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


Sep
04

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1

The high elevations of southeastern Colorado, along with hot summers and cold nights, create a chile pepper that is thicker and meatier than others, which makes them ideal for roasting. During season, which is right now, pop-up stands selling roasted chile peppers can be found on almost every street corner in Colorado. 

Green Chile Sauce is somewhat of a staple in Colorado, being used in a variety of dishes throughout the state – smother a burrito, sop it up with a corn tortilla out of a soup bowl, or add flavor and heat to a burger. I’ve even heard stories of the chile sauce being smothered atop cakes and ice cream. {{Actually, as I type this out, I have a faint memory of sampling a green chile ice cream flavor ….although I have no recollection of whether or not I enjoyed it.}}

Being a vegetarian poses somewhat of a challenge for a foodie in Colorado. Green chile sauce is typically made with pork which prevents me from indulging in the coveted sauce that is scattered throughout many Denver restaurants and makes an appearance in many popular dishes here in the state. Boo.

Sure, there are a FEW restaurants that make a vegetarian option, but I’m talking FEW. 

Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1

I don’t have Hatch chiles in my garden, they actually come from New Mexico, but I do have an abundance of several sweet pepper varieties. Although the peppers do not produce as much heat as the Hatch variety, I decided to make an attempt at green chile sauce using what I have.

Although I was not successful at creating a green chile sauce, I did create a sweet Roasted Salsa too good to not share. I roasted 2 different varieties (Giante Marconi and Antoli Romanian) of sweet peppers along with a jalapeño, which created a mellow smoky flavor that sits well atop a salty tortilla chip. 

/// There are several different ways to roast your own peppers, over an open fire, in the oven, or even on the stovetop. I roasted my peppers over the stovetop for the first time and it worked out well! I watched a few videos on YouTube for guidance. In a few weeks, I’m going to an official chile pepper roast and I have no idea what to expect, but I hope to learn a thing or two about the process… especially since I live in chile pepper land. Smirk.

Sweet_Peppers

Roasted Sweet Pepper Salsa
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 roasted sweet peppers, skins removed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, such as Roma, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • juice squeezed from a lime or two, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion in oil until softened and translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they’ve released their juices and softened.
  3. Add the sweet chiles, jalapeños, broth, cumin and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 1½ hours, until the chiles are very soft and the ingredients appear to meld together.
  4. After cooling, pour the ingredients into a food processor and puree the mixture into a salsa-like consistency.
  5. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
Roasted_Sweet_Pepper_Salsa_1
Sources: Denver Post, Spoon With Me

Love

Crista


Aug
10

“Hey guys! I’m Mary and I write Chattavore, a food blog based in Chattanooga, Tennessee (which I happen to think is pretty much the best city on earth)! I’m not vegan, but I’m kind of a vegan wannabe. I love to eat at vegan restaurants (I think not cooking with animal products forces more creativity from the chef) and cooking vegan recipes, so I was pretty excited when Crista asked me to guest post here on peace. love.  quinoa.!

“I work for my local school system (I used to be a teacher, but now I’m a behavior analyst), so to me summer means four things: (1) summer break (WOO!); (2) strawberries (okay, that’s really more spring here in the South, but that means summer is coming so WOO!); (3) tomatoes(!); and (4) peaches. PEACHES!

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

“I honestly don’t remember caring too much for peaches when I was a kid. I know my mom bought fresh peaches when I was a kid but most of my peach-eating memories involved canned peaches, usually eaten with cottage cheese. My only vivid memory of a fresh peach was when my grandmother’s friend gave me a peach to bring home (maybe she had a tree? I don’t remember why she gave me a peach!). I held that peach in my hands the whole twenty-minute drive to my grandparents’ house; by the time we got there, the peach fuzz had made my hands itch like crazy.

“Fast-forward to adulthood…I have gotten over my itchy hands and commenced a torrid, seasonal love affair with perfect summer peaches. You know the ones…they just yield when you press on them. You know the skin will give you a fit when you try to peel it off. And when you take a bite, juice goes everywhere. This is the stuff of my dreams, people.

