado. 

Green Chile Sauce is somewhat of a staple in Colorado, being used in a variety of dishes throughout the state – smother a burrito, sop it up with a corn tortilla out of a soup bowl, or add flavor and heat to a burger. I’ve even heard stories of the chile sauce being smothered atop cakes and ice cream. {{Actually, as I type this out, I have a faint memory of sampling a green chile ice cream flavor ….although I have no recollection of whether or not I enjoyed it.}}

Being a vegetarian poses somewhat of a challenge for a foodie in Colorado. Green chile sauce is typically made with pork which prevents me from indulging in the coveted sauce that is scattered throughout many Denver restaurants and makes an appearance in many popular dishes here in the state. Boo.

Sure, there are a FEW restaurants that make a vegetarian option, but I’m talking FEW. 

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1

I don’t have Hatch chiles in my garden, they actually come from New Mexico, but I do have an abundance of several sweet pepper varieties. Although the peppers do not produce as much heat as the Hatch variety, I decided to make an attempt at green chile sauce using what I have.

Although I was not successful at creating a green chile sauce, I did create a sweet Roasted Salsa too good to not share. I roasted 2 different varieties (Giante Marconi and Antoli Romanian) of sweet peppers along with a jalapeño, which created a mellow smoky flavor that sits well atop a salty tortilla chip. 

/// There are several different ways to roast your own peppers, over an open fire, in the oven, or even on the stovetop. I roasted my peppers over the stovetop for the first time and it worked out well! I watched a few videos on YouTube for guidance. In a few weeks, I’m going to an official chile pepper roast and I have no idea what to expect, but I hope to learn a thing or two about the process… especially since I live in chile pepper land. Smirk.

Sweet_Peppers

Roasted Sweet Pepper Salsa
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 roasted sweet peppers, skins removed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, such as Roma, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • juice squeezed from a lime or two, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion in oil until softened and translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they’ve released their juices and softened.
  3. Add the sweet chiles, jalapeños, broth, cumin and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 1½ hours, until the chiles are very soft and the ingredients appear to meld together.
  4. After cooling, pour the ingredients into a food processor and puree the mixture into a salsa-like consistency.
  5. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1
Sources: Denver Post, Spoon With Me

Love

Crista


Aug
20

on growing radishes

A perfect morning for me is one where I can roll out of bed when I feel ready, step in to my flip flops after giving the pooch a quick hug, and going out in to the garden to see what happened overnight while I was asleep.

While still clothed in my pjs, I oftentimes catch myself pulling weeds before brushing my teeth, hanging herbs to dry before breakfast, and lounging in the hammock before it’s time to get ready for my workday.

One morning last week, early before temps reached unbearable warmth, I’d decided it was time to pull the radishes that had been steadily growing in the ground for about 6-7 weeks. I couldn’t get a close look at the tiny red bulbs below the surface of the soil, but I could see the greens were overgrown and flowering. Convinced that the greens were maturing much faster than the radish bulbs, I’d trimmed the overgrown steams and leaves a few times.

I should have done it sooner. I should have learned more about planting and harvesting radishes before dropping the tiny seeds in to the ground. The little package of seeds I’d received gave thorough instructions about placing each seed about 1-2 inches away from the next about 1/2 inch deep. Instead of following directions, I dumped the entire package of contents into the ground and hoped for the best. 

That little package also instructed me to harvest the plants within 30 days, I paid no attention assuming I’d just know when it was time.

My very first radish crop has offered me a few vital learnings, and I am grateful. One of those learnings is to appreciate EVERY single tiny seed and to not take any of them for granted – one tiny seed can produce a beautiful, bountiful fruit on it’s own. Because I did not space my seeds apart, many of the radishes I grew were long and narrow instead of plump and round – the crowding didn’t allow enough room for growth. 

on growing radishes

If I knew then what I know now, there are a few things I would do different:

1. I would space the radish seeds 1-2 inches apart.
2. I would only plant 15-20 radish seeds at most, any more would go to waste or cause over-crowding 
3. I would remove any rocks, sticks, or rubble in the ground prior to planing the radishes, which will allow them more room for growth and prevention deformation.
3. I would mark on my calendar the day my radishes were planted and the approximate day of harvest (based on the seed packets instructions)

Unfortunately, my very first radish harvest was good for nothing more than feeding the compost bin, HOWEVER I have planted more seedlings and am confident that I will harvest an edible crop this time around.

on growing radishes

A few dishes I hope to make with my home-grown radishes include Roasted Lemon, Potatoes, Radishes, and Olives, Fennel and Radish Salad, and Radish Leaf Pesto

Love

Crista


Aug
10

“Hey guys! I’m Mary and I write Chattavore, a food blog based in Chattanooga, Tennessee (which I happen to think is pretty much the best city on earth)! I’m not vegan, but I’m kind of a vegan wannabe. I love to eat at vegan restaurants (I think not cooking with animal products forces more creativity from the chef) and cooking vegan recipes, so I was pretty excited when Crista asked me to guest post here on peace. love.  quinoa.!

