Feb
07

Rocky Mountain High

“She was born in the winter of her 31st year, coming home to a place she’d never been before.
She left yesterday behind her, you might say she was born again,
you might say she found a key for every door.
When she first came to the mountains, her life was far away on the road and hanging by a song.
But the strings already broken and she doesn’t really care,
it keeps changing fast, and it don’t last for long.

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.
The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby.
Rocky Mountain high, Colorado. Rocky Mountain high.

She climbed cathedral mountains, she saw silver clouds below,
she saw everything as far as you can see.
And they say that she got crazy once and she tried to touch the sun,
and she lost a friend, but kept the memory.
Now she walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the streams, seeking grace in every step she takes.
Her sight is turned inside herself, to try and understand
the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.”PLQdivider

Lyrics are from “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver, “he” turned to “she” and the age changed.

Photo Credit: Victor of Valencia for Free People  // FP Me

Love

Crista


Jan
31

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Moving to Colorado was an intentional lifestyle choice on my part. People always ask, WHY?

I no longer enjoyed the monotonous life I was living in Chicago, I craved more adventure than what was available in the city. 

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Rather than dressing in fancy, glittery attire for the begin of the New Year (as I would have done in Chicago), a couple of friends and I decided to tackle 14 miles of the backcountry in snowshoes. The beastly trail that took us to the 10th Mountain Betty Bear Hut was certainly the toughest trail I have ever hiked. After 1 mile, I was all “are we there yet…??”

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

After hiking 6.5 miles up the mountain in >10 degree weather, a wave of altitude sickness (that ended up lasting all night) swept over me. After hiking 7 miles up the mountain, I could hear friends in front of me celebrating, they’d found the Betty Bear Hut that we would call home on New Years Eve night. I can’t describe the amount of relief I experienced in that moment.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

The views in the backcountry are unlike anything you will see elsewhere in the world, you’ve got to put in work in order to lay eyes on that unobstructed beauty. If you can manage it, it is largely worth it, even with a severe case of altitude sickness…

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

2015 ended rough for me and 2016 began the same way HOWEVER I have once again recommitted to living the life I want to live without any apologies to anyone. Hiking up to Betty Bear (we call her the Bitch) revealed a confidence that I didn’t know existed within myself. I only admitted to no one but myself how nervous and anxious I really was to hike up that mountain. My lower back is equivalent to or worse than an 80 year olds, I suck at cardio, I lack stamina, we feared an avalanche, and although sunny, there was a chill in the air that kept our bones tight – this hike was tough but I I did it. I DID IT.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

At the top of the mountain, not only were we greeted with breathtaking views, but an amazing, well-stocked, cozy-as-hell hut big enough to accommodate 16 people. Enough firewood to last an entire winter, sleeping pads and pillows, buckets to collect snow for melting down, and a rustic kitchen were just a few of the amenities that made our overnight stay comfortable.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Over the holiday season, I lost faith in some people and gained mad respect for others. I am tremendously proud of the women and dudes that hiked to the top of this mountain with me and encouraged me to laugh and have fun along the way. Camaraderie is one of the main components that made it possible for us to summit and visit Betty, and camaraderie is exactly what each individual shared along the arduous hike.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

What happens after 7 miles you may ask? Celebration, wine, lots of wine, a group-prepared and devoured dinner, yoga & stretching, cabin clothes, relaxation, snow collecting, sledding, laughs, s’mores, sleep, and preparation to wake up the next morning and make the trek downhill….

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

I have not lived my life the way I planned to when moving. Regretfully, my intentions and purpose were obstructed by love, fear, and anxiety.

On this last day of the first month of the new year, I am thankful for the Coloradical life I live and I am thankful for the beautiful land and people that surround me. I am committed to more of that from this day going forward.

Betty Bear Hut 10th Mountain

Love

Crista


Jan
05

WHAT UP 2016?!

I took a trip into the backcountry for the holiday, yesterday was my first day  home this year (!! 2016 !!). It’s just now hitting me: it’s a brand new year // 2015 is DONE.

2015 will forever go down in history as a year filled with emotion, friendships, struggles, accomplishments, and important life lessons. I am thankful for all that has happened this past year but I don’t think I’d be willing to do it all over again.

