Feb
05

Valentines Day is one of my favorite Holidays because I love celebrating love. And this year, I’m in love. Like, LOVE, love. Like, it’s all I can think about love. Like, my heart flutters 24/7 love. 

I also love chocolate, and hearts, and cute DIY valentines, and baking, and the mini love-themed surprises that come with Valentines Day. I wish I could tell you what I’m doing for Valentines Day but my love reads my blog and I don’t want to spoil it.

I also love my blog, and food, and Pinterest, and all of the Valentines Day inspiration that keeps me excited for weeks, eager celebrate love. And I love you all. 

My enthusiasm for the holiday this year and my love for PLQ readers has sparked the desire to 

GIVEAWAY

3 Vegan Dessert-Themed Books
to one lucky reader,
on Valentines Day.

The 3 books I’m giving away:

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra:
This book includes my all-time favorite cupcake recipes. Actually, all of Isa’s recipes are my favorites… she’s good.

Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats by Debbie Adler:
Debbie Adler has a popular vegan/gluten-free bakery in LA that draws in A-list celebrities. I’m dying to visit. Until that day, I’ll have to live vicariously through her recipes, and you can too! (if you’re the lucky winner!!)

Rawsome Vegan Baking by Emily von Euw: 
I haven’t had the opportunity to make any of the recipes out of this book, and it’s killing me. I want to keep the book but I’m giving it away to a lucky reader, because you deserve it! (don’t worry, I’ll be ordering another copy for myself!)

Vegan Book Giveaway

Enter To Win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all of you, and thank you for supporting peace. love. quinoa! 
ps. There ARE affiliate links in this post, however this post is sponsored by me, PLQ.

Love

Crista


Jan
10

Kailua Home

At first I wasn’t going to write this post because I didn’t take “Pinterest-worthy” photos of our (super delicious) Coconut Hot Chocolate on Christmas morning when we made it, but then I said screw it. My photos don’t need to be Pinterest-worthy because this (vegan) mash-up of coconut and chocolate and whipped cream is way worthy of it’s very own blog post. I most certainly strive to create Pinterest-worthy photos because it seems like the most helpful way to grow my blog, but for now I’ll just be me.

My boyfriends birthday is on Christmas, you may know we were in Hawaii for Christmas. We decided to go for several reasons: 1. We both knew we wouldn’t be going “home” for Christmas. 2. Patrick once dreamed of moving to Hawaii, although he’d never been there. 3. My best friends sister lives in Hawaii. With all of these factors at play, we tossed around the idea of just doing it – going to Hawaii for the holidays. And then a month later, we booked.

I asked Patrick what his family holiday traditions are, and what it is the he likes to do for his birthday (Christmas). Two things: 1: He likes to celebrate his birthday on Christmas Eve vs. Christmas Day, which is a genius idea he came up with as a kid in order to be celebrated and showered with gifts. As you can imagine, a Christmas birthday can be overlooked and under-celebrated. And  #2: He MUST have hot chocolate on Christmas morning, a family tradition he is not willing to break.

Instantly, I knew I’d combine coconut with dark chocolate to create the most appropriate hot chocolatey beverage to enjoy with our Christmas morning breakfast  in Hawaii before we hit the beach for the day. I made sure we were staying in an apartment with a full kitchen over Christmas so that we could prepare a few holiday meals at “home” vs. eating out. On Christmas Eve, we found a Whole Foods on the island, and on Christmas day we cooked, we relaxed, we picnicked on the beach, and we made a cozy, Hawaiian dinner. And for breakfast, we made the richest, most coconuty, Hawaiian, dark hot chocolate possible… complete with a coconut whipped cream, of course.

Coconuty Hot Chocolate

Coconuty Hot Chocolate {vegan}
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ Tbsp non-dairy semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 14 ounce can or coconut whipped cream (Trader Joe's brand) or full fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchen brand is best), chilled for 12+ hours
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. First, prepare the whipped cream topping. Place a mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Sounds silly I know, just do it.
  2. Carefully open the chilled can of coconut cream. Scrape out the top, thick cream and then pour the liquid out in to a separate container. You will not be using the liquid in this recipe, so save it for a smoothie.
  3. In the chilled mixing bowl, beat the coconut cream until it is creamy then add the powdered sugar. Mix until it is creamy and smooth, then place in the refrigerator while you mix the chocolate.
  4. Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it is warm, add the chocolate, raw sugar, and cocoa powder and stir to combine.
  5. Continue heating the mixture until the chocolate has melted.
  6. Serve immediately with a dollop of the coconut whipped cream.

