Nov
04

.Camp Wandawega

In July, just before the holiday weekend, my girlfriends sat at Chino Latino with our guys who were all meeting each other for the first time. During that monumental time in our lives, we decided that we wanted to take our next girls vacation “glamping” // for a moment or two we considered inviting the guys, they were relieved to be let off the hook. (not nice!)

Camp Wandawega

I put a lot of value on getaways and quality time with my girls (#homegirls), but when we booked our glamping trip way back in July, I had no idea how valuable and necessary this trip would be for me.

Camp Wandawega

I haven’t been well the last few months. Conflicted, uncertain, anxious, frustrated, and emotional are a few of many words I could use to describe the roller coaster I have been riding lately. I have not eaten regularly, I hadn’t even been to the grocery store in weeks until yesterday, I experienced anxiety attacks for the first time in my life, I don’t read, I don’t blog, I don’t leave the couch unless I absolutely have to, and I cry, I cry a lot. 

Camp Wandawega

You might be asking why? 

Life can be rough, relationships can be tough, and unfortunately I’ve fallen victim to the struggle lately.

Camp Wandawega

So yeah, camp. Camp Wandawega! CW has been on my bucket list for years, and I was thrilled that the girls agreed to trek all the way to Wisconsin for our glamping weekend. Originally, we’d considered camping somewhere in Colorado, which would have been amazing but I am thankful that I was able to get away from my home, a home that I’d spent countless hours crying in, and get out of Colorado. 

I have no doubt that the world somehow knew I’d be desperate for uncommon surroundings to offer me varied perspectives and even though I didn’t realize it at the time of booking, I now know that our trip was booked with purpose. 

I’m not the only one who needed the getaway, my homegirls needed it too! 

Camp Wandawega

Camp Wandawega prides itself on being a place where adults can go to play, to let loose, and to be free. Amanda, Laura, and myself ran around the modern-vintage retreat, not much different than we would have as kids at summer camp, photographing ourselves on the tree swing, telling stories from our bunk beds until wee hours of the night, and courageously walking from the shower house to our cabin wrapped in the Hello Kitty towels that were gifted to us as a Happy Girls Glamping Weekend gift. (Thanks Kristy!)

Camp Wandawega

The weekend gave me exactly what I needed in my life at the time. 
Laughter.
Reflection.
Girl Talk.

Camp Wandawega

Although planning is my forte, busy schedules and lifes daily struggles kept us/me from doing much planning for our trip to Camp Wandawega. When the time came to make plans for this trip (scheduled departures, meals, etc.), I couldn’t even. I was not a functioning human being at that time, and I most certainly wasn’t able to make any decisions. 

Camp Wandawega

My beautiful friends, my homegirls, Amanda & Laura, compensated for my slack with extreme willingness and never showed frustration over my lack of function. Best friends aren’t called best friends for no reason.

Camp Wandawega

Homemade Waffles with Almond Butter and Pure Maple Syrup //
Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad //
Copper River Salmon & Curried TruRoots Rice //
Sauerkraut & Sausages //
Cheese, lots of cheese & Wine, lots of wine //
Campfire Heirloom Apple Crisp //
S’mores //
Local-made Muesli //

Camp Wandawega

We ate so fucking good at camp. 
No thanks to me, the only thing I could suggest was that we make guacamole-stuffed peppers which is a staple for me when tent camping. I couldn’t even process the fact that we would have a beautiful, vintage kitchen to cook in while at camp. It’s called “glamping” for a reason.

Quednow's Apples

We’d planned to visit an apple orchard/pumpkin patch during our trip but none of us expected to stumble upon Quednow’s Heirloom Apple Orchard which is an orchard that grows hard-to-find, heirloom apples. 

Quednow's Apples

Upon entering the small barn at Quednow’s, we were greeted by a smiling gentleman in a wheelchair, a delightful black cat, and unsurpassingly fragrant apples in varieties we’d never seen or tried before. We were offered samples of every apple variety we showed interest in. Each bite from each apple offered a novel experience, each variety unique in it’s texture, flavor, and fragrance. 

