Dec
13

 When I was back home in Indiana over Thanksgiving, I met up with a few friends for dinner and drinks on Black Wednesday. I was disappointed by the lack of veg items on the menu but got excited when the server told me about the Sweet Potato + Smoked Gouda soup they were serving that night. Upon further investigation, I learned that the soup was made with chicken stock, and therefore not vegetarian. I was EXTREMELY disappointed. AND determined. Determined to re-create the soup. It sounded soooo good. (I LOOOOOVE smoked gouda)

I have no idea what the restaurants recipe for this soup is, and I’m not even sure how the restaurants soup tastes, but it wasn’t hard to come up with my own recipe. There are very few ingredients used to make this soup, but it is packed with flavor (I didn’t even have to use salt & pepper)!

Sweet Potato + Smoked Gouda Soup

Sweet Potato + Smoked Gouda Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4-5 small sweet potatoes, chopped in to 2 inch pieces
  • ½ cup smoked gouda cheese, grated
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the potatoes to a boil in the veg broth and almond milk and then simmer on low heat for approx 20 or until they potatoes are soft.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and the cheese and the thyme.
  4. Simmer over low heat until the cheese is completely melted.
  5. Serve immediately.

 

Love

Crista


Dec
12

cupcakeporn

cupcakeporn2

On a recent trip I took to Milwaukee, I stopped in to the Comet Cafe after googling vegan-friendly restaurants. It seems I never have a problem finding the hipster joints in any city I visit. 

So anyway, the food was good blah blah, but thats not what I’m writing this post about. I’m writing to tell you about the most amazing vegan cupcake I have ever experienced in my life. Homemade by the owners of the Comet Cafe, that most amazing vegan cupcake came to me in the form of Red Velvet. The cake was moist and the frosting was as equally creamy as it was sweet.

That cupcake was huge, but I still managed to eat every bite of it myself. I took it “to go” so that I could go back to my hotel room and eat it in private without any judgement from others. (stuff my face – nom nom nom)

I am on an ever-lasting hunt to find the “perfect vegan cupcake” ….could be that my search ended right there at the Comet Cafe.

Comet Cafe, 1947 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Love

Crista


Dec
11

BRRRRRRRR.
It is bone chilling cold here in Chicago.
We had our first big snow here last night, it was beautiful to wake up to.
It’s always fun to make the first footsteps in the fresh, powdery snow.
In weather like this, it’s hard to want to do much besides sit on the couch, with my fuzzy socks on, snuggled in a warm blanket…. and blog.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll do anything to stay warm.
Here are a few comfort foods that may help to warm your body and your soul:

Aveda Tea

Comforting Hot Tea

apple carrot quinoa chili

Apple Carrot Quinoa Chili

Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes

Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit & Almonds

Kale Breakfast

Kale + Avocado Toast Brunch

….let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….

Love

Crista


Dec
08

vegan cookbooks

One of my girlfriends reached out for a recommendation on a vegan/gluten-free-friendly cookbook to gift a client of hers. Making a recommendation was an easy task for me – there are a few books that I have used a lot and there are a few books that I wish someone would gift me. Consider one of these books as you are putting together your Gift Lists:

1. Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook – I originally went vegan after picking up the original Skinny Bitch book to read on an airplane years ago. My whole world changed after reading the book and I am convinced that you could change someone’s world by gifting them this cookbook.

2. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World – I own the book and I’ve used it several times. I bought it during a time when I was completely obsessed with cupcakes. I’ll never admit how many cupcakes I actually ate during that year or two. Anyway, I’ve always had success with the recipes. This book would make a rocking’ gift because who DOESN’T love cupcakes. AND who WOULDN’T smile upon opening this little gift? Cupcakes make everyone smile. And vegan cupcakes make the (my) world go ’round.

3. Isa Does It – Isa wrote the Vegan Cupcakes book (that I’m obsessed with) and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. A girlfriend of mine (who inspired me to write this post) asked for a cookbook recommendation that includes gluten-free and vegan dishes – this is the book she chose to purchase and will be gifting to one of her clients this year. Good choice, friend.

4. The Kind Diet – Alicia Silverstone is adorable isn’t she? Not only that, she’s compassionate and kind. This book makes a great gift because the author holds a household name and her book is chock-full of information and recipes that support a plant-based lifestyle. 