“I work for my local school system (I used to be a teacher, but now I’m a behavior analyst), so to me summer means four things: (1) summer break (WOO!); (2) strawberries (okay, that’s really more spring here in the South, but that means summer is coming so WOO!); (3) tomatoes(!); and (4) peaches. PEACHES!

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

“I honestly don’t remember caring too much for peaches when I was a kid. I know my mom bought fresh peaches when I was a kid but most of my peach-eating memories involved canned peaches, usually eaten with cottage cheese. My only vivid memory of a fresh peach was when my grandmother’s friend gave me a peach to bring home (maybe she had a tree? I don’t remember why she gave me a peach!). I held that peach in my hands the whole twenty-minute drive to my grandparents’ house; by the time we got there, the peach fuzz had made my hands itch like crazy.

“Fast-forward to adulthood…I have gotten over my itchy hands and commenced a torrid, seasonal love affair with perfect summer peaches. You know the ones…they just yield when you press on them. You know the skin will give you a fit when you try to peel it off. And when you take a bite, juice goes everywhere. This is the stuff of my dreams, people.

“Peaches and coconut? Gah. Honestly, I am not a big-time eater of oatmeal, but after discovering Megan Gordon’s method of toasting oats from her book Whole Grain Mornings then picking up a trick from America’s Test Kitchen of cooking the oats in a flavorful liquid instead of just water, I have made my peace with oatmeal. Because when its done well-like this coconut peach oatmeal is-oatmeal can be divine. So, peel a juicy peach and crack open a can of coconut milk…and make this coconut peach oatmeal!

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

the Chattavore's Coconut Peach Oatmeal
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large peach, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons toasted nuts (I used walnuts, but I think macadamia nuts would be delicious here!)
  • 2 tablespoons dried coconut
  • maple syrup (optional)
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant, about five minutes.
  2. Stir in the coconut milk, water, and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal has thickened.
  3. Pour the oatmeal into a bowl and add the peaches, nuts, and coconut. Add a drizzle of maple syrup for sweetness if desired.
Coconut Peach Oatmeal

Credits // Author & Photography: Mary Haymaker from Chattavore

Love

Crista


Aug
06

 Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad

The dog days of summer, phew it.is.hot.
The begin of summer, we had too much rain nowadays I pray’ll pray to anyones god for a little relief from the hot, hot, hot sun. My plants are thirsty, the grass is scorched, and I’m sitting in front of the AC. I cross my fingers for rain every.single.night.

Three times within the last week we have tried going to a public pool (don’t judge us, it’s hot as F%$#) but they have all been closed for crazy things like “some kid pooped in the pool”…. (ew) 

Ok, scratch that.

Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad

On my most recent denial of pool usage, I detoured to the farmers market and bought more fruit than I really need – I mean, I already had peaches, kiwis, grapes, pears, and oranges laying around. A little extra fruit never hurt anybody.

FACT: Fruit is colorful so that it attracts humans to eat it. If we lived in the wild days and had to hunt and gather, we’d know what to pick and eat because of the attractive colors. 

I know my eye is drawn to the beautiful colors that will keep me nourished on these sizzling hot summer days.

Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad

Since the poopy pool is a no-go, I’ve found a little activity to keep myself busy indoors (air conditioning) – I’m rummaging through old magazines and THROWING THEM AWAY because there is absolutely no reason that I need magazines from 2009. Or is there? Ok, now you know that I’m a hoarder (excuse me, Martha Stewart Living has a special place in everyone’s home, I’m sure of it). I’m tearing out all the recipes and cute little quotes that probably prompted me to keep the magazines in the first place, so then there’s THAT project. But whatever, it feels good to throw stuff (ahem, garbage) away. 

I found this sweet Sprouted Quinoa Pineapple Summer Salad from Whole Living Magazine that inspired me to make this Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad. Also, mangoes – yum. Also, I had just purchased TruRoots Sprouted Quinoa at the market. TruRoots hooked me up with a few bags of goods, but the quinoa was purchased with my own money. 1. I was stoked to find it being sold .05 miles away from my home. 2. I made TruRoots Spaghetti with a Lentil (TruRoots) Sauce. Basically, I’ve been eating good lately. (I’ll probably fall flat on my face with a waffle tonight after saying that, whatev)

If you would like to get your hands on some TruRoots Originals goodies, leave a comment on THIS POST before Aug. 17 to enter the giveaway! 