With all that being said, I step out of 2015 ready to celebrate my wins for the year. I don’t have to look through photos or pull my Best 9 of 2015 to realize that I experienced several amazing moments and people last year, although it IS a blast to reminisce with photos. I can hardly look at any photo without wanting to tell the story behind it, I often times catch myself scrolling through photos while lounging on the couch or riding in the car, recalling the experiences that led to the photo capture. Please allow me to put closure on 2015 and to celebrate a few of my wins by sharing the stories behind my Best 9 of 2015 photos (as told by Instagram).

Top 9 of 2015

Moving left-to-right, top-to-bottom, thank you for allowing me to share my stories.

1. I spotted this scene while driving home from a work trip to Grand Junction, CO // In one blink, the scene was behind me. I debated whether or not to turn around, and I’m happy I did even though it ended up being 30-45 minutes of backtracking just to get the photo.  This breathtaking view is right off of I70, near Glenwood Springs, CO. I stood on a bridge to take this shot. I remember my hands feeling frozen, and a semi-truck driver stopping to make sure I wasn’t stranded…. 

2. I’m obsessed with Free People. OBSESSED. I want everything to do with everything that they are about. When I got an email from Free People asking me to collaborate with them, CorePower Yoga, a few other local bloggers, and some photographers for a photo shoot, a hot yoga sesh, and a healthy dinner, I was beyond excited. Yoga, a photo shoot at Red Rocks in Free People gear, and a healthy dinner basically makes up THE PERFECT DAY for this girl. The photo you see was taken at CorePower Yoga on Grant Street by VictorOfValencia. I’d never been photographed during a sweaty yoga sesh before, and I kind of liked it…. I may have showed off a little.

3. This Winter Squash Pie was made with a recipe from my dear friend Amanda’s book, Smitten With Squash. It’s no wonder that it was a top post this year, I took the photo after spending time with Amanda at camp, and picking up on some of her photo skills (her photos are INCREDIBLE), PLUS the recipe is genius. I served this pie with homemade coconut whipped cream for dessert at Friendsgiving this year.

4. A stunning view atop Copper Mountain, 12,000 feet high. I believe this photo was taken on my first snowboard trip this year, I was filled with emotion and angst because I’m still learning and hadn’t gained much confidence yet. 

5. A Throwback to last holiday season when I was in Hawaii with my homie, lover, and best friend. He took this gorgeous shot that I just so happen to be in. We hiked up Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail early in the AM to catch the sun rising above the ocean. Nothing but beauty…. 

6. Martha Stewart: she’s a genius. She inspired the Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait recipe that I developed a year or two ago. This recipe will continue to be a big hit for many holiday seasons to come because, pumpkin

7. Giuliana & Bill Rancic were throwing a party at one of their restaurants in Chicago a few years back and somehow I ended up in attendance. At that party, they showered us with amazing food and unlimited cocktails. A Brussels Sprouts Salad that I never forgot about was one of the food items they served us that night. I recently decided to make my own version of that salad and BOOM, it was a hit. I served this item at Friendsgiving and have made several batches since then just because. Shredded Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad

8. Recipe testing doesn’t always go as planned, but it’s fun nonetheless. I made several attempts at this Butternut Squash (and apple) Crisp but never quite perfected the recipe. I tried using quinoa in the crisp along with quinoa flour which I think could work if I stayed persistent in testing ratios. I made it with sage for a more savory scent, but wasn’t convinced that I loved it. Good enough to eat, but never the DELISH I was hoping for so I never shared a recipe here on the blog. I may decide to try it again next holiday season, but for now, I’m over it.

9. So many throwbacks in my Top 9! Years ago, I threw together a quinoa salad for a quiet in-home dinner and took some unattractive photos of it. After stumbling upon those old-school photos, I decided to re-create that salad that I’d remembered being so delicious. I was right, it was good all over again. Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad

Top 9 of 2015

Cheers to a plentiful past and humble new beginnings. 

Love

Crista


Oct
04

Cardamom Scented Plum Chia Jam

Is it confession time? The answer is yes.
After being at wine fest in Palisade 2 weekends ago, I have been straight up addicted to cheese, crackers, jam, and honey…. oh, and wine. Local, Colorado wine. Sigh.

