Dec
13

Shredded Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad

The chill in the air has had me craving warm comfort foods and oh, how I have indulged. Rosemary potatoes and sauerkraut smothered in mustard, cornbread, cheese, crackers, wine, pierogies, gluten-free raspberry muffins slathered in butter, veggie burgers with french fries, tomato soup, and apple butternut crisp have all found their way in to my kitchen and my belly lately. 

As good as it’s been (YOLO), I could feel that it was time to reintroduce some greens in to my life so I bought some brussels sprouts and Lacinato kale. With the two, I crafted this salad that not only cures the craving for comfort foods but offers a burst of healthy, raw, organic greens.

I began this salad by combining shredded (finely chopped) kale and brussels sprouts which are softened with a creamy avocado dressing. Contrasting color is added with chopped carrots and cherry peppers, then I topped the salad with comfort: shredded parmesan and homemade garlicky croutons.

I don’t typically use veggies out of a jar but I did for this salad. Cherry peppers are not in season the same time of year as brussels sprouts, which makes it practically impossible to combine the two ingredients together unless using a preserved pepper. The preserved pepper is perfect for this salad, the slight pickling softens them and adds a subtle layer of sweetness. Plus, the pickling juices can be used in the dressing.

Shredded Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shredded Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Salad Ingredients
  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, ends trimmed and chopped to a fine shred
  • ¾ cup finely chopped or shredded carrots
  • 5 canned or pickled cherry peppers, finely chopped
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Dressing Ingredients
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. cherry pepper juice
Crouton Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopper
  • 1 cup cubed baguette bread crumbs
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. butter, and the chopped garlic. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Stir to combine then set aside and let the flavors infuse while you chop your bread.
  3. Cube the baguette bread, then put them in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with the seasoned olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss until the bread cubes are evenly saturated.
  4. Spread the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown.
  5. While the croutons are baking, make the salad dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients, stir until the dressing is a smooth consistency. It's ok if the dressing is thick.
  6. Toss your salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  7. Toss the salad with the dressing and top with croutons just before serving.
Shredded Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Love

Crista


Dec
20

Gingery Apple Carrot Lentil Loaf

As a vegetarian, I have to get creative with “main course” dishes. People typically make a meat or fish of some sort for their main dish, and then supplement their “meal” with one or two side dishes but I don’t have that option. Often time, veggies are my main course – which often times weirds people out because that’s what they would eat as their side dish. (Anyway, I think THEY are the weirdos haha).

Around the holiday season, when friends and families are gathering around the dinner table, is when people REALLY question what it is that I eat. They can’t understand that I won’t eat turkey, not even on Thanksgiving. It trips people up, but a vegetarian is a vegetarian, even during the holidays. Often times, I just eat several side dishes and completely X out a main course option, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have options.

This Lentil Loaf, for instance is comparable to a meat loaf and can be served as a main dish. I love, love lentil loaves, especially this time of the year – can you say comfort food? THIS is exactly what a vegetarian would serve as their main dish option for a holiday meal.

This loaf was pretty quick to whip up, and I made it because I already had all of the ingredients on hand. One ingredient that I considered adding to the loaf is onion, but I didn’t have it on hand so I didn’t use it. If you’ve got an onion, use it – it’d be a tasty add-in (although I liked the loaf just fine without it). My favorite ingredient in this loaf is the ginger – it added a warm, comforting flavor without over-powering and it smelled so good. 

a Gingery Apple Carrot Lentil Loaf with a Cranberry Apple Glaze
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup lentils, uncooked
  • ½ cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • ⅓ cup apple, grated
  • ⅓ cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup dried bread crumbs** (see note)
  • ½ cup flour (gluten-free is an option here)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup cranberry apple sauce or apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cook the lentils according to directions then allow them to cool.
  3. In a food processor, puree the lentil and mixed nuts.
  4. In a large pan or wok, sauté the garlic and ginger in oil for about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the apples, carrots, celery, raisins, salt, and pepper. Sauté for another 5 minutes.
  5. Combine the mixture with the lentils, nuts, flaxseed, flour, bread crumbs, oregano, and thyme. Stir together, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  6. Pack the lentil mixture firmly in to a loaf pan.
  7. Now it's time to make the glaze!
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the cranberry apple sauce, ketchup, balsamic glaze, and maple syrup.
  9. Spread evenly over the lentil loaf.
  10. Bake, uncovered, for about 50-60 minutes.
Notes
**If you don't have bread crumbs on hand, you can take 5-6 slices of bread and put them each in the toaster a few times until the bread is dry and will crumble.