In all seriousness, I’m really excited to share this recipe because I think you’re going to like it. It’s: 

Healthy
Easy-to-make
Fresh
Colorful
Has a little kick
In my belly
& will be made again in my kitchen, soon.

I used mint (from the garden!) in this salad but I had to debate between it and basil. Either way, there is no losing, Both mint or basil would perfectly compliment this salad and keep it “fresh.” 

Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad

Sprouted Quinoa Mango Summer Salad
Author: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 mangoes, peeled & sliced
  • ¼ red onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup sprouted quinoa, cooked
  • 2 Tbl. raw cashews
  • 2 Tbl. white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. chili pepper flakes or fresh chili pepper, chopped
  • a few sprigs of mint
  • a pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Add the chili, onion, and a pinch of sea salt. Toss and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Arrange the mango slices on a platter or two plates. Top with quinoa, cashews, and mint.
  3. Drizzle with the chili-onion mixture.
  4. Serve immediately.

 

Love

Crista


Aug
05

YumUniverse

Content. That’s how I feel when I get to sit down and read a book – no laptop, no tv, no radio, no nothing except for me and a good book. I do get a lot of “Crista-time” but I typically spend it in the kitchen, working on my blog, gardening, or going to yoga. Rarely do I take the time to sit down with my laptop closed and just read a book. Years ago, I had time in my life to read, I even had an entire book collection (I was saving up to some day have my own library full of books)….. I think it was before I owned a MacBook.

(But look, I’m not complaining.)

I just finished a book (affiliate link! check it out at your own risk, the book contains some talk of animal slaughter and shit like that) that I started over a year ago, it’s a shame it took so long because the book is HILARIOUS.

I’m on airplanes quite often and have every intention of reading in-flight, but I tend to fall asleep before take off and wake up just before landing. Yeah, I’m that girl… sitting beside you in aisle 12, window seat, with her mouth hanging wide open. Did you take a photo of me drooling from one side of my mouth? Tag me on Facebook, would ya? Anyway, point is – my book-reading-time is frequently postponed for “other” activities (zzzzzzzz).

YumUniverse

Camping. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the summertime (especially here in Colorado) because it requires almost zero activity once the AM hike is completed and the PM meal has been prepped. I get to sit my ass down, drink a beer, and enjoy the peaceful mountain air. The best thing about it, everyone around me is doing the exact same thing.

((Speaking of camp, check out some plant-based meal ideas and enter to win some TruRoots product HERE))

YumUniverse

Now, on to what I’m currently reading: a bunch of old Martha Stewart magazines, some gardening blogs, and YumUniverse!  

If I told you I’ve met Heather Crosby in person, would you think I’m so cool? Would I gain some cool points? Street Cred? There are a few of you out there who know who Heather Crosby is and if you have read her book/blog, you’d know how kick ass she is and you’d probably love to meet her. All the others, listen up – I’m about to introduce you to Heather (she’s the one on the book cover).

YumUniverse

I have idolized Heather ever since I learned about her YumUniverse.com launch. She threw this sweet party at a big warehouse in Pilsen (Chicago) and had photographers, food, drinks, cool people – it was incredible. I fell in love with her blog shortly after I attended her launch and am now a proud owner of her book.

YumUniverse

First off, Heather created her book ALL BY HERSELF (a detail I learned on the One Part Podcast) which makes her way more awesome of a person than I could have ever imagined. 

Second, the YumUniverse book contains not only awesome recipes (Sliceable Cashew Cheese, Rainbow Ribbon Veggie Alfredo, Quinoa “Cinnamon Toast” Cereal with Toasted Pecans) but it gives you the “why” behind eating plant-based foods and teaches you how to do it. After reading, you’ll have this book  bookmarked or dog-eared and will refer to it often while working in your kitchen. In the book, Heather talks about fats, and fibers, and proteins, and meal prep, and shopping. She shares what type of tools you should have in your kitchen and even tells you how to get rid of pesky fruit flies.

Out of my entire collection of books, the YumUniverse is my absolute favorite right now – it’s like my food bible. After I’ve finished reading it through, I think I’ll read it again. Then again one more time. It’s THAT book that I take with me every where I go right now…. 

If you’re interested in reading as well, you can purchase the YumUniverse book HERE.