“Peaches and coconut? Gah. Honestly, I am not a big-time eater of oatmeal, but after discovering Megan Gordon’s method of toasting oats from her book Whole Grain Mornings then picking up a trick from America’s Test Kitchen of cooking the oats in a flavorful liquid instead of just water, I have made my peace with oatmeal. Because when its done well-like this coconut peach oatmeal is-oatmeal can be divine. So, peel a juicy peach and crack open a can of coconut milk…and make this coconut peach oatmeal!

Coconut Peach Oatmeal

the Chattavore's Coconut Peach Oatmeal
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large peach, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons toasted nuts (I used walnuts, but I think macadamia nuts would be delicious here!)
  • 2 tablespoons dried coconut
  • maple syrup (optional)
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant, about five minutes.
  2. Stir in the coconut milk, water, and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal has thickened.
  3. Pour the oatmeal into a bowl and add the peaches, nuts, and coconut. Add a drizzle of maple syrup for sweetness if desired.
Coconut Peach Oatmeal

Credits // Author & Photography: Mary Haymaker from Chattavore

Love

Crista


Jul
23

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch. Is it becoming a thing of the past….?

When I was a little girl, it seemed like I was surrounded by a never-ending supply of butterscotch goodies (which may have had something to do with my mothers sweet tooth and obsession with everything butterscotch) but it’s totally rare to find butterscotch treats these days. Damn you, 2015.

I mean, I can remember butterscotch puddings, butterscotch pies, butterscotchy cookies, and these little pastries that we’d melt butterscotch chips into. My mouth is watering as I reminisce on the “good ole days”…

I can remember the FEW times that I’ve found butterscotch ANYTHING in my adult life. Beans & Barley in Milwaukee has butterscotch pie for sale every now and then (or at least they did years ago), and Work & Class in Denver and Hub 51 in Chicago both have butterscotchy desserts that are to die for. That’s it. That’s all I’ve found in the recent years.

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

For years, I’ve thought about making my own homemade butterscotch pudding but I was too intimidated to go for it until recently. I grew a pair of balls, ya’ll and good thing I did because I crushed it.

Not only is butterscotch pudding ridiculously easy to make (as long as you can make quick moves in the kitch), it’s also:
creamy
smooth
rich
buttery
not tooth-achingly sweet
and it does not lack complex flavor

EVEN THOUGH it’s dairy free and egg-free…. (which is why you might be thinking that this pudding recipe can’t possibly be all I’m hyping it up to be – I dare you to put it to the test)

What this recipe does include is a little bit of Bourbon and some Real Deal Vanilla Extract. Please, please, please do not exclude bourbon and vanilla from this pudding. The first time I tried this recipe, I didn’t have any bourbon on hand, and I was all lazy-like so I made the pudding without it. The result could be named some like “Sugar Pudding” – it was overly sweet and lacked in real deal flavor.

I feel lucky to have gotten some of Oh Lady Cakes Real Deal Vanilla Extract when it went on sale but she is completely sold out now so you won’t be able to get any of it for this recipe (until Dec 2015) HOWEVER you can make this pudding with ANY real vanilla extract. I recommend you stay away from the imitation stuff. As an alternative to the Real Deal, I like Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract.

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

{dairy-free} Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1½ cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4½ cups unsweetened plain almond milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, softened (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
Instructions
  1. Pudding cooks quickly so it's important that you gather and measure all of your ingredients before you being making it. Do that now - and be sure to grab a small saucepan and a wire whisk or a wooden spoon as well.
  2. BEFORE you put the saucepan over heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in it until they are mixed well.
  3. Add ½ cup of the almond milk to the mixture and place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently and thoroughly to completely dissolve the cornstarch and sugar.
  4. Add the remainder of the almond milk and the bourbon, stir constantly until the mixture thickens. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Once thickened, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the margarine and vanilla.
  6. Transfer the pudding to a heatproof dish and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding, covering it completely. This will prevent a skin from forming on the top.
  7. Chill for a few hours prior to serving.
Notes
I tested this recipe without the bourbon and it was really sweet, almost too sweet. The bourbon helps to balance out the flavor and depth without being overpowering.

