Apr
15

opal apples

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the Standard Market in Westmont, IL, it’s a cute little market that I honestly don’t remember much about besides it being the place that I had my first run-in with the Opal Apple. The Opal is sunny, and ripe and more yellow than any other apple I’ve ever seen before. I was so stunned by the beautiful, brilliant color, I took a photo and immediately posted it on instagram (I thought I was so cool for finding something new that no one else had seen before) Actually, to be honest, I kind of freaked out at how cool those apples were – I did an internal freakout so don’t worry, no one thought I was crazy. Don’t ask me why this memory is still vibrant after 2 years. Fruits (ahem, apples) excite me, ok?

Sure, the Opal apples are beauties (flawless, if you ask me) but they tasted even better than they looked. They are crunchy, sweet (really sweet, actually,) and slightly tangy. Honeycrisp apples are some of my favorites because they are juicy, sweet, and crispy – but step aside, Honeycrisp – the Opal Apple is giving you some competition.

Opal Apples

So anyway, back to my story about the grocery store – it ended. The story, that is. I didn’t see those apples again for 2 years. I honestly never thought I’d see them again. Until a few weeks ago when I spotted these gems at Sprouts. And anyway, since we’re talking about grocery stores, I find it necessary to tell you that my home is about 3 blocks from the busiest Sprouts Farmers Market in the United States. See, reading my blog makes you smarter. 

Every time I go to Sprouts, I’m afraid I won’t see the Opal apples, I’m afraid they’ll disappear (like that one time…) but they haven’t. Today, I read that they are in season from November to March so I think they’ll be disappearing soon. (Don’t worry, I’ve stocked up.)

A few facts about the Opals that I found today – 
1. These apples are totally non-GMO (win!!)
2. The Opal apple was introduced to the USA in 2010 and is grown exclusively at Broetje Orchards in Prescott, WA. (I’d love to visit that orchard – vaca!!)
3. These apples don’t brown after cutting them. (I noticed that, without noticing it – if you know what I mean…)
4. Other cool stuff
5. These apples are perfect for eating raw (crunch, crunch) OR in a salad, but they also hold up well when you bake with them. I used them in some carrot cake oatmeal cookies (recipe soon!) and they ROCKED my socks.

Opal Apples

I googled around other blogs and websites written about the Opal Apple while writing this post and I notice that some bloggers got a paid sponsorship to write posts about these apples! Lucky ducks! No one paid me to write this post, I did it simply because I’m in love… “what’s love got to do with it”, you ask? Not money. Crunch.

Sources: serious eats, The Healthy Voyager, Social Cafe Mag, Opal Apples, Pinch Of Yum

Love

Crista


Jan
15

Ice Cream Banana

Picture this: In Hawaii, we stop at a fruit market off the side of the road on the North Shore and we find bananas labeled “ice cream banana” …. WHAT! You better believe we bought them!

Appropriately named “ice cream banana”, these little fruits (smaller than a banana found on the main land) actually do taste like ice cream – they are creamier than any banana I’ve ever eaten and they taste sweet, very sweet, and vanilla-ish – almost custard-like.

We ate the bananas on Christmas morning, after hiking to the top of a little mountain to watch the sunrise. We hiked in the pitch black dark, through tall wet grasses, just in time to see a beautifully colored sky…. there couldn’t have been a more perfect time to enjoy my new favorite fruit.

When I googled the ice cream banana, I found very little information on it so I don’t know much more about it aside from it being the best tasting banana I’ve ever had and that it can be found in Hawaii. So anyway, if you’re going to Hawaii, will you do yourself the favor of finding an ice cream banana or two?

mahalo.

Ice Cream Banana

Love

Crista


Sep
10

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

The time of year when I have more tomatoes in the garden than I know what to do with has arrived. (yay!) 
I’ve compiled several tomato recipes but hardly have the time to make them all (let alone eat it all!) – You are ALL invited to dinner at my place ANYTIME. I need someone to help me eat all this yummy food I want to make.

