Jul
22

NASHVILLE
We’re here in Nashville, and we survived the weekend.
Our first stay in a hostel was exhilarating, I get off on new experiences. Around here in Nashville, the locals aren’t familiar with the hostel (it’s only been there for a year) in fact – one local we met thought a hostel to be a whore-house and he had no idea that the place even existed in Nashville, he lives less than a block away! I had to work hard to convince him that we weren’t staying at a whore house for the weekend. And get this, we hopped in a cab and asked to go to the Downtown Hostel, the cabbie took us to the downtown Hustler store. HA! It was hilarious.

NASHVILLE Downtown Hostel
The common area of the hostel was occupied with foreign travelers 24/7. As much as I wanted to, I didn’t take any photos of the common area in order to allow those people privacy. There was a pool table, couches, guitars, a kitchen, and a workspace. Every time we entered the hostel, there was a traveler playing the guitar. Laura & I had our own private room, it was very basic, but clean. We were given sheets, blankets and a towel, we made our own beds upon arrival. We got weirded out when we found out that the blankets are not laundered in between each use, it’s just the bed sheets and towels that are laundered in between use. Eh, it cost us less than $50/night to stay at the hostel, what can you expect?

NASHVILLE

NASHVILLE

NASHVILLE

After checking in to the hostel, we immediately set out to find Cowboy boots. Success. All stores offer buy 1 pair, get 2 free. You don’t have an option, you always get 3 pairs. Laura & I split the cost of 3 pairs. Otherwise, had we both taken advantage of the deal we’d be in 6 pairs deep. That’s just ridiculous. 

Nashville

NASHVILLE

NASHVILLE

Nashville
We Honky-Tonked the weekend away, maybe 48 hours straight.
We danced like we’ve never danced before and we consumed more Apple Pie Moonshine than should be legal.
For 2 days, we were able to just let go….
I love Nashville. I love Tootsie’s. I’m obsessed with this guy (I’d be a groupie if I could be)…. and I looooove me some country music.
More Nashville (food!) posts to come….

Love

Crista


Jul
19

Next week, I am scheduled to be in Nashville for meetings so my girlfriend and I decided to head in early for the weekend. WE ARE STOKED. I have always wanted to visit Nashville, but I do now more than ever since I’ve transformed in to a semi-country girl.

Nashville
What’s on our agenda for the weekend? Shopping, and Eating Good Food. Duh.

Oh, and DANCING.

We are staying at the Nashville Downtown Hostel because it is super cheap (practically free.)
We wanted to keep our monies free for major purchases…
(like Cowboy Boots, multiple pairs of cowboy boots)
(and food, good food)

Several people that I work with are experienced Nashville travelers and they have recommended several places to shop including this brand new vintage store, Black Mamba.
(this place looks AMAZINGGGGG) 

I stumbled upon this blog post about Husk after reading about it’s recent opening, this is definitely a place I want to visit!! They offer an evolving menu, using ingredients that are fresh right at that very moment and they grow much of their own produce in the restaurant’s garden.

Lesley from Lesley Eats is so damn nice, she learned about me coming to Nashville through a comment I left on her blog and took the time to e-mail me some veg-friendly restaurant recommendations. She hooked me up!
Etch is one of those places she recommended, I can dig it.
(Curried Cauliflower?!?! yum)
Lesley also shared that the local manager for Yelp in Nashville is vegan, and has scoped out the scene.
I guess Nashville is more veg-friendly than I expected.

I tried to get reservations at Catbird Seat, but not early enough.
It’s a no-go.
Unless someone can help us get in…. anyone?
A hook-up? Please?

Oh, and ok…. So, there is this food truck in Nashville called Wrappers Delight that I’m dying to check out. The food truck scene was hot in Chicago for a few years, but the city put a smack down on it.
Food truck, Nashville, here I come.

Tootsies? Yeah, we’ll probably go there and get our party on.
(should we get boobs before we arrive?? all the girls in photos have huge boobs)

I would like to go to the Elliston Soda Shop….

 I want to country line dance, but I don’t know where. I would imagine I’ll “stumble” upon a place?

 Anyone out there reading this blog post who has any recommendations for me, please share NOW. 

kthanks. 

 I can imagine there will be more Nashville-related posts to come….

