Jun
19

Cucumber Berry Fruit Bowl

I’ve had a long, long, non-stop, crazy week. I spent hours and hours on the road in extremely painful traffic patterns that tested my patience. There were moments when I was swept with anger, my cheeks even got red, just because I’d been stuck in the car so much longer than anticipated. BUT the week is over.
Sigh. of. relief.

We are going camping at Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend. I hate/love camping. OK, I don’t really HATE it, but the preparation and packing prior to the trip can be agonizing tasks ESPECIALLY when you’ve got no free time. Anyway, I am not writing this post to project my ill feelings on you, the week is over and my ill feelings have all passed. Last night, I slid in to the yoga studio just seconds before the last class of the night began and I woke up early to attend the first class of the day. I feel fresh, rejuvenated, and anxious to bond with the mountains, and spend quality quiet time with my boyfriend this weekend.

Cucumber Berry Fruit Bowl

A few nights ago, we laid in bed putting together our food menu for this weekend, and this cucumber + berry fruit bowl came to mind. I made this exact fruit bowl a few years ago, a really awful photo I took of it showed up in my Timehop feed recently.

I don’t remember how or why I decided to pair cucumbers with cherries & blueberries – if I had to guess, I’d say that I was making a conscious effort to pair a green food with my fruit. I try to incorporate green foods in most of my meals even it if it’s a few pistachios or pumpkin seeds in my morning granola.

Cucumber Berry Fruit Bowl

This cucumber + berry salad is made with 3 ingredients: chopped organic cucumber, organic sweet cherries, and organic blueberries. The 3 fruits blended together create a perfectly colorful combination and is refreshing, hydrating & filling – it’s perfect for a sunny summer morning or afternoon.

These 3 ingredients will be going with us to camp this weekend, I plan to throw them in a bowl as use them as a centerpiece on the picnic table at our camp site. I have a feeling we’ll be eating out of that bowl all weekend long – during breakfast, as a sweet snack after lunch, and after our planned 8 mile hike for nourishment and hydration.

Cucumber Berry Fruit Bowl

In addition to this colorful fruit salad, we have several awesome camp meals planned, I hope to share them in a future blog post. If I have cell service at camp this weekend, I’ll post a few photos on Instagram, but no guarantees.

Happy weekend everyone! 
xox

Love

Crista


Jun
17

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

I attended Vida Vegan Con in Austin, TX two weekends ago, a conference for vegan-specific bloggers and related industries. When I first learned about VVC I knew I wanted to go but didn’t think I’d be able to make it happen so I brushed it off and forgot about it THEN my girlfriend & I both realized that we had some vacation time to use up prior to June 1 so we booked a girls trip to Austin which just so happened to coincide with the VVC dates. Luckily, I was able to snag a last-minute ticket to VVC.
(If you’re interested in checking out some photos from our trip, check them out on Instagram)

The conference was so much more than a “vegan bloggers conference.” It was a social gathering for like-minded people, it was friends to enjoy a few yummy meals with, it was entrepreneur-driven, entrepreneurs who were willing to share their successes. It was fun and emotional. 

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

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One of my favorite persons to listen to at the event was Jill from Vegan Cuts – she began her career as a travel blogger and now sells monthly vegan beauty & snack boxes via VeganCuts.com. Jill talked about creating a manifest journal, organizing your dreams, and planning your life journey accordingly. Although I have new ideas and plans for my life journey on a daily basis, I have never put those ideas into action – I am overwhelmed! …..which is how I know for a fact that journaling would help me. 

Jill also talked about the “competition” in social media and blogging these days, she encouraged us, her audience, to not even worry about the damn “competition”. Like, just do your thing without comparing yourself to others. Comparing myself to others is something that I struggle with on a daily basis, in my personal life and with blogging. I’m always worried about someone being prettier or skinnier or fitter than myself. I worry about the photos on my blog not looking as awesome as the photos on someone elses blog, and I worry about my recipes being not being uber-original and way different than the next persons. 

