I’m in slight denial that summer has come to an end but I know it’s real. The leaves have begun to change (the mountains are BEAUTIFUL right now) and each morning seems to be slightly chillier than the previous. When I’m out watering the garden in the morning, I’m bundled up in a small blanket or a hooded sweater instead of bare skinned, flip flops, and tank tops.
Although I mourn the loss of a summer that could have, should have, would have packed more activities and experiences had I had more time but I’m ready, ready to move on. Ready for new beginnings. Ready to hunker down, cozy under blankets, drink wine, lots of wine, and eat warm, comforting foods.
As I scroll through the archives in this blog, each recipe stirs up a memory of what was happening in my life at the time I was preparing and serving that dish. I share with you the recipes that comforted me this morning, and brought warm thoughts, the dishes that I’ll prepare this season to stir nostalgia and create new memories.
We had plans to go snowboarding in the mountains today, but it’s going to be 81 degrees in Denver! there is no way I’m talking away from one of the most beautiful spring days a girl could ask for. I’m going to take the opportunity to work in my yard, I’m going to paint my garden shed, hang a hammock, and potentially re-finish a park bench that I thrifted.
We are spoiled in Denver, we have had the most mild winter, most days not even requiring a jacket. With the weather as mild as it is, I want to be outdoors, riding my bike, jogging the lake, hiking..
With the weather as mild as it is, I haven’t had cravings for as many heavy, warm meals. I’ve kept it light, and fresh, and raw, and colorful. (colorful because Colorado is NOT colorful during the winter – the downside)
A few months ago, I sat down and listed out some foods that I could keep around the house that would allow me to make quick, healthy, nourishing meals. I haven’t been into much “cooking” lately, because of the weather and the “Colorado” active lifestyle. “Time” is an issue for many of us, it’s something that we never seem to have enough of.
Today, I am sharing the meals, snack, and sweets that I have found fit my current lifestyle. I hope to someday be ready to get back in the kitchen to throw down on some badass meals, but in the present moment, I’m too busy in the outdoors to spend a lot of time in the indoors.
1. VEGGIE WRAPS For veggie wraps, I keep tortillas, a variety of veggies, and either some type of sauce or dressing on hand. What I like about tortilla wraps, is that they can be different every time – I can add whatever veggies I’m craving for the day, some spinach or arugula if I have some on hand, and then a sauce – which could be hummus, pesto, a vinaigrette, or even salsa.
2. VEGGIES + HUMMUS
If I don’t have time to craft a wrap (ugh, that time factor!), I’ll quick grab a few veggies and dip them in whatever flavor hummus I have on hand. (hummus is something that I try to ALWAYS keep on hand) This snack is super easy to travel with. A Quick Tip: keep a few veggies chopped and ready-to-eat in the fridge.
I have found frozen edamame and several different grocery stores, my favorite being Trader Joe’s. The beauty of frozen edamame is that it takes almost zero time to prep – sprinkle it with sea salt and warm it in the microwave for a few second – voila. For dipping, I keep a mason jar of soy sauce marinating with a clove of garlic and a few pieces of cut ginger – the longer the spy sauce marinates, the better it tastes.
If you’re keeping fresh veggies on hand, then it won’t be hard to craft a salad. Although I typically like to make my own salad dressings, I keep a Tessemae’s Salad Dressing on hand at all times just in case. (my favorite is the Lemon Garlic) If I don’t have many veggies on hand, I’ll dress arugula with the Lemon Garlic Dressing and eat a big bowl of that as a meal – it’s good and green! A few salad combinations that I love: Banana Fantasy Salad, Kale Salad, Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad.
5. POWER BOWLS
Combine veggies, nuts, cooked quinoa or rice, and a dressing or a pesto to make a power bowl. I recently shared a recipe for a Power Bowl combination I have been eating – it included chopped carrots, zucchini, quinoa, kale, and coconut chips. Another Power Bowl combination I love includes pumpkin, soba noodles, and black beans (this one would take more time to prepare).
6. RICE & GREENS
I keep either cooked quinoa, cooked rice, or both on-hand most of the time. When I’m craving a more filling meal, I will sauté the rice or quinoa with whatever green veggie (kale, brussels, broccoli, kalettes) I have on hand. If I’m feeling saucy, I’ll add a dressing or a dollop of pesto for added flavor.
