Jul
17

Crista's Garden

My garden. My outdoor sanctuary. I’ve blogged about it a time or two

Crista's Garden

This gardening season has been slow and daunting thus far. Too much rain,not enough rain. Too hot, not hot enough. Unfamiliar spaces, unfamiliar plants, trial & error, all things that I’ve dealt with this year.

Crista's Garden

FINALLY, just recently, I’m making progress & I’ve got some beautiful photos to prove it. A bragging moment: my yard is the most eye-catching on the block and I’m totally flaunting it.

Crista's Garden

My new friend Pam, The Brooklyn Farm Girl interviewed me and featured my beautiful sanctuary on her blog today, I’m excited to share it with you all. Click through to read the full interview and to see more photos of my garden space!!

BFG

Love

Crista


Nov
12

A few days ago, I got an e-mail explaining the final steps of my home purchase – that’s right, I’M BUYING A HOME. In Colorado. I thought I’d NEVER buy a home simply because up until this point I was never satisfied enough to plant roots. BUT, this is Colorado. Home. It’s good here. I think I was sent here to stay for a very long time. Shit is about to get real.

When I loved in Chicago, I was in a hurry to get things done, oh I rushed and rushed until life was no fun.
((“all I really wanna do is live and die, but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why”)) 
Yeah, it’s a song. you probably know it. Relatable to my life prior to my CO move. 
Colorado has taught me to slow down and enjoy life.

Everyone asks (jokingly) if I moved to Colorado because of legalized marijuana… which is weird because I’ve had never wanted anything to do with it my entire life. When people ask me that silly questions, I tell them “No, I moved to Colorado because it’s socially acceptable to drive a Subaru there.” They get all confused and shut up then. 

Rocky Mountains

My new home is further west of where I currently live, near the Highlands area which means easier (than ever) access to the MOUNTAINS !! Literally, a 20 minute drive puts me in the foothill. Yeeeeeeeeah babyyyyyy!!!

Deer Creek CanyonRed Rocks

On top of that, Red Rocks amphitheater is only 25 minutes away. Do you know about Red Rocks? It’s incredible – it’s a musicians DREAM to play there. And it’s my dream to see all of my favorite musicians there ((which is coming true)). During the day, the amphitheater is an outdoor gym – I can hardly keep up with the fitness fanatics in Colorado, but it sure is inspiring to watch them all. Walking up the steps to the amphitheater still takes my breath away (I’ll blame it on the altitude).

yoga-on-the-rocks

Oh, and – Yoga On The Rocks at Red Rocks – 

Beet Box Denver

Beet Box is the very first vegan restaurant cafe/restaurant and I wasn’t mad about it. Do you see that cinnamon roll? Served with a side of buttercream frosting, and I’m sitting on Cloud 9. I don’t go to Beet Box often enough, I need to get there again soon. Very soon.

steamboat springs, co

Luckily I met an awesome guy in Colorado (boyfriend!), he took me to Steamboat Springs to fall in l-o-v-e. We didn’t take many photos during that trip because we were busy relaxing, napping, and bathing in the hot springs. As a bonus, Jason Aldean & Luke Bryan own a restaurant in the Springs that we (OF COURSE) went to for some pre-dinner moonshine. Couldn’t eat dinner there, steakhouse (idk).

 

Glenwood Springs, Colorado 

That same awesome guy rode took a trip to Glenwood Springs with my dad & I. We didn’t do much, besides enjoy the mountains and hike Hanging Lake. You see, living in Colorado is cool because you can take a “vacation” in your own backyard – in 3 hours, I can be in a location where people spend their life savings to vacation at.

palisade-peaches

Near Glenwood Springs is a little town called Palisade. In Palisade, there are several wineries, vineyards, and fruit trees. Some of the best peaches I’ve ever had come from Palisade. I feel like no one knows about Palisade peaches besides Coloradans. All the more reason I feel lucky to be a Coloradan.

starter plants from Farmers Market

I got all of my starter plants for the garden at the Boulder Farmers Market this year. While the Boulder Farmers Market isn’t the most amazing farmers market I’ve ever been to, it may be the most adorable. Plus, it’s in Boulder, you couldn’t ask for a better location.

waterfalls, colorado

Oh, in between Red Rocks i Morrison and this cute little mountain town called Evergreen, there are waterfalls rolling down the mountain. It’s a pretty sweet little drive between the two towns. After hiking a trail at Red Rocks, my mom and I went up to Evergreen to visit a winery …(duh)…. When I talk about these waterfalls, I feel like I’m straight up bragging – I’ve never lived so close to a waterfall in my life.

North Table Mountain // Golden, CO

Those are real, legit cowboys. On top of North Table Mountain. Seriously, cowboys. On horses. and a cute little dog. Oh, and that view. My life is complete.

Ypsilon Lake //Rocky Mountain National Park

I have a friend whose family visits Estes Park a few times a year, and they spend a pretty penny doing it. I get to drive to Estes Park whenever I feel like it. I can hike all day, have a few beers at a local brewery, and still be home in time for dinner. Oh, and I don’t have to spend much money doing it. 

Mt. Evans, Colorado

One of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life is hike to 14,000 feet. It was not an easy task, however a satisfying one. On the way up, I told myself that I’d never volunteer to do such a thing again. After a few days of recovery, and reflection, I was anxious to do it again. There are 54 fourteeners in Colorado, and I’d love to climb them all (we’ll see how that goes….) and if all goes well, I’d love to climb Mount Kilimanjaro some day….

