Nov
18

Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad

The Holiday season provides an opportunity to share time with the ones you love and to create and share beautiful meals with friends and family. I won’t be with family this year, but I will be with a few girlfriends and a couple cutie dogs, celebrating my first ever Friendsgiving. i.am.so.excited

We have so many plans, so much food to cook including Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie with marshmallows on top, a Butternut Squash Crisp, a Brussels Sprouts Gratin, a colorful Quinoa Salad (recipe below!), some Stuffing, a Green Bean Casserole, a Winter Squash PieCranberry Apple Sauce, and potentially even a Vegducken.

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year to gather and develop recipes because of all the beautiful colors and flavors that are associated with the fall season. As excited as I am to cook, I’m equally as excited to devour my friends’ home-cookin as well.

Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad

Most people that I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with are traditional meat-eaters and haven’t shown much interest in my plant-based dishes so every year in the prior years, I’ve created an extraordinary plant-based Thanksgiving meal on Black Friday for myself and whoever was willing to share it with me. This year, I’m going to share my plant-based meals with my friends ON THANKSGIVING. // another reason I am SO excited.

TruToots Quinoa

This beautiful Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad will be one of the dishes I craft and share at my Friendsgiving Celebration this year. The salad combines a healthful Sprouted Quinoa, colorful pistachios and pomegranate seeds, and a ginger-citrus vinaigrette that offers an unexpected flavor and scent.

I take pride in the dishes I serve, especially around the Holiday season, I will only use the finest of ingredients to create the biggest shared feast of the year.

Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad

The construction of this salad is quite simple, it can be done in just a few minutes. First, you start with the quinoa. I prefer to use truRoots Sprouted Quinoa because it is moist, fluffy, and sweet. Color is provided by the pomegranate seeds, orange slices, and roasted pistachios. The most labor-intensive part of crafting this salad is making the dressing, although once you’ve gathered all of the ingredients it’s simple to blend them all together (and can be done in advance!).

I love the idea of having truRoots products on my Thanksgiving table because their mission statement mirrors my Thanksgiving goals: “We are passionate about offering the best organic food while doing our part to better the world around us. In doing so, we help bring more families together for memorable meals and moments.” 

With jewel-toned colors, irresistible fragrances, delectable foods, amazing friends, belly laughs, shared stories, belly rubs (the dogs, not us silly!), classic movies, and coexistence, I look forward to the memorable meals and moments that will be made.

Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad
5.0 from 1 reviews
a Pomegranate Pistachio Quinoa Salad w/a Citrus Ginger Vinaigrette
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups truRoots Sprouted Quinoa, cooked
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded (use only the seeds)
  • 5-6 clementines, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • ½ cup roasted pistachios
  • ¼ tsp. ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp of rice vinegar or a citrus vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Make the vinaigrette first and toss all ingredients together just before serving.
  2. To make the vinaigrette blend the ginger, garlic, orange juice, vinegar, and honey together in a food processor or blender. After all the ingredients are fully blended, add the olive oil and blend again. Set aside while you construct the salad.
  3. Toss together the quinoa, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and clementines. Drizzle with the citrus ginger vinaigrette just before serving // you may or may not use all of the vinaigrette depending on your taste: use discretion.
  4. This salad can be served at room temperature or chilled (I prefer room temperature).
Transparency: truRoots collaborated on this post with me, supplying the quinoa and moderate compensation. I would not have accepted the collaboration had I not believed in the company’s products and philosophy.

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


Nov
05

pumpkins 

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… 

pumpkin pie yogurt parfait

The Pumpkin Spice Cake from 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.

This Pumpkin Chai Shake from 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 genius Pumpkin Pie Larabars recipe by 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.

Pumpkin Pie without the crust? I’m down. Check out this Pumpkin Pie Pudding from meadows cooks.

Isa Did It, just like she promised she would with this Chimichurri 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)

Pumpkin juice? Yes, it’s a thing: a Glowing Pumpkin Juice recipe from Fettle Vegan.

