Dec
20

Gingery Apple Carrot Lentil Loaf

As a vegetarian, I have to get creative with “main course” dishes. People typically make a meat or fish of some sort for their main dish, and then supplement their “meal” with one or two side dishes but I don’t have that option. Often time, veggies are my main course – which often times weirds people out because that’s what they would eat as their side dish. (Anyway, I think THEY are the weirdos haha).

Around the holiday season, when friends and families are gathering around the dinner table, is when people REALLY question what it is that I eat. They can’t understand that I won’t eat turkey, not even on Thanksgiving. It trips people up, but a vegetarian is a vegetarian, even during the holidays. Often times, I just eat several side dishes and completely X out a main course option, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have options.

This Lentil Loaf, for instance is comparable to a meat loaf and can be served as a main dish. I love, love lentil loaves, especially this time of the year – can you say comfort food? THIS is exactly what a vegetarian would serve as their main dish option for a holiday meal.

This loaf was pretty quick to whip up, and I made it because I already had all of the ingredients on hand. One ingredient that I considered adding to the loaf is onion, but I didn’t have it on hand so I didn’t use it. If you’ve got an onion, use it – it’d be a tasty add-in (although I liked the loaf just fine without it). My favorite ingredient in this loaf is the ginger – it added a warm, comforting flavor without over-powering and it smelled so good. 

a Gingery Apple Carrot Lentil Loaf with a Cranberry Apple Glaze
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup lentils, uncooked
  • ½ cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • ⅓ cup apple, grated
  • ⅓ cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup dried bread crumbs** (see note)
  • ½ cup flour (gluten-free is an option here)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup cranberry apple sauce or apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cook the lentils according to directions then allow them to cool.
  3. In a food processor, puree the lentil and mixed nuts.
  4. In a large pan or wok, sauté the garlic and ginger in oil for about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the apples, carrots, celery, raisins, salt, and pepper. Sauté for another 5 minutes.
  5. Combine the mixture with the lentils, nuts, flaxseed, flour, bread crumbs, oregano, and thyme. Stir together, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  6. Pack the lentil mixture firmly in to a loaf pan.
  7. Now it's time to make the glaze!
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the cranberry apple sauce, ketchup, balsamic glaze, and maple syrup.
  9. Spread evenly over the lentil loaf.
  10. Bake, uncovered, for about 50-60 minutes.
Notes
**If you don't have bread crumbs on hand, you can take 5-6 slices of bread and put them each in the toaster a few times until the bread is dry and will crumble.

 Gingery Apple Carrot Lentil Loaf

Love

Crista


Dec
13

Cranberry Whiskey Applesauce

OK, I realize that you may be thinking I’m a little late out of the gate with a Cranberry Sauce recipe. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and no one is thinking about cranberry sauce anymore. Except for me. I am. Because I discovered that it’s complimentary to many different food items and meals besides the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

In fact, I made this Cranberry Whiskey Applesauce for Thanksgiving and then made it AGAIN because it was so good…. (and because I had leftover ingredients). I served on the side of a rice and beans dish last night, it’s good with waffles, it’s good with butternut squash and kale, it’s good with a lentil loaf, it’s good atop pumpkin cornbread, waffles, pancakes, basically, everything. It’s good with everything.

AND, it’s still the holiday season so I still consider myself relevant with this recipe. So there. 

Tin Cup Whiskey

I’ve made applesauce before and I’ve made cranberry sauce before, I’ve even made Cranberry Applesauce before, but this was the first time I added whiskey. The reason that adding whiskey appealed to me is because I was cooking for my boyfriends parents who are Irish… and they love them some whiskey. In fact, when they were here visiting we all got drunk-ish on whiskey shots one afternoon. Shamefully, I couldn’t even take one shot – I had to sip. They kept talking about how “smooth” the whiskey was, while I tried my hardest just to keep up. Sigh. I’ve got a lot of work to do if I’m going to be a part of that family.

