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


May
13

 How many thousands of dollars would you be willing to pay someone to dig up your backyard/alley? Would you be willing to spend any amount of money at all? No? Me either. But I am. I am getting a brand new sewer pipe today!!!!!!!!! All the exclamation points represent excitement, but the excitement is fake.

How I feel about the day: go suck it. I know what you’re thinking – “that’s not all peace. love. quinoa-like” and you’re absolutely right. But.

All at once today (it’s only 1PM, people) the street cleaners were here and my lawn boy was mowing my grass. My grumpy old neighbor was yelling at the lawn boy to move his truck because she wanted to make sure the entire street got swept. She threatened to call the cops on me because my car was still sitting on the street in front of my house but she gave that threat to the lawn boy (say it to my face, lady!). The rain has caused my car alarm to go off randomly throughout the day for no apparent reason, including the 2:44 AM time slot. Internet forums tell me that the rain screws with a sensor but the dealership has no idea why unless I pay them for a diagnostic (why can’t they find the answer on the internet!?). AND I’m getting a new sewer line which means the entire alley is being dug up (guess who gets to pay for that), loud trucks and lift-thingys have my windows shaking and my head spinning, AND there are worker dudes EVERYWHERE (walking through my yard and shit). In addition to all of that activity, I’m in the kitch stirring up a Stir Fry that I’m dying to share here on the blog. I thought the sewer guys would be here yesterday so when my day was planned, it didn’t look anything like it has ended up being.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

mmmmk So all at once, alllllll of my patience is being tested today.

Earlier today, before it all began, I read a blog post from Just A Colorado Gal titled “Behind The Curtain: Life Unfiltered” – the basic message behind the post is that we can and do create perfect-looking lives by picking and choosing what to share via social media.

Today, my life is not perfect, it is hectic and full of stress. I decided to share that in this blog post instead of writing a happy-go-lucky blog post that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That shit would be fake…. today, at least. So, thank you Heather (Colorado Gal).

I almost went outside and took photos of the huge hole in my alley and all of the big boy equipment surrounding it but I stopped myself, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it – I don’t want to be reminded of it later. After today, I want it to be a thing of the past – byeeeee.

Instead, I took photos of my stir fry as quick as I could, while being interrupted by the lawn guy who assumes being a vegetarian is rough. I  closed all of my doors and windows, and I am now planted on the couch with the music turned up, trying to pretend that the house isn’t shaking and that the windows aren’t rattling.

Also, I just got a new laptop so editing photos is all weird – I haven’t found my groove with this device yet. Oh, also, my dog was begging for food the entire time I was making/photographing/eating this stir-fry. BAD BOY!

Sigh.
“This too shall pass,” they say…. whoever “they” is.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

Typically, I edit and upload photos prior to writing my blog posts, but not today. I know I won’t be satisfied with the photos, but it’s the best I’ve got today – Heather, Just A Colorado Gal let me know that it’s ok to be a little less than perfect sometimes so I am embracing that.

Moving on (as though all is well).

Do you remember the first time you ever went to Trader Joe’s? Me too. It was years ago, in my late teen years – I was living in Fort Wayne, IN. I had to drive to Indianapolis to get to one, a 2 hour trip I made about once a month. Someone told me about the Trader Joe’s in Indy because they had been there for the 2 buck chuck ($2 wine) and that was something to be excited about.

When I moved to Denver, Trader Joe’s hadn’t yet opened any stores here – in fact, TJ’s opened up on Feb. 14, 2014 (Valentines Day!), exactly two weeks after I moved here. In between work stuff, and prepping for what could have potentially been a date that night (yeah, dude bombed my Valentines Day but whatever), I made a visit to the store on a very hectic opening day. I doubt I’d have been as willing to move to CO if TJ’s had none plans of opening up here. 

I have like a million other “Trader Joe’s”-related stories I could tell but this post is already getting wordy. I’ll save them for another post. Google SEO is probably all pissed off at me for having too many words in this post, but I wouldn’t know for sure because I know very little about SEO (sigh).

