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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 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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Mar 15, 2016

 

Spring is almost here!  The clocks have sprung forward and the days are getting longer.  Our bodies are starting to feel the energy of the seasons changing.  

I don't know about you but I am already starting to crave brighter and lighter foods.  My lunches have turned from warm dishes and soups to fresh salads.  Do you feel it too?  This vegetable packed salad is a wonderful addition to your weekly menu!

 

There are so many variations of this salad as well.  Feel free to switch out any of the veggies or legumes (beans) to your favorite or with whatever you have on hand.  If you choose to go soy free, switch out the edamame with green peas or leave them out all together. You could add a south of the border twist by substituting black beans, corn, cilantro and avocado (which is super delicious, by the way).  Think of this as a template recipe with endless possibilities! 

 

If you have any questions about a certain ingredient, please let me know.  I am happy to help :)

Wishing you bright sunny days, 

Crystal

Colorful Quinoa Salad
3 to 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 cup edamame, shelled
1/2 red bell pepper, small dice
2 green onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (or 6-8 baby carrots)
1/2 cups (1 can) chickpeas
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Dressing:
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside to cool.

2. Thaw or cook edamame for 5 minutes in simmering water to cover.  Drain and set aside.

3. In a large bowl add red bell pepper, green onions, carrots, chickpeas, parsley and cooled edamame.

4. In a small bowl mix together all ingredients except olive oil.  Once combined, slowly drizzle oil in while stirring.

5. Fluff quinoa and add to the bowl of vegetables.  Pour dressing over the top and stir until thoroughly combined.

6.  For best result let the salad sit for 30 minutes before consuming. 

 

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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.