Jul
28

Island Lake Cross Lake MN

I shared the photos taken at the cabin I visited during my trip to Crosslake, MN, but I didn’t include the photos we took while out on the boat and on the lake. I decided to throw them in because we had such a good time taking them.

MN lake - Marilyn Monroe photo

MN lake photo

friends on SUP

On Saturday night, we went out to the local bar that EVERYONE up North goes to – literally, EVERYONE. It’s called Moonlite Bay. I hated it because the music was awful – and I was exhausted. But anyway. A random guy approached me and asked if I had been SUP’ing that day. I said something like “Duh, of course I was SUP’ing”. Everyone around us looked confused, they had no idea what SUP’ing was – SUP = Stand Up Paddleboard. I only knew that because it’s a “thing” in Colorado. So here you have it, so many photos of Laura & I on the SUPs.

Stand Up Paddleboard

Stand Up Paddleboard

Stand Up Paddleboard

Falling off the SUP happens every now and then, mostly when a boat cruises through creating waves on the lake. Even with good balance, it’s hard to stay up on the SUP in a wavy situation. Laura put the pooch on the Sup with her and then fell off. The poor little guy had to swim to shore, so scared. Luckily he was wearing a lifejacket (which he HAS to wear now because he has a habit of jumping off the back of moving boats – crazy boy!) I stood there with my camera taking photos and laughing at the poor little guy.

Stand Up Paddleboard

sunset

sunset

sunset over the lake

sunset over the lake

Again, so many beautiful sunset photos were taken – the sky changes every few seconds during sunset so every single photo is completely unique…. and so good.

sunset over the lake

Love

Crista


Jul
24

Minnesota Cabin - Island Lake

My best friends family has a cabin on a lake in Minnesota and for 4 years (which is about how long I’ve known her) she’s been begging me to come up. Minnesota is home to 10,000 lakes so traveling “up North” to “the cabin” is the THING to do here. 

I lived in MN years ago, but I didn’t have any friends who had cabins up North so I spent most of my time on lakes that were closer to the city of Minneapolis. There were about 4-5 lakes that I frequented. 

In Colorado, we don’t have lakes. We hardly have water, period. We’ve got a few rivers, and a few man-made reservoirs. That’s about it. They come nowhere close to being as actively used as the lakes in Minnesota soooo shortly after moving to Colorado, I knew I needed to make the trip up North and get to the lake.

I grew up in the midwest which means I grew up “going to the lake” – it’s the thing that midwesterners do. Being on the lake is the #1 thing I miss since moving to Colorado – however, I’ll survive (I LOVE the mountains!!)

Minnesota Cabin Cross Lake

This super cute, adorable cabin has almost reached it’s last day. While it has history and charm, it’s not as functional as it needs to be in the modern day – the cabin is 100 years old and it has to go. The McClellan’s are bulldozing it to make way for a brand new cabin that should be ready just in time for 2015 Boating Season. I can hardly wait to see the new place! Hopefully I’ll be celebrating 4th of July there next year….

grillin - Minnesota - Crosslake

logs

camp meal

I love the simplicity of meals during camping and/or cabin-ing. A veggie burger sandwiched between a gluten-free bun, dressed with some ketchup & mustard satisfies. Add a few veggie chips on the side for a bonus.

After boating all day, we hopped off for just enough time to grill the veggie patties – moments after dinner, we were back out on the lake to watch the sunset. Life is so good out there!

MN Cabin Cross Lake

MN Cabin

The beautiful cabin sits quietly and privately behind these amazing trees. This “master bedroom” (which is really a little nook just off the living room) has a GORGEOUS but private view of the lake and the sunset….

MN Cabin

MN Cabin

deer in Minnesota

The deer, Bernadette & friends are not shy about asking for food. They love the apples that are provided. I was shocked at how close they allowed me to get to them! 

Minnesota deer

MN Cabin

Shih Tzu dog

This little cutie, Riley is my BFF’s Shih Tzu, he is just ridiculously cute, don’t you think? He can also be a little naughty at times, tsk tsk tsk.

MN Cabin

I love this photo of Bill (my BBF’s dad) – he may or may not be feeling tipsy after drinking all day on the boat. Ha! Which, speaking of – have you ever mixed Orangina with vodka? I have. And it’s awesome. Especially if you’re on a boat.

Can you find Riley in that photo? Probably not because he’s so FAST! 

