Jun
23

When we were in Hawaii, everyone was all “DO NOT LEAVE THIS ISLAND WITHOUT EATING AN ACAI BOWL, OR ELSE!!” And we were all, “damn…. ok…. or else, what??” At that time, I’d heard of the acai bowl, probably via pinterest, they were just making their debut on the main land, but I didn’t know much about them. Our fear of being struck down by the Hawaiian Acai Gods led us to order a bowl while at the Green World Coffee Farm. Although it was a chilly, rainy morning, the type of morning that keeps you craving warmth and fuzziness, the Acai Bowl served us well – not only as a special treat, but as a filling and nourishing breakfast. I’m not going to lie, I’m glad we got to experience the Acai Bowl in Hawaii before it became mainstream on the mainland. I feel all “authentic” even though I’m pretty sure the acai berry isn’t at all authentic in Hawaii.

Acai-Bowl

After camping all weekend, we craved showers, air conditioning, all of the modern luxuries that we’d temporarily abandoned. To our dismay, we came home to a hot, 90 degree home. You see, I have a swamp cooler in my new house that I know nothing about, it was pushing our re-circulated, 90 degree air. We laid around for hours trying to stay cool. Craving cool relief, we decided to make Acai bowls for dinner. I briefly read the directions (“briefly” being the key word), I didn’t pull up any recipes (I was too hot to look at my laptop haha), and it was my first time (need excuses) – the point is, I forgot to add fruit while blending which gave us liquid-y acai bowls. We were too hot to care or do anything about it, but I did learn a valuable lesson. Since then, I’ve read several recipes (some that I’ve had bookmarked for quite a while) and in my mind I’ve perfected my acai-bowl-making skills. I’m in a hotel for the week, but I’ll test my skills when I’m back on the homefront.

For fun, and to add to the reader experience of this blog post, I’ve included some of my favorite blog posts/recipes from some cool blogger chicks that helped me up my acai bowl game, and could do the same for you!  

Acai Bowl

Kathy from Healthy Happy Life shared a post in 2013 (she was totally ahead of the game!) that basically tells you everything you need to know about making an Acai Bow, including some awesome tips like adding frozen fruit to the bottom of your acai bowl. She’s tested several different brands of acai and shares her favorites. This is the post I’d recommend any first-time Acai Bowl maker visit. The post: “How-to Make Acai Bowls for Summer

Acai-Bowl

Sophia from Veggies Don’t Bite created an Acai Bowl based on a World Cup Competition she was entering at the time (you never know what you’ll find on the internet). I love the addition of peaches and pecans to the bowl – two ingredients I wouldn’t have originally thought to add. The Post: “The World Cup Blueberry Peach Pecan Acai Smoothie Bowl

Acai-Bowl

I have fallen in love with Ella from We Need To Live More, I could scroll through her blog and IG for hours. Ella created a post using photos only, demonstrating how to make an Acai Bowl. It’s lovely. The post: “The Famous Acai Bowl

Acai-Bowl

Hummusapien is a blog that I’ve recently stumbled upon (thankfully!). The blog author, Alexis’s bio states “with a little avocado and a lot of dark chocolate, we can make healthy happen!” so it’s no surprise that she uses both of those ingredients in her Acai Bowl recipe. I use avocados in smoothies ALL THE TIME, so why not use it in an Acai Bowl as well?! Genius. The post: “Banana Cacao Avocado Acai Bowl

Acai-Bowl

I admire Amber from Fettle Vegan because she eats so much damn good food and has a bearded boyfriend. Every single day, I see photos of food she eats on IG and FB, she makes me jealous – I’d love to hang out with her for a day. Naturally, I was drawn to her page when checking out Acai Bowls and OF COURSE she has an awesome Acai Bowl recipe on her blog – she eats everything that is awesome. Amber talks a lot about a restaurant called Nekter, it’s a place that I put on my list to visit – I JUST FOUND OUT THEY HAVE LOCATIONS IN DENVER!!! Anyway, her PB&J-tasting recipe is a copycat from Nekter, and I’m not mad about it at all. The post: “Peanut Butter + Berry Acai Bowl

 

Love

Crista


Jun
19

Cucumber Berry Fruit Bowl

I’ve had a long, long, non-stop, crazy week. I spent hours and hours on the road in extremely painful traffic patterns that tested my patience. There were moments when I was swept with anger, my cheeks even got red, just because I’d been stuck in the car so much longer than anticipated. BUT the week is over.
Sigh. of. relief.

We are going camping at Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend. I hate/love camping. OK, I don’t really HATE it, but the preparation and packing prior to the trip can be agonizing tasks ESPECIALLY when you’ve got no free time. Anyway, I am not writing this post to project my ill feelings on you, the week is over and my ill feelings have all passed. Last night, I slid in to the yoga studio just seconds before the last class of the night began and I woke up early to attend the first class of the day. I feel fresh, rejuvenated, and anxious to bond with the mountains, and spend quality quiet time with my boyfriend this weekend.