For dinner lately, I crave the local Strawberry Rhubarb jelly I brought home from the Western Slope, slathered on crackers, topped off with Syrah Soaked Toscano Cheese // to compliment, a bottle of red wine that came home with me from Colorado’s Wine Country.

Guilt overwhelms me when I sit unaccompanied on the couch with a spread of cheese, crackers, and jellies, feeding pure pleasure. In my mind, I know that cheese & crackers do not make up a balanced meal, but my selfish tastebuds ask for one more bite, one more night, over and over again and I succumb.

I’ve got 1.5 blocks of cheese left in the fridge (including a brie that I would love to use for this recipe) I’m going to finish and then I’m going to walk away from dairy cheese for a while (thank goodness for treenut cheese). STAY STRONG CRISTA. 

Cardamom Scented Plum Chia Jam

While visiting the Farmer’s Market a few days ago, I silently celebrated when I found one of my favorite Palisade farmers selling stone fruits this late in the season because I’d recently stumbled upon this recipe for a “Cheater’s Chia Blood Plum Jam.” 

It was fun to adapt this recipe slightly and use it as an alternative to the sugary jams I’ve been consuming (in large quantities) with my cheese and crackers. Since making it, I’ve also used it atop a whole wheat bagel, paired with pumpkin cream cheese (THANK YOU TRADER JOES).

Appropriately labeled “cheater,” this jam is easy, easy to make and requires very few ingredients (no sugar or pectin!) If you can mash fruit with a fork or a food processor and mix a few ingredients in a bowl, you can make this jam. It took me all of 5 minutes to prepare, and then another hour to set before being ready to eat. If plums aren’t your jam (ha! get it? your “jam..”), then you can use peaches, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries. If cardamom doesn’t satisfy your taste crave, then substitute with nutmeg or cinnamon. If you prefer your jam to be more tart, then don’t add the sweet agave nectar. If you like your jam on the sweeter side, add more agave or honey than what the recipe calls for. 

Cardamom Scented Plum Chia Jam (no sugar or pectin added!)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5-6 small ripe plums, chopped and pitted
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • a pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. honey or agave nectar (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, puree the ripe plums. Alternately, mash the plums with a fork until they are broken up and juicy.
  2. By hand, stir in the chia seeds, vanilla extract, cardamom, and honey or agave nectar.
  3. Transfer to a covered bowl or a mason jar and allow to set in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  4. This jam can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Alternately, you can freeze the jam until you are ready to consume.
Cardamom Scented Plum Chia Jam

Love

Crista


Sep
04

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1

The high elevations of southeastern Colorado, along with hot summers and cold nights, create a chile pepper that is thicker and meatier than others, which makes them ideal for roasting. During season, which is right now, pop-up stands selling roasted chile peppers can be found on almost every street corner in Colorado. 

Green Chile Sauce is somewhat of a staple in Colorado, being used in a variety of dishes throughout the state – smother a burrito, sop it up with a corn tortilla out of a soup bowl, or add flavor and heat to a burger. I’ve even heard stories of the chile sauce being smothered atop cakes and ice cream. {{Actually, as I type this out, I have a faint memory of sampling a green chile ice cream flavor ….although I have no recollection of whether or not I enjoyed it.}}

Being a vegetarian poses somewhat of a challenge for a foodie in Colorado. Green chile sauce is typically made with pork which prevents me from indulging in the coveted sauce that is scattered throughout many Denver restaurants and makes an appearance in many popular dishes here in the state. Boo.

Sure, there are a FEW restaurants that make a vegetarian option, but I’m talking FEW. 

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1

I don’t have Hatch chiles in my garden, they actually come from New Mexico, but I do have an abundance of several sweet pepper varieties. Although the peppers do not produce as much heat as the Hatch variety, I decided to make an attempt at green chile sauce using what I have.

Although I was not successful at creating a green chile sauce, I did create a sweet Roasted Salsa too good to not share. I roasted 2 different varieties (Giante Marconi and Antoli Romanian) of sweet peppers along with a jalapeño, which created a mellow smoky flavor that sits well atop a salty tortilla chip. 