If you would like more of the bourbon flavor to be more prominent, add another tablespoon of it to the recipe. Really, you can't go wrong.
If you so desire, top your butterscotch pudding with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and/or some carob nibs (which is how I like it!)

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

This recipe was adapted from a recipe on about food.

Love

Crista


Jul
09

 Carrot Cake Juice

While I was in Austin, I had the pleasure of meeting Kayle from Cowgirls & Collard Greens. Although we didn’t get much face time, we’ve been in touch and have created a friendship that I cherish. I don’t have many blogger friends (yet), which is one (of many) reasons why Kayle will always hold a special place in my heart.  

#1 She’s absolutely adorable. #2 She’s a COWGIRL, yeeeeehaw! #3. She’s got a great blog and a great story, the type of story that brings tears to your eyes – in fact, I recently learned more of her story through an interview she did with The Sexy Vegan

Carrot Cake Juice

Lucky me, I get to share one of my favorite recipes on Cowgirls & Collard Greens today – I chose to share one of my favorite juice recipes, a Carrot Cake Juice, 1. because it’s ridiculously good and 2. because Kayle used juiced greens and veggies to heal her cancer. Blows my mind that you can heal cancer and your body through yummy foods like carrots, oranges, ginger, beets, and kale, and I’m privileged to contribute a recipe.

Visit Kayle’s blog to read more and see the recipe! 

Carrot Cake Juice 

If you enjoy Kayle’s blog, check her out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

xox

Love

Crista


Jul
06

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Piudding

I had just recently moved to Colorado when I found myself at the Native Foods Cafe in Boulder rapping with a young employee about food. I mentioned this blog and he mentioned a Banana Quinoa Pudding recipe he’d found on the internet. 

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Piudding

Choosing between a Watermelon Fresca, Lavender Lemonade, and Iced Tea at Native Foods can be tricky, but after I’d done so, I plopped down in to a seat and googled “vegan banana quinoa pudding.” Luckily, I immediately found the recipe I’d been told about.

I bookmarked that recipe for almost a year before trying it. I visited the bookmark several times throughout the year with intentions of making it. The problem is, I’ve got thousands of recipes bookmarked to try. I’d love to thank the guy from Native Foods who shared this recipe with me but sadly enough I don’t even remember what he looked like. If you’re out there reading dude, THANKS!!! 

I changed the original recipe slightly, well, I beefed it up – I added peanut butter (request from the BF), blueberries (because I had them on hand) and cacao nibs (chocolate + texture). This easy-to-make, nourishing, sweet, delectable pudding is just too fabulous to not share.

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Piudding

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Pudding
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa (you can use red or white quinoa - I used a mix)
  • 2 cups almond milk or coconut milk (or a combo of both)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or more if you like!)
  • 3 Tbsp agave nectar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • a handful of cacao nibs
  • ¼ cup blueberries
Instructions
  1. After rinsing the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, put it into a pot with the almond milk and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Mix in the bananas, peanut butter, agave nectar, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir over medium heat until thickened. Cool for about 10 minutes, then mix in the blueberries and cacao nibs just before serving.
recipe adapted from Vegan Fling

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Piudding

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


Jun
03

Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth

Every time I have a “day off” or a “day at home” it seems as though I’m going to have so much free time to do anything and everything I want. BUT as the day presents itself, I jump up early before the alarm clock chimes and I run around like a crazy chicken with it’s head cut off the entire day. Take the dog to the dog sitter, go to yoga, grocery store, run “errands” (errands are the WORST!), make it on time to some appointment, make a few calls, update social media, food, OMG food. It’s 2PM and I haven’t had breakfast or lunch. It’s time to go to yoga but I need to eat before. I can’t eat before working out, it’ll make my belly hurt. Sigh. 

Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth  

There has been a lot of hype around bone broths lately. Although the concept of a bone broth turns my stomach, I can understand why they have become popular – because PEOPLE ARE BUSY, many of us rarely make time for a proper meal (ME, I’m guilty! – see the first paragraph in this post).

Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth

A broth is a “soup” of sort, and can easily be taken on the go and sipped out of a cup. While it wouldn’t and shouldn’t substitute a proper meal every day, it is certainly a decent replacement when need be.

In this post, I’m sharing a recipe for a veggie-based broth that I created with a select choice of fruits and veggies out of curiosity. I was curious about the experience of sipping a broth, I was curious to see if I could find a need to keep broth on-hand in my home, and I was curious to know if I’d enjoy a broth the same way others have been lately. Every Friday, I pass by a Panera Bread billboard advertising their broth bowls, which only feeds my curiosity.

After carefully planning exactly which fruits and veggies would compliment each other and provide nourishment, I made my broth. I fed my hungry body with the easy-to-digest nutrition just before a hot yoga class. Thankful to have done so, the broth provided just enough substance to keep me alive during my practice.

a Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup of mushrooms
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 square inch of ginger, peeled
  • 3-4 stalks of kale
  • 1 apple
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 quarts of water
Instructions
  1. Thoroughly wash all veggies and coarsely chop them into even size pieces.
  2. Put all the veggies in a large stock pot, add the water, then cover.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and barely simmer for about 90 minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and set the vegetables aside.
  5. Serve warm or closer to room temperature.
  6. Freeze or refrigerate leftovers.

 In one broth bowl, I decided to add some of the mushrooms that had been used to make the broth and I really enjoyed the added texture and substance in the bowl.

Restorative Mushroom Veggie Broth

If you enjoy this recipe, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.
As always, thanks for reading. xo

Love

Crista


Jun
01

Quinoa Bowl

Over the weekend, I took an impromptu trip to Austin with my BFF Laura, just for fun. We like to get away every few months and we both had some vacation time to blow so we decided to keep Austin weird for a few days. (photos from the trip on Instagram)

Quinoa Bowl

We had very little expectation for our trip: eat good food, shop, honky tonk, gossip, and sleep when we feel like it. Laura & I live hundreds of miles from each other so we have to travel in order to see each other. We don’t keep up much via text so when we see each other face-to-face, our mouths never stop yapping. It’s so good.

On this particular trip, our conversation was dominated by our ever-evolving relationships and what it will be like to take them to the next level. We both went from single girls to long-term relationships synonymously. History in the making, if you ask me.

We talked a lot about food, Laura and her BF focus on paleo and only eat meat once or twice a week. Patrick and I eat vegan when we are together, he eats meat when I’m not around (for now). We shared recipes and kitchen tips.

We talked about who cooks, who grocery shops, and how leftovers are handled. I’ll eat left-overs ONCE but that’s it before I’m over it – Laura is the same way. Ironically, our boyfriends will both eat leftovers for days and days on end. Seriously, I gave Patrick a large tupperware full of chili (that wasn’t my best work) and he ate it HAPPILY for 5-6 days straight. I’m thankful to have someone around who won’t allow a single bite of food go to waste because I will throw stuff away with no problem.

Quinoa Bowl

If you didn’t catch on by now, I’ll reiterate: I loathe eating the same meals over and over again. EXCEPT for. 
THIS meal: 
Arugula-topped
Quinoa
blueberries
avocados
Sriracha Peanut Sauce

THIS meal is one that I HAPPILY ate 4 DAYS IN A ROW!
On the 4th day, I decided to photograph it.
On the 4th day, I didn’t scarf it before I had a chance to photograph it.

I originally had a version of this quinoa bowl at Ola Juice Bar in Colorado Springs. I loved it so much, I replicated it at home the next day. and the day after that. and the day after that. you know.

Once the quinoa is cooked (make extras for tomorrow! trust me), this bowl takes no time at all to throw together. Quick & easy makes EVERYONE happy.