Quednow's Apples

Hawaii holds a special place in my heart, our hearts. When I think of the island, the experience, my heart expands, feels deep, and fills with love // love for my life, love for our life, love for my best friend(s). As you can imagine, I was delighted to find a Hawaiian apple variety // it’s pineapple-y flavor and suggestive name was all I needed to spark memories of my real-life love story…. a story that has been discredited in the recent past. I brought those apples home with me as a reminder…… and I shared them with my love.

Quednow's Apples

Quednow's Apples

Camp Wandawega

On our last night at camp, we were invited to use the beautiful kitschy kitchen in the main lodge, a space that has been used by several Chicago-based chefs to create beautiful dinners and dinner parties. 

Joined by the camp counselor (or so I’ll call him), we had our own dinner party. Local beers, red wine, and a full spread of german-influenced foods followed by s’mores and heirloom apple crisp was our feast.

Camp Wandawega

Melody, a girlfriend of mine that I hadn’t seen in years and her 3 year old son joined us for breakfast on our last morning at camp // to see her progress in life and to experience her positive outlook fed me beneficial energy and good vibes. Through her, and my homegirls, I realized that the kids (him & I) will be alright. 

Camp Wandawega

After camp, Melody asked me to share one of my favorite quotes with her, the one I found most relevant for my life as it is today is this: “Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot

Melody put that quote in to a piece of art and is sending it to me. Although I’ve committed myself to just as this quote suggests, hanging that piece of art of my wall will be a nice reminder.

Camp Wandawega

Gratitude.
I have it for my friends.
I have it for my love.
I have it for my new artwork.
I have it for an awesome glamping trip at Camp Wandawega.
I have it for the next trip with my homegirls.
I have it so hard right now.

Pumpkin Patch

For more photos and travel notes from our trip, visit Amanda’s blog, Heartbeet Kitchen // her post is a delight to read and brings tears to my eyes. Happy tears! 

Had it not been for my beautiful friend Kayle spilling her heart to the world via a blog post, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do so. Although our situations are very different, the emotions are feeling of drunken-ness are very much the same. I am thankful to have Kayle as a friend, and I’m thankful for the reminder that I am not alone in a world that has felt very lonely of late. And K, if you are reading this, HUGS. 

With all that being said, I assure you (and myself) that I am on the path to recovery and normalcy. Life is good, man. 

Also, go to Camp Wandawega, it’s fucking cool.

Love

Crista


Aug
03

Tru Roots Lentils

We’ve gone on a few camping trips this summer and have another trip planned at the end of the month. I love camping because it allows an opportunity to bask in the natural beauty that our outdoor world has to offer. 

Camping Twin Lakes

I love being isolated from the modern world, challenged to entertain myself with the few things I’ve packed in the car and the organic earth surrounding me.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

One of the biggest challenges I face prior to a camping trip is meal planning.  
A week prior to camp, I plan out each meal and make a grocery list. It’s important to know exactly how much food will be needed – you don’t want to starve out there in the wilderness but you don’t want to pack too much either – 1. there typically isn’t enough room for over-packing. 2. you may waste food if you over-pack.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Camping Twin Lakes

After I’ve planned my meals and made my grocery list, I make a list of the tools I’ll need in order to properly prepare each meal. 

I have a medium-sized Kelty cooler that is perfect for a weekend trip and I recently purchased a Camp Kitchen from REI that stores all of my plates, utensils, cups, and dry goods. 

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

On our last camping trip, we didn’t have a reserved spot so we weren’t sure if we’d be camping with a campfire or not. We challenged ourselves to prepare all of our meals without a fire and we did so with a single burner camp stove. The mini stove allowed us to make coffee in the morning, warm up oatmeal, cook rice, and warm veggies. (what more could you ask for?!)

