Apr
18

Spring is a busy work season for me. Due to my travels and working-weekends, I haven’t had time for cooking, eating good food, and blogging. In fact, through the chaos that is my life lately, I can hardly even remember what I ate this week, I’ve been in bed trying to catch up on some much needed R&R.

Summer is upon us, right? As this massive storm comes & goes this morning, I can hear the little birds chirping… but I’m ready for more: the warm sun on my face and the green grass below my bare feet…. swimming… and gardening….

I am excited for the outdoor opening of the Green City Market on May 4. This Lincoln Park market is by far my all-time favorite farmers market to attend, the people, the community, the farmers, the spirit, the activities. It just FEELS GOOD to be there, my favorite summertime past time. If nothing holds me back, I will be there first thing on May 4th to celebrate local foods and good weather.

Green City Market

And here are a few recipes that I am excited to make with items commonly found at the local Farmers Market:

a GREEN potato salad

homemade applesauce

marinated broccoli & mushrooms

fresh corn & tomato salad

carrot salad with summer apples and spearmint

apple parsnip bisque 

Green City Market

….in hopes that these April showers bring May flowers…. 

Love

Crista


Mar
30

multi-color carrots

FINALLY, it feels like spring. THAT makes me excited. You know what else makes me excited? The cute little Easter basket I made for my 2 year old niece…. aaaand the multi-colored carrots I found at the grocery store.*smiles* Just like a little bunny, my boyfriend LOVES to munch on raw carrots – he’s already laid his eyes on my multi-colors.

Lately I’ve been craving colorful foods, so I decided to make this beautiful coleslaw. I used the Nayonaise that was sent to me for sampling along with brussels sprouts, a pear, and colorful carrots :) Each of these ingredients came together to make a dish perfect for spring holidays and potlucks.

spring coleslaw

spring coleslaw
 
Ingredients
  • 5 cups purple cabbage, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 cup of brussels sprouts, finely chopped
  • 1 pear, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced or fresh squeezed
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup Nayonaise (vegan mayo)
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Refrigerate at least one hour prior to serving.

If you’re looking for me today, I’ll be out on the patio with a bowl of this coleslaw and a refreshing blood orange spritzer.

Love

Crista


Mar
29

Sparkling Blood Orange Spritzer

I’ve officially gotten Spring Fever. Yesterday I sat outside on the patio with the poochie and enjoyed the sunshine and a glass of this Blood Orange Spritzer. Amazing how good a little sunshine can make you feel, especially after a grey & gloomy winter. The pooch felt better after spending some time outdoors as well. In fact, he was my inspiration for being outside, I found him laying outside on the patio in patch of sunshine that he had found – that’s when I decided to join him! Had I not had a big birthday meal to plan for, I would have stayed out there until the sun went down!

As you get ready for the spring and spending more time outdoors, try this refreshing Blood Orange Spritzer, made with my favorite fruit. Do it quick, blood oranges are only in season through May.

Sparkling Blood Orange Spritzer

sparkling blood orange spritzer
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fill two large glasses with ice.
  2. In each glass combine 6 oz of the soda and half of the squeezed blood orange juice.
  3. Serve immediately.

Sparkling Blood Orange Spritzer

Love

Crista


Mar
28
chocolate peanut butter pie

TODAY IS MY BEAUTIFUL BOYFRIENDS BIRTHDAY! Instead of doing the tradition family outing at a favorite restaurant, we decided to stay in and make his favorite meal tonight – oh, AND his favorite dessert(s). He LOVES bananas foster and that’s definitely on the menu tonight. AND because he LOVES peanut butter, so I decided to craft this vegan chocolate peanut butter banana pie for the birthday candles. I made this pie with bananas and avocado so this pie is healthier than most. Shhhhh don’t tell anyone, the family doesn’t know yet. I’m not going to tell them that the chocolate layer of this pie is made with avocado until AFTER they’ve all eaten it (and fallen in love with it). I can’t wait to dig in to this tonight!

