Nov
12

Roasted Green Tomatoes

Friends. I cherish them and hold them all at high regard.
A few of my friends, I can tell ANYTHING to (seriously, ANYTHING) without fear of judgement or ill repute, they are my favorite people on earth.
I have friends that fill what would otherwise be empty spaces in my life.
I have friends that make me laugh, keep me smiling.
My friends give me advice, build me up, and they tell me when I’m crazy.

Green Tomato

Among so many other things, one of the best parts of having awesome friends is that I learn a lot from my them….. 

Through a mutual friend in Florida, I got connected with a now-friend of mine who is chef-trained (score!). I tend to forget that she is chef-trained on most days that I see her because we get wrapped up in talking about life events, family, relationships, and other “deep” stuff, gossip.

The last time I saw Jordan, we rapped about gardening, the restaurant that she manages (they maintain their own garden), and the late-harvest green tomatoes that I’d recently picked. Besides making fried green tomatoes, I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with the heap of green tomatoes I’d had (and still have!!) and I shared that. I let Jordan tell me what she makes for dinner on any given night, I know she eats good.

Green Tomatoes

Effortlessly, Jordan taught me something simple and useful, she taught me a new way to prepare green tomatoes, which is where this instructive recipe comes from. Here is what I learned:

Quarter the green tomatoes and douse them in olive oil. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10ish minutes, just long enough to soften them slightly. DO NOT add salt (and pepper) prior to roasting, the salt would pull the moisture out of the tomatoes, keep those babies juicy! // Add the salt and pepper AFTER roasting. If the tomatoes aren’t already rich enough for your taste,  add a small amount of barrel aged balsamic vinegar to the tomatoes after they come out of the oven.

I made a larger batch of these roasted tomatoes than I should have, I didn’t realize how rich and ambrosial the roasted greens would be. Less is more when you are serving roasted green tomatoes, and I prefer to eat them with a meal rather than independently.

As I type this out, I realize that I made a mistake last night. I SHOULD HAVE roasted the remainder of the green tomatoes I have on hand and served them with the mahi mahi and mashed potatoes I made for dinner last night. I knew my meal was missing something green but I didn’t want to leave the house, it was too chilly.

 

Roasted Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes are little gems as far as I’m concerned, they are hard to come by. Can you buy them at the grocery store? I don’t really think so…. If you want green tomatoes, you almost have to grow them yourself.

Thank you, Jordan, for contributing to the reduction of waste in my garden and thanks for being my friend.

Love

Crista


Sep
23

I’m in slight denial that summer has come to an end but I know it’s real. The leaves have begun to change (the mountains are BEAUTIFUL right now) and each morning seems to be slightly chillier than the previous. When I’m out watering the garden in the morning, I’m bundled up in a small blanket or a hooded sweater instead of bare skinned, flip flops, and tank tops. 

Although I mourn the loss of a summer that could have, should have, would have packed more activities and experiences had I had more time but I’m ready, ready to move on. Ready for new beginnings. Ready to hunker down, cozy under blankets, drink wine, lots of wine, and eat warm, comforting foods.

As I scroll through the archives in this blog, each recipe stirs up a memory of what was happening in my life at the time I was preparing and serving that dish. I share with you the recipes that comforted me this morning, and brought warm thoughts, the dishes that I’ll prepare this season to stir nostalgia and create new memories.

Happy fall, ya’ll.

thyme-tea-cough-buster
Thyme Tea

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl
Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl

Red Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili
Red Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

Apple, Carrot, Quinoa Hash
a Carrot, Apple Quinoa Hash

pumpkin pie yogurt parfait
Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1
Roasted Sweet Pepper Salsa

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Pot Pit
Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Pot Pie

indian spiced smashed potatoes
Indian Spiced Smashed Potatoes

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Oatmeal // peace. love. quinoa
Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Oatmeal

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding
Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

Love

Crista


Nov
05

pumpkins 

Doods. So I went to Trader Joe’s two weeks ago and they were on pumpkin-overload. I swear to you that every single item in the store was pumpkinized. I wasn’t mad about it however I did end up spending a lot more money that day than I normally do. (I mean, hellloooooo pumpkin cinnamon rolls that aren’t even vegan but I’ll buy anyway because: pumpkin)

I walked in to the store yesterday to find that the shelf that was once pumpkinized had been reverted back to the same ole “new items in stock” that… I’m still not mad about. BUT, what the hell happened to all the pumpkin stuff?? Halloween is over but Thanksgiving is not. I have very high standards on how long you need to keep pumpkin goodies in stock and I’m pissed when you reduce inventory after Halloween.  Can ya dig?

