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. 
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


May
08

My poor little pup had to go under anesthesia this past week to get his teeth cleaned (and a few pulled). As he was coming down off the drug that was given, he whined for hours and hours an hours, whimpering. It was heartbreaking. He’ll be on antibiotics and pain killers for a total of 10 days after his.

medication

Not only has my pooch been on meds, I was as well. About a month ago, I found myself in the ER with an infection. The doctor says infections should be treated with antibiotics so he hooked me up with some. He also hooked me up with some pain killers that I became dependent on for a few days.

I know many people who take pop pills on a daily basis for headaches, allergies, body aches, and whatever else. Those of you who know me well, know that I RARELY take drugs – I let headaches heal on their own, and I let body cramps and pains heal on their own. In the ER, I resisted the IV, which frustrated the doctor. I kicked and screamed and said no to everything the doctor suggested. He questioned why I had even shown up so eventually I gave in….

The pain killers and antibiotics did their job, relieved m pain and removed the infection HOWEVER I feel like they messed up my system. I told one of my girlfriends about the changes I feel in my body and she says that she’s experienced the same thing. Gah, as I googled around, I realized that it’s a “thing” – that these meds mess you up. I should’ve known, and I guess subconsciously I did, but I have zero experience with it all. I knew I didn’t want that foreign crap in my body, however I’d never really thought of why.

It wasn’t long ago that my time in the bathroom was pleasant, not it’s an ouch-fest. I’d like to get this shit out of my body completely, because I’m not right. When I google around the internet trying to figure out how to re-regulate my body, I am falsely accused of being a drug addict – google can’t figure out what it is I’m looking for. 

medication

I believe I can treat myself and maintain good health with rest, hydration, and clean eating but I want to find someone/anyone with a related experience. Everything I can find on the internet speaks directly to addiction. 

In conclusion, I’ve committed myself to being more conscious than ever to these few things:
1. Hydration
2. Fiber Intake 
3. Daily Yoga
4. Clean Eating (more raw foods)

I’m not sure what else I can do at this point…. 

 

Love

Crista


May
05

In a yoga class earlier in the week, the instructor asked if anyone in the room has a solid Tripod Headstand. A Tripod Headstand may be one of the ONLY inversions I can do, and it’s not ALWAYS solid so I was hesitant to raise my hand – BUT I did because no one else did. (how nice of me)

Andy, the instructor wanted to demo a Tripod Headstand but wasn’t able to because he didn’t have room for his own yoga mat – the class was packed – so he needed someone in the room to do the demo for him. Anyway, I got lucky and my “demo” was a success, I didn’t fall flat on my face or my back like I sometimes do. (whew)

Tripod Headstand

The only reason I can do a Tripod Headstand is because a yoga instructor in Miami took me under her wing after a class on the beach a few years back- she stayed after class to guide me through the process of getting upside down. When I was able to stay put without falling, she grabbed my camera and took photos of me in my first ever upside-down inversion. I still think of her every time I’m hanging out in a headstand. (I should look for those photos – they were taken with an actual camera, not an iPhone bahaha)

The thing that holds me back in inversions is fear & the unknown. Kicking my feet up or balancing on my hands, all while uncertain whether I will fall or not (the feeling isn’t much different from that of snowboarding for the first time) makes me uneasy. I’ve tried several inversions, but haven’t been successful at many of them so I don’t even know what it feels like to be in those inversions – it’s like I’m upside-down, kicking my feet around aimlessly trying to figure out where my feet are supposed to go, but I can’t see them and it feels like I’m going to fall ahhhhhh!

Anyway, I’m convinced that if I can do a Tripod Headstand, most anyone can if they put their mind to it. 

The first step is simply to get your head and hands grounded. Once you feel grounded, you can lift your legs and rest your knees on your elbows – this is a good place to hang out for a while and practice a few times before you attempt full expression.

At first, I was only able to practice full expression with the help of my instructor. She readily guided my legs up and held on to the tips of my toes while I found my balance…. and then she let go!