Cucumber Berry Fruit Bowl

A few nights ago, we laid in bed putting together our food menu for this weekend, and this cucumber + berry fruit bowl came to mind. I made this exact fruit bowl a few years ago, a really awful photo I took of it showed up in my Timehop feed recently.

I don’t remember how or why I decided to pair cucumbers with cherries & blueberries – if I had to guess, I’d say that I was making a conscious effort to pair a green food with my fruit. I try to incorporate green foods in most of my meals even it if it’s a few pistachios or pumpkin seeds in my morning granola.

Cucumber Berry Fruit Bowl

This cucumber + berry salad is made with 3 ingredients: chopped organic cucumber, organic sweet cherries, and organic blueberries. The 3 fruits blended together create a perfectly colorful combination and is refreshing, hydrating & filling – it’s perfect for a sunny summer morning or afternoon.

These 3 ingredients will be going with us to camp this weekend, I plan to throw them in a bowl as use them as a centerpiece on the picnic table at our camp site. I have a feeling we’ll be eating out of that bowl all weekend long – during breakfast, as a sweet snack after lunch, and after our planned 8 mile hike for nourishment and hydration.

Cucumber Berry Fruit Bowl

In addition to this colorful fruit salad, we have several awesome camp meals planned, I hope to share them in a future blog post. If I have cell service at camp this weekend, I’ll post a few photos on Instagram, but no guarantees.

Happy weekend everyone! 
xox

Love

Crista


Jun
17

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

I attended Vida Vegan Con in Austin, TX two weekends ago, a conference for vegan-specific bloggers and related industries. When I first learned about VVC I knew I wanted to go but didn’t think I’d be able to make it happen so I brushed it off and forgot about it THEN my girlfriend & I both realized that we had some vacation time to use up prior to June 1 so we booked a girls trip to Austin which just so happened to coincide with the VVC dates. Luckily, I was able to snag a last-minute ticket to VVC.
(If you’re interested in checking out some photos from our trip, check them out on Instagram)

The conference was so much more than a “vegan bloggers conference.” It was a social gathering for like-minded people, it was friends to enjoy a few yummy meals with, it was entrepreneur-driven, entrepreneurs who were willing to share their successes. It was fun and emotional. 

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

{ Disclosure: We are grateful to be of service and provide you with valuable information. In order to do this, please note that in most cases when you click links and purchase items, we will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links enables us to maintain the blog and continuously provide valuable content. Thank you! }

One of my favorite persons to listen to at the event was Jill from Vegan Cuts – she began her career as a travel blogger and now sells monthly vegan beauty & snack boxes via VeganCuts.com. Jill talked about creating a manifest journal, organizing your dreams, and planning your life journey accordingly. Although I have new ideas and plans for my life journey on a daily basis, I have never put those ideas into action – I am overwhelmed! …..which is how I know for a fact that journaling would help me. 

Jill also talked about the “competition” in social media and blogging these days, she encouraged us, her audience, to not even worry about the damn “competition”. Like, just do your thing without comparing yourself to others. Comparing myself to others is something that I struggle with on a daily basis, in my personal life and with blogging. I’m always worried about someone being prettier or skinnier or fitter than myself. I worry about the photos on my blog not looking as awesome as the photos on someone elses blog, and I worry about my recipes being not being uber-original and way different than the next persons. 

EVEN THOUGH. I didn’t start this blog to share “original” recipes. I started this blog to share yummy FOOD, travel adventures (that are typically food-driven), and to create a place for people, anyone to come and find inspiration to enhance their own foodie experiences, whether it be through cooking a yummy meal at home, dining out at a local restaurant, or finding the best food while traveling. 

I strayed away from my original intention because I felt like I had to compete with every other blogger on the internet. There are recipes I’ve so badly wanted to share on this blog but never did because they’ve been shared before. I’ve made awesome foods, photographed them, and never shared them because I felt like the photos weren’t good enough when compared to someone else’s. It’s a shame and it’s silly. 

So, screw that! I’m going back to my original intention. If there is a food item, recipe, or restaurant that I enjoy and think is worth sharing, then I’m going to share dammit! NO MATTER WHAT. ESPECIALLY now that I am taking the challenge on Jessica Murnane’s One Part Pledge – you should listen and take the pledge as well!

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

So, Kale Chips. Kale Chips are something I’ve wanted to make for the longest time but never did for whatever reason. Procrastination – the “Make Kale Chips” line on my never-ending to-do list must sit in between two more important things-to-do. My girlfriend, Laura kept telling me how good the homemade version is and how easy they are to make! After her convincing, I’d temporarily move them up on my to-do list but they’d quickly get replaced by some other “something”.

I don’t remember why I woke up one day in the recent past and decided that day was going to be the day that I finally made homemade kale chips. It may have been for a recipe, it may have been because I had an excess amount of kale on-hand. What I do know is that I ate every single kale chip as it came out of the oven. Warm, they melted in my mouth. Fresh, unlike any other bagged, grocery-store-bought kale chip I’ve ever eaten. I had intentions on saving a few chips for Patrick later that afternoon, but they didn’t last long enough. 