To make up for the lack of pumpkin goodies on shelves of TJ’s across the country, I bring you this post that is chock-full of vegan pumpkin recipes. You may want to bookmark it and refer back to it every year between Halloween & Thanksgiving when grocery stores assume it time to remove the pumpkin and introduce the Christmas candy. No one is ready for Christmas candy, anyway. We’re still trying to eat up that Halloween candy… 

pumpkin pie yogurt parfait

The Pumpkin Spice Cake from Vegan Yumminess looks super moist and full of fragrant spices. Put this cake in the oven, and I bet you’d have the entire house smelling like heaven. Pumpkin heaven, that is.

This Pumpkin Chai Shake from real kids eat spinach recommends you freeze pumpkin in ice cube trays and blend it with awesome ingredients like chai tea and fragrant spices. (who would have thought to blend pumpkin into a shake, let alone freeze it in ice cube trays?? – GENIUS)

Larabars. We’ve all had them. Every time I empty my purse, I find a beat up Larabar at the bottom. I always keep (at least) one on hand to ensure I never starve. Although I’ve got a lot of experience eating these vegan, raw, healthful bars, I’ve never made them. Not until I found this genius Pumpkin Pie Larabars recipe by eat, live, burp.

I thought myself to be a genius when I made a Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait inspired by something Martha Stewart did. It’s goooooood.

Pumpkin Pie without the crust? I’m down. Check out this Pumpkin Pie Pudding from meadows cooks.

Isa Did It, just like she promised she would with this Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl recipe in her book. I could hardly stand to photograph that meal – get.in.my.belly.

My favorite vegan grocery store, NOOCH is selling vegan pumpkin ice cream made by Sweet Action (a local Denver thing) but if they weren’t I’d make an attempt at the Pumpkin Ice Cream recipe from Minimalist Baker. Every recipe I have ever made from Minimalist Baker (SEVERAL!) has been flawless, and I’m sure this one would be no exception – they topped that ice cream with roasted pecans and coconut whipped cream (I mean, does it get any better than that??)

We’re not done yet.

I’m kind of obsessed with baking ingredients IN a pumpkin, then eating the entire thing. I’ve never done it but I will. Check out these Holiday Stuffed Pumpkins from Deliciously Ella. (and, actually – I’m putting the Green Kitchen Stories book on my wishlist)

Pumpkin juice? Yes, it’s a thing: a Glowing Pumpkin Juice recipe from Fettle Vegan.

“The BEST Pancakes I’ve ever had” says my boyfriend about the Pumpkin Spice Pancakes I made him. Recipe by Minimalist Baker (duh, flawless) Don’t top these with fake syrup – you better use pure maple syrup, it’s the only way to go. And anyway, GO, go make these now!

I could go on and on and on. But you must stop reading now and go make one of these recipes. 

For the record, I made a triple batch of those Pumpkin Spice Pancakes and I put them in the freezer for “later” …which means I’ll have eaten three batches of Pumpkin Spice Pancakes in a 2-3 day time frame. Psh, my life doesn’t suck.

Do you have any vegan pumpkin recipes to share? Please do.

Love

Crista


Oct
28

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl

Tis the season for pumpkin EVERYTHING. Have you been to Trader Joe’s lately? They seriously have EVERYTHING pumpkin. I have to stay away from the place this time of year. Pumpkin cornbread mix, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pop tarts, pumpkin scones, pumpkin ravioli, pumping this, pumpkin that. Almost non of it vegan. Sigh.

For the first time last year, I learned to bake my pumpkins and gather my own puree versus purchasing pumpkin puree in a can. I’m stepping up my game in the kitchen. Watch out November, I’m hot.

I recently purchased a new cookbook, Isa Does It
It’s a book I’ve wanted for quite some time and I finally broke down and got it! I was stoked when I found a pumpkin recipe in the cookbook, it’s the first thing I made. I’m going to give you this Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl/Plate recipe in this post but then you HAVE to buy this book for the other recipes. The Mushroom Hot Pot, the Baked Garlic Curry Fries, and the Jerk Sloppy Joes are among some of my favorite recipes. 

Isa does not know me (yet) but I’m hoping to introduce myself to her next month when I visit her brand new vegan restaurant in Omaha, called Modern Love. Uhm, she’s serving a dish of chili & cinnamon rolls at Modern Love (genius!). I guess that’s an “Omaha” thing (cinnamon rolls paired with chili, that is). I’m down. Sounds like it could be a “Crista” thing. Don’t be surprised when I dedicate an entire blog to chili and cinnamon rolls – pumpkin cinnamon rolls, duh.