Tripod Headstand

If you are working on successfully getting upside-down in to a tripod headstand, I would highly recommend that you find a buddy, or ask an instructor to guide, and hold you while you find balance – I think it is important to know where you are going, be familiar with the process of getting there, and find balance there before you put yourself through the daunting task of finding comfort in the process – and a partner can help you do just that.

To pay it forward, I helped a guy get upside-down in a yoga class this past week. It didn’t take much, I held on to his legs as he lifted them, then held his feet in place for a few seconds until he found his balance. Now that he knows exactly what a Tripod Headstand feels like, he’ll be able to get up on his own. Now that he knows what it is like to be in full expression, he can work on the process of getting there.

Love

Crista


May
03

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pie

Around Easter (yeah, I know it was a while ago – whatever), I as overwhelmed with recipes using carrots. That must be a “thing” around Easter. Bunnies eat carrots which prompts the humans to eat carrots in honor of the bunny? I actually collected several carrot recipes, they all looked so good. Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal, Salt Roasted Carrots, Raw Carrot Cake, Spicy Raw Vegan Soup, Carrot, Apple Quinoa Hash, and this Vegan Carrot Cake Cookie recipe. I told you, I found a LOT (and even made a few). These cookies, I made immediately… and more than once. I made them without ginger and orange zest and I made them without (because I didn’t have the ingredients). I definitely recommend you use the ginger and orange zest – WAY tastier with! I ate these with frosting and without frosting. While they are good without, the frosted cookies won. 

But really, do I eat cake and cookies because I like cake and cookies or do I eat them because I like the frosting? There is a bakery in Chicago that sells little pots of frosting, ask me how I know.

So anyway, every time I ate one of these cookies, I told myself they are healthy. Carrots, orange zest, ginger, “fruits and veggies” – they’re PERFECT for breakfast (for obvious reasons).

Please do not wait until next Easter to make these cookies, do what the cool kids aren’t doing – eat carrots on the “off season”.

In this post you’ll find the recipe for the cookies and a link to the Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.

ACarrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • zest of ½ orange
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil, (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • a batch of Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (find a link to the recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, salt, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
  3. Add the fresh ginger, orange zest, and grated carrots, and mix until evenly combined.
  4. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, and stir just until combined.
  5. Using a spoon or a fork, drop the dough on prepared baking sheets in about 2 tablespoon sized amounts, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Gently push on the dough, encouraging it to flatten out slightly.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden.
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before adding the frosting.
  8. Once the cookies have cooled, use the Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting to make the cookie sandwiches.

In a prior blog post, you can find the recipe for Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pie

This cookie recipe was adapted from Always Order Dessert (what a fabulous blog!)

Love

Crista


May
02

Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting 

When my friend Amanda posted a recipe for Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates on her blog, I was floored – 2 ingredients of pure awesomeness. You see, I’d had a jar of coconut butter hanging around for a while, but I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. This simple recipe changed my world – opened my mind up to new opportunities.

My boyfriend is always thinking outside the box when it comes to food & recipes. For instance, he thought we should add chocolate chips to that stuffed-date recipe, he thinks chocolate chips should be added to EVERYTHING (including butter toffee cookies). He’s the one who recommend I use pear with lovage, and this morning he told me to dip my banana in my orange juice. Sometimes he hits the nail on the head, and sometimes he just makes me laugh.

Him and I started brainstorming different ways to use coconut butter (new obsession!) and we came up with this awesome recipe that perfectly complimented some carrot cake oatmeal cookies that I made (recipe coming soon!)

Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I made a larger batch of this frosting than necessary (don’t judge me) because it’s good for SO MANY THINGS! 