Roxy Flip Flops

Friend-flops! Basically, we have friend-everything. Friend-bracelets, friend-boots, friend-lipgloss, the list goes on and on and on. Hey, we both have good taste - 

MN Cabin & Beach

Island Lake Cross Lake MN

I have definitely been spoiled by the sun setting over the mountains. HOWEVER, the sun setting over the lake doesn’t suck either. Not at all.

sunset over the lake

Love

Crista


Jul
19

Yoga On The Rocks

Before moving to Colorado, I learned about Yoga On The Rocks at Red Rocks and knew for sure I would be in attendance this summer. I mean seriously, do you see the view these people have during their yoga practice? There is no passing that up. I MUST be a part of it!!

I’ve had the 4 dates for YOTR this summer on my calendar since the day they were posted. Unfortunately, I was out of town during the first YOTR session this summer, but I’m almost 100% sure I’ll be at the next 3 sessions, and I’ll def be there on Aug. 2. 

Yoga On The Rocks

YOTR & PLQ are giving away a complimentary pass to attend a session of Yoga On The Rocks. Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post, telling me why you’d like to attend. The lucky winner will receive 2 passes (for you & a friend) and will choose between two dates (Aug. 9 OR Aug. 16).

Yoga On The Rocks

Since I plan to be at each of the YOTR sessions, I hope to meet the lucky winner, potentially neighbor during the practice, and capture some photos. 

Winners will be announced on July 31, which allows you to enter (by commenting on this post) until July 30.

If you’re not the lucky winner but you still plan on doing some yoga at YOTR, holler at me – I’d love to meet!! 

Yoga On The Rocks

***YOTR offered me the opportunity to give a complimentary pass to my readers, however I have not received any compensation for writing this post. The views expressed on PLQ are solely those of the blog post author (Crista), and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s sponsors.

The photos in this post were provided by YOTR.

Love

Crista


Jul
19

Curry Cauliflower Salad

I really really enjoy eating from the salad bar at Whole Foods – in fact, there have been many nights that I’ve “gone to dinner” there. Often times, I’d rather eat that salad bar versus going to a restaurant. I remember one time my mom was visiting me in Chicago shortly after the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park opened up. I took her there to show it off as if it were a Chicago Landmark.”Look at the wine bar!! oohhh ahhhh” “Look at the salad bar!! ooooooohh ahhhhhh” “Look at the make-your-own-trail-mix-station!!!!” She’s all like “mmmhmmm….”

Anyway, the point is: I LOVE me some Whole Foods. Sometimes I make the MOST PERFECT salad combinations there and I get pissed at myself if I don’t remember what it was, when it’s THAT good I want to duplicate it, and/or share it with someone else who could totally appreciate it.On one of my recent visits, I made one of those MOST PERFECT salad combinations and DID remember all of the ingredients and now I’m sharing it with someone (you) who can appreciate it.

This salad is not complicated to make, but does require the round-up of a few ingredients. AND it requires you to curry some cauliflower, which is best to do about 1 hour before you are serving the salad.

Curried Cauliflower Salad
Author: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • ¾ cup cauliflower, chopped
  • ½ cup broccoli, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup quinoa, cooked
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ an avocado, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a small baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with the coconut oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes until they are softened and slightly brown, stirring every few minutes.
  4. After removing the cauliflower from the oven, allow them to cool for at least 15-20 minutes before tossing them with all of the other veggies to create the salad.
  5. Dress the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to taste. Sprinkle the salad with a pinch of curry powder, if your heart desires.
  6. Toss and serve.

Curried Cauliflower Salad

Love

Crista


Jul
13

Mt. Evans Trail

Yesterday, I climbed my first fourteener. I had no idea what a fourteener was before I moved to Colorado, but everyone here talks about them – there are 53 of them in Colorado. A fourteener is any mountain or peek that is 14,000 feet or higher. I climbed to 14,256 feet yesterday with with some great friends.

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

I was nervous to hike this trail, especially knowing that I was doing it with people who have hiked several fourteeners. What put me at ease is that the Mt. Evans trail is only 2ish miles long, some of the fourteeners can be 10-13 miles long – and remember they are AT ELEVATION – it’s hard to breath up there! It was quite an intense hike, but doable with several resting sessions. This was considered one of the “easier” fourteeners, but it almost kicked my ass! 