So anyway, I knew that I could not invite an Irish family in to my home on the holiday without having a bottle of whiskey on hand. I went to Trader Joe’s and found a CO local whiskey, Tin Cup. It’s got some relation to Stanahan’s whiskey (which is da bomb) but I don’t quite remember what the relation was. The Tin Cup is like Stanahan’s little sister, or anyway that’s how I see it…. It’s also more affordable than Stanahan’s! (like)

So the recipe….

easy Cranberry (Whiskey) Apple Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6-8 apples*, chopped
  • 3 cups cranberries
  • ¼ cup apple cider, apple juice, or water
  • ½ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a large pot and simmer on low-medium heat for about an hour or two.
  2. Once the cranberries and apples have softened, move the pot away from the heat and let it cool slightly (this could take another hour).
  3. Either mash the sauce with a masher for a chunkier sauce OR put the mixture into a blender and puree for a smoother sauce.
  4. Serve warm, chilled, or at room temperature.
Notes
*I prefer to use a sweet apple variety (like Honeycrisp) to compliment the tartness of the cranberries.

 Cranberry Whiskey Applesauce

Love

Crista


Dec
05

Modern Love

Although it’s been a few weeks since my dinner date with BFF, Doug, I’m still reliving that glorious day – the day that I got to visit Isa Chandra’s very first vegan restaurant, located in Omaha, NE.

IT. WAS. BOMMMMB.

Modern Love

Although Doug is not a vegan, he agreed to escort me to the restaurant (I use the word escort because it’s funny). In the few years that I’ve known Doug, he’s allowed me to feed him foods that he thinks are “exotic” (like Brussels Sprouts and Bloody Mary’s). The dude is lucky to have me as a friend – COULD YOU IMAGINE A LIFE WITHOUT BRUSSELS AND BLOODY’S?? The boy is from the midwest and he likes fast food – I’m trying to hook him up.

Anyway, he GLADLY visited Modern Love with me because he trusts me and knows that I won’t steer him in the wrong direction. SPOILER ALERT: I am about to give you information that was meant to be shared at the end of this post: Doug ate his entire meal at Modern Love (even though he though he might not like it)!!! That’s a BIG DEAL!!!!

Modern Love

Modern Love

I’m pretty confident that we all the right choices, food-wise at the restaurant. I ordered the Chili and PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS – yes, we should re-visit what I just said in a moment – and Doug ordered the Seitan Schnitzel. We also ordered a side of kale – probably the best kale I’ve ever, ever, ever had. Modesty aside, it was DEFINITELY the best kale I’ve ever had. 

Modern Love

So, about that Chili served with a Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll AND – AND coconut whipped cream. Apparently, the chili/cinnamon roll combination is a “midwest thing” – they’ve been serving those two side-by-side for YEARS I’m told. I’m pissed because I’m from the midwest and no one ever told me about this remarkable combination. Doug’s all like “we’ve been eating cinnamon rolls with our chili forever and ever” and I’m all like “shut up….”

Regardless, I’m grateful to finally be “in-the-know”

So, when my mom came to Denver this past week to help me move, I made chili & cinnamon rolls. The night Patrick’s (boyfriend) parents met my mother, I made chili and cinnamon rolls. Football this weekend? I’ll probably make chili and cinnamon rolls.

Thanks, Isa.

Modern Love

Below is Doug – master vegan eater. He loved Modern Love so much that he took his carnivores parents there for his birthday. They won’t admit how much they loved the place, but I bet they cleaned their plates/bowls just like Dougy did.

Modern Love

 

On another note, I got to meet Isa while I was at Modern Love – I almost died but tried to remain calm. I didn’t take her photo, didn’t want to bother. Anyway, I idolize the chick because she is a badass vegan recipe creator. And her books are badass and her restaurant is badass. I begged her to open up in Denver but she’s not going to (boo) – she’s looking at LA though…. Anyway, Isa, if you’re reading this – I beg once more for some Modern Love in Denver. Kthanks.

Love

Crista


Dec
03

ahhhhhh.
finally, i can breathe.
not only did i just come off of the busiest work travel season i’ve had in a long time, i also shopped for, purchased, and moved into my new home.
buying a home may be the single most stressful situation i have been a part of-
people kept telling me it’d be worth it in the end. i was skeptical during the process, but now, while i sit on my couch, with my feet kicked up, in MY home, i realize that they were right – it was TOTALLY worth it!
…and every time i step foot in to my home, i fall in love all over again.

just a few days (4 days!) after moving in to my new home, i hosted my boyfriends family for Thanksgiving.
i cooked, although modestly. i made homemade hummus & veggies, cranberry whiskey applesauce, pumpkin cornbread, and a killer kale salad. we ate plenty.