I’ve since then made three more batches of kale chips (and shared a few with Patrick). I burned a few of the fragile greens and created salty kale meltaways with the rest. Kale is fragile when put into a hot oven and can burn easily if unattended however, if you are available to pay close attention to your kale as it bakes, you should be able to get it out of the oven before it sizzles. I found that baking my kale between 9-13 minutes is ideal – timing may vary based on your particular oven (and altitude). 

When I browse through different kale chip recipes, I notice they recommend a variety of baking temps and timing. It is important to find what works for you and your oven, even if it is on a trial-and-error basis. The amount of salt, vinegar, and oil will vary on how big your batch of kale is, it will also vary based on your taste preference. Some of my kale chips were more drenched than others leaving them more chewy. The lesser drenched chips became more crispy, I liked them both. I encourage you to experiment with different variations and find what you like best. Don’t expect perfection the first go-around, but you can expect it shortly after. Also, I added vinegar to my kale chips because vinegar is awesome. If vinegar is not your thing, then don’t use it – continue on with the salt and oil exclusively OR add something else that you think would compliment the kale (SRIRACHA anyone?!).

Below is the recipe variation that has worked for me.

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • approx 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • approx 3-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • approx 4-5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1 gallon ziplock bag
Instructions
  1. Wash and completely dry the kale. I like to lay the kale flat on paper towels to air dry, which takes up to an hour or two sometimes. It is extremely important for the kale to be completely dry before baking - if not, it could get soggy instead of crispy.
  2. Once dried, cut the kale off the stems - try to cut them into larger pieces, as they will shrink in the oven. Discard the stems (or use them in a veggie broth)
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 310 degrees.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Put ⅓ of the oil, vinegar, and sea salt into the bag and shake it around the bag, coating it, then add ⅓ of the kale leaves. Shake the kale around until the leaves are covered in the mixture.
  6. Lay the leaves out on the baking sheet, making sure to not overlap any of the leaves.
  7. Bake for 9-15 minutes, checking them frequently.
  8. Use the same process for the second batch, and then the third.
  9. The kale chips are best when eaten the same day as you make them.

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

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Love

Crista


Jun
16

If you follow me on social media, you know that I spend a great deal of time at Triathlons cheering on my competitive boyfriend however he doesn’t need me cheering on the sidelines in order to perform well, that boy engages in competition with success at the top of his mind. Regardless, I enjoy supporting him as competes to WIN and I know he appreciates it.

Patrick reads triathlon-related content as often as I read food blogs (all day, every day) and has a great deal of knowledge on what it takes to be a winning contestant. I admire him for his dedication to the sport and determination – because of this, I asked him to share his wisdom with all of you right here on PLQ. This post outlines a typical day in the life of a triathlete on race day and provides enlightenment for all athletes, as there is no time in the day wasted.

Patrick can be found on twitter and instagram at @1fastsun. Feel free to hop over and offer him and feedback you have on this post. We also welcome your requests for future content.

Triathlon Preparation: 
On to P…

New Balance Fresh Foam

NIGHT BEFORE:

Some of the most important things to me is to stay fueled up for the next day, spend a couple hours organizing race gear and to double-check the checklist. I eat dinner early and take in a lot of fluids. I’m sure to be in bed as early as possible – 10pm is the cut off!

TIP: I DO NOT eat anything the day or night before or the morning of a race that I have not eaten regularly within the past two weeks. I’ve only make this mistake once. NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.

{ Disclosure: We are grateful to be of service and provide you with valuable triathlon-related information. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, we will receive a referral commission in most cases. Your support in purchasing through these links enables us to maintain the blog and continuously provide valuable content. Thank you! }

DAY OF:

4 a.m. Wake up! Take a fast shower to become fresh and “wake up the bones.”
Get dressed in “Performance Casual” apparel like a 3/4 zip top, running pants, and footed with New Balance Fresh Foam 989’s, etc. This is all done quickly and with finesse.

4:15 Relax in the quiet for the five longest minutes I can find with my coffee (100% Kona when available) and visualize the day. My vision for the race is that I feel confident throughout each segment while enjoying my time on Earth, with a smile. At this moment in real-time, I am usually staring at the reef aquarium in the living room while my oatmeal prepares.

4:20 I eat that oatmeal, which is now decorated with fruit bits like berries/bananas. ((Remember: Nothing new in the diet!)) This is a good time to check social media as well as the race website for any alerts/updates. Throughout the morning routine I casually take in water and electrolytes. 

Crescent Moon Triathlon

4:25 Bust out the yoga mat and keep focus on my race plan while I hold long stretches and perform some light yoga.

4:35 Spend 10-15 minutes loading up the vehicle which could be done the night before if I parked in a garage.

4:50 On my last trip outside to double-check the vehicle, I like to slip in a quick jog up and down the block, maybe do a couple pick-ups to partially open up my lungs and wake up other important muscles. Wake up legs!