7. MASHED AVOCADO
Slice an avocado in half, mash the avocado meat with some spices like salt, pepper, paprika, onion, and garlic. A recipe that I love: Deviled Avocados
I like smoothies because they are packed with nutrients and can be taken on-the-go. They don’t fill me up for a long period of time, but they hold me over until I can get a real meal in, AND they offer me a burst of energy and make me feel alive. I have never made the same smoothie twice (maybe) because I always make them based on what I have on hand. Ingredients I might add to me smoothies include fruit (fresh or frozen, fruit juice (cranberry, apple, orange, pineapple) or nut milk, flax seed or a protein powder, and a green (kale, spinach, or avocado). A few recipes: Berry + Kale, Avocado Pineapple, Tart Green Apple, Carrot Mango.
As I was checking in for a yoga class last week, the instructor handed me a post-it note and asked me to write down one word that I wanted to commit to for that particular class but also for the entire year.
I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, because they are hard to stick to, they get forgotten about, and I don’t necessarily need/want to make any drastic changes. Instead, I consciously make decisions, on a daily basis, that will benefit and enhance the person that I already am. I try to make decisions that will improve my well-being, but just like everyone else I make bad decisions – I recognize them, don’t beat myself up over them, and get back on track as quickly as I can.
On my little post-it note that the yoga instructor handed to me, I wrote “maintain health and wellness”. Maintaining health and wellness is not hard to do, it’s the time and commitment that’s hard. My commitment to myself this year is that I will STAY committed and continue allowing myself the time – making my health and well-being my #1 priority.
Luckily, I have an awesome boyfriend who is supportive of my commitments and has committed to his own health and well-being as well. I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who are share the same goals, desires, and hobbies as yourself. I once heard someone say that you are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with and I completely agree. I took a look at the people I was surrounded by and realized that I had some negativity and bad energy in my circle – I got rid of them and can proudly say that my 5 people, the people I hang out with most often are positive, healthy, happy. successful individuals. I do realize that I became more happy, healthy, and successful when I changed my circle.
Below are a few more things that I like to do and/or recommend my friends do in order to maintain my health and well-being:
Yoga is an exercise for your mental health, physical body, and spirit. It completely transforms your mind and body. Yoga helps to relieve stress, tension, muscle ache, heart ache, and anxiety. Yoga leads to meditation, which will help clear your mind and allow you to think more clearly.
After a yoga practice, I feel like I’m glowing inside and out.
On different days, I choose different types of yoga for different reasons – no matter what is going on in my life, no matter what my needs are, yoga is ALWAYS relevant.
Yoga is also about community – when you visit a yoga studio, you will find positive energy, make new friends, and leave will a feeling of fulfillment. When I meet fellow yogi’s, I’m always interested to hear their story – I know there is one, and I know it’ll always be a good one.
Whether you are an athlete, non-athletic, spiritual, or not, flexible, or not, there is a yoga practice that will enhance your lifestyle, through words, meditation, or physical practice – I promise you that.
Green smoothies are the bomb! Looking at them, one may think they won’t be tasty, however when blended with sweet fruits, the taste of the healthy greens is disguised.
Green smoothies have a multitude of benefits including: an increased intake of fiber, an increased intake of fruits & veggies, natural weight loss, hydration, increased energy, mental clarity, clearer skin, reduced cravings, and overall better body function.
To kickstart health & wellness this year, one of the best things you can do is ditch the morning coffee and replace it with a healthy green smoothie!
New Year, New You, right?
We’ve all been there, and we’ve all said it.
We all also talk about getting in shape for bikini season.
Do yourself a favor this year, and don’t wait until bikini season to get in shape – start NOW!
There are so many fun things you can do in the winter months to stay in shape: hot yoga, indoor rock climbing, indoor swimming pools (+ sauna & hot tub!), or get a Class Pass… and since you’ll be indoors more during the cold months, it’s the perfect time to get more familiar with your kitchen and do some healthy cooking!
My boyfriend is a tri-athlete and trains hard during the season, then typically takes some time off during the off-season. This year, he decided to not take any time off so that when Tri Season approached, he wouldn’t have to get “back in shape.” I like his style, and am inspired by it.