Camping Twin Lakes

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Although I hesitated to bring a Sun Tea Jar to camp (some may consider it obnoxious), I was thankful I did – water gets boring after a while. Although it’s considered cold brew, may I recommend Sport Tea for camp? Because, electrolytes.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Let’s talk meal prep for Plant-Based Camp Meals

Here are a few rules I follow when planning out my camp meals:

1. Keep meals SIMPLE, nutritional, and filling
2. Keep ingredients to a minimum
3. Work with ingredients that can be used in multiple meals (you’ll see examples below)
4. Pack foods that won’t spoil quickly (meat, cheese, milk, fish, etc…)
5. Pack a few spices that will enhance flavor (cinnamon, salt, pepper)

Plant-Based Camp Meals

BREAKFAST IDEAS:

1. Cold Cereal w/ Nuts & Fruit 
add some chopped fruit (whatever you’ve packed) and some nuts from your trail mix for a more filling cereal. use a nut milk instead of dairy (it doesn’t spoil as quickly!)

2. Oatmeal
you can make oatmeal in a variety of different ways for camp –
//instant oats cook quickly and can be mixed with fruits, nuts, cinnamon, and almond milk
//you can make steel cut oats prior to camp and warm them quickly – again, add fruits, nuts, almond milk, cinnamon
//if you have a frying pan available, sauté some sliced apples or peaches and then add oats
// blend quinoa with your steel cut oats for added nutrition, Trader Joe’s has frozen packs of oats + quinoa that work well at camp

3. Peanut Butter
add peanut butter to bread or apples for a quick, yet filling breakfast – supplement with trail mix and/or protein bars (this is what I would eat prior to an early AM hike!)

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Camping Twin Lakes

LUNCH IDEAS

1. Guacamole & Quinoa-stuffed Bell Peppers 
Cut bell pepper in half and de-seed them then stuff them with pre-made guacamole and quinoa. Top them with a few chopped tomatoes if you have them on hand.

2. Spinach Salad w/ Peaches and Lentils
Top spinach with lentils (my favorite are the Sprouted Green Lentils from TruRoots because of their nutritional value and peppery flavor) and peaches & cherries (blueberries would work well to!)
The perfect salad dressing to pack for camp is Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic because it works well with every salad I can imagine and can be used in a variety of different ways including as a marinade for veggies, or atop a rice or quinoa dish. PLUS, it keeps well whether room temp or in a cooler.

3. Chopped Veggies & Hummus
Pre-made hummus can be served with practically every veggie I can think of – chop what you’ve got and dip. If you’re a fan of crackers or chips, dip those as well! My favorite crackers are the Bite Size Everything Crackers from Trader Joe’s.

4. Carrot Soup 
Carrot Soup can be served warm or chilled which makes it perfect for camp. The last time we camped, we ate it (chilled) as a side dish to 3-4 different meals, it rounded out our meals by adding additional flavor. The recipe I used is found on the Minimalist Baker blog.

5. Peanut Butter
If you have minimal time for a meal, celery dipped in peanut butter will quickly offer a burst of energy. This may be a “meal” you are eating while hiking or on a boat and can be supplemented with energy bars, trail mix, and dried fruits.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

Plant-Based Camp Meals

DINNER IDEAS

1. Rice + Veggies 
TruRoots Germinated Brown Rice cooks in less than 10 minutes which makes it ideal for camp (especially when you’re trying to get dinner done prior to the sun setting)! If you serve cooked rice over the top of raw, chopped veggies, and allow it to sit for a few minutes, the warmth of the rice will soften the veggies. If you prefer to cook your veggies, you can do that too. Use any veggies you like (or what you have on hand), I used broccoli and cauliflower on my last camping trip. To add flavor to your rice & veggies, use the Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic dressing.

2. Chickpea Lettuce Wraps
SO EASY! Ok, here is what you need: a can of chickpeas, a head of lettuce, some fruits (those peaches that you used for breakfast – or mango), diced cucumber, and a dressing. I used the Carrot Soup as a dressing for my lettuce wraps because I had it on hand, but I also considered making a Peanut Sauce prior to camp. (recipe for peanut sauce HERE)

3. a Quinoa Bowl 
quinoa + fruits + avocado + peanut sauce – find the recipe HERE

4. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Cut the tops off the bell peppers and de-seed them. Stand them upright and stuff them with chopped veggies, warm rice or quinoa, and some tomato sauce if you have it on-hand. If you have a campfire, you can wrap them in foil and allow them to “cook” – if not, allow the warm rice or quinoa to soften the bell pepper and veggies for a few minutes prior to eating.