TIP: Fuel up with breakfast as soon as humanly possible to give your body time to “cycle through.” After a quick pre-departure warm up, utilize your favorite restroom one last time!

5:15 Depart. (this is an approximate time for most regional races. I factor 30-50 minutes drive time) Sip water and electrolytes along the ride – I would offer some to my girlfiend, but she’s out cold with an airplane neck pillow. She’s a pro. 

TIP: I featured Chief Keef’s “Love Sosa” in the ride along with a few Andre Nickatina songs, such as “Bananas” and “U-Beezy.” — You should too.

Crescent Moon Triathlon

5:45 Arrive at race site, check in ASAP and begin setting up the transition area – double check bike components & tire PSI. 

6:30 I stretch again, do a few short speed burst sprints to get my blood flowing once more.

6:45 Activate the wetsuit – I give 15 minutes as not to be rushed, wetsuits are delicate! 

TIP: Use sandwich bags to pass your hands and feet through the openings in the wetsuit which lessens the friction so you lessen the risk of snagging or stretching seams. Batman does the same thing.

Crescent Moon Triathlon

7:10 I get into the water to acclimate my body and I start swimming to warm up. (there are usually designated roped-off areas to warm up separate from the swim start area)

7:25 Race Briefing by the officials/National Anthem when applicable.

TIP: I use this time to stretch some more

7:35 Race begins, I’m off….

Crescent Moon Triathlon

Love

Crista


Jun
08

home

Gardening is a new experience every year. I have gardened in an urban backyard, the city of Chicago, way out in the middle-of-nowhere Illinois, and in a few different urban settings here in Colorado. Each year and each location has offered different valuable lessons.

I have learned to embrace “bugs” as they play an essential role in maintaining a garden, and I’ve learned to share space with them. I have learned more about bees and why it’s important to protect them. And while I embrace most of the little buggers in the garden, I have learned that some of them can be a real pain in the ass (how about that wasp building a nest in my garden shed right now!)

I have learned where to purchase the highest quality starter-plants and how to properly plant them in the ground. 

I flirted with the idea of having indoor plants and renting a community garden space – both of which I realized aren’t for me.

Gardening in Colorado

Last year, I put a LOT of vegetable, herbs, and flowers in the ground because I had a lot of space to work with. Most everything grew well except for the cruciferous vegetables that were plagued with aphids. I never was able to harvest any of the broccoli, cauliflower, or kale that I planted. The 13 tomato plants all thrived until one plagued with aphids. Because the tomato plants were planted close together, the aphids spread from one plant to another quicker than a forest fire on a dry day.

Gardening in Colorado 

This year, I am gardening in a brand new space at my new house. The yard is huge but the space is not ideal for gardening – there is too much sun in most of the yard (which could scorch the plants) and too much shade in the other areas. An existing succulent garden came with the purchase of my home, which is something I had very little knowledge on – I’m still learning. There are tree stumps that are unidentified,  mulch, rocks, grass, dirt – so many existing elements that I’m unfamiliar with and learning about. 

Gardening in Colorado

In Denver, I learned that it’s typically safe to plant a garden after Mother’s Day however the crazy, uncommon rain and hail this spring have already shortened our growing season.

The day after Mother’s Day, I put a few baby starter plants in the ground, within hours they were attacked by the craziest hail storm I’d ever seen. There was no way we could have known that hail storm was coming, it caught everyone in Denver off-guard. While the little babies didn’t die, they also didn’t get any bigger. It’s been a few weeks now since they’ve been in the ground, and we’ve had more rain and hail – I’ve actually had to stand in the pouring rain to cover the plants with pots to protect them from the hail on a few occasions.

I think two of the little babies aren’t going to make it and I’m not positive the others will ever grow any bigger. (They are pictured in the two photos above this paragraph.)

Gardening in Colorado

While at a Foodie Fest a few weeks ago, I was given a few packets of carrot and radish seeds. I’ve never grown veggies from seeds and I decided now would be a better time than ever to give it a try. Within 2 weeks, I have radish leave sprouting (pictured below)! I’m not sure if I planted too many seeds, too little, or just the right amount, but I’ll find out soon enough! 

Gardening in Colorado

Gardening in Colorado

I’ve never planted in a hanging box, but I have them available so I filled them with herbs. If there is anything in my garden that I am confident about, it’s these herbs. I look forward to the gentle breeze delivering the various herby scents in to my home through open windows this summer.

Gardening in Colorado

Because my baby starter plants are not doing well, I went out and purchased larger, more expensive starter plants – a few already had fruit on them! From now on, I think this is the route I’ll take considering I don’t have a greenhouse, no consistent way to protect my plants, and the unpredictable weather pattern.

I’m curious to see how the various sizes of starters I put in the ground will all thrive.

