Jun
17

yeah, I crave mall food every now and then. i guess.
we recently moved the the suburbs which means more mall shopping for us.
i rarely indulge in the trash served at the food court, but then again, i’m rarely at the food court….
however, who can walk past the Auntie Anne’s without wanting one of those damned cinnamon & sugar covered pretzels?
and ooey gooey Cinnabons are a weakness for me ….so good yet so nasty
Orange Julius –  it was one of my favorite treats as a child, but hard to come across these days.
regardless, as an adult I am aware of the ingredients in those sinful treats – a considerable amount of dairy and sugar!
not necessarily something i want to put in to my belly…
i’ve seen a few recipes here & there for home made Orange Julius, each one a little different than the next.
below is my recipe, different than the rest.
healthier, vegan, & dairy-free

DIY orange julius

DIY Orange Julius {a healthier version}
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup sweetened vanilla almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/s tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 cup ice
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth & frothy.
  2. Serve immediately.

DIY orange juliusDIY orange julius

Love

Crista


Jun
15

We’ve been there before, several times….. the most memorable time that grandma was with us.
Grandpa always agrees to take me to one of my (our) favorite vegan restaurants ever.
Dandelion Communitea Cafe

dandelion communitea cafe

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ we fell in love with the “Tea Of The Day” – a passionfruit blend sweetened with agave nectar^^

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ grandpa sipped on the Chai Cola which Grandma fell in love with on her visit ^^
{you can see a photo of Grandma & I drinking the Chai Cola in this post}

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ Soup Of The Day: Mushroom & Potato Bisque ^^
{heaven}

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ Grandpa & I crafted a Salad topped with banana, quinoa, carrots, broccoli, raisins, and a Coconut Peanut Dressing ^^

dandelion communitea cafe

^^Chris had the Buffalo 66, cashew encrusted tempeh tenders with buffalo wing sauce and bleu cheese ^^

dandelion communitea cafe

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ VEGAN CUPCAKES! Tiramisu & Mixed Berry Marble ^^

dandelion communitea cafe

Dandelion Communitea Cafe
618 N Thornton Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
407.362.1864

Love

Crista


Jun
14

When I visit Grandpa (used to be: when I visit Grandma & Grandpa), he always takes me to one of his (our) favorite restaurants, Cherry Pocket. It is a complete dive bar in the middle of a white trash trailer park neighborhood. No, it is not vegan-friendly. It doesn’t matter. I go there because Grandma & Grandpa have always loved taking me there. I have found joy in visiting the place and the food is damn good. Plus, I eat seafood every now and then, and Cherry Pocket has damn good seafood. (blackened grouper = melt in my mouth)

Cherry Pocket

Cherry Pocket

Cherry Pocket

Cherry PocketCherry Pocket

raw oysters

The theme of this post is “OYSTERS.” Chris & I LOVE LOVE LOVE oysters. We don’t eat them often because we are rarely at restaurants that serve oysters on the half shell and  they are EX-PEN-SIVE – especially in Chicago.

Chris instantly loved Cherry Pocket when he found oysters on their menu, they were CHEAP! $9.95 for a dozen – that’s practically free! We talked Grandpa in to slurping an oyster and he immediately went for a second, topped with all the fixins – horseradish, cocktail sauce, and lemon. We may or may not have ordered a second dozen.

You see, Grandpa has only eaten sushi a few times in his lifetime, I guess sushi wasn’t so popular back in his day. He said that most of his friends his age wouldn’t even consider trying sushi, let alone oysters. We debated whether or not Grandma would have tried them had she still been here. Grandpa doesn’t think she would have. I do. She was always down to try something new. With 3 of us at the table slurping oysters, Grandma would not have wanted to be left out – she always enjoyed being a part of the “in-crowd.” Plus, she always enjoyed a new experience, (especially the vegan restaurants I’ve taken her to).

After our meal at Cherry Pocket, Chris begged and begged for more oysters so we hunted down another restaurant, Gary’s Oyster Bar & Seafood House. The food at Gary’s isn’t nearly as tasty & fresh as Cherry Pocket, but the oysters rocked our world. We ordered two dozen as soon as we sat down.