/// There are several different ways to roast your own peppers, over an open fire, in the oven, or even on the stovetop. I roasted my peppers over the stovetop for the first time and it worked out well! I watched a few videos on YouTube for guidance. In a few weeks, I’m going to an official chile pepper roast and I have no idea what to expect, but I hope to learn a thing or two about the process… especially since I live in chile pepper land. Smirk.

Sweet_Peppers

Roasted Sweet Pepper Salsa
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 roasted sweet peppers, skins removed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, such as Roma, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • juice squeezed from a lime or two, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion in oil until softened and translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they’ve released their juices and softened.
  3. Add the sweet chiles, jalapeños, broth, cumin and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 1½ hours, until the chiles are very soft and the ingredients appear to meld together.
  4. After cooling, pour the ingredients into a food processor and puree the mixture into a salsa-like consistency.
  5. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1
Sources: Denver Post, Spoon With Me

Love

Crista


Aug
10

“Hey guys! I’m Mary and I write Chattavore, a food blog based in Chattanooga, Tennessee (which I happen to think is pretty much the best city on earth)! I’m not vegan, but I’m kind of a vegan wannabe. I love to eat at vegan restaurants (I think not cooking with animal products forces more creativity from the chef) and cooking vegan recipes, so I was pretty excited when Crista asked me to guest post here on peace. love.  quinoa.!

“I work for my local school system (I used to be a teacher, but now I’m a behavior analyst), so to me summer means four things: (1) summer break (WOO!); (2) strawberries (okay, that’s really more spring here in the South, but that means summer is coming so WOO!); (3) tomatoes(!); and (4) peaches. PEACHES!

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

“I honestly don’t remember caring too much for peaches when I was a kid. I know my mom bought fresh peaches when I was a kid but most of my peach-eating memories involved canned peaches, usually eaten with cottage cheese. My only vivid memory of a fresh peach was when my grandmother’s friend gave me a peach to bring home (maybe she had a tree? I don’t remember why she gave me a peach!). I held that peach in my hands the whole twenty-minute drive to my grandparents’ house; by the time we got there, the peach fuzz had made my hands itch like crazy.

“Fast-forward to adulthood…I have gotten over my itchy hands and commenced a torrid, seasonal love affair with perfect summer peaches. You know the ones…they just yield when you press on them. You know the skin will give you a fit when you try to peel it off. And when you take a bite, juice goes everywhere. This is the stuff of my dreams, people.

“Peaches and coconut? Gah. Honestly, I am not a big-time eater of oatmeal, but after discovering Megan Gordon’s method of toasting oats from her book Whole Grain Mornings then picking up a trick from America’s Test Kitchen of cooking the oats in a flavorful liquid instead of just water, I have made my peace with oatmeal. Because when its done well-like this coconut peach oatmeal is-oatmeal can be divine. So, peel a juicy peach and crack open a can of coconut milk…and make this coconut peach oatmeal!

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

the Chattavore's Coconut Peach Oatmeal
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large peach, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons toasted nuts (I used walnuts, but I think macadamia nuts would be delicious here!)
  • 2 tablespoons dried coconut
  • maple syrup (optional)
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant, about five minutes.
  2. Stir in the coconut milk, water, and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal has thickened.
  3. Pour the oatmeal into a bowl and add the peaches, nuts, and coconut. Add a drizzle of maple syrup for sweetness if desired.
Coconut Peach Oatmeal

Credits // Author & Photography: Mary Haymaker from Chattavore

Love

Crista


Aug
05

YumUniverse

Content. That’s how I feel when I get to sit down and read a book – no laptop, no tv, no radio, no nothing except for me and a good book. I do get a lot of “Crista-time” but I typically spend it in the kitchen, working on my blog, gardening, or going to yoga. Rarely do I take the time to sit down with my laptop closed and just read a book. Years ago, I had time in my life to read, I even had an entire book collection (I was saving up to some day have my own library full of books)….. I think it was before I owned a MacBook.

(But look, I’m not complaining.)