Gardening in Colorado

Gardening in Colorado

Clearly, there are succulents that can grow in the ground, and there are succulents that should remain in pots. I learned that very quickly. As you can see in these photos, one of my succulent plants has started rotting because of all the moisture and rain. I have dug it up and put it in a pot – There is a 50/50 chance it will survive and re-generate. Succulents don’t like being covered in dirt, but it’s been unavoidable with all of the rain. I go out to the garden after each thunderstorm and clean the fragile plants off. MOST of the succulents are doing ok, it’s these 2 that I’m unsure of.

Gardening in Colorado

While I’d like to say I’m off to a good start, reality is that it’s been rocky. However, I’m not discouraged, I’m having fun, AND I’m learning something new every day.

Wish me luck, my friends!!

If you’d like to track my progress, follow me on Instagram where I post photos daily and/or subscribe to my weekly newsletter!

Love

Crista


Jun
03

Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth

Every time I have a “day off” or a “day at home” it seems as though I’m going to have so much free time to do anything and everything I want. BUT as the day presents itself, I jump up early before the alarm clock chimes and I run around like a crazy chicken with it’s head cut off the entire day. Take the dog to the dog sitter, go to yoga, grocery store, run “errands” (errands are the WORST!), make it on time to some appointment, make a few calls, update social media, food, OMG food. It’s 2PM and I haven’t had breakfast or lunch. It’s time to go to yoga but I need to eat before. I can’t eat before working out, it’ll make my belly hurt. Sigh. 

Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth  

There has been a lot of hype around bone broths lately. Although the concept of a bone broth turns my stomach, I can understand why they have become popular – because PEOPLE ARE BUSY, many of us rarely make time for a proper meal (ME, I’m guilty! – see the first paragraph in this post).

Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth

A broth is a “soup” of sort, and can easily be taken on the go and sipped out of a cup. While it wouldn’t and shouldn’t substitute a proper meal every day, it is certainly a decent replacement when need be.

In this post, I’m sharing a recipe for a veggie-based broth that I created with a select choice of fruits and veggies out of curiosity. I was curious about the experience of sipping a broth, I was curious to see if I could find a need to keep broth on-hand in my home, and I was curious to know if I’d enjoy a broth the same way others have been lately. Every Friday, I pass by a Panera Bread billboard advertising their broth bowls, which only feeds my curiosity.

After carefully planning exactly which fruits and veggies would compliment each other and provide nourishment, I made my broth. I fed my hungry body with the easy-to-digest nutrition just before a hot yoga class. Thankful to have done so, the broth provided just enough substance to keep me alive during my practice.

a Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup of mushrooms
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 square inch of ginger, peeled
  • 3-4 stalks of kale
  • 1 apple
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 quarts of water
Instructions
  1. Thoroughly wash all veggies and coarsely chop them into even size pieces.
  2. Put all the veggies in a large stock pot, add the water, then cover.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and barely simmer for about 90 minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and set the vegetables aside.
  5. Serve warm or closer to room temperature.
  6. Freeze or refrigerate leftovers.

 In one broth bowl, I decided to add some of the mushrooms that had been used to make the broth and I really enjoyed the added texture and substance in the bowl.

Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth

If you enjoy this recipe, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.
As always, thanks for reading. xo

Love

Crista


Jun
01

Quinoa Bowl

Over the weekend, I took an impromptu trip to Austin with my BFF Laura, just for fun. We like to get away every few months and we both had some vacation time to blow so we decided to keep Austin weird for a few days. (photos from the trip on Instagram)

Quinoa Bowl

We had very little expectation for our trip: eat good food, shop, honky tonk, gossip, and sleep when we feel like it. Laura & I live hundreds of miles from each other so we have to travel in order to see each other. We don’t keep up much via text so when we see each other face-to-face, our mouths never stop yapping. It’s so good.

On this particular trip, our conversation was dominated by our ever-evolving relationships and what it will be like to take them to the next level. We both went from single girls to long-term relationships synonymously. History in the making, if you ask me.

We talked a lot about food, Laura and her BF focus on paleo and only eat meat once or twice a week. Patrick and I eat vegan when we are together, he eats meat when I’m not around (for now). We shared recipes and kitchen tips.

We talked about who cooks, who grocery shops, and how leftovers are handled. I’ll eat left-overs ONCE but that’s it before I’m over it – Laura is the same way. Ironically, our boyfriends will both eat leftovers for days and days on end. Seriously, I gave Patrick a large tupperware full of chili (that wasn’t my best work) and he ate it HAPPILY for 5-6 days straight. I’m thankful to have someone around who won’t allow a single bite of food go to waste because I will throw stuff away with no problem.

Quinoa Bowl

If you didn’t catch on by now, I’ll reiterate: I loathe eating the same meals over and over again. EXCEPT for. 
THIS meal: 
Arugula-topped
Quinoa
blueberries
avocados
Sriracha Peanut Sauce

THIS meal is one that I HAPPILY ate 4 DAYS IN A ROW!
On the 4th day, I decided to photograph it.
On the 4th day, I didn’t scarf it before I had a chance to photograph it.

I originally had a version of this quinoa bowl at Ola Juice Bar in Colorado Springs. I loved it so much, I replicated it at home the next day. and the day after that. and the day after that. you know.