After having been served some excellent Thai/Chinese (fusion) food in Grand Junction, I found a Peanut Sauce recipe on love food eat – I’d decided that I needed more Peanut Sauce in my life. I kept the recipe bookmarked, knowing I’d find the perfect time to use it. Not long after bookmarking, I used the recipe to make the exact Peanut Sauce that tops this delicious Quinoa Bowl, the only adjustment to the sauce was an addition of Sriracha, for fun. 

Quinoa Bowl

a Quinoa Bowl drizzled with a Sriracha Peanut Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • a handful or two of arugula
  • ½ an avocado
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
Instructions
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame seeds, and Sriracha until mixed well. Adjust taste accordingly (for example, add more Sriracha if you prefer your sauce to be spicier). Set aside.
  2. Put a large heaping of quinoa in a bowl and top it with the arugula, berries, and avocado.
  3. Drizzle with the Sriracha Peanut Sauce prior to serving.
Notes
*All measurements are approximate - adjust accordingly. You may like more avocado and less blueberries - do it up however you'd like.
**I prefer the quinoa to be slightly warmed in this dish, although it can certainly be used at room temperature or even chilled.

Quinoa Bowl

There is more of where this comes from! If you like this recipe and/or this post, subscribe to my newsletter.
As always, thanks for reading. xo

Love

Crista


May
13

 How many thousands of dollars would you be willing to pay someone to dig up your backyard/alley? Would you be willing to spend any amount of money at all? No? Me either. But I am. I am getting a brand new sewer pipe today!!!!!!!!! All the exclamation points represent excitement, but the excitement is fake.

How I feel about the day: go suck it. I know what you’re thinking – “that’s not all peace. love. quinoa-like” and you’re absolutely right. But.

All at once today (it’s only 1PM, people) the street cleaners were here and my lawn boy was mowing my grass. My grumpy old neighbor was yelling at the lawn boy to move his truck because she wanted to make sure the entire street got swept. She threatened to call the cops on me because my car was still sitting on the street in front of my house but she gave that threat to the lawn boy (say it to my face, lady!). The rain has caused my car alarm to go off randomly throughout the day for no apparent reason, including the 2:44 AM time slot. Internet forums tell me that the rain screws with a sensor but the dealership has no idea why unless I pay them for a diagnostic (why can’t they find the answer on the internet!?). AND I’m getting a new sewer line which means the entire alley is being dug up (guess who gets to pay for that), loud trucks and lift-thingys have my windows shaking and my head spinning, AND there are worker dudes EVERYWHERE (walking through my yard and shit). In addition to all of that activity, I’m in the kitch stirring up a Stir Fry that I’m dying to share here on the blog. I thought the sewer guys would be here yesterday so when my day was planned, it didn’t look anything like it has ended up being.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

mmmmk So all at once, alllllll of my patience is being tested today.

Earlier today, before it all began, I read a blog post from Just A Colorado Gal titled “Behind The Curtain: Life Unfiltered” – the basic message behind the post is that we can and do create perfect-looking lives by picking and choosing what to share via social media.

Today, my life is not perfect, it is hectic and full of stress. I decided to share that in this blog post instead of writing a happy-go-lucky blog post that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That shit would be fake…. today, at least. So, thank you Heather (Colorado Gal).

I almost went outside and took photos of the huge hole in my alley and all of the big boy equipment surrounding it but I stopped myself, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it – I don’t want to be reminded of it later. After today, I want it to be a thing of the past – byeeeee.

Instead, I took photos of my stir fry as quick as I could, while being interrupted by the lawn guy who assumes being a vegetarian is rough. I  closed all of my doors and windows, and I am now planted on the couch with the music turned up, trying to pretend that the house isn’t shaking and that the windows aren’t rattling.

Also, I just got a new laptop so editing photos is all weird – I haven’t found my groove with this device yet. Oh, also, my dog was begging for food the entire time I was making/photographing/eating this stir-fry. BAD BOY!

Sigh.
“This too shall pass,” they say…. whoever “they” is.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

Typically, I edit and upload photos prior to writing my blog posts, but not today. I know I won’t be satisfied with the photos, but it’s the best I’ve got today – Heather, Just A Colorado Gal let me know that it’s ok to be a little less than perfect sometimes so I am embracing that.