so, this is my new life. in Colorado
in my new home.
with my amazing bearded Colorado boyfriend by my side.

as i sit here alone, i know that i am not alone – there is an entire team of people out there who have helped shape my being. people who have encouraged me, and hugged me, and pushed me to keep on keeping on even in the most difficult of times.

my heart is filled with love and gratitude. my life is filled with love and gratitude.
i’m ready to get back to life as it once was – as a foodie and a blogger.

let’s get this party started, again!

xox

Love

Crista


Nov
12

A few days ago, I got an e-mail explaining the final steps of my home purchase – that’s right, I’M BUYING A HOME. In Colorado. I thought I’d NEVER buy a home simply because up until this point I was never satisfied enough to plant roots. BUT, this is Colorado. Home. It’s good here. I think I was sent here to stay for a very long time. Shit is about to get real.

When I loved in Chicago, I was in a hurry to get things done, oh I rushed and rushed until life was no fun.
((“all I really wanna do is live and die, but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why”)) 
Yeah, it’s a song. you probably know it. Relatable to my life prior to my CO move. 
Colorado has taught me to slow down and enjoy life.

Everyone asks (jokingly) if I moved to Colorado because of legalized marijuana… which is weird because I’ve had never wanted anything to do with it my entire life. When people ask me that silly questions, I tell them “No, I moved to Colorado because it’s socially acceptable to drive a Subaru there.” They get all confused and shut up then. 

Rocky Mountains

My new home is further west of where I currently live, near the Highlands area which means easier (than ever) access to the MOUNTAINS !! Literally, a 20 minute drive puts me in the foothill. Yeeeeeeeeah babyyyyyy!!!

Deer Creek CanyonRed Rocks

On top of that, Red Rocks amphitheater is only 25 minutes away. Do you know about Red Rocks? It’s incredible – it’s a musicians DREAM to play there. And it’s my dream to see all of my favorite musicians there ((which is coming true)). During the day, the amphitheater is an outdoor gym – I can hardly keep up with the fitness fanatics in Colorado, but it sure is inspiring to watch them all. Walking up the steps to the amphitheater still takes my breath away (I’ll blame it on the altitude).

yoga-on-the-rocks

Oh, and – Yoga On The Rocks at Red Rocks – 

Beet Box Denver

Beet Box is the very first vegan restaurant cafe/restaurant and I wasn’t mad about it. Do you see that cinnamon roll? Served with a side of buttercream frosting, and I’m sitting on Cloud 9. I don’t go to Beet Box often enough, I need to get there again soon. Very soon.

steamboat springs, co

Luckily I met an awesome guy in Colorado (boyfriend!), he took me to Steamboat Springs to fall in l-o-v-e. We didn’t take many photos during that trip because we were busy relaxing, napping, and bathing in the hot springs. As a bonus, Jason Aldean & Luke Bryan own a restaurant in the Springs that we (OF COURSE) went to for some pre-dinner moonshine. Couldn’t eat dinner there, steakhouse (idk).

 

Glenwood Springs, Colorado 

That same awesome guy rode took a trip to Glenwood Springs with my dad & I. We didn’t do much, besides enjoy the mountains and hike Hanging Lake. You see, living in Colorado is cool because you can take a “vacation” in your own backyard – in 3 hours, I can be in a location where people spend their life savings to vacation at.

palisade-peaches

Near Glenwood Springs is a little town called Palisade. In Palisade, there are several wineries, vineyards, and fruit trees. Some of the best peaches I’ve ever had come from Palisade. I feel like no one knows about Palisade peaches besides Coloradans. All the more reason I feel lucky to be a Coloradan.

starter plants from Farmers Market

I got all of my starter plants for the garden at the Boulder Farmers Market this year. While the Boulder Farmers Market isn’t the most amazing farmers market I’ve ever been to, it may be the most adorable. Plus, it’s in Boulder, you couldn’t ask for a better location.

waterfalls, colorado

Oh, in between Red Rocks i Morrison and this cute little mountain town called Evergreen, there are waterfalls rolling down the mountain. It’s a pretty sweet little drive between the two towns. After hiking a trail at Red Rocks, my mom and I went up to Evergreen to visit a winery …(duh)…. When I talk about these waterfalls, I feel like I’m straight up bragging – I’ve never lived so close to a waterfall in my life.