5. Betty Goes Vegan – I love the concept of this book, the authors re-created recipes found in The Betty Crocker Cookbook which is a cookbook that everyone can relate to (my dad gifted me The Betty Crocker Cookbook the day I got my first apartment). This book is well-suited for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, plus it looks like a book that would display nicely in a classic and/or modern American kitchen.

6. Vegan Yum Yum –  I am familiar with Vegan Yum Yum because I use their iPhone app which I’ve used several times for recipe inspiration. I looked through the recipe index for the book and I’m impressed by every single recipe listed, I bet you will be as well…

7. Bake and Destroy – I love this chick’s blog and although I don’t own the book YET, I know that I’ll love it too. Natalie, the author lives in Chicago so I feel like I have a special bond with her (even though she has no idea who I am). Check out her website, she is offering to sign purchased books for no cost – all you have to do is ship her the book and pay to have it shipped back to you. Sweet deal, right?

Happy Holidays and Happy Gifting! xo

Love

Crista


Dec
07

vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

One of my favorite friends is celebrating a birthday today, to honor his birthday, I made his favorite cupcakes: Chocolate with Peanut Butter Frosting. It’s sad that I won’t see my buddy today, and he won’t have the opportunity to eat these cupcakes. Poor guy. Maybe this post will inspire him to bake his own batch of these homemade, vegan, yummy birthday treats.

I found this recipe on Bakeaholic, it was quite simple to follow. I like it.

Homemade {vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Cupcakes
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ cup flour
  • ½ cup vegan butter, melted
  • ½ cup coconut or almond milk
  • ⅓ cup water + 1 tsp ground golden flax seeds (allow mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before using)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup mashed banana
Peanut Butter Frosting
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup vegan butter, chilled
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsp non-dairy milk (coconut or almond)
Instructions
Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and baking powder. Stir to mix.
  3. In a separate bowl blend together mashed banana, vanilla, melted butter, flax seeds + water mixture, apple cider vinegar and non-dairy milk. Blend with mixer until well incorporated.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and blend together.
  5. Line cupcake tins with wrappers – add ¼ cup batter to each.
  6. Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes or until tops begin to toast up.
  7. Allow cupcakes to cool before frosting.
Peanut Butter Frosting
  1. Blend all ingredients together with a hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy and smooth.
  2. Pipe on to cooled cupcakes.

vegan chocolate peanut butter cupcake

During the making of these cupcakes, my sister-in-law showed me how to use wax paper and/or a plastic ziplock bag to pipe the frosting on to these cupcakes. I would share how to do it, but I’m not that good yet. I did find a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it with wax paper HERE, if you’re curious….

Random thought: Chocolate cupcakes are so much easier to make vegan than vanilla cupcakes. What’s that all about?

Join me in wishing my buddy a Happy Happy Birthday. 
xoxo

Love

Crista


Dec
06

Aveda Tea

Brrrr, it’s chilly outside – the time of year well-suited for a cup of hot tea to maintain warmth has arrived. While I complain about the weather, I get excited to wrap up in my scarves, fuzzy socks, and over-sized sweaters and I find  pleasure in sipping warm drinks – I’ll do anything to keep cozy. 

Aveda TeaAveda Tea 

My all-time favorite tea to drink (going on a few years now) is a tea made by the haircare company, Aveda. The ingredients of the tea (licorice root, peppermint) don’t typically represent the types of flavors I prefer, however the combination that makes up this tea is absolutely to die for. I like that the tea is naturally sweet, I would never even consider adding sweetener to it – it simply doesn’t need it. It is caffeine-free, which is nice because I can drink it before bedtime. AND one of the best things about this tea is that it is good hot, warm, OR cold. Have you ever had a cup of hot tea that is less appealing after it’s gotten cold? Not this tea, it is just as good cold (or at room temp) as it is hot. Did I mention that it is 100% organic? (bonus)

Aveda Tea

 “If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited it will calm you.” 
{William Ewart Gladstone}

Love

Crista


Dec
05

arize kombucha-2

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine and we were debating whether or not kombucha needs to be refrigerated after opening. You see, after I open a bottle, it takes me half the day to drink it… and I’m not always near a refrigerator to store it in-between sips…..

arize kombucha

At a food market in Chicago, I met these guys who were selling this Arize Kombucha, they don’t think it is necessary to refrigerate kombucha after it has been opened, however we all agreed that it does taste better when it’s cold. 

If you are NOT going to refrigerate your kombucha after opening, it is recommended that you drink it within the day. The longer it sits out, the more vinegary kombucha will taste, AND it will continue to ferment.

