Nov
28

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because the world becomes food obsessed! ….But it’s also a time to reflect on the things that you are thankful for and to express gratitude. As you prepare the biggest meal you’ll have all year, don’t forget to think about the things you are grateful for (before you hit the food coma).

On this chilly, chilly Thanksgiving morning, I’m curled up on the couch, cozy under the blankets with the pooch at my feet, and my dad preparing the big meal in the kitchen, and I am thinking about all of the little things in life that make me happy. Ten things I am thankful for:

1. Fuzzy socks
2. My cute, cute doggie
3. Yummy food
4. Chocolate & pomegranate
5. Yoga
6. Hot tea
7. Friends & family
8. Fresh, crisp air
9. Music
10. Hugs

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Love

Crista


Nov
27

Vegan Thanksgiving Feast

As promised, Thanksgiving came early this year.I spent the entire day yesterday crafting this all-vegan & gluten-free Thanksgiving meal, and I am thankful for the opportunity. I made so much food, most of which I couldn’t fit in my belly. But don’t worry, I’m eating leftovers for breakfast and I’m taking the leftovers to my family.

vegan Thanksgiving

You can see my original meal plan HERE, but I did alter it slightly (of course). Pictured above are these dishes: Brussels Sprouts Kale Salad with Pomegranate and a Creamy Avocado Dressing, Rosemary Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Kale, Braised Red Cabbage with Apple & Onion, Ruby Applesauce with Cranberries, and Quinoa, Pomegranate, and Persimmons Salad. A few of the recipes call for cheese, which I simply left out of the dishes to keep this meal 100% vegan. (I didn’t miss the cheese or dairy one bit)

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This Sweet Potato dish with Rosemary was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. A little bit of rosemary goes a long way, I’ve learned. These potatoes were pleasingly fragrant.

Cranberry Apple Sauce

My favorite dish from the years feast was definitely the Apple Cranberry Sauce. Making it was fun and easy, it made the house smell delightful. The dish was equally sweet and tart, and sat nicely on the plate next to the other dishes. (plus, it’s so pretty to look at)

Cranberry ApplesauceVegan Thanksgiving

Oh, and the Kale + Brussels Sprout salad rocked my world – if you have not used raw Brussels Sprouts in a salad yet, DO IT. It adds a whole new dimension and texture, and it works well with kale, not sure I’d use it with lettuce or arugula (but you never know).

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

For dessert, I made these Mini No-bake Pumpkin Pies. In the photo above, you see them WITHOUT the Coconut Whipped Cream and  I know they look good without it but they are RIDICULOUS WITH it! I can’t even explain the amount of pleasure I endured with every bite….

Coconut Whip Cream

I’m up early this morning, I’m going to dive right in to leftovers then I’m headed to Indiana to spend time with my family for the weekend. Happy Thanksgiving meal planning everyone!! xox 

Love

Crista


Nov
26

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

I am obsessed with Thanksgiving this year. Over the last few days, I’ve made at least one Thanksgiving-ish dish every day. Apple Parsnip Mash, Honeycrisp Apple JuiceBreakfast Quinoa and these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes are among some of those dishes. 

I’m taking advantage of the Brussels Sprouts season this year, there are several dishes that I plan on making with them – including a dish that I’m going to make for Thanksgiving. My favorite way to prepare Brussels Sprouts is roasting them with different seasonings and flavors, but for my Thanksgiving feast, I am going to use them in a salad, raw…. combined with kale. (YUM, right?) 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 pound red seedless grapes, halved
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the brussels sprouts and grapes with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast until caramelized and tender, about 20-30 minutes.

 Happy Holiday Season my friends! xo

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

Love

Crista


Nov
25

Organic Produce

I typically do my Vegan Thanksgiving meal the day AFTER Thanksgiving but this year is different. Thanksgiving is coming early – TOMORROW!!! I’m practically starving myself today in preparation of filling my belly with so much yummy food tomorrow. I can hardly wait! 

Organic ProduceOrganic Produce

Over the last few days, I got all of my grocery shopping done and reviewed all of the recipes I’m using again. I definitely need to alter a few of the recipes, one of them I’m adding persimmon to which wasn’t in the original plan. Those persimmons were looking so good at the market, I couldn’t resist them!! 

Organic ProduceOrganic ProduceQuinoa

I pre-cooked my quinoa and It’ll chill overnight. I’ve also made pie crusts for my mini pumpkin pies. It was m first time making a pie crust using nuts and dates! It was messy, but worth it!! 

