Feb
10

Sun Basket

If you know me at all or follow me on social media, you know that I don’t stay in one place for very long. I refer to my house as a crash pad or a transition zone because I’m on-the-go so often it seems like the only things I can accomplish in my home are unpacking, repacking, a little laundry, sleep, a random shuffle through the fridge, and then I’m out the door again.

Any dweller in Colorado who enjoys the outdoors as much as I do shares a similar lifestyle, we live for moving around.

Sun Basket

The challenge I experience with a transient lifestyle are all of the inconsistencies that come along with it. I tend to lose stuff easily (did I leave it in a hotel room or did the washing machine eat it while I was gone?), I use Hulu to keep up with the shows that I miss out on while I’m on the road, and I come home to spoiled food in my fridge. I’d like to think that my home looks “neat” but in reality it probably looks like a tornado came through. (dramatization)

Sun Basket

Sun Basket contacted me at the begin of the year and offered to send me 3 complimentary recipes + all of the ingredients needed to make those recipes. I almost declined because I was on the road for 2 weeks in January but they agreed to hold off until early this month. 

I can’t even begin to describe the excitement I experienced when I came home to fresh, organic, healthy, non-gmo food to fill my empty refrigerator. Often times when I travel, I come home starved, with no energy to find food, which leads to “hanger.” That’s the way of the world today, isn’t it? Not many of us actually have time to shop for, prepare, and enjoy a healthy, comforting meal often, let alone every day. Each of the meals I received from Sun Basket took less than 30 minutes to prepare which enabled me a few healthy meals on days I would have just eaten to get by.

Sun Basket

As you can see in the photos, the produce provided by Sun Basket was fresh, beautiful, and flawless. The recipes were simple and easy to follow. The meals were abundant enough for leftovers. 

Sun Basket has plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options available for ordering, which makes me happy. Couscous Stuffed Squash with Arugula Orange Salad, Lemongrass Tofu with Coconut Black Rice, Sweet Potato Fritters with Brussels Sprouts Salad, and Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Naan Croutons are a few examples of the complex meals that Sun Basket has available.

Sun Basket

I get the sense that Sun Basket cares about where their food comes from and which farmers they buy from. Their suppliers work with integrity, they value sustainable farming practices, have respect for the environment, and practice humane treatment of animals.

Sun Basket is also making the effort to reduce the impact on the environment with their packaging, their return program that allows you to send back the insulation liner and icepack for reuse.

Thanks to Sun Basket, PLQ readers receive $30 off your Sun Basket order! Smiles.

***Although Sun Basket provided me complimentary meals, all opinions about the food, recipes, and the company are my own. 

Love

Crista


Jul
01

bees-in-the-garden

A few weeks ago, I spotted a beehive while walking through the neighborhood. I had stopped to observe a swarm of bees buzzing through my neighbors flower bed – just as I do every day. On that particular day, I noticed more bees than usual. I looked up in to the tree and that is when I noticed the beehive. It was THE COOLEST THING I had ever seen. Ok, maybe not THE COOLEST, but kind of. It is rare to see beehives in urban neighborhoods (I think). I’ve only come face-to-face with a beehive on a farm or at a zoo – but they were always protected my glass. And now that I think about it, I wonder where urban bees hang out when they’re not buzzing through the flower and garden plots. 

I wanted to take photos of that beehive, but I wasn’t armed and ready with my camera (I was walking the dog) so I went back to the tree a few hours later WITH my camera to find the beehive had disappeared. I was devastated, perplexed. Where the hell did it go? I asked a few neighbors who were out working in the yard, they had no idea what I was talking about and they hadn’t seen a thing. Apparently, an active beehive can completely disappear without anyone taking notice. Made me sad. Still makes me sad….

bees-in-garden

Since becoming a gardener, I have obtained a slight obsession with bees. I’d even like to try raising honeybees (do I live on a farm?? Up until I started gardening, I thought of bees as being obnoxious and harmful (my dad is allergic to bee stings – it is NOT pretty in the event that it happens…) Now I see them as awe-inspiring and instrumental in the success of my garden. There was a time in my life that I would run away from bees and/or swat at them but I have realized that they are fairly harmless. The photos in this blog post were taken by myself, you can see how close I got to them – I was all up in their grill. They hardly even noticed I was there – and if they did, I don’t think they cared – if I was swatting at them, I’m sure it’d be a different story.

bees-in-garden-2

As a gardener, I realize that bees have the potential to indicate whether or not the garden will show success or failure. Last year, my garden was surrounded by flowers but for the first time this year, I planted a flower garden with the intention of attracting honeybees. I want moooore! 