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Thankfully, this guy (Patrick) helped me gather the correct gear for the hike. I thought it’d be warm up on top of the mountain at some point but it was pretty chilly – in the 60′s (if I had to guess) and very very windy. There were a few times I thought the wind could catch me and whisk me right off the mountain.

Mt. Evans, Colorado

The photo above is the peak of Mt. Evans, the final destination. It’s just about level with the clouds, as you can see. 

Mt. Evans, Colorado
Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Notice, there aren’t any trees in these photos. Trees stop growing around 11,000 feet and we were above the treelike the entire hike. It was super cool to drive up the mountain past the tree line it was a very distinct line. It looked like you could jump right from the road on to the top of a tree. Ha! 

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Every now and then we stopped, found a comfy place to sit, and marveled in amazement at the scenery.  It was incredible. (although, we DO live in CO, about 1 hour from Mt. Evans, so we get to see these mountains on a daily basis – it’s surreal to think about.) It was also necessary to catch our breath – hiking at elevation is exhausting!

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

Mt. Evans, Colorado

We were pretty excited to find an easier trail to descend from the summit until we learned that the entire trail was composed of loose rock and mud, we basically slid the entire way down. Ouch, made my knees hurt – but so worth it.

Mt. Evans, Colorado

My friends did but I didn’t capture any photos at the top of the mountain (the summit)… I was busy caching my breath and enjoying the reward that I well deserved. Anyway, photos don’t do it justice – you just have to be there….

Love

Crista


Jul
08

vegan & gluten-free Banana Pancakes with a Peach Compote Sauce

I got a request from a special friend to make Banana Pancakes topped with Peaches. Banana + Peach is not a combination that I would have put together (in pancake form) before the request but it turns out that they are a perfect pair (when it comes to pancakes, anyway).

I rarely make pancakes because they intimidate me. I have this fear of not being able to cook them properly – maybe I’d burn them? OR just create some ugly-looking cakes? …that I wouldn’t want anyone to see…
But I took the risk, with confidence, AND I was pleasantly surprised (with myself) during the pancake-making process. To give credit where credit is due, I’ll say that these pancakes were simple to make. whew. I mastered it. Anyone could. Now I can move on with my life, fearless.

I adapted this recipe from a vegan, gluten-free pancake recipe that uses a mashed, ripe banana as a binder - that banana also acts as the sweetener in the pancakes – perfect. These pancakes are not super sweet on their own, which works out well because they are topped with the sweetness that is Peach Compote. If you have the desire to create another layer of sweetness, you can top your pancakes with maple syrup and/or coconut whipped cream in addition to the peach compote.
(Don’t think I didn’t…)

vegan & gluten-free Banana Pancakes with a Peach Compote Sauce

Banana Pancakes {vegan & gluten-free}
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup almond milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • a few teaspoons coconut oil, for the pan
Instructions
  1. In a food processor or a blender, puree the banana with the almond milk and vanilla, then set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.
  3. Pour the banana/milk mixture in to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop (or a ¼ cup measuring cup) to scoop pancake batter in to the heated skillet. You will only be able to make a few pancakes at a time.
  6. When you start to see bubbles in the batter, flip the pancake. Let the second side cook for about 30-60 seconds and then remove from heat. Check the pancakes to make sure they are done in the middle. If not, reduce the heat and cook longer.
  7. Add more oil to the pan before adding more pancake batter.
  8. Serve with Peach Compote (recipe below) or Maple Syrup.
Notes
If you choose to use an all-purpose flour vs. a gluten-free flour, use 1 cup of flour. Gluten-free flour tends to be more dense, which is why I use less than I would all-purpose flour in this recipe.
Peach Compote Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 4 cups fresh peach slices
  • 3 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat then stir the sugar and cinnamon in.
  2. Add the peaches to the mixture and stir to coat with the butter mixture.
  3. Simmer the peaches over low-to-medium heat until they soften and the juice starts to thicken, about 20 minutes.
  4. Pour half of the mixture in to a food processor or a blender and puree.
  5. Blend the pureed mixture with the original mixture.
  6. Serve warm or chilled atop pancakes, waffles, french toast, or even ice cream.

You may want to consider making a double batch of these pancakes (which is what I do), and freeze the leftovers. They warm up really well, and make for a quick breakfast on a day that you don’t have as much time to be in the kitchen. The Peach Compote can be made in excess as well and stored in the refrigerate for use on a later date. 

vegan & gluten-free Banana Pancakes with a Peach Compote Sauce

*This Pancake Recipe was adapted from Love & Lemons.