Plant-Based Camp Meals

If you look at my table setup in the photos, you’ll see that I served many of these meals together instead of singly to create more interesting and complex meals. It’s all about getting creative, using what you have, and displaying your foods colorfully!

For more camp food ideas check out these links:
Mammoth Lakes Camping + Vegan Campfire Food
36 Camping Experts Reveal Their 3 Easy Camping Meals 

Camping Twin Lakes

Now, for the Giveaway. 

TruRoots recently asked me to become an ambassador for them and I happily said YES after reading their story and trying their products. The TruRoots philosophy is: 

TruRoots was founded on the idea that our connections to the sources of our foods are important. The people who grow, harvest and deliver these nutritious foods are just as important as the final product. In fact, without this chain of good people and wise practices, the high quality of our food simply isn’t possible.

With this approach has come not only a connection between the people and lands that these foods come from—it has opened up avenues for the sharing of cultural wisdom. Western science is just ‘discovering’ many of the principals that have been in use for centuries around the world. These ancient practices are being confirmed by science as having nutritious benefit and agricultural sustainability. And this process of learning and sharing has only begun.
It is our belief at TruRoots that scientific advances and ancient wisdom can be brought together into a golden middle road which leads to not only wholesome foods, but rewarding human relationships. We have a lot to learn from each other… And the process of doing this is simply delicious!

With that philosophy and some of the best tasting grains I’ve ever eaten, TruRoots is a company that I’m excited to stand behind.

TruRoots has offered to give away 1 package of each TruRoots Originals product to one lucky PLQ winner. To enter, leave a comment on this post before August 17. The lucky winner will be randomly chosen and notified on August 18. Please share this post with any of your camping friends or with anyone who may be interested in winning some TruRoots goodies!

Camping Twin Lakes

Although TruRoots influenced me by sending out some free product, all opinions and food ideas in this post are my own. In this post, you will also find a few affiliate links – if you click them and purchase a product, I may make a few pennies on the dollar. Thank you for taking the time to read! 

Oh, and for the record – all of these photos were taken at Twin Lakes, CO. Beautiful, right?! 

Love

Crista


Jul
06

The holiday weekend, it seems as though EVERYONE is outside enjoying the weather and celebrating summer.
In the midst of things, I can’t stop thinking about all of the outdoor adventures I’d like to accomplish this summer.
I just booked a camping trip, I’ll be with friends at a cabin on a lake in Minnesota soon, and I’d like to picnic in the park…
….all this among the millions of other things I’d like to do before summer comes to an end.
The one thing I look forward to most when in preparation for these activities is plan the food situation.
((why do I love food so much??))
I looked through my blog posts for some ideas – here are the best options that pack & serve well for a picnic.
Where will you be picnicking this year? I’ll be at Wash Park

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Pea Hummus

Easy Peasy Pea Hummus

peach & tomato skewers

Peach & Tomato Skewers

Spring Coleslaw

Spring Coleslaw

Banana Fantasy Salad // peace. love. quinoa

Banana Fantasy Salad

Green Potato Salad

Green Potato Salad

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho

Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad // peace. love. quinoa

Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad

Chickpea & Tomato Salad // peace. love. quinoa

Chickpea & Tomato Salad w/ Fresh Basil

vegan Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Chocolate Pudding w/Cinnamon Frosting

Lemonade / Arnold Palmer

Homemade Lemonade / Arnold Palmer

Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea

Ginger Mint Iced Tea

Ginger Mint Iced Tea

Love

Crista


Sep
05

I’ve mentioned several times that the Eco Lodge we stayed at over the holiday weekend is badass. It would be shameful to fail at mentioning the well-equipped kitchen and stone oven (which is embedded in the back of the fireplace).