Once the quinoa is cooked (make extras for tomorrow! trust me), this bowl takes no time at all to throw together. Quick & easy makes EVERYONE happy.

After having been served some excellent Thai/Chinese (fusion) food in Grand Junction, I found a Peanut Sauce recipe on love food eat – I’d decided that I needed more Peanut Sauce in my life. I kept the recipe bookmarked, knowing I’d find the perfect time to use it. Not long after bookmarking, I used the recipe to make the exact Peanut Sauce that tops this delicious Quinoa Bowl, the only adjustment to the sauce was an addition of Sriracha, for fun. 

Quinoa Bowl

a Quinoa Bowl drizzled with a Sriracha Peanut Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • a handful or two of arugula
  • ½ an avocado
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
Instructions
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame seeds, and Sriracha until mixed well. Adjust taste accordingly (for example, add more Sriracha if you prefer your sauce to be spicier). Set aside.
  2. Put a large heaping of quinoa in a bowl and top it with the arugula, berries, and avocado.
  3. Drizzle with the Sriracha Peanut Sauce prior to serving.
Notes
*All measurements are approximate - adjust accordingly. You may like more avocado and less blueberries - do it up however you'd like.
**I prefer the quinoa to be slightly warmed in this dish, although it can certainly be used at room temperature or even chilled.

Quinoa Bowl

There is more of where this comes from! If you like this recipe and/or this post, subscribe to my newsletter.
As always, thanks for reading. xo

Love

Crista


May
26

“Coffee is always a good idea.” is a tweet that Free People posted on Twitter this morning. I’m not a coffee drinker so personally, I don’t relate with the tweet however that tweet made me think of the the people in my life who find great joy in their daily cups of coffee, and it made me smile. My boyfriend, my best friend, my awesome grandpa – none of them would dream of beginning the day without first indulging in a carefully chosen, fragrant cuppa coffee. Observing coffee drinkers, whether it be in my home, in their homes, at a coffee shop, or via social media, I take notice to the experience that these people allow themselves, an experience I feel like I miss out on. Contemplation, relaxation, preparation, and light conversation are all perquisites of a coffee drinker’s day. Myself, I tend to begin my day the instant I get out of bed, often times not even sitting down to nourish my body with a little breakfast in the morning before I go.

Coffee 

I’ve read several articles, books, and blog posts advising how to begin the day, I’ve even bookmarked a few. A morning stretch, an expression of gratitude, meditation, journaling, planning, positive thoughts are all things that could and probably should be done prior to “going.” Unfortunately, I don’t always adhere to my intention of a healthy morning ritual. From what I observe, a habitual coffee drinker takes more time in the mornings (and even afternoons) for solemnity.

Coffee Garden 

When we were in Hawaii over the previous Holiday season, we woke up one morning earlier than usual to catch the sunset and road trip up to the North Shore to visit a coffee farm. My boyfriend is a devote coffee drinker, it would have been a blunder to pass up the opportunity to visit the coffee farm while on the island. 

Green World Coffee Farm 

People enjoy coffee for a variety of different reasons: the morning experience, the caffeine, the flavor, and some people (my boyfriend) believe that it enhances their overall performance.

Personally, I am not an advocate of caffeine which is one of the reasons I’m not a coffee drinker. I don’t like the way it makes me feel and while some people believe it to be a positive way to jump-start their day, I am laser-focused on the negative effects. While I enjoy the smell of fresh brewed coffee , I don’t at all enjoy the flavor – the number one reason I don’t drink the stuff.

But look, I’m not judging.

Coffee Farm

I possess a genuine curiosity in how things grow, like quinoa, olives, coffee, nuts, chickpeas, and cocoa. I recently discovered a video series called “How Does It Grow” – they’ve covered apples, cranberries, garlic, mushrooms, and cauliflower so far. I’ve got my fingers crossed for an episode on any of the items listed above.

Coffee Farm

In this post, you see several photos that I took of the coffee beans at the Green World Coffee Farm. At first glance, the red, ripe “berries” look like grapes, but they are in fact a Coffee Cherry that houses coffee beans.

In this particular garden, the coffee plants were situated in rows that encouraged tourists to take a casual stroll through, experiencing the plants and growth all while sipping on a sampled cup of coffee. The Green World Coffee Farm creates and sells several different flavors of coffee, and samples 5-6 flavors a day. Patrick says it’s the best coffee he’s ever had and has become quite the Hawaiian coffee snob. A friends mom (whom we never met) took a trip to Hawaii and he bothered to have her bring some coffee back to the mainland for him.

Coffee Farm

Coffee Farm

Not only does Green World grow and sample their coffee, they also offer bakery items and Acai Bowls. When we arrived on the island, we were encouraged to try an Acai Bowl before leaving so I was relieved to find them on the menu that morning.

Thankful for the recommendations, the fully-loaded Acai Bowl brought me the same joy and excitement that Patrick found in the coffee.