You will have some whipped cream left-over because you only need a dollop for this hot chocolate (or if you’re like me, you’ll take two dollops – which requires a bigger mug – so plan accordingly). Either way, you’ll have leftovers. Don’t get mad, if you’ve got a sweet tooth like me, you’ll find ways to use it. I tend to eat spoonfuls to cure my sweet cravings and I like to use it atop a fruit salad. Pie? More hot chocolate? Ice cream sundae? Yeah…

 Coconuty Hot Chocolate

Love

Crista


Dec
13

Cranberry Whiskey Applesauce

OK, I realize that you may be thinking I’m a little late out of the gate with a Cranberry Sauce recipe. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and no one is thinking about cranberry sauce anymore. Except for me. I am. Because I discovered that it’s complimentary to many different food items and meals besides the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

In fact, I made this Cranberry Whiskey Applesauce for Thanksgiving and then made it AGAIN because it was so good…. (and because I had leftover ingredients). I served on the side of a rice and beans dish last night, it’s good with waffles, it’s good with butternut squash and kale, it’s good with a lentil loaf, it’s good atop pumpkin cornbread, waffles, pancakes, basically, everything. It’s good with everything.

AND, it’s still the holiday season so I still consider myself relevant with this recipe. So there. 

Tin Cup Whiskey

I’ve made applesauce before and I’ve made cranberry sauce before, I’ve even made Cranberry Applesauce before, but this was the first time I added whiskey. The reason that adding whiskey appealed to me is because I was cooking for my boyfriends parents who are Irish… and they love them some whiskey. In fact, when they were here visiting we all got drunk-ish on whiskey shots one afternoon. Shamefully, I couldn’t even take one shot – I had to sip. They kept talking about how “smooth” the whiskey was, while I tried my hardest just to keep up. Sigh. I’ve got a lot of work to do if I’m going to be a part of that family.

So anyway, I knew that I could not invite an Irish family in to my home on the holiday without having a bottle of whiskey on hand. I went to Trader Joe’s and found a CO local whiskey, Tin Cup. It’s got some relation to Stanahan’s whiskey (which is da bomb) but I don’t quite remember what the relation was. The Tin Cup is like Stanahan’s little sister, or anyway that’s how I see it…. It’s also more affordable than Stanahan’s! (like)

So the recipe….

easy Cranberry (Whiskey) Apple Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6-8 apples*, chopped
  • 3 cups cranberries
  • ¼ cup apple cider, apple juice, or water
  • ½ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a large pot and simmer on low-medium heat for about an hour or two.
  2. Once the cranberries and apples have softened, move the pot away from the heat and let it cool slightly (this could take another hour).
  3. Either mash the sauce with a masher for a chunkier sauce OR put the mixture into a blender and puree for a smoother sauce.
  4. Serve warm, chilled, or at room temperature.
Notes
*I prefer to use a sweet apple variety (like Honeycrisp) to compliment the tartness of the cranberries.

 Cranberry Whiskey Applesauce

Love

Crista


Dec
03

ahhhhhh.
finally, i can breathe.
not only did i just come off of the busiest work travel season i’ve had in a long time, i also shopped for, purchased, and moved into my new home.
buying a home may be the single most stressful situation i have been a part of-
people kept telling me it’d be worth it in the end. i was skeptical during the process, but now, while i sit on my couch, with my feet kicked up, in MY home, i realize that they were right – it was TOTALLY worth it!
…and every time i step foot in to my home, i fall in love all over again.

just a few days (4 days!) after moving in to my new home, i hosted my boyfriends family for Thanksgiving.
i cooked, although modestly. i made homemade hummus & veggies, cranberry whiskey applesauce, pumpkin cornbread, and a killer kale salad. we ate plenty.

so, this is my new life. in Colorado
in my new home.
with my amazing bearded Colorado boyfriend by my side.

as i sit here alone, i know that i am not alone – there is an entire team of people out there who have helped shape my being. people who have encouraged me, and hugged me, and pushed me to keep on keeping on even in the most difficult of times.

my heart is filled with love and gratitude. my life is filled with love and gratitude.
i’m ready to get back to life as it once was – as a foodie and a blogger.

let’s get this party started, again!