Gary's Oysters

Gary's Oyster Bar & Seafood House

Gary's Seafood

Family

During our visit, grandpa said “It seems like our entire weekend revolves around eating.”
Damn right, Grandpa.
Life is good when you’re eatin’ good.

Love

Crista


Jun
12

Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come. But: we have this moment today.
These words were found in a journal my grandmother kept, a journal no one knew about until after she {recently} passed away. Page after page, filled with heart-warming quotes of inspiration and good energy. No one will ever know where she originally found this material.

Even though my grandmother has left this earth, I felt her existence in Florida this week. Grandpa’s home is still filled with many of grandma’s belongings including items such as hair products and cute little pink Q-tips. I borrowed grandma’s hairspray and very carefully put it right back in the cabinet where I found it. I used her cute little pink Q-tips in hopes of connecting to a part of her existence. In the refrigerator, I found a batch of candies grandma {attempted} to make and although no one will ever eat them, neither grandpa nor I had the courage to throw them out.

journal

This is the beautiful journal the funeral home put together for our family. It includes obituary, condolences, and photos. Grandpa had a copy made just for me.

florida sun

The Florida sun offers radiance….

journal

This was grandma’s journal… 

journal

A difficult pursuit, I read through grandma’s journal wanting to copy down every page. The words unambiguous, every phrase and quote relevant to what I needed to see. More important than copying the journal, I took on a silent task of preserving each and every word written. Had I had courage, I would have asked grandpa if I could some day have that journal, but I wasn’t so bold.

journal

Grandpa gifted me with grandma’s wedding ring, it is so special to me.

journal

This is a photo of my grandma as a child with who I assume to be her parents (she was adopted which makes things complicated)

journal

This is a photo of my grandmother & the baby version of ME! 

journal

My favorite photo shows my mother, her brother and sister as children – so cute!

journal

Another photo of my mother with her siblings and grandmother (my great-grandmother) 

“Laugh a lot and all of your wrinkles will move up where they belong!” – grandma

Love

Crista


Jun
08

good material on the web lately, check it out:

Check out the gorgeous photography in the Camp Wandawega Yearbook

Anthropologie does Weddings: B inspired 

Ben & Jerry’s will stop using GMO’s

Cute, cute, cute Fluffy Cows 

This adorable kitten refuses to leave the bath

How to veganize any dessert 

 30 of the craziest bridges in the world 

Gays who crossfit

Love

Crista


Jun
05

WANDERLUST :

community, mindful living, eat well, practice yoga, be green, create awareness, practice purpose, showcase art

Wanderlust

Wanderlust

^^ CHI-town ^^

Wanderlust

^^ Hundreds of yogis from all different levels of experience, background, age and ethnicity in attendance ^^

Wanderlust

^^ the weather was overcast & damp, but the sun was shining :) ^^

Wanderlust
 
 
 
 
Wanderlust
 
 
 
Wanderlust
 
 
 
Wanderlust
 
 
 
Evolution

^^ this brand of cold-pressed juices will soon be available at Starbucks & Whole Foods ^^
((excitement!!))

Evolution

^^ I LOVED the green juice, and had my eye on a coconut/pineapple juice that looked tasty as well. ^^

Love

Crista


Jun
02

A decent portion of my work life is spent traveling around the United States, but not always to “destination” spots. I’ve recently taken two trips to Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs, IA, they’re basically sister cities.

Do you think I got excited for a trip to Council Bluffs/Omaha? No. No, I didn’t. HOWEVER, while Omaha/Council Bluffs aren’t the most exciting places on earth to visit, I will say that I never had a bad meal there.

The first restaurant I ate at in Omaha, Indian Oven, was recommended by a friend in Chicago.I’m glad I went, I LOVED pretty much everything about the place.  If someone goes out of their way to make a recommendation to me, I typically try to take them up on that recommendation. I absolutely hate it when I make a food recommendation to someone and I am ignored.

Dixie Quicks was recommended to me by a different friend, one who lives in Omaha. The restaurant is located in downtown Council Bluffs, but was once located in Omaha. Back in the day when Dixie Quicks was located in Omaha, they were featured on the Food Networks popular show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The place didn’t look like much in the DDD clip I saw, but they seem to have stepped up their game with the new location in Council Bluffs.