Pumpkin Pie Crust

I’m getting hungry….. xox

Love

Crista


Nov
23

I’m always on the lookout for Bananas Foster – why is it SO hard to find a restaurant that serves it? Don’t say that’s it’s hard to find, because IT IS. It’s just not a dessert that is commonly found on the menu. 

I have made Bananas Foster at home several times now, and I have made two (failed) attempts at making it vegan. There is only one ingredient that needs to be substituted from a traditional recipe to veganize this dish and that is butter. Now, I’ve tried using Earth Balance instead of butter TWICE and it just doesn’t blend with the brown sugar and carmelize like real butter does. In fact, the Earth Balance just gets oily. I don;t know about you, but I don’t want my Bananas Foster to be “oily”.

I have seen several bloggers recipes for “vegan” Bananas Foster but I have a feeling that their BF didn’t turn out any better than mine…. so I have to assume they ignored this little detail and went ahead and posted the recipe. Although, I could be wrong?

I wasn’t actually going to write this post because the whole concept of “vegan” Bananas Foster didn’t work out the way I wanted it to HOWEVER the “Bananas Foster Oatmeal” concept ROCKS MY WORLD!!! 

bananasfosteroatmeal

I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I want to enjoy Bananas Foster Oatmeal, it’s not going to be vegan and I’m perfectly happy with that. I’m not going to give up on it, it’s just too yummy to say no to.

I share this recipe because I’m not selfish and I shouldn’t be the only one enjoying it, you should be enjoying it as well….. But I need you to help me decide. Is it a dessert or a breakfast dish? I’ve made it as both…. NOTHING warms the soul quite like it…..*smiles*

Bananas Foster Oatmeal
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup banana liqueur
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 4-5 bananas, sliced
Instructions
For the Oatmeal
  1. In a medium-sized pot, bring the water and almond milk to a boil.
  2. Add the oats, and bring those to a boil.
  3. Simmer, uncovered on low heat for about 30 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.
For the Bananas Foster
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet.
  2. Once the butter is melted, add the brown sugar and spices. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the bananas and banana liqueur.
  4. When the bananas begin to soften, slowly and carefully add the rum.
  5. In single servings, top the oatmeal with the bananas foster and serve immediately.

bananas foster oatmeal

Love

Crista


Nov
19

honeycrisp apple juice

One of my favorite fruits to eat are Honeycrisp Apples, there is something about the firm texture of the apple that makes it desirable to bite in to and each bite is bursting with a sweet, tart flavor. Every time I bite in to a Honeycrisp, it feels like a special occasion. Satisfaction.

On a recent trip to Whole Foods, I purchased a bottle of fresh-squeezed Honeycrisp apple juice and it was to die for! I had never thought to juice Honeycrisp apples ONLY to make a juice! It was super sweet, and indulgent. I had to have more so I decided to make some at home. I juiced 3-4 Honeycrisps, which made enough juice for one large serving that I kept all for myself. It’s not a “cheap” juice to make, but it’s WORTH IT!! 

FUN FACT: Honeycrisp Apples were developed and released in Minnesota in 1991, and I first started eating Honeycrisp apples when I lived in Minnesota 7-8 years ago! I never paid much attention to the fact that I was first introduced to them in the region that produces them. They have recently become very popular and are easy to find throughout the entire country.

honeycrisp apple juice

Love

Crista


Nov
15

Virtual Vegan Potluck

Today, I am part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck, where 150+ bloggers contribute vegan, plant-based recipes. I wish this were a potluck in real life (OMG I would die)….. come to think of it, I HAVE been part of a vegetarian potluck, it was at a yoga retreat… I guess I didn’t die BUT I WAS in pure heaven. I filled my plate 3 times before giving up. Meditation was a bad (or maybe a really good) idea to do after that lunch, I may or may not have almost fallen asleep during meditation due to the comforting food coma I was in. Yum! Just reminiscing about it brings me gratitude and happiness.

So anyway, today’s potluck is the second-best thing: virtual. After you check out this Apple Parsnip Recipe, you can scroll through the other dishes that were “brought to the potluck” by way of the buttons at the bottom of this post. 

apple parsnip mash

 I have only seen a few recipes for a “mash” blending apples and parsnips together, none of them as good as mine and none of them vegan – which blows my mind considering that this recipe is one of the easiest plant-based dishes you can make. If you eat a plant-based diet, you probably already have most of the ingredients in this recipe (ok, maybe you don’t have parsnips at home… or maybe you do?)