I just finished a book (affiliate link! check it out at your own risk, the book contains some talk of animal slaughter and shit like that) that I started over a year ago, it’s a shame it took so long because the book is HILARIOUS.

I’m on airplanes quite often and have every intention of reading in-flight, but I tend to fall asleep before take off and wake up just before landing. Yeah, I’m that girl… sitting beside you in aisle 12, window seat, with her mouth hanging wide open. Did you take a photo of me drooling from one side of my mouth? Tag me on Facebook, would ya? Anyway, point is – my book-reading-time is frequently postponed for “other” activities (zzzzzzzz).

YumUniverse

Camping. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the summertime (especially here in Colorado) because it requires almost zero activity once the AM hike is completed and the PM meal has been prepped. I get to sit my ass down, drink a beer, and enjoy the peaceful mountain air. The best thing about it, everyone around me is doing the exact same thing.

((Speaking of camp, check out some plant-based meal ideas and enter to win some TruRoots product HERE))

YumUniverse

Now, on to what I’m currently reading: a bunch of old Martha Stewart magazines, some gardening blogs, and YumUniverse!  

If I told you I’ve met Heather Crosby in person, would you think I’m so cool? Would I gain some cool points? Street Cred? There are a few of you out there who know who Heather Crosby is and if you have read her book/blog, you’d know how kick ass she is and you’d probably love to meet her. All the others, listen up – I’m about to introduce you to Heather (she’s the one on the book cover).

YumUniverse

I have idolized Heather ever since I learned about her YumUniverse.com launch. She threw this sweet party at a big warehouse in Pilsen (Chicago) and had photographers, food, drinks, cool people – it was incredible. I fell in love with her blog shortly after I attended her launch and am now a proud owner of her book.

YumUniverse

First off, Heather created her book ALL BY HERSELF (a detail I learned on the One Part Podcast) which makes her way more awesome of a person than I could have ever imagined. 

Second, the YumUniverse book contains not only awesome recipes (Sliceable Cashew Cheese, Rainbow Ribbon Veggie Alfredo, Quinoa “Cinnamon Toast” Cereal with Toasted Pecans) but it gives you the “why” behind eating plant-based foods and teaches you how to do it. After reading, you’ll have this book  bookmarked or dog-eared and will refer to it often while working in your kitchen. In the book, Heather talks about fats, and fibers, and proteins, and meal prep, and shopping. She shares what type of tools you should have in your kitchen and even tells you how to get rid of pesky fruit flies.

Out of my entire collection of books, the YumUniverse is my absolute favorite right now – it’s like my food bible. After I’ve finished reading it through, I think I’ll read it again. Then again one more time. It’s THAT book that I take with me every where I go right now…. 

If you’re interested in reading as well, you can purchase the YumUniverse book HERE.

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


Jun
08

home

Gardening is a new experience every year. I have gardened in an urban backyard, the city of Chicago, way out in the middle-of-nowhere Illinois, and in a few different urban settings here in Colorado. Each year and each location has offered different valuable lessons.

I have learned to embrace “bugs” as they play an essential role in maintaining a garden, and I’ve learned to share space with them. I have learned more about bees and why it’s important to protect them. And while I embrace most of the little buggers in the garden, I have learned that some of them can be a real pain in the ass (how about that wasp building a nest in my garden shed right now!)

I have learned where to purchase the highest quality starter-plants and how to properly plant them in the ground. 

I flirted with the idea of having indoor plants and renting a community garden space – both of which I realized aren’t for me.

Gardening in Colorado

Last year, I put a LOT of vegetable, herbs, and flowers in the ground because I had a lot of space to work with. Most everything grew well except for the cruciferous vegetables that were plagued with aphids. I never was able to harvest any of the broccoli, cauliflower, or kale that I planted. The 13 tomato plants all thrived until one plagued with aphids. Because the tomato plants were planted close together, the aphids spread from one plant to another quicker than a forest fire on a dry day.

Gardening in Colorado 

This year, I am gardening in a brand new space at my new house. The yard is huge but the space is not ideal for gardening – there is too much sun in most of the yard (which could scorch the plants) and too much shade in the other areas. An existing succulent garden came with the purchase of my home, which is something I had very little knowledge on – I’m still learning. There are tree stumps that are unidentified,  mulch, rocks, grass, dirt – so many existing elements that I’m unfamiliar with and learning about. 