EVEN THOUGH. I didn’t start this blog to share “original” recipes. I started this blog to share yummy FOOD, travel adventures (that are typically food-driven), and to create a place for people, anyone to come and find inspiration to enhance their own foodie experiences, whether it be through cooking a yummy meal at home, dining out at a local restaurant, or finding the best food while traveling. 

I strayed away from my original intention because I felt like I had to compete with every other blogger on the internet. There are recipes I’ve so badly wanted to share on this blog but never did because they’ve been shared before. I’ve made awesome foods, photographed them, and never shared them because I felt like the photos weren’t good enough when compared to someone else’s. It’s a shame and it’s silly. 

So, screw that! I’m going back to my original intention. If there is a food item, recipe, or restaurant that I enjoy and think is worth sharing, then I’m going to share dammit! NO MATTER WHAT. ESPECIALLY now that I am taking the challenge on Jessica Murnane’s One Part Pledge – you should listen and take the pledge as well!

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

So, Kale Chips. Kale Chips are something I’ve wanted to make for the longest time but never did for whatever reason. Procrastination – the “Make Kale Chips” line on my never-ending to-do list must sit in between two more important things-to-do. My girlfriend, Laura kept telling me how good the homemade version is and how easy they are to make! After her convincing, I’d temporarily move them up on my to-do list but they’d quickly get replaced by some other “something”.

I don’t remember why I woke up one day in the recent past and decided that day was going to be the day that I finally made homemade kale chips. It may have been for a recipe, it may have been because I had an excess amount of kale on-hand. What I do know is that I ate every single kale chip as it came out of the oven. Warm, they melted in my mouth. Fresh, unlike any other bagged, grocery-store-bought kale chip I’ve ever eaten. I had intentions on saving a few chips for Patrick later that afternoon, but they didn’t last long enough. 

I’ve since then made three more batches of kale chips (and shared a few with Patrick). I burned a few of the fragile greens and created salty kale meltaways with the rest. Kale is fragile when put into a hot oven and can burn easily if unattended however, if you are available to pay close attention to your kale as it bakes, you should be able to get it out of the oven before it sizzles. I found that baking my kale between 9-13 minutes is ideal – timing may vary based on your particular oven (and altitude). 

When I browse through different kale chip recipes, I notice they recommend a variety of baking temps and timing. It is important to find what works for you and your oven, even if it is on a trial-and-error basis. The amount of salt, vinegar, and oil will vary on how big your batch of kale is, it will also vary based on your taste preference. Some of my kale chips were more drenched than others leaving them more chewy. The lesser drenched chips became more crispy, I liked them both. I encourage you to experiment with different variations and find what you like best. Don’t expect perfection the first go-around, but you can expect it shortly after. Also, I added vinegar to my kale chips because vinegar is awesome. If vinegar is not your thing, then don’t use it – continue on with the salt and oil exclusively OR add something else that you think would compliment the kale (SRIRACHA anyone?!).

Below is the recipe variation that has worked for me.

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • approx 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • approx 3-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • approx 4-5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1 gallon ziplock bag
Instructions
  1. Wash and completely dry the kale. I like to lay the kale flat on paper towels to air dry, which takes up to an hour or two sometimes. It is extremely important for the kale to be completely dry before baking - if not, it could get soggy instead of crispy.
  2. Once dried, cut the kale off the stems - try to cut them into larger pieces, as they will shrink in the oven. Discard the stems (or use them in a veggie broth)
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 310 degrees.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Put ⅓ of the oil, vinegar, and sea salt into the bag and shake it around the bag, coating it, then add ⅓ of the kale leaves. Shake the kale around until the leaves are covered in the mixture.
  6. Lay the leaves out on the baking sheet, making sure to not overlap any of the leaves.
  7. Bake for 9-15 minutes, checking them frequently.
  8. Use the same process for the second batch, and then the third.
  9. The kale chips are best when eaten the same day as you make them.