SO it is BEST if you can keep your kombucha cold, but  if not, it’s not the end of the world, and the kombucha is still drinkable if you let it sit out for a good portion of the day….

arize kombucha-4

Love

Crista


Dec
04

Refinery29

 

I’m pretty excited that peace. love. quinoa was featured in a blog post on Refinery29 today! The post is a part of Tinseltown, Refinery29’s holiday series.

Last year, I made Citrus Sea Salt for gifting (I kept a jar for myself too) and when I was presented the opportunity to share a DIY gift on Refinery29, I immediately knew that I wanted to share the Citrus Sea Salt. This Citrus Sea Salt is a gift that I enjoy giving because I know that it will keep giving all year round, as it can be used in a variety of different recipes. 

Head on over to Refinery29 to check out the post where you’ll find some great ideas for DIY gifts.
For the original post and recipe for the Citrus Sea Salt, click HERE.

Love

Crista


Dec
03

Apple Cranberry Sauce

The holiday weekend has finally come to an end, not that I wanted it to. I spent my holiday in Indiana with my family. I got to hang out with my dad and his new girlfriend, my dad made me a lobster tail and grilled veggies for Thanksgiving!! He’s finally embraced the fact that I don’t eat meat, not even on Thanksgiving. I also got a chance to catch up with some friends from high school at the new local watering hole / martini bar. I went shopping with my mom before margaritas and I got to spend a bunch of time with my cute little 2 year old niece who is talking now – she can even say my name! 

I thought my mom and I would do more shopping on Black Friday, but we slept in instead…. then we just shopped for ourselves. (we’re both obsessed with Free People) She took me to hot yoga on Saturday, which I was thrilled about…. although I didn’t pack yoga clothes, so I borrowed my moms…

Cranberry Apple Sauce

I mentioned the Vegan Feast that I made on Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving. I’m glad I did, I had leftovers to share with my family on Thanksgiving Day and I had food to eat just in case vegan dishes weren’t provided. My family was open to trying my dishes, and they all loved this Cranberry Applesauce which wasn’t surprising, it was my favorite dish. I share the recipe, which I adapted from Gluten Free GODDESS.

Cranberry Applesauce

Cranberry Applesauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5-6 apples, peeled and chopped, use a variety for best flavor
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • agave nectar or honey, to taste (approx. 2-4 tablespoons, more or less)
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the apples, cranberries, and cinnamon sticks and pour in just enough cranberry juice to cover the fruit.
  2. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer until the fruit is very soft.
  4. Remove the cinnamon sticks and mash with a potato masher until you've reached a desired consistency.**
  5. Sweeten to taste with agave nectar or honey.
  6. Serve chilled or slightly warm.
Notes
**I prefer my Cranberry Applesauce to be chunkier, my family agreed. If you would like a smoother consistency, you have an option to transfer the mixture in to a food processor and puree.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 625 Fat: 2g Saturated fat: 0g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 166g Sugar: 123g Sodium: 15mg Fiber: 29g Protein: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg

Apple Cranberry Sauce

Love

Crista


Nov
29

Coconut Whipped Cream

A vegetarian/vegan all these years and I’m just now making Coconut Whipped Cream for the VERY FIRST TIME?!??! What in the heck was I waiting for?? It’s EASY and AMAZZZZZING!

Coconut Whipped Cream

At Trader Joes, I bought two cans of this coconut cream – I actually purchased them a while ago, not knowing what I would do with them. Before whipping, I tasted the cream, and was amazed by how creamy and sweet it is. (PERFECT!!)

Coconut Whipped Cream

Making the “Whipped Cream” was ridiculously easy and only required 2 ingredients: Coconut Cream & Powdered Sugar. I refrigerated the cream overnight so the cream turned in to a solid – there was some liquid coconut water at the bottom of the can which I saved for a smoothie.

I whipped the cream in a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, although a hand mixer would have gotten the job done as well. Adding a few tablespoons of powdered sugar at a time, I did taste tests until the flavor was to my liking. OR maybe I added little bits at a time so I would have more opportunities for taste tests…. Regardless, I only used 3-4 tablespoons of powdered sugar at most. It didn’t take much – the cream itself is already very sweet.

Coconut Whipped Cream 

I got this recipe from the Minimalist Baker and I am forever grateful to her for the inspiration. I used this cream atop my Mini Pumpkin Pies for Thanksgiving, it was perfectly light, fluffy, and rich, and is holding up well in the refrigerator.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Love

Crista