Cinnamon rolls
homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies
atop Cookies
atop Cupcakes
Atop a Carrot Cake
or, as a finger lick
(you know, dip your finger in, lick the frosting off)

Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting {a vegan recipe}
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. vegan cream cheese (I like Trader Joe's brand)
  • 2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coconut butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. With a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese, coconut butter, and vanilla extract together.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar, about ⅓ cup at a time.
  3. Whip together until the frosting has reached the desired consistency.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

 Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Love

Crista


Apr
23

Apple, Carrot, Quinoa Hash

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m a fan of quick, easy recipes. If you haven’t read the blog, well, now you know. I like to eat good food but I don’t have time for a lot of preparation. I keep waiting for the moment that I’ll have more “free time” …but, well, my big break hasn’t come YET.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I wrote up a post about creating quick, healthy meals using the ingredients I keep on-hand. This Carrot, Apple, Quinoa Hash concept was created simply by tossing together some leftover quinoa with a fresh, crunchy apple and a shredded carrot. (I tend to always keep carrots in the fridge because they can be added to soups, hash, wraps, juice – basically, everything) It’s a dish I whipped up in less than 20 minutes, but did not lack in flavor or substance.

I recently expressed my love (obsession) with the Opal Apple, which is the exact apple I chose to use in this hash. 1. Because I have them on-hand and 2. Even after being warmed & sautéed, they maintain a crisp crunch and they don’t turn brown. I would recommend an opal apple for this recipe, but if you don’t have access to one, my second recommendation is a Honeycrisp.

This mash can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It can be eaten warm, chilled, or at room temperature. I don’t prefer it one way over another, it’s yummy either way!

Carrot, Apple, Quinoa Hash
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 apple (I prefer Opal or Honeycrisp), finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, shredded or finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • cinnamon, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. If you quinoa is not cooked, cook it according to the directions on the package.
  2. In a large frying pan, warm up the coconut oil and sauté the ginger for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the apple, carrot, and quinoa and sauté for another 5-10 minutes, until all ingredients have been warmed and begin to mash together.
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon just before serving.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature. (I enjoy both!)

Apple, Carrot, Quinoa Hash

Love

Crista


Apr
22

succulents

I woke up this morning before the sun rose and opened the blinds that shade the 8 large windows in that line the walls of my little home…. I was up because Patrick was leaving for a 6am workout, I quickly decided I would skip the 6am workout (hey! I’m on “vacation” today) to catch a few more zzzz’s.

Around 7:30 or 8am, I awoke to birds chirping, two squirrels playing in the tree, and sunshine. As I lay in my bed, I can see out of 6 of my windows. My house is situated further off the street than most of the houses on the block and as I look out each window, I see my violet bushes that are in the beginning stages of bloom. I see my evergreen tree that holds it’s own presence in the yard, and is beautifully green all year long. And, I see bare trees that are ready to fill in for the summer. My little home is my sanctuary, my resting place – when I was looking for homes to purchase I insisted that the outdoors be incorporated in to my living space, and I got just that.

succulents

Today is Earth Day, a day to celebrate the Earth and all that it provides, a day to give back to your community, a reminder that your actions affect the well-being of this planet we live on. 

While I am not an enthusiast of Earth Day, I am aware of my decisions and actions and how they affect the Earth, all year long. I am not doing anything special today to celebrate the Earth, but I am in the planning stages of my garden and I’m ready to install my compost bin. I don’t have any lights on in the house, the sun provides for me. I will spend a portion of my afternoon laying in my hammock, reading a book. A book book, not an electronic book. I will lay my yoga mat down on the earth today and practice meditation.

As I write this post, my little doggy lays in the fresh mulch, soaking up the morning sunshine and observing the earth surrounding him – the elements, the birds, the squirrels, the bugs, the dewy grass. Even he understands that the earth provides for him and he pays gratitude by being present in those moments that he spends with the elements.

succulent garden

So, about those succulents…
In my little yard, I not only have space for a garden, but I’ve got a succulent garden as well! I didn’t plant it, the previous owners did. I’d always dreamed of having succulents but never took the time to research them and make it happen. 

The succulent garden is situated right up against the house in a shaded area. Succulents don’t require much maintenance or watering, which is one of the only reasons they can be planted right against the house. You wouldn’t want to plant a thirsty garden against the house and be watering it every day – the water could damage the foundation of your home. 

succulents

My belief is that this succulent garden was planted last season, either summer or fall of 2014. I have done NOTHING to the garden, yet many of the succulents are alive and thriving. I’m anxious to see if everything in the garden turns to life or if I’ll have to re-plant in some areas.