North Table Mountain // Golden, CO

Those are real, legit cowboys. On top of North Table Mountain. Seriously, cowboys. On horses. and a cute little dog. Oh, and that view. My life is complete.

Ypsilon Lake //Rocky Mountain National Park

I have a friend whose family visits Estes Park a few times a year, and they spend a pretty penny doing it. I get to drive to Estes Park whenever I feel like it. I can hike all day, have a few beers at a local brewery, and still be home in time for dinner. Oh, and I don’t have to spend much money doing it. 

Mt. Evans, Colorado

One of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life is hike to 14,000 feet. It was not an easy task, however a satisfying one. On the way up, I told myself that I’d never volunteer to do such a thing again. After a few days of recovery, and reflection, I was anxious to do it again. There are 54 fourteeners in Colorado, and I’d love to climb them all (we’ll see how that goes….) and if all goes well, I’d love to climb Mount Kilimanjaro some day….

I could give you a million more reasons why I love Colorado, I’ve even blogged about some of them but I’ll stop here. I feel like I’m bragging. I can’t help it, I’m smitten with my new life.

Love

Crista


Nov
05

pumpkins 

Doods. So I went to Trader Joe’s two weeks ago and they were on pumpkin-overload. I swear to you that every single item in the store was pumpkinized. I wasn’t mad about it however I did end up spending a lot more money that day than I normally do. (I mean, hellloooooo pumpkin cinnamon rolls that aren’t even vegan but I’ll buy anyway because: pumpkin)

I walked in to the store yesterday to find that the shelf that was once pumpkinized had been reverted back to the same ole “new items in stock” that… I’m still not mad about. BUT, what the hell happened to all the pumpkin stuff?? Halloween is over but Thanksgiving is not. I have very high standards on how long you need to keep pumpkin goodies in stock and I’m pissed when you reduce inventory after Halloween.  Can ya dig?

To make up for the lack of pumpkin goodies on shelves of TJ’s across the country, I bring you this post that is chock-full of vegan pumpkin recipes. You may want to bookmark it and refer back to it every year between Halloween & Thanksgiving when grocery stores assume it time to remove the pumpkin and introduce the Christmas candy. No one is ready for Christmas candy, anyway. We’re still trying to eat up that Halloween candy… 

pumpkin pie yogurt parfait

The Pumpkin Spice Cake from Vegan Yumminess looks super moist and full of fragrant spices. Put this cake in the oven, and I bet you’d have the entire house smelling like heaven. Pumpkin heaven, that is.

This Pumpkin Chai Shake from real kids eat spinach recommends you freeze pumpkin in ice cube trays and blend it with awesome ingredients like chai tea and fragrant spices. (who would have thought to blend pumpkin into a shake, let alone freeze it in ice cube trays?? – GENIUS)

Larabars. We’ve all had them. Every time I empty my purse, I find a beat up Larabar at the bottom. I always keep (at least) one on hand to ensure I never starve. Although I’ve got a lot of experience eating these vegan, raw, healthful bars, I’ve never made them. Not until I found this genius Pumpkin Pie Larabars recipe by eat, live, burp.

I thought myself to be a genius when I made a Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait inspired by something Martha Stewart did. It’s goooooood.

Pumpkin Pie without the crust? I’m down. Check out this Pumpkin Pie Pudding from meadows cooks.

Isa Did It, just like she promised she would with this Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl recipe in her book. I could hardly stand to photograph that meal – get.in.my.belly.

My favorite vegan grocery store, NOOCH is selling vegan pumpkin ice cream made by Sweet Action (a local Denver thing) but if they weren’t I’d make an attempt at the Pumpkin Ice Cream recipe from Minimalist Baker. Every recipe I have ever made from Minimalist Baker (SEVERAL!) has been flawless, and I’m sure this one would be no exception – they topped that ice cream with roasted pecans and coconut whipped cream (I mean, does it get any better than that??)

We’re not done yet.

I’m kind of obsessed with baking ingredients IN a pumpkin, then eating the entire thing. I’ve never done it but I will. Check out these Holiday Stuffed Pumpkins from Deliciously Ella. (and, actually – I’m putting the Green Kitchen Stories book on my wishlist)

Pumpkin juice? Yes, it’s a thing: a Glowing Pumpkin Juice recipe from Fettle Vegan.

