Nov
27

Here is the situation: (maybe this happened to you on Thanksgiving) You’re preparing to bake, you know that you have most ingredients on hand like the sugar, vanilla extract, and flour, but you need to run to the grocery for a few things like pecans and pumpkin puree. (follow me?) You get to the store and you begin to question yourself, “DO I have flour at home or did I use it all up….. I can’t remember so I’ll buy another bag…” You get home to find out that you have not one, but two bags of flour on-hand, both bags open, both bags taking up space…… 

I HATE having open bags of flour and sugar and “stuff” hanging around…. ESPECIALLY when there are duplicates. I just don’t have space for that kind of mess. PLUS, there are different types of flour that can’t be combined. Sigh. The struggle.

DIY Quinoa Flour

I recently learned how to make my own flour, IT’S SO EASY. I learned how to make flour from gluten-free items like oats, quinoa, and nuts which are all ingredients I keep on-hand. In this blog post, I’m going to explain how to make flour from quinoa, but the process is very similar for oats and nuts.

A few things that excite me:
Making quinoa flour is much more cost-effective than buying quinoa flour.
I no longer have to keep bags and bags of flour on-hand, now I can make my own flours, as needed, with the ingredients I already have on-hand.

DIY Quinoa Flour

Quinoa flour is made by grinding quinoa seeds in to a fine powder or flour. It looks and feels like all-purpose flour and can be used in a variety of different baking recipes including muffins, breads, cookies, pies, and crisps, among others. It can also be used in soups, stews, and gravies as a thickening agent or added to smoothies as a protein boost.

Quinoa Flour: DIY
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups organic quinoa
  • clean coffee grinder
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse the quinoa through a fine mesh sieve for about 1 minute and then dry the quinoa as much as possible.
  3. On an ungreased, rimmed baking sheet, bake the quinoa at 350F for 12-15 minutes until dry, slightly golden and fragrant then cool completely.
  4. Put about ¼ cup of the quinoa seeds in to the coffee grinder, and pulse to grind the quinoa. Shake the grinder every few pulses to ensure an even grind.
  5. Repeat this process until all of the quinoa is finely ground.
DIY Quinoa Flour

What you need to know about Quinoa Flour:  

  • It is important to rinse your quinoa to remove the naturally occurring chemical, saponin that is found on the external seed coating of the quinoa. Removing the saponin will prevent a bitter taste.
  • I prefer to use TruRoots Quinoa because of their organic and sustainable farming initiatives, the beautiful packaging, and I find the flavor and quality of their products superior to others.
  • Quinoa has a distinct nutty, earthy flavor which makes it perfect for recipes with bold flavors // think molasses, cocoa, nuts, strong spices, and autumnal flavors.
  • Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, high in protein, low carb, and nutritious.
  • Unlike many gluten-free flours, you do not need to add xanthin or guar gum to make quinoa “work” in recipes. (win!)
  • Be sure to use a clean coffee grinder to make quinoa flour, I would recommend having a coffee grinder just for grinding flours and spices, separate from the grinder you have for coffee. Using a food processor or blender is not effective in making flours. Coffee grinders can be inexpensive to purchase, you can find them for under $20.

Love

Crista


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


Jul
19

Curry Cauliflower Salad

I really really enjoy eating from the salad bar at Whole Foods – in fact, there have been many nights that I’ve “gone to dinner” there. Often times, I’d rather eat that salad bar versus going to a restaurant. I remember one time my mom was visiting me in Chicago shortly after the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park opened up. I took her there to show it off as if it were a Chicago Landmark.”Look at the wine bar!! oohhh ahhhh” “Look at the salad bar!! ooooooohh ahhhhhh” “Look at the make-your-own-trail-mix-station!!!!” She’s all like “mmmhmmm….”

Anyway, the point is: I LOVE me some Whole Foods. Sometimes I make the MOST PERFECT salad combinations there and I get pissed at myself if I don’t remember what it was, when it’s THAT good I want to duplicate it, and/or share it with someone else who could totally appreciate it.On one of my recent visits, I made one of those MOST PERFECT salad combinations and DID remember all of the ingredients and now I’m sharing it with someone (you) who can appreciate it.

This salad is not complicated to make, but does require the round-up of a few ingredients. AND it requires you to curry some cauliflower, which is best to do about 1 hour before you are serving the salad.

Curried Cauliflower Salad
Author: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • ¾ cup cauliflower, chopped
  • ½ cup broccoli, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup quinoa, cooked
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ an avocado, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a small baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with the coconut oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes until they are softened and slightly brown, stirring every few minutes.
  4. After removing the cauliflower from the oven, allow them to cool for at least 15-20 minutes before tossing them with all of the other veggies to create the salad.
  5. Dress the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to taste. Sprinkle the salad with a pinch of curry powder, if your heart desires.
  6. Toss and serve.

Curried Cauliflower Salad

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


Dec
06

Aveda Tea

Brrrr, it’s chilly outside – the time of year well-suited for a cup of hot tea to maintain warmth has arrived. While I complain about the weather, I get excited to wrap up in my scarves, fuzzy socks, and over-sized sweaters and I find  pleasure in sipping warm drinks – I’ll do anything to keep cozy. 