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

The reason I tell you stories of TJ’s is because this Stir Fry is made with ingredients that all came from TJ’s. Trader Joe’s has more and more vegan “stuff” every time I visit their stores, and it makes me happy. My most recent obsession are the Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels – I keep them in the freezer for emergency meals – you know when you need to eat but you don’t feel like cooking? THAT emergent.

I paired the Chicken-less Orange Morsels (that were hanging out in the freezer for emergent situations) with fresh-cut pineapple chunks, book toy, sugar snap peas, and garlic for a super easy, super tasty, super fresh stir fry. Also, it took me less than 10 minutes total to make. Also, isn’t “book toy” fun to say?

Look when you’re exhausted after a long day of work or you’ve got 10 guys in your front and back yard doing work that costs more money than you’re willing to spend, you ain’t got no time to be in the kitch slanging food for more than 10 minutes AND THAT my friends, is exactly why this meal is perfect.

Also, Trader Joe’s is perfectly-perfect at providing options, fresh and frozen, that allows you to make quick, legit meals. I’ve been passing off TJ’s frozen meals as home-cooked meals for years (shhh don’t tell anyone) – if you learn how to work the frozen meals in with some fresh ingredients, you’re golden. Pay attention to this stir-fry recipe, I’m giving you valuable information here.

Let’s get to it. Remember, EVERYTHING can be purchased at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s accessible to you then I would recommend that you move somewhere else. I’m just kidding, I’m in a funk today which makes me bitchy. Well, maybe I’m not kidding. :-/ Also, wouldn’t it be cool if TJ’s were sponsoring this post? They’re not. This is alllll me, people.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels (frozen food aisle)
  • ½ package of Sugar Snap Peas (produce aisle)
  • 2 bok choy stalks, coarsely chopped (produce aisle)
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped (produce aisle)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or 3, if you're me)
  • 1 bag (of the 2) Fresh Rice Noodles (near produce, and fresh pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pan or a wok, heat the chicken-less morsels until they are slightly crispy and browned (about 8 minutes) then add olive oil and garlic.
  2. Put a pot of water on to boil, this is what you will cook your noodles in - don't put the b=noodles in yet, they only cook for 1-2 minutes!
  3. Sauté the garlic with the chicken-less morsels for about 1 minute before adding the book toy, pineapple, and sugar snap peas.,
  4. Sauté the mixture for about 5 minutes (you want the veggies to be warmed but not softened - they are way better with a crunch) and then cover the mixture in the Mandarin Orange sauce that came packaged with the chicken-less morsels.
  5. While sautéing, put the rice noodles in the boiling water and boil them for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and rinse with cold water.
  6. That's all - serve the stir-fried veggies and morsels with the noodles. Ta-da!

 You know what else would be good in this stir fry? Ginger! I didn’t add it but you should if you have some. Chop it finely and add it at the same time you add the garlic.

How’s YOUR day? Mine will get better – I’m off to yoga soon.

Love

Crista


Mar
28

Quick, Healthy, Plant-based Meal Ideas

We had plans to go snowboarding in the mountains today, but it’s going to be 81 degrees in Denver! there is no way I’m talking away from one of the most beautiful spring days a girl could ask for. I’m going to take the opportunity to work in my yard, I’m going to paint my garden shed, hang a hammock, and potentially re-finish a park bench that I thrifted. 

We are spoiled in Denver, we have had the most mild winter, most days not even requiring a jacket. With the weather as mild as it is, I want to be outdoors, riding my bike, jogging the lake, hiking..

With the weather as mild as it is, I haven’t had cravings for as many heavy, warm meals. I’ve kept it light, and fresh, and raw, and colorful. (colorful because Colorado is NOT colorful during the winter – the downside)

A few months ago, I sat down and listed out some foods that I could keep around the house that would allow me to make quick, healthy, nourishing meals. I haven’t been into much “cooking” lately, because of the weather and the “Colorado” active lifestyle. “Time” is an issue for many of us, it’s something that we never seem to have enough of. 

