May
28

garden - day one

tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, cucumbers, snap peas, herbs, lettuce, kale, arugula, and onions

garden - day one

garden - day one

look how adorable these tiny little plants are – i think these are lettuce & arugula plants

garden - day one

tomatoes are our favorite, they never go to waste. we planted 7 different varieties

garden - day one

 although it looks nice, the garden is stinky from the mushroom compost we used. i can not wait for the stench to go away

Love

Crista


May
27

rainy day - garden

….we would have liked to plant the garden today, but the rain won’t stop…..

rainy day

i bought corn & veggie burgers for grilling, but the rain won’t stop
instead of grilling the corn, i made a fresh salad…..
 
corn tomato basil salad
 
fresh corn & tomato salad
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 ears of corn, uncooked
  • 2-3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • small handful of chives, chopped
  • 5 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. raw honey
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the corn off of the cob with a sharp knife.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, basil, and chives.
  3. Add a dash of red wine vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil, then stir in a small dollop of raw honey. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
  4. Toss & serve.

corn tomato basil salad

Love

Crista


May
26

I envisioned myself at the pool this weekend, but it’s cold & rainy. Sad face. 

After a 10 hour work day, Chris & I went to Electric Daisy Carnival on Friday night. I was up until 4AM, which never happens to me anymore, I can’t even believe I went. It was FREEZING cold and WET because of the rain. Despite that night, I’ve taken advantage of this rainy weekend to get some much need R&R.

We spent an hour at the Farmers Market this AM before the rain came pouring down. I’m so excited, we picked up our starter plans for the garden!! We got a variety of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, herb, lettuce, arugula, and kale. Weather permitting, we’ll plant tomorrow! I know that it is best to plant in the evening or on a cloudy day, allowing the plants to recover from the transplant before being exposed to direct sunlight and it looks as though we’ll have a day perfect for planting tomorrow.

Happy 3 Day Weekend everyone!

Bloomberg Gardens

farmers market, starter plants, garden

starter plants, garden

Love

Crista


May
17

We made a dish last night too colorful not to photograph and too delicious to not share. 
(Speaking of photography, this was my first experience with a 50mm lens…)

multi-color carrotscarrots & cauliflowercolorful carrots & purple cauliflower

After a 5 minute marinade of {agave nectar, olive oil, turbinado sugar, fresh squeezed orange juice, and lemon pepper} we sauteed these babies in a skillet for 10 minutes.

Sweet perfection.

AND of course, I was excited to feed the scraps to my compost bin.

food scraps compost

Another recipe using colorful carrots: Spring Slaw

Love

Crista


May
14

There are two main reasons why I compost besides the “cool” factor. (you have to admit, it’s pretty cool) 

1. Reduce waste & reuse/repurpose stuff I’ve already spent money on.
2. Feed my garden.

Here is my vision:
Grow food in my garden, use that food to feed my belly. My garden scraps and vegetable/fruit clippings feed the compost bin. The compost bin feeds the garden. The garden feeds my belly & the compost bin. The compost feeds the garden, etc..

THAT turns me on. 

compost scraps

I’m learning a lot about what CAN be added to the compost bin and what CAN’T be.
Some items, shocking. Some, obvious. 

ADD THIS:

grass clippings
tea bags
raw vegetable peelings
raw fruit scraps
salad leaves
coffe grounds & filter paper
old flowers & nettles
fallen leaves
sawdust
egg boxes
cardboard
scrunched up paper
twigs, branches, bark
fish food
catnip
old leather
ratty wool or 100% cotton socks
dryer lint
used tissues and paper towels
cat fur, dog hair
nail clippings
your hair
matches
wood chips from the BBQ
hamster/guinea pig/bird cage cleanings
stale potato chips
gluey pasta
oatmeal
nut shells
stale pastries

DO NOT ADD THIS:

cooked vegetables
dog poo
cat litter
diseased plants
dairy products
meat 

compost scraps

The photos above display the contents of my bin on Day 4. I wish it would hurry up and compost already! I check 2-3 times a day to see if anything has happened yet, but it hasn’t. Ha! Ha!
I do realize that it will take about 9 months to a year for full decomposition… patience is necessary. 

If you are interested in composting, I recommend these resources:
RecycleNow.com/Composting
Unexpected & Unusual things you can compost
Countertop Composting
Is My Soil Hot or Not?

Love

Crista


May
11
homemade compost bin

Guaranteed you are not as excited to read this post as I am to write it. I have wanted a compost bin for years and I finally have it! Being confined in a small space within a concrete jungle held me back for many years (although I did have a super cute little garden) but now we’ve got nothing but space.

I’m taking advantage of country living while I can, soon we’ll be buying a home in the city. I think. Do you think I can find a home in the City Of Chicago with a backyard for gardening & composting? Wish me luck.

homemade compost bin

 So back to my bin. Chris built it for me out of items he found in the garage. Literally 100% of the materials used are re-purposed. We spent nothing on this bin.

It’s perfect.

homemade compost bin

homemade compost bin

homemade compost bin

So…. does anyone have any food scraps they’d like to donate to my compost bin??

Love

Crista


May
05
Fresh Squeezed Margarita

mmmm margaritas.
the perfect excuse: Cinco De Mayo
summertime.
spend the day outside.
poolside. frozen margarita in hand.
citrus. frozen. tropical. sunny.
guacamole & salty chips = perfect compliment to this citrus margarita.
happy sunshine day.

Fresh Squeezed Margarita

Fresh Squeezed Citrus Margarita
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup mango (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • pinch of lime zest
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 cup ice
  • 3 shots gold tequila
  • 1 tbsp. citrus sea salt
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients (except for the sea salt) together.
  2. Rim a margarita glass with the citrus sea salt.
  3. Pour the margarita into the salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a citrus wedge.
  4. Serve.