Thank goodness I recently read a post about freezing whole tomatoes – it’s as simple as cutting the core out of the tomato and putting it in a ziplock freezer bag. I’ll have garden-fresh tomatoes to use all winter long! (yay!)

Cherry Tomatoes

For months, I’ve been dying to make this Roasted Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette with tomatoes from the garden. This quick recipe is perfect for anyone who has an abundance of cherry tomatoes because it is easy to prepare and can be used on several different dishes. I made a big batch of this vinaigrette with plans to freeze half the batch. 

The day I made this vinaigrette, I added it to a tomato/avocado/hummus wrap and it added a ton of flavor. This vinaigrette will also work well atop a chopped & roasted brussels sprout salad, or atop any savory salad for that matter. I may use it as a marinade for grilled veggies (kabobs??), or atop a grilled veggie dish (zucchini, for instance). A pasta, noodle, or quinoa dish would pair well with this vinaigrette as well. 

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 large shallots, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425º F.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the tomatoes, shallots, and 1 tablespoon of oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast for about 10 minutes. Toss, turn on the broiler, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tomatoes blister and break apart.
  3. Let cool.
  4. Mix together the garlic, Dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil.
  5. After the tomato-shallot mixture has cooled from hot to warm, toss with the vinaigrette. It will thicken slightly.

Cherry tomato Vinaigrette

recipe adapted from Food52

Love

Crista


Sep
09

stone fruits

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

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

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

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

stone fruit

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

Here are some AWESOME Stone Fruit Recipes:

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

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

Love

Crista


Jul
03

red, white, and blue sangria

Oh HEYyyyy Holiday Weekend, is that you approaching?
YOU, the one weekend that has everyone out spending all of their money on unnecessary red, white, and blue garb JUST FOR FUN!! Do you even KNOW how long I have been searching for a pair of red shorts to wear on the 4th?? 

Anyway, I love this time of year. Friends, family, cabins, lakes, fireworks, grilled eats, watermelon, being outdoors – it’s all so good. I’ve taken the entire week off work for some solo enjoyment and relaxation – as far as I’m concerned, the Holiday Weekend is already here – my “weekend” just happens to be longer than most. Ha! 

red, white, and blue sangria

To get in the spirit of red, white, and blue, I’ll probably get out my American Flag Shorts, have my nails polished in red, blue, and glitter (!!), AND I’ve got an entire batch of red, white, and blue sangria waiting for me, calling my name. I’m thinking this first batch will disappear by the end of the day and the second batch will makes it’s way to the cabin in the mountains this weekend. We’ll see what happens :)

red, white, and blue sangria

red, white, & blue sangria
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 bottle sparkling water
Instructions
  1. In a large pitcher, combine the strawberries, blueberries, and white wine. Allow the mixture to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove from the refrigerator and stir in the agave nectar.
  3. Serve chilled, and when serving, fill the glasses ¾ full with the fruit & wine mixture and top off with a splash or two of sparkling water.

red, white, and blue sangria

Love

Crista


Jun
21

Gardening is a ton of fun. (well, that is until it’s time to pull weeds…)

Choosing what you will grow and designing your garden space is exciting. There are herbs and veggies I look for every year and then I always try to get something new in my garden that I’ve never grown before. Every year, I learn something new and every year is a completely different gardening experience than the last.

Once you’ve got seeds in the ground or starter plants planted, gardening becomes a “hurry-up-and-wait” game. I go to the gardens on a daily basis to see if anything is different than the day before. It doesn’t happen quickly at first (especially when the rainy weather keeps spitting hail on the poor little baby plants) but eventually there comes a time when you’ve got more fruits, veggies, and herbs than you know what to do with.