Anyway, maybe you’ve heard the news that bees are in trouble. They are being wiped out by pesticides and pollution. It’s not good. IF you see a bee, find peace instead of fear. Do not swat at them or kill them, WE NEED THEM. Stop using pesticides and chemicals in our garden if you are currently – I am proud to say that I maintain a pesticide/chemical-free garden.

Sources: 
Labor Of Love – The Importance of Bees
Eco-Friendly Gardening: The Importance of Bees and attracting them to your Garden
Beneficial Insects: Your Garden’s Most Powerful Allies
Planting A Bee Friendly Garden

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


Aug
08

We have sooooooo many tomato plants this year, seven to be exact.
(Hey! That’s a lot of tomatoes!)
Despite a little scare with a hornworm on one of the plants, every single one of our tomato plants is healthy and producing. Our cherry tomato plant has at least 50-75 tomatoes on it, no joke! 

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

I found another hornworm yesterday, but I didn’t get my panties in a bunch this time. I pulled him right off and squished him before he had time to do much damage. Wanna know how I knew he was there? I saw a moth fluttering away from the tomato plant as I approached – dead giveaway. 

tomato hornworm

I am in LOVE with Fried Green Tomatoes,
(The Southern & Whiskey Kitchen hooked me with their Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches)
but never knew they were so easy to make.
I guess the trickiest part is finding the green tomato? Grocery stores & markets sell ripe, red tomatoes not greens.

fried green tomatoes
 Fried Green Tomatoes make for the perfect side-dish to any southern comfort-type meal OR you could use them in a sandwich. We made a meal out of these Fried Green Tomatoes, Black-Eyed Peas, Jalapeno Cornbread, and some Sweet Tea. Yum. 

fried green tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 green tomatoes, cut in to ⅛-inch slices (we used an heirloom tomato)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons regular unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • vegan butter (Earth Balance) for frying
  • dijon mustard (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a shallow, wide dish, whisk together the almond milk & lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In another shallow, wide dish, combine cornmeal, sugar, black pepper, and seasoned salt.
  3. Dip the tomatoes in to flour, then the milk mixture, and finally the cornmeal mixture; turning to coat each side.
  4. Melt vegan butter in a frying pan over medium heat. In a single layer, put the breaded tomato slices in the pan and fry until golden brown; turning to cook each side.

 Serve with dijon mustard or ​a chutney.
fried green tomatoes

Love

Crista


Aug
06

We are finally reaping the benefits of growing a garden!
We have successfully grown onions, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and even a cucumber (that the bugs didn’t attack).
garden-salsa

tomatoes

jalapeno peppers

garden onions

garden

Chris gets excited about the tomatoes and peppers because he LOVES to make salsa. He’s pretty good at it, his salsa is ALWAYS delicious. Look, anything that comes from a home-grown organic garden is bursting with flavor & gratifying.  You see in the photos, Chris gathering all of the necessary ingredients for his {what he likes to think of “famous”} salsa. 

garden vegetables

garden-salsa

Christopher's Spicy Garden Salsa
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large tomatoes (or a handful or small tomatoes), chopped
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro
  • the juice from one lime
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse the processor until you’ve reached desired consistency.
  2. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste.
  3. Serve immediately or store chilled for 3-4 days.

garden-salsa

Love

Crista


Jul
25

A few locals in Nashville recommended we visit East Nashville while visiting and that is exactly where we found the Wild Cow vegetarian restaurant. When I pictured Nashville, I didn’t visualize a vegan-friendly city but the Wild Cow was bomb. I was so delighted to find a vegetarian restaurant in Nashville!!! 

Wild Cow

Wild Cow

Wild Cow
Crista’s #1 Rule when visiting a new restaurant: Check out dessert first.
Look at these picture-perfect mouth-watering cupcakes made by Khan’s Vegan Bakery.
Uhm, yum.

Wild Cow

Wild Cow

The best Kombucha I’ve had to date is that Buchi Water, which I was told is a “best seller” at Wild Cow. After googling around the internet, it looks like the “Water” flavor is fairly new (maybe 1 year old).  Interesting what Buchi has to say about this flavor on their website:

Cool and effortless, Buchi Water is the penultimate flavor in our elemental series. We blend our kombucha with coconut water, blueberry, watermelon and two powerful medicinals–bridging Eastern and Western folk traditions. Schizandra Berry is a Chinese adaptogen once available only to emperors. Elderberry is the “Elder of the Herbs” treasured by Native American and European cultures. The element of Water is the deep, universal essence of life, the endless flowing stream of experiences, and the sweet release of letting go…

Wild Cow
Check out my beautiful, blonde, non-vegan friend Laura, enjoying a tofu scramble and tempeh for the very first time in her life! She loved it.