 Gingery Apple Carrot Lentil Loaf

Love

Crista


Jan
05

Happy new Years my friends! 
Is it too late to say that? Have you already moved on?

I spent my NYE in Breckenridge with strangers. It was gorgeous being up there, but a little strange to party with people I didn’t know. Fun, nonetheless. I made fresh baked {vegan} chocolate chip cookies for everyone with cookie dough I had purchased earlier that day. Everyone else was drinking (beer) non-stop, I only had two glasses of my Vanilla Vodka Chai Teas. mmmmm

breckenridge

Because Marijuana went legal on the 1st in Denver, I paid a visit to a recreational marijuana dispensary. Don’t judge me, if you were in Denver this week. you’d have gone there too – just for the experience. I don’t smoke, I didn’t even buy anything. But now I can say I’ve been there, and done that.

Cheesman Park

I went out this morning for yoga but I think I’ll stay in from the cold the majority of the day. Like many of you out there (especially in the Midwest) we are getting pounded with snow here in Denver. 

Snow Day

It’s so funny to experience peoples reaction to the snow. The weather all of a sudden become top news, REPORTING: 6 INCHES OF SNOW!! Funny, one of my friends from Vail was laughing because they get just about that much snow on a DAILY basis. 

When I went out this morning, I saw two people skiing through Cheesman Park, fully embracing the weather. I loved it. I wish I could snowboard, I bet today would be the PERFECT powdery day to be on the mountain… 

Snow Days

Everyone is talking about the snowy weather on Facebook, almost as if they’ve never seen snow before. One of my friends shared this video where a comedian is poking fun at the fact that people run out and grab their milk and bread in case they get snowed in. I never understood that. Why bread & milk? Sandwiches & cereal? That doesn’t sound warm at all.

If I were snowed in, I’d want to be sure I had these items in stock: quinoa, a variety of fruit & vegetables, cereal, almond milk, beans, popcorn, and a box of cornbread mix.

I made an apple pie quinoa dish for breakfast this morning (recipe coming soon) and I’m ready for more comfort food. In this chilly weather, I’m craving something warm. 

garlicky kale + white bean stew

Here are a few foods I like to make on a chilly, snowy, day-in-the-house like today: Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit & Almonds, Apple Carrot Quinoa Chili, Garlicky Kale + White Bean Stew, Roasted Acorn & Butternut Squash SoupSweet Jalapeño Cornbread, and Indian Tea.

Stay warm, friends! 
xox

Love

Crista


Dec
20

Bread Pudding with Eggnog Cream Sauce {vegan}

Are you drooling at the sight of this Bread Pudding?
I thought so. It’s gooooood. 
Eggnog Cream Sauce drizzled over this Bread Pudding makes this dish perfect for the holiday season.
The big question is: Would you eat this for breakfast or dessert or both?
I say both.

Bread Pudding with Eggnog Cream Sauce {vegan}

{vegan} Bread Pudding with Eggnog Sauce
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf whole wheat/grain bread (vegan and/or gluten-free), cubed
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the almond milk, flax seed, cinnamon, vanilla, and mashed bananas.
  3. In another bowl, pour the wet mixture over the cubed bread and toss.
  4. Line a baking dish with vegan butter or non-stick spray then evenly layer the bread mixture in to the dish.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is brown and crispy.
  6. Drizzle with Eggnog Cream Sauce (recipe follows) and serve.
Notes
Add a handful of walnuts or almonds to the bread pudding prior to baking.
Eggnog Cream Sauce {a vegan recipe}
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup (12 fluid ounces) eggnog
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan.
  2. Over medium to high heat, bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Boil for one minute until sauce thickens, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Serve warm or cold.
  6. Store excess in the fridge.