Fresh Squeezed Margarita

Love

Crista


May
04

¡Olé! ¡Olé!

Avocados are among one of my favorite foods. When dining out, I ALWAYS order guacamole if it is an option on the menu and if there happens to be an item on the menu that contains guacamole or avocado, chances are I’ll order that too.

Quite often I get a craving for my own homemade guacamole because it’s the best and because tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo, I share my not-so-secret recipe with you.

guacamole 
a guacamole recipe for Cinco De Mayo
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ​Cholula hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine avocados and lime juice. With a fork, coarsely mash.
  2. Add the onion, tomato, jalapeño pepper, garlic, and cilantro. Stir until just combined.
  3. Add the Cholula, worcestershire sauce, and salt. Add more of each to taste.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.
guacamole

Love

Crista


Apr
29

There aren’t many summer weekends in the Midwest region (Chicago) where I live so I want to be sure to take advantage of each and every summer weekend that I can. In order to do that, I’ve gotten out my calendar and I am planning my summer vacations and mini-get-aways already. My boyfriend hates that I plan all of this out in advance, he’d rather go with the flow but going with the flow leaves us sitting around the house wondering what we should do on the weekend. Blah.

We are city dwellers, recently relocated to the country. Our most recent past summers consisted of urban street festivals, and taking advantage of Chicago’s patio season, outdoor dining at our favorite charming restaurants. We’d take long walks through the concrete jungle that was our neighborhood, and spend time at the dog park with the pooch. Weekly, we’d visit our local farmers market and spend the day. On occasion, we’d get out of the city with a weekend trip to a state park, somewhere green. Life was good.

Life is still good. We live on 10 acres and have an in-ground pool just steps outside our back door. If the pool were open, I’d be writing this post pool-side. I can not wait to get my hands in to the 4-tier garden that my in-laws built and I’ll try composting for the first this summer. (excitement!) I doubt we’ll spend much time in the city this summer, rather take pleasure in the quiet slowness that the rural world has to offer. As I organize & plan my summer bucket list, I realize that I’m going to be a busy girl.

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI

On my SUMMER BUCKET LIST 2013:

  • When I think of summer, my first thought is of the beach. Last year, Chris & I discovered the WARREN DUNES in Sawyer, MI and we were in awe over the pristine beauty of the blue lake and white sandy beach. We were  just a few hours away from home in Michigan but it felt like we were on a vacation in some far-away place. We are DEFINITELY going back to the Warren Dunes this summer.
  • Speaking of Michigan, I recently learned of a Cleanse & Detox program at CAMP RAWNORA in Watervliet, MI. Two and a half days on 350 acres of pristine land focused on a healthy mind, body, and soul? YES, please.
  • Chris & I have enjoyed rock climbing for several years now but rarely get the opportunity to climb outdoors. We were introduced to the Chicago Mountaineering Club, which is a group that takes several trips a year up to DEVILS LAKE in Baraboo, WI for outdoor climbing. The Mountaineering Club owns property for their members (and guests) to camp on during their outings. We have only attempted a climbing trip with the Mountaineering Club once, it was rained out. We look forward to returning to Devils Lake this year for camping and climbing. Whether we are climbing or not, Devils Lake is one of our favorite places to spend summer days. The state park is gorgeous, offers beautiful hiking trails and a cute little lake for swimming. Aside from the CMC camp ground, we enjoy camping at Wheeler’s Campground, it’s clean and well-maintained.
  • Speaking of Wisconsin, I have become slightly obsessed with learning more about CAMP WANDAWEGA in Elkhorn, WI. Chris & I paid a visit to the camp a few months ago, they were been closed for the off-season. Although the signs read NO TRESPASSING, we wandered around. We found the decorated treehouse  and the tree swing however I don’t know much about the place. What I do know is that Martha Stewart featured the small lake resort on her website.
  • I’m traveling to Nashville, TN for work in July. OBVIOUSLY I’m going to extend my trip. I’d love to spend a few days in Nashville, a few days in Memphis, and a few days in Chattanooga at THE CRASH PAD, which  is an uncommon hostel welcoming outdoor adventurers (that’s me). From what I understand, Chattanooga has long been heralded for it’s wealth of great climbing. (I’ve been DYING to go here!!) 
  • One more place I’d like to get to this summer is Orlando, FL to visit my recently widowed grandpa. I have no expectations on what that trip will look like. I’ll do whatever grandpa wants to do.

Orlando, FL

What are YOUR summer plans? 

Love

Crista


Apr
23

as i mentioned in a previous post, i am OBSESSED with kale but this wasn’t always the case. kale is of course, an acquired taste and it took me some time to get in to it. i found out that once you’re in to it, you become obsessed… which is what happened to me.

on a weekly basis, i enjoy a hearty kale salad at Whole Foods salad bar, but this past week i’ve been making my kale salads at home. in fact, i’ve made this same salad 3 times within the last week! (that’s how good it is!)
here is what else you need to know: i have served this salad to people who thought they’d never eat kale and they ended up loving it. *smiles*

Favorite Kale Salad

Favorite Kale Salad
Author: 
 
Ingredients
What you need:
  • 5-6 cups of kale, chopped, stems removed
  • ½ cup broccoli, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • ½ cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • 8-10 kumquats, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
What you need for the dressing:
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 2 tbsp. raw turbinado sugar
  • juice squeezed from ½ an orange
Instructions
  1. Toss all of the fruits and veggies together in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad.
  3. Toss and let chill for 20-30 minutes prior to serving.
Notes
A kale salad tastes best when the dressing has a chance to marinade the leaves – which is why I recommend you serve this salad approximately 30 minutes after preparing.

Favorite Kale Salad

Love

Crista