Wish my luck.. 

succulents

Love

Crista


Apr
15

opal apples

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the Standard Market in Westmont, IL, it’s a cute little market that I honestly don’t remember much about besides it being the place that I had my first run-in with the Opal Apple. The Opal is sunny, and ripe and more yellow than any other apple I’ve ever seen before. I was so stunned by the beautiful, brilliant color, I took a photo and immediately posted it on instagram (I thought I was so cool for finding something new that no one else had seen before) Actually, to be honest, I kind of freaked out at how cool those apples were – I did an internal freakout so don’t worry, no one thought I was crazy. Don’t ask me why this memory is still vibrant after 2 years. Fruits (ahem, apples) excite me, ok?

Sure, the Opal apples are beauties (flawless, if you ask me) but they tasted even better than they looked. They are crunchy, sweet (really sweet, actually,) and slightly tangy. Honeycrisp apples are some of my favorites because they are juicy, sweet, and crispy – but step aside, Honeycrisp – the Opal Apple is giving you some competition.

Opal Apples

So anyway, back to my story about the grocery store – it ended. The story, that is. I didn’t see those apples again for 2 years. I honestly never thought I’d see them again. Until a few weeks ago when I spotted these gems at Sprouts. And anyway, since we’re talking about grocery stores, I find it necessary to tell you that my home is about 3 blocks from the busiest Sprouts Farmers Market in the United States. See, reading my blog makes you smarter. 

Every time I go to Sprouts, I’m afraid I won’t see the Opal apples, I’m afraid they’ll disappear (like that one time…) but they haven’t. Today, I read that they are in season from November to March so I think they’ll be disappearing soon. (Don’t worry, I’ve stocked up.)

A few facts about the Opals that I found today – 
1. These apples are totally non-GMO (win!!)
2. The Opal apple was introduced to the USA in 2010 and is grown exclusively at Broetje Orchards in Prescott, WA. (I’d love to visit that orchard – vaca!!)
3. These apples don’t brown after cutting them. (I noticed that, without noticing it – if you know what I mean…)
4. Other cool stuff
5. These apples are perfect for eating raw (crunch, crunch) OR in a salad, but they also hold up well when you bake with them. I used them in some carrot cake oatmeal cookies (recipe soon!) and they ROCKED my socks.

Opal Apples

I googled around other blogs and websites written about the Opal Apple while writing this post and I notice that some bloggers got a paid sponsorship to write posts about these apples! Lucky ducks! No one paid me to write this post, I did it simply because I’m in love… “what’s love got to do with it”, you ask? Not money. Crunch.

Sources: serious eats, The Healthy Voyager, Social Cafe Mag, Opal Apples, Pinch Of Yum

Love

Crista


Apr
08

Snowboarding season is over (for me)! Sigh of relief. We ended the season at Telluride, on the second to last day of closing, with very little snow on the ground -it was basically slush. Although I only got out on the slopes 3 times this year, each run was crucial in my growth as a snowboarder. Based on all of the emotion that I experienced during the process, I’m not sure I could have handled any more time on my snowboard this year, it was tough.

snowboard Nederlands

Frustration, exhilaration, anxiety, excitement, defeat, and growth are all emotions that I experienced throughout each moment that I spent learning to snowboard. There were times all I could think about was “this is bullshit! why am I even doing this?!” and then there were times when I screamed out “I’M SNOWBOARDING!!” with the biggest smile on my face and it was like the coolest thing I’d ever experienced. 

On my last run of the last day snowboarding this year, I took a hard fall that caused some pain and tears. Because I could feel myself improving, I got bold and tried to make some moves that I wasn’t quite ready for. Immediately, I knew that would be the last run of the year for me but I was thankful to have had that experience because “now I know”… After that fall, I got back up and snowboarded down to the bottom of the mountain without another fall. Confidently, I’m ready for next season and I’ve already purchased my season pass! 

snowboarding Telluride

Here are a few lessons that I learned this year:

1. TRY SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING BOTH
A few years ago, I tried skiing in Lake Tahoe. I took lessons and I went out for a few days on my own. I SUCKED at it and I wrote it off as something I never wanted to do again. When I made the move to CO, I knew I wanted to get out on the slopes, but people told me that snowboarding is much harder than skiing so if I couldn’t ski then chances are I wouldn’t be capable of boarding. Screw those people, I am way better on a snowboard than I am on skis. Good thing I didn’t give up until I tried both.