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

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Love

Crista


Mar
12

Macadamia Nut Pesto

One of the things I reminisce the most about Hawaii is the macadamia nut. Everything “macadamia nut” is readily available everywhere you go – including macadamia nut pesto, macadamia nut coffee, macadamia nut butter, macadamia nut encrusted everything, and so much more that I don’t want to talk about because I’m not in Hawaii to eat it.

Two months later, and I’m still on a high from my trip to O’ahu, maybe it’s because my best friend visited a few weeks after me and I’m re-living the island lifestyle through her, or maybe it’s because that trip was just THAT good for me/us. Either way, the high feels good.

Macadamia Nut Pesto

After reading the first few paragraphs of this blog post, I’m sure it’s OBVIOUS where my inspiration for this recipe came from. (clue: Hawaii)

I’m a sucker for non-traditional pesto recipes, and I like to keep them around, not only because I’m a condiment junkie, but also because a dollop of pesto can turn a bland meal in to a flavorful one.

For instance, last night I sautéed some kale, rice, and black beans, and then tossed it all in a spoonful of this pesto. Without the pesto, my meal was not a meal – it was simply a few ingredients thrown together, the pesto tied the 3 ingredients together and made it a complete, savory, well-balanced meal, flavor-bursting-at-the-seams. My boyfriend ate my leftovers, it was nice of me to allow him. And anyway, I have more of that pesto in the refrigerator so I could potentially do it all over again tonight.

Macadamia Nut Pesto

Macadamia Nut Pesto
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup coconut oil (or olive oil if you choose)
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and puree.

In this recipe, I used coconut oil because coconut oil goes really well with macadamia nuts (think: Hawaii) however the one thing that I don’t like about coconut oil is that it hardens up when refrigerated. It’s not big deal, I simply allow my pesto to warm up to room temp prior to using it. Just because I used coconut oil, doesn’t mean that you have to – this recipe is just as good with olive oil. Assess the situations that you will be using this pesto in, and make a choice based on the flavors you will be blending – voilà.

This pesto will freeze nicely, so I recommend you double your batch and keep some for later!
(that’s what I did)

MAHALO.

Macadamia Nut Pesto

Love

Crista


Aug
06

kohlrabi

 KOHLRABI.
I’d only heard of it once prior to finding a little starter plant at the Farmers Market. A few years ago, I had kohlrabi in a salad at Trocadero in Milwaukee, WI (cool restaurant, btw!). The salad consisted of apple, kohlrabi, salted caramel pecans, and a black sherry vinaigrette. Yum, right? So when I came across that kohlrabi starter plant, of course I wanted to plant it – it reminded me of that awesome salad….

So I planted the kohlrabi, and I think I allowed it to get way too big. I had no idea what it would like like as it grew. Turns out, I don’t know much about kohlrabi period. I had no idea that it would form a big bulb (as you see in the photo above) – and I guess I didn’t pay much attention to what it looked like when I had it in that salad a few years ago – it was tossed with the other ingredients and I never took the time to identify it. (maybe I was starving and scarfed that salad down the moment it landed on the table??!)

Because I allowed the kohlrabi bulb to get too big, it split and ants started building a nest inside the split. It was quite the sight to see, actually. Those ants worked hard to build that nest and when I pulled the kohlrabi up out of the ground, I completely destroyed everything they worked for. Anyways, it was mine first.

From what I understand, kohlrabi is similar to that of a turnip or a cabbage, or even a combination of the two. It can be eaten raw and/or cooked. Although the leaves can be eaten, the “stem” or bulb is what is most commonly prepared. The taste and texture of kohlrabi is similar to that of a broccoli stem (however, crisp and juicy) and has a mild flavor.

So I’ve got this kohlrabi bulb hanging around my kitchen and I’m still not 100% sure what I’m going to do with it. I found a few yummy-looking recipes but I’m not yet sure which one I’ll try because I’m still not even sure exactly what the kohlrabi will taste like. 