Gardening in Colorado

In Denver, I learned that it’s typically safe to plant a garden after Mother’s Day however the crazy, uncommon rain and hail this spring have already shortened our growing season.

The day after Mother’s Day, I put a few baby starter plants in the ground, within hours they were attacked by the craziest hail storm I’d ever seen. There was no way we could have known that hail storm was coming, it caught everyone in Denver off-guard. While the little babies didn’t die, they also didn’t get any bigger. It’s been a few weeks now since they’ve been in the ground, and we’ve had more rain and hail – I’ve actually had to stand in the pouring rain to cover the plants with pots to protect them from the hail on a few occasions.

I think two of the little babies aren’t going to make it and I’m not positive the others will ever grow any bigger. (They are pictured in the two photos above this paragraph.)

Gardening in Colorado

While at a Foodie Fest a few weeks ago, I was given a few packets of carrot and radish seeds. I’ve never grown veggies from seeds and I decided now would be a better time than ever to give it a try. Within 2 weeks, I have radish leave sprouting (pictured below)! I’m not sure if I planted too many seeds, too little, or just the right amount, but I’ll find out soon enough! 

Gardening in Colorado

Gardening in Colorado

I’ve never planted in a hanging box, but I have them available so I filled them with herbs. If there is anything in my garden that I am confident about, it’s these herbs. I look forward to the gentle breeze delivering the various herby scents in to my home through open windows this summer.

Gardening in Colorado

Because my baby starter plants are not doing well, I went out and purchased larger, more expensive starter plants – a few already had fruit on them! From now on, I think this is the route I’ll take considering I don’t have a greenhouse, no consistent way to protect my plants, and the unpredictable weather pattern.

I’m curious to see how the various sizes of starters I put in the ground will all thrive.

Gardening in Colorado

Gardening in Colorado

Clearly, there are succulents that can grow in the ground, and there are succulents that should remain in pots. I learned that very quickly. As you can see in these photos, one of my succulent plants has started rotting because of all the moisture and rain. I have dug it up and put it in a pot – There is a 50/50 chance it will survive and re-generate. Succulents don’t like being covered in dirt, but it’s been unavoidable with all of the rain. I go out to the garden after each thunderstorm and clean the fragile plants off. MOST of the succulents are doing ok, it’s these 2 that I’m unsure of.

Gardening in Colorado

While I’d like to say I’m off to a good start, reality is that it’s been rocky. However, I’m not discouraged, I’m having fun, AND I’m learning something new every day.

Wish me luck, my friends!!

If you’d like to track my progress, follow me on Instagram where I post photos daily and/or subscribe to my weekly newsletter!

Love

Crista


Apr
08

Snowboarding season is over (for me)! Sigh of relief. We ended the season at Telluride, on the second to last day of closing, with very little snow on the ground -it was basically slush. Although I only got out on the slopes 3 times this year, each run was crucial in my growth as a snowboarder. Based on all of the emotion that I experienced during the process, I’m not sure I could have handled any more time on my snowboard this year, it was tough.

snowboard Nederlands

Frustration, exhilaration, anxiety, excitement, defeat, and growth are all emotions that I experienced throughout each moment that I spent learning to snowboard. There were times all I could think about was “this is bullshit! why am I even doing this?!” and then there were times when I screamed out “I’M SNOWBOARDING!!” with the biggest smile on my face and it was like the coolest thing I’d ever experienced. 

On my last run of the last day snowboarding this year, I took a hard fall that caused some pain and tears. Because I could feel myself improving, I got bold and tried to make some moves that I wasn’t quite ready for. Immediately, I knew that would be the last run of the year for me but I was thankful to have had that experience because “now I know”… After that fall, I got back up and snowboarded down to the bottom of the mountain without another fall. Confidently, I’m ready for next season and I’ve already purchased my season pass! 

snowboarding Telluride

Here are a few lessons that I learned this year:

1. TRY SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING BOTH
A few years ago, I tried skiing in Lake Tahoe. I took lessons and I went out for a few days on my own. I SUCKED at it and I wrote it off as something I never wanted to do again. When I made the move to CO, I knew I wanted to get out on the slopes, but people told me that snowboarding is much harder than skiing so if I couldn’t ski then chances are I wouldn’t be capable of boarding. Screw those people, I am way better on a snowboard than I am on skis. Good thing I didn’t give up until I tried both.