Isa Does It

So anyway, about this pumpkin bowl (that I plated). I love that it has several different elements and flavors, all reminiscent of autumn. Instead of turning the pumpkin into some fancy baked good, it is baked and eaten as is (seriously, who does that?? it’s GOOD). Along with herbs (that I got out of the garden), the pumpkin seeds are used to make the chimichurri sauce and spread atop the entire dish. Soba noodles are recommended as the starch in this dish, but QUINOA could be used as well. Look, I love noodles AND I love quinoa – it’s a hard choice to make. (good luck to you)

Chimichurri Pumpkin Bowl
Author: 
 
Ingredients
For the pumpkin and noodles:
  • 1 (3 pound) sugar pumpkin, sliced in half and seeded
  • 8 ounces soba noodles
For the chimichurri:
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup pepitas
  • 2 cups chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For serving:
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup pepitas
Instructions
Prepare the pumpkin & noodles:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes or until tender.
  2. In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain, place back in the pot, and set aside.
Prepare the chimichurri:
  1. Place the garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse to get it chopped up. Add the pepitas and pulse into fine crumbs.
  2. Add the rest of the chimichurri ingredients and puree.
To assemble:
  1. Toss the noodles with about ¼ of the chimichurri sauce and divide among bowls.
  2. Scoop cooked pumpkin into each bowl, and add some black beans.
  3. Top with the additional chimichurri and pepitas.

Chimichurri Pumpkin Plate

Love

Crista


Sep
09

stone fruits

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Colorado peaches are da bomb.
Have you ever had a short-lived obsession with a fruit or a food, and you eat it non-stop until you literally become sick of it?
Well, I’ve gone through at least 50+ peaches in the last month or two and I still can’t get enough. Maybe because I know that the peach season in Colorado is short so I’m trying to pack a years supply into a few months time??

Not only are the peaches good around here, there seems to be an unlimited supply of drool-worthy stone fruits that are grown locally in Colorado.

I’m not sure I’d ever heard the term “stone fruit” prior to moving to Colorado, and if so I didn’t pay it any attention. I’ve had fun getting-to-know and using the term at the most appropriate time.

Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries, and mangoes are all considered stone fruits because of a “stone” inside the fruit that is very large and hard. Often times the stone is referred to as the seed, which is incorrect – the seed is actually inside the stone.

stone fruit

I have found & used several “stone fruit” recipes this season, they make me happy.
I even had a peach & basil pizza recently! (I didn’t make that but I WOULD)
(so, as I write this post, I’m enjoying a vegan Colorado peach ice cream from Sweet Action)
(that was bragging – sorry)
(oh, and when this post goes live, I’ll be just a few miles from Palisade, CO picking up more peaches)
(more bragging – sorry)

Here are some AWESOME Stone Fruit Recipes:

Stone Fruit Sangria 
Stone Fruit Salad with Lemon-Lavender Syrup
Stone Fruit Summer Guacamole
Peaches & Cream Yogurt Parfait
Peach Rhubarb Crisp
Spiced Apricot Couscous
Cinnamon Plum Jam
Chocolate Cherry Sundae

If you have any favorite stone fruit recipes, please share them in the comments below!
xox 

Love

Crista


Dec
06

Aveda Tea

Brrrr, it’s chilly outside – the time of year well-suited for a cup of hot tea to maintain warmth has arrived. While I complain about the weather, I get excited to wrap up in my scarves, fuzzy socks, and over-sized sweaters and I find  pleasure in sipping warm drinks – I’ll do anything to keep cozy. 

Aveda TeaAveda Tea 

My all-time favorite tea to drink (going on a few years now) is a tea made by the haircare company, Aveda. The ingredients of the tea (licorice root, peppermint) don’t typically represent the types of flavors I prefer, however the combination that makes up this tea is absolutely to die for. I like that the tea is naturally sweet, I would never even consider adding sweetener to it – it simply doesn’t need it. It is caffeine-free, which is nice because I can drink it before bedtime. AND one of the best things about this tea is that it is good hot, warm, OR cold. Have you ever had a cup of hot tea that is less appealing after it’s gotten cold? Not this tea, it is just as good cold (or at room temp) as it is hot. Did I mention that it is 100% organic? (bonus)

Aveda Tea

 “If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited it will calm you.” 
{William Ewart Gladstone}

Love

Crista


Nov
26

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

I am obsessed with Thanksgiving this year. Over the last few days, I’ve made at least one Thanksgiving-ish dish every day. Apple Parsnip Mash, Honeycrisp Apple JuiceBreakfast Quinoa and these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes are among some of those dishes. 

I’m taking advantage of the Brussels Sprouts season this year, there are several dishes that I plan on making with them – including a dish that I’m going to make for Thanksgiving. My favorite way to prepare Brussels Sprouts is roasting them with different seasonings and flavors, but for my Thanksgiving feast, I am going to use them in a salad, raw…. combined with kale. (YUM, right?) 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 pound red seedless grapes, halved
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the brussels sprouts and grapes with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast until caramelized and tender, about 20-30 minutes.