Love

Crista


Aug
03

Tru Roots Lentils

We’ve gone on a few camping trips this summer and have another trip planned at the end of the month. I love camping because it allows an opportunity to bask in the natural beauty that our outdoor world has to offer. 

Camping Twin Lakes

I love being isolated from the modern world, challenged to entertain myself with the few things I’ve packed in the car and the organic earth surrounding me.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

One of the biggest challenges I face prior to a camping trip is meal planning.  
A week prior to camp, I plan out each meal and make a grocery list. It’s important to know exactly how much food will be needed – you don’t want to starve out there in the wilderness but you don’t want to pack too much either – 1. there typically isn’t enough room for over-packing. 2. you may waste food if you over-pack.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Camping Twin Lakes

After I’ve planned my meals and made my grocery list, I make a list of the tools I’ll need in order to properly prepare each meal. 

I have a medium-sized Kelty cooler that is perfect for a weekend trip and I recently purchased a Camp Kitchen from REI that stores all of my plates, utensils, cups, and dry goods. 

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

On our last camping trip, we didn’t have a reserved spot so we weren’t sure if we’d be camping with a campfire or not. We challenged ourselves to prepare all of our meals without a fire and we did so with a single burner camp stove. The mini stove allowed us to make coffee in the morning, warm up oatmeal, cook rice, and warm veggies. (what more could you ask for?!)

Camping Twin Lakes

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Although I hesitated to bring a Sun Tea Jar to camp (some may consider it obnoxious), I was thankful I did – water gets boring after a while. Although it’s considered cold brew, may I recommend Sport Tea for camp? Because, electrolytes.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Let’s talk meal prep for Plant-Based Camp Meals

Here are a few rules I follow when planning out my camp meals:

1. Keep meals SIMPLE, nutritional, and filling
2. Keep ingredients to a minimum
3. Work with ingredients that can be used in multiple meals (you’ll see examples below)
4. Pack foods that won’t spoil quickly (meat, cheese, milk, fish, etc…)
5. Pack a few spices that will enhance flavor (cinnamon, salt, pepper)

Plant-Based Camp Meals

BREAKFAST IDEAS:

1. Cold Cereal w/ Nuts & Fruit 
add some chopped fruit (whatever you’ve packed) and some nuts from your trail mix for a more filling cereal. use a nut milk instead of dairy (it doesn’t spoil as quickly!)

2. Oatmeal
you can make oatmeal in a variety of different ways for camp –
//instant oats cook quickly and can be mixed with fruits, nuts, cinnamon, and almond milk
//you can make steel cut oats prior to camp and warm them quickly – again, add fruits, nuts, almond milk, cinnamon
//if you have a frying pan available, sauté some sliced apples or peaches and then add oats
// blend quinoa with your steel cut oats for added nutrition, Trader Joe’s has frozen packs of oats + quinoa that work well at camp

3. Peanut Butter
add peanut butter to bread or apples for a quick, yet filling breakfast – supplement with trail mix and/or protein bars (this is what I would eat prior to an early AM hike!)

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Camping Twin Lakes

LUNCH IDEAS

1. Guacamole & Quinoa-stuffed Bell Peppers 
Cut bell pepper in half and de-seed them then stuff them with pre-made guacamole and quinoa. Top them with a few chopped tomatoes if you have them on hand.

2. Spinach Salad w/ Peaches and Lentils
Top spinach with lentils (my favorite are the Sprouted Green Lentils from TruRoots because of their nutritional value and peppery flavor) and peaches & cherries (blueberries would work well to!)
The perfect salad dressing to pack for camp is Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic because it works well with every salad I can imagine and can be used in a variety of different ways including as a marinade for veggies, or atop a rice or quinoa dish. PLUS, it keeps well whether room temp or in a cooler.

3. Chopped Veggies & Hummus
Pre-made hummus can be served with practically every veggie I can think of – chop what you’ve got and dip. If you’re a fan of crackers or chips, dip those as well! My favorite crackers are the Bite Size Everything Crackers from Trader Joe’s.

4. Carrot Soup 
Carrot Soup can be served warm or chilled which makes it perfect for camp. The last time we camped, we ate it (chilled) as a side dish to 3-4 different meals, it rounded out our meals by adding additional flavor. The recipe I used is found on the Minimalist Baker blog.