Aveda TeaAveda Tea 

My all-time favorite tea to drink (going on a few years now) is a tea made by the haircare company, Aveda. The ingredients of the tea (licorice root, peppermint) don’t typically represent the types of flavors I prefer, however the combination that makes up this tea is absolutely to die for. I like that the tea is naturally sweet, I would never even consider adding sweetener to it – it simply doesn’t need it. It is caffeine-free, which is nice because I can drink it before bedtime. AND one of the best things about this tea is that it is good hot, warm, OR cold. Have you ever had a cup of hot tea that is less appealing after it’s gotten cold? Not this tea, it is just as good cold (or at room temp) as it is hot. Did I mention that it is 100% organic? (bonus)

Aveda Tea

 “If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited it will calm you.” 
{William Ewart Gladstone}

Love

Crista


Nov
26

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

I am obsessed with Thanksgiving this year. Over the last few days, I’ve made at least one Thanksgiving-ish dish every day. Apple Parsnip Mash, Honeycrisp Apple JuiceBreakfast Quinoa and these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes are among some of those dishes. 

I’m taking advantage of the Brussels Sprouts season this year, there are several dishes that I plan on making with them – including a dish that I’m going to make for Thanksgiving. My favorite way to prepare Brussels Sprouts is roasting them with different seasonings and flavors, but for my Thanksgiving feast, I am going to use them in a salad, raw…. combined with kale. (YUM, right?) 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 pound red seedless grapes, halved
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the brussels sprouts and grapes with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast until caramelized and tender, about 20-30 minutes.

 Happy Holiday Season my friends! xo

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

Love

Crista


Nov
19

honeycrisp apple juice

One of my favorite fruits to eat are Honeycrisp Apples, there is something about the firm texture of the apple that makes it desirable to bite in to and each bite is bursting with a sweet, tart flavor. Every time I bite in to a Honeycrisp, it feels like a special occasion. Satisfaction.

On a recent trip to Whole Foods, I purchased a bottle of fresh-squeezed Honeycrisp apple juice and it was to die for! I had never thought to juice Honeycrisp apples ONLY to make a juice! It was super sweet, and indulgent. I had to have more so I decided to make some at home. I juiced 3-4 Honeycrisps, which made enough juice for one large serving that I kept all for myself. It’s not a “cheap” juice to make, but it’s WORTH IT!! 

FUN FACT: Honeycrisp Apples were developed and released in Minnesota in 1991, and I first started eating Honeycrisp apples when I lived in Minnesota 7-8 years ago! I never paid much attention to the fact that I was first introduced to them in the region that produces them. They have recently become very popular and are easy to find throughout the entire country.

honeycrisp apple juice

Love

Crista


Oct
29

spaghetti squash
I love love love love love me some spaghetti. psghetti. However you say it. BUT. I try to not eat too much pasta. Ok. Sometimes I don’t care. When I get a craving for pasta, I MUST eat pasta. I’m not unlike anyone else.

I will never forget the day that I was introduced to spaghetti squash. A coworker of mine was in the break room at work eating spaghetti squash slathered in butter and parmesan cheese. I almost didn’t believe that she wasn’t eating spaghetti. The squash looks exactly like spaghetti! Well, not exactly. (I was young) 

spaghetti squash

So years ago, after I saw that woman eating her spaghetti squash, I decided to make spaghetti with spaghetti squash and it’s been a meal I’ve been making ever since. It’s easy, cheap, and healthy.

I cut my spaghetti squash in half and roast it in the oven for 25-30 minutes OR I microwave it for about 5-8 minutes. I like to add a little olive oil, salt, and pepper prior to roasting. I make sure the squash gets soft enough that I can pull the strands away from the skin, but before doing that I discard the seeds and pulp. I’m careful to not burn myself as I remove the strands – ouch!

While the squash is still hot, I top it with spaghetti sauce and vegan meatballs and voila! dinner is served.

spaghetti squash

Love

Crista


Sep
21

I can’t stop won’t stop.
ANOTHER post featuring ((drumroll)) ……TOMATOES!!!!

mushroom caprese-3

mushroom caprese-4
Here we have a Caprese Salad made with mushrooms instead of mozzarella cheese, which happens to be a legit substitute. ((keeping it raw and dairy-free!))
I’ve made it before ((and I’ll make it begin)) but I don’t remember where I got the idea…..

mushroom-caprese-salad
Ingredients used: home-grown tomatoes, sliced baby bella mushrooms, fresh cut basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. 

mushroom-caprese- salad

Don’t act like you’re not impressed. (i still am….)

Love

Crista


Aug
28

One of my favorite things about summer is gardening. There is nothing more rewarding than planting a tiny little seed or starter plant and then watching it grow in to a beautiful, mature, edible source of food.  I can walk through the garden and find tiny buds, soon-to-be fruits and walk through the very next day finding the fruits ready for harvest. The magnitude of growth that can happen overnight is wondrous.

Below are some of my favorite dishes that I made this year using ingredients fresh from my own organic backyard garden. What did you make with the vegetables and herbs growing in your garden?

watermelon gazpacho Watermelon Gazpacho

garden-salsa Spicy Garden Salsa

peach & tomato skewerPurple Haze Tomatoes & Peaches

Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad // peace. love. quinoaCucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad

ginger mint ice tea Ginger Mint Iced Tea

fried green tomatoes Fried Green Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomato Chutney
Heirloom Tomato Chutney

Chickpea & Tomato Salad with Fresh Basil Chickpea & Tomato Salad with fresh basil

Love

Crista