Nov
04

.Camp Wandawega

In July, just before the holiday weekend, my girlfriends sat at Chino Latino with our guys who were all meeting each other for the first time. During that monumental time in our lives, we decided that we wanted to take our next girls vacation “glamping” // for a moment or two we considered inviting the guys, they were relieved to be let off the hook. (not nice!)

Camp Wandawega

I put a lot of value on getaways and quality time with my girls (#homegirls), but when we booked our glamping trip way back in July, I had no idea how valuable and necessary this trip would be for me.

Camp Wandawega

I haven’t been well the last few months. Conflicted, uncertain, anxious, frustrated, and emotional are a few of many words I could use to describe the roller coaster I have been riding lately. I have not eaten regularly, I hadn’t even been to the grocery store in weeks until yesterday, I experienced anxiety attacks for the first time in my life, I don’t read, I don’t blog, I don’t leave the couch unless I absolutely have to, and I cry, I cry a lot. 

Camp Wandawega

You might be asking why? 

Life can be rough, relationships can be tough, and unfortunately I’ve fallen victim to the struggle lately.

Camp Wandawega

So yeah, camp. Camp Wandawega! CW has been on my bucket list for years, and I was thrilled that the girls agreed to trek all the way to Wisconsin for our glamping weekend. Originally, we’d considered camping somewhere in Colorado, which would have been amazing but I am thankful that I was able to get away from my home, a home that I’d spent countless hours crying in, and get out of Colorado. 

I have no doubt that the world somehow knew I’d be desperate for uncommon surroundings to offer me varied perspectives and even though I didn’t realize it at the time of booking, I now know that our trip was booked with purpose. 

I’m not the only one who needed the getaway, my homegirls needed it too! 

Camp Wandawega

Camp Wandawega prides itself on being a place where adults can go to play, to let loose, and to be free. Amanda, Laura, and myself ran around the modern-vintage retreat, not much different than we would have as kids at summer camp, photographing ourselves on the tree swing, telling stories from our bunk beds until wee hours of the night, and courageously walking from the shower house to our cabin wrapped in the Hello Kitty towels that were gifted to us as a Happy Girls Glamping Weekend gift. (Thanks Kristy!)

Camp Wandawega

The weekend gave me exactly what I needed in my life at the time. 
Laughter.
Reflection.
Girl Talk.

Camp Wandawega

Although planning is my forte, busy schedules and lifes daily struggles kept us/me from doing much planning for our trip to Camp Wandawega. When the time came to make plans for this trip (scheduled departures, meals, etc.), I couldn’t even. I was not a functioning human being at that time, and I most certainly wasn’t able to make any decisions. 

Camp Wandawega

My beautiful friends, my homegirls, Amanda & Laura, compensated for my slack with extreme willingness and never showed frustration over my lack of function. Best friends aren’t called best friends for no reason.

Camp Wandawega

Homemade Waffles with Almond Butter and Pure Maple Syrup //
Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad //
Copper River Salmon & Curried TruRoots Rice //
Sauerkraut & Sausages //
Cheese, lots of cheese & Wine, lots of wine //
Campfire Heirloom Apple Crisp //
S’mores //
Local-made Muesli //

Camp Wandawega

We ate so fucking good at camp. 
No thanks to me, the only thing I could suggest was that we make guacamole-stuffed peppers which is a staple for me when tent camping. I couldn’t even process the fact that we would have a beautiful, vintage kitchen to cook in while at camp. It’s called “glamping” for a reason.

Quednow's Apples

We’d planned to visit an apple orchard/pumpkin patch during our trip but none of us expected to stumble upon Quednow’s Heirloom Apple Orchard which is an orchard that grows hard-to-find, heirloom apples. 

Quednow's Apples

Upon entering the small barn at Quednow’s, we were greeted by a smiling gentleman in a wheelchair, a delightful black cat, and unsurpassingly fragrant apples in varieties we’d never seen or tried before. We were offered samples of every apple variety we showed interest in. Each bite from each apple offered a novel experience, each variety unique in it’s texture, flavor, and fragrance. 

Quednow's Apples

Hawaii holds a special place in my heart, our hearts. When I think of the island, the experience, my heart expands, feels deep, and fills with love // love for my life, love for our life, love for my best friend(s). As you can imagine, I was delighted to find a Hawaiian apple variety // it’s pineapple-y flavor and suggestive name was all I needed to spark memories of my real-life love story…. a story that has been discredited in the recent past. I brought those apples home with me as a reminder…… and I shared them with my love.

Quednow's Apples

Quednow's Apples

Camp Wandawega

On our last night at camp, we were invited to use the beautiful kitschy kitchen in the main lodge, a space that has been used by several Chicago-based chefs to create beautiful dinners and dinner parties. 