Wild Cow
Ok, tofu scramble + the most galicky kale I’ve ever eaten = GENIUS.
The maple flavored tempeh we had was good too, but I’m not usually a fan of tempeh.

Wild Cow

Wild Cow

Quite possibly one of the most moist vegan cupcakes (besides my own) that I’ve ever had was this Banana Cream Cupcake with sprinkles on top. It literally melted in my mouth. 

Wild Cow

The Wild Cow
1896 Eastland Ave
Nashville, TN 37206
615.262.2717

 

Love

Crista


Jun
15

We’ve been there before, several times….. the most memorable time that grandma was with us.
Grandpa always agrees to take me to one of my (our) favorite vegan restaurants ever.
Dandelion Communitea Cafe

dandelion communitea cafe

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ we fell in love with the “Tea Of The Day” – a passionfruit blend sweetened with agave nectar^^

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ grandpa sipped on the Chai Cola which Grandma fell in love with on her visit ^^
{you can see a photo of Grandma & I drinking the Chai Cola in this post}

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ Soup Of The Day: Mushroom & Potato Bisque ^^
{heaven}

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ Grandpa & I crafted a Salad topped with banana, quinoa, carrots, broccoli, raisins, and a Coconut Peanut Dressing ^^

dandelion communitea cafe

^^Chris had the Buffalo 66, cashew encrusted tempeh tenders with buffalo wing sauce and bleu cheese ^^

dandelion communitea cafe

dandelion communitea cafe

^^ VEGAN CUPCAKES! Tiramisu & Mixed Berry Marble ^^

dandelion communitea cafe

Dandelion Communitea Cafe
618 N Thornton Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
407.362.1864

Love

Crista


Mar
19

In an earlier post, I shared my story about my journey as a vegetarian/vegan.

I know that it is not easy to make this transition, especially if you’ve been living off of meat & potatoes. One of the first questions asked about the vegetarian lifestyle is “what do you eat?”

Every vegetarian meal you craft will take thought and planning. When you first begin this transition, it will be challenging but it will get easier as you practice and become familiar with your new options.

 Check out the recipes below. They are some of my favorites, AND they are simple, delicious, and require few ingredients.

The more skilled you become at creating veg meals, the more ingredients/spices you will add and the more creative you will become in the meal-making process.

What you see below my friends, is what vegans eat.

Love

Crista


Nov
23

The essence of autumn has me craving foods of the orange and green varieties; butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, kale, zucchini, and broccoli. I yearn for comfort foods that warm the soul; soups, stews, and  apple pie. It’s the time of year to divulge exotic seasonings that will take your soups, stews, and rices from bland and bleak to complex and flavorful.

Mushroom Barley Soup

Lately, I have been making soup 3 days a week and I am sharing one of the recipes in a guest post I wrote for Rock Salt today. The soup is a Mushroom Barley with kale and carrots. It is one of my favorite soups, reminiscent of fall. Check out Rock Salt for the recipe.

The base of all of the soups I’ve made lately consist of my homemade vegetable broth. Just recently I’ve learned how EASY it is to make the broth.

Step 1: You’re going to need some vegetable trimmings.

You can use the insides of a bell pepper, carrot tops, broccoli stems, beet trimmings, the spine/stalk of kale, etc. ANYTHING that you would cut off of your fruits & veggies prior to eating them can be used to make the broth. You have the option to use variety of fruits as well including the core of an apple, the rind of an orange/lemon/lime, the core of a pear, persimmon trimmings, the core of an apricot, etc.

Lately, I’ve been juicing every morning. All of the pulp I have left over after juicing is used for my vegetable broth. I also use all of the trimmings from the juiced fruits and vegetables for the broth.

Fruits & Veggies

Step 2: Put the vegetable trimmings in a big pot of water and boil for 10-15 minutes.

vegetable broth

Step 3: Strain the vegetable trimmings out of the water.

vegetable broth

Voila.
Use your vegetable broth immediately, or store in the refrigerator for use within 3-4 days. If you are not going to use the broth within a week, you can store it in the freezer.

Love

Crista