Love

Crista


Jul
06

The holiday weekend, it seems as though EVERYONE is outside enjoying the weather and celebrating summer.
In the midst of things, I can’t stop thinking about all of the outdoor adventures I’d like to accomplish this summer.
I just booked a camping trip, I’ll be with friends at a cabin on a lake in Minnesota soon, and I’d like to picnic in the park…
….all this among the millions of other things I’d like to do before summer comes to an end.
The one thing I look forward to most when in preparation for these activities is plan the food situation.
((why do I love food so much??))
I looked through my blog posts for some ideas – here are the best options that pack & serve well for a picnic.
Where will you be picnicking this year? I’ll be at Wash Park

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Pea Hummus

Easy Peasy Pea Hummus

peach & tomato skewers

Peach & Tomato Skewers

Spring Coleslaw

Spring Coleslaw

Banana Fantasy Salad // peace. love. quinoa

Banana Fantasy Salad

Green Potato Salad

Green Potato Salad

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho

Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad // peace. love. quinoa

Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad

Chickpea & Tomato Salad // peace. love. quinoa

Chickpea & Tomato Salad w/ Fresh Basil

vegan Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Chocolate Pudding w/Cinnamon Frosting

Lemonade / Arnold Palmer

Homemade Lemonade / Arnold Palmer

Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea

Ginger Mint Iced Tea

Ginger Mint Iced Tea

Love

Crista


Jul
04

Yesterday was a sad day. I had to dig up my plants that were planted throughout 2 garden plots provided to me through DUG: Denver Urban Gardens. I didn’t WANT to dig up, but I don’t feel like I had any other option. 

Denver Urban Garden

I was EXTREMELY excited to garden with DUG, I had been in contact with them for months waiting for an available plot to present itself to me and it FINALLY did. However, after that initial excitement, things started to move downhill pretty quickly. You see, someone was trampling my garden, someone dug up my tomato plants and stole my tomato cages, and a few weeks later, someone took two concrete blocks (I was using as stepping stones) out of the garden plots. And that’s not it – I was also promised a third plot (that was completely covered in weeds taller than myself). I had JUST come up with a plan to plant the seeds that were gifted to me at “On The Farm, Off The Hook” this past week SO I spent hours weeding the plot (do you KNOW how dirty that job is??) and prepping the soil, only to come back the next day and find that SOMEONE ELSE swooped in  and planted the space! THAT is STEALING! Luckily my seeds are still in my possession and not buried at the bottom of someone else’s garden mess.

I never even really got the opportunity to blog about my garden after it was planted because the “drama” started almost immediately. I kept waiting for the drama to subside so that I could focus on the happy but it seems like EVERY TIME I visited my plot (daily), I left feeling mad and upset. It shouldn’t have been that way. I was using that garden as an experiment, growing things I’d never grown before. It should have been a happy place, full of newness and positive energy. 

Denver Urban Garden

This week, I finally lost all confidence in that space, I knew that if I let my plants produce, there was a fat chance the fruit would be stolen from me. Or trampled on. Or who knows what else. So I moved all of my plants out of that space and in to the garden space behind the salon, where I’m confident they will be well looked after. Luckily, I had room for everything and didn’t have to abandon one single plant.

Before I made the decision to dig up all of my plants, I worked with the garden leader to find answers, but she had little to no information and/or skills to manage the challenges I was having.

In the middle of all this drama, I came across a blog post titled, “Community Does Not Mean Kumbaya” written by a garden leader and/or an employee of DUG. In the blog post, she expands on the drama and conflict that stems from the “community garden” community. Although an interesting read, I’m not sure that I found any relief in knowing that I’m not the only person experiencing conflict in the community. If anything, I’m even more turned off by the community gardening experience. I’m almost 100% sure I’ll never garden a community plot again. 

Denver Urban Garden

In the photo above, you see a tomato cage with two tomato plants planted in it. That cage and those plants magically appeared about one week after my two tomato plants went missing from my plot. I’ll never know for sure if those tomato plants were the ones I had planted or not, but I dug them up and took them with me anyway. I might know if they were mine after they start producing fruit. Gah, it makes me want to scream.