I could give you a million more reasons why I love Colorado, I’ve even blogged about some of them but I’ll stop here. I feel like I’m bragging. I can’t help it, I’m smitten with my new life.

Love

Crista


Sep
22

indian spiced smashed potatoes

i LOVE me some indian food. Especially GOOD indian food, which happens to be hard to find. Some of the best indian food I’ve ever had came from a small, unassuming little restaurant in suburban Chicago… I blogged about it HERE. Since I’ve been in CO, I’ve only made one attempt at eating indian food, it was a fast-food type restaurant and it was just OK. I’m still unsure of where to find good indian food around here – BUT where there is a will, there is a way.

I’ve recently been craving curry and indian spices, which prompted me to make these indian-spiced smashed potatoes. I found a few different recipes that I used as guidelines, but the recipe is different from all the others – I used what I had on-hand (yes, I keep all of these ingredients on hand!) The green chile pepper I used was picked out of the garden on Friday – I’m glad I got to use it before it shriveled up! (I didn’t think I’d get to!)

One of the reasons I keep all these spices on-hand, and one of my favorite things about making indian food at home, is due to the aroma that lingers. As I was making these potatoes, one of my neighbors stopped by to tell me how good my food smells. I rewarded him with a taste of the potatoes. (he loved!) I think I even read one time that making an indian meal with your partner is a great “date” idea – it stimulates the senses! hubba hubba TRUTH.

The idea of spiced, smashed potatoes is not a new one, but it is one that makes me excited. I hope ou can enjoy them as much as I do. 

indian spiced smashed potatoes

Indian-Spiced Smashed Potatoes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small bag baby potatoes, skin on
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño or green chili pepper, minced
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. tumeric
  • ¼ cup water
  • sea salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized pot, cover the potatoes with with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, sautee the pepper and onion in vegetable oil for a few minutes, until the onion is soft, but not caramelized.
  3. Push the onion & pepper mixture to the side of the pan. Add the mustard and cumin seeds to the middle of the pan and allow them to sizzle for a few moments. Stir the onion mixture in with the seeds.
  4. Add the potatoes to the pan, a few at a time and smash with a potato masher.
  5. Add the remainder seasoning and the water, cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates.
  6. Serve warm or hot.

indian spiced smashed potatoes

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
12

Strawberry Spinach Kiwi Smoothie

One of my favorite flavors as a kid was Strawberry Kiwi…. I’m not sure why I’ve abandoned it as an adult? Probably because I don’t chew bubble gum and eat snow cones like I used to. Anyway, I am ecstatic to introduce the Strawberry Kiwi flavor into my adult life.

This Strawberry Spinach Kiwi Smoothie was made with the following ingredients: 

1 kiwi
a handful of strawberries
1 frozen banana
a handful (or two) of spinach
1/2 lemon, juiced
3/4 cup orange juice
a squirt of agave nectar
a handful of ice (4-5 cubes)

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

I would recommend you consume this smoothie immediately, it doesn’t store well.
(The smoothie will turn brown if it sits for a period of time and that’s NO fun!)

Strawberry Spinach Kiwi Smoothie

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


Jan
12

Mini Pizzas

Don’t ask me how I got the idea to make these mini pizzas on Wasa Crispbreads, the idea came to me years ago. I was probably a young, single girl… looking for a quick meal to make, that wouldn’t take much effort… 

Wasa Crackers

I probably purchased these Wasa Crackers for the first time out of curiosity and then somehow discovered that I could use them to make pizzas. I’m not sure what else I would do with these crackers? When I see them they scream “MINI PIZZA” at me! 

Mini Pizzas

To make these mini pizzas, there are 3-4 things you need:
1. Wasa Crispbreads (any flavor you choose)
2. Pizza Sauce
3. a Variety of Veggies
4. Shredded Cheese (optional)

I tend to keep a jar of pizza sauce in the pantry and I keep either these Wasa Crispbreads on hand because pizza makes for a quick meal that you can whip up on nights that you just don’t feel like putting forth much effort. 

I’ve always got veggies laying around, so I use whatever I have to make these pizzas. Some of my favorite veggies to use on this pizza include: crushed garlic, onion, broccoli, corn, bell pepper, olives, and tomatoes

Mini Pizzas

It is quite easy to craft these Mini Pizzas: 
1. Warm the pizza sauce and line your crispbreads with it.
2. Add chopped veggies (& cheese) to the crispbreads.
3. Bake in the over at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Mini Pizzas

These Mini Pizzas are not only great for a quick, cheap meal but they would also work well as finger foods for parties and/or gatherings (Superbowl approaching!).

I can also imagine a “make-your-own pizza” night for kids OR adults.

Love

Crista


Dec
20

Bread Pudding with Eggnog Cream Sauce {vegan}

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

Bread Pudding with Eggnog Cream Sauce {vegan}

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

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

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

Bread Pudding with Eggnog Cream Sauce {vegan}

Love

Crista


Dec
17

Garlicky Lemon Brussels Sprouts

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

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

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

Oh, and PS. EASY.

Garlicky Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Garlicky Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Love

Crista


Dec
16

a friend of mine mentioned that she purchased two bunches of kale for the first time and she wasn’t quite sure how to use it, so she came to me for some ideas. here you have it, 5 of my favorite kale recipes!

garlicky kale + white bean stewGalicky Kale + White Bean Stew

cream of kale & leek soupCream Of Leek & Kale Soup

Stewed Tomatoes Quinoa & KaleStewed Tomatoes with Kale & Quinoa

Favorite Kale SaladMy Favorite Kale Salad

colorful kale salad with jalapeñoColorful Kale Salad + Jalapeños

Love

Crista