Coffee Farm

Coffee Farm

As Patrick sits on the couch and enjoys his morning coffee, I mentioned that I’m finally writing this post about the Green World Coffee Farm. His smile exposing a child-like excitement, he can’t help but to remember the awesome experience we had. Aloud he said “That place was magical!”

Love

Crista


May
21

Yoga Giveaway 

What does your yoga mat smell like?

Despite doing a ton of yoga lately, my yoga mat has an uplifting scent from the pure essential oils in the Yoga Mat Cleanse I use after every session. (BRAGGING) In addition to the pure essential oils (including Eucalyptus, Spearmint, Lavender, Tea Tree oil, Lime, Bergamot, and Grapefruit) used in this yoga mat cleanser, is witch hazel and hydrogen peroxide – all natural, and I love it.

I originally found this cleanser/disinfectant on Etsy when looking for a Christmas gift. I purchased one bottle as a gift and then a bottle for myself (that’s how I shop… duh) then later discovered Holistic Science’s website when re-purchasing. I knew my yoga mat needed to be cleaned regularly because I do hot yoga and sweat a LOT but I didn’t realize how nasty and infectious yoga studios and yoga mats could get. Holistic Science’s website lists out all of the nasty things that can happen when you don’t clean your yoga mat – I dare you to check it out.

Anyway, at the end of each yoga class, I’m typically the ONLY person cleaning my yoga mat – everyone else rolls up the sweat and stink in their mats. I don’t want to know whether or not they clean their mats when they get home – the answer is probably no. Luckily, Holistic Science’s Yoga Mat Cleanse is safe for every day use and won’t alter or damage the non-stick surface of your mat.

Currently, I’m in the middle of doing a 30/40 challenge at CorePower Yoga – basically, it’s 30 classes in 40 days. The challenge is coming to an end and I’m right on track to get my 30 classes in before the celebration class on the 26th – the celebration class that will include a live DJ AND an ice cream truck.

2 Reasons I decided to do a giveaway:

1. To celebrate the fact that I’m actually going to do 30 yoga classes in 40 days.
2. I’m obsessed with the two products I’m giving away – daily, I rely on them and I love to introduce my loves to others.

Included in the giveaway is a Manduka eQua Hand Towel. I own more Manduka Hand Towels than there are days of the week (I told you, I rely on them daily) and I color coordinate them with my Lululemon outfits. I use a small towel during yoga instead of the mat-length towels – I like to feel the squishy, grippy mat beneath my toes – we become one during practice. If I get too sweaty and slippery, then I’ll use the towel under my hands, but I try to refrain from messing with it. 

The towel is great for wiping sweat and wiping down the yoga mat after spraying it with the Yoga Mat Cleanse. 

Yoga Giveaway

Enter to win simply by subscribing to peace. love. quinoa and sharing this giveaway on Twitter. If you are already a subscriber to PLQ, type “YES” in the confirmation box and share the contest with your friends!
The contest ends on May 26, the winner will be announced on May 27.
Giveaway does NOT include a yoga mat.
Giveaway sponsored by peace. love. quinoa

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yoga Giveaway 

Thanks for entering and good luck, friends!! 
xox

Love

Crista


May
13

 How many thousands of dollars would you be willing to pay someone to dig up your backyard/alley? Would you be willing to spend any amount of money at all? No? Me either. But I am. I am getting a brand new sewer pipe today!!!!!!!!! All the exclamation points represent excitement, but the excitement is fake.

How I feel about the day: go suck it. I know what you’re thinking – “that’s not all peace. love. quinoa-like” and you’re absolutely right. But.

All at once today (it’s only 1PM, people) the street cleaners were here and my lawn boy was mowing my grass. My grumpy old neighbor was yelling at the lawn boy to move his truck because she wanted to make sure the entire street got swept. She threatened to call the cops on me because my car was still sitting on the street in front of my house but she gave that threat to the lawn boy (say it to my face, lady!). The rain has caused my car alarm to go off randomly throughout the day for no apparent reason, including the 2:44 AM time slot. Internet forums tell me that the rain screws with a sensor but the dealership has no idea why unless I pay them for a diagnostic (why can’t they find the answer on the internet!?). AND I’m getting a new sewer line which means the entire alley is being dug up (guess who gets to pay for that), loud trucks and lift-thingys have my windows shaking and my head spinning, AND there are worker dudes EVERYWHERE (walking through my yard and shit). In addition to all of that activity, I’m in the kitch stirring up a Stir Fry that I’m dying to share here on the blog. I thought the sewer guys would be here yesterday so when my day was planned, it didn’t look anything like it has ended up being.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

mmmmk So all at once, alllllll of my patience is being tested today.

Earlier today, before it all began, I read a blog post from Just A Colorado Gal titled “Behind The Curtain: Life Unfiltered” – the basic message behind the post is that we can and do create perfect-looking lives by picking and choosing what to share via social media.

Today, my life is not perfect, it is hectic and full of stress. I decided to share that in this blog post instead of writing a happy-go-lucky blog post that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That shit would be fake…. today, at least. So, thank you Heather (Colorado Gal).