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


May
22

lemonade

lemonade

lemonade-4

lemonade-2

i’m ready for the weekend.
the holiday weekend that tends to feel like the begin of summer….
it could potentially rain in Denver all weekend but i don’t care. i’ll be out enjoying it.
rain and snow didn’t hold me back two weekends ago, why would i allow rain to hold me back this weekend?
i’m ready to be out more than i’m in.
i’m ready for the late nights, that feed my summer spirit
i’m ready for outdoor dining and fresh squeezed lemonade. 
homemade lemonade = so easy
mix together: water, fresh squeezed lemons, & agave nectar – that’s it.
blend it with fresh brewed ice tea and you’ve got a (super summery) Arnold Palmer….
*cheers* to the upcoming (extended) weekend

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


Dec
23
 For some holiday laughs, listen to this guy, David Sedaris.
I listen to this at least once every holiday season, if not twice or three times. 
As I sit here and listen this evening, I couldn’t help but to share.
There are many lessons to be learned from this comedic story, if you are in the right state of mind for them.
If you happen to listen (DO IT), let me know what you think.
 
 
On another note, I’d like to share a holiday lesson I learned from a  loud-mouth, bossy, UPS store worker one year while I was in the store to ship off some holiday packages just days before Christmas. As this woman was screaming and yelling at the customers who were yelling and screaming at her, she said something profound that has stuck with me since that day. She said something to the extent of: “just because something is a priority of yours, does not make it a priority of others.” You see, a man had walked in to the store just behind me, hoping to beat the “rush of people” just like me. He was flabbergasted and pissed off upon sight of the long line of people ahead of him. He started yelling at the UPS lady who was directing him to get in line with everyone else. He may have yelled something like “I don’t have time for this!” or “This is bullshit!” to the lady…. and the lady simply reminded him that it was not her problem that he showed up last minute to mail off his packages. Her priorities were not aligned with his that day. Huffing and puffing, the guy got in like just like everyone else.  
 
I learned a huge lesson that day from that rough, loud-mouth UPS lady. She had a good point. I have my priorities and you have yours. I can not expect you to honor my priorities before you honor your own. I think about this often, especially if I’ve asked someone for a favor…..
 
I hope that this post will help you to re-arrange some of your thoughts and priorities this holiday season. 
xox

Love

Crista


Dec
20

Holiday Recipes {vegan}

Holiday gatherings and potlucks are so much fun, aren’t they? I always love to see what dishes people will show up with. When I contribute to a potluck, I like to bring a dish that will command some attention, be a topic of conversation – a dish that will be uniquely different from the rest. Doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the classics though, I just let the others bring those. You too can be the hit of your Holiday Potluck with one of these {vegan} mouthwatering recipes.

Holiday Recipes {vegan}

Colorful Kale Salad with Jalapeños {peace.love.quinoa}
Warm Lemony Olive Potato Salad {Keepin’ It Kind}
Fennel, Apple, Quinoa, and Avocado Salad {Cookin And Shootin}
Chickpea & Tomato Salad {peace.love.quinoa}
Shaved Brussels Sprouts w/ Crispy quinoa & Candied Pecans {Kiran Tarun}

Holiday Recipes {vegan}

Apple Parsnip Mash {peace.love.quinoa}
Cauliflower Rice {Delighted Momma}
Roasted Garlic & Dill White Bean Dip {how sweet it is}
Beet, Fennel, & Lime Pate {bold VEGAN}
Roasted Carrots & Beets with Thyme {Culinary Colleen}

Holiday Recipes {vegan}

 Caramelized Onion & Apple Chutney {peace.love.quinoa}
Creamed Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms {Leslie Durso}
Cabbage Chips {V.K. Rees Photography}
Green Beans with Lemon-Almond Pesto {Oh My Veggies}
Butternut Squash & Mushroom Tart {the Tomato Tart}

Holiday Recipes {vegan}

Homemade Candy Cane Joe Joe’s {peace.love.quinoa}
Almond coconut Date Globes {Nutrition Stripped}
Cranberry Ginger Pull Apart Bread {Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes}
Oven Roasted Apple Cinnamon Chips {Pinch & Swirl} 
Bread Pudding with Eggnog Cream Sauce {peace.love.quinoa}

Holiday Recipes {vegan}

Vanilla Vodka Chai Tea {peace.love.quinoa}
Peppermint Drinking Chocolate {Minimalist Baker}
Pomegranate Apple Satsuma Spiced Cooler {Vegan Richa}
Apple Cider Sangria {Eat Drink Shop Love}
Mulled Wine {Peaceful Dumpling}

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