5. Peanut Butter
If you have minimal time for a meal, celery dipped in peanut butter will quickly offer a burst of energy. This may be a “meal” you are eating while hiking or on a boat and can be supplemented with energy bars, trail mix, and dried fruits.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

DINNER IDEAS

1. Rice + Veggies 
TruRoots Germinated Brown Rice cooks in less than 10 minutes which makes it ideal for camp (especially when you’re trying to get dinner done prior to the sun setting)! If you serve cooked rice over the top of raw, chopped veggies, and allow it to sit for a few minutes, the warmth of the rice will soften the veggies. If you prefer to cook your veggies, you can do that too. Use any veggies you like (or what you have on hand), I used broccoli and cauliflower on my last camping trip. To add flavor to your rice & veggies, use the Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic dressing.

2. Chickpea Lettuce Wraps
SO EASY! Ok, here is what you need: a can of chickpeas, a head of lettuce, some fruits (those peaches that you used for breakfast – or mango), diced cucumber, and a dressing. I used the Carrot Soup as a dressing for my lettuce wraps because I had it on hand, but I also considered making a Peanut Sauce prior to camp. (recipe for peanut sauce HERE)

3. a Quinoa Bowl 
quinoa + fruits + avocado + peanut sauce – find the recipe HERE

4. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Cut the tops off the bell peppers and de-seed them. Stand them upright and stuff them with chopped veggies, warm rice or quinoa, and some tomato sauce if you have it on-hand. If you have a campfire, you can wrap them in foil and allow them to “cook” – if not, allow the warm rice or quinoa to soften the bell pepper and veggies for a few minutes prior to eating.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

If you look at my table setup in the photos, you’ll see that I served many of these meals together instead of singly to create more interesting and complex meals. It’s all about getting creative, using what you have, and displaying your foods colorfully!

For more camp food ideas check out these links:
Mammoth Lakes Camping + Vegan Campfire Food
36 Camping Experts Reveal Their 3 Easy Camping Meals 

Camping Twin Lakes

Now, for the Giveaway. 

TruRoots recently asked me to become an ambassador for them and I happily said YES after reading their story and trying their products. The TruRoots philosophy is: 

TruRoots was founded on the idea that our connections to the sources of our foods are important. The people who grow, harvest and deliver these nutritious foods are just as important as the final product. In fact, without this chain of good people and wise practices, the high quality of our food simply isn’t possible.

With this approach has come not only a connection between the people and lands that these foods come from—it has opened up avenues for the sharing of cultural wisdom. Western science is just ‘discovering’ many of the principals that have been in use for centuries around the world. These ancient practices are being confirmed by science as having nutritious benefit and agricultural sustainability. And this process of learning and sharing has only begun.
It is our belief at TruRoots that scientific advances and ancient wisdom can be brought together into a golden middle road which leads to not only wholesome foods, but rewarding human relationships. We have a lot to learn from each other… And the process of doing this is simply delicious!

With that philosophy and some of the best tasting grains I’ve ever eaten, TruRoots is a company that I’m excited to stand behind.

TruRoots has offered to give away 1 package of each TruRoots Originals product to one lucky PLQ winner. To enter, leave a comment on this post before August 17. The lucky winner will be randomly chosen and notified on August 18. Please share this post with any of your camping friends or with anyone who may be interested in winning some TruRoots goodies!

Camping Twin Lakes

Although TruRoots influenced me by sending out some free product, all opinions and food ideas in this post are my own. In this post, you will also find a few affiliate links – if you click them and purchase a product, I may make a few pennies on the dollar. Thank you for taking the time to read! 

Oh, and for the record – all of these photos were taken at Twin Lakes, CO. Beautiful, right?! 

Love

Crista


Jul
23

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch. Is it becoming a thing of the past….?

When I was a little girl, it seemed like I was surrounded by a never-ending supply of butterscotch goodies (which may have had something to do with my mothers sweet tooth and obsession with everything butterscotch) but it’s totally rare to find butterscotch treats these days. Damn you, 2015.

I mean, I can remember butterscotch puddings, butterscotch pies, butterscotchy cookies, and these little pastries that we’d melt butterscotch chips into. My mouth is watering as I reminisce on the “good ole days”…

I can remember the FEW times that I’ve found butterscotch ANYTHING in my adult life. Beans & Barley in Milwaukee has butterscotch pie for sale every now and then (or at least they did years ago), and Work & Class in Denver and Hub 51 in Chicago both have butterscotchy desserts that are to die for. That’s it. That’s all I’ve found in the recent years.

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

For years, I’ve thought about making my own homemade butterscotch pudding but I was too intimidated to go for it until recently. I grew a pair of balls, ya’ll and good thing I did because I crushed it.