 Happy Holiday Season my friends! xo

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

Love

Crista


Nov
25

Organic Produce

I typically do my Vegan Thanksgiving meal the day AFTER Thanksgiving but this year is different. Thanksgiving is coming early – TOMORROW!!! I’m practically starving myself today in preparation of filling my belly with so much yummy food tomorrow. I can hardly wait! 

Organic ProduceOrganic Produce

Over the last few days, I got all of my grocery shopping done and reviewed all of the recipes I’m using again. I definitely need to alter a few of the recipes, one of them I’m adding persimmon to which wasn’t in the original plan. Those persimmons were looking so good at the market, I couldn’t resist them!! 

Organic ProduceOrganic ProduceQuinoa

I pre-cooked my quinoa and It’ll chill overnight. I’ve also made pie crusts for my mini pumpkin pies. It was m first time making a pie crust using nuts and dates! It was messy, but worth it!! 

Pumpkin Pie Crust

I’m getting hungry….. xox

Love

Crista


Nov
15

Virtual Vegan Potluck

Today, I am part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck, where 150+ bloggers contribute vegan, plant-based recipes. I wish this were a potluck in real life (OMG I would die)….. come to think of it, I HAVE been part of a vegetarian potluck, it was at a yoga retreat… I guess I didn’t die BUT I WAS in pure heaven. I filled my plate 3 times before giving up. Meditation was a bad (or maybe a really good) idea to do after that lunch, I may or may not have almost fallen asleep during meditation due to the comforting food coma I was in. Yum! Just reminiscing about it brings me gratitude and happiness.

So anyway, today’s potluck is the second-best thing: virtual. After you check out this Apple Parsnip Recipe, you can scroll through the other dishes that were “brought to the potluck” by way of the buttons at the bottom of this post. 

apple parsnip mash

 I have only seen a few recipes for a “mash” blending apples and parsnips together, none of them as good as mine and none of them vegan – which blows my mind considering that this recipe is one of the easiest plant-based dishes you can make. If you eat a plant-based diet, you probably already have most of the ingredients in this recipe (ok, maybe you don’t have parsnips at home… or maybe you do?)

I think all of my recipes are delicious, and I probably say that in every post, but THIS recipe is decadent. Before making it,  I would have not have predicted how fragrant, subtle, and rich this dish is – as creamy as mashed sweet potatoes, and as sweet as Honeycrisp apples are, WITHOUT any added sugar or dairy.

apple parsnip mash

Apple Parsnip Mash
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 pound of parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh sage for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, sautee the parsnips and apples in butter until they start to soften (about 5-8 minutes)
  2. Add the almond milk, water, and spices to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, until parsnips are completely tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  5. Add sea salt & pepper to taste.

apple parsnip mash

I encourage you to give this Apple Parsnip Mash a whirl and then go check out the other vegan dishes that were brought to the Virtual Vegan Potluck! xox

 

final_leaf_plgo_forward

Love

Crista


Nov
11

Stewed Tomatoes Quinoa & Kale

The people of Denver rock my world. They are active and healthy and they eat differently than people do in the midwest. I talked with a guy who cooks his quinoa in stewed tomatoes and adds a variety of different veggies (oh, and a secret ingredient he claims) which gave me the inspiration for this quinoa dish. I have a secret ingredient too, red wine. But I think the biggest secret, the one that sets this recipe apart from others is cooking the quinoa in the stewed tomatoes. 

Stewed Tomatoes with Kale & Quinoa
 
Ingredients
  • 4 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 handfuls of kale, de-stemmed & roughly chopped
  • ⅔ cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor (or a blender), pulse the chopped tomatoes until they are a a liquid consistency (similar to salsa).
  2. In a large pot, stew the tomatoes for 5 minutes and then add the wine. Put on low heat and continue stewing uncovered.
  3. In a separate pan, sautee the onions and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes and then add them to the stewed tomatoes.
  4. Add cinnamon, cumin, agave nectar, salt, & pepper to the mixture.
  5. Add the quinoa to the mixture and turn up the heat until the mixture to comes to a boil and then turn the heat down and cover the pot. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is thoroughly cooked.
  6. Stir the kale into the mixture and allow it to wilt down for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve.

I was craving something hearty and savory this morning so I made this dish for breakfast But I’d eat it for lunch too… and then again for dinner. No matter what time of day, this dish is sure to offer warmth and comfort on a chilly autumn day.

Stewed Tomatoes Quinoa & Kale

Stewed Tomatoes Quinoa & Kale

Love

Crista