I made this dish vegan by using a vegan bread and vegan Eggnog however you can choose whatever type of bread you’d like to use (gluten-free is a possibility) and you can use dairy Eggnog if that’s your jam. If you like nuts and/or raisins in your bread pudding, then add them. If you don’t, then don’t add them.

When you make that Eggnog Cream Sauce, make extra. It’s delicious over Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast…

Bread Pudding with Eggnog Cream Sauce {vegan}

Love

Crista


Dec
17

Garlicky Lemon Brussels Sprouts

I’m currently obsessing over… you guessed it, Brussels Sprouts.  
It seems I’ve always got a bag of ’em in the fridge these days.
What I love about Brussels Sprouts (I love everything about Brussels Sprouts) is that they can be made with a variety of different flavor options. Recently, I made a Brussels Sprouts dish with Grapes but THIS TIME I went the garlicky, lemony, cheesy route and it was gooooood.

Garlicky Lemon Brussels Sprouts
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds brussles sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter (non-dairy or dairy), melted
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the brussels sprouts with the lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and garlic and then drizzle with the melted butter and olive oil.
  3. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender and golden.

This may be one of my favorite Brussels Sprouts recipes yet….

Oh, and PS. EASY.

Garlicky Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Garlicky Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Love

Crista


Dec
13

 When I was back home in Indiana over Thanksgiving, I met up with a few friends for dinner and drinks on Black Wednesday. I was disappointed by the lack of veg items on the menu but got excited when the server told me about the Sweet Potato + Smoked Gouda soup they were serving that night. Upon further investigation, I learned that the soup was made with chicken stock, and therefore not vegetarian. I was EXTREMELY disappointed. AND determined. Determined to re-create the soup. It sounded soooo good. (I LOOOOOVE smoked gouda)

I have no idea what the restaurants recipe for this soup is, and I’m not even sure how the restaurants soup tastes, but it wasn’t hard to come up with my own recipe. There are very few ingredients used to make this soup, but it is packed with flavor (I didn’t even have to use salt & pepper)!

Sweet Potato + Smoked Gouda Soup

Sweet Potato + Smoked Gouda Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4-5 small sweet potatoes, chopped in to 2 inch pieces
  • ½ cup smoked gouda cheese, grated
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the potatoes to a boil in the veg broth and almond milk and then simmer on low heat for approx 20 or until they potatoes are soft.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and the cheese and the thyme.
  4. Simmer over low heat until the cheese is completely melted.
  5. Serve immediately.

 

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
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


Oct
21

Breakfast Quinoa

Baby, it’s cold outside. It’s the time of year that we all crave comfort food. It’s the time of year to be spent in the kitchen cooking and baking. I spent all summer in the garden and now I’m ready to move back inside. Up early this morning (even though I was cozy under the covers), I got up to make this comforting, and fragrant breakfast quinoa. I was craving it. It felt so good to be in the kitchen clothed in my warm pj’s and fuzzy socks, ready fill my belly with warm comfort food.

Breakfast Quinoa

This breakfast quinoa is hearty and filling, perfect for a slow, autumn morning OR a busy work day. After eating this morning, I want to curl back under the covers and take a mid-morning nap. However, I’m not saying this dish is heavy, it is high in protein, will improve your metabolism, and will offer you energy to get your day started.

Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit & Almonds
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1 plum, pitted and sliced
  • ⅛ cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricots)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • handful of almonds, halved or slivered
Instructions
  1. Heat a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, and add the Earth Balance butter.
  2. When the sizzling begins to subside, add the plums, dried fruit, almonds and cinnamon.
  3. Stir gently for two to three minutes until the plums begin to break down slightly.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa.
  5. Toss the ingredients together gently and heat through.
  6. Drizzle with honey or agave nectar before serving.
  7. If desired, you can add milk or yogurt.

Breakfast Quinoa

 I’ve had several discussions about QUINOA in the last week or so. Many people aren’t familiar with the grain OR have no idea what to do with it once they have it at home. Quinoa is nutty in flavor and can be used in a variety of different ways, sweet OR savory. It will pick up on any flavor you add to it. I’m digging it right now because it is an option for gluten-free dishes. Many of my friends have gone gluten-free and I’m ready to flirt with it as well. 

Love

Crista