(speaking of, did you know that the Food Network has an app that allows you to search for restaurants in your surrounding area that have been featured on their network? It is a must have in my opinion).

I expected this place to be a dumpy-dive, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful, modern diner connected to an art gallery. The first time I visited DQ, I was with a group of 10-12 people. We found the big chalkboard displaying our food choices and after ordering, we wandered around checking out artwork and discovering a GIANT squirrel. (photo ops) The second time I went to Dixie Quicks, I didn’t even have to look at the menu – I wanted to order the exact same thing I had the first time (so good!!) Well, I got hungry for brunch (at dinnertime). I discovered that DQ’s SERVES BRUNCH ALL DAY LONG so I ordered brunch AND dinner.

Dixie Quicks
Dixie Quicks

Dixie Quicks

Dixie Quicks

^^ The menu, displayed on an old school chalkboard, varies from day to day because they purchase fresh ingredients every day. (swoon) ^^

Dixie Quicks

^^House Salad with Ancho Vinaigrette ^^

Dixie Quicks

^^ Brussels Sprouts ^^

Dixie Quicks

^^ Black Bean Corn Quesadilla ^^

Dixie Quicks

^^ Sexual Chocolate (french toast w/chocolate syrup, banana slices, nuts and whipped cream ^^

Somehow, I failed to get a photo of the amazing cornbread served with honey that comes to every table as an appetizer. We probably ate it too quickly :)
Another item I loved, not pictured here is the BREAD PUDDING.

Obviously, the food we ate was not vegan, but their menu is completely vegan/vegetarian-friendly.

Dixie Quicks
157 W Broadway
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
712.256.4140

Love

Crista


Jun
01

I made a smoothie that you would die for,” he said.
I love it when my friends bring their food successes to my attention. In fact, I get off on it. They know how to make me proud, by creating unique/vegan/healthy meals and sharing.
When my buddy Dan told me about this smoothie that he had made a few times within the last few days, I knew I had to try it. (It’s rare that we use the same recipe over and over again day after day) I begged him to bring it to me…. and he did. He asked me to take a guess at the ingredients used and I picked up on the cardamom instantaneously.
This smoothie is unlike anything I’ve ever tried. It is absolutely delcious and wholesome, be ready for a burst of flavor in your mouth.
You may or may not have all of these ingredients in your kitchen – if not, it is worth taking a trip to the grocery store to gather the ingredients for this concoction…. trust me. This is not a one-time deal.

super food smoothie

Super Food Smoothie
 
Ingredients
  • a banana
  • handful of blueberries
  • ¼ cup dried goji berries
  • 1 tbsp. cocao nibs
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. dried coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • dash of cardamom
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 3-4 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl of water, soak the goji berries for 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Put all ingredients, including the goji berries, in to a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.

 

Love

Crista


May
30

berry {coconut milk} yogurt parfait

Breakfast: My favorite meal of the day.
{coconut milk} Yogurt Parfait: One of my favorite breakfast dishes.
This dish made up of sweet, creamy yogurt, ripe berries, rich walnuts, and crunchy coconut satisfies my taste buds and my hunger. (every time)
I have made this dish hundreds of times over the last few years, serving it in fancy dishware which makes it feel like a special treat.
A few years ago, while on vacation with one of my girlfriends, we served ourselves a version of this parfait in martini glasses. Faaaaaancy. :)

berry {coconut milk} yogurt parfait

Berry {coconut milk} Yogurt Parfait
 
Ingredients
  • 1 serving of vanilla Coconut Milk Yogurt (pictured above)
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 handful of strawberries, chopped
  • 1 handful of mixed nuts (I used walnuts and brazil nuts)
  • a sprinkle of dried coconut flakes or ​Roasted Coconut Chips
Instructions
  1. Dish the yogurt out in to a fancy bowl.
  2. Add the fruits, nuts, and coconut.
  3. Serve immediately.
Notes
You can make this parfait with any type of fruits or nuts that suit your taste. I use different ingredients almost every time I make it. I like using fruits such as kiwi, raspberries, bananas, and nuts such as almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts. (yum, hazelnuts!)

berry {coconut milk} yogurt parfait

berry {coconut milk} yogurt parfait

Love

Crista