Joined by the camp counselor (or so I’ll call him), we had our own dinner party. Local beers, red wine, and a full spread of german-influenced foods followed by s’mores and heirloom apple crisp was our feast.

Camp Wandawega

Melody, a girlfriend of mine that I hadn’t seen in years and her 3 year old son joined us for breakfast on our last morning at camp // to see her progress in life and to experience her positive outlook fed me beneficial energy and good vibes. Through her, and my homegirls, I realized that the kids (him & I) will be alright. 

Camp Wandawega

After camp, Melody asked me to share one of my favorite quotes with her, the one I found most relevant for my life as it is today is this: “Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot

Melody put that quote in to a piece of art and is sending it to me. Although I’ve committed myself to just as this quote suggests, hanging that piece of art of my wall will be a nice reminder.

Camp Wandawega

Gratitude.
I have it for my friends.
I have it for my love.
I have it for my new artwork.
I have it for an awesome glamping trip at Camp Wandawega.
I have it for the next trip with my homegirls.
I have it so hard right now.

Pumpkin Patch

For more photos and travel notes from our trip, visit Amanda’s blog, Heartbeet Kitchen // her post is a delight to read and brings tears to my eyes. Happy tears! 

Had it not been for my beautiful friend Kayle spilling her heart to the world via a blog post, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do so. Although our situations are very different, the emotions are feeling of drunken-ness are very much the same. I am thankful to have Kayle as a friend, and I’m thankful for the reminder that I am not alone in a world that has felt very lonely of late. And K, if you are reading this, HUGS. 

With all that being said, I assure you (and myself) that I am on the path to recovery and normalcy. Life is good, man. 

Also, go to Camp Wandawega, it’s fucking cool.

Love

Crista


Oct
04

Cardamom Scented Plum Chia Jam

Is it confession time? The answer is yes.
After being at wine fest in Palisade 2 weekends ago, I have been straight up addicted to cheese, crackers, jam, and honey…. oh, and wine. Local, Colorado wine. Sigh.

For dinner lately, I crave the local Strawberry Rhubarb jelly I brought home from the Western Slope, slathered on crackers, topped off with Syrah Soaked Toscano Cheese // to compliment, a bottle of red wine that came home with me from Colorado’s Wine Country.

Guilt overwhelms me when I sit unaccompanied on the couch with a spread of cheese, crackers, and jellies, feeding pure pleasure. In my mind, I know that cheese & crackers do not make up a balanced meal, but my selfish tastebuds ask for one more bite, one more night, over and over again and I succumb.

I’ve got 1.5 blocks of cheese left in the fridge (including a brie that I would love to use for this recipe) I’m going to finish and then I’m going to walk away from dairy cheese for a while (thank goodness for treenut cheese). STAY STRONG CRISTA. 

Cardamom Scented Plum Chia Jam

While visiting the Farmer’s Market a few days ago, I silently celebrated when I found one of my favorite Palisade farmers selling stone fruits this late in the season because I’d recently stumbled upon this recipe for a “Cheater’s Chia Blood Plum Jam.” 

It was fun to adapt this recipe slightly and use it as an alternative to the sugary jams I’ve been consuming (in large quantities) with my cheese and crackers. Since making it, I’ve also used it atop a whole wheat bagel, paired with pumpkin cream cheese (THANK YOU TRADER JOES).

Appropriately labeled “cheater,” this jam is easy, easy to make and requires very few ingredients (no sugar or pectin!) If you can mash fruit with a fork or a food processor and mix a few ingredients in a bowl, you can make this jam. It took me all of 5 minutes to prepare, and then another hour to set before being ready to eat. If plums aren’t your jam (ha! get it? your “jam..”), then you can use peaches, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries. If cardamom doesn’t satisfy your taste crave, then substitute with nutmeg or cinnamon. If you prefer your jam to be more tart, then don’t add the sweet agave nectar. If you like your jam on the sweeter side, add more agave or honey than what the recipe calls for. 

Cardamom Scented Plum Chia Jam (no sugar or pectin added!)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5-6 small ripe plums, chopped and pitted
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • a pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. honey or agave nectar (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, puree the ripe plums. Alternately, mash the plums with a fork until they are broken up and juicy.
  2. By hand, stir in the chia seeds, vanilla extract, cardamom, and honey or agave nectar.
  3. Transfer to a covered bowl or a mason jar and allow to set in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  4. This jam can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Alternately, you can freeze the jam until you are ready to consume.
Cardamom Scented Plum Chia Jam

Love

Crista


Sep
23

I’m in slight denial that summer has come to an end but I know it’s real. The leaves have begun to change (the mountains are BEAUTIFUL right now) and each morning seems to be slightly chillier than the previous. When I’m out watering the garden in the morning, I’m bundled up in a small blanket or a hooded sweater instead of bare skinned, flip flops, and tank tops. 

