Sep
21

On Wednesday, September 26, 2012 I will be 30 years old.

I’ve mentioned that we are taking a trip to Costa Rica for my 30th birthday, we leave on October 10.

I could be writing a post about what it “feels like” to be 30, or “30 things I’ve learned in 30 years” ….blah blah.
Fact of the matter is:
I feel damn good, better than ever.
I am more active than ever.
I am more aware than ever I ever was.
I am conscious.
I am loved.
I am happy.

 Maybe we really do get better with age?

Once upon a time, there were 3 guys who paid a visit to Dominical, Costa Rica (this is where I’m going) in search of pure adventure. I am overwhelmed with excitement to share their video footage.

Dominical, Costa Rica – Adventure Film from Blue Kite Cinema on Vimeo.

My heart races as I watch that video.
I am PUMPED to take a risk at adventure just like these guys did.
As people grow older, they become more cautious HOWEVER
I started rock climbing as an adult.
I started off-trail hiking as an adult.
I took Martial Arts classes as an adult.
I learned to ski & surf as an adult.
I purchased a Go Pro Hero Cam as an adult.
I have ditched the beach vacations in search of pure adventure.

So this was my “I might be getting old but I’m still awesome” post.

Love

Crista


Sep
20

Peppers add sizzle and flavor to meals all around the globe but if your garden looks anything like mine, you’ve got more peppers than you know what to do with. We’ve grown a variety of peppers including jalapeno, bell peppers, pablano, and serrano peppers.

Pepper plants are my favorite plants to have in the garden because they are relatively easy to grow and they produce perfectly plump fruits. When planted in a site full of sun, and with regular deep watering, pepper plants will produce beautiful green, red, and yellow varieties.

 Harvesting these peppers promotes more fruiting, especially if you start harvesting at the beginning of summer. You can have an almost-continuous harvest from your pepper plants by picking the ripe fruits often. It seems as though every time I pay a visit to our 4 pepper plants, there is a new crop of green & red screaming “pick me, pick me!”

jalapeño pepperpepper harvestpepper harvestpepper harvestpablano pepper

I took a variety of jalapeño and serrano peppers to my mother-in-law and she showed me how to preserve the peppers for use throughout the winter. I was shocked at how easy this task was.

pepper paste

Preserve Your Peppers – Pepper Paste

What you need:

  • a variety of 10 ripe, fresh picked jalapenos & serrano peppers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

What you do:

  1. Cut the stems off of your peppers and de-seed. If you choose to keep your paste spicier, you can use some of the seeds in your paste.
  2. Put your chopped peppers and olive oil in to a food processor and grind in to a paste.
  3. Put your paste in a sterilized ball jar or a used jelly jar. (in the photo, you can see we used a jelly jar)
  4. Store your paste in the refrigerator throughout the winter for use in a variety of dishes.

pepper harvest

Easy right? I’ve read through many different recipes that prompt you to roast your peppers prior to canning them, but I’ve chosen to keep my peppers raw. 

I’m anxious to use my peppers in a variety of dishes including:

Sweet Jalapeño CornbreadJalapeño Popper Cornbread Waffles (this could be made vegan), Cornbread Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers (with whipped Maple Butter?), Pineapple Basil (jalapeno) Salad, Pickled Jalapeños, Jalapeño Jam, Sweet and Sour Peppers

Love

Crista


Sep
09

soybean fields

My in-laws live in a house that sits on 11 acres, 10 acres of the land is farmed by a local farmer.

This years crop: SOYBEANS.

As a vegetarian, I periodically consume soy-based products including tofu, soy milk, and soy sauce. Although I oftentimes drive by soybean fields, I have never given much thought to a soybean plant until today.

soybeans

Today, my father-in-law asked if I have any interest in edamame. I gave him the “don’t you know who I am??” look. I LOVE to eat edamame (while dining at Japanese restaurants), LOVE. Has anyone ever walked in to a Japanese restaurant and NOT ordered edamame as an appetizer?

Edamame has long time been the beginning to many feasts shared with close friends and family. Edamame begins the “let’s dig in, let’s feed our bellies, lets get to know each other better.”

soybeans

I can remember the first time my grandparents experienced a Japanese Restaurant. Living in small towns their entire lives, they have not been exposed to the variety of restaurants that are available in larger cities. However naive, they are always willing to “try something new.” I decided to take them to a small sub-par Japanese restaurant in Fort Wayne, IN, possibly the ONLY sushi restaurant available in the entire town. Good sushi or bad sushi, I was grateful to allow my grandparents an experience that would forever last in their memories.