chocolate peanut butter pie

{vegan} chocolate peanut butter banana pie
 
Ingredients
What you need for the crust:
  • 24 Oreo cookies (I use Newman’s Own Newman-O’s )
  • ¼ cup Earth Balance or vegan margarine – at room temperature
What you need for the peanut butter filling:
  • 4 oz. of vegan cream cheese
  • 1 banana
  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. agave nectar
What you need for the chocolate topping:
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ⅓ cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup agave nectar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl or a food processor, add the Oreo cookies and blend until the texture of coarse meal or crumbs. Add the softened butter and blend until well combined.
  3. Place the ground crumb mixture into a 9- or 10-inch deep-dish pie pan and press onto the bottom and up the sides evenly. Place in the oven.
  4. After the crust has baked for 10 minutes, take it out of the over, set it aside and let it cool.
  5. Combine all of the ingredients for the peanut butter filling in a medium size mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the ingredients together. (this mixture may be thick – that’s ok.)
  6. Once your Oreo crust has cooled slightly, line it with the peanut butter filling.
  7. Add a layer of finely sliced banana on top of the peanut butter filling. (optional)
  8. In another mixing bowl, whip together all of the ingredients for the chocolate topping and then top the pie with the mixture.
  9. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.

chocolate peanut butter pie

Love

Crista


Mar
26
tropical avocado smoothie
 
tropical avocado smoothie
 
Ingredients
  • ½ an apple
  • 1 orange
  • 1 dragonfruit (if you don't have this, no big deal!)
  • ½ mango
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup coconut water (if you do not have coconut water, you can just use more orange juice or water)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.

Love

Crista


Mar
24

chickpea salad sandwich

Finding an alternative for mayonnaise for use in vegan recipes has been quite a chore. I have found only  one brand of vegan mayonnaise (veganaise) up until recently and I’ve only been able to purchase it at Whole Foods (and maybe a few random Natural Food co-op grocery stores) You can imagine my excitement after being contacted by a rep from Nasoya, who sent me 2 jars of the *new* vegan Nayonaise for sampling.

Nasoya, the nation’s leading brand of tofu, is proud to announce that it has perfected Nayonaise, its line of vegan sandwich spreads and dressings.  Nayonaise and Nayonaise Light are excellent alternatives to traditional mayonnaise; both varieties have been reformulated with a smoother, creamier texture and a more delicious flavor than ever before.  NayoWhipped, the line’s newest variety, has a tangier taste for those who prefer a sweeter sandwich spread. The entire line is vegan, a good source of vitamin B12 and made from expeller pressed oil.  Nayonaise and NayoWhipped are now fortified with Omega 3 ALA for added nutrition.

I don’t use “mayonnaise” in very many recipes, probably because I don’t keep it on-hand. Now that I’ve got 2 full jars, I’ll be using it more often!

I’ve always been a fan of Tuna Salad sandwiches but I don’t make those anymore. I can’t even bear the thought of keeping stinky fish cans in the house. As an alternative to tuna salad or even chicken salad, we enjoy chickpea salad which can be used to make sandwiches or as a dip for crackers. You can even use it atop a green salad.

chickpea salad
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1½ celery stalks
  • 1 tsp. whole grain mustard
  • ⅛ cup Nayonaise
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in to a food processor and purée.

To make the Chickpea Salad Sandwich, toast 2 pieces of whole grain bread (my favorites are: Ezekiel 4:9 or a variety of French Meadow breads), add the chickpea salad (recipe above) and lettuce, avocado, onion, mustard, and a slice of tomato.

chickpea salad sandwich

Love

Crista


Mar
20

since the day that i chose clean eating vs. the standard american diet, i have spent time, every single day learning, researching, and inspiring others. recently, i found two pieces of information (involving food) that make me sick to my stomach – but that need to be shared. this is real life people, don’t ignore it.

1. This American Life: #484. Doppelgängers
Calamari is on one side of the plate, sliced hog rectums are on the other. Which is which? We got a tip about a meat plant selling pig intestines as fake calamari, wondered if it could be true, and decided to investigate.

2. Natasha Harris Dies from Drinking too much Coke

more disturbia.

Love

Crista


Mar
19

In an earlier post, I shared my story about my journey as a vegetarian/vegan.

I know that it is not easy to make this transition, especially if you’ve been living off of meat & potatoes. One of the first questions asked about the vegetarian lifestyle is “what do you eat?”

Every vegetarian meal you craft will take thought and planning. When you first begin this transition, it will be challenging but it will get easier as you practice and become familiar with your new options.

 Check out the recipes below. They are some of my favorites, AND they are simple, delicious, and require few ingredients.

The more skilled you become at creating veg meals, the more ingredients/spices you will add and the more creative you will become in the meal-making process.

What you see below my friends, is what vegans eat.

Love

Crista


Mar
13

Often times, the people I meet think I’m a weirdo due to my obsession of food and my unwillingness to eat meat. These people don’t typically admit to how crazy & weird they think I am until they find conciousness and start thinking about giving up meat themselves. “I thought you were really weird,” they’ll say… “but now I get it…” This just happened to me yesterday by a dear friend of mine recently watched Forks Over Knives which took him over the edge, he’s gave up meat the moment he watched that video.