Chili Dusted Kohlrabi Fries from Five and Spice

Beet, Kale, and Kohlrabi Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette from a Couple Cooks

Kohlrabi & Cabbage Slaw with Tahini-Lemon Dressing from Dishing Up The Dirt

Which recipe do you think I should try??

———–

I would have NO idea how to cut up my kohlrabi had it not been for this tutorial from the kitchn: How To Cut Up Kohlrabi. Thank goodness the internet exists. 

Love

Crista


Jun
08

veggie avocado bagel spread

Every now and then I crave a bagel. The problem is, the only real way to eat a bagel is with cream cheese and cream cheese kind of turns my stomach, even the vegan stuff. I mean I like it but I don’t like it. I don’t like it when I start thinking about what cream cheese really is – it just seems “BAD” and unhealthy – like it has zero nutritional value. What’s the point? Pure gluttony? I mean, whatever. It’s just not my style.

A combination of things helped the idea of a veggie avocado bagel spread originate in my mind. For one, I remember a vegan buddy of mine discovering vegan bagels at Trader Joes. I’d never considered the bagels at Trader Joes being vegan until that point in time – I’d always walked right past them. There has been this “avocado + toast” craze going on lately, which got me thinking: I can use avocado as a bagel spread instead of cream cheese. Happy face. (I use avocado in all of my recipes lately haha)

So I added chopped veggies, and nutritional yeast to avocado that I had whipped and it worked perfectly as a spread for the vegan onion bagels. To make them even more tasty & nutritious, I added sprouts on top of the bagel. I got this idea from a veg buddy I went to school with, he posted a photo of a bagel topped with sprouts on Facebook. 

The avocado + veggie mixture & sprouts take a “sinful” morning treat (bagel + cream cheese) and transform it into a GREEN nutritious breakfast – a perfect way to get the morning started. 

veggie avocado bagel spread

veggie avocado bagel spread
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled, deseeded and lightly mashed
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2-4 radishes
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 2 leeks, only the green part
  • 2½ tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • sea salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the avocado until it is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  2. Roughly chop all of the veggies and then put them in a food processor. Pulse until the veggies are finely chopped. You need approximately ¾ cup of the chopped veggies, use more or less as necessary.
  3. Stir the chopped veggies in to the whipped avocado and then add the Nutritional Yeast. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Use the spread on a toasted bagel.


veggie avocado bagel spread

 

Love

Crista


May
23

I’m spoiled.
I didn’t think I’d get to garden this year because I don’t have space at my apartment. Luckily, the salon owner, Nicole, that I work for has offered up the salons “backyard” to garden and plant flowers. She’s even enlisted the help of her husband, family, and staff! All of the salon employees I’ve spoken with are really excited about having the garden in the back, and they’re all willing to pitch in and help out. They’ve even talked about hosting a little “Farmers Market” at the salon – it’s going to be adorable! 

While I was at the salon today, I took a few photos of what the backyard currently looks like, you’ll see we’ve got a LOT of work to do – no big deal, we’ll have plenty of helping hands!! 

garden-beds-weeds-allure

This bed that you see here all be filled with fruits, veggies, and herbs by next week (if all goes well). I think we’ll have about 8-9 tomato plants, a few strawberry plants, some beets, carrots, several herbs, cauliflower, butternut squash, broccoli, maybe some eggplants. eeeeeeeeeeeeeee, I’m so excited! 

garden-beds-weeds-allure-3

First things first: we’ve got a LOT of weeds to pull. I started pulling a few today, it’ll be quick & easy. 

garden-beds-weeds-allure-2

Along the sunny wall is where the tomato plants will be lined up, I haven’t decided what we’ll put in the shaded area yet… I’ll either need to find a plant that’s happy in shade or use that area as a walkway. Designing the layout of the garden has been really fun!! 

garden-beds-weeds-allure-5

On the opposite side of the backyard, there will be a bed full of pretty pretty flowers.

garden-beds-weeds-allure-4

garden-beds-weeds-allure-7

This planted has obviously been used for cigarette butts in the past – not any more! I plan on emptying it and putting the strawberry plants in it. Apparently, strawberry plants like to hang – I never knew. (I did it all wrong last year) 

garden-beds-weeds-allure-6

We’ve also got several pots that we will plant with pretty flowers – and possibly sit at the front entrance to the salon.