I think all of my recipes are delicious, and I probably say that in every post, but THIS recipe is decadent. Before making it,  I would have not have predicted how fragrant, subtle, and rich this dish is – as creamy as mashed sweet potatoes, and as sweet as Honeycrisp apples are, WITHOUT any added sugar or dairy.

apple parsnip mash

Apple Parsnip Mash
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 pound of parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh sage for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, sautee the parsnips and apples in butter until they start to soften (about 5-8 minutes)
  2. Add the almond milk, water, and spices to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, until parsnips are completely tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  5. Add sea salt & pepper to taste.

apple parsnip mash

I encourage you to give this Apple Parsnip Mash a whirl and then go check out the other vegan dishes that were brought to the Virtual Vegan Potluck! xox

 

final_leaf_plgo_forward

Love

Crista


Nov
14

It’s that time of year again, my favorite time of the year, I get to plan my annual {vegan} Thanksgiving Feast that I’ll prepare on Black Friday for myself and anyone else who is interested in indulging. Every year I use different recipes that I find on vegan and/or vegan-friendly blogs instead of using my own recipes – it’s more fun and festive that way.

Last years feast included Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash, Cranberry, Pecan, & Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf, and Sugared Cranberries, it was delightful and I know it’ll be hard to top this year, but I’ve found some pretty decent recipes that I’m really excited about.

Vegan Thanksgiving Feast 

Annual Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Ruby Applesauce with Cranberries
from gluten-free GODDESS

Nutty Quinoa & Cherry Salad
from JL Goes Vegan

Brussels Sprout Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Hazelnuts, and Creamy Avocado Dressing
from Good Things Grow

Braised Red Cabbage with Apple & Onion
from Martha Stewart

Rosemary & Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Kale
from One Part Plant

Sweet-Spicy Glazed Cocktail Balls
from Babble

Creamy No Bake Pumpkin Pie
from Minimalist Baker 

 

…….looks like I’m going to be busy……..

Here is my menu from 2012: Thanksgiving Recipes
And the photos of that feast: Food Porn: Thanksgiving Feast

Love

Crista


Nov
13

pomegranate  
POMEGRANATE: my favorite fruit.
I take full advantage of the season (Oct-Feb) and eat as many pomegranate seeds as a girl possibly can.
I’ve come across a few outstanding recipes using pomegranate lately….
I share.

Brussels Sprout Pomegranate Citrus Salad
from two peas & their pod

Mango and Pomegranate Fancy Guacamole
from Nibbles & Feasts

Breakfast Quinoa
from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

Chickpea Chaat Salad with Banana and Pomegranate
from The Traveler’s Lunchbox

Grilled Almond Butter, Dark Chocolate, and Pomegranate Sandwich
from Minimalist Baker

Kabocha Squash stuffed with Curried Wild Rice, Kale, and Pomegranate Seeds
from Arielle likes to Cook

Cranberry, Pomegranate, and Green Tea Spritzer
from Free People BLDG 25

Love

Crista


Nov
12

scooby snack

Most of your doggies wag tails and do tricks for what you refer to as a “treat”, my doggy does tricks for what we call a “scooby snack”. My pooch, BJ could be in the deepest sleep… but the mention of a scooby snack has him wide awake and bouncing around. BJ will do two tricks for a scooby: sit and roll over. That’s it.

We ran out of scoobies at the house so I decided to make my own after coming across an recipe on A Beautiful Mess. Just so happened, I had all of the ingredients at home. Oh, AND I had a doggy bone cookie-cutter. Bonus.

For these treats, I used organic crunchy peanut butter, pumpkin puree, oats, and whole wheat flourI baked the treats for about one hour even though the recipe only recommended 25-30 minutes. After 25-30 minutes, my scooby snacks were still soft on the inside, and I wanted them to be solid and crunchy like a traditional scooby snack.

As you can see, BJ approved of the scoobies. He is on guard just in case someone comes near him, threatening to steal his scooby. I’m not sure why because no one EVER steals his scooby snacks. 

All in all, BJ thinks his mom is a good cook, but his favorite thing I’ve ever made are these peanut butter & pumpkin scoobies.

BJ scooby snack

For the recipe visit A Beautiful Mess.

Love

Crista