(Do you remember the first time you ate sushi?? I do.)

Grandpa mistook the side of ginger as salmon, he picked up his ball of wasabi and swallowed the entire thing. Despite the look on his face as he felt the burn, grandma chose to pick up her wasabi and do the same thing! Swallow, cringe. Grandma tried every sushi roll I ordered, not able to hide the anxiety, and ardor. I know we ordered edamame that day, the edamame was truly the FIRST experience grandma & grandpa had at a Japanese Restaurant.
(I’m bummed I didn’t take any photos that day!)

soybeans

So anyway, I was encouraged to saunter through the soybean fields and to collect a bowl full of pods. The pods can be harvested and eaten as “edamame” when the seeds are fully grown, BEFORE the pods turn yellow. Most of the plants I came across today were still green, but I can see they will soon be changing in color.

soybeans and carrotssoybeans

The green soybeans are difficult to remove from their pods unless they are boiled or steamed for 4-5 minutes, after which they are easily shelled. I learned to boil the pods in SALTY water until the beans inside the pods are tender.
Mocking the Japanese restaurants, I sprinkled sea salt over the edamame after draining, prior to eating.

soybeans

This edamame was the perfect snack.

soybean fields

How often do you drive by soybean fields?

Do you have any stories that involve edamame consumption? I’d love you to share.

Love

Crista


Sep
08

 Coconut Water has long been a popular drink in the tropics, places like India, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.

In recent years, there has been a huge upswing in the consumption of coconut water, it has been marketed as a natural energy or sports drink and has been sold to many yogis and fitness fanatics. I doubt you can walk in to a gym or a yoga studio without seeing a bottle of coconut water for sale. Like the sports drinks out there on the market, coconut water contains all 5 essential electrolytes: potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, & phosphorus.

Coconut water is low in fat, low in sugar, aids in digestion, and has anti-viral/anti-fungal properties. It is refreshing to drink and happens to be one of the purest liquids known to man. Coconut water is alkalizing to your body, helping to maintain health and balance.

There are a few different companies producing coconut water in a box or a bottle for quick & easy consumption, but packaged coconut water is pasteurized. If you are going to drink coconut water, I recommend you extract the liquid directly from the coconut. The second best option is

Harmless Harvest 100% Raw & Organic Coconut Water.

Harmless Harvest Coconut Water

 You will taste more flavor when the coconut water comes from a fresh coconut versus a box or container.

a coconut ginger drink
 
Ingredients
  • young coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root peeled
  • 1 fresh lime quartered
Instructions
  1. Chop open your coconut, using a chef’s knife. Strike the top of the coconut, creating a square on top. Keep doing this until you have cracked the top. Peel the top of the coconut off.
  2. Pour the coconut water into a glass or a bowl.
  3. After your ginger is peeled, juice it and add it to the coconut water. If you do not have access to a juicer, you can squeeze the ginger in a garlic press. The garlic press will produce juice and finely minced ginger, both can be added to your drink.
  4. Transfer your coconut water and ginger in to a drinking glass. Squeeze the juice of one or two lime quadrants.
  5. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Notes
Optional: you can scrape out the meat of the coconut with a spoon and use it in your drink, or you can just eat it.

Coconut Water

BONUS: 10 Reasons to Eat Ginger:

  • promotes the elimination of intestinal gas
  • prevents symptoms of motion sickness
  • reduce nausea & vomiting associated with pregnancy
  • migraine relief
  • menstrual cramp relief
  • natural treatment for the common cold and the flu
  • boosts the immune system
  • decrease cholesterol
  • relieves stress
  • encourages normal blood circulation

Because summer is not over YET. 

Love

Crista


Sep
07

summertime is coming to an end, but i’m not ready to let go.