Love

Crista


Jul
18

Chris & I have indulged in country living lately, with our big garden, thriving compost bin, and back country camping trips. We’ve even gone to DC’s Country Junction for country line dancing. There are definitely still a few things that we haven’t indulged in YET though… like… homemade peach ice cream… and sweet tea (again, like I hear about in country songs) so…. I FINALLY made some Sweet Tea!! Of course, I tweaked the traditional recipe to fit my liking.
(I hope to make {vegan} peach ice cream before summer comes to an end). 

sweet tea

Sweet Tea
 
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • tray of ice cubes
  • 6 teabags orange pekoe tea
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, boil the water.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat off and add the teabags. allow the teabags to steep for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove the teabags and discard. Pour the raw sugar into the tea and allow to dissolve.
  4. After cooling for another 10 minutes, transfer the tea into a pitcher full of ice. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least one hour prior to serving.
  5. Serve ice cold, garnish with lemon slices.

sweet tea

This tea is AMAZING. It’s refreshing and sweet – but not too sweet.

Love

Crista


Jul
17

in desperate need of some alone time, Chris and I sought out a private spot in the country (labled: NO TRESPASSING) to camp out at for a night. Chris used Google Maps to find this beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere, the area was gated off, but we found a way to get through. we drove through weeds and grass taller than the car to get there…….
we felt so lucky to find this place….. “our” special place where NO ONE on earth could find us….
you can see we set up our tent, and built a little campfire…. campingcampingcampingcamping
peaceful.
campingcamping
i can not even describe to you how excited we were to find this place…. Chris said “this is the kind of place i picture when listening to country songs…” (he’s such a country boy, it’s adorable)campingcamping
we didn’t miss one moment of that gorgeous sun setting….camping
grilled veggie dogs over an open fire, we kept it simple :) no plates, no forks, no napkins. just veggie dogs. and water. (and marshmallows)
camping

campingcamping
feeling alright.
camping

when the sun goes down… over the water…campingcamping-16
we slept underneath the moonlight. the coolest thing about our tent is that it’s topped with mesh so as we lay, we stare at the stars.
campingcamping
we got up super early in the AM to enjoy the sunrise… these last two photos were taken in the AMcamping
we left our campsite around 7:30 AM when we noticed some people fishing at the other end of the lake. we panicked. we weren’t sure how much trouble we’d be in…. then as we drove by the people they said “hope we didn’t ruin your morning, have a good day” ha! i guess we weren’t the first people to discover this beautiful, quiet, hidden lake…. regardless, i think we’ll do it again.

Love

Crista


Jul
16

little buggy

I am so mad. I thought I had gotten rid of the bugs that are eating my kale until I went out to the garden today to check out the new kale leaves that have grown in and I FOUND BUGS EVERYWHERE. The little butterflies were going nuts as I looked underneath each kale leaf, finding cabbage worms EVERYWHERE!!! I even found a Japanese Beetle! I didn’t want to, but I killed them all. They oozed green juice. It sucked.

I’ve read that it’s a BAD SIGN to see butterflies hanging out around your garden, they are laying eggs. Sure enough, I found a bunch of eggs & droppings near the stalk of the kale, just like I did a few weeks ago.

I used the water hose to rinse away all of the droppings, picked off the little buggers & squished them, and then I sprayed a mixture of water & dish soap on the plants.

Some way or another, I will find a way to keep these little buggers off my kale without using pesticides.

cabbage worm
japanese beetle

Love

Crista


Jul
14

ginger mint iced tea

Cute. My friend, Melody made this tea and shared the recipe with me via Instagram. (I LOVE when people share food & recipes with me!!) I knew instantly that I wanted to make this flavorful iced tea and share the recipe on this blog. (plus I was excited to use mint from the garden!!)

mint plant

First thing when I woke up this morning, I made sure I had all of the ingredients needed -and I did! I made sure to get the tea started early so that it would be ice cold by the time I was ready to lay by the pool.