Today, I am sharing the meals, snack, and sweets that I have found fit my current lifestyle. I hope to someday be ready to get back in the kitchen to throw down on some badass meals, but in the present moment, I’m too busy in the outdoors to spend a lot of time in the indoors. 

Pea Hummus

 1. VEGGIE WRAPS
For veggie wraps, I keep tortillas, a variety of veggies, and either some type of sauce or dressing on hand. What I like about tortilla wraps, is that they can be different every time – I can add whatever veggies I’m craving for the day, some spinach or arugula if I have some on hand, and then a sauce – which could be hummus, pesto, a vinaigrette, or even salsa.

2. VEGGIES + HUMMUS
If I don’t have time to craft a wrap (ugh, that time factor!), I’ll quick grab a few veggies and dip them in whatever flavor hummus I have on hand. (hummus is something that I try to ALWAYS keep on hand) This snack is super easy to travel with. A Quick Tip: keep a few veggies chopped and ready-to-eat in the fridge.

jalapeno-salad

3. EDAMAME
I have found frozen edamame and several different grocery stores, my favorite being Trader Joe’s. The beauty of frozen edamame is that it takes almost zero time to prep – sprinkle it with sea salt and warm it in the microwave for a few second – voila. For dipping, I keep a mason jar of soy sauce marinating with a clove of garlic and a few pieces of cut ginger – the longer the spy sauce marinates, the better it tastes. 

4. SALADS
If you’re keeping fresh veggies on hand, then it won’t be hard to craft a salad. Although I typically like to make my own salad dressings, I keep a Tessemae’s Salad Dressing on hand at all times just in case. (my favorite is the Lemon Garlic) If I don’t have many veggies on hand, I’ll dress arugula with the Lemon Garlic Dressing and eat a big bowl of that as a meal – it’s good and green! A few salad combinations that I love: Banana Fantasy Salad, Kale Salad, Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad.

Macadamia Nut Pesto Power Bowl

5. POWER BOWLS
Combine veggies, nuts, cooked quinoa or rice, and a dressing or a pesto to make a power bowl. I recently shared a recipe for a Power Bowl combination I have been eating – it included chopped carrots, zucchini, quinoa, kale, and coconut chips. Another Power Bowl combination I love includes pumpkin, soba noodles, and black beans (this one would take more time to prepare).

6. RICE & GREENS
I keep either cooked quinoa, cooked rice, or both on-hand most of the time. When I’m craving a more filling meal, I will sauté the rice or quinoa with whatever green veggie (kale, brussels, broccoli, kalettes) I have on hand. If I’m feeling saucy, I’ll add a dressing or a dollop of pesto for added flavor.

Green Apple Smoothie

7. MASHED AVOCADO
Slice an avocado in half, mash the avocado meat with some spices like salt, pepper, paprika, onion, and garlic. A recipe that I love: Deviled Avocados

8. SMOOTHIES
I like smoothies because they are packed with nutrients and can be taken on-the-go. They don’t fill me up for a long period of time, but they hold me over until I can get a real meal in, AND they offer me a burst of energy and make me feel alive. I have never made the same smoothie twice (maybe) because I always make them based on what I have on hand. Ingredients I might add to me smoothies include fruit (fresh or frozen, fruit juice (cranberry, apple, orange, pineapple) or nut milk, flax seed or a protein powder, and a green (kale, spinach, or avocado). A few recipes: Berry + Kale, Avocado Pineapple, Tart Green Apple, Carrot Mango.

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


Sep
02

Zucchini Banana Bread

When a girlfriend of mine gifted me a HUGE zucchini from her garden, I was ecstatic – however unsure what to do with THAT MUCH ZUCCHINI. The thing was huge, seriously. I took a photo of it, but I’m not sharing because it just looks awkward. Ha! 