Not only is butterscotch pudding ridiculously easy to make (as long as you can make quick moves in the kitch), it’s also:
creamy
smooth
rich
buttery
not tooth-achingly sweet
and it does not lack complex flavor

EVEN THOUGH it’s dairy free and egg-free…. (which is why you might be thinking that this pudding recipe can’t possibly be all I’m hyping it up to be – I dare you to put it to the test)

What this recipe does include is a little bit of Bourbon and some Real Deal Vanilla Extract. Please, please, please do not exclude bourbon and vanilla from this pudding. The first time I tried this recipe, I didn’t have any bourbon on hand, and I was all lazy-like so I made the pudding without it. The result could be named some like “Sugar Pudding” – it was overly sweet and lacked in real deal flavor.

I feel lucky to have gotten some of Oh Lady Cakes Real Deal Vanilla Extract when it went on sale but she is completely sold out now so you won’t be able to get any of it for this recipe (until Dec 2015) HOWEVER you can make this pudding with ANY real vanilla extract. I recommend you stay away from the imitation stuff. As an alternative to the Real Deal, I like Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract.

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

{dairy-free} Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1½ cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4½ cups unsweetened plain almond milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, softened (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
Instructions
  1. Pudding cooks quickly so it's important that you gather and measure all of your ingredients before you being making it. Do that now - and be sure to grab a small saucepan and a wire whisk or a wooden spoon as well.
  2. BEFORE you put the saucepan over heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in it until they are mixed well.
  3. Add ½ cup of the almond milk to the mixture and place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently and thoroughly to completely dissolve the cornstarch and sugar.
  4. Add the remainder of the almond milk and the bourbon, stir constantly until the mixture thickens. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Once thickened, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the margarine and vanilla.
  6. Transfer the pudding to a heatproof dish and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding, covering it completely. This will prevent a skin from forming on the top.
  7. Chill for a few hours prior to serving.
Notes
I tested this recipe without the bourbon and it was really sweet, almost too sweet. The bourbon helps to balance out the flavor and depth without being overpowering.

If you would like more of the bourbon flavor to be more prominent, add another tablespoon of it to the recipe. Really, you can't go wrong.
If you so desire, top your butterscotch pudding with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and/or some carob nibs (which is how I like it!)

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

This recipe was adapted from a recipe on about food.

Love

Crista


Jul
17

Crista's Garden

My garden. My outdoor sanctuary. I’ve blogged about it a time or two

Crista's Garden

This gardening season has been slow and daunting thus far. Too much rain,not enough rain. Too hot, not hot enough. Unfamiliar spaces, unfamiliar plants, trial & error, all things that I’ve dealt with this year.

Crista's Garden

FINALLY, just recently, I’m making progress & I’ve got some beautiful photos to prove it. A bragging moment: my yard is the most eye-catching on the block and I’m totally flaunting it.

Crista's Garden

My new friend Pam, The Brooklyn Farm Girl interviewed me and featured my beautiful sanctuary on her blog today, I’m excited to share it with you all. Click through to read the full interview and to see more photos of my garden space!!

BFG

Love

Crista


Jul
14

Ridiculously Yummy Popcorn Toppings

It is no secret that I have an obsession with popcorn.
Like, I’ve been known to go days without eating anything other than popcorn.
(Don’t judge me, I’m not perfect.)

The first aisle I visit in the grocery store is usually the popcorn aisle and I’ve been known to show signs of anger and discontent when my favorite type of popcorn is out of stock. OK, I’m being a little dramatic here but I do like what I like and I like it to be available, always.

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in my Pinterest feed and my web bookmarks that parallels my addiction – lots of (beautiful) popcorn photos (it photographs so well!) and recipes.

And anyway, a side note – eating popcorn makes me feel WAY LESS guilty than when I eat chips.

I’m nice, so I’m sharing my favorite Ridiculously Yummy Popcorn Toppings and Recipes. Have at it, friends!

Everything Bagel Popcorn

EVERYTHING BAGEL POPCORN
Recently, I’ve been on a Trader-Joe’s-Everything-Cracker kick (HAVE YOU HAD THEM?! OMG) so you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon the idea of Everything Popcorn. I’m all like “duh, why didn’t I think of that?!” I didn’t need to because Joanne from Eats Well With Others did. Thanks, lady.

 

Nooch Popcorn

NOOCH POPCORN
In place of butter, Ali from Gimme Some Oven uses Nooch on her popcorn. I love butter just as much as I love popcorn but it ain’t good. Nutritional yeast is nutritional and not greasy which is why I love the idea of using it as an alternative. Thanks Ali, don’t mind if I do.