I almost went outside and took photos of the huge hole in my alley and all of the big boy equipment surrounding it but I stopped myself, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it – I don’t want to be reminded of it later. After today, I want it to be a thing of the past – byeeeee.

Instead, I took photos of my stir fry as quick as I could, while being interrupted by the lawn guy who assumes being a vegetarian is rough. I  closed all of my doors and windows, and I am now planted on the couch with the music turned up, trying to pretend that the house isn’t shaking and that the windows aren’t rattling.

Also, I just got a new laptop so editing photos is all weird – I haven’t found my groove with this device yet. Oh, also, my dog was begging for food the entire time I was making/photographing/eating this stir-fry. BAD BOY!

Sigh.
“This too shall pass,” they say…. whoever “they” is.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

Typically, I edit and upload photos prior to writing my blog posts, but not today. I know I won’t be satisfied with the photos, but it’s the best I’ve got today – Heather, Just A Colorado Gal let me know that it’s ok to be a little less than perfect sometimes so I am embracing that.

Moving on (as though all is well).

Do you remember the first time you ever went to Trader Joe’s? Me too. It was years ago, in my late teen years – I was living in Fort Wayne, IN. I had to drive to Indianapolis to get to one, a 2 hour trip I made about once a month. Someone told me about the Trader Joe’s in Indy because they had been there for the 2 buck chuck ($2 wine) and that was something to be excited about.

When I moved to Denver, Trader Joe’s hadn’t yet opened any stores here – in fact, TJ’s opened up on Feb. 14, 2014 (Valentines Day!), exactly two weeks after I moved here. In between work stuff, and prepping for what could have potentially been a date that night (yeah, dude bombed my Valentines Day but whatever), I made a visit to the store on a very hectic opening day. I doubt I’d have been as willing to move to CO if TJ’s had none plans of opening up here. 

I have like a million other “Trader Joe’s”-related stories I could tell but this post is already getting wordy. I’ll save them for another post. Google SEO is probably all pissed off at me for having too many words in this post, but I wouldn’t know for sure because I know very little about SEO (sigh).

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

The reason I tell you stories of TJ’s is because this Stir Fry is made with ingredients that all came from TJ’s. Trader Joe’s has more and more vegan “stuff” every time I visit their stores, and it makes me happy. My most recent obsession are the Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels – I keep them in the freezer for emergency meals – you know when you need to eat but you don’t feel like cooking? THAT emergent.

I paired the Chicken-less Orange Morsels (that were hanging out in the freezer for emergent situations) with fresh-cut pineapple chunks, book toy, sugar snap peas, and garlic for a super easy, super tasty, super fresh stir fry. Also, it took me less than 10 minutes total to make. Also, isn’t “book toy” fun to say?

Look when you’re exhausted after a long day of work or you’ve got 10 guys in your front and back yard doing work that costs more money than you’re willing to spend, you ain’t got no time to be in the kitch slanging food for more than 10 minutes AND THAT my friends, is exactly why this meal is perfect.

Also, Trader Joe’s is perfectly-perfect at providing options, fresh and frozen, that allows you to make quick, legit meals. I’ve been passing off TJ’s frozen meals as home-cooked meals for years (shhh don’t tell anyone) – if you learn how to work the frozen meals in with some fresh ingredients, you’re golden. Pay attention to this stir-fry recipe, I’m giving you valuable information here.

Let’s get to it. Remember, EVERYTHING can be purchased at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s accessible to you then I would recommend that you move somewhere else. I’m just kidding, I’m in a funk today which makes me bitchy. Well, maybe I’m not kidding. :-/ Also, wouldn’t it be cool if TJ’s were sponsoring this post? They’re not. This is alllll me, people.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels (frozen food aisle)
  • ½ package of Sugar Snap Peas (produce aisle)
  • 2 bok choy stalks, coarsely chopped (produce aisle)
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped (produce aisle)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or 3, if you're me)
  • 1 bag (of the 2) Fresh Rice Noodles (near produce, and fresh pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pan or a wok, heat the chicken-less morsels until they are slightly crispy and browned (about 8 minutes) then add olive oil and garlic.
  2. Put a pot of water on to boil, this is what you will cook your noodles in - don't put the b=noodles in yet, they only cook for 1-2 minutes!
  3. Sauté the garlic with the chicken-less morsels for about 1 minute before adding the book toy, pineapple, and sugar snap peas.,
  4. Sauté the mixture for about 5 minutes (you want the veggies to be warmed but not softened - they are way better with a crunch) and then cover the mixture in the Mandarin Orange sauce that came packaged with the chicken-less morsels.
  5. While sautéing, put the rice noodles in the boiling water and boil them for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and rinse with cold water.
  6. That's all - serve the stir-fried veggies and morsels with the noodles. Ta-da!

 You know what else would be good in this stir fry? Ginger! I didn’t add it but you should if you have some. Chop it finely and add it at the same time you add the garlic.

How’s YOUR day? Mine will get better – I’m off to yoga soon.

Love

Crista