I haven’t always loved zucchini, but I HAVE always loved zucchini bread. The strange thing is, I’ve never made an attempt at making bread on my own, until recently – it scared me. Seemed hard, or something. I overcame my fear with a craving and a huge zucchini fruit staring me in the face from atop my kitchen counter.

I googled recipes for “vegan zucchini bread” and one of the first (and best) recipes that showed up is a recipe from one of my favorite blogs – Post Punk Kitchen. The coolest thing about the recipe is that it calls for a ripe banana and I just so happened to have 3 ripe bananas hanging around. (literally!)

Zucchini Banana Bread

This recipe calls for “applesauce” and I like to make my own. It’s simp, chop an apple, and pulse it in a food processor until it’s a “saucy” consistency. If it’s not completely smooth, it’s ok. You can still add it to the batter. Just be sure to not add any more apple”sauce” than the recipe calls for – if you do, your bread may be too moist and dense. I only know this because I added extra apple”sauce” to my second loaf and it was more dense than my first loaf – however, still yummy.

I have a fancy attachment on my food processor that grated my zucchini with the touch of a button. If you do not have this fancy attachment, you can certainly grate the zucchini by hand. 

I added raisins and a few nuts to my bread but you can play around with add-ins. Chocolate chips, any type of nuts, dates, and dried fruits would all work. You get to choose & customize!! 

{vegan} Zucchini Banana Bread
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large very ripe banana
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom or allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8×4 metal bread pan with Earth Balance butter.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash the banana well, until no large chunks are left. Add the applesauce, canola oil, sugar, and vanilla and use a strong fork to mix well.
  3. Add the grated zucchini and mix in.
  4. Sift in 1 cup of the flour, the cinnamon, cardamom or allspice, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine. If you are adding the walnuts or raisins, do that now. Then add the final ½ cup of flour, and mix just until no visible flour is left.
  5. Transfer batter to the greased pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick or knife. If the bread needs more time to bake, turn heat down to 325 F and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice and serve!

Zucchini Banana Bread

Love

Crista


Jul
19

Curry Cauliflower Salad

I really really enjoy eating from the salad bar at Whole Foods – in fact, there have been many nights that I’ve “gone to dinner” there. Often times, I’d rather eat that salad bar versus going to a restaurant. I remember one time my mom was visiting me in Chicago shortly after the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park opened up. I took her there to show it off as if it were a Chicago Landmark.”Look at the wine bar!! oohhh ahhhh” “Look at the salad bar!! ooooooohh ahhhhhh” “Look at the make-your-own-trail-mix-station!!!!” She’s all like “mmmhmmm….”

Anyway, the point is: I LOVE me some Whole Foods. Sometimes I make the MOST PERFECT salad combinations there and I get pissed at myself if I don’t remember what it was, when it’s THAT good I want to duplicate it, and/or share it with someone else who could totally appreciate it.On one of my recent visits, I made one of those MOST PERFECT salad combinations and DID remember all of the ingredients and now I’m sharing it with someone (you) who can appreciate it.

This salad is not complicated to make, but does require the round-up of a few ingredients. AND it requires you to curry some cauliflower, which is best to do about 1 hour before you are serving the salad.

Curried Cauliflower Salad
Author: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • ¾ cup cauliflower, chopped
  • ½ cup broccoli, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup quinoa, cooked
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ an avocado, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a small baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with the coconut oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes until they are softened and slightly brown, stirring every few minutes.
  4. After removing the cauliflower from the oven, allow them to cool for at least 15-20 minutes before tossing them with all of the other veggies to create the salad.
  5. Dress the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to taste. Sprinkle the salad with a pinch of curry powder, if your heart desires.
  6. Toss and serve.