Churro Kettle Popcorn

CHURRO POPCORN
It’s like a skinny version of something you might find at the Minnesota State Fair but better… (click through  that link at your own risk). I thank Amy’s Healthy Baking for creating a recipe that provides nostalgia (back in the day, I tore up that state fair….)

Sriracha Popcorn

SRIRACHA POPCORN
Sriracha. Popcorn. Need I say more? Wendy at Around My Family Table not only hooked us up with this recipe, but she’s got 18 more recipes (that I counted) here. Who has the bigger obsession – her or me?

Caramel Popcorn

VEGAN CARAMEL CORN
A classic, made vegan – that’s the kind of shit I like. Now, if we can find a vegan cheddar popcorn recipe to blend with it, we’d have ourselves some bomb ass Chicago popcorn. I’ll give my request to Cassie at Vegan Insanity immediately.

Cilantro Lime Popcorn

CILANTRO LIME POPCORN
How did Cassie from Bake Your Day know that I was looking for cilantro recipes because I’ve got a boatload of it in the garden? OH, she didn’t – this recipe was posted in 2013. Well anyway, I found it at the right time. Plus, I feel like I could really bond with Cassie because she has a popcorn addiction as well. Or, at least she did in 2013. Her & I should totally hang out.

Sweet & Salty Curried Popcorn

SWEET & SALTY CURRIED POPCORN
Either you’re one of those people who loves curry, or you’re one of those people who hates it. I’m one of those people who LOVES it so this recipe really speaks to me. Faith from the kitchn encourages people to eat this popcorn with chopsticks – FUN FACTOR! I’m in. Anyone interested in coming over for a popcorn/chopsticks night?!

Popcorn Puppy Chow

COOKIE BUTTER, DARK CHOCOLATE, POPCORN PUPPY CHOW
I know what you’re thinking, “that’s the best damn combination I’ve ever heard of Crista.”
I KNOW.
I made the recipe up all on my own, but I didn’t keep it to myself. Have at it.
PLQdivider

In other news, Have you ever popped popcorn in a brown paper bag? Just for fun:
HOW TO POP POPCORN IN A BROWN PAPER BAG IN THE MICROWAVE

Love

Crista


Jul
12

Garden Must Haves

When I was shopping for my first home, one of my requirements is that it have some type of outdoor space. I wasn’t exactly clear on what that space needed to look like, but I knew that I needed room for a garden and it needed to feel Colorado-y. I moved here for the mountains and the outdoors, I wanted my home and my space to reflect that. 

I was lucky enough to find the most amazing little cottage that has an incredibly huge front yard with space for a garden, a hammock, a fire pit, succulents, rose bushes, and room to play. For the first time in years, it occurred to me that gardening is just about planting veggies in the ground – there is so much more that goes along with it if you have the space. This year I didn’t get many veggies in the ground because the space is funky (in a good way) and I’m still learning BUT I did have an opportunity to learn all about succulents, refinish a vintage wooden bench, paint and decorate a garden shed, lounge in my hammock, and begin a collection of clay pots (some of which I’ve painted pretty colors!). I have had SO. MUCH.FUN!

I find myself spending my free time visiting cute garden stores and browsing Etsy for anything and everything that I can use to decorate my yard and my garden shed. Seriously, I’ll spend any amount of money for the cutest things! I win, because my yard is shaping up to be an amazing space to hang out. (come on over if you’d like!)

Through my browsing on Etsy, I have found the most amazing adorable garden decor, some even suitable for the indoors. I couldn’t not share. Are you ready?

Just so you know, I have partnered up with Etsy via their Affiliate program. If you purchase anything via these links, I will earn a small commission. It’s interesting that I must disclose that information because I’ve never made more than $6 via an affiliate link. Clearly, I don’t write this post because of the $$, I write it because I’m in loooove. Here are the 25 Garden Must Have Items:


Garden Etsy
GARDEN SIGN
If you’re going to have a cutie little garden, you might as well have a cutie little sign that draws more attention to it. If my dog could read, maybe he’d get the hint that doggie pee does not belong in the clearly-marked garden! 

Garden Etsy
CERAMIC GARDEN MARKERS
Speaking of markings, how adorable are these ceramic herb markers? There are two mystery items planted in my garden this year, which could have been prevented with the proper identification. (lesson learned!)

Garden Etsy
MASON JAR HERB PLANTER
If you lack outdoor space, consider growing some herbs indoors or on a small patio. I give a DIY tutorial on indoor herb HERE.