During one of my visits to the garden this week, I spotted a few peppers and a tomato sprouting – that first sighting can definitely account for one of the most exciting moments in gardening – it validates the hard work you’ve put in!! Even though you knew the plants would sprout and grow, you have to see it to really believe it. So, I did a little photo shoot for the very first crops manifesting. I took photos of the gorgeous flowers growing as well, this IS my first year growing flowers you know….

pepper plant

pepper plant

I am in disbelief at how many little peppers this little plant has already grown. We’re going to be swimming in peppers this year. (yay!) 

bell pepper plant

AND I can’t get over how stinking adorable this little bell pepper it.

garden gnome

Meet: Jerome the Gnome.

cauliflower

This little cauliflower head is dirty because it got pounded with rain, hail, and flying dirt. Regardless, it’s strong & sturdy.

flower

strawberry plant

Oh, and this strawberry. We’ve only got one right now but I’m for sure we’ll have more.

Colorado flower

Every where I turn in Colorado, I see beautiful purple flowers. A garden wouldn’t be a proper garden without them here in CO. 

tomato plant

There is the first of many, many, many tomatoes!!!! 

marigold

Love

Crista


May
18

I almost always have at least one or two avocados in my refrigerator. They always seem to come in handy whether I’m making a salad, a sandwich, or a smoothie. This smoothie came about by simply combining a few ingredients I had on hand. Frozen pineapple chunks (from Trader Joe’s), an avocado, some orange juice, and a spoonful of flax seed (for good measure). This smoothie is creamy and goooooood…. and green, which means healthy… right? Right is right. 

Avocado Pineapple Smoothie // peace. love quinoa

Avocado Pineapple Smoothie - only 4 ingredients!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 avocado, peeled & de-seeded
  • 1 teaspoon flax seed
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together.
  2. Serve immediately.

Avocado Pineapple Smoothie // peace. love quinoa

 

Love

Crista


Mar
15

I have never been big on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day – probably because I’m not Irish, green doesn’t look good on me, and I’m not a beer drinker. wah wah. This year is different. There is a huge block party going on just steps away from my apartment and I know I can’t avoid it. Sooo my nails are polished a leprechaun green and I’ve found a black/green dress to wear. There, I’m festive.

I’ve recently entertained the idea of drinking beer and I actually ordered my first beer (and drank half of it) at the bar last week! Everyone in Denver gives me shit for not being a beer drinker so I’m putting forth an effort to make people happy. Look, I’ll try anything once. Or twice. Hell, I’ll even go for three times.

Anyway, if you’re anything like me and you just can’t get in to the green beer this weekend, get in to this green food porn instead.

fried green tomatoes

Green Apple Smoothie

soybeans

kale garden

Favorite Kale Salad

kiwis

guacamole

orange greensicle

1. Fried Green Tomatoes
2. Tart Green Apple Smoothie
3. Edamame
4. Kale
5. Kale Salad
6. Kiwis
7. Guacamole
8. Orange GREENsicle

Love

Crista


Mar
10

Green Smoothie Series

I’ve always been a smoothie maker, but I haven’t always been a GREEN smoothie maker. I can prove it: Cherry Chocolate Sundae. One of my girl friends mentioned that we need to start making more green smoothies so I took it upon myself to come up with 4 different GREEN smoothies that taste good. Mission accomplished. I’m feeling so healthy lately! 

In the next 4 days, I will share the ingredient mix for each of the 4 green smoothies I have been sipping on lately: 
Avocado Pear
Strawberry Spinach Kiwi
Orange Greensicle
Tart Green Apple

Many people are turned off by green smoothies simply because they can’t wrap their mind around adding kale and/or spinach to their morning sweet treat however green smoothies can taste really really good if you can find the right mix of ingredients…. which I will offer inspiration for over the next few days.

Love

Crista


Mar
09

cara cara orange

Just recently, my girlfriend, Laura introduced me to Cara Cara Oranges. I fell in love with the Cara Cara instantaneously because it is super sweet (which is due to it being less acidic). The color is pretty too, almost looks like a grapefruit, definitely more pink/orange than yellow/orange. You know what else I like? They’re easy to peel. I might end up liking the Cara Cara more than I like the Blood Orange. Stiff competition….

I have not had a hard time finding these oranges, pretty much every grocery store has them so I eat them on the daily.

I can’t wait to try a few recipes using the Cara Cara.
First up: Cara Cara Orange Juice.

cara cara orange

Love

Crista