Curried Cauliflower Salad

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


Jul
02

On The Farm, Off The Hook

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an event put on by Heroes Like Us and Yelp Denver called On The Farm, Off The Hook. The event took place at the Growhaus, a local 20,000 square foot non-profit greenhouse, marketplace, and educational center. Essentially, the purpose of the event was to learn about and support local farms, chefs, and organizations. I was excited to be there for a few different reasons:
1. Check out the Growhaus (I loved it!!)
2. Meet like-minded people (and I did!!)
3. Eat yummy, locally-produced, organic food (mission accomplished!)

On The Farm, Off The Hook

The space was adorable, charming, the exact type space I dream of hosting my own dinner party in. Before dinner was served, we were able to walk around the Growhaus and check out the space while being served local craft beers and wines. The Growhaus is probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever been (I am so incredibly turned on by the process of growing local/organic food sustainably). I wanted to stay there at the Growhaus forever, move in.. you think they’d give me a job? (haha) 

I joined the Tambien program, which is a donation-based membership program which allows it’s members to support local food production and education in and around Denver. Im totally stoked to be a part of it, and can hardly wait to get more involved. (way to squeeze my foot through the door..)

On The Farm, Off The Hook

This guy, the Bishop, (pictured above) DJ’d during the cocktail hour – hilarious, right? He pretty much rocked.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

The local chefs that created our meal that evening are from Bad Apple, Fuel Cafe, and Petey Bird.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

Cocktails, wine, and beer were provided by Stranahan’s, Avery Brewing, and Infinite Monkey Theorem.

On The Farm, Off The hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

It was so much fun to meet new people, everyone had a different purpose and reasoning for being there – amongst them were  a birthday girl and her pals celebrating, a husband-and-wife duo made a date night out of the event, and a nutritionist networking just the same as myself… just to name a few.

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

If you look closely, I am in some of these photos. Which speaking of, I borrowed these photo from the Heroes Like Us blog post – I didn’t take many photos that night… I decided it was best to not worry about my camera and allow the photographers to do their job. My job that night was to relax, network, and eat damn good food. 

On The Farm, Off The Hook

On The Farm, Off The Hook

This was only the first of four “On The Farm, Off The Hook” events that are happening this summer. I’ve already purchased tickets for the July event happening at Miller Farms and I plan to attend all four events. Cheers to Heroes Like Us for organizing these events that are totally “off the hook”. 

the Growhaus Denver

Love

Crista


Apr
13

Shortly after our arrival in to Nashville last weekend, we set out for Mas Tacos Por Favor, which was recommended to us by Whitney & Johnny, the Bluegrass Tour Bus owners. We were feeling slightly vulnerable in those first moments on the bus so we weren’t quite sure how to feel about their recommendation (an old ass tour bus parked in the ghetto can be slightly overwhelming) but we took the recommendation anyway. 

Mas Tacos Por Favor

 The building is a little sketchy on the outside but we felt instant relief upon entering. Immediately, we spotted a photo of Guy Fieri painted on the wall which led us to the assumption that Mas Tacos Por Favor has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. (we were right, by the way)

Mas Tacos Por Favor

Mas Tacos

I was pretty satisfied with the meal I had at Mas Tacos, considering they had two AMAZING vegetarian taco options: Fried Avocado & Quinoa + Sweet Potato. I certainly wasn’t mad about the Plantains, the Black Bean Soup, or the Horchata either. Oh, and Laura obsessed over the Pineapple Cilantro fruit drink. I am mad at myself for not trying it…. (but the Horchata was soooo good) 

Mas Tacos

Mas Tacos

It was so nice to start our trip off with an amazing meal. We had plans of visiting Mas Tacos a few more times during our weekend in Nashville but we never did make it back. Next time, for sure. 

Love

Crista


Apr
03

Old Town Omaha

There are some cities that are vegetarian-friendly and some that just aren’t. I would have never guessed Omaha to have an abundance of vegetarian options but I’ve been pleasantly surprised in my recent 3-4 trips there. Actually, I’ve never had a bad meal in Omaha, food is GOOD there. I’ve actually told a few of my friends I want to take them to Omaha just to check out a few of the awesome restaurants there. They look at me like I’m crazy.