“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.

Love

Crista


Dec
03

Apple Cranberry Sauce

The holiday weekend has finally come to an end, not that I wanted it to. I spent my holiday in Indiana with my family. I got to hang out with my dad and his new girlfriend, my dad made me a lobster tail and grilled veggies for Thanksgiving!! He’s finally embraced the fact that I don’t eat meat, not even on Thanksgiving. I also got a chance to catch up with some friends from high school at the new local watering hole / martini bar. I went shopping with my mom before margaritas and I got to spend a bunch of time with my cute little 2 year old niece who is talking now – she can even say my name! 

I thought my mom and I would do more shopping on Black Friday, but we slept in instead…. then we just shopped for ourselves. (we’re both obsessed with Free People) She took me to hot yoga on Saturday, which I was thrilled about…. although I didn’t pack yoga clothes, so I borrowed my moms…

Cranberry Apple Sauce

I mentioned the Vegan Feast that I made on Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving. I’m glad I did, I had leftovers to share with my family on Thanksgiving Day and I had food to eat just in case vegan dishes weren’t provided. My family was open to trying my dishes, and they all loved this Cranberry Applesauce which wasn’t surprising, it was my favorite dish. I share the recipe, which I adapted from Gluten Free GODDESS.

Cranberry Applesauce

Cranberry Applesauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5-6 apples, peeled and chopped, use a variety for best flavor
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • agave nectar or honey, to taste (approx. 2-4 tablespoons, more or less)
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the apples, cranberries, and cinnamon sticks and pour in just enough cranberry juice to cover the fruit.
  2. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer until the fruit is very soft.
  4. Remove the cinnamon sticks and mash with a potato masher until you've reached a desired consistency.**
  5. Sweeten to taste with agave nectar or honey.
  6. Serve chilled or slightly warm.
Notes
**I prefer my Cranberry Applesauce to be chunkier, my family agreed. If you would like a smoother consistency, you have an option to transfer the mixture in to a food processor and puree.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 625 Fat: 2g Saturated fat: 0g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 166g Sugar: 123g Sodium: 15mg Fiber: 29g Protein: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg

Apple Cranberry Sauce

Love

Crista


Nov
28

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because the world becomes food obsessed! ….But it’s also a time to reflect on the things that you are thankful for and to express gratitude. As you prepare the biggest meal you’ll have all year, don’t forget to think about the things you are grateful for (before you hit the food coma).

On this chilly, chilly Thanksgiving morning, I’m curled up on the couch, cozy under the blankets with the pooch at my feet, and my dad preparing the big meal in the kitchen, and I am thinking about all of the little things in life that make me happy. Ten things I am thankful for:

1. Fuzzy socks
2. My cute, cute doggie
3. Yummy food
4. Chocolate & pomegranate
5. Yoga
6. Hot tea
7. Friends & family
8. Fresh, crisp air
9. Music
10. Hugs

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Love

Crista


Nov
27

Vegan Thanksgiving Feast

As promised, Thanksgiving came early this year.I spent the entire day yesterday crafting this all-vegan & gluten-free Thanksgiving meal, and I am thankful for the opportunity. I made so much food, most of which I couldn’t fit in my belly. But don’t worry, I’m eating leftovers for breakfast and I’m taking the leftovers to my family.

vegan Thanksgiving

You can see my original meal plan HERE, but I did alter it slightly (of course). Pictured above are these dishes: Brussels Sprouts Kale Salad with Pomegranate and a Creamy Avocado Dressing, Rosemary Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Kale, Braised Red Cabbage with Apple & Onion, Ruby Applesauce with Cranberries, and Quinoa, Pomegranate, and Persimmons Salad. A few of the recipes call for cheese, which I simply left out of the dishes to keep this meal 100% vegan. (I didn’t miss the cheese or dairy one bit)

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This Sweet Potato dish with Rosemary was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. A little bit of rosemary goes a long way, I’ve learned. These potatoes were pleasingly fragrant.