2. TAKE A LESSON
I took a lesson the first time I skied and the first time I snowboarded – I also watched several videos on YouTube prior to going out. Had I not taken lessons, and just freestyled my first time out, I’m not sure I would have gone out a second time. The lesson is well worth the money spent, you have to trust me on that.When I went out for my first snowboard lesson, I went alone. I didn’t feel like a burden to friends and I only embarrassed myself in front of people I’ll never see again. And yes, it IS embarrassing when there are kids flying by flawlessly, and I, the adult can’t keep my balance (and I’m screaming like a little girl as I face-plant).

3. GO OUT WITH SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS 
Luckily, I have the most supportive and patient boyfriend a girl could have. Although he may have preferred to be playing on more challenging (and fun) runs, he assured me over and over again that he enjoyed helping me and watching me improve, he never left my side on the slopes. I have a few snowboarding friends that I’ve asked to go out with or have considered going out with, but they felt like I would be a burden to them as I learn. Had I gone out with them, I would have probably felt discouraged and lonely – I’m glad I never did.

4. BE PREPARED TO FALL DOWN AND GET BACK UP AGAIN
Getting on a snowboard for the first time feels silly. Getting on a snowboard for the second and third time feel silly as well. I thought I was well-balanced (daily yoga) until I got on a snowboard. Mentally, you’ve got to be prepared to fall because it will happen a lot. I learned quickly that when you fall, you have to get right back up again, and again, and again, and again, I had a little breakdown on my last day snowboarding this year due to high emotion and nervousness. I only allowed myself to cry for a few seconds, I knew I had to get my ass up and get down that mountain. I think I felt more determined after the embarrassment of that breakdown, because I showed improvement. It’s ok to have a breakdown (I’ve talked to several people who have during the learning process) but it’s not ok to let it keep you from pushing forward.

5. GEAR UP
During my snowboarding lesson, I used rented gear. After that lesson, I knew that I wanted to pursue the sport so I began shopping for gear. I did a lot of research, I visited several retail stores, and I spoke to several different snowboarders before I made my purchases. I purchased a board that is ideal for beginners but will still serve me after I’ve gotten better at the sport. After I had my board, I took recommendations for bindings and boots that would work well with my board. I’ve heard horror stories from people who purchased the wrong size boot or a board that was “cheap” so I have no regrets spending the money I did and waiting to do so until I felt like I’d gathered enough knowledge. It doesn’t pay to jump in to a purchase (if you don’t believe me, you can ask my friends who did)

6. STAY LOOSE 
Nervousness and anxiety can cause your body to tense up. On a snowboard you must be flexible in the mind and in the body. Things happen quick when you’re on a board – one second you’re sailing down the mountain, the next second you are face-planting. You may only be comfortable with easy runs but find yourself caught on a more difficult run – you’ve got to be prepared for the possibility. You’re going to fall (for sure!) so you’ve got to keep your body in a position that will allow you to take the most safe fall possible and you’ve got to be mentally prepared for it to happen, don’t allow the fear of falling to hold you back. Practicing yoga and/or stretching before snowboarding is helpful and most ideal – it’ll prepare your body with flexibility to use muscles that you didn’t even know existed.

7. HAVE FUN
I once inquired why it is that people become obsessed with snowboarding. I got an answer from someone who has experienced the exact reason why people become obsessed with it, but I haven’t experienced it yet so I’m not really sure how to explain what he explained to me. The few times I was able to “snowboard” down the mountain conjured up sublime emotion and exhilaration, I can only imagine how that will be amplified when it doesn’t end with a face-plant. Snowboarding is fun, and even though the learning process is frustrating, every time I’ve walked away from the mountain, it was with a huge smile on my face.

This year was a year of discovery and growth for me. Next year should be a year of improvement and pure amusement. I can hardly wait.

Love

Crista