“The BEST Pancakes I’ve ever had” says my boyfriend about the Pumpkin Spice Pancakes I made him. Recipe by Minimalist Baker (duh, flawless) Don’t top these with fake syrup – you better use pure maple syrup, it’s the only way to go. And anyway, GO, go make these now!

I could go on and on and on. But you must stop reading now and go make one of these recipes. 

For the record, I made a triple batch of those Pumpkin Spice Pancakes and I put them in the freezer for “later” …which means I’ll have eaten three batches of Pumpkin Spice Pancakes in a 2-3 day time frame. Psh, my life doesn’t suck.

Do you have any vegan pumpkin recipes to share? Please do.

Love

Crista


Oct
28

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl

Tis the season for pumpkin EVERYTHING. Have you been to Trader Joe’s lately? They seriously have EVERYTHING pumpkin. I have to stay away from the place this time of year. Pumpkin cornbread mix, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pop tarts, pumpkin scones, pumpkin ravioli, pumping this, pumpkin that. Almost non of it vegan. Sigh.

For the first time last year, I learned to bake my pumpkins and gather my own puree versus purchasing pumpkin puree in a can. I’m stepping up my game in the kitchen. Watch out November, I’m hot.

I recently purchased a new cookbook, Isa Does It
It’s a book I’ve wanted for quite some time and I finally broke down and got it! I was stoked when I found a pumpkin recipe in the cookbook, it’s the first thing I made. I’m going to give you this Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl/Plate recipe in this post but then you HAVE to buy this book for the other recipes. The Mushroom Hot Pot, the Baked Garlic Curry Fries, and the Jerk Sloppy Joes are among some of my favorite recipes. 

Isa does not know me (yet) but I’m hoping to introduce myself to her next month when I visit her brand new vegan restaurant in Omaha, called Modern Love. Uhm, she’s serving a dish of chili & cinnamon rolls at Modern Love (genius!). I guess that’s an “Omaha” thing (cinnamon rolls paired with chili, that is). I’m down. Sounds like it could be a “Crista” thing. Don’t be surprised when I dedicate an entire blog to chili and cinnamon rolls – pumpkin cinnamon rolls, duh.

Isa Does It

So anyway, about this pumpkin bowl (that I plated). I love that it has several different elements and flavors, all reminiscent of autumn. Instead of turning the pumpkin into some fancy baked good, it is baked and eaten as is (seriously, who does that?? it’s GOOD). Along with herbs (that I got out of the garden), the pumpkin seeds are used to make the chimichurri sauce and spread atop the entire dish. Soba noodles are recommended as the starch in this dish, but QUINOA could be used as well. Look, I love noodles AND I love quinoa – it’s a hard choice to make. (good luck to you)

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl
Author: 
 
Ingredients
For the pumpkin and noodles:
  • 1 (3 pound) sugar pumpkin, sliced in half and seeded
  • 8 ounces soba noodles
For the chimichurri:
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup pepitas
  • 2 cups chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For serving:
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup pepitas
Instructions
Prepare the pumpkin & noodles:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes or until tender.
  2. In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain, place back in the pot, and set aside.
Prepare the chimichurri:
  1. Place the garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse to get it chopped up. Add the pepitas and pulse into fine crumbs.
  2. Add the rest of the chimichurri ingredients and puree.
To assemble:
  1. Toss the noodles with about ¼ of the chimichurri sauce and divide among bowls.
  2. Scoop cooked pumpkin into each bowl, and add some black beans.
  3. Top with the additional chimichurri and pepitas.

Chimichurri Pumpkin Plate

Love

Crista


Oct
16

Pink Pesto

I know, I know, I know, I know. I talk about the tomatoes in my garden ALL THE TIME. I can’t help it – THERE ARE SO MANY! I’m not bragging. Or maybe I am bragging, gah – I don’t know! Today, here I am, talking about all of those tomatoes AGAIN. 

I’ve been obsessing over a Pink Pesto sauce that I found at Whole Foods for quite some time. I didn’t buy it because it’s full of dairy but I check it out every time I’m at the store. No one talks about Pink Pesto, I’ve never even heard of such a thing, intrigue! I searched for a non-dairy version and quickly realized that Scarpetta is the ONLY company that makes a pink pesto. I like pink, and I like pesto, I also like being able to use ingredients fresh from my garden (brag), and I ALSO like non-dairy goods. SO I made my own version of the Pink Pesto. I don’t know how it compares to the Pink Pesto at the grocery store and quite frankly, I don’t care because my Pink Pesto is DELISH! 