labor day

labor day

labor day

First things first: The stone oven. Would you agree that this is badass? In photos from this post, you can see that this stone oven is located out on the screened-in patio. So is this fire indoors, or would you consider that outdoors? Anyway, the oven would seems perfect perfect for making a pizza! …but we made vegan corn dogs and s’mores.

labor day

Don’t you love Trader Joe’s? They think of EVERYTHING. These corn dogs ROCK MY WORLD.

labor day

labor day

Yeah, marshmallows…. they’re so bad yet so good. We only have them a few times of year (on camping trips). Have you ever tried vegan marshmallows? I haven’t but I need to. 

labor day

Hey Chris, you have marshmallow on your face. hehe
Indoors, we found this little stovetop and a bunch of iron skillets. Luckily, we packed egg whites, tortillas, and fresh homemade salsa – breakfast is served! We also packed tortilla chips, homemade tea, fresh tomatoes from the garden, dried fruits, and veggie burgers for grillin’.

labor day

labor day
labor day

labor day

Oh, our mini mustard and ketchup bottles — aren’t they cute?? I have a third little bottle and I think I’m going to fill it with olive oil. We didn’t think to pack olive oil on this trip, and we were freaking out until we were lucky to find some in the cabinet at the lodge (someone must have left it behind). 

labor day

Michigan is full of fruit stands and farmers markets, we found one easily without even looking it up. We were happy to find this blueberry honey, which we drizzled over fruit for dessert during our trip. I’ll definitely pack honey on every camping trip we take from now on. Imagine fruit grilled over an open fire + fresh honey. Yum.

labor day

labor day

labor day

labor day
For some reason, we were obsessed with Bloody Mary’s over the weekend. We couldn’t get enough. Well, I had had enough when I started experiencing a hangover mid-day. whoops. Here is what I didn’t like about the Bloody Mary’s (besides the nasty mid-day hangover): none of the restaurants we visited (in town) made their bloody mary mix in-house, they all used pre-mixed shit. Blagh. I snubbed them, but drank them anyway. The two “towns” that we bar-hopped are New Buffalo and South Haven. It was a beautiful weekend to be out rooftop-patio-bar-hopping….. and sipping on cocktails (which we rarely do).

labor day

Russell Simmons! Duh.

labor day

labor day

We couldn’t avoid this ice-cream stand on the last day of our trip. It came to us highly recommended and did not disappoint. I don’t know for sure how many flavors of ice cream Sherman’s has to offer, but it seemed like hundreds.

More posts from our holiday weekend: a road tripLonnie’s Eco LodgeRonora Lodge & Retreat Center

Love

Crista


Jul
17

in desperate need of some alone time, Chris and I sought out a private spot in the country (labled: NO TRESPASSING) to camp out at for a night. Chris used Google Maps to find this beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere, the area was gated off, but we found a way to get through. we drove through weeds and grass taller than the car to get there…….
we felt so lucky to find this place….. “our” special place where NO ONE on earth could find us….
you can see we set up our tent, and built a little campfire…. campingcampingcampingcamping
peaceful.
campingcamping
i can not even describe to you how excited we were to find this place…. Chris said “this is the kind of place i picture when listening to country songs…” (he’s such a country boy, it’s adorable)campingcamping
we didn’t miss one moment of that gorgeous sun setting….camping
grilled veggie dogs over an open fire, we kept it simple :) no plates, no forks, no napkins. just veggie dogs. and water. (and marshmallows)
camping

campingcamping
feeling alright.
camping

when the sun goes down… over the water…campingcamping-16
we slept underneath the moonlight. the coolest thing about our tent is that it’s topped with mesh so as we lay, we stare at the stars.
campingcamping
we got up super early in the AM to enjoy the sunrise… these last two photos were taken in the AMcamping
we left our campsite around 7:30 AM when we noticed some people fishing at the other end of the lake. we panicked. we weren’t sure how much trouble we’d be in…. then as we drove by the people they said “hope we didn’t ruin your morning, have a good day” ha! i guess we weren’t the first people to discover this beautiful, quiet, hidden lake…. regardless, i think we’ll do it again.

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