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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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After a long border crossing (where our things were definitely violated) we were in Canada!  Our first province to explore was New Brunswick.  I was drawn here by the wonder of the highest tides on earth in the long narrow Bay of Fundy along with the incredible rock formations.  Lets just say, it did not disappoint.  Hopewell Rocks were just as awe-inspiring as I imagined: the rugged shapes, mysterious tunnels with trees happily growing on top. 

 

At our last stop (if you missed Acadia National Park check it out here) we hit one month on the road!  In celebration of this I am starting a monthly musings series.  Once a month, I will reflect on what we've learned after another month on the road.

 

1. Sleep comes so much easier after a full day in the sun.

 

2. Anytime someone cooks you a meal, hug them.  It is a generous labor of love.

3. Nothing is as easy as it seems.

 

4. Emotions change like the weather.

 

5. Everything takes two (or three) times longer on the road... and I mean everything!

 

6. Pooping is a sacred act and should be done alone (not with strangers or wildlife present).

 

7. Skunk spray is so much worst than you could imagine.  It is great for inducing dry heaving.

 

8. Skunk smell is easier to get out of husky fur than an eyeball.  That can take a year.

 

9. Campgrounds are like weird little rotating neighborhoods and you should act accordingly.

 

10. Headlamps are a godsend.

 

11. The GoVino plastic wine glasses were one of the best purchases I've ever made.

 

12. Rain jackets are a necessity (I've avoided buying one my whole life, until now).

 

13. To travel with your dog, you must really love your dog.

14. Propane lasts forever... okay, probably not but our 11 gallon tank is like the energizer bunny.

 

15. Cooking over an open fire makes everything taste like smoke.  Am I doing it wrong??

 

16. Maybe the west coast isn't the best coast... well, it probably still is!  I'll let you know later this year.

 

17. There are no guarantees while cooking in the great outdoors.

 

18. It is weird to worry more about wild animals than checking your email inbox.

19. Who knew a four minute shower could be so refreshing?

 

20. You want my address?!?  I don't know how to answer that... will my license plate work?

Peace and musings,

Crystal

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After some time in the city and out of our “camp house” we were ready to get back to it and Acadia National Park was the perfect place to get settled back in. 

They call it Vacationland for a reason!

 

The weather was great, the scenery was incredible and we got to celebrate one month on the road (and still loving it!) plus our first wedding anniversary!  Both were very big milestones for us and we celebrated accordingly. 

 

I made strawberry almond butter overnight oats for breakfast because we were lucky enough to be there at the first of strawberry season and I couldn’t pass them up. (Recipe below) 

 

For dinner I made a salad out of farmers market finds and drunken mushroom pasta with a full bottle of red wine (don’t worry, it was worth it!).

The most exciting part about our anniversary dinner was a very special bottle of champagne.

{Warning!  I’m about to go on a tangent about this crazy bottle that traveled through 10 states to help us celebrate our first anniversary.}  

For our wedding we bought multiple bottles of champagne to share at the waterfall we hiked to.  We packed them up and hiked them over a mile to the spot where we would share our vows. 

Towards the end of that part of the ceremony I was looking for one last bottle but everyone said they had all been drank. 

 

After searching for a couple of minutes I gave up the search deciding to believe them.  One of my wonderful new brother-in-laws carried my backpack down now that I was in my wedding dress and it wasn’t until the next morning I discovered this lone renegade bottle. 

We made the decision then and there that it would be our top tier of cake or at least representative for it.  We packed it up and flew it home. 

 

When we decided to pack up and go on this adventure I knew this bottle had to come with us and it traveled all the way up to Maine (after visiting 10 states all together) to be here on this day!  And, I have to say, much better than frozen year-old cake! 

 

Okay, back to Acadia…. What more is there to say?  You should really go see for yourself; the rugged rocks the varied landscapes of lush green and almost dessert like peaks plus perfectly clear lakes and ponds and a suspicious little island you can only cross over to at low tide. I promise you it is worth the trip. 

 

My only regret is that we were in Maine before blueberry season started so I recommend you plan accordingly.  I hear they are the best.

 

Are you still thinking about those Strawberry overnight oats?  I hope so! 

 

If you haven’t made overnight oats before you are in for a treat!  Basically, you stir together all of the ingredients, chill overnight and a hearty delicious breakfast is waiting for you in the morning.  As easy as that! 

These bright red lush berries are definitely the center of attention in this dish but the almond butter adds a nice depth of flavor (and it is practically a food group in my world) plus a big part of the inspiration for this dish were the organic Maine grown oats I picked up at the Portland Farmers Market. 

 

I hope you will give them a try!  I would love to hear how you like them! 

 

 

Never stop exploring,

Crystal

Strawberry & Almond Butter Overnight Oats
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 cup oats (GF if needed)
4 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder*
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup almond butter
1 large handful of strawberries, quartered
3 tbsp almonds, toasted and chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients: oats, chia seeds, vanilla bean powder, cinnamon and salt.

2.  Add wet ingredients to the bowl: milk, maple syrup and almond butter.  Stir until completely combined.

3. Gently fold in strawberries.

5. Refrigerate overnight in the bowl or in two mason jars for serving.

6. Top with more strawberries, a dollop of almond butter and chopped almonds.

 

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After three weeks on the road we made our way to Portland, Maine.  We decided to treat ourselves and rent an apartment for five nights.  

 

We spent time exploring the city, eating delicious food, checking out some local breweries, taking Hudson to the dog park and playing on dog friendly beaches. 

  

It was a nice little break from camp life but to be honest, by the end, I was ready to be back in our traveling home.  I guess our camper and rooftop tent are starting to really feel like home even if the ground beneath it is ever changing. 

 

It always surprises me how quickly I adapt to the life of a “gypsy” traveler.  More quickly than I adapt to being home after my travels (reintegration is so much harder). 

 

This is the first trip I have taken of its kind but definitely not the first time I’ve spent consecutive months traveling.  It is these times when my soul seems to soar.  I feel more like myself in my own body and I am just living. 

 

I know it isn’t easy to give up on the modern conveniences we are used to but there is something freeing about having everything you need (for a little while) traveling on your back or in your car. 

This wonderful world is at your fingertips.  It is there for you to explore.  I believe our time on this planet is a gift and I want to see as much of it as possible. 

This trip is exciting because I am exploring my own backyard… the USA and Canada; as opposed to hopping on a plane to see other countries and cultures. 

I am learning to appreciate the subtle differences in cultures and cuisines through the regions on the continent I grew up on. 

One thing I really missed while we were in Portland was feeling the rhythm of the day.  After only a couple days living inside I was starting to feel out of sync.

 

Now, lets talk a little about food….

 

If you don’t already know this, I love shopping at farmers markets!

It is a great way to eat seasonally and but the freshest produce possible. 

I get a lot of my recipe inspiration from what I find at farmers markets and sometimes it isn’t even the produce...

This particular trip I found some chaga sourdough bread I was super excited to try! (Chaga is mushroom renowned for it’s medicinal properties)

It was delicious!  I made my favorite version of toast with it and was sad I didn’t buy more!

For the toast; it’s just a smear of tahini and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.  It doesn’t sound like much but man, it is delicious!!  Hopefully, you liked this easy recipe and a glimpse of our super cute airbnb!

Love and light,

Crystal

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.