PLAN ACTIVE VACATIONS / WELLNESS RETREATS!
We all know that vacations/getaways are necessary for your mind, your sanity, and productivity. Your mind and body both need breaks from routine. And anyway, life should be about having some fun! If you work, work, work, and never play – what’s the point? My favorite thing to do is go on vacation, or even take quick 1-3 day getaways. I feel like I’m winning when I allow myself the opportunity to do something different than I’ve ever done, go somewhere I’ve never gone, or even just do something out of my ordinary. I have made it my job to plan my vacations around eating healthy food, doing yoga somewhere new, being active, and experiencing something different than the typical traveler would experience. I also like to relax, unwind, beach, and enjoy a cocktail or two
When planning your next vacation, think about a place that offers hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, or fitness in the park.
If you’re booking a beach vacation, pack a pair of goggles so you can swim a few laps every day.
Look for yoga events, yoga on the beach, or yoga on a stand-up paddle board.
If you’re not near a beach, find a local state park, a cool place to hike, or even a local gym.
Regardless of where you go, there are always fun ways to keep yourself active, you’ve just got to look for them!
EAT CLEAN FOODS!
In my opinion, there is no better gift that you can give yourself than feeding your body healthy, wholesome foods. The reason is obvious: You Are What You Eat.
The day I chose to change my lifestyle, start eating healthier, and to stop eating meat is the same day that I picked up books and started reading. Then I started following blogs, and I sought-out like-minded people. The day my boyfriend decided he wanted to be a pro triathlete is the day he subscribed to magazines and joined groups of like-minded people.
Living a healthy lifestyle does not come naturally to everyone – and that’s ok. Before I knew what I know now, I didn’t know that I didn’t know it. I know what I know now because I sought out the information. I spend a few hours (minimum) every week reading blogs, books, and magazines that fall in line with the lifestyle that I want to live, that I am living.
Doods. So I went to Trader Joe’s two weeks ago and they were on pumpkin-overload. I swear to you that every single item in the store was pumpkinized. I wasn’t mad about it however I did end up spending a lot more money that day than I normally do. (I mean, hellloooooo pumpkin cinnamon rolls that aren’t even vegan but I’ll buy anyway because: pumpkin)
I walked in to the store yesterday to find that the shelf that was once pumpkinized had been reverted back to the same ole “new items in stock” that… I’m still not mad about. BUT, what the hell happened to all the pumpkin stuff?? Halloween is over but Thanksgiving is not. I have very high standards on how long you need to keep pumpkin goodies in stock and I’m pissed when you reduce inventory after Halloween. Can ya dig?
To make up for the lack of pumpkin goodies on shelves of TJ’s across the country, I bring you this post that is chock-full of vegan pumpkin recipes. You may want to bookmark it and refer back to it every year between Halloween & Thanksgiving when grocery stores assume it time to remove the pumpkin and introduce the Christmas candy. No one is ready for Christmas candy, anyway. We’re still trying to eat up that Halloween candy…
ThePumpkin Spice Cakefrom Vegan Yumminess looks super moist and full of fragrant spices. Put this cake in the oven, and I bet you’d have the entire house smelling like heaven. Pumpkin heaven, that is.
ThisPumpkin Chai Shakefrom real kids eat spinach recommends you freeze pumpkin in ice cube trays and blend it with awesome ingredients like chai tea and fragrant spices. (who would have thought to blend pumpkin into a shake, let alone freeze it in ice cube trays?? – GENIUS)
Larabars. We’ve all had them. Every time I empty my purse, I find a beat up Larabar at the bottom. I always keep (at least) one on hand to ensure I never starve. Although I’ve got a lot of experience eating these vegan, raw, healthful bars, I’ve never made them. Not until I found this geniusPumpkin Pie Larabarsrecipeby eat, live, burp.
I thought myself to be a genius when I made a Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait inspired by something Martha Stewart did. It’s goooooood.
Isa Did It, just like she promised she would with thisChimichurri Pumpkin Bowl recipe in her book. I could hardly stand to photograph that meal – get.in.my.belly.