People give up meat/animal by-products for many different reasons, for instance another dear friend of mine asked me for advice on cooking vegetarian meals. I asked “why vegetarian?” He simply wanted to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. A girlfriend of mine was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, she chose a plant-based diet instead of Rx medication. (her blog

veggie fest

My story is kind of funny. I was living in Minneapolis at the time and I was traveling a lot for work. One night while cruising through Midway airport in Chicago, waiting for my flight I stopped in to a book store to find a book to read. I was in a hurry, so I only scanned the end caps. I saw this book that looked funny, called Skinny Bitch. It was small, which appealed to me, my flight was only 50 minutes from take-off to touch-down. Another reason the book appealed to me is because I was well aware of the unhealthy lifestyle I was leading. I wasn’t working out at all and I was living off ice cream and cookies (purchased at a local drug store). I knew I needed to make some changes, however I don’t think I even really knew what the word “vegan” meant…. and I probably thought vegetarians were weirdos. “Picky eaters,” I would call them. I read Skinny Bitch on that flight and I haven’t consumed a piece of animal flesh since then. What I gained from that humorous, smart-mouthed book was a wakeup call and solid guidance. Conciousness.

So I began my journey as a vegetarian/vegan about 5 years ago. My world changed dramatically. My entire journey as a veggie girl has been fun & rewarding but it has also been a lot of work. I did a lot of self study, I stayed in on Saturday nights, googling information and recipes. The more information I found, the more information I wanted. Still to this day I seek information and recipes on a daily basis. Every day I focus on what’s for dinner. Planning a meal is not as easy as it used to be… but it’s way more fun… and rewarding. I am not perfect, and my eating habits are not perfect. I will never be perfect, but I will always remain well-aware and this is what most people on this earth lack. Awareness. 

If you are considering becoming a vegetarian/vegan, keep reading. I’ve got some hot tips for you. If you are not considering, you probably think this post is lame and crazy. Maybe you think of me as a “tree-hugging yoga person” like my boyfriend did when he first met me. Ha! 

  • Create & Define your story – Everyone has a different experience that leads them into a plant-based diet. As you are making this transition, and live this lifestyle, you may or may not receive support from others. In fact, you may get the exact opposite of support. People may think you are weird, or “picky.” People may make fun of you. Remember, they are ignorant and you are aware. Be grounded in your story and your goals, so as to not let ignorance get to you.
  • Read Skinny Bitch (or Skinny Bastard for the guys)
  • Read this blog post: Vegan How To
  • Check out what Heather Crosby, founder of YumUniverse.com keeps in her fridge
  • Browse through vegetarian recipes here & here 
  • visit HappyCow.net to find vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants near you. Visit these restaurants and look at their menus for meal-inspiration. Often times at home, I recreate meals that I saw on a restaurants menu. Connect with the people at these restaurants to expand your resources and community.
  • learn more about me, subscribe to my blog, and connect with me via social media

I am not perfect and I will never claim to be, but if you are a person who is looking for help in switching to a veggie lifestyle, please reach out to me. I am willing to help you just as I’ve helped & inspired many others in the past. Stay tuned, I’ve got more for you in future posts. (I get off on this stuff) 

veggie fest

“It is very significant that some of the most thoughtful and cultured men are partisans of a pure vegetable diet.”
Mahatma Gandhi Hindu pacifist and spiritual leader, (1869-1948) 

Love

Crista


Mar
04

kiwis

Kiwifruits are one of my favorite fruits.
Packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange, this bright green fruit is tropically sweet.

As opposed to most people who peel them prior to eating, I eat them with the skin on.
The brown, fuzzy skin adds texture in addition to flavor.
If you think I’m weird for eating the skin, I think you’re weird for not eating the skin.
The thin skin of the kiwifruit offers a crunch, something to bite in to.
Without the skin, the kiwifruit is just… slimy. 

The SKIN of the kiwifruit is rich in flavanoids, insoluble fiber, and folic acid.
Flavanoids display strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic properties.
Insoluble fiber is beneficial for the digestive tract.
Folic acid is involved in metabolism, red blood cell production and the development and maintenance of the nervous system.

Can’t stomach the skin of a kiwifruit but you’d like to take advantage of the health benefits?
Think twice before skinning, add the hairy kiwifruit to a smoothie.

When eating a kiwifruit with the skin on, it is important to wash thoroughly.
The skin holds 99% of the pesticide residue if it was sprayed.
When possible, BUY ORGANIC. 

Resources:
LIVESTRONG.COM

Love

Crista