Garden Etsy
HANGING PLANTER
After inheriting a succulent garden, I quickly learned which succulents don’t survive in the ground and must be planted in containers. I die for these adorable hanging planters, which would look amazing on my covered back patio. (I point out that it’s covered because these succulents need protection from the elements!)

Garden Etsy
RUSTIC RECLAIMED APPLE
Too cute for words. It’d be perfect hanging on a fence or in a garden shed (She Shed!)

Garden Hammock Etsy
MAYAN HAMMOCK
I actually own this hammock (in a teal color) and it is AMAZING. It was custom-made to order in Nicaragua and is very high quality (not to mention uber comfy) – the addition of this hammock transformed my outdoor space in to a brag-worthy, vacation-like type setting. I’m in love, love.

Garden Etsy
SUSPENDED HAMMOCK TABLE
I do not YET own this suspended outdoor hammock table, but I will soon. IT’S beyond NECESSARY.

Garden Etsy
FIRE PIT
If you’ve got space leftover in your yard after adding a hammock, you might as well add this epic fire pit as well. I’ve got a built-in fire pit in my yard, it’s a shame I haven’t been able to put it to use this year (damn you, rain!!)

Garden Etsy
COLORADO FLAG BEER COOLER
In Colorado, we REPRESENT and you should too… every opportunity you get. Plus, doesn’t every garden need a beer cooler. I mean, walking back in to the house to grab a beer can be debilitating.

Garden Etsy
BUNDLED COLORFUL DRIED FLOWERS
Decorate your home, decorate your garden shed, decorate your She Shed… so many uses for pretty flowers.

Garden Etsy
LOCALLY GROWN GARDEN SIGN
Say it loud and proud – that’s the point isn’t it?

Garden Etsy
SUCCULENT CEMENT PLANTER
Here is another for the indoor gardener – succulents ALWAYS make for beautiful centerpieces AND they’re easy to maintain, like REALLY easy.

Garden Etsy
AIR PLANT PLANTER
I just recently learned about air plants (am I late to the game) – they are the bomb! They literally grow in the air (NOT SOIL!) and only need to be spritzed with water every 2-3 days or so. For a cool factor, add a few air plants to your indoor space. 

Garden Etsy
VINTAGE GARDEN TOOLS
I probably wouldn’t actually use these garden tools, but I would keep them around for the cute factor. I mean, that mint green color couldn’t be prettier.

Garden Etsy
VINTAGE GARDEN TOTE
I am constantly carrying toting stuff between my garden shed and my garden space, this tote would be a perfect carry-all and would lessen the need of me having to make so many trips back and forth. Plus, it’s adorable.

Garden Etsy
GARDEN GNOME JUICE GLASS
Jerome the Gnome! This dude gets around.

 

Garden Etsy
DIY VERTICAL GARDEN
Here is another option for the indoors. There are several different designs to choose from like an owl, a tree, or a kitty cat. I’m obsessed. AND, I’m thinking these would make great gifts as well.

Garden Etsy
RAKE WALL HOOK
Herbs tend to grow faster than you can use them If you’re going to grow them, you’re probably going to want a set of hooks to dry them from so you can use them all year round. I gift my closest friends dried herbs from my garden over the holidays – the gift costs me next to nothing, but it still ends up being everyone’s favorite gift.

Garden Etsy
MACRAME PLANT HANGER
This beautiful handmade piece would look great in or outside of the home. 

Garden Etsy
HANDMADE BUG HOUSE
I have a love/hate relationship with bugs. OK, I love them most of the time and only hate them when they’re chomping on my vegetable garden. I constantly catch myself taking photos of bees, beetles, ladybugs, and any other colorful bug that I find so I must have an obsession. I’d love to encourage the bugs to stick around with this little house because I know so many of them are beneficial to the vegetables, plants, and compost bin.

Garden Etsy
VINTAGE LINEN GARDEN TOWEL
CUTE! Like, cute, cute, cute, cute, cute!

Garden Etsy
PRIMITIVE WOODEN GARDEN LADDER
In my wildest dreams, I dream of owning a ladder just like this. Should I go ahead and buy it now?

 

Garden Etsy
HERB GARDEN MARKERS
These garden markers sell in a customizable set of 3! SCORE! I need to order 4 sets because I’m growing sage, thyme, basil, stevia, lovage, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, mint, and chamomile. The additional 2 would definitely be lavender and parsley which I don’t have planted this year (boo!!)

Garden Etsy
VINTAGE VEGETABLE GARDEN MARKERS
Oh, HEY! little radishes that would look absolutely adorable in my yard. If you prefer vintage over custom, you should probably buy these veggie garden markers immediately. Because, cute.PLQdivider

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Love

Crista