Read on for some of my faves.

Old Town Omaha

At M’s Pub, they serve a Carrot Dog in the same fashion that you would see a Bratwurst served. Instead of the brat, you get a marinated carrot topped with sauerkraut, mustard, and relish (all homemade by the way). I’ve gone to M’s Pub several times to get this same Carrot Dog – it really is unique and tasty. I’d like to make it at home but I don’t think I can make the sauerkraut and relish quite like M’s can make it.

M’s Pub is located in the Old Market area and it sits right next to a women’s clothing boutique that I love to shop in. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside on the patio and people watch – it’s great.

Dixie Quicks

 I’ve been to DIXIE QUICKS several times, and I’ve even blogged about it. It is not located in Omaha, it’s actually in Council Bluffs, IA which is just 10-15 minutes from Omaha – it’s totally worth making the trip out to visit Dixie Quicks. The place is rad and the food is good. I love their cornbread, brussels sprouts, black bean quesadilla, and house salad (the salad dressing is amazing).

Kitchen Table

Check out this meal I ordered at Kitchen Table: a mug of White Beans, Nicoise Olives, & Roasted Tomatoes, a fresh Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, AND a Cauliflower Jam Sandwich. Ok, check out the ingredients on that sandwich: a cauliflower steak, mozzarella, sprouted chickpea pesto, and roasted red pepper jam. SO GOOD. Every single bite was SO GOOD.

Kitchen Table is located in Old Market and they offer “slow food fast”. Their menu rocks they have enough vegan/vegetarian options to choose from – eel, it satisfied my needs. I notice they have two vegan soups on their menu of the day today: “Cream” of Beet Soup with Vegan Cream Fraiche & Aloo Gobi Soup. I wish I were there to try them….

On another note, I like how Kitchen table serves their meals with a side of seasoned popcorn and a turmeric pickled cauliflower.

Wilson & Washburn 
By far, the best meal I’ve had in Omaha was at Wilson & Washburn. To start, I ordered not one, not two, but THREE orders of the Beet Chips which are flash fried and doused with malt vinegar and kosher salt. (uhm, YUM) I ate so many of those damn chips that I was peeing pink. I managed to get the recipe for them from the bartender – I’m definitely going to make an attempt at making them.

Then, that burger – it is also made with beets. That Beet Burger is paired with house smoked peanut butter and pickled jalapeños. Hands down, it was the BEST burger I have EVER had. I had to eat it slow because it packed so much flavor. Yum.

Wilson & Washburn

Two Birds Bakery

Friends of mine from Omaha gifted me with these vegan treats from Two Birds Bakery which is located in Elkhorn, NE. I’ve not actually been to the bakery but I have a feeling it sits in the outskirts of Omaha. All of the baked goods were really really good but one muffin I had was outstanding – it was made with curry and coconut. Two Birds doesn’t produce “typical” baked goods- as far as I can see, everything I had was spiced and unique in flavor.

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A few other restaurants that I’ve been to and really enjoyed in Omaha are SALT 88 and Indian Oven – both restaurants were recommended by different friends.

SALT 88 sits in a strip mall but is very impressive on the inside – doesn’t look like a “strip mall” restaurant on the inside, it’s very modern. I remember eating an AMAZING arugula salad there. AND I remember being served cotton candy at the end of my meal. I LOVE cotton candy!

Indian Oven is located in the Old Market, their food is actually really good, it’s hard to find good Indian food. I was there with a group of people so I sampled many of the dishes – my favorite was the Maah Dhal.

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I hear Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob & Jade Garden are also good restaurants to visit, I haven’t been to either of them YET. 

Also, I hear Isa Chandra is opening up a vegan eatery in Omaha soon, Modern Love. I hope I can get there next time I visit Omaha. 

Foodies, are you planning a “vacation” to Omaha now? Ha! 

Love

Crista