Everyone has a theory about what happened to my tomato plants but I’m about 100% sure it was the church groundskeeper who dug up my plants. He places a cinderblock in the space that my tomatoes were planted in – I doubt a thief from the streets would bother with the cinderblock. My belief is that someone from the church (probably the groundskeeper) and/or the other gardeners were the ones trampling my garden, and spilling piles of weeds in to it. Either way, the problem was obviously “on site” and I have no regrets moving my things off of that site.

I have been taught this lesson a time or two in the last few weeks: if there is someone or something that is presenting anger and/or negative energy to your world, it is best to remove it from your world.

Good-bye DUG.

Love

Crista


Jul
03

red, white, and blue sangria

Oh HEYyyyy Holiday Weekend, is that you approaching?
YOU, the one weekend that has everyone out spending all of their money on unnecessary red, white, and blue garb JUST FOR FUN!! Do you even KNOW how long I have been searching for a pair of red shorts to wear on the 4th?? 

Anyway, I love this time of year. Friends, family, cabins, lakes, fireworks, grilled eats, watermelon, being outdoors – it’s all so good. I’ve taken the entire week off work for some solo enjoyment and relaxation – as far as I’m concerned, the Holiday Weekend is already here – my “weekend” just happens to be longer than most. Ha! 

red, white, and blue sangria

To get in the spirit of red, white, and blue, I’ll probably get out my American Flag Shorts, have my nails polished in red, blue, and glitter (!!), AND I’ve got an entire batch of red, white, and blue sangria waiting for me, calling my name. I’m thinking this first batch will disappear by the end of the day and the second batch will makes it’s way to the cabin in the mountains this weekend. We’ll see what happens :)

red, white, and blue sangria

red, white, & blue sangria
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 bottle sparkling water
Instructions
  1. In a large pitcher, combine the strawberries, blueberries, and white wine. Allow the mixture to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove from the refrigerator and stir in the agave nectar.
  3. Serve chilled, and when serving, fill the glasses ¾ full with the fruit & wine mixture and top off with a splash or two of sparkling water.

red, white, and blue sangria

Love

Crista


Jul
02

On The Farm, Off The Hook

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an event put on by Heroes Like Us and Yelp Denver called On The Farm, Off The Hook. The event took place at the Growhaus, a local 20,000 square foot non-profit greenhouse, marketplace, and educational center. Essentially, the purpose of the event was to learn about and support local farms, chefs, and organizations. I was excited to be there for a few different reasons:
1. Check out the Growhaus (I loved it!!)
2. Meet like-minded people (and I did!!)
3. Eat yummy, locally-produced, organic food (mission accomplished!)

On The Farm, Off The Hook

The space was adorable, charming, the exact type space I dream of hosting my own dinner party in. Before dinner was served, we were able to walk around the Growhaus and check out the space while being served local craft beers and wines. The Growhaus is probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever been (I am so incredibly turned on by the process of growing local/organic food sustainably). I wanted to stay there at the Growhaus forever, move in.. you think they’d give me a job? (haha) 

I joined the Tambien program, which is a donation-based membership program which allows it’s members to support local food production and education in and around Denver. Im totally stoked to be a part of it, and can hardly wait to get more involved. (way to squeeze my foot through the door..)

On The Farm, Off The Hook

This guy, the Bishop, (pictured above) DJ’d during the cocktail hour – hilarious, right? He pretty much rocked.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

The local chefs that created our meal that evening are from Bad Apple, Fuel Cafe, and Petey Bird.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

Cocktails, wine, and beer were provided by Stranahan’s, Avery Brewing, and Infinite Monkey Theorem.

On The Farm, Off The hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

It was so much fun to meet new people, everyone had a different purpose and reasoning for being there – amongst them were  a birthday girl and her pals celebrating, a husband-and-wife duo made a date night out of the event, and a nutritionist networking just the same as myself… just to name a few.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

If you look closely, I am in some of these photos. Which speaking of, I borrowed these photo from the Heroes Like Us blog post – I didn’t take many photos that night… I decided it was best to not worry about my camera and allow the photographers to do their job. My job that night was to relax, network, and eat damn good food. 

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

This was only the first of four “On The Farm, Off The Hook” events that are happening this summer. I’ve already purchased tickets for the July event happening at Miller Farms and I plan to attend all four events. Cheers to Heroes Like Us for organizing these events that are totally “off the hook”. 

the Growhaus Denver

Love

Crista

 

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