Although I mourn the loss of a summer that could have, should have, would have packed more activities and experiences had I had more time but I’m ready, ready to move on. Ready for new beginnings. Ready to hunker down, cozy under blankets, drink wine, lots of wine, and eat warm, comforting foods.

As I scroll through the archives in this blog, each recipe stirs up a memory of what was happening in my life at the time I was preparing and serving that dish. I share with you the recipes that comforted me this morning, and brought warm thoughts, the dishes that I’ll prepare this season to stir nostalgia and create new memories.

Happy fall, ya’ll.

thyme-tea-cough-buster
Thyme Tea

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl
Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl

Red Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili
Red Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

Apple, Carrot, Quinoa Hash
a Carrot, Apple Quinoa Hash

pumpkin pie yogurt parfait
Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1
Roasted Sweet Pepper Salsa

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Pot Pit
Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Pot Pie

indian spiced smashed potatoes
Indian Spiced Smashed Potatoes

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Oatmeal // peace. love. quinoa
Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Oatmeal

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding
Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

Love

Crista


Sep
08

Harvesting Chamomile

When I talk about the plants that I grow in my home garden, I often talk about WHY I chose each plant. I choose tomatoes because there is nothing better than a home-grown tomato, I chose basil and cilantro because they are herbs that I use often, and I choose peppers because they grow flawlessly and add color + flavor to my garden and my kitchen.

This is my first year growing chamomile, I chose it because it smells pretty, produces lovely flowers, and has a calming effect. One of my favorite tea blends, Chamomile Citrus from Mighty Leaf may have had an influence on me being drawn to chamomile.

Harvesting Chamomile

My chamomile plant started flowering long before I really knew how or when to harvest the buds. After my busy, travel-packed summer slowed down, I took the time to learn and was pleasantly surprised how stinking easy it is to harvest and dry the flower buds.

When the chamomile flowers are wide open, and the white petals are perky, it is the perfect time to harvest. In my photos, you can see that some of the white petals had begun to droop, at that point they are still harvestable however they won’t have as many essential oils to offer.

Harvesting Chamomile

Plucking the fully bloomed, tiny flowers away from their stems is easy, doesn’t take much effort. I used my thumbnail to get a clean cut right at the base of the flowers, and they all popped right off. Because it’s so pleasant and calming, I sniffed each flower bud as I plucked it. 

Now that I’ve begun harvest, I know that my chamomile plant will replace the plucked flowers with brand new ones to be harvested in the future.

My freshly plucked chamomile buds are sitting in a cool, dry place in my kitchen to dry out. Once dried, I will store the chamomile buds in an airtight mason jar until I’m ready to use them for tea. 

I take pride in having an abundance of dried herbs from my garden in the kitchen and my meals seem to be more rewarding when home-grown ingredients are used. I look forward to sipping home-grown chamomile tea on the upcoming chilled, autumn nights.

Harvesting Chamomile

Love

Crista


Sep
04

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1

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

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

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

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

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1

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

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

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

Sweet_Peppers

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

Love

Crista


Aug
20

on growing radishes

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

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

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

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

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

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

on growing radishes

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

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

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

on growing radishes

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

Love

Crista


Aug
10

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

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

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

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

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

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

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

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

Credits // Author & Photography: Mary Haymaker from Chattavore

Love

Crista


Aug
06

 Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad

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

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

Ok, scratch that.

Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad

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

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

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

Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sprouted Quinoa Mango Salad

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

 

Love

Crista


Aug
05

YumUniverse

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

(But look, I’m not complaining.)

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

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

YumUniverse

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

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

YumUniverse

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

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

YumUniverse

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

YumUniverse

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

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

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

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

Love

Crista


Aug
03

Tru Roots Lentils

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

Camping Twin Lakes

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

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

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

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Camping Twin Lakes

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

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

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

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

Camping Twin Lakes

Plant-Based Camp Meals

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

Plant-Based Camp Meals

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

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

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

Plant-Based Camp Meals

BREAKFAST IDEAS:

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

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

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

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Camping Twin Lakes

LUNCH IDEAS

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

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

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

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

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

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

DINNER IDEAS

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

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

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

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

Plant-Based Camp Meals

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

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

Camping Twin Lakes

Now, for the Giveaway. 

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

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

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

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

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

Camping Twin Lakes

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

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

Love

Crista