Summer Lovin 
i still want to run around in my swimsuit & play in the pool. i crave earlier mornings and later nights. frothy drinks. trips to the beach, camp fires….. long flowy skirts. sunglasses. fireworks. picnics. corn on the cob. toe nail polish. movies in the park. outdoor patios. rooftop patios. ice cream. watermelon. frozen blueberries! grilled pineapple. gazpacho. water slides. short shorts. fresh squeezed lemonade. yoga on the beach. cliff diving. cutoffs. flip flops. street fests. sunflowers. sun dresses. farmers markets. coconuts! strawberries. rock climbing. suntan. bike riding. crashing waves.

i’m still obsessed with these Summer Mocktails:

Pink Lemonade Coconut Water Frosty, & the Death Of A Matador

i’m holding on.
i just purchased 2 more summer dresses….
and a beach bag…..
and 3 new swimsuits….
*smiles*

Summer Lovin

Love

Crista


Sep
01

it’s Labor Day weekend!
you’re probably planning a party, a picnic, a BBQ…..
we planned on camping.
we have since cancelled our trip because we’ve got a BIG project to work on this weekend.
plus, the weather calls for rain.
we’ve camped in the rain once before… i’m not sure we’re ever willing to do that again.

in other news, our garden is in full bloom.
we’ve got more peppers that we know what to do with and we finally have tomatoes!

i put together this recipe that you can use this holiday weekend with green ingredients from the garden.

Green Potato Salad

not all of these ingredients came from my garden, some came from the farmers market.
you see green beans, chives, celery, leeks, rosemary, sage, & cucumber 
whoops, there is no cucumber in that photo! however, i did use cucumber in my recipe.

Green Potato Salad

Mostly Green Potato Salad
 
Ingredients
  • a small bag of Trader Joe’s teeny tiny potatoes OR 3-4 small/medium size Russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • handful of green beans, trimmed & roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks
  • ½ cucumber, unpeeled & cut into tiny cubes
  • 1 small leek, white and tender green parts, trimmed and chopped
  • finely chopped fresh chives
  • finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp. natural cane sugar or agave nectar
  • fine-grain sea salt
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt generously, add the potatoes, and cook until tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.
  2. Thirty seconds before the potatoes are done cooking, add the green beans to the pot. Drain and set aside.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing by whisking together the mustard, vinegar, 1 tbsp. olive oil, sugar, and ¼ tsp. salt in a bowl. Taste and adjust if needed.
  4. After cooling, cut the potatoes in quarters.
  5. In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes, green beans, celery, cucumber, chives, rosemary, sage, and the leek with the dressing. Taste and add a sprinkle of salt if needed.
  6. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Notes
alternately, you can use red potatoes instead of the russet potatoes that i prefer.
you can use whichever fresh herbs you prefer as well. for instance, you could include dill and/or thyme in this recipe. i used rosemary & sage because that is what’s growing in my garden.

what i love most about this recipe is that it is MOSTLY raw. yes, the potatoes are cooked. yes, the green beans are blanched, and unless you are making your own mustard, chances are the mustard is not raw. regardless, this recipe is HEALTHY and full of lively greens.

Love

Crista


Aug
30

it is a little known fact that i LOVE Kale.

kale garden

this year, i opted for two Kale plants in my garden, and i have gotten good use out of them!

it wasn’t until Native Foods Cafe opened up in Chicago that I fell in love with Kale. They serve Kale as a side dish, it is lightly steamedand topped with finely chopped red pepper. While dining at Native Foods Cafe, I like to add a fresh squeeze of lemon, sea salt, and Cholula hot sauce before eating it.

Another restaurant in my neighborhood, Antique Taco serves a “Market Mushroom Taco” topped with garlicky kale, pickled escabeche, and cilantro cream. That taco is one of the best I’ve ever had.

Many people cringe at the thought of kale, and I used to be one of those people!
Now that I am a kale eater, I’ve been know to crave it morning, noon, and night.
My flamboyancy about eating kale on Facebook and Twitter has influenced many people to learn more about eating this underappreciated leafy green vegetable. *smiles*

Everyone knows that Kale is rich in nutrients.
In fact, Kale supports your body’s detoxification system and is rich in Vitamins K, A, C, B, E, fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. (hence the lable: SUPERFOOD)

If you haven’t gotten in to kale, get some kale in to you.

5 Recipes using Kale

Love

Crista


Aug
26

when i was a kid, one of my favorite snacks was applesauce.
my mom would pack a single-serving size of applesauce in my lunchbox 2-3 times weekly

as an adult, i still enjoy applesauce just as much as i did hen i was a kid, however, i will not purchase pre-packaged apple sauce simply because there are preservatives and sugars added.
applesauce is very simple to make and can be made without pasteurization, yet in order to package and sell applesauce, companies are required to pasteurize the apples prior to packaging for preservation

Homemade Applesauce

i do notice that some recipes recommend heating your apples prior to blending and making the sauce, but i like to leave my apples raw (non-cooked) to maintain the vitamins and nutrients. why take a healthy snack and cook away the good stuff?