Wish us luck tomorrow as we begin the process – I ask for “luck” because it’s been rainy here in Denver and it’s supposed to continue all weekend…. But I’m thinking we’ll luck out.

(I’m so excited, I can hardly wait for tomorrow morning to be here!!)

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


Apr
30

DIY Indoor Herb Garden // peace. love. quinoa

 Gardening is one of my all time favorite things to do in the summer, being completely engaged in the growing process of the food I eat really turns me on so I’m really really really really sad that I won’t have a garden this year. It’s not for lack of trying – I searched for an apartment that had an outdoor space available for gardening…. with no success. I also made an attempt to score community garden plot, which was a joke. They are booked forever and ever (or so it seems)… with a waiting list – I’m on that waiting list but I’m not holding my breath.

My compromise is an indoor herb garden and I’m pretty satisfied with it. I’ve always grown several herbs in my garden and I use at least one of the herbs in almost everything I make. For instance, I used cilantro in the pea hummus that I recently made. 

DIY Indoor Herb Garden // peace. love. quinoa

Funny thing is, I have more herbs growing this year than I’ve EVER had (because it’s ALL I have). I am growing thyme, rosemary, cilantro, mint, stevia, basil, and lavender – and I’ve got big plans to use every single one of them in some recipes I’ve been wanting to try. Having herbs on hand really saves a lot of money – buying fresh herbs at the grocery can get expensive! This herb garden cost me approximately $75 to get started and I will definitely get my moneys worth.

DIY Indoor Herb Garden // peace. love. quinoa

Very few items are needed to start an indoor herb garden: mason jars (I had a few on hand not being used and I purchased a few more at the thrift store), potting soil, small pebbles (I found these at a craft store), starter plants (these can be found at a variety of different grocery stores, farmers markets, or Home Depot), and a sunny window (my sunniest window is south facing).

I used mason jars to plant my herbs because they were inexpensive and they fit in my window sill. Before I potted the plants, I put small pebbles at the bottom of each jar (about 1 inch high). The pebbles provide space for drainage in case the herbs get too much water and will prevent the roots from drowning. I made sure to not pack the soil heavily in the jars during the planting process, the plants breath through their roots so it’s important to leave some air in the jars.

DIY Indoor Herb Garden // peace. love. quinoa

I live in Colorado where the air is very dry so I’m paying close attention to the moistness of my herbs. I’ll probably add a little water to each jar every day instead of adding more water every few days. 

Although it doesn’t take much time at all, these herbs will need to be checked and maintained every few days. In order to keep plants heathy, it is important that they be pruned, or cut back on a regular basis – although you never want to cut back more than 1/3 of the plant at any one time. Pruning regularly will keep the plant in it’s growth stage as long as possible and prevent it from flowering and dying off. 

DIY Indoor Herb Garden // peace. love. quinoa

To decorate my mason jars, I found doilies and a woven muslin-like material that I applied to the jars using mod podge. I’m really satisfied with the “earthy” feel of the jars and plants.

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
14

Green Apple Smoothie

All of the green smoothies I have made up until this point have been on the sweeter side. Because I’m not always in the mood for sweet in the AM, I like the tartness this smoothie offers. If you like your smoothies to be more on the sweet side, add agave nectar or honey to this one. I liked it without. (pucker)

In other news, my favorite green smoothies are those that are made with an avocado – they tend to have the best consistency. 

This Tart Green Apple Smoothie is made with the following ingredients: 

1 green apple
1 avocado
a handful of spinach
1/4 cup coconut water
1/2 lime, juiced
4-5 ice cubes

To make this smoothie, put the coconut water and spinach in the blender first and puree the spinach THEN add all of the other ingredients and blend until smooth.   

Love

Crista