Cranberry Apple Sauce

My favorite dish from the years feast was definitely the Apple Cranberry Sauce. Making it was fun and easy, it made the house smell delightful. The dish was equally sweet and tart, and sat nicely on the plate next to the other dishes. (plus, it’s so pretty to look at)

Cranberry ApplesauceVegan Thanksgiving

Oh, and the Kale + Brussels Sprout salad rocked my world – if you have not used raw Brussels Sprouts in a salad yet, DO IT. It adds a whole new dimension and texture, and it works well with kale, not sure I’d use it with lettuce or arugula (but you never know).

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

For dessert, I made these Mini No-bake Pumpkin Pies. In the photo above, you see them WITHOUT the Coconut Whipped Cream and  I know they look good without it but they are RIDICULOUS WITH it! I can’t even explain the amount of pleasure I endured with every bite….

Coconut Whip Cream

I’m up early this morning, I’m going to dive right in to leftovers then I’m headed to Indiana to spend time with my family for the weekend. Happy Thanksgiving meal planning everyone!! xox 

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
25

Organic Produce

I typically do my Vegan Thanksgiving meal the day AFTER Thanksgiving but this year is different. Thanksgiving is coming early – TOMORROW!!! I’m practically starving myself today in preparation of filling my belly with so much yummy food tomorrow. I can hardly wait! 

Organic ProduceOrganic Produce

Over the last few days, I got all of my grocery shopping done and reviewed all of the recipes I’m using again. I definitely need to alter a few of the recipes, one of them I’m adding persimmon to which wasn’t in the original plan. Those persimmons were looking so good at the market, I couldn’t resist them!! 

Organic ProduceOrganic ProduceQuinoa

I pre-cooked my quinoa and It’ll chill overnight. I’ve also made pie crusts for my mini pumpkin pies. It was m first time making a pie crust using nuts and dates! It was messy, but worth it!! 

Pumpkin Pie Crust

I’m getting hungry….. xox

Love

Crista


Nov
15

Virtual Vegan Potluck

Today, I am part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck, where 150+ bloggers contribute vegan, plant-based recipes. I wish this were a potluck in real life (OMG I would die)….. come to think of it, I HAVE been part of a vegetarian potluck, it was at a yoga retreat… I guess I didn’t die BUT I WAS in pure heaven. I filled my plate 3 times before giving up. Meditation was a bad (or maybe a really good) idea to do after that lunch, I may or may not have almost fallen asleep during meditation due to the comforting food coma I was in. Yum! Just reminiscing about it brings me gratitude and happiness.

So anyway, today’s potluck is the second-best thing: virtual. After you check out this Apple Parsnip Recipe, you can scroll through the other dishes that were “brought to the potluck” by way of the buttons at the bottom of this post. 

apple parsnip mash

 I have only seen a few recipes for a “mash” blending apples and parsnips together, none of them as good as mine and none of them vegan – which blows my mind considering that this recipe is one of the easiest plant-based dishes you can make. If you eat a plant-based diet, you probably already have most of the ingredients in this recipe (ok, maybe you don’t have parsnips at home… or maybe you do?)

I think all of my recipes are delicious, and I probably say that in every post, but THIS recipe is decadent. Before making it,  I would have not have predicted how fragrant, subtle, and rich this dish is – as creamy as mashed sweet potatoes, and as sweet as Honeycrisp apples are, WITHOUT any added sugar or dairy.

apple parsnip mash

Apple Parsnip Mash
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 pound of parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh sage for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, sautee the parsnips and apples in butter until they start to soften (about 5-8 minutes)
  2. Add the almond milk, water, and spices to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, until parsnips are completely tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  5. Add sea salt & pepper to taste.

apple parsnip mash

I encourage you to give this Apple Parsnip Mash a whirl and then go check out the other vegan dishes that were brought to the Virtual Vegan Potluck! xox

 

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Love

Crista