2. TAKE A LESSON
I took a lesson the first time I skied and the first time I snowboarded – I also watched several videos on YouTube prior to going out. Had I not taken lessons, and just freestyled my first time out, I’m not sure I would have gone out a second time. The lesson is well worth the money spent, you have to trust me on that.When I went out for my first snowboard lesson, I went alone. I didn’t feel like a burden to friends and I only embarrassed myself in front of people I’ll never see again. And yes, it IS embarrassing when there are kids flying by flawlessly, and I, the adult can’t keep my balance (and I’m screaming like a little girl as I face-plant).

3. GO OUT WITH SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS 
Luckily, I have the most supportive and patient boyfriend a girl could have. Although he may have preferred to be playing on more challenging (and fun) runs, he assured me over and over again that he enjoyed helping me and watching me improve, he never left my side on the slopes. I have a few snowboarding friends that I’ve asked to go out with or have considered going out with, but they felt like I would be a burden to them as I learn. Had I gone out with them, I would have probably felt discouraged and lonely – I’m glad I never did.

4. BE PREPARED TO FALL DOWN AND GET BACK UP AGAIN
Getting on a snowboard for the first time feels silly. Getting on a snowboard for the second and third time feel silly as well. I thought I was well-balanced (daily yoga) until I got on a snowboard. Mentally, you’ve got to be prepared to fall because it will happen a lot. I learned quickly that when you fall, you have to get right back up again, and again, and again, and again, I had a little breakdown on my last day snowboarding this year due to high emotion and nervousness. I only allowed myself to cry for a few seconds, I knew I had to get my ass up and get down that mountain. I think I felt more determined after the embarrassment of that breakdown, because I showed improvement. It’s ok to have a breakdown (I’ve talked to several people who have during the learning process) but it’s not ok to let it keep you from pushing forward.

5. GEAR UP
During my snowboarding lesson, I used rented gear. After that lesson, I knew that I wanted to pursue the sport so I began shopping for gear. I did a lot of research, I visited several retail stores, and I spoke to several different snowboarders before I made my purchases. I purchased a board that is ideal for beginners but will still serve me after I’ve gotten better at the sport. After I had my board, I took recommendations for bindings and boots that would work well with my board. I’ve heard horror stories from people who purchased the wrong size boot or a board that was “cheap” so I have no regrets spending the money I did and waiting to do so until I felt like I’d gathered enough knowledge. It doesn’t pay to jump in to a purchase (if you don’t believe me, you can ask my friends who did)

6. STAY LOOSE 
Nervousness and anxiety can cause your body to tense up. On a snowboard you must be flexible in the mind and in the body. Things happen quick when you’re on a board – one second you’re sailing down the mountain, the next second you are face-planting. You may only be comfortable with easy runs but find yourself caught on a more difficult run – you’ve got to be prepared for the possibility. You’re going to fall (for sure!) so you’ve got to keep your body in a position that will allow you to take the most safe fall possible and you’ve got to be mentally prepared for it to happen, don’t allow the fear of falling to hold you back. Practicing yoga and/or stretching before snowboarding is helpful and most ideal – it’ll prepare your body with flexibility to use muscles that you didn’t even know existed.

7. HAVE FUN
I once inquired why it is that people become obsessed with snowboarding. I got an answer from someone who has experienced the exact reason why people become obsessed with it, but I haven’t experienced it yet so I’m not really sure how to explain what he explained to me. The few times I was able to “snowboard” down the mountain conjured up sublime emotion and exhilaration, I can only imagine how that will be amplified when it doesn’t end with a face-plant. Snowboarding is fun, and even though the learning process is frustrating, every time I’ve walked away from the mountain, it was with a huge smile on my face.

This year was a year of discovery and growth for me. Next year should be a year of improvement and pure amusement. I can hardly wait.

Love

Crista