Moving on (as though all is well).

Do you remember the first time you ever went to Trader Joe’s? Me too. It was years ago, in my late teen years – I was living in Fort Wayne, IN. I had to drive to Indianapolis to get to one, a 2 hour trip I made about once a month. Someone told me about the Trader Joe’s in Indy because they had been there for the 2 buck chuck ($2 wine) and that was something to be excited about.

When I moved to Denver, Trader Joe’s hadn’t yet opened any stores here – in fact, TJ’s opened up on Feb. 14, 2014 (Valentines Day!), exactly two weeks after I moved here. In between work stuff, and prepping for what could have potentially been a date that night (yeah, dude bombed my Valentines Day but whatever), I made a visit to the store on a very hectic opening day. I doubt I’d have been as willing to move to CO if TJ’s had none plans of opening up here. 

I have like a million other “Trader Joe’s”-related stories I could tell but this post is already getting wordy. I’ll save them for another post. Google SEO is probably all pissed off at me for having too many words in this post, but I wouldn’t know for sure because I know very little about SEO (sigh).

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

The reason I tell you stories of TJ’s is because this Stir Fry is made with ingredients that all came from TJ’s. Trader Joe’s has more and more vegan “stuff” every time I visit their stores, and it makes me happy. My most recent obsession are the Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels – I keep them in the freezer for emergency meals – you know when you need to eat but you don’t feel like cooking? THAT emergent.

I paired the Chicken-less Orange Morsels (that were hanging out in the freezer for emergent situations) with fresh-cut pineapple chunks, book toy, sugar snap peas, and garlic for a super easy, super tasty, super fresh stir fry. Also, it took me less than 10 minutes total to make. Also, isn’t “book toy” fun to say?

Look when you’re exhausted after a long day of work or you’ve got 10 guys in your front and back yard doing work that costs more money than you’re willing to spend, you ain’t got no time to be in the kitch slanging food for more than 10 minutes AND THAT my friends, is exactly why this meal is perfect.

Also, Trader Joe’s is perfectly-perfect at providing options, fresh and frozen, that allows you to make quick, legit meals. I’ve been passing off TJ’s frozen meals as home-cooked meals for years (shhh don’t tell anyone) – if you learn how to work the frozen meals in with some fresh ingredients, you’re golden. Pay attention to this stir-fry recipe, I’m giving you valuable information here.

Let’s get to it. Remember, EVERYTHING can be purchased at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s accessible to you then I would recommend that you move somewhere else. I’m just kidding, I’m in a funk today which makes me bitchy. Well, maybe I’m not kidding. :-/ Also, wouldn’t it be cool if TJ’s were sponsoring this post? They’re not. This is alllll me, people.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels (frozen food aisle)
  • ½ package of Sugar Snap Peas (produce aisle)
  • 2 bok choy stalks, coarsely chopped (produce aisle)
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped (produce aisle)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or 3, if you're me)
  • 1 bag (of the 2) Fresh Rice Noodles (near produce, and fresh pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pan or a wok, heat the chicken-less morsels until they are slightly crispy and browned (about 8 minutes) then add olive oil and garlic.
  2. Put a pot of water on to boil, this is what you will cook your noodles in - don't put the b=noodles in yet, they only cook for 1-2 minutes!
  3. Sauté the garlic with the chicken-less morsels for about 1 minute before adding the book toy, pineapple, and sugar snap peas.,
  4. Sauté the mixture for about 5 minutes (you want the veggies to be warmed but not softened - they are way better with a crunch) and then cover the mixture in the Mandarin Orange sauce that came packaged with the chicken-less morsels.
  5. While sautéing, put the rice noodles in the boiling water and boil them for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and rinse with cold water.
  6. That's all - serve the stir-fried veggies and morsels with the noodles. Ta-da!

 You know what else would be good in this stir fry? Ginger! I didn’t add it but you should if you have some. Chop it finely and add it at the same time you add the garlic.

How’s YOUR day? Mine will get better – I’m off to yoga soon.

Love

Crista