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Guess who’s back (back back) back again! Not Slim Shady…me!

Ben and I landed back in Massive chew sits on Wednesday and were greeted by a screaming crowd which included both my mom and my dad. It feels great to be back in the land of milky Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and honey.

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A recap of the final few weeks of our trip:

After hiking in Da ‘Yo (my pet name for Yosemite) we drove through the Mojave Desert to Prescott, AZ, where it was 108* and dehydrated ourselves jerky-style for four days. Arizona is a place that is both cool and extremely hot. I don’t think I could ever live in a place so dry and toasty for fear of moulting my skin off like a lizard, BUT we had fun riding mountain bikes through the desert and seeing the Grand Canyon.

Next we drove to Moab, UT, where we spent the fourth o’ July with my pal Liz. We hiked in Arches National Park, which was my favorite spot of the whole trip. Ginormous arches made of stone! What’s not to like? Here’s a picture of Ben and me standing in Delicate arch looking like little bugs.IMG_0933IMG_0918

We hot tailed it out of Utah and stopped in Albuquerque for a night (just long enough to meet a fabulous chick named Natalie and stop at La Montanita Co-op for some vegan car snacks). The next day was our longest day of driving the whole trip: 12 hours through western Texas. BLARGH. It was worth it, though, when we rolled into Austin. There we ate some righteous noms at Counter Culture, and Bouldin Creek Cafe and sipped my FAVORITE booch to date(!): Kosmic Kombucha.The Salty Dog (grapefruit, lime, lemon, orange, ginger, agave and sea salt) MAY OR MAY NOT have changed my life.

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After Austin we shoved off to Dallas, where we celebrated my birthday with my aunt Michele and uncle Pete. Many delicious noms were had (most notable was Spiral Diner & Bakery! ALL OF THE YUMS). We waved goodbye to Texas and headed to New Orleans, which was another one of my very favorite stops. New Orleans is like a combination of French/European influence meets the laid-back vibe and climate of the Caribbean. We ate more bomb food (I’m pretty pleased with myself that this was a walk away point of the whole trip) and walked around until we were very, very sweaty. We saw my cousin Jasper and my dear, dear friend Sasha Bird!

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We hot-footed it up the east coast, stopping in Asheville, NC for one night, driving through the Smokies, and Washington DC for a night to stay with the lovely and always squirmy Chaltain family. We capped off the trip with a night in Larchmont, NY, then drove through the pouring rain until we reached Boston. Home sweet home! It was an incredible journey and I’ll be posting more pictures as I get my act together to upload them. I look forward to sharing recipes I picked up along the way and news as Ben and I settle into our new life in Boston!

xo Izzy

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Blackberry-Apricot Crisp

Hi again. Where was I? Oh yes, Berkeley.

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After several glorious days of walking, getting sunburned, farmers’ marketing, seeing ma girl Julia Nelson, hanging out with “Cool Jack,” and otherwise traipsing around the Bay Area, we headed to Palo Alto, where Ben’s cousin, Jessie, lives. Jessie and her husband, Paul, are super cool and have two great little kiddos. The highlight of P.A. was probably playing in their pool for hours with George, who is five, knows more about airplanes than I know about most things, and refuses to wear a bathing suit. Jessie and Paul also have an apricot tree, which obviously completed my lifetime.

With loads of fresh apricots I knew what I had to do. I found that Ashley had recently posted a recipe for an apricot crisp, so I took that as inspiration and ran with it. What resulted was a perfect summer dessert I could really eat every day and never get sick of. DEFINITELY NOT HYPERBOLE.
Okay, maybe.

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After three days in Palo Alto that felt like paradise, Ben and I hit the road once again and headed for Yosemite. There we stayed with my third cousin once removed (I think that’s our relation) and covered some gnarly terrain, brah. Seriously though, Yosemite is so goddamn pretty.

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Anyway, crisp. The beauty of this thing is that you can really substitute any stone fruit you like (peach, plum, pluot, nectarine) and any berry (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry… you get the point). It’s simple to whip up, is a total crowd-pleaser, and is actually quite healthy in the scheme is desserts. I hereby give you permission to eat this for breakfast.

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Blackberry-Apricot Crisp

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar or maple syrup + 2 Tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil, softened (or other neutral oil)
  • 10-12 ripe apricots, sliced, pits removed
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend 3/4 cup of the rolled oats until you have a fine flour. Set aside 1/4 cup of the oat flour. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup (or so) of oat flour with the rolled oats, walnuts, salt, agave nectar, lemon juice, and oil of your choice. Stir well, then set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the apricots, berries, vanilla, 1/4 cup of oat flour, and 2 Tablespoons of agave or maple syrup. Toss to coat.
  3. Pour the fruit into an oven-safe dish and spread evenly. Pour the oat mixture on top and pat down. Place into the preheated oven (uncovered) and cook 20-25 minutes, or until the oat mixture is golden brown. Serve warm.
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California Steaming

I’m sitting in Prescott, Arizona sweating out my former self. I know I spend about 75% of my blog posts complaining about weather, but it’s because I am feeble and weak and need it to be 60 degrees and sunny with no clouds or trace of humidity at all times. This is me smiling in the Grand Canyon even though I want to kick Ben in the teeth I am so hot. Note also how wrinkled my shirt is. #livingoutofacarfor2months.IMG_0866

Holy tacos, a lot has happened since we last spoke. Ben and I spent three days in Portland basically eating as much vegan food as we could find. Portland is cool because they have these parking lots where they set up a bunch of food trucks and it turns into this impromptu fiesta. We ate at one called Native Bowl and it knocked my socks all the way off. Another gem was the Tin Shed, where they have a patio full of cute dawgs and an amazing vegan menu to boot!

IMG_2004   After Portland we shoved on to Crater Lake. I must note that Oregon WINS for most kombucha. I came across not one, but TWO gas stations that sold the stuff on the way. Props props props props. Crater Lake was spectacular and we played many hands of Rummy with my friend Drew, who is working there for the summer.
IMG_0553 After Portland, we made our way across the border to California, land of the $15 bottle of raw organic juice, home of the brave. We made an obligatory stop at a winery for a tasting… at 10 AM… ain’t no thang.

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We camped in the Redwoods for two nights, then drove down Route 1. If you ever have a chance to do this, do it. Seriously.IMG_0690
We were smelly and hungry when we rolled up to our next hosts’ home in Berkeley. Netsy and Larry are super cool – Netsy has been involved in promoting and expanding Paid Family Leave in CA for a long time. We got to explore Berkeley and San Francisco (I took a geek-out picture outside of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, even though I couldn’t afford to eat anything inside). I am going to write another post tonight or tomorrow, so as not to overwhelm you/my mom/the internet with millions of pictures and recipes at once. In the mean time, here is a bomb recipe I made in Berkeley for our hosts! If you haven’t noticed, I’m all about the legume salads these days! As for me, I’m off to go bask in a puddle of my own sweat.

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Lentil Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Tomatoes

  • 3 cups lentils
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 large handful spinach, chopped finely
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400*

  1. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and toss the chopped sweet potato with enough olive oil to coat them plus salt and black pepper. Pop in the oven and roast 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through and slightly crispy on the outside.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, rinse the lentils and place in a large pot. Cover with 3-4 inches of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until just soft, but not mushy. Once they’re cooked, drain and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk or stir together the olive oil, cider vinegar, dijon, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cumin. Add salt to taste. Combine the cooked lentils, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Serve room temp or chilled.
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©2014 Veganizzm. Design, caligraphy and illustrations by Pati Mo / Developed by Tyler Schappe

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