apples & pears

the recipe is simple:

Raw Applesauce
 
Ingredients
  • 4-5 apples (choose sweet apples that are a red/green/yellow blend – my favorites include: fuji, honeycrisp, cripps pink, & gala)
  • cinnamon
  • raw turbinado sugar or agave nectar (optional)
  • lemon wedge
Instructions
  1. Clean your apples!
  2. If you choose to peel the skins from your apples, now is the time to do it. I prefer to leave the skins on.
  3. Slice your apples in to wedges.
  4. Put the apple slices (just a few at a time) in to a blender or a food processor and process until the apples are saucy.
  5. Squeeze the juice from one lemon wedge in to your sauce
  6. Serve immediately or chill.
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon and turbinado sugar or agave nectar (if keeping the recipe raw) i enjoy using the turbinado sugar because it adds a little texture & crunch
Notes
You also have the option to introduce different fruits in to your sauce. This particular time, I introduced a pear in to my recipe. I’ve also used raspberries in my applesauce.
When adding another fruit in to your sauce, add no more than ⅓ the amount of that fruit and ⅔ apples. For my pear/applesauce, I used 4 apples and 1 pear.

Homemade Applesauce

because you are working with a raw product, you will want to be sure to consume your applesauce within a day or two of making it. remember, you are not using any preservatives!

Love

Crista


Aug
21

Let’s face it: our lives revolve around the foods we eat.
We eat to socialize.
We eat to have fun.
We eat to reward good behavior.
We eat to nurture discomfort.
We eat to express love.
We eat to cure cravings. 

Whether you are aware of it or not, you have probably obtained an emotional connection to the foods you eat, as well as the act of eating.

The act of eating can stir up many emotions, happiness for example. If you’re anything like me, you are smiling from ear-to-ear the entire time you are eating a cupcake

Mollys Cupcakes-7

Ever heard of the term “guilty pleasures”?

When you want to lose weight or boost your health, you might diet or change you eating habits. If you accomplish your goals, you might feel satisfied, proud. If you do not accomplish your goals, you might feel lousy, ashamed, or discouraged.

A girlfriend of mine who is battling Crohn’s Disease wrote me a note a few days ago. She said: “I am struggling so much with this… just eating fruit all day and waiting for the sign of healing… plus just knowing I can’t eat the way I used to and taking in a whole new way of eating…  I seriously cried today because everyone was having nachos and I was eating fruit…” 

Fruit is delicious! Everyone enjoys fruit! The fruit was not the root cause of this girl’s issue. The issue was that she was struck with emotion simply because she couldn’t eat what everyone else was eating!

Typically, upon learning that I eat and enjoy vegan foods, most people will announce that they “could never stop eating meat.” In fact they emphasize, “I could NEVER stop eating meat!!!
“How do you do it?”
“That sounds awful.”
“What do you eat?”
“How do you get enough protein?”
Why would you do that?
“Do you miss eating meat?”
“…congratulations…”
….all typical responses. Learning of someone else’s eating habits stirs up so much emotion…. worry, disgust, curiosity, confusion…

It is a fact that when you are in an emotional state, your intelligence level drops. The emotion you experience when you think about food is not allowing you to make intelligent decisions about the foods that you choose.

Not only do we have our emotions to deal with, we live in a world full of temptation and gluttony. over-indulgence. over-consumption. curiosity. desire. craving. LACK OF SELF CONTROL. 

Here are a few steps you can take in order to diagnose & overcome emotional eating: 

GAIN AWARENESS – Ask yourself, “am i an emotional eater? do i eat food because i am bored, stressed, angry, or emotional?” Start a food journal. Note your mood each time you eat. Figure out how often you eat during bad moods, log what time of day, which days of the week, and which foods you choose. 

MAKE A PLAN – Plan to remove the foods that you turn to when in a bad mood (discover through your journaling.) Plan your meals in advance. Pack healthy snacks to eat throughout the day. Make the commitment to first eat three specific healthy foods before ever turning to comfort foods. 

SHIFT YOUR FOCUS – Shift your focus to self-love. Develop a list of everything you can think of that gives you pleasure. Carry the list around with you and pull it out every time you’re tempted to use food to meet an emotional need.

MAINTAIN FOCUS – It takes 21 days to form a new habit. YOU CAN DO IT! Don’t give up.

“So every time you put crap in your body, you are crap.” – Skinny Bitch 

Love

Crista