My favorite vegan grocery store, NOOCH is selling vegan pumpkin ice cream made by Sweet Action (a local Denver thing) but if they weren’t I’d make an attempt at the Pumpkin Ice Cream recipe from Minimalist Baker. Every recipe I have ever made from Minimalist Baker (SEVERAL!) has been flawless, and I’m sure this one would be no exception – they topped that ice cream with roasted pecans and coconut whipped cream (I mean, does it get any better than that??)
We’re not done yet.
I’m kind of obsessed with baking ingredients IN a pumpkin, then eating the entire thing. I’ve never done it but I will. Check out these Holiday Stuffed Pumpkins from Deliciously Ella. (and, actually – I’m putting the Green Kitchen Stories book on my wishlist)
“The BEST Pancakes I’ve ever had” says my boyfriend about the Pumpkin Spice Pancakes I made him. Recipe by Minimalist Baker (duh, flawless) Don’t top these with fake syrup – you better use pure maple syrup, it’s the only way to go. And anyway, GO, go make these now!
I could go on and on and on. But you must stop reading now and go make one of these recipes.
For the record, I made a triple batch of those Pumpkin Spice Pancakes and I put them in the freezer for “later” …which means I’ll have eaten three batches of Pumpkin Spice Pancakes in a 2-3 day time frame. Psh, my life doesn’t suck.
Do you have any vegan pumpkin recipes to share? Please do.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Colorado peaches are da bomb.
Have you ever had a short-lived obsession with a fruit or a food, and you eat it non-stop until you literally become sick of it?
Well, I’ve gone through at least 50+ peaches in the last month or two and I still can’t get enough. Maybe because I know that the peach season in Colorado is short so I’m trying to pack a years supply into a few months time??
Not only are the peaches good around here, there seems to be an unlimited supply of drool-worthy stone fruits that are grown locally in Colorado.
I’m not sure I’d ever heard the term “stone fruit” prior to moving to Colorado, and if so I didn’t pay it any attention. I’ve had fun getting-to-know and using the term at the most appropriate time.
Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries, and mangoes are all considered stone fruits because of a “stone” inside the fruit that is very large and hard. Often times the stone is referred to as the seed, which is incorrect – the seed is actually inside the stone.
I have found & used several “stone fruit” recipes this season, they make me happy.
I even had a peach & basil pizza recently! (I didn’t make that but I WOULD)
(so, as I write this post, I’m enjoying a vegan Colorado peach ice cream from Sweet Action)
(that was bragging – sorry)
(oh, and when this post goes live, I’ll be just a few miles from Palisade, CO picking up more peaches)
(more bragging – sorry)
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.
The holiday weekend, it seems as though EVERYONE is outside enjoying the weather and celebrating summer.
In the midst of things, I can’t stop thinking about all of the outdoor adventures I’d like to accomplish this summer.
I just booked a camping trip, I’ll be with friends at a cabin on a lake in Minnesota soon, and I’d like to picnic in the park…
….all this among the millions of other things I’d like to do before summer comes to an end.
The one thing I look forward to most when in preparation for these activities is plan the food situation.
((why do I love food so much??))
I looked through my blog posts for some ideas – here are the best options that pack & serve well for a picnic.
Where will you be picnicking this year? I’ll be at Wash Park…
I could eat salad on the daily and never get sick of it – there is something about the greens and vibrant colors that offers vitality and tickles the palate. Now that the weather has broken (HOPEFULLY we won’t get any more snow this season) I’ve stepped away from warm, comfort foods and I’m craving …SALADS….
I’m remaking some of the salads I’ve made in the past (I can’t stop with the Chickpea & Tomato Salad) – I’ve even been putting “salad” on top of black bean tostadas and grilled veggies. Basically, ever meal includes greens & fruits this time of year. I found a bunch of awesome salad recipes I plan on making in the near future – I couldn’t help but share.
During conversation with a few friends lately, I’ve discovered a common challenge for people in general is coming up “with what’s for dinner”. I share that challenge as well, especially as a single person cooking just for myself. I tend to only make 2-3 meals a week and I make sure I have enough for leftovers. Below, you will find 25 vegetarian/vegan recipes, most of which are fairly easy to make. I have already tried several of these dishes, and I will definitely be making the ones I haven’t tried yet.
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.