This tea takes about one hour to prep and another hour to chill. But trust me, it is worth the patience it takes to wait for it, especially because it’s super easy to make…and refreshing …and TASTY!

ginger mint iced tea

Ginger Mint Iced Tea
 
Ingredients
  • 4 inches of ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 bags of green tea (chamomile tea works as well)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • the juice of 1 lime or lemon
Instructions
  1. Boil the ginger in a pot of water for 10 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat off. Add 2 sprigs of mint and lime juice to the pot. Then add the 6 tea bags.
  3. Cover the pot and allow the flavors to steep together anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour, depending on how strong you want your tea to be. (the longer you steep, the more robust the flavor)
  4. Uncover the pot and add honey to taste. I like my tea on the sweeter side.
  5. Strain the ingredients out of the tea and pour the liquid in to a pitcher. Add a few pieces of ice.
  6. Allow the tea to cool in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  7. Serve ice cold, garnish with a sprig of mint.
  8. If necessary, add a sweetener of choice.

ginger mint iced tea

Melody and I agree, this tea would be amazing with added peach or apple.

THANK YOU for the awesome recipe Mel!!
xoxo

Love

Crista


Jul
13

carrot mango smoothie

carrot mango smoothie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, chopped & frozen
  • ½ cup mango, chopped & frozen
  • ½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed carrot juice
Instructions
  1. Puree all ingredients together in a blender.
  2. Serve immediately.

 So… you’re wondering what it might taste like when you add carrot juice to your smoothie? I can answer that for you. When blended with mango and banana, the carrot flavor is subtle. This smoothie is actually very creamy, ALMOST Orange-Dreamsicle-ish. Enjoy it.

Love

Crista


Jul
12

 This year has offered me a much different experience in gardening than it has in previous years. This year, my garden is much bigger than it has been the last two years. Also, I’m gardening out in the country this year – the last two years I was gardening in the city.

garden

In the city, I never had a challenge with bugs and/or rodents eating my plants. This year, something is eating my cute little strawberries before they can even ripen and cabbage worms are attacking my kale plants.

kale plant - cabbage worms

kale plant - worm eggs

After doing some research, I am guessing that cabbage worms are in fact what’s eating my kale. In the photo above, you can see little eggs that were laid (or are they droppings??). Thank goodness I found them, I was able to wash them away from the plant. 

kale plant

I read that if I sprinkle flour & cayenne pepper on to the kale plants, that the cabbage worms will die after eating the mixture. I figured it was worth a try. I have sprinkled my plants, and I am left hoping that they will recover.
(I LOVE kale!!)

Otherwise, the rest of the garden is doing ok… except for my cilantro and basil. They both have thick stems and are flowering. I’m not getting many leaves to use, which is weird because in previous years I’ve had more basil and cilantro than I knew what to do with. I’m not sure where I went wrong this year…. 

lettuce plant

mint plant

garden

tomato plant

tomato plant

pepper plant

Chris in I worked in the garden for several hours last weekend weeding & turning the soil in the garden.

You see, a hired landscaping crew maintains the grass that occupies the land on this property that is not farmed. While cutting the grass, the landscaping crew is throwing grass clippings in to the garden. I know that they do not do it on purpose, and it’s probably impossible to avoid. Problem is, the grass is growing in my garden!  The only real way to stop this grass from growing is to turn the soil, and we have to do it about once a week. It’s painful. And it takes a long time.

Painful or not, there is instant gratification that comes with gardening. Chris and I had a lot of fun watering our baby plants and removing the weeds. We are thankful for the beautiful lettuce, onions mint, herbs, peppers, and tomatoes that are growing healthy in our garden.

garden

Love

Crista


Jul
08

Loaded Hot Dog // peace. love. quinoa

We use the grill a LOT during the summer months. We like to grill vegan dogs, veggie burgers, veggie skewers, fruits, and portobello mushrooms. I decided to do something a little different with my vegan italian sausage than I had ever done: ADD KALE. (yum!)

Loaded Hot Dog // peace. love. quinoa

Chris grilled the dogs while I sautéed the kale (and made the french fries). The kale was sauteed with minced onion, garlic, sea salt, and Parma (a vegan Parmesan Cheese.) Our Italian Sausages (we like Field Roast) were topped with the sautéed kale and dijon mustard. And for the record, we LOVE Trader Joe’s Garlic Fries, dear god are they good.

Loaded Hot Dog // peace. love. quinoa

Loaded Hot Dog // peace. love. quinoa

Oh, and PS. Why is Sparkling Apple Izze so damn hard to find? I can find every other flavor besides that particular one. I’ve seen the Sparkling Apple TWICE in my lifetime. TWICE, that’s it.

Love

Crista