I made a bunch of this pesto and I froze some of it for future use. LOVE that I can do that – it’ll get me through the winter months when I’m desperate for some home-cookin but not willing to do that cooking (if you know what I’m saying!)

You too can make this pink pesto, check out the recipe:

Pink Pesto
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2½ cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ⅛ cup red wine
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • ⅛ cup soy creamer
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and puree.
  2. Serve atop a room temp or warm dish.

This pesto can be served at room temperature, atop a warm or chilled pasta dish, however I would not recommend that you heat the pesto up. It’s just not necessary.  Because this pesto has so much flavor, you will enjoy it atop some good ole spaghetti/linguine noodles without the addition of anything else. It really doesn’t need anything else, although you can get creative. 

Oh, and side note here: I was reading some reviews for Scarpetta’s pink pesto – it got some rave reviews but it also got some negative feedback.. People have an idea of what pesto should be like, and apparently a pink version of their beloved “pesto” goes against everything they believe a pesto should be. It’s OK. You may or may not like the idea of a PINK pesto, either way, it’s cool. Just check it out… you might actually like it.

 Pink Pesto

Love

Crista


Oct
15

swan lake road / dillon reservoir

As the sun began it’s journey to the west side of the mountains, I couldn’t help but drive up to Swan Lake Road and perch myself on the side of the mountain to catch those last rays of sunshine for the day.

Beautiful, how the clouds meld into the snow-capped mountains, and allow the persistent rays of light to rigidly shine through.

dillon reservior / breckenridge

swan lake road / breckenridge

breckenridge / lake dillon

swan lake road / lake dillon

swan lake road / lake dillon

breckenridge / snowy mountains

I’m in the mountains for a few days this week, a work-related trip. I went to Aspen for the first time yesterday. The fall colors are GORGEOUS up there – the most vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds I have ever seen., I didn’t get any photos unfortunately, but I wish I had.

Today, I’m going to do a quick hike in Glenwood Springs before heading back home…. My eyes crave more candy…

Love

Crista


Oct
12

homemade apple butter

 This time last year, we were picking apples off the apple tree that grew right in the front yard. It was a luxury to have an apple tree, stemming, and producing fruit although the apples weren’t “perfect” like most of most of the apples available for purchase in the store. Our apples were disfigured and some of them were wormy – they required some “cleaning up” before being able to use them. But look, I’m not complaining.

Every year, I forget to get out to an apple orchard in late August or early September for apple picking – I always show up right at the end of apple picking season (mid-October) just in time for picking pumpkins. I love, love picking pumpkins, I’m going to go out next weekend to pick up a few, but I want the apples too! Do I need to set a reminder for myself next year??

Random: Someone once told me that if you plant the seeds from an apple, chances are it will grow in to a crab apple tree, even if the seeds came from a different variety. I guess most varieties are “clones” – it sounds like a complicated/unpredictable process to create those clones, I don’t even want to think about it or talk about it – I’ll leave it to the experts.

Back to last year: After picking the apples, coring, and cleaning them, we made several batches of apple butter. I wish I still had some – all of a sudden, I’m craving it again. I may make a 2014 batch, however it will be a small batch because I don’t have the space to can the excess AND it would have to be made with store-bought apples… which just wouldn’t be the same…. especially here in Colorado. I still haven’t figured out the best apples to buy in Colorado…. I miss Honeycrisp, we have them available here but they aren’t as great as they are in the Midwest…..

I don’t recall the Apple Butter recipe that we used last year but I found several recipes via Pinterest that caught my attention for this year:

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Slow cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

Apple Butter (no sugar added)

Cranberry-Apple Butter

Slow Cooker Ginger Spiced Apple Butter (no sugar added)

I love all the different variations of “apple butter.”  I’m especially liking the idea of the Cranberry-Apple Butter, maybe I’ll make a batch for Thanksgiving and serve it with warm biscuits! (Yes, I AM ready to start thinking about Thanksgiving.)
